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    The story is
    told of an Orthodox Jew
    who went on
    a business trip
    and was at the
    airport for his
    flight home. As we he went through security, he experiened everyone’s nightmare – after he took off his shoes and
    his belt and went through the metal detector, his shoes were gone. He looked
    everywhere, the security personnel
    looked everywhere, but the shoes were
    nowhere to be found. There was nothing he could do – he needed to rush to
    the gate for his flight.
    He walked barefoot to the gate, and he
    saw that the passengers would have to
    walk outside on the tarmac to get onto
    the plane – and it was raining.
    A fellow passenger, a woman, saw his
    predicament and offered to help. She
    said she had a pair of slippers with her
    that she’d be happy to lend him. The
    woman pulled them out of her bag –
    and the man saw a pair of bright pink,
    fluffy slippers. He had no choice, so he
    put them on, and wore them onto the
    Needless to say, he felt very self-conscious, walking around in these bright,
    feminine slippers…
    As he was sitting on the plane, he overheard two passengers talking.
    “Look at this guy, his shoes were lost,
    so he needs to wear women’s slippers!”
    The man said to himself, “As I thought,
    everyone’s looking at me and laughing
    at me.”
    But then he heard the other passenger
    say, “I’m amazed. The whole time, he
    was perfectly calm. He didn’t angry, he
    didn’t get upset, he didn’t lose his cool.
    It’s amazing.”
    The man was afraid he was being humiliated – but in truth, he was creating
    a beautiful kiddush Hashem.
    Parashat Hayeh-Sarah begins by telling
    us that Sarah lived for 127 years, concluding, שרה חיי שני” – these were the
    years of Sarah’s life.” Rashi explains
    that this seemingly unnecessary phrase
    was added to teach us that -שוין כולן
    לטובה” – they were all equally good.”
    All of Sarah’s days were “equally
    Sarah actually went through some very
    difficult hardships over the course of
    her life. She moved many times. For
    decades, she could not conceive. She
    was twice abducted by a foreign ruler
    (Pharaoh, Avimelech). Yet, all her days
    were “equally good.”
    The name שרה means “authority” or
    “royalty.” Each day of her life, she
    lived with a sense of pride and dignity.
    She saw herself as regal, as being the
    matriarch of Hashem’s special nation.
    And in this sense, לטובה -שוין הכל – all
    her days were equally good. Because
    throughout her life, she lived with this
    feeling of self-worth and pride. Nothing that happened could upset her, because each day, she felt proud about
    who she was.
    We all need to live each with this feeling, a feeling of pride over being who
    we are. And when we live this way, it
    won’t bother us if we find ourselves
    “wearing pink slippers,” doing things
    differently, not fitting in, not doing
    what everybody else does.
    Many people in our community live
    with an enormous amount of pressure.
    They look around and see what everybody else does, and they feel pressured
    to do the same. They look at what
    schools people enroll their children in,
    the affairs they host, the vacations they
    take, the cars they drive, the houses
    they buy and build – and they feel they
    need to do all that. They’re afraid of
    walking around in “pink slippers,” of
    doing things differently. Like that passenger, they feel self-conscious, worried that everyone is looking at them
    and talking about how they’re strange.
    We can avoid all this if we follow the
    example of Sarah Imenu, and live with
    a sense of personal pride in who we are.
    Each and every Jew is precious. Being a member of our community should
    never be our only identity. Every person is unique and special. It’s ok if we
    wear “pink slippers.” We don’t have
    to worry about what other people are
    thinking or saying about us.
    If we live with this mindset, then truly,
    לטובה שוין כולן – we will feel happy and
    content each day of our lives.