Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Headache

A headache
Made me
Sent me
To bed
My poor head!
Closed my eyes
Looked inside
To what's inside
That head of mine
Not always good
Maybe I should
Be less
Be more
Look at things
At people
With a favorable
With a giving eye
Instead of begrudging
Instead of
My eyesight
Has been
So superficial
So skin-deep
Am I not one to know
That there's so much more
The external?
Can I allow judgement to pass?
Can I clear
My head
And heart
And start
To look
With positivity?

Can I look
At God
Without judging
Every move
Every story
Every headline
With questions
With accusations
More limitations
In my belief
Can I just believe
That He knows
What He is doing
And that my small brain
Cannot comprehend
His big plan?

I cannot.
I cannot accept
All the stories
All the headlines
All the pain.
Because that would mean
It wouldn't hurt
I would stop
For it to stop
Because I'd accept
His plan
And as long as
I'm alive
I cannot
The pain
The hardships
The difficulties
The challenges
Of life.
I will keep asking
I will keep questioning
I will keep judging you,
Because as long as
I see pain
As long as
I see suffering
I can not
Accept it.
So my head can hurt
It can throb
And still
I will not stop
Pounding down the doors
Pounding at your throne
Asking you
To change
To stop
The pain
To end
The suffering
And bring the day
When you will do away
With the aches
And pains
Of heads
And hearts
And families
Will be
Once more.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Parshas Re'ay

After working for 6 years, a Jewish slave must be freed and given generous gifts when he leaves. The Torah says, remember that you were once slaves in mitzrayim. You know what it feels like to be strangers in an unknown land. 

We see that we should use our past experiences to sympathize with other people in similar situations and help them when they are going through their own challenges. We can think about what things were helpful for us when we were in a similar boat and do the same if that would be beneficial for them too.

May we be able to ease the pain of others by utilizing our past experiences to be helpful to them, always with the right dose of insight and intuition!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Parshas Eikev

Moshe Rabbeinu tells BY that after they enter EY they will become wealthy, but they should never forget Who provided them with all this bounty and riches. 

Each of us is blessed with so much good. It's so easy to lose sight of where it is coming from. Whether it comes in the form of money, talents, looks or personality, we need to remind ourselves Who gave us these blessings. A beautiful voice, a creative mind, charisma and a sense of humor are all gifts from Hashem. We should thank Him for that gift and use it to influence the people around us for the good.

May we be able to have the self-awareness to notice our positive qualities, give Hashem credit for it and use those gifts to benefit other people!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Shalom-A New Poem

How could it be that 13 years have passed?

How could it be it's been so long since I saw u last?

Your memory lives on, you're always on my mind,

I think about what made you special and your good qualities all the time.

How sweet and caring and simply good you were as a brother,

How much I learned from your short life, a life like no other.

You utilized your time, filling your days with good deeds,

Sharing your good heart with others and planting deep rooted seeds.

You taught me to take note of the simple things,

Being aware of people's preferences and the happiness it brings,

Like when you overheard a boy in camp asking for staples for his staple gun,

You called me on the phone and asked me to send you some,

You gave them to this boy who expressed his surprise and delight,

You found a way to get them for him even though he never asked you for them outright!

Or the time when Baila left a book at home and had gone out to babysit, 

You warmed up her favorite potato knish and eagerly went to deliver it,

You knew it would mean so much more and so you took an extra step,

And these are the things that each of us will never ever forget.

It's these little things you did that were such a big deal,

They showed who you were inside, someone who cared for real.

Because in life it's not the big flashy things, it's the things you tend to hide,

The small everyday actions show who you really are inside.

And inside you were a shining soul, a neshama filled with light, a special glow,

Yearning and learning until your last moments in our midst, you only wanted to grow.

You knew what was important and you shared it with your friends,

Dancing with such joy the night before your petira, you were so happy and content.

We discovered this when we developed the film from the camera that fell along with you,

We saw you in your pajamas, payos down and a na nach yarmulka, you looked so happy and cute!

The simcha on your face was visible and you shared it with everyone you knew,

And now our job is to pass that on, to be joyous in our own lives too.

There's so much more to say, so much more to write,

As we reach another year, another yartzeit.

As much as we remember, the pain comes back because we miss you so,

And now our job is to use this pain as a way to grow,

In our closeness to Hashem and our connection to our family,

Shalom, you showed us that what matters most are the things we cannot ever see.

The way we use our time and try to fill our days with meaningful acts,

Utilizing every moment here because we never know which day will be our last.

We learned so much from your life and from your death even more,

We know we will stay strong until Hashem is ready to open the door,

To a new reality, a time of geula and redemption,

When the world will reach its purpose and achieve completion.

We don't know when and what will be, but we know it will be good,

Until then we try and pray (and cry) and do the best we could.

While you're up there in a place of clarity and peace I have just one request,

Please daven and ask Hashem to keep me strong and help me pass life's tests.

I miss you more than words can express, of course you know that's true,

I never said it enough so now I will...Shalom, I love you.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Parshas Va'eschanan

We are told that we may not add on to or take away from any of the commandments in the Torah. The Torah is perfect and was given to us by a perfect God with specific instructions on how to live the most fulfilling life.

If we add on to one of the mitzvos, it might become too heavy and burdensome and we'll drop the whole thing. Doing less than what we were commanded to do makes us lose out on the perfect prescription for a meaningful life.

May we be able to enjoy the benefits of following the mitzvos and feel the deep satisfaction that comes along with living a Torah life!

It's Shabbos Nachamu-which means "let us comfort." We have an obligation to offer chizuk to others when they are down. When we comfort someone else, it also soothes our soul and makes us feel better.

May we live to see the day of ultimate comfort, of the geula soon!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Parshas Devarim

Moshe Rabbeinu began giving mussar to BY before he died. He spoke to them about the mistakes of their parents, even though they weren't the nation that actually committed those sins. 

We see that we have a responsibility to look back at the past and learn from the mistakes of those who came before us. If we know someone tried something in the past and it didn't work, we should come up with a new plan so we can succeed. We can't expect to try the same thing and see different results. In order for change to happen, we need to look at the past, learn from mistakes others made and be committed to trying new ideas.

May we be able to have an open mind and heart and succeed at making changes in ourselves and in situations around us!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Parshas Matos-Masei

The Torah describes the boundaries in Eretz Yisroel and how the land was divided among the shevatim. 

It is so important to have boundaries and limits. Rules keep us safe. If everything was allowed, nothing would stop us from entering dangerous territory and we would get hurt-on a physical and spiritual level. 

May you be able to stick to the boundaries you set for yourself, respect the boundaries of others and stay safe and happy!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Parshas Pinchas

Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to climb to the top of Har Ha'avarim so he could see Eretz Yisroel before he died. His tefillah to go into EY had not been answered positively, but he did get to see the land.

In life, we daven for many things. Sometimes we see answers clearly, and things turn out exactly the way we were hoping for. Other times, it's less clear. We need to remember that Hashem hears every tefillah and listens to every cry for help. No matter what the result of our tefillah seems to be, Hashem treasures every one and at times saves that tefillah for a later date when we will need those zechusim.

May we be able to turn to Hashem whenever we need Him and stay strong in our emunah that every tefillah has a purpose and is valuable!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Small Meal

Today is Yud Zayin Tammuz, the day we fast to show we are mourning the beginning of the end - the end of the time of clarity and closeness to Hashem through the Bais Hamikdosh.

Imagine your father bought you a house, provided you with everything you needed to keep that house beautiful and also gave you money to buy yourself food and clothing whenever you needed. Now imagine if at the same time, your father was homeless, sleeping on the park bench every night. Would you be able to enjoy the house he so generously gave you, along with all the things he provided you with?

Wouldn't you try to invite him into your home? What if he said he didn't want to come live with you because your home wasn't good enough for him? Wouldn't you do whatever it takes to make your house a place where he would be comfortable moving in?

Hashem gave each of us a place to live us and also blessed us with so much bounty, so much beauty, so much excess... But He is has nowhere to live.

He is homeless.

We need to reflect upon the fact that if He doesn't feel comfortable living with us, we must fix that.

We need to think, what changes can we make to ensure that our homes, our world, can become a place where His shechina will want to reside?

R' Shimshon Pincus zt"l talks about making a "seuda ketana" with Hashem.

What is this small meal?

When someone makes a big meal, like a wedding, they invite many people and serve lots of varieties of food. The reason for this is that everybody has different tastes and he wants to make sure all his guests will be satisfied.

But when a small meal is prepared, for example a seuda for just a chosson and kallah, the food served is different. Before the meal, we check with both the chosson and kallah to see what they like. If the chosson likes something but the kallah does not like it, we do not serve that dish. We only serve foods that both the chosson and kallah enjoy eating.

This, says R' Pincus zt"l, is what we should do with Hashem. We should say, "Hashem, I want to eat a meal with you. I like The New York Times. Hashem, do you like it?"

No, Hashem does not like the New York Times.

"Then I can't have that in my home."

And this is how we can go through the things we bring into our homes, the things we do in our free time and the things we busy ourselves with.

We have to look at what we do, what we buy and what we allow into our homes and ask, Hashem, do you like it? Because I can only have it if you like it. I want you to sit with me Hashem. I want you to feel welcome in my house. I want you to want to spend time in my presence.

By making a seuda ketana with Hashem, we can reflect upon the things we do and the influences we allow into our homes. We will notice what changes we need to make to ensure that Hashem's shechina will want to reside amongst us. And that way, we will show Hashem that we are setting up our homes for Him to stay!

If Hashem once again feels comfortable living among us, He can bring us all back to His home and He will no longer be homeless. We will be able to live with the clarity and closeness to Him we so desperately need. And we will be able to say, "I know that I did what it took to welcome Hashem back home. I made the changes I needed to make Him want to make the changes we were all hoping for!"

May we merit to celebrate the rebuilding of the bais hamikdosh instead of mourning its destruction!

Have a meaningful and introspective fast.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Parshas Balak

Balak tried to get Bilam to curse the Jewish People but he was unsuccessful. After three times of trying, he realized that Hashem was the One controlling what came out of Bilam's mouth and he gave up. 

In life, there are many things we try to do. Sometimes they work out immediately and we see Hashems's hand. Other times, we keep trying and we aren't successful. We need to strengthen our emunah and remind ourselves that Hashem orchestrates every detail of our lives, from the words that come out of our mouths to the bigger results of our efforts. We must remember that everything that happens is for our ultimate benefit. 

May we be able to keep trying when things are rough and stay strong in our belief that everything Hashem does is for our good!