Friday, September 25, 2009

Choose Life & Dare To Dream

Here are two videos from - really powerful, watch them, before Yom Kippur!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Wagon Driver

There was once a story about a wagon driver who fell asleep while leading his horses. His horses went on their own and landed in a deep pit. Suddenly the wagon driver woke up and saw that he was now stuck in a deep muddy pit.

He jumped off his carriage and started pulling and pulling but nothing helped the wagon did not budge. People passed by and told him to bring a lift to pull the wagon out.

He listened and went to a nearby city to get a lift. The wagon was easily removed from the pit. Pleased with himself the wagon driver thought to himself “ Why do I need horses for?, horses need to be fed and cared for and in the end they abundant me, only the lift helped me!”

What did he do? He sold his horses and bought a lift. He placed his wagon on the lift and sat down but the wagon did not move…

They told him “This is not wise!!” the lift can only lift the wagon but only horses can pull and go….

We all just went through Rosh Hashana but that was only a lift, be we need to occupy ourselves with constant inspiration and keep ourselves on a regular schedule to be able to go on and be succesesful. A daily prayer, a daily learning, to uplift ourselves and to be able to find our way to the right goal. It is not enough to go through the inspiring "lift" of Rosh Hashana - we also must make sure to pull ourselves out of the mud by doing real teshuva during these important days of Aseres Yimei Teshuva!!

Have a Gemar Chasima Tova!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Avinu Malkeinu 4

Tomorrow night is Avinu Malkeinu 4 - now's your last chance to buy tickets!!

(Click on the image to enlarge and see details.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Too Was There

The following is a letter written to Rebbetzin Jungreis in response to another letter, one that she just sent around in an email. I posted that letter once before. You can read it right here.
There is a powerful message of teshuva here - read it, be inspired, pass on the inspiration and take the message to heart!!

“I Too Was There”

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

The letter that you published in your last column broke me up. When I read it, I couldn’t stop crying. It hit me in a very sensitive spot, for I too was there.

Before I relate my story, may I ask that, if you decide to publish my letter, please omit my name. I do hope that you will share my experience with your readers – If just one person learns from it, I will feel amply rewarded.

In many ways, my story is similar to that of Revital, O.H., your letter writer. I too was raised in a religious home and attended yeshivos, but despite it all, I lost my way and began to dress and conduct myself in an inappropriate manner, unbefitting a bas Yisroel. The underlying causes were different from Rervital, I was not blessed with special beauty... I did not have long, gorgeous hair. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone ever considered me pretty.... so that which pushed me over the edge was not that which was the undoing of Revital, although the end result was almost the same.

Revital wrote that she enjoyed people staring at her and commenting on her “exceptional beauty”. I guess that psychologists would say that my lack of good looks led me in the same direction. I too, wanted people to look at me. I too, wanted to call attention to my appearance, although, I never consciously made such a decision, nor was I ever aware that was the underlying motivation for my rebellion – It was a therapist who made that assessment and planted the thought in my mind. Maybe she was right – maybe she wasn’t, but it makes no difference. Bottom line, I lost my way. All I can say is that when I look back upon those years, I wonder what on earth I could have been thinking of. How could I have been such an idiot? How could I have been so self-destructive? How could I have caused my parents such terrible grief?

I remember the day when by mother was called by the yeshiva and told to find another school for me. My desperate parents had difficulty finding a yeshiva that would accept me. I remember seeing my mother’s tears, and yet I refused to see them. I remember hearing my father’s voice and yet, I chose not to hear him. I don’t know how I could have been so insensitive to the two people who loved me the most. My siblings were mortified. My sister, who was up for a shidduch was terrified that, because of me, she would never receive any recommendations. There was constant tension in the house, and with each passing day, I grew more and more obdurate.

Then, one summer day, I had a most agonizing wake-up call. My sister, that beautiful, pure soul, who was hoping to find a shidduch, was in a terrible car accident. Her life was hanging by a thread. Our entire family was destroyed. How could such a tragedy befall a girl who was such a perfect embodiment of chesed, so totally devoted to Torah and mitzvos? I felt responsible....surely, I thought, it must be because of me!

But then I thought, why would Hashem punish my wonderful sister because of my sins? It didn’t make sense. “Don’t go on a guilt trip,” I told myself. Still, the feeling that I was somehow responsible kept gnawing at my heart. I tried to rationalize my emotions. “Don’t get carried away....don’t lose it,” I said to myself. I wanted to daven for my sister, but I felt hypocritical taking a siddur in my hand. I had given up davening a long time ago, so I continued along my old path, dressing and behaving as I always did, and yet, the feeling that somehow, it was all my fault, gave me no peace. I couldn’t stand seeing my parents’ suffering; I couldn’t bear seeing my bubbie crying day and night, and while no one said anything to me, I felt that they were all pointing a finger at me and blaming me.

My sister had to undergo several surgical procedures which were followed by rehab. One day, while visiting her at the rehab center, she asked to speak to me privately. With tears running down her beautiful cheeks, she asked me to do her a favor. “If you will do tshuva,” she said, “if you will give up all this craziness, if you will daven for me, in that merit, Hashem will grant me a refuah shleima. Please,” she pleaded. “Do it for me!”

I felt resentful and angry. Why was I being blamed? Was my sister suggesting that it was my fault that she had this accident? “That’s ridiculous,” I told myself. “She’s trying to lay a guilt trip on me....I’m not going to listen! I felt myself hardening and rejecting her pleas and continued my old ways. But I felt more and more troubled. My life became suffocating. What only yesterday I had regarded as “fun” and “exciting” became ugly and oppressive. I felt repelled by the “craziness” that was reflective of my life style, but I also felt that I had traveled too far and it was too late to come home.

Then, someone gave me your book. “Life Is A Test”. Actually, it was given to me so that I might give it to my sister, who was making slow, painful progress. I thumbed through the pages and came upon the story of Nikki - Nechama, whose experience was, in many ways, similar to my own. I read her story and I couldn’t stop crying.

You probably won’t remember, but I e-mailed you at that time and asked how I could start on the long journey home, never expecting you to reply. But I received an answer immediately, and you wrote something that I will never forget — something that I found life-transforming. You related the story of a man who, even as I, wanted to discover the path that would lead him home. He consulted a Rebbe and asked, “How far is the path of tshuva?

The Rebbe gazed at him quizzically and replied, “As far as east is from west.”

“So far!” the man cried out in dismay.

“No,” the Rebbe answered calmly – so near. You just have to make one turn in the right direction and if you do that, Hashem will take your hand and show you the way.”

I ran to the hospital -- I shared your e-mail with my sister. We hugged and cried and discussed how I would make that turn, and Baruch Hashem, I did!

It’s now three years later. Baruch Hashem, my sister recovered and was married just a few weeks ago, and I am on my way. I am engaged to an amazing man who understands where I was and appreciates how I came back B’ezrat Hashem, I will be married after Succoth. I will be sending you an invitation and hope that you will come, even if it’s just to the chuppah. It would mean so much to all of us.

I write this letter, not only to share my story, which, Baruch Hashem, has a happy ending, unlike that of Revital, but also because there is a question that keeps bothering me...”Why did my poor sister have to suffer because of me? It’s so unfair!

Mind you, I’m not, chas v’shalom, questioning G-d’s justice, but still, I don’t understand why someone so innocent and pure should have had to pay for my sins? If you could shed some light on this, I would be most grateful.

In gratitude, wishing you a K’siva V’Chasima Tova

I will bl"n try to post the answer to this letter once Rebbetzin Jungreis responds.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hashem Always Hears You!!

This post is from my friend, who is a teacher. This is an amazing way she taught her students this lesson of how Hashem hears you at all times!! She made it so practical and I wanted to share it with you!

The first thing this morning I asked the girls, who misses her home already. And then I said I let one girl call home. I took my mobile and in front of the whole class the girl called home and wished her mother a good morning.

Then, I asked the girl if her mother heard her. If she is sure she did. Because she didn't see her. And the class confirmed that the mother could hear her daughter, even if they couldn't see each other. "Children" I said, "Every day, you speak to Hashem. Do you think he hears you?" Of course-and even if you don't see him. And by Hashem we don't even need a phone-He hears every word that we say and He loves your tefillohs.

And with this we started to daven.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dear Year 5769...

Dear year 5769,

Just yesterday we stood at your entrance without any idea as to what your days would bring- all 365 of them. Now another 365 days are standing lined up one after the other, behind locked doors. We tried peeking in but failed; even the smallest speck was hidden from us. And now as I write to you, year 5769 who is about to exit now, I am shaking with awesome fright.

Would I have ever imagined what you would have looked like as I stood in the synagogue last Rosh Hashanah? I was full with wishes and hopes… and wondering: would you bring happiness, growth, success-or disappointment and failure? Would you be filled with good times, good friendships? With what would you fill up all you 8,700 hours, and 525,600 minutes? How would your newspaper headlines appear? Would they be filed with excitement and good news or God Forbid… What was in store for the peoples of the world- would major crucial changes take place? In my family? Or maybe me… or within me?

Everything… everything was written and signed already then from Rosh Hashanah till Yom Kippur of 5769. If I could have just know then what I know now by in mere turn of 365 days. If only I would have just imagined, for example, that within your days very precious souls would be taken away from this world…

How many measures of emotional strength and how many tears I would have invested in the words “Our father, our King do not turn us away from You empty-handed”. Had I seen then as I see now right in front of my eyes, the people who so desperately await their own personal salvation, but yet another year just passed them by unanswered, another 365 days. The 365 days, the 8,760 hours, and the 525,600 minutes, that you contained were all full with their suffering, yet with their hope. If only I had begged a bit more before Hashem stamped his final signature on that day! I have no doubt in me that had I seen it all before me, “I would have invested every last effort and intensified my prayer to no end.

Sadly, it was just then that my desperation and imagination decided to stall. Just then, when every hour, every minute was so crucial….

Where was my imagination? Where was I when I had the power in my hand to correct, to erase, to sweeten my fate and that of others?

When I flash in front of me the year that just passed, an accusing finger screams at me:


Yes, year 5769, you are about to end. You’ve taught me a lot. This time I know. This time I’ll try. This time I won’t hesitate to let the tears fall. I don’t know what year 5770 will bring, but I do know how much power lies within me.

The three Hebrew letters: shin, nun, and hei when are put together can be read in three different ways. Shana (year), shena (sleep) and shoneh (change). The message here is that if we sleep through the month of Elul and through Rosh Hashanah we should not expect a better year to come.
But if we change ourselves for better the year also will be more blessed and successful.
So let’s leshanot (change) ourselves for the better,so we can all have a better and more successful shana (year).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to do Real Teshuva VERY IMPORTANT!!

I just wanted to share with you some ideas of how to do teshuva.
you may think its too hard to really do teshuva. So I am here to tell you that Rabbi Ephriam Waxman spoke abt. how to fix up the past yrs. mess ups, and it so much easier than you think!

Rabbi Milstein shared this insight with me:
when you look at a fruit you notice that it is dry, and hard on the outside....
once you take a bite into it, it tastes so refreshing, so juicy, and so delicious...
same with teshuva it may seem so dry.... so hard... but once you do it Ahhhh!!
you get to taste that really refreshing feeling.... it feels so good so juicy.... and once you get to the bottom of the fruit there is a pit and you can now replant it and make a whole bunch of new fruits.... same with teshuva once you do it you can now go and replant YOURSELF YOU ARE NOW A NEW PERSON!
when you do teshuva you erase bad that was in this world!!
bec. whem we are dirty with mud from our avieros we really are causing more reminders to wake us up! But when we do teshuva we are saying HASHEM I WOKE UP!!! WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE REMINDERS!!

you start off by going into a room and closing the door, even taking a walk by yourself,
its your private moment with Hashem:
make sure all cell phones are closed, no emails, no texting, no music just for a few min. completely connect to Hashem and noone else! The main thing is to find a time where you can be alone and just be real with yourself and Hashem.
Think back to last year, what did you do wrong -
1.VIDUY- tell hashem what you did.
i was disrepectful to my mother....
i made fun of a girl...
i lied to my friends....
i watched things i should not have...

2a.CHARATA-tell Hashem i feel so bad about what i did!
Think about how bad you feel bec. hashem gives you so much good. and you used it to go against Hashem!
you gave me eyes and i used them to look at things i should not have...
tell hahem I'M SO SORRY!!! Think of your own ideas of how you want to appoligize to your father in heaven!!
2b.The best way to do teshuva is out of ahavas Hashem
tell Hashem that you love him. Hashem you give me friends, life, happiness, delicious food, inspiration the list can go on....
Hashem i just love you sooo much!
we all know this just reminder how great teshuva is:
If you do teshuva bec. of your love for Hashem then every single aveira that you did will turn into a mitzva!! (says it in the gemara, and Rabbi Wallerstein!)
can you imagine every tiny aveira that you did will become a mitzva! If you tell Hashem how bad you feel that you upset your mother...., and your and your mother is mochel you, guess what IT IS NOW A MITZVA!!!
were almost done!
3. AZIVAS HACHAIT- end the aveira
if you have ability to never do certain things again like a concrete thing that you know is wrong, and now you realize how much you don't want to do it then you can make a plan of what you will do instead of that silly thing!
there are some aveiros where we know we will do it again no matter what cuz its not possible to say i will never talk lashon hara again...
so for every day mitzvos, you can come up with a plan of something you will learn to help you in that area so that slowly you can improve!
4. KABALA AL HAASID- planning for the future
take one small area where you know for sure that you will win!!
Once a week i will make sure that when my mother asks me to come to help her i will go as soon as she calls...
meaning plan a small thing that you are capable of doing!
and see that it really is do able!!
How do you eat a big huge slice of pizza one bite at a time!
As long as Hashem sees you working on yourself you are in for good news!!

The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation said that they are launching a very easy machsom lefei world wide. Every one who does this plan will bring boundless bracha to the world!
From 9am till 10am just one hour no to spk lashon hara!!
we all could do this! This is def. a way of showing Hashem that you are trying your best!!
pls let me know how you felt about this way of doing teshuva.
If you want to join the machsom lefei pls just send back a post stating that you are joining!!

we need each and every one of you to do something diff. this yr!! last yr. we had more than enough tzaros to wake us up!!!!!!!!!!!
pls. lets show Hashem that we woke up and we dont need any more tragedies to remind us that he wants us to change!!
Hashem is waiting to hear from you!

Two Inspiring Videos - Must Watch!!

Here are some videos you can watch to help you prepare for Rosh Hashana - watch them and use some free time to really think about the awesome day that is coming up! Your whole year is going to be decided on this day!!!! Every little bit of it!!! So when you watch these videos, think about all that happened this past year and how it is up to YOU to make this year a special one!!

Please pass this message on to your friends and tell them to come and watch these inspiring and moving videos!!!!!

Teshuva - A Poem

Hashem gave us all a very special gift,
And with it each neshama can get a lift,
It has awesome powers and teshuva is its name,
And without it our lives just wouldn’t be the same.

I have the ability to get rid of my aveiros from the past,
And even turn them into mitzvos that forever will last,
But of course I must make sure to do it right,
The three step process will turn darkness to light.

Because my neshama is a diamond shining so strong,
And it gets darker each time I do something wrong.
So the first thing to do to make it shine once again,
Is to verbalize and say, “I’ve sinned against Hashem.”

I must specify the aveiros I did, say them all out,
Hashem hears when I say them, there’s no need to shout
Just by saying them all, one by one,
The first step of the teshuva process is already done.

The next step is charata, to sincerely feel in my heart,
That the aveiros I’ve done made me move far apart,
From my Father in Heaven who loves me so
He gives and gives and never says no.

How could I be so ungrateful and do the wrong thing?!
He does so much for me, He’s my father and my king,
I feel so embarrassed to have done what I did,
And I hope to improve this year and become a better yid.

Feeling bad for what I’ve done is step number two,
And in the third step I must be earnest and true,
I will do everything I can to make sure,
That I will not repeat these aveiros anymore.

I will try to figure out what was the cause,
Of my feeling of carelessness to Hashem’s precious laws.
Yes now is the time to work on planning ahead,
And through this my aveiros will turn into mitzvos instead.

For there is nothing in the world that could be greater,
Than when someone does teshuva out of love for his creator,
So let us all grab the chance while Elul is still here,
And through doing teshuva may we all have a beautiful year!

May you have a year full of every kind of beracha,
And may you always feel content and always be b’simcha,
May you be able to serve Hashem with all your heart and soul,
And may we meet in Yerushalayim, the Jewish nation as one whole!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Connecting to the Right Source

What a great mashal - I got this email and wanted to share it with you!!

There is a story about a group of villagers who were touring the city of Tel Aviv. As the day was coming to an end they were invited to eat dinner at the mayor of the city. As they were about to leave, the mayor turned to them and said “I want to give you a souvenir from the city, did you see anything today that can improve your living conditions?”

One of the villagers spoke up and said “yes, there is something we really need, you see where we live there is no running water and therefore each day we have to carry buckets of water from afar. We place these buckets on camels and it’s a hassle… and in the city you have faucets! We would appreciate it greatly if you provide us with forty faucets one for each tent. This will help us greatly.”

The mayor of Tel Aviv quickly arranged for them to take back with them forty faucets. The Bedouins were extremely happy and couldn’t stop thanking him. When they got to their tents they placed the faucets by the wall and opened it… but no water came out!

They quickly called a plumber from the city to come and see why no water was coming out. When he came, he saw the faucets in each tent and started laughing. “How do you think water is going to come out of the faucet? The faucet doesn’t give out water, it’s only the means to get the water it must first be attached to a pipe that must be connected to a water source. And you, what did you do? You did not connect the faucet to a source of water, you just placed it by the wall and expected water to come out???!!!”

Many can not just be happy, they are under a lot of stress and pressure and every little thing bothers them. The remedy for this type of people is to connect to the right source and that is Hashem. Because He is the source of happiness. Just like a rechargeable battery that when it dies out we have to connect it to the outlet and recharge it again. But if we try to handle things on our own it will be as funny as placing a faucet inside the wall without connecting it to the source of water.
Remember Him at all times, mention and talk to him constantly, because He is always available. He will listen to you and answer you right away and then you’ll be flowing with lots of energy and brachos.