Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why Do I Feel Alone Sometimes....

Written by: Y.Roitenbarg

Rivka and Sara embraced each other enthusiastically when they met unexpectedly in Mexico. Both were far from their homes and families.
Rivka was in Mexico on a business trip,and Sara had come to visit her grandmother,who was ill.On lookers who witnessed their joyful meeting assumed they were long lost-friends who had just reunited after many years.
They did not know that Rivka and Sara both live in the same town back in United States, and see each other around town often. However, back home, they hardly have time to greet each other or have lengthy conversations. Since they are busy with their own lives and different circle of friends.

They are not enemies, and they are not best friends; they are simply two people living busy lives, by chance-in the same town.
Insterestingly, when Rivka and Sara found themselves far from home, both strangers on foreign ground, they greeted each other warmly. Here, they openly displayed their affection for each other.I n Mexico,where they both felt so alone, they recognized each other and felt so good that at least one familiar face around. They felt so much closer to each other because noone else knew them!! (It feels sooo good to go somewhere and actually know someone when you dont know anyone in the crowd!!)

The above analogy illustrates an often forgotten principal. We have an open invitation to bring Hashem into our lives, but when we are on "home ground",settled and comfortable in our daily routine, we hardly ever take the time to truly 'greet' Hashem and get to know him.
Hashem knows how to attract our attention. He knows if he singles us out and puts us to the test and bring us to 'foreign ground',we will feel alone and isolated. He knows too,that we will then turn to him,and embrace him like a long lost friend.
we will turn to him with all our emotions, and say pls Hashem only you can help me!!!
The next time you feel alone, lost, and forlorn; remember you are alone with Hashem. Open your heart and embrace Hashem, and He will be there for you.

Sometimes Hashem really wants to hear from us and really wants to get close to us bec. it will make us the happiest. So Hashem moves us to a place where we feel like Help!! I'm so Alone I dont know what to do!! And then we just cry out to him with all our hearts and then we are zoche to see him right there waiting for us with open arms!!! he just needed you to notice him! when everything is fine why will you call out to hashem only when things get crazy we wake up!!
if you have an alarm clock only if it rings will you wake up otherwise you'll just hang out in bed as long as you can!! As soon as someone comes with a cup of water (just kidding) you jump out of bed!! so too, Hashem does not want us sleeping out potential away so he makes us go through something where only he can help you and if you fill up your cup of zechusim with mitzvos you will be zoche to never feel alone!!!!!! cuz he will be there for you every step of the way!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!!

Tomorrow, Thursday, Vav Shevat is my hebrew birthday.

I wanted to give each person a special bracha. But since I don't know all of you personally and can't give you each your own individual bracha, I will try to give one that will apply to everyone.

Firstly, you should always feel Hashem close to you. Wherever you go, you should be able to notice all the good things that Hashem has given you and you should be able to appreciate and communicate your thanks to Hashem. You should have a happy life, filled with lots of bracha and hatzlacha wherever you go. You should find answers to all the questions you have and you should be satisfied with the answers you get.

May you be healthy all the days of your life - each part of your body should be healthy, your eyes - and you should use them to look at good things, your ears - and you should use them to listen to good things, things that are good for your neshama's growth, your brain - you should use it to think about proper things and learn more about the beauty and depth of yiddishket, your hands and feet - and use them to go to the right places and help other people and your mouth - you should use it to say things that are pure, use it to daven and connect to Hashem in the most beautiful way possible!
You should always have clarity to make the right decisions in life!
You should have parnassa always, an easy time making a living and you should always be on the giving end.
You should be able to use your time wisely. You should be able to see the specialness and beauty of Shabbos and use it as a day to connect to Hashem.
The people you know who are sick should be healed. The people you know who need shidduchim (yourself included!) should have an easy time finding their husbands, with clarity! The people you know who are far away from Hashem should come close to Him.
You should be able to use the kochos Hashem gave you to the fullest and always be an inspiration to the people around you.
You should be able to be a positive and happy person always, no matter what happens in your life!
May you be able to come close to Hashem through the good things He gave you instead of through pain.
Hashem should give you the strength to go through whatever painful things He thinks you need to go through and you should come out a stronger and better person.
You should be able to feel Hashem answering each and every tefillah you daven, you should always feel connected to Him and always feel the tremendous love He has for you!

It's very easy for me to give brachos. My last bracha is that as easy as it is for me to give the brachos, that's how easily and quickly they should come true!!

I usually send this around to my friends on their birthday, but now I want to post it here so all of you can gain from it.

This is from a book called Rabbi Avigdor Miller Speaks and the book ends off with questions people asked him and the answers he gave. The LAST one was about birthdays and what he said is really thought provoking!!

What should a person think about on his birthday?

He should think about a great many things. I look back at the years of my life, and I can recall so many people who passed away at young ages, nebach. I had a friend who passed away at the age of 14. I had another friend who wasn’t much older when he left the world. A person owes a great deal of gratitude to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and must thank Him profusely for allowing him to reach another birthday! Don’t make a party, just think about how indebted you are to Him. The older a person gets, the more of an obligation he has to thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu and serve Him! It’s also important to realize that time is passing you by! The wealth of time that was before you when you were young is quickly depleting! The older you get, the less time you have to accomplish in life, and there are so many things to achieve in this world. For example, you could learn on Ketzos HaChoshen every week. (this part is for the men but I decided to keep the text as it is so you can read the whole thing…) As the years go by you will become a baki, an expert in the Ketzos! Do you have any idea what kind of happiness that is? I guarantee you, it’s true happiness!
Therefore, as years go by you should take it upon yourself to try to achieve as much as you can. The happiness of life stems from the fact that it is such a wonderful opportunity to achieve.

Now, it's your turn! I was wondering if you can share some ideas on how to make my birthday special. I don't have time to daven on a regular day but if you have any suggestions for me (and for other readers to do on their birthday), please comment here!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rosh Chodesh Shevat

Tomorrow is Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Shevat - the first day of the month of Shevat. It is a chance to start anew, make changes in your life and become a better person.

Shevat is the fifth month (from Tishrei) - which means that 4 months of the year have passed and we are 1/3rd into the calendar year. There are still 2/3rds of the year left until Rosh Hashana. Think for a moment. Look back at the first 1/3rd of your year. Are you happy with what you see? With the changes you made? I'm sure each of you made some commitment to change over the year - did you keep to your word? It's not too late. You still have another 2/3rds of your year to become who you want to be. I think this is a good point in time to stop and look ahead. Sometimes, by the time elul comes around, it feels like so much of the year has passed. So every month, you a special reminder to stop and take a look at what you did so far and see if you are happy with how you are progressing in your yiddishkeit.

Also, the fact that it is Shabbos Rosh Chodesh is a very special thing. The Sefer Panim Yafos writes that each Rosh Chodesh is Mashpiah - influences - the whole month, and each Shabbos is Mashpiah over the whole week. This Shabbos, then, will be a very influential Shabbos, and we should strive to maintain its high level of kedusha. Let us try to a few minutes of Shabbos day to learn something special that will help us improve in our avodas Hashem.

There are many books that start a new learning cycle on Rosh Chodesh Shevat - you have a great opportunity to utilize the time you have on Shabbos and the fact that it is the beginning of a new month to become closer to Hashem and improve yourself!
Here are some suggestions: (You can click on the links.)

Positive Word Power - Building a better world with the words you speak.

Praying With Fire - Igniting the Power of Your Tefillah - A 5-Minute Lesson-A-Day
Praying With Fire 2 - More insights as to how to Ignite the Power of Your Tefillah - A 5-Minute Lesson-A-Day
A Daily Companion
- The concepts and laws of proper speech as formulated by Sefer Chofetz Chaim.

May this month be filled with many happy things, many good changes and may you feel Hashem in your life more and more - as you keep changing and becoming a better person!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tefillah - When Your Situation Doesn't Change

From the comments on my last post, I can see that people get frustrated when they daven and daven for something and then things don’t change or become better.
I wanted to just point out to all of you that we are in this world to change ourselves and to become better, not to change the situation we find ourselves in. Hashem, who knows what’s best for each individual, put you in a specific situation that is best for your growth. You can change yourself when you go through something hard, or you can let yourself fall - but remember that the choice is yours.
When you daven for something and you see that your situation isn’t improving, keep in mind that the purpose of the challenge is to change who you are, work on yourself and improve your middos.

Hashem loves you and knows what’s best for you. When you start to feel down about the things you davened for and didn’t get the answer you wanted, remind yourself of all the times you davened for something and it did work out! That will help and encourage you to continue, not to give up and you will know that each tefillah is powerful and will do something.

You asked Hashem for a parking spot and found one right away. You davened for hatzlacha on your test and you did well. You needed that phone call to work out well and it did (that’s for you! I know you’re reading this!). That sick person did get better. The surgery went well. You were going shopping and found what you wanted/needed quickly and it was a good price too! Supper came out better than you expected. Your siblings were nice to you when you had a hard day. You hear some good news. Someone does something to brighten your day and make you feel better.

Also, remind yourself that Hashem gave you so much good – and there are so many things you have that you didn’t even daven for and never asked for!

You are healthy. You can see, walk and talk. You have a great personality/sense of humor and people enjoy spending time with you. You woke up refreshed, energized and in a good mood. And there are so many other things you have that you never even davened for, Hashem just gave them to you.

All of these “small things” are reminders from Hashem that He loves you and wants you to continue to connect to Him. Even when you don’t see an immediate answer to the things you daven and beg for, remind yourself of the times that Hashem answered you for the things you davened for – and the things you didn’t even ask for!

Remember - you are in this world to become a better person. Remind yourself constantly that your purpose is not to change your circumstances, but to change yourself. You are put into the family, neighborhood, school, work environment that is best for your spiritual growth. It is up to you to use the situation you are in to become closer to Hashem and to become a better person. And when you get frustrated that your situation isn’t changing, that you are davening for things and you aren’t getting what you want, remind yourself of the times that Hashem answered other tefillos and when He gave you things you didn’t even ask for! And that you are here to change yourself, not your situation!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Personal Relationship

Tefillah can have many different meanings.

Although we daven with a siddur every day, there's another part to tefillah that is also very important.

The purpose of tefillah is to develop a relationship with Hashem. Hashem is our father and by davening to Him, we are connecting to Him in the best way possible. I read a little bit about personal prayer in the amazing book, In Forest Fields that just like it is extremely hard for an orphan not to have a father, it is so hard for a person not to have a relationship with Hashem because He is your father! Think about it! Hashem gives you EVERYTHING you need! He wakes you up in the morning, gives you life, health and all the other good things that you have. He loves you like a parent loves their child. So if a person doesn't have a relationship with his father, it is so hard and that person can be compared to an orphan!!

So how can we develop a special relationship with Hashem?

One way is through personal prayer - which means that you make your tefillos personal and different and this way, you have your own special connection to Hashem that is different than any other person. It's yours only.

Last week, my friend emailed this amazing thought to me. She heard it from a speech from R' Shimshon Pincus. He gave a mashal of someone being proud of his wheelchair-it can go forward, it can go backwards, it can turn left and right and is even able to climb steps. It's amazing - but the wheelchair is only for the crippled. The legs of a person are much more exiting!! They can do so much more than a wheelchair. A person can bend their knees, climb stairs, walk, run, jump, hop and skip! R' Pincus went on to say that the siddur is beautiful, but it's only for the crippled. Really tefillah should come from the heart. That's how the people in previous generations davened - and nowadays because we are crippled we need a siddur. And since women don't have a chiyuv for all the 3 tefillohs every day - we have it even better - we are close to Hashem and can daven from the heart!

Of course, if someone needs a wheelchair, they should use it! We need the siddur, our generation is not the same as the generations before the anshei knesses hagedolah established a set thing and wrote down the tefillos for us to daven. And since we have a siddur, of course we should learn to use properly and it utilize it's amazing powers. But let us remember that we can speak to Hashem in our own words, and when we do, we are connecting to Him in a way that a child connects to His parent and we become so much closer to Him!

So where do you start?

What you need to do is just talk to Hashem in your own words. At the end of your day, just tell Him about your day! When you are on your way to or from school/work/the doctor/the grocery or anywhere else, just say a few words. Tell Hashem whatevers on your mind. (And now no one will even think you are weird cuz you might be talking on your bluetooth hidden under your hair! lol)

Before you are about to do something, when you need some help or guidance, talk to Hashem. Let's say you are about to go shopping. Say, "Hashem, please help me find a good pair of shoes at a good price. I should have an easy time finding them and I should like them, they should look good on me, they should fit well..." or "Hashem, please help me make the right decision about where to go next year for seminary." or "Hashem, please put the right words into my mouth before I make this phone call so I should say the right thing in the right way." or "Hashem, please give me the strength and patience I need to deal with this situation properly. Let me not get angry, let me not hurt anyone's feelings..." or "Thank you Hashem for letting me find such nice clothing when I went shopping today! I needed something that would look good for this simcha and you made it so easy for me to find something that looked nice on me but wasn't too showy. The price was just right and I'm so happy that I found it." or "Hashem, I just had such a hard day today. Please, help me walk into my house today with a smile and greet the rest of my family in the right way, without letting it out on anyone."

The key is to just tell Hashem whatever you are thinking so that you start to develop a relationship with Him. It's such an amazing feeling to be able to talk to Hashem straight out. Because He created you and so He understands you best. He put you in every situation you find yourself in, so talking to Him and unburdening yourself to Him will make you feel so much better!

When I started talking to Hashem about something, I realized that, "hey! Hashem put me in this situation in the first place!" So it helped me put things into perspective and realize that sometimes little petty things can get me annoyed and frustrated, all I have to do is let out my feelings to Hashem and then I can feel so much better already!!

A really cool thing about personal prayer is this: (I also read this in that book) When you daven in your own words, there's no such thing as not having kavanna. You don't get carried away with other thoughts because you are talking from your heart! And so, your tefillos go straight up to shamayim and the malachim have no power over them. They can't block your tefillos from going up. Since personal prayer is different every day and every minute, there is no way for them to have any power over what you say and they can't stop your tefillos from going up! When you are talking from your heart, you are thinking about what you are saying and so your innermost thoughts go straight up to Hashem! Isn't that amazing?!!!

The important thing is to keep talking to Hashem at all times during the day. Train yourself to talk to Him about anything and everything. He is your father. He loves you and He's waiting to hear from you!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tefillah - A Poem

I wrote this poem a while ago. Enjoy it!

There is a special gift given to mankind,
You don’t have to search far, it isn’t hard to find
Each person has a chance to connect to his creator,
Choose any time to do it, it can be sooner or later.

There is a special gift given to us all
It is the opportunity for each of us to call
To speak to Hashem at any time of day
You can always talk to Him, come what may.

Speak to Hashem in any language you know
Speak to Him all the time, wherever you go
Let Him know how you feel because He wants to hear
Let out all your pain, because He really cares

Even though Hashem knows whats going on inside,
And from Him there is nothing that you can hide
Still you should daven and keep the conversation flowing
Keep connecting to Hashem, no matter where you are going.

He wants to hear you, so just keep talking
Even when you are alone and on the road walking
Have a private conversation with Hashem above
He is waiting for you to reach out to Him and talk to Him with love.

Tefillah is not limited to certain times and places
Bring Hashem into your daily life, fill the empty spaces
You can talk to Hashem with your own words from your heart
And then you will feel so very close instead of far apart.

See, Hashem is up high, in the Heavens He does reign,
And I am sitting down in this world, I feel so low and plain,
So with this incredible power, with this special key,
I can unlock many doors and close together we can be.

I open my siddur and words spill straight out
I speak to Hashem, let Him know all my doubts,
I pour out my heart, let out my tears
To My One and Only Father, because I know He really cares.

I ask Him to heal me, cure my disease
I ask Him to sustain me, and bless me, please
You have so much bounty, can’t you just give?
So many people look towards you, please help us live!

You are the source, the one and only Power,
I know I can turn to you at any hour,
You answer my requests, listen to my pleas,
You know what is best for me, you know all my needs.

I am so lucky to be able to talk to Hashem,
Don’t have to wait for an appointment, just go right ahead,
No need to pick up the phone and use a calling card,
It’s so much simpler than that, it isn’t so hard!

Hashem is available for all, young and old,
Just pass on the message, make sure everyone is told
When you feel you need to just talk it out
Speak to Him cuz that’s what this relationship is all about

Hashem loves when His children talk to Him,
And let Him know how everything has been
Just like a father loves to hear how his children are,
Hashem wants to hear from us, even when we feel far.

Just one more thing, don’t you forget
One other thing I haven’t mentioned yet
There is a great deal of gratitude that you owe
To the one Above for the bounty He showers down below.

We are given an unlimited amount of good
And it’s so important to remember that we should
Say thank you to Him for all He gives
Appreciation will enrich the way we live.

Think of your body, from your brain to your toes,
Think of your face, your eyes, ears and nose,
Your fingers and hands, your insides too,
There is so much to be thankful for, I just named a few!

The fact that we have family and friends who care,
We have food and clothing and a house that is near,
Shouldn’t we give Hashem our thanks?
Make a list from A to Z and fill in the blanks!!

Thank Hashem for all you see when shopping in a store,
And then you’ll find He’ll just continue to give you more,
For the more you acknowledge, the more you receive,
And then you’ll be much happier, this you can believe.

So now you know what tefilla’s all about,
It’s not just to scream, cry and shout,
It’s also a time to thank for all we own,
It’s the time for appreciation to be shown.

So use your time to connect to Hashem up above,
Thank Him for everything, show Him your love,
And Then He’ll continue to bless you with more,
And you’ll keep thanking Him, because there’s so much in store!

Thanking Him makes Him want to continue giving,
He will improve things and enhance every moment of living,
So before you call out to Him with a sigh,
And before you ask Him, “Hashem, oh why?!”

You are speaking to someone, oh so great
But first give Him a thank you, show your appreciation,
And then, only then, lay out your supplication.

Yes, Hashem is always waiting to hear,
He is your father, and you know He really does care,
So whenever you need a listening ear,
Or you just need to shed a tear,
Talk to Hashem because He is there!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Answers to our Tefillos

We are now living in very difficult times. We all need personal yeshuos and refuos and it’s hard when we daven so hard and don’t see an answer.
First of all, we need to keep reminding ourselves who is in charge. No matter what situation we are in, we must keep remembering that no matter what, Hashem is in charge, He is running the show, He knows what is best for us and He can do anything at any time!! He can perform miracles - right in front of our eyes!
Just like He is the one who makes a person sick, He is the only one who can heal, not the doctors or anyone in the hospitals - only Hashem! He is the one who brings about every single shidduch, every single yeshuah and He runs the world!! And never underestimate the power of our tefillos.

Sometimes we daven for something and we don't see immediate results. In fact, this is not something that happens sometimes, it happens all the time! We daven and daven and beg and cry and we say to Hashem, "why?" or "when will you finally answer my tefillos?”
We expect that when we daven for something, since our tefillos are so powerful and pierce the heavens, we should get answered right away!
But this doesn't happen. It doesn't work that way.
R' Shimshon Pincus gives an amazing, down-to-earth mashal to explain this.
After you eat something very fattening, do you run to the mirror and say, "Ohmygosh! I gained weight!!"??
No! It doesn't work that way! It takes time!!!
Just like the second you eat, you will not see the extra pounds showing up when you look at your reflection in the mirror, you will not see immediate results as soon as you are done davening for someone or something - it takes time!!

When you daven for someone, your tefillah never goes to waste - if you don't see an answer, many times it's just that Hashem is saving the tefillah for another time when you least expect it, or didn't even deserve it, or didn't even daven for something - and then the yeshuah just "comes" and you wonder - "what did I do to deserve that?" It's because Hashem took out the tefillos that you davened that long time ago and uses it for a time when you need it most!!

Here’s a story I know personally that shows this point. When I was in elementary school, a girl in my grade had a family member that got sick with cancer. Everyone davened so hard for this girl’s sister. She was still young (just 19 years old) and had a whole life ahead of her. The family, the school, everyone was davening. And then…she passed away. It was so sad!

A few years later, Chaya Sara was walking with this girl’s sister (let’s name her Rivka, just for the story) and as they were crossing the street, a car turned in and hit Rivka. Her body went flying up and then fell down on the street with a thud. It was a very scary moment. Chaya Sara was totally fine, the car didn’t touch her, but the girl she was walking with was lying on the ground. Hatzalah was called and Rivka was brought to the hospital.

When her parents heard that their daughter was in a car accident, they thought, “We cannot lose another one!! Hashem, how much more do you think we can handle?! Please, please, do something to save us from any more pain!!”

Well, there was a real miracle. Rivka was brought to the emergency room and emerged without a scratch! She was totally fine!

Ask Chaya Sara if you want to know if this story really happened! She was there, walking with this girl when the accident happened!

So you see that sometimes, we may not see an answer to our tefillos right away, but Hashem saves those tefillos for when we least expect it and for when we need it most! The tefillos that everyone davened for Rivka’s sister were saved for her and she experienced a miracle!!

Let’s keep reminding ourselves that Hashem can do anything to anyone at anytime - He holds the power to heal, bring simcha and joy into our lives and He gives each person the strength they need to go thru life’s many difficult challenges.