Thursday, February 25, 2010
I WAS THINKING OF MAKING A REAL LIST OF WHAT WE SHOULD DAVEN FOR BECAUSE IF WE USE THIS DAY WE COULD BE ZOCHE TO SUCH BRACHOS WE CANT IMAGINE!! this is a drop of an idea there is soo much more to write... just some ideas:)
these tefillos i am refering to are OUTSIDE the siddur by yourself...
first praise hashem you are the best father in the world... thank you soo much for giving me life, health, happiness, torah, think of at least 10 good things he gave you and tell him thank you... thank you opens up the gates of shamayim to send you down bracha ( from the book called IN FOREST FIELDS...
1. PLS HASHEM ALLOW ME TO BE ZOCHE TO GREET MOSHIACH, PLS LET HIM COME WITH RACHAMIM SO THAT WE COULD ALL BE ZOCHE TO STANDING BY THE BAIS HAMIKDOSH!! I WANT TO BE ZOCHE TO HEAR THE SOUND OF THE SHOFAR BEING BLOWN AND BE ZOCHE TO SEE THE BAIS HAMIKDOSH COMING IN FLAMES FLYING DOWN FROM SHAMAYIM!!!( THIS IS NOT A JOKE MASHIACH IS IN THE AIR AND WE MUST BEG HASHEM TO END THIS CRAZY, CONFUSING, GALUS!! WE HAD ENOUGH WE ARE READY TO COME HOME)
2. HASHEM PLS OPEN UP OUR HEARTS TO WANT TO FEEL A YEARNING FOR THE GALUS TO END!!! JUST TO KNOW EACH AND EVERY TEFILLA BRINGS HIM ONE STEP CLOSER LIKE MAYBE HE WAS SUPPOSED TO COME IN A YR. FROM NOW.. SO YOUR TEFILLA CAN BRING HIM ONE MONTH CLOSER, OR ONE DAY CLOSER , OR ONE HOUR, EVERY PRAYER OPENS UP THE GATES FOR US!!! ONE LAST THING ON THIS TOPIC TO KNOW THAT EACH AND EVERY NESHAMA WILL BE ASKED WHEN THEY COME UP TO SHAMAYIM,(THE GEMARA SAYS THIS) DID YOU WAIT FOR MASHIACH EVERY DAY!!so its imp. to really daven for it!!!
3.PLS HASHEM LET YOUR PRECIOUS DAUGHTER INSERT YOUR NAME...THAT I SHOULD ALWAYS BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY TO DO MITZVOS...
4. PLS HASHEM LET ME ALWAYS BE A POSITIVE PERSON, ALWAYS SEE THE GOOD IN THE LIFE..
5.Hashem pls help me overcome my yetzer hara.. its bigger than boro park and flatbush put tog.inside ME!!! its murder to overcome...
6.Hashem pls make the torah soo sweet in my heart and let me see the beauty of a life filled with torah!!
7.pls. let us be able to have parnasah for everything we need!!! ppl in eretz yisroel and all over the world are in so much pain bec they do not have money pls hashem just open up the gates of bracha for them to be able to feed their children...
pls allow my whole family should have bracha and happiness in all they do!!
8.Thank You hashem for the friends that I have they inspire me and encourage me soo much pls. allow me to always make the right friends who will be there for me and uplift me ...
pls hashem have rachmanus on all the girls who want ot build you a home of torah and kedusha and yet they still did not find thier other half.. pls hashem send it to them sooo easily with so much clarity and happiness!! let them build for you a place where the shechina could dwell!!!!!!!!!!
9. hashem there are soooo many sick children in the hospital now pls make a huge miracle and let them come home and be really healthy and be able to see your open miracles for them!! its sooo hard for them the pain, the parents, the siblings are all suffering soo much pls let them see a light at the end already!
10.pls hashem help all schools in the world should be able to have money in order to run the best way that they could!!
11. pls let the world see behind your mask that you are really there for us and love us more than anyone in the world!!
12. there is sooo much falsehood in the world pls hashem let everyone see what the real deal is... only a life with you hashem in it is worth living!! pls hashem help the girls who are hanging out with gyes realize that they are ruining there future and pls let them end it... so that they could have emotionally healthy marriages...
hashem i love you i know you love me more!!!!!!!!!!!!!
13. pls let me feel connected to you no matter what happens in my life pls let me know that you will always be there for me even if i make some mistakes!!
14. hashem life is sooo full of challenges pls let me see you in the dark times toooooo!! pls show me the light in the dark tunnel
15. davening is hard for me pls hashem make it enjoyable for me... i want to feel a connection when i have a conversation with you!!
16.thank you soo much hashem for allowing me to talk to you as long as i want to...
anyone else pls add more ideas... i only touched the tip of the iceberg bec i wanted you to think abt it!!and to add your own ideas pls do!!!!!!!
17. the outside world is pulling us away from reality pls hashem make programs that are inspiring so that we will understand that we are the ones that have the treasure!!
18. pls help all the confusion that girls feel should lead them to get answers that will change their lives forever!!
hashem I am saying thank you in advance bec. I know that I will be thanking you so much when I feel my tefillos being answered!!!
pls write down any ideas that you like and daven on purim for all the brachos and more!!
your daughter chaya sara
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Even if you've read this before, trust me, it's definitely worth rereading!!!!
I LEARNED SOME NEW THINGS THIS YEAR BUT DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO TYPE IT ALL UP SO PLEASE ACCEPT THIS GIFT…AN AMAZING DVAR TORAH ON PURIM FROM R’ SHIMSHON PINCUS ZT”L!!
Purim is a time where we see Hashem revealed to us through the natural things that happen to us, not through major miracles…
He says that megillah comes from the lashon of l'galos, to reveal because thru reading the megillah, Hashem is revealed because we see that every detail was planned with such accuracy…Esther becoming queen and marrying Achashveirosh…saving the whole Jewish nation with the help of her uncle, Mordechai who was one of the ministers of the king…All these details looked like a regular story, a king kills the queen, picks a new one…but really, Hashem is behind the whole story! And that’s why His name is not mentioned once in the megillah, because He is behind it, and we have to look out for Him!! And so too, each detail of every person’s life is planned to perfection! And this fills our heart with such love for Hashem that we wish we could give him back!! But how can we give back to Hashem?
There are 2 types of giving.
One: give someone to fill a void, ex: someone gets hurt, you buy them a present (a bike for a child in an accident)
Two: you love someone sooo much, you just want to give them a gift to show them how much u love them not because they need it. (ex: a dozen roses)
On Purim, we give both types, but only after we have heard the megillah and feel that tremendous love towards Hashem.
One: matanos l’evyonim-we give to many people because they are missing out and need the money
Two: mishloach manos-we just read the megillah, in which Hashem was revealed to all of us and we are all filled with such love for Him that we want to give Him a present...but we cant because He has everything already! The best thing you can give to someone who has everything is to give his children, so we give it to His children-mishloach manos-which is a present we wanted to give Hashem but give to His children instead!!
Isn’t that an awesome thought and an unbelievable way of looking at it?! I’m telling you, when I read this, my heart was filled with such LOVE for Hashem…DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH HE DOES FOR US????!!!!!! Just the fact that you woke up this morning and are healthy and well and able to read asher yatzar and see and hear and understand and even the fact that you can read this post!! We have sooo much to thank Hashem for!!!
So let’s use this day of Purim (and the time before) to thank Hashem for all the never-ending gifts He gives us…and the more you thank Hashem, the more He will want to give!!!
Have a beautiful and inspiring Purim!!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This Purim, grab a piece of God's unconditional love, and dance.
by Dovid Frankel
We were supposed to be home for Purim. We were supposed to be celebrating our own personal “turnaround” in our home, together with all our neighbors, relatives and friends, delivering mishloach manos to everyone who had been there for us.
We weren't supposed to be sitting in a hospital room in Philadelphia miles away from home…the same hospital room we’d been sitting in for the past six weeks. We weren't supposed to be worrying about why our daughter was suddenly running a fever or why she had a rash all over her body or why she was complaining about that phantom pain in her legs.
Our story began on the first day of Adar I two years ago. Our heretofore perfectly healthy three year old daughter, Miriam, was rushed to the hospital where she underwent emergency life saving surgery. Something had blown a hole through her stomach which promptly began to wither away. By the time the source of her pain was discovered almost half her stomach had been destroyed by gangrene and had to be removed. (Miraculously, the parts which connected the esophagus and intestines to the stomach remained healthy.)
Afterward, on the advice of our pediatrician, she was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to recuperate. Then she developed severe complications from the surgery and her recuperation was going to take a lot longer than originally thought. Surgery had caused a blood clot in her leg and another tiny hole in her intestine had been discovered which could not be immediately repaired.
As Purim approached and her condition stabilized, we requested that she be discharged in time for the holiday and allowed to convalesce at home. The doctor seemed amenable to the idea and we began to take classes to learn how to care for her at home. We learned how to administer shots and take care of her intravenous and the open wound in her stomach which was pumping out pints and pints of intestinal fluid daily. We were excited to finally be going back to our own house. We would be reunited with our four-year-old son who was living with relatives. Our six-month-old baby would once again sleep in her own crib. Most importantly, our little three-year-old would be able to leave the hospital room she had spent so many weeks in (undoubtedly wondering all the while whether she was there for good). We were all set. But God had other plans.
We were thrown from our emotional high into a state of despair.
Purim that year fell out on a Friday. On the Wednesday before Purim, Miriam suddenly developed a fever. Because the original cause of her condition had not yet been identified, we had no way of knowing if there was still a danger to her life. Therefore, the mysterious fever came as a shock and totally unnerved everyone. We were thrown from our emotional high into a state of despair.
The Fast of Esther came and it was a crazy day. Miriam’s doctor decided to replace her PIC line -- an intravenous line leading straight to the heart -- hoping that would solve the problem. It wasn’t a pleasant procedure considering the fact that she was kept awake for the entire time it was being removed. Our hopes for an imminent recovery and return home were disintegrating in front of our eyes.
Purim night Miriam was still running a high fever and began complaining of severe pains in her leg. That became extremely worrisome because her legs had nothing to do with her medical condition. We called for an Attending Physician but the following day was Good Friday and most of the staff either had the night off or were in surgery. A nice but not too knowledgeable Resident came to examine Miriam. Unfortunately, he was clueless as to what to do for her. Finally a Fellow, the next doctor in the hierarchy, came to examine her and impatiently announced that nothing could be done for her at the moment. We were absolutely devastated and it showed.
“Look,” I suddenly turned to my wife, “it's Purim. We can’t spend our time being all sad and depressed. It’s the happiest day of the year; a day when everything looked so bleak but it was all turned on its head as God performed a wonderful miracle for us. Let’s put everything aside and enjoy Purim. We’ll make it the most amazing Purim this hospital has ever seen.”
As I finished speaking a Chinese-American nurse walked in…
“Hello,” she said. “I’ll be Miriam’s nurse tonight. My name is Esther.”
Shivers ran down my spine as my wife and I stared at each other. Who would ever believe that my daughter’s nurse Purim night would be a Chinese-American girl named Esther! It was an unmistakable message from our Father in heaven.
Purim proved to be the turning point in her recovery.
The next morning, Purim day, was the first time in six weeks that Miriam was allowed to put a morsel of food in her mouth, a shiny red lollipop. Her fever was gone (it had been an infected PIC line after all) and she was able to dress up in her costume and join the party we made in the hospital’s playroom. Purim proved to be the turning point in her recovery. Immediately after Purim the output from her intestine dropped so dramatically that the nurses kept rechecking her chart to confirm what they were seeing. The tiny hole in her intestine was healing itself without surgery!
By the time Miriam was released from the hospital three weeks later, she no longer needed daily injections because the blood clot in her leg had disappeared. We had been concerned about taking her home on blood thinners because any fall by the active three-year-old could potentially lead to a hemorrhage. We no longer had to worry about that or about giving daily injections. Within weeks of coming home she was able to eat like any other child and thank God today she is completely recovered. Mere words can’t begin to describe our overwhelming gratitude to God for her comeback and recovery.
Purim is all about revealing the hidden and for one brief moment we were given a peek behind the scenery. At the bleakest and most despondent of moments when things look like they can only get worse, God reaches down and in the most awe inspiring and benevolent way sends you a whisper of love, a kiss of endearment with the unmistakable message, “Don’t worry, I’m here, I’m holding your hand and guiding you through it all.”
This Purim, don’t waste the big day. Take a brief moment out from all the fun and festivities to look up at the heavens and feel the incredible warmth and heartfelt affection of a Father who is so madly in love with his children. Grab a piece of that unconditional love, dance with it, sing with it and never ever let go of it.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
God's guiding hand is sometimes felt gently, and other times more forcefully. But the message is there just the same. by Dina Coopersmith
How do we find God when His face is hidden?
Purim teaches us how to relate to God in a time when seas don't split, when bushes don't burn, when plagues don't befall our enemies.
The story of Purim occurred after the destruction of the First Temple, when the era of prophecy was coming to a close. People no longer saw open miracles. It was a time of concealment.
Where do we find "Esther" in the Torah? In the verse: "And I will hide (astir) my face from them on that day." (Talmud - Chulin 139b)
Rashi: "In the days of Esther there will be hester panim (hiddeness of God's face)."
GOD'S GUIDING HAND
Have you ever felt God clearly in your life? A time when you felt a force greater than yourself somehow shaping and leading events?
I remember a time when I felt that guiding force. I had just met the man who was to be my husband. But I didn't know it then. To make a long story short, we broke up because our lives seemed to be heading in different directions.
Shortly thereafter, I was called by a total stranger, out of the blue, and offered a job in a position completely outside my realm of expertise. I took the job simply because it aroused my curiosity.
To this day I don't know why I was called for this interview. But as a result of that job, I met up again with my ex-date. I also ended up changing my choice of career, some of my attitudes, and even one or two character traits. And two years after our initial meeting, I married my husband and embarked on a future with him that would never have been in my script, had my life gone according to my "plan."
We are not in full control even though we often imagine that we are.
Judaism posits that God shapes every single event in our lives with direct supervision. Nothing is pure chance. Our circumstances are not coincidences. Everything is directed.
AMALEK, THE NATION OF CHANCE
Others do not share this view.
Amalek was a nation that first battled against Israel on their way out of Egypt.
Remember what Amalek did to you on the way when you left Egypt, that he chanced upon you on the way. (Deut. 25:17-18)
In the Torah, Amalek is described in Hebrew as a nation who karcha ("chanced"). This word comes from the root mikre, meaning "happenstance or coincidence." Thus we learn that the belief in chance is Amalek's essence.
How else could they have disregarded all the miracles that the Jews had experienced -- the Ten Plagues and the Exodus, culminating in the splitting of the Red Sea -- and have still dared to fight against those same Jews?! They must have said: "Mere coincidence!"
Haman, a descendent of Amalek, decided to get rid of the Jewish people of Persia. He cast "lots" (purim in Hebrew) to determine a date in which to kill them. He wanted it to be a random event.
The Jews, on the other hand, use lots to allow for Divine intervention to be revealed. Upon entering the Land of Israel in the days of Joshua, the division of land among the tribes was done by lottery. This allowed God's will to express itself without human choices getting involved in such an important endeavor.
When Mordechai sends a message to Queen Esther, telling her about Haman's plan, the text reads kol asher karahu -- "everything that happened." As the Midrash explains:
Mordechai called for Hatach and said, "Go tell her (Esther): 'The grandson of karahu, ("chance,") has come upon you!' As it says in the Torah: 'Who chanced upon you on the way.'" (Midrash - Esther Rabah 8:5)
That nation we know from our national past as believing in meaningless and randomness has again reared its ugly head.
PURIM STORY: ANTITHESIS OF CHANCE
Each event in the Megillah is natural and possible, and seems to be orchestrated entirely byand their choices:
1) A king gets drunk and decides to call for his wife to appear before the guests. That could happen.
2) The wife, Vashti, refuses to appear before the king. The king decides to kill her. Esther is chosen queen. That's possible.
3) Haman chooses to kill Mordechai and ask permission from king. Could Be.
4) The king has insomnia one night and remembers an old favor he needs to repay to Mordechai. Possible.
But when ALL of these incidents happen to coincide, when ALL the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle come together in one huge "coincidence," they form nothing short of a miracle.
It may be hidden, but a directing force becomes obvious all the same.
Each event which Haman thought he controlled, turned out to bring about his downfall. His suggestion to kill Vashti, the queen, caused the positioning of Esther as redeemer. His suggestion to use the kings robes and horse -- born of his desire to honor himself by parading around on the king's horse -- became the perfect reward for Mordechai's deed. And the hand-built gallows he intended for Mordechai were those used for his own hanging.
Throughout the Megillah story, God directs events and takes advantage of people's free will choices to form a tapestry of purpose and destiny -- the redemption of the Jewish people.
THE ERA OF HIDDENESS
Throughout the entire story of Purim, the name of God isn't mentioned. It is an era of hiddeness of God's face (hester panim). But more than ever, it is clear how God is running the show. There are simply too many "coincidences." The links fit together too well.
Another point to keep in mind: The Megillah spans a nine-year period. When it is compressed into one book and we read it in half an hour, we see with perspective and hindsight how every painful event was working towards a purposeful end. However, when we're in the midst of a difficult situation, we tend to see only the darkness and confusion.
The particular message of the day, then, is to understand God's guiding hand in history and in the mundane affairs of this world.
Olam, "world," comes from the root ne'elam, "hidden." God's name doesn't appear. But when all is said and done, His presence is recognized everywhere. He is not concealed. He only appears to be. It is up to us to find Him in every event of our lives.
We need only read between the lines.
Monday, February 15, 2010
This is a great question!! I totally understand what you are saying when you ask how you can put some heart into your tefillos. You are so cute for saying that davening is a huge choir! I never heard anyone put it that way but it makes so much sense! You feel like you are singing the words but there is no real emotions behind what you are saying. You want to fill your tefillos-the ones you daven from your siddur, with more feeling and kavannah so that when you put your siddur down you can say, "Wow! I just davened a special shachris/mincha! I feel so much closer to Hashem now!"
One book I felt that was really helpful for me is Praying With Fire which is in 5-minute Lesson-a-day format so it's easy to read. You only read a little bit every day and it helps so much! It will help you fill your tefillah with kavannah and hopefully it will help you improve the way you daven.
Tefillah is something that we need to constantly work on. It's hard to give one blanket answer and say, "Do this and then from now on, you'll always come out of tefillah feeling inspired and uplifted." But I can try to give you some ideas to help you fix up the way you daven and fill your davening with emotion so that it's more than just a nice choir!!
One thing that might help is (going along your lines of the choir), sing a song before you start to daven. Right before you open your siddur, sing something that touches your heart and that can get you into the right mood. It can even be a song in your heart, it doesn't have to be out loud - if you are in a place where you cannot sing (like in school). But getting yourself into the right frame of mind before you actually start to daven can work wonders for the way your tefillah actually comes out in the end. I can't sing on this blog but I can write the names of some songs that might work for you: (I'm suggesting slow songs but sometimes, even the fast ones can get you into the right mood.) elokei neshama, mama rochel, ani ma'amin...bevias hamoshiach, racheim, vezakeini legadel, ima tagidi li and there are many more.
Another thing that I find very helpful is having a siddur that has the meaning of the words right below the words. You can buy an interlinear siddur, where the definition of each word is directly below the word or a metsudah siddur, where the definition of each phrase is directly across so your eyes can scan the meaning while you say the words. This helps so much because then you know what you are saying and it's not just a choir, a song, a bunch of words without meaning. Then you can understand what you are saying and appreciate what you are saying.
It is also important to personalize your tefillah. Instead of just saying the words and having in mind what they mean, try to add your own personal touch to your words. Like Rabbi Alperin (from seminary) always said, "Don't be a parrot!" Don't just say the words someone else put into the siddur-add something to make it a more personal experience. For example, when davening for someone who is sick and needs a refuah shelaima, instead of just saying the bracha of refaeinu like this, "Refaeinu Hashem Venairafei-heal us Hashem and we will be healed," add something like this, "Hashem, when you heal a person, you are better than any doctor in the world! You can guarantee that even if someone is sick, you will make sure they get better and never get sick again! You can do anything and everything so please, heal this person!" By inserting your own thoughts into the words of your tefillah, you will be filling your heart with special emotions and feelings and this will make it that much more uplifting!!
Or the bracha of parnassah - Bareich Aleinu - add your own personal thoughts and feelings into the words that you are saying. Say, Hashem, you provide for every single creature and animal with whatever they need, from the smallest worm to the tallest giraffe. Please, help me make the right decision, help me find the right job, provide me with the money I need and give money to those who are struggling.
When you are up to the parts of davening where you are praising Hashem, think of specific things that happened to you that make you feel that you want to praise and thank Him. Thank Hashem for your health, your family, your friends, the fact that you can read and see the colors of this blog post!!
Try to spend some time reading and learning about the meaning of the words and parts of davening. By learning what amazing kavanos you can have when you daven different parts of the tefillah, you will become more excited about it!! Put your heart into it and you will be amazed by how much you can connect to Hashem through the words in your siddur!!
Also try to read uplifting stories about tefillah and how people used this powerful tool to connect to Hashem and how their requests were answered. Touched By A Prayer is a great way to start! It is full of stories and insights on tefillah and will hopefully help change the way you daven!!
I hope this helps you out – and let me know if you still have questions or if this works for you!
Anyone else have any ideas they want to share – of how you can make tefillah a special and uplifting experience?!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
And here's a great article from aish.com with an important lesson on the Purim story. We have to keep reminding ourselves Who is in charge and Who is running the world and then we will be much calmer and have much less worrying to do. Read it and enjoy!
|Even when the situation appears bleak, God is still there behind the scenes, pulling the strings.|
I've been thinking a lot lately about On a national level, on an international level, we face uncertainty and insecurity. No country is immune to the financial stress, there are warring tribes and nations across the globe, More locally, in my small community recently there have been a slew of sorrows -- sudden deaths, illness among children, damaged or destroyed relationships. It's impossible to make sense of it all. It's a world where the Almighty hides His face. And not only is it impossible to control it all, but it's not our job. Sure, we have to make our effort, we have to do what's right, we have to be kind and caring.. But the ultimate outcome -- for the world and our people and our local communities and individuals -- rests with a power much greater than ourselves.. And the truth is that's a relief. Because if the Almighty wasn't in charge, then we'd really have to worry. Yes, we're confused, we're uncertain -- even a little unhinged at times, but we know it will be all right. The most important lesson of the Purim story is that even when the situation appears bleak, even when the Almighty's face is hidden, He is still there behind the scenes, pulling the strings. The Cosmic Puppeteer. That knowledge doesn't ease all the pain. It just takes the edge off; a little spiritual Tylenol. It keeps our anxiety manageable and out of the DSM-IV. Because we really aren't in charge. We really don't have to plan the world's future. And it really will all be okay. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that the Almighty is here, whether we can see His face or not. We need to make a reasonable effort to stimulate the economy but whether this particular plan works is out of Barak Obama and Nancy Pelosi's hands. We need to fight for our land and try to make peace for It would be less frustrating if the Almighty's face weren't hidden. Everything would be clear and our decisions easy. We'd certainly sleep better at night. But that's not our challenge, that's not our opportunity for growth. At the time of Achashverosh, our people had difficulty remembering the Almighty's hidden presence. It was a little too "out of sight, out of mind." With Esther's help, they woke up just in time. We need to rouse ourselves now, to move forward with faith and optimism, recognizing that even though He may be hidden, it's all in His hands. And on Purim, we can take a small drink (emphasis on small), just to help ease our anxieties and inhibitions and clear the path to this recognition. We pray that this be the year where the whole Jewish people comes to recognize the Almighty's presence and where the mask of darkness is removed from our world.
I've been thinking a lot lately about-- a little about hamantashen recipes, a little about mishloach manot but mostly about the Almighty hiding His face, about living in a time of concealment.
On a national level, on an international level, we face uncertainty and insecurity. No country is immune to the financial stress, there are warring tribes and nations across the globe,sits poised to acquire nuclear capacity, already has it, and anti-Israel sentiment seems to be on the rise.
More locally, in my small community recently there have been a slew of sorrows -- sudden deaths, illness among children, damaged or destroyed relationships.
It's impossible to make sense of it all. It's a world where the Almighty hides His face.
And not only is it impossible to control it all, but it's not our job. Sure, we have to make our effort, we have to do what's right, we have to be kind and caring.. But the ultimate outcome -- for the world and our people and our local communities and individuals -- rests with a power much greater than ourselves..
And the truth is that's a relief. Because if the Almighty wasn't in charge, then we'd really have to worry.
Yes, we're confused, we're uncertain -- even a little unhinged at times, but we know it will be all right.
The most important lesson of the Purim story is that even when the situation appears bleak, even when the Almighty's face is hidden, He is still there behind the scenes, pulling the strings. The Cosmic Puppeteer.
That knowledge doesn't ease all the pain. It just takes the edge off; a little spiritual Tylenol. It keeps our anxiety manageable and out of the DSM-IV. Because we really aren't in charge. We really don't have to plan the world's future. And it really will all be okay.
We just have to keep reminding ourselves that the Almighty is here, whether we can see His face or not.
We need to make a reasonable effort to stimulate the economy but whether this particular plan works is out of Barak Obama and Nancy Pelosi's hands. We need to fight for our land and try to make peace for, but whether this is achieved doesn't really depend on if Bibi or Tzippi Livni are running the government. We need to see doctors and take our medicine but whether the cure will be effective or not is out of our hands. We need to pursue an education and send our resumes if we are looking for employment. But who will hire us, in what position, and at what salary is not up to us.
It would be less frustrating if the Almighty's face weren't hidden. Everything would be clear and our decisions easy. We'd certainly sleep better at night. But that's not our challenge, that's not our opportunity for growth.
At the time of Achashverosh, our people had difficulty remembering the Almighty's hidden presence. It was a little too "out of sight, out of mind." With Esther's help, they woke up just in time.
We need to rouse ourselves now, to move forward with faith and optimism, recognizing that even though He may be hidden, it's all in His hands. And on Purim, we can take a small drink (emphasis on small), just to help ease our anxieties and inhibitions and clear the path to this recognition.
We pray that this be the year where the whole Jewish people comes to recognize the Almighty's presence and where the mask of darkness is removed from our world.
I know that tznius is such a hard mitzvah. Of course we all know that the harder the mitzvah is, the greater the schar (we know the song by heart already!! The harder the work is to do, the more schar Hashem gives you…) but what is the schar for keeping to this mitzvah?!
One of the rewards for keeping the mitzvah of tznius is health. Another is good children. What would people give to have these things? How much money would someone pay just to restore her health? Can you put a price tag on eyes that see? On ears that hear? Can you say it’s worth 100 dollars? A thousand? A million? There’s no way to say how much health is really worth! But here – you have the key! Hashem is telling you, Do you want to be healthy?! All you have to do is keep your body covered properly!
Good children – how much would a parent give to ensure children who are good, listen to them, respect them, love them, care about them, follow the right path?! Raising children in today’s world is hard! There are a lot of things that could go wrong. If you had a promise for good children, but it took some work on your part, wouldn’t you try very hard and do anything you can for good children?! There are parents who cry themselves to sleep at night because they are pained by the things their children are doing! But here is something you can do to earn this great reward! And even if you do not have children yet, you can save up those zechusim, start now!! And another thing – you need to get married in order to have children so (this is my guess) maybe, by dressing and acting with modesty, you will also get to that stage too!!!
Chaya Sara commented about this in the last post I wrote on tznius. She said that when I was pregnant with Shalom Baruch, I made sure to be extra careful not to wear maternity clothing that was too tight. Do you know how hard that was for me?! Do you have any idea??? If you would have seen me walking down the street at that point, I don’t think you’d ever be able to guess what a challenge it was for me! Do you have any idea how many sweaters and tops I put back on the racks in stores because they were just too tight, too showy and emphasizes my growing stomach?! And it was not easy!!! It was very, very hard!!! But I kept telling myself that it’s going to be worth it. Instead of shopping in the stores that had things for much less money (and I’m talking about things that were more than half the price of the things that were more tznius), I went and spent more money on my maternity clothes.
And then I told Chaya Sara, “If someone would ask me how much I would pay to have an easy labor and good children, I would pay all the money in the world!! And here I know, that if I am dressed in the proper way, I will have good children! Who wouldn’t be extra careful?! I want my child to grow up happy, healthy, respect and love me, treat people nicely, follow the torah…all these things are included in good!! So even if it’s hard, and the styles are more attractive, it worth it for me to put those things back on the rack and pay more money for clothing that is more modest so that I know I will have good children!!!” And yes, I did have a very easy labor (compared to what people have by the first child)! Of course, it didn’t tickle lol and it’s called labor for a reason (it’s hard work!), but I was so lucky. There are people who are in labor for 12, 15, 24 hours…and my labor, from when I felt the first moment of pain until my baby was born was a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes!! That’s really something incredible for a first birth! My story is a long one, even though it wasn't that many hours, but let me tell you, it was definitely worth it when I held that precious baby in my arms and gave birth to a perfect and healthy little boy!
So keep in mind that even if it’s hard to do this mitzvah, the reward is so great!!
Please let me know if this helped you at all…
Thursday, February 11, 2010
As we approach the yartzeit of my brother so dear,
There are some memories and thoughts I would like to share,
But how do I begin, from where do I start?
I guess it is best to speak straight from the heart.
My brother was niftar on Yud Zayin Av,
When his neshama was returned to his Father above.
Yes this came from Hashem's loving hand,
And although we may not fully understand,
We know that every bit of pain is given to us so,
We can learn from it and use it to grow,
And come closer to Hashem, our father, our king,
Who loves us and gives us everything.
There are so many thoughts that come to my mind,
I remember that my brother was always loving and kind,
He cared about each and every creation,
And here is an example that needs no explanation.
One day when Shalom was riding his bike down the block,
He came across a bird and so he quickly stopped,
Instead of hitting the bird, off his bike he flew,
And he came home with an arm that was black and blue.
Off to the doctor my brother went,
And then for x-rays he was sent,
He was told he had a broken arm,
But he was happy that the bird was not harmed.
He was willing to go through physical pain,
And not once about his hand did we hear him complain.
Are we as careful not to hurt someone's feelings,
Do we realize it's with their emotions we are dealing?
The mezuzah he always made sure to kiss,
He made sure never once to miss,
This mitzvah that may seem so small,
But in his eyes he knew it was great after all.
Who are we to measure what is great in Hashem's eyes?
For when we get to the next world, we will be in for a surprise
Hashem will show us how great these "small" mitzvos are,
And how they illuminate the world like a shining star!
Shalom got up extra early each morning,
And he and his chavrusah together would be learning,
For a half hour before davening would start,
The two of them would learn with all their heart.
His last Shabbos in this world was Shabbos Nachamu,
The men danced and danced all the night through,
And when it was over, in the shul Shalom stayed,
All the seforim and chairs he neatly arranged.
So that in the morning when the men would return,
It would be easy for them to sit down and learn,
Because everything was in its proper place,
And Shalom did all that cleaning with a smile on his face.
He would say Shema at night with extra concentration,
And one of his friends asked him for an explanation.
"Aren't you tired? Aren't you ready for bed?"
And this is what Shalom said,
"A person never knows when his last Shema will be,
And so each night I make sure to say it slowly and carefully."
If we were to view each mitzvah as it may be our last one,
We'd use each moment to get more and more mitzvos done!
Shalom did chessed for each and every Jew,
There are so many examples of what he would do,
He would use his bike and constantly help out,
Because he knew that was what life was all about.
Whenever we'd need a favor to get done,
Shalom would be the one to jump up and run,
Onto his "Mitzvah bike" he pedaled quickly,
To grab each Mitzvah, each golden opportunity.
There are countless of examples, loads of stories to share,
And there are many of them of which we will never be aware,
Because my brother did so many mitzvos in his own quiet way,
He didn't want praise or that people should say,
"Oh wow! Look at that! See what he did!"
Shalom was an anav and an erliche yid,
He only cared about one important thing,
About how he can live his life to get closer to the king.
And now he is the closest he could get,
In the Olam Ha'emes but let's not forget,
That by doing a mitzvah for his Ilui neshama,
You will be giving my family a tremendous nechama.
If you do one extra mitzvah just today,
And when you are finished, don’t forget to say,
It should be L'ilui nishamas Shalom ben Chaim Nosson who was so great,
And in that zechus we shouldn't have to wait.
Yes, by showing Hashem you want this galus to end,
Then the long awaited mashiach He will finally send,
And Hashem will see how much we really want Him,
So he will bring us all home to Yerushalayim!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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Sunday, February 7, 2010
They explained that of course we all know that Hashem created Torah and then the world. So the world was created for torah and its mitzvos. Each of our individual neshamos was put into our guf (body) in order to fulfill a purpose. If the fundamental idea is that the world was created for torah then so are we and our tafkedim is aligned with that. Sooo when we do a mitzvah or learn torah we are bringing ourselves closer to our tafkid.
Wow! Okay how does knowing this help me? How does this idea make me happier?
Do you ever get that feeling when you walk the old lady across the street, help your neighbor, or learn parsha that you feel good somewhere but you’re not sure what just happened? Well I do and it took me such a long time to figure out that I was happy because I was feeding my neshamah!! What does that even mean? Well what it means is like we said before. Hashem created us to fulfill his torah and mitzvos and because it is our tachlis it’s the greatest source of happiness we can achieve for ourselves. The same way we feed our body we must feed our soul. And by doing so we are creating the happiest experience for our neshamah and guf!! When I heard this I was amazed!! You mean to say that when I daven I get greater happiness and pleasure than when I go out to eat with my friends!!!??? No way!! I didn’t believe it, but then I tried it!! It was so cool!!
I woke up on a Sunday when I had plenty of time to daven and I really put my all into the davening. I felt so good afterward. I felt so close to Hashem. I was like wow I’m giving myself the most happiness today. Wow! Then I went to my sister’s house and helped her with the kids (another mitzvah). I felt even better. Then I topped of the day with going out to eat with my friends, and don’t get me wrong I had a blast with them. But when I got home that night and before I went to bed and said shemah my heart was not filled with the food that I ate because that had passed. My heart/neshamah felt so good and uplifted because I had done something good for someone else. I had done a mitzvah that day and helped my sister in her time of need. I had connected with Hashem on a personal level and really davened to him and that is what gave me strength to do it again the next day.
Don’t read this article and think this girl is crazy she’d rather daven than go out with her friends who is this kid? I want you to walk away understanding that doing torah and mitzvos is the greatest happiness/pleasure that you can give to yourself. You hold the key to your own happiness. Go out to eat. Have fun! But know that doing torah and mitzvos and following in Hashem’s ways is bringing your tachlis your neshamah to its fullest potential to its purpose and there is nothing greater that you can do for yourself. So next time your mother, father, sister brother needs a favor do it all the while besimcha knowing that you are creating your own happiness in every mitzvah you do.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Positive Word Power, an amazing book on the topic of Speaking Positively is not just recommended reading. It is a truly essential work, which will help you learn how to speak in a more positive way and will give you practical guidelines for effective growth - both in the areas of personal development and in interpersonal relationships. If you do not have it yet, it is a good idea to buy it, study it and really apply its useful and true-to-life lessons.
The sefer is actually arranged in short and poignant daily lessons. Below is a sample of a Daily Lesson. Even for those who are already studying the book, the following can certainly be read, reread, and reread (and applied!).
“I just want you to know how much we enjoy having your son around,” Leah told her friend, Tova. Leah lived in Israel, where Tova’s son was learning in yeshivah. He spent many a Shabbos with Leah and her family, eager as he was to enjoy a family atmosphere and home cooking. Tova sometimes wondered if he wasn’t perhaps overusing his welcome.
“He’s so helpful and such a terrific addition to the table,” Leah enthused. Later on, when Tova spoke to her son, she was happy to relate her friend’s warm words. Her son was happy to hear that his presence was welcome. He felt valued and good that he was seen as someone with something to offer. Thereafter, each time he visited Leah's family for Shabbos, he aimed to enhance his reputation further. He made sure to bring an especially interesting Dvar Torah, he brought puzz1es and games for the family’s children, and cake from the bakery for the family to enjoy. He wanted to maintain his status as a "terrific addition," and he did.
Everyone is well aware of the negative impact of hearing unkind words passed along about oneself. People do not often consider, however, the ripple effects of good words being passed along. Everyone loves to hear that something nice was said about them. It enhances their self-esteem, and more importantly, it builds their desire to continue doing the good thing for which they were praised. The child who was told, "Your teacher says you always have interesting ideas to add to the class discussion," will look forward to the next opportunity to raise his/her hand in class. The husband who is told, "Your wife always quotes your opinion," will feel honored and admired by his wife, thereby encouraging him to continue earning her respect. The wife who hears, "You husband says he couldn't manage anything without you," will be happy to dig in and provide the support her husband counts on.
People long to feel acknowledged and appreciated. Praising someone to his face is one way to convey this recognition, yet there is always the lingering thought that perhaps the praise is meant "just to be nice." When a person hears that he was praised to another, the praise rings that much truer, for there can be no ulterior motive. Aaron HaKohen employed this method to foster peace and friendship among the Jewish people. He would tell each person how much the other person valued him, thereby building friendship and warmth. Often, we hear good things about someone, but fail to pass it on. It just takes a little awareness to tuck that compliment away and bring it out when it counts. Doing so takes the positive power of the comment itself and amplifies it a thousand times over, giving someone the encouragement to keep on doing what they do well, and the blessing of knowing they are appreciated.
Remember, when you hear a compliment or a positive statement about someone, you should try to pass it on to the subject of the comment.
Reproduced from Positive Word Power by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation with permission from the copyright holders at Artscroll/Mesorah Publications, LTD.