Thursday, April 28, 2011

After Pesach - Practical Suggestions

This was taken from a recent Hakhel post - this was SO good I wanted to share it with all of you!

In his commentary on Pesach, HaRav Dessler, Z’TL, writes that life is like a train ride in which one disembarks at stops along the way to replenish his provisions until he gets to his final destination. The stops include Shabbos, Pesach, and other similar special times and events. Similarly, the Ramban in his commentary to Shir HaShirim (8:3) writes that the way one demonstrates his love of Hashem is by attaching it to a particular mitzvah or act of accomplishment, so that it will go beyond mere thought and be actualized in real terms in this world.

We must recognize that the physical pounds that we may have gained over Pesach is symbolic of the spiritual weight which we really should have gained--and not shed--in the days and weeks after the Holiday. Accordingly, we provide the following clear lessons we all undoubtedly learned over Pesach, and some practical way to implement each one in our daily lives:

1. Hakaras HaTov—Such as Moshe Rabbeinu recognizing the good that the earth, the water, and Basya Bas Paroh did on his behalf. There are also many examples--what we owe to the dogs, the donkeys--and even the Egyptians for being our hosts for so long.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Pick one person in your home or office and show him/her an added level of thanks or respect daily in recognition of what he/she has done for you, even if it was only a one-time act or event.

2. Segulas Yisroel—Pesach was a “second creation” for mankind, as it not only established Hashem as the Creator of the world, but as Ongoing Supervisor of the world with B’nei Yisroel chosen as the nation to epitomize the purpose of man’s creation. The commentaries on the Siddur explain “Ata V’Chartanu M’Kol Haamim” as specifically referring to Hashem choosing to redeem us from Mitzrayim and giving us the Torah 49 days later. This explains why so many Mitzvos are “Zecher L’Yetzias Mitzrayim”--because they all emanate from this great choice--our eternal selection to be mankind’s crown jewel.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Do something daily--even if it is a Mitzvah--only because you recognize the gift and opportunity that Hashem has presented you with in being unique, special and different from all that surrounds you--for being that crown jewel!

3. Hashgacha Pratis—Hashem’s care and concern for each individual member of B’nei Yisroel evidenced by such examples as thousands of children being saved from the king’s decree of death, by Moshe Rabbeinu being raised in Paroh’s palace, and B’nei Yisroel walking through Egyptian houses in daylight as just a few feet away Egyptians were enwrapped in such tangible darkness that they could not even move.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: At some time during the day, and really as often as possible, feel the Hashgacha Pratis, Hashem’s watching over you, in your daily life. There must be a reason that you saw a loose dog, that you met this particular person, or that you heard that D’var Torah. Also, of course, remember to say “Baruch Hashem”, “Thank You, Hashem” or “Please Help Me, Hashem” quietly (or out loud) as many times as possible during the day.

4. Reward and Punishment—The Egyptians who hid their animals in fear of Hashem were spared those animals. Similarly, in reward for saying that “Hashem is righteous”, the Egyptians merited burial after their Yam Suf debacle. On the other hand, the Egyptians were punished in kind and in proportion to their level of cruelty and animosity expressed towards Bnei Yisroel, as is evidenced, for example, by the way each individual Mitzri died at the Yam Suf--some sinking quickly like lead, others being tossed as stones, and yet others being thrown about like straw. Even those who were gleeful over our servitude, such as the bechorim (first born) of other nations, got their due. May the same exact justice be meted out against each individual Nazi and each one of our past and present enemies, speedily in our days.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Before doing a Mitzvah, and prior to or while contemplating a possible Aveira, recognize that Hashem’s Justice is exact, accurate, and correct. When one is rewarded for davening with Kavannah, he will also be rewarded for coming to Shul in the first place, for arriving there on time, and indeed for every step of the way (instead of turning over in bed). On the other hand, when one is punished, every hurtful word will be counted, each mistruth will be weighed and every degree of Chillul Hashem and Kiddush Hashem will be accounted for. As the Pasuk teaches (Devorim 32:4) “Hatzur Tomim P’Alo…”--perfect is His work, for all His Paths are just. This is related to the incredible degree of middah k’neged middah (measure for measure) with which Hashem runs this world (as we learn when studying the precise nature of each of the ten Makkos). Dovid HaMelech teaches (Tehillim 121:5) “Hashem is your shadow”--Hashem responds to us and it is up to us whether that shadow will be dark and gloomy--or illustrious and beautiful!!

5. Teva (nature)—The Makkos, the concomitant freedom of B’nei Yisroel from the Makkos, the miraculous growth of B’nei Yisroel (from seventy to millions of people) while in desperate servitude, the entire world’s viewing and experiencing of the miracles at the Yam Suf, all dispel the concept of nature and natural existence. Pesach occurs in the spring not only because it made it easier for B’nei Yisroel to leave, but also for us to appreciate that what the world calls nature, is really the Hand of Hashem. It is fascinating to note that the Hebrew word for nature, or Teva, consists of the same letters as “Tava”, which means to drown, referring us back to the Sea, to teach us how ‘natural’ events really occur. It is not surprising, then, that we do not eat Chametz on Pesach, which represents nature taking its course on flour and water, but instead use Matzah, which demonstrates control over what would otherwise occur. The Ba’alei Mussar explain that we must take this lesson and exercise control over our own nature, for the more we do so, the more we will overcome the physical forces of this world, and raise ourselves from the impurities surrounding us, up and towards the 49 levels of purity that we must begin to strive for.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: When we see something that looks like a beautiful or even frightening element of nature, recognize that it is really the Yad Hashem, and have it serve as a reminder to you of Hashem’s control over every aspect of the world’s existence--and that you, too, must control your nature and elevate your precious everyday life to the sublime and spiritual!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chag Kasher v'Sameach!

I just want to wish all of the readers of this blog a very happy and uplifting yom tov.

May you be able to gain from your Pesach seder by making it real to you, reading new and exciting insights on the hagaddah and instilling your heart with love for Hashem and all the miracles He has performed for us from the beginning of time until now.

When you eat the matzah, which is called "bread of emunah", let that emunah seep into your heart. Realize that Hashem and only Hashem is the one who can do anything - from big to small - and put your trust in Him.

When the seder is done, some people say Shir Hashirim - why? Because by the time you finish reading about and truly experiencing yetzias mitzrayim, your heart is bursting with such intense love! So you throw those emotions into the next page - the special song of Shir Hashirim which talks about the love of Hashem and Bnei Yisroel!

May you be zoche to come out of the seder with renewed emunah in and extra love for Hashem and all the good He bestows upon us!

when you do an act of kindness dont forget who you really are doing it for yourself!! open your eyes and see how ur chesed is really helping you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Leaving Mitzraim - Beyond Logic

A very special someone went to a shiur by Rebbetzin Fink and highlighted two important and inspiring thoughts to share with all of you.

Do you ever wonder why 80 percent of Bnei Yisrael didn't want to go out of Mitzraim?
How many of us think that we would belong to the 20 percent that left Mitzraim? Don't we all think we would?

The Rambam says: What was so hard about leaving Mitzraim? It's like trying to convince an unborn baby to come into the world. Try to have a dialogue with an unborn baby. You say- "Come out into the world, You'll be able to do so many mitzvos and ma'asim tovim. There is so much you can do!" So the baby says "What's it gonna be like?" And you say " As soon as you come into this world, your lungs will be inflated and you will come out of the water." So the baby says "I would love to come into the world and do many mitzvos, but you are not realistic! You have to be reasonable! For me to survive, My lungs have to be completely deflated and I have to be submerged in water. So how do you expect me come out?" So you say " I know! The way you are now, this is what you need, but as soon as you come out to the world, things will be different! Whatever is fatal to you inside of the mother is vital to you outside the mother and vise versa!" So would anyone of YOU be convinced by such a logical argument???

Well, that's how much Bitachon it took for Klall Yisrael to be convinced to leave Mitzraim. They thought- realistically what will we live on?? So the answer would be, "Don't worry, if you follow HK"BH, You won't have to worry about those things." So 80 percent were very realistic.

The Torah is given to people who are unrealistic, because Torah is lemalah miderech hatevah. Klall Yisrael had in them the potential to live like that but it only emerged once they came out of Mitzraim. That's when the potential would be actualized! Yitzias Mitzraim-was to take them out to be their own independent self! When they were in Mitzraim, they were not independent!

To another person, it doesn't make sense to do certain things, to believe in Hashem and to trust Him! Certain aspects of bitachon are where the logic ends and the heart kicks in. We do not only follow Hashem when it makes sense to us, but also when we don't understand how things will work out, where the money will come from, where the shidduch will come from, how we will get a job, how we will make peace between two angry parties, where will that persons refuah come from when s/he is so sick...but when a person trusts in Hashem they KNOW that He can make things happen even if it looks like there is no hope! It does not make logical sense for certain things to happen but a person who has full, true emunah knows that Hashem is our loving Father and He can do anything!!

Another point about Pesach that I heard is that when you look at the Halochos of the Seder, there is a basic theme that runs through the whole seder, and that is that we have to be K'bnei Meluchim- you have to act like you are children of the king!

All people in general, are slaves to their desires. What is a melech? Who can consider themself a king?
A king is someone who knows how to control their desires.That is really a king! Not just to sit like a king, dress like a king, and having a table set for a king, but it is being able to have control over the 3 basic areas in your life.

The word MELECH stands for: 1. MEM stands for: Moach- (mind) 2. LAMED stands for: Lev- (heart) 3. CHAF stands for: Kavaid (Tayva-desire)
Having control over these 3 things, makes the person into a melech! But that is only if you put the Mem first. Because if you put the Mem last, that makes up KLUM- which means nothing! The idea of the lel seder is to be able to actualize the potential of being a melech- having the Moach first, and having that mind control the lev and the kavaid -to have control over your thoughts, feelings and physical desires.

So we all want to be like a melech and the more we act like a melech, the more we show that Hashem is Melech!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This is a taste of where shyne was, showing us all that he chose the truth and now he lives it! this is what pesach is true freedom to connect !!

Reward and Punishment

Q: Is there such a thing as reward and punishment in this world?

: It says that the schar, the reward of a mitzvah is the opportunity to do another mitzvah which will make a person earn even more olam haba! It's like if someone does a good job at work - they are paid for it anyway, but what does his boss do? He raises them to a higher position in their office so then they pay goes up as well! More opportunities means more reward!

I don't like to think of pain as a punishment, rather, I look at it as a
kapparah, an atonement, for something a person may have done wrong and it's giving them a chance to erase their aveiros and turn them into mitzvos by using their painful experiences as a wake up call to change and become better! This is such a chessed from Hashem! Instead of waiting until the person comes in front of Him (after 120 years) to give a din v'cheshbon - an accounting - for each thing they did wrong in their life, Hashem gives them a chance to correct their misdeeds and change - all while they are still alive! What a gift this is!!

Shyne used to be a rapper he is now a chassidish gye he is showing us that the only real freedom is abiltity to do whats right!

This is such an imp. message so here it is again..continuation of the last one with leaving mitzrayim instilling in us complete faith in only hashem:)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why Eat Kosher?

Q: What is the difference between kosher candy and non kosher candy what is so bad about it? is it made out of any specific ingredients that are very unhealthy what happens when someone eats non kosher candy?

A: A candy would be non kosher if it has ingredients (such as fat or juices) from a non kosher animal.

Our rabbis tell us that when a person eats something that is not kosher, it is "
metamtem halev" which means it stuffs up the heart and prevents the person from being able to accept spirituality on a deeper level. If someone is having a hard time with their Judaism, many times they will be told to be extra careful with the foods that they eat - to make sure they are certified kosher by a good, upstanding rabbi.

The reasons behind eating kosher are many but one of the elements behind it is that there are certain spiritual characteristics of the animal that enter a person's soul when they eat from the non kosher animal. There are specific impurities in animals that make them spiritually unhealthy for human consumption. This means that when a Jewish person eats something that comes from a non kosher animal, the spiritual deficiencies, those negative character traits that the animal possesses can enter the person's heart and have a dangerous spiritual effect on them!

Someone who is struggling with her Torah observance can take upon herself to be extra careful with the foods she eats, always making sure that it is certified by a good rabbi and then they may start to see that they will be able to accept Torah and mitzvos on a deeper and better level and their struggles may get a little easier!

Leaving Mitzrayim

Someone asked this question on another post and I answered it in the comments section but I think it's such a great question so I'm posting it here.

Q: Why was leaving
mitzrayim called the geulah if we only ended up in the midbar?

A: You are asking a really good question! I never thought of that!

The Jews left
mitzrayim which was a place of real slavery. While they were there, they had to do backbreaking labor. The men had to do jobs that were cut out for women and the women had to do work that men usually do! That's how mean they were to the Jews!!

So yes, they left a place of intense slavery - that's why it is called
geula! They became free people when they got the Torah, which was one of the goals of yetzias mitzrayim. It says "ein lecha ben chorin ela mi she'oseik b'Torah" Why is someone who follows the Torah considered a free person? It's because true freedom is when one is a ruler over his temptations and can win over his innermost desires and make the right decisions. The Torah helps each person do that! It is a guide to help us overcome obstacles the yetzer hara puts us in and it helps us live the best and happiest life ever!!

Also, the Jews left
mitzrayim and traveled through the midbar but that was just a pathway to get them to live in Eretz Yisroel. Once they were in the holiest land, they were able to build the Bais Hamikdosh and be SO close to Hashem! THAT is what true geula means!

May we all be zoche to that day really soon!!

There is so much about pesach that we dont know.. charlie keeps giving us more and more insight ;)why do we eat matza he has a really cool twist!!!

Would you like to get a feel of yitzyas mitzrayim check this out!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pesach Thoughts

I posted this last year and wanted to share it with you again. These thoughts are both taken from the haggadah by R' Shimshon Pincus zt"l.

* * *

Pesach is the time of the birth of Klal Yisroel. Just like when a baby is born, all the nurses and doctors are running around, making sure everything is fine and there is no dirt around - all the tools are sterile and clean, when Pesach comes and we are about to be born anew, we must make sure there is no dirt, no yetzer hara around. And so we run around cleaning our houses and making sure there is not a speck of dirt to be found. We clean our houses thoroughly. When cleaning, we are getting rid of the yetzer hara inside of us. That is why it is so important not to even have one bit of chometz in the house and the punishment is so severe. A newborn baby who is treated with anything less than perfectly clean utensils can catch an infection chas v'shalom. Everything has to be sterile because the baby's immune system is not built up yet.

Since we are building ourselves into a person (and Klal Yisroel into a nation), we must start from scratch - from the beginning. And we must make sure there is no dirt, only purity and cleanliness.

During the seder, we go through many different steps to build ourselves as a person. That is Pesach, the time when we are born.

Then comes Shavuos-the bar mitzvah when we accept the mitzvos upon ourselves. But in order to receive the Torah, we have to prepare ourselves for it. That's what sefira is about. It's a time to prepare ourselves for kaballas haTorah. Each day, we can climb a rung in the spiritual ladder so when Shavuos comes, we are ready to accept the Torah.

* * *

Another interesting thing I read in R' Shimshon Pincus's hagaddah was on the paragraph of "Amar Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, harei ani k'ven shiv'im shana" Rabbi Elazar the son of Azaria said, I am like someone who is seventy years old. Why was he like a seventy year old man? Because he was really eighteen years old but overnight Hashem made him grow a white beard so he should look like an older man and then people will accept what he would say.
Hashem made him grow a white beard. What's the difference between a black beard and a white beard, or the colors black and white?

The color black is a mixture of all the other colors. When a little child takes his crayons and colors a whole bunch of colors on a paper, it ends up one dark color - black. When a person is young, he has a black beard which signifies the reasons why he may do something spiritual. For example, a young man decides he wants to learn Torah. So why is he learning? He has a lot of different reasons. Maybe he wants to become a rosh yeshiva. Maybe he wants a good shidduch. Maybe he wants kavod, so people will look at him and say, "Wow! Did you see what a masmid he is?" and then he'll feel good inside. Maybe he wants to impress his childrens' future mechutanim and then his children will get good shidduchim.

The color white, on the other hand, is the purest color. It represents old age because at that point, a person doesn't have all these "other reasons" for doing mitzvos and spiritually uplifting acts. The old man knows he has no chance of becoming a rosh yeshiva anymore. Kavod?! Everybody knows who he really is! His children are already married so he has no one to impress. So why is he learning? Because Hashem said it's a mitzvah to learn His holy Torah!! This man doesn't have any outside factors influencing his decision of why he wants to do the mitzvos. He is nearing the end of his life and so his actions are pure and white - which is symbolized by the white beard.

I thought this was such a cool thing - it's so amazing that you can learn human nature from the haggadah!!

Anyone else have any interesting thoughts on Pesach or divrei torah they remember that they want to share?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why Me? A Poem






Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What made this non religious guy turn his life around? Really cool story!!

Inspiration on the Job

Q: I work in an office and I am very grateful to Hashem that I have a job, However, there is one thing that is hard. My day is filled with numbers since I do accouting and it just feels so empty! There's just no ruchniyes involved at all. At the end of the day I might have finished piles of work and that might be off my head, however, it's not a real accomplishment! It doesn't feel real! I wish I can be involved with more!!! When a person teaches others or does for others it makes them feel like they really are accomplishing! When I spoke this year to girls on a shabbaton, it was just the best! I felt like I really actually did something real!
I do try to make this up, that's why at nights I go to shiurim and I go on your blog. However I still wish there could be more to my day! I do know that this is where I am supposed to be right now, and one day I might get involved with teaching, however at this point I am involved with bookkeeping.
One thing that is wonderful about my office that I don't think many offices have, is that once a month we have a speaker right around Rosh Chodesh. That is a wonderful thing that my boss is on top of this!!!
Anyways, Is it a wrong outlook that I have on my job, or should i just be happy where I am and stop having these thoughts?

A: About your job, I know exactly how you feel. I work in an office too - there isn't much spirituality, no speeches (lucky you that they give you a speech once a month!), no hebrew classes - this is life. You start off going to school and being spoon fed inspiration each day, teachers who give over lessons about the yomim tovim and many topics in Judaism. But once real life starts and you graduate, no one is there to do it for you. You have to keep yourself inspired with shiurim - which is amazing that you are able to do that - and read books/seforim on shabbos, learn with a friend on the phone or sign up for Partners in Torah so you can learn with someone who doesnt know as much as you about torah and mitzvos - all these things can help you stay inspired.

Now you are living real life - and you are not in school. Life will continue this way. Iy"h you'll build your own home and may not have time to go to shiurim all the time like you are able to do now. The important thing to realize is that you can inject spirituality even into your mundane job of bookkeeping - because through the job that you do, you are making sure that people get paid, the numbers all match up, the company does not get into trouble for any financial fraud...and this is really a big deal! If not for your job, it is possible that your entire company wouldn't be able to function! Imagine that - you are able to get the zechus of all the good that is being done to help these children!

On your way to work, remind yourself how important you are and how much your office needs you to be there to get your job done! Also know that your job in this world is to do the mitzvos - and that means bringing Hashem into your everyday life by making a kiddush Hashem wherever you go, being honest in business (for example, coming on time), making brachos when you eat during the day, remembering your bracha doing all these things you are remembering Hashem throughout your day.
Of course it may not feel as fulfilling as standing in front of a class and teaching and maybe that is something that you'll do in the future. But for now, know that this is your job and you need to do it right - with honesty.
Try to smile at other people so you can uplift their mood and make them happy. Going through your day this way will make it not just a regular day but a special day.

Also, try to focus on doing one extra thing each day that you may not have done before. This way, when you look back at the end of your day, you'll feel good about yourself. For example, you can give someone a compliment, have extra kavanah when you say birchas hamazon after you ate lunch, do an anonymous act of kindness...there are many things you can do to inject spirituality into your day. This way, when you look back at your day, you'll feel accomplished because you did something new and different!

You can read this post about
bringing Hashem into your everyday life.
Let me know what you think of this and if it helps.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Don't Complain About the Rain

I heard in the name of R' Avigdor Miller zt"l about the rain
When you think about this, it wont be such a pain
He said that when it rains brachos shower down from shamayim
It could be in the form of parnassa, a refuah or a l'chaim!

It's like Hashem is sending down sweets for His children He loves

Rain is truly a gift from the one above
So next time you want to complain
About how wet you got from all the rain
Think about this-it will help you stay sane!
Because we really do have a lot to gain

Hashem sends down candies and
brachos from way up high
While the little drops of rain come down from the sky!
Isn't that a heartwarming thought?
Better than real candy because yeshuos cannot be bought!
I hope my drift you all caught!

So next time the sky gets dark with clouds
Don't get upset and try not to shout
Remember what good rain does bring
It causes so much growth to everything

This way the plants grow and so do the trees

Don't let it bother you - it will be such a breeze
This water from the sky helps those beautiful flowers
Enhance your garden or home - all from rain showers

It also helps us have healthy fruits and veggies to eat

So next time it rains, don't miss a beat
Although you'll get wet
It shouldn't cause you to fret
Let's not forget
How much bracha it brings down
Turn upside down your frown

Smile big tall and proud

Thank Hashem so loud
For all the good that He gives to us down here
And of the benefits of rain make sure to be aware!