Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't be afraid benei yisroel because we have torah and mitzvos thats what will save us! tefilla will empower you:)!

Shavuos - Why Was The Torah Given in The Desert?

This was posted last year and I want to share it with you once more.

One of the most popular questions raised regarding the Giving of the Torah, is why it was given in the desert.

HaRav Shimshon Pincus Z’tl, looks at the question from a different perspective. HaRav Pincus asks not why the Torah was actually given in the Midbar, but rather why the Torah was not given in Eretz Yisroel. After all, does not the very air of Eretz Yisroel itself make one wise? Wouldn’t the intense kedusha of Eretz Yisroel have a unique and special effect on those receiving the Torah?

HaRav Pincus answers that we must put the Giving of the Torah in its proper perspective. On Pesach, HaKadosh Baruch Hu chose us as his Kallah, as his bride. The Shidduch was made, and we celebrate our new relationship over Pesach. The days of Sefirah are the equivalent of the engagement period - between the Vort and the Chasuna itself. Shavuos is then, the Great Wedding, where Hashem came out to greet us as a Chosson steps forward to greet his Kallah. The period after Shavuos is the time in which the newfound relationship was to be firmly and eternally established.

We can now understand why the Torah had to be given in the desert. A Chosson and Kallah need time with each other, without any distractions whatsoever - not even holy or important ones - in order to form an eternal bond. Giving the Torah in Eretz Yisroel would be the equivalent of getting married in a kitchen, even if it was Glatt Kosher LeMehadrin! As soon as the Chupa was over, the Chosson would soon be learning how to use the Shabbos Clock, and the Kallah would start figuring out how to make cholent! Just as the Yichud room follows immediately after the Chupa so that the newlyweds can focus on each other and only on each other, so too, did we need our special time to be separated from everything else and unite with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

In order to connect to Hashem, we have to disconnect from the world for a moment. We have to get rid of the distractions and things that hold us back from getting to know Him. The best place to do that is in the midbar-in the desert, where there are no iPods, cameras, videos, magazines, computers with internet! All these things can be major distractions and hold us back from connecting to Hashem so this is what the midbar comes to teach us-about being alone, just us and Hashem, nobody else!

We are now like the Chosson and Kallah a little more than a week before the Chuppah. The anticipation, the last minute preparations, the prayers that everything goes right...but we must also remember that the goal to be achieved when Shavous arrives is not only the marvelous and incomparable moment of the Wedding itself, but also the raising of our own personal ever-special and eternally-lasting relationship that must follow, as expressed by the love that we have for Hashem, the improved way in which we study His Torah and the devoted manner and especially warm care in which we perform His Mitzvos!

We need to set aside some time during the day or during week and make it special and use it to connect to Hashem. Turn off the music, shut down the computer, don't look at your cell phone, stop texting (!), reading or whatever it is that you are doing and instead, use the time you have to show Hashem you want to connect to Him by doing something that will bring you closer to Him!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kindness Poem

We may be very different
Yes, we are, me and you.
But we share a common trait
Because I have feelings too.

Don’t you know the hurt,
Of being put to shame?
You don’t like to sit alone
I am just the same.

Just because I’m foreign
And I sometimes act strange too,
Doesn’t mean I need no friends –
I need them just like you!

No one wants to be my partner
No one wants to chat.
I always sit in the corner
Rarely even glanced at.

My clothes are ragged & dirty
And of course, I’m told.
But inside there is a heart
That needs warmth in the cold.

Yes, we may be different
We really are, me and you.
But everyone has feelings
And I have them just like you!

Taken from by Miss Antebi

Monday, May 23, 2011

Self Worth

The following question was submitted anonymously using the form on the right.

Q: How does one deal with very frustrating feelings that the Yetzer Hara tries to make a person feel? It can make a person feel worthless! When a person is very upset, they feel like just giving up and they aren't worth anything... How do you get those thoughts out of your head?

A: Thank you for asking this question. It is a very important one since we all feel, at one point or another, that we messed up and it's hard to get back up again and keep trying.

These thoughts are coming from your Yetzer Hara trying to make you feel worthless so you won't even try again. People make mistakes. That's part of life. The important thing is to get up again and not to let anything stand in your way by making you feel like you don't have value.

Every person is important.


"The day you were born was the day Hashem decided that the world cannot exist without you!"
Isn't that powerful?
And the fact that He wakes you up each morning shows that you have something to accomplish today and you are an important person in the world Hashem created!

So don't let these little voices in your head get in the way of your personal growth because in truth, there's so much you can do!

When you start feeling down and are not in the mood of trying, it's hard to know what to do next. One thing you can try is to talk to yourself. These days, with people walking around with tiny bluetooth devices in their ears, you wont even look strange if you walk down the street talking to yourself lol! Kidding! You don't have to literally talk to yourself with your mouth but you can talk to yourself in your head. Tell yourself that you are important. Repeat that quote to yourself - because it's 100% true! Think of the times someone made you feel important about what you did - a thank you, a compliment, a kind word, a smile...and then go do that back to someone else. When you make someone else feel valued, you start to realize how important you are - because you have the power to lift someone's spirits and make their day!!

Remind yourself again and again that you are important and do something every day that leaves an impression on someone else so that at the end of the day you can look back and say, I did something today that made a difference. Then, you'll start to feel that you really are important, even if you didn't feel that way before.

When you impact someone's life, even by brightening someone's day, you are showing them that they are important to you - and then you will feel that you are important to someone else!

I'm not sure if this fully answers your question. Please let me know what you think of what I wrote and if it helps at all and if you still have questions about this.

Does anyone else have advice for the person who asked this? What things do you do to get yourself out of that mood of worthlessness and feeling down? How do you show yourself that you are important?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lag Ba'Omer - Why Celebrate?!

As we reach the Lag BaOmer milestone, we are faced with a perplexing question:

What is really the sudden cause for celebration at this time? After all, from what we know of our past during the Omer period, 24,000 senior scholars--the students of Rebbe Akiva passed away for not properly respecting each other; even Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, one of the surviving students, eventually passed away on this day; later, the Crusades took their great toll on Ashkenazic Jewry during Sefira; then, the great Posek for Ashkenazim, the Rema passed away on Lag BaOmer, like Rebbe Shimon; and, most recently, much of Hungarian Jewry was hurriedly annihilated during the period from Pesach to Shavuos in 1944--to such an extent that the survivors of Hungarian Jewry who do not know when their relatives or friends were murdered observe the Second Day of Shavuos as their Yahrzeit. So, what is the joy--the songs, the bonfires, the bows and arrows about? Why are weddings allowed, and Tachanun not recited?

Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita (following the lines of the Gra’s Commentary on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim, 493) teaches we celebrate that in all events, there were those who remained. Indeed, the resemblance in all of the aforementioned tragedies is striking: Rebbe Shimon passed his legacy to his students (it is no coincidence that so many other future generations of Tannaim are buried right around Rebbe Shimon in Meron). Similarly, even after the Crusader massacres killing Rabbeinu Tam and many others in many communities, the Baalei Tosfos flourished for many generations, culminating in the Rosh, and his son, the Tur, as the basis for our Shulchan Aruch; the Rema, rather than being the final word in Halacha for Ashkenazim, became the basis and guide for the scores of future poskim; the remnants of Hungarian Jewry fill the Yeshivas from Bnei Brak to Borough Park.

But it is more than that we are just survivors. It is the fulfillment of the Posuk (Devorim 32:23): “Chitzai Achaleh Bom”--I will finish my arrows in them--which Chazal (Sotah 9A) explain to mean--my arrows will be finished in them, but they will not be finished. Hashem has guided us through events, times, places and tragedies of immense proportions, while the other 70 nations of the world disappeared from far less calamitous events. Perhaps this is the symbol of the bow and arrow on Lag BaOmer--the arrows are done, but we are not. Why is this so--why has our history--our experience in this world been so different than all other nations?

We suggest that the answer to this, too, brings us to this time of year--it is, once again, not coincidental that all of this is happening as we prepare to receive the Torah--for it IS THE TORAH that has made our lives so different and so endurable. It is the Torah, created well before the world as we know it was created, that has given us the “supernatural” force for us to thrive and survive. At this special time of year, we should especially demonstrate our recognition of the importance of Torah in our lives and in the lives of K’lal Yisroel.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: For the coming two weeks until Shavuos, in whatever you are learning, whether it is a thought on the Parsha, Daf Yomi, or even a Torah email, think about how important Torah study in our lives. It is not academics, nor a body of knowledge, but the one part of our life that permeates and invigorates us--and the bonfire that warms and enlightens us every day of our lives.

Taken from today's Hakhel post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today - Pesach Sheini

Today is Pesach Sheini. What is so special about this day?

When Bnei Yisroel celebrated their first Pesach in the midbar, there were some people who were unable to partake in the korban pesach since they were tamei (they were impure because they were exposed to a dead body). They came to Moshe Rabbeinu and complained to him saying, “It’s not fair! Why should we lose out on this special mitzvah? We also want to be able to fulfill it!”

They didn’t say to themselves, “Yessss! We missed out on it and now we don’t have to do this mitzvah! We can get away with not doing it…” or anything of the sort. They were bothered and hurt by the fact that they were losing out on a chance to do a mitzvah. This mitzvah was so precious to them that they were upset that they didn’t get to do it! They took the time to bring this matter to Moshe's attention and beg for another chance!

Hashem told Moshe about Pesach Sheini-which gives any person who was unable to bring the korban at it’s proper time (through no fault of their own-not because they were lazy) a second chance. And it wasn't just for that year, it wasn't just a one-time thing. This was a message and a mitzvah for every generation. From now on, every year, on the 14th of Nissan, we celebrate Pesach Sheini.

The first thing to think about is, are we so excited and do we love mitzvos so much that when we don’t get to do it, we feel like we lost out on the opportunity of a lifetime and wish we can make up for it? Do we realize how precious each and every mitzvah truly is? We can take this message from the Jews in the midbar who begged for another chance to do the mitzvah they lost out on.

And the second thing to learn is that Hashem gives every person a second chance. It is never too late to change. If there is something you wanted to work on, something you want to stop doing or something you wanted to start doing, now's the time to take the message and make that change. You can always come closer to Hashem, even if you feel you are so far away from Him.

So take the message, make the change and...enjoy the matzah!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The following two questions were submitted anonymously using the form on the right.

: How is a person supposed to deal with embarrassment with a mistake that person makes but cant stop and is constantly getting embarrassed by what they did every time that person mentions it or brings it up?

A: I'll repeat it the way I remember hearing from someone I look up to and respect. People tend to think that mistakes are a bad thing. But that's not true. Mistakes are only bad if you don't learn from them. Mistakes are actually good - if you take a lesson from whatever you did and use it to change or grow in the future or to make sure that specific situation doesn't happen again.

For example, if you were trying to bake a cake while you were on the phone with a friend and you skipped out one ingredient, you may not be happy with the results of that cake because your forgot to put in the sugar (!) but this was a mistake that you will make sure not to repeat. If you learn from this experience and decide not to talk on the phone again when you are baking because it disturbs your concentration and then your cake wont come out good, then that mistake is a good thing! You took a lesson from it and from now on, your cakes will come out delicious because you will be able to focus on what you are doing without getting distracted!

The first thing you need to do is see if you can take a practical lesson from whatever happened and make sure you can do something to be more careful in the future.

If a friend or family member keeps reminding you about the incident and that makes you embarrassed, try to talk it over with her. Tell her straight out: it makes me uncomfortable when you constantly bring up that mistake I made. I know I should have been more careful and I botched up the cake and we didn't have dessert for shabbos but next time I will make sure I am not distracted by other things and then it will work out perfectly!

It is very important to be able to communicate openly about how you feel about certain things to those who are close to you so that they do not hurt your feelings by reminding you about past mistakes.

I know the example I gave is a petty one but I hope you can apply it to the mistake you made and work it out in a way that makes both you and the one who reminds you about it happy at the end of the conversation.

If the mistake you made is something wrong morally, ethically or is a bad deed - an aveira, you need to go one step further. You will need to do teshuva - verbalize the aveira, sincerely feel bad about what you did, and take upon yourself to work on that action so that you don't do it again. Chaya Sara wrote a great post a while back called how to do teshuva.

And don't think teshuva is only for Elul, it can and should be done as close as possible to the time the aveira was done - this way you are showing Hashem that you really feel bad about what you did and you sincerely want to change for the better! And then when Elul comes around, you'll have less things to fix!

* * *

: How should we react when we find out that a parent made big mistakes?

A: Know that parents are also human beings. All people make mistakes. It says that there is no such thing as a person who never erred or who never sinned (I'm not sure about the exact wording but it's something like Ein tzaddik ba'aretz asher ya'aseh tov v'lo yecheteh.)
Your parents are normal - and just like everyone else in the world they made a mistake.

Depending on what happened next and the effect of their mistake, you may want to find a way to speak to them respectfully about it or get someone to be a go-between to help find a way to fix it.

I don't know what you mean by big mistakes so I can't say much more.

The only thing I have to add is that whatever the thing is that your parent did that looks wrong in your eyes should not diminish your respect for them. You may not know their full thought process behind what they did, they may have expected different results based on the decision they made, but know that parents always want to do whatever is best for their children - and THAT is enough of a reason to continue to love and respect them.
Their emotions may get in the way of their decisions, they may have done something you view as wrong but you cannot know everything they were thinking when they did whatever they did.

Continue appreciating all the good things your parents do for you and most importantly, remember that they are human beings too and you cannot expect perfection from anyone.

I hope this helps both of you. I would really appreciate if the person/people who asked these two questions would comment and let me know if this helped you and if you still have any thoughts or questions about what I wrote.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This is a new journey to take on preperation for shavuos .. the awesome 6 constant mitzvos!! its sooo awesome!! This inspiration is incredible:)

Sefira - Climbing Higher

To continue on where I left off on last post, I wanted to get practical. I felt like the last post was inspirational and can leave the reader feeling like they want to do something to use each day for growth but then the feeling may creep in: Now what?!

How do you get to a level where by the time Shavuos comes around, you can look back and say Wow! I really changed! I used each day to grow and come closer to Hashem!

Let's get real. I know that in the past I haven't been able to look back after 49 days and say that I've really grown.

Change is difficult.

It takes work.

Here's something I heard from my very special married sister that I wanted to share with you because it can make all the difference.

You need to choose something small.

And that is SO true. That's how you can change over the 49 days of sefira.

In Judaism, growth can only be made if you take baby steps.

Little, small, teeny baby steps.

Proof: Sefira is forty nine whole days. That's quite a long time if you think about it! It's not like you are expected to change in a weeks time. No. It's gradual. You have more than a month to change, to prepare for the big day!

Now we are already more than halfway through sefira but I still think it's worth sharing these ideas so that if you haven't started yet, you can still utilize the time that's left to take something little and start making a change.

That's what I said. Something little.

It's up to you to decide where you want to begin.

Here are some ideas:
You want to become a more giving person? You want to work on chessed? Do one small thing every day to help someone else. It can be an anonymous act of kindness (like closing an opened safety pin so it wont prick someone else - I heard this idea at a speech a while back and it really left an impression on me!) or it can be something else - calling someone to let them know you're thinking of them. Whatever it is, make sure it's something small that can be done every day.

You think your
kibbud av va'eim could use a little polishing? That's a hard mitzvah. But if once a day you make sure you had a positive thought about your parents, your mother or your father, you are already on your way up that spiritual ladder. One "thank you" to your parent, one extra chore to help out, one less complaint - and you're getting there.

Are you too connected to technology? Do you want to connect to Hashem but find yourself whipping out your phone/laptop/iPad too often to check your text messages or emails? Once a day, just one time during the day, hold yourself back. Instead, direct your thoughts upward and think a spiritual thought.

Do you want to work on your appreciation to Hashem for all the things He does for you but find yourself complaining about the things going wrong too often? Again, make it a once a day thing - think of something you are thankful for because in reality, Hashem gives you so, so much! Your eyes, your ears, your taste buds, your friends, your family, a healthy body, a digestive system, flowers, sunrise, music, the ability to understand, a job, a home...and the list goes on and on. So take a moment once a day to thank Hashem for ONE THING and then when Shavuos comes, you can look back and say, I've grown in my appreciation to Hashem during this sefira period.

Does your bein adam l'chaveiro need a little tune-up? There are so many ways to improve but just take one little step every day - give someone a sincere compliment. Hold in that urge to answer back for an extra second. Smile at someone when you pass them by in the hallway. Hold the door open for someone walking in behind you. Stop yourself before you respond to someone's gossip. These are hard things but if you take a small step, you can get there at the end of the 49th day.

Can your tefillah use a little more concentration to make it better? Decide that you are going to look into your siddur during one tefillah each day. You can choose the same tefillah, the first one you daven when you open your siddur, or a different one every day. But make sure that at the end of each day you can look back and say that you looked inside once. Because that can really make a difference in the kavanna that you have. When you look inside, you see the words and automatically your brain thinks about what those words mean! It may take a quick second before you get distracted but if you push yourself to look inside again at that tefillah, you'll see a difference in how you are able to concentrate!

There are so many areas that a person can change. When you look at all the ideas thrown out to you here, it may seem overwhelming. But just choose one thing. And take small steps towards your goal. Your goal is that when Shavuos comes around, you will be able to look back at this time with pride knowing that you utilized each day.

But if you do too much, you can fall back and give up because it becomes too hard. Taking something little upon yourself makes it a goal that can be reached.

Happy Climbing!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Counting Sefira

I wrote this post last year and wanted to share the thoughts with you again.

Sefira is the time between Pesach and Shavuos-the time we count up towards
kaballas haTorah. What is the reason that we count this way? The Jews are a nation who always work upwards. Ma'alin Bakodesh v'Einam moridim-we go up in kedusha and don't go down. (It's the same way on Chanukah, we light the menorah going upwards. One candle on the first day, two on the second and so on.) When a person is excited for something, for example, for a birthday or a big trip, they make a countdown.

I remember making a countdown for my wedding and giving it to my chosson-each day, he'd pull of the page 25...24...23...22...21...20... The reason why we were counting
down is because these twenty-something days (from when I made the countdown) were standing between us and the wedding. Each time a page was pulled off, it was an excitement! There is less time standing between us and the big day!

However, when it comes to the day we will accept the Torah, the days between Pesach and Shavuos are not just days we want to pass by as quickly as possible. Each day is supposed to be a day of accomplishment. Each day is precious and meant to be used to it's fullest.

I will explain this with a
mashal from R' Shimshon Pincus zt"l. Imagine someone were to tell you that in one month, he was going to give you 3 million dollars. Three million dollars! Imagine that!! The 30 days you have to wait to get the money are now standing between you and your 3 million. They are holding you back from becoming a millionaire. So you want each day to pass as quickly as possible! However, if he were to tell you that each day he would give you 100,000 and by the end of the month, you would have received 3 million dollars, then each day is precious! Each day you are gaining the money that will help you become a millionaire! Now, you view each day as important in helping you achieve your goal.

It is the same thing with Sefira. We are counting towards Matan Torah-towards the day we are going to get the greatest treasure in the world! Each day, we are getting more than a million dollars in spirituality. We are getting treasures and treasures of diamonds! This is why we count up-today is day 1, 2, 3, 4...and so forth.
We are counting because we are so excited to get to this day-the day of Matan Torah! But it's not like we are waiting for the time from now until then to pass, we are using the days we have until then to reach greater heights in our avodas Hashem, by working on ourselves and becoming closer to Him to prepare for the big day!

During the time of the
bais hamikdosh, when korbanos were brought, there was a difference between the korbanos brought on Pesach and Shavuos. On Pesach, the Korban Omer was brought. It was made out of barley which is food for animals. The korban brought on Shavuos, the Korban Shtei Halechem was made of wheat, which is food that is normally eaten by human beings. This comes to show us that the time between Pesach and Shavuos is a time of tremendous growth and change. It is a time that we elevate ourselves from the level of animals to the level of human beings-people! Because without the Torah, we are like animals who have desires and wants and act upon them. But once we were given the Torah, we learned that all our actions can be elevated to a higher level and then we are like people!

Sefira is a special time to work on your
middos. It is a time to perfect ourselves and work on improving the way we relate to one another. There are so many areas in which we can improve. Show Hashem that you are preparing yourself to accept the greatest gift ever-the Torah!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just relax as you watch the water so calmly sing to your neshama positive words that will make you feel hashem with you!

Every Single Jew

EVERY single Jew stood at Har Sinai 3,323 years ago.

EVERY single Jew.

Hashem gave the holy Torah to EVERY single Jew.

Hashem proclaimed His love for EVERY single Jew.

Every Jew is a child of Hashem

"בנים אתם לד' אלקיכם"


In just a few weeks we will celebrate the anniversary of that great and awesome day in history.

Between now and Shavuos, Let's show Hashem that we will emulate Him and start loving EVERY single Jew.

Yes, even the ones that don't dress as we do.

Yes, even the ones that don't think as we do.

Yes, even the ones that are not yet as close to Hashem as we think they should be.

Yes, even the ones that don't love us in return.

EVERY Jew is a child of Hashem.

EVERY single one.

Like One Man, with One Heart.

כאיש אחד בלב אחד

Perhaps if we all demonstrate our love for each other, we will finally merit seeing the glory of Hashem in a way that will make the revelation of 3,323 years ago pale in comparison.


Sunday, May 8, 2011


Everyone needs encouragement.

Don't you think it's true?

It's not that it's only true for the people who look like they could use an extra dose of positivity or for someone you pass in the hallway who you can tell is having a hard day just by looking at their facial expression.

Even those who are "high up" on the ladder, even those who look like they have everything going for them. These people specifically could use an extra boost.

I'll tell you how you can do it.

Give a sincere and honest compliment. "I like your necklace" is fine and so is "nice shoes" but something a little deeper can really make a difference to a person's day.

"It's such a pleasure to work with you. You are always so positive!"

"You are so dedicated to your job. What would we do without you?!"

"I'm so lucky to have a friend like you. You listen to me with your heart, especially when it's late at night and I have no one else to talk to."

If you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable to say these things to someone's face, you can always write them a letter or an email or send them a text message. It can really make their day!

Do you know that people who speak publicly really draw strength to continue from the feedback they get?

"The speech you ave really hit home. I specifically liked that story/point you said about _________. It really spoke to me and I'm going to do something about it."

Every person, no matter how great they seem or how confident they appear to be can gain from your positive words.

Give it a try! You'll make someone's day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Faith Crisis

All of us, at some point or another have what is termed by some as "a faith crisis". For some it's stronger than others but for all it amounts to the same thing: The Yetzer Hara trying to ruin us.

This is nothing new and nothing unique to any one individual, this is how Hashem created His world. This is how He wants us to struggle. This is His way of giving us opportunities to "earn" our share in Olam Haba.

The Yetzer Hara in his cunning way usually springs on us right when we are davening, learning or otherwise doing something positive. We have to learn how to ignore him and be indifferent to his stupidity and remember that Chazal teach us that the Yetzer Hara, Satan and Malach Hamaves, are ONE AND THE SAME! HE causes us to sin, then HE goes and tells Hashem that we sinned and deserve punishment then HE gets to kill us for our sins. Quite a backstabber if there ever was one!

He is our enemy. We must internalize that and ignore his advances at all costs.

Do we fall? Yes. we all do.

Do we fail? Yes we all do.

Do we sin? Yes, we all do.

But the main thing is to get right back up again and continue with our Avodas Hashem. We grow not DESPITE our falls, rather we grow BECAUSE of our falls. Sheva Yipol Tzadik V'Kam (Mishlei Perek 24:16). A Tzaddik USES his falls to his advantage. See Siddur HaGra, Pirush Siach Yitzchok on the Posuk (that we say daily in Pesukei D'Zimrah, fromTehilim 147) "Harofei Lishvurei Lev U'Mechabesh L'Atzvosam".

You must always believe in yoursef, as Rav Tzadok teaches us that just as one is obligated to believe in Hashem, so too one is obligated to believe in themself! (Tzidkas HaTzadik 154)

The more you grow and the closer you get to Hashem, the more pressure the lousy yetzer Hara will put on you to try to bring you down.

Just close your eyes for a few minutes a day and make a mental list of all the good that Hashem gives you on a daily basis. Do you deserve any of it? Have you really earned it? NO! It is only Hashem's endless kindness and love for us that causes Him to give, give, give and give us always.

He is our loving Father and if He ever gives us trials and tribulations, think of them as opportunities, not as punishments.

As the great Tzaddik Rav Avigdor Miller Zatzal used to say, There is no such thing as a bad situation; rather it's a difficult situation. Everything Hashem does is for our ultimate good. Everything. No exceptions.

The best way to try and get rid of "faith crisis" thoughts is to NOT THINK ABOUT THEM. Of course, adding Torah, Tefilah, Mussar etc. to your day is always a good thing to try and control the Yetzer Hara.

Of course, whenever any negative activity is overcome, it leaves in its place a void, which should be filled immediately with something positive, as the Yetzer Hara thrives in a vaccum.

And finally, keep your Simcha intact, as the #1 tool of the Yetzer Hara is making people sad, down and depressed. Avoid that at ALL costs.

Simcha Shel Mitzvah!


Taken from with permission

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Race - A Poem

Part 1:
“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!”
They shout out and plead.
“There’s just too much against you now,
This time you can’t succeed!”

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene;
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates by being.

Part 2:
A children’s race – young boys, young men
How I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear;
It wasn’t’ hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope;
Each thought to win the race,
Or tie for first, or if not that,
At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side,
Each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they went,
Young hearts and hopes afire!
To win, to be the hero there,
Was each young boy’s desire.

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought
“My dad will be so proud!”

But as he sped down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win,
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd,
He fell flat on is face.

But as he fell, his dad stoop up
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said,
“Get up and win the race!”

He quickly rose, no damage done,
Behind a bit, that’s all –
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than he legs;
He slipped and fell again!

He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn’t try to race.”

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father’s face,
That steady look which said again,
“Get up and win the race!”

So he jumped up to try again,
Ten yards behind the last –
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought,
“I’ve got to move real fast.”

Exerting everything he had
He gained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead,
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
“There’s no sense running anymore;
Three strikes, I’m out, why try?”

The will to try had disappeared
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error prone,
A loser all the way.

“I’ve lost; so what’s the use,” he thought.
“I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad
Whom soon he’d have to face.

“Get up!” an echo sounded low.
“Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here.
Get up and win the race!”

With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said,
“You haven’t lost at all.
For winning is not more than this –
To rise each time you fall.”

So up he rose to win once more,
And with new commit,
He resolved that win or lose,
At least he wouldn’t quit.

So far behind the others now
The most he’d ever been
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.

Three times he’d fallen stumbling,
Three times he’d rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed first place,
Head high, proud and happy,
No falling, no disgrace.

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, un-proud,
You would have thought he won the race
Just listening to the crowd.

And to his dad he sadly said,
“I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said.
“You rose each time you fell!”

Taken from by Miss Antebi

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Reminder - Make the Bracha

This is just a reminder for those of you who have not yet made a bracha on a tree this month to quickly grab the chance and do it!

Wednesday is last day of Chodesh Nissan - the month when each one of us should make a bracha on a fruit tree.

Grab the opportunity and don't let this chance for a once-a-year bracha slip away!

And here's a link to an article from aish on the topic.

May this month be one full of growth and overflowing with brachos!

Time is sooo precious ,Lori gives us an idea of how to use our time wisely!!

When your patience level is below zero…

…take a deep breath. This is your chance to get better at it. Of course you think you can’t do much more. But that’s the point. At that moment you can dig somewhere deep inside yourself and find a teeny bit of something you never knew you had. An extra dose of tolerance.

I’m trying it. Right now. I don’t have to describe exactly what is going on in this room at the moment but suffice it to say that I’m finding it. That extra dose of patience. And I’ll become even more patient.

Let go.

Breath in.

And out.

And in.

And out.

This too shall pass.

There. You can do it. You’ll get there.

It takes work but it will be worth it.

I’d rather be a patient, calm, relaxed mother than one who screams and yells when my patience wears thin. I’d rather learn how to stretch another centimeter so my rubber band doesn’t break when pulled.

I’m doing it. Starting now. And I’m getting there.

Wanna give it a try next time your patience starts wearing thin?

Written while I was in the moment...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dan L'kaf Zechus

The following two stories happened recently and I think it’s worth sharing just so you see that you never know what is going on in another person’s head and they could have a very good reason for doing or saying something. Dan L’kaf Zechus is not just a phrase, it’s a real true thing that we should all try to work on!

I was on my way out of town for yom tov and while I was at a rest stop, I called a friend to wish her Mazel tov on the birth of twin girls (!!). I forgot to hang up the phone and so the voicemail continued playing rap music that had been on quite loudly at the rest stop. When I realized my phone call was still connected, I was mortified!

I could almost imagine her reaction. “Oh she shows the world she’s so frum but really, look what she listens to behind closed doors! Ha! What a faker!”

I know she really wouldn’t think those thoughts – she knows me well enough to know that rap music isnot on the top of (or anywhere on) my list of music of choice. But just to make sure, I sent her a text message explaining that the music was most definitely not coming from the radio on in my car, but from the rest stop’s blaring speakers.
Here’s the second story.

This morning, when my husband was coming back from shul, he overheard our chassidish neighbor, a very frum mother who was waiting for her son’s bus stop, tell another neighbor really loudly that she “got to see more about it on a huge TV screen”.

Now this woman is definitely not the one to watch TV. And she wouldn’t say it loudly enough for others to hear.

But when my husband came home and I told him the big news, he knew exactly what she was talking about.

Osama bin Laden was killed. (The enemies of Our People will get their just punishments. Even if it isn’t in this world. He may not have suffered the way we would have imagined it – a cruel or unusual death. But living in fear of one’s life is surely part of his punishment. And Hashem will take care of the rest in the next world, that I am sure about.)

THAT was what she was talking about.

She must have gone to a pharmacy or another store that had TVs playing the big news.

So how can you make it easier to judge other people favorably?

I once heard this advice that really helped me.

When it comes to something you are doing that may look wrong to others, it is easy for you to come up with excuses or reasons why it happened.

I was tired. I didn’t notice she needed my help. I forgot. I made a mistake. It didn’t happen the way she saw it – there’s another whole side to my story that she doesn’t even know about.

So when someone else does something that looks doubtful, that makes you wonder how she could have said or done that thing, you can literally put yourself in her shoes and imagine what kind of excuse would you have come up with if this happened to you?!

It’s always easy to think of excuses for our own (mis)deeds.

So that’s how you can think of excuses for others-simply imagine yourself in that situation.

Then it won’t be so hard to figure out why that perfectly religious looking girl walked into McDonalds. Maybe she needed the bathroom. Maybe she needed change for a bus. Maybe she was thirsty and wanted a bottle of coke. What other reasons might she have walked into an obviously non-kosher store? It may seem a little hard for you but if it you did it, you would surely be able to come up with a few reasons to explain yourself!

You can use this piece of advice anytime you see someone you know doing something a little “off”.

Do you have any dan l’kaf zechus stories to share?