Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Question of the Week:
A quick question. . . my friends often tell me to smile more. But how can one always just smile and be happy if (not so) deep down one has pressing troubles, worries and problems to deal with? Must I smile when I am not in the mood?
What has smiling to do with your mood? What has the look on your face to do with the feelings in your heart?
Your face is not your business. It is public property. You only have to look at your own face once briefly in the morning. Everyone else has to look at your face all day. So just because you are in a bad mood or going through a rough patch, doesn't mean everyone else has to be brought down too. The people around you deserve to be greeted with a pleasant face.
Of course, smiling is not only for the benefit of others, but for your own benefit too. The number one cause of misery is not life's troubles but rather self-absorption. The more you think about yourself and your predicament, the more you marinate in self-pity, the more miserable you become.
On the other hand, when you look outside of yourself, look around you and see how you can be of service to others, when you smile not because you are in the mood but because others deserve to be smiled at, you start to feel upbeat and light again.
This is not to say that there are never any real reasons to be sad, or that smiling is a magical cure for depression. The point is that smiling is a duty you have to others. And when you focus on your duties rather than your difficulties, you are on the road to happiness.
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Monday, June 27, 2011
Such a situation comes up all the time - when someone gets a job and you are still looking for one, when someone gets into a school/seminary/college that you wanted to get into, when a friend gets engaged before you - it's a challenge many of us experience on some level.
It boils down to learning how to deal with disappointment on your end while at the same time being happy, really happy for your friend's good fortune.
The first thing to remind yourself, although you know this in your sleep, is that Hashem runs the world and He knows what is best for you. He does everything not just for a reason, but for a good reason! You don't know why He decided that it's best for your friend to get into that school, to get that job or to get that guy - all before you but He knows why it's best!
There's a mashal you may have heard about a tapestry - when someone is sewing it, if you look from the bottom, it looks like a big mess and you can't see or understand the beauty of the big picture. All you'll see are knots and a mixture of colorful strings hanging around. However, if you sit up on top, you'll get to see a beautiful picture with details you never would have imagined when looking from below.
I think the nimshal is pretty clear. When we are down here on this world, we don't understand the seemingly unclear, messy threads that are hanging from up above. But after 120 years, when I person goes up there, they can see with 100% clarity the beauty in the tapestry Hashem has sown!
Another thing to keep in mind is that someone else's good fortune will not in any way take away from the good you are going to have when your time comes. You will get to experience that joy and happiness when Hashem decides the time is right for you. Everyone has their time and everyone has their yeshuah that is going to come for them!
The job your friend got is perfect for her and even if you think you could have gotten it or would have gotten accepted if not for her, it's not true! If you would have gotten that job, it may not have worked out best for you - the traveling, the coworkers, the environment, your relationship with the boss, your schedule or whatever else it may be. Hashem has His plans and He has a reason why He made it that she got the job and not you. But this does not take away from your good and your chance - you will get something that's good for you! Just keep davening!!
That school/college/seminary was obviously not meant to work out for you because had you gone there, you would not be the person you are a few years later. You may have learned things differently or come out with different hashkafos had you gone there. You wouldn't have made the friends you have today had you gone there - because Hashem put you in this specific place (whether it's a school/college or seminary) so that you could get to know people who you can form relationships with that will be a benefit for you.
That guy your friend got engaged to is perfect for her. Even if it seems like he has some of the qualities you are looking for (which makes sense because friends tend to be similar so they may be looking for similar guys), he is her guy! There are little details and nuances of his personality and background that will make it work for the two of them to get married and it just wouldn't work out for you. Iy"h they will make a great couple together! Hashem has someone in mind for you and her simcha, her joy will not in any way take away from the joy you will experience when you get yours! In fact, it may be multiplied because of the things you have gone through to get to that point! When you wait for something and you finally get it, it's so much more precious and you appreciate it so much more!
Were you ever jealous of someone else's glasses prescription? Why not?
It's because this is something they need to be able to see better and if you wore their glasses, not only wouldn't it help you see more clearly, it may even cause you to bump into things because it's too strong or too weak for you. Your friend's glasses are made to fit her eyes so that when she puts them on in the morning, she can see with 20/20 vision. You don't need her glasses to see well! So of course there's no purpose in wanting them!
If only we were able to view life with such crystal clear vision, viewing other people's joys in true jealous-free lenses, the world would be a much happier place. May you always be able to feel real joy when you hear about other people's simchos and good fortune and may each of you be able to experience your own yeshuah soon!
And one more thing - don't stop davening! Thank Hashem for the goodness He bestowed upon your friends and keep asking Him to give you that which you have been davening for all this time!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
We are now living in very difficult times. We all need personal yeshuos and refuos and it’s hard when we daven so hard and don’t see an answer.
First of all, we need to keep reminding ourselves who is in charge. No matter what situation we are in, we must keep remembering that no matter what, Hashem is in charge, He is running the show, He knows what is best for us and He can do anything at any time!! He can perform miracles - right in front of our eyes!
Just like He is the one who makes a person sick, He is the only one who can heal, not the doctors or anyone in the hospitals - only Hashem! He is the one who brings about every single shidduch, every single yeshuah and He runs the world!! And never underestimate the power of our tefillos.
Sometimes we daven for something and we don't see immediate results. In fact, this is not something that happens sometimes, it happens all the time! We daven and daven and beg and cry and we say to Hashem, "why?" or "when will you finally answer my tefillos?”
We expect that when we daven for something, since our tefillos are so powerful and pierce the heavens, we should get answered right away!
But this doesn't happen. It doesn't work that way.
R' Shimshon Pincus gives an amazing, down-to-earth mashal to explain this.
After you eat something very fattening, do you run to the mirror and say, "Ohmygosh! I gained weight!!"??
No! It doesn't work that way! It takes time!!!
Just like the second you eat, you will not see the extra pounds showing up when you look at your reflection in the mirror, you will not see immediate results as soon as you are done davening for someone or something - it takes time!!
When you daven for someone, your tefillah never goes to waste - if you don't see an answer, many times it's just that Hashem is saving the tefillah for another time when you least expect it, or didn't even deserve it, or didn't even daven for something - and then the yeshuah just "comes" and you wonder - "what did I do to deserve that?" It's because Hashem took out the tefillos that you davened that long time ago and uses it for a time when you need it most!!
Here’s a story I know personally that shows this point. When I was in elementary school, a girl in my grade had a family member that got sick with cancer. Everyone davened so hard for this girl’s sister. She was still young (just 19 years old) and had a whole life ahead of her. The family, the school, everyone was davening. And then…she passed away. It was so sad!
A few years later, Chaya Sara was walking with this girl’s sister (let’s name her Rivka, just for the story) and as they were crossing the street, a car turned in and hit Rivka. Her body went flying up and then fell down on the street with a thud. It was a very scary moment. Chaya Sara was totally fine, the car didn’t touch her, but the girl she was walking with was lying on the ground. Hatzalah was called and Rivka was brought to the hospital.
When her parents heard that their daughter was in a car accident, they thought, “We cannot lose another one!! Hashem, how much more do you think we can handle?! Please, please, do something to save us from any more pain!!”
Well, there was a real miracle. Rivka was brought to the emergency room and emerged without a scratch! She was totally fine!
Ask Chaya Sara if you want to know if this story really happened! She was there, walking with this girl when the accident happened!
So you see that sometimes, we may not see an answer to our tefillos right away, but Hashem saves those tefillos for when we least expect it and for when we need it most! The tefillos that everyone davened for Rivka’s sister were saved for her and she experienced a miracle!!
Let’s keep reminding ourselves that Hashem can do anything to anyone at anytime - He holds the power to heal, bring simcha and joy into our lives and He gives each person the strength they need to go thru life’s many difficult challenges.
You may want to read the comments on the original post - and for additional details of the story from Chaya Sara.
Friday, June 17, 2011
People think only men have to watch their eyes and that women do not have to be so careful. But I want you to know that it is not true. One of the sheish mitzvos temidiyos, the six constant mitzvos (that can be done at any moment of the day and one receives reward for doing it) is in this week's parsha, Parshas Shelach. It says, v'lo sasuru acharei levavchem v'acharei eineichem, you should not look after images or things that are not appropriate for you - this applies to women just as much as it applies to men!
I once heard an incredible thought on this topic from R' Zecharia Wallerstein.
He spoke about how the guests who came to Avraham Avinu's house washed their feet before entering his home because there was sand in their feet and they worshiped the sand. Since he was so careful not to let a trace of avodah zara, idol worship, into his home, he had them wash their feet before letting them in to his house.
So the question is, how far can a person go? If these people worshiped the sun, would he have closed all the shutters? It's only sand!
But Avraham was showing that you can never be too careful. He took such great care in making sure not to let a speck of avodah zara, in this case the sand, into his home - even though it was so tiny.
And we see what an effect this had on his son because later on, Yitzchok became blind from the sacrifices of his son Eisav's wives, sacrifices of idol worship. Why did he become blind from this? Because his neshama was so sensitive to even the tiniest crumb of avodah zara that he couldn't handle the tumah, the impurity, that came from the smoke of the sacrifices. This is what caused him to become blind! It did not affect his wife, Rivka because she didn't grow up in a home where even a little piece of sand was not allowed into the house by those who worshiped it!
There is only one body part that is so sensitive to something as small as a grain of sand. If you had sand between your fingers or toes, it would not irritate you. However, if a grain of sand somehow got into your eye, it would bother you to no end. You would be busy trying to get it out, rolling your eye in all directions, rinsing it with water, and doing anything possible to get it out of your eye.
But what's the big deal??? It's ONLY a grain of sand!!
It IS a big deal because the eyes are extremely sensitive.
This shows you just how sensitive your eyes must be spiritually and each person must guard them so carefully. You must not allow even the smallest grain of sand into your eyes! We learn from Avraham how important it is to be careful with what you let into your eyes.
There's a famous saying, "the eyes are the windows to the soul" - whatever you let your eyes see will have an everlasting impact on your neshama. So guard your eyes carefully, especially in these summer months!
When you walk outside and see women who are less dressed than dressed, turn your eyes the other way! Look in the opposite direction!
When you are online and see a link, picture or video clip that looks tempting, quickly close the tab or window you are open to. Don't let yourself stumble! Be strong! Resist the temptation and keep those grains of sand out of your eyes so that you don't irritate them with things you shouldn't be seeing!!
I know it's hard. It's hard for me too. But think about how irritating it would be if you had a piece of sand, one tiny grain, stuck in your eye. Think about how quickly you'd run to the sink to flush your eye with water.
May you have much hatzlacha keeping your eyes pure!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
There is so much that happens in two years of a person's life, especially in the first two years of their life. The growth and development that happens from the time a baby is born through the toddler stages are literally astounding. From learning how to smile, recognize peoples' faces, eat solids, crawl, walk, talk, put words and phrases together to come out with a coherent thought, play and share, it is truly a miracle to watch a child learn so much.
Today, I took time to remember the moment Shalom Baruch was born, the doctor's shout of "It's a BOY!" and my relief to have finally given birth. It wasn't until close to 14 hours later, when I was alone in the hospital bed without any visitors, while I was holding my son that it hit me: this is MY son. My own child. My precious baby that I will love and care for all my life. Nothing could take that love away.
I remember the intense feelings I felt as I looked into my little newborn's eyes, tears rolling down my cheeks, trembling and shaking and talking to my baby, telling him all I wanted, wished and dreamed for - all the hopes I had for this tiny, pure, innocent neshama.
I remember thinking at the time: there is no one else here in the room, just me, Hashem and my precious little one.
It was such an intense few minutes.
I'll remember it forever.
It makes me think, didn't we all start off this way?
How did we become so contaminated?
There is so much garbage out there.
We need to keep our eyes, our ears and especially our brains pure and clean.
The internet poses so many challenges. With just one curious click of the mouse, you can find yourself reading, watching or listening to something that certainly should not enter your soul, that pure neshama that you were born with.
So on this day, I take it upon myself, as a zechus for my own children, to be extra careful with the things I look at and read so that they remain as pure as possible. The challenge is incredible. In the summer especially, there are all kinds of people dressed (or not!) outside and it is so easy to take that second glance. It takes work to look away, to guard my eyes, to not click that link and read something that is not good for my neshama.
Don't we all want to keep our purity intact, to the biggest extent possible?
Today is also a day when I can look back and thank Hashem for the many gifts he has given me in these past two years.
A healthy child.
That alone is enough to fill pages and pages of reasons to be thankful.
Two healthy children.
I think I'll stop there.
Hashem, I can never thank you enough.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I just read an unreal story from the book called Garden of gratitude written by Rabbi Lazer Brody..
He said that if a person thanks hashem for all the good in his life he has no clue how much bracha he opens for himself..:)
This story took place many years ago 2 men were walking on a road and suddenly the angel of death appeared before them he said im here to take your life!They got soooo scared since they were able to see him right in front of there eyes!They did not know what to do, they had a few seconds to think..Hashem sent a man who was in need of money to walk by these two guys, when he put his hand out the first guy gave him a few coins for tzedaka and the man thanked him and walked away. The angel of death said,"since you did a kind deed I cant take your life right now but the other guy who did not give him money I have to take his life..the other guy said," what!!I'm not ready to go pls can i have at least one min.." and he started thanking Hashem for his life and for all the good that he bestowed upon him..he also said, "Hashem I am so thankful to you that you are giving me a chance to get closer to you, and when i die i will be so close to you so thank you for wanting me to be close to you." He wasnt ready to die but knew that he didnt have much time to do anything else! As soon as he was done this short prayer of thanks the angel of death said to him,"bec. you remembered to thank hashem I now also do not have a power to kill you." Thank you is even greater than giving tzedaka so now you will live a longer life because you thanked Hashem!! Can you imagine how great it is to thank Hashem:)! So how am I connecting this to shabbos..
bec. on shabb. you have time to reflect on the true connection with hashem so its the best time to stop and think about hashem for real!!
So I give u all a bracha that you should be zoche to realize that thanking hashem is one of the greatest things you could do for yourself and the whole world!!!