Last night, I just couldn't come to myself. I couldn't function, there were too many details swimming around in my head and it was too hard to go on.
I needed chizuk.
I called in to Kol Halashon to see what I could listen to and R' Zecharia Wallerstein was speaking live. Although I came on in middle of his shiur, I wanted to share some of what he said with you. Perhaps it will give you some chizuk too.
He read a famous article called "The Brick". It is about a young guy who bought himself a Jaguar and as he was driving down the street, someon threw a brick at his car. He got out of his car really angry, only to see a little child asking for help-his brother fell out of his wheelchair and he was too heavy for him to lift on his own. With tear-filled eyes, he asked this man to please help him. The man's heart filled with compassion for this young child and after he helped him, the boy continued on his way while the man slowly walked back to his car.
His Jaguar had a huge dent from the impact of the brick but he chose not to have it fixed. He kept it there as a reminder: don't ever go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to wake you up.
R' Wallerstein continued by saying, Hashem just threw a brick at us. How are we going to react?
We have to make sure we don't forget about this story. We have to let that brick leave it's dent on us and let it make an impression.
I'm not here to tell you to take specific kabalos upon yourself, make specific changes, do this, don't do that.
There have been enough reminders, enough bricks thrown at us.
When will we finally take the message?
And the answer is: NOW.
Hashem, that's enough. Enough beautiful flowers and roses in Your heavenly garden. We need some beauty down here on earth. Stop picking. Let us enjoy the scent, the beautiful colors, the unlimited potential in each and every child put here on earth.
We got the message.
If you wanted some specific ideas of what to work on, here are a few things that come to mind:
Kibbud av v'eim-speaking to your parents respectfully and showing appreciation for the little things they do for you.
Tefillah-have extra concentration when davening for moshiach (in v'liyerushalayim)
Birchas Hamazon-think for an extra minute about what you are saying when you recite the words "Harachaman hu yishlach lanu es eliyahu hanavi"-how we all wait for that day!
Shabbos-make an extra effort to be ready on time for candle lighting
Chessed-at the end of every day, before you go to sleep, make a mental note of something you did to brighten someone's day. If you can't come up with anything, think ahead of time about what you can do tomorrow-and remember, small things are really big!
Tzeddakah-try to give tzeddakah, charity once a week. Make a calculation of your earnings so you are sure you are giving ma'aser, one-tenth of your earnings to tzeddakah.
Spiritual Growth-spend some time once a day or once a week to read/learn something that enhances your connection to Hashem, the Torah or mitzvos. There is so much reading material out there!
Smile-greet one person you meet in your office/school/camp or when you shop at a store with a real, genuine smile.
think about the lasting impact the next thing you see, read, watch or listen to will have on your neshama. Then, ask yourself is this really good for me? If the answer is yes, go ahead. If it is no, think twice and then make your decision.
May Leiby's pure and holy neshama have an aliya. I don't know if his neshama can go higher than where he is right now, in Hashem's embrace but if it can, our deeds and actions will surely help him reach the highest heights.