Monday, March 31, 2014

Night of Questions

I posted this last year and wanted to share it with you again.

I am standing in the kitchen having a discussion with my son while I work. We are talking about the makkos, and my ever so curious boy has a lot of questions. He really wants to understand.

We go through the makkos one by one and I try my best to describe each of them to him.

I get up to makkas arov, that of the wild animals.

My son has a lot of questions.

"Why did the animals hurt the mitzriyim?" he wants to know.

I give a simple explanation.

"They were so mean to the yidden. The mitzriyim made them work really hard and they hurt them. So Hashem punished them. Are we allowed to hurt? Nooo. We have to be nice to other kinderlach."

I am feeling proud of myself for sticking that little lesson into our conversation.

But my son has his own take on it.

"Hashem is so mean." he tells me.

I stand there open-mouthed for a minute and I just want to pinch my son's cute cheeks.

I try to explain it to him a little more. I explain how Hashem punishes anyone who hurts the yidden and how hard the mitzriyim made the yidden work. How they hit them and the yidden used to cry.

I describe the different animals and what they did to hurt the mitzriyim. How some animals kicked with their feet and how the elephants hit with their trunks.

My son is so "there"; it seems like he is living the story along with those back in mitzrayim.

And then he says, "Mommy, who punished the animals?"

He realizes that no one gets away scot-free. And if the animals hurt the mitzriyim as a punishment for hurting the yidden, then the next step is that the animals must get punished too.

I am done. My mind is racing. I love the way this little kid thinks.

And I wonder...when do WE stop thinking and asking? When do our minds stop questioning and just accept everything we are told?

And more importantly...why?

Why don't we continue to ask?

In Judaism, not only aren't we afraid of questions, but questions are encouraged. We are supposed to ask, inquire, delve, learn and hopefully come out with a deeper understanding and feel more satisfied inside.

On Pesach night, parents do so many unusual things.


Kidei that the little children should ask.

But it's not only the little ones who should be asking.

All of us, no matter our age, should be encouraged to open our minds and our hearts and ask those questions that have be bothering us for some time. And if the Seder night is not the right time for it, save it for another time, but don't forget about it.

So hold on to this message...and never stop asking.

Because the more we ask, the more chances we have for answers. And answers add so much depth and meaning to our lives.

The Seder night is a night of questions. It's a time to think and a time to ask.

May you be able to achieve clarity amidst confusion, depth when you are searching for meaning and may you always find the right people to ask your questions to. And most of all...may you be able to get answers that satisfy you and make you feel like you can keep asking. There is so much growth you can attain when you ask and you learn!

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I am sending this poem along with my Mishloach Manos this year. 

Purim is here, a day full of fun
With costumes and smiles for everyone
This year the kids got to make their own choice
We let them express their own inner voice
Often the costumes we choose reflect what's inside
Although all year we may choose to hide
Our inner essence is revealed on this Purim day
By the things we dress up as-it’s as if we say
This is what I want, who I wish I could be
For my little ones it's a giraffe, a policeman and a kallah so pretty
But even adults, we sometimes wear masks
Throughout the year when we go about our daily tasks
We act as if, we pretend and we go on with our day
Even though we wish we were different, we wish we could change
Purim is a day when that mask can be removed
When we can look at ourselves and see how we want to improve
This day can be the beginning of a better you
Just like the Jews in Shushan who were keemu v'kiblu
They accepted the Torah with love in their hearts
And now you can do the same-it is in your power to start
To become the person you always wished you could be
So that next year, when you look back, you'll be proud of what you see
V'nahapoch hu-the miracle wasn't just the physical one
That the decree was revoked and over their enemies the Jews won
There was also a spiritual turnover-inside each and every Jew
They connected to the mitzvos with an excitement that was new
You can harness the power of this day and use it to change something
Becoming better as a person and growing closer to the King of Kings
So that this day will be more than Mishloach Manos giving
It will be used to enhance the way you are living.
So whether the mask you wear is revealing or concealing
May you be able to make those changes, for it is the best feeling
To look in the mirror and be proud of who you became
Knowing that from now on you will never be the same
By using this day to become a new and better you
May you be able to experience an internal v'nahapoch hu

Feel free to share this message with others. If you do pass on this poem, I'd appreciate if you left a comment or sent me an email. Thank you.

A freilichen Purim!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Nine Years

Nine years
Nine long years
Until she understood
Until she was able to see
Was taken 
By force
The king's palace
Of course
I will not be
She thought
Of course
I'll go
Right back
Surprise of surprises
She was
She didn't understand 
Why would
A girl so good
A girl so pure
Be chosen for
This task
Did she ask?
Did she question?
Or did she accept
Without questions?
Was her faith
Also simple
And good
Just like she was?
She lived in the King's palace
For nine years
Nine long years
She didn't know why
She had to live with him
For so many years
She couldn't know why
Couldn't make sense
Of the senseless
So whether she questioned
Or accepted
Without questions
Whether her faith was super strong
Or she felt weak and uncertain at times
One thing remains.
Inside her heart
She didn't understand.
But when she was the one
To save the Jewish Nation
To bring about
The salvation
That's when
She was able to understand
Why she was chosen
Why she had to live
In the King's palace
For so many years.
The confusion
The uncertainty
Turned into
It was all crystal clear!
It all made sense!
There were no more questions.
Hashem had a plan
And now
She was able to

We live our lives
And many times
We have questions.
We don't understand 
Why things happen
Why we have to go through
Certain challenges
Why we have to live with
Certain things
Why we have to experience 
Tough stuff.
We get a glimpse
A peek
Into why
We can
Just a little bit
Of why
We see change
We see events
We see things
That could not have happened
Had we not
Gone through
Lived with
Certain things
And sometimes
We just can't make sense of it
It just doesn't make sense
And we ask
(Or we think)
We sigh
We cry
We try
To understand
And we can't
Hashem's plan
And we get frustrated 
But we must remember
That there IS a plan
There IS a reason
For every single thing
We go through
Every day
Every month
Every year.
Nine years
Is what it took
For Esther 
Queen Esther
To understand
The plan.
It may take us
Nine years
It may take more
We may never
While we are alive
But we must strive
To internalize
This emunah
This faith
That there is a reason
Even when we don't see it
Even when we can't get it
Hashem does
Hashem knows
We have this exact
It is for 
Our ultimate benefit
Our ultimate good
Yes we should
To internalize
My bracha 
To you is
That you should be blessed with
Strength to pull through
When you can't understand
The power to believe
Really believe
When things don't make sense
The ability to connect
To daven
To seek out
To question
To come closer to
When you feel
Just like Esther did
When she was
And so terribly afraid
When the fate of
The entire Jewish People
Was in her hands
When she stood before the King
And directed her heart
To the King of Kings
With the words
Keili Keili 
Lama azavtani
She asked
She questioned
She expressed 
Her pain
To the Only One
Who has the answers.
May you be able to connect
In the same profound way
And may you be able to see
To know
To really understand
The reason for
Your experiences
I don't know 
How long it will take
But Esther
She waited 
Nine years
May you be able to persevere
Pull through
Your challenges
Your life
And come out
As a person
As a Jew
In your belief
That the King of Kings
What He is doing
And may you
Be able to look back
In Nine years
From now
(Or less)
With clarity
Crystal clear clarity
And believing
And if you still don't understand
And you still don't know
May you still believe
May you still be strong
In Nine years from now.