Tuesday, July 22, 2014


My son is making a puppet show with some stuffed animals. He picks up the Pooh bear. 

"What does Winnie the Pooh like to eat?" I ask. I'm sure he doesn't know. I never told him.

"Honey!" He smiles. 

When I ask him how he knew that, he tells me that two years ago, his morah read him a book and showed his class a video about Winnie the Pooh.

Two years ago? And this kid remembers?

I know my son. And I know he has a good memory. He is extremely observant and doesn't forget little details. But still, for him to remember that Pooh loves to eat honey...it gets me thinking.

The things we look at, the books we read, the websites we visit, the videos we watch, the music we listen to,  the billboards we look at, all these things make an impression on us. They stay with us forever. 

 *   *   *

Have you ever checked your browsing history on your computer? Press Ctrl and H on your keyboard at the same time and you will see a comprehensive list of all the websites you've visited along with the dates and times you clicked on the pages.

Employers can use this-and other more sophisticated means-to check up on their employees to see what they are up to during down time at work.

Parents can check up on their children to see what they are doing while they are online.

There is a record of everything you do, every link you click on, every page you access.

Sure, you can go incognito.

Yes, you can try to hide your tracks, visiting webpages using anonymous browsers.

And you can delete your browsing history when you are done your session.

But...Hashem has a record.

Hashem sees every single thing you do. 

Every single page you visit. 

Every single click of your mouse.

Glance of your eyes.

Hashem keeps track of every action you take-online, at home, at school, at work and in the privacy of your home.

Wherever you are, Hashem is watching.

Da ma l'ma'alah mimcha-ayin ro'ah v'ozen shoma'as v'chol ma'asecha beseifer nichtavim. Know what is above you-an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and all your actions are written in a book-a book that records everything, that doesn't miss out on a single thing.

It's a pretty scary thought.

Hashem watches everything. 

Hashem remembers everything.

There is no deleting what you saw, listened to, heard or watched. 

My son...he has a pretty good memory. I am sometimes shocked by the things he can recall, the little details he reminds me of that I don't remember.

The computer...it keep track of everything. Every click, every page, every visit.

But...Hashem...He is way beyond all that. 

He sees all and He doesn't forget.


Friday, July 18, 2014


My silver is turning
It's starting to look
And so I take out
The silver polish
So I can make
My candlesticks
I put on my gloves
Start scrubbing
Elbow grease
Eyebrows crease
In concentration
To get these candlesticks
To shine.
Isn't it interesting
I think
That I have to
These candlesticks
In order to get them
To shine?
Can't I just use 
A little soap
In the hope
That they'll get
The polish
With the sponge
And my rubbing
And scrubbing
Turn these gold looking
Into a beauty
A silver
A color so clean
That it gleams
From all the pressure
From all the dirt
From all the suds
That are part of
This process.
I process
And I know
That it is all the dirt
All the work
All the pressure
The pain
The hardships
The scrubbing
And rubbing
The tough cleaning
Called Life
That make
My soul
My essence
The person
I will one day
Become clean.
I will endure
I will persevere
I will stay strong
So I can
Become stronger
And shine
Just like
My candlesticks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When You Have Reason To...

Today, Yud Zayin Tammuz is the beginning of the Three Weeks. 

The purpose of a fast day, whether or not you are actually fasting, is to bring you to do teshuva, to change, to do something different. 

The Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed because of sinas chinam, baseless hatred. Because people had negative feelings towards others for no real reason. 

"She gets on my nerves."
"I can't stand her."
"She knows just how to push my buttons."
"I'm embarrassed to be seen around her."

But...what about when you do have a reason to hate someone? 

What about when you have negative feelings towards someone who hurt you?

When you keep all your hurt inside, it will continue to bubble and boil until that pot of emotions overflows and explodes over one last straw.

It is important to learn how to deal with those emotions. 

How to deal with difficult people that Hashem put into your life for a reason.

How to express those feelings so you could make things better.

Express how you feel. Tell the other person that you are upset, hurt or angry. But if you do it in the heat of the moment, they will probably have a hard time hearing you. If you wait until things are calmer, there is more of a chance of working through what is bothering you in a way that is productive...with both of you being open to hearing each other, without any of you feeling defensive or under attack. A calm conversation leaves more room for open communication.

And when you focus on how YOU feel, instead of on what the other person did wrong, you are helping the other person learn you, learn your needs and what makes you tick. Instead of them feeling like they are in the wrong for what they did, you are making them aware of what things hurt you. What things bother you. And then they could focus on doing things differently next time. Because its about making you happy. Not hurting you. Being in tune to your feelings.

Relationships are complicated. 

People are complicated.

Life is complicated.

But you can learn some tricks and tips to work on making the complicated things in your life a bit more bearable. When you have tools in your hands, when you know how to deal with challenging situations, you will feel empowered to keep trying, to keep going, keep learning and keep growing. 

And that's exactly what we are here for.

May you be able to work on keeping things peaceful with those you love and are close with and may you find the right path to achieving harmony among all those you come in contact with.

Have a meaningful fast!

Thursday, July 3, 2014


My heart screams
Why did this have
To happen?
My insides shout
How did this happen?
How did Hashem
Allow this to happen?
And how?
How will these families
Go on?
Be comforted?
Will they ever
Find comfort
In this loss
In this brutal murder
Of their young sons?

I know
I know there are
In this world
I know this is
An upside-down world
Where good and bad
Are confused
Where happy and sad
Are diffused
Where we don’t know
What is true good
What is really bad
We just don’t know
But there is a plan.

I know
I don’t know
But still
I can’t help it
I can’t help crying
I can’t help feeling
This pain
I can’t help wishing
To understand
I know I can’t
I know I wont
In this world
They do.

Those up There
They understand
They know
They are at peace
In a better place
While we
Down here
Continue to
And cry.

They don’t need to
Or question
They have no
They have no
These young boys
And all the other
Little boys
Whose lives ended
Way too soon
For those
Close to them.

They are happy
Up There
Their neshamos rejoice
In that very special place
Reserved for those
Very special souls
Who are held so close
To the One Above
Caressed with love
They know
It’s all for the good
They understand
This is how it should

There is a plan
Hashem’s guiding Hand
Orchestrated this.
Something is amiss
I imagine bliss-up There
So then why
Did they have to die
Like this?
In a way
That makes everyone
If they are going
Up to a place
Of eternal Peace
Then why?
Did they have to die
With such hatred
By bloodthirsty
Is that how
They rose
To the melech malchei hamlochim
To the place
Of Ultimate Peace?
By dying
This way?

Perhaps it is
The peace
The unity
The achdus
The togetherness
That was achieved
Through these
Two plus weeks
To find
These missing
Our boys
Perhaps this
That came about
Through their
Through their
Tragic story
The unity
The prayers
The mitzvos
The tzeddakah
The peace
Between all
The breaking
Of barriers
Between all
Colors, stripes
Levels and types.

Just maybe
The zechus
Of the peace
Their death brought
To this world
Down Here
Brought them up
Way up
To a place
Of Ultimate

No, they didn’t die
With hatred
They died
With love
Between all

May their souls
Rise up
May their families
Be blessed
With comfort
The Only One
Who can.
May their families
Be strengthened
By the unity
And peace
These little boys
Onto this world.

This is part of an even longer poem I wrote after I heard the very sad news about these boys and tried to work though some of my questions by writing out my feelings. If you want to see the whole poem, send me an email.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I can't sleep.

Every time I close my eyes, I see those three smiling faces. The faces of the three boys we all became so familiar with over these past two weeks.

The sweet, happy, innocent faces of three young boys who just wanted to come home for shabbos.

And I cry.

I can't sleep.

Every time I try, I hear that last phone call. "Chatfu oti" I hear. I hear those animals yelling at our three boys. I hear them screaming, "Rosh Limata" again and again. I hear the gunshots.

I try to squeeze my eyes shut, stop my pounding heart, but those images remain with me.

I am haunted. 

I am in that car with those three boys. I feel their terror. I feel their panic. My heart constricts with pain. I see the guns, I feel the bullets. I feel the confusion and utter sense of loss as these boys-our boys-me-face their unknown, scary, near-death.

And I have so many questions.

What went through their minds during those last moments?

Who died first?

How much did they fight back?

What was it like for the boys who were still alive to see their friends being shot? Killed?

How much pain were they in?



And I know that I will never know.

But I ask.

I am thirsty. Thirsty for knowledge.

I want to know.


I want to understand.


I know I cannot understand.

But I want to make sense of this.

I want to try.

I want to make sense of the senseless.

Of this crazy, horrific story.

I read everything I can.

I check the news, hoping to gain insight. Clarity. Understanding.

All I get is confusion.

I don't understand.

I can't understand.

I can't wrap my head around this.

My mind can't stretch far enough to understand this.

My head feels like it's going to explode.

My mind has wandered far enough.

My heart feels so much pain.

I'm back in the car with these three boys.

I am haunted.

I can't think other thoughts.

I cannot be distracted-not at this hour.

How are these parents functioning?

How are the siblings dealing with this?

I am far, far away from them all. But I feel so close.

Am Yisroel is crying.

We are all mourning together.

We all feel this incredible pain.

There is so much we don't understand. So much we can't understand.

Yet, one thing we do know.

These three boys are sitting together, in a place so lofty and so high, reserved for the kedoshim, those holy souls whose lives were taken just because they were Jews.

And they understand.

They know.

They know why.

This all makes sense to them.

And I try to find a measure of comfort in that.

In the knowledge that Someone understands, even though I cannot.

This unbelievable tragedy connected Am Yisroel and brought us all together.

We are One Nation, united. We are not divited by externals-by the kind of yarmulka we wear, by the way we cover our hair, the way we dress, the shuls we daven in. We are One.

We all connected through this painful story and davened to Hashem to #BringBackOurBoys.

Hashem listened.

He heard.

But He brought those boys back to His throne. Close to Him.

That's where He wanted them.

They are up there, at peace, at Home.

We are down here, confused and so alone.

Hashem, now we daven, bring US back Home.