Wednesday, December 2, 2015


As you prepare for the Yom Tov of Chanukah, a day when every Jew celebrates the miracles of the past and the miracles of the present, you may wonder...What miracles am I experiencing in my life? I just go about my schedule and nothing earth shattering is going on in my life. What am I celebrating? What miracles am I thanking Hashem for?...Just remember this: "If you don't believe in miracles, perhaps you've forgotten you are one."

I'm polishing the menorah.

My little Moishy wants to watch me do it. He brings over a chair and stands next to me so he can see how I scrub the menorah until it shines and sparkles.

He wants to understand how it works.

Of course, my little boy wants to touch everything so he can get a better understanding of how it works. If he feels it, he experiences it on another level. So he reaches over to stick his fingers into the silver polish.

I stop him immediately...before his little fingers get close enough.

"Don't touch it, Moishy! That's a chemical. It's not safe for you to touch."

He hears the word chemical and he backs down.

But he wants to feel it.

So...he tries to smell it and again I stop him (not fast enough though :)).

"Eww! It doesn't smell good, Mommy," he tells me.

I know that. And I tell him. I explain...

This is not a safe thing for us. We should not touch it, taste it or smell it.

And I think about how amazing that is. It's amazing that it smells very that we should know not to take it one step further. Don't touch, don't let these chemicals inside your body, protect yourself.

And I tell him...

Isn't it amazing that Hashem created our bodies to be able to smell things that are dangerous? Isn't it incredible that those dangerous things have an unpleasant smell? And things that are edible and are healthy for us to ingest look and smell appetizing?

Is that not something to marvel at?

You are a miracle. Never forget that.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


I love this! It's too good and I had to pass it on. I hope you will like it as much as I do.


How can a rational, thinking person believe in G‑d, when there is absolutely no evidence for His existence? Today we have X-ray, radar, satellites, infrared photography, ultrasound imaging, gamma-ray telescopes and CCTV, and yet we still have found no trace of G‑d. If He is supposed to be everywhere, why is He nowhere to be seen? My logic says, if you are nowhere, you don't exist...

By R' Aron Moss

Being everywhere doesn't make you easy to find. On the contrary, logic says that if you are everywhere, it's as if you're nowhere. A bit like our fridge.

As our family grew, we needed more fridge space, so we bought an old fridge online. It was a bargain. We soon found out why. When we plugged it in, it started humming quite loudly. At first, we thought we couldn't live with this constant, monotonous buzz coming from the kitchen. But in a day or two, we didn't even notice it anymore.

You can only hear a noise if that noise sometimes goes silent. But if it's always there, it's like it’s not there at all. If you would ask our kids what that buzzing noise coming from the fridge was, they wouldn't even know what you were talking about. When you live with a noisy fridge, buzzing is silence.

It's the same with G‑d. We live in a reality where the buzz of G‑d is everywhere. There is no place devoid of Him, no moment when He is absent. So of course we can't detect Him. You can only detect the presence of something if you can detect its absence. The very definition of finding something is knowing where it is, but for that you have to know where it isn't. As the Baal Shem Tov taught, G‑d is all and all is G‑d. There is nowhere that he isn't. So we never see Him, because we are always looking right at Him.

This leads to an interesting conclusion. It's not that you can't see G‑d. You actually can't miss Him. It just depends how you are looking. Put down your telescope and look at your life. You'll see He's been right there all along.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


We have an extra hour tonight
The clock will be pushed back
What will I do with this extra hour?
Will I stay up later?
Will I sleep in tomorrow?
Or will I utilize this hour?
I always say I need more time
I always feel like I need more time
In my day
And now that I'm getting it
Another whole hour
Will I sleep it away?
Will I waste it away?
What if
I took this hour
Took advantage of this hour
And did something with it?
Something I never do
Something I never made time to do
Take care of something
Take care of someone
Take care of myself
Use this hour
To make a resolution
To think
To come to a conclusion
So there is something valuable
To be gained
From the extra bit of time
To me
On this night.
Let me think about
How I use my time
And utilize this time
To think about 
A change
That I want to make
That I want to see
In me
But never had time for
Never made time for
Now I have it
That extra hour
How will I use it?
Now I will use it
To take that step
To make that change
To think about what's stopping me
To think about what motivates me
To do it
I know I want to
I know I can
And if I feel I can't
I will turn to the One who can
Help me
Guide me
Support me
And give me
To use this time
To make the change
And hold on to it
So I can keep doing it
And stay strong
Without backing down
So that next year
At this time
I can look back
And be proud
Of how I used this time
Of changing clocks
To change myself

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


His first day was great
How much I appreciate
His rebbe's hard work
His approach
He will coach
His talmidim
Help them learn new skills
On their knowledge they will build
Using contests, charts
Prizes too
Whatever it takes
To get his boys to
Challenge themselves
Strengthen their skills
Build upon them
And keep learning
With excitement
And love for
Work on middos
Listen to stories
He will do it all
He will teach
They will absorb
My son absorbs
He is eager
To learn
Excited to advance
Push himself
I am so grateful
A new start
A good beginning
A great beginning
Thank you, Hashem
Thank you for the good
Thank you for a good start
Thank you for a good click
Between my son
And his rebbe
Thank you for
The sparkle in his eyes
When he tells me,
"Rebbe said......."
Thank you for
The things I hear
When he tells me
What his favorite thing was
(Wow, so special)
Playing outside
(Okay, he's normal :))
And for a rebbe who is willing
To work
To change things
So my son can be
Feel satisfied
That he is learning
At a good pace
And when he said
His least favorite part
Of the day
(With a nervous look on his face)
And he told me why
'Cuz the boys go too fast at the end
At the part he isn't familiar with yet
He didn't learn it
At his summer camp 
So I sent a note
Asking if the class 
Could go slower
He did it
Right away
And the next day
The very next day
My big boy said
He was able to bench
With everyone else
'Cuz rebbe went slower
Thank you, Hashem
For every day
With this rebbe
Who ignites his heart
With a fire
A passion
A love for
His learning
And mitzvos
I am grateful
And I keep davening
That it will
This way
Every day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Letting Go

Tomorrow is a big day
It's the first day
Of a new school year
For my big boy
Oh boy!
I'm nervous
For him
He's excited
New knapsack
All packed
Sharpened pencils
Nice and neat
How sweet
To see
His cute little face
Eager to start
A new year
In yeshiva
As a big boy
But I'm nervous
A new year
A new start
A new rebbe
How will it go?
I know
I need to let go
Of my worries
Of my fears
He's prepared
There's nothing more
I can do
He can do
It's not in my hands
But...I so much want
It to be a good year
A productive year
A year
He accomplishes
And grows
So much
There's so much
That is at stake here
He's a good kid
Eager to please
But he's also smart
Too smart, sometimes
And I worry
Will his rebbe be smarter?
Will he know what to do?
Will he be able to 
React appropriately
When my son 
Tests his boundaries?
Will he know
How to handle
The trouble
The ideas 
The mischief
My son might come up with?
He's a good kid
And he's eager to please
But he's smart, my son
Too smart, sometimes
And his brain works
So quickly
That before you blink
He can be on the brink
Of another ohmygosh moment
Heart stopping
For me
Feet climbing
For him
He's so high up
I can't figure out how he got there
But he knows
How to get down
He's smart enough
Too figure out the rungs
Or cracks
Or holes
On the wall
On the gate
On top of that garage
And he'll climb
Or jump
Or slide
Right down
It's fun for him
Not for me
So I get nervous
For him.
He has so much potential
He can reach so high
He can soar
He can fly
Will you try
Too work with him?
Too keep him
Instead of frustrated?
Busy doing
Instead of bored?
Looking for something to do?
He experienced both
And I'm telling you
He wants to please
I want to feel at ease
For tomorrow
For the big day
I want him to come home and say
How great it was
How much he loves his rebbe
How excited he is for tomorrow
Like he did last year
Every single day.
I pray
And every day
That the Torah should be sweet
In his mouth
Like it is now
That he should love to learn
To acquire
To absorb
And take in
Every lesson
Every word.
There is so much in your hands,
Dear rebbe
But I need to remember
Whose Hands
This really is in
It's not in my hands
(And so I daven)
It's not in my big boy's hands
(Even though those hands can
Keep quite busy!)
It's not even in
The rebbe's hands
(As much as he tries
To make each lesson come alive)
It's in the Hands of
Hashem above
And so
I send up
Another prayer
And another
I don't stop davening
And hoping
And davening some more
As I shed a tear
For a productive year.
I am nervous
I am scared
I am worried
But I do know
That I need to let go
So I take a deep breath
Inhale and internalize
Exhale and let go
And inhale once again
To let that emunah seep into me
And exhale once more
So I can truly let go.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Seek Him-A Poem

Why is it
So clear
So obvious
So noticeable
Why is it
So much easier
To see Hashem
To notice Hashem
When things are good?
When things go right?
When we hear good news
And we say, 
"Mazel tov!"
A birth
An engagement
A simcha
A bar mitzvah
A wedding
We know it's from Hashem
And we thank Him for it
What a miracle
The birth of a child
The meeting of two halves
The achievement of a milestone
It's all to His credit!
It's from Hashem
And we are thankful.
So why is it
That when things go wrong
When things are hard
When we hear bad news
It's not so obvious?
We don't see Hashem
As clearly?
He's not as noticeable
And we wonder
And we question
And we ask
We wonder...
What if?
We think...
Why me?
Why her?
Why them?
Why now?
Why is there so much pain?
We don't see Hashem
We can't find Hashem
And we wonder...
Where is Hashem?
In all this pain
In all the loneliness
In all the sadness
We hear bad news
We hear sad news
A miscarriage
A broken engagement
A levaya
A loss
A divorce
A challenge
Any challenge
It's so much harder
To see Hashem
To find Hashem
Where is He hiding?
"Imo anochi b'tzarah"
Hashem says,
I am with you
In your pain
You are not alone.
I'm here
Right here
At your side
Don't hide
From me
At this moment
Search for me
Look for me
Try to find me
Seek me out
And you'll see
I'm right here
I'm always here
I'll never leave your side
For you're my child
And I love you.
It may be hard
It might not be obvious
It might not be noticeable
Because we feel lost
And alone
But when we look out for
Even when things are hard
Especially when things are hard
Specifically when we are confused
We will find Him.
If we seek Him
We will see Him
We need to look
Instead of focusing only
On the pain
Look beyond the pain
There is something to gain
From this exact moment
From this exact situation
Hashem is there
With you
In your pain
He is right here.
Turn to Him
Ask Him
To help
Things change
For the better
To help 
You change
For the better
From this exact moment
From this exact situation
Ask Him
Beg Him
And trust in Him.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Middo Are the Way we Act...

A couple of weeks ago, I gave someone a ride and she shared the following story with me.

The person in this story is just a "regular" Jewish person. Not someone anyone knows as exceptional. Though what he did was exceptional. And inspiring.

This woman takes two buses every day to get to her job. Every day she noticed a man who took the same route as her...But his face was in his tehillim throughout the entire ride. They never exchanged as much as a hello. When they'd get off the first bus, she'd get off in the back and he in the front. They waited at the same stop for the next bus and he'd be saying tehillim the whole time. She was sure he never noticed her. One day, as she came off the first bus, she saw that the next bus already pulled up and was waiting for her! She couldn't believe it. This guy, who never even looked at her and she was sure didn't know she existed, had the bus wait for her to get on. 

THAT is called middos. 

Looking out for other people, doing chessed quietly, helping others in small ways. All these little acts are so big. Why? Because it shows what is going on in the person's mind. They aren't just doing one isolated nice act of kindness. It shows that this person is on the lookout for good deeds. Doing chessed is part of their being.

It seemed like this man didn't pay attention to the woman who took the same route as her each day. He was busy saying tehillim. (No, he wasn't busy on his phone. Is this a rarity?) But somewhere, in the corner of his eye, in the corner of his soul, he noticed and grabbed the opportunity to do a tiny chessed. Which is huge on so many levels. He made a kiddush Hashem, he saved her from the frustration of juust missing a bus and having to wait for another one, he saved her time and gave her an inner peace-menuchas hanefesh along with a wonderful feeling inside...knowing she belongs to such an incredible nation, the Jewish People.

May this story serve as an inspiration that yes, there are good people out there, people who are simply good and looking out to spread the light of the Jewish People. And may this story inspire us to look out for other people, notice what they need and help them.

May opportunities for acts of kindness come your way and may you be able to be on the giving end of chessed always!

Friday, May 29, 2015


I want to share a great lesson on this week's parsha, Parshas Naso, with you.

When the second Nasi gave his korban, he could have given something nicer or better. But he chose to give the exact same korban as the Nasi before him-to make sure there would be no competition...which leads to jealousy and bad feelings. And all the other Nesi'im followed his lead and did the same.

The Torah is so careful with every letter and word yet it repeats the korban of each Nasi even though they were all the same! We learn from this how much Hashem values this middah and that we should try to emulate it in our own lives. 

Some things don't have to be shared with everyone. The second something happens in your life, does half the world need to hear about it on Facebook or Twitter? How much about your personal life should be shared on Instagram or on Snapchat? Can you find a way to use any of these to spread positivity, to share things people will remember because of the impact it leaves? People don't really care what you had for breakfast. Sharing pictures of your latest vacation may cause feelings of jealousy and competition. 

Just because you have more doesn't mean you need to show it off. Hashem blessed you with looks? Brains? If you did well on an exam, does everyone have to know about it? If you can afford to shop for things that are more expensive, do you need to tell everyone just how much you spent on your does, clothing or accessories? There's a certain measure of humility it takes to keep that inside and thank Hashem that you can pay for these things.

And...there is tremendous value to lowering your standards so others wont feel the need to keep up. You can afford more? You can make a bigger simcha? There are plenty of others who can't. There are plenty of families who are struggling. If you keep it simple, you are setting a standard that other people may be able to keep to. They will respect you more. It's not money that earns real respect, it's character. 

I read a story a while back that inspired me so much and I want to share it with you. The organization Adopt A Kollel got an unusual donation amount every month. It wasn't the typical $36, $180 or $360. It was an odd number with dollars and cents. Something like $147.63. They called the donor to ask him what the reason behind this donation was and this was his answer. He explained that he was going to lease a more expensive model car but when he thought about the struggling families in Eretz Yisroel, he decided to forgo the nicer car and lease a cheaper one instead. And he sent the difference between the car he originally wanted and the car he chose to this organization...down to the last penny...every single month. What a donation! 

This man chose to lower his standards and use the extra money to help families in Eretz Yisroel who really need it. What a powerful message!

May you be able to take a lesson from this week's parsha and apply it to your own life by keeping some things to yourself or just sharing with close friends and family, not showing off the good you have, and lowering the bar so there's less pressure for those around you to keep up.

Have a good shabbos!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I posted this before and wanted to share the message with you again. This article has since been published but for those who have never read it and even for those who have seen it before, reading it again will give you chizuk.

Have you ever sat in bumper to bumper traffic on a highway, watching the cars on the other side breeze past you? They're all driving so fast while you're stuck waiting for the car ahead of you to move up a bit...

You wish you were on the other side too, moving quickly like all those lucky cars. But you know that there is no use in wishing, no point in being jealous. Because if you'd be on the other side, you wouldn't reach your destination. You just took a big trip and you want to get back home. For you, that is the wrong side of the highway; taking it would bring you right back where you came from. And that's not exactly where you want to go.


Life has been compared to many different thing by many bright and intellectual people.

This time, I'm using the comparison of the highway of life.

Sometimes in life, you wish you could take the easier, faster route. You wish it wouldn't take so long for the changes you want to just...happen.

You're waiting, hoping (and hopefully praying) for your yeshuah to come.

But you feel like you are sitting in traffic...and nothing is moving, nothing is changing.

You don't see any progress.

From time to time, the car ahead of you moves, just a few inches or maybe a few feet.

But then you're stuck again...stuck in the traffic on your highway of life.

You look to the other side of the road and you see so many cars, zooming by...and you eye them with a twinge of jealousy. You wish you could also go for a smooth, quick ride and arrive at your destination. But you know, deep down, that if you were to travel on the other side of the road, you would not reach the place you hope for.

But...that doesn't stop you from looking at those cars, those people, with a wishful eye, a feeling of yearning in your heart.

Eventually, there will be a point where the traffic will clear. You will make it through this challenge, as long as you keep driving, as long as you keep moving...and as long as you never give up hope.

You will get to where you want to. You will reach your destination. Keep your eyes on the goal, even as you continue to be human and glance at the other side of the highway from time to time.

Keep hoping for that clear path, when the obstacles that have been in your way are removed and you could zoom forward...and achieve that which you have been waiting for. Lift your eyes to the heavens and daven. Daven to Hashem to help you make it through your traffic jam intact, and become a better person, a stronger person.

May you be able to go through the highway of your life with the right attitude, knowing that no matter what kind of traffic jam you are stuck in, Hashem will clear the road for you one day...and you will get what you have been waiting for!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I'm still reeling.

I can't digest this. The enormity of this tragedy...the depth of this pain...It's just to much. 

How will these parents go on?


How can it be that a beautiful family of 8 children is suddenly reduced to a family with just one child? A girl who until now had 7 siblings is now an only child. How can that be?

I have so many questions. Questions I'll (probably) never get answers to.

There are no answers when something so big and so incredibly sad happens.

It's just too much.


I don't know. 

We can't know. 

We can't understand Hashem's ways.

We don't know why this had to happen.

But...I need to take a message. I need to do something. I can't just cry without changing.

I think about fire. has such power. 

With fire, one can cook food on the stove, light up a dark room and bring warmth into a cold place. Fire brings peace onto a family when shabbos candles are lit.

But fire can also be so destructive. It can burn a house, it can take people's lives.

It all depends on how it is used.

I think about that. I think about it good and hard. 

There are many things that have this power. The power to build, the power to destroy.

Our words.

Our time.

Our phones.

The internet.

How do we use...Our words?

Are we building or destroying? Are we bringing people up or knocking them down?

How do we use...Our time?

Are we using it constructively, building, doing, changing? Or are we letting time pass, wasting precious moments by not fully being present, by doing things that destroy our souls?

How do we use...Our phones? 

Do we use them to build...relationships? To bring people up? To listen, support, encourage, share positive things? Or are we using those phones to say things that are mean, hurtful and so destructive? 

How do we use...the internet? 

It is such a powerful tool. But just like fire, if it is not used properly, if it is not contained, it will destroy. Our lives, or souls, our relationships...and our very own children. 

Are we building or destroying? Are we creating or ruining....with the very special gifts we've been blessed with?

I can't know why this happened. No one can know. But I can ask the other kind of why. Like R' Rietti says, maduah and lamah both mean why. Maduah, which comes from da, keeps a person in the past. They want to know, to understand...the details, what caused this and what the reasons are. But we can't really know why it had to happen. Why Hashem gave us such a terrible blow. 

The second why, Lamah, comes from Li-mah, to what. What is this bringing me to? How will this horrific tragedy propel me to make changes, to move forward, to become better?

THAT is the only why each of us can answer.

Maybe we can each spend some time thinking about why...what this can bring us to change.

Very soon, we will be burning our chometz, getting rid of the ten pieces of bread we hid after cleaning our houses for pesach. 

Can we also look through our closets, drawers and shelves to see if there is anything in there that should be burned in that fire? Do we have clothing, books, cds or magazines that are not good for our neshamos? Are we hurting our souls with the things we are feeding it?

Let's rid our homes and our souls of things that are not good for our spirituality.

Let us throw the negative forces into the fire, purify our souls so that we can give meaning to the only why we can answer.

May Hashem comfort the Sassoon family...because we cannot think of words of comfort. May Hashem comfort each of us with the ultimate nechama in this month of geula so soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Davening For Others

Although Purim is over, we can continue to take messages from this special time throughout the month of Adar...and beyond. I want to share one powerful lesson right from Megillas Esther with you.

Before Queen Esther went to face Achashveirosh, she told Mordechai she would be fasting and asked him to have the Jews fast and daven too. She had not been called by the king in 30 days and feared for her life. If he would not stick out his royal scepter in favor of his queen, she'd be put to death. It was terrifying.

At the same time, the Jews also had the threat of death hanging over their heads. As per Haman's decree, all Jews were to be killed on the fourteenth day of Adar. One reason for this terrible gezaira was because the Jews ate at the party of Achashveirosh. To be mechaper for this aveirah of eating and drinking, the Jews did not eat or drink for three days and nights. They were allowed to do other things that are forbidden on some fasts, like smearing creams and lotions because that was not part of their original sin. When they fasted and davened, they did teshuva and returned to Hashem with all their hearts, accepting the Torah upon themselves with love.

It is interesting that when Esther sent the message to Mordechai to have everyone fast, the words used are, "tzumu alay"-fast for me. Why did she say "for me"? 

We know, "hamispalel b'ad chaveiro..." if someone davens for someone else and they need the same thing, they are answered first. Why? How does this work?

In shamayim, they are so used to hearing people daven for things they need. When someone davens for another person, it makes a huge impact Up There.

When you daven for a friend, it's because you are in pain that they are having it hard. When Hashem sees that u care so much about someone else, to the extent that their pain becomes yours, that you take the time to daven for them, He looks at you and says, what about what YOU are going thru? I'm going to give you, the one davening, a yeshuah. 

Esther's message to the Mordechai was, if the Jews daven for me that I shouldn't die when I go to Achashveirosh and they are supposed to die, Hashem will save them from the decree of death! By focusing on Esther's pain and fears when they too are experiencing pain and don't know if they will live or die, Hashem will look down at them and remove the terrible gezaira from all of them.

Why do we daven for others? Because we want to have our own tefillos answered or because we genuinely care?

Why do we give tzeddakah? So that we should get the shidduch/job/yeshuah we're waiting for within a specified amount of time or because we want to become givers?

We (should) daven for others because we really care about what they are going through. We (should) give tzeddakah because we want to become more sensitive and more giving to others...not so we can get the yeshuah we are waiting for within a certain time frame.

May we be able to do good things for the right reasons, davening for others and watching those tefillos (and our own) get answered, becoming more sensitive and caring human beings.

Isn't that what life's about?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Purim Poem-Meaning

I know it's almost a week after Purim, but I didn't get to post my Purim poem for this year. So, here goes... :-)

Purim is a day when we celebrate
A miracle that was really great
With Haman’s decree we were to be annihilated
But then it all turned around in a way no one could have anticipated
What was the real reason for this decree?
It was because the Jews ate and drank at Achashveirosh’s party
By mixing with the goyim to this degree
They were showing they cut off from Hashem completely
And since Hashem is the Source of life, the only one who gives
They lost their chance, they could not be allowed to live
But after fasting and davening and crying their hearts out
The Jews began yearning and returning, there was no doubt
For once they turned to Hashem, they finally realized
That the Torah and mitzvos are a treasure, a real prize
And once they did that, they connected to the source
They were deserving of life-real life of course
So the V’nahapoch Hu of Purim was a true turnover
A literal techiyas hameisim for the Jews in Shushan and all over
They wouldn’t be killed by the goyim who were given permission to
Instead they could fight back so they could stay alive and start anew
Now the message we can take on this Purim day
Beyond the costumes and themes and partying away
Is that a life with meaning and true connection
Where we strive to be our best, even if we can’t achieve perfection
That’s what really counts and adds life to our every year
We need to recognize the treasure we have, the Torah we hold so dear
And add meaning to our lives, to our every day
So that in a year from now, we can look back and say
“I am so proud of where I am and what I achieved
I became better, stronger, closer, more connected to the King of Kings!”
For that is our goal in our life here on earth
To fill each day with deeds and actions that have eternal worth
My bracha to you is that you should be able to make the right choices
Even when you are pulled in many directions and hear different voices
May you have the clarity to know and the strength to do the right thing
And may each day of your life be filled with true meaning
May you be able to internalize the message of Purim and take it to heart
Living each day to the fullest-today’s the best day to start!

A Freilichen Purim!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Message of Hope

I'm in the kitchen. Baking. Listening to music.

I'm listening to a great song. One with a message.

I wrote about that song before. It's called Conversation in the Womb and is about two unborn children-both unsure about the next world. One is an optimist and one a pessimist.

Just as the song finishes, I crack open an egg and see...twin eggs.

I crack eggs all the time. When are they ever twins? Just about never. But this time, there they are. Cute, two little yellow yolks in one eggshell.

I think about the song I just listened to, that I so quickly dismissed as soon as the next song started to play. I want to internalize this message.

I think about the climax of the song. When the optimist baby gives out a scream because he has finally entered the next stage of life. The pessimist, hearing the piercing cry, assumes it's all over, his brother must have died. But this is not death, it is actually an entrance into a whole, new, beautiful life. 

In life, we go through challenges. We can either be pessimistic about the tests we've been given, thinking of them as the end. 

The screams of pain...what are they? 

Does that mean everything is all over?

The optimist says, No, it's not over. This is just a new beginning. The beginning of a whole new life.

Yes, we are tested in life. Yes, sometimes we need to cry out. But that cry should be a message to us...a message of hope.

When things get tough and you wonder how you will go on, try to look at it with this new perspective. 

These specific challenges are here to form you. To create you. They will give you a whole new life. Your life will not be the same as it used to be, sitting in a protective little bubble. Now that you've been exposed to the harsh realities of this world, look at is as a chance for rebirth. For renewal. You are on your way to becoming a new being.

The optimist realizes that the pain he is experiencing is the pain of transition. But this transition will open up a new world for him. No longer will he be protected by his mother. He will now step out into this world and have the opportunity to become a different person. To laugh, to play, to interact, to make a difference.

The pessimist sees this cry, the pain of challenge as the end. This is it. There is no life past this. He cannot even deal with the thought of transition. 

Let us try to be like the optimist, realizing and internalizing that change, although hard, can bring us to better places. Transition is painful. But by going through that difficult phase, we can become different people. We won't be stuck in patterns of the past. We will be able to create new realities for ourselves in our lives.

Two eggs in the shell. Two babies in the womb. A message of hope.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Airplane Musings

I'm in the car on the way home from the airport. It's been an incredible trip to Eretz Yisroel for my older sister Chaya Sara's wedding. As we ride home, we look out the window for airplanes. The kids love spotting them in the sky and we take turns guessing if the plane is landing or just took off.

"The plane is so tiny," my son says.

"Could you believe we were just up on the sky in one of those tiny looking airplanes?"

And we talk about it. How all airplanes are really so much bigger than they look...because they are so far away. When we are inside, we can see their true size, but when we are down on the ground they appear to be so little and tiny.

This gets me thinking.

I think about people.

I think about every person.

Every person on this world has so much in them. So much depth, so much history, so much to offer and so much to share. From far, before you get to know them, they might seem so little. There might not appear to be more to them than their external.

She? She's so yeshivish.

Too frum for my liking.

Oh, her? That girl? That woman? That teenager?

She looks like she could use a little lecture in [shmiras halashon, anger management, tznius, hilchos shabbos...]

There's so much we don't know about the people we meet.

We may think we see, we may think we have an idea, but really, that first encounter is just a scratch on the surface. We are seeing people at a distance.

She may look like she has it all, but do you know how much she is struggling inside?

When you get to know the person, the real person inside, you can get to see how big they truly are. Their past, their upbringing, their challenges, their successes. All this, and more, is what makes them so much bigger than they appear to be.

She may look so yeshivish, but do you know what it took for her to get there? Do you have any idea what kind of home she grew up in, how she struggled to stay strong even when she could have gone under? Do you know that she could relate to challenges you are struggling with because of her history and the life and home she chose to build for herself? She's so much more than just her outside dress. Get to know her. Look past the clothing and shy smile. See what a deep, incredible person you are encountering.

All of us have depth. Each of us are more than just a tiny speck in this vast world of humanity. We may look small in a crowd of people, but each of us is really big. We are big because of the challenges we overcame, the middos we have worked on and the people we are striving to become. We each have so much to offer, so much to give and so much power to affect those around us in a positive way.

*    *    *

I think about the Torah.

From a distance, the Torah seems so small. How much is in those five little books? How much can it encompass?

But as one gets closer, they start to realize how much is in those five little books. So so much. The Torah is so vast, it is so deep, everything is in it.

"Hafoch ba v'Hafoch ba"

Keep looking.

Keep searching.

Keep questioning.

Keep challenging.

Everything is in it.

Halachos about how to treat each other, how to deal with other people's money, how to respect our parents, how to work on ourselves...It's all there.

There are practical lessons for life found in every pasha. I find them...Every week.

Advice, chizuk, knowledge, depth, the Torah is so full. Once one starts to get closer to the Torah, they begin to realize how little they know and how much there is to gain. The more one reads and studies, the more they will see how much there is to still attain.

From afar, the Torah may seem quite small. But the closer a person gets to this never-ending wellspring of knowledge and depth, the more they will see how vast the Torah truly is.

May you be able to see, to know, to explore and understand this special gift called the Torah and may it enrich your life in so many ways!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I'm waiting for the train to come. It's cold out. I look at the people around me. Every few seconds, I see a couple of faces lean forward and take a peek.

They're checking to see if the train is a station away. Some may be hoping for a bit of relief from the cold, others may be in a rush to get to their destination. So they keep leaning forward, they keep looking.

Does checking for the train make it come any faster?

Of course not.

And the real ba'alei emunah may not even bother looking, knowing that the train will come when it is meant to come and they will arrive at their destination at the exact moment that Hashem wills it, and not a moment before.

But what about those who keep checking?

They are human. And they are looking for a way out of the cold, a relief from the waiting and hope to move on, to a better place.

Aren't many of us like that?

We're waiting, wishing and hoping to get to a better place.

I look around again. Some people are so busy with their phones, they don't mind the wait. Some are reading, perhaps a book or the newspaper. A rare few are coupled in pairs of twos or threes talking two each other, smiling and laughing.

What do we do while we wait?

Do we distract ourselves? Do we build relationships? Enrich lives? Make an impact on others? Learn? Grow? Connect?

There are many things in life we have to wait for. There are times the wait feels cold, harsh and almost unbearable. We look ahead, wish we can get a little peek into the future, just so we can know, so we can be sure, that our yeshuah will come.

No one can give promises. We don't know what the future will bring. But while we wait, we should try our utmost to live in the moment and take pleasure in the little things so we don't feel the frustration of waiting. We can try to learn, grow, connect, be inspired and be an inspiration to others. We can take the situation we are in and use it to grow, becoming better and stronger.

And all the while, we should daven to Hashem, never forgetting that He is the source of all salvation. Just like we may get frustrated with Him when things don't go our way, we should remember to turn to Him and ask Him to make things better, to make us better, to shorten the wait and to bring the yeshuah...And give us strength to pull through until we get there.

May you be able to become better and stronger while you wait, remain connected to Hashem, and be able to help other people pull through when they are the one looking and hoping for a salvation!