Monday, March 13, 2017

Purim Poem-Costumes

Here is the poem I sent along with my mishloach manos this year. 
Enjoy!

Why do we dress up on פורים, is a question I was asked,
And so I set out to find a deeper answer, I was ready for this task,
After some research I found in R’ Binyomin Eisenberger’s name,
(בשם אומרו I quote him just as מרדכי did the same)
Going all the way back to יוסף הצדיק who was focused on how he did appear,
Fixing his hair, beautifying his eyes, the contrast is unclear.
How could he have been a צדיק if he was busy with the outside?
It’s because his inner holiness he did not show-his greatness he did hide.
His colorful coat, the כסונת פסים was clothing that concealed,
All he had inside of him, to the public this was not revealed.
Like his mother רחל who had the מידה of שתיקה-secrecy,
Who didn’t reveal to יעקב that lavan would switch לאה with trickery,
This מידה was passed down to רחל’s children, first Yosef and later אסתר too,
Who kept her identity hidden and didn’t reveal that she was a Jew.
She lived in a secular environment, yet she remained pure,
It may not have been obvious on the outside but of this we are sure.
She wasn’t fooled when she stood with fear before אחשורוש the king
She knew Who really had the power, it was the King of Kings.
She davened to Hashem, begging and pleading on behalf of her nation,
She knew He was the only One to rely on for their salvation.
This shows she stayed connected on the inside even in the palace far from home,
Just as her ancestor יוסף who educated his children in מצרים where they had grown.
They kept their קדושה  intact, no matter in which גלות they were found,
And our job as Jews is to follow them, to their legacy we are bound.
So on פורים we dress up, our costumes serve to hide,
Its’ purpose is to cover up whatever is going on inside.
So how does what is hidden become visible for all to see?
It’s another מצוה of the day that reveals with clarity,
נכנס יין יצא סוד it’s the wine that brings out our core
Our essence comes to light when we are not in full control anymore.
But there must be something of value inside for it to be brought out,
When we cultivate our נשמה, we can see without a doubt,
That what’s inside is beautiful, it’s holy and it’s real,
We hide ourselves in clothing and our inner selves reveal.
That’s the purpose of drinking on this day so great,
We want to expose what’s real and true, what we appreciate.
So as you enjoy your פורים with costumes, drinks and fun  
Remember it’s what’s inside that counts once the day is done.
May you be able to be like our ancestors who in גלות stayed so strong,
Until the day when all of us will sing the ultimate song.
May the day come when Hashem will finally hear our call,
And then His hidden essence will be revealed to one and all!

א פרייליכען פורים!

Please note, if you found this poem and would like to share it with others or use it for yourself, I would appreciate if you can email me or leave a comment to let me know.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hamantashen

On Purim, we eat hamantashen.

Why?

Look at the shape of this cookie. It is shaped like a triangle-the same shape as one of the nekudos, a סגל. We see this root word in one of the names given to the Jewish People. We are called the עם סגולה. 

What is the significance to all this?

If you look at the סגל, you will notice that any way you turn it, it will keep its shape. The same is true of the hamantash and triangle. It doesn’t change its shape when you twist it, twirl it or flip it.

The same is true of every Jewish person. No matter what a person does, no matter which way they turn, they will always remain a part of the עם סגולה.  There is nothing a person can do-no sin, no act, no thought and no belief that can change the fact that they are a part of the Chosen Nation, the עם סגולה. 

So no matter which way life takes you, remember this. Remember this on all the twists and turns of life. Remember this forever.

You will always be a part of our Chosen Nation.

That is the secret behind the hamantash.

And that is what bothered Haman so much about us to the point that he wanted to kill us. We are anעם מפוזר ומפורד בין העמים. We are scattered, far-flung and widespread and yet at the same time, ודתיהם שונות -we have different customs. We don’t do what the goyim do. We are different.

How?

Because we are an עם סגולה. And by always remembering that we are part of the Chosen Nation, we can keep our identity strong no matter which direction life takes us.

May you be able to stay strong and stay true to the Nation you belong to throughout all the twists and turns of life.

Happy Purim!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Just Precious

I’m sitting in a classroom when I hear the shrill of a siren. Instinctively, I say a perek of tehillim.

Shir hama’alos mima’amakim kir’asicha Hashem…” 

I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. I think it was my second grade teacher who told our class about this idea and since then, it stuck. When an ambulance passes, it’s an opportune time to ask Hashem for the patient to be safe and everyone to be okay.

As I grow older, the lessons I’ve learned as a child get passed on to my own children.

The first time my kids saw me stop when I heard a siren, they questioned me. I explained that the sound I heard meant that there was an emergency. And if someone needs help, if there’s a fire or an accident, I stop and say a tefillah to ask Hashem to keep everyone safe.

My kids understood and went back to whatever playtime activity they were busy with.

Now, every time we hear a siren, my little boy yells out, “Mommy, you have to say a tefillah!”

And he checks to make sure I am whispering something quietly to myself.

And then the precious moment came...

After hearing a siren wailing outside, I stopped, said a perek of tehillim and noticed my little girl whispering quietly to herself.

I took a step closer and was able to make out the words she was saying.

What tefillah did she choose to say at that very moment?

Her words were those of elokai neshama.

How precious is that?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Winter-A Poem

I wrote this a year ago and can appreciate the message even more as I continue to live and experience the truth of what I wrote. May you all be able to see growth and change as you go through the seasons of the year and the seasons of life.

Winter's here
Trees are bare
'cept for some snow
Who would know
What's going on beneath the ground
Under the snow covered mound
Of dirt
Of grass
Of concrete for some
So much
Going on
Beneath the surface
So much
Happening
Underground
But we can't see it.
Just because we can't see it
Doesn't mean it isn't happening
So much growth
So much change
Down there
Even though
Up here
The trees remain bare
The plants aren't there
No flowers to behold
Just emptiness.
But then...
Spring comes!
The sun begins to shine
The leaves begin to rustle
The plants
And fruit
And flowers
Begin to blossom
To grow
To add color
And light
Make bright
Our days
Our time
Outdoors
How?
How did that all happen?
So quickly
Seemingly
It's because
When we couldn't see
Beneath the surface
So much was happening
Underneath the surface
We just don't have
The vision
To see it.
Life brings with it
Many seasons
And during the winter
When things are hard
Dark
And cold
Harsh
Difficult
Sometimes seemingly
Unbearable
We must remember
We must internalize
We must believe
That there is something
Something very deep
Something very profound
Going on
Beneath the surface
It's so big
Yet so tiny
So...precious
Yet so hard to grasp
That we cannot even see it
We cannot even notice it
During the harsh winter
But then...
When Spring arrives
It's suddenly so clear!
It's so...there!
You can't even miss it if you tried
It stares you in the face
The growth
The change
The color
The depth
The newness
It's a whole different creation
WE become different
WE become new
WE change
WE grow
With a depth
With a maturity
With a resilience
With strength
With character
All because of
The winter
All because of
The darkness
All because of
The hard times
When we couldn't see
We were in so much pain
We couldn't even notice
The tiny changes
But once they happened
Little changes grew
Little steps became a staircase
Climbing up
Reaching up
Forever higher.
All during the cold, harsh winter
When Spring arrives
We can finally see
The beauty
The color
Of our blossoming character.
Stay strong.
Hold on through the cold.
Hold on when it's dark.
Hold on when it's so tough.
You will grow.
You will blossom.
You will change.
And when the Spring comes
You'll finally
Be able
To see it
Yourself.