Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jewish Song Sunday --- #6

Miami 25: Rachem

So I’m not going to write a post about what happened in India, but at the same time I won’t ignore it and put up a joyful song. This song Rachem sung by Mordechai Shapiro and Yaakov Shwecky expresses how I feel right now about what has happened. We really need Hashem’s Rachmanus, He is the one in charge and we are in His hands. Mordechai Shapiro sings this song with such great emotion that it makes you cry along and truly feel the words he is saying.


Rachem. Rachem N0 Hashem Elokeinu.
(Have Mercy Hashem our G0d)

Rachem al Yisrael Amecha, Rachem
(On Israel Your people)

Ve'al Yerushalayim Ir-echa
(On Jerusalem Your city)

Rachem, Rachem, Rachem

Al tzion mishkan kevodecha
(And on Zion, where your glory)

Ve'al malchut beit David meshichecha
(And on the kingdom's house David, your anointed)

Ve'al habayit ha'gadol ve'hakadosh
(And your great and holy Temple)

Rachem, Rachem, Rachem

Rachem at Miami 25

Some Technical Information:
For those that want to download the video into avi or mpeg then you can download Save 2 Pc.
If you want to download just the music from the video then you can do that at Vid 2 MP3.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Parshas Toldos

First off I realized I do have a thanksgiving post after all.

The Parsha of twins. When I was younger I had thought that in every twin relationship there is a Yaakov and Eisav. So I think that’s what motivated me to be a good person, so that I will be the “Yaakov” of the two. It’s actually funny when I babysat the triplets, the mother would always tell her son that he should behave like Yaakov. Kind of giving the image that Yaakov is the good guy, and Eisav the bad guy.

I used to think that it’s all in the parenting, that if you raise good children, then your children will be good. But here is an example, where both Yitzchak and Rivka were good parents, and yet they had an Eisav. But apparently there are different ways to raise each child, that each one is unique. Like how Yitzchok blessed each of his children differently.

From Something to Say:

And the children agitated within her [Rebecca] (25:22)

Rashi tells us that when Rebecca passed in front of the Yeshiva of Shem and Eber, Jacob would kick inside her, and when she passed in front of temples of idol worship, Esau struggled to come out. The commentaries ask: “We can well understand why Esau wanted to go out to indulge in idolatry. But Jacob, who loved Torah study, had every reason to remain in his mother’s womb. Chazal teach us that during the time that a baby is inside hit’s mother, an angel is teaching it Torah. In that case, why would Jacob want to leave? Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef answers that Jacob wanted to learn the Torah through his own toil and effort. He knew that being me value or permanence as acquiring with it the same value or permanence as acquiring it with one’s own effort.

I thought this was a great explanation to why Yaakov wanted to leave his mothers womb when they passed by the Yeshiva of Shem VaEver. It shows that there is an importance to earning your reward, and how you appreciate it more because you put in effort and worked for it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ayin Hora

Apparently there really is such a thing as an Ayin Hara-Evil eye. I have never been one to say “bli ayin hora” or “em yirtza Hashem” and other such lines. Now after what happened though, I realize what power an Ayin Hora can have.

It was pre midterm days, and I was saying how I have to study, no matter how much or how little I studied I was confident that I would do well. I would say “I never failed before” So I’m for sure not going to fail this time, I’m not worried about failing, I’m worried about getting a good mark. Little did I know I had opened my mouth to the satan, and lo and behold, I failed! Now with the first midterm, I thought to myself, it’s not because I made an ayin hora, it’s only because of my negligence, and since I was able to get that situation fixed, I wasn’t worried and felt in control again.

Then what happens, time for the next midterm, and lo and behold I fail again! Now I’m thinking to myself, something must be fishy, this doesn’t make sense. Then I remember those words I had said, that made an ayin hora. Now I still feel as though I deserved the failing mark. I learned my lesson not to take classes with friends. They seem to know all the tricks, so they kept saying, it’s such an easy class, your guaranteed a 100. So the whole time they never showed up to class, then they came the class before the test, where the professor handed out a practice test which would be the same exact test as the midterm, except different numbers.

In the beginning of the class, I would pay attention, but then after hearing, that the midterm is on one section which he gives out the test before, I stopped listening in class. I would do other stuff for my other class. So I truly felt like I knew nothing for the test. So the day before the test, I studied the practice exam, and I knew most of it, I just haven’t studied it that well. Then I had to go babysitting, and that interrupted my studying, I figured I would get to continue afterwards, but then my friend got engaged, and I was too excited to study. The next morning, I studied some more, I felt like I basically knew it. But then when it came to the test, I got stuck in the beginning, gave up, and played a guessing game. I figured if I’m supposed to do well then Hashem will help me pick the right answers. At least that was my only hope at that point.

So my professor posted the grades, and he did it by social security number, in alphabetical order, so I guess these classmates had figured out my last 4 digits of my social, cause when I came to class today, they said to me “What happened?” “Why did you do so bad?” they said this pityingly to me. I was not expecting them to know how I did, so I hadn’t prepared an answer for them. What was I going to say? That I failed on purpose because I didn’t think I deserved an easy 100? That I failed because I didn’t want to be stereotyped as smart? That I failed because I went babysitting? Then a guy says, you were sitting right next to me, you should have told me you didn’t know it, and I would have given you my booklet for you to copy. I’m like gee thanks, you really expect me to cheat? But I didn’t say that.

(O, and it’s not because I was busy blogging commenting, because if you notice I’m really behind in that. I think it’s the opposite, if I would have been on top of commenting, then I would have put the same energy into my school work.)

So I was a little upset about all this, and I was getting depressed. My professor said we can’t do any extra work to make up our grade. He said 23 out of 39 people in the class got A’s. And 13 out of 39 got 100. Now I really felt stupid. 5 people failed, and I was one of them. But it was an enlightening experience, I needed this to happen to me, so I can know what it feels like to fail, and have everyone else bragging about their easy 100’s. But at least I still have hope, the final is my last chance, I need to get a 100 on that to get a decent mark.

Then Hashem did a Chesed, He saved the good news for last, so that I will remain happy for the rest of the day. When I went to the next class, I got back my Jewish test and I got a 98!. Now everyone else had done poorly, and because I remembered what it was like to be the failing one, I knew not to brag about my mark, and to feel more for them, so that they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. When a guy asked me what I got, he asked if I got a 100, I said no, then he tried guessing, every time I said no, because I knew he said he did poorly, and I didn’t want him to feel bad about his mark, when he knew that I did well.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jewish Song Sunday --- #5

Sheves Achim: Superman

It looks like the recent theme is Kollel. The singers Shimon and Moshe Bell are two brothers with amazing voices. They can go really high so that if you didn’t know better you would think it’s a girl singing! They have a lot of great songs, but most of them are in Hebrew, so I picked the one song that was in English. If you look at the lyrics, it has a nice message. I found out about this CD through one of Ari Goldwag’s Jewish music podcasts. He helped them out with this CD.


The little boy grew up with dreams of flying through the sky
He’d be like Superman, watching clouds go by.
There-someone in distress, swoop down and save the day.
”Just wait ‘till I grow up.” he thought, “then I’ll have my way.”
He wished he could wear glasses, protect his identity.
So what if without them he could see perfectly.
Sitting reading comic books, his thoughts would travel far.
Little did he know, one day, he’d truly reach the stars.

If we set our sights high, and in ourselves believe,
There truly is no limit to what we can achieve.
When we look to Hashem for help, then we can recognize,
How his hand is guiding us each moment of our lives.

The little boy grew older, developed into a young man,
Discovered words of Torah helped his world to expand.
This time a friend in need, a depth in Torah he’d explain.
Slowly he matured, his goals no longer were the same.
He started wearing glasses, helped him gain clarity,
In the words of the Gemara, they became his melody.
He’s learning in a Kollel now, in the Holy Land,
With his wife and family, now he’s their Superman.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Parshas Chaya Sara

I don’t really have time to go through blogs to find Parsha posts to link up to them, like I did last time. Maybe I’ll edit the post and put them in after.

So I already spoke about what it means for the wife to inspire her husband. Then I was reading what R’ Feinhandler had to say about this weeks parsha, and I found he dealt with the same topic. He also supported what I have said in comments, about not pushing off a wedding because you can’t afford it.

My Spouse is Just Who I Need for My Spiritual Growth

Another possible reason why it was necessary for Eliezer to arrive so quickly, through a miracle rather than through the normal seventeen day journey, could be that the Torah is teaching us that when it comes to a shidduch, no time should be wasted. Even though a shidduch comes from Heaven, the Talmud says that someone else can take your shidduch away by begging for mercy from G-d. Thus the Torah may be teaching us this lesson through the miracle so that we will know that a leisurely or ambivalent attitude is not appropriate when looking for a shidduch.

Once a person sees that he has found "the chosen one," he must be quick to act and complete the mitzvah. A person is not allowed to be lazy in mitzvos, and marriage is a very important mitzvah. Since there is a danger of such a terrible loss, it is necessary to act as quickly as possible. That is the reason the poskim allow a couple to become engaged even on Tisha B'Av.

In Rivka and Yitzhak's marriage we see clearly the principle that G-d controls every shidduch. On the superficial level the marriage between Yitzhak and Rivka would appear natural and normal, but in reality everything, down to the smallest detail, was manipulated by G-d. That is the reason why Eliezer found Rivkah at the well just when he arrived. It is to teach us that every shidduch is from Heaven and that G-d takes care of every detail to make certain that the shidduch is successful.

If a person will reflect on how he came to marry his spouse, he will find that everything was arranged by Heaven. The circumstances were carefully set up by Heaven so that this man was able to marry this woman, and that this woman was able to marry this man.

The miracles that Eliezer experienced were also the reason why Rivkah agreed immediately to the shidduch. It was clear to her that all these miracles were signs from Heaven that Eliezer was sent by G-d, and therefore she accepted the inevitability of her marriage to Yitzchak.

Every single marriage is from Heaven. Forty days before a fetus is formed it is announced in Heaven who that child will eventually marry. 6 If you have entered into a marriage, it is a sign from Heaven that this marriage can and should succeed. There are rare instances in which one has chosen one's spouse wrongly, based on mistaken considerations. If the situation seems truly impossible to live with, it is important to seek qualified advice from a sensitive source-person, i.e. an experienced rabbi or religious counselor.

Since in our generation belief in G-d has been weakened, people believe instead in their own strength and power. The result is that the institution of marriage also has been weakened. This is because a person who relies solely on his own abilities will see some challenges in his marriage as being too great for him. Such a person will choose to end a marriage rather than tackle problems which he considers to be too difficult.

But a person who perceives that the Almighty arranged the union will know that nearly all difficulties are eventually resolvable. In fact, he'll know that these specific difficulties were selected by G-d for his own spiritual growth. Therefore, what is needed is for a person to focus on the truth that his spouse is exactly who he needs for his spiritual and emotional growth and well-being.

Once a person realizes that his spouse is truly chosen by Heaven, then he will have the strength to overcome any difficulties that arise. G-d does not give us a trial that we cannot overcome. We must make every possible effort to solve any problem that arises, and find peace and love with the shidduch that was chosen for us by Heaven. The more we strengthen our belief in G-d, the more we will be able to find ways to make our marriages stronger.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

High School Memories and Kollel

When I was in High School I shared pretty much the same opinion as most of the bloggers here. I was totally against Kollel and the thought of Kollel disgusted me. I couldn’t understand how these people chose to live in poverty. My views were mostly influenced by my brother who was adamantly against Kollel. He was against the Kollel people being off the books and stealing money from the government by getting food stamps and all kinds of government help.

He told me a story of how there was a daughter that went to one of the schools that advocated marrying a kollel guy, and she did just that, then when it was time to enroll her daughter in a school, she figured she would send her daughter to the school she went to. So she applied, but then unfortunately she didn’t have enough money to pay for tuition, so she told the school she can’t afford to pay all of it. They said sorry, but we can’t help you with that. So he was telling me how it was hypocrisy, the same people that told her to live a kollel life, weren’t going to accept her daughter because she didn’t have money. So I was naturally appalled by this story.

My brother was also very pro college, so it made it very easy for me to go against my school and apply to a cuny college. My teacher took it upon herself to call me out of class every week since she found out I was going to college, and tried to convince me not to go. She said I was going to start believing that abortion is okay, and that people being gay is okay. I looked at her thinking that’s crazy, I would never believe that stuff. It came to a point where I couldn’t stand being the middle person, I felt like I was the child of divorced parents, where both sides tried to get you to side with them. At first also, I wasn’t going to go to seminary, I thought it was going to be like 13th grade. So I finally said I will check out a seminary, I found one that had a college program too, so I told her I’m applying to there. At first the seminary closed down, so then I felt helpless, but then it opened back up again. So it all worked out, my teacher thought that I was going to be going to the seminary's college program and didn’t realize that I was only going to the seminary part, and was still going to go to the cuny college.

My good friend actually enjoyed drawing sketches of my life, So I’ll put up some illustrations.




brooklyn college

My teachers would always talk about the importance of being a yarei Shamayim, and the importance of learning. I just never understood all of it, and it went over my head, and I wished they talked about more practical stuff. I got annoyed at hearing about learning.

In High school, I was one of the few with internet. I was brought up on it since I was a kid, so I knew how to work the computer and browse the web. I would print out funny e-mails I got and bring it in to class, and my classmates all loved it, during class it got passed up and down the rows for everyone to look at. They would look forward to the things I brought in. I had a collection in my loose-leaf of them. Then when it was time for tests, especially literature tests, I would go to spark notes or some other website and get multiple choice questions on tom sawyer or whatever book we were having a test on, and surprisingly the teachers questions on her test were the same ones! so everyone was thankful to me for bring it in. Come to think of it, I was able to do so much chessed because I had internet. Girls would come to my house to use my computer, to check out aish’s website, or to check their e-mails for important e-mails from organizations, and all kinds of stuff.

In seminary, I went to a more open one, that was very different from my HS, and gave me the perfect balance, and it was exactly what I needed. It showed me a love for being Jewish, and gave great logic based classes which I truly enjoyed. For the first time in my life I realized that so many things which I thought were Halachos were actually chumras, and it was very comforting to find out there’s a distinction between the two. Then somehow my views changed, and I started appreciating what learning is, and better understood what it means to be a yaarei shamayim. 

So now getting back to Kollel, I understand the joy in learning, of finding a chiddush, and finally understanding something. I always loved learning Chumash, it was my favorite subject, with all the Rashi’s and different meforshim, with questions and answers and arguments. I always felt so proud when I was able to figure out Rashi’s question and answer’s and to fit the whole puzzle together so that it made sense. I loved hearing the teacher say “Excellent” to what I said. It felt good when teachers quoted me when I had the right answer. Of course there were times when I was wrong too, but I never let that stop me from guessing.

in class

So anyways, I realized how much joy learning could be, and I understood why men would want to join Kollel for that reason. Imagine being able to fill your mind with so much knowledge a whole day, to learn so much. To figure things out and become enlightened as to how you are supposed to be living your life.

Of course I acknowledge that not everyone can get the same joy out of it, and not everyone can truly appreciate what it is to learn and how it puts you on a high. Some can’t follow along so well, and their brain doesn’t allow them to grasp the material so easily. So for them of course they wouldn’t belong in a Kollel.

I of course still don’t plan on marrying a guy who will only sit and learn and not work, I believe it’s a man’s job to make parnassah and support his family. But yet, because I understand the value of learning and why men would want to choose that way, I would support them, and give tzedaka to help them. I feel that these 2 paths are really connected, there is allowed to be both and both are good, after all there was a yissaschar and zevulan relationship. I used to always use that argument to be for working and against Kollel. But now I’m going to twist it, and say that the working is for the sake of the learning. The main goal is the learning.

As it is, I think the people who do join Kollel, only do it for a short few years after they get married, and then they go to work. My neighbor actually pointed out a pro to this, he said why would you want your husband to be working with immodestly dressed woman during your shana rishonah. So this way when their learning that first year, their mind is on higher things, and their not distracted by what’s out there, and they will be more faithful.

So I don’t think it’s a problem if a man wants to learn in Kollel for a short few years after he gets married, if afterwards he plans to work and support his family. So it won’t be a continuing chain of him leeching. For those that want to spend their whole life in Kollel, they should truly enjoy it, and not just want to sit and schmooze with friends and take coffee breaks all the time. If they are truly into it, then I look up to it as a great thing, and who knows they may become the next gadol hador.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

HP Tuesday --- #3

Last week Monday I had a midterm which for some reason I totally forgot about. I realized too late that I was having a midterm, and had one hour to study, so of course I did poorly on the exam, but yet was still surprised to see that I failed. I couldn’t believe it, after all I had never failed before. But yet in a way I was comforted that I had gotten a low mark, rather than getting a passing bad mark.

After taking the test, I heard everyone talking about how hard and tricky it was, so I was thinking to myself, perhaps it’s a good thing I haven’t gotten a chance to study after all, cause why waste my energy if I was going to do poorly anyways.

Then yesterday I went over to the professor, and asked her if there was a way for me to makeup the points since I did very poorly because I had forgotten about the test. So she told me that if one were to get a 40 on the first test, and then 80’s on the next 2, then obviously something went wrong with the first one, and she will only count the next 2. I told her Thank You and left feeling happy.

See I knew it was a good thing to fail, cause then on the next 2 I can only do better. Since I know what kind of tricky tests she gives, I know to study harder for the next ones, and will hopefully be able to do well on those, so it all works out! Hashem is on my side!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jewish Song Sunday --- #4

Suffy: Lift Yourself Up Higher

This Album was written to help an organization called Sharsheret. I first heard about it from one of Malky Giniger’s Concerts. She had Suffy costar with her, and I thought Suffy was great, so I bought her album, and loved it.


When you’re on the road to nowhere
And there’s no one by your side
When you feel like you are utterly alone
When you see the path before you
And your confidence is tried
And you need a place to rest your tired bones

If it’s early in the morning
Or the owls are asleep
If the cold outside is colder inside you
Know that somewhere someone’s waiting
With a love that’s yours to keep
And with that your load is lighter than you knew

Lift yourself up higher
With this hope and great desire
I said, lift yourself up higher
And you’ll find your way back home

When you fight an uphill battle
And the end’s nowhere in sight
And you think that there’s no more of you to give
Know that very deep inside you
There’s a seed that wants to sow
She will plant her roots and finally start to live


Like the stars that light the sky
And the sand that salts the sea
Feel your strength get multiplied
Let the history in you set us free


Warning: Kol Isha

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Wife – The Inspirer

Before I start I would like to introduce a chiddush of mine I came up with. I was inspired to write it from Frum Punks post. In short, I realized that there is a contradiction found amongst some men. In that the generalized group that don’t care how their possessions look, in the design, who only care about the practicality of the object and that it gets the job done. They are the group that cares about the looks of girls, and don’t care about what the girl can do for them.

I would always hear that the roll of the wife is to inspire and motivate her husband to do things. I never understood how this can be possible. I thought it would be as thought she were convincing him to do stuff she wants, which he doesn’t want to do, and he only does it because she asks. I remember hearing how the woman makes or breaks the house. When Hashem created Chava for Adam, the words used can be translated in 2 ways. That either the wife will build the house, or destroy it. Then there are examples in Tanach of this.

Then this week I finally realized what it meant. My little brother got in the mood to cook, for some reason he wanted to go through cook books and bake stuff. Now I had never cooked anything before, and a little while ago I had bought a cookbook to get started, and just never got around to it. So really I had wanted to cook the whole time, it’s not that my little brother convinced me to cook because he wanted to.

So then during the week I made 3 things, I had so much fun, that I told my mother I wanted to cook for shabbos. So the whole Friday, I made chullent, chicken soup, chicken, potato Kugel and challah (That is why I didn’t get to write a Parsha Post this week). Now since I never made Challah before I didn’t know there were special kneading machines that do all the work for you. So for like a half hour I was kneading the dough, which was the hardest part. Besides for that it was all fun. It was accomplishing to be able to serve my family the food I made. It was also cool to find out the trick on how they make pull apart challahs, I had always wondered how it was done. Since I was in the mood that things should look nice, I had also cleaned and set the table for Shabbos. Beforehand I had bought flowers too, so the table looked great when it was Shabbos time, it was a shame I didn’t get to take a picture.

Now the same can apply to inspiration in regard to spiritual heights. I love getting inspired to do good and to go on a higher level. It’s not that I feel the material or speaking is brainwashing me. But rather, I myself deep down always want to strive higher, and things just block me from it. So by getting inspired it supersedes the blockings and allows me to make the change to do good and strive for greatness.

Recently I came upon some inspiring posts:

I love reading inspiring posts, so as I come upon them I note them down. If I find more I’ll add them on to this post so I can have a index of them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yiddish and High School Drop Outs

I had always thought that Yiddish was a “Jewish” language. I had never realized that it was just the language that was spoken in Europe, and was the cultural language. In elementary school we would learn Yiddish when we translated text in the chumash. All that I remember from it is the beginning words “Vayomer – in er hut ge zukt”. Some of my classmates were from boro park so they heard Yiddish more often and it was easier for them to catch on.

My friend was able to make a deal with the teacher in 5th grade, that she didn’t have to know the Yiddish translation. After hearing this, I decided I’ll give it a shot too and see if I can get away with it. So I went over to my teacher, and I told her I had a hard time with all the Yiddish. So she made a deal with me, it wasn’t as generous a deal that she made with my friend. She told me I would only be responsible to know the Yiddish translation for the first posuk we do a day. That definitely was a huge cut back from the regular amount of posukim we did a day, so I was grateful.

After Elementary school, I never encountered Yiddish again. I would go to my grandparents, and my grandmother would speak to me in Yiddish and I had no clue what she was saying, and would look at her with a questioning face. Then she would remember that I didn’t know Yiddish and would tell me I have to start learning it so that I can understand people.

Then the other day I found an article that sheds light to this Yiddish situation, and to the High School drop out rate. It goes like this, all old European Jews were fluent in their native language, whether it be Hungarian or French. So then why is that here in America there are people who think they don’t have to know English? That they just talk Yiddish and then therefore they can’t get a job and support their family. Or even if they do have their own business, they can’t interact with other people, and it severely limits them. Even Rambam and Rashi were fluent and wrote in their native languages. Part of the Gemara was even written in Aramaic and not in Hebrew.

Studies have showed surprising results. That the families who shelter their kids, don’t have a lower amount of at risk teens, but rather a higher one than those that don’t shelter their kids. The uneducated children grow up with poverty, are unhappy and therefore more open to negative influences. So once we start educating our children the right way then it can help solve 2 issues at once. By learning English they will become more successful, as language is a vital tool to communication. Second there will be less at risk teens. They will be happier and content, and won’t feel the need to “figure things out” for themselves.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jewish Song Sunday --- #3

Kinderlach: Moshiach

After going to Israel, I started to love Israeli music, so when I heard the Kinderlach I naturally loved their songs. They have a cool style to them. Their most famous song is “Everybody wants Moshiach”.


Everybody wants Moshiach
Everybody wants
Everybody wants Moshiach…

This song comes right from our heart
About Moshiach hear us out
We want him and we wait each day
Never ever stop to pray
Children, fathers, young and old
All the Jews around the world
Long for him that he should come
Oy Moshiach please come right now…

Some Technical Information:
For those that want to download the video into avi or mpeg then you can download Save 2 Pc.
If you want to download just the music from the video then you can do that at Vid 2 MP3.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Emuna and Bitachon

Every shabbos I go to a shiur by someone on my block. This week there was a Rav from Eretz Yisroel who came to NY, and was staying by someone on my block. So he gave a shiur for us woman on shabbos day.

First of all he spoke about the barren woman, how Sara didn’t have children for many years. He asked why was it that way, that she had to wait so many years for children. Then he said the reason is because Hashem wanted to hear Sara’s prayers. He said it’s human nature for people to call out and daven when they have problems, but when things are going well we don’t call out. So tzadikim purposefully want problems so they will daven out to Hashem.

Then he spoke about how problems are opportunities and they are a present, that we get to daven to Hashem. He said we have to know that Hashem loves us. If we have Emunah in Hashem and know that He loves us, then anything that happens is all good. Even if we have problems, we shouldn’t view them as a curse, but rather a opportunity to get close to Hashem. That no matter what happens it’s all good because it’s from Hashem. That when we go up to Shamayim Hashem’s going to be like our History teacher, and He will explain to us why everything had to happen, that right now we just don’t know the reasons and have to realize that everything is for our good.

So at first when I heard him say this, he was all smiley so I figured he must have everything good that he can speak like this and be so sure that everything is good. Then later on it came out that he actually came to NY because he has a cancer so he’s getting surgery this week by a doctor in NY. So he obviously does have his problems, but yet you wouldn’t even know. He seems so happy, and so sure that everything is good.

Then he said something which I found very interesting and was very surprised to hear. First of all he’s written a few seforim, and he’s in middle of writing some more books. So one of the books he’s working on is about OCD. He said OCD is most common by frum people. That they feel they have to wash their hands all the time. That if the water isn’t clean then they won’t go to the mikvah, which stops them from doing the mitzvah. Then he said that people call Rabbi’s too much to ask questions about Basar and Chalav. He said you have to have self esteem, and believe that you know what your doing. That you shouldn’t have to ask a Rav a question all the time. That Hashem gave you knowledge to know to make the right decision. This shocked me, cause I always heard you are supposed to ask questions.

Then he was saying how you have to believe in your kids. He said one time when he was by Baba Sali’s house, he hears his wife call the kid over by saying “come hear Tzadik”. So he said parents should believe in their kids and they will do good, that you shouldn’t call your kid stupid or idiot. That if a kid is having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, you should say you believe they could get up, and then they will. That you shouldn’t yell at them for being lazy and not getting up. He said that parents shouldn’t throw away their off the derech children, but rather still show them love and always welcome them, because they are still their children, and by showing love it shows you believe in them that they can come back.

Then he said that when he was in High School in Chicago he used to get bad grades, C’s, because he didn’t put in much effort. Then one time he went to see a play, and he was very impressed by it, so he sent a letter to the person in charge and told him how he appreciated the play. The man then sent him a letter back saying he wants to meet him. Then when he went over, the man said he wants to give him voice lessons. So the Rav said he was poor and couldn’t afford it, so the man said he’ll give it to him for free. Then the man asked him how he’s doing in school, and he said he was getting C’s. So the man said he believes he can get A’s. So because the man a non Jew, believed in him that he can do better, it made him do well in school. He graduated High School and got 2 scholarships for the university of Chicago and the university of Illinois. But he didn’t go to college, instead he went to learn in Israel.

He says Hashem gave him a gift to be able to know psychology without ever studying it. In his books he talks about psychology a lot, and other psychologists always ask him how he knows so much about it without ever studying it.

One of the books he wrote is out of print, but it was something like “how to get married in 30 days”. He said he doesn’t believe in the term Bashert. He said you shouldn’t think of it in that way, cause then you’ll never get married. So then one lady spoke up and said that her daughter got married at the age of 35, and she had no crazy expectations, so it was only based on the fact that it was not the right time, and that she hadn’t met her Bashert. So then another lady said, that perhaps she wasn’t too choosy, but could be she didn’t meet the other people’s criteria's.

Then another lady said that sometimes it’s hard to always be happy, that there are people with mental illnesses like bipolar that have to take medication to make them happy. So he said he’s all for the medication. Then he also said he’s for the 12 step approach, and he said even the Rambam mentions it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Parshas Lech Lecha

This week I learned that Parshas Lech Lecha shows how Israel belongs to the Jews. About Jews being the chosen people which doesn’t have the negative connotation that most associate with it. About Avraham listening to hashem and just going and how we can apply it to our every day lives. About how Lech Lecha could mean go to yourself, to became your potential. About Avraham Haivri and what the term Ivri means and what it teaches us. About the term Elonei Mamrei and how Elon can be translated. About the Obligation to live in Israel. About being happy in Israel since Avraham Aveinu met your Neshama there. About a cool kids menu that relates to the parsha. That motzei shabbos is Rochel Imenu’s Yortzeit.

From Something to Say:

Gaze, now, toward the heavens and count the stars… so shall your offspring be (15:5).

According to the simple meaning of the verse, God was assuring Abraham, who was still childless, that he would have as many offspring as there are stars in the sky. Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin comments on this promise: One might wonder why God commanded Abraham to count the stars, for their numbers are so vast that they are truly impossible for any human being to count. God was saying, “Gaze, now… and count the stars- just as you see that it is impossible to count the stars using normal human powers, so will your descendants, the children of Israel, be blessed with powers that are above and beyond human comprehension.” Every Jew is blessed with tremendous resources, talents, and energies. Often these are hidden, even from awareness of the one who possesses them. The individual and collective accomplishments of our people through history, and their miraculous survival and maintenance of identity through the exile, bear witness to the special protection God affords us, and to the transcendent nature of the Jewish nation – a testimony that shines most brilliantly than all the stars in the sky.

At first when looking at this posuk I would think it means just that the Jews will increase in number and be many, just as the stars can’t be counted. But then there’s something else to it which gives us great insight. Although the Jews aren’t supposed to be haughty about being the Chosen nation. They do have a gene in them that makes them great and capable of great things. Jews are the highest level of a living thing. More is expected of us because of this. Our greatness is what enables us to survive every generation, it’s all in the stars!

Thank You Leora for the Stars!
Thank You Leora for the Stars!

Have a Great Shabbos!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

HP Tuesday --- #2

On Rosh Chodesh my family likes to go out to eat to celebrate. This past Rosh Chodesh we decided to check out a new place. My father got an e-mail from a credit program he was enrolled in, that said if you dine out by one of the selected restaurants you can get 15 points per dollar. These points are equal to free miles.

So we all went and ordered lots of stuff to get more points. We even ordered dessert. We had a great time, the food was great and everything. Then a Breslov chossid came in with those little pamphlets to get tzedaka. So he came over to our table and handed over to my father a booklet that said “Don’t be disappointed”. My father asked if the man had anything more positive, so then they gave 4 more things, and my father gave some more tzedaka.

Then after 3 hours of dining, we go to the register to pay. So my father takes out his credit card, imagining the 1500 miles he just earned. However, when he hands over the credit card, the person behind the register said “sorry, our machine is broken, only cash”.

My father got a bit frustrated that now he wouldn’t be able to get his points. That we had come to this place specifically because they were on the list of qualifying restaurants. So he asked the man if he can give over his credit card number and the man will try again the next day. But the man said he can’t do that, that when he closes the register it has to have the money in it, or else he will have to pay himself.

My father tried to figure out a way that he can still get the points, but no idea came up. When suddenly he remembered the pamphlet the Breslov Chossid had gave us. It had said “Don’t be disappointed”. What perfect timing to get such a booklet. So my father realized there’s nothing to be done, so he didn’t let it upset him anymore.

My mother then came up with the idea, that perhaps my father can pay with a check and then send the receipt with the check number to the points program, and perhaps they will still give us the points as if we had paid by credit card. So we did that, and we are still waiting for a response from them.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Iyov (Job)

Job was a righteous man who feared G-d and shunned evil. The Satan said to G-d that Job is only that way because he is so wealthy and has everything good. So G-d told Satan he can do anything he wishes to Job, except to harm him, and he will find out if he is still righteous. Then one day, Job’s servants came in one after another saying how his animals and stuff were being destroyed. Job’s reaction was to acknowledge that G-d has given and then taken, despite all that happened, he did not sin.

G-d told Satan that Job was still righteous. Satan challenged G-d saying, if you harm Job himself then he will say bad against you. So G-d said to Satan that Job is in his hands, but not to kill him. Job was then afflicted with severe boils from head to toe. When his wife questioned his wholesomeness Job said “shall we accept the good from G-d and not accept the bad?”. Job did not sin with his lips.

Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zopher the Naamathite, came to mourn with Job. They sat with him for 7 days and 7 nights, they didn’t talk to him since they saw that his pain was great. After that Job cursed the day he was born. He questioned his birth and complained about his suffering.

The next chapters are filled with arguments back and forth between Job and his 3 friends. They are arguments about evil and suffering and G-d. Each time Job claims he’s innocent and that he just wants to speak to G-d so that he can claim his innocence and justice. The 3 men stopped answering back to Job since they realized that Job was righteous in his own eyes.

Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite was unhappy with what the 3 men had said, since he was young he waited his turn till he spoke. Elihu then asks Job to listen to what he has to say. He discusses the theme of pain and suffering, how sometimes suffering can save a man from worse plight. Elihu says that pray full repentance is the cure. Elihu then tells over how G-d’s way is just. That G-d has no reason to pervert justice and man is helpless against G-d. Elihu discusses how the fate of the wicked encourages the righteous to be just. Elihu show’s how G-d’s ways are known through nature, with the different types of rain’s and that G-d’s ways are beyond human comprehension.

G-d then speaks to Job and asks him if he was there by creation and if he realizes his limits of experience and knowledge. God speaks of all the creations he made and how he controls and cares for them. God rebukes Job and Job admits his mistake. Job then repents. Job admits that he knew God can do anything and Job admits he knows nothing. Now that Job has seen G-d he realizes he is nothing but dust and ashes and relents.

G-d then spoke to Eliphaz and said that he did not speak properly about G-d as Job had done. G-d commanded Eliphaz to take 7 bulls and 7 rams and to go to Job and bring them up as burnt offerings. Job will pray for Eliphaz and his 2 friends, and on Job’s account G-d will not do anything vile to them although they spoke improperly about G-d. The 3 men did as they were told and G-d showed them consideration.

Job’s wealth was then restored double of what he had before, after he prayed for the 3 men. G-d blessed Job’s end more than he had in the beginning. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. Job’s daughters were the most beautiful woman in all of the land. The 3 daughters got an inheritance with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years, and was able to see his children and then children for 4 generations. Job then died, old and satisfied with years.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Jewish Song Sundays --- #2

Malky Giniger: Donnie

When I first heard this song I felt an automatic pull towards it. First because of the theme of the song, how a mother should be involved with her children’s lives and not let anything get in the way. Second Because I liked the name Donnie.


It was a long hard day I lay back on my bed
Got some time to rest three pillows beneath my head
Finally I’ll get to sleep; I’m finished for the day
When out from underneath my bed I hear a small voice say.

Mommy, Mommy, guess what I did today in school
I’d say sweetheart, please don’t bother me
My dear, you know the rule.
Please talk to me later, right now I’ve got to rest.
Mommy, yes, I understand, sorry for being such a pest.

The days were getting harder now work was getting tough
Financially we were managing, but it was really kind of rough.
Each day I’d plop onto my bed after supper was prepared,
No time to hear the first grade news, but my Donnie knew I cared.

Well, I began to feel quite guilty for each day the same thing occurred.
So, I said, “Starting tomorrow, I’ll hear my Donnie’s words,
But right now I’ll go rest my head to ease that aching pain.”
Just then Donnie came home from school and persisted once again.

Mommy, Mommy, guess what I did today in school
I’d say sweetheart, please don’t bother me
My dear, you know the rule.
Please talk to me later, right now I’ve got to rest.
Mommy, yes, I understand, sorry for being such a pest.

Tomorrow came and went too fast Donnie turned eight, nine, and ten,
Now those words were echoes of the past never to be heard again.
For now before the end of school the phone would ring each day.
It was Donnie on the other end and this is what he’d say.

Mommy, Mommy, guess what, there’s a game right after school.
I’d say Sweetheart please come home today I want to hear from you.
Can’t it wait till later, it’s the sport that I play best
Donnie, yes I understand sorry for being such a pest

So I learned my lesson the hard way
I lost those years I can’t replace
I took those times for granted
Time had grabbed me in it’s race,
But when my five year old  Nechemia comes home from school each day
I run to take him off the bus and this is what we say

Mommy, Mommy, guess what I did today in school
I say, sweetheart please tell me I want to hear from you
Please don’t wait till later, I so do want to hear
Mommy thanks for all your time I know how much you care

So now, Mothers don’t loose all that time
Show them how much you care (Mommy thanks for all your time)

Warning: Kol Isha