Friday, July 31, 2009

Seven Things I Love

I have been tagged by Ricki’s Mom in the “Seven things I love” meme.

The way it works is simple: List the seven things you love and tag seven other bloggers.

  1. Number one would have to go to my love.  

  2. I love children in general, as you can tell, obviously.

  3. I have grown to love flowers, pretty sunsets, and all kinds of beautiful natural scenes Hashem has created for us to enjoy.

  4. I love technology, I’m a geek at heart, and love learning about new technological breakthroughs. In addition to anything computer related.

    I was going through some old papers of mine from High School, and I found a midterm and final from 12th grade computer class, and the marks were 99 on the midterm and 103 on the final. At my first class at college I took an introduction to computer science class and I got an A+ on that, making my GPA a perfect 4.0. Then throughout the rest of the semesters I had taken a computer basics class and got an A. Then there was an accounting information science class on the computer, where I got an A too, then lastly by Robotics class where I got an A+.

    I’m thankful for the gift Hashem has given me, and hope I can channel my computer knowledge in a beneficial way.

  5. I love writing, it’s an accomplishing feeling to see your thoughts put down on paper, it gives substance to your thoughts and gives evidence to their existence. I also love the fact that I can write how I feel and see people commenting that they can relate and giving advice of what helps them.

  6. I love singing along to music I hear, but only if no one is there to hear. Music has amazing powers.

  7. I love long things: long skirts and long hair.

I tag: Frum Female, Ink Stained Hands, Jessica, Lvnsm27, MikeInMidwood, Moshe, NMF#7

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Previously I had written about how we have to enjoy the pleasurable things in this world. Since it is the 9 days and we can’t listen to music I will share with you some videos that I have found very entertaining. Enjoy!

I hope these videos made you laugh, for me children are the best source of entertainment.

Have a meaningful and easy fast on Tisha B’Av.

May we do lots of teshuva and be zoche to bring Moshiach!

Friday, July 24, 2009

In Search of Pleasure

For everything in this world there is a kosher equivalent. There was a great Rabbi whose wife said she wanted milk and meat together. A normal reaction of a husband who hears that would be outrage, to think Chas V’ Shalom what happened to her? How could she think such a thing? But the Rabbi didn’t react that way, instead he went and asked for a cow’s udder. Now she was able to have milk and meat together in a kosher way.

Hashem wants us to have pleasure and enjoy from this world. There are several chazals that prove this.

  1. A Nazir brings a Karbon Chatas because he sinned by not enjoying pleasure in this world, the wine.
  2. If I were to ask you what the first commandment is, you would say it’s when Hashem tells Adam not to eat from the Eitz Hadas. But really that’s not the first commandment. If you look at the posuk it says Hashem commanded Adam to eat.
  3. Hashem showed Adam and Chava the beautiful world.

If a person doesn’t partake in the pleasures of this world then they have no gratitude. If a person enjoys pleasures of this world then they will be a happier person and easy to get along with.

However, there is a flip side. The more we have pleasure the less we enjoy it. Think of your favorite food, the first time you eat it, it’s like heaven on earth. But if you were to have that food every day then you wouldn’t enjoy it as much. I believe that’s why Hashem gave us boundaries, that’s why there are the Halachos of Nidah, so that it stays a special thing.

Think of this scenario, you are in the freezing cold for 3 1/2 hours, where there is only 25 minutes of action, where you have people standing up in front of you when something happens thereby not allowing you to see anything, where you have to pay for food and there are inaccessible unsanitary bathrooms. It doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience.

Then picture this scenario, you are sitting on your living room couch in front of a Plasma screen TV with the football game on, where you are in the warmth of your own house, where you can see the whole game clearly, where you get any food you want, where the bathroom is available to you and clean. Now this sounds like a pleasant experience.

Now if you ask a person why they would rather go to a football game than watch the game in the living room, they will say they go for the experience of being part of a large group. During the football game the people will cheer to “J-E-T-S” or whichever team they are going for, this is to remind them that they are part of the group. They will also do the “wave” for the same reason.

If you open a cookbook and take a look at a recipe, you won’t see it saying to take a steak and cook it, rather you will see lists of ingredients that you combine to form a recipe.

At this time I would like to point out that A Mother In Israel started a relatively new blog, called Cooking Manager with great tips on cooking. Leora has a great collection of recipes as does Ilana Davita a great collection of recipes. 

Same with music, there are various notes, voices and instruments that are combined together to form a beautiful harmony.

When two people love each other, you have two bodies with one soul.

The essence of all these examples, is unity.

People who are patriotic for their country, do it because they want to feel the unity. Being a part of something gives us pleasure. I will take this time to point out that being a blogger is also an example of being part of a whole – the blogosphere, and it gives me great pleasure to be a part of such a great thing.

Mike In Midwood has a great creative post called Chaim Snyder which is a great example for two of the points made so far. The first being there is a Kosher version of everything, hence the post is about Chaim Snyder being the Kosher version of Harry Potter. The second being people like to be part of a large group, since lots of people have read/watched Harry Potter, other people want to also, because then they belong to the group of Harry Potter readers/watchers/fans.

The Torah starts with the letter Bais, it has two pointers, one points up to Hashem who created us. The second points down, to before the creation of people where there was oneness. With the creation of people there became Bais, “twoness”, where we feel a separation from the Aleph, Hashem. As a correction we try to seek pleasure with Hashem.

There is a pleasure we get from putting together a puzzle, where we are building something. All pleasure if used in the right way can lead us in the direction of unity with Hashem. The more we experience unity, we get closer to Hashem.

We all know the famous story, where a man came to Hillel and asked to him to explain to him the Torah on one foot. Hillel said “What is hateful to you, don’t to unto your friend, and the rest is commentary”. Now how can we explain this?

One explanation:

There are 3 categories of a friend. 1- Hashem: Yedid Nefesh. 2- Fellow Jew. 3- Neshama- our closes friend. The Torah is all about those 3 types of friends.

Second explanation:

The purpose of the world is for a person to become similar to Hashem – Tzelem Elokim, so the Torah tells us how.

When you think to yourself “What do I want”, the I could mean different things. In the highest scenario, it would play out like this:

I = body and soul, friends and family, and all of the Jewish People.

This is where all the pleasures come together. The pleasure for yourself and others is the essence of Torah, unity, to bridge with others.

It says on “that day” Hashem will be one and His name will be one. Now why does it need to say both? Because now we read Hashem’s name differently from the way it is written. At “that time” Hashem’s name will be read the way it is written. The reason we read it differently now, is because we don’t see what we know, we don’t see Hashem clearly.

To recap, we are supposed to have pleasure in this world. We like to feel unity. This leads us to be closer with Hashem. Therefore, every time we do an action we should see if it will bring unity or not.

I have to say there is nothing like the real thing. R’ Becher was hilarious, try to get his CD/Tape or listen to it online once it comes out.

FYI: These shiurim are part of the Irgun Shiurai Torah program. If you look to your left you will see the schedule posted onto the sidebar, click the image to expand.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What it Means to be a Proud Jew

If you notice on my sidebar in the “About Me” section of this blog, I wrote “I am a proud Jew”. Now what does that mean? I went to a shiur by R’ Dishon a few weeks ago and he spoke about this topic.

Every single Jew that’s alive makes up a part of Hashem’s name Yud-Kay-Vav-Kay. Now when someone is niftar, there is a gap in the name, a part of the name is missing. So the niftar’s children say Kadish for him. Now what is Kadish? I would of imagined it would say something about death, and passing on. But it doesn’t mention death once. What is it all about? it’s all about Hashem. This is because, since there is a gap in Hashem’s name from the person who was niftar, by saying Kadish a person is saying there’s a Hashem, and that makes up for the gap that is missing, so that Hashem’s name can be complete again.

Since each person is part of Hashem’s name, each house has the Shchina in it, and each house is a Mishkan for Hashem. Now that is why it is important for the house to have kedusha in it, so that the Shchina can rest there, and you can receive brachos. It is the Wife’s job to make sure the house has kedusha in it.

Now, to combine 2 shiurim in one. R’ Veiner spoke about “Family Security”. Which was about the internet. He said if you have internet you should get filters and a reporting system. He would be available for anyone, if they have no one else to feel uncomfortable towards.

Since a house is a Mikdash Miat and a place for the Shchina, we don’t want to kick the Shchina out by having tumah in the house. Now Tumah doesn’t mean the internet, but rather what shockingly lots of men are using the internet for. Please be righteous, and use a filter and reporting system, if you can’t trust yourself. Here’s a list that R’ Veiner gave out.

The important thing to remember, is that even if you had made a mistake and done a bad thing before, don’t let the yetzer hora get you down by making you depressed that your a bad person. Hashem gave us Yom Kippur so that we can start over fresh, it’s an amazing thing. So we just have to improve ourselves, and move forward without looking back. We can be good and strive higher even if we have made mistakes in the past.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Academic Cheating

What is considered cheating? Everybody has different standards. Some will say that writing papers for others isn’t cheating. Or getting test banks isn’t cheating. But one thing I think we can all agree on is that copying answers out right on a test in a classroom is cheating!

1. A few months ago, I was taking a final in a classroom with about 100 other people in it. Everyone had the same test, and there were no spaces between desks. In other words it was one crammed room with plenty of cheating opportunities available.

My Robot This final was on Robotics, one of my favorite classes. I had done well in that class the whole semester. My lab partner and I even won a race, our robot was able to go the fastest! We beat the guys, and it was really funny to see them being sore losers and making excuses of why we won.

So when it came to the final, my lab partner sat on one side of me, and this other girl I don’t know sat on the other side. The test began and I quickly filled out all the answers that I knew, and couldn’t wait to get all the information down and get home so that I can study for my next final.

But then the girls sitting next to me had a different plan in mind, they wanted to cheat off my paper. My worst vice I would say is that I can’t say NO! (I’ve had it before with babysitting jobs, where I couldn’t tell the mother that NO I can’t babysit by her. So the same thing happened here.) I couldn’t say no, and I let them cheat off my paper. Because one of the girls was my lab partner and I had become her friend, I felt like I couldn’t be mean to her and say no.

This is an example where every midah can be used for good and bad. How sometimes we have to be mean because it’s the right thing.

2. When I first started college, while I was in seminary at the same time, I came into a situation that involved cheating. I was taking a test and was stuck on a few examples. The guy sitting next to me felt bad that I didn’t know the answers, so he figured he would “help me out”. He told me the answers to the multiple choice questions. But I didn’t feel right to write the answers down. So I went up to the professor, and told him that I was stuck on those questions and asked him to explain me the question. He did, and then I was able to answer the questions. I still felt as though I had done something wrong, so the next day I went over to a Rabbi at the seminary and told him the situation and asked him if what I did was okay, and he said yes, and I then felt better.

3. There was this married women with 2 kids who shared a class with me. She told me how hard it was that she was married with kids in college, and that she didn’t have time to study. She told me that 10 years ago when she was in college she studied really hard. But now because she has other responsibilities, she doesn’t have time, so she cheats on her test. She said she actually feels justified, that she’s not doing anything wrong by cheating. That she just needs to graduate already.

The next day in my philosophy class, some topic like this came up, where my professor said that she will let her son make any decision he wants about career choice, but one thing is certain, that she won’t let her kid take a break after High School, that he must go straight to college, while she can pay for it. Since if he takes a break, he may never get back to it. So I told her about this women in my class, who took a break and now feels justified in cheating. She said that’s a horrible thing, and the women is cheating herself. I of course agree!

4. Recently I started taking driving lessons. I took 2 to be exact and it was really fun. I don’t know why I waited till now to start. In any case, I went to this “5 hour class” and at the end the guy says he’s going to ask us a question and that will determine if we will pass or fail the road test. He says, if I tell you that 1+1=6, then how much is 1+1? I said 2, because I remembered my tax professor giving us a similar scenario, where he said that if he calls a tail a leg, then how many legs does a dog have? He told us the correct answer is 4, because no matter what you want to call the tail, it’s still not a leg. So I was thinking of this same scenario. So then the guy says I’m going to fail my road test for that, because no matter what you think is right, you have to listen to the driving inspector, and do what they say. To me that sounded like cheating. I’m still in the mentality, that you can’t change the absolute truth.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stealing –> Kefira

Since this post was all about you, I won’t comment on the post, but I’ll say a little something here. Seems like money is the major issue here. Is that because the people who don’t work are usually the one’s with large families? What if the couple did have the money to support a large family, would people still have problems with it?

R' PearlOn to the next topic of stealing. Tuesday night I went to a shiur by R’ Pearl on the topic of what is keeping Moshiach. Previously I had also heard him speak on a Shabbos afternoon, on the topic of stealing.

He said that if someone steals then they are an apikores, because in essence they are saying Hashem can’t take care of their business. So they feel that have to steal in order to make money. (To me saying no to having children because of money, has the same ring to it, but we won’t go there).

One time a Satmar school got in trouble with the government. So the went over to the Satmar Rebbe to ask for help, to get them out of it. The Satmar Rebbe told them to “get out”, because they stole from the government. They told him that they didn’t keep a penny for themselves, that it was all for the Mosdos. The Satmar Rebbe then said “If you had to steal for the Mosdos, then shut down the Mosdos”. That you can’t use Treif money.

There are so many stories of righteous children who were taught not to steal, and when they were given a chance to “get in for free” they refused, saying it’s geneiva. We have to instill in our children this sensitivity of what stealing and cheating is. When going to an amusement park where they allow 4 year olds in for free, you can’t claim that your 6 year is 4 just because he’s smaller. That is stealing and cheating!

Next up: Academic Cheating

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

About Jewish Food

I love going to shiurim as you can tell. It’s a way of getting a dose of Ruchnius put into my day. Monday night started a series of shiurim that will last throughout the summer. I’ve come to see many programs that have been started to keep the men busy and out of trouble in the city, while their wives and family are up in the country. I think such programs are great. But yet, when I have a family I can’t imagine leaving to the country and leaving my husband back at home, I think I would rather just stay in the city.

R' Zev Cohen Anyways, the shiur I went to on Monday night was by R’ Zev Cohen on the topic of Jewish Food. While I was listening to the shiur, it reminded me of different posts I had read, it gave answers to questions other bloggers have asked. So I figured I would write one post to answer all the questions and at the same time give an interesting summary of what the shiur was about.

Nissan is one of the first months of the Jewish calander. Pesach comes first, and the Karbon brought on Pesach was barley, which is animal food. Then 7 weeks later is Shvous and the Karbon brought then was wheat which is human food. Since by Pesach we are like animals, and then by Shvous we become like humans, after going through the 7 week process. Now this 7 week process is compared to a lady’s cycle, where at the end there is milk which symbolizes purity. That is why on Shvous we eat Milichigs. Now how did cheese cake come about? It came about because, Pesach we have matza which has no yetzer hora, while Shvous we have Lechem which symbolizes the yetzer hora. But yet Shvous we have milk which symbolizes purity. So when you have lechem with the milk it is showing that you have the yetzer hora and yet your pure. The only way this is possible is with the Torah. So once we got the Torah on Shvous then we are able to have lechem- the yetzer hora and yet have milk- be pure. So that’s where it got started to have cheese cake, it’s lechem with milk. 

Chanukah became a time when people buy those Jelly doughnuts, you may ask why it’s fitting for Chanukah. The reason according to R’ Shlomo Zalman Orbach is as follows. Al Hamichya is the only place that mentions the Mezbeach, in benching it doesn’t mention it, so therefore we need a mezonos. Now Al Hamichya is also the only place it mentions Peiros, and we need a tam peiros, so that’s why there is Jelly in the Jelly doughnuts. (This is based on a posuk where it says Mezbeach and Peiros, but I forgot what the posuk is).

Chulent is a Jewish food that is supposed to be specifically for Shabbos. R’ Cohen said he can’t handle beans in his chulent, so he has rice. He always felt guilty as though he wasn’t having chulent the right way, but then he came across a Russian custom where they have rice in their chulent - Dafina, and then he felt better about it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interactive Post - "Your Say On Big Families”

“Big families” seems to be a popular topic around blogosphere. Over the past couple of weeks I have collected some tidbits here and there of what you bloggers/tweeters have to say about “big families”. This post is all about you, none of these quotes are from me. If you have something more to add, feel free to leave a comment and I will add it to the post. (If you would like your name added to your quote, you can let me know and I’ll do that for you as well.)


"laughing at chassidish women with 10 children following behind them and over stuffed strollers"

"That mother with 10 kids? All her kids are in *matching* clothes! Now what happens when kid #1 outgrows his/her outfit? Does food stamps cover this???!?"

"so far I only have 2, but apparently that means I'm already "mass producing" as one friend put it!"

"we had our first 3 in under 3 years - i was called a baby machine..."

"Men who are married, have 12 kids and don't work or do the army. They already get enough of my money through taxes."

"On the one hand, I think it's too intrusive for the Rabbi or whatever to outright forbid them from having children. On the other, it seems unfair that people get to act irresponsibly and then put responsible people in the awkward position of having to fund their lifestyle or be considered immoral and unfeeling brutes"


"Ah ok so my family isn't chassidish at all, my dad is a pediatrician and I am the oldest of 11 BH. (Oh yeah my uncle is a radiologist in Queens he also has 10 kids BH--- and they did not come from such a big family, my dad was 1/6) While I'm not a huge fan of big families I really hate when people with small families judge us. It's true that the ones on food stamps shouldn't have their kids matching in fancy boro park clothing because chances are if the father's a rebbi and the kids look like that, they're not paying yeshiva tuition but somehow have $ for 'important' things like this (which is why the yeshivas are all in such financial messes). It's a ton of work to have a big family so they should be admired not scorned- but on the other hand if it's clearly hard on the mother I just don't get the point of going on like that, it's not a mitzvah to suck the life out of your wife. Oh another thing, these people who like making fun of big families are often using birth control without a proper heter so they really have no place passing judgment. It's a sensitive issue because it's weird for people to discuss others' 'family planning' but this is our religion and bearing children holds a key role. We were just talking on Shabbos- my sister who's 11 wants to become a veterinarian and it's not so simple because R' Moshe Feinstein paskined that it's assur to neuter pets... so if by animals it's this way you could imagine what it's like with humans. A better alternative should be a trend away from sitting and learning, perhaps if we were more 'torah im derech eretz' oriented we'd be able to afford larger families without government assistance and without the mother killing herself trying to work and raise a family all at once. Again there's no way of circumventing this piryah v'rivyah thing, I'd like to hear a rebuttal from someone who thinks they can"

"I like that I have a gigantic family, and love the reactions I get when I tell people that I'm one of ten children."

"A rabbi of mine was giving a lecture and told over the following anecdote. There was an irreligious Jewish woman who was very upset about the irresponsibility of her religious son-in-law who, at the time, was studying full-time, and had six kids and a wife with no way of supporting them. She wasn’t so upset about the fact that her daughter’s husband was studying full-time, but that there was no attempt at birth control. The young man complained to my rabbi that his mother-in-law was driving him crazy and was wondering if there was anything to be done to get her to stop complaining about the number of children he had. My rabbi told him to line up all six of his children for his mother-in-law next she came to visit, and ask her which one shouldn’t have been born. The man reported he never heard a word of complaint about his kids from her again."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Where I Would Go

I’ve been tagged by LVNSM27 to answer this question:

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

My Answer: Home!

They say Home is where the heart is.

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

The way I would draw a house when I was younger:

drawn house

For some reason that is the way I picture a house looking. Every time I draw a house for a kid, I draw it that way. I wonder if someone taught me to draw it like that, or I started it on my own. Anybody else draw a house like that?

House I drew in High School:

House drawn in HS

Used Birchas Habayis words as lines and pastels to color it in. The colors are a bit faded as it’s old, but if you look closely you’ll notice the bricks are different colors. Also if you notice the windows are halfway done, so that they look open. Since our art teacher told us we shouldn’t make a whole window because it looks like a cross.

Now this House I painted on Monday at a ceramics place:

Jewish Side's painted house

I painted red steps since my house has always had red steps. This took a really long time to paint, I wanted all the details to be done correctly. It was a funny thing that I chose to paint a house. As my brother was in the car driving us to the ceramics place I was thinking to myself about houses. Then when we got there and I was looking for something to paint, I spotted the house and it felt like a sign.

Speaking of houses, there’s a Halacha that you can’t cut down a fruit tree. There are these fruit trees with orange colored fruits that fall down in the fall. When they fall they land on the floor and stink up the whole place. So if anyone’s looking to buy a house, be on the look out for these trees.

To end on a positive note The Dugger House looks great!

Next up: Interactive post - “Your Say On Big Families”