Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
[shakes head in wonder/disbelief/belief]
The Full Story:
Several hours before Shabbos came in, the residents of Tzefat heard that Moshe Meitas, aged 4, a local boy, had gone missing. He was last seen at his home on Rechov Ha’ari. The fact that little Moshe is autistic and unable to connect with his surroundings only added to the worry over his sudden disappearance.
With the authorization and on the instruction of local Rabbis, cars drove around Tzefat with loudspeakers calling on the community to help with searches.
The drama went on over several hours. Many warm-hearted local residents left their Shabbos tables and families to search for the missing boy.
The Kikar Shabbat website reports that the search united all strands of the Tzefat community, with Sanzer Chassidim (to whom the Meitas family belongs), Chabad, Breslovers, and more joining together to find the little boy. Hundreds of bochurim from the Chabad yeshiva in Tzefat also played an active part in the search.
After several nail-biting hours, the boy was found in the local cemetery among the headstones of the victims of the Maalot massacre. He was fast asleep, and despite the cold he was in a good physical state and did not need any medical attention.
From initial investigations, it emerged that little Moshe crossed the wadi between his home and the cemetery, which is about 3 km away, by himself but was unable to find his way back.
(SOURCE: SHMAIS.COM who got it from COL.ORG.IL)
Within every love, there is fear: The fear of separation from that which you love.
A child fears separation from her parents, a lover from his beloved, the body fears separation from the soul and the soul from its Source Above.
So what do you love? Look at your worries and you will know. If you seethe in worry over your debts and financial future, then it is the material world you love—because you believe in the material world and you see it as the source of all good. If you sit and fret over the comments of others and the glances they throw at you, then it is social acceptance that you love, that you have made into your god.
Cleave to the True Source Above and your heart will have no room for fear of this world.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
He may be content up there with his Source, but we're not and want him back.
Moishe, my brother.
Monday, December 14, 2009
please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and be sure to include: 1, your name and # of people 2, mobile number 3, date and location that you are attending and 4,whether or not you need transportation (spaces are limited).
If you have transportation and can offer spaces to others include that as well.
MONDAY DEC 14th
Maaleh Efraim (Shomron/Binyamin area)
Leaving Jerusalem 9:30 AM
8:00 PM Chanukah Party for Chayalim Bodedim
OU Israel Center, Jeruslaem
75 Shekel per person includes dairy dinner, dinner for a chayal and a gift for the chayal.
TUESDAY DEC 15th
Kesufim (near Aza) Leaving Efrat 9:30 AM
WEDNESDAY DEC 16th
Shechem Leaving Jerusalem 9:30 AM
THURSDAY DEC 17th
Shomron Leaving Jerusalem 9:30 AM
Please forward this to your local contacts. If you are not able to join us and would like to help sponsor these activities, checks can be made payable to Standing Together and sent to us at PO BOX 1029, Efrat, Israel.
For more information email email@example.com
The lesson from חנוכה is, that when lighting up Yiddishe homes, one must use only pure Yiddishe light, uncontaminated by any goyishkeit. By doing so with מסירת נפש (not giving in to the majority, who also appear to be stronger), we will be victorious, for Hashem is on our side.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
During the "intermediate days" of the festival of Sukkot of 1798, an armed officer arrived in Liozna to arrest Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement. Deciding that it would be advisable at this point to take the biblical advice "Hide yourself for a brief moment" (Isaiah 26:20), the Rebbe slipped out of a side door. The officer returned to his headquarters empty-handed.
Back in the house, the Rebbe decided that if the agent were to return, he would allow himself to be arrested. Some say that he decided this only after consultation with Rabbi Shmuel Munkes, one of his close Chassidim, who happened to be in the Rebbe's home at the time. Reb Shmuel reputedly said to the Rebbe: "If you are a true Rebbe, you have nothing to fear by being arrested. If you are not, you deserve whatever they will do to you (!), for what right did you have to deprive thousands of Chassidim from enjoying the pleasures of this world?"
When the officer appeared on the day after Simchat Torah, which fell on Thursday that year, the Rebbe did not hide. Within a few hours he was already seated in the infamous "Black Mary," the carriage which was reserved by the Czarist regime for rebels who were under capital sentence. Covered on all sides with heavy black metal panels, and with no windows whatsoever, it was designed to cast dread on all those who saw it. Guarded by heavily armed soldiers, the ironclad black carriage pulled out of Liozna on Thursday night and clanked its fearsome way down the highway to Petersburg, via Vitebsk and Nevel.
At half past ten the next morning, some six hours before candle-lighting time, the Rebbe asked that they stop where they were until after Shabbat. The officer in charge ignored his request. A moment later the axles of the carriage broke. No sooner had they repaired them, that one of the horses collapsed and died. Fresh horses were brought, but they could not move the carriage from its place. By this time the gendarmes gathered that it would be impossible to press on with their journey against the Rebbe's will, so they asked their prisoner if they could detour to a nearby village, and spend the next day there. The Rebbe refused, but did agree that the carriage be moved off the highway to an adjacent field.
The spot at which the Rebbe spent that Shabbat is about three miles from the village of Seliba-Rudnia, which is near the town of Nevel. An old Chassid who survived into the twentieth century--Reb Michael of Nevel--used to relate that he knew Chassidim who were able to point out the exact spot at which the Rebbe had spent that lonely Shabbat. He himself had gone there to see it with his own eyes. All the way there he had seen old and drooping trees on both sides of the road, but that memorable spot was marked by a tall tree with luxuriant foliage.
Commentary from Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Rebbe of Chabad:
The story of the Rebbe's journey to Petersburg gives tangible testimony to the statement that whatever happens to a tzaddik--and especially to a tzaddik who is a leader of Jewry-- takes place only with his consent. Indeed not only the Rebbe, but every tzaddik likewise rules over all material matters. What the Torah has to say about the created universe is decisive: all temporal matters are subject to the dominion of the Torah.
When the Rebbe did not want to travel further, the wagon came to a halt, and it came to a halt where and when the Rebbe so desired. Had the wagon stood still at candle-lighting time this would have been not at all remarkable. For such things we find concerning even an unwitting reaction, as it is written "No evil shall befall the righteous." But that the wagon should stand still at ten-thirty on Friday morning, and not budge, this is a palpable wonder of G-d, like an overt miracle.
From all of the above it should be abundantly clear that one whose word carried weight over material things, as was the case with the Rebbe, had the option of not being imprisoned at all; and of not hiding, even for a solitary hour. If he did go nevertheless, this was for the sake of a profound purpose involving the service of G-d.
The patriarch Abraham opened the channel of self-sacrifice for the sanctification of G-d's Name, and the Rebbe opened the channel of self-sacrifice for Chassidic service of G-d. From all of this one can gather that the whole episode of the Rebbe's imprisonment was only a garment worn by choice, in order to avoid making use of supernatural means.
Truth to tell, this subject warrants a detailed explanation, especially since this would provide at least an inkling of an appreciation of the Rebbe's quintessential inner love for Jews in general--for he wanted every individual to start living with zest in his Torah study, and in his divine service according to the teachings of Chassidism--and his love for Chassidim in particular. And this love the Rebbe planted in the Rebbes who succeeded him. Such a deep-seated and quintessential love is everlasting, throughout all the generations until the coming of Moshiach, when it will be granted us, at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, to gaze directly upon the living and luminous countenances of the Rebbes.
Linn County Correctional Center
Inmate Shalom Rubashkin
P.O. Box 608
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-0608
Please make sure to put a return address otherwise they will not deliver it to him.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
DEAR friends i know you are getting this email and prob sick of me asking to vote for my org we are in debt of over 120,000$ i really need to win this money to be able to help everyone it takes 30 sec become a fan and only vote once i need another 700 votes this week you all have friends on facebook that i have either paid or helped make their wedding please telll everyone tzchu lmitzvos
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Was gonna go to this guys house, on a yishuv, but he was really odd on the phone. He said his wife wanted to meet me before. So I was like uh, no thanks. [LOL I wonder-was this Jameel??]
So we went to Bet Gamliel-wealthy moshav between Yavneh and Rechovot. (remember how Rabban Gamliel is buried in Yavneh?)
ahh the beautiful healthy (earthy crunchy, chevee) smell of cows and horses.
the wide expanse of fresh healthy looking green grass.
the clear blue sky and the fluffy clouds that fill it moments later and then disappear.
the muffled chatter and squeals of the children playing nearby.
the clean clear refreshing air.
breathe in and out and in and out
the occasional tractor chuggin by.
the desire to just run and run and laugh and shout to G-d in praise and thanks for being alive and for being blessed w/ the senses of smell sight touch sound and speech.
for being in a 'free' country. for being able to learn torah w/o fear.
o the gifts we have.
and the seeming contradictions that filled this shabbos.
as in the intrinsic paintings and decorations in the savtas house and the utter simplicity of the owner.
the joy of being in israel united with the joy of reading english books and speakin english at the table.
the grandson who is so sweet and small and is in yeshiva but is a combat soldier at the same time.
the very matter of fact way that the savta is so thoughtful and generous. makes u forget she's doin u a favor.
the complete pitch silence punctuated however with the friendly squeals and chirping and mad ranting of the pet birds.
And now I must go. Chabad house duties call.
This annoying guy from the morning bus to the Old City stalked me and found my hideout. One move and all my soldier friends will be on him like birds of prey. Not jokin in the least bit.
All the best kids.
chava (NOT chavale as this psychologist calls me!)
old city, jerusalem.
I remember my sobs, bitter tears on that day
Two dedicated holy Neshamos, cruelly taken away
And the questions they were asking, will we disappear
But yet we stand even stronger after one whole year
Is it magic, maybe luck or coincidence I see?
Can the scarred and axed up big old stump grow into a splendid tree?
But so many acts of goodness in your memory have begun
It can only be your shepherd who gives you strength to power on
So let the burning fires burn and the raging waters rage
Yeah to shine it’s now our turn, it’s our time to turn the page
With our Rebbe in the lead, there’s no doubt that we’ll succeed
Keep on shining… Shluchim changing the world.
Is the sacrifice enough to tear the heavens to the core?
Does the simple serving soldier question what you did this for?
With his marching orders given, and the vision he has shown
With faith you follow his command, so quickly you have grown.
One more Mitzvah’s all it takes and this Golus will finally end
Just one more push if kindness, we’ll see the Shechina shine again
With your superhuman surge of good, loving every single Jew
We will all be reunited, Gabi and Rivka too...
"Really? I thought in Yerushalayim it was earlier."
"Huh? I'm talking about for us."
"You mean you don't believe that we'll be in Eretz Yisroel with Moshiach next week?"
"What are you eating?"
"What are you eating?!"
"The Shabbos seudah!"
"But what are you eaaaaaaaaaaating???"
"Chicken. At my Shabbos seudah."
"I reeeeally like this junk. What gives YOU the most physical pleasure?"
"No, I said physical pleasure."
"I know. Chassidus."
And I am very hurt to tell,
The thing that was most strange,
Was who he looked like as he fell
I'd rather have kept silent,
And with hindsight clear and bright,
I'm sure I was mistaken,
Just to have begun the fight
Today, I got all bloody
As I beat my best friend down,
I thought that since I'm right,
I'm right for taking him to town
At times I feel so righteous
And it's hard to not say why,
And sometimes I can say something
That makes my best friend cry
I never raised a fist to him;
I beat him on the phone,
I said that if he's going it,
He's going it alone
I'd stabbed his back, he left
And he never got to see
That, today I killed a man,
And the man I killed was me
Thought of this rhyme more than once recently.
The blog from where I took it is now blocked, and he only has one post left on his old blog.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
From day one, I've counted down
Ready, each day, to fly from town.
Inside my pores, the day I leave.
Its feel is smooth, its taste is sweet.
The day I leave is from my dreams.
So bright and clear, concrete it seems.
I see the moves, I hear the sounds.
I know the steps-I'm freedom bound!
For seventy, eighty years, a neshama wears and tears, just to do a favor for anotherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
The Holtzbergs. Keepin them alive.
Ok. Calvin smile gone, replaced with true joy.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
In late 2003, just before the holiday of Chanukah, Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg moved to Mumbai, India. This Chabad-Lubavitch couple, like thousands of their peers had done before them, relocated from their comfortable communities in New York and Israel, respectively, in order to spread the light of Judaism to a corner of the world that was still dim. Would life be easy in Mumbai? No. But, this move was in answer to the Lubavitcher Rebbe's call which urges those whom are privileged to be brought up with Torah and mitzvos to share it with the Jews living on spiritually desolate lands; thus, they embraced their mission joyfully.
In India, they cooked, listened, baked, taught, sang, cleaned, wrote, spoke, danced, built, organized, fed and washed, nonstop; there was nothing they wouldn't do for their fellow Jew from that small room they rented in a main tourist area at the three-star Shelley’s Hotel.
For months Gavriel (Gabi) and Rivka (Rivki) struggled with the tiny space they had while at the same time, they thrived and grew in their love and care. Finally, with the help of a donation from George Rohr, they were able to secure a rundown five-story concrete office building on an alley called Hormusji Street. They had big plans for it: a kitchen, dining room, and restaurant on the first floor; a library, a synagogue, and an Internet lounge on the second; guest rooms on the third and fourth; their own apartment on the fifth, and on the roof, they would hold parties and special events.
In 2006, the building was dedicated as India’s first permanent Chabad House.
As for Rivki and Gabi? They, too, were dedicated permanently in India. Day after day, night after night, holiday after holiday, they continued to host, teach, feed and soothe the minds, souls, bodies and spirits of the countless Jews passing through their city. And they planned to do this indefinitely.
But something went wrong.
If you walk into the Chabad House today, you will not see Gabi and Rivki. For the past twelve months, Gabi and Rivki have not been talking, laughing and catering in their Indian Chabad House. But why not? What happened to their permanence? Were they not to stay in Mumbai forever?
They were...but one year ago, to the day, terrorists entered their holy center and killed them.
And so, they're not there anymore. They're gone. But, they cannot be gone. No substance on this earth, neither physical or spiritual, ever disappears. Modern physics has taught us that it merely changes form.
If so, where are Gabi and Rivki now?
Gabi and Rivki are now in the "Gan Gavi VeRivky Chabad" kindergarten in Har Chomah; the "Gan Rivkah" kindergarten in Lod; the "Gan Rivkah" in Marin County, California; and the "Gan Gabi & Rivki-Early Learning Centre" in Bentleigh, a suburb of Melbourne.
They are in the "Midreshet Rivka" learning program in Yehud; in the "Beis Chabad" room in the Beis Chaya Elementary School of Haifa; in the "Neshama" Beis Medrash for women in Givat-Mordechai; and in the "Beis Gavriel" synagogue in Hendon, Northwest London.
Gabi and Rivki are alive in the brit milah circumcisions performed in their honor by 2 teenage Russian boys in Kfar Citron and a 65 year old man in the Dutch city of Almere.
Gabi and Rivki are in the "Gabi & Rivky Holtzberg Kitchen" in the Chabad House in Rancho Mirage, California; the kosher food cooperative in Ulster Country, NY; in the "Holtzberg Hospitality Home" in Morris, NY; and in the libraries in the Chabad House of Seoul, Korea and the mobile Chabad House at the Golani Junction in the Lower Galilee.
They are in the newly renovated Mikvahs in Baltimore and in Kiryat Ata; in "The Chodesh Group" in Conejo Valley, California; in the launching of a Taharas Hamishpocha (Family Purity) website; and in the brand new series of interactive classes on the three Mitzvos connected to women, called "Rivkah's Tent".
Gabi and Rivki are alive in the newly-established achdus gatherings for the Shluchim in Georgia; in the seminars for the women of Lod; the Lag Baómer parade in Ramat Eshkol; the Megillah printed in Bangalore, India; the Aron Kodesh in A&M University, Texas; the daily Chassidic message on Shmais.com; the massive candle-lighting campaign in France; and in the learning, phone-shiurim and publications of Yagdil Torah.
Gabi and Rivki are in the Sunday school in Marrakesh, Morocco; the Jewish Welcome Center in S Thomas, Virgin Islands; and in the new Chabad Center opened in Pokon, Chile.
Gabi and Rivki have had Torahs written and dedicated in Canada (in Downtown Vancouver); in the US (in Gwinnett, GA, in Northwest Connecticut, in Clark County, WA, in San Diego, CA, and in the Federal Correctional Institution at Morgantown, WV); in the United Kingdom (in Manchester, England); in Israel (in Eilat and in Haifa's Technion University) and the latest, most meaningful one (started at the end of shiva) which was dedicated this week in New York and celebrated by hundreds and hundreds of Gabi and Rivki's Chabad family as they danced and sang with the Torah that will soon be sent to use in Mumbai.
Why? How? How does it come to be that thousands and thousands of Chabadnikim should feel this way? That a Shliach in Oslo, Norway and a Shliach in Leeds, England should mourn for Gabi like they were brothers? That the Chabad Emissaries to Coppenhagen, Denmark, to Naperville, Illinois and to Caracas, Venezuela should all feel like they are members of Gabi and Rivki Holtzberg's family? That memorial services and mitzvah campaigns should be held in every city where a Chabad Shliach resides? That large color photos of the young Holtzberg couple should be placed in prominent positions in Chabad homes worldwide? That, during the course of the past year, more than five hundred Chabad couples should name their newborn child "Gavriel Noach" or "Rivka"? Why? How?
Regarding a human hand, when one finger gets injured, the other four fingers work a bit harder to make up for the loss of strength. When a finger on each hand gets wounded, the other eight must work even harder. No one limb insists on separating when the other fails. After all, they all receive their lifeblood from the same one heart and they are all working under the same one head.
Gabi, Rivki and every single Shliach receive their lifeblood from the same one heart and work under the same one head.
According to the "What Can I Do?" Mumbai-response webpage, more than 12,100 mitzvos (good deeds) have been added since-and as a result of-the attack on Gabi and Rivki's Chabad House.
So, are they gone?
Or are they still here?
Are Rivki and Gabi missing from their post?
Or are they carrying out their mission with more force than ever to be believed?
Where are Gabi and Rivki? I think I know.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
May it be so for us today, as well! Amen!
Also, Postville baked Hamantaschen to celebrate today's V'nahafoch Hu.
for Sholom Mordechai Halevi Ben Rivkah
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
I miss חברון.
I was standing at the entrance to Kiryat Arba waiting for the bus that would take me to Beer Sheva (Zahava had the car), when a late model SUV pulled up and let off a 20-something woman at the bus stop.
The woman was dressed in loose slacks, a pretty blouse and sweater, and had her dark hair pulled back in a sloppy ponytail. At her feet sat an overstuffed soft-sided suitcase, and in her arms she held a baby blanket and a bottle filled with milk or formula.
This seemed odd... baby blanket, baby bottle... but no baby.
But then I spotted the car that had dropped her off idling nearby, and as our bus approached, an older man (perhaps in his 40s) emerged from the car with a baby and handed the child to the woman. Mystery solved. Since it was cold outside, they had simply left the baby inside the warm car until the last possible moment. Responsible parents.
But as I was watching the man pass the baby to the woman, the blanket slipped from her arm and landed by her suitcase. But for this small slip I would never have noticed that there was a luggage identification tag on the handle... written in Arabic. And on the suitcase itself I noticed there were a few more Arabic words written in magic marker.
So this woman is boarding the same bus that I was about to take to Beer Sheva... a bus with bulletproof windows and armor plating on the sides, roof and floor against a very real external threat. Now here was a potential internal threat... against which none of that armor would help!
A moment before I had looked at this woman and seen only a caring mother who loved her baby so much, she had asked her husband (or some other relative or friend) to wait with the car so the infant wouldn't be out in the cold. Now all I could see was a potential suicide bomber with the perfect cover.
Apparently I wasn't the only one who had noticed the Arabic writing on the suitcase. Nobody was saying anything, but when the woman asked the driver to open the luggage compartment, her Arabic-accented Hebrew caught the attention of everyone nearby. Suddenly this woman had become the object of silent but intense scrutiny from a bunch of Israelis who would otherwise have been pushing one another out of the way to get on the bus.
A young soldier with the insignia of an elite infantry unit on his shoulder saw that the woman was having trouble juggling the baby and her suitcase, so as she was speaking to the driver, he deftly took her suitcase and carried it towards the storage compartment that was now opening on the side of the bus.
Under other circumstances, his gesture would have seemed polite... chivalrous, even. But as he got on the bus and flashed his ID to the driver (soldiers ride free in uniform, but they need to show their army card), he leaned in close enough not to be heard by anyone but the driver (and the person behind him; me) and said, "It was too light to be problematic."
The driver, who had certainly heard the woman's accent, nodded and visibly relaxed. The people at the front of the bus who had watched the exchange between the soldier and the driver (without hearing it), also visibly relaxed once they saw the driver's posture change back to one of 'business as usual'.
The only person who seemed unaware of the scrutiny and discussion was the Arab woman who was now seated about halfway back on the left side... fussing with her baby.
And so, I too, have a sister from a different mother that I'd like to marry.
My beautiful, awesome, funny, hardworking, talented, honest, zany, intelligent and more, sister.
(Bet you don't know many "and more" kinda folk.)
Can it get any better than working for siblings even when on different continents?
Do stronger bonds exist over the ones we share, us two marketplace maids, whispering importantly-and at times quite heatedly-about our employers as well as our fellow employees?
Our outstanding mutual admiration is hard to be believed.
We are truly sisters.
Ooh nice pun there, Jav, niiice pun.
That was the end of my post. Then I suddenly thought of how YOU would've written it on your blog. Probably something like this:
I was chatting with a friend the other night (I met her online, from my blog. Ya know its sooooooooooooo cool when you can meet people from your blog and I loooooove getting to know my readers and making real connections with them. [ed-i'm gagging. dont know if i can continue]. Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes! I was chatting with this friend and suddenly I noticed the time. Now, I don't know about you but for me, I'm still not used to the army time thingy that people outta America use. Like seriously, I don't get why America can't be normal and just use that system instead of am and pm. But whateverrrrrr. So I see the time on my computer (well not MY computer but the one I use here) says 00:00. That means it's 12 oclock midnight. Cuz it starts from 1 and then it goes till 23 and then after 23:59, it goes to 00:00. First I thought my computer was broken and I'm like "Oh great, I think the computer is broken." (in a sarcastic way, not a serious way that I thought it was great). Then I realized that it meant midnight (see, I didn't have someone explain it to me like I just did to you). I thought it was SOOO cool! I had to blog it to share with everyone. I really enjoyed it and hope you do, too. Please comment and let me know what you think. Anyway, the thing with the quote is like this. After I enjoyed that sight of 00:00, I realized that I'm very much the kind of person who appreciates the little things in life. Like I don't need big things to get me excited, even small things will do the trick. So even though you can't RELY on external amusements to bring you HAPPINESS, you can still appreciate them. I thought it was very important for people to keep in mind so I wrote it in quote form as it seems to stick more, has more power, when it's in that form. I even wrote a quote about that some time back..it's one of the first of Mion Quotes--meaning My Own Quotes.
But personally, that's too much blabbing and info for something I don't feel the need to share. I blab when it's bubbling inside me. Not when I have a snapshot I'd like to freeze. So, my post was two lines :)
The Baal Shem Tov replied, "Acts of kindness."
Because when you see suffering, you don't say, "G-d runs the universe. G-d will take care. G-d knows what is best." You do everything in your power to relieve that suffering as though there is no G-d. You become a heretic in G-d's name.
Do good with all your ego. Say, "I need to make this happen." Say, "I have to see this done."
Not only is this "I" permissible, it is crucial to getting things done.
So what is forbidden? To believe the "I" belongs to you.
Much depression stems from haughtiness.
If you would realize who you really are, you wouldn’t be so disappointed with yourself.
PS. Because people usually don't read the labels--lemme tell you here that these are not my own words. Nor my own ideas. Tzvi Freeman has condensed over 50 years of wisdom from the Lubavitcher Rebbe and sends em out in daily doses. Subscribe here, order his book here. Oh and to further clarify--these were sent out as 3 diff emails over the past 3 past months. I had them starred, waitin to be blogged, and finally put em all together kacha. It flows nicely, no? Yes.
In 1980, a Brazilian college student had a yechidus (private audience) with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
During the Yechidus the Brazilian student brought up his relationship with a non-Jewish woman, wanting to hear the Rebbe's opinion.
"Rebbe, my girl friend, who is not Jewish, and I, are thinking of getting married. What would the Rebbe say about that?"
"There are," the Rebbe replied, "many aspects of our lives over which we have no control. Many physical conditions, as it has been scientifically shown, cannot be altered since they are a consequence of our genetic makeup, which has been inherited from past generations. There is not much, generally, which can be done by others to help these conditions.
"However, our daily functioning is primarily influenced by decisions we make throughout our lives. When people make dangerous decisions, we expect those around them to work to prevent the danger. If, for example, we hear someone planning to commit suicide, even if they say that they clearly know what they are doing and have made a conscious decision to proceed with the suicide, it is universally assumed that we will do all we can to stop that from happening.
"Our spiritual lives are shaped by the choices we make. In a sense, the results can be more tragic than suicide. Unlike suicide, which occurs momentarily and no longer distresses the perpetrator, a dangerous decision about one's spiritual life will hassle a person for many years. So, we must do all we can to dissuade a fellow Jew from marrying a non-Jew.
"May G-d bless both you and your girlfriend to find the right person for yourselves, and then, with your respective spouses, you will both live happily. Meanwhile, you should discontinue any relationship with her, and it should never be renewed. You should go from strength to strength."
P.S. Choose "yes" from the Jewish Choice Awards drop down.
And yet another year went by …
Last year, on summer 2008 I launched the “Blondi world tour” memorial campaign, I sent my son, Asaf, nick named Blondi, on his world tour. Asaf was killed in a terror attack on March 2003 and can’t go to his world tour as any other young man does. I prepared a one page flyer with his photo and asked you to take it with you on your travels. I asked you to email me back a photo of Asaf from wherever you are. Please see below the original letter I sent out last year.
I got a lot of photos from over 80 countries. Many people responded to my wish from all over the world. Now that another summer starts I send this letter again. Whoever sent us photos, thank you very much, others are welcomed to send us photos this year, all people are invited to forward to their friends.
Happy traveling, enjoy your vacation and may you return safely to your homes.
Blondi’s world tour 2008!
On March 5th 2003, a young high school boy named Asaf (nicknamed Blondi) was on his way home from school. A suicide murderer who blew himself up on Asaf's bus killed him and sixteen other innocent men, women and children.
Asaf was almost seventeen years old when he died, and he is my son.
As every young man does, Asaf would have finished high school and service and would have gone on a trip to see the world: South America, the Far East, India or maybe Australia and New Zealand. He wanted very much to go surfing at the famous beaches in Hawaii and Australia. Asaf wanted to hike the high peaks of Nepal and the Himalayas.
Now I am sending Asaf on his world tour. Without a passport or a back pack. I am sending you only this picture and his spirit and ask you to help take Asaf wherever you go. India, Thailand, New Zealand or the Chinese wall – even the Olympics. Wherever you go, take out the picture, take a photo of it in the place you are and email it back to me (Yossi@Blondi.co.il).
If you are not traveling, take the photo in your city or town, at the mall, city stadium, or even your front or back yard.
Asaf will travel to these places through your photos, which will be displayed in Asaf’s world tour photo album on the internet. This way Asaf will be at all those wonderful places in the world he wasn’t lucky enough to see.
You can print a few copies of the attached picture and leave copies on your way, hang it on a bulletin board at the hotel or the guest house you stay in, leave it along the hiking path, put it in the visitor’s book you write your experience in.
Help me get my son around the world and make his world tour go through each country on the globe.
Yossi Zur, Asaf's father
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
And it's a peaceful, grateful, satisfied feeling I have instead.
Let's start from the morning.
~Easily woke up on time (5:40am) cuz had gone to bed early (10pm) the night before.
~Found clothes quickly, davened with no interruptions, had yummy breakfast (still no olive oil in the house but eventually found some good eggs and had my cooked meal).
~Driver didn't come as late as he sometimes does and he wasn't wearing as much gag-inducing cologne as he usually does.
~Two kids less in the car which means much less fighting (from them) and less begging (from me) to do the pesukim.
~Because the driver wasn't so late, I was able to make copies of the Aleph-Beis sheets (which I had prepared from the day before) that I needed for my first class.
~I greeted all in English rather than yielding (as I regularly do) to the customs (ie language) of the place.
~It was a real pleasure to see the kids-I hadn't spent davening time with them in a long time.
~I was asked to go into the other class for davening but held my ground that I wasn't able to and was consequently allowed to remain with my regular class for davening.
~The kids all recognized the picture of 770 as the shul of the Rebbe
~Shockingly, GY recognized the Beis and Veis. She also spat out, with astounding ease, Hebrew replies to the questions I asked in Hebrew. Wow!
~The kids got a clearer picture of the Parsha when the director came in and 'splained it to em in Spanish.
~I used my hour break to prepare the project I had intended to and I was also able to help a few aides by saying brachot with two other classes. (yeh? you write aides like that? it looks funny). As a bonus, for snack, I had my brown-rice crackers that I had prepared in the morning, guilt free cuz someone is bézrat hashem coming in from New York this week.
~The younger class went well b''h (I think I shall delete circle time from our schedule and geéndikt. Say, this Spanish accent or whatever that ' is called, works well for Yiddish, and I'd guess Hebrew, as well)
~Easy time by lunch with the brachot
~Walked into a teachers meeting (in order to fill up my pitcher), and got a round of applause from the staff and parents that were present.
~Arranged the driver for today, satisfactorily, as well as for the future, también satisfactorily.
~Had time to daven Mincha and finish Tehillim before twas time to go.
~I (sorta) found what I needed in the store (before tomorrow).
~Came home at 2:45 (rejoiced over the lemons in the fridge!) and had time to finish Chitas, grab a carrot and my gym stuff but not feel rushed ;)
~Get a call from M.R. She tells me that her daughter started responding positively and negatively to properly convey her wants! I only worked with her once or twice on that! Wow! Also, she told me more nice things they said by the teachers meeting.
~On way to gym, was able to start a 'Killer Soduku' with NO hints from the back!
~At the gym, I noticed I left half my outfit at home (heehee, hence the not feeling rushed feeling of before). Gotta chance to check out the stores nearby and also to feel very NORMAL in a NORMAL bike shop. Homesickness eased a notch.
~Worked out well b''h, all the machines are getting easier. And the water worked too :)
~AMAZINGLY no traffic on the way home. Time to shower and prepare AND eat a deluxe meal (TOTALLY healthy and permitted) that I had actually started before (baked sweet potato plus canned salmon 'fried' with an egg and a half an onion). Yum.
~Again, AMAZINGLY no traffic back to other side of town.
~The hour and 15 minutes of therapy went by quickly, as usual. Thing I practiced today: Pulling apart the Clicks (or whatever those things are called) and then sorting them by color in a straight line. Introduced memory cards. Blowing down two blocks at a time, vs one. Imitation (with colored blocks). Feeling the vibrations on the throat to encourage sounds. Stringing beads. And of course "lo" and "ken" and "tichaki" and "achshav" and all those little instructions.
~Got my ride back home right when I needed to and felt happy to be able to help em on the 23rd iyh.
~When I came home, I ate well (healthily, not heartily. Well, that too.), did laundry and typed up my day. And now it's 10:15pm and I'm just about ready to wrap up my day and head for the bed.
How wonderful it is not to feel like a complete failure. Not to feel irresponsible, lazy, overwhelmed, helpless and out of control.
How wonderful it is to feel successful. To feel responsible, prepared, capable and in control.
How wonderful it is. How very very wonderful.
Thank You Hashem and may it be the first of endless more. Gracias!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
At a wayside inn, a dozen chassidic merchants were warming themselves at the fire. The group included men from towns and villages across
One by one, the chassidim told stories about the miraculous powers of their rebbes. One told how for fifteen years he and his wife had yearned for a child, until they received a blessing from their rebbe: within a year, they were cradling their newborn son in their arms. A second told of how his rebbe had neutralized the Jew-hating, pogrom-inciting priest in their village, while a third related how his rebbe's blessing and special instructions had brought home his wayward son. And so they passed the hours, recounting the wonders performed by their holy mentors.
Finally, they all turned to the one chassid who had listened in silence to their stories. "Nu, whose chassid are you?" they asked. "Let's hear something about your rebbe."
The chassid said: "I am a Chabad chassid, a disciple of Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch. I deal in lumber, and several years ago I was offered a forest for sale. The price was high, but the opportunities were even greater -- there was talk of a railroad to be constructed, raising the demand for and profitability of the local lumber. As I do with all major decisions in my life, I consulted with the Rebbe. He advised me to buy the forest.
"The purchase ruined me. The railroad project fell through and I was left with a basically worthless forest. I lost my entire fortune and was cast heavily into debt."
After a lengthy pause, one of the listeners asked, "And then? What happened?"
"Nothing," said the chassid. "I am still struggling to feed my family and repay my debts."
"So what's the miracle?" they all asked.
"That my relationship with the Rebbe has nothing to do with his wonder-working powers. That I continue to follow his directives in every area of my life. The miracle is that I am his chassid."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Two months ago, I received the following email in my inbox:
Hello The Sabra ,
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I submitted something last week and now I received this reply:
Congratulations the sabra,
The weekly competition at BloggersBase has just ended and you ranked second out of the three that published Nuggets in the People Goldmine. This means that you have earned the opportunity to publish posts to the surface People blog for the next week.
Publish posts to the People blog during the next week to gain more exposure and traffic. Your active participation increases the chances of this upcoming blog to be promoted into the status of regular blog.
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Congratulations and Good Luck,
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- Now you'll be able to submit multiple posts to the surface blog, which will improve your chances of winning the Timeslot!
- Inviting more friends to join BloggersBase and vote for you will increase your chances of winning next time.
Monday, October 26, 2009
1. What is the name of this week’s Parsha?
2. What was the name of Avram’s father?
3. What kind of store did he have?
4. What did Avram do when he was in charge of the store one time?
5. How did Terach feel when he came back and saw what happened?
6. Terach went to King Nimrod and told him what his son, Avram, did. What did Nimrod say should happen to Avram?
7. Was Avram scared?
8. Did Avram get burned in the fire? What happened instead?
9. Who said “Lech-Lecha”? Who did He say it to?
10. Where did Avram, his wife Sarai, his father Terach, his nephew Lot and all their friends travel to?
11. After some time, there was a hunger in the land. Where did they travel to buy food?
12. What did Avram do with Sarai before they got to Mitzrayim? Why?
13. What happened to Pharoah when he tried to take Sarai?
14. When Avram and Sarai went back to Mitzrayim, there was food and animals for everyone. What did Avram tell his shepherds to put on the sheep before they went out to eat grass? Why?
15. Did Lot’s shepherds also put a muzzle on their sheep?
16. Hashem promised Avram that he will have so many kids that you can’t even count them, just like the ______________.
17. What did Avram’s name change to? What did Sarai’s name change to?
18. What mitzvah did Hashem tell Avraham to do when he was 99 years old?
This is the review sheet I made for this Parsha, last year. I cry when I see it because there is so much here I won't be able to teach this week...because I cannot properly speak the local language.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
"You can't take every death personally", they tell me.
They tell me not to take it so much to heart.
"You need to move on", they tell me.
They tell me not to be so sensitive, so emotional, so attached.
"It's not your brother. It's not your sister. It's not your mother nor your father nor your cousin."
That's what they tell me.
That's what they all tell me.
I tell them otherwise.
I tell them that every boy with a neshama is my brother and every girl with a neshama is my sister. Every Jewish parent is my parent and every Jewish cousin is my cousin.
It's one family.
But they tell me not to react. Well, a solitary and momentary tear is okay. So is a sad sigh and maybe even a bitter curse. A moment of silent contemplation is alright too, but not more than that. No, more than that would be overreacting. And seriously now-you've got to stop overreacting.
Ok, so we can react. Just not overreact.
And who defines the limits? Who draws the border? Tell me-how many tears are permitted and how much contemplation is granted?
"You have to live", they tell me.
Well, so did they. They also had to live. They had to cry (tears of joy) and sigh (contented sighs) and curse (when too many chocolate chips fell into the cookie batter).
They had to be safe and happy, cared-for and healthy.
Yeh, all those things. All those things and more, they had to be.
They have to be.
They have to be all those things.
They have to be here with us, physically.
It's not too late. Redemption?
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Once at a Chassidic gathering, Rabbi Avraham Zaltzman told a story about his wild childhood in the Yeshiva in the town of
Rabbi Mendel Futerfass, a well known Chassid who had been imprisoned many years in
When he was only twelve years old he was such an uncontrollable child that it was very difficult for him to sit and learn Torah. So he and two other boys in the Yeshiva with similar natures were given various odd jobs to keep them busy in positive ways.
One of these jobs was to milk a few goats in a nearby farm and supply milk to the pupils. But this too became boring and one terrible day, desperate for action, they somehow managed to get one of the goats to drink vodka and then led the intoxicated animal to the entrance large study hall where all the pupils were diligently immersed in Talmudic studies, and pushed it in.
The goat, totally oblivious of the holiness of the place, jumped on tables, knocked over several rabbis and scattered books and papers in all directions. It was hours before the studies could be restored and, of course, it was no secret who was to blame.
The three boys were summoned to the supervisor of the Yeshiva, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (The son of the Rebbe 'Resha'b'; Rebbe Shalom Dov Ber, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad and founder of the Yeshiva), and were told to pack up their belongings and leave.
With no other choice they did as they were told and several hours later were waiting in the train station in the nearby city of
But suddenly Avraham turned to his friends and said, "What are we doing?! We can't leave! We have to go back and plead for mercy!" But the others just shook their heads 'no'.
"It won't work. Did you see the look on the supervisor's face? He doesn't want to see us again. We're finished!" One answered
The other boy agreed. "We were living on mercy as it is. He's not going to take us back this time."
"Yeah, we're out for sure!"
But Avraham didn't give up and before the train arrived he succeeded in convinced one of the boys to come back with him and give it a try.
They said good bye to their friend and trudged back to Lubavitch with no real idea what their next step was but Avraham wouldn't go down without a battle.
They couldn't go back to the Supervisor; he was too angry. And the Rebbe, the supervisor's father, also wasn't the one to approach; he would never override his son's decision… especially here.
Their only chance was the supervisor's grandmother, the Rebbe's mother, Rabbinit Rivka. She had a wonderful warm heart and was a mother for all the boys in the yeshiva; she cooked, sewed and washed for them as well as being there in times of illness and need. Maybe she could help.
They went to her house, knocked on the door and when she answered Avraham poured out his heart. When he was finished, her answer was to the point.
"I can't go against the decision of my grandson; he's the supervisor of the Yeshiva. The only one that might be able to do that is my son, the Rebbe. But I can't talk to him about this either. I simply can't mix in.
"But, what I can do is this: every morning at ten my son, The Rebbe sits in his room and drinks a cup of tea. Come tomorrow morning and I'll show you where the room is ... but you will have to do the talking."
The two boys found some place to sleep that night and the next morning little Avraham reported to Rabbinit Rivka while his friend, who was simply too afraid, waited outside.
She let him in, pointed him to the room where the Rebbe was sitting, whispered 'good luck' and watched as he bravely approached the door.
The door was open and when the Rebbe saw him standing there he looked up, stared at him for a moment and asked him what he wanted.
"I want to learn in Lubavitch." He was almost crying.
"Lubavitch?" smiled the Rebbe as he motioned him to come closer, "But there are so many other good yeshivas! There is Slovadka, Navordak" and he listed all the other Torah academies, about twenty of them, in the area.
"But I want to learn here, in Lubavitch!" The young boy began to whine. When the Rebbe saw this he began to smile and when Avraham saw the smile he began to cry. This, in turn, caused the Rebbe to laugh, which made Avraham cry even harder.
Suddenly the Rebbe became serious and said, "We will think about it… come back later today."
Avraham backed out of the office, sniffling and wiping his eyes with his sleeve but suddenly he stopped, took two steps forward, which put him back in entrance of the room, and just stood there looking sheepishly at the ground.
"Nu? What do you want now?" The Rebbe asked.
"Err, I have a friend." Avraham answered. "He's waiting outside."
"A friend is it? Well, we will think about him also." The Rebbe replied. "Come back in a few hours."
"Well, the story has a happy ending" Rabbi Avraham concluded to his listeners. "We returned to the Rebbe a few hours later, the Rebbe took us into his son; Yosef Yitzchak's office, said a few words and left.
"His son imposed a stiff fine on us; we had to learn tens of pages of Talmud and Chassidut by heart. But he accepted us back in! And that's the story! How my broken heart got me back into yeshiva."
Rabbi Mendel Futerfass who had been listening with interest was the first to comment.
"Tell me, Reb Avraham, why do you think he did that? What made him accept you back into the yeshiva?"
"Like I said," He replied "That's the point of the story. Because I wanted so much to learn in Lubavitch that I actually wept! That's how much a person should want Chassidut; that his heart is breaking!!
"Nope!" Said Reb Mendel. "You're wrong. Your broken heart is not what got you into Lubavitch.
"The reason the Rebbe took you back was because you worried for your friend! You thought of another Jew! That's why he took you back!! Because of your Ahavat Yisroel!