I love children.
They are drops of purity in a muddled universe.
So I wanna change phone companies because mine has annoying service and I've found a comparable one with calls to many countries, but won't give me an American number for friends and family (and others) abroad to be able to call me for free.
So I deliberated for a bit.
And then I realized - with a smirk - that it makes no difference.
Nobody in America calls me anyhow :)
A husband and children would be nice.
As would belonging to a community.
And having a steady income.
And using my talents.
Those are all really nice things to have. Pretty important, too.
But not the most important, no.
The most important, the ONLY important thing is the foundation, the basics, of my existence.
The alef: a yud above and a yud below and line connecting them.
There's Hashem above and me below and a line of Torah and Mitzvos connecting us. And that's all that counts.
Me. Faith. Him.
The world is absolutely upside down.
In a bad way. In a horrible way. In a frightening way.
But the insanity of it all still speaks to me of Redemption.
When the Moshiach comes, there will be small changes that will be big changes that will turn the world upside down again in the straightest best way ever and so maybe these upside down events and decisions and reports and lifestyles are just the turnings of the dial.
Today's Hayom Yom:
From a sicha of my father, after the conclusion of Shabbat Lech L'cha 5651 (1890): In the early years of his leadership the Alter Rebbe declared publicly, "One must live with the time." From his brother, R. Yehuda Leib, the elder chassidim discovered that the Rebbe meant one must live with the sedra of the week and the particular parsha of the day. One should not only learn the weekly parsha every day, but live with it.
OK FINE. I'LL LEAVE THE LAND OF MY BIRTHPLACE AND OF MY FATHER AND GO TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL.
King Solomon, who was mystified by the meaning of the "four kinds," observed that the citron was a "tormented fruit." It remained on the tree all year round being subjected to all kinds of climactic
But so too in life do we find that the greatest people are those beset by travail and challenge, that the most balanced
personalities are forged by constant need to adapt to new climates and environments.
My oh my I love these two and finally feel ready to "pass em on" as they've strengthened sufficiently in my core for the first phase, B"H. "The first danger has passed." teehee
Iyar 16, 5774 · May 16, 2014
Liberate your Blessings
Iyar 18, 5774 · May 18, 2014
For reasons many and more ---- But now I'll explore ---- how everyone and more ---- bless me to the core --- "It should be everything and more."
It touches me, wonders me and comforts me each and every time.
I am blessed.
In general and in particular, I am blessed.
Refusing To Leave
The Eastern Settlers:
A Tale of Boundless Love
The Old Man
Arnold had reached the age of 105 and suddenly stopped going to synagogue. Worried by Arnold's absence after so many years of faithful attendance, his rabbi went to see him. He found him in excellent health, so the Rabbi asked, "How come after all these years we don't see you at services anymore?"
Arnold looked around and lowered his voice. "I'll tell you, Rabbi," he whispered. "When I got to be 90, I expected G-d to take me any day. But then I got to be 95, then 100, then 105. So I figured that God is very busy and must have "forgotten" about me and I don't want to remind Him."
The Eastern Colonists
The children of Israel are en route to the Land of Canaan when they are attacked by the armies of Sichon and Og, whose domain lay on the eastern bank of the Jordanian river. Moses leads the Israelites into battle, defeats the two kings and conquers their land.
In an unexpected turn of events, the tribes of Gad and Reuben, who own an enormous amount of sheep and cattle, ask that they be given these territories, which were prime pastureland, in lieu of their allotment in the land of Canaan, which lay to the west of the Jordan.
"The descendants of Reuben and Gad had an extremely large number of animals," the Bible relates in this week's portion (1). "And they saw that the Ya'zer and Gilead areas were good for livestock. The descendants of Gad and Reuben came and presented the following petition to Moses... 'If we have found favor in your eyes, may this land be given to your servants for a possession; do not take us across the Jordan.'"
Moses becomes extremely upset. He gives them a fiery and dramatic sermon that lasts ten complete verses, a pretty long stretch in biblical narrative. "Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here?" Moses thunders. "Why do you dissuade the heart of the children of Israel from crossing to the land that G-d has given them"?
Forty years earlier, he reminds them, the people of Israel had been poised to enter the land of Canaan. But following a negative report by the spies who were sent to scout the land, the entire nation spurned the land promised to their ancestors as the eternal heritage of Israel. G-d decreed that they remain in the desert for forty years, until that entire generation died out and a new generation prepared to accept the gift and challenge of the Promised Land. And now, said Moses to the Reubenites and the Gadites, you are repeating the sin of the Spies -- a sin which condemned an entire generation and stopped Jewish history in its tracks for forty years. Like your parents before you, you are about to dissuade the heart of your brethren from entering the land. "You will destroy this entire nation," Moses concludes his passionate rebuke.
The Reubenites and Gadites accept Moses' words with grace. In response, they clarify their original position. Far from seeking to free themselves from the impending wars for the Land, they were fully prepared to send their troops into the Land and take a leading role in the battles until they were successfully concluded. Only then would they return to the lands allotted to them in the east. "We will not return to our homes until every Israelite has received his Inheritance," they pledge.
Moses consents to their plea. He changes his tone and grants them the territories they requested.
Several points in this narrative are perplexing.
First, since their intentions it seems, were really pure (they never had in mind to abandon their brethren going to war), how did Moses misread them so profoundly and grow so furious with them? Why did Moses not first inquire what their intentions were before coming down so hard on them?
Second, Moses' words focused on the point that it was unacceptable that one segment of Jewry isolates from the rest of the nation, shirking responsibility and escaping the fate of their brethren. But what about the seemingly more important point: G-d wanted the Jews to settle the land at the west of the Jordan! These people decided that they wish to remain in the Trans-Jordan, but who gave these two tribes the right to redefine the plan and choose the East instead of the West? Why did Moses consent to their request?
Searching for the Sub-Plot
Every serious student of the Hebrew Bible is aware that most biblical plots contain sub-plots (often sub-sub plots), rarely articulated in the narrative explicitly. Our present tale is no exception: The explicit narrative is about two tribes of Israel concerned with their enormous amount of livestock. Yet the drama in which this episode is captured in the Torah somehow gives one a sense that these tribes were not only concerned about their cattle; something very personal was at stake in their request to remain in the Trans-Jordan. What was it?
The Bible gives us no hint. There is no way of knowing. We are left in the dark until Moses is about to leave the world.
In the last section of Deuteronomy, just moments before his passing, Moses speaks to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. His words to the tribe of Gad must be heeded to carefully (2):
"He [Gad] chose the first portion [of land available], for that is where the lawgiver's plot is hidden."
These brief cryptic words, at last, expose to us the true reason behind Gad's insistence to settle the territory to the East of the Jordan. Moses, the lawgiver, was destined to die in the East and never to cross the Jordan. Gad pined to remain with Moses. Gad would not allow Moses' burial plot to remain isolated in the plains of Moab devoid of the presence of even a single Jew.
The cry of Gad and Reuben "Do not take us across the Jordan," was a plea not to separate them from Moses (3). If Moses is not destined to cross the river, they too did not wish to cross it (4). These were no mere farmers worrying about real-estate. These were souls so deeply attached to their Rebbe who were determined to spend their lives near the resting place of Moses (5).
Moses, clearly, did not anticipate such a movement. When the members of the tribes of Gad and Reuben approached him with their request, they naturally could not communicate the entire truth. They would not talk to Moses about his own death and his gravesite. Instead, they discussed secondary, albeit not dishonest, motivations, namely the fate of their abundant cattle.
Moses, in his intuition, felt that what they were expressing to him did not capture the entire story. Moses sensed that their words eclipsed a deeper truth. He thus suspected them in contriving a scheme designed to escape responsibility. Hence, he rebuked them severely.
Yet surprisingly, they accepted Moses' words in grace. The narrative makes it clear that they were not upset by the false accusations Moses thrust upon them. Why not?
Because they knew that they were not being straightforward. Above all, this was not about them and their ego; it was about their selfless love and dedication to Moses. His fury did not alienate them, it merely demonstrated once again the genuine leader Moses was and strengthened their resolve to remain in his proximity for eternity. (5*)
Moses agreed to fulfill their request. He could not tear himself away from the people he dedicated his life to. If his people reciprocated the love he showered upon them, he would not be the one to expel them from his midst. And at the last moments before his death, he extols Gad for this deeply loving choice (6).
Yet, after all is said, rabbinic commentary does criticize the Reubenites and Gadites for their decision to remain in the Trans-Jordan. The verse in Proverbs (7), "If an inheritance is seized hastily in the beginning, its end will not be blessed," is applied in the Midrash (8) to the two tribes who seized the territory to the East of the Jordan. Centuries later, when the Jews are exiled from their land through the Assyrian and later Babylonian empires, it is these two tribes who are the first to be exiled from their land.
Notwithstanding the noble and deeply moving intentions of Gad and Reuben, their choice is considered "hasty" and immature. It was emotionally compelling and profoundly moving, but spiritually short sighted.
Yes, Gad and Reuben could not abandon Moses' burial place. They were determined to remain in the proximity of Moses' body. Yet they failed to realize that Moses' true presence would not remain interred in the earth of the plains of Moab (9). Moses would continue to live on in his vision, in his ideas, in his teachings. And Moses vision was that the Jewish people fulfill their G-d given mandate to enter the Land of Canaan, settle it and transform it into a Holy Land, redefining the physical landscape of the land as an abode for G-dliness.
Moses was never comprised of simple matter so that his identity would be defined merely in terms of his physical body (10). Moses' life embodied a truth, a vision, a way of looking at the world and understanding the objective of man's journey on this earth. As long as that truth would live in the hearts of people dedicated to Moses' dream of transforming the earthy land of Canaan into a divine landscape, Moses would remain alive (11).
To be in the physical presence of Moses is great. Greater yet is to leave his presence and fulfill his mission (12) to settle the Holy Land.
I might be in Israel so I dare not sleep,
While my neighbors and I are attacked oh so deep.
Rockets and missiles with noises to frighten,
Fires and lights that make the night brighten.
Children and grocers and teachers and men,
Must run when they hear the siren and then,
They pray with eyes shut but ears can't block out
The boom of loud terror and the shrieks all about.
United again from the enemy's hand,
War it may be but I see miracles land.
Ha, in the end this is also a revealed best place to be cuz I'm actually learning the culture (and language), not just the romantic places but the hard core dirty simple busy small city life and the way they interact and what is funny here and what's respectable and what's the vibe. Wow. Such insanely kind and good people. I can cry from gratitude and awe. Wow wow. Bh!
A little bit of effinyou seems to be order.
Just a teeny bit.
גם את הגוי...
Choice, ya know.
עכשיו למחוק ... וממשיכים הלאה.
A blended face and thanks to Perrier (minus the example part) I know that's not stepping backwards. Utterly saved by that knowledge. Bh!!
Mostly cuz I'm exhausted and drained physically. Finally did grappling! Am I not the most blessed child on these shores?? Indeed I am.
Drained, too, conversing with all sortsa people (it's funny isn't it how I'm thinking in a British accent).
I got to a higher plane today. Didn't ask to go there but ever so awed that here I stand.
And learned a thing or two from the ichy -not the pleasant - parts of the convos.
I will emerge better.
When darkness, negativity and cruelty unjustly steal the show, I'll make the world balanced again by conquering it with a surplus of light, positivity and kindness. Take that, Mr Bad Boys!
I like this plane.
Life is infinitely infinitely more good.
|42. and I will remember My covenant [with] Jacob, and also My covenant [with] Isaac, and also My covenant [with] Abraham I will remember. And I will remember the Land,||מב. וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקוֹב וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי יִצְחָק וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי אַבְרָהָם אֶזְכֹּר וְהָאָרֶץ אֶזְכֹּר:|
|And I will remember My covenant [with] Jacob: Heb. יַעִקוֹב. [The name יַעִקוֹב is] written in full, [i.e., with a “vav,”] in five places [in Scripture], and [the name] אֵלִיָּהוּ is written defectively [without a “vav,” i.e., אֵלִיָּה also] in five places [in Scripture]. Jacob took a letter [“vav”] from the name of Elijah [the Prophet] as security-that he will come and herald the redemption of his [Jacob’s] children [and since this is Elijah’s mission in life, his name will remain “incomplete,” as it were, until he fulfills it, speedily, in our days. The five instances of the “vav” symbolize the five fingers of the hand; i.e., this security arrangement between Jacob and Elijah was sealed by a handshake (Gur Aryeh)].||וזכרתי את בריתי יעקוב: בחמשה מקומות נכתב מלא, ואליהו חסר בחמשה מקומות, יעקב נטל אות משמו של אליהו ערבון שיבוא ויבשר גאולת בניו:|
Topic of the Day: THE POWER OF A JEWISH WOMAN
In Eishes Chayil, which we sing night, there is a line which described the
woman as more precious than pearls.Why is a woman compared to a pearl?
A pearl is made when an unwanted grain of sand slips in between one of the two
shells of the oyster. To protect itself from the irritation, the oyster produces a soft
film to cover the invader. The oyster continues to cover the uninvited visitor with
layers of nacre — the mineral substance that fashions the mollusk's shells. Layer
upon layer of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, coats the grain of sand until
the iridescent gem is formed.
In every person's life there are things that irritate us. Often we tell ourselves that if
only this or that were not in our lives things would be much better. Just as the oyster
takes an irritant and covers it over and over until it turns into a beautiful pearl, so too
women have the uncanny ability to take the negative and transform it into something positive.
We see this clearly in the upcoming story of Pesach. Despite the back breaking labor,
the men endured under Pharaoh's harsh laws, the women understood the need to
have more children and preserve the Jewish future. The women took mirrors they had fashioned, beautified themselves for their husbands and kept the Jewish people alive.
Every day brings challenges and frustrations. It is human nature to freeze and begin
to doubt. As women we must show the world,, that our faith is -not shaky. And
challenges will become opportunities. Try it today!
The Baal Shem Tov goes a step farther: When one craves a material delight, even food and drink, it is actually ones soul craving and desiring the divine energy (spiritual sparks) within these items. People’s particular tastes and preferences are determined by the difference of their souls and the ‘sparks’ they are drawn to. 
Life does not tell stories. People do. Life provides no more than raw materials. Raw enough for us to look back and construct at least two versions of our own biography: one a prison, the other a palace.
This is the greatest kindness the Master of Life has given us: He has placed His own pen in our hands, so that we may enjoy the dignity of a palace constructed by our own design.
(Daily Dose by Tzvi Freeman)
"The Tzemach Tzedek commented: Such an interpretation could be proposed only by a chassid who has davened and labored in avoda for thirty years." (Hayom Yom 29 Adar 1)