A little bit of change

I was taking public transit home after spending some time with friends, a good hour’s journey direct from home. To return, I needed to take two buses, and due to a mishap at the first bus stop (the station that actually didn’t exist, and was also two intersections away from where the schedule said it was,) I didn’t have the exact change I would need to get on the second bus.

After confirming that only exact change would get me a ticket, I asked the kind-looking woman sitting opposite me if she had change to exchange for a small bill. She said she didn’t, apologized, and then began to look in every pocket of her bag on the off chance that she did after all.

There was an elderly couple sitting in front of her, who overheard the discussion. The gentleman passed me a handful of small change, and asked if it would help. I explained that I was just trying to get smaller change, and showed him the bill. He and the wonderful woman beside him insisted that I just take the money, as it wasn’t very much, and not to worry that they didn’t have enough change to make an exchange. It made a huge difference to me, and I conveyed my appreciation as much as possible.

***

The trip was meant to just be three friends hanging out together and enjoying the vast nature surrounding us, and it was peaceful, gorgeous, and a chance to get to know everyone a little better and make a stronger connection. And those 24 hours were all that, and more. The friend who was the host is a holy lady, and while we were eating breakfast together on the front porch, she mentions that she was about to do her daily Tanya study. Knowing that I’m usually interested in whatever she’s learning, she offered to read it aloud. Given that, while I was interested in learning Tanya but knew almost nothing, and the ‘cycle’ of lessons is currently near the end, she had to explain a few concepts to me as we learned. One of them was how our world is made up of G-d’s holy light, contracted and ‘scrunched up’ many, many times, and that the world we see is the barest fraction of the true power and glory of the Almighty. (It sounds much better in her words, or in the original Hebrew.)

While we paused to let my brain take all of this in, I was looking around at the trees surrounding the porch, and the clearing that showed so much of the land. I realized that there are billions of trees, and no two are truly identical – and each one is beautiful in some way. After spending some time there, I could appreciate tree differences very well. There are billions of trees in the world, and billions of people, and countless other beautiful and unique beings of all sorts. And this is only a fraction of a fraction of G-d’s power and majesty and creative light? My mind was blown, but in a good way. We finished learning, finished breakfast, and went out to collect mosquito bites (sorry, to see the fields and the butterflies and the garden and the pond,) and this echoed around in the back of my mind. It really changed the way I saw everything.

I’m sorry for rambling – I’m so tired, but I wanted to get this post out before Shabbat. I may edit for clarity soon. Have a wonderful Shabbat, readers!

Tisha b’Av 5777 – 1

I’m reading my way through an introduction to Megilas Eicha, and I’m reading about why the First Bais HaMikdash was destroyed, the sins that brought down the nation.

I just don’t understand… They had everything we dream of today, G-d with them in the Holy Temple. Why did they throw it away?

I want to understand them, to excuse them, to find a reason why this could possibly make sense… And what hope we have of doing better I’m going to keep reading. And crying

Tisha b’Av thought posts forecast

I apologize in advance – it does not seem likely that I will be able to run the usual set of posts that usually are posted over Tisha b’Av. Personal commitments require me elsewhere.

Really, all my thoughts at the moment are the same… why haven’t we learned to get along yet? We Yidden can do almost anything, we can face almost any challenge, we can solve almost every problem. Why haven’t we solved the challenge of Galus? It’s not a punishment, it’s to prepare us for Geulah, which we could be ready for at any moment. But it’s been thousands of years, and we are still not ready for Geulah, still not ready to live together in Israel and serve G-d as one multifaceted but brilliant jewel. We’re too busy splitting ourselves apart.

Every other day of the year is dedicated towards looking forward to Geulah and working towards Geulah, and towards making this world a better place for each other. Today is the day that we look back at the past year, at our past generation, and regret that even if Moshiach comes tomorrow (please!) it will not have come yesterday. Or last week, before the most recent terror attacks. Or last year, before so much other pain. Today is the day to realize that, while we will never give up hope, we need to try harder.

There are countless other resources available to help you feel Tisha b’Av – the pain and yearning and the spark of hope. They’re available online at Chabad.org, Torah Anytime, the Kotel Camera, and many other sites. There may be programming at the local shul. And there is always megillat Eicha.

Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast…

Shuir recommendation

In these days without music, while we quietly reflect on the destruction of the past, and our hopes for the future, the lack of noise can be a blessing – and a distraction. If you need background noise while you work, a shiur is a good choice. Baruch Hashem, the Torah world is thriving, even online, and there are no end of speeches and lessons and short divrai Torah to listen to.

Aside from the large number of Tisha B’Av related classes, this is also an opportunity to try something new – a recorded parsha class, mussar, hashkafah, or anything else that will help you get through the day. Whether you listen to them intently, or subconsciously soak up the Torah while you work, it has benefits.

I would like to give a special shout-out to the lectures of Ms. Chana Spiro (link to Torah Anytime here) for women and young ladies. I would start with her first speech, the one from 2016, and move forward from there. I listened to that speech live, and then downloaded it. It never fails to make me cry, but it a good way.

Torah Anytime also has so many other recordings for people of all ages and interests, including video recordings and live streams of some classes. If you haven’t looked at it yet, please consider it now. There is something there for everyone.

Welcome

Inspired by Starlight focuses on events and people who help light up the darkness of galus (exile). We are not attempting to make galus feel ok – it isn’t, and no amount of positive thoughts and dreaming can make it so. Galus is hard… even if Moshiach comes tomorrow, we still carry yesterday’s scars. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that the Geulah can come, when the world is so bleak.

But we do have the power to hasten the Geluah. To bring Moshiach sooner and with less pain. We just need to believe in ourselves, and in each other – we are all better than we realize. So when the world seems dark and the light within you feels faint, come here and read, and realize that we are closer to the geulah than it seems.

If you are interested in contributing content to this site, please contact us via the ‘submit’ page. Thank you

Donate to help aid a refuah sheleima

We don’t generally promote fundraising campaigns here, whether for organizations or for individuals, for a number of reasons. But out of Hakarat HaTov for the impact reading this man’s interview had on me, and recognizing that he is truly an example of promoting what we stand for, Lucky gave me permission to post this.

The video below gives you all the information you need. If you’re looking for more details, there is a YeshivaWorld article. The link to the video’s homepage is here.

May everyone’s donations, signal-boosts, and additional mitvot bring a refuah Sheleima to Moshe Refael b-n Orah along with all the other cholim of klal Yisrael

Tisha b’Av reblog

I went searching through the archives for posts from Tisha b’Av in past years, trying to bring back the feelings that were so more intense in past years. (I strongly recommend that, since I don’t know how many new posts will go up today.) This one stood out as it really explains the contrast between the normal, optimistic, Moshiach-awaiting feeling we usually try so hard to bring on the site, and the pain that today is meant to evoke.

In one sentence, I’d sum it up as the flip side of believing we can bring Moshiach every day: If we could have, why is Moshiach not here?

Food for the soul

Those days when you leave the house for an entire day, and the second you arrive at your destination, you realize that you left some of your food behind.

Thank you to the wonderful friend who gave me some food.

And thank you to G-d, who decided that today, she should have my favorite food- and not want to eat it.

Yes, this is a normal thing for a person to do. But did you ever think about how amazing normal can be sometimes?