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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.

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Speaking from the heart

Note from Lucky: My apologies for how few posts have gone up recently, owing to technical difficulties such as having only 24 hours in a day, among other things. We hope to stop having to make these apologies soon, by actually posting at least twice a week.

One of, in my opinion, the most inspiring type of speeches are the ones with personal stories. The person sharing their story serves as a living mashal of the idea they teach. And the more deeply personal and ‘real’ the story is, the more emotion and life the speaker conveys, the better the audience can absorb it.

What I realized tonight is that these stories aren’t always easy to tell. What it means for most speakers is reaching into your deepest, often most personal memories, evoking strong emotions, and sharing those private thoughts in a clear, coherent manner. That gift they give over is what makes the speech so powerful, but it’s not an easy thing to do. Try to imagine doing it yourself for a moment…

And now you know why speakers so appreciate our thanks and appreciation. The more you show it, the more they can keep on giving, knowing it was worth the effort.

Sharing smiles

A sudden appointment was scheduled for me today, for tomorrow. Knowing how much my classmates have offered to help in the past, I put up a message on our grade contact board letting them know I’d be absent, and asking for any and all help catching up and getting notes. One girl sent me a message… not about what I said.

Just to tell me that I’d be missed tomorrow. I can’t tell you how it made me smile.

THE LITTLE THINGS MAKE A DIFFERENCE! DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY!

Warmth in the wet

A post Mim collected from one of our readers

One time I was at the bus stop after school waiting for the bus to come. It was a rainy, windy day and the stop shelter was filled with people trying to escape the weather. I managed to squeeze in at the opening but the wind was blowing the rain into me, and since I was only wearing a thin jacket it was really cold. The woman behind me had an umbrella and, seeing that I was shivering, held it in front of me to block the rain. Every time I shifted she angled the umbrella differently so it would continue to shield me. When the bus finally came, she held the umbrella over both of us as we left the stop. She didn’t know who I was, but she did one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me and I will never forget it.

A Much-Needed Brownie

It was just a regular school day, and I had no reason to think that my usual routine would be any different. I started counting on my fingers: after Navi was lunch, then Biology, Business, Writer’s Craft, and English.

I was sitting in a classroom minding my own business, when I saw my sister wheeling through the hallway with a smile on her face. She saw me through the window, and her face lit up. In a moment she was in the door. “Hey, sis,” she said. “I brought you a brownie!”
I felt a smile start to form on my face that could rival hers. It was so unexpected, and yet it was just what I needed. I was so impressed by her utter thoughtfulness.

I couldn’t eat it right away, so when anyone asked me about the box I was carrying, I replied, “My sister gave it to me!” and beamed when people responded, “That was so sweet of her!”

So thank you, sis!

 

Just because

Yesterday, I saw something my brother had been wanting for a long long while on sale, literally across the street from my school. I offered to pick it up for him, and collected the money. I told him I’d get it today if I could, or by Monday if not. Getting sick and spending lunch in the office was not part of the plan. (When is it?) I knew I could to it another day, but I always feel better when the easy to-do’s are crossed off my list right away. I spotted a friend coming into the office to deal with something else, and on impulse, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind picking it up for me.

It was a serious long shot, and I double checked that she didn’t mind when she said yes. But she confirmed my instructions, went out, and came back ten minutes later with the item, with the receipt and change like I’d asked for. So that’s one point for agreeing so well, one point for making it not feel like a big deal, one point for checking my instructions, one point for being fast, and 10 points for getting the job done properly. I was so appreciative, and she really helped make my brother’s day. It’s nice to know people are looking out for you.

G-d in our lives; Chanukah post 1

One major theme of Chanukah is seeing G-d in life; not just the huge miracles and victories, but nature and the ‘ordinary’ things He arranges with a Hand too subtle for us to see.

Thank You for the seat in the crowded bus so I could get home without tiring myself out. Yes, that’s a big deal.

Not again

Mimi read this post and referred it to me, saying that it’s what she’s been trying to express all along. How even though every moment of conflict hurts so badly, it gives her hope that it will be the last pain before the Redemption. And yet, when the pain lessens… so do we. I was given permission (Todah Rabah,) to use an sample of the post here. I highly recommend visiting the blog for the whole thing: I’m finally sick of Golus, by Rivka Nehorai

I’m really protesting something else – I’m angry that this will bring me higher.

I find with astonishment as I check my internal dialogue that part of me is fed up that this situation will bring me closer to Israel and the Jewish people. I’ll take on a mitzvah, take on an action. My perspective will shift, my priorities will realign, and the shtus of my life will stop avalanching me, because within me I am preoccupied with the growing understanding of the precariousness of the Jewish people and the need for us to focus.

When terror strikes, my life gets simultaneously heavier and better; because my head, heart, and soul are finally, finally aligned. When Israel is under attack, my head is at last found focused in the celestial clouds while my feet are on the ground. I’m able to function in this world while my heart prays for another world.

And I’m tired of it.

Because I’m sick and tired of sliding back. I’m sick of once the terror fades and slides under the radar again that I forget.

I’m tired of forgetting.

I think the author’s solution to the problem is a mission statement we should all adapt. Myself, and Mimi, and you. And everyone.

Shavuah tov

Memories of London

Reading someone’s article brought back fond memories of my family’s’ trips to London, England. Specifically, what I’m thinking about now are the times we were in a Tube (Subway, properly known as the London Underground) station with a long curving staircase down from one platform to another when we needed to change trains. Often, when my father would pick up one end of the stroller to carry it down, some random stranger would rush to help him so that he didn’t have to do it alone, or enlist one of his older children (we were pretty strong, having done it before, but being short back then it really was a help.) Said person would help, against my father’s protests, the entire way down and sometimes, offer to help us the rest of the way. It’s happened more than once, and it makes me smile.

A public apology and show of gratitude

A lot of people have at school have asked me the usual question, ‘So, what did you do this summer?” I found out the hard way that ‘Work on  two websites’ is a much better answer than ‘spend a lot of time sick in bed, work, clean my room and do a chemistry course,’ and it’s not hard to see why.

Once, someone asked me which two, and I told her, rushing out the door to try and grab a drink before class, “Inspired by Starlight, which you should know, and my crafts website.”

She asked me a question about Starlight and I sad, “You READ THAT?” Ok, here’s the apology.

I wasn’t amazed by her reading it personally. It was only that something must be faulty in our reader stats, because nothing matching her location was showing up. It was also part gratitude– Lucky and I have been wondering for a while if anyone but us writers reads the blog anyway. We rarely get e-mails in, so it’s hard to tell. She’d often said that if one person read it, it would be worth it.

The girl’s reply was “Sort of.”  Thanks for accepting what I said and being one of those people.