Prayer is Power

One night, I was lying in bed thinking about my life, specifically the not so good parts. I thought about someone who I’d done many not -so-kind things too, and I knew there was no way to make it up for her. So, I sent up a quick teffilah that G-d should send her an extra measure of goodness and bracha in her life.

Not even a week later, I hear that she survived a potentially near-death experience. That nighttime bracha came to mind. Prayer is powerful, people!

Community strength

Anyone in my neighborhood will know who this (incredibly belated) post is talking about. The Rabbi and Rebbetzin of one local shul recently married off their oldest daughter, a friend of mine. The way the community has gathered to celebrate is truly inspiring. Many people went to the states for the wedding, and even more came to celebrations back here. What really touched me though, was seeing how many people have sponsored various kiddushim in their honor.

It’s clear to see how much the Rav and Rebbetzin have used their strengths to build up the community. I give the Chattan and Kallah the bracha to be able to also use their strengths to light up the place they now live in. Not like their parents do, but in their own unique way, and yet with the same strength. Mazal tov!

This article should help send a speedy and complete healing to Moshe Rephael b-n Orah and Chana b-t Rachel Leah

Thank you for the nagging

I’ve got a bad habit. A fairly harmless one, that many people do. I know I need to work on it, and yet I justify it. ‘I need it to cope.’ ‘I am working on it… a little.’ ‘I’m working on so many midot (traits), I’m just not up for this one yet.’ ‘I’ll be counterproductive, cuz I’ll just end up being resentful and doing it more.’ These were all valid points; I gave the matter some thought, and they went from real excuses to a battle plan for the future. But still, I was doing pretty poorly in the here and now.

Let’s use an example, for simplicity’s sake, and say this trait was complaining. I don’t whinge about the little minor things ‘oh, we have to share a bus with xyz’ or at least, what I call the little things (I guess the vending machine not being plugged in when I’m falling asleep and want soda is kind of a medium thing,) but I didn’t think I’d ever be one of those people who just quietly absorbed whatever life threw at them. a) They’re all tazadikeses and b) It just wouldn’t work for me. I need to get stuff out of my system, in order to stay healthy and sane. My friends have learned to live with it, and I’ve learned to pick a new friend each time I want to vent (or whatever my bad habit really is.)

So all the anti-complaining messages I’ve been hearing pretty heavily the past year (in a general sense, eg. school-wide campaign, never directed at me) just dropped my self esteem, left me defensive, made me resentful and justifying everything, and on occasion, left me in tears. (Inadvertently. It wasn’t her fault, she was only trying to help.) I just told myself everything you read above, and it was true. But it also seeped in.

I still indulge in my bad habit; I know I just need to let my feelings out. But I’ve also started paying more attention, in small sometimes subconscious steps. ‘Ok, so she needs to know I was sick for a week, but can I say it in a more positive way?’ ‘Ok, I need to vent, but how quickly can I change the topic?’ ‘Can I push off saying this for five minutes (at which point I will promptly forget it?)’ ‘Can I ask about her day first?’ I think it has less to do with a shift in behavior, and more just to do with having a more positive mindset, and realizing that my friends don’t always need to deal with this, even if they’re happy to. I just try and ‘vent’ in a more positive, long term, cheerful tone, and it takes the edge off. I’ll catch myself as soon as I feel better and not go on any longer.

So, this is a very long post to say a very short thing; To all the persistent, annoying, cheerful, inflexible, nagging people/messages over the past year, thank you for being that. I guess that future time I was going to start changing is now. Now, to work on my procrastination… let’s discuss it later 😛

Such a gift

I plan to elaborate on this later, but I can’t go to bed without saying thank you.

I never eat potato chips, but today, in the midst of one of the worst days I’ve had in a while, I suddenly wanted some, and ran down between classes.

G-d made the vending machine give me my chips for nearly free. Believe me, I was a little worried it was theft, and tried to work around it. But the machine insisted! What could I do?

In addition to those special rare souls who showed how much they care today, that warm hug from above helped take the edge off of the pain. I still don’t know what happened, or why, but I know, somehow, that it will be ok.

A light in the dark

The recent stabbing attacks in Israel have all been so horrific, but this one stands out. A 13 year old on his bike. Where I live, if you stay away from the traffic, nothing could be more prosaic. Stabbed by two boys, one his age, one a little older.

Here is some light. We all know how amazing Hatzolah/Magen David Adom is. Here’s a new one. A Hatzolah member picking his child up from a playdate while off duty stopped to answer a question from someone in the family– a, if Heaven forbid this happens, how do we work around xyz already existing issue?– question. Of course they would. It’s just another way for them to preempt a crisis and potentially save a life.

But still– look at it deeper. Maybe you just had to be there to appreciate the encouraging, kind tone that was used. The willingness to stay however long the question took. The way his child stood waiting patiently the entire time. The fact that we’re a nation where something like this isn’t breaking news… just a part of life. So normal it’s exceptional.

Wishing you all good health and protection to all the residents of Israel.

My sister Faigy

I wasn’t going to write about this more. I commented on it yesterday, and honestly, the topics here hit us all in such raw places that I was scared to say something.

But I cried last night for a long time. Even as I wondered if these are the final footsteps of the Redemption (today! today!), I cried for the cost they came at. I cried for someone who, were she living, I doubt I would have much to say to. She helped other Jews leave the fold, while I am, in my own small way, ‘in Kiruv’. But she had a Jewish soul. She had a soul, period. She was a tragic casualty in the crazy confused world we live in. And it burns me to the core.

I can’t help but compare it to the other precious souls we lost last year. Though they tried to hitchhike, no-one blames them or says that, heaven forbid, they deserve their fate. Here, people are saying that the ‘religious nuts must be so happy she got what she deserved’ for leaving. Looking at the levayah, I don’t think any Jew would actually believe that.

They were prayed for by millions. How many people prayed for her? Very few, because who knew?

They were mourned by the world. Her family and friends are mourning, but are we?

They brought us together and reminded us that we are stronger as a whole. What will we learn here?

Faigy Mayers is teaching us how vast and wide-spread that whole is. It’s time to bring our people back together, forever.

It’s too late to prevent our loss. But if we take it to heart, if we can all live peacefully, G-d will bring us home. So don’t be afraid to cry. You’re in good company.

Sopping smile

You know how they say ‘If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all?’ I was having a day like that today. It’s always hard to get back into the grind of things after being away for a while… and… yeah.

Sometimes, some people are just there at the right time.

Though I dislike chatting at work (pre-schoolers have this inner radar for when the worst time to cause trouble and get away with it would be,) my co-counselors were more than handling everything and it seemed like a matter of mental pikuach nefesh. So when a good friend kindly and genuinely asked what was wrong, I spilled it all out.

I think what she said was the perfect answer– sympathy, a way of getting past the problem, and practical advice for if it didn’t get better. Then she finished with, “I’d give you a hug but I’m sopping wet.” (Never give your campers water unless you want a shower. You have been warned.) I told her that that wasn’t a problem.

Maybe to some it might seem like this isn’t such a big deal. I recognize that with my smaller social circle, this might be a less frequent thing for me than for some. Maybe I just have less earthshaking problems. (Nah.) But even if you get this kind of warm friendship every time you stub a toe, or sneeze, appreciate it. Not just because things like these can be here today and gone tomorrow, but just because they’re here now. Not just because you might not appreciate what you have, but because you can thank G-d for what you have to appreciate.

 

Hello All!

Our tech admin would be laughing at me for taking so long to figure this out, but better late than never.

I just found the feature that lets me see how many visitors this site is getting. It’s so amazing to see them all pouring in!

Just wanted to let you all know what a smile you put on my face! Keep on coming.

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