Scared, but with faith

Tisha B’av scares me. Lucky mentioned it, so I’ll elaborate

I looked at the calender and saw that this year, the actual date of the ninth of Av is a Shabbat. The fast is on the tenth of Av this year. And that seemed really surreal to me. On the one hand, it’s the saddest day in the Jewish calendar year. Postponing the fast doesn’t change the date of all the sad things that happened. (Also see the rest of Chabad.org on the subject.) On the other hand, it’s Shabbat. We’re commanded to rejoice. Even if you can forget the date, the fast is lurking right around the corner, reminding you to drink plenty of water and not eat anything that will make you feel sick the next day.

And then I was thinking how if the Shabbat Project ever did another one this year, this would be the perfect week for it. But no, that would never happen. Something really drastic would have to happen for them to whip together a worldwide Shabbat campaign at such short notice. And then it brought me back to where I started.

Drastic things do happen. Like last year. And last year, we promised ourselves that this would be the last time we fasted and mourned. And I believed it. It seemed impossible to me that the world would not wake up and fix things. That we would not wake up and fix things. That I would not wake up and fix things.

Tisha b’Av scares me beacuse I’m scared of living in another year of Galus. We can’t last much longer. S0 G-d, who cares too much to give up on us, shakes us to wake us up before it’s too late. And those shakes HURT. Bombing, wars, mass antisemitism. We confuse the symptoms for the disease, but really, though life is calmer now, we’re still facing the same core problem. And already, we’re being shaking up again. Thank G-d, the bombs landed an unoccupied area. Thank G-d, nothing terrible happened during the protest in London.

But how much longer before we’re shaken up again? That’s what scares me, even more than seeing our nation fall more every day. These symptoms tell us how bad things are. But in and of themselves, they are sooo painful.

I’m not writing this to give up hope. Not at all. I may feel desperate, but I haven’t given up yet. If we take this message to heart, there will be no need to fear anymore. I know I say this every year, but it needs to be said again. G-d will keep on shaking us. And we will not give up.

Please help me. We’ve all made mistakes this year. But we’ve learned that we can come together, and the echos of last summer’s unity still live on. Wake them up!

אני מאמין באמונה שלמה בביאת המשיח .ואף על פי שיתמהמה, עם כל זה אחכה לו בכל היום שיבוא I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Moshaich. Even if he delays, I wait for him every day.

It sounds so simple. But maybe if we truly believe this, it will be easier for us to take the final step forward in all our actions. If we remember this, that Moshiach is on our doorstep, that he is just waiting to know the time is right for him to enter…

Spreading the sunshine

Today was the second day of my camp job. At dismissal, I was ‘asked’ to do a job that wasn’t technically mine– but someone had to do it, and it was impossible to explain that that someone wasn’t me.

When I got back, another parent (one whom I nearly gave the wrong child this time yesterday!) complimented me on and on about my positive attitude even at the end of the day. It was so kind, and made a huge difference to me.

 

Ps. The next time I saw the first parent, they were much more polite. What the other mother said had a big impact on both of us, it seems.

Just be there

A friend’s older sister was getting married tonight, and in spite of everything else going on in my life at the moment, I made a point of being there, if only for a few minutes.

Why?                                                                                           Because she asked me to.

I knew that many other girls were coming, (turns out that that was an understatement, half my school was there,) but if she cared enough to repeatedly ask me to come… I cared more than enough to listen to her.

Another New User

Welcome to Lady Ziva, another new member of the team. We’re so glad to have you. Every new person has what to offer and I’m looking forward to seeing what special things you can share with us. You already made my day for signing up!

Thank you, Mim, for recruiting such a royal staff!

Remember that the contest is still running from our previous new user post.

Congratulations to Mim, Lady Ziva, and Princess Sarite and all our other readers for whom summer has officially started. Though school is out, the world at large is still filled with kindness in spite of (or even maybe because of) the heat. Keep your eyes peeled!

The brightest light in the darkest place

http://unitedwithisrael.org/the-holocaust-picture-that-offended-facebook/

To me, the point is not that Facebook flagged the photo, or why, or people’s reactions. To me, the biggest deal is not even the photo itself. Thank you Esther, for bringing this photo to my attention, and thank you Miriam, for adding light to a dark world. To me, the point is in Miriam’s own words, quoted by her father, who is quoted at the above link. For the remainder of the article, see their website.

As I searched for an applicable quote to close off this posting in honour of Yom HaShoah, I realized that a very appropriate quote would be the following excerpt from my daughter Miriam’s diary of her recent trip to the death camps of Poland:

“Today was kind of a gap day… The fill in day… And yet, it was one of the saddest days of my trip to Poland…

“Today, we visited a mass grave. Yes, on this program, we’ve been to many and I never cried at any of them. Not as much as I cried here. You see, this mass grave is different… This mass grave holds 700 children. Yes, you heard me… Children.

“Alone, frightened and clinging to whatever family they had with them, if they even had any left to cling to… Nazis shot them… The children… And for what? Because they couldn’t produce… They were useless to the Reich and so, they were shot… Murdered…

“These sweet children… Gone. No longer can we hear their sweet laughter or small feet dancing. No longer can we see the smiles on their faces or the innocent look in their beautiful eyes… Children that didn’t have the chance to live; to become and live their dreams. Stolen from us by the worst animal of all…

“I sat motionless at that mass grave. What else was I able to do? I was barely able to hold my head up… It hurt me more than anything. I don’t think there was one person on our program that didn’t shed a tear when we stood there listening to our rabbi talk about his family and how these children must have felt in their last moments…

“Then he did something I will remember forever.

“He said to us, “These children never got a chance to see the holy land or let alone be buried there. We should give them that chance…” He then proceeded to pick up a box full of dirt. “This,” he said, “is from my backyard. This is soil from Israel. If they can’t be buried in Israel, then we will bring Israel to them. Their light will forever live inside us. Whoever wants, can come take a hand full of soil and sprinkle it over the grave.”

“We all stood around him, frozen. We literally were frozen in place and suddenly I saw a hand reach out and take a handful of dirt and when the hand touched the soft soil, I realized that the hand was mine.

“I looked at the Rabbi and just for a moment, our eyes met. I guess it was a kind of comfort for me… I walked over to the grave and soon others did the same. I looked over that blue painted fence and in my mind, as I held that soil for just a moment longer, the shabbat blessing that a father and mother gives their child came to my mind. Over and over it ran through my head as I watched the wind scatter the soil across the grave.

“Tears just fell freely and all I was able to do was sit there as tears just kept falling. I was frozen at the fact that they were all gone… For no reason other than hatred… These beautiful children are the light in the darkness and their light will forever live on through me and through every breath I take. These children play at the foot of G-d’s Kiseh Hakavod [throne] now.

“Take care of them for me, please… They are with You now.”

– Miriam Ciss, March 27, 2015, Poland

Thank you for sharing these words with us. Though deeply personal, they have something to teach the entire world. Thank you for teaching us a lesson from history, so that we never repeat it. May this bring merit to the children’s memories, all 700 and 1 of them.

Huge Kiddush Hashem

http://forward.com/news/306056/can-an-orthodox-charity-help-save-lives-in-this-mans-church/

Not only are the actions presented in the article amazing and bring honour to Hashem, but so does the article. So rare at the moment is an article that is from a secular site, yet honest and unbiased.

Apologies that the article is too long to embed. It looks clean and good, but, as with always, think before you click.

Yom Ha’Zikaron

We just watched a video of the funeral of one of the soldiers who was killed this summer during the war. One soldier. One soldier, a huge void in the world. And there are sixty six more. And all the civilians. And the people who’ve died to terror attacks, unspeakable tragedies that should never have happened.

If G-d allowed it to happen, then it must be good. Why does it hurt so much?

For me, it’s not just human pain, but guilt. These are the pains before Moshiach, but they are not inevitable. They are to wake us up and bring us together. If we were already there, the pain we now feel, the pain of mothers and fathers and sisters and fiancees and brothers and wives and children, might not have happened.

Maybe this is what G-d intended. Guilt, however crushing, is not the answer.

All we need to do is to remember the pain. Remember how we feel when our nation is attacked. Remember that pain every time you forget the value a single soul has. Remember this pain EVERY TIME you encounter another Jew. Treat them as though the fate of the world, the fate of every human being, rests on how you treat this person.

Because it does.

So Inspired

Read the original here, or look below. A thank you to the owner of Mevakesh Lev for giving open permission to me to share such posts.

Mizmor Li-toda!

With gratitude to and with the help of Hashem Yisborach, I have reached the milestone of 2000 recorded shiurim on line. I say this not to boast [for arrogance makes one smelly and I don’t want to be that] but to thank Hashem and the countless people who have been listening and reading over the last 9 years since I entered the world wide web.I often have my doubts and hesitations as to whether it is the right thing to be part of the Internet world because as we know, רובא דרובא דרובא דרובא – the vast-vast majority of the Internet is at best dvarim betialim, frivolous matters, and all too often much-much worse, but I hope that Hashem has nachas ruach from my attempt to try to add Torah and Kedusha to the many who are there anyway.Money

Besides the benefit of spreading Torah that I already mentioned, there is another benefit – money. Lots of money.

Meaning – I get paid zero-zilcho-efes-kloom for all of the Torah that I spread and that is the way it should be. Torah is NOT a means to earn a living – it is too holy for that. Those who take money in order to learn and teach Torah only do so in order to save themselves and families from starvation. When not necessary, it should not be done. So it is very gratifying that after years of having to take a [albeit miniscule] salary for teaching Torah, the Internet afforded me an opportunity to teach for nothing. Or better – for nothing material but for everything spiritual.

So I want to pray to Hashem that He, in His infinite mercy, allows me to continue being involved in Torah day and night שלא על מנת לקבל פרס.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the many who appreciate my efforts and have been helping me in my efforts to spread Torah and light, especially for the last four years since I left yeshiva.

So thank you Hashem and thank you beloved friends. Many of you I know personally and many-many more I don’t, but I thank and love you all.

Bi-ahava,
Me 

ONLY ONE LAST DAY

It is said that the final galus parallels the galus of mitzrayim to the extent that ‘Just as we were redeemed in Nissan, so to shall we now be redeemed in Nissan.’

Tomorrow, is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar. It is also the last day of Nissan.

PLEASE, DEAR YIDDEN AND FRIENDS! We have one more day. Tomorrow, take upon yourselves one more thing in the area of interpersonal relationships. Go above and beyond to do one nice thing for another Jew. Go above and beyond to judge every Jew favorably.

I write this knowing that by doing so, it will lead me to be tested more stringently in this area. But I am willing and ready and eager to give this mission my all.

Please, please forward this message to everyone you know. We can put an end to tragedy tomorrow– forever!

Moshiach!!

Davening for the ill 1

davDedicated for a refuah shelema (full recovery) for Tuvia Avraham ben Chaya Zisha, among others.

For an idealistic perfectionist, some Mitzvot (commandments) can be tough. You can give charity to some poor people– but not every single one. After all, then how would you buy yourself food for Shabbat and Yom Tov? Nor can you do kiruv in the entire world simultaneously.

But one mitzvah allows you to encompass the entire world in one go. In Shmoneh Esrai (also known as the Amidah) during the bracha of Refa’enu, where we beg Hashem to heal the sick, is a special prayer one can add to mention a certain name. The text, fairly simple and straightforward, closes with the words בתוך שאר חולי ישרא-ל — among all the sick people of Yisrael.

Isn’t that amazing? When I daven for my friend’s father or Mim’s little brother, I am literally also praying for the thousands of other people who need it.

Hashem, please heal them all soon.