Hy”D

No news is good news. That’s not always true. Snow days are good news. Babies born are good news. The arrival of Moshiach, speedily in our days, will probably be the most hotly posted good news on the internet.

But there is a element of truth to the saying. When I got greeted this morning with ‘Have you checked the news yet?’ as I have heard so often in the past year, I only felt dread and fear.

I still only know the bare details- but enough to feel sad and sickened.

After the tragic kidnappings, we all thought- this will be our last tragedy. We keep being proven wrong. Why?

The achdus levels we have now are amazing. We are so close, so near to our ultimate goal. How many more tragedies do we need to shock us awake? Even if Moshiach came (may it be so) right today, things would never be exactly as they were. We could not erase the shock, the loss of life, the grief of their families and of everyone. But we can ensure, with every drop of goodness and kindness that we posses, that it never happen again.

We are so close. Please, my friends, let us eradicate every last drop of sinat chinam in our hearts. We have gone so far from Sinat chinam- hating one another. All we need is Ahavat Chinam- to love one another.

Remember the story of Kamsa and Bar Kamsa? If we could create a world where we could ensure that that would never happen again- Moshiach would belong in that world. We just need to love one another- to be polite, respectful, to temper the criticism, teasing, and arguing with a handful (or a heart-full) of understanding, friendship and patience.

Please, my friends.

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

The downside of writing…

… for me, other than not getting anything today because I was bitten by a plot bunny, is much more serious. Everything that happens in Israel, especially when I’ve been writing for about three hours today, is like a personal punch in the gut.

The solder killed in the most recent attack, השם ייקום דמו? He could have been my main character. Any of the young, promising Yidden in their army service. The people injured? His family, friends, cousins, shadchan. The children living in fear, because stabbings don’t even come with an air-raid siren and can strike, ה ‘ישמור, out of the blue; are the characters who grew up as I did, and are as much a part of my life as my own friends in Canada. My story is set in Israel, and the blood-streaked stones are the ones I wander in my mind every time I close my eyes. Usually, it’s a blessing, but today, it feels more like a punishment.

Perhaps I’m the only one who prefers being in pain to being numb, as I was with all the other past (I’m not going to call them incidents. They were) murders. The tears that came days after reading about the Jew who stabbed another Jew were almost a relief– they proved the pain had not made me loose touch with reality. This soldier was a world of his own, created personally by the Almighty.

We’re living in a paradox. The way I see it, we’re meant to accept what G-d’s already done, but remember the pain and storm the heavens that it never happen again. Hear that? We small humans have the power to make it NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. But on that, I’ve said enough. Tonight, I just need to cry.

Some comfort

Although Rabbi Scheinberg was in disbelief and heartbroken, he told news crews, “Hate is something that happens in every generation, wherever it happens to be, but so does love. And love will overpower hate and the good will destroy the evil.”

Here is the less cheerful part: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/08/13/widespread-anti-semitic-vandalism-strikes-texas-jewish-community/

Tisha B’Av update 3

There’s violence and vandalism all over today. All over.

Someone snuck into an Agudah camp (first thought– thank G-d it’s not my brother’s Agudah camp, my parents would be so scared. Second thought– but it’s a lot of other people’s brothers’ Agudah camp.) No one was hurt, but swastikas were put on many parts of the property.

A Shul in Bnei Brak was vandalized– the damage was not listed, but it looked overturned and burnt in some areas. (Second search– the Aharon Kodesh was set on fire. Chasdi Hashem, the scrolls inside are all unharmed.)

Another Shul in Modiin was booby-trapped. The doors were blocked from outside, trapping the people praying inside.

Last night, a confrontation broke out at Maarat Hamachpelah.

In all of these incidents, no one was hurt. I am pathetically grateful that the shaking has started only on physical objects, (excluding at Maarat Hamachpelah, where pepper spray was used, but no injuries are reported.) But how much longer can we expect this

Tisha B’Av update 2

It’s early afternoon here, but Tisha b’Av’s over in Israel. (They’re singing at the Kotel, and it gives me the chills.) I’ve cried myself dry over the past few weeks, and now I’m not sure what to feel. Cold. Last year, I wrote in my journal

this year we fasted for the last Tisha B’Av.

And I can write it again, this year, with equal faith. And again, try to hope it’s true.

But if the rest of the year, as Mim writes, is about the future, and hoping every day, today is for thinking about the past. For me, it’s about thinking, ‘We had a whole year to try. We tried. And we hoped. And we yearned. But guess what? It’s time to wake up and realize that we didn’t get it right this year.

And even if the Moshiach came tomorrow, that wouldn’t change the past thousands of years. All the tragedies. If so many years of history are hard to comprehend, think about this year. We can never totally erase the impact of this, or this, or this, or anything else on the news.

Like I said, I’m not sure what to say. Today is a combination of mourning the past and working towards the future. A day of hope, and a day of despair. Not only hope, because we too need to work to make the Redemption happen, not just rest on our laurels. Not just despair, because without hope, we will fall to depression. This life wouldn’t upset us so much if we had nothing better to hope for. But today, we need to stop saying, “Tomorrow,” and instead ask

“What about Yesterday?”

Because if we don’t think about the past, how can we think about the future?

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.

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…

But for the grace of G-d

Thank You, thank You, thank You G-d!

It’s a miracle– I can’t explain it. My sewing machine has been malfunctioning for months. Nothing worked– teffilah (prayer) (always a good first step), adjustments, larger stitches, smaller stitches, a new needle– nothing!

Out of the blue, it started working perfectly. I hope (and pray) that it will stay that way! I have kavod Yom Tov to make!


An even bigger and greater thank You for another huge miracle. In this post, I mentioned the name Tuvia Avraham ben Chaya Zisha– Rabbi Meister. In a chance so unlikely it must be the hand of G-d, he is doing a hundred times better. Baruch Hashem! Im Yirtzeh Hashem, he will have a complete recovery soon.

If you davened (also means prayed)  for him, then thank YOU! You literally made my day– and most definitely his.

(The full story is in last week’s Mishpacha Magazine, for those who are interested.)

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.