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.

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!!

Thoughts on Purim :)

A belated Chodesh tov to all!

Some homemade thoughts on Adar and Purim for inspiration and fast day distractions. Sorry for digressing so much, since these are rather deep and complicated ideas.

One of the central themes woven into the fabric of Purim is the idea of concealment and masks. Of the outside hiding the inside, of working in the shadows. It is part of both the ‘mashal’ (the obvious, written Purim story) and the ‘nimshal’ (a careful examination of what’s not mentioned. There are some great articles about that on Aish and Chabad.)

But masks aren’t just a fixture of Purim. Our bodies, too, are masks. They clothe the neshama (roughly: soul), allowing it to live in a material world. Depending on the way you use your body to express yourself, you can either hide or reveal some of your inner depth.

It is the nature of Jewdism to have more hidden than revealed. If everything was open and exposed, the world would be a very different place in terms of ‘abstract’ concepts such as free choice, learning Torah, etc.

Ideally, the body hints or echos the soul. (This is essential to the concept of Tznius, ‘hiding’ the body. If the soul is so great that it even shows in the body, then the body is also holy and needs cover and protection.) But sometimes, people’s outsides’ don’t match their insides. This can be in the tragic case of people who look ‘frum’ ‘charedi’ ‘normal’ ‘holy’ on the outside, but inside they are the sort of people that we are not proud to call our own.

This is a sad and rare case. But there are two others that are more common. Since the nature of the soul is to be hidden, we can’t see other people’s internal growth. People who dress and act the way they always have might be the most refined and kind individuals underneath. Physical changes, especially when you are around people who know you well, can be much more difficult and intimidating. Far easier to take on giving extra tzedaka every week then to chop off the dreadlocks and wear a kippa. Some find it much simpler to refine their language or swear off texting for a month than to ‘un-dye’ their hair and wear longer skirts, or even a skirt at all. Far easier to daven mincha then to, say, stop wearing jeans.

There is another type of person in this catagory. There are people, great tzadikkim, who seem like average, pious individuals on the outside, but inside contain great depths of holiness and purity. These are people who seem like the stories of bygone years– because you never discover it until they have left the world.

So the next time a person’s actions don’t seem to reflect thier soul– think again. And remember, the same is true of you.

Have an easy fast and a joyous Purim

Asher Yatzar

My health issues (which baruch Hashem, are quite minor, and with Hashem’s help will vanish soon) still make it difficult for me to say asher yatzar wholeheartedly. Sometimes the best I can manage is a distracted mumble. At times, it was an ‘at least I am halachikly able to say asher yatar. Even though I have to lean against the wall to do so.’ I remember a few times where I literally cried my way through it. (Even negative emotion is better than apathy.)

Now I’m more on the apathetic side. I try to have kavanah, but really? Usually, the only times people want to talk to me are between leaving the room and asher yatzar. Or I’m in a rush. Or both.

I’ve been reading a lot about the four Kedoshim who were murdered last month. I read so I won’t forget. And in school, when the topic was briefly brought up, it suddenly clicked in me. They were people who served Hashem at levels we all daven to reach. They were tadekim. They used every moment well. They served Hashem much better than I can. Why aren’t they alive? And why am I? If  Hashem didn’t give them more life, why did He give it to someone like ME?

And so every day, whenever I remember, I thank G-d for the challenging, frustrating, miserable, amazing, rewarding gift we call LIFE.

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.

Mama Rachel

Today is the yartzite of Rachel Imeanu. I could say more, but it might be better just to find or watch one of the movies made in honor of the occasion. Anything by Chabad, the Chofetz Chaim foundation, the Rachel Imeanu foundation, or the like will be fine.

It’s ok to cry while you watch it. Rachel is crying too. She watches the pain we are going through and she burns to tell us that it all can be avoided. If we would just return to her and to each other, we will stay together. If we choose to define ourselves by what connects us, and not what devides us, we will return to being her children. Hashem’s holy nation.

May it be soon.