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

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…

Never too late

It’s never too late

Even when your finger brushes the button

Even when you’re about to turn the wrong way

Even when the lashon harah is about to slide off your tongue

Even when you’ve stood up to storm off.

Even when you’ve picked up the book, ‘deciding’ it’s probably ok

Even when you’ve already turned on the screen

Even when you told someone you’d show up

Even once you’ve convinced yourself that the shirt really isn’t too loud

Even when… you’re about to hit ‘POST’

Even when the perfect tactless comment is in your brain

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE

From personal experience.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! Have a happy and uplifting ‘long weekend!’

The clothes make the girl

I was at the park this Shabbat with my little sister. There was another sweet little girl there of about seven years old. She started talking with us, and after a few questions, then asked, “Are you religious?”

“Yes.” I answered. “Why?”

“You look like it.”

It should be mentioned that I was wearing pale lilac sneakers and a subdued floral baseball cap. (It was a park, and quite sunny out, requiring both.) I was also wearing a tunic and ankle-length black skirt in contrast to a more typical short one.* My glasses were neither notably stylish or distinctly plain.

To her, the dress of a religious girl is exactly as it should be– a long skirt, a long sleeves, and a high neckline. Since most of the other girls in the park were goyim in tank tops, she saw me as being dressed exactly as I should, with no need to contrast me to anything. It was really refreshing.

And who knows? Maybe somehow, deep down, she recognised and acknowledged the effort that it had taken me to get to this point. With G-d’s creations, you never know.

—–

*This was said with a disclaimer. If your minhag or community standard is to wear skirts that are totally tznius but not conspicuously long, then kol hakavod. That is tznius for you because it davka doesn’t draw attention and you should got for it.

In my community, most non-Jewish stores sell three types of skirts– really short, really tight, and really long. Far from being attention-getting, they really are the most modest option.

Acceptance with Love

“Does anyone know where I put my book down?”

“Were you holding it when you went to chase Mendy*?” (*henceforth the pseudonym for the 2 1/2 year old boy)

Mendy heard me. “Me?”

“You.”

“Yay!!!!”

This reminds me of something I once learned about the famous prophet Yeshayah (Issiah.) One of the things that gave him the merit to have so much positivity in a time of historic darkness was that he accepted what G-d wanted from him with joy and happiness.

Mendy, so young and sweet, was just genuinely happy to be… Mendy. In spite of the hardships he faces. Maybe this is something we could all learn from.

Have a wonderful and peaceful Shabbat!

Crowned with kindness

My baby brother came home from Shul this Shabbat with a new black hat. A Borsilino, too. (He seemed to find that significant. I don’t even know if I’ve spelled it right!)

Someone in the community had a bunch of gently worn hats that he no longer needed for some reason. The one my brother brought home was in such good condition that it could have been sold for a good profit. Instead, he chose to give them all away– not to a charity, or to a poor person specifically, but to anyone who needed or wanted a new, good hat.

The Torah talks about the crown of a good name. Give away a simple (or not so) hat, and get a crown. Hm, let’s see if I have any hats to give away!

Sugar and spice and everything…

I was on my way into Shul one Shabbat recently. That week there was a girls’ Shabbaton in my neighborhood, and I overheard the following conversation, which took place between one of the proctors and a teenage girl.

“So, how was last night? Did you sleep at all?”

A few polite answers, and then,

“What about the girls in your house? Are they nice?”

“They’re so friendly, and warm, and lively and cheerful and just so nice! That’s why I’m here- it’s so much fun to be around them that I knew I would have to leave to daven!”