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

Still clinging on

Waking up this morning was a real shock to the system. It hit me, suddenly. Today is Friday. The fast is in 48 hours– less, even. Somehow, I didn’t think I’d still be here. Moshiach, where are you? We were supposed to meet yesterday!

That’s the one hard thing of constant belief and optimism, of still being a complete Maamin no matter what. You will get let down. And it hurts. If you intensely believe that the Redemption will come that day, watching the sun go down can shatter you. Even as you think, ‘so tomorrow, then,’ a voice says, ‘why not today?’ Even as you say ‘there’s one more weekday until Tisha b’Av,’ it’s easy to think, ‘we’re running out of time. We had a week and now we have a day.’

I don’t give up. Even when a car horn in the silence makes me stiffen and my heart pound. Even when there’s Shofar blowing somewhere in the building, and someone jokingly yells ‘Moshiach,’ and even as you scowl for them making fun of something so sacred, you wonder if they could be right. And you cry when they’re not.

This turned into a very long good morning. But you understand, don’t you? What it’s like to have a shattered spirit but still cling to hope. One can’t always just say, ‘So if not today, then tomorrow,’ with a smile. If the ‘not today’ doesn’t cause pain, where will you get the strength for the ‘tomorrow?’ Sometimes, the roller coaster of hope and despair gets the better of me.

But today, I’ll go down fighting. Moshiach won’t just randomly show up. He’s waiting for us to bring him in.

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.

Spot the connection

Mim’s post brought up an interesting thought. What does Sfira– counting up towards accepting the Torah– have to do with being kind to one-another. Is it just a coincidence that the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students died during the count-up to Matan Torah?

The post was due weeks ago so I’m condensing it now.

Rabbi Hillel said that the foundation of the Torah is ‘V’ahavtah Leracha Kmocha’– Loving your fellow like yourself. Without it, Torah cannot be sustained.

Whatever the sin of Rabbi Akiva’s students did (and there are many many interesting opinions,) they are said to not have been on the highest level of love for each other.

We don’t just wait to receive the Torah, we are actively preparing ourselves for it. Preparing ourselves to be the foundations of Torah.

Without Torah, there is no life. And without respect, love, and consideration for each other, there can be no Torah.

 

See you all at Har Sinai!

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.

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.

I want to belive

Is it a test if you know that you’re being tested?

Seeing and hearing things that are upsetting, is, unfortunate, a normal part of our society. But since I’ve opened this blog, I’ve experienced more and more of them. Or maybe I’m just more attuned to them.

I try my hardest to make this site 100% positivity and good things, but the sad truth is that there is bad out there. Ignoring it doesn’t make it disappear. So why don’t I talk about the bad, to? Even just to comment that maybe we could be doing things better?

What stops me from throwing in the towel and becoming another cynical blogger, like, Hashem Yerachem (G-d should have mercy on them), others are? What is it that convinces me that we’re not just a ‘failed experiment’? After all, G-d allowed us to choose right and wrong. What stops me from believing that we’ve screwed up? Or, from a more balanced viewpoint, what stops me from condemning the bad along with praising the good?

I think that there are two reasons. One is that the bad often gets so much more exposure than the good. It’s so much easier to find about (fill in any negative example you’ve seen recently- I don’t want to cry more providing examples) and sometimes exaggerate the truth, then it is to find a good story and tell it. We know that the bad is out there. It’s in our faces all day. The good- is often subtle and small. But the impact is huge. For all those who are tempted to give up on good. Who’ve had one of those long, hard days. Who don’t understand why people won’t just listen, and stop the evil they’re doing.

And the second reason? The why? Because there’s a part of me that defies all logic I throw at it. A part of me that says that humanity’s goodness is not gone yet. That we- me, and you, and them, and the ‘others’, and everyone- are still capable of good. And not only capable, but that, when push comes to shove, we will all do the right thing.

There are those of us who won’t go down without a fight. Who will believe, no matter what. Who will do good, and act good, and are good. Who are the ones who will, loudly or quietly, in the news or behind the scenes, bring us to an era of peace.

So for both the cynics and the believers — this is for you.

(And just F.Y.I.- this is the last negative post I will put up here. When (if) I break the rules, you can quote me this.)