Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chanukah: the Ongoing Battle

There are so many nice themes of Chanukah: light, miracles, emunah, fight for what you believe - even if you're standing alone or are few in number.
Then there are the themes that many people don't like to hear about: yavan, assimilation, materialism, war/death, Jewish infighting.

For me, Chanukah, while being such a beautiful and holy holiday, has a slight ring of sadness to it every year. Why? Because the battle with the yavanim is still going on today.
The Maccabim fought against the Jewish Hellenists. That is, the assimilated Jews. Not just the Greeks.
They defeated the Greeks. But not the Jewish Hellenists, who were Jews that, while they maintained some of their Jewishness, just wanted to be modern Jews accepted by the goyim. We'll keep chagim to a certain extent. But we'll dress Greek, have Greek names, and do Greek activities (like the Olympics).
Sounds familiar?

The Greeks valued Chitzonyut. Gashmiut. Outer appearance. Materialism.
The Jews valued morality, Torah learning, modesty, and being separated from anything that did not fit into those three categories.

We are SO fortunate in our generation that we are not persecuted for being Jewish. We have more freedom than ever in history to be as observant as we want without non-Jewish restrictions.
And yet. We have the highest rate of assimilation in this generation.

Chanukah begs every Jew to question: whose side would I be on if the Maccabees went to war today. Would I be on the Maccabees side? Or the Jewish Hellenists side?

May HaShem bless all of us to be on the right path, and may all of our actions be l'Shem Shamayim.
May the light of Chanukah touch every Jew's neshama & inspire all of us to grow closer to HaShem Yitbarach.
Chanukah Sameach :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

King & Father, There is No Other.

I know it seems that I'm not here, but I am. Just been very busy with life. Thank G-d. It's good to be busy.

I feel like I have an ongoing blog in my head 24/7. Like, Sefardi Gal's thoughts and comments. I can't seem to ever press the pause or "shhhh" button.
I so often want to (actually) blog and then I get lazy or tired or remember that I have laundry to do :)
Or that I need to make some awesome baked ziti for dinner (yeah, it came out really good tonight!) & whole wheat oatmeal low sugar chocolate cookies (not as good. Why do the fattening cookies always taste better?!)

All of those are not valid excuses, but oh well. Patience is a virtue.

I received this awesome e-mail from's "Shabbat Shalom Weekly" emails. I thought to post it since it served as great chizuk for me:

5 Steps to Genuine Prayer:
1) Feel God's presence. You are talking to a loving, all-powerful Being Who wants to give you everything that's good. All over the world God is answering prayers because He loves His children.
2) Expect results. God has a track record. If you don't really believe God can and will help you, you're not really praying.
3) Pay attention to what God is teaching you. Everything that happens is for your good. If you are in need, realize God is teaching you something. If you trust Him, you will hear what He is telling you.
4) Get in touch with what you're really after. Know your bottom line. You're talking to the awesome Creator, so don't ask for nonsense. He wants you to grow up.
5) Being serious about what you're praying for means that you're doing everything you can to make it happen. God will lend a hand only when you put in the effort. He'll never take away your independence because that's His ultimate gift to you.