Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. I watched couples walking down the street, some holding hands, others holding ice cream, or better yet – a baby, and many just blissfully walking a few inches apart, looking oh so comfy-happy in couple land.
After my date from the night before that wasn’t disastrous but was clearly not turning into a second date, I wondered – is that ever going to be me and my husband?
That week, another guy was suggested to me. He sounded fine, so I said yes. Again, a date that wasn’t bad, but clearly not shayach. The only thing I wanted to do was have a very long conversation with HaShem.
“HaShem, I can’t do this anymore. If I’m not ready to get married, then I don’t want to date anymore. I can’t handle it emotionally. I just can’t. Please help me.”
I felt so broken. So lonely. So fed up. So hurt.
Is this ever going to end?

Yet another guy was suggested to me. He called to set up plans for a date, except guess what? Surprise surprise he was out of the country for another 3 weeks.
After our conversation, he asked “can I call you next week?”
“how about you just call me when you land back here?” I said, while thinking – "yeah. RIGHT. Like he’s actually going to call when he gets here."
Well, he called.
And now, baruch HaShem, we’re married.

My advice to all of my dear readers who are still single – never give up. If it can happen to me, it can definitely happen to you. Keep davening. HaShem hears every single tefillah, and there IS a reason that you didn’t meet your zivug yet. You’ll see why only AFTER you meet him or her, and the reason is that either one or both of you was not ready even a day beforehand.
There’s not an ounce of cruelty within HaShem. Everything that happens in life – it’s ALL out of chessed.

Is it instantaneous that you’ll know (s)he’s the right one? Most likely not. Save that for the movies and few select couples.

I want to thank everyone so much for giving me chizzuk. B”H may all of the singles find their zivugim asap – as soon as the right time is possible, and may all of the married couples have shalom bayit!

As far as blogging goes...
I'm not sure if I'll continue posting or not.
As I mentioned in my first post, way back when, this blog is a journey. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trapped Blessings

A close friend of mine shared something beautiful with me. Visualize this:

Anything you want - be it refua, parnassah, zivug, shalom bayit, etc. - is 'trapped' inside a treasure box in Shamayim. The key is already in the lock on the treasure box. All you need to do is turn the lock to open the treasure box and receive the brachot!
Your tefillot are the force to turn the key.
Through sincere, powerful tefillah -- one can expect to have enough power to turn the key.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We Are Wet Clay!! Yay!

A Dvar Torah from ATorahMinute that I read & really liked. Enjoy!

G-d commanded the prophet Yirmiyahu (Yirmiyahu 18:1-4) to go to a potter's house, where he observed the potter working with wet clay. Yirmiyahu reported that when the potter did not like the vessel which he created, for whatever reason, he was able to form another one from that same vessel -- one which pleased him.

The Ben Ish Chai z"l explains that there is a difference between a vessel made of clay, which was burnt in the kiln and one which was not burnt. While the first one, once broken cannot be repaired or fixed, the second one can be reconstructed to perfection even if it were broken into many pieces. A person who sins, is likened to the second one - the wet clay which can be reformed. Even if he performs the worst possible transgressions, once he regrets whole heartedly and repents, he will shine like dawn and blossom like a rose. Our merciful Father in Heaven, unlike a king made of flesh and blood, desires our Teshuva (repentance) and pleads with us to change, in spite of our sins and transgressions.

Teshuva is like a wide ocean, open to anyone at any given time. Chazal teach us that the gates of teshuva are forever open. However, during the time between the first of Elul and Yom Kippur G-d is even closer to us. We should not miss out on this special time and extraordinary gift that G-d has granted us. We must take advantage of it and draw ourselves closer to Him.

Let us set aside a few moments for self examination and introspection. What area would you choose to work on and improve? Perhaps smile more often or call a friend whose feelings you might have hurt. Make an effort to greet Shabbath in a timely fashion or learn to forgive and forget. The list is endless, the opportunity is waiting for us.

We have the power, just like the potter, to recreate a most exquisite piece of pottery. This piece of pottery is our own selves. We should refashion it till we have transformed it into an outstanding Jewish people!

I wish all of readers and Klal Yisrael a healthy, happy, and safe new year (5772). May we all be written in the book of life, and may we all grow closer to HaShem Yitbarach with each and every day of our lives. May we receive redemption on both personal and national levels. For all those who need a refua shlemah - may you be fully healthy this year! For all who need parnassah - may you have the amount of money that you need and are able to use for positive beneficial purposes! For all who need children - may you have healthy, holy, happy children who will always be in on the right derech. For all the singles who want to find their zivugim - may you date, get engaged, and get married to your best possible zivug. May we all be zoche to see Mashiach and Yerushalayim rebuilt in our times speedily in a peaceful way! Shana tova u'metukah! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

How can I be happy??

IVDU ET HASHEM B'SIMCHAAAAAA. Why is that so important?

Rabbi Jonathan Rietti explains:

In Parashat Bechukotai, 98 curses are mentioned.
there's a commandment of serving HaShem b'simcha (well, rather, it's a consequence if one doesn't serve HaShem b'simcha.) Basically, curses can come upon a person for not being jubilent! That means that if one fulfills a mitzvah, fully with all the little details and knows all of the halachot and sources and everythinggggg...but he doesn't fulfill that mitzvah with JOY - then his mitzvah is LACKING.

Happiness is a choice. The Arizal said that the word "b'simcha" has the same letters as "machshava"-- happiness is NOT what happens to me. Happiness is an attitude; happiness is in my thoughts...I CHOOSE whether be happy. Happiness is not dependent my health; my wealth; my bashert...all of that can help me be happIER, but those attributes don't define my happiness. My happiness is not reliant on what happens to me.

How does a person fill his mind with happy thoughts? By recognizing the GOOD in life. Think of your mind like a house or room -- which painting will you hang up? A dark one? A pretty one? One that is filled w/ images of Torah & mitzvot?

There is definitely good in life; G-d said the world is tov MEOD...not just good, but VERY good. When a person is happy because he is focusing on the good in life, he is not denial of what is horrible in life. Rather, by focusing on the good and loving life, he is living in reality and able to deal with tragedies. Focusing just on the negative is NOT living in reality.

I recently heard a wonderful shiur about how true joy is being connected to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. So, when Chazal tell us t

We recently experienced the period of ben hametzarim (the 3 weeks of mourning). Chazal teach us that the Divine Presence doesn't dwell on one who is depressed or unhappy. Even during those times of mourning, one must be joyful! He always must be happy, but especially when learning Torah, fulfilling mitzvot, etc.

This is especially something to keep in mind and practice during Elul. Yes, we should be reflecting on our deeds and doing teshuva, but ideally -- it should be done out of love and simcha. Chazal tell us that the happiest days are Yom Kippur and Tu b'Av.
That's part of the reason why sefardim have such upbeat, happy tunes to their selichot - because we're happy to be doing teshuva and be forgiven!

If we do our mission in the world with sincere simcha, our mitzvot will be fulfilled COMPLETELY, and b"H we will be zoche to Mashiach Tzidkenu and the Beit HaMikdash B'mehera B'yameinu.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Plea to G-D

Dear HaShem,
I know that because of Your ultimate rachamim, You keep me alive.
I know that You love me.
I know that You care about me.
I know that You want a relationship with me.
I know that You’re my Father in Heaven, and I’m Your daughter.
I am the daughter of the King of the universe.
Doesn’t every Father want to see His daughter married?
Doesn’t every King want to see the princess taken care of by a prince?
I want to worship You. So much.
But this single thing is really in my way.
It limits me.
I can worship you so much better if I was married to my true zivug.
Our marriage would bring out my potential
And his.
We would worship you together.
I’d wear my beautiful, modest mitpachot.
I’d light my nerot Shabbat with olive oil.
My Shabbat table will be full with guests, food, and inspiring Divrei Torah.
With Your help, I’d give birth and raise holy, special, beautiful, healthy children
And teach them Your righteous ways.
Your holy Torah and mitzvot.
I know that marriage is work.
And I will work on it to make sure that
My relationship with my husband is full of true love. True giving based on Torah.
So that the Shechina will dwell in our home and marriage.
Right now…
I don’t have my own holy and kosher home.
It plagues my thoughts.
That I’m alone.
That I’m half a soul.
That I’m not complete.
That I’m not giving to my soul-mate.
Oh, how limited I am.
How I long for him.
How my curiosity replays over and over again in my head.
Oh G-d…
It is so difficult and painful. It is almost too much to bare.
I know that You don’t give anybody tests that they can’t pass.
So, I know I can pass this one.
I’m asking You to help me pass.
Please help me not obsess.
Please help me deal with this situation correctly.
Help me not be in so much anguish.
Please grant me the clarity, strength, and faith to always be happy and
Not worry. Not cry. Not have doubt.
Not to have inner-turmoil.
Please send my special zivug to me soon.
Or send me to him.
May my zivug please be the person whom I need.
The best possible zivug for me.
Please help me not pass up on him.
And help him not pass up on me.
Please help me not be an older single.
Please, please, please.
You are The only One I turn to.
You are The One Who is mezaveg zivugim.
Nobody else.
I am 100% fully dependent on You.
You are Plan A. there is no plan B or C.
You’re the Source for it all.
Please, please, please.
Shma Tefillati and please answer me l’tova.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Guess Who

Stop plaguing my thoughts.
Just let me be me.
Quit overanalyzing every comment.
Stop associating everything with yourself.
The garden,
The subway,
The cars,
The shopping centers,
Even the burgers...
You live among them all.
It seems that you’re everywhere,
No matter where I go to hide,
You’re right there behind me.
And the thing is
I can’t run away from you.
Because even if you’d stop following me,
I’d still come back to you.
Because I have a goal...
I need you in my life...
You’re necessary for me to reach that goal.
That mission.
You are my sweet, impressive, nerve-wrecking, emotional
Bitter, dreadful, miserable
...(insert ambiguous word for shidduchim)...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Men and their questions...

A "he's-just-that-into-you" moment.
Here’s my theory: when a guy asks a gal “so, what kind of guy are you looking for?” he’s either completely interested in her, has a friend in mind for her, or is looking for her to describe a personality that is polar opposite to his so that he can tell the shadchan that he’s not what SHE is looking for. However, usually, if he asks that question– then the case is that he’s interested in the girl and so desperately wants to know if he matches her ideal type.

Am I right?

Monday, July 18, 2011

True Happiness!

WHOAAAA. 3 weeks! Do these 3 weeks stress you out? Do you loath them? What’s this period all about, really? Are we supposed to be miserable now? When do we get to be happy again? What’re we supposed to do?

I heard the following amazing shiur by a true Talmid Chacham:

The Gemara in masechet (page 29): Mishna says “mi sheh nichnas adar, marbim b’simcha. Mi sheh nichnas Av, mematim b’simcha.” Whoever enters Adar should increase his happiness. Whoever enters Av should decrease his happiness.

The months of Tammuz and Av are grouped together because they’re both mourning periods.

These are moments where it is understandable for one to decrease level of joy. On the 17th of Tammuz, 5 main tragic events took place; one of them being the breaking of the two luchot. One the 9th of Av, the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples took place. So, during the following 3 weeks, one has to decrease his happiness.

The Sages, on one hand, say we have to increase, and then decrease. But the sages never said one should not be b’simcha. But by no means should a Jew ever be UNHAPPY.
During these 3 weeks, one should weep over the destruction of the Temple, take on more restrictions, and get into mode of mourning. Yet, one still must be joyful on Tisha b’Av!

But how can this be? Don’t we have sad times in life? Tragedies, deaths, mourning days?
How is possible to be joyful when he’s weeping? Isn’t that a contradiction?
What’s the definition of simcha/joy?

Tractate of Shabbat (page 30; lamed amud bet) – Gemara says “the Divine Presence (Shechina) will not delve into one who is sad.”
So, sadness is not a state of mind that a Jew should be into. One who is sad pushes away the Shechina.
The Baal HaTanya writes that sadness is the father of all impurity. Because by pushing away the Shechina leads to a status of impurity. Impurity means disconnection from G-d.

On 9 B’Av – we’re asking HaShem to please come back to us. But if we’re all sad while asking, then how can Shechina be with us? The Shechina can’t be with us when we’re sad!
So even on 9 B’Av, one can NOT be sad! Sadness is not compatible with the state of mind of a Jew because sadness pushes away Shechina.
So, where will Divine Presence find itself? The Gemara says only among those who accomplish the mitzvot JOYFULLY.

It’s not optional to be joyful while doing mitzvot. Arizal says simcha is part of the accomplishment of the mitzvah. If you’re missing the joy, you’re not fully accomplishing mitzvah. If you’re lacking simcha, it’s like you’re lacking part of the mitzvah!!
In the Torah, there’s a parasha where we have 91 curses. The Gemara asks what prompts the 91 curses? Ad it answers because of the moments when Jews do mitzvoth without joy.

Okay, so we get it now…we must serve HaShem with joy!!! Ivdu et HaShem b’simcha!!! Wait…but what is joy? Is it laughing? Surely we shouldn’t be laughing on 9 b’Av! So, what is the definition of joy?

The Ramchal, in Mesillat HaShem, explains that there are 3 levels of fear of HaShem:
1. Lowest level: fear of punishment . This person is not scared of G-d. This person doesn’t want to get punished and feel pain. The main factor here is myself. I’m fearing the pain of the action I’ve done. That in itself is definitely a level of fearing G-d, but it’s a low level of fear.
2. 2nd level: I feel G-d’s presence every second of my life. It pains G-d when I sin. My actions depend on closeness. I love HaShem so much that I don’t want to disrespect Him. Love here depends on how much you know of G-d.
3. 3rd level: Fear of G-d’s presence (to be in awe of Him).

Rambam explains that knowledge leads one to love G-d. Only when one has knowledge of G-d, can he love Him more.
It’s possible for a person to have Torah and mitzvoth in his life, yet he can still be lack the knowledge of G-d. And therefore, he’s still under the power of Amalek.
What?? Amalek?? What do they have to do with anything??

Doubt (safek) is amalak – safek and amalek have the same gematria: 240. The essence of Amalek is to doubt…what’s going to happen today? Tomorrow? Next year? Doubt is often the root of all the anguishes and the stresses. Amalek made everyone scared, and this fear is due to the lack of knowledge of G-d. Lack of emunah and bitachon. Amalek loves the theory of coincidence. Amalek wants to show that G-d may have created the world, but He’s no longer in control of the world.
Amalek fought against the Jews when we were on our way to Israel. Amalek affects us when we were on our way – on our journey. Amalek affects us when we’re on our way somewhere. There’s danger during a journey- we think: anything can happen, and that’s why we say Tefillat Haderech. We need to overcome that feeling of Amalek – that we’re scared. Amalek says there’s no way out, there’s no hope. But We have to be calm and think and know that HaShem is with us. Have hope, courage, faith.
-doesn’t care that you’re fulfilling 613 mitzvot – he says do them, but do them with habit. Don’t think about them! Don’t prepare yourself, don’t look forward to the mitzvoth, etc. end Shabbat the second it’s over. Don’t extend by even 10 minutes, let alone Rabbeinu Tam! No excitement or enjoyment in your avodat HaShem. Routine.
Even a talmid chacham can c”vs be a product of Amalek.
-loves coincidence: laws of nature control the world. You caught a cold, the medicine is helping you, you found your zivug? It’s because you made a lot of money, had good manners, lost weight, etc. In this case, a person is tracing back to cause of causes and not the cause of all causes (G-d).
The antidote to all of this is to know there is a Divine plan which is here from the beginning to the end. HaShem never steps away from the picture. He’s always the influence in creation.

The Sages say “joy is the solution to all doubts.”
Joy is the antidote to Amalek.
How do you get to joy? Knowledge.

Rabbi Akiva was always laughing, always b’simcha, etc. He laughed when he saw fox on Temple Mount, he laughed before dying a painful and torturous death by the Romans, etc. Rabbi Akiva knew what was going on behind the scenes because that privy knowledge gives joy to a person. Clarity gives joy to a person.

Joyfulness is a complete understanding of the way of G-d. to know that nothing is a mistake or coincidence; G-d is the Mastermind of the world.
What is happening now the event to bring another event; each moment brings us closer to mashiach. Every step is a step closer. One should never lose hope because despite the events, you have to see Who is behind the events. G-d is behind the events; He wants this to happen as the ideal.

Do we affiliate with this truth or do we disconnect from it? The more we connect, the more we can laugh like Rabbi Akiva. The more we’re distant, depressed, and disconnected, then the more we feel purposeless.

Rabbi Akiva’s life was also upside down; David HaMelech was also upside down; they suffered and didn’t have easy lives, but you see David HaMelech says “ach tov va chessed yirdufuni kol yemei chayai” – from the first day I came to this world, chessed and good were always chasing me!
These hardships are my consolations! They’re a chessed from HaShem! That attitude and response the proof of a true believer.
To believe in G-d when everything is great, you don’t have to be david hamelech. You can be a typical goy. That’s not a high level of emunah.

Every breath we take, we should be praising HaShem. When a person lives his life this way, he’s always b’simcha. But people who always expect more, they’re the ones who break down and get depressed.
HaShem is the Master of all good – He knows if it’s good for us to receive it or not. We don’t always have the understanding, but we can believe it.

So, basically: joy is clarity. Clarity is the biggest bracha in life.

May we all fulfill HaShem’s beautiful commandments with JOY, and B”H in that zchut, merit to see Mashiach and the Beit HaMikdash b’mehera b’yameinu!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The World Won't Understand

I recently saw a married friend.
She was pushing her baby stroller down the block and then noticed me.
And chatting time began.
“so, how ‘s dating going?” she asked.
(you can use your imagination about how I answered)

She smiled and told me “you know, when I was dating, the problem was, every guy was interested in me. And every single time, I was like ‘well, I guess, I could be married to him.’”
What she said goes along with my “theory” – it’s easy to get married. It’s not so difficult to find someone who thinks you’re pretty great and wants to spend his life with you. (Sorry, I hope that doesn’t sound obnoxious.)
So, the goal is not just to get married. The goal is to find the right person; the person whom you need. The person who can help you develop to the person that you need to become.
It’s not that I feel like nobody likes me. Or that I don’t get along with anybody.
Sure, I’ve had my share of unsuccessful dates. And just plain ol' WEIRD (not the good kind of weird) experiences. But overall, most of the guys are pretty nice, but just not for me because something is missing. The missing factor is usually due to personality clashes, religious differences, etc.
But it’s never like “omgosh waaa waaa boo hooo, I go out with all these guys, and they’re all amazing and nobody ever likes me!!”

So, sometimes, it makes me wonder.
What’s wrong with me? I mean, I know I’m a weirdo. And a little bit nutty.
Am I a hopeless case?
Am I being too picky?
Should I just “settle”?

The tachlis (love that ashki word!) answer is no. I’m not going to settle. I know that none of these guys are my zivug. I’m looking for the right person for me. My goal is not just marriage. It’s a successful marriage. My true other half; my essence; the person who understands every fiber within me and appreciates me. And that shouldn’t be one sided. I want the passion and empathy to be mutual.

And now, children, it’s time for North & South. Mr. Thornton will allow me to mope with hope.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Love Letter

Parshat Chukat...what comes to mind? PARAH ADUMAH!!!
So, there were less than 10 red heifers (heifer? who came up with that word?) in the history of the world. Sounds rare, right?
Well, guess what? There's something holy that's even MORE rare -- in fact, there was only ONE of these in history...know what it is?
YOU! Yes, you. The person reading this blog entry right now.

Chazal teach us that there are no two that are exactly alike.

There was never anybody like you in the unverise, and there will be anybody exactly like you. HaShem gave you an individual neshama with different strengths, weaknesses, talents, and powers. HaShem wants us all to use our power and talents to contribute and give to Klal Yisrael and to fully live up to our unique potential!
How can we be sure to live it up? Pray to HaShem for clarity and strength to fully fulfill and maximize your potential and mission in this world.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevurach!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sane in the Woods

You know when you have those days when everyone is getting on your nerves?
Yeah, well, I'm having one of those days.

It's as if I'm alone in my principles.

It's times like these that I wish I:
a) had a guitar
b) knew how to play the guitar
c) had song writing skills

to write that song. You know, "Alone in My Principles."

La la la la la.
(Now I'm waiting impatiently for somebody to tell me that's kol isha).

Stay tuned for a rant.

Or not.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Modern Day Korach

I saw a great quote (on a magnet!) about Shabbat. It read: Shabbos (Shabbat) is a day ON; not a day OFF.

So, Parashat Korach.
I think many people read this Parasha and wonder "what was Korach thinking? Didn't he clearly see that Moshe was the chosen prophet? That G-d's Word was so clear? How could he have had the chutzpah to rebel and so clearly trangress?"
It seems perplexing at first, but if one really delves into the psychology, it's very understandable. When a person thinks he's right, he'll find a way to
rationalize his actions. Not only rationalize them, but he'll even claim (and find proof!) for why it's a MITZVAH to act in the manner that he's acting.

Korach was so certain that he was right and holy. In fact, he made sure that all 250 men were "holy" according to his standards. He rejected On ben Pelet because his wife uncovered her hair! Chas v'shalom that he would have a man in his "holy group" whose wife was NOT MODEST!

He was blinded by his own ego and perceptions. And that is exactly what led to his scary punishment -- being swallowed by the earth!

From this incident, we learn how terrible Machloket (strife) can be. It can lead to a person's complete demise. Strife destroys a person; it blurs his vision. It dehumanizes him.
Peace, on the other hand, is integral. We continuously pray for peace (in Birkat Kohanim, in the Amida, in Birkat Hamazon, etc.) A person MUST have peace in order to thrive and be happy.

How much effort does one need to make to pursue peace?
Should one ever give up and say "I can't make Shalom with this person! I'm never going to have peace with him!"??
What if the person is "beneath" him? Be it religiously, socially, financially, etc.? What if the other person is his own STUDENT? What if the other person is clearly the one who WRONGED him?

Let's see what Moshe Rabbeinu did in this week's Parasha...
Korach rebels against Moshe. He blatantly goes against Moshe and HaShem's commandments. Korach was so sure that he was right and that Moshe was wrong.
And guess what?
Moshe Rabbeinu, the holiest Navi, the Gadol of that time, the chief Rabbi, the only person to speak with G-d "panim el panim" went to pursue peace with Datan v'Aviram (who were part of Korach's group.)
If Moshe was willing to seek peace with his fellow Jews, how much more so should we be willing to seek peace with anyone and everyone.
If someone wronged you, you should ALWAYS be the one to rekindle the friendship. You should ALWAYS be the one to forgive.
Never let pride get in the way.

Aharon HaCohen was "ohev shalom v'rodef shalom" -- he loved peace AND pursued it.
Chazal teach us an amazing story about Aharon HaCohen. He heard about a husband and wife who were fighting. The husband told his wife "I will never forgive you unless you spit in the eye of the Cohen HaGadol!" (he probably didn't intend the for the literal meaning. That phrase was probably used as an expression of "I'm never going to forgive you" -- kind of like how we say "the day when pigs fly...) Aharon heard about this and went up the wife and told her "I have a rare eye condition, and I need somebody to spit in my eye to cure it. Can you please do so?"
If Aharon, the COHEN HAGADOL, one of the holiest men, a prophet, Moshe Rabbenu's brother, was willing to "give up" his honor just to restore peace and respect between two fellow Jews, how much more so should we be willing to humble ourselves? To sacrafice our honor? Our egos? Our prejudices? Our pride?
It's a lot easier said than done. But B"H we learn from our great role models that it is possible and attainable.

May we always emulate the ways of Moshe and Aharon and never the ways of Korach v'adato!
Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


So, I was trying to reach a particular shadchan, who was suggested to me by a friend. I don't like calling, but hey, gotta do hishtadlut, right?
The phone would ring and ring. She wouldn't answer. Okay, so I basically decide to forget about the meeting with her. At least temporarily.

A different shadchan called me up and suggested a guy.
A really great, solid guy. Really.
Nice guy.
So we went out a 2nd time.
Still nice but not for me.
So I called her up to let her know.

"who's this, again?" She asked
I was a little bit taken aback. I mean, I know that she's busy and all, but c'mon lady, you just set me up with this guy!

I calmly responded "this is Sefardi Gal. You set me up with Mr. Likes Sushi."

"I set you up with Mr. Likes Sushi? When?"
She sounded shocked.

I was a bit shocked that she was shocked.

"Yes...last week. And we went on our second date last night..."

"I'm sorry. If you say I set you up, then I must have. Let me think. Hmmm...let me try and remember. Last week...Last week...hmmmm."

The background music began to play in my head.

Annoyed, I looked at my caller I.D.
My eyes widened, and I nearly gasped.

Oh man.

I unintentionally called Mrs. Shadchan-who-would-never-answer-when-I-call. She davka decided to pick up on the day that I did NOT intend to call her.

Let's add this incident to the list of Sefardi Gal's fadichot.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sheer Joy

Recently, I was thinking about an extremely moving night of my life.

It wasn't some big party. Or some huge moment that involved a confession.

It was a particular motzei Shabbat.

I stayed by a really beautiful, holy family for Shabbat.

I didn't grow up in a frum household, and since I became religious, one of the aspects I long for the most is my own kosher kadosh, religious household. Torah, tzniut, simcha, etc.
This family embodied that ideal. Sheer holiness.

I entered the house on Erev Shabbat; their home smelled of freshly baked challah and Shabbat food.
There was no television; the pride and joy was the huge sefarim shelf. The wife saw me admiring it and looking through the books. She smiled and told me "I tell my husband that sefarim are more valuable to me than jewelry. If he wants to buy me a gift, I tell him that I'd much rather he buy a sefer rather than a jewelry!"
I fell in love with their whole family, but particularly, their son.

He was 5 years old and very well-mannered and funny. He's the one who wanted to marry me.
On Motzei Shabbat, he was already in pjamas, but he clearly wanted to stay awake. He agreed to go to bed if I would put him to sleep.

So, I walked into his room, expecting it to take the usual 2 minutes. I told him we'll say "shema" together.
"okay, but we're saying the long version!" he replied enthusiastically.
Being that he was 5 years old, I expected him to know the first line or two. The first paragraph being the MAX.

He knew the ENTIRE shema. After the shema, he procceeded to perfectly recite several perakim of Tehillim. Perakim that took me quite some time to recite by heart.
I watched with astonishment. I was amazed. I was so inspired by this 5 year old.

I felt like I was looking at the most beautiful neshama.

And I hoped (hope) that I will raise such holy children, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

He Knows.

There's a story about Eliyahu HaNavi. He appeared to one of the Rabbis, who spent the day with Eliyahu HaNavi. However, there was 1 condition: the Rabbi was not allowed to ask Eliyahu HaNavi any questions.
So, Eliyahu HaNavi knocked on the door of a very shabby house of an extremely poor family. An elderly couple with no children opened the door. They loved guests, and even though they had very little, their hospitality emulated Avraham and Sara’s hospitality.
They gave Eliyahu HaNavi and the Rabbi food, drink, and even their own beds. The old couple gladly slept on the floor – just so that their two guests could sleep comfortably!

In the middle of the night, the Rabbi heard Eliyahu HaNavi praying intently for this poor couple’s only cow to die.
WHAT?!! The Rabbi was shocked! This cow was the sole source of parnassah for this family. If the cow would die, they would barely have anything.
But…the Rabbi wasn’t allowed to ask questions. He kept his thoughts to himself, but this tefillah really perturbed him.

That morning, as Eliyahu HaNavi and the Rabbi were leaving, they heard a loud scream from the elderly couple’s house. The poor old lady ran outside crying and she screamed “our cow! Our only has cow died. What will we do, what will be??”

Eliyahu HaNavi saw that the Rabbi looked confused. “Do you know why I prayed for the cow to die?”
Because the Rabbi was a Tzaddik, Eliyahu HaNavi shared the reason with him.
“That old woman was supposed to die today. So I prayed for HaShem to take the cow’s life instead of her life. As a kapara.”
And suddenly, it became clear. It was a chessed.

If this woman knew that she was supposed to die, and the cow was taken instead, would she have been crying, worrying, and complaining? Of course not! She would be thanking HaShem all day long. She would be so happy that the cow died!

But she didn’t know.

And so too…we don’t always know the reason for “tragedies” or difficulties in our lives. Everything really is a chessed from HaShem, but we don’t always merit to know the reasons.
That’s where bitachon comes in the picture. Bitachon is that we have to KNOW that everything that happens to us is ultimately for our benefit. Every problem has a finish line. It’s happening to us for a reason, and somehow, it’s truly for our benefit.

Our challenges don’t always have to be so earth-shattering. Challenges also include daily life frustrations.
An example from my personal life…

I was really infatuated with this guy.
Mainly because he seemed so frum and wholesome.

Truly solid.

My thoughts would sing "omgosh he’s sooo holy." He was (supposedly) a great learner and seemed so passionate and enthusiastic about Torah and mitzvot.
So, of course, I was interested.
You know, in the unhealthy obsessed type of way. (I seriously told my friend, with 82.7% certainty, "we're getting married. He doesn't know it yet. But we are.")

But just oneeee tiny drawback: he wasn't interested in me.
It kind of (read: extremely) hurt.

HaShem, how can this be for my benefit? Everything seems so wonderful about him. I don't get it.
I don't get it.
I. Don't. Get. It.

That is, I didn't get it.

And turns out...
he's not on the right derech right now.
While I hope he does teshuva and sees the right Jewish path (for his own sake), I'm so grateful.

HaShem knows what He's doing.

Just remember: what seems horrible today can end up being the biggest blessing later on.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Scrumptious Cheesecake

I really, really like cheesecake.

Unfortunately, as of lately, there's been a tragedy: certain bakeries have been making it waaaay too sweet. You barely even taste the cheese! There's an excessive amount of cream, sugar, crumbs, and fruits. What's up with that?!

Oreo double fudge cheesecake.
Pumpkin pecan cheesecake.
Chocolate marble fudge crumb cheesecake.
Coffee mocha cheesecake.
Lemon cream cheesecake.


Truly a cheesecake corruption.

I can make way better cheesecake on my own but ummm...you see, thing is...

I don't bake much. The reason is kind of pathetic. I'm waiting to get married, so that my husband can appreciate my cookies and cakes. If I bake them, I'm usually the only one who ends up eating them. EATING A BATCH OF 40 COOKIES = PROBLEM.
Kal Vachomer, a 5,000 calorie cheesecake.
So, no homemade cheesecake this year.
Too bad. My zivug is really missing out on some potentially-yummy-moderately sweetened-life-changing cake. TELL HIM TO HURRY UP!!
(yes, I know I'm a bit nutty. But who likes normal people, anyway?)

TEFILLAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. We love tefillah! Know what the proof is? Know that feeling of the yetzer hara trying to convince you to keep sleeping and not wake up to pray, but then you DON'T LISTEN TO HIM. You wake up on time and pray and then you feel sooo charged! So accomplished and spiritual. You feel like you can do anything and everything. Bring on the day! Right?? Right!

Baruch HaShem, I have really amazing tzadikot as friends. My amazing friends have taught me some super duper Tefillah concepts:

1. Sing your tefillot to HaShem (like to the tune of your favorite song)
2. Pray for healthy self-esteem and self-image
3. Pray to know how to pray well
4. Pray to be close to HaShem
5. Pray for your fellow Jews that you "don't like" to be healthy, have a good parnassah, find a shidduch, etc. -- it will encourage ahavat yisrael in your heart
6. Every morning, recite the tefilla composed by the Chafetz Chaim to help you keep shmirat halashon. (Found in the "lesson a day - shmirat halashon" books and many siddurim.)
7. Before you say shema & go to sleep at night, thank HaShem for 2 acts of chessed that He performed for you. (Ex: "HaShem, thank You so much for helping me make my train on time this morning!"

Quick & nice dvar Torah regarding the holy chag of Shavuot:
Many of us may be familiar with the following teaching from Chazal: Bnei Yisrael stood under the mountain, and G-d gave them a choice: either accept the mitzvot or the mountain will be over your heads.
So basically – mitzvot or immediate death. What kind of choice is that??? Wouldn’t most people choose mitzvoth, simply because they don’t want to die? How is that bechira?
A Holy Rav who wrote a mussar book explains that Torah isn’t just a lifestyle. Torah is life! A Jew can’t really live without Torah. Sure, he’s breathing, but where’s the sustenance? The only way a neshama can truly be alive and happy is if it is connected to HaShem. How can one connect to HaShem? Through keeping the Torah and mitzvot!
During matan Torah, it was so clear to Bnei Yisrael that Torah was the right way to go. Chazal isn’t telling us that they didn’t have bechira, rather – it was that the choice was SIMPLE. Life with meaning? Or death?
That form of bechira can be compared to a person choosing to come up for air while swimming. Of course you’re going to come up for air! Is there bechira in that scenario? Sure. But it’s just so clear and obvious to a person, and so, he doesn’t even think twice to do so.

AHHHH...how awesome clarity is. How difficult it is when a person can't make decisions. A Jew must never give up!! Keep praying to HaShem to find your answers and meaning. To find your connection to Him. And b"H you will receive all of the answers -- simply because you sought them. Clarity is the biggest bracha.

May we all be zochim to receive such clarity in Torah/life this Shavuot!

Chag sameach! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Heart Warming...or Breaking?

The baby was crying and screaming. Help.

The toddler wanted to play, but it was time for bed.

I had a headache.

Ugh, I thought. Maybe I'm not so ready for kids now.

I warmed up the baby's bottle and placed him in the crib. I just wanted him to leave me alone and go to sleep.
But then...something happened.
He was laying down and drinking his bottle. He looked so serene. So...mushy.
My headache vanished. I dimmed the lights and turned on his crib-lullaby.

Don't leave me.
I wanted him to stay awake now, so that I could hold him in my arms.

I gently closed the door and swiftly moved across the hallway to the toddler's room.
"Me no want sleep!"
"okay, how about a book?"
I read him his favorite story. Again. And again.
Then a second book about Shabbat.
Then a third about zoo animals. Cow goes MOOOOO. Something goes BOOOOO.

He still wasn't sleepy after story-time. I remembered his father telling me "he likes when people sing to him."
So I sang.
Anything I could think of.
V'zakeini, Hamalach HaGoel, Esa Enai...
"some mo', some mo'" he echoed.

He didn't care that I was forgetting certain lyrics or sounding off key.

He clutched onto his stuffed animal and fell asleep. He looked so near perfection.

I felt tears forming in my eyes as I watched him sleep.
What's happening to me? I wondered.
Why am I crying?

At that moment, a certain degree of pure bliss hit me.

And then I felt more ready than ever before.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Emunah Essentials


I heard most of the following ideas from a fantastic & inspiring shiur by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser.

Chazal teach us that Shamai would go out daily and seek something nice for Shabbat. He would find a nice object, like a fruit or vegetable, and say "l'kavod Shabbat" & set it aside. Then the next day, he would go out and when he would find something even nicer than what he found during the previous day, he would say "l'kavod Shabbat." And that was one of his daily goals: find something nice for Shabbat.

Hillel, on the other hand, would go out on EREV SHABBAT and simply have emunah that he would find something l'kavod Shabbat. And he would find something every week.

So, who had a higher level of emunah?
So should an individual wait to see if (s)he finds something better or take the good that he finds immediately when he finds it? Should a person wait until the last minute? What if he won't find what he's looking for?

The answer is EMUNAH!
There's a quote from Tehillim => "they trusted HaShem, and HaShem made sure they weren't embarrassed."
Chazal teach us => "the tzaddik decrees and HaKadosh Baruch Hu fulfills!"

A person has to trust in HaShem and know that HaShem is "kol yachol." He can give anything to anybody. Nothing is beyond HaKadosh Baruch Hu; He has no limits. HaShem has the ability to give us all that we want. There is NOTHING that can't happen. A person should fill his heart with emunah.

One of the three questions a person is asked when he goes to Shamayim is: "did you deal "b'emunah?"
In this context, "b'emunah" is usually defined as business/dealings. Was the person honest in business? Did he cheat? Did he lie to his customers, to his shidduch prospects, etc.
However, there's another way to intrepret "b'emunah." LITERALLY - did you deal with YOUR faith?
Did you leave your emunah the way you got it in 2nd grade, or did you try to make it deeper? Did you try to grow? Did you try to learn about wha ta person should believe? Did you try to work on your middot and hashkafah and know that everything in our lives is Hashgacha Pratit?

The reason we don't know the reasoning for everything is in order to BUILD our emunah! If we knew the reasons for everything, then we would be HaShem. He's the only One Who knows!

Each individual is a ben yechidi or bat yechida (only child) of HaShem. There is NOTHING that is impossible for Him, and therefore, a person should always speak and pray to HaShem. Even for "minute" things -- because there is nothing that we can accomplish without His help!
A person should tell HaShem the following: "this is what I'm asking for. If it's good for me, please make it happen. If not, then please don't let it happen."

And if you didn't get it, then that means it wasn't right for you at the moment. A person with big emunah knows that what happens right now or doesn't happen is hashgacha.

Chovot Halevavot teaches us that the more a person can trust in HaShem, the more HaShem will protect him.

It behooves every individual to call out to HaShem and say "HaShem, You're my Father in Heaven! There's no one ELSE who can help me! It's not that I have plans A, B, C, and D. I only have plan A - HaShem! I am completely dependent on You, HaShem!"

If one approaches life with that outlook, (s)he will notice tremendous Hashgacha Pratit in life.

You have unlimited potential once you know that your strength comes from your connection with your Creator.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tov lehodot l'HaShem!

This video captures an amazing miracle. Definitely worth watching.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Finals week is always interesting slash depressing.

It's always finals week when...

-pringles and sour sticks are my nutritious dinner
-I wake up with raccoon-like eyes
-the sound of the printer is music to my ears
-shidduch offers begin to roll in. Weird ones, but I guess that's nothing new
-all the fun stuff is going on; weddings, bridal showers, sales @ favorite stores, etc. CAN'T Y'ALL WAIT UNTIL I'M FREE???

So yeah.

Just need to take a deep breath and remember that these are JUST tests. So, okay, my GPA is dependent on them.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


I feel oh so special.

I think I'm the only person in the world with water-proof purple liquid eyeliner on her foot.

Yes, you've read that correctly.

Yesterday, it was pouring rain outside. I ran into one of the nearest stores - sephora. For all who don't know, sephora is a relatively expensive make-up store where you can try on just about any of their products. As a result, sometimes I come out of there looking like a clown.

I saw some eccentric purple liquid eyeliner and thought "hey, why not?"

I applied it onto my eyes, and it looked kind of nice. Different from the usual black that I use. As I was looking in the mirror (oh, vanity), a lady walked by and unintentionally knocked over the liquid eyeliner.

Some of it splashed on my foot. I was wearing tan tights, and the purple went straight through the tights.
So, now, my foot has purple waterproof eyeliner on it.

It's not coming off so easiy.

I think I'm the only person in the world (1 in 6+ BILLION people) with waterproof purple eyeliner on her foot.

I'm sure it'll come off.


Otherwise, it'll have to go on my shidduch resume. Who will want to marry a girl with a purple foot???? I think there's a law that you can't go into any hotel lobby if you have a purple foot.
More restaurants? Ohhhh the pain. Oh, the agony. The torture!

But for now, I feel truly unique.

Now, off to write papers!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Say Cheeeeese

When you smile, the whole world smiles back at you.

It's true.

And even if you don't think so, at least you'll be smiling back at yourself.

Your attitude is what determines your mood. Nothing else. And nobody else.

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...[a Synagogue]...a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes."
-Charles Swindoll

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stop Waiting! :)

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it's about learning to dance in the rain!"

Monday, May 9, 2011


One of the (countless) concepts I love about Judaism is the Torah's approach towards relationships. I think that if BOTH spouses 100% fully follow the Torah's advice (obviously, that includes Torah Sheh B'al Peh and Chazal's adivce) towards relationships & marriage, then they're bound to have a happy marriage.

I remember when I was first doing teshuva and learning about shomer negia, abstinence before marriage, hilchot nidda, the chuppah, and the obligations of a husband and wife, I was shocked. I was at awe at how beautiful and true everything really is. How much logical and emotional sense it all made.

Some time shortly before seminary, I remember learning about the concept of tzniut between a husband and wife. I didn't understand why they can't touch in public. C'mon, they were shomer negia for so long, and now they're MARRIED! Give them a break.
I didn't understand. I didn't want to listen.
Same thing happened at seminary. I saw how physically distant the religious married couples were, and I just couldn't sympathize. I always pictured a husband and wife to be showingly affectionate; not through major PDA form, but you know...like holding hands or stuff like that.

Not too long ago, I was discussing with a friend how certain hashkafic concepts that I "rejected" during seminary, I now totally agree with. Why? Because I've experienced situations that led me to realize how truth about what my teachers and Rabbanim were preaching.

I finally noticed the emet and importance of tzniut and lack of public physical contact between a husband and wife.

I saw somebody I know who recently got married. She was always a very quiet, sweet girl. Very modest with her actions and mannerisms. She was with her husband, and they kept touching. Holding hands, hugging, etc.
I felt myself cringe. Not out of disgust or jealously. Rather, this cringe was out of discomfort. It was at that moment that I realized how important it is to conceal physical touch in public places.
1) Touch is special. It's intimate. It's reserved for the husband and wife. Alone. When one has something precious, (s)he doesn't show it off to the whole world. Rather, (s)he keeps it in a safe or private, unknown area.
2) It can easily make other people feel uncomfortable. Nobody, especially shomer-negia singles, want to see that. The only people who might appreciate the couple's lovie dovie antics are their parents and old people.
3) Sometimes it seems as if the couple is insecure in their own relationship, and therefore, feels the "need" to prove their affections to themselves by flaunting to everyone around them. I have a friend who recently got divorced. A lot of our friends were shocked because, apparently, she and her husband always posted pictures of themselves - touching, looking happy, smiling, going ice-skating, etc.
Their facebook statuses were often "I love my wife!" or "thank you so much to the best husband in the world for driving me to work today!"
6 months later...divorced.
Initially, I was also surprised and of course, upset, about the news. However, after one intently focuses on the details, it isn't so surprising that such a public relationship failed.

Just to clarify: I don't think that means couples should be cold or robotic. I just think the public affection should be kept to a minimum.

Just some food for thought.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ah, How Romantic

Some people have their favorite romantic line from a movie or novel.

Don't get me wrong. I have those too.
(Mr. Darcy, anyone?!)

The classic romantic line is usually poetic. Or it gives off the vibe of: baby, I love you. I'll do anything for you. I'll be here for you forever. And ever. I can't live without you. You inspire me. You complete me. I neeeeeed you.

You know, stuff like that.

Well, I've always been a hopeful (and sometimes...hopeless) romantic.

I'm not waiting for my date to start rattling off poetry to me or to take me for a long walk on the beach and inform me how my lovely eyes sparkle and glisten by the moonlight.

Reality is often more romantic than fiction. Why? Because reality is tangible. It leaves room for possibilties, while fiction shuts out the possibilities. A lot of people initially think it's the other way around, but no. It's not.

I've only really noticed this recently...

my engaged friend shared with me something that has now become the most romantic moment I've ever heard of.

This friend went through a lot of adversity in life and has worked incredibly hard to reach the point where she is. Without getting into too much detail, I'd say her challenging situations are not the typical challenges that a young frum girl in her early 20s has experienced.
She has worked tremendously on her middot and religious observance (that includes chessed, modesty, etc.), and she is one of the most amazing people I know.

While she was dating her husband-to-be, she knew that she had to open up and share her difficulties and life experience with him. She was very nervous because she wasn't sure how he would react or handle the information. But clearly, the information had to be conveyed to him because it's integral. If he wouldn't be understanding, their relationship would have to come to an end.

It was a winter night; dark and chilly outside. They were both sitting in his car, having a deep discussion.
This is your opportunity. You have to tell him.
And so she did.
After she shared her situation with him, she looked down. She was embarrassed; she felt tears forming in her eyes because of the painful experiences she had. She was unsure what he was thinking and nervous about his response. As she stared at the car carpet, she fidgeted around with her hands, locking and unlocking her fingers.
Before he could respond, she quietly said "I need somebody who will appreciate my struggles."

Within seconds, he looked straight at her, and with a tone of sincere disbelief said "you really think you wouldn't?"

She felt a huge sigh of relief. She had found him. Her zivug.

Those 5 words he said to her made all of the difference. He was amazed that she could even doubt that a person as beautiful and strong as herself could ever doubt that she wouldn't find somebody who would appreciate her.

For me, that was the most romantic moment I've ever heard of.
Picture the following:
here's this girl...so insecure with her history and difficulties that she has to deal with daily. She's dating for quite some time, praying and hoping for her zivug daily. Thoughts like "will I ever get married? Who will overlook my background? Who in his right mind will want to marry me?" cross her mind.
Finally, she meets a wonderful guy who posesses all of the traits she needs.
But she needs to take the relationship a step further and let him know who she really is.
So, she opens up to this guy whom she admires so much and wants to get married to and build a holy home with. However, she's nervous that she might scare him away. After she musters the strength to open up, and while shyly and insecurely looking down at her feet while almost about to cry, she's sure that he would respond harshly. She imagines the worst-case-scenario.
And then...
He tells her that he is shocked someone as amazing as she would ever dare think that she wouldn't find somebody who is sensitive and appreciative of her life. He's someone who can say "wow, this girl is so incredible. It's BECAUSE of her struggles that she was able to build herself up. It's not that she's incredible DESPITE the struggles. She used her problems as stepping stones...not stumbling blocks."

She found him. He's the perfect guy for her; he sincerely appreciates her.

Advice for all of the single folks: find somebody who appreciates and understands your struggles.
I once read that you know you've met somebody special when you open up and tell them something that you rarely share with anybody, and yet...that person doesn't run away.

Reality is way more beautiful than fantasy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Flowers

Each Jew represents one letter in the sefer Torah. If even one letter is missing in a sefer Torah, then that sefer is pasul and can't be used. Similarly, every single member of Klal Yisrael is significant. If even one is on your hate/grude/lashon hara list, then Klal Yisrael is not complete. If there is hate among Am Yisrael, then it is as if we are creating a pasul Sefer Torah!

We are now in the mourning period during sefirat haomer. (According to some, the mouring starts in chodesh Iyar.) We remember Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students who perished because they disrespected each other. The Gmara refers to them not as 24,000 students, rather as 12,000 pairs. There's a great question about this Gmara. Why use the fancy language of 12,000 PAIRS? Why not just outright state 24,000?
A possible answer is that each individual respected his other half/pair (ie: chavruta). However, when it came to other people - the respect wasn't there.
A person's chavruta thinks similarly to him. It's easy to respect those who are similar to us and respect us. However, the challenge arises when our fellow Jew is DIFFERENT from us.

In this past week's parsha, parshat Kedoshim, HaShem teaches us the mitzvah of "v'ahavta l're'acha kamocha" - love your fellow Jew as you love yourself. It is no coincidence that this commandment falls during sefirat haomer/the mourning period. How can we deal with those who frustrate us? Be it because of personality, religious, social/ethnic clashes, etc.
-We must try to find the positive attributes in every person. Nobody is perfect, but there is also nobody who is completely flawed.
-Try to put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Ask yourself - "if I were him/her, how would I feel in this situation?" Find a benefit of the doubt/zchut/excue/rationalization for their behavior.
-You do not need to AGREE with a person in order to love him/her. You can say "I neither like nor agree with the lifestyle/attitude this person has." You can love someone who is sinning, irritating, rude, etc. Hate the dreadful action, not the person.

Shavua tov u'mevurach!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Just a tip

I recently saw an ex-date. He didn't acknowledge me, but I still think he's a fine person and will make a good husband. I said this to my friend, and she was a bit surprised that I could speak positively about somebody who hurt me. So, that reaction is what triggered this post. Do we allow our emotions to control us?

Don't speak lashon hara about someone you've dated just because he hurt your ego. If he is, otherwise, a solid person who will make a good husband for somebody else -- then don't get in the way of the shidduch.
This seems like common sense, and like, DUH sefardi gal. But the thing is: it's not. Even in dating, one has the obligation of the beautiful mitzvah "v'ahavta l'reeacha kamocha." Don't let grudges and bitterness get in the way of someone else's opportunity for happiness and greatness.
Also, treat people you previously dated with respect -- don't bad mouthe them, don't ignore them and treat them as if they don't exist, don't bash their looks by saying how unattractive they are.

The key is to take yourself out of the picture and view every Jew as an individual who has similar goals as you do. You're not the only one who is struggling with shidduchim and hoping to get married. They are the future parents of your childrens' classmates/generation.
Daven for your ex-dates, try to suggest people for them, etc.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Journey To Sweetness :)

Well, I'm sure everyone is busy preparing for Pesach. I went to three (that's right - three!!) kosher supermarkets on Sunday, and baruch HaShem, they were all PACKED with all kinds of Jews. I'm always excited to shop for Pesach because I like food, and it fascinates me to see what all the new Passover recipes/food ideas that companies come up with.
This year, one of the supermarkets brought in special stuffad0o0o from Israel for the Sefardim who eat kitniyot. So, Sefardi Gal's household contains techina and humus this year...and chocolate covered nuts. Sweeeeet! (For all the Ashkenazim - don't worry. I saw a lot of tasty cakes, too :D)

I looked around and even though I had to wait on the long line, I was smiling. I was (and am) so happy and proud to be Jewish. Pesach is one of the holidays that many not-yet-observant Jews celebrate. Klal Yisrael is putting in hishtadlut to keep Pesach! We're willing to wait on long lines, pay a lot of money, empty out our fridges and freezers, clean, cook, search our homes, burn the chametz, tovel our dishes/buy new dishes, have a seder, invite guests, eat matzah, etc.

I heard a beautiful and moving shiur by Rabbi Wallerstein about Pesach. (If anyone has 48-50 minutes, like while you're cleaning, cooking, or setting the table, I highly recommend the shiur. Even 10 minutes of it will inspire you!)

Chazal teach us that there are a few types of "new years" throughout the year. Tu b'shvat is the new year for the trees, Rosh Hashana (Tishrei) is the new year, and Pesach (Nissan) is the new year for the months.
On both Rosh Hashana and Pesach, we have special foods and blessings that we make. The foods are often put on a special plate, and IDK about y'all, but sometimes I get confused and need to be reminded about which foods are used for which holiday.
These foods are called "simanim" - signs.

So, what's the point of simanim (the various foods we eat on Rosh Hashana and Pesach)??

Suppose there's a Jew who did tons of averot all year long: he broke Shabbat, ate non-kosher, often gossiped, lied, spoke LH, cheated, etc.
And then comes Rosh Hashana...and he takes the apple, dips it in honey, and says "l'shana tova u'metukah!" -- so ummm...just because he dipped the apple in the honey, he's going to have a sweet new year?? If he doesn't do teshuva and continues with his sinful ways, is his year automatically going to be sweet just because of the apple and honey? What difference does an apple dipped in honey make in his life?! It's just food!

A man wanted to buy something beautiful for his wife. He heard about a bird called the mynah bird. The mynah bird was known to be quite expensive, and the rich and important people all bought the mynah bird. The man looked at the bird - pretty, small, delicate. He decided to save up enough money and surprise his dear wife with this extravagant gift. He went up to the seller and asked "tell me, sir, how much does this bird cost?"
"$5,000" responded the seller.
$5,000 was quite a high price, but the man resolved that he would buy it because his wife is worthy of such a gift.
So, he saved up the $ and bought the bird. He happily walked home with it and came home with a huge smile. "Honey, I bought you a wonderful gift!"
His wife saw the bird, and her husband proudly told her "cut and clean this bird up, stick it in the oven with your delicious sauce and lemons and potatoes!"
He set up a beautiful candle-lit table with their finest china and silverware, and there was a rich aroma in the house. He was so excited for his wife to taste the bird that he saved up so much for. All for her enjoyment.
She put the dish on the table, and it was evident that there wouldn't be any second portions because without the feathers, and especially after being cooked, the bird was tiny.
Her husband anxiously cuts the bird in half, gives the bigger half to his wife, puts some for himself and waits for her to take the first delicious bite. She places a piece into her mouth, and within a second, spits it out. "Ugh! Blech! This bird tastes awful! It's sweet and gooey!"
Her husband couldn't believe what he was hearing! How can the $5,000 bird, that is enjoyed by so many emperors, kings, and important people, taste so horrendous?? He takes a bite and also spits it out. He was shocked!

The next day, he angrily storms into the store where he bought the mynah bird. He begins to yell at the seller "what kind of defected bird did you sell me?! I demand my money back!"
The seller looked surprised. "Sir, are you not enjoying the mynah bird's singing? It should be singing beautifully!"
"SINGING?!?! What are you talking about?! We cooked it and ate it!"
Suddenly, the man had a rush of realization. The mynah bird was admired for its' singing. It is not a bird that is meant to be eaten.
He left the store feeling embarrassed; he knew that he completely missed the point of the bird's true value.

At the Seder, what do some people do?
They eat the matzah and then comment "awww man! The shmura that you bought last year was so much tastier."
They eat the charoset and say "mmmm how sweet." or "Eh. I like the apple charoset better."
They eat the marror and say "ugh! I hate romaine lettuce!" or comment on the texture/crunchiness.
While a Dvar Torah is going on, they might tune out and just think "hey, when can we eat already?"

Much like the man who ate the mynah bird, instead of listening to it sing, they are MISSING THE POINT.
The point of the simanim is to awaken ourselves spiritually. Food has a certain unique strength -- it has the ability to change our taste. It's able to somewhat shift an individual's mood. Food can bring a certain dosage of simcha to a person's life (think about how cranky some people can be if they don't have their morning coffee, or if they skip 1 or 2 meals). Researchers have shown that chocolate, for example, triggers feel-good chemicals in the body. (Post-break up chocolate brownie fudge ice-cream, anyone?)
Food enters our body through our mouthes/taste buds, our throats, and then enters our stomachs. We can literally feel it, and therefore, the connection is very tangible.
So, Chazal instructed us to eat. But we eat in order to FEEL it. What is "it"? "It" = the proper thoughts we're supposed to be thinking when eating the simanim. The right kavanot (intentions). Simanim are a tool for us to feel and think about the proper emotions and thoughts pertaining to the holiday.

When we eat matzah, we should close our eyes as we're chewing and think about the Jews rushing to leave Egypt and not having enough time for the bread to rise. Matzah's purpose is to remind us of that! The Jews were being redeemed and leaving Egypt. Egypt was THEIR galut -- but what is our galut? Our galut is whatever problems we have...be it financial, marital, spiritual, physical, etc.
We need to think about our own issues and think -- just like G-d helped the Jews leave Egypt, G-d can help ME leave my own personal Egypt! He can help me get through this difficult time!"

When we eat the marror, we're supposed to think about their pain and bitterness. The Jews were enslaved, their babies were murdered...
can you imagine their tefillot? Their tears? Did they ever think they would get through it? Did they ever think they'd be free?
How about ourselves -- do we pray? Do we cry? Do we believe that if HaShem brought us to it - He can bring us through it?

When we eat the egg, we should remember the Korban that we're not able to bring because WE DON'T HAVE A BEIT HAMIKDASH! HaShem does not have a home. We should close our eyes and for at least a few moments, think about HaShem's pain. We should think about how awesome it would be to have a Beit HaMikdash...to see the Kohanim dressed in their beautiful clothing, to hear the Leviim singing and using their angelic voices to praise HaShem, to see the open miracles, the avoda, to see all of Klal Yisrael united...

(There are many, many literal and mystical reasons for each siman. The above concepts are just a few of many incredible explanations. I recommend reading the commentary of a Hagaddah -- if you still have time, purchase one with commentary! It can really completely change your Passover for the better.)

Bottom-line: It's not just food. Simanim are tools for us to grow closer to HaShem. The main point is NOT just to eat them. They're there to serve as facilitators for our spirituality and closeness to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. The simanim should make somewhat of a change in our lives and make us more aware. It's upto YOU - how much of a difference to you want the simanim to make in your life? If there's a will, there's a way!

May HaShem redeem all of us from our personal galuyot, and of course, from our national galut. May He please send us Mashiach Ben-David and Ben-Yosef speedily in our times in a peaceful way!
Wishing you all a Chag Kasher v'Sameach!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Boys Love Me

I love kids. I do. Really.

Some gals are very mushy gushy when it comes to babies and kids and MUST speak in baby talk language to them.
I don't baby talk.

Okay. Fine. Maybe sometimes. But for the most part, I don't.

One thing I've learned from babysitting/being around kiddos at my friends' homes or by a family for Shabbat is that little boys (mainly between the ages of 3 to 9) have strong feelings towards me. I have no clue why...

It all started in Shul when I was 15. A mischevious little 8 year old boy became obsessed with me. He started off saying insulting remarks to all the girls, throwing things at them, etc. and then one day, he started holding my hand and telling me how wonderful I am.
A look of panic crossed my face. I turned to my friend in desperate need of help -- GET HIM AWAY!!!
But no.
He had plans.
He wanted to marry me.
His most prized posession was the candy that he collected at Shul. Perhaps he would sell the candy to buy me a $5 ring. Real plastic and all.

I tried to run away and avoid him. But it worked to no avail.
I think his infatuation with me finally ended when he grew up & I switched Shuls.

Another boy was a cute little 5 year old of a family I went to for Shabbat. He kept following me around the house and asking if he can stay in the same room as me. No, you may not.
He wrapped his arms around my waist and said "I want to marry you."

The most recent one was an 8 year old who was obsessed with saying that everything is "not tznius!"
Apparently, everything was immodest. Except me.
He handed me a paper flower he made.
He asked me if he can sit by me.
Then, as I was reaching for something on the table, he took my hand and kissed it.

My friend was laughing and getting a good kick out of it, but I have yet to learn how to respond to all of these prepubescent affections.

Maybe these boys should give some tips to the "real men" who have commitment-phobia. :D

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Sweet It Is

This past Tuesday, my not-yet-religious relative went to do some quick grocery shopping. She saw a religious man, with nice, kind eyes, small white peyot, a long white beard.
They were both picking out some grapes from the produce section.
"How are the grapes? Are they good?" The religious man asked my relative.
"I think so. Why don't you taste one and find out?"
"No, I can't. It wouldn't be right."
"But you're tasting in order to buy them! Why not?"
"No. I can't. If I'd like to taste it, I have to first ask permission from the seller."

My relative was sure that the seller would refuse.

The man came back a minute later and said "yes, the seller permitted me to try the grape." He tried one, liked it, and bought the bunch of grapes.

Shocked, this relative told me "you know, it never even occurred to me...that a person has to ask. I was so proud of him for conducting himself in such an honest way. Kol Hakavod."

In the Shacharit tefillah of "Ahavat Olam", we ask HaShem to help us "lilmod u'lelamed" - to learn and to teach.
Our actions are the best teachers. Always attempt to act in a straight, rightful way because your actions are examples. HaShem is always watching us, but there are also people watching and learning from even your simplest decision.

A friend of mine recently shared a fantastic concept with me. Simply put: "every time you say no to something, you're saying yes to something else. Every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else."

I wonder if any of them made grape kabobs. That picture is making me hungry.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevurach!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Unexpected Teacher

I was on the subway & feeling drained. 'Twas a long day. Sometimes an individual can forget why (s)he is here. That the whole purpose of our existence is to do good. To fulfill Torah and mitzvot.
I'm embarrassed to admit that at that moment, I wasn't focusing on my mission. I was just tired. I was fed up.

An African American man arrived on my subway car and was about to make a speech.
Oh great. Another speech about jesus or money. I silently dreaded.

But to my pleasant surprise, this speech was different. And was a huge wake up call for me.
I don't remember the beginning of the speech, but the middle to end went something like the following:

"I'd like to tell y'all that I wasn't always a good guy. I used to do bad things. But then I realized that I can change. I want y'all to know that - you can always change! You can be in the dark, but you're not trapped. Just step into the light. Just like that.
G-d is waiting for you. He will accept you regardless of where you've been.
And I want y'all to know...that G-d is great not SOME of the time, but ALL of the time. He is great."

I felt like he was sent to speak directly to me. Kinda selfish, I know. But hey - each person should feel like the world was created for himself/herself, right?
What was the message I got? Do teshuva. Know that everything is l'tova. Gam zu l'tova - BECAUSE G-d is always great and right. Not only sometimes. But at all times.

Chodesh tov. May this chodesh Nissan be full of personal redemptions for each one of you and all of Klal Yisrael.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Right Choice

I'm a big fan of games. Board games, video games, computer games, and...
mind games.
Even more so, I'm a fan of "if you HAD to choose..."
Some of my friends and I joke around -- like "if you had to choose between having 2 noses or 4 ears, which would you choose?"

Sometimes, a serious one pops up. I remember my best friend and I having that discussion many moons ago. It was an externally quiet night, but if my inner-turmoil could be heard, the noise would be pretty deafening.

We were taking a walk and decided to sit down on a nearby bench and spill our hearts out to each other. We were both overcoming messy break-ups/relationships and were just...
miserable. Heartbroken. Forlorn.
She was thinking of her mister, and I was thinking of Mr. Sir (if any of my long-time readers remember him from previously deleted posts...yep, it's the same Mr. Sir.)
My best friend and I looked into each other's eyes. Our heads slightly bent to the side. One of us popped the question: "if you had to get married & spend your life with one guy that you know...any guy that you know - who would you choose?"
Ironically enough, she chose her mister, and I chose Mr. Sir. A decision made despite both of them doing the salsa, cha-cha, and macarena dance all over our hearts and leaving us to suffer.
"Why would you choose him?" She asked.
"Well, I suppose out of everyone I've dated, he's the one I've felt most secure and comfortable with, and I was & still am very emotionally connected to him."
She nodded in agreement. And we sat in silence for a while.
I've had happier evenings.

Yep. It was gloomy. I remember the feeling so vividly...the feeling strikes me inside, somewhere...maybe my neshama. It's like this stinging feeling combined with cringing and butterflies.
If that makes sense.

FFWD to many moons later...AKA now/not too long ago.
The same question came up in my mind. Except, my outlook is different, and therefore, my answer has changed.
Mr. Sir is gone. Thankfully, he's not a motivating factor for much in my life anymore. I've come to realize that my reasons for choosing him were entirely self-centered. I felt secure. I felt emotionally connected. I felt comfortable. But what about him? A relationship can't be based on one person. It takes two. As cheesy and cliche as it may sound, nevertheless, it takes two to become one.
And so, I started thinking about the list: out of all the guys I know and dated, who would I choose?
And so I thought...
and thought...
and reminisced...
-the rich ones
-the physically attractive ones
-the very frum ones
-the intelligent ones
-the rebellious ones/bad-boy-types

and I realized...NO. I wouldn't choose any of them.
The one I'd choose is the one who had amazing middot. Who was kind, understanding, giving, caring, sensitive, warm, and friendly. The one who treated me like a person and respected me, and as a result, made me feel comfortable. He was interested in me...for me. He genuinely appreciated me. Not for artificial reasons.
The one I'd choose would be that one. The one who every time he sees me, he stops to say hello and wishes me well. The one who I'm 100% sure prayed for me, regardless of the fact that I was the heartbreaker who (perhaps, prematurely) ended the relationship.

For all the singles out there, I think it's beneficial to ponder: who would you choose? And why?
Your reasoning is very important because it'll help direct you with prioritizing your "list". It'll make you realize what really counts in a spouse, and what you should really be focusing on when you're dating.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I was doing some self-reflection lately (as usual -- sometimes I wish I could just press the OFF button for a few minutes), and I realized that my outlook towards dating has changed a lot throughout the past year or so.

So what's the result of this metamorphosis?

Well, overall, I'm a much happier, less depressed dater. Here's why:

1) Emunah in HaKadosh Baruch Hu
I realized that when I just commenced on my dating journey, I thought I had emunah in HaShem, but I really didn't. Sure, I was davening, but I felt a certain amount of disdain and discomfort before and after a date. I had feelings of skeptism and bitterness.

I read an incredible book called Growth Through Tehillim by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin. It shaped my perspective towards emunah, and therefore, having emunah throughout the dating process.

Even though I'm still on the journey, and I'm not sure when I'll meet my zivug, I feel a lot more confident that HaShem is with me. I'm not worried anymore. I know that everyone and everything has a "sha'ah tova" (right timing).

2) Learning Opportunities
I view each date as an opportunity to get to know another fellow Jew and learn something from him. I remember writing about that in the early days of my blog (over a year ago), but I don't think I really internalized that concept.
I now have a mental list of at least one new thought/fact/inspiration/halacha that each person I've dated has taught me.
For example, one guy told me that it's halacha to wash your hands before davening. I kinda knew that before, but I barely followed it. But after he mentioned it, I decided to take it upon myself. (Okay, I admit that I didn't do much research after he told me that -- but either way, he taught me something & had a positive influence on me.)

3) No More Settling
I often felt like I was settling (on hashkafah, religious level, physical appearance, age, etc.) and I realized that settling isn't exactly helping anyone. It was hurting both my dates and myself.
So why was I settling??
Because I allowed shadchanim to push me. I had a problem with saying "no", which led me to 1st and 2nd dates that I was dreading, and negative feelings towards both shadchanim and dating, in general.
I'm still working on it, but I've learned to say NO to shadchanim...no matter how much they push. Regardless if they're rude or tell me I'm being too picky. I've learned to stop giving pity 1st, 2nd, or 3rd dates. I've learned not to give pity dates solely because I feel guilty rejecting the person and think that mayyyybe there's a 1% chance that it will work out between us.

I now have my set list of what I'm looking for. The list doesn't consists of dealbreakers; the list consists of what I AM looking for. Positive connotation.
There are qualities I will absolutely not settle for. Shadchanim have gotten upset, and so have the guys. And I'm sorry. Be'emet. I don't want to hurt or frustrate anybody.
But honestly, this is MY life. At the end of the day, I'm the one who will have to deal with the person; it's going to be my marriage -- not the shadchan's. Nobody has the right to tell me what to do (except HaShem, and in certain cases - my Rabbi and Parents.)

I realize that might sound somewhat arrogant, but I'm a stubborn (read: determined :D) person, and I don't appreciate other people running my life.

4) Refer To A Friend
Whenever a match is suggested to me, or after a date that I clearly know is not for me, or after I hear of/meet a new shadchan, I carefully try to think if any of my single friends would be interested. If so, I refer them to the Shadchan/the guy. B"H I have set up quite a few friends, and one of them recently got engaged. :)

B"H being a happier dater has definitely contributed to me being a much happier person.

May we all have the clarity to make the right decisions regarding dating and marriage!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wake Up Calls

A dear reader of mine recently addressed the tragedies that have taken place over the past 2 weeks or so. The murder of the Fogel family, the tsunami in Japan, conflict in Egypt & Libya, etc.
As per yesterday, the bombing in Jerusalem has, unfortunately, been added to that list.

I (hope) many are wondering - what's going on? Why is this happening? What is the purpose that HaShem is making these events happen?
Afterall, nothing is by chance, and there's Hashgacha Pratit (Divine Providence) with EVERYTHING in the world - from "minor things" like plants growing to major world events and politics.
(See somewhat related post here)

(Just a preface to what I'm about to share: the word "olam" (world) has the shoresh of Ayin.Lamed.Mem. - which means "hidden". The essence of this world is that there're matters that are hidden to us. That means that we never know all of the facts, and we're merely viewing a few seconds out of the 5 hour movie. Our perception is blurred, and we're missing a lot of the facts -- which will remain hidden until HaShem reveals them to us in Olam Haba. So when we delve into the meaning behind these tragedies, we can never know the full story. We can suggest possibilities and try our best to perceive the limited version. We have yet to fully understand G-d's ways.)

My friend shared the following powerful mashal with me:

there was a man whose only son was gravely ill. He rushed his dear son to the hospital, and the doctors operated on the son and tried their best. The father was crying, panicking, and praying. He would give anything to see his son live and be healthy.

The doctors could only find one solution to the son's illness. A nearly unheard of solution, but nonetheless, it was a cure! So, one doctor approached the worried father and said "sir, your son is going to live...but under one condition. It's a very difficult condition, but are you willing to do it?"

"Of course! Anything!" was the anxious response.

The doctor instructed "your son can not sleep at all this whole week. If he falls asleep, it's a sure thing that he will die. After a week, bring him in for a check up, but until then, you must do everything in your power to make sure he doesn't fall asleep - or else, unfortunately, he will pass away."

The father was determined to do everything in his might to take care of his beloved son and make sure he lives. He took his son home and purposely didn't let him change into pjamas. He gave him sweets and caffeine in order to keep him awake. Eventually, in the AM hours, his son got very sleepy. The son went to bed, and the father yelled "No! Son, you can't sleep! You might die if you sleep. Please, I love you. I can't lose you. It's very important that you do not sleep."
The child was startled by the news, and he tried his best to stay awake.

But his body wasn't responding. He had a tremendous urge to sleep. His body felt weak, and he couldn't keep his eyes open. He snuck into bed and began to shut his eyes and fall asleep. His father noticed, and he followed him and took off his blanket. The son was cold. "Dad, you're so mean! Stop! Give me back my blanket. Let me sleep! I'm so tired."

At this point, he was too tired to understand what was going on - his body was tired. He wanted to sleep!

After a while without the blanket, the son got comfortable and got used to laying down without a blanket - and was falling asleep. The father yelled "no!" and took away the pillow.

The son began crying. "Why are you being so mean, Dad? Let me sleep! I don't care. Please, give me back my pillow! I just want to sleep."

It hurt the father so much to see his son in pain, but he didn't want to lose his son.

Eventually, the son became comfortable because he got used to laying down without a pillow, and he began falling asleep. The father quickly picked up his son and put him on the cold floor. Again, his son began crying and screaming "Dad, you're so mean! Why are you doing this to me? I said I don't care what happens if I sleep. I just want to sleep!"

The father didn't know what to do. Didn't his son realize how comfort is not the main priority at the moment?

The father began crying and realized that he can't hurt his son. He loves his son too much - he can't hurt him, but he also can't let him sleep. So, he decided to hire professionals to keep his son awake. The professionals came, but they weren't as nice and caring as the father. They spilled cold water on the son, they hit him, they beat him - anything to make sure he stayed awake, so that he wouldn't die.

The son continously cried, yelled, and felt tortured. Could life get any worse?

In the end, the son didn't fall asleep for a few days, and he was cured! He then understood how all of the pain and difficulty of being abused and forced to stay awake is what kept him alive.

Not quite a story you hear every day, right?

The nishmal is that HaShem is our Father. Chazal teach us that originally, G-d wanted to give the neshamot instant Gan Eden, but the neshamot complained that they don't want a freebie. They want to earn the reward. So, HaShem puts us in this world and tells our neshamot to "keep the mitzvot, follow My Torah, love your fellow Jews..."

But our neshamot come into this world and start getting comfortable. We get used to our lifestyle. We see that we don't get struck by lightning when we commit a wrong deed. We see that life goes on and no major tragedy occurs, and therefore, we continue following in our own ways. We close our eyes.

HaShem, like the father in the story, knows that we can't become too comfortable or else we'll "fall asleep" (sin). If we fall asleep, we can, chas v'shalom die. (If we sin our whole lives -- we miss out on olam haba! We won't get our reward.) We can't get olam haba if we sin our whole lives! So, He sends us wake up calls - but gently. Just like the father wasn't abusing the son, rather he was gently taking away his blanket and pillow. But nothing major. So HaShem makes tragedies happen in Japan or Afgahnistan - far away from the Jews. As a wake up call. (I've heard in a shiur, perhaps the Rabbi quoted a Gemara -- I don't remember -- that whenever a tragedy occurs in the world, it's a wake up call for the Jews to do teshuva. The tragedy was really intended for us, but HaShem has mercy on us.)

So, the wake up call works for a while. But then...it fades. We get comfortable without the pillow and blanket. We continue sinning.

So HaShem says "okay...you're My children...even though it's for your benefit, it's too difficult for Me to hurt you." So He hires "professionals." The Satan gets involved and sends our enemies...the Arabs, or whoever else. And they send us direct wake up calls. They come too close for comfort.

We think these events are so horrible - and yes, they are. They're painful - but ultimately, everything is for our benefit. To keep us AWAKE and not lose focus and get too comfortable doing averot. Adversity shakes us. It reminds us that we're not here forever. This world is transient.

One might find the transient concept to be depressing, but it's not. On the contrary! It's a reassuring thought. It's positive reinforcement: we have the potential to change. To grow. To do more mitzvot. To take on at least one new good deed - be it shmirat halashon, studying more Torah, standing up for our parents at least once a day as part of kibud Av v'Em, greeting people with a smile, giving maaser/tzdaka, saying kriyat shema before going to sleep, etc. Anything that will help us grow closer to HaKadosh Baruch Hu! He wants a relationship with us, and He wants us to have a relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters.

These holy Jews who were murdered simply because they're Jewish have done a Kiddush HaShem and are instantly in Gan Eden right now. I have no doubt about that. So we're not worried for them -- their neshamot are doing well. But we need to worry about our own neshamot...because we're still here, and we need to make our time productive...while we still can.
B"H, not one Jew was not killed. Most were not severely injured. However, some were. And it is our responsibility to daven for them to have a speedy recovery. "Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh L'Zeh"
Now's our opportunity to show HaShem how much we care.
The names of the injured victims:
Leah Bracha bas Shoshana Basya
Sara Nechama bas Rus Malka
Odelia Neshama bas Michal
Shilo ben Zahava Ofra
Daniel Yehuda ben Rochel Nurit
Elchonon Ovadia ben Eilona
Yisroel ben Dina
Nosson Daniel ben Shulamis
Shaindel bat Raizel

B"H may we all have clarity to always see the right path, follow that path, and stay on the right path!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Modern Day Purim Miracle

Can a couple still have children after 33 years waiting and praying for a first child?

Yup. Baruch HaShem! This should teach us all that we should never give up hope, and anything is possible for HaShem, Who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

Article below:

For 33 years, the Rebbe of the Mevakshei Emunah Hasidism in Jerusalem prayed for a miracle that would help his wife become pregnant and give him a son.

On Friday it almost happened: At the age of 52, Rabbi Yoel Kahn's wife gave birth to twin girls, which brought him a lot of happiness but not the heir he had been waiting for.

Rabbi Kahn and his wife, both offspring of noble ultra-Orthodox families, were married in Jerusalem in 1978 and settled in the neighborhood of Mea Shearim. They tried to conceive a child for years, but were unsuccessful despite dozens of fertility treatments and the family members' prayers.

Rebbe wasn't worried
Rabbi Kahn is the younger brother of the leaders of the Toldot Aharon and Toldot Avraham Yitzhak Hasidism, whose members are nicknamed "zebras" due to their striped coats. Thirteen years ago he founded his own small Hasidism, called Mevakshei Emunah.

The Hasidism is comprised of only 30 families, but every week the Rebbe visits a different community in Israel in a bid to recruit followers, and so many people across the country were aware of the couple's attempts to conceive and prayed for the fertility treatments' success.

All that time, the Rebbe himself was not worried. His followers say he was convinced he would eventually become a father. According to rumors in the Hasidism, before his death the Rebbe's father promised his son that he would have children.

'It's a Purim miracle'
Eventually, the Rebbetzin became pregnant and gave birth to twin girls at the age of 52, after 33 years of infertility. The babies were born on pregnancy week 31 and were immediately placed in an incubator.

According to sources in the Hasidism, the rabbi's wife initially carried three fetuses – two girls and a boy – but the boy did not survive.

Rabbi Kahn's Hasidim rushed to the hospital to celebrate the joyous occasion with drinks and dances. "It's a Purim miracle," one of them said. "We are called 'Mevakshei Emunah' (faith seekers), and now we see that three decades of faith did help."

Another Hasid explained that "today fertility treatments are not such a big deal in the haredi sector, and anyone who needs them can do it. Judaism wants us to try to have children, and even if people don't talk about it – it's clear to everyone that treatments were involved."

And what about a successor to lead the Hasidism after the Rebbe's death? The Hasidim are not giving up and hope Rabbi Kahn will still have a son. "You can have children till the age of 55," one of them says. "We continue to pray with complete faith that our rabbi will also be blessed with a son."

A Boot Tale

It was only October, but it was getting chilly, and I knew that it was time to purchase nice, new flat boots.
I went into a store and tried on beautiful boots. I looked at them with lovie dovie eyes. Oh, boots, how nice you look! Modest and fancy. Bold yet subtle. Fashionable yet quiet.
I looked at the price and debated. They were pricey. The small rational voice popped in my head and nudged: come on! It's for shidduchim.

You are so right, Ms. Voice-in-my-head.

I bought them with a smile. Left the store with a smile. And came home with a smile. (Am I too materialistic? Hmmm.)

I had a date a week later. I proudly donned the boots. FAIL
FFWD to the next week. FAIL
FFWD again. FAIL
and again.
and again.
and again.
and again.

The boots were crying to me. Oh, all we've done is parade around many different places and boroughs, and now, we're getting old. Our color is fading. The material isn't as shiny as it once was.

My friend and I were talking on the phone about clothing (of course), and she told me about a new pair of beige boots she bought. She envisioned wearing them while dating her hubby. But no. She didn't meet him yet. And her boots are not staying clean.
"yeah, I know what you mean. My boots were reserved for Mr. Right, but now they're slowly deteriorating."

I partially joked with her that HaShem should please send us our zivugim while our boots are still alive and well!

The next day I texted her "my boots aren't getting any younger."

If I recall correctly, her response was along the lines of "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Gotta love my friendies!