Friday, March 15, 2013

The Mission...Possible.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this on the blog before, but one of my favorite hobbies is people watching. I like looking at people. Random people. All kinds of people. Analyzing their actions, their thoughts, their pasts, present, and future.

As I walk around the streets, I notice so many people. There are just SO many people in this incredible world that HaShem created. Everyone's walking. Quickly. Everyone seems to be in such a rush. And the ones who aren't seem to be weak. Tired. The old lady with her dog. The exhausted mother with her baby in the carriage.
And I wonder: everyone is heading somewhere. Clearly everyone is that means they're moving - but WHERE are they all going?

There're billions of people in the world. Nearly everyone, who is able to, leaves to the house at some point and walks somewhere. Everyone has that destination. That store they must go to, the errand that needs to be done, the meeting that needs to be attended, the doctor's appointment they must go to...

And why is that so? Why is it that most people don't dwell in their homes all day long? FOREVER?

Because that is the way of the world - that people are always moving. Our mind goes crazy if we're idle and tells the body: BE BUSY! If that's true for the physucal reality of the world, then shouldn't that also be the spiritual reality of this world? That our neshama should always be moving?

And just like people KNOW where they're walking to - shouldn't our neshama KNOW where its going?

And anyway, what is our neshama?

Well, I once heard an amazing quote that, since then, has become one of my all-time favorite quotes. "You DON'T have a soul. You have a body. You ARE a soul."

Our neshama is our essence. Our essence is just BEGGING to be close to HaShem. There's this magnetic pull. If you can picture your neshama in Shamayim... it would just instantly pull towards where the Shechina is.

Yet, we're in this world. And so many people, SO many of these billions of people, have no idea that they have a soul. No idea that their soul has an ultimate destination. They just live for the moment. "Go with the flow"
Or go by the motto "life is a deck of cards - you get what's handed to you."

Of those billions of people, we have around 13 million Jews in the world. How many Jews know where they're heading - spiritually?

Now how about you? Yes, you. The one reading this! Do you know where you're heading? Do you realize that every second in this world is CRUCIAL to your life mission, otherwise HaShem wouldn't keep you here?

Scary thoughts.

But no. It's only a scary thought if these were questions that nobody knows the answer to.
Thank G-d, we have a manual to guide us and allow us to access the truth. HaShem gave us the Torah - "etz chayim hee" - she (the Torah) is a tree of life. We LIVE by the Torah. It's not just a lifestyle or a history book or a book full of good advice. It's literally life. Anything antithetical to Torah is death.
That's the only way a neshama can be successful in this world: to view the Torah as LIFE and anything that is NOT Torah is DEATH.

Let's look at what HaRamchal, Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto z"l, wrote in his fundamental work of "Mesillat Yesharim" - Path of the Just. His introduction to this incredible sefer is A MUST read for every single Jew. "Chovat Ha'Adam b'olama" - man's obligation (or mission) in this world.

Bli neder, I will post it one day. It's truly life changing.

Shabbat Shalom :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Juggling the Extremes

Or am I?

Well, yes, I've moved to this new land.
It's sort of near Shamayim.
Have you heard of it?
I'll give you a hint: it starts with the word "Eretz" :)

Oh, and, I have a mini special somebody around whom I carried for 9 months (well, 39 weeks and a few days, actually, but who's counting?).

Baruch HaShem!
So, yes, I've been busy.
But why am I making excuses, anyway? I never committed to a blog.

But still. This blog holds a special place in my heart. It was an island for both my vents and my chizzuk.

To all the readers who have sent me emails: please don't think that I was ignoring you.
I seriously only checked the emails a few days ago. For the first time. I'm not joking.

Anywho, it was Purim a few weeks ago.
Purim has a lot of gadlut to's such a shame so many people miss out the spiritual opportunity and instead solely indulge in physical opportunities (ie: drunk men.)
Speaking of drunk men...
when I was 19, after witnessing one too many religious guys get drunk on Purim, I decided that if my husband would ever get drunk on Purim, I would change the locks to our front door and let him sleep outside.
It was only fair to warn my innocent husband-to-be while we were engaged that I can be cruel if my husband decides to join the drunk frummy bandwagen.
So Baruch HaShem my husband is not one of those idiotic drunk men on Purim (or ever) :)
May HaShem help those men, and may He help me not get so mad at them every year.

Oftentimes, spiritual opportunities can completely pass us by. Why's that? Because whenever there's potential for great purity and holiness, there's also potential for great tuma.

A perfect example of this is:

A perfect example of this is motzei Shabbat. Motzei Shabbat is the time when the holy Shabbat is over, but the queen is still in the vacinity. Our neshama yetera leaves us, and we're left with a feeling of loneliness. Suddenly, we feel the need to do something fulfilling.
Ever wonder why there's such a temptation to "go out" and "have fun" on motzei Shabbat? Yep, that's why. And sadly, many Jews in the world think that going to a movie, club, party, etc. motzei Shabbat will help them fill the lonely spot.
But no.
Since we lost something spiritual, we can only fix the feeling of emptiness with something spiritual. So we have a melaveh malka meal filled with divrei Torah, songs, music, and connection to HaShem.
But this takes a lot of effort! Especially because there's such a strong yetzer hara to ignore the spiritual void and to focus on the physiciality. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Saturday night is the most avera-filled evening of the week.

Wherever there's potential for great kedusha, there's also potential for great tuma. Interestingly enough, it doesn't work the other way. If there's a place filled with tuma - you're most likely not going to find great kedusha there.

We also see this in our parashat hashavua (2 weeks ago) with the incident of chet haegel. How could Bnei Yisrael commit just a horrendous avera? They just witnessed Har Sinai and heard HaShem speak to them! I mean, what's more holy and life-changing than that?!
It's a question that all the mefarshim deal with, and many different answers are given. The main one being that it was mainly the erev rav - 1% of the nation who committed the sin.
But still. How could the 1% commit such a grave sin?
The answer is: where there's potential for great kedusha, there's also potential for great tuma.
They could've waited for Moshe while learning together, davening, staying on the high and embracing the holiness that just came upon them. But that's not what happened.

A wise person never thinks he's ONLY immersed in kedusha. Don't be fooled. Be wise and always look out and be aware of the tuma. Never think that you're untouchable, and that the yetzer hara can't fool you. (But also don't think that you're doomed! Afterall, chazal (kiddushin 30b) teach us that HaShem said "barati yetzer hara, barati lo Torah tavlin" (I created the yetzer hara, but I also created the Torah as the antidote for it.)

Once you know what you're competing against, you can use the tools and strength from the yetzer hatov to win the battle and live in the life of holiness.


Hatzlacha Rabba to all of my readers. I'll try to respond to all of the emails soon.

(Special shout out to one of my dear readers & former Garden of Emuna chavruta: your email was accidentally deleted, but I would really love to respond to it. Please e-mail me again soon!)

I hope to post soon. But I can't promise :)

Sefardi Gal