Jew in the suburbs


Pesach Journal
March 16, 2009, 5:21 pm
Filed under: author, Frum, Hashem, Jewish, Jewish, Judaism, Passover, Torah, women, write, Yom Tov | Tags: , , ,

 

 

 

    Passover Journal  by Jew in the Suburbs

 

 

 

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Copyright March 2007

 

No part of this story can be used without the expressed written permission of the author.

 

Based on Exodus

 

 

Entry one

 

The words in this diary are my heart felt prayer. My name is Leora. I have brown hair and eyes. I am a wife and the mother of 3 small daughters. All three of them were born underneath an apple tree in the middle of a field.  Every day my family and I endure back breaking labor. We work in the unrelenting heat of the fields. We are forced to carry and construct many bricks and, we are forbidden to stop until told. We are Hebrews, seen as nothings in the eyes of the Egyptians. Every night we go to bed hungry. My husband and I do the best we can. We give our children most of our food and drink. We tell them to sleep and dream happy dreams. I ask myself if they know what a happy dream is. Every night before falling into a restless exhausted sleep (wherever I happen to find space) I tell my husband and children that I love them and that our family will soon be far away from this oppressive land. I whisper a prayer to the G-d of our fathers, the G-d I have head stories about. You must exist, G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I can not stop believing that. Please lead us out of here. I will be so grateful.

 

Entry 2

 

My friend Miriam told me a story. Her mother Yocheved was a mid-wife, she was told by Pharaoh to kill every Hebrew baby boy she saw born. Of course, she did not follow orders. When Yocheved had her second son she was able to keep him secret for 3 months and then she put him in the hands of you, G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She placed him in the Nile and Miriam watched as her little brother was rescued from the water by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses, Miriam’s brother was raised in comfort just as any royal Egyptian would be. He ran from here years ago. Rumors flew that it was because he killed an Egyptian when he saw him mercilessly beat a Hebrew man. In truth this was a difficult story to believe. Why would he risk his life of comfort, why would he risk his life? I thought to myself. Moses is back and rumors are once again flying that he is speaking to Pharaoh! Please let this event help us! 

 

Entry 3

 

The tears in my eyes are too numerous to count as I watch my husband sleep. He was beaten today until he bled. Moses spoke to Pharaoh. He took his brother Aaron with him. I head that he requested that Pharaoh let us; his people go with him into the wilderness to celebrate a festival for our G-d. In response Pharaoh is now forcing us to search and gather our own straw for the bricks we make. My husband was unable to construct as many bricks today as he constructed yesterday and now because of it he is in physical agony. What purpose could this serve? Many are angry at Moses why has he made matters worse than we could ever imagine?

 

Entry 4

 

 Thank-you G-d of our fathers my husband’s wounds are healing. The work load has not decreased for us. Will it ever? Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh again and told him he should let us go so that we can worship YOU. I had so much hope that he would listen.  Am I wrong to hope? We are still here in this land? Aaron’s rod turned into a snake but then Pharaoh’s saucers were able to duplicate the action with spells. On the other hand I also head that Aaron’s rod was able to swallow the other rods. Maybe it is a sign that You have heard our many cries.

 

Just moments ago I was able to fetch water for my family, but the Nile and all Egyptian water sources have turned to blood!

 

Entry 5

 

When I woke up this morning every muscle in my body ached. I hear that frogs are   covering the land of the Egyptians. That is disgusting! I am grateful that in my home I am safe from them. They are not affecting my family or my people as a whole.   However, we are still slaves!

 

Entry 6

 

Rumor has it Pharaoh said he would let us go and the frogs have left after I hear Moses pleaded with You, but I awoke this morning still a slave and worked non-stop until this moment. The word of Pharaoh means nothing!

 

Entry 7

 

It’s a miracle! It must be a miracle from You G-d of our fathers. Today Moses and Aaron went back to the Pharaoh. Aaron placed his rod on the dust of the earth and it turned to lice! They are everywhere that the Egyptians are but these detestable lice are nowhere to be found among our people.  Furthermore, those men who do their little magic tricks for Pharaoh were not able to create lice! This has renewed my hope which has been so low lately. I must put my children to bed now. I think I will sing them to sleep tonight. I have not had the energy to sing in a long time. Thank-YOU G-d of our fathers I pray this oppression will be at its end by tomorrow.  

 

Entry 8

 

We are still slaves I was hoping this could be over. However, I refuse to give up hope. Once again G-d of our fathers you have set us apart from Egypt. Pharaoh has not listened. He will not let us go as of yet. I am not surprised, but all Egyptian livestock has been struck down and ours have not been touched, not a single one that belongs to our people!

 

 

Entry 9

 

Doesn’t Pharaoh know by now that refusing to let us go only causes him trouble? This morning Aaron and Moses gathered soot in their hands. I hear Pharaoh saw them do it. Moses threw the soot of the kiln toward the sky and now all the Egyptians and their animals have boils.

 

 

Entry 10

 

 When will my children, when will my whole family know what it is like to be free? When will Pharaoh decide he has had enough? Today the Egyptians endured Great Thunder and, hail and with the hail fire. Who ever heard of hail in Egypt and for that matter who ever heard of fire and hail together? I wish I had more answers than questions. I have prayed for many years and nothing happened. I have been laughed at for it at times by my own people. Now events seem to be happening constantly. My people and I live in Goshen and the hail which destroyed everything Egyptian outside in its path whether it was a beast or man did not touch us!   

 

Entry 11

 

 I heard that Moses and Aaron warned Pharaoh that You G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would send locusts. In response to the warning he told Moses and Aaron he would let only men go. I can’t believe his nerve he expects that we women will stay here with our children! We are a family! If my husband ever left here I would be by his side with our children. If one of us goes to worship YOU we all go! The locusts came, covered the land of Egypt and destroyed trees and anything else the hail might have left. Again, the event did not affect us. No locusts were seen in Goshen and nothing was harmed here.

 

Entry 12

 

Thank-YOU G-d of our fathers, there is an abundance of light in my dwelling and in every dwelling in Goshen. All of Egypt is in darkness; even in their homes the Egyptians can not see anything! Pharaoh has to let us go now. 

 

Entry 13

 

The darkness lasted 3 days and Pharaoh still refuses to let us go. My children have been asking if all these events mean we will soon be leaving. My husband told me he heard that after 3 days in darkness Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron to him and said that the men of our people can take their wives and children with them, but he demands our people leave our flocks and herds with him. What will happen now? 

 

 

Entry 14

On the 10th of this month Moses called us all together. He told us to get a lamb without blemish which we did. Those people in the community who had too small of a household for a lamb shared with their neighbors. After slaughtering the lambs at twilight our community placed the blood on our doorposts so that YOU would Passover us. We ate the lamb in a hurry with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. We dressed as you told us. That night was the most frightening I had ever spent as you passed over our people and smite every Egyptian first born son. We have now left the oppressive land. Pharaoh has had enough. We will celebrate the Passover for all time. We had to depart in such a hurry our bread did not have time to rise! I will admit as I walk with my husband, children, and other family no longer a slave to the Egyptians I am terrified. I wonder what will happen next. G-d of out fathers that said I trust in You.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



A Love Story:My Lesson Learned

 

 

A while back, In the Pink wrote that she was conducting some research on True Love. I was temped to e-mail her a story on the topic, but held on to it, thinking it would be good for me to write about. The story I am about to tell you is a true love story, and while it is not my love story it taught be something incredibly valuable.

 

Last Pesach I was going through a very difficult time in my life. I thought I would be spending Yom Tov out of town, but I ended up spending it in my community which turned out to be a blessing. I was invited to lunch with friends of mine after Shul on the last day of Yom Tov. When I walked into the house I heard laughter from obliviously happy people and almost immediately met a married couple visiting from a much larger Jewish community in another state.

 

I have a small disability which people can see, I don’t walk perfectly, but I do walk, Thank G-d. My parents have always told me that my soul mate could have a disability, but this is not necessarily the case. I was almost entirely convinced last year that this was not true, that I had to marry someone with a disability. It hit me like a bolt of lighting when I looked at this couple that I was wrong. They were both accomplished, the wife was a school teacher with no disability, and the husband was a lawyer who just happened to be deaf. My heart soared when during the meal the wife told everyone how they met.

 

 She said she had gone on a Shabbos walk with a friend and they decided to stop at a house to visit a family. That family had a certain young man for a Shabbos guest, she gave him a Shabbos greeting, there were other people there and she joined in the small talk of the group. When she left the house with her friend that certain gentleman was on her mind. She told herself if she was still thinking about him at that time the following week she would do something about it. A week later he hadn’t left her thoughts. She called the family he had been visiting to do some detective work. All she heard was how nice and how helpful he was. Some time went by and with more investigating she was able to get an email address.  She emailed him, telling him where she had met him and pouring out her heart, telling him her interests, likes, dislikes, and so on. Her thinking was she had nothing to loose, if he was not interested in her, she would most likely not see him again and if he was interested she could have found the one. The idea that she might not ever see him again was what pushed her to write the e-mail. She had never done anything like that in her life. She was so excited when she saw a reply sitting in her e-mail box. She clicked on it and read. “Which one are you?” There had been other girls in the group. She remembered she had told him her name in the house that Shabbos afternoon. In reply she typed her name and pressed send. He answered her, shortly after that a first date was set up and than a second, shortly after that they were engaged and married.

 

Looking at this couple I remembered that my small disability could be a non-issue to a non-disabled soul mate. I only wish I could tell this amazing couple what an affect their true love and devotion to each other had on me. It was part of G-d’s plan that they met and married and I truly believe now it was part of HIS plan that I met them at the time I did, so that I could relearn something I never should have forgotten. Having that faith and knowledge restored is such a blessing and if I left town for Yom Tov I would never have met them at that time. They went back to their community the very next day.

 

May all of us find and hold on to love!



Story Teller: Israel State of Mind
October 20, 2008, 2:30 am
Filed under: Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Sukkot, Torah, Yom Tov | Tags: , , ,

 

 

My Dear Blog Readers,

 

I have Israel on my mind.  Not that it isn’t always on my mind G-d forbid, “if I forget you Oh Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill” (Tehillim, 137).  Israel just happens to be more on my mind now than usual.  Did you ever meet a good story teller? No by storyteller I do not mean a good liar.  I am talking about the kind of person who can relate a story to you and make you feel as though you are experiencing it.  In my experience, a good storyteller can relate a story that they have experienced or that they have heard someone else experienced and the results are the same.  You are left feeling as though you are living the moment.  I met someone like that who recently told me a story about Israel, but not just a story about Israel, it was a story about a Sukkot trip to Israel.  As the person spoke, I felt as though I had been transported there; I could feel the energy and I could almost hear the music from the concerts that this story teller said took place on Chol Hamoed Sukkot 

 

I felt as though I could almost see the massive amounts of people in Israel during this time.  I was so uplifted by this story; I never wanted it to end.  This person spoke of young people who had never been to Israel coming in groups and the looks on their faces as they took it all in.  This story teller went on to say how incredibility amazing it was to see young people who had little or no knowledge of their Jewish roots, being and feeling so connected.  I think I said “wow, that is really inspiring but I don’t think this person knew just how inspired I was!   It would be such a blessing to be in Israel during Sukkot, it would be such a blessing to be in Israel at any time.  Sukkot in Israel How amazing that must be!  If I recall correctly this story teller described it as a big party! How wonderful it is to feel so connected and so aware of Hashem’s presence.   I could hear the excitement in this person’s voice when I was told I had to go to Israel.  You see this story teller knew I had never been to Israel, and although I am not there right now, I truly did feel like I was.    Do you have a Sukkot in Israel story you would like to share? Do you have any Israel trip stories you would like to share? 

 

Have a good Yom Tov everyone!



Sleepy, lazy Shabbat
October 13, 2008, 3:35 am
Filed under: Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Shul, Sukkot | Tags: , , , , ,

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

This past Shabbat was quiet and lazy for me here is the suburbs.  I was feeling very much under the weather. It may have been due to the Yom Kippur fast coupled with the freezing   temperature of the upstairs room I davened in.  Most if not all of the women were cold in that room.  I point to the many, many winter coats, gloves and sweatshirts I saw being whipped out as evidence.  We women had cold hands yet warm hearts as we Davened to Hashem for forgiveness and for blessing.  The men whose hearts and souls I’m sure were just as full, were not cold.  Men never seem to be cold during davening. 

 

Of course, my feeling under the weather could have been just because there is something going around.  Either way, I felt under the weather.  I gave myself permission not go to Shul, instead I davened at home, rested, and slept.  I love the interactions of Shabbat. So, determined to feel the Shabbat mood come over me despite my under the weather feeling about thirty minutes before candle lighting time, I put on a Miami Boys Choir CD and dressed in Shabbat clothes to ready myself for candle lighting.  When I shut the music off, I had about ten minutes before candle lighting but the melodies of what I heard stayed in my head and helped me to feel the contentment that is Shabbat.  Now, Thank G-d I feel much better and Sukkot begins tomorrow night.  I am so excited!  Have a good Yom Tov!!



Yom Kippur is almost here: Letters of forgiveness

 

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

  In previous posts, I have discussed repentance and gearing up for the New Year which has now come. What I didn’t tell you was how blessed I feel because of the New Year.  I haven’t told you before that I joyfully anticipated the New Year and that I am so happy that it is now here.  Last year was a very difficult year for me on a variety of levels.  One particular event which I may post about in the future stands out in my mind.  It is this event that causes me to think more than ever about forgiveness.  Seeking forgiveness and forgiving are very popular and necessary activates during these days of AWE.  In this past year, 5768, a person hurt me very badly.  If G-d forbid, I hurt someone, I do whatever I can to make it right.  Even more painful, than this person’s actions toward me was the lack of remorse shown.  This lack of remorse and the continuing behavior made it impossible for me to heal in front of them.  Every time I tried to express myself, all I got from this person was excuses and justifications.  The fact that someone could hurt me, be unapologetic and continue the behavior before I had a chance to heal from one ordeal was almost unbearable.  I truly believe the only thing that got me through and made me stronger, was my belief in Hashem, my belief that he does things for a reason.  In fact, for weeks there was a prayer I recited almost daily to strengthen one’s faith”, in a book called Aneni.  This prayer is very long but I made sure to say every word and I cried.  I cried many times saying this prayer begging Hashem to hear me, listen and count the tears that I cried.

 

I have been told by my friends that I am so good that I would step around ants,  I always want to do good and sometimes I feel that I don’t measure up.  We all know that we take out our pain on these we love most. That is where the saying you hurt the ones you love comes from.  I did this.  There are people in my life that I love dearly and I knew that they would always love me so sometimes, without meaning to, I took out my pain on them.  I told them I didn’t mean to do it and I told them how much pain I was in, but telling them that I didn’t mean to take the situation out on them didn’t seem to be enough.  During the month of Elul when I was first beginning my Teshuvah process, I wrote these people a letter thanking them for being so supportive, apologizing for taking out my pain on them, but acknowledging that my pain was no excuse, telling them and meaning it that I wasn’t mentioning my pain as an excuse. I was simply stating a fact.  I told them that I love them,  I told them how much they meant to me, I thanked them from the bottom of my heart, and as I wrote, tears rolled down my face.  Since I had been contemplating this letter for hours, I knew what I wanted to say, and didn’t expect the tears, but I was happy that they came.  That night I prayed to Hashem to help me completely let go of the pain that a certain person inflicted on me.  That night, I prayed to Hashem to help me forgive this person.  I knew the only way I could completely 100% move on was if I forgave this person.  I want to make one thing clear, I never wished harm on this person even after the person hurt me, but every time I thought of this person, I could feel the hurt.  In the beginning it was a throbbing pain, and as I began to move on, it became an ache.  The night that I prayed to Hashem to help me forgive, I released the person who hurt me from my life.  This means that if by some chance this person enters my mind there is no sadness and there is no anger there is no excruciating pain, and there is no ache.  I do not miss this person and I know I didn’t deserve the treatment that I received which at the beginning I blamed myself for.

 

 It is important to remember that just because you forgive someone for tremendous pain they may have caused you it doesn’t mean that you have to invite them back into your life.  It can just mean that you release them from your life. By this I mean you don’t think about what they would have said, or what they would have done in a certain situation, you don’t think about the cruel things they said about you, and you know the things that aren’t true.  Forgiveness can also mean that when releasing the person who injured you, you release yourself from a burden no longer worth carrying around.

 

I gave my letter seeking forgiveness to the people who helped me through a very difficult time and who always understood why I was in pain.  I received their forgiveness and they were happy to receive my letter, however there are times that I have forgiven someone by writing them a letter which I never send.  In some cases when you are trying to forgive a person, in my experience, they don’t always have to read or hear the words that you want so desperately to say.  Sometimes writing a letter forgiving someone and not sending it is enough to forgive and release yourself from pain.

 Although I feel that throughout the past I have been moving on, with the New Year, I feel completely free of the pain.  I feel as if the pain I felt was not my own but some other woman’s, who my heart can go out to.  Of course I know that the pain I felt happened to me because of the process I had to go through, in order to deal with. It made me a stronger woman, and I’m proud of that. 

 

Thank you Hashem for helping me through and helping me to become stronger than I was before!  Thank you Hashem for this New Year and may we all be sealed in the book of life for a good life of only Simcha.   Have a meaningful yet easy fast!

 

 




FYI High Holy Days Servies

 

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

I was reading a blog post from Jew in the City, and found some information that I had been looking for in order to give you. Wondering where to go for The High Holy Days? Click on this website to find services.  You can also contact a Chabad.  Remember, all of us can make a difference.     

 

http://nomembershiprequired.com/

 

Please let me know if this in any way helped you find a  service.



Rosh Hashanah: Into the Sea

 

 

I wrote this poem inspired by Tashlikh which takes place by a body of water on Rosh Hashanah..

 

Into the Sea

 

I stand before You Hashem, my neshama exposed before YOU.

Nothing is hidden from YOU, HASHEM, You see everything.

YOU know all there is to know, You see our souls.

See me, as I cast my sins into the sea, purify me, erase every sin as through it had never been.

 

I beg You; inscribe me in the Book of Life, for I choose life

To Serve YOU, to be a better human being, to be a better Jew.

You are the Only ONE to ask, The only One fit for this task.

YOU are King of everything; everything there ever was is or will be.

Creator of human beings, the World and its Surroundings

You are King and there is No OTHER

 

There will Never be another.

HASHEM, Father of Compassion

I ask, I beg, I plead, Purify my soul, and inscribe me in the Book of Life, to serve YOU with love as a better Human being, and as a better Jew.