Jew in the suburbs


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!

 

 


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FYI Tehillim This Sunday Oct 5

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

 

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are commonly referred to as The Days of Repentance.  I got an e-mail telling me that during these days every year Tehillim groups in the land of Israel make a special effort to pray together. On Oct 5, this Sunday Tehillim groups in Israel ask that people all over the world join in. Please, if you can go to a Tehillim group on this day or start one of your own and say Tehillim, Psalms on this Sunday. 

 

I would like to take this moment to say that I am the member of a Tehillim group. If you would like me to recite Tehillim on your behalf or on the behalf of someone you know, due to illness or other medical issue please, give me a first name. If you have a person’s Hebrew name and the name of the person’s mother you give me that name.

 

I suggest you go to www.Aneinu.com  if you would like to start a group and need Tehillim booklets. Aneinu is an International Tehillim organization.

 

May all of you be sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.

 



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.

 



High Holy Days: self-improvement and HASHEM’s Love

 

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

I was so disappointed to miss Selichot services after Shabbos this week.  Simply put Selichot are special prayers for forgiveness as the month of Elul begins to close.  The time period of these services usually begins the Sunday very early morning hours before Rosh Hashanah.  These prayers are about committing to do better and be better in the upcoming year.  I know I have been talking about self improvement all month.  So, what sets the time period for selichot apart from the rest of the month of Elul?  I believe the answer lies in urgency.  Yes, it’s true we should use all of the days in the month of Elul to prepare for the High Holy Days but I believe that Selichot is a warning, a signal, a reminder that Rosh Hashanah.  is quickly approaching and Yom Kippur is not far behind it.  These prayers serve as yet another opportunity for forgiveness and personal growth. 

 

I was sitting in Shul, Synagogue Saturday morning, listening to the rabbi speak when I realized that  after midnight Selichot services would  begin.  My breath caught and I thought to myself, I have a problem. Depending on how you look at it these services are either very late into the night or very early in the morning.  This particular service was scheduled for 1 AM.  Of course, another service was scheduled later in the morning for those who would be sleeping through this service.  I knew I could not be at Shul at 1AM in the morning and that I had conflicts later in the morning making it impossible for me to make it to the second service.  I really didn’t want to miss this; after all, I have been writing about self improvement and digging deep in my own Teshuvah, repentance process.  What was I to do?  I asked a rabbi who understood there was no way for me to make it to either Selichot service.  He told me that I didn’t have to be there, I told him, I know that but I really want to be there.  I wanted to know what a person like me who knew she could not be at a service could do to make up for it.  The idea that I didn’t have to attend these services and I would still be all right should have made me feel a lot better, but it didn’t. I felt terrible I knew that this rabbi was right but I still chose to look up the subject in a very handy and user friendly book entitled Halichos Bas Yisrael   A Woman’s Guide to Jewish Observance Volume II published by Feldheim. 

 

All week I felt as if I did something terrible by not attending these services, then yesterday I was writing something on a different subject matter, I got frustrated because the word count wasn’t exactly as it should have been.  For a brief moment, I thought to myself, I failed, I can do nothing right but then, thank G-d, the knowledge that Hashem loves me and all human beings, and all the creatures He created, hit me once again, like a lightning bolt, at exactly the right time.  Preparation for the High Holy Days, self improvement, and personal growth are of extreme importance.  However, yesterday when I was writing and it wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, I lost sight of the fact that if I make a mistake, or a project I am working on doesn’t come out exactly they way I want it to, It doesn’t mean that I am a failure.  Yes, I missed the service last week and even though I was told that I was free from the obligation, I felt it was a mistake but I am trying, I am working on my Teshuvah process and Hashem knows it.  Hashem wants us to come close to Him, we should never forget the reason He wants us to come close to Him is because He loves us.

He knows that we can do better and wants us to have faith that we can. He is aware we are imperfect and loves us despite our imperfections.

May the New Year bring you all blessing upon blessing!



Gossip: This Shabbos September 20 Speech awareness

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

I was informed a few days ago that this coming Shabbos, September 20, 2008 is National Lashon Hara awareness Day. Simply put, Lashon Hara is gossip. It is a mitzvah, a commandment to avoid this, and there are many laws of proper speech which I will write more about at another time. I thank the person for sending me this important news and for knowing that it would be good for me to have a laugh at the same time. You will see what I mean when you click on this site below. You will see the face of a very funny and famous man. Click on the face and the video will begin to play.  Let’s all be mindful and careful about the words that leave our mouths.

 

http://www.ou.org/ou/event_more/national_day_of_lashon_hara_awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur: The Call to Self-Improvement Part 2

 

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

 

We are still in the Hebrew month of Elul, the Seventeenth day of Elul to be exact and preparations for the New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the day of repentance Yom Kippur are well underway.  If you feel you have gotten off to a slow start, or have not started at all as of yet, don’t worry.  It is alright, you still have time.  As I said previously in Rosh Hashanah the call to self improvement, the month of Elul is a special time for prayer.  This is not to say that once the month of Elul passes, the doors of prayer are closed.  The doors of prayer are never closed.  Hashem, G-d, always listens.  My personal interpretation is that the month of Elul is a time that G-d pays extra attention to what our prayers are. I asked you to examine, as I am examining the answers to some questions including what it is you want out of life Some of you may be thinking, that is very nice but how do I ask for what I want, and how do I know what it is that I truly desire? I. can’t give you all the answers and I will never claim to be able to but I can give you some suggestions based on my own experience.

 

  If you have an idea of what you want, sit in a quiet room and write these things down.  Don’t be concerned with how silly you think some of the things you write might be, write until you feel you can’t write anymore about what you want or think you want.  Then read through your list, depending on how long the list took, you might want to leave it for awhile, before you go over it.  This all depends on how tired you feel.  When you read through the list, ask yourself if every goal is important.  If you read something you find to be unimportant or superficial put a line through it.  Read through your list a second time to make sure that everything on it is a goal you wish to accomplish. 

 

In the case you need to ask for help knowing what you want, I suggest that when you have time you go into a room by yourself,  it must be a room where you can have privacy. Once you find this place, get comfortable and begin to talk.  No, you will not get a verbal answer, but this exercise may give you an answer, all the same.

  When I am feeling confused I do this. The best time I find is at night when everyone is sleeping, I think, and then I start talking until the situation I am dealing with begins to become less confusing to me. I pray to G-d without asking him anything yet.  I just pour out my heart, like I would with a best friend who is greatly trusted.  This communication process helps me to understand myself in ways I don’t think I could otherwise. It makes me feel that Hashem is very near.

 

Rosh Hashanah is a time we can allow ourselves to return to Hashem and during the month of Elul Hashem is begging us to come closer to him, to return to him and to what is most important in life. Sometimes a person can’t find the words to express all that they feel.  In this situation, I look up at the ceiling or sky and say “Hashem, there is so much I want to say to you but the only word I can think of is Help”.   Just saying that one little word, “Help” helps me with whatever situation I am in.  Again, I do not get a verbal response, and the problem may not be immediately solved, but I can feel a difference many times the instant that I do this.

 

Over the years, I have heard some stories of married couples renewing their wedding vows.  These couples have been together for years and have barely been separated since the beginning of their married life and love each other.  These couples were all already legally married.  So why did they choose to renew vows?  They did this act because they have deep love for each other.  It was important to these couples that they express that love and commitment in front of people but most importantly in front of each other.  These couples promised to be good spouses and to be better spouses than they had been over the years.   Rosh Hashanah is a time that we can very effectively, through a process, recommit ourselves to Hashem, and make new commitments to him to be better people who have better relationships with him and the important people in our lives.  Hashem brings himself closer to us and we help to bring ourselves closer to him during this time.  This is why the month of Elul is a particularly special time for prayer. Elul is often the right time for our heartfelt prayers to be answered with a yes.