Jew in the suburbs


The Bracha: A story of a blessing
February 24, 2009, 4:14 am
Filed under: Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Shul, women | Tags: , , ,

 

 

 

Dear Blog readers,

 

Several weeks ago I had a wonderful opportunity to be blessed by a Rebbe and I took it.

I was so excited and to tell you the truth, nervous.  I’m sure if not all people who have been blessed by a Rebbe can say, it was a big deal most can.  Out here in the suburbs, I feel it is an even bigger deal because the opportunities to be blessed by a Rebbe are few in comparison to big cities such as New York.  Rebbes don’t always come to the suburbs for three day visits.  I felt an urgency to get a Bracha, a blessing.  Perhaps more of an urgency than I would have felt if I now lived in New York.  I thought to myself, I had better get a Bracha from this Rebbe ASAP because who knows when I will get the next opportunity and how often will a Rebbe come to the suburbs?

 

I was filled with excitement about getting a Bracha and I should mention that it was the first time in my life that I had an opportunity to get a blessing from a Rebbe.  Someone told me that I should ask for a Bracha for another person before asking for myself.  This was common sense to me and to do anything else would be against the person that I am.  I always think of others first, I always try to think of others before myself. And don’t feel right requesting something just for myself when I can request the same for others in need. I did some preparation before receiving my Bracha.  A few days before, I collected the full Hebrew names of people I knew, double checking some of them to make sure my information was correct;  I then made a list of all of these names and next to each name  I wrote the things I wanted these people to be blessed with. When I got to the shul the next afternoon, I was surprised to see that there were not that many people waiting, but I was happy. I knew this Rebbe was going to be in my community for three days and for many hours during these three days would bless the people who came to him.  I had chosen to come the first hour he was there on the first day.  This Rebbe decided he was more comfortable giving blessings to people in the sanctuary after a few minutes inspecting another room.  When we were asked to come in, this Rebbe was sitting at a long table I watched as  other people got their blessings and then I was summoned to get my Bracha but I didn’t realize it.  I thought there were people ahead of me and I said people who were not ahead of me could go before me but this would not do.  I walked over to this Rebbe, in my opinion quite timidly and thank G-d, he gave me a blessing which encompassed within it everything.  I was disappointed that I was not able to ask this Rebbe for blessings for others.  I thought I would have the time and I didn’t so although I got a Bracha I felt disappointed that I did not have the time to ask for others.  This Rebbe needed to give a Bracha and move on to the next person.  I know that after receiving my Bracha, I walked out of the shul, my feet steps light and thought to myself its working already which was a very comforting feeling

 

Hours later I felt even more gratitude toward Hashem and this Rebbe than I felt when I first got the Bracha because I thought about it more and was able to process it.  I had prepared so much in order to get this Bracha, and the moment I had to get it was so fleeting even though I knew that I felt lighter on my feet walking out of the sanctuary and the shul after getting my blessing, I also felt bad because I tried to let other people get in front of me in order to get their Bracha first and I came with a list of people who I wanted blessed and was not able to talk about to him about these people so I had a sense of guilt that I could or should have done more.  When I told my friends this, they were not surprised.  They know I want the best for others and that I think of others before I think of myself and that is why I wanted other people to get their blessings first.  It was a beautiful experience, one that I’m glad I have been able to reflect on.  Yes, I wanted others to get their blessings first, but after reflection I realized that maybe it was part of the plan that I was summoned up to get my Bracha at the exact moment it was meant to be and when I left they were able to get their blessings I am thankful to Hashem and I am thankful that the Bracha I received was and is so very helpful.  Everyday in little ways since that day several weeks ago, I see myself in small ways getting stronger in areas of life.  May all of you have blessing upon blessing and get whatever it is you need at the right time.

 

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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!



The Glow of Rabbi Holzberg and his Wife
December 11, 2008, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Hashem, Jewish blogs, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Shul, women | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

 

Dear blog Readers,

 

The Saturday morning of the long Thanksgiving weekend, I sat in Shul wondering what the rabbi would say about the events of that past week in India. My month hung open slightly as he spoke abut the senseless murder of Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg, and his wife, Rebbetzin Rivka Holzberg. It was the first time I heard it. Don’t get me wrong I had been following reports but events were still unfolding when I left for Shabbos Friday afternoon. When I got home from my Shabbos trip I was able to find more information. I found some Memorial videos, I read some blogs, but I was still at a loss for words. What can one say? When I was searching for information about Rabbi Holzberg, and his wife I was surprised about how many people had already written blogs about them, and I thought to myself. Wow I have to write about this, I will be expected to write about this, and I should write about it as a way of processing it myself. But again, what could I say, how could I find the words to describe the horror and sadness that I felt and feel? Then I thought about the poem I posted hours before my Shabbos trip. The poem is called Glow. It is not only a poem about lighting Shabbos candles, although that is what is being described. It is a poem about bringing light into this world and watching it glow. Bringing light into this world is bringing goodness The Rabbi and his wife glowed. They did things for others selflessly, and they brought light into this world. The light that they brought is not all extinguished. They touched the lives of so many, who in turn, I am sure, have touched the lives of others, and will continue to touch the lives of others that they meet. Thank G-d their children are here. All we can do is fellow the example of Gavriel, and Rivka Holzberg by creating more light, taking every opportunity to do so, and watch it glow creating goodness to fight off darkness.

 

For more information go to http://www.chabad.org/  Ladies also go to www.Fridaylight.org

       



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!!



Hectic Friday, Blessed Shabbat
October 8, 2008, 1:35 am
Filed under: Jewish, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Shul, Torah | Tags: , ,

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

This past Friday afternoon I did my usual Shabbat preparations.  I was able to leisurely get dressed and get last minute things in order because I had been preparing since the night before.  I was ready to leave my house early and expected to be at my Shabbat destination in plenty of time before candle lighting.  The problem was I arranged for transportation to pick me up and that transportation was at least a half hour late.  Then, I was informed that the driver had to drop someone else off before me, and then he got lost.  I sat in my seat quietly and nervously glancing at my watch.  I called someone on my cell phone to check and see when candle lighting was ( I always like to double check things) The person on the other end of the phone told me that candle lighting was at least a half and hour earlier than I thought it was.  You see, only about a week ago I got my new Jewish calendar, and the problem was that when I looked up candle lighting, I accidentally looked at candle lighting for the first Shabbat in September instead of the first Shabbat candle lighting in October.  I hung up the phone quickly and said to the driver, “I hate to complain, and would not normally do so but, I have to get somewhere for religious reasons.  He turned to me and said “What do you want me to do?”  I said, I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you in any way, and I don’t want you to leave anyone stranded.  I really need to get there before the sun goes down.  He again asked me what I wanted him to do and said “give me 5 minutes.”  I said all right but he either needed to get me to my planned destination or take me back home.  We were still closer to my home than my planned destination and I was confident I could make it home and light candles there.  I wasn’t confident that I could reach my planned destination which was at least 20 minutes away.  I said again, I don’t mean to come off as disrespectful in any way but if you don’t get me there I can’t fulfill my obligations, and I am in the wrong.  I have to get there for religious reasons.  I have to light candles.  When I said I had to light candles, he said, I understand and I will do the best that I can.  He got on the highway instead of taking the streets and went as fast as he could safely.  I kept looking at my watch; the sun seemed to be mocking me.  It was in my eyes and getting lower and lower.  My stomach was in knots; I said please G-d let me get there on time.  I was filled with stress.  The driver did get me to the place I needed to be and, helped me with my suitcase.  I thanked him and said G-d bless you.  The knots in my stomach were subsiding.  I knew I still had minutes left and I wasn’t quite into the extra 18.  I went into the house, lit, said the blessing, and went to Shul filled with such relief and such gratitude.  I was calm again.  

 

This past Shabbat was Shabbat Shuva, the last Shabbat before Yom Kipper, and the women’s section seemed more packed than it usually is on a Friday night.  I sat down with my Siddur as the sound of the Shabbat evening service melodies floated to my ears.  I felt so inspired and so loved and so part of something.  I was so grateful that I hadn’t missed one moment.  I was so grateful to feel so connected and all my worries disappeared.  I thought to myself this is where I am and this is where I should be.  I thought about how I may not have appreciated the candle lighting and Shabbat service as much if it were not for that hectic rush to be there on time.  If it weren’t for that rush, maybe I wouldn’t have noticed the calm, maybe I would not have felt as connected to the people around me who also came to Shul.  Shabbat allows us to slow down I also think that a rush before Shabbat comes in, shows us that the slow down is needed in our lives.  May you all be sealed in the book of life for a good life and a year full of only blessing.

 

 



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!