Friday, December 30, 2011

Tears, Tehillim, Tefillos, Techinnah .....

"Be very careful if you make a woman cry .... Ha'Shem counts her tears. Every tear a woman sheds is equivalent of a man’s sacrifices in life"
 ~  Tractate Baba Mezi'a 59a ~
Usually a sign of weakness. Of unchecked emotion. Some would say they reflect a lack of control.
It's no secret that a man's biggest nightmare is to be caught crying. Men don't cry. Not real men at least.
Controlling emotion has been seen since time immemorial as a sign of strength.

So real. So human. So normal.   They express sincerity at times. Compassion at others.

A gentle person cries. A sensitive person cries.
Tears express genuineness.

When it hurts we cry.
When we are touched we cry.
In pain and in joy we cry.
On a wedding day we cry.
When a baby is born we cry.
When a loved one passes on we cry.
In real moments we cry.

Tears, then, express the realest and truest part of us. They reflect our core that is usually concealed and rarely revealed.
To cry, then, is not a sign of weakness. But, perhaps to build walls around our emotion is.
It is strange that we have the capacity to cry, to expel water from our eyes when we are sad. It seems to serve no real purpose .... although science can explain the physiological “why”,  and mental health experts can explain the psychological “why”.  That still leaves the real question of “why” tears ..... just why were we created with that capacity?

It seems a mysterious part of what it means to be human to shed tears.  And yet, Torah, Tanakh & Talmud are replete with references to tears.  It seems less mysterious for Jews ... or so thinks this Jewish girl anyways.   Tears are somehow connected to the waters of Shamayim & their separation with the Sad Seas below,  Raindrops above and the earth in between.

Rabbi Eleazar said ..... "Since the destruction of the Temple, the gates of tefilah are locked, for it is written, Also when I cry out, he shutteth out my tefilah. Yet though the gates of tefilah are locked, the gates of tears are not, for it is written, Hear my tefilah, Ha'Shem, and give ear unto my cry, hold not thy peace at my tears."  ~ Talmud Tractate Baba Mezi'a ~

“A child’s tear rends the heavens to reach Ha'Shem” .... An old Yiddish Proverb oft repeated to me in childhood.

So tears penetrate  the "Gate of Tears" that gets you through to Ha'Shem, to the one who provides justice & respite for the afflicted, whether they be personal tears or those of Klal Yisrael ... Hashem does not forget a Jewish tear!

That is the purpose of tears in life!

And, I know in life too, there is no such a thing as coincidence If something has happened it's for a reason. Perhaps simple, perhaps not. Just unknown ... to me that is. It is not unknown to Ha'Shem. How could it be??

Hashem doesn't just do things or allow things without reason. Hashem decides and plans for each person what is best for them, on an individual level as he is persuaded .... not a blade of grass sways in the wind, or a wave breaks on a rocky shore, but that Ha'shem has decreed it first. He knows each wisp of wind, as he knows each of us he has created, intimately. And perhaps the reason I don't see the reason, or the hand of Ha'Shem at work is because what I really need is to work on myself to become closer and closer to Hashem. So, each Yisurim that I pass through is to bring me closer to Ha'Shem himself. It is to improve my Bitachon & Emuna in Him.

Hashem is full of Chesed and Rachamim for every Jew in the World. It is knowing this & trusting this, allied with tears that open the gate to Ha'Shem's mercy.
That is the purpose of Tears I think!!

And I wanted to write on this today because it has obsessed my heart recently,  not just recently,  forever really .....  I am a girl!!!

And, I'll end with a tale from the Artscroll translation of 'The Kinnos of Tisha B'Av' by Rabbi Avraham Chaim Feuer.

Rabbi Feuer (p.xiv) brings a beautiful story with Rabbi Aryeh Levin a man of rare compassion and sensitivity ......

Once a distraught, recently widowed woman came to him and cried uncontrollably. All of his efforts to console her were of no avail. Finally the widow said that she would accept consolation if he could please answer the following question. "Please tell me what happened to all of my tears? I prayed and prayed for my late husband, I recited chapter after chapter of Tehilim, and shed thousands upon thousands of tears. My very soul flowed into those tears. Were they all wasted?"

Gently, Rav Aryeh replied, "After a hundred and twenty years, when you will leave this world and ascend to the heavenly tribunal, you will see how meaningful and precious your tears were. You will discover that Hashem Himself gathered them in and counted every single teardrop and treasured it like a priceless gem. And you will discover that, whenever some harsh and evil decree was looming over the Jewish people, one of your tears came and washed the evil away, making it null and void. Even one sincere tear is a source of salvation!"

Hearing this the woman burst into a fresh flow of tears ~ not tears of sorrow and grief, but tears of courage and hope.   That is where I need to be ......

Thou has counted my wanderings, put Thou my tears into Thy bottle ... are they not in Thy book?
~ Tellihim 56.9 ~

Friday, December 16, 2011

Through Simple Eyes .....

 ~ Thru' Simple Eyes by David Dome  ~

How'd we ever come to this ?
Making complications from the simplest things.
The mighty power of the intellect,
Sabotaged by self importance is incorrect.

Yeah, the end of hate is in our reach!
Yeah, won't you think before you speak?

This ain't a saviour complex saving you,
G-d knows I'm not a paragon of virtue.
I see the world with simple eyes,
That it's better to judge fairly rather than to despise.

Yeah ! Can I see the good in everyone?
Yes ! In all of us that are reaching out to One.

Our redemption could be a day away.
So we'd better put our hearts in line today .

What's there to learn if I'm bitter inside ?
And what's so delicate that I feel I must hide?
What's there to stop me from connection to you?
It's just the yetzer hara but he's a liar too .

Oh ! The power of my soul is very real.
Oh ! To refine my middot and to learn how to feel .

Oh ! Let me see the world through simple eyes!
Oh! May our holiness bring wisdom to the wise!

Eliyahu HaNavi could come right now,
Don't use what you have learned to start a row .

Listen to & Purchase this track by David Dome Here !!!!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Hannah's Heart!

And Chana Davened ....

My heart exulteth in Ha'Shem, I have triumphed through Ha'Shem; I gloat over mine enemies because I rejoice with Simchah in Thy deliverance.

There is none kadosh like Ha'Shem;  for there is none besides Thee;  neither is there any Tzur like my  G*d

Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy cross thy lips; for Ha'Shem is a G*d of knowledge, and by Him actions are measured.

The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. Men once sated have hired out themselves for bread; and men that were hungry have ceased to hunger;  while the barren hath borne seven,  she that had many children is forlorn & withers in grief.

Ha'Shem deals death, and maketh alive; He bringeth down to Sheol, and raiseth up high. Hashem maketh poor and maketh rich; He bringeth low, He also lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, He lifteth up the needy from the dung-hill, to make them sit with Princes, and inherit seats of honour;  for the pillars of the earth belong to Hashem, and He hath set the world upon them.  He is shomer over the feet of His chasidim,  and the resha'im shall be silenced in darkness; for not by strength shall man prevail.

They that strive with Ha'Shem shall be broken to pieces; shattered; Out of Shamayim shall He thunder in the heavens;  Ha'Shem will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength unto His Melech,  and triumph to His Moshiach.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Adon Olam!

Lord of the Universe who reigned
before the birth of any thing ~
When by His will all things were made
then was His name proclaimed 'King'.
And when all things shall cease to be
He alone shall reign in Awe
He was,  He is & He shall be
Glorious Evermore.
He is One,  there is none else,
alone, unique, beyond compare,
Without beginning, without end.
His might, His rule are everywhere.
He is my G*d, the Infinite One
He is the refuge on whom I rely
my advocate, my safe retreat
my cup, my comfort when I cry.
Into his hand my soul I place
when I wake & when I sleep
Ha'Shem is with me, I shall not fear
My body & soul from harm He'll keep!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Torah Lishma!

"Because of troubles, rise up early in the morning to go to the Hall of Study, as also at night, and a woman's worries will dissipate by themselves."
    ~ Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 7a ~

"There are six Mitzvoh, the fruit of which Woman eats in this World, while the full reward remains for the World to Come .... Hospitality to Wayfarers, Visiting the sick, Helping the needy Bride, Devotion in Davening, Early attendance at the Beth Ha'Midrash, rearing one's sons to the study of the Torah ...... There are Mitzvoh that Woman performs and enjoys their fruits in this World, while the reward remains for the world to come .... Honouring one's parents, the practice of Chesed and making peace between man and his fellow, But the Study of Torah Surpasses them All."
~ Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 127a ~

Rabbi Meir said ~ "Anyone who engages in Torah Lishma merits many things. Not only that, but the entire World is Worthwhile for her alone. She is called 'friend' and 'beloved,' ... She loves Ha'Shem, She loves man, She brings joy to Ha'Shem, She brings joy to man."
~ Pirkei Avot, Mishna 1a ~

According to Rabbi Yehudah, Ha'Shem Himself studiesTorah for the first three hours of every day.
~ Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Avodah Zarah 3b ~

Blessed are You, Ha'Shem, Ruler of the Universe who distinguishes between the sacred and the profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and other people of the world .....

Blessed are You, Ha'Shem our G*d, King of the universe, Who chose us from all the nations, and granted us Torah. Blessed are You, Ha'Shem, Giver of Torah!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

He Moveth Mountains ....

I will lift up mine eyes unto the Harim,   from whence cometh my help?
My help cometh from Ha'Shem, Oseh Shomayim v'Aretz,  maker of Heaven,  maker of Earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to slip,  He that is shomer over thee will not slumber.
Behold, He that is shomer over Yisroel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Ha'Shem is the One shomer over thee,  Ha'Shem is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The shemesh shall not strike thee by day, nor the yarei'ach by night.
Ha'Shem shall preserve thee from kol rah.   He shall preserve thy Neshama.
Ha'Shem shall be shomer over thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, 

V'ad olam .... for  evermore!

Ha'Shem, if it accords with Thee ... Please Move Mountains for Me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shabbat Simcha!

Every Friday evening at Sundown, a transformation occurs in Jewish households across the world.  Every time we light our candles and welcome Shabbat,  we create a Fortress ... strengthening you, your family, & All the Jewish people in the world. As the sky becomes darker, our hearts become lighter.  The darkness of the day's problems recedes, exiled by the peaceful glow of the Shabbat candles. It is truly a gift from Ha'Shem & Heaven.  All that is good, all that is holy is symbolized ~ indeed even realized ~ in the flickering light of the Shabbat candles. Two millennia ago, the Zohar declared that a woman kindling her Shabbat candles with Simcha in her heart brings peace on earth,  long life to her loved ones, and is blessed with children who illuminate our world with Torah.

Even though today I am a tangle of yearnings, on this evening everything shall be perfect ....  All is prepared & I will be in the presence of my King.  For in welcoming Shabbat I welcome Ha'Shem to my home.  It is Ha'Shems Will, that I be privileged to receive this Shabbat with happiness and joy in his precious homeland, Eretz Yisrael.

O Ha'Shem, Hear & Protect me so that no sadness or depression, no anguish or worry will mar my Shabbat. May I be happy with all my Soul, with all my Heart and with all my Strength. Let this happiness without limit encompass your people Israel, me, mine and any who should visit my household this Shabbat.  Soon the Skies here in Eretz Yisrael will Illuminate as the Daughters of Zion Observe & Remember Ha'Shem.
Refreshed and renewed,
Attired in festive garments,
With candles nodding dreamily to
Unutterable expectations,
To intuitions of eternity,
Overcome with a feeling
As if almost shrouded by a veil.
There is not enough grandeur in our Neshamot
To be able to unravel in words
The knot of time and eternity.

There is a song in the wind
And simcha in the trees.
Shabbat arrives in the world,
Scattering a song in the silence of the night ....
Eternity utters a day. Where are the words
That could compete with such might??
Shabbat Shalom!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Synagogue Simcha!!

It's almost Sundown in Israel. SIMCHAT TORAH begins tonight with the reading of the concluding Torah portion & the commencement of a new year of Torah readings.  Simchat Torah,  literally means "rejoicing in the Torah," & celebrates the completion and beginning of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. The final Parashah  of Torah(known as V'zot Habrachah in the Book of Devarim) is read from the Torah and is immediately followed by the reading of the first portion of the Book of Bereishit. Beginnings!!

The Torah-reading ritual on Simchat Torah is characterized by the ha'kafot service. Jews dance with Torah scrolls in hakafot (literally, "circles") in the Synagogue and on the streets outside.   The Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and given to members of the congregation to hold, then they march around the Synagogue and everyone kisses the Torah Scrolls as they pass. This ceremony is known as hakafot, which means "to march around" in Hebrew. Once the Torah holders return to the ark everyone forms a circle around them and dances with them.    Simchat Torah is considered a kid-friendly Jewish holiday, and it is not uncommon to find children with flags and banners perched on parents' shoulders throughout the festivities. Dancing while holding the Torah is considered a great honour on this holiday. In congregations with multiple sets of scrolls, Torahs are passed from one person to the next during the dancing. 

Kabbalists (Jewish mystics) have a thing for the number Seven. Among other things, there are Seven days of Sukkot, the holiday that precedes Simchat Torah. Ha'kafot dancing occurs Seven times during Simchat Torah services. A set of 17 verses is read ~ in some congregations it is repeated three times in each of the seven hakafot -- and then the dancing begins anew. Each of the seven dances is associated with the seven divine emanations (known as Sephirot in Kabbalah) in the physical world ....  kindness, judgment, harmony, victory, splendor, foundation and kingship. While each day of Sukkot has a similar association, on Simchat Torah all of these aspects are united on one day. Jews dance in circles on Simchat Torah to acknowledge this unity.
Because Simchat Torah is such a happy day, services are not as formal as at other times. Some will drink liquor during the service, others will make a game out of singing so loud that they drown out the cantor's voice. Overall the holiday is a unique and joyful experience, Baruch Ha'Shem!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Dream to Deliverance ....

A Maschil .....

Ha'Shem Elohei Yeshuati, G*d of my deliverance,  what times I cry in the night before Thee ...
Let my Tefillah come before Thee,  Incline Thine ear unto my cry.
For my soul is sated with troubles,  and my life draweth nigh unto Sheol.
I am counted with them that go down into the pit, 
I am become as a girl that hath no help,
Forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom Thou rememberest no more,
And they are cut off from Thy care.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the deeps, in the depths,
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and all Thy waves Thou pressest down hard,
Thou hast estranged mine acquaintances far from me,
Thou hast made me an abomination unto them, I am shut up, and I cannot escape or come forth,
Mine eye languisheth by reason of affliction, Ha'Shem, I have called daily upon Thee, 
I have stretched up my hands unto Thee.

Wilt Thou work wonders for the dead? ....  Shall the lifeless arise and praise Thee?
Shall Thy mercy be declared in the grave?  Or Thy emunah in the Place of Perdition?
Shall Thy wonders be known in the dark?  And Thy tzedakah in the Eretz Neshiyyah .... the land of forgetfulness?

But unto Thee have I cried, Ha'Shem .... and in the morning doth my tefillah come before Thee.
Ha'Shem, why castest Thou off my nefesh?  Why hidest Thou Thy face from me?
I am afflicted and at the point of death from my youth,  I suffer Thy terrors,  I am distraught!
Thy fierce wrath surrounded me, Thy terrors have cut me off.
They swirl about me like water all the day, like the Mayim, they close in, engulfing me.

Lover and companion hast Thou estranged from me, and mine acquaintances into darkness.

Where art Thou, Ha'Shem .... My G*d???

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shabbat Sukkot!

After two days of Rosh Ha-Shanah and a day of fasting on Yom Kippur, you would think that Jews would be exhausted.  Enough Judaism, already!
Yet at precisely that time, the calendar of Judaism presents a dazzling array of festivals ~ Sukkot, Hoshanah Rabbah, Sh'mini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah.  For more than a week, we continue to celebrate one holiday after another, each with its own set of rituals, songs, and customs.
Of all the festivals, none has as many mitzvot (commandments) and customs associated with it than does Sukkot, the Festival of Booths.  We build special  sukkah, carry the four types of plants (the lulav ~ palm frond, etrog ~ citron or lemon, aravah ~ willow, and hadas ~ myrtle) and eat festive meals in our Sukkot.  Some Jews even sleep in their Sukkot & peruse the Stars.
Exhausted by the holy days already behind us, and living in a culture that distrusts ritual in the first place, what can this frenetic activity mean to us?
Traditional commentators have explained the lulav and etrog in several ways ....

According to the Midrash Va-Yikra Rabbah, the etrog, hadas, and aravah symbolize the three Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The single Lulav symbolizes Ha'Shem.  By holding the three against the Lulav, we act out our hope that the sacred deeds of our ancestors, the lessons learned throughout our lengthy history, will serve us well before Ha'Shem .  Thus, lulav and etrog demonstrate our link to Jewish history throughout time.
According to Pesikta De-Rav Kahana, each of the plants symbolizes a different type of Jew .... one who is learned in Torah and rich in good deeds, one who is learned but has performed no good deeds, one who is uneducated but active in demonstrating Chesed, and one who is uneducated and has not performed loving deeds.  By binding all four plants together, we pray that Ha'Shem will also consider the entire Jewish people as a single unit, each responsible for the other, each Jew compensating for the shortcomings of the others.  Thus, lulav and etrog demonstrate our unity as a people and celebrate our diversity as individuals and as various strands within the umbrella of Judaism.
Finally, the medieval compilation Kad ha-Kemah asserts that each of the four species corresponds to a different human organ .... the heart, the spine, the eyes, and the lips.  Just as all these organs can lead a person to error and to pain, so too they can become the means for self improvement and for elevating others.  Thus, lulav and etrog demonstrate our determination to use our bodies to help other people and ourselves, to serve Ha'Shem, thus making the world more holy.
In Midrash Va-Yikra Rabbah,   Rabbi Avin compares the lulav and the etrog to a sceptre awarded to a victorious combatant.  After returning to our synagogues in massive numbers on Rosh HaShanah, after spending Ten Days of Awe considering who we are and who we want to be, after fasting and praying on Yom Kippur, the entire Jewish people emerge energized, enriched, and motivated.

Sukkot is a Joyous Festival filled with Simcha.  Carry your lulav and etrog with joy!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach as Shabbat Sukkot approaches!!!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Atonement Abounds!!

We shall ascribe holiness to this day.
For it is awesome and terrible.
Your kingship is exalted upon it.
Your throne is established in mercy.
You are enthroned upon it in truth.
In truth You are the judge,
The exhorter, the all ~ knowing,  the witness,
He who inscribes and seals,
Remembering all that is forgotten.
You open the book of remembrance
Which proclaims itself,
And the seal of each person is there.
The great shofar is sounded,
A still small voice is heard.
The angels are dismayed,
They are seized by fear and trembling
As they proclaim ...  Behold the Day of Judgment!

For all the hosts of heaven are brought for judgment.
They shall not be guiltless in Your eyes
And all creatures shall parade before You as a troop.
As a shepherd herds his flock,
Causing his sheep to pass beneath his staff,
So do You cause to pass, count, and record,
Visiting the souls of all living,
Decreeing the length of their days,
Inscribing their judgment.
On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed,
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed.

How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die,
Who shall reach the end of his days and who shall not,
Who shall perish by water and who by fire,
Who by sword and who by wild beast,
Who by famine and who by thirst,
Who by earthquake and who by plague,
Who by strangulation and who by stoning,
Who shall have rest and who shall wander,
Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,
Who shall be at rest and who shall be tormented,
Who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low,
Who shall become rich and who shall be impoverished.
But Teshuva, Tefillos and Tzedakah avert the severe decree.

May Ha'Shem Heed our Tefillos & our Tears.  May our Fast be Purposeful & Pass Swiftly.  May we be inscribed in the Book of Life for a Sweet Year to come & May 2772 overflow with Bracha, Simcha, Health & Prosperity in Parnassa.  G'mar Hatima tov & Shabbat Shalom!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rain Pearls ....

With my voice I cry aloud unto Hashem ;  I appeal to Ha'Shem loudly for Rachamim,
With my voice unto Hashem did I make my techinnah,
I pour out my complaint before Him,  I declare before Him my trouble,
When my spirit fainteth within me .....

Then Thou had da'as of my path,
In the way wherein I walk have they have hidden a Snare for me.

Look on my right, and see,   for I have no friend;  
There is nowhere I can flee,
Refuge failed me; 
No one careth for my Nefesh.

So I cry unto Thee, Hashem;  I say, Thou art my refuge and my chelek in the
Eretz Ha'Chayyim.
All I have in the land of the living,

Attend unto my Cry;  for I am brought very low;

Deliver me from my persecutors;  for they are stronger than I,
Release my Neshama from this prison,  that I may give thanks unto Thee,
And Praise Thy Shemecha.

The Tzaddikim shall gather about me for Thou wilt deal bountifully with me.

Baruch Ha'Shem!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Sound of the Shofar!!

Ha'Shem, rebuke me not in Thine Anger,  
Neither Chasten me in Thy hot Displeasure,
Have Mercy upon me, Ha'Shem,  for I languish,

Ha'Shem,  Heal me for my bones are Affrighted.
My Nefesh also is Sore Affrighted,  and Thou,  Ha'Shem,  how much longer?
Return,  Ha'Shem,  Rescue me,  Deliver me for the sake of Thy Chesed.

For in Death there is no Remembrance of Thee, in Sheol who shall Acclaim Thee?
I am weary with my groaning,  every night make I my bed to Swim,  
I Melt away my couch with my tears.
Mine eye is dimmed by Vexation,  it Waxeth old because of all mine Adversaries.
Depart from me, all ye workers of Iniquity for Hashem hath heard the voice of my weeping.
Hashem heeds my techinnah.  Hashem receiveth my tefillah,
All mine enemies shall be Ashamed and sore Affrighted,  
They shall turn back frustrated,  Suddenly!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

L'Shanah Tova!!

Ha'Shem hear thee in the day of trouble,  the Shem Elohei Ya'akov set thee up on high.   Send forth thy help from the Sanctuary and support thee out of Tziyon.   Remember all thy minchot, and accept thy olat.  Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy Etzah.

We will shout for joy in thy victory, and in the name of Ha'Shem we will set up our standards.  Ha'Shem fulfil all thy petitions.

Now know I that Ha'Shem hoshi'a His Moshiach.  He will answer him from His Holy Habitation ~ Sh'mei Kodesh ~ with the mighty acts of His saving right hand.  Let the King answer us in the day that we call.

L'Shanah Tova!!

May you each be inscribed in the the Book Of Life for a Sweet New Year ....

May Ha'Shem grant each and every one of you a year filled with His protection and all of the Bracha your hearts do desire.   May we dwell in the Bais Ha'Shem all the days of the year to come. 

May we also be worthy of bringing Moshiach and the rebuilding of our Beit Ha'Mikdash this year to come,  Be Z'ereth Ha'Shem!!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday .... A Day of Favour!!!

Refreshed and renewed,
Attired in festive garments,
With candles nodding dreamily to
Unutterable expectations,
To intuitions of eternity,
Overcome with a feeling
As if almost shrouded by a veil.
There is not enough grandeur in our Neshamot
To be able to unravel in words
The knot of time and eternity.

There is a song in the wind
And joy in the trees.
Shabbat arrives in the world,
Scattering a song in the silence of the night ....
Eternity utters a day. Where are the words
That could compete with such might??

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jerusalem .... My Joy!!

"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a bowl of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall be in siege against Jerusalem when all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against her. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples, all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and In that day, saith Ha'Shem, I will smite every horse with bewilderment, and his rider with madness; and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the chiefs of Judah shall say in their heart: 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength through Ha'Shem their G*d.'
In that day will I make the chiefs of Judah like a flaming brazier among the wood, and like a torch of fire among the sheaves; and they shall devour all the besieging peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left; and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. Ha'Shem shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah. In that day shall Ha'Shem defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he the feeblest among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as a gdlike being, as the angel of Ha'Shem before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem." 

~ ZECHARYAH,  Chapter 12 ~

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Question for America??

This is  'The Treaty of Paris'.   On 3rd September 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the American Revolution. The United States of America was acknowledged as a sovereign and independent state. Why then this September, 2011, is the Sovereignity of the Jewish State of Israel and it's Independence still under question in America ?????

 An Import from my Main Blog .....  A Girl, A Blog, & Life In-between!!

Enjoy the Labour Day Long Weekend!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Heart for Ha'Shem!

Melechet Shamayim, literally  'the work of Heaven'. This is what the Talmud calls the task of the Sofer. Sofrut is the Jewish scribal tradition that stretches back more than 3,300 years to Moshe Rabbeinu on Mt. Sinai.

Ha'Shem is my ohr and Yishi. whom shall I fear?  Ha'Shem is the ma'oz of my life,  of whom shall I be afraid?
When the resha'im,  even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to devour my basar, they stumbled and fell.
Though an army should encamp against me, my lev shall not fear, though milchamah should break out against me,  in this will I be confident.
One thing have I asked of Ha'Shem, that will I seek after ... that I may dwell in the Bais Ha'Shem all the days of my life,  to behold the gracefulness of Ha'Shem,  and to inquire in His Heikhal.
For in the Yom Ra'ah  He shall keep me safe in His Sukkah,  in the shelter of His Ohel shall He conceal me.  He shall set me up upon a Tzur.
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies around about me,  therefore will I offer in His Ohel sacrifices with shouts of joy,  I will sing,  yea,  I will make music unto Ha'Shem.
Shema, Ha'Shem,  when I call with my voice,  chaneini also upon me,  and answer me.

When my lev said of Thee,  Seek ye My face,  my lev said unto Thee,  Thy face,  Ha'Shem, will I seek.
Hide not Thy face far from me,  turn not Thy eved away in anger,  Thou hast been my ezer,  leave me not,  neither forsake me,  Elohei Yishi.
When Avi and Immi forsake me, then Hashem will take me up.
Teach me Thy Derech, Ha'Shem, and lead me in a plain path,  because of mine enemies.
Deliver me not over unto the desire of mine enemies,  for edei sheker are risen up against me, and such as breathe out chamas.
Did I not believe to see Hashem's goodness in the Eretz Chayyim!
Wait for Ha'Shem.  Chazak!  And strengthen thine lev.  Wait, I say, for Ha'Shem.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Autumn Afternoon Amble!!

I walk the woods in reverie ~ their silence my song
Innocent possibility,  wooded world without wrong.
Doubts undoubtedly drowning my mind,
Shrouding surrender, woe wooing the wind.

Cornered submission, Desperate in time,
Direction, Concession,  A possibility to shine
Tears of quiet loneliness dredge up debris inside,
A Cacophony of Hopelessness,  A souls swirling tide.

Wisps of wisdom wake the warring din,
Watching eyes open to peer deep within,
Sheltering Shadows ... Stark reality
Loud, Lovelorn, Luminous Possibility!

Autumn leaves, Fall from trees
Crisply crunch beneath my feet.
This season's Solace stirs
My Shattered Hearts retreat.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Shamayim ~ Koheleth 3.1 ~

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shabbat Shalom!!

A Couple of weeks ago someone asked me why two candles are lit on Shabat. I remembered my own Mother's intonations on Friday evenings & replied, but with a very brief answer.

Shabbat is one of the best known and least understood of all Jewish observances. People who do not observe Shabbat think of it as a day filled with stifling restrictions, but to those who observe Shabbat, it is a precious gift from Ha'Shem, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits. In Jewish literature, poetry and music, Shabbat is described as a bride or queen, as in the popular Shabbat song "Lecha Dodi Likrat Kallah".  It is said "more than Israel has kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept Israel."

Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism. It is the only ritual observance instituted in Ha'Shem's law. It is also the most important special day, even more important than Yom Kippur. This is clear from the fact that more aliyot (being called up to the Torah) are given on Shabbat than on any other day.

Shabbat is primarily a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. The word "Shabbat" comes from the root Shin-Beit-Tav, meaning to cease, to end, or to rest.

Shabbat is not specifically a day of prayer. Although we do Daven on Shabbat, and spend a substantial amount of time in synagogue davening, this is not what distinguishes Shabbat from the rest of the week. Observant Jews daven every day, three times a day anyways. To say that Shabbat is a day of prayer is no more accurate than to say that Shabbat is a day of feasting ... we eat every day, but on Shabbat, we eat more elaborately and in a more leisurely fashion. The same can be said of davening on Shabbat.

In modern Europe & America, we take the five-day work-week so much for granted that we forget what a radical concept a day of rest was in ancient times. The weekly day of rest has no parallel in any other ancient civilization. In ancient times, leisure was for the wealthy and the ruling classes only, never for the serving or labouring classes. In addition, the very idea of rest each week was unimaginable. The Greeks thought Jews were lazy because we insisted on having a "holiday" every seventh day.

Shabbat involves two interrelated commandments .....  Zakhor ~ to Remember & Shamor ~ to observe Shabbat.

Zakhor ~ To Remember

Remember Yom HaShabbos, to keep it kodesh  (Hebrew ~ Zakhor et yom ha-Shabbat l'kad'sho) ~ Shemoth 20:8  ~

We are commanded to remember Shabbat, but remembering means much more than merely not forgetting to observe Shabbat. It also means to remember the significance of Shabbat, both as a commemoration of creation and as a commemoration of our freedom from slavery in Egypt.

In Shemot 20:11, is explained .....  "For in sheshet yamim Hashem made Shomayim and Ha'Aretz, the yam, and all that in them is, and rested Yom HaShevi'i; for this reason Hashem blessed Yom HaShabbos, and set it apart as kodesh."

By resting on the seventh day and sanctifying it, we remember and acknowledge that Ha'shem is the Creator of  earth and all living things. We also emulate the divine example, by refraining from work on the seventh day, as Ha'shem did. If Ha'shem's work can be set aside for a day of rest, how can we believe that our own work is too important to set aside temporarily?

In Devarim 5:15, while Moshe reiterates the Mitzvot, he notes the second thing that we must remember on Shabbat ..... "And remember that thou wast an eved in Eretz Mitzrayim, and that Hashem Eloheicha brought thee out thence through a yad chazakah and by an outstretched zero'a; therefore Hashem Eloheicha commanded thee to be shomer Shabbos on Yom HaShabbat."

What does the Exodus from Mitzrayim have to do with resting on the seventh day? ..... It's all about freedom. As I said before, in ancient times& societies, leisure was confined to certain classes, slaves did not get days off. Thus, by resting on Shabbat, we are reminded that we are free as a people. But in a more general sense, Shabbat frees us from our weekday concerns, from our deadlines and schedules and commitments. During the week, we are slaves to our jobs, to our creditors, to our need to provide for ourselves,  on Shabbat, we are freed from these concerns, much as our ancestors were freed from slavery in Egypt.

We remember these two meanings of Shabbat when we recite kiddush (the prayer over wine sanctifying Shabbat or a holiday). Friday night kiddush refers to Shabbat as both zikaron l'ma'aseih v'rei'shit (a memorial of the work in the beginning) and zeikher litzi'at Mitz'rayim (a remembrance of the exodus from Egypt).

Shamor ~ To Observe

 Keep shomer Shabbos to set Shabbos apart as kodesh as Hashem Eloheicha commanded thee. (Hebrew ~ Shamor et yomh ha-Shabbat l'kad'sho) ~ Devarim 5:12

Every time you light your candles and welcome Shabbat, you're creating a fortress ....  strengthening you, your family, & all of Am Yisrael.

Friday night at sundown, a transformation occurs in Jewish households across the world. As the sky becomes darker, our hearts become lighter. The anxieties from the past week melt away, and we enter the peace and joy of Shabbat. There are many wonderfully rich observances one can embrace.

Candles. Eighteen minutes before sundown, we light candles to signify the beginning of Shabbat. Ordinarily, a blessing precedes the action it is connected to. When it comes to candle lighting, we light first and then say the bracha. The candles signify the start of Shabbat, and one is not permitted to light candles during Shabbat. Therefore, we light the candles, cover our eyes, and recite the blessing. When we lift our hands away, it is as though we are seeing the candles for the first time.

Friday night dinner sets the stage for the rest of Shabbat. A traditional meal can last for hours with singing, learning and eating. There are several rituals to help elevate the experience of Shabbat dinner.

Singing. There is much singing throughout Shabbat, and there are many songs to choose from. When everyone is seated, we begin with Shalom Aleichem. It is a song to welcome the angels who escorted us home from synagogue. Following Shalom Aleichem, we sing Ashet Chayil (a woman of valour) ~ sung to women in praise of their righteousness.

Blessing the children. Traditionally, a father goes to each child, places his hands on his or her head and recites a special blessing. The boys are blessed to be like Ephraim and Menasha, the grandsons of Jacob who were destined to be role models for the Jewish people. The girls are blessed to be like Sara, Rivka, Rebecca and Leah, the matriarchs of the Jewish people. Children welcome this blessing each week, and it creates a powerful bond between parent and child.

Blessing over the wine. The Kiddush (meaning sanctification) is recited over a cup of wine, and everyone at the table drinks some. The blessing over the wine is a good example of a basic concept in Judaism to try and raise every action to a higher level. In addition to being a symbol of joy, wine helps melt away the tension of the week and lifts our spirits toward the peacefulness of Shabbat.

Washing the hands. This is not a washing for cleanliness but rather for spiritual purification. Each hand is wet three times, pouring water from the wrist to the fingertips.  A bracha is recited as we raise our hands in the air. The blessing simply states that Ha'shem has commanded us to wash our hands, but the images and intentions can carry us much further than that.

Blessing over the bread. After washing our hands, we do not speak until the blessing for the bread is recited. The Shabbat table has two loaves of challah, symbolic of the two loaves of Manna that fell from the sky when we were wandering in the desert.

The Challot are covered. Typically, the blessing over the bread is the first blessing we make when sitting down for a meal. On Shabbat, we make Kiddush first. In order to show that we are not ignoring the proper order, the challot are covered so they do not become “embarrassed”.   The lifting of the challah cover often brings oohs and aaahs. The challah is cut and dipped into salt ~ a reminder of the bitterness in our history. As it comes around, everyone takes a piece before passing on to the next person. Then, the meal begins.

The Meal. You can feel the elevation of a Shabbos meal from a weekday meal, and it’s not due to the fact that you waited so long to eat. There are traditional foods that enhance the meal ~ gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, or kugel. Often times, someone will prepare a Dvar torah, a commentary on the weekly Torah portion. Children will boast about what they learned at school. Singing and pounding on the table is also not uncommon!

Benching. After the meal, we take some time to bench. This is a bracha called the Birkat Hamazon ~ frequently sung in tune. The blessing is made up of four different prayers. The first, an expression of gratitude for our food. The second, a prayer of thanks for the land of Israel. Next, a blessing for Jerusalem, and finally a blessing to express our appreciation for Ha'Shem’s goodness.

Despite all the preparation, Shabbat is a wonderful time to slow down and unwind. It’s a mandatory time-out from daily life.  It is food for the Neshama.   I wasn't always Shomer Shabbat,  but I shudder to remember life before Shabbat.  It is my favourite day of the week for sure.  Let's Listen to Ha'Shem today ....  it’s His idea that we rest when He says “Rest”.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

By the Rivers of Babylon ....

Today is Tisha B'Av ....  A day of Tears & Lamentations for Jewish losses,  the Saddest Day of the Jewish year.  It follows an intense three week period of mourning & is a day of Fasting & Mourning for all of  the Tragedies that have befallen us on 9th day of Av,  most especially the Destruction of our Temple in Jerusalem.  Twice!!  

On that same date that the spies returned and spoke evil about the Land of Israel, the First Temple was destroyed. It was on that same day, the ninth of Av, that the Second Temple was also destroyed. On the ninth of Av, the Romans destroyed Betar and massacred thousands of Jews. As the prophet Yirmiyahu predicted, Jerusalem was ploughed over ~ All on the ninth of Av!

On the 9th of Av 1492,  the Jews were expelled from Spain. On the 9th of Av 1914 ~ The First World War began. The insubstantial peace that concluded this war was one of the causes of the Second World War and the Slide to the Shoah,  in which the six million Jews perished. The 9th of Av 1942 ~ The first killings started at Treblinka.  

As Tisha B'Av remembers Tragedy ... it looks forward to Joy too.  It is on this date of 9th Av that Moshiach will be born & we are told that those who weep with Jerusalem in it's Sorrows will be there for to share it's joys ..... Hazorim b'Dimah, b'Rina Yiktzoru!!!

Tehillim ~ Chapter 137 ~

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yes, we wept, when we remembered Tziyon.

We hung up our kinnorot upon the willows in the midst thereof.
 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a shir,  

And they that tormented us required of us simchah, saying,  Sing us one of the Shir Tziyon.
 How shall we sing Shir Ha'Shem in an admat nekhar.

 If I forget thee, O Y'rushalayim, let my yamin forget.
 If I do not remember thee, let my leshon cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I prefer not Yerushalayim above my rosh simchah.
Remember, Ha'Shem, the B'nei Edom in the Yom Yerushalayim, who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the yesod thereof.

  O Bat Bavel,  who art to be destroyed,  Ashrei shall he be, that repayeth thee the gemul thou hast done to us.
Ashrei shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy olalim against the sela.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In the merit of the Righteous Women ....

 "The Full Redemption will come in the merit of the Righteous Women"

For Torah to be perpetuated among the Jewish people, precedence must be given to Jewish Women .... 

When Ha'Shem told Moshe to prepare the Jews to receive the Torah, He commanded him, "This is what you shall say to the House of Yaakov and speak to the children of Yisrael".

"1 Our Sages explain that the "House of Yaakov" refers to Jewish women,  and "the children of Israel," to the men;

2 Ha'Shem  told Moshe to approach the women first............

Women Must be Conscious of the Mystic Dimension of Judaism .....

A woman is obligated to fulfill the commandment of knowing Ha'Shem, loving Him, fearing Him, and the like. Indeed, the obligation to fulfill these commandments is constant, incumbent upon us every moment of the day.

4 The fulfillment of these mitzvoh ~ commandments ~  is dependent on the knowledge of spiritual concepts as implied by the verse, "Know the G-d of your fathers and serve Him with a full heart."

5 The study of the inner dimension of Torah is necessary to achieve this knowledge.

Shalom Aleichem Transliteration ....

Sha-lom a-lei-chem,
mal-a-chei ha-sha-reit,
mal-a-chei el-yon,
mi-me-lech ma-l'chei ha-m'la-chim,
ha-ka-dosh ba-ruch hu.
Repeat three times

Bo-a-chem l'sha-lom,
mal-a-chei ha-sha-lom,
mal-a-chei el-yon,
mi-me-lech ma-l'chei ha-m'la-chim,
ha-ka-dosh ba-ruch hu.

~ Repeat three times ~