Friday, November 2, 2012

The Mighty Mabul!

Today, 17th Day of Chesevan,  is the Day the Mabul ~ the Flood ~ Wiped out the World.   Today, Erev Shabbos is the sixth day of the week.  And, the following Tehilla was said in the Temple by the Levites.

"Rivers lift up, Ha'Shem .... Rivers lift up their voice.
Rivers lift up their Crashing Waves, their Depths
Mightier than the Noise of Many Waters
Than the Mighty Waves of the Sea is Ha'Shem on High"

It always Rains on 17th Chesevan ....... Ha'Shems reminder to Humankind! 

This too was the week which saw 'Sandy' hit the Eastern Shores of America.  And on 13th day of Chesevan when Sandy Struck,  this was the Temple Tehilla ...... 

"Save me, O Ha'Shem for the waters have reached until my soul!
I have sunk in muddy depths without foothold
 I have come into deep waters,  and the flood overwhelmeth me ....."

Who would Dare Deny that Ha'Shem is Speaking to the World???

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ha'Shems Handmaid .....

A Song of Ascents.

To you enthroned in Shamayim I lift my eyes.
As the eyes of Slaves to the hand of their Masters,
As the eyes of a handmaid to the hand of her mistress,
So are mine eyes towards Ha'Shem, my G*d, awaiting his favour.

Show me Favour, O Ha'Shem, show me favour!

I have had more than enough of Contempt.
My Soul is fully Sated with the Scorn of those that are at ease,
With the  ridicule of the haughty.
The Contempt of Proud Oppressors .....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Sorrowful Sea ....

 ~ Be like the Ocean waves breaking against the Obstacles .....
 Seeking the Strength to Start again  ~
Happy is she whose transgression is forgiven, whose Sin is Pardoned.
Happy is she in whom Ha'Shem ascribes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no trickery.
When I kept silence, my bones decayed through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand is heavy upon me .....

My freshness waned as in the droughts of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my guilt have I not hid, 

I said ..... 'I will make confession concerning my transgressions to Ha'Shem and You, 
You forgave the iniquity of my sin, forever.
For this let every pious person pray to You at the time that You may be found, 

Surely, when the great waters overflow, they will not reach her.
You are a shelter for me, You are my hiding-place, You will preserve me from distress, 

With songs of deliverance You will surround me.

'I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go,

 I will give counsel, My eye is on you.'
Do not be like a horse, or like a mule, which have no understanding,

Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, that they will not come near you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,  but she that trusts in Ha'Shem,  Mercy surrounds her.
Rejoice with Ha'Shem and exult, You righteous, and cause all those of upright hearts to Shout for joy,

All that are straight-hearted.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sukkot in the Synagogue ....

“When a person comes to dwell in the shade of the Sukkah, which is the shade of Emuna, the Divine Presence spreads Her wings over him from above” ~  The Zohar~

This week we celebrate Sukkot ~ one of the three festivals on which we Jews were commanded to make pilgrimage to Ha'Shems Holy Temple in Y'rushalayim.   The Chag lasts seven days.   The Hebrew word SukkĊt is the plural of Sukkah, "booth or tabernacle",  really a kind of 'hut' which is a walled structure covered with Skhakh (plant material such as leafy tree overgrowth or palm leaves).  The Sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which our ancestors dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert following the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the Sukkah and it is a mitzvah to sleep there as well.

The first message of Sukkot is that nature and the outside world - the smells and sights and sounds of the universe - are as central to Judaism as anything that goes on inside our heads.  Ha'Shem, Master of the Universe has created it all for our succour & pleasure.  The second message tells us that possessions mean nothing.  The third message of Sukkot is that our Saftey ~ from the weather to wild animals ~  is in the hand of Ha'Shem and the presence in our lives of the Shekinah,  not in the absence of danger.  And finally the fourth message of Sukkot is that in addition to the natural world's centrality, and human being's ultimate vulnerability, Ha'shems  focal point for favour in our lives is the Land of Israel. His Homeland for His Precious People,  Israel.  Our Birthright. Our Gift as an everlasting possession.

"And Ha'Shem spoke to Moshe saying .... Speak to the Children of Israel and tell them, the 15th day of this seventh month shall be the Festival of Sukkot ~ seven days for Ha'Shem ... On the first day, it is a holy occasion,  you shall not perform any work of labour.  For seven days, you shall present a fire offering to Ha'Shem ... On the eighth day, it shall be a holy occasion for you, and you shall bring a fire offering to Ha'Shem. It is a day of]detention.  You shall not perform any work of labour. These are G-d's appointed holy days that you shall designate them as holy occasions, on which to offer up a fire offering to Ha'Shem, burnt offering and meal offering, sacrifice and libations, the requirement of each day on its day,  apart from Ha'Shems Shabbat, and apart from your gifts, and apart from all your vows, and apart from all your donations that you give to Ha'Shem.   On the first day, you shall take for yourself a fruit of the citron tree (etrog), a palm frond (lulav), myrtle branches (hadas) and willows (aravah). You shall rejoice before Ha'Shem,  your G-d for seven days.  During these seven days each year, you shall celebrate to G-d. It is an eternal law for all generations that you celebrate in the seventh month. During these seven days you must live in thatched huts. All Israelites must live in thatched huts. This is so that your future generations will know that I caused Israel to live in huts when I brought them out of Egypt. I am Ha'Shem your G-d.  And Moshe told B'nei Yisroel these laws of Ha'Shems appointed Holy days.   ~ Vayikra  23:33-44 ~

 Three times a year you shall appear before Ha'Shem, your G-d, in the place that He will choose, on the Festival of Matzah, the Festival of Shavuot and the Festival of Sukkot.  ~ Devarim 16:16 ~

And those who suffered shall increase their joy in Ha'Shem, and the impoverished people shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.   ~ Isaiah 29.19 ~ 

 And Sukkot leads to the Joyous festivals of Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah  which shall be celebrated following this Shabbat.    Sunday is Hoshanah Rabah then Shemini Atzeret which begins the davening for rain,  officially launching the Mediterranean rainy season.   And Simchat Torah is Simply our Joy in Torah.  And Torah Living.  The focal point of Simchat Torah is the hakafot procession, in which we march, sing and dance with the Torah scrolls around the Bimah in the Synagogue.  The hakafot are done twice, on the night and morning of Simchat Torah, and Everyone receives an aliyah on Simchat Torah, even the children, B"H!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

G'mar Chatimah Tova!!

It is Erev Yom Ha'Kippurim & time is advancing rapidly, so G'mar Chatimah Tovah Le Kulam!!

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 Ha'Shanah 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 T'shuva, Tzedaka,  Tefillos and Righteousness avert the severe decree.

"For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you, from All your sins shall ye be clean before Ha'Shem"~ Vayikra 16:30 ~

Friday, August 17, 2012

Peridot ....

Return, O Israel, to Ha'Shem your G*d,
For you have fallen in your iniquity.
Take words with you
And return to Ha'Shem.
Say to Him
"Forgive all guilt
And accept what is good,
Instead of bulls we will pay
The offering of our lips.
Asshur shall not save us,
No more will we ride on steeds,
Nor ever again will we call
Our handiwork our g*d,
Since in You alone orphans find mercy!"

I will heal their affliction,
Generously will I take them back in love,
For My anger has turned away from them.

I will be to Israel like dew,
She shall blossom like the lily,
It shall strike it's root like the Lebanon.
It's boughs shall spread out far,
It's beauty shall be like the olive tree's.
It's fragrance like that of Lebanon.
They who sit in it's shade shall return,
They shall be revived like corn,
They shall blossom like the vine,
It's scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim shall say ....
"What more have I do do with idols?
When I respond and look to Him,
I become like a verdant cypress"
From Me your fruit is found.

He who is wise will consider these words.
He who is prudent will take note of them,
Be discerning & know them.
For the paths of Ha'Shem are smooth,
And the righteous shall walk in them,
And the rebellious stumble on them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Eikev .....

My lesson will drip like rain, my speech will distil as the dew,  like storm showers on vegetation and like raindrops on grass. 
~ D'varim 32:1 ~ 

So says Ha'Shem .... 
 On the day that I will have cleansed you from all your iniquities,  
I will cause the cities to be settled, and the ruins shall be built up. 
And the desolate land shall be worked, instead of its lying desolate in the sight of all that pass by. 

 And they shall say .....
 'This land that was desolate has become like Gan Edhen, 
and the cities that were destroyed and desolate and pulled down have become settled as fortified cities.' 

 And the nations that are left round about you shall know that I, Ha'Shem, 
have built up the ruined places and have planted the desolate ones,  
I, Ha'Shem, have spoken,  and I will perform it.
 ~ Yechezkel 36.33-36 ~

  For so says Ha'Shem .... 
"Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, 
Prosperity like a stream, 
The wealth of nations like a wadi in flood, 
And you shall drink of it.

You shall be carried on shoulders , and on knees you shall be dandled.   
As a mother comforts her son So I will comfort you, 
You shall find comfort in Y'rushalayim. 

 And you shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, 
and your bones shall bloom like grass, 
The power of Ha'Shem shall be revealed In behalf of His servants, 
But He shall rage against His foes.
~ Yeshayahu 66.12-14~

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shabbat Chazon ...

An Article I read yesterday on one of my regular website reads  The Jewish Woman Website (Chabad)   touched me. In fact touched me deeply in these preparation days for Tish B'Av that I am reproducing it herein on my blog, rather than just producing a one off link to any of my social webpages.  It will touch you too,  at least that is my hope in including it here  ..... 

"Judaism is replete with examples of the power of sight. In Jewish Law, there is a general rule that one who witnesses an act cannot be a judge regarding it. For example, if you witness a man roughly grab a wallet out of someone's hand and run away, you cannot later be a judge between these two individuals in court. Now that you have seen what looked like a robbery, you cannot objectively hear any testimony regarding what happened. You can only serve as a witness identifying the man who grabbed the wallet. This is because once we see something we are convinced of its reality - so much so that even testimony from several witnesses that the man was in fact only recovering a wallet that had been stolen from him moments before will not change the fact that your eyes saw a robbery.  

The power of sight is also reflected in the metaphors for love used throughout the Bible. When an especially close, loving relationship between G‑d and the Jewish people is spoken of, it is described as G‑d's eyes being directed towards us, or towards the Land of Israel and those who live there. The metaphor is also used to describe the deepest, most intense love between two people - expressed as gazing into one another's eyes.

The power of sight is also reflected in two "events" which coincide with one another this Shabbat.

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Chazon. One reason is that this week's Haftorah (the selection from Prophets read after the Torah portion) relates a vision ("chazon" in Hebrew) seen by Isaiah. It's a vision of the destruction that will come to Jerusalem, and is one of the three Haftorahs of rebuke. Yet, another reason stems from the vision that is shown to each of us on this Shabbat - the vision of the rebirth that is destined to follow the destruction prophesied by Isaiah.

This is also the Shabbat that precedes the 9th of Menachem Av, (Tisha B'av) when we fast in remembrance of the destruction of both Temples. Yet this Shabbat, as we read the Torah portion, every Jew is granted a vision of the Third Temple which will be built (G‑d Willing speedily and soon) in Jerusalem.

The purpose of the vision is much deeper than merely comforting us with the promise of future redemption. In fact, that is the focus of the four Shabbats after Tisha B'Av. The point of the vision which we see on Shabbat Chazon is to inspire a change so fundamental that we will turn that vision of the Third Temple into actual physical reality.

The idea of visualization as a catalyst towards making that vision a reality is not foreign to us. From mock job interviews to "self-help" books, the "fake it so you can make it" message has permeated our culture. But as a tool for change, does it really work? Wouldn't any relaxation technique, or a good pep talk, be just as helpful before approaching a new challenge as seeing it through the eyes of one who has already achieved it? 
Yet there is a real advantage to this. When you visualize a new reality, you internalize it in a way that merely thinking or talking about it won't accomplish. It becomes something that you know, that you can relate to and understand. A good storyteller understands this, and will use words to paint a picture that the reader can see, and in some cases cannot resist seeing, himself. It's the ability to create visualization that makes the story something that remains a part of us.

This Shabbat, G‑d takes advantage, so to speak, of this very aspect of human nature: that what we see, even if only with our mind's eye, lingers with us and affects us so intensely. He shows us a vision of the future He is waiting to give us, and the vision itself becomes the tool with which we make this world ready to actualize it.

The concepts behind this are twofold; on the one hand, the vision of the future is meant to spark within us a desire and longing for seeing that future become our present reality. On the other hand, because it is something which our soul sees, the fact that it actually exists is immediately internalized and becomes a part of us. So we are simultaneously longing for something that is distant from us, and yet inspired by and at peace with something whose presence we can sense within us, something we can relate to completely.

The result is that a person is not only able to change; he is entirely unable to remain stagnant. Each of us is forced to move forward in improving our behavior, and it is simply second nature to do so. Moreover, the changes inspired by this Shabbat become permanent.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe emphasized that any and every individual can access this power for change in a tangible way by meditating this Shabbat on what our soul will see, a vision of a House which will fuse the upper and lower worlds, spiritual and physical reality, in permanent union.

The particular dynamic of this Shabbat - that we receive a Divine Inspiration in the form of this glimpse of the Temple, and the effort on our part to visualize in our minds and to meditate on what our soul is seeing, mirrors the three Temples themselves.

The First Temple was filled with a more powerful Divine light than the Second Temple. The miracles associated with it are of a much more other-worldly nature. Yet at the same time, our Sages tell us that when it was built G‑d felt a certain anger towards us. We weren't taking care of the things we needed to take care of, and we weren't really ready for the Temple and its revelations. It was eventually destroyed.

The First Temple was built on Divine command and assistance. The Second Temple was constructed at the orders of a human being. The level of revelation associated with it, and the accompanying miracles, were far less intense. Yet, precisely because it came to be built through human efforts and on human initiative, it had a greater impact on this world. It was larger than the first Temple, taking up more of this world in terms of space, and it lasted longer, occupying this world for a greater length of time.

The Third Temple, like the Shabbat on which we are shown its image, combines the strengths of both the first and second Temples. It combines the Divine revelation, an inspiration from Above, along with human effort, an inspiration from below, to create a permanent home for G‑dliness. Thus is the lesson and inspiration of this Shabbat. We are given a Divinely revealed vision which we must combine with human efforts to permanently alter the world we live in, and, even more challenging, ourselves".

The Original Article by Chana Kroll is published here .... Make It Real.
The Artist is Alex Levin & his website is here .... Alex Levin's (Artist)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shiva Asar B'Tammuz ....

What shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Y'rushalayim?  What shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O maiden of Tsion?  For thy breach is great like the sea, who can heal thee?
~ Eichah 2.13 ~ 

Although today, Sunday, is the 18th of Tammuz in the Hebrew calendar,  Jews the world over fast and lament today  (because the 17th fell yesterday on Shabbat, and we don't fast on Shabbat),  to  commemorate the many calamities that have befallen our people on this ominous day.   The purpose of such fasts is, according to Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov's Book of Our Heritage, "to awaken hearts towards t'shuva through recalling our forefathers' misdeeds, misdeeds which led to calamities...".  

The 17th of Tammuz is a historically tragic day for the Jewish people and the fast actually commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date: ~

Moshe descended Mount Sinai on this day and, upon seeing the Golden Calf broke the first set of Tablets of the Testimony ~ the luchos ~  (Shemot 32:19, Mishna Taanit 28b).

The Kohanim in the First Temple stopped offering the daily sacrifice on this day (Taanit 28b) due to the shortage of sheep during the siege and the next year 3184 (586 BCE), the walls of Jerusalem were breached after many months of siege by Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian forces.  The destruction of the First Holy Temple by Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian forces followed.

In Melachim II 21:7 we find that King Menashe, one of the worst of the Jewish kings and a Rasha, had an idol placed in the Holy Sanctuary of the Temple, according to tradition on this date.  The Talmud, in Masechet Taanit 28b, says that in the time of the Roman persecution, Apostomos, captain of the occupation forces, did the same thing, and publicly burned the Torah  ~ both acts considered blasphemy and desecration. These were followed by Titus and Rome breaching the walls of Jerusalem in 3760 (70 CE) and three weeks later, after the Jews put up a valiant struggle, the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th of Av,("Tisha B'Av").  The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.

Pope Gregory IX ordering the confiscation of all manuscripts of the Talmud in 4999 (1239).

But, you know,  this day continued to be a dark one for Jews.  In 1391, more than 4,000 Jews were killed in Toledo and Jaen, Spain,  and in 4319 (1559) the Jewish Quarter of Prague was burned and looted.  

The Kovno ghetto was liquidated on this day in 5704 (1944) and in 5730 (1970) Libya ordered the confiscation of Jewish property.   And I have heard somewhere too that the first mass gassings of millions of Jews ~ the first event of the 'Final Solution' ~ took place on this date in 1942.

Other occurrences on this day include Noach sending out the first dove to see if the Flood waters had receded, (Bereishit 8:8) in 1650 (2100 BCE).  Moshe Rabbeinu destroying the golden calf, (Shemot 32:20, Seder Olam 6, Taanit 30b - Rashi) and then ascending back up Har Sinai for the second time where he spent the next forty days pleading for forgiveness for the sin of the golden calf, (Shemot 33:11, Rashi).  

Agonizing over these events is to help us conquer those spiritual deficiencies which brought about these tragic events to our nation. Through the process of "T'shuva" we have the power to transform this tragedy into joy.  Our Sages stated explicitly (Ta'anis 30b)  "All who mourn over (the destruction of) Jerusalem merit to see her in her joy."    We are assured that if we properly appreciate the enormity of our loss, we merit to share in the joy of seeing Jerusalem re-established in all her glory, B"H. 

Have a meaningful fast and may we all merit to see the rebuilding of the Beit Ha'Mikdash in our days!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Safety & Sanctuary ....

A Song of David.

 I took refuge in You, O Ha'Shem let me not be shamed forever,  rescue me with Your righteousness.
 Incline Your ear to me, quickly rescue me,  be a rock of strength to me, a stronghold to save me.
 For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, and for Your name's sake, You shall lead me and guide me.
 You shall free me from this net which they have hidden for me, for You are my stronghold.
 In Your hand I entrust my spirit.  You have redeemed me,  Ha'Shem,  G*d of truth.

 I hated those who await worthless Idolatries,  but I hoped for Ha'Shem .....

  I will exult and rejoice in Your kindness,   for You have seen my affliction,   
You have known the troubles of my soul. 
And you did not deliver me into the hands of an enemy,  
You have placed my feet in a broad place. 
Be gracious to me,  Ha'Shem,  for I am in distress,  
My eye is dimmed from anger,  my soul and my body.
 For my life is spent in grief and my years in sighing,  

My strength has failed because of my iniquity,  and my bones have decayed.

  From all my tormentors I have become a reproach ~ and very much so to my neighbours ~ and fright to my acquaintances, those who see me outside avoid me.
 I was forgotten like a dead person, out of mind, I was like a lost utensil.
 For I heard the gossip of many,  terror from all sides when they take counsel together against me,  

They plotted to take my soul.

 But I trusted in You, Ha'shem; I said, "You are my G*d."
 My times are in Your hands,

Rescue me from the hands of my enemies and from my pursuers.
 Cause Your countenance to shine upon Your servant, save me with Your kindness.

  O Ha'Shem, let me not be shamed because I called out to You, 
Let the wicked be shamed,  let them be silenced to the grave.
 Let lying lips become mute, those that speak against a righteous man falsely, with haughtiness and disdain.
 How great is Your goodness that You have laid away for those who fear You, 

That You have worked for those who take refuge in You,  in the presence of the sons of men!

You shall hide me in the secrecy of Your countenance,   from bands of men,

Protect me in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
Blessed is Ha'shem for He has been wondrously kind to me in a besieged city.
But I said in my haste, "I have been cut off from before Your eyes," 

But You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You.
Love Ha'Shem, all His Holy ones. 

Ha'Shem guards those who believe in Him and plentifully repayeth him that acteth with haughtiness.
Strengthen yourselves, and He will give your heart courage, all who hope to Ha'Shem.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hope in Ha'Shem ....

A Song of Ascents.

Out of  the depths I have called You, Ha'Shem.
Ha'Shem, hearken to my voice .... may Your ears be attentive to the cries of my techinnah.
O Ha'Shem, if You keep a record of iniquities,  Ha'Shem, who will stand?
For forgiveness is with You, in order that You be feared.

I hoped, Ha'Shem,  yea, my neshama hopes, and I wait for His word.
My neshama is to Ha'Shem among those who await the morning, those who await the morning.
Israel, hope to Ha'Shem, for kindness is with Him and much redemption is with Him.
And Ha'Shem will redeem Israel from all her iniquities.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sorrow, Self, Sea .....

"Save me Hashem, for the waters have reached the point of taking my soul." 
~ Tehilla 69.2 ~   Parshah Naso.

For the Conductor, on Yonath Elem Rehokim, 
Of David,  A Michtam .....when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

Be gracious to me, O Ha'Shem, because men yearn to swallow me, all day long the warrior oppresseth me
Those who eye me have yearned to swallow me all day long, for many fight against me, 
Ha'Shem Most High
In the day I fear, I will hope to You.
With Ha'Shem, I will praise His word .... in Ha'Shem I trusted, I will not fear. 
What can flesh do to me?

All the day they trouble mine affairs; all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They lodge, they hide, they watch my steps, when they hope for my life,

Because of iniquity cast them out, in anger bring down the peoples, O Ha'Shem, my G*d
Thou has counted my wanderings; put Thou my tears into Thy bottle; are they not in Thy accounting?
Then my enemies will retreat on the day that I call. Thereby I will know that I have a G*d.

With Ha'Shems justice I will praise a word, with Ha'Shem's kindness I will praise a word.
In Ha'Shem do I trust, I will not be afraid, what can man do unto me?
Thy vows are upon me, Ha'Shem, I will render thank-offerings unto Thee.
For Thou hast delivered my soul from death ~ hast Thou not delivered my feet from stumbling?
that I may walk before Ha'Shem in the light of the living.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Aneini ... Answer me!

 A song of David Ha'Melech, to make Memorial.

O Ha'Shem, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy wrath.
For Thine arrows are gone deep into me, and Thy hand is come down upon me.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine indignation,  
Neither is there any health in my bones because of my aveirah.
For mine iniquities are gone over my head, as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
My wounds are noisome, putrid, they fester, because of my foolishness.
I am bent and bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day in gloom.

For my loins are full of self-effacement, there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am benumbed and sore crushed; I groan by reason of the moaning of my heart.
Ha'Shem all my desire is before Thee,  and my sighing is not hid from Thee.
My heart fluttereth, and is engulfed, my strength faileth me,  

As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my affliction, and those close to me stood afar.
They also that seek after my life lay snares for me,  
And they that seek my hurt speak crafty devices, and utter deceits all the day.

But I am as a deaf girl, I hear not, and I am as a dumb girl that openeth not her mouth.
Yea, I am become as a girl that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no arguments.
For in Thee, Ha'Shem, do I hope.  Thou wilt answer, O Ha'Shem my G*d.
For I said: 'Lest they rejoice over me; when my foot faltereth, they magnify themselves against me.'

For I am ready to halt, and my pain is continually before me.
For I do declare mine iniquity, I am full of care because of my aveirah.
But mine enemies are strong in health, and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
They also that repay evil for good are adversaries unto me .......

Forsake me not, Ha'Shem,  O my G*d, be not far from me.
Make haste to help me, O Ha'Shem, Yishecha!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Shirat Ha' Yam ~ Song of the Sea!!

Miriam appears in Torah as a prophetess,  the sister of Moshe and Aaron (Shemot 15:20). 
Miriam means "bitter sea" because she was born at a time when the lives of  Jews were embittered in Mitzrayim.  Miriam, however, remained sweet despite the hardships around her, giving Jews courage in those difficult times. (Midrash Yalkut Shimoni ~ Exodus 165)

We sing when we are pining after one we love, when we are yearning for better times, when we are celebrating an achievement or anticipating a revelation. We sing when we are striving for something, Song is our Quest for Redemption.

Then Moshe and the children of Israel sang this song to Ha'Shem, 
and they spoke, saying, I will sing to Ha'Shem,  for very exalted is He,  
A horse and its rider He cast into the sea.
The Eternal's strength and His vengeance were my salvation,  this is my G*d, and I will make Him a habitation,  The G*d of my father,  
and I will ascribe to Him exaltation.
Ha'Shem is a Master of war, Ha'Shem is His Name.

Pharaoh's chariots and his army He cast into the sea,  
The elite of his officers sank in the Red Sea.
The depths covered them,  they descended into the depths like a stone.

Your right hand, O Ha'Shem, is most powerful,  
Your right hand, Ha'Shem, crushes the foe.
And with Your great pride You tear down those who rise up against You, 
You send forth Your burning wrath,  it devours them like straw.
And with the breath of Your nostrils the waters were heaped up,  
The running water stood erect like a wall,  
The depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, I will pursue,  I will overtake,  I will share the booty.  
My desire will be filled from them,  I will draw my sword,  
My hand will impoverish them.

You blew with Your wind,  the sea covered them,  
They sank like lead in the powerful waters.
Who is like You among the powerful, O Ha'Shem?  
Who is like You,  powerful in the holy place?  
Too awesome for praises,  performing wonders!
You inclined Your right hand,  the earth swallowed them up.

With Your loving kindness You led the people You redeemed, 
You led with Your might to Your holy abode.
People heard, they trembled, a shudder seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
Then the chieftains of Edom were startled,  the powerful men of Moab,  
 Trembling seized them,  all the inhabitants of Canaan melted.

May dread and fright fall upon them, with the arm of Your greatness 
May they become as still as a stone,  until Your people cross over,  Ha'Shem, 
Until this nation that You have acquired crosses over.
You shall bring them and plant them on the mount of Your heritage, 
directed toward Your habitation, which You made, Ha'Shem, 
The sanctuary, Ha'Shem Your hands founded.
Ha'Shem will reign to all eternity.

"Save me Ha'Shem,  for the waters have reached the point of taking my soul."  
~ Parsha Naso ~ 

The Painting above is by the Artist Natalia Kadish and details may be sourced here .....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Mizmor of Asaph!

A Mizmorim regarding the wars against Yisrael in the days of Yehoshafat, when the nations plotted against Yisrael!

O Ha'Shem, keep not Thou silent, hold not Thy peace, and be not still, Ha'Shem,
For, lo, Thine enemies are in uproar, and they that hate Thee have lifted up their head.
They plot deviously against Your nation, and conspire against Thy treasured ones,
They say, "Come, let us sever them from nationhood, that the name of Yisrael may be no more in remembrance.”

For they conspire with a unanimous heart,  Against Thee do they make a covenant ....

the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,  Moab and the Hagrites,
Geval and Ammon, and Amalek,  Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre. 

Assyria, too,  joined with them, and became the strength of the sons of Lot,  Selah!

Do to them as to Midian, as to Sisera and Yavin at the brook of Kishon, who were destroyed at Ein Dor, and were as dung for the earth.
Make their nobles like Orev and Ze'ev,  All their princes like Zevach and Tzalmuna, who said, "Let us inherit the dwellings of Ha'Shem for ourselves.”
O Ha'Shem, my G*d, make them like the whirling dust, as straw before the wind.
As the fire that burneth the forest, and as the flame that setteth the mountains ablaze,
So pursue them with Thy tempest, and affright them with Thy storm.
Fill their faces with shame, that they will seek Your Name, Ha'Shem.
Let them be ashamed and affrighted for ever,  Let them be disgraced and perish,
That they may know that it is Thou alone whose name is Ha'Shem,  Most High over all the earth.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Love Light !!

For Nathaniel ......

~ Love Light ~

I have seen the Moonlight
A Soft, Silver Shining light
Incomparably beautiful
I have Seen the Sunlight
A Strong,  Yellow glowing ray 
 which fills every Heart with Joy

But the Only light I need
is the One which fills a Room where you are
A Light stronger than the Sunlight
and more beautiful than the Moonlight

The light of your Soul.  My Soul.  Our Ohr!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Tale for Tu B'Shvat !!!

A Childrens tale ... Chanan and His Violin!

Once upon a time there lived a poor melamed, a Hebrew teacher, in a small village in Poland. He had his daily troubles with the hardheaded farmer boys who were his students. For they would rather roam the countryside than learn the alef-bet, the difference between the daledresh, or the hei and the chet.

All through the summer, the melamed had plenty of time for himself. The Jewish farmers needed their children to help in the fields, and his pupils would anyway prefer mowing corn or loading hay to learning how to read and write Hebrew. That was summer. But now it was winter, and a heavy layer of snow covered every inch of the ground upon which the poor melamed walked. Yet this was his day off. For it was Tu B’Shevat, the fifteenth day of the month of Shevat.

You know that this day is the New Year of the tree world. Our melamed, too, thought of the meaning of Tu B’Shevat as he left the village and walked towards a nearby forest. He knew very little about trees and nature in general, for he had hardly ever left his study and his beloved books. Thus, you will not be surprised to hear that the learned man was wondering in what manner the trees celebrated their Rosh Hashanah. Were they budding and putting on their coat of green, or was there any other form of celebrating the New Year of which he did not know?

When he reached the forest, he was deeply disappointed to find the trees and bushes covered with thick coats of crystal-white snow. “Who knows,” he pondered, “perhaps they were tallitot (prayer shawls) and kittels (white robes), like pious Jews on their High Holidays!” Just then a strong wind blew through the treetops, and the sounds of the swaying branches sounded like the whispering of devout prayers. Our melamed stood quietly amidst the noise of the windy forest, as fervent melodies passed through his head.

Again he asked himself: What kind of New Year do the trees celebrate? Don’t they look as if they were dead?

Suddenly, the entire scene became transformed. The melamed was able to see through the glittering, sparkling snow, as if the bark was made of pure, transparent glass. From the marrow of each little branch, tender sprouts pushed closer to the surface; yet they were careful not to go too far. It was still too cold for them to face the harshness of the world beyond the casing of the branches. But within, life was stirring, and the beginnings of new, strong branches were marking time until the Master of the trees and bushes would bring them.

The melamed eagerly drank in the full beauty of this tender spectacle. His strained eyes had never looked beyond the bark of the oaks and birches and poplars that lined the streets of his village. He had never dreamt of life and sprouting twigs deep within the trunks of those impersonal trees. Now he saw and understood that they, too, were individuals, each one in his own right and own way of life, each one with his proper soul and living spirit. The New Year of Trees was no longer meaningless to him.

A sudden gust of wind sprayed millions of fine snow-stars into the crisp air, and the melamed’s eyes were closed as by a curtain. when he was able to see again, the wondrous scene had disappeared. Only the slender fir trees swayed back and forth, and their naked branches seemed to shake with mockery.  Yet the man who returned home to the village was no longer the same poor melamed. Poor were only the clothes that covered his thin body. Poor was only the little hut that served him as a shelter. Yet deep within him budded spirited life, the blossoms of a hopeful future.

What did it matter that his students were hardheaded farm boys? He realized that deep within them lay seeds of knowledge and much learning. He knew that he had only to supply the warmth of loving understanding to lure the sprouts out of their hiding, so that they would blossom and show the fruits of their harvest. They, too, would yet become good Torah students some day!

Kehot Publication Society ~ A Bedtime Story for my Child!