Daily Archives: April 13, 2010

installed new app

Just installed the WordPress app on my Blackberry. This is a test to see how / if it works.

Interesting Find in the Laundry Hamper

Can anyone explain to me how there are folded clothes in the kids’ laundry hamper? Are they finally becoming so aware of my neatness tendencies that they are actually folding their dirty clothes, or are they just too lazy to unpack their clothes after a weekend away, so just bung it in the laundry hamper instead of placing on shelf? My boys? No….. they would never do that!!!


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Sefirat HaOmer

In this post I will explain to you what Sefirat HaOmer is. In a subsequent post I will explore the mourning side of it.

Sefirah is the 49 day period that we count from the second night of Passover until the first night of Shavuot. This is a mitzvah that we are commanded to do – in the Torah it states:

(Vayikra. Parshat Emor 23.15/16)

טו. וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה:
טז. עַד מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת הַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּסְפְּרוּ חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם מִנְחָה חֲדָשָׁה לַי־הֹוָ־ה:

15. And you shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day from the day you bring the omer as a wave offering seven weeks; they shall be complete.            16. You shall count until the day after the seventh week, [namely,] the fiftieth day, [on which] you shall bring a new meal offering to the Lord.

From Chabad.org

It took seven weeks to reach the mountain. The people of Israel departed Egypt on the 15th of Nissan (the first day of Passover); on the 6th of Sivan, celebrated ever since as the festival of Shavuot, they assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai and received the Torah from G-d.

The Kabbalists explain that the 49 days that connect Passover with Shavuot correspond to the forty-nine drives and traits of the human heart. Each day saw the refinement of one of these sefirot, bringing the people of Israel one step closer to their election as G-d’s chosen people and their receiving of His communication to humanity.

There are restrictions on fun activities during this time. It is a time of mourning for the Jews for several reasons. From ou.org:

One is for the lost Bait HaMikdash, the Temple, which was considered both the “residence,” so to speak, of G-d on earth, and the central symbol of the Jewish Religion, a situation which has existed for more than nineteen hundred years.

Another is for the tragic loss by the Jewish People of the Military Campaign which centered on the City of Beitar. This struggle pitted Jewish forces led by a great Jewish leader by the name of Bar Kosiva, against the most powerful of the Roman legions, led by the ablest of the Roman generals. This uprising of the Jewish People in approximately 135 C.E., which by archaeological evidence definitely included the minting of coins, and which some have speculated included the re-conquest of Yerushalayim, with at least the beginning of work on Temple Reconstruction, came to a tragic end with the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews.

Another source of tragedy is the failure of the man whom Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Jewish leaders of all time, had declared to be the Mashiach. This man, Bar Kosiva, was given the name “Bar Kochba,” “Son of the Star,” based on a verse of Messianic Prophecy uttered, paradoxically, by one of our People’s greatest Biblical enemies, Bilaam the Seer. “I see him, but not now; I perceive him, but not in the immediate future; a star will shoot forth from Yaakov, and a Tribe will arise from Israel, which will destroy the ends of Moav and uproot all the Children of Seth.”

A fourth reason for sadness, the traditional one, is based on the reference in the Talmud (Yevamot, 62B). “It was said, ‘Rabbi Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of students, from Gevat to Antipatros, and they all died in one short period of time, because they did not have proper respect for each other.’ And we learned in a Tosefta, ‘They all died between Pesach and Shavuot.’ ” The deaths from plague ceased completely on the Thirty-Third day of the Omer (Lag BaOmer).

Another extremely sad chapter in our history, associated with the Period of Sefirat HaOmer, were the Massacres of the First Crusades which occurred in Germany in 1096, in which many Jewish communities were utterly destroyed, some burned to the ground, with many great Torah scholars perishing “Al Kiddush Hashem,” “for the Sanctification of the Name of G-d.”

Tragedy followed tragedy, again occurring primarily during the Period of Sefirat HaOmer, during the Bogdan Chmielnicki Massacres in Russia and Poland, in the years 1648 and 1649, in which some three hundred thousand Jews were massacred, with a cruelty and ferocity rarely seen before.

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Food and Mood

Do you eat more when you are sad or depressed or lonely? Or do you not eat? What food makes you feel better? What food makes you feel worse? Does eating actually improve your mood or your outlook?

Personally, when I am in a dejected and low mood, food is the last thing on my mind. I have no appetite. I eat really well when I am happy. Just curious how it is for other people.

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The Youth of Today

There is actually hope for them!! Today as I was going into the elevator one of my young neighbours, I think he is about 12, was also going in. He saw me coming, stepped aside, and motioned with his hand that I should go in first – so gentlemanly. He asked what floor, pressed the button for me, and when he got out of the elevator the stop before me wished me a good day. I was very impressed. Next time I see his parents I shall let them know what a fine young boy they are raising.

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Lessons can be learnt from everyone

Yesterday, at that interminable day spent at the consulate, the clerk we dealt with was a wonderful lady. We had to review all the forms etc with her, which for five people, was a lot of work. We were missing some photocopies, the medical for one child had gone AWOL and the reply paid envelope we brought apparently wasn’t big enough (and I did call in advance to find out!) plus there was one form that we had not filled out for the kids, and it had to be filled out for all four.

With every little set back at this initial stage my heart plummeted and panic probably showed on my face. But this lady, she was awesome. Her attitude was that none of this is major stuff, it could all be sorted and fixed, no point in sweating it. Here was a bureaucrat with an awesome attitude. She suggested that KoD go out to get the photocopies, the reply envelope and pick up the medical, while I stay and use the computer terminal to fill out the forms. She could not have been more helpful.

Her work is repetitive – she’s been there 33 years!! She must have seen some interesting things and witnessed stories that make our story look benign in comparison. Her cheerful tone and can-do attitude made this whole experience easier to bear. We ended up joking about children, and she told us a story about her son climbing into the washing machine at 4 years old. She really helped me to feel better.

The lesson I walked away with, after spending some time with this lady was that when it comes to paperwork and bureaucracy there is nothing so major that it cannot be fixed with a little time and patience, that there is no need to sweat the small stuff.

Today is a fresh new day. Every new day that we have is a gift. I sit here, marshalling the kids through showers and breakfast, preparing coffee for the KoD, and I know I am blessed beyond belief. So, the paperwork is a little held up and delayed. We can deal. Look what I have – I have love surrounding me, from my kids, my husband, and from my awesome friends. It will all be good.

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