Tag Archives: god

I believe!

How do you do it, how do you believe b’Emunah shleimah (with full faith)? Certain things I am dealing with right now are severely testing my faith, and I know that I need to work harder on knowing deep within my soul that this will all work out the right way, that it’s all part of God’s plan. Blind faith – does there come a point that you have to admit it isn’t working? Or is blind faith like that old chestnut of the man hanging off a cliff, ignores the rescue attempts, dies and then asks God why He didn’t help him and gets told “who do you think sent you the helicopter…??” If you do your Hishtadlut – due diligence – you need to be able to trust that it’s all safe in God’s hands, right? Is that what blind faith is?

Is having true emunah and bitachon an issue that FFBs struggle with more than BTs or converts? Is it because I was brought up with God front and centre that I take Him for granted until things go wrong and then have a hard time believing and trusting 100%?

What do you do to improve your belief and faith in God? Can you help me do it too?

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Mental Picture

When you think of God what picture comes to mind? How do you see Him in your mind’s eye? Is it the traditional picture of a bearded man sitting in a throne on a cloud with a host of ministering angels hovering around Him? Or something less traditional? Just curious…

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Bracha from a Rebbe

I just received an email from a good friend telling me a big-name rebbe is going to be in town, and that I should go to him to get a bracha (blessing), you know, to speed up the move and the paperwork etc.

I have to be honest, previously I would have scoffed at this type of thing. The guy is flesh and blood like the rest of us, how can a bracha even from a learned man change your life? God is in charge, He’s already planned out my year, no bracha will change it. For me it was right up there with tying a roite bendel (red string) around my wrist – it works if I believe in it, but doesn’t if I don’t.

But this email gave me pause. Should I, shouldn’t I? Couldn’t hurt, right? And then I got to thinking, it’s extremely hypocritical of me to even think I should go. After all I never believed in this kind of stuff to start off with. Now that I need extra help with my situation, it’s all of a sudden ok?

Can a bracha from a learned man really change around one’s future, one’s parnassah, one’s heavenly decree? Am I a hypocrite if I do go and ask for a bracha for me, the KoD and our family?

What are your thoughts?

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Helping not modest?

From the YWN coffee room…..a lady asks the following question :

Walking down the street today, I encountered a young father shlepping up the steps a double stroller along side of him a young child who he was also trying to help up. Is it tznuis for me to help him up with the carriage?

(Wonderful sentence structure…sigh)

There were a good many people who replied telling her it’s a mitzvah to help a fellow Jew. There were also those replies that told her indeed it isn’t tzanuah, in fact one went so far as to say that issues of negiah (inappropriate touching) or Niddah arise.

I don’t know, folks. Someone needs help, you help. You don’t stop to have a halachic internal argument about the pros and cons of helping someone who obviously needs it. It was suggested on that site that if they carry the stroller together it isn’t proper, especially if she is a Niddah. Let’s go further – what if someone saw her helping a man who isn’t her husband with a stroller and a kid that wasn’t hers. Maybe, just maybe, they might think something inappropriate about her or him. So therefore don’t bother helping anyone of the opposite sex, you know, just so that other people won’t perhaps think wrongly of you. Again, is that how people want to live their life – based on what others think of them? Should we not be living our lives to serve God not man?

As a mom who struggled with double strollers any help was appreciated, male or female. How have we got to this point that we have to be so hyper aware of breathing in case we might do it wrong??!!

ETA: apparently fanatical stupidity goes back a long way. with thanks to Rabbi Josh Yuter who provided me with the following source:

39. B. Sotah 21aWhat is a foolish pietist like? — E.g., a woman is drowning in the river, and he says: ‘It is improper for me to look upon her and rescue her’ 39. תלמוד בבלי מסכת סוטה דף כא עמוד ב היכי דמי חסיד שוטה? כגון דקא טבעה איתתא בנהרא, ואמר: לאו אורח ארעא לאיסתכולי בה ואצולה
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Be Quiet, for God’s Sake!

I don’t know about you but I like the whole davening in shul thing. I like the liturgy, a touch of chazanut, a shtickle Carlebach niggun, a good speech from the rabbi, and I am uplifted. Add in a decent kiddush after services, and I am good to go. I usually only get to shul Shabbat morning, so I really cherish my shul time.

Every shul is different with what level of background noise it will tolerate. I have heard of men being bodily ejected from shul because they were flapping their gums too much. Some shuls insist on silence only during Torah reading and the rabbi’s speech, other shuls there is a constant hum of conversation.

I can socialize after shul. Catch up on the latest gossip or shoe sales or sports stats or what-have-you. To me, that’s what a Kiddush is for. Why do people find it necessary to talk during shul? That is your time to pray to God.

“Sorry, God. Hold on a minute, God, Jay has to tell me what happened on the ninth hole erev Shabbat, I wouldn’t disrupt this one way conversation unless it was important”.

Seriously, have we become so jaded that talking in shul is normal? Look, I am not perfect, and have been known to talk in shul, but I really do try not to. There are some people, though, that spend the entire davening deep in conversation with their neighbour, barely pausing to daven the swiftest Amidah ever before they resume their discussion on the healthcare system, how they think Tiger Woods scored that hole in one, or that cute blonde that just walked in, or the rebbetzin who is looking a little heavy around the middle again, and her baby is only 11 months old!!

People! You are standing in a house of worship! You have come there to daven, to pray to God, to thank him for your abundant blessings and ask him to cure your aunt Millie and put more money in your bank account. Yet, in the middle of all that praising and supplication you press PAUSE so you can chit chat? Who do you think you are? No one tells God to wait. No one, not even Moses, can get away with that.

What if, in the middle of you talking to your neighbour, God decides He wants to talk to you? You won’t pick up on that because you have closed your spiritual pathways to talk to your friend. Hey, maybe God wants to tell you what lottery numbers to play this week but you are too busy talking about the Yankees that you won’t get the message. He wanted to answer your prayers but you let Him go to voice mail.

How hard is it to stop talking in shul, except to God? In a courtroom no one dares to speak. No one, or they are in contempt which means a fine. Or prison time. Or both. And the Judge is a human being, yet no one would dare make a cellphone call in the midst of a legal argument. The idea of talking in shul should be just as terrifying if not more.

We are standing there in front of God, and communally we are showing Him major disrespect. I would like to be able to daven in peace in shul, not be disturbed by inane chatter, whispering and giggling. Not have to hear the Gabbai pound on the Bima and say “we shall only continue when there is silence” – there should be silence as a matter of course.

We are coming up on Rosh Hashannah, and of course everyone will be silent in shul, as they will on Yom Kippur. We are being judged, of course we are going to be quiet. Come on, what a crock! God knows that we talked in shul last week and missed all the leining. God knows that we are going to talk next week in shul and the week after, and that we have no intention of shutting up in shul. Except the Day of Judgment. Because, you know, maybe we can pull the wool over His eyes. Give me a break. Stop talking now and stick to it, and concentrate on your prayers. Maybe, just maybe, you will reconnect with your inner spirituality. It won’t bring you the Maserati you have been dreaming of, but maybe you will sleep better at night.

I know that I am making a commitment to be quiet in shul from now on. I want to connect with God. I don’t want to just say words, I want to mean them and reflect on them. Don’t you be the one in shul to ruin my kavannah. God has a lot more up His proverbial sleeve that I have.

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Memo from God

I got this in an email recently from a very dear friend (you know who you are, toots) and it very eerily landed in my inbox at a time when I very much needed the reminder. I don’t believe in coincidence.

 

To: YOU
Date: TODAY
From: GOD
Subject: YOURSELF
Reference: LIFE
 
This is God. Today I will be handling ALL of your problems for you. I do NOT need your help. So, have a nice day. I love you. And, remember…if life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it yourself! Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME. All situations will be resolved, but in MY  time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now. Should you decide to send this to a friend; Thank you. You may have touched their life in ways you will never know!
 
Now, you have a nice day.
God

Dear Lord

Here I stand, at the holiest place that we can access, the Western Wall, the Wailing Wall, the Kotel. I am humbled to be stood here in front of you. I am grateful and thankful for all that I am, all that I have, for I know it comes from you.

 

I remember 16 years ago coming here to pray to you. I was so young and in such deep and throbbing pain and wanted so much. All I craved was a normal life. I asked you to send me a husband, and children, and a happy life. I stood here and cried while praying for those blessings. I cried from the heart, I bared my soul. I wanted a happy life so I could forget the pain. Dear Lord, that is exactly what you sent me. You sent me a man with whom I fell deeply in love, we married, and you blessed us with the four most perfect children parents could ever have hoped to have. The pain receded. Along the way I forgot to thank you for answering my prayers, for giving me all that I had ever wanted. For that I apologize, and I thank you, here, today, now for all that I have.

 

I stand here today 16 years later, my life in the last three years has radically changed. So much has happened, so much turmoil, so much more pain, so much suffering, yet still so many blessings, so much joy. In even my darkest hour I knew you were there, however I turned away from you. I could not accept that the power of your decision was there to help me, to improve me, to make me stronger, to make my life better. Yet even as I turned from you, you were there holding my hand, cradling my head on your shoulder, drying my never-ending tears. Even though I had forsaken you, you never forsook me, never. You waited patiently until I opened myself back up to you.

 

When I had no faith left in the world, or in myself, you had faith, you believed, you knew I could turn it all around. You knew I had what it took, it just took time for me to see it. You never left my side, never showed disappointment at my lack of faith. You have been an understanding and forgiving G-d, who strengthens me every day. You gave me the will to continue – how can anyone ever begin to understand the enormity of such a gift?

 

Hashem, you have healed me many times, but this last time, my spirit was so broken that it took a truckload of miracles on your part. Every day that I have is a miracle. To be able to wake up to face a new day without dread, but with joy and gratitude, – to me that is a tremendous miracle. I have a love for life now that I never could have imagined existed. I will never forget where I was, for because of that I appreciate where I am today.

 

Dear Lord, today I brought my 13 year old son with me to pray. Look at him standing there, so tall, so proud, so moved by this experience. You blessed him with life, you gave him me as a mother, and you gave me the inner strength to raise him and his brothers to be God fearing Jews, to practice the way of your People. I hope I never let you down.

 

Look, God, look at him. He is the future of Judaism, he is the way forward, and that is only because of the gifts you have blessed us with. Because of your constancy and strong presence in our lives, he and his brothers are able to believe with a full heart and soul. They have no doubt in their minds about your truth.

 

Thank you oh Lord for the abundance of your gifts, for the scope of your generosity. The mere fact that I stand here, at the Kotel, in Israel, with my eldest son, speaks of how much you have given me. I have been able to bring my son to his land, to soak up the holiness in this place, because you pulled me through, because you healed me, because you helped me to see my inner strength and grow with it.

 

In the zchut (merit) of the blessings you have showered us with, I ask you to bless these people that I am davening for. Some are looking for their beshert, some need a refuah (healing), some just need guidance in their life, and some just need to feel your presence a little stronger in their lives. I wish for them that they feel the way I do, that even if they are faced with challenges, that they know that you, our God, will pull them through. I wish them the knowledge that all that you do is for the good.

 

There are things I want to pray for, for myself, but this time all I ask is continued health and happiness for my family. I know you will send me what I need when the time is right, and that you know what is right for me. Just please give me the continued strength to raise my boys in the right way. They are my life and our future.

 

Hashem, we teach our children that you are everywhere at every time. I think that in the past I have forgotten that, or even taken it for granted. It has been so important to me to come here to thank you, to pray to you, for even though you are around me always, here the power of your shechinah (divine presence) is at its most awesome.

 

When I leave here today, I will back away from the wall as tradition dictates, I will not turn my back on it, just as you have never turned your back on me. I relish your presence in my life, I welcome it. I thank you for the opportunity to bring my son to bask in your glory. I pray that you can read my soul, for my words, well, they feel as if they lack the necessary depth to say what I have needed to say.

 

Dear Lord, hear my prayer, bring us all home, may all of your children find peace. Amen.

 

Your daughter,

Hadassah

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Bemused

Bemused

Confused

Tired

Brain power low

Emotions on overload

I know

What needs

To be

Done

Follow through

Never been

My thing

Respect

The truth

Hold onto

Reality

Let the power of truth

Free me

For when I

Walk with

God’s hand

In mine

Integrity

Is a given

Judge not

Fear not

His will

Is mine too

Fill me with courage

Bless me with strength

Tomorrow I will be reborn.