Monthly Archives: January 2008

HaTinok ben Aviva update

I just received the following email (as part of a group list):

B’H Tinok ben Aviva is getting much stronger. It is surely due to all of your tefillos that he has come as far as he has in the last two weeks, and as he has a ways to go, please, please, please keep up the davening!

Meanwhile, he is kicking away, doing some good stretching with his arms, and breathing on his own. While he is still intubated, the tube is not hooked up to any machinery–the little tzaddikel is holding his own. He is putting on weight and his color is great.

He’s a very special addition to Klal Yisroel who have all joined together in our tefillos for a refuah shlaimah for tinok ben Aviva, aka the little tzaddikel.

New Day Rising

There are times when blogging non-anonymous has its’ advantages. One can wear their heart on their sleeve and those that truly know you are non-the-wiser. You can celebrate your victories and your setbacks (not defeats, mind you, simply setbacks), post them, and them get on with your day. There have been plenty-o-posts of mine that are, in fact, very personal and what I have written on this blog is exactly what I would have written in a journal that only I would have seen. Of course, there is a name attached to it and because of that I don’t always post every little thing that happens to me or what I think about certain topics.

Then there are time times, like this one, when a post is simply esoteric. Without knowing exactly what I’m writing about, the reader simply either spends another minute finishing up the post or simply moves on to something more interesting. I find recently that Hashem has been very good to me. By this, I mean, that I have been zoche to see how certain things have worked out to my benefit. When this happens, I take a minute or two and engage in some hisbodedus, attempting to show my Hakoras HaTov to Hashem.

When these things transpire it feels like a New Day Rising and I am pretty uplifted. The knowledge that Hashem is working things out for me, is both comforting and humbling. Such an incident occurred during a casual conversation I had over the weekend. I was speaking with someone and found out some good news about a few people I was close with during a chapter of my life that has been closed for some time now. I will end with this:

If you are involved on a communal level in the Jewish community, if you are in chinuch, if you find yourself being used as a klei to bring others close to Hashem (my fancy term for those in kiruv), if you daven for your kids to be Yirei Shamayim, if you say Tehillim for someone who is ill, just know that every effort you make, every minute spent putting someone’s needs above yours, counts. Sometime we never see it and other times Hashem shines the proverbial MagLite.

One nifty thing about using sitemeter is that I see the city where those looking at my blog are in. I know that I have over 30 readers in the Chicagoland area (I personally only know of about 5 that have come out and said, “I read your blog”), but I know you are out there. If you’re going online already why not check out ?

From their press release: has officially launched this Chanukah as the first email listserv connecting the entire Chicago Jewish community. The site features an interactive Chicago Jewish community email listserv, as well as user-updated event calendar, business directory, and real estate listing sections. Additionally, created partnerships to provide Illinois specific RSS feeds from,, and, and Kosher dining discount cards through, which was built by community members for community members, offers its users access to the email announcement listserv in three different ways: receiving each individual message that is posted, receiving a daily digest of all messages posted, or by viewing the messages directly on the site’s homepage. On the homepage, emails are archived in various categories such as advice, events, for sale, job opportunities, general information, business services, and mitzva (charitable) opportunities. Users may subscribe to a daily digest of the listserv by sending a blank email to

Those who read this blog know that I’m all for achdus. I feel that this new website and listserv is another way for those of us in the Great Chicago area, and even those who don’t live here, to connect. It’s another way to post an important message. Imagine how many people you could reach by posting that, for example, Tehillim need to be said for someone that is sick?

Just like Likutei Peshatim and the Achdus Bulletin provide important communication services in our community, I feel that will do the same. Yashar Koach to their creative team and keep up the good work.

Sunday’s Spark of Mussar

The Chofetz Chaim once asked R’ Yisroel’s advice about a well know problem of yeshiva students. When they begin a new tractrate, they are enthusiastic, but when they reach the middle, they lose their patience and their desire to continue learning it to the end.

R’ Yisroel replied, “Let them learn a tractrate as long as they wish. After that, they can turn to a different tractrate, and on another, until they have satisfied their thirst for different tractrates. Then they can return to the first one and eventually complete all the tractrates they have begun.”

From Sparks of Mussar by R Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik

Product placement

Yesterday I was in a Walgreens to pick something and partake in my once a month crazy habit.
After not finding what I had hoped to find, I continued down the candy aisle. I started laughing. The aisle stared out with candy, then progressed to energy/sports bars, and finally there was shelving at the end of the aisle filled with weight-loss products. HaHaHaHa!

This is gevaldik product placement! What better way to get someone to buy a pill to curb your appetite, than to stick it right next to all the candy. It worked for me. I started thinking (for a minute) if I really even needed to be looking any candy, at all? I could use a pill to help me loose weight, or even some exercise. I suppose some people might use the same approach in chinuch in schools or at home. The “let me show you how NOT to act and then maybe you’ll decide that you really don’t WANT to go down that path” approach is often applied when people use terms like “at risk” or “the hashkafic GPS is broken” (my term for “off whatever derech”). From what I’ve read (and heard from people) a major factor in this trend is not is seeing a genuine Simchas HaChaim in people who are Torah observant.

As I left the store I started thinking about what “products” I want my children to “purchase” from me, their teachers, friends, and our community. I recall listening to Rav Moshe Weinberger’s Inspired Parenting series, (either tape 5 or 6), and hearing that our kids notice exactly when and what we are excited about. Rav Weinberger gives two examples:
1) A mother who can’t wait to go shopping with her daughter when there’s an amazing sale, yet doesn’t get excited about Yom Tom
2) A father who goes to a ball game with his son and screams and cheers the whole time, yet during davening Shabbos morning, he can barely get enough energy to say the words in the siddur

I am not against shopping or sporting events, believe me. But, the responsibility we have by having little eyes watching us is great. I see it in my own kids, in different ways. My 8 yr old, who attends shul with me on Shabbos morning, amazed me by sitting down when the man who makes Kiddush for the minyan sat down to make Kiddush for everyone. I was amazed because when I asked him about why he sat, my son told me, “because I see you sit.”
My 5 yr old, when playing with her 15 month old sister often will use the same phrases and gestures that my wife uses when interacting with the baby.
And even the baby will give kisses to her doll or try to kiss the mezuzzah, all because that is she sees. Product placement seems to be key when you have consumers living with you.

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Sunday’s Spark of Mussar

While other children in town were learning in cheder, one poor orphan boy went roaming in the streets, for there was no one to pay his tuition. R’ Yisroel insisted that the townspeople pay it. “We have no money,” they argued. “Sell your Sifrei Torah,” thundered R’ Yisroel, “and pay the child’s tuition!”

From Sparks of Mussar by R Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik

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