Lack of blogging usually results in several things, one of them being that people are more likely not to read your blog if you don’t post regularly (although I get several hits daily for people searching for “safety-pin punk”). The upside, for me, is that lack of blogging allows me to read a few more blogs than usual. Here are some that recently caught my eye…
NY’s Funniest Rabbi: On Middot
The Rebbitzin’s Husband: And Leave the House of your Father
A Frum Punk: You Could Have It So Much Better
Little Frum House on the Prairie: Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall
A Simple Jew: Anticipating His Arrival Every Single Day?
I had, at one point in my life, an original copy of the 17 page booklet by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan titled “Love and the Commandments”. I thought it would be a good idea to re-read it and start going through some of the concepts with my 3rd graders. Sadly, I can’t seem to find it. I’m curious if anyone has a copy available to email to me as a pdf? I thank you in advance.
Sunday, November 2 @ 7:00pm
At the F.R.E.E. Synagogue
2935 W Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60645
For more info call (312) 714-0622
I saw Yosef for the first time last fall, when he was brought to Chicago, and it was one of the most inspiring evenings I’ve ever had. The music was from the heart and what he said about the songs, the stories behind the songs, and the Torah he gave over was simply amazing. If you can make it to this show, it’s well worth it.
Rav Simcha Zissel Ziv, the Alter of Kelm
The moment he woke up in the morning, he would jump out of bed as if a bandit had been standing over him with a knife. His purpose was to break the middah of laziness and to train himself in alacrity.
From Sparks of Mussar by R Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik
The Rabbi of my shul gave an amazing drasha before Yizkor urging us to return to a more simpler time of Yiddishkeit. He quoted (as he often does) Rav Soloveitchik from R Peli’s On Repentance:
“Please allow me to make a ‘private confession’ concerning a matter that has caused me much loss of sleep… I still remember- it was not so long ago- when Jews were still close to God and lived in an atmosphere pervaded with holiness. But today, what do we see? The profane and the secular are in control everywhere we turn.
Even in those neighborhoods made up predominantly of religious Jews, one can no longer talk of the ‘sanctity of Shabbat.’ True, there are Jews in America who observe Shabbath. The label ‘Sabbath obverver” has come to be used as a title of honor in our circles just like HaRav HaGaon neither really indicate anything and both testify to the lowly state of our generation. But it is not for Shabbath that my heart aches; it is for the forgotten ‘erev Shabbath’ . There are Shabbat-observing Jews in America, but there are no ‘erev Shabbath’ Jews who go out to greet Shabbat with beating hearts and pulsating souls. There are many who observe the precepts with their hands, with their feet, and/or with their mouths – but there are few indeed who truly know the meaning of the service of the heart!” (On Repentance, pp. 97-98)
I know that we try to, at least, put the Shabbos table cloth on Thursday night (sometimes). My kids know that when we go shopping during the week I’ll say that we’re buying things “L’kavod Erev Shabbos Kodesh”. We know that Shabbos “is coming”, but I’m not sure if I’m ready, on any given week, to actually greet Shabbos. I need to do more. As the Rav explains, we need to yearn for erev Shabbos and “truly know the meaning of the service of the heart”. Simchas HaChaim and Toras Chaim need to be more that buzzwords in my on vocabulary,they need to be lived. Lately I’m not so sure that has been the case. Today is a new day, though. I just davened all day to be sealed in the “Book of Life”, a life full of Torah, Avodah, and Ge’limus Chassidim and that excites me!
A good Erev Shabbos Kodesh!
Lately I find that there are many ideas, thoughts and memories that trigger emotional responses in me. I tend to get “misty eyed” rather easily about some things. Maybe it’s just me getting older or just random feelings leaking out. I find myself getting emotion about things. This line from Paul McCartney’s song, “My Brave Face” is often playing in my head: “The Simplest Things Set Me Off Again.“
In August we visited Liberty Island and Ellis Island with our children and my sister-in-law. Being a third-generation American on both my father’s and mother’s sides, I have always felt rather removed about by family’s journey to America, but walking through the main visitor area at Ellis Island made me realize the the incredible journey my great-great grandparents must have made.
I’ve been, over the past month and a half, slowly reading the late Prof. Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture. I will admit, that even getting through the introduction was difficult for me. I can’t help put reading it with a box of Puffs nearby. Perhaps it’s because I’m just amazed by his clairity of thought and foresight to give over a powerful message to those he cared most about. I know, as a father and spouse, there are many things I need to improve upon. Reading this book has really put the bracha (blessing) of life in perspective.
I’ve been able to daven Selichos with a small minyan in the evenings. In addition to this giving me more time to really understand what I’m saying, I’ve found myself get rather emotional during my davening.
I found a few tears in my eyes when my daughter, after working very hard, got a good remark from her moreh regarding her school work. I had to leave the room when my son, very casually told us that on the day before Yom Kippur he made sure to be one the first kids out of the school building so he could hold the door and wish everyone a “K’siva v’Chasim Tova”.
I wasn’t planning on posting this, as it was written over several weeks. I debated, drafter, edited, re-wrote, and edited again. But I needed to, only because when the time comes, and it will, that my tears stop coming, I can look at this.