Monthly Archives: September 2012

A new tool for In-Reach

This is probably old news to most people, but I got clued into tonight.
It was founded by Rabbi Jason Gelber, a member of Rabbi Ner Israel Kollel and the co-founder of a substance abuse center in Baltimore, MD.  I found the site easy to navigate and the “resources” page had great link for on-line texts and tools for learning.  The site has great potential for people who don’t have time for a chevrua and are interested in one-on-one distance learning.  While I am be fan of Partner’s in Torah, I think this site will be great for In-Reach among the already observant.  While learning on the phone or via Skype is cool, I’m curious if there’s potential for the website to be used to match up people locally?  Time will tell.

From their website:
What is connects Jewish people of all ages, backgrounds and interests to learn Torah together at a time and in a manner that works for them. Busy men and women can find their same-gender matches to engage in dynamic Torah study.
Chavrusa Match facilitates three types of learning arrangements: in-person, for the individual struggling to identify a chavrusa locally, due to scheduling constraints or other limitations; and phone or Skype/video chat, for busy professionals or those living in remote locations without access to in-person resources.

Audio links to "Planting Seeds for a Meaningful Year"

Last night’s joint Yeshiva University Torah Mitzion Kollel and NCSY workshops and panel discussion rocked!!!  Aside from using the Spring Issue of Klal Perspectives as a springboard, the talented speakers addressed issue like making Shabbos more meaningful, the need to bring feeling into our halachic observance, and ideas of what type of learning we can engage in.  The Aish Kodesh zt’l and his seforim came up a few times and Rav Reichman skillfully showed a major differnce between Chassidus and Mussar.
The following audio links were recently posted from the event:


Workshop Sessions
Bring Back that Love and Feeling
Rabbi Reuven Brand, Rosh Kollel
Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director of the OU and International Director of NCSY
Rabbi Josh Livingstone, Director of Meor Northwestern
Rabbi Zev Reichman, Director of Jewish Studies at YU, Rabbi of East Hill Synagogue of Engelwood, NJ
Panel Discussion

A grosse Yashar Koach goes to all who planned this wonderful event.

Secured Messages

I recently received a secured message on my work email. I had tried opening it several times with a password I had previously set up. I tried accessing the message four times and the password wasn’t being accepted. It got to the point that I had actually tried too many times to open the message with a non-accepted password and was locked out.
Finally, as a last resort, I reset my password and was able to access the message. As I approach Yom Kippur I see, that even though Hashem’s messages are constantly being sent to me, in order to read them it is I that must change (which is also part of the message).  Changing what I think is the correct path, when all is said and done, means accepting that what I have been doing so far, isn’t really working.  I might be careful about not talking in shul, but am I really concentrating on the words (and translations) of what I’m saying to Hashem?

Evening of Jewish Spirituality…

Click on image for bigger view

…thanks to Midwest NCSY and the YU Torah Mitzion Kollel

Last Winter, NJ NCSY ran an unbelievable program very similar to this one.  I am so happy that NCSY and  the YU Torah Mitzion Kollel of Chicago are bringing this evening to the Chicago area.  This is a perfect way to deal with the subject of the Spring issue of Klal Perspectives.

The event is Sunday, September 23rd from 8:00pm-9:30pm at Congregation Or Torah in Skokie.

The Rebbetzin’s Husband: A most moving video for the Ten Days of Repentance (link)

Just click the link below and see an amazing video that will get you thinking.  I found it deep, moving and it brought a tear to my eye.

The Rebbetzin’s Husband: A most moving video for the Ten Days of Repentance…: We split our repentance process between two tiers, one our religious relationship with G-d and the other our personal relationship with our …

The story of the lost girl

Rav Moshe Weinberger tells the following story in this shiur, Call of the Wild- Understanding our Inherent Need to Daven:

Once there was a little girl named Rivka and she was lost. The whole shtelt was looking for her and was looking for her and nobody could find her. It was getting dark and the everyone stopped looking, except for her father. Even though it was so dark, and in those days dark was really dark, the father kept on looking and looking through the forest. Nebach, litte Rivka was terrified and lost in the forest and fell asleep by a tree. She was freezing and frightened and cried herself to sleep. All of the sudden the father, the only one looking for her, cleared away a tree and subconsciously she heard the moving of the branches and she sat up, opened her eyes and said, “Tate, Abba, I FOUND YOU!”
Of course, he found her and that’s the story of our lives. The moment we wake up, Hashem is so sweet, he makes us feel like we found him. The truth is that he has never ever stopped looking for each and every one of us. We just have to wake up and realize that.
I wish you a k’siva v’chasima tova and a year full of simcha and shelaymus.

Cheshboning …À la carte

Pic from here

With Rosh HaShanna basically around the corner, Elul and all of it’s glory (and I do mean that, since I happen to love the energy of Elul) already seems like it’s almost over. My mind turns towards the things that I’ve been cheshboning.  Thinks like how I spend my free time, the way I speak to those I love, exercising patience.
I find with any real cheshbon ha-nefesh that when all is said, written, charted down, or audited I am left with a fairly stripped down view of my thoughts, actions, and words. The common thread among these thoughts, actions, and words is that they all hinge on bechira, free will. It is my choice what I think, what I do, and how I speak. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that since we have this thing called bechira, we are free to choose. When I sit and make my cheshbon of how I talked to my wife or my kids, I have to be honest and choose to examine all of the time, not just the time that I spoke nicely.  

The bad news is that since we have this thing called bechira, we are free to choose. The real life effort involved in productive cheshboning comes when we force ourselves to be non-biased, we have to choose. Subjectivity in the way we look at ourselves is the kryponite of a cheshbon hanefesh.

When I sit and make my cheshbon of how I talked to my wife or my kids over the past few months, I have to be honest and choose to examine all of the times, not just the times that I spoke nicely. I recently decided to change how I engage and stay connected with social media. Part of that change involved taking both the Twitter and Facebook applications off of my phone. For me, just taking those apps off my phone was the first step. I could have easily stayed just as connected using a computer whenever I wanted to, so I also began to regulate when and how I would use both of these social media tools with my laptop at home a few nights a week. I find Facebook to be an excellent way to get in touch with people and also get messages out to the masses. However, my life is just as exciting even without knowing what people are up to on a daily basis.

Any performance evaluation has to be based on meeting expected goals. While it’s easier to evaluate others, like the guy that has DADD or the person who always talks about someone else, that’s not the point of cheshboning. I can only look at myself and daven that I can see who I really am and who I can be.