Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's been a while

Greetings to all:

First I want to thank the many of you who sent me personal notes to say hi or wonder if I was still on the planet. Yes, I am still here, I was just caught up in a whirlwind of life and I was not sure how to get out of it, rise above it, or find the calm in the center. My life is still too busy, but I think I am finally learning (with Hashem's help) to deal with the chaos. We still have the little one in our home but only part time now as he is transitioning back to Mama more and more. Please pray that all should go well and Hashem should protect and guard his Mama and him.

I have been doing alot thinking (which could be dangerous :::wink:::) and I am really trying to build up my time of hitbodedut. I have found that I am not unlike most humans in that I cannot be cut off from the Source for very long without feeling it in a big way. Understand my words, obviously Hashem does not forsake me or leave me, I am His daughter. I just tend to wander sometimes...I wander when I wonder (lol). When I wander and feel lost I become confused. Why do I wander? It happens quite accidently I assure you. I am usually just too caught up in the details of Life that I forget to visit with my Abba. I still do what I do, but I forget the heart connection. I do this with people too, even my own family. Who can connect when you are so caught up in your head? I get confused because I am so busy trying to figure things out on my own instead of spending time with Hashem in prayer and listening and looking for the messages. So little by little I am trying to return to planet Earth and out of my head and be present again. Little by little I am trying to get myself back on track with Hashem and work on my emunah. (Nod to Rabbi Lazer Brody who constantly reminds me that this :emunah: is the absolute bottom line!)

How will I do this?
By building up my emunah and bitachon. By trusting and having faith in the One who truly loves me and wants what is best for me. Who only does what is best for me and who ultimately does only what is for my good.

I don't know how often I will be back here. Sometimes I feel like I have a ton to say and other times, I have a ton to say but don't feel like writing it. Besides, this whole cyber world...I wonder if it prevents us from meeting each other for real. Besides if you really knew me would you still want to visit. Who knows? There is so much out there happening, there is so much to pray about. There is so much to actually DO! I don't know if blogging about it counts? Maybe I am thinking too much again. LOL! My beloved always says he can tell when I am thinking, he sees the smoke rising from my head.

I know I am not so Unique and many of you are in the same boat. To be honest that is why I even have this blog. To connect with others like me. To those who sometimes feel like "bumble bees" (even among thier own people and family) . To the women who just want to be wives and mommies. Folks who long for a simple life. People of similiar interests and to all who love Hashem and want to serve Him and walk in His Holy Torah.

Tomorrow we start a new calendar year, 2007! To all may it bring a new closeness with the One True G-d, Creator and Master of the Universe ! And may He send His Righteous Moschiach speedily in our day!

The Year in Review by Simon Jacobson

The Year in Review
By Simon Jacobson

As we conclude the calendar year – my 50th on earth – it’s an appropriate time to examine the past year’s events, and attempt to place them in perspective.

One of the most vital lessons in life is to both live in the moment but never forget that the moment is part of a continuum. As a period comes to a close, connect the small steps of your day to day life with your larger ones; align the small picture with the bigger picture.

After all, our lives are like one running film, which we must live frontward, but can only be understood backward (as Kierkegaard said).

Highlights of the small picture of 2006 include:
Confrontation with Iran as a nuclear threat, with the rising prominence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his inciting words.
A bottomless pit called Iraq.
The Middle East quagmire remains “intact.”
The threat of radical Islam and worldwide terrorism.
The Hezbollah Israeli War in Lebanon during last summer.
Midterm elections – with the Republicans losing control of both houses to the Democrats.
Accelerated battle between science and religion.
Radical atheism emerges – with best-selling books The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Open Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.
Warren Buffet’s unprecedented $35 billion charitable donation.
North Korea, under President Kim II Sung, rattles its nuclear sabers.
Unprecedented wealth generated by the financial markets.
Technology speeds ahead at a breathtaking pace.
YouTube and MySpace lead the Web 2.0 revolution of personal empowerment, with Time magazine designating “You” as its 2006 Person of the Year.
Our dependency on oil and gas controlled primarily by despots only continues to grow.
What stands out among all these events is a gnawing paradox impossible to ignore: While prosperity grows profound unrest is brewing below.

On one hand, Warren Buffet demonstrates an unheard of level of giving. Charity, in general, continues to grow. On the other, narcissism is also on the rise. Frank Rich makes the case (in the NY Times) that Time magazine’s choice of “You” as Person of the Year is actually a condemnation – reflecting today’s narcissistic pastimes of the Internet.

As technology advances and individual expression finds a universal platform, is the world – and our personal lives – improving?

The continued battle between a faith and atheism is merely another reflection of the dichotomy of our times: Dawkins and Harris passionately argue, with a tone no less fundamentalist and dogmatic than that of their religious compatriots, how religion and God have caused all the world’s problems. Simultaneously, religion continues to dominate people’s lives. The mega-churches are routinely turning out 20,000 plus people each week. Just look at the successes of pastors like Rick Warren (best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life) and Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now), and best sellers like the "Left Behind" series selling over 100 million copies. With 2.5 billion Christians and 1.5 Muslims religion is hardly on the decline.

Indeed, the battles originating in the Middle East – which is also the source of most of the world’s oil – are religious in nature.

Yet another paradox: Freedom steadily grows around the world. Most nations today proclaim (though not always practice) universal human rights as an ideal. Yet, in Iraq and in the Muslim Middle East it seems that tribal passions and religious fervor takes precedent to personal freedom which many Westerners see as a God given right, ''written in the hearts'' of all peoples and “the permanent hope of mankind,” “the longing of the soul.” Some Asian countries, like China, with only 2.5 billion people, might also disagree with the Western definition of individual rights that they feel disturbs the collective good.

So with all the empowerment of “You” – YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, blogs and, of course, Google – the globe is not exactly embracing individual power. And one can strongly argue, that placed in corporate hands (MySpace owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, YouTube bought by Google) commercialism, not individualism, lies at the heart of their business plans. Only now “individuality” carries powerful marketable equity. Are you feeling empowered?...

Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe, that despite corporate cynicism, the “individual” will rise, but only when individuality will be fused with higher purpose and a sense of a higher calling (see Individualism and G-d).

The fact remains: Unprecedented technologies, which dramatically have improved our standard of living, cannot protect us from our deepest vulnerabilities exposed by primal religious wars being waged against us. The profound tensions festering fermenting simmering in the Middle East casts a long shadow of global uncertainty. All our medical and scientific advancements have not improved the quality of our emotional and intimate lives, only amplifying the growing dissonance between our outer and inner lives, between material progress and spiritual regression.

2006 can be summed up as a year of pronounced disparity between prosperity and uncertainty. It’s as if success and bankruptcy are growing hand in hand.

Placed in context, the paradox of our times is nothing new. Nothing more than a manifestation of the millennia-long battle between spirit and matter. As our material lives continue to prosper our souls beckon for equal time. And therein lays the tension and anxiety of our age – crying out from the rift between our material and our spiritual lives.

The Zohar states: “Strong body, weak soul.” Material dominance equals spiritual weakness. This however does not mean that material success is a curse. It is a challenge – the challenge that has vexed mankind form the beginning of time continues to vex us today: How do we reconcile matter and spirit?

Global tensions – driven today primarily by the clash between the Muslims and the West – reflect the battle between different world views on the meaning of human progress and how we must make our peace with G-d.

Technology – with its inherent contradiction between uniting us as people in unparalleled ways, while depersonalizing us in the process – creates its own form of existential tensions.

As we enter 2007 these conflicts will only intensify. It is vital that we see the small picture in context of the big one – the universal friction between our outer and inner lives. Only when we begin to bridge the two will we find some peace.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Essential Rabbi Nachman


The Essential Rabbi Nachman

A treasury of sayings, teachings, parables and stories by the outstanding Chassidic sage, mystic and visionary, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), whose message of faith, hope, courage, simplicity and joy is essential to each one of us
and essential to the whole world.

Translated by
Avraham Greenbaum

RACHEL'S ANNIVERSARY: National Day of Prayer

From the AZAMRA website:

Dear Friends: 11th Marcheshvan -- Wednesday night 1 November and all day Thursday 2 November -- is the Yahrzeit (death anniversary) of RACHEL IMMENU, mother of Israel, who stands over her grave stretching out her arms to G-d in Heaven, weeping and supplicating for her children.

Let us light a candle in memory of our Mother Rachel and take some extra time on this propitious day to pray and pour out our hearts to our Father in Heaven, pleading for Him to show compassion on Israel and bring true peace to our troubled world.

Shalom UVrachah


Monday, October 30, 2006

Simply knitting

So as I have been saying, I am more than a little overwhelmed in my life right now. When I was sure I was about to hit my breaking point any minute, I saw a piece of my sanity lying in a basket near my couch. I think that is just the reason my house is cluttered the way it is with yarn, needles, a quilt rack, weaving and books. Just in case I have a second to actually pause, my sanity will be there waiting for me, somewhere amidst the fiber and literary clutter. I actually paused and started looking at my yarn. There were two very sweet skeins that were birthday gifts this year, that I was very fond of. The color and texture were inviting to relax and create. I chose to work with them and then starting fussing through my books to find just the right pattern. As I only had two skeins, there wasn't a whole lot I could do, but I was sure I could make something nice. I started flipping through the two books that I have that are particularly devoted to one skein and oddball knitting. After looking at some of the lovely and some of the quite impractical patterns in them, I finally decided that what I really wanted to do was just knit. Simple as that, I just wanted to knit. Oh, maybe throw in a purl now and then, but nothing fancy. I only wanted to feel the needles and yarn in my hands and find my groove. And that is just what I did. So here you have it folks. Nothing lovely, nothing fancy, nothing to write home about, just a simple scarf of variegated wool blend yarn that stripes all on it's own. I don't have to think about it. The yarn expects nothing of me, it makes no demands, and yet grants me moments of bliss. Just allowing me to find my rhythm and create something that will be quite useful to me as the fall drifts into winter.

Friday, October 27, 2006


My dear friends from Tsfat Reb Moshe and his beloved wife Rochel need your prayers for thier 18 month old son. I just read this on his blog Please take a moment to say tehillim.

Thank you so much!

Tizku l'mitzvot




And it's not even 7 AM!

I am not sure what has happened, but my morning has been a bit interesting. I have to tell you that the only thing on my mind this AM was to make challah. Simple enough right? I just wanted to make challah this week. With school and everything and everyone else that is going on in my life I cannot tell you the last time I made challah. It has been weeks. I HATE buying challah. Sure, we have stores and bakeries where you can buy challah and most is inexpensive enough. We even have one bakery where the challah is 'prit near perfect, almost like homemade! But that is not the point. I like to make challah. I am a Farmgirl for Pete's sake! So what's the problem you ask. I have no idea, except something is not right in the cosmos for me right now. I woke up at 3:30 this morning. My brain just went ping!

"OK," I told myself, "take it easy, you can sleep till 4 and then get up."

"Yes, but," I argued back, "the Ben Ish Hai says that even though women should not daven Tikun chatzot (midnight prayers and lament over our Holy Temple) they should arise early and do there household chores in the same merit."

"Please go back to sleep at least 'till 4."



I proceeded to have the same argument and try to sleep till 5. HA! At that point the alarm went off and some radio talk show came on to tell me how you should not invest more that 5-10% of your total stocks in your companies 401K plan (i.e. Enron). "Great" I thought sleepily, "stocks....vegetable of beef????"

My brain switched on so abruptly today that I could not remember if I had even said Modeh Ani?

The rest of the morning proceeded well. I said my morning prayers and put my apron on. I started the yeast and put my milk up on the stove getting it ready for my coffee. As I am pouring my scalded milk into my cup, my beloved and I start talking about this week's parsha.

"Did you know the tievah had three floors?" I ask.

My beloved replied that yes he did and as we were discussing how huge it must have been I decided to pour the scalded milk onto my unprotected hand.


I decide to pour a bit of cold water on it and ignore the pain because there is challah to make and I am going to make that challah!

I lay my coffee aside and check the yeast. It's ready. OK, since I do not have a lot of time I am going to use the mixer that I never, ever use. I pull it out and scratch my head wondering to myself how does this thing work. I stick the dough attachment on, put all my ingredients in the bowl and flip the switch. Viola! Nothing. Nope nothing. Just a clunk, clunk sound as the mixer's blades started to turn. I wake up my daughter and ask her what the deal is (after all, she actually uses the monster). She informs me that the dough blades do not work and I would have to use the other ones. OK, fine. I switch blades and try again. This time I notice my dough is sticking big time. I try working with it but then I smell smoke. Yep, you got it. The mixer started to burn up. :::sigh::: Personally, I think it hates me because I never use it, preferring my hand crank version dough mixer (thank you again Susan).

I take my poor abused challah dough stick in a bowl and proceed to knead it myself. I mutter "What is going on here HaShem?" trying to think loving and holy thoughts as I make this challah. I turn super spiritual on myself and ask questions like "why do you want to make the challah? Is it really to fulfill the mitzvah or do you have some other motivation?" Thinking back to myself I remember again how I really do love making challah for shabbat. It is such a holy thing and one of the few mitzvot that are specifically obligated to women. I can get incredibly introspective y'know. It feels so good when I can give this small gift to my family. I want to mix in so much love and prayer along with all the other ingredients.

My beloved arrived back from minyan. He asked how the challah went and I told him I am writing about it now. He laughed and said "Oh really?" I told him I think I broke the mixer that it is burnt out. He congratulated me with a "Good job!" and proceeded to check the victim for vital signs. Nope, nothing. The funeral will be at 9 AM today. That's when the garbage men come by. Unceremonious I know, but like I said, I think the mixer hated me anyway. Besides I still have my hand crank...of course my daughter my be a little saddened by it's untimely demise.

Shabbat shalom Y'all!

Only 10 more hours to go!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Child led nursing according to the Rabbis

I received this today and am again amazed at the wisdom of our Sages. Here is the halacha on nursing. It is very child led.

Description: Is It Permissible For A Nursing Mother To Resume Nursing Her Baby After A Few Days Interruption

The Rabbis afforded great importance to nursing a newborn baby, which, as has been proven by modern medicine, yields numerous health benefits. For example, during the first several days after birth nursing provides the infant with colostrum, which has been shown to help protect children from various allergies and diseases. Mother's milk itself has likewise been determined to provide a child with important health benefits. Therefore, a woman who is able to nurse a child should not forego on this opportunity, even if bottle-feeding is more convenient.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dei'a 81:7) presents the guidelines as to when it is no longer permissible to nurse a child. He writes that a healthy child may nurse until the end of his fourth year, and a sickly child is permitted to nurse from his mother until after he completes his fifth year of life. After this point, it becomes forbidden for him to nurse just as it is forbidden for older children and adults to nurse directly from a woman. The Shulchan Aruch adds that after twenty-four months have passed since birth, if the child stops nursing for a period of seventy-two hours, the mother may not resume nursing the child, unless some health risk is involved. Chacham Ovadia Yosef rules accordingly, in his work Halichot Olam (vol. 6, p. 229).

Therefore, a mother who still nurses her child after the first two years must bear in mind that if she leaves on a trip and will thus be unable to nurse the child for seventy-two hours, it will be forbidden for her to resume nursing upon her return.

Summary: Halacha encourages mothers to nurse their babies given the health benefits involved. A healthy child may nurse from the mother until after his fourth year, and a sick child, until after five years. After two years, however, a child who stops nursing for seventy-two hours may not resume nursing unless a health risk is involved.

It is so interesting to note that if the mother does not nurse for seventy two hours she may not start up again after the child is twenty four months. This is a relatively average weaning time and many babies do wean themselves at this age. Although my youngest weaned herself younger, I know many babies who hold on for the whole four years. The point is that if baby and mommy are willing there is no reason why they cannot continue nursing past two years. This is a most beautiful and encouraging halacha that I can share with many of the mommies I come in contact with. The longer the better; truth be told though I would be thrilled if all mommies nursed thier babies for even a few days. In this case something is better than nothing. Other than the obvious health benefits there are many, many more deep emotional benefits to both mother and child.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Just for fun...What planet are you from?

OK, I tried another one of these quizzy things. Pretty accurate.'s just for fun ;-)

You Are From Neptune

You are dreamy and mystical, with a natural psychic ability.
You love music, poetry, dance, and (most of all) the open sea.
Your soul is filled with possibilities, and your heart overflows with compassion.
You can be in a room full of friendly people and feel all alone.
If you don't get carried away with one idea, your spiritual nature will see you through anything.

Friday, October 20, 2006

On the edge of the unknown

Emotions run rampant sometimes and I feel them so deeply I think I may drown. No matter how hard I try to remain 'detached' I still feel the deep pain of uncertainty. But this is the sacrifice of love. The command to love another human being is a deep sacrifice and one that I do not think you can detach yourself from. What do I do? Hashem has given me a neshama to love, one that I did not birth, but I seem to need to treat as if I did. Nurturing does come easy to me, I am a professional Mommy after all. I was so blessed when the little one's baby-sitter told me the other day how he is saying his prayers, he says Shema, he says AMEN! I cried with all the emotions that joy afforded me. Baruch Hashem, something has been planted in the garden of his neshama and it is taking root and it is beginning to grow. But oh, such a fragile plant, so delicate that I fear a storm or neglect would stunt it's growth. But what can I do? Hashem's ultimate will, will be done. I am trying to practice letting go. Do I have a choice? Did I ever? I simply did what Hashem put before me to do. I may cry and have pain but I do know I tried to please my Father in the task that he laid before me. Let go and let G-d. That is what they say. What the next days, weeks, etc., hold I know not. I do not know how much longer I will have this 'job.' I feel the end coming and it is hard letting go. Not a wrenching feeling but one that requires huge emunah on my part. I must trust that Hashem will care for the neshama and do what is best for him. Silly isn't it? Aren't I implying that onlyI can care for him best? Only Hashem knows what is best. Whatever Hashem does is for my good, for the good of the little one, for the good of his mother. Hashem is good and does good, no matter how painful or confusing it is, it is for the best. When he came to us I felt the room spin, I truly thought I was going to faint, it happened all so suddenly. Now that the end seems to be coming...well, I just don't know. Isn't that the way it always is? We just don't know. All we can do is trust. I know Abba loves me, loves my amazing, self sacrificing and supportive family. They too have given thier all and have loved deeply. Hashem loves this neshama and his Mama. Ultimately all will be well. This is I believe, I know. No matter what I will trust Hashem. I will continue to do the best I can at whatever task He lays before me next and come what may, joy or pain, I will love Him because I know He loves me, His child.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Post Holiday Hangover

OK, before you all start thinking ill of me, I am not writing of an alcohol induced hangover. I am simply describing the exhaustion and fog I am feeling right now after all the excitement of the chaggim. I have been moving on fast forward for what feels like so long now that to actually try to get back into the day to day is a bit surreal. Talk about slamming on the breaks and changing directions! Don't misunderstand, I welcome the mundane with open arms right now. After coming from the spiritual intensity of these particular holidays, I need the routine to try to incorporate what I have learned. I just have to try and slow down now to enjoy the scenery.
Today is a rainy gray day that is adding to my blahs exponetially. :::wink to OTR:::
In Israel this is a blessing, I am not so sure the same applies here in chutz l'aretz. (Of course rain is a blessing, obviously we need it...but here, well here in Philadelphia it just feels like 'blah'. Are you loving the vocab here?)
Last night one of our local synagogues had a hachnasat sefer torah, (welcoming of a new torah scroll). That was an especially good feeling after all the joy of simchat torah. This did help some with my post holiday blues.
Ah well, like the song goes...back to life, back to reality.
On the bright side of things, I do have a weaving that has been whispering to me for days to work on...and there is all that yarn...oh yes, and the fabric:::sigh, I feel better already!:::

Monday, October 16, 2006

Step One...Powerless over Fiber

1. We admitted we were powerless over fiber---that our stash had become unmanageable.

"Hi, I am Philly and I am a fiber addict."

Truth be told the ONLY thing that prevents me from going totally haywire at the nearest wool store is finances and lack there of. (see, I must not be THAT bad, I am not willing to stop eating to get my next yarn fix ;-) But oy, am I getting the itch right now. My nesting urges have begun full force and so all I want to do at this point in my life is feel wool, spin, knit, sew a few things, make a quilt, and drink tea, in that order. (Yes, I DO have a family but they are all big enough to make their own box of Wacky-Mac) In my fantasy world I would be sitting in my log cabin somewhere hidden in the hills of Israel :::OK, remember I was raised here in the US of A, I like log cabins::: with my wonderful flock of merinos wandering about, and spinning my heart out right now. :::SIGH:::

My wonderfully patient friend and fellow addict BJ :::she is MUCH worse than me::: sent me this from Yarn Harlot. Check this blog out and see if you too can relate. I'll be here waiting for you in the room overflowing with roving. We can start our own 12 Step Program...of course it won't really do us any good as it will be just another excuse to sit and knit during the meeting.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

And now for the last word on healthy eating:::smile:::

For All We Weight and Health Conscious People!

As we now know, Dr.Atkins was 258 lbs. at the time of his death, an Obese
weight for a man 6'

For those of you who watch what you eat... Here's the final word on
nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those
conflicting medical studies:

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than
the Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks
than the Americans

4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer
heart attacks than the Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and
suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently whats killing you.

Note: Thanks to Over the Rainbow for passing this along to me and making me smile! That was a BIG mitzvah girl!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Let's go Home

Traveling Through Torah

Try to go through all our holy books in the course of your lifetime, so that you will have visited every place in the Torah. Wealthy people constantly travel from place to place, spending enormous sums in order to be able to boast about where they have been. In the same way, in this life you should visit all the holy places in the Torah. Then in your future life you will be able to take pride in having visited every place in our holy literature. For in the world to come you will remember everything you have ever learned.

Rabbi Nachman, Sichot Haran #28

I found this over at the Azamra website. Check out this exciting new learning opportunity they are offering! It is called Know Your Bible Take part in AZAMRA's Internet Bible-in-a-Year Study Cycle and get acquainted with the world's greatest Book of eternal wisdom – for an investment that could be no more than 10-15 minutes a day.

Officer Claims Religious Discrimination By University

TOWSON, Md. - It's the holiest time of year for Jews -- the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For one Orthodox Jew, the timing couldn't be worse. He is a Towson University police officer and he is suspended from his job. WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter Barry Simms said the officer calls it a case of religious discrimination.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I suppose there will be many, many firsts in my journey through and in Judaism. I know as each year goes by my realization of the significance of everything becomes deeper and with more understanding. I have wondered at times why we do the things we do and then after doing them the light bulb goes off. Kapparot has been one of these occasions. My husband and I walked to our synagogue today under the darkness of a predawn sky. There I stood with him, waiting in the rain to get my hen. As their clucks rose sporadically, I felt such a tenderness and sadness for these precious birds. When I received her, I caressed my dear hen who was not in any way an atonement for my sins but a clear reminder of what could happen to me, of what I could be deserving of. The rain falling on us seemed all too appropriate as I said my prayer, "This is my exchange...I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace." As I walked away the sobs came. It was all so very clear to me now, how merciful Our Creator is. He reminds me of who I am, good and bad. He calls me to Himself and loves me so deeply. On this Erev Yom Kippur I pray I come to deep and real teshuvah. I pray that the Holy One of Israel finds me and all of His beloved children favorable. That He gives us all a decree of goodness, long life and shalom, with the coming of His Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) speedily in our day. Amen v'amen
Wishing all a Gmar Chatima Tovah!

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Mommy’s Elul and Tishrei Guide

Just in time for all the very busy mommies out there getting ready for the upcoming Chaggim (holidays) from is A Mommy’s Elul and Tishrei Guide. It is an incredibly thorough guide and preparation list. "It was designed by one of our members (from to help other mothers prepare for the Yomim Tovim in an organized and timely. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just for Fun

I don't usually go for the "quiz" thingee on blogs etc. but this one piqued my interest so I had to go for it. Strangely enough, I thought it was pretty acurate.

You scored as Earth-Child. You're a very peaceful person who has very strong beliefs. Others see you as spiritual, and you really are. You see magic as a resource to be used wisely. The earth really is your mother, and you'll remain close to her as long as you live.

What type of hippie are you?
created with

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Special Guest Post From Racheli

It has occurred to me that this life, in which we seem to always take for granted, is exceptionally difficult to handle. Many people you will soon discover as you get older seem to give up and allow the media to control their difficult times by succumbing to the all too well known word, “drugs”. Whether it be over the counter or under, whether legal or illegal, it seems we can’t seem to live with out some sort of way of numbing our existence, leaving us temporarily lost in another universe. This happens to be only a bittersweet existence since after the drug wears off we find that unlike what we have just experienced time has gone on as usual and we have merely missed out on perhaps another chance to change what is our uncomfortable way of life.

“I give up!” an all too common phrase, “I’ve had enough I can’t take this anymore!” Why do we give up? Why do we loose hope? It reminds me of when you discipline a child by putting him in 'time out', turning on the timer for a few minutes, after which the child is waiting patiently for the timer to be up, then, when the child thinks that the timer is never going to be up he runs out of his place in a fury which only causes the parent to have to extend the discipline further. If only the child would have known that a few more seconds the timer would have been up and the punishment finished without it being prolonged any longer. You would think the same with us. Things really don’t change as we get older. If only we would wait a little bit longer and right when we feel we can’t take it anymore we would just fight a little bit longer we would make it through the struggles.

We like to blame our problems on our current situation; stress, be it family related, work, friends, or just day to day things such as problems with a leak in the faucet or some such nonsense in the house. We explain this as the reason for our blow-ups, and only if we had an easier life would we be more agreeable. Why must we blame all our problems on everything but the real source of them, ourselves. What is it that makes us blame everything but ourselves? Fear? That seems to be the root of a lot of our failures. Failures to thrive, to work to live, to do anything. We are afraid to fail, to be embarrassed, hurt, to be happy or sad, it stops us from truly accomplishing our goals. “I can’t do this I’ve been hurt to many times or I can’t be responsible for this project my last one blew up!” You might even have the habit of repeating a mantra to yourself “you can do it! You can do it!” before you do anything thing but there always seems to be that creeping notion of how you really can’t. What can we do to overcome this sensation of fear? How many books have been written upon it, lectures, essays all saying basically the same thing. This is the modern age we want quick fixes, easy outs and a lot of “everything is going to be ok”. Well you know what it isn’t! We can’t sit around and think everything is going to work out if we do nothing about it! We need to drop the medication, the therapist, and settle down into ourselves and make things right before more of our lives get caught up in this horrible mentality of helplessness. Can we do it alone? NO! G-d made other human beings upon this planet and He did not make us hermits. We are here to learn from each other and grow together. We have answers staring us right in the face but we push them down because they are too difficult and again those terrible feelings of “I can’t do it” come creeping in. Rabbi Yaakov Hillel said that anything that is cheap is not truth. All the therapists and counselors that seem to know all the answers for you by telling you what medicine to take and what husband to divorce without giving you the benefit of the doubt that you can actually work at something and figure things out on you own. It feels so amazing when you work at something so hard and accomplish it. But please don’t misunderstand me, while you are in the muck of things and there seems to be know end in sight, you just can’t take it anymore and you want to give up, Rebbe Nachman said to “Never give up! If you believe you can break something, have faith that you can repair it.” There is always hope. HA KADOSH BARUCH HU did not leave us alone.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My punny student

As my son was trying to make his way through the dining room he found he was road blocked by my youngest and I finishing up our geography lesson. He apologized for interrupting us, to which my dear daughter replied, "No problem, we were just having a heated discussion about the equator!"


Never Give Up!

The battle for our souls is coming from within. The battle is not frontal, we could then guard ourselves. It is not even from behind. Then we would just fall and get back up. It is from within, deep within us! The flood of atheism is the battle for our emunah. It is not a battle that you would, G-d forbid, say there is no G-d. The atheism, the battle of emunah is the doubt that creeps up within us. The lack of absolute trust in Him! Absolute trust in the Holy One, Blessed be He! This sinister battle sneaks up inside us and wears us down. It slowly and patiently chips away at us and weakens us, until we wonder why are we even doing what we are doing or living the life we are living. It wants us to GIVE UP! What's the point anyway? Why bother? Does prayer really work? Is anyone really listening? The battle of our emunah and the capture of our souls can only happen if we give up. I want to tell you all, my beloved family, friends and misc. nice people who take the time to read my blog PLEASE, I BEG YOU, DO NOT GIVE UP! No matter how dark it seems, no matter how tired you are! No matter how hopeless it looks, no matter how many times you fall! No matter if you are at your wits end and you really can't take another step, do not give up! No matter how many times the children call your name and your beloved asks for another thing! No matter how lonely you are and no matter how many times you have tried, do not give up! No matter that the bank account is in the negative and the rent is now due, no matter that your insurance is late and your children need new shoes! No matter if you think you are the only one who is even trying, no matter what, do not give up! You could be taking your last breathe, or may just feel like it. You may be fading fast and ready to throw it all away, it could will be, in that last second HaShem will rescue you! Just call out, He is there. You are NOT too far away! He is THERE WITH YOU! You can return to Him! He loves His children and He loves YOU! Just don't give up! You can do it, and you do not have to do it alone! Just one more minute, reach up just one more time! Call out just one more time! I could quote a million cliches right now, all of which would be true, but none as true as the strength deep within you have yet to experience. Just don't give up!

A Short Film About Jerusalem

This is a lovely and powerful short film done by Gil Rosen. It was sent to me be a dear e-mail friend who thought that I and all of you would appreciate it.

Shalom u' Brachot!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Let the Sun Shine in...


The Path Of Light

When He made the world, He made two ways to repair each thing: With harshness or with compassion. With a slap or with a caress. With darkness or with light.

And He looked at the light and saw that it was good. Darkness and harsh words may be necessary. But He never called them good.

Even if you could correct another person with harsh words, the One Above receives no pleasure from it. When He sees his creatures heal one another with caring and with kindness, that is when He shines His smile upon us.

A Daily Dose of Wisdom from the Rebbe
-words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman
Elul 10, 5766 * September 3, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

Does it get ever get easier??

My son is leaving next Sunday for yeshiva in Yerushalayim. I keep telling myself it will be easier this time. I am not so sure though. I can't help but think that in two weeks I will not be hearing him singing from his bedroom at the top of his lungs to Adi Ran. He won't be calling me on erev shabbat to ask if there is anything I need him to pick up for me at the store. I am not trying to be morose is just the way I am feeling today. I know it is what right, he thrives in Eretz Israel and he is happy there. What mother doesn't want their child to be happy? I just thought it would be easier this time and it doesn't feel like it.
Shabbat Shalom chaverim, I am off to finish getting ready and focus on being b'simcha.

Monday, August 21, 2006

On Being an Aunt

Y'know, I just love being an aunt...or in my case a Tity. It is especially easy when I have such incredible nieces and nephews. This summer I have had the pleasure of seeing each and everyone of them! I had my oldest nephew here for most of the summer. He went home last week and I miss him terribly. The youngest nephew is here once a month courtesy of my very kind and accommodating little sister.The rest I have either visited or they have come to me. Pretty kewl, huh? I really hope that we always stay close. I have so little extended family that I am close to, Thank G-d for my brother and sisters. I really hope that this generation is different. I hope my children's cousins are all close. I hope that my nieces and nephews and I stay close to each other. Heck, I hope to see lots of family reunions someday when my sibs and I are all old and grey. G-d willing, this will happen. But I know it will not happen on it's own and the hope will only become a reality if we work at it and make it happen. The roots of our family tree are unfortunately not without it's fair share of damage. They are not so strong and not so deep. But I have seen a nearly dead tree come back to life with continous watering and feeding. It can happen. We can be the beginning of a strong and new branch on the family tree. G-d willing, as each new addition joins our family, our tree will only grow stronger and stronger. L'chaim family!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Two educational methods I am very interested in

Montessori and the Prepared Environment

Italian physician Maria Montessori’s work emphasized the idea of the prepared environment: Provide the proper surroundings and tools, so that children can develop their full potential. Montessori materials are carefully selected, designed to help children learn to function in their cultures and to become independent and competent. Emphasis is on beauty and quality, and that which confuses or clutters is avoided: Manipulative are made of wood rather than plastic tools are simple and functional, and television and computers are discouraged.

Charlotte Mason: Guiding Natural Curiosity

Charlotte Mason was a nineteenth-century educator advocated informal learning during the child’s early year contrast with the Prussian system of regimented learning then in vogue. She recommended nature study to develop both observational skill and an appreciation for the beauty of creation and extended that approach to teaching history geography through travel and study of the environment rather than as collections of data to master. She felt children learn best when instruction takes into account their individual abilities and temperaments, but she emphasized the importance of developing good habits to govern one’s temperament and laying a solid foundation of good moral values.

Oh, Jolly playmate! Come out and play with me!

And bring your 'puter please!

So, I decided to allow my inner child out last night and we colored on the computer. Not really my fave thing, but I did not feel like looking for my crayons...I think I was just too pooped out to try. Anyway, this is what I came up with as a lil' reminder for my family and me. I have it as a screensaver, it's kinda cute if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


This is an article that could have been written by me, she expresses my feeling so exactly.


By: Chana Weisberg

It’s 3:49AM.

I am awake. I cannot sleep. My mind is racing. My heart is bursting. It bursts not from sorrow or pain, but from a fullness of joy, and a tinge of sadness at parting.

Tomorrow, you both leave.

In the last few weeks, you’ve both come back into my life. It’s not like you ever really left. You were always so close to my heart. You always will be. But the physical distance was between us.

I didn’t see you. I wasn’t a part of the many moments of your life. I couldn’t watch you rising in the morning or attend to the numerous activities of your day. We spoke often, but not often enough.

You are independent, far away, learning and growing, developing a life of your own. So far apart from me.

But the last few weeks, you were home. I’ve watched you both carefully. You have both grown as such different individuals, just like you always were, and I celebrate your uniqueness.

My heart is so full. So full that it aches.

One day, you will understand it. But not for a little while. Not until you, too, become a parent.

My nineteen year old daughter.

We picked you up from the airport, after an international flight on your break from seminary. I watched you walk with such a confidence, a surety in the direction you want to lead your life. You exude a calmness, an optimism in the dreams of your tomorrow.

Where has the young, hesitant little girl disappeared—the one who timidly clung to my arm and cautiously hid behind my gathered skirt?

She has become a woman. A woman full of sensitivity, full of devotion to her Creator, full of knowledge and idealism that is ready to be implemented in practice.

You’ve learned so much. You quote sources at the tip of your tongue. You speak, write and teach so eloquently and effortlessly, with fervor and true conviction. Your diligent years of studies have paid off.

Where is the little girl who used to sit next to me asking for help with her studies? Where is the shy girl who was loathe of strangers? She has grown into a woman, who now knows more than me.

I watch you learn and pray. With such devotion. Such earnestness. And as I watch you, I too pray. I ask that all the dreams of your heart, soul and mind be fulfilled. You want such good. You carry such absolute, unbridled power.

Where has the little girl gone, the little girl who I made practice her reading so painstakingly? You have developed into a woman, who connects with her Creator more intensely than me.

You insist on helping with the cleaning, cooking and tending to your younger siblings. You stay up late at night, much past my own bedtime. When my eye lids are drooping from fatigue, you continue working, accomplishing, achieving and doing. Your sparkling eyes communicate with me even more effectively than words could ever share.

Where has the little girl gone who I used to snuggle with at night and chase away frightening nightmares or daunting fears?

You have grown into a woman, ready to confront the challenges of life, strong and optimistic. You stand sure, full of power, without any cynicism, prepared to accomplish your ideals.

You stand beautiful and tall. You are not physically tall in your small petite frame, but tall in your worldview, and in the sure direction of fulfilling the dreams of your life.

My beautiful daughter, where have all the years flown?

My seventeen year old son.

I stand next to you. I no longer look down or bend down to search into your eyes. Now, I must crane my neck upwards.

I ask you to reach me a cup from the top shelf of the kitchen. You do so with ease. I used to gently toss you high into the sky as you giggled so loudly. Now you stand so much taller than me.

Where has the little boy gone who I cuddled in my arms? Where has the little boy gone who needed my help in building his block towers, or fixing his small racing cars? You have grown into a tall, upright young man.

I ask you to open up tightly closed jars—jars that are too firm for my grip, but not too tough for yours. Your grip is strong, just like your views and your opinions.

Your jaw is set sharp, just like your thoughts and mind. Your beard is growing. Where did those soft, round cheeks disappear, the ones that got a tender kiss every night? Where did the quivering chin vanish, the one that came to me to make things better, after getting a skinned knee?

You speak eloquently. You quote vast sources of knowledge. You tread the deep waters of Talmud with ease. Your mind is rational, it jumps from one point to the next, erecting a tall tower of strong theoretical foundations. Sometimes you lose me as your confidently expound a Chassidic discourse or a lengthy Talmudic exposition. But you patiently back track, step by step, as you notice the bewilderment in my eyes.

And my mind wanders back to a different time. A time when I sat like this with you, at our kitchen table, helping you solve your homework problems. Then the confusion in the eyes was yours and the confident explaining was mine.

Where has that little curious boy gone? He has grown into a knowledgeable young man, prepared to conquer even far more vast territories of knowledge.

And so I sit here on the sofa at 4:47AM, unable to sleep. This same sofa that I so often dozed on watching you both play.

Tomorrow, dear son and daughter, you both leave again. Back to your yeshiva. Back to your seminary.

And as I wave goodbye to you both, a part of my heart will break off and go with you, on your respective journeys.

My hearts is so full, so full that it feels like it will break. It swells with pride in both of you. In how you have each grown and matured and continue to grow and develop into a young man and woman.

I thank my Creator for allowing me to care for you and for giving me such joy in watching you grow up and overshadow me.

And I thank you both for reminding me with the swift passage of each of your years, how very precious these moments of life are and just how quickly a little boy and a little girl disappear to become all grown up.

- Chana Weisberg is the author of Divine Whispers: Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and three other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.

To view this article on the Web, or to post a comment, please click here:

And Now for Some GOOD NEWS!

Massive Western Aliyah This Week, Despite Month of War
13:34 Aug 09, '06 / 15 Av 5766
by Ezra HaLevi

Despite the two-front war, the thousands of missiles, and the evacuation of northern communities, more than 800 North American and British Jews are moving to Israel this week.

After a month of war, and even though they have had plenty of time to postpone or reschedule their Aliyah (immigration to Israel), four planeloads of Jews are scheduled to arrive in Ben Gurion airport in the coming week – the first on Thursday.

On Wednesday, August 16th – the one year anniversary of the forced eviction of the Jews of Gaza – three simultaneous flights will arrive. Embodying the Jewish prayer that the nation be gathered “from the four corners of the Earth,” the planes will depart from Canada, America and England – all arriving simultaneously in the Holy Land.

The August 16, 2006 influx will constitute the largest number of Jews in history making Aliyah to Israel from Western countries in a single day.

Overall this summer, 3,000 North American and British Jews are moving to Israel on specially chartered flights organized by the Nefesh b'Nefesh Aliyah assistance organization, in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency.

Greeting the arrivals Thursday will be Minister of Public Security and former Shabak Chief Avi Dichter (Kadima) and Minister of Immigrant Absorption Ze'ev Boim (Kadima). Opposition leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu greeted the last group of arrivals last month.

Visit the Nefesh b'Nefesh web site to learn about immigrating to Israel or sign up to greet the new immigrants upon their arrival.

Just a pinch of garden envy

Today I was out and saw the loveliest garden. It called to me in such a way that I had to come home and weed a bit. I have not had time or finances to make the garden as nice I would have liked to this year. It saddens me to have to admit this. Since I do not have land as such, my small bit of earth has been a real labor of love the past couple of years. I really enjoy getting in the dirt and planting. The smell of earth can be quite relaxing, a gentle reminder to reconnect. Fortunately I do have a nice amount of lavender growing. I enjoy looking at other folks gardens, they inspire and comfort me. But still, I can't help but wish, just a little, that I could have worked on mine this year. Oh well, maybe I will plant lots of mums this fall.

An Insider's Guide to Food Labels

Few people know that the food coloring listed as cochineal extract comes from female beetles. Food activists want to spread the word

When you dig into a strawberry Yoplait yogurt, take a moment to contemplate where the beautiful pink color comes from. Strawberries? Think again. It comes from crushed bugs. Specifically, from the female cochineal beetles and their eggs. And it's not just yogurt. The bugs are also used to give red coloring to Hershey (HSY ) Good & Plenty candies, Tropicana grapefruit juice, and other common foods.

You won't find "crushed bugs" on the list of ingredients for any of these foods, however. Companies have a bit of latitude in describing exactly what they put in our food. Many larger companies, such as General Mills (GIS ), the manufacturer of Yoplait and Pepsi (PEP ), the maker of Tropicana, identify the dye in their products as either carmine, or cochineal extract. Still, many companies simply list "artificial color" on their ingredients list without giving any details.

Food activists are trying to change disclosure requirements. The Food & Drug Administration has received numerous complaints over the issue and is now in the process of considering a proposal to require color additives like the cochineal extract to be disclosed on the labels of all foods that use them. "Hopefully we'll see something by the end of the year," says Michael Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food advocacy group in Washington, D. C.

ALLERGIC REACTIONS. Jacobson says that consumers want to know what they're eating. Some are allergic to bug extract; others are vegetarians. "The food product should indicate that it comes from insects so that vegetarians at least can avoid the product," he says.

Carmine may be the least of food activists' worries. It is known to cause allergic reactions in just a small percentage of the population. Food producers sometimes add much more dangerous chemical additives to make their products look attractive (see, 3/27/06, "Hershey: A Sweeter Bid").

Indeed, who would think that chicken, eggs, and salmon are often artificially enhanced to look more appetizing to consumers? The plump, juicy chicken sitting on the supermarket shelf is likely to have been fed canthaxanthin, a pigment added to chicken feed to enhance poultry's yellow color and make it look palatable. And egg-laying hens are also given a dye along with their feed, making egg yolks vary in color from light yellow all the way to bright orange.

IN THE PINK. Farmers can have their pick from a color chart that goes from the numbers 1 to 15, coinciding with colors from yellow to red. The yellow color comes from xanthophyll and carotenoids in the feed absorbed through the intestine, metabolized, and deposited in the egg yolk. In an article published last year, R. Scott Beyer, a poultry specialist from the Kansas State University, recommended different levels of xanthophylls, depending on what color of yolk is desired. He says 23 mg of xanthophyll per pound of feed results in a "medium orange" color.

The fresh, farm-raised salmon that shoppers buy also get their orange-red hue from eating the chemicals astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. Wild salmon are pink because they eat shrimp-like creatures called krill. But to achieve the same pink color, farmed salmon need chemicals, which are mixed with their feed. In the past couple of years, the European Union significantly reduced the level of such dyes that can be fed to salmon because of concerns that the dyes, at high levels, can affect people's eyesight.

Two years ago, in the U.S., Seattle law firm Smith & Lowney filed two class actions against grocers Kroger (KR ) and Safeway (SWY ) in Washington and California, contending that they should disclose that their salmon are dyed pink. Both lawsuits got thrown out of court. However, Knoll Lowney, a partner at the law firm, says that the lawsuits raised enough public awareness that many grocers voluntarily use "color added" labels to their salmon.

Still, Lowney says that such dyes are totally unnecessary. "This is a growing problem because the food companies are using more artificial means to enhance the appearance of the product and make it appear like something that it is not," he says. A walk down the grocery aisle for processed food is an eye opener—the bacon and ham get their red tint from sodium ascorbate, an antioxidant and color stabilizer, and the Betty Crocker icing gets its bright white color not from natural cream and egg whites but from titanium dioxide, a mineral that is also used in house paints. Betty Crocker manufacturer General Mills didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

Reprinted from Business Week

Thanks for asking, I am awful tired

My home is certainly bustling I must say. Bustling is a very polite word for what feels to me like a whole lot of chaos! Right before my children came home from Israel, we were given quite unexpectanly a foster son. It was an emergency so what could we do, obviously this was from G-d. He is a dear toddler, B"H, so it sure makes it easier. Our home is filled to what feels like capacity. My own children, a nephew here for the summer, my other baby nephew who comes once a month for a visit, and lots of people who float in and out, not to mention the dog and the cat.

Sometimes I have to tell you, it really gets to me. I feel quite overwhelmed at times. My home has always been a sanctuary for me, a place of refuge. I am feeling a little invaded right now. But what are my issues in the light of what is happening in my real Home? I am not living in a bomb shelter as my friends in Tsfat are. I did not have to leave my home as some of my other friends have had to do, traveling from family to family. So what am I complaining about? All the opportunities for mitzvot (acts of goodness and kindness) that Hashem has set before me? Rough life, huh? My children are, B"H, safe. We are all in one place. Sure things are fact they are downright squeezing the daylights out of me. Too many needs, not enough resources to fill them all. Somedays, I feel so spiritual and so close to G-d, on top of the world that nothing gets to me. Other days, fuhgetaboutit! I feel utterly alone. I know feelings are not facts, but being a very deeply feeling person, they can be pretty over powering. I don't feel like I have a haven, a refuge or a place to run.

I have to laugh now, as I just remembered two things I have learned and been reminded of recently. One was from a teaching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (it may have been the previous one so forgive me all my beloved Chabad friends) and one from my own Rebbe. The Lubavitcher Rebbe asks what is the City of Refuge nowadays? Our City of Refuge is our Holy Torah. That is where we can run and hide. My own Rebbe tells me, "Never despair! Never lose hope! It's is forbidden to give up! Begin again! All beginnings are hard!"

Oy...did you ever just get so tired though? That is how I am feeling, really tired. Nonetheless, I know G-d is my strength and my stronghold. My Rock. I can hide in this Rock, or stand on it knowing either way I will be sheltered or held up. This is why tehillim (psalms) and our own personal prayer time are so important. They are truly like weapons in your hand, swords and arrows, helping you to fight in the battle. Helping you to win the real war, that we are constantly beign reminded is really a spiritual one.

Oy, Abba, help me to be a good soldier. I am so tired right now. You have given me so very much, too much that I can never begin to thank You for all the blessing and opportunity You have laid before me. But Abba, you know I am so small and I am only a child before you. I feel so overwhelmed, so weak and overpowered by all that is happening in my world and the world around me. I am so utterly ignorant of You Holy Ways, that I cannot even see what is truly before me, what the reality really is. Please help me, Abba. Forgive me where I have failed you. Forgive me where I have given up, throwing my hands in the air, running from the battle field. Forgive me where I have left my post unattended. Forgive me for not being so very careful with the many treasures you have given me. Oy, Abba, I do so love You and want to please You in all my ways. Please, Abba, stengthen me. Please help me to do real teshuva. Draw me so close to You. Help me to do all that I need to do, all that you have set before me to do and help me Abba, to do it with a heart filled with simcha (joy). Abba, help me to not despair, to never give up. Abba, help me today to begin again, knowing all beginnings are hard. Help me to beging today as if I have never begun before. Help me to turn to You and only You, knowing that You alone are ultimately there. Abba, please hold my hand. I need you so much.

Another Tsfat Blog

This one is from the Tsfat Chabad house. Check it out and please help as you can.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Schooltime...

Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look in the mailers sent overflowin' once again
With notebooks, pencils, pens, and some Play Dough.
It's beginning to look a lot like Schooltime
Books in ev'ry store
But the prettiest sight to see is the student that will be
Learning on your livin' room floor.
Silly words written by Philly Farmgirl

Monday, August 07, 2006

Seen on a billboard off of I-76


I figure all it needs is a smiley face wearing a kippah with a tassle. ;-)

The soul of Tzfat Calls out in Pain

“I sat out on my balcony this evening, and tears moistened my cheeks; I weep for the holy city of Tzfat!” Reb Moshe of Tzfat.

I was once a holy city that thrived with life and the voice of Torah. This was during the time of the holy Arizal and Rabbi Yosef Karo. However, after they passed away, I became alone and destitute. Every one hundred years or so, people somehow think of me again and seek to rebuild this place in its original splendor. History proves an earthquake or hostile takeover will normally take place. My people abandon me, only to rebuild later. Now I sit here, alone once again, with few comforting me.

I understand why everyone left. Life simply became too abnormal; with large metal objects exploding all around me. What hurts most is that people were really starting to care about me again. Torah study could be heard everywhere. Oh, those joyous sounds were intoxicating. How much joy I began to feel! Builders were building, children were playing, and the tourists came to visit once again. When it was Bein Hazmanim (summer and winter vacation), the streets were full of souls admiring my forgotten beauty and holiness. I almost felt as if the holy Ari and his students were back again, pearls of wisdom dropping from their lips. Oh, but having come so far; I am now like a widow without her children.

My dearest children from all over the world: Those of you that live here, or who have visited me, understand my pain. You know the pain of my children who have been forced to leave my protection. Do not abandon them, or me, in our time of need. My greatest fear is that many will not return. Those who once lived here may abandon me because they are just so afraid. If only you knew of all that I, this most holy and sacred place, have to give to you. All you need do is walk along my streets and place your faith in the notion that Hashem will protect us. The air in this place, if only we were pure enough of heart to breathe it in with true fear of Hashem, would prevent anyone from fleeing. If every step were truly dangerous, if every move one of destruction, all would still remain. Their attention would be completely focused on the spirituality that can only be found in these mountains.

Sweet children of the world, if you want a city which will care about you and hold you close, counting your every move, I will be that city for you. In your hour of need, in your sadness, I will hold you close. I will comfort you in my air of tranquility. To those who dream of being here in my presence, basking in my kedusha, I want you to know that I think of you as well. When you think of me, you are here too. To you, I am your precious city. To me, you are my life.

The City of Kabbalah,
The root of the Wind and Air,
The holy city of Tzfat, Eretz Yisrael

Written by:
Reb Moshe of Tzfat,

Feel free to pass this along or post it

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Simple Truth

Please check out Over the Rainbow and her lovely post on "The Cliched Truth".

Friday, July 28, 2006

Weaving and learning to be in the Moment

I have been wanting to blog for weeks now. I either did not have time or what I wanted to say seemed so unimportant. With everything that is happening somehow talking about anything other than the spiritual, seems utter vanity. Yet, I struggle with that also thinking to myself, "Is it really such a bad thing to talk about my knitting struggles and roving cravings?" (roving is wool carded and ready to spin) Truth be told, the Baal Shem Tov teaches us that everything can be raised to a level of kedusha (holiness) so I just need to find the spirituality in all my projects.
Right before the Nine Days (The beginning of the Jewish Month of Av until the 9th day of Tisha B'av) I started a tapesty weaving. I have to say that weaving and spinning are for sure my absolute favorite things to do. Unlike any other handwork I enjoy, such a sewing and knitting, when I weave I am not so caught up in the goal of completing the project so much as I am caught up in the actual doing. There is a total serenity that comes over me as I weave and spin. In my incredibly busy life, weaving brings me back to the core of who I am. As I 'color' my picture with my yarn, the back and forth motion reminds me so much of prayer. Rocking gently, my heart either bubbling over with joy or broken with sorrow, I find great comfort there. I play the warp like a harp as my fingers guide the bobbins. Line upon line the picture begins to form, from the bottom up, and only I know what I the end result will be. As I pack the weft tightly together, to the outsider it seems I've made little to no progress, but I truly know the reality of how far I have come. To me the joy is in the creating, the bliss is in the potential beauty I see there. I see the end result in my mind and yet it does not speed my work. I am not eager to complete, I am simply content to do and be.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Breslov and Chabad on the front lines

A New Generation of Israeli Soldiers Confronts the Unknown Across the Lebanon Border
General NewsWebby25 July 2006

An Israeli tank near Avivim, Israel, passed Hasidic men showing support in a “mitzvah tank” van.

ISRAEL’S NORTHERN BORDER — Ohad, 22, is a narrow-faced warrior who has spent four years in the Israeli Army and operated tanks in the Palestinian territories, tough duty for any soldier. But going across the Lebanese border brought a new set of anxieties.

Having worked on the border before, he was familiar with the Hezbollah fighters he would be facing. Hezbollah positions and Israeli positions had been close enough for soldiers on each side to recognize the faces on the other, he said. But southern Lebanon itself was a forbidding place, known only from the hearsay of past wars.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “When you go to fight in a new territory that you only know from stories or pictures, it’s scary.”

Ohad, a taciturn man, did not seem to notice when a Katyusha rocket slammed with a blast into a nearby hillside, leaving a faint contrail and a plume of smoke and dust.

He grew up in a small religious community in the Galilee. Like most Israelis, he entered the army when he was 18. He has been married for a month but has not seen his wife since just after the wedding. They live in a tiny apartment in Lod, a town near Tel Aviv.

Last Thursday, Ohad, who like other soldiers was prevented from giving his last name by Israeli military rules, found out what the other side of the border was really like.

As a second lieutenant, he was in command of one of the Israeli tanks that clanked into the mountaintop village of Marun al Ras before sunrise on Thursday. It was the army’s first ground penetration into Lebanese villages in territory from which it said rockets had rained over northern Israel for more than a week.

Just minutes after entering the village, before he and his three-man crew could aim at anything, the tank was rocked by a deafening explosion that sent sparks and smoke shooting through the cramped space inside. An antitank missile had penetrated the tank’s rear corner, wounding the gunner.

They pulled the tank back and moved the wounded soldier into an empty building from where he could be evacuated.

Then they went back to help with a tank that had been disabled in the attack. They took two soldiers who were more seriously wounded than their gunner back to the border and then returned with a new gunner to get back into the fight.

It was the first time Ohad or any of his crew had experienced serious combat. They stayed in Lebanon only about 10 hours. Five Israeli soldiers died that day, one of the Israeli Army’s worst days yet in the conflict.

The resistance was “very strong,” Ohad said. “Hezbollah was well prepared for us.”

Ohad said he called his wife to say goodnight before going into battle, and called her when he came out to say he was O.K. As for crossing the border again, he said: “I’m more worried because we’ve been hit once and now we know their capability. But no one died, and so I’m reassured because the tank saved our lives.”

Right then, his tank’s radio warned of incoming rockets. He climbed aboard and called for his crew to get in. Moments later, the tank was rumbling and rattling in a cloud of dust as the soldiers moved it into position on the crest of a hill overlooking the Lebanese border.

Ohad peered through binoculars, giving instructions to his gunner as the tank barrel turned to the right, zeroing in on its target. It was time for reporters to leave.

Later, at a junction near the border, civilians came and went, offering encouragement to the young troops gathered there. An ice cream truck made several visits, its driver handing out vanilla ice cream cones to anyone who wanted one. Several rabbis canvassed the soldiers, looking for men wanting to pray.

Rabbi Eliyhu Benatar, with a graying beard and wide-brimmed black hat, helped wrap the young men’s left arms and foreheads with tefillin, ritual leather straps that hold in place small black boxes containing biblical scriptures. “God help us,” he said. One of the soldiers who sought the rabbi’s assistance was Gal, 20, from Ramat Hasharon, near Tel Aviv. He is a medic in a paratrooper unit but had been sent here to help evacuate wounded soldiers. “If something happens, another doctor and I go in a tank to take the wounded out,” he said.

He had scrambled into his tank several times in the past few days, but had not yet crossed the border. At each alarm, he said, he was gripped by an initial anxiety, which dissipated as soon as he got in the tank. “I’m waiting,” he said. “I want to be useful.”

This is the first real fight for most of the army’s young men, who seem uniformly tall and lanky. None of them have ever fought outside the country, and there is an unspoken but palpable sense that this is their war.

“If you asked me two weeks ago whether I would be standing here waiting to go into Lebanon, I would have said, ‘what are you talking about,’ ” Gal said. “But I’m here, and I’m used to it now.”

A tank repair team was busy, slamming a tank tread with a sledgehammer. “We’ve lost a few tanks,” a member of the repair team said.

A plume of smoke appeared a few miles away, marking the impact of a Katyusha rocket. It slowly built into a skein of white tilting across the sky as the pine forest around it caught fire. Yellow firefighting planes soon swooped and climbed, dropping a red fire-retardant over the flames.

“Mitzvah tanks,” the brightly painted minivans operated by adherents to the Chabad-Lubavitch branch of Hasidic Judaism, arrived at the junction in the afternoon, broadcasting a sort of Hasidic disco. Their passengers, young men in Hasidic dress with wildly flowing sidelocks, spilled out of the vans dancing and singing, some leaping onto the tanks.

“We’re here to entertain the troops,” a man with a footlong beard shouted from atop one of the vans.

Another group handed out white knit skullcaps bearing the words “Nachman of Uman” in blue Hebrew letters, a reference to Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the founder of another Hasidic branch. “They protect the soldiers’ lives,” one of the Nachman followers said of the caps. When asked what he thought of the fighting, he summed up what many Israelis are saying these days.

“It’s because of our own foolishness,” he said. “We left Lebanon six years ago and let Hezbollah do whatever they wanted, and this is the result.”

[ Ed Note: The Times seems to have merged the Lubavitch Mitzvah Tanks with the Breslov Chasidim's Simcha Van's. Interesting observation.]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rebbe Nachman and "Measure for Measure"

God repays man "measure for measure". Nowhere is the repayment more exacting than in the Land of Israel. But this is really a great kindness. If we know that God repays us according to our deeds, then by thinking about the situation God sends us, we can gain an insight into our own behavior and learn how to improve.

Rebbe Nachman: Advice, Land of Israel, 14

More Live from Tsfat

This is from Rabbi Moshe's blog. Rabbi Moshe is still in the Holy City of Tsfat and is reporting us what is happening now. Please send help (prayers and tzedakah) as they desperately need us!


The people that have stayed are warn out. Those that left are miserable and homesick, temping to return. The streets are empty. I don’t think people realize that they must help the evacuated Jews that left and those that remain. People are really troubled. A couple of houses have been broken into. We are seeking more tefillos that we can return to a normal life which will take weeks now.

I just took my son to doctor, he has an ear infection. On the main street I saw windows broken from the noise of the rockets. I saw one building that had an entire floor blown off. The english bookstore was open, a big suprise! I got two books for the kids. All day he had about two people come in. Nothing else was open really. Banks were closed, local post office closed, stores closed. Angels bakery was open and people were sitting around talking outside. I met a friend of mine there. I saw a for sale sign on one store. I was told some people who were not attached to Tzfat are planning on moving out and many stores will close from the lack of business for 2 weeks and tourism is finished for a long time. On the streets coming home, I saw cars with blown out windows. A beautiful BMW with no back window. I just found out that a friend of mine who is a taxi driver remained so i am going to take the family to a park later. Maybe do another Torah video for you all!

He told me that people paid up to 2,000 sheckles to get a taxi to Jerushayim and he is charging his normal price but its ashame many were overcharged. So my friends, anyone want to help the people of Tzfat? I was told by someone who just got back from jerushalayim that the people there think we got hit by about 3 rockets and its not a big deal. Try about 40-60!!!!!!

12:15 Tzfat hit by 3 bombs, I don’t want to say were they right after as these guys are monitoring news and media to know how their aim is but doesn’t appear anyone was hurt.

Please Help the Poor of Tsfat

This was over on A Simple Jew's blog:

from R'binyomin Rosenberg

The situation in Tzfat is desperate and there are families living with no electricity, who have absolutely no food at all! Even if they tried to buy some, most stores are closed. Ezer L'Shabbos is getting food from a supermarket on credit, but can't for much longer without paying. They also have to pay to have it delivered since most of their volunteers have left Tzfat. Sadly, the most vulnerable - large families with small children, Baali Teshuva without family support systems, are the ones left behind and are suffering. Please make checks out to Ezer L'shabbos and get them to Shloma Edelstein or drop them off in the mailbox or Pushka at Rabbi Twerski's shul (Ateres Shloime- corner of E29th & K).

You can also mail checks made out to Ezer L'Shabbos to: Tzfat Emergency Fund c/o Ordinal, 1412 Avenue M #2467, Brooklyn NY 11230.


Monday, July 17, 2006


As always Rabbi Brody is on the cutting edge of the real news! Here is the latest:

Israel's secret weapon: Emuna News is now exposing Israel's newest secret weapons, hidden in Northeast USA:

Meet the Jewish people's newest Baalei Tshuva, Yitzi and Rachamim C., ages 7 and 9, who are making tshuva so that Hashem will save their people. How can Hashem refuse these two? They've completely conquered my heart. They've convinced mama Leah to kosher her kitchen and to observe the Sabbath. They have committed to saying Shma at night, washing their hands in the morning, saying their blessings, wearing kippot, eating Kosher, keeping Shabbat, and learning Torah. In their merit, G-d willing, we're going to beat the daylights out of Iran and Hizbolla. Our victory is assured now.

Personal note: these little Tzaddikim are extra special to me. I have been personal witness to thier struggles and growth and their very intense and real love of Hashem. May our family continue to have more nachat from these amazing neshamot!

Just a little Emunah

My beloved friends Rabbi Shalom Pasternak, his wife and their two children live in the holy city of Tsfat. They raise their children with yirat shamayim and an eagerness for the coming and imminent geulah. The proof of this was when the bombing started. There oldest daughter Emunah (around three years old, BA"H) asked her Tatty something like this (I cannot remember the exact quote) , "Is Moshiach coming now?" Her humor is good and calm. She was excited to stay with friends over shabbat and simply said they there because the bombs keep going "BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!" Oy...what we should all be learning from these children. Little Emunah has so much to teach us. She is so aptly named.

What is it going to take for us to pray? What is it going to take for us to lay aside the trivial and frivolous? When are we going to truly cry out to Hashem? If not now, when? Dear family and friends I ask myself this question first and foremost. What am I going to do about this? Do I REALLY understand the gravity of this situation? Am I hearing and listening to the message?

My children want to leave so badly. They are so unhappy here. Their hearts are still tightly bound in Eretz Israel. How I wish we were all there. My family is concerned and does not want either of them to go back. How could I prevent them? Do I even want to? The Lubavitcher Rebbe has said that the land of Israel is the safest place. Strangely enough, in spite of the news reports I agree with him. Who knows better, the media or the Tzaddikim? My money will always lie with our Tzaddikim.

The war of Gog and Magog has begun and it is the war on our Emunah. Our teshuvah, tefillot and tzedakah are the strongest, most effective bombs that can be dropped.

Live Blog from Tsfat!

Please pray for the safety of my beloved friends Rabbi Moshe, Rochel and thier children who remain in the holy city of Tsfat. Here is the link to their blog to see what is currently happening.
Rabbi Moshe's Blog

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The True Weapons of War

Breslov Hassidim Distribute ‘Tikun Klali’ Prayer in the North
05:49 Jul 16, '06 / 20 Tammuz 5766

( Hundreds of hassidim, followers of the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, on Saturday night began distributing specially printed copies of the ‘Tikun Klali’ prayer that they recite daily.

Leading the campaign is Breslov hassid Binyamin Ze’evi, a son of assassinated government minister, Rechavam Ze’evi.

Reprinted courtesy of Arutz Sheva News

Note From Philly: Tikun Ha Klali are these ten psalms recommended by Rebbe Nachman as a General Remedy. A powerful and true weapon to be sure!
16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150

You wanna help Israel?????

Then do what the Melitzer Rebbe has advised all of us to do:

"The Melitzer said that each of us now must try to be a little bit better in our service of Hashem in order to invoke Divine compassion."

Rabbi Brody says this means all of us! Jews and non-Jews, unaffliated, Orthodox, and everyone in between. No matter where you are holding right, now please take on a mitzvah and do it to the best of your abilty. To all my beloved Noahide friends please do the same! We need you, we need each other and Israel needs us. Hashem is calling to us and the call is do teshuva now! This is a way to do this, showing Hashem our love and sincerity.

May we soon hear good news, may Hakodosh Baruch Hu watch over and protect all His children and may we soon hear the call of the shofar announcing our righteous Moshiach and may it be TODAY!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On the Ninth of Tammuz...

...not too many years ago, a small neshama descended to the earth to a beautiful young lady and a handsome young man and became their little girl. This neshama chose this lady to be her mother even though she would only remain on the planet for another five months loving and caring for her. When her mother left this realm, the little girl would be cared for by grandparents for two and a half years. Finally a very special lady would marry the little girl's father and care for the neshama as her very own child.

Thus began my sojourn here on earth. Today is my Yom Huledet, my birthday. Since the time of my arrival I have been through a lot, just like the rest of you. I have had my share of heartbreaks and joys and I have crossed many a narrow bridge. I have seen things a child should never see, or a grown up for that manner. I have had joys that I thought I would die from because of the sheer ecstasy! I have cried tears that I was sure I would drown in because I did not think I could not stop. I have danced with my children and fallen asleep with them lying on my chest. I have felt my son's scruffy beard and wondered where the baby cheeks went. I have watched my little girls grow from wanting to be "The Little Mermaid" and "Anne of Green Gables" when they grow up, to blossoming into beautiful young ladies who burn with the love of Torah. I have been married and have been alone. I have been a single parent and have had more children in my home and helped in their upbringing than to whom I have given birth to. I have walked away from G-d, screamed at Him, bargained with Him, pleaded with Him, shook my fists at Him, told Him to leave me alone, only to run back to Him with tear filled eyes knowing He was the only one who could truly understand and help me. I have been many people and lived many places. Sometimes I think to myself there is no way I could have lived a past life, I have lived them all this time around! All in all I would have to agree with Gerry Garcia, "What a long strange trip it's been."

I know I have so much more to learn, in so many ways I still feel much like a child. Other days I feel old and tired. I have grown in gratitude and serenity. I have learned that Hashem loves me dearly and only wants what is best for me. I am beginning to learn that Hashem really does have all things under His control and really does not need my help in running the universe. I have learned that being a mother is not for cowards. I have learned that women can birth their own children, teach and raise them. I have learned that for whatever reason G-d in His wisdom gave my children to me which means I must have somewhere the capability of raising them. I have learned that there is an awful lot to learn from your children and one of the best ways to learn how to be a parent is to see how G-d raises you up, patience, loving kindness, discipline and all. I have learned children grow up and it is a wondrous thing. I have matured enough not to buy into other people's unsolicited opinions on how I raise my children, how I dress, live my life, what I eat etc. I am grateful I do not buy into people assuming the position of fortune teller in my life (i.e. wait until the children turn 13, 16, 18 etc. then you'll have trouble, chas v' shalom!) I have learned not to accept people's poison into my life or make their personal issues mine. (I have enough of my own, thank you!) I have learned to speak life and hope to others and pray they will pass it along. I am learning to accept correction, whether it is given in love or not, knowing G-d allowed it for some reason. (Even if it was to learn how not to talk to another person.) I have learned to how say I am sorry very well. I have learned to have a broken heart over my sins especially if I have hurt another by what I did. I have learned that to have a good marriage you actually have to work at it and be committed. I have learned I do not have to change my beloved nor do I want to, he is an amazing tzaddik and the perfect man for me! (Otherwise why would I have married him?) I have learned that being a Torah Jew is very hard work and it is unbelievably fulfilling and exciting. I am learning that having a relationship with G-d means fearing Him and loving Him. It also means doing what He says to do and loving all of His other children. I have learned that G-d does not wield a magic fairy wand waiting to grant your wishes. When you say you want to trust Him, He will put you in situations where you will have to learn to trust G-d. Sometimes that means closing your eyes and holding on for dear life. I have learned that the truth is 'two Jews, three opinions'. I have learned that halacha is confusing sometimes and beautiful all the time. I am learning that tefilla (prayer) is my breath, torah is my food, the mitzvot are exercises to help me grow strong and chassidut is the blood that transports all the nutrients to the different parts of my neshama. I am learning to look for G-d in everything. He really is there in the mist. I am learning to respect others the way I want to be respected, knowing they have a path that might be different from my own and my job is only to help them draw closer to Hashem and His holy Torah. I have learned I do not need to give you directions, I just need to shine the light in the darkness. I am learning to talk less and be an example more. I am learning to bloom where I am planted and to hold on tight to the Truth. I have learned that I can be no one else but who Hashem made me to be. I need not apologize for it. I have learned that it takes an awful lot of energy and that it's very hard work learning to become the Village Wise Woman. I am also learning that I still need to grow in so many ways, refining my character and becoming all that G-d has made me to be.

I have a birthday wish for you all my family, friends and the miscellaneous nice people who visit my blog, a blessing if you will receive it.
You should all have good health and long life, you should grow in torah, mitzvot and deveykut (cleaving) to Hashem. I pray those who need them find and make good shidduchim. Those who are married should fall deeper in love. Those married without children should be granted their hearts desire and those with children should raise them to torah, mitzvot and to the chuppah. That they should bring you much nachat! That you should have the parnasa that you need with some extra to give tzedakah and to get some of the fun things you want. That you should all grow from strength to strength, hastening the soon and coming geulah may it be in our day, with the coming of our righteous Moshiach, the rebuilding of the beit HaMikdash and the return of all of the exiles to our home in Eretz Israel, may it be speedily and in our time. Amen v' Amen.

Please say tehillim for Gilad ben Aviva, and may he be returned safely to his family.
Please pray that the Hakadosh Barukh Hu will not allow the 'World Pride' parade from defiling the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Reality Checks

If you have not been over to Lazer Beams yet, you need to check it out! Rabbi Brody keeps us all aware of the real news and reality checks we need to hear. The coming guelah (redemption) is so close! We all need to wake up to what is happening and hear the messages!

"In Israel, you won't need the second car. Public transportation in Israel is convenient and inexpensive. So is education. If you have four children in Yeshivas or Beis Yakovs, you'll be saving close to $50,000 a year by coming to Israel. You can't imagine the sweetness and satisfaction of every minute over here; if I get started on that subject, I'll be writing all night long."
~~~Rabbi Lazer Brody

State of New Jersey shut down?!

This is incredible! Because of budget disputes the state of New Jersey has been shut down. Check it out here.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happenings in my side of the Universe

1. My beloved children both arrived safely in JFK airport on the 20th of June from Eretz Israel. It was such an amazing time of anticipation for their father and I. We were both so nervous (can you imagine?) and so excited about them getting back! As we were waiting for them to come out of customs, I wondered what they would look like, how they were going to do with reentry, how tired would they be, etc.? After waiting for what felt like hours and hours we finally saw them. They there were, Ya'akov my yeshiva bochur and Racheli radiating Tsfat, it was amazing! After my initially squeals, hugs and kisses, we started for our journey back to Philly. It was all so strange to them and ironically foreign. Their father asked if they were happy to be home and he was answered with dead silence from the back seat. I looked at him and laughed, "What kind of question is that? Ask if they are happy to see us?"
"Well, are you happy to see us?" He was quite relieved by the zealous "Yes!" that resounded from the back seat! So far they seem to be doing well, Ya'akov busy getting his learning seder set up and Racheli doing her best to recover from jet lag. She misses her friends very much so I am sure that adds to it. What are they going to do from here? Only Hashem knows for sure. They both want to return to Eretz Israel, and B'ezrat Hashem they will.

2. I am teaching ballet again! Yippee! It is so much fun to teach the little ones again. I taught many years ago and quite honestly figured those days were done. Well, thankfully I was wrong. It all started with one mommy asking if I knew anyone who taught ballet. I said, yes as a matter of fact I do, me! She was so pleased and we started talking about the possibilities of teaching dance to some girls. I am happy to say I have two classes now, pre-ballet and ballet 1!

3. Along with everything else I try to squeeze in to learn, I am busy trying to keep up with my doula skills. G-d willing, I will have a new mommy this month and I am so looking forward to attending this birth. This lady is a special friend of mine and it is an honor for me to have been chosen to be her doula. But, truth be told, being a doula is an incredible honor and privilege.

4. My little one that I care for is growing and talking by leaps and bounds! I do not have her as often now since mommy is a work at home mommy, when I do have her (about twice week now) she keeps me on my toes! She is a real snuggle bunny and quite generous with her hugs.:::sigh::: I really love my jobs!

5. For the past two weeks we have had a little one staying with us. What a delight he is, but as all young mothers know, what hard work! He is a very bright and busy fellow who is filled with the simcha of life! Thank G-d, I have help with my girls but along with the other day to day goings on, classes, shopping, and general happenings it makes for a full life for all.