Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mazel Tov!

A big mazel tov to A Simple Jew and mishpocha on the birth of his new baby girl! Mommy and baby are both doing well B"H! May this new addition to klal Israel grow in Torah and mitzvot, and bring much nachat and simcha to her beloved family!

Friday, May 26, 2006

New Birth Book To Be Released June 6!

Yippee! A new birth book is due to be released this June 6! This one is titledCreating Your Birth Plan : The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth by Marsden Wagner, looks very promising. Many women are unaware what a birthplan is let alone how to create one. Birthplans empower a mother with what she wants for her and her baby's birth experience. She is not left in ignorance, to the whims and sometimes bullying of the medical staff. I look forward to adding this book to my birth bookshelf.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


when doctors told patients that there was no hope, he would criticize them harshly. "The Torah tells us," he would repeat, "that a doctor is given permission to heal. That is his expertise. When he gives a prognosis of doom, he has exceeded his authority."

We must understand that healing is in G-d's hands, and therefore is always possible. He is the absolute Master of our lives, and we cannot put any limits on what He can do.

The Soap Maven

The Soap Maven will be taking a short break while she recuperates from surgery scheduled for May 25th. She hopes to be off about 3 weeks if all goes as planned. During her convalescing, she will not be making soap. However, we do have a good supply of soap and other products on hand and Hannah & Rachel will be filling orders with available stock.
We do appreciate each and every one of you and Susan looks forward to being back in the swing of things and stirring the soap pot.

Please keep this very special lady and dear friend of mine in your prayers that all should go well with her upcoming surgery and that she should have a fast and full recovery. If you have never checked out her website, Dahlem's Soapworks, you really should. She has the most amazing soap and I have to tell you, it is all this family uses! This product right here, the Solid Lotion Bar, is an absolute fave of mine. No more dry heels or hands! It is fantastic and really portable. Go take a peek at all the goodies The Soap Maven has to offer!

Mother's Day

Every year my beloved family always plans something very special for me for Mother's Day. I am always surprised and I am always so blessed by the whole process. They pack a picnic lunch and off we go to whatever destination they have chosen, usually a beach and a lighthouse. This year with the older two away I wasn't sure what was going to be. I have to admit I was a little sad not having them here and I truly was not expecting much of anything. Well, they surprised me nonetheless with this lovely picture you see here handmade by my youngest Tzivya! I was speechless when I saw it...then she told me the story behind it. The blue and white lighthouse is the Jewish people shining the light of Torah and mitzvot. The ship is the S.S. Moshiach soon coming into port. I also saw the moon as the Jewish people constantly renewing themselves as the moon does and the night sky darkest before the dawn. And of course 'we are the sheep of His pasture.' I could not believe she actually had time to do this for me with our busy schedules.

They also bought me these two marvelous books I had been wanting for some time now."The Light and the Fire of the Baal Shem Tov" and "Through Fire and Water, the Life of Reb Noson"

Afterwards we packed up our lunches and left for Cape May NJ! What a wonderful day it turned out to be! The ocean waves were dark green and crashing everywhere due to the full moon. The sky was grey and stormy. It was all so powerful and very high energy! We were there for some time and I felt renewed by it all. What started out as a blase day turned out to be such a precious gift from my family and Hashem, who always has such compassion on me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Empty Treasure Chest

This past Sunday the city of Brotherly Love held an Israeli Independence Day celebration. There were kiosks selling jewelry and Judaica, falafel and shwarma. There were camel rides and a moon bounce for the children. There was even a band and Israeli dancing. In spite of the festivity about me it all felt a little flat. What was wrong I wondered to myself? I saw friends I hadn’t seen in so long and to be with so many Jews and seeing so many have such a grand time, was beautiful. So, what was missing?

Torah! That was the key factor and that was what was missing. All the festivity and fun, Israeli flags and Jewish identity felt empty without the obvious presence of Torah. It seemed to me to be a most exquisite treasure chest of fine woodwork, sturdily made, strong and resilient, bound together to last several life times, but when opened was found to be empty.

I realized once again how deep and important a Jew’s connection to Torah is. In the book, Turbulent Souls by Stephen Dubner, he expresses this supernatural connection quite beautifully. In his story, he writes of his family who had converted to Catholicism and his return to his roots and to Judaism. He writes of his first time in a synagogue. How it all seemed so foreign and how much like an intruder he felt until the Holy Torah was brought out from the ark.

“… The service, though was baffling: standing, bowing, moaning, no one in unison, cloudbursts of Hebrew, as intelligible to me as a coughing fit,… What was I doing here?...I was utterly forlorn.
And then the Torah was brought out. Suddenly all the jabbering was reduced to an appreciative murmur. The air itself seemed to grow lighter, easier to breathe. The bulky Torah scroll, swaddled in its glittering cover like a child of royalty was… escorted down the aisle by an old man struggling happily beneath its weight… the men and boys up front hurried to greet it…I tumbled into a bone deep understanding. I too threw myself at the Torah, awkwardly scraping it with my fingers, lifting my fingers to my lips. A resonance, a gratefulness, a relief, blistered its way inside me…”

I too had my own ‘first time seeing the Torah’ experience. I remember it very well, being in a synagogue and the opening of the ark. Seeing all the Torah scrolls so beautifully adorned yet obviously well used. I remember how I cried realizing the enormity of it all and what these holy objects really were. The same Torah given to Moshe Rabbeinu, (Moses our Teacher), was right there in front of me.

The beauty of it all really is overwhelming but opening up its sacred words and allowing it to touch the very depths of us is even more beautiful. The change that the Torah can make on a person’s soul is the most incredible work of art there is. Recently at a class that my beloved and I attend, the Rabbi taught about how many will allow Hashem in their lives on the Holy Days or in times of trouble but will not keep him in the day to day. They may attend synagogue on Rosh Hashanah but they will not want G-d to come home with them. “OK G-d, this was great, but don’t you dare come home with me.” In other words you wait here, don’t call me, I’ll call you. Maybe they have all the accoutrements of a religious life, all of the outward appearances but lack the depth of a Torah life. They may have some holy books in their home, a Chumash (Five books of the Torah) or a Tanakh (the Bible) but they are just there sitting on the shelves. They are just lovely touches and adornments to the home. What would happen if they were opened and used? Not only would they adorn the home but their souls as well.

When the men lay tefillin on their arms they wrap the strap around their middle finger and hand and they say:
“I will betroth you to Me forever…” Hashem is declaring that Israel eternally remains His betrothed. At the class Rabbi said,” Imagine a couple getting engaged and the fellow saying to the girl, ’OK. We’re engaged but I don’t want you to come around and don’t dare ever call me…’ What kind of engagement that would be? A ring with no relationship? It would look nice but it wouldn’t last!

All of these situations are empty treasure chests, really lovely but nothing inside. We, all of us Jews need to be filled with the precious gems of Torah. We need to fill our individual treasure chests with love of Hashem, love of Torah and love of our fellow Jew. Then as a people we will be the most beautiful of treasure chests filled with the most valuable of precious gems, Torah filled lives.

Monday, May 22, 2006

And Now for Something Totally New!!

You MUST NEEDS check out this incredible new music coming straight from the Holy City of Tsfat! From out of the ancient and mystical Old City is a music that is as ecclectic and mystical as those who inhabit it's holy walls. This CD is truly healing and contemplative as well as joyful and spiritual. Spaced out and earthy, Kabbalah Dream Orchestra will lift your spirit high! A perfect mix of the old spiced with the new, niggunim with a twist. Check it out!

Something to think about…LITERALLY

Guard your thoughts carefully, for thought can literally create a living thing.

The higher a faculty, the further it can reach.
You can kick something with your foot, but throw it higher with your hand. You can reach still further with your voice, calling to a person very far away. Hearing reaches yet further, for you can hear sounds like gunfire from a very great distance. Your sight reaches even further, seeing things in the sky.
The higher the faculty, the further it can reach. And highest of all is the mind, which can penetrate the loftiest heights. You must therefore safeguard your mind above all else.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s Wisdom #46

Shabbat in Tsfat:Trip to Israel part 4

“Ir ha madregot!” my son said as we schlepped all six bags of luggage up the seemingly never ending steps leading to my daughter’s apartment. “’City of steps’, you ain’t kidding.” I panted as I followed not so far behind. After a long three hour bus ride there still no immediate rest in site for me. No matter, I thought there will be time for that soon enough.

Tsfat is very quiet at night. It felt like we were the only ones there. I had never seen so many steps in my life. Every time I thought we had arrived at the top, there was another flight leading higher still. Finally we were there and got ourselves settled in. I fell into a completely contented sleep, happy to be with my children and happy to be in Israel. What could be better?

The next morning I woke at my usual early hour. I really thought I would have slept in but I felt no jet lag and was totally rested. I walked out onto the balcony of the apartment and there was a view of Mount Meron that was stunning! Bathed in billowy clouds it really took my breath away. We were so high in the mountains we sometimes looked down on the clouds. I was anxious to go explore and visit whatever there is to visit in Tsfat. Was I in for a treat!

Do you remember my blog about the “Bumble Bee People”? Well, family and friends I found them! They are all living on a beautiful mountain in an Old City with stones and stairs everywhere. Tsfat is like nothing I have ever seen or experienced in my life. I was totally home and at home. I have several friends in Tsfat and made many more. The beauty of it all is truly breathtaking.

Erev Shabbat was strange for me. Since I was not in my home and we had invitations for both meals there was nothing really for me to do. I felt somewhat off and useless not doing anything soI begged the girls to let me do something in the apartment. They seemed happy to have an Ima around and wanted me to feel like I was on vacation. Finally they let sweep and prepare the bathroom tissue; now I began to feel a little like I was at least preparing for Shabbat.

The girls and I got ourselves ready and we soon heard sirens going off. Earlier in the day there was a man driving around with a megaphone announcing candle lighting time and when the start of Shabbat was. Now with the sirens going off we knew Shabbat was soon here. “Sirens, guys!” yelled my daughter to the rest of her room mates. There was a mad scramble for last minute preparations and finally we were all gathered around the table to light the shabbat candles.

Since I was the mommy, the girls had me light first. After I said the bracha (blessing) I took such a breath in. My first Shabbat in Eretz Israel! How did this miracle happen? What could I say to my Abba now? How kind He is to me? How grateful I am for all He has done? Oy… I prayed for my beloved so far away and my children. I prayed for all my beloved friends who love me in spite of myself and asked HaKadosh Baruch Hu to please send us the Moshiach! I had to make this a good one since there was no interference at all with my prayers there!

Quite a few of the ladies in Tsfat attend shul on Friday nights and most of the girls do too. I was really excited about this as it was something I have always wanted to do but it is not the custom of the ladies back in my neighborhood to go Friday nights. That night we attended the Breslov shul. What can I say? It was truly an experience and not one to be missed. The tefilla there was highly intense. The ladies section was filled and downstairs by the men was packed! I was so excited. The tefilla was GORGEOUS and slow. I could not believe that I was actually able to pray with the kehilla. I was so used to my rushing and trying to keep up with the folks at home that I was going too fast for the congregation here! What a trip that was! Once I felt the rhythm I was able to just flow and enjoy. The men sang and danced after the services and it was such a joy to watch from the balcony. (I just love synagogues built like this, you can see everything and it is totally tznua::modest::)

After the service was done, we had dinner with friends of ours Moshe and Rochel. If you haven’t done, so please go visit my friends and their amazing website which is an absolute labor of love. He has so many articles and videos and shiurim there, you would stay quite busy for a very long time! I must tell you that this night was the first time we had actually met in person. I had been visiting Reb Moshe’s site for many years now and when I found I was going to be in Tsfat I knew I had to meet this special family. Like every other experience in Tsfat, our Friday night meal there was incredible. Rochel was a gentle and warm hostess who put us at ease immediately welcoming these four strangers into her home as if we were relatives she had not seen for a while. The Kiddush was beautiful, the meal was delicious and the torah we shared and that was given over was inspiring. We stayed until late, but it seemed we were there but minutes the time was so enjoyable.

Walking home I felt like I was on a cloud. Everything was so quiet the holiness permeated everything. There were no noises except for singing coming from some of the homes and some sounds of nature, utter kedusha. To be continued…

Friday, May 19, 2006

Number One Hundred

Here are one hundred roses for you! Why? Because this is post number 100! Wow, I cannot believe it! Thanks so much for all of your input and friendships I have made along the way. Here's to 100 more posts! Hopefully one of the next ones will be me telling you I am packing because Moshiach is here and we have a plane to catch! Of course, who will be reading or writing blogs then...we will all have so many more important things to do! Please Hashem may it be soon in our time!

First Conversation!

WOW! Can I tell you I am so amazed! My little one that I care for and I had our very first conversation the other day and it was AMAZING! She is only a little over a year old (BA"H)! How is that, you ask? Well, I'll tell ya'... Sign language! Yes, you read that correctly, sign language! For a while now I have been teaching her different signs for this word and that and she has picked them up all so well. Her mommy was quite pleased and it has made it so easy because she has been able to express thoughts for some time now. Words like 'more', 'eat', and 'no' were very easy for her to learn. She also knows 'please' and 'sleep'. Well, our first conversation went something like this.

Philly: lays baby for nap and strokes her head and signs “Baby sleep”.

Baby: signs "No, up"

Philly: signs "No, baby sleep now"

Baby: signs "No baby no sleep please up"

Philly: laughs and signs "Baby sleep please"

Baby: proceeds to sign most emphatically "PLEASE UP!"

OK, to me this was the coolest! She was able to put a sentence together and express a full thought! We actually dialogued and had a conversation!

You should know that this has in no way stunted her verbally because she repeats everything that she hears! She often speaks and signs at the same time, depending on what suits her. The other day she was signing as she was falling asleep, 'talking' in her sleep if you will.

I had used sign language with my own children also, but not until they were older. I just was looking for a way to talk to my children without speaking or worse yelling. It was just so nice to be able to sign across the room "Are you OK?" and my children respond, "No, I need to use the restroom!" No hollering, no embarrassment, just simple communication.

This is also effective with little ones since you do not want to be constantly be saying “no”. You just sign it.

Some good books to check out and start out with are Teaching Your Tot to Sign and Signing Made Easy.

Children really pick up the signs very easily and it is a nice way for you both to learn a second language.

There are also a ton of websites out there. Just Google "baby sign language" and have fun!

Blogging Blues

I have not abandoned you in the middle of my trip. There is just so much I want to write about that I need to get my thoughts better organized. There are so many people and things I want to share with you all. I wish you were just here with me, so I could pour you that hot cup of coffee, and we could just shmooze. You would have to listen to me blabber on about my trip and we could just sort it all out after we were done. I could interject, "Oh yeah and then there was..." and not have to cut, paste, delete make sure there is continuity in thought, proper punctuation, grammar etc. You would just get it, it would just be easier. You would see my face light up when I told you the awesome people I met and you would feel my homesickness as I tell you about how much I long to return. Not a day goes by that I do not think of my home. Rebbe Nachman said, "You are wherever your thoughts are. Make sure your thoughts are where you want to be." Well, my thoughts are ever in Eretz Israel. I have not yet gotten to a point were I do not get a bit emotional about it when I think of Tsfat. I am fighting hard to maintain all I learned and all I felt while there. I was told I would have to do that, and it is so true. But I tell you there is so much joy in the journey and if I did not have to fight then it would not be so real and so prominent in my thoughts as it is. So, bear with me. I will soon be posting more, it just may be in several parts. I do not like putting up such long posts, so I try to keep them short but sweet.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Kotel and Off to Tsfat: Trip to Israel part 3

First stop was to the takana (bus station) to meet my daughter Racheli who was on her way to Jerusalem from Tsfat. Everything and everywhere had a strange dejavu feel to it. It was reality and yet there was dream like quality to all of it. I think the strangest feeling was how familiar it all seemed.
How could that be possible when I had never been there? And yet everywhere we went, from the very beginning seemed as if I seen it all, knew it all so intimately. Maybe it was echoes of a past life? Maybe it because my soul knew I belonged there? Or maybe it was because my heart was so ready for this trip and embraced everything as it was. I can’t really explain it, but from the moment the plane landed I knew I was home.
Racheli finally arrived and it was like another scene out of a movie. Lots of tears, hugs and kisses. We dropped off our baggage at Ya’akov’s yeshiva and caught the bus to the Kotel. It was a misty, cloudy day but it made no difference while we were there. What were a few drops of rain when we were at the very gate to the Throne Room of the King of the Universe.
When I first saw the Kotel I said to my children, “I thought it was bigger.” I immediately felt embarrassed after I said it, but they laughed knowingly and informed me everyone says that. Interestingly enough my initial perceived smallness of the Kotel changed immediately as I neared its holy stones. Right up to the Wall I slowly walked. I had no idea which way my children went, nor was I worried. I felt quite safe and alone, but not lonely. I had no fears except for the fear of the awesomeness of where I was. Even that I am sure I felt only to a small extent. To be sure, if I truly realized where I was how could I have even taken another step? I would have simply fallen on my face before Him and poured my heart out to my Abba. As I approached the Wall I wondered what would happen. Would I be changed?
“Oh, Please Hashem, don’t let me walk away from here the same!” I cried. I kissed and touched the massive stones, placed all the letters my beloved family and friends sent with me to place before the King and opened my book of tehillim. This sefer (book) would become my very best friend during this trip. I poured out my heart in utter gratitude for this precious gift Abba had given me. I then felt every emotion come forth from my heart. As the tears came forth I felt the release and relief of a soul set free. I cried and cried and a dear lady murmured “baruch Hashem,” over and over. She placed her hand on my shoulder and told me to be B’simcha, Moshiach is soon here! My heart rejoiced at this very thought. I begged for this joyful news to happen soon! I poured out my requests for my children, my beloved, myself and others. My heart was so full it was easy to pray. I could have stayed there for hours and I do not think it would have felt more than a few minutes.
Finally, after praying the Amidah, I felt able to walk away. Slowly, not turning my back from the Holy Wall, the last remnant of our last Holy Temple, I truly felt I was leaving a Holy and Royal place. I thought of the dear lady who told me to be b’shimcha, Moshiach is here, I prayed that it should be true. I imagined what it would be like here when the Holy Temple was rebuilt, may it be soon in our time.
I found my children all waiting for me and I pulled them so close to me. Here we were, all of us In Jerusalem! Hashem is so very good to us!
The children took me inside where we could get close to where they think the Kadosh Kadoshim (Holy of Holies) is. My son went to pray, and at this point I was too overwhelmed and exhausted. I gazed down from the ezrat nashim (ladies section) and sighed.
It was getting late, so we caught a cab to the bus station and left for Tsfat. We had a three hour ride ahead of us. I thought now I would finally be able to get some sleep. I hadn’t slept much the night before we left, nothing to speak of on the flight and now we were into the next day. Oddly enough, I did not feel tired or jet lagged but I for sure knew I had better get some sleep.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Some thoughts on Repentance

These are some quotes from Rebbe Nachman’s ‘Sefer Ha-Middot’ ‘The Aleph Bet Book’
May they be a help to myself and all of us to come to true teshuvah and to come closer to Hashem the Merciful and Compassionate One.

When a person is humble, it is as if he offered all the different sacrifices.

Anyone who confesses his sin has a share in the World to Come.

When a person cries at night, his voice is heard and the stars and constellations cry with him.

Sin saps a person’s strength.

When a person feels remorse for having commited a sin, he is forgiven for all his sins.

When one sighs he becomes a new person.

For repenting wholeheartedly, the Holy One gives a person a “heart” through which he can truly know him.

When a person confesses, G-d loves him benevolently and removes His anger from him.

When a person is embarrassed by his sins, G-d deals charitably with him.

When you want to repent, ask the Tzaddik to bring you before G-d.

Sins are atoned through loving kindness and truth.

By asking G-d for His love, He will cover over your transgressions.

The best way to rectify the negative effects of one’s sins is through humility.

By crying out your prayers, G-d will forgive you.

G-d is appeased by a person’s confession, which is like his having built an altar and brought a sacrifice.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Airport Adventures: Trip to Israel Part 2

The airline wanted you there three hours before your flight left and on top of that there was a two hour drive to get to JFK airport, that is of course as long as there was no traffic. This meant it was going to be an all day affair. We didn’t care how long it would take as long as we got there safely. Once the car was packed, instructions for the dog and cat’s care left and goodbyes said, we were off. We prayed for safety, said tefilla ha derech (wayfarer’s prayer) and asked that there would be no traffic. Our requests were happily granted and we made it to the airport in amazing time! So much so we were actually the first people there! We laughed when we saw this and thanked Hashem for this kindness. We decided to eat our lunches to pass the time. Finally we were able to get in line and check in our luggage. We were so excited and nervous. We answered the first questions, put the baggage through x-ray and waited in line for our boarding passes. Wow, we were going to be done in no time. We chatted and we waited, and chatted and waited some more. Hmmm….this seems to be taking a bit long. After a bit the staff informed us that the computers were down, they were working as fast as they could to fix them and to please be patient. “Baruch Hashem”, I said. “This is all good.” I was determined to not let anything bring me down. Hashem had brought us this far, we just had to wait a bit and be patient. After waiting for quite some time the powers that be, finally decided they were going to have to do everything by hand. They did not want to make us wait any longer and they needed to get us moving. I have to tell you how amazing the El-Al staff really was. They were very professional and courteous. They got us through as quickly as possible and with hand written boarding passes in hand, we were on our way. After we finally boarded the plane, we had to wait longer, still because of the computers being down. Our flight that was supposed to leave at 4:55 finally departed at 7 PM.
For both of us this was our first time to Israel but for my youngest it was her first time leaving the country, (mine being when I went to Canada at fifteen if that counts at all) and her first airplane flight ever. It was a huge deal for us! Any nervousness she had she handled quite well. It was a smooth flight for the most part and although it was very long and the movies were nothing we were interested in, we were just happy to finally be on our way.
I can’t tell you how safe I felt on this plane filled with other Jews! It was really so neat for me, seeing everyone and all different flavors. When morning came and the men started their prayers, laying tefillin etc, I felt especially blessed. How beautiful it all was and how wonderful we were all going home, even if only for a visit.
The plane was soon coming into Ben Gurion airport and I had my first glimpses of Eretz Israel! I was beside myself with joy! There it was, Tel-Aviv! We were coming in for a landing and there it was! “Oh, Hashem how good you are to us! How kind You are to allow us to come to this Holy Land!” My heart sang out! I began to cry and cry. We were actually here!
To my daughter and me, this was the most beautiful airport on the planet in the most beautiful place in the planet. Everything was wonderful; from the free push carts, (which JFK charges three dollars for) and mezzuzot on all the doorways, to the Hebrew announcements and writing on the signs. We were ecstatic! We got our luggage, (thank You G-d nothing was lost) and anxiously proceeded towards the area where my son would be waiting for us. I began scanning the crowd eager to see my beloved son, who I hadn’t laid eyes on since the beginning of September. This was the longest I had been separated from any of my children. I saw someone waving at me and began to run, cart, luggage and all, toward my son’s direction. I was so excited that before I finally got to him I proceeded to run over another young man’s foot and spill my luggage all over the floor. “Slicha, slicha!” I said. (slicha means ‘excuse me’ in Hebrew and I became quite proficient at this phrase by the time I left Israel.) My son and I embraced and as you can well imagine by now I cried some more. We gathered up our strewn luggage got on a shuttle started on our way to Jerusalem, to meet Racheli and to visit the Kotel. This was the first place I needed to go before continuing on to Tsfat where we would be staying the first half of our trip.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

For the LOVE of coffee

OK, I confess to you all, for all my natural and health food inclinations, I have never been totally able to rid myself of coffee. Quite frankly because I dun-want-to. I love coffee! It is the drink of royalty! (well, at least in my small part of the universe) I love the way it smells, I love the bitter taste. I like it black and I love it the way my grandparents made it...very European, espresso with lots o'scalded milk and sugar. :::sigh::: (I think they call them lattes now) I loved coffee before 'Starbucks' was around. (You do not want to hear my opinion on these so called coffee houses and what they claim to sell as coffee). I gotta tell you, coffee in Israel, now was awesome! That was coffee! When you get there be sure to check out Mordechai's little place in Tsfat and the 'Cream and Dream' on Ben Yehuda Street in Yerushalayim.

I have had to cut down ALOT, don't drink near as much as I used to. I used to be a pot a day, now I just a enjoy a small cup or two in the morning with my beloved. AS much as I adore coffee, my tummy does not share my affections. So, we have come to a compromise. Ah well, a little is better than none.
Anyway, here is to all of us coffee drinkers, especially those of us who have had to switch to decaf chai during the day. It's not so bad...not really.

COFFEE: Do stupid things faster and with more energy!

For sure coffee drinkers can laugh at themselves...and quite maniacally too!

Actually Going! Trip to Israel Part 1

I was at a girlfriend’s house when I received the phone call. Everything went through and the trip to Israel was in the first stages. I put the phone down in amazement. Was this going to actually happen, really happen? My friend came out from her bedroom into the kitchen where I was.
“So, Philly, what’s happening? Did it go through?” she asked.
I was so dumbfounded.
“Yes”, I answered half in a daze.
“Oh, my goodness! I am so happy for you!” She squealed as she grabbed me a squeezed me so hard.
Typical for me, I began to cry and laugh at the same time.
“Baruch Hashem!” I cried. It was all I could say and it seemed that was all that there was to say.
Being good chasiditehs we began to twirl around the kitchen screaming and singing with absolute joy!
The reality of it all really had not sunk in. It all seemed to be happening so fast. Could Abba be really answering my prayers? Why in the world was I so shocked anyway? All I knew was a couple of days prior I had been told I needed to be in Israel with the children for Pesach. I replied in full agreement that it was a wonderful idea. But Hashem was going to have to do that. Little did I know how well He was going to do it. Within a couple of weeks I had finances out of the blue and the tickets ordered for both my youngest and I. It did not suit for my beloved to join us because of work issues and strangely enough all the finances that were provided were for just the two of us.
After my initial elation I began to plan. We did not have passports, household issues had to be in order, my beloved had to be taken care of, etc. Thankfully everything seemed to fall right into place. As I knew that this whole trip was planned and executed by the Almighty One, I stepped very cautiously. I felt like each step I took was on holy ground so I did not do a whole lot of talking about the trip, not even to my family. In fact the only ones who knew anything were those few people who were helping me in the planning. When I finally told my oldest daughter about the trip she cried with such relief. She had been so terribly homesick and was begging Hashem herself to send me to Israel to comfort her and ease her time! Truly Abba is the Compassionate One.
I have to admit that in spite of the obvious miracle this was, I was a still a little afraid it would not actually happen. I certainly did not want to provoke ayin hara :::poo, poo, poo::: so I didn't talk too much about it and when I did I was careful to always say, "b'ezrat Hashem". I was also reminded that Rebbe Nachman teaches there are MANY obstacles to getting to the Holy Land, so that also provoked me to much prayer. As each thing did come to fruition, (i.e. tickets and passports arriving, getting the luggage together, packing) and the day getting closer I began to pray even harder and speak a little more about it. I had to after all, there were sederim and meals to arrange for my beloved. I certainly could not leave him starving here! My community was amazing and once people knew I was going there were offers everywhere. I had to even set up a little itinerary for him to let him know whose home he was going to when. I also had to get my house ready for Pesach and shop before I left since my beloved was going to be here and we would be returning to the US for the last days of the holiday.
Finally, with everything all together and arranged, house pesachdik, meals done, my daughter and I packed and with passports and tickets in hand left with another friend to JFK airport.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Israel Prologue

I would like to start my journey from the very beginning. How it all came together is truly amazing! I won’t get into too many details really. I do want to tell you and make sure you know that is was a FOR REAL miracle! You should also know that if your dream is to go to Eretz Israel, beg Hashem, beg Him and see if He does not have rachmanit on you too and send you. Do not say, ‘I don’t have the time or money’, those are minor details for the King. Don’t worry about how it will all happen. Just pray and walk through the doors as they open. Do what you can and watch for the miracle to occur. That is how it came about for me. I wanted so badly to go, all my life this has been my dream. But that is all I thought it would ever be, a dream that would probably not come true until Moshiach came, (may it be speedily in our day!) But after Racheli left I began to pour my heart out in prayer. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed, “Please Hashem only YOU can send me to Eretz Israel…please Abba let me go!” You see, I could never have gone with out my children. I would have felt badly experiencing all that kaddusha without them. So Hashem allowed them to merit to go before me, and then in His mercy, my youngest and I merited to join them. I will forever be grateful to the Holy One, most blessed be He, for allowing us this privilege, may it be repeated again soon.