Monday, October 01, 2007

Keep your eye on the light!

Watch and listen and then heed the message!

"Do your best each day,
Try to find yoru way.
Keep your eye on the goal,
Bring out your soul.
Lift your head up high!
So much noise outside,
Keep your eye on the goal,
Bring out your soul."

Friday, September 21, 2007


This song is dedicated to:

my beloved friend J. Do you know how much I love you?? How much you mean to me?? Days go by without seeing you, shabbat is always sweet.

also to B... I miss you.

and lastly to myself.

Breathe (2 AM) Anna Nalick

2 AM and she calls me 'cause I'm still awake,
Can you help me unravel my latest mistake,
I don't love him, winter just wasn't my season
Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes
Like they have any right at all to criticize,
Hypocrites, you're all here for the very same reason

'Cause you can't jump the track,we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button girl,
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe, just breathe,
Woah breathe, just breathe

May he turn 21 on the base at Fort Bliss
Just a day, he sat down to the flask in his fist,
Ain't been sober, since maybe October of last year.
Here in town you can tell he's been down for a while,
But my God it's so beautiful when the boy smiles,
Wanna hold him, maybe I'll just sing about it.

Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button boys,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe, just breathe,
Woah breathe, just breathe

There's a light at each end of this tunnel, you shout
'Cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
These mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again
If you only try turning around.

2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, its no longer
Inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
And breathe, just breathe
Woah breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chacham Ovadia Yosef: Use Caution By Kapporot

It's funny I was just sent this article because I was trying to figure out what to do this year. I received the phone call yesterday that they will be doing kapparot tomorrow night and early Friday morning locally. I did kapparot last year and I remember feeling bummed out a bit because of it. Although I felt an intense sense of what the deep meaning behind the minhag was, I felt like the chicken itself did not get a whole lot of respect. There I was holding the hen out of her box, loving her and calming her down. I said the prayers and then got in line to wait my turn to hand my hen over to the shochet. After I did I felt like it was very UNceremoniously done.

Listen, the truth is, they are in a hurry because there are a lot of chickens to be done.

It's just...

I felt so bummed. For some reason I expected more for the chicken. You read stories about animals who WANTED to go to the Beit HaMikdash as a kappara, and although I know this is NOT a replacement in any way for our Holy Temple, I just thought there would be a bit more, I don't know... ceremony?

Anyway, this article gives me alot to think about.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

L'shana Tova!!!

To all! May you be inscribed for a wonderful year! May you receive blessing and happiness! May you draw closer to Hashem and to grow in Torah and mitzvot! And may this year be the one that we merit the coming geulah, with the rebuilding of our Holy Temple and the revelation of our Righteous Moshiach, speedily and on our time!!!

Amen v' amen!!!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Who's going to Uman???

I want to send a kvittel to Rabbienu.

Help a sistah out!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Where I am holding

The silent scream

You can shout and scream with a “still, small voice” without anybody hearing you. Everybody can do this. Imagine the sound of such a scream in your mind. Imagine the shout exactly as it would sound. Concentrate on hearing the scream in your mind until you are literally screaming with this soundless “still, small voice” – and nobody else will hear anything.

This is actually a scream and not mere imagination. Just as there are channels that bring the sound from your lungs to your lips, so there are nerves that bring the sound to the brain. You can draw the sound through these nerves, literally bringing it into your head. When you do this, you are actually shouting inside your brain.

When you imagine this scream in your mind, the sound actually rings inside your brain. You can stand in a crowd of people screaming this way and no- one hears you.

It could be that when you do this, a faint sound may escape your mouth. This is because the sound traveling through the nerves to the brain can also activate the vocal organs, and they may then produce some sound. But it will be very faint.

It is much easier to shout in this way without words. When you wish to express yourself in words, it is harder to hold the voice in the mind without letting a sound escape your lips. Without words, it is much easier.

Sichot Haran #16

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Planning and Planting

If you plan for one year, plant rice.
If you plan for ten years, plant a tree.
If you plan for a lifetime, educate your child.
-- Chinese proverb

Do me a favor...

Before you make the phone call, pray.
Before you speak the words, pray.
Before you make a judgement, pray.
Before you feel the 'need' to say anything, pray.

...and then, pray some more.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Shed Omnipotence

"The first step to take in order to become a Montessori teacher is to shed omnipotence and to become a joyous observer."

Maria Montessori
To Educate the Human Potential

Buh bye summer, hello BTS!!

It is officially done. Summer schedules are over, late nights are kapoot and early rising has begun. It is BTS or Back to School for all you laymen out there.
I officially start today back at the preschool. Not only that, my youngest starts back at Homeschool High School. Can we say FULL PLATE!!

I cannot believe that I could not sleep last night. I mean, I slept a little bit, but I woke up several times thinking, "How will we do the tefillot again?" and "I can't wait to see so-and-so again!" I felt like a little child! Every year it's the same excitement! Do all the teachers feel this way?

We worked so hard to get the classroom set up and all the wonderful work out for the children. We also tried to create a peaceful environment along with an academically challenging classroom. Natural for the child and smooth flowing. To be honest, I look at it as a big homeschool away from home. I really cannot wait to see them and welcome all our little scholars.

To all my fellow teachers, at home and it the formal classroom setting, I wish you much success and blessing on your year. 'Shed omnipotence', trust in Hashem, keep a joyful heart and remember our focus and why we do what we do, the children!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Are you a Chasid?

Last Shabbat my dear friend asked me if I was a chasid(teh). I paused and had to think hard about my answer.

If she asked me about being Sephardi, that's easy.
I am Sephardic--my family hails from Spain. My custom, traditions are sephardic. My Rav, sephardic. Easy right?

But a chasid?? That's a harder question.

I have been learning Breslov teachings for about 7 years, which means I probably should be further along than I am. I call Rabbi Nachman my Rebbe. I really love him. He quite literally saved my life. I try to follow and live his teachings to the best of my ability.

But am a chassid? I don't have a long chassidic background. And as I stated earlier, no Eastern European background.

I do have a desire to be closer to Hashem, to really live for Him and be a light.
But do I have what it takes to call myself a 'chassid'?

I told my friend I was a Neo-Chasid. Whatever that means...

I aspire to be one.

I try to be a good Jew, and I think that automatically makes me some kind of chasid(pious and kind).

But a work in progress to be sure.

Here is what Rebbe Nachman says: "I have broken your pride --no matter how you pray, they will say ,'He's a Breslover Chasid!'" Avaneha Barzel

Rebbe Nachman asked his followers: “Why don't you make your wives Chasidistehs?” (Siach Sarfei Kodesh 2, 1-14). (In Yiddish, “Chasidistehs” means “women Chasidim.”)

For more on Breslov and Women haz cliq aqui. ;-)

Happy Birthday Tzaddikim!!

This chai Elul, Shabbat Kodesh, is the birthday of both the Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer, the Holy Ba'al Shem Tov, and Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Ba'al HaTanya. Can I hear a "OH YEAH!!"?!?! I mean, how kewl is that?! So, along with the awesome joy and holiness of shabbat let's plug into the holiness of these great tzadikim. Learn Tanya, (it's not just for Chabadniks y'know) learn the stories of the Besht and try to be the best chasid you can be. I mean the deep spirtual kind of chasid, (striemel and bekesha/kaputa not required) that dances and sings and is a simple Jew who loves Hashem and just tries to please Him in ALL he does and says.

Note: as I was writing this, my little niece got herself in an awkward situation and could not stand up. My beloved, leaned over to help her. He looked at me and said, "She couldn't elevate herself, I had to help her." I smiled, "I hear ya'."
May the merit of these holy Tzaddikim elevate us and help us all out of our awkward situations and help us to stand.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of this vocabulary. °Ü°

1. Fine : This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes : If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3. Nothing : This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. Go Ahead : This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5. Loud Sigh : This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6. That's Okay : This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks : A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.

8. Don't worry about it, I got it : Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself.. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to #3.

Heartbreak and Joy in Crown Heights

Please go read Live from the Hilltop, for the recent heartbreak and joy in Crown Heights.

Disappointment is...

finding all your amazing pictures from the Simply Tsfat are all very dark because you have an pretty 'ok' camera that cannot compensate for the lack of lighting.

Do you think Photo Shop would help???

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simply Tsfat!!!

What can I possibly say that has not been already said about this amazing group from the Holy City of Tsfat. For the past several years they have come here to Philly and each year it is such a treat! Simply Tsfat took us from sheer unadulterated joy with rousing chassidic niggunim to quiet contemplation with soft meditative pieces such a "Running and Returning." It was like Tsfat and Uman came to us all wrapped in one happy package.

Yoni Lipshutz shared his personal story of teshuva with us. It was so inspiring and so timely during this month of Elul, to hear how Hashem works in our lives. Yoni reminded us nothing we do is wasted and Hashem works all things for the good. (Check out this post on "A Simple Jew" for more on Yoni)

This years concert really was a spiritual treat for me because along with the music they shared many of Rebbeinu's deep treasures with us. They told the story of the man who finds the diamond complete with sound effects and musical accompaniment. They also touched on the basics of Rebbeinu's most well know teachings of "Never Give Up!", "If you believe you can damage believe you can fix" and the teaching of hitbodedut. Rebbe Nachman said, "My fire will burn until the coming of Mashiach". Simply Tsfat is helping to spread that fire.

The bottom line, if you have never seen Simply Tsfat in concert you simply must go. And if you have gone, keep going! They are an incredible musical group live not to mention the joy they bring in sharing Rebbe Nachman's teachings. The fact is, each time you hear them, they get better and better.

Little Tiptoes

This is a link to a beautiful post written by a dear friend, Reb Moshe. He has been busy taking care of his children while Mommy has been in the hospital with another child who is having surgery. Please keep this family in your prayers as they are, like many of us, going through their share of trials. B'ezrat Hashem, they only draw us closer to Hashem.

Little Tiptoes

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Three things that bring me joy

I am feeling kinda blah these days. Lotsa reasons, but I am sure none are really good enough. So I am trying to think of things that bring me joy. Here are three things that for sure bring a smile to my face.

1. My daughter sneaking up beside me a kissing my cheeks.

2. Hearing my son's voice on the phone, or these days, on the computer.

3. Listening to my youngest sing.

Oh yes, and this picture. Miss Kitty makes me smile.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

While quietly spinning...

the niece thought it would be fun to check out the roving!

"I'm just getting it ready for you Tity!"

Alpaca for me!

People are pretty good to me y'know.

A new friend of mine was just in the Adirondack Mountains and she was telling me about a wonderful Alpaca and Goat farm she was on. It sounded just wonderful. She told me what wonderful guards the alpacas are and how gentle they were. Of course I teasingly asked if she brought me back a souvenir. Well, dance of joy, she did! Here you see pictures of my very first alpaca! It is so soft and the natural shades of brown are lovely. From my first playing with it I am sure it will spin like a dream. It is fresh off the animal fur so I need to clean it. If any of you are familiar with cleaning alpaca please leave all your helpful tips.

My dog very interested in this new animal smell. Actually he got a little to interested and tried to make off with it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Uman! Uman! Rosh HaShana

I cannot tell you how this video has inspired me! Such joy!

My Rosh Hashanah is greater than everything. I cannot understand how it is that if my followers really believe in me, they are not all scrupulous about being with me for Rosh Hashanah. No one should be missing! Rosh Hashanah is my whole mission (Tzaddik #403).

I will try not to post so many videos, I just could not resist sharing this one with you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Video: Village Woman Walking & Spinning Wool

This video is really wonderful! I hope to be someday as skilled as the beautiful lady, with a support on my hip, walking and spinning as I go.

Quote from the video: I met this beautiful old lady from the Hills in the Himachal. She was hand spinning wool as she was walking. I asked her to explain me about it. She scolded me saying 'it's so simple.. there's nothing to explain'. I told her it may be simple for her but we have forgotten this ancient art of hand spinning wool as we do other chores. Then she readily explained it to me.

How to get out of Debt---The Snowbal Method

I came across this article and really like what it had to say. It teaches how to get out of debt using the 'snowball method'. Even I, who has had a long standing fear of numbers gets how this works. It really seems reasonable and doable.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The debt-snowball method of debt repayment is a form of debt management that is most often applied to repaying revolving credit — such as credit cards. This method has gained more recognition recently due to the fact that it is the primary debt-reduction method taught by Dave Ramsey.


The basic steps in the debt snowball method are as follows:

List all debts in ascending order from smallest balance to largest. This is the method's most distinctive feature, in that the order is determined by amount owed, not the rate of interest charged. However, if two debts are very close in amount owed, then the debt with the higher interest rate would be moved above in the list.
Commit to pay the minimum payment on every debt.
Determine how much extra can be applied towards the smallest debt.
Pay the minimum payment plus the extra amount towards that smallest debt until it is paid off.
Then, add the old minimum payment from the first debt to the extra amount, and apply the new sum to the second smallest debt.
Repeat until all debts are paid in full.
In theory, by the time the final debts are reached, the extra amount paid toward the larger debts will grow quickly, similar to a snowball rolling downhill gathering more snow (thus the name). The theory works as much on human psychology as it does on finance; by paying the smaller bills first, the individual, couple, or family sees fewer incoming payment requests as more bills are paid off, thus giving the impression that they are making headway towards debt elimination.

All retirement contributions are to be halted during the debt snowball, thus freeing up more money to pay down the debt snowball. Many dispute this practice, citing the cost of compounding interest to be greater than the gains of paying off debt. Some compromise by reducing retirement contributions to only what a company will match with an employee. Ramsey teaches that this halting of retirement contributions should last no more than two years.

A first home mortgage is not generally included in the debt snowball, but is instead paid off as part of one's larger financial plan. As an example, the Ramsey plan pays off home mortgages in "Baby Step 6", along with any other debt which is equal to or greater than half of one's annual take-home pay.

Simple Example

Ignoring interest rates, let's pretend you have the following debt (along with the minimum payments):

Car Payment - $2500 balance - $150/month minimum
Credit Card A - $250 balance - $25/month minimum
Loan - $5000 balance - $200/month minimum
Credit Card B - $500 balance - $26/month minimum
Your minimum payments for all debt would be $401 per month. You would order your debts in the following order (lowest to highest):

Credit Card A - $250 balance - $25/month minimum
Credit Card B - $500 balance - $26/month minimum
Car Payment - $2500 balance - $150/month minimum
Loan - $5000 balance - $200/month minimum
Now, assuming you had $100 extra per month to send in, you would apply that $100 to the Credit Card A so that the payment for it would be $125 per month and the other debt would receive the minimums.

After Credit Card A is paid off (in two months), you would apply the extra $100 to Credit Card B PLUS the $25 you were sending in to Credit Card A. So now your payment to Credit Card B would be: $26 normal minimum + $25 that you normally sent in to Credit Card A + $100 that you are able to send extra.

Your payment to Credit Card B would be $151 instead of $26. Therefore, you would pay it off much faster. Then, when Credit Card B is paid off, you would now send in the following to the Car Payment: $150 normal minimum + $25 that you normally sent in to Credit Card A + $26 that you normally sent in to Credit Card B + $100 that you are able to send extra

Your payment to Car Payment would now be $301 instead of $150.

If you didn't have $100 extra (or any extra amount) the debt snowball would be the same minus $100 per month.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Annual Meteor Shower

Under the new moon, the best-known meteor shower makes its appearance.

"According to the best estimates, in 2007 the Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream sometime around 2 a.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 13. That corresponds to 11 p.m. PT on Aug. 12 for those living in the Western United States or Canada.

The interval when the meteors will be falling at their highest rates will likely last several hours or more on either side of these times.

As a result, it is the late-night hours Sunday, on through the first light of dawn Monday that holds the greatest promise of seeing a very fine Perseid display."

'Great Show': Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Sunday Night


As soon as we arrived at the airport check in they asked if my son wanted to volunteer to be bumped.


'What is that?' I asked.

Ya'aqov informed me that this is a most desirable thing since, although it postpones his flight for a day, (he is now leaving tomorrow)it also means getting a free round trip ticket.

'Oh wow!' I thought, 'this is great!'

But sheesh, the waiting for three hours to see if he was actually going to get bumped and then the figuring out what do we do now. The drive all the way back to Philly. Emotions, etc... Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have my son home one more day. I am thrilled he is going to now have another ticket to get back to Israel another year. But I am not thrilled that I will not be able to see him off at the airport.


We ordered a 'limo' service to pick him up and deliver him to the airport.

:::heavy sigh:::

I just really like being able to see him off.

I know he's a 'big boy', but how does that preclude me from having all my mommy emotions.

Maybe I am not so mature after all.


As I am typing this my son is behind me, looking like the prince he is, praying for the last time this summer in my home. In approximately 40 minutes we will be leaving for JFK airport. I wrote my plane letter to him last night. Most of what I wrote, I said to him many times this year. But I think you need to have that plane letter. I always want my children to know how proud I am of them and how much I love them. I know they do, but I never want to leave room for even a shadow of a doubt.

I helped him pack his clothes last night. That always feels good. Maybe it gives me a feeling of, 'he still needs me', even if for only a little bit. Y'know, it's what happens when you pour your heart and soul into your children. You pour everything you know, all the love you have. You pray and pray and pray. And then one day you look and :::POOF::: the little boys turns around and what comes walking back to you is a man. Tall and strong, explaining the mysteries and Torah and the absoluteness of halacha to you. It's amazing and it is all I have ever dreamed of. B'ezrat Hashem, he will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Each year feels differently. I do not feel the heart wrenching of the first year or even what I felt last year. (Last year we were at a Simply Tsfat concert from where we directly left for JFK...what a send off!) Maybe I am maturing, maybe not. My heart aches when I think of not sitting and talking with him at the table. I feel a deep sadness when I think about not seeing him walk in the door every evening or seeing his silhouetted body donned in tallit and tefillin praying in the early hours of the day. But I have an even deeper joy when I think of my mighty one, returning to our Homeland and setting himself to learn and to grow closer to the Master of the Universe. I feel a strength when I think that all he is doing and all is he wrestling with helps keeps the earth on it's axis and on a more intimate level, blesses my very own family with abundance of life! I have told him, his job in our family is of vital importance. He is doing the job, that right now none of us here can do. He is being such a blessing to us and to K'lal Israel.

My prayer is that Hashem continue to give him and all our children the strength to continue learning and growing. I pray that he continues to grow in Torah and mitzvot and closeness with Hashem. That all that he does, and all that we do, and all that k'lal Israel does, will bring the final redemption speedily and in our day. Amen v'amen

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

I always wanted to make my own laundry soap, but was nervous because you had to heat the Fel Naptha. I have no idea if there is any lye in there, I looked it up and could not find an answer. So in my searchings, and wanderngs I have found...

::::drum roll please::::


No fear of triefing up pots here! Yippee!

Powdered Laundry Detergent 1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap 1/2 cup washing soda 1/2 cup 20 mule team borax Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light loads, use 2 tablespoon. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.

Courage and Heroes

True courage to stand for what is right. Heroes who will engage in combat with an enemy, not another family member.

"People may dount what you say, but they will always believe what you do."

Elite IDF Soldiers Refuse Hevron Expulsion Orders

by Hana Levi Julian

( Two officers and 10 soldiers were sentenced Monday night to 28 days in an army jail for refusing to participate in the expulsion of Jews from their homes in the former Hevron marketplace. The site is known as the Shalhevet neighborhood, named after 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass, who was murdered by a Palestinian Authority sniper several years ago.

The original group of 30 soldiers, all hesder yeshiva members of the elite Duchifat combat unit, balked when they were given their orders to replace Border Police officers during the expulsion. They told their commander before boarding an army bus bound for duty in Judea and Samaria that they would refuse to carry out the orders.

Under threats of a severe response by their commanding officer, more than half of the group backed down, but 12 continued to refuse to obey the order to forcibly evacuate the two families, including 14 children, from their homes.

In addition to their 28-day sentence in a military jail, the battalion commander, Col. Itai Virov, also demoted the soldiers from serving in a combat unit. The sentences are lighter than the active jail time called for by many left-wing politicians. Soldiers who refused orders during the Disengagement were often allowed to return to their units later on.

IDF Central Commander Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni removed the two unit commanders and 10 other soldiers from their positions in the elite Duchifat unit after they refused to obey the orders. "This is a phenomenon that endangers the very base the IDF stands on," said Shamni. "This is an army of the people, and in a democratic nation soldiers must obey orders."

An unidentified father of one of the Duchifat soldiers who balked at carrying out the order stated “the soldiers are standing with determination in their refusal to participate in any part of the expulsion of Jewish families from Hevron.” Another father, Moshe Rosenfeld, said in an interview on Army Radio “My son didn’t join the army to expel Jews, but to defend them. Furthermore, this is not an operation for the army, but for the police.”

The Duchifat unit is a special counter-terrorism battalion in the Kfir Brigade of the IDF Central Command infantry division. The Kfir Brigade is the largest such unit in the IDF, and includes Netach Yehuda and Nachal Hareidi forces. Duchifat soldiers specialize in urban combat and usually operate in the Ramallah area, with the responsibility for the protection of Jewish communities which include Beit El, Ofra and others.

A number of the soldiers who refused to get on the bus are students of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, who guided them through the process.

NRP / NU Knesset member Tzvi Hendel stated flatly in another broadcast interview, “There is no limit to the stupidity of the government…. Just as a soldier must think before shooting at an Arab, so too should one should think here as well. I understand a soldier who says that he is unable to carry out this order,” he added.

“I am not talking about refusal. It’s not enough to simply say that you’re following orders. We are not a dictatorship….We are not talking about soldiers refusing to fight in a war, but in soldiers refusing to carry out a political operation, which is not the mission of the IDF.”

Peace Now Secretary Yariv Oppenheimer asserted, "The extreme right is trying to turn the army into a political game. The IDF should not lend a hand to these attempts." The extreme left-wing activist insisted that soldiers who refuse to follow orders to expel the two families from their homes should be arrested and face a court trial.

A spokesman for the Rabbinical Council of Judea and Samaria commented, “The army shouldn’t be drafting children of Judea and Samaria to throw their families out of their homes.” There were a number of such instances during the 2005 Disengagement operation, when more than 8,000 Jews were expelled from 25 vibrant communities in the Gush Katif region of Gaza, and northern Samaria.

Meretz Knesset member Avshalom Vilan said that refusing IDF orders not the purview of the soldiers and officers. “They are meant to carry them out,” he stated.

The IDF is set to deploy some 3,000 soldiers for the effort to expel the two families, including 14 children, from their homes on Tuesday. The former Hevron marketplace is adjacent to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, from which nine families and a yeshiva were evicted a year and a half ago.

At that time, commander of Judea and Samaria forces IDF General Yair Golan convinced the families to leave, by promising that they would be allowed to return soon after with an improved legal status. The government reneged on the deal shortly thereafter when Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ruled that Golan did not have the authority to make the deal.

Four coalition Knesset members, three opposition Knesset members and two ministers signed a letter sent to Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week urging him to reconsider the order. "The residents in Hevron prevented a clash such as that in Amona when they removed themselves from their homes based on promises that they would be able to return," read the letter in part. "This approach must be encouraged, not put down."

Hevron officials say they are once again being promised that if they leave willingly a quiet return to the marketplace will be arranged in the future. A similar episode took place with the Beit Shapira House, wich remains sealed and empty to this day.“We've been through that one too many times,” said Hevron community spokesman David Wilder. “The property is Jewish property. A military appeals court recommended that the buildings be leased to the Hebron Jewish community. This too was rejected. What more do they want?”

In the aftermath of the War of Independence in 1948, Jordan occupied Hebron and gave control of the marketplace to the Custodian of Abandoned Properties.

The market was leased to the Hebron Municipality, which allowed the merchants to stay. That situation continued after Israel reclaimed the area in 1967.

Wilder continued, stating that it was “illogical to ask Jewish families to leave property that was owned by Jews, in the name of an empty marketplace that had not been operational for 13 years, and for which there was no plan to release to Palestinian merchants.”

Ze'ev Orenstein and Nissan Ratzlav-Katz contributed to this article.


How can you see this and not cry???

Hevron of Forefathers.

PLEASE HASHEM!!! Please have mercy on us and help us to open our eyes! Help to wake up. Help us to know You alone are truly our recourse. Please Abba...
Please, have mercy on your children and send Moschiach.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Breslov Appraoch to Children

A letter by Reb Shimon Barsky


In modern society, both Jewish and non-Jewish, teaching is regarded as an honored profession (albeit not an especially lucrative one). In the world of the shtetl (Eastern European village), however, the melamed, or teacher of small children, typically was an impoverished scholar untrained for any other work, to whom an equally impoverished clientele entrusted their youngsters to receive the rudiments of religious instruction. For this inglorious position the teacher was neither trained and paid a reasonable wage, nor even respected by the community. Not surprisingly, many melamdim, frustrated with their lot, showed little tolerance for their students' childish antics. No doubt there is wisdom in Shlomo Hamelech's (King Solomon's) axiom, "Spare the rod and spoil the child"; however, the resort to harshness and corporal punishment on the part of old-world teachers was sometimes excessive, to the emotional detriment of the children and their future relation to religious studies. This is the problem Reb Shimshon Barsky addresses in his letter below.

Reb Shimshon, a descendant of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, was one of the foremost teachers in Uman's Breslov community prior to the Stalinist purges. This letter was written in the early 1930's, immediately prior to the breakup of the community and the murder, imprisonment, or forced exile of its members. After Reb Shimshon passed away in 1935, his family escaped to Poland, and a number of his descendents now live in Eretz Yisrael and in the Chassidic community of Brooklyn, NY.

The letter is one of three such documents printed at the beginning of Reb Shimshon's classic Breslov work, Likutei Eitzos Ivri-Teitch ("Rebbe Nachman's Collected Advice Explained in Yiddish"), reprinted in 1978. A Hebrew translation recently was published as Gevuros Shimshon.

Reb Shimshon Barsky's Letter

May Hashem be blessed,

To my dear son, Noson, and his entire family, may they live:

Please tell me about my precious, esteemed grandson, Yisrael, may he live long: if he now attends cheder (school), if he knows the Hebrew letters and vowel points, and if the melamed (instructor) has taught him the blessings for the varieties of food and drink, and so forth.

No excuses: the melamed should treat him pleasantly in every way, and never frighten or threaten him at all, for any reason. The mind of a child is extremely sensitive. Therefore, one must never frighten a child or threaten him for any reason, so that he should come to no harm, G-d forbid.

Also, tell the melamed that he must never display anger or rage - no excuses!

He must not inculcate fear in the child, neither while teaching him the prayer book nor while teaching him the blessings, etc. Rather, he should relate to the child with a calm, pleasant manner, without anger or harshness, so as not to upset him.

Without any excuses, he should fulfill everything I have written in this letter, and may G-d help you to raise all your children in the ways of Torah and good deeds, with material blessings and emotional gratification (nachas).

Your father,


Friday, August 03, 2007

Shabbat Menu...Raw food included

This shabbat I am serving:

Moroccan Fish
Salads (babaganouj, hummus, Israeli, tomato and avocado and eggplant.)
Raw Falafel
Red Rice
Raw Curry Pate
'Coucous' Salad
Peach Cobbler (my daughter's recipe)
Frozen Fruit Bars
Tofutti Cuites (My beloved's fave)

Lunch will be:

and more salads, including whatever is left over form tonight.
(I make alot for that reason)

Lots of variety here for my family! I am a vegetarian, my oldest daughter is a vegan, and the rest of the family are omnivores who LOVE the raw food recipes along with everything else. It's makes Imma so happy!

Shabbat Shalom!

Another 200 Jews Arrive Home

by Hillel Fendel

Another 200 new immigrants to Israel have come home from North America, landing on their new/old home turf in Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning. They were greeted by cheering crowds and government officials.

Today's was the second Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) flight this summer from North America; the first one, earlier this month, brought over 220 new olim (immigrants). NBN flights have also arrived from Great Britain, and another one will arrive this evening. A planeload of 600 new olim from France arrived last week, organized by the AMI organization dedicated to increasing French aliyah (immigration to Israel).

Among today's 200 olim were a 90-year-old World War II veteran, making Aliyah with his daughter, son-in-law and their four children. The youngest new immigrant is only four months old. On the flight were 34 families with 86 children, as well as a large group of single olim. Five dogs and three cats were also aboard, a reminder to other potential immigrants that a family pet need not present an obstacle to Aliyah. The new Israelis also number four physicians and four psychologists.

Also aboard the El Al charter flight to Israel was a 250-year-old Torah scroll originally from Cracow, Poland. The scroll survived the Holocaust by virtue of having been hidden in a library of ancient texts. It was found in 1998 by an American Jew visiting Poland, who then brought it to the U.S.; his family, making Aliyah today, has now brought it to its final resting place in Israel.

"It is extremely gratifying to witness the growth of since our first charter Aliyah flight in 2002 to our 25th flight today," said Nefesh B'Nefesh founder and Chairman Tony Gelbart. "It is exciting to help realize the hopes and dreams of so many people from diverse backgrounds to move to Israel."

A total of some 2,200 olim are scheduled to make Israel their home this summer via NBN's seven charter flights and eight regular El Al flights with groups of NBN immigrants.

By the end of 2007, NBN will have brought over 3,500 olim during the year from the US, Canada, and the UK. Aliyah from North America is expected to be a 25-year record high, following a steady climb over the past five years.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Don't lose out because of anger

Whenever I feel down, I can always find words of comfort and encouragement from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. These are from The Essential Rabbi Nachman by Avraham Greenbaum. You can find the free online version here.

It would be proper for all Israel to have wealth, but there is one trait that interferes and causes them to lose it. The trait in question is a very bad and lowly trait from which it is very difficult to escape. Sometimes a person wants to escape this trait out of a desire for wealth itself, so as not to lose money, but even so this evil trait attacks him from childhood, causing him to lose the money he should have had.

The evil trait that causes a person to lose the money he should have had is anger. The reason for this is that at its very root and spiritual source , wealth is in the same category as anger. Thus when the evil one sees a flow of influence descending to bring wealth to a person, he turns it into anger, because , at their root , anger and wealth are in the same category: they both descend from God's mighty powers, deriving from the same place. “From the north comes forth gold” (Job 37:22) and “The evil will start from the north ” (Jeremiah 1:14 ) .

Wealth is a “wall” ( ch O mah ), while anger ( ch EY mah ) ruins the wall. Thus when the evil one sees that a flow of wealth – chomah , a “wall” – is being sent to a person – he turns this flow into anger, sending something to make the person angry. Thus the “wall”, chomah , is ruined because of the anger, cheymah . Since anger and wealth are at root one category, the evil one can easily turn the flow of wealth into anger.

And know that even if the descending influence has already reached a person and turned into actual wealth, a “wall”, the evil one can still sometimes tempt the person to become so enraged that he loses even his existing money and wealth. One might have thought that after the blessing has already reached him and turned into wealth, it would be impossible for the evil one to turn it back into anger. The wealth should have been a “wall” protecting him from the evil one and preventing him from succumbing to anger, which is the opposite of a “wall”. Yet the evil one has the power to attack a person with such great anger that he loses even the money he already has.

May God guard and save us from this despicable trait! Amen.

Likutey Moharan I, 68

Wednesday, August 01, 2007's not so bad

Ha Rav Ovadiah Yosef, shlita

Rabbi Ovadia: 'Women should stick to cooking, sewing',is the headline from yesterday's Jerusalem Post. From what I understand it is quite the controversial statement and all the rage now in Blogoshpere. While I usually don't involve myself in controversial matters on my homestead here, I felt like I just needed to point out a few things.

1. Do the words 'lost in translation', mean anything? He was "speaking in the language of his audience."

2. He is speaking to Sephardic women, not to every Jewish women out there. Most Sephardic women say the bracha first and then light. Makes sense, right? But, there are also sources for the other way (bracha then light). The point is, he is poskening for the people who follow his rulings (ie. sephardim).

3. Chariedi disliking Media + out of context = twisted words

In my opinion, Michelle over at Israel Jewish News says it best.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

True Loss- Tisha B'Av

I found this post on Live from the Hilltop. Such a young girl with such big insight.
Go check it out.

The Spanish and Portuguese Jews

Haggadah, Spain, 13th c.

This is a subject of particular interest for me, since this is my background. Not suprisingly though, most folks don't know a whole lot about it. Always trying to be the helpful homeschooling Imma, I am posting some links for you all to peruse at your leisure to educate yourselves.

History of the Jews in Spain

A Brief Timeline-History of Jews in Medieval Spain

The Spanish Expulsion,1492

If you would really like to include this subject in your homeschool, Hebrew School or any school curriculum, check out Out of Spain for a wonderful program you and your children will find both educational and enriching!

The Cross by Day, the Mezuzzah by night

I cannot recommend this book enough to you. I have read it a couple of times, the last time being this past Tisha B'Av. It is a young adult novel, set in Seville, Spain 1492, about a well to do Catholic girl named Isabel Caruso de Carvallo. The edict of expulsion has been decreed, and the Jewish people must leave thier homes and belongings behind or be subjected to death at the hands of the Holy Office. But that has little to do with this young namesake of the Queen...or does it? As Isabel's story unfolds there are many secrets to be revealed to this young herione, who must then choose to live and find her true identity. It is a story of determination and strength, and the will to return home no matter what the cost.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Blogger Block

Sheesh, I am usually one who can come up with conversation easily enough and yet I seem to have nothing to say here in Blogging Land. Perhaps I am a bit intimidated by the much more worthy bloggers who speak of the really important things like politics, the enviroment, or the state of modern Jewish orthodoxy. I don't even constantly blog about knitting, or motherhood. What kind of blogger am I?!
Oh well...
I always kinda viewed this blog as my virtual kitchen. So if you were here with my in real time you would come sit down, make your self at home and we would have some coffee or tea, or my new fave kombucha. We would shmooze about all kinds of really important things, ultimately bringing it all to the bottom line that Hashem does all things for the good. I would bid you farewell until you came again.
Fact is, some days there just is not a whole lot to say, and so I listen. I listen to what you and the others are saying.
So there you have it, today's not so eloquent, written just because I was sitting here, with nothing else to say, blog. Feel free to pick up the conversation while I go make us some yummy snacks!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007


Everyone has a special call on their life. Perceptions of whether they are great callings or small are irrelevant, because there really is no such thing. What one may view as a small thing can truly alter the Universe. In fact it does.

Ever hear of the 'Butterfly Effect'?The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. So there is no such thing as a small anything.

Healing is also that way. Every step one takes to become whole, to heal yourself or another is huge beyond belief. A small touch on a shoulder, a understanding look into another's eyes, a simple smile and projection of love could literally save another person's life.

I have viewed myself as a healer for sometime now, but really what does this mean? Does it make me special in anyway? Well, sure in lieu of what I just wrote it might, but the truth be told, I am in no way special because I have come to the realization that we are all, everyone one of us, called to be healers. Everyone one us share in this great gift of healing, whether it be to our own bodies and souls or to the ones around us. We are all called to bless and to heal. To speak life and not death.

It is so easy to spew poison into the Universe. But what toll does this take on us and the world around us. Speaking words of life and thinking words of life are what we are called to do. It must begin with ourselves. I once overheard brothers playing together, they were around the ages of nine and eleven. The older one became frustrated with himself and said, "I'm so stupid, I can't do anything right!" The younger one rebuked him saying, "You can't say that, that's lashon hara (lit. evil speech)". He informed his older brother that he could not speak lashon hara even about himself. Those were words of death.

The healing, the repair begins within ourselves. It must, because how can we care for others, lift others up if we are too lame to even walk ourselves. Does this mean we must wait to be wholly healed before we reach out. Not at all, because even as we are healing, perhaps only still limping, we can help a fellow on the journey. We speak life to ourselves and to others around us, even if only a whisper. In doing so we become stronger and heal even faster.

Perhaps this is one aspect of Rebbeinu's teaching, "If you believe you can damage, believe you can repair."

Let's go repair.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tag! Now, I'm it!

I have been tagged by Mrs. Jude.
Here are the rules. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
So here goes...

1. I am now eating a 85-100% raw diet and I am loving it! (stayed tuned for blogs and recipes about my adventures.) I am also a vegetarian for many years now. I did 'backslide' for about a year, but have recanted on my short omnivore stint and am quite happy about it.

2. I try to smile and say hello to everyone. (for some people it is better to exercise a bit of caution and refrain from such niceties.)

3. I struggle with returning phone calls and emails and am trying to get better at it.

4. In spite of my healthy, organic ways, I drink a cup of coffee everyday.

5. I go to the ocean every year to reconnect and recharge.

6. I have lived in five states and have had 24 different homes. (Told ya', I am a gypsy.)

7. I used to collect unicorns and still have a couple. I really liked learning about the legends of the unicorns, especially the healing capabilities of the unicorn's horn. Now I have a lot of lighthouses, and I have not bought a one of them. They were all gifts. My brother gave me my first one.

8. I dream alot about dancing. My favorites were when I danced with Fred Astaire :::sigh::: and this other one a had where I was on a mountaintop doing the most amazing grand jetes.

OK, here is who I am tagging. Sorry guys if you don't want to play, be a sport and do it anyway! BJ, Lake Vent, Over the Rainbow, and Leah Country. Alright, I am only tagging 4 people, cuz I am not so good at following the rules either. (That's number 9 °Ü° )

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Driving Meditations

This week I had the incredible pleasure of seeing both the moon at it's fullness of beauty and the sun rising. Both times I was driving.

Sunday evening as I was out, I came to stop sign and I looked in the rear view mirror. Much to my surprise the brightness I saw there was not coming from the headlights of another vehicle, but from the moon, bright, full and quite low in the sky. I had just been thinking how she had reached her fullness the day before and I had not yet had an opportunity to see her. It amused me how the moon snuck up behind me like that. Had I not looked in my rear view I might have missed it. I sat there at the stop sign a few minutes, as no one was coming, and I just looked and smiled to myself at how sweet the whole situation was.

This morning, I had to wake up at 4AM to drop a friend off at the airport. It has been my habit in the past to always rise this early in the morning, but unfortunately it has been some time since I have done so. I truly love this hour of the day, so quiet and still, save for the birds who rise at this hour to sing their morning brachot(blessing) out to Hashem. On the way home from dropping her off, I noticed what seemed to be a low fire in the sky. The brightest of pinks, reds and oranges glowed in the eastern sky. It was very low and just beginning to peek up over the horizon. Again, I smiled to myself reveling in the magic of what was beginning to happen before my very eyes.

For a while, I was driving towards the sun. I95 North seemingly taking me to the edge of the sky to where the sun was beginning to awake. As I drove, intermittent sprinkles occurred and I realized that the sky was cloudy. I was filled with joy, knowing that the sun was still rising in spite of the rain. I was blessed when I realized that the cloudiness of the day was actually permitting me to gaze upon the loveliness and strength of the sun without hindrance. The veil of clouds gave the sun a ethereal beauty as I watch the fiery red-orange disc slowly rise ahead of me.

I began to think of Hashem, perhaps lifting the sun with his hand, finding the perfect spot to hand this orb of fire. Then I realized that Hashem is far beyond that and He could lift the sun with His finger, or balance it on the tip of His pinky. I realize that Hashem is without a corporal body, but this reverie made me feel very small. Very small and very, very safe.

I was lost in the beauty of this moment amazed at the perfection of it all. How glorious! I so wanted to pull my car over and jump out and sing praises to the One who allowed me this great privilege! I felt like this moment was created just for me. Just for my eyes and my heart.

I feel so safe and at peace.
I am filled with so much joy and love at this very moment.
I am so grateful that I received these gifts of moments this week.

Precious moments indeed, that I hope to remember always. Moments and feelings of joy that I pray to treasure in my heart and relive when I do not feel so safe and so filled with love.

The gifts of the moon and the sun.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Newest member to the blog universe

He didn't want to do it, but he done it! My son, wise beyond his years and sometimes way too intense for his simple farmgirl Imma has joined the big, wide, world of bloggers. Go check him out and see if he doesn't get the wheels of your mind spinning.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day in the Life of the VWWIT (Village Wise Woman in Training)

Knock, Knock, Knock

Philly: "Someone grab the dog, it's the neighbor!"

Neighbor holding what appears to be herbs: "Can you tell me what this is?"

Philly looks at first bunch then sniffs it. "This is sage."

"I can cook with this?"

"Yes. You have quite a bit there. I would take some and dry it also."

Neighbor hands her the next bunch.

"This is rosemary. These are very nice herbs, where did you get them?" Philly asks, wondering if her neighor has a secret garden somewhere.

"My husband brought them to me."


The neighbor thanks Philly and runs off to try out her new prize.

Philly closes the doors and smiles.

She loves her job!

Adventures in Weaving Part 2 : Houston, we have lift off!

Oh, rejoice with me, all ye peoples! Sing with me oh, weavers of old, for Philly Farmgirl, in true farmgirl fashion has set her hand to the plow, or this case the heddle, and is off and weaving!!!

Ok, 'nuf of that! °Ü°

In case you are wondering, yes, I have woven before. As a matter of fact, on several types of looms. But this time it was different. I always sat at a loom that was already set up for me, or that had a simple wrap around type warp, like a tapestry loom. I also had access to other weavers, in real life. This time I only had a couple of forums and websites to glean from. I set the warp, figured out the problems and I must say, I am quite satsified right now.

Alright, time to get back to weaving!

PS. My youngest daughter said to me, " I wonder how many sixteen year old girls can say they helped thier mother set up a loom. "

Kewl, huh?!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Adventures in weaving

After about a week of trying to figure it out, reading and rereading the instructions, watching the video, agonizing over warp boards and such, I thought I had it...and I almost did.

I finally figured out how to warp my rigid heddle loom and I was so pleased. My youngest and I rolled the last bit of warp up and I tied the ends, rechecked the tension and I thought I was off and weaving.

But alas, after only a few rows I have yet met another obstacle. One of my warp threads have broken. I am so bummed. I have no idea why I have not thrown in the towel by now.

It has been an arduous week. But true to my stubborn nature (my name means mountain goat after all) I cannot, will not, give up.

And so I plod along...

I will weave, darn it! And I am going to be very good at it too.

So there!

Friday, June 15, 2007

I stumbled across this...hmmm.....

I was searching for a website and I stumbled somewhere completely different. As I was about to click out my eyes caught this paragraph. These words spoke to me in many ways, not only financially. Nothing is a coincidence, right?

"Debt can drive you to suicide. Get out of debt before you lose your house, your car, and even your family. In our society being in debt is equivalent to being in a psychological jail, you will spend your entire life trying to get out while your debt grows. You will never completely happy and never completely satisfied, there will always be the burden of debt and owing inside your heart."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Development of a Halacha

Reprinted with permission from Yosid For the Chosid

Many years ago, in a far away country, there was a well known rabbi who was consulted on all sorts of matters relating to the Jewish people. His wise counsel was sought from people of all walks of life, and his decisions were accepted by the community at large, as they understood that his rulings and pronouncements were divinely inspired.

So when one time he met with some parents of his students, and a few mothers complained that their children were not making their beds, he assured them that he would deal with the matter. That week, in his public address to his students, he mentioned that the students should always make sure to make their beds in the morning. When the person transcribing the speech wrote up his review of the talk, he made sure to emphasize the rabbi's intention. He wrote, "The Rosh Yeshiva today ruled that one is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning." Word spread fast. The halacha had been established: One was obligated to make their bed.

Later that day, someone came to the Rosh Yeshiva and asked, "I don't have time to make my bed before I go to davening. By the time I get back my mother is gone for the day so she doesn't think I make my bed, and isn't pleased. What should I do?"

After hearing the answer that was given, the halacha was suitably amended to say that the bed should be made as soon as one gets up. "One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, as soon as he gets up."

The next day, he was approached by a bochur that wanted to know, "When you said 'as soon as he gets up', do you mean immediately - right when one steps out of the bed - or is one allowed some time first?

So they added to the text: "One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, soon after he gets up."

"How long soon after?" he was immediately asked. "How much time exactly?" 10-15 minutes, he replied, figuring that's a reasonable amount of time. And so it was added: "One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, within 10-15 minutes from when he gets up." The bochurim found this to be a satisfactory resolution, but unsurprisingly, it resulted in some bochurim insisting that it should be made by 10 minutes, and others saying it was fine to wait even 15 minutes. After some time, they settled on an unofficial resolution by considering 10 minutes to be the first zman, and 15 minutes the second zman. Things went along smoothly until one day a bochur came over and explained to him a problem he had run into. "My roommate doesn't like the way I make my bed! He claims it's not really made!" "What do you mean?", asked the Rosh Yeshiva. "Well, he claims that for a bed to be considered 'made' the pillow needs to be on top and the sides need to be even or tucked in, and I just lay out the cover on top, covering everything, however it comes out. What should I do?"

The Rosh Yeshiva mulled this over for a while, and replied: You're allowed to make it however your family does it. What's acceptable to your mother (or father) is acceptable here. Hakol k'minhago.

An addition was added to the halacha: "One is m'chuyav to make his bed in the morning, within 10-15 minutes from when he gets up. The manner of making the bed should be done according to one's established minhag."

(Later that week when the bochurim went home for the weekend, many parents were somewhat confused when they were asked by their sons, "What is the minhag of our family of how to make our beds?", but they figured it was all part of the tremendous spiritual growth they could see in their young bnei torah.)

One morning a few weeks later, as shacharis was beginning, the Rosh Yeshiva was notified about an argument that had broken out between 2 bochurim. Approaching their room, he heard loud shouting through the closed door. As he entered, he found one of the bochurim vehemently yelling at the other. Seeing him come in, the young man turned to him and exclaimed loudly, "Rebbe! I'm so glad you're here! I tried to get him to make his bed but he wouldn't listen! He just ignored me, and now it's 5 minutes after the zman, and look - his bed is still not made!"

Before the Rosh Yeshiva had a chance to respond, the other bochur quickly spoke up in his defense, "That's not true. I only got out of bed 2 minutes ago! I still have 8 minutes until the zman!"

"Yes, he only got out of bed 2 minutes ago. But he woke up 20 minutes ago! That means he should have made his bed 10 minutes ago!"

It was clear that there needed to be some clarification: When the psak was issued that a bed must be made 10-15 minutes after getting up, did 'after getting up' mean after waking up ('m'sha'as kumuso') or did it mean after getting out of bed ('m'sha'as yitziaso')? At this point a small crowd had gathered around the room and a vociferous discussion had broken out. Everyone started buzzing, talking, sharing their thoughts of why it meant this interpretation and not the other one. Realizing what was happening, the Rosh Yeshiva put an abrupt stop to it all by loudly demanding that everyone should immediately go to davening and they would deal with it later on.

By lunchtime that day the Rosh Yeshiva had still not addressed the burning issue and a fierce debate had already broken out in the halls of the yeshiva. Even the rabbeim had gotten involved. Some felt that the halacha had to mean from when a person got out of bed, because as they explained, "if it meant 'from when he woke up' then the first thing he would have to do upon awaking would be to look at his clock and remember the time. But this can't be, because we all know that the first thing a person must do when he wakes up is say 'modeh ani'.

Therefore it must mean 'from when he gets out of bed'." In spite of this convincing logic others still held it was better to be machmir and go by from when a person wakes up and not to wait until he gets outof bed. They pointed out that all that was needed to avoid the above-mentioned conflict was to first say modeh ani and then subtract 15 seconds from whenever he first looks at the clock. "But not all clocks have second hands on them," countered the first opinion, "and besides, it is too easy to forget the exact time including the seconds." The machmirim had a ready response: "Firstly, someone who cares about the halacha properly can make sure to have a clock with seconds on it, and secondly, he should also have a paper and pen next to his clock so he can mark down the proper time, in order to avoid the chance of forgetting it."

Seeing that positions had already been staked out in this dispute, the Rosh Yeshiva decided not to voice his own opinion and instead told everyone to go by whatever their rebbe held.

Unfortunately, this had the effect of causing a lot of machlokes in the school as some people didn't agree with their rabbeim, and resented being forced out of their beds sooner than they preferred.

The problems were soon settled when a young illuy came up with an ingenious solution. He pointed out that even though someone had woken up, if they had in mind that they were sleeping it was like they actually were, since 'machshava k'ma'ase'.

Although his reasoning was roundly rejected by many others, it satisfied those lazier bochurim and they let the matter slide. No one was much surprised at their reaction, as these sorts of students

had already demonstrated their laxity of the halacha when it was realized that they were deliberately getting dressed while still sitting in their bed, in order to give themselves more time until the zman of 'when you get up' would commence (according to the shita of m'sha'as yitziaso).

For a brief while the yeshiva had some complaints from bochurim who wanted to switch rooms because their roommates were not keeping what they felt was the right zman for making their beds. Already very disturbed by the problems that the previous issue had caused and not wanting to cause any more machlokes in the yeshiva, the Rosh Yeshiva wisely dealt with the problem by declaring that if anyone was concerned about another not making the zman, they were allowed to make the other persons bed for them, as long as the first one had da'as that the other would be yotzei for himself. He also said that the person making the bed didn't have to specific da'as because obviously if he was making it he had da'as to do such a thing. Despite that, it wasn't uncommon to hear people loudly declaring, "Have in mind to be yotzei so-and-so when making his bed!"

Some months after the initial psak was issued, an enterprising bochur started selling a unique clock that had a special alarm. The alarm would wake you up, and when you pushed the right button it would turn off and ring 9 minutes later to remind you that you had 1 minute left to make your bed. He actually also made a second one that gave you 14 minutes instead of 9, but no one bought it since they felt it was better not to be meikel.

Another issue that the yeshiva had to resolve was that according to the opinions that one must make their beds from when they first woke up, what was to be done if someone fell asleep again shortly after waking up? After much learned discussion it was decided that falling back asleep wasn't a problem, and the zman only started after the real, final wakingup. This was derived from the situation of if one woke up in the middle of the night: Was he then obligated to make his bed shortly after? For a brief time, some people in the yeshiva began to follow this custom. But when the Rosh Yeshiva ruled that it wasn't necessary, they understood from that that the zman only began after the last, real waking up.

These events all occurred many, many years ago, and boruch hashem nowadays it isn't as heated an issue as it once was. Everyone understands and accepts the principles of eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim chaim, minhag avoseinu b'yadeinu, ba'al nefesh yachmir, and shomer p'saim hashem. Each person has a tradition or chumra that he's entitled to follow. In addition, there have been many wonderful books written on this subject, most recently Artscroll's splendid translation of Hilchos Ish U'Mitoso, which sheds much light on this subject for the average layman (also available in a laminated, newly type-set, pocket edition that one can keep by their bed!). However, legend has it that if you go to this yeshiva and poke in on some of the rooms, you'll still occasionally find a bochur here and there that tries to be extra zahir in this inyan and - even on a cold winter night -will sleep on top of his carefully made blanket so that he never will - chas v'chalila! - find his bed unmade past the proper zman!

"Ratzah hakadosh baruch hu l'zakos es yisroel, l'fichach hirba lahem torah u'mitzvos!"

"To receive a laminated, large print edition of the special tefila to say before making your bed, please send a fax to 1800-BE-ZAHIR with your proper mailing address and we will be glad to send you one free of charge. "This publication is in memory of Masha Mushka bas Pesha Pushka o"h."

Please do not read this publication in untzniyusdik places, before you daven, during chazaras hashatz, in the middle of leining, during shiur or seder, while operating heavy machinery, on the Internet, in the mikva, or while under the influence of da'as torah.

" This publication is not intended to be used as a guide to practical halacha. All halachic questions should be directed to your local ultra-orthodox halachic authority."

The Internet is assur.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Everytime he comes home...

He cleans his room.
Nice, right? Good boy, right?

Everytime he cleans his room he throws things out.
He throws out things HE no longer needs.
Things he is no longer interested in.
Things that, as an adult are of no use to him.
Things that have memories...

for me.

Memories of a baby asleep in my arms.
Memories of a child who took his teddy bear everywhere.
Memories of a boy who collected bears and yo-yos.
memories of a teen who loved to skateboard and Bruce Lee.
Memories of a young man...
Memories of a young man who no longer is that baby...
that child...
that boy..
that teen...
The young man is grown man now,


and I am so proud.

but, the truth is...

that man will forever remain...
the baby in my arms,
the child with the bear,
the boy practicing 'around the world' and 'rock the baby',
the teen who strove for the ultimate ollie and carried wax around with him.

and the man,
who works so late,
prays so early,
who loves Hashem,
and studies His Torah,
who never gives up,
and looks for the best,
the son of my womb,
and the pride of my heart.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hello again!

You should all know how much I miss you when I am not here. This blog is quite a little haven for me. I can write about most anything I enjoy here , things that not everyone around me wants to hear me ramble on and on about. °Ü° So thank you to all of you out there who read the ramblings of this gypsy/farmgirl. I appreciate the emails you send me and your words of encouragement. I apologize for not being so quick to write back, it's just the same 'ol excuse, life is too busy.

But...G-d willing that should be ending soon, at least for a bit! My outside of the home jobs will be coming to an end this Sunday and I am not ashamed to tell you I cannot wait! Oh yes, I just want to be home in the worst way. Other than the fact I love my home shall I tell you another of my motivations... something that I have been absolutely DYING to tell you all for weeks now. Are you ready??? Come just a bit closer...closer...OK! guess what I got for Mother's Day??

A SPINNING WHEEL!!!! YES!!! My very own Ashford Traveller! I am so excited! The only problem is I have not been able to spin anything yet because I have not had time to finish and assemble it. Yes, it is indeed a very sad state, so here I wait. Talk about delayed gratification. I figure I have waited this long for a wheel, another week or so will not kill me.

So let me tell you, G-d willing, I will be spinning and weaving my way through this summer. I really think I need it as much as I want it. Those of you who understand the spirituality of these things get exactly what I am saying...and those of you who don't, go ahead and find the holiness of the day to day things you do and the creative ways you express yourself and then you will understand.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Cry of the Converso

You hate me because I survived.
You hate me because my family tried.
You hate me because they didn't want to see
their children brutalized.

You don't believe me because I don't know.
you don't believe me because we didn't know.
You don't believe me because my family just found out.

No matter how much you doubt, it's true!
No matter how much you doubt, I will prove it to you!
No matter how much you doubt...
Deep down inside I always knew.

No matter how little custom my family held onto,
No matter how little Jewish we may seem,
No matter how little faith my family had,
We still Believe.

I'll prove to you I am a Jew!
I'll prove it by doing any thing!
I'll prove it by immersing myself...
Because I am a Jew.

~Racheli Zohara bat Yael Nehama bat Karmit (Carmen Lydia) bat Sarah...

NOTE: This is a poem written by my daughter. The term Converso is used instead of marrano which is a horrible, derogatory term meaning pig. The Conversos, Crypto Jews, B'nei Anusim, are the 'fortunate' ones who somehow escaped the Spanish Inquisition physically (sadistic murder and torture of Jewish bodies and souls) but lost most, if not all of their Jewish connection. Some retained a residual trace of Judaism, but many do not even know why their family does the strange things they do. There may only be a trace of an oral tradition of the family being Jewish many, many years ago. But nobody talks about it. Many of these lost ones are returning home, Baruch Hashem, but not without a fight from family outside the Tribe and even among members of The Tribe. It is not an easy journey to be standing outside one's home, longing to come in and your brothers and sisters, who do not know or recognize you asking for proof of who you say you are. But prove it these lost ones do! Even to the point where the Converso will 'convert/return' to erase all doubt of their family lineage. Never again to have to hide! Never again to have anyone question who they are! Never again to stand outside in the cold, longing, waiting to be embraced by their family and warm themselves by the Fire of Torah. This ingathering has been said to be a precursor to the coming of Moshiach...please let it be soon and in our time.
Por favor, Di-s de mis padres, Di-s de Avraham, Yitzhak y Ya'akov, por favor ten piedad en tus ninos, en tus ninos que no estan regresado todavia, ayudalos por favor Abba, manda a el Moshiach rapido, rapido Abba, bimhierah b'yamienu!!!
Amen v'amen

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Moshiach's Hat

~~~Author unknown

'Twas the night of the Geulah, -- And in every single Shtiebel
Sounds of Torah could be heard -- Coming from every kind of Yeedel.
This one in English, -- Some in Hebrew, some in Yiddish.
Some saying P'shat -- And some saying a Chiddish.
And up in Shamayim--The Aibishter decreed:
"The time has come -- For My children to be freed.
"Rouse the Moshiach -- From his heavenly berth.
Have him get in his chariot, -- And head down to earth.

"The Moshiach got dressed -- And with a heart full of glee,
Went down to earth and entered -- the first Shtiebel he did see.
"I am the Moshiach! -- Hashem has heard your plea!
Your Geulah has come! -- It's time to go free!
"They all stopped their learning; -- This was quite a surprise.
And they look at him carefully, -- With piercing sharp eyes
"He's not the Moshiach!" -- Said one with a grin,
"Just look at his hat, -- At the pinches and brim!"
"That's right!" cried another -- With a grimace and frown,
"Whoever heard of Moshiach, -- With a brim that's turned down?"

"Well," thought Moshiach, -- "If this is the rule,
I'll turn my brim up -- Before I go to the next shul."
So he walked right on over -- To the next shul in town.
Sure to be accepted, -- Since his brim was no longer down.
"I'm, the Moshiach!" he cried, -- As he began to enter
But the Jews wanted to know first -- If he was Left Right or Center
"Your clothes are so black!" -- They cried out in fright.
"You can't be Moshiach--You're much too far right!"
"If you want to be Moshiach, -- You must be properly outfitted.
"So they replaced his black hat -- With a Kippah that was knitted.

Wearing his new Kippah, -- Moshiach went out and said:
"No difference to me -- What I wear on my head.
"So he went to the next shul, -- For his mission was dear.
But he was getting frustrated -- With the Yidden down hear.
"I'm the Moshiach!" he cried, -- And they all stopped to stare,
And a complete eerie stillness -- Filled up the air.
"You're the Moshiach?! -- Just imagine that!
Whoever heard of Moshiach -- Without a black hat?"
"But I do have a hat!" -- The Moshiach then said.
So he pulled it right out -- And plunked it down on his head.
Then the shul started laughing, -- And one said " Where's your kop?
You can't have Moshiach -- With a brim that's turned up!
If you want to be Moshiach -- And be accepted in this town,
"Put some pinches in your hat -- And turn that brim down!"

Moshiach walked out and said: -- "I guess my time hasn't come.
I'll just return -- To where I came from.
"So he went to his chariot, -- But as he began to enter,
All sorts of Jews appeared -- From the Left, Right, and Center.
"Please wait - do not leave. -- It's all their fault!" they said,
And they pointed to each other -- And to what was on each other's head.

Moshiach just looked sad -- And said, " You don't understand."
And then started up his chariot -- To get out of this land.
"Yes, it's very wonderful -- That you all learn Torah,
But you seem to have forgotten -- A crucial part of our Mesorah.
"What does he mean?" -- "What's he talking about?"
And they all looked bewildered, -- And they all began to shout.

Moshiach looked back and answered, -- "The first place to start,
Is to shut up your mouths -- And open your hearts.
"To each of you, certain Yidden -- Seem too Frum or too Frei,
But all Yidden are beloved -- in the Aibishter's eye."
And on his way up he shouted: -- " If you want me to come,
Try working a little harder -- On some Ahavat Chinam!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My Lil' Farmgirl

You know how you can take an avocado seed and stick some toothpicks in it, place it in a cup of water and watch it take root over time. Well, guess what, you can actually grow the seed into a plant! My daughter has been growing this avocado plant now for about a year and a half (maybe two).She has nurtured it, watered it, replanted it and has been an all around good gardener. She is very proud of her plant and so are we!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring time on the 'Farm'

Well, this farmgirl is trying to keep herself busy with some of the things that bring her joy so here are some pics of what I have been up to of late. As long as I can play in my garden with my flowers, spend some time knitting and with my spindles, I am can maintain a relatively level amount of sanity. ;-)
Here are some pics of my flowers and some other spinning I have been doing. (along with the other post on the Turkish Spindle.)

My bleeding hearts are the first to greet me in the spring. The lavender in front of it has lots of new growth and I am very fond of it.

I just adore the faces on pansies! I plant the whole bed with them and enjoy them all of spring being careful to pinch back as needed. The cool spring has kept them quite happy.

Along with finally getting the hang of my Turkish Spindle I have been busy with my top whorl Louet.