Friday, August 31, 2007

Ani L'Dodi...

The Elul Paradox..
Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li
I am for my love is for me..
The month of Mercy..Rachamim

Yet..its also a month of trepidation..
Aryeh Shoag..a lion roars..who’s not afraid?

What is the nature of this Elul?

I once saw..the reason why the time of Shaalosh Seudos is called Raava D’Raava which means Desire of Desire and is entirely under the influence of love and mercy is because it is the moment right before creation.
Creation started Sunday Eve, Motzei Shabbos.
Now we know that creation was an act of love. The purpose of the universe is Gods desire to give.
Every action is preceded by an instinct.
Imagine you walk into a store and see a beautiful gift for someone you love. You decide to buy it. The moment before you take action, there is a thought, an instinct that gave birth to the action.
So the moments before creation is when this pure impulse of love and goodness are awakened and in this state there is no manifestation of judgement or Din, as it is just a desire.
So during the time of Shalosh Seudos its called Raava D’Raava..the world itself being an act of Love and this moment being the pure love that became the catalyst for the more complicated (to our eyes) love in creation and the world.

So I think one can look at Elul the same way. The weeks directly preceding Creation as being a time when this impulse of Ani L’Dodi manifests itself.

But on the other hand this can also cause a tremendous counter effect, if the love is not reciprocated.
Because..although it’s so difficult to be good in action, and it takes so much work.
Whats the excuse not to want to be good?
So the Ani L’Dodi has to cause a L’Dodi Li..and it should at the very least cause a sigh to escape our lips....



Wednesday, August 29, 2007

There is hope...

It's nice when you encounter someone that gives you hope for our future..

My wife has been watching this 16 year old girl work her tail off all summer to make a summer camp for little tykes in our neighborhood.
When my wife had the chance once to talk to her, she asked what motivates her to make this camp. She said that she's saving up money to be able to go to seminar in Israel.

I know..that in secular circles this might not sound so surprising..but its really refreshing to see someone so young in our community take responsibility for her own life.


Monday, August 27, 2007


Run to say Parshas HaKetores from a parchment..
Say Poseiach Es Yodecha with the 3 diferent interpretations..
Run to the pushkeh to put in 3 coins during Vayevorach Dovid..
Have in mind the special name of Hashem that controls parnassah during Boruch Oleinu
Say Parshas Haman..
And don’t forget to say it twice with the Targum on the Tueday of Parshas B’Shalach..
Bidding wars for P’sicha for Neila on Yom Kippur..
Grabbing Matzah from a Rebbe on Pesach..
Say V’Yiten L’cha..after Havdala..
Dripping wine into your pockets after Havdalah..
Throwing some over your doorstep..
Shouting L’David Mizmor at the top of your lungs Rosh Hashana night..
Then using a new knife for the Challah..
Dashing across the room every time a crumb falls on the floor..

..let me tell ya..
It aint easy makin a livin these days..



Friday, August 24, 2007

Past the point of no return...

Wasting time...
Falling throug the cracks..

How exactly does one waste time? Where can it possibly go?

Is the present a real moment? it an empty space between the past and the future?

You know, up until last week I thought that there are 3 distinct times Past, Present and Future, and I thought that the only one that was in our control is the Present.

Chassidic thought teaches us that man is where his mind is. Do you want to know where you are? Its not your physical location, rather you are where your mind is.

I suddenly realized that the ONLY time aspect we do not control at all is the present.
For 2 reasons...
A. It is too short to control.
B. It is simply the outcome of whatever you put into motion in the moment directly preceding it.

We can control, therefore exist in the past by regretting or being proud of past actions and we can exist in the future through our plans and preparations for it. But we cannot do anything in the present but lay the groundwork for the next nano-second..

Since our mind holds no sway over the present then it must not exist. It is an empty space between the past and present. Therefore whoever passes life without thinking. Without reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, is borne aloft and passed along on the backs of trilions of nano seconds we call the present and which do not exist and so therefore you life falls through the cracks.

Then I read about an experiment conducted in 1960 and verified a few times since.
A person is told to sit for 2 minutes, and sometime during those 2 minutes he has to wiggle his fingers. While these 2 minutes are passing, his brain is being scanned for activity. What happened next astounded scientists and caused a storm in the philosophcal realm. wiggle your finger takes 2 stept. First you decide to wiggle your finger, then you actually wiggle it.
At 1:21:33:11 into the 2 minutes a blip indicates the body getting ready to wiggle the finger THEN at 1:21:33:94 you decide to wiggle your finger and is immediately followed by the actual wiggle.
Instead of the DECISION coming first..your brain was already setting into motion the actual wiggling almost a full second before your decision to do it.
Scientists are still baffled by this mystery...

Could that mean that we have no free will at all in the realm of action? That our free will is strictly in our planning and looking back?
Could it be that the present is entirely out of our control?

A hint of this concept...
The Ohr Hachayim says there are some sins that are simply too difficult for a human to resist. So why then are we punished for them?
We’re punished for putting ourselves in the situation where our body will commit them. sum it all up the Present is the realm of the same’s entirely out of our control. It is simply the outcome of situations we put ourselves into during the preceding moments. So prepare well...because once the preceding moment passes you’re past the point of no return..


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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

life is gooood

Its a good feeling to learn something about yourself...and change..

So enjoy life...even if it might be for the wrong reasons..
It’ll come will..

Just find it..

(ever notice how the size of cancers are always compared to yummy fruits..?

"..they found a tumor the size of a greatfruit...cysts the size of cherries..there was a malignant growth the size of a banana on her spine.."


Just find the good..
...forget about money..for crying out loud...(look what it did to poor little Mindy Rosenthal..)

and jump on top of the nearest train and sing..and dance..

Cheiya cheiya cheiya chei ya...

I just received an urgent request from the MTA asking that I please ask my readers not to try this on the B train..

Sunday, August 19, 2007

on Goodbye

Oh how I wish I spoke Hebrew, French..or German..

Goodbyes can elicit such pain..
It has this finality that’s just so bane..

It seems though that in order to moderate
The bitterness that it seems to precipate
People and their languages..fickle that we are
Have come up with a more hopeful vernacular..

Aufwiedersehn...I”ll see you again
Au Revoir.....until I see you again
L’Hitraot......I’ll see you..
DoSvidanya......Until next time

Well..except English you see
Theres no such hopeful sortie..

soo I’d much rather be saying
.. see you again..

..than goodbye
So dry..

ps. The root of goodbye is from old English "May God be with ye" for those that are curious (as I am..)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the artist MUST suffer..

the artist MUST suffer
the artist MUST


he must

the poet unfailinglyfeels
and conveys
in his ways
makes us
(and sometimes laugh)
and so there Must
another man..


an em( )y

the artist must
and nothing
nothing feels

so the poet
MUST suffer..
for all of us
so that
we can
all sigh





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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

back to...basics

lost in the dread of the first day..
I do so clearly remember..the joy of the list..
perhaps I was strange..
But the List..
and then the stationary store..
the smell...sweet erasers..wood pencils..
two...4 pens...
paper..loose leaf..reinforcements...

but let me ask you..

is there a joy in the world that can seriously compare..

to the joy..of discovering..
a new
(previously undiscoverd)




Sunday, August 12, 2007

ELUL..(it's here..)

It has been proven that light travels alot faster than sound.
But it sure didn’t feel that way this shabbos.

When the Chazzan intoned..
Rosh Chodesh ELUL..Yihye B’yom....
And all the accompanying emotions..that come along with hearing these words..
And God even supplying a bit of cool autumn air for added effect...

I felt like the words were hitting my ears..
But the rest of me...?
Still far behind..
Somewhere in the beginning of to catch up..



Wednesday, August 08, 2007

There are forces...

There are forces..
That force us
to admit {pray}

We love our cars (bod
We love our speed (fun)

We love feeling BIGger {immortal}
But there are forces
Forces like forward motion {d_ath}
And {grav}ity
and so we’re betrayed
{feels like it}
Flung {fling}
Trapped {depr
rest shh} laid to

..and we hate it.. {but who cares?}


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cliche #231 these two 110 story buildings have huge airplanes flown into them..then they collapse..covering the entire area in debris..thousands die..tens of thousands are running around...and they find this policeman to interview..

"I've never seen anything like my 10 years in the force.." this big huge highway bridge collapses..sending dozens of cars, trucks and buses hurtling into the Mississippee River..and theres this Medic..saying..

"I don't think I've ever seen anything like this.."

hmm u sure bout that mista?..

Sometimes I wonder if we come pre-programmed with hundreds of cliches..


Monday, August 06, 2007

Modern hoarders..

Ive seen this kind of behavior before
In regions of the world poorer than poor
In my backyard where the squirrels rule
Its primal and raw, an existential tool

Its the act of hoarding, of which I speak
And Stashing
For when supplies might not be at its peak
The wild eyed look of a hungry African refugee
Hoarding wheat and other staples, free

Watch a squirrel in November..
Who somehow manages to remember
That nuts and fruit will soon disappear
Elbow away the present and prepare..

This manic compulsion overtakes
Disregards the present..takes and takes

Theres a new kind of hoarder..a curious breed..
A new kind of compulsion ..a curious need..
But instead of rucksacks, attics and underground hives
They use flashcards, memory sticks and computer hard drives

I’m sure you’ve seen them..
Heck you might be one of em..
Moment hoarders..stashing away
Moments for another day...

With slender silver cameras..
Intense gazes..
Scrunched up faces...

Yes, I agree..moments are precious and few
And I do like to hoard them too
I’ve decided to limit...
My itchy shutter digit..
And to
and not worry about losing



Sunday, August 05, 2007

An angel once tread...

Today is the 50th yahrtzeit of the Holy Rebbe of Belz R’ Ahron..Zt’l

To even begin comprehending this angel in skin and bones would be an impossible task. It’s rare to find someone that elicits such awe and reverence from all circles of our community. Every single Gadol from Sefardim, to Litvish to other Chassidic Rebbes saw him as some kind of human aberation.

Reb Ahron of Chernobyl Ztl told his granddaughter while she was pregnant with Rev Ahron
“Your husband somehow managed to bring down a soul the likes of which this world hasn’t seen in 500 years”

The elderly R’ Yechezkel of Shineve..upon seeing R’ Ahron when he was just a teenager..
“It seems that the Yetzer Hora totally forgot about him..”

The Gerrer Rebbe...The Imrei Emes..
“He was a Malach Hashem..every singe second of his life was spent thinking of God..”

R’ Menchem Zemba Hyd.
“It’s frighteneing to look at him..”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe...
“He was all Chomer..(all matter)”

While there are so many qualities to focus on..from his dilligence in his endless his deep natural compassion and sensitivity to all people and even animals..

I’d like to focus on one trait that is difficult to comprehend yet something we can learn to emulate somewhat.

His inability to see anything bad in another Jew. He took this to such extremes it makes you wonder if he really believed what he said.
If anyone said anything bad in his presence about even the most vile of people he’d turn white and make the bearer of the news wash his mouth out 3 times.
He'd often spend hours in mental acrobatics to bend and twist events to somehow turn them from bad to good..

Here are a few stories that illustrates this.
The tiny town of Belz was a very religious town. One day a Chossid by the name if R’ Duvid came to the Rebbe and told him that a certain R’ Moshe opens his store on Shabbos. The Rebbe..started shaking and murmuring chas vsholem..chas v’sholem and made him wash his mouth out 3 times. He then called this R’ Moshe in and instructed R’ Duvid to pay R’ Moshe a token sum for his accusation.
He then turned to R’ Moshe and asked him nicely not to do anything that might make people think that he’s desecrating the Shabbos!

When he’d walk down the street in Tel Aviv (where he lived) on Shabbos and a car would pass, he’d smile and say B’sha’a Tova Umitzlachas (what you wish a pregnant woman), because in his mind only someone going to the hospital to give birth would drive on Shabbos.

Once someone, who was a well known sinner, came to him and he greeted him warmly to the amazement of his chassidim. After he left, the Rebbe turned to the Chassidim and said "The poor fellow is a batlan and can't figure out how to overcome his yetzer that a reason why I shouldn't be warm to him?"

Was this delusion?
I think if you really love someone, you simply refuse to believe anything bad about them, even if faced with evidence.
I also once saw from the Ba’al Shem Tov that only a sinner sees sins in others. Someone devoid of sins will only see good in everyone. I think that’s a very true psychological concept in that we accuse others and see faults in others sometimes to make us feel better about our own rotten selves. To convince ourselves that we’re not so bad after all.

May he continue to find merits for all of us in the next world and may we follow his ways...


Thursday, August 02, 2007

irrational fears?

We all have irrational fears growing up...
I had/have quite a few that I can recall..

One of those fears took a sharp turn toward rational yesterday