Tuesday, December 30, 2008

winter snapshots

photos taken on my phone....this past week..

the difference..
a magical winter...
and a...
...........miserable one

is simply...
....a warm coat


Thursday, December 25, 2008

times 1

One light...
one urge...
one atom...
One light..
from up above..
the basis of all there is..
the number one..
to every other number..
take it away...
and every number..
ceases to exist..
Take away that light..
That first light...
And theres nothing..
So everything..is love..
it has to be..
Its just too dark to see..
One light...
and then another..
and another...
And that’s all there is
times one...
And so is everything else..
in the world..
times one...

Happy Chanukah



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Exclusive Interview #2

I’m proud to bring you another profie of a wondrous organization in our community.
The Organization, called Never Too Early or NTE Intervention was founded in 2006 by Rabbi Zev Schenectedy. Rabbi Schenectedy was a pre-1-a Rebbe for many years before starting this endeavor and his dealings with small children is well known. We are proud to have Rabbi S with us to answer some questions about NTE.

DOL: Sholom Rabbi S, it is truly an honor to have you here.

Rabbi S: Thank you..I’m a big fan of the blog..

DOL: So tell us what it is that you saw in our community that compelled you to start NTE.

Rabbi S: It was Chol Hamoed Sukkos 2005. I was sent to a house in Flatbush to pick up a package. While waiting in the hallway for the woman of the house to retrive the item I was saddened to see 3 of her precious grandchildren aged 4 to 7 on the couch in the den watching this show..I’d rather not say exactly..but you can imagine..it had a big purple dinosaur..rachmono litzlan.
The woman was busy on the phone and obviously felt that parking her grandchildren from Lakewood there would give her peace and quiet. I realized that there must be hundreds of other zeese nashamos out there at Bubbies and Zaidies in Brooklyn, Monsey, Queens that are exposing their neshamos to this.
So I opened a safe house called Toddler Zone intervention where there are big screens playing only Uncle Moishy and theres plenty of nosh.

We have a staff of 20 motivated askanim that work on tips and clues to figure out which kids will be spending time at Grandparents homes and they put themselves at great risks sometimes to save their souls.

DOL: Wow, how do they get the kids to go with them?

Rabbi S: Usually some really good looking nosh does the trick. We sneak up to windows and lure them out. Sometimes we encounter some resistance, especially when there’s something good on, but our staff is trained to handle toddlers.

DOL: I bet. How do the grandparents react?

Rabbi S: They usually don’t even realize that the kids are gone..as we leave the TV on and make sure to bring them back for dinner.

DOL: How do you raise funds?

Rabbi S: Actually, in the few cases when the Bubby realized their grandkids missing, we leave a note with an anonymous phone number. The red faced grandparents would rather pay a small ransom to get their grandkids back, rather then answer to furious parents. So we’ve done quite well for ourselves.

Boruch Hashem we’ve seen much Hatzlocha and have saved countless precious Yiddishe Neshomas from the impurities of television and give them a place to mope and cry. But when they grow up they will thank us.

Thank You for this interview.

DOL: Thank You for stopping by.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dona Dona....

This one is for the little voice in TBs head...

I recently re-discovered a song I remember from my childhood. I remember so vividly listening to the record player so drawn to the simple tune and stirring words. I never really understood the meaning of the lyrics but somehow I they did something to me inside.
The song originally written in Yiddish was made popular in it's English Version by Joan Baez in the 1960s.
It was written in 1942 and one can only imagine what the author had in mind.
However I think its words are timeless.

On a wagon bound for market There's a calf with a mournful eye.
High above him there's a swallow
Winging swiftly through the sky.

Chorus: How the winds are laughing
They laugh with all their might
Laugh and laugh the whole day through
And half the summer's night.
Dona, dona, dona...

"Stop complaining," said the farmer, "Who told you a calf to be?
Why don't you have wings to fly away
Like the swallow so proud and free?"


Calves are easily bound and slaughtered Never knowing the reason why.
But whoever treasures freedom,
Like the swallow has learned to fly.

How many people out there are calves? So easily abused?
How many children never grow wings...

How dare the farmer demand that she become a swallow?
How can we not be compassionate to the little calves bound in the wagon?

How the winds continue laughing..oblivious of all this..

Then the paradox at the end...making an impossibly hopeful statement..for no matter how much a calf treasures freedom she can never be a swallow and fly...if she has no wings...

But the spirit can always fly.
I've always loved these Pesukim in Tehillim..
בָּר֥וּךְ יְהוָ֑ה שֶׁלֹּ֥א נְתָנָ֥נוּ טֶ֝֗רֶף לְשִׁנֵּיהֶֽם
נַפְשֵׁ֗נוּ כְּצִפֹּ֥ור נִמְלְטָה֮ מִפַּ֪ח יֹ֫וקְשִׁ֥ים הַפַּ֥ח נִשְׁבָּ֗ר וַאֲנַ֥חְנוּ נִמְלָֽטְנוּ
Blessed is the Lord, Who did not give us as prey for their teeth.
Our soul escaped like a bird from the hunters' snare; the snare broke, and we escaped.

Our soul can escape..like a bird...no matter what situation we're in...
When one is moved to freedom..then the calf can sprout wings...

and oil can last for eight days as well...

There's no stopping a sincere desire to be free...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life as a team sport...

I was reading through the obituaries one rainy afternoon recently and something occurred to me. It’s something I’ve thought about before but for some reason seemed to really hit home this time.
The obituaries are amazing narratives, they’re so inspiring, they leave me wondering, why have I never heard of this wonderful person before? Such acts of selflessness and kindness, such dilligent learning and such devoted parenting. And then it inevitably strikes me as being a bit suspect. How can it be that all the people alive are such imbeciles and all those that have past, such saints?
And if its true that people really are so wonderful if we want to see them in that light, why is it so hard to see them that way when they’re still alive?
Could you imagine how repulsive a realistic obituary would look to us? If we would mention all the deceaseds flaws and quirks, it would be an outrage.
On the other hand when someone only sees good in someone still alive, it’s greeted at best with weary cynicism.
And most importantly who is the real person?
Can there be parallel realities?
The answer is yes.
As a matter of fact it’s the existence of parallel realities that allows this paradox to occur in the first place.
The more I think about it, the more I see how layered people are.
Ona basic level we are all mammals and have animalistic needs.
On top of this is a layer of reason which is unique to humans.
On top of these we can have many layers of spirituality but we can never eradicate the layers underneath.
Even Yitzchak Avinu when he wanted to give over the Brachos to his son, wanted to do so with his every fiber of his being. He asked Yakov to come close so that he can inhale the scent of the meat and eat so that his entire being from top to bottom be bound up in his relaying the Bracha.
So the lowest layer in us. The animal in us sees other people as rivals in the world and revels in schadenfreude, in others downfalls. Hence the lure of gossip and slander. Even if there’s no tangible object of the rivalry, there’s always this abstract idea of feeling a bit more superior when someone is perceived as inferior.
Our spiritual layers need to be very strong and persistent to overcome these basic primal urges.
Once a person is dead then he/she ceases to be a rival and that desire to see the bad dissipates and we can freely allow ourselved to read, hear and believe pure good in that person and even be inspired by it.
So how can one overcome the instinct to see someone elses downfall?
How can we ignore the schadnefreude lurking inside?
I think the way to achieve this is by turning life into a team sport.
The truth is in many ways it is already. For instance, one does not feel schandenfreude toward ones children, because they’re not rivals..they’re on our team.
We see this with sports fans, or when we root for an underdog. Any time we live vicariously through someone else or relate to someone else and pull for them, they become part of our team.
The “I” expands. The “I” can keep expanding once we internalize this idea that we’re all on one team with one ultimate goal.
Then we can start writing wonderful articles about people that are still alive and be inspired by them instead of waiting until it’s in obituary form.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where's the magic..?

ohhh to hell with this throng..
He thought
as he fought
his way through
revelers and bright lights..
He had a train to catch
and the cold was (brrr) annoying..
How can it be..he wondered..
To himself..(always..himself)
that This very same place..
This very same cold..
Was once..to a boy..
Such a magical space..



Sunday, December 07, 2008


Based on a true story

One leg crossed crisply
resting on the other knee..
meeting and clipboard Firmly in hand..
yellow paper against black suitpant..
his eye Suddenly drawn from the faces to
an unexpected neon blue hue..
He let his leg disreetly *cough * slink
and took a mental note in bright red ink
..to never again choose socks......to put on
In the wee dim light of the early pre dawn



Monday, December 01, 2008

Home Grown Terrorism

I recently discovered a blog ( sheffele.blogspot.com ) by a very talented blogger that, despite her daily suffering, has decided to show the world the stark reality of her struggle. A lifelong ordeal caused by being molested by her brother at a young age. It is heart wrenching, yet I think everyone should read it. Experts say that 1 in 6 children will be abused. Less than 1 in 10 ever tell anyone about it. We cannot afford to look away anymore. We MUST collectively find our voice and face down these home grown terrorists... We must open our eyes to the terror they cause.

Home grown terrorists..
Lurking..at home..
Sleeper cells...that
Awake when everyone
And terrorize..
The smallest victims..
The horror we don’t feel..
The actions we don’t take..
Allows the terrorist to creep..
And select their prey..
Poor little corpses..
Pumped with nauseating
Bullets that kill slowly..
....over a lifetme
that don’t kill themselves..
That maim and kill
for no higher God..
and we?
We do nothing...
We're all a bunch of cowards..
Look yourself..in the eye..
And ask yourself...
Where were you?
Where were you?
When they came......for the children?