Monday, January 31, 2005

The Irony of Time

We spent some time this weekend with one of my wife's single friends. It was interesting to hear about the life of someone who is not married, does not have children, or have a house to maintain. It is hard to imagine this type of life anymore. If I had even an hour to myself now I would have to check to make sure that Moshiach had not already come. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have days and weeks where I would be able to pursue my own interests and hobbies.

Time can be a blessing or a curse depending on your situation. I remember that time was not my friend when I was single. I could not appreciate all the spare time because I knew that there was always something missing in my life. When I had too much time on my hands my mind was incredibly active, almost too active. Sometime even thinking was a curse.

Now I would not trade my current life for all the free time in the world. Thanks to Hashem, I have a loving wife, wondeful children, and a beautiful home. As much as I would like some free time I realize that one cannot have every desire fulfilled. I realize that this incredibly busy time in my life is only temporary while my children are still growing up and living at home. I have to constantly remind myself to live in the present and enjoy each day.

Living Alone

A man living alone can become insane.

(Rebbe Nachman of Breslov)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Shehecheyanu For The Last Generation Of The Cold War

Each generation's worldview is shaped by the world events that it sees and lives through. My generation is an unusual generation. I was born during the Vietnam War. My father was drafted for the war while my mother was still pregnant and I was born when my father was stationed in Saigon. My generation grew up always in the shadow of Vietnam.

My generation is also the last generation to know the Cold War and have the thought of nuclear annihilation in the back of our mind. In elementary school I remember participating in nuclear drills where we would take cover underneath our desks - as if this would save us from radiation.

We had a unique worldview, one that might not be easily understood by the generations that follow. There were clear sides. The Soviet Union was THE enemy and any country allied with them was just as bad. There was an East Germany, a Yugoslavia, and a Czechoslovakia. America's wars were limited to Grenada and Panama.

This all changed after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today my generation continually tries to make sense of the chaotic world surrounding us.

In one regard I feel blessed to be a part of this generation. My generation had exposure to people who survived the Holocaust. We were able to sit down and talk with them, hear their stories, and learn about a world that is no more. It is hard to imagine living in a time where my exposure to the Holocaust came only from what is written in a history book. This, however, will be the case for my children's generation.

It is up to me to tell my children and connect them to what I have heard.

Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this time.

Someone Worthy

When the Satmar Rebbe, came to Eretz Yisroel, a Jew came and asked him for a brocha before his departure. This Jew expressed the fear that after the Satmar Rebbe returned to America, there would be no one worthy to ask for a blessing. The Satmar Rebbe told him "Go to any Jew that has a number tattooed on his arm and ask him for a brocha. A Jew that has a tattoo on his arm and still puts on tefillin can give you the best brocha. When such a person is available, you do not need the Satmar Rebbe to give you a brocha."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Grey Hairs in My Beard

This week I noticed two grey hairs in my beard. I never associated grey hairs with someone of my age. It is an unmistakable sign that I am getting older.

The older I get the more I have learned to rely on davening to deal with problems in my life. Whether it is a problem in ruchnius or gashmius I do everything I can do to resolve it, but eventually there comes a point where further effort is futile. It is at this point that I daven for guidance and assistance. Sometimes I daven about it every day for months at a time. Eventually I am able to overcome the problem.

The older I get the more I learn that we are not in control.


Merciful Father, hear our voice, Hashem our G-d, pity and be compassionate to us, an accept - with compassion and favor - our prayers, for G-d Who hears prayers are You. From before Yourself, our King, turn us not away empty-handed. Be gracious with us, and answer us, and hear our prayer, for You hear prayer of each mouth of Your people Israel with compassion. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who hears prayer. - from the weekday Amidah [Nusach Sefard]

Into the Heart

Why is prayer like a bow? Just like a bow, the more a person draws the bowstring to himself, the further the arrow flies, so it is with prayer: the deeper one delves into one's own heart, the higher one's prayer ascends.

(Kotzker Rebbe)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

From Likutey Etzos Learning Today

Continuing the thought in this posting, the Degel's nephew, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said, "You should sanctify your tongue with words of Torah and prayer... Even if the words you speak are in your native language they are still considered lashon kodesh."

I Love You

When I leave for work in the morning my family is still sleeping. Before I leave the house I go over to my wife and say goodbye and "I love you". If, G-d forbid, something happened to me during the day and I didn't return home that evening I want my wife to remember the last thing I said to her was that I loved her.

Who can forget the stories from September 11th when people called their spouses from cellular phones shortly before their deaths. Some just left messages on an answering machine to tell their families that they loved them.

I don't want my last words to be a recording.

Perhaps this is a morbid thought, however it is something that is in my consciousness each morning.

The Mezuzah's Lesson

There is a difference of opinion between Rashi and Tosfos as to whether a mezuzah is affixed parallel (vertically) or perpendicular (horizontally) to the door post. The widespread custom among Ashkenazim is to affix the mezuzah on an angle in order to fulfill both opinions. This teaches us an important lesson in shalom bayis, marital harmony. By regularly noticing the mezuzos in our home in a "compromise" position, on an angle - not exclusively like one opinion yet satisfying both of them, we are constantly reminded to also meet our spouse "half way", to compromise and be flexible.

(Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Book Of The Week

Comrade: A gripping story of self-sacrifice and kiddush Hashem by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser

A Simple Jew's Simplistic Parsha Question

This week's parsha, Parshas Yisro, contains the following posuk, "And you shall see from among the entire people, men of means, G-d-fearing people, men of truth, people who despise money..." (Shemos 18:21)

Rashi commented that the term "men of means" refers to "rich men who have no need to flatter or show recognition".

Initially this makes sense, but when you think about it in historical perspective it raises a question. The Jewish people left Mitzrayim with great wealth, so wasn't everyone rich? Couldn't all the men be considered "men of means"?

Tu B'Shevat

A website with information on today's holiday of Tu B'Shevat can be found here.


In every bad there is good; in every judgment, kindness.

(Maggid of Mezeritch)

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Fine Line

There is a fine line between not worrying and being negligent.

I am still trying to figure out exactly where the line is.

Someone Else's Traditions

Following the advice of Rabbi Brody, I have made some changes in my daily lerning schedule. I stopped lerning Tanya and began lerning Likutey Etzos. Once I finish Rambam's Mishneh Torah I will also start lerning Mishnah Berurah. In the mean time, I am supplementing Rambam with some Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.

These changes are in addition to my daily schedule of lerning Chumash with Rashi, Gemara, Tehillim, and Degel Machaneh Ephraim.

I came to the realization that over the years I had adopted many Chabad minhagim by mere osmosis - minhagim down to how I put on tefillin. I adopted these in the absence of minhagim taught to me by my parents. Lately, I realized that my adopted Chabad minhagim just didn't fit anymore. My heritage is from a tiny shtetl in Ukraine, not from White Russia, not from the shtetl of Lubavitch.

I am not writing this to denigrate the minhagim of Chabad. If a person comes from a Lubavitch family, these minhagim are indeed his heritage and what he should proudly follow. I am writing with the recent realization that these are, however, someone else's traditions.

Genealogy and Yiddishkeit go together hand in hand. For this reason I have stopped lerning Tanya and putting on tefillin according to the Chabad minhag. Doing otherwise would be intellectually dishonest.

Be careful to perpetuate the custom of your fathers that is in your hands.

(Talmud - Beitza 4b)

For Each Generation

Heaven grants each generation and each historical era a new outlook and perspective on Torah; a new insight that is in tune with the spiritual climate of that generation.

(Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter of Ger)

Friday, January 21, 2005

Meeting With Rabbi Lazer Brody

I met Rabbi Lazer Brody yesterday. It was a fantastic experience to finally meet him in person. Besides showing me how to put on tefillin according to the Ukrainian chassidic minhag and lerning Degel Machaneh Ephraim, we discussed how one finds his own path in Yiddishkeit, a path that is true to the root of the person's neshoma and true to the origins of the person's family.

I truly appreciated Rabbi Brody's practical guidance, sincerity, and kindness. I was blessed to be able to spend two hours with him and learn from him.

Being True to Yourself

You must never devalue yourself what you yourself know and feel to be true in order to accommodate the whims and wiles of modern culture.

(Piaceszna Rebbe)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Tomorrow's Opportunity

I have Thursday off from work and am going to take the opportunity to meet with a rabbi who is in town visiting from Israel. He is very knowledgeable about the history and minhagim of the area in Ukraine where my family is from.

Since I am mainly exposed to Lubavitcher Chassidim, I eagerly anticipate meeting and talking with this rabbi who is from another Chassidic dynasty. It is also of particular interest since his Rebbe is a descendent of the Rebbe of my family's shtetl.

G-d willing, this meeting will help illuminate the path of my ancestors.

What I Am Reading This Week

Rescued from the Reich: How One of Hitler's Soldiers Saved the Lubavitcher Rebbe by Bryan Mark Rigg

Smile and Say Good Morning

A black hat, beard, and long coat is a joke if the wearer doesn't know how to smile and say good morning to a fellow human being.

(Rabbi Lazer Brody)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

You Can Speak Lashon Kodesh Without Speaking Hebrew

In Parshas Vayigash we find the posuk, "Behold! Your eyes see of my brother Binyamin, that it is my mouth that is speaking to you." (Bereishis 45:12)

Rashi comments that the phrase "that it is my mouth that is speaking to you" refers to the fact that Yosef HaTzaddik spoke to his brothers b'lashon kodesh - in Hebrew.

The Degel Machaneh Ephraim interpreted Rashi's translation of lashon kadosh literally as "holy tongue". The Degel taught that the phrase "that it is my mouth that is speaking to you" means that the brother's understood that it was indeed their brother Yosef speaking to them because Yosef's speech was holy and that his mouth and tongue were free from blemish. Lashon kadosh did not refer to the fact that Yosef spoke in Hebrew, but that his speech was pure, clear, and refined.

Simply put, the Degel taught that one did not need speak Hebrew in order to speak lashon kodesh.

Protecting Thought

The reason for all the sins and transgressions which people commit and all their shortcomings is that their thoughts are impure. They are not careful to guard their thoughts and avoid overstepping the bounds of holiness. When a person protects his thoughts and wisdom, he can remedy everything and return to

(Rebbe Nachman of Breslov)

Friday, January 14, 2005

TWO! - Part II

TWO! Part I can be found here

Last night I asked my two-year old daughter about the birthday party she attended.

How old is Yossi now?


How old are you?


How old is your [seven month old] brother?


Well, then how old is Mommy?


How old is Daddy?


Ok, how old is Papa [grandpa]?


Place in History - Why I Am Here

This week a switch flipped in my mind and I finally understood my place in history. My place is not to change the world. My place is not one that will be recorded in any history book. My place in history is merely to connect my children to the heritage of their family.

It is my life's goal to see Jewish grandchildren and, G-d willing, great-grandchildren.

Everything else is secondary.

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

The flame of G-d burned within me when I was young: I believed that I would return the whole world to good. As I grew older, my enthusiasm waned, and I said: "I see that I will not be able to fix the entire world, so I will try to improve the people of my own city." Years passed, and I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I then decided that it would be enough to better my own family. Now that I am old, I no longer dream. My only prayer is that I should improve myself.

(Rabbi Chaim of Sanz)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

What if?

What if you died today and the only thing remaining to show of your life were the words you wrote on your blog?

A Fragile House of Cards

Our plans for the future can be likened to a fragile house of cards. We build the house card by card, layer upon layer, and then if one card is removed, the whole thing falls apart. I used to construct these fragile house of cards in my mind up until the year I spent in Israel in my early twenties. At one point in my life I was 100% certain that I was going to make aliyah and become a Knesset member for the Likud party.

A lot has changed since then.

I don't live in Israel, I am not a Knesset member, I no longer even support the policies of the Likud party. I continue to live in Golus not knowing what the next year, the next month, the next week, or the next day holds. Sometimes it feels as if the world is spinning so fast that it is difficult to hold on. Having two small children teaches me that it is extremely difficult to plan anything. It teaches me that sometimes we are not as in control as we imagine ourselves to be.

I set goals and work towards them and try not to build these fragile houses of cards anymore.

Forfeiting the Present

Some people are afraid to enjoy the present because they anticipate that their happiness will soon come to an end. They create their own misery either by worrying about their past or by being anxious that they will not be happy in the future, both periods of which are beyond their control. In this way they forfeit the enjoyment of the present.

(Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Looking Beyond the Haze

I stopped going to movies ever since my first child was born. It is not because philosophically I have a problem with going to the movies, it is because I simply don't have the time anymore. Aside from children's programming, I do not watch television either. If I get a spare moment to myself, I pick up a book.

It has been so long since I saw a movie or a regular television show that I no longer miss it. It is amazing that something that was such a part of my life now plays absolutely no role.

Everything our eyes see influences us.

It is liberating when we can make the choice of what we want to influence us.

It is liberating when we look beyond the haze of movies, television, and sports and into ourselves.

What I am reading now

Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of A Man Who Rescued A Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky

Zusia is very hungry and desires to eat something! - a story

Today, the 2nd of Shevat, is the yahrzeit of Rebbe Zusia of Anapol.

It was the custom of Rebbe Zusia of Anapol, to recite his morning prayers at length. After he concluded, he would retire to his room next to the shul. Once there, he would open the window and, lifting his eyes to the heavens, call out, "Ribbono shel Olam, Zusia is very hungry and desires to eat something!"

Every morning, his attendant would wait until he heard Reb Zusia's appeal, then he would bring in Reb Zusia's morning meal of cake with a little schnapps. One morning the attendant thought to himself, "Why doesn't Reb Zusia ask me directly for his meal. In fact, who does he think he is fooling by calling out to G-d like that? He knows full well that I bring him his food everyday." So on the spot he decided that the next morning he would not bring Reb Zusia's meal when he called out. He would just wait to see what would happen and where Reb Zusia's would look for his meal.

The next morning, Reb Zusia awoke as usual, well before the light of day. As he did every morning, he first went to the town mikveh to immerse himself in preparation for the day's holy work. The night had been a rainy one in Anapol, and the streets of the town had already turned to rivers of mud. In order to get from one side of the street to another, one had to cross on narrow planks that were laid across the flowing mud. As Reb Zusia was crossing in the direction of the mikveh, a man whom he didn't recognize, a guest in town, was coming towards Reb Zusia from the other side. When he saw Reb Zusia, gaunt, almost emaciated, dressed in rags without a tooth in his mouth, the stranger yelled out, "Tramp!" and with a hearty laugh jumped up and down on the plank causing Reb Zusia to tumble into the mud. Reb Zusia didn't say a word. He calmly picked himself out of the mud and continued on his way to the mikveh, while the stranger sauntered off into the distance, chuckling merrily the whole way as he re-enacted his clever maneuver over and over in his mind. When he arrived back at the inn where he was staying, he couldn't help but brag to the innkeeper about his amusing prank. The innkeeper didn't laugh so quickly. He asked the guest to describe the tramp whom he had catapulted into the mud. Upon hearing, he clapped his hands to his head and cried out in anguish, "Oy! Oy vavoy! Do you know what you did? That was not just some itinerant, that was the Rebbe Reb Zusia!"

Now it was the turn of the guest to cry out "Oy vavoy," for Reb Zusia was known to all as a holy tzaddik. Trembling, the guest struck his breast, "Oy vey, Oy Vey! What am I going to do now? What am I going to do!"

"Don't worry," exclaimed the innkeeper, regaining his composure. "Listen to me. I know what you should do. Reb Zusia spends many hours every morning in prayer. When he is finished he goes into his private room next to the shul. There he opens the window, and anybody can see how he thrusts his head out, and calls toward the heavens, 'Ribbono shel Olam, Zusia is very hungry and desires to eat something!' So, I'll prepare some cakes and some schnapps for you to take to him. When you hear him call out to the Creator, you go in immediately with this gift, and offer it to him and beg his forgiveness. I'm certain that he will forgive you whole-heartedly."

That morning, like every morning, after the prayers, Reb Zusia went into his room, opened the window and called out, "Ribbono shel Olam, Zusia is very hungry and desires to eat something!" The attendant, upon hearing Reb Zusia, held his ground and clasped his folded arms together even tighter, waiting to see what the outcome would be. "Let Ribbono shel Olam bring him his cake this morning", he huffed to himself. Suddenly the door to the shul opened and a man, holding a large plate of cakes and a bottle of schnapps came in and made his way to the room of Reb Zusia. He went straight in, put the cakes on the table, and then fell to the floor in grief, begging the tzaddik for his forgiveness (which he was certainly granted). Let it be known, that the attendant came to understand that it really was the Master of the World who brought Reb Zusia his breakfast every morning.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A Question

If you could only write about the positive would you have anything to write about?

With the Blink of an Eye

My boss related that over the weekend he had to take his elderly mother to the emergency room. Initially he did not realize the severity of her condition. He did not realize that she had a heart attack. Once she was admitted to the emergency room her condition dramatically and unexpectedly took a turn for the worse. Now it is not known whether she will live or die. My boss remarked how it was hard for the mind to comprehend the thought that a person could be here one minute and gone the next.

While we know this to be true, this is not a thought that we care to think about. Everyone thought about it following September 11th, we think about it after funerals, but most of the time we banish this thought from our brains. Perhaps this constant knowledge would paralyze us.

I reflected on this thought while walking on the street during my lunch break - that this could all be over in the blink of an eye. It made me recall the words from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur davening, "Man's origin is dust and his end is unto dust. He earns his bread at the risk of his life. He is likened to a broken potsherd, to withering grass, to a fading flower, to a passing shadow, to a vanishing cloud, to a blowing wind, to dust that scatters, and to a fleeting dream." It made me recall the words of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim who taught that each and every day a person receives subtle reminders to do teshuvah, to be in tune with what is truly important in our lives.

These are not thoughts we want to push from our consciousness.

These are not thoughts that need to paralyze us.

What is left

At the time of a man's passing from the world, neither silver nor gold nor precious stones nor pearls accompany him, but only Torah learning and good deeds.

(Pirkei Avos 6:9)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Not a Man of Words

Moshe replied to Hashem, "Please my Lord, I am not a man of words, also not since yesterday, nor since the day before yesterday, nor since You first spoke to Your servant, for I am heavy of mouth and heavy of speech." (Shemos 4:10)

Expressing myself though speech has never been something I have been totally comfortable with. Words get jumbled up before leaving my mouth, words that I do not get a chance to edit. In this way I can relate to Moshe Rabbeinu, who also had trouble speaking.

Not until recently have I started to be comfortable with public speaking. My confidence is there, but it still doesn't stop my hands from trembling. My hands have had a natural tremor as long as I can remember. I don't know what this says about me. I can't imagine what is in my subconscious that I have to be perpetually nervous about. My difficulty with speech is not just limited to public speaking before large groups, but also occurs in speaking with another person one on one. If you challenge me to a game of Taboo I will certainly lose - and lose big time since I can't easily articulate what is in my mind.

I am much more comfortable expressing myself through writing. I write using the lochshen kugel approach. Lochshen kugel tastes good when it comes out of the oven, but it tastes much better after it has been in the refrigerator and has had time to congeal. Similarly, my first draft is a mental regurgitation of my un-edited thoughts and undeveloped ideas - thoughts and ideas that need to be revisited 24 hours later. As the Kotzker Rebbe said, "Not everything that one thinks, is fit to say. Not everything that one says, is fit to write, Not everything one writes, is fit to publish."

Words come to my mouth with more ease after I put them down on paper. In this way, writing helps open my closed lips.

Then Hashem said to him, "Who gave man a mouth, or who makes one mute or deaf, or sighted or blind? Is it not I, Hashem? So now, go! I shall be with your mouth and teach you what you should say." (Shemos 4:11-12)

Who Knows the Real You

There are only two who truly know you: G-d and your spouse.

(Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Ger)

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Every time you ask my two-year old daughter how many she wants, she always responds, "TWO!"

"How many donuts do you want?"


"How many cookies do you want?"


Last night my wife caught her splashing the water around in the toilet and yelled, "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO DO THIS??!!"

I bet you can figure out the answer.

Mentalblog, Matisyahu, and Jewish Music's Equivalent to Anthrax

After reading Mentalblog's posts about Matisyahu, I went out and bought the CD. I am very impressed, especially with the song "Got No Water". Matisyahu successfully takes reggae and elevates it, infusing it with kedusha.

This brings me to Anthrax, a "thrash" or "speed-metal" band that was formed in the 1980's. They were my favorite band when I was in junior high and high school - and their guitar player Scott Ian was even Jewish. You always enjoy the music that you listened to growing up. You just can't shake it. Anthrax's music has such a power behind it that it effects me like no other music. Unlike other heavy metal groups, their lead singer actually sang, and sang lyrics about societal problems such a poverty, intolerance, racism, and drug addiction.

I am still waiting for Jewish music's equivalent to Anthrax. Maybe then I could listen solely to Jewish music. While I greatly enjoy Yosef Karduner and Simply Tsfat, I need something to listen to while I am running on the treadmill. I need something that rocks!

Matisyahu has shown us that it is possible to make Jewish music from genres of music that are not traditionally thought of as "Jewish". Is their anything innately wrong or "un-Jewish" with heavy metal music? How about if it is performed by Jewish musicians who sing about Jewish topics?

Forty years ago just the thought of putting Jewish songs to rock music was unheard of. It is not of unheard of today. It is quite commonplace. Just because something "has never been done before" isn't a reason why it cannot be done now. There aren't any specific halachos that prohibit "Jewish" heavy metal. If reggae can be taken an elevated, heavy metal sure can.

So, where is Jewish music's Anthrax?

Demolishing walls

Tears open gates. Music demolishes walls.

(Rebbe Nachman of Breslov)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Blogging Pressure - Quantity is Not Quality

Some days I feel pressure to come up with a thought to write about. I don't want to be forced to merely comment on the news, even though there are plenty of sites that I enjoy that do just that.

I usually write my posts a day in advance and post them the following day in order to give myself a chance to re-read them and make sure that the ideas that I expressed were clear and that there was nothing else to add on the topic.

Quantity is not quality. The quality of one's posts deteriorates if one feels pressure to blog every single day. It is impossible to consistently write "brilliant" posts. While I write for myself, I am still conscious that there are people out there who read my words.

I am going to practice what I preach. I would rather read one great post rather than a hundred mediocre posts. For the time being, if I do not have any ideas to write about, I am going to wait until I do.

Afterthought - This is a whole post full of words that say that I have nothing to say today.

Appetite for speech

Solitude is good for the soul; indeed, it is good for everything. But the key to solitude is to be alone while still in the company of others. Those who are completely alone and silent cannot claim that they have conquered their appetite for speech.

(Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorki)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


How have you become a more patient person?

Is A Simple Jew a Lubavitcher?

I found it interesting to learn that I was perceived to be "on the path of Chabad Chassidus" even after what I had written here.

As a genealogist, I don't think I would become a Lubavitcher unless I discovered that my family had Chabad roots. To the best of my knowledge this is not the case. I have discovered that Tanya and Shulchan Aruch HaRav were printed at the Jewish printing press in my family's shtetl, but this is not conclusive evidence that my ancestors were Lubavitchers since other Chassidic seforim were printed at this printing press as well.

There is no doubt that I have been influenced and inspired by Chabad Chassidus. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was one of the greatest tzadikkim of my lifetime, however he was not my Rebbe.

Growing up without defined family minhagim I continue to search for the path of my ancestors.

Feedback request: I learned how to put on tefillin according to the Chabad minhag and continue to do it to this day. I do recognize that Chabad's tefillin hand-winding minhag is different from that of other Chassidic groups. I wonder if I should change my hand winding pattern to be similar to the way other Chassidim of Ukrainian origin do it. I would greatly appreciate feedback from those who are knowledgeable in this area (i.e. Hirhurim, Cross-Currents, Rabbi Lazer Brody [if you are out there reading this]). Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Tefillin shel Yad

We represent G-d's tefillin. Learned scholars are symbolized by the head-tefillin, which are placed near the mind, the seat of intellect. Conversely, the hand-tefillin represent the simple Jews, who serve G-d by merit of their good deeds and sterling character.

It is important to note that the hand-tefillin are donned before the head-tefillin. This denotes the superior worth of the simple Jew, whose firm faith, unfettered by intellectual achievement, forms a total subjugation to G-d's will. Such unquestioning obedience contains more spiritual worth than all the scholarly achievements of the learned combined.

(Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi)

Monday, January 03, 2005


I am curious who visits my site from the Netherlands and Malaysia.

Where are you visiting from?

Strange phenomenon

Even though my wife is a stay-at-home-mom and I am the one who goes out to work, she is the one who has more exposure to what goes on in the outside world.

..or you can not

There is nothing like a visit from your parents. It clearly manifests the person you are, all your strengths and weaknesses. One my biggest weaknesses is that I worry too much.

In the midst of this past weekend's visit my wife said something that was so simple, yet so true. "You have a choice", she said, "You can worry, or you can not."

Intellectually I know why I should not worry over little things, however it is something that it is extremely hard for me to stop doing.

I am going to try to adopt my wife's outlook.


I learned this wisdom from my ancestors:
There are two things it is forbidden to worry about:
That which it is possible to fix, And that which it is impossible to fix.
What is possible to fix - fix it, and why worry?
What is impossible to fix - how will worrying help?

(Rebbe Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov)

A beautiful book

The Merit of the Righteous Women

This volume is the first English translation from the extensive works of HaRav HaGaon B.Z. Rabinowitz, the Biala Rebbe, Shlita

Time management

If you are willing to exert yourself, you will find storehouses of hidden time.

(Piaceszna Rebbe)