Monday, July 26, 2010

Sorry, no post

Baruch Hashem, I've had a busy last week or so. What with tisha b'av, and then weddings every night, plus working full time (or as full time as I'm able with all these weddings :) ), I haven't had much time to think, let alone write up a post. Bli neder, I'll be back soon when I have time to breathe.

Until then, oif simchos!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Scarred Hearts

Children are more emotional than adults. When I was younger, the tears were so close to the surface, anything could set them off. If I got hurt, even the teeniest scratch, I would cry. If I heard of someone else getting hurt, I would cry. And if I heard of someone in emotional pain, my heart went out to them.

Every pain that I heard of, every time that I cried scarred my heart. It had been fresh, young, unblemished. But as I grew older, each tzara that I heard about added another layer of scar tissue to the surface of my heart.

And then the defense mechanism kicked in.

If something is known to hurt you, you're not going to chase after it. More likely, you'd run away. When a heart mangled with so many tzaros, so many wounds and scars, realizes what causes its pain, it shuts itself off. Emotion is still there. But the outreach, the feeling for others just …


And now, I can no longer bring out the emotion for others that I used to have. That empathy is not gone, but severely depleteed. When I hear of a tzaar in klal yisroel, I don't cry. I maybe say a kapitol tehillim, but I can't find the tears. I can't find the emotion that used to define me.

Sometimes it hits close to home. That girl who just had twins – Chana Ruchama b-s Tziporah Faiga (she should have a refuah shleima) – is my age. She's my friend's friend. That hurt. But not as much as it would have hurt 10, 5, even 1 year ago. There's just too much tzaar.

The thing is that we as Yidden have an achrayus to be there for our brethren. We have to physically remove the scabs on our hearts and let them feel what we need them to feel. As Yechezkel says (36:26)והסרתי את-לב האבן, מבשרכם, ונתתי לכם, לב בשר (I will remove the stone heart from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh).

The second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam (baseless hatred).

Now is the time to fix this mistake so we can greet mashiach on Tuesday.

Now is the time to get rid of our scars and hearts of stone and replace them with a flesh, loving heart that can open itself to the rest of klal yisroel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Parshas Matos-Maasei

Taken from Rabbi Baruch Lederman's ShulWeek

The Torah gives very explicit instructions. The Torah tells us what to do. It also tells us how, when and where to do it. Every detail is spelled out. Just like using a washing machine, when you read and adhere to the directions, all will be well. If not, things will go awry, as the following true story, documented in Parsha Parables by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, illustrates:

It was the eve of December 25th, 1776. General George Washington was reeling from his crushing defeats in New York. In a bold and daring move, he had decided to cross the ice-filled Delaware River and attack Trenton, New Jersey. He planned to surprise the thousands of Hessian troops guarding that portal. He did not know that his surprise attack was almost no surprise. A farmer, a British sympathizer knocked on the door where the Hessian Commander, Colonel Johann Rall was attending a holiday party. Rall had always scoffed at the thought of attack, boasting, "Those clod-hoppers will not attack us!"

The farmer had heard of the plans and seen the movement across the shore. He wanted to get the message to the Colonel but he could not get past a servant who accepted a note which spelled out Washington's plans and handed it to the commander. Rall, however, was in the middle of a card game and would not be interrupted. He stuffed the paper in his pocket without even glancing at it. He continued playing through the night until he collapsed from drunken exhaustion.

At dawn, Washington attacked. His ammunition was so waterlogged that his troops could hardly fire a shot. They did not need to. The Hessians were drowsy from the previous night's festivities and the Colonial Army's bayonets were as sharp as the troops' spirit. After an overwhelming onslaught in which the colonists took nearly 900 prisoners, Rall who was mortally wounded, surrendered. As the doctor cut away his jacket, a note fell out. Rall read it and mournfully said, "If I only had read this last night, I would not be here today."

The Rosh Yeshiva or Chofetz Chaim ztl, told us that when he was a youth, he told his father, Reb Dovid Leibowitz ztl, that he was thinking about becoming a doctor instead of a Rabbi. His father replied, "Try preventive medicine." He was telling his son that if we learn and follow the dictates of the Torah our lives will be enriched both physically and spiritually.

Dedicated by Anonymous for the release of Gilad Shalit.

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