Monday, October 10, 2011

Yamim Noraim

These are the Yamim Noraim; the Days of Awe.
Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur.
These are the High Holy Days of the Children of Israel.
During the entire previous month, Elul, we have prayed that Hashem give us the strength to Repent; to Return to the Ways of G-d.
And now we are Judged. And now we are Signed and Sealed.

Unesana Tokef

“Let us now relate the power of this day's holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles - it will read itself, and everyone's signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them - and they will say, 'Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!'- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment.”

“On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.”

“But REPENTANCE, PRAYER and CHARITY Remove the Evil of the Decree!”

- from the Machzorim (Prayer Books) for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

"Three books are opened on Rosh HaShana: one for completely wicked people, one for completely righteous people, and one for those in the middle. The completely righteous people are immediately inscribed and sealed for life; the completely wicked people are immediately inscribed and sealed for death. Those in the middle have their judgment suspended until Yom Kippur. If they merit it, they are written for life; if not, they are written for death."
- Talmud; Tractate Rosh Hoshana; 16b

Towards the end of her book, “Life is a Test,” Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis examines the idea that G-d sends us “wake up calls” through the events that happen in our lives.
One such event was September 11, 2001.
She noted that, on the Internet, the idea was being circulated that the number Eleven was significant –
9/11 – Nine plus one plus one equals eleven; the Twin Towers resembled the number eleven; September 11th was the two hundred and fifty fourth day of the year – two plus five plus four equals eleven; the flight number of the first plane to hit the towers was eleven; ninety two passengers were aboard – nine plus two equals eleven; after September 11th there were 111 days left to the end of the year; 911 is the call for help; and there were many, many more “elevens” that were significantly tied into September 11th.
The Rebbetzin wrote that originally she did not take much stock in the idea that the number 11 had anything to do with Judaism or “Jewish answers” to 9/11.
However, she then went on to look at the significance of the number 11 in Judaism and the Torah.
She found that September 11th occurred on the 23rd day of the month of Elul. Elul is the sixth month on the Jewish calendar and – two plus three plus six equals eleven.
The portion of the Torah that we read that week is called Nitzavim. There is a section that has eleven “cantillation dots” over the words: “The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d, but the revealed things are for us and our children.” (Deuteronomy 29:28)
There is a system of numerology in Judaism called gematria. Every letter and word has a numerical value. The numerical value of teshuva in Hebrew is 713. Seven plus three plus one equals eleven. Teshuva is commonly translated as repentance. It means Return to G-d. It is what we are called to do when G-d sends us a wakeup call that our lives are not on the right track.
Rebbetzin Jungreis brings many other “Elevens” from the Torah and their significance to the idea of teshuva – repentance.

There is one particular example that the Rebbetzin bring from the Torah that is most closely related to Rosh Hashanah; the New Year of the Jewish calendar when G-d Judges the World and calls His People to Repent; to do Teshuva, and Return to Him. It is from the Halftorah portion that we read on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
The Rebbetzin writes:
“The numerical value of the Hebrew for Rachel Imenu – “Mother Rachel” is three hundred and thirty five. Three plus three plus five equals eleven!
Regarding Mother Rachel it is written [in the Halftorah we read on Rosh Hashanah], ‘A voice is raised on high – wailing and bitter weeping, Rachel is crying for her children. She refuses to be consoled for her children are gone. Thus said the L-rd, ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears – there is reward for your labor… Your children shall return to their borders.’ (Jeremiah 31:14-17). Mother Rachel, to whom G-d gave this unconditional promise, died on the eleventh day of the Hebrew month of Chesvan.”
The significance of this whole idea of the number 11 being associated with teshuva – repentance, is that it is possible to pause and view events that happen in this world as more than just “coincidence.”

This Jewish Year 5772, that began on this Rosh Hashanah, is the beginning of the 11th year after the events of September 11th, 2001; Elul 23, 5761.

In the Talmud; Tractate Rosh Hashanah, it states:
“On Rosh Hashanah, all of the world’s inhabitants pass in judgment before Hashem, like sheep passing single file in review before the shepherd. As the verse states (Psalm 33:15): ‘He fashions their hearts together and discerns all of their deeds.’”
There is a discussion in the Rabbis of the Talmud that, actually, a person is judged every day; that a person is judged every minute… So, what is the particular significance of the awesomeness and uniqueness of Rosh Hashanah if we are judged every day; every moment?
We are told that on Rosh Hashanah, the Angels that represent the Nations of the World converge to accuse Israel and the Jewish People and list all of their misdeeds before the Throne of G-d.
Because of their many sins, these Angels demand of G-d that the Jewish Nation be either destroyed or assimilated. They demand that Hashem terminate the existence of Israel as G-d’s Chosen People.
It is at this time that Jews are required to come to their own defense by giving their only Advocate – G-d – their sincere Repentance; their sincere Prayers; and their sincere example of Righteous Behavior. One of the symbols used to communicate this Sincerity is the Sounding of the Shofar. The Shofar represents the Wakeup Call that Jews take upon themselves as they recognize G-d’s Wakeup Calls that He gives both the Jewish People and all Mankind.
Sincerely and loudly proclaiming G-d as the Only King is the only defense of Israel as the Angels of the Nations gather together to wipe out our existence and to deny that we are suitable to be G-d’s Holy People.

As we learn in the attacks of 9/11, the significance of the number 11 is Teshuva; Return to G-d, so we should learn from all of the other “wakeup calls” that Hashem has given us.
According to our Rabbis, the “natural disasters,” that have occurred with astonishingly massive results in the last ten years are a wakeup call that the Jewish Nation needs to Return to G-d; Repent; and recognize G-d as the One and Only King.
The Children of Israel are a People of Wonder - at times the Nations of the World become astonished at their own cruelty and horror that they afflict on the Jewish People. And, at times the Nations of the World become astonished at the Miracles that G-d has performed for the Jewish People.
But whether the Jews have been cursed, or the Jews are Blessed, every significant event that happens to the Nation of Israel is a communication from G-d to turn towards Him in Prayer; in Repentance; and in Righteousness. Hashem keeps calling His Children to Him.
This Rosh Hashanah, 5772, we can see the Hand of G-d reflected from the Heavenly World to This World; the World below.
As the Accusing Angels of the Nations of the World petition before the Kisei HaKavod; The Throne of Glory, that Israel should be destroyed, so do the Nations of the World petition before the Seat of Power in This World; Olam Hazeh – the United Nations, that Israel should be destroyed.
It is no coincidence that it is only last month, during the Month of Teshuva; Repentance, Elul, that the Nation of Turkey, an ally of Israel since 1949, should repudiate its friendship with Israel;
That Egypt, ostensibly at peace with Israel since 1979, should attack the Israeli embassy;
That Iran, another former ally of Israel, should call for the annihilation of Israel;
And that the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority should demand that Israel be dismembered and her Holy Places given over to Yishmael.
As above, so below.

What happens in This World is a reflection of what happens in the Heavenly Spheres.
Our only defense in This World and in the World of Truth is Teshuvah; Tefillah; and Tzedakah.
As we enter the Year of Repentance in This World, may the True Judge be our Advocate and may we all be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a Year of Blessing; Prosperity; Peace; and – Teshuvah.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reflections on 9/11

Every year, at this time, I watch one of the first 9/11 memorial videos made.

 America Attacked 9 1 1 

The only way to really remember is to be emotional.  This video does that.

I have never let go of 9/11.  My brother, an assimilated Texan and a Vietnam vet, gave me a lapel pin shortly after that was an American flag with a red white and blue memorial ribbon around it that says 9-11-2001 on the bottom. 
I am still wearing that pin. 
In my Orthodox Jewish world, people do not wear American flag pins with what looks like a candy cane around it. I get peculiar looks in some of the Orthodox enclaves where I visit or daven. 
I have often thought that maybe it's time to take the pin off – I have also been flying the American flag on the flagpole outside of my house and, I sometimes think that it's time to take that down too… 
But, I don't. 
When the rare person stares at my lapel pin with a questioning look in their eyes, I try and explain  - 
There is a Great Evil in this world that is seeking to destroy us all. It is present and ongoing. Bin Laden was simply the Evil that attacked us on 911.

This exact same Evil is present in what is today called the "Arab Spring" – which is just a continuation of a murderous 100 year Great Sectarian Civil War in the Muslim and Arab worlds. 
This Evil worships Death and wishes to destroy all those (particularly other Arabs and Muslims) who do not worship Death in the same manner. 
This Evil wishes to obliterate Israel. 
This Evil wishes to destroy the United States. 

If we do not remember this Evil and fight against it, it will, indeed, "destroy" our world. 

So, I wear my lapel pin and I hope that I remember to remember.


 

Live Free or Die

The World; the United States; and Israel, face a problem called History.
With the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Islam lost its stabilizing governing power.
In the hundred years since that time, every tinpot Islamist Death Cultist has declared that THEIR Death Cult was THE Death Cult that all should follow.
In some areas, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, these Death Cultists managed to change normative Sunni or Shia Islam to their new fascist version of the same.
In the rest of the world, Muslims and Arabs have been engaged in a never ending war against each other as to who gets to be Top Dog.  The current "Arab Spring" is a manifestation of this never ending Civil Sectarian War.

The US and Israel have been trying to deal with these lunatics on a macro level while ignoring the micro terrorism that these fascists foster on a daily basis.
And, that is doomed to failure.
Afghanistan will never be a "country."  The US will never succeed in establishing a stable society there.
Iraq will continue to be ripped by factions that are bent on killing each other.
Saudi Arabia will continue to support Wahhabi terror cells all over the planet.
This will never end.

Unless - the US and Israel deal with each micro event with total force.
Invade Gaza and free Gilad Shalit from his kidnappers.
Invade Iran and free our kidnapped Americans from their captors (as we should have done in 1979 when Iran invaded the United States).
Bomb the crap out of all of Hezbollah's missile sites.
Cease supporting all Arab/ Muslim fascist regimes - from Egypt to Pakistan, with American dollars.
Respond to every single act of terror against innocent civilians with overwhelming force and determination.
Support only those Arabs and Muslims (and the rest of the world) who support both Israel and the United States and are willing to defend that way of life with their blood.
We either Live Free - or die.

If the US and Israel would spend 1/10th of their treasure and might that we currently spend on the "war on terror" on these individual problems and terrorist acts - we would win and the fascist death cultists would lose.


 


 


 


 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Mitzvah of Ransoming a Captive


 

I am making an appeal.

I have a friend who needs help.

Her name is Wendy Runge; Zeva Rochel bas Chaya 

Wendy; her husband Pinchus; her children; her parents; her siblings and their spouses; and Pinchus' father, are all personal friends of mine who have all, in one way or another, enriched my life; my Yiddishkeit, and the lives of my family and friends.

Wendy has been unjustly accused and is being unjustly sentenced for crimes she did not commit.

Below is a letter written in her defense by Rabbi Chaim Goldberger, the Rav of Knesseth Israel synagogue here in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Rabbi Goldberger mentions Shalom Rubashkin in his letter in defense of Wendy.

For those who are not familiar with Shalom Rubashkin, Google his name and find out more.


 

Interestingly enough, I also consider myself a friend of Shalom and his family.  

When I first moved to Minnesota, he was kind enough to hire me to remodel his house in St Paul, and I spent six months practically living with his warm and loving family as he commuted back and forth to his new job in Postville, Iowa.

Shalom Rubashkin was treated unjustly and unfairly by the Iowa legal system.

Baruch Hashem that he has a large mishpocha and kehilla that has rallied to his defense and is working tirelessly to overturn this injustice.

Shalom Rubashkin has many strong advocates in the greater Jewish community and in the US political and Justice system.


 

Mrs. Runge's case has not been as notable as Shalom Rubashkin's.  Her family and friends, who have supported her; are supporting her; and are universally convinced that she is being treated with incredible harshness and injustice by the Iowa justice system, are also not as influential or as large as Shalom's wonderful supporters.


 

This is a plea, for anyone reading, to read Rabbi Goldberger's letter; to donate to her cause; or to just publicize her cause and this appeal. Wendy needs to radise money to defend herself in the appeal process which, in this country, is incredibly costly.

The Runge family is already in debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars just for the initial trial and appeal.  Without the additional funds for her appeal, the judge is going to sentence her to 10 years in prison.


 

In the Talmud, Bava Basra 8b, the gemorah explains that pidyon shvuyim; ransoming Jewish captives, is considered a Great Mitzvah; a mitzvah rabbah and that captivity is worse than death and starvation.

The Rambam; Maimonides, rules that he who ignores ransoming a captive is guilty of transgressing commandments such as: "you shall not harden your heart" (Devarim 15:7); "you shall not stand idly by the blood of your brother" (Vayikra 19:16); and "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Vayikra 19:18).


 

This injustice needs to be publicized.

Wendy needs to be supported.

Please help.

Thank you.


 

A letter from Rabbi Goldberger:

Let me state from the outset – I am opposed to gratuitous charges of racism or anti-Semitism. Such claims have become tools too easily used to batter an ideological or political opponent into undue submission. 

But bias can and does exist. Even in our cultured and progressive world, instances have been known to occur in which conclusions have been reached as a result of pre-conceived perceptions about a member of a racial or religious group, conclusions in many cases grossly unsupported by the facts. 

The only way to discern true prejudice from intemperate hysteria is to examine the facts of a given case. 

I refer to the case of State of Iowa vs. Mrs. Wendy Weiner Runge, which has recently taken an unexpected and malevolent turn.

 
 

1. A PROSECUTOR RENEGES ON A DEAL

 
 

When we last reported on this story, Wendy's trial had ended with a plea deal, releasing Wendy from all but one charge, to which she admitted guilt. That was the charge by which she substituted one named future film project for another on an application for State financial credit, an action she took only after having been assured by the authorized State official that it was permissible. As it turned out, the official's assurance was in error. The substitution was, in fact, against the law, and Wendy accepted responsibility for this mistake in the court of Judge Douglas Staskal. 

In the plea arrangement, not only did Wendy agree to plead to the one count, she also agreed to cooperate in the prosecution's ongoing investigation of any other of the filmmakers against whom the State had filed complaints. 

In exchange, the Attorney General agreed to drop all other charges against Wendy, including all charges of financial misconduct – all of which she had denied vigorously from the outset and none of which the State could prove – and to refrain from having the judge pass sentence on her guilty plea until after all other court proceedings in this matter were complete (assumed to be at least a year or more down the road). Compared to the ominous threat of immediate and lengthy prison time as well as an enormous financial fine that had faced the mother of four throughout her trial, this eleventh-hour deal was embraced by Wendy and her legal team with great relief and even celebration.  This plea agreement stipulated a POSSIBLE prison time of not more than ten (10) years and/or a financial settlement not to exceed $10,000. 

It was more than jarring when Wendy received a notice from the judge less than two months later summonsing her to an immediate sentencing hearing on her charge. She had cooperated fully when the DA sent an investigator to interview her about the other defendants. What had gone wrong? 

Evidently, what the State wanted from Wendy was more than cooperation. They demanded Wendy present incriminating evidence they could use to prove guilt against the other defendants. Wendy had consistently asserted that such a thing did not exist, as no financial conspiracy had ever taken place. And so, despite opening all her records to the prosecutors, and despite telling the truth as she knew it, the Attorney General decided Wendy was not being cooperative. 

And he reneged on the deal. 

And so, as swift as it was disheartening, the Attorney General sent a note to Judge Staskal saying he was no longer interested in using Wendy as a witness in any upcoming trials and thus there was no longer a reason to delay her sentencing. 

Two associates of Wendy on the film The Scientist had earlier pleaded guilty to felony theft (Remember – no wrongdoing on anyone's part was ever proven in court. The associates decided to take the guilty plea to avoid the enormous expense of mounting a legal defense.) 

The two were sentenced on that same day by Judge Staskal to probation. With regard to Wendy's sentence, the pre-sentence assessor, taking into account the relatively minor nature of the charge, her being a first time offender, and her being a solid community citizen responsible for the care of four children and an elderly father-in-law, recommended Wendy be given a suspended (no actual jail time) sentence. 

Shockingly, Judge Staskal ignored the recommendation and sentenced her to an unprecedented ten years in prison – the maximum sentence allowed and agreed to as a part of the original plea deal. 

 
 

2. QUESTIONABLE JUDGMENT

 
 

How did Judge Staskal justify the disparity in his penalties? He claimed Wendy showed no remorse over her crime. Had she spoken out defiantly at the hearing, such a conclusion might have been warranted. But in fact what she did at the hearing was read a statement expressing appropriate regret commensurate with her crime – apologizing to the State for having assumed the assurance of the State official was sufficient to rely upon when in fact it was not. She did not apologize for theft, because no money had changed hands; she did not apologize for financial misconduct, because there was none. But to Iowa's justice system, which had desperately wanted to nail her on these charges, this was defiance. 

The judge went further. Where was the evidence of Wendy's lack of remorse? In entries on her personal blog expressing joy over the dropping of the original charges, and in an earlier newspaper article in which Wendy was quoted as wondering what might have caused the assistant attorney general to bring up Sholom Rubashkin's recent conviction at a deposition. In the judge's words, Wendy Runge failed to demonstrate sufficient remorse, as evidenced by entries on her blog alleging vague conspiracies and an article alleging anti-Semitism. 

The judge issues a harsher sentence to a lesser crime on the grounds that he believes he is being falsely accused of anti-Semitism?   This allegation is a result of the initial request for information about Rabbi Rubashkin.  Then in May 2010, the Court knowingly scheduled the pre-trial hearing on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (5 months later) even after Jewish holidays were carefully outlined and the religious significance was detailed to the court.   The response was, "Rosh Hashana is NOT a recognized holiday in Iowa."  After numerous (expensive) motions, hearings and a letter from the highest religious authority, ONLY the day before Rosh Hashana the court relented just in time for Wendy to return home from the hearing for candle lighting, a traditional Jewish ceremony that officially enters the family into the holiday. 

 
 

3. PREJUDICE – A TEXTBOOK CASE

 
 

The facts of Wendy's case do not match with the aura assigned it by this judge. 

The plain facts an impartial judge is to consider in passing sentence include: 

  1. only the charge for which the defendant was found guilty, not charges that were dismissed 
  2. mitigating factors (which Wendy has in abundance) 
  3. the seriousness and/or violent nature of the charge (little to none here) 
  4. the recommendation of the pre-sentence assessor 
  5. parallels to others similarly charged

 
 

The judge's decision fails on all five.

 
 

Prejudice, in its purest state, indicates a prior leaning to judge a person based on your perception of his proclivity to commit the offense – irrespective of his actually having done so. From the beginning, Wendy was treated as one who was likely to have committed all the crimes for which she was charged. Despite her dogged insistence on having been misled by State officials acknowledged to have misrepresented the State's tax credit program, despite the State having been unable to prove a single charge against Wendy or any of her associates, despite the utter inadmissibility of personal, out-of-court communications into any aspect of a judicial hearing without due process, and despite the legitimacy of Wendy expressing a natural sense of joy and vindication on her personal blog, Judge Staskal continued to relate to her as a criminal mastermind who had somehow managed to slip through the system. 

According to the Victim Impact Statements and Pre-Sentencing Probation Reports section of the Women's Justice Center Handbook: 

In most all cases, judges abide by the sentencing recommendation that is formulated by the pre-sentencing probation officer. 

In his attempt to justify straying wildly from this recommendation, Judge Staskal has crossed serious boundary lines touching on questions of judicial bias, presumption of innocence, and First Amendment free speech rights. 

I would like to remind the reader than Wendy was NEVER allowed to make a formal statement about the circumstances that lead her, her attorneys and others to believe that the Film Commissioner was the appropriate authority.

                                         
 

4. A COMPARATIVE STUDY

 
 

Let us take a look at another recent sentencing, that of Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Unlike Wendy Runge, Tom DeLay was verbally defiant at his sentencing: 

"Everything I did was covered by accountants and lawyers telling me what I had to do to stay within the law. I can't be remorseful for something I don't think I did." 

DeLay called the case "politically motivated" and spoke about how it had affected his wife's health, forced him to raise and spend $10 million in legal fees, and cost him everything he had worked for – including the second-highest post in the U.S. House. 

As with Wendy, the prosecutors in the DeLay case wanted a ten-year sentence and said he should not receive probation because he had shown no remorse. 

Tom DeLay was convicted of a crime scheme designed to launder money and illegally influence Texas elections. He is a major public figure. He was openly defiant at his sentencing. He does not have a large family to care for at home. 

How long a sentence did Mr. DeLay receive? 

Three years. 

Compare that with the treatment given Wendy. Wendy pleaded her own guilt. She was misled by a State official. She received no State money as a result of her crime. She spoke with no defiance in court, restricting her frustrations to personal communications that are supposed to be outside the reach of the court. 

What did she get? Ten years.

 
 

5. HELP IS NEEDED

 
 

We must reach out in support of Wendy and her family. Her attorney believes she has a powerful case for reversal on appeal, but the appellate process is costly, with a large retainer due immediately to her attorneys. Rabbi Michel Twerski remains on record that this mitzvah qualifies as Pidyon Shevuyim – the highest rank among Tzedakah obligations. We look forward to sharing news of Wendy's redemption – and indeed that of all K'lal Yisrael – with you in the very near future. 

 
 

Please help Wendy not have to go to prison by making a much needed contribution. Send your checks, payable to The Rabbi's Discretionary Fund at Kenesseth Israel Synagogue

4330 W. 28th Street Minneapolis, MN  55416.

And put Wendy Runge's name in the memo line

 
 

May Zeva Rochel bas Chaya have an immediate yeshua

 
 

With blessings and appreciation,

 
 

Rabbi Chaim Goldberger

 
 

Funds are desperately needed ( $50,000) to pay her attorneys to file the appeal. Please help her by sending a check payable to the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund at
Kenesseth Israel Synagogue
4330 W. 28th St.
S. Louis Pk., MN 55416
and put Wendy Runge's name in the memo line, 
or online at 
http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Kenesseth-Israel-Synagogue ( once you have enter the amount and click donate, you are taken to the page where you enter your credit card info. Click on " add a designation" and type in Rabbi's Discretionary Fund for Wendy Runge

Please forward to anyone you might know who can help, and may Zeva Rochel bas Chaya have an immediate yeshua.


 

Thank you for caring.


 

Friday, May 20, 2011

There is No 1967 Border

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu delineated it quite precisely.
Israel will NEVER agree to the mythical "1967 borders."
Israel will NEVER negotiate with the terrorist entity, Hamas, pledged to eradicate Israel.
And, Israel will NEVER permit millions of Arabs called Palestinians to invade Israel in some kind of fantastical "right of return."

So, the line or "not line" (the Bewish Juddhist version) is irrelevant.

Do not try and negotiate over "the line." That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
There is no line.
Then, you'll see, that it is not the line that is significant, it is only whether or not the Islamist terrorist scumbag death cult nutburger Jihaddis wish to eradicate themselves or.... wish to eradicate Israel.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pesach Chametz


 

Ahhh… Pesach is coming. Time to get rid of the Chametz!

One of the meanings of Chametz is that it is the spiritual impurities that we allow to fester within us. Allegorically, the Torah tells us that we cannot free ourselves from the level of Mitzrayim – Egypt; the lowest spiritual to which a Jew can possibly sink and still be alive, unless we get rid of our internal Chametz.

Chametz is leaven or yeast. And, our spiritual Chametz is all of the "yeast" that rises within us as we hold dear to all of the imagined affronts to our precious Egos.

Every grudge; every thought of "getting even;" every sullen dislike; every single conviction that it is "THEIR" fault, never mine – is a speck of Chametz that prevents us from purity and… prevents us from leaving Egypt.

Time to give it up!

We learn that four fifths of the Jews died in Mitzrayim. They never made it out of Egypt. They could not let go of their "Chametz" in whatever form it took.

There is a new industry in the world called "Life Coaching." I recently learned from a friend who is familiar with this concept that a Life Coach's objective, at least in the corporate world, is to work with an individual to overcome flaws that are standing in the way of using his full potential in business. It is an attempt to alter personality traits that make a person less able to achieve; traits that make a person less productive. A person first has to recognize these flaws and then learn how to change them so that coworkers and customers will no longer be put off by these personality quirks.

Apparently, Life Coaching has had some good success in the corporate world. Apparently, continued employment and financial success are great motivators…

We should all be blessed to examine our own ingrained personality traits; our Chametz, that we are better off without and be able to remove them, purifying ourselves and redeeming ourselves from the slavery of Mitzrayim.

A Kasher Sameach!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let It Snow?

Today is March 23rd.  It snowed last night.  It was raining yesterday so the rain gradually turned to snow and laid down a heavy layer of slushy ice all over everything...

"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life…"

- Groundhog Day


 

OH C'MON!  WHAT IS THIS?  MINNESOTA? !!!!


 

Why yes it is...  Oh.  Okay.  Sorry then.   We can deal with a little snow in MARCH - THE BEGINNING OF SPRING!  CAN'T WE... !! ??

Oops.  Sorry.  Yes, of course we can...


 

So, I get up to go to the synagogue for morning prayers, which are at 6:30 AM, as I do every morning, and there is a heavy layer of ice slush all over my wife's car.  

Oy... Sigh...

So, I turn the car on to warm it up and search for the scraper which hasn't been used for a month or so; finally find it and start scraping the windshield...  I get most of the driver's side done and I'm just down to freeing the windshield wiper from the ice when, because I left them on last night when I turned the car off; they both turn on; break free of the ice, and both wipers break off!  

It's 6:30 AM and I am in somewhat of a stupor and the wipers are on the lowest intermittent level so it looks like they just spontaneously went on and then off again.

So, I continue to scrape the windshield while dumbly staring at the broken wiper blades just lying there...

Then the bladeless wipers pop on and off again.

I turn them off in the car.

I pick up a wiper blade and, in the still dark morning, try and see if it reattaches to the wiper arm...  Hmmm... It seems to be broken... I stare at the ice covered attachment thingy, holding the blade in one hand and the wiper arm in the other, pressing them together as if they will magically reattach to each other… After a minute of this, I put down the wiper blade and I begin scraping the windshield once more… when finally, it penetrates my little pea brain that I cannot drive this car in the dark while it's snowing without windshield wipers...

Huh, I think...?


 

Okay.  I turn off the car and go over to my work van; turn it on; and begin the same process all over again...

However, now I am awake and relaxed, being so grateful that I have another vehicle that I can drive that is so easily accessible and planning on how I am going to buy new wiper blades for my wife's car after synagogue...


 

Hey.  It's Minnesota.  I live here.  Life is beautiful all the time... :)