Erev Shabbos Kodesh Vayeitzei 5777 Inspiration


After receiving a heavenly vision in a dream, Yaakov is prepared to continue on his journey to the Land of Lavan, his uncle and soon to be his nemesis. It is said (Bereishis 29:1), וַיִּשָּׂא יַעֲקֹב רַגְלָיו וַיֵּלֶךְ אַרְצָה בְנֵי קֶדֶם, so Yaakov lifted his feet and went to the land of the easterners.  Rashi cites the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 70:7) that states that Yaakov, upon being informed by HaShem that he would be safeguarded, felt light in his heart and this was the catalyst to travel. One must wonder what is unique about the words וַיִּשָּׂא יַעֲקֹב רַגְלָיו, and Yaakov lifted his feet. The commentators write that normally one’s feet lift the body, and here it is said that Yaakov lifted his feet, implying that his feet lifted his body. This explanation, however, is difficult, as we find other instances where the Torah states (Vayikra 9:22) וַיִּשָּׂא אַהֲרֹן אֶת יָדָיו אֶל הָעָם וַיְבָרֲכֵם, Aharon raised his hands toward the people and blessed them, and we do not say that Aharon’s hands lifted his body. What is unique about Yaakov’s journey that prompted the Medrash to interpret the verse in this manner?

To answer these questions we can suggest that the word נשא has other connotations, such as sharpening (See Rashi Bereishis 27:3). Yaakov had just concealed himself in the Study Hall for fourteen years of uninterrupted Torah study, and now he was prepared to receive a Divine Revelation. In the dream HaShem informed Yaakov that He would watch him throughout his journeys, both Yaakov and his descendants. Upon receiving such wonderful news and having had a “sharpened” sense of realization that HaShem will protect him, Yaakov’s heart rejoiced and elevated him to newer heights of ecstasy.  Thus, his heart truly rejoiced and elevated the rest of him to carry on his journey in an effortless manner.

HaShem should grant us the sharpened sense of realization that He is constantly caring for our every need and we should merit the ultimate joy of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days!

Have a SHARPENED and HEIGHTENED Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Vayeitzei 5777 Inspiration
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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vayeitzei 5777


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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vayeitzei 5777

Yaakov Subdues Lavan Through Shabbos

Introduction

In this week’s parashah it is said (Bereishis 29:1-3) vayisa Yaakov raglav vayeilech artzah vnei kedem vayar vehinei beer basadeh vehinei sham shelosha edrei tzon rovtzim aleha ki min habeer hahi yashku haadarim vihaeven gedolah al pi habeer vineesfu shama chol haadarim vigalilu es haeven meial pi habeer vishishku es hatzon viheishivu es haeven al pi habeer limkomah, so Yaakov lifted up his feet, and went toward the land of the easterners. He looked, and behold-a well in the field! And behold! Three flocks of sheep lay there beside it, for from that well they would water the flocks, and the stone over the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks would be assembled there they would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep; then they would put back the stone over the mouth of the well, in its place. The Ramban cites the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 70:8) that states that this entire episode regarding the wells and the shepherds removing the large stone alludes to the pilgrimage of the Jewish People on the three festivals and the drawing of the water alludes to the receiving of Divine Inspiration. The replacement of the stone alludes to the festival in the future at the time of the Ultimate Redemption.

Yaakov’s meeting with the Shepherds Alludes to Shabbos

If we were to continue in the vein of the Medrash, we can suggest that the subsequent verses refer to Shabbos, which we find juxtaposed to the mention of the festivals in Parashas Emor. Thus, we read that Yaakov queries the people regarding their origins, and they respond that they are from Charan. This can allude to the idea that the weekday is akin to anger, as we find in the beginning of the parashah where it is said (Bereishis 28:10) vayeitzei Yaakov mibeer sheva vayeilech Charana, Yaakov departed Beer Sheva and went toward Charan. This verse can be interpreted homiletically to read that Yaakov left Beer Sheva, i.e. he entered into Shabbos, the seventh day, and Charan, i.e. anger, left. Yaakov then asks if they know Lavan. What was the purpose of Yaakov asking this question? Perhaps the idea is that the Shem MiShmuel writes that Calev and Pinchas, the two spies sent by Yehoshua, understood from Rachav that the inhabitants of the land were subdued, because Rachav was Lilis, the great demon. Once Rachav acknowledged that the inhabitants were fearful of the Jewish People, the spies knew that the land would be conquered by the Jewish People. Thus, Yaakov was wondering how Lavan was faring and if he would be able to be victorious over Lavan and his evil schemes. The shepherds responded that they know who Lavan is, i.e. that he is Balaam, the master sorcerer (see Gemara Sanhedrin 105a and Rashi Ibid; Targum Yonasan Bamidbar 22:5). Yaakov then queried them if there was peace by Lavan and they responded with the word shalom, peace. The Baal HaTurim notes that Yaakov asked haShalom lo, is there peace with him, and the shepherds responded shalom, peace. The Baal HaTurim writes that they did not answer that Lavan had peace, as it is said (Yeshaya 57:21) ein shalom amar Elokai larishaim, ‘there is no peace,’ said my G-d, ‘for the wicked.’

The Shabbos Connection

Based on what we have mentioned previously, we can suggest that Yaakov, who reflects Shabbos, wished to know how he could subdue Lavan, who in a later reincarnation would be Balaam. The shepherds responded, shalom, peace. The Gemara (Shabbos 119b) states that when a Jew arrives home from shul on Friday night, he is escorted by two angels, one good and one evil. If when he arrives home and finds the lamp burning, the table set and his bed made, the good angel says, “may it be the will of HaShem that it should be this way the next Shabbos as well,” and the bad angel is forced to answer amen against his will. If the table is not set, however, then the bad angel says, “May it be the will of HaShem that it should be this way the next Shabbos as well,” and the good angel is forced to answer amen against his will. Thus, the shepherds were intimating to Yaakov that the manner in which to subdue Lavan would be by Yaakov conducting himself properly and then Lavan, i.e. Balaam, would be forced to answer amen. It is noteworthy that the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh (Bamidbar 23:24) explains that this is the rationale for why the Torah records the blessings that Balaam proffered on the Jewish People, as HaShem desired that the evil angel, i.e. Balaam, be forced to acknowledge that the Jewish People are blessed. HaShem should allow us to merit the holiness of Shabbos of which it is said (Prayer of Kegavna recited by Nusach Sefard) “when the Shabbos arrives, she unified herself in Oneness and divests herself of the Other Side [any trace of evil], all harsh judgments are removed from her.”

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Kel Mistater

This mystical Zemer was composed by Avraham Maimin, whose name with the addition of chazak, is formed by the acrostic. Avraham was a student of Rabbi Moshe Kordevero, a member of the Kabbalistic school of the Arizal, and he lived from 5282-5330 (1522-1570 C.E.)

הָאֵ-ל הַגָּדוֹל עֵינֵי כֹל נֶגְדֶּךָ. רַב חֶסֶד גָּדוֹל עַל הַשָּׁמַיִם חַסְדֶּךָ, O great G-d, all eyes look toward You, O great One of abundant kindness, higher than heaven is Your kindness. While we look to HaShem with our physical eyes, awaiting His salvation, we acknowledge that His kindness is above the heavens, i.e. beyond our comprehension. It is said (Tehillim 55:23) הַשְׁלֵךְ עַל יְ-ה-ו-ָה יְהָבְךָ וְהוּא יְכַלְכְּלֶךָ, cast upon HaShem your burden and He will sustain you. The Mefareish in Maseches Tamid writes than whenever Scripture uses the term השלכה, casting away, it means casting more than twenty amos. We know that a Menorah or Sukkah that is above twenty amos is invalid because לא שלטא בה עינא, the eye cannot see above twenty amos. Thus, Dovid HaMelech is teaching us that we should act our burden upon HaShem to the point that we cannot see it, i.e. we do not even comprehend where the salvation comes from.

Shabbos Stories

Reb Shimon the Holy Miser

In the city of Cracow resided an elderly, wealthy Jew, Reb Shimon. His wealth was well known to the people of Cracow; just as well known, however, was his stinginess. All the days of his life, he did not so much as give one coin to tzedakah. Thus his nickname: “Shimon the Miser.” One day, Reb Shimon passed away. The town’s burial society decided to bury him in a disgraceful manner and lay him to rest on the outskirts of the cemetery, a place reserved for the lowly members of the town. That Friday afternoon, the rabbi of Cracow, Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller (author of “Tosafos Yom Tov”), sat in his home engaged in Torah study. Suddenly, he heard a faint knock at the door. “Come in,” the rabbi called out. The door opened and in walked Reb Zalman, one of the poor men of Cracow. “Rebbe,” said Reb Zalman, “could you please help me? This week, I do not have even one coin in order to buy food for Shabbos.” “What do you mean by, ‘this week’?” asked Rabbi Heller. “What did you do until this week?” “Until this week,” answered Reb Zalman, “every Friday morning, I would find an envelope placed under my door containing the amount of money I need to buy food for Shabbos. Yet this morning, I checked under my door and there was no envelope! I am therefore left without any money to buy Shabbos food.” While they were conversing, there was another knock at the door. Another pauper walked in; he, too, came to ask for money for Shabbos. He was followed by another pauper and yet another…. They all had the same request: “Rabbi, please provide us with our Shabbos needs.” The wise rabbi deduced that the man who had passed away that week, an individual who everyone had thought to be a miser, was in reality a hidden tzaddik who had performed the mitzvah of tzedakah with utmost secrecy. Every week, Reb Shimon had apparently provided scores of Cracow’s poor with the funds to acquire their Shabbos needs. The rabbi made a public announcement: “I order the entire community to gather in the shul at once!” The rabbi, wrapped in his tallis, ascended the podium, opened the ark, and declared, “We, the people of Cracow, are gathered here today in order to beg forgiveness from one of the tzaddikim that lived in our midst. His greatness went unnoticed by us; we denigrated him and called him, ‘The Miser.’ “In the name of the entire community,” cried the rabbi, “I hereby beg for total forgiveness from Reb Shimon, who was a righteous and holy Jew!” Years later, when it came time for Rabbi Heller to depart to his Heavenly abode, he requested to be buried next to the tzaddik, Reb Shimon.

Bahndeet Muttel

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: When I was two years old, I visited My grandfather, Reb Yaakov Kamenetzky, of blessed memory, together with my parents. After four years as a widower, my grandfather had recently remarried and my step-grandmother was just getting used to the new family. I entered the apartment and immediately began playing with items that were not meant to be touched. To distract me, my new grandmother called to me. “What is your name?” she asked.

Beaming like a politician with a prepared response, I shouted, “bahn-deet Muttel!” Muttel, of course, was a nickname for Mordechai, an affectionate sobriquet that I was called in memory of my great-grandfather. But bahn-deet, a term that in all vernaculars, from Yiddish to English, means bandit, shocked all of the adults. Obviously someone had labeled me a troublemaker right from the onset of my career.

My mother was beet-red, as her new mother-in-law began chiding her upon the use of derogatory nicknames for children, even in jest.

Before my mother got a chance to defend herself, my grandfather, whose brilliance through the years had earned him the reputation as the great peacemaker and conciliator par excellence, stepped out of his study and declared “it’s all my fault.”

Everyone looked shocked. In what way was the great sage Reb Yaakov Kamenetzky, responsible for a two-year old child running around and declaring himself a bandit?

“Let me explain,” my grandfather began. “Young Mordechai is named for his grandfather Boruch Mordechai Burstein. However, I asked my son to follow my tradition and give only one name, as in Biblical times. That’s my opinion, and it is something my daughter-in-law is not accustomed to. The name Boruch was totally left out.” The great sage continued.

“I’m sure you are aware of the name Benedict, or even Bendet. Those were Jewish names that were translations of Boruch, just as Wolf was for Zev and Ber was for Dov. Our daughter-in-law was refused the opportunity to name her son Boruch Mordechai, but can we stop her from the affectionate memories she evokes if she calls him Bendet Muttel?” (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

Wringing and Laundering

 כיבוס – Laundering

 The Prohibition

 Wringing

 It is forbidden mideoraisa to wring out any absorbent fabric for the purpose of cleansing it, because wringing is the final step in the laundering process. We have already seen that even where one does not intend to cleanse the fabric, wringing is nevertheless forbidden miderabbanan (by Rabbinic Decree).

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Vayeitzei 5777

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Toldos 5777 Inspiration


This week we learn that even prior to birth, Yaakov and Esav are already battling out, struggling to conquer each other’s personalities, lands and portion in the World to Come. One must wonder why there was a need to have an embryonic struggle? After all, the Medrash states that the Evil Inclination does not get involved until a person is born, so for what purpose does the Torah tell us that Yaakov and Esav were already at odds in the womb?

The answer to this question is that Rashi cites a Medrash that teaches us a very interesting analogy regarding Yaakov and Esav birth. The Medrash states that what enters first comes out last, and Yaakov was conceived first, so he exited last. Yaakov, Rashi tells us, wasn’t satisfied with being first in conception. As Esav was exiting the womb and making entry into this world, Yaakov grasped Esav’s heel, with the desire to be born first. What significance is there in the fact that Yaakov was conceived first? One would think that all that really matters for birthright and other privileges is who was born first. Yet, the Medrash is teaching us the most fundamental precept regarding the Jewish People, and this theme is echoed throughout the parashah, especially with the dual of receiving Yitzchak blessings. Yaakov is first, both in conception and in birth. Although Esav officially entered the world prior to Yaakov, by grasping Esav’s heel, Yaakov was demonstrating that the Jewish People are ultimately the ראשית, HaShem’s first pick, so to speak. Indeed, the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 1:6) states that the world was created בראשית, in the beginning, on behalf of the Jewish People, who are referred to as ראשית. It is further noteworthy that the word בראשית is an acrostic for the words יעקב תם אחר שעיר ראשון בלידה, Yaakov the perfect one, after Sair (Esav), first in birth.

We must realize that although “all men were created equal,” HaShem chose the Jewish People as His Beloved Nation, and we have been first from the beginning of time and we will be first at the End of Days.

Have a FIRST CHOICE Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Toldos 5777 Inspiration

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Chaye Sara 5777 Inspiration


The focus of this week’s parasha is the matchmaking between Yitzchak and Rivka, facilitated by Eliezer, Avraham’s faithful servant. Nonetheless, the onset of the parasha is connected to this matchmaking, albeit with a different spin. The Torah states that Sara lived 127 years and Rashi writes that all her years were equally good. We then learn of Avraham’s struggle to obtain a burial plot for Sara, concluding with Ephron conniving to have Avraham dish out four hundred shekel in the best currency. Rashi (Shemos 6:9), citing the Gemara (Sanhedrin 111a) tells us that this episode of finding Sara a burial plot was a test that Avraham passed with flying colors. HaShem had promised the Land to Avraham, yet when it came time to bury Sara, Avraham could not find a plot until he paid four hundred shekel, but he still did not question HaShem’s ways.

While on the surface it appears that Avraham was merely purchasing a burial plot, on a deeper level Avraham was forging a connection with the Land and with the Shechinah, the Divine Presence. Indeed, Rabbeinu Bachye writes that the burial place of חברון is associated with the word חיבור, connection. Similarly, the marriage of Yitzchak and Rivka was a connection that allowed for the Divine Presence to repose in their home. It is noteworthy that the words (Bereishis 24:67) וַיְבִאֶהָ יִצְחָק הָאֹהֱלָה, and Yitzchak brought her (Rivka) into the tent equal in gematria the words זה חברון, this is Chevron.

HaShem should allow us to continue in the ways of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, constantly seeking a Connection to HaShem and His Holy Torah, and we should merit the ultimate connection with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu and the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash in the Holy City of Yerushalayim, of which it is said (Tehillim 122:3) יְרוּשָׁלִַם הַבְּנוּיָה כְּעִיר שֶׁחֻבְּרָה לָּהּ יַחְדָּו, the built-up Jerusalem is like a city that is united together, speedily, in our days.

Have a HOLY CONNECTED Shabbos

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Chaye Sara 5777 Inspiration

Is sponsored לזכר נשמת האשה החשובה מרת חיה אסתר בת ר’ משה צבי הלוי אוקוליקא ע”ה ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.and as a zechus לרפואה שלימה חיה דינה חביבה בת שושנה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל.
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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Toldos 5777


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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Toldos 5777

Shabbos and the Opening of the Wells

Introduction

In this week’s parashah the Torah relates how Yitzchak dug wells and the shepherds of Gerar quarreled with the shepherds of Yitzchak regarding the wells. The Ramban (Bereishis 26:20) writes that the Torah relates the episode of the wells that Yitzchak dug to allude to the Bais HaMikdash. The first well was called Esek, strife and struggle, as this alludes to the first Bais HaMikdash that was destroyed by the Babylonians, and the second well was called sitnah, hatred, as this name alludes to the second Bais HaMikdash that was destroyed by the Romans. The third well, however, was called Rechovos, expansion, and this name alludes to the third Bais HaMikdash that HaShem Himself will build and there will not be any quarrel or strife involved in the building of the third Bais HaMikdash. Drinking water and drawing the Divine Spirit

One must wonder, though, why the Torah chose to hint to the building of the Bais HaMikdash specifically in the section that discusses Yitzchak’s struggles with the Plishtim. Furthermore, regarding the well that Yaakov encounters prior to marrying Rachel, the Ramban (Ibid 29:2) writes based on the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 70:8) that the three flocks of sheep alludes to the three festivals when the Jewish People make the pilgrimage to the Bais HaMikdash. The flocks drinking the water allude to the drawing of Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit that was manifested in the Bais HaMikdash. There also we must understand why the Torah chose to allude to the Bais HaMikdash with an apparently mundane episode of sheep drinking water.

The gates are open on Shabbos and one can enter those gates with preparation

It is said (Yechezkel 46:1) ko amar HaShem Elokim shaar hechatzer hapinimis haponeh kadim yihyeh sagur sheishes yimei hamaaseh uvayom haShabbos yipaseiach uvayom hachodesh yipaseiach, thus said the Lord/Elokim: “The gate of the inner courtyard that faces eastward shall be closed during the six days of labor, but on the Shabbos day it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon it shall be opened.” The Sfas Emes (Toldos 5643) writes that the Mishna (Avos 5:6) states that the mouth of the well was created on Erev Shabbos. The explanation of this is that Shabbos is the well and HaShem allows a Jew to prepare for Shabbos prior to Shabbos. In this way one can connect the days of the week with Shabbos. Thus, writes the Sfas Emes, according to the manner that one aspires to receive the Shabbos with joy, HaShem will show him the correct path to enter into Shabbos.

Shabbos and Yom Tov are times of extra spirituality

The Sfas Emes (Noach 5647) writes further that Shabbos and Yom Tov are the times when the gates of heaven are opened for an extra infusion of spirituality and it is at these times that one can ascend to greater spiritual heights. We can now understand why the Medrash and the Ramban write that the opening of the wells alludes to the festivals because it was specifically on the festivals that the Jewish People witnessed in the Bais HaMikdash the revelation of HaShem in all His glory. This revelation allowed them to draw from the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit.

The Shabbos connection

We have mentioned that on Shabbos one can actually experience the well of water, which is a metaphor to an in increase in spiritual influence in our lives. One must recognize that Shabbos is a well of fresh water that can literally bring the soul back to life. Throughout the week we are engaged in Torah study and performance of mitzvos. Nonetheless, our study of Torah and performance of mitzvos on Shabbos is akin to a man in a desert who discovers an oasis. He may have been drinking water from his canteen but the oasis is on a different plane. Similarly, Shabbos is on a different level than the rest of the week, and it is the Holy Shabbos that provides the spirituality for the rest of the week. HaShem should allow us to recognize the holiness of Shabbos and to prepare for the Shabbos properly so we can drink from its spiritual waters.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Kel Mistater

This mystical Zemer was composed by Avraham Maimin, whose name with the addition of chazak, is formed by the acrostic. Avraham was a student of Rabbi Moshe Kordevero, a member of the Kabbalistic school of the Arizal, and he lived from 5282-5330 (1522-1570 C.E.)

תּוֹצְאוֹתֶיהָ חֲמִשִּׁים שַׁעֲרֵי בִינָה. אֱמוּנִים נוֹצֵר יְ-ה-ֹו-ָה, its overflows are fifty gates of understanding – faithful ones are guarded by HaShem. The simple reading of the words אֱמוּנִים נוֹצֵר יְ-ה-ֹו-ָה is that HaShem guards the faithful ones. We can suggest an alternative interpretation, as the word אמן, besides meaning faith, also means to cultivate. Thus, we are saying that faith needs to be cultivated, and the word נוֹצֵר here means to observe the growth of faith, like one preserves and guards the cultivation of a tree.

Shabbos Stories

Kosher for now, kosher for eternity

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: This past summer 30,000 Boy Scouts joined together in Virginia for a national Boy Scout Jamboree. Among the myriad groups of scouts who attend this event that occurs every four years are many Jewish Scouts as well. Mike Paretsky, a Vice Chairman of the GNYC Jewish Committee on scouting, was the kosher food liaison to the jamboree. Special food was ordered from O’Fishel caterers of Baltimore, so that the Jewish scouts would be able to nourish their bodies as well. One of the scoutmasters, a Jewish man, caught a glimpse of the kosher offerings. He had never eaten a kosher meal in his life, yet when he saw the special meals, something stirred. He and his troops were being served pork-this and bacon-that for breakfast, lunch and supper, and all of a sudden this man decided he was sick of the monotonous treif stuff. He wanted to eat kosher. Scoutmaster Paretsky gladly let him partake in a meal, but that was not enough for the fellow. The man decided to keep kosher during the entire jamboree!

Mr. Paretsky agreed to accommodate the neophyte kosherphile, but a skeptic approached him. “Mike,” he said, “why are you wasting your kosher food on this fellow? He is not going to eat kosher after this is over, and he observes absolutely nothing! Why waste the food on him?”

Mike answered with an amazing story of the Chofetz Chaim. When Russian soldiers entered the town of Radin, Jewish townsfolk prepared kosher meals for the Jewish soldiers in the Czar’s army. Soon their acts of charity seemed to fly in their face as they saw the soldiers devour the food and then stand on line to receive the forbidden Russian rations. When they complained to the Chofetz Chaim and threatened to stop preparing kosher food, he reflected with an insight that must be passed on to generations.

“Every mitzvah that a Jew does, every good deed and every bit of kosher that he eats is not a fleeting act. It is an eternity. No matter what precedes or ensues, we must cherish each proper action of a Jew.” (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

Wringing and Laundering

 כיבוס – Laundering

 The Prohibition

 Scrubbing

 It is forbidden mideoraisa (by Torah Prohibition) to scrub any wet fabric or to rub two parts of the fabric against each other.

This stage of laundering is forbidden with the use of all materials, whether absorbent or not. Thus, although one is permitted to wet a plastic tablecloth, one may not scrub it while wet (neither with one’s hands nor with an implement).

With plastic, one is allowed to brush lightly to loosen dirt; the prohibition is to rub forcefully., However, with absorbent fabric, one is prohibited even from rubbing lightly. [Note: this prohibition applies only to soft materials, not to hard surfaces such as wood.]

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Toldos 5777

Is sponsored לזכר נשמת האשה החשובה מרת חיה אסתר בת ר’ משה צבי הלוי אוקוליקא ע”ה     ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.and as a zechus לרפואה שלימה חיה דינה חביבה בת שושנה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל.

Sponsorships $180.00

Have a Wonderful Shabbos!

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363

To subscribe weekly by email, please email ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.wordpress.com

New Stories Toldos 5777

From Baptist Minister to Orthodox Jew

Moshe Boldor’s harrowing odyssey from hunted renegade in Communist Romania to freedom in the U.S. as an observant Jew.

by Ronda Robinson

Jean Boldor was an auto mechanic and driver for the Director of Mines in Romania, in 1983. He wanted to escape the Communist country where he was born and freely study the Bible. “In a Communist country, you cannot do anything you want,” he says.

The Romanian government forced citizens to celebrate Communist holidays. Boldor thirsted for more. “For whatever reason I was attached to the Old Testament,” he recalls, “and read about the people of Israel and the prophets. It fascinated me how God took the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.”

Always drawn to Biblical learning, Boldor didn’t know until much later that he had Jewish roots. His great-great-great-grandmother was Jewish. From there, the trail grows cold. The Jewish community in his native Lupeni was decimated during World War II, when Romania became a satellite of Nazi Germany and Jews lost their shops and citizenship. At the end of the war thousands of Jews fled Romania. It is estimated that by the end of the 1960s, the Romanian Jewish community numbered no more than 100,000.

Wanting to share the joy he found, Boldor began to teach the Bible to young people. “The Communists did not look kindly upon my involvement, so I was taken to the police station many times to be interrogated, handcuffed and beaten – and given time to reflect on my activity.”

Lay people like Boldor were arrested for asserting their religious beliefs; they weren’t allowed to have Bibles. At age 20, he applied to emigrate to the United States where he could pursue Bible studies.

“From that moment on, I was followed everywhere because I was considered a threat to Communism,” he remembers. “When you applied to leave, they thought you were a danger.”

For five years Boldor lingered in Romania with no end in sight. Life was growing more difficult, so he decided to run away but was caught on a train headed toward the Yugoslavian border.

Military police put him under 24-hour arrest in a room full of screaming people with broken arms and broken feet who received no medical attention. They told him of being beaten with AK-47 assault rifles. After paying a monetary penalty, he was freed and went home.

Then in August 1988, Boldor and a friend, Ion, tried to flee again, going by train and on foot to the border. “I prayed to God to save me. I read Psalms when I had a few minutes. We went three days without drinking any water,” he says.

Villagers saw the two men and alerted the military who surrounded them. The soldiers began to beat them.

“Usually beatings were so bad that very few survived the next week,” Boldor says, “But one sergeant saw that I had a book of Psalms and ordered the soldiers not to touch me. Once again I saw the Hand of God and I thanked Him.”

He was put in military prison for two weeks. Then a friend in Austria sent Boldor $100 through his bank, which was used to bribe an Army captain to let Boldor and Ion go free.

They began plotting their third escape.

“I read in the Book of Esther that Mordechai and Esther fasted three days and three nights to save the Jewish nation from Haman, so I did the same. I fasted three days and nights and cried to God to help us this time succeed.”

Boldor’s prayers were answered. In September 1988 he and Ion took a train to the Yugoslavian border. They jumped out at a station close to the border and hid in a stand of hay. They slept by day and walked or crawled by night.

When they reached Yugoslavia they walked to Belgrade, about 500 km, 310 miles. In Belgrade they climbed atop a train to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, to avoid detection by the police.

From Ljubljana they hopped a train to Germany and Austria and at last arrived at a refugee camp near Vienna, their clothes full of dust and oil. Their treacherous two-week journey was over.

“It’s hard to describe what it means to be free and alive after such a long and dangerous trip. When we got there we found out that 180 people had been killed by the Romanian border. So God once again saved my life,” says Boldor.

He kept a promise to God to study the Bible if he survived. As a refugee from a Communist country, he obtained a visa from Canada, where he learned Biblical Hebrew and earned a bachelor’s degree in religious education at a Christian college. He also became an ordained Baptist minister.

Eventually Boldor married, had four children and moved to Seattle, Washington, where he started a small business taking care of seniors. It was during his first trip to Israel in 2004 and visiting the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron where the patriarchs and matriarchs are buried that the Baptist minister had a spiritual crisis. He had always believed Abraham was buried in Shechem, as the Christian Bible stated. Now he found otherwise. He started to compare the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and saw other discrepancies. Torah won him over.

“When I went to Israel I saw the beauty of Judaism and Shabbat. It was life-changing for me. The Torah passages came alive,” he says. He followed the murmurings of his heart as a child and decided to convert to Judaism.

Back home in Seattle he resigned his pulpit, began going to synagogue and learn Torah intensely, and started keeping the laws of Torah. The conversion process took 10 years. The former Baptist minister, who changed his name to Moshe, now keeps a kosher home and prays with a minyan three times a day.

His marriage didn’t withstand the changes. His wife didn’t want to convert to Judaism and the couple divorced. Three of their children converted, with one of the daughters making aliyah.

Boldor, 56, studies through an online yeshiva and makes Torah the center of his life. “It is really great to be part of the Jewish nation and follow in Avraham’s footsteps.” Today he owns and manages a nursing home in Seattle.

He transforms the hardships he endured to help others. “I am thankful to God because I was able to come home to Torah and Israel and I am trying to help other Jews. The time is not too late to come home and join the Jewish nation of Israel through following the Torah.

“Sometimes I cry living here in America. In Romania they handcuffed me, tortured me, put me in prison for reading and learning the Torah. Here we have freedom but sometimes it is wasted. My prayer is for God to use me to help other Jews appreciate the beauty of Torah.” (www.aish.com)

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Vayeira 5777 Inspiration


In this week’s parasha, we learn about the amazing chesed that Avraham performs for his three guests, angels in the guise of people. Avraham was in extreme pain from his recent circumcision (although the commentators say that HaShem’s visit healed Avraham), and HaShem wanted him to take a break from hosting guests. Nonetheless, when HaShem saw that Avraham was distressed about the lack of wayfarers, HaShem brought Avraham three guests so that Avraham could perform the mitzvah of הכנסת אורחים. Yet, when Avraham commenced his acts of kindness, he said (Bereishis 18:4) יֻקַּח נָא מְעַט מַיִם וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם וְהִשָּׁעֲנוּ תַּחַת הָעֵץ, let some water be brought and wash your feet, and recline beneath the tree. Rashi citing the Medrash takes Avraham to task on this directive, as Avraham passed on the mitzvah to one of his household members, and HaShem paid back the Jewish People in measure. When Miriam died, the well of water left the Jewish People, and the Jews complained to Moshe and HaShem instructed Moshe to draw forth water from the rock.

One must wonder what the meaning of this condemnation is. Avraham was running a major hospitality movement, and while it would have certainly been noble for Avraham to do everything himself, it does not appear that this approach would have been practical. In fact, further on we see that Avraham had his son Yishmael serve the guests the meat. What, then, was the fault of Avraham regarding his offer to bring his guests water? Furthermore, we must understand how Avraham’s act was connected to the Jews’ receiving water in the Wilderness?

The answer to this questions is that Avraham was essentially exempt from performing mitzvos because of his condition following circumcision. Nonetheless , his distress caused them to grant him an opportunity of performing chased for guests, and Avraham should have used this opportunity to its fullest. Certainly Avraham should have performed the first act of kindness on his own without involving others. Similarly, when  the well of water disappeared in the Wilderness, the Jewish People should have used the opportunity to pray to HaShem directly for water. After all, when HaShem created the world, the rain did not fall until Adam appeared and prayed for rain. HaShem therefore punished the Jewish People by having Moshe draw forth the water, and this episode resulted in Moshe not being able to enter into Eretz Yisrael. Had Moshe spoken to the rock and not hit the rock, the Jewish People would have witnessed HaShem’s full abilities to provide for them. When Moshe hit the rock, this perception was diminished in the eyes of the Jewish People and Moshe forfeited entering the Land. We find in a similar event that the Jewish People requested so send spies to determine the value of Eretz Yisroel, and this act of having messengers stake out the Land had grave consequences, and most of the Jewish People died in the Wilderness and we lost the Bais HaMikdash twice on Tisha B’Av.

The lesson from this act of Avraham is that we must always grasp the opportunity to perform mitzvah to its fullest and then HaShem will grant us opportunities to perform more mitzvos to the fullest.

Have a MITZVAH FILLED Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Vayeira 5777 Inspiration

Is sponsored לזכר נשמת האשה החשובה מרת חיה אסתר בת ר’ משה צבי הלוי אוקוליקא ע”ה ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.and as a zechus לרפואה שלימה חיה דינה חביבה בת שושנה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל.
Sponsorships $180.00
Have a wonderful Shabbos!
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler
For sponsorships please call 773.236.1761
To subscribe weekly by email, please emailShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on http://www.doreishtov.wordpress.com

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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vayeira 5777


vayeira-5777

new-stories-vayeria-5777

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Vayeira 5777

Avraham and Eradication of Evil

Introduction

This week’s parashah contains a theme that appears to run throughout the entire parashah. The Torah commences this week with the incident where Avraham has just been circumcised and despite his pain, he invites three strangers to partake in a sumptuous meal. Avraham himself waits on his guests and he is then informed that he and his wife Sarah will be having a child. The guests, who are angels in disguise, then depart to destroy the city of Sodom and its surroundings.

Praying for the wicked people of Sodom

HaShem informs Avraham of the tragic state of affairs in Sodom, and Avraham prays to HaShem to spare the cities in the merit of the righteous. HaShem informs Avraham that there are no righteous people in all the cities and Avraham desists from praying further. The angels then enter Sodom where they are greeted by Lot who invites them into his house. The residents of Sodom are not pleased with this act of hospitality and they attempt to harm the visitors. HaShem causes the citizens of Sodom to become blind and the angels then proceed to escort Lot and his remaining family out of the city. HaShem then destroys Sodom and its environs and Lot escapes with his two daughters. Lot and his daughters then engage in an illicit relationship, and the union bears the two forerunners of the Ammonite and Moabite nations. The Torah then records how Avraham settles in the Philistine city of Gerar and the king of Gerar, Avimelech, abducts Sarah. HaShem then punishes Avimelech and his household by restraining their orifices.

Yishmael is banished and Avraham and Yitzchak are tested by Hashem The Torah then relates how Sarah gave birth to Yitzchak and subsequent to Yitzchak’s birth, Sarah demands that Avraham banish Yishmael and his mother because of Yishmael’s evil ways. Following this incident we learn how Avraham makes a treaty with Avimelech, and then the Torah relates the spellbinding incident where HaShem instructs Avraham to offer his cherished son Yitzchak as a sacrifice. HaShem then sends an angel to repeal this commandment and Avraham slaughters a ram in Yitzchak’s stead.

The negation of evil

The theme that we see running through this parashah is what is referred to as bittul hara, negation of evil. Circumcision is essentially a negation of the Evil Inclination and the materialism represented within. Sodom was the epitome of evil, and Avraham apparently desired, in the words of the Gemara (Brachos 10a), yitamu chataim vilo chotim, let the sins cease but not the sinners. Lot acted in a self-defeating manner, bringing shame upon himself and his future generations. Similarly, Avimelech encountered Avraham and Sarah, righteous people, and HaShem punished him harshly. Yishmael was banished from the home of the righteous, and Avraham and Yitzchak were tested in an unprecedented manner. This test, in a sense, was the expiation of any doubt in their minds that they could have possibly had regarding HaShem’s Oneness and His dominion over the entire world.

The Shabbos connection

In the prayer of kegavna that is recited by Nusach Sefard on Friday night, we recite the words kad ayil Shabbsa ihi isyachadas viisparashas misitra achara vichol dinin misabrin minah, when the Shabbos arrives, she unified herself in Oneness and divests herself of the Other Side, [any trace of evil] all harsh judgments are removed from her. Thus, the purpose of creation is that the Jewish People divest itself of all evil and harsh judgments. It is incumbent upon us to recognize that every moment of our lives is a test to choose between good and evil, and when we are victorious, we merit the holiness and exaltedness of Shabbos. HaShem should allow us to be victorious in this world and to merit a portion in the World to Come, when it will be a day that will be completely a Shabbos and a rest day for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Kel Mistater

This mystical Zemer was composed by Avraham Maimin, whose name with the addition of chazak, is formed by the acrostic. Avraham was a student of Rabbi Moshe Kordevero, a member of the Kabbalistic school of the Arizal, and he lived from 5282-5330 (1522-1570 C.E.)

מֵאַיִן תִּמָּצֵא וְהִיא נֶעֱלָמָה. רֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה יִרְאַת יְ-הֹ-ו-ָה,   from the Invisible One it derives, but it is hidden – the source of wisdom is awe of HaShem. Whenever one wishes to describe HaShem’s Wisdom, which is His Holy Torah, one is left without words. The reason for this is because Torah is beyond human understanding. Indeed, the Gemara (Megillah 6b) states יגעתי ומצאתי תאמן, if one says, “I have toiled and I have found,” i.e. I have achieved success in my studies, believe him. The Sfas Emes writes that the Gemara likens Torah study to one who finds a lost object. One can toil in his search for the lost object, but when he finds it, it is like a gift handed to him. Similarly, one can toil in this world in Torah study, but success in one’s studies is a gift from HaShem.

Shabbos Stories

Rav Aharon Kotler’s Father the Fur Merchant

HaGaon Rav Aharon Kotler told over a story about his father’s mesirus nefesh for Torah. His father was a fur merchant in Lita. At a certain period, his business dwindled, and it reached a point where his family was lacking food to sustain themselves.

Every day after Shacharis, his father would learn for two hours, and was mapkid on this learning period his entire life. One day, a wealthy merchant knocked on the door of the Kotler family, and informed them that he would like to buy a sizable amount of furs. However, it was the set learning time of Rav Kotler. His wife knocked on the door of his room, once, twice, and three times, and urged her husband to utilize this opportunity for his business.

Rav Kotler answered from behind the door, “Go tell him that if he’s willing to wait until I finish my learning, good! If not – he should go in peace. A person’s mezonos is set from Rosh HaShanah until Rosh HaShanah. If it was decreed that I will sell the merchandise, I’ll find a buyer!”

Rav Aharon concluded his story, “My father’s wondrous mesiras nefesh for Torah instilled in us the emunah peshutah, ‘When you learn Torah, you never lose out!’ All of my mesiras nefesh for Torah – I acquired from him!” (Tuvcha Yabiyu) (www.Revach.net)

True humility

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Rabbi Dovid Koppleman tells the story of Rabbi Abish, the Rav of Frankfurt who was known for his extraordinary humility. In addition, he would often raise funds for the needy families of his city. Once he heard that a wealthy man was on business in town and went to the man’s hotel suite to ask him for a donation. The tycoon was arrogant and assumed that the Rav was a poor shnorrer, and after a few moments drove him out of his room. A few minutes later the man went to leave his suite and looked for his silver cane. Noticing it was gone, he immediately suspected that Reb Abish took it during his brief visit.

Quickly, the man bolted toward the lobby of the hotel where he accosted Reb Abish. “Thief,” the man shouted while pushing the Rav, “give me back my cane!” Reb Abish calmly pleaded. “I did not steal your cane. Please do not accuse me! Please believe me. I did not steal your cane!”

The man was adamant in his arrogance and began to beat the Rav while onlookers recoiled in horror. Reb Abish, despite the pain, remained steadfast in his humble demeanor. “Please believe me. I did not steal your cane!” Finally, the man realized he was getting nowhere and left Reb Abish in disgust.

That Saturday was Shabbos Shuva. The entire community, including the wealthy visitor, packed Frankfurt’s main synagogue for the traditional Shabbos Shuva Speech. Horror gripped the visitor as a familiar looking figure rose to the podium and mesmerized the vast audience with an eloquent oration. It was the very shnorrer he had accosted in the hotel! As soon as the speech ended, the man pushed his way toward the podium and in a tearful voice tried to attract the Rabbi’s attention. He was about to plead forgiveness for his terrible behavior when Reb Abish noticed the man.

In all sincerity Reb Abish began to softly plead with him. “I beg of you! Please do not hit me. I truly did not steal your cane.” (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

Wringing and Laundering

 כיבוס – Laundering

 The melacha of כיבוס forbids all methods of laundering, including those that can be done without the assistance of water, such as ניעור מעפר, dusting [a garment], and הסרת הכתם, removing a stain [by brushing]. However, we will focus only on cleaning with water, for this method of laundering is most relevant to cleaning the table after a meal.

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Vayeira 5777

Is sponsored לזכר נשמת האשה החשובה מרת חיה אסתר בת ר’ משה צבי הלוי אוקוליקא ע”ה     ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.and as a zechus לרפואה שלימה חיה דינה חביבה בת שושנה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל.

Sponsorships $180.00

Have a Wonderful Shabbos!

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363

To subscribe weekly by email, please email ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.wordpress.com

New Stories Vayeira 5777

God, Stay Where I Can See You

Shattered and made whole. Learning to trust God with everything.

by Lori Samlin Miller

A decade ago, I began a journey toward Jewish observance together with my husband. I embraced performing mitzvahs and keeping Shabbat. I loved the holidays, and began to see through what I previously thought were random events, God’s loving hand in my life.

But all that changed when my husband became ill. Suddenly, God’s management skills came into question. How could this random, awful thing happen to my husband? I much preferred the God I had come to feel was directing my life and orchestrating events that made sense and showed us His love for us. How could I feel God’s kindness now?

My mind split into two screens. Showing in Theater One: Numbness. I was overwhelmed, paralyzed with disbelief, unable to process, accept or absorb the severity of this new reality, let alone confront the necessary steps we had to undergo to determine the choices we now faced. How could my husband – a kind, caring, selfless physician and surgeon who’d devoted his life to caring for his patients – be so sick himself?

Playing on Screen Two: Business. Putting my emotions aside, there were practical decision to be made – lining up appointments, selecting doctors, comforting our loved ones while reassigning his patients to other doctors and grappling with the insurance company’s endless red tape.

Over the next few days, we gathered blessings from rabbis and opinions from specialists. Our journey through a maze of challenges, confusion, and fear was just beginning.

I did a lot of praying, choking back tears most times, gushing at others, finding myself frequently at God’s doorstep to petition for His mercy and healing because I didn’t know where else to turn. I felt such despair. God really cares about us, I told myself repeatedly, as I threw myself harder into my prayers. I quietly gave God my whole package.

Amongst my many fears and the confusion I expressed only to God was the puzzling fact that my husband was young and strong. He’d never smoked or drank. How could this diagnosis of throat cancer be true?

Not only did the illness seem terrifying, the recommended surgery to affect the best prognosis, a total laryngectomy (the removal of the larynx and breathing is done through an opening in the neck) is so radical and extreme. How would we learn to accept and adjust to what this new reality would bring? It wasn’t fair and I at times I felt a distance between God and me.

The next few days were a blur as we chose surgeon, hospital, and course of treatment. My battle with the insurance company began to heat up. I stopped often to pray that God would be with us every step of this journey. I experienced panic and terror when I lapsed into thinking I had to make everything work out, forgetting that God was in charge and onboard to orchestrate the best doctors, hospitals, outcomes, healing and recovery possible. I doubt I could have survived without believing that, no matter how muddled my thinking and my emotions often were.

What a journey. After each surgery, I was euphoric, full of gratitude, awed by my husband’s courage and determination. I felt God’s mercy and appreciated the skillful medical specialists He worked through. God really loves us, He really cares about us, I thought repeatedly. When the euphoria wore off, we were left to confront so many difficult adjustments in the aftermath of disease and surgical devastation. I wondered, do I really trust God? If so, why did the intense emotional pain and confusion sporadically reappear? Why did my emotions torque from one end of the spectrum to another like a kite on a windy day?

I prayed incessantly as I made my case for mercy and healing, wondering if I was being heard, yet painfully aware I had no place else to go. I’ve always been squeamish, with a deeply rooted fear and discomfort in hospitals and medical settings, yet I remained firmly planted by my husband’s side. Slowly, the shock of what happened was replaced by greater awareness of God’s presence all around us in the form of kind nurses who exhibited great compassion and care; in volunteers who bought me books and tea; and especially in my husband’s humble acceptance and appreciation of everything being done to help him. I tried to string together the minutes that were devoid of worry or fear.

What does it really mean to be a practicing, believing Jew? Would I succeed in forging a relationship with Him? Until we went through this life changing experience, I never understood how important and necessary it was for me to be able to spill out the entire contents of my mind and heart and give all my anger, disappointment, unhappiness, worry and fear to God. I held nothing back. Allowing myself to be totally vulnerable and real with God saved me exploding in rage and turning away completely and losing my faith.

Though I kept stumbling and hitting my reset button, I was trusting Him to take care of us even when we didn’t like what He was dishing, when we thought it was unfair, horrible, uncomfortable and incomprehensible. It was all true, but I came to understand that nothing I felt or expressed pushed God further away; paradoxically it only bought us closer. My honest expressions made my faith in Him stronger as I learned there was nothing I could ever say or do that would sever our relationship as long as I kept Him close and trusted in Him.

My husband’s encouraging prognosis and slow progress became palpable, exciting. Fear, worry, and doubt no longer eclipsed my gratitude and recognition of God’s hand working to heal my husband, keep our family afloat, and fuel the hospital’s competent and caring staff as we eased into our next steps. No longer was I questioning why God would allow such an evil thing to occur, but was instead clinging to Him for help to guide and direct us. I realized it had been vital for me to question God and express my anger and outrage to Him because it meant I no longer felt resentful about the challenges and pain our family endured. That was the process through which my anger, resentment and disappointment were removed, leaving a stronger relationship in their place, based on my ability to be honest with God about how I felt, and what I needed from Him.

We entered the next phase of our journey – looking forward to our new life and the next set of challenges, and the skills to grow and maximize the opportunities that God was now showing us.

I’m a Special Education teacher, a detail my husband credited God with having inserted into the equation to encourage our resilience to accept our new reality and recognize our potential. By learning to accept what we perceived as different, we slowly learned to show ourselves love, tolerance, and acceptance that emulate the way God loves us.

Not being able to speak is a challenging disability. We were told that after his throat healed, my husband could opt to learn a new way to speak, but before his discharge from the hospital, he received a mechanical device called an electrolarynx. Eager to talk rather than write, the speech pathologist asked what he wanted to say to me. I stood by his side, breathless and excited.

Fascinated, I watched him study the apparatus, place it against his throat and turn to face me. With a twinkle in his eye he didn’t hesitate to say exactly what was on his mind. “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”

That was it. I laughed so hard until the tears splashed over my eyelids and down my cheeks. I laughed so much it hurt to keep laughing, but felt too good to stop. I thought I’d forgotten how to laugh and it made me feel so alive.

We were encouraged by other people we connected with online who’d had the same surgery. After our radiation treatments were complete, a wonderful speech therapist taught us esophageal speech. As a result of my husband’s incredible determination, it is somewhat mind boggling that he learned an entirely new and different way to speak and is well understood.

Forced to retire as one of our region’s most beloved surgeons, he devotes himself to learning Torah. I am grateful for my husband’s kind demeanor and humility. Despite having gone through so much, he recognizes God as having orchestrated things perfectly. His simple faith is both stunning and inspiring.

I started volunteering at an inner-city hospital, deriving such joy at distracting and momentarily cheering up patients stuck there. While visiting as many patients as possible each week, in my efforts to give others what we most needed when we were in their place, I feel I am acknowledging and attempting to repay my debt of gratitude at the miraculous care my husband received and the healing God granted him.

It’s not that I like being back in the hospital every week; actually, I despise it. But then how else could I be there to offer others what we needed most: distraction and a moment of lightness and joy at a time when it may be the last thing you’d expect, but possibly the thing you need most. With a small flower glued to my nose, I step far outside of my comfort zone each week along with my fellow hospital clowns, performing red foam nose transplants; making children smile, encouraging anxious family and friends in the waiting rooms, distracting terrified babies with bubbles and our special light-up thumbs.

I can’t believe I get to do this work. It keeps me focused not on how low and lonely a person can be when things seem dark and stormy, but how high you can soar if you let God lift you up. I have no shame that I doubted God’s plan, and I no longer wonder if feeling angry and questioning God meant I didn’t really trust Him. I know now that in reality, my personal dialogue with God removed the distance and the interruptions I experienced in our relationship. Dislodging those thoughts brought me closer to Him. (www.aish.com)

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