Sunday, September 23, 2018

He Thwarts The Plans

Eighteen years ago I heard the shofar blow at the end of Yom Kippur with a heavy heart. I felt we should go back and pray the prayers of the day all over again. Without the Holy Temple how could we know that the red thread had tuned white and our sins were truly forgiven*?  We were a little over a week into the Oslo War then and I worried how many of us had not been sealed in the Book of Life.

Just ten days later one of the rabbis my son looked up to was murdered in a terror attack, becoming the ninth victim since the beginning of the new year. The bad news continued with drive-by shootings, suicide bombers, roadside bombs, and stones. What had happened to our poignant plea, our Father, our King thwart the plans of our enemies?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Trust in HaShem

It was back in my high school days, over forty years ago, that I first began making lists: lists for the day, lists for week, homework lists, shopping lists, reading lists, you name it. Those lists made me feel I was in control. They became holy, so holy that there were times when I’d spend more energy worrying about completing the items on the list than on actually performing the tasks.

Nothing illustrates this better than my behavior when I have a daughter or daughter-in-law in her ninth month. Even if I have no intention of going with her to the labor room how can I plan to go to a class, make a doctor’s appointment, or any other activity? What if I’m needed to watch the older children or prepare meals or do laundry? How I will be able to get to the hospital to meet the new arrival if I’m off at the beach or visiting a sick friend? And, if the baby is a boy, what if there’s a conflict for the brit?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Another Look at Akeidat Yitzhak

courtesy of

Ten years have passed since The Mercaz HaRav Massacre and seven years since I wrote how my neighbor, the father of one of the victims, touched the heartstrings of our congregation when he chanted from the Torah on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.  As the new year approaches I find myself compelled to share my memories of that reading once more.  

Thursday, August 30, 2018


“You have no right to be tired!’

The young mother’s words left me speechless for a few seconds and then I found my voice.

“Honey, you’re at least half my age and I’ve been babysitting little grandchildren all day. Yes, I have a right to be tired.”

She didn’t really get it, but then, I didn’t get it either when I was her age.  Back when I was waking up with crying babies every night I was never duly sympathetic to my father, may he rest in peace, complaining that he always seemed to be awake in the wee hours of the morning. Now more and more of my contemporaries are voicing the same complaint.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Three Apologies

There have been times I was certain that I was owed an apology but never received one. Several weeks ago the opposite happened and it happened big time. The first request for forgiveness was from an editor who regretted making me wait a couple of weeks for her response. In the world of free-lance a fortnight is like a blink of an eye and I forgave her whole-heartedly, touched she’d even asked.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Little Bird is Calling : first appeared in Shabbat Shalom, August 10th

courtesy of OU

Over forty years have passed since I first heard this song. In my opinion the melody was beautiful but the words, well the words speak for themselves.

The little bird is calling,
It wishes to return.
The little bird is wounded,
It cannot fly but yearn.
It’s captured by the vultures,
Crying bitterly,
Oh, to see my nest again,
Oh, to be redeemed.

The little bird of silver,
So delicate and rare,
Still chirps amongst the vultures,
Outshining all that’s there.
How long, how long it suffers,
How long will it be,
When will come the eagle,
And set the little bird free.

The little bird is Yisroel,
The vultures are our foes,
The painful wound is Golus,
Which we all feel and know,
The nest is Yerushalayim,
Where we yearn to be once more,
The eagle is the Moshiach,
Whom we are waiting for.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Holding a Grudge

It’s wrong. I know it’s wrong. It says so smack dap in the middle of the Torah in the portion of Kedoshim (Holiness). Chapter nineteen, verse eighteen states do not take revenge and do not bear a grudge against the sons of your people and love your neighbor as yourself, I am HaShem.

Our rabbis teach us that there are no commandments in the Torah which are impossible to do. So why do I find it so hard to stop running my tongue over the canker sore of my resentment against the ones who did me wrong?