A Poem. (eh.)

I wear inverse bell-curve-shaped glasses.
Middle-ground-mellow thoughts
about the people I see before me.
Just shy of neutral, I gaze out and,
if at all, judge others vaguely,
with quarter-hearted indifference.
My caring for them, though,
goes far deeper.  The other seventy-five percent.

But for myself,
I save the strongest scrutiny.
Digging deeper,
I hate, and love, and see me
with hawk-like intensity.
I pierce my flesh with talons and daggers,
shooting out from a critical eye.

‘Cuz I’m:
Too old.  Too young.
Too slow.  Too sharp.
Too reserved.  Too loud.
Too simple.  Too eccentric.
Too rigid.  Too compromising.
Too self-critical.

I notice my every flaw,
stare until I crumble under my own gaze,
until I am consumed by the blazing fires of shame.
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.

But- I defend myself
with the same impassioned intensity.
I am a fire sign.
This MUST be family loyalty.
With every mistake, I see it’s context.
I’m aware that I’m willing, and well-intentioned.
Who cares if that’s the road to hell?
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
This is a love affair
with the most consistently present person in my life.
We are inseparable.
So I have learned to feel affection for my imperfect self.
To defend her, stand by her.
No matter if she’s wrong.  No matter the cost.
A dedication to myself that knows no bounds.

Love unto madness.
The two are easily mistaken,
and with good reason.
Does love not contain an element of madness?
A perfect dedication to the imperfect?
A willingness to go down with the ship?

You can’t love another until you truly love yourself.
I want to be able to offer this love.
So when I feel myself sinking,
I set my heart to
dragging out all that extra baggage
from the dark recesses within,
and use all my strength to heave it overboard.
If I must go down, it won’t be without a fight.
And sometimes, surprisingly,
the storm subsides.
Love saves the day.
With a lightened load, its smooth sailing for a while.

But only for a while.
We were put here to struggle,
for without struggle, there is no progress, and
we feel most alive when we are growing.
Like a vine, we extend, go out on a limb.
We slowly reach out, and wrap ourselves around others.
It is up to us,
the choice to choke them
or offer instead a life-giving embrace.

Love is like water.
Misused, it will drown us,
but it is meant to nourish,
and keep us afloat as we weather each storm.

Where the fire of my personality
and the water of love meet,
there is steam.  A vapor, rising.
Beads of moisture forming on all it touches.

I will not fret over frizzy hair or foggy glasses.
I will not worry that my poetry is filled with
cheesy clichés and tacky platitudes.
Let us embrace our contradictions and imperfections,
and together, let us learn to laugh,
and to dance in the rain.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Chanukah Sameach! (or “Chag Oorim Sameach”)

Happy Chanukah everyone! Yeah, it’s been a while. Life tends to get in the way of, well, life. There is always so much to do, and we’ve only got 120 years in which to do it.

And a little dude named “Yetzer Harah” often gets in the way and tries to throw a cog in the schedule.

If I beat him out, you’ll be getting some new reading fodder soon. Are you on the edge of your seat?

‘Cuz there’s DRAMA.

Get ready. And in the meantime, keep lighting up that oil, and the world.

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Wonder of Wonder, Miracle of Miracles

So – I’ve decided to re-hop on the bandwagon.  Bli neder will try to blog again on a regular basis, as there is what to share.  Hi to anyone who stuck around (and thank you!  So flattering!) or to anyone who stumbled upon this adorable little corner of the blogosphere by accident.

This has been a common theme here, I think, but there are so many miracles going down (Thanks G-d!) on a regular basis and because it’s so easy to get bogged down in the drudgery of daily life, it would behoove us to stop and reflect on all these wondrous things that we have – it makes this world just that bit easier, and perhaps inspires us to keep plugging away at our lives’ missions.
So on that note, I’d like to share with you three little happy moments (some were bigger than little!) that I’ve had lately.  Perhaps someone will get chizuk from these – and perhaps someone will pop in and share such moments of their own.

 

MOMENT ONE: I go to the post office every day for work, and everyone knows me there (although very few of the employees are sure of my name.  They constantly call me by my co-worker’s name or my boss’s name and although I’ve corrected them a few times, it doesn’t really seem to matter to me – or to them.  Although I’ve heard them debating my name before, so cute!)

One of the fellows is Mr. Neshama-Who-is-Scrawny-and-Wears-Tight-Clothing.  He’s  a not particularly attractive middle aged guy with poofy hair, spends lots of time at work chatting with the ladies, and appears to me uber-secular.  He also is a white-boy – looks as ashkie as they come,  so I was surprised to see:
The other day I went into the post office as usual in the middle of the afternoon, and suddenly I saw an arm peeking out from the back room.  What was interesting about this arm was that it was WRAPPED in T’FILLIN!  I craned my neck and peeked further, and behold – there was the scrawny tight clothing guy, wearing something else wrapped tightly around his scrawny body.  :-)  and to top it (him) all off, there was a yarmy sitting atop his poofy hair.

The ladies who work in the P.O. branch were calling him, saying they want to order lunch already, and he looked at them, did the shniyah fingers, and returned to his tfillah.  Then, he deftly unwrapped, placed his order, and went back to work

 

 

G-d has stuck in this little reminder NEVER to judge people.  We have no clue what’s going on in their lives, or what they do behind the scenes.  (note to self.)

 

Moment 2:

After spending a couple of months wanting SO BADLY to read about graphology (handwriting analysis) and spending a couple of weeks asking EVERYONE if he or she has a book on this topic that I can borrow (because I don’t want to own one) and being met with ZERO success, I got an e-mail from a friend who lives locally but who I hadn’t seen in ages, asking me to send her a sample of my handwriting because she’s taking a correspondence course on – you guessed it  – graphology.  She has a bunch of coursebooks that she got in the mail and has generously offered to lend them to me when she’s not using them.

This is a nice reminder that we can (and must) go after what we want, but after all is said and done, when Hashem wants us to have it, He will suddenly drop it into our lap.  And, whether it seems like it or not, the outcome will have NOTHING to do with our previous efforts.

 

There was a third thing, but I can’t remember it at the moment.  Perhaps it will return to me, but I guess there’s some miracle in forgetting what you were trying to remember.

G-d is behind EVERYTHING.  Even the mundane.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just Another Motzai Shabbos Musing.

I wonder how the words “Muse” and “Music”relate to one another.

But anyway:

There is so (SO!) much information out there on the world wide web.  Some of it is legit, some of it is pure boohockey (sp?) but I imagine the vast majority of it falls somewhere between these two extremes.  In the name of tipping the scales towards the good stuff (and with a hearty “Thank you” to Sara Yoheved Rigler and her book “Lights From Jerusalem” 

…which inspired this post, here are a few stories of Hashgacha Pratis (divine intervention) that I experienced recently, in order to increase the awareness of G-d’s presence in this world.  Because He’s here to stay, whether you like it or not, and He actually rocks the house (and the whole world which He personally created for our pleasure) and when Hashem rocks the house, He rocks it all the way down.

So the first of these is rather “minor” although trust me, I appreciated it big time.  And a “minor miracle” is still a miracle, let’s be clear on that.

Over shabbos I was sitting and eating my meal in a state of semi-exhaustion when my glass salt shaker fell from the table and onto the floor.  I was sure it would be broken, because almost nothing survives the impact with the stone that these Jerusalem floors are made of.  The LAST thing I wanted to do was start sweeping up glass in the dimly lit room.  And behold it was that a miracle had occured.  The glass was not broken, it was intact!  Score one for G-d.

Another miracle as of late:  This miracle has a bit of a personal nature so I’m not going to go into too much detail BUT over shavuot I was at a friend’s house and there was a woman there (relative of another guest) who, how shall I put it, had not yet ever had the opportunity to be exposed to the glory of Hashem’s teachings and the wonderful life that Hashem offers to the Jewish people.  Well, over dinner and after dinner we spoke a bit, and she turned out to be lovely, and WE turned out to be kindred spirits.  I invited her to join me for a shiur at around midnight, and she took me up on the offer.  We had a nice long stroll on the way there and spoke of life, the universe, and many things in it, including our live’s journeys.  We arrived at the shiur shortly after it began, slunk (?) in at the back at sat down.

Well, the Rebbetzin giving the shiur touched upon basically every topic we’d spoken about during our stroll, expanding upon them and taking them to practical places.  She also did some nice little hand-motions that I’d enacted earlier in the evening despite my never having seen them enacted anywhere else before.  And then this lovely woman and I had another stroll back, and I think we will be e-penpals.  YAY!

Also one of my dearest friends got married yesterday morning (Yes, a Friday morning wedding, let’s all quit being surprised, it makes a lot of sense for Israel) and for some reason I had been unable to locate a shtick gmach for the occasion.  But another dear friend offered to help (MIRACLE ALERT!), and from dusk until dawn we worked, and ended up constructing some of the cutest things I have EVER seen.  So now we are the proud owners of some darn awesome arches and a dancing parasol.  Custom made and funky.  If anyone lives in Jlem and needs to borrow such wedding shtick, we’d be happy to lend it out. 

I’m sure there’s more but frankly, there will ALWAYS be more and I have work in the morning.

A blessed week to whoever reads this.  If anyone happens to stumble upon this little corner of the blogosphere, please share your personal divine intervention stories.  You never know who will read and be inspired!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In The Name of Bi-Annual Posting (or something like that.)

A happy belated Lag Ba’Omer to all!  One thing though, don’t forget to keep counting sfirah!  (Of ALL days, I almost missed it on LAG.  How silly!)

Yes, it’s been ages, and much has been going on but why spread your thoughts in the blogosphere if you can share them in person?  I’ll tell you why!  Because sometimes you can do BOTH.

Now that I’m here it’s hard to put what I’m trying to get across into words (which is normal. How can we  fit the praises of the L-rd into words?  So pathetically finite.)

The thing is, everything in this world is an opportunity to learn and grow.  Some of us gloss by these life experiences without realizing that gems of wisdom are hidden within, and just move on without getting the point.  And others of us move down life’s path grabbing at all these moments and losing patience  with ourselves that we aren’t getting ALL of them. 

But Hashem gives us the exact opportunities that we need, and custom-creates each of our paths to maximize our potentials.  IF we want it.

Who wouldn’t want to be great?

And if anyone thinks that they missed the boat, have sunk too low, and can’t climb out of their hole, they should just know that they’re not alone.  Hashem rules the world, and He PROMISED that every Jew has a place waiting just for him(or her) in the world to come.  He can pull us up from the depths if we ask.

I heard an awesome shiur this week by Rabbi Kelemen – he said that Hashem created each Jew to be like a coal.  We may just be sitting there like a rock, but if you blow on us, we BURST INTO FLAME, and can light up the world!

So here’s to being honest with ourselves, not just about our shortcomings, but also about our strengths and the ways we can contribute to the world and spread the glory of G-d, so that we can, together with His help, drag ourselves out of the exile and into the ultimate redemption!

Rock and roll!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When your history comes back to bite you in the butt…

Pretty much everyone seems to have moments where something they said or did in the past now comes to haunt them in the present, and they wish they hadn’t done X.

After having some little tiffs with my yetzer harah (lets call him “Syler” for now…you can tell he’s been winning a bit)  I realized…there’s going to be a point AFTER my life in this world where all this stuff comes back to bite me.

You think its done, you made a mistake and get to move past it, and you do – but that doesn’t mean the mistake is gone.

Ok, Hashem knows all this, and also that we’re not perfect, and I’m sure that since HE is perfect, He’ll take all this into consideration.

It’s just that regret is one of the most unpleasant feelings out there.

I see friends I lost touch with, living lives they shouldn’t, and I can’t help but wonder in what ways I could have helped them NOT to fall into those holes.  Or in which ways I inadvertently shoved them in, or even just somewhere in the vicinity of the edge.

Just a lesson to myself to be careful in the future.

On a more chipper note, I just got a whole bunch of cool books for cheap today!

I hope they’re not missing pages.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My Own Personal Ulpan

I spent some time this evening engaged in candle-making which is super fun but also totally ghetto as I don’t have any molds or real wicks, I just use some braided leftover embroidery thread and the remnants of candles I’ve already burned.  Tin foil is your friend.

Other than that, a new tactic for learning Hebrew has arisen.  Since pretty much nothing sticks in my head except for song lyrics I figured if I pick a hebrew song, learn the lyrics, and look up all the words I don’t know, pretty soon I’ll know the meanings of all those new words.

I picked a song (won’t tell you which) but it’s really catchy, and now that I’ve started looking up words, kind of disgusting.

There is a REASON I try not to listen to secular music.  I guess I assumed that maybe things would be slightly tamer because this is Israel but instead it was WORSE.  I think I need friends who understand Hebrew and listen to the radio to help me out on this one.

Seriously, though, someone should start an ulpan based on this principle.  I can still hear my dad’s voice in my head (heard this at least once a day throughout highschool) “If you would spend even HALF the time you spend on memorizing song lyrics on schoolwork, you’d be a straight A student.”

The truth is that I didn’t spend ANY time memorizing song lyrics.  Half of nothing is still nothing.  But I did get the point.  And maybe now this will help me get somewhere on this long road to being bilingual (IY”H!!!)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments