Tuesday, June 26, 2007


It's a gift.
It's a test.
It's a challenge.
It's a reward.
It's a punishment.
It's a tease.
It's a want.
It's a right.
It's a trait.
It's a habit.
It's a privilege.
It's a maze.
It's a devil.
It's a desire.
It's a need.
It's a ghost.
It's a choke.
It's a goal.
It's a deception.
It's a security.
It's a reciprocity.
It's a job.
It's a choice.
It's a pull.
It's a battle.
It's a procedure.
It's a conquest.
It's a lesson.
It's a teamwork.
It's a sweat.

It's Love.

"Any love that is dependent on something--when the thing ceases, the love also ceases. But a love that is not dependent on anything never ceases. What is [an example of] a love that is dependent on something? The love of Amnon for Tamar. And one that is not dependent on anything? The love of David and Yonathan."
(Ethics of the Fathers)

Friday, June 22, 2007

the rollercoaster

for example, let's say you go on a roller coaster and you really had a good time but afterwards, you threw up. does the nausea take away the realness of the fun you had on the ride? no. does the fun cancel the nausea you experienced afterwards? no. both are real. and when you talk about the park afterwards, and you reminisce how you rode the roller coaster and then threw up, you can grin at the thrill n grimace at the vomit. both are still real. and then eventually, after discussin the ride so often-both the fun & the nausea- the ichiness starts to go away. hey, i loved the ride, hated the after-effects. simple. no problemo. and after passing by the ride so often, the knot in ur stomach begins to unknot itself. now we can joke. hehe remember how we were having so much fun and then u threw up after? heeehee. and then the vomit slowly places itself on the back burner. as does the fun. and then life goes on and we cook new things.

thanks ma

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Every day is Gimmel Tammuz

Many people are asking me now, "What did you do for Gimmel Tammuz?".

They want to know.

This is usually preceded (or directly followed) by something to the effect of "I just got back from the Ohel, gosh the lines were long and I am exhausted. I am on the way now to a farbrengen (had one last night too) and I went to an excellent shiur this morning. So, what did you say you did?"

I don't think they intend to brag or compare, I think they just want to know.

And I answer-"Me? I davened with 4 Jewish kids this morning. Then I took them to the park. Then we went to an old age home and we sang for some elderly Jewish women. I also washed these children's hands and faces and gave them fresh chocolate cake. Then we played a game and colored on plastic papers. Oh! You mean what did I do specifically in honor of the day? Well, I made sure to say all 12 Pesukim with the kids. I tried to get Daniel to daven. I explained to a 3 yr old and a 4 yr old what it means to write a letter to the Rebbe, and then they wrote it. I prompted Leibel to shout 'we want moshiach now' and I clapped along encouragingly when he sang/demanded "ad mosai, do we have to wait, we want moshiach now, we don't want to wait.'

And then they say-"Oh, that's nice."

And they really think so, but they don't know what that has to do with their original question-what did I do for Gimmel Tammuz?

And I say (as if I hadn't been interrupted)- "And I wore my nice gold shoes in the sand. And I chatted with people I wanted to run away from. And I held the baby even though I didn't want to. And I started learning a maamer. And I said 'oh, it's my pleasure' when it wasn't (and then I spoke to myself till it really was my pleasure).

And then they say- "Oh, that's nice. That's really beautiful."

And again, they really think so, but again they don't know what that has to do with Gimmel Tammuz. (except maybe the maamer part)

And I say- "Wait, I'm not finished. I also chopped cucumbers, stirred green beans, and set out cold cuts and rolls for a bris."

And they say-"Oh, that's nice. But what does that have to do with Gimmel Tammuz?"

And I didn't say they were smug or smirking or provoking. They just want to know.

They want to know? So I tell them.


I tell them 'For me, every day is Gimmel Tammuz."


"Every day, the Rebbe is not with us physically. Every day it's unfair and hard that the Rebbe is not here. Every day in golus is painful. The Rebbe wasn't taken away from me in Nun Daled. The Rebbe is taken away from me each and every day. And 'whichever day does not see the Rebbe, it is as if that day took him away'. It's day after day, month after month, yom tov after yom tov, year after year.
Every day is Gimmel Tammuz for me.
And every day the Rebbe is with me more and more.
My Rebbe wasn't ever taken away from me cuz I (barely) had a Rebbe before then. It wasn't 'here and then gone'. It's the same forever.
And since a neshama can do way more when it is not in a guf, I'm with the Rebbe more than you ever were.
The Rebbe guides my every day; The Rebbe tells me what to wear, what to learn, what to say and what to think.
For me, "Gimmel Tammuz didn't change a thing".
The Rebbe wants me to hold the backpack of a 4 yr old Yiddishe kinde, today like yesterday and tomorrow.
Every day is Gimmel Tammuz for me."

"Ahh", they answer, "But Gimmel Tammuz is not just a random mark of time. It's a spiritual mark of time. It's a yarhtzeit. An auspicious time when the neshama has an aliyah.."

And I burst out - "Aliyas Neshama? Vus fahr a aliyas neshama? The Rebbe has been standing outside of Gan Eden for thirteen years, yes thirteen years now, stubbornly refusing to enter until we are all taken out of golus!"


So what did I do this Gimmel Tammuz?
I tried getting the Rebbe a little closer to his goal.

p.s. כי איך אעלה אל אבי והנער איננו אתי

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

“Here you go,” the postman says, handing him a letter. He stares at the envelope. It's from Poland. Maybe from Mamma and Papa. Or maybe from his wife, with news about his little boy, the son he has never seen. His hands tremble as he opens the crumpled paper.

“Dear friend, it’s Yitzchak Leib, your neighbor. I have news from home.
The day you left for the army, the Germans invaded. They dropped into our village and rounded up all the Jews. I saved myself by fleeing into the forest, and I watched it all unfold. They herded all of our brothers and sisters into the Shul and locked all the doors. The Nazis then set fire to the walls of the Shul, while the cries from within went unheard. Your parents weren’t in the Shul because they had gone into hiding, but the Nazis found them. The Nazis hanged them both.
In the Shul, your wife stood holding your young son in her arms. She watched as all the men wrapped themselves in their Talleisim, preparing to meet their heavenly Father. She watched as the Rav went up to the Aron Kodesh and took out a Sefer Torah.
He turned to the holy congregation. 'We are leaving this world behind us now, my dearest brothers, but let us not fear. The angels are waiting for us in Gan Eden.’
The Shul was dark through the smoke.
‘Come let us do Teshuva on this holy day, let us return our souls to Him clean and pure, like on the day we were born. We will leave like heroes, going proudly from this place. This world was a foolish one, let our hearts not be bothered.’
Black smoke was filling the Shul. The congregation stood listening to the Rav with eyes burning, souls shining.
‘Shema Yisrael Hashem Echad.’ The Rav intoned with his eyes closed, as the whole congregation answered his call to proclaim their faith in the One.
Breathing became almost impossible as the Rav started to recite the final Kaddish, the congregation answering Amen through the deadly clouds.
Your wife stood quietly the entire time, without even shedding a tear. She stood strong, proud. And as she felt the smoke squeezing her soul out of her body, she clutched your little boy to her heart
and whispered your name.”

He stands there for a while not moving, his face white, and his stare blank. Then his knees begin to tremble. His legs won’t support him, his arms will no longer hold up the paper in his hands.
A tear falls down the postman’s face. Each day, bags of letters arrive, each one addressed to someone else.
The postman has no friends, for he has nothing to say.

posted by Uncle Sy

my very favorite place in the world


Friday, June 15, 2007

Times of Label (& Co) #9

So we're sittin in the lunch room and I see that Rochele turned her head to an empty corner of the room and is chanting 'na na na kish kish' while doing the finger motions that go along with it, to a seemingly empty corner of the room.
Sab: "Uh Rochele? Who are you doing that to?"
Rochele: "To the broomstick there in the corner."
Sab: "Why?"
Rochele: "Cuz it can't move." (repeats the nanakishkish routine)
Sab: "Well, we can. Aren't we lucky? And that means that we have to help it whenever it needs us, cuz we are able to and it is not."
Rochele: "Uh huh."
Sab: "Y'know Rochele, we can learn sucha big lesson from this. Aren't there so many people in life that need help cuz they can't do things on their own? So, we should help them--just like we were saying that the broom needs our help to move..."
Rochele: "Hmmmm"
Sab: "Like Leibel."
Rochele: "Yah! Like Leibel! He can't do so much stuff so we have to do it for him!"
Sab: "Exactly! Like I have to zipper his jacket for him and--"
Rochele: "And diaper him!"
Sab: "Yes! Cuz he can't go to the bathroom by himself. And also everyone else helps. Like when you take away the play dough from him when he's eating it-that way he doesn't get sick
(only cuz he can't eat wheat). Or when someone opens the door for him cuz it's too heavy for him to do it himself..."
Rochele: "Yeah. It's true."

I'm beaming with pride.

And yet, the ending woulda been so much nicer had I not seen her turn around a minute later and, thinking I wasn't looking, stick her tongue out and silently wriggle her nose while mouthing 'na na na kish kish' to the broom, again.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The common cure for everything.

milchiks on shavuos (a belated apology)

i keep forgetting to apologize to the hamster (lamah lo) that asked me, about two months ago, to post the kabbalistic/chassidic reason as to why we eat milchiks on Shavuos. and since im a verbatim freak--"someone just told me a Kabbala/Chassidus reason for milchigs on Shavuot. Forgot it. Looking for it badly... if you were to post the Q or better the A as something that's been bugging you for years... I wouldn't complain a whole bunch. (It HAS bothered you, hasn't it?)"

err it hasn't but i'll post it nonetheless

Mother of 8 Planned Suicide Attack in Israel

our end of the year trip

--first we went to an island--

--next we went drinkin n drivin--

--then we returned and bade farewell to nature and each other--

--and then finally it was over--

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Klap Kup In Vant

....we do NOT have pillow nor fist fights over Berel
....Mussie wrote her own report card
...im pulling teeth from a hyrax while being mocked (sniff sniff)
...Stupid Report Cards (multilingual)
...um twenty first century and 16 COLOR COMPUTER!!!! (a boosha)
....when we say 'feel at home', we don't REALLY mean it (ahem ahem ahem)
...yitzi reads my blog
....i guess menucha really thinks we dated her brother in zal
....hi (times three)
....chaya annoints chava'le as an aishes chayal
....Bibi Netanyahu would probably like our 1/2 Greek friend from the radio shower store
....a chossid macht a sviva
....oshrat came after aviva left
....remember to look in your siddur
...john knowles, remember him?
....shacharis is supposed to be in the morning
...nearly no voipstunt left (no surprises there)

tachlis--ker a velt

(but what's the point if that's what were doing and nothing's happening?)

Monday, June 11, 2007


"Compliments breed responsibility."
-Mion D. Clarashin

I'm thinking that perhaps that is why so many of us flee from compliments. Why we fight it, question it, deny it. Cuz suddenly, a pleasant compliment is really much more-it is now a RESPONSIBILITY.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Torahs & Toes

At the Hachnosas Sefer Torah, I motioned for Zvi to come over to the mechitzah cuz I had to ask him something.
Me-"Hey do you think you can take my camera and take some pictures from the mens side? "
Zvi-"Um I would love to but I'm a terrible photographer."
Me- "It's fine, it's fine. Just get some close ups of all the men that are holding sifrei torah."
Zvi- "Believe me you don't want me taking pictures for you. I'll end up just taking of my toes or something."
Me-"Awesome. I would love of your toes. Now just go take pictures!"

About ten minutes later (an awfully long time for someone to just snap a few shots), Zvi comes back with my camera.

Zvi-"Here you go, here are the pictures that you wanted."
Me-"Ye? All of em? Thanks so much!"
Zvi-"Yup, all the ones you said you are interested in."

And sure enough, he took of what I said I was interested in--





(We all thought it hysterical. Well, nearly all-his sister and my mother both thought it "gross".)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Coming up next...

Detective Dinan And The Brilliant Charming Witty Italian, Roger.

Two Girls

I once met two girls.
I thought the first one was beautiful and the second one, well she wasn't.

Then I really met them.
Met their breath-takers and their dreads. Their compromises and their prides. Their secret acts and their active secrets. Met their non-verbal messages, their aspirations, their views on everything important and non and what was crouching 'neath that 'yes' or 'no'. Met the music of their souls and the beats in their hearts.

And now that I've really met them?
I think the second one is beautiful and the first one, well she isn't.*

(Incidentally, I also visited two houses...)

*not REALLY true cuz I'm not Father but y'know...

I'm in Sweden

So, how's Israel?
Israel's awesome, I'm not there though.
Oh, where are you? Crown Heights or home?
Neither, I'm in Sweden.
Oh nice. I've always wanted to go to Switzerland. It's pretty, no?
I think so, but I'm not quite sure considering I'm in Sweden, not Switzerland. Sweden is pretty though, ya.
Ah, I'm sorry. So, how's it like in Denmark? Are you close with the Shluchim?
I love Denmark but I'm not there. I'm in Sweden. Close enough though, don't feel bad.
Sweden, Sweden-that's Oslo, right?
Um Oslo is in Norway. It's also in Scandinavia, so you're not that far off, but I'm in Sweden.
Woah, whatta traveler. You sure do get around...Wait, so where are you again?

*both meanings

P.s. DoGoodJustCuz

Monday, June 04, 2007