Friday, November 28, 2008
Our hearts are shattered at the news from Mumbai where, Rabbi Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg, were among those murdered in the terrorist attack on the Chabad House there. And tonight their little son Moshe will mark his second birthday...
We have no words, we have no answers. We don't begin to understand G-d's ways, nor are we expected to. Only G-d Himself can restore the light of Moshe's life, and comfort him and the rest of this aching world.
We only know that until He does that, we must continue their life's work. They deserve no less.
Please invite one more Jewish woman (who would otherwise not light) to light candles with you tonight.
Arutz Sheva: 5 Dead In Mumbai Chabad House Terror Attack
COL: דיווח: 5 בני-אדם נרצחו בבית-חב"ד
IBN says "an elderly rabbi and his wife"
I'm still waiting for them to say it was a mistake.
Sify News says: At least five hostages have been killed at Nariman House, known among Israeli tourists as Chabad House, the Jewish centre targeted by the terrorists in Mumbai. It is not yet clear if the rabbi of the centre and his wife are among those killed.
And then there's this from Adelaide: "Five bodies of hostages have been found. They are Israeli nationals," Eli Belotsercovsky, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, said.
Ya I can't handle this.
"I was notified that the P.L.O. has given instructions to all its branches worldwide to strike at targets throughout the world, G-d forbid.
"It is therefore necessary to invoke and emphasize the blessings from G-d to all Jews in all places, in all their needs. Primarily the most needed blessing is the miracle of the complete and perfect Redemption through Moshiach (whom we await every day that his coming not be delayed even as much as the blink of an eye). These blessings should be emphasized with complete trust and confidence, as well as with joy and gladness of heart.
"We should especially fulfill the directive of the Chabad Rebbes, 'Think good and it will be good.'
"This means that thinking positively causes the course of events to actually turn out good.
"This information should be utilized not to scare anyone, G-d forbid, but rather in the positive sense, to enhance the service of the Jewish people in the study of Torah and the observance of mitzvot.
"On the verse (Gen. 27:22), 'The voice is the voice of Jacob,' our Sages tell us that the power of the Jewish people is with 'our mouth.' Through our heartfelt prayers and Torah learning we can eliminate the plans of 'the hands of Esau,' the terrible schemes of our enemies.
"Thus there should be additional activities in Torah study and prayer and in mitzvot in general.
"Special emphasis should be placed on studying Torah diligently. For our Sages explain the verse, 'If you will follow my statutes' to mean that if you will labor in Torah... 'I will grant peace in the land. You will sleep without fear.'
"Through Torah study we eliminate all negative things and they are even transformed to good.
"Also, additional prayers should be said. Keeping with the spirit of 'thinking positive' it would be advisable to recite daily an extra three chapters of Psalms. One of these three chapters should be the final chapter of Psalms (ch. 150) which concludes with the verse, 'Let every being that has a soul praise G-d.' This means that every man, woman and child praises and gives thanks to G-d for His benevolence, and for the blessings and good fortune that He bestows upon us and will continue to bestow upon us.
"It would also be appropriate to add in the giving of charity.
"Although 'fasting' is out of place (especially in the context of 'thinking positive') this does not contradict the giving of charity to redeem a fast.
"It would be appropriate to give charity in the amount of two meals, and even better in the amount of three meals. This charity should preferably go to support people who learn Torah or institutions involved in disseminating Torah.
"Certainly these directives will be publicized in all Jewish communities, to all Jews, men, women and children.
"Emphasis must be placed however, to be very cautious not to scare anyone, G-d forbid. Rather, the purpose is to inspire everyone to enhance his/her Torah study and mitzvah observance, with true bitachon, complete trust and confidence in G-d, with joy and a glad heart.
"The main thing is that the resolutions regarding the above should hasten and quicken the concept of 'think good and it will be good' in actuality starting from the ultimate good -- the complete and perfect Redemption through Moshiach.
CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED (at end of post)
at the nariman house, we have some optimism as some hostages have been escaping. OMG NO! DON'T SAY THAT YOU BELIEVE SOME TO BE DEAD INCLUDING A _____ AND HIS ____!!
NO NO NO! DO NOT SAY IT!
Ok now we don't hear that anymore. Now we hear footsteps of Moshiach.
Nearly a hundred left the Oberoi safely.
Taj almost done. Nariman house still tense and intense. Taj done. Smoke comin outta rooms of Nariman House. Constants sounds of gunshots. NSG guys cleared out 4th and 5th floors.
Hostaged Jew sent out early this morning to get food??
2:20pm (India Time) Fresh firing at Taj.
Trep has a non "news" post about this terrorist attack.
Police tell Mumbaiits not to fear--there is no fighting anywhere else besides for the three buildings.
Apparently, this whole thing started in Pakistan. Ha'emet hee, lo echpat li but ya.
News channels are blocked off so terrorists should not be up to date.
No new fighting/firing in past hour. Operations are over at Taj and Oberoi Hotels.
125 dead. 327 injured.
Keith Bradsher, a Times correspondent, is sending updates from his BlackBerry as he watches a commando operation taking place at the Nariman House, home to the Orthodox Jewish group Chabad Lubavitch.
Oberoi-Trident is cleared. Taj still having some fighting. What's going on by the Chabad House?? I know good things, but I'd like to know just HOW good..
All this universe was made only for your journey. And all this universe was made only for the other guy’s journey. And for mine as well.
In our mind it is impossible. We are finite. When we put our minds to one idea, there is no room for any other. If one point is at the center, there is no center left for any other.
G-d is infinite. He can have as many points of focus as He wishes without diminishing the centrality of any of them in the slightest.
Each one of us is absolutely the most important thing in the universe.
-and it's still not affecting me. What is wrong with me??
India, American Airlines, Iberian, Madrid, Brussels, London, Oslo, Shabbos, Mumbai, Chabad House, New York Vacation, Advantage Desk, Rescued Toddler, Tehillim, Where To Stay, Obligations, Shabbos Meals, No Errands, Sheva Brochos, Stress, Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 770, Tracht Gut Vet Zein Gut, Decisions, Shlichus, Hayom Yom, Information, Commandos, Real Murder, Shluchim's Whereabouts, Hashgocha Pratis, News Websites, Yetzer Hora, Falling Apart, Simcha, Tears, Perspective, Islamic Terrorists, Strength, Hachlotas, Birur Hanitzutzos, Brocho n Bubby, Blame, Acceptance OVERWHELMANCE!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!
■ עדכון: 02:44- פיצוץ שלישי נשמע הלילה מבית חב"ד שבמומביי כשרימון יד הושלך מתוך המבנה לעבר כוחות הצבא ההודי המכתרים אותו מבחוץ - כך מדווחת רשת CNN
■ עדכון: 02:46- משלחת ישראלית עושה דרכה למקום כדי לסייע בחילוצם של בני הערובה במבנה ובהם שלוחי חב"ד במקום
■ עדכון: 03:47- כוחות הביטחון ההודים פתחו באש לעבר בית חב"ד. עדיין לא ברור האם הכוחות יפרצו אל המבנה
■■ עדכון: 03:50- גורם מדיני: ארבעה הרוגים בבית חב"ד; לבני: המצב כנראה לא טוב
■■ עדכון: 4:20 - חילופי אש כבדים בבית חב"ד
- NEW: Fighting between Indian forces, gunmen reported at Jewish center
- NEW: Gunman killed in Oberoi hotel around 1 a.m., official tells CNN-IBN
- 125 dead, 327 wounded in attacks on multiple sites, police say
MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- Fighting broke out early Friday between government soldiers in a helicopter and gunmen holed up inside a Jewish center where two or three gunmen were believed to be remaining.
The operation followed after grenades had been tossed from inside the structure toward anyone approaching the building -- three such explosions occurred in four hours.
But movement appeared imminent shortly before dawn, when several jeeploads of police, firetrucks and at least one ambulance pulled up to the five-story structure.
The fighting at Chabad house comes as Indian security forces appear to be gaining control of two Mumbai five-star hotels attacked by gunmen in a wave of violence that has lasted more than 24 hours and killed at least 125 people.
A gunman was killed around 1 a.m. in the Oberoi hotel, where commandos were going room-to-room, trying to flush out attackers and rescue people, J.K. Dutt, the director of India's National Security Guard, told CNN-IBN, CNN's sister network in India.
Dutt said he could not say how many gunmen remained in the Oberoi, where hostages have been trickling out of the building for hours.Security forces used in-house telephones to ask guests holed up in their rooms to switch on lights and open curtains, so that they could provide cover, CNN correspondent Andrew Stevens reported. MORE
Please Say a Prayer for Mumbai
It is without doubt that you have heard about Rabbi Gabi & Rivki Holtzberg, directors of Chabad-Lubavitch in Mumbai, dear friends and colleagues of ours – who are still being held hostage in the Chabad Jewish Center which was seized by terrorists.
It is with this in mind that I sit down to try and write a thought for Shabbat.
Please Dear G-d, only let the verses that we read this week, of the blessings to Jacob that the "Kol Yaakov" - the voice of Jacob, the message of Torah and truth which inspired Gabi and Rivki to bring Your wisdom to India - overpower the "Yedei Eisav" the hands of Esau, the evil intentions of Israel's perpetual enemy.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe of blessed memory asks, how could Yitzchak have even thought of blessing ‘Eisav the wicked’ well known for being a murderer, rapist and glutton?! The answer: in fact, there is always a potential that even the most evil character can repent. Yitzchak hoped that this would happen to his son.
May that spirit of repentance reach these terrorists, and let all of the precious people inside be released to freedom safe and sound.
Until then, please continue to pray and then take it one step further, remembering that a small act of "light" in one part of the world can dispel darkness wherever it may be. Do a mitzva:
a) Give charity in their merit
b) Men: Put on Tefillin today; if you already did, see to it that someone who hasn't done so yet, should.
c) Women: Resolve to light candles this Friday afternoon; if you already do, see to it that someone who does not plan on it, should.
May G-d bring peace to our pained and darkened world!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
-Ach I'm still thinking about you, Adam. You were my little spiderman in camp.-
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tonight, something occurred to me. Yes, seeing is inspiring. But doing is connecting.
In the words of the Hayom Yom: An extremely simple person has an inner sense of bitul (nullity) before the wisdom and greatness of a scholar - a bitul in which he senses himself to be an utter nonentity. The sage in turn, does not sense or perceive the simpleton as belonging at all to the category of human beings! Not that the scholar dismisses or rejects him, G-d forbid, for that would be an evil trait; he simply sees no connection or relationship with him whatsoever.
Now, when the sage instructs the simple man to do something for him, that command brings the simpleton "into being." In his own self-perception he is no longer a nonentity but a "somebody"; he has assumed a status unto himself in that he is able to carry out an order of the sage, and it is him that the sage addressed and instructed. In the eyes of the sage too, the simpleton now "exists"; he is a "somebody" to whom he (the sage) can speak and instruct. What is more, the command actually unites the lofty, exalted sage with the gross simpleton. There is no difference at all what the command is about, whether a great, lofty matter or a simple trivial one.On screen, they are filming the photographing of a Kinnus Hashluchim group photo from a number of years ago. "This is where your Tatty will be next week, im yirtzeh Hashem!" I exclaim excitedly. Across the room, the six year old Shlucha mouths to me, eyes shining: "And me too!" She has memorized an impressive amount of Tanya in order to earn this trip. For a few days, she will join hundreds and hundreds of other Yiddishe girls as they stream into Bais Rivka and settle down to learn in a building that has sheltered thousands of hours of Chassidish learning. She will soak up the experience and it will rejuvenate her and strengthen her during the months ahead. She, herself, is home-schooled in a foreign land. She can barely communicate with the children of her city. She learns Chassidus during her weekly taxi ride to ballet class. She recites Shema from a siddur, every night. In the evenings, she has the chance to spend two luxurious hours online--listening, learning, laughing--with fellow kid Shluchim from around the world. When I say "Moshiach should come tonight!", she corrects me, "Moshiach should come BEFORE tonight!" She is six years old.
This is a Precious Moment with the Rebbe.
We see the Rebbe walking with a brown paper bag that is filled with papers. "Those are the panim that people sent to the Rebbe", I explain. "Hey! My letter is in that bag!!" shouts the 4 year old Shlucha who is sitting beside me. "I told my Tatty to write a letter to the Rebbe saying 'I love you Rebbe and I love you Hashem and I know that you are happy that I didn't eat the not-kosher food in my preschool'." This is what she tells me. In 2008. She is one of six Lubavitchers in her country. She attends a local non-Jewish preschool. She stands on her chair every morning and fiercly demands that Hashem send us the Beis Hamikdosh. She never went to a rally or farbrengen of the Rebbe. She is four years old.
This is a Precious Moment with the Rebbe.
"Why are the kids standing on the benches in 770??" asks the 2 year old Shliach who is sitting on my lap while gazing at the video screen. "So they can see the Rebbe better", I answer. "Also, they are very b'simcha and it's hard to be happy when you just sit in one place, so they are jumping and dancing." "Why are they so happy?" "Do you see the Rebbe waving his hand? It's so the people should sing more and louder". "I don't understand. Why does the Rebbe want them to be so happy?" "Because it's a big mitzvah to be happy. It will bring Moshiach closer." A pause and then he starts jumping, curls flying all about him, "We want Moshiach now, we want Moshiach now..." He is two years old.
This is a Precious Moment with the Rebbe.
The "Precious Moments with Rebbe" DVD ends with a scene of two Chassidim walking. It's refreshing and it's appropriate because, in essence, that IS the "end" of the Rebbe--that his Chassidim and his Shluchim are living their lives as they are.
Inspiration comes and inspiration evaporates.
Today, we are occupied with doing.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch once told:
A child remains a child. On Rosh Hashanah of 1888, when I was a child of seven and several months, I visited my grandmother and she treated me to a melon. I went out to the yard and sat with my friends on a bench directly opposite my father's window and shared the melon with my friends.
My father called me in and said to me: "I noticed that you did indeed share with your friends, but you did not do it with a whole heart." He then explained to me at length the idea of a 'generous eye' and 'malevolent eye.'
I was so deeply affected by my father's words that I was unable to recover for half an hour. I wept bitterly and brought up what I had eaten of the melon.
"What do you want from the child?" asked my mother. Father replied: "It is good this way. Now this trait it will be ingrained in his character."
Concluded Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok: "This is education."
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
RIVKA bat SHEINDEL is having brain surgery. PLEASE say tehillim, ask G-d for His help, be nice to your sibling, give a coin to someone who needs it--just do SOMETHING in her merit.
We will hear good news. Amen.
an 11 year old shlucha in Australia-Shaina bas Dina Rivka-was just majorly operated on
they need your help (your prayers and your good deeds) in order to secure for themselves a total and immediate recovery
Monday, November 10, 2008
and the Warmest sweetest smile was Offered to me
instinctively, i Accepted it
and offered my own in Return
a shy Grateful smile
i walked on my own Path
and surely the Other turned to his
both snug in the Winter night
from the moment Exchanged
the way that Smile lived
was through the way it was Conceived
extending and receiving with Equal grace
from the Start
the warmest Sweetest smile
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Once again he'll spend two weeks preparing for the new soldiers, going over what he learned, only this time from the perspective of the teacher, not the student. After he welcomes these young men to the army, he'll teach them what he has learned. They will call him "Commander" and not Elie. They may not know anything about his family, where he goes when he comes home. They'll complain about him to each other. They might even assign a secret name (as Elie and his friends called one commander "Blondie" and another "Solomon") and Elie might hear the name, but not know to whom they refer.
Elie will force them to run, but he will likely run at the front of the group. He will teach them about shooting and the first time they see him shoot, they will be amazed because his gun has been calibrated to him and so he'll shoot with amazing accuracy. He's probably stronger and faster than they are right now, having spent the last 20 months of his life training and strengthening his body. That first time, he'll run only a half a kilometer with them, while he himself can easily run many times that amount. Even if he's tired, he won't show them.
He'll let them sleep only six hours, while he himself will likely sleep even less. He will teach them to respect the gun they are given, to make it a part of themselves. He will insist that they know where it is at all times, even in sleep. To make sure he succeeds in this lesson, he will likely try to "steal" a gun. If a soldier "forgets" his gun on his bed when he runs to stand in line to be inspected in the morning, Elie will hand out a punishment.
Elie will be counselor and trainer to these boys, but never quite a friend during this time. That will come later, not now. For some of the days, the army will take these boys on cultural trips, to teach them about Israel. Elie will accompany them on some of these trips, but unlike these other soldiers, Elie's gun will be loaded. They'll walk through the city of Jerusalem, but Elie will be watching around him. After so many in his unit were hit by a terrorist driving a car in Jerusalem, Elie will be even more alert.
On at least one of these cultural days, probably several, Elie won't go with his soldiers. Rather, Elie will leave this team and go visit each soldier's parents. There, he will explain, as Or once did in our home, what their son will be doing in the months to come. They'll ask him questions and he'll explain. So many questions, but also so many that won't be asked.
"Can I tell others what you are telling me, or is it a secret?" one mother might ask hesitantly, thinking of her son's grandparents and what they too would want to know.
"If it were secret, I couldn't tell you," Or had smiled and answered back patiently, when I asked. REST OF POST
Thursday, November 06, 2008
You know what to do.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
It's Lech Lecha.
It's gotta be good.
You hear that?? לְזַרְעךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת-הָאָרֶץ הַזּאת! It's MINE! It's bloody MINE!
It's difficult. Shabbat Elon Moreh. Sweetbitter. And Shchem. Kever Yosef. I was there. That, too, is a sweetbitter memory. It's ours, so why should we have to visit Yosef HaTzadik's kever in the middle of night with soldiers standing guard amongst the burnt remnants? I wanna live in Eretz Yisroel as Hashem intended us to. I wanna live there...with Moshiach.
It's gonna be a good week. It's gonna be really good.