Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Start of Our Next Raffle and Event

Here we have it, the first few prizes for our next raffle.
 This time we want some feedback from you. We want our next raffle to be more successful and raise more funds and our event to have more Jewish women attending than last time.



This image is of a stunning wodden stand for benchers, I guess napkins can also be put inside. It comes from the Novell Collections range. It is very attractive and new. This is being offered as a potential gift for our raffle. We want to know your feedback. Would this gift attract you to take a raffle ticket or to tell a friend to take a ticket?


This beautiful salt and pepper set with saucer is still in its packaging, as if unopened. We did not wish to disturb the tissue paper so have left the items inside and photographed the box. What do you think of this as a gift for our raffle? Does it appeal to you?

This stunning Hallach board on a wooden base with glass front is also still in its original packaging, hence we have photographed just the box.

What do you think of this gift?

We want to hear from you. We have a kettle, toaster, snackwich on its way.

What else would you like to see in a raffle?

This is the start of our next Women's event. We once again have great speakers. Different topic, but our speakers are all experts in their fields. We are needing Jewish service prodivers who would be prepared to donate a gift for the raffle or make a donation or sponsor towards the event. They will receive publicity in return. Proceeds from the event once again go to our Wedding Project - Bayit Chadash.

Any ideas or feedback can be posted as a comment to this post or emailed to Shoshanah

Thank you for your assistance.

17th Tamuz - A Story, A Lesson and a Tikkun

Rebbe Nachman tells the story of a Jew and  a German who were traveling together as hoboes. The time was coming up to Pesach and the Jew advised the German to pretend to be a Jew (since German and Yiddish are similar). The Jew coached him about the sedar, telling him that he would be invited to a Pesach Sedar by a caring Jewish family. He told his friend of the various stages to expect, kiddish on wine, washing the hands, relating the story of the Hagada. The only thing he forgot to tell the German was about the bitter herbs.

Pesach arrived and the German was invited to a Pesach Sedar. He was hungry and looked forward to the tasty meal his friend had described. As the Sedar progressed, he participated in each step, eagerly awaiting the food.

The first thing he was served was a piece of celery dipped in salt water. Then they recited the Hagadah and finally the matzah was served which the German was very happy about. Then he was served a piece of horseradish as the bitter herb. It was extremely bitter and the German thought this was the whole meal so he got up and left.

As he was walking on his way he said to himself "Cursed Jews! After all that ceremony, this is all they eat"

He went to the synagogue and fell asleep. Some time later, his friend arrived, happy and full he asked his friend how his evening was. The German explained what had happened. Hearing this the Jew responded "Stupid German, if you had just waited a little while longer you would have had a fine meal, just like me"

Too often in life we do not wait long enough to see something through. Our hasty actions and reactions often lead to consequences that we pay for dearly, for years to come. 

Today is the 17th of Tamuz a fast day. Usually we look at the cause for this fast being the start of the destruction of our precious Temple. However the real start goes back to when Moshe Rabeinu (our teacher) went up to Sinai to receive the Torah on our behalf. He came down on the 17th of Tamuz, saw the "Golden Calf" and broke the first set of tablets.

How could things have been different? At the time we Jews (or a certain group within / with Am Yisrael) calculated that the 40 days of Moshe going to receive the Torah was complete and since he was not yet down, they wanted another leader. They were acting like the German in the story above. Had they waited only 6 more hours, Moshe would have come down with the tablets, taught us what we needed to learn and we would all be happy. No sin of the Golden Calf, no disappointment, no Moshe getting upset with us or needing to go up again and no fast of the 17th of Tamuz.

All very well to say in retrospect, how can we apply that today? 

There are many events that take place in our life that test our patience and belief. How many times have you found had you only kept quiet, an argument would not have errupted, a friendship would not have ended. How many have been in a situation where had they only had a few moments of patience an accident would have been prevented.

Hillel the great sage was a master of being patient. He is an amazing role model but how do we get there? As the poem goes, we get there by taking one step at a time. Meaning, next time you are in a situation where you need to be patient, hold your tongue, be quiet, not act or react, instead of entering into hasty actions or speech, take a deep breath, consiously relax your body and daven to Hashem. Ask Him for help and guidance and a postive solution or outcome. If you dont know what to say to Hashem, reach for your faithful book of Tehillim and start reciting. Keep on reading the Tehillim until you feel calmer or have an idea for a solution. Even if you just manage 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, over time each of those minutes add up. Over time your system will begin to get used to stopping and waiting and praying before acting. 

We dont always hear what disaster was prevented from happening to know if we are being successful. So how about keeping a journal of how much more you are able to stay calm, speaking in a caring positive way, not reacting. If you have managed to not fight with your family, loved ones, friends for a day or week or month then begin to extend that to longer time and to with those who you dont know. Each day you have managed to go to sleep without any accidents, any arguments, any stress, acknowledge your progress and Thank G-d for protecting you. 

May this 17th of Tamuz be transformed into a day of rejoicing, preferably before the fast is over.


Thursday, 24 June 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness - 3


This week's "Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness" is

sponsored in the merit of

Sara bas Dina and her son Moshe ben Sara

for Refuat haNefesh and Refuat haGuf.

The beautiful image above was submitted by one of the members of our Tehillim group, 
Rachel Chana.

SHMIRAS HALASHON THOUGHT (Guarding Our Tongues)

A businessman from Warsaw once handed the Chofetz Chayim a list of his sforim that he wished to buy. After taking a quick glance at the list, the Chofetz Chayim asked him, "I notice that you ordered every one of my sforim except the Chofetz Chayim – laws of Lashon Hara. Why did you leave out such an important work?"

"I really would like to buy that sefer also," was the reply. "But I'm afraid to. You see, I come in contact with many people every day and in my position it's impossible for me not to speak and hear Lashon Hara."

"I'm fully aware of that problem," said the Chofetz Chayim. "I have even spoken to Reb Yisrael Salanter about it. He told me, 'It is worthwhile for someone to read your sefer on Lashon Hara even if the only result will be a sigh when he completes it." (This story is written in the introduction to the book "Guard Your Tongue adapted from Chofetz Chaim" by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin)


BITACHON THOUGHT

Last week we learned a teaching from Ramban (Nachmanides) from the book, "With All Your Heart – A Practical Approach to Bitachon by Rabbi S Wagschal. This week we continue from the same book, this time we learn that both Sefer HaCharedim and Rabbenu Yona teach us that it is a Torah commandment to trust in G-d in times of trouble. The former claims it is a mitzvah to put our trust in G-d in all situations. In Devarim (20:1) we read "When you go to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots – forces greater than yours - do not be afraid of them." Rabbenu Yona writes that if one detects approaching trouble, he should take G-d's deliverance to heart and trust in it, as it is written in Tehillim (85:10), "His deliverance is very near those who fear Him" and in Yeshayahu (51:12) "What ails you that you fear man who must die…?"

TEHILLIM THOUGHT

This thought is taken from the introduction to the section on Tehillim in the Artscroll Stone Edition of Tanach (Torah, Prophets, Writings)
For nearly three thousand years, every situation in a Jew's life has been reflected in King David's Book of Psalms. Referring to this Book, G-d said to David, "One day of your songs and praises is more precious to Me than the thousands of offerings that will be brought by your son Solomon." In illness and in strife, in triumph and in success, the Jew opens his Book of Psalms and lets David become the harp upon which his own emotions sing or weep. Small wonder that when the Chofetz Chaim, as an old man, was presented with his mother's ancient Book of Psalms, its pages swollen with her lifetime of tears, he was overcome with emotion. Who can assess the worth of the little Book that has been the chariot bearing countless tears to the Heavenly Throne?

Upon reading of King David's many ordeals, one can begin to understand how he could compose the psalms that capture every person's joy and grief, thanksgiving and remorse, cries from the heart and songs of happiness. He was the Sweet Singer of Israel; more than that, however, he experienced the travail of every person, and that is why everyone can see himself mirrored in David's psalms.

-------------------------------

In the merit of our Torah learning together with our Tehillim recited on Shabbos during daylight hours, may Hashem sweeten all decrees for all Am Yisrael. The specific names for this week were updated yesterday 23 June 2010 and can be found on Torah Online Website

Since we are striving to have 1000 Jewish women in this group (minimum) we look today at the cause to this target. Today is 4 years since Gilad Shalit was taken prisoner. As his parents begin a 12 day march from where they live to Yerushalayim, we join them with our Torah learning and Tehillim and appeal to Hashem to send Gilad home safely, peacefully to fulfil Torah and mitzvos with his loved ones. Gilad's Hebrew name appears at the top of the list, Gilad ben Aviva.

Our thoughts also go to Shalom Modechai ben Rivka Rubashkin that he return to his family safely and peacefully, to Yoel ben Chana Henia for Refuat HaNefesh and Refuat HaGuf. May his most recent medical test results be turned into a clean bill of health.

May we share only good news in Am Yisrael, a good that is revealed, visible and manifest.

Shabbat Shalom

Shoshanah


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Where There is a Will, There is a Way. - Penguin Escapes Killer Whales.



This delightful vidoe shows the quick thinking of a penguin. The caption on You Tube that accomanied this video: "Penguin jumps into boat to escape Killer Whales. I have been in contact with the guy who was driving the boat. He said the whales were just playing with it and traning a youger member of the pod and that they could have taken it at anytime. He also said they were never in any danger from the whales. And I did NOT ADD THE MUSIC!"

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Words of Prayer. Words of Kindness - 2


This Torah learning and compilation of this weeks "Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness" and Tehillim reminder is sponsored jointly in the merit of
Yael bas Esther for Refuat HaNefesh and Refuat HaGuf,
Zelig Pinchas ben Itta Leah for Hatzlachah and Yeshuah


Shmiras HaLashon Thought (Guarding our Tongues)

RESPECT:

"Whom do you respect more? People who show respect to others or people who insult others. The Sages (Pirkei Avos 4:1) state that the respected person is the one who respects other. Everyone wants to have the respect of his fellow man. By talking disrespectfully to others you are showing disrespect towards yourself. There might be a few individuals who admire someone who can make a sharp comment at another's expense. But whose respect do you want: the respect of the Sages of the Mishnah and all their disciples throughout the ages or the admiration of someone with distorted values?



Respect for the dignity of other people is the cornerstone of the commandment not to hurt their feelings. Even when you differ with someone, it is important that the message the other person hears is, "I value you as a person even though I disagree with your opinion," and "I respect you for the good that you do even though I think you have erred in this matter." (The Power of Words by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin)



Bitachon / Ahavas Yisrael Thought



In the book "With all Your Heart – A Practical Approach to Bitachon" by Rabbi S. Wagschal, the first chapter begins with questioning whether Trust in G-d is a mitzvah or not. Having stated that Rambam together with Rabbenu Bachyeis "Duties of the Heart" indicate that Trust in G-d is a mitzvah (commandment) Rabbi Wagschal continues that "Ramban maintains that the purpose of this mitzvah (i.e Trust in G-d) is that we should not listen to astrologers or rely on their prophecies. 'Although the stars and constellations may indicate something, nevertheless, since everything depends on G-d, He can alter the order of things, because the people of Israel are not controlled by the constellations – everything depends on G-d's Will, and He adjusts everything in accordance with the degree to which we draw near to His service.' "



Tehillim Thought



Along a similar theme, let us look at a thought regarding Tehillim 100 – ק

This Tehillim begins with the words in English "A Psalm of thanksgiving, call out to Hashem everyone on earth. Serve Hashem with gladness…." The question is asked as to how we should serve Hashem since in Tehillim 2:11 we are told to serve Hashem with awe. How do we reconcile the two, ie gladness with awe? To feel fear, respect and awe for G-d is essential to spiritual growth. Once a person realizes that his fear is the beginning of a process that leads to personal greatness and bliss, even the difficulties along the way can be accepted gladly (Ikkarim – the thought is found in the Artscroll Siddur)

If we combine the thought on Tehilim with what the Ramban teaches above, it seems that once one can internalize that ultimately G-d is in charge of everything and that everything He does is good and for our good, then we can let go of needing to rely on anyone. We can even find comfort in whatever our situation is in life, with gladness since this is how G-d currently is Directing events in our lives. This is a complex concept and one we will, G-d Willing touch on further in the coming weeks, in the hope that together we can come to realise how simple it can be, despite its different levels and layers and through this bring us comfort and hope in this difficult stage in the history of Am Yisrael.

The list of names for Tehillim were updated today, Thursday and can be found on Torah Online Website



Thank you for your participation in this Tehillim group.

P.S. Don’t forget, you too can become a partner with us in spreading
Goodness and Kindness, by sponsoring this post (sent out as email too)
or any of our other Mitzvah Projects.

Any Jewish women reading this post, who is not yet a member of the interantional Tehillim group, should sign up on the Tehillim page.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness.


Today's Tehillim Reminder Email is prepared, compiled and sent out in the merit of
Rachel Chanah bas Esther
For Refuat HaNefesh and Refuat HaGuf, Hatzlachah, Brachah and Yeshuot.


Shmiras HaLashon Thought (Guarding our Tongues):

Removal of the Yetzer Hara

 If a person diligently applies himself to studying the laws of Lashon Hara, Hashem Yisbarach will remove his yetzer hara (evil Impulse) for forbidden speech. (The same applies to all other transgressions)  (see Bamidbar Rabbah - Nosso) (Guard Your Gongue - Adapted from the Chofetz Chaim)


Chassidic Thought

Last week we were reminded of the tremendous love that Hashem has for every Jew. Today we look a little more at the unique connection between Jews and G-d. The Alter Rebbe in Tanya teaches us that every Jew is comprised of two souls: an animal soul and a godly soul. This godly soul is in reality a "Chelek Elokim Mi Maal Mamash" A portion of G-d Himself. It is this portion of the soul that the great Tzaddikim are able to see and that lead to the Rebbe regarding giving dollar bills to so very many every Sunday not as a chore or a burden but as counting diamonds, real jewels.

When we internalise that behaviour we don’t like or enjoy is probably an expression of the animal soul but that the Jews essence is a portion of G-d Himself, it becomes easier to overlook the problems and see only the treasure before us. This in turn enables us to treat every Jew with the respect, dignity, love, care and inspiring words fitting for who they really are. With this approach we help to strengthen our fellow Jew and remind them in turn of the soul that they too should focus on.

Tehillim Thought

I came across a beautiful thought on Tehillim Lamed or 30. This Tehillim (Psalm) is a song for the Inauguration of the Temple and yet it talks about the illness of David HeMelech – King David. The question is asked as to what the connection could be. Here is a beautiful answer: "The Temples purpose is best achieved when each individual Jew recognizes G-d's presence and help in his personal life.  Accordingly, by never losing his faith in G-d, and by finally being vindicated through G-d's deliverance, David is the perfect embodiment of the Temple's role in the life of the nation" (Rabbi Hirsch) This Psalm therefore describes for each of us, how to relate to G-d in our own difficulties and demonstrates that this is the approach in life that will help to hasten the building of the Temple, may it be soon.

The list of names for Tehillim were updated on Wednesday and can be found on  Torah Online Website

Thank you for your participation in this Tehillim group.

For a little additional chizuk as to the importance of this International Tehillim Group and my thank you to each of you who give of your time each Shabbos, I was doing a little learning yesterday to find the sections to add in today's Torah thoughts. One of the books I looked at was ' I Will Write it in Their Hearts- A treasury of Letters from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson" In one of the letters he mentions his father -in- law, The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe's call for every Jew to go "immediately to Teshuvah, immediately to Redemption". He later lists 4 things we can do that will assist with this. The fourth of these caught my attention

-    " seeing to it that everyone joins one of the Societies for the Recitation of Tehillim (Psalms) which is, in turn, registered in the International Society for Tehillim in Jerusalem (may it be speedily rebuilt). In this manner, their prayers will include the entire Jewish people. (letter 23 page 9)

This Tehillim group did begin in Jerusalem and although we are now in Beitar Illit, some do consider Beitar still part of greater Jerusalem ;0). I am not sure whether the Rebbe regards this Tehillim group as one of these societies, but it is my heartfelt prayer that we can continue to increase the number of Jewish women in this group and that our efforts will reach all of the Jewish people so that we can all merit to enjoy the re-built Jerusalem and the joy of greeting Moshiach.

Have a wonderful Shabbat

Shoshanah

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Approbation to The Shatnez, Baal Teshuva Mitzvah Project

For more on this project and to see how you can help, see the Baal Teshuva Mitzvah Fund

Monday, 7 June 2010

Urgent Tehillim Request

This URGENT Tehillim request was sent to me 7 hours ago. Please read the following thought on Guarding ones tongue and say some Tehillim for Arye Leib ben Chanah Lissel, a little baby of a few months old who went unconscious after getting caught in a crib.

I do not know where this baby is located or any other info. If anyone hears, or hears an update on this babelle, please email me.

Jewel Gathering: " It is worthwhile to study the laws of Lashon Hara even if this will only help you to refrain from speaking Lashon Hara for a brief period of time. If you were given an opportunity to gather diamonds and other jewels, you would be overjoyed to do so even if you could only take a few. Your attitude towards guarding your speech should be similar, since the eternal reward for observing this mitzvah is so immense. In actuality, however, if you will resolve to refrain from speaking Lashon Hara entirely and not only for a short time, you will be successful." (From the book "Guard Your Tongue - Adapted from the Chofetz Chaim.

Chassidic Thought related to jewels and diamonds:

In his later years, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe would spend his Sundays giving out a dollar or a few dollar bills and a brachah or eitza to Jews (sometimes non-Jews would come by too). Jews came from all over and lined up for hours to speak to the Rebbe for just a few moments and receive their brachah and dollar bill to be given to Tzeddakah as the kli to receiving their brachah. During this time, the Rebbe did not take any breaks, not for the bathroom or to eat or drink.

On one particular Sunday, an older woman who had been standing for several hours waiting for her turn, asked the Rebbe how he managed. She was concerned that at his age he might get tired from standing for 8 hours at a time. When the Rebbe heard her concern he responded: "how can one get tired when counting diamonds?"

To the Lubavitcher Rebbe, every Jew is like a diamond. As we learned in the brief thought sent out for the pre-Shabbos reminder, Hashem loves every Jew like an only child born to elderly parents in their old age. To Hashem, every Jew is a priceless Jewel. May this thought help us to treat every Jew we encounter TODAY with loving kindness, care and respect, with words of blessing and upliftment and may our efforts and Tehillim provide the merit necessary for little Arye Leib ben Chanah Nissel to have an immediate and complete recovery. May he grow up to serve Hashem with passion and untiring avoda and may he understand all apsects and levels of Torah and become a Gaon in Torah. May he give his parents, grandparents and all his family much Nachas always. May his recovery be the final gift required to bring Moshiach immediately.

Have a wonderful day and thank you for taking the time to care about a little Jewish baby boy.

Shoshanah


Please join our International Tehillim Group, uniting Jewish women around the world through reciting Tehillim every Shabbos from wherever they are during daylight hours. Our target is 1000 Jewish women in the group, more would be wonderful. We need a little over 850 Jewish women to reach our target.


Friday, 4 June 2010

Shidduch Tips - When a Shidduch is an Only Child

Yesterday we were approached by someone asking if we can assist a single Jewish woman with shidduchim. Always happy to help I sat down to listen to the story. The situation upset me deeply. The single Jewess, we'll call her Rachel, is a really lovely person. Actually I have met her in passing but not known she was looking.

 Rachel is an only child and is "Frum from birth", she is very caring to her parents, but both have various health problems. Rachel has been trying Shidduchim for some time now and has met some strange guys and some nice guys. The reason Shidduchim with the nice guys has not turned out is because she is an only child and her parents have a health problem.

This saddens me deeply. This is NO REASON to turn down a Shidduch. On the contrary it is an added reason to move forward with the Shidduch.

Let us take a look at just a few Yidden who were in perhaps similar situations. Let us begin with Yitzhak Avinu the very first Shidduch made. Yitzhak is the only child to Sarah Imeinu and was born in her old age. In a certain sense, he too did not have a huge family to offer to his Kallah. But the Chumash does not talk of Rivkah questioning as to how many siblings Yitzhak had or how young Avraham and Sarah were or how many counsins, aunts and uncles there would be. She agreed and when seeing Yitzhak for the first time realized what a great person she would be marrying.

How about the Rav Moshe ben Shmuel Sofer. He was born to elderly parents and also an only child, but Rav Moshe is better known to us as none other than the Great Tzaddik the Chasam Sofer. Look at what he became and what he contributed to this world. Can any woman have turned down a shidduch just because he did not have siblings or healthy, young spritely parents?

How about Rav Yisrael ben Eliezer. He was born an only child to elderly parents, not only this but he was orphaned by both parents at a very young age. Rav Yisrael ben Eliezer is of course the Baal Shem Tov. Have a look at what he contributed to our world? Such awesome Torah, such kindness, so many inspiratinal stories.

OK, you want to argue that these are all men, let us look at a Jewish woman from our time. Have you ever heard of the book " More Precious than Pearls" or perhaps the book "Here You Are" and several others? These are written by Rebbetzin Tzippora Heller. Rebbetzin Hellers contribution to the world, and to Jewish women can be seen on her website 

Rebbetzin Heller is an inspiration to countless Jewish women around the world. In addition to her teaching, writing and huge acts of kindness she is also a wife and mother of a sizeable family with grandchildren. When I learned with Rebbetzin Heller some years ago, I remember her being given as an example of how 1 child can bring so much Nachas to parents. She too is an only child.

If you were to know at the time of dating that the only child you were meeting would contribute to the world as the above 4 examples have and do, would you seriously turn down a shidduch just because the Jew is an only child and or because s/he is an orphan or has parents with health problems?

If you are interested in a caring, comprehensive Shidduch service, please visit Torah Online or email Shoshanah or Reb Eliyahu directly.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Redeeming Tehillim

We feel the birth pangs of Moshiach. G-d helped us through our labor pains of oppression for generations. Now it is time for us to push.


Imagine what we can accomplish in this world and who knows what the impact can be in shayamin.
Throughout our history the women have saved the Jewish nation.  As we all join together on Shabbas and raise our voices as one we too can use our gift of speeech to increse our merits and bring the geulah closer. 

The current target for our International Tehillim Group is 1000 Jewish women, uniting every Shabbat from wherever they are during daylight hours, through reciting the powerful words of Tehillim. Each Shabbat we cover the sefer Tehillim as many times as possible. This week we are currently reaching 3 rounds of the sefer Tehillim plus.

We are taught that " A person who guards his tongue from Lashon Hara santifies his faculty of speech. Blessed with this merit, his prayers and words of Torah will be accepted by G-d" Guard Your Tongue - Adapted from Chofetz Chaim Pg 187.

Since our Tehillim group is focused on hastening the Redemption, from this week we are adding to our weekly email reminding of the Tehillim to be said on Shabbos, a teaching about Guarding Our Tongues. One of the women in the group also reminded us that a valuable tool to guarding our tongues is increasing in Bitachon and Ahavas Yisrael. For this reason we hope to also learning something related to Ahavas Yisrael and Chassidus.

Please come and join the group. We have over 100 Jewish women located in Israel, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia. That is onlyone tenth of the way to our target. Please join us in reciting the Tehillim.

We also have the opportunity for you to sponsor the learning of Smiras HaLashon or Ahavas Yisrael or a teaching regarding Tehillim in our weekly email. Details for this partnership with this beautiful project will be going up soon. Please come back to visit for further details or email Shoshanah TODAY.



 

Some Images of Beauty in Nature

The past week has had its share of difficulties, distracting us from our true Avoda. Here are some stunning images sent to me last night. 
 Enjoy, may they remind us all of the beauty and wonders of Creation and keep us focussed on the true path.






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