We had a pleasant surprise in Singapore earlier today: Robin Stienberg, President of National Critic's Choice magazine and website, presented me with the "Lifetime Achievement Award" for Jewish Inspirational Literature. All I can say is that I've been trying to be a faithful mailman, bringing Hashem's messages to people of all backgrounds. Thank You, Hashem - it's all Your honor.
16 posts from May 2012
Each of us has his or her own individual personal path. Our path in life is as unique as our fingerprint, in accordance with our mission in life, former reincarnations, and our individual tikkun. Although there are general tasks that each person must do on this earth, each person has a unique and individual way of completing a given task. One cannot attain happiness or fulfillment in life without ascertaining his or her unique path. Without personal prayer, this is virtually impossible. Personal prayer can't be found in any book; not only does it change from person to person, it changes within a person himself from day to day and from hour to hour, according to a person's current circumstances and according to the stimuli that Hashem sends at that given moment. - The Garden of Yearning
There are many not-so-well-meaning folks out there that are constantly trying to persuade us to do things that we know are wrong. We therefore should always pray that Hashem gives us the strength to do the right thing. Have a great Shabbat!
By tradition, we give our little boys there very first haircut at age 3 - they get there new sidecurls, tzitzit, and begin learning how to read. A beautiful custom is to do the first haircut in Miron on Lag B'Omer; below, are two angelic images my camera brought home from Miron:
1. Little lad moments before his first haircut -
2. "The Lone Tear" - a little cutie moments after his first haircut -
Freedom from physical bondage is only bottom-level freedom. Freedom from bodily urges, such as substance dependancy, overeating and debauchery is higher level freedom; alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and lust incarcerate a person worse than a state pentitentiary.
Highest level freedom is freedom of the mind, when a person breaks the ball-and-chain servitude to conformity. One reaches the pinnacle of freedom when mobilizing his or her entire mental and physical resources in the service of The Creator. A servant of G-d is a master of body and soul.
The great benefit of being The King's servant is that one is free from serving anyone and everyone else. No feeling is as refreshing and exhilerating as real freedom, doing what you know and believe is right.
Today is the 14th of Iyar - Pesach Sheni.
During the time of the Holy Temple, anyone who deliberately fails to participate in the Pascal sacrifice on Passover eve is punished by karett, a terrible punishment that amounts in the severance of a person’s soul from the Jewish people. Yet, a person who was far away from the Holy Temple or ritually impure on the afternoon of 14th of Nissan, when we prepare the Pascal Lamb Sacrifice that we partake of on Seder night, the eve of the 15th of Nissan, is given a second chance. Hashem invites all those who were “ritually impure” and “far away” to return to the Holy Temple a month later on the 14th of Iyar. They fulfill the obligation of “Pesach Sheni” – a second chance to fulfill the Pascal sacrifice – and are completely forgiven for missing Pesach Rishon, the first Pesach.
You are the greatest, Hashem!
Few people could have been “further away” or more “ritually impure” than I was, the way my secular lifestyle used to be. But Hashem is ever so patient – He grants us a second chance. In fact, “far away” and ritually impure” are not only the two tickets to a second chance, they describe much of our assimilated youth. But don’t give up on them – Hashem gives everyone a second chance. We should help others become aware of that second chance. Just as a little footnote, Pesach Sheni – the second chance – is not only prophetic for me, it’s the story of my life. I was born on Pesach Sheni.