Okay, I just had the most incredible, wonderful, convenient, AMERICAN experience in all of my six years in Israel!!
The new gas station that I've been salivating over has FINALLY OPENED!!
So I have to share this experience just to show how my perspective has changed over the last six years. Or whatever reason you prefer. Okay, here goes.
But really quick - can you see that annoyed expression on David's face? I bet he was wondering if he should have me evaluated for taking a picture of my car at the gas station pump. Well maybe he should. But seriously, can you get over that crazy damaged front bumper? I have just three words: ALL HIS FAULT! But that's a post for another time.
Let's get back to my gas station celebration.
First, this little slice of paradise is situated right next to a very convenient back road with no major traffic and no traffic jams. It's incredibly easy to drive in to the station, and the pumps are situated at a 45 degree angle, so you can drive up without having to make any sharp turns. It's well-lit and very spacious.
But if that weren't enough, here's the kicker: the machine TOOK MY CREDIT CARD!!!
DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!?!?!?!
Yes, it's midnight and my brain is clogged with this sinus infection that I've had for a week, so I can't think properly, and I may be starting to hallucinate. I keep seeing rugelach everywhere.
BUT DO YOU UNDERSTAND?? I'll explain. See, the other gas station, or ANY gas station in Israel either doesn't take my credit card because it's an American-based AMEX, or I have to walk into the "convenience" store to pay for the gas after I filled up the tank.
Do you realize how much time that adds to the whole gas station getting gas thing? It's super annoying, especially when I have to wait almost 10 minutes in line, then fight with people who are looking for me so they can yell at me why I left my car at the pump while I did something so inconsiderate as to go in and PAY FOR MY GAS. So I had to yell back at the guy that there is no place to park my car, so what exactly am I supposed to do with it?
He backed off because I bared my fangs at him, and also I think my ghetto chain necklace might have scared him a little.
Oh, and there are other gas stations that won't let you put in more than 200 shekel at a time. At another gas station I used a few times, I kept having to go back inside and tell them to add another 200, and then go inside a third time to actually pay! Does any of this make any sense?
But here, in this gas station, the most unbelievable thing happened!
I put in my credit card, hoping against hope that some miracle would happen, and BINGO! It accepted my card on the spot! I honestly felt like I had won the jackpot at the slot machine on the cruise that I'm hallucinating that I'm on right now.
I feel like the world is tilting, so I must be riding the soft waves on a Mediterranean cruise. Where's my midnight buffet? I actually do hear music outside because everyone's doing their Simcha Beit Hashoeva, which I really don't feel like explaining right now. Look it up. Fun stuff, yo.
I'm telling you, it was a surreal experience. Then as I was leaving I slowed down to admire the DRIVE-THRU CAR WASH that I'm going crazy to DRIVE THRU. I can't wait. Serious.ly Seriously. For real. Rizzle.
The only thing that was missing was the red carpet that should have been rolled out, so I could make my grand entrance in high style. I mean, did you see that front bumper of mine? I'm basically driving a low rider/limousine hybrid with stray cat paw marks all along the front hood. I think my building's stray cats use my car as a hangout for their cat buddies from down the block. Each building has its own stray cat gang. They're very territorial.
Alrighty then. I just wanted to tell you this story so: 1) you'll appreciate all the convenient things you take for granted in wherever you are, and 2) your waiting skills, i.e. patience, will get some good chizuk. This gas station is proof that waiting for something will make you appreciate it so much more than if you got it right away. PLUS, it's a great lesson in patience (did I say that already?) and an even greater opportunity for you to talk to Hashem about the thing you're waiting for.
Sometimes that waiting period either makes us realize that it's not what we want, or it makes us turn to Hashem, which is the secret to getting what we want. And even if we don't get what we want, but we asked Hashem for help and guidance, then we should know that whatever we did get is exactly what Hashem wanted to give us. So waiting is a wonderful thing.
My head is nodding forward and I have no idea if this post even made any sense. Anyhow, I want to wish you all a continued happy Sukkot and Happy Simchat Torah!
GUESS WHO took this stunning picture!! Or is it ?? Let's compromise and say?!
Congratulate me! I got out of Bet Shemesh!! Not only that, but I got out with a group of girlfriends from one of my 87 Zumba classes! We rented a sailboat and set sail out of the port of Ashdod into the beautiful deep blue Mediterranean. We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset, gourmet treats, and of course, lots of great music.
I tell you, it was just magical. Swinging lazily on the hammock as the boat gently rode the waves, basking in the sun and feeling the warm ocean breeze - it was heavenly.
We went out for dinner after our sunset cruise, which was kind of a bummer for me because I'm officially impossible to go out to eat with. I couldn't find anything on the menu that would work for my keto kraziness diet! Nothing!
Except for the fish dishes, and I was too cheap to spend almost $30 on a little plate of fish. If I'm spending that kind of money, it's going to be on a new pair of Nike training pants. So I ordered a salad and had them switch the dressing and make a few other "minor" changes.
All in all, it was a fantastic night.
I started feeling strong pains developing in my throat in the middle of the night. By the morning I could barely swallow from the pain, but I still went to the gym. Later that afternoon, oh boy. The fever began, along with terrible swollen lymph nodes in my throat. Yet, strangely enough, I still considered going to Zumba at night.
So what's the point, you're probably thinking. Well, David made me realize that in every bad there's always good to be found.
How did he do this? By pointing out a simple fact: "At least you can't talk, right?" I immediately hobbled in pain, hunched over, to my computer so I could write him off. But really, his insight astounded me.
It's true. In every bad, there is good to be found.
Now I'm not the Arizal (shocking, right?) so I can't tell you everything about your past incarnations and what you're doing here to begin with, but I realized a few interesting things:
1) That's right. I can't talk. If I were my husband and kids, I'd consider that a definite PLUS. There was so much less fighting, I couldn't believe it.
2) Peanut allergies can be a positive thing. Did you know that non-organic peanuts used for peanut butter are from the lowest grade of peanuts? They have aflatoxin, and extremely toxic carcinogen that has been linked to cancer, lo aleinu. Organic peanuts are of higher quality and shouldn't have this.
3) The technician came to fix my washing meachine. He gave it a wack with a hammer, and good as new. I'm being absolutely serious. He really wacked the bottom of it with a hammer. That was after I made him come back because he wouldn't wait for me to get home because he came two hours earlier than he was supposed to. Because the first time he left he emptied out the pipes behind the washing machine. After all this back and forth, the machine stopped working again last night. So I'm without a washing machine again. What's the good in this? I get a temporary break from laundry so I have more time to go to the gym.
OMG. I ate too much sugar free halva and my intestines are making all kinds of crazy noises.
What's the good thing in eating too much halva? That it was yummy!
It's almost one in the morning and I keep falling asleep. Again. Hopefully I'll have something intelligible to post later on today. Until then, have a good night! Or morning!
My dear friend Tena sent this to me when she strolled along the magical coast of Moro Bay, California.
I wish I were there...
But, alas. I'm melting in the hot August sun, trying to convince my kids that they don't need to go on an excursion every single day. What a shame there aren't any long-term, organized day camps here like there are in the States. I gotta give 'em credit. Summer vacation is a whole lot easier in the States.
Maybe I'll convince Tena to let me ship my kids over to her for the next two weeks. I'm sure they'll have a blast! Her, not so much...
Sometimes I enjoy looking at gorgeous pictures like this one so I can disconnect for a few minutes from all the craziness in the world. I generally try to keep the craziness from the outside world barging into my inside world because it sure don't need more craziness.
Speaking of craziness, there are way too many crazies in the world. Too many. The idiot from the Charlottesville car ramming insanity just added himself to the list. A person's gotta be completely evil to do something like run into a bunch of people. I hope that he ends up in jail forever, or even better, suffers the same fate.
The entire town and country are demanding justice, as they should.
But isn't it ironic that when the exact same thing was happening to innocent people in Israel, the world wasn't screaming for justice?
Assuming every act of terrorism in Israel was reported, there was still NO world outcry for revenge against the terrorists. There was NO call to bring them to justice. There was NO public world statement that Israel would be supported if she decided to retaliate.
Instead, there was silence.
Indifferent, unsympathetic silence.
(Oh yeah, and repeated warnings by Obama saying that Israel had better not retaliate.)
Well, guess what.
Hashem is taking care of it. He's showing the world that we all must believe in the Jewish People's right to live on our land and the right to defend our land as we see fit.
Because if they don't, that means they also don't believe in the Torah. And it doesn't matter if they're Jewish or not. If they believe in the Torah, they believe it's a Divine gift for all mankind. If they believe in that, they likely believe in Hashem as well.
Since the world was silent, Hashem let them see what it feels like.
Supporting the Jewish People and our G-d given right to live here is what Hashem wants. And while the people of the world are working on that, they can also work on letting go of generations of unfounded hatred and intolerance. So many people hate each other simply because they're different.
Soon, all this hate isn't going to exist.
The question is - will we rid ourselves of it? Or will Hashem have to do it for us?
Isn't this a gorgeous picture? So romantic, right? I took this picture yesterday on the coast of Netanya, one of the most beautiful cities in Israel. The scenery looks romantic, but I can tell you it was anything but a romantic moment when I took this picture, because the kids were fighting all around me and I was struggling to hold three bags of sand-laden towels and clothes.
It's funny, but Netanya looks a lot like Miami Beach. Most of the buildings on the coast are brand new, with the same modern architecture that you'd find in South Beach. Actually, there's a South Beach here, too. The rest of the coast of Netanya looks like Miami Beach from 30 years ago. They even have a Lincoln Road equivalent. From 30 years ago! Including the old people that just sit around and people-watch as they clutch onto their little rolling shopping carts that they use for their grocery shopping. It's so cute! The good news (or maybe not) is that I haven't seen any night clubs along the coast. I did see miniature golf, though.
So we're in Netanya for the week! Yay! I got out of Bet Shemesh!! Can I get a little Mazal Tov? I haven't been to the beach since we left Miami six years ago. Six years! Not normal for someone who lived two minutes away from the beach!
The craziest part is that I haven't been on vacation in more than six years! The last time I went on vacation, my third son was about six months old and we took the family to Disney World. Not exactly a vacation if you ask me. So this trip isn't exactly a vacation either, since we're not staying in a hotel, and I still have the kids with me. And David. I still have him with me, too. Which means I have to cook. And do laundry.
BTW, he's gonna kill me when he reads this, but I just have to say that I've never seen whiter legs in my life. His legs are so white, they camouflage against the wall. Dude, where your legs been all these years?? I came up with a great nickname for him: Chicken White Legs. I think it sounds a little like an American Indian warrior name.
Greetings, Chicken White Legs! Halt! Get thy self away from your computer and into a tanning booth at once!
Today is the 15th day of the month of Av, which is known as the Day of Love. You can scroll down to read Rav Brody's post about it. Fascinating stuff! I suggest that after reading his post, make an extra effort to share the love with others. Be extra nice to your friends and kids. Give a warm smile and a genuine greeting to others, especially people you work with. Husbands, buy your wives flowers. If you can manage to take her out tonight, by all means, do it! You can also buy your wives chocolates, as long as they're sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, low-carb, and seriously delicious.
So we're having fun here, enjoying the Day of Love with some fine wine, a romantic sunset, and five kids throwing muddy sand patties at each other in the background. Good times.
The ink has barely dried on our post from yesterday Jerusalem Weeps, when we protested the Impurade and wrote, "We vehemently protest the public display that honors the transgression of Torah and in the strongest possible terms denounce the Government's condoning and support of it. This is not democracy, but suicide."
Imagine that the soul of Jerusalem arose to the Heavenly Throne and cried out, "Master of the Universe! Look what they're doing to me!" Such cries induce a swift ax of judgment. Yet, no one ever realized that the ax would fall so fast.
There's no such thing as coincidence in the world. While the Impurade was going on, a court document was "accidentally" revealed that Israeli Police are investigating Prime Minister Netanyahu on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Only a court of law can decide if the PM is guilty or not, but that's not the point here. For months already, all types of scandals include the PM's alleged fingerprints. So, why would things hit the fan just as the Impurade is going on?
Simple; the Almighty's justice works on a measure-for-measure basis. Do good and get good - the opposite also holds true here. So what's the measure-for-measure here?
While the soul of Jerusalem is crying, the PM didn't say a word of objection. "Aha", says the Ax of Judgment, "you cry not when Jerusalem is desecrated, now you shall have a reason to cry."
Jerusalem is not for sale, certainly not to debauchery. There comes a time when we are all held responsible for what we do or don't do. When it comes to Jerusalem, the ax of judgment falls fast.
The Three Weeks are over and Tisha B'Av is past, but my soul still cries and my eyes are far from dry. Last night at the Kotel, the Western Wall remnant of our Holy Temple, you could literally smell the fresh-burnt ashes of the fire that destroyed our Holy Temple 1,947 years ago to the day...
Writing about this subject - the public contamination of Jerusalem - is like cleaning a cowshed, not exactly the activity one would choose to do in August, especially in the heat of Israel. Yet, Halacha (Jewish Law) states that "he who has the power to object, yet fails to object, is caught up in the crime" (Shulchan Aruch, Yora Deah 147:1). Hashem sends surprising messengers. I hadn't planned on writing about today's Impurade in Jerusalem, but last night, an Israeli-Arab professor from Hebrew University asked me by way of a mutual friend, Dr. Nissan Yacubov, may Hashem bless him, why the rabbis of Jerusalem aren't coming out in full force against the abomination parade in Jerusalem, which is not only condoned by the Israeli Government but financed in a large measure by the Jerusalem Municipality.
"This is the reason that Allah has entrusted Al Quds ("the holy" in Arabic, the nickname for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount) in our hands. The Quran is very specific in its prohibition against homosexuality, as is the Torah. Such a repulsive display of abomination could never happen in East Jerusalem. Yet on the Jewish side of town, not a single voice of objection is heard. Why?"
I sent an answer to the esteemed professor, "I am in no way spokesman for any rabbinical group. But, my guess is that they don't want our children to know that such a thing exists, so they remain silent." I felt embarrassed by my explanation. Here, the Muslim professor, an intellect by every sense of the word and by no means a firebrand from the streets, had no problem in standing up for his religion's standard of ethics. So what in the world are we ashamed of?
The Torah forbids quite a few things, many of which defy human logic for the Torah is God-given. One may not murder or steal; he or she must also refrain from eating pork, shrimp, and milk mixed with meat. Homosexuality as well is not only forbidden, but condemned as an "abomination".
Every human has the right of free choice, as long as they don't impinge on the rights of others. Behind closed doors, let people do as they please, even if it includes eating ham-and-cheese sandwiches with one's same-sex partner. Yet, flaunting one's flagrant violation of Torah in public, on the streets of our Holy City, not only crosses every red line of ethics and morality but impinges on the rights of those who don't want to expose their children to such abomination. The parade participants have no right to flaunt their brazen trampling of Torah Law in public, especially in the Holy Land, and all the more so in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
It is definitely not politically correct to speak up against the Impurade, who wave their counterfeit flag of tolerance. But, Torah and the lie of political correctness, known as chanupa in Torah, don't go together. So davka, now in particular, we cry out in protest to today's planned public parade of debauchery and abomination. We vehemently protest the public display that honors the transgression of Torah and in the strongest possible terms denounce the Government's condoning and support of it. This is not democracy, but suicide.
The Land of Israel is not at all tolerant. The Torah warns in stiffest terms, "For the inhabitants of the Land who were before you committed all these abominations, and the Land became contaminated. Let not the Land disgorge you for having contaminated it, as it disgorged the nation that was before you" (Leviticus 18:27-28).
The Torah protests the contamination of Jerusalem's streets, the Land of Israel protests, Jerusalem itself protests, and we too join in the protest. If we want true sovereignty in our Holy Land and in our Holy City, we must do what we can to preserve their sanctity. Today, Jerusalem weeps, and so do we.