Thursday, August 24, 2006

The pile on my bed - and Marriage.

In just four days, I'm on my way to start my official Shlichus journey in Philadelphia.

So I've been cleaning the room. Like, reeeeeeaaally cleaning.

I attached the book shelf first, then the desk, the drawers, the closet...

Every area in my room opens another door to the past. Old poetry, pictures, school assignments, CDs, letters, scrapbooks...The list goes on of things I have to make the daunting decision: Does it go to the garbage, or do I save it?

I was just looking at the huge pile that has amassed on my bed.

* sigh *

After playing some good music and dancing through all of my belongings, I'm feeling reflective.

I have spent time cleaning my room in between all traveling and transition periods.

But, this time around, something is different.


I noticed it first when I was looking through my photo-diary, a collection of my photography I put together during highschool. Of course, I have to save it. I knew that. But before I knew it, images were popping through my mind of putting it on a cofee table, and having guests look through it.

For the first time, my choice of "to save or not to save" was all about my future home.

And it wasn't just about the home. The husband and kids were also in the scene.

It happened with everything I touched.

With pictures, I was thinking, "Ha, my kids would love to see this one. And, hmm, what will my husband think about this one? Does he have to know that I once had pimples?"

Going through the books, it was "I've read this a million times, but now my husband just haaaaaaas to read this, so, let's keep it. And people would probably love to borrow this one."

When I got to my CDs, I ended up throwing out tons of strange mixes friends made through out high school, but this collection of niggunim, my kids must have.

While I was organizing my stationary (I have a habit of collecting tons of cards, fancy paper, etc), I convinced myself to hold onto all of it by reserving it for "thank you" cards for my engagement, shower, and wedding.

Candles, that weird little figurine, the vase - it all has a place in my not-yet-purchased home with my not-yet-born children with my not-yet-found husband.

So after going through everything I sat on my bed (that one little spot not covered with stuff) and looked around. The images still dancing in my mind, I smiled inside. I'm so excited to decorate a home. I'm excited to have lots of guests. I'm excited to have kids. I'm so excited to share all this with someone.

Just then, my sister walked in my room, went straight to the pile of throw-away clothing and asked, "Why are you throwing out this hat? It's soooo cute!" My first reaction was, "I'm going to be wearing Sheitels, not hats..." And she then picked up this poncho-like thing that somehow entered my winter wardrobe. I said, "Yea, when I'm pregnant, that might be cool."

My sister gave me such a funny look. I think she's getting what's going on. :)

Manis Friedman says that it's time to get married when it's all you think about.

I'm wondering if all this is what he means.


So, stuff is in boxes downstairs, my pictures have been taken down, and there is (almost) no trace of the fact that this was ever Mimi's room. It's officially going to be a guest room. I'm thinking, "How weird would that be to visit home with my husband and kids and stay in my old room?"

My mother came to take my now empty bookshelf downstairs. As we were shlepping it, she mumbled to herself, "We'll put the kidsbooks here... for the grandchildren."

Apparently, it's not just me.


So, now I have a pile of stuff on my bed that have no particular place to go.

Odds and ends, just hanging in mid-air, waiting for a decision to be made.

But me?

Well, it's all too clear where I'm holding.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Myth #5: The Rebbe never went to Israel

People love asking the question. It's as if Chabad is perfect, but they have the pin, the fine point that's going to pop every Lubavitcher into smithereens. There's always a chin-up ego type of stance in the person asking the question. They're thinking, "yea, how's he gonna answer THIS one?"

Why didn't the Rebbe ever go to Israel?

Behind the question is a deeply rooted missionary mindset. It’s a holy checklist. Like no one is seeing the soul of what it's supposed to mean to go to Israel.

What encourages this twistedness is when the Chabadnik being asked actually answers this weak "why?" question by opening their answer with, "because.."

There is no "because..."

The real response isn't an answer. It's a halt on all the questioners premises.

Not only did the Rebbe go to Israel, he was there all the time.

And no, he did not fly El Al. He did not have jet lag, and did not have to deal with the time delay.

His trips were more direct than that.

He didn’t go to Israel, he lived Israel. He breathed Israel.

The Rebbe lived Israel through all his thoughts, speeches, and actions.

His involvement was real, sacred, and always on target.

Get the facts, people.


Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he was able to stand in line for hours and, with his clear vision and positivity, encourage questioning travelers to travel to Israel no matter what the situation.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he was able to tell thousands of people not to fear.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he was able to turn the shame of crippled Israeli soldiers into deep respect, admiration, and praise.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he ensured everyone’s safety when the country was barraged with missiles. No one person was hurt.

Because the Rebbe lived \Israel, thousands of people put on Tefillin for Israel’s safety.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, everyone became a soldier. Even tiny children marched.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, his mourning for a soldier’s death was real. After one particular massacre, the Rebbe didn't leave his room for days. He felt everything.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he was in continual contact with leaders and politicians. In many ways, the government was in his hands.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he knew the issues. He was unafraid to be real about G-d’s instructions.When things got hazy, the Rebbe simple told the world “we’re not allowed.” He wasn’t afraid to say, “This is what G-d wants, this is his will.”

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he was able to convince two members of Perez’s cabinet to walk out, and Perez never became Prime Minister. The Rebbe would not sit idly and allow him to win with plans to give Arafat the whole West Bank.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, he was able to give information to hundreds at farbrengens. He knew exactly where American money was going, what the Arab nations next moves were, and the physical details of the Mideast terrain.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, newspapers were eager to herald the Rebbe’s prophecies, directives, and comfort with the world.

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, everyone there knew his voice was the strongest. When the Rebbe had a stroke and couldn’t speak, Rabin said, “now we can do what we want.”

Because the Rebbe lived Israel, there are countless stories of how Israel was saved through his intervention, his speaking out, his unwavering strength and clarity.

The list goes on. We don't even know the half of it.

The Rebbe had a fiery clarity and focus when it came to Israel and the needs of our nation in times of crisis. He felt every vibration. He didn’t miss a beat.

Ask a Shliach in Israel, "What do you think about the fact that the Rebbe never came to Israel?" and he will answer, "What? Never came to Israel? Where did you hear that?”

Ask a soldier in Israel, and he will smile and whip out his picture of the Rebbe, kiss it, and say “The Rebbe is here, my friend.”

For Israel, the Rebbe was a true leader, a freind, a healer, a truth ringer. It is his message and light, the realness of G-d’s truth in this world, that are the only positivity in Israel today.

The real question is whether the Rabbis who do indeed appear to live in Israel are actually present in the land. They seem to be there, we hear of them every now and then.

Our ‘leaders” in Israel. It’s laughable. All they do is whisper.

The Rebbe got children to rally.

As the Rabbis in Israel whispered.

The Rebbe refused to be passive.

As the Rabbis in Israel whispered.

The Rebbe cried.

As the Rabbis in Israel whispered.

The Rebbe called the Prime Minister.

As the Rabbis in Israel whispered.

The Rebbe said it like it is, and loud.

As the Rabbis in Israel whispered.

The Rebbe himself is known to have asked, “Where is the voice of the religious?”

And, well, the Rabbis in Israel just whispered.


So, this question about the Rebbe visiting Israel. It’s got to go.

If you ever get asked this question, just smile.

Then hit them with the truth.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

And now, for the inside.

This picture tells me more about the situation in Israel than any so-called news.

Why do we act like there's no inside?

There is an inside to all this.

I saw this picture, and felt less detached.

Being detached is the worst.

The Rebbe and a tattoed Israeli brought me back to life.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I hate wanting Moshiach with this "enough is enough" tone.

A Muslim walks into the Seattle Jewish Federation and opens fire. All of a sudden, I want Moshiach.

Hearing about many deaths over the past weeks. All of a sudden, I want Moshiach.

Bombs falling on the cener of my heart - Tzfas. All of a sudden, I want Moshiach.

Walking through the airport, and all the newspapers scream about Israel. All of a sudden, I want Moshiach.

Feeling the Tisha B'av hunger in my stomach. And I want Moshiach.

It's sick. Does it have to take pain and suffering to awaken within me a genuine desire for Moshiach. Am I this numb?

I wish my yearning transcended all this craziness, all the confusion, all the losses.

I wish that, in every situation, I had a vision; an eagerness.

Where is it?

Where is it when I am strong and laughing?

I just wish everything would just calm down, so I can find the truth in this yearning.

I wish I could show G-d that I'm for real about this.

That, no matter what, I want Moshiach NOW.

Just because he wants it, and he wants me to want it.


Rebbe, really didn't have to.

Ever since I started really striving to understand, learn from, and connect with the Rebbe, my life has seen countless blessings.

I have the Rebbe to thank...for a lot of things.

But I never thought he would get me a laptop.

I mean, come on.


I'm at the Bais Chana woman's program in Minnesota right now.

I was just on the teen program, prepared to spend the next month home, but a conversation with Rabbi Friedman led to a change of plans.

"Why don't you come to the woman's program? You can hang out and do some writing for us."

So, here I am.

I quickly realized a laptop was essential to my future, all these opportunities. I knew it would happen, but not so soon. Not so "on demand."

The laptop came because I have a mission. The Rebbe believes in me, and he just couldn't wait.

So, it's exciting.

I'm ready to turn this thing into a mission-invested, spark-lifting, simcha-spreading, and totally Moshiach-bringing machine.

And the Rebbe...

I just can't help but smile.

He's just so tech-savvy.

(We're currently looking to find a fitting name for the laptop. Any ideas?)