Archive | May, 2014

Into the Fray and Beyond

27 May

   Lots of people just “don’t want to get involved.”  But sometimes, it makes sense.  That’s the art of “picking your battles.”  You can’t choose every battle that come your way, but you should certainly choose some of them.  This week, we experienced the day (yesod within yesod) of a famous biblical figure – Yoseph hatzadik, or “Joseph the righteous.”  Joseph’s contribution was his ability to be above the fray even while in the midst of the fray.  While the chief viceroy of Egypt, Joseph was nonetheless able to keep his head above the accounts, beyond the politics, and past the petty squabbles of Egyptian life.  He remained focused and concentrated on one thing alone – the One above.  Joseph was a highly developed individual, and not all of us can master his trait of being “above the fray” even while “in the fray.”  On the other hand, it is not totally beyond us.  The method was perfected by Joseph but we can tap into it.  His quality was the ability to be tied to someone/something beyond himself.  When you are connected Above (the fray) you do not fall down (into the fray).  For more on the subject, have a look at this week’s words of Torah at  If you like what you see, you may want to check out and pick up some valuable info on Jewish meditation and prayer.  And if you really want to dive into life in the big (spiritual) city, go to   Here are a couple of other links for good measure: and  See ya on the other (higher) spiritual side…

Musing with the times…

21 May

Lag b’Omer has come and gone, and once again, I ask myself the quintessential Jewish question, “where am I”?  I don’t know why Lag b’Omer does this, even Yom Kippur doesn’t make me as introspective as Lag b’Omer does.  While everyone else is huddled around a huge bonfire or pushing their way up to Meron and R’ Shimon bar Yochai, I can be found alone at my desk, pondering the mysteries of the universe.  Is there something wrong with that on lag b’Omer?  I don’t think so, actually…Lag b’Omer is all about what the mystics called hod, or “glory” and the way we get into the glory is by pondering the mystery of creation, so maybe I’m onto something…at the same time, Lag b’Omer is not just your standard “glory.”  It’s hod within hod, or the “glory of the glory.”  Another way of getting that is to know that we are not just puny in relation to Him.  That would be like saying, “yeah God is bigger than I am.”  Congratulations you have arrived at step one.  Rebbe Shimon was step one thousand or maybe one hundred thousand.  Hod within hod is more like, “I don’t exist, I’m really not here, I’m only a piece of the One above.”  A little infinity (soul) within a body, that’s the Jew.  When my musings get me to that point, I’m ready for R’ Shimon…

For more meaningful musings from a more advanced human being, go to  For books and information about Jewish meditation and prayer, go to  For more background and info on Chabad in Jerusalem, visit us at  And here are a couple of other great sites as well: and  

Second Chance

14 May

We are in the heart of the omer, the countdown period that occurs between Pesach and Shavuot.  Twenty nine days, to be exact, or four weeks, one day and counting.  Tonite, we have the holiday of Pesach sheni, or the “second Pesach,” during which the Jews get a “second chance.”  Those who were impure or far away on the night of the exodus from Egypt, got a second chance to join the festivities a month later.  And the same is true of the rest of us; it’s never too late to throw our hat into the ring.  It’s never too late to say, “Hey I want to be part of this party together with the rest of you.”  Simultaneously, it also happens to be the yahrtzeit, or day of passing of a great Jewish sage – R’ Meir.  We are told that the other sages of his day “couldn’t fathom the depths of R’ Meir’s teachings,” and that R’ Meir could present three hundred parables in order to teach any subject of the Torah.  It’s never too late; if one parable or life-event doesn’t convince you, another one will, it’s never too late to join the party…

For more on the period of counting, check out our weekly words of spirituality at  And for more depth and color on Jewish spirituality and meditation, check out  Finally, to gain some awareness of the color and history of Chabad in Jerusalem, check out  Image

Chag Sameach – Happy Holidays!

6 May

Last week, we wrote about Holocaust Remembrance day in Israel. No-one in Israel is untouched by the holocaust, but different people “commemorate” the day in various ways. For example, not everyone stands during the siren that sounds off throughout Israel. In fact, many of those who do not stand are among those whose families suffered the most in the Holocaust. The same is true of today’s celebrations, of Yom Hazikaron (“Memorial day” for fallen soldiers) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli “Independence day”). There are varying degrees of celebration of these days. One person might add Hallel to his prayers, while another may go out to the park and make a BBQ. Yet a third will find it meaningful to read off a list of fallen comrades and light candles for them. What is clear though, is that we Jews need a safe place to live on this planet. Our attachment to Israel goes back centuries and millennia, but the absolute necessity of having a place to be safe in this cruel world goes back only a few decades. No matter how we celebrate, we all need to be glad that we have our own nation and a powerful military to defend us. Together with our fulfillment of Torah and mitzvoth, that’s about the best we can hope for until meshiach arrives!

            It’s Israeli Independence Day today, but if you’re feeling studious, go to and have a look at the weekly Torah portion from the eyes of a sixteenth century sage and master of the entire Torah. And if that little taste of mind-blowing spirituality fails to whet your appetite, go to and check out the array of spiritual books on Jewish meditation and prayer that are available to you. Finally, if you just want to tune into the events and celebrations that are happening here in Jerusalem, go to something for everyone! Chag sameach!