Monday, December 31, 2012


Rebbe Nachman says that joy is essential to our service of Hashem, as well as to our health and wellbeing.  It was one of his favorite topics to talk about, constantly striving to serve Hashem with joy, to be happy, etc.  Rabbi Arush and Rabbi Brody both continue to talk about striving to serve Hashem with joy as well.  This week I get to put this into practice an extra bit.  Saturday Night, while walking down some icy stairs in Chicago, I slipped, and before I knew it, I was flat on my back and my ankle was really sore.  So sore that I could hardly walk, and had to see a doctor.  Turns out I broke my leg, just above the ankle on the non weight bearing bone (Thank Hashem for that!)  Now, why do I mention this when talking about joy?  Because I could be all sad and depressed that I am not able to work, and am not able to do much as I used to, or I could remain upbeat, make jokes about the experience, and enjoy life with a smile on my face.  I admit this is not as big of a challenge as other people have, but for an independent guy, its still hard.  Perhaps the lesson here is that I need to recognize all the help that Hashem provides me with in my life, and be more grateful to the Ribbono Shel Olam for all that He does.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quote from Rabbi J Schneersohn

"When a Jew studies Torah he feels like a student before Hashem. his teacher, Whose wisdom he is studying.  When he prays, he feels like a child before his father."  Sourced from Lessons in Tanya, volume 1 page 184 on the bottom.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Louis Jacobs writes:
"In Slabodka they taught: man is so great, how can he sin? In Navaradok they taught: man is so small, how dare he sin?"
I think if Rebbe Nachman would to have to chose one of the two Derechs, he would chose Slobadka.  After all the Rebbe's works are all about how much Hashem loves you no matter what, finding your good points, and recognizing your inner greatness, or gadlus.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Problems and background.

First things first, on the lighter side of things, I have a new background, which I found on the website:
Much thanks to the Rabbi of the site for pointing to me where I could actually download the picture to use myself.
On the heavier side of things, I have problems, everybody does, and marriage just makes them worse in many cases, especially if you don't realize that you have them.  However, sometimes marriage allows you and forces you to confront these problems, and work on them in ways that you might not have been strong enough or able to do on your own.  One such problem I have had was with eating, I have always had a problem with eating ever since I got to college.  I never really learned how to self regulate my food intake, so I gained weight, cause I would always eat to much- eating was a very pleasurable activity, and since I did not have a lot of friends who I would eat by, I ate more than I should because I wasn't conversing in the middle of eating, which helps cut down on food intake.  Recently my wife and I decided to go to OA to try and get help with our eating and get it under control.  The other problem I have had also became much more of a problem in college, only I didn't realize it was such a problem until it almost cost me my marriage two months ago.  I am an internet porn addict.  Thank Hashem, I have been clean for almost 2 months now, steps have been taken to prevent the problem from being an issue in the immediate and long term sense, and I am getting help.  My message is, if you have a problem, admit it, seek help.  You will save major headaches if you can sense a problem before it becomes worse.  A Moshal if you will:  Getting a cavity drilled, and filled involves a little bit of pain, time and money.  But if you ignore the problem, getting a crown or even a root canal, involves a lot more pain, time and money.  There is no shame in getting help, only in not getting it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Human beings are meant to grow.  We are meant to change, over time for the better.  Our traits are meant to be improved upon, slowly over time, we are supposed to be more patient, less angry, more giving, less stingy, etc.  Judaism says that if you want to be happy, you have to be growing.  It is commonly said that if you are not growing in your Judaism, you are sinking, there is no standing still, and if you feel that you are standing still, than you are for sure sinking!  The Vilna Gaon says that we were put on this earth in order to grow.  Also, Rabbi Schafier of the Shmuz says that we are only going to truly be happy when we are growing, and coming closer to Hashem, something Chassidus says as well.  Rabbi Schafier likens this world to a gym, a world of growth, sweat, and hard work, and then we can enjoy the spa of the afterlife after all the hard work we put in down here.  If you have ever taken a shower after a nice workout, than you certainly know what that feels like.  Only, heaven is over a million times better than that.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


As I wrote in my last post, I have been really struggling in my avodas Hashem, things are getting better, I am learning more than I was before, and even though I am not doing all that I should, I have more desire to serve Hashem than I did.  Not totally sure what has done it, I have made it a point to read and learn more mussar, and I talked to a friend about my lack of desire on and for Shabbos, he suggested that I visit the Mikvah before Shabbos, and it seems to have worked.  I do look forward to starting to learn Tanya again tomorrow, and reintroducing more Chassidus into my life.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Finding your path

Confession:  Lately I have been struggling with my Avodas Hashem.  I have not really wanted to get up for davening, I haven't really been davening period, and getting up even on Shabbos has been non existant.  It has been horrible, I have really struggled.  Thankfully I have been shomer Shabbos, and shomer Kashrut, which is a good thing since my job depends on it.  Lately, due to events in my life that I will not share about here, maybe ever, I have found myself more interested in the mussar path within Judaism, and have shied away from Chassidus for now, not totally mind you, just not front and center.  Both movements place emphasis on a person's relationship with Hashem, but focus on different aspects of it.  Once I understand the goals of both more, I look to discuss more in depth, but for now, I will leave it at the fact that Chassidus in general focuses on the greatness of Hashem, whereas Musar looks more at the lowliness of a person, although, Slobadka focuses on the greatness a person could attain.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I always used to say that patience was a virtue I had little time for.  It was always meant to be a joke, but the truth is, is that patience is something I've needed to work on for a while now.  It was not at the top of my list of things I needed to improve, many others come to mind, but there are times where I could be more patient than I have been, mainly with my wife.  The Ribbono Shel Olam saw this, and of course arranged for me to have a job that would hopefully teach me many such middot that I need to work on, including holding back and not giving in to desires (something I need to work on) and patience.  As a manager/mashgiach for a kosher restaurant I have to have patience each and every time I check a bag of lettuce for salads, because I never know how many washes it will take before it is bug free, and it will be my head that rolls if I miss them, either down here or up there.  Also, since food is always available and around me I have to work on my strength (not always- scratch that never easy) and not just take random snacks.
But, above all I am glad to have a job and the chance to improve myself while at work.  What more could a person ask for?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The K-O-G

In Yeshiva my friends and I joked all the time about the K-O-G.  What is the K-O-G?  It means the Kiss of G-d (Hashem).  We first learned about this when our Rabbi in Yeshiva told us that when Dovid killed Goliath, instead of falling backwards like would be suspected, he fell forwards, just so Dovid did not have to walk so far to cut off his head.  Succos is a holiday for all, anybody, Jew and non Jew alike could bring an offering to Hashem on Succos.  Shimini Atzeres, the 8th day, was only for the Jews, 7 is nature, and 8 is above nature.  The 8th day, or Shimini Atzeres reminds us Jews that we are above nature, we are Hashem's beloved, and we gain so much good so many brachot on Shimini Atzeres, because it shows how much we love Hashem, because we are willing to spend just that extra day with him.  Shimini Atzeres, is a perfect example of a K-O-G.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Tonight is the yartzeit of Rabbenu Nachman.  On yartzeits it is important to do something to memorialize the fallen, whether that is learning in a person's honor, or if the person has put out Torah lessons of his own, to learn those lessons.  We are lucky that Rebbe Nachman has left us a treasure trove of Torah to learn from, so tonight, it is important to just learn something from him, even to just contemplate on one of his many teachings or quotes.  So here is one to think about.
"All the world is a narrow bridge, the important thing is not to be afraid."

Monday, September 10, 2012


Hashem blessed me with a job today.  After two months of being jobless, and applying to countless jobs, and getting almost zero responses, and if I got a response, it was no, I finally got a job.  It was a long two months, frustrating at times, but I tried, I tried so hard to keep my faith in Hashem, and I admit, it wavered at times, "why is this happening?"  "What does Hashem want from me?" etc.  It was hard, but then on Thursday, I got a call from somebody I had only met a few times before, and I am not even sure how he got my number.  He said that he was leaving, and that I should meet with his boss.  I met with the boss the next day Friday, and his boss said now is not a good time, come back on Monday, I did that, and then I was pushed off till Monday afternoon.  I came back, we sat down, I thought the meeting went well, and the job is mine on a trial basis.  The job is in an industry I never thought I would work in, with responsibilities I never have had before, and I look forward to proving to Hashem, my boss, my new customers and co workers, and of course myself that I can handle it all.
Thank you Hashem for the chessed you have shown me, even though my faith wavered at times.  Thank you thank you and Thank you!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Taking stock

Elul is a time for taking stock of the past year- of recognizing all the good that we did, and those areas where we fell short.  Perhaps we (I) may have even done some bad, even truly bad stuff, and not just failed to do good, or better.  It is all to often to get caught up in all the areas that we fell short, where we feel that growth wasn't made, or even worse, where we went backwards.  For me that list might include the following things:
Since Rosh Hashana 5772 I have failed to make noticeable or discernable improvement in the following areas:
Coming closer to Hashem
Being a better Jew
Being a better son
Being a better anything
Not being lazy
Studying the works of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
Focusing more on Emuna and belief in Hashem
The list could go on and on, the point is, we often get stuck in a trap where we focus only on what we failed to do; which is what the Yetzer Hara wants from us.  He wants us to focus on where we fell short, not because he wants us to get down on ourselves and feel like a loser.  However, that is not what Hashem wants, while Hashem wants us to admit where we failed, and be sad that by failing we brought displeasure to Him, He wants us to use those failures as a springboard to growth.  However, we still have to admit where we failed, and often admitting, is both the hardest and the first step to real change.  How can we change if we can't even admit to where we went wrong?  A list of things that I need to do Teshuva for would include the following items:
Not always putting on Tefillin
Not always davening 3x a day, or even 1x a day!
Not always speaking nicely to my wife
Being lazy
Not always having full Emuna
Not having the best concentration when making a before or after Brocha
Now, while Hashem doesn't want you to feel like a loser, unlike the YH (Yetzer Hara) he does want us to cry at how far we have fallen, and call out to him and say "Daddy I have messed up.  I really really want to come home, but I have screwed up so badly that I don't even know the way home.  Please help me."  After all, a parent really only wants the child to say sorry and admit where he went wrong- at the very least to say sorry!
He also wants us to admit and to realize just all that we got right.  This is important to, Rabbi Nachman says we have to recognize the good in everybody, especially ourselves!  Some of the things I got right this year include:
Guarding my eyes more (though I admit I have a long way to go on this)
Eating healthier (At times, it is important to celebrate even the small victories, even if you eventually fall, because remembering the small victories will help you get back up again.)
Saying pleasant things to my wife
Learning Torah
We do Teshuva for the bad, we thank Hashem for allowing us to do all the good we did, and we keep trying.  That is what Elul is all about, getting back up once we have fallen down.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Daf Yomi

It is really amazing what a simple decision can do for a person in just a short amount of time.  Last week, or two weeks ago I made the decision that I wanted to start the 13th cycle of daf yomi, I had been increasing my learning of mussar over that time, but still felt a disconnect from the Source of everything- Hashem.  So, I told my wife that I wanted to start and she was very kind and encouraging- not that I expected anything less from my Aishes Chayil!

Exactly one week ago, I attending the Chicago Siyum HaShas, and it was truly inspirational, from the local Divrei Torah, to Rabbi Frand's speech given in New York, I was fired up like never before to learn!  The next day I had to get up early for shacharis (something I have always struggled with) for a friend's daughter's naming.  The next friday, the very next day actually was the first day for my shiur of the daf yomi cycle.  I went, even attended a 6am shiur before davening! (Look at me!) and made it through day one unscathed.  Fast forward to today, and I have attended every shiur, been to shacharis on time every day, and feel closer to my wife and to Hashem.  Now, I just need to increase my chassidus learning, and all will be good. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Back to basics

Rebbe Nachman cautions us to avoid reading books of philosophy.  Now, as a salesman, we are constantly encouraged to read books on self improvement, and challenging ourselves, and not being lazy, and whatnot.  But, even these books can leave in your mind that everything, especially in sales, is up to you.  That there is something else you can do to get the sale next time.  But, as a Jew, I know that I can do as much as I can do, and the effort (something I have always struggled with) is up to me, but the result is up to Hashem.  Its tough at times to keep that in mind, but I just, I think have to have greater gratitude for what I have in life, and appreciate every little thing that comes my way.  That is why this week, I have made it my mission to read nothing but Breslov Sfarim, the works of Rebbe Nachman and Reb Nosson, as well as Rabbi Arush, and Rabbi Brody, and get back to the basic mindset of a Breslover Chassid (as much as possible) and G-d willing to really work on my Avodah and Hisbodedut.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Be the CEO

Recently, I saw a great video on Aish, that can be found by using this link.  Basically the premise of it, is that when we say Shema, we come to the realization that Hashem is the CEO of the Universe, and we are just an employee, but we are more than employee.  We are an employee child of Hashem, and so everything that happens to us, is because He wants it to happen to us, and we can learn something from it.  This idea, is a very Breslov idea.  But, we can go deeper.  For our day to day lives, we can be the CEO, and we want to be the CEO, why?  Because the CEO gets to make the decisions.  Sadly most people think they are the CEO of their own lives, but really they are not, they are just an employee.  They think they make decisions, but they don't, because a CEO has to see the long term picture, "is what I am doing today, going to better me in the future?"  An employee, only has to deal with the short term, "what is the best way to finish this", or more likely "what is the easiest way to get this done?" An employee, lets things happen to him, a CEO makes things happen.  When we become the CEO, Hashem then becomes like the board of directors, ultimately, still guiding us, but taking more of a hands off approach, because He knows, that we will most often do the right thing, react the right way, and He doesn't have to meddle in our lives as much.  When you make the decision to get up at 6 daily, learn Torah and daven before work, then Hashem can take great pleasure in knowing that He has obviously hired a great CEO, but when a person struggles to get up (I am guilty of this), doesn't always make time for learning, and forgets that he has a boss (Hashem) and acts like an employee who thinks he is the boss, then Hashem has to send that person a reminder, that He is in charge, and most employees don't like that kind of a reminder.  For a CEO knows, that even though he gets to make great day to day decisions, ultimately, the board of directors is still above him.  So, would you rather have Hashem be your immediate supervisor, yelling at you, as you will, or would you rather He just has to send you gentle reminders for how your life should be going, because He knows, you will get the memo.

Monday, February 6, 2012


As I write this blog, there is about 142 hours left till my wedding officially begins with the tisch.  So much has happened in the 8 months since we got engaged.  Friends have gotten engaged or married, and many did both.  My cousin got married, I got a new job, my kallah moved from LA to Chicago to help with planning.  So much.  At times the stress has been high, at other times, not so much.  But, if this has taught me anything it is that Hashem truly rules the world.  I am grateful for all the people who are helping with everything and wow.  While the stress is still high, not unmanageable just high, I can sit back, relax and know that it will all be over soon, and then the real work begins.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

From another blog

Here is a list of all that makes a person a Ben Torah, or at least how he may be recognized as such.  The original post is here:

  • He is a Yarei Shamayim, meticulous with halacha andmehader with mitzvot

  • He has a great desire to grow in Torah, in yirat Shamayim, and in tikkun hamidot. He does not stand in one place, advancing step by step.

  • He is a matmid, engrossed in learning, yearning to be atalmid chacham and a gadol baTorah.

  • He utilizes time and is makpid on sedarim and zmanim(and zmanei tefillah).

  • He is engrossed in his tefillah, davening with kavanah and not merely habitually.

  • His ways are pleasant and his face shines; ShemShamayim is beloved because of him.

  • He is giving, kind and always ready to assist and help.

  • He is mezakeh the community and is sensitive to its needs.

  • He loves peace and runs from strife.

  • He distances himself far from lashon hara and is careful with his friend’s kavod.

  • He is thoughtful and not disturbing.

  • He does not read things which are inappropriate nor listen to things which are inappropriate.

  • He is modest in his ways, in his dress, even in his room and while sleeping. He is mekayem ולא תתורו...אחרי עיניכם.

  • He is mekadesh Shem Shamayim in all his ways, whether in yeshiva, at home, or in the street. 
  • Monday, January 23, 2012

    Penn State

    Late last year, a terrible scandal broke out at Penn State, that centered mainly around the football program, and what a former coach did and what a current coach apparently did not do.  Details need not to be rehashed, but suffice to say they are horrific and can be looked up if deemed necessary.  Recently, the head coach of this program passed away.  Many a writer has sprung up and gone on and on about how the wonderful good that he did should not be forgotten just because of his potential role in the scandal.  But, I can not help but remember that the Talmud (I am forgetting the exact quote and place) states that just as a person can gain the world to come in one hour, so to can he lose it in one hour.

    Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht

    Translated from the Yiddish, the title means that Man plans and God laughs.  I had my own experience with that this Shabbos.  My plan was to spend Shabbos in a certain neighborhood, like always, with my Kallah.  However, do to a snow storm on Friday that rendered the highways horrible, I realized about an hour before sunset, that I would not make it to my intended destination.  I then called my friend and told him that I would be spending Shabbos with his family.  He said fine, and I then called my Kallah and other people I would need to let know that I was not coming.  Well, sunset came sooner than my car could move, and I found myself needing to ditch my car about a mile and a half from even my secondary destination.  I have never walked that far in snow before, and I am glad to say that I found it enjoyable, and refreshing, and above all, I am proud that I was able to do it as well.  Thank you Hashem for that.  When I got to where I was going, I was glad to see a friend was there for Shabbos as well, who now that he was married, I no longer got to hangout with as much as we used to.  In the end I spent Shabbos exactly where Hashem wanted me to spend it, even if I didn't plan it like that.  The lesson is, sometimes, things go horribly wrong, and we can deal with it one of two ways.  We can deal with it with Emunah and Bitachon, trusting that everything will work out (because it will) and that what is happening is the best, and therefore we can deal with it with a smile on our face, or we can get upset, and pout, and be miserable, and miss all the good that we would never have experienced if we had gotten what we wanted in the first place.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    From Healing Leaves

    "Know and remember this well, my son:  Man came into this world only to believe in God.  This is the reason for his creation and why the entire world and everything in it, which is dependent on man, was created."
    The above was from Reb Nosson's letters to his friends and family (number 43), and is a good reminder as to why we are here.  It reminds me of a poem that I konw from Robert William Service, called Carry On.  The gist of this poem is that it is easy to keep going and to carry on, if you will when things are going well.  When things aren't going well, that we need the pick me up, but what happens when things aren't going well?  We tend to shut down, to blame Hashem, and when things are going great, we tend to forget about all the tools Hashem gave us, and we feel that it is all us that did it.  But we have to KNOW, not just believe, but know that everything good or bad that happens to us is from Hashem and meant to bring us closer to Him.
    More to come, since I haven't written in awhile and I would like to make this more regular again.