October 01, 2006

G'mar Tov

To all those who celebrate Yom Kippur...
G'mar tov. May we all be inscribed for a good year, of joy, health and happiness...

be well,
Rachel Ann

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May 02, 2006

In Memory

Of all the brave defenders of our country, who gave their lives to preserve and protect our land: thank you for this wonderful country, for giving your life so others may live.

And in memory of the vicitms of terror. May we soon have a real and true peace.

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April 26, 2006

Talking to G-d

I was talking to a friend the other day, inviting her to a function on our Yishuv, and as happens when two friends get talking the subject moved from the event to other topics. Kids, work, life.
And G-d.
I don't know how we got there, but soon we were talking about G-d and how we relate to Him, and prayer.
"I have trouble praying" she admitted.
Well, so do I...ritual prayer. The sort of praying one must do everyday, at specific times etc. etc.
I'm terrible at that. I don't really enjoy the time...I...and I know this isn't good, try to get it over with. Most of the time.
But...the prayers of the heart..this I can do this quite easily, I do it all the time. I keep up a running conversation with G-d sometimes...What a lovely day, thank you! Do you mind not sending us...how about some money here Hashem, we could really use it....G-d feels to me like a friend, Someone who is truly there for me, though sometimes I don't understand how and begin to wonder if I'm right. But usually I just talk to G-d.

She doesn't feel that connection. She believes in G-d, believes in the Torah but has a fear sort of relationship with Him. I'm not critcizing her btw, doing something because it was commanded by G-d and not because one wants to is a good thing. This is what G-d wants of her, so she does it. I guess we all do that to some extent.

But I like these free conversations with G-d better, and I think life would be much harder on me emotionally without them....and the conversation made me wonder....

How do you realate to G-d? How do you feel about ritualized prayers vs heart prayers? Why do you follow whatever religious path you follow? What is your impetus? Your understanding of the laws and why they are there?

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April 12, 2006


Just that; have a chag kosher v'semach.
Hope you find the Afikomen and enjoy the seder.

Take care,
Rachel Ann

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April 08, 2006

So Why Couldn't I Think of This?

Or what can't be bought on e-bay.

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March 14, 2006

Oh, Wow!

This man is very interesting. He is a former evangelical minister who converted to Orthodox Judaism.
He has a whole blog on why. He also has a radio program and a second blog on other issues.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Post Yom Kippur Update

Here's how my YK went:

The Monkey somehow managed to blow out the yartzheit candle we had going so we could make Havdalah at the end of the fast; so after the fast I borrowed a light from a friend, which meant I had to do the silly walk all the way down the block. (The silly walk is where you cup your hand around the flame, constantly turning your back against the wind, eyes on the wick and with a lot of prayer in your heart that the light does not get blown out. Which it almost did. Twice) We, as in I, but really I will try and find someway to blame husband and kids, managed to forget to shut the oven. Just what one wants over a fast, heat.

I did not fast well and did not spend most of the time in shul. I was feeling cold sitting outside, in the sun. I was also feeling very shakey. I decided it was better that I feel shakey and cold under the covers in my room rather than in shul, so I was home most of the day.

I broke the salt shaker trying to chase the cat off the table. We can not keep salt shakers for more than a few months. Something always happens to them. They break, we lose the little pluggy thing which probably has a name other than pluggy thing but I don't know what it is, or aliens from the planet Catapata steal it for their ghastly rituals. Whatever, haven't a set at the moment for either milchigs or fleshigs and I like salt and pepper shakers.

The cat is a monster. She loves to attack my hands. This makes it hard to sleep at times. She is also a sweetie pie and comforted me while I wasn't feeling well by curling up and purring in my arms while I rested. A cats purr is something special, especially from this cat who is more of a rough housers than a sit and look queenly type.

The dog managed not to pee on the floor, at least that I know of, which is good.

Now for Succot. WHAT AM I GOING TO SERVE!!!! My oldest son will be in the army, but he is coming home Chol Hamoed after his tekes celebrating the completion of his sheryon (tank)training. He will have about 10 days, most of whch he will spend with friends most likely.

dats all folks! I'm sure there is more but really I was kind of in the out of it state today.

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October 12, 2005

g'mar vhasimah tova

May everyone be inscribed for a good and healthy year, of body, mind, heart and soul. See you on Friday I hope!

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October 02, 2005

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

According to Jewish belief Rosh Hashanah is the New Year for all the world; the time when everyone and everything is judged and our fate written down (and sealed on Yom Kippur).

Hence I wish to all my friends and readers, regardless of faith or belief, a year of joy and happiness, good health of body, mind, heart and soul, and enough money that you can have security and a bit of fun.

I pray that the world has peace and this year be the year of the Redemption.

I'll be back after Rosh Hashanah. Till then

L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem"

be well,
Rachel Ann

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June 23, 2005

Please Don't Sing

Women, according to Jewish law, are constrained (depending on the cirucumstances) from singing before men. This is a blanket statement which, like most laws is dependent upon whom one asks for the actual parameters of when and under what circumstances and before which men and well, suffice it to say, everything depends. This law is referred to as KOL ISHA (kol--voice, isha---woman.)

We are more lenient, the we meaning my dh and I and family, restricting the "not listening to" to times of Shema/davening and love songs in general. (And dh says I shouldn't be listening to the love songs of a man either.)

But that isn't what this post is about. See, the thing is:

I sing like a crow. I've no vocal abilities whatsoever. I am probably one of the few women in the world who is told by her children when they are as young as age 2 "Don't sing Ima." More of a plea. A desperate plea.

Probably a good idea to comply. Singing much past that time is likely to do irreprabable damage to their ear drums if harm wasn't done already.

I can not carry a tune. I can't even find the tune to pick it up in the first place.
But I love to sing--I think a requirement of us crows...why those two genes would go together I've no idea---, and I'm apt to break out into song at a moments notice, simply in response to a single word.

"THAT'S NOT A SONG!!!" The Wit shouts. Poor child. Most of the time it is at best a corruption of a half remembered song whose tune is questionably related to the one I'm trying to belt out. I have subjected this chld to such torture with my vocal chords that I am fairly certain that one of the criterions for his future wife will be that she is mute; or at the very least will take an oath that she will never sing. What have I done to the child!!!

However, my sister R. sings beautifully. She is in fact an opera singer (and a pianist par excellance) and insists with the proper training I too could actually produce something approaching a melody.

She's a nice sister to lie like that.

Oh well. Aside from poor singing I'm absolutely pirfict.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:38 PM | Comments (3)

June 20, 2005

Wise Words

This article really states what I believe. Just go read and I hope you come away, as I have, feeling you have touched truth.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:13 PM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2005

The Four Questions

Or five, six, ten. Judaisim, at least the Judaism I know and love, encourages questions, questioning. If you don't understand something, if you think something doesn't make sense, if you have trouble believing X or Y is true; ASK!

I suppose that either some branches or different, or that some people within certain communities have been left with the impression that questioning is wrong if the questions assume a degree of doubt.

I don't think I could survive a branch of Judaism that would condemn me for thoughts and feelings. I would have to oust myself at this point. With all the financial crisis that we continue to go through, often my feelings surge about the idea that G-d has decided we are on the "do not answer" list. I hate the lack of money, the difficulty in paying our bills, our inability to purchase this house, to build it up, to make it something I want.

That last is a real kicker. I WANT THIS HOUSE! I want it so badly, it is a burn inside me. And we can't pull it off, not now, not with the slave job my dh works at. Which he hates. Which I hate, for many reasons, not only the pay scale, but the treatment of the workers, the hours, the you-name-it.

And we can't buy the house. What does G-d want from me? From us? What are we doing wrong?

And I am really angry with G-d about this. If I could just get a reasonable answer.

And other's can say all they want "Just remember G-d is always doing for your good" or some version of this thought, and it doesn't settle anything inside me.

I'm still angry and bitter.

And then there is the other part of me that knows G-d loves me and wants what is good for me, and can handle my being angry and bitter. I love G-d. I know G-d is there for me, even when I'm not that pleseant to be around.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:51 AM | Comments (2)

September 26, 2004

The Wisdom of Torah

I am an Orthodox Jew, and I have been an Orthodox Jew since I was in my teens; slowly through those years taking on new more of the Mitzvot (commandments) that I felt G-d had laid out for me.

I am not always a happy mitzvah doer; like following traffic laws even when the streets are empty, and no police or radar or cameras are around, I sometimes felt---Really, why must I? Okay, I knew G-d was always watching, but it is sometimes hard to keep that sensation in mind.

No, I would sit there on Shabbat and think; this really is the day to DO my needlework; nothing else is calling my attention away. Why shouldn't I do so? Or have a hot bath...wow; calming and restful. Or Kashrut; come on! You know how difficult it can be finding kosher food in the middle of nowhere? How is that for a vacation, to go take half your fridge with you and have to cook along the way? Tahart Hamishpacha? Laws of family purity; so if I get the hots for my dh smack in the middle of the tumah (ritually unfit, not unclean) days, when sex is forbidden, and I just have to hold off? Now how is that helpful to love and marriage?

But slowly through the years I have come to learn the wisdom of the Torah and have decided, well G-d really did know what He was doing when he made the laws.

Take Shabbat and forgoing favorite activities; were I to do my needlework I know the day would come when someone needed a button sewed on, a skirt hemmed mended; all the things I never have time for during the week would become "Saturday jobs" because Saturday is the day off... and slowly I would find my Shabbat spent on tasks not Torah.

Lovemaking whenever I want? Desire builds; I wait, and it becomes a date. I time we have worked for and planned for, quietly. A bit of spice.

The laws of mourning, which have not yet fallen upon me, and G-d willing never will (the Moshiach should come before they are necessary), became sensible and wise after watching a friend of mine go through the week of Shiva for his mother, who died almost a year ago, suddenly and tragically. His sister, who is not religious, at first felt the restrictions foolish...but through the week she found and I saw how helpful the laws were in helping a person get past their grief and onto the road of acceptance. It doesn't make the pain diminish, but the laws for the incumbent upon the mourners (7 close relatives---mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, husband, wife) the not bathing, not changing one's clothes, sitting on low chairs or stools, not going out, covering the mirror, gives everyone in the house a chance to come to terms with what has happened, even if they are not the mourners to come to terms with what has occurred.

The older I get the more I see the wisdom and kindness in the laws that G-d gave us, and how they help us go through the days, respect the earth and the world given to us, and respect each other.

I may have started my journey into Orthdox Judaism because I felt that it was the right path, even if I didn't like it, but as I progress I am coming to learn that not only do I love the laws, but they love me; that they are G-d's way of wrapping His arms about me and supporting me through life.

I'm providing a link to Simon's excellent piece on Yom Kippur because it, and the comments that followed are what inspired this post.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:26 AM | Comments (3)