Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I Don't Know What to Do

Is me being here bothersome? Do I have a "right" to come back? Is this your space now that I'm imposing on? 

Knowing the right thing to do in general is a tough call. Knowing what to do about specific things involving people is even more difficult.

In a different time and place, I wrote: "If I were to have a super power it would be to understand people. Not that I would want to be able to read their minds, that wouldn’t work well at all for anyone. But to be able to understand the psychology of them, why they said what they said, why they acted the way they did, etc." (Goodness, that's poorly phrased!)

This was in response to the "Superpower meme," which basically asked what superpower would you choose.

I don't know if that would still be the superpower that I'd choose today if asked. But let's work with it.
Stating the obvious, people are massively complex. Reading their body language, where people often telegraph what they're thinking is a tall order. But understanding the words they say, or why they asked a question, or why they did this or that... Impossible.

I was asked a question. I didn't think that much into it at the time and just answered "Probably not. It's been so long." That answer has changed to a yes as evidenced by the existence of this, and a few others just like it.

But I'm not sure what the reasoning behind the question was. What was the answer you were looking/hoping for? Just knowing the reasoning behind the question would most likely tell me the answer to this all important question.

That superpower sure would be helpful right about now (or would have been at the time...? Sometimes I think of the good questions a tad too late). Then again, so would reading your mind. 

But I can't. And I don't know if this hurts, helps, or has no affect at all. If it hurts, drop me a line, will ya. I'm fine going elsewhere. Promise.

I don't know what to do... I don't even know if this is the right thing to do... 

I don't know what to do... 


Monday, September 18, 2017

You Are the Source of All Blessing

Nowadays is a time for introspection, a time for reflection. A time for commitments and promises of growth.

It's easy to think and it's easy to make the commitment. It's something else entirely to maintain it and keep at it.

And that's why the typical advice is, take on something small. Something doable, maintainable, sustainable.

Easier said than done at this time of year., when our introspections and reflections reveal gaping holes in our frumkeit. Who we are and what we do, vs who we want to be and what we want to be doing. It's difficult not to say "I'm going to change so much this year, I'll be unrecognizable to the person I am today."

If only.

A Rebbi of mine once said (paraphrased) that growth in Judaism and life is about motivation. Motivation only comes once in a while and our job is to drag out that motivation for as long as possible.

So it's easy to be tempted to see something motivating and try and grab it for all its worth. Take on this, take on that. Stop doing this and start doing that.

But will it work? Can it be sustained? Maybe, maybe not. Probably not.

So we take on something small. Something "easy." Sometimes we take on a few easy ones, which can lead to bigger, more prominent, changes in our Judaism and lives.

Brachos is by no means easy, but learning the halachos isn't too difficult. Remembering them is something else, but learning them is doable.

So that's what I started doing. "Easy," with the hopes that it could lead to more significant changes.

The Laws of Brachos, has already done that.

I was looking at the index and noticed that chapter 1 only started on page 37. It was tempting to skip to that page, but thankfully, I didn't.

What happened next was 1) I got the answer to a question I've had for at least 12 years, and 2) the translation and meaning of every bracha I say changed.

Ironically, I knew the translation already. It's in Pathway to Prayer (the best way to daven Yamim Noraim Shmone Esrei out there, in my opinion.) But I didn't apply that translation to my year round brachos. (I just discovered, linking to this, that they have this for weekday and Shabbos davening too!)

Baruch Ata translates as "You are the source of all bracha (blessing)."

And just like that, every bracha I've made since, thinking those words, has been infinitely more meaningful.

My brachos and davening have drastically changed just with that new translation running through my head.

Something small and "easy" became something huge. Who'd have thunk.

If you haven't read the introduction to Halachos of Brachos, even if you spend no time learning the halachos, I suggest you do so. It's incredibly powerful and, in an instant, can change your world. There are so many amazing ideas and thoughts packed into those few pages. Maybe I'll write about a few in the coming days and weeks.

For now though, I have to go bench and thank Hashem, "the source of all blessing."

Edit: Apparently the weekday Nusach Sefard Pathway to Prayer is out of print :-(, so one by one, I'll be ordering the copies available on Amazon. 0/1 so far.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mi Yichyeh, U'mi Yamus.

I called one of my hostesses to discuss Rosh Hashana meals. Her husband picked up. Unusual, but nothing to worry about.

We were catching up, and I told him that I had visited his house on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. They weren't home, also, nothing to worry about on a beautiful Sunday Labor Day afternoon.

"I almost died."

My heart stopped.

The next few minutes of the conversation was a blur... Unimaginable pain, colon, hospital, surgery, etc. etc.

I was transported back to a time, a few shorts months ago, where tears were the norm, not the exception.

He and his family are the only people I'm not related to who have been a constant in my life. This man has been a father figure since I moved to the US.

"I almost died."

Words ringing through my head. Tears coursing down my face as I sit in my car waiting for minyan to daven maariv.

Life is short. Things happen. The larger ramifications of it all struck me.

Mi yichyeh, u'mi yamus.

The Yamim Noraim this year, for many reasons, seem more "real" than in years past. This reinforced that to a scary degree.

Mi yichyeh, u'mi yamus.

Sunday, September 3, 2017


Right now
It's poetry
In my mind

Soon it won't be
But something else entirely
What, I still don't know

Will I like what's next
Will anyone like it
Not everyone will like it, that's for sure

Not that I care all that much
But I'm curious
And "meh" if the cat is killed

The ambiguity of it all
The known knowns and unknowns, and the like
Some understood, others not

Makes it exciting, thrilling
Mysterious, troubling
Question-filled and unclear

What am I even talking about
In this poem? It's obvious

Or is there more to it than that?
Either way, it's poetry

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Fool me once
Fool me 50 times
Such a fool

What makes me believe
That it can ever truly be
All the evidence is to the contrary

Hope again
Shot down again
Why bother again?

Flaws abound
Run aground
Over and over again

Am I meant for it
Is it meant for me
What an existence

The definition of insanity
Frighteningly reminiscent
Of my reality

You pick me up
You bring me down
What are you doing

Playing me for a fool
You give me a high
Then make it all for nothing

I'm a fool
To let you do this to me
Such a fool

Will the fooling ever end
What a question
What a fool

(I wrote this while having a "moment" the other day. Even while writing this, I was working my way out of it. Isn't that one of the many uses of writing?)

Thursday, August 31, 2017


I feel strongly
It's what I do
This time, it is you

Will it happen again
Yes it will
Hearts, don't fill

Will it be a woman
Daughter or son
Regardless, I'll have won

Feeling a lot
On one hand I can count
That you know that is paramount

None quite love you
Dang autocorrect

I hate that word
There should be another
To express these feelings that I smother

What is it I don't know
I know what it's not
Nowhere near ready to tie a knot

Stupid, stupid, stupid
What are you saying
Nothing...? Thoughts, I'm conveying

Am I making much sense
Do you get my jist
Or was it completely missed?

Poems aren't straight
Though blunt they can be
This one kinda is, but to know, ask me

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

One More Time

One more time.
One more time.
One more time.


One more time.
One more time.
One more time.


One more time.
One more time.
One more time.


One more time.
One more time.
One more time.


For now I'm OK with