Monday, September 30, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Maksim is מקסים

While y'all are going on trips and doing fun things this Chol Hamoed Sukkos, poor old Lost and Found is stuck at home working all day. My breaks have consisted of being on the receiving end of disappointed motherly looks and blogging. Oh, and putting together a belated anniversary gift for my parents :-)

Many of you may know this song from the movie Somewhere in Time, and if you do, then I hope you enjoy this rendition of it even more than someone who hasn't seen the movie.

Maksim Mrvica is a Croatian pianist who does a cover of the theme music from the movie.

What I love in particular about this song is that it's a perfect example of a song that isn't over-played. Maksim is a pianist, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if there was a lot of piano and the rest of the orchestra is laid by the wayside. Here, Maksim not only shows his talent as a pianist, but his ability to arrange a song that plays to its strengths as well as his own. The song is beautiful by itself. He takes a beautiful song and makes it unearthly.



Monday, September 23, 2013

Learning from Grandma

Many months ago, I was on the phone with my grandmother talking about whatever, and somehow or other we started talking about Judaism and our own challenges when it comes to growing spiritually. 

My grandmother is not one to talk about herself. She'd rather hear what's going on with me. That's probably normal, right? 

It was quite a surprise to me to not only hear her talk about herself, but to talk about challenges she has faced. The absolutely shocking thing to me was that she wasn't only talking about the past, but the present as well! 

I know, I know, we're always supposed to be growing. But doesn't it sometimes feel like, "I've done so much" and "I'm so old" and "I'm so tired" and "I have so much other stuff to do" and all that rot. I definitely feel that way. I know that I can/should/must change, and I try. 

To hear my grandmother talking about her struggles and how she's trying to grow and become a better person, was.... amazing... inspiring... 

For me, for some things, it's not enough to read stories in a book, learn in a sefer, hear it from a rebbi. I need to know that it's being done by "normal" people living normal lives. 

My grandmother, who is a very special lady in her own way, was the "normal" person who showed me that no matter how old you are, no matter what you're busy with, no matter what you've done, growing is something we're capable of, always. 

It's obvious, but I know that I needed a reminder of it.... A constant reminder. Speaking to my grandmother on a regular basis helps with that, but writing about Learning from Grandma, and seeing it in words, is another reminder :-)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just a Moment

In Jewish thought, there are various ways to pay respects to a tragedy that occurs. Whether it be a family tragedy, communal tragedy, or national tragedy, we have our ways. Attending a levaya, going to a shiva, making a hachlata are three of them.

In America, when a national tragedy occurs, there are other ways to mourn. Politicians promise better security, memorials are built, and moments of silence are held.

Personally, I think a moment of silence is a beautiful way to acknowledge a tragedy. None of us are so careful with our time that we can't afford a minute to think about what happened 12 years ago tomorrow, when the nation stops its business to think back to the horror of 9/11.

The attack of 9/11 hurt Jews as much as it hurt America. We lost brothers and sisters.

This year, 9/11 occurs between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. 9/11 showed a how fleeting life can be, and Yom Kippur, is the penultimate time to reflect on precisely that.

If I dare, during the moment of silence tomorrow, not only should we pay our respects to those who lost their lives on 9/11, we should combine that moment with reflections on the upcoming Day of Judgement. Think about ways we can improve and change ourselves for the better.

It's just a minute, a pittance of time.

(This song was written by a Canadian for Remembrance Day, but it's a beautiful song, and quite fitting I think.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Need a Kitchen!

So my roommate is moving out. I don't mind this terribly, but it means 2 things have to happen. The first one, which is the bigger concern I suppose, is finding a new roommate. I'm not terribly worried about that. It's that time of year where people are looking, so I'm hoping the phone will be ringing off the hook.

The other thing that has to happen is that I have to buy an entire kitchen set, times two of course for anything that can be used for either fleishigs or milchigs. My roommate had brought with him when we moved in together everything, so there was no need for me to buy anything until now. He's gone, I need to buy it all. Woohoo.

The question is, what to get?!

So, I put together a Wish List on Amazon. If y'all could look it over and let me know if I'm missing anything, that would be awesome. I haven't decided which specific product I'm going to get hence the doubles, but the product list is there for your examination.

When I told some women that I was planning on buying an entire new kitchen, the envy shone on their faces. I'm dreading the prospect of making a mistake and buying a poor-quality item, and they're begging me to let them come with them! Yikes! But, I think I'm going to buy everything online, so no one will be accompanying me anywhere.

Below is my list. Any advice, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Companies you love, companies you hate, products and all that stuff would be exceedingly helpful.

Thanks :-)

Link: Lost & Found's Amazon Wish List

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


It's the time of year where forgiveness is the rule. After all, as Chazal puts it, if you don't forgive, don't expect to be forgiven (paraphrase).

It's not always so easy. I'm generally a pretty forgiving person, to a fault many would say. Major wrongs were forgiven with the same ease as peccadillos were.

I finally figured out that isn't how the world turns. Sins committed peer-to-peer have a process of absolution the same way that they do person-to-God. The steps shouldn't be as difficult peer-to-peer but nevertheless, it has to be done. Recognition that a wrong was committed, regret, commit to a change of ways. 

I was talking to a close friend the other day and he told something frightening: he had come to terms with not forgiving his parents for various matters and problems. Ouch. 

For myself, there have been times where I've told myself to "hold strong" and not back down. Not forgive someone for an offense done to me. Every year, without fail, I've "cracked" and forgiven each and every person. 

To me, the calculation is as follows: I've royally messed up in more ways than I can count. I really want to be forgiven. The more forgiving I am, the more forgiving Hashem will be to me. 

On the other hand, being forgiving is not always easy. Sometimes I'll say the words (aloud) in the hopes that what's in my heart is overlooked. I don't know if that works, but I hope so. I think I once heard that as the explanation for the "token" asking of everyone to forgive you. If the words are stated, it counts. I don't know if it erases it completely, but hey, it's a start.

I don't know what the Torah's opinion is on the idea of not forgiving, but the Shulchan Aruch Harav discusses the importance of forgiving an individual who is sincerely remorseful. Ah, what about someone who isn't? Far be it from me to have the answer. I suspect it can't hurt though to forgive anyone and everyone who has ever hurt you. It's probably helpful to have on your score card when it comes to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. "Hashem, I forgave anyone who has ever hurt me, betrayed me, lied to me, insulted me, etc. etc. etc., please forgive me for doing the same and worse." I like the sound of that. No, it's not a catchall, but it's a start. 

With that thought, I have a revised quote for you. While forgiving, perhaps, is a must, forgetting is not. The original quote is by Thomas S. Szasz, a psychiatrist and academic who died almost a year ago. Seems like a smart person. 

"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget." --Szasz. I'm of the opinion that the quote needs to be modified quite a bit, as only the stupid would forgive everything without justification for doing so. "The stupid neither forgive the action nor forget who did it; the naive forgive the action and forget who did it; the wise forgive the action but do not forget the action, nor who did it." --L&F

Words hurt more than sticks. That truth has been beaten into us for many years now. Online, it's difficult to hurt someone in ways beyond words. With words though, it's easy, perhaps too easy. Not having to ever meet the person being offended or attacked, harsh, derogatory and condescending words flow easier. 

I initially wrote that I had never purposefully intended to hurt someone with words. I realized that's not true, to my regret. During a debate, I insulted a fellow by the name of Yishmael. I do not agree with his opinions or thoughts on several matters, but that does not excuse the words I used or the thoughts conveyed. I insulted him in a public place, and therefore he owes a public apology. Yishmael, I apologize for my hurtful words (regardless of whether you took them to heart) and hope to never do so again. 

To the rest of you, I apologize if I have insulted you, offended you, or done anything that has left you hurt. As my ability to write progresses, I hope that I learn to be more careful with words written and the way they are understood. 

If you feel I have offended you in a way that you would like to address with me directly, my email is

Kesivah v'chasima tova. 

May you all have a year full of simcha, bracha, growth in ruchnius and gashmius, hatzlacha, and parnasa. For those that it's applicable to, may this be the year you find your zivug.