Marriage can be either the source of life's greatest joys... or the root of much misery, even tragedy.
There is a five-word formula that is the key to a joyous marriage. "Don't cause pain, give pleasure." Both with words and deeds, be careful not to cause your spouse needless pain. And do as much as you can to give your spouse pleasure. Your capacity for kindness is unlimited!
Love Yehuda Lave
What love leaves
what love leaves
by Fabrice Schomberg
Where the tadpole swims and the frog jumps,
a mosquito flew and a newt walked, a flower bloomed and a tree bore fruit, there sat a person. He neither swam, jumped, flew, walked, bloomed or bore fruit, he just sat, and thought, and thought.
He thought of a girl, who had snatched from him his heart, his love. Around her he thought of nothing, only of being with her. Away from her he thought of nothing but being with her. Meeting her he thought of nothing, only meeting her; parting from her he thought of nothing, only of staying with her. She took his thought and his love but didn't give it back in return; she kept it locked in a safe, safe from her feelings and from others. She wanted it only for herself, yet didn't attach herself to it.
What could he do?
The tadpole came to the disheartened person and asked him, why don't you swim with her? They had fun and swam. The frog said to him, why don't you jump with her? They had fun and jumped. The mosquito asked him, why don't you fly with her? They flew and had fun. The newt asked him, why don't you walk with her? and they walked and had fun.
The girl, with time, unlocked his heart from the safe and professed her love to him
The flower asked him, why don't you bloom together? They bloomed and had fun. The tree asked why don't you bear fruit? They made love and had a baby that grew to be
Many people hear the word Samaritan and immediately think of someone who stops to help a stranger in need as in a "good Samaritan". But did you know that the Samaritans are actually an ancient people who have been living in Israel for about 2,800 years?
It all started when the King of Assyria exiled the 10 Tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He replaced them with a people called Cutim. These people ultimately converted to the Torah Religion and over the centuries began to see themselves as descendants of the 10 tribes.
When the Jews returned from 70 years of Babylonian exile these Cutim, now called Shomronim or Samartians since they lived in the Shomron or Samaria asked to build the Second Temple together with the Jews. Zerubbabel refused this request and from that time on the Samaritans and the Jews became the bitterest of enemies for a period of almost 1,000 years.
After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, the Jews were mostly exiled from the Land of Israel, preserving our religion and heritage in exile around the world. But the Samaritans never actually left the Holy Land.
For 2,000 years they refused to leave as they were persecuted by the Romans, Christians and Muslims. The Samaritan community dwindled to just 146 individuals by the time of WWI and almost went extinct.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, they have been protected and their numbers have grown to over 800 individuals.
They continue to live on Mt. Gerizim and in Holon keeping their own version of the Torah Laws. One of the most interesting aspects of their religion is that they continue to offer the Passover sacrifice on Mt. Gerizim which they consider to be the Holy Mountain chosen by God rather than Mt. Moriah which the Jews believe in. Since they have their own calendar their Passover doesn't always fall out on the same day as the Jewish Passover. This year Samaritan Passover falls out on April 29th.
Over the years I have taken hundreds of tourists to visit the Samaritan community on Mt. Gerizim as part of my tours to the Shomron to learn about this piece of Biblical history. I have also observed their Passover Sacrifice twice.
As a Jew, I don't agree with most of their religious views or their narrative of history. Yet their history and ours have been interwoven for thousands of years. There is much we can learn about the stories in the Tanach and about our history by learning about the Samaritans.
On April 29th I will be leading a tour to the Samaritan Passover. This will be my 3rd time attending and 2nd time leading a tour to this event. If you will be in Israel then, I invite you to join me and learn about this fascinating piece of Israel's past and present.
Please call or write me if you are interested in this tour.
'Next Year In Jerusalem' By Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis -
At our Seders a couple of weeks ago we all recited the ancient vow "Next year in Jerusalem." If you are a Jew, Jerusalem is in your blood. It's a city engraved upon your heart. Centuries ago Yehuda HaLevi wrote, "My heart is in the east while I am in the west."
No matter where life has taken us, our hearts have forever remained in the east, in Jerusalem.
When I was a little girl in Hungary, I may not have known where Paris or Rome was, but I did know the location of Jerusalem. My parents of blessed memory, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt"l, and Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a"h, nurtured us with the milk and honey of Yerushalayim. Nowadays, few still thirst for that sweetness. And yet, with all the distractions of modern life, Yerushalayim tugs at our hearts.
Several years ago, I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears this connection between the Jew and this holy city.
I was speaking at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue. There was no spare seat to be had and, despite the lateness of the night, people kept coming. Many lingered after I finished my speech. Some sought advice and guidance. Others just wanted to talk.
Above all, they asked for berachos – for shidduchim, for health, for sustenance. And then, a tall, lovely, blond-haired girl stood before me. She was crying. Something prompted me to ask, "Are you Jewish?" Her voice cracking with tears, she whispered, "I'm a convert. I came to Yerushalayim to become part of the Jewish people."
She explained that she came from a country where Jews had been beaten, tortured, maimed, and killed during the Holocaust. But her soul whispered the message, "Go, join the people who stood at Sinai; go to Jerusalem!"
I naturally assumed she sought a blessing for a good shidduch. "No, no," she protested, "that's not why I'm here. You just related a story that entered my soul. Please bless me with the ability to not forget."
And then she repeated one of the stories I had told in my address.
The story was about a mother who lost her husband and 11 of her children in Auschwitz. She made aliyah but still had no peace. She couldn't sleep. She couldn't work. She couldn't come to terms with her fate.
She sought out a rebbe – perhaps he would offer her some consolation. She spilled out her heart and described each and every one of her children. The rebbe listened and wept with her. And then he said something amazing. "I think I saw someone among the newly arrived children now settled in a kibbutz who fits the description of your Dovidl."
The rebbe told her he would try to trace the lineage of that child.
A few days later the rebbe called. "I may have some good news for you," he said. Heart pounding, she returned to the rebbe's home – and there was her little boy.
"Dovidl, Dovidl," she shouted. "Mama, Mama," he sobbed as he ran into her arms. When the boy caught his breath, he asked a painful question. "Where is my father? Where are Moishele and Rochele?" As Dovidl enumerated the names of all his brothers and sisters, he and his mother cried uncontrollably. They continued to weep long into the night.
As I told that story, I remarked to the audience that it occurred to me that Dovidl's children and grandchildren have no memory of those who preceded them. Similarly, we come to Israel, rush off the plane, pick up our luggage, and make our way to Jerusalem. And what do we think about?
We're busy asking ourselves and each other, "Where is a good place to eat?" "Any new restaurants around?" "Did you try out that new hotel?" Is it worth it the price?"
But do any of us ask, "Where is the Beis HaMikdash?" Does anyone really miss the Beis HaMikdash? Does anyone search for it? Does anyone even think about it? Does anyone even want to remember?
The girl who stood before me begged with tears, "Please, rebbetzin, give me a berachah that I should never forget to cry for the Beis HaMikdash. I'm so afraid I will forget and become oblivious to its loss. I do not want to be like Dovidl's children."
I could only look at her. She had taken my breath away. I couldn't recall anyone ever asking me for such a berachah – to be able to remain constantly aware of the Beis HaMikdash and, yes, to weep for it.
For thousands of years, we prayed, wept, and hoped for Yerushalayim. To see Yerushalayim again, to behold the rebuilt Beis HaMikdash, has always been the center of all our prayers. At our weddings, in the midst of our joy, we break a glass to remember our Temple that is no more. When painting our homes, we leave a small spot empty to remind us that no home can be complete if the Beis HaMikdash has not been rebuilt.
We have a thousand and one reminders in our prayers, in our traditions, in our observance, that constantly recall to us Jerusalem and the holy Temple. And yet, now that we have Jerusalem again, we have somehow forgotten our dream – our Beis HaMikdash that we prayed for and continue to pray for.
Sadly, our prayers for the Temple have become just words recited by rote. And here comes a young woman new to our faith and she seeks a blessing, not for a shidduch, not for parnassah, not for good health, not for personal happiness – but for the ability to shed tears and yearn to see the Beis HaMikdash rebuilt. Should that not give us all pause? Should that not make us think and consider?
Should we not ask again and again and still again, "Where is the Beis HaMikdash?" I know I miss it so. Even when I'm in Jerusalem, my joy is not complete – and it won't be until the shining crown of the holy city is with us once again and I see its glory restored.
Israeli Indepence Parade
For after I fell, I have arisen (Michah 7:8).
The Midrash comments: "Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen," and so indicates that some heights are not attainable without an antecedent fall.
Obviously, no one designs a fall in the hope that it may lead to a greater elevation. Michah's message, however, is that if a person should suffer a reversal, he or she should not despair, because it may be a necessary prelude to achieving a higher level than would have been possible otherwise.
We can find many analogies to this concept. When we swing a pickaxe, we first lower it behind ourselves in order to deliver a blow with maximum force. Runners often back up behind the starting line to get a "running start." In many things, starting from a "minus" position provides a momentum that would otherwise not be attainable.
When things are going well, most people let well enough alone. The result? Mediocrity has become acceptable. Changing might involve some risk, and even if we could achieve greater things, we might not wish to take a chance when things are proceeding quite satisfactorily. However, when we are in an intolerable situation, we are compelled to do something, and this impetus may bring about creativity and progress.
We even see this concept in the account of creation in Genesis. First there was darkness, then came light.
Today I shall ... realize that a reversal may be the seed of future growth, and I must never despai