Skip to main content
Thank you, the living and enduring King. Who has, in His great mercy, returned my soul to me. You have a lot of faith in me.

That is how a Jew start his waking hours. Making a declaration that waking up was a gift and we have gratitude for another day of life. But that is not the end of the declaration; we also acknowledge that we have things to do, and G-d has faith in us.

I awoke earlier than usual this morning -- 3:00AM. I usually get up early. I try the get up before 4:00AM and I have a series of alarms to prod me. My poor wife... I almost always catch the first alarm at 3:45AM on my watch, and remember to disable the 4:00AM alarm on my alarm clock, and and downstairs before the 4:10AM alarm on my palm pilot starts beeping. But some mornings I don't...

In any case, this morning I awoke at 3:00AM and tried to turn over to sleep another 45 minutes or so. No use; so I finally got up around 3:30, figuring I might as well use the extra time (since I wasn't getting any more rest anyway). I think I was brusing my teeth when I realized the significance of my disturbed sleep. Mom had passed away seven days ago; just at 3:00AM this morning. She left this world a week ago, and I awoke this morning... to a new day, still (apparently) with jobs to do.

I got to bais medrash (a large room dedicated to torah learning and prayer), and went to make the coffee. Oops... kitchen locked, erev Pesach... ok, lets see if I can learn without my morning coffee. My first chavrusa (study partner) arrives and we start learning about the trait of mercy. Real mercy sometimes requires being stern... real mercy is to be concerned about the person's soul. Sometimes the needs of the body have to take a back seat to the needs of the soul. Sometimes we need to put our smile aside to help a friend who is not going on the straight path. And sometimes that friend is ourself.

Next is learning gemara with my next chavrusa. Then davening followed by a special treat -- the daf yomi group is making a siyum on masechta eruvin. Next a haircut in honor of the upcoming holiday. On the spur of the moment I decided to go to the mikveh before going home. So now it is 8:00AM and I have learned torah, prayed, fulfilled the precept of loving HaShem by taking a haircut in honor of this great holiday of Pesach that He has given us, and gone to the mikveh for a physical and spiritual purification. Not a bad way to start the day!

One thing about this blog... it rarely goes where I expect it to. Last week I said good bye to Mom for the last time. I can't tell her I love her anymore. And, sadly, I didn't tell her enough when she was in this world. And, worse, I didn't always act toward her as lovingly as I should have. If you love someone, tell them. Let them know... you might be surprised how much love there there is around you. You might be surprised how much difference your love can make to someone else.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for waking me up.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…