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.


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: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…