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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.

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