No one can afford to be silent

As the world turns people become more evil and hate regurgitates into more hate.  Anger intensifies along with greed and mistrust.

As the world turns most of us are immersed into making our own ends meet. We are sunk while making our daily bread holy.  We work in the trenches and do not stop to say  STOP!

Say stop, or something.  Say no, or please reconsider, or don’t.  We work in secret silence; our daily grind bland and met with no verbal opposition.

As the world turns we can no longer afford to be silent.  Silence equals death.  Death to your internal self, death to those that we do not get involved with to help,  and death to humanity.

Silence-Equals-Death

Turning a blind eye and being mute must not be an alternative. Find your cause and create your voice.  Scream against the machine of oppression, racism and occupation. SPEAK OUT AGAINST HATE.

Children are being kidnapped before our eyes, children murdered and families broken everyday with as much as a rippled wave of uproar being heard.

Unleash your voice as we can no longer afford to be silent.

 

 

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Happy Anniversary.

It has officially been one year since I began this blog He Nay Nee, Here I Am.  Thank you dear readers for your support.

During this past year I wanted to refresh and hone my Torah study and I wanted to include my small family of supporters in on my thoughts and musings each week.

I think the time has come for me to internalize my study and continue on in another vein, leaving He Nay Nee open and at the ready.  I won’t be writing weekly nor will I be altogether disappearing as I will write intermittently providing you with my usual banter.

This weeks Torah portion was my bat mitzvah portion.  It is called Schlach.

This portion is about the spies and their perspective on heading into the Holy Land. The portion is about how they look at themselves internally and how they perceive what is or isn’t around them.

The spies came back with a foreboding conclusion that the people of Canaan were immeasurable huge giants that could not be conquered.  They thought of themselves as so small in comparison that they labeled themselves grasshoppers. Their message to the Israelites was not to move forward into the Land because these gigantic people would easily overtake them.

These few spies were beaten before they began because their self-image was immeasurably weak.

Remember, as long as you really think of yourself as a grasshopper, you will walk around thinking others view you the same way. Whether you think of yourself as insecure, unattractive, unintelligent, or any other negative belief – you will live with the reality that others view you in the exact same way.

The only way to ever change how you think others perceive you is to first change the way you see yourself. The spies couldn’t begin to do that.

The secret isn’t to get others  to change their view of you.  Rather, it’s to change the way you see yourself .

Look at yourself this summer in a new light and then allow the world to see you differently. Let that ray shine upon you and aglow with its strength. Make it known that you can and will make a difference.

Not a little difference like writing a blog for a year, but a real difference. Allow your perspective on the world to open and strengthen you and in turn you will strengthen others in your wake.

Be able to say He Nay Nee, Here I Am! Here I am. here I am willing and confident and capable and connected to my own inner strengths and others around me. Become strong from the inside out.

Happy Anniversary.

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The spark of service

A simple request to light the menorah becomes a ritual linked to fervor and service.  A task to do what is right and to understand the consequences for those actions is something one must take very seriously as we walk this earth.

Mundane rituals can easily become a farce if the intent and interest to do so is lost in the routine.

Aaron’s fervor and enthusiasm for the mitzvah of lighting the Menorah lasted his entire life. His passion for the mitzvah never faded; he always had a fire burning within.

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Aaron knew his role as high priest and took that very seriously.  But more than anything else, he refused to allow the mundane of a ritual to overtake him.  He constantly performed his job with attention to detail and holiness. Keeping his eye on the prize all along.

Often, the frequency with which we must perform a mitzvah diminishes its importance in our eyes and it is done with less zest. Prayer turns into lip service and commandments involve merely going through the motions. We mentally stray when the blessings are said and forget to fulfill the mitzvahs along the way.

Don’t put yourself in this place.  An emotionless being is nothing. A person without desire and goodness will shrink in the wake of hard work. Keep lit the  spark of the Eternal inside of you everyday. Do not shrink from what it is that will make you holy.

We have to strive to see that we  continually ignite a fire burning within. Going through the motion without the emotion is not praiseworthy, nor is it gallant.

Step up your daily task of being the person G-d intended, with or without spark, the choice is yours.

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NASO/doing what is right

The leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel each bring their offerings for the inauguration of the altar. Although their gifts are identical, each is brought on a different day and is individually described by the Torah in detail.

Each is treated with respect and admiration as if their gift is the only gift given on behalf of the nation of Israel. G-d blesses and acknowledges each and every tribal leader with  the utmost revered respect as if their gift was special.

Why is it that the Torah repeats this scenario over and over again?  These offerings were not different or unique when they were presented.

They were the same thing.

The same token of appreciation over and over again 12 times around. What’s the  point in appreciating a gift when it has been re-gifted again and again?

I would like to think that each leader brought their gift with a different intent, their offering a possible symbol of individuality  and inner kavanah.

Each one of us must offer something unique to our G-d during our life time.

Chose your ideal gift or skill and share it with those in need. Whether it be  monetary or one from the heart; make your unique contribution count.

Behold the power of doing what is right too, because G-d will act as if you are the only giver and consider your effort special, even if everyone else is doing the same thing.

 

 

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Bamidbar…counting on you

Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.  Shavuot happens 7 weeks after Passover.  In fact, the word Shavuot means weeks, and the festival of Shavuot marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.

Bamidbar means to count and we are now in a new book of the Torah called Numbers.  Go figure, numbers and counting.  A math teachers dream Torah portion!

The beginning of this portion is about taking a census and counting the eligible adults capable of  fighting in battle. It sets up the reality that order is needed for a community.  That order out of chaos can bring change and structure. As if G-d were to say order is what you need and this is how it should look.

Each person has their individual place within the family, the tribe and the Jewish nation, thus being counted on may have deeper connotations than appears on the surface of this text.

What does it mean to be counted on?

Literally to be counted for a census meant the people were number ready for battle as a means of protection and defense.  To be counted on for following orders and fighting for the rights of the Jewish people was indeed a very serious matter.

Those not counted for battle were counted to supply the camp with ritual and rigor.  The priests duty bound to the sacrifices of the temple, and the people bound to count on the commandments given by G-d on Mount Sinai.

A sense of communal pride and dependence were aligned in the counting of the people and their actions.

What does it mean to be counted on today? Be present, be available, and complete acts of love and kindness.  Make your mitzvahs’ important.

Make yourself able to be counted on. Be dependable. Make your commitment to G-d and your community. That is the essence of Bamidbar.

 

 

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click your heels three times and head for home

Bechukotai Leviticus 27: 1-34

There is no place like home. There is no place like home. There is no place like home.

'THE WIZARD OF OZ' FILM STILLS - 1939

I love being home. Most days I cherish reading in my chair or writing in my study. Being home is relaxing and very satisfying.

My cat Mouse sits on my lap while I listen to my dog Tavi breath deeply as she sleeps near my feet.  I have the comforts of home and the solitude I long for away from the busy week.

Coming home after a vacation or a long weekend away is also very soothing.  There just isn’t anything like sleeping in your own bed.

Long after Passover, and now that the spring season is in full bloom, one may need a reminder to search out and relocate their true home.  Not the home with four walls and a lazy boy, but the one where you find a real welcoming when you need it.

Finding your way back into the home of your faith is the journey we all need.  Like a compass leading true north, it is always important to find your way back to what is right and good. For it is easy to wander from our beliefs and forget where we come from.

Click your proverbial heels and remember to pray and act on peace.  Click your heels, get outside and do the work needed to regain a healthy connection to your G-d source.

Click your heels, and listen twice as much as you speak because there is a reason G-d gave us one mouth and two ears.

This Torah portions deals chiefly with the gifts to the sanctuary, whether by conditional vows or unconditional acts of gratitude. Make yourself a vow today to rededicate yourself to G-d.

Don’t forget where it is that you come from.  Home is in the heart and in the actions behind your intentions. Only you can relocate your true home.

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Snooze you Lose? Behar

I like the concept of a built-in rest period; something Shabbat does  for us weekly.  A rest between the work week and the holy. In this week the Torah portion addresses rest for us and rest for the land too.

The people would work the fields for six years. In the seventh year, the land was to have a Sabbath of complete rest. During this period the people weren’t to sow their fields, prune their vineyards, or reap the after growth.

The earth needed this separation too. It was given the time to reclaim itself from over planting and harvest.

Thus the land could rejuvenate and become renewed for future planting. And like the land, the people were also given a rest.

Every seven years the early Israelites had the opportunity to escape the yearly toil of planting and gathering the harvest. I think this was a brilliant concept that took into account the needed rest of the laborer and earth combined.

Just think of how many opportunities the ancient people had to relax during that full and complete year of no planting.  I am positive they took that year as a vacation to reunite with  loved ones and rekindle old friendships.

Maybe they sat around the fire longer and soaked up the company around them.  Or, perhaps they just caught up on well-earned sleep.

Barring the fact that their labor had subsided , I bet they were able to bring clarity to their faith and relationships. I am sure after back-breaking work year after year, this well deserved rest built into their system was a delicacy.

After all, the Sabbath should be about rest. It should be a separation from the mundane to the privilege of holiness.  Something of a task anymore as we face constant business and schedules that demand our time and energy.

Know you are commanded to cease from work. Find out what it would be like to enjoy  the nothingness.

Focus your energy on renewal instead of organized chaos.  Allow the built-in rest to reenergize your spiritual and physical being.

Try to cancel your Saturday appointment.  Go for a walk. Decline lunch with friends. Take a brief moment this Sabbath to stay home and read or nap on the couch.

Find in your own ritual that the rest on Shabbat is something far greater than you or me. I believe this built-in rest is overdue, if not explicitly needed.

Go ahead and snooze, you can’t lose!

 

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