Sunday, August 16, 2009

Real Hiatus and Lost Items

Alright- here's the actual hiatus post. Until we get Internet hooked up in our new apartment, I'm offline. I should get it soon, but as the phone company won't actually install our phone line until Wednesday, Internet access doesn't seem likely for at least 2 weeks.
So, I'll miss the J-blogosphere- and I hope to be back really soon.

I'll leave you with a parting anecdote.

In the scurry and hurry of moving, moving again, really moving this time, and actually moving, our belongings have been transferred through so many boxes and suitcases we barely know what is what.

So, it wasn't surprising that today, we couldn't find our passports. Now that's really scary, since we are not Olim yet (new immigrants), and our passport is the only means of identification accepted in this country. We wouldn't be able to use the bank, or deal with any of our new apartment issues, or sign anything, or drive anything. So, we looked. And looked. And looked again. Nothing.

I started to panic, thinking we might have taken them with us somewhere and lost them, and they weren't even in the suitcases at all. Mr. NMF was searching our new apartment, while I was searching our old one, and both of us were worrying.

So what did I do? I donated money to the Kupa of R' Meir Baal Haness.

For those who don't know, R' Meir Baal Haness was a figure in the Gemara who is famous nowadays for saying that whoever calls out to Hashem in his name and gives charity in his merit will get what they are asking for. He's buried in Teveria (Tiberias) and I've visited his grave several times. His wife was the famous Bruria, a brilliant and wise woman in the Gemara.

Some people, including me, whenever they lose an object that is precious to them, donate money in R' Meir Baal Haness's name, and say this:

"Amar Rabi Binyomin, Hakol Bcheskas Sumin Ad sheHakadosh Boruch Hu Meir es Aynayhem." "Min Hacha? 'Vatifkach HaShem es Ayneha, Vataylech Vatimaleh es Hachaymes."

This means:

"So says Rabbi Binyomin: All is hidden from the eye until Hashem opens our eyes. How do we know? [because it says] 'And Hashem opened her [Hagar's] eyes, and she went and she filled her pitcher.'"

Then, the loshon continues:

"Eloka D'meir Anayni" - "May the God of Rabbi Meir [Baal Haness] answer me"- said three times.

"B'zchus Hatzedoka she'ani Nodayv L'ilui Nishmas Rabi Meir Baal HaNes, Zechuso Yogen Olaynu, L'mtzo es haAvayda sheAvaditi "

"In the zechus of the tzedaka that I will give in the merit of the soul of R' Meir Baal Haness, may his merit last forever, to find the item that I have lost."

So. I gave tzedaka, recited the formula, and the phone rang. Literally just then. I picked up, and Mr. NMF's first words to me were "I found it." Turns out that the passports were hiding in another suitcase, underneath some sefarim.

Anyone else believe in miracles?!

I've had this happen to me many times. I've lost earrings, car keys, cell phones- you name it, I've lost it- and I've found it, usually after giving tzedaka.
Hocus pocus? I highly doubt it. In the zechus of doing a mitzva in R' Meir's name, Hashem opens your eyes to find the object.

So, if you're stuck, try this. I believe it has to be done with a full heart- not just to find your lost object- but I know of many stories like this one. G-d controls everything in this world, down to what we see and what we don't see.

I once asked a teacher of mine that if the world has been explored, every last inch of it, how come we don't know where the Sambatyon river is (the famous river that throws stones except on Shabbos- the one that the 10 lost tribes are hidden behind.)

She answered that G-d doesn't want us to find it, and as such, our eyes are not opened to find it. Only G-d can let us see or not see, even if it is right under our noses.

Has anyone else out there tried this method?

Anyway. Take care, have a good week, and a good rest of the summer. May Hashem open all our eyes to always see and recognize the truth of all things.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lions, Tigers, and Jukim, Oh My!

For those who have been past readers of my blog, one of my favorites that I posted was on bug checking in Israel. I still haven't figured out why Israel is so much more prone to bugs than anywhere else, but it pays to be prepared and to know how to bug check if necessary.

But, despite avid bug checking in food, summer time is the special time of year when all those wonderful 6/8/10/too many to count- legged creatures actually come out of the woodwork, literally.

So, summer time is usually the time for an annual 'Rissus'- or extermination. In Israel, some Israelis actually exterminate their entire house every single summer. They move out for a day or so, and let the poison do its work, coming back to a bug free home.

Or at least, to a dead bug home. You see, after an extermination is performed, one tends to come back to a home filled with dead jukim, cockroaches of the worst variety (Truthfully, I don't know any good varieties, but this is the worst of the worst.) and other sundry former inhabitants of the nooks and crannies of one's home.

We just performed a 'Rissus' in our new apartment, and thankfully, Mr. NMF kindly went over there when it was done, and cleaned up all the bugs before I could get a look at them and tell him I wouldn't be stepping in the apartment again.

Jukim have got to be the worst bug in existence. First of all, they are cockroaches, which (at least in my opinion) spread disease and are germy themselves. Secondly, they can fly in some part of their lifetime, leading to being able to launch themselves on unsuspecting people just sitting and reading calmly. Thirdly, they are huge. I've heard that in some New York apartments there are quite large cockroaches, but jukim take the cake in my opinion.

Mr. NMF and I went to another apartment for part of one summer, and every day I would wake up to find another dead juk (pronounced Jook) located somewhere in my apartment. Thank G-d they were dead- the owners had done a proper 'Rissus' before we moved in, but believe me, waking up to a pair of long antennas in your shower is not the best way to wake up.

Anyone else have bad bug stories to share?

Sunday, August 9, 2009


"NMF #7, [insert heavy Israeli accent here], don't wo-orry, y'hiyeh b'seder, okey? Will be done, no problem."

Yeah, that's what they all say. Doing work here in Israel is a bit of three things: patience, exhaustion, and endless repetitions of y'hiyeh b'seder (it'll be okay). This happens even if you are doing minimal work, which I am. Minimal as in approximately 64 small things, which is better than two or three large things.

Be prepared if you are doing work here in Israel for the work to take approximately 2 months longer than expected. Be prepared for endless phone conversations that take approximately two minutes, and leave you with the feeling of desperation that the work you contracted for is never going to get done.

Be prepared for times to suddenly switch on you; that is, if they give you a time at all. (Make sure to ask for one- it pins them down to some number at least.) Be prepared for unexpected costs, unexpected visits, and expected things that never seem to occur.

But despite it all, you've got a Jewish workman looking at you and telling you, Hashem Yaazor (G-d will help). They sit down and toast you a l'chaim on your new apartment. They tell you about their family, about their lives, and they inquire tactfully after you and yours.

So, I'll forgive them everything, because when it comes down to it- they are so nice and kind while doing it all, that you just can't help but murmur "Y'hiyeh B'seder" along with them.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Favors and Neighbors

Yesterday, as I stood unpacking boxes with my door open, I was invited to, or more accurately, stuck in the middle of, meeting and greeting the new neighbors. Again, more accurately, I'm the new neighbor, and they all came to check me out.

All were, sweet, charming, and extremely nice and generous- inviting us for Shabbos meals, finding out if we needed anything, and so on. NBD charmed them as well- everyone loves a cute baby. (I'm biased, but she is cute.)

Our neighbors have also been generous about lending things: 'scotch' (that's scotch brite cleaning items for the Americans out there), a step stool to reach high cabinets, and a Gemara for poor Mr. NMF, who's Gemaros are somewhere in the endless array of boxes labeled 'sefarim'.

But, as we are neighbors, some of the Israeli's feel almost instantly comfortable. They asked us for our extra boxes, as they would be moving soon. They asked us if we had extra beds for guests to sleep in, since we wouldn't be there for Shabbos. And, you know- if I was in the US, I might almost find the fact that we, and them, started asking for favors almost as soon as we walked in the door, some what laughable.

After all, in the US, I lived out-of-town, and knew my neighbors quite well, but I wouldn't have asked them for things as soon as I moved in, and neither would they. When I sojourned on the East Coast, I didn't know my neighbors at all- and so neither one of us could ask each other for favors.

But it's one of those things you either love or hate in Israel- the instant comfort and congeniality among neighbors. I happen to love it- you feel comfortable with each other immediately, solving many problems of the 'getting-to-know' you stage. But maybe some would prefer a little distance, at least until they themselves start to feel more settled.

In a way, it helps to feel comfortable immediately, in that it helps you acclimate immediately as well. They can tell you the best places for shopping, for clothing, for shiurim, and so on- things you wouldn't know on your own.

In any case, I'm grateful to have neighbors with whom the largest distance we have to cross is the hallway between our apartments.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seven Things I Love

I've been tagged by Jewish Side of Babysitter for the 7 things I love meme. Thanks, Jewish Side.
So, 7 things...

1. G-d- Okay, this may sound corny, but I love G-d. I hear the echoes of "Hakadosh Baruch Hu, Anachnu Ohavim Otcha" in my head, and it rings true.
2. My family- I love my family, and all that it represents. My home, my place in the world- it means so much to me to have people that care about you, and that you're able to care back.
3. Israel- Israel is a very special place to me. There is a Kuzari that states that there are some people that just have a special love of Israel, that they are drawn to it like a magnet to a lodestone. My mother has that kind of special love of Israel. I was drawn to it after her, and I believe it's a truly amazing place. Yerushalayim in particular, pulls me in with her blue skies, white stone, and phenomenal people.
4. Of things to do, I love to read. Reading opens my mind, my eyes, and my heart to things I've never experienced before, except through the pages of a book. If you would give me a room full of endless amounts of books, I think I'd be happy to stay there forever.
5. Another of my favorites- cooking. I'll happily try new recipes, bake my old favorites, and generally putter around the kitchen.
6. I love the feeling of accomplishment. That feeling when you've worked hard, tried your best, and have something to show for it. It's a Yagati O'Matasi (I worked and I found) type of feeling, one that stays with you forever.
7. The Jewish nation. Come on, it rocks. The people in it are special, genuine, and truly amazing. Whether they are religious or not, Litvish, Chassidish, Yeshivish, MO, Stick what ever label on you want- Jewish people are the coolest.

That's it for me. I'll tag Chana, but most of the 7 people I would have tagged are tagged already.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

OII #16- Moving In

So, we moved in. Which was wonderful. But, here comes a series of unfortunate events.

Firstly, unfortunately, that means we also had to move out again, as our new apartment desperately needs a coat of paint. But, we did move in for a couple of days and started to set up.

The second unfortunate event was that we did not have any appliances. Yep. Besides for a microwave and a hot pot, all our appliances were ordered before Tisha B'Av, but weren't allowed to be delivered until after such day. So, we were stuck.

I decided to go shopping, and pick up some items that we could eat even without an oven or a stove top. Examples might be peanut butter, tuna, crackers, drinks, and those ever present 'Mana Rishona', the little Tradition Soup like instant soups that are so popular here. Except, they also have instant pasta, potatoes, and ravioli. Yum.

So, we prepared to heat up our instant supper, when the third unfortunate event occurred. Our hot pot didn't work. So, we had no hot water for anything.

I went up to my upstairs neighbor, who I had briefly met. (She is also a ganenet, and she also has 7 kids. Remember my old neighbor with the same situation!) I asked if I could have some hot water. She looked me up and down, and proceeded to serve me a delicious supper to bring down to Mr. NMF. As I protested the generosity, she had her daughters carry it down for me, complete with plates and silverware. And, I had only met this woman that day!

When I arrived home, another sight greeted me! Mr. NMF was holding another tray of food, also complete with silverware. Another generous neighbor had dropped off a plate, thinking we would be starving.

And so it continued. A welcoming committee brought us more meals, a neighbor invited us over to eat before the fast, and my wonderful upstairs neighbor brought us delicious waffles after the fast.

Moving into a new neighborhood may bring a series of unfortunate events. But, thank G-d we have wonderful neighbors to help us weather it! \

Kudos to all those who do the same in communities everywhere!