Sunday, November 28, 2010

Top Ten Things I'm Grateful For

I think it was R' Avigdor Miller who said that one should write a list every once in a while to say thank you to Hashem for all the good He does for us. This can also be applicable to everyone- as everyone has something to be grateful for. In one of R' Shimshon Pincus's books, he says that every mitzvah leads a person to realize something he/she is grateful for. If you see a Mezuzah, and you head to kiss it- be grateful you have a house. If you get something Shatnez-checked- be grateful you have clothing, and so on. Each leads to a way to thank Hashem for all we have.
Without further ado: Top Ten Today (not necessarily in perfect order)

1. Breathing- air- respiration- oxygen
2. My body, with all of it's intricacies, from the organ to the cellular level
3. My Neshama- soul
4. My Parents and Family
5. My Husband
6. My daughter
7. Having a Parnasa in these rough times
8. The world we live in- the sky, the earth, the grass, the trees, the beauty
9. Yerushalayim- the zechus to live here, and this special city
10. The ability to think.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Erev Shabbos #25- Short Friday

People view me as a generally 'emotional' person- when I'm happy, I'm happy, sad, sad, excited, angry- you name it, I display it. It's something I think I have to work on in my life. After all, my face is public property.

But no more of that- frantic- is the emotion I generally feel on a Friday afternoon that leads to a Short Erev Shabbos. After all- I have to have everything ready by 4:00 in the afternoon- and no, I don't cook during the week. All is done on Friday, fresh and early. Even if I have guests, most of the time I don't prepare in advance.

I do however, during each recipe on a given Friday, try to make doubles or triples- to stash up in my freezer for times of need, a friend in need, or an emergency.

Yet early Shabbosim, and the Short Friday syndrome (everything is always ready, exactly when Shabbos starts, no matter what time it is) often prevent me from doing everything.

A rebbitzen in our community once discussed a lady who was very stressed out on Erev Shabbos. The lady complained that she had no time, and couldn't manage to get everything done, so she vented her frustration on her husband and family. (I'm sure we all can relate to that.) So my rebbitzen's answer- buy some ready made and use paper and plastic. Hence the reason that she is a practical rebbitzen, and I am not.

So I try. But- sometimes the Short Friday overtakes me, and I'm found rushing from one thing to the next, ordering my family around, and generally frantically frustrating the world.

Yet I continue to hope that every week I will find the right balance- between getting everything done, and getting frantic about it- between having it all and doing what I need to do.

It's a work in progress- just like my kugels. But it'll happen eventually- with Siyata Dishmaya- help from Heaven.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Busy, Busy, Yet Grateful

Busy doesn't even begin to describe it- what with deadlines, school, work, home, house, and family.

Chanukah always has meant to me a time when one could actually celebrate and relax with family. Thanksgiving was a family time too- but due to family members having different dietary requirements (ie, kosher and not) and differing schedules, it wasn't always celebrated, except with the obligatory turkey on sale.

But Chanukah was different. Gathered together, around the menorah as the lighting commenced, the little ones hanging around, my mother playing the piano's sweet tunes- I can't even remember a Chanukah in which my family wasn't together in some shape and form.

That family togetherness is something that I realize doesn't always happen by everyone. In Israel, the kollel men have a weird schedule, in which they come home really early to light the menorah exactly on time, and then go back. It's not like the family gatherings that started at a covenient 7-8 for everyone. But the togetherness is still there.

And that's what I'm thankful for today- the time to reflect on the fact that I have a family, that we do try to come together, and that they all still want to spend time with each other. That in of itself is a miracle- that everyone is willing to spend time together, to join in something so simple- yet so powerful.

So Happy Thanksgiving to all- and a future Happy Chanukah. May we all realize the things that we are most grateful for.