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Two men, both…

27 Nov

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same
hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an
hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from
his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on
his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their
homes, their jobs, their involvement in the
military service, where they had been on
vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the
window could sit up, he would pass the time by
describing to his roommate all the things he could
see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those
one hour periods where his world would be
broadened and enlivened by all the activity and
colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.Ducks and swans played on the water while
children sailed their model boats. Young lovers
walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour
and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen
in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in
exquisite details, the man on the other side of
the room would close his eyes and imagine this
picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window
described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band –
he could see it in his mind’s eye as the
gentleman by the window portrayed it with
descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring
water for their baths only to find the lifeless body
of the man by the window, who had died
peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital
attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man
asked if he could be moved next to the window.
The nurse was happy to make the switch, and
after making sure he was comfortable, she left
him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one
elbow to take his first look at the real world
outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window
besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have
compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this
window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and
could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage
you.’

Epilogue:
There is tremendous happiness in making others
happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness
when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things
you have that money can’t buy.
‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The
Present .’

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איך מתקרבים לאל…

18 May

My rough translation of Louisa’s latest blog posting:

How do we get closer to God in simplicity?

God is just waiting for us to come to Him, and He can take care of us; there is no need for us to be ‘worthy’, no need for specific conditions such as sacrifices or mitzvot, no need to make ourselves religious or spirituals or even kabbalists, no need for us to learn or become teachers, or to climb ladders of spirituality or become members of a certain group; we should just allow Him and He will come to us in simplicity.

If we are afraid of losing control or are worried that we will seem weak or lost, or confused about all of the theories that are circulating around about Him, we should ask for help from God and He will help us.

The first step is to desire it, for God doesn’t come in to our lives uninvited by forcing His way in – we choose to want Him in our lives.

The second step is to ask God to give us eyes that will see Him in spirit, becausewith our earthly eyes we see Him in a distorted way: God, give me eyes that see You by my side now.

The third step is to ask for ears that will hear Him, because our with our earthly ears we can only hear foreign and confused voices: God, give me ears that only hear Your voice.

The fourth step is to ask for faith that He is really here for us, for we are used to thinking that He doesn’t care, that He is a strict master, or that he simply doesn’t exist: God give me faith in my heart to believe.

The fifth step is invite God into our hearts in order to be active in our lives, for we are used to being far from Him: God , I don’t want to be an orphan, I want You as my father.

The sixth step is ask God to heal our aching  souls and clean us from our collective guilt, God forgive me for I have sinned, and fill me with your loving kindness, without cost.

The seventh step is to venture to begin to read the Tanach, the same one that we were tested on in our matriculation exams, and that we didn’t understand and we just wanted to forget as quickly as possible out of boredom: God give me your holy spirit to understand Your words, open Your world to me in order for me to get to know You.

That’s it, that ‘s the miracle,  the ball is in your court right now.

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Le peuple juif …

20 Apr

Le peuple juif après de très longs siècles d’errance est retourné sur sa terre, mais le passage parmi les nations qui l’ont accueilli a laissé ses traces profondément ancrées en lui, à tel point qu’il croit quelles font partie de son identité juive !
L’influence des nations et de l’exil se retrouvent dans notre façon de penser, de célébrer les fêtes, de prier, voire même dans notre habillement…
Exemple de croyances et autres superstitions : casser un verre à la fin des mariages pour éloigner un démon qui s’attaque aux couples ; conjurer le mauvais œil avec la main (hamsa) ou des amulettes (kamea) ; parler de poisson et de chiffre cinq pour attirer la prospérité ; croire que le nom d’une personne a un pouvoir sur la vie de celui qui le porte ; utiliser des prières ou pratiques kabbalistiques pour obtenir quelque faveur ; se rendre sur les tombes de rabbins ou autres enseignants décédés pour leur demander une bénédiction… Où est donc le Dieu d’Israël dans tout cela ?

Toutefois, le plus lourd vêtement diasporique que nous portons est la religion rabbinique. En effet, dans la Bible nous ne trouvons nullement la fonction de rabbin, ni dans notre passé, ni dans les prophéties à venir. En fait les rabbins sont les descendants d’un mouvement (les Pérouschim ou Pharisiens) créé en réaction à la corruption des prêtres du temple, issu du peuple, et qui décida de régler sa vie d’après les interprétations qu’il faisait de la Loi. Afin de maintenir l’unité du peuple autour d’eux, ils instaurèrent un lieu de culte d’inspiration diasporique, la synagogue. Puis au cours de la dispersion, chaque groupe a intégré des coutumes et façon de se vêtir locaux : les vêtements des orthodoxes, les chants différents des prières inhérents à chaque pays d’origine… Tous ces efforts sont des efforts humains que notre Dieu ne réclame nullement. Il serait peut-être temps de les laisser et de chercher ce que le Dieu d’Israël veut pour son peuple !

Demandons-nous d’où viennent nos coutumes, habitudes et croyances et dépouillons-nous de ces habits de diaspora afin de rechercher quelle est notre véritable identité, celle d’avant l’exil, au temps de nos premiers pères quand il n’y avait pas de séfarades ou d’ashkénazes, de religieux ou de laïcs, seulement des Juifs avec leur Dieu. Ainsi seulement notre peuple pourra s’unir en une seule entité, sans conflit de croyance ou d’appartenance !

a facebook post from my friend, Sara – here is an approximate translation

RID US OF OUR DIASPORA CLOTHES!The Jewish people after very long centuries of wandering returned to their land, but the passage among the nations who have welcomed them left its traces deeply rooted in them, to the point that they believe them to be part of their Jewish identity!
The influence of nations and of exile itself has affected our way of thinking, of celebrating the holidays, praying, or even in our dress…
Examples of such beliefs and other superstitions are: breaking a glass at the end of weddings to ward off a demon from harming the couple; warding off the ‘evil eye’ with your hand (hamsa) or amulets ; fish images and  the number five for drawing prosperity; believing that the name of a person has power over the life of the person who wears it; using prayers or Kabbalistic practices in order to obtain favour; going to the graves of rabbis or other deceased teachers  to ask for a blessing… Where is the God of Israel in all of this?However, the weightiest diaspora clothing we wear is the garb of Rabbinic religion. Indeed, in the Bible we did not have anyone acting in the function of Rabbi, neither in our past, nor in the upcoming prophecies. In fact the rabbis are descendants of a movement (the ‘Perushim’ or Pharisees) created in reaction to the corruption of the priests of the temple, by the people, and who decided to set their life according to the interpretations of the law. In order to maintain the unity of the people around them, they established a place of worship  inspired by the diaspora, the synagogue. Then during the galut, each group integrated its own customs and way of dressing: like the clothing of the Orthodox,  each with different songs prayers inherent to each one’s country of origin… all these efforts are human efforts that our God does not claim to be His. It might be time to leave them and ask ourselves what God of Israel wants for his people!

Ask yourselves us where our customs, habits and beliefs come from and strip yourselves of these clothes of the diaspora in order to find what is our true identity, that of before the exile, at the time of our forefathers when there was no Sephardi or Ashkenazi, religious or laity, only Jews with their God. Thus only our people will be able to unite into a single entity, without conflict of belief or membership! (my rendition of the Bing translation)