I have been encountering a number of singles who are feeling desperate to marry. The clock is ticking. Time is running by. Endless dating has singles “going through the motions”. One minute they are procrastinating, in no hurry to tie the knot. Suddenly, they look around. Where are all their friends? One by one they all married. Their social scene has changed or diminished. So they decide okay “I’m ready for marriage – I think”. They click their fingers yet dates are not easy to come by. Sparks aren’t flying as easily as imagined. They’ve missed the boat. All is doom and gloom.
This past Sunday (Lag B’Omer) the world celebrated Mother’s Day. It’s true – Mother’s Day is every day. However, we tend to take our mothers for granted. We expect them to produce and they never let us down. We may think mothers are always over protective, over sensitive and controlling. But in reality, mothers are our therapists, mentors, counselors, cooks, cleaners, doctors, nurses, seamstresses, chauffeurs and drivers, greatest cheerleaders and supporters (fans). But it takes a designated day of celebration to reflect and appreciate how integral mothers are to the fabric of the family. They are known to be the akeres habayis – foundation of the household – because without their constant contribution and involvement, everything around them would come tumbling down.
The following is a true story shared by veteran educator Rabbi Shalom Avtzon in honor of Lag B’Omer which is synonymous with Ahavas Yisroel – Love for a Fellow Jew. It was related to him by a woman named Malka about one of her incredible interactions with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
The following is very unclear to me, it took place decades ago, but seems important to share. I will write it to the best of my recollection and understanding. I hesitated to even share this because I might have misunderstood some of the conversation but I am sharing based on my understanding and recollections. For whatever it is worth, here is the third vivid memory: [The previous two stories were about Pesach Sheini and about the power of Music].
The following is extracted from the daily study lesson for Rosh Chodesh Iyar, in the book Hayom Yom (which is a calendar for the Hebrew year, compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson at the behest of his father-in-law, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn).
At a farbrengen (chassidic gathering) during the days of sefira (at some time in the years 5651-5653, 1891-1893) someone said to my father (the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, The Rebbe Rashab), “The Alter Rebbe’s chassidim were always keeping count.” My father took a great liking to the saying, and he commented: “That idea characterizes man’s avoda. The hours must be ‘counted hours,’ then the days will be ‘counted days.’ When a day passes one should know what he has accomplished and what remains yet to be done… In general, one should always see to it that tomorrow should be much better than today.”
Shimona Tzukernik, noted speaker, educator and The Kabbalah Coach, shared with me words of life wisdom that Rabbi Immanuel Schochet z”l imparted to her.
This is the mashal/analogy and lesson he gave her. (It is either from the Baal Shem Tov or the Maggid of Mezritch.)
A king invited all the members of his kingdom to a great party. Everyone eagerly awaited it months in advance. During that time, the king built a deep moat (a deep, wide ditch surrounding a castle, fort, or town, typically filled with water and intended as a defense against attack) around his palace and planted thorn bushes on the outskirts of the royal city. Closer to the date of the gathering, he had wild animals delivered to the forest that surrounded the palace.
How many of you feel like you are going around in circles? Tired of looking for fresh names. Tired of doing research. Tired of being rejected or doing the rejection. Tired of having your whole focus in life concentrated on finding your bashert at the expense of being productive at your day job.
It may be time to keep your day job and at the same time, freshen up how you date and find dates.
Avoid burn out and expand your network at the same time.
You simply need to evaluate your day-to-day routine so that you can identify the opportunities you currently have to meet someone and the opportunities you’re missing out on. If the suggestions are far and few in between, time to assess what are doing on a daily basis to increase the pool of people you are considering.
I have always been intrigued with personality types and over time I have applied my understanding of people’s personalities to matchmaking, counselling, dealing and avoiding conflict. Everyone can benefit from understanding their own personality and that of others. As parents we are constantly raising our children. As teachers we need to tap into the individuality of each student. In marriage, we need to relate to our spouses. As employers, we need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of our employees so they can utilize their talents and skills to the best of their abilities. As Rabbis we need to cater to different types of people in our communities. As camp counselors we need to take care of children who live and interact in the same bunk/group. Understanding everyone’s personality makes it so much easier deal with.
Zos Chanukah, the eighth day of Chanukah, is said to be a special time for Tefillah, and according to the Bnei Yissoschar it is a time of Gmar Din for the Tefillos of the Yomim Nora’im – the High Holidays.
The Rebbe of Ruzin is quoted as saying that the Tefillos of a simple person on Zos Chanukah is comparable to the Tefillos of Tzadikim on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
On the last day of Chanukah we read the Torah portion of “Zos Chanukas HaMizbeiach” – “THIS is the dedication of the altar”.. By saying “THIS is Chanukah” we are indicating the eight day of Chanukah encapsulates the entire festival of Chanukah. Up until now, every day ushered in was one of potential. On the eighth day, the final day, all comes into actuality with ALL the lights being lit.
I would like to share with you some of the thoughts I covered that evening. Once a Gerrer friend of Reb Mendel Futerfas’ from London asked him his advice.
He had been in audience with his Rebbe, the Beis Yisroel, Reb Yisroel Alter of Ger, and he expressed to him that he has trouble with the concept of “emunat chachamim,” faith in the sages.
Instead of addressing the question though, the Rebbe merely responded “nu.” This chassid was unsure about the intent of this “nu” and turned to R. Mendel for his opinion.
R. Mendel responded: “What don’t you understand? The Rebbe’s intent was to say ‘nu…’ and in G-d you do believe?!”
It is now 2 months since Rosh Hashana – the beginning of the New Year 5777. For many, it meant a time of new resolutions. Excitement. Renewal. Reconnection. (see last Tip of the Week). All good intentions for the year to come. However, only 2 months into the year, and we have to ask ourselves “how are the resolutions coming along?” Some will laugh it off forgeting if they even made a new resolution or what indeed they were. Others will respond with the classical “it’s the thought that counts”. And yet others a bit more optimistic will say, “I’m waiting for January 1st to give it another chance but this time I’m serious”.