My phone rang one morning last week. It was the wife of a friend whose weekly shiur I attend. "Could you spare some time to help a patient in the hospital to put on tefillin?" she asked. "The person who usually does it can't make it today."
It was December of 1980. I was walking towards the Kotel, Judaism's holiest site. I recalled that a Torah friend of mine had explained before I left New York
In last week's column, I published a letter from a woman who successfully overcame enormous challenges in her life through the power of faith. At the same time, I invited our readers to share with us their own personal difficulties so that others might benefit and be strengthened.
In my last column I published a letter from a woman whose husband, like many others, was experiencing financial reversals. While in the past they had been prosperous, overnight everything changed. She was concerned for her husband's health since he has a history of high blood pressure and heart problems. He had become tense, irritable and depressed. She conceded that she herself was in the same emotional state - and her mood was impacting on her children.
At the age of 32, he discovered he was Jewish. Michael was born to a gentile, Greek father and a Belgian mother, whom he assumed was gentile as well. When Michael married his Catholic girlfriend, Susan, his mother still did not divulge her background.
The entire downtown business district would pour into the streets around 5:30 p.m., clogging the already congested traffic lanes of Chicago's bustling Loop. Blaring horns of Checker taxicabs and city buses made it hard to hear one's own voice, but I always heard my father's voice...
Though the prices of airline tickets to Israel had soared with the increase in the cost of fuel this summer, my son Moshe was determined to visit his ailing grandfather in Jerusalem.
Special Note: The letter written by the woman experiencing a financial crisis has evoked a strong response. Many people identify with her plight and still others have come forth to share their own experiences in confronting painful challenges. I am pleased to publish one of these letters.
Last Shabbos morning, I reached for my siddur and started to daven. When I opened up the first page and saw the Ma Tovu prayer, I unexpectedly started crying.
I attend a Tanya shiur (lesson) every Sunday evening at the Chabad House of Queens. At 9:30 p.m., we daven Maariv.
Everyone is concerned about the economy. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, and to one extent or another, we are all impacted. This concern is not imaginary.
This past summer highlighted to me how "charity, prayer, and repentance help to annul the evil decree." I try to visit my grandparents' graves in Israel every summer. They are the parents of my late beloved father, Rabbi Dr. Joseph I. Singer. When my father wasn't able to go to Israel due to illness, I would go to pray at his parents' graves and pay for the upkeep.
QUESTION: I have been told that one is not to pray in any other language than Hebrew. In many synagogues that I have visited I saw ArtScroll prayer books in use with English side by side with the Hebrew. May we pray using the English translation? I would greatly appreciate your answer. A Newly-Observant Reader(Via E-Mail)
I was planning to write this column on Gemilas Chassadim several weeks ago, but events unfolded that, with the passage of time, would have lost their immediacy, so this article was put on hold. But I guess it's no coincidence that I am writing this column in the wake of Parshas Vaera and the yahrzeit of my beloved husband, HaRav Meshulem Halevi Jungreis, zt"l, for both the parshah and the exemplary life of my husband, provide us with insights on gemilas chassadim.
Yosef * had a dream. He wanted to open a yeshiva for young men like him, men who had returned to their roots and wanted to expand their learning in a relaxed, pastoral atmosphere.
You never know what event will spark a person's desire to return to Judaism. Art Sherman was an assimilated Jew married to a Polish Catholic woman. He owned a non-kosher Italian "hero sandwich shop" and an unbelievable comment, one day by his Rastafarian employee, sent him on a life-changing journey.
For once, it seemed, we were all prepared. I had announced several times that we were catching the 12:15 bus to Jerusalem to celebrate the Pidyon HaBen (Redemption of the Firstborn ceremony) of our new grandson.
Last week I began to outline the three-fold formula that our sages advise will protect us from the painful birth pangs of the pre-Messianic era. Now with Hashem's help, I will continue, for this is a subject of great urgency. But to those who have sent e-mails and letters regarding personal problems, let me assure you that I will respond to all your correspondence personally.
In previous columns I indicated that Hashem, in His infinite mercy, endowed us with a three-fold formula through which we can protect ourselves in this most trying period of Chevlei Moshiach. As promised I will now outline what exactly that formula entails.
It was about a week before Chanukah last year when I traveled to Israel to spend some time with my son, who was learning in Yeshiva there.
Prior to Rosh Hashanah, our daughter Bracha insisted on giving a sizeable amount of tzedakah to a worthy organization. This gift was in addition to the amount she is careful to separate from her earnings on a weekly basis. Barely sixteen, our daughter is not intending to become rich from her part-time job, but parting with even more than the usual 10 percent of her salary was clearly above and beyond the letter of the law.
As I write this column I am returning from the Philippines. Yes, the Philippines! Are there any Jews there? Hashem's people are scattered throughout the four corners of the world. And now, as we enter the period described as Chevlei Moshiach, the holy flock has to be awakened and gathered.
It wasn't so much my father's problem as it was mine. The commandment to honor one's parents had always been for me simply the right thing to do. Jewish tradition characterizes it, however, as the most challenging of the taryag mitzvos. Anyone who has ever cared for a terminally ill parent appreciates the difficulty of performing this mitzvah well.
For the past few weeks I have been writing about the crisis that has descended upon our world - a crisis that is nothing less than Chevlei Moshiach, the pain and suffering that has been predicted will occur in the pre-Messianic era.
Every year, prior to the High Holy Days, I visit the graves of four generations of my ancestors buried on Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives).