There's a popular adage that tells us not to sweat the small stuff. I always thought that it meant we should not make an issue out of insignificant incidents that impinge on our kavod. When we are victims, we should categorize all this as "small stuff" and the best way to deal with it is to forgive, forget and move on.
With every passing day our world becomes more menacing. Events are unfolding so rapidly that we can't absorb them. The news is mostly ominous, be it local or international, situations are occurring that could not possibly have been anticipated.
Our Sages teach, "There is no comparison between hearing and seeing." To be in Eretz Yisrael is not only to pray at the holy sites or go touring, but to be in Eretz Yisrael also demands that we express solidarity with our beleaguered brethren, and demonstrate our support so that they may know that we are with them.
I have just returned from Eretz Yisrael. Hineni tours are life-transforming experiences - those who are secular become Torah committed, and those who are already observant reach a new plateau in their emunah and love of Hashem. The change commences from the moment we set foot in the Holy Land.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I come from a solid, yeshivish family. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all "Torahdik" people. Most of my friends have similar backgrounds, and when the time came for me to go to seminary in Yerushalayim, I was most fortunate to be accepted with my friends at a great school. I had an amazing year in learning and in inspirational experiences. An entire new world opened up and I loved every minute of being in Yerushalayim. Now that I am back in New York, I truly miss Eretz Yisrael and feel sad not to be there. It was probably one of the happiest years of my life.
Special Note: In last week's column I wrote about the seemingly inexplicable events that are unfolding throughout the world. How do we understand the demonization of Israel, the new escalation of anti-Semitism, and the preponderance of Islamic terrorists throughout the world?
As I write these words I am on my way to Toronto for a commemoration of the martyrs of Mumbai. Rabbi Moshe Steiner, the local Chabad Rabbi who organized the program, informed me that Rabbi Holtzberg, the father of Gaby and father-in-law of Rivkah Holtzberg, martyrs of Mumbai, would also be there for the occasion.
I feel privileged to share with you the story of the creation of our new film, "Triumph of the Spirit." For the longest time I have felt that there is a terrible void in Holocaust films and memorials. The epic story of the mesiras nefesh, the boundless sacrifice, that our people made in clinging to Torah and mitzvos - the devotion with which they served Hashem during one of the darkest moments in the annals of mankind has yet to be told.
Special Note: Several weeks ago, I published a letter from a young father, Akiva Shapiro. Many years ago, Akiva discovered the world of Torah through Hineni. He not only became part of our organization, but a leader and an activist. I was also privileged to introduce him to his aishes chayil- his soul mate, and today, he and his lovely wife are the proud parents of a beautiful family.
The beautiful Yom Tov of Shavuos has passed, but our Yamim Tovim never fade. We are charged to carry them with us throughout the year. While this holds true for all our Yamim Tovim, it is especially valid for Shavuos. This is the one day for which our Torah does not designate a specific time or date. Shavuos is "Z'man Matan Toraseinu," the season of receiving our Torah, and that is an eternal happening, which every one of us must re-experience and relive every moment of our lives. "Not with our forefathers alone did Hashem seal the Covenant, but with us, we who are here, all of us alive today (Deuteronomy 5).
In last week's column I responded to the mother/grandmother who wrote about the escalation of chutzpah on the part of the young vis-à-vis their parents. In my answer I suggested that we have adopted some 21st century attitudes that not only countenance this obstreperous behavior but actually endorse it. I also mentioned that while we may take certain consolation in knowing that our sages predicted what we are experiencing today, nevertheless, it does not mean that we of the Torah community should countenance it. Chutzpah toward parents/grandparents, teachers and elders in any shape or form is unacceptable.
In my last two columns I published a letter from a mother/grandmother who felt very saddened and discouraged at the shameless chutzpah that marks today's parent-child relationship. In the first segment of her letter, she cited the disrespectful conduct of children, and in the second, she gave examples of the deplorable behavior of young adults - even married couples.
In last week's column I published the first part of a letter written by one of our readers who related that this past year, circumstances had compelled her and her family to go away for Yom Tov, but she was terribly embarrassed by the behavior of many of the people in her group.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: Once again, Yom Tov has come and gone. I was hoping that with all the things going on in the world, people would have learned something...or at least would want to change.
There are no coincidences in life. We know that everything that befalls us is basherte - to the point that even if a man stubs his toe that too is orchestrated from Above. It was not by coincidence that, on Parshas Tazria Metzora, I received an amazing letter from an amazing young man. Some 10 odd years ago, I had the privilege of launching him on his Jewish journey.
Special Note: For the past two weeks, my columns have focused on ways and means to establish shalom bayis in our homes and our families. The following is the third installment of this series.
Special Note: In my last column, I discussed the tragic consequences of Sinas ChinamB jealousy and hatred of the brothers toward Joseph that cast us into our first exile in Egypt, which continues to plague us to this very day. The following is a continuation of that column:
In this season, when we gather around the Seder table to celebrate the birth of our nation, it behooves us to take a few moments to consider what we have learned - what we are taking with us to guide us throughout the year. Among the many priorities we should consider, surely shalom and achdus - unity - must be in the forefront. Sadly, today these pillars of our faith are missing from our families, from our communities and from the world at large. While we may not be able to influence the world, our communities or even our families, we can and must impact upon ourselves - we must emerge from this Pesach - different.
Once again, I am on a plane. I am returning to New York after a long, two- week journey. It has been a grueling, but exhilarating tour. Each day, I addressed the Jewish community of another European country. The first stop was Paris. I was forewarned that in Europe if you draw an audience of 100-200 people, you could regard yourself successful, so my expectations were not very high. But when I arrived at the huge synagogue it was crowded wall-to-wall. There wasn't a seat to be had, and people were still coming, not only residents of Paris, but from as far away as Strasbourg.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I can't begin to tell you how important your column has been in this most trying period. To one extent or another, everyone has been tested by the financial meltdown.... some of us more than others, and I'm afraid that my family falls into that category. Allow me to give you some background:
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.
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.
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.
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.