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A Pathway To Teshuvah

27 Elul 5772 – September 13, 2012
Yom Hadin is almost here and this time of year brings with it a range of emotions. Some people are excited - a new year, the start of school, new clothing. For others, Rosh Hashanah instills fear - the need to correct wrongdoings, to beg for forgiveness and make promises to be better. For still others, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed - either by the awe of the Yom Hadin or perhaps the reality of so many days of Shabbos, Yom Tov, Shabbos (that's a lot of cooking and baking). We are often so busy taking care of all the “things" that need to be done, that we don’t have enough time for spiritual and emotional preparation. It feels like most years I come to Selichos feeling as if I haven't done enough to prepare.

The Tale Of Two Armstrongs In Elul

26 Elul 5772 – September 12, 2012
Two major news stories involving two famous men named Armstrong occurred within days of each other recently. Was it random happenstance? Or was there hashgacha involved? We know that nothing happens outside Hashem’s realm and power. But did Hashem have a specific reason for these two events occurring together when they did?

How Bais Yaakov Almost Ruined my Life

14 Elul 5772 – August 31, 2012
In Bais Yaakov, you were either they way they wanted you to be, or you were wrong.

One Is Hashem: Imbuing Your Child With Emunah And Bitachon

We asked several experienced mechanchim for their insights on how to shepherd children from their first “Modeh Ani” to the understanding that Hashem alone holds the key to every aspect of their existence. Here are the key principles they shared.

A Tale Of Two Friends

13 Elul 5772 – August 30, 2012
Dear Readers The grass is always greener on the other side. Or is it? Below is a fictional illustration of this human foible – focusing on the perceived benefits in another person’s life while failing to appreciate your own.

Rabbi Lior: No Need to Worry about Iran Threat

6 Elul 5772 – August 24, 2012
The Iran threat does not scare Rabbi Dov Lior. The rabbi of Kiryat Arba/Hebron believes that it is forbidden, and there is actually no...

The Mouse Is Smarter Than Me: Preparing For Rosh Hashanah

6 Elul 5772 – August 23, 2012
It is hard to believe that Elul is upon us and that the Day of Judgment is only one month away. In a short 30 days we must face our Creator and have our deeds evaluated in the hopes of a receiving a merciful blessing for a good and healthy year. We spend the month of Elul focused on repentance, and we learn the holy books of mussar to inspire us to grow and change.

Anxiety: Can It Be Controlled?

1 Elul 5772 – August 18, 2012
As a teenager, I suffered from occasional panic attacks, social anxiety, and more than the usual amount of teenage angst. In today’s drug-obsessed society, I would certainly have been given psych meds; thankfully, back then, it was expected that maturity would bring greater resilience and awareness. And so it was.

A Tale Of A Recovering Internet Addict

30 Av 5772 – August 17, 2012
What exactly is the definition of an Internet addiction? Just how out of control does one have to be to qualify as having a true addiction?

The Blessing

28 Av 5772 – August 15, 2012
I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

The One Who Stopped

23 Av 5772 – August 10, 2012
Everyone knows the feeling you get when you want to do something you can’t do. There is always that temptation to do - especially because you know you can’t. Or sometimes it’s because you want to prove you can. Sometimes it’s because people expect it of you. Sometimes it’s a combination.

Elul – Entering The King’s Palace

22 Av 5772 – August 9, 2012
I can probably read your thoughts: “Elul? I’m still in the Catskills! We haven’t even gone shopping at the Back-to-School sales yet!” That is true, but on the other hand, this week is Shabbos Mevorchim Elul, when we announce Rosh Chodesh Elul. Before you know it, we will be deep into Elul! Let us see how we can utilize this Shabbos to start getting ready.

The Cat Lady’s Message

I was going crazy. I couldn’t stand it another minute. Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I had been blessed, b’li ayin hara, with children very close in age. Surely having one child after the other was a blessing to be grateful for. I knew there were many people who would give a million dollars to have such a “problem.” But still, it was very stressful. But that wasn’t the hardest part, and it wasn’t the main reason for my feelings of despair.

Family Breakdown (Part One)

This week I will share some of my own thoughts on the subject.

Rose-Colored Glasses

19 Av 5772 – August 7, 2012
If Moshe were alive today, I’m certain he would prefer living in the Land of Israel rather than living in Brooklyn. What do you think?

Kashrut

16 Av 5772 – August 3, 2012
Hashem gave the Jewish people the special privilege to keep kashrut. Kashrut is a decree that we just do because God commanded us to; we do not understand why we are doing it. When one keeps kashrut, he only eats pure, fit, and halachically permitted food. Even when one eats non-kosher food unintentionally, the non-kosher food becomes a part of a person and has harmful effects. Hashem is making us keep kashrut because He loves us; Hashem only wants the best for us and our health.

Prayer to Come to the Land of Israel

12 Av 5772 – July 31, 2012
In our previous blog, we mentioned that Moshe Rabainu offered 515 prayers to Hashem, at the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, begging Hashem to let him enter the Land of Israel. Some people have trouble making up prayers if it isn’t written out for them in a siddur. So here’s a prayer I wrote for coming to the Land of Israel. Print it out and say it every day for the next 515 days. If it doesn’t work, crumple up the page, send it to me, and I’ll eat it.

Would Moses Make Aliyah Today?

11 Av 5772 – July 30, 2012
Moshe Rabainu didn’t say any of the other 515 excuses you usually hear. Just the opposite. Moshe begged again and again and again, 515 prayers, to be granted the incomparable blessing of entering the Land. Today, there are people frummer than Moshe. The Land of Israel isn’t glatt enough for them. Or they don’t like the government. Or they’re worried about finding jobs, as if the hand of Hashem is too short to feed them. They prefer to rely on Uncle Sam instead.

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