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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘heart’

A Good Heart Above All

Friday, June 10th, 2016

I closed last week’s column on shidduchim with the recommendation that singles be more realistic and learn to move on. Too many singles, I noted, can’t acknowledge the fact that while they desire to get married, they insist on living in the past, clinging to visions that are no longer realistic and refusing to move on.

This concept of moving on regarding shidduchim has a Torah source. The first person in the Torah commissioned to take on the role of a shadchan was Eliezer, the loyal servant of our father Avraham. Eliezer is charged with the mission of finding a shidduch for Yitzchak. Avraham tells him specifically what the qualifications of the bride must be.

Miraculously, Eliezer finds the perfect girl. She not only meets Avraham’s expectations, she exceeds them. Despite all this, when Eliezer proposes the shidduch to Rivkah’s family, he tells them, “Give me a yes or a no so that I may know whether I should move on to the right or to the left” (Genesis: 24:49).

This is a lesson the singles population should take to heart. Yes, we recognize you have a vision of a perfect shidduch, but if it doesn’t work, if it’s not happening, take your cue from Eliezer and move on. Don’t become stagnant.

When my own children were in the shidduch parshah, searching for their soul mates, my saintly father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, advised me to be careful never to beseech Hashem for a specific shidduch, no matter how attractive the person seemed.

“No one knows,” my father would say, “who is the ‘right’ one or the ‘wrong’ one. That is strictly in the hands of Hashem.” So whenever my children dated, my father’s berachah was “G-tt zol feeren auf gittens – May G-d guide you to the one who is good.’

Thus, the first requirement in finding “that right one” is heartfelt prayer, especially Minchah – the afternoon service – for it was after davening Minchah that our father Yitzchak met our mother Rivkah.

Over the years, Baruch Hashem, I made shidduchim for people from every walk of life and always kept my father’s words in mind. In our society however, when it comes to making a shidduch, people rely on two big words: “chemistry” and “electricity.” We choose to forget that, even in New York, the world’s most powerful city, a power failure can occur.

As for chemistry, there may come a time when that formula loses its magic and the marriage disintegrates. Painfully, our society idealizes a vacuous, meaningless lifestyle that is of no substance. To illustrate this, I’ll share with you an incident that occurred some years ago at my Hineni Torah class. I have related the story a number of times, but it is as pertinent today as it was yesterday and bears repeating, for the priorities the story illustrates are the foundations for a good marriage and should never be compromised.

A young woman approached me following my class. She was a television personality who was truly beautiful. “I am Jewish”, she announced as she approached me. “Over the years, I have been in many relationships but now I’m ready for marriage and children. I understand you know many quality people, so I thought I would consult you.”

When I challenged her to explain exactly what she meant by “quality,” she enumerated five “musts” on which she was not willing to compromise.

  1. Good looking – “Looks are important,” she explained. “There has to be a certain chemistry.”
  2. Bright – “Someone who is well educated but also has ‘street smarts.’ ”
  3. Wealthy – “He has to support me in the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. At this stage of my life I can’t go backward.”
  4. A great personality and good sense of humor – “I have no patience for moody people. I like a man who is fun and with whom I can have a good laugh.”
  5. Someone who is athletic – “I love tennis.”

“Good luck to you,” I said. “That would take five different guys all wrapped into one. But more importantly, your ‘big fives’ are a bunch of zeros and do not add up to anything.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Simple – zeros don’t add up to anything unless there is a digit in front of them.”

She looked at me quizzically, so I repeated, “Five zeros without a digit in front of them are what we call in Yiddish ‘Gurnisht mit gurnisht’ – G. M.G., nothing with nothing.”

“I don’t think I’m obtuse, but I still don’t get it. What digit are you referring to, Rebbetzin?”

A Torah digit. The first letter of the Torah is ‘B’ – beit – and the last letter of the Torah is ‘L’ – lamed. Those two letters spell ‘lev’ – heart. If he doesn’t have a good heart, his good looks will become repulsive overnight, his sharp mind and wit will be used to denigrate you, his wealth will control and manipulate you, and his ‘great personality’ will eclipse and suffocate yours. As for tennis, you can always get him a trainer. But how can you train him to acquire a good heart?”

“I never thought about it that way,” she admitted. “So how does one acquire a good heart?”

“Finding a good-hearted person is no simple matter. As much as we would like to believe that basically we are all good people with a few ‘shticks’ here and there, the truth is that we are not so good and we have to learn goodness. As it says in Bereishis, ‘The heart of man is wicked from his youth.’

“We are born seeing only our own needs and must be taught to be sensitive to the concerns of others. This training must start at a tender age. Early on, children must be conditioned to be giving, patient, considerate, and kind. Even simple words like ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ must be taught and are not to be taken for granted – as evidenced by their absence from the vocabulary of so many adults.

“Unfortunately, in many homes these values are never imparted. Often, parents regard inappropriate behavior as ‘cute’ or something their children will outgrow. There are also parents who have no clue as to what constitutes a ‘good heart’; they raise their children without teaching the disciplines that foster goodness. So it is that there are so many obnoxious adults.”

“But can’t you acquire these disciplines later in life?” she asked.

“Of course you can,” I assured her, “but it’s very difficult to unlearn ingrained character traits. And for a spouse to undo them is virtually impossible. No one should marry in the hope of changing the other. The best we can do is change ourselves.”

The one “must” quality on which no one should compromise is finding a soul mate with a good heart; if that’s lacking, the entire package will fall apart.

 

To be continued

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Speaking From The Heart

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Several years ago I was seated with some friends in a Jerusalem café. At a table adjacent to ours was a group of chassidic young men. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. Suddenly, I heard one of them utter some inappropriate expletives – language that was better suited to the gutter than to yeshiva students. I felt I couldn’t allow this to pass without saying something.

My friends couldn’t believe I would actually approach them to voice my protest.

“They’ll be resentful,” they warned me.

Disregarding their concern, I went over to the young men’s table and said, “I am very sorry to interrupt you, but I speak from my heart, so please don’t misunderstand my words. I was terribly pained at the thought that the language I heard was voiced here, in Yerushalayim, G-d’s holy city, by, of all people, chassidishe yeshiva students.”

The young man who had dropped these offensive words turned his head away with a smirk on his face.

“Don’t do that,” I said. “I am speaking with love and concern and you respond with disdain. Have you stopped to consider for even a moment what is going on in the world? The dangers that are confronting us? The satanic schemes of our neighbors to wipe us off the map? There is only One who can help us, and you know who that One is – the Ribbonoh Shel Olam. And you are sitting here using such language!”

I continued to speak to them and they sat speechless. By the time I finished, they all apologized and thanked me for reminding them of who they were. When I went back to my table, they stood up respectfully and once again expressed their appreciation.

I am relating this story because we live in a crazy, decadent world. It’s easy for anyone to lose his way, and once the downward spiral commences, the descent is rapid. Downhill is always easy, but it is very difficult to climb back up again. If we catch the problem in time, however, we can change the world and return every lost Jew to his Heavenly Father. It’s all a matter of caring enough to involve yourself – a foreign concept, to be sure, in our self-centered, mind-your-own-business culture.

Some might protest that it’s one thing to reach people in Yerushalayim but quite another to do so in the U.S. I will therefore share another story.

I have spoken over the years at different Pesach programs. One year I was taking a walk on Yom Tov afternoon when I noticed a group of teenagers engrossed in a game of cards. Without giving it a second thought I approached them.

“Sorry to interrupt,” I said, “but it’s Pesach. Yom Tov. Do you think this is the way we should thank Hashem – by playing cards? Please do not think I am trying to be ‘preachy’ or that I am lecturing you. I would never want to do that. I am simply speaking from my heart.”

I went on to tell them many more things.

I know some readers will say such statements surely turned them off, but believe it or not, not only were they not offended, not only were they not turned off – they were turned on. We went on talking for a few more minutes, discussing the shiur I had given that day, and when I left them they thanked me.

That night, in the dining room, a lady came over to our table and introduced herself as the mother of one of those boys. Her son had spoken to her very enthusiastically of our conversation.

“Weren’t you resentful?” she told me she asked her son.

“No,” he responded. “The way the Rebbetzin spoke to us made us realize she was sincere and spoke from her heart.”

Even as she was telling me the story, her son approached and confirmed her words.

So what do we learn from this? If you speak sincerely, with love and from your heart without being judgmental, people will understand and be grateful. It is only when you have a “holier than thou” attitude, and your voice conveys disdain and lack of respect, that people are offended. But when you speak from your heart, it enters another heart.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

My Heart Lives in Israel

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

I was born in Lebanon in 1961, and I grew up in the streets of Beirut. Before the civil war that started in 1975, we played in the streets unsupervised, unaware of the fratricide hatred that was brewing. During the war, I saw Arabs kill Arabs, Muslims kill Muslims, and Christians kill Christians. When the war ended in 1990, a quarter million people had been killed.

We took a country that was thriving and beautiful, and we turned it into ruins. My Lebanon has not yet recovered, 27 years after that war ended.

Next door to Lebanon, I saw a country fending for its life, repelling Arab attack after Arab attack. When they weren’t fighting their attackers, they were building a nation. In only a few decades, they had made the desert bloom, and they were a light unto the nations.

We Arabs chose to fight each other, and we chose to fight the Jews. We chose to make them our enemies rather than our friends, and we chose to destroy rather than to build.

I now live in Canada, a great, beautiful, and successful country, but it will never be truly mine. When I watch events unfolding in the Middle East, my body remains here, but my heart keeps travelling back, and it invariably takes me to Israel.

When Israelis live with daily rocket attacks, my heart is in Israel.

When Israelis are stabbed for the crime of being Jews, my heart is in Israel.

When Israel must fight yet one more war that it never wanted to fight, my heart is in Israel.

When one more terror attack kills Israelis who were going to school, or going to work, or going to pray, my heart is in Israel.

When the world condemns Israel for defending itself but ignores that Arabs have rejected peace again and again and again, my heart is in Israel.

When my Lebanon and other criminal Arab regimes gang up to attempt to erase Jewish history in the eternal Jewish city of Jerusalem, my heart is in Israel.

My heart lives in Israel, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in an office building in Haifa, or on a bus in the busy streets of Tel Aviv.

As long as Israel must fight for the right to exist, my heart will live in Israel. As long as Israel grows, invents, and thrives despite the bombs and the hatred, my heart will live in Israel. As long as my Lebanon is part of the problem and not part of the solution, my heart will live in Israel.

Fred Maroun

Peres Still Hospitalized After Chest Pains Return

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Former President Shimon Peres remains hospitalized at Tel Hashomer Medical Center after being rushed back Sunday night (Jan. 24) in response to another round of chest pains.

Paramedics dispatched to his home Sunday night found he again was experiencing cardiac arrhythmia.

Dr. Rafi Walden, his personal physician and son-in-law, told Galei Tzahal Army Radio the 92-year-old elder statesman’s heart rate has returned to normal. But it’s not clear when he will be released.

The incident was an echo of a similar experience that took place on January 14, when Peres was taken to the same hospital with chest pains.

During that visit doctors performed an angiogram and discovered a narrowed artery had caused the elder statesman to suffer a mild heart attack.

Within hours Peres underwent cardiac catheterization and then remained for further tests and observation for the next five days.

Hana Levi Julian

Minister Uri Ariel is Home After Heart Procedure in Jerusalem

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center have successfully removed a blood clot from the heart of Agriculture Minister and Bayit Yehudi MK Uri Ariel.

The minister was admitted to the hospital Monday after feeling unwell. He underwent a cardiac catheterization and other tests, which led to the removal of the clot.

Ariel was discharged from the hospital in good condition on Wednesday. He has been ordered to “rest for a while.”

Jewish Press Staff

Annexation ‘Only Sane Plan’ Says Bennett

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says annexing Area C – the Jewish settlement blocs and the areas of the Judea and Samaria that are totally under Israeli control in accordance with the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords – is the “only sane plan” left.

Speaking in an interview with IDF Army Radio this morning (Monday), the Bayit Yehudi party chairman said, “It’s no secret that for dozens of years there has been a massive disagreement on how to leave the settlements. But there’s been no justification for the argument. It hasn’t proven itself.”

Since 1967, the number of Israeli Jews living in Judea and Samaria – known abroad by the euphemism used by Jordan after it occupied the territory, the “West Bank” (of the Jordan River, that is) – has grown exponentially. Today the region is home to more than 350,000 Jews, most living in what is known as “Area C” – the area under complete Israeli government control.

Bennett — a former member of an IDF special forces unit — has taken a pragmatic approach and maintained for years the only way to resolve the impasse with the Palestinian Authority is to simply annex Area C — beginning with Gush Etzion — and be done with it. In any event the international community is going to kick a fuss just as they did over the Golan Heights and Jerusalem, according to his way of thinking; one may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, and at least keep the family safe.

But Finance Minister Yair Lapid – head of the leftist ‘Yesh Atid’ party and firmly opposed to annexation of any kind – has threatened to bring down the government over the plan.

It’s not yet clear what role the United States is playing in Lapid’s intransigence on the issue or for that matter, his maneuvering a fifth column against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Hatnua party chairwoman Tzipi Livni, former alleged “chief negotiator” for the government. It’s no secret the White House despises the Netanyahu government and would just love to see someone else sitting in the prime minister’s residence.

“If there is any effort to annex even one settlement unilaterally, Yesh Atid will not just leave the government, it will bring it down,” Lapid announced late Sunday in Herzliya.

Instead, it appears that Lapid has become the new Kerry, pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to return to the negotiating table with the PA ‘unity’ government. He advocates withdrawal from “some” PA territory and has insisted that Netanyahu come up with a map showing borders for a new PA state – essentially the same demands made by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Justice Minister Livni is aligning with him against Netanyahu; together, the two comprise 25 of the 68 seats held by the current coalition. If they withdraw their support, Netanyahu could lose the government – or would have to call new elections.

In the long run, that might not be a half-bad idea; given the current options. It is more than likely that Likud would gain the votes it lost in the last election and even possible that Livni might be shaken out in the process.

Meanwhile, although none of the new PA unity government ministers are technically drawn from any terrorist group, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization is a full partner with Fatah in the government. Hamas, along with its allied group, the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, has sworn to annihilate the State of Israel. In fact neither has abandoned that cause. Somehow these facts have managed to escape the notice of Israel’s finance minister, who seems only to see the necessity of pleasing the United States and Europe.

Rachel Levy

Netanyahu Vows on Jerusalem Day, ‘We Will Never Divide Our Heart. Never!’

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday evening in a passionate address marking the start of Jerusalem Day “never” to divide Jerusalem.

The day marks the 47th anniversary of the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation during the 1967 Six Day War, and the capital’s unification since. Jordanian forces expelled the Jews from their 3,000-year-old ancient capital in 1948 during Israel’s War of Independence.

The venue for Netanyahu’s speech – at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav Kook — was anything but accidental: In 2008, an Arab terrorist murdered eight boys and men and wounded 18 others in a shooting spree that left the learning hall and holy books covered in blood.

Netanyahu was blunt in his vows not to allow talks with the Palestinian Authority to get in the way of keeping Jerusalem united, despite diplomatic commitments to the “two-state solution” being forced on Israel by the U.S. and international community.

“Forty-seven years ago Jerusalem was reunited – that was the way it used to be and that is the way it will always be,” the prime minister stated.

Jerusalem is Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial Center), [Theodore] Herzl’s grave (the founder of Zionism – in the military cemetery at Mt. Herzl), and the Mount of Olives, where both my grandmother and grandfather are buried, as well as [former Prime Minister] Menachem Begin and our forefathers,” Netanyahu said.

“Jerusalem is also Har Tzion (Mt. Zion) and Har (Mount) Moria (the Temple Mount) and Jerusalem is the Western Wall – Israel eternal!”

Netanyahu vowed to keep Jerusalem united, saying, “Jerusalem is our heart, and we preserve our heart – the heart of the nation – and we will never divide our heart. Never!”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-vows-on-jerusalem-day-we-will-never-divide-our-heart-never/2014/05/28/

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