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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Penn Station’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 3/04/11

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Dear Rachel,

How easy it is for most people to take life for granted. I was in the city today to see my doctor. It was pouring when I went, but I wore my coat with a hood attached and so I decided that I would walk the stretch from 34th Street and 8th Avenue to W. 19th and 6th. Long avenue blocks, for those who are familiar with New York City, but no big deal, one might say. Well, that all depends…

On the way back, I took a cab. It had stopped raining by then, but I was simply too tired to walk. I had a train to catch at Penn Station and needed to transfer at Jamaica Avenue. Again, really no big deal. Plenty of commuters do this daily.

If I wasn’t tired enough, we (the passengers) were asked to move to another car when the doors wouldn’t close at first and then wouldn’t open. It was a packed train, and there I was, schlepping my oxygen wheelie (a case that houses my portable oxygen tank) which I can’t leave home without. For without the help of oxygen being continuously pumped into my lungs, my oxygen intake level would fall far short of the required level for a body’s normal function, and my life would be jeopardized.

It was really hot on the train. I finally found a seat but had to stand up to remove my coat and then sit back down with my coat hanging over the wheelie. As I balanced my pocketbook on my lap, I tried to tuck the wheelie in front of me so that no one would trip over it. The motion tugged on my nasal cannula, making me acutely self-conscious of the plastic tubing that has become a part of my facial features. At that point I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. In truth, I was fighting the tears that threatened to spill.

As I was getting ready to leave the train at the Jamaica station, there was a man standing in front of me. He must have picked up on my moody blues, because he suddenly said to me, “At least you’re breathing.” So I said, “You’re right.” And he offered, “At least it’s not snowing. It’s all how you look at things.”

We got out and I wasn’t sure which track I was supposed to be at for my train that would be coming in at any moment. Before I could ask someone, the same man spoke up again, ”The next train on this track is going to Far Rockaway.” Now how did he know where I was headed? “I’ll be going…” he then said and was gone in a flash.

He comes out of nowhere, just when I’m feeling totally sorry for myself, and stands there to tell me, “At least you’re breathing.” It was like G-d sending me a message – “it’s not so bad, there’s good in everything…”

It is written that Hashem’s chessed is infinite and we cannot see what is infinite, endless. We cannot accept Hashem’s endless kindness unless it is minimized, limited to the exact amount that a person can accept. (I just read this someplace.) Therefore Hashem brings the bad, the suffering and then the good, so that we can understand His chessed and be grateful and joyful for both. If we realize that the suffering is a tikkun for our sins or to bring us to Olam Haba, we would be joyful no matter what comes our way.

For years I’ve suffered with asthma and many seasonal bouts of pneumonia. One day several months ago, I felt I couldn’t breathe. It seemed that my lungs had taken a beating from the years-long ailments and medication to treat them. When told that I’d need to be on oxygen 24/7 for possibly six months, I was incredulous. After much testing and an eventual diagnosis of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), it was extended to a year. A year?! How would I manage, I wondered.

Then there was talk of a lung transplant, and I thought, “Couldn’t I just get on with life attached to this oxygen contraption instead?”

It’s all how you look at things, the man said. I cannot allow self-pity to rule me, because everything is for the good. And G-d willing I will experience the good.

I just wanted to say to everyone out there, don’t take breathing for granted. It’s a gift that you should be extra grateful for every single morning when you awake and find that you are breathing on your own.

Thanks for listening. Please keep me in your prayers.

Frayda bas Sara

 

Dear Frayda bas Sara,

While wallowing in self-pity is futile, a good cry can be therapeutic as well as potent when directed heavenwards to our Father who understands our pain like no one else can. “Hashem hoshia HaMelech yaaneinu b’yom kareinu – G-d save! The King will answer us on the day we call.”

The midrash on the 20th psalm of Tehillim cites a parable of a mother who was angry with her daughter. But when her daughter was about to give birth and cried out in pain, her mother was there at her side crying along with her. Though we anger Hashem, He hearkens to us when we cry out in distress. What better proof of this than the miracle of Purim!

Your message is powerful. Who doesn’t take breathing for granted, and yet, every breath we take and every move we make is indeed miraculous and should give us pause — to take time out daily to communicate to our Maker our appreciation for His benevolence.

Despite our awareness that “everything is for the good,” we are human and things will get to us at times. You seem to be doing a great job keeping yourself together under difficult circumstances.

Your name in Yiddish means “happiness” — apropos for this month of Adar when our simcha intensifies due to Hashem’s annulment of our enemy’s evil designs.  In the days of Mordechai and Esther the heavens opened up to intercept our cries and prayers, and thus the month of Adar is deemed a mazeldic time for Yidden everywhere.

May Hakadosh Baruch Hu have mercy upon all of His children who call on Him and depend on Him for their very life’s breath, and may He send you a complete refuah shelaima that will enable you to shed your excess baggage, as you continue to impart your message of strength and hope.

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

Kosher Tidbits from around the Web – December 24, 2007

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Last week the topic of discussion was the kosher cheeseburger found on the menu at Talia’s Steakhouse. Made with soy cheese and supposedly grilled to perfection, they say it’s a must try for those who have spent their years wondering what all the fuss was about.
 
Interested in a trying a truly natural soft drink – well Reed’s Ginger Brews are now certified kosher by the OU. They are available in six flavors including original, spiced apple brew and raspberry ginger. You can check their website to see where to purchase in your area.

Kosher Community Surveys is now surveying Cleveland and Washington DC. Click here for more information or to participate.

It seems that while the Krispy Kreme at Penn Station gets its donuts from a location in Connecticut that is supervised, the Penn Station location itself is not. We must train our children and ourselves to consistently check for a teudah at every store before making a purchase.

Expecting to be in Southern Ukraine – well don’t worry about where to look for kosher food. The local Chabad Rabbi, Rabbi Perlstein, is opening a grocery complete with everything one can need for a kosher meal – including meat, chicken and dairy products.

And finally, for the low price of $18 you can purchase and download a database into your GPS that contains over 1000 restaurants throughout the US and Canada and over 2000 places in the same locations where you can catch a minyan.

Shiur On LIRR Completes Shas, Again

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

       As I parked my car in the lot and prepared to cross the tracks and board the 7:49 at the Inwood station, I thought back seven-and-a-half years. It was like yesterday that I attended a Siyum HaShas with a group that rode each day on the LIRR and used the valuable time to learn the Daf Yomi. I recalled vividly the singing and joy of those who accomplished something day after day instead of wasting time on the sports reports and whatever. Then I wondered, “Could it really be happening again?” As I got close to the platform and saw everyone bringing the boxes of T-Shirts, the snacks, and the sound system, I was sure that the answer was yes, another Kiddush Hashem was in the making.

 



The train approached the station on time, and was ready to make a milestone journey.


 

     

      Fifteen years ago R’ Aryeh Markovich, a businessman and rider on the LIRR came up with the idea to learn on the train and what better to study than the daily Daf. He spoke to Rabbi Pesach Lerner, and the rest is history.

 



The LIRR Locomotive siyum participants waiting for the train and the shiur.


 

    

      Each day on this train, about 30 participants board the last car. Some get on at the other Five Towns stations. They settle in their seats and out come the Gemaras, and Rabbi Pesach Lerner – who in his other job, is the executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel – leads the shiur. The shiur concludes just as the train pulls into Penn Station. When Rabbi Lerner has to be out-of-town, there are substitute teachers. (There are other shiurim on other trains given by Rabbi Dovid Kadosh and Rabbi Shmuel Bloom. For women on the 7:49 train, there is also a Tehillim group.)

 



Rabbi Menachem Adler and Chazzan Yitzchok Freund followed along with the daf.


 

      Railroad personnel are well aware of the class, are proud of the positive publicity it has generated and do everything possible to help. In recognition of their assistance Rabbi Lerner and the group presented a plaque of appreciation to Bob Dunaj of the LIRR.

 

      This morning was no exception, as an extra car was added to accommodate the extra people and allow the festivities to go on.

 



Rabbi Pesach Lerner completing the daf and making the hadran.


 

      The car quickly filled to capacity. The back section was reserved for women. Many had to stand in the aisles. Once everyone was on the train, Rabbi Lerner learned the last daf of Masechet Sukkah. He recited the Hadran of the mesechta and all of Shas, followed by one of the teaching substitutes, R’ Eliezer Cohen, who began the first mishnah in Beitza. R’ Eliezer’s father has a uniform business and donated beautiful T-shirts especially designed for the siyum.

 


David Lesnick and Sholom Rothman holding up the beautiful T-shirts.

 

 

      Ironically, the founder of the shiur, R’ Aryeh had to miss the first siyum, because his dear mother Rebbeca bas Aryeh had just passed away. So it was very apropos that he would be the one to recite the special Kaddish after the completion.

 


Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Rabbi Lerner, and R’ Aryeh Markovich

were joined by all in singing Siman Tov U’Mazel Tov.

 

      Now the mazel tovs and singing began. One of the participants, R’ Yitzchok Freund, is the chazzan of Cong. Shaarei Teffilah. He led a number of songs and everybody joined in. Although the aisle was very narrow, it didn’t stop the people from getting up and dancing.

 

 

Krisher, one of the original participants had the pleasure of his sons

Yehuda and Shimmi with him. His wife and daughters were in the back of the car.

 

      Rabbi Lerner thanked all the participants who helped make the siyum happen, including Tzvi Blech and Chezky Teller and B&H Photo for the sound system. He gave his gratitude to the Altman family for dedicating the shiur in memory of Tzivyah Michal bat Shraga Feivel and thanked all those who allowed him to have the zechus of teaching Torah. Lastly he gave the ultimate thanks to the Ribbono Shel Olam, for giving us His Torah, and allowing us the opportunity to serve Him through learning.

 

      As the train pulled into Penn Station, everyone was completely uplifted by the day’s events. Perhaps “MTA” Railroad actually stands for Marbitz Torah Association?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/shiur-on-lirr-completes-shas-again/2006/11/01/

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