web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘voice’

Sukkot, The GPS And Mind/Body Interventions

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

I sit here mulling over the results of my latest PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography), a nuclear medicine imaging technique which produces a three-dimensional image or picture (in color) of my innards and of the latest actions of the “bad buggars” that have invaded me (as I live through quite a serious case of cancer).

The interesting thing I am noticing in my mind/body reactions is that I am pretty calm and thinking of both the GPS and Sukkot.

The GPS (Global Positioning System) was developed in 1973 and is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges, GPS but you do need some kind of gizmo to get it to work. Its commercial iteration is available for purchase for your car or even to walk around with and can help you find an address when you are lost.

Basically it takes your position and searches for the address you load into it and gives you visual or oral guided directions on how to get there.

I can’t seem to find the author (it may be ChaCha) of these lyrics to the GPS song on Google but I am quoting them:

“I’m driving down a road that I don’t know. I need some help along the way. I can’t see the street signs. Which way do I turn? Then I hear a familiar voice say: ‘Recalculating.’ Where am I and how do I find my way out? Make a U Turn – at the very next intersection.”

While these lyrics are bouncing around my head, I am thinking of Bnai Yisrael not long out of Egypt walking with the help of Clouds of Honor (Ananai HaKavod) directing them and protecting them. It is only generations later when they arrive in Israel (according to the Rambam, Maimonides) that they are told that now that they are home, they have to leave their houses and move into a temporary booth, sukkah, for the week of Tabernacles.

My mind wanders and wonders what Hashem was trying to teach us and alights on kind of weird idea. There is an important lesson here: to keep our internal GPS in tune with our surroundings. There is no better way to appreciate and re-think about where we are and where we are going, if not by stepping back from a place of comfort, in this case our home, and move out to a temporary dwelling.

I am frequently asked how I’ve managed to keep a somewhat even keel during this turbulent period of my life; I say the GPS helps me. This is usually received with a somewhat odd look. I will explain with a personal story.

When the GPS in cars first came out my husband and I had just rented a car at LAX (Los Angeles) and as an introduction Hertz provided one such gizmo free of charge. I sat in the parking lot reading the instructions as my husband loaded our luggage into the car. When he got in I asked him if he wanted a woman’s voice giving directions or a man’s voice.

This turned into a psychological discussion about dealing with authority figures in an area where one feels super qualified. He finally decided, with a twinkle in his eye, that a woman was appropriate as he was used to taking “orders” from a woman. “Oh”, I said with a twinkle in my eye, “for example your mother.” In any case the gender of the voice was easily changeable if he thought differently about it as we drove to our destination.

I should add that we had lived in Los Angeles for over three years and been back many times a year since we left, so we knew short-cuts.

We began with the not-unpleasant female voice saying “take a right” and so forth. There was an area which we were familiar with and did not listen to her as we knew a short-cut. She – the voice on the GPS – began to get somewhat hysterical, telling us to “make a right NOW!!” We didn’t and there was a moment of silence and then she. said: “Re-calculating,” and began to give directions from our new location.

Why We Blow Shofar

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Here’s a lovely image of two kids blowing shofars on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, at the Saint Paul Jewish Community Center, circa 1990.

We blow shofar 100 times, give or take, on each day of the two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which is a two-day holiday not only in Diaspora but in Israel, too.

We blow our shofars so many times, a task which often proves quite challenging to the “ba’al toke’ah,” the shofarmeister, because of the mother of an ancient enemy, the Canaanite general Sisera who was defeated by an Israelite army led by a reluctant young man named Barak and a zealous prophetess named Deborah. Sisera himself was killed—with a tent peg smacked into his temple—by a young Kenite woman named Yael.

Sisera was a mythical enemy, whose army had been undefeated until that fateful day at the Kishon River—not far from today’s city of Haifa. When Sisera dipped in the sea, he trapped enough fish in his beard to feed his entire army.

This could mean either that he had a very small army or a very big beard.

In any event, General Sisera did not return from that last mission, and his mother, waiting for him with growing concern, sighed 100 times. And this mother’s anguish came up before the Divine Throne and served as an accusatory voice against the Jews. And so, each new year, we drown out her sighs with our 100 shofar blasts.

Shows you the value of a mother’s feelings to the Creator of the world. Shows you also the importance of drowning out negative publicity.

Have a sweet and meaningful holiday and a delightful new year, come back for more Wednesday morning.

DNC Leadership Rams Through God and Jerusalem Despite Losing the Vote (Video)

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

After Governor Ted Strickland made the motion to change the Democratic National Committee platform to include both God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, the head of the DNC, called for a voice vote, which required a two-thirds majority to pass.

As you can see from the video, a surprised, confused and irritated Villaraigosa did not get the clear majority he expected and wanted the first time around, and so called for another voice vote. Again not getting his clear majority, he is advised by someone to his side that tells him, “You’ve got to rule, and then you’ve got let them do what they’re gonna do.”

Villaraigosa then called for a third vote, in which it again does not sound like he had a majority. Despite that, he concludes by saying that in “opinion of the chair two-thirds have voted in the affirmative,” to which he was loudly booed.

Yishai Interviews Russell Robinson, CEO of JNF

Friday, August 24th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Russell Robinson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish National Fund, joins Yishai. Together they discuss the difference between Jews living in Israel and those living in the United States and how important it is to make Israel appealing for all Jews.  They move to talk about how JNF helps give North American Jews a voice in Israel and Robinson outlines the various projects that the JNF are involved in including projects in the Negev and also in the Galilee.  They end the segment by discussing those that perform fire watches on the JNF forests planted around Israel and how their involvement in this program is creates proud, Zionist, Jews.
Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Take Back The Calendar

Friday, July 13th, 2012

How do I take back the calendar
full of mistakes looking eerily back at me?

The echo in her mind chorused back and forth like it always had. Thought after thought. She bit her lip as she tried listening to his droning voice. Just more calories to her ears. Feeding her mind with unnecessary information. Fattening her whole world with more complications. She moved her fork from side to side on her plate trying to listen but also trying to drown out the memories taunting at her. Like somehow purging herself of them. Like throwing them up or flushing them away down the toilet. Just like everything else.

How do I unsay those words?
How do I un-breathe those sounds
and play it all back
and somehow delete it?

To most people life was a long menu of mistakes. Decisions not thought through. To Leah they were just empty calories. Each day was a meal she didn’t need. She glanced down at her phone as she pushed back her bangs. Breathing slowly she scanned the calendar. Just days after days. Feeding her. Feeding her uselessly. Life is just a long restaurant menu, isn’t it? And somehow she just wanted to take it all back. Undo those days. Take back those extra carbs or calories.

How do I make it not happen?
How do I erase those memories
like shredding a paper to morsels
or rip off that day
or rewind that hour?

And as Tzvi’s voice echoed in her mind, she slipped on the ring and tried smiling somehow while the sing song voice still played back and forth. The diamond glimmered on her finger. The smile on his face was almost like a little boy who got his hands on some ice cream. Ice cream. Just more fat and empty calories. Catching her reflection in the mirror on the dimly lit restaurant walls she saw herself feeling useless. Like calories she wanted to take back.

Where all prospects slipped from my palms
and everything crashed to the ground
and shattered to pieces.

But a few days later standing in the bathroom hovering over the sink the chorus was now a full blown orchestra. Like at a fancy dinner. Or at a big meal. Big calories. And she knew they all were waiting for her downstairs. But biting her lip she tried blocking it all out. How would she ever be good enough? That’s what the sing song teasing always reminded her. The blood was beginning to mix with her saliva. Pushing back a strand of her hair she bravely met her own eye in the mirror. Someone else stared back at her. Not the person she knew. Sucking her stomach in a little she thought how the feta cheese in her salad was just some extra fat. Why hadn’t she asked for the reduced fat dressing? And as she fed herself with the air she just wanted to get rid of it all. The teasing and taunting. The scales ticking. Treadmills running. She leaned over the toilet and didn’t hear the gentle knock. Her mind circled and pounded. Louder than the knocking. Louder than her logic. And calorie after calorie thrown up into the toilet swirling down away forever. Like the days of the calendar. Because each day just feeds you but you never digest it. You never needed the calories.

How do I make you forgive me
If I can’t take back the calendar?

And as she leaned back and sat down on the tiled floor, second after second ticked back and forth while the chorus finally started to mute. And the door slowly opened. And through the weak tears, dripping down her cheeks like the lace cookies on the platters downstairs, Leah’s eyes met his. Tzvi’s fingers slid from the door knob. He just stood in place. Like the cake she had left standing untouched.

So now how can you still not forgive me
and tell me it doesn’t matter to you
or that you think it’s over
while every second
guilt carves into my heart
and drop by drop erodes a valley too deep
till I’m cringing and wishing
that somehow I can’t un-dent the silver

Leah’s lips started to quiver. Her voice froze like the sorbet her mother had left in the freezer. She tried saying that it wasn’t what it looked like. She tried explaining. But breath after breath her chest just went up and down. Like the ounces on the scale. The soft hum of the rain falling outside filled up the silence. Like the stuffing in the knishes downstairs. The rain. Feeding the world. Dripping down calories.

or sweep up the glass
and put back the pieces
and take back the calendar.

Slowly Tzvi took a step back not taking his eyes off of her, shaking his head. Sadness frosted over his eyes. Like brownies. Slipping his hands into his pockets and shaking his head a last time, she caught his scared look before he walked away. He looked like he just ate way too many calories.

The Day After Tomorrow

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I had a much better day today at the President’s conference than I did yesterday. The reason is actually quite simple. I stayed away from the political panels, and instead met with interesting people one-on-one.

Who needs or wants to hear Dennis Ross’s tired proposal of paying Settlers to leave the West Bank for Peace? Maybe, if he had instead said that someone should pay the Arabs to leave Judea and Samaria for Peace he could have been interesting.

And not surprisingly, there were plenty of other people at the conference who had the same idea. They were turned off by the overt left-wing bias of many of the panels and panelists and decided to instead congregate in the various meeting lounges for healthier debates.

During the day I bumped into Stanley Fischer, and thanked him for his contribution to our stable economy. Raanan Gissin and I schmoozed about Social Media and Revolution. Though I admit I found myself surprised when he mentioned Stalin and Marx and wondered what they could have done if they had had Twitter. I told Raanan they did enough damage without it.

I spent part of the afternoon with many of the well-known bloggers and twitterers I’ve met over the years.

But the highlight of my day was the time I spent with Irwin Cotler. We spoke on record for an hour, and talked more after that. And we’re far from done talking.

I found in Cotler an unparalleled advocate for Israel. A man who can argue and put Israel’s position into perspective with incredible clarity, backed up not only by his intellect and knowledge, but also his record and actions.

He was like a voice in the wilderness.

We covered subjects from Human Rights organizations, the new anti-Semitism, the UN, Apartheid, and the Infiltrators. We talked about his family in Israel, and if he would make Aliyah. The stimulating two-way conversation will be getting its own well-deserved, stand-alone article.

The President’s conference does have what to offer, but it comes from the people you’ll meet in the many lounges and hallways, not from the slanted content you’ll to hear on many of the panels.

And if I might add, the food is excellent in the VIP lounge – if you can get in there.

To Polish A Diamond

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Rav Ezriel Tauber says that a husband and wife are like two rough diamonds. A rough diamond can become a priceless, pure jewel, but only if another diamond is used to remove the impurities. So HaKadosh Boruch Hu puts together two perfectly matched rough diamonds. He makes sure that they have their little differences. The friction from these differences scrapes away at their impurities so they gradually become multi-faceted, pure, shining jewels.

However, when the differences go deep, when the problems – perhaps temper, perhaps criticism, perhaps lack of help – rock the shalom bayis, then the scraping and rasping of those two diamonds can often be too much to bear. Trying to “dig out” either spouse’s “impurity” without an anesthetic is hardly likely to decrease the pain.

There may be another way to purify the diamonds. Perhaps a solvent where the couple joins forces to dissolve the problem might do the trick.

So let’s imagine a couple and hear what they may say:

WIFE: I tried so hard the other day. I got up at 5:30. I slipped out of bed as quietly as I could and left the room on tiptoes so as not to wake my husband. I dressed, davened and made everybody his or her lunches. Then I heard the children stirring. All their clothes were ready, so I popped my head into their room and said, “Come on children, time to get up. Off you go to do neggel vasser and then you can get dressed.”

My bed wetter had wet his bed. I calmly stripped his bed and said, “Well, tonight you can try again.” I was so pleased with myself for not getting angry. My dreamer was still sitting on his bed singing to himself, lost in some imagining game. “Come on,” I said, “it’s time to start dressing for school.” On the way to the washing basket with the wet sheets, I heard the rumblings of a children’s squabble. I dropped the sheets and dashed to the bedroom to prevent a full fledge war. My husband also heard and came in, rubbing his sleepy eyes. “What are these wet sheets doing in the middle of the hall? I could have tripped over them! Why can’t you keep the children quiet for the few extra minutes I have before it’s time to get up for minyan?”

I kept my mouth shut tight. I was not going to answer back. I was not going to let that larva stream of angry defensiveness pour out of my mouth in burning words and accusations. I tried encouraging the children to get dressed but my message came out all wrong. My voice was too loud and my words sounded more like demands and commands than encouragement.

“There you go again shouting at the children. Why can’t you make our mornings a happy, fun time?”

“Stop it!” I screamed. “Stop criticizing me in front of the children!” I ran to my room, took a deep breath, wiped my streaming eyes, and promised myself that I would calm down and make another try for a good start to the day.

“Come on kids. If you hurry up then I’ll have time to read to you before the school bus comes.”

I did it. I really did try again.

“I want my book,” piped up the oldest.

“No, I want the crocodile book.”

Meanwhile my “dreamer” was still singing away and all the neat piles of clothes had been thrown haphazardly on the floor.

“How do you expect the children to find their clothes in this chaos?” was my husband’s “helpful” comment.

I lost it, lost it, LOST IT! “Stop criticizing me. I’ve been up since 5:30 getting everything ready for all of you. I tried to quiet the children. I dropped those wet sheets in a vain attempt to stop their squabbling. I…”

“That’s half your trouble, you’re over tired. You should get more sleep.”

“There you go again! Will you please listen to me…?”

The children shook into their clothes. They came to breakfast and the silence was deafening. Not a word from anybody. They silently left for school. I gave each of them an unresponded to kiss and told them I loved them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/to-polish-a-diamond/2012/05/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: