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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘voice’

We Are All Children Of One Creator

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

It was the mid ‘60s and I was living with my mother and brother in public housing on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We moved there from Brooklyn a decade earlier to be near my mother’s family when my father died suddenly of a stroke.

Next door to us lived an Italian family with whom I spent a lot of time visiting. The mother was divorced from a husband who preferred using his fists rather than talking to her. I played with Mary, the youngest of the children, who was my age. However, I now wonder if I really went there to hear Mary’s mother tell me stories of her life growing up in Italy. She was a great storyteller. I felt drawn into another world and could relate to those stories because they were about family life. And many of her stories had morals.

The family at the other end of the hall consisted of Mr. and Mrs. R. and their three children. I had a close friend in Rosa, the middle child; Sonya was the oldest, Paul the youngest. I had a warm and happy relationship with each one. The mother was always chirpy and smiling. I spent hours playing Scrabble with the father, a very kind and caring person. Rosa once confided that her father was concerned because he saw me spend so much time alone looking out the hall window. Sonya was like the older sister I always wanted. When some girls stole my bike, Sonya went with me and got my bike back. She was tall and strong looking, and all she had to do was yell at the girl riding my bike in order to bring it over. The girl rode over with her two friends and silently handed it back. Sonya was my hero.

Paul, the youngest R. family member, spent a lot of time in my apartment. He visited me on many Friday nights and watched my mother light the Sabbath candles. I told him that his Hebrew name would be Pinchus. As much as he tried, he could never get the “ch” sound right. Looking back, I have no idea how we had so much to talk about, but we spent lots of time exchanging ideas. Most of the time, I felt closer to Paul than his sister Rosa.

A few years passed and I was in college. Paul moved on to other friends and no longer visited me. I remembered that he dreamt of becoming a doctor.

My mother had many friends who often visited her. One afternoon I came home and saw my mother sitting at the dining room table with Fanny, her closest friend. They both looked at me as I walked in, but neither one said a word. The room was heavy and I felt uneasy. My mother’s face had a disturbed look, both troubled and angry at the same time. Fanny was a clown and loved to make me laugh – but not on that morning. She abruptly left with just a “goodbye.” Not knowing what I was dealing with, I started some small talk with my mother, but she cut me off. It seemed that the very sound of my voice was too much for my mother to bear.

What was going on? What happened to my world? My mother made it obvious that she had nothing to say, something that never happened before. The next day was just as bad, making me glad to leave for school. On my way home, I thought that things would be better. However, it was just as awful. I pleaded with my mother to tell me what was going on. Finally she told me that the day before a lady who lived in the next courtyard heard a knock at the door. She asked who it was and heard “Western Union.” When she opened the door, a bunch of wild teenage boys rushed in. She was tied up and repeatedly attacked. By the time her husband got home, she had been mentally and physically destroyed.

My mother continued, explaining that she got a call from our neighbor, Paul R. He told her that he was calling from a payphone. He wanted to give her a warning, but before he could go into detail, he said that she must not call the police or tell anyone that he had called her – because “they” would kill him. “They,” it turned out, were the gang he belonged to, the boys who had brutalized the woman in the next courtyard. It was the first time my mother heard about the horrible attack. Paul said that the gang was going to try the same thing with her. She must not answer the door.

Anonymous

Screening Our Calls

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

As I sit at my home computer typing these words, virtual gale-force winds are blowing through my apartment, filling it with fresh – and free – air. This has not always been the case. In fact the electric bill for the past two months was astronomical, due in large part to our high usage of air conditioning virtually around the clock.

When we purchased our apartment “on paper” a number of years ago, we were among the first to buy in our particular development, and as such were in the enviable position of having first choice among the 48 apartments in the project. It was a no-brainer. We immediately selected the last upper unit in the complex, which afforded us the least noise, the most privacy and the best view and exposures. We have never regretted that decision.

The only downside to the arrangement was that although our cross-ventilation was incredible in theory, the lack of screens on our windows made it impractical to implement. So we did some research and came up with the name of a highly recommended “tris” and screen man. I immediately wrote his numbers on the first page of our local phone directory for safekeeping. We then contacted him, explained our dilemma and requested that he come by at his earliest possible convenience to measure for three screens that would afford us adequate cross-ventilation, even during the hot summer months.

He was very friendly and receptive over the phone, and somehow figured out multiple connections to a number of our friends and relatives. However, he was busy with larger, more lucrative jobs – and never showed up.

Every few weeks we would call him again, have a pleasant conversation, and await his arrival. But he never came.

Finally, we decided to throw in the proverbial towel and try to locate another workman to do the job. We added that task to our lengthy to-do list, and promptly forgot about it.

A few days later, a cousin who lives in our neighborhood phoned to invite my husband to attend her husband’s first ever siyum on Shas. My husband was not available to speak to her, so she gave me her cell phone number and I assured her that I would deliver the message and that he would return her call later that day. I did not want to risk forgetting this wonderful simcha, so I wrote her number on the very first page of our local phone directory.

I relayed the message to my husband as soon as I saw him. In addition, in my capacity as his unofficial secretary, I even offered to place the call for him, instructing him to pick up his extension on my signal.

You guessed it! In my haste to follow through on my commitment, I accidentally dialed the wrong number. The friendly, vaguely familiar voice that answered was definitely neither our female cousin nor the ba’al simcha. As my husband was about to apologize to the screen man for inadvertently dialing his number, the latter recognized my husband’s voice as well.

“I’m just finishing up by another Klein,” he said. “I’ll be over in just a few minutes.”

I quickly dialed my cousin’s correct number and my husband graciously accepted the invitation to participate in the upcoming siyum. He had barely hung up the phone when the screen man appeared as promised, just a couple of months late. He set to work measuring and ironing out the details of our order, as we looked on incredulously.

The following day, my husband attended the very moving and simchadik siyum, along with family, friends and neighbors. I stayed home and supervised the installation of our sleek new screens.

Now, as the cool fresh air blows through our house, I not only enjoy the pleasant breeze. I also marvel at the uncanny sequence of events that brought us to this very welcome new reality.

The Gemara in Chullin tells us that a man does not strike his finger below unless it was decreed from Above. I guess that principle may also apply to “screening” our calls!

Naama Klein

The Power Of Prayer

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Once again I must postpone the continuation of my Oct. 5 column, “Technology, Yom Kippur, Ahmadinejad,” this time due to the heavy reader response to last week’s column.

As you recall, I shared my latest journey. It all started on Pesach in San Diego where I suffered four hip fractures and underwent major surgery, and now I was once again scheduled for yet another procedure on the day after Simchas Torah, Oct. 10.

I underwent my pre-op tests and was ready to go. But with every fiber of my being I believe in the miraculous power of prayer, especially when that prayer emanates from the heart of Am Yisrael , so I asked for one more Cat Scan, knowing full well that the odds of the results being different from the previous one were slim if not nil.

My surgeon studied the Cat Scan. “Rebbetzin,” he said, “the healing process has commenced. You don’t have to come for surgery next week.”

To be sure, my journey is not yet over. In a month I will have to be re-evaluated, but my heart overflows with profound gratitude. I am trying to keep the commitment I made to Hashem that if I would have the merit of healing without human intervention (surgery), I would publicly declare that through the power of prayer, the heavenly gates of healing can be opened and lives changed.

This past Shabbos I gave my usual shiur and taught Torah in the shul where I daven – the Agudah of Lawrence-Far Rockaway. It was Shabbos Bereishis, when once again we began the cycle of Torah readings from the very beginning. In that very first parshah the Torah describes the creation of the world and the creation of man, the very crown of creation. We learn that though the seeds of all vegetation were in place, it was only after man prayed for rain that the seeds blossomed and bloomed.

This prerequisite of prayer is evident throughout our Torah and history. My grandson spoke about it at our Shabbos seudah in his d’var Torah. Our mothers – Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, Leah, Chana and many others – were granted the berachah of children only after they prayed with all their hearts and souls.

This prerequisite of prayer holds true not only with regard to children but in every aspect of our lives. It was only after Moshe Rabbeinu, the greatest man ever to walk the face of the earth, turned to Hashem with intense, genuine prayer that Hashem forgave the nation of Israel.

G-d’s response was comprised of just two words, but those two words had and continue to have more power than the most deadly weapons mankind can devise. We are all familiar with those two little words. They are engraved on our hearts and souls; they are the pillars of Yom Kippur: “selachti kidvarecha” – “I [G-d] have forgiven even as you requested.”

Yes, prayer is the foundation, the ultimate defense weapon of our people. Our father Yaakov was endowed with this gift by his own father, Yitzchak, who proclaimed those words that identified us for all time: “Hakol kol Yaakov” – “The voice is the voice of Yaakov.” That voice is the voice of prayer. It is so powerful that it can pierce the bolted heavenly gates and ascend to the very Throne of G-d.

Throughout the long centuries of our persecution, torture, and slaughter, this voice of Jacob has enabled us to triumph. It was prayer that enabled us to survive Hitler’s hell. I know – I was there. I heard it.

In our “enlightened” world, however, this voice has become muted; prayer has come to be regarded as something only a naïve, unschooled person can take seriously. We, the citizens of the 21st century, know the age of miracles has long passed.

And there are still other factors that impede prayer. Ours is a culture that has an

addiction to “instant gratification.” From computers to iPhones, fast food to microwaves, it must all be fast, fast, fast! So if our prayers are not immediately granted, we cut the line and lose connection with our G-d; we stop praying, sit in solitude, and our loneliness consumes us.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Technology, Yom Kippur, Ahmadinejad

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

As we Jews know, there are no coincidences, no random happenings. As a matter of fact, in lashon hakodesh, the holy tongue, the very word “mikreh,” translated as “it happened,” actually means “kara mei Hashem” – “it happened from G-d.”

The concept of hashgachah pratis – guidance from above – is part of our Jewish faith. Everything is orchestrated, even if we are not aware of G-d’s Guiding Hand.

Every morning when we recite our berachos, we say, ““Blessed be the L-rd our G-d who arranges the footsteps of man.” Sadly, in our contemporary society we run so fast that the still small voice, the message from above –is no longer audible. We do not hear, we do not see. We keep “running” – even if we don’t know where.

Just ask someone, “Why are you running?” and he will look at you in disbelief. He believes he is living a “normal” life, and that answers it all. The insanity has become normal and, most tragically, we are unaware of anything being amiss.

The other day I asked our computer technician if he had seen the new iPhone, for which people stood on line the entire night and longer.

“Yes,” he answered.

“So what is so special about it?” I inquired.

“Well, it’s faster than the previous one” he told me.

I tried to digest it all. Faster than the previous one. Where are people running? They stand on line for hours and hours, and spend money that very often they can ill afford, for a few minutes of “faster.” It’s madness – but we have become so addicted that we do not recognize it.

Was it only yesterday that people said a new world was dawning, a world in which gadgets would liberate man to pursue more worthwhile and meaningful goals? There were so many promises: the microwave, the fax machine, and of course the computer, which would revolutionize the world. It would free us from labor, our businesses would become more efficient, and the entire world would become one small village. Nations would become friendly neighbors. Yes, the hopes were endless.

Has it happened? Oh yes, call anywhere and a computerized voice will answer, instructing you to push this or that button, but a human voice that could help and guide you is never there. Yes, nations have become neighbors – but neighbors still bent upon destroying one another. Yes, the computer has liberated us – we need only push a button, Google, and it is all there. But in the process we have forgotten how to read and research a subject.

By every law of logic we should have so much more time on our hands, but we are busier than ever. Why? Who is robbing us of our time? That very same computer! We sit glued to the screen, and there are those who visit disgusting sites. We get into ridiculous, seductive, foul conversations with strangers who become our new friends. In the not-too-distant past parents could feel confident in the knowledge their children were in their rooms, safe and secure, but now, with the click of a mouse, those children can find themselves in the most corrupt and degenerate places that will scar them for life.

And he computer has become the fastest, most convenient means to spread lashon hara. You need only send out an e-mail or post something on a blog and in seconds you can destroy lives.

That which Hitler did over years, the computer does instantaneously, and all kinds of crazies learn how to kill, make bombs, blow up buildings. Their targets can be schools, movie theaters, shopping malls – the more people involved, the better.

I need not tell you the tragic and destructive consequences of our computerized, technology-dominated society. Every segment of society is affected.

An entire generation has grown up without learning how to talk. Children no longer call their parents or grandparents – they text! And they are not the only ones – husbands and wives, friends, relatives and business associates have stopped talking. The reason for it is simple: No one wants to hear the voice of the other.

I recall my dear, revered father, HaRav HaGaon HaTzaddik Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, advising people in Yiddish: “Kein mohl, nisht ofen telephone” – “For important conversations, never on the phone!” And he proceeded to explain: “It is important to have eye contact and a warm loving expression on the face. It makes all the difference, especially when words of criticism are imparted.”

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

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.

Dr. Judith S. Bendheim Guedalia

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.

Yori Yanover

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.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dnc-leadership-rams-through-god-and-jerusalem-despite-losing-the-vote/2012/09/06/

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