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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Watch Chana Weisberg’

When You Mess Up

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Ever wonder what might have happened had the first Adam reacted differently?

 

I don’t mean if Adam hadn’t have eaten the forbidden fruit. I believe that somehow, on some level, that was a necessary component to our being human. We’re not meant to be perfect angels, or mechanical robots, always following directions explicitly, and always doing the right thing. Temptation and failings, challenges and adventure are meant to be a part of our human journey.

 

But suppose Adam would have responded differently after he ate the fruit.

 

Suppose when G‑d confronted him about not obeying His explicit and only commandment, Adam would contritely have said, “Oh, my gosh! You know, you’re so right! I can’t believe that I did that.

 

“Here you gave me everything I could ever need or want on a silver platter and the only one thing You ask me not to do, I go ahead and do.

 

“I am so sorry. You must be so disappointed in me. Please, let me make that up to You, dear G‑d. Please forgive me my insensitivity, selfishness and lack of care.”

 

I know it is hypothetical, but how do you think G‑d would have responded? It is kind of hard to admonish, punish, or even be angry with someone who so humbly and profusely apologizes for his misdeed.

 

I imagine G‑d would have said something like this, “Yes, Adam, you really did disappoint me. What you did was terribly wrong and you didn’t live up to your true potential. But since you realize your mistake and feel so regretful about it, I hope that you’ve learned your lesson. You have earned my forgiveness.”

 

Imagine how different human history would have turned out!

 

But instead, after eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam hides from G‑d, as if G‑d wouldn’t realize what he had done.

 

Then when G‑d calls to Adam, giving him an opportunity to express his regret, he messes up by lying, “I heard you calling and I was afraid because I am naked.”

 

And finally, in his fait accompli, when G‑d rebukes him point blank about his sin, rather than owning up to it, Adam blames someone else for his actions – “the woman that You gave me,” it was all her fault.

 

Fast-forward thousands of years.

 

“My dear spouse, stop ignoring me. We need to talk!”

 

“Honey, I’m not avoiding you I just had a lot on my head these last few days. And besides, I thought you were really angry, so I was afraid to speak with you. I thought I’d let you cool off first.”

 

“You know that what you did was so insensitive! How could you humiliate me like that? Don’t you care about my feelings? If there’s one thing that I’ve asked you so many times not to do, it is that!”

 

“It’s not true. I didn’t or at least, I didn’t mean to embarrass you. You are totally taking it the wrong way…

 

“In fact, come to think of it, you are always blaming me for things that go wrong….

 

“And besides, you could have made sure that you prepared me for this situation better. You really should have had more foresight ”

 

As humans, we will make mistakes. We will be tempted. We will succumb to our shortcomings and, inevitably, there will be times when we will fail.

 

But how will we react to those failings? Hiding, denial and blaming someone else – or is there perhaps a better way?

Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers-Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at chanaw@gmail.com. Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouch for your dose of weekly inspiration.

Does G-d Like Playing Games with Us?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

She rolls the dice. Her face is serious, concentrating on the outcome.


She smiles. She has rolled a winning number. She moves her piece along the cardboard game board and looks to me for approval. She is satisfied with her turn. I smile back at her. How I love to see her so proud.


She rolls again. This time she is able to knock off one of my pieces and advance her own. Her eyes light up and she giggles freely. I feign disappointment, making her laughter even louder.


She is winning the game. She is delighted.


It’s my turn to roll the dice. Now I can knock off one of her pieces. She is still unaware of this impending danger. I too pretend not to notice. We both contentedly continue our play.


She rolls once again. Her brow is furrowed, she looks anxious. It is a decisive round. The results are not in her favor. I authoritatively explain since the dice bounced off the board, the throw wasn’t valid. (Well, it kind of did.) She accepts my verdict gladly and rolls again. This time she scores a better number. We both smile as she teases me that she will win.


I try to follow the rules of the game. I know that, for her own benefit, I need to teach her how to graciously accept a setback. But with each roll of the dice, with each card that she uncovers, with each turn that she takes, I am inwardly holding my breath, secretly longing for her victory. I want her to smile, to giggle, and to feel good about herself.


Yet I also understand that I can’t completely break the rules of the game. For her own good.


So only when she’s not looking, only when I’m sure that she won’t notice my subterfuge, I make sure to give her an advantage in the game. Because I love her smile. Her carefree laughter. Her delight in her victories.


Because it hurts me more than anything to see her sad, to feel the heaviness of her defeat, to see her eyes downcast when she realizes that she has fallen short of winning. Because this means so much to her.


So my four year old and I continue our game. And as we play, and enjoy one another’s company, I think of You playing the game of life with each of us.


Do You, too, secretly throw in some moves that will help our victory? Do You overlook some ill-fated turns to help us get further ahead in reaching our objectives?


I know we’re not playing against You, but at times when we’re really down, it can feel like You or the forces that You created are, on some level, out to get us, holding us back from what we want so dearly. Are You really just rooting for us all along?


Do You follow the rules of our world, to help us grow as individuals? But also, do you keep bending the rules–at least somewhat–to make our play easier? To help us taste accomplishment?


Do You also feel so sad when You see Your children fall? When You see us disappointed or downcast, just short of our long-hoped for goals? Do you exult in our triumphs?


“I’ve won!” my little daughter announces happily as she throws the last dice to her victory.


“Yes, you have.” I revel in her victory while pretending disappointment.


Little does she realize that her success is truly ours; that my joy is even greater than her own.


Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers-Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman.She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at chanaw@gmail.com. Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouch for your dose of weekly inspiration.

Does G-d Like Playing Games with Us?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

She rolls the dice. Her face is serious, concentrating on the outcome.

She smiles. She has rolled a winning number. She moves her piece along the cardboard game board and looks to me for approval. She is satisfied with her turn. I smile back at her. How I love to see her so proud.

She rolls again. This time she is able to knock off one of my pieces and advance her own. Her eyes light up and she giggles freely. I feign disappointment, making her laughter even louder.

She is winning the game. She is delighted.

It’s my turn to roll the dice. Now I can knock off one of her pieces. She is still unaware of this impending danger. I too pretend not to notice. We both contentedly continue our play.

She rolls once again. Her brow is furrowed, she looks anxious. It is a decisive round. The results are not in her favor. I authoritatively explain since the dice bounced off the board, the throw wasn’t valid. (Well, it kind of did.) She accepts my verdict gladly and rolls again. This time she scores a better number. We both smile as she teases me that she will win.

I try to follow the rules of the game. I know that, for her own benefit, I need to teach her how to graciously accept a setback. But with each roll of the dice, with each card that she uncovers, with each turn that she takes, I am inwardly holding my breath, secretly longing for her victory. I want her to smile, to giggle, and to feel good about herself.

Yet I also understand that I can’t completely break the rules of the game. For her own good.

So only when she’s not looking, only when I’m sure that she won’t notice my subterfuge, I make sure to give her an advantage in the game. Because I love her smile. Her carefree laughter. Her delight in her victories.

Because it hurts me more than anything to see her sad, to feel the heaviness of her defeat, to see her eyes downcast when she realizes that she has fallen short of winning. Because this means so much to her.

So my four year old and I continue our game. And as we play, and enjoy one another’s company, I think of You playing the game of life with each of us.

Do You, too, secretly throw in some moves that will help our victory? Do You overlook some ill-fated turns to help us get further ahead in reaching our objectives?

I know we’re not playing against You, but at times when we’re really down, it can feel like You or the forces that You created are, on some level, out to get us, holding us back from what we want so dearly. Are You really just rooting for us all along?

Do You follow the rules of our world, to help us grow as individuals? But also, do you keep bending the rules–at least somewhat–to make our play easier? To help us taste accomplishment?

Do You also feel so sad when You see Your children fall? When You see us disappointed or downcast, just short of our long-hoped for goals? Do you exult in our triumphs?

“I’ve won!” my little daughter announces happily as she throws the last dice to her victory.

“Yes, you have.” I revel in her victory while pretending disappointment.

Little does she realize that her success is truly ours; that my joy is even greater than her own.

Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers-Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman.She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at chanaw@gmail.com. Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouch for your dose of weekly inspiration.

Can You Teach Self-Worth?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

She doesn’t just walk; she practically glides along, with a light-hearted bounce. Her laughter is infectious, her giggle ever-present, even during the dull periods of the day. Every moment is an opportunity, a learning experience. Her world is a wonder to discover and she feels proud of even her smallest achievements.


 


She is my 4-year-old daughter, soon to be turning five. She’s at the age where she’s already developed a unique personality. She has gained sufficient understanding and maturity to reciprocate in our relationship. But she is still young enough that the heaviness of life’s issues has not yet begun to haunt her. Her joie de vivre is still intuitive, natural and spontaneous.


 


And yet, as I eagerly greet her smiling face every morning, I am keenly aware that now and in the immediate years to come – in her young childhood – her self-image is being formed. Every interaction, every exchange will forge an essential impression on her emerging psyche.


 


Like a delicate seedling in its tender years of maturation, she is now developing an awareness of herself and her place in this world. And with a sudden heaviness, I realize what an integral role I play in her feelings of self-value, and in whether her lightness and brightness will be enhanced or be diminished.


 


So, along with wanting to teach her so many things, so many skills, and so much knowledge about the world around her, more than anything, I want to teach her about herself. Foremost, I want to give her the precious gift of self-love – an inherent love, not because of anything she knows or does, but because of who she is, a creation of G‑d.


 


In these formative years, I want to teach her that her mistakes don’t detract from her value. That she can grow and learn -  and should use these opportunities as an impetus for greater good – but she should never allow failures to chip away at her inner core, her cheer or her confidence.


 


I want to teach her that her accomplishments, talents, great personality and charisma are some of her winning attributes, but that her self-worth is not dependent on these or on how others view her. She is unique, unlike anyone else in the entire world. She has a mission that she, and only she, can accomplish.


 


And I want to imbue her with the feeling that my love for her is unconditional. Not because she is adorable, capable, bright or sweet, which she is. But just because she is mine. My daughter, forever and for all times.


 


These are formidable values that I want to impart. And yet, it is in these crucial, youthful years that she will develop this innate awareness of who she is.


 


Passover is the holiday when we became G‑d’s chosen people. In those crucial, first years as a nation, G‑d tangibly conveyed His love for us. We had no mitzvot, nor any merits and we didn’t deserve to be redeemed. Yet, G‑d showed us unconditional love that was not dependent on our spiritual strengths, talents or stamina.


 


He chose us not because of what we would accomplish in the years and millennia to come.


 


Not because we would accept His covenant, His rules, and His laws.


 


Not because of our dedication, self-sacrifice or commitment.


 


Not because we were to become a light unto all the nations and teach morality and goodness in every country where we would sojourn.


 


There are many other Jewish holidays when we commemorate, celebrate and rejoice in these particular aspects of our relationship and development as G‑d’s chosen nation.


But on Passover, in our youthful years as a nation, just as our self-image was being forged, G‑d wanted to convey to us His infinite love for us. Just because we are His.


 


Perhaps that is why, of all the many Jewish holidays, the one that is most observed – even by those who profess to be “unobservant” – is Passover and the Passover Seder.


 


For it represents G‑d’s love and connection to us that is timeless, unchanging and unconditional.


 


A love that is ever-present, irrespective of what we do. But simply because of who we are – His chosen one.


 


This innate love and self-worth has helped us to survive and thrive as a nation, throughout all of our years of growth and prosperity, and even times of suffering and difficulty – until today.


 


Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouch for your dose of weekly inspiration. Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers – Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman.She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at chanaw@gmail.com.

Will You Dream With Me?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

One very cold, very dark evening in the middle of a particularly brutal Canadian winter, four cars were parked outside a home on a deserted side street of our Thornhill neighborhood.


Inside the home, five women were huddled around the dining room table, animatedly discussing and planning. Over herbal tea and low-fat cranberry cookies, the five women, representing different synagogues and outreach centers in our area, shared their dream and vision.

 

The last few months had been particularly difficult for all of us. As part of the Jewish nation, we collectively shared our pain, suffering, worries and prayers. The Mumbai tragedy had hit us all hard, and before recovering, we once again found ourselves gathered tensely in prayers as our valiant soldiers entered Gaza to defend our people and Land, while misguided and hate-filled protesters the world-over furiously objected against our right to self-defense, and, in some cases, called for our destruction.

 

And so, gathered around that table, we shared our thoughts. We had a vision; and over the next couple of hours it became more tangible, as we planned, shared, organized and planned some more.

 

If in difficult, tragic times we were able to gather in unity and prayers, could we do so without any impetus of danger?

 

We would make an evening of unity for all the women of our area – an evening when we would gather together, disregarding all our differences but focusing solely on our similarities. For that night (and hopefully more to follow) we would look beyond the disparities in our philosophies, customs or value systems. It wouldn’t matter what our level of observance was or wasn’t, how or whether we opted to cover our hair, what choices we made in educating our children, or the level of kashrut that we did or didn’t keep in our homes.

 

For the terrorists of Mumbai and Gaza, these differences were clearly insignificant in their keen desire to destroy us all. And now, we too, would make a gathering of unity where these distinctions would not separate us.

 

It took work and planning, several email exchanges and a bunch of phone calls. But for the first time in Toronto’s history, a flyer advertising our women’s evening of unity proudly bore the logos of three synagogues and outreach centers that hitherto had never worked together.

 

In our special evening, each community would be represented, whether through the main inspirational speakers or in the preliminary words of greetings, whether in coordinating the “ice breaker” activity or in being the venue to host the event.

 

As the advertisements began to be distributed, more and more synagogues – even those whose original reaction was lukewarm or whose adult education schedule was already too full – asked to join and be a part of this evening.

 

The result? This week, those initial five women are meeting once again. This time we’re meeting to discuss an even bigger follow-up event, because the most-repeated feedback from the overflowing crowds that attended was, “This is great! When’s the next unity evening being planned?

 

Because the Jewish People is tired of suffering, we are ready to join together – in unison – as G-d’s chosen people. We are coming to a collective, intuitive realization that we share too much to be divided over the petty differences that break us apart.

 

And so, as we plan for hopefully bigger and better programs in our Thornhill community, I now have a new dream.

 

Now I am dreaming that these “unity evenings” will spread to more and more communities, male and female, all across our city, all across Canada, North America and the world over.


 I dream that we will become big enough people to see beyond our small differences.

 

And I dream that despite our differences, we will be able to appreciate the good in each other and work with one another to accomplish our joint goal of bringing more goodness to our world.

 

Do you, too, share my dream?

 

Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute video cast on www..chabad.org/intouch for your dose of weekly inspiration. Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers -Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at chanaw@gmail.com.

The Little Flame

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Once upon a time, there was a little flame that glowed brightly.


Wherever this little flame went, it brought light and luminosity.


Even in the absolute black darkness, the flame twinkled and illuminated.


But wherever it went, there were also those who didn’t like its radiance. And wanted to snuff it out.


There was the wind that wanted to blow it out…


The sand that wanted to stomp it out…


The water that wanted to drown it…


And the darkness that wanted to blacken it.


But the stubborn flame refused to be extinguished.


Sometimes, the flame itself wished for its end. It yearned to be as dim as the surrounding blackness.


The little flame would doubt its beautiful glow and question its unique sparkle.


During those moments, the flame would flicker and its sparkle seemed like it would fade into obscurity.


But no matter what, something inside the flame kept it shining.


Some called it stubbornness.


Others saw it as luck. Or − perhaps, fate.


While others, predicted its demise, a few recognized it as the greatest miracle ever.


Chanukah is the Festival of Light. We light our Menorahs to commemorate the miracle of the flames that refused to be extinguished. There was barely enough oil for one day, but the flames burned proudly for eight.


But Chanukah also commemorates the miracle of the Jewish people; a nation that refused − and continues to refuse − to be smothered into oblivion, because the little flame continues to shine light into the dark world around it.


Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouchfor your dose of weekly inspiration. Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers − Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at cweisberg@chabad.org.

The Little Flame

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Once upon a time, there was a little flame that glowed brightly.

Wherever this little flame went, it brought light and luminosity.

Even in the absolute black darkness, the flame twinkled and illuminated.

But wherever it went, there were also those who didn’t like its radiance. And wanted to snuff it out.

There was the wind that wanted to blow it out…

The sand that wanted to stomp it out…

The water that wanted to drown it…

And the darkness that wanted to blacken it.

But the stubborn flame refused to be extinguished.

Sometimes, the flame itself wished for its end. It yearned to be as dim as the surrounding blackness.

The little flame would doubt its beautiful glow and question its unique sparkle.

During those moments, the flame would flicker and its sparkle seemed like it would fade into obscurity.

But no matter what, something inside the flame kept it shining.

Some called it stubbornness.

Others saw it as luck. Or − perhaps, fate.

While others, predicted its demise, a few recognized it as the greatest miracle ever.

Chanukah is the Festival of Light. We light our Menorahs to commemorate the miracle of the flames that refused to be extinguished. There was barely enough oil for one day, but the flames burned proudly for eight.

But Chanukah also commemorates the miracle of the Jewish people; a nation that refused − and continues to refuse − to be smothered into oblivion, because the little flame continues to shine light into the dark world around it.

Watch Chana Weisberg’s two-minute videocast on www.chabad.org/intouchfor your dose of weekly inspiration. Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including Divine Whispers − Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman. She is an international inspirational lecturer on a wide array of topics and an editor at chabad.org. She can be reached at cweisberg@chabad.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press//2008/12/17/

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