It was about a week before Chanukah last year when I traveled to Israel to spend some time with my son, who was learning in Yeshiva there.
Prior to Rosh Hashanah, our daughter Bracha insisted on giving a sizeable amount of tzedakah to a worthy organization. This gift was in addition to the amount she is careful to separate from her earnings on a weekly basis. Barely sixteen, our daughter is not intending to become rich from her part-time job, but parting with even more than the usual 10 percent of her salary was clearly above and beyond the letter of the law.
It wasn't so much my father's problem as it was mine. The commandment to honor one's parents had always been for me simply the right thing to do. Jewish tradition characterizes it, however, as the most challenging of the taryag mitzvos. Anyone who has ever cared for a terminally ill parent appreciates the difficulty of performing this mitzvah well.
Every year, prior to the High Holy Days, I visit the graves of four generations of my ancestors buried on Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives).
My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for several years. We'd gone to specialists and come pretty close a few times.
Gone. The money was gone. I bit my lips and felt my eyes fill with tears. This was hard earned money that I received from a client whom I had worked for all month.
This true story took place in Brooklyn, New York. It was a wintry, dark afternoon when my father collapsed before my eyes. He slumped over in the front passenger seat in the car and lost consciousness. When he slowly and dazedly opened his eyes, he was weak and pale.
I have realized in the last few months that the friends and acquaintances in our lives are there for a very special reason. It is clear that we are in relationships to help each other at different times in our lives.
When one decides to have children, one has to decide: how one intends to bring them up, what values one will imbue in them and how one will stress their importance. Whatever they may be, when one instills the right values in a child, one later receives the dividends of one's efforts. This was proved so true this past Yom Kippur for Rebbetzin Judith Friedlander.
It can be very challenging to be arranging a flight to Israel while dealing with the needs of a large family, managing a high-pressured job, and satisfying the needs of parents who are eagerly awaiting your visit.
What would you do if you were confronted with a seemingly insoluble problem? Would you give up? Would you say, "Let someone else solve it; it's beyond me?"
The scene: Harvard University, April 25, 1977. I am standing at a turning point - not one that will be written up in even one academic journal, but one I can almost see while still feeling dizzy from all the turning.
It was the 26th of Tammuz. The sun was slowly sinking behind the clouds over the Old Montefiore Cemetery, the burial place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt"l. I had come to commemorate the yahrzeit of my high school teacher, Rabbi Dovid Wichnin, zt"l.
What is purity? Too much of what purports to be good is watered down by the "not so good." There seems to be a lurking selfishness behind many sin-cere gestures - a "what's in it for me?" approach. With cynicism the order of the day, anyone who tries to rise above the rat race is often condemned as hypocritical or phony. In such a world, the concepts of purity of character and purity of purpose seem to be simply theoretical.
It was late afternoon on Yom Yerushalayim. We were enjoying a clear, cool, beautiful Yerushalayim day as we walked into Ir Dovid, the historic City of David. We passed the newest excavations and walked down the stone steps leading to the ruins and the older excavations of the City of David. We sat in the amphitheater near the base of the hill.
In mid-December, I traveled to Eretz Yisroel with my wife, Chanie, for a twofold purpose. Firstly, I wanted to visit my two children who are learning in yeshivos there. Secondly, in light of the fact that I had assumed the position of executive director of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, I wanted to solicit as many brochos from gedolim as possible, and to pray at kivrei tzaddikim (graves of righteous people).
I was thinking of my mother today. I realized that I still have much to learn from this wise woman. G‑d blessed me with my special mother who serves as my role model, my caretaker, my friend, and above all, my inspiration.
Ask and you shall receive! If you want something, ask your spouse, your children, your family and friends. When all else fails, ask Hashem! What do we really need? Let's be honest. We have food on our tables and a roof over our heads. We have family and friends who are true to us.
I served in the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for many years as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Senior ALJ, Vice Chairman of the Appeals Board and, finally, TVB Director.
On June 27, 2001, a single mother and her son landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel for a two-week vacation. The plan was that she would go to a seminary and he would go to day camp. Neither of them knew a soul in Israel, nor did they know any Hebrew and next to nothing about Judaism.
In the early 1970's, my father, HaRav Moshe Aharon Shapiro, z"l, served as rabbi of a kosher, shomer Shabbos hotel in the Catskills. During one of those summers, my brother-in-law invited us to use his bungalow over the July 4th weekend. On Sunday we drove from the bungalow colony to visit my parents, arriving at the hotel between Minchah and Ma'ariv.
I have a story to share with you - one that might change the way we look at every detail of our lives, labeling them coincidences or miracles. You be the judge!
According to the American College Dictionary to retire means: " To withdraw, or go away, to a place of abode or seclusion; to withdraw from office, business or active life." That is not what we envisioned our retirement to be. Sure, it's great to sit on the beach and bask in the sun, to golf, play tennis, etc. But how much of that can one do without feeling that something is lacking?
Everything given us is for the best. Yet some of us forget this when we should know better. I recently moved to another state and needed to see an ophthalmologist. My brother and sister-in-law have been living in that state for 10 years, and my brother's wife said she would make an appointment for me.
When my wife and I were about to leave Israel after last Sukkos, our son and daughter-in-law told us they were expecting another child to be born about two weeks before Pesach. We realized immediately that it would be difficult for them to make Pesach at home.