Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Shidduch Crisis... Correct Me If I'm Wrong

Earlier this year, I went to an event organized by some ladies in my community. It was called "Meet the Shadchan" and was meant to give the single girls in my community an opportunity to meet out-of-town shadchanim, as well as local shadchanim. Being naive and optimistic, I went. I dressed up, printed out my resume and picture  (only for the Shadchan's eyes, of course) and headed off to meet the shadchan (read: meat market). It was kind of fun in a way-- seeing all my friends in one night. Obviously so, we were all feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable. I met with two out of town shadchanim and a few locals. I left feeling excited because someone had also mentioned my name in association with a local boy. So yea, I felt great. And ten months later, they arranged a second event. In the time between the first and second event, I did not hear from a single shadchan. Not. One. Single. Shadchan. I sent emails with updated resumes and pictures. I did what I was supposed to do and I did not hear anything. Not "Oh, thanks for getting in touch" or "we are thinking of you." NOTHING. So when this second event rolled around I was completely less than enthusiastic. I have definitely changed in ten months. My perspectives on the shidduch system have become a little darker, a little less optimistic. Now, I can't complain. I am young compared to others. I am not at the point of desperation or thinking of "settling." But I am upset.
So I didn't want to go. But, after some convincing, I paid my dues, and went to the event. It was just as awful. And it was worse because this time I could see how flawed it was. Tens of girls were lined up, looking DROP DEAD GORGEOUS in Shabbos clothes, heels, makeup and jewelry to the nines. To meet the SHADCHAN! It felt like something straight out Mulan... off to meet the matchmaker, minus the synchronized song and dance. And it just felt wrong. I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to put on a good show. I was chewing gum, wearing my double-sided studs, no heels and did not take off my coat. I was told off by one of the event planners to throw out my gum. I left on my coat. I met with one out of town shadchan who hardly looked at me and one other Rav who seemed genuinely interested. But so far, no calls, no email.s
Now why do I think this event is wrong?
First of all, a five minute conversation is not enough time. These shadchanim could care less. They get paid to come so its worth their while. 
Two, why are we dressing so nicely like we are prancing down a runway? We aren't marrying the Shadchan!
Three, WHERE ARE THE BOYS?! Let's get real people- if you want to make shidduchim, stop looking at the paper. Yes, checking out backgrounds and hashkafos is important, but I bet if you put the boys and girls in the same room FOR TACHLIS you would have a better chance of making a shidduch than a five minute interview and paper filed away for later reference.
Another thing-- where are the local shadchanim? I noticed there was an important (or two) local shadchan who was missing on the scene, a shadchan with a monopoly on a group of boys.
Like I said- I can't complain. I am young, I am still picky about who is redt to me, and BH I have a lot going for me so dating would be nice, but I am not forlorn or desperate. But it bothers me INTENSELY to see a room filled with beautiful girls INSIDE AND OUT, girls who I personally can attest to their maalos and kochos, having to hawk themselves to a market of buyers who just file them away.
Now you might say, putting the boys and girls in the same room would be the same thing, because everyone is just seeing the outside, how they look and what they are wearing, and I get that. I do. But this system, this meeting the shadchan, is unnatural. Strangers coming in to inspect our girls? Do they actually care? If you don't fit their "type" then forget it. 
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am just bitter and jaded (and I haven't been dating for so long) but it's gotten personal. It's gotten personal when my close friends are struggling because they have been written off as not good enough. When my good friends are rejected because they aren't a size 0 and well off. When incredible girls are struggling because the shadchan doesn't like how they look. And a billion other reasons.
I don't have a solution. I don't have an answer. I have my own silent pain and rage. I have my own tears and frustration over all the boys who I have loved and lost. I have anger. And so maybe that's why the shadchanim don't call.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Can It Still Be Tuesday?

With the winding down of my semester and the winding up of vacation, I have been lax in my Tuesday Tunes. But since Chanukah still extends until the sunsets tomorrow, I wanted to share a few Chanukah songs and videos that really lit up my Chag.
In no particular order...






A side note: Chanukah is one of those holidays that brings even the most irreligious back to their roots. There is something about the holiday season that resonates with us all. The family The sentiment of triumph. There are so many themes that people can connect to. This is why these songs are so popular, so catchy and so feel good. But in my journey to self (which was rather halted by school) I found that the lesson of light is the ability to find it within yourself. It is not about the darkness of the world- the enemies that try to bring us down. Yes, they exist, but their power comes from us. When we are strong, they are weak. So while Chanukah is all feel good and Sameach, I think it is a Chag that involves deep reflections and introspection. I am late on sharing this, and perhaps in even recognizing it myself, but it's late, my mind is spinning and I want to hold on to the light, that inner light, just a little bit longer.

A Freilichen Chanukah!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

Wow, two weeks in a row! And lucky for you, if you haven't hear about this band, then you are in for a treat...
Continuing on the trend of Neo-Chassidus and its more mind-soul connection, I present to you "Zusha." I discovered Zusha a few weeks ago and have been mesmerized ever since.
You can find their music here: https://www.youtube.com/user/zushamusic/feed

Zusha is a group of three guys whose goal is to connect to Yiddishkeit through simplistic songs, often with just a few words and a lot of niggun. There is something so pure in their music. It stirs up questions. It makes you think.
As I write this, I am listening to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxF8LZ0H17s and through the progression, the chords and simple chanting, I find myself trying to discover the story buried within the song. It's the kind of music that begs you to think deeply. It isn't the usual head banging, voice altered, techno crazy music we are so used to hearing. It is soulful. Thoughtful.
While mainstream Orthodox Jews don't lean towards this kind of music-- the kind of music that best suits a kumzitz-- it is the kind of music that more people should listen to. It speaks to your soul.
What I really appreciate about Zusha is while their music is simple, they also share their thoughts on their site.
Like this one:
The wise men write - that everything in creation (including you and I) can be found in the first word of the torah, "Bereisheet"- 'in the beginning'
One idea from this word. Beis (the first letter, 'two') + Reisheet ('beginning') = Two beginnings. 
Every day, and more specifically every moment, we are given a choice. 
Two ways to think. Two ways to speak. Two ways to act. 
May we be blessed to always choose life, growth, and positivity. 
-zush

 

So simple, yet so profound. Go check them out.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Take Me Home

Take me home
Take me back to the labyrinth-like streets
Let me once again rest my eyes
On the colorful characters
And devout souls
Living higher than life itself
I am waiting patiently
Til I can board a bus to anywhere
Where every ride feels like
The first one I took
Where the speeding cars
And clear skies
Told me that I am home
I'm sitting in darkness
While I wait for the light
I'm living in night
But you're my new day
So here I sit waiting
Wanting
Wishing
But deep down
I know the truth
I need to return
I need to come home.

Friday, December 5, 2014

In Everything I See

I wake up 
And I look for you
I go to sleep
And dream of you
I wait for your arrival
And search for your existence
I have been wandering down roads
And making choices with uncertainty
I write with the hope
That I will find clarity
I feel in every moment
For your presence
And in every moment
You are present
I know that it is a gift
To recognize you
To know that I am not alone
That there are answers
To the questions that concern me
And to the questions I don't dare ask
People ask how I cope
But it simply through my hope
My belief and faith
That there is a higher being
Or else
All the pain
All the promises
Would have not point
If not part of some divine plan
That I too limited to understand
In everything I see
In everything I do
In everything I feel
I know that there is nothing
Nothing more real
Than the truth of you

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Torn Apart

And it hurt like hell to be torn apart....

There has been something I have been battling with for four years. A force stronger than me, more mighty and powerful. It's hard to go into details without creating some sort of expose which while it is something I want to do, it is something that would rattle the world.
It hurts like hell when you invest your heart and soul into something, only to be turned on stepped on, and disregarded.
I just cannot adequately explain because it means throwing so many people under the bus. It means unleashing four years of frustration and pain. It means letting the world see the dark colors of something that is meant to be so bright.
It hurts like hell.
It kept me awake at night for a year. It drove me to make rash decisions. It made me question almost everything I believe in. And its happened again. Its happening always.
It hurts like hell.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

Finally, I remember! (It is Tuesday, right?)

As of late, I have found myself on a quest of sorts. A journey to discovering myself. Yes, that is what life is inherently about, but I am trying to be actively cognizant of myself spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Mindfulness.

An important part of this journey is the music I listen to along the way. So I have decided to try and feature a different artist that I really resonate with on Tuesdays. (Let's see how long this last...)


Omek Hadavar is Hebrew for The Depth of the Matter, as the album art indicates. Their second album, Mekor HaChaim is "The Essence of Life"

I am constantly searching for music with meaning and passion. I have found that the simplicity in their music really stirs up emotions that I sometimes let lie.

"Hariyu" in particular is one of my favorites. What I feel is so powerful in this song is that in calling out to Hashem, we are not limited by how we can do this. Sing. Play an instrument. Trumpets, horns, shouting! Hashem hears us, no matter how we reach out to him. We can sing, we can paint. In my understanding, connecting to G-d is not limited by one road or system.
ד  הָרִיעוּ לַיהוָה, כָּל-הָאָרֶץ;    פִּצְחוּ וְרַנְּנוּ וְזַמֵּרוּ.4 Shout unto the LORD, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy, yea, sing praises.
ה  זַמְּרוּ לַיהוָה בְּכִנּוֹר;    בְּכִנּוֹר, וְקוֹל זִמְרָה.5 Sing praises unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp and the voice of melody.
ו  בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת, וְקוֹל שׁוֹפָר--    הָרִיעוּ, לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ יְהוָה.6 With trumpets and sound of the horn shout ye before the King, the LORD.

I think in today's world, we are pressured to conform to one way of serving G-d. People think that the community with which you identify with is the way to connect with Hashem. It is unfortunate to see how a relationship with G-d becomes defined by the shul you daven at, the school you attend or the Rabbi you follow. 
The Jewish Action featured an article this month about the movement of Neo Hassidism. I have observed and heard from many of the individuals quotes in the article, but in the theme of this post, a particular quote stood out to me:
...defines neo-Chassidus as "people trying to live Yiddishkeit from the inside out, to live more deeply and fully . . . . People today are refusing to be put into boxes. God is One, and His truth can be refracted in many different ways."
Judaism is a prism. The light of G-d shines through one side, His pure undeniable truth. As the light shines through, it emerges as a spectrum of light, color and expression. Judaism is a beautiful thing to behold and is not observed in only one way. But, there is a understanding that without a firm foundation in Yiddishkeit through Halacha and text, the light can be warped. We must refract into through pure methods. The light shines through a prism... that prism are the leaders that guide us on our journey. 
So how does this all connect? There are those who are inspired to connect with G-d through raw Halacha and text. And then there are those who seek passion. They want music and passion. I feel that Omek Hadavar is one of those conduits towards a relationship with G-d that surpasses textual structures and allows us to strengthen our emotional connection with G-d.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The F Word

I refuse
To let it be heard
That horrid words
That makes the innocent cringe
And the perfect puddle on the floor
No one wants to hear
That four letter word
That instills failure
And fear
Cuz it means
We have done nothing right
But we all have it within us
There is no way to escape
I could choke it
Drown it
Four letters
Four
Insignificant letters
With more power
And more potential
To make a change
We hear it
And we want to be more
We hear it
And we want to be different
If I heard those four letters
That little F word
I would surely change my ways
There is no law
As definite and dynamic
As the F word
Flaw.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks

Since I will be traveling tomorrow and spending thanksgiving with a friend, I wanted to share some of the things I am thankful for... In the spirit of the holiday...

1. Three weeks from today I will finish my first semester of graduate. I am not sure what I was thinking in taking five classes, working part time and volunteering, but I am grateful that I am almost done with what I think will be my hardest semester.

2. In three weeks from today I will meet my new nephew. The little guy lives across the country and is almost a month old, so I am glad I get to see him.

3. I received an email today about my latest volunteer placement which will hopefully positively contribute to my experience as I move forward in my graduate program toward my career.

4. Coffee. Always. Plus, I have a free drink on my Starbucks card which will be awesome when I travel tomorrow.

5. Friends who check in even though I know they are busy.

6. My rabbi who has supported me for almost four years and continues to encourage me and listen to me when I rant, kvetch and yell.

7. Thinkthin bars. My latest obsession. And today I found cookies and cream and espresso flavors!

8. A job that is flexible with my work schedule. A co worker who supplements my paycheck with chocolate. Kids who are utterly hysterical, spotty and adorable all at the same time.

9. Israel. Even though I am 6000 miles away, I am grateful I can always call it home.

10. Even though I don't tell them enough, my parents. Without them, I would not be the person I am today or the person I can become.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Gobble, gobble.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stages of...

Note: I wrote this a few months ago when said guy had said no, this time for real. Flash forward a few months later, he is now engaged. When I found out, I cried like I never thought possible. While I went through these stages before, I went through them again. All I can say is that if he isn't the one, I am getting closer to finding him...

He said no...

No he didn't. Why would he? He couldn't have! 
Lock the doors. Give me a pint of ice cream. 
I don't want to talk. Don't want to listen.
He said no. But he didn't.
So there.

He said no...

That JERK! That inconsiderate, self-absorbed, selfish, callous JERK!
How could be so rude? Why is he so STUPID?!
Boys are stupid. That's it. They are dumb, unintelligent, cruel JERKS!
And he is the BIGGEST JERK OF ALL!

He said no...

Maybe if I had prayed more... maybe if I had done more good deeds.
Maybe if I had slept less, worked harder...
I'll be better. I'll pray harder. Please...
I just want him...
I'll do whatever it takes...
Take my heart... I don't need it.

He said no....

I don't want to go out.
I'm not gonna bother getting dressed... no one cares anyhow.
No one cares about me.
I mean, honestly, who would?
G-d, life sucks.

He said no...

He said no. He did't accept me.
But I accept my self.
I accept... that things will get better.
I will find someone better.
I will move on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mori V'Rabi

At around one in the morning
What should have been a time of peace
Turned into pain and mourning
Blood shed
Terror
I cannot imagine
The horror
This time
It was too close
To me
And while I am 6000 miles away
How can it be
That I would not cry
Or be afraid
My Rebbeim
Mori
My teacher
Rabi
My Rabbis
The ones who guided me through turbulent time
Are you ok (alive)?
Waiting
Waiting
Please answer
I cannot sleep
Until I know you are safe
But even then
Mori V'Rabi
What answer can you give
What comfort can you provided
Our collective soul
Has been stabbed
We are all bleeding
Mori V'Rabi
Give me an anwer
Give me hope
My emuna
Is being stretched thin
I don't want to snap
I want to go home
I want to be close
I want to be safe
Mori V'Rabi
My teacher
Teach me...
Where do we go from here?

A Day Like Today

We never should know of a day like today. But it happened. 
Terrorists entered a shul in Had Nof with only one intention: to kill, to maim and to murder.




Blood on prayer shawls and prayer books seen inside the synagogue where four people were killed in Jerusalem on November 18, 2014. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90)


I cannot help but wonder.... Why?
What answer can I possibly give to this question?
I look at my family, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel and I cry. It hurts. My heart has been hurt. My home has been hurt. I cry with every wife who lost her husband. For every child who lost his father.
But the Ribono Shel Olam is watching as His children are being brutally stabbed and attacked and He must be crying. Is this world so awful that he wants his purest Tzadikim to be safe in Shamayim? Tatte, we are waiting for your name and glory to fill this world. For the terror and horror to end. But Tatte, if you take our Rebbeim, if you take our teachers and leaders, how will we know how to bring Moshiach? How will we learn your precious Torah if you take our leaders away?
Tatte... why are we being hurt like this?


There are no answers. There are no words. There is pain. There is hurt. There is unimaginable suffering for our people, for the families who lost a loved one. And there is no way to go back. The Tehorim took three steps forward in their Amidah... three steps to the Ribono Shel Olam, and He felt for whatever reason, they should be with him, body and soul... but why with such brutality...?



All I know is I know nothing. But I am part of a people who continue to stand up in the face of such terror. We are still here. They have not won. They never will.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Out of the Depths

After spending a year in Israel, I truly discovered where home is. When I went back to visit this past February, despite only being there for a short time, I felt safe, at home and exactly where I belonged. This summer I worked in a camp with a very Religious Zionist perspective. Every day we were reminded about our beloved country. Even more so with the war going on. The atmosphere was permeated with Israel. It stirred up feelings I didn't know I had. I felt myself becoming obsessive with reading the news... trying to find some way to connect to my home, 6,000 miles away and being barraged with rockets and terrorist attacks. You could feel how everyone in the camp was struggling being so far away. We were compelled to do something to show our support, to somehow be connected while being so far away.
Over Shabbos I read "Out of the Depths," the personal memoir of former chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. It was impossible to put down (except for when I dozed off for my Shabbos nap.)
Rabbi Lau writes about his journey from Buchenwald to Eretz Yisroel. He documented his travels as an immigrant child who could not read or understand Hebrew to his time in Kol Torah Yeshiva to Chief Rabbi of Netanya and Tel Aviv and finally, Chief Rabbi of Israel. His life was bound up in the establishment of the State of Israel. The struggle of the British rule, the Arab attacks from every side and the need to make the world aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. It is a story that is so raw and real, yet at the same time, so pure. It is a story that in some way we all find ourselves joining with the Chief Rabbi in our collective journey home.
There was one passage in particular that stood out to me:

"At time when Israel finds herself at war, people often ask me how I feel from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor. I usually answer, 'Does have have to be a Holocaust survivor in order to understand the situation?' We are besieged, our lives our threatened, and the danger of our destruction has not yet passed. We Jews are still struggling for survival. All Jews are, in a certain sense, Holocause survivors. But for the survivors of that original holocaust, when the siege is tightened, the issue moves to the forefront, taking on an added significance." (Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Out of the Depths, pg. 247)

These days, we all feel the siege. Whether by rocket attacks, rampant anti-Semitism or simply reading the news and being an emphatic Jew and realizing our collective struggle. When one Jew is shot, we all take the bullet. We mourn, we cry. But one thing that unites us all is our ability to move forward. The Holocaust was a time in our history where national morale could have wiped us out even more than Hitler could have. But instead, our homeland was born from the ashes. We take our pain, our resilience, and turn into light.
Concrete graffiti
We turn cement blocks that are meant to stop terrorism and turn them into art.

We take pain and turn it into power. 

They bomb us, and we build. 

As a people, we are no stranger to tragedy. It something that was embedded into the design of the world. They will hate us no matter what. But instead of allowing that hate to destroy (look at 6000 years of Jewish history!) we continue to grow, to thrive.
For little ol' me, 6000 miles away from home, it is comforting and reassuring to know that I am connected to a nation, to a family, and to a history that will be united into the future.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Letting Go

I had to let go
Before I let in
A terrible sin
From which there is no return
If I ever learn
How to stay far away
Then maybe I can say
It was worth the hurt
Or perhaps
You don't even care
And if so
Then where
Were you and I ever going
I expected a fight
But resistance at night
Is weak
And you were never very strong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Are You Looking For?

I have learned to really, truly despise this question.

What are you looking for in a guy?

No one wants the real answer. They want the top three stereotypical descriptive words of a guy who sounds like just about any guy in any yeshiva/office/pit. I mean, let's be real. We all want the same thing. A nice guy, with good values and beliefs who wants to build a nice home.

Do I care what he wears? Do I care if he has a degree? Do I care if he is from in town or out of town?

Maybe.

What am I really looking for?

I want a guy who isn't afraid to be vulnerable. Who isn't afraid to feel something more than surface level superficiality. I want a guy who is constantly looking for meaning in his life. Does he let the small things slip past his eye? Or does he look for a deeper explanation? Does he recognize that G-d is truly a part of his life? Does he learn because that's what he is supposed to do, or because he knows that is actually the very pulse of his existence? Does he care about others? And I don't mean, "hey, how are you?" and then walks away. Does he genuinely take an interest in others? 

Will he appreciate that I recognize G-d through helping children who are fighting illness? Would he say "oh that's so depressing" and totally miss the mission that I want to achieve? Will he understand that yes, a child dying is painful, but that it doesn't have to break me? Will he cry with me? Would he hold me and let me feel the pain I need to feel and then help me to move on?

Will he read my poems? Will he appreciate my creativity? Will he accept my inability to be still and my desire to do more, to be more? Will he learn Nesivos Shalom and Rav Kook with me and accept that my Hashkafos are more confusing than a trip into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory but nevertheless, I am still going to break through the glass ceiling and become closer to G-d?

The guy I am looking for cannot be summed up in a sentence or two. He cannot be expressed in ten words or less. He is more than just a piece of paper. Maybe that's why I find the traditional system so hard. When you are searching for meaning and reason, you don't think that it can be found in the pages of a book or on a printed sheet of paper. Meaning must be felt. It must be manipulated in your heart and soul. I have a hard time believing that because his paper says this and my paper says that then we must be a match. Get. Real.

Life is so much deeper, so much more vast than that. We as people are so complex, so intricate and real that to expect individuals to sum themselves in a few categories is so wrong.
I get it. It';s the best we have. but let;s be honest: the best we have is a pathetic attempt at building a world that requires so much more effort and honesty if we want to solve the crisis.
Let's rip up the papers. Let's shred them into little pieces. Let's give guys, girls, people searching for their other half, the chance to be real, to be themselves. Let's talk. Let's share. Let's recognize that we are only suffocating our future by living in the past. The system worked for a time. It did. But I know too many good people getting burned by a system that is flawed.

So... what am I looking for in a guy? I am looking for a guy who is looking for me.
I hope we find each other soon. And that everyone else who is searching finds their other half with great haste, great clarity, and great love.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Measuring Strength

I love running. I love the ache in my lungs, the burn in my legs and the feeling of sweat on my face. There is nothing glamorous about running. It's pretty gross to be honest.
After my second half marathon all I could feel was the vast amounts of liquid in my body and covering my clothes. Gatorade on my arms and legs. I had stepped in a puddle. I was sweating like I cannot even explain. Gross.
But that's not what this post is about.
This post is about strength.
When I was training for my half marathon, I frequented my local gym. Aside from the six TVs (which usually just showed depressing news) there was another attraction that made the gym a very entertaining place. I loved watching the guys come in, all tough in their gym clothes, tanks, tees, whatever, and go for the weights. The bench press. The true test of strength and manhood. From the corner of my eye I would watch as they packed on the weight and bent their knees preparing to lift the bar.
They would heave it up. OOH. Let it fall. AHH! And repeat. 
And then drop the bar with a definitive ARGH! The tough guy did two reps. Maybe three if he was feeling confident. Then they would get a drink, pause to watch the baseball replay. And that was it.
Now, I spent several months training. I am pretty sure those guys did not get any stronger or any more muscle. They were not consistent. They were not dedicated. They wanted to glory of saying they benched twice their weight without saying how many times. How impressive.
Physical strength is gained by dedication, consistency, repetition, and a whole lot of killing yourself over and over.
Spiritual strength is the same way. People who take on lofty goals after hearing an inspiring speech usually crash and burn. People who commit to one small thing over a long period of time usually do better. For example, I have committed myself to saying Asher Yatzar every time I use the bathroom. It is something so small you might think what's the point? Well the point is that after spending so much time with individuals who cannot regulate their body functions, rely on a catheter or need someone else to change them, I have learned to appreciate the fact that I can use the bathroom and my body functions the way it should.
But that is something I took on myself.
What about the things that are thrown at me? The challenges that face me constantly. Do I succumb? Do I throw one punch and then admit defeat? Do I stop running, stop moving, because it hurts? I would never get anywhere. But at the same time, should I even bother when I can only take  a step at a time or can only hit the target once out of every hundred times?
I know what my challenges are. I know that I have the strength to over come, but do I have the consistency? Once you can do enough repetitions you are ready for a heavier load. But that means you have to settle for the small successes.
Right now, my spiritual load is, figuratively, at 50, and I am trying to build my strength to get to 60. But 50 is heavy. 50 is hard. 50 is the constant messages I try to ignore, the phone calls I don't pick up and the lingering voices saying Oh, it's not so bad. 
But do I want to stay at 50? Do I want to know that I can get to 60? Or 70? Of course. So I will keep at 50 until I feel my body, my soul, can add more.... til I feel that I can face whatever the next challenge is that is thrown my way.
It hurts. It's hard. But I'll keep at it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Things I Wish Someone Told Me

Why You Should Ruin Your Shidduch Chances
I don’t think G-d ever said life doesn’t matter before you are married.  Life matters.  You matter.  And that thing bubbling inside of you called your life’s mission also matters

They talk of emuna. They talk of prayer. They talk of relentless badgering and incessant emails and phone calls. Sometimes they talk of the quiet... lonely... empty times.

They told me I have to behave. They told me I have to start now so I can support later.

Uch.

Well, today someone finally someone told me something that actually matters. He told me that I don't have to hide for fear of "ruining" myself. He told me I can be myself, even if I am just "myself."

Yea, I am young. Yea, I have plenty of time for marriage. But the waiting time sucks. It is a ticking clock that gets louder and slower with every passing second. So I am trying to fill each second with meaning. With magic. I want magic. I believe in magic. And most importantly, I believe in me.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

If My Heart...

If my heart were a field
It would be filled with holes
Exploded mines
And trenches dug
For safety
For prayer
For no one can enter this war zone
Without whispering to G-d
For some measure of protection....
If my heart were a field
It would be a testimony
To the distance I have traveled
To the travels that have worn me thin
To those I met along the way
Who had no qualms
About digging a hole of their own
To relax in
While I wonder
Who is gonna clean up this mess
If my heart were a field
I would surround it
In barbed wire
And electric fences
Because I am sick and tired
Of having to mend this field
Soaked with blood
Sowed with tears
Waiting for the harvest
So that I can reap from the destruction.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Challenge of Emuna

I.
You sent me
Into the cold
The heat
The elements
Of wind
Rain and storm
To sit in peace
And solitude
In happiness
And peace
With the knowledge
That you will shelter me
And keep me safe
From harm
I am your faithful servant
Your beloved child
I trust in your choices
Your decisions
And I will rejoice
In that acceptance.


II.
How could you
Take away
My safety
And security
How can you
Expect me
To feel safe
When the roof above my head
Is about to blow away
And the walls around me
Are waving in the slightest breeze
How could my father
Remove me from my home
Take away my comfort
And yet
You want me to trust
To believe
To rejoice?
This tragic hut
Will float away
In my tears of abandonment
Because you left me alone

III.
I don't understand
Why you threw me into the cold
Took away the one I loved
Removed my one source of joy
I feel challenged in my belief
And question the decisions you have made for me
I try
With pathetic attempts
To make sense of the senseless
To rearrange the pieces of my heart
And rewire the dysfunction of my brain
To find a place in my soul
Where you belong
And can help me on my journey
To happiness
This is the first of my journey
I have two more attempts
On my feeble feet
To come closer
And with each step
I hope to reach full acceptance
Of every challenge
With happiness and love.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Disappointment

Pile on the disappointment
Sprinkle it with pain
Mix in some misery
And add a dash of depression
Stir it up nice
Add some sadness spice
A recipe for
Heartache
Heart break
I never
Though
I could feel this way.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Make this hurt
Go away
This ache inside
Consumes me
Exhume me
Of this pain
This heart drowns me
But if I could
I would swim to the depths
Just for you
To admit
How you really feel
But until them
Its like ripping open wounds
That never got to heal
I think I enjoy the pain
Because it means you are still apart
Of this broken life
This bleeding heart
Has pulled me under the tide
And beneath these waves
I hide
In choking gasps
I wish you to be my air

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Looking Towards the New Year

It is always disheartening to come down from the high of Yom Kippur. This year, perhaps more than others, felt more meaningful... I no longer felt as anxious about not eating, or as jittery about the time passing faster. It was just a blissful day of talking to G-d, knowing He was listening to me, and acknowledging my deep desire to be better. Sometimes we apologize to someone and as the words, "I'm sorry," come off our lips we can see they have tuned us out. They have been hurt too deeply to even consider be consoled by two such silly words... I'm sorry...
But G-d? He is different... He waits, and waits, and waits so patiently for us to give an inkling of an apology and then he pushes the door open all the way. He invites us in with a hug, and a kiss. G-d isn't blinded by His emotions. He is overcome with love for us and cannot hold back how happy He is that we have acknowledged our shortcomings but want to better.
Pretty amazing...

On another note, my method of making it through Yom Kippur without agonizing over my lack of coffee or the bagels that awaited me was this...
We don't eat in order to become holy spiritual  beings... we are already holy spiritual beings and therefore do not need to eat.

A Gut Gebentched Yuhr. May we all have a year of goodness, life, laughter, love and success.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Panic

The culmination of a year of success and failures, trials and triumph and happiness and sadness is finally upon us. I tend to wake up the mornings of Erev Rosh Hashana and Erev Yom Kippur with this lump in my throat and a paralyzing grasp squeezing my heart.
This is it.
This is the end.
Everything I tried to achieve this year, every test I passed or fail is going to be scrutinized and judged.
Now, I am very aware of my shortcomings. I know that I made mistakes this year. A LOT of them. I made bad choices, bad friends and royally messed up in many ways.
But, at the same time, I am not so humble that I cannot acknowledge the areas in which I succeed. The mentors I became close with, the inspiration I gleaned from the most mundane, and all of my personal achievements and successes. I can visualize my scale in the sky as every action, word and deed line up to be sorted onto the side of good and onto the side of bad. 
"Next up, that time that Rachelli took her 'little sister' to the doctor when her parents had a busy schedule.... and its good!"
Phew. At least I know I have a few things in my favor.
"And now we have that night that Rachelli hung out with a less than savory crowd... That doesn't look too great..."
Luckily, I think I redeemed myself by leaving before things got too messy.
But there it will be, the positives and negatives and everything in between. I imagine Hashem looking over my profile trying to determine if I am worthy of another year of precious life. But thankfully, He also looks at where I am now. Now. Now. In the present. In the moment. Past and future notwithstanding, I am judged for the very instant where I commit myself to making better choices, doing my good, collecting more inspiration and coming closer to G-d. And that's what I want. That's what I have always wanted.
Life is funny in that we know what is the right choice, the right way, the right everything... but we get lost, misguided, confused and forget where we need to be going. 
I saw a quote that about sums this up.... How can the destination be so clear yet we're all so uncertain where we're headed?
We know where we need to be going, but the way to get there is messy, confusing, glorious, joyful, sad, difficult, painful, troubling, beautiful, inspiring and everything else that comes along with this journey we call life.
בדרך שאדם רוצה לילך בה מוליכין אותו
The way in which I want my life to go, that is the direction I will follow.
Tonight at 6:27 pm, and for the 25 hours following, I will state my mission statement for the year to come. I choose a life of meaning, of happiness, of inspiration and purpose. I choose a life worth living, a life I can be proud of and a life that Hashem can be proud of.

Gmar Tov. May we all be inscribed for a year of life, happiness and closeness with the Ribono Shalom. May all of our prayers for ourselves and for Klal Yisroel be answered L'Tova. May this be the year we experience the coming of Moshiach and the final Geula.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Repentence

It's been this way for a while now
Trying to make sense of the madness within
While pretending all is ok
If you saw me this way
Would I look like a storm
Or a rippling lake
It's incredible how strong I can be
When all I want to do is break
I have fought with my demons
And battle them still
In the attack at dawn
I can overcome with my will
But when those enemies of night
Come storming at my door
My strength and faith
Is wasted and poor
There is a certain security
In fighting when there is no chance of success
Because the odds are against me
I can revel in this mess
I'll clean it when the sun rises
There are so many surprises
When I have lost all hope
I believe in second chances
I believe I can try again
Because as the sun sets for the end
It is rising where the world bends.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Five Years

I was looking through my old posts... and then I looked at my first post. I wrote it for Yom Kippur five years ago. I missed my five year anniversary (English date) by two days, but since I wrote that post for Yom Kippur, I think it was before the Hebrew date.

Five years.

I don't think there has been much in my life that I have stuck to doing so consistently. There were definitely breaks during my blogging... a couple days here.... a few weeks of writer's block... months of needing to find a new outlet... but I have always come back here. I suppose I have found that writing here is cathartic... a place for me to express things that would be otherwise socially unacceptable... a soapbox for my opinions and ideals... a safe place for when I want to hide from the world...

I don't know how many people read this.... or if anyone reads this at all.. (ok, I know there are a few.... thank you for sticking by me) but I am so grateful for having this blog, this identity, that allows me to express parts of my soul that I would otherwise keep locked up tight.

So if you have been with me since the beginning, thank you. If you only showed up recently, I hope I didn't scare you too much. If you showed up now, welcome to my little corner of madness... Have some tea and stay a while.

Happy Five Years to me!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Of IVs and Analogies

I am scared that one day I will wake up, unsure of how I got to where I am, no memory of how I lost consciousness and uncertain of what happened during my slumber. I am afraid that my life will end with me just rambling nonsensically of things less lofty than my soul's mission in this world. I worry that while I sleep, in transition to the world to come, I will be unaware of the purgatory I will endure, the cleansing that hopefully might possibly perhaps bring me to a renewed light and energy in the presence of G-d.
I am scared that I will have no memory of my life. Or perhaps, even worse, the only memory I will have will be all my shortcomings, failures, misguided attempts at fulfillment and betrayal of G-d.
If I died tomorrow, could I stand before G-d, proud of my life? Would I stand by my choices, for good or for bad, and they were intended for the service of G-d? Could I defend my actions and explain that I only wanted to come closer to my dear Father?
I worry about the unknown, the blackness and abyss of when G-d puts me to sleep and I rise to His throne and stand for judgement. Will the scale weigh in my favor? Will all of my well meaning intentions be recognized as positive deeds used to bring His glory to the world? To bring me closer to Him? To be the best person I could possibly be?
I am afraid that where I stand now, I would certainly be unable to remain standing. I would fall from the sheer weight of my faults and flaws, and crumble before the Holy One Blessed Be He, because who am I to even attempt to speak in His presence when I have failed Him so terribly?

And then I realize... that while they may have put me under, a medically induced sleep, and I have no recollection of when I went to sleep or how I woke up in another place, I AM awake. I still have time. The shofar may be sounding and selichos may be recited but I have been given another morning, another waking to attempt to rectify the past, to prepare myself for a more beautiful and fulfilling day. A day that G-d will look at me and be proud and say, "You can have one more day. One more day, one more day, a million one more day to make Me proud, to bring My Name and Glory into the world, and for that, you can have one more day."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wanderlust

Give me words
Wishes
Wonderments
I have wanderlust
To get back to you
6000 miles
Might as well be to the moon
And back
For how far away we are
Cars can't cross oceans
And planes can't keep pace with my beating heart
As I beat with love for you
No expression
Of song
No imagery captured
Could hold as tight
To my need for you
I dream
I pray
I hope
To return home
When the wars have ended
When the hate has been erased
We will rebuild the broken walls
Lay foundations for a stronger future
And be everything we were meant to be

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Musings at 8 am

I wake up in darkness
Though I'm sure my eyes are open
There is fear of this oblivion
But my belief still keeps me hoping

This night can't last forever
The sun still has to rise
I wait in darkness
For the light to reach my eyes

There are those who tell me it's hopeless
And I should just give up
But even when I feel that way
I still have hope even when I'm stuck

As the clock turns its numbers
I see a glimpse of light
There is a glimmer of comfort
That I'll make it through the night

When I feel like nothing will change
And things will be this way forever
I know this moon will wane
And I will face this stormy weather

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Alert

It took me almost a month and a half to do it. Yea, I had downloaded the app. I set it to regions that I felt connected to. But... I turned off the notification sound. How could I possibly go about my day with that siren wailing from my phone? How could I get any work done with that incessant sound going off? But then again... how could I not?
I changed the settings to notify me of all rocket alerts in all regions of my beloved Eretz Yisroel. I turned on the notification sound. I have my phone next to me all day. And now... I know what my beloved Eretz Yisroel is enduring.
My heart pounds. My head spins. How can anyone think? How can anyone breathe? How can I live comfortably in my four walls when my brothers and sisters are being bombarded and praying their four walls aren't hit? 
I sit down for breakfast.... RED ALERT.
I daven... RED ALERT.
I start doing some work in front of my computer... RED ALERT.
I go to the bathroom... RED ALERT.
As I type this post, the Red Alert has gone off at least ten times in regions across the country. My Twitter alerts are an additional reminder that this is real. This isn't some virtual reality where the Red Alert only exists in my phone and people aren't running for their lives. This is life. This is the only reality Eretz Yisroel knows right now. 
6,000 miles away, there isn't much I can do. I can donate to the IDF... I can retweet and show my support. I can daven. I can daven. Hashem... I'm davening...
And as I daven... a Red Alert goes off...
Five... four... three... two... one...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Questions

Can you answer me this
The war
And the relentless hate
The pointless destruction
And senseless loss of life
What is its purpose
Its worth
What lesson
Are we meant to be learning
What question
Should we be answering
Or better yet
What question
Should we be asking
My brothers at war
My sisters in tears
My mother
Lost in her pain
And my father
Unable to end this war
If this is the battle
We are meant to fought
Than better equip us
With a heart of steel
And a mind of knives
For our heart of flesh
Has failed us
And we allow the enemy to flee
We allow the world
To tell us how to be
But all we need
Is to be the people
You know we can be
So as a humble sheep
Among the savage wolves
I strive to live
According to your will
Within the world
You placed me in,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Open Door Policy... Just Please Wipe Your Feet

My doors are wide open
The windows have been unlocked
Come in, stay a while
Have a drink
Or two
I remember you
When you first came around
Hard hitting and hurtful
But now I invite you in again
For a game of chess
Don't mind the mess
I had some visitors the other day
I forgot to put their stuff away
Welcome in
We can hug
Or kiss
Or sit in silence
I am fine with the quiet
Or if you prefer
Let's converse
Discuss
Share what's on your mind
You already know what's on mine
The confusion
And wanderlust
Of where I am
And where I want to be
But here and now
You are sitting beside me
And I think
If I try
I can be ok with that
With just sitting
And looking you in the face
To understand
Your place
In this mixed up head of mine
This state of mind
In this house of glass
That everyone sees inside of
But I just want to see
Inside of me.

Light

I am waking up in darkness
Trying to make sense of chaos
I am writing words
Saying things
I forgot
How to think
To use my head
Making choices
Is a tipping scale
And I've chosen darkness
If I recall the light
I remember
All the happiness I felt
The joy
And bliss
And light
What brilliant
Radiant light
I can remember
I can relive
I can recall
I can
Live,

Breathing Kedusha

I have breathed in Kedusha. I have inhaled the otherworldly air of the Shechina, where the mundane is fleeting and reality is from a higher realm.

I have felt what it's like to look, Panim El Panim, in the face of G-d.

When G-d created us B'Tzelem Elokim, He created human beings with a piece of G-d within them... we posses a piece of G-dliness, so pure and so holy that nothing else can compare... Nishmas Elokim. But, as humans are known to do, we have distorted that purity and sullied it with our own goals and motivations. But G-d created individuals who are free from this plight. Individuals who perhaps do not possess every mental capacity to be in control of their actions, but who possess a soul that is so clean and innocent. 

I cannot full describe what it means to spend seven weeks in  "Heaven on Earth". Coming down from such a high is so achingly painful, my heart is still recovering. When Neshamos connect so deeply and so honestly, anything less than that is difficult to accept. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Answers

Sometimes we get answers
To the questions
We were too scared to ask
Life altering conflicts
Are solved with a simple solution
That while is so painlessly presented
Is more painful
Than if we had risked asking

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sacrifice

They gave blood
Bodies
Bruises
We have been banned
Barred
We struck deals
And lost lives
So why shouldn't I
Make a sacrifice
For the greater good
For the tikkun of this broken world
So here is my heart
I am trying to break the stone
So you can have my flesh
The part of me
That desperately needs G-d in her life
Bit by bit
I will chisel at the rock on my soul
So the dirt will be cleared
And give way for You to complete me

Sacrifice

They gave blood
Bodies
Bruises
We have been banned
Barred
We struck deals
And lost lives
So why shouldn't I
Make a sacrifice
For the greater good
For the tikkun of this broken world
So here is my heart
I am trying to break the stone
So you can have my flesh
The part of me
That desperately needs G-d in her life
Bit by bit
I will chisel at the rock on my soul
So the dirt will be cleared
And give way for You to complete me

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Light Words

Words like light
Visual manifestations
Of what is held my heart
My lips cannot formulate
The thoughts I think
They remain dormant
Until in darkness
They are revealed
Like fireflies
Fleeting past the delighted hands
Of the proud ones
Who hold back tears
Together we sing
The wheels go round
And you have finally
Made a sound
We rejoice at your whispers
Because we hear your heart

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Revenge

Take me
Take my wounded
My shattered bones
And broken spirits
Collect my spilled blood
And fallen tears
Remember me
When night falls
And the rest of the world sleeps
But I lay awake
Awaiting a gunshot
Or siren
Because only you
Are by my side
As the rest of the world
Vilifies me
And turns us into the enemy
But it is the enemy
Who has called for war
And I only seek to protect
And perhaps
Slightly
Seek to avenge
Because when someone hurts my brothers
I cannot remain silent
Their blood calls for battle
And I hear the call.

Friday, July 11, 2014

War

Before you start a war, you better know what you're fighting for.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Next Day

By now my Facebook feed has been flooded with links and posts about the tragic murders of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. Everyone has an opinion, a point to make, a finger to wave and comment to make. People have expressed anger, grief, sadness, disbelief, shock and most of all, pain. We are clearly a nation struggling to make sense of a senseless act. The way the world views the Jewish people is clearly a twisted view of how people, human beings, should be treated. We are pushed aside, neglected, scorned, vilified... we are a thorn in the side of the world. Tolerated, yes... but accepted? Never. No matter how much we try to fit in, blend in, be a part of the world at large, we will always be the outsiders. And that is the way it should be. Being the "Am Segula" means that we live on a higher realm of existence. It means that when someone tries to tear us down, we become stronger for it. One post I saw that struck me was one that went like this... "if they were murdered soon after being kidnapped, why did we have to go through 18 days of wondering and wishing for their return? Because if it had been an open-shut case of 'boys kidnapped, boys murdered, boys found' then we would not have taken action on our own to beseech the heavens for their return. For 18 days we prayed, took upon kabalos, kept shabbos, lit candles, and all other manners of trying to better ourselves, to show G-d how much we want our brothers back. We needed these 18 days to make a change."
Nothing could have heal the pain we feel for this horrific lost. I can't give a reason or explanation. I can't forgive the animals who did this. I can't calm this storm inside that makes me just want to rip them to pieces. But bloodshed isn't the answer.
Prayer is.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Revenge

You dirty, cruel monsters killed
Not one
Not two
But three
Three of my brothers
You kidnapped their bodies
And then stole their souls
Their blood cries from the earth
And mine burns with fury and pain
6,000 miles away
I surge with a passion
To exact a meticulous, murderous revenge
To raze anyone in my way
Until I can gouge the eyes of those
Who took my brothers
My brothers
Who I prayed for
Longed for
And now,
Have lost
If the world does not respond
With the intensity that is felt by us all
Then let the world burn down
Because a world that can let this go on
Is not a world I want to belong to.
Eyal... Naftali... Gilad...
I never met you
I never knew you
Until a few weeks ago
When your names
Evoked such an ache in my heart
And now
Such a pain in my soul...
I want nothing more
Than to race around the world
Send us all back in time
And change that one step
That brought us to where we are today
Yearning and learning
That G-d
Has a plan
And while it hurts
I must... MUST believe
That it is His will
And for the loss of your souls
I must better myself
I must better my world
I must better the world
So that your deaths
Are not in vain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guess Who's Back

Pull it together... you look like a fool out there.
Well, you make me like that.
Puh-lease. You are in control here. You HAVE been in control. But now you are letting yourself get turned upside way too easily. It's not even an effort... I mean, come on.
I got it now. Really. I'll be better.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We All Feel It

We all feel it
This gaping hole
This widening pit
This endless abyss
Of waiting
Holding our collective breath
Refreshing the news pages
Reciting prayers
In hushed tones with tears
And in screams
Of agony
We all feel
This pain
This frustration and anger
But mostly
We feel hurt
We are hurting
A part of our national body
Has been ripped away
And we are searching for that crucial limb
That life sustaining nerve and artery
Of a people that rely so heavily on each other
We all feel
Like part of ourselves is missing
And we hope
We pray to G-d
That we are reunited soon
Because to feel this loss
Forever
Would be a feeling
We could never forget.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Start Again

The end is the beginning
Where the book closes
Another word is being written
And when you feel like the dust
Has been bitten
And the road falls off the edge
There is always a way
To take a step back
And turn around
The final sound
Is the last exhale
Of life's breath
But the beating
Of a broken heart
Is simply a finish line
That will become a new start
And all the pain
Will be worth a medal one day
With a shiny engraving that reads
"I did not give up"
Even when that last second
Has passed
There is one more moment
To leave it all in the past
And one day
I hope to leave you there
And live a new way
Without thinking about you.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Few Things

A few things on my mind...

1. Nothing works better to improve my day than a little spa treatment... a manicure goes a long way.

2. Cheesecake is a magical food.

3. Caffeine is best in large doses at frequent intervals.

4. Love is such a loosely used word, I think we have lost sight of what it truly means.
(I love cheesecake. I love you. I love sleep... see what I mean?)

5. Friends are literally make me feel lighter... simply expressing a frustration eases so much anxiety and tension.

6. Helping others means learning to help myself. And that is even harder than going out of my way for someone else.

7. Giving maaser makes me feel rich. I am so fortunate to be in a position to give Tzedakah, and not be the recipient.

8. Passion is powerful. Be careful where you devote your energies.

9. The facets of Torah are endless. I wish I could learn it all.

10. I won't be alone forever. I can't.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Issue with Achdus

As of late, and perhaps for many years, I have noticed a problem within our people... a problem of being One People. Over the course of several years, I have been affiliated with several incredible organizations that do amazing work for the Klal. But, the thing is... all of these organizations are mutually exclusive. Each one has their events, fundraisers, concerts, programs and services... They provide different, and the same services to similar clientele. Yet, I have yet to see a poster proclaiming "The Achdus Event!" with all of these organizations in participation. Nope. Never. Instead, when one group gets too close to another, out comes the claws, snide comments, petty remarks and evil eyes. 
I have been the recipient of much of this abuse. I have been persecuted for trying to volunteer for multiple organizations. I have been ridiculed, punished and stepped on. The message seems clear.... "do good.. but only do good for us. No one else."
Is this the kind of chesed we promote? We have become insular and vindictive. And the only people who we hurt are ourselves... and the kind people who simple want to do good for the world, yet suffer because they want to do so much good...
For a people who speak of "Kol Yisroel Areivim Zeh La'Zeh", I think we need to take a closer look at who we look out for.... and maybe expand our arms wider and embrace everyone.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Take me back
To when I was invincible
To when I could protect myself
And the mask I wore
Was not one of fear and doubt
But now
My cape has been clipped
And my identity exposed
My superpower
Is super useless
Because the forces of evil
Now live inside me
And they taunt and torture
With the cruelest of intentions

Blessing

I bless this part of me
This pulsating part of me
That hurts like hell
But reminds me why
I am here
It feels like fire inside
And stings like a thousand swords
But I pause
To bless it
Because without it
I would be
Just another pile of dust
Or a lifeless breath of air
A wave in the wind
Just saying goodbye
And so I 
Say this blessing
Of thanks
And giving
Of this reminder
Why I am living
For all the hills
Hurt
And hate
Will carry me
Like walking on knives
To that relief of happiness
Heartbeats
That feel like a song
Melodious
And magical
I bless myself
For you have blessed me
And I will be a vessel
To carry this goodness
To others
Pass this blessing
To the world...

Street art. Graffiti. Art. Morley. Quote. Urban

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chain Mail Love

I am afraid
But my face
Is armored
And my heart is
A shield
You can strike me
Like me
Love me
But you won't get past
All these defenses
I have
Because
The last person
I gave my heart to
For safekeeping
He left me longing
Alone
And wondering
What I did wrong...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I Like to Feel...

I like to feel
A thousand emotions
A pounding storm
A racing heart
A slow trickle
A hard hit
Slow dance
Small secret
Deep wonder
Below
Everything
Is anything
The possibility
Of becoming
A mirror of myself
Or a feeling figure
Contained in this flesh
Bound by skin and sinews
But if you
Cracked my bones
I would not shatter
For the matter
Of dust
Is simply where I came from
And where I will return
.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

He said no
I knew he would
Not the type
Not right
Too this
Too that
I danced around
I went under
And over
To hear
No
A resounding
Pounding
Heart wrenching
No
But then again
Maybe
That's what I wanted
All along.....

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fool

Fools
and devils
the lot of them
wild
animals
their lashing tongues
and racing hearts
I fear I cannot escape
their gnashing teeth
And hypnotic eyes
But I
I have been hurt
They have cut me
I bleed
colors I never saw
Before
And my heart
My heart has been turned against me
My closet comrade
Now a fearful foe
Enemies
Dangerous
Beasts.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Masks

It is a mask
What am I hiding,
You ask,
And to be honest
No better question
Has been formulated
Seeing as such
Life has me situated
Stuck between
Where I am coming from
And where I want to go
And those
Who are in the know
See me as that
Small, silly child
Stuck in a play-pretend hat
And I
Want to be in vogue
I want to break rules
And maybe
Go rogue
And be taken seriously
For once
I don't want to be
The dunce
So, to take a stand
I wear this mask
And what is it
You persistently ask
This mask
Is me
Everything you never wanted me to be
But everything
I was ever meant to be.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ascension

We left the dirt... the dust... the danger... and death. We escaped from the clutches of persecution, suffering, torture and enslavement. We are free.
Now what?
The crucial, and often overlooked, point of Yetzias Mitzrayim is that we were not simply freed... We became a free people, free to serve our Redeemer, Creator, Father and King. He took us out to bring us to acceptance His greatest gift, the Torah.
We began counting the days until that incredible moment.

But let's make it practical. As much as I try to imagine myself leaving Egypt, witnessing the plagues and eating some sheep, it's not hard. But we all have things we are enslaved to.
So I decided to find something to free myself from. And so far, I am doing ok. Should I succeed, should I rise above this challenge that has been weighing me down, I know I will be better for it. I will be able to approach Matan Torah with a lighter heart... these chains (pun intended) will be lifted and removed...

3 days down...  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Morning Run

I wake up
The sun has been in the sky
For hours
I lace up
Get up
Get out
Get going
Get moving
Get gone
Get lost
In my head
My thoughts
I run
To feel something
To remember
That there is pain
That doesn't hurt my heart
My wild, wicked heart
My cage
Cannot stop its running
So instead
My legs
Must pick up the pace
To catch
What has run away
And today
Maybe I'll overtake 
My racing heart.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Precious Words

It's happened again. I have been resigned to whispers, soft spoken words, because anything louder scratches the insides of my throat, like a beast trying to claw its way out. I have been forced to slow my lips and loosen my ears, to listen... to hear. The world feels different when I cannot shout my protests of injustice. I have tried. I want to fight back. I hate feeling suppressed and unable. But no one wants to listen when they can't hear.
I remember in school when they would show us videos... (those forbidden things that play on the microwave...) and there was always that one kid who wouldn't shut up. We would raise the volume, and so would that kid. Eventually, listening became too much of a strain and we all just lost interest.
That's how I feel. People have lost interest in me. Without my voice, I am simply a less interesting version of myself.
But... this time of silence has given me the unique opportunity to listen to others. To hear their thoughts, their opinions.
The ideas of others are truly fascinating. There is so much potential and creativity in the world, just waiting to spill forth from tight-trapped lips, because at some point, no one cares to listen to someone else.
So... world... I cannot speak. So I will listen. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas. Your wishes.... dreams... your speeches and monologues... I want to hear words of inspiration or desperation.
I want to know what you think.

What are you thinking?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sigh of... Freedom?

How fitting
That as we speak of freedom
From what enslaves us
I have been freed
From the possibility
Of you.
I feel as if the chains
Around my ankles
Have been snapped and burned
I can walk with lightness in my step
The heaviness in my heart
Isn't so heavy anymore
That feeling of "what if?"
Is now a resounding "not happening,"
And I can be at peace with that
I had the patience
(Or not)
To see where this chapter would go
But I can close this book
I can shut the door
On you
On us
And now
I can focus on me
And all I can be
Without worrying
What you think
Cuz to be honest
Did I ever really care?





(Probably...)



But not anymore.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lonely

Does it matter
If my days are busy
And full of good
If every second
Is occupied
By something meaningful
What is that meaning
If it means nothing to me?
If every part of me
Inside my soul
Remains empty
And alone
The clocks keeps ticking
And time is sticking
Congealing into a mass
Of slow moving
Soul stealing
Mediocre
Moments
Of
Loneliness.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Productivity or Just Procrastinating

I have always felt
There is a fine line
Between being productive
When pushing something off
And simple procrastinating
Today
Was one of those days
Dentist
3.5 mile run
And a shiur
Pesach cleaning (or just crap cleaning)
And still
I feel like
I have just been
Pushing off something
Something important
But...
I just can't quite put my finger on it...
Maybe it is buried beneath
Six years of "memories"
And useless garbage...
And maybe I'll figure it out...
Soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Madness

Fell down... down...
D....
....o.....
.........w......
..............n.....
A rabbit hole
But 
This is not wonderland
There is no Queen of Hearts
Because my heart
Still beats in my body
My head
Still attached at the neck
But
What the heck
I would rather 
Be smoking with the caterpillar
Lost in a haze
Than be wandering
In this
Not-so-wondrous maze
Because there are beasts a-wandering
And as I run
I stumble upon
Madness
Someone
Who might be
Mad for me
Mad about me
A kind of madness
That makes me feel
Like my heart
Can conquer anything
Monsters will not scare me
And trouble will not terrorize
But
As I open my eyes
In the bright light
I realize
That the rabbit hole
Was just my front stairs
And now my back hurts from falling
And my heart hurts
From wishing.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Love

When the bribes run out
And the pot of gold is empty
When the threats quit working
And instilling fear fails
When your hand becomes tired
And pain no longer creates pause
When your tongue goes a dry
And a million words have no meaning
When you have nothing left
And no plans in place
When hope is hopeless
And happiness is hazy
When there are no options
And escape isn't possible
Then, and only then
Will love remain
And love, true love
Can conquer all

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Critics

The critics
Will always criticize
With sharp tongues
And judging eyes
They will find flaws
And faults with all
When it comes to unnecessary comments
They will gladly answer the call
Snide remarks
Are their specialty
And they hurl insults
With such ridiculous glee.
The critics
Criticize
But because of their hurt
I will rise.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today, We Enter

Flashback a couple hundred years... imagine the scene... a trembling queen... a king with intelligence below average... a wise man... a wicked plot... an enemy...
If you haven't guess, I am talking about Purim.
There are so many themes and concepts that emerge when speaking about Purim... the re-acceptance of Torah... the destruction of Amalek... the necessity for believing in G-d... I am sure you have heard a few... and maybe you have heard this one before, but in trying to make the Torah relevant to my life, I will share with you my thoughts.
In reading the story of Purim, hearing the many retold versions of Mordechai and Esther and most explanations, Achashverosh isn't really portrayed as a smart man. He drinks a lot. He has a hard time thinking for himself. In a moment of rash decision, he executes his wife. He blindly gives over his power to a man with questionable motives. Overall, he is generally seen as a "silly", shikkur and shoddy king.
Esther, the righteous niece/wife/cousin of Mordechai, comes from a rich lineage, a prestigious dynasty of Jewish royalty in their own rite. She becomes queen and by way of Mordechai's harsh rebuke is placed in the devastatingly tricky position of being the sole redeemer of the Jewish people, sentenced to genocide by Haman.
And so, she fasts. She prays to Hashem to save her; Hashem who is hidden throughout the text of this story. She knows that going to Achashverosh uninvited is reason for beheading. She is literally putting her life on the line for her noble and necessary cause of saving the Jewish people.
She prays "Keili Keili..." as she enters the royal chambers of Achashverosh and as she does so, she passes idols on her way "Lama Azavtani??". Her spiritual cleansing and connection that she attained through fasting and prayer vanishes. The protection she had built for herself falls away. And she enters.
Achashverosh raises his scepter and grandly offers up to half his kingdom to the fearful queen!
Fast forward in the text. Esther invites Achashverosh and Haman to a party. Then to a second party. She reveals Haman's plot. Haman is killed. The Jews are saved an can fight back against the genocide incited against them. We sing, dance, drink and eat in celebration. Hooray!
But you knew all this. So why am I telling you this?
I think that we all face an Achashverosh in our life. A situation that feels so formidable and daunting that we are so afraid and just want to get out. We pray. We find it hard to eat. We approach the situation and feel as if Hashem has forsaken us. And then, we look back following the situation and see that the "enemy" or situation we faced wasn't quite so frightening... it really was like approaching a drunk dumb king and... we were never alone. We had the strength we needed all along. G-d was always right there.
I'll admit, it is easy to say "oh, it wasn't so bad" after the fact. But what if we went into every difficulty and thought... "this isn't so bad. Nothing is more powerful than G-d... so any force I face is simply a less threatening version of anything I think because G-d can change things in a moment!"
Just some food for thought...

On a personal note, there was a year in my life where every day literally felt like I was walking into Achashverosh's chamber. I davened and prayed for redemption, for a scepter to be raised towards me in kindness. In took a year for that to happen. Looking back, it was a year of growth. I needed it. I needed to realize that the only One I can rely on G-d, especially when those I am closest to, or trusted the most have forsaken me. Even in my darkest moments, I retained the knowledge and belief that G-d would always do right by me, whether it was the way I thought it would be done or not.

I truly feel that at one point or another, we are all like Esther. We are facing danger. The enemy is all around. And at that moment, the only place to look is up, to G-d.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Heartbreak

I have watched
I have heard
I have felt
The heartache
Heart
Break
Nails on a chalkboard
That skin chilling cry
Of everything being lost
Every dream
Desire
And hope
Shattered
Battered
Broken
I have tried glue
And nails
Tape
To repair
The cracks
And mess
But at best
Someone knows I care
At worst
They realize there is nothing
I can do
And for you
I would go to the end of the earth
And back
But for me
My heart will stay
In pieces
If I stray
They won't know
About the pain

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Honey Date

Once dated
Already jaded
Piles of papers
And lists of names
To pick
Pick off
Or picture
Meetings at midnight
And the roundtable
Lobbies are off limits
And arcades are just limited
Miles crossed
Hearts tossed
Forget the man
Marry the idea
That marriage
Is reached
By the road less traveled
Because you must be mad
To wander down this thorny path
But if I meet you at the clearing
Will you be more endearing
Than the man who couldn't rise to the occasion?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Direction?

Sometimes I sit at my computer to write a post, and think Do I really want to share this with my anonymous blog world?  When I first began this blog, I was an angst-ridden teenager who was too angry with the world, and too restricted in how much of my mind I could speak. But now, I have matured (in some ways) and grown up. I don't see the world as such an oppressive and cruel place. I have made my own place. I am happy where I am in my life now. Sure, there are things I want to happen. I still have dreams, desires and wishes. But my plans for life are starting to fall into place, piece by piece. It's fun to watch the puzzle of my future be put together.
With that being said, I am no longer that angry high schooler who needed to have some place to vent about how unfair life is. So my question is, what direction will this blog take? I have thought about turning it into a "lifestyle" blog, but that will probably turn some people away. And I am pretty sure there are enough "shidduchim" blogs out there to keep everyone occupied with how they will marry off all those anonymous bloggers.
So... where to go? What direction should I turn this blog? Far left? Right turn? U-Turn?
Hm....

Friday, February 21, 2014

Elation

I wandered these streets
Heart elated
Mind debated
All the struggles I have faced
And will face
Something about this place
Makes all the pieces
Of my broken heart
Hopeful for a new start
There is peace here
Something special so near
I could walk here for miles
And never feel a drop of fatigue
So it would seem
I could lose all my worries
And not have a single care
Just from breathing in this air
All the questions
Fade to nothingness
And the answers
Have always been before me
And here I can open my eyes
To see
That with you
Is the only way to live
And without you
Is no life at all

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coming Home

Is this real?
Can it be true?
Too long apart
I am returning to you
I have heard you calling
A faint whisper
Lost in the chaos
I strained to listen
And could hear your plea
Desperately
Waiting for me
After months
I am coming home.

Friday, February 7, 2014

For one second, it was too good to be true.

And guess what.

It was.

At least I have the memories...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For Me

I made this choice
For me
Can't you see
Things are not the same
I am smarter now
I see more clearly
I am ready to live my life
The one I was given
And the life I lead before
Wasn't living
I was simply letting myself
Be pulled
Pushed
Shoved
Buried
Beneath
Expectations I never had to fulfill
And demands that were never fair
I always rose to the occasion
But now
I will choose the occasion
It's my party
And I will smile cuz I can.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Slowly

I wish to close my eyes. Lean back slowly, my head feeling heavier... heavier... and then landing, perhaps on a clouds, and left to just float.... away. To drift somewhere where worries have no meaning. Where tomorrow is simply a word, and yesterday is too far to remember. I think that sometimes we lose moments in the chaos of living day to day. We forget to wake up each day and think "what incredible things will I accomplish today?" We get lost in the rush of where to go, what to do, what to buy....
I have been rushing. Running. In the literal and figurative sense. And while there are miles behind me, and miles ahead, there is a journey as well that I would like to enjoy.
So... perhaps I will try... to just slow... down....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Feel Joy

Happy Birthday!
Mazel tov!
Congratulations!
I am
Overjoyed!
It's a boy!
A girl!
A chosson!
A kallah!
L'Chaim
Vort
Bris
Engagement
Wedding
Kiddush
I just
Want to say
I am learning
How to feel joy
And it feels
Joyous.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Clean

I am getting clean
Nothing 
Will hold me back
From setting myself
Free
I have set out to be
The best version
Of me
So I am getting clean
Letting go
Of what has been
Dragging me down
Down...
A downward spiral
Of holding onto memories
That mean nothing
A past
That has passed
And so
I clean myself
Get clean
Remove the garbage
Pardon my french,
The crap I have clutter my life
So today
I am getting clean.

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