48 posts categorized "Thought for the Day"

The Beauty of Creation

E43487f1-89a1-403b-9d49-47aaa117b399

The subject line used to be reserved for my third son, because I'd never seen a more angelic face in my life. I mean, all of my kids are equally as gorgeous and I really didn't mean what I just wrote.

Anyhow, I've decided to share the most coveted title in the world with this mountain, located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Just look at this spectacular scenery.

No, really look at it. Contemplate standing at the base of this majestic mountain and taking in its awesome beauty. 

I could have put my Yaacov's picture in here and told you to do the exact same thing, but that wouldn't make me a very good mom, would it? I mean, isn't it illegal in the parenting bylaws to admit that one kid is smarter/better looking/more well-behaved than the others? 

David ran away from me last week with the excuse that he "had to work" or something lame like that. I was like, "Yeah, poor guy. You have to have a business meeting at one of the world's top ski destinations. And don't give me the nonsense that your client's company is based out of Jackson Hole!"

During the three days he was away, I sent him threatening texts warning him that he had better not even DARE think about setting foot on that ski slope! Uh, uh! If I be stuck here wit' 5 crazy kids, there ain't be no way u'z goin' skiing! 

Supposedly he didn't ski, but I will never really know. I should have tracked his phone.

So! 

How gorgeous is this mountain?

Isn't it amazing how gazing at nature has the ability to bring out an awe of our Creator? Unfortunately, many people stop at nature. Meaning, they're in awe of nature itself. 

But for some reason, they may not want to ask the simple question: Who created nature? 

To admit that it wasn't created by some evolutionary fluke would mean that a person would have to admit that something created nature. And if something created nature, that means that there's something in charge of creation. Which would mean that if something's in charge, concepts like randomness and chance might not hold water any more.

But that's a discussion for another time. 

Let's talk about the believers like you and me. 

There are many times we just don't feel connected to G-d. We're down, we're burdened with life's challenges, we're uncertain about the future, and so on. 

It's understandable and normal.

But you want to know a simple way to reconnect with Hashem? It's simple, really!

Just look at nature. 

Take the time to notice the beauty in the details. Really look at all of the designs and shades that go into a simple flower. A butterfly's wings. The bark of a tree. A bird's coloring.

Nature is spectacular. There's no greater testimony to Hashem's Glory than nature. 

And if we stop to appreciate nature, we'll get a tiny yet moving glimpse into the awesomeness of G-d. And this glimpse will take our breath away. 

Yes, even you guys up north who are getting pounded with snow and ice, find something in nature that you can appreciate. Even if it's flowers at the supermarket. Anything!

Appreciating nature is such a simple and profound way to build emuna, gratitude, and awe of Hashem.

So don't wait! Find something beautiful to stare at today!

Something, not someone! You crazies, you. 

~Racheli


Miami Winter

IMG_5848

So yesterday we enjoyed a cold blast of winter air. 

The high was 70 degrees and the low was 52 or something. F-f-f-f-freeeezing!!! 

Seriously. I put jackets and sweaters on my complaining kids. After school, we celebrated the Arctic-like weather with a nice camp fire.

What are those things called? Bonfires? Backyard fire hazards? Ah, fire pit! Right. 

This is the first time I've enjoyed a fire pit, and I gotta say I'm loving it. Except for the 800 times my oldest one doused the fire with that liquid that makes fires grow. What's it called? Gas? 

And my third one, as you can see in this picture, was busy making his marshmallows as carcinogenic as possible. Love the goggles. Pretty clever, right??

I made them hot chocolate milkies and we chilled in the backyard, waiting for the blizzard to arrive. 

To my disappointment, the clouds refused to appear. The day was just too darn perfect!

South Florida doesn't have much of a winter, but there are rare days when the sky is crystal clear and it's cold enough to wear a nice sweater.

It's these days that I wish would never end. 

Of course, until my kids started trying to wrestle each other into the fire pit. They thought it was cool. And all the while my oldest was seeing just how high he could make the fire jump.

Our neighbors hate us. I'm sure of it.

My point has almost nothing to do with this post, but it's still a good one if I do say so myself.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I wanted every moment to last. I didn't want to let it go. I really cherished it as much as I could.

So I was thinking. We experience moments like these, but not enough. For whatever reason, we don't really cherish every moment of our lives.

That's probably because most of them are extremely challenging, so it's hard to see the good, or even take the time to slow down enough to see the good.

But I have a feeling that if we were to just try and find something in every day that we can truly cherish, something that we can say, "I wish this moment wouldn't end," how much better would each day be?

I think just one of these precious moments in the day would be enough to carry us through the other 99%.

Today, tomorrow, and even after tomorrow, if you can remember this post by then, be on the lookout for something in your day that's wonderful. Something you're really thankful for.

And don't let it go.

That is, until you forget about it five minutes later because your boss/client/spouse/kid is yelling at you to stop daydreaming and come back to reality.

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbat! And please, don't eat too much challah! 

YEAH, RIGHT!!!

~Racheli

p.s.- Don't miss Rav Brody's weekly Torah portion below! 


The Adventures of Princess and Cray-Cray

IMG_0563 (3)

Seriously?? 

Of all the pictures I could have posted of our return to Miami, I chose this?? 

Just in case you were wondering, David is Princess and I'm Cray-Cray. And believe me, it doesn't make a difference if we're hungry or not. 

So.... we're heeerreeeeee!!!! I can't believe it. I feel like I landed on another planet. Everything is so different here!

All week I've been yo-yo-ing from, "I'm so happy to be back!" to "OMG what have I done??

But who cares about my fragile and overwhelmed self? Let's talk about COSTCO!! Oh, Costco, how I've missed you so! I'm not going to lie. I really did miss Costco. And I can't believe how many things are kosher at my Costco! Kosher meat, chicken, all kinds of salads, cheeses, dips, snacks, good Heavens! 

And ADIDAS CLOTHING FOR $9.99??? Somebody pinch me. 

I just can't get over the selection and variety of food here! What am I going to do?? I walk around the stores in a slack-jawed daze, taking pictures, just in awe of everything. 

Another majorly shocking experience was Walmart. O.M.G. The crazy prices! The crazy selection! The crazy people! It was unreal. But my favorite part was seeing a guy driving his electric wheelchair up to the register next to us. He was playing Kenny G. so loud, he could have DJ'd for a club on South Beach. So I was checking him out and then I noticed he's got a Magen David, a cross, and about 4 other large gold religious symbols on his necklace. And his fingers were decked out with rings galore. Maybe he really was a DJ. Fascinating.

Oh, you know what else was shocking? Lowriders. Horrible. Forgot how horrible they were. Can anybody explain the logic to me? Does the fact that your head is vibrating and your eardrums are rupturing make that driver popular? Does a bouncing car really attract the "ladies"? What is attractive about this?? Horribly fascinating.

Here's another shocker. Miami is GORGEOUS! There seems to be a competition between developers to see who can get the top names to put on their buildings so they can charge top prices. Armani, Fendi, Lagerfeld, Reckles... I can't believe how over-the-top these places are! Infinity pools on the 50th floor?? An elevator for your car?? How do so many people have so much money? And more importantly, how do I get them to share some of it with me?

Miami has certainly turned into one of the world's premier locations for materialism. I can see by the looks of this city that our wise sages were right. Wealth is certainly a greater test than poverty. It's so easy to get distracted by the pursuit of wealth and all the fabulousness that comes with it. It's too easy to forget that it is Hashem that is the Source of all of this wealth and the potential blessings that it can bring. 

I suspect being poor is more likely to cause a person to cry out to Hashem, because they're in a position to need help. I don't think that's necessarily the case with rich people. I wonder if anyone's called out to Hashem while shopping at Cartier: "Hashem! Help me! I have too much money and don't know which platinum and diamond watch to buy!" Hmmmm. 

In other news, it's great to see so many people being obviously Jewish. Miami has several strong Torah-observant communities, and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of great people. 

In the meantime, wish me luck as I try to stay strong and not devour those ridiculously delicious and toxic Entenman's chocolate-covered donuts.  

BTW, if you haven't read my article this week, The Lost Check, read it now! It's one of my favorites! 

And could you do me a favor? I'd love to know which one of these Snickers bars you are when you're hungry! Send me a comment! 

~Racheli

And don't forget to check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna class! Details below. 

 


Just Be Real!

Shutterstock_1036683106

It seems that humans aren't the only ones having identity issues these days. 

This little house cat self-identifies as a killer carnivore, one of the most dangerous predators in the world, the Bengal/Siberian/Malayan/Sumatran/I could list ten more types (of) Tiger. 

OMG did I just insult the cat by calling it little? Or a house cat? What if it thinks it's an outdoor cat or a stray cat? Could it sue me in court? Are these questions even allowed anymore?

So I was talking with a person I had paid to listen to me rant close friend about the whole fake issue. Okay, so she's a therapist. And she's one of my closest friends. You know, I'm starting to wonder if she really likes being around me, or she just finds me such a fascinating case study because I'm so not like other people here. 

It's funny that I said that because it happens to be a perfect lead-in to my point. 

Why so many people be so fake? I understand that some level of fakeness is good, like when you have to be cordial with someone that you secretly (or not so secretly) want to kill, tell off, kick off a cliff, or all of the above. It's great to learn to control your emotional urge to lash out at someone who upsets you. Racheli. Yeah, gurrl, I'm talking to you! 

Aside from proper etiquette, why is it so hard for people to be real with each other? Why is it always, "Baruch Hashem," when I ask people how they're doing? Like, I know that we're supposed to thank Hashem for everything, but where is it forbidden to say, "You know, my day really stinks. I overslept, the kid's not feeling well, and I'm up to my ears in dishes and laundry. Plus I ate a few too many carbs yesterday and now I'm all bloated and gross." 

Would it be so bad? Would someone stop being friends with you if you just told them how you felt about something?

What, exactly, would happen if you let your real feelings out? I mean, without insulting or hurting another person's feelings, of course!

But for some reason, we continue to act one way on the surface and another way behind closed doors. If you're like me, hopefully the windows are closed too, because if not, half the street can hear my kids' yelling and screaming.

But seriously, being spiritual and religious doesn't mean you have to deny your feelings and try to act as if you have no problems and no emotions. If you're worried that people won't accept you into their exclusive inner circle because you had the nerve to say you're having a bad day, or some issue is really bothering you, then you don't want those people as friends anyway.

So c'mon folks! You can do it! Who knows? Maybe you'll be an inspiration to others!

And while you're all busy getting all real'd up for me, don't forget to check out Rav Brody's shiur TONIGHT! Info is in the post below!

Have a great, rizzle-ed out day!

~Racheli


Yanny or Laurel?

IMG_0808

So I just found out about the latest internet insanity called "Yanny or Laurel." I ignored my friends' attempts to drag me into their immature nonsense because I'm like, sooo totally beyond that kinda stuff. 

Well. After two days of resisting their back and forth debates about utter stupidity, I couldn't take it anymore. I just had to find out what in the world they were talking about. 

And... I was right. It's utter stupidity. People! You should be ashamed of yourselves! This is what you're using your precious G-d given brain cells for? This is what you're wasting your limited time here on Earth with? 

But in all seriousness, tell me the truth...

Did you hear Yanny, or Laurel?

I just have to know! 

Oh, and what about the words mixed together? Which name did you see?

I saw both, and very easily. But I only heard Yanny. If you heard Laurel you need to get your ears cleaned out. 

Oh, and here's something important you should know! As embarrassing as it is, I'll proudly admit that I'm a HUGE Yanni fan. That means I not only know and play his music, but I also know how his name is spelled. 

It's Yanni. Not Yanny.

Now there very well could be a Yanny out there, but since I don't know him he doesn't really exist. 

Number two: there is a point to this post. 

It turns out that this great human experiment in time-wasting actually has a deep spiritual significance.

You see, you see what you want to see. You hear? You hear what you want to hear.

In other more coherent words, your reality is what you perceive it to be. 

Anything that you experience through your five senses, which is everything, is subject to your perception, your biases, your background, your morals (0r lack thereof,) etc. 

Therefore, each person's reality is completely different and unique. This has so many implications. And this is why we must always take into account another person's point of view, especially when we're having disagreements with each other. To that other person, they are right because that's the way they view the issue. Their reality is all they see, and sometimes it's very hard to get them to see beyond that.

Which is also why we should take things with a huge grain of salt when we hear others talking about things that we didn't personally experience. Again, their perception of whatever happened was real only to them. It does not mean it really happened the way they said it did.

Amazingly, this is why the Torah demands two kosher witnesses when a person is being accused of a wrongdoing.

Even more amazingly, I managed to turn a complete waste of time into something we can learn from. 

But honestly, doesn't it beat listening to the news?

Have a great day!

~Racheli

And don't forget to check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna talk below! 


WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE?!

CandlesAfter the horrific mass murder of 17 innocent children in a place that was supposed to shield them from the outside world, a place where parents shouldn't have to worry about whether or not their child will return home alive from school that day, the American People are outraged.

They are outraged that people like Nikolas Cruz are able to acquire guns and simply walk into a school and start a killing spree. 

I'd just like to elaborate on a question that David, one of our dear readers, asked regarding my last post: "WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE??" His point: When the Jews do something, anything to defend themselves against terrorists, the world is outraged.

We all know the story line. How dare we protect and defend our land and our People from insane terrorists whose mission in life is to run people over, blow them up, and stab them to death. How dare we even refer to them as terrorists! 

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE when the bomb-loving terrorists kill our innocent people and then hand out candies to celebrate? 

Let's switch our focus back to this latest tragedy. Yes, people are outraged. 

But at what?

Some are outraged at the fact that Cruz was able to acquire firearms and ammunition. So they're outraged at the Second Amendment. While I don't want to get into a debate about the Second Amendment, I'd just like to point out that making it illegal or very difficult to buy guns just makes it harder for the good people to defend themselves, which, by the way, everyone still has the right to do. We have this little thing called a Constitution, which gives Americans some rights that most people with common sense actually appreciate. 

Others are outraged at President Trump, though I really don't understand why. Their outrage is so misdirected that we end up with morons telling a poor father who was looking for his murdered daughter that he had it coming to him because he wore a t-shirt that showed he was a Trump supporter. 

While everyone is outraged by this absolute nightmare of a tragedy, Hashem have mercy, I have my own set of outrage questions:

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE against Big Pharma, criminal drug pushers who are responsible for putting MILLIONS of people and children on dangerous, unproven drugs whose side effects are usually worse than the diseases themselves?

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE against all of the pedophiles, rapists, and molesters that are allowed to hold high positions in office and run the country?

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE against men who leave their wives and children because they couldn't control their libidos?

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE against abusive spouses, parents, and guardians?

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE against leaders of countries who are committing rape, child trafficking, civil war, and genocide on a mass scale?

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE against the soul-destroying agenda of the Transgender movement, who is setting up innocent children for a lifetime of self-hate and confusion - and possible suicide?

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE against the UN and all anti-Semitic countries who are doing everything they can to make the State of Israel go bye-bye?

I'll tell you where the outrage is.

It's in Facebook, where people are so busy insulting each other, cutting each other down, and trying to show the world that they're the wisest prophet to have ever walked the Earth. Seriously?! What is the meaning of getting into conversations, arguments, and revealing your darkest secrets with total strangers? Am I missing something here?

Is life so much more exciting when you don't know who you're talking to?

We've become so numb to reality, it seems we're living more in our phones than in real life. Even people sitting in a restaurant at dinner, in the elevator, even at home with their kids - most have their faces about 12 inches from the screen of their phones. 

Instead of being outraged by nonsense, let's be outraged by the fact that we're losing precious time on social media and online activities that don't serve any constructive purpose. People, we can never get that time back!

How much time have we lost by having arguments with total strangers on social media? Time that we could have used to make our families' dinner a bit earlier, have the house straightened up by the time the kids got home, or even have all of our work finished - at work? 

Stop and think...

The world is getting more insane by the minute.

What do we want to do with the precious few moments we have with our loved ones? With our lives? 

Will we continue to throw them into the social media sewer?

Or will we decide to put that phone down and spend real quality time with the ones we love?

The choice is yours.

~Racheli  


MAZAL TOV, YEHUDA!!

IMG-20171127-WA0027

OMGGGGGGGG it's really here!

TODAY is my oldest son's 13th birthday! Yay!!

I mean, NOOOOOO!!

How can it be that 13 years have already passed since he was born? I can't even imagine what happens to a parent when his kid gets engaged.... YIKES!!

On one hand, I'm super excited because tonight we're gonna tear the house down at his bar mitzvah partayyyyy!! RIGHT, TZIPPY??!!

On the other hand, I'm feeling like I should go get some dentures or orthotics made. 

Well I certainly ain't wearing no orthopedic shoes to this party! I'm gettin' all glamified, glamorized, glitterized, and gluttonized.

What does that even mean??

My mind is so distracted with this disaster of a house, so I'd just like to say the following:

Life. Is. Short.  

Seriously. Appreciate every minute. Live every minute. Even during painful times, thank Hashem that you're alive and can spend time with those you love and care about. You can even thank Him for being able to spend time with those you love and hate, because, hey, we all have a spiritual correction to do, right?

Before you know it, poof! Life will be over before we know it and we'll all go back to Never Never Land. G-d what a depressing thought. I'm sorry, I can't help it.

It's a bittersweet moment for me, my son's bar mitzvah. 

I can't thank Hashem emough for this tremendously special soul He brought into my life, at a healthy 9.1 pounds and 10 days late 13 years ago. With no epidural. Thank You for the traumatic great birth. At least I didn't have a c-section or suffer any complications, B"H.

I hope the fledgling little Good Inclination that just entered him will be able to sprout and help him turn into a kind, considerate, confident, wicked smart, tzaddik who manages to get through teenagerhood without having driven his mother into one of those fancy hotels reserved for mothers of teenagers who manage to drive them to special hotels that only serve people who have lost their minds.

Because their teenagers drove them crazy.

Yehuda, I love you so much and hope Hashem gives you every blessing in this world and the Next, Amen!!

Love,

Your Iraqi Mama whose bark is much louder than her bite. Except when she's hungry.

Oh, and one more thing! Today is a super important day, where we read Parashat HaMann for sustenance! Scroll down for Rav Brody's full explanation and links!