No chametz

No chametz

As I write this we are only 3 days away from Pesach! I have so longed for my first Passover and now it is barreling down at me like a freight train (but in a good way).

My family and I have begun the process of removing the chametz (leaven) from both our houses and our lives. As instructed by the Torah, we will not be eating leavened bread for the period of the Passover. Additionally, we will be working on removing the chametz from our own personal lives.

This past Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) I asked my family to make a written list of what needed to be removed from their lives, what they felt necessary to work on in order to lead a more pleasing life to YHWH. We will use this list as a daily reminder of just how important this Festival really is. Each person’s list is private in that no one is allowed to take a peek at another’s.

Now to claim that the average person can lead a sinless life would be foolish. There was only one man that was ever able to accomplish this but does that mean that we shouldn’t even try? Are we to just throw our hands in the air and exclaim “I give up!” Of course not.

For those of us that have children think about how pleasing it is when they listen to us, when they make an honest effort to do what we ask of them. How much more so for YHWH when we obey Him and make an honest effort to listen to His commands? I think all too often we forget that we are all children in YAH’s eyes (myself included).

One of the hardest things for me to do is admit when I need help. I don’t know if that’s just part of being a guy or just a fallacy inside me, but I struggle with it. Something as simple as stopping to ask for directions can be as painful as a trip to the dentist. Even now I struggle with what words to type; how to admit I cannot do it on my own… (more…)

One of the things that I am beginning to love about blogging is that finding other bloggers with great posts is easy. Just today I came across Blogshul. Rabbi Yonah posts about an interesting family that devotes there time to helping others:

Miracle in the Hood

This brings up an interesting point. As I continue to grow in my conversion I am inspired by the level of importance that Judaism places on tzedakah (charity). This is not just some afterthought or something that is done only around the holidays. It is an everyday event. A lot of families have their own tzedakah box where all family members are encouraged to make donations which are collected and distributed to various charities.

This year, as my family celebrates our first Chanukah we have set aside one night where instead of giving presents to each other we will give to those truly in need. In fact, I’m looking forward to setting up our own tzedakah box and making charity a bigger priority in all of our lives.

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The Western Wall (Kotel)

The Western Wall (Kotel), image copyright NICHOLASTAN

For the past couple of months I have had this longing to daven at the Kotel in Yerushalayim. It’s almost like there’s a small part of me that feels empty inside, like I’m missing something in my life and each day the desire to visit Yerushalayim becomes stronger. Now, I know that YHWH hears us no matter where in the world we daven but I can’t shake this feeling. The closest thing I can compare it to was the loneliness I endured before I met my bride, albeit in a spiritual sense.

I imagine that inside of me are many jars, some completely full, some partially full, some empty, and many that I am not even aware of yet. I praise YHWH for the way He has poured out His blessings upon me. He has been generous with an abundance of full jars (my bride, our kids, family, friends, Fellowship, our dachshunds). Still I wonder, why has He made known to me the empty jars? Actually, instead of kvetching I should be praising Him for not showing me all the empty jars in my life.

See, this is an area that I still really struggle with. I know YHWH blesses me so greatly and yet I still find myself kvetching about such minor things. Basically, it boils down to the fact that I am too spoiled. I have endured so little when I look at what others have gone through and what others still continue to deal with. Does this make me a bad person?

When I found this beautiful image captured by wl2ider on Flickr it truly touched me as it completely expresses what I am feeling inside. So much soul, it’s almost like we can get a glimpse into this man’s innermost feelings. Thank you Nicholastan for sharing this with us!

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While many of us were preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast with thoughts of turkey and cranberries dancing in our heads, there was another group of people fearing for their lives, victims of yet another senseless tragedy.

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Watch and Listen:

After coming across this video on Shavua Tov!’s Blog I knew I had to share it with as many as possible. Rather than me trying to summarize what was so eloquently stated, I would ask you to click here and read her post directly. Thank you for sharing with us Rachel.

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So, you wanna be a WHAT! See, that was the reaction I was expecting from my family. What actually happened was completely different. (more…)