Monday, July 31, 2006

The Obvious Difference


Edit: The artist's name is Gary Varvel (not all of the posts on slate are that pro-israel...or rather, pro-honesty...but alas, such is modern media...)

Edit #2: For more inspirational pictures of the soldiers, see this (the words are in Hebrew, but the pictures are pretty self-explanatory ;) )

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I've been starving...

I'm a perpetual student. If something exists, I want to know about it - why, how, where...everything that there is to know, I want to know. It's why when friends ask me what I want for a gift, I tell them to look at my Amazon Wish List (which has no fiction on it). It's why Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis was a very thoughtful (and well-used) gift, and why I'm up to Unit 5 in "Alif Baa," an Arabic textbook. It's why I'm going to graduate school...forever ;)

So in the past few years, I've been studying hard, learning lots, and generally getting good grades (Baruch Hashem! ;) ). And...I've been starving. I didn't realize it until recently, but I was gasping for air, for the slightest breath. Caught up in all my work and studies, I barely noticed the lack - but now that I have it back, my world is brighter!

It's Torah.

Sounds cliché , perhaps, but it's true. Earlier this summer, in a weak moment, I told someone that I would give a shiur for women. I'm still not so sure why she asked me, but she did, and I said yes - and so I have to face the consequences. I returned to my high school and seminary notes, scrounging for topics. I borrowed books from all over to research the material. And I'm still terrified for the speech. But I'm feeling so accomplished, so content. There's really something amazing about learning Torah - it changes you, it affects you.

And so when I sit down to my banquet of preparation, every night, I relish each word, each letter. And I hope I never forget this feeling again. Learning is wonderful, but learning Truth...there's nothing like it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Crazy situations...what can you do about Israel?

So I'm not really sure what to say about this matter...

I just want to reiterate what other bloggers have mentioned:

We have to be davening every day with major extra kavana (Scraps mentioned that "Individually or in groups, people are recommended to say the following perakim of Tehillim: 6, 13, 20, 22, 30, 79, 83, 121, 130, 142.") Keep an ear out for shul gatherings in your area for group tehillim.
Edit: The above tehillim are the ones we said at an incredibly intense gathering of seemingly the entire city at shul tonight, so I can confirm that they're the ones that have been "recommended."

Keep updated on the news. It's really important to know what's going on - these are our brothers and sisters we're talking about! I personally get my news from Jameel @ the Muqata (currently hosting fellow blogger Rock of Galilee and his family, refugees from the North...)

We have to focus on positive portrayals of Eretz Yisroel to all the confused people around us (at work, etc.) who (silly them) believe Western media. Here would be a good place to point out a great post of Olah Chadasha discussing the positive reactions of many of the Lebanese (and NOT Palestinian - don't mix them up!) toward Israel's invasion of their own country, which is amazing. But they hate the Hezbolla as well - they've been destroying their country for years!

Cross-Currents gives Top Ten list of "Ways to Help Israel," which I think is fairly insightful.

My personal one? When you're feeling an intense negative emotion about the small things in life ("oh, he cut me off; my friends don't like me; I'll never be able to..."), focus that emotion on the greater situation in כלל ישראל. It's not an easy exercise, but try it. You're feeling the emotion anyway...use it to focus outside of YOU and more into the US.

Other ideas? Let me know...

Scraps mentioned that "Rav Elyashiv is recommending people say perakim 13, 70, 125, and 128 for the current matzav."

She also included other "up-to-the-minute" news bloggers: (IsraellyCool)

I also want to point out JBlogosphere's War post, which includes a live news feed, what-we-can-do, and a pretty long list of "up-to-the-minute" bloggers.