Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Shavuos Post

Since I'm not a cheese person (the picture is for formality) this post will be about one of the more neglected aspects of Shavuot, also known as Chag HaBikurim.

Yes, that's right, amid all the ado of modern Shavuos one nearly forgets that this is the time when all the farmers are supposed to be bringing the first fruits to Yerushalayim with great fanfare. As we present the beautiful produce to the Cohen, we say the very words which we uttered not long ago, a mere 50 days prior, with a cup of wine before us as we looked at the matza and marror: "Arami oved avi..."

Now watch me try to condense an hour long deep shiur into a bite-size blog post on zero sleep.

When we live in plenty, there is a tendency to feel that we've earned it, It's Mine. The mitzva of bikurim is in parshas Ki Savo -- when you arrive in Eretz Yisrael. This is talking about a particularly vulnerable time for this. We were coming from the desert, where we were directly cared for by HaShem, to a life governed more by nature: I worked, I produced.

So take the very first fruit and as you hold that proud morsel in your hand, recall your origins. HaShem brought you from the lowest of the low and gave you every single thing you have.

Today we can't do it exactly the same way. But think about maaser, tsedakah. Do you feel that tug at parting with what you've earned? It isn't mine. HaShem gave it to me and it is a gift.

Then, only then, "Vesamachta bechol hatov -- You shall be happy with all the goodness that HaShem has given you." More on that later if you'd like, but for now I must sleep.

Have a wonderful, uplifting yom tov.

Rejoice in the Torah that we have been given, my brothers and sisters, for we are chosen to achieve great heights with it. Only by clinging to its ways will we know the greatness of life as we renew our eternal covenant with G-d.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Midnight Musings/Predawn Post

Sometimes I wish I could do this to my brain.
"Delete temporary internet files."
And everything else I should never have looked at.

To some extent, with strong tshuva I can erase it from my soul.
But that is on a higher sphere.
Here and now, it cannot be undone.
Everything I've seen, heard, or done on this Earth will remain to taunt me for a good while.

Ah, well -- at least I can remove the traces from my computer!
Except this little confession defeats the purpose...
And the moral of the story is...


Oh, and by the way -- For those who were so kind as to be with me and offer comfort on the last post:
I want you to know that since posting that, through some very interesting twists of hashgacha, I received several very encouraging signs that things are OK after all. The circumstances are rather personal, so I won't share, but the messages were strong and the timing was incredible.

During the same time, I also picked up some equally clear signals of my differentness. Although it made me very uncomfortable, I think I was better equipped to handle it. Though next time I think I will try a little harder to blend in... Anyway, thanks.

Monday, May 07, 2007

How Different am I Really?

(Not to be confused with "How unique am I," a possible topic for another time)

It really makes no sense to post this here since to my knowledge only two of my readers know me in real life. So this is more of a muse than a question, for the sole reason that I am too chicken to ask "real" people. Maybe it will even be a bit of an eye-opener for some. Or should I say "ear-opener?"

Some background is in order:
I am hearing impaired.
Perhaps it is one reason why I enjoy blogging better than live socializing.
Thank G-d it's only mild.
I've gotten along OK without hearing aids (...so far)

Sometimes I wonder what I'm missing.
Whether things would have been different if...
But that's besides the point.

Sometimes I think that I think of hearing aids as a "quick fix." Another of those things that we lost souls are prone to convincing ourselves that everything will be ok if___. Who says? **(note to the blissfully unaware: hearing aids do not cure hearing loss.)

Today I don't know what got into me, but I asked a pretty awkward question.
We had an event at work. At the end, all the kids were hanging around being noisy while the teachers stood around chatting. These situations are not ideal for me. It's difficult for me to focus on the speaker and read lips in the kind of setting where several people are talking at once and there's a lot of background noise. I kind of assume it's hard for anyone to hear when there are 200 young children partying in the same room.

I was with one of my coworkers, a teacher with the most wide open heart you can imagine, very warm and non-judgemental.
And I asked her... I was really curious...
"When everyone was hanging around together earlier... Could you actually hear what people were telling you?"
I'm not sure what I was expecting -- hoping?-- to hear.
Well, of course, I have to concentrate on the person who's talking... If I look directly at the speaker, I can usually make out what they're saying even with so much going on.

As you with the normally functioning ears have probably assumed already, she didn't even understand my question:
"What do you mean, could I hear them?"

"I mean, when it was so noisy in the room, and the other teachers were all talking together -- you could hear what they were saying? Clearly?"

To make a long story short, just imagine the rest of the very short, uncomfortable conversation and you'd probably be about on target. And this, with the one person in the world that I felt OK asking.

I never realized how different things really are for others.
To be able to hear things more clearly than I, I knew others could do.
But so easily that they don't even realize they're filtering out other sounds?


Sometimes I wonder how different I really am.
Most people don't know about my difficulty.
Is that because I've been so successful at compensating, B"H?
Or maybe they just think I'm spacey, slow, not paying attention to them?
When I give a wrong respose, what do they think, they who don't know that I heard them say something different?
When I talk too loudly, do they think I'm unrefined?

Sometimes I feel like I'm doing all right.
But inside, there's always that nagging anxiety:
Maybe I missed something.
Maybe that's not what he said.
Maybe they're looking at me differently.

How normal am I really?

Mind if I vent?

Sorry, I know this is lame, especially after such a long absence. But I really need to vent a little.

Sometimes I feel like a money eater. Nothing more. A total taker. And it feels rotten.

I believe that G-d provides for all my needs. The question is am I needing too much? And I wish it didn't have to be coming so directly from others. It's not a good feeling.

My policy is to avoid bringing personal details onto my blog, so I'll stop about here. Think what you want. The bottom line is, I feel down. Stuck in a rut. And very dependent on people.

If you've been lurking, please speak up. I need a lift.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Labels, the sequel

{The only label suitable for a child}