"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

I believe in God.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Rosh Hodesh Adar I is this Thursday night through Saturday, and I am so excited! More on Thursday night.

By the way, I am doing OK with my new mitzvah of after-meal blessings. I tend to forget at breakfast but I remember lunch and dinner.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Nice Opportunity and a New Mitzvah

Today, I had an opportunity to say a bracha (blessing) I almost never get to say. It is "Blessed are you, God...who gives a good smell to fruits." I have a lousy sense of smell, so I usually have to deliberately smell the fruit in order to say this one. Today, however, a girl in my Bible class had peeled an orange and left it on the table during our seven minute break, and I could smell the orange from where I was sitting! So of course I thanked God for the smell.

Speaking of God...davening (praying) twice daily is so much habit now that I think I will take on another mitzvah. From here on out, I will praise God for my food after I eat, not just before. Thse prayers vary from the ten paragraph "Birkat Hamazon" after eating bread, to the two line "Borei Nefashot" for miscellaneous foods, with one in between (I forget the name of it) to thank God for the seven species of Israel (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

As Promised: Sorcery, Blessings, and Out of This World

OK. Here we go, as promised last night:

I have seen too much in this world and others to not believe in sorcery. In fact, I have friends whom I believe are hayyev mitah (liable for the death penalty) by Torah standards because of sorcery. In my experience sorcery exists. It is real. One can participate in it if one chooses. Because the Torah so strongly forbids it, however, I will never engage in it. I absolutely refuse, just as I refuse to eat nonkosher food or break Shabbat. It just won't happen. My belief in sorcery does, however, add spice to my life in that I have to think about the fact that I am avoiding it. Very interesting.

Blessings and Curses:
Along the same lines, I believe that blessings and curses, if given with true intent and focus, have tremendous power regardless of who gives them. I believe that negative wishes, especially if spoken aloud, really can harm people. I have never given a curse, and I certainly do not plan on it. God can (and does in the Torah) curse because God is God (enough said), but I should not.

I have given a true blessing exactly three times in my life. The first was to a man I met in an airport when we were both stuck there overnight. He and I talked religion for five hours straight, and at the end, I gave him my blessing. I don't remember whether he rquested or I offerred, but the end result was the same.

My second blessing was given to my director on my trip in Kansas. She was pregnant and I strongly desired to bless the unborn baby. I asked her if I could; she was delighted, so of course I did.

My third blessing was given to a good friend of mine (not even a fake name here, to really protect this person's privacy) in JFK airport on our class trip to Israel. I had wanted to bless this friend for a long time, and finally I just pulled the friend aside and did it. I will not share contents of any of the above blessings; they are too sacred for that.

Other Worlds:
At one point during the Summer before Junior year I could literally leave this world. I would go and sit by a stream and concentrate all five senses on the water, and soon my soul would leave my body and rise up to be with God. Let me tell you, the "God world" is absolutely beautiful. There are no value judgments, so there is no concept of bad and no such thing as differences. That world is full of swirling patches of color, and...just...goodness. I made myself stop going there because the culture shock of coming back to this world was too much. I have since forgotten and/or lost the ability to connect with that world, but oh, how I yearn to go back!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Catch up...soon.

No new spiritually extraordinary things have happened to me yet, but in reviewing this blog, I realize there are a few things I would like to post/repost. Coming soon:

My beliefs about sorcery
My beliiefs about blessings and curses
My experiences in another world

Again, some of these may be reposts. I wish I could do this tonight, but I really must sleep. Good night!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

So Special!

It just occurred to me that I have never done a post about why Shabbat is so special to me. Here we go:

1. First and foremost, on Shabbat I do not make myself do anything I do not want to do. Shabbat is a day of rest.

2. On Shabbat, I get the chance to daven (pray) three times a day, instead of my usual twice. I also get to wear my tallit (prayer shawl).

3. Very often, I get the honor of leading something (or two or even occasionally three somethings) during services.

4. Shabbat is a time for friends and family.

5. On Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh, and holidays, I daven out of the siddur (prayer book) I received in first grade. This feels special to me every time.

6. On Shabbat I get to take a nap!

7. On Shabbat we sing some of my favorite songs!

8. Shabbat is a great opportunity to just live in the moment, which is something we all need to do more.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tu B'Shevat

Today is a minor Jewish holiday, Tu b'Shevat. Literally translating to fifteenth of Shevat, Tu b'Shevat is a New Year for the trees. Historically, this date was used to calculate legalities for Israeli farmers.

Nowadays the holiday has meaning, too. Today at school we split into small groups and looked at traditional Jewish texts on our relationship with the environment. I leave you with the message I took from today's lesson: we must treat the earth as a guest treats a host. Don't make messes. Clean up after yourself. Leave the world a better place.

In other words, this week is the Hebrew anniversary of my Bat Mitzvah. The Torah portion is Parashat Yitro, with the Ten Commandments, and I get to read them in services this Saturday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Harnessing Prayer Power

I need your prayers for Something Big...I can't share details yet but it is possible that lives--real, true, alive lives--hang in the balance. It would mean so much to me if you would pray for my Something Big to work out...I myself have been rocking back and forth in prayer, crying in prayer, writing prayers...all for this. If it works out, the past few weeks of anxiety, anticipation, despair, and prayer will all be worth it.

So a little bit for my sake but mostly for the sake of those lives...pray that this works out...please.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Inspiring Jewish Song

Go to Youtube and listen to "Deaf Man in the Shteeble" by Lev Tahor. Do it now. I dare you. You won't regret it.

Prayer Requests?

I am aware that this post might come off as totally presumptuous. If it does, I apologize; that is not my intention.

Every person prays differently, and everyone has a different "prayer limit/capacity." I have found that, aside from the usual Jewish prayers, I can have about seven other things for which to pray, but if there are more than that my prayers lack something vital.

Anyway, the point is that I currently have five causes/people on my prayer list and am open to adding two more if anyone would like to have my prayers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Big God

Today when I was davening (praying) mincha (afternoon prayers), I really felt myself with God. I almost had a vision. When I came to the end of my prayers, and it was time to go, I literally had to tear myself away from God's holy presence. Bittersweet.

Also, please join me in prayer that an important thing in my life--one that could save many other lives--will work out and actually happen. I cannot give more details yet, but when and if it comes to fruition I will let you know. You and I and My Big God can make this happen, together.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's getting stronger!

My sense of God is coming back! Nothing special happens while I'm praying (yet), but I am aware of leaving God's presence when I finish, and I actually look forward to praying all day! I am now praying two of the three required Jewish prayer services. (I don't have time before school in the morning to pray then.) I don't usually get time for tallis and tefillin: my afternoon prayers are said in the ten minutes between school and PE, and tallis and tefillin are a day time commandment, not to be worn during evening prayers. However, two days ago I had a half day of school, and today I had a snow day, so I got to wear my tallis and wrap tefillin. I felt so blessed!

New Idea

So here's the deal: I write for the student paper at my school, and when I write, I usually write a dvar Torah (commentary on the week's Torah portion). It's not every week; it's more like once a month, but would you like to see them here? Let me know.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Death of Debbie Friedman

Debbie Friedman, a great Jewish singer and songwriter, passed away this morning due to complications from pneumonia. I am very sad.

Actually, sad is an understatement. I grew up on Friedman's songs. Her lyrics "save a life and you will save the world" inspired me; her "Mishebeirach" song/prayer for healing comforted me. In her honor, I leave you with the following lines from one of her songs:

"And the old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions, and our hopes shall rise up to the sky. We must live for today; we must build for tomorrow; give us time, give us strength, give us life."

Goodbye, Debbie Friedman; your life has ended, but your buildings live on.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rosh Hodesh Shevat

Tonight marks the beginning of the new Hebrew month of Shevat. Honestly, the only holiday in Shevat is the rather small occasion known as Tu B'Shevat, the new year of the trees. More on that when it actually comes.

It's funny to see Shevat in America because the trees are all still bare and brown. In Israel, however, the trees are just beginning to bloom at this time, making Tu B'Shevat a fitting occasion. This month and the associated holiday serve to remind us that the Jewish year is based around the Lunar calendar and Near Eastern agricultural schedule.

My Prayer Warrior Child

I would like to introduce you to "Erin". Erin, assigned to me by Reece's Rainbow, is the current target of my Prayer Warrior efforts. Although this picture appears to depict a young child, no one knows for sure how old the picture is. (I've looked into it.) Erin's birthdate, however, is known, and she is turning nine this month. Please join me in praying for Erin's safety, comfort, and future family!


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About Me

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!