Sunday, September 19, 2010

Big Sitting Shiva - Joke

A Jewish boy comes home to his mother and tells her he has met a wonderful girl, and they are to be married.

"Oh, that's nice" says Momma. "And what is this girls name?"

The son tells her that his fiancee is a Native American and is called Little Running Deer.

"That's nice, honey" says Momma, trying to keep a straight face.

The son then tells his momma that he wants to be called by his "new" Native American name too, and that from now on she should call him "Swift Flying Arrow".

"OK, honey, whatever you wish" says Momma.

Then the son says, "You should get a Native American name too, Momma".

"I've already got one," replies Momma. "It's Big Sitting Shiva"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Story: Mute Boy

Mute Boy

After the war a rescuer who was looking for hidden children survivors came

across a 11-12 year old boy who was raised in a non Jewish home and was

known as a mute. No one had ever heard him speak. The boy when he saw this

man was Jewish asked him"is the Gerer Rebbe still alive?" The rescuer

reassured the child that the gerer Rebbe was alive in Eretz Yisroel. The

boy lifted his shirt and showed him under his clothing wrapped around his

frail body was a pair of teffilin. These teffilin my father gave me the last

day I saw him when he gave me to this non Jewish family to be saved and he

told me that I should wear them when I have my bar mitzvah. I wrapped the

teffilin around my body in order that I should never lose them or be

separated from them. "Why have you acted mute all this time"? asked the man.

The boy replied "the non Jew who took me in as his own told me that if

anyone asked my religion I would have to say I was a non Jew. I decided that

I could not do that and from then on I would never talk in order that I

should never ever have to say that I was not Jewish. Since that day I have

never spoken to anyone you are the first person I have spoken to. Please

take me to see the eretz Yisrael I want to see the gerer Rebbe."

The vows the untruths we say in our actions and our deeds we act as maaranos

etc.hiding jewishness

The Dancer

The Dancer

....Some of you may have heard of a woman by the name of Gillian Lynne. She's a ballerina and choreographer, famous for many Broadway productions (such as Cats, and Phantom of the Opera).

When Gillian was in school, in the '30s, she was hopeless. She couldn't concentrate, she was fidgeting. Now they'd probably say she had ADHD. The school wrote to her parents and said, "We think Gillian has a learning disorder." So her mother took her, aged eight, to see a specialist in a big oak-panelled room, and she was led and sat on a chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school, disturbing people, late homework, and so on.

Finally the doctor said, "Gillian, I've listened to all these things that your mother's told me, and I need to speak to her privately. Wait here, we won't be very long," and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio on his desk. As soon as they were outside the room, he said to her mother, "Now, just stand and watch her." And sure enough, the minute they left the room little Gillian was on her feet, moving to the music. They watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school."

The rest is history. She went to dance school - full of people like herself, and ended up a multi-millionaire, responsible for some of the most successful musical theatre productions in history.

Gillian's story is the story of the Jewish soul. She herself was unaware of the talent which lay latent within. Only after being recognised by a professional and after being educated in the correct way - did she blossom to fulfil her real potential.

Our neshama too has latent potential. Our neshama also wants to "dance," needs to dance - but we usually don't let it do the things it wants to do. We carry it round with us to places it does not belong, seeing things it does not want to see, eating things it does not want to eat, and we are often surprised when do not feel content: when our lives sometimes feel empty or unfulfilled.

On Rosh Hashana we focus on our neshama. Like Gillian we need to let our soul hear the music and let it dance. Bring it to shul, bring it to a Torah class, and help it to reconnect with its source. Let it light Shabbat candles, and lay tefillin, give charity and visit the sick. Let it get re-accustomed to the Hebrew letters in the siddur, so that the words of the prayers flow naturally .... etc etc\\

Why Should I buy Tefillin?

Why Should I buy Tefillin?

In answer to a number of emails sent to me privately – in case anyone is wondering if the historical/holocaust emotional stuff really works let me tell you of something that happened to my son R’ Eli Gutnick here in Melbourne this past Elul.

Eli is our sofer here in Melbourne and he regularly speaks to Bar Mitzvah boys and their fathers about Tephilin – shows them how they’re made etc. After addressing one school group during this past Elul one very sceptical father talks to him and finishes with “Give me one good reason that will convince me, a totally non-practicing Jew, to fork out money to buy a pair of tephillin for my son.”

Without saying a word Eli takes out his iphone and brings up the famous picture of the barefooted yid standing next to a line of bodies (he was reportedly reciting Kaddish) He is wrapped in a Tallis and broken-open tephillin are prominently on his head and arm. A group of grinning and laughing Nazi soldiers are standing around him posing with the Jew they are about to murder.

The father looks at the picture for a good few minutes then looks up at Eli and says “How much is your most expensive pair....?”

It’s an appropriate thought for Yizkor – with the usual lesson that we who say Yizkor should reassure the neshomos of our parents and Kedoshim who join us for those special moments that we and our children are Thank G-d able to put on Tallis and Tephillin and pledge greater commitment to do so and to generally carry on the heritage we have received from them. We need to be able to tell them proudly that we are part of assuring that “Am Yisroel Chai....”.