Weekly Manna – Parsha Terumah

Parsha Terumah

Terumah literally means “gift”.  This week’s sidra is about giving Hashem a gift from the heart, which is then used to build Him a dwelling place.

“Tell B’nei Yisrael to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him.”  Sh’mot 25:2

The wording of this verse in the Hebrew is peculiar and there is much debate as to what this passage really means, as the literally interpretation is “let the TAKE for Me”.  Are the people being asked to take something or to give something?  I sorted through many wonderful commentaries looking for clarification on this matter, and the explanation I related to best is from Rabbi Avraham Ariel Trugman, whose Sidra commentary, “Orchard of Delights”, I quote from regularly, week after week.  He explains as follows:

“By giving of one’s time, money or energy to others, one is actually receiving as well. By assisting others we often take or receive more than we give, as our hearts fill with sentiments of love and goodness.”

Vayiqra Rabbah 34 tells us that the poor man who receives charity does more for the rich man than the rich man does for him.

This “gift” was not really a gift.  How can we possibly give something to Hashem, who owns everything to begin with?  Therefore it is appropriate that He tells Moshe, “let them take”, not, “let them give”.

I think the message is clearly one of the importance of tzedakah in Hashem’s eyes.  We are asked to take a portion of what He has given us, and voluntarily contribute with a willing heart, and by doing so, we will be building a place for Hashem to dwell within us.  Ultimately, the only gift we can give is ourselves, our very life.

This sidra is all about building a home for Hashem within our life.  Building a mind, body and soul that is fit to house His Presence.  The true resting place of the Shechina is the heart (mind) of every Jew, not a physical structure.  But how is it possible to make one’s heart a mishkan for the Shechina?

I am going to draw on my many years of contractor’s wife experience to help paint this picture.  I was married for many years to an amazing man, of blessed memory, who was a building contractor par excellence.  I spent many years on his job sites, and want to draw here from the imagery.  Let’s look at the reality of physical buildings, and the different types of contractors that build them:

  1. Some buildings go up very quickly, but corners are cut and soon after completion problems with the structure begin to surface.  Very often, the contractor is inexperienced, or lazy, or possibly both.
  2. Some buildings are erected on weak foundations.  Without the ground being properly prepared, or without using the proper amount of re-bar, or without using the proper thickness of concrete, or using poor quality concrete.  Eventually, the too weak foundation will give under the pressure and weight of the structure built upon it, and the structure will begin to crumble.
  3. Some building projects seem to never end, taking forever to finish.  This is typically because someone didn’t plan the financing properly and they run out of funds midway through the project.  This can also happen when a shortcut or other dangerous action has been caught, and the construction is shut down until the repair or reinforcement has been completed.
  4. And then there is the ideal situation.  A building that begins on a firm foundation, and that proceeds at the proper pace to ensure that all details have been completed with the proper materials, and at the proper stage.  Strong buildings take time and are not erected overnight.  Every detail of the blueprints and specs must be followed, no corners are to be cut.  A good contractor, if ever in doubt, will put additional supports in place.  Better safe than sorry, as they say.  Ideally, I will add, the job site should be tidied daily.  If there is trash, debris, materials and tools scattered everywhere, it indicates a lack of order.  It is very difficult to work in a cluttered environment.

So, now ask yourself, what kind of contractor am I?  As we are building our structure, we need to keep in mind that we have a very particular client, so the attention to detail is very important!  Almost a full 1/3 of the book of Sh’mot contains detailed instructions for building the mishkan.  Without the blueprints and accompanying specs, a building will not be properly built.  The instructions dictate the details, and following them dictates the strength and beauty of the final structure.  For example, if you don’t know the proper snow-load for your area, your roof will potentially collapse under the weight of the snow.

The mishkan’s blueprints convey deep concepts with every detail.  I am certainly not qualified to explain all the deep concepts underlying these details, but I realize every minute detail has tremendous meaning and a deeper lesson to be taught.  I will draw on the wisdom of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov to give you a few examples:

THE ARK

“The Torah is called “testimony – it is testimony to G-d.  For whoever has a real brain in his head can understand with his intellect the fact of the Reality and Unity of G-d. From whence does such a Torah emanate?  A Torah that begins with the Act of Creation and concludes with Deuteronomy, with all of its laws and bylaws; all the Books of the Prophets and Hagiographa; the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, the Kabbalah and all the dialectics that accompany these works – how it all fits together with precision.  One who possesses even a small awareness of the Torah and its contents realizes that it is not a man-made presentation, but testimony to our Creator, from Whom the entire Torah emanated.  Thus, the Torah is testimony to the Reality and Unity of G-d.  Therefore it is written, ‘The Tablets were the work of G-d, and the writing was the writing of G-d'” (Sh’mot 32:16; Likutey Halakhot VII, pg 30-16a)

THE MENORAH

“For the commandment is a lamp, The teaching (Torah) is a light, and the way to life is the rebuke that disciplines.”  (Mishlei 6:23)

Rashi tells us that Moshe had difficulty envisioning the menorah and how it could be crafted from a solid piece of gold, so Hashem told him to throw the gold into the fire and it would emerge as a menorah.

“The Torah is truly difficult to grasp by itself.  We do not know how or where to start.  We acquire assistance from Above. So we throw it into the fire, implying we are doing something.  When G-d sees that we have made our effort, He will help mold and form our menorah – our ability to serve Him and observe the Torah.  The most important thing is our desire to serve Him.” (Likutey Halachot I, pg 169a-338)

From these two examples alone, we can see that there is a wonderful, deeper message in each and every detail, if we are willing to spend the time and effort to seek it out.

We now know the prerequisites for building this structure:  we must have the detailed blueprints and specs in hand, we must understand how to read them properly, we must have plenty of time set aside to properly pay attention to each detail, we need to have the proper amount of funds available, and we need to make sure above all that our heart is genuinely committed to the task at hand.

Only the willing, generous heart can participate.  We cannot build our structure for Hashem solely out of a sense of duty, obligation or debt.  A generous, willing heart is one that is fueled by love.  And only then will one possess the motivation needed for spiritual practice.

“Here is the blessing of Terumah: When the heart is wiling and there is a commitment to the work, then the Divine Spirit will show us the pattern, the blueprint, the plan, the inspiration that births beauty into the world.  And that beauty is designed to send us back to the Source of inspiration” (Shefa Gold)

We are asked to sanctify the vessel which is our lives, to become empty, making room for the Almighty, blessed be He, to move in.  But it is not enough to give Him an empty room.  The room must be sparkling clean and incredibly beautiful.  We are to build a place that is inviting, a place that will cause the Spirit to be drawn to it.

According to Rashi, the tabernacle was made of thirteen types of materials.  Thirteen (13) is the numerical value for the words “echad” (one, unity) and “ahavah” (love).

“The Tabernacle was meant to be the place where love and unity would draw down G-d’s Presence and oneness upon Israel….so that it would suffuse the entire world” (R’ Trugman)

The goal of the building project was to give Hashem a place to dwell within each and every Jew, both individually and collectively, and then ultimately to all mankind through them.

Only heart-felt donations were accepted.  Hashem loves a cheerful giver!

“The generous man is blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.” (Mishlei 22:9)

“Even in darkness, light shines for the upright, for [He is] compassionate, merciful, and just.  Good is to the man who is compassionate and lends [generously to those in need yet] provides for his own needs with prudence.  For never will he falter; he will be remembered as a righteous person forever.  He will not fear a bad tiding; his heart is steadfast, trusting in G-d.  His heart is steadfast, he does not fear, he will even see [the downfall of] his oppressors.  He has dispersed [his wealth], giving to the needy.  His righteousness will endure forever [in the World to Come]; his might will be uplifted in honor [in this world].”  (Tehillim 112:4-9)

Tzedakah given for acclaim is still tzedakah, but tzedakah given with a desire to hurt others, to provoke envy in others, is not welcomed by Hashem.  Giving terumah is all about building a place for Hashem to dwell in this world.  And it can only begin from a place of willingness.  If one’s heart is not sincere, any building he erects will be built in vain.

“Unless Hashem builds the house, its builders work in vain.  Unless Hashem guards a city, the guard keeps watch in vain.” (Tehillim 127:1)

Mitzrayim is a place of constriction, a place of narrow perception.  Hashem brought the Israelite’s out for one reason, and one reason only:   “TO BE YOUR G-D”.  Therefore, He told them how to make themselves into a dwelling place, so ultimately they could bring His Unity and Reality to the entire world.  This is the key to freedom!  We are to prepare a place for Him to dwell inside us.  A holy place that has been pain-painstakingly prepared, with detail paid to each and every minute detail.   The true blueprints and specs can only be accessed through the proper source.   When a qualified architect completes the blueprints and specs, he will place his stamp upon them, verifying their authenticity.  He then, is the only one truly qualified to interpret them.  He and the ones he has shared his vision with.  There was only one group of people present, and only one group to which these blueprints were entrusted.  Many have come after them,  claiming to now have possession of the blueprints, but they are fakes.  And the proof is in the pudding, as they say.  If the house is not a sturdy, beautiful structure, something is amiss.

I pray we can build a structure worthy of His Presence.  A beautiful place, that is clean and tidy.  May we daily keep our job sites tidied.  And like good contractor’s, we must revisit the blueprints regularly throughout the project to make sure we haven’t missed anything important.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the fruits of our labor evolve into a beautiful, solid structure that we have built TOGETHER!

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Rhonda




Conversations with Nikki | EP5: Forgiveness

There are so many questions around forgiveness. Should I forgive? Have I truly forgiven the person and meant it? What is forgiveness to me? Let’s take a quick study of what HaShem’s purpose in regards of the concept of forgiving others.





The Sanctuary Bible Study Series A & B Schedule

The Sanctuary Bible Study Series A & B Schedule

21 Days Winter Bible Study Series A -Study Dates

February 9th & 23rd – After CMY Shabbat Service – 3pm-4pm EST

March 9th & 23rd – After CMY Shabbat Service – 3pm – 4pm EST

 

Zoom link will be provided in an email to those who purchased the Bundle Set. The link is the same for the entire 21 Day Study.

Audio files will be digitally delivered via email to those who purchased the Bundle Set as well.

 

Balance Bible Study Series B – Study Dates

April 6th –  After CMY Shabbat Service – 3pm-4pm EST

May 4th & May 18th –  After CMY Shabbat Service – 3pm-4pm EST

June 1st –  After CMY Shabbat Service – 3pm-4pm EST

 

Zoom link will be provided in an email to those who purchased the Bundle Set. The link is the same for the entire Balance Study.

Audio files will be digitally delivered via email to those who purchased the Bundle Set as well.




Weekly Manna – B’Shallach

Parsha B’Shallach –

“He said, ‘If you will listen intently to the voice of ADONAI your G-d, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am ADONAI your healer.”  Sh’mot 15:26

 

“I am Hashem your healer”?  or “I am Hashem your physician”?

What’s the difference you might ask?  In his commentary on this week’s portion, “The Person In the Parsha”, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb shares the following:

“This is what Rashi says, ‘simply put, I am the L-rd your physician, who teaches you Torah and mitzvot so that you will be spared illness, much as a physician would instruct his patient not to eat certain things because they may lead to his getting sick.'”

“I heal you” implies that you are already sick and I am going to make you better.    “I am your doctor” implies that I have the ability to prevent you from getting sick in the first place.  The Almighty, our Creator, knows His creation best, and He has prescribed a lifestyle that was designed to protect us from all illness, both physical and spiritual.

Dr. Maimonides (AKA Rambam) agrees with Rashi.  Maimonides was the court physician for the Sultan Saladin in medieval Egypt.  The Sultan was never sick while under Maimonides care, and once demanded that Dr. Maimonides prove himself a great physician.  Here is Maimonides reported answer:

“The greatest of all physicians is the L-rd, of whom it is said, ‘I am the L-rd your physician.’  As proof of this it is written, ‘I will not place upon you the illnesses that I have placed upon ancient Egypt.”  Who is truly the good doctor?  Not the person who heals the sick from their diseases, but rather the one who helps the person from becoming sick and sees to it that he maintains his health.”

Would you rather have a physician who can cure you when you’re sick or one that can tell you how to keep from getting sick in the first place?  For me, there is no question here.  I prefer to never get sick.

“Most of the illnesses that befall man are his own fault, resulting from ignorance of how to preserve his health – like a blind man who stumbles and hurts himself and even injures others in the process due to not having a sense of vision.” (Maimonides, Essay on Human Conduct, as told by R’ Dr. Weinreb)

As my fellow American, good ol’ Benjamin Franklin once said:

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

The mitzvot should be seen as being for our own benefit, for our own ultimate well-being.  Hashem is not trying to keep us from having fun.  He trying to keep us on the proper path, the one that leads to a long happy, healthy life.  A life of Torah observance is one designed to avoid every manner of illness.  It is designed to promote spiritual health and material wellness.  When one is sick he cannot serve Hashem with his all. Sickness and pain are all-consuming.

“A physician, like a master, demands obedience, but only for the purpose of securing the patient’s welfare.” (Malbim)

I am amazed at how often we blindly use products or ingest foods that are unhealthy, and even poisonous.  Just because they are on the shelf and we are told they are good, we are deceived into making bad decisions.  I’ll give you an example, one that may or may not shock you.  Are you aware the fluoride is actually industrial toxic waste?  It is a by-product of aluminum manufacturing, and incredibly toxic.  The manufacturers that were once obligated to spend a fortune to dispose of their waste, now sell their toxic waste to water suppliers, dentists, and toothpaste manufacturers.

“It is easier to fool people than to convince people that they have been fooled.”   (Mark Twain)

“Primum non nocere“.  These are the words of Hippocrates, which mean, “First, do no harm”.  In medical ethics this is a guiding principle for physicians, that whatever the intervention or procedure, the patient’s well-being is the primary consideration.  I think much of modern medicine seems to have forgotten this concept, but more importantly, we as patients of our Heavenly Physician, need to realize He has not forgotten.  He always thinks of our well-being, and that is why He has told us how we should live if we are to experience an optimal life.

“A prudent man will follow the right path.” (Mishlei 14:15)

Realizing that Hashem is the one who orchestrates every minute detail of our lives, I believe that ultimately all sickness and diseases are really just a means to return us to our Creator.  When we stray from His path, He gives us these illnesses as an amazing opportunity to wake us up and help us to return to the proper path.  By understanding this, we truly can thank Him in all circumstances.  We can see His grace and mercy even in our afflictions.  He is giving us an opportunity to make some necessary changes.  Even our illnesses can truly be viewed as a blessing from Above.

Modern medicine would have us to believe that because we now have scientific advances previous generations didn’t, we are somehow smarter and better suited to heal ourselves.  My personal witness is that the drugs prescribed often do as much damage, and sometimes more damage than the illnesses they are supposed to be helping.  How can something make you healthier if it simultaneously makes you sicker?  Do you know what the leading cause of death in the U.S. is?

“In the US, the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine has reached 783,936 per year.  Shockingly, modern medicine is now the leading cause of death, followed by heart disease and cancer. Of these deaths, 106,000 per year are cause by adverse drug reactions.  This includes drugs taken correctly in normal dosage range.” (As reported by Yael Tusk, MSc in her amazing book, that I wish everyone would buy and read, “HEALTH, A Natural Approach”  – Mosaica Press/Feldheim).

Treatment should cause us to feel better & healthier.  If it doesn’t, I pray we have the discernment to find a safe, natural alternative.  It is so important to guard our health according to the natural laws put in place by our Creator.  Just as we must guard our soul according to His instructions.  Every sound minded person will agree that we need to protect ourselves from clear and obvious dangers, but sometimes the dangers are not so obvious.  This holds true for both our body and soul.  We don’t always know what is right, and we can easily be deceived.  If we have at any point in our life been deceived into thinking that fluoride toothpaste was good for us, just imagine how easily we could be deceived about important spiritual matters.  Sometimes we don’t understand why Hashem tells us to do certain things in certain ways, but we can trust that there is a good reason.  Fifteen years ago if someone had thrown my fluoride toothpaste away, claiming they were trying to save my life, I guarantee I would not have understood and probably would have argued about the virtues of fluoride in maintaining healthy teeth.

Here is something I want you to think about.  Who creates modern drugs?  Scientists, right?  And the majority of these scientists believe in evolution and deny the existence of our Creator.  Why would you accept a cure from someone who doesn’t fear Hashem?  I believe that Hashem has provided everything we need to heal our bodies in nature, to both keep us healthy and to heal us.  In the same respect, we need to be ever so careful about where our spiritual nutrition and healing comes from.

“I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore, choose life!”  (Devarim 30:19)

Why would we need to be told to choose life?  Would anyone consciously read this and choose death and curses over life and blessings?  Maybe that’s the point, we must actually make a conscious choice!!  We must give thought to it and truly “chose” to live.  We cannot wish to live only by natural instinct or by default.  We are commanded to actively choose life; we must make an active choice.  To determine to what extent  we are actively choosing to live, we can measure the amount of effort we are exerting toward our choice.  The more effort one puts forth, the more he is demonstrating that he is choosing life.

“The entire Torah is dependent upon the mitzvah of taking care of your body” (Chafetz Chaim)

The Torah is the cure for all our ailments.  Therefore, I pray we learn to listen intently to the voice of Hashem, do what He considers right, paying attention to His mitzvot and observing his laws.  If we do, we have His promise that He will not afflict us with any of the diseases He brought on the Egyptians, because He is Hashem our Heavenly Physician.

Be blessed and be healthy, so that you may be a blessing,

Rhonda




Weekly Manna – Parsha Va’era

Parsha Va’era

Each week we are on a treasure hunt, searching for images and concepts buried within the Words of the Torah which can help us to develop into the person we were created to be.

This week the concept that spoke to me the loudest was that of gratitude.  Rashi cites the midrash (Sh’mot Rabbah 9:10) which explains that Moshe was prevented from initiating the plague of blood because the waters of the Nile had protected him when he was cast into the Nile as an infant.  It would, therefore, not have been proper for Moshe to smite the water, and Aharon was chosen to initiate the plague instead.

“And Hashem said to Moshe, ‘say to Aharon: take your rod and hold out your arm over the waters of Egypt – its rivers, its canals, its ponds, all its bodies of water – that they may turn to blood; there shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone.”  (Sh’mot 7:19)

We should show gratitude to anyone or anything that has benefited us, even if they did so unintentionally.  We are definitely required to show gratitude to people who have shown us kindnesses and to Hashem.

“A psalm for praise.  Raise a shout for Hashem, all the earth; worship Hashem in gladness; come into His presence with shouts of joy.  Acknowledge that Hashem is Hashem; He made us and we are His, His people, the flock He tends.  Enter His gates with praise, His courts with acclamation.  Praise Him!  Bless His name!  For Hashem is good ; His steadfast love is eternal; His faithfulness is for all generations.”  (Tehillim 100)

Hakarat Ha’Tov, literally, “recognizing the good”, is the Hebrew term we translate as gratitude.  The good is already good.  The practice of gratitude is about our being aware of the good that is already there.  When we begin to develop gratitude, we will discover just how much good we have and how much we have to be grateful for.  I know each of you reading this have deficiencies, we all do, but when we focus only on the deficiencies in our lives, and not on the good that counterbalances, we deny ourselves the joy that gratitude brings.  Unfortunately, human nature is to take things for granted until they are taken away from us.  For example, we take our healthy, amazing body for granted until, G-d forbid, something goes wrong, and we find ourselves sick or in pain.  And even then, we might have pain in one area, but fail to recognize the other areas that are pain free.

If you’ve broken a string on your ukulele, but you still have three more, you have something to be grateful for.

“Ben Zoma states, ‘who is wise? He who learns from all people.  Who is strong? He who controls his passions.   Who is rich?  He who rejoices in his own lot.  Who is honorable? He who honors others.’” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

When we learn to rejoice in our lot, we will be able to find joy in the things we otherwise overlook.  A grateful person is a happy person.   Gratitude cannot coexist with arrogance, resentment and selfishness.

“Gratitude rejoices with her sister joy and is always ready to light a candle and have a party.  Gratitude doesn’t much like the old cronies of boredom, despair, and taking life for granted.”   (Rebbe Nachman)

Our Torah portion teaches us an important lesson about gratitude and not taking life for granted.  Like Moshe showing gratitude to the Nile, we too can even show gratitude to inanimate objects.  When was the last time you felt gratitude for your home, your shoes, your vehicle, the flowers and tress that bloom, the sun that warms your face and your soul, your toothbrush, your shower………..ok, you get the point.  But, lets face it, our lives would be less fulfilling without these things, and we need to develop an attitude of gratitude for the many things that bless our lives each day. How?  By treating them with respect and saying a blessing to the One who ultimately provided them.   And how much more so, should we show gratitude to the people who have blessed us with their help, time, talents or friendship.

Judaism and gratitude go hand-in-hand.  When Leah named her fourth son “Yehuda” she explained the meaning of the name, which is “I am grateful”.  The name “Jew” derives from “Yehudi”, the people of “Yehuda”.  The Siddur is replete with blessings for everything, helping us to focus on and appreciate even the most mundane activities of life.  Things that most of the world takes for granted.  Gratitude is built into every aspect of Jewish life.  Yet, gratitude doesn’t come easily to us. It takes time and effort to develop.  And many people find thanking G-d much easier than thanking another human being.

The following is a word-for-word quote from an amazing book, I highly recommend (and from which I have liberally based much of the above on), entitled “Everyday Holiness – The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar” by Alan Morinis.

“In the Mussar classic “Duties of the Heart”, Rabbi Bachya ibn Pakuda tells us that there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t been given gifts, if only the gifts of life and hope, but we tend to suffer a kind of blindness that keeps us from seeing and appreciating what we have.  He identifies three reasons why we fail to see the abundance in our lives for which we ought to be grateful, and it’s worth paying attention to what he says because his insights are as true for us today as they were nearly one thousand years ago when he wrote them.  As you read these points, see if you can identify how these factors play out in your own life and keep you from the gratitude that is the soul’s satisfaction.

First, he says we tend not to feel appreciative because we are too absorbed in worldly things and in the enjoyment of them.  He points out that physical pleasures can never be fully gratified and so we pursue them endlessly, which keeps us from gratitude for what we have.

Second, we are so used to our gifts that we don’t even really see them anymore.  We have grown so accustomed to them that they appear to us as typical, permanent, unremarkable features of our lives.  Because we just take them for granted, we don’t see all the good that is in our lives, for which we really could and should be grateful.

And third, we are so focused on the travails and afflictions we suffer in this world that we forget that both our very being and all we own are among the good things that have been gifted to us.

The result of this foolishness, Rabbi ibn Pakuda concludes, is that ‘many good things are left unenjoyed, and the happiness to be had from them becomes tainted either because people do not recognize the good in it, or they do not realize its value.’”

We need to become experts in gratitude.  Too often we are only experts in wanting more and complaining.

The feeling of being rich, like the feeling of happiness is relative to our expectations.  If we are happy with and accepting of what we have, then we are rich.  And no matter how wealthy we are, the desire for more can make us feel poor and deprived.  Pursuing wealth can too easily become all-consuming, and usually deprives the one pursuing it of all other pleasures in life.  Ask yourself are you sacrificing family, integrity and honesty in the pursuit of wealth?  If so, you may be poor, even if you think you are rich.

“For you say, ‘I am rich, and I have grown rich, and I have need of nothing.’ And you do not realize that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Hitgalut 3:17)

 

“If you drink water from a well, do not throw stones at it.” (Bava Kama 92b)

Rabbi Yechezkail Sarna, Rosh Yeshiva of Chevron, wrote that the obligation to show gratitude toward a well applies especially to a spiritual well.  If you have studied Torah under a certain teacher or if you have studied in a certain yeshiva, appreciate what you have gained.  Be careful not to throw verbal stones at the spiritual wells from which you have drunk. (As told by Rabbi Pliskin in “Love your neighbor”).   Even if Hashem has led us to a different place or level in our spiritual walk, may we never forget to be grateful for those who have been a part of the journey.  Those who have been put on the path along the way, were put there by Hashem to teach us something we needed to learn.  As Ben Zoma tells us, we are wise if we learn from everyone.  Yes, obviously, sometimes we might learn how not to behave, or what not to believe, but we are still learning important life lessons.  How much more should we show gratitude to good, kosher teachers and mentors.  And we best do that by implementing the amazing gift of knowledge they have imparted to us.  Don’t take the wisdom imparted to you for granted, and remember it didn’t come without a cost to the one imparting it.

I pray that we work diligently at developing a healthy attitude of gratitude, thankful for the things that make our lives better, the people who enrich our lives, and the G-d who gives us life and sustains us each and every day.  May we recognize the good, and learn to enjoy the good, and place proper value on all things.  In the end, beauty is fleeting, and charm is deceitful, and the things of this world will fade away.  May we use our lives to gratefully pursue things of eternal value, recognizing the good that is already there and has been provided along our path!

Be grateful, be blessed and be a blessing,

Rhonda




Conversations with Nikki | EP3: HaShem’s Plan for a Happy Marriage

Welcome back to our series “Conversations with Nikki”.

What is HaShem’s plan for a happy marriage? What is marriage? Is marriage for me? Tune in as Nikki breaks down the concept of Marriage.