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Shabbos Chic Blog

Gratitude

Reflections on Passover Morning 2017

This year there was much study and prayer in preparation for our little Seder at home. The preparation really made a difference in me, and that made a difference in the Seder when I conducted it. 

Congregational events are wonderful of course, but the intimacy of a small, family Seder with deep, prayerful preparation gives me (and you?) more opportunity to reflect and to receive.  The night of Passover is not just about the food and the memories of being set free from Egypt centuries ago. It is a distinctive, meaningful, precious time for us to receive freedom in our own lives right now.

We wouldn't think of sliding into a booth at a restaurant and telling the server, "I'll have a big helping of Freedom today, please." No restaurant sells it, for one thing... But that's exactly what we do when we sit at the Seder table and move through the 15 steps of the Seder. We are asking for a nice, big helping of Freedom from all our limitations. 

What a privilege to have access to world-class teachers this year, and also to have the time to study. I want to thank Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, of blessed memory, and Rabbi Akiva Tatz, Rabbi Yitzchak Swartz, Yedidah Cohen, and Rabbi Alon Anava in particular. You have all blessed me and brought Shalom Bayit to our Seder table this year. Thank you all!

Pre-Pesach Energy 5776

Rabbi Aryeh Nivin gave his annual Pesach Drasha for women this week, and it lit me up like a firecracker. He suggested we select just one, tiny change (not a big, huge one) and implement it every single day, from now through Shavuos.

Well, I'm doing it. I chose to make a slight but distinct attitude adjustment. It involves seeing myself from a different perspective, one that another person might immediately have, but I habitually NEVER have about myself.

Until now!  And I'm really doing it, because I made it fun.  I built a little blog for myself, and posted over a hundred photos to remind me of my new mindset. It's working!  I leave the blog tab open on my laptop as I'm working, and click on it whenever I need a boost back up and into my new mindset. 

Funny thing... I'm really good at boosting my clients' mindset, but haven't applied my coaching skills to myself. DUH! 

Thanks so much, Rabbi Nivin, for giving us such a simple, little Pesach blessing, for ourselves personally, and for women of Klal Israel! Here's a list that's true, in my experience, but I'd add one more word -  JOY!!!






What is Teshuva All About?

I love Elul!  The feel of fall is in the air, most obvious in the early mornings since daytime temps are still reaching up to and over  100 degrees here in north Texas now.  

I want to share what Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz wrote about Teshuva, It gives me a sense of hope and encouragement to consider the power of return to humility and forgiveness during the High Holy Days each year.

"Teshuva involves different kinds of intentions and different levels of intentions, on a scale of higher to lower. Probably the highest level of intention is Teshuva from love, meaning a person doesn’t change ways because he’s afraid of punishment, of hell (which is another level of Teshuva), but because he feels bad that he didn’t take advantage of his relationship with G-d. This type of Teshuva elicits results which are much higher, raising up the sins a person commits to become merits instead."  
Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz,  ParadisePrinciple.com

The Whole Point of Elul

For me, this Elul 5775 is all about The King is in The Field of Lemon Verbena.

My crop doesn't look like this in real life, but in my vision of the future it's quite a crop! 

And, to me, that's the whole point of Elul... Seeing our lives in perspective, seeing ourselves in perspective, dealing with what we want to change about our lives and having a new vision for the future of profuse growth of consciousness, with no interference. 

That's how I see it anyway. And I was incredibly inspired by Mrs. Shira Smiles' teaching called How Elul Is The Month of Relationships. Oh, that topic truly hits home for me this year. 

My favorite part is when Mrs. Smiles describes our human tendency to "pour cement on our Neshama."  That's such a great visual, isn't it? It's a picture of what we do when we draw conclusions about what we do (and don't do) and what other people do (and don't do) and we draw conclusions about our own failings, resulting in a big mess. 

Pouring wet cement on our tender, Neshama, a part of our eternal soul. Nobody intends to pour wet cement on their own living soul; certainly not if they understand how precious it is. 

But we do it, nevertheless. We dump on ourselves often, making a bigger and bigger pile over who we really are, which makes it impossible to do what we are here on earth to do. Which is not good.

My goal for 5776 is simple now - No More Wet Cement! I want to grow without the weight upon my Neshama now.

For me, the whole point of Elul this year is to learn to recognize old cementy thoughts and actions so I can avoid them, and so I can set my Neshama free!

My Creator Is An Overflowing Source

An email from Praying With Passion ignited my enthusiasm today,just  after meeting on the web with a group of women talking about  spirituality.

Here is my favorite part of the email:

"Like this underground spring, G-d is a boundless, overflowing source of sustenance for us. Everything we rely upon draws its existence from Him. When we recite the words in the blessings, we trace our sustenance back to its Source and acknowledge that there would be nothing if G-d did not provide it."

There were several women in the group today who chose not to acknowledge the Creator of the Universe as the source of their spiritual experiences, or their very lives. I'm SO GLAD to be able to express gratitude to Hashem each day, knowing  who made me, who made this universe, and who knows why. 


Our Prayers Are Never Lost

Years ago I remember reading, "Not one precious drop of love is ever wasted."  And I was deeply impressed.

That statement has formed a theme for my life, for several decades so far.

Today I read these words in a Praying With Fire email, from the book by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman:

"Prayers are stored and answered in the manner and at the time that Hashem deems best. All sincere prayers are answered with good."

So, I started thinking about love and prayer, and how much they are the same, or they can be the same.  Love and prayer are intense expressions of emotion, or they can be if we let them.

Good wisdom for Parashat Bo 5775


It's late January/early Shevat right now. That means our New Year's resolutions may be wearing off.  Our fervent plans and goals made at the beginning of the calendar year seem to take a backseat when life gets in the way.

Reaching for a goal is such a human thing to so, a classic and respected exercise of the strength of our human will.

These wise words in a blog post by Shuli Kleinman this week remind me that it's not my own plans and goals that take precedence anyway:

"Taanug, the pleasure of the soul, is also above will, but we may not have ever experienced real pleasure of the soul.

Instead we experience comfort, satisfaction, gratification, and other things related to the accomplishment of our goals based on will.

Yet one thing is beyond refute - this type of happiness does not last and there is no guarantee that what works today will have the same outcome the next time.

Why?  We are simply not in control of the world."

It's a challenge to balance the reality of God's sovereignty with our own healthy enthusiasm for prosperity and growth. For enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment in our lives.

I loved a post by Marnie Pehrson, sharing her tender but powerful personal growth in the ability to receive (kabel in Hebrew) as a woman. Oh yes, I can relate when she says, "Over the last couple years, I’ve felt myself being reprogrammed to receive. Through a series of setbacks, life has put me in positions where I HAVE to receive. I have to ask for help."

And I'm SO looking forward to the new book on Eshet Chayil by Sara Esther Crispe, scheduled for publication soon.

Precious Yom Kippur Perspective


Big thanks to Jewish Workshops and and Dr. Miriam Adahan for this screenshot that uplifts and inspires us this week on our Yom Kippur, which is also Shabbat.

Light in the Midst of Darkness

When I sing the candle lighting blessings each week on Friday night it fills my home with a tangible sense of peace.  I love it, and look forward to it all week.

My husband and I absorb the peace on behalf of our family members and our friends, and on behalf of the whole world.

We welcome the Sabbath in song, because that takes our mind away from this world in an unmistakeable way.

Singing on Shabbos is a precious expression, but so is singing prayers and blessings every day of the week.

The following words woke up my deep, personal relationship with singing, "unto the Lord," which is something that I've done much more in the past than in the last few years.

"Singing to G-d fixes the broken tablets. The book of Psalms was actually King David’s transcriptions of his Torah-healing songs. Each of the five books of Psalms corresponds to one of the five books of Moshe." 
From a Breslev.org email today

********************************************************
No words can express the sorrow of the loss of three Yeshiva boys, but somehow, miraculously, the mother of Eyal Yifrach has words of faith for all Mothers in this incredible letter on JewishMom.com
********************************************************

Jewish Coach Deborah Riegel posted on THE important question we can ask to truly hear others' feelings and deep needs-  "How is this for YOU?"

And Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis posted inspiration from her experience as a Holocaust survivor, giving her a unique perspective on our times -  "But despite it all, the pintele Yid, the Jewish spark, was never extinguished. And if kindled, that spark can burst forth and become a brilliant flame. I know because I have witnessed it again and again. We have never forgotten You."

AMEN and AMEN, Father, May we never forget You.
"

Blessings Come in Many Forms

Blessings come in many shapes and forms, but this image captures the gratitude in my heart today.

Sometimes the blessings are so very obvious that we cannot miss the fact the the mighty hand of Hashem is in fact moving us through our lives like chess pieces on a chess board.  We can feel the love and intention.


Welcome to the Tribe, David!

It's a joy to celebrate with my friend David today, his first Shabbos as a member of the Tribe.

We welcome you with open arms, David!




It's the Season for Early Shabbos Lights

Selecting the candle holders to light up our Friday night goes on earlier in the day now since daylight savings time is no longer observed here in north Texas USA.

I was standing by the table, waiting in the dark when my husband suddenly came in the front door, returning from work. "Hold on," he said, "I'll be right there..."

Many families struggle to gather before sunset, and I am grateful it worked for us this first week of early Shabbos.

There are too many other struggles in families and in the world, and the whole purpose of kindling the Shabbos lights is to welcome the peace of the Sabbath Day into our homes and into our crazy, busy lives.

Honestly, when my husband and I bond over Kiddush at the Shabbat table each week, it is a precious bond, a high point, a threshold into intentional peace we choose to share.

We both value this opportunity and genuinely welcome it, as it signals the end of the pressures of our work week and the beginning of our "real life" at home together.

The lack of a "real life" at home for families scattered by school and activities and work and shopping and sports and hobbies and caring for others is truly a source of trouble in this world. We are scattered and stressed so much of the time that it seems normal to us.

Kindling the lights of Shabbat each week reminds me what is normal to my Creator, and what is available to me, too - the light and the peace of the Sabbath, the Shalom Bayit, the peace at home. How I treasure it!

Shabbat Sukkot

Sending Light To The Nations
on Shabbat Sukkot from London, England

Ushpizin - Succos Guests in My Spiritual Life

In our EmunaHealing class this week, Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum helped us understand that our Succah is representative of the Holy Temple.

We build it and we spend a designated time in it each year in order to remember and connect  with the past and future Temple, right where we live, right now.

And, no matter where we live, we can expect a special guest to visit us each day.  Our spiritual Succos guests are the Patriarchs of our faith, and they are here for us now if we are willing to receive them.

The Aramaic word for "guests" is pronounced Ushpizin, and that is what we call our special Succos guests each year.


Rebbetzin Chana Bracha shared the basic spiritual qualities represented by each of the Patriarchs, and also associated the particular Sephirot to this list I'm quoting from an Aish.com post by Rabbi Joel Padowitz as well:

  • Abraham represents love and kindness [Chessed]
  • Isaac represents restraint and personal strength [Gevurah]
  • Jacob represents beauty and truth [Tiferet]
  • Moses represents eternality and dominance through Torah [Netzach]
  • Aaron represents empathy and receptivity to divine splendor [Hod]
  • Joseph represents holiness and the spiritual foundation [Yesod]
  • David represents the establishment of the kingdom of Heaven on Earth [Malchut]

As an EmunaHealer, Rebbetzin included her understanding of the various parts of the human body represented by each of the Sephirot. 

Her sharing added another tangible, significant layer of understanding and possibility of healing  to the holiday of Succos for me this year.

See Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum's
Kosher Tube 3-part teaching on 
Torah of the Mothers

It's Shabbat and It's Yom Kippur - A Double Blessing

When Yom Kippur and Shabbos coincide, it's hard to imagine the great Light accessible to us all.  I honestly don't think it can be expressed any better than this quote from my FridayLight email today:

"Have you ever seen a flame leap back to its source, like when sparks ignite from a camp fire, and then fall back into the fire itself?

We each have a spiritual spark within. It is a spark that is purely a piece of our Creator, and it lives in each of us. Though it is usually covered in layers of spiritual and physical shells, on Yom Kippur that innermost spark shines out and comes close to its source.

Yom Kippur is the one day of the year when we have the power to access that spark. It is a day when we can truly be our most real spiritual and physical selves.

This Shabbat is Yom Kippur. When we light our candles today, we are welcoming the opportunity to access that truest, most pure part of yourself. Have a meaningful Yom Kippur and Shabbat Shalom from FridayLight!"

And also from me, Mia Sherwood Landau. May your life and your spiritual growth be immeasurably blessed this year and always.

"On this day, just one time per year, we are lifted collectively and individually above our past and given the opportunity to “whiten” and purify the toxic residue of the pain, disappointments and regrets that we have picked up throughout the year and even throughout our lives." Shifra Hendrie

What is the essence of Rosh Hashana?

Although I was participating in the live Skype session as Dr Yedidah Cohen translated this section of Zohar  explained by Rabbi Yehudah  Lev Ashlag in the Perush HaSulam, it is very helpful to be able to listen to it again and again in her recording  posted as The Shofar: The Sound of Compassion.

"The twelve months of the year are the tikun of the Malchut, from its beginning to its end.

Since it is not completely finished until the Gemar HaTikun (the end of the Tikun) we need each year to come back and rectify it.

And therefore, on each Rosh Hashana we start the tikun of the Malchut again.

So, the word shanah, shin-nun-hey, is a cycle."

Yedidah's English translation of Rabbi Ashlag's explanation brought me around to understanding that the essence of Rosh Hashana is quite the opposite of harsh, critical judgment of my sins.

It is a day to relish the love and attention of my Creator's confident expectation in my process of perfection and the ultimate perfection of the world.

I am an intrinsic part of the cycle. My life and my teshuva are important and welcome; they are necessary and valuable.

I am not pitifully pleading for forgiveness, but acknowledging Hashem as my Beloved and crowning Hashem as King. I am doing my part.

This year I make teshuva with a new, improved attitude.  I am bringing the genuine love of my Beloved that is lavished upon me during this month of Elul to my Temple with me on Rosh Hashana in order to promote Tikun Olam. 

I am participating in the significant beginning of yet another year, yet another cycle in the rectification of the world.

And this year, with an expanded understanding of my own purpose and my relationship with my Beloved, I embrace the compassionate essence of Rosh Hashana  by joyfully participating in all three traditional expressions of  love and compassion:

Teshuva - it's our choice for personal bonding with God

Tefila - it's our job to pray for the tools to serve God

Tzedaka - it's our opportunity to give Charity or Justice

Join Rabbi Yossi Srugo, Rabbi Yakov Garfinkel and Rabbi Chai Amar in an eight-minute video reminder of these traditional Jewish observances of Rosh Hashana called Crowning the King.

Shana Tova & Happy Cycling!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis at the Wall this Elul

Women praying at the Wall during Elul include Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis of the dynamic Jewish outreach organization,  www.Hineni.org and her timeless, infectious love and respect for all things Jewish.  She posted a poignant article about Weeping For Jerusalem on her blog while visiting Jerusalem recently:

"For thousands of years we prayed, wept and hoped for Yerushalayim. To see Yerushalayim again, to behold the rebuilt Beis HaMikdash, has always been the center of all our prayers...

Should we not ask again and again and still again, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” I miss it so. I’m in Jerusalem but the shinning crown of the Holy City is absent and my joy cannot be complete until I see its glory restored."

"This Rosh Hashanah has to be different. It just cannot  be another Rosh Hashanah. It has to be different.

You and I, we could bring redemption to our people.

So, how do we do it?  First, we have to find out who we are, what we are, what we represent...

Every person, every individual is a special, unique creation of God. We are not mass-produced.

God created each and every one of us, custom-made, with a unique purpose.

Before we are ever born, Hashem makes a magnificent portrait of us, and it's hanging in the Heavenly galleries. And it portrays that which Hashem hopes that which we will achieve in this world...

So, this year we have to make a difference, we MUST make a difference, for ourselves, for our families, for Am Israel and for the world."

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, fromA Nation Blessed As One

Rabbi David Aaron on Emunah - Faith is a state of being

Back in 2005, Rabbi David Aaron of www.Isralight.org recorded several hours of audio teaching he called an Emunah Seminar, and his words are enlivening my studies this Elul 5773. 

Here are are few quotes from his teaching called The State of Being, which describes our faith as who we are, as part of our core essence we can tap into when we are willing to set aside distractions:


"Faith is not a collection of ideas,
faith is a state of being."

"Rav Kook explains that faith is the revelation of the Self, of yourself. It is the basic self-revealing of your inner essence.

It is not something that you achieve, that you accomplish in the sense of adding more information, amassing more knowledge.

It's actually something that you need to release from yourself, in essence."

"Emunah is the basic self-revealing
of the essence of the soul."

Rabbi David Aaron

Contemplating Parashat Kitavo - First Things First

It isn't just the first fruits of the land we contemplate this Shabbos reading Parashat Kitavo... no, it's our first thoughts and actions each day.

Rebbetzin Chana Brach Siegelbaum posts the following on her Women At The Crossroads blog this week:

"Knowing that the holy Torah is eternal; as we learn from the Thirteen Principles of Belief: “This Torah will never be exchanged;”* then, how do we fulfill the mitzvah of Bikurim today when we have neither a worshipping  Kohen, nor a Temple, or an altar?

Even today we can fulfill the mitzvah of Bikurim by dedicating the beginning of every matter to Hashem. The body follows the head."

* Rambam, the Thirteen Principles of Emunah, #9.

Prayer for Elul, Shabbos and Always

I am touched by words in two inspiring emails today. The first quote is from Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz on the topic of Prayer:

"Every word of prayer makes an impression and isn't wasted. Sometimes much later their effect is felt, sometimes in a very different way than was intended. The principle is that there is nothing ever lost. 

However , there are many levels of  impact. Just as each person's life outlook is different, as is reflected by the fact that no two faces look alike---so too , no two prayers impact are alike."

And the other quote is on the topic of Prayer, too.  It is from my weekly FridayLight.org email, always so welcome as I prepare for Shabbos each week:

"In Jewish mysticism, there is a concept of two ways of relating to our Creator. One way is for our Creator to reach down to us with help or inspiration. Another way is for us to do our work here on the ground and to reach up to him to ask for help.

It's rare for our Creator to just make changes for us. However, according to mystical sources, when we do everything in our power to bring this redemption for ourselves in combination with asking our Creator for help, that's when the He will generally meet us in the middle. We reach up and He reaches down (metaphorically speaking.)"

Rabbi Shais Taub on Shabbos, Men, Women and Idolatry

I just listened, and now
I guarantee that your understanding of human relationships and of our  enduring relationship with Shabbos can change forever  right now, too. 

Just click and listen to Rabbi Shais Taub as he tells us how it can work out, if we choose.

Yes, it's a choice. We can see ourselves as men and women, and we can see the Shabbos in a new way, and a way that actually works.

Enjoy this beautiful 3-minute audio of  Shir HaMa'alot Shabbat Shalom

Sights and Sounds of The Sabbath

Shabbat is set aside and there are many sights, sounds and tastes for us to enjoy at home, or wherever we may be. Right now I am inclined to share the English translation of one of my favorite sights and sounds.

Adon Olam is a powerful prayer, by sight (reading) and by sound (listening). It is available for us all, for all time.

This translation is from the Artscroll Children's Siddur by Shmuel Blitz, with precious illustrations by Tova Katz:

Master of the Universe,
Who was always King,
even before anything was created,

When nothing will exist anymore,
only He will rule.

Hashem always was here,
Hashem always is here,
and Hashem will always be here.

Hashem is the only One,
there is no other god.

Hashem has no beginning and no end,
Hashem is amazingly strong.

Hashem is my God, and my Redeemer,
He helps me in my time of trouble.

I am safe with Him,
He is there when I call to Him.

He watches over my soul when I go to sleep,
and when I wake up in the morning.

Hashem is always with me,
and I shall not be afraid.

and the following quote from page 10:

"The highest level of prayer
a person can reach is to
pray like a young child."



Shabbat Shalom To One And All


Shabbat is universally about family, and about our relationship to our ultimate, lasting and forever family relationship with Hashem.

Even if we find ourselves alone when we begin the Sabbath, we are not alone. We are part of an enormous and enduring family, and our candle lighting celebrates our family relationship that never ends.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz sent an email to commemorate the 5th Yartzeit of his mother today, and he said:

" Our 'FATHER-IN-HEAVEN' [who is also portrayed as 'IMA' or 'Mother' in certain Providential situations according to the Kabbalah], is Someone that we, His children, can always turn to for help and guidance in any and every situation that we find ourselves in. "

May the enduring love of our Creator and Heavenly Father, Hashem, wrap us up in the beauty and safety and warmth of his love, and may we all be blessed.

Successful People Just Do It Anyway

"When you wake up in the morning you get to choose which route to take. As one wise person said: The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that smart people hate doing the same things that unsuccessful people hate doing-but successful people do it any way."

Sean D'Souza is a smart guy who helps people write well. I enjoyed this quote from his email today.

********************************
"When we look for rejection and reasons to hold back, that’s exactly what we will find. On the other hand, if we seek possibility and look for people that need us as much as we need them, there they are." Seth Godin
********************************

Like a diamond in the rough


When we are challenged, our consciousness has to shift.

It's not about the other person changing to please us.

It's about how much we can change.


All our frustrations are there to give us the opportunity to change ourselves.

Everything that gives me an opportunity to change and grow, to elevate my consciousness, is a gift to me.

These are the diamonds that our soul is here to collect.
Yehuda Sivan, 10/2011, Dallas TX

Shabbat Shalom from FridayLight.org and from me!


Top 10 Reasons Why Lighting Shabbat Candles is Awesome (From my FridayLight .org email today 6/7/2013):

10. Your grandma probably did it, and so did her grandma.
9. It gives your two minutes to yourself.
8. Candles look pretty!
7. Since G-d created light first, when we light Shabbat lights we bring forth the first light that G-d created. Deep!
6. The candles brings honor and joy to Shabbat!
5. They bring peace into our home and into the world.
4. The act of lighting brings Torah into our homes.
3. As women, it helps us to bring a feeling of Shabbat
into the house.
2. G-d especially loves this mitzvah!
1. It is a mitzvah for women, and it gives us a special connection to G-d and to the Jewish People.
What are your Top Reasons?


Shabbat Shalom from FridayLight.org and from me!

Seeing With The Eyes of God

Working with people all over the world on their book projects, I have the privilege of hearing their hopes and dreams and goals.  It's such a privilege!

When I got these words from one of my teachers this week, I was just elated because they spoke directly to my professional and personal opportunities to see others as God sees them. And, naturally, to see myself as God sees me as well.

In other words, we can all begin to have this enlightened perspective when, "....we understand how G-d sees us, which includes the past, the present and the future, all at the same time. He IS, he WAS and he WILL BE. That is who he is. That is his name, and that is his essence, or at least it is the essence that we can grasp."

This is something I will be working on the rest of my life, that's for sure. Remembering the Holy Name in my real life circumstances, and remembering what it means TO ME, what it means in my relationships with others, is the basic challenge of humanity, isn't it? It is the basic message of Torah living in us, in our everyday lives.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis on Saying Thank You

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis said the perfect words in an email today. They spoke loudly to me, so here they are for you, too:

"Our sages give us insight. In Hebrew the word modeh, thank you, also means “to admit.”

In essence, saying “thank you” is an admission that we are in need, that we are vulnerable, that we cannot do it alone – and this is something we do not like to concede. We hate feeling beholden, especially if the favor extended to us is significant. Therefore the greater the kindness, the closer our relationship, the deeper is our reluctance to reveal our weakness by saying those two little words."

I have SO MUCH to be thankful for today, and her words are reminding me that it is not only OK, but it is a actually a requirement to feel and express gratitude, no matter how I may rebel inside myself , orhow others accept the thanks outside of me.

Saying thank you is not always popular, and I have experienced a lot of people telling me not to thank them in various situations. I have learned to remember that their reactions are not really my business. My business is between me and my Almighty God. I am saying thank you because it is pleasing to God, whether or not it is pleasing to people.

Thanks so much for the beautiful reminder, Rebbetzin!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis on Gratitude

I treasure my weekly emails from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, the holocaust survivor who founded Hineni.org and continues to travel and work tirelessly to inspire Jews all over the world.

Today she included the following words that speak directly to my soul:

"People run here and there, dabbling in every available therapeutic program, but they fail to understand that happiness is waiting for them right in their own minds and hearts. They need only acquire the attribute of gratitude and learn to thank G-d for the many blessings of life."

Choosing gratitude is mandated for Jews, but it's still hard to remember. Creating happiness by choosing gratitude is not costly or hard to do. It is just hard to REMEMBER to do.
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