Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Poem (Unfinished)

The Land lay still,
As if in a summer night's dream,
Its shallow valleys,
Could not be seen,

For years it tried,
And tried again,
To gather strength,
To understand.

What folley had it undertaken?
Why were its people dying?
How had it happened so quickly?
Had G-d's presense left it?
Had it been forsaken?

When it remembered,
It suddenly awoke,
He stretched out his hand and spoke:

"Give me another chance,"
"Don't let the hope whither,"
"We can overcome all obstacles together,"
"This life..."
"It can be great,"
"Just you and I,"
"Give me another chance"
"Together we will try..."

She hearkened to his words as he drew near,
She wanted to hear more,
She wanted him to be clear:
What did this strange man want?
How many others just like him were here?
What was to happen now?
Would all her children reappear?

"I know," he said,
"It can be done but there will be a lot of suffering,"
"A lot of pain,"
"And yet the roadworks shall be cleared"
"And we shall know it was not in vain,"
"New orchards shall be planted,"
"The swamps shall yet be dried,"
"We shall hear children's laughter,"
"Our chests shall swell with pride."
"We will be one people,"
"Reunited with our Land,"
"Our leaders will be strong,"
"We shall build cities where there was once just dunes and sands."

Elul is Here!

R' Nachman teaches that the worst possible thing to do when one has sinned is to feel bad about it. There's no doubt that "pangs of repentance" are a must; a very real and necessary aspect of tshuva, but the first thing one must do when he has done something negative in word or in deed is get back up and feel good about himself. We need to rise above the "petty" of the world, beyond those who ignore and look down on us.

Each individual-Jew or Gentile is a world unto himself. Each individual is an entire reality in his own right. We were all created in G-d's image and we must hold on to this truth every moment of our lives.

I re-read a part of Pirkei Avot, "Wisdom of the Fathers," that speaks to me perhaps more than any of its other chapters (and Pirkei Avot is one of those works that has had a profound effect on my life): "Know where you came from and where you're going...," it begins. It goes on to state that we come from a "wet spot," return to "dust and ashes," and answer "to the King of Kings, Ruler of the universe." This is extremely important to internalize if we're to understand R' Nachman's wisdom.

Elus is here. We need to reason with ourselves and try and delve into what where we've gone wrong this year. What can we do that we haven't previously done? How can we become better people?

This process begins with the things we can change: interpersonal relations. We need to seek ways of asking for those whom we've hurt to forgive us, and to come get to know those who are integral parts of lives: our relatives and friends better. We need to make lists of things we want to improve on for the following year. Here's my list:

1. Guard what I do and say.
2. Avoid hurting other people at all costs.
3. Improve my Torah observance.
4. Avoid humiliating myself: this is also a type of "lashon ha'ra."
5. Try to get up early in the morning and go to sleep late at night, putting on the tefilin and saying the "Tikkun Hatzot" on time.
6. Improve my "kibud av va'em:" respect for my father and mother.
7. Make a list of sins I've committed and the sacrifices I will need to bring for these once the Temple is rebuilt.
8. Visit the Temple Mt. more often while trying to desist from getting into political arguments, especially with fellow Jews. This can prove not only pointless, but worse, take away from my achievements.

Monday, August 20, 2012

On the Importance of Apology in the Month of Elul

Sometimes, I've gone years without apologizing for really bad things I've done to people. Other times, it's taken me a day or two to realize I was wrong and ask for an apology. As we approach Rosh Hashana, and embark on another attempt to "clear the slate" of the Heavenly tribunal, asking forgiveness from our fellow man becomes perhaps the most important factor of our daily lives.

I find asking others to forgive me one of the most difficult and trying things to do. Admitting one's fault may be extremely hard. Based on Mesilat Yesharim or "Path of the Righteous," I believe that admitting one's fault is very important. And forgiving others when they ask for forgiveness is just as--if not more important. When we forgive our fellow man, Hashem takes note of this, and is more apt to forgive us in turn.

On this note, I'd like to extend my apologies to the many people whom I've hurt this year in thought or in deed. I ask that you completely nulify your anger towards me as I will towards you. May G-d grant us a year of peace and tranquility, of good thoughts and deeds, of charity and kindness towards ourselves and each other. May the State of Israel merit good, righteous leaders and may our words and actions speed up the coming of the Mashiach and the Redemption.


A simple "thanks!" is all it takes,
To brighten up my day,
To chase away the darkness from the world,
To turn the black to gray.

You helped me by landing me a hand,
By being there for me,
And I am grateful to you in so many ways,
You're such a dear friend!

Not everyone can do it, but you can,
You're a model of kindness,
It takes a lot and you'll see,
Many will thank you for not being mindless.

For caring, wanting to help,
For doing your very best,
Keep going, keep trying, my good friend,
And you'll fulfill your quest!

Dedicated to my close friend, Sofia Litinsky who helped me today in a moment of hardship.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Reflection

He tried and tried,
He tried in vain,
The constant worry drove him insane.
He tried to stay,
To stay strong,
He knew the writing was there,
All along.

It was a difficult winter,
Hard, cold, freezing snow,
He didn't know where to go.
He called her,
He said that he was ready,
She was confused, tired, and unsteady.

In a European capital they felt like strays
In winter's midst, they parted ways,
Bickering, fighting,
They felt like strangers,
They would continue--
To fall, to rise, to overcome all dangers.

And fall he did,
Fall to vice,
He prayed to G-d he wouldn't fall twice.
He got back up,
Got back on track,
Clawing, clinging,
Trying so hard, not looking back.

Today, he's in a capital of a different land,
His face, his body covered by sand,
He is a desert onto himself
But he stands tall,
He thinks, he ponders life, the world--
Is there not more of his story to be told?

He sits and waits,
For what--he knows not.
He knows there should be more,
But what's he got?
He stares into space, appears dry,
His thoughts are focused on days gone by.

A song for ages, for times past,
He knows he must stay strong,
Never to rest,
He must continue,
And help others too,
He also knows he must stay true.

How many words?
How many vowels?
He says them all and feels his bowels,
Are weak, are falling
What's going on?
How many more things to say till it's dawn?

No amount of words,
About love, belief in G-d, the world,
No matter how much he says,
He won't hit gold.
He must apply,
Apply, learn, and be,
And then they'll wander,
And then they'll see.

He'll meet her in some way,
In person or through a dream,
He'll ask her "See where we've been?"
"How much we've done, how much we've cried,"
"I see you've changed!"
"I see you've tried!"

He wanders high and wide,
Meets people, smiles at them,
He knows much has changed,
He does all that he can,
To live the dream,
To be himself,
In good, in bad, in sickness, and in health.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

...in Good and in Bad...

We all have our rough spots in life. You've had yours, and I've had mine. Our resilience and perseverance is what enables us to keep on going, but what else is there to the equation? My new-found belief in G-d (it's only been about five years thus far) has given me the jolt I needed to keep going in difficult times. I believe that we all need to internalize the presence and onenness of Hashem, and to allow Him into our world.

"...in good and in bad, in sickness and in health..."I've never heard these words in first person, but these are the words the groom says to the bride during a secular wedding ceremony. These are appropriate words in describing the Jewish people's relationship with Hashem. In every generation since Avraham Avinu, we've held on to our deep-rooted belief in the G-d of Hosts, Redeemer of Israel, Rock of Ages. Whether under the threat of death or in good times, we've stayed loyal to the One who gave us what we have in this world.

I've come to the realization that there's something beyond me, beyond my silly, little needs and ugres in the world. Beyond me, beyond you, beyond the stones and trees, the sun, the sea, and the skies. Something beyond...

We need to "keep and to hold...in good and in bad..." Not our spouse or even our parents, but our belief in the One eternal G-d of Israel because people will come and go. They will leave our lives as suddenly as they came, disappear without as much as a whimper, and we will eventually be left with ourselves...and our belief in Him.

It's of utmost importance especially as the month of Elul dawns upon us to maintain our belief no matter if the going is good--or bad, no matter if you're having a great day or the worst day of your life. Easy for me to say? No. Very, very difficult as life has testified. But now that I keep to this "method," to this fundamental framework of life, I'm much better off than I was before.

We need to hold on to Him who gave us life, to Him who provides for us, nourishes us, and gives us strength. No matter how many people have turned you down, no matter how much money you've lost, no matter how bad it is. And I, perhaps more than anyone else, need to keep this belief near my heart. Always. In all circuimstances.

From the eternal capital of the Jewish people,

Eitan Divinsky.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why Must MSN Israel...

Why Must MSN Israel feature news about all the Hollywood stars who've had nude photo shoots?
Why Must ''' feature news about left-wing rallies in TA on a daily basis (and does anyone care)?
Why Must ''' feature stories on angry "settlers" and tame "Palestinians?"
Why Must ''' feature stories about the worst possible things that can befall humanity?

And finally: WHY DO WE NEED MSN Israel? Does MSN Israel need us? Time to switch to Mozilla....... Nighty nighty and blessings from Jerusalem, capital of the world!

Chill J'lem Night

Still up,
More thoughts to drown out the brain noise,
More unexpected emotions to blend in with everything around,
Dark, chill J'lem night
Moves in
To claim another day,
It's dark--not simply dim!
I want to tell the world about my life,
Want to share hidden secrets,

R' Nachman's tikkun hatzot:
The time for it has long passed,
Another squandered chance?
Or a newly-discovered opportunity for tshuva?
Whichever way,
I yearn sleep,

More people come 'n go
Fall by the wayside of my life journey,
More girls met,
More dates cancelled,
Memories lost,
Memories don't die--only we do!
Memories remain etched within us,

I'll awaken to witness the sunrise above Baka
Arabs used to live here
Now, it's our turn
Oh, now I see--

Eitan Divinsky
Eitan Divinsky
Eitan Divinsky

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