Friday, October 25, 2013


This year on Hashanah Rabba, one of the holiest days of the year, we were fortunate to receive a beautiful gift from G-d.  My husband came home from morning prayers and told me there is a visitor in Temecula for the second part of the holiday of Succot.  He is visiting with his wife from the Upper West side of Manhattan, and they may be joining us for the meal later that afternoon.  That’s unusual I thought, who comes to Temecula for the holiday and doesn’t ask to join for a meal or for a place to sleep?  Later that day, a midst the chaos of preparing for a three day holiday, the most beautiful couple walks in.  I am a bit embarrassed wearing my “I’m stuck in the kitchen all day clothing”, yet they seem genuinely happy to be joining us.  Unfortunately, I did not have a whole lot of time to speak with them, but thankfully my Mother-in-Law was there and they shared many stories.  They were in Temecula because his college roommate was getting married on Shabbat, and they were staying in a winery close enough to the wedding that they could walk.  After the meal, this beautiful woman gave me a hug and started to cry.  “Ask your Mother-in-Law why I needed to spend the holiday in Temecula so I could meet you today.”

I looked at my Mother-in-Law and asked, “What did she tell you?”

This is the story as my Mother-in-Law remembers it…

When they first got married, they went on their honeymoon to a very beautiful Island.  They went bungee jumping and something went terribly wrong.  She crashed into a rock and broke her back and neck, and was unconscious.  There were no adequate hospitals nearby, so they chartered a plane back to New York.  The doctors there put her through many tests and came back with very bad news.  She had broken almost every bone in her body and was absolutely brain dead.  It was time for her new husband to say good bye.  After a few months, her fingers and toes began to move.  The doctor was quick to assure her husband that it means nothing, it is just reflexes.  A few months later she woke up.  After many more tests, the doctor informed them that although she far surpassed his expectations, it would not get better then this.  She will never walk and never have children.

She then told my Mother-in-Law,  I came to Temecula today to tell you this.  I walked into your son’s house, pregnant with my second child with one message.  There is only One healer, and He is Hashem!! 

The reason I am sharing this story with you, is because my story is your story too.  My heartache is yours, my little miracles are yours, and my big miracle will be yours too.  I can see your actions, and how they have impacted the lives of my family, I see amazing kindness and generosity.  I see that you are truly remarkable, and we are the lucky ones being cradled by you.  I cannot find the right words to express my gratitude.  When I share my good days with you, I can see in your eyes that you are as happy as I am.  When I share the hard days, you are in pain with me.  I hardly know some of you, and your care is so real, so sincere, it brings tears to my eyes.  When you stop me on the street to ask how we are and to give us blessings, I know it is not just words, I know you mean it from the deepest part of your soul, and it moves me to tears. 

Then I wonder, how does all this look to G-d?  This outpouring of love from all over the world?  It must be absolutely beautiful.  Our ancestors must be looking at us with so much pride.

This brings me hope.  Hope for a miracle, hope for my family, and hope for the thousands of families just like mine. 

Hope is an interesting thing.  It has an energy and excitement accompanying it.  It makes us feel happy, positive, and brave.  It is the opposite of being frozen with fear.  Hope spurs us into action.  Hope is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity. 

[Some feel that being hopeful, is being in denial of your situation.  You are not being realistic about your future.  Doctors look as us with pity.  For all of their efforts to help us understand our future, we are just not intelligent enough to get it.  When we will be depressed, they will have succeeded in doing their job well, for now we will understand how our future looks.]

We do not live our lives to make our Doctors happy.  There is only One healer, and He is Hashem!!  We are strong believers in Hashem.  We have always been, it is deeply ingrained in our DNA. 

The day we received our diagnosis, was to say the least, a traumatic day.  Our long drive home was silent, cold, and fearful.  When I finally could speak, I asked Yitzi, “What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?”  He answered immediately, as if he was thinking the same thing.  “We never wrote a Torah or built a Mikvah.”  (Ritual Bath).  Silly me, I actually thought he was also going to say ‘take you to Hawaii’.

Well we have begun dream number one.  We have started writing a Torah.  We are calling it “Torat Chaim”  The Torah of Life.  Please join us in bringing this dream to life.

We thank you for your prayers, your generosity, and your love.  May this year bring to all of us great healing, joy and laughter, and of course – hope.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Three Feet Deep

The past month and a half have been quite challenging. All of the excitement of the Bar Mitzvah is in our wonderful memories, family has all gone home, and we are trying to get back to normal. Actually, we are trying to figure out what normal is right now. We are stuck in a holding pattern.  As of now there is no known cure for ALS, but there are many clinical trials and research that G-d willing will bring a cure.  We are Thank G-d too healthy for certain trials, and just waiting for other trials to become available, and then hope and pray that we are going to be one of the lucky twelve to be selected for it.

So we wait, we pray, we hope, and we cry (or maybe that's just me). Some days are good days. The kids are happy, Yitzi is feeling well, there is an atmosphere of joy and excitement that permeates our home. We know how many people around the world are doing extra Mitzvos on Yitzi's behalf and how many are praying for us.  For those of you who don't know, there is even a website called!  We can feel a miracle just around the corner. I love these days and cherish every second of them. I even answer my phone on happy days. 

Some days are downright bad days. The fear is so all consuming I cannot breath. It is like ice has begun to form deep in my soul and is spreading from there outward. Just waiting, frozen in my grief while the one I love continues to get worse and harder to understand. Sometimes for a second, I forget. He looks the same, still has the same smile and twinkle in his eyes, and then he tells me he is going to record his words, so in the future, he can communicate with his own voice through a computer. I am surprised that the tears do not come out frozen.

These days are followed by shame. Shame that I do not have enough faith and belief in Hashem. Shame that although I know the Rebbe is rooting for us and guarding us from above, I am still terrified. Shame that because of my previous blogs, people think I'm a lot stronger then I am.  I know Hashem makes miracles all of the time, some cloaked in nature and others quite obvious. I also know that not every deserving person gets one. That is what turns my heart to ice.  Are we miracle worthy?

Most of my days fall somewhere between these two. Moments of joy and hope, and moments of fear and dread, and of course hours of laundry.
Then the sun comes out again, and I remember a family trip to Big Bear Lake about six years ago. (I know it's another water analogy, but I really love water.) After watching the kids play in the lake for two days, I finally decide to jump in. I was fully dressed, and jumped into the lake, while my husband stood on the dock laughing at me. The water was incredible and very refreshing until my legs got caught in my long skirt and I started to panic. My husband very calmly says, “put your legs straight down”. I did that and found, to my embarrassment, the water was so shallow that my head and shoulders were completely out of the water. Aside from feeling foolish, (and yes, my husband was laughing his head off) I learned a very valuable lesson. It is possible to drown in three feet of water.

Right now, I am standing in murky water, where the bottom is not visible to my eye. That does not mean it is not right under my feet, but I surely wont find it in my state of panic.  I think Hashem does this purposefully, to see how we behave, and what we reflect, when we recognize our vulnerabilities.  Do we look for help, or drown in our own panic in three feet of water.

Every day we wake up with the belief that today is the day Moshiach will come. The next day we have the absolute same belief, for thousands of years.

Every day I wake up thinking today is the day a miracle will occur. At the end of the day I do feel a little less certain, yet the next morning I will wake up with the same belief.

Although I think one can definitely drown in just a few feet of water, I don't think we will. The difference between the lake and our lives is the amount of people around us. Thank you all, from my entire family, for holding us up, and keeping us from falling.  For being there when we need help, and letting us know constantly, we are not alone.  You are our life preservers.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My letter to G-d

Dear G-D,

What could I write to You that You don't already know and see? How can I be so brazen as to think I can tell You something new? I cannot. What I can do is thank you and acknowledge what I have been blessed to be a part of.
Last week was my son Eli Chaim's Bar Mitzvah. We had many celebrations in many different locations and with many different people. I have never witnessed more kindness, love, joy, unity and faith as this past week. Some by friends, some by family, and some by strangers who are now friends and family – all by your children.
For whatever reason, You have chosen my husband and our family to be a magnet to bring people together. I can understand a small part of it. My husband has always been the happiest person I know, and that hasn't changed one bit. His joy and faith and love for all people has inspired many people and continues to do so. Our children, thanks to You, are remarkable. They are strong and trust in You that You will take care of all of us.
We feel a closeness to You that we have never felt before, and we are grateful that You let us know it in little messages that You are listening and watching over us. It is comforting knowing You are with us. Thousands of people have taken upon themselves to say extra prayers or do extra Mitzvos. The world is changing for the better. There is so much goodness and beauty all around. If I can see it from my little corner, I cannot begin to imagine what it must look like to You.
What I really want to thank You for is last week Sunday. As we sat in a beautiful winery celebrating our son reaching the age of being a responsible Jewish person, I saw a sea of beauty. The Rebbe's Army surrounding us, guarding us and giving us strength and love. I felt as if I am experiencing a taste of Moshiach. The brotherhood, love, joy, faith and hope was touchable. How blessed we are that you have showered your kindness and miracles on us.
I just have one question. What else are you waiting for if not this?

Your humble servant,
A Shlucha of the Rebbe,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Happens When We Fall

10 years ago, I was in Israel for my sister's wedding. While I was there, I spent two weeks at the Dead Sea for a skin condition I have.

Walking into the Dead Sea, I am waiting for the magic. Nothing happens. I just keep walking as if it's a regular beach. All of a sudden, I lose my balance and begin to fall. At that very moment the miracle strikes. G-d catches me and I float, not just float, but couldn’t sink if I tried. The miracles G-d put in nature are are the most mind blowing. Air, earth and water that cure people of so many ailments. I remember thinking at that time that if all I leave here with is this lesson it would be enough. We think we are in control, and the minute we realize that we are not, G-d catches us.

Many years pass, and every once in a while I remember how incredible it felt to be caught, then forget again. Until now.

A month ago, my best friend, my rock, my husband was diagnosed with ALS. The illusion of control was lost completely. Our silly dreams of how much fun we would have once the kids are older turned into ice cold fears.

My husband the singer, storyteller, jokester, and generally the more talkative of the two of us could not speak clearly anymore. Everything changed in an instant. Priorities took on a completely different flavor. Dreams needed to be turned into reality. All of the “if onlys” had to happen now. Now is all we know.

Just as our family lost our footing we were caught by hundreds of brothers and sisters, many of whom we have never met. The love that we have been showered with at this time can only be described as G-d catching us and cradling us through His thousands of representatives on His beautiful earth.

As difficult as this time in our lives is, that is nothing compared to how beautiful it is. The amount of joy, love, support, and unity we have been privileged to experience makes me think I understand why G-d created this world. What good He felt His creations can accomplish, and for what? We've never done anything that comes close to deserving this, yet here it is.

We have been blessed (understatement) to find out who catches us when we fall. In other words, we cannot fall, there is a beautiful net of love surrounding us.

I truly think no change is necessary. You are perfect! But if you must... Please do one extra kind deed daily in the merit of my husband. Thank you, you must be making G-d so proud.