Archive | October, 2010

How You Met the Real Deal

27 Oct

Calm down, calm down, I’m not engaged. As far as I know I haven’t met my RD yet, though if you know who he is, please, feel free to let me know.

Really, this post is a question asking how did you meet your RD and how did you know that indeed s/he the Real Deal.

If you, like I, have not yet solidified who the RD is, then tell a story of how someone else met their RD (perhaps your parents, a sibling, a friend, etc).

Please try to include the following points:

1) Did you know from the start or did you begin to know gradually?

2) Were there sparks at first sight or did you steadily build a connection?

3) How long did you know your RD before going out with them?

4) What was your first impression of your RD?

5) When the idea of going out with them was brought to you/came to mind did you think, “nice idea”, “no way”, or did it kinda just roll out the backdoor of your brain like what you learned in Stat class?

Looking forward to your comments!!

Quote For Thought: “Love Life…”

15 Oct

I find that if you love life, life will love you back.

— Arthur Rubinstein

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated math. Actually, Coral the high school student would have argued that it was indeed math that hated me (us?). No matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t get it. It didn’t matter if I spent my entire lunch period being tutored by my teacher or if s/he gave me “tricks” to cut down the number of steps. It didn’t matter what track I was in– math and I became sworn enemies; sealed by fate and destined for eternity.

Or so I thought.

You see, I knew there would be a point where math and I would have to meet up again. I triumphantly dodged it in my senior year of high school, seminary and the year after. I even applied to Israeli colleges, not so much because I liked the schools, but because I knew as an English Linguistics major, they would never make me take math again. However, as passionately as I love the indubious preciseness of syntax and phonetics, I didn’t want to be a Linguistics major… and as much as I hated math, I wasn’t about to become a Music Major*. So with my decision made, I knew that I had no choice but to face my sworn nemesis again. It was only a matter of time.

The day came when I had to prepare for the math placement exam at my college. If I had to revisit my longtime tormentor, I was going to meet him ready to fight. My weapon of choice– the Cliffnotes Math Review for Standardized Tests. My mentor– yours truly. I took out my  review book and notebook at every chance I got. I was doing math during my at breakfast, during work, after work; even Sunday afternoons. There was no stopping me. I knew that if I wanted this grievous science of numbers and their operations out of my life for good, I would have to know it like I loved it.

And it was during this time that the strangest thing began to happen. You know those chick flicks where the main characters start out hating each other but as the movie progresses they fall in love (i.e. The Swan Princess)? That’s what happened to me and math. As I began to understand its functions and noticed how it was teaching me to think in organized, thought out steps I began to like it. And once I began to take a math course in college, I found that I didn’t just like math, I loved it.

I don’t love it because I’m suddenly much better at it. I spend an average of two hours on my math homework and another two reviewing what I previously learned. Thankfully, I have a patient and resourceful teacher as well as a tutoring center with really great hours (and great tutors), so when there is something I really don’t get, I have helpers to guide me. There are still times I have to refer back to my review book I bought all those months ago, because honestly, the textbook doesn’t make much sense to me. But the reason I love it now is the same reason I hated it most of my life: it challenges me to be more. It asks me to show what I’ve got and I’ve seen that with hard work, I have a lot more patience, stamina and ability than I ever thought I had.

It’s the same with life.

Life challenges us. We’re not here to be comfortable, we are here to achieve. We might look at people who have it tough, sometimes ourselves, and think, “Wow, life must really hate them/me.” There is no denying that some people seem to have harder challenges than others. But don’t think for a second that life loves those who seemingly have less challenges than those who have more. Life loves us, which when looked at from a Jewish perspective means G-d loves us. And though I can’t explain to you what it means for G-d to love us, I know that it is truth. When we shut our eyes to challenges in an effort to make them go away, our anxiety increases. Instead of surpassing the roadblocks we trip over them, because we aren’t allowing ourselves to see. When we shut our eyes to challenge we not only block out the hardships, we block out the opportunity to become greater, stronger individuals. When we face life and its challenges with open eyes, an open heart and an open spirit, the factors that were once so obviously our enemies become our mentors. When we view life this way, when we love it for the immeasurable opportunity that it is we are able to see that not only does it love us back…but it has loved us all along.

Have a Restful, Tranquil and Simcha-filled Shabbos!

 

 

* No offense to Music Majors. I’m just not good enough at music to major in it. Why I even applied to the music department is another story, but that is for another day :).

To Be Enough

9 Oct

In my heart I hold the greatest wish of all.

It is not to be the most charming or beguiling.

It is not to be the smartest or the wisest.

It is not to be the funniest.

Or the wittiest.

Or the prettiest.

It is not to be the most stylish and best dressed.

It is not to be the envy of all.

It is not to be the most adored.

Or friended.

Or valiantly contended for.

I do not wish for any of those things.

In my heart I hold the greatest wish of all.

To be enough.

No more,

No less

For the blessing of enough is greater than any other.

And that is what I wish to be for you.

Mar Cheshvan: Dancing in the Rain

7 Oct

 

The bitter month is on the horizon. The machzorim have been placed back on the shelf, the kabbalot are clipped to the fridge and our calendars are suddenly baron of holidays. This outlook of Cheshvan has irked me most of my life. Why must it be called Mar Cheshvan? Okay so it has no holidays, contains the death of Rachel Imeinu, Binyamin, Ramban (Nachmanides), Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the occurrence of the Mabul (flood)  and Kristallnacht. I understand it’s not the happiest of periods during the Jewish year, but it’s not the only auspicious period. Even the month of Av gets the idyllic prefix Menachem (comfort) for the joy it will bring us in the future, so really, why can’t we give Cheshvan the same courtesy? I’m really trying to not make this about my birthday being in Cheshvan, but you know what, I’ll be honest and say yes, it has something to do with that. I am partial to the month for I was brought into the world during that month. That’s a pretty nice thing if you and me or my parents 😉

However in all seriousness, I would like to give a little drasha on Cheshvan, from a “Cheshvanite” perspective. I heard a beautiful mashal about living with challenges at a shabbaton geared toward those who live with someone disabilities. In life, it rains. It keeps us stuck in traffic, huddled under umbrellas and soaked to the sock and can sometimes find itself unappreciated. Whether we like it or not, rain is a part of life. Without out it, our world would wither into a globular sandbox, and we would wither away with it. The choice is not whether we are going to encounter the rain or not; the choice is whether we will decide to dance in the rain or sulk in it. Life has its sunny days, its rain showers and it’s hurricanes, but how you face it and live through it is up to you. You can sit around bummed and depressed or embrace life for all it is because after all, you only get one.

The holidays are over. Hashem has taken us out of the palace and has put us back in the “real world” to refine ourselves. For the past two months we have been pumping ourselves up for a new year, a better year, and now it is time to make it happen. Good things take time, work and effort. Success takes a few failures and finding your zivug usually involves a few rejections. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to push yourself one step further. This is the time to put in the efforts; to sow the seeds you wish to see sprout in the spring. Hashem has given yo another year. Treasure it. Appreciate it. Enjoy it. Even when the rain falls.

 

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain. — Vivian Greene

 

 

Happy Rosh Chodesh to all!