I Love You (especially) Here

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When he was very young, at times, our oldest son would hit me. I remember how hard this was as a new parent. I did not take it well and responded poorly, often with anger; driven by the fear of "what's wrong with him?", worse, "what's wrong with ME?" My experience is that the single most challenging aspect of being a parent is noticing a child's pain (beneath whatever confusing outwardly expression…

Passover Wine, Loss, and My Avoidance of Sadness

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Yesterday evening I was irritated, with my wife, with our kids; snappy, uncomfortable. I couldn't trace it. Nothing especially stressful happened at work, dinner was hot and delicious, where the heck was this coming from? I continued to feel uneasy the rest of the evening and finally, in the shower that night it hit me.. The wine order. Earlier in the day I had placed an order…

Death of the Heart

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"Where there is no memory, there has been death of the heart" -R. Nachman I often sit with someone and they tell me that they do not remember much from their younger years. That despite having had a "good childhood", the particular memories remain elusive. It appears that the beautiful person in front of me has had to turn off his heart. Emotionally lonely and unseen, the heart goes into hiding.…

Broken Glass to Heal a Broken Heart

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At the very end of the marriage ceremony, the last thing a Jewish bride and groom do before becoming husband and wife is shatter a glass. The common explanation of this custom is to bring to mind the exile and destruction of the Temple even at the very height of one's joy. And perhaps there is something deeper as well. Perhaps the last message the fledgling couple is being sent is: Your…

Unconditional Love? No Such Thing

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There is no such thing as "Unconditional Love" Love is by definition unconditional and can be nothing else. If it's conditional it is not love, it is approval.

Living a Borrowed Life

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One of the Hebrew word for grave is "Sheol". The 3 letter root of this word שאל is the same as the word "borrow". Every time I define myself by another person, every time I borrow my identity from your opinion, from your judgment, I turn on myself and step into the grave of a borrowed life. Living a life borrowed from others is a betrayal of the divine life force that is yours and…

Playing Dominoes with Shevy

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One of the Shabbat (Saturday) morning activities that Shevy (5) and I enjoy together is setting up long trains of dominoes and watching them fall. It's a lot of work (and often frustration) for a couple of moments of "WOW" but it passes the time together and we have a laugh. Is life like those domino trains? Does each moment knock into and automatically cause the next? Or is life more…

Pain as Intimate Guide

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What if the most important work we have to do in life is to experience the meaning of loss and allow it to guide us toward the only thing we truly have? What if suffering is intended to nudge us towards parts our selves that are needed to experience the wonders of healing and the joy of reunion? What if everything and everyone is moving in the direction of wholeness? What if…

You Are Living a Dream

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Dreams, the Torah portions we have been reading are filled with images of the unconscious and their interpretations: Joseph, Pharaoh, his ministers. The kabbalists say that the events and experiences of our lives resemble a dream. And our will be defined by how we INTERPRET it. The Hebrew word for dream: חלם The Hebrew word for bread: לחם Same letters, different order.…

Shevy's Candy Grab

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At a Chanukah/Birthday party my daughter Shevy received a candy bag. She clutched on to that bag firm and tight, treasuring it, not wanting it to leave her sight for a moment. She would not let me put the candies into a ziplock until I was able to illustrate that she would still be able to see the candies clearly through the plastic. As we worked on a magnet tile maze that afternoon, it was…