Watch out.


Our lives are the only thing some people will ever read.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

(quoted from Moshe,




Flashback on this 9th of Av


There was a teaching the source of which I don’t remember now.
It says that during the period between Shabat Hazon and 9th of Av, the last days of the mourning period of “Bein ha’metzarim“, a Jewish sould experiences a vision, its personal vision of the 3rd Temple, likewise Yirmiahu (Jeremiah) experienced his vision (we read of it in the haftarah, the additional reading part on Shabat Hazon, therefore it is called Hazon, vision).

I now remember that I had had a vision.
It was prior to Shabat Hazon but I had a dream: in this dream I dreamt of me behaving selfish and ignorant to warnings not to touch or damage things in a cellar within a public building. I think it might had been the synagogue in that dream.
All my friends and all I know had been in that building above.
I had gone down, expecting something joyous for me to happen and just started bouncing the walls and the tubes in that room, paying no attention that this might ve dangerous.

 “Me alone, I hardly will harm anyone”, I had said.

Suddenly the security called from outside. I told them to wait. On their second attempt I asked them what had happened.
They then told me how my action of ignorance brought the whole building to collapse; that everyone except for one child hurt and weeping was being buried under the building.

I woke up, slowly, trembling, and in the belief that I was the murderer of dozens of people – and whoever did or didn’t know of it, the responsability was resting on my shoulders forever.

The first two Temples in Israel collapsed, too.
They collapsed since G-d had removed His right hand from them.
They collapsed because the responsability for their collapse, for G-d MOVING OUT of His home on earth, rested on our shoulders and was caused by us the Jews, by the generations then.
The Jews, by their sins, showed G-d they weren’t ready to live with His presence, under His supervision, with Him. They signaled him, by their lack of responsability feeling, by their blindness to consequences, that they were not really in need of Him.
So He moved out.

Since we haven’t still managed to rebuild the Temple, to provide the spiritual background for it, it is still on our shoulders.. It will remain.

I have learned:
Realise there are consequences to your actions.
Take on the responsability. Even if no one knows that you have it, you know it the best yourself. Don’t run away.

I believe G-d can hear us. Let us give Him something to hear.


PS: Thanks for the ideas provided by Sarah Yocheved Rigler, Shira Smiles in their shiurim.

LIMMUD 2010 @ Berlin: Learning to appreciate


LIMMUD – Learning to appreciate, appreciating to learn
Another Limmud festival took place in Berlin at the Lake of Werbellin from May 13 to May 16, 2010, in a peaceful and inspirational, yet not quiet atmosphere. How can it be quiet when hundreds of Jews are hoarded together and supposed to try their argumentational talents, learning and teaching skills on other Jews?…
It’s a small tradition for Germany’s Jewry which has started a couple of years ago. The first festival took place in 2006 and since then it has spread over Germany’s metropoles  -Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich. Limmud’s home for major events is and remains Berlin.
Let’s talk tacheles. Besides the nature, the bright green leaves of the high trees all around the camp, the big windy lake of Werbellin and the hundreds of Jewish participants from all four corners of Germany (are there such?…):
What were you supposed to receive from this festival of Jewish Learning and Jewish thought?
Definitely a taste of diversity. Religious streams of all kinds were represented my workshop leaders and participants. Languages being spoken and switched in a naturally beautiful manner from workshop to person every day anew. Meetings with people from all kind of origins, social fields of profession and education. The director of Simon Wiesenthal  Center Efraim Zuroff was seen in a number of workshops and prayer services; Barbara Spectre of Paideia (Sweden) switched from participant to teacher roles within a couple of hours; rabbis could be found at each possible corner; writers and musicians mixed with worried “Yiddishe mamas”, grandmas and a number of children were waiting impatiently in front of the dining room…
What else: enough room for activity and new things to learn: A literature discussion on Yehuda Amichai’s poetry, on Thomas Mann’s attitude towards Jews, John Lennon and Jewish liturgy, Israeli culture and Iranian Jews, spiritual and down-to-earth exercises, rabbis, philosophers and – why not – donkeys – all this and much more musicality, creativity and visuality had its place at Limmud.
Strengthening of identity. Obviously. The spirit of modern Jewishness was hovering over the camp. To say it more simply, I believe that each Jew could really. find his/her place in Limmud. You don’t need to demand for high challenges or Talmudic-Yeshivish upgrade of knowledge to experience Jewishness.

And as a conclusion from that all:
You were made to appreciate the subjects around you and your own way of learning and understanding. This time I had to share this experience with people being mostly older than me by a cuple of decades. Next time I wish to experience it with more younger people, simply because they have a whole life of learning in front of them and I believe  we need more security in ourselves and what we learn and understand. This is what Limmud gives to its participants as well.
This all wouldn’t be possible without organisatory and logistical help.

Thank you, Limmud team, for the variety of workshops: You’ve provided the food for our souls and haven’t let us run dry.
For your service, catering etc.: I felt as if in a hotel. I believe you were spoiling us who we came to Limmud.
For your organisation: You’ve proven to me that not all hope is lost when it comes to Jews organising mass events. Everything well-planned so that one culd really relax and enoy.
Thank you for spending your time and power on this great event.
Much gratitude and wishes of strength and inspiration to Toby Axelrod, the initiator of Limmud. May your creativity be like a “ma’ayan hamitgaber” to you and us now and in future.

Perhaps I’m only an optimist, but I’m sure not to be the only one:
I believe that our job, the Jewish and the human one, is to find the blessing in each event we take part in.
Limmud in my eyes is about to learn to appreciate.



« Older entries