If not now when …

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G-d, please help me not to live my days thinking I am the poorest of the world while I was the richest one. Help me not to pronounce words thinking they’re the right ones while they were the wrongest of all. Help me not to struggle for planting seeds, for finding  one day their fruits are the bitterest ones.

Help me not to look ahead so sure of myself about the real goal, while that row was there only for testing me once more. Please help me not to look back after 100 years realizing the real worth of all things I fought  for was less than a pile of dust. Please help me not to understand when it is too late, how I should have lived my whole life in order to deserve to be called your son. Please help me not to find myself one far away day looking for the right answer to what it really means being a Jew. Make that, surrounded by my descendants when my hair color will be the sum of all colours, I can smile satisfied and proud of their names, of the festivals they will be respecting, of the Saturdays they’ll be observing. Help me  to do now what is right, to walk where it is right to go,  to say now what is fair to say, to think now what is right to think. Grant me enlightenment to forge a destiny I will be proud of. Do not make me belong to that category of human beings who  are able to understand only when things are done.

I entrust to you, angels who collect all prayers to make scores of human life to be brought before the King, you who gather the tears in large jugs to be placed on the scale with which G-d judges the world, to you who do not close your ears when the screams of the soul goes beyond the spiritual sound barrier, to you angels  I commend these words of mine.

And before the gates of Heaven close and You affix a seal to the envelope containing my new year, enlighten me G-d about the power of a single moment, the infinity of present, about the magic of good intentions and the ability of  a Jewish soul to transform a whole life in less than a second.

 

Gmar chatimà tovà,

may the envelope of each of us contain only good things.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

 

Memory and tomorrow

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This is Betty Schimmel’s story. Her crossing with bare feet the iced land of Hungary during a snow storm. Her arrival to Buchenwald, a place which her enemies hoped she will never survive. This is her mother’s story. A woman whose nostrils were full of ash coming from burn souls and whose mouth did not stop to repeat every night, through lices, illness, murders and death, the words of the Shema Israel. This is Emma Tedeschi’s story. An Italian Jewish lady who took pen and paper during October 1943 and wrote. “Dear children, consider these words as my last will. I beg you, all of you, please, do not surrender. I know, there is dark and pain there outside. But if you let go everything, if you don’t hold strong to your faith, you will help our enemies achieving their goal. Don’t forget our traditions, don’t stop leaving as Jews. This is the only way we can survive this hell.” This is Elie Wiesel’s story. A man who lost all his family between Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The story of a person who denied G-d’s existence with all his anger and tears. A man who, full of his disbelief, decided to circumcise his son. Months and years brought him to decide. “I will never deny my forefathers heritage. I am not allowed to break the chain transmitted by one of my ancestors, Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Itzchaki. And I cannot betray the trust my forefathers put in me. I will go on complaining against G-d, as Jeremiah in his pages, but I will also call Him and love Him”. This is the story of a nation that was tested by story more than any other one. People who dag secret tunnels six hundred years ago and prayed to G-d from the depths of earth. Lost souls who during 1942 went around looking desperately for potatoes. They were intended to become food for empty stomachs which hardly received one or two breadcrumbs a day. They were meant to engraved. In order to become the right place for Chanuka lights. This is the story of men, women and children, who, during history span, did never desist. But went on fighting against dark and evil through circumcisions, the observance of shabat and prayers to G-d. Ani Maamin, I believe in you, were their last words. Jewish eco can be heard through eternity only in one way. Going on in the same thoughts, actions and words that our proud and stubborn forefathers tried with all strengths to transmit to us, today.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

When a Rebbe changed a world

It was not easy to stand for 10-12 hours, smiling at and blessing the person who was standing in front, as it was the first and only one. While there, just behind that man or woman, the was a queue that arrived four blocks further.

Being a leader means giving a special value to each person.

It was not simple to receive hundred and hundred of letters every day and answer to each one as it was written by your best friend.

Being a leader means being able to listen.

It wasn’t usual to send just married couples at the other limit of the world with the only goal to awaken and renew judaism between people who forgot who they are.

Being a leader means to be able to convince people they can really change the world.

Not everybody accepted the idea of putting tfilin around an arm able to bring non kosher food to its mouth and switch a light during shabat. An arm so important as the person to whom it belonged only because it was jew.

Being a leader means to love everybody and not judging anybody.

It was not a common scene to see prime ministers, presidents, generals and scientist all coming to take an advice from the same person. Who usually was not even graduated in the topic he was giving precious advices about.

Being a leader means to be searched for your wisdom and ability to solve impossible problems.

Not everybody is able to pray for the sake and healing of people never seen before. With the same concentration and devotion as a father does for his son.

Being a leader means to care for every single member of the group. More than for you.

Not everybody had the courage to speak and shout about the right of Israel to keep all its lands for itself. And the absolute danger there is in giving a piece of land in change of something our enemies really don’t want. Though international pressure and political wars, Israel had to stand for its right to exist without compromises and mean ways.

Being a leader means to do something that most of the people are scared to do.

No one was speaking of mashiach, of better times, of prophecies becoming true of bottons to shine as the last step for the redemption.

Being a leader means to have a vision and being able to share it with the whole world.

Leaders are there because there is work to do.

There are people who need, problems to solve.

Challenges to undertake, dreams to be shared.

Leaders know when it’s time to light on a candle instead of staying there criticizing the dark that is everywhere.

A leader is there 24/24, 7/7 to serve his people.

These are only a few features of a person who dedicated every minute of his life to make this world a dwell for G-d and a better place for life.

Rebbe, may we deserve to see you again with our flesh eyes.

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Will your grandchildren be Jewish?

Go around and look. For a logic reason for Jewish survival. Look for the explanation through the physical boundaries of a land that has been dreamt for thousands years but reached only some more than a half century ago. That land so yearned was a common denominator for Jews spread all around the world. But even without living there, even on the opposite sides of mountains and sea, even so far away, Jews could exist. That land explains partly the secret. But not all. Shift your attention on the Jewish culture. The way of writing, the ability of looking at the daily troubles with humor lenses, the courage of asking questions and trying to find a philosophical answer, the usage of musical notes to transmit hope. That culture was a common denominator for that nation which you could find in the four corners of the earth. But even those who did not know how to write a nice novel, to compose a touching melody, or repeat by heart Aristo’s quotes, could survive thorough time and pogroms. That culture explains only partially that above the nature phenomena. Pick up the Hebrew language. Its unique characters, its infinite combinations, its high diffusion among Jews, its being the Esperanto ancestor. Many Jewish families spoke this language. But, through history, many even did not. And though, even if they spoke Spanish and Ladino, Yiddish and French and could not understand the meaning of many Hebrew words in their prayer books, they were able to go on breathing through history and centuries. That language used to create the world can explain only a part of that irrational happening. Open and read. A research article conducted by Antony Gordon and Richard Horowitz a few years ago. In which they try to find an explanation for Jewish survival. Through statistics, numbers and graphics. In which they try to find out the secret combination, that magic common denominator that made the Jewish nation arrive until now despite all prognostics. In front of a big crowd, of intellectuals and professors, they stand on a Harvard podium and declare. That there is only one way for guaranteeing your grandchildren will be Jewish. And it consists in going on and teaching to respect Shabat, keep kosher, put on Tefilin. In one simple sentence, staying attached to mitzvoth. If you want to answer yes to this question, just rinse down your family ground with that gift given to Moses on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago: the Torah.

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A dream shared by Pharaoh and many others

My name is Anna. I am twelve years old. I have brown eyes and hair. My youth has just started. But my life is going to end. My name is Rebecca. I am five years old. I have blue eyes and blond hair. I will never have a 6 years birthday party. My name is Isaac.  I don’t know exactly how old I am. Maybe one. Maybe two. The only thing I am sure about is that I have been separated by mother. And that I will never see her again. My name is Ruben. I would have been born in two months. My soul will never arrive in this world. Somebody decided we don’t deserve life. We are guilty of an unbearable fault. Language spoken by our parents is too differnt than the one spoken by native people of our place. Our Way of dressing does not always follow fashion style. Our names, when called in class by our teachers, echo as stanger sounds between school walls. Our identity is too deep. You cannot avoid noticing it. Our proudness as nation is too powerful for being silent. Those who denied us our future had one and unique plan in their minds. A dream transmitted by Pharaoh until 1938. A dream consisting in the total disappearance of the people to whom we belong. A dream based on the denial of our present in order to avoid your future. A dream that, thanks to G-d was never realized. You, who are there today, reading relaxed in a synagogue or among the warm walls of your home, you can choose. If to cry, remember and feel pity and sorrow for us. Or bring us to life again. When a girl named Anne will turn twelve and will decide to respect all mizvoth of G-d. When a girl named Rebecca will light a candle on Friday night. When a boy named Isaac will pronounce ‘torah’ between is his first words. When a boy named Ruben will come to this world and will have his circumcision on the eighth day of his life. Then the dream of our enemies will not have a chance to get realized anymore.  And you will be able to give us back our stolen life.

Welcome home Gilad Shalit

Welcome home son of everybody.

Son of mothers who did not sleep at night worrying for your life.

Son of fathers who trembled every day fearing for your destiny.

Brother of teenagers who prayed everyday for your health.

Friend of babies who named you after their Shma’ Israel.

Flame of candles lit up every Friday with hearts full of hope.

Star of the sky endlessly shining for 1935 nights.

Glue able to keep women and men of different traditions, colors and accents, united by a common dream.

Fish bought on the terrorism market at the price of 1000 sharks.

Living miracle with still the strenght to smile after all those nights away from your home.

Tear falling on faces who crieds even not knowing you.

Member of a big family, spread all around the world, whose Father is there, always ready to help.

Part of a nation which motto “who saves a single soul does save a whole world” is not only wrtitten on old books and abandoned papers.

Today it’s your day, dear Gilad Shalit.

And for 6 hours no phone call was made.

No invitations was written.

No veil was designed.

This is your day.

And even an incoming wedding with all its sorts of troubles and joys, which requires every instant of our busy lives, is able to stop for a while.

Because you, though you don’t know, are even my son. And your new life is precious for me as you were just newly born.

Thank you G-d.

Day 10th. A sovrannatural order

1 year earlier: choose your  bride dress

10 months earlier: choose your wedding design.

8 months earlier: location for the wedding

7 months earlier: choose your catering.

6 months earlier: organize your honeymoon

5 months earlier: presents list

4 months earlier: invitations

3 months earlier: choose photographer and make up

1 month earlier:  just relax…

We are sitting in a waiting room while a woman is speaking on the phone. she says she will be back with us in five minutes. I am sure she did not get the point. maybe she did not undertand who we are. or better. who we are going to be. We will enter in the guinnes book. I am sure. no one ever prepared his/her wedding in three months. especially when in the next days Jewish festivals are starting and between rosh hashana, yom kipur and sukkot we will find ourselves in November. two months away from the wedding.

By the way, the woman I was mentioning is supposed to show us a hall. that is not meant for the wedding. It is meant for a bar mizvah.

So summarizing:

In two months my son will, with G-d’s help, turn 13. And as a good mother i am supposed to organize him the best party in the world.

In three months my daughter will, with G-d’s help, become a wife. And as a good mother I am supposed to organize her the best wedding in the world.

In four months I think I will be in Hawaii, sipping from a colored glass a kosher juice fruit, resting on a chair and smiling at the memory of the craziest months of my life…

Lesson of the day: If I am not for me who will be for me (it means that it’s only the bride’s mother who must be nervous), and if I am only for myself who am I (maybe it means I shoud organize something else besides a wedding and a bar mizvah. does anybody need my help?). and if not now when? (When???please do not mention any time matter…)

p.s message for the writer of the brochure for brides. if you ever happen to come in my part of the town, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be very glad to tell you what adjustmentes you need to make to your time schedule. in order to fit it to the Orthodox Jewish world…