Ki Yachol Nuchal!

New olah; mom and wife. In small ways, every day, trying to rectify the error in judgement of my zaydies, the meraglim. "See these big grapes? We can make really big wine!"

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Two Bees or Not Two Bees?

Posted by rutimizrachi on 18/06/2009

Yom revi’i, 25 Sivan 5769.

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The J-Bloggers’ MAS

Posted by rutimizrachi on 13/04/2009

Yom shlishi, 20 Nisan 5769.

Rickismom, over at Beneath the Wings, has given me the pain in the backside honor of awarding me with the “Honest Scrap Award.”  The rules are: 
A) List 10 honest things about yourself—and make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep!
B) Pass the award on to 7 bloggers whom you feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap and whose blogs you find brilliant in design or content.

Here goes.  Let’s do “A” first, because it is easier to remember it in order.

1.  My favorite author is Haim Sabato.  IMHO no one in our generation makes a story into pure poetry like he does.  (Read The Dawning of the Day: A Jerusalem Tale, as an example.)  It’s so good, I want to give it to my rabbi as a present.

2.  My greatest mundane angst is the space between now and when I can read The Dawning of the Day in the original Hebrew.  It’s called Ke’afapey Shachar (Like Eyelids of Dawn).  See what I mean about the poetry?

3.  My greatest authentic angst is that we don’t love each other enough to put aside our pettiness and bring the Moshiach.  I don’t care if there’s a million bucks involved.  If it is causing anger between Jews, and delaying the coming of Moshiach, it’s petty.  Remember Rosh Hashana?  No one can take your “fair share” away from you.  Hashem decrees on Rosh Hashana exactly how much you will make in the coming year.  You can afford to be generous!

4.  I love the color turquoise.  I would have loved it anyway; but it became a symbol for my creative writer son and me for the forgotten space between white and blak.  (This is not a typo.)  Turquoise signifies the most appropriate form of joyful compromise between absolutes.

5.  I hate that Arabs have made it hard for me to love them.  They are the children of Avraham.  They have a fascinating and colorful history, music, and culture.  They also have a really big chip on their collective shoulder, Biblical in origin.  I cannot wave to the workmen crawling all over my yishuv and wish them a good day, because some of them want me and my children dead — and the silence of the majority makes it so I cannot know who they are, and who are the simple souls grateful for a chance to make a living.

6.  Sometimes I am afraid of my love for the gift of my family.  Love makes us vulnerable.  May Hashem protect each of them, and carry them in the palm of His hand.  Bli ayin hara, puh-puh-puh.

7.  I used to like to make Peggy Lolas’ curls “boing” when we stood in line.  It made second grade very trying, for both of us.  But it helped me to understand my boys, and to be a better mother to them.

8.  I want to be a much better Jew.  The only things standing in my way are extreme laziness, a desire for the entertainment of an old time radio story over a Torah lecture, and the fact that I like listening to Gaelic Storm more than nice, healthy Jewish music.  Okay — except for Udi Davidi and Yosef Karduner.  Those guys rock the house.

9.  I will happily teach Hebrew for free to anyone who hungers for the language as I do…  as soon as Hashem gives it to me.  I want to communicate with my dear Israeli neighbors with the same ease as I communicate with my English-speaking neighbors.  I hope I am not too old or too lazy to fix this.

10.  Renting seems very healthy to me.  A sense of impermanence gives me more security, strangely, than a false sense of permanence.  It reminds me that Hashem runs the world.  If He says it’s time for us to move (to somewhere else in Israel), then there must be something for us to do somewhere else.  This feels safer to me than a false belief that my home can never be taken from me for totally stupid reasons.

Part “B” is harder, because it means that very nice people I like and respect must be imposed upon.  Sorry, guys.  If you ignore this great “honor,” I’ll still love your blog.

FYI Honest Tea is a Maryland invention.  Just thought I’d give the Alte Heimland a moment of glory.  Tasty stuff!

I pass the award on to:

1.  Treppenwitz — both David and Zahava.  Honest?  Sometimes I want to tell them:  “TMI!  TMI!”  And yet, who can not feel a part of their family, and a part of their experience in Israel, after faithfully reading them since the great “crazy Marine analogy” of 2006?  (Is that all the longer it’s been, Bogner?  We thought we’ve known you since high school or something.)

2. al tishali oti —  Here is a young woman whom I would love to have as a daughter-in-law.  She is spunky, full of joie de vivre, and a great love for Jews and Yiddishkeit.  If you want to hear the young, hip religious Jewish voice, check out this blog.

3.  I’ll Call Baila — I get a lot of chizuk from Baila, because she is also a new olah, with a good attitude, and teenagers.  And she has girls; so from her I get the Venus version.

4.  Bat Aliyah — Full disclosure:  This lady happens to be a long-time best friend.  (We are pretty certain that if we had gone to elementary school together, the teacher would have been careful to separate us.)  A very funny, optomistic person in life, her blog explores her longing for aliyah and the Geula, and her angst that both are taking too damn long.

5.  Seraphic Secret — I am a closet old Hollywood movie junkie.  And great writing is my favorite hangout.  Besides, he loves his bride absolutely (and I’m a sucker for extreme shalom bayit); and the doorways and shoes are “to die for.”

6.  Through Josh-Colored Glasses — My son’s blog.  Duh!  (Besides the obvious, he is a very good writer.)  Great stuff about being in the IDF and being a newly-married oleh chadash.  Could the average American teenager change his life just a little more drastically???

7.  Israel Easy — If I want to find something to make life in Israel easier or more interesting,  this blog allows me the pleasure of learning about goods and services through the wonderful protexia of networking.  Suggestion:  if you have had a good experience with a service provider in Israel, please post it on this blog. Make life easier for your fellow Jew.  It’s a mitzvah…

Haveil Havalim #212:  The How Many Days till We Can Eat Bread edition, is available for your perusal.

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There never are, are there?

Posted by rutimizrachi on 02/04/2009

Yom chamishi, 8 Nisan 5769.

Shlomo Nativ, Hy”d
Age 14
Dani is 14.
Noam is 14.
There are no words.
If there were, “peace” would not be one of them.

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Yes, everything is okay. Thanks for asking!

Posted by rutimizrachi on 03/03/2009

Yom shlishi, 7 Adar 5769, Moshe Rabbeinu’s birthday and yahrzeit.

Doldrums.  Hibernation.  Call it what you like.  Cold, “yucky” weather seems to quiet my keyboard as much as my body and mind.

When the wind is strong enough to walk the lawn chair across the yard (and to later pitch it on its side, like the table), and the hail is the size of peas, I tend to bundle up in soft fleece, and blink my eyes at the world.  For hours.  With prayers of gratitude that I have a home in Israel in which to bundle up.

This post is dedicated to the very sweet friends and relatives who have expressed concern that something might be wrong.  Thank you for loving us, and for worrying.  We are well, baruch Hashem, and happy.  In a very slow, sleepy way, we are even busy.

Let’s talk about what is positive about this intense precipitation.  Israel has been working toward a pretty scary drought all winter, with much too little rainfall to bring the Kinneret up to acceptable levels.  So all of this rain is very welcome.  The Dearly Beloved says that the fact that most of the severe weather has been happening on Shabbat is not a good sign.  But he doesn’t call me “Suzy Sunshine” for no reason.  I am certain that the rain on Shabbat means that Hashem is rewarding the Jewish people for pulling together — finally — during the Gaza War.  “Better late than never.”  And there isn’t much time left during the traditional rainy season to acquire our quota of rain — so what did we leave Hashem, but the relatively homebound days of Shabbat?  Time will tell.  We still need a good five meters of water to fill the Kinneret to a less-than-scary level.  Please G-d, bring on the rain!

Being more-or-less housebound has given me the opportunity to do things I like, albeit at a significantly slowed-down pace.  I have hosted guests.  I have played music with my family.  I have made sushi.

Apropos of nothing, I have been wanting to share the joys of the kum-kum for some time.  Has this marvelous invention made it to America yet?

Nothing says “warm and cozy” to me like that practically instant cup of coffee, tea or cocoa from my turbo-heating kum-kum.  Ever since I first started traveling to Israel, back in the mid-90s, I knew that the first purchase I would make after aliyah would be a kum-kum.  It was; and it still gives me joy, every single day.  (Simple pleasures really are the best.)  I wish each and every one of the members of the Baltimore Chug Aliyah a happy third anniversary — and his or her own Israeli kum-kum, within the coming year!

To end this slightly disjointed “Hi, I’m still here” love note, here is a short film, for your viewing pleasure.

It is often the young who teach us how to find joy in discomfort.  Bring on the weather!

Yom shlishi:  literally “third day”; Tuesday
Moshe Rabbeinu:  Moses, Our Teacher
Yahrzeit:  date of death; observance of one’s passing, to celebrate what he has accomplished in the fullness of his years
Chug Aliyah:  a “club” dedicated to fulfilling the hope and dream of moving to the Land of Israel 

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Clarity: my two cents on the media war

Posted by rutimizrachi on 16/01/2009

Yom shishi, 20 Tevet 5769.

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to be on a long drive with a very dear rebbetzin, who doesn’t mince words. In the course of our conversation, I was trying to make sense of the inability of decent, normal people to see the truth about the Arab-Israeli conflict.  How could nice people keep rationalizing the behavior of suicide terrorists, who were blowing themselves up in pizza parlors and cafes and buses filled with civilians?  I made some comment, trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, about how they were undoubtedly confused by the biased reporting in the media.

The rebbetzin focused very intently on the road as she drove.      

“If you think it is ever excusable to blow up babies and grandmothers, for any reason, to advance any political cause, you are not confused.  You are evil.”

Wisdom means being able to cut through the “nonsense,” directly to the truth.  To put it nicely.

Thanks, Rebbetzin.  I get it:  Don’t capitulate.

Dear terrorists:  We Israelis have tried to appease the media and our Western friends for too long.  It really is time for you to be stopped.

To everybody else:  Shabbat shalom.  May we share good news.

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My Tuesday Chavruta

Posted by rutimizrachi on 02/12/2008

Yom shlishi, 5 Kislev 5769.

Every Tuesday, I am blessed to sit in the well-windowed dining room of an intelligent and spiritually sensitive young woman, who patiently listens to me butcher the ancient language of the Babylonians.  Over cinnamon chai tea, we study Sefer Daniel.  As she is learned enough to read and translate the Hebrew commentaries,  I get the task of dragging us both through my version of the Aramaic, followed by my more adept reading of The Stone Edition English translation.  (It doesn’t matter to me that this was the language of the Galut of the time.  Hebrew is hard enough!  My poor chavruta suffers gracefully through my reading AND my whining.)

It’s interesting stuff.  Nothing Hollywood could produce holds to this a candle for the weaving of dream and reality.  (Apologies to my friend, R.Y.)  There is a gigantic and terrifying statue of gold and iron and stone. We witness survival in impossible situations, from fire and wild beasts. A meteoric rise to success and power is followed by the utter desolation of the thundering fall to disgrace, penance, and renewed greatness.
The lessons our sages learn from this incredible story are extremely timely.  Amazing how the words of Tanach seem to be coming true — a veritable road map through the politics of the days before the coming of the Moshiach (bimhera v’ameinu).
When she leaves the table to bring our other chavruta to the learning, I stand and look out at the beauty that is her back yard.

There is much comfort in gazing out toward the Mediterranian Sea, dreaming of our Avot, as they faithfully made their way north toward the Holy Temple.  Our history is so palpable here, as is our future.  (“Someday, My son, all of this will be yours…”)

The young Torah scholar joins us, and the learning is enhanced.

Watching the faces of little future talmidei chachamim during learning is instructive.  Is it my imagination?  Or does my young friend seem to be remembering some of the Torah he and the angel studied together, before he left the safe shelter of his mother’s womb?

I am certain he understands more of this than I do.  There are so many questions I would like to ask him.  But the irony is that when he is articulate enough to give it over to me, he will still be in the process of re-learning it himself.

And so it goes…

May our learning be ilui nishmat HaRav Daniel ben HaRav Chaim HaLevy, and l’refua shelaima l’Tehila Sara bat Yocheved.

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Big Toys to Push Away Big Worries

Posted by rutimizrachi on 02/12/2008

Yom shlishi, 5 Kislev 5769.

This post is dedicated to boys. Mine in particular; and everyone else’s in general. Because I need the therapy today of focusing on the simple stuff boys love.

With love, to a little boy named Moshe, who needs simple things to smile about.

With love, to several big boys, who still stand with rapt fascination, whenever a big rig is moving the world around.

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A Soldier’s Perspective

Posted by rutimizrachi on 10/11/2008

Yom shlishi, 13 Cheshvan 5769.

I was going to write about soldiers today; but Soldier Boy just wrote a very nice essay at Through Josh-Colored Glasses; so I think I’ll just post his excellent work instead. As I’ve said before, a little nepotism is a good thing.

Enjoy. This mama will shep a little nachas.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Strength in the Face of Despair

This post is a bit out of keeping with my usual style of writing, but I thought it important to remind people about why we do what we do.

I have heard talk.

People are afraid.

Politics in the states, potential wars, morality plummeting around the world, fear of the rising Islamic global terrorism, the sagging economy-the list is endless.

I heard a story about a man I know, a great man, who was afraid to bring children into the world. The sickness, the horror of it, kept him afraid of bringing more people to suffer into this world for the longest time, but his wife finally convinced him. He now has four great sons, may they only climb higher and bring honor to his name.

I heard a similar story that happened in Eygpt. A man there also refused to bring a child into the world, fearing the child’s death, and he parted from his wife. A strong-willed daughter reunited them, and a son was born. That son was Moshe.

I am married, and I also had begun to feel this fear. Here I am, listening to all the sickness and rot of this world, and yet I am expected to bring another life into a world of death?

The answer to my question, of course, was my question. A highly Jewish concept.

We fear darkness, the evils from all around and seek a way to fix it, hide it, hide ourselves.

The answer is found in our children.

When Moshe was brought into this world, he came as a light into the darkness, dispelling night as a candle fills a room.

Each child born does run the risk. The path to darkness is easy. It is enticing. And the youth is drawn to it. The Pied Piper of comfort and money and depravity wears the shiniest coat, and plays the loudest music. And failing that, he does try to undercut the strong ones, the light ones.

But we must remember that each child we bring in could be another potential Moshe. Another potential candle. We must not despair, we must not falter. Dovid Hamelech speaks of the darkness surrounding him. But with perfect faith he stood up and fought the fear that came. We must battle the darkness. We must remember that the only way to defeat evil is to stand up and call it for what it is. We must never sacrifice our morals, even the smallest amount, because all darkness understands is power.
That power is our youth.

May G-d bless us with the ability to produce this light, to not be afraid to bring it forth, and to see the strength even a single candle can have. May the ultimate light come soon, and may we never need to fear anything again.

Posted by Hashke at 6:07 AM

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Kine Hora. Puh-puh-puh.

Posted by rutimizrachi on 28/10/2008

Yom shlishi, 29 Tishrei 5769.


No, I am not an amnesiac, awakening suddenly to clarity.

It’s just that, once in a while, it strikes me again that I finally have something I was striving so hard to attain for many years.

Maybe it’s similar to the feeling of completing med school, which I believe also takes about 16 years (after all the internships and so on).

Maybe it’s like having a baby after you’ve been trying for more than a decade.

You just occasionally have to pinch yourself, and say out loud, “I made it!  Baruch Hashem!”

During my morning walk, I fixed my eyes on the street sign at the top of the long hill, just to give myself an attainable goal.  “Nof Herodiyon,” it says.  But in Hebrew letters.  My street.  So the thought washed over me:  We have been here for a full year, even on the lunar calendar.  And I cannot entirely believe it.

I am very, very grateful. 

I am also very conscious of all of our dear friends who want to be here, but who are not.  Yet.

Today, my davening for those in Chutz l’Aretz who want to come Home will be strengthened by my own love of this place — the same kind of love you have for someone you are afraid of losing, if you take him for granted.

Tatte b’Shomayim, please grant the prayers of those who want a good thing with all their hearts. 

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Settler Chic, ala The Dearly Beloved

Posted by rutimizrachi on 15/10/2008

Yom revi’i, 16 Tishrei 5769.

What is it about this man that causes guards to automatically ask him “Yesh neshek?”

(Photo credit: Gavi Zeitlin,

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