Frum Idealism

Monday, October 30, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006



Thursday, October 19, 2006


I had an "interesting" experience this week. I had the unfortunate pleasure of driving on the streets of Brooklyn. On the bright side, I had the opportunity to observe a really beautiful frum blonde woman walking down the street. I have to admit, I couldn't help myself, I looked. Did I mention that she was really beautiful?
Anyway, a few seconds later, this same woman passed a construction site and the sound of whistles and catcalls could be heard, loud and clear. I couldn't see her face, but I can most certainly imagine her expression. After all, what woman wouldn't appreciate such attention (you do hear the sarcasm in my typing, right?).
Yes, I looked and yes, I appreciated what I saw, but I kept it to myself, and even if I decided that I couldn't keep it to myself, I would find a more intelligent way of getting my point across than obnoxious whistles and catcalls.

OK, here's my question......

I'm a guy and I really can't figure it out. Do they think that women enjoy it? Do they think that they make the woman's day because they are apparently letting her know, albeit in classic caveman fashion, that they think that she is attractive?
Ultimately, I think I may have hit on the answer. That's just it, they don't think. Times likes these, I'm just embarrassed to be a man.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blessing or curse

In this week's parsha, the snake is "cursed" that he is relegated to eating dust/dirt for the rest of eternity. Why is this a curse? It would seem to be a blessing. He never has to worry about where his next meal is coming from. Wherever he goes there is dirt, so he has a meal waiting for him wherever he is.
A friend of mine recently told me a mashal that he used to explain yiras Hashem to someone else. He gave an example of two brothers aged fifteen and twenty two. The older one, graduated high school and college and is now working but still living at home. The younger brother is still in high school. The father goes out of town and warns the boys, have all the fun you want, but do not dare touch my sports car. Of course, boys will be boys, and they take the sports car out for a spin and of course they crash into our good friend, Mr. Murphy. Both boys are somewhat scared, but there's a difference. The fifteen year old is scared because he's not sure whether he will be grounded for a week, a month, a year or five years. The older brother, however, is more concerned. He's already quite independent, his father can't really punish him any more. He realizes though, being that the father can't really punish him, his punishment is worse. He has reached an age of responsibility and has developed a different, more mature, closer relationship with his father. This act has damaged that. He has disappointed his father. Living with that, is his punishment. That's how my friend explained yiras Hashem. We are afraid of doing something that would damage the wonderful close relationship that we have with Hashem, our Father, our Creator.
Using this example, we can now easily understand how badly the snake was cursed. Unlike the snake, the immediate source of our daily sustenance is unknown. Therefore, we pray to Hashem on a daily basis, at least three times a day, asking for among other things, sustenance, and Hashem looks forward to our daily prayers. Being that the snake always knows where his next meal is, he never has to pray to Hashem. The distance between the snake and his Creator is immeasurable. That is his punishment. The ultimate curse.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Esoteric Meaning of Numbers - Numerology 110

Who knows TEN?
I know TEN.
Ten are the commandments

I had earlier stated that numbers one through five were one group of numbers and six through ten are another. Ten is the last of the base numbers. Yes, the Echad Mee Yodeah continues on until thirteen, but for all practical purposes, eleven through thirteen are ten plus one through three.
Ten denotes completion. Ten completes each set of numbers: units, tens and hundreds. With ten "sayings" Hashem created the world. There were ten items that were created the very first Friday during the twilight hours (bein hashmashos) right before the world's first shabbos. There were ten generations from Adam until Noach, then that generation, Dor Hamabul, was complete. There were ten generations from Noach until Avraham. Avraham underwent ten nisyonos/tests before Hashem fully recognized him as His faithful servant. Ten makos in mitzrayim. Finally, what made us into not only a nation, but Hashem's nation, was the giving of laws. How many? Obviously, to complete the process, Ten.

Oh, P.S. How many days to complete the days of the teshuva process, of course, ten.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Who am I? - Tribute

I have already posted two "Who am I" posts, and I believe that the time has come for a third. In Pirkei Avos we are taught, "Da Mai'ayin Baasa" know from where you come.
This is meant as mussar, but I am taking it in a different vain. To know who someone is, one of the most telling things is to know where that person comes from.
It's a b'fairushe Lion King, when Rafiki looks at Simba and says, "I know who you are." He doesn't say you are Simba. His next line is "You Mufasa boy".
Over the last few years I have truly come to realize that I come from incredible "stock". I don't know what I did in a previous life, but I must have done something right to be blessed with two such unbelievable parents as I was. Each very different, but each unbelievably special in their own way. Both were Holocaust survivors, although taking VERY different paths to get through it and get here.
I was not the first child born in the family, and there is a gap between me and my older siblings. I guess I lucked out, I have the advantage of allowing my parents a few more years to settle into their own and discover themselves as individuals and parents before I came along. My siblings and I often joke about the fact that we had two sets of parents. Mine being the older, further removed from the horrors and guilt of surviving the Holocaust, and consequently more laid back and tolerant ones. I also had the privilege of being alone in the house much of the time growing up which allowed me private time to study my parents and glean from each of their incredible traits. It's amazing because as a child I remember my father working very hard and not being around much, yet he definitely managed to make his mark.
My father was always a man of action, never one to sit still. If something needed to be done, he was always the man. I believe this is a major difference between our generation and theirs. We sit around trying to figure out how to do something, they just DID it. Whereas most people today don't do anything without fanfare, many of his actions remain unknown until this day other than to him and the person for whom he did it. Many of his actions my mother never even knew about. Not because he hid them from her, but because he didn't see these things as something to talk about. To him they were no big deal.
He was always one of the friendliest men in shul and in the community. So many people have told me that when they first moved to the community, he was the first (if not, only) person, to go over and greet them, no matter what the age difference was. How often do I remember from my childhood, my father just bringing someone home from shul, and my mother adding an extra setting in such a way that the uninvited guest didn't notice and it seemed as if there had been a place for him/her before he even arrived. As if they had been expected after all.
Due to the interruption of the war, his torah education was somewhat stunted, but he maintained a respect for torah and rabbanim and encouraged us to get a profession, but learn as well. He set very high standards for us, but he did it in a loving way so that I was eager to please, not anxious to rebel. It was always abundantly clear that there is NOTHING that he wouldn't do for us.
Everything that was done, was done with a cheshbon. We don't always know what that cheshbon is, but he does, and it seems to be working.
My mother was the akeres habayis. She did things in a much quieter way, but her actions still spoke louder than words. It amazed me that she never appeared to have (m)any close friends, yet when any woman in the neighborhood needed advice, it was my mother that they called.
She was always a very humble woman, always believing the best in anybody. She was always dan l'kaf zchus to unimaginable degrees. For herself however she demanded no kavod. It always blew me away how once I was married, when I would go over or call her to wish her a good year and ask mechila, before I managed to get the words out, SHE would ask ME for mechila.
Believe me, I could probably continue writing for days and compile pages and pages, but Yom Tov is rapidly approaching and it's just about time to end this blog.
I just hope I gave you a sneak peek into who AFI is and where he came from.

Good Yom Tov!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


A little while ago I found myself in an interesting situation. It was a Shabbos afternoon and I discovered my daughter alone in her bed and crying. After wading through the tears, I discovered that my daughter was insulted by someone close to her. The problem that I faced, was that the other person wasn't wrong. What she had said about my daughter may have been hurtful for my daughter to hear, but ultimately she was right.
My mind started racing. What should I do? I can't turn to blogworld and ask for advice, it was shabbos after all. If I say that the other person shouldn't have said that, my intention may have been that THAT PERSON should not have said it, but what my daughter would have heard is, that she didn't do anything that merited the admontion that she received, which was not the case. She was clearly not up to a long detailed discussion about things yet either.
Siyata Dishmaya set in. I said nothing. I just crawled into her bed with her and hugged her and held her tight. We stayed like that for a few minutes, maybe even five. My daughter, by then, had already stopped crying. She pulled away slightly. Wiped away the tears. Looked me square in the eyes and said "Abba, you're the BEST!". She then hugged me and ran back off to play.
Sometimes I guess the saying is true, Silence is Golden - Siyag L'Chochmo, Shtika.