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Dear readers,

Years ago, I was taking my daughter to playgroup for her very first time. The pit in my stomach was growing; my anxiety was palpable. And yet, for her sake, I knew I needed to put on a mask of confidence and joy—even at that excruciating moment of separation. I blinked away my tears to show her strength I didn’t have, so that she could find her own.

Once, my daughter ran into my arms, crying rivers of tears because a friend had mistreated her. My motherly instinct wanted to rush to her defense, confront this other child, and warn my daughter to stay far away. Instead, it took every effort to withhold my sympathies and calmly help my daughter find solutions. The very next day, when I saw the two happily playing together, it sent a fresh shiver of worry down my spine, but I held myself back. I would listen and guide, but I needed to stay on the sidelines as I allowed her to mature and confront such situations on her own.

There are times when our restraint says so much more than our actions. We express our greatest love not in words, but in silence; not in action, but in inaction; not in falling apart, but in being stoically strong; not in providing solutions, but in allowing our children to discover their own.

A teacher’s greatest presence is not felt in the classroom, just as a parent’s is not within the walls of her home, but in the messages and life lessons that have been imparted.

In this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh, Moses’s name—for the first time since he was born—is missing.

The reason for its absence is that when the people of Israel sinned with the golden calf, Moses said to G‑d: “If You do not forgive them, erase me from the book that You have written” (Exodus 32:31). This was realized in this portion, when his name is “erased.”

And yet, though his name is missing, Moses’s presence and love for his people and G‑d is most evident. In fact, the word tetzaveh means “connection,” and through Moses, the Jewish people find their deepest connection and bond to G‑d.

Because when Moses asked that G‑d erase him from the Torah if G‑d does not forgive His people, he was demonstrating his essential unbreakable love and bond with them—and thereby their essential unbreakable bond with G‑d. He was thereby demonstrating that this bond transcends everything—even the Torah itself—and he thus found forgiveness for his people.

There are times when our love is so great, it requires words and actions. And there are times when our love is so great, it is evident in our restraint—and in the absence of our names.

Can you tell us about a situation when you demonstrated your love through quiet restraint?

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

Dear reader,

The two “chanced” to meet.

She was eighteen, returning to Upstate, NY from a Birthright trip. The visit to our holy land had sparked her interest in Judaism.

Sitting next to her on the plane was Sara Shemtov, the Rebbe’s shluchah in Riverdale, NY. Sara was also returning from Israel where she had attended the wedding celebration of a beloved member of her community.

Back home, Sara would be juggling her precious role as a mother along with her many responsibilities as a shluchah. But for the long duration of the flight, she thought, she would read uninterrupted. Sara had recently purchased my book, Tending the Garden, about the unique gifts of the Jewish woman and was eager to start it.

But, as the plane flew over the waters of the Atlantic, Sara found herself engrossed in deep conversation with her new companion. The book remained closed as Sara opened a heart.

If you ask Sara what she spoke about, she’ll tell you she doesn’t remember. She spoke from the heart, reaching out and penetrating the heart of another Jew.

As their twelve hour flight was nearing its destination, with my book still closed on her lap, Sara decided it would be a meaningful parting gift. Inscribing the book, and wishing her well on her continuing journey, Sara and her companion parted ways.

Six years later.

It is Rosh Hashanah. Sara is greeting the many new and old faces in her shul. Among them is a young woman who came to visit the man she had been dating, a medical student from Detroit, now studying in New York.

Something about the young woman looks very familiar to Sara, just as something about Sara looks so familiar to the newcomer. But the connection eludes them both.

Only when the guest returns home, does her memory jar. A flight. Years ago. From Israel. A book. Opening my book, her guess is confirmed as she stares down at Sara’s signature gracing the first page.

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to Sara’s community. The program was in the beautiful home of a beloved member of her community—the very same woman for whom Sara had travelled to Israel.

And in the crowd, approaching me after my lecture was the woman who had been gifted my book on that auspicious flight more than six years ago. She and her husband now live in Riverdale, NY where he is completing his medical residency and where they can benefit from the programs of Chabad of Riverdale.

Our paths are guided from Above. Yet in each of our encounters, we are given the opportunity to help ignite a spark of another soul.

“Your book is now in Massachusetts, lent to a friend,” the young woman tells me as she and Sara conclude their incredible story.

Who knows what new story is in the making....

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

Dear reader,

Can you think of a woman whom you really respect and look up to? What qualities does she have? What does she do to enhance her environment?

Timed to coincide with the yahrtzeit (anniversary of passing) of the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, of righteous memory, on the 22 Shevat, this week close to 4,000 women from around the world will be coming to New York to attend the annual International Convention of Shluchot (Emissaries).

They are coming from far-flung places such as India, Nepal or Hong Kong, and also from cities and countries a lot closer to your home town.

What is a Shluchah?

They are principals. They are mothers. They are fundraisers. They are event planners. They are hostesses. They are teachers. They are bakers. They are administrators.

Their job descriptions are vast and diverse, as unique as each of their own personalities. But one thing they all have in common is that their position has turned them into leaders who are making a real difference.

In all that they do they labor to connect Jews to their heritage and raise Jewish awareness and the observance of mitzvot. Their mission is to discover what the unique needs of their respective communities are and to selflessly provide those, opening their hearts and homes and helping every Jew in any way they can.

This week at TJW, we salute these special, selfless women.

We also salute all Jewish women worldwide who are working, in their own special and unique way, to make our world a little better. A little kinder. And a little more G‑dly.

Hats off (or on, rather) to you all!

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

Dear reader,

It’s the world’s bestseller. It’s also the most widely distributed book. Some guess it has sold millions, while others estimate it at closer to billions.

It teaches morality and all the dos and don’ts. It can be understood on deep abstract levels as well as on the most practical, down-to-earth planes. It is celestial, while also earthy.

It gives practical guidance to living a higher life, and is the best self-help book ever written.

It, of course, is the Bible.

And this week’s Torah portion, Yitro, is when it all begins. As the Jewish people camp together around the mountain, the stage is set for the giving of the Torah. Even within the setting of this awe-inspiring drama, infinitely important lessons are embedded that can help us understand ourselves and our purpose in our world.

Here are 10 bite-sized nuggets of wisdom that we can apply to our lives from how, where and when the 10 Commandments were given.

  • G‑d chose to give the Torah on an elevated mountain. You can elevate your life.
  • A mountain is the same dirt as a plain, but has been raised. No matter how dirty your life appears, raise it and make of it a mountain.
  • Mount Sinai was a low, unimposing mountain. The gateway to spiritual greatness is humility.
  • The Torah was given on a mountain, not a valley. Humility must be complemented by self-assurance.
  • The Jewish people were commanded to “make a boundary around the mountain.” Limit self-assurance, so that it doesn’t degenerate into arrogance.
  • The Ten Commandments were addressed in the singular form to the whole of the Jewish people; if even one Jew was missing, the Torah could not have been given. You are essential.
  • The Ten Commandments were said to individuals, tailored to each person’s spiritual and psychological makeup. You have a unique role and mission.
  • The Torah was given to one united people. Only external façades, bodies, separate us. Deep down we are one.
  • The Jewish people were “facing the mountain” ready to receive G‑d’s word. If you focus on something higher, petty differences disintegrate.
  • At Mount Sinai, heaven and earth, spirituality and physicality touched for the first time. You can bring divine consciousness into this finite physical world.

Wishing you an awesome week,
Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
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