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“No, please don’t happen now!” I was thinking as I was driving along the highway in the cold of the winter.

We had been having some car trouble, with the engine overheating at random times. For a while we made sure to keep extra coolant fluid in our trunk in the event of an emergency. But after fixing what turned out to be a leak, we hoped that the issue was finally resolved.

Now far from home, and alone, the problem resurfaced. I wasn’t excited about the prospect of finding a rest stop, but as I watched the temperature indicator rising, I realized I had no choice.

Several moments later, after a kind gas station attendant explained that the coolant container just hadn’t been closed tightly and it had allowed some of the precious liquid to leak out, I was safely back on my way. With the engine’s temperature—as well as my own blood pressure—now back to normal, I could drive safely while contemplating what had just happened.


Our drive along life’s highways also has many occasions that can cause us to get too hot under the collar. Irrespective of the temperature outside, once our anger has been triggered, our inner temperature rises by the moment. It could be a leak in our faith, or our emotional containers may just not be properly closed, and we’ve become too affected by our circumstances.

Continuing to drive in such a state is no longer safe. We need to stop, evaluate, and cool off the engine of our heart.

What is this psycho-spiritual “coolant” that can help keep our inner temperatures even-keeled?

For some situations, the solution may be meditating on the fact that everything is happening exactly as it is meant to be; that G‑d is ultimately guiding us, and that this too (even an overheated car on a forlorn road!) is for our good. Or, it might mean taking a precious few moments closeted away from the current problem and allowing the quiet solitude to help us regain equilibrium. Other times, it may involve adequate preparation before beginning the long drive—making sure to seal your container tightly, or to steel yourself so that you’re not leaking your precious calm as you enter the trying circumstance.

In these weeks leading up to the holiday of Shavuot, as well as through the summer months, we’ve begun reading Pirkei Avot, Ethics of Our Fathers. These beautiful nuggets of wisdom help us gain greater wisdom and perspective as we work on building our character traits in preparation for receiving the Torah. These also may be our precious ammunition when our engine is becoming too hot to handle.

Because one thing is clear: driving an overheated vehicle is just not a safe option.

What do you do when you feel your inner temperature dangerously rising?

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. 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,

When we think about love, we generally conjure up a feeling of warmth and happiness. Love makes us feel comfortable and homey, while at the same time fiery, passionate and protective.

But is love only about how another person makes us feel?

Suppose you love someone. He’s got great character traits, a terrific perspective and an amazing sense of humor, and he is so much fun to be around. Do you love him or what he does for you? Is your love focused on your significant other, or is your love really all about yourself?

We are currently in a sad period of Jewish history, during which the thousands of students of Rabbi Akiva died from a plague. The cause of their deaths, we are told, is that they didn’t conduct themselves respectfully towards each other.

The Rebbe explains that this wasn’t about them not loving each other enough; after all their teacher’s maxim was “Love your fellow as yourself.” Rather, these students loved each other so much that due to their overwhelming love, each wanted the other to live his life based on his understanding of what was best. The disrespect originated from an intense love which caused each student to correct his colleague in an attempt to change him to become (in his view) a better individual.

But there’s the problem. Because love shouldn’t be about our own feelings, or even our own perspective of what we feel is right and good. Love is about the other.

It is about tolerating and even embracing the other’s unique perspective and ways of doing things, even if it is diametrically opposed to what you would do or think. Love is big enough to see the other person’s differences, to even tolerate how it makes you uncomfortable, without compromising your love or respect for him.

A few years ago, when my oldest daughter married, my youngest daughter was about three years old. She adored her sister and declared that she now adored her sister’s husband, too.

“But how can you love him when you hardly know him?” I asked her.

She responded, “I love my sister so much, so of course I love her husband. If I love her, then I love all that is hers!”

A three-year-old’s love can be so big that she knows that the focus of her love should not be on herself or what she’d gaining, but rather on the object of her love.

Can our love be as altruistic?

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. 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 readers,

My daughter shared with me this joke:

At the end of their day, the children trudge into their home.

“Hi, Ma! I’m starved. What’s for dinner?” one calls out.

“Mom, did you wash my sweater? I need it now,” asks the other.

“Mommy, I need help with my homework tonight!” demands the third.

“Mom, did you book my dentist appointment? My tooth is killing!”

“Where did you put my jacket??”

Though the questions and requests come fast and furious, Mom is not responding, because she’s not home.

So, as Dad appears, there’s a chorus of: “Hi, Dad! Where’s Mom??!


Just a few weeks ago, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. While this is my third grandchild, this was the first time I had the opportunity to be present at the birth.

The experience was an amazing gift, absolutely awe-inspiring. To witness this incredible ability that G‑d gave women to nurture the spark of life for nine months, by sharing their very bodies as the fetus develops into a real live human being . . . and then birthing this precious soul into our world . . . and actually see this perfectly formed, tiny little human being emerge from her womb of darkness and breathe her first breath of life . . .

There’s nothing like being an observer at the miracle and marvel of birth.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. This week, through our words and our actions, let’s acknowledge and give thanks to the many moms the world over who generously share of themselves and their love.

This week at TJW, the theme of love runs through all our offerings. In Parshah, Rochel Holzkenner shares with us her understanding of dealing with Disguised Blessings just weeks after her baby daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening disorder. A Big Gray Lump Called Pain is a personal account expounding on this idea.

Also in Parshah, we learn how to Grow our Love in our relationships with our spouses and with our divine Groom, G‑d. Sara Chana Radcliffe teaches 4 Steps to a Great Marriage, while Sara Blau claims that World Peace is dependent on what goes on within the walls of our homes. Our Woman of Distinction is Rachel, the ultimate loving mother.

Malky Bitton continues her video series on prayer (which is all about communicating our love and gratitude) by exploring The Evolution of the Siddur. And, especially for Mother’s Day, a short video clip demonstrates how, like a loving mother cheering her child, G‑d too plays games with us.

If you are a creative mom, and are planning an upsherinish party for next Sunday, Lag BaOmer, be sure to check out Rita Brownstein’s post on Creating a Fabulous Upsherinish Party.

Wishing you a week filled with the gift of love.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. 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,

I am a great somebody . . . I am a little nobody.

The entire world was created just for me . . . Feeling arrogant is Satan in disguise.

Every individual is an entire world . . . I am but the dust of the earth.

Judaism is replete with this contradictory dialogue. On the one hand, we’d be foolish not to humbly realize our smallness against the vast infinitude of our Creator and His creation. On the other hand, we view the world as an equal balance, with my action being capable of tipping the scale.

And if you think about it, so much of our value system is predicated on this “irrational” belief that my actions matter, even while acknowledging that we are but one cog—though a vital one—in the grand scheme.

This week, we begin an amazing prayer video series by Malki Bitton. But why do I pray? Because I am convinced that my words—yes, my puny words—can actually have a profound effect on life’s circumstances. That our grand Maker wants to hear from me, connect to me and values my perspective.

Why do we value the life of every individual? And more so, why do we view special children, who may not be able to think or function at a high level, or at any level, and consider them “special”? Because we believe that every soul is a unique creation of G‑d, created with an infinite, priceless connection to Him, irrespective of how he or she is able to contribute to society.

Why do we take time from our day to cheer another? Because we believe that our actions count, and that every time we have helped or uplifted another human being, we have made our world an infinitely greater place.

So, it is precisely when we can acknowledge our smallness in the vastness of our Creator that we can also identify our infinite potential as partners with Him in improving our world.

Young children often intuitively and seamlessly understand this. Here’s a short poem written by my daughter Sara Leah, who just turned ten.

You’re by the Kotel on your own,
You touch the wall, the wall of stone.
You lift up your face to the sky,
And with your small voice, whisper “why?”

Why, G‑d, is the exile so long?
Why can’t the world just get along?
Why can’t the world be happy,
With Moshiach standing next to me?

You close your eyes, a thought comes to you,
It’s up to me and the things I do.
So let us all try, you and me,
To be the best that we can be.

Because it’s all up to me.
Up to me.

Wishing us all a great week in which we live up to our infinite potential!

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

P.S.: Another must-read this week is Levi Welton’s Are Women Dirty? The Truth Behind Ritual Impurity. Looking forward to reading your comments!

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. 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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