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Dear readers,

She runs an acclaimed consulting business with a three-month waiting list. Her book has been at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for the past 23 weeks. Over 2 million copies have been sold worldwide, and it is in its 13th printing. She’s been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Her claim? To create “life-changing magic,” and her proven results seem to show that people are desperate for her existence-altering wisdom.

So what does Marie “KonMari” Kondo actually do to have become such an international phenomenon? Is she a religious guru? Does she philosophize about life’s greatest secrets on meaning and purpose? Has she created a cure for a life-threatening illness? Or has she discovered the fountain of youth and energy?

Well, no.

Kondo is actually a Japanese cleaning consultant who helps her clients transform their cluttered homes into spaces of “serenity and inspiration.” Her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up teaches her methods for decluttering, organizing and storing.

Her method is simple: Keep only what inspires joy in your heart. If you don’t love it, get rid of it.

According to Kondo, many of us imbue our things with emotions; we hang on to items we don’t like or need. One reader began “questioning how much I have and how much I really need. Brooming all of those things was liberating.”


In the story of creation, mankind was created on the sixth day of creation—the planets, gases, minerals, vegetation and animal life were already in place. Mankind was created last in order to create a hierarchy of order and purpose within creation.

Commanded to “fill the earth and conquer it and rule over the fish of the sea, the bird of the sky . . . ,” mankind was given the mission to utilize our world for a divine purpose. We develop, challenge and push creation to its limits and beyond in our mission to build a home for G‑d.

Should we achieve our purpose, mankind soars higher than all creation; should we fail, we are lower than the lowliest mosquito created before us.

In the material excess of our privileged society, have we forgotten this hierarchical order? Have we become slaves to our things, rather than masters using them to create joy and purpose in our world? Do we work to live to achieve our destiny, or do we live to work to acquire more?

Maybe Kondo has something important to share with us. Her simple methods teach us how to control our “stuff” and give us perspective on what order things should take in our lives.

Or in the uncluttered words of The Atlantic, “Life’s overwhelm, conquered.”

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,

Just yesterday, I messed up as a wife and really lost my cool with my husband. Just last week, I messed up as a mother and didn’t give my daughter the attention she needed and deserved.

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like life is full of mistakes? Guilt and more guilt. Falling and somehow pulling yourself back up. But could there be anything positive about that?

Our Sages teach us: “In the place that a repentant stands, a truly righteous individual is unable to reach.” This means that the level reached by a person who has messed up and repented is incomparably higher than the level of a completely righteous individual who didn’t sin in the first place.

Why? If sin is so terrible, why would a repentant be better off?

Though sin is never good, a person who has sinned and returned has gained an awareness of a deeper part of himself. He comes to realize how he really never wanted to stray but was merely tempted in the moment. His newfound introspection leads him to become more in tune with how important his connection is to G‑d. The relationship that he may have taken for granted before, has now become so cherished to him, as his very raison d’etre.

This week’s Torah portion speaks about the Sota, the suspected adulteress: her straying, the humiliation that she feels and ultimately her exoneration as she is reunited with her spouse—and their ensuing blessings.

On a deeper level, the whole episode is a metaphor for any time we stray in our personal relationships or with G‑d. Though mistakes are never positive, ultimately, a relationship that endures challenges and still thrives is stronger than one never exposed to difficulties. Similarly, one who repents and changes his ways realizes even more deeply--because of his mistake--just how much his relationship means.

Growth is not about persevering on one straight path, never messing up. It isn’t about “returning” to what we were, but rather growing to become a more enriched, more courageous human being driven by a fierce yearning for a stronger and more meaningful bond with G‑d.

Here’s a thought for this week: What mistake have you made that provided you with a new perception that ultimately caused you to change your direction? What have you learned from the experience?

Wishing you a wonderful week and that the mistakes that we all inevitably make should lead us to become greater human beings.

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,

Several months ago my husband and I, along with our youngest daughter, visited Toronto to spend a beautiful Shabbat with my parents.

At the end of the Friday night meal, my father turned his attention to my daughter. My father is an incredibly knowledgeable rabbi and mentor who devotes his life to studying and teaching the wisdom of Torah. He engages in the most intricate, hairsplitting Talmudic discussions just as ably as he counsels people on knotty, complex life issues. Now, he was attempting to really bond with his granddaughter. My daughter, though an exceptionally mature and intelligent eleven-year-old, is more than seven decades younger than my father. I wondered how my father could succeed to forge a connection that would break through these barriers.

My father’s warm gray eyes twinkled and a smile appeared around his snow-white beard as he said to my daughter, “Let’s play charades. We’ll take turns,” he suggested to her eagerly. “You start. Think of a mitzvah, but don’t tell me. Act it out, without speaking. And let’s see if we can guess each other’s mitzvah.”

For the next several minutes, grandfather and granddaughter were busily engaged in their activity. My father energetically stood up to dramatically act out his mitzvah. My daughter flailed her arms and legs to act out hers. Through these performances, they mimed a wide range of mitzvot. There was lots of laughter in that room, and I’m not sure who enjoyed the activity most: my father, my daughter, or the rest of us watching.

My father had succeeded in bridging the gap. But more so, he succeeded to enter my daughter’s world and relate to her through something that they both cherished.


We are now days away from the holiday of Shavuot, when the Jewish people stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where G‑d asked us a favor: “Perform My mitzvot (commandments).”

At that moment, G‑d “entered” our world.

The very word mitzvah hints to the beauty of our relationship. Mitzvah shares a root with the word tzavta, which means “bond” or “attachment.” When we do a mitzvah, we become joined to the essence of G‑d, who has issued that command. G‑d allows His infinite wisdom to be distilled into a form accessible by finite creatures, breaking barriers and melding the two into a G‑dly and meaningful existence.

The gap between Creator and created is greater than anything we can fathom—infinitely greater than the disparity between a grandfather and his young granddaughter. Through mitzvot, though, we become expressions of G‑d’s will, just as our own hand which writes, stirs a ladle or plays notes of music expresses our will.

And watching my wise, elderly father playing charades with my eleven-year-old daughter, I think I got a tiny taste of what that looks like.

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,

Is the Internet something positive or negative? How about sleep? Sugar? Exercise? Work? Intimacy? Marijuana? Marriage? Divorce?

Nothing in life is simple. A thinking individual would respond with a healthy, noncommittal “it depends.”

Marriage can be great—to the right individual. Divorce can be necessary—in certain circumstances. Sugar can be good in moderation. Marijuana administered to ease pain can vastly improve the quality of life of an ill individual.

So, most things can be either positive or negative, depending on the circumstances and on how they are channeled.

We are approaching the special holiday of Shavuot, when we receive the Torah and “G‑d spoke all these words” (Shemot 20:1).

When “G‑d descended upon the mountain,” we were given the ability to join heaven with earth. Every individual was empowered to be G‑d’s agent to raise up our lowly, physical reality and make it holy and transcendental.

The communication that the Jewish people heard at Mount Sinai was unique in that it had no echo (Shemot Rabbah 28:5).

When a voice reaches a wall, it rebounds, producing an echo. But the Torah given at Mount Sinai was so powerful that it penetrated and permeated every person and every part of the universe.

Since there is no place where Torah is not applicable, the result was an echoless experience. There is no darkness that the Torah cannot illuminate; nothing can block it and cause it to bounce away.

“Everything that G‑d created in His world, He did not create but for His glory” (Ethics 6:11). Every creation can be used and channeled for a divine intent. We bring out the purpose of forbidden things—like non-kosher foods or relationships—by refraining from them. But most things (or forces) belong in the realm of the neutral, and we can reveal their essential reason for existence by directing them for a positive, G‑dly goal.

So, back to the original question—is the Internet positive or negative? Obviously, there’s lots of stuff on the Internet that we need to stay far away from. But it is also a force that can be harnessed for great positivity.

Here at www.TheJewishWoman.org, we try to unleash the Internet’s greatest power by using it to spread the Torah’s wisdom.

In this light, we’ve also recently updated and improved our Facebook page. I’d like to personally invite you to check out our Facebook page. Friend us! Comment on our articles! Like us and share our content with other women who would gain from the inspiration.

Because we believe that each and every one of us has the power of replicating that echoless experience, and bringing the wisdom of the Torah—unobstructed—to the four corners of the earth.

Please join us with our goal!

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 was teaching a group of young women, and I asked them to raise their hand if they loved themselves. All the hands eventually rose, but reluctantly.

I then asked them to raise their hand if they felt that they had any ugly faults or flaws that they would like to change. Surprisingly, the hands now all rose swiftly and unhesitatingly.

We could translate this as a lack of self-esteem in our youth, and particularly in our girls. But in the larger scheme, our world emerges as a place of conflict. In every waking moment, we are in a struggle.

We struggle with ourselves—to change those parts of our psyche that need improvement and betterment.

We also struggle with the world around us—to preserve a healthy view of ourselves and to protect our essential values and treasured beliefs. We struggle—and we fail and succeed—to carve out niches of time and space, to quell the challenges that rob us from living more serene lives, in tune with our true ourselves.

The first step in confronting our struggles—both within and without—is finding and releasing our inner core power. The potent spark of G‑dliness within us is our greatest weapon for finding the strength to wake up each morning and tackling whatever is holding us back.


This Thursday is Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer, connecting Passover to Shavuot. This day marks the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the author of the Zohar, the most basic Kabbalistic work, and is considered the birthday of Jewish mysticism.

We celebrate Lag BaOmer in fields with children playing with bows and arrows, symbolizing that no rainbows appeared in the sky during Rabbi Shimon’s life. The rainbow represented G‑d’s covenant not to destroy the world again; Rabbi Shimon’s merit protected his entire generation.

On a deeper level, the bow and arrow symbolizes the power of inwardness—the power unleashed by the inner, mystical dimension of Torah.

An arrow must be pulled back toward one’s own heart in order to strike the heart of the opponent. The more it is drawn inward, the more distant an adversary it can reach.

The most powerful weapon we have to confront and conquer our fears, demons, foes and inadequacies is drawing our bow to ourselves: discovering and strengthening our inner essence, knowing who we are, and knowing why we are here.

Conquering even the most pervasive darkness begins by first lighting up the candle of our soul.

The mystical, inner dimension of Torah guides us to find, know and illuminate that infinitely powerful spark of G‑dliness within. From there we can unbridle the power to deal with any adversary.

And perhaps even transform our foes into friends.

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.
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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