ב"ה
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Hiding Just Beneath the Surface

January 18, 2024 6:25 PM

Dear Readers,

This week, we celebrate Tu BiShevat, the New Year for trees. At this time, the earliest blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

It never ceases to humor me how, here in America, we celebrate the birth of the new fruit trees during one of the coldest winter months, when the ground is frozen over, the trees are barren and exposed, and we are huddled in our homes, shivering from the cold outdoors.

But perhaps that is the message that we need to remember at this time—in the cold and gloomy barrenness lie life-giving treasures, hiding beneath the surface, just waiting to blossom.

This week, the Torah reading describes the Jewish people’s exodus from their long Egyptian bondage, their freedom to transform their lives, and in particular the special faith of the Jewish women.

When the Jewish people experienced the miracle of the sea splitting, Moses tells them: “Stand still and see the L-rd’s salvation . . . the L-rd will fight for you, but you shall remain silent.”1

When we look around us, with the current war going on in Israel, the situation can feel quite bleak. Thousands of families have been traumatized and remain displaced, and our hostages still have not returned to their families. But we need to remember, Yeshuat Hashem keheref ayin, “G‑d's salvation can come in the blink of an eye.”2 Even in the most hopeless situation, we cannot lose faith because G‑d can change it at any moment.

May we experience great miracles in the coming week!

With heartfelt prayers for the security of all our brothers and sisters the world over,

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW

Footnotes
2.

Pesikta Zutreta, Esther 4:17.

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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.

It's Been 100 Days!

January 12, 2024 12:23 PM

Dear Readers,

This coming Shabbat is the 10th day of Shevat, which marks the passing of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory, in 1950, and the day that the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement passed on to his illustrious son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory.

It is a day for reflection, learning, prayer, and increasing acts of loving-kindness. The Rebbe’s teachings continue to provide the guidance and inspiration we need for these difficult times.

This week also marks 100 days since the October 7th massacre of over 1,200 Jews. It is heartbreaking to realize that it has now been 100 days since our hostages were taken captive, and 136 hostages still remain languishing in Gaza in conditions that we cannot even imagine. It is also 100 days since tens of thousands from the North and South have become refugees in their own country.

This week, I interviewed Tzivia Pizem. For nearly two decades, the Pizems have bravely served the community of Sderot, just a kilometer from Gaza. Tzivia shares with us how she and her family narrowly survived the terrorist rampage on October 7th. She and her children were forced from their home, but her husband insisted on staying in Sderot to help those civilians who could not leave and to help serve the many soldiers stationed there. Tzivia gives us a personal look at what it feels like to have your home demolished by a rocket attack and live under war.

With heartfelt prayers for the safety and security of all our brethren throughout the world and for the release of our hostages,

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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.

An Impactful Phone Call

January 4, 2024 9:59 PM
My father, Rabbi Dovid Shochet
My father, Rabbi Dovid Shochet

Dear Readers,

I spent the past week in Toronto, visiting my father, Rabbi Dovid Schochet, who is in the hospital. It is excruciatingly painful to see the person who was always so strong, active, and brilliant, the person who is my mentor and the rock and foundation of our family, not being well.

At the same time, our moments together in his hospital room were some of the sweetest and most precious, as we bonded while I cared for him at this stage of his life.

On the last night of my visit, after a long day in the hospital, I returned with my mother to my parents’ home. The phone was ringing and I answered to a woman who was desperate to speak to my father. I informed her that he was unwell and it was difficult to know when she would be able to talk to him.

She told me she was calling because she really needed to thank him. About 6 weeks ago, right before my father was admitted to the hospital, she had spoken with him. Although he was already unwell and weak at the time, he patiently gave her his time.

She didn’t elaborate on the details of that call with me, but she told me that the advice he gave her had completely changed her. It improved the decisions she made and altered the trajectory of her life. She wanted to let him know that and to personally thank him, even though she lived in another city, far away.

She told me her name was Esty and asked me to relay the message to my father, which I did the following day. It was one of many messages that I have given, from people whose lives he impacted so strongly and so positively. Many of these people were strangers he didn’t know and who lived far away, who simply sought his guidance.

I learned three lessons from this late-night call.

  1. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice. A wise individual may give you a fresh perspective that can completely change your life choices.
  2. You never know the magnitude or far-reaching effect of the help you extend to another.
  3. Don’t wait to thank someone who has helped you. None of us ever knows what the future will bring, so reach out today.

With heartfelt prayers for the recovery of my father, Harav Dovid ben Sara Sasha, with prayers for the safety of all our brothers and sisters the world over, and with prayers for the return of our hostages,

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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
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 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 six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
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