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Mom Waters Fake Succulent Plant for Two Years

March 26, 2020 1:43 AM

Dear Readers,

Several weeks ago, Caelie Wilkes, a stay-at-home mom, posted an interesting story on her Facebook page that not only went viral, but was picked up by news outlets across the world.

In Caelie’s own words:

I’ve had this beautiful succulent for about 2 years now, I was so proud of this plant. It was full, beautiful coloring … I had it up in my kitchen window. I had a watering plan for it; if someone else tried to water my succulent, I would get so defensive because I just wanted to keep good care of it. I absolutely loved my succulent. Today I decided it was time to transplant, so I found the cutest vase that suited it perfectly. I go to pull it from the original plastic container it was purchased with to learn this plant was FAKE. I put so much love into this plant! I washed its leaves. Tried my hardest to keep it looking its best and it’s completely plastic! How did I not know this? I pull it from the container, it’s sitting on Styrofoam with sand glued on top! I feel like these last two years have been a lie.

Imagine realizing that something you had loved and nurtured for years was just a fake piece of plastic, simulating the true reality. How would you feel about discovering that some goal or lifestyle or relationship that you had pursued for years was, in fact, not authentic?

Seems far-fetched? In fact, it is our daily existence here in exile.

Our sages compare exile to a dream; it feels so real when we are experiencing it, but the moment we wake up, we realize that it was a facade, covering up the true reality.

Yet since we have been born into our exiled circumstance, our material things, our distress and anxiety, our constraints and feelings of lowliness, these all feel so genuine. Too often, we spend our lives in pursuit of things we believe will make us happy and fulfilled, only to discover how fleeting and fake they really are. We nurture our “plastic” world and our fake image, and we can’t fathom a more authentic experience—an experience where we realize our Divine source and powers.

On the Seder night on Pesach, we get a taste of that reality. Pesach is the festival that celebrates freedom, when we commemorate our seemingly impossible redemption from Egypt. To the Jewish slaves, our situation felt hopeless, but G‑d quickly revealed that the mighty Egyptian King Pharaoh and his army were merely a front that could easily be surmounted with G‑d’s help.

Our world now has been steeped into a very difficult situation. The Corona virus has turned our lives upside down and is creating havoc in our world. Far worse, it is claiming precious lives. May G‑d help us to experience true liberation and finally be released from this bitter exile.

The first days of Passover celebrate that redemption from our first exile; the last day of Pesach, we have Moshiach’s seudah, which celebrates the future redemption from our final exile, when we will see the fakeness of our current situation and finally be submerged in a true reality, recognizing our Divine origin and our true mission in this world.

May it happen now!

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.

10 Liberating Holiday Blessings for You

March 20, 2020 2:30 PM

Dear Reader,

We’re in the month of Nissan, the month of the birth of our nation, just days away from Passover, our holiday of freedom. As we prepare our homes and ourselves to experience liberation amidst the very challenging circumstances of the Corona virus, here are 10 freedoms I wish to bless us all with. (Please feel free to add more in the comments below!)

The freedom to be free of worries, and the realization that G‑d has our back.

The freedom to experience true joy and happiness, and the realization that happiness is found within.

The freedom to be free of crushing envy, and the realization that the greatest wealth is having gratitude for what we have.

The freedom to be free of self-talk that tells you can’t and won’t, and the realizations that your G‑dly soul has unlimited powers.

The freedom to achieve our fullest potential, and the realization that we are all unique—your potential is not someone else’s.

The freedom to go beyond our constraints and limitations, and the realization that with G‑d’s help, yagata umatzata taamin—“when we extend ourselves, we will succeed.”

The freedom to think positively. When we open up the channels of faith within us, we open ourselves up to overwhelming blessings.

The freedom not to become bitter when things unexpectedly go wrong, coupled with the realization that G‑d has another plan for us.

The freedom to feel G‑d’s love and goodness for us, even when it is so hidden.

The freedom to see all the blessings in our lives because that is the greatest blessing of all.

Happy Passover preparations! Please stay safe and healthy!

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.

10 Things I’m Learning About Life in the Midst of the Coronavirus

March 13, 2020 3:50 PM
  1. No matter how powerful or advanced we think we are, ultimately, we’re not in control. G‑d runs the world and will run it exactly according to His own plan and His own timetable.
  2. G‑d will take care of us! We need to believe this. The man who delivered my friend’s groceries admonished, “You people believe in G‑d, so why such anxiety? G‑d created His kids; don’t you think He can take care of us?”
  3. Some of the greatest solutions are the simplest. Wash your hands, keep yourself clean, and don’t spread negative infection. Shouldn’t we follow this prescription in all areas of life?
  4. How we react to others in times of distress says so much about who we are. I’m seeing such generous offers of practical help for those in difficult situations.
  5. One virus has spread like wildfire, utterly changing our world. If this is true for in the negative sense, imagine the power of something positive, how infectious and powerful one good deed can be.
  6. Too often, we’re busy rushing through the mad dash of life. As we hunker down with our loved ones, we can re-evaluate our priorities and what’s really important.
  7. Our children and the people around us are looking to us for direction. If we demonstrate terrible frenzy, it snowballs into mass hysteria. If we remain calm and cautious, others take note and behave likewise.
  8. “There is no person who doesn’t have his time and no thing that doesn’t have its place” (Avot 4:3). Who would have thought the humble toilet-paper roll would become such a precious commodity? Don’t ever think of yourself as useless; we all have a time to shine.
  9. Humor goes a long way. “The language of the wise is healing” (Proverbs 12:18). Happiness, positivity and wit can only help the situation.
  10. Worry is often worse than the disease itself. I’ll be honest, this is my personal take-home message. How often do I hear myself telling my children, “Of course, I’m worried! That’s my job as a Jewish mother!” Truthfully, our greatest enemy—perhaps more debilitating than any sickness or challenge—is feeling overwrought and stressed. It doesn’t help, but just feeds into the frenzy, creating even more widespread problems. We need to take preventive steps, but with a positive “can do” and “it will be good” attitude.

Wishing us all health and blessings!

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.

Why We Experience Darkness

March 2, 2020 11:55 AM

Dear Readers,

This week we greet the new Jewish month of Nissan. Chodesh Tov!

While still in Egypt, two weeks before the Exodus, G‑d instructed Moses to set the Jewish calendar by consecrating the monthly new moon. G‑d tells him that Nissan is to be the “head of months” and instructs about the Passover offering.

The Mechilta explains that G‑d showed Moses the new moon at its moment of rebirth and said to him: “When the moon is reborn, mark the beginning of a new month.” The Jewish calendar has been set by the moon ever since.

The Zohar teaches that the people of Israel set their calendar by the moon, because they are “the moon of the world.”

Midrash Rabbah explains that the early generations of our nations resembled the moon:

The moon begins to shine on the 1st of the month and increases in luminance till the 15th day, when her orb becomes full; from the 15th till the 30th day, her light wanes, on the 30th it is not seen at all. With Israel, too, there were 15 generations from Abraham to Solomon. Abraham began to shine … Jacob added to this light … When Solomon appeared, the moon’s orb was full … Henceforth the kings began to diminish … With Zedekiah [when the Holy Temple was destroyed] the light of the moon dimmed entirely.

In Egypt, for decades, the Jewish people were bitterly enslaved and then, the persecutions increased! But as it did, the Jewish heart and soul grew stronger. “The more they were oppressed, the more they increased and the more they spread” (Exodus 1:12). Despite our oppression, rather than breaking us as a people, we emerged; crushed perhaps, but never broken.

This pattern has repeated itself throughout our nation’s many exiles, persecutions and banishments.

For two weeks each month, the moon diminishes, steadily reducing until it is completely invisible so that it can once again be reborn. In doing so, the moon teaches us that darkness can give birth to light, and we can exploit our setbacks to reach greater, new levels.

Currently, the world is going through an extremely challenging time, as we battle a threatening virus that is wreaking havoc on the way we normally go about our day-to-day lives, and so many are becoming sick and infected. During these trying times, we need to draw closer to our Source, to find greater strength and faith, to rise together, in unity with one another, as greater people, as we await the final redemption.

The story of the moon is the story of our people and the story of each one of us. Like the moon, we dip only to soar, and each defeat can help us grow stronger and bring us to unprecedented new heights.

Stay safe and healthy!

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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