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To Want to Want       

“You may feel so far, but even wanting to want is still a level. Never stop wanting”

To Want to Want
Around the Campfire // Mindel Kassorla


chas sha’alti me’eis Hashem, osah avakesh, shivti b’veis Hashem, kol y’mei chayai, lachazos b’noam Hashem, u’l’vaker b’heichalo — I ask one thing from Hashem, this is what I request, that I’ll sit in the house of Hashem all the days of my life, to see the pleasantness of Hashem and to visit His chambers” (translation: chabad.org)

It was almost two decades ago, but I’ll never forget it. I was leaving for seminary in just another week and had one last chance to see a close friend who was a kind of mentor of mine. She already knew the seminary ropes, having returned a year earlier.

We sat in her father’s minivan parked outside my home in Woodmere. “I have some advice for you when you go away this year,” she told me. “First of all, remember that some people may be changing on the outside in ways that will make you feel like you’re not doing anything. But you’re at a level now where the changes will be mostly internal — and those are the most important.

“And second, think of the pasuk,Achas sha’alti me’eis Hashem, osah avakesh.’

You notice how it says ‘ask’ and ‘request’? Why? Because there are times in our life when we feel close to Hashem. Then there are times when we want to feel close. But then there are even times when we want to want to be close. You may feel so far, but even wanting to want is still a level. Never stop wanting.”

For years I have kept this lesson with me, and only recently did I stumble across a sefer from Reb Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz of Peshischa that teaches this very idea. He says, “A person must have a ratzon to serve Hashem… And even someone who has merely a ratzon to have a ratzon to have a ratzon — as many as twenty times — this is also called Hashem’s servant.” (Sefer Toras Hayehudi)


The Most Influential Organ
Overheard and Overseen // Mrs. Elana Moskowitz

Recently, I was witness to a shidduch that dissolved over a piece of lashon hara shared by the young lady in question’s friend. And though the shidduch’s dissolution can be chalked up to siyata d’Shmaya, the fact that it was catalyzed by utterly pointless speech left me uncomfortable and sad. The shadchan, deeply distressed, disclosed that it wasn’t the first time someone had shared misinformation and torpedoed a friend’s shidduch, and perhaps it was high time rabbanim gave firm guidance for what is permitted to share and what is categorically forbidden.

Which got me thinking…

Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus z”l teaches that the tongue is the tiferes — the splendor — of man, and the most influential of his organs. Although our hands and feet, with their superior muscular capabilities, can build and destroy, their scope of influence is limited.

How many people can I reasonably affect with their power alone?

However, with the tongue, a person can quite literally build and destroy nations and countries.

Just over 90 years ago, an individual rose to power who, chillingly, demonstrated the inestimable power of the human tongue. Hitler wrought untold destruction on the Jewish nation, with a cumulative influence that continues to resonate into future generations.

Let’s consider for a moment a vicious anti-Semite whose greatest wish is to harm Jews. How many people can he realistically hurt with his hands and feet alone? A few dozen? Perhaps, at most, a hundred or so? Hitler, with the power of speech, with his tongue alone, wiped out entire communities, villages, cities, six million in total.

This is the power of the tongue, the most formidable organ in the human body.


Mission Impossible
Stories That Uplift // Susha Zipper

After my uncle passed away without having any children, my mother, being a devoted sister, embarked on a mission to have a baby named in his memory.

The obstacle was that I’m an only child and my uncle had the same name as my husband. So my mother would ask anyone she met, “Do you know someone who is expecting a baby? I need someone to name a baby for my brother! I’m willing to offer renumeration.”

She asked the guests at our Shabbos table.

Then people at simchahs she attended.

She approached women who were visibly in a family way and pose her question. She ignored the stares and my cringing, and kept on trying time after time.

One morning, on her way to work, a young, obviously frum gentleman got onto the train and slipped into the seat next to my mother. Immediately, she did her “sales pitch”: “Are you married?”


“Is your wife expecting a baby?”

“Oy, halevai my wife should be expecting a baby. She’s had a few miscarriages.”

“I’m so sorry… I have a proposition. I’ll daven for your wife, and if she has a baby boy, you’ll name him after my brother.”

“Of course! Im yirtzeh Hashem.”

They exchanged information and each got off at their respective stops.

One evening, almost a year later, the phone rang. My mother answered. “Hello?”

“Hello, my name is Mr. Borochuv. Do you remember me?”

“Of course! We met on the train.”

“Well, I’m calling to invite you to a bris. My wife had a baby boy, and I’m sure it was your tefillos that helped it happen.”

My mother joyfully attended the bris, and the baby was named Avraham after her brother, and Moshe after her brother’s rebbe, Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz”l.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 887)

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