Category Archives: Archives 5772

Special Feature: The Song and Beauty of Life

Tishrei 5772 – Special Feature: The Song and Beauty of Life

 

Special Feature: The Song and Beauty of Life Tishrei 5772
Special Feature: The Song and Beauty of Life
by Mrs. Chevie Klatzko

 

The gleaming smoothness of the oak floor stretches before you like a canvas. The high ceiling and simple walls envelope you in the stillness of solitude. And in the center, ever so perfectly, this one at an angle, this one high on a stool sits the polished ensemble of instruments.

The piano is off to the right, the drums to the far left and in between, the violins, bass, trumpet and more.

All this beauty – this grandeur, it’s magnificent. You find yourself straining to hear the echo of the music last played. As if the walls had soaked up the sound and would resonate with it if you listened hard enough.

What rises instead is an expectant silence; a sense of frustrated waiting as the instruments sit immobile.

Circling the room, you have a sense that you’ve just spent a moment in the company of a lesson. The piano hadn’t asked for rest, nor the guitar to be lain down. They aspire to be played. They were designed for movement, pressure and challenge. For where there’s no tension, there’s no sound. It’s the crash of the cymbals, the beating of the drums that brings forth rhythm from the silence.

There needs to be a point of contention, a plucking of strings to bring forth results.

With hushed footsteps, you take note of the tall black podiums that hold the music yet to be played. The marks and notations on the sheets vary with each instrument. The trumpet enters as the violins fade. The clarinets have their own instruction. Yet the title of the work is the same. In beautiful flowing script: LIFE

Life. Your life. Is there anything we want more than a pulsing, vibrant, meaningful life? It is synonymous with growth. And growth can only come through an honest search for awareness and authentic change, not through comfort & complacency.

Playing the music of life means taking a step away from passivity. It means not being content to rest comfortably in a polished room. If the keys remain untouched and unchallenged all their potential would be locked away in the stillness of apathy.

We must dare to open the book, to read the notes and grapple with them. To know that the pain and friction of our experience is the bow being drawn across the strings.

Our challenges are the birth of our ever greater selves.

We’re each a masterpiece of lines converging together in harmonious poetry.

We have a loving father, our creator, he created life. Life is a symphony with myriads of subtle harmonies and bold melodies woven together.

The whole world is a song of Hashem to behold.

In Hashem’s world there are Singers. They know their parts to perfection. When we’re down, or anxious we feel as if we’re not in tune with the Singers of the World. The heart may cry, “What notes to play? How do I fit in?” Or perhaps the cry is quieter, “I feel out of sync, am I part of this orchestra?”

Where does this voice resonate from? From the deepest reaches of the soul. The neshama wants to sing. Lemaan yizamrcha kavod velo ydom, so that I can sing your praises and never be silent.” It knows its place in the symphony and it knows that every stroke of the bow adds to the music. When we feel out of sync it’s our neshamos begging us to play our part.

In order to be in sync one must make changes and live life courageously with purpose. At times it’s knowing when to sing solo and when to join in with other voices. There’s only one song to sing Hashamyim mesaprim kevod kel, the Heavens tell the glory of Hashem. This song, our true service in this world is not about our Kavod but rather Hashem’s Kavod. This can be brought into expression through our self development. How much we emulate Hashem’s majestic traits, that’s how much honor we bring into this world.

Change is about joining that song, moving from the protected space of routine identity into the sunlight where every challenge brings forth music. LIFE is played through our struggles. The music comes alive through our work .Each one of us is empowered to honor the voice of our neshama,to believe in ouur song,and to practice our own piece of music.

What is the melody that is uniquely yours?

The conductor beckons, won’t you join in?

Mrs. Chevie Klatzko, known for her vivacious, approachable, and warm-hearted personality, has been involved in mentoring for well over a dozen years. She is a graduate of the Maalot Yerushalaim Coaching Training Program where she is currently employed as a supervisor for student coaches. She leads engaging workshops providing life tools and communication skills.

Mrs. Klatzko is a talented life coach specializing in Relationships and Parenting. With her deep insight and a knack for seeing situations from a child’s perspective, she helps her clients achieve clarity, confidence, and enjoyment as parents and partners. She supports her clients through change, empowering them to lead more effective and fulfilling lives.

Mrs. Klatzko is passionate about coaching and makes it part of her real world model.

She lives in Yerushalaim with her husband Rabbi Raphael Klatzko and their many precious gems.

 

Mrs. Klatzko can be reached at cheviek@gmail.com

Kislev 5772 – Special Feature: A Sister’s Secret Sacrifice – In honor of Rachel Imeinu’s Yartzeit

 

Kislev 5772
Special Feature: A Sister’s Secret Sacrifice – In honor of Rachel Imeinu’s Yartzeit
by Rabbi Moshe Rosenstein

 

A Sister’s Secret Sacrifice – In Honor of Rachel Imeinu’s Yartzeit

There is a fascinating episode that takes place in Parshas Vayeitzei that for years I had difficulty understanding. To set the stage, Yaakov Avinu together with his wives and children are all living in the household of Lavan. More than half of the Shevatim have already been born – Reuvain, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher are growing up. Three of Yakakov’s four wives have given birth to all or most of the sons that they are going to. Yet Rochel Imeinu, whose yahrtzeit is this week (Tuesday 11 Cheshvan), remains barren. Reuvain, Leah’s oldest son, is out in the fields and finds some flowers for his mother. Rochel, upon seeing Leah’s new flowers, asks nicely, “Please may I have some of the flowers that your son brought?” Chazal tell us that these particular flowers, the Dudaim were used to help with infertility. Given Rochel’s childlessness, this would seem to be a perfectly appropriate request – Rochel was not even asking for all of the flowers. The passuk [Bereishis 30:14] says the word “MiDudai banecha,” “from the flowers of your son” – not all of them. Leah responds in what would seem to be somewhat of a harsh manner. She replies[in passuk 15], “Is it not enough that you have practically taken my husband?! Now you want my son’s flowers as well?!” [Leah is referring to the fact that the Torah tells us that Rochel was “more beloved” to Yaakov than Leah, so in that respect, Leah felt as if Rochel had “taken” Leah’s husband from her.]

Among the many difficulties in understanding this series of events, there is one element that, to me, has always stood out. Let’s go back a few years and remind ourselves of the story of how this family came to be in the first place. We all know that Yaakov met Rochel first and was immediately enamored by her. Rochel, too, was anxiously waiting for the day that she and Yaakov could be married. Seven years have to pass before Yaakov and Rochel’s aspiration to marry could be realized. The Medrash tells us that during these seven years, their “relationship” was not even fully on hold. Yaakov would send gifts to Rochel throughout this time to continue to express his affection towards, and connection to, her. Yet, when the wedding day came, as we know, Lavan demanded that Leah marry Yaakov instead of Rochel. As we all know, Yaakov and Rochel had set up signs (the halachos of Niddah, Challah and Hadlokas HaNer) to ensure that no such switch would take place. And as we also all know, when Rochel was faced with the possibility of her sister suffering a terrible shame and disgrace at being discovered, Rochel Imeinu, in an act of kindness that has reverberated through the generations and stood as a zechus for all of us for thousands of years, gives up her chance (or so she thought) of marrying Yaakov and selflessly gives her sister the signs. When the time came, Leah and Yaakov were married and Rochel, one can only imagine, felt as if she had literally given up the entire world – physical and spiritual – in order to spare her sister this shame.

In this context, it would seem that Leah’s response to Rochel’s request for the flowers is quite baffling. How could Leah say to Rochel – the person if not for whom not only would Leah not be married to Yaakov, but she would have been the laughing stock of the community – “Is it not enough that you have practically taken my husband?” What exactly does Leah mean by this? Wouldn’t this statement appear to be a complete and total lack of appreciation for Rochel’s monumental sacrifice on Leah’s behalf? For years this issue troubled me. But it was worth the wait, because the answer that the Baalei Mussar give shows us an insight into Rochel Imeinu that is at the same time astounding and inspiring.

The answer they give… Leah never knew what happened! We always pictured Rochel prepping Leah with the signs and coaching her on how to answer Yaakov’s questions. But in fact, the Baalei Mussar explain, this is not what happened at all. For years Lavan had been telling Leah that she was going to be the one to marry Yaakov. And what about those gifts that the Medrash mentioned? The Medrash tells us that all along Lavan was intercepting them and giving them to Leah! Leah was under the impression that Yaakov had been courting her! Rochel, realizing where this was headed, gave the signs over to Leah in an inconspicuous way. One day they would be talking and Rochel would tell her about some interesting halachos she had heard regarding Niddah. And then, maybe as she was helping Leah with her gown fitting, she told Leah about this fascinating set of laws about Challah. And maybe while she was helping Leah do her hair, she discussed the halachos of Hadlokas Ner Shabbos. So when it came time for Leah to give the signs to Yaakov – she had no idea that she was actually giving “signs” at all! She was simply answering Yaakov’s questions with information that she had learned. This is astonishing! What has gone down in history as literally one of the most selfless acts of all time, was actually done completely bitzin’ah – without Leah ever knowing or being ashamed, even in front of her own sister. Can you imagine such a thing? Rochel Imeinu did not take or receive any recognition or credit for this incredible act. So much so that Leah, years later still and unaware of what took place, can actually accuse Rochel of trying to “take away” Leah’s husband! This was a complete act of chessed, done with no expectation of credit and done in such a way that the recipient would not even know that she had received it. Incredible. [Source: the sefer Lev Shalom on Sefer Bereishis, on page 269 (in his drashos on Parshas Vayeitzei). The sefer is a collection of drashos and divrei Torah from Rav Shalom Shwadron zt”l.]

May we be inspired by this act of selflessness, now that we more fully appreciate its depth and extent. May we merit to follow in our Mama Rochel’s footsteps and selflessly do whatever we can to prevent shame or embarrassment to our friends and family, and certainly not do anything that would actively cause pain of this nature to another person. And, BE”H, in the merit of our living up to Rochel Imeinu’s example, may we be zocheh to have her tefillos heard in Shamayim – vishavu banim ligvulam.