Sirens, Sandy and the Light of the Menorah

On her semi-annual trip to America, Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller spoke in Kew Gardens Hills last night on the topic of “Sirens, Sandy and the Light of the Menorah”.

You can download the mp3 here.

Rebbetzin Heller has just released a new book called “The Balancing Act – How to bring the power and passion of Torah into our homes, our children – and ourselves”. There’s a 20% online discount on Artscroll’s site.

The book is in question and answer format. Here’s a small excerpt:

Q. When we were dating, my husband said he wanted to live in an established frum community in order to have access to the Torah learning readily available there. Although I had reservations, I ultimately told him I could live whereever he wanted and we’d make the most of our opportunities. Now that’s it coming down to it, I’m afraid I’m not going to be happy in an established area. I realize there’s plenty of community service to do even in a frum city, but it’s not the same as living in a less religiously developed area, where I can be a part of actually shaping it.

A. It’s up to you to be happy. Simchah is a middah and not a response to external circumstances. You can choose to develop your inner joy by believing that wherever Hashem put you, that’s where your potential can be maximized. If you agreed to your husband’s choice, you meant it and saw it as possible. You can be very happy in a frum community. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking otherwise.

You don’t have to be in Charan in order to make souls. I would suggest you get involved in Project Inspire, Partners in Torah, or any other suitable program. This way you can still be involved in creating a community by introducing people from the outside.

We are naturally affected by our role models. Don’t devalue the advantage of being in a frum environment. Your husband wants exposure to seri¬ous Torah learning and to people who are real ovdei Hashem. Seek out those people in your from community who live bigger-than-life lives. Let them be your inspiration.

There is no reason for you to feel spiritually frustrated. There is plenty to do no matter where you live. In addition to kiruv, there are kids off the derech, women in distress, and families that need help coping. Be honest and ask yourself if your imagination is taking you to a place that you’ve fallen in love with, instead of falling in love with Hashem’s.

Keep that promise to your husband. Make the most of your opportunities, and be happy wherever Hashem ultimately leads you

3 comments on “Sirens, Sandy and the Light of the Menorah

  1. There are also areas that are in decline Jewishly. Some may present turnaround opportunities for new faces to spearhead.

  2. There are actually plenty of Kiruv opportunities available even in established Jewish areas. For example, in the heart of Brooklyh, which has some of the biggest Orthodox Jewish communities in North America, there are still many unaffiliated and searching Jews. Just ask the people involved in the group called “Brooklyn Jewish Xperience” who work with not-yet-frum Jews. Even in an established area, there could be a chance to start a brand new girls’ school (with ideas from 21st-century pedagogy) or a “breakaway” kehillah.

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