Thursday, September 17, 2009

Posting (Almost) Live on the Uman Drive by DOV - Part 1

"613"- for all of you that really know me well, have probably heard a story or two around the number "613". Well needless to say this trip started with a "613". Allyson and the children all got in the car at 6:07 and we departed for JFK. I ran through a mental check list of everything I packed. Tifillin, talis, (oops I just realized I forgot my Maczor I'll have to get one in UMAN ), pants, shirt, shampoo and soap, etc.... I realized I forgot my rain coat. Realizing that it often rains in the Ukraine I decided to turn around and go back to the house to get it. I grabbed my rain coat, got back into the car looked at the clock and there before my eyes was Hashem. "Shivisi Hashem linegdi somid" "I place hashem before my eyes always". Yes it was "613"pm. It was the Beshah tovah- the right moment that Hashem wanted me to begin my journey and preparation for Rosh Hashanah 5770. I truly don't know what I have done in my life for Hakodosh Baruch Hu to give me this opportunity a second time in my life. I remember Rav Itamar Schwartz the Mechaber of "Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh" speaking last year to a small group of bachrim, and describing his life's search for Hashem. He described to us that the first moment he realized that there was a problem was in his teens and it was Elul and he knew he was supposed to feel something and he felt nothing. Well Elul 5769 and I too felt nothing. There was a void. I knew very well that I should be feeling something, or at least that the melech was traveling and near. The zechus I have been granted once again to cut the cord and spend 48 hours in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, to visit kivrei Tzadikim, and daven with 30,000 mispallilim in an area smaller that any one of the five towns. It is a mokom of tiffilah like non other in the world. Living in America, it is not possible to make any preparations for the Yom Tov ahead of us. Life is cruel, no matter what we do Life will find some way to occupy every last moment. I would be lucky to have the 5 minute walk to shul erev Rosh Hashanah to reflect, and prepare to greet the Melech. Like everything else in life we are procrastinators. Even things that have deadlines, one way or another can be extended. So we push it off and push it off till the very last moment.

As I stated in my last email, if not for Hashem who is the Manhig al kol, my amazing and courageous wife who will be home alone this yom tov with 6 little children under the age of 8, the spark my Rebbi, Rav Weinberger lit 4 years ago describing the mesiras nefesh that the wifes of the many that travel for treasures in UMAN undergo, and the final push my chaver Chaim Freud made last year to help me cut the cord and unplug from everyday life in America.
I know that hakodosh baruch hu loves me so much as I sit here and write this email. I know he truly loves me and wants me to have every chance and opportunity to develop a deep and meaningful relationship with him. This is the tachlis of all our lifes.

I was recently learning in chelk 5 of Bilvavi about how hashem desires and loves our tiffilos. We often look at an "es tzarah"-difficult time as a punishment, when in the olam ha emes- world of truth, it is another opportunity for us do deepen our relationship with Avinu Shebashamayim. We as parents love when our children turn to us and say please. How could we possibly say no. Especially, when they are so sincere. All we hope for is that our children make good decisions in life, and conduct them selfs in an appropriate way. Listening to and watching our children read and write, and develop life skills excites us to no end. We encourage them, work with them, and applaud them along the way.

Go Dov Berish, lech lecha me artizicha umibais avicha. Travel to a foreign land, go visit kevarim of some of the holiest yiddin that walked in this world. Pour your heart out, cry out in the words od Dovid Hamelech in tihillim which contains all the tiffilos for the sufferings of klal yisroel till the end of time. I have with me 3 pages and around 10 index cards containing the names of my closest family and friends and even names of yidden I don't know. In truth when I daven for them or I daven for myself there is no difference. In klal yisroel we are one. When you pour out your heart for the needs of others you are actually davening for yourself." Kudsha brich hu, viyisroel, vioraysa, chad hu". Hashem, klal yisroel, and the torah are one. On the plane ride I am traveling with 3 holy kohanim "the cohen brothers". Aviezer- my chavrusa the gentle and steadfast nishoma, Betzalel the hammer of emes and tzidkus in klal yisroel, and Chaim Dov the tzaddik in the making.

Our brachas have new kavanah, we discuss shaylos and inyani kidusha. We prepare our selfs to greet "Hamelech"- he's here and loves everyone of us. Please hashem help us all realize the kochos - strength you have given us to reveal the kedusha within us, your kedusha that fills this world and all worlds. Help as all prepare our selfs NOW to greet the face of the melech dovid malcha meshicha this year of 5770. May we all be zocheh to spend rosh hashanah in the bais hamigdosh bemhar biyamanu.

Dov Berish

Pictures of Sophia Park in Uman courtesy of Simcha Goldberg. Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox or here to subscribe in Google Reader.

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