Hashem's Creations

Focus Like a Cheetah

Focus

Look at the focus and determination in those eyes...

A cheetah is a magnificent creation. It's engineered much better than a Lamborghini - in acceleration and maneuverability, it outperforms a Ferrari as well. But its 75 mph speed (120 km/h) isn't the secret of its success; its focus is. While maintaining high-speed chases after oftentimes elusive prey such as jackrabbits, the cheetah's eyes lock in on its target in perfect focus.

Focus like a cheetah. Don't get sidetracked and lock in on your target too - that's the way to score in whatever your endeavor is, whether it's preparing for final exams, for the marathon, or to finish a tractate of Gemara (or all of Shas - go for it!).  Blessings for a lovely Shabbat and a wonderful new month of Tammuz!


Invest in Your Nest

Invest in Nest
As I was eating breakfast this morning, something caught my eye. After hanging up laundry on our balcony, my wife left for her Monday-morning Torah class. I knew the basket was empty, but suddenly I saw something moving inside of it. Then, a male dove landed on our balcony railing with a dry twig in its mouth. He descended into the laundry basket where there was already movement. I stood up to get a better look. He and his female were building a nest, perched on top of our little basket of clothes pins within the big basket. he then took off to bring another twig. Wasting no time, he returned and placed it in the nest, but before he departed for another sortie, he gently pecked his female on the beak as if he was kissing her.

Within twenty minutes, they had a nest comfortable enough for her to lay an egg. I wanted so much to document this, but the male was very shy and flew away, The female smiled at the camera as you see in the hastily-snapped photo above.

There is no such thing as seeing something that's meaningless. Hashem communicates to us by way of our environment. King David, who wrote Perek Shira, was a cogent observer of his environment. So was his son, King Solomon, who says, "Go to the ant, sluggard; observe her ways and become wise" (Proverbs 6:6). King Solomon sends the lazy individual to go learn industriousness from an ant.

Here's what I learned from the pair of doves on my balcony:

  1. Invest in your nest - invest your time, resources and efforts into what's really important: your soul (and your body insomuch as it houses the soul), your spouse and your children. Don't waste your personal assets on inconsequential endeavors. 
  2. Build your nest and raise a family while you're young and full of agility.
  3. Make sure that whatever you do contributes to fulfilling your task on earth. If you don't know what that is, read Path to Your Peak.

That loving pair of doves are doing what they're supposed to and we should to. Now is the time to prepare ourselves for receiving the Torah anew on Shavuos (this coming Sunday night and Monday in Israel, with the addition of Tuesday overseas) and making ourselves a little bit better than we were yesterday. Many people have asked me lately, especially in the aftermath of the Meron tragedy, for something not too difficult to take upon themselves. Here's my suggestion: waste five less minutes every day and use them toward either learning Torah or reciting Psalms.

Symbolically, the pair of doves on my balcony had only concern - building their world. We should learn from them and concentrate on building our world, making it a much better place, amen!


Rainbows

Are we allowed to look at rainbows? Are rainbows a special message from Hashem? If so, what do they mean? Let's get some answers.

In any event, if you do see a rainbow, make the zocher habrit blessing:

Baruch ata A'donai, E'loheinu melech ha-olam, zocher habrit v’ne’eman biv’reetoh v’kayam b’ma’amarav.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who remembers the covenant, and is faithful to His covenant, and keeps His promise.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֶ'לוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם זוֹכֵר הַבְּרִית וְנֶאֱמָן בִּבְרִיתוֹ וְקַיָם בְּמַאֲמָרוֹ

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The Butterfly

Today's shiur is dedicated to the loving memory of Hannah Suzanne Margaret Callen, ob'm

Many people have tremendous difficulty in coping with the concept of death and believing in life after death, which is the Thirteenth tenet of our faith. The Almighty helps us understand with His own living parable of life after death, the butterfly. 

The Butterfly from lazerbrody on Vimeo.


Rattlesnakes and Wild Boars

Shavua Tov and warmest regards from Houston, Texas. G-d willing, we'll be boarding a plane to my beloved home in the Land of Israel later today (Sunday) and arriving on Monday, hopefully in time to vote in the elections. I urge everyone in Israel to get out and vote.

Life in this world is like crossing a dangerous desert, but anyone who sticks to the path avoids the many perils that are as soon as someone veers from the path, as we learn in today's lesson, which was filmed in the desert of Arizona on the trail to McDowell Peak: