bs"d Thank You HaShem for everything!

State of the Yitz 5771/2011

Herein is a summary of who I am and how I got there. I hope to repeat this exercise each year, to provide me with a road map going forward, and breadcrumbs leading back. Here are a few public tidbits, the private stuff I'll have to remember and infer from the few hints that appear here.



It's wonderful to have spent some solid quality time with my family. Most of them made it in for Levi's Bar Mitzvah, and it was so rewarding seeing their children playing with ours. Jerusalem Express is a real boon when everyone is far, as has been more regular Skyping.


Neryah and Benayah, continue to amaze and challenge. It's only just this week that I've begun to understand how much Chazal meant when they said that the real challenge of overcoming anger only applies when you're married with children. I have grown a lot in raising Neryah, and now I start to encounter the difference of raising Benayah. Still, there's so much room to grow, at least I feel now like I have specific questions that could use an answer. Answering these will hopefully provide insight as well as a leap forward in my parenting skill. Marriage is an amazing experience everyone should try it and follow through. I abide by my policy created while dating that I won't ever talk about our relationship to anyone but Shlomit, so that's why she isn't being mentioned here, in case you were concerned.


One of the nice things I keep forgetting about is all the extended Jacob/Wolf/Mayer family here in Israel. Wish I spent more time with them, it's so great to have unbelievable people in your family, and I can't begin to express the beauty of the confluence of recognizing the same familiar values and attitudes in distant relations.



One experience I take forward with me is leading mincha in the Avraham Avinu beit knesset in Hevron for Levi's Bar Mitzvah. It was profound. I also merited to study the Kuntres HaTefillah this year which opened my eyes a lot, and put me in my place.. somewhat. There's still so much room for improvement, and I hope to remember Berachot 21a: R'Yochanon: 'u'l'vai that a person should pray the whole day through.' Taking my time and praying the whole end of the tefillah worked very well for me for part of this year and I should really return to it. It's so hard and so important not to get lost in the rush. You can never take too long in tefillah, but your mind can wander too far, so try and stay focused.


I'm thankful to HaShem for completing the first year of the Ben Ish Hai and I hope to review it this coming year as well as continue with the second year. This year I feel I'm missing out on a lot of the Hassidut I used to learn, but that the halachah learning is now giving me the necesary grounding to learn more deeply without feeling overwhelmed. I've continue slowly with the Tanya and Masechet Berachot. (only 21 daf this whole year) I missed learning the daily Tanya and now am focusing on that once again, to think a year went by where I learned 24 chapters in depth but didn't meet all the familliar lessons in the remaining chapters at all. I'm especially thankful to be learning the day's aliyah in the weekly parashah again, I felt so far from the weekly sedra last year. Baruch HaShem that has improved. I miss learning Hassidut in the evenings and hope maybe to move forward with the Otzar Hayyim then, b'ezrat HaShem, I've been too long from a regular seder in the Komarna Rebbe. It's been a year or a little more since I last finished Likkutei Moharan, and it's nice to know I'm progressing through #62 now, most of the meaty Torahs are now behind me, till the next time through. Thank You HaShem! May it all enter my heart and have the appropriate effect.


I've noticed that most Chagim there's financial stress leading up to them.. I think it's clearly part of the challenge of life.


there is nothing in this )or the next) world like it!! (even though Chazal say it's "me'en olam habah", and nickname the world to come, "Shabbat")


was fabulous.. I learned so deeply about the purity and sweetness of every Jewish Soul -- there is nothing sweeter.

Tisha b'Ab

this year I was overwhelmed by how it could be that we live through the whole year in such a broken state (not a political statement---this land is tovah meod meod, I mean a state of being broken)


Was literally out of this world, probably my best sukkot ever -- nothing was sweeter than sleeping in the sukkah and waking up to do mitzwot.


Perhaps I should light the candles in the house? it's hard to spend any time with the candles when they're in our stair well, even though it was great pirsumei nisa. There's always such a challenge on Hannukah not to pick fights. There were some really nice times, but I'd like to make next years Hannukah much more memorable.

- Yitz.. 28 Tevet 5771 / 4 Jan 2011

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