What an amazing year it has been… So robust with experiences, light and dark, highs and lows, and rich with abundant new learning, inspiration and growth. But the occupation of studying our holy Torah and disseminating its light and wisdom hasn’t nearly come to a halt. That mission is forever.
The year has come in a vast circle, and as we say, “from strength to strength…” My first Parsha-Post, the real beginning of my blog, was written for Parshat Shemos! Truly, no words suffice to capture my feelings and gratitude at this milestone, but I now take this opportunity to express it to the best of my ability, to all who played a role in making it possible, and assisting me in transforming this dream into reality.
~ First and foremost thank You to my Dear Father in Heaven, Ribono Shel Olam, Hashem Yisborach, for instilling me with a mission, and the koach and gifts to fulfill the purpose of my creation. Thank You for always believing in me – “raba Emunasecha – great is Your faith” – and for my challenges and my successes. Thank You for Your continuous miracles, both the hidden and revealed, in every area of my existence. Thank You for a beautiful world, and for the darkness that is a canvas to light up with Your glory and spirit. Thank you… beyond words. My list is infinite.
~ Thank you to my dear parents. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for permitting me the luxury of time and the opportunity to do this weekly, what others need and what I love. I know it isn’t always easy when I’m not around in the afternoon or evening, as I pore over books and busily type – all my blogging and writing entails – and I want to acknowledge the sacrifice you make. Thank you for providing me with a safe home, modest, comfortable clothes, and nourishing food; for how can one pursue ruchniyus (spirituality) if they aren’t sustained as well with the gashmiyus (physical)?
~ Thank you to my dear grandparents. Thank you, too, for your incredible love and support! Thank you for helping spread the word about my blog, passing on the divrei Torah I share to others. I am smiling now as I’m type, when I reminisce how the printouts I give you of my articles, though far from perfect, are always met with an undiminishing enthusiasm, and always viewed as a prestigious novelty. Thank you for building my self-esteem to keep doing what I am doing!
~ Thank you to my rebbi, Rabbi Yosef Resnick of Monson, MA. You started me on my path to learning Torah, and I know I can turn to you with any and all of my shailos. You always find the time to listen, think, and answer; your love of teaching and care for each student is apparent, and truly inspiring. Furthermore, you haven’t just taught me the subject matter of things… rather, you’ve taught me how to teach Torah. Hakaras hatov from the depths of my heart to you, RaYaR, for your encouragement every step of the way, and those early sparks from the very beginning.
~ Thank you to my teacher Mrs. Nechama Laber, for opening up to me so many new and enriching opportunities; for motivating me to stretch beyond and redefine my limitations; and of course for giving me my start in the innovative practice of blogging and online sharing. Sometimes the moments shared outside the classroom are the most precious, but for them all I am eternally grateful. Your manner of nurturing each girl individually, as if you have all the time in the world for her and she is the only one who exists, and how you identify personally with such a genuine love for each one, is indescribable. Thank you, for you are a key player in helping mold me into a stronger, prouder, more joyous Bas Yisrael, and for your constant flow of inspiration and encouragement. You’ve taught me how to sing my soul’s song, and shown me the path of how I can share my light with others!
~ Thank you to my dear mentor Mrs. Susan Axelrod. I am ceaselessly captivated with every word you speak. Your approaches to life embrace such simple, practical truths and tools that the entire the world should – or, rather, must be reminded and encouraged to learn to apply in their own affairs. I am inspired by your focus on future and impact, and learn tremendously from your emphasis on strategic thinking in all that we do. Thank you for your marvelous advice on healthy and balanced, organized and sane, purposeful and mindful living.
~ A posthumous but “tremendous” thank you to Rabbi Yehoshua B. Gordon ob”m. Rabbi Gordon, although I never merited the privilege to meet you in person, my life has been eternally impacted by your devotion to your teaching, and the unmatched intensity and humor that both distinguished and enriched it. I know you are continuing to observe me study Torah from on high. In your lifetime on this earth your reach as a Shliach was worldwide, thanks to your vast collection of recorded Shiyurim on Chabad.org. While watching and listening to them, I truly feel as if I am in the room with you and the rest of your talmidim. From your legacy, I can truly see how a person lives on through their teachings….
~ Thank you to particular relatives, whom I will not explicitly name (ahem), for your brutally honest constructive criticism… (You know who you are!) But honestly, I am very grateful. Thank you for helping me refine my work and writing to be the most quality and lucid that it can be!
~ A posthumous thank you to Nehama Leibowitz of blessed memory, for her brilliant and comprehensive parsha studies, and collections of commentaries from sages of ancient times to Jewish thinkers of more contemporary eras. Her treasury is an eternal legacy. (Thank you as well to my uncle and aunt Arie and Layah Ferber, for bestowing N.L.’s books as a beautiful Bat Mitzvah gift to me. Perhaps I may not have been ready or able to appreciate them fully at the time, but I will now publicly declare, they have brought me literal hours of Torah pleasure and inspiration to pass on in my divrei Torah, in my blog and at the Shabbos table.)
~ Thank you to Chabad.org and Aish.com, two of the most helpful Torah resources I can refer to. It’s sometimes difficult to visualize just how far you reach to spread Torah and Yiddishekit throughout the globe. You are truly fulfilling the purpose – as inspired by Hashem – for which technology was created, bringing so much light into the world by using it for the good. An example for us all.
~ Thank you to Artscroll and Mesorah Publications. You’ve played a tremendous part in filling up my little white bookshelves, transforming them into a library of Torah jewels. I’ve drawn much inspiration, and always quote from your publications, including siddurim, Chumashim, Mishnayos, Kinnos, etc… I am very fortunate to have these texts. Thank you for making that possible!
~ And last but not least… Thank you to all my beautiful readers! Thank you for your interest, time, support, feedback and comments. They all mean so much to me. Just as a party is nonexistent without guests, what is a “Blog” without people reading it and enjoying it? I look forward to, b’ezras Hashem (with G-d’s help), another year of learning and getting inspired together.