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No Expectations

June 19, 2017
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

Gratitude frees a person from the constant drive for more; it instills a sense of ‘Wow, I have so much’. The soul enjoys the tranquility and basks in the inner satisfaction of having all it needs.

Living in the present encourages us to have gratitude; we are never certain what the next moment brings. Life is an unfolding process that reveals itself piece by piece; therefore who can say what is beneficial or harmful if we aren’t shown the complete picture?  We only have now – and for that we must be thankful.

We should attempt to understand the hidden parts of our lives however often we simply cannot. After the sin of Adam HaRishon everything in life became an admixture of good and bitter; there is good and bitter found in every hardship.  Time and again we generally experience the good in due time after it appeared to be the worst and most trying.

Indeed, acquiring an inner attitude of thankfulness is a challenge; yet the benefits are far reaching. It affects our interaction with others – we become more kind and compassionate, willing to overlook the ‘little things’.  Ordinary acts become reasons to celebrate and express appreciation.

There is a well-known axiom, “No expectations – No disappointments.”  Your washing machine worked yesterday – why think it’ll work today when you turn it on?  Appreciate the little details: ice cold water on a hot summer day, a warm latte’ on a cold morning. Your car started yesterday? Why assume it will today?  Sink into your couch after a long day and be thankful for its embrace. The list goes on…

Being thankful releases us from resentment towards anyone or anything and as a result we are covered in a blanket of peace within and without. Gratitude is the foundation on which meaningful relationships are built; namely the one we have with Hashem, ourselves and others.

40 Days of Gratitude: Join the Gratitude Revolution

February 17, 2016
Daily Dose Of Emuna
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Dedicated to the hatzlocha and teshuva of Jenya Tzvi Hirsch ben Anna Chaya Leah and Noah Daniel & Moshe b’nei Leah Chana among all of Klal Yisrael, Amen!

Why Gratitude? Why 40 Days?

What type of glasses do we put on each morning?

How do we choose to look at the world?

Do we look for the blessings in our lives –

Or do we blind ourselves by focusing on what we are lacking?

The essence of being a Jew is gratitude. The Hebrew word for Jewish is Yehudim, which describes an outpouring of giving thanks. 40 days is how long it takes to change a habit. If we each work actively on cultivating gratitude in our lives for 40 days – rather than complaints and entitlements – what a different world we would live in!

Come join the GRATITUDE REVOLUTION! Increasing your appreciation in life will increase your emuna!

As the world is waking up after the cold, dark winter and getting ready to blossom – let us cultivate within ourselves the trans formative power of gratitude – within ourselves, and within our world. By changing ourselves, and joining together with people all over the globe, we can change the world.

Here’s how:

  • Beginning 20th of Adar Alef, Feb. 29th, until Rosh Chodesh Nissan, April 9th, 5776/2016 pick any gratitude fostering activity that resonates with you – and commit to one (or a combination) for 5 minutes a day for these 40 days.
  • Say Nishmat Kol Chai once a day for these 40 days. This is one of the most beautiful poetic adoration’s in all of liturgical literature, recited as part of the Shacharit (morning) service on Shabbos and Yom Tov immediately following Shirat Ha-Yam (“Song at the Sea”). It is also said at the Pesach Seder. It is a tefillah of praise and appreciation to Hashem for all of the goodness that He endlessly bestows upon His beloved people. The first paragraph was known in Mishnaic times, the second was composed during the Talmudic period and the concluding part was added during the Geonic period. Of unknown authorship.   You can find the tefillah in every siddur as part of Shabbat Shacharit or on the following link in English:  click here
Please note the Jewish day goes from sundown to sundown – so, for example, anytime between when the sun sets on Monday evening and when the sun sets on Tuesday evening counts as one day.
  • If it’s too much to do both, choose either #1 (a gratitude building exercise) or #2 (saying Nishmat) for these 40 days. The combination of prayer and action is very powerful. But we are all human, with busy lives. We can do whatever we can do. Every little bit makes a difference. Better to take on something very small for these 40 days, and actually do it. Nothing is too small.
  • To sign up click here on the ‘Google Doc’ link.  You will receive little doses of inspiration and tips/ideas on gratitude leading up to and throughout the 40 days.
  • For any questions or comments, please be in touch: OritRiter@gmail.com,
 
Please share with friends, family, co-workers, whomever…
WE WANT THIS TO BE GLOBAL SPREAD IT TO EVERYONE!
Here are a few ideas for cultivating gratitude:
 
Start a gratitude journal. Every day spend 5 minutes writing down things that you feel grateful for;
  • Make your family mealtime a regular time for sharing the (little and big) miracles you each experienced throughout your day;
  • Any time you catch yourself complaining, ‘pay a fine’ of immediately saying 3 blessings you have in your life;
  • Create a wall of miracle pages – tape up pages to your wall, and each night write 3 little, ‘every day’ miracles you experienced that day;
  • Gratitude Jar – place a jar on your table where you (or each family member) regularly write something they appreciate or value in the other. Then, once a week, pull them out and read out loud as a family;
  • Make a ‘Noticing-the-Good’ notebook – choose a significant person in your life (or a person that maybe annoys you a bit but you want to improve your relationship with) and every day write down one positive trait you see in them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You Hashem!

February 3, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

2 comments

BS’D

 

Attitude dictates everything.  Waking up with the words ‘Modeh Ani’ in the morning sets the tone for the entire day. We are geared into gratitude mode by saying ‘Thank You Hashem” from the moment we wake up. What is our attitude upon waking?  ‘Oy, another day!’ or ‘Yay, another day!

Saying ‘thank you’ binds us to the One we are thanking. However, it is difficult to live with gratitude if we are focused only on the negative. There are many people who face exactly the same challenges and yet are affected in vastly different ways. For instance, some unmarried women over child-bearing age are cheerful and accepting whereas others are despondent. And some Holocaust survivors became frum whereas others rejected Judasim. Why?

The way we perceive a situation depends to a large extent on our positive attitude, acceptance and gratitude. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Making peace with our reality is Basic Living 101. We cannot change what occurs to us but we can choose our attitude and reaction.

In Tehillim, David Hamelech writes “Pekudei Hashem yesharim misamchei lev (The laws of Hashem are just, and gladden the heart)” (Tehillim 19:9). Torah is a personal letter written to every Jew; since it echoes a different message to each of us at different stages in our lives. It is the map of life; our compass when we feel lost. We can feel reassured, grateful and content knowing that Hashem has left us with a personal note to read when we are in need of guidance.

But it is not just a matter of focusing on the good. We may also start to realize that since everything from Hashem is good, even situations which we presume are “bad” themselves are inherently good. In Purim we read: “Shoshanat Yaakov tzahala v’Samecha (The rose of Yaakov filled with joy)” A rose is a beautiful fragrant flower. But a rose only achieves its bloom and maintains its fragrance and beauty because it is connected to its stem. Without its stem, a rose simply wilts and dies. It is the stem which gives it life, allows it to bloom. Yet, at the same time as giving life, the stem of a rose is beset by many thorns. Perhaps the thorns can represent the challenges faced by the Jewish people, who gain strength from the many difficult, painful episodes in our history.

When we reflect on these thorny moments of pain, mistakes and even guilt, we can gain perspective and overcome the challenges. Then we can transform our attitude to the hardship, to grow more confident, to “blossom” and reach our full potential. We can realize that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!” and celebrate these thorns as an inherent part of our stems. When we smell the sweet fragrant rose, we can also then be grateful and appreciate the thorns themselves.

Please share your comments, thoughts and questions in the comment section.  Would love to hear from you.

Emulating Hashem’s Constant Kindness

February 2, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

one comments

BS’D

 

This world is an expression of Hashem’s eternal and unconditional kindness. Hashem bestows amazing gifts to use in our avodat Hashem. He merely wants us to recognize that He is the source of everything.

However, human nature tends toward selfishness and greed. A major source of negative feelings of anger or frustration stem from erroneous feelings of self-entitlement. Rav Dessler ztk’l teaches, “When demand enters, love departs.” We must admit that we are not entitled to anything in life. We are all undeserving of the gifts Hashem constantly bestows on us, starting with our breath! We do not have rights to our health, job, family, talents or life.

Hakarat Hatov means to acknowledge and appreciate the good. This acknowledgement requires us to recognize our dependence on Hashem. Acknowledging Hashem’s eternal kindness and expressing hakarat hatov is fundamental to our happiness because it enables us to appreciate that all we have is a Divine gift. Once we realize this kindness, we can then emulate Hashem in His altruism and give to others.

Hashem deliberately orchestrates situations whereby we need others’ help in order to reduce our geiva (arrogance) and lower our egos. Rav Wolbe ztk’l teaches that someone doing us a favor represents Hashem’s recognition and response to the fact that we could not achieve that particular thing on our own.

Hashem ensures that we receive exactly what we need and what we are entitled to, whether we realize this or not. Instead of feeling deprived if anything we have is taken away, we can switch to feeling grateful for all the Divine gifts we do receive.  We can also strive to focus on giving. Giving equates with love, as the hav (הב) aspect of the word ahava indicates. This is a true recipe for contentment.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Tamar bat Ayala. May Hashem grant her with a complete healing among all of Klal Yisrael who is sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen

Please share your comments, thoughts and questions in the comment section.  Would love to hear from you.

Thank Your Shoes!

April 16, 2015
Orit Esther Riter

2 comments

BS’D

Rav Avigdor Miller ztk’l teaches there are two ways we can choose to talk to Hashem: either by consistently thanking and praising Him for His eternal benevolence or chas v’Shalom through pleading and begging for His help for that which we previously didn’t appreciate and express gratitude for. Interesting thought, no?

Everything in life is 100% a free gift; we must recognize this and allow this idea to permeate our every thought, speech and action. Gratitude forms emotions and envelops the receiver with a strong sense of love and joy. However, ingratitude saps all forms of pleasure and leaves us lifeless. Would we ever dream to treat another human being the way we often treat Hashem and accept gift after gift without once saying, “Thank you. I am so humbled at Your love and goodness!”

Hashem proclaims from the beginning in Sefer Bereishis, “And Hashem saw all that He made and behold it was very good.” Hashem describes His creation as good. Therefore we are obligated to perceive the good of everything He created. Undoubtedly this requires time and effort to seek out the good ‘hidden’ in everything, yet this is a Jew’s calling. We can feel the goodness by living consciously and appreciating our home, car, clothes, food, ability to talk, walk, etc.

A true story is told of a tzaddik who before discarding his worn out shoes gently placed them in a bag and said to them, “Thank you for serving me loyally for so long. You covered my feet and protected my toes” and with that placed them in the garbage.

Isn’t that a true sign of greatness, appreciating even that which can no longer yet once did serve our needs?!

Join the Next Eight Days of Gratitude from Today!

December 16, 2014
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

I received this from one of the amazing women on the Daily Dose of Emuna readers list.  I think that it comes just in time of Chanukah and I am the first to start tomorrow with my 5 minutes of gratitude, B’H, B’N for the next 8 days of Chanukah.

If we calculate 5 minutes a day times 8 days = 40 minutes of gratitude throughout the days of Chanukah.  The number 40 is a very special number as it represents rebirth and renewal. During the next 8 days we physically bring light into the world by lighting our menorahs. B’H we will also enlighten our eyes and warm our hearts to acknowledge the many many miracles that occur daily in our lives; those that we notice and the endless ones that go unnoticed.

We never realize the harsh decrees hovering over and must act to do whatever we possibly can to invoke Rachamei Shamayim (Heavenly compassion).

B’H this will be a life changing ‘exercise’.  We all feel we are grateful, yet for the next 8 days we will dedicate 5 conscious minutes each day specifically to verbally express our gratitude to Hashem.  Write them to Hashem in a notepad and tell Him, sing to Him or simply cry tears of joy over the gift of life! 5 minutes a day just to say ‘Thank You Hashem!’

Please email me asap so we can account for all the women who will join this most treasured conscious effort to shine forth the essence of every Jew which is Hodaya, Gratitude!  

May this serve as a zechut for all of the kedoshim and hasten the Geulah b’rachamim, b’karov, Amen!  Pass it on!

 

 

 

The Daily Dose of Emuna is taking a break until after Chanukah, Monday, Dec. 29th. Thank you.

 

Shalom Orit,

I saw something this morning that inspired me to write you. On my way bringing my son to gan, I saw an arab man driving slowly by the neighborhood shul, videoing the whole front area of the shul. He was driving slowly and videoing as he drove. In addition to calling the police, I feel in my kishkes we need to awaken ourselves and doing something ruchni (spiritual) as a shmira (protection). We are living in such crazy and dangerous times – and I feel I saw this for a reason, and don’t want the moment to pass us by. As we know, Hashem sends us messages, and wants our closeness, and wants our heart.
We are about to step into Chanukah – into the yom tov of miracles. This is the time when the littlest bit of light extinguished all the darkness. This is the time when the few overcame the entire mighty Greek army.
Let’s storm the Heavens! Hashem makes miracles. Chanukah is the time of gratitude, of seeing the blessings, seeing the miracles, and giving thanks. Let’s commit – just for these days of Chanukah – to 5 gratitude minutes a day. Let’s set aside 5 minutes of thanking Hashem for all the good we have in our life. For our family. For our health. For our food. For the blue sky. For waking up this morning. 5 minutes of wearing Chanukah eyes – to see the blessings in our life, and to thank Hashem for all the good.
Can you please pass this along to your readers?
With gratitude and blessings

Blessings in Disguise

November 11, 2014
Orit Esther Riter

No Comments

BS’D

Today’s daily dose of Emuna is dedicated l’iluy nishmot Almog Yissaschar ben Michal and Dalia Lemkos who were both brutally killed yesterday by terrorists, HY’D.  May Hashem envelop Ahm Yisrael with Rachamei Shamayim and protect our nation from evil. May we, His beloved nation, understand that the Geulah is rapidly approaching and B’H soon we will all merit to see Divine justice b’mheirab’rachamim, Amen.

How can I say thank you for a driving ticket? Why would I want to thank the crooks that cheated me? I can only do so if I can judge the term ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ objectively. Can I really say that something is for my benefit or harm?

To bring this point closer to home let us briefly recap the story of Rabbi Akiva ztk’l who wished to sleep at an inn while traveling, but was turned away. After spending the night in the forest the wind blew out his lamp, a weasel ate his rooster and a lion ate his donkey. Yet, he still proclaimed, “All that Hashem does is for the good.” The next morning the good in all that happened was clearly revealed to him. A gang of robbers had marched into town where he was supposed to sleep and killed all who lived there. Rabbi Akiva was spared since they did not discover him in the forest. The donkey, rooster and candle would have alerted their attention to the forest and he otherwise would have met the same fate as the others; a blessing in disguise.

How many blessings are disguised? The key is to clearly understand that all situations are brought by Hashem through Divine providence. Even if it appears unfavorable, know that eventually it will lead to a positive outcome. Usually, this will be discovered and revealed in time, although sometimes we will not know the truth until we reach the World of Truth.

We should never see ourselves as victims of random circumstance – all is ultimately for our personal good. Certainly there is a concept of apparent good and disguised good, however they both are good. In fact they are both very good.

With that in mind we can even say ‘thank you’ to the police officer that hands us a traffic ticket. Who knows what decree it replaced and the important lesson we just learned such as to drive more carefully?

Gratitude

November 10, 2014
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Nosson Tzvi ben Sara Rivka Kashtiy. May Hashem send him a complete recovery and for all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen!

How wonderful it would be if we could clearly see how much good there is in life – in our lives. It is a worthwhile practice to train ourselves to see the good in the world. Life is about focus. What do we choose to concentrate on?

The media loves to brainwash us into thinking that we are lacking; gadgets, appliances, electronics, clothing, vacation, etc. Even if we do attain some of the above they ‘grow’ on us, we get used to it and stop appreciating their value.  When gratitude is implanted in our hearts it renews our vision and we become excited over the gifts we have. Imagine constantly living with words of thanks on our lips.

Rebbe Nachman ztk’l teaches, “Gratitude rejoices with her sister joy and is always ready to light a candle and have a party. Gratitude doesn’t much like the old cronies of boredom, despair and taking life for granted.” Let’s practice being grateful for rain, our shoes, green grass, red apples and a pumping heart, of course.

Thankfulness is a middah (character attribute) closely woven into the Torah way of living. Chazal teach us that a refined soul is a soul that is grateful. The ability to live a life of thankfulness is planted in every Jew, yet it needs to be developed through practice. The reward – we release ourselves from the nagging feeling of dissatisfaction and thus can begin to enjoy that which we have. When we stop running after whirls and winds of this world, we can clearly see and cherish what has been there all along in front of us.

We Have Now

September 15, 2014
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

One of the beautiful benefits of living a life of gratitude is that it frees us from the constant compulsive need to attain more and more. Our soul basks in the tranquility that comes with the satisfaction of living in the ‘here and now’ with the ‘what and how.’

The idea of living in the present encourages a life of gratitude.  We are never certain what the next moment will bring and therefore cannot really judge whether our current state is good or not (in comparison to the picture at large).  Life events continuously unfold.  Consequently we can never determine what is beneficial or seemingly not. We only have now – and for that we must be thankful.

No matter how much we try we cannot understand the intrinsic details of what occurs in our lives.  Generally speaking, some good can be found even in the troubles we face.  Time and again we experience the good in due time after what may have appeared to be the worst and most trying.

Living with gratitude though should not be a ‘show’ on the outside rather should manifest itself as an inner attitude of thankfulness. It should affect the way we interact with others, allowing us to become more kind and caring individuals. Ordinary events should become reasons to celebrate and express outer joy.

There is a well-known saying, “No expectations – No disappointments.”  Appreciating the little details such as the ice cold water on a hot summer day and a warm latte’ on a cold morning, to the working washing machine and fluffy couch you cozy yourself in to, all enhances a thankful attitude.

When we are thankful, we let go of resentment.  When we let go of resentment, we are at peace.  When we are at peace, we can begin shaping meaningful relationships with others and of course with Hashem.

Today’s Daily Dose of Emuna is dedicated to Meir Elya ben Bluma. He’s in the hospital. stage 4 lung cancer and a serious infection in his legs. May Hashem shower upon him a complete healing refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf amongst all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

It is good to say thank you

January 23, 2014
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

Today, 22nd of Shvat, is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, Poland (1787-1859), the great chassidic leader known as the Kotzker Rebbe, ztk’l. He was said to be completely uncompromising in the quest for faith, honesty and truth. He abhorred rote piety, and taught his followers that they must renew their quest for self-knowledge and truth on a daily basis. He is known for his sharp wit and catchy phrases, for example: “Where is God? Wherever you let Him in”.  May he serve as an advocate for Klal Yisrael up on high, Amen!

Perek Tzadek-Bet of tehillim is commonly recited on Shabbat. Thanking Hashem is good for us; emotionally as well as spiritually.  Uttering words of thanks to Hashem is but a small return for the great compassion that He showers upon us daily.  Saying ‘thank you’ is always ‘fashionable’ and ‘in style’; it never ceases being ‘in’.

The birds sing songs of tehillim to Borei Olam – nature teaches us that mankind must practice the same.  Silent gratitude is wonderful… however vocally expressing words of thanks is sweeter!  When we deprive our tongue of speaking words of appreciation we practice something unnatural.  Our tongues crave to sing inspiring words of praise to Hashem – we act foolishly if we ‘stop’ them from doing so. Shabbat particularly lends itself to singing words of praise for all the good that goes noticed and unnoticed in our lives.

All days should begin with words of gratitude; no hour is too early.  The mornings begin with the giving of the daily manna to Klal Yisrael; how appropriate it is to sing to HaKadosh Baruch Hu then.  In the evening our minds settle with an accounting of the day, a review of Hashems personal intervention in all of our dealings.  It is also certainly an ideal time to feel His presence, declare our emuna (faithfulness) and pour out words of appreciation.

Our lives are full of hardships and challenges that defy logic on how they could possibly serve any good for us.  Yet, Hashem choose Ahm Yisrael and proclaimed, ‘You are above nature’.  Thus, we have the ability individually and collectively to see and think above our natural ‘intellectual, rationale’ minds and believe in the holy truthful words of the Torah, even if they ‘logically’ and ‘emotionally’ don’t feel good.

Hashem loves us.  Every day, in particular on Shabbat, let us show how much we love Him too.

Today’s Dose of Emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of two beautiful children who are in critical condition still as a result of extermination poisoning that occurred in their home in Yerushalayim yesterday.  Their two sisters have r”l passed away from it.  Their names are Raphael Yitzchok Isaac ben Michal and Shlomo ben Michal.  May HaKadosh Baruch Hu shower the Gross family with koach and emuna to see them through this extreme time of difficulty and may the two boys merit an immediate complete healing b’riut hanefesh v’b’riut haguf amongst all those in Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen!

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