Simcha v’Shalom

Life has been a blur over the last month and a half. I apologize for my absence, but the duties of being a husband, a father (now of four), a business owner and one of the leaders of our Torah fellowship have had me quite busy. I have a tendency to give my best to others, while leaving my family with the scraps. I’ve been working hard at changing that over the last year, and this last month or two has given me even more of an opportunity. Thank you for your prayers during this time. The family is healthy and happy, and that’s more important that all of the trinkets or glory the olam hazeh could ever offer.

By way of textual studies, here are a couple of passages with which I’ve been wrestling:

Hillel would say: Be of the disciples of Aaron — a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to Torah. (Avot 1:12)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

These two little texts have been the source of my frustration for the past two or three months. I initially set out to develop a commentary of the mishnah from Avot in relationship to the Master’s words. However, I failed to realize that I would have to actually “encounter” them at full force before being allowed to comment on something of which I hadn’t fully surrendered. Since this time I have been given sufficient opportunity to put my understanding into practice. Sometimes I passed. Sometimes I failed. The upside to this, however, is that Hashem is faithful to lovingly correct me and steer me back in the right direction, giving me fresh understanding and ample practice in order to correct my mistakes.

I’ve also been studying several chassidic works & concepts, such as the Tanya and simcha, respectively (and I can’t help but relate it to the Apostolic Scriptures!). It seems as though it is too easy for me (and evidently most others) to get caught up in the toils of life (and even the “work of Hashem”) and lose our joy in the journey. The chassidic approach to joy, life’s struggles and the sovereignty of Hashem is a cool breeze amid a warm summer night. It’s Scriptural, it’s spiritual, it’s practical and it just plain makes sense, even if it’s like pulling your molars putting it into practice—all serious and lasting changes in life are thus.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got to hit the hay and prepare for a long day tomorrow. Blessings to all.

shalom,
-Darren