Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

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Is Prayer like an ATM Machine?

I once heard a speaker say before a large crowd “Listen, God is NOT an ATM machine!”  atm-machine-1355804210AhG

The imagery was great; I immediately pictured myself standing before the local ATM  machine, plugging in my card, and punching on the screen: 2 bills of health. 5 bills of livelihood, and 3 bills of a speedy recovery for that friend of ours.

As trite as the metaphor sounded, I   got his point.  It’s not a matter of demanding from God what we need. It’s not a matter of EXPECTATIONS. It’s a relationship, and we have to “give” to God as well in the ways that we know are correct. Continue reading


The Joy of Rhoda

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and in fact one of my blogging friends, Rebecca Klempner has been coaxing me, “what’s up, Miriam? You haven’t blogged lately. Is everything okay?”

And truth be told, everything is quite okay thank G-d, and I’m feeling joyous and excited and busy for the upcoming holiday when our extended families will be together.

In the  midst of all the things I’ve been doing this week in preparing for the Passover holiday, I happened to read in the news that Valerie (Rhoda)  Harper, the actress is terminally ill.  Before I hear all the young ‘uns (non-grandmothers) asking “Who is Valerie Harper,” let me ‘splain. Continue reading


Holiday Happiness Habits

Holidays are an exciting time. Many look forward to getting together with family and friends and celebrating the winter holidays, whether they are Chanukah or Christmas. People want to be happy all the time, but during the holidays, they expect to be happy. During the holidays, many of us feel entitled to be happy. After all, “everyone” is happy, right? (remember we said that to our parents: “Everyone has that toy, everyone has those shoes….” Remember the answer our parents gave us?)

Lots of scholars have written about what constitutes happiness. In fact, Dennis Prager, renowned radio personality devotes an entire show to that elusive feeling called “happiness.” He calls it “Happiness Hour.”  Some people are forever chasing happiness, and others find it right within their self. They are satisfied with their lot. No expectations. Continue reading


Simchas and Stress

This morning I woke up feeling charley horse, achy, and with a sore throat. As I reached for the Advil, I wondered why I was feeling this way. True, I had attended an out-of-town  family wedding the night before, and yes, I had traveled quite a bit the past few days both by plane and by car. But I didn’t do much exercise to warrant all the achy feelings; aside from a little bit of circling around the bride in a joyful dance, I didn’t exert myself too much. I didn’t drink any wine, so no excuse for a feeling of a hangover, and I didn’t even stay up too late.

So why was I feeling this way? Well, to quote my friend, a Bubby: “traveling and simchas are always exhausting.” (a Bubby quotable quote!)  There is just no way out of it.  If every day, we have the usual stress of work and the phenomenon called life, then when we travel on vacation, and/or when we participate in family occasions, we have a unique form of stress: SIMCHA STRESS.

Simcha Stress:

This unique form of stress- (for those planning it, and for others who are close to those who are planning the event), manifests itself in  heartache or physical aches. Simchas, which are supposed to be happy occasions, are peppered with little annoyances and bumps in the road. Simchas, which are joyous weddings, engagements, bar mitzvah’s, and graduations are often accompanied by deadlines, pressure, lists, shopping, expenses, and endless details that cause lots of tension.

Simcha – which means “happy” in Hebrew, produces anything but simcha, for many. But at the end of the day, no one is changing the word, “simcha” to “lachatz” which means pressure in Hebrew. Nope. No one is saying, “hey, can you come to my lachatz next week to be held at the Hilton Hotel?

 Time to Smile:

No Jewish person on the East or West Coasts is inviting their friends to their wonderful Pressure Party. Not any time soon.

You see, even though I have experienced my share of stress amidst simchas in the past (including the achy shoulder that I have right now!), I still feel that no Jewish family should be without a steady stream of simchas – happy occasions — in their life.

Stress and all. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Time to Count our Blessings:

I believe that simchas are what keeps us going. Simchas are the water that G-d sprinkles on our souls to fertilize our spirits to grow and soar. Simchas give us that message that G-d loves us, that life is good, that we are blessed, and that it is okay to feel happy and celebrate.

Simchas are times to socialize and accept mazel tov wishes.

And most of all, simchas teach us priorities, and help us realize what is really important. Even when little things go wrong and glitches arise, we keep our simcha as our goal — our families’ and friends’ happiness and joie de vivre.

Because when it all comes down to it, we can deal with a little bit of burnt chicken, canceled guests, and rain on the outdoor ceremony. After all is said and done, we can rise above the little inconveniences and feel gratitude to G-d for providing us with loving families, children, and grandchildren with whom to plan and celebrate simchas (and pressure too!)


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