When we feel darkness and sadness it’s hard to go on.  That’s when we need to feel that Hashem is with us in our pain.  Mrs. Sipy Nissanian, beloved Bais Yaakov of Queens pre-school teacher, shared how painful it was when she and Rabbi Avraham Nissanian, of Eshel Avraham, lost their dear son Yaeer a”h in 2002, at age 19.  It was too hard to go on, she confided, but with help from Chai Lifeline Bereavement and Dr. Norman Blumenthal, she was able to live through this horrible grief, and she and her husband have helped other parents who had to deal with this type of unspeakable loss.

Every year, on Yaeer’s yahrzeit, her daughter Moreeyah Soleimani brainstorms with her mother how to honor Yaeer’s memory.  Moreeyah always has great ideas, and this year, on his 20th yahrzeit, she thought of the Light It Up campaign.  In the past, they hosted lectures, shiurim, and brachah parties in his memory.

Moreeyah came up with the Light It Up idea because she feels that today people are too focused on “me.”

The Light It Up brochure suggests several small, easy-to-accomplish things that you can do for 10-15 minutes a day.  You can start with just one.  Some examples include smiling at someone, or putting down your phone and making eye-contact with your spouse and children, and being grateful for all the blessings you have.  These are some of the main ideas.

In Parshas R’ei, the pasuk states: “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse.”

The pasuk starts off using the singular word R’ei yet ends in plural form with lifneichem.  The reason is because there is an idea that there may be one tzadik who will be sufficient to provide merit for the rest of the nation.  We are reminded here that the act of one person helps the entire congregation, and everyone can receive a blessing as a result of that person’s actions (Zera Shimshon, as elucidated by Rabbi Seltzer).  Yaeer means light, and the goal of the Light It Up campaign is to bring more light into the world.  Yaeer was someone who was remembered for his smile and energy, which made all those around him feel happy and warm.  Below is a list for this Light It Up campaign.

Many of these things seem simple and almost unnecessary to say.  Yet sometimes we need a reminder to help us remember basic, true Torah values.  The goal is to bring more light.  Even the tiniest flame can fill a room with light.  Let us not just bring light into the world, but also light it up.  As it states in T’hilim 18:29, “For it is You who light my lamp; the L-rd my G-d lightens my darkness.”

Take a few moments out of the day to remember and do something kind for someone else and for yourself.  We need to bring more kindness into the world.  This campaign includes a list of ideas to try to implement into our lives.  You can take one challenge per day or work on a few that are important to you.

Genuinely greet three people with a simple hello and a smile.

Go out of your way to simply thank someone in your family – especially for something that is expected such as taking out the garbage, doing dishes, or tidying the room.

Be considerate. Take a moment and realize something you are doing or did that is affecting someone else in a negative way.

Ask, “How are you?” And wait for the response.

Take one-to-three minutes to take a breath and assess how you are doing.  Recognize your state of mind and that it can affect those around you.

Talk to Hashem for 30 seconds to a minute.  It can be a prayer, expressing gratitude, or saying what you feel.

Treat others with respect wherever you are.  You are a model for others, especially for children.

Purposely put your phone down for five minutes.

Look at a person when he or she talks.  If you aren’t able to do that, then say, “I want to listen to you, but I can’t right now.  I want to finish up so I can really listen to you.”  This is especially important with children.

  1. Pick up the phone and leave a positive message or text.
  2. Go outside and look around and recognize Hashem in His creations.
  3. Listen without giving advice. Sometimes people just want to be heard.
  4. Think of at least three things to thank Hashem for, big or small.
  5. Wait. Stop rushing and stop rushing others.
  6. Before commenting on how rude some people are or being upset at them, take a breath and try to think of the situation from their perspective. You might actually see a bigger picture.
  7. Think of something that happened to you that you thought was a problem but ended up being a great blessing. Be grateful.
  8. Say a brachah with kavanah and concentrate on the meaning of the brachah and Who you are talking to.
  9. Smile. Show a real genuine smile to at least one person.  You never know what it can do.
  10. Be happy for someone else. Whether he or she got something new or have exciting news to share, bless that person to enjoy it and be in good health.
  11. Look in the mirror and see something that you like about yourself.
  12. Put your phone away when with a spouse, friend, parent, or child. Give them actual attention.
  13. Do something healthy for your body, such as exercise, eating more healthfully in the day, or resting longer.
  14. Declutter around you and enjoy the clarity and clearness in your environment. This includes your mind.  Focus on the important things and organize yourself so that you will succeed.
  15. Pick a mitzvah, even for just one day, and perform it wholeheartedly.
  16. Let go: Let go of whatever may be bothering you, whether it is big or small. Think of what it is and say to yourself that it is not a problem anymore.
  17. Compliment a worker in a store, office, school, or restaurant. It will make his or her day.
  18. Partake in someone’s interest or hobby as long as it is safe. Show you want to hear the d’var Torah a loved one wrote.  This shows that you care – especially if it is a child.
  19. Be quiet and think. Find a space for at least five minutes and stay quiet.  See if you can handle being alone with yourself.  Figure out why you can or cannot.
  20. Take a little time to do something small to treat yourself so you feel good and rejuvenated. When you feel good, then those around you will feel good.
  21. Say a perek of T’hilim.
  22. Remember that idea you had? The shidduch, job offer, babysitter, store information, etc. that a person needed, and you said you would get back to him…Get back to him or her.
  23. Forgive. Forgive that person even if you think they do not deserve it.  Hashem will do the same for you.  You will also feel better letting go of that negative energy as it will make room for more positive and meaningful thoughts and actions.
  24. Encourage someone – including yourself. The word “impossible” really means “I’m possible.” The only one preventing you from something is usually yourself.
  25. Defend someone or the truth. Stick up for someone or for what is right.  Do this respectfully, of course.  Simply voicing it shows you care.
  26. Give someone a hug. No need for a reason.  The simplest of things can go a long way.
  27. Show you care. Show you care about the person; it could be one’s needs, fears, concerns, state of mind, or happiness.
  28. Learn Torah. Listen to a shiur, read a Torah message, or pick up a sefer.
  29. Choose one thing about yourself you would like to work on…instead of pointing fingers and finding fault with others.
  30. Pray. Prayer goes a long way.
  31. Recognize that Hashem is in charge. It does not matter if it is the biggest miracle or something so minute that we fail to even realize it is there.  Hashem controls it all.  Ein od milvado.  There is no one but Him.

The last line on the brochure for the campaign states, “May Hashem’s glory return and be recognized amongst all the nations of the world.  May we return together as a family, serving Him and bringing back Torah light to the world again.”

May Hashem bring continued n’chamah to Yaeer’s family, and Yaeer’s light should continue to be a source of joy as we take on ideas from this Light It Up campaign and light up the world.

His neshamah should have an aliyah.  To receive the brochure with the above list, go to www.eshelavraham.com.

 By Susie Garber