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    I called a friend whom I hadn’t spoken to for
    a while. “How are you doing…. How’s life”
    I asked.
    “What’s ehh?”
    “Ehh is ehh” she responded.
    What ever happened to Boruch HaShem, I
    Boruch HaShem. Blessed be HaShem.
    Words to live by. Words that identify us as
    Am Yisroel, HaShem’s nation. The air we
    breathe, the clothes we wear, the food on our
    table. Our homes, our families, our friends.
    So much to be grateful for. Every moment is
    precious. Every day is a Boruch HaShem
    “Vayishma Yisro, and Yisro heard” (Shemos
    18:1). In this week’s parsha, Yisro, priest of
    Midyan, father-in-law of Moshe, and
    quintessential truth-seeker, hears of all the
    miracles HaShem did for the Jewish people.
    Rashi explains that Yisro heard about the
    splitting of the sea, the war with Amalek, the

    manna from heaven, and the be’er, the well
    of Miriam. All were the “news stories” of
    the day. Upon learning of these miraculous
    events, Yisro was inspired to trek through
    the desert and meet up with Moshe and Bnei
    The Ohr HaChaim teaches that Yisro was a
    true friend of Bnei Yisroel, and wanted to
    hear everything, down to the very last detail.
    “And Moshe told his father-in-law
    everything that HaShem did to Pharaoh and
    the Egyptians for the sake of Bnei Yisroel”
    (Shemos 18:8) By Moshe telling over the
    story, it confirmed to Yisro that yes, it was
    all true, the great miracles really did happen.
    Furthermore, Yisro’s learning of the Exodus
    second-handedly cannot be compared to
    hearing the stories from Moshe, who
    actually experienced the events.
    “And Yisro said, Boruch HaShem…”
    (Shemos 18:10) Yisro’s immediate reaction
    was to thank HaShem. The same Boruch
    HaShem that we say so often. The words of
    an Am Kodosh, a holy nation, who attribute
    everything to HaShem. The ability to
    recognize the blessings in life. To live with
    words of gratitude on our lips.

    I grew up in a home where every other
    word was Boruch HaShem. When my
    mother a”h would receive a
    compliment, she responded with
    Boruch HaShem, Chasdei HaShem. In
    later years, when each each of my
    parents experienced illness and great
    pain, the words Boruch HaShem were
    still with them.
    Herman, a member of my parents’
    shul, would frequent a local nursing
    home, spending time with the
    residents. One year, when Chanukah
    came around, Herman wanted to go out of
    his way to bring joy and a smile to their
    faces. He purchased boxes of chocolates to
    gift the residents.
    One problem. The head nurse told him that
    many residents were on restricted diets, and
    unable to eat sweets. She was very
    apologetic, but made it clear that Herman
    could not distribute the chocolates.
    Herman wasn’t fazed. Always the quick
    thinker, he seized the opportunity to thank
    the nursing home staff for their kind service,
    and distributed the chocolates to them.
    When Herman handed a box of chocolates
    to Rita, an African-American nurse, she
    responded with a joyous Boruch HaShem.
    Herman laughed. He couldn’t help but ask
    Rita from where she learned to say Boruch
    “Oh, I was a home attendant for a very
    holy rabbi in Brooklyn. Whenever anyone
    came to visit, he smiled and said Boruch
    Herman was curious and asked for the
    name of that rabbi. “Rabbi Abraham
    Jungreis…. The kindest rabbi.”
    How happy Herman was to share the story
    with my parents. Rabbi Avraham Jungreis
    was my zeide.
    Whenever I teach Torah classes, I find that
    I gain insight and a better understanding
    of concepts and ideas that we don’t often
    give much thought to.
    I was teaching Parshas Yisro. A discussion
    ensued about Yisro’s words of Boruch
    After class, one of the participants
    approached me and asked if I knew what
    she found difficult about becoming
    religious. I began to guess. Kashrus?
    Shabbos? Dressing modestly? She told
    me it was none of the above. I gave up.
    “Boruch HaShem”, she told me. Boruch

    HaShem? I didn’t get it. She explained. “It
    used to be when I asked people how they
    were doing, I heard a whole story. I heard

    about their dates, their husbands, their in-
    laws, their children. I heard all about the ups

    and downs in their lives. Now, when I ask
    my religious friends how they are, the
    response it always Boruch HaShem. Where
    do you go from there in conversation?”
    It was then that I realized the added benefit
    of Boruch HaShem. It’s a protection from
    loshon hora, wrongful gossip. How are you?
    Boruch HaShem. End of discussion. The
    issue of TMI (Too Much Info) doesn’t even
    Additionally, each time we say Boruch
    HaShem, it subconsciously impacts our
    neshama. It sensitizes us to these special
    words and strengthens our connection to
    HaShem. Without even realizing it, we are
    reminded that HaShem is the source of all
    good in our life.
    This past week, I was menachem ovel a
    family who were sitting shiva for a young,
    beautiful daughter, Hinda bas Mordecahi
    a”h. A girl who was filled with life and
    spirit even during illness. A girl from whom
    we can all learn so much.
    The mother shared a most inspiring story.
    She related that as the family sat around the
    Rosh HaShana table, each child expressed
    what they will be davening for. Even though
    Hindy was not well at the time, she said that
    she will not ask – she will thank.
    Each of the verses in Eishes Chayil speaks
    of the many strengths of the Jewish woman.
    “Lo yichbeh balaila neira, At night her light
    is not extinguished.” To remain full of spirit
    and hope even during the “nighttime” of
    life, the dark and difficult days. Hindy had
    the ability to say Boruch HaShem. To
    recognize the blessings in her life – even
    during challenging times.
    May the lesson taught to us by Hindy be an
    aliyas neshama, an elevation for her