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Oh, Joy! I Fell Off My Bike.

chooseJOY2.pngIt's 5:00 a.m. Wednesday morning and unseasonably balmy. I'm out with my bike, training for the big Belev Echad bicycle ride on April 29th. I've ridden 3.5 miles and am beyond exhausted. The hills in Central Park are tough and I am, unfortunately, out of shape.

I decide to call it quits and take a shortcut home. I take a familiar trail and then I decide to explore a little. I ride up a steep hill and discover that it ends with flight of steps—dead end.

So I turn around and ride back, but this very steep hill is slippery from the rain and I am now going much too fast! I try the breaks...bad idea! The bike skids and I lose control. I know it's about to happen...I feel it happening...I can see it, feel it, smell it...I know I'm about to hit the ground...

And then it happens. 

I crash into a fence and roll off the bike.  

Luckily, I'm wearing a helmet so my injuries are not severe. But my shoulder and stomach are hurt pretty badly and I am in major pain. 

I hobble to the nearest exit and order an Uber home.

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We all fall down. It's part of life. 

Our task is to pick ourselves up and try again without giving up. 

It may take me a couple of weeks to recover. But when I do, you can be sure I will be back on that bike and training again. One fall cannot undo me. 

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We are currently in the month of Adar—the happiest on the Jewish calendar. 

Our sages teach that joy can break even the toughest of boundaries. 

When you fall down, when you're having a tough time, when you're stressed, upset, or feeling hopeless, try to find the strength to pull yourself together and channel something joyful. Joy is powerful—more powerful than we realize. 

When we can pull ourselves up, find that inner happiness, and give it another try, then we have really succeeded. 

Our Triplets Can Warm Themselves—Mazal Tov!

After I announced that G-d blessed Shevy and me with triplets last week, a few people (with excellent memories!) sent me a video I posted exactly two years ago—January 2016. 

In the video, I bought a lottery ticket for the $1.5 billion Powerball at a local convenience store and claimed that there is more chance of my wife giving birth to quadruplets than of me winning lottery. But hey, you never know!

And, indeed, exactly two years later, we've been blessed with triplets—odds of one in 4400. It feels like I have truly won the lottery!  

I should probably buy more lottery tickets from here on. Now that I've defied the odds once, maybe I can do it again!

I spent a lot of my week at the NICU at Mount Sinai where my triplet preemie’s are being cared for by a team of tireless, devoted, and supremely capable doctors and nurses.

In order to be released, they need to accomplish three things: consistent weight gain, ability to drink from a bottle, and the ability to keep themselves warm without an incubator.

In the last few days, all three reached one of those important milestones—the ability to keep themselves warm.

It reminded me of this week's Torah portion where we read about the very first preemie, Moses, born three months early. Moses led the Jewish people to the foot of Mount Sinai—the ultimate incubator. Every single Jew—newborn, child, adult, elderly—was warmed by the ultimate heavenly fire, and given the task to go forth and spread that light and warmth to the rest of the world.

Just like the preemie’s brain needs to be jolted into realizing it needs to warm the body, sometimes we need a reminder that our mission is to teach, inspire, and invigorate others with the warmth of Torah and mitzvot.

My daughter is, thank G-d, almost ready to come home. She is a trouper, and so far she is well ahead of her brothers. We named her Avigail which means "my father's joy" because she has already brought us such intense joy. Her brothers, meanwhile, remain Baby B and Baby C.  

I wish you all intense joy, warmth, and light in your lives! And may you also win the lottery! Shabbat shalom.

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