Learning to Give Compliments from a Rabbi

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A New Book by Artscroll Publishers, “Yedidi – Rabbi Shmuel Berkovicz, whose warmth and caring inspired people to strive for greatness by Rabbi Yechiel Spero” is about a Congregation Rabbi that lead with love.

Recently, in the Weekly Mesorah Heritage Foundation’s Torah pamphlet called “AT THE ARTSCROLL SHABBOS TABLE – WEEKLY INSPIRATION AND INSIGHT ADAPTED FROM CLASSIC ARTSCROLL TITLES” Acharei Mos / פרשת אחרי מות / כייט ניסן תשפייב / 5782 / APRIL 30, 2022 / ISSUE #88 – it talks of his all compassing love for others.

Here is a quote I found particularly Helpful in the quest to make others feel good.

It Doesn’t Cost Money
Shlomo Hamelech / King Solomon teaches (Mishlei / Proverbs 25:11), “Tapuchei zahav be’maskiyos kasef davar davur al ofnav” Like golden apples carved on silver plates, so is a word spoken in its proper place.” Rabbi Berkovicz was the master of saying the right thing, at the right time, in the right place. He understood the power of a compliment and did not hold back. No one was too smart or too simple, too old or too young, too chashuv or too insignificant for a compliment from Reb Shmuel. As he always said, “Es kost nisht kein gelt. It doesn’t cost money to make someone feel good!”

‘The Exiting from Egypt’ or ‘The Taking Out Egypt’ – Breaking a Mentality or Mindset

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The commonly accepted translation of the Hebrew words Yetziat Mitzrayim – is ‘The Exiting from Egypt’. But let’s analyze a bit. Yetziah means ‘going out’. To make it ‘the going out of‘ we replace the letter Hei with a Tav. It thus becomes ‘The Going out of’ Mitzrayim means Egypt. The Going out of Egypt. Thus it could mean people are going out of Egypt or Egypt is going out of people.

The Jews were in Egypt for 210 years. They were subjected to slavery, torture, killing of babies, psychological torment and cruel and unusual punishment. They were about to adopt a “Slave Mentality” – to save the Jews from this Mentality – Hash-m had to take them out of Egypt within 18 minutes. They were freed and Left just in time to escape that mentality.

It took them 40 years of wandering in the desert to remove this mentality properly.

They became the servants of Hash-m / G-d – when they accepted the Torah about 50 days after leaving Egypt.

If so when were they ever free? They went from being servants to the Pharaoh to the Servants of G-d.

The Answer: By the Jews accepting the Yolk of Hash-m and to Observe the Torah – that is what gave them freedom. A person can by physically free – yet a servant to their desires, temptation, habits, mindset, mentality. Torah Observance breaks all those shackles.

A person might think themselves completely free or independent but they are still the subject of their society, their upbringing, and the media they consult.

Hash-m is the only completely independent Being. His commands are the best possible commands that a person can follow. These commands make a person free. If a person follows their desires – they are a servant of their desires.

Once a person, after the army, decided to go tour the Amazon forest. He was confident – “I don’t need a guide – I hiked many forests and was able to navigate out of them.” He entered the forest and lost his way. He was lost for about 2 weeks searching for the exit. He met an old man. He asked him the way out. The man replied “I have been here for 20 years and can’t tell you the way out – but I can tell you which ways not to go. Going this and this way will bring you to a dead end. Going this way you are stopped by a river.” – The young man was completely free to do what he wanted – yet he was a prisoner of the forest.

Having the directions of the old man helped him to be slightly more free because he had more hope of getting out.

Removing the ‘Egypt’ from us

A person can break a mentality. A person can gain confidence. A person can change – but they need directions. The directions of the Torah helps him to free himself.

Let’s say a person is overweight – he or she is being addicted to food. So going on a diet will help them. But some go too far and become anorexic – that they are psychologically convinced to remain thin. So they are also controlled by their mindset of being thin. (Obviously both should seek proper help).

The Torah mentality is to follow the middle path. The Middle path is complete. This is stated by the Rambam – Maimonides in His Mishne Torah – on Human Dispositions.

As for us, we are charged to walk in these middle-paths, which are the good and straight paths, even as it is said: “And thou shalt walk in His ways” (Deut. 28 9).

Torah is the word of Hash-m / G-d who wants the complete best for us. Following his ways does not only allow us to live a better life – but allows us to be free – like it says in Pirkei Avot 6:1:

“And the tablets were the work of G-d and the writing was the writing of G-d, engraved (charuth) upon the tablets.” Read it not “charuth,” but “cheiruth” (freedom), for no one is free but him who studies Torah. For whoever studies Torah is exalted, as it is written (Numbers 21:19): “And from Matanah (the gift [of Torah]), Nachliel (‘the inheritance of the L rd’); and from Nachliel, Bamoth (‘the high mount’).”

The Smart Phone & Tolerance – Where Are You Holding Spiritually?

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In a Beit Midrash / house of Torah study in Brooklyn, someone asked me to use my phone. I said “sure”. When I pulled out a Smartphone – he said “Oh, no thank you.” I wanted to help him but he didn’t want to use a Smartphone – because it is an object of temptation and wasting time. I respected him for that. I now use a flip phone for personal use.

Someone I know stopped using a Smartphone. His rabbi told him to stop. He listened. Once a Jew with a knitted Kippah in Israel asked him to take a picture of him with his smartphone. The young man replied in a nice way “sorry, I try to stay away from smartphones.” The man replied in Hebrew “Ashreicha” / “Happy are you” [meaning that’s a great thing].

Others would not react so kindly. The question is why do we react a particular way to people with higher Torah standard than us? Some react to one who proposed something that is above their standards by accepting, being positively envious and aspiring to also do the same. Others may react by yelling and insulting the person. It happened to me several times.

Can You Handle Truth?

Knowing how we would react to higher Torah standards indicates what spiritual level we are on. Are we envious of people with higher spiritual Torah aspirations in a positive way – by wanting to emulate them now or in the future or envious in a negative sense – by degrading or looking down upon them?

What is Our Level of Spiritual Aspirations?

Torah is truth. Torah is Hash-m’s / G-d’s word. G-d knows all and does only good. We are limited beings. Our objective is to emulate the kindness of G-d. Thus it is important to know where are we holding spiritually. 

So – it is helpful to ask ourselves are we willing to go all out to do the utmost to accept those who have higher Torah standards or are we going to put the others down because we feel uncomfortable that we are not on their level? Or worse – G-d forbid – change what we think the Torah says because we want to feel comfortable?

I once had a conversation with someone in college – a secular Jew. I explained that it is better to accept G-d’s word – the Torah and say – I accept that the Torah is G-d’s word – but I am currently not on the level – than to say I am on the level – and  think of rejecting the Torah or try to change what they think that the Torah says.

It’s a challenge. But this is true Tolerance – to accept the people’s actions – whose actions are on a higher level than yours. That’s true Tolerance. Even greater is wishing & aspiring to also be on that higher level.

On the negative side – Tolerance is not accepting the actions of others that go against Torah. That is decadence. Real Tolerance is being respectful to others regardless of what they do. That does not mean to condone their actions. Hold people accountable for their actions but act respectful when dealing with them.

Deep down a person wants to do good. Every Jew has a spark of the Divinely given soul that wants do do the Will of G-d. The question is how will the situation that causes spiritual cognitive dissonance be expressed emotionally? Positively or negatively. A person can always grow. At times a person can react negatively at first way and after learning the importance of the mitzvah will change and react positively. This happens through learning works of mussar / Jewish Ethics and halacha / Jewish Law.

The Torah is the divine work that G-d / Hash-m gave the Jews to become closer to Him. A person who wants to become closer to Hash-m tries to find ways to become closer – by accepting Mitzvot. Even greater is trying to bring other’s closer to Hash-m. Like it says in Pirkei Avot  / Ethics of the Fathers 1:12

“Love Peace & Pursue Peace – Love the creations and draw them closer to Torah.”

In the Sefer / Book “Or La’amim / A Light unto the Nations” (p. 17) Rabbi Yoel Schwartz explains Bringing people closer to Torah & Hashem is a Mitzvah D’Oraita (A Torah Based Commandment). He brings accountability of Jewish people to teach the 7 Noahide commandments to all people in  Midrash Vayikra Rabba 6:5 (on Leviticus 5:1 & Deut 4:39) and the Positive Commandment to do so in Rambam (Maimonides) in his “Book of Commandments” (Positive Comandment 3) quoting Sifri Devarim 32:2

explaining the Verse in the Shema Yisrael:

You are to love Adonoy, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your possessions. (Devarim / Deut 6:5)

 

“We have already explained that this commandment (love of Hash-m/ G-d (Devarim 6:5)) involves calling upon all mankind to worship Him and to believe in Him”

The Prince’s Gift

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There was once a king. Getting older, he realized that one day he had to give over his kingdom to his successor, his son. After educating him in history, science, music, math and aspects of being a king he called in his son. ” My dear son , one day you will be king. As a king one must understand the needs of his people. Till now we gave you the best formal education. Now we want to send you out into the world to learn how to deal with all kinds of people. For one year you will travel from place to place with an assistant to go about your learning of how to deal with people. I just ask from you that you bring me a souvenir which – could be an object or a piece of information – as a momento of your voyage.”

The next day The Prince and his assistant set out to travel throughout the country. They met many people & discovered many places. Near the end of their voyage they realized soon they had to return the to the Palace and had still not found a souvenir to bring back to the king.

The prince said to his assistant “Let’s go to this County Fair and see if we can find something worthwhile to buy for the king.” They went to the fair and saw a merchant selling jewelry. The jewelry caught the prince’s eye. He said this is a great gift for the king. They asked Jeweler how much it cost. The Jeweler replied 18000 rubles. He was very interested and told his assistant quietly we have 20 thousand rubles. Let’s buy this jewelry for the king. His assistance replied “We can’t just buy jewelry without determining if it is authentic.” They asked around if there was an independent jeweler in the town.

They found that there was no Jeweler but someone mentioned that there was a very wise rabbi that’s could possibly help them. They asked where could they find him. People directed them to his house. They asked where they could find the rabbi – they had an important question for him. She said “the governor of this town does not like the Jews – so he finds false accusations to keep the rabbi in jail. The rabbi is now in jail on a false accusation.”

The prince and his assistant go to the jail hand speak with the Warden – ” we need to talk with this rabbi” they show that they are from the palace and the warden lets the rabbi out. They bring the rabbi to the jeweler. They ask him “Do you know anything about jewelry?” the Rabbi says a little bit. “Can you tell us if this jewelry is real?”

The rabbi took the jewelry and threw it on the floor. The jewels that appeared to be diamonds shattered into pieces. The rabbi said obviously these are not real diamonds otherwise they would not have broken.

The assistant said “Thank you so much. You saved us thousands of rubles.” The prince said “very good. send him back to jail.”

They were back to square one. They had to find a gift for the king. They found at the fair a beautiful White Arabian horse for sale. They asked the merchant the price of the horse. He replied 15000 rubles. The prince was excited to buy the horse. His assistant reason him and said we have to see if this is a worthwhile purchase. They did not find an expert in horses in the town. They decided to bring back the rabbi to validate the sale.

They brought back the rabbi. They asked “Does the rabbi know how to evaluate a horse?” He said “Not particularly, but it would make sense for someone to ride the horse before purchasing it.”

The prince told the merchant get on the horse and to ride it before him. The merchant hesitated but the prince was adamant. When he got up on the horse it was running wild, bucking up and down and standing up. He threw the merchant onto the fence. The merchant was badly bruised. The assistant was shaken that this could have happened to the king had they given the horse to the king.

The assistant thanked the rabbi very much. The prince said “okay. send him back to the prison.”

The prince was worried because he did not have a gift to take back to the king. He remembered that he could bring the king an astounding piece of information. He told this to the assistant. The assistant said “Let’s ask the rabbi. He is very wise. He can tell us astounding information.”

They went to the rabbi, asking him for information to bring back to the king. The rabbi responded – “I have astounding information but I can only tell it to the prince alone.” The assistant was reluctant, but the prince assured him that he could trust the old rabbi to stay alone with him.

Alone, the rabbi approached the prince and whispered in his ear. “Do not be shocked. The astounding information I have to tell you is that ‘you are not the actual son of the king.'” The prince was shaken. I didn’t know how to take this information.

The assistant asked him what did the rabbi tell you? The prince could not reveal it to him. He was in a rush to get back to the Palace. At the palace they made a grand reception for the return of the prince. After the festivities – the king had a private conversation with the prince. He asked him what is the souvenir you brought me? The prince was still shaking. He said “I met a rabbi and he told me that I I’m not your real son.”

The King was astounded. The prince demanded that the king tell him the truth. The King admitted that he was not his real son but an adopted son. the king didn’t know how this information leaked out. No one knew is this Secret.

They called the Rabbi and the King asked – “How is it that you knew that my son was not my real son?” The Rabbi replied “When your son called me for help to select a gift for you – the first time I saved him thousands of Rubles – afterwards he threw me back in prison. The second time I saved him from possibly causing the King to be thrown off a wild horse – afterwards he threw me back in prison. A person who has Royal blood has feelings of Gratitude towards others. He should have freed me from prison out of gratitude. The fact he did not,  I determined he was not your real son.”

Gratitude is a sign of nobility. Gratitude to family. Gratitude to others. Gratitude to G-d.

– A Story from the Riznitzer Rebbe

His Soul is Bound with His Soul – How to Connect with People in Judaism

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Yehuda was pleading before the ruler of Egypt (Parasha Vayigash). Tzafenat Paneach (who was actually Yehuda’s Brother Yosef) wanted to take Yehuda’s brother, Binyamin, as a slave. Yehuda, son of Leah, was ready to give his life in this world and the next to save his brother from same father – Yaakov / Jacob – but another mother – Rachel. He told the ruler – you cannot take my brother. If you do so his elderly father will be brought down to the grave – he says:

And now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the lad is not with us; . (Bereshit 44:30)

The Torah tells you the essence of all. Here the Torah teaches the definition of Love. The text says in Hebrew “Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho” – “and his soul is connected with his soul.” Targum Yonathan (the Aramaic translation of the Torah) translates Keshura – bound or connected as haviva – beloved. Meaning he translates that “And His Soul is Beloved like His Soul”

Thus Love is equated to connection.

Rabbi Nechemia Grama spoke about the subject of Connecting with children entitled – Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho.

He asked for a one word definition of love. The response was “Connection.” He made a distinction between fulfilling a child’s physical needs – and the child’s soul’s needs.

He asked children What is the difference between their mother and their live in cleaning lady?

One child said “The cleaning lady gets paid to clean the house. My mother doesn’t”

Another “You can fire the cleaning lady – you can’t fire my mother.”

The point is that – children need to feel the relationship.

If a child that thinks his mother is an alternate cleaning lady – it may mean that his mother (or father) may be lacking in the connection department. A child should know and feel that their parents love them.

Soul Connection

When we make a physical connection between objects there are two parts. When we connect with another person – what are we connecting with? We are connecting one soul with another soul.

One Question he asked was “Why does a child do nothing significant in the first 5 years of life?” You feed them, you carry them, you play with them – but they accomplish little or nothing. He explained that one reason is to give a parent opportunities to connect with the child those 5 years.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe says a 3 month child can distinguish between a smiling look and angry look. Who knows what is more important to a child – is it the food that you give to them or the orat hapanim (illumination of the face) – connection that you give to them. it is clear a child that grows without the orot hapanim – is like a plant without sunlight.

Is Connection more important than food?

He told a story of children survivors after Holocaust. In the freedom camps there were many starving children standing on a long line. One American soldier was giving out chocolate to children. Kids waited patiently in line for their portion of chocolate.
Another soldier saw a kid passing, called him over to him and gave them a hug. The entire line of children went off the chocolate line and went on the hugging line.

How to connect

The rabbi mentioned that it is not the activity that causes connection. There are some activities that are more apt to cause connections – but it is not the activity – it is the interaction. Thus any activity can be used to create a connection.

He mentioned that a woman used to put the coat on her child just like she would put it on a coat rack. Then she started using the opportunity to connect with her child.

Suffering Loneliness

A person can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely or empty. The lack of connection causes loneliness or emptiness.

Certain problems can be caused by this lack of connection. He mentioned fear, lack of self esteem, lack of self-value, lack of sense of security, lack of calmness, and other concerns.

Connection Benefits

A child that is connected will want to be an eved hashem / Servant of G-d. How do we develop a ratzon / will to be an eved hashem? Rabbi Chaim Friedlander explains how to achieve it – Only if we can make a kesher hanafshi / Soul Connection. The kesher hanafshi with rebbi – will make a person want to learn. The parent who has a connection – the child will naturally want to make parent happy.

An Exchange between a Single & Jewish Spiritual Leader on Dating

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An Exchange between a Single & Jewish Spiritual Leader

Single: Hi. I am single looking for… for marriage. I have searched but not yet found a mate suitable to what I am looking for.

Rav: I understand your point. I think it is good for you to have a rabbi you trust to guide your decisions in dating. we have a rabbi we consult for our daughters dating decisions. we sometimes have certain requirements for boys and he gives us daat torah / the point of view of what the Torah thinks.

My friend was reluctant to meet a someone from your area because they want someone more local. but it’s my opinion that a person might try to move a bit out of their comfort zone if it is a good opportunity. and especially since time is ticking. I am not stuck on them for you – but they are a very nice person. it seems like both of you are looking for someone very sweet. they are very sweet. I think the other factors are secondary.

My wife didn’t want to marry an American boy and I am about 11 years older. but bh / thank G-d we made it work.

Wishing you lots of hatzalcha / success to find the right person for you. you can check out a video by Jack Cohen on torahanytime.com – called “Fast track to marriage”. It was recorded at our synagogue. my site jerusalemlife.com has also advice for singles.

Single: I thank you for your concern and for the proposal – but the person is out of my search range.

Rav: I hope all is well . my point is not to push you for any particular person. my point is that now a days it is more challenging to find a mate.** so all reasonable kosher avenues and resources should be used like shadchanim / matchmakers, frum (orthodox Jewish) dating coaches, research on the person through references, prayer, segulas and rabbis for daat torah. sometimes their experiences and knowledge can open up opportunities to you that you might not have considered. and guide you in the right way. a good shadchan is not there just to suggest a potential mate, but to have your interest as a priority to help make a promising shidduch work or deter you from someone not of your caliber.

Rav: f you found the perfect match but they were 41 or 42, would you reject them for a date? the rabbi you choose can help you answer questions of the such.

Rav: I thought of a segulah – rabbi yonathan ben uziel was a Tanna- tremendous sage from times of mishna. he was a talmid of the great sage Hillel. the Roman’s buried him in a deep valley called Amuka in Israel. he promised anyone who would visit his kever – grave he would pray for them that they would meet their soul mate within a year. many years ago when single I did so and met my wife within a year.

now that borders are closed – this is challenging. but it might be worthwhile to light a candle in his memory and pray to Hashem – OH Hashem in the merit of rabbi yonathan ben uziel help me to find my soul mate. it is important to do this for 40 days consecutively. try it. let me know if it works.


**(I heard Hashem is doing this so people will appreciate the mate once married- that they will not divorce so easily when they recognize the effort they made to finally find a mate).

Single: Hash-m / G-d is in control. I just have to expand my area of search. I don’t have to reduce my standards.

Rav: You are right – Hashem is in control. we have to just make our effort. but we also follow the will of Hashem by asking the rabbis.
my main point remains- get a rabbi you trust to get advice from a Torah perspective, get a good shadchan, if you have to get a good frum dating coach. it’s very important to follow daat torah – not just your preferences. your rabbi will be able to guide you on what are reasonable and proper requirements and what are not.

also I recommend to many singles to reinforce themselves in Torah & mitzvot to get a higher caliber mate.

someone said a person should list ten things they want from a mate and prioritize them. If you find the top 5 then they are potentially a good dating prospect.

call the rabbis in the synagogues in your area to see if you find someone that meets your requirements.

Trust in G-d Fear Not

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My friend Avner told me when a person trusts in the stock market – if the stock goes up he is happy. If it goes down – he is not. One who trusts in G-d – whether the market goes up or down – he is happy because he knows that Hash-m is doing all for the good.

When a person trusts the media – if they hear good things they are happy. If they hear bad – they are not. If they hear good statistics of covid they are happy. If they hear bad statistics – they are not.

Unfortunately – I heard that in Japan more people died from fear of covid than covid itself.

Trust in Hash-m – live a happy life – not a fearful one.

Those who fear Hashem, Have faith in Hashem! He is their helper and guardian. (Psalms / Tehillim 115:11.)

What Children Want Most from Parents

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Rav Shimshon Rephael Hirsch was a rabbi in Europe about 200 years ago. Born in 1808 – he explained Judaism with a point to inspire the intellectual Jewish populace. He wrote that the main thing that a child wants from parents is Love. “The Love that you give to the child is greater to the child than any gift in the world you can give them.” When someone asks the child – does your father (or mother) love you? their answer should be a sure answer – “of course”.

This lesson does not only apply to children but to students, friends, spouses and oneself.

I heard this shiur / lecture from a live broadcast from a The Beit Knesset Moshayov from Yesterday (in Hebrew).

What is love?

To understand how to educate children – it is not enough to “Just love them” but to understand what love really is. Love means giving for the interest of the child – not for our personal interests. People err. They think if I buy them a toy, a game – that expresses my love. It does but is that what the child wants? Apparently – they would rather a hug than a roller coaster ride. They would rather quality time than an expensive vacation. They would rather a kiss on the cheek – than a Play station.

I was listening to a rabbi – he told two stories. One child on Passover – found the Afikomen / the piece of Matza that is hidden by some families at the Passover seder. The child that finds it can choose their prize. Some ask for toys, games, Jewish books and the like. This child asked for a kiss on the cheek from the father.

Affection is important – but the way that the child wants it – not the way that we may want to give it. A child understands more than we think. They know when you hand them a video – you’re basically telling them – I have more important things to do.

So how can we bond with children?

The Shabbat Table

When the family enjoys the Shabbat meals together – it is a great way to bond. We talk with children. We give them attention. We sing together – interact together – learn together – eat together and develop as a person. We say words of Torah and encourage to do the same.

No Substitute for Spiritual Bonding

Some think that taking the kid to the local park is a substitute. Truthfully – in the park a parent sits on the bench and the kid disappears with their friends until it is time to leave. Where is the bonding? Take them to a baseball game? OK. We watch grown men throwing a ball around. What about watching TV? The TV is the center of attention – the child is just a spectator – secondary to what appears on the screen. Give them a cell phone? A nice way of saying occupy yourself with this while I carry on my own life. Go shopping together? the focus is on the buying – not on the kid.

The Torah School

Many Jewish parents send their children to public school. I myself went to one. One of the the main qualms of parents is – Jewish Day school costs money. OK. But did they ask themselves – what is the best interest for my child’s emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical development. A public school only teaches secular knowledge. A Torah Day school teaches secular knowledge and how to be a beautiful functioning person that wants to help society and be a good person deep down.

The Kiss of Life

A five year old child was wetting their bed. The parents tried giving him gifts to motivate him to not do so. They asked psychologists. Talked with him. Nothing worked. One rabbi heard the problem and said perhaps the kid lacks affection from the parents. He instructed them to spend time with him at night, read him the Shema Yisrael before sleeping and give him a goodnight kiss. Within the week that they started – they solved the bed wetting problem.

Lech Neche et HaAm – Go and Speak nicely with the people

Menashe Yeshoshua – speaking on on Education in his sefer / book Shaarei Hamishkan writes on the verse “Go and speak calmly with the people.” When G-d spoke to Moses – he said Go and speak calmly with the people. The Nursing woman speaks with baby softly. This is the way we are to speak with the child.When we want to correct the child we correct the improper action – but the love should remain. We don’t say you are the problem. We do not say “You are selfish!” We try to instruct them on being more selfless – by being selfless ourselves and the like.

When the Jewish people rebelled – Moses asks G-d “Am I their father that I should calmly guide them like a nursing woman to the nursing baby?”  This is teaching us that the parents – all have the ability to calmly educate the child. G-d gave us this ability. We are to believe in ourselves and in Hash-m / G-d that He gave us the ability to do so and will help us to get the proper results.

Spiritual Block? Try This

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Over 20 years ago, I was learning with a rabbi. He told the following story. A woman who apparently was following his lectures asked him – “I want to become more spiritual. I want to follow Judaism and Torah – but I just can’t get myself to do it. I don’t understand the Mitzvot – even if you explain them.”

The Rabbi replied “Try eating Kosher food for a month and you might better understand the Mitzvot.”

She had to go through a detox period. Just like one has to detox for overcoming alcohol addiction – they do also for spiritual growth. Part of the process is start eating Kosher, guarding the eyes, removing oneself from impure thoughts and acts. Then a person can become a better receptacle for spiritual growth through Torah.

I didn’t quite understand the connection between understanding Mitzvot and Eating Kosher. Recently I came upon a Sefer / Book By Rabbi Matityahu Glazer – On Repentance and Hebrew Letters called THE PREREQUISITES FOR REPENTANCE
REPENTANCE IN WORDS AND LETTERS.

Hebrew letters have significance – in that the Hebrew word defines their essence of the object. The word for “sin” in Hebrew is Het / Sin / חטא – Het, Tet, Alef.

REPENTANCE IN WORDS AND LETTERS
THE NEGATIVE EFFECT OF SIN
…This comes to teach us that the destructive power of the סתן (Satan) creates a “screen” ( מסך ) which separates and “locks out” (נעל) the Divine light.
מ precedes נ
ס precedes ע
ך precedes ל

 

The numerical value of the words פגם [imperfection – (in matters of holiness – especially promiscuity)] and מגף (plague) is 123 (80 + 3 + 40), which is the same as נגע (nega, plague: 50 + 3 + 70) and teaches us about the common source of these words, which is בלע (bela, corruption: 2 + 30 + 70).

 

מגף (magaf) is related to מגפה (magaifa, plague),the letter ג and פ combining to form the word גוף (goof, body) and showing that he comes as a result of overindulgence in the material world.

 

The word אלף (alef. instruction or learning the same as the name of the letter א) refers to an אולפן תורה (oolpan Torah, “study of Torah”), the acquisition of Divine wisdom, as is written in the book of Job (13:33): אאלפך חכמה (a’alfecha chochma ; “I will
teach you wisdom”). Through אולפן תורה , the study of Torah, a person merits the revelation of the Divine light of א, for the light of the Torah has the ability to penetrate the barriers created by sin. From here one learns that the repentant should involve
himself in אולפן תורה as much as possible. Rabbeinu Yona in “The Foundation of Repentance” (“Yesod Hat’shoova” found in Gates of Repentance)
teaches that for one who is accustomed to learn one page of Torah, a proper repentance should include learning two pages of Torah.

 

The opening of the letter ח (chet ) is directed downwards, which symbolizes the sinner whose tendencies and desires are also directed “downwards,” that is, to his materialistic and baser nature. Opposed to this is the letter ה (hai )-of the same shape but with an opening at the top, hinting to higher spiritual aspirations. Therefore, if a person
blocks his spiritual striving and closes the upper opening of the ה, it becomes a ח (chet , sin).

 

The difference can be clearly seen in the words חמץ (chametz ) and מצה (matza ). חמץ, the leavened food forbidden to eat or even possess during the Pesach festival, is a symbol of the Evil Inclination (it “fills” with a void and emptiness-like the yeast that
puffs up dough, makes it rise and expand but essentially adds nothing). The word מצה (matza, unleavened bread), on the other hand, is the symbol of the Good Inclination. The only difference in the letters of these two words is the “window of repentance”- the slight opening at the top of the ה.

 

ונטמתם בם

“That you should be defiled thereby,” referring mainly to forbidden food that defiles the
soul of man. One of the most impure foods is the חזיר (chazeer , pig), equal to 225 (8 + 7 + 10 +200) as is the word op (kleepa , shell; 100 + 30 + 10 + 80 + 5).

 

טמא Impurity is the Blockage of the Spiritual. טמא (tameh , impure) has the same letters as אטם (otem obstruction). Impurity causes a general breakdown of the spiritual structure of a person. Just as an אטם in the body is a barrier that prevents the
flow of blood to the heart, so too does impurity ( טומאה, tooma ) prevent spiritual abundance and existence from reaching the heart and brain of a person. The evil impurity caused by an עברה (aveira transgression) can be clearly seen in its letters רע בה (ra-ba, “evil in it”). This is what our Sages mean when they say (Yoma 39a): עברה מטמטמת לבו של אדם
– “Sin dulls the heart of man.” Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (Michtav M’Eliyahu ) writes: “The sin itself is the dullness-the desire for and cleaving to the sin does not allow a person to find something to oppose it.”

The Power of Humility as a Prerequisite for Overcoming One’s Sins.

 

חטא  (chet, an unintentional sin) involves a lack of thought at the time of the transgression. When one’s mind-the אלף ( א , alef )-is “plastered over” (טח tach ), the result is sin, חטא. Intentional sins (עוונות) comprise -עוות – נ (avoot noon, “the distortion or corruption of the letter נ, which represents understanding). These letters also allude to the power of thought and purity (עיון, eeyoon ), which
is connected to the Fifty (נ = 50) Gates of Impurity  and Understanding,

A pleasant eye”) עין נוה is ( ענוה )The source of humility”

 

The Chida says that the power of humility is so great that it can mend one’s sins; the letters of ענוה (anava , humility) are the same as those of the word העון 190 (ha’avon, the sin). As our Sages say (Rosh Hashana 17a) כל המעביר על מדותיו מעבירין לו על כל ; “Whoever overcomes his feelings, all his sins are passed over.”

 

Repentance out of humility and love for G-d changes negative actions into positive ones. This amazing concept is unique to Torah thought: not only is a person capable of wiping the slate clean, he also has the ability to turn the negativity he has caused in the world into a positive force.

טמא – tameh is impurity. The letters also spell – Alef, Tet, and a Mem – spell Atum – which means blocked or clogged. If a person removes themselves from transgression – they will open up this blockage of the Spiritual.

Green Chiretta vs. Covid

Featured

Saw this Article in Mishpacha Jr. Guard Your Soul.

Convicts Fight Covid in-Thailand

  • Sivi Sekula

Prisoners in Thailand are Producing an herbal remedy to help their fellow convicts fight COVID-19. Green chiretta. also known as “bitter herbs” is a plant that
has been grown in Asia for centuries for its medicinal properties. All parts of the plant are used to treat various ailments. The leaf of the plant is a poplar herbal remedy for fevers, coughing, and infectious diseases A substance in the plant called andrographolide helps prevent the spread of viruses. At the start of the pandemic, green chiretta was distributed in prisons as an emergency measure until a proper cure could be found. The unintended trial of green chiretta among inmates proved very successful. Out of 11,300 inmates treated With green chiretta 99.02% recovered. In July, the Thai government authorized the use of chiretta to treat mild and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. Thailands prisons are notoriously overcrowded, and social distancing is practically impossible; one-quarter of The prisoners caught COVID-19 in just six months. Now, prisoners are growing and harvesting green chiretta in fields near their prisons. The leaves are tied, ground, and packaged into capsules, which are then sent to prisons across the country. •

Pulling a Card Out of the House of Cards – What Assumptions is Your Life Based Upon

Some people believe in ghosts and rid themselves of ghosts.

Some live with ghosts and let them haunt them throughout their lives.

Choosing to Live Healthy

A person chooses to rid themselves of their bad experiences. Yes people need to talk. Yes you can help others get over it. But ultimately it is the choice of a person to live their life based upon their belief system or assumptions.

Let’s bring it down to examples.

What Do You Assume that Influences You?

My friend told me that his mother didn’t want him playing in a small strip of trees behind his house about 10 feet wide. She told him “Don’t go in those trees. There are bears in there!” He lived on long island. Bears don’t roam Long Island. He was frightened enough to not enter the tree patch. He told me till today as an adult he is afraid of entering that small swath of trees.

“OK” we say “I am happy to say I am free of assumptions.”

The Belief in G-d

Let’s investigate. Let’s start with a simple one. Do we assume G-d exists or not. If one assumes a Guiding Force in the World – he or she will live life one way. One who does not believe will life differently. One who does not know will live a life of doubt.

Is My Religion True?

A Rabbi – Rabbi Ron Chaya [who speaks in French] was asked a question – does a particular religion have a basis for it’s truth?

Belief vs. Knowledge

Before answering he prefaced by asking – what is the difference between Belief and Knowing. He lifted a pen and said this Pen I know it exists. Belief means that I assume it exists – but I could be wrong or I could be right. Knowledge is a higher level knowing. Belief is a much lower level.

Jews Know G-d

He said Jews don’t Believe that G-d exists – they know that G-d exists. He Mentioned that just as if A = B and B = C – then A = C, we know through many proofs that G-d surely exists.

Some proofs of G-d derived by answering simple questions life – How could the world come to existence through random molecules? Was a Human eye (or any eye for that matter) formed by random interactions of atoms. Or is it more likely that an Infinitely Wise Creator made man? Ask a statistician – how likely would it be that random molecules floating around will form a human eye.  As then – how probable statistically that more molecules came and randomly formed billions of eyes found in the world.

This is one proof. Many exist.

He answered poignantly – No religion has a basis for following it’s truth except for Torah Judaism. He explained that even non-belief is an assumption.

Live & Let Live

What does it matter?

Well imagine a family living a life with an assumption that they were poor. Little did they know that the stocks they had purchased as a young couple were worth millions of dollars. At retirement age they open the safe to find stocks worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They skimped pennies every day of their life, reused teabags, recycled cans to receive extra $2.00 a week. Pity – they could have used the money to help their unemployed son start a business. They could have paid for a nice house for their daughter – because they assumed they were poor.

Choose Truth

A person can live a life and in the end find truth. Yet at times their system is  so ingrained in their way of their life they would rather live falsity than deal with the ice cold truth.

The Three Word Question that Changes Lives

A person can be poor spiritually. They follow a lifestyle their entire life and in the end they find out the truth was to be found elsewhere. Some follow the religion of their parents – because their parents did it. Or because it is convenient. Or because it is politically correct. The main question we can use to break out of the assumptions of doom is 3 words “Is it truth?”

G-d is Smart

To say Mount Everest is a high mountain doesn’t do it justice. Calling G-d / Hash-m “Smart” doesn’t do Him justice. Everything you can imagine about his smartness – He is smarter. But to simplify things – Lets say “G-d is Smart.”

Obviously a smart being would give the possibility to any person in the world – be them simple or intelligent – to find the truth. Abraham, our forefather found it. But how can an average person find the truth?

I came up with 4 simple questions that can help any person find Truth

The 4 Questions to Break The House of Cards

Basically 4 questions can bring you to truth.

I’ll provide the questions:

  1. Is it more logical that the world was created by G-d or not? (I already provided one answer above)
  2. Did G-d Give a Law to people?
  3. What is that Law?
  4. Did G-d Change his mind?

You provide the answers. If you want the answers I came up with press here.

 

 

Food Prices Flying – Dealing With it the Jewish Way

Prices are flying. Eggs – someone told me – doubled their price. Good for you vegans. But for the non-vegans – what to do? Become vegan?

It seems like one of the prophesies of the time of Machiach is revealing itself – wine will be expensive.

Save? Hoard? Go on a diet?

The wisdom of Torah is greater than other wisdoms. Other wisdoms will tell you what to do from logic and point of view of the physical world. The Torah will explain what to do taking into account the metaphysical and spiritual world.

We explained before that – there is a physical nature in the world. A spiritual nature also exists. Do good – get good back. What goes around comes around is a Torah concept. It’s called Midah Keneged Midah.

Want to get – give. Want G-d to be generous – be generous with others.

Think of it. It is 180 degrees from what one would expect. If you only think of the physical world – it makes sense to reduce your spending on others. Torah it tells you do opposite. Spend for charity. Spend for the poor. You need two things also. Faith in Hash-m. Belief in the concepts of the Torah.

Obvious you are not obligated to go overboard. 10 percent to 20 percent of one’s income is the recommended average and maximum giving for for charity. What is spent for shabbat, Torah education and yom Tov is not included. Meaning if in Heaven they declared he or she would get 100K that year. They will get it. But if he is going to spend 20K for Shabbat and 40K for Orthodox Torah Day Yeshivas – he will receive $160K.

But let’s bring it down to be able to understand this concept on the physical or material plane. I told some people – an accountant or a bookkeeper should not be a company President or CEO. Why? Because if the company loses money – their obvious advice will be to reduce spending, use cheaper materials, cut corners.

The Marketing people will say – spend more for marketing, for salesmen, for better quality products, invest in new products. Spend more. Making less? Spend more.

If a person is losing money – check out his tzedaka giving. Obviously you should know what is charity. Someone will say good – I will give 10% to animal rights. Tzedaka has a very specific definition. It is for worthy, needy  people according to Torah, for Torah causes, for hachnassat Kallah – for helping to pay for a Kosher (not just the food) wedding for a couple in need.

 

You Might Just Save a Life – Advocates for You and Loved Ones in Need of Medical Treatment

Pikuach Nefesh / saving a life is a Mitzvah that supersedes almost any Torah Mitzvah. Once – the great sage – Hillel was found almost frozen to death on the skylight of the house of study. Although lighting a fire on Shabbat is forbidden, those present were allowed to light the fire to save a life.

A woman in our neighborhood diligent in taking care of her elderly mother. She wanted to put her in a reputable nursing home – but they only took people who are mobile. She found another home to put her in.

Once her mother ended up in the hospital. She would go visit her mother daily. The fact that someone visits a patient gives more motivation for staff to properly take care of patient.

I don’t know if she knew about it then – but there is an organization that serves the Jewish public that gives halachic / Jewish Law advice from leading Orthodox rabbis. They also help to advocate for the patient if the family members feel uncomfortable for the care or suggestions of the hospital. The Organization is called Chaim Aruchim / https://chayimaruchim.com/ which means “Long Life” in Hebrew. Someone told me of the videos they have on their site that was quite disturbing revealing of what situations they had to deal with. Their phone number is 718-278-2446.

They provide 7 Do’s & Don’ts and other valuable information for end of life issues and pikuach nefesh / saving a person’s life. Once someone asked me if a person can be removed from the life support machine. I asked a Rabbi – he said no – once on it he cannot be removed for it would quicken their demise.

The Unnecessary Feeding Tube

Once the hospital told the daughter that they wanted to install a feeding tube for her mother. She responded “but she eats on her own! She doesn’t need one” They insisted that they put one in – they said she couldn’t eat solid food. She said “I will feed her myself! I will mash the food for her.” She asked the hospital to conduct a Peer Review to determine if she needed the tube. The hospital sent a Patient Feeding Specialist to review the case. After the specialist reviewed the case, they decided it was unnecessary. One day she arrived and saw that her mother had eaten chicken – having noticed the bone left. She then told the staff she doesn’t need mashed food either. They started giving her normal food.

Physical Therapy

Once her mother fell. The hospital decided to provide daily massage and no physical therapy. The lack of exercise and therapy – due to the hospital’s lack of action-  caused the mother’s legs to weaken and become too weak to support her body. The daughter regretted that she also didn’t stand up to the hospital to provide physical therapy as well.

Leaving the Hospital

I have a friend that was sent ot the hospital for Covid. He stayed there. They took away his daily vitamins and medication and provided him with their own meds. He was so disappointed he signed a waiver to leave the hospital and be responsible for his own self.

We saw with COVID that many a time a Hospital may not have one’s best interest in mind. They are influenced by politics and money. Obviously not all of them but money is a powerful motivator. I heard that some hospitals – based on the fact that hospitals received heavy stipends for COVID patients – they attributed most deaths to COVID.

Many people died in COVID due to political decisions. The politicians didn’t want to use methods proven to cure. Some died because the staff was not properly trained to administer medicine or use machines.

Knowing Their Goals

Halacha / Torah law is superior to any ethical system. Torah is the only divinely given law that was given before millions of witnesses. Man can err. G-d cannot. Thus when ethical problems arise we rely not on ethical committees – we rely on a higher authority – the words of Hash-m as brought by the Torah.

Ethical committees decisions – which are decided by men & women – may be antithesis to Torah. A hospice is a care system that helps a patient to not experience pain. The Torah’s objective when dealing with life is to extend the life of a person as long as possible. Thus a hospice might choose to provide less pain to a patient even if this medication – like morphine – may shorten their life. So if a person’s loved one is under hospice care or hospital care – the relative must be proactive to assure that the patient’s life is of utmost priority.

The Untrained Respirator Staff

I remember, many years ago, my father of blessed memory was in the hospital. Not knowing better – we agreed to allow the hospital to do as they suggested and have him hooked up to a ventilator. I don’t know if he needed it or not – but we were more or less naive. One of the last words of my father regarding the ventilator was “I am Exausted.” I don’t know if his disease or the respirator was the cause of death till today. Unfortunately that also happened during covid.

Suggestions for the Prudent

Before sending someone to the hospital – check the reputation of the hospital. I thought it would be good if the law would require hospitals to publish monthly statistics – like patients seen – for which illness or ailment. How many recovered. How much time each patient stayed. Percentage of Cesarians Sections per pregnant woman who gave birth. They should give statistics also for each doctor.

Removing the Plug – The Spiritual Repercussians

Once a secular doctor in Israel had a patient in his hospital. He saw the patient, using a life support machine, suffering. He felt badly for the patient. He had what he thought was “mercy” on the patient – so he decided to unplug the machine. One late night he unplugged the machine and the patient died soon afterwards.

When this doctor went to sleep – the Patient came to him in a dream. The patient was upset. “Why did you remove the plug from my machine. I was suffering but the suffering was an atonement in this world for the next world. I had several more days of suffering in this world to be cleansed from suffering in the next world.” I believe he had the dream several times. Finally the man started investigating Judaism and seeing what he could do to repair the situation he had caused. He started learning with different Orthodox rabbis and finally himself started following Torah. His Teshuva / repentance ended up being counted as a merit for the patient he unplugged.

 

The Two Worlds – When the Spiritual meets the Physical – Respecting the Dead

Of the opinion that “I’ll believe when I see it”?

Many things you don’t see but they exist.

I don’t see cell phone radio waves – but obviously they exist – otherwise i wouldn’t be able to use my cell phone. I hear a person knock on the door. I can determine that a person is behind the door – without seeing him.

You can prove something true or false. You can prove something physical exists – but you cannot prove that something does not exist by observation alone. Because you did not observe it – it doesn’t mean that it does not exist – perhaps it eschewed your sight or observation.

Logic and Torah can prove something exists or does not.

I recently heard a Hebrew shiur / lecture in about strange creatures that exist in the world according to Torah. Believe it or not – mermaids, werewolf, demons, dragons, migrant souls, plant men (adnei hasadei) – exist.

Some use “I never Saw G-d.” as a reason to doubt the existence of a creator. I can say the same about radio waves – “I never saw them” – doesn’t mean they don’t exist. By the fact that I can communicate with cell phones shows they do exist.

We already proved beyond a reasonable doubt that G-d does exist. You can even prove that the true religion & law of the world is Torah in 4 steps. but that is not the subject at hand.

The subject is when the Spiritual World intermingles with the physical world. Here are two stories I recently heard. One is kind of scary – but I guess you can handle it.

Someone I know’s friend heard that some gentiles in Eretz yisrael were on the verge of desecrating a Jewish cemetery. The man got a friend and decided to disinter bones from the cemetery of buried Jewish bodies before the gentiles got to them.  They planned to bury them to a place that would assure proper respect. After grueling work, they decided to go to sleep and bury them in the morning. They put the bones in their room – for they were too tired to bury them. In the middle of one’s sleep – his mattress flipped over. He put the mattress back and fell asleep again. Again asleep, his mattress flipped over again. He then decided – tired as he was – to bury the bones.

Once a woman was careful to sponsor yeshiva boys to say Kaddish (the memorial prayer) for people who had no one to recite it for them after they died. Her husband died and little by little she started running dry of her former wealth – yet she continued to support the Kaddish. Her daughter met a suitor that wanted to marry her. Yet the mother had no money to pay for wedding. She was walking down the street and an elderly man approached her, asking why she was so sad. She explained her situation. The man decided to write her a check for all the wedding expenses but only after he called two yeshiva boys to serve as witnesses. She went to the bank to cash the check. When the bank manager saw the check he fainted. Once revived – they asked him why he fainted. He explained “Last night my deceased father came to me in a dream saying that – he was disappointed that I didn’t say Kaddish when he died. And there was a woman that did organize it – he wanted her to have this money for his daughter’s wedding. She would be coming the next morning to collect it.”

What a Single Person Needs to Know to Get and (a married person to) Stay Married

I know many singles . Some Older. Some Younger.

I am sure they went on dates.

Why didn’t it work out? I don’t know.

The Dating Purpose

Firstly, When I would date – it would be strictly to determine if the person before me would be suitable to spend my life and raise my kids with. My intention was not to have a good time, pass some enjoyable moments together and then somewhere down the line see if we could tie the knot or not.

No the date is not like a job interview. It is a date to find out about the person who is in front of you. It is a platonic date to see if you share similar attitudes, Torah values, hashkafot / outlook, mentalities and more. Obviously it is not an intellectual exercise – but a pleasant way to honestly know if you are fit for one another.

The Dating Attitude

I’ll tell you my attitude – I don’t know if it is right or wrong.

When matched with a potential mate for marriage I would take the proposition seriously. I wouldn’t brush it off. Sometimes G-d introduces you to a person not for you to get marriage – but to learn how to better yourself. Obviously G-d doesn’t want to waste your time – provided if you yourself don’t want to waste your time either by dead end relationships.

G-d wants you married – so the people who are proposed to me are probably in the ballpark of marriage material.

I did have certain criteria. The girl would have to be from a similar cultural & Jewish  background – because similar mentalities make for a better marriage in general – so I think. In my case I wanted a Moroccan, Torah Observant Jewish Girl , that came from a good family and has good character traits (Middot) that would appreciate someone who learns Torah regularly.

So this is the attitude that I am unsure about. In general, I would try to go out with the girl until she would reject me. Unless I saw that it was totally off, I would try to continue dating until it became obvious to one of us it would not work out for marriage.

Even though in the back of my mind I thought “Who would ever reject me!?” It did happen more frequently than I would have imagined. Once I was about to marry a girl. I gave her a ring. She called me that evening and said can we see each other tomorrow. I said sure. When we met – she explained nicely that she didn’t think it would work out and gave me back the ring. No. I wasn’t devastated.

My reason for the attitude was that I knew that it is Hash-m is in control and He will help me marry the right one. The rejection was not a devastation – but G-d telling me – there is someone more suitable for me.

Obviously you have to have the proper criteria in place and discuss those criteria with a competent Orthodox Rabbi to get Daat / Guidance of Torah. But once those are in place an the person is in the ballpark – so go ahead.

In Judaism we have this concept that brings the validity to the term Soul mates. There is a soul. It is split in two – a male part and a female part. They enter two separate bodies – a male and a female. Marriage is the bringing back together of these souls that are in 2 different bodies. One reason the Torah forbids intermarriage between a Jew & a Gentile is because a marriage of souls that don’t match don’t achieve their purpose in life. Another reason is that a gentile mate might turn the children away from Hash-m / G-d and the Torah. Also it causes confusion in the children.

Recently I read that the Divorce rate among Orthodox Jews is about 10% while the Divorce rate of Intermarried couples is over 40%.

But back to the subject.

Improve Yourself Get a Better Mate

I give this advice to Jewish singles. Before you get married – reinforce yourself in Torah & Mitzvot. The more your raise yourself spiritually and in terms of middot / character traits the better mate you will merit. A man may want to chose a woman that is higher level in Torah than himself. Although men can influence woman to raise their spiritual strivings – usually a woman influences a man more than vice versa. A woman can bring up or down.

There is a story about a pious man who was married to a pious woman. They had no children. They divorced. He went and married a wicked woman. She made him wicked. She went and married a wicked man and made him righteous. To teach you that a woman influences the spirituality of the spouse more than vice versa.

Staying married

If a person has a particular attitude it may lead to an unsuccessful marriage. The attitude is “You are here to serve me.” It might reveal itself in several forms. I want you to clean the house. I want you to make the money. I am the one you should please. You are here as an object for my happiness. The attitude to marital problems.

So what is the proper attitude – Let’s serve Hash-m together. Let’s bring up a healthy family following Torah & Mitzvot. Let me do all that I can to make my wife or husband happy. I want to do things that make my mate happy. I want to spend time with them. I want to connect. I want to have peace. I must be humble.

Here are some messages I heard from Rabbis:

Attraction is Not Primary

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l – has a book on Shidduchim / matchmaking. They asked him how important is attraction. He said something to the effect – that it is secondary. I would add that as long as the person is not repulsive to you – or their looks pushes you away – it is not a reason to reject someone.

Rabbi Kanievsky wrote about Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home:

ובספר “אורחות יושר” (למרן הגאון רבי חיים קניבסקי שליט”א) כתב: “…ובאמת כל המריבות בבתים ושאין שלום בית שמצוי מאד בזמנינו רובן ככולן באין ע”י גאוה ואם כל אחד היה מחזיק בענוה ולא היה איכפת לו על כבודו ועל גאותו היה רוב המחלוקות מסתדרים בשלום דוק ותשכח שהענוה אמיתית היא רפואה בדוקה ואמיתי לרוב הבעיות שיש בזמנינו והשי”ת יערה עלינו רוח טהרה ממרום שנזכה לענוה אמיתית”.

And in the book “Orchot Yosher” (by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Shlita) he wrote: “… and really all The quarrels in the houses and the lack of peace in a house that is very common in our time, most of them are due to Pride. and if everyone held humility and did not care about his dignity and pride, he would settle Most disputes with peace. and forgotten is that true humility is proven medicine to most of the problems that exist in our time and Hash-mת May He be Blessed, shine upon us a spirit of purity from on High that we will merit to achieve true humility. “

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – on torahanytime.com he mentions that most times when couples come to see him – they say the same thing. The wife complains the husband doesn’t love her. The husband thinks that love is bringing the money home. She says “My father pays my bills also.” Love is establishing a true connection together.

The basis of the Torah is to help a person establish a connection between family, friends, oneself and Hash-m. Like R. Akiva said “VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha” – You shall love your fellow like yourself is a foundation of the Torah.

Rabbi Yosef Palacchi on torahanytime.com brings the Pele Yoetz – a sefer book on great Torah advice – talks about having a strong love for one’s mate.

Here is a quote from the Yanuka – Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Be’eri in a Recent issue of Ami Magazine (ISSUE 564, AMI MAGAZINE, APRIL 13, 2022, 12 NISAN 5782)

MESSAGES FOR BNEI CHUTZ LAARETZ
Again, Reb Yanky taps me on the shoulder, so I finish by asking the Yenuka for a message for the Jews in America. Throughout our conversation, Rav Shlomo Yehudah has emphasized the importance of achdus (unity) and harmony. This is something that comes through in his learning, too: he is fluent in a wide variety of limudim (Torah learning), from the writings of the Gaon through the Tanya and even Rebbe Nachman, and often tries to harmonize their teachings. The Yenuka continues now with his message of shalom (peace) and unity, saying, “People should try to look out for each other. People should help each other in business as well as in other areas.

I stress this more for bnei chutz laaretz because they live among non-Jews. The main thing is to lift your eyes toward the heavens and connect to Hashem.” Rav Shlomo Yehudah is quiet for a moment and then adds another message.

“There is a problem with shidduchim (matchmaking) today. I don’t think the hashkafah (Jewish outlook) of a boy and a girl have to be exactly lined up. For example, I am a grandchild of the Arizal and my wife is a granddaughter of the Kedushat Levi. Of course, there are gedarim (boundaries) if he wants to live a certain lifestyle and she doesn’t, then it won’t work-but it shouldn’t matter if a girl is a little more chasidic than a bachur, (young man) or if he adheres
to teachings of the Gaon and she enjoys Tanya,” the Yenuka says with a smile.
“The important thing in shidduchim is that they get along and have free-flowing conversations. If two people don’t have an easy time conversing, there is no future. An easy and comfortable feeling and flowing conversation are the things that
count.”

The Yenuka was married at 20 years of age and today has a son and three daughters. “Bachurim should get married at 18,” he says. “Waiting around creates an unnecessary nisayon (ethical trial). Some say that a bachur should get married later, that he should first learn for several years without distractions. This is only correct in a few select cas-
es. I have read the same from Ray Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg. Most boys learn just
as well when they are married. There are those matmidim who learn yomam valay-
lah, and for them, learning for longer as a bachur is beneficial. For all others, it can
cause harm.”

A Secret to Save a Marriage on the Rocks

Many years ago, I spoke with a man who was in the process of divorce. He had some kind of argument and he mentioned the word “Divorce.” The woman didn’t take kindly to it. The woman changed her attitude from one of tolerance to one of vengeance. One word triggered her.

Is Divorce always the man’s fault? I think that a man can usually save a marriage. Is it his fault? His wife also does damage. That could also be the man’s fault because he could have did more research or soul searching before he married his wife. He could have looked into how she deals with people (and vice versa) and made a decision with his mind rather than his heart or desires.

A man recently wrote a book on the subject. The article about is is called “This is How your Marriage Ends.” He mentions some of the concepts above.

A man is usually less insulted by slights than a woman. So taking a slight to his honor – may be easier for him than a slight to woman. Also they get insulted in different ways. A woman considers a man who does not consider her needs – as a slight – even if he said nothing. If the man does nothing – it is not nothing. A man who wants to save or maintain his marriage is obligated to help around the house.

A man who answers the question on a date for marriage – will you help around the house – with a snide remark, or a hesitating yes or a not really – is starting off on the wrong foot.

A man who seeks to feel where the woman is coming from is starting on the right foot. Even though a man may consider trivial what a woman considers as important. He should understand that like a child is so upset for a candy that he or she did not get – it behooves him to take seriously her wants and needs – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Yaakov / Jacob Avinu spends much time convincing his wives that it was time to leave their father’s house and go to Israel. Until they felt it in their hearts – he kept on explaining.

Empathy and feeling for a wife’s challenges will help a man maintain a healthy marriage. This can be done by understanding her. He can repeat what she says like – if she says “I had a hard day at work.” He can say “You look like you had a hard day today.” so that she will feel that the husband understands where she is coming from. Parroting words – while including feeling her travails with your heart – will reinforce a marriage.

Let her insults slide off you. Don’t respond to her insults with yours. You are interested in calming the situation. The person who is in emotional control has the upper hand. Your goal is not to win a fight or to show your right. Your goal is to have peace at home.

We mentioned in another article that – having peace with a wife is a positive Torah commandment. A wise man will think “Is it better for me to respond to her insult? or is it better to refrain and accomplish a positive commandment from the Torah

If You Go in My Statutes – Making a 180 on a Ship / You’re Closer to Torah than You Think

Im Behukotai Telechu / If you go in my statutes. Last week’s Parasha / weekly Torah reading was – Behukotai. Behukotai / My statutes – Rashi says is “Learning Torah” because the next part of the verse says “and if you will observe my Mitzvot”. The next verse says – if you do so – you will get rain in the proper time and other blessings.

So we list that of primary importance first – First Torah learning, then observing Mitzvot. Obviously both are necessary. Another question is why does it says – telechu /you will go? It should say learn my statutes. Apparently there is a message to improve daily – not to remain stagnant. Some people are the same that they were 20 years ago. The Torah wants us to be better every day.

What are statutes? statutes are laws that are seemingly incomprehensible. So why does the Torah use these words for learning Torah? A question of Rabbi Yisrael Salantar.

Rabbi Solomonovich explained in a recent Dvar Torah / Torah speech – that Rabbi Samson Rephael Hirsch said that – a Hok / statute comes from the word Hek / bosom – denoting something close to the heart. He mentions that to one person something may be incomprehensible one but beloved by others.

He gave the example of an American person going to Europe. He hears that over  billion people are watching the “World Cup” soccer match. He asks “Don’t these people have better things to do with their time than watching people kick a ball into goal?”

Then a European person comes to the United States and hears that hundred’s of millions of people are watching the “Super Bowl” American football game. He says to himself “Don’t these people have better things to do with their time than watching people kick a ball into goal?”

Both don’t understand the other’s appreciation of the game. Yet they understand the appreciation of their own country’s favorite sport.

Similarly to an outsider coming into the Beit Midrash / House of Torah study – they ask “what are these people doing here studying?” Do they want to become Rabbis? The outsider does not understand why people study Torah. But the insider understands that it brings light to their soul. It helps them connect to others and to G-d. It helps them to grow spiritually and to connect to real Spirituality – meaning becoming closer to the creator of the world – Hash-m. 

A Jew is closer to spirituality than they might think. They may think that approaching orthodox Torah Judaism is far from them – yet it is not.

Once a couple was having a Jewish wedding on a boat in Paris – on the Seine River. The boat rode off onto the river. They were about to have the wedding. The Rabbi asked who are the witnesses for the wedding. In order for the wedding to take place two Kosher witnesses are required – they must not gamble, they must be Shomer Shabbat / Observant of Shabbat according to the Jewish code of law / the Shulchan Aruch and be male. One witness fit the description, the other did not. He searched the ship to find someone else to be a Kosher witness. He did not find one. He had an idea. He asked someone he trusted if he was willing to accept to become “Shomer Shabbat”. The man was hesitant. He explained “If the the couple does not have two Kosher witnesses – they will not be able to be married.” The man agreed to become Shomer Shabbat to allow them to get married.

A Jew is closer to Torah than one might think.

Mental Telepathy – Is it Possible. Power of Great Jewish Sages.

Super human powers exist. If you want to learn what really exists or is possible ask a great Torah sage. Yes – a person can become invisible. Yes – a person can fly. Yes a person can move clouds. A person can stop the sun. A person can read minds.

How. Well either one can do it through the powers of purity / tahara or impurity / tuma’. Hash-m gave the possibility to both the good side and the evil side to not disrupt Freedom of Choice. If only good people became rich – people would become good to become rich. G-d wants people to be good because they recognize the inherent value of Good as described by Torah.

Once a girl was kidnapped. The family went to a great and holy sage Baba Sali (Israel Abuhatzeira – who lived about 40 years ago) to ask for a blessing to get her back. He said to go to his son – Baba Meir (Meir Abuhatzeira). Rabbi Meir opened a Torah book – he took a look at it. He said “The girl is in London, on this and this street, in this and this building, on this floor and in this apartment.” The family immediately contacted the authorities in London, relaying the information and they found the girl.

A Book called “The Coming Revolution” By Rabbi Zamir Cohen. He explains a similar phenomena of Mental Telepathy.

They asked R. Meir how he knew. He explained that when G-d created the world he created a light that enabled people to see to the end of the world. He hid it away for people who would merit it. If a person studies Torah for the right reasons – for the sake of heaven – G-d allows people to tap into that light.

Ohr Binyamin Distributes Free Water and Judaica at Israel Day Parade

It was a Hot Day in New York City – on Fifth Avenue at the Israel Day Parade. After a Hiatus due to Covid – Ohr Binyamin took back to the streets to distribute free water, candy and Judaica to spectators. Many were thankful to have water for themselves, kids and parents.

“Why are you doing this?” a woman asked a staff member. “Achdus.” [unity] the man quickly answered. Ahavat Yisrael / love of fellow Jews is a great mitzvah.

Ohr Binyamin – publisher of the JerusalmLife.com site – handed out over 400 bottles of water and over 150 Newly printed “My Little Siddur” / Jewish Prayer Books. We made and met old friends. “It was a pleasure to see the smiling faces and connect with people on the street again. It was also great to be able to connect people searching for authentic Judaism the means of connecting to Jewish spirituality by providing answers, advice, blessings and Jewish materials that will help them in their quest and thirst for Jewish spirituality.” said Matatia Chetrit, president of Ohr Binyamin.

6 Rules for Good Relations – With Spouse, Kids & Friends

I walked in to the Inauguration Reception for HaChaim VeHashalom Beit Midrash / House of [Torah] Study. I see a Rabbi that I faintly recognize. It was Rabbi Bousu – the Grandson of the Baba Sali. He was discussing the subject of “Shalom Bayit” with some men. I listen in. “It is a positive commandment from the Torah to have peace with your spouse! It’s not enough to just do some kind things to her. You should try to assure that she is happy. If she is happy you will be happy. Think of ways to make her happy. Pray to find things and Do things to make her happy. If you do so you will have success!” said Rabbi Bousu. He mentioned why a person will have success in business, materially, spiritually and learning Torah. “Because where there is peace – the Shechina [Divine Presence] dwells. Where the Shechina dwells there is success.

I asked him the source : He said it was in Sefer Chareidim. I looked it up – but was not able to find the source he said. But I tried to figure out what it was on my one. This is what I found:

סֵפֶר חֲרֵדִים – פֶּרֶק ד – מ”ו
[תְּהִלִּים פֶּרֶק-לד-טו] סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ: – ‫דְּאוֹרָיְתָא‬‫ הִיא‬ ‫דַּאֲפִלּוּ‬ ‫בִּשְׁעַת‬ ‫מִלְחָמָה‬ ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫י‬ת’‬ ‫לְהַקְדִּים ‬‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬ ‫ {דְּבָרִים כ:י} כִּי-תִּקְרַב אֶל-עִיר לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ וְקָרָאתָ אֵלֶיהָ לְשָׁלוֹם: ‫וּמִנָּאֶה‬ ‫סְמָ”ג‬ ‫בְּמִצְוַת‬ ‫עָשָׂה‬‫ וְכָל‬ מָקוֹם ‫שֶׁיֵּשׁ‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫אֵין‬ ‫הַשָּׂטָן‬ ‫יָכוֹל‬ ‫לְקַטְרֵג‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬‫ [הוֹשֵׁעַ ד:יז]  חֲבוּר עֲצַבִּים אֶפְרַיִם הַנַּח-לוֹ: ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫הקב”ה‬ ‫לִמְחוֹת ‬‫שְׁמוֹ‬ ‫הַגָּדוֹל‬ ‫שֶׁנִּכְתַּב‬ ‫בְּקָדוֹשׁ’‬ ‫עַל‬ ‫הַמַּיִם‬ ‫לָשִׂים‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬‫ בֵּין‬ ‫אִישׁ‬ ‫לְאִשְׁתּוֹ‬ ‫וְהָרוֹצֶה‬ ‫לִזְכּוֹת‬ ‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫זוֹ‬ ‫יִזְהָר ‬‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫אַחֶרֶת‬ ‫וְהוּא [אָבוֹת א:ג]‬ ‫וֶהֱוֵי דָּן אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לְכַף זְכוּת ‫תָּמִיד‪,‬‬‫מִמִּנְיָן‬ ‫תרי”ג‬ ‫‪:‬‬

Sefer Haredi – Chapter 4 – 46.
[Psalms Chapter 34:15] Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it: It is a Torah Commandment that even during the time of war Hash-m commanded to start off by offering peace as it says “When you approach to a city to battle it – call out for peace.” (Devarim/Deut 20:10) And the Smag [Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot] counts this as Positive [Torah] commandments. And any place that there is peace – the Satan cannot accuse – as it says: [Hosea 4:17] Ephraim joined to idols – let him be: [Athough they were sinning – G-d said let them be – because they maintained peaceful relations] The Holy One Blessed Be He commanded to erase His Great Name written in Holiness with water [in Sota Ritual] to place peace between a man and his wife. And one who wants to merit this mitzvah – should be careful of another Mitzvah [Pirkei Avot 1: 3] “And judge every man favorably” [lit, on a scale of merit] always – from the count of 613 Mitzvot.

Rule # 1 – Be proactive in pursuing peace – meaning be yielding – seeking peace not arguments.

Rule # 2 – Judge people favorably

I heard and interview with Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – z”l. In an interview he was asked “What is the most important thing that one should do for a healthy family?” His answer: Give them time.

The children want to connect with the parents and the spouses also want to. The greatest detriment to this is : Technology. My family wants to connect – instead I am on my cell phone, computer, watching videos. A big turn-off. They want to connect and you would rather connect with that video or whatsapp message.

Rule # 3 – Search for ways to make others happy.

Rule # 4. Give them time and be there for them.

Rule # 5 – Help out and Be present.

Rabbi Eliyahu Benhaim – said “Better than giving your wife a diamond ring – offer her to do the dishes.”

Rule # 6 – Be happy. Smile and make others happy.

Show a Bright face not a sad face. A face is part of the public domain – don’t “damage” people with your scour.