Afro-Sheep – What Does it Teach Us?

A Sheep lost in the forest. He survives on his own. 6 years later they find him – unshorn for all that time. Her wool covers him to the extent of it becoming a walking ball of wool.

He made news and broke some records with almost 40 kg of wool.

Apparently sheep need man. Without man you would have many more afro-sheep.

The question’s that arise are:

1) Was the sheep made for man for him to have nice wool suits and clothing?

2) Or was man created for the sheep – to shear it?

3) Or was there no creation? The sheep came into being by random molecules colliding together.

Logically and speaking rationally, proposition three is impossible. For it is impossible for random atoms to create a single celled organism – with the complex DNA structure found in a cell. Even more so random atoms cannot create a sheep.

So there must be a creator.

But perhaps you will say man was created to serve the sheep.

We would have to ask 2 other questions to determine – what creature was created for whom.

1) Who gets more benefit from the other – the man or the sheep?

The sheep gets food from man and gets sheared by man.

The man gets wool for warm clothing, carpets, blankets and more. Apparently man gets more benefit from the sheep than vice versa.

2) Who gets more benefit from the world – man or other creatures?

Trees don’t need man. They can live in their forest all their lives – be irrigated by rain – without need of human intervention.

Yet man does need trees – for building homes and other structures from their wood; for getting warmth by burning wood.

Fruits don’t need man. Man needs fruits for nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are the perfect size for man – that a man can hold them in his hand(s) and transport them.

Oil reserves don’t need man. Man needs oil reserves for their cars.

Sound does not need man. Man does need sound to communicate.

The sun does not need man. Man needs the sun for warmth.

You choose your creation and see if it benefits man or if man benefits it more.

Apparently the world was created for man. This can be determined by logic.

Cute Sheep. Isn’t it?

Breaking Through the Barriers That Stop You – The Material, the Mental and the Spiritual.

I feel many people feel restrained in life. They see insurmountable barriers – that sometimes do not exist.

They put themselves in a box and repeat “Only If” All their lives.

At times a person tries but spins their wheels.

There are 3 Dimensions of Barriers – The Material, the Mental and the Spiritual.

The Spiritual Barriers and Measure for Measure

Let’s start with the Spiritual Barriers.

Just as there are laws of nature – there are laws of spirituality. The basic law of spirituality is Middah Keneged Middah. It’s a bit like you get what you deserve but the literal translation is “measure for measure.”

No. G-d is not Punishing you – The Law of Gravity

A person may think that G-d is punishing them. But it’s not so simple. A person would not say that after dropping an expensive vase on the floor – G-d is punishing me because my vase broke. You dropped the vase. The vase fell and broke because of the laws of gravity. You put yourself into the situation that in normal circumstances the vase will break if you drop it. You cannot blame G-d for that – for allowing the laws of gravity to pull your vase to the ground.

The Torah says do not rely on miracles.

The law of Measure for measure

A person who constantly ranks out his associates and his workers under his supervision – should not say – why is G-d punishing me by giving me a wife that yells at me. He put himself in a situation that is close to a cause and effect situation. He yelled at others, so others will yell at him. It is not a punishment – it is the spiritual law of  nature – he is invoking by his negative attitude.

Another spiritual law – believe it will be good and it will be good.

So the correct action to remedy his wife’s torment is to be kinder with others.

This will affect a change in the spiritual dimension for you to deserve kindness in return for your kindness.

A solution to the Ikuv of Shidduchim / Barrier to finding the right mate – Letting Go of Grudges

I heard recently a Torah Shiur / Lesson regarding a person who was searching for a wife. He was in his mid 30’s. He still didn’t find the right partners.

He told his rabbi of his problem. His rabbi asked – do you believe that Hash-m sends the right shidduch / marriage partner – ie, matches are made in heaven?

He responded – Yes. The rabbi asked – did anyone of your past dates ever do something to break off a marriage with you. He responded Yes. He asked him “Did you forgive that person?” He replied – no. I can’t forgive her for what she did to me.

The rabbi replied – that is a lack of faith in Hash-m / G-d – if you believe that G-d directs the world and that all that G-d does is for the good – then even that break-up was directed by G-d and was for the good. So you have no reason to hold a grudge against that former date. And since you beleive that it was the girl that hurt you – you lack belief in G-d’s providence. Forgive her and see what happens.

The boy forgave the girl in his heart. A short time later someone introduced him to a girl that he ended up marrying.

His faith in G-d – affected G-d’s providence to send the right one.

Basically it comes to – you create your world. If you want a world of kindness – be kind. If you want G-d’s providence – let go of your grudges.

The Torah teaches the spiritual laws of nature. Pirkei Avot teaches many of them.

The Material Barriers

When getting my MBA, I was a fellowship student. I worked with a professor that was at that time in tune with the quality improvement revolution. I learned about tools of quality. One tool is called “Force Field Analysis”.

You have a project – idea. You have things working with you and pushing against you.

Make things easy. Put the name of the idea or project on the table in writing. Draw a line down the page. On one side of the page Identify and write the “Forces For Change.” On the other side write “Forces against Change.” Assign Scores to strength of each force. Write out ways to assure that the positive forces overcome the negative forces. Analyze and Apply solutions.

The Mental Barriers

People like to please others. Good. But Really pleasing others is secondary to pleasing G-d by having the Torah as a guide. If the Torah is one’s guide – so you please both G-d and people.

G-d wants you to reach your potential in doing good in the world. But we put up barriers. What will that person say if I ask him for money for my charity project. What will this person say if I ask for a raise. What happens if they say no? Who cares? If it’s the good thing to do – Just do it!

 

The Story of Avraham Searching for a Wife for His Son – Lessons Learned

We encounter several stories of people getting married in the Torah – each teaching a life lesson. In the Torah – we have Yitzhak marrying Rivka.

Shunning Immorality

Avraham, the father of Yitzhak,  told his servant Eliezer – he does not want a girl from Canaan. He told him to go to his family and search for a girl there. He didn’t want a girl from Canaan because apparently they did not have the proper Middot – character traits he was looking for. The Canaanites were known for their immorality.

Searching for and Finding Kindness

Eliezer, when he goes to find a girl for Yitzhak, prays to Hash-m saying – “May the girl that I ask for water – if she not only serves me water but serve my camels – be the girl for Yitzhak.” A simple test. Apparently his test was entered around looking for a wife for his master’s son that loved to do Hesed – Chesed. A foundation of Judaism – to do acts of loving kindness – was one test that she had to pass. At the well of water – he finds a girl that does just that.

Was Eliezer an Animal Lover or searching for someone going beyond the call of duty?

Perhaps you will ask maybe Eliezer wanted a girl that loved animals. Why did he want her to serve his camels as well? Apparently – Eliezer also wanted to find out if she was not only concerned about his thirst – but his tiredness. He was tired after the voyage and Rivka was concerned about his physical condition as well. She didn’t want him to strain himself to also give drink to the animals. She saw that he was thirsty and tired. With one question she discerned his needs and tended to them.

A Person that Follows Halacha & Has a good Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook or Philosophy

You can also say that Eliezer wanted to test her to see if she was following Halacha / Jewish law. There is a law to feed the animals first before eating. Rivka gave enough to drink to Eliezer to satiate his thirst (for he was in a condition to warrant his being given to drink first), then she gave water to the camels to fulfill the law of feeding the animals first.

So he had several tests to find a wife for his master – Did she do kindness, to go over and beyond what was asked of her? Did she follow Jewish law? Did she have the Hashkafa / Outlook of the Torah – that she understood that Eliezer should be given first in this situation?

Finding someone with Similar family traits

I don’t know if we can derive this – but it seems like from the desire of Avraham to find someone from His own family, we see that he recognized the importance of searching for a mate with similar family values and possibly similar land of origin values.

What comes first Love or marriage?

In Yitzhak’s case the Torah says that he married Rivka and then he loved her. In the case of Yaakov marrying Rah’el – it says he loved her and then he married her. Either is possible. Love at first site is not a requirement to get married. Love may take time to develop – sometimes years.

Apparently these criteria apply similarly for a Man searching for a wife or a Woman searching for a Husband.

 

10 Quick Concepts to Go From Dating to a Speedy and Good Marriage

The concept of marriage in Judaism is greater than a couple establishing a family together. We start the process by searching for our soul mate – for in reality the partner is part of a similar soul that was separated and reunited in marriage. Through marriage one can reach their potential in doing good for the world – through having the Torah as a life guide.

I suffer for many of my good friends that are good people that haven’t yet found their other half. I don’t know how much my suffering helps them – so I offer here advice to get married for anyone who wants to hear. I might repeat some things I said in previous posts – but a little repetition doesn’t hurt.

1. Make a List of Your Priorities

I once read an article that said a person should make a list of 10 or 20 priorities for a mate. If one has either five or half of them – they are doing well.

Obviously there are “requirements” and “nice to haves”. Know which are which. Also go through these priorities with your dating coach and the people you network with to help you find a date.

2. Make Your Smart Effort

I know people who to to single events every week. They look but they don’t find. I think a person would be better off calling up Orthodox Rabbis of communities or Rosh Yeshivas and sharing what they are searching for in a mate – in order for them to search in their “Rolodex” for someone compatible they might be able to suggest for you. They can also offer you advice. They know more people in their congregation than you can meet at a singles event. And they can narrow down the search.

I think a person looking to marry should make themselves take at least five minutes a day to network to find a person.

Making a Smart Effort

Self & Date assessment can help pinpoint areas to improve. One should ask themselves – what is not working in my dates? Am I not putting enough effort? Am I presenting myself in a good light? Am I talking about wrong subjects? How am I coming across to the potential mate? This can also be discussed with the Dating Coach.

Know the purpose of the Date

The purpose of a date is to see is if the person is a potential mate for marriage. If one sees that their partner is fit for marriage – based upon the criteria we mention in the article – then continue till you determine if the person is a viable marriage partner.

Prayer

A person should pray daily for a good mate that is suitable for them. Pray to Hashem for some of the criteria in a mate for which you are searching.

3. Do Your Homework

Once you do get a name – research that person. Examples of the questions a person would ask about a potential partner are:

1. Are they kind hearted?

2. Do they have the Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook of the Torah.

3. For a Female Searching for a Male: Are they a Ben Torah? Do they have a fixed time to learn torah daily. Are they able to read a Gemara.

4. Are they Truthful.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

6. Do they Have any psychological, mental or health issues. Do they have a bad temper. Are they able to bear children. I know of people who married only to find out afterwards that the partner had health issues, temper issues, were controlling or tyrants, had psychological issues or were unable to bear children. Ask these questions before marriage.

7. Can you give examples of each.

Ask open ended questions not Yes or No Questions. You can answer yes to any question. If someone asks me “Is a particular person nice.?” I may answer Yes – even if they are mean – if I think in my mind “Yes they are nice when they sleep.”

Ask pointed questions. Don’t ask “are they nice?” That is too vague. Ask them for example of things that you saw them doing that were nice. Did you ever see them get angry? Are they a growing person? Can you cite examples?

People don’t want to say bad things about another person. So they might hide things from you. It is your job to get the correct information. That is through doing your proper effort in researching the person.

Ask their friends, mentors, rabbis, former teachers etc. Better to do the due diligence before the marriage than to regret. Tell them that you are interested in dating the person – so that your discussion will be for a constructive purpose – and will not be considered Lashon HaRah – Derogatory speech – which is forbidden by the Torah.

Some people nowadays have a Shidduch / Dating Resume to simplify the search process. I personally am against asking for pictures – a picture may mislead a person. You are not marrying a picture – you marry a whole person – with their personality. Many people reject based upon a photo. A person has to be attractive to you – i think that the minimum to be acceptable to marry a person is that they are not repulsive to you. They don’t need to be a model.

4. Be willing to Get a Dating / Shidduch Coach

– A Shidduch or Dating Coach will serve as an intermediary to help you work out issues with a potential mate. At times one partner is interested but the other has reservations. Instead of discussing their reservations with the partner – they decide to break it off.

In comes the Dating Coach. He or She will be able to take concerns and tactfully relate them to the other party. They will be able to advise the person what are important issues and what are secondary. Most Preferably – this coach should have Daat Torah – a point of view of the Torah to allow you the Torah perspective of what is important.

I would suggest speaking with a Competent Orthodox Rabbi to ask him to be a Dating Coach. Both partners must be agreeable.

Perhaps the man likes the woman’s personality but finds her overweight. He is embarrassed to mention that to her. Perhaps the woman likes the man’s personality but she finds him not Torah observant enough. (certain cases I encountered). The Shidduch Coach could try to work things out.

5. Growing in Judaism

There is a concept in Judasim called – Maalim BaKodesh. We raise ourselves in Holiness. Meaning that we go from a lower level to a higher one. Like first Jewish men put on the Talit and then the Tefillin daily. Tefillin has a higher level of holiness than the Talit.  Similarly I advise people to try to raise their bar in Torah observance before they get married to be able to get matched from above with a similar mate that will raise their family in Judaism.

G-d will help you find a mate usually on a similar religious level. If you raise your observance G-d will give you a similar mate. An example – if one hangs out in bars every night – G-d will allow them to meet a mate that does the same. If you want a family that are together on Shabbat and holidays and before marriage and you make an effort to observe the Shabbat in its entirety – G-d will help them meet a similar mate.

Growth in Torah and Judaism is an important part of Torah Observance. At times one person is on a particular level of Torah Observance and the other is on a lower level. The one on the lower level would be smart to raise their level of observance and tell that to the potential mate.

6. Demanding the Basics

As mentioned above there are basics that a person should have to be a good partner that will help you and your family grow in Judaism.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

I know people that chose their mates. Their parent imposed on the mate dating their child – the above requirements. You might have others – that the mate studies Torah daily. That the wife covers her hair. That their be no TV in the house. You decide – but I believe the 4 points (a, b, c & d) mentioned above are the minimum requirements to raise a family in Judaism.

7. Listening to Parents

Parents want the good of the children. Thus it makes sense to look to them for advice. Obviously one can marry against the advice of their parents – but it is good to seek their approval and listen to their ideas.

8. Considering Previous Dates

If a date was 80% and one of you rejected the other party – it might be reasonable to contact them yourself or through an intermediary  to try again. In Judaism if one got divorced – it is praiseworthy to remarry the same mate – if they did not get remarried in the interim.

9. Can You get Along

Some people look for love at first sight. Sometimes it happens that way. Sometimes that is just infatuation and fades quickly after marriage. Love in Marriage may take several years to develop. When you give you start to love. Love comes from appreciating the goodness and qualities of the other. Many a time people mistake love for infatuation. Know the difference.

One of the points of the date is to see if you can get along. Can you appreciate the others personality. If after 2 or 3 dates there is no commonality it might be a sign to stop. On the 3rd date – if the first 2 were successful – a person can tell a bit of personal information to see if they feel comfortable relating to them and to see how they react.

Remember a date is not your psychologist. You don’t have to tell them all of your problems. Your goal is to find out if you can respect one another and have a meeting of the minds.

10. Popping the Question

Some people take much time to pop the question to get married. If the basics are in order asking to get married is the next step. You can give the person a heads up and say what do you think about marriage.

Some are afraid of rejection. Some are afraid of commitment. Some are afraid to make the wrong decision. If they reject – perhaps they were not for you and G-d saved you from an unproductive marriage.

If you are afraid of commitment – you just have to do your best. Some are afraid of financial stability – it is G-d who provides. Some want a degree,a high paying job before they get married  – although one should be realistic – that shouldn’t be a necessary criteria imposed on yourself or the other party – If you or the other party are responsible and trustworthy – you can assume that the other person will find a way to make income.

If you are afraid of making the wrong decision – once the basics are in place and you prayed to Hashem and did your due diligence you can feel more confident in asking the other for their hand.

It happened to me several times that I was interested in marrying a girl, and I even gave a ring and the girl returned the ring to me. G-d saw that the girl was not for me for a reason. He arranged that she reject me. Looking back it was a good thing things happened that way.

That is to tell you – although you should do all your effort, due diligence and pray – G-d / Hash-m will help you marry the right mate.

6 Ways How to Build the Holy Jewish Temple – One is with Lego

The Third Beit HaMikdash / Holy Temple is to come down from Heaven. The Jews yearn for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem since the destruction of the Second temple in the year 70 Common Era (C.E.).

The picture above is a Model of the Beit HaMikdash in Lego designed on Lego Digital Designer (LDD). LDD is a free program downloaded at the Lego site that allows you to design Lego models on a computer and saves files in the LXF format. If you want the lxf file of the model above please contact us at info@jerusalemlife.com. It doubles as a Tzedaka Box.

 

Why?

Reasons for Yearning for the Temple

Several reasons.

One – there will be no more war. Yes. One day – there will be no more war. This is when the Messiah will come. Some say that he will fight a war to end all wars called the war of Gog uMagog. Some say that this person will be so intelligent that he will teach the nations to make peace together.

Two – is that G-d / Hash-m – who created the world and took the Jews out of Egypt – will be recognized by all people as the true G-d of the world. Observant Jews recognize the constant good that G-d does for us daily and yearn for other people to love, fear and worship Him.

Here are ways to help rebuild the Holy Temple.

1. Stop speaking badly of others. Speaking badly is called Lashon HaRa (Evil Speech). Even if a fact is 100% true – if it is derogatory – we should not repeat what we heard about a fellow Jew. Some take upon themselves one hour to not speak badly of others a day and build up from there. The Chofetz Chaim wrote various books on the laws of guarding one’s tongue. Many are Available in English from artscroll.com, feldheim.com and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. Make a 5-minute daily Lashon HaRa learning session with friends or family.

2. Do Acts of Kindness – the 2nd temple was destroyed because of Sinat hinam (Gratuitous Hatred). To remedy this we do acts of Gratuitous love. Acts of Hesed / Kindness. Some make it a habit to do at least one act of kindness to someone else – daily.

3. Jews Observe the Shabbat & Non Jews Observe the 7 Noahide laws. If all the Jews observe 2 Shabbats in its entirety – the Jewish people will be redeemed. Jews and Gentiles may be saved through attaching themselves to Torah.  If there is a war Gentiles and Jews can be safeguarded by observing the 7 Noahide laws and the 613 commandments respectively as stipulated in the Torah.

4. Make Peace between others – Have a grudge against an old friend or family member? – forgive and forget. Send a messenger – if you don’t feel up to it – to apologize and make amends. Send a text written by yourself, a friend or a spouse. Make sure it doesn’t refuel the fire but extinguish the fire between you. One of the laws of the Torah is to love your fellow like yourself.

5. Yearn for the Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple / Beit Hamikdash and pray.

How do you yearn? Pray. Learn about the Beit HaMikdash. Build a model of it with Lego. I ordered a Model of the Beit Hamikdash printed from a 3D printer online. It was less than $20. The Lego model above doubles as a Tzedaka box / Charity Box. Giving Tzedaka to a Torah cause can also help to hasten the redemption. You can give to Ohr Binyamin or other worthy causes found in our article of: Worthy Torah Causes  

6. Learn Torah.

Learning Torah brings great goodness into the world. Jews learn the Torah. Gentiles learn their 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. A Gentile that learns their Noahide laws from the Torah are considered as great as a High Priest that served in the Jewish Temple.

The great rabbis say that we are in the messianic age. Our actions will determine whether it will come sooner or later.

What’s Your EQ? Your Emotional Maturity

People get stuck. If it’s for good – good. But if it’s negative – you got to get out of that negativity.

Some people are petty all their lives. They complain about that they never became who they wanted. They never got that job. They look at others and remain in complain mode all their lives.

Sad.

Breaking Potential

We all have much potential. But we waste it on – cell phones, killing time, being stuck in my way or the highway mode.

We think we know it all. More than even G-d. That was my mistake. I was thinking what G-d wants is not my problem – until I had a rude awakening. I learned the hard way. But now looking back – that awakening – painful as it was – was worth it to awaken me from my living the false dreams that occupies most of society’s mind.

Pleasant Reality

Cool water splashing in my face – I realized what reality really is – and it was a pleasant surprise.

Living a Lifetime of Childhood

I was living the life of a child. I want my new toy. Give it to me or I will be upset. Give me my popularity. Say I am cool. Let me be the Mr. Popular of the clique. I was.

My whole clique prided ourselves on being different. I took it seriously. Others took it as a fad. My friends became lawyers, accountants, finance people – but I held on to the Idea – of not following the crowd – somehow discovering myself in the process.

When you break off from following the clique – you realize that – what you thought was individuality was really following the crowd. Most of the world follows what is popular. Even in religious circles – you form a new clique.

The Way Out

Your only safeguard in life is following the truth. If you are lucky – you will realize the truth of the Torah. If you are not – you will jump from one clique to another – trying to convince yourself that your happy and having a good time or that your truth is truth. I know. I was there in that shell – until suffering broke me out of the shackles of society’s ideas.

The path was painful many days. I started learning Torah. Many years passed and I emerged from my cocoon as a new man. Not following the status quo – but trying to please my Creator. It wasn’t necessarily because I was so religiously oriented – but I thought that that would be the best path to alleviate the pain.

So now I share some of my lessons learned.

The Cookie Story

Once a man bought a pack of cookies in the airport. On the plane the passenger sitting next to him  took a cookie from the pack. The man was astounded that someone would take his cookies without permission. He didn’t want to say anything – so he took one cookie as well. The other passenger took another cookie. He took another one also. The last cookie the other person broke in half and they shared it.

After the trip – he was wondering how a person could be so bold to take his cookies. When reaching into his carry-on – he found – the cookies he bought. The person next to him was taking and sharing his own cookies.

Many things one can learn from this story – one thing is that the person that you think is taking from you may really be helping you out. An example – you give a dollar to a poor person – you think you are Mr. Generous. Really that person is helping you out more – because he helped you to receive reward for the Mitzvah that you did by giving him money.

If the same happened to you – how would you react? Would it bother you? Would you say something? Would you complain?

The way you answer is one indicator of your emotional maturity (or your level of generosity).

Let’s say it was your roommate. Let’s say the cookies were really yours. Let’s say he or she took your things on a constant basis.

Do you rank them out? Do you complain to others? Do you feel all upset? Do you mention to them in a nice way that you don’t appreciate their behavior? Do you swallow your pride and don’t mention anything – but you have a silent grudge towards them? Or do you try to find some way to find a way to justify their actions or pacify yourself?

Your reaction – is an indicator of your Emotional maturity.

I was discussing with someone – saying that the most proper reaction is the latter – to find a way to justify their actions. Why? Because all other reactions will not help you grow. You will react to your friend and thus react the same way the next time around. One will be complaining about people eating their cookies for the next 100 years of their life. They did not change. The same way you came into the world – you go out. Grumpy in – grumpy out.

Growth starts with belief in G-d. If one believes not in G-d – when push comes to shove they will usually act like tiger towards an animal that grabbed his lunch. But to grow – you know that there is a higher authority watching you. You cannot just do anything. You cannot go bonkers or overboard – because of the decorum that G-d expects of you.

The man (or woman) of growth will think – “perhaps that person cannot afford to buy their own cookies. Perhaps they don’t like to go out and buy cookies and think that you are a generous soul that doesn’t mind them serving themselves. Perhaps G-d is testing your emotional maturity. Perhaps G-d is trying to help you become more generous.

You choose your reaction. You are not forced to react a particular way. The more mature you are the more cool, calm and collected will be your reaction.

You build your maturity – when you control your emotions. Some just want to let off steam. Some gain pleasure from getting angry. Afterwards they justify themselves by saying “you made me angry.” No one makes you angry – only you yourself decides to get angry.

You choose – either the path of letting off steam or the path to growth. The path to growth will lead you to satisfaction with yourself. The path of letting off steam – you may remain a child – with your childish recations for the rest of your life.

You have before you life and good or death and bad. Choose life. Control yourself and grow. Become more mature. Don’t remain a 10 year old the rest of your life.

You control your reactions – you choose whether you will grow or stagnate.

You choose whether you will become a noble soul or a penny pincher or a tit for tatter the rest of your life.

It is much easier to grow when you believe in Hash-m and Torah. For you know that all that happens to you is for your best interest.

Got a parking ticket & you don’t have great faith – you are miserable all day.

Got a parking ticket & you do believe in Hash-m – you feel great and thankful that G-d saved you from a worse fate.

It takes work, control and belief in G-d – but you can grow to that better person. The Torah is the ultimate self-improvement guide. It teaches us to emulate G-d – what better example can we have?

How to Buy a Safe Cell Phone – the Three Major Concerns

“And you shall surely protect yourself.” ( Devarim / Deut 4,15) – Venishmartem Meod lenafshotechem.

A commandment of the Torah. This commandment applies to keeping safe and healthy.  Yes – like any good parent – G-d wants you to be safe and healthy.

Three safety concerns in purchasing a cell phone –

is it spiritually safe?

is it productively safe?

is it physically safe?

1. Spiritually Safe

Assume that your child will use your phone. Thus safeguards should be taken into account before purchasing the phone. Some opt for no internet phones. Thus there is no temptations to surf to improper sites. This is the safest route. Thus many orthodox Jews have a flip phone or a no-internet phone to detour this problem.

Others buy the smart phone but put the app locks on. They download an app that one must put a code in order to access a particular app. On Apple phones one can remove apps altogether from the phone. So one can remove the browser. No browser – no internet.

There are other things to do – but if you want more info – see the article on 70 ways to protect your home from bad influences of the Internet.

2. Productively Safe

Some think that the latest smart phone will help you be more productive. Perhaps. Some studies find that the time used surfing, texting and social media-ing counters all gains in productivity. Do the research. And know yourself.

Time is a resource that is limited. Waste a minute – you can never get it back.

3. Physically Safe

The first thing I look for before purchasing a cell phone is it’s EMF (electro-magnetic field) or SAR (Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)).

Here is an article from the US government FCC Site on SAR of Cell Phones

A site that makes it easy to look it up is phone more. Type in the model of phone you are interested in and scroll down and see the SAR rating. It will usually give you two ratings one for the head and one for the body. You can also check the FCC site above for ratings as well.

Both should be less than .80 but the more important rate is the head SAR. When selecting a phone – between choices – I try to choose the phone that has the lowest SAR. I prefer ones that have less than .6 to the head. Some phones have ratings as low as .21 for the head. The lower the better.

If you cant find SAR level on the above sites – you can google – the exact model of phone and SAR rating.

Being Married this Time Next Year – 14 Reasons why You are Not Married Yet & 10 Tips to Tie the Knot

Yes I am the expert. 🙂

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

What I do know is common sense.

Unfortunately sometimes the common sense kicks in only after I made my mistakes. At least I do learn after the mistakes. Sometimes.

Yes this is a Jewish site. So here is some of the Jewish or Torah perspective on the Dating for Marriage.

G-d made a concept of family. He made it that a man and woman will marry to bring up a family that will make this world a better place by following His guidelines as established in the Torah.

The Purpose of Dating

A very important point to remember is – one dates to determine whether the person is the right person for marriage. One tries to get to know the other through seeing if they share common goals and values. Although you want to find out pertinent information – It is not a job interview. You have to see if the person before you has the right attitude, personality, values for you to build a family together. Your first two dates are to determine whether you can get along. The third is to determine whether you can respect the other person’s opinions, goals and personality.

I went out on dates with 10 different people before meeting my wife. It took me 3 dates to ask my wife to get married. Thank G-d she accepted. For others it may take more time.

Statistics are claiming Less people are getting married.

Having this in Mind here are 14 possible reasons why some are not married yet

1. Lack of effort.

Many people want their perfect spouse to fall from the sky. Not likely. A person has to put in a serious effort to finding a mate. If you don’t look you are not likely to find. But an important point to know is – that your looking is not a guarantee that you will find.

Here is the way the world really works. You make your effort for achieving a goal. G-d looks at your effort and says – OK, you made enough effort for Me to give you what you set out to do.

You make your effort – G-d provides the results. This helps us cope with failure as well. because if I put my utmost effort into achieving something and I don’t I am not a failure. I am a success because at least I tried. But G-d had different plans in mind.

Here are two personal examples of the effort we make and the results G-d determines principle.

I wanted to buy a house. We negotiated the price with the owner. We set the terms – we agreed on the terms. I signed the papers to buy the house. I deliver them to the owner’s lawyer. Then I get a call from my lawyer saying “Sorry the deal for the house is off.” “What do you mean. I signed the papers. I gave the deposit check. What happened?” My lawyer said he could not get along with the other lawyer’s attitude. Thus he didn’t want to deal with him.” The lawyers didn’t get along. I lost the house.

Upsetting? Perhaps if you remove G-d from the equation. But if you do put G-d into the equation – you realize that G-d is Good. G-d loves you. G-d wants your best and He thought that what you thought was a good deal was not a good deal – so He found a way to nullify it. End of the story – we found a better house for us in the end. We were happy we didn’t buy the first house.

Another example:

When single, at times I made efforts to find a spouse. At times I was laid back and put it on the back-burner. When I started making a serious concerted effort – by networking with people and prayer to Hash-m / G-d – to find the right mate – I found the right one but not through my efforts. You could say the proposition to meet someone came from left field. I was calling people in the US to meet prospects. The right prospect came from my grandmother who lived in France and who suggested someone from France.

I made my effort – but G-d sent me the right one. My meeting the right person was not a direct result of my efforts. I made my effort. G-d saw I was serious & He sent me the right one.  

So  make your effort. If G-d thinks it is a good idea for you to get married – He will help you.

Obviously – this is provided you stick to the rules of the Torah. If you don’t stick to the rules – so G-d may give you what you want – which is not always the best thing for you.

It is better to pray that G-d find the best person in His view for you to get married with – to help you achieve your potential in life – than to pray to marry a particular person – who might not be the best person for you. I made that mistake. I prayed to date a particular person – I did date them and it didn’t work out in the end – because they were  not for me.

There is a principle in Torah – G-d will guide you in the way you wish to follow. If a person is a thief and he prays to G-d he will help him steal. If you really want a particular person to marry G-d may help you – but it might be to your detriment.

Thus following the laws of the Torah (ie, the 613 commandments for Jews or the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah for non-Jews) is a prerequisite for finding the right mate to achieve your potential in life.

I know what you are going to say. What are you talking about? I know many people who do not follow Torah but are happy in life.

To this I answer – OK they may be happy – but are they achieving their potential for doing good for the world? Probably not.

This is one reason against Jewish intermarriage – when Jewish people marry people of different religions – the goals are the family are automatically confused. One partner wants to give a Jewish education – the other says they see no point in a solid Torah day school education for Jewish kids. But we’ll get to that later.

Be ready to put your best foot forward when searching for a mate. Treat finding a mate as seriously as you would as if you were searching for a Job.

My optometrist friend would call up optical stores – one-by-one he found in the phone book to find a Job. We should be at least as serious in searching for a mate for ourselves or our children. If a person is out of a job, one calls a head hunter, networks, makes phone calls and sends out resumes. The same dedication is required for getting married. Dedicate at least 10 minutes a day to find the right person. Effort includes praying to Hashem / G-d daily to help you find a mate. Before I got married I would recite Tehillim / psalm 121 as a segula to get married. I prayed at the kever / grave-site of Yonathan Ben Uziel in Amuka, Israel. At times I would be serious about dating for marriage regularly. At times I would slack off. When I became serious – G-d sent me the right mate.

A Suggested Amount of Effort

I would suggest a person spend at least 5 to 10 minutes daily searching for a proper mate for themselves or their children.

2. Lack of clarity of what is truly important.
Another boon to getting married is – lack of clear idea of what one wants. If you don’t know what you are looking for – you won’t know when you find it. Some basic points you should consider are found in tip 3 below.

3. Do not value the importance of marriage
Getting married and having kids is a commandment in the Torah for Jews and gentiles. some think it is a nice thing to do – but not for them. G-d formulated things that to reach your potential – you must be married. He created man and woman as one entity. A person not married has not yet found their mate to help them complete themselves.

Because some Do not value the importance of marriage they do not date for the purpose of marriage. Some date just for a good time. That might be a problem. If you or your mate have no marriage intentions – marriage is less likely. Also physical relations before marriage causes objectivity to fly out the window. A person who is not celibate on dates may end up marrying a person who might not be suitable for them. This is probably the major reason for divorce today – people marry others that they are “in love” with without determining if they are compatible with the other before hand.  

4. High expectations
Some people think they are prince charming or princess of Pompadour – so they reject anyone they think is not suitable for them. G-d may have organized you to meet a particular person that He determined is suitable mate for you. Look into a proposal seriously before you reject them. Some people tailor design in their mind a person for themselves. You will most likely not meet this person. But you will meet a person that you feel that you have an affinity to build a wholesome Torah home if you do make your effort.


5. The “When I” excuse
“When I” get my degree, I’ll start looking to get married. “When I” get a decent Job I will start looking. “When I build” my business, I’ll find a mate.
All these are completely invalid excuses to postpone getting married. G-d does not say make sure you have a decent degree before you get married. G-d also provides the parnassa / the income – not your effort. (as mentioned above)


6. Am I turning people off?
Some turn others off with their looks, their appearance, their attitude, their habits and/or their opinions. I am talking with you face to face – your phone rings – it is impolite to answer while I speak with you. Some go on ranting about the President or politics. OK have an opinion – but if that is what you rant about regularly – i would rather talk about things that deal with real day to day life.

Today anyone can spy on your attitudes in life by checking heir facebook page. It’s a dead giveaway. Beware of what you post – it might come back to haunt you. I heard someone lost a job opportunity because of a Facebook post. Apparently people check out potential mates that way. Some people are obsessed with a subject because of a trauma or experience that they had.

Remember you are searching for a mate should be a friend to build a home with – not your psychologist.


7. Low Expectations

At times a person is dating people that will not help that person reach their potential in life. G-d makes it not work out so that you will find the person who can best help you together with the new mate to reach your family potential.


8. Not ready psychologically
Some people are not ready psychologically to get married because they have a fear of commitment or a fear of marriage or a low self esteem. Deal with these issues and make your effort to tie the knot. Marrying the right person makes a person life better not worse.

9. Not ready spiritually
G-d want you to reach a high level spiritually. Being connected to G-d is the greatest pleasure a person can have. He gave us the outline of how to become close with Him – the Torah. At times G-d wants you to reach a higher spiritual level in Torah observance and/or learning before matching you with the right mate so that together you can reach your spiritual purpose and potential. Advice – increase your spiritual Torah pursuits. Read Torah books in your language. Attend Torah lectures. Improve yourself – vis-a-vis the Torah’s values and G-d will match you with a better mate.


10. The “I want” syndrome
“I want someone open-minded. I want someone intellectual. I want someone who can sing.”
All very nice – but irrelevant to being a good mate. The question you want to ask is will the potential mate be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. That is a fundamental point. Other “I wants” you have may be irrelevant to a good relationship and curtail marriage process.

Someone told me they want an intellectual wife. I told them “what do you think you will be discussing once married – Einstein’s law of relativity?” You will be talking of things to build a family and the relationship. Get goals that will make a great marriage not whims that have no relevance to building a Torah family.


11. No they are not your debate-team partner.
Some people go on a date and try to prove that they are right or show the other person they are wrong. Perhaps that is not their intention, but it comes off that way. if you are different – than respect the other person – act politely and after the date don’t go out again – it is not your job to convert the person to your views.


12. Rejection on paper or social media
At times a person sees a person’s photo and rejects going out because of what they look like. Many time a photo can lie. People reject others without seeing them in person.The total person is much greater than his or her photo or bio or Facebook page.


13. Looking in the wrong places
If you want to buy a car go to a car dealer. If you want to find a good mate go to a place that you would expect to find them and ask around.
I don’t know how successful singles parties are. I suggest to Jewish singles to contact local orthodox rabbis to determine if they know of a potential mate for them and to use me as a reference. An orthodox rabbi knows the members of his congregation. He will give you an honest opinion on the person – provided you ask the proper, pointed questions. You can get ideas for questions in tip 3 below.

14. Lack of Common Values

I think one of the strongest bonds is when people share Torah values. It helps people to make common family decisions. If one is a mate just following the winds of the newspapers or society – one day his value will be A the next B. Perhaps his or her mate will have Value B when he or she has Value A. Thus the solid, tried values of Torah help a couple to live a more stable relationship.

10 Tips to get yourself married with the right  mate that G-d intended you to meet.

1. Know that G-d wants you married – and what he wants from you in marriage by consulting Torah rabbis and lectures on the subject. (see the links section for info on the subject)


2. Know one of the commandments is for a person to beget children and raise them in the path of the Torah (jews the 613 commandments and gentiles the 7 noahide laws from the Torah)

3. know the “requirements” and the “good to haves.”

For a Jewish couple here are certain “requirements” and the “good to haves” for a potential mate

Requirements
a) that the mate is Jewish.
b) that the mate has a desire to use the Torah as a daily guide to building family. (Jews see Shulchan Aruch) / (Gentiles see Torah’s 7 Noahide laws)
c) that the mate has a good heart (ie, generous & giving)
d) that the mate has good values (based upon Torah outlook)
e) that the mate has good character traits (merciful, bashful & doing kindness)
f) attractive to you
g) that you can talk with

Good to Haves

What are the good to haves? Some may be more important than others. You probably have a list of your own.
a) person from a good family
b) person with class
c) person that is responsible
d) person from same background as yourself in terms of – country where you were born, family country background, ethnicity, etc. a similar mentality of the mates decreases lack of accord. A similar mentality will make the marriage to more likely to work out. I thus suggest Sephardim to Marry Sephardim. Askenazim to marry Ashkenaz. Moroccan Jews to marry Moroccans. etc. Obviously, it is not a guarantee for a happy marriage – first the basics are to be in order (the requirements above). But it might cause less reason for quarrels because people are on a similar page. Statistics that supports this notion is a study done by the Center for Disease Control in 2002 about divorce rates that showed interracial marriages were more likely to end in divorce than same-ethnic marriages — 41 percent versus 31 percent.
e) person with similar goals in life
f) person that you can respect and help with their aspirations in life

4. Consider someone who is not 100% your perfect mate / know there are things you can change 

If you find someone who is 80% perhaps you can try to change the rest. Accept the person as who they are. I know people who rejected dates because they were only 90% of what they were looking for. Too bad. There is no perfect person. Only G-d is perfect. Know what you can change and can’t change in a person. If a person has something you don’t like that can be changed – perhaps a date is worth a try. If you don’t know ask a competent shadchan / match maker or Orthodox Rabbi.


5. Know that it only takes one person

For a Jewish couple G-d basically wants a couple to build a family that lives happily using the Torah as their guide for their daily lives. Some people try to surf the social media for a mate. Just focus on meeting one right person at a time. don’t compare. see if that person that you are dating is good based upon what we discussed. aprreciate that person for who they are. pray to G-d to help you make the right decision.


6. Get help from professionals

Perhaps you need a dating coach or advice from the Torah / Daat Torah – so ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi for help.


7. Do your homework before you go out.
Ask references – some have a dating resume – ask for a dating resume of potential mates.


8. Portray a positive image.
Don’t use your date a social worker or psychologist. Keep your vocal opinions to yourself on dates – don’t be obsessed by certain issues. It is a turn-off. don’t be obsessed about yourself and your opinions. You may be wrong. Don’t talk about your failures and deceptions in your life. Don’t talk negatively. Use your speech wisely.


9. Pick 10 things you are looking for in a mate and if you find five out of the 10 – it is worth a try.


10. Look in the right places.

If you are looking for a Torah scholar network in the Yeshivas. If you are looking for a good person – call local orthodox rabbis of communities. If you look in the local bars – you’ll find people with values from the bars – which is a shot in the dark at best.

Wishing you all the best. If you need any advice please feel free to contact us at info@jerusalemlife.com

3 Super Secrets to Beat Foes of Productivity – Procrastination & Distraction

Everything is in Torah.

Like the Three Secrets to Beat Procrastination & Distraction.

Hillel – the great Torah sage – teaches us to beat these foes of productivity.

הוא היה אומר, אם אין אני לי, מי לי. וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני. ואם לא עכשיו, אימתי:

He [Rabbi Hillel] used to say: If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when? (Pirkei Avot 1:14)

I write this because I fall into the trap as well.

Here are the three secrets – then I will relate them to Hillel’s dictum.

1. Remove Emotions from the Equation

2. Make a List of 10 things you want to accomplish in the Day and focus on three.

3. Start with 5 minutes of the undesired task.

Here are explanations on Hillel’s three pieces of advice.

If I am not for me, who will be for me?

Many a time I procrastinate because I don’t feel like calling or dealing with someone or dealing with a problem. My emotions stop me from progressing. So I have 2 or 3 options 1. To listen to my emotions and procrastinate. 2. Overcome my emotions. 3. Remove my emotions. I act like “Spock” – a person who acts on logic – not emotions and make my feelings of not wanting to make that call irrelevant.

How do I do so? I think that it is irrelevant what the other person will say. It only matters what my job is. Meaning – that if I have a responsibility to do something positive (as dictated by the Torah) – it is irrelevant what the other person will react. I have to accomplish my purpose in my life. What other people think is not my problem.

Let’s take an example – I have to eat Kosher. I have to have a lunch meeting with the boss. Now what will the boss say if he invites me to a fancy restaurant and I can’t eat there because I eat Kosher. So I can push off my meeting or tell the boss – I can only eat in a Kosher restaurant. I am responsible for my actions as told in the Torah. If I am concerned of what will other people think – it is a recipe for self-erasure. Blending into the crowd. Becoming a robot of society.

And when I am for myself alone, what am I?

Obviously I have to accomplish my purpose in such a way by acting in accordance to Torah values – ie, by not stepping on others shoes, by not hurting other’s feelings, by not acting dishonestly, etc.

By acting according to my whims and feelings is in a sense relatively selfish. If I can help another person and I relegate myself to playing video game or surfing on amazon or checking my whatsapp every 2 minutes – I lose the opportunity of helping others.

Thus I must get organized and make my priorities. One way to do such is an idea from Warren Buffet – of Berkshire Hathaway – one of the richest people in the world – given to his Executive Jet pilot. He said make a list of 25 things or goals you want to accomplish. Rank the 5 most important ones. Take care of those five. As for the other 20 forbid yourself to take care of them until you accomplish the first 5.

We distract ourselves with not only things that are not our goals – but things that are our goals but of a lesser priority. If we focus on our main goals – we help ourselves and other people.

And if not now, then when?

If I don’t take care of something right away, I may end up using time allocated for another purpose. Thus I must focus on getting things done on time in the proper time. How? I don’t feel like doing certain things. Now what?

A simple solution is to start 5 minutes of the undesired task. Once you get the ball rolling it is easier to continue.

If there is a will there is a way to be more productive and accomplish your purpose. You can do it.

 

 

What Kind of the 5 Seekers Are You? Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality. And What Gets You There?

Man is called a Go-er / Mehalekh in Hebrew.

Apparently a person wants to achieve something in this world. He does not want to stay idle. A person works, plays sports, creates & learn.

This is the world for doing. In the next world it is a world to receive reward for our deeds we accomplished in this world.

Thus we seek. We seek perfection.

Rabbi Yigal Haimoff once explained the reason why seek perfection is that we were created by G-d. We now wish to emulate our creator.

Why Be a Winner?

It’s seen frequently in everyday life. We want to root for the winning team. We want to win – not lose. Why? We want that perfect product. We are upset when we get a small dent or scratch on our new car. Why? We recognize the value of perfection. We want to emulate the perfection of Hash-m.

I came up with five things people seek.

Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality.

There could be other things.

Most people seek a combination of all. But each focuses more on one aspect than another.

Is there a path that will bring a person to all of these aspects of life? Like the Theory of Everything in Science.

Apparently.

10 Commandments or 7?

I talk to gentiles / non-Jews sometimes. I teach them that there are seven commandments for all people in the world – The 7 Noahide commandments of the Torah given to Noah and Moses at Mount Sinai by G-d.

One typical response I get is “I Thought there are 10 commandments?”

So I explain – Yes. There are 10 commandments for the Jews and 7 Commandments for the Gentiles.

They Say what are the commandments that are missing. So I explain A Gentile does not observe the Sabbath. and other differences.

At this point I must determine whether this person is genuinely interested in learning more, or if it is a curiosity question or if the question is to challenge me back to say  that their religion says otherwise and they actually observe the Sabbath.

If I feel that they are a person that follows religion because of religion I back off and say well read more about it and I tell them about them some websites that teach the Torah’s Noahide Laws. Why do I back off? Because some people have already made up their mind on their way of life. They will not change even if you show them the truth. These are people of religion that are not truth-seekers.

These people – with no intention to deride them – are similar to some people who were told that Mount Helens was about to erupt and that they had to evacuate their homes. They did not evacuate because they said “that is where they lived all there lives and they did not want to abandon their homes.” Many died because of this attitude.

There are other people that follow religion but also follow truth. If I prove to them that the truth is is that a non-Jew should follow the 7 commandments rather than the 10 – they give it a chance.

Why Gentiles Do Not Observe the Sabbath

What is the proof that only Jews follow the 10 commandments? Pretty Easy. If I say to a class – everyone wearing a blue shirt can go out to recess. If a person who is wearing a yellow shirt goes to recess – they will not be following my instructions.

In the 10 Commandments it says – “I am the G-d who took you out of Egypt…” Who did G-d take out of Egypt? The Jews. So the commandments apply to everyone who G-d took out of Egypt and not others.

So of utmost importance for any person is to follow truth. Truth will bring them to truth. Feelings will not bring them to truth. Some people say – I follow religion or any other path because it feels good. But that can be self-destructive – as we see alcoholics who follow a lifestyle of inebriation – which is not the path that G-d wants from us. So feeling cannot be the determinant of the truth of G-d or the True path of G-d.

To find the path of Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality.

Logically we can figure out that G-d wants all of the above for all people. How? G-d is one of the partners in Every human being.

Proof that G-d Wants Your Pleasure, Happiness & Good

There are 3 partners in every person on earth – the Father, the Mother and G-d. If parents want children to live a meaningful, purposeful, happy life thus G-d also wants his children to live such a life.

So now the question is how does G-d want us to find all of those aspects of life?

Apparently G-d is not going to give a person a gift of life without giving them the instruction booklet. You would not expect to a car or any other machinery or appliance you buy to not come with instruction or a users manual.

What is the User Manual of G-d

So one of the biggest questions that person must answer correctly in life is what is the Instruction Manual of G-d for humans?

If you answer correctly, you win the Jackpot. All the good aspects of life mentioned above follow. Sure one will still live challenges – but at least it will be challenges with a purpose – not challenges without purpose or challenges that distance a person from G-d.

Spirituality – the Definition

Spirituality is basically- establishing a close relationship with G-d. Thus what better way to establish a relationship with G-d than following His commandments.

The Pursuit of Truth to Arrive at the True Law of G-d

Abraham – our Forefather followed the path of truth to establish a relationship with G-d. He traced a path for us. He showed us that accepting the status quo or following fads or societal norms will not necessarily bring you closer to Hash-m / G-d.

G-d is Good & wants you to emulate Him

We can see the tremendous kindness of G-d daily. He feeds the entire world. Not Just humans, but all the living creatures, plants andimals, insects, fish birds. That is a tremendous act of kindness. Most people in the world live a good life – a life to be thankful for. So we see that G-d is good and he wants us to act with Goodness -thus His Instruction Guide must teach us about kindness.

Improving Relationships

Relationships – the Kindness that one does is mainly through interaction and relationships with other human beings. Thus G-d’s instructions must also include how to have more positive relationships.

Determining the true guide of G-d is pretty easy. Only once in all man’s history did G-d appear to millions of people. This is when G-d appeared at Mount Sinai and Gave His Torah. Everyone heard G-d speaking. No other document or religion claims this national revelation. Some try to piggyback on the Torah and say yes G-d revealed Himself to the Jews but “changed his mind.”

Not really logical that G-d, who has knowledge of all – the most intelligent being in the world – the seer of past, present and future will give laws and then change His mind.

Thus only the Torah fits the bill.

Thus all the 5 aspects of life can be bettered through Torah observance. Ask your local Orthodox Rabbi.