How to Be Me – the Keys to Reaching Your Potential

ladder-to-the-skyYoung. Bold. And daring, I didn’t care to conform to the norm. I used to wear two different color sneakers. I believe one was red, the other black. I wore two watches on one wrist and a Felix the cat hat. In university, i got stares, but after a quick look they would continue on their way.

No matter. I didn’t care what people thought. But i did care what people felt.

I don’t think anyone ever asked me why i dressed such.

I was making a statement. Nothing about fashion. It was about not conforming to society. My clothes were to get people to think. But apparently no one got it.

I subscribed to the old adage that parents use to make the children feel guilty or at least hope to make them feel guilty for mimicking a no-no of their friend “If your friend jumped out the window would you do the same?”

Be Yourself

Other students also were different, but apparently for another reason – to fit into the cool group. It was cool to be different. But that reason was antithesis to being unique. They were being unique to belong. I was being different to say to the world “Don’t just follow. Be Yourself!”

There was a method to my distinctiveness.

Many years later I find myself alone in my mission. Many of my acquaintances faded away into their own lives. Faded into the background of conformity. Passed that stage of life or just matured. Each one going their own way.

The Problem of Conforming

So what’s so bad about conforming?

Nothing, if you are conforming for the good.

On the other hand conforming can destroy, when many people do the popular, without thought of the long term negative effects.

I mimic my newspaper. I mimic my society. I mimic my work associates. The best way to melt into the melting pot and dissolve your own uniqueness.

For a person to be happy, they must be themselves. In trying to belong they gain friends but lose themselves.

Like a rabbi I know said “If you try to be like others, you are not the other. You are not yourself. You are nobody.”

Strong, but true.

How To Be Me

Being oneself starts with asking questions. The Torah tells you to question.

Is it right? Is it wrong?
Is it good? Is it bad?
Is it good for society or not?
Is it in my best interest?
Is it good for the long term education & upbringing of my kids?
Does it make sense?
Am I accomplishing the good that I can be or am I wasting my time?
Am i being myself? Or am i being a clone?
Am I achieving my purpose? Do I know my purpose?
Am I achieving my potential?
Am I true to myself?
Am I true to my G.d?
Am I fair? Or am I biased?
Do I hate? Why? Is the hate justified? Are my emotions driving my behavior?
Are my thoughts consistent with G-d’s view?
Are my views and actions consistent with Torah halacha / law?

Am I afraid of truth?
Am I afraid of Judaism?
Do I put Judaism into a stereotype of religions?
Is my religion true? How Do I know?

Is there one true law of G-d?

What does G-d want from me?

What is the true law of G-d? Why?

Am I being biased by my upbringing, newspapers I read, society I live in?

Do I care? Are my positions rational?
Do I believe in G.d?
Do I recognize the kindness of G.d to me on a daily basis?
Do I recognize my blessings?
Am I consistent?
Am I being me? Or am I just doing the convenient swinging from one branch of pleasure to another going around in circles?

How do I Perceive Myself? How do others Perceive me?

What are others attitudes towards me?

Is my Torah observance correct in the eyes of G.d?
Am I or am I not?

The Torah is the guidepost that G.d gave us to determine if we are achieving.

Truth – the Antidote to Conformity & Secret to Living

What is the path to not conform? It is to do the truth. Many people following religions without thinking fall into the category of conformists. I do it because others do it. Before one does one should see if it makes sense. Is it the right thing to do in the eyes of men & G-d? Liberalism, Capitalism – all the “ism”s can be regarded as a religion. The only one that cannot is following the path of truth and goodness.

Mercy can be cruelty. If one is merciful with a terrorist – he is cruel with the society. Being merciful – is good – if the repercussions are taken into account. But Being merciful – just because one’s heart says so – may lead to cruelty.

Liberalism is letting people do what they want. Yes, that is fine as long as it does not impinge on the long-term good for the society. Who knows what is good for the Society in the long-term? G-d – who wrote the Torah.

Thinking out Your Position Before You Adapt it

Let’s take same gender marriage. G-d says – No for it is forbidden in the Seven Noahide Laws. The US Supreme Court says Yes. In Ancient Rome – same gender relations caused the dwindling of the population that lead to it’s destruction. Lack of population growth lead them to take mercenary soldiers – soldiers that they had to pay from other nations – which lead to their downfall.

But worse than that is same gender relations causes a person to lose his potential. A person’s goal in life is to bring the most good to the world as possible – using his qualities & talents. Part of that is bringing children to the world. Same gender marriages – prevent children from coming into the world. A person who chooses same gender marriage – prevents unique children from coming into the world. Their choice may prevent an Einstein or a Motzart from entering the world. Their choice is in essence selfish – for although they please themselves – they withhold beautiful children from entering into the world.

Those are just some examples.

Abandoning the Religion of Secularism & the Congregation of Conformists
Secularism is a religion. It’s the religion of following whatever is comfortable. It leads to falling to the lowest common denominator. What is acceptable to one group and unacceptable by another becomes acceptable to society. What is unacceptable in one year becomes acceptable the next year – until society falls into the abyss of immorality. That is what happened in Sodom. Giving charity became forbidden.

Truth is not a religion. G-d is truth. The truth He gave is in the Torah. So in reality Judaism is not a religion – it is truth.

When a person puts his mind on hold for what is popular and acceptable – they do disservice to the world. But even more so, they do disservice to themselves. For they veer off the path of what they are to achieve in this world.

Truth – the Secret to Achieving one’s Potential

The first Jew was Abraham. He changed the world because he dared to question. He questioned the rationality of idolatry. He questioned The “righteousness” of sacrificing children. He questioned to determine who is the true G.d of the world.

He was a pillar of Kindness & he always followed truth. He was a beacon of hospitality – whose house was open on four sides to strangers. He reached his potential for doing good through the pursuit of truth and kindness.

Apparently that is the role of the Messiah. He will get the people to think.

In the interim we have the Torah and Torah scholars as guides.

We need an Abraham in this world today.

Money – the Great Builder & Destroyer

2011_moh_coin_-_gold_proof_obversePeople want money.

ok. good. i have a million dollars.

now what? i am not going to parade with my bank statement on my lapel.

i’d rather be the son of a king – without worry about my account. no need to check how much i have, because my account is unlimited.

Emunah / Faith in Hash-m – the Unlimited Bank Account

those who have emunah – faith in Hash-m / g-d – are sons and daughters of the King of Kings. So, in reality they have an unlimited bank account. If you believe it will be good, it will be good. If you believe in Hash-m enough, you can have what you want.

once a rabbi was discussing with another rabbi – whether one must need a particular thing and believe that G-d will give it to him (if he has faith in G-d) – or is the need irrelevant – and G-d will give a person what he wants regardless if the person needs the object. the rabbi defending the no need position said “Look. I don’t need a gold watch. but i believe G-d is going to give it to me.” A short time later, someone knocked on the door. The man said “Rabbi. We were discussing an inheritance of our family. We couldn’t decide who would receive the Gold watch. So we decided we would give it to you, the Rabbi!”

so really – you don’t need a bank account – if you have enough faith in Hash-m. But you must be on the level. That’s why I carry a debit card.

my rebbe used to say – once a rabbi would make money – by finding lost money in the street. he believed – he found.

i am not on that level – but having simple faith can open doors that seem to be locked.

money is not evil

money is like fire. it can be used to build or to destroy. one can give money for charity, to a poor person, a worthy Torah institution or Yeshiva. Or it can be used for gambling, alcohol, or other vices.

Spending on Priorities

some people spend money for luxuries but skimp on necessities

i believe – that a necessity today for the spiritual upbringing of the children is – a solid Torah Day School. Some will spend thousands on a vacation, a wedding, a car – but when it comes to Torah education – they send children to the most convenient, free school. When one spends – priorities should come first.

Stinginess & Destruction

People can use their money for good. Or they can hoard it.

Once a ruler – spent the treasuries his family amassed to give to poor people. When they complained, He said to them – you didn’t benefit from your money, i did benefit from the money (i spent it for a mitzvah – of which the reward is eternal). You lost your money, I saved the money (in an account in heaven). You put it in place that it had to be guarded, i put it in a place where it needs not be guarded.

There are people that are penny-wise but dollar foolish. They refuse to get married because they don’t want to spend on their spouse. They destroy their marriage, because they are demanding to the penny about spending. There is a category of people that their money is like their blood. Interesting – in Hebrew blood & money – have a common word – Damim. Damim in Hebrew means blood & money.

In Pirkei Avot it says “Who is Rich? The one who is content with their lot.” (Chapter 2:1)

A friend told me – if one puts their faith in money or makes their happiness dependant upon money – if their stock goes up – they are happy. If it goes down – they are sad. When one puts their faith in Hash-m – regardless of the stocks going up or down – one will be happy. Because he or she knows that all that the Merciful One (Hash-m) does – He does for the good.

Giving Priorities

Priorities exist in giving – one should give to a close family member before a stranger. One Should give to members of his community before other communities. One Should give to people following Torah before those that do not. One should give to Torah institutions before giving to Secular institutions.

One should know where his or her money is going to help others.

Be big. Give to the Poor. Give to the Torah institutions. You chase them. Don’t let them chase you. Do good with your money.

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball – the Secret of Real Success

colored_glass_balls_of_colorSuccess. Oh the Glory. The Power. The Popularity. Great – isn’t it?

Success comes with hard work. Most people want to be rich – but are armchair quarterbacks. I’ll just buy the lotto – and who knows? Maybe I’ll win. But really to be a success – you have to want it. Really want it. Really want to make it. Really want that job. Really want to become a Torah Scholar. Make sincere, diligent, strong efforts towards your goal & Pray to Hash-m – and you’ll make it.

But really – before you start – the real question you want to ask is what is success?

Apparently there is financial success. But being wealthy does not usually solve your problems. You buy bigger toys and are in bigger debt. Get rid of the “if only” and start enjoying life.

Real success is being a good person. Ask any person – would you consider a person makes 7 digits a year a success?

Most will say yes.

Then ask them “What if that person is a tyrant at home? An unforgiving boss? A person who lies to & cheats others? – still a success in your eyes?”

Probably they would respond in the negative.

So how can you be a real success?

Become a better person.

Self-improvement books are some of the top selling books. Apparently people recognize this truth – that to be happy you have to better yourself. To be a better you – you need to work on your charachter traits.

The Torah is the ultimate guide for a person to self-improve.

The Messilat Yeshiarim / Path of the Just says – “The foundation of perfect faith is to make clear and truthful – what is your purpose in life – that you should set your sights upon all the days of your life.”

Meaning – just like companies have a mission statement – a person should have a personal mission statement that encompasses his or her goal in life based upon the qualities, resources & traits that G-d gave them.

There are two aspects – one is being truthful – ask “is your goal truthful?” Meaning truthful to what G-d wants from you. Usually you can find this out by consulting a Torah Authority or Scholar – if your goal is in accordance with the principles of the Torah. Otherwise a person can work all their life, and find out in the end they wasted their life following after vanity or falsity.

A good starting point for gentiles is following the Torah’s 7 Noahide Laws. A good starting point for Jews is following the Shulchan Aruch – code of Jewish law. Then consult a Torah authority.

The second thing is – to make clear what this goal is. Some people say – i want to be a good person. So do most people. So it befits us to make the goal more precise. I want to inspire people by bringing the beauty of Judaism to people through music and song. That’s one goal.

Then – once the goal is established – then see if your acts correspond to your goal.

Here is an example Let’s say a person was doing sounding the Shofar / Ram’s Horn in your synagogue. Your goal in life is to “Help people reach their potential.” You can sound the Shofar better than he. You have a dilemna – should you sound it instead of him – that is good for the congregation. But on the other-hand you want to help the other person reach his potential. Do you say that you want to sound the Shofar, instead?

Your acts – that are targeted to your goal – get you closer to true service of G-d. Your acts that are just acts to pass the time – or escape that have no lasting value usually do not. Keep your eye on the ball. Choose your acts to fit your goals for what you want to achieve in life.

In the end you will have accomplished something to better the world.

What Japan Learned from Jews to Lead Business World

fish-bone1-e1325870956744I remember the Quality Revolution. America’s Auto industry – in the late 70’s and early 80’s – took a beating from the Japanese. The Japanese were selling top quality vehicles – while America’s quality was average. After loss of market share the Americans awoke. Now the Americans have caught up.

Before the war, Japanese products were low quality. But when the world gave them funds to rebuild their infrastructure after the war – they decided to better themselves. The Japanese were willing to learn from anyone. Even the Americans.

This comes from Torah – in Pirkei Avot it says – Learn from everyone. “Who is Wise – A person who learns from every person.”

General MacArthur involved in the rebuilding of Japan called upon two key individuals in the development of modern quality concepts: W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran. Both individuals promoted the collaborative concepts of quality to Japanese business and technical groups, and these groups utilized these concepts in the redevelopment of the Japanese economy.

The the Quality Experts – Deming & Juran – were not into talk – like mottoes for improving quality – but for improved methods and means. They used various Approaches to improve quality including Failure testing, Statistical control, Shewart cycle, continuous improvement & Total quality management. The methods they used included the House of Quality, Fishbone (or Ishikawa / Cause & Effect) Diagram , Force-field analysis and other quality tools. Many quality tools and methods are useful for a person to improve their character traits.

Continuous quality improvement – comes from a Torah concept that each person is to evaluate themselves at night – their positive and negative acts to determine how they can improve. Also a person is to be better Tomorrow than they were today.

One of the key components of the Japanese method was deciding by consensus. Instead of taking a vote to decide on important quality matters – they used a method to all come to a common consensus – what is the right path to choose.

A Jew Studies Torah. They sometimes learn in a group or one-to-one. Head-to-head learning is called a H’evruta. Usually people learn Talmud together, but they also learn Halacha / Jewish law and other topics in a H’evruta. In a H’evruta the goal is to get to truth & understanding. If it doesn’t make sense it is thrown out or rejected. The two discuss & discuss until they both understand what is said in the Torah.

This method came from the Torah when G-d Told Moses to explain the laws to the people in a clear fashion, so that they would understand it – not just learn it by rote. People would discuss, ask questions, raise objections & apparent contradictions – until the law would be clearly understood.

The Japanese – in their culture – uses this method – used by the Jewish nation – for business. Thus they became experts in quality. As the Jews that Study Torah diligently are experts in Ethics – for they pick apart and delve deeply in the word of G-d – the guide of all Ethics – the Torah.


Just like the Japanese were smart to consult the experts regarding quality. Those who search for sincerely for true ethics would be wise to consult the Experts – the Torah Scholars.

The Power of Truth – Living Reality

estudiantes-ultraortodoxos-rezan-en-una-clase-de-lectura-en-la-kehilot-yaacov-torah-school-en-ramot-jerusalen-reutersThe boy who cried wolf. We all know it. He shouts out “there is a wolf!” People run to help. He played a prank. He plays the trick again. Less people come. The third time, a real wolf appears Shouting for help – no one comes. He loses.

Nice parable. Nice Moral. Tell the Truth and people will listen to your words. It applies to selling, selling on-line, politics & daily life. Tell a lie once too much and your credibility is shot. People will buy the first time. Make some quick sales. But if truth is not present, in the end, the business will falter, the religion will fall, the politician will lose.

Truth for Serenity

The person who lives truth, lives with the serenity that they are following reality. They are accomplishing. They are on a path, that although challenging, will lead them to them being themselves. It will lead them to them living a true life.

Truth for Realizing Potential

Through truth one can come to realizing their potential.

Once a thief met a Rabbi. He said “Rabbi. I want to do Teshuva / Repent.” The Rabbi offered him advice: “Don’t do or say anything that is not truthful.” He accepted this upon himself. He wanted to steal – but he said “I promised the Rabbi I would be honest.” He wanted to lie – he couldn’t because of his promise. He wanted to cheat. He couldn’t. Eventually, apparently he became an outstanding member of society.

Deceiving Oneself

The person who occasions lies – loses in the sense they give up a part of themselves for something they are not. I follow because it is popular. I follow because others do it. I do because I want to be accepted. Do it. But lose your individuality. Do it but lose your potential. Do it but lose your ability to bring out your purpose in life.

The secret of the lier – to not get caught – is to mix truth with lies. Mix them and people will be more likely to accept the lies. But in the end the lier will lose. Either because he will be discovered – in his or her lies or he or she will discover that they lived a life of untruths.

The Pain of Living without Truth

That is the story of the rabbi who was by the death-bed of a cardinal of a church. The cardinal was questioning his religion, he asked the rabbi – now that the prophesies of his religion were proven wrong – by the Jews returning to Israel – did he waste his life by following it? The rabbi, at this juncture, knew that this was the moment of truth, it was not the time to mince words. The rabbi replied “Yes.” The man died in great suffering.

Someone said “More important than being on the right track is being on the right train.” Thus, is a person to question himself. Am I on the right train. Everybody is doing it is not a reason that it is right. Truth, being one’s main motive, will help him to be in the right train.

We exposed 4 questions for anyone to arrive at what is the true Law of G-d. We came to the conclusion it is the Torah. But not everyone is following it. Why? Not convenient. Not my cup of tea. I’m good the way I am. My parents brought me up differently. My religion is not that one.

Finding Yourself Through Truth

Thus, a person who wants to be on the right train, would be better to follow truth – regardless of if it is convenient or everybody is doing it – or I can find one rabbi that approves of it. If it goes against the spirit of the law, why do it. It is more convenient? As the Jewish people, we want to do what is right in G-d’s eyes, even if it is not convenient. That is Na’aseh veNishmah – We will do [first] and we will [then] understand.

Serene Living

But the real point is – that following a true path will not only lead you to having clients that trust you, but it will allow you to live a more serene life. A person has no cognitive dissonance when one follows truth. Maybe G-d doesn’t want this of me.

Fine follow the path that the government allows you, but remove from your serenity. Once I was an assistant to a university professor. The professor assigned a paper to be written on one’s hero in life. Surprisingly, the heroes that most of the class wrote about was their parents. Apparently, psychologically a child wants to please their parents. It gives them comfort and boundaries. G-d is our parent, when we please him, we feel this comfort. When we do not, deep down, we feel upset – although it may not appear on the surface.

Telling truth – one is not afraid of being caught in a lie. You don’t have to make calculations of your words – whether they contradict another white lie one said. One is frank. One is open. One is candid. No worries.

Coming to your Own Conclusion

We attempt not to convince one what to do. We expose the paths that you will be able to come to the true realization of who you are and discover your potential. One of these ways is only following truth.

Being Yourself – Questioning Your Own Lifestyle

A person who questions their motives and actions can reach a higher level of existence. Some Jews have the custom to review their deeds at the end of the day to see where they faltered and where they succeeded in terms of the good deeds. Then one can decide small steps for self-improvement. Drastic change is not necessary. Yet, having the Torah or a truthful, Torah authority involved to teach you what is good in the eyes of G-d will help.But one must be open-minded, flexible and humble enough to accept the word of Hash-m, even when it contradicts their way of life.

Let’s look at parents who consider putting a child in a Torah day school. Many people will say – well my children get a free and very good secular education. “What do you think Rabbi?”

The Orthodox Rabbi will likely say – Although, getting a good secular education is important – we have an obligation to teach our children Torah – like it says in the Shema. But more than that – giving our children a Torah education – allows them to learn to become well-rounded, moral and lead a meaningful life. It teaches them Torah values – the values of Hash-m. It teaches things that are ignored in a secular school. In a Torah school – they teach “respect Your Parents.” In secular school – they teach “Your parents were Monkeys.” In a Torah school – they say “Respect all people.” In secular school – they teach “Survival of the Fittest.”

Take a person who follows the crowd – I follow what is popular – to be popular. But did one ask himself – is this taking away from my true identity? Is following what is chic, popular, attractive, acceptable by society – what we really are. To live a more satisfying life, is to question – is the way I dress true to myself. Is the way I act appropriate. Is the way I think good in the eyes of G-d? G-d wants each person to be himself. He did not create man for them to be a robot.

Be Someone

A Rabbi I know said – “A person who tries to be like someone else, doesn’t become like the other person. He is not himself. He becomes a nobody.”

I meet people at times that say they are open-minded, yet that act similar to parrots. If they are with a friend, they mimic what the friend does. If they subscribe to a particular newspaper, they parrot the opinion of the newspaper. When someone challenges their opinion – they become ruffled and are not accepting of conversation regarding the Torah view. So much for open-mindedness.

What to be truly open-minded. Find an orthodox rabbi that you feel is truthful. Discuss your issues with Him. Find out what he thinks about the decisions you must make. Let him be a sounding board for what is right or wrong.

Following truth will allow you to find true serenity. One is happy when he follows the way of G-d.

Can I Become Proficient at Torah Study as an Adult?

800px-ReadingOfTheTorahIt’s a great thing to want to learn Torah. I am sure you can become proficient if you dedicate time and are diligent. I would suggest you get in contact with an Orthodox Rabbi ( Orthodox Union) and ask about Torah courses in your area or if he himself offers courses or if he can set you up to learn with someone.

There are a plethora of Torah Topics. H’umash / 5 Books of Moses, Talmud, Jewish Law, Jewish Philosophy, Mussar / Ethics, Psychology, and much more. I would suggest as a beginner to learn H’umash / the weekly Parasha / Torah reading with an Orthodox Rabbi inside the Text with Rashi (the Commentator). You can also learn with someone over the phone with a program called Partners in Torah .

For a Gentile / Non-Jew that wants to Learn Torah – I would suggest them to also contact an Orthodox Rabbi. Yet I would suggest them to learn the 7 Noahide Laws from the Torah for all humanity. For that is what they are responsible to learn. If they have an interest in becoming Jewish then they can also learn other Torah subjects.

I suggest that a person who learns Torah have a specific goal. To become proficient in learning text on one’s own is what seems to be your goal. To do that it is important to review material learned with the other person (chevruta) consistently and understand the definition of words.

Learning Halacha helps you learn Mishna. Learning Mishna Helps you learn Gemara / Talmud. If you are interested in Talmud Study – there is a great program – called Daf HaYomi in which one learns a full page of Talmud daily. Everybody, worldwide, in the program learns the same page. So one finishes the Entire Study of the pages Talmud after about 7 years – and celebrate together at the Siyum HaShas / Completion of the Talmud. Obviously, to get the most out of it one should review what he learned with the rabbi inside the text afterwards to be able to understand inside the Text. There are many Talmud & Torah study works translated and Commented in English or French or Hebrew – like the Artscroll Talmud or Chumash.

If one does this diligently, eventually they can learn to learn Torah & Talmud. Wishing You success in Your Endeavors.

Changing Relationships – Moving from a One-Way to Two-Way Street

twowayGood Negotiators are good listeners. They have conversations. They don’t preach, they talk.

The voice of the One Way Speaker differs: My opinion matters the most. What everyone else says is suspect in my eyes. You have to listen to me. If those phrases don’t come out in the conversation it comes out in the insinuations and innuendoes.

In Judaism, Our relationship with others is based upon a mutual respect for the other person – for each human is created in the image of G-d. But above that the Torah tells us :

L’Olam Tehe Da’aato Shel Adam MeOrav im HaBeriot – Forever, should the attitude of a person be pleasant/empathetic with others. (Ketuvot 17a)
לעולם תהא דעתו של אדם מעורבת עם הבריות (כתובות יז ע”א)

Apparently it means more than applying common etiquette and niceties. One is to learn to understand where the other is coming and to speak with them from where they are coming from. To have a conversation. To have an exchange. To have a relationship – not a dictatorship. To feel the feelings of the other. To rejoice when others rejoice. To cry when others cry.

This is talking about people that are your peers. People who are righteous. From the wicked, one should distance themselves as to not take from them their negative character traits.

Listen to yourself. Are you only concerned in telling your point? Are you interested in what the other has to say? Are you willing to change if something is the truth?

Are you able to take suggestions to improvement or are you stuck in stationary mode. A person who improves is a person who gets better with age.

Trying to see what’s best for others is the start of conversation.

Removing the Mask of Your Career – Seeing the Good in You

Gold-Mask First Impressions Matter. Meeting a person for the first time – or even the first look – gives you an idea of their personality.

I don’t know why – but the first time I meet someone I refrain from asking them what is their profession. It might be because I feel asking is intrusive. But many will ask “what do you do?” or “what are you?” Each will reply differently – I am a Physician. I am a Lawyer. I am a Businessman. I am a Real Estate agent.

But to tell you the truth – apparently they all answer inaccurately because You are not a “Doctor” even though you do help heal patients. You are not a lawyer – even if you deal with Law.

Reframing Who You Are – Seeing the Good in You

You are a person – with feeling, ideas, ambitions, opinions and good points and bad. A person is not his profession. He or She is a unique someone that happens to do a particular thing for a living.

Meaning, the question that we should ask ourselves is – what is my essence that makes me special? What are my strengths that make me great? What are my weaknesses that make me fail, fall or that I need to improve? And use these strengths to help the world.

Breaking Out of the Box of People’s Definitions

Others May define You as a Doctor – Making 7 Digits. But You are not locked in to how others define you. You can have two Doctors that make 7 digits – one who does great kindness. Who treats the poor for free. Who Volunteers his services to help others. And another Doctor, who is in it just for the money.

You are unique. Your ability to give to others depends upon your view of yourself and your talents and your unique qualities.

So putting yourself into a category that others put you into isn’t doing justice to yourself. Usually others define you in a way that will not sufficiently bring out your good points. Your Job is to find your good points and to use them in the best manner to help the world the way that G-d wants you to help, ie, in the context of what is good according to Torah.

Know What is Truly Good

An essential step to maximize one’s goodness is to determine what is truly good before doing it. Feelings that an action is good is not a valid measure of what is truly good. Some think they do good, but really do the opposite. Someone might feel that giving away cigarettes to the poor is kind. Others might feel giving weapons or money away to tyrants is also kind. It is not. To determine what is truly good, one should consult the Torah’s position on the matter – Da’at Torah. One can ask an Orthodox Rabbi for their opinion – if what they intend to do is good in the eyes of the Torah before doing it. For G-d’s goodness is true goodness.

Using Career for Kindness & Building the World

In the end, G-d will not ask a person if he was a Doctor or Lawyer. He will ask what good you did using the talents you were granted.

One who is intelligent uses their work in the context to not only make money, but to help others. Once a woman told me she was a recreational director in a mental hospital. I told her – “That is great! You get to do kindness all day.” I asked her why do you do it? I think she replied – she likes the job. I told her – if you do it for the purpose of helping others then you get a greater Mitzvah (Commandment) than if you do it only for the money. If your intention is that You do it to be able to do kindness – and as a “perk” you also get paid for it – you will get a greater reward in Heaven.

Your career is a means to help make money for your family – that is a Mitzvah. Doing Your Job is also a great Mitzvah for Jews and Gentiles – for by being a contributor to the building of society one fulfills the Mitzvah of the settlement of the world (Leyishuv Shel Olam). Office Buildings may have some holiness because of all the people who work and help to build the world. Knowing just this fact – that one who does an honest day’s work – is doing a great Mitzvah (commandment of G-d) can also help one to raise their morale & feel good about themselves the entire day – for they are helping in the building of the world.

Do Good & Feel Good

But your career can also be a means to do good & kindness for others. It depends upon what you focus on. A used car salesman can have the intention to help a buyer find a good, safe car for his family or to just make a quick sale. He decides. I believe people who care about the other person more than the sale are usually more successful salesmen. A Doctor can have the intention to do kindness – or to inflate his ego. He decides.

A person who does good and knows they are doing the will of G-d feels good about themselves. For the Essence of a person is their soul. And the soul feels good when it does good.

Money Comes from G-d – Your Kindness comes from You

The idea of seeing one’s own goodness outside the context of their work is illustrated by a story. Once a rabbi asked a successful businessman – what do you do? The man replied I sell real estate and do business deals. The Rabbi repeated – what do you do? The Business man repeated himself. The Rabbi responded “The business that you generate is what G-d does – to give you money – what do you do?” He was asking him – if he dedicated time to Torah learning and doing Mitzvot. But on a deeper level – he was telling Him that to define yourself as your profession – you are cheating yourself to really exercising properly your potential in life.

Seeing yourself as the Good you do will get you farther than seeing yourself as the job you do. Ultimately, knowing your good points will help you reach closer to achieving your potential & purpose in life.

The Second Cell – Where Atheism Fails

fruitcart A Jew is to Love Every Jew and Respect Every Person and Creature.

We are to act with propriety, regardless of how others act against us. Our Job in the world is to teach the real word of G-d – for we received it directly from Him about 3,300 years ago. All Jews heard the Giving of the Torah by G-d. All were witnesses. All the souls of the Jews were there – so each Jew’s soul who lives today was privy to the revelation at Mount Sinai.

It is rather easy to prove rationally that a soul exists. It is easy also to prove that G-d exists. Apparently anyone can figure it out themselves – from the Oxford University Scientist to the Simple Fruit Cart Peddler – because G-d tells us we will be Judged. We will be rewarded immensely for the good we did in this world and punished for the evil, if we did not repent.

To make it easier for people to realize the ways to rationally determine whether G-d exists, we provide the aids towards that goal.

When a person claims he or she is an atheist, I feel no anger nor animosity towards them. On the contrary I feel compassion for them that they live a life devoid of a relationship with the Kind Creator of the World. (A small joke: A person asked a former Atheist: Why did you become Jewish? He answered: Atheism doesn’t have any Holidays!)

Most people who say they do not believe, really do believe. Or perhaps, it is not that they thought out logically the proposition of the existence of G-d. Rather, their mind pushes them to accept the title of “Atheist” because if they were to accept that G-d exists, that would entail responsibility to follow in His ways. And they would rather accept the illogical than to accept the responsibility that believing in G-d entails.

The Torah wants us to know ourselves and what makes us tick. The more we know ourselves, the more we can contribute to the good of society.

Apparently a person wants to be totally free to do what they want. It might derive from the fact that we wish to be like G-d and G-d is limitless. This might be the same reason why a person wants perfection – we choose the perfect box of cereal rather than the one with the crushed corner. The desire to emulate G-d might also be the reason why we want to better ourselves – Self-improvement books are one of the best selling books in the world.

So the observant Jew is not ruffled when one says they do not believe in G-d. Apparently they never thought out their reasons for their disbelief. Or perhaps they had a negative experience and cannot fathom how the difficulties they endured come from an all-loving G-d. An observant Jew or His or Her rabbi can explain it, if one is open-minded enough to accept rational thought.

Here is one quick point to help the undecided reflect about the possibility of G-d’s existence.

Atheists will say – say the earth came into being by random atoms flying around – that formed the first cell. That cell formed other cells until they formed amoebas and then protozoa and so on.

Putting aside the question, who formed these atoms – that are rather uniform – let’s look at the question where did the second cell come from.

The possibility of one cell being formed by random atoms is by the estimation of scientists – impossible. Like 1 chance out of 10^300,000. That is a 1 with 300,000 zeros. But let’s say it did occur, that a cell formed by these random atoms. Where did the second cell come from? It can’t just grow. If you put a Lego building together, will the building start to grow? No. It is an inanimate object. It has no life. Life can’t just be infused into something. If I shocked the Lego with electricity, will it grow? No. Can a chair grow? No.

There must be some power that infuses the life into every living being. The One who does infuse life, is what we Jewish people call G-d.

The Next question of the Once “Atheist”, who started believing in G-d – what Now?

G-d is a forgiving G-d and He welcomes those who turn to Him Sincerely. For one who is a gentile – the next step is to learn the 7 Noahide laws for all people. For a Jewish person – to learn the Shulchan Aruch. A Jewish Person might want to take upon himself a Small Mitzvah to start like saying the morning blessings – from a Jewish Orthodox Siddur / Prayer Book (Email-us and we can send you a Mini-Siddur) or saying the Shema Yisrael – in the morning upon awaking and at night before sleeping.

Faith in Judaism. Why Judaism Stands Apart.

Rolex-PresidentialwatchJudaism Has various levels of Belief.

There is Faith. Belief. Understanding. Knowledge.

As opposed to other belief systems – we know that G-d exists. We have had direct contact with Him at Mount Sinai about 3,300 years ago when G-d gave the Jews the Torah. He gave it before Millions of people. Millions of people, heard G-d speaking directly to them. It wasn’t one person who heard and transmitted it to others. Millions of people – all the Souls of the Jews – heard G-d giving the commandments.

So others may say – we believe in G-d. We, the Jews, have first-hand knowledge of the existence of G-d. Our souls were all there.

Some religions say – Believing is enough. Judaism says it is not. One is to know that G-d exists. One can figure it out through rational thought. Anyone can. Not just the highly intelligent, but even the simple man in the street can figure it out.

When a religion tells you just believe – one should be very wary. Imagine you go to a used car dealer and you ask them “can I take a test drive?” and they say – “Just believe that it works.” “Pay the money and then you can drive it.” Most people would not put their money down, unless they actually tested the car. So why does the average person put their life on the line when it comes to religion – when the leaders tell you “Just Believe it.”?

It could turn out that the car has no engine. It could turn out that their religion is false.

One’s life is much more precious than one’s money.

Judaism’s foundations are rational: An omnipotent G-d created the universe and all that is in it. He is One. There is no other G-d, or helper or part of Him. He is One. He Knows the thoughts of Man. He is kind and changes not his mind.

Religions that say that G-d changed His mind about His laws or His nation – are in essence saying that they believe G-d made a mistake. Pretty Illogical.

G-d never expects you to believe anything that is irrational.

Abraham proved that G-d cannot be physical – a man, animal or object. All of these are limited. Anything that has a limit cannot be G-d. Thus all these cannot be G-d. Comparing G-d to any of these things is basically an insult to G-d.

Once, I believe Turnusrufus (a roman Nobleman or Ceasar) asked Rabbi Akiva “Why does your G-d get angry when someone believes in Idols. Rabbi Akiva answered “Please let me think about it and come back tomorrow.” Turnusrufus came back the next day. Rabbi Akiva greeted him with great honor. “Hello. Welcome to my Home. Thank you for coming again.” Then, Rabbi Akiva called out “Turnusrufus! Turnusrufus! Isabela!” and two dogs came running out. Turnusrufus was enraged, “How dare you call your dogs by my name and the queen’s name!” Forgive me Turnusrufus. You wanted an answer to your question. This is my answer.

Why Bad things Happen to Good People.

G-d is always Good. We are to believe and live that daily – that whatever G-d does is good. Why do good people suffer? At times a person did do some bad in their lifetime or a former lifetime. G-d pays them back in this world so that they will not have to be punished in the next world. Suffering in this world is much less potent than in the next world.

For the wicked – G-d pays them back in this world – so that in the next world they will be paid back their dues.

G-d is in complete control. G-d knows all.

We are to make our effort in life. But it is up to us to believe that G-d is the ultimate cause of our success or failure. And both success or failure is for our ultimate good.

Emunah – is faith in Hebrew.

it does not mean – we have faith that G-d exists. We have knowledge that G-d exists.

Emunah is having faith that G-d is the Supreme in Kindness and benevolence. It is living constantly with faith that everything that happens in our life is guided by G-d and for our ultimate good.

Emunah is faith that G-d is ultimately in control and based upon our belief in Him, we can effectuate the positive.

The more we put our trust in Him, the more we can expect positive results. The more we put our trust in our own efforts, the less we can expect His help. This does not mean that one can do nothing and expect great things. One should put in their best effort to get a good result and then believe that G-d is the reason for the outcome.

If you believe it will be good it will be good.

A rabbi was having a discussion with another. One said in order to receive good, you must need & believe. The other rabbi said “No you must just believe that G-d will give it to you.” He continued “I don’t need a gold watch. But I believe that I will receive a Gold watch.” A short while later, there was a knock on the door. It was a man. “Honorable Rabbi, sorry to disturb you at this hour. But our family was discussing how to divide the estate of our late father. We tried to determine who would receive the Gold watch. We couldn’t agree on who in the family would get it. So we decided to give it to you, the Rabbi of the Town!”

Living Emunah – By R. David Ashear
H’ovot HaLevavot / Duties of the Heart – Rabbeinu Bachye – Shaar HaBitachon
Be’er HaGolah – Maharal MePrague – Netiv HaEmunah