The Winning Mindset – Overcoming The Mindset of Mediocrity

Read a Newspaper. Especially the Editorial.

Is their slant their message?

Preaching Papers

do your due diligence. are articles of news or of preaching its own message?

The Religious Papers. The Scientific Papers. The Liberal Papers.

Is its general theme: “Yes. I’m Right. Now I have the right to put others down or impose my views.”

The Mindset of Mediocrity – The “I’m Right. You’re Wrong” Attitude

Mediocrity is based upon a mindset. The mindset of “Basically, I’m Right and You are Wrong.” It’s living based upon criticizing what other people do wrong to you or others. People with this attitude stay the same and don’t progress as much as they can. For their focus is on others and don’t work on self-improvement.

Their lives are dependent on the actions of others. They base their lives on the people they dislike the most. Not on ways they can improve their own actions or do good for the world or at least themselves. This is the UN, this is the BDS, this is the story of many countries whose goal is to complain against the Jews or Israel.

Criticizing Attitude Leading to Stagnation

But can also be our own story on some small scale. Stagnation is one of the reason’s why lashon harah / evil speech – speaking badly of others – even if it is true – is forbidden in Torah. It stifles growth. Instead of focusing on self-improvement you focus on others lacking.

Let me blame others so I won’t see my deficiencies – in thought, deed or action.

Open Minded to Torah even if it may not fit my current views

Some people refuse Torah because – it doesn’t fit their lifestyle.

A friend who when he was returning to the path of Judaism – would check upon which of the 13 Principles of Judaism by the Rambam – he felt comfortable with until he accepted all of them. He grew to understand the principles of Judaism.

Difference Between Torah and Other Religions

Rejecting Torah because it is a “religion” is stereotyping. Torah is not remotely close to any other religion. Of the almost 80,000 religions in the world – all are man-made. The Torah was handed down by G-d to millions of witnesses. That’s a far cry from one man transmitting a message and G-d himself transmitting His own message to millions of people.

Rejecting Torah – due to personal habits that go against it – is like rejecting a free New car because you don’t use the air-conditioner. Or rejecting going to gym because you have to work a bit. If you want to get in shape you have to work at it.

Global or Local Attitude of Mediocrity?

One should ask – does my “focus on other’s actions” attitude encompass my being or is it relegated to certain times, people or places?

True Path to Freedom – Torah

It could be a global mindset or one used for a by an individual in a particular aspect of life. In any case it should be treated by opening one’s mind and vistas to Torah. A person who thinks the thoughts of G-d / Hash-m is free. (Provided they act upon them as well.)

The intelligent will determine what G-d wants and follow His will. Why? Because more than even you yourself, G-d knows and wants what is better for you.

The Search for Truth

The attitude of “I’m Right. Now I have the right to put others down.” is not the way of Torah. That it an attitude that leads to stagnation and decadence.

Torah will say – receive the message – now see what is truthfully wrong in this situation and see what you can learn to correct yourself. The Torah will say search for Truth – not for giving yourself a pat on the back or to allow yourself righteous indignation – but to find out what is really right in G-d’s eyes.  And then correcting yourself. Regardless of what is your point of view.

The Torah says every day is a new opportunity to improve and become a new and better person. Rejuvenation daily.

Some will hold on to “religion” because it is their religion or their lifestyle. Drop the attitude of “being stuck to one point of view” and follow truth. Follow G-d’s will. Sometimes what you think G-d wants is not what He actually wants. Some will think making pogroms or killing innocent people is right – for that is what their religion says. Is that want G-d really wants – innocent people – His children to be hurt? Follow truth – not “religion”.

The Torah says hurting innocent people is forbidden. Killing is forbidden. (In the Seven Noahide Laws – for Gentiles and in the 613 commandments for Jews) Sorry, a Pogrom is Just plain Wrong.

The Great Torah of the generation will be able to tell you what G-d really wants. Why? Because Torah is the only document that G-d gave before millions of witnesses. Thus it is obviously His will.

In business – the quality experts say don’t blame. Fix the Problem. Don’t say that it is Steve’s fault for the bad paint job on this car. Fix the process – don’t push the blame. Fix yourself. Don’t push the blame.

Don’t criticize, condemn or complain is a Jewish concept. Those who adopt it will be able reach higher levels of success than those who don’t.

To Be Continued…

Developing The Winning Mindset – Part 2 – Listening to G-d’s Messages for Self-Improvement

Developing The Winning Mindset – Part 3 – What Aristotle Taught Alexander to Be Able to Conquer the World –

 

 

Are Torah Ethics True Morality?

Ethics.

What are ethics?

What does the word mean?

Ethics – moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

OK. Many people can have ethics – but are all ethics equally moral? All are ethics equally valid? Are all ethics moral?

What is True Morality?

The question that we address to day – is what is true morality?

Morality based upon Societal Mores

Is morality based upon the ideals of the society?

No. Look at Nazi Germany – their ethics were to destroy any thing that was a threat to the Nazi race or that gives the world a conscience. Were they moral? Absolutely not. Barbarians in nice clothing.

Hitler’s goal was to make a civilization of barbarians.

Morality Based Upon the Heart

Can morality be based solely upon the heart? No. Some people feel badly for criminals, they condone their violence and those same criminals are motivated to commit more crimes.

Is that moral. No. Criminals should be punished. Innocent people should live in peace.

Morality Based Upon intelligence

Can morality be found through think tanks. Apparently not – unless all the members of the think tank have the morality of the Torah. Otherwise they will have some kind of bias – that will lead them to base their morality upon their values in life.

When Scientists Err

Take Stephan Hawking – with all the intelligence – he couldn’t figure out a simple principle – that G-d exists.

Ask a person if they are walking on a beach and they found a pencil – where did this pencil come from? If they say someone probably dropped it – you’d consider them to be reasonable or rational in that thought. If they said – it was probably the sand that blew together and formed a pencil – you would think they are irrational or mentally deficient.

If it is impossible for a perfect pencil to be made with random pieces of sand – it is even “more impossible” for a child, a cell, or billions of similar looking creatures to be created by random sand blowing together. Sorry. Mr. Hawkings – you failed on this one in terms of rationality and morality.

The Rationality of the Existence of G-d

It makes more rational sense for G-d to exist than – to be a world without G-d. It is illogical to think a world will exist without G-d.

People don’t want to believe because they would rather feel that they are free to do what they want. If you put G-d in the picture – you feel you have to behave – because G-d is watching.

The Good of Believing in G-d

Believing in G-d is good in itself.  A study was done – where a wallet of money was left out in the open. They surveyed the person who found and returned the wallet. They asked – why did you return the wallet? Most who returned the wallet answered – because I knew G-d was watching.

The Jews Remind people of the Existence of G-d

As presented above – knowing that G-d exists is a good thing for society. [Obviously if they have true values of G-d as well – ie, they follow the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah – which include: Do not steal, do not murder, Do not commit adultery or improper relations – like incest, bestiality, homosexuality. and adultery. Not to do idol worship, not to blaspheme and not to eat a limb from a living animal.

A document that condones wonton violence – against people is not the will of G-d. Those 7 laws are the will of G-d. So condoning violence – thinking it is really G-d’s will is neither G-d’s will nor is it moral – thus it is immoral.

When the Jews observe the Shabbat – according to Jewish law – it reminds the world that G-d created the world in 6 days and rested on the seventh. People strengthen their belief in G-d – because we observe Torah.

True Morality

So what is the true guide of morality in the world?

Basically True Ethics are Torah Ethics.

Why?

Because the Torah is the only document given by G-d to mankind before millions of witnesses.

Any man made document is just that – man made. Man needs to improve on what he created. G-d does not. He created things in their state of perfection. G-d is perfect. Man is not perfect.

G-d’s Ethics are Perfect – Man is not Perfect

This is evident by a boy being born with a foreskin. G-d made it such so that the boy will learn the lesson – that though G-d made him almost perfect – a person is to work on themselves to reach towards perfection.

There are over 80,000 religions in the world. Why should a person believe in Jewish ethics? Here are 2 simple reasons.

  1. The Torah is the only divine law. It is the only law that was given by G-d before millions of witnesses. G-d does not change His mind about the law – that is irrational to think of a perfect Being – knowing the past present and future to change His mind about the law.
  2. Many religions that say they do represent the word of G-d – have committed or are still committing atrocities. Religions – that killed millions of people in the name of G-d. Is that what G-d wants – I think not.

Many other reasons exist – but those are two for now.

So what is the honest person to do?

Torah is for Jews and Gentiles to Follow. Jews follow 10 commandments & the Jewish Law – Shulchan Aruch. Gentiles follow the 7 Noahide laws based upon the Torah.

That’s true morality. Everything else is off the mark.

Take three recent examples:

  • a court in England – rules that a child in a hospital should be terminated because it is too expensive. Doesn’t seem moral to me. The Torah says it is forbidden to kill.
  • People complaining that it is not right to have metal detectors to prevent violence. Seems very moral to me to protect your own life. The Torah says protect your own life.
  • The US supreme court rules for the permissibility of same gender marriage. It doesn’t seem moral that good people should not have offspring. The world is to be populated. The Torah says same gender relations are forbidden and the world is to be populated.

Torah vs. Societies Values

Compare the values of society to the values of Torah – and through asking a competent Orthodox Rabbi to explain you’ll usually understand the viewpoint of Torah. You just need to be open-minded enough to ask.

Though the Torah was given to the Jews – not all Jews are versed in Torah. Usually the comportment of Jews match the ideals of the Torah. When there is an aberration – consult a Torah authority to find what the Torah really says.

The Torah is the law of G-d. What better path is there than to live a life pleasing to G-d and man.

 

Say Goodbye to Morning Anger

I wake up and say Modeh Ani. I thank G-d that I am alive.

In Modeh Ani – Upon awakening, one says:

I am grateful before You, Living & Eternal King, that You returned my soul to me with grace. Great is Your faithfulness. / faith [in me.]

Then I wash my hands ritually.

Two things I do in the morning that help me deal with the day ahead.

Saying thanks to G-d that I am alive keeps me positive to know that life is a gift to be treasured every day. But Modeh Ani / I thank You G-d… also has an interpretation that great is G-d’s faith in me.

I can be happy that G-d believes I can overcome any challenge the day imparts.

3 reasons to be thankful.

1. You are alive
2. G-d / Hash-m is faithful to you to only do good for you
3. G-d has faith in you.

[Then I say the morning blessings further enunciating the things for which to be thankful.]

Washing the Anger Away

Washing the hands / Netilat Yadayim also removes evil spirits that rest on the hands when a person sleeps. I don’t know about others – but in the morning I feel my hands have some kind of impurity on them. I wash them with a washing cup – pouring enough water to cover the right hand and then the left and repeat this 3 more times. This removes impurity from the hand. And I believe helps give me a better attitude.

[then I say the washing the hands blessing}

Being ready at every moment to fulfill your purpose

Connected to the fact that G-d believes in You is that you have a very specific purpose to fulfill in the world. Only you can achieve it. So you are to be ready at every moment to fulfill that purpose.

Let’s say you have a van. G-d gave it to you to not only serve your family – but to help others. You love to drive people to their destination.

Let’s say a family member is coming in with family – to your area. they call you the night before to tell you they are arriving. They have a hotel next to your house. You have extra time – once you take care of your family – you can cheerfully go and pick them up. The idea is that you have a purpose from the moment you awake. Be ready at every moment. If your purpose that day is to help this family – then do it cheerfully. Even if they call you later than you expected.

Being angry in the morning will make you lose many opportunities for kindness. “I am too grumpy to pick them up in the morning.” Ok. So be less grumpy.

You think – I am too grumpy to say “good morning” to the doorman.

I am too grumpy to respond that person’s “good morning” in the elevator.

OK. Become less grumpy. It’s in your own hands.

Remember G-d believes in You – that you can perform any Mitzvah that comes before you, that you can overcome any challenge, that you can achieve your purpose in life, that you can be a good person – so why not believe in Yourself.

Believe [in yourself] and achieve.

Self-Knowlege for Self Improvement & Letting Go of Hate

In Parasha / weekly Torah Reading of Balak/בלק – King of Moav, Balak afraid for his country, wants to attack the Jewish nation by employing the Gentile prophet Bilaam to curse them. The Jews could not attack Moav – because they were prohibited from doing so from Hashem. So why did Balak want to attack the Jews?

Answer 1: He was afraid that Israel would take over surrounding towns and plunder Moav. Ramban. (See Artscroll H’umash)

Answer 2: He was an anti-semite. His hatred made him irrational.

Answer 3: His great fear, seeing the Jews destroying the mighty Amorite kings Sihon and Og, made him have delusions and rationalizations that the Jews would attack.

We sometimes have fear of committing to Mitzvot because of “what will people think if I…?” But really they are delusions, because people respect others that follow Torah sincerely. A person in touch with himself will recognize the real reasons and motivations for their observance or non-observance of Torah and use this knowledge for Self-improvement.

We sometimes have certain predispositions or grudges or even hatred against people because of certain delusions or rationalizations. Investigating the source of these delusions will allow us to deal with the source of the problem and let go of the grudges and hate. Ultimately – we will live a happier life.

The Love of G-d – Everything that G-d does He does for the Good.

Don’t Condone Smoking to Smokers.

When I was a teenager – my mother knew I would be tempted to smoke. She told me “If you want to smoke, I’ll give you a cigarette and you can smoke in front of me.”

It kind of lost all the glamor that smoking was made out to be. I don’t think I ever smoked a cigarette since then.

Smart.

Most people know smoking is bad for the health. So to condone smoking to make another person feel better would be dishonest to say the least.

I don’t buy other people cigarettes if I can get them at the duty free because I don’t want to condone smoking or indirectly cause someone harm.

Some people shy away from G-d. They don’t want to feel obligated to change their lifestyle.

Playing the Acceptance Game.

Some people condone lifestyles that are contrary to G-d’s wishes – as explained in the Seven Noahide laws or Jewish Law because they feel in their heart it is right.

Honest?

Apparently not. G-d loves each person more than anyone else loves that person. Yes he loves you!

That means two things. G-d loves you more than anyone else in the world loves you. But it also means that you can never love someone as much as G-d loves that person.

What that means is what G-d wants for a person will always be better for that particular person – than what you want for him or her or even what the person himself wants for himself.

Everything that G-d does He does for the Good.

But more than that. G-d knows past, present and future at every single moment. He calculates – given all this knowledge and all the other factors in the world – what is best for you at this particular moment. He knows exactly what is good – and if you had the same knowledge that He did – you would determine the same exact thing.

If one was to inculcate that Everything that G-d does He does for the Good into his being – he or she wouldn’t get angry. They would know that a good G-d was watching their steps and guiding them to the best possible situation. This would relieve much stress.

G-d doesn’t want the death of the wicked. He wants him to improve his ways.

Built into G-d’s laws are the solution to do what is best in every situation. Once a person in Mexico City wanted to sell his building. He didn’t go through with a business deal because it was getting close to shabbat. He told the partner he could not continue negotiations until next week – because of Shabbat approaching. The man dropped the deal. Soon after an earthquake hit Mexico City – demolishing many buildings. The price of the building he had shot up in value and he made a great profit because he was careful to observe Shabbat.

Love in G-d’s Laws

So integrated into the laws of G-d (the Torah’s Shulhan Aruch / code of Jewish Law for Jews or Noahide Laws for Gentiles) is this love. These laws are made for the benefit of man. G-d gains not from our doing A or B. G-d is totally independent from the acts of man. Yet he loves people and made laws to assure that they will be protected. That they will live the happiest life. That they will achieve the most in life. That they will live a life of purpose.

Contemporary Examples of G-d’s Love

Lets take examples. relevant to contemporary society like abortion. same gender marriage and intermarriage.

Some people condone same gender relations and marriage. Some condone abortion. In Torah both are prohibited for both Jews and gentiles.

Let’s examine what is better for the individual. G-d wants people to be fruitful and multiply. A person who has children allows the world to be built. Helps the world to function properly. Also bearing children gives the parents tremendous joy to bring up a child with values – consistent with Torah.

Allowing Abortion and Same Gender marriage ultimately robs a person of those pleasures and restricts a person from building the world. The US Supreme court decision, in my opinion was an insult and detriment to society. Deciding, indirectly – that they do not want certain people – attracted to the same gender – to reproduce.

G-d on the other hand wants people to have offspring. There is a law for people to be fruitful and multiply. This law applies to Jews and also to Gentiles.

It’s better for the society for people to reproduce.

Intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles is forbidden by Torah law. (a person already intermarried consults a competent Orthodox Rabbi according to Jewish law to remedy the situation. Many times if the non-Jewish spouse commits to Torah law, and to observe laws of Shabbat, Keeping Kosher and Family purity – a conversion to Judaism can be arranged.).

A Jew cannot renege on his or her religion. Once they are Jewish – they will always be Jewish. And when they get to heaven they will be judged as a Jew – even if they “converted” out of Judaism.

A child growing up in a mixed marriage – is many times confused. They do not know whether they are Jewish or not. Whether they should follow the Mother’s parents or fathers. (A person is Jewish based upon the mother. If the Mother is Jewish. Or the Maternal grandmother is Jewish – that person is Jewish.)

The child and family live a life of doubt. What is right and what is wrong. There is only true happiness when a person is relieved of doubt.

G-d loves you. he wants you to be happy. we just have to figure out whether it makes more sense to follow our desires or follow the path traced by the the one who loves you and knows exactly what is best for you – Hash-m / G-d.

G-d tells us in Torah. I have set before you good and evil. Death and life. Choose life!

G-d’s Message of Love – the Heart in the Eggshell

G-d sends us messages every day. He answers your prayers – one has to be observant of their surroundings to notice it.

There is a Joke. A guy was looking for a parking spot. He was running late for a meeting. He prayed for a parking spot. “G-d please help me find a parking spot soon. If you do, I will be more careful to observe your commandments! Please help me!” He turns the corner and finds a the perfect spot right in front of his destination. “Wow, what a coincidence!” He says.

Finding a parking spot could be an answer to your prayer. I remarked that when I pray sincerely and specifically – about finding a parking spot quickly upon arrival to and close to my destination, I find them more quickly than when I do not.

Anyway, last night I was preparing instructional materials that explained that Hash-m / G-d Loves people.I searched for a nice looking heart graphic.

This morning – I prepared eggs for breakfast. I cracked one after the other. In one I cracked by the more narrow part of the egg.

I dropped the yoke in a cup – to assure there were no traces of blood in the egg. Then I put the egg from the cup into into the pan.

I looked at the shell. I noticed that the hole in the egg was in the shape of a heart.

This never happened to me before.

G-d sending a message?

Coincidence?

You decide.

One can brush things off as coincidence or he can notice the prayers being answered – this is one way we develop a relationship with the Creator. Noticing the little things that happen to us due to our prayers. Noticing all our blessings is another.

Who loves you the most? G-d does. You Just Have to take the time to notice all the good He does for you and each and every one of us on a daily basis.

Can G-d Create a Rock He Cannot Lift? – and Answers to Other Atheist’s Questions

I was walking down the street and I met a person. Somehow we got into the discussion of the existence of G-d. They were a foreigner but spoke English.

I mentioned that it is easy to prove the existence of G-d.

The first Question I asked was – “If you were walking on a beach and you found a pencil – what would you say? Would you say that it was random sand that blew this pencil together? or Would you say an intelligent creature created it?”

“Obviously – if something less complex such as a pencil must have a maker – so something more complex – like a baby – must have a creator.”

Easy enough. One need not be a rocket scientist – to understand that logic.

She and her friend half-heartedly acknowledged it. Her friend did believe in G-d.

I pointed to the building behind and asked do you think this building was built with bricks flying together.

I proceeded to explain that there are four questions that through rationality and logic anyone can come to the conclusion that the true law of G-d is the Torah.

Finding G-d through Rational Thought

The Four Questions

G-d, our Father, like a human father – wants us to be successful. If one thinks things out he will be able to come to the conclusion that Torah is the true way of G-d and thus success. How? By asking four questions and answering them rationally.

The four questions are:
1. Is there a G-d?
2. Did G-d Give a Law?
3. What is that Law?
4. Did G-d Change His “mind”?

 

In short here are the answers:
1. Yes. Rationally, It doesn’t make sense that random atoms formed the world and nature.

 

2. Yes. Rationally, It doesn’t make sense that G-d created a magnificent world to allow others to destroy it.

 

3. The Torah. Rationally, G-d would have to give a law to millions of people, rather than one man, otherwise a person could always say – why should I believe that man. The Torah is the only Divine law given by G-d, witnessed by millions of people.

 

4. No. Rationally, It doesn’t make sense that G-d, who knows all, is omniscient – knows past, present and future, is the most intelligent existence, will change his mind about His people or His laws.

She raised some objections but they were easily answered away.

Then she dropped her “bomb” question.

Can G-d Create a Rock He Cannot Lift?.

Before answering it – I’ll preface by saying it is important for all people to know themselves. To know what is driving them. To want to seek truth.

Many people say they seek truth but it is not so. They seek to justify their behavior. Why do people pick on the “goody-goody”? Because he makes them feel guilty that they are not living up to the standards they intuitively know that G-d wants from them. So instead of making the effort to improve – they put down the goody-goody. Not improving and basically fooling themselves.

Thus it is of utmost importance for a person seeking true self-improvement and connection with spirituality to have this motive of searching for truth. Willing to give up my lifestyle for truth.

Others have a lifestyle that they want to pursue and they seek to find the “truth” that suits their lifestyle. A religion that allows me to do what I want.

This is the real reason for anti-semitism – pick on the Jews because the Jews remind me that G-d wants me to be better. Hitler said it straight out – in Mein Kamf – “the Jews brought two problems to the world circumcision – [recognition that man is not perfect and we must make an effort to better ourselves – in short the pursuit of perfection] and the conscience [the belief that G-d is watching our actions].” To deal with it – Hitler – instead of trying to improve himself – he committed genocide. He wanted the earth to be a world of “civilized acting” barbarians.

This is the reason why many deny G-d. If I deny Him I don’t have to feel badly about doing wrong. A mature person takes responsibility for their actions and tries to improve when they missed the mark. G-d accepts their repentance. G-d allows them to wipe the slate clean.

Even scientists like Stephan Hawking and others fall into the trap. Ask Stephan – Come on the whole world, all nature, growth and movement, life all caused by random atoms? Not rational. I’d expect more from you Stephan.

The drive to cover up truth as long as I can do what I want is strong. Strong enough to blind scientists. Strong enough to cause people to support BDS and company. Strong enough for people to justify terrorism. Strong enough for the UN to make over 220 resolutions against Israel and remaining silent for atrocities in the rest of the world. Logically it makes no sense – but given the interest of justifying one’s behavior and avoiding having a guilty conscience – it all makes sense.

It happens to all of us. It happens in Judaism. The whole reason for the initial development of the reform, conservative, reconstructionist “movements” is because they want to justify doing what I want while not feeling guilty. It is irrational – to think that G-d given laws can be nullified by man.

I’m not trying to blame the world. But just pointing out that this will – to avoid feeling guilty for one’s bad actions – is a real driving force in the world and in the individual. Thus – we pray to Hash-m to help us find truth.

OK. So the answer to the question.

Can G-d Create a Rock He Cannot Lift?

here’s a better one:

Can G-d destroy Himself?

the answer to both is – NO.

G-d is all powerful. He can do whatever he wants.

The talked-out reasoning behind those questions is:

You say G-d is all powerful and has no weakness.

If G-d is all powerful and has no weaknesses then –

Can G-d Create a Rock He Cannot Lift?

The answer is – G-d is all powerful. He can do anything. But not being able to create a rock that He cannot lift is not a weakness – it is a strength. Not being able to be destroyed is a strength – not a weakness.

Let’s put the answer in positive terms – Any rock that G-d creates – He can lift. G-d cannot be destroyed. Those are both strengths – not weaknesses.

If we compare our existence to the pixels on a computer screen and G-d being the Programmer – just like the programmer can program whatever he wants – G-d can do whatever he wants.

She then asked another “bomb” question.

If G-d created the world – who created G-d?

That answer is also basically simple to answer.

G-d always existed. No one created G-d. G-d created time.

We live in a world that time is an integral part of existence. G-d created time. G-d did not just create the world and leave it on autopilot. G-d is creating the world and recreating it every second. Like pictures in the old movie reels. So it seems to us that there is time. But G-d is out of the world of Time.

There is a statement in Pirkei Avot (2:14) on

Torah Diligence & Knowing Why & for Whom You Toil

Rabbi Ela’zar says: Be diligent to learn Torah and know what to answer to the non-believer.  And know before Whom you toil and that Your Employer is trustworthy to pay you the reward of your labor.

It’s good to know the answers – but you don’t have to go out and debate everybody now – it is good enough for you to know the answers yourself. It seems that the Mishna above is telling you – if you will be influenced to deny G-d because the deniers promise you living a life – guilt free by denying the existence of G-d – that lack of guilt is no way worth the great reward and tremendous pleasure – in this world and in the next world (heaven) –  in serving G-d.

Seek truth.

Prepared for the Moment of Truth – Unbiased Thinking & Finding Truth in Your Lifetime.

Vibrant and Colorful Whole and Halved Fresh Oranges

I once asked myself – I wonder I would be like if I was born in Africa.

Then I remembered I was born in Africa. (Morocco)

Product of One’s Environment

A person is the product of his environment.

His experiences, upbringing, society and values shape his perception of the world.

Is there One Truth?

The question that people ask is – is there one truth for everyone.

The answer is – Yes.

Yes – in that there is one truth. The truth that G-d provides.

Yet, for different people different ways of life are appropriate – obviously following that one truth that G-d provides. Different situations also provide different ways of acting. Give a person a bat to play baseball – you are doing good. Give a person a bat to hit someone with it, you are doing bad. Doing Good and bad depends upon the situation.

Laws to Guide and Help You find Purpose

G-d gives laws that give a person much flexibility. But more than that He gives laws that will help a person determine what is his or her purpose, the path to reach it and the possibility to reach one’s potential in life.

The Truth of G-d is what?

First – we must examine what would be  the rational way for G-d to give a divine law.

Would it be more rational for G-d to give it to one person and say – go and transmit it to others or would it be more rational for G-d to appear Himself to an entire nation – of millions of people – and give them a divine Law?

Apparently it would make more sense for G-d to appear to millions of people. To appear to one man – regardless of who it was – would not be so convincing. A single person cannot be a witness in Jewish law for certain things. At least two people are needed.

Judaism is the only religion that claims that G-d himself gave millions of witnesses –  the Jews – a Divine law – the Torah.

Do Miracles Prove Divinity?

Miracles do not prove a person has any divine powers. A person can lift a table. To a child that would appear he did the impossible – for the small child seeing it – the man is doing something that the child cannot do. Doing miracles can be done by the wicked and good. G-d had to make it that way to provide freedom of choice to the world.

If only good people could do miracles or magic then the people would be tempted to do good because they saw it is obviously true – because only good people can do miracles.

Freedom of Choice

Let’s take another example – if only good people would become rich – then everybody would be good. Yet most would not become good because they see the intrinsic value of good and that they are doing the will of G-d – they would be doing it because they want to become rich.

Why do The Good Suffer and the Wicked Prosper?

Freedom of Choice – as explained above – is one reason why sometimes the good suffer and the wicked prosper.

But in the end the wicked will be punished & the righteous rewarded. If not in this world – in the World to Come / Heaven.

How to find Truth

One way to find truth is to write out your thoughts about a certain topic. If it seems right to you – then perhaps you are right. Show it to someone else.

Here’s an example:

I am upset at the cashier because she charged me the regular price on the can of tunafish – when it was on sale.

Now if you read that – a person will think – it’s someone else who put the wrong price tag on the tuna. Why should the cashier be responsible? She shouldn’t yell at the cashier. She should raise her issue with the management. Obviously – in a calm manner.

The Tricks of Liers 

The Torah says the best lie is one that is mixed with truth. If you say you saw a cow flying 200 feet people wouldn’t believe it. But if you say – a cow that was on a truck and the truck stopped suddenly causing a cow to fly 200 feet out of the back of the truck. They might believe it.

Unfortunately – many religions say yes the Torah is true. “But” G-d changed his mind about his laws or about the selection of his people. They take Torah truth and mix it with falsity and pass it on as the Truth. The thing many don’t realize is that “G-d changing his mind” is irrational. G-d  is omniscient. He knows all the past, present and future and thus does not change his mind.

Arriving at truth

A person can discuss truth with a non-biased person. The main point is is to stick to rationality. If either one starts talking irrationally – then the game is over,

A person who is not honest – you cannot really discuss things to find the truth – because their self-interest taints the search for truth.

This week’s Torah Reading (Bamidbar / Numbers 16:1 – 18:32) Talks about Korah. He started a power struggle in the Desert. He accused Moshe / Moses – of nepotism – that Moshe gave the position of Chief Cohen – to his brother Aharon – because Aharon was his brother.

Korah – egged on by his wife – created a quarrel against Moses.

Moshe – in his Humility – went to the parties who started the quarrel and tried to convince them that they were in the wrong. They refused to listen. He tried reason. He tried explaining the consequence of their actions. He explained that he had nothing to gain from being in a position of leadership.

Provide a Litmus Test

He provided a challenge. They claimed that they deserved to be the Chief Cohen / High Priest. Moses said – the 250 people with Korach – will all take fire pans – and offer an incense offering. If one would remain alive – that person would be the High Priest in stead of his brother Aharon. Afterwards he added that Aharon also would participate in the offering.

Why did he do it this way?

Because if all the people died – that would prove that they were not chosen as the high priest – but it would not show that Aharon was chosen to be the High priest.

So therefor he said afterwards that His brother Aharon would also participate – to not only prove that – they are not chosen as the High Priest – but to also prove that His brother Aharon was chosen to be High priest.

To prove something wrong – you can’t just disprove an argument – you have to also show that your position is correct.

Being Ready to Go to the End and Change All for Truth

Once Rabbi Israel Salantar was discussing a particular issue with a person from the Maskilim / “Enlightened” Movement. In the middle of the discussion the man told his wagon driver to get the carriage ready. The Rabbi stopped the discussion. The man asked – why don’t we continue the discussion? The Rabbi replied – I was ready to join your position if you were truthful and were really sincere about truth – but since for you it is only an intellectual exercise and you have no interest in changing if you are proven wrong – I have no time for intellectual musings.

The person who is discussing a topic – should be aware of why they hold a position. Is it because they want to find truth or is it that they want to defend their position.

Many a time a person will find “fault” with Torah and defend himself or herself. His point of view is not based upon careful investigation or rational analysis of the situation. He found a way to justify his immoral way of life by his “disproving” to himself “the existence of G-d.”

In the back of his mind he is thinking if G-d doesn’t exist in my mind – I have the right to act immorally – without guilt. That’s what many scientists do (including Stephan Hawking). They find “fault” with the reasoning of the existence of G-d – to justify their lifestyle. In the end – it is irrational to think that way – because of the argument found in many dentist offices. Ignore your teeth and they will go away. If a person ignores the existence of G-d, it doesn’t mean that G-d will disappear. That person will still be accountable for their actions in the end.

It is also irrational to think that G-d does not exist. If a person found a pencil while walking on the beach – he would never say “The sand just blew together randomly to form this new pencil.” He would know there was an intelligent creator of the pencil. Even more so a person, all nature, the planets, etc – testify to an intelligent creator. Random atoms don’t create people, animals, plants, fruits (see what R. Avigdor Miller says on the orange proving existence of G-d), vegetables, order, movement, mobility, growth, perfect interactions between mates, uniformity, unified laws – like physics and chemistry, etc.

Many a time a person fears what G-d expects from them when it is much easier than they think. According to Torah, Gentiles follow the 7 Commandments and Jews follow Shulhan Aruch – the code of Jewish Law. Both are relatively easy to get accustomed to after serious commitment. So what it comes down to is that many people ascribe to illogical ideas to avoid just taking upon themselves 7 or 10 commandments.

A Popular Rabbi in Israel – Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak – teaches secular Jews about the Torah. He provides clear and rational proofs of the Torah. After his lecture – completely secular Jews – take upon themselves the Mitzvot. Men start putting on Tzitzit / Tassels on their Fringes of their four cornered garments. Married women – take upon themselves to cover their hair. This is the ultimate in recognizing Truth – changing – because you found truth. Those who never observed the Shabbat according to Torah start to do so.

Having Someone to Reason With

In Torah Study – we discuss the issue until we are satisfied that we have come up with a truthful conclusion. Learning Torah with a study partner – hevruta – the usual way of learning Torah – is a way that we arrive at truth. You can sometimes pull the wool over your own eyes – but the study partner will be able to have a more objective view.

The Wife Who Saves Her Husband

In the story of the rebellion of Korah and his followers – one person – Ohs Ben Pelet – is mentioned in the beginning, yet at the “showdown” he is no longer mentioned. His wife saved his life. She reasoned him – “Look, Ohn – what do you gain if you join Korah’s rebellion? Under the rulership of Moses, you are not the leader. If Korah also wins the rebellion you will also not be the leader. So what do you gain?” He acknowledged her truth and she found away to disassociate her husband from the quarrel which saved his life.

Fooling Oneself

Many a time a person thinks he is fooling others. Really he or she fools himself. He think he can swindle others and not be caught. Eventually – he is caught. Eventually the truth catches up. If not in this world – in the next.

Dieing Happily

A rabbi visited a fellow Jew on his death bed. The man disregarded Torah and Mitzvot all his life. The Rabbi explained – if the man would do Teshuva / Repent, he would get a nice portion in heaven. Even if one does Teshuva the last moment, Hash-m will forgive him or her.  The man refused. Apparently – even though he would gain much from repentance – the man refused because he didn’t want to admit that all his life he “wasted” doing nothing to better himself or the world.

Once a Rabbi visited a non-Jewish reverend in the hospital. The reverend was about to die. He asked the rabbi – his religion said that the Jews would never Return to Israel. Now he saw that the Jews had returned and many of the prophesies of his religion were outright disproven. He wondered on the deathbed – “if he had wasted his life in following his religion.” At this moment of truth – the rabbi knew it wasn’t the time to mince words. The rabbi replied “Yes.” The reverend died with pain. Apparently – dieing recognizing the truth is better than dieing without recognizing it.

But even better is to recognize truth when it comes your way. Better to acknowledge the truth and change once you encounter it – rather than wait for the last minute.

 

What is Cool Anyway? 4 Steps for Better Anger Management

People say they are cool. Is it so? I don’t know.

What is cool anyway?

Fashionable? Trendy? In Style? All of the Above? None of the Above?

People want to be cool – but they don’t know what it means.

Cool means – in control.

Obviously – G-d is in control of all situations. But He gave you the power to control yourself.

Control yourself and do the will of G-d in any situation and you are really cool – in control.

The Source of Anger

What is one source of anger? Apparently – it is the thought that you are someone special and the world owes you respect. If you don’t get it – you get angry. Simple enough.

Yes you are someone special, but the world doesn’t owe you anything. The more you think of yourself as “Null and Void” – but important none-the-less – you can relax.

People tie their self esteem to what other people think of you. My esteem is not based upon what others think of me. It is of what I think of myself. They are not necessarily related.

People can begrudge me – that is not my problem it is theirs. If I am doing the will of Hash-m / I need no accolades from others. I can be happy with myself.

Real Appreciation – Know G-d Loves You

It says in Pirkei Avot – how do you know if you are loved and appreciated by G-d? Here are quotes:

Man is Loved by G·d
He (Rabbi Akiva) used to say – beloved is man because he was created in the Image [of G·d]; He is even more beloved because He [Hash·m] let him [man] know [of this gift] as it says: “For in the image of G·d , He made man.” (Bereshit / Genesis 9:6) Beloved is [the people of] Yisrael because they are called children of The Omnipresent [Hash·m]; They are even more beloved because He let them know [this] as it says: “You are children to the L·rd, your G·d” (Devarim / Deut. 14:1)
Beloved is [the people of] Yisrael because they were given the vessel by which the world was created; [The Torah] They are even more beloved because He let them know as it says: “For a good teaching I gave to you; my Torah do not forsake it” (Mishlei / Proverbs 4:2) (Avot Ch 3:14)

 

Hash·m Likes the Liked
He [Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa] used to say: … whoever who the spirit of creations have satisfaction from them, G·d has satisfaction from them. Yet if the creations do not gain satisfaction from them, then G·d does not gain satisfaction from them. (Avot Ch 3:9)

 

Rabbi Shimo’n says: … And do not be a wicked person in your own eyes. (Avot Ch 3:13)

What do we learn? You can know you are loved independently of others – because G-d loves you. I don’t have any requirement from Torah to impress others. I have to be nice. I have to help others. I have to be kind – but I don’t need to impress them. I do whats good in the eyes of G-d and I will feel better about me and others will love me more.

Improve Your inside

Buying a new suit – will not make me more beloved by others. But if I control my anger – say nice words – be kind and considerate I will. So I don’t have to gauge myself mainly by what others think. I do good and eventually they will think good of me. My main concern is pleasing G-d. Others will love me in as a result.

The point – First seek to please G-d. Then other’s will really respect you. Not because what you possess or show outside but because of your beautiful inside.

The Torah is about Self Control. If you are in control – doing the will of G-d you don’t need to benchmark yourself from others.

So if people respect me or not – if I’m doing the will of Hash-m as the Torah states – I don’t have to get angry. I know all G-d does for me is good. I know G-d loves me. The fact that others respect me or not doesn’t make me a better individual. It could tell me about myself – but it doesn’t affect who I am.

I have to be good. If people respect me good. If they don’t that’s also good. I don’t have to become all huffed up because someone said a mean word, acted disrespectfully, yelled at me in public – I know I am good I don’t need others approval of me.

How do I improve? Read and review Pirkei Avot and other ethical works – like Iggeret HaRamban. Try to slowly absorb the lessons into your being.

Know its for the Best

One of the basic reasons for anger is thinking “this situation I am in is not good, I will correct it with anger.” Firstly, know all that Has-m does is for the good. If someone insulted you, perhaps G-d is sparing you from a worse fate.

Once a person was to go on a business trip on a ship. A week before he stepped on a rusty nail. The Doctor told him he couldn’t take the trip. He was upset. The ship sailed away. Soon after he hear heard that the ship sunk. He was saved from a worse fate.

When anger wells up – think “This is also for the best.” or think of the best way of handling the situation in an agreeable and calm manner.

Sometimes it’s a test to see if you will handle the situation properly.

Secondly, many a time handling a situation with anger worsens the situation. Handle it calmly and you get better results.

A Billionaire – was playing poker with a person that was suing his company for millions. He was asked “How can you play with a person who is suing you?” He replied – “I try to not get emotional. When I become emotional, I become irrational. When I become Irrational I make bad business decisions.”

Don’t Get Me Angry – You Wouldn’t Like When I’m Angry

Some will ask you not to get them angry. Others Do Not get you angry. They cause a situation to occur – in which you CHOOSE to become angry. Anger is in your control – people don’t force you to be angry. You choose. It is your choice.

Change Negative to Positive

You had difficulties in your life? Use the negative for the positive. Someone did bad to you? Do the opposite to others. Someone spoke disrespectfully to you – speak with respect to others. Someone got upset at you – correct what they complained about and go on. Don’t dwell on the anger – dwell on the positive self improvement that you can gain from it. Anger motivates. Use the anger to motivate yourself to get better and leave the others in “the dust”. Let them be that grudging person – you don’t need them to be happy. You can be happy that you don’t have that same negative attitude. You are positive.

Prepare Mentally

Prepare for situations that anger you mentally and see imagine the best way to react.

People can have a bad day – and they take it out on me. Does that make me any worse of an individual? No. It means they had a bad day.

Don’t base your self-esteem on the approval of others. Be independently happy.

Be good and you’ll feel good.

 

Advice to Overcome Anger:

Advice to overcome anger – Explained here are four very useful pieces of advice to overcome anger & to fix one’s character traits. Behold we expounded to explain general advice & essentials that are very useful useful to break the force of the evil inclination & they are the four following :

 

1) To learn regularly books of Mussar (Ethics) regarding the [great] elevation & reward of one who works on oneself & the degradation & punishment of one that transgresses.

 

2) To reflect & to delve deeply in his thoughts continuously of the Oneness of Hash·m, Blessed Be He, & that all that exists & all their forces & in all their movements at every place & at every moment & even that they are a person of free will & even though the evil inclination & the evil force incites him all – as if it would be – is from Hash·m.

 

3) One should reflect over time it will be in his eyes that that the matter already passed

 

4) One should regularly constantly pray in one’s prayers before Hash-m, Blessed Be He with crying & tears about this that He should save him from the evil inclination & He should approach him to His service, Blessed Be He.

 

And refer to book for explanation & sources (Azor HaTzevi)

 

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One of the classic Jewish sources to refrain from anger to read daily is Iggeret HaRamban / The Letter of the Ramban – a letter he wrote to his sons to refrain from anger. We offer a Business-sized card of It.

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There is a certain Verse to Say if one is angry to calm them down – Brought by the Baal Shem Tov. The Verse is Tehillim / Psalm 119:9. We also have it on the Keep Calm Card.

Sorry, I Don’t Intend to Impress You – Being Happy Independently of Others

I remember the days when I used to waste time watching TV. (Unfortunately now I waste it using my techno-gadgets 🙂 ).

I must admit there was a great commercial. It featured Uncle Sam preparing to consume a hot dog. The announcer was touting the higher standards of Hebrew National hotdogs – due to their being Kosher in comparison to the USDA requirements. “The US government permits additives and fillers under federal regulations, Since we are Kosher, Hebrew National can’t,” panning up to the heavens and stating “we answer to a higher authority”, Then some heavenly music.

I don’t know know the reliability of Hebrew National – I try to avoid hot dogs. Ask your local “orthodox” rabbi – but it was a great commercial.

I used to be in the dress to impress scene. The Polos, the Lacoste, the Ralph Lauren shirts and ties, the works. I would try to impress others – with my labels & dress and my fashion. I was a fashion setter. I was one of the first to wear the two watches, to have an Apple computer (the Apple II plus) and to be fashionably unique.

As I got older – and hopefully wiser – I figured – what do I need to impress others? Learning Torah, I started realizing the need to impress was time wasted. Yes, I do dress nicely now – but not to impress – to appear neat and elegant but not to attract looks.

I try to be nice, but my main focus is to please Hash-m / G-d. Less pressure. Less shelling out thousands for wardrobes – so that others will say “wow – you look great.”

I don’t need others telling me that. I feel comfortable enough with myself – that I don’t need others accolades.

When I try to please Hash-m and work on myself to be the best person I can be – kind, giving, patient, helpful etc. I feel fulfilled internally. I don’t need external praise to make me feel good. Even though it is good to hear it once in a while – I don’t live for it.

Instead of relying on others for me to appreciate myself, I can appreciate myself independently. I benchmark myself not on what others do or say. I see if I am properly following the way G-d want’s me to be.

In short – I try to “answer to a higher Authority.”