Hanukah – Things to Pray for Each Night

The Kedushat Levi says that each night of Chanuka is mesugal, an auspicious time for different things to daven / pray for:
1st night -not to be lonely or depressed
2nd night– Shidduchim, Shalom Bayis, to find your marriage partner and marital peace
3rd night- Good children, Happy children and healthy (Chasam Sofer ztk’l says when you cry in front of the candles you can be sure your tefilos / prayers are answered)
4th night– 4 lmahos / 4 Matriarchs – To be a healthy and wholesome woman/mother in the 4 walls of your home, of true essence
5th night — Chamisha Chumshei Torah, The Five books of Torah. Daven / Pray that your husband should be a ralmid chacham / Torah Scholar as well as your children. By the 5th night more of the menorah is lit up than not. Pray for more light in your life, for clarity.
6th night – Simcha / Happiness – You can have everything and still be sad, therefore pray for joy and happiness
7th night – Happy and Peaceful Shabbat – zmiros / Jewish Song Sing, Divrei Torah / Words of Torah said by your Seuda.Shabbat / Meal of Shabbat is the source of all berakha / blessing.
8th night– mesugal / auspicious time to pray for barren women. 8 is above nature, powerful day to pray.

Kedushat Levi says if you are planning to start something new, if you start it on Chanuka it will be blessed, Bezrat Hash-m / with the help of G-d.

Swallowing the Bitter Pill and Sweetening the Aftertaste

Two things threw me off the other week.

One – a guy told me off before I was to make speech.

The Second – a guy corrected me during a speech.

Life goes on. Uncomfortable. But because it is uncomfortable it does not mean that it is bad. I looked into my own misdeeds and found two incidents that may have been the cause of these reactions.

But after some introspection – I realized that the comments were not necessarily just punishments – but suggestions for me to improve.

I took their points into consideration and hopefully said a better speech the next time around.

So should I hate these people.

No. On the contrary, they did good for me. They helped me improve my speaking skills.

Learn from Avraham Avinu / our patriach. King Avimelekh took his wife Sarah captive. When he returned her and apologized – Avraham did not hold a grudge. He blessed him to be healed and healthy.

Life at times may throw you off. Be ready for the swing and do not be thrown off by a hook.

Comedians are ready. They know hecklers in the audience. Some react well. Some are thrown off.

But if we base our lives on self-improvement these comments – should evoke thankfulness in us. If someone tried to help you – even if it was not in the most pleasant way – let it slide – they did you a favor to help you become better.

Go on. Carry on. Move ahead – it is not worth your hate. It is not worth your emotions to hold a grudge.

I know people who hold grudges. “A” did this to me. I will not speak with him. I will avoid him or her for years and years until one day they realize their foolishness and regret. People have grudges against me. I don’t know why. But all is for the good. Let them be. I have no ill will towards them.

King David had the right attitude. When Shimi Ben Gera insulted him – he told his soldiers not to harm him. He said that it is not him who is insulting me – It is G-d sending me a message for self-improvement through him.

Once a young man had a jealous friend. He was of the age to get married. When people inquired about the young man for a possible match with their daughter the jealous friend would always supply negative information. The boy was upset. He asked his Rebbe – “Why is this person doing this to me? He is driving away many potential mates.” The wise rebbe responded – “G-d does all for the good. Perhaps you love your Torah learning so much – that it would take you much time to go out on a date, and get acquainted and then find out it was not a good match. Perhaps G-d is helping you to use your time to Study rather that to deal with all dating process. When the right one comes Hash-m will put them on your path.”

That’s what happened. The father of the woman he ended up marrying – did not use his jealous friend as a reference.

Look at the good in the bitter. Look at the light in the darkness. Look for the good in all situations.Don’t become bitter – become better. Every minute is a new minute to be happy. To let go of a grudge and bitterness. Choose happiness. And live a happier life.

G-d wants our good – it is up to us to have enough faith that G-d does only good and to be creative enough to figure out what is good about any situation.

Breaking Through Your Glass Ceiling – The Secrets of Success in Judaism

G-d loves the average person.

Going about their day making an honest day’s pay.

In G-d we trust – is their motto.

Deep down we know that there is a G-d. Deep down we know that there is a concept of good and evil, of perfection and breaking out of our self-imposed, psychological limits.

But how do I know it is so?

I was born with a set of values, ideals, DNA and circumstances. Can I break out of all of those to excel beyond the average person?

Yes.

How?

The first question to ask is “what is greatness?”

What is Greatness?

Greatness is reaching our potential in doing good for the world. Each person has tremendous potential to help make the world a better place. Each person finds purpose and achieves their personal purpose in the world – through the good that they provide in the world through their unique attributes and talents.

Goodness is Defined By Torah – Not by What One feels is Good

This good is defined by Torah.

At times a person thinks they are doing good, but are doing the opposite according to Torah. An example is a person who give a druggie drugs. Giving is usually kindness. But if one helps others to endanger their lives – materially or spiritually – it is cruelty.

The Torah says – one who is kind with the cruel ends up being cruel with the kind. A person who is wants clemency for terrorists – thinks they are doing kindness – but really this is cruelty because – they are condoning evil and causing that perhaps others will earn from him or that person might redo their misdeeds.

Being Great starts off with defining precisely what is good in G-d’s eye’s according to Torah. Then following that path that the Torah condones.

Greatness and success in terms of the Torah has nothing to do with the person’s bank account. A person who is wealthy can be a great person – if they give charity to proper causes or can be wicked if they give their money to hurt others.

Torah success is based upon goodness. It is not based upon wealth. A person can be a millionaire but if he beats his wife – anyone will not consider them a success. Success and greatness is based upon goodness according to Torah.

Many people are lured by exotic places and ascetic gurus when searching for spirituality. Many a time they are disappointed by gurus because although these gurus may seem spiritual – putting on the whole act – meditation, asceticism, the hairdos, the followers, the barbs, etc. – they are dishonest. They fail in the basics of honesty. Gil Locks was a guru – who found Torah after experimenting with many cults and religions – he can tell you many stories of their dishonesty.

In Judaism – spirituality goes hand in hand with honesty, goodness, kindness. The greater one reaches to achieve these ideals through action – the more spiritual one becomes. A rabbi once said “Your spirituality depends upon the materialism of others.” Meaning By you giving a poor person food to eat (material) you grow spiritually.

We Can All be Great.

We can all be great.

How do I know? Open up a Humash (the 5 books of Moses / the Artscroll Stone Chumash is what I recommend.)

There we learn the stories of Avraham, Rivka, Leah and Rachel. All have one thing in common. They were completely righteous – yet they grew up in a house where impurity and impropriety reigned.

Abraham’s father – Terach – was an Idol worshiper. Abraham used his mind to deduce that anything that has a limit cannot be a G-d. If it has a body, if it is physical if it can be destroyed it cannot be a G-d. He rose to tremendous heights – influencing the entire world.

Rivka, Leah and Rachel all lived  in families of idol worshipers. Yet they chose righteousness over the convenient and the fad and fashion of the day.

How? They attached themselves to the source of life – Hash-m / G-d. They used their mind to control their hearts – instead of the of vice versa. They used Torah as a guide to their actions – rather than emotions. Their kindness was the pinnacle of kindness.

But they also knew another great secret:

Turning on the Dime – breaking the momentum of Sadness & Mediocrity

What ever situation that I was in yesterday or that I find myself today doesn’t not require me to act the same way in the future. Meaning every day is new day to grow. What my family is, what my friends are, what I was yesterday – puts no requirement on how I can be today. Yesterday I could have been in the dumps – today I can be happy. Yesterday I could have been following mediocrity – today I can be following greatness. I am an independent individual. I am not attached to the values or opinions of my friends or my society. When I attach myself to being Good and doing good – that’s when I am happy. That’s when I reach greatness. I attach myself to Hash-m’s guide – and I learn the secrets of greatness.

Every week – in the Parasha – weekly Torah reading – we learn a lesson in greatness. Every Halacha – Jewish Law found in the Shulchan Aruch for Jews – or 7 Noahide laws for all humanity – helps me to reach that greater perfection. The Jewish law is formulated to help me achieve the greatness that most people ignore, fuzz over or dream about but do not pursue.

Becoming Great starts from learning Torah – and following Halacha. One then slowly develops the mindset and outlook that will bring a person to greatness.

Step By Step – Grow a little every day

It starts with one small step. A commitment to grow through little by little following the Halacha / Jewish law pertinent to them. Women have certain laws pertinent to them in Torah. Men do as well. Cohanim have certain laws. Gentiles have certain Torah laws. It all starts by following Jewish laws. And growing step by step – little by little accepting new halachot – each will open up a new vista for you.

Attachment to G-d

A True Story. A man was having difficulty finding a Job on Wall street. He asked JP Morgan – a great banker at that time – to walk down Wall Street together with him. For this he was willing to Pay $100 cash. He agreed. After the short walk – people took notice of him. They saw he was associated with a great banker – and the job offers started flowing to him. When we attach ourselves to G-d through Torah and Mitzvoth – the doors start opening. The story of JP Morgan illustrates this. The difference is is that G-d himself will open the doors for you.

The Reward of Greatness

Apart from the intrinsic good for all the world bestowed by my pursuit of being great from the Torah – G-d’s Guide to greatness – (why Torah? It is the only time in the history of man that millions of witnesses heard G-d speak to give a divine document – the Torah) – I receive great reward.

In a Shiur / Torah Lecture of Rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto – he mentioned three concepts about achieving greatness.

Teshuva Before a Mitzvah

He mentioned the How teshuva / repentance is essential before a person does a Mitzvah. If one does a mitzvah when attached to bad – some of that mitzvah so to speak feeds the bad side. A good example is let’s say you become rich. You have a group of friends that appreciate you because of your net-worth rather than your self-worth. When you make money they gain – because you share your wealth with them. If you have a group of friends that are also righteous – those are the people.

Commit to goodness & Greatness

A person likes to follow the path traced for him or her by society. It’s easier that way. I want to be like the next guy. What will people think. The first step to goodness is committing to doing good. And like what we mentioned good is defined by Torah. Not how to be great?

Commit to being great. But also set specific goals. I want to be able to teach others Torah. I want to help homeless people find shelters. I want to give away chickens to poor Jewish families for the Shabbat meal. That’s the starting point. Then put a number to it. Rabbi Noach Weinberg, of Aish Hatorah (Aish.com) had a specific goal – he wanted to reach out to a hundred thousand Jewish people to bring them closer to Torah & mitzvot. Apparently he did reach his goal. He was a great person – but had specific goals.

Torah is part of the plan.

If you look at the great people in the world, Abraham, Isaak, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David or more contemporary, the Chofetz Haim, the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, the Ari HaKadosh, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – led their lives based upon Torah ideals. Having a regular Torah learning session in one’s daily schedule – even if it is only five minutes to start is a good starting point.

The Last Day of Life

One’s reward in life depends partly upon their last day of your life. If a person is constantly growing – his past experiences serve to make him what he was today. So if the last day of his life he was doing great deeds for mankind – it will be counted as if he was doing these great deeds his or her entire life. Obviously if he did teshuva for his past improper deeds and he wished that he did his current good deeds for all of the days of his past life.

Only the Good Die Young?

At times a person is taken from the world, G-d forbid, at an age earlier than they were destined to die. Some reasons – a person put themselves in danger, a person did many transgressions, or a person was turning towards the bad side. Let’s say a person died at the age of 100 instead of 120. He had 20 more years to live. Those 20 will be added to his or her heavenly reward as if he or she were doing the righteous deeds they did during their life.

Sarah Immeinu / our matriarch died relatively young at the age of 127. Her husband Avraham – lived till 175. He was supposed to die at 180. If both were supposed to live till 180, both of them will be rewarded in heaven as if they did 180 years of Mitzvot, kindness and good deeds.

Achieving greatness is attainable. Really everyone wants to be good. G-d put in this world an element to make it more challenging – it is called the evil inclination. It is the voice inside you that says “You can’t do it. You are worthless. You are a loser. You shouldn’t be good with that person. Take revenge. Hate that person. Follow the crowd. Everybody is doing it. I don’t want to look like a goody goody.”

Be Positive

Throw those negative thoughts in the fire and start your day and life with positivism. Every day

Upon awakening, one says:
Modeh (Modah / for female) ‘ani le·fanei·kha melekh h’ai ve·kayam she·heh’ezarta vi nish·mati ve·h’emlah, raba ’emu·natekha

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

Hash-m Has faith in Us. Do we have enough faith in ourselves?

Believe [in yourself] and achieve.

Technology Control & Texting Etiquette

Control.

Life is about control. Controlling ourselves.

In control of our emotions and thoughts, we live a life of happiness. Letting the situation control us, we are swayed by the winds of emotion.

Judaism is about control and limits. To let our mind control our hearts and not vice versa. Leading us to make smart decisions that we will not regret and will be happy with in the long term.

Below is an interesting list of limits that we can place upon ourselves to live a more meaningful life with building relations between ourselves and others or G-d, instead of relations with us and technology.

Be Happy for Punishment

One of the 13 Principles of Judaism is the belief of Reward and Punishment. G-d will greatly reward those that followed his laws and punish those that did not. Obviously G-d takes into account all the factors. G-d may punish in this world or the next.

Why should you be happy about that?

Apparently we all know more or less deep down what is right and wrong. Having this concept of reward and punishment allows us to live a meaningful life.

If everything that I do is “good” or doesn’t make a difference, I live a life without purpose. If what I do can be good or bad, my actions in this world make a difference. This fact gives me purpose in life.

Teshuva – Repentance.

Remember that even if one did bad in their life – transgressing the laws of the Torah – the bad can be erased through sincere Teshuva – repentance. If one does teshuva out of fear of punishment – his or her sins are erased. If one does teshuva because they feel that they love Hash-m and fell badly to have gone against His will – their past misdeeds become counted as mitzvahs (perhaps because they prompted him or her to do teshuva).

G-d is Magnanimous

G-d will forgive any sin a person has done if the penitent person is sincere in their teshuva. (for How to do teshuva – seee Starting Over – Wiping the Slate Clean). The four stages of teshuva are :

Opportunities to Clean the Slate – Teshuva / Repentance – 4 Steps of Repentance בסד

1
2

3

 

4
Cessation
Commitment

Regret

Confession

Stopping doing the misdeed
Firm resolve never to repeat the deed. One is forgiven if he or she is in the same situation & doesn’t commit the sin.
Sincere Remorse for Wrong one did. Obviously one has to know what is right & wrong. To know – A Jew learns the 613 Mitzvot or the (Kitzur) Shulchan Aruch / Code of Jewish Law – regulating Jewish life. A Gentile learns their 7 Noahide Laws.
Verbal Admitting to G·d / Hash-m the wrong one did & asking for forgiveness. If one wronged another, ask forgiveness
Everyone Can Better Themselves. Forgive, Ask for Forgiveness & Be Happy.

(Rambam / Maimonides – Mishne Torah – Book of Knowledge – Laws of Repentance – Ch. 2 & 4 )

A very important point is not to fall to depression due to teshuva (or anything else for that matter). Some remorse to the extent that their remorse turns to depression. Once one has sincerely done teshuva – be happy. G-d – like a parent – wants His children to be happy. It says it in Tehillim / Psalms “Serve Hash-m / G-d with Happiness. Come before him with Joyful song.” Our general mood should be one of happiness. Be happy that you committed to improve. That’s something for which to be happy. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing the problem. Be happy you took the first step.

G-d can solve any problem

Don’t be sad about problems. Learn the lesson from the pain. Do teshuva. Improve. And be happy. G-d can solve any and all of your problems. No problem is too great for Him to provide respite and a solution. We just must turn to Hash-m with sincere prayer and teshuva. Make our small effort to overcome the problem and G-d will solve it

Precautions Against Failure & Positive Outlook

In Pirkei Avot(1:7) 

Nitai the Arbelite says: Distance yourself from a bad neighbor & do not become friendly with a wicked person & do not despair from retribution. (punishment)

If a person is suffering – it could be due to G-d sending them a message to improve or to compensate them for a past misdeed. So the obvious solution is to correct the misdeed. But also not to lose moral or despair from punishment. Repent, Correct, Go on and Be happy.

From Fear to Eternity

I was in the synagogue the other day. On the Bima – where the sefer Torah is placed when it is read – was a book entitled – “From Fear to Eternity – 10 steps to Achieving the Benefits of Being Jewish” by A. Lefkowitz. The title reminded me another reason for why punishment is good. We live in a temporal world. It is a temporary existence. No one gets out of here (the world) alive.But the afterlife is eternal. So if given a choice – it is better to live a challenging life here and a peaceful life in the next world – than vice versa.

Fear of Punishment in this world or the next world – allows us to prevent falling into a trap that may take away our prospect of living eternally. We are really a soul in a body. Once a person dies, the body is left behind and the soul continues to live. Thus fear of punishment allows us to inherit eternity by preventing us from transgressing the laws of the Torah.

The Reason why the Evil Prosper and the Righteous Suffer

An easy answer to the question of “What is the Reason why the Evil Prosper and the Righteous Suffer?” is because there are two worlds. This world on Earth and an after life. Punishment can be in this world or the next. Reward can be bestowed in this world or the next. A person who did great evil – like Hitler, Stalin, your average Terrorist -cannot be properly punished in this world. So G-d grants them a decent life here and punishes them in the next world. To us we see them live a decent, happy life. We do not see what goes on in the next world. So we think that the criminal got away Scott free. But they cannot escape the heavenly judgement. The punishment and reward is much greater in the next world.

On the positive side. We see righteous people suffer in this world – but we see not the great reward in heaven. So we think that he or she gained no reward from all their righteousness. But in the next world they will receive unimaginable reward. Thus we can accept why the evil prosper and the righteous suffer – by understanding this concept of reward and punishment in the next world.

How do I find out what G-d wants from Me?

G-d has a rule that is called measure for measure – Midah Keneged Midah. When a person does something bad – he is punished in the same way or in a manner related to his or her transgression. If one does good he is also rewarded similarly.

In the book “Living Emunah 3 (By Rabbi David Ashear) he relates a story of a woman who was unable to have children. She asked her rabbi – what to do. He told her to reinforce herself in Judaism. She decided to keep the Shabbat, Say Blessings on Food and I think say the morning Blessings. Shortly after she had a child. Some time later – an unusual thing happened when she was lighting the Shabbat candles. She attempted to light the two Shabbat candles- but only one would be kindled. Several weeks passed and every week the same thing happened. She confided her secret to her Rabbi. He asked – Is there something she is not careful about on Shabbat. She replied – we do Shabbat but we leave the TV on during Shabbat. He suggested to refrain from doing this. She committed to doing this and convinced her family. The next week she was able to kindle both candles.
(The story continues – see the book if you want to know the story’s end.)

Another explanation – of don’t despair from retribution – means that don’t despair that the evil will be punished. Those that do evil will be punished in this world or the next. Seeing a wicked person prosper is a test. Will we follow evil because we see the evil prosper? It is also to give people free will. If we see evil people suffering and righteous people prospering we will have no freedom of choice. Everyone will want to be righteous. G-d puts the choice of good and evil before us and it is up to us to choose good. Choose Life.

Keeping People in Line

Other reasons to be happy for punishment – because as it says in Pirke Avot (Chapter 3:2.) on the subject Civilization without Government:

Rabbi H’anania deputy of the Kohanim / Priests says: Pray for the peace of the government – for if there were not its fear, a man would swallow his fellow alive.

Many people don’t do evil because of fear of punishment. Thus we live in a better world because of it. It helps us ourselves to live a better life. Whenever bad is done by a person – that person will ultimately suffer – either through guilt, being put in prison, physical punishment. This punishment can be administered by man – the courts of law – or by heaven – by the courts above. Thus the fear of punishment is for the ultimate good of man.

Once my uncle was about to hit his young son for something he did. The son said “I already learned my lesson – there is no need to hit me.” If we learn our lesson there is no need for punishment.

Our parents punished us. We are better people for it.

Ways to Avoid Punishment – A Mitzvah is an Advocate

Obviously we would rather not incur punishment. The way to avoid it is to learn what the Torah expects from us and do it. I learned it the hard way – difficult times that came my way – prompted me to reflect on how to better my ways. But in Pirkei Avot it tells us clearly how to avoid punishment.

In Pirkei Avot (4:11 ) it says:

Rabbi Elie’zer ben Yaa’kov says: one who does one Mitzvah will acquire one advocate & one who transgresses one sin acquires one accuser. Repentance & good deeds are like a shield against punishment.

An extreme example of this is King Hordus / Herod . He killed 45 great Jewish sages. He asked Shimon ben Shetach – his brother in law – how he could avoid punishment. He said you extinguished the light of the world, to repent you must illuminate the light of the world by renovating the 2nd Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This is what he did.

Being Happy All the Time – letting go of grudges & Loving Your Fellow Jew

The Torah commands us to love our fellow Jew as ourselves. Based upon this the Chofetz Chaim in His Sefer / Book – Ahavat Yisrael mentions that bearing a grudge or hatred for a fellow Jew incurs punishment.

In Chapter 2 on Repercussions of Baseless Hatred & the Stringency of the Torah Regarding it – he writes:

And here will be explained why is this sin more grave than other sins.

1) For each sin it is unusual that a person will transgress upon it every single moment. [If a person is not unrestrained — G-d forbid]. However, this sin of baseless hatred a person transgresses every single moment when hatred is awakened in his heart. And at times, the hatred remains in him for a month or a year or more. And the transgressions of Torah Prohibitions from the Torah are multiplied without limit.

Being punished every single moment for gratuitous hatred is difficult. But apparently that is better than living a life of hatred. Knowing one will be punished for every single moment he hates a fellow Jew – motivates us to let go of our hatred. Letting go of our hatred makes us live a more peaceful and serene life.

But we can also look at the flip side of the coin. If we are punished for every single moment of hatred – it means that every single moment we have a choice to hate or to love. Our hatred of others isn’t a given. It is in our hands to let go of the hatred every single moment. It is in our hands to let go of sadness every single moment and live happy lives – every single moment.

 

Be Happy Now

In physics the law of momentum exists. If an object is moving it will continue to move.

In the world of emotions momentum does not exist. A person can be angry one moment and in the next in a state of joy.

We choose our reality. We choose what to get stuck on.

Someone did bad to me – so I have to have hate that person?

Children fight. In the next minute they are best friends. Babies cry, the next second they laugh.

Because someone angered me – it should not ruin my day. Move on.

A person chooses to be happy or sad on a rainy day. Look at the good and we’ll find reasons to rejoice.

This is applicable in many a situation. The person who is angry at G-d for whatever reason – the Holocaust, a past suffering, that a religious Jew did something against them – is not acting rationally. Why should G-d be blamed?

If once my company’s boss reprimanded me – should I never work again for that company or any other company. No.

Those who do blame G-d or others for their miseries – found a convenient excuse -that does not hold water. And is not worthy of their cutting off relations with G-d. It is a ploy of the evil inclination. For we focus our vision only on the limited pain we experienced and forget the infinite good we experience every moment.

In the end one will see all the things that we thought that were bad were ultimately for our benefit. We will see the mountains and mountains of good that G-d provided for us all these years and we may have been stuck on a small detail that someone hurt my feelings.

Look at the good – not the bad.

Be happy now. It’s your choice.

Reasons for the Influx of Converts to Judaism, Reincarnation & Antisemitism

Many people want to be Jewish. It is challenging. But – the gain outweighs the pain. Truthfully a Gentile – need not become Jewish to obtain a place in heaven. By observing the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah they can receive a portion in heaven – albeit – not as great as a portion that a Jew who observes Torah receives.

At the time of Mashiah’ / Messiah the gentiles will ask G-d to give them a Mitzvah / commandment to show that they also can observe the mitzvahs as the Jews.

Gentiles / Non-Jews given a Mitzvah / Commandment

In a Toras Aish (Sukkot 5765 / Volume XII Number 3) a booklet with Thoughts From Across the Torah Spectrum, RABBI DOV KRAMER explains in an article called – Taking a Closer Look

The prayers recited during the recently concluded High Holidays include the desire/plea that “all of humanity (Jew and non-Jew alike) join together to fulfill Your will.” In the Haftorah of the first day of Succos (Zecharya 14:16), we read that this request will be realized during the Messianic period; “And it will be that all who are left from all of the nations, who had come against Jerusalem (to wage war against it), and they will come up every year to bow before the King, the G-d of Hosts, and to celebrate the festival of Succos.” Why is this holiday singled out as the one during which all the nations of the world will come to acknowledge G-d?

 

Most of the commentators explain that the war of Gog and Magog, the final war before Moshiach comes, will take place on Succos. Since it will be the wondrous miracles performed in this war that will cause all to recognize the One True G-d, it will be this same time every year that the nations return to pay homage to Him.

 

Rashi, however, has a different approach. The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 3a) describes a conversation between the gentile nations and G-d, where they ask if they can start from scratch (and thus be worthy of the same future as the Nation of Israel). Eventually, G-d gives them one “easy” commandment to fulfill, to live in a Succah. It is because of this “mitzvah,” given to the gentiles as their last opportunity to show that they deserved to be included in all of the Torah’s commandments, that (according to Rashi) the other nations come to Jerusalem every year to “bow before G-d.”

 

Here is a synopsis of the end of the conversation between G-d and the gentiles: The gentiles request a “do-over,” that they be offered the Torah again, so that they can (now) fulfill it. G-d responds that it’s really too late, as reward can only be given in the world to come to those that worked for it in this world. Nevertheless, “I have one easy commandment, namely Succah, go and fulfill it.” The Talmud asks how G-d can offer such a thing, when a verse explicitly implies that mitzvos cannot be performed in the world to come- to which it answers that G-d does not use “excuses” to prove His point, so wanted to give them an opportunity to show whether or not they really would keep the commandment(s) if given the chance.

 

Initially, each gentile goes and builds a Succah, but when G-d makes it extremely hot (and therefore uncomfortable in the Succah), they all leave it-kicking it on their way out. Even though one who is very uncomfortable is not obligated to stay in the Succah, by kicking it they showed that they never really wanted to fulfill it (see Maharal).

Becoming in Tune with Oneself / The Reason for Antisemitism – If You cannot Join them – Beat them.

One of the reasons why Hitler said he hated Jews in Mein Kampf – was because the Jews gave the world 2 things – A conscience. The Idea of Perfecting Oneself. He wanted to live as a barbarian – without a conscience. Thus the reasons he said that he committed his atrocities.

A Gentile or even a Jew against Torah Observant Jews who is in tune with their real feelings may want to examine from where these feelings emanate / come. They may ask – Is it that they have a desire to become Torah observant themselves – but their attachment to the materialism causes them to beat them (Jews) rather than to join them?

If this is the case it makes more sense to at least take a small mitzvah upon themselves and do something constructive with these feelings rather than using their feelings destructively.

Why Gentiles want to Become Jewish

But the main point here is – why do some non-Jews feel a compelling desire to convert to Judaism?

For some it is a Desire to connect with the Source of All life – the One who said “let there be light!” – Hash-m.

In Torah it explains that before G-d gave the Torah to the Jews at Mount Sinai – He proposed it to the other nations. Each asked – what is in the Torah. To a nation that had a tendency towards stealing – He said – “Do not Steal. is one of the commandments. The collective nation rejected accepting the Torah upon themselves. Until when the Torah was offered to the Jews – the Jews said “We will do it and We will hear it.” Meaning first we will accept the Torah. Then we will hear what is in it. Some Gentiles in certain nations – wanted to accept the Torah, but were excluded from the privilege of observing it because their nation rejected it. Some of these souls – came back to life and eventually became converts to Judaism.

There were also some individual Jews who did not wish to accept the Torah at mount Sinai. They eventually became – those against Torah or those that “converted” to another religion. (Conversion of a Jew to another religion is really impossible – a Jew will always remain a Jew in G-d’s eyes. Even though a Jew can go through the motions of “converting” to another religions – their soul will remain Jewish and they are responsible to follow Torah and they will be Judged as a Jew (according to their observance of Jewish Law / Shulchan Aruch) in the afterlife).

The Migrating Souls

However for some, another reason plays a part. During the course of history – many Jewish souls greatly diverted themselves from the path of the Torah or rebelled against it. G-d sometimes gives these souls an extra chance to redeem themselves from what their soul did in a past life. Their soul comes back in the body of a non-Jew because their soul desires to become attached again to the source of life – Hash-m.

In a previous Post in jerusalemlife.com – entitled Truth Seekers – Of Ministers & Missionaries that Made the Move to Judaism  I wrote about two former-gentile ministers whose sincere search of truth led them to convert to Torah Judaism – Rabbi Yehuda Peretz and Gavriel Sanders.

Rabbi Yehuda Perez, originally Alfredo Diaz, came from Mexico. His father was interested in spirituality and tried all kinds of religions until he founded a church. His sect had great respect for Jews. His son, Rabbi Peretz, started on the track to become a Pastor. At one point he was reading the bible. He had questions regarding the discrepancies in the Bible. He tried comparing different versions of the Bible to find his answers. He didn’t find his answers. He found out that the versions differed markedly between one and the other and between the original Hebrew texts. He was not satisfied with the answers.

 

So he prayed to G-d to help him find the truth and the answers to his questions. Shortly after he met a Jewish person and was enthralled. He started asking his questions to the simple Jew and he answered them satisfactorily. Alfredo, was greatly impressed, and learned that the answers to his questions were found in what the Jewish man called the Oral Torah. He kept on asking questions that the man deferred by suggesting that Alfredo ask some of the orthodox Rabbis in Mexico.

Alfredo continued his search for truth until he finally converted to Judaism. He Moved to Israel and married a Jewish woman. He continued his Jewish studies and Became and ordained Rabbi. Now he is Rabbi Yehuda Perez.

Tapping in to Previous Lives – through the Autistic Savants

Rabbi Perez once went to an autistic person who has a soul that highly in contact with the heavens. (for those interested Books (Secrets of the Soul) and a site (dani18.com) that reveals their messages exist). His name I believe is Binyamin Golden – who is able to communicate through a process called Facilitated Communication (FC). FC Is done through computer chat communication with the autistic person.

He asked Binyamin – who was he in a previous life. Binyamin Told him –

Your soul was previously in a person who died in the Gas Chambers of the Holocaust. In your previous life you were also married with someone who had the same soul as your current wife.

His current wife was a Moroccan Jew.

Rabbi Perez then asked why was his current wife born Jewish – while he was born as a gentile?

Binyamin Told him –

At the last moments of your previous life you did not do Teshuva / Repent from abandoning the Torah. You thus were born as a non-Jew – because to compensate for your lack of Teshuva – in a past life you had to make an extra effort to become Jewish in this life. Your wife – did do Teshuva the last moment and thus she was reincarnated as a Jewish woman.

The world – in this state is supposed to last 6,000 years. We are in Year 5,778 from creation. Many souls are coming to the world to make a tikun / reparation for abandoning Torah in a previous life. At times a person has sinned so much – that the only way they can be purified and forgiven is if they die sanctifying the Name of Hashem / Kiddush Hash-m. Some of the people in the Holocaust died for that reason.

Thus many converts are coming to convert to Judaism – because these migrant souls are being reborn.

Who Are You?

The Ariz”l said that most people born today are from souls reincarnated from past lives.

Are you one of these reincarnated souls? I don’t know. Hypnosis (see – the book the Coming Revolution – by R. Zamir Cohen or an article on his site hidabroot.com – that talks about Hypnosis to a past life) or speaking with one of these autistic people (see dani18.com – apparently you can email them) through Facilitated Communication might be able to help you on that one. But really all you need is to be true to yourself- true to truth. true to finding truth and pray to Hash-m / G-d and Hash-m will help you find the Truth.

Following Torah – either the Shulhan Arukh for a Jew or the 7 Noahide Commandments for non-Jews are pretty simple once you get used to doing them. One just has to take that first step of making taking small steps towards learning them and observing.

 

 

Don’t Worry There are Kosher Restaurants or How Haughtiness Causes Suffering

Many Jews have a question.

Each week Jews read a Parasha / section from the Torah – the 5 books of Moses – in a Synagogue. Each Year they complete reading the whole Humash (5 books of Moses).  Each Parasha has a name. Some are named according to their subject matter. Some are named after an Individual. The person who has their name as one of the Parashas must have a particular merit.

One Parasha’s Name is Yitro – named after a Midianite Priest. He served all forms of idol worship until he found Judaism. Then he rejected all of his former religions and converted to Torah Judaism.

Why name a section of torah for a former idol worshiper?

The question – why did Yitro – a former priest of Idol worship – merit one of the Parasha’s names to be called after him?

The Two Attitudes

One answer is is that there are two types of attitudes.

One is the attitude of convenience – one is the attitude of truth.

The attitude of convenience is to defend my particular lifestyle – because I enjoy it. It could be a neutral or even a horrible thing – but I defend it because it was brought up that way or it is convenient for me or to fit into the crowd.

The attitude of truth is to put all your effort into finding truth and following it regardless of how it affects your lifestyle.

Yitro had this attitude of truth. He rejected fame, riches and glory for truth. Apparently he was following the attitude of Abraham. He rejected the world’s ways- at a time when idol worship and child sacrifices were common practice. Thus the Torah gives a Parasha His name to condone this attitude of Truth.

The Truth Seekers

Jews who repented sincerely or gentiles who converted to follow Torah Judaism know the attitude. They lived in a world of shallowness and of chasing after fleeting shadows to find true depth and meaning in Judaism. They experienced a moment of truth and grabbed it by the reins.

The Convenience Seekers

Many people will reject Judaism because they are steeped into a lifestyle that they would have to change if they admitted the truth of Judaism. So it is easier to reject Judaism than to change my lifestyles. Scientists, missionaries, anti-semites, followers of other religions all fall prey to this attitude. In the end – when they arrive at the world of truth – heaven they will be shown where they erred.

Worse than their feeling that they were wrong – will be their feeling that they wasted their life chasing after shadows.

To these people I say one thing – “don’t worry there are kosher restaurants.”

Meaning – if you are afraid to accept Judaism – because you will have to give up your nightly restaurant hopping – “don’t worry you will be able to eat in kosher restaurants instead.” Which are many times better than their non-kosher counterpart. (Only Jews are obligated to eat Kosher according to Halakha / Torah Law. A gentile may eat non-kosher food as long as – if it was an animal – the animal was completely dead before it was chopped up. This is one of the Torah’s 7 Noahide laws called ever min haHay / the prohibition of eating a limb taken from a living animal.).

Answering to G-d

The Anti-Semites who waste life

Hitler hated the Jews because he wanted to act like a barbarian – without having a guilty conscience. Jews reminded him of G-d’s laws. He didn’t want to be reminded. Instead of correcting himself – he decided to commit genocide. He says this straight out it in Mein Kampf. He fell into the same trap – the attitude of convenience. Other anti-semites fall into this same attitude.

But they will have to answer to G-d one day of why did they spend their time hating Jews rather than helping the world.

Those who prevent life

Those who support same-gender marriage will have to answer why did they support this law that prevented millions of potential children from entering the world. The world could have been some much more beautiful if these people got married to the opposite gender and had children.

You can’t outsmart G-d

I found out a long time ago that you can’t outsmart G-d. He knows more. He thought everything out. He made a perfect world. Digressing from the laws that he gave us just hurts ourselves. But we think we are smarter.

I am happy that I found out I am not smarter than G-d many years ago.

Who says Judaism is the True Religion

What many will ask is why follow Torah Judaism (Judaism based upon adhering to Shulchan Arukh – the Code of Jewish Law by R. Yosef Karo).

Good question. There are about 80,000 religions out there – who says Torah Judaism is the True law of G-d?

The Four Questions

It’s rather easy. There are four questions that if answered logically – you will come to the conclusion that Judaism is the true religion of G-d.

Here they 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?

Let’s play devil’s advocate and answer all questions against Torah Judaism. Then we’ll do the same answering according to logic.

The Answers that many a non-believer will give are :

  1. No.
  2. No. if there is a G-d.
  3. not Judaism.
  4. Yes.

all the above answers are illogical.

Here’s why:

  1. Saying No – there is no G-d means that the world, all nature, humans, animals, planets, radio waves, fire, energy came about by random atoms flying around. Not logical. Order is not created by randomness. If one found a pencil in the sand – he will not say this pencil was formed by sand randomly flying around. One who would say that would be deemed mentally incompetent or irrational. Thus you must say that an Intelligent creator created the world. The randomness theory of creation is illogical and irrational.
  2. Saying No – G-d did not give a law – means that G-d who created the world does not care if one destroys it. A painter surely cares if one destroys his painting. Thus G-d must have given laws to prevent the destruction of the world or in the world.
  3. saying Torah Judaism is not the law of G-d means that another religion is the law of G-d. The Torah is the The only divinely given document whose giving was witnessed by millions of people. All other religions cannot claim this and do not claim this. If G-d is going to give a law He will give it to be witnessed millions not to just one person. Thus we must say that the law that was given in front of millions of people that heard G-d speaking must be the true law.
  4. saying G-d changed his mind means that G-d is fickle. G-d knows the past , present and future, knows where every single molecule is, was and will be from the beginning of time till its end. It doesn’t make logical sense to say that He will change His mind. Thus we must say that G-d never revoked the laws of the Torah.

The laws are still the same as when G-d gave them. “Orthodox” Jews follow them in their entirety. Nohaides or Benei Noach’s follow the 7 Noahide laws for non-Jews that are from the Torah.

Thus through logical deduction we find that G-d’s law by which he Judges the world is the Torah.

No Interfaith Discussions for Me – thanks

Thus I don’t go for inter faith discussions or partnerships. Not that I don’t respect people. I respect people. But I don’t respect ways of life if they are not the truth.

So why should I waste my time pretending that other religions are truth when logically they don’t fit the bill. (as shown above)

Suffering Caused by Haughtiness

Thus true ethics are the ethics of G-d. The Ethics of G-d are the ethics of the Torah. The Torah has answers to questions – what to do with crime, terrorism, stealing, building bridges, helping others, helping countries. But people think they know better than Torah. So people take the circuitous route and play G-d, or rely on trial and error or turn to so called “ethical experts” – like those who judged the Charlie Gard case and end up with disastrous results.

Your Options in Doing What’s Right

If what’s right is what G-d says. So go to someone who knows best the way G-d thinks – to a Reputable Talmid Hakham – a Torah Scholar and ask him what is the Torah opinion on any ethical issue with which you are concerned. (Usually you can ask an “orthodox” Jew who is a reputable Talmid Hakham.). Just like one who is concerned about nutrition goes to a reputable nutritionist; a person who wants to build a building – goes to a reputable architect, a person sincere in doing the will of G-d and wanting to know what is truly ethical in G-d’s eyes – goes to a reputable Talmid Hakham.

When people realize this and actually do this, it will be one of the first steps to bringing Mashiach / Messiah. This is the way G-d wanted – ethics are to be decided by the Torah. Spirituality, truth and Ethics was given to Jacob – now represented by the Torah scholars of the Jews.

A government needs to know what is ethical, a doctor has an ethical medical issue he or she must decide – contact a reputable Talmid Hakham / Torah scholar and you can be reassured that what you do will be the right thing in the eyes of G-d. Obviously – you must provide all the details for him to give you the right ethical decision of what the Torah holds on the matter / Daat Torah.

Better to rely on Torah. Better to rely on someone who knows true will of G-d. Someone who studies and follows Torah all day. They’ll be able to tell you what G-d wants from you, from your family, from your city and from your world.