Getting Organized – Tips for a More Productive You

Getting Organized –  tips for effectiveness

My office was in disorder. What can I do?

It being in this state was causing me to procrastinate. A clean room allows a person to better concentrate. I had to do something great. So I would not hand things in late. I didn’t want to be relegated to fate. So I had to start with a clean slate. (and desk for that matter)

Ever wonder where the quote of “cleanliness is next to godliness.”

In Mesilat Yesharim  / the Path of the Righteous – Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzatto teaches the path of how to achieve “cleanliness is next to godliness.” Here is the quote:

 

“From here Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair derived: Torah brings to watchfulness; Watchfulness brings to Zeal; Zeal brings to Cleanliness; Cleanliness brings to Separation; Separation brings to Purity; Purity brings to Piety; Piety brings to Humility; Humility brings to Fear of Sin; Fear of Sin brings to Holiness; Holiness brings to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit brings to the Revival of the Dead.” … 

 

When i go to study in the Beit Midrash / House of study – the first thing I try to do is to clean and clear the desk. This way i can concentrate better.

Here are some tips to run a cleaner office or home.

One-time rule

Encountering things you don’t need constantly? Use the one time rule – deal with it and file it away or discard it.

Remove everything rule.

Decide on a corner or area to clean. Remove everything from one corner put it in a box and then put the things you need back. it’s easier than deciding whether to keep or throw away everything when everything is on your desk.

Remove distractions

Put a cap on internet, email, whatsapp, face book etc.

Get an online Dropbox account

Dropbox allows your files to be synchronized on all your computers, phone and/or tablets. it saves time from you updating every file every time.

Connect or un-connect

Should you have an attached (with cable) mouse or keyboard or unattached (bluetooth). it depends. are you someone who tends to lose things. it is better to have a cable. or several mice (in case one is lost)

Use things for their purpose.

I have a filing cabinet. For many years i used it to store tools. Then I figured it out. Perhaps it is better to use it to file folders. I had much paper lying around. I filed them away and made things less cluttered.

Don’t fall back into messiness

Make procedures that your clean desk does not become a mess again. Each thing should have its place. also clean desk once a day or week.

Electric notes.

Tons of little paper notes? File them on a note system – like Evernote or another cloud note system

Light.

Light can make you more efficient. One because you become more cheerful. Secondly you see things better. Add light to a room or desk.

Bigger monitor.

Get a bigger monitor if you work on a computer. You use a laptop? Get a monitor to attach it to when you are at home office or work.

Frequency of access

A common sense rule is – what you need frequently keep close and easily accessible. That you use infrequently can be put away farther.

Get shelves and plastic storage boxes – label each box

Delegate
Delegate to others the task of filing papers

Once you determined the categories of your files by putting initial clean-up files in your filing cabinet.

Label it

It is good to have a quick label printer to label things quickly. Make address labels or label folders or places where you put things. You might want to purchase a dymo 450 turbo label printer.

Definitely Keep – Definitely Throw – Definitely Give

Once you put everything in your drop box – take out the things that you definitely want to keep, throw or give. Make those three piles.

There will be little stuff left. Small things put in a ziplock bag to deal with later

Put ideas and other random notes on notepad program

Type them there – it might be easier to copy and paste to other programs afterward than to be distracted by other features of programs.

 

Depression – A Springboard to Happiness? Curing the Suffering of the Soul.

Depression.

A Dark Corridor in the Path of life. Can you bring the light back?

Yes – if you want to.

Everything can be viewed as good and be used for the good. Even Depression.

If it serves as a springboard for bettering oneself – it can be used for the good.

People feel depressed because of chemical imbalances or other reasons that they cannot pinpoint or perhaps they can pinpoint.

The first point to overcome depression is to find the cause. At times one would need a professional psychologist. I tend to shy away from that – because I feel many a time a person can get back on their feet themselves.

But if a person feels they may harm themselves or others – they should seek help from a relative or friend or a professional or a competent Orthodox rabbi.

The advantage in a competent Orthodox rabbi is that he has the viewpoint of the Torah that gives him a larger view of the problem and the solution.

Finding the Cause

The four steps of solving a problem are:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What are the causes of the problem?
  3. What are solutions?
  4. what are the best possible solutions?

Sorting the causes, symptoms

One might think a symptom is actually a cause or a cause is a symptom.

For instance perhaps a person feels that the fact that they are not married leads them to depression. Perhaps it is the depression that is causing them not to be married. They can’t show a cheery disposition to potential mates – so the potential suitors or mates may become turned off. It might be a catch-22 situation.

Perhaps they feel that their dead end job is causing them to be depressed. Perhaps it is not their job – but that they are not performing to acceptable levels of efficiency or effectiveness.

Perhaps their cause is really a reason that is linked to something more deep.

The Evil & Good Inclination

Really – the bottom line is that one chooses to be depressed or not. There is a concept in Judaism called the evil inclination & the good inclination. The evil inclination causes a person negative thoughts. The good inclination causes a person positive thoughts.

You Choose Happiness

The evil inclination wants a person to be depressed. Why? It wants the destruction of man in this world and the next. So he places negative thoughts in your mind that you can choose to listen to or to disregard or contradict.

It might tell you in your mind “You are a nobody!’

so you can fall into the trap and think “I am a nobody”

or you can counter and say “I am a great person!”

It might cast into your mind “You can’t!’

so you can mistakenly think “I can’t!”

or you can counter and say “Yes I Can!”

It might cast into your mind “Your doing such a bad job!’

so you can mistakenly think “I’m doing badly!”

or you can counter and say “I’m doing great!”

One Simple mind technique – counter the negative thoughts with the positive.

The Real You – Is the cause a Material cause or a Spiritual cause

One of the first question a person should ask is “who am I?” Am I just a body or do I also have a soul?

Judaism knows a person has a soul. Logic also concurs with this point of view – for what animates a person? It must be a soul – otherwise there is no reason for a person to be inanimate as a chair – unless there is an “engine” animating him or her.

So really a person is a soul. There are various parts of the soul. The Nefesh, Ru-ah’, Neshama, Chaya, Yehida.

The Nefesh animates a person or animals. It is the lowest part of the soul. The Ruach – apparently allows a person to speak. The Neshama has a higher spiritual calling – to cling to G-d.

Why should you know this?

Because since you are a soul – if a person is depressed – it emanates from one of these souls.

Thus at times a sadness or depression can be caused by a suffering of the soul. Thus Repentance can help the depressed soul. By a person starting over & wiping the slate clean – it can help them remove their depression. Sometimes transgressions sully the soul and make it more difficult to feel a connection to G-d. The soul’s greatest desire is to make be connected with Hash-m. How does one Wipe the slate clean? Start by learning Torah that applies to you as Jew or the Torah’s Noahide laws – if you are a Gentile.

Obviously the material causes should also be dealt with. For example, If one sees they are not finding the right mate for getting married – perhaps one has to spend more time on the phone trying to find a suitable mate from matchmakers.

The soul’s connection to Spirituality.

A person feels a lacking. They want spirituality. They may either know this – that they need spirituality or they may think “I feel sad but I can’t pinpoint the reason”. Or they pinpoint the reason but they attribute it to a material cause – when it is really a spiritual cause that is causing their suffering.

Dealing with that spiritual suffering may also not only remove the suffering but also solve the problem. We’ll give an example.

A person is sad that they are not married. It is understandable from a material standpoint – in the fact that a person wants a productive, sharing & loving relationship. From a spiritual standpoint – it is understandable for a person to be depressed – because the soul wants to fulfill Mitzvot to help them be closer to G-d. One mitzvah of the Torah – for Jews and Non-Jews is to be fruitful & multiply. To have children that will populate the world.

So we can learn from this a person in a dead end relationship where the man or woman does not want to commit to marriage – or perhaps one does not want to have children – might cause depression because they are not fulfilling the commandment of being fruitful & multiplying – which causes the soul to be sad.

The solution – strengthen one’s commitment to observing the Torah’s commandments for Jews or Gentiles. This will in essence 1. make the soul happier. 2. make a person more deserving to find a worthy soul mate and thus help you attract higher quality prospective mates. If you do the commandments – G-d will match you with someone on your level. My advice to Jewish singles thus is to reinforce themselves in Torah Study & Mitzvot and make an effort to find a worthy mate. Apparently this also Gentiles – if they reinforce themselves in observing the Seven Noahide Laws from the Torah – G-d will help them find a more worthy mate.

Or perhaps a person is sad because of their dead end job. Jews & Gentiles have a commandment to build the world. If a person is not producing and they are sad about it, it might mean they (and their soul) are sad because they are not fulfilling the commandment to build the world. The person might think they are sad because they are in a dead end-job. But really they are sad is because they are not fulfilling the commandment of building the world.

Time will Heal

A person who was a manic depressive went to King Solomon. He asked for a ring that would make him happy when sad and calm when happy. Solomon made a ring that said “Also this will pass.”

Time heals wounds. It also takes time to return to happiness. If one works on oneself regularly and follows good advice it can take shorter. But usually depression does not change over night. It takes time – so be patient with yourself and others.

The Error of Searching For Spirituality in Exotic Places

A big error that people make is to search for spirituality in places that make them feel spiritual. Feeling spiritual does not mean a person is actually spiritual. It means that they feel spiritual. Whatever that means.

The Real Spirituality

Real spirituality is feeling close to the One and Only Creator of the Universe – G-d. The Jews call Him Hash-m. That is the definition of spirituality – being close to G-d.

to really be spiritual one must determine two things:

1. One must be able to find the real G-d

2. One must be able to find the real path to G-d.

This is rather easy to determine through logic.

(See our article: What G-d wants From You)

Here is a brief way to find out both – The real G-d is the only G-d that appeared to millions of people at Mount Sinai. All other human conceptions of “god” were never followed by a national revelation. Thus the G-d of the Jews is the real G-d.

The path to find G-d is to follow the Rules that G-d gave when he appeared to millions of people at Mount Sinai. The Torah. The Torah has laws for Jews and Gentiles (Non-Jews). Gentiles follow their laws – the Seven Noahide laws – to gain a place in heaven. They do not have to convert to Judaism to gain a place in heaven. They just have to follows the Noahide laws because the Torah says so. If a Gentile so wishes – they can decide to convert to becoming Jewish.

So all following of the other cults and paths is like shooting an arrow in the wind. Why take a circuitous route – when the path is simple and clear?

The reason I say this, is not because I was born as a religious Jew. I investigated, had good experiences and bad, did Mitzvot and transgressed, did good and bad, did right and wrong – was correct and made errors. With Hash-m’s help – my beacon – Logic, reasoning and common sense helped me to come to these conclusions.

And G-d Said “let there be Light”

In Parashat (Torah Reading) of Noach (Noah) we read G-d commanding Noah to make an Ark to save himself from the flood. He says make a skylight for the ark. (In Hebrew – Tzhohar Ta’aseh LaTeva). Tzohar means illumination. Teva in Hebrew means Ark. Teva also means words.

צהר תעשה לתבה ואל־אמה תכלנה מלמעלה ופתח התבה בצדה תשים תחתים שנים ושלשים תעשה

Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and terminate it within a cubit of the top. Put the entrance to the ark in its side; make it with bottom, second, and third decks. (Genesis / Bereshit 6:16)

Rav Nachman of Breslev in Likutei Mo’hran (112:1) Says the main point in making light to your words – means to search for truth. Because the seal of G-d is truth. Truth is like light. If a person is stuck in a dark room – and he finds not the door – he needs light. Light will illuminate the dark room to allow himself a way out of the darkness. If one follows truth – they can also find a way out of their own personal darkness.

In Tehillim / Proverbs (6:23) it says

A Mitzvah is a Candle and The Torah is Light. Some read Tehillim / Psalms to get out of darkness. Some learn Torah. Torah is one light that can help you out of the darkness.

 

Suffering Singles – Ending the Endless Dating Game

I usually have answers to problems.

Through dealing with my own personal sufferings, I learned techniques to solve personal problems.

Apparently because of the effect of my father’s jewelry business that experienced hard times, I also learned to solve business problems.

My mind goes to problem solving mode when I hear of a problem.

The first step in solving a problem is to define the problem.

Ask – “what is the problem?”

One problem in today’s society is many singles stay single and don’t get married.

Some may say that it is not a problem – but according to Torah Jews and gentiles have a Mitzvah to have children.

Also – for the ultimate good of society – it is a necessary good for people to help populate the world. If people did not have children, after one generation, theoretically the population would go to zero. No more new generations – One of the problems of  homosexuality and complete celibacy.

Nowadays, even among religious Jews – many find themselves single.

It baffles me what the basic cause of the problem. The cause of the large single population eludes me. Once the cause of the problem is found it is easier to find the solution. Below are questions for person in the non-married state may ask to help them tie the knot with a worthwhile mate.

Apparently being single is a source of suffering among many singles. Apparently, people want to settle down and found a family. I remember once my cousin mentioned that she went on many dates. Before I started dating seriously – with the intention of getting married – I thought that was a good thing. But then when I was in the dating scene I found that being in a state of doubt is a source of suffering.

So here are some of my thoughts for singles – based upon experience, logic and Torah.

What questions should you ask yourself?

What am I looking for?

These are the qualities that I find to be most important.

  1. Torah Values – someone that has a mentality that wants to bring up a family with Torah values. One that will put their children in a Torah day school.
  2. Good Middot / Character Traits – kind, positive, understanding, calm
  3. Good heart – one that is giving and not stingy.
  4. Responsible – that will
  5. Mentally stable – one that has no psychological issues
  6. Good family – the apple falls not far from the tree.
  7. Put together – dresses, acts and looks clean
  8. Attractive – but not attracting. She or he should be attractive to the the other party. The person should not be repulsive in the eyes of the other.

Why is 1 number one.Torah values of the mates is extremely important – because it sets up a common mentality between the couple. Also it is the best way to have respectful children, that will value being kind and also give you grandchildren. Jews marry Jews because it is a Torah law to have children that are Jewish that will uphold the values of the Torah and not serve idols or other gods.

Gentiles marry gentiles to commonly uphold the Torah’s seven noahide laws for all humanity with the family.

Sorting out the priorities – what is primary and secondary?

I heard many different requirements for a mate – a good singer, fun to be with, one who likes to go out. Apparently – many of the things singles demand are secondary. What good is finding a mate that loves to do outdoor activities  but is a tyrant, or is controlling or doesn’t want to have children.

What does G-d want?

If you  want to know what G-d wants – he wants you to raise a family that will follow the laws of the Torah. Simple. When one follows what G-d wants – one gains because it also turns out the best for the person and the family. Children enrolled in Torah day schools will likely be more respectful to parents  and will likely get married and give you grandchildren and help the continuity of Jewish nation – for they will likely marry Jewish.

What is your fear?

A person I know was turned off by marriage because out of 15 of his friends that married a great majority got divorced. That’s one fear.

I have another friend whose parents don’t get along. Is that the source of his fear?

Another fear is commitment.

Another is the fear of the partner’s spending habits. Some don’t want their partner to spend their money away.

OK. That’s your fear? Is it worth it to stay alone the rest of your life for any of the above? to me, no.

So deal with your fear – get out of your preconceived notions – pray to Hash-m that you will find a mate that will not realize your fears.

Also put stack the cards towards your advantage – look for someone that is reasonable, stable, non-temperamental and not controlling.

Is it you or them?

I asked someone – when they date is it usually you or the partner that breaks the relationship?

If you see yourself rejecting many people – perhaps you have to re-frame your priorities.

If others are rejecting you – perhaps you need to improve your look or your attitude. Some people are overly critical. Some Always think they are right. Some Lack self-esteem. Listen and look at yourself from an outside perspective. Try to determine what is turning people off and change for the better.

Are you making your effort?

Some people wait for Mr. or Mrs. Right to knock on their door. A person is expected to make a concerted effort to get married – like they would for finding a job. Every day – at least 10 minutes should be dedicated to finding a mate. Call the matchmakers.

Are you improving?

G-d wants you to improve. G-d will match you to a mate that is on your level. If a person is hanging out at cheap bars – G-d will allow them to meet a potential mate that hangs out in bars. If a person is careful about Torah and Mitzvot – like being Shomer Shabbat / a Shabbat observer – G-d will allow them to meet a potential mate that is also shomer shabbat.

A mate that is Shomer Shabbat is one of the basic things for a Jewish person to look for. Why? Simple – being Shomer Shabbat keeps the family together for 2 or three meals on Friday night to Saturday night. The family interacts and has a family life. As opposed  to each one involved with their own little activities – like sports, shopping and the like. Those activities can be done on Sunday. Shabbat is family day.

Are you praying to Hash-m?

Part of the effort is to pray to Hash-m to achieve one’s goals. at times G-d puts a person in a difficult situation to get them to appeal to Him. He want’s a relationship with you like a parent wants a relationship with their child.

Are you in lala land?

People think that there is nothing wrong with watching movies or reading the romance novels. The problem is is that these media tend to show people a fantasy life. Thus they unconsciously hope to find the person that will sweep them off their feet. Dream on. Obviously, you want someone that you are compatible with – but if he or she is not a model or a smooth talker – don’t reject them because of that.

Are you and your partner marriage minded?

Some people have no interest in getting married. At times one partner wants marriage – and the other partner is in it for the good times. Make sure your partner is not wasting your time.

But He / She is my friend!

A person’s spouse is supposed to be their best friend. At times people reject a good match because “I can’t marry them- they are my friend!” It’s good to marry a friend. For the ideal ate should be your best friend.

Where is your mate’s mind?

If your date is constantly talking about shopping – that’s where their mind is. If they speak about sports – that’s where their mind it. There is a difference between having a casual interest and being totally engrossed with anything – including sports, being thrifty, shopping.

If you have to – write the answers to the questions above. Write down your priorities and show them to someone who can give you honest Daat Torah / the opinion of the Torah.

Focus on Getting Married not the Secondary

I have a friend – a very good person – his mind is focused on converting others to becoming a vegetarian. I have another friend – he does much kindness with his friend – to the point that he neglected his personal life. There is nothing wrong with that – provided they are doing so with the right intentions – and with the guidance of the Torah. But if these things remove a person from the goal of getting married – they are tricking themselves. A person is responsible for himself to follow the Torah laws before other kindnesses he can do for others.

Get married. Have a family and enjoy life already!

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I ran a series of lectures on getting married. Included here is some of the advice from the lectures.

Serenity in Life & the Sukkah

The Torah says: ‘In Sukkot you shall dwell for seven days… so that your generations shall know, that I hosted the children of Israel in Sukkot when I brought them forth from the land of Egypt… [Vayikra / Leviticus 23]

One of the reasons why we build and live in the Sukkah is to remember the clouds of glory with which Hashem protected us when we were traveling in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Living with this idea ,believing in G-d’s constant protection, allows us to live a more serene life.

The Purpose of a Birthday & the New Year

The kids sing “Happy Birthday to You…”

What is the origin of a Birthday?

To know the source, look in the Torah. In the Book of Bereshit / Genesis the Butler and Baker had dreams. They went to Yosef / Joseph and asked him to interpret the dreams. He did so. To one – the Butler / Cup-bearer he said – In three days  he would be restored to his position. To the other – the baker – he said in three days he would be killed.

The interpretation came true. Three days later it was the Birthday of Pharaoh. Rashi Explains he was celebrating the day of his birth.

At that celebration Pharaoh forgave the cup-bearer and condemned the baker.

So what is there to celebrate?

Here are Several reasons

  • that you are alive
  • that you survived the entire year
  • that you are you
  • to get gifts
  • to start the new year to be a sign for the rest of the year

We all have reasons to be thankful.

Observation of our surrounding, situations and a positive eye will help us to recognize we have more for which to be thankful than the contrary

Rejoicing for the Good

In Parasha / Torah Reading Ki tavo, in the first aliya – (Devarim / Deut. 26:11)  we read “And you shall rejoice for all the good that G-d gave you,  your household and the Levi and the convert who is among you. ” Why do we have a commandment to be happy for the good we receive? It is natural to be happy for good.

One reason is many have the attitude of ‘It’s my right.. I deserve it” Thus when they do receive good, they are not so appreciative. G-d is telling us to have the attitude that everything we receive is not a given. It is a gift from G-d. If we think thus, we will not take things for granted and be happy and thankful to Hashem for each thing we receive.

Having appreciation to G.d leads us to a more fulfilling life.  Thus we say the blessing of Shehechiyanu (Blessed are You, Our G-d … that He made us live, established us and that allowed us to arrived to this time.) on Jewish holidays to appreciate our arriving in good health to this time.

Why Me?! The 7 Reasons for Why People Suffer

The Stolen Bicycle

I had a nice bike for several years. I bought it at Toys-R-Us. Disc-brakes, shocks and on sale.

Just the other day someone remarked that my bicycle was missing. I said, why wouldn’t they steal the other bikes. They remarked that the other bikes were registered with the police.

I Just started re-using it after a long hiatus. Too bad I was getting into shape and it was convenient.

Why does G-d send Difficulties?

Why me? Why me? 🙂

G-d has reasons for every good thing or thing that looks bad that happens to us.

If you want to understand the way the world works or why good things happen to bad people or why bad things happen to good people remember this:

G-d conducts the world with Middah Keneged Middah. Measure for measure. You do good – you receive good and vice versa.

But we are not all great at recognizing it. I sometimes attribute my sufferings to certain of my failings. And it comes out pretty accurately. Sometimes the sufferings are direct or indirect. Meaning our suffering may attain the person directly or may be due to the sufferings of others around us. (Some, on higher levels of Torah spirituality, may ask if the sufferings of the world are due to their failings)

Why is G-d Punishing Me?

A woman recently called me. She told me she was having many difficulties – no job. her daughter was doing things that pained her. she did not have an apartment. I consoled her and explained that G-d loves each person. G-d just wants us to live a better life. So He sometimes sends “corrections” – situations that will eventually lead a person to live a much better life than they are presently living. A person has to be wise enough to listen to G-d’s daily messages.

The World Made for You

If the world is made for each person – the world might suffer for someone’s failings. What are failings? I found out the hard way that failings are doing things that are contrary to Torah.

Knowing What is Right & What is Wrong helps one to Remove Sufferings

Unfortunately – i discovered i had many failings. But I was ready to correct them slowly but surely. I am still working on my failings – but I am a big step ahead than I was before. Why? Because I recognize what is right and what is wrong. If one does not recognize this – it is more difficult for one to correct themselves. It is a bit like shooting in the Dark.

Each Jew is responsible for one another. If one Jew suffers the others suffer. If a Jew rejoices another does too. If one does good the others benefit. And vice versa.

When i was a teenager – I experienced sufferings. My sufferings became my teachers. I learned from experience the reasons for suffering. It helped me to cope through the hard times.

The first question one should ask – if G-d surely loves us – why does he allow suffering. We will avoid the philosophical discussions – but below are some basic reasons.

So back to my bicycle – why me?

There are 7 basic reasons for suffering.

  1. G-d is settling accounts for what a person did in the past. If we steal from others – others might steal from us. It could be a past deed from this life or a past deed from a previous life. When one repents sincerely to Hash-m the bad deeds are erased. The solution : Don’t do the same deed that was done to you. Do Teshuva / Repent.
  2. G-d is sending a message to the person to repent. At times a person is totally off-track. Off track – meaning that their values are out of sync with the values of Torah. G-d is sending them a message to get back on track for their own good. The solution: Learn what the Torah expects of a Jew or a Gentile and get back on track.
  3. G-d wants you to Pray to Him – At times a person prays to G-d but is not answered. G-d loves a person and desires his or her prayers. So don’t give up praying. G-d eventually will answer.
  4. G-d wants you to develop a relationship with him. G-d wants a relationship with His Children. Many a time people have a very good life. Children. A good job. A nice family. All the food and amenities they need, but they ignore or some even “diddain” G-d or the Jewish people. Why? Because they are happy with there lot – no need for Torah or spirituality – they think. So G-d may send a wake up call – to awaken them from their slumber through the medium of suffering. Then the person turns to G-d for help and prays for respite from suffering. Then they develop a relationship with Him. A solution to this is to always be thankful for the good.
    We have a synagogue that is next to a playground. Many pass by ignoring our synagogue. I see the beautiful children and all the good the families have. I ask myself – does it not enter these people’s minds to come in to say thanks to G-d for at least some of the good they have.
  5. G-d is testing person to see if they will remain faithful to Him even in trying circumstances – a trying circumstance is not necessarily suffering. It could be doing the right thing when your friends or the society are going against the morality of the Torah. That is a trying circumstance.

  6. G-d wants you to grow. A person sometimes has a trying circumstance. G-d might want to build you. If you think about it G-d knows what is best for the spiritual growth of the person. Thus he puts them in certain situations so that after surmounting the difficulty – they will become a better wants a person to define himself or herself. When a person dies – they remain the same forever. What they became is how they will remain for eternity.
  7. G-d wants you to put in More effort – I know someone who complains – Why Me? Why did I not get a good job? Why did I not find a good match? All kinds of “why me?” statements. I ask him – did you try to apply for a job? No. Did you try your best to get a job? no.I told him – the first step is to make the proper effort and pray to Hash-m for a Job. The way that G-d conducts the world is that one makes an effort to achieve their goals. But the fact that the goals are achieved are ultimately in the hands of G-d. But the minimum requirement is to make a concerted, serious effort towards your goal.

G-d Sends Good in All Situations

G-d does everything for the Good of a person. A person just has to be creative enough to find a reason why whatever happens to them is good. Like the man who stepped on a rusty nail before a business trip – in which the Doctor forbade him to travel.In the end the ship that he was scheduled to travel upon sank.

Developing a Positive Attitude

Look into the reasons for difficulty and you will find a positive reason for each difficulty and challenge. Like the ones above. Many come to the conclusion that certain situations are good and certain are bad. That is inaccurate. All situations are sent by G-d. All situations that G-d creates are good. They might be difficult situations – but their must be good in those situations because G-d / Hash-m is all good. The person with a positive attitude tries to find good in all situations whether they are pleasing situations or difficult situations.

Cherishing Suffering – a higher level for the Elite

The Torah does not condone provoking self-suffering. Hash-m should save us from it. King David “cherished” suffering. Why? Because he felt that when he was pained – he felt a closer connection to G-d. G-d is close to those with broken heart and many feel this. When I look back at my suffering as a teen – I remember the closeness I felt.

Appreciating the Good of Life

A person living a Torah life appreciates the good that G-d / Hash-m gives on a daily basis. We say thanks. We appreciate. We have a closer relationship with G-d. We live more wholesome lives and better achieve our purpose in the end.

Living & Dying with Purpose

Many think dying is the worst that could happen to a person. Everybody dies. Truth is that that is not the worst thing. Dying without a purpose is the worse thing. Torah gives a person purpose – in dying and in living. Purpose for every act and purpose for every world of Torah studied. It turns a life following the pursuit of vain pleasure to a life that is full of purposeful pleasures. Allowing a person to maximize their potential in life and achieve their purpose in the end.

Every Pleasure has a Permitted Substitute

For all pleasures in the world that are forbidden in the Torah there is a substitute permitted pleasure. Examples abound. The Torah forbids Jews from eating pork and thus bacon. There is a kosher substitute made of Turkey that tastes like bacon. Shrimp and shellfish are forbidden to Jews. Kosher substitutes exist.

Pleasure with Purpose vs. Vain Pleasures

If you look at each prohibition – you will find a substitute. Each prohibition in Torah is usually prohibits pleasure without purpose. The Torah gives each a substitute that makes it a pleasure with purpose.

Thus every act that a person does can be a meaningful act through following Torah. Jews – their 613 commandments and Gentiles their 7 commandments.

Preparation for Rosh Hashana

We are approaching the New Jewish Year. Now is the time to get on track to see how we can transform our average lives into more purposeful and meaningful lives. That is one of the goals of Teshuva (literally Returning in Hebrew) / Repentance in Judaism – to return to a life of purpose.

Choose Life

The Torah itself tells you straight out saying “Choose Life!” What is life? Pleasure with purpose – for the sake of serving G-d. Every act done to serve G-d becomes a purposeful act and one lives (and eventually dies) with a purpose.

We should all live long purposeful lives. Amen.

 

 

With Whom are you Really Angry? Why Hate & Anger are Different

Hating those who Do not agree with You

The other day I was on a Clip-art site. Someone posted a piece of art that was against same-gender marriage. Some of the other artists jumped on this person – calling him a hater, a “racist” and other hateful terms. I thought of analyzing the comment conversation. This person basically posted the opinion of the Torah. Same-gender marriage or relations are forbidden for Jews and Gentiles. Because I don’t agree with a person – I don’t have to hate him or call him a hater.

Respect the Person – but not the Opinion

Because a person has another opinion than you – the Torah says you must respect the person but not his point of view. I am against many things that people do. But I do try to respect them as people. Perhaps one day they also will come to understand that The Torah was given for man to perfect himself or herself. The Torah was given to have better personal relations.

Jews hate the sin – not the Sinner

Jews don’t hate the people who do commit these acts. In reality we feel badly for them.

Figuring Out the Reason for G-d’s Position

An intelligent person will think “If this law about Homosexuality (or any other Torah law) is in the Torah that was written by G-d – so there must be some Justifications against it.” You just have to figure it out – if you don’t understand.

Taking the Underdog’s position vs. Understanding G-d’s position

People usually take the – feel bad for the underdog approach. That is good. G-d also takes the side of the underdog. But First the intelligent way to pursue is to take the opinion of G-d as stated by the Torah. And if I don’t understand – or don’t agree – my opinion should defer to G-d’s opinion – for He knows more than me.

Putting Words in G-d’s Mouth

Some do the opposite. They to force words into G-d’s mouth – see the conservative, reform and other movements. G-d gave the Torah. It is forbidden to drive on Shabbat. The other movements said “No. It is better that people be able to drive to synagogue.”

G-d Knows Best

That law spelled the destruction of these movements. People who drove on Shabbat – drove right passed the synagogue into the shopping center. Or drove to another synagogue abandoning their local synagogue.  Many of their congregations fell into disuse – because they changed the law of G-d. n the Torah itself it says – do not add or subtract from the laws.

Why Some Hate

Some hate Jews because they think they can’t live up to G-d’s Torah laws. So they hate – to justify their unwillingness to submit to G-d’s will. The Jews take the blows for their unwillingness to follow Torah. But we will be rewarded for it. In any case a person should understand why they hate a person and try to make peace with themselves – by understanding the other person.

Not hating Others

A Jew should not hate another Jew. The only time that it is warranted to hate another Jew is if they sin to anger G-d. Most people are not in that category. The reason why most people in the world do not follow Torah is ignorance. Most Jews today are in the category of Tinok Shenishba / a child that was taken captive at a young age – so they are not fully responsible for their lack of observance.

Learn Torah to Progress

Personally, I think if Jews did start learning Torah – they would start to observe at least some aspect of it. A very important point is – that if certain aspects of Torah are too challenging for a person to adhere to at this moment –  a person should not reject Torah on that basis. They should be mature enough to say – that aspect is above my ability for now but i will strive in other aspects that are easier until I can.

Wrong Attitude Towards Torah

Unfortunately, many years ago – people said – let’s attract more people to Torah by changing the Torah’s laws. That is mistake number 1. Why? Because Torah was given by G-d before millions of witnesses. So its divinity is difficult to challenge. No other religions claims that their “bible” was given by G-d to millions of people. Only Judaism.

So to disagree or want to change the laws of G-d is counter productive. G-d thought out his law more than anyone who tried to find reasons to disregard Torah.

Concrete Examples

A Jew is to follow 613 commandments of the Torah. A Gentile is to follow 7 major categories of laws called the Noahide Laws / Sheva Mitvzot Benei Noach.

In the Torah Killing is prohibited. Why because G-d said so. In Nazi Germany they made laws to allow killings of Jews. If laws aren’t based upon the word of G-d as stated in the Torah – killing can be justified – like many religions did so in the past to further their cause – like in the inquisition, the crusades, the intifada, etc. Their laws are not based upon Torah – so they justify Killing innocent people.

The Torah says hate the sin not the sinner. Hate the philosophy – if it is against Torah. But not the people. If G-d says something you do not understand in the Torah – ask a reputable Torah scholar to explain. They will. Hating a person for an opinion is contrary to Torah – unless they are spiteful against G-d. Try to Understand the Position of G-d and live a more peaceful and lucrative life.

Many people who were the haters – what did they accomplish? Hatred. Anyone can do that. Making a better world through Torah is really our Job. Jews have the 613 commandments & Gentiles the Torah’s Noahide laws. That is the real starting point for a better world.

A Crown Has Fallen – Rabbi Aharon Monsonego, zt”l

A man is known for what he accomplished in this world. If he is beloved here, he is beloved in heaven. We come for a short while to accomplish our purpose and return to the eternal world. We hope we will accomplish that for what we were sent here. We learn from the great sages. They serve as an example to teach us the proper way to act in life and with people. Our Torah learning is not complete without the Torah sages. A person cannot become a Torah sage unless he has served other Torah sages.

Rabbi Aharon Monsonego, Former Chief Rabbi of Morocco, passed away yesterday, at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. In recent years the rabbi lived in Jerusalem after suffering a severe stroke. He lived his final years in Israel due to his age and health. His family lived in the Bayit Vagan neighborhood of Jerusalem and the ultra-Orthodox city of Modi’in Illit. He was 90.

Rabbi Aharon, was one of the founders of Otzar HaTorah in Morocco. He stared a series of Torah day schools for the population in Morocco. He raised funds and organized the schools in many cities. He helped start many Yeshivot. He raised money to publish Jewish sefarim / books. He was the head of a synagogue in Casablanca, Morocco.

His wisdom was sought by the common man and great Rabbis – like Rav Ovadia Yosef, former chief Rabbi of Israel. They were in continuous contact regarding certain cases dealing with the laws of agunot and mamzerim held in the Jewish court of law / Beit Din. He was held in esteem by Rabbi Shalom Mesas, for chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and other great sages. Rabbi Amar, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, was his student. In addition, the king of Morocco valued the rabbi, seeking advice from him. He was invited to official events at the royal palace in Rabat, the capital of the city.

Rabbi Aharon Left his home as a young teenager, to study in Aix-Les-Bains, France in the Yeshiva of Rabbi Haikin, a former Talmid / Student of the Chofetz Chaim. He was there after World War II and the Holocaust where many Dislodged Rabbis made a stop in Aix-Les-Bains to travel back home. He interacted with many great sages, like Rabbi Mordechai Pergamansky and others.

He did Mesirut Nefesh / Soul-giving efforts to further Torah education in Morocco and the world. He won a Prize from L.A. Pincus fund for Jewish Education in the Diaspora. He would talk to parents of children in secular schools to explain the importance of placing their children in Torah schools.

He had a Lev Tov – a good heart. Many times his wife would prepare food for Shabbat. He would give it away to families in need. He would give away his Kosher meals to other Jewish people, who forgot to order, in air plane flights.

He had Ahavat Yisrael / Love of Jewish People. Once in Morocco Moshe (Paul) Reichman, the Real Estate Magnate, as a youth came there to escape the horrors of World War II. A youth, Rabbi Monsonago, welcomed him to his home, gave him his bed and shared the small food he had with him – some bread and a can of sardines.

Rabbi Aharon was welcomed by the Satmar Rebbi, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum.

At the time of the death of his father, Baba Sidi (Former Chief Rabbi of Morocco – Rabbi Yedidia Monsonego) when Rabbi Aharon Monsonego was sick and had gallbladder surgery, he dreamed of Rav Chaikin and Rav Yoel of Satmar (who had already passed away) who were heading towards the melah (old City) of Fez, Morocco. They told him to come with them and Rabbi Aharon replied, ‘I have to join you later’. Today 26 av is the yartzeit of Rabbi Yoel of Satmar …

He had a way of speaking from the heart that enabled listeners to feel the words entering into their hearts. (Some of his audio lectures are available in French at the Dvar Torah site)

Rav Aharon was the crown of the Moroccan community. He helped to start communities in Morocco, and worldwide.  His presence will surely be missed.

Getting Rid of Whatsapp for a Bank Fee – When Persistence Pays Off

It was a late Friday afternoon – close to the start of Shabbat. After it starts – for about 25 hours – I don’t use a phone or engage electricity.

Earlier that day, I made an Amazon purchase. I put it on the wrong debit card.

If Amazon debits the card I get an overdraft fee. I had to make a deposit and quick to avoid the fee. One Small Concern. I had no check to deposit.

What now?

Relegate myself to another $35 overdraft fee? No way. I’m not giving up so easily.

I ask a parent for a check. Sorry, they brought no checks. I asked other family members – no check. Time is ticking. Shabbat is approaching.

How about checking the mailbox.

Wow. I find a check sent in the other other day.

Now to deposit the check – that’s no problem I just borrow a phone with the bank app. I borrow phone. Sorry the camera is working intermittently and now it decides not to work. Last resort – reload the bank app that i uninstalled on my own phone. But there is no space. Which app should I choose to lose?

Whatsapp takes a lot of space. How about I get rid of it. I do it. I load the bank app and deposit the check.

The way you want to go – G-d will help you.

We just have to choose the right path and be persistent. G-D WILL HELP.