Do Good & Do Good For the World

Moshe / Moses is born in this week’s Parasha / Weekly Torah reading – Shemot. His mother and sister – Yocheved & Miriam – were midwives, named Shifra and Puah. They disobeyed Pharoah’s command to throw Jewish baby boys in the Nile river. The reason: they feared Hash-m – G-d.

G-d Compensates them by making for them houses. The interpretation is the house of Kingship and the house of the Kehuna / priesthood.

Hebrew has male and female, singular and plural pronouns. (He,She, it, They (m,f), them (m,f) and word endings. It says in the Pasuk (Shemot / Exodus 21:12) G-d made Houses for them (m). We would think that it should say He made houses for “Them (f)” – since Shifra & Puah were females. So it means that the good not only went to them but to other people as well – including males. [In Hebrew, we call a group of males and females – Them (m).”

It teaches us – if you do good for others – you not only do good for that person – but the good & the reward is returned to you and others.

Grabbing the Light of Hanuka

Candles lit for the eighth night of Hanukkah

Chanuka is great!

What a message! In the darkest of times there is light. Light that starts with the spark of a match. It turns to a flame. The flame lights one light. Then two candles. Until the whole menora is lit.

We experience light and dark every day. Our vision of darkness depends on our faith. Our faith in G-d / Hash-m. There are two aspects 1) believing in a good G-d. (Bitachon) And 2) believing that the Good G-d is doing good for me personally. (Emunah)

This is the light of Chanuka – seeing the light at all times – even when things seem bleak.

Keep Hanukkah in Your Pocket

During Hanuka – we see the light before us. After it is over – we say goodbye till next year. But don’t say goodbye. Take some Chanukah in your pocket. Take some hope. Take the message and keep it in front of you.

It is interesting that Hanuka falls usually during the Parasha / Weekly Torah reading of Miketz. Yosef / Joseph is in the dungeon in Egypt for a crime he did not commit. It has been twelve years since he was thrown in. His family turned against him. He is alone.

His only anchor from being lost in the sea of despair is his faith in G-d / Hash-m.

This suffering – however – transforms him into a new person. Before – he was chattering about the bad his brothers were doing. He was boasting about his dreams of rising to greatness. It was all about “Me”.

In the dungeon he starts seeing the pain of others. Through introspection and repentance he transforms himself into a caring person. By becoming a giver he rises to great heights. Soon after he notices the pain of others he is released. He becomes the viceroy of Egypt. “Hu HaShalit, Hu HaMashbir” He is the ruler – he is the provider. When a person becomes a giver, he or she rises to higher heights.

The Redemption depends upon you

Miketz starts with the verse : “And BEHOLD it was the end of two years [after Yosef interepreted the cupbearer’s dream] and Pharaoh is dreaming” We would expect the Pasuk to say “dreamed” instead of “is dreaming.”

In the 10th year in prison Yosef was supposed to be released and become the viceroy of Egypt. Since he was not ready [he lacked a tiny bit of emuna – faith in Hashem] he stayed 2 more years in prison.

Pharaoh kept dreaming the same dream for 2 years. When Yosef worked on his emuna and bitachon he was redeemed from prison immediately. At times we are supposed to receive good, but are lacking in our emuna or biachon. Improving our bitachon, will help us receive the good destined for us.*

There are three aspects to solving any problem – Prayer, Action and Belief.

The redemption is waiting for us. We must make that little effort to believe in ourselves and believe G-d is doing everything for our good.

The Greeks wanted to remove us from observing Torah learning, Shabbat, Sanctifying the New Month and Circumcision. In essence – they were telling us – you get what ou see. It is only a physical world. We are physical beings. They wanted us to remove Spirituality, believing in Divine Providence and having a relationship with G-d.

The Jews taught the world that there is hope. That G-d is here and to put G-d back into the daily lives of each one of us.

Believe and you will receive.

Feeling Down – Do Some Laundry

Feeling down? I read a book about a person who was bordering on depression. He tried to find ways to make himself laugh. A possible solution.

Another solution – Do something to help someone else. Help an old lady do grocery shopping. Put a quarter in a meter of a car that ran out of parking time. Do or fold the family’s laundry.

Sadness comes from the soul. If the soul feels it is not accomplishing – a person feels sad.

Thus – if you feel bad – make your soul happy. Do a Mitzvah. Do a good deed. Listen to Jewish music. Separate from the things that make a soul sad. Learn some Torah. Continue for it a week or so. A good start to get out of the blues.

 

Improving Your Dating Resume and Should a Matched Date be Picture-less

Jewish Orthodox singles have the dating process down pat.

Firstly – the reason they date is to find a suitable marriage partner. That is their main goal. This allows for more focused dating. It’s not a matter of courting – like in the general society – but a matter of searching for real answers to questions that you are searching for in a marriage partner. Are they reliable, can they provide for a family, are they mentally stable, do they have Torah values, etc.

This is much different than today’s society. In society – they court the person and then find out if they are a suitable mate for marriage. In Torah Judaism we first determine if they are a suitable mate for marriage – then once all the requirements or preferences fall into place – then it sets up a foundation that the marriage will last. Once common points are found – it is easier for the marriage to last. Similar goals, similar backgrounds, similar mentalities, similar Jewish outlook, similar values make for a better chance of a solid marriage.

We search for a mate that has the criteria we are looking for – Learning Torah all Day or Part time, Open minded, From a particular cultural background, that is a growing individual, that has a good Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook  – the list goes on. So we ask around – friends, rabbis, acquaintances and/or Shachanim / Matchmakers – to find prospects with these critera.

Once a person sounds in the ballpark -the “matchmaker” or intermediary asks both parties if they are interested in exchanging resumes. If yes, they exchange dating resumes.

It is good to have a good intermediary – because they can help make or break the potential couple’s success.

A dating resume is similar to a career resume – it lists schools, employment, goals and references with phone numbers. It also lists siblings & Members of family and to whom they are married or what they are doing in the present.

Should You Include a Picture?

Several points are up to discussion. Should the matchmaker include a picture to send to the potential dating prospect? I am of the opinion that one should not include a picture. A picture tells 1000 words. But it doesn’t necessarily tell the complete picture. Pictures may put a person in a negative light. The portrait may be old or of the person on a bad hair day or in a bad mood or before he or she got braces to straighten their teeth. So I feel if the person is in the ballpark – it is good to give a date a try.

Obviously this is after all the references were called, the pointed questions were asked to references and non-references – like What good character traits / Middot does the person have? What problems or issues does the person have? How is their temper? Can you give me a particular incident or situation that can give me a clearer picture of who this person is? Can you describe their Yireat Shamayim / Fear of Hash-m? their Chesed? Better to ask open questions than for yes or no answers.

Caveats for Your Own Bio or Resume or Self

Know your audience that you are trying to attract – is one of the most important points in making a resume. A woman wants an appealing man and vice versa. It is a Torah recommendation that a person not get married without seeing their mate. This means a person should not get married without seeing their mate. It does not mean they should see a picture before they go out on a date.

If one is including a picture – it should show the person in the best light. With a kind, positive smile. A picture that brings out their positive points. If they have crooked teeth – it might be better to close their mouth or get braces. If they are a bit too casual – perhaps they should consider wearing more elegant or conservative attire – especially on a date. One should look good at every moment – meaning they shouldn’t walk around with a ring of keys on their belt or with their shirts unbuttoned or with spots on their clothes.

You resume should put you in a positive light. It might be good to be romantic – but to include “I am Romantic” on a resume may turn people off – especially if the other person is looking for a Ben Torah / a Torah Learner.

It is good to inform others of your family’s occupations, but some occupations may turn other people off. Not because they look down on the occupation – but because they think what you put as a positive point may be negative in their eyes. An example – Someone put on their resume – My Brother is a Sharp-Shooter for the Israeli Army. It is commendable to be defending your country. But to go into detail that his brother targets people might turn others off.

Get a Dating Resume Critique from a person who has Daat Torah – like a dating Coach that is a Ben Torah. Show your resume to a good friend to see if they have any recommendations for improvement.

Your Acts Generate Attitudes Towards You

People are on the lookout for deficiencies. Although that might not be the best attitude – it is an attitude out there. So if they see you eating a Felafel walking down the street with a beer in your hand – that will most likely portray a certain attitude.

Look at the Entire Picture

No one is perfect – Except Hash-m – so expect that there may be things about a date prospect that may not please you . Perhaps they are a bit heavy – people can lose weight. They have spaces in their teeth – a person can get braces. Know what is a primary requirement and secondary priority. See what can be changed and what is hard wired. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Evaluate the entire person – not just the things that you find unfavourable. Look at the good in others – it’s a positive trait for life.

Texting & Misunderstanding – How to Avoid It

Once Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi invited his students for a Meal. He served Tongue – a delicacy. The students served themselves the softest pieces of tongue. He remarked “You should learn from your actions. Just like you selected the softest pieces of tongue – when talking select the softest words.”

Almost all things can be said in a nice way or the opposite. Choosing the right time, the right place, the right atmosphere, and the right tone of voice will help the message to pass.

A person wrote a letter to his father. “Dear Father. It is cold and I’m hungry. Please send money!”  His father asked a person to read him the letter. The man read it in a rough tone of voice. His father said – that’s the way he speaks to me?! – I’m not sending anything. A while passed. His wife came into the room. He asked her to read the letter. She read it in a soft tome of voice. He said “If that’s how he is talking I’ll send him some money.”

When texting a person doesn’t hear or see the other’s expressions. So texts can cause escalating tensions. It happened to me more than one. So I picked up the phone and talked directly to the person – with the intention of dissipating the apparent tension. We left off on good terms.

In talking – remember to think of what you will say and the tone of voice before you talk.

 

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Card Talk: [This section tells you which materials jerusalemlife.com offers that can help you with the above concern]

The Good Card – Attributes Good for a Person to Adapt – from R. Zelig Pliskin
The Good Speech Card – 7 Conditions of Speaking Properly
Long Life / Guard Your Tongue Card  – The A Prayer for speaking Properly

Drop Your Angry Mood with a New Attitude

It’s a Mitzvah to be happy. Ivdo et Hash-m BeSimcha. Serve Hash-m / G-d with Joy.

What’s Your General Mood?

Some like to have that angry mood. The Cool man show. The Drama queen. The “everybody owes me” mood. You choose it. But apparently the best mood is to be happy. A difference exists between happy and joking. A balance is needed. A person who is all jokes may end up missing the boat.

Do Real Good to Others & Feel Good Yourself

Apparently people want to do what’s right and good. Everyone in their way. One way is to make others happy. The people closer to you – you have more of an obligation. Do good. What is good for them. They might not realize it – but that’s a positive goal in life. And doing good makes you feel good.

Some may say – my friend likes to smoke – I’ll give him or her cigarettes. But that might be good in their eyes – but not ultimately good for them. How can I find out what is good? Look in the Torah – it will tell you. The Torah is Hash-m’s / G-d’s word.

Changing Moods

So how do I change my mood? Look at the face of babies. Interact with smiley – positive people. Fill yourself with positive spiritual energy – by doing good deeds, Mitzvot and learning Torah. Attend a Torah shiur / lecture. Plenty exist on-line. On almost every subject you may want. See our Links section for those with the Jerusalem Life “Stamp of Recommendation.”

A good place to start is “Torah Anytime” site. Choose your rabbi that makes you think, feel good, interests you and makes you smile and helps you become a better person.

Interact on a Less Superficial Level

A joke: Three women were talking. One says “You know, when I die I want to be buried in a Jewish Cemetery.” The other one says “When I die I want to be buried in a Jewish Cemetery in Israel.” The third one says “When I die – I want to be buried in Bloomingdales. At least I’ll know my Daughter-in-law will visit me once a week.”

The material is a means to becoming elevated spiritually. People of Torah add to the material speak – words of Torah.

Using Material to become elevated spiritually

Going shopping is good.  The ultimate goal in life is not the material in itself. According to Judaism it is to use the material to attain the spiritual. If you shop to look good for Shabbat or to present yourself in an elegantly respectful or modest way or to give for others – you elevated your shopping to becoming a Mitzvah. Giving Charity to the poor – you use material – to elevate you spiritually. Inviting guests over for Shabbat – you give materially – food, drink & hospitality – & you grow spiritually. (For those searching to invite or be invited for a Shabbat meal – Shabbat.Com was made for that goal.)

Choose Friends that Help You Grow with Torah Spirituality

Be friendly with people who want to help you grow spiritually in Torah.

This week’s parasha / Torah reading – Vayera teaches us this lesson. “And to him [Avraham] G-d appeared in the plains of Mamre and he [Avraham] was sitting by the door of his tent in the heat of the day.” Rashi – one of the Main Commentators of the Torah – says Mamre was the one who gave Avraham the advice to do the [command of G-d the] circumcision – that’s why G-d appeared in his [Mamre’s] area.

Make Your Soul Happy – Make Your Self Happy

When you are spiritually happy – it’s easier to be externally happy.

You’ll Get Over It – So Get Over It Quicker

A person needs time to cope. Something good or the opposite happens to him or her, it takes time to adjust to that change. People like to feel safe. They want an unchanging world.

One might steer clear of Judaism at times for that reason. Because they are reluctactant to adhere to the change that Judaism may impose on their lives. People accept atheism for that same reason – it is easier to stick to one’s antiquated ways than to accept a G-d that will require them to adhere to a set of laws – namely the Torah.

At times it is good to resist change – like when one has particular Minhagim – Jewish customs of their fathers. At times the Torah requires change – as when one must improve their character traits to become a better person. The Torah is the ultimate guide to Self-Help & Self-Improvement.

Likewise their are standard times specified for a person to cope. Like if a person just gets married – he or she has seven days to be surrounded by family and friends after the Hupah – Jewish wedding ceremony. This is called the Sheva Berachot – where for 7 days the newly wed couple celebrates their marriage at meals offered by friends and family. . Another standard time to cope is if a person, G-d forbid, is in mourning. They have seven days where friends and family visit them. In a sense – Shabbat – the Jewish Sabbath is a day to unwind and release negativity and rest from the slights of the week.

But some need more time to adjust emotionally to a situation. If a co-worker, a boss or a spouse insults or embarrasses a person, it will take time to calm down. It will depend on the person, the situation, the attitude of the victim. If that same person did something more minor – like interrupted you – the coping time is less. But apparently you are in control of your reaction. You are in control of your coping. You can choose to get over it quickly or let it linger.

The Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers says it in several places :

In Chapter 2 Mishna 10. They said three things: Rabbi Elie’zer says: Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own & do not be easily angered & return [in repentance] one day before your death.

 

In Chapter 4 Mishna 1: Who is the strong person? One who conquers his [evil] inclination – as it states “Better is one who is long to anger than the mighty & one who conquers his will than one who conquers a city” (Mishle / Proverbs 16:32)

 

In Chapter 5 Mishna 11: There are four measures in temperaments: One who is easy to anger & easy to calm – his gain goes out with his loss. Someone who is difficult to anger & difficult to appease – his loss goes out with his gain. Difficult to anger & easy to appease is pious; easy to anger & difficult to calm is wicked.

All these statements point to the fact that one is in control of their temperament. You choose to get angry. You choose to calm down and how long it will take you. It takes time to change one’s temperament – but it can be done. (How? – that’s another post we’ll have to write.)

One way to calm down is to think – “Eventually I’ll get over this unpleasant situation. I might as well get over it sooner than later. Let me go of my anger today.” You’ll be better for it. You’ll feel better for it if you expedite your calming down process.

There was once a Rabbi – that remained calm in worrisome situations. Someone asked him how can you not worry in these situations. He replied “I really do worry. But I worry quickly.”

Worrying about the past present or future may be normal, but unproductive. The past has already passed. The future you never know what will happen. And the present passes in the blink of an eye.

Don’t worry – be happy.

 

What the Torah Expects of Non-Jews – the 7 Noahide Laws

In Judaism we have a common core of laws. Everyone must follow them. Jewish or Non-Jew. Men and women. Kings and the common man.

These laws were given to Adam HaRishon / the First man. They were given again to Moses when he received the Torah at Mount Sinai.

They are pretty simple. These laws assure the proper functioning of the world.

7 Noahide Torah Laws for All People
1 Being Faithful to G∙d – Don’t Worship Idols – Object,Animal,Man
2 Respect of Integrity of Family – Prohibition of Immoral Relations- Adultery,Bestiality,Homosexuality& Incest
3 Respect of Human Life – Don’t Murder
4 Respect of G∙d- Don’t Blaspheme
5 Respect of Property-Don’t Steal
6 Law & Order-Establish Courts of Law
7 Respect of Creatures-Don’t Eat Limb from live animal

7 are the big lines -but there are really 30 laws.

http://www.jerusalemlife.com/?p=1473

Don’t Save Your Joy for Tomorrow. Enjoy Your Day Today.

G-d wants you to be happy. Look at the great world He created. Someone asked a question – why did G-d create sharks? What do they do? One answer is – if the world did not have sharks – the world would feel like it is missing something.

The world is perfect the way it is today. Yes – we are WorldPerfect. So what’s with all the crime? Wars? Sadness? It is an involved answer – but it is there to balance the world and to motivate us to improve the world. If we act properly – doing our Mitzvot in life – we make this world better and reduce the need for all the negative factors to motivate us to do good.

But that’s not the point. The point is that many people say – “I’ll be happy when…” Fill in the blanks. Don’t try to be happy just for tomorrow. Be happy today.

How?

Count your blessings. You’re alive. You have friends. You can breath. You have family. You have money. You have food. You have clothes. You have a home. You have abilities to allow you to find a job. You are unique. The list goes on.

You choose to be happy. You just have to want it. Choose life today.