Is Your Righteous Indignation Righteous? 11 Steps to Self-Knowledge

How could he do that? [Anger flares] That is despicable. I’ll show him.

Ok. He did the bad thing in your eyes. Now what.

step 1.
Wait one moment.

Ask yourself – am I so righteous that I don’t do the same thing or worse?

It’s a trick. You are getting angry – when you have things to correct in yourself. My concern is about myself being a good person – I am not the policeman of others.

Ok. They did something wrong. Wait for a private, calm moment together and express your distress and disappointment in a calm manner and ask them for an explanation and suggest a way to improve.

step 2.
Did he do what he did out of spite and wickedness or ignorance?

Should he or she have known better?

You can try to judge the person favorably. But if correction is in order speak in a calm way to the person of what they need to correct – without berating them but by bringing them up.

Don’t say “You are so inconsiderate. You talk during the prayer service. Don’t you care about the people around you?”

Say “I know you love coming to the synagogue and people appreciate your presence – but at times people want to concentrate on speaking to G-d rather than hearing side conversations. Perhaps if you want to talk – step outside.”

Also you can take other measures like speaking about Halachot / Jewish laws about not speaking vain conversations in a synagogue.

Or putting up signs motivating people not to speak in a synagogue during davening / prayer service. Or explain to other people not to encourage others to talk to them by answering them in a nice way “we can talk later – I’d like to pray now”.

step 3
What is the source of your anger?

Is it that you had a negative childhood experience or that you have a hatred towards certain groups of people or because the torah considers it to be wrong?

If the source of your anger is due to the Torah considering it to be wrong – perhaps you have a right to become upset to a certain degree. there is a statement that at times a Talmid Chacham / Torah Scholar’s Torah gets him angry (ie, he gets upset because of people transgressing the Torah)

If it is your personal bias – who says you have a right to get upset. If G-d is ok with it – why should you be upset.

step 4
Am I upset at a particular individual or people more than others that are doing the same or worse?

Take the United Nations or BDS. Blame israel! They are the cause of the problems. Really? What about the nations that gas their own people or take money for the big wigs while causing the masses to be poor and hungry?

step 5
Are you doing something productive about your concern?

Some go vegan because of the way some butchers treat animals. Even though the Torah in some senses agrees with Veganism – the Torah does permit meat. The Torah has laws about not acting cruelly with animals. I suggest that people petition the companies to not act cruelly with animals.

It also depends upon where you are standing. Are you a vegan because it is healthy, or are you against cruelty to animals because the Torah says so or because you think animals are on par with humans?

If the latter – G-d differs.

Humans are the pinnacle of creation.

Can you be using your time to save humans or people or your people when you are involved with saving animals?

step 6
Are you more Holy than G-d Himself?

Some think that they are smarter than G-d. A person who has proper values – learns what the Torah has to say about certain issues then reacts in kind. You want to find out what the Torah says about killing terrorists, euthanasia, cremation, veganism, same-gender marriage ask an Torah Scholar or an Orthodox Rabbi. Why them? The Torah is G-d’s thought. It is the only divine document given to man in front of millions of people. Also, G-d does not change His “mind”. First decide if your cause is also G-d’s cause. Then you can feel comfortable in your actions.

G-d knows more what’s best for humans than we humans do.

step 7
Is the anger caused by your righteous indignation worse than what the other person is doing?
Do you like to get angry – so you use being “righteous” as an excuse to become angry?

Anger is a terrible thing. we all get angry – but G-d gave us the ability to overcome it.

step 8
Are your reactions to improper behavior considered excessive force?

A child takes a cookie without permission. A child cries in the middle of the night. a child breaks a plate. You hit him. you yell at him. You put him in the corner. A little excessive. your job as a parent is to educate. A child learns more from your behavior than your punishment.

Perhaps you are doing worse than your child and he or she is imitating you.

step 9
Were you mistaken in your assessment?

Perhaps you saw a person slap another person. you think what a wicked person. later you find out that that person had a dangerous insect on his face. you can try to judge favorably in certain instances.

step 10
Can you calm your anger by judging the person favorably or by emulating the traits of G-d?

The Tomer Devorah / the Palm Tree of Devorah by Rabbi Moshe Cordovera explains the 13 attributes of Hash-m / G-d. We are to emulate G-d by being forgiving. Study the book.

step 11
Is my being upset an excuse to render me exempt of my obligations?

People are upset at religious Jews or G-d himself.

Someone responded to my question “Why don’t you put on tefillin?” He said something like – “once I saw a religious Jew steal – now I will not put on tefillin.” what is the connection? The Torah says do not steal. it also says put on tefillin. the torah says clearly what he did was wrong by stealing. so why blame the torah for the improper actions of a man.

Some blame G-d. sure life has difficult situations. Some that we as humans cannot comprehend. Some say they are angry at G-d – so they don’t observe torah. why? Because of the Holocaust. Because their prayers were not answered. That they had a difficult life.

Some will not step into an Orthodox Synagogue. They say they rub me wrong. They don’t consider me. they won’t accept me. I’m happy the way I am. I owe nothing to G-d. Really? Look at all the kindness G-d provides us with every single second – starting with life. the list goes on – food. children. health. a job. a home…

Ok. but look at all the good. what outweighs what?

Is your indignation a reason to exempt you from being thankful for all the good that G-d provides us with every single second? Life. All G-d asks for is a little recognition. for Jews – keep Shabbat. eat kosher food. for Gentiles – learn about and observe the 7 torah noahide laws.

Be thankful to G-d instead of angry. G-d will change your difficulties into joy.

It’s your choice.

I Want to Be Free! Are You there Yet? / The Message of Passover

We are in the holiday of Passover – the Holiday of Freedom.

The Goal of A Jewish Holiday

Observing a Jewish Holiday entails that we achieve something – to greater ourselves or others.

Like a trip. When traveling – we think a vacation or outing is merely a pastime  to enjoy life. Though that is part of it, there is a greater goal to your vacation. We are to achieve a certain goal – that with our qualities we will be able to better someone else’s life. Perhaps it is saying a nice word, perhaps it is giving a poor person some money to buy a meal.

On Passover – apparently one of our goals is to become a free person.

Let’s examine freedom.

There are various levels of freedom. Freedom of movement. Freedom of thought. Freedom of expression.

Even achieving all the above freedoms – one can still lack freedom.

The Difference Between Preference and Choice

Many a time a person mistakes freedom of choice for preference. Preference is one thing – choice is another.

Preference is choosing between – chocolate and vanilla. A Blue shirt or a Green shirt. Yet a person that exercises his or her preferences is not necessarily free. We would not say a cow that chooses between hay or grass is free.

He prefers grass to hay.

So what is choice? It is having an option of choosing good or evil and choosing the good. That is real choice. For On one hand you want to follow your desire. On the other hand your thought process figures that following it will result in negative consequences. That’s real choice.

Freedom from Desires

A person can be subjugated to their desires. They desire a milk shake – they drink it, even though they took upon themselves a diet. Their desires of wanting the shake overcame their thought – that it was proper to go on a diet. They fell into subjugation of desires. For that moment – although they enjoyed the shake – they were subjugated to their desires – and lacked freedom at that moment.

Freedom from Society

A person can be subjugated by their desires, by their emotions – the person with a bad temper or even by their philosophy in life – their mentality. You were brought up a certain way. Now you have a certain mentality that drives your decisions. Many mentalities exist – animal rights mentality, women’s rights mentality, same gender mentality, fight the infidels mentality, anti-zionist mentality, anti-jewish mentality, do kindness to others mentality.

So which is right? Apparently – if one thought deeply into each of them they would be able to find many detriments in that mentality.

Let’s take animal rights mentality. Once I gave a class – I asked If you had a million dollars and you could spend it to save the life of a race horse who tripped or an old lady who tripped – how would you spend it? One woman answered – I’d save the horse. Obviously, that woman’s mentality makes her subjugated – because she places the life of an animal above that of a human being.

Take the “same-gender marriage support” mentality. Is it a good thing or bad? Apparently it is bad. Why? Let me ask you two questions. What is the greatest insult you could say to a person. That they should die? Probably. Someone – who supports this type of marriage is condoning these people who marry – not to have common children. Besides their deeds, one of the legacies of a person is the children they leave. Those who support this marriage, condone these people to not leaving a legacy. The second question – does it make you happy when your friend has children or not? Apparently yes. If you like your friend, you like that they have children that have similar characteristics. So those that do support same gender marriage only look on the surface benefits. They do not go into the deeper issues.

The Ultimate Freedom

So how can you be free? The only one who knows what is ultimately completely good for man is G-d. He thought out all the mentalities and is able to tell what is for the good of man and what is not.

Everybody in the world is dependent upon G-d for their existence. G-d is the only independent existence in the world.

Aligning our thoughts and actions with His desires makes us truly free. How do we know the thoughts and wants of G-d? His thoughts are found in the Torah – the only divine document given in the presence of millions of witnesses.

Following G-d’s laws one attains a higher level of freedom. For our decisions Jews ask a competent orthodox rabbi.

Returning the Ring

A true story. Once a queen lost her ring. She made an ultimatum. If the one who would find it would return it within 30 days, they would receive a reward. If they would return it after 30 days they would be put to death. A rabbi found the ring within the 30 days. He waited till after the reward period and returned the ring. The queen questioned him: “Why did you wait till after the 30 days? Did you not know about the ultimatum?” He replied: “I knew fully well about the ultimatum. But We have a Torah law from G-d to return lost objects / Hashavat Aveida to their rightful owners. I did not want to return it because of your ultimatum – I wanted to return it because the Torah says to return lost objects.”

Give me freedom or Give me death.

Apparently in the world, people do come upon certain Jewish Torah concepts. John Adams said “Give me Liberty or Give Me death.” That is a Torah concept. Apparently the rabbi in the story above knew that concept. He risked his life to be able to live with the freedom offered in the Torah.

Torah Learning brings Freedom

Apparently that freedom described above is the explanation of the Mishna in Pirkei Avot (6:2)

Rabbi Yehoshua son of Levi said: “Every single day a heavenly voice comes out from Mount Horeb [Sinai], & proclaims & says: “Woe to the Mankind for the disgrace to the Torah!” [that they neglect learning & practicing it], for whoever does not occupy himself with Torah is called “reproached” [nazuf] as it says: “A ring [nezem] of gold [zahav] in the nose [af] of a swine is a beautiful woman that turned away from reason.” (Mishle 11:22) & it says: “And the tablets [of the Law – the ten commandments], they are the work of G·d – & the writing is the writing of G·d – engraved [h’arut] on the tablets” (Shemot 32:16) Do not read [it as] “h’arut” [engraved] rather as “h’erut” [freedom]. For the only one who is considered to be a free person is one who engages in Torah Study. And whoever engages in Torah Study, behold they are elevated as it says: “And from Matanah [name of place meaning – a gift – ie, of the Torah] to Nachliel [name of place meaning – My inheritance is in G·d] & Nachliel to Bamot [name of place meaning – high altars].” (Bamidbar 21:19)

Judaism – gives a person the opportunity to be free every single moment.

 

Letting Go to Find Happiness

Hash-m / G-d is close. Closer than you think.

One thinks – why should G-d answer me?

The Torah tells us that G-d answers the thief that on his quest to rob a house – he prays he will not be caught.

Why? A parent loves his or her children. G-d loves his children as well, even if we are not there yet.

Obviously a person who is completely righteous – following Torah & Mitzvot –  who prays to G-d will be more readily answered – but that does not exclude the average Joe – like you and I – from being answered.

G-d answers the sincere. Those who reach out to Hash-m to him sincerely will not usually leave without some kind of answer or consolation.

Spirituality is being close to G-d.

But what is the secret to become closer to G-d?

I was talking to a Friend who had a transcendental experience. He’s writing about it – telling his experience and a method of achieving a higher realm of spirituality.

He told me – that happiness is a product of letting go of one’s material dependencies. One thinks that getting a new car will make them happy. Perhaps. But the car gets old – we lose the excitement. Attached to the physical we limit our happiness because the physical is limited.

When we make our happiness dependent upon the material – like the stock market – the stock goes up – we are happy. The stock goes down – it brings the mood down.

When we let go of the grudges, the hatred, let go of the desires, let go of materialism – we allow our souls to express itself. Our soul is the real self. The body is just an outer shell – a physical representation of the soul.

A person says – I want to be myself. They are on to something. That happiness arrives when one reaches their true self. But people mistakenly think that their self is their body. Really, their self is their soul. Please the soul, by doing kindness, By learning Torah, by doing Mitzvot – and happiness follows. Why Torah? It is the only divine law whose giving by G-d was witnessed by millions of witnesses – the Jews at Mount Sinai.

Giving is living. Taking is not.

Why did many billionaires take upon themselves to give much of their wealth to charity? They realize that a person is here in this world not to accumulate wealth but to give and do good. They could afford any pleasure – but they choose to give it away for the good of society – and thereby become a greater individual – a greater soul.

A person attached to the spiritual – is attached to the unending light. Thus happiness does not end.

 

Up, Up and Away – Lessons of the Drone that Flew Away

We won a Toy Drone at Avot UBanim (A program where Fathers and Sons learn Torah Together and win prizes). It was White and Orange.

Fancy controller.

We charged the battery, Installed it, turned on the drone and controller and took it outside.

Lift off. It flew up. Higher, Higher and Higher. I tried pressing all the buttons to make it come back, but it was gone. Out of site. It lasted about 2 minutes.

The practical lesson – before using a drone READ the instructions. Apparently learning to take off the and land safely are good things to know before you fly them. Explain the controls to the kids – so they know too.

Apparently G-d was teaching me several lessons through this experience.

1. The one mentioned above.

2. Before you fly read the instructions – meaning before you get involved in uplifting yourself spiritually read the instructions. Many a time a person wants to connect to G-d. What do they do – they try to fly without reading the instructions. What happens – they fly away to oblivion. They fly and are lost. When they reach the heavens – G-d asks them – why did you not follow my law?

They say “I did follow spirituality!”

G-d says – that wasn’t what I wanted from you. I wanted you to follow my law.

“But How was I supposed to know what you wanted?”

G-d replies – “It is obvious – The Torah is the only Divinely given law that was given by Me before millions of witnesses.”

Back to earth.

Why do people get lost in life? They did not read the instructions.

So what are the instructions of life?

The Torah. Why Torah? Because it is the only divinely-given code of law that whose giving was witnessed by millions of people.

Jews are given the 613 Commandments from the Torah. Gentiles are given the 7 Noahide laws to follow.

Apparently – one will not be able to say to G-d in Heaven  – I didn’t know you wanted me to follow Torah. Why? Because when we go to buy a car – we didn’t just walk into the first dealership and buy it. We investigate – what is the qualities I want from a car, what are cars that have these qualities, which cars have high safety and quality ratings and who is a reliable dealership.

Same thing in life. Same thing for religion.

One is obligated to investigate what is the true religion before they follow it. What is the true will of G-d before I start becoming involved in “humanitarian activities.” Not first see how I feel about an issue and go forward. G-d’s opinion is a prerequisite.

G-d knows more than us. He knows what will bring the world to the best state of perfection. If we disregard G-d we basically shoot in the dark. We fly away to a place far away – that might not necessarily be the will of G-d.

The third lesson: Put other’s needs before your fanciful pleasures.

While setting up the Drone – I noticed two needy people  pass by. Involved with my toy – I didn’t stop to give them charity. My priority in life should be to help others – even if I am in the middle of pursuing my pastimes – the needs of others should take precedence.

Many people will spend thousands of dollars to go on vacation. That’s great. But our spending should also include helping others.

I am a big proponent of sending Jewish children to a Torah Day school – ones that fit the criteria required by the organization Torah Umesorah. Many parents – unfortunately – spend thousands on vacations and houses – and say they have no money to spend to put their children in a Torah day school.

It is a trick. A slight of hand of the evil inclination. Most priorities of parents include giving children proper values. Yet – many choose to give their children the toys of life – but neglect giving them a Torah education by sending them to Torah Day schools – that will provide them with the best values in life. Where they learn daily how to be a good person, the importance of doing kindness, the importance of helping others, honoring parents and all the basics and details about how to have good values.

The Greatest Kindness one can do for a Jewish child is to provide them with a Torah Day school education. It’s the best preparation for life and the best manner of helping them to enjoy a meaningful life.

Don’t let your drone fly away.

Learn the controls before you fly.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” – Learning from Heavenly Messages

It was the fifth manned mission of NASA’s Apollo program. July 16, 1969 at 9:32 am EDT (13:32 UTC) at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. The Saturn V rocket lifts off with Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin. On July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC, Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface. His famous words before taking a step down from the Eagle’s ladder -“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

G-d sends us messages every day. Apparently that message – heard throughout the world on TV – was a message to us humans. What was G-d communicating to us?

A message that is as relevant then as it is today.

Each one of us has a specific purpose to accomplish in the world. The winds of mediocrity tell us – eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die. But the attitude is a smoke-screen to mask us from achieving our potential. Like the background music that is played in stores – to keep you in a trance to keep you in the store longer – so that you don’t notice the time passing.

The message “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” is telling us to break out of mediocrity. Many times a day we have an opportunity to do a kindness for others. Many times we have an opportunity to do a small act of kindness. We think it is no big deal – but really it can greatly help another person or all mankind.

Take a person who imparts to a non-observant Jewish person the beauty of Shabbat by inviting them for a shabbat meal. That person thinks – ok so he had a meal by home – no big investment – I was going to prepare food for the family anyway. But it is possible that you changed the person’s life. Your small act of kindness was “one small step for man – but a giant leap for mankind.” Because you changed the life of that person. His life will not be the same for now you opened a door to help him or her develop a closer relationship with the creator of the world. He will now change his life because of a small act on your part.

Take a person who teaches another Jew Torah or a Gentile the 7 Noahide laws. We think “so he took five minutes to teach the other person a Torah lesson.” But in reality you may have saved that person’s life from the despondency of living a life void of spirituality and a relationship with the true creator of the universe – Hashem.

These are small examples. But the message is clear. One of our jobs in life is to do acts of kindness – that for us may be small – but make a great difference in other people’s lives.

Once a person fixed the collar of a person in a Yeshiva. He thought nothing of it. Many years later – the boy whose collar he fixed came up to him and thanked him. He said many years ago I felt lonely and was considering leaving the Yeshiva. But your act of kindness of fixing my collar made me reconsider – because I saw people did care about me. I wanted to say thank you.

Imagine the reward for one small act. All the years that the boy studied Torah in the Yeshiva will be attributed to the boy who did a small act. The reward for Torah study is unimaginable. He did a small step, but it had tremendous ramifications.

Two women used to collect charity for poor people in the neighborhood. They decided together that the one who would eventually die first would come back to the other one in a dream and tell them about judgement in heaven. After many years one woman passed away. She came to the other in a dream. She told her – “Judgement in Heaven is rigorous, but the reward is also tremendous. Remember once we waved at a wealthy woman to get her attention – to collect some charity. You cannot imagine what great reward we were given for that small act.”

A small act of kindness goes a long way.

Jerusalem – Old City – Jewish Quarter Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewish Quarter Map

מפת הרובע היהודי

בסד

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Stepped Pool – Information Center
The Broad Wall – First Temple City Wall
Jerusalem of the First Temple Period – Yad Ben Tzvi
The Two Towers
Herodian Quarter – Wohl Archaeological Museum
The Burnt House – Katros House
The Cardo
Madaba Mosaic Map
Rooftop Promenade
Hatekumah Garden
The Four Sefardi Synagogues
Old Yishuv Court Museum
Hurva Synagogue
Jewish Qtr Defenders Memorial Site -‘48
“Alone on the Walls” Museum (1948)
Beit El Yeshiva
Jewish Quarter Defenders Monument (1948)
Batei Mahsei Square
Jewish Student Center – Jeff Seidel’s
Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue
Temple Treasures Institute
Aish HaTorah Visitor Center
Reconstructed Temple Menorah
Western Wall Plaza
Western Wall Tunnels
Ophel Archaeological Park and Davidson Center

הבריכה המדורגת מרכז מידע
החומה הרחבה שרידי החומה מתקופת בית ראשון
מרכז לתולדות ירושלים בימי בית ראשון יד בן צבי
מגדלי קדם המגדל הישראלי הרובע ההרוריאני מוזיאון וואהל לארכיאולוגיה
הבית השרוף בית קתרוס
הקרדו
מפת מידבא
טיילת הגגות
גן התקומה
ארבעת בתי הכנסת הספרדיים
מוזיאון חצר היישוב הישן
בית כנסת החורבה
אתר הנצחה ללוחמי הרובע בתשח

מוזיאון לבד על החומותבתשח
ישיבת ביתאל
גלעד לנופלים בתשח

כיכר בתאחסה
מרכז מידע לתלמידים
בית כנסת תפארת ישראל
מכון המקדש
מרכז המבקרים אש התזרה
שחזור מנורת בית המקרש
הכותל המערבי
מנהרות הכותל
הגן הארכיאולוגי ומרכז דוידסון

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Amphitheater

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Parking

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Toilets

Information Center

Wheelchair Route

Recreation & Shopping Site

City Wall

Police

Bus & Taxi Stand

אַמְפִיתֵאַטרוֹן

מוּזֵיאוֹן

בית כנסת

חֲנָיָה

אתר ארכיאולוגי

נקודת תצפית

שֵׁרוּתִים

מרכז מידע

מסלול בכיסאות גלגלים

פנאי & אתר קניות

חומת העיר

מִשׁטָרָה

תחנת אוטובוס ומונית

Jewish Education & Intermarriage – Winning the $100 Bet

For the third meal of Shabbat / Seudah Shelishit at our Synagogue we have an open forum of discussion. Sometimes I pose a question on a Jewish Law Topic and ask the people their opinion on the situation. Then I provide the answer from the Torah.

Leaving a Child Back – Positive or Negative for the Child?

At one of the side conversations – one person mentioned his kid was to be left back – so he took his child out of the school.

I mentioned – depending on the situation – it might be good for a child to remain in the same grade the next year in order to be the head of the class – in age and possibly intelligence – than to go to the next grade and be the youngest and not at the top. He said it might be a blow to the child’s confidence to know they were being left back.

I think a parent must be truthful to answer that question and see what’s best for the child. Will it be a blow to the child’s confidence or help his confidence? And evaluate if the decision is not being made because it be a blow to the parent’s social standing – that their child is left back.

Different opinions.

The Advantages of a Torah Day-school Education

The conversation turned to giving a child only a Jewish education at home and placing them in a Public school versus giving them a Jewish education at home and placing the children in a Traditional Orthodox Day School or a Yeshiva. Some were saying a public school education was better. Some said they have Jewish friends.

I mentioned that the Jewish schools are highly advanced in dealing with social issues and have an education that gives them not only secular knowledge – but a Yeshiva teaches them something far greater – the ability to think. Many Yeshiva students get into the Top Universities because of their developing their ability to think by attending a Torah Day school.

I mentioned a statistic – 70 out of 100 Jewish children that go to a public school, end up marrying outside Judaism. Meaning these children have a 70% intermarriage rate. While 2 out of 100 Jewish children that went to a Orthodox Jewish Day School for 12 years end up intermarrying. (See 1990 National Jewish Population Survey)

A friend at the table who is an Israeli wouldn’t accept it. He bet me $100 dollars that that is not true. I sent him the statistic.

Really I regretted betting him the $100. I should have bet him if I was right – he should put his children in a Torah Day school.

70 Tips to Protect Kids (and Yourself) on the Internet

The best medicine is preventive.

Judaism teaches the importance of purity in thought, speech, hearing, sight, and deed.

A child learns and lives. What he hears at home and by the media will train his or her thought patterns. Provide them with purity and Torah they will live pure lives.

One of our jobs as parents is to teach our children in such a way that their souls will remain as pure as when they were born throughout their lives. We are guided to that goal through the teachings of Torah. And by imparting it  to the children through the teachings of Torah – through learning it together with them, sending them to Torah day schools and bringing them up in a home conducive to Torah and Mitzvot.

Protecting thoughts from impurity does not only apply to children but to ourselves. Unfortunately many marriages were broken due to social media, improper usage of internet and smartphone apps.

Someone said – before the street was the street and the home was the home. With the TV – we bring the streets into our home. Even more so with the internet.

We thus provide a list of ways to protect the home and family from improper usage of the internet. The best way is to limit technology. Use a flip phone instead of a smartphone, but if the pros outweigh the cons of having a smartphone – we provide some simple methods of protection.

To protect one has to have a rudimentary understanding of technology. If one is not so tech oriented – perhaps they can take counsel with tech protection organizations – like smartconnectionsny.com.

Here is some basic info about technology.

The internet is basically one computer “talking” to another computer. To gain access to internet – one uses a modem or router as the device that allows the computers to communicate.

the basic set up is:

Home Computer —> Modem/Router  —-> Internet Server Computer

Let’s add three more elements : The browser, protection program and the Cloud DNS.

The Browser – like Chrome, internet explorer, firefox or safari is a program that enables the computer to interpret the other computers information. They usually communicate with a language called HTML. The browser can prevent pop-up ads and also other improper material. Some browsers allow extensions or add-ons to be downloaded and incorporated into  browsers that can help you in your parental control quest.

The Protection Program – this program that is on the home computer that protects the home computer from threats – like spyware, viruses, root-kits, trojan horses, malware, and inappropriate information.  The threat protection programs include include windows defender, spybot search and destroy, ZoneAlarm, Comodo Firewall Pro, Avast, AVG Anti-Rootkit, Spyware Blaster, AOL Active Security Monitor, McAfee SiteAdvisor, LinkScanner Lite, McAfee Total Protection, McAfee LiveSafe, Bitdefender Internet Security, Symantec Norton Security Deluxe, Kaspersky Internet Security, Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security, Kaspersky Total Security, Bitdefender Total Security, Symantec Norton Security Premium, Trend Micro Maximum Security, and others. Some are free for basic services. Some include parental controls others do not. Some protect against websites sites include k9.

The Cloud Control DNS – is a computer that is on the internet that the information that is sent to you passes through before it reaches your computer. This includes opendns.com. (See instructions for opendns installation here)

The Questions to ask

Social media sites are sites that allow people to communicate with one another for the sake of socializing through computers. Many exist. Recognize how one’s children are using the social media may provide info on whether the social media is a positive benefit for their kid or is it a negative influence. Are they using it properly or is it helping them to go down further in morality.

Parents may ask questions like – does my kid really need a cell phone 24 hours a day? Do they need a smart phone? How are they using social media? Do they need 24 hour internet access? Do they need access to certain apps? Do children lock their doors for periods of time? Does the Wifi have to be on all the time?

Choosing the Right Browser – Why I Uninstalled Google Chrome

I like google. They help us find info.

  • (I once wrote an email to Google that they could get many Mitzvot if their reason for providing the search engine is to do the Mitzvah of kindness in helping people find information – rather than for the money.)

Chrome is a good browser. But it may be too good. It has a mode – like internet explorer and firefox – called private browsing or incognito mode. This feature allows people to surf without a trace of what they did. great for kids that don’t want parent to find out where they surf.

I tried to disable private mode in Chrome. One article gave 28 steps on how to do it. A bit too many steps for me. apparently you have to do the reverse to reinstate it. I just decided to uninstall it. Some browsers on the computer or smartphone or tablet are made to protect from inappropriate sites.

Protection Tips

Here are some tips to prevent children from accessing sites you don’t want them to be on. We will include a gamut of ideas – some extreme (more secure) to less (less secure).

Caveat – remember to write your passwords in a secret place but accessible by you in case you forget.

The List below includes many ideas – i am sure there are more – and some are repetitive but may be phrased differently to gain a better understanding.

6 Things to Protect Family from Technology

There are 6 things a person restricts to prevent improper usage of technology
Restrict :
RT: the Router or Modem – which provides the internet service – through passwords and other restrictions
CP: The computer – through filters
PH: the smartphone – through passwords
AP: the apps or programs – through passwords or disengaging usage or preventing installation or removal of programs
MH: the mobile hotspot
GN: the availability of all of them

    More Secure

1. GN: Do not use or allow use of a internet, computer, TV, smart phone or tablet for kids or adults. (Our school has a policy that students are not allowed to use internet or smart phone). Rid yourself of devices that capture internet or at least minimize them.

2. RT: Do Not install internet service at home.

3. PH: Rid yourself of your current and/or old (and others) smartphones. Old smartphones can capture internet as well. Use a flip phone instead.

    Less Secure

4. RT: Internet Router Filters: Remove Internet from the House or restrict it to only certain computers. Parental controls allow on the router allow one to restrict which computers use the internet, what time the internet can be used by particular computers and to block any sites that have improper words in their url. (internet address)

4a. RT: Use an internet provider that already filters the internet.
Here are some sites that can help you with filters:
http://venishmartem.com/devices/computers/
A program to help secure smartphones – www.webshadow.org
how to lock down your wireless network
For those who are coping with challenges – guardyoureyes.com

5. GN: Put strong passwords on, Change the passwords regularly to and/or disengage :
– Access to Router administration. change your router pw regularly
– access to the wifi
– the computer (before it boots) and after it boots
– the smartphone
– particular apps on the smartphone
– the mobile hotspot

5b – Restrict Access to programs on computer or phone.

For iphone: it is easier to secure than an android. Some people buy specifically iphones because it has stronger parental controls. Use “settings” to lock access to apps.

For Android:

A special app has to be downloaded to lock apps on an Android. Search apps called “applock”. on an android lock the settings for 2 reasons – 1 to lock the access to children using the Mobile Hotspot. 2 To block children from. One produced by Cheetah – called CM applock on android allows a password on selected apps. It also takes pictures of intruders who tried to access the program – but entered the wrong password.
Lock access to using browsers like chrome or other browsers.

6. RT: Use a service called OPENDNS – found at opendns.com that protects the router from inappropriate sites.

6a RT: Disney offers hardware that is called “circle” that protects family from improper internet usage for about $90. (see meetcircle.com). There is another hardware called koala as well.

7. RT: Turn of wifi – when not using it. change password to wifi regularly.

8. CP: Install Internet filters. – Like K9 (http://www1.k9webprotection.com/) on your devices – iphone.

9. MH: Disengage – mobile hotspots. A mobile hotspot allows a person to access the internet through a smart phone. To get around wifi restrictions – Children can borrow phone and use moblie hotspots for wifi. Put a password on the mobile hotspot application (with an applock program) or buy a phone or service that does not offer it. Note: the mobile hotspot app may not appear in the applock locking app list of programs. In that case one must lock the settings.

10. PH: change password to your phone frequently. A numerical passcode or text password is more secure than a “swipe” password. A swipe password can be easily guessed by children by watching parents unlock phone or by looking at the reflection of grease on the screen. (thus it makes sense to clean phone screen and change password regularly.)

11. CP: change your administrative and system password to your boot up system of computer. for windows based computers – one usually presses f2 or f12 when booting up system.

12. CP: remove the ability to boot up your computer with a usb or cd drive. some can bypass filter by using a USB key with another operating system.

13. AP: Check browsing history regularly to see if there are any inappropriate sites that were accessed.

14. AP: Use only browsers that you can disengage privacy mode or incognito. Incognito mode or secret mode allows a person to surf the web without being recorded in the history.

a program called incognito gone (for windows) (http://incognitogone.com/) allows you to remove incognito mode in several browsers. in order to do it manually see articles below.

https://github.com/wmwood/IncognitoGone/releaseshttps://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/75544-how-to-disable-incognito-mode-in-google-chrome

another way (we recommend the above) to disengage incognito is below. (We tried it but it did not work.)

http://www.thewindowsclub.com/disable-private-browsing-internet-explorer-chrome-firefox mode. In windows you can get around it by

To disengage incognito or private browsing in Windows Internet Explorer
If you are experienced making changes to your computer’s Registry, you can permanently disable the “In-Private” browsing function so that it cannot be turned on by user settings.  If you have never done this, DON’T TRY …………get someone you trust to make this change for you.

Windows key +R

enter regedit and click OK

Navigate to….. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Safety\PrivacIE

Create a new D-Word “Start Mode”  and give it a value of “0”

Save…OK

15. AP: Use a keylogger – any typing into computer will be recorded

16. GN: Teach children the dangers of inappropriate material.

17. GN: Learn about punishment for releasing seed in vain.

18. GN: Split the password. Husband knows one part of password and wife knows other. And they don’t tell each other their own half.

19. GN: Pray to Hash-m / to help you have a home clean of trash

20.  GN: be in touch with technology hotline. one is called (http://www.smartconnectionsny.com/) They can help you secure your technology for free or a very reasonable fee.

21. AP: In email filter out certain words to send immediately to trash.

22. RT: Put filter words to block sites in router

23. CP: Parental filters on mac or windows to prevent usage of computers at certain times.

24. RT: Restrict / Block all computers from your router except for the one(s) you use. Restrict Time of usage. This is done by logging on to router – see the particular router’s instructions.

25. GN: Use internet only for business.

26. RT: Don’t use wifi. If Kids want to use computer let computer be in a place where there are people who pass by. or limit Wifi by turning it off at certain times. Restrict time of computer usage. Only allow certain computers to log on to your router.

27. GN: Learn Torah Laws of Yichud / Seclusion – apply to computer. Put the computer in a public place where people come in and out to prevent people from doing things in secret. I once asked the Helper of Rabbi Elyashiv about Internet Usage. He said – it should be only used for business – and it should be treated with the same laws as Yichud.

28. GN: Think of futility of sites – it only makes you feel badly afterwards.

29. GN: Think of the day of death. Pirkei Avot. You will be judged and everybody will see your activities on a big screen in heaven.

30. GN: Send your activity by email to a trusted person through program like k9.

31. GN: Refrain from having fashion magazines and other periodicals that have tempting ads at home

32. GN: Observe Laws of Tzniut / Modesty.

33. GN: Be wary of friends of kids that are techies that steer your kids to bypass filters.

34. RT: Don’t show your wifi name publicly. On router administration panel one can choose that the wifi name not be displayed publicly. Change the name and password of the wifi access regularly.

35. RT: Assure your neighbors don’t have open usage wifi. or ask them to not give password to your kids.

36. RT: disengage wifi router button – called WPA.

37. CP: on tablets and macs – set up app access carefully.

38. GN: See if there is suspicious activity on your computer. Like – if you finished using one program and then when you log on you find another program running. Or if you use only a small amount of data on your phone and you see a lot of data being used. (see settings – data usage). If your google search brings up previous searches with improper words – be wary. Some AppLock or AppBlock programs take pictures of intruders.

39. PH: Clean your phone window – to prevent children finding out phone passwords. Children can guess the swipe code based upon finger prints on window.

40. GN: Speak openly about what you expect from kids – if they break rules make consequences

41. GN: educate them in a way that they will be able to make the right choices – Torah education

42. PH: Don’t leave Your phone lying around without supervision

43. GN: Use non common passwords

44. AP: Install web browsers with reporting features – like webshadow.

45. GN: get advice from professional – shmirateynayim.org guardureyes.org http://venishmartem.com/

46. GN: Learn about the consequences and punishments of immoral activity – A Torah book that treats the subject is called “Kav HaYashar”

47. CP: Remove the internet browser application – on apple products – one can easily remove or limit access to applications like app store, safari (the apple browser) etc. this is done through settings – users & groups – select user (press lock to unlock) – then go to parental controls

48. CP: Change password to computer – in windows computers usually there is a boot-up password and a password to get into windows. change both regularly

49. AP: Don’t use multiple browsers or browsers that have privacy / Incognito / Secret mode. Privacy mode – allows a person to browse without websites being logged into history. Some browsers allow a password to be used to engage privacy mode. Put on a password on privacy mode.

50. GN: Monitor the data usage of your applications on your phone. If you notice that mobile hotspot is using a lot of data and you don’t use mobile hotspot – perhaps someone in your family is using your phone. On android – go to > Settings – data usage – see which applications are using much data.

51. CP/PH: An Apple Iphone is more able to be secured from unauthorized access (without using external programs) than an android phone (i speak about the android version 5 – i don’t know about the newer versions). It has parental controls built into the operating system. Android has a program called “Family Link” (which works on Android 7.0 Nougat).

52. PH: On Android – specify which apps and content can be downloaded

Set up parental controls
  • On the device you want parental controls on, open the Play Store app .
  • In the top left corner, tap Menu Settings Parental controls.
  • Turn “Parental controls” On.
  • Create a PIN. …
  • Tap the type of content you want to filter.
  • Choose how to filter or restrict access.

53. GN: Children learn from parents. Limit your own technology usage to set a good example for children.

54. GN: Be on the same page with your spouse regarding tech usage. At times one spouse wants to be more restrictive while the other wants to be less restrictive – discuss what is important together.

55. GN: Install programs, apps and browser extensions that enhance parental control.

56. GN: Make policies at the house – no internet before homework. No usage after 9:00 pm or before 7:00 am. Some can be assured through router settings. Enforce them.

57: GN: Work with School to make and enforce policy. Here is an example of a school policy. One school we know disallows students from smartphone and internet usage.

58. CP: Prevent Wifi Password from being shown. In the wifi settings – in windows 7 – and possibly other systems – whoever has access to the computer can see the actual password of the wifi. One can hide the password of the wifi in windows 7. To hide WIFI password in windows 7 do the following. (be careful when changing settings – perhaps if you are not tech savvy – you can ask someone who is)

1. Open a command prompt as an administrator (right click, select “Run as administrator”
2. Run Regedit
3. Browse to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AppID{86F80216-5DD6-4F43-953B-35EF40A35AEE}
4. Right click on the key
5. Select Permissions
6. Click Advanced button
7. Select Owner tab
8. Highlight Administrators group and then click OK
9. Under Security, highlight Administrators group and set Permissions to Full Control
10. Delete the key

59. RT: Before purchasing a router – see if it has ample parental controls.

60. RT: Some router companies offer extra parental controls for a fee.

61. RT: Some routers offer a Smartphone app to be able to monitor the internet usage from the app.

62. GN: Don’t be quick to jump on the bandwagon for technology. See first if it is good for the spirituality, education and materialism of child.

63. GN: Discuss concerns with Torah educators, Rabbis, social workers and professionals.

64. RT: Limit IP and/or MAC addresses that can gain access to your router. This prevents people from accessing your router with an outside computer or device without your permission.

65: CP: In browser settings set your privacy and security level higher.

66: CP/RT: A firewall is a program that prevents unauthorized access to computer or router. Set up you firewall on computer and router to allow high protection.

67: CP/PH: In your browser download apps that will allow you more safe browsing. In phone look-up “appblock” or “applock” or “parental control” in playstore or appstore.

68. CP: Set site and search engine mode to “restrict” results. Google search allows one to restrict adult sites. Youtube also has a restrictive mode as well.

69. GN: Utilize several methods of parental  controls at the same time (ie, redundancy), so if one fails to catch an improper site, the other will catch it.

70. CP: You should know how to unlock devices owned by children – to allow you to check up on what they are doing from time to time.

71. GN: You should also have access to their email – or at least put filters on their emails. You should have access to their unlock code to serve to prevent them from accessing certain sites.

72. Check Logs of internet usage. Some programs – like K9 and the router will give you a list of all the sites that were accessed. The browser also does this. By checking History – one can see all the sites that were accessed. Crafty children (or adults) may hide their sites by erasing history of sites visited on browser or by using privacy/secrecy/incognito mode on the browser. But the router also has a log of sites visited. So you might want to check that log of sites visited by accessing your router as well.

73. CP: Some browsers and programs will save your password when you log-on. This is called autofill. Avoid using autofill passwords – especially for the K9 (or other parental control program) administrative password, for administrative controls on the computer, for access to the router, etc.

74. CP: Block pop-up ads. Browsers usually have an option to block ads. Set the browser (or get an extension for browser) to block pop up ads.

75. CP: When a child gets a new phone, tablet or computer – before they use it – you should set yourself up on it as an administrator of the item – and set the controls to what is appropriate.

76. CP: Do not give easy access to children to your email or list of passwords. If they do have access – they might bypass certain restrictions on the computer. Thus it makes sense to put on several levels of parental controls. Some programs will alert you to unauthorized access attempts. Be informed.

Everything in life has a price. It is up to us to weigh the pros and cons of limiting technology and the effect it will have on the future morality of the children and the family.

==

As we get new info – we will try to update this page. (bl”n – without commitment)

A Time to Act

📖: Beshalah/בשלח

*In this week’s Parasha the Jews are before the Yam Suf / Sea of Reeds with the Egyptians pursuing them.  They cry out to Hashem to save them. Hashem says to Moshe “Why are you crying out to me? Speak with the Children of Israel and Travel on!” At that time Moshe lifts his staff and the sea splits.”

There is a time to beseech help from Hashem. There is a Time to ask for guidance from Hashem.  There is a time to act. G-d was telling Moshe – now is the time to act.

By them having faith in G-d and themselves and making a tangible effort, Hashem split the sea for them. (See Ramban on Shemot /Exodus 14:15)

At times we may wonder why G-d is not answering prayers. He may be willing to answer. But He may just be waiting for us to take the first step towards that goal or to spiritually elevate ourselves to be able to merit the blessing or both.

It’s Just G-d Saying Hello.

About 10 years ago or so I was in Yeshiva with my friend Avraham. He told me that he was changing the names of his phone extensions in his rooms and somehow they got automatically changed to names that he wanted instead of the ones that he had entered. I told him, perhaps you were dreaming. No. Perhaps you programmed them and you forgot. No. Perhaps a friend came over and changed them. No. I tried to find a rational reason for how they changed. None of my propositions fit what actually happened.

He said “Hash-m” can do anything.” I agreed. “So what is the problem of Him changing the names of my extensions?”

I replied “Why would G-d do such a thing?” I can understand if he would make you meet someone to help you in some matter, but why would G-d want to change your phone extension names?”

“I don’t Know” he answered, “it just happened?”

This past Motzi Shabbat / Sortie of Shabbat, I was at a Melave Malka / the Fourth Meal after Shabbat. The speaker was Rabbi Feifer. He told 4 stories about Hashgacha Pratit / Individual Supervision by G-d.

Rabbi Feifer was in a local Kosher Mini-market. The manager, recognizing him, asked him if he had time to answer a question. Sure, he replied.

“Once a year I usually drive to Florida with my family after Shabbat. I went and stayed a week. After Shabbat was over I started driving back to New York. At about 7 o’clock in the morning – I was tired. I decided to pull off on one of the exits in North Carolina to get some sleep in a parking lot. After my nap, I go out of the car and I notice a fellow Jew. I approached him to say hello and the person turns out to be my old boss. I asked him what he was doing there. He said his daughter wanted to see one of the amusement parks in North Carolina. I asked myself, what are the odds of meeting my boss in the middle of North Carolina.” He asked the Rabbi “Why would G-d do such a thing?”

Some people would call it coincidence but – the Torah says everything is orchestrated by G-d.

The Rabbi thought of a story that happened recently in Israel. An organization in Israel – called Lev Le’achim – invites secular Jews to learn in a Yeshiva to acquaint themselves with Torah.The Yeshiva decide to take a group of boys to Tzefat for a Shabbaton / Shabbat Outing. A secular boy who was staying at the Yeshiva was invited to attend. They told him it would cost about 350 – 400 shekels. He replied, I’d really like to attend but I don’t have the funds. But I learned in the Torah this week that any expenses made for the honor of Shabbat will be reimbursed by Hash-m. “He says borrow on My account and I will pay.” So I will go but I will pay you after the Shabbaton. They agreed.

After the Shabbaton they made the calculation – each boy would have to pay 388 Shekels and 66 Agorot. He asked them for a couple days to pay for the trip. When He arrived to his dorm room, he saw a letter. “Dear Son, we wanted to wish you a happy birthday. As a gift we decided to give you one of each denomination of Israeli Currency.” There was a 200 Shekel note, a 100 shekel note, a 50, a 20, a 10 shekel coin, a 5, a 2 and a 1. A 50 agorot and a 10 and a 5 and a 1. Totalling – 388 Shekels and 66 Agorot.

Rabbi Feifer mentioned that in a taxi in Israel – the cab driver asked him how to say the hebrew word for “Nes” in English. He replied “Miracle.” He said “do you understand? It is 3 words?” “What 3 words?” “Mi Rak El” which translates to “Who? Only G-d.” (Some say Jews made the Latin Language.) He also mentioned the word “Coincident” is “Kah” – translated as G-d. and the word “incident.”

Rabbi Feifer said sometimes G-d just sends a message to say hello. I’m here. I just wanted to remind you. What we sometimes call coincidence – is really G-d saying Hello.