True Free Think. Why the World Needs More Tea.

I want to be a free man.

Freedom of speech is condoned by most civilized countries.

Freedom of thought. Freedom of Expression. Yes. All seem to be lofty ideals.

But is free speech really free? If you are part of a group, you are expected to think a certain way. If I am liberal – I must defend liberalism. If I am a Conservative – I defend conservatism. If African American – I defend African Americans. If I am a scientist – I defend science.

This is expected. This is normal. Yet it is not yet freedom. Why? Because my Ideas and ideals are based upon the group with which I am associated. So you don’t hear liberals against abortion. Or Conservatives – for abortions.

So say something against the other party’s ideals. And they will attack. Speak against certain politically sensitive issues and you are shunned – by at least the people who disagree.

Pretty immature.

What we call democracy today is not true democracy.

It’s like terrible twos. A kid does what he wants. Breaks. Takes – Mine he says. He develops his own personality. And the word “No” enters his vocabulary. Ok – a sign of development. As we grow, we mature – we hope.

A friend takes a toy, the two year old will grab it and say “mine.”

If it’s mine – my opinion – then i will protest because you disagree. Did we evolve from these terrible twos?

I think this attitude may stem from fear. Fear that I will agree with the other party or be influenced by their thinking. This is legitimate if you are avoiding a bad influence.

But if you are seeking truth – this is a backward attitude.

Here is a small example – The United Nations. Join the bandwagon and condemn Israel. Their point is not to find truth – it is to propagate their attitude. In this case – they use Israel as a pawn to propagate their anti-semitic ideals. Examples abound.

When one learns Torah, it is not the opinion that matters – it is what is the truth that matters. We both want truth. I don’t want to sell you my ideas or ideals.

Today everyone is a salesman. Companies, non-profits, people. Torah Judaism is not selling anything. It is – through Torah – helping you to recognize the truth.

In a Yeshiva – people vigorously argue their points of view regarding different aspects of life and Torah subjects. After they finish learning – although they might have been shouting their points of view – in the end they are the best of friends. Why because each helped the other reach a higher degree of truth.

Contrast that to what occurs in today’s media. A person doesn’t like your opinion – so they will rank you out – and even insult. Each more – they are on worse terms – because each was selling their own opinion without regards for truth.

An adage written on a Tetley tea bag – said “Learn to disagree without becoming disagreeable.”

A concept the Torah taught 3,300 years ago – like it says in Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers (1:18).

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says, “On three things the world stands: on judgment, on truth and on peace, as it is said (Zachariah 8:16), ‘Judge truth and the justice of peace in your gates.'”

If you search for truth and justice – in the end you will have peace. If you search for propagating your opinion – peace will not necessarily ensue.

 

 

Guard Your Soul- Safety from Stroke

It is a Torah Commandment to “Guard Your Soul” – meaning to keep yourself safe and healthy.

Recently I received a message – telling 4 signs of stroke. Here is what it said:

STROKE: Remember the 1st Three Letters…..
S. T. R.
STROKE IDENTIFICATION:
During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall – she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) …she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.
Jane’s husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital – (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don’t die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.
A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.
RECOGNIZING A STROKE
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.
Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A
SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. Chicken Soup)
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue. If the tongue is
‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

= =

My father, z”l / of Blessed Memory had a stroke on Shabbat. I was reluctant to call Hatzala / the Ambulance for I didn’t want to violate the Shabbat. I was believe I was mistaken. I should have called. Thank G-d – our family friend Howard Stein, saw the signs and called hatzalah – possibly saving my father’s life.

A person should learn the laws of which medical signs warrants a person to desecrate the Shabbat. Learning the Halachot / Jewish Laws on the subject as well is highly recommended.

Once, during the time of the High Holidays, an epidemic hit a community in Europe. The Doctors said the people must not fast on Yom Kippur. To prompt the people to eat when many were reluctant, the Rabbi got up in front of the entire congregation and ate food – telling them they were required to eat on Yom Kippur – because of the law of Venishmartem me’od et nafshotechem / You shall greatly guard your souls overrides the law of fasting on Yom kippur.

Once a rabbi – that was giving many dispensations for people to transgress the shabbat for health reasons – was asked – “Why are you so lenient regarding the law of Shabbat? The Rabbi responded – I am not lenient regarding the Law of Shabbat – I am Stringent regarding the law of “You shall surely Guard your soul!”

The Atheist’s Dilemma – There are No Atheists in a Fox Hole

Some people are old enough to remember screen static on old TV screens. When you would turn to a channel that had no broadcast signal – random color dots appeared on the entire screen – accompanied by a loud sound of static noise. You would quickly change channels to avoid the experience.

Now imagine – you are watching static on the screen. All of a sudden a full length movie with sound appears. Everything makes sense – the plot, the story-line, the actors, the shots.

So your friend turns to you and says “Wow! did you see that? All the random static tuned into a full-featured 2 hour movie.” What do you say to him?

Either you agree with him and say he’s a pretty intelligent person – he must know what he is saying? or Do you say – “Excuse me – i just plugged in the broadcast cable!” Just as it is completely illogical for random static to make a full length movie – it is completely illogical that random atoms will form perfect interacting world of order.

If a person thinks logically – he or she can come to the conclusion that G-d exists.

There are two possibilities – Either the World was created by a Super Intelligent Existence or It was formed through random atoms colliding.

The Random Theory

If you say that random atoms formed the world as it is today – you have a list of questions to deal with –

Is it possible for something as complex as DNA to be formed by random?

Where did the atoms come from?

How is movement and growth possible – if random atoms formed the first cell – it would be dead?

Where did the second third – and all the other trillions of cells come from?

Where did the earth come from?

Why is the world made in such a way that it seems to serve man?

Where did the big bang come from?

How is it possible that random growth and random atoms created similar beings found in nature like animals, plants, humans, rocks?

If everything was random how could you have two beings that reproduce with each other. Did random atoms form a male and a female that can interact perfectly together randomly?

I could go on. But there is a limited attention span of people reading articles.

An honest person answering the questions truthfully will come to the conclusion that it is impossible for the world to be formed by random atoms smashing into each other.

If one does believe it is possible – please take a 1,000 piece puzzle. Put it in a Pizza box and shake it. When it forms the completed puzzle please let us know.

Randomness does not create order.

There is tremendous order in the universe.

Believing in G-d

A person believes in G-d also encounters  questions like:

Who created G-d?

Why does evil exist?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do religions – that seemingly represent G-d – commit atrocities?

Did G-d change his mind to form other religions?

if you have any other questions – please feel free to share them with us in the comments.

By the way of all religions only Judaism answers all the above questions satisfactory. But that’s not the Topic today. (Answers in short: No one created G-d. G-d created time; G-d gave man freedom of choice to choose between good and evil; What may appear bad is actually good; People following Judaism did never commit an atrocity sanctioned by the Torah; No. G-d does not change His mind – the Torah’s laws are still in effect – unchanged since they were given 3,300 years ago.)

The Atheist’s Dilemma

A person who wants or does not want to believe in G-d has the following dilemma:

If he or she believes in G-d, they will be expected by G-d to follow rules that might not agree with their lifestyle. So I can live a carefree existence – do what I want without feeling guilt.

If he or she does not believe in G-d, they will live a life devoid of prayer, understanding the reason behind world events, having a connection to a higher power, having a greater to turn to in times of need.

I think lacking a meaningful relationship with G-d – by conforming to the atheist doctrine is greatly more painful than living a life with prudent limits set by G-d.

You decide.

Doing Good When Others Do You Bad

Sufferance. Does it have a purpose?

Others cause us bad. What can you do?

You have three options. Suffer in Silence. Suffer and use the sufferance to take revenge. Use sufferance for the good.

Talking it Out

You suffer? Talk it out. In the olden days a person who had a heavy heart would talk it out with friends and family.

Psychologists vs. Family

Today, it’s more common than before to go to a psychiatrist. I am from the old school. I think a person should first talk with friends and family to get try to solve the problem or get the problem off their chest – then if they really need more help that cannot be provided by friends or family then a seeing a psychologist might be in order.

Choosing a Psychologist that has a Torah Outlook

Even in selecting a psychiatrist – a person must be concerned about his or her mentality, capabilities, reputation and hashkafa / Jewish philosophy.

A Torah Hashkafa is important because if a psychologist lacks one they might prompt the person do things against the Torah. Like if the psychologist is treating kleptomania (someone who steals) – he might say “steal from places that you won’t get caught.” Or reinforce his negative impulses.

Shock therapy

I met psychiatrist recently that mentioned he was able to help people – like those who wet their beds, young couples with marital concerns, victims of trauma – in a non-traditional manner. Instead of prolonging the therapy by delving into the person’s history and childhood – he goes to the root of the problem and helps them in one or two sessions rather than sessions lasting months or years.

He explained to me his method. Indeed it is very direct. But it is effective. You choose your method of treatment and whether you actually want to be treated.

The first step to solve a problem is to recognize there is a problem.

Unloading Your burden to the Rabbi

I feel that competent, reputable Orthodox Rabbis with a proper Torah Hashkafa are fit to solve relationship problems. Consulting them has four advantages over a psychologist. One is the Rabbi sees the picture according to a Torah perspective. He will give advice that is Correct halachically / according to Jewish Law and Hashkafically / according to Torah philosophy. Secondly He might be able to give spiritual reasons for the suffering. Three He may also take upon himself to pray for the person. Four – if he deems himself unfit – he will refer you to a competent professional – that he approves of.

Good G-d – Believe it is and will be good and it will be good

What we think is coincidence is actually carefully planned by G-d. We call it Hashgacha Pratit – Individual Supervision. Meaning that G-d watches over us particularly. Here are two recent examples:

I am in the middle of writing this article. Before 5 pm – I take a break to mail a package. Someone other than me put a CD in the player. The CD in the car plays. The rabbi – Rabbi Yigal Cohen – is talking exactly what I am writing about. He tells a story: He was giving a Shiur – a lecture to Israelis on coping with difficulties. After the lecture – a psychologist – who was nodding her head in agreement throughout the lecture – came up to him and said “I agreed with what you said during the lecture. I wanted to add a point. That many psychological problems come from a lack of understanding or faith in G-d.”

If we believe that all comes from G-d and all that G-d does is for our good – we can more easily cope with difficulties. Because there is a reason for all our difficulties. Because it is difficult – it doesn’t mean that it is bad. It is difficult to exercise, to climb a mountain – but afterwards your body is in better shape. When we encounter difficulties by believing G-d is doing things for our good and learning from the messages being sent – our attitude in life and personality gets in shape.

There are difficult and easy situations in life. But all are good – if sent by G-d. We just have to be able to see the good in the difficulties.

Example two that happened just recently: I usually leave the synagogue at a certain time.  I set up with a traveling mechanic to fix my brakes that day while I was in the synagogue. He came later than usual delaying my departure. In the interim a woman came to the synagogue – in a time when I would not usually be there – who told us that her maternal grandmother was Jewish. Apparently she did not know that she was Jewish because her mother was Jewish. We invited her to the synagogue and she said she would try to come.

Some would call this coincidence – the Torah calls it Hashgacha pratit / individual supervision.

What Does G-d Want from Me

In my lifetime I have suffered, like everyone. When I was about 13 I changed myself. My sufferings prompted me to improve. When faced with difficulties – I asked – why me? Why was I suffering when all my friends were having a great time. After much introspection, questioning and pain – I figured there must be a reason. I asked myself “What does G-d want from me?”

I figured that it was G-d that was sending the difficulties to prompt me to improve my ways. Yes at 13 I did have much to improve – my lifestyle, my life and Jewish philosophy / hashkafa, my attitude and my deeds. I started studying Torah to see what I could improve.

I started reading Jewish classics – like Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the fathers and learned I had much more to improve than I had thought. I learned Jewish laws. I started attending an orthodox synagogue regularly. I started keeping kosher. I was careful about wearing my tefillin daily and attending prayer services at the local orthodox synagogue. This was a gradual process that took years.

I made a point to grow every day. Learn Torah every day. Now – looking back – I can see the reasons for the difficulties and the suffering and feel that following the path to self-improvement through Torah – was instrumental in me leading a happier life today. I have a more positive attitude and life than I would have had I followed the crowd.

The suffering that prompted me to get better through Torah Judaism – was a springboard to making my life better.

Does a person grow only through adversity?

The first question a person should ask when suffering is – what message is G-d sending me to help me improve? At times it is a message for a very particular isssue or it could be a message that a person should improve in general. A quick and simple way for a Jew to determine what they should improve is to benchmark one’s actions and attitudes with what it says in Pirkei Avot and in Shulchan Aruch. For a Gentile / Non-Jew one should benchmark their actions and attitudes with what the Noahide laws from the Torah says.

Letting Go of the Grudge – Having Faith in G-d & the Woman who Forgave.

I heard of a story of a woman about 35 – who was not married. She said she wasn’t finding any prospective marriage mates. She went to her local Orthodox Rabbi and told him of her concern.

He asked – “Did you date someone and it didn’t work out?” She said “Yes. About a year ago I was going out with a great boy. We both liked each other. We were about to get married – and then his mother got involved and he broke off the wedding.”

The Rabbi asked “Did you forgive him?” She said “Yes. But I cannot forgive the mother. Why did she have to get involved and break off a good relationship.”

The Rabbi asked “Who do you think organizes relationships?”

She replied “Hash-m” / G-d.

“If that is the case why do you hold a grudge against his mother? If you believed that G-d organizes relationships – so he was the One also who helped the relationship to break off. You think it was the mother that broke it off. Hash-m was the One who broke it off. She was just an agent of Hash-m. Since you keep holding on to this grudge it means that you are under the impression that it was the mother that caused the break up. If you believe and accept that it was G-d that really the cause and she was just an agent forgive the mother with a full heart. This will show you put your belief that G-d is in control and does all for the best. And remember to call me when before you get married to invite me to your wedding.”

She then said aloud in front of the Rabbi “I Forgive her completely. I forgive her completely. I forgive her completely.”

Three months later he received the call that she was getting married.

She put her trust in Hash-m. Then Hash-m’s providence was invoked by her trusting in Him. She told the Rabbi then a fact that was pertinent to the story “A year ago my groom to be received a piece of paper with my phone number. He thought I was older than him – so he decided to meet other women for marriage. They didn’t work out. He was free to date again – when he happened to find the piece of paper with my phone number and decided to call me. He “happened” to find the paper after I forgave the mother of my former date.”

= = =

Postcsript:

Suffering For my people

I was prompted to write this article because of my suffering for a young woman – Ori Ansbacher, HYD (may G-d avenge her blood) – that was recently killed savagely by an Arab terrorist. This young woman loved people and peace. This terrorist killed her for the sole reason because she was Jewish.

How can we be consoled?

Anyone killed because they are Jewish – dies sanctifying the name of heaven. They get a high place in heaven. Apparently a Jew can say kaddish for her.

I still suffer. Who is guilty?

Many. Terrorists. People who support terrorists or terrorist organizations financially or by encouragement. People who don’t do enough to assure that these terrorists are punished. The schools and organizations that taught the Terrorists to hate Jews.

And unfortunately we ourselves.

If the Jews were united, If we would listen to the words of the Torah to be kind with one another and banish hatred among Jews – we would be able to deter these terrible acts.

What can we do

When such a crime occurs – apart from petitioning the authorities for new strong reforms take place against these acts of savagery – G-d wants us to correct ourselves on a personal level.

Let us be kinder to our fellow. Let us make peace among Jews. Let us learn more Torah. Let us take upon ourselves new mitzvot. Let us bring our fellow Jews closer to Torah and Mitzvot and at least we will have some kind of consolation.

Let’s propel ourselves in these deeds of goodness and mitzvot so we won’t need any difficult motivators anymore.

Afro-Sheep – Two Proofs of G-d’s Existence.

A Sheep lost in the forest. He survives on his own. 6 years later they find him – unshorn for all that time. His fleece covers him to the extent of it becoming a walking ball of wool.

He made news and broke some records with almost 40 kg of wool.

Apparently sheep need man. Without man you would have many more afro-sheep.

The question’s that arise are:

1) Was the sheep made for man for him to have nice wool suits and clothing?

2) Or was man created for the sheep – to shear it?

3) Or was there no creation? The sheep came into being by random molecules colliding together.

Proof 1 of G-d’s Existence

Logically and speaking rationally, proposition three is impossible. For it is impossible for random atoms to create a single celled organism – with the complex DNA structure found in a cell. Even more so random atoms cannot create a sheep.

So there must be a creator.

But perhaps you will say man was created to serve the sheep.

We would have to ask 2 other questions to determine – what creature was created for whom.

1) Who gets more benefit from the other – the man or the sheep?

The sheep gets food from man and gets sheared by man.

The man gets wool for warm clothing, carpets, blankets and more. Apparently man gets more benefit from the sheep than vice versa.

2) Who gets more benefit from the world – man or other creatures?

Trees don’t need man. They can live in their forest all their lives – be irrigated by rain – without need of human intervention.

Yet man does need trees – for building homes and other structures from their wood; for getting warmth by burning wood.

Fruits don’t need man. Man needs fruits for nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are the perfect size for man – that a man can hold them in his hand(s) and transport them.

Oil reserves don’t need man. Man needs oil reserves for their cars.

Sound does not need man. Man does need sound to communicate.

The sun does not need man. Man needs the sun for warmth.

You choose your creation and see if it benefits man or if man benefits it more.

Proof 2 – A World made for man was made not randomly happened

Apparently the world was created for man. This can be determined by logic.

If evidence shows that the world is primarily serving man, this points to the existence of a Creator that created man and his surroundings for his benefit

Cute Sheep. Isn’t it?

Breaking Through the Barriers That Stop You – The Material, the Mental and the Spiritual.

I feel many people feel restrained in life. They see insurmountable barriers – that sometimes do not exist.

They put themselves in a box and repeat “Only If” All their lives.

At times a person tries but spins their wheels.

There are 3 Dimensions of Barriers – The Material, the Mental and the Spiritual.

The Spiritual Barriers and Measure for Measure

Let’s start with the Spiritual Barriers.

Just as there are laws of nature – there are laws of spirituality. The basic law of spirituality is Middah Keneged Middah. It’s a bit like you get what you deserve but the literal translation is “measure for measure.”

No. G-d is not Punishing you – The Law of Gravity

A person may think that G-d is punishing them. But it’s not so simple. A person would not say that after dropping an expensive vase on the floor – G-d is punishing me because my vase broke. You dropped the vase. The vase fell and broke because of the laws of gravity. You put yourself into the situation that in normal circumstances the vase will break if you drop it. You cannot blame G-d for that – for allowing the laws of gravity to pull your vase to the ground.

The Torah says do not rely on miracles.

The law of Measure for measure

A person who constantly ranks out his associates and his workers under his supervision – should not say – why is G-d punishing me by giving me a wife that yells at me. He put himself in a situation that is close to a cause and effect situation. He yelled at others, so others will yell at him. It is not a punishment – it is the spiritual law of  nature – he is invoking by his negative attitude.

Another spiritual law – believe it will be good and it will be good.

So the correct action to remedy his wife’s torment is to be kinder with others.

This will affect a change in the spiritual dimension for you to deserve kindness in return for your kindness.

A solution to the Ikuv of Shidduchim / Barrier to finding the right mate – Letting Go of Grudges

I heard recently a Torah Shiur / Lesson regarding a person who was searching for a wife. He was in his mid 30’s. He still didn’t find the right partners.

He told his rabbi of his problem. His rabbi asked – do you believe that Hash-m sends the right shidduch / marriage partner – ie, matches are made in heaven?

He responded – Yes. The rabbi asked – did anyone of your past dates ever do something to break off a marriage with you. He responded Yes. He asked him “Did you forgive that person?” He replied – no. I can’t forgive her for what she did to me.

The rabbi replied – that is a lack of faith in Hash-m / G-d – if you believe that G-d directs the world and that all that G-d does is for the good – then even that break-up was directed by G-d and was for the good. So you have no reason to hold a grudge against that former date. And since you beleive that it was the girl that hurt you – you lack belief in G-d’s providence. Forgive her and see what happens.

The boy forgave the girl in his heart. A short time later someone introduced him to a girl that he ended up marrying.

His faith in G-d – affected G-d’s providence to send the right one.

Basically it comes to – you create your world. If you want a world of kindness – be kind. If you want G-d’s providence – let go of your grudges.

The Torah teaches the spiritual laws of nature. Pirkei Avot teaches many of them.

The Material Barriers

When getting my MBA, I was a fellowship student. I worked with a professor that was at that time in tune with the quality improvement revolution. I learned about tools of quality. One tool is called “Force Field Analysis”.

You have a project – idea. You have things working with you and pushing against you.

Make things easy. Put the name of the idea or project on the table in writing. Draw a line down the page. On one side of the page Identify and write the “Forces For Change.” On the other side write “Forces against Change.” Assign Scores to strength of each force. Write out ways to assure that the positive forces overcome the negative forces. Analyze and Apply solutions.

The Mental Barriers

People like to please others. Good. But Really pleasing others is secondary to pleasing G-d by having the Torah as a guide. If the Torah is one’s guide – so you please both G-d and people.

G-d wants you to reach your potential in doing good in the world. But we put up barriers. What will that person say if I ask him for money for my charity project. What will this person say if I ask for a raise. What happens if they say no? Who cares? If it’s the good thing to do – Just do it!

 

The Story of Avraham Searching for a Wife for His Son – Lessons Learned

We encounter several stories of people getting married in the Torah – each teaching a life lesson. In the Torah – we have Yitzhak marrying Rivka.

Shunning Immorality

Avraham, the father of Yitzhak,  told his servant Eliezer – he does not want a girl from Canaan. He told him to go to his family and search for a girl there. He didn’t want a girl from Canaan because apparently they did not have the proper Middot – character traits he was looking for. The Canaanites were known for their immorality.

Searching for and Finding Kindness

Eliezer, when he goes to find a girl for Yitzhak, prays to Hash-m saying – “May the girl that I ask for water – if she not only serves me water but serve my camels – be the girl for Yitzhak.” A simple test. Apparently his test was entered around looking for a wife for his master’s son that loved to do Hesed – Chesed. A foundation of Judaism – to do acts of loving kindness – was one test that she had to pass. At the well of water – he finds a girl that does just that.

Was Eliezer an Animal Lover or searching for someone going beyond the call of duty?

Perhaps you will ask maybe Eliezer wanted a girl that loved animals. Why did he want her to serve his camels as well? Apparently – Eliezer also wanted to find out if she was not only concerned about his thirst – but his tiredness. He was tired after the voyage and Rivka was concerned about his physical condition as well. She didn’t want him to strain himself to also give drink to the animals. She saw that he was thirsty and tired. With one question she discerned his needs and tended to them.

A Person that Follows Halacha & Has a good Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook or Philosophy

You can also say that Eliezer wanted to test her to see if she was following Halacha / Jewish law. There is a law to feed the animals first before eating. Rivka gave enough to drink to Eliezer to satiate his thirst (for he was in a condition to warrant his being given to drink first), then she gave water to the camels to fulfill the law of feeding the animals first.

So he had several tests to find a wife for his master – Did she do kindness, to go over and beyond what was asked of her? Did she follow Jewish law? Did she have the Hashkafa / Outlook of the Torah – that she understood that Eliezer should be given first in this situation?

Finding someone with Similar family traits

I don’t know if we can derive this – but it seems like from the desire of Avraham to find someone from His own family, we see that he recognized the importance of searching for a mate with similar family values and possibly similar land of origin values.

What comes first Love or marriage?

In Yitzhak’s case the Torah says that he married Rivka and then he loved her. In the case of Yaakov marrying Rah’el – it says he loved her and then he married her. Either is possible. Love at first site is not a requirement to get married. Love may take time to develop – sometimes years.

Apparently these criteria apply similarly for a Man searching for a wife or a Woman searching for a Husband.

 

10 Quick Concepts to Go From Dating to a Speedy and Good Marriage

The concept of marriage in Judaism is greater than a couple establishing a family together. We start the process by searching for our soul mate – for in reality the partner is part of a similar soul that was separated and reunited in marriage. Through marriage one can reach their potential in doing good for the world – through having the Torah as a life guide.

I suffer for many of my good friends that are good people that haven’t yet found their other half. I don’t know how much my suffering helps them – so I offer here advice to get married for anyone who wants to hear. I might repeat some things I said in previous posts – but a little repetition doesn’t hurt.

1. Make a List of Your Priorities

I once read an article that said a person should make a list of 10 or 20 priorities for a mate. If one has either five or half of them – they are doing well.

Obviously there are “requirements” and “nice to haves”. Know which are which. Also go through these priorities with your dating coach and the people you network with to help you find a date.

2. Make Your Smart Effort

I know people who to to single events every week. They look but they don’t find. I think a person would be better off calling up Orthodox Rabbis of communities or Rosh Yeshivas and sharing what they are searching for in a mate – in order for them to search in their “Rolodex” for someone compatible they might be able to suggest for you. They can also offer you advice. They know more people in their congregation than you can meet at a singles event. And they can narrow down the search.

I think a person looking to marry should make themselves take at least five minutes a day to network to find a person.

Making a Smart Effort

Self & Date assessment can help pinpoint areas to improve. One should ask themselves – what is not working in my dates? Am I not putting enough effort? Am I presenting myself in a good light? Am I talking about wrong subjects? How am I coming across to the potential mate? This can also be discussed with the Dating Coach.

Know the purpose of the Date

The purpose of a date is to see is if the person is a potential mate for marriage. If one sees that their partner is fit for marriage – based upon the criteria we mention in the article – then continue till you determine if the person is a viable marriage partner.

Prayer

A person should pray daily for a good mate that is suitable for them. Pray to Hashem for some of the criteria in a mate for which you are searching.

3. Do Your Homework

Once you do get a name – research that person. Examples of the questions a person would ask about a potential partner are:

1. Are they kind hearted?

2. Do they have the Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook of the Torah.

3. For a Female Searching for a Male: Are they a Ben Torah? Do they have a fixed time to learn torah daily. Are they able to read a Gemara.

4. Are they Truthful.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

6. Do they Have any psychological, mental or health issues. Do they have a bad temper. Are they able to bear children. I know of people who married only to find out afterwards that the partner had health issues, temper issues, were controlling or tyrants, had psychological issues or were unable to bear children. Ask these questions before marriage.

7. Can you give examples of each.

Ask open ended questions not Yes or No Questions. You can answer yes to any question. If someone asks me “Is a particular person nice.?” I may answer Yes – even if they are mean – if I think in my mind “Yes they are nice when they sleep.”

Ask pointed questions. Don’t ask “are they nice?” That is too vague. Ask them for example of things that you saw them doing that were nice. Did you ever see them get angry? Are they a growing person? Can you cite examples?

People don’t want to say bad things about another person. So they might hide things from you. It is your job to get the correct information. That is through doing your proper effort in researching the person.

Ask their friends, mentors, rabbis, former teachers etc. Better to do the due diligence before the marriage than to regret. Tell them that you are interested in dating the person – so that your discussion will be for a constructive purpose – and will not be considered Lashon HaRah – Derogatory speech – which is forbidden by the Torah.

Some people nowadays have a Shidduch / Dating Resume to simplify the search process. I personally am against asking for pictures – a picture may mislead a person. You are not marrying a picture – you marry a whole person – with their personality. Many people reject based upon a photo. A person has to be attractive to you – i think that the minimum to be acceptable to marry a person is that they are not repulsive to you. They don’t need to be a model.

4. Be willing to Get a Dating / Shidduch Coach

– A Shidduch or Dating Coach will serve as an intermediary to help you work out issues with a potential mate. At times one partner is interested but the other has reservations. Instead of discussing their reservations with the partner – they decide to break it off.

In comes the Dating Coach. He or She will be able to take concerns and tactfully relate them to the other party. They will be able to advise the person what are important issues and what are secondary. Most Preferably – this coach should have Daat Torah – a point of view of the Torah to allow you the Torah perspective of what is important.

I would suggest speaking with a Competent Orthodox Rabbi to ask him to be a Dating Coach. Both partners must be agreeable.

Perhaps the man likes the woman’s personality but finds her overweight. He is embarrassed to mention that to her. Perhaps the woman likes the man’s personality but she finds him not Torah observant enough. (certain cases I encountered). The Shidduch Coach could try to work things out.

5. Growing in Judaism

There is a concept in Judasim called – Maalim BaKodesh. We raise ourselves in Holiness. Meaning that we go from a lower level to a higher one. Like first Jewish men put on the Talit and then the Tefillin daily. Tefillin has a higher level of holiness than the Talit.  Similarly I advise people to try to raise their bar in Torah observance before they get married to be able to get matched from above with a similar mate that will raise their family in Judaism.

G-d will help you find a mate usually on a similar religious level. If you raise your observance G-d will give you a similar mate. An example – if one hangs out in bars every night – G-d will allow them to meet a mate that does the same. If you want a family that are together on Shabbat and holidays and before marriage and you make an effort to observe the Shabbat in its entirety – G-d will help them meet a similar mate.

Growth in Torah and Judaism is an important part of Torah Observance. At times one person is on a particular level of Torah Observance and the other is on a lower level. The one on the lower level would be smart to raise their level of observance and tell that to the potential mate.

6. Demanding the Basics

As mentioned above there are basics that a person should have to be a good partner that will help you and your family grow in Judaism.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

I know people that chose their mates. Their parent imposed on the mate dating their child – the above requirements. You might have others – that the mate studies Torah daily. That the wife covers her hair. That their be no TV in the house. You decide – but I believe the 4 points (a, b, c & d) mentioned above are the minimum requirements to raise a family in Judaism.

7. Listening to Parents

Parents want the good of the children. Thus it makes sense to look to them for advice. Obviously one can marry against the advice of their parents – but it is good to seek their approval and listen to their ideas.

8. Considering Previous Dates

If a date was 80% and one of you rejected the other party – it might be reasonable to contact them yourself or through an intermediary  to try again. In Judaism if one got divorced – it is praiseworthy to remarry the same mate – if they did not get remarried in the interim.

9. Can You get Along

Some people look for love at first sight. Sometimes it happens that way. Sometimes that is just infatuation and fades quickly after marriage. Love in Marriage may take several years to develop. When you give you start to love. Love comes from appreciating the goodness and qualities of the other. Many a time people mistake love for infatuation. Know the difference.

One of the points of the date is to see if you can get along. Can you appreciate the others personality. If after 2 or 3 dates there is no commonality it might be a sign to stop. On the 3rd date – if the first 2 were successful – a person can tell a bit of personal information to see if they feel comfortable relating to them and to see how they react.

Remember a date is not your psychologist. You don’t have to tell them all of your problems. Your goal is to find out if you can respect one another and have a meeting of the minds.

10. Popping the Question

Some people take much time to pop the question to get married. If the basics are in order asking to get married is the next step. You can give the person a heads up and say what do you think about marriage.

Some are afraid of rejection. Some are afraid of commitment. Some are afraid to make the wrong decision. If they reject – perhaps they were not for you and G-d saved you from an unproductive marriage.

If you are afraid of commitment – you just have to do your best. Some are afraid of financial stability – it is G-d who provides. Some want a degree,a high paying job before they get married  – although one should be realistic – that shouldn’t be a necessary criteria imposed on yourself or the other party – If you or the other party are responsible and trustworthy – you can assume that the other person will find a way to make income.

If you are afraid of making the wrong decision – once the basics are in place and you prayed to Hashem and did your due diligence you can feel more confident in asking the other for their hand.

It happened to me several times that I was interested in marrying a girl, and I even gave a ring and the girl returned the ring to me. G-d saw that the girl was not for me for a reason. He arranged that she reject me. Looking back it was a good thing things happened that way.

That is to tell you – although you should do all your effort, due diligence and pray – G-d / Hash-m will help you marry the right mate.

6 Ways How to Build the Holy Jewish Temple – One is with Lego

The Third Beit HaMikdash / Holy Temple is to come down from Heaven. The Jews yearn for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem since the destruction of the Second temple in the year 70 Common Era (C.E.).

The picture above is a Model of the Beit HaMikdash in Lego designed on Lego Digital Designer (LDD). LDD is a free program downloaded at the Lego site that allows you to design Lego models on a computer and saves files in the LXF format. If you want the lxf file of the model above please contact us at info@jerusalemlife.com. It doubles as a Tzedaka Box.

 

Why?

Reasons for Yearning for the Temple

Several reasons.

One – there will be no more war. Yes. One day – there will be no more war. This is when the Messiah will come. Some say that he will fight a war to end all wars called the war of Gog uMagog. Some say that this person will be so intelligent that he will teach the nations to make peace together.

Two – is that G-d / Hash-m – who created the world and took the Jews out of Egypt – will be recognized by all people as the true G-d of the world. Observant Jews recognize the constant good that G-d does for us daily and yearn for other people to love, fear and worship Him.

Here are ways to help rebuild the Holy Temple.

1. Stop speaking badly of others. Speaking badly is called Lashon HaRa (Evil Speech). Even if a fact is 100% true – if it is derogatory – we should not repeat what we heard about a fellow Jew. Some take upon themselves one hour to not speak badly of others a day and build up from there. The Chofetz Chaim wrote various books on the laws of guarding one’s tongue. Many are Available in English from artscroll.com, feldheim.com and the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. Make a 5-minute daily Lashon HaRa learning session with friends or family.

2. Do Acts of Kindness – the 2nd temple was destroyed because of Sinat hinam (Gratuitous Hatred). To remedy this we do acts of Gratuitous love. Acts of Hesed / Kindness. Some make it a habit to do at least one act of kindness to someone else – daily.

3. Jews Observe the Shabbat & Non Jews Observe the 7 Noahide laws. If all the Jews observe 2 Shabbats in its entirety – the Jewish people will be redeemed. Jews and Gentiles may be saved through attaching themselves to Torah.  If there is a war Gentiles and Jews can be safeguarded by observing the 7 Noahide laws and the 613 commandments respectively as stipulated in the Torah.

4. Make Peace between others – Have a grudge against an old friend or family member? – forgive and forget. Send a messenger – if you don’t feel up to it – to apologize and make amends. Send a text written by yourself, a friend or a spouse. Make sure it doesn’t refuel the fire but extinguish the fire between you. One of the laws of the Torah is to love your fellow like yourself.

5. Yearn for the Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple / Beit Hamikdash and pray.

How do you yearn? Pray. Learn about the Beit HaMikdash. Build a model of it with Lego. I ordered a Model of the Beit Hamikdash printed from a 3D printer online. It was less than $20. The Lego model above doubles as a Tzedaka box / Charity Box. Giving Tzedaka to a Torah cause can also help to hasten the redemption. You can give to Ohr Binyamin or other worthy causes found in our article of: Worthy Torah Causes  

6. Learn Torah.

Learning Torah brings great goodness into the world. Jews learn the Torah. Gentiles learn their 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. A Gentile that learns their Noahide laws from the Torah are considered as great as a High Priest that served in the Jewish Temple.

The great rabbis say that we are in the messianic age. Our actions will determine whether it will come sooner or later.

What’s Your EQ? Your Emotional Maturity

People get stuck. If it’s for good – good. But if it’s negative – you got to get out of that negativity.

Some people are petty all their lives. They complain about that they never became who they wanted. They never got that job. They look at others and remain in complain mode all their lives.

Sad.

Breaking Potential

We all have much potential. But we waste it on – cell phones, killing time, being stuck in my way or the highway mode.

We think we know it all. More than even G-d. That was my mistake. I was thinking what G-d wants is not my problem – until I had a rude awakening. I learned the hard way. But now looking back – that awakening – painful as it was – was worth it to awaken me from my living the false dreams that occupies most of society’s mind.

Pleasant Reality

Cool water splashing in my face – I realized what reality really is – and it was a pleasant surprise.

Living a Lifetime of Childhood

I was living the life of a child. I want my new toy. Give it to me or I will be upset. Give me my popularity. Say I am cool. Let me be the Mr. Popular of the clique. I was.

My whole clique prided ourselves on being different. I took it seriously. Others took it as a fad. My friends became lawyers, accountants, finance people – but I held on to the Idea – of not following the crowd – somehow discovering myself in the process.

When you break off from following the clique – you realize that – what you thought was individuality was really following the crowd. Most of the world follows what is popular. Even in religious circles – you form a new clique.

The Way Out

Your only safeguard in life is following the truth. If you are lucky – you will realize the truth of the Torah. If you are not – you will jump from one clique to another – trying to convince yourself that your happy and having a good time or that your truth is truth. I know. I was there in that shell – until suffering broke me out of the shackles of society’s ideas.

The path was painful many days. I started learning Torah. Many years passed and I emerged from my cocoon as a new man. Not following the status quo – but trying to please my Creator. It wasn’t necessarily because I was so religiously oriented – but I thought that that would be the best path to alleviate the pain.

So now I share some of my lessons learned.

The Cookie Story

Once a man bought a pack of cookies in the airport. On the plane the passenger sitting next to him  took a cookie from the pack. The man was astounded that someone would take his cookies without permission. He didn’t want to say anything – so he took one cookie as well. The other passenger took another cookie. He took another one also. The last cookie the other person broke in half and they shared it.

After the trip – he was wondering how a person could be so bold to take his cookies. When reaching into his carry-on – he found – the cookies he bought. The person next to him was taking and sharing his own cookies.

Many things one can learn from this story – one thing is that the person that you think is taking from you may really be helping you out. An example – you give a dollar to a poor person – you think you are Mr. Generous. Really that person is helping you out more – because he helped you to receive reward for the Mitzvah that you did by giving him money.

If the same happened to you – how would you react? Would it bother you? Would you say something? Would you complain?

The way you answer is one indicator of your emotional maturity (or your level of generosity).

Let’s say it was your roommate. Let’s say the cookies were really yours. Let’s say he or she took your things on a constant basis.

Do you rank them out? Do you complain to others? Do you feel all upset? Do you mention to them in a nice way that you don’t appreciate their behavior? Do you swallow your pride and don’t mention anything – but you have a silent grudge towards them? Or do you try to find some way to find a way to justify their actions or pacify yourself?

Your reaction – is an indicator of your Emotional maturity.

I was discussing with someone – saying that the most proper reaction is the latter – to find a way to justify their actions. Why? Because all other reactions will not help you grow. You will react to your friend and thus react the same way the next time around. One will be complaining about people eating their cookies for the next 100 years of their life. They did not change. The same way you came into the world – you go out. Grumpy in – grumpy out.

Growth starts with belief in G-d. If one believes not in G-d – when push comes to shove they will usually act like tiger towards an animal that grabbed his lunch. But to grow – you know that there is a higher authority watching you. You cannot just do anything. You cannot go bonkers or overboard – because of the decorum that G-d expects of you.

The man (or woman) of growth will think – “perhaps that person cannot afford to buy their own cookies. Perhaps they don’t like to go out and buy cookies and think that you are a generous soul that doesn’t mind them serving themselves. Perhaps G-d is testing your emotional maturity. Perhaps G-d is trying to help you become more generous.

You choose your reaction. You are not forced to react a particular way. The more mature you are the more cool, calm and collected will be your reaction.

You build your maturity – when you control your emotions. Some just want to let off steam. Some gain pleasure from getting angry. Afterwards they justify themselves by saying “you made me angry.” No one makes you angry – only you yourself decides to get angry.

You choose – either the path of letting off steam or the path to growth. The path to growth will lead you to satisfaction with yourself. The path of letting off steam – you may remain a child – with your childish recations for the rest of your life.

You have before you life and good or death and bad. Choose life. Control yourself and grow. Become more mature. Don’t remain a 10 year old the rest of your life.

You control your reactions – you choose whether you will grow or stagnate.

You choose whether you will become a noble soul or a penny pincher or a tit for tatter the rest of your life.

It is much easier to grow when you believe in Hash-m and Torah. For you know that all that happens to you is for your best interest.

Got a parking ticket & you don’t have great faith – you are miserable all day.

Got a parking ticket & you do believe in Hash-m – you feel great and thankful that G-d saved you from a worse fate.

It takes work, control and belief in G-d – but you can grow to that better person. The Torah is the ultimate self-improvement guide. It teaches us to emulate G-d – what better example can we have?