Saving Lives from Euthanasia – Mercy Killing

It’s an oxymoron – mercy killing. If there is mercy – how can there be killing and if there is killing how can there be mercy. When a life & death question occurs – Torah Jews don’t rely on their own opinion. They consult a Torah versed Orthodox competent rabbi. They present the case – and he will provide the ethical answer according to the will of G-d. G-d gave us the Torah. In the Torah – it contains the reasoning to answer any ethical question.

Recently – a question of euthanasia arose – Could one disconnect a person from life support? I asked a competent rabbi. He said no – it is killing.

Once a person is on life support – usually one cannot disconnect them – if it is going to surely result in their death. Obviously each case is different and each must be asked to a competent Orthodox rabbi.

In dealing with such a situation – I learned of an organization that answers such end of life questions according to Torah Halacha / Jewish law. It is called Chaim Aruchim / Long Life.

They not only will provide answers but also intervene on the family’s behalf with the hospital to assure that the halacha is fulfilled.

Hospital’s “ethics” do not necessarily correspond with Torah law. Doctor’s mix their feelings and opinions into treating the patient. Once a Doctor was treating the husband of someone I know. He expressed how much time he expected the patient to live. She responded “You treat the patient. G-d will decide how long he will live.”

There are three things that must be provided by the hospital to the patient:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Oxygen
  3. Hydration

If they withdraw or refuse one of the above – it may be considered killing.

Things to avoid – Apnea test. It is a test to see if the patient’s brain is working. It is not necessarily accurate. In Torah law a person is alive as long as the heart is beating.

If one does pull the plug of a live person or gives the authorization against the disapproval of the halachic authorities – it may be considered killing according to Torah law.

Once a person was on life support. A doctor came by and felt badly for him. He unplugged him. The patient died. The man he killed came back to him in a dream and said “Why did you kill me? I had some more time to survive in this condition and my sins would have been atoned for on earth. Now he would suffer because he didn’t have that reparation in this world due to the Doctor’s precipitation of his death. Shaken, the Doctor did Teshuva / repented and it served as a merit for the patient he killed.

Suffering is not the worst thing in life. There are worse things – like living with out purpose and without doing good. The Torah provides the means to find purpose and maximize your doing good for yourself and others.

Little Acts that Changed lives

A screen writer wrote an article. Once he was eating in a non-kosher restaurant on Shabbat. He was sitting with a friend. His friend remarked that a religious Jewish family was walking together from a Kollel / Torah Study Institute. They were dressed in beautiful clothing, walking and interacting naturally happy. The friend remarked “I feel sorry for those kids.” He replied “I am sure they feel much more sorry for you.” The sight and his own words stirred something in his heart. Little by little it influenced him to investigate Judaism and eventually he became an observant orthodox Jew.

That family had no idea that they influenced the man. But after they go to the next world they will be rewarded for having brought this man back to Teshuva / Repentance to Judaism.

This story is found a in a book called – “One Small Deed Can Change The World” by Nachman Seltzer. Rabbi Feifer of the Agudah Yisrael of Bayswater said a story.

Once an overprotected child was sent on a bus from Benei Berak to Jerusalem to deliver a package to his uncle. His uncle was to wait for him at the bus station in Jerusalem. The boy boarded the bus with the package in his suitcase.

He fell asleep. When he woke up – he found himself in Teveria. Scared, he disembarked and searched for a phone. A hippy kiosk owner was closing up shop. He let him phone his parents. The boy didn’t know where to spend the night. The kiosk owner told him to sleep by him. He did so. He remembered that he did not say Arvit / the night prayer. He was shaken by the entire experience. He prayed fervently Arvit. The next day he was woken by the man and took a morning bus to Jerusalem.

About 20 years later – he decided to search for the kiosk owner to pay him back for the money he gave him to take the bus to Jerusalem. He finally found him in a kiosk next to the bus station. He reminded him who he was. Exuberant, the man lifted the young father in the air. The kiosk owner took out a picture. He showed him the picture of his observant Jewish family. He told him – after he witnessed the boy praying Arvit – he realized a person can have a personal creation with the Creator / Hashem.

His fervent prayer influenced the kiosk owner to explore Judaism and motivated him to have a close connection with the creator and build a beautiful Jewish family. One Small Deed Can Change The World.

The Letter of Yosef HaTzadik to His Father Yaakov

Yosef Hatzadik / Joseph was the ruler of Mitzrayim / Egypt. His Brothers came to purchase grain – because of the famine in Canaaan (Israel). They came before him. He accuses them to be spies.

They really came to search for their long lost brother – Yosef. They didn’t recognize that the ruler before them was actually Yosef. Yosef wanted to test whether the brothers repented for having sold him many years before. He thus took their brother – Binyamin to be a slave – to see if the brothers would defend him.

After he reveals himself to the brothers and the family is reunited. He sends a letter to his father Yaakov that says he is alive and also is the ruler in Egypt. This letter was found in Rome. The letter found is called “Iggeret Yosef Hatzadik”.

Among things that are mentioned is how the snakes and scorpions befriended him, how the Yishmaelim / people from Yishmael Treated him cruely, how he was sent in the dungeon because of a crime he didn’t commit.

Here is the file:

אגרת יוסף הצדיק ששלח לאביו


Self-Esteem and the Power of a good Wife – the Torah Way

Parasha / Weekly Torah Weeding Vayishlach talks about the encounter of Yaakov / Jacob – with his brother Esav / Esau. He sends angels to Esav – to calm him after all these years of animosity. He tells the angels say – that “Jacob – your Servant…” He mentions that the angels should tell Esav that he, Yaakov, is his servant eight times. Because of this Esav has eight kings before Yaakov had even one king.

The lesson is not to lose our control, not to look down upon ourselves in other people’s eyes. We should have a healthy amount of self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence. When we look down upon ourselves or put ourselves down we lose. Hash-m wants us to believe in ourselves and think highly of ourselves. It is more important to know our qualities than to know our deficiencies.

Further in the parasha (Bereshit/Genesis 32:23), Yaakov is faulted for putting his daughter in a box – so that Esav would not cast his eyes upon her and want to marry her. She was a righteous girl, while Esav was involved in the worst sins. So how could he be faulted? One answer is that Yaakov should have felt badly when he locked her in the box. Another answer was that – each time Yaakov bowed – when he bowed seven times to Esav – he reduced his shells that prevented him from serving Hashem. Esav – was cleared of his evil side for a short time and then it would have been easier for his wife to turn him around completely.

Two things we learn – even a wicked person can do a complete turn around and start following Torah again and be considered righteous. Another thing – that a woman can trun around her husband to do good or bad. Thus choose a righteous wife that follows Torah.

It says “Who is a Kosher Woman? The wife that does the will of her husband.” It can be interpreted simply as understood. But another way to interpret it – is who is a Kosher woman? One that makes the will of her husband (to do good).

Once a rabbi wanted to marry a woman. He said “In our family the husband is the head.” The woman replied “In our family – the wife is the neck – she turns the head in the proper direction.”

BE TECH SAFE & SMART – 15 Suggestions

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TECH SAFE & SMART


1. Choose LOW Head/ Body EMF / SAR Phone < (less than 1 SAR)

2. Good Night. Sleep Tight. Don’t Let the Wifi Bite. Turn Off Wifi @ Night.

3. Keep Phone in MU-Metal/Shielded case or Box

4. Replace Killing Time with “Productive Time” or “Connecting Time”

5. Keep Emergency & Important Numbers Handy

6. Monitor & Reduce App/Phone Time Use

7. Turn ON Airplane Mode when Possible

8. Turn Off Un-needed Services – like GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth – especially when sleeping

9. Filter Phone / Internet or get a Simple Flip Phone

10. Don’t Text/Surf/Hold Phone & Drive or Ride

11. Don’t Use Laptop on Your Lap

12. Keep Phone Away from You to Better Concentrate

13. Turn OFF PHONE when with Family & Friends

14. Distance Phone from Head and body – When Talking & Sleeping or Carrying

15. Don’t Use Phone Extended Periods Close to Head & Body

The Search for Order – How Torah Helps You Put Order in Your Life

I was searching my computer. A file name contained the word “order”. In a tab, in the file manager program it said “Search for order.”

Random events occur. Is it just the randomness of life or is there meaning behind the events?

Really my point is not to answer that question – but how the Torah puts order in your life.

Are Events Just Random

But here is the answer anyway: Events do not occur randomly. G-d has a plan and purpose for every event. Basically we – with our actions – determine the future. The general rule in the world is “Midah Keneged Midah” – Measure for measure. We are kind – we receive kindness. We are giving – we get. We are understanding – people understand us. The negative side also provides a boomerang effect. One gets angry at an employee – a bigger fish gets angry at you. This is a law in the spiritual nature of the world. So – it provides us an opportunity to improve. If we know that we might be receiving the boomerang effect of something we dished out – it’ll help us to improve the next time around.

Torah vs Society Values

The society will tell you “Eat and be merry for tomorrow one dies.” Pleasure without purpose is condoned. Torah says “Use pleasures to build. To build relationships, to build kindness to build your connection to Hash-m / G-d.”

So we are forbidden to touch members of the other gender – unless we get married. This provides an incentive to get married. Getting married allows one to build a family – slowly one builds a family.

Society will tell you follow your fancies. This doesn’t help a person to get married – on the contrary it causes a person to not marry. To not establish a family. And if they do – then their kids will follow the same route that society brings them.

Torah will bring Torah observers to build families with children with similar goals.

You choose your values. You choose if you want to build or if you want to follow your desires. The Torah will help you build your life and achieve your purpose. Societies values will bring you to the pendulum of pleasure seeking – after you reach one you end up in the same place or backwards from where you started.

Choose Life.

The Anxiety – Overcoming it through Belief in G-d

People have anxiety. How can you deal with it?

Personally I think there are three steps.

  1. Remove yourself from situations that cause anxiety. Some feel fear because they hear the scary news items. News is meant to attract readers or watchers – if the headlines wrote “Beautiful Day in Israel Again.” It wouldn’t be read by many. So they resort to tactics to attract readership. If the news makes you anxious – watch less news. Some news magazines – including Jewish ones – and sites fall into the category of over-analyzing news. Personally, I just like to hear the headlines and some small details. I don’t need to know all the details. We used to subscribe to such a Jewish family magazine – but I felt it was too focused on irrelevant details (to me) of the news. So we stopped our subscription. We replaced it with more of a family oriented magazine. If other things cause you fear – distance yourself from them.
  2. Deal with the symptoms – If public speaking causes you anxiety – learn to overcome the fear. Prepare more. Know your subject. Practice. Get used to talking in public.
  3. Deal with the Root Cause. One main cause of fear is the belief that society is a dangerous place or people are out to get you. Don’t worry – people are not out to get you. G-d is here to protect you. He loves you more than anyone else. Hashem is good and wants your good and safety. If we think of that – we can live a calmer life.

My friend once said – if you believe in the stock market – your mood will be based upon the movements of the stock market. On an up day you will be happy. On a down day – your mood will swing. But one who believes in Hashem and knows the goodness of Hashem and reinforces it by learning about Bitachon / Belief and Emuna / Trust in G-d – they will live a more peaceful life.

Hashem is the Name of G-d. Some English Translated versions of the Torah it / 5 Books of Moses inaccurately translates the name of G-d as “The Lord” – more of a pronoun – the correct translation is really “Hash-m” – a personal noun. ie – “Hear Oh Israel The Lord…. is One” should really should be translated as “Hear Oh Israel Hashem… is One.” If you read about the kindness of Hashem in the Torah or books you begin to trust in Him. The root cause of your anxiety will be solved.

Some good Jewish books include – Rabbi David Ashear’s “Living Emuna” books found at better Jewish bookstores.

Is it Good to Own a Pet According to Judaism? Of Pets & Children.

Winning the Raffle

It was a prize from the Pet Show raffle. He came home not only with his knapsack that day – but with a small bird cage – bird and all. OK – we decided to keep it. I figured – oh no – I don’t like to take care of pets because if you are a bit careless – you might find a fish floating on top of the water after about a week.

Taking Care of the Bird

It wasn’t my first pet. We got it so I might as well take care of it. Perhaps there was a mitzvah the pet could help me to do? Like feeding it before I eat. I took care of it. I fed it. I gave it to drink. I showered it & cage with a hose. Rarely did I take it out of the cage. I was concerned it would fly away and I would be able to get it back in its cage.

Bird Babysitter – Stress and Animals

Once I left it to a friend to bird sit. His family liked the bird. Some time later I was informed that the bird died. I was saddened but a bit relieved that I was relieved of my duties as bird caretaker. I had theories that it had died because of stress in the house or old age. They offered to buy us a new bird – but I politely refused.

Prohibition of Pain to Animals

We have a Mitzvah not to cause pain to animals – it’s called Tzaar Balei Chaim. So I had to treat it nicely. Once a rabbi shooed away a lamb seeking refuge under his garment – ans since it was an act that was not to his stature – he was stricken with a toothache for 13 years. Taking care of animals is a responsibility towards the animal and towards the surroundings.

Don’t aDopt Dangerous Dog

A dangerous dog is forbidden to have as a pet it might hurt people. I heard of stores of pet dogs attacking children when parents weren’t home. Dogs also bark. Their bark can cause a woman to miscarry if she is startled of fear.

Yes – I know pet lovers will say – my dog is so kind. Still one must to be concerned about the points mentioned above. There are stories about dogs saving a person’s life in the Torah. Yes I know that dogs are called a man’s best friend.

Essence of a Dog

The word for dog in Hebrew is KELEV. Kaf-Lamed-Vet. Adam – the first man- gave the animals their Hebrew name based upon their nature. Adam called this animal KELEV because it is KULO LEV (All Heart). Someone gave me an interesting possible reason of why a dogs are able to connect with humans more than others. A dog has more hutzpa / audacity than other animals. This audacity makes it think it is on the level of a human. Other animals are not so brazen and they recognize they are inferior to humans. The preferred animal as a pet in the US is a dog. Interesting theory.

Of Pets & Having Children

A couple who lacks children should consult a competent Orthodox rabbi whether it is worthwhile to have a dog. A dog may serve as a comfort for people without children. This comfort may cause them to relinquish praying with all their heart to Hashem to help them bear children. Perhaps not having the dog would cause them to daven / pray with more fervor. This intensified prayer could open the heavens for their prayers to be answered.

Search for Satisfaction that is Productive

Once someone who had difficulty bearing children asked a rabbi what he could do to bear children after being childless of years. He asked the man – Is there anything that gives you satisfaction. He replied yes – my business. He told him to reduce his business dealings. He did so – and a short time later he bore children. Apparently a person is supposed to get a certain amount of satisfaction and pain during the year. He was deriving all his satisfaction from his business and that was eating up what was due to him in satisfaction. When he relinquished it from the business, Hash-m gave him the satisfaction from the children.

Do Animals Communicate

It was known that Shlomo Hamelekh / King Solomon wisdom allowed him to speak with animals. Apparently they have feelings also – as illustrated in a story between Shlomo and a bird boasting to its wife that it could destroy the castle of Shlomo to his wife.

The Curse of the Birds

Recently I heard that there are animals in Heaven – by a Rabbi Meyer Eliyahu (shiur in Hebrew). I also heard recently about birds that cursed their master. Someone was convicted of a crime. The Man asked a Mekubal – a Rabbi that is well versed in Kabbala / Jewish Mysticism – why he was convicted of a crime. The Mekubal answered that His Birds cursed him. He told the rabbi he would get rid of the birds. He said the decree was already decided in heaven.

Were the birds at least partially responsible for his sentence? I don’t know. Should you avoid birds as pets? You decide.

Fish, however, I heard are good pets to have because they have a good eye. They were not corrupted by the flood of Noah.

They’re Bothering You for a Reason

He has to catch the bus to work. his wife nags him – ”Why do you leave your bed unmade? Please Make your bed before you leave and pick up your clothes.” Reluctantly, the husband goes and does so, thinking ,,”ok I’ll be late 5 minutes. Better that than getting into an argument and be late half an hour.”

A man thinks – why is she nagging me? But really a wife is a reflection of her husband. Rabbi Meir Eliyahu said that the way a woman acts with her husband reflects the relation he has with Hashem. If she is makes dinner late – perhaps he comes to synagogue late.

In parasha Vayera Hashem asks Abraham, why did Sarah (his wife) laugh when she heard that she will have a baby at the age of 90. G-d reproched her lack of belief. Some commentators explain that Hashem wasn’t reproching Sarah’s conduct but Abraham’s level of belief because his wife’s attitude was a reflection on Abraham. Perhaps he had a slight imperfection in his belief. Perhaps he should have instilled in her or taught her more emuna – belief in Hashem.

So when one’s wife says something – it may be Hashem is sending him a message that he has to improve in a particular domain. Like cleanliness is next to godliness.

The Real Disadvantage of TV

I like statistics. Provided they are true, they help you decide more or less in an unbiased way.

I can drum up many statistics about TV. But I won’t.

Waiting for a minyan at our neighborhood synagogue I asked myself, why some people avoid the synagogue? I thought – in previous decades the synagogues were full.

What happened?

What happened? Before the center of one’s family life was the family and the synagogue. The synagogues and the Mitzvot allowed a family to connect in a positive, wholesome way.

The yetzer hara – evil inclination – said I’ll take care of that. I will replace the center of one’s family life with electronic media.

Today, walk into the average home – and the center of their life is centered around the TV.

Those who realize this will choose family over the screen. The synagogue over the social media.

In many Orthodox Jewish homes the TV is absent but family connection is not. They center around the coffee table to connect rather than having a screen that serves as an intermediary between them .