Don’t Let Your Tears Go to Waste on Others

Babies cry. Adults cry. A baby cries when hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable or in pain. An adult cries more often because of emotional pain.

Although the gates of prayer were locked, the gates of tears remain open (see Talmud :Berachot 32b) . Thus we have another way to get our prayers answered. Tears.

What happens? A person needs a shoulder to cry upon. They relieve their hearts of their burdens by speaking with another individual or to Hash-m. They relieve their burden, but they forget to ask for salvation.

Yes – tell your troubles to Hash-m. But don’t stop there. Cry out & pray to Hash-m for what you need. “Hash-m give me strength, patience & wisdom to deal with this class of rowdy students.” “Hash-m, please help me to find the best job to support my family in a dignified manner that will also let me dedicate time to learning Torah.”

Use your tears to improve your lot. Don’t use them to destroy someone else’s lot. You might be angry at another that brought you to tears. You have a choice to pray for their detriment or for your uplift. Pray for your uplift. G-d will listen.

You gain not by someone’s downfall. You do gain from your uplift. Use your emotional pain to thrust your tefilot / prayers to heaven.

Be specific in your prayers. Don’t just say Hashem – find me a mate. Pray, please Hash-m find me a mate that has good middot / character traits, from a good family, that learns Torah & will be able to support a family by the end of the month. You fill in your requirements.

Even tears of gratitude, or just verbal gratitude to Hash-m, should be accompanied by prayer. Once you say thank you – you insinuate that you are satisfied with the outcome. Ask for more benedictions, even when you say thank you.

G-d will turn your tears of pain into tears of joy. Amen.

The Missed Opportunity – Why You Should Throw Your Phone Out the Window & Other Tech Junk While You’re at it

You’re at the dinner table. Your kid is there munching some cake. “Got to check my whatsapp for two minutes”. The kid finishes eating and walks away. You lift your head from the phone. “Where is he?”

You lost. You lost the opportunity to connect with one of the most important people in your life – your child. Why? For some video that someone with nothing to do sent you. Worth it?

Just Once? Not.

More than Once? Of Course Not.

A Tree Falls in Yorktown, New York – the Ripple Effect

A fun family activity is picking apples. Go to the farm. Buy a bag. Pick whatever can fit into the bag. There is a picking farm in Yorktown, New York. Recently there, I was told by the old woman selling the bags, that just the other day she was thinking of cutting the tree she pointed out to me. Before having a chance – the tree fell on its own.

I told her she should have said “It would be good to win the lotto.” Perhaps that would have come true instead.

She mentioned the time. 11:00 am yesterday. I was saddened. It reminded me of a tragedy that occurred at that same time. Perhaps when a negative thing happens – a ripple effect occurs.

If a negative thing causes a ripple effect. Doing something positive also causes a ripple effect of good.

It says it clearly in Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers (4:2) “A Mitzvah Causes a Mitzvah. A sin causes a sin.” :

Good causes Good & Evil, Evil

2. Ben A’zzai says: “Run to [do] a simple Mitzvah (like for a weighty one) & run away from the sin for a Mitzvah causes a Mitzvah & a sin causes a sin; for the compensation of a Mitzvah is a Mitzvah & the compensation for a sin is a sin.”

Another reason to only do good.

The Ripple Effect.

Jerusalem Life Back Online

After Adding more features (Plugins) to the Ohr Binyamin Supersite – Jerusalem Life – crashed last week. Apparently one of them caused it to fall. After a Brief Hiatus – Barukh Hash-m / thank G-d, we’re back online.

The question remains – What is the lesson? What can I & we learn from it?

Well, restoring it I learned a lot of computer things like about Linux (operating system), SSH, FTP, WHM, cPanel, WordPress, Mysql, backups & restoring, DNS and more. Great things to put on a resume. I like computers, math & Talmud. Each involves logical thinking.

Would G-d put me through all that sweat – to help me become more computer savvy? Perhaps.

The lesson is probably a bit deeper than that. Another thing I learned is – more & newer is not necessarily better. Think before you do.

For every incident and situation Hash-m / G-d sends us we have 1) a lesson and 2) something good that comes from it. Due to the crash – I thought of ways of developing some more new features and ideas and ways to implement them quicker and easier.

NEW FEATURES

We are adding new features to Jerusalem Life. In the Marriage Section – We have a Sub-Section called “Fast Track to Getting Married.” It is based upon a daily whatsapp sent out to a broadcast group. It gives advice to people to find their mate fast.

In the Donate Section – we started posting Pictures from some of our activities.

We will also be developing other sister websites – like Hashem Loves You and TorahKids.org.

Please Don’t Change. Become a Better You.

I talk to people. I sometimes teach them about Torah. Some answer “I’m good.” As to say – I don’t need to learn I’m already good. Apparently everybody is good in their own eyes. Torah is compared to salt. Just as salt brings out the taste of the food by pulling it out – the Torah pulls out the good of the person. The Torah asks more from us than just to be good. It asks for us to become better daily.

G-d made you unique for a purpose. With your particular traits, you can change the world for the better. The question is ” How can I do that?

A good starting point is to read Pirkei Avot. It will give you the basic foundations of being a good person. That’s a good starting point.

Another is to ask the question at home, at work in general – “What can I do to help?” Can you help at home. Can you help others on the job? Can you help your friends? Your family? the world?

Apparently – you become a better you when you become a bigger giver. The Torah teaches us how to give, what to give, what not to give, what to teach, what not to teach, what philosophies, outlook and values are for the ultimate good of yourself and society.

Become a better giver.

Help others.

Social Media Advice for the Marriage Minded

Social Media Advice for the Marriage Minded

Just like with a simple face to face conversation, you find out good things and where a person’s head is – so is true by social media. Two aspects to consider are your own usage in the eyes of others and the usage of a prospective mate in your eyes.

Relying on Photos – a Caveat

Today it is easy to get information on people. Some people hear of a prospect match and reject dates because of a photo. That may not be prudent because meeting a person gives a much more accurate idea of the person. Also the picture you see may not be a good picture of that person.

Some peruse pictures – searching for a match. It much is more lucrative to call Rabbis to seek someone that has similar hashkafot / Torah outlook and values, good middot / character traits, and aspirations – than to waste time perusing photos. You marry a personality not a picture.

Are You a FB Person

Whether the person uses Facebook or not already gives an indication about the person. Non usage may indicate their refraining from technology to avoid temptation or being involved in things more productive or in more productive relations with actual people – rather than with a computer screen.

It might be better to avoid social media – like it says in Pirkei Avot (1:17):

The Value of Silence & Action

17. Shimo’n, his son, says: All my life I grew among the [Torah] sages & I found nothing better for the body than silence. And that learning is not the priority rather it is the [putting it to] action [that is the priority] & whoever who is excessive in words brings [upon themselves] transgression.

It’s not for nothing that people take the fifth in court.

Be careful what you post.
Usage of social media reveals people’s views and personality.  A person’s home page pictures reveals their interests. I know people who lost Job and shidduch / potential matches opportunities because of what they posted on the social media.  Over-usage of social media also tells about a person.  People might think – doesn’t this person have better things to do than posting constantly their political views, selfies, etc. Be careful what you post. It might come back against the person.

Some have to give their opinions on every news item. If that’s you,  then it might be time to do a self evaluation of your attitude and your posts – and work on improving both. Perhaps in expressing your opinions, people are forming a non-flattering opinion about you. If one has a very critical attitude – people might shy away from introducing you to others. People shy away from critical people. If one’s hashkafot – Torah outlook – are controversial – that also may also be a turn off for prospective mates with a good hashkafa.

Relevance of information.
The time of the post might also help you to decide how relevant is info. For instance if you see a post from a person’s teenage years – it may or may not reveal what their interests are today.

Make a small effort to start the momentum to find a marriage mate.  Each call becomes easier.

When Hashem sees us making a concerted and consistent effort – obviously accompanied by prayer – He sends his blessing.

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Follow this page for Previous Getting Married Advice Posts – Fast Track to Jewish Marriage

A Coffee for Your Wedding Dress? Making Peace with Friends & Family

Rabbi Dr. Jack Cohen‘s “Fast Track to Getting Married” lecture last night was well attended in the MJO synagogue in Forest Hills. He gave much practical advice on going from single to married status.

A story he told illustrates good middot / character traits and teaches about making peace.

A woman was marrying off her daughter. She wanted the best wedding dress. She went to a seamstress – who happened to be a widow. When the dress was finished – it was not exactly to her liking.

She complained “This is not what we expected!” She refused to pay her. She walked out and said “Let’s go to a high end store instead.” The daughter felt terrible for the poor seamstress.

On the day of the wedding – The bride was in the new gown she ordered. She was surrounded by the makeup artist, her relatives and her mother. When her mother turned around – the people were aghast when a cup of coffee next to the bride accidentally splashed onto the wedding dress.

She couldn’t go down the isle with that wedding dress. They decided to call the seamstress to finally take the original wedding dress. About an hour later they were ready to start the wedding with the new dress.

The bride’s mother was furious that someone was so clumsy to knock over the cup. He sister was the one closest to the cup. She said – “You couldn’t be more careful?! How can you do such a thing on one of the most important days of our life?!”

She was so upset she decided to stop talking to her sister. One day passed. One week passed. One Month passed. One Year. 10 years. 20 years. The mother was adamant to not speak with her sister.

Finally – it was the time of the daughter’s daughter’s wedding. The Mother of the bride said to her mother. Can I reveal a secret to you on the day of my daughter’s wedding? The mother said of course. Do you remember the incident with the coffee spilling on the wedding dress? She said yes. She said “Do you know that it wasn’t your sister who spilled the coffee on my dress?” She said “Then who was it?” She responded “It was me. I did it. But when my aunt saw it she took the blame. She didn’t want you to be angry at me – so she told me “be quiet – don’t say a word. I’ll take the blame.” Your sister didn’t allow me to reveal this secret till today. So you assumed that it was your sister all these years that spilled the coffee – but really it was me.

Terribly uncomfortable – she didn’t know what to do. She had anger, hatred and bad blood for sister for over 20 years – for something she did not commit.

Many times we fill in the blanks to blame others. We sometimes get pleasure in getting angry. We want to find the scapegoat. We want to get angry. We jump into hatred for something that could be a misunderstanding.

Make Peace

We lose time. Friendship. What could be a very positive relationship. We lose love and replace it with bad blood because of a misunderstanding. Do you think it’s worth it? All this because we don’t feel like picking up the phone and saying 5 words “I’m Sorry. Let’s Make Peace.”

Is it worth it? I think not.

Why You Should Stop Watching News – How to Become More Productive and Focus on Priorities

I was in the Hamptons in a Summer house. A friend of the family with whom I was staying pointed out to me a small critique about a certain group of Jewish people. He mentioned that they did not watch the news. He backed up his critique with “You need to know what’s going on in the world!”

Do You Need to Know What is Going on in the World?

I know that some of these Jewish people he was talking about do watch – some don’t – but I decided to answer him according to his conception or misconception.

The Most Powerful word to find Truth – Why?

The appropriate response to someone who is saying a statement that you may not agree with is “Why?”

So I asked “Why do you need to know what is going on in the world?”

It was a long time ago – but I suppose He said something like “What if there is a hurricane? You have to take your precautions.”

I answered – “If there is a hurricane coming I would hear about it by word of mouth. I don’t have to spend hours and hours a week or day listening to news – because perhaps there is a hurricane coming.”

Then he said “You have to be able to discuss things.” I replied “I can give my opinion – if the other person fills me in on the issue. I don’t need to watch it or know all the details of the news to hold an intelligent conversation.

Why do you do Anything? What is Your Gain?

But the real point is to ask “why?” on any activity. Not to be a wise guy – but to see if that activity will help you in life or not. Will it make you more productive? Will it make you a better person? Will it help you to have better values? Regarding following the news the answer to the above questions is no.

News is Depressing

So why do people watch it? It is interesting. But on the other side it is also depressing and causes a person more anxiety.

The News Preachers

I find it improper for people to preach what they hear on the news. For instance – you are drinking a soda. A news watcher says to you – “You know what soda does to you? You shouldn’t drink too much sugar.” So you take a diet soda instead. “Hey did you hear what they said on the news about artificial sweeteners?” So you drink water. Then you are about to eat some eggs and meat. “Your other friend says – do you know how they treat these animals. How can you eat them. You know what they do to the chickens that make these eggs?” By that time you lost your appetite. Yes I need my dinner to be ruined because someone heard some news. A person can become an ascetic or paranoid from what they hear from the news.

A person is afraid of crime. A person is afraid of illness. A person gets a negative and weary view of the world by watching too much news.

The Companies Interest

Many time a company will tell you some obscure statistic to sell their product. The Artificial sweetener companies trash sugar – to sell more sweeteners. The Cholesterol medication sellers trash eggs to sell more medication. The Sugar companies trash artificial sweeteners – to sell more sugar. So your news is many a time based upon companies desire to increase their revenues. I believe that most accepted foods in moderate quantities will not be harmful.

Appealing to the Lowest Common Denominator

News has an interest in violence and immorality. The more immorality they show – the grater ratings. The Greater ratings – the more they can  charge for a commercial. Their agenda is to get ratings. They have no regard for proper Torah values. Whatever sells goes. I ask myself – how anyone who wants to raise a wholesome family – can have a TV in the house – with all the disrespect, immorality and obscenities they show. But that’s not the subject today.

Today’s Propaganda – Fake News and News Outlets with an Agenda

Many years ago – news was pretty non-biased. They reported facts – not the point of view of the news station or newspaper. Nowadays – each news outlet has an agenda. I want to make you liberal. I want to make you conservative. I want you to become a vegetarian. I want you to buy my medicine. If you think of it – news is supported by advertising – so it makes sense to say stories that support advertisers – regardless of whether it is good for people or not.

If the news is true – it may be skewed to make you join the ranks of the news outlet’s agenda. If it is not true – that’s even worse. That’s not news – that’s called propaganda.

Removing News as a Distraction

Do I keep up on the news? Some days a few minutes. Sometimes I read a Jewish Family and News Magazine. I saw that news was a distraction. I have many things to accomplish that are more important than reading news. So I imposed upon myself to accomplish these tasks before I can read of news. I am not reading news these days because I didn’t yet accomplish my tasks. When I do perhaps I will scan the headines for stories of interest.

The Point – Don’t Waste Time on the Secondary

All of the above is to give you a non-biased view of news. I have nothing to gain from you watching or not. But you have much to gain by limiting your time in hearing or reading news.

You can become a more productive person. Instead of using your time for news – you can use it to do something productive in the world.

I feel vegetarians and vegans are sincere – they are concerned about animals. Other’s are sincere in their quest for defending their political position. But – a great problem exists.

In Torah – we believe in something called a Yetzer HaTov  & a Yetzer HaRa’. In English – the Good inclination and the Evil Inclination. You remember the cartoons with a little devil and little angel floating over one shoulder of the cartoon character. That is a Torah concept.

The Yetzer HaRa does not want you to be productive in life. It wants you to waste time, to distract you, to make you involved in activities that are no gain to you or society or something against Torah. The Yetzer HaRah makes you procrastinate – it doesn’t want you to accomplish. It’s a Mitzvah to work, to be a productive member of society and to build the world – also for Gentiles. So to prevent you from doing the mitzvah of world – it makes you procrastinate. It can also get you involved in activities are very good or beneficial for society – but they are the secondaries in life – not the priorities.

What are the priorities in Life? Being married. Having Children. Learning Torah. Doing Mitzvot. Observing Torah. But even among doing Mitzvot there is an order of priorities.

I know many good people. They Do mitzvot. They are involved in many side projects as well – defending the world from cruelty to animals, defending the world from conservatism, defending the world from liberalism. Unfortunately, many are side-tracked. I judge them not – but instead of being involved in fighting Trump, or Obama – they should concentrate their efforts in finding the right mate and establishing a family.

They should spend at least as much time -searching for a mate to get married – as they do defending animal rights. After 120 years – when a person reaches the next world  – G-d will not ask you – did you fight against communism, did you fight for animal rights, did you only eat vegetables. He will ask you did you get married and establish a family?

Establishing a family – That is one example. He will also ask you if you established the family on Torah values.

It’s easy to get sidetracked. The idea for accomplishing in business, in life and in Torah is not to be sidetracked.

 

Save Your Marriage – 4 things to Do to Save or Improve any Marriage

You have to give credit where credit is due. Thus I must confess that the suggestions to improve any marriage are from a book called “Garden of Peace” by Rabbi Shalom Arusch. He writes one version for Men and one version for women. Each version is geared to teaching what the other spouse needs.

But some advice [that I must also try to apply more often myself] is what I learned over the years from learning Torah.

So yes – if you apply these rules you can save thousands of dollars [of marriage counselling fees]- and possibly your marriage.

First For Men:
To have a successful marriage – understand that your wife wants your appreciation. So the main things that you can do to make her happy are – Say thank you for what she does many times a day. Give gifts to show your appreciation.

Secondly don’t criticize condemn or complain. A woman is called a help mate – know that she can help you become a better person. She is focused on that issue – so what you think is nagging and screaming is an opportunity for you to become better. “Why do you leave your books lying around?!” You can either think – oh no she is criticizing me again or wow this is an opportunity to become better and to be more concerned for my living environment and the others around me. She is attuned to your emotional and spiritual growth.

Don’t treat your wife as your psychologist or therapist. Don’t downgrade yourself in her eyes. She might get the impression that you deserve this lack of respect that you told her that you received from the boss.

Go to Shaharit / Morning prayer services at an orthodox synagogue everyday before you go to work.  A woman who sees her husband lying in bed when she is awake may get a negative impression of her husband. Don’t talk too much with her – that might also lower her esteem for you.

Many men will find fault with the woman. It becomes a shouting match. A big no no! Because you can’t win an argument with a woman. She will either be insulted and you gain nothing. Or she will get you back one day.

A woman wants things to be taken care of. she wants to feel that the husband is responsible and taking care of things. Thus if she asks to do something around the houlse make sure it gets done. If you have to hire someone – fine but get it done.

The idea of a marriage in Torah is to bring up a wholesome family that respects one another, other people and G-d. This is done through following Torah. If a woman can help you be a better person – you should be thankful – not resentful.

For Women
A man wants respect. He needs to feel that you are on the same team – not trying to break or outdo him or use him as your cleaning lady. Obviously he must help around the house – but the things he does should be respectful. Talk with respect – not with anger and condescending remarks or threats.

Mutual respect is what the Torah wants from both from you. Your acting with respect to your husband will prompt him to act with more respect to you.

Part of the idea of marriage in Torah is to have a positive relation where one completes the other. One helps the other. Together they raise children that are beautiful people in the eyes of man and G-d. Thus The wife should encourage her husband to learn Torah. She should also enroll her children in a Torah day schoool . This is how she assures that the next generation will be respectful and serve G-d. He example will also serve as a lesson to children to act with respect.

The Torah is the greatest guide for self-improvement. It teaches a person to act with respect and kindness. Thus encouraging the husband and bringning kids to Orthodox Torah day schools – will engender a more peaceful and loving home. For that – her husband will become greater and appreciate her more for that.

Fast Track to Getting Married – 6 Points to Help You

The Salvation of Hash-m is in a Blink of an Eye. (Mei HaShiloach, Vol. II, Genesis, Miketz 1*) Meaning every moment can be a moment of salvation. Believe it will be good and it will be good. Believe it is good and you change your attitude.

Make an Intelligent Concerted Effort

How can a person get out of their rut? Decide to get out of your rut! How does a person find the right person? Make a concerted effort to get married. In Torah it says “The Finding of a proper marriage mate is challenging like the splitting of the sea of reeds.” Here are some points to make it easier.

Be Positive

That’s the First step – be positive. Have a positive attitude. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. People like to  complain. I want to tell you my problems. You have a problem?- see a qualified orthodox Jewish psychologist – but your date should not be your shrink.

Think of it. You go on a date and of the first things they tell you is “I have this problem and this concern.” The other person is thinking – I have my own problems why do need to add others.  Be positive. People like positive people.

Even once married – a man should  not divulge his being degraded or insulted. The woman might end up believing that the spouse is deserving of that criticism and end up looking down on the husband. A woman wants to look up to a husband and needs to respect him. She seeks appreciation and respect of her needs.

If a guy comes off as being unusual, too casual, too into himself, too introverted or extroverted – it might be a turn-off. A person should also be cognizant  of how they speak and how they appear. If you’re too into your business, too into politics, into food – that might turn people away. The Rambam says it best – “The middle path is complete.”

Step 2 – Pray to Hashem for yourself and for others to get married. Pray for others and G-d will answer you for what you need.

Step 3 – Know it’s a mitzvah to get married. Some people push off getting married. They say I’m busy today. Just like one can’t push off putting on their Tefillin or lighting Shabbat candles – so the same a applies here. It is a Mitzvah – al tachmitzena / don’t let it become “leavened”. Take the attitude that I have to put my effort in getting married today.

4 – Spend 5 minutes a day making calls to find the right person. You could contact friends with similar values. Orthodox Rabbis of communities. Match-makers. I prefer contacting Rabbis, because they can tell you if someone in their community may be compatible.

5 – Call rabbis of communities and prepare to send resumes. Let’s say one is a Hungarian Jew and wants to marry a Hungarian Jew – get a list of all the orthodox Jewish Hungarian congregations and call the rabbis to ask them for leads. If you are looking for a Yeshiva boy or a seminary girl – call up the yeshivas or Torah seminaries. Ask rabbis or contacts if Perhaps someone in their congregation might be right for you. Ask when you can call them back to follow up. Prepare to send him a “Dating Resume”. After speaking with him – send him a resume.

6 – Due Diligence – Find out as much as you can about them before you go out  – Call references, rabbis and friends. Ask references for references.  Ask pointed questions. Do they have anger, emotional or psychological issues? What is there general mood. How would you rate them in terms of Torah learning on a scale of 1 to 10? Do they have a kind heart. Do they have good character traits? In each ask –  can you provide an example?

Once you do find a prospective mate that fits your comfort zone – reach out to an intermediary – like a community rabbi – that can serve as the “go between” between you and the person. I prefer this intermediary to be a Rabbi or a person with daat Torah / the Torah perspective because they can judge what is proper reasons for continuing or stopping.

Rabbis recommend that 2 dates is the minimum – if there is not something seriously wrong with the person or the first date. At times a person is nervous on a first date – so it might not be completely accurate to judge them with only one date.

The idea of a date is to talk and get to know the person. No physical contact till after marriage. Physical contact clouds the mind of a person and makes it much more difficult for a person to make a non-biased decision. The decision who you marry should be more of a rational decision  than an emotional one.

The first two dates are to find out the other person’s hashkafa / philosophy in life. If a person is talking excessively about the stock market, shopping, Torah, business, making money – you know where their mind is. also you can see if the conversation goes smoothly or not. Do you feel comfortable together. You also want to find out their values – do they want to have kids? Are they interested in learning Torah? Are they willing to grow. There are many questions – but you basically want to find out if this person will be a person that you feel comfortable raising your children in the good & just path of the Torah.

 

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*אבל בעוד שאין האדם מבורר באלו השני לאווין, אם יקבל אז השפעת ישועה חלילה יתפשט בזה וישכח
חלילה שהשי”ת הושיע לו, אבל אחר שבירר עצמו יוכל לקבל ישועת השי”ת כהרף עין.