Getting Rid of Whatsapp for a Bank Fee – When Persistence Pays Off

It was a late Friday afternoon – close to the start of Shabbat. After it starts – for about 25 hours – I don’t use a phone or engage electricity.

Earlier that day, I made an Amazon purchase. I put it on the wrong debit card.

If Amazon debits the card I get an overdraft fee. I had to make a deposit and quick to avoid the fee. One Small Concern. I had no check to deposit.

What now?

Relegate myself to another $35 overdraft fee? No way. I’m not giving up so easily.

I ask a parent for a check. Sorry, they brought no checks. I asked other family members – no check. Time is ticking. Shabbat is approaching.

How about checking the mailbox.

Wow. I find a check sent in the other other day.

Now to deposit the check – that’s no problem I just borrow a phone with the bank app. I borrow phone. Sorry the camera is working intermittently and now it decides not to work. Last resort – reload the bank app that i uninstalled on my own phone. But there is no space. Which app should I choose to lose?

Whatsapp takes a lot of space. How about I get rid of it. I do it. I load the bank app and deposit the check.

The way you want to go – G-d will help you.

We just have to choose the right path and be persistent. G-D WILL HELP.

Enough Already. Stop Blaming G-d or Anyone Else for that Matter.

It is a beautiful day. You are on the beach at sunrise. Alone. The cool breeze wafts by your face.

The perfect day.

You remember the good times as a youth. You glance back. And feel thankful you are alive.

Whose doing? G-d.

He created the sun. The earth. You. The sand. The sky. Air.

What G-d Really Does for You

Nice children – G-d.

A decent job – G-d.

Nice friends – G-d.

A nice home – G-d

Everything good that you have -G-d.

Breaking potential

I know a person. A nice person. A good person deep down. He has two points that broke his potential in life

1. Seeking pity and

2. Blaming others.

He could have been an aeronautical engineer. But his self pity kept him blaming others instead of going forward.

Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain

Each one of us – may have this aspect of blaming others in some small way.

When we blame – we feel less culpable – but on the other hand we lose our potential.

Instead of improving our situation, we sulk, blame and do nothing about improving our lot.

Some blame g-d. Some blame others. Some blame both. Some blame Jews. Some blame parents.

G-d gives Challenges to help us Improve

G-d puts us in a situation to help us overcome challenges.

To help us become the best we can be.

Some blame G-d for the holocaust and divorce themselves from the responsibility of following Torah. Others blame him for childhood difficulties.

What about looking at all the good Hash-m / G-d gives on a constant basis?

A blamer should ask – am i blaming because it is really the other’s fault and there is nothing i can do about it or is it just a convenient excuse to shirk my responsibility to excel.

The mediocrity of blaming

Many blame the Jews. What comes out of it?

Mediocrity, hatred and waste of time. But the propagators of the hate gain by keeping the haters occupied while they run away with the cash or shift the blame of problems they are responsible for on someone else. They found a scape goat and people to follow their propaganda.

The haters and the hate propagators don’t achieve. They played a trick on themselves. The hatred caused them to destroy rather to build. The first one that they destroyed was themselves.

One Problem of Lashon HaRa / Derogatory Speech

Don’t fall for it when a friend tells you a negative story of a fellow Jew.

You become a hater. You lose your potential. Perhaps you could have done a good business deal with that person. Perhaps you could have learned from him.

This is the trick of the Yetzer Hara / the Evil Inclination. Get a person to speak lashon hara / derogatory speech and three people fall. The person who says it. The person who heard it and the person the derogatory information is about.

Have pity on your potential and purpose in life.

Build. Don’t blame.

The Good Snake – What comes from G-d is Good

In Parashat / Weekly Torah Reading Hukat – (Bamidbar / Numbers 19:1 – 22:1)
When certain Israelites were being bitten by snakes for speaking badly about Moses, G-d instructed Moses to make a Copper snake for people to look upon and be healed. “And you shall look at it (the copper snake) and live.” (21:8) A snake is dangerous. what message is this teaching us?

Everything that Hashem does is for good. Even, when something appears bad, like a snake, if is sent by Hashem it is good.

Some say if I dont work on SHABBAT, I will not make money for my family. But really it is the opposite. One who observes Shabbat makes blessing rest on his or her parnassa / income enabling them to feed their family with abundance.

Learning from Spies – Using Good Times of Past to have a Positive Future Outlook

The Israelites in the Sinai Desert sent Spies to investigate Israel, the Promised Land. Before, Moses asked G-d – should they send these spies. He responded – “Send men for Yourself. I know that it is a good land.” G-d was a upset that they needed spies – when He had already promised that it is a good land.

The Spies come back and give a report of the land of Israel. They say it is a land of milk and honey … But there are giants that dwell there and it is a land that devours its inhabitants.”

Calev, one of the spies says “We can overcome the people and conquer the land.” The people cry in fear. G-d tells the Jewish People because they cried in vain – they will stay wandering in the desert for 40 years – one year for each day that the Spies spied.

G-d then tells Moshe / Moses – how come these people don’t believe in me after all of the wonders I did for them in bringing them out from Egypt.

Two questions – 1) Why were they punished by One Year for each Day? 2) Why does G-d say why didn’t they believe in me after all the signs and wonders I Showed them? Out of all the people in the world who heard about all the miracles that G-d did for the Jews, only one person – Yitro / Jethro – out of all the nations of the world were impressed enough to come and convert to Judaism.

Apparently, one answer is :

A person is supposed to learn from the past. If G-d did good for him in the past – it is likely he will continue to good to him in the future. There are three reasons why people adapt a negative attitude in life :

1) They don’t recognize the constant blessings that G-d gives them on a daily basis – like, air, food, life, children, a job, a home, a family, friends, money, etc. This is either because they don’t believe in G-d or they do believe in Him but don’t attribute the good they have to Him.

2) They do recognize the constant blessings that G-d gives them, but they think they are or will be unworthy of his blessings in the future.

Both attitudes may lead to depression.

The Solution:

Learn from the past. If you were able to overcome a difficulty in the past, you will be able to overcome it in the future. If G-d helped you in the past, he will hep you in the future. You make your effort to solve the problem – but it is in G-d’s hands to actually solve it. The effort is in your hands – the solving is in G-d’s. If it is solved after your effort and prayer to Hash-m / G-d – Good. If it is not – perhaps you need to make a greater effort or pray more to Hash-m.

If you did both and still the problem is not solved – the problem it is not being solved for your good.

It’s a win-win situation.

I have been having issues with my car. Check engine light is on. With that you cannot pass inspection. I brought it to 3 mechanics and 2 car dealers. The light is still on. Apart from the fact that this problem is some kind of reason to get me to improve myself for a past misdeed – which I still must figure out which (as there are many 🙂 ), it has helped me to use my bicycle more and get more into shape. Look at the silver lining in each difficulty.

Think positive. Let’s work on ourselves to think of how we overcame difficulties, with G-d’s help, in the past to have a more positive outlook in the future. G-d expects it from us. G-d believes in us. Shouldn’t we believe in ourselves.

Source: Parasha Shelah’ Lekha in Bamidbar / Numbers

Can You Lift This? A Lesson from a Sanitation Worker

In New York City, 3 types of waste are collected.
– compost
recycling
– waste

Compost is organic material used to fertilize soil. I went out to talk with sanitation worker. I told him in some of our waste bins was compost. Apparently my compost bin was a bit heavy. He said pointing to te compost bin “Come here! Can you lift this?”

I tried. It was on the heavy side. I replied with a negative. “So how do you expect me to lift it?”

I learned several things from that short conversation. If you can’t lift something yourself – don’t expect others to. Meaning if you can’t lift a bag of waste don’t expect others to do it. Make your waste bags light enough that a normal person can lift.

Meaning – if you can’t run a marathon – don’t expect other average people to do so. If they are highly trained that’s another thing.

So really a person should not speak badly of others. “This guy steals pencils from his workplace.” But if you can’t refrain from doing the same don’t speak badly about him or her.

Or if you can’t do a difficult task don’t expect others to do it for you (unless you pay them).

Another Lesson – Get Help from others

It’s annoying when only after the situation has passed that you think of the perfect answer. I should have said “you could lift it with two people.” At times a person has a difficulty, problem or concern – if you can’t lift it by yourself – so ask another person to help you. Don’t try to lift your problem by yourself – turn to someone else who can help you lift your problem off your shoulders.

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

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

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

step 1.
Wait one moment.

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

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

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

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

Should he or she have known better?

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

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

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

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

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

step 3
What is the source of your anger?

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

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

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

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

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

step 5
Are you doing something productive about your concern?

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

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

If the latter – G-d differs.

Humans are the pinnacle of creation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

step 9
Were you mistaken in your assessment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s your choice.

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

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

Fancy controller.

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

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

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

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

1. The one mentioned above.

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

They say “I did follow spirituality!”

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

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

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

Back to earth.

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

So what are the instructions of life?

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

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

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

Same thing in life. Same thing for religion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t let your drone fly away.

Learn the controls before you fly.

Jerusalem – Old City – Jewish Quarter Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewish Quarter Map

מפת הרובע היהודי

בסד

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

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

מוזיאון לבד על החומותבתשח
ישיבת ביתאל
גלעד לנופלים בתשח

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

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Amphitheater

Museum

Synagogue

Parking

Archaeological Site

Observation Point

Toilets

Information Center

Wheelchair Route

Recreation & Shopping Site

City Wall

Police

Bus & Taxi Stand

אַמְפִיתֵאַטרוֹן

מוּזֵיאוֹן

בית כנסת

חֲנָיָה

אתר ארכיאולוגי

נקודת תצפית

שֵׁרוּתִים

מרכז מידע

מסלול בכיסאות גלגלים

פנאי & אתר קניות

חומת העיר

מִשׁטָרָה

תחנת אוטובוס ומונית

A Time to Act

📖: Beshalah/בשלח

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

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

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

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

It’s Just G-d Saying Hello.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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