Be Happy for Punishment

One of the 13 Principles of Judaism is the belief of Reward and Punishment. G-d will greatly reward those that followed his laws and punish those that did not. Obviously G-d takes into account all the factors. G-d may punish in this world or the next.

Why should you be happy about that?

Apparently we all know more or less deep down what is right and wrong. Having this concept of reward and punishment allows us to live a meaningful life.

If everything that I do is “good” or doesn’t make a difference, I live a life without purpose. If what I do can be good or bad, my actions in this world make a difference. This fact gives me purpose in life.

Teshuva – Repentance.

Remember that even if one did bad in their life – transgressing the laws of the Torah – the bad can be erased through sincere Teshuva – repentance. If one does teshuva out of fear of punishment – his or her sins are erased. If one does teshuva because they feel that they love Hash-m and fell badly to have gone against His will – their past misdeeds become counted as mitzvahs (perhaps because they prompted him or her to do teshuva).

G-d is Magnanimous

G-d will forgive any sin a person has done if the penitent person is sincere in their teshuva. (for How to do teshuva – seee Starting Over – Wiping the Slate Clean). The four stages of teshuva are :

Opportunities to Clean the Slate – Teshuva / Repentance – 4 Steps of Repentance בסד

1
2

3

 

4
Cessation
Commitment

Regret

Confession

Stopping doing the misdeed
Firm resolve never to repeat the deed. One is forgiven if he or she is in the same situation & doesn’t commit the sin.
Sincere Remorse for Wrong one did. Obviously one has to know what is right & wrong. To know – A Jew learns the 613 Mitzvot or the (Kitzur) Shulchan Aruch / Code of Jewish Law – regulating Jewish life. A Gentile learns their 7 Noahide Laws.
Verbal Admitting to G·d / Hash-m the wrong one did & asking for forgiveness. If one wronged another, ask forgiveness
Everyone Can Better Themselves. Forgive, Ask for Forgiveness & Be Happy.

(Rambam / Maimonides – Mishne Torah – Book of Knowledge – Laws of Repentance – Ch. 2 & 4 )

A very important point is not to fall to depression due to teshuva (or anything else for that matter). Some remorse to the extent that their remorse turns to depression. Once one has sincerely done teshuva – be happy. G-d – like a parent – wants His children to be happy. It says it in Tehillim / Psalms “Serve Hash-m / G-d with Happiness. Come before him with Joyful song.” Our general mood should be one of happiness. Be happy that you committed to improve. That’s something for which to be happy. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing the problem. Be happy you took the first step.

G-d can solve any problem

Don’t be sad about problems. Learn the lesson from the pain. Do teshuva. Improve. And be happy. G-d can solve any and all of your problems. No problem is too great for Him to provide respite and a solution. We just must turn to Hash-m with sincere prayer and teshuva. Make our small effort to overcome the problem and G-d will solve it

Precautions Against Failure & Positive Outlook

In Pirkei Avot(1:7) 

Nitai the Arbelite says: Distance yourself from a bad neighbor & do not become friendly with a wicked person & do not despair from retribution. (punishment)

If a person is suffering – it could be due to G-d sending them a message to improve or to compensate them for a past misdeed. So the obvious solution is to correct the misdeed. But also not to lose moral or despair from punishment. Repent, Correct, Go on and Be happy.

From Fear to Eternity

I was in the synagogue the other day. On the Bima – where the sefer Torah is placed when it is read – was a book entitled – “From Fear to Eternity – 10 steps to Achieving the Benefits of Being Jewish” by A. Lefkowitz. The title reminded me another reason for why punishment is good. We live in a temporal world. It is a temporary existence. No one gets out of here (the world) alive.But the afterlife is eternal. So if given a choice – it is better to live a challenging life here and a peaceful life in the next world – than vice versa.

Fear of Punishment in this world or the next world – allows us to prevent falling into a trap that may take away our prospect of living eternally. We are really a soul in a body. Once a person dies, the body is left behind and the soul continues to live. Thus fear of punishment allows us to inherit eternity by preventing us from transgressing the laws of the Torah.

The Reason why the Evil Prosper and the Righteous Suffer

An easy answer to the question of “What is the Reason why the Evil Prosper and the Righteous Suffer?” is because there are two worlds. This world on Earth and an after life. Punishment can be in this world or the next. Reward can be bestowed in this world or the next. A person who did great evil – like Hitler, Stalin, your average Terrorist -cannot be properly punished in this world. So G-d grants them a decent life here and punishes them in the next world. To us we see them live a decent, happy life. We do not see what goes on in the next world. So we think that the criminal got away Scott free. But they cannot escape the heavenly judgement. The punishment and reward is much greater in the next world.

On the positive side. We see righteous people suffer in this world – but we see not the great reward in heaven. So we think that he or she gained no reward from all their righteousness. But in the next world they will receive unimaginable reward. Thus we can accept why the evil prosper and the righteous suffer – by understanding this concept of reward and punishment in the next world.

How do I find out what G-d wants from Me?

G-d has a rule that is called measure for measure – Midah Keneged Midah. When a person does something bad – he is punished in the same way or in a manner related to his or her transgression. If one does good he is also rewarded similarly.

In the book “Living Emunah 3 (By Rabbi David Ashear) he relates a story of a woman who was unable to have children. She asked her rabbi – what to do. He told her to reinforce herself in Judaism. She decided to keep the Shabbat, Say Blessings on Food and I think say the morning Blessings. Shortly after she had a child. Some time later – an unusual thing happened when she was lighting the Shabbat candles. She attempted to light the two Shabbat candles- but only one would be kindled. Several weeks passed and every week the same thing happened. She confided her secret to her Rabbi. He asked – Is there something she is not careful about on Shabbat. She replied – we do Shabbat but we leave the TV on during Shabbat. He suggested to refrain from doing this. She committed to doing this and convinced her family. The next week she was able to kindle both candles.
(The story continues – see the book if you want to know the story’s end.)

Another explanation – of don’t despair from retribution – means that don’t despair that the evil will be punished. Those that do evil will be punished in this world or the next. Seeing a wicked person prosper is a test. Will we follow evil because we see the evil prosper? It is also to give people free will. If we see evil people suffering and righteous people prospering we will have no freedom of choice. Everyone will want to be righteous. G-d puts the choice of good and evil before us and it is up to us to choose good. Choose Life.

Keeping People in Line

Other reasons to be happy for punishment – because as it says in Pirke Avot (Chapter 3:2.) on the subject Civilization without Government:

Rabbi H’anania deputy of the Kohanim / Priests says: Pray for the peace of the government – for if there were not its fear, a man would swallow his fellow alive.

Many people don’t do evil because of fear of punishment. Thus we live in a better world because of it. It helps us ourselves to live a better life. Whenever bad is done by a person – that person will ultimately suffer – either through guilt, being put in prison, physical punishment. This punishment can be administered by man – the courts of law – or by heaven – by the courts above. Thus the fear of punishment is for the ultimate good of man.

Once my uncle was about to hit his young son for something he did. The son said “I already learned my lesson – there is no need to hit me.” If we learn our lesson there is no need for punishment.

Our parents punished us. We are better people for it.

Ways to Avoid Punishment – A Mitzvah is an Advocate

Obviously we would rather not incur punishment. The way to avoid it is to learn what the Torah expects from us and do it. I learned it the hard way – difficult times that came my way – prompted me to reflect on how to better my ways. But in Pirkei Avot it tells us clearly how to avoid punishment.

In Pirkei Avot (4:11 ) it says:

Rabbi Elie’zer ben Yaa’kov says: one who does one Mitzvah will acquire one advocate & one who transgresses one sin acquires one accuser. Repentance & good deeds are like a shield against punishment.

An extreme example of this is King Hordus / Herod . He killed 45 great Jewish sages. He asked Shimon ben Shetach – his brother in law – how he could avoid punishment. He said you extinguished the light of the world, to repent you must illuminate the light of the world by renovating the 2nd Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This is what he did.

Being Happy All the Time – letting go of grudges & Loving Your Fellow Jew

The Torah commands us to love our fellow Jew as ourselves. Based upon this the Chofetz Chaim in His Sefer / Book – Ahavat Yisrael mentions that bearing a grudge or hatred for a fellow Jew incurs punishment.

In Chapter 2 on Repercussions of Baseless Hatred & the Stringency of the Torah Regarding it – he writes:

And here will be explained why is this sin more grave than other sins.

1) For each sin it is unusual that a person will transgress upon it every single moment. [If a person is not unrestrained — G-d forbid]. However, this sin of baseless hatred a person transgresses every single moment when hatred is awakened in his heart. And at times, the hatred remains in him for a month or a year or more. And the transgressions of Torah Prohibitions from the Torah are multiplied without limit.

Being punished every single moment for gratuitous hatred is difficult. But apparently that is better than living a life of hatred. Knowing one will be punished for every single moment he hates a fellow Jew – motivates us to let go of our hatred. Letting go of our hatred makes us live a more peaceful and serene life.

But we can also look at the flip side of the coin. If we are punished for every single moment of hatred – it means that every single moment we have a choice to hate or to love. Our hatred of others isn’t a given. It is in our hands to let go of the hatred every single moment. It is in our hands to let go of sadness every single moment and live happy lives – every single moment.

 

Fancier Car, Yes. But I have Better Driver – What is Real Success

A question strikes me at times. Why would a person spend hundreds of thousands on a car, when they could get from point A to Point B spending much less. I chalk it up to a “Status” thing.

Ok – yes you do need a GPS and some other gadgets, but spending for a car what you could pay for a house?

Apparently – an expensive car makes them feel more worthwhile.

It makes them feel successful.

It’s good to be successful – provided you use your money the proper way. To help your family get a Torah education, to educate them to have good values, to help other people – to support Torah causes.

But what is real success? Money? Not really. You can cave a Billionaire that beats his wife. Is that success? No. He is successful financially – but as a person he missed the mark.

Real success is being the best person that you can be. For that You can’t just put the money on the table and become an instant success. It requires consistent and hard work on one’s character traits, learning works of Mussar / Torah Ethics – Like Pirkei Avot – stretching yourself to help others, refraining from speaking badly of others – even if it is true. Refraining from taking vengeance. Changing hateful thoughts to positive ones. Changing grudges to love. Not so easy.

It is a whole regimen. Put the effort into self-improvement and you can become that great person you want to be.

Once I heard a lecture of Rabbi Igal Haimoff. He said that the reason we want that perfect box of cereal, that perfect car is because we recognize the value of perfection. G-d is perfect. We want to emulate Him. Thus, you are upset when someone scratches your iphone – it’s not perfect anymore.

Want to be a real success? Try reaching your potential – through using your talents to help others – in accordance to Torah. For that you must know your talents. Work on your character traits.

Just do it and you’ll be a better driver.

Who Loves You Kid? Who in the World Loves You the Most.

Ever Ask “Who in the World Loves Me the Most?”

Your parents? Your children? Your Spouse?

Child Love

I was a fellowship student in an American University. As one of my responsibilities  to grade assignments- I had to read student’s essays answering the question “Who is your Greatest Hero?” Interesting answers. Who was cited most as a ‘Hero’? Batman? A movie Star? A Musician? A president? No. The Student’s Parents.

People recognize who did the most for them in their lives. I would expect young college students to be a bit more vain. But they recognized the great effort and sacrifices their parents made for them. That’s why Honoring Parents is an easily understandable commandment. We show gratitude to those that did the most for us.

Parental Love

I heard that parents love children more than children love parents.

Understandable. It says In Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers “According to the Pain is the Reward.” The more pain one puts into a person or project – the more rewarding it is when they bear fruits. The more love they have for the person. Thus it is understandable why parents love children more than vice versa. Parents will stay up at night to tend to a child. Ask a child today to clean their room and get an answer is “Maybe later.”

Love of Spouses

So is it parents who love you the most? Is it your spouse that tells you they love you? Not really. Many a time love between spouses is “Love that’s dependent upon a matter.” It tells us what true love is in Pirkei Avot. – “Love that is not dependent upon a matter.”

I love the person – not because what they can bring me or give me. I love them because I recognize their intrinsic value as a person.

The reason for the great divorce rate today is because – what people call love is infatuation. The infatuation fades, the marriage ends.

Fish Love

Love that is dependent upon a matter is best illustrated by someone who says they love fish. Ask them – if you love fish – why do you catch it, then skin it, then fry it and eat it. You don’t love fish – love eating fish. You love what the fish gives you, not what you can give to the fish. Loving is giving – not taking. “Love” of many couples today is taking – fish love.

What is Love?

Apparently the one who gives you the most (in your best spiritual, psychological, emotional and material interest) loves you the most. Who gives you the most? G-d.

There are three partners in the creation of a person. The mother, the father and G-d. The Mother gives the blood, the father the bones and G-d gives the soul.

G-d gives a person a soul, life, air to breath, food, clothing, money, a home, health, transportation, vacations, family, friends, a world, nature, and makes every single cell in one’s body function and grow continuously. I can go on, but better to keep it short.

If we recognized the tremendous kindness that G-d / Hash-m provides for us at every single moment – we would be a different person. Like we say in the prayer Nishmat on Shabbat – “If our mouths were as wide as the sea … we would not be able to thank you for all the kindness you do.” G-d gives you all – independently of what we “give” to Him – He loves us because of our value as a person. He loves us because we are his children. Without expectation of a “favor” in return.

Love of God

G-d loves you more than your parents love you.

Yes, your Father in heaven loves you more than your father or mother on earth.

A parent sometimes gets fed up with a child who goes off the proper path. G-d always has hope for His child. He doesn’t give up on you. He loves you even when you think He forgot you.

Have problems? Turn to Hash-m. He’ll help. Regardless of what you did in the past. He’s always there with open arms. And when you have time try to become better. How? Try starting over – by wiping the slate clean.

It says that even a parent can forget a child – but G-d will never forget you.

Know you are loved.

Time to Get Over It – Becoming Better not Bitter.

People live lives based upon an occurrence that happened to them.

Yes, we should surely learn from experience. Yes – everything happens for the good. Yes G-d had some positive reason for it to happen.

If this experience helped to become a better person fine.

If it helped him to become a bitter person – then they lost the message of G-d.

G-d wants his children to be happy. Some people have propelled themselves to heights through overcoming difficulty. Athletes. Business people. Musicians. Artists. Inventors. Scientists. People from all walks of life.

Other have become the complainers. The deniers of G-d. The haters. The abusers. The bullies. The hermits. The self-pity-ers. The naysayers and those with the negative attitudes towards life. They blog about the negativity of the world. They cast negative stereotypes on others – who are similar to those that made them suffer.

Suffering is a two edge sword. Some take it as a reason to look at the world with negative lenses. Some take it to cut the cake and eat it. Like it says – the pessimist sees the glass half-empty. The optimist drinks it.

You chose your attitude. “He made me sad” is not a reason – it is an excuse. You may not control what happens. But You control your attitude. And you can choose to be happy or bitter. It is in your hands.

Obviously each should seek help from others. Each should work on their self esteem. Each should take the time to learn from the suffering – to overcome it. To learn what good came out of it. And to look at the good in everything G-d sends.

That is the goal of suffering – to become better not bitter.

= = =

Recently  Got a Text:

If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z  is equal to: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Then,

H+A+R+D+W+O+R+K* =8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

K+N+O+W+L+E+D+G+E=11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 *=96%

L+U+C+K  =12+21+3+11 = 47%

None of them makes 100%.* *Then what makes 100%?

Is it Money?

NO!

M+O+N+E+Y= 13+15+14+5+25 =72%

Leadership? NO!

L+E+A+D+E+R+S+H+I+P=12+5+1+4+5+18+19+8+9+16 =97%

Every problem has a solution, only if we perhaps change our “ATTITUDE”…

A+T+T+I+T+U+D+E ;* 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

It is therefore OUR ATTITUDE towards Life and Work that makes OUR Life 100% Successful.

Amazing mathematics

lighten up – lightening your load physically, emotionally and spiritually

sorry.

my shift-keys are not working.

thus i type lower case.

it’s ok.

it makes things easier.

there are ways to get around it. copy capital letters from other places. PUT ON CAPS LOCK. change the case in the word processor.

everything is good. even this.

i’ll deal with it eventually.

but now i’m happy. no need to shift.

G-d is good. He feeds the whole world. He sends our income and sustenance. He also sends difficulties and challenges. but all is for the good.

some people act like donkeys – not in the pejorative sense – but they take one problem and put it on their back. another one comes along. they hold on to the other problem. another. until the straw comes and breaks the ‘camel’s’ back. they snap.

it’s not supposed to be that way. G-d sends us challenges for our ultimate good. problems are like detours in the road that ultimate lead you to the good path.

a person should generally be happy with life. that should be their general mood – be happy. don’t worry – be happy is a Torah concept in 4 words.

so how does a person lighten up. bills are piling up. no job. no spouse. no income. no friends. what now. [the period should be a question mark. sorry – the shift problem.]

lightening up is easy. there are three venues – the physical, the emotional and the spiritual.

why be concerned about the physical. when one is in good health and shape they feel better. here are some tips.

physical lightening up

  1. eat a balanced diet
  2. don’t eat till you are hungry
  3. don’t eat till you are full – save some space
  4. walk a bit after a meal – it helps the digestion going.
  5. sleep on your left side – it helps digestion
  6. eat light meals.
  7. eat a good breakfast – before midday – with bread, preferably more than an ounce of whole wheat bread – without sugar or sweeteners in the bread – eaten within a span of less than 7 minutes. having a solid breakfast – with bread – will prevent you from snacking meals.
  8. eat healthy snacks.
  9. eat fruits and vegetables before meal.
  10. eat in moderation
  11. chew well
  12. eat in a calm, relaxed setting
  13. avoid too much meat [like Maimonides – the rambam – who was a doctor and rabbi, says]
  14. exercise. stay in shape.
  15. do needs regularly. [remember to say asher yatzar – prayer for good health]
  16. fast once a week – from morning to evening. [even if you have breakfast]

obviously, you must know your own constitution. what your own body needs. consult a doctor if necessary. some people avoid salt. others need salt for their constitution.

emotional and psychological lightness

a person’s emotions have an effect on their health. thus being emotionally healthy, helps a person to be physically healthy.

  1. avoid anger. if one is temperamental – it befits them to read books on the subject – like anger, the inner teacher by rabbi zelig pliskin.
  2. look at the positive in every situation.
  3. look at all the good you have in life
  4. don’t talk badly about others.
  5. don’t watch, read and listen to negative tidings – news, etc.
  6. avoid negative people.
  7. know that G-d is good and does good for us every moment – like a loving father.
  8. keep calm – Hash-m / G-d is in control
  9. believe it will be good and it will be good

spiritual lightness

after Yom Kippur – i feel lighter – not only because of the fast but also because i let go of a load of sins that kept me down. i relieved the load from my back. at times a person feels depressed because of the spiritual. they have everything they need physically, emotionally and psychologically – but they still feel sad. this could be a sign of spiritual deficiencies. i myself know, from experience, that transgression brings a person down emotionally. so if one wants a lift – and to lighten their load – the first step is to know the proper path to spirituality.

some think that spirituality is found in exotic places like the far east, or thailand or india. sorry – wrong address. why. because spirituality is closeness to G-d. G-d only appeared once in the history of mankind to an entire nation – composed of millions of people. they heard Him speak directly to them at the revelation at mount sinai about 3,300 years ago. G-d doesn’t change his mind. so, obviously the Torah is the law that G-d gave to achieve ultimate spirituality. if a person took this to paragraph to heart – they would save thousands of dollars and much time and effort – by knowing that the address to spirituality starts with Torah. first one must find the right path, then pursue spirituality. if they do not, they end up churning water.

i tell you this from experience. i sinned. i ate non kosher. i didn’t observe the shabbat [a Gentile does not have to eat Kosher and does not observe the Sabbath]. i didn’t keep many other laws. when i transgressed i felt heavy. down. out of it. saddened. when i put my act together – and did teshuva / repentance – i felt lighter and happier. holiness and happiness are synonymous.

lightening up spiritually

  1. remove yourself from transgression – Jews follow the Shulchan Aruch – code of Jewish law and Gentiles follow – the seven Noahide commandments – given to the Jews at mount sinai in the Torah for all humanity to follow.
  2. do teshuva / repentance – the steps to teshuva include – 1. cessation – stopping doing the misdeed. 2. commitment – firm resolve never to repeat the deed. 3. regret – sincere remorse for wrong one did. 4. confession verbally admitting to G-d / Hash-m the wrong one did and asking forgiveness.
  3. learn torah – have a regular schedule to learn Torah through attending lectures, reading books, listening to audio etc. see the links sections
  4. eat kosher – eating kosher purges negative spirituality from one’s system. guard the mouth.
  5. avoid transgressions involving desires of the body. – ie, guard the eyes, the heart, the touch. celibacy is good to purge negativity and desire from one’s system. a person celibate can make a better decision for a marriage partner.
  6. purity in thought – think pure thoughts allows you to lighten your attachment to the physical.
  7. avoid listening and talking badly about others
  8. physicality can be used for spiritual or holiness. one should choose to use it the proper way. physicality can be used to bring a person up or down. a person eats Kosher food – brings himself up. a person who eats pork and non-kosher food brings themselves down spiritually.
  9. go to the mikve – purifying waters
  10. for married couples – keep family purity laws
  11. women – keep laws of tzniut. tzniut is loosely defines as modesty. it entails laws of how a Jewish daughter dresses. today’s society’s motto is dress to impress. to tell you the truth – i don’t need that pressure. remove that pressure – you remove a load. you would rather have a person appreciate you for your innner quality and beauty – rather than your outer garments – that have nothing to do with your inner self.
  12. do kindness with others – when you do you feel better about yourself and feel purpose in life
  13. know your purpose and pursue it – you have a particular purpose – find it out and go full speed ahead to achieve it
  14. keep yourself occupied with doing good for others. actively pursue doing good – according to Torah. If you are not sure if an activity you are involved with is good according to Torah – ask a competent, reputable orthodox rabbi.
  15. have a close relationship with G-d – call out to Him for anything. ask Him for all you need. express yourself to Him. ask Him to direct you, guide you, show you the proper path in life, protect you. He is your loving father. you always have someone who loves you, will listen to you, and will help you through any ordeal or concern – no matter how big or small. you can never ‘bother’ G-d / Hash-m. He always answers anyone who calls out to him sincerely.
  16. solve your problems – don’t complain. take action to improve your lot. at times G-d sends difficulties for a person to become closer to him. resolving to follow in His ways can solve problems two-fold. one – G-D no longer has any reason to send you difficulties – if you are following his path. two – following the torah path helps a person avoid difficulties. a example is a person who eats Kosher will likely not get swine-flu. or a person who is celibate will not likely not get herpes. or a person who keeps Shabbat – will have better family relations – because they eat meals together at least once a week.
  17. be happy with what you have.
  18. be thankful to G-d and to people around you
  19. have a positive attitude
  20. Have emunah and bitachon in Hashem – having faith that G-D is good and does only good to you – is one way to lighten your load. read the book ‘living emunah – a guide to serenity in daily living’ – first and second edition – by david ashear is an excellent book to help a person built this attitude.

G-d wants you to be happy. you just have to believe in Him and yourself and your half-way there to lightening up your load.

Four Questions & Three Words to Make You Smarter & More Successful

The Four Elements in Personality of a Person

A man is composed of Earth, Water, Air and Fire. People’s personalities are a combination of all of them. You have:

Airy people – like social butterflies.

 

Firey people – hot tempered or very take charge.

 

People like water – fickle or unstable or go with the flow.

 

People that are down to Earth.

 

Each one of us has some of these traits.

The personality is a combination. Some have more of one than the other. I think I am of the down to earth kind.

Each element trait can be used for good or bad.

That is our goal in life. Using our personality and talents to do the greatest possible for the World.

The Guide to Reach Success

G-d gave us the Torah to reach that potential.

Nothing else will do.

Here are proofs that the Torah is the true path to Success.

A rich man – who beats his wife? Successful as a person or not? Obviously not. The Torah prohibits lifting a hand against another. An woman Executive who is a tyrant at home? Successful or not? Obviously not. The Torah says not to be a tyrant at home. A wealthy young millionaire – who spends his time texting rather than helping others around him? Successful or not? No. The Torah teaches the value of helping others. A middle class person – who raises a family with good values. Successful? Yes. The Torah teaches us the value of being a good person and transmitting it to our children through a Torah education.

The Problem of Religious Stereotyping

I met many people. Some shy away from religion. Some don’t want to here about it. Some want to convert you. Some are open minded. Some are thirsty to learn. Some will cross the street when they see you.

I can see all their points of view. I myself find organized religion – lacking to say the least. Worshiping a man – doesn’t make sense to me. Worshiping objects also is irrational. Killing innocent people in the name of G-d is also unbearable to support.

The problem why many shy away from Judaism is because they throw all religions in a pot – including Judaism – and reject all.

Basically it’s stereotyping.

Judaism is Life

Judaism is not a religion. The Torah is called “a Tree of Life”. What are the fruits of a tree of life? Life. Torah is life.

Judaism is based upon the laws of the Torah. The Torah is the only divine law that was given to a people, by G-d himself, in which millions of people heard him speaking. Compare that to any other religion. Many say – this person had a vision or a dream or a prophesy. That cant be compared to millions of people personally hearing G-d speak to each one of them. No vision. Millions actually witnessing and hearing the transmission of a Divine Law – the Torah.

Will the Real Law of G-d Please Stand Up

The first step in becoming smarter than others – is to recognize the true law of G-d – the Torah. Defining Smart as being ready, willing, able and active in achieving your potential in life.

Someone asked me – “If you could do any transgression, and not be held accountable, what would you do?”

I thought about it.

“Nothing.” I replied.

Not that I was not tempted. But the Torah teaches that a person only sins if a spirit of folly enters into them. It basically means that any transgression will lead you farther from achieving your goal and potential in life.

If I was to follow transgression – I wouldn’t be true to myself, my goal, my purpose and my ability to help others. Instead of achieving my goal, I would be following after futile pleasures and be left with nothing. Achieving nothing – like dust in the wind.

See the difference between Yaakov / Jacob and Esav / Esau. Jacob followed after Torah. At life end, He had a beautiful family – children, grand children & great grand children following in his path of wisdom, exceptional values & being models of those that represent the G-d that his father discovered. People of the world would believe in G-d because of them.

Esav, on the other hand, who followed his passions, had many Generals, armies and much money. But what did he do for the world? Nothing great. Came after him, his way – was the Greek culture. Look at external beauty – but it’s no problem to be rotten inside.

This is the victory of Hanukah. The victory of values over external looks. Being good rather than following after dead-end pleasures.

I deviated many times from the Torah path, unfortunately. Every time finding, I am not achieving. Just churning water.

Your Most Important Asset

I never was too religious. Pain was my motivator to get me to think. After many years, I found that your most important asset is your ability to think. Your mind should be in control of your emotions not the other way around is what my Rebbi used to say.

Determining the True law of G-d and the Path to Success

G-d had to give a way for people to determine the true law of G-d. it must be simple enough for the average man or woman – be able to determine what that law is. Otherwise only smart people would be accountable for transgressions. We are all responsible for our acts – whether we are smart or average.

One can find G-d through an emotional event. But it will not necessarily help you find the true G-d. You can find G-d – but still not know who he is. But emotions are not a determining factor to find G-d or His law. One person can feel that one religion is right for him, while another will feel something else. So one cannot find the true G-d through emotion or feeling.

The way for one to find G-d is through rationality

Finding G-d through Rational Thought

The Four Questions

G-d, our Father, like a human father – wants us to be successful. If one thinks things out he will be able to come to the conclusion that Torah is the true way of G-d and thus success. How? By asking four questions and answering them rationally.

The four questions are:
1. Is there a G-d?
2. Did He Give a Law?
3. What is that Law?
4. Did G-d Change His “mind”?

 

In short here are the answers:
1. Yes. Rationally, It doesn’t make sense that random atoms formed the world and nature.

 

2. Yes. Rationally, It doesn’t make sense that G-d created a magnificent world to allow others to destroy it.

 

3. The Torah. Rationally, G-d would have to give a law to millions of people, rather than one man, otherwise a person could always say – why should I believe that man. The Torah is the only Divine law given by G-d, witnessed by millions of people.

 

4. No. Rationally, It doesn’t make sense that G-d, who knows all, is omniscient – knows past, present and future, is the most intelligent existence, will change his mind about His laws.

Once one has accepted this train of thought – now one can propel himself through life on a different level. Following the laws of Torah will help a person become a well-balanced, productive, kind individual to reach his personal potential in helping others.

There are three words that help a person to reach his potential. I learned these words the hard way. Through suffering. I believe the suffering was imposed upon me – possibly for my past failings, lack of concern and consideration for other people. But the sufferings woke me up to a new world – to focus on doing good to others, looking at the good in others, being concerned for others – rather than my personal pleasures and whims at the expense of others.

Every day is another opportunity to grow. Every day I try to improve. It’s a never-ending process. Sometimes I take a step back – but at least I know I am on the right path. It is a process of going up and down – but the trend line generally goes up.

What are those three words?

“Hash-m Knows Best.”

A man is full of temptations. He is fickle. One interest drives him here. Another in another direction. But having Torah as a guide will help a person keep his eye on the ball. Even if it is not convenient. Even if it is not comfortable. People don’t like to change. But by changing for the better one becomes the real You. Becoming a better you is the path traced by the Torah.

You become You. With three words You become You.

“Hash-m Knows Best.”

If you don’t know what is good – ask an Orthodox Rabbi. Look in the Shulchan Aruch if you are Jewish. Look in the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah if you are not. But Use the Torah as a guide, Pray to Hash-m to help you find the right path and follow it – and you will go far.

Very far.

The 4 Questions to Ask to Solve a Problem

When I was a Young Lad – about 25 – I was hired by a company ERI Bancaire, SA. They were in Geneva. A small start-up company. Running things as a good company would. But they needed structure & marketing. They hired me for that.

I got interested in Quality Assurance. I learned the key concepts – like Total Quality Assurance, Continuous Improvement, the House of Quality. Interesting concepts to improve. A Person can also use Quality Techniques to improve themselves.

In Quality Circles, people get together, not to place blame, but to discuss ways to improve the procedures of the company.

I came up with 4 questions – which involve using some of the Quality Tools – like Brainstorming and the Fishbone / Casue & Effect Diagram.

The 4 Problem Solving Questions:

  1. What is the Problem?
  2. What are the main Causes of the Problem?
  3. What are the Best Possible Solutions?
  4. How Can we Implement Them?

The First part involves getting the people involved who know the most or are most concerned about the problem or concern. This is called a Quality Circle. The First Step is to Decide by Consensus, the exact problem. The more precisely it is worded the more accurate solution. Remember to assure that the problem is the real problem – not just a symptom of a greater problem. Like people are coming late, might be a symptom of low moral. Or it might be a problem in itself.

Step 2 is to Brainstorm all of the causes. No idea is criticized. It is just to generate ideas. Not to evaluate. Even if some ideas are a bit off the wall, write them down on the board.

After causes are exhausted. These causes are then placed on a Fishbone or Cause & Effect Diagram. The Fishbone Diagram is looks like box with a horizontal line attached. Attached to the line are other lines that are the major categories of causes. Like “Material, Methods, Machinery, Manpower, Environment, Mindset & Miscellaneous.” You Choose the subcategories of causes. Useful software for making a fishbone diagram is called “Mind-map” Software.

Then discuss by consensus (or vote) what are the major causes. Remember the 80/20 rule also called the Pareto Rule. 80 percent of wealth is in hands of 20 percent of individuals. Or 80 percent of problems come from 20 percent of causes.

The next step is to find solutions to the Causes. Each cause is taken and discussed to find the best possible solution. One Can brainstorm for solutions or decide by consensus or do both. The Idea is to determine what, why where, who, when, & how.

One of the reasons that the Japanese have been successful in their quality campaigns is because their decisions by consensus. It takes more time than a vote, but ultimately a more thought out solution is made. The kinks and considerations are worked out in the discussion rather than after the product or service is implemented. Thus it might make more sense for a person to take the time in the beginning to iron out the details, than to have a detail or error produced and reproduced once it the product is manufactured.

It is more costly to catch an error after it is manufactured than to do so on the drawing board.

The last step is to implement the solutions. People have to be given responsibility and accountability. There should be methods to measure the effectiveness of any solution that is implemented.

There are many Quality Assurance Tools to use to Find solutions. You just have to find the right ones for you. Some include:

Quality Circles – Meetings to solve management, manufacturing, service quality concerns.

Fishbone or Cause & Effect Diagram – which helps to pinpoint causes of problems;

Brainstorming – to Generate Ideas;

House of Quality – used to find relationships between aspects of quality;

Software Quality Assurance Tools – which include endurance (hacker) testing;

Pareto’s Rule – which says that 80% of wealth is found in 20% of individuals – that applies to quality concepts;

Statistical Process Control – which analyzes statistically implementation of quality solutions;,

Force-Field Analysis – Analyzes forces that are working towards a positive outcome and forces against them.

Shewart Cycle, PDCA (plando–check–act or plando–check–adjust) is an iterative four-step management method used for the control and continual improvement of processes and products. Also known as the Deming circle/cycle/wheel, Shewhart cycle, control circle/cycle, or plando–study–act (PDSA).

Many tools are at the disposal of a business. The smart manager uses them to find solutions, avoid finding the person to blame. The smart person can use them to improve themselves.

A problem is sometimes an opportunity in disguise.

Using quality tools and involving others in decisions also have another advantage. People are given responsibility & importance that will help them to be more motivated – as seen in the Theodore Herzberg Motivation Theory – which states people are more motivated when you give them more responsibility, opportunities for achievement and appreciation.

Obviously, we must make our effort to solve problems. Our diligent efforts combined with Sincere & Precise Prayer to G-d / Hash-m will help you to find the best solution and solve problems. Hash-m has all the answers.

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The Secret to Success – Be Proud of Past to Uplift Your Future

israel-gate-e1399369688529These are the descendants of Yitzhak / Isaak son of Avraham, Avraham gave Birth to Yitzhak. (Bereshit / Genesis 25:19)

This week’s Torah Reading – Toldot – tells the Story of the descendants of Isaak. His children are Eisav / Esau and Yaakov / Jacob.

But it does not mention them in the first verse. We learned in a previous Parasha (Noah ) – that the main descendants of a person are his or her good deeds. When a person does a good deed, the repercussions have far reaching effects.

When the Torah says “Abraham Gave Birth to Yitzhak” – it is apparently telling us about Yitzhak’s Good Deeds.

Why was one reason that Yitzhak was so great in his deeds? Because Abraham, gave birth to Yitzhak.

Avraham was a Tzadik / Righteous Person. Yitzhak, realized this and followed his father’s ways – because he was a living emulation of the Torah. This is one of the secrets that made him great – that he was not only proud of his Father, but he followed in his footsteps because of the realization of Avraham’s greatness.

Recognizing One’s Greatness – Starts with Recognizing One’s Ancestor’s Greatness

Noah was a Great man. All people are his descendants. A Gentile that wants to become great and wants to break out of the path of meritocracy that the world traces – is to follow the Noahide laws.

Jews are descendants of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob. Thus emulating and respecting our lofty ancestors – will help us reach a higher level in the path to becoming great. Our past is replete of Rabbis and Torah Scholars. Emulating & Learning from them, helps us to become greater People – boosting us to levels much greater than the common man.

Like Rabeinu Yona Gerondi writes:

“The first gateway in the service of G·d is to recognize the value of oneself & to understand one’s loftiness & the loftiness of his ancestors, & their greatness, & their importance & their being beloved before the Creator, Blessed be He. One should strive & fortify oneself continuously to ingrain within oneself this value & conduct oneself with it always…”

Chapter of Shaarei HaAvodah / Gateways of Divine Service in His book Shaarei Teshuva / Gates of Repentance.

The Key to Living – Be Thyself

5211d9b944b43a871b804169d610a13fParashat:* חיי שרה / H’ayey Sarah / the Life of Sarah*

*And Sarah Lived 100 years and 20 years and Seven Years. These are the years of the life of Sarah.”*

*Q: Why does Torah say “These are the years of the life of Sarah”, it seems redundant?*

*A: Some people follow fad, fashion, popularity, keeping up with Jones, what will the neighbor think. Sarah Lived her own life. She was true to herself. Thus she really lived. When one follows their essence – their soul – they truly live.*
Based on Arizal

*Shabbat Shalom* 😊💐🌺🌻

People ask me about Israel. I say in Israel I feel like I’m living. Outside I feel like I’m existing.

That’s the question for all of us.

Am I living or am I existing.

G-d says : I give you life, Choose life.

Torah is not a religion. It is life itself.

Torah is not about doing rituals. it is about being best you can be. it’s about getting closer to the source of life, Hashem. the closer one is to Hashem , the closer one is to life.

The media turns people into puppets.

Making you believe what they want you to believe, what’s their agenda . they condition a person to be small.

Ask yourself about each action – Is it bettering myself or world? Am I helping others?

שני חיי שרה
These are the years of Sarah
Why? Zohar says these were her real years. These were her own years. She lived a real life.

Because she did not attach herself to the Yetzer Harah / the evil inclination, she attached herself to life. Thus it says ועל דא דילה הוו חיין , היא נדבקה בחיים ולכן שלה היו החיים

Some people live lives of others . One person wanted to be a doctor but he is only a paramedic. One person wanted to be a rabbi, but he is a businessman. His parents needed him to tend the store, so instead of following his dreams and aspirations, he gave in to parental pressure.

One person wanted to marry a girl, but didn’t because of his parents. One man wanted to be a successful business man but laziness stopped him.

One person wanted to become a great Torah scholar but didn’t because he gave in to his lack of self confidence.

One person wanted to be a fruit vendor but because of society pressure he became a lawyer. One person wanted to become a Tzadik / Righteous Person, but he didn’t because of his concern of what his friends would think.

One person wanted to become a great scientist, but didn’t because he was to addicted to technology. One person wanted to become a Shomer Shabbat / Sabbath Observant Jew, but did not because he was too addicted to women.

One person wanted to make his family all go to A Torah school, but he didn’t because his wife discouraged him. One women wanted to be completely Tzanuah / Modest in Dress & Comportment, but she couldn’t bring herself to go against the peer pressure.

One woman wanted to marry a Torah scholar, but didn’t because of her friends. One woman wanted to marry a good man, but didn’t because she gave into a friend’s advice who had a grudge against her friend’s prospective husband. One woman divorced her husband who was a Cohen, because she listened to her friends who were jealous of her. Since he was a Cohen, she could never remarry him.

The Torah gives us a way to break out of this costume of a life we are living and start living our dreams. Making ourselves into who we can be.

Torah is called Haim / life.

There is a Story of rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He wanted to Learn Torah. His parents wanted him to tend to the store. His Rabbi came to the store, took the storekeepers apron and said to his father – I’ll tend to the store, let your son go & learn Torah. The father wouldn’t here that the Rabbi would work in the store. He let his son go to learn and he become one of the greatest Torah scholars in the generation.

Rabbi Eliezer son of Hurkanus, was son of rich man. He wanted to study Torah. His father wanted him to tend to the field. One day he found his son crying. What’s the matter said his father. “I want to study Torah.” “You are passed the age of becoming a student.” Rabbi Eliezer ran away. He became a great Torah scholar. His father came to Jerusalem to disown him from his inheritance. His father didn’t recognize his son when he was saying beautiful Divrei / Words of Torah. His father was so impressed. He inquired about the young man. They told him it was his own son. He said I came here to disinherit my son. Now I want to give him my entire fortune. R. Eliezer disagreed. He was satisfied just learning Torah.

They both left against the will of others to become great scholars.

The first line of Mesilat Yesharim / Path of the Just explains achieving one’s goal in life. He says we have to get clear our purpose in life. The question we must ask is : Am i living the life i want to live to achieve my purpose or am I living the life imposed upon me?

The Torah is here to free us. Like it says in Pirkei Avot / the Ethics of the Fathers.

There is a Story of rabbi A. Henoch Leibowitz, former Rosh HaYeshiva of the Chofetz Haim Yeshiva, who wanted to become a doctor. His father asked why. He said I want to help people to be healed. His father said , learning Torah will prevent them from being sick.

The secret is to choose to follow truth , Truth of torah, and be prepared to lose. Lose your friends. Lose your appeal. Lose your popularity. Lose your projected income.

A rabbi said who is the greatest of the forest the Nesher. The king of all birds. It can fly the highest.

But other birds are more talented. They can catch fish. They can swim in the water. They can do many things. The reason why the Nesher is the king is because it is excels in one area. That’s why the Nesher , it is the king. That’s why it can fly the highest.

Free yourself.

Don’t criticize condemn or complain . That’s existing.

A Person who sends a child to a Torah school teaches them to live.

The Need to Knead – Rising to the Challenge or a Timeless Lesson from Abraham

img_0380The Torah, the Five Books of Moses, was written by G-d.

G-d’s words in the Torah are concise. Something that can be said in three words, will not be said using four. He is not redundant. Every word is calculated. If there is a seemingly extra word or phrase found in Torah, it must be teaching a lesson.

In this week’s Parasha / Weekly Torah reading, Parashat Va’yera, we find several instances of seemingly redundant words.

Avraham Avinu, the forefather of the Jewish nation was exemplary in doing kindness. His Tent was open on four sides to accomodate guests, so that they would find a door on any side they approached.

He had great desire to do kindness. So much so that on the third day of his circumcision, the most painful day, he was sitting outside his tent in the scorching heat searching for guests.

G-d was speaking with Avraham, when he saw three angels, disguised as men. His desire for doing kindness was so great that he excused himself from speaking to G-d to invite these men for a meal.

He asked his wife to knead the dough and prepare bread.

Two questions – why did he have to ask her to knead the dough? Sarah, his wife, knew how to make bread. Also Sarah had many servants, why should she knead the dough?

One answer is, making dough is the most rigorous part of making bread. Avraham wanted to teach her that if a Mitzvah comes in one’s hands, do the most difficult part.

Apparently, he was telling her for self perfection, through mitzvahs / commandments, doing the more challenging part will help a person to better themselves. It will help them become closer to G-d and they will get the greatest reward.

Because it is difficult it is not bad. One has to rise to the challenge. Life without challenge is existance. Life with overcoming challenges is living. Life can be difficult but still be good for the person.

Some shy away from doing mitzvot because they are challenging. challenge is part of the Mitzvah. Challenge helps us grow. as opposed to challenges from exercise and sport, which can make a person a stronger athelete, Challenges from the Torah make us a better person.

when we overcome we feel better about life and ourselves.

This is one explanation of the saying in Pirkei Avot “According to the pain is the reward.”