Your Personal Messages from G-d

G-d communicates with us daily. We just have to understand His messages.

When in Israel, someone asked me for a donation. I checked my pockets – no change to be found. I wanted to give. He then said to me in Hebrew “Yesh Bo Mamash.” There is something there. In Hebrew – the word “Mamash” is spelled Mem-Mem-Shin. Those are my Hebrew initials. Apparently he didn’t know that. He was telling me there was money in my pocket.

I thought of the message – perhaps Hash-m was telling me – You have capabilities – Mamash.

So I took the statement – that may have offended others in the positive way.

If you listen to the messages and hear what happens to you daily – you can understand where Hash-m wants to guide you or test you.

If someone asks you for a donation – it might mean that you need a kapara / an atonement or a zechut / merit. Or perhaps G-d simply wants you to give you an opportunity to do a mitzvah.

In Morocco – once a rabbi saw a person with a sign of death on his face. He went up to him to ask him for Charity. Charity saves from death. He pleaded with him to give charity to save him. I don’t think he gave in the end. I don’t know the rest of the story.

Even if you pass a person talking with a friend and you over hear them saying “Your friend is so generous.” It might be a message for you – either in the positive way – that you are also generous – or perhaps you should work on your generosity.

The other day a rabbi told me a story. He said that someone told him that people should be more generous in giving blessings to others. He said he took it to heart. He was sitting at someones house – and children were kind of looking for attention and running around him. A bit annoyed – instead of screaming at them – he shouted “Zei Gezunt!” “Be Healthy” in Yiddish. The children continued running around him and started also yelling “Zei Gezunt.”

I took it as a message that perhaps I should be more flowing with blessings and positivity and compliments.

What Makes a Child More Resilient? Yetziat Mitzrayim / the Exodus from Egypt

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Someone told me of a podcast they heard on Resilience.

What allows a person to become resilient. Among other things – the author of an article on the subject mentioned – that if a child learns of family member’s past, their challenges, their triumphs, their difficulties, their jobs etc. the person apparently learns to be more resilient. It makes sense. If a family member encountered a difficult situation and overcame it, I can too. If they made it through tough times, I come from the same blood and also have it in me.

If they encountered a road block, i am not the only one in that situation. Other people are in the same boat and just like they eventually jumped over it, I can too.

G-d showed His Kind Hand in someone else’s life, He will also help me.

Hearing stories of family, of history of our people apparently transmits the same inner strength. It’s not just learning history – it’s transmitting values, valor and inner strength.

Every year, on Pesach / Passover, we tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It not only gives us national unity in experiencing a common suffering that we overcame – but it transmits the power to overcome struggles. The power of resilience.

Our Shabbat. We eat together. Connect. Sing. Share stories & divrei Torah. The eating together helps us connect. We learn from each other and become stronger to face the week ahead.

 

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20 questions that can help you to evaluate how much your children know about you were formulated by Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush. They created the “Do You Know?” scale in 2001 to ask children questions about their family in order to test the hypothesis that children who know more about their families are more resilient and can handle challenges better than children who have limited knowledge about their families.

The questions, designed to ask children things they would not know directly, are as follows:

1. Do you know how your parents met?
2. Do you know where your mother grew up?
3. Do you know where your father grew up?
4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?
5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
6. Do you know where your parents were married?
7. Do you know what went on when you were being born?
8. Do you know the source of your name?
9. Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being born?
10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
11. Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
12. Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger?
13. Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
14. Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
15. Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc)?
16. Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
17. Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?
18. Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to?
19. Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to?
20. Do you know about a relative whose face “froze” in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough?

The Intelligent Design Test

Intelligent Design is a concept that says If you look at the world – it seems that it was formed with Intelligent Design.

That is the statement. The Repercussion – that G-d created the world.

Some are fighting it. They would rather accept the illogical than to accept logic.

Let’s examine Intelligent Design.

Does the world have order? Yes.
Example : The Animal kingdom, the Plant kingdom.

Does the world have structure? Yes.
Example the Sun comes out every day due to the Earth revolving on its axis. The moon revolves around the earth.

Does the world have movement? Yes.
People move. Animals Move. Plants move.

Does the world have growth? Yes.
Animals grow. Plants grow.

Does the world have function? Yes.
The sun functions to provide light and vitamin D to plants. The rain Irrigates the world.

Does the world have interaction between parts? Yes.
The Human body systems interact together.

Does the world have interaction between different beings? Yes.
Males and Females – though are two different types of beings – interact together to be able to reproduce.

Does it Have interaction of weather systems? Yes.
Evaporation brings water to form clouds. Wind pushes clouds. Rain drops water on land.

Does the world Have Reproduction? Yes.
Animals, Humans, Fish, Birds all reproduce.

Does the world have Prediction? Yes.
One can predict that something will happen. You can predict where the sun will be at a certain time during the day.

Does the world have regularity? Yes.
The earth rotates around its axis every 24 hours.

Does the world have a food chain? Yes.
Fish eat plants. Bigger fish eat smaller fish.

Does the world have systems? Yes.
In a human and animals – There is the circulatory system, the nervous system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, the skeleton system.

Does the world have continuity? Yes.
One plant or animal will help to create another of its species.

Does it have stored information? Yes.
DNA stores information about creatures.

Does it have laws of nature? Yes.
Gravity will pull an object to the ground at a certain rate.

Does it have design? Yes.
Trees look alike. Humans look alike. Similar Animals look alike.

Does it have intelligence? Yes.
Birds can build nests. Ants store food.

Does it have Diversity? Yes.
No two people have the same fingerprints or DNA.

Does it Have relationships? Yes.
Parents care for their children.

Does it have families? Yes.
Families live together to help the group survive.

Does it have Music? Yes.
Birds make music.

Are their heavenly bodies? Yes.
Stars, planets, meteorites, asteroids.

Does it have speech? Yes.
Humans can speak to each other.

Does it have communication between beings? Yes.
Animals communicate in various ways with one another.

Does it have energy? Yes.
Fire, electricity, nuclear energy.

Does it have Building Blocks? Yes.
Atoms are building blocks of elements and molecules. Molecules are building blocks of matter. Cells are building blocks of living beings.

Does it have microsystems and macrosystems?
See Nuclear physics and microbiology. See astronomy and earth science.

Does it Have Logic? Yes.
A tree that is watered grows. A ball that is thrown flies.

Does it have kindness? Yes.
All animals are fed on a daily basis.

Wisdom & the Menorah

The Meiri / commentator on Mishna and other Rishonim / First Rabbis  say that the Beit Hamikdash’ / Holy Temple Menorah’s seven lights represent the seven wisdoms. The Rishonim classify them as follows:

1) Tevunah, the ability to understand and draw conclusions.

2) The knowledge of nature – in subjects like chemistry and physics.

3) The knowledge of the soul – or as Rav Aharon puts it, the study of psychology.

4) The knowledge of biology

5) Music

6) Metaphysics… (philosophy)  and

7) The knowledge of Torah …. which is the most significant branch.

All the lights of the Menorah pointed to the center branch representing Torah. Torah encompasses all wisdoms. Torah is Hash-m’s word and the ethics of the world. Intelligence is possible without Ethics. The menorah teaches – intelligence without ethics – can destroy a society or a person. The Roman empire fell due to its decadence.

Given the above: Does that show Intelligent Design or not?

I came up with a new law of Intelligent Design:

Any thing that has any of the following – order, structure, movement, growth, function, interaction between parts, interaction between different beings, interaction of micro or macro systems, Reproduction, Prediction, regularity, a food chain, systems, continuity, stored information, laws of nature, design, intelligence, Diversity, relationships, families, Music, heavenly bodies, speech, communication between beings, energy, Building Blocks, microsystems and macrosystems, Logic, kindness – necessitates Intelligent Design.

or to make it simple – here is one question:

What Takes More Intelligence to Make –  Eyeglasses or an Eyeball?
– a hearing aid or an ear?
a dialyzer – or kidneys?

If you take the logic further you can come to the conclusion that Torah is the true law of the world with 4 questions.

in any case

Once a secular cab driver in Israel wanted to chide a religious Jewish passenger. He wanted to show the superiority of human intelligence. He showed him his watch- “Do you see this watch – imagine how superior is the intelligence of man – that he made a watch that only loses one second every thousand years!” Unfazed the religious Jewish passenger responded – “Imagine the intelligence of the Being that created man that was able to create such a watch!”

Judaism Will Free You

I was speaking with my uncle from Madrid, Spain. We were talking about the parasha / weekly Torah reading of Hukat. It talks of the Para Aduma / Red Heifer that purifies the impure.

It talks of Healing – through looking at a snake. The Jews were being bitten by snakes. To be cured – they looked at a large copper snake. The object of their ailment was part of their cure. One major principle in medicine.

It talks of the death of Ahron, haCohen / the High priest. Men and women cried when Ahron died. He used to make peace between people and couples. He would go to one upset party and say your husband feels terrible that he hurt your feelings. He went to the husband – and said the same thing about the wife. When they saw each other they would make peace. Ahron knew that making peace was not based upon logically explaining the other’s position. A quarrel is an emotional discord – not a logical one. So he healed feelings with feelings – by sometimes stretching the truth to make peace.

I told my uncle – how can we apply it to ourselves. We let things pass. Let things go or not bother us. It’s not ignoring a problem – but giving people the benefit of the doubt. Not taking things personally. Looking at the other’s point of view. Not being hyper sensitive. Having a healthy level of self esteem.

If a person calls you a donkey – it does not mean that you are one. The Torah goes on to say “If someone calls you a donkey – put a saddle on your back.” Meaning don’t take it personally.

Somehow he told me a story about in a forum of around 600 people in a university in Spain they had a debate. Someone chided him and said why do the Jews deserve to be called the Chosen people. He replied – we Chose to represent the Ethics of G-d to the world. For that we were persecuted by others – because people don’t like the goodie goodie – he reminds them of their ethical failings. We took the hits for other people’s lack of ethics. If a person wants to be a part of the chosen people – he can choose to do so. He or she can convert – but with taking this status comes responsibility. People applauded his answer and candor.

He mentioned to me something that I overlooked in Judaism. We regularly mention the exiting from Egypt in Judaism – that G-d with a strong arm took a once slave nation from a mega-power nation.

He mentioned the birth of the Jewish people starts with freedom. When we were liberated from Egypt. A person’s quest to become closer to Hash-m / the definition of spirituality – starts with freedom. Wanting freedom from one’s problems. Freedom from the subjugation of society. Freedom from the subjugation of the media that to sell you a product employ spin doctors and false news.

Though we became subjugated to Hash-m / we became a people with free minds, free choice and free of personal addictions and vices.

Torah is what will free you.

Covid Omicron – A Blessing of G-d to Humanity

In the desert, the Israelites complained. (Bamidbar / Numbers 21:5) G-d sent snakes to bite the complainers. Moses, having mercy for his people, prayed to Hash-m to heal them. G-d told Moshe to construct a large copper snake and to place it on a pole. (thus the logo for the medical profession.) One who was bitten – would look upon the snake and be healed.

A Blessing in Disguise

Those bit by the snakes suffered. Yet if they looked at the snake they would be healed. A positive outcome was that a person who was bit and had a previous ailment would be healed of both the snake bite and the previous ailment by looking at the snake.

Covid Omicron is a very mild form of Corona virus. A person who was infected – perhaps would be quarantined for several days – but afterwards – he or she would get the anti-bodies against the more severe forms of Covid.

Since Omicron spreads rapidly it is inoculating large parts of the population.

A blessing in Disguise.

What Children Want Most from Parents

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Rav Shimshon Rephael Hirsch was a rabbi in Europe about 200 years ago. Born in 1808 – he explained Judaism with a point to inspire the intellectual Jewish populace. He wrote that the main thing that a child wants from parents is Love. “The Love that you give to the child is greater to the child than any gift in the world you can give them.” When someone asks the child – does your father (or mother) love you? their answer should be a sure answer – “of course”.

This lesson does not only apply to children but to students, friends, spouses and oneself.

I heard this shiur / lecture from a live broadcast from a The Beit Knesset Moshayov from Yesterday (in Hebrew).

What is love?

To understand how to educate children – it is not enough to “Just love them” but to understand what love really is. Love means giving for the interest of the child – not for our personal interests. People err. They think if I buy them a toy, a game – that expresses my love. It does but is that what the child wants? Apparently – they would rather a hug than a roller coaster ride. They would rather quality time than an expensive vacation. They would rather a kiss on the cheek – than a Play station.

I was listening to a rabbi – he told two stories. One child on Passover – found the Afikomen / the piece of Matza that is hidden by some families at the Passover seder. The child that finds it can choose their prize. Some ask for toys, games, Jewish books and the like. This child asked for a kiss on the cheek from the father.

Affection is important – but the way that the child wants it – not the way that we may want to give it. A child understands more than we think. They know when you hand them a video – you’re basically telling them – I have more important things to do.

So how can we bond with children?

The Shabbat Table

When the family enjoys the Shabbat meals together – it is a great way to bond. We talk with children. We give them attention. We sing together – interact together – learn together – eat together and develop as a person. We say words of Torah and encourage to do the same.

No Substitute for Spiritual Bonding

Some think that taking the kid to the local park is a substitute. Truthfully – in the park a parent sits on the bench and the kid disappears with their friends until it is time to leave. Where is the bonding? Take them to a baseball game? OK. We watch grown men throwing a ball around. What about watching TV? The TV is the center of attention – the child is just a spectator – secondary to what appears on the screen. Give them a cell phone? A nice way of saying occupy yourself with this while I carry on my own life. Go shopping together? the focus is on the buying – not on the kid.

The Torah School

Many Jewish parents send their children to public school. I myself went to one. One of the the main qualms of parents is – Jewish Day school costs money. OK. But did they ask themselves – what is the best interest for my child’s emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical development. A public school only teaches secular knowledge. A Torah Day school teaches secular knowledge and how to be a beautiful functioning person that wants to help society and be a good person deep down.

The Kiss of Life

A five year old child was wetting their bed. The parents tried giving him gifts to motivate him to not do so. They asked psychologists. Talked with him. Nothing worked. One rabbi heard the problem and said perhaps the kid lacks affection from the parents. He instructed them to spend time with him at night, read him the Shema Yisrael before sleeping and give him a goodnight kiss. Within the week that they started – they solved the bed wetting problem.

Lech Neche et HaAm – Go and Speak nicely with the people

Menashe Yeshoshua – speaking on on Education in his sefer / book Shaarei Hamishkan writes on the verse “Go and speak calmly with the people.” When G-d spoke to Moses – he said Go and speak calmly with the people. The Nursing woman speaks with baby softly. This is the way we are to speak with the child.When we want to correct the child we correct the improper action – but the love should remain. We don’t say you are the problem. We do not say “You are selfish!” We try to instruct them on being more selfless – by being selfless ourselves and the like.

When the Jewish people rebelled – Moses asks G-d “Am I their father that I should calmly guide them like a nursing woman to the nursing baby?”  This is teaching us that the parents – all have the ability to calmly educate the child. G-d gave us this ability. We are to believe in ourselves and in Hash-m / G-d that He gave us the ability to do so and will help us to get the proper results.

Mental Healing – through Judaism

I spy. Intentionally? Sometimes. People speak. Distraction draws my attention.

The House of Study

I came to the Beit Midrash / Jewish house of study. A beit midrash is not like a library. In a library – you are asked to speak quietly. A Torah Beit Midrash – you are asked to participate, give your opinions, thoughts, logic, sweat and blood to get to the truth. People speak aloud. The cacophony of voices allows you to concentrate on what your study partner is saying.

There is only Hash-m

If it is a small Beit Midrash – you may be able to dsicern a conversation on the other side of the room. I was listening to a Rabbi speaking to a group of young eager students. He happened to be talking about kidney stones. He said he knew people that were able to pass kidney stones by concentrating on the thought of “Ein Od Milevado” – There is no one but Hash-m / G-d.

Self-Healing

If you think of it Hash-m made the body in a way that it heals itself. A cut develops a scab. then the skin returns to normal. Impressive. A person gets a cold – after some rest the body is healed.

Hash-m the Ultimate Healer

Hash-m is the ultimate healer. We say it daily in the Amida – standing prayer – the 18 Benedictions – “Blessed are you Hash-m who heals the ill.” If one has enough faith and prays to Hash-m he can be healed. Obviously – one should also see a doctor and follow their recommendations – provided they make sense. But scientific studies have shown statistically that when people pray for ill people – they are more likely to be healed.

It is more prudent to pray for good health than praying for healing. One needs more merit to be healed than to be maintained with good heath.

Believe & Achieve

Ein Od Milevado – means that everything is Hash-m’s hands. He is the one running the world. The more you believe – the more you open your heart to pray and have faith and love for him and do teshuva (repent) – the greater you open the gates of heaven.

Spiritual / Body Connection

The Torah has 613 commandments – 248 action commandments and 365 prohibitions. The 248 commandments are connected with parts of the body. The 365 prohibitions are connected with the days of the year – meaning we avoid them every day of the year. If one knows the mitzvah that corresponds to the part of the body – he or she can achieve healing – if he does that mitzvah properly. I tried to research the subject – to find the corresponding mitzvot – but was not able to find all of them.

Torah Therapy

I did hear a story of a person having shoulder pain – how they healed their pain through doing a mitzvah. There is a concept called Torah Therapy.

Apparently Music can also help to heal the psychological state of a person – by uplifting the soul to a higher level.

Elifaz is Saved by Yeshiva – The Influence of a Place of Torah

Esav / Esau – in this week’s parasha / weekly Torah reading – VaYetze – instructs his son Elifaz to kill Esav’s Brother Yaakov / Jacob. Elifaz encounter’s Yaakov and tells his uncle that his father instructed him to kill Him. Elifaz is concerned about following his father’s orders as he thinks that Honoring one’s parents – supersedes killing Yaakov.

Yaakov tells him – there is a way to accomplish both – killing Yaakov and Honoring parents. Yaakov tells him “Take all my money. A poor person is considered as if he is dead.” Elifaz learned that in the Yeshiva – either with Yaakov or Yitzhak / Issac his grandfather.

Several lessons :

Help People to Do Good

If you can help a person do a Torah Mitzvah – help him or her.

The Power of a Yeshiva / Torah Study Hall and Torah Study

The Steipeler Gaon, Zt”l – Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky learns from this The influence of sitting in a Yeshiva has great power. Elifaz – who was ready to kill his uncle did not do so – because he learned in a Yeshiva.

Just in sitting in the Yeshiva has an influence – learning Torah there has even more of a positive influence. If a person is tempted by his or her evil inclination – bring the evil inclination to a Torah study hall. Hash-m says “I created the Yetzer HaRa – I created Torah as an elixir.”  It also says in Talmud Kiddushin (30b) :

A Sage from the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: My son, if this wretched one, the evil inclination, encounters you, pull it into the study hall, i.e., go and study Torah. If it is a stone it will melt, and if it is iron it will break, as it is stated with regard to the Torah: “Is not My word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). Just as a stone shatters a hammer, so too one can overcome his evil inclination, which is as strong as iron, through Torah study. With regard to the second part of the statement: If it is a stone it will melt, this is as it is stated with regard to the Torah: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1), and it states: “The water wears the stones” (Job 14:19), indicating that water is stronger than stone.

Tons of Things to Do at Home Office and Kids are Acting Up – How to Stay Calm

You have to get back to your home office. Tons of things to take care of. You chose the home office either because of convenience or by force majeure – see covid restrictions.

One reason why we get angry is because I have to be productive – this cute little kid is preventing me from doing so. I have important work to get done – this kid is stopping me.

Just Shout – The Easy Way Out

The shout comes out. Poor kid. Poor you.

G-d gave us kids to educate them to become good, kind people. He gave us a pure kid and expects that after 120 years he remains pure, sweet and nice.

That’s one reason why we put them in a Torah School. So how does that help me not to get angry?

Are You Really More Productive by Shouting

At the moment we are in “I have to get things done mode” We think – my productivity is more important than my educating my kid to be a “Mench” / good human being. I am being productive doing work – I am not being productive catering to my child’s whims.

Productivity in Education

Stop right there. That’s where we err. By responding kindly and with care – we are teaching our child to be kind and to care. We are being tremendously productive in educating our children how to properly respond in stressful situations. How to act nicely even under pressure. What can be more productive than teaching a child to be a kind, caring, sensitive person?

Did You Win the Education Game?

You shout – you lose. You lose the opportunity to teach kindness and patience.

Treat every act as an act of building.

That is what Torah is about: building – building people, building relationships – with people, ourselves and Hash-m.

Seeing the Glass Full in Life – a Torah Concept

Everything is in the Torah

In Pirkei Avot (5:22) – one of the Tractates of the Talmud – it says:

Ben Bag Bag says: Delve in it [the Torah] & delve in it & learn it for everything is in it…

When G-d gave us the Torah – he gave two Torahs – the Written Law – the Five Books of Moses & the Oral Law – Now known as the Talmud – that explains the written Torah.

I was discussing last week’s parasha – Noach – on 7 couples of clean animals & 2 unclean animals that were to enter Noah’s ark. What are clean animals? What is an unclean animal?

Later in the Torah – the Torah says – the clean animals are the Kosher animals – those that chew their cud & have split hooves – like the cow, sheep, and goat. The unclean animals are the ones that are non-Kosher. The From here we learn that Noah knew the Torah before it was given – for he knew how to distinguish between Kosher and non-Kosher animals. The Talmud further explains – what is Kosher.

In the Talmud – Ben Zoma says (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

…Who is the rich person? The one who is content with his lot as it says: “When you eat the effort of handiwork – happy are you & it is good for you” (Tehillim / Psalms 128:2) “happy” — in this world; that “and it will be good for you” – in the next world…

It is not what you have. It is how you see what you have. One can have all the luxuries & want more & be dissatisfied. One can have happy with the little he or she has.

When we internalize that all is a gift from Hash-m / G-d, we live a life of appreciation. We turn our dissatisfaction to satisfaction.

It depends only upon how we look at things. Choose Happiness!