Doing Good When Others Do You Bad

Sufferance. Does it have a purpose?

Others cause us bad. What can you do?

You have three options. Suffer in Silence. Suffer and use the sufferance to take revenge. Use sufferance for the good.

Talking it Out

You suffer? Talk it out. In the olden days a person who had a heavy heart would talk it out with friends and family.

Psychologists vs. Family

Today, it’s more common than before to go to a psychiatrist. I am from the old school. I think a person should first talk with friends and family to get try to solve the problem or get the problem off their chest – then if they really need more help that cannot be provided by friends or family then a seeing a psychologist might be in order.

Choosing a Psychologist that has a Torah Outlook

Even in selecting a psychiatrist – a person must be concerned about his or her mentality, capabilities, reputation and hashkafa / Jewish philosophy.

A Torah Hashkafa is important because if a psychologist lacks one they might prompt the person do things against the Torah. Like if the psychologist is treating kleptomania (someone who steals) – he might say “steal from places that you won’t get caught.” Or reinforce his negative impulses.

Shock therapy

I met psychiatrist recently that mentioned he was able to help people – like those who wet their beds, young couples with marital concerns, victims of trauma – in a non-traditional manner. Instead of prolonging the therapy by delving into the person’s history and childhood – he goes to the root of the problem and helps them in one or two sessions rather than sessions lasting months or years.

He explained to me his method. Indeed it is very direct. But it is effective. You choose your method of treatment and whether you actually want to be treated.

The first step to solve a problem is to recognize there is a problem.

Unloading Your burden to the Rabbi

I feel that competent, reputable Orthodox Rabbis with a proper Torah Hashkafa are fit to solve relationship problems. Consulting them has four advantages over a psychologist. One is the Rabbi sees the picture according to a Torah perspective. He will give advice that is Correct halachically / according to Jewish Law and Hashkafically / according to Torah philosophy. Secondly He might be able to give spiritual reasons for the suffering. Three He may also take upon himself to pray for the person. Four – if he deems himself unfit – he will refer you to a competent professional – that he approves of.

Good G-d – Believe it is and will be good and it will be good

What we think is coincidence is actually carefully planned by G-d. We call it Hashgacha Pratit – Individual Supervision. Meaning that G-d watches over us particularly. Here are two recent examples:

I am in the middle of writing this article. Before 5 pm – I take a break to mail a package. Someone other than me put a CD in the player. The CD in the car plays. The rabbi – Rabbi Yigal Cohen – is talking exactly what I am writing about. He tells a story: He was giving a Shiur – a lecture to Israelis on coping with difficulties. After the lecture – a psychologist – who was nodding her head in agreement throughout the lecture – came up to him and said “I agreed with what you said during the lecture. I wanted to add a point. That many psychological problems come from a lack of understanding or faith in G-d.”

If we believe that all comes from G-d and all that G-d does is for our good – we can more easily cope with difficulties. Because there is a reason for all our difficulties. Because it is difficult – it doesn’t mean that it is bad. It is difficult to exercise, to climb a mountain – but afterwards your body is in better shape. When we encounter difficulties by believing G-d is doing things for our good and learning from the messages being sent – our attitude in life and personality gets in shape.

There are difficult and easy situations in life. But all are good – if sent by G-d. We just have to be able to see the good in the difficulties.

Example two that happened just recently: I usually leave the synagogue at a certain time.  I set up with a traveling mechanic to fix my brakes that day while I was in the synagogue. He came later than usual delaying my departure. In the interim a woman came to the synagogue – in a time when I would not usually be there – who told us that her maternal grandmother was Jewish. Apparently she did not know that she was Jewish because her mother was Jewish. We invited her to the synagogue and she said she would try to come.

Some would call this coincidence – the Torah calls it Hashgacha pratit / individual supervision.

What Does G-d Want from Me

In my lifetime I have suffered, like everyone. When I was about 13 I changed myself. My sufferings prompted me to improve. When faced with difficulties – I asked – why me? Why was I suffering when all my friends were having a great time. After much introspection, questioning and pain – I figured there must be a reason. I asked myself “What does G-d want from me?”

I figured that it was G-d that was sending the difficulties to prompt me to improve my ways. Yes at 13 I did have much to improve – my lifestyle, my life and Jewish philosophy / hashkafa, my attitude and my deeds. I started studying Torah to see what I could improve.

I started reading Jewish classics – like Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the fathers and learned I had much more to improve than I had thought. I learned Jewish laws. I started attending an orthodox synagogue regularly. I started keeping kosher. I was careful about wearing my tefillin daily and attending prayer services at the local orthodox synagogue. This was a gradual process that took years.

I made a point to grow every day. Learn Torah every day. Now – looking back – I can see the reasons for the difficulties and the suffering and feel that following the path to self-improvement through Torah – was instrumental in me leading a happier life today. I have a more positive attitude and life than I would have had I followed the crowd.

The suffering that prompted me to get better through Torah Judaism – was a springboard to making my life better.

Does a person grow only through adversity?

The first question a person should ask when suffering is – what message is G-d sending me to help me improve? At times it is a message for a very particular isssue or it could be a message that a person should improve in general. A quick and simple way for a Jew to determine what they should improve is to benchmark one’s actions and attitudes with what it says in Pirkei Avot and in Shulchan Aruch. For a Gentile / Non-Jew one should benchmark their actions and attitudes with what the Noahide laws from the Torah says.

Letting Go of the Grudge – Having Faith in G-d & the Woman who Forgave.

I heard of a story of a woman about 35 – who was not married. She said she wasn’t finding any prospective marriage mates. She went to her local Orthodox Rabbi and told him of her concern.

He asked – “Did you date someone and it didn’t work out?” She said “Yes. About a year ago I was going out with a great boy. We both liked each other. We were about to get married – and then his mother got involved and he broke off the wedding.”

The Rabbi asked “Did you forgive him?” She said “Yes. But I cannot forgive the mother. Why did she have to get involved and break off a good relationship.”

The Rabbi asked “Who do you think organizes relationships?”

She replied “Hash-m” / G-d.

“If that is the case why do you hold a grudge against his mother? If you believed that G-d organizes relationships – so he was the One also who helped the relationship to break off. You think it was the mother that broke it off. Hash-m was the One who broke it off. She was just an agent of Hash-m. Since you keep holding on to this grudge it means that you are under the impression that it was the mother that caused the break up. If you believe and accept that it was G-d that really the cause and she was just an agent forgive the mother with a full heart. This will show you put your belief that G-d is in control and does all for the best. And remember to call me when before you get married to invite me to your wedding.”

She then said aloud in front of the Rabbi “I Forgive her completely. I forgive her completely. I forgive her completely.”

Three months later he received the call that she was getting married.

She put her trust in Hash-m. Then Hash-m’s providence was invoked by her trusting in Him. She told the Rabbi then a fact that was pertinent to the story “A year ago my groom to be received a piece of paper with my phone number. He thought I was older than him – so he decided to meet other women for marriage. They didn’t work out. He was free to date again – when he happened to find the piece of paper with my phone number and decided to call me. He “happened” to find the paper after I forgave the mother of my former date.”

= = =

Postcsript:

Suffering For my people

I was prompted to write this article because of my suffering for a young woman – Ori Ansbacher, HYD (may G-d avenge her blood) – that was recently killed savagely by an Arab terrorist. This young woman loved people and peace. This terrorist killed her for the sole reason because she was Jewish.

How can we be consoled?

Anyone killed because they are Jewish – dies sanctifying the name of heaven. They get a high place in heaven. Apparently a Jew can say kaddish for her.

I still suffer. Who is guilty?

Many. Terrorists. People who support terrorists or terrorist organizations financially or by encouragement. People who don’t do enough to assure that these terrorists are punished. The schools and organizations that taught the Terrorists to hate Jews.

And unfortunately we ourselves.

If the Jews were united, If we would listen to the words of the Torah to be kind with one another and banish hatred among Jews – we would be able to deter these terrible acts.

What can we do

When such a crime occurs – apart from petitioning the authorities for new strong reforms take place against these acts of savagery – G-d wants us to correct ourselves on a personal level.

Let us be kinder to our fellow. Let us make peace among Jews. Let us learn more Torah. Let us take upon ourselves new mitzvot. Let us bring our fellow Jews closer to Torah and Mitzvot and at least we will have some kind of consolation.

Let’s propel ourselves in these deeds of goodness and mitzvot so we won’t need any difficult motivators anymore.

What’s Your EQ? Your Emotional Maturity

People get stuck. If it’s for good – good. But if it’s negative – you got to get out of that negativity.

Some people are petty all their lives. They complain about that they never became who they wanted. They never got that job. They look at others and remain in complain mode all their lives.

Sad.

Breaking Potential

We all have much potential. But we waste it on – cell phones, killing time, being stuck in my way or the highway mode.

We think we know it all. More than even G-d. That was my mistake. I was thinking what G-d wants is not my problem – until I had a rude awakening. I learned the hard way. But now looking back – that awakening – painful as it was – was worth it to awaken me from my living the false dreams that occupies most of society’s mind.

Pleasant Reality

Cool water splashing in my face – I realized what reality really is – and it was a pleasant surprise.

Living a Lifetime of Childhood

I was living the life of a child. I want my new toy. Give it to me or I will be upset. Give me my popularity. Say I am cool. Let me be the Mr. Popular of the clique. I was.

My whole clique prided ourselves on being different. I took it seriously. Others took it as a fad. My friends became lawyers, accountants, finance people – but I held on to the Idea – of not following the crowd – somehow discovering myself in the process.

When you break off from following the clique – you realize that – what you thought was individuality was really following the crowd. Most of the world follows what is popular. Even in religious circles – you form a new clique.

The Way Out

Your only safeguard in life is following the truth. If you are lucky – you will realize the truth of the Torah. If you are not – you will jump from one clique to another – trying to convince yourself that your happy and having a good time or that your truth is truth. I know. I was there in that shell – until suffering broke me out of the shackles of society’s ideas.

The path was painful many days. I started learning Torah. Many years passed and I emerged from my cocoon as a new man. Not following the status quo – but trying to please my Creator. It wasn’t necessarily because I was so religiously oriented – but I thought that that would be the best path to alleviate the pain.

So now I share some of my lessons learned.

The Cookie Story

Once a man bought a pack of cookies in the airport. On the plane the passenger sitting next to him  took a cookie from the pack. The man was astounded that someone would take his cookies without permission. He didn’t want to say anything – so he took one cookie as well. The other passenger took another cookie. He took another one also. The last cookie the other person broke in half and they shared it.

After the trip – he was wondering how a person could be so bold to take his cookies. When reaching into his carry-on – he found – the cookies he bought. The person next to him was taking and sharing his own cookies.

Many things one can learn from this story – one thing is that the person that you think is taking from you may really be helping you out. An example – you give a dollar to a poor person – you think you are Mr. Generous. Really that person is helping you out more – because he helped you to receive reward for the Mitzvah that you did by giving him money.

If the same happened to you – how would you react? Would it bother you? Would you say something? Would you complain?

The way you answer is one indicator of your emotional maturity (or your level of generosity).

Let’s say it was your roommate. Let’s say the cookies were really yours. Let’s say he or she took your things on a constant basis.

Do you rank them out? Do you complain to others? Do you feel all upset? Do you mention to them in a nice way that you don’t appreciate their behavior? Do you swallow your pride and don’t mention anything – but you have a silent grudge towards them? Or do you try to find some way to find a way to justify their actions or pacify yourself?

Your reaction – is an indicator of your Emotional maturity.

I was discussing with someone – saying that the most proper reaction is the latter – to find a way to justify their actions. Why? Because all other reactions will not help you grow. You will react to your friend and thus react the same way the next time around. One will be complaining about people eating their cookies for the next 100 years of their life. They did not change. The same way you came into the world – you go out. Grumpy in – grumpy out.

Growth starts with belief in G-d. If one believes not in G-d – when push comes to shove they will usually act like tiger towards an animal that grabbed his lunch. But to grow – you know that there is a higher authority watching you. You cannot just do anything. You cannot go bonkers or overboard – because of the decorum that G-d expects of you.

The man (or woman) of growth will think – “perhaps that person cannot afford to buy their own cookies. Perhaps they don’t like to go out and buy cookies and think that you are a generous soul that doesn’t mind them serving themselves. Perhaps G-d is testing your emotional maturity. Perhaps G-d is trying to help you become more generous.

You choose your reaction. You are not forced to react a particular way. The more mature you are the more cool, calm and collected will be your reaction.

You build your maturity – when you control your emotions. Some just want to let off steam. Some gain pleasure from getting angry. Afterwards they justify themselves by saying “you made me angry.” No one makes you angry – only you yourself decides to get angry.

You choose – either the path of letting off steam or the path to growth. The path to growth will lead you to satisfaction with yourself. The path of letting off steam – you may remain a child – with your childish recations for the rest of your life.

You have before you life and good or death and bad. Choose life. Control yourself and grow. Become more mature. Don’t remain a 10 year old the rest of your life.

You control your reactions – you choose whether you will grow or stagnate.

You choose whether you will become a noble soul or a penny pincher or a tit for tatter the rest of your life.

It is much easier to grow when you believe in Hash-m and Torah. For you know that all that happens to you is for your best interest.

Got a parking ticket & you don’t have great faith – you are miserable all day.

Got a parking ticket & you do believe in Hash-m – you feel great and thankful that G-d saved you from a worse fate.

It takes work, control and belief in G-d – but you can grow to that better person. The Torah is the ultimate self-improvement guide. It teaches us to emulate G-d – what better example can we have?

Being Married this Time Next Year – 14 Reasons why You are Not Married Yet & 10 Tips to Tie the Knot

Yes I am the expert. 🙂

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

What I do know is common sense.

Unfortunately sometimes the common sense kicks in only after I made my mistakes. At least I do learn after the mistakes. Sometimes.

Yes this is a Jewish site. So here is some of the Jewish or Torah perspective on the Dating for Marriage.

G-d made a concept of family. He made it that a man and woman will marry to bring up a family that will make this world a better place by following His guidelines as established in the Torah.

The Purpose of Dating

A very important point to remember is – one dates to determine whether the person is the right person for marriage. One tries to get to know the other through seeing if they share common goals and values. Although you want to find out pertinent information – It is not a job interview. You have to see if the person before you has the right attitude, personality, values for you to build a family together. Your first two dates are to determine whether you can get along. The third is to determine whether you can respect the other person’s opinions, goals and personality.

I went out on dates with 10 different people before meeting my wife. It took me 3 dates to ask my wife to get married. Thank G-d she accepted. For others it may take more time.

Statistics are claiming Less people are getting married.

Having this in Mind here are 14 possible reasons why some are not married yet

1. Lack of effort.

Many people want their perfect spouse to fall from the sky. Not likely. A person has to put in a serious effort to finding a mate. If you don’t look you are not likely to find. But an important point to know is – that your looking is not a guarantee that you will find.

Here is the way the world really works. You make your effort for achieving a goal. G-d looks at your effort and says – OK, you made enough effort for Me to give you what you set out to do.

You make your effort – G-d provides the results. This helps us cope with failure as well. because if I put my utmost effort into achieving something and I don’t I am not a failure. I am a success because at least I tried. But G-d had different plans in mind.

Here are two personal examples of the effort we make and the results G-d determines principle.

I wanted to buy a house. We negotiated the price with the owner. We set the terms – we agreed on the terms. I signed the papers to buy the house. I deliver them to the owner’s lawyer. Then I get a call from my lawyer saying “Sorry the deal for the house is off.” “What do you mean. I signed the papers. I gave the deposit check. What happened?” My lawyer said he could not get along with the other lawyer’s attitude. Thus he didn’t want to deal with him.” The lawyers didn’t get along. I lost the house.

Upsetting? Perhaps if you remove G-d from the equation. But if you do put G-d into the equation – you realize that G-d is Good. G-d loves you. G-d wants your best and He thought that what you thought was a good deal was not a good deal – so He found a way to nullify it. End of the story – we found a better house for us in the end. We were happy we didn’t buy the first house.

Another example:

When single, at times I made efforts to find a spouse. At times I was laid back and put it on the back-burner. When I started making a serious concerted effort – by networking with people and prayer to Hash-m / G-d – to find the right mate – I found the right one but not through my efforts. You could say the proposition to meet someone came from left field. I was calling people in the US to meet prospects. The right prospect came from my grandmother who lived in France and who suggested someone from France.

I made my effort – but G-d sent me the right one. My meeting the right person was not a direct result of my efforts. I made my effort. G-d saw I was serious & He sent me the right one.  

So  make your effort. If G-d thinks it is a good idea for you to get married – He will help you.

Obviously – this is provided you stick to the rules of the Torah. If you don’t stick to the rules – so G-d may give you what you want – which is not always the best thing for you.

It is better to pray that G-d find the best person in His view for you to get married with – to help you achieve your potential in life – than to pray to marry a particular person – who might not be the best person for you. I made that mistake. I prayed to date a particular person – I did date them and it didn’t work out in the end – because they were  not for me.

There is a principle in Torah – G-d will guide you in the way you wish to follow. If a person is a thief and he prays to G-d he will help him steal. If you really want a particular person to marry G-d may help you – but it might be to your detriment.

Thus following the laws of the Torah (ie, the 613 commandments for Jews or the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah for non-Jews) is a prerequisite for finding the right mate to achieve your potential in life.

I know what you are going to say. What are you talking about? I know many people who do not follow Torah but are happy in life.

To this I answer – OK they may be happy – but are they achieving their potential for doing good for the world? Probably not.

This is one reason against Jewish intermarriage – when Jewish people marry people of different religions – the goals are the family are automatically confused. One partner wants to give a Jewish education – the other says they see no point in a solid Torah day school education for Jewish kids. But we’ll get to that later.

Be ready to put your best foot forward when searching for a mate. Treat finding a mate as seriously as you would as if you were searching for a Job.

My optometrist friend would call up optical stores – one-by-one he found in the phone book to find a Job. We should be at least as serious in searching for a mate for ourselves or our children. If a person is out of a job, one calls a head hunter, networks, makes phone calls and sends out resumes. The same dedication is required for getting married. Dedicate at least 10 minutes a day to find the right person. Effort includes praying to Hashem / G-d daily to help you find a mate. Before I got married I would recite Tehillim / psalm 121 as a segula to get married. I prayed at the kever / grave-site of Yonathan Ben Uziel in Amuka, Israel. At times I would be serious about dating for marriage regularly. At times I would slack off. When I became serious – G-d sent me the right mate.

A Suggested Amount of Effort

I would suggest a person spend at least 5 to 10 minutes daily searching for a proper mate for themselves or their children.

2. Lack of clarity of what is truly important.
Another boon to getting married is – lack of clear idea of what one wants. If you don’t know what you are looking for – you won’t know when you find it. Some basic points you should consider are found in tip 3 below.

3. Do not value the importance of marriage
Getting married and having kids is a commandment in the Torah for Jews and gentiles. some think it is a nice thing to do – but not for them. G-d formulated things that to reach your potential – you must be married. He created man and woman as one entity. A person not married has not yet found their mate to help them complete themselves.

Because some Do not value the importance of marriage they do not date for the purpose of marriage. Some date just for a good time. That might be a problem. If you or your mate have no marriage intentions – marriage is less likely. Also physical relations before marriage causes objectivity to fly out the window. A person who is not celibate on dates may end up marrying a person who might not be suitable for them. This is probably the major reason for divorce today – people marry others that they are “in love” with without determining if they are compatible with the other before hand.  

4. High expectations
Some people think they are prince charming or princess of Pompadour – so they reject anyone they think is not suitable for them. G-d may have organized you to meet a particular person that He determined is suitable mate for you. Look into a proposal seriously before you reject them. Some people tailor design in their mind a person for themselves. You will most likely not meet this person. But you will meet a person that you feel that you have an affinity to build a wholesome Torah home if you do make your effort.


5. The “When I” excuse
“When I” get my degree, I’ll start looking to get married. “When I” get a decent Job I will start looking. “When I build” my business, I’ll find a mate.
All these are completely invalid excuses to postpone getting married. G-d does not say make sure you have a decent degree before you get married. G-d also provides the parnassa / the income – not your effort. (as mentioned above)


6. Am I turning people off?
Some turn others off with their looks, their appearance, their attitude, their habits and/or their opinions. I am talking with you face to face – your phone rings – it is impolite to answer while I speak with you. Some go on ranting about the President or politics. OK have an opinion – but if that is what you rant about regularly – i would rather talk about things that deal with real day to day life.

Today anyone can spy on your attitudes in life by checking heir facebook page. It’s a dead giveaway. Beware of what you post – it might come back to haunt you. I heard someone lost a job opportunity because of a Facebook post. Apparently people check out potential mates that way. Some people are obsessed with a subject because of a trauma or experience that they had.

Remember you are searching for a mate should be a friend to build a home with – not your psychologist.


7. Low Expectations

At times a person is dating people that will not help that person reach their potential in life. G-d makes it not work out so that you will find the person who can best help you together with the new mate to reach your family potential.


8. Not ready psychologically
Some people are not ready psychologically to get married because they have a fear of commitment or a fear of marriage or a low self esteem. Deal with these issues and make your effort to tie the knot. Marrying the right person makes a person life better not worse.

9. Not ready spiritually
G-d want you to reach a high level spiritually. Being connected to G-d is the greatest pleasure a person can have. He gave us the outline of how to become close with Him – the Torah. At times G-d wants you to reach a higher spiritual level in Torah observance and/or learning before matching you with the right mate so that together you can reach your spiritual purpose and potential. Advice – increase your spiritual Torah pursuits. Read Torah books in your language. Attend Torah lectures. Improve yourself – vis-a-vis the Torah’s values and G-d will match you with a better mate.


10. The “I want” syndrome
“I want someone open-minded. I want someone intellectual. I want someone who can sing.”
All very nice – but irrelevant to being a good mate. The question you want to ask is will the potential mate be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. That is a fundamental point. Other “I wants” you have may be irrelevant to a good relationship and curtail marriage process.

Someone told me they want an intellectual wife. I told them “what do you think you will be discussing once married – Einstein’s law of relativity?” You will be talking of things to build a family and the relationship. Get goals that will make a great marriage not whims that have no relevance to building a Torah family.


11. No they are not your debate-team partner.
Some people go on a date and try to prove that they are right or show the other person they are wrong. Perhaps that is not their intention, but it comes off that way. if you are different – than respect the other person – act politely and after the date don’t go out again – it is not your job to convert the person to your views.


12. Rejection on paper or social media
At times a person sees a person’s photo and rejects going out because of what they look like. Many time a photo can lie. People reject others without seeing them in person.The total person is much greater than his or her photo or bio or Facebook page.


13. Looking in the wrong places
If you want to buy a car go to a car dealer. If you want to find a good mate go to a place that you would expect to find them and ask around.
I don’t know how successful singles parties are. I suggest to Jewish singles to contact local orthodox rabbis to determine if they know of a potential mate for them and to use me as a reference. An orthodox rabbi knows the members of his congregation. He will give you an honest opinion on the person – provided you ask the proper, pointed questions. You can get ideas for questions in tip 3 below.

14. Lack of Common Values

I think one of the strongest bonds is when people share Torah values. It helps people to make common family decisions. If one is a mate just following the winds of the newspapers or society – one day his value will be A the next B. Perhaps his or her mate will have Value B when he or she has Value A. Thus the solid, tried values of Torah help a couple to live a more stable relationship.

10 Tips to get yourself married with the right  mate that G-d intended you to meet.

1. Know that G-d wants you married – and what he wants from you in marriage by consulting Torah rabbis and lectures on the subject. (see the links section for info on the subject)


2. Know one of the commandments is for a person to beget children and raise them in the path of the Torah (jews the 613 commandments and gentiles the 7 noahide laws from the Torah)

3. know the “requirements” and the “good to haves.”

For a Jewish couple here are certain “requirements” and the “good to haves” for a potential mate

Requirements
a) that the mate is Jewish.
b) that the mate has a desire to use the Torah as a daily guide to building family. (Jews see Shulchan Aruch) / (Gentiles see Torah’s 7 Noahide laws)
c) that the mate has a good heart (ie, generous & giving)
d) that the mate has good values (based upon Torah outlook)
e) that the mate has good character traits (merciful, bashful & doing kindness)
f) attractive to you
g) that you can talk with

Good to Haves

What are the good to haves? Some may be more important than others. You probably have a list of your own.
a) person from a good family
b) person with class
c) person that is responsible
d) person from same background as yourself in terms of – country where you were born, family country background, ethnicity, etc. a similar mentality of the mates decreases lack of accord. A similar mentality will make the marriage to more likely to work out. I thus suggest Sephardim to Marry Sephardim. Askenazim to marry Ashkenaz. Moroccan Jews to marry Moroccans. etc. Obviously, it is not a guarantee for a happy marriage – first the basics are to be in order (the requirements above). But it might cause less reason for quarrels because people are on a similar page. Statistics that supports this notion is a study done by the Center for Disease Control in 2002 about divorce rates that showed interracial marriages were more likely to end in divorce than same-ethnic marriages — 41 percent versus 31 percent.
e) person with similar goals in life
f) person that you can respect and help with their aspirations in life

4. Consider someone who is not 100% your perfect mate / know there are things you can change 

If you find someone who is 80% perhaps you can try to change the rest. Accept the person as who they are. I know people who rejected dates because they were only 90% of what they were looking for. Too bad. There is no perfect person. Only G-d is perfect. Know what you can change and can’t change in a person. If a person has something you don’t like that can be changed – perhaps a date is worth a try. If you don’t know ask a competent shadchan / match maker or Orthodox Rabbi.


5. Know that it only takes one person

For a Jewish couple G-d basically wants a couple to build a family that lives happily using the Torah as their guide for their daily lives. Some people try to surf the social media for a mate. Just focus on meeting one right person at a time. don’t compare. see if that person that you are dating is good based upon what we discussed. aprreciate that person for who they are. pray to G-d to help you make the right decision.


6. Get help from professionals

Perhaps you need a dating coach or advice from the Torah / Daat Torah – so ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi for help.


7. Do your homework before you go out.
Ask references – some have a dating resume – ask for a dating resume of potential mates.


8. Portray a positive image.
Don’t use your date a social worker or psychologist. Keep your vocal opinions to yourself on dates – don’t be obsessed by certain issues. It is a turn-off. don’t be obsessed about yourself and your opinions. You may be wrong. Don’t talk about your failures and deceptions in your life. Don’t talk negatively. Use your speech wisely.


9. Pick 10 things you are looking for in a mate and if you find five out of the 10 – it is worth a try.


10. Look in the right places.

If you are looking for a Torah scholar network in the Yeshivas. If you are looking for a good person – call local orthodox rabbis of communities. If you look in the local bars – you’ll find people with values from the bars – which is a shot in the dark at best.

Wishing you all the best. If you need any advice please feel free to contact us at info@jerusalemlife.com

3 Super Secrets to Beat Foes of Productivity – Procrastination & Distraction

Everything is in Torah.

Like the Three Secrets to Beat Procrastination & Distraction.

Hillel – the great Torah sage – teaches us to beat these foes of productivity.

הוא היה אומר, אם אין אני לי, מי לי. וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני. ואם לא עכשיו, אימתי:

He [Rabbi Hillel] used to say: If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when? (Pirkei Avot 1:14)

I write this because I fall into the trap as well.

Here are the three secrets – then I will relate them to Hillel’s dictum.

1. Remove Emotions from the Equation

2. Make a List of 10 things you want to accomplish in the Day and focus on three.

3. Start with 5 minutes of the undesired task.

Here are explanations on Hillel’s three pieces of advice.

If I am not for me, who will be for me?

Many a time I procrastinate because I don’t feel like calling or dealing with someone or dealing with a problem. My emotions stop me from progressing. So I have 2 or 3 options 1. To listen to my emotions and procrastinate. 2. Overcome my emotions. 3. Remove my emotions. I act like “Spock” – a person who acts on logic – not emotions and make my feelings of not wanting to make that call irrelevant.

How do I do so? I think that it is irrelevant what the other person will say. It only matters what my job is. Meaning – that if I have a responsibility to do something positive (as dictated by the Torah) – it is irrelevant what the other person will react. I have to accomplish my purpose in my life. What other people think is not my problem.

Let’s take an example – I have to eat Kosher. I have to have a lunch meeting with the boss. Now what will the boss say if he invites me to a fancy restaurant and I can’t eat there because I eat Kosher. So I can push off my meeting or tell the boss – I can only eat in a Kosher restaurant. I am responsible for my actions as told in the Torah. If I am concerned of what will other people think – it is a recipe for self-erasure. Blending into the crowd. Becoming a robot of society.

And when I am for myself alone, what am I?

Obviously I have to accomplish my purpose in such a way by acting in accordance to Torah values – ie, by not stepping on others shoes, by not hurting other’s feelings, by not acting dishonestly, etc.

By acting according to my whims and feelings is in a sense relatively selfish. If I can help another person and I relegate myself to playing video game or surfing on amazon or checking my whatsapp every 2 minutes – I lose the opportunity of helping others.

Thus I must get organized and make my priorities. One way to do such is an idea from Warren Buffet – of Berkshire Hathaway – one of the richest people in the world – given to his Executive Jet pilot. He said make a list of 25 things or goals you want to accomplish. Rank the 5 most important ones. Take care of those five. As for the other 20 forbid yourself to take care of them until you accomplish the first 5.

We distract ourselves with not only things that are not our goals – but things that are our goals but of a lesser priority. If we focus on our main goals – we help ourselves and other people.

And if not now, then when?

If I don’t take care of something right away, I may end up using time allocated for another purpose. Thus I must focus on getting things done on time in the proper time. How? I don’t feel like doing certain things. Now what?

A simple solution is to start 5 minutes of the undesired task. Once you get the ball rolling it is easier to continue.

If there is a will there is a way to be more productive and accomplish your purpose. You can do it.

 

 

What Kind of the 5 Seekers Are You? Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality. And What Gets You There?

Man is called a Go-er / Mehalekh in Hebrew.

Apparently a person wants to achieve something in this world. He does not want to stay idle. A person works, plays sports, creates & learn.

This is the world for doing. In the next world it is a world to receive reward for our deeds we accomplished in this world.

Thus we seek. We seek perfection.

Rabbi Yigal Haimoff once explained the reason why seek perfection is that we were created by G-d. We now wish to emulate our creator.

Why Be a Winner?

It’s seen frequently in everyday life. We want to root for the winning team. We want to win – not lose. Why? We want that perfect product. We are upset when we get a small dent or scratch on our new car. Why? We recognize the value of perfection. We want to emulate the perfection of Hash-m.

I came up with five things people seek.

Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality.

There could be other things.

Most people seek a combination of all. But each focuses more on one aspect than another.

Is there a path that will bring a person to all of these aspects of life? Like the Theory of Everything in Science.

Apparently.

10 Commandments or 7?

I talk to gentiles / non-Jews sometimes. I teach them that there are seven commandments for all people in the world – The 7 Noahide commandments of the Torah given to Noah and Moses at Mount Sinai by G-d.

One typical response I get is “I Thought there are 10 commandments?”

So I explain – Yes. There are 10 commandments for the Jews and 7 Commandments for the Gentiles.

They Say what are the commandments that are missing. So I explain A Gentile does not observe the Sabbath. and other differences.

At this point I must determine whether this person is genuinely interested in learning more, or if it is a curiosity question or if the question is to challenge me back to say  that their religion says otherwise and they actually observe the Sabbath.

If I feel that they are a person that follows religion because of religion I back off and say well read more about it and I tell them about them some websites that teach the Torah’s Noahide Laws. Why do I back off? Because some people have already made up their mind on their way of life. They will not change even if you show them the truth. These are people of religion that are not truth-seekers.

These people – with no intention to deride them – are similar to some people who were told that Mount Helens was about to erupt and that they had to evacuate their homes. They did not evacuate because they said “that is where they lived all there lives and they did not want to abandon their homes.” Many died because of this attitude.

There are other people that follow religion but also follow truth. If I prove to them that the truth is is that a non-Jew should follow the 7 commandments rather than the 10 – they give it a chance.

Why Gentiles Do Not Observe the Sabbath

What is the proof that only Jews follow the 10 commandments? Pretty Easy. If I say to a class – everyone wearing a blue shirt can go out to recess. If a person who is wearing a yellow shirt goes to recess – they will not be following my instructions.

In the 10 Commandments it says – “I am the G-d who took you out of Egypt…” Who did G-d take out of Egypt? The Jews. So the commandments apply to everyone who G-d took out of Egypt and not others.

So of utmost importance for any person is to follow truth. Truth will bring them to truth. Feelings will not bring them to truth. Some people say – I follow religion or any other path because it feels good. But that can be self-destructive – as we see alcoholics who follow a lifestyle of inebriation – which is not the path that G-d wants from us. So feeling cannot be the determinant of the truth of G-d or the True path of G-d.

To find the path of Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality.

Logically we can figure out that G-d wants all of the above for all people. How? G-d is one of the partners in Every human being.

Proof that G-d Wants Your Pleasure, Happiness & Good

There are 3 partners in every person on earth – the Father, the Mother and G-d. If parents want children to live a meaningful, purposeful, happy life thus G-d also wants his children to live such a life.

So now the question is how does G-d want us to find all of those aspects of life?

Apparently G-d is not going to give a person a gift of life without giving them the instruction booklet. You would not expect to a car or any other machinery or appliance you buy to not come with instruction or a users manual.

What is the User Manual of G-d

So one of the biggest questions that person must answer correctly in life is what is the Instruction Manual of G-d for humans?

If you answer correctly, you win the Jackpot. All the good aspects of life mentioned above follow. Sure one will still live challenges – but at least it will be challenges with a purpose – not challenges without purpose or challenges that distance a person from G-d.

Spirituality – the Definition

Spirituality is basically- establishing a close relationship with G-d. Thus what better way to establish a relationship with G-d than following His commandments.

The Pursuit of Truth to Arrive at the True Law of G-d

Abraham – our Forefather followed the path of truth to establish a relationship with G-d. He traced a path for us. He showed us that accepting the status quo or following fads or societal norms will not necessarily bring you closer to Hash-m / G-d.

G-d is Good & wants you to emulate Him

We can see the tremendous kindness of G-d daily. He feeds the entire world. Not Just humans, but all the living creatures, plants andimals, insects, fish birds. That is a tremendous act of kindness. Most people in the world live a good life – a life to be thankful for. So we see that G-d is good and he wants us to act with Goodness -thus His Instruction Guide must teach us about kindness.

Improving Relationships

Relationships – the Kindness that one does is mainly through interaction and relationships with other human beings. Thus G-d’s instructions must also include how to have more positive relationships.

Determining the true guide of G-d is pretty easy. Only once in all man’s history did G-d appear to millions of people. This is when G-d appeared at Mount Sinai and Gave His Torah. Everyone heard G-d speaking. No other document or religion claims this national revelation. Some try to piggyback on the Torah and say yes G-d revealed Himself to the Jews but “changed his mind.”

Not really logical that G-d, who has knowledge of all – the most intelligent being in the world – the seer of past, present and future will give laws and then change His mind.

Thus only the Torah fits the bill.

Thus all the 5 aspects of life can be bettered through Torah observance. Ask your local Orthodox Rabbi.

Depression – A Springboard to Happiness? Curing the Suffering of the Soul.

Depression.

A Dark Corridor in the Path of life. Can you bring the light back?

Yes – if you want to.

Everything can be viewed as good and be used for the good. Even Depression.

If it serves as a springboard for bettering oneself – it can be used for the good.

People feel depressed because of chemical imbalances or other reasons that they cannot pinpoint or perhaps they can pinpoint.

The first point to overcome depression is to find the cause. At times one would need a professional psychologist. I tend to shy away from that – because I feel many a time a person can get back on their feet themselves.

But if a person feels they may harm themselves or others – they should seek help from a relative or friend or a professional or a competent Orthodox rabbi.

The advantage in a competent Orthodox rabbi is that he has the viewpoint of the Torah that gives him a larger view of the problem and the solution.

Finding the Cause

The four steps of solving a problem are:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What are the causes of the problem?
  3. What are solutions?
  4. what are the best possible solutions?

Sorting the causes, symptoms

One might think a symptom is actually a cause or a cause is a symptom.

For instance perhaps a person feels that the fact that they are not married leads them to depression. Perhaps it is the depression that is causing them not to be married. They can’t show a cheery disposition to potential mates – so the potential suitors or mates may become turned off. It might be a catch-22 situation.

Perhaps they feel that their dead end job is causing them to be depressed. Perhaps it is not their job – but that they are not performing to acceptable levels of efficiency or effectiveness.

Perhaps their cause is really a reason that is linked to something more deep.

The Evil & Good Inclination

Really – the bottom line is that one chooses to be depressed or not. There is a concept in Judaism called the evil inclination & the good inclination. The evil inclination causes a person negative thoughts. The good inclination causes a person positive thoughts.

You Choose Happiness

The evil inclination wants a person to be depressed. Why? It wants the destruction of man in this world and the next. So he places negative thoughts in your mind that you can choose to listen to or to disregard or contradict.

It might tell you in your mind “You are a nobody!’

so you can fall into the trap and think “I am a nobody”

or you can counter and say “I am a great person!”

It might cast into your mind “You can’t!’

so you can mistakenly think “I can’t!”

or you can counter and say “Yes I Can!”

It might cast into your mind “Your doing such a bad job!’

so you can mistakenly think “I’m doing badly!”

or you can counter and say “I’m doing great!”

One Simple mind technique – counter the negative thoughts with the positive.

The Real You – Is the cause a Material cause or a Spiritual cause

One of the first question a person should ask is “who am I?” Am I just a body or do I also have a soul?

Judaism knows a person has a soul. Logic also concurs with this point of view – for what animates a person? It must be a soul – otherwise there is no reason for a person to be inanimate as a chair – unless there is an “engine” animating him or her.

So really a person is a soul. There are various parts of the soul. The Nefesh, Ru-ah’, Neshama, Chaya, Yehida.

The Nefesh animates a person or animals. It is the lowest part of the soul. The Ruach – apparently allows a person to speak. The Neshama has a higher spiritual calling – to cling to G-d.

Why should you know this?

Because since you are a soul – if a person is depressed – it emanates from one of these souls.

Thus at times a sadness or depression can be caused by a suffering of the soul. Thus Repentance can help the depressed soul. By a person starting over & wiping the slate clean – it can help them remove their depression. Sometimes transgressions sully the soul and make it more difficult to feel a connection to G-d. The soul’s greatest desire is to make be connected with Hash-m. How does one Wipe the slate clean? Start by learning Torah that applies to you as Jew or the Torah’s Noahide laws – if you are a Gentile.

Obviously the material causes should also be dealt with. For example, If one sees they are not finding the right mate for getting married – perhaps one has to spend more time on the phone trying to find a suitable mate from matchmakers.

The soul’s connection to Spirituality.

A person feels a lacking. They want spirituality. They may either know this – that they need spirituality or they may think “I feel sad but I can’t pinpoint the reason”. Or they pinpoint the reason but they attribute it to a material cause – when it is really a spiritual cause that is causing their suffering.

Dealing with that spiritual suffering may also not only remove the suffering but also solve the problem. We’ll give an example.

A person is sad that they are not married. It is understandable from a material standpoint – in the fact that a person wants a productive, sharing & loving relationship. From a spiritual standpoint – it is understandable for a person to be depressed – because the soul wants to fulfill Mitzvot to help them be closer to G-d. One mitzvah of the Torah – for Jews and Non-Jews is to be fruitful & multiply. To have children that will populate the world.

So we can learn from this a person in a dead end relationship where the man or woman does not want to commit to marriage – or perhaps one does not want to have children – might cause depression because they are not fulfilling the commandment of being fruitful & multiplying – which causes the soul to be sad.

The solution – strengthen one’s commitment to observing the Torah’s commandments for Jews or Gentiles. This will in essence 1. make the soul happier. 2. make a person more deserving to find a worthy soul mate and thus help you attract higher quality prospective mates. If you do the commandments – G-d will match you with someone on your level. My advice to Jewish singles thus is to reinforce themselves in Torah Study & Mitzvot and make an effort to find a worthy mate. Apparently this also Gentiles – if they reinforce themselves in observing the Seven Noahide Laws from the Torah – G-d will help them find a more worthy mate.

Or perhaps a person is sad because of their dead end job. Jews & Gentiles have a commandment to build the world. If a person is not producing and they are sad about it, it might mean they (and their soul) are sad because they are not fulfilling the commandment to build the world. The person might think they are sad because they are in a dead end-job. But really they are sad is because they are not fulfilling the commandment of building the world.

Time will Heal

A person who was a manic depressive went to King Solomon. He asked for a ring that would make him happy when sad and calm when happy. Solomon made a ring that said “Also this will pass.”

Time heals wounds. It also takes time to return to happiness. If one works on oneself regularly and follows good advice it can take shorter. But usually depression does not change over night. It takes time – so be patient with yourself and others.

The Error of Searching For Spirituality in Exotic Places

A big error that people make is to search for spirituality in places that make them feel spiritual. Feeling spiritual does not mean a person is actually spiritual. It means that they feel spiritual. Whatever that means.

The Real Spirituality

Real spirituality is feeling close to the One and Only Creator of the Universe – G-d. The Jews call Him Hash-m. That is the definition of spirituality – being close to G-d.

to really be spiritual one must determine two things:

1. One must be able to find the real G-d

2. One must be able to find the real path to G-d.

This is rather easy to determine through logic.

(See our article: What G-d wants From You)

Here is a brief way to find out both – The real G-d is the only G-d that appeared to millions of people at Mount Sinai. All other human conceptions of “god” were never followed by a national revelation. Thus the G-d of the Jews is the real G-d.

The path to find G-d is to follow the Rules that G-d gave when he appeared to millions of people at Mount Sinai. The Torah. The Torah has laws for Jews and Gentiles (Non-Jews). Gentiles follow their laws – the Seven Noahide laws – to gain a place in heaven. They do not have to convert to Judaism to gain a place in heaven. They just have to follows the Noahide laws because the Torah says so. If a Gentile so wishes – they can decide to convert to becoming Jewish.

So all following of the other cults and paths is like shooting an arrow in the wind. Why take a circuitous route – when the path is simple and clear?

The reason I say this, is not because I was born as a religious Jew. I investigated, had good experiences and bad, did Mitzvot and transgressed, did good and bad, did right and wrong – was correct and made errors. With Hash-m’s help – my beacon – Logic, reasoning and common sense helped me to come to these conclusions.

And G-d Said “let there be Light”

In Parashat (Torah Reading) of Noach (Noah) we read G-d commanding Noah to make an Ark to save himself from the flood. He says make a skylight for the ark. (In Hebrew – Tzhohar Ta’aseh LaTeva). Tzohar means illumination. Teva in Hebrew means Ark. Teva also means words.

צהר תעשה לתבה ואל־אמה תכלנה מלמעלה ופתח התבה בצדה תשים תחתים שנים ושלשים תעשה

Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and terminate it within a cubit of the top. Put the entrance to the ark in its side; make it with bottom, second, and third decks. (Genesis / Bereshit 6:16)

Rav Nachman of Breslev in Likutei Mo’hran (112:1) Says the main point in making light to your words – means to search for truth. Because the seal of G-d is truth. Truth is like light. If a person is stuck in a dark room – and he finds not the door – he needs light. Light will illuminate the dark room to allow himself a way out of the darkness. If one follows truth – they can also find a way out of their own personal darkness.

In Tehillim / Proverbs (6:23) it says

A Mitzvah is a Candle and The Torah is Light. Some read Tehillim / Psalms to get out of darkness. Some learn Torah. Torah is one light that can help you out of the darkness.

 

Why Me?! The 7 Reasons for Why People Suffer

The Stolen Bicycle

I had a nice bike for several years. I bought it at Toys-R-Us. Disc-brakes, shocks and on sale.

Just the other day someone remarked that my bicycle was missing. I said, why wouldn’t they steal the other bikes. They remarked that the other bikes were registered with the police.

I Just started re-using it after a long hiatus. Too bad I was getting into shape and it was convenient.

Why does G-d send Difficulties?

Why me? Why me? 🙂

G-d has reasons for every good thing or thing that looks bad that happens to us.

If you want to understand the way the world works or why good things happen to bad people or why bad things happen to good people remember this:

G-d conducts the world with Middah Keneged Middah. Measure for measure. You do good – you receive good and vice versa.

But we are not all great at recognizing it. I sometimes attribute my sufferings to certain of my failings. And it comes out pretty accurately. Sometimes the sufferings are direct or indirect. Meaning our suffering may attain the person directly or may be due to the sufferings of others around us. (Some, on higher levels of Torah spirituality, may ask if the sufferings of the world are due to their failings)

Why is G-d Punishing Me?

A woman recently called me. She told me she was having many difficulties – no job. her daughter was doing things that pained her. she did not have an apartment. I consoled her and explained that G-d loves each person. G-d just wants us to live a better life. So He sometimes sends “corrections” – situations that will eventually lead a person to live a much better life than they are presently living. A person has to be wise enough to listen to G-d’s daily messages.

The World Made for You

If the world is made for each person – the world might suffer for someone’s failings. What are failings? I found out the hard way that failings are doing things that are contrary to Torah.

Knowing What is Right & What is Wrong helps one to Remove Sufferings

Unfortunately – i discovered i had many failings. But I was ready to correct them slowly but surely. I am still working on my failings – but I am a big step ahead than I was before. Why? Because I recognize what is right and what is wrong. If one does not recognize this – it is more difficult for one to correct themselves. It is a bit like shooting in the Dark.

Each Jew is responsible for one another. If one Jew suffers the others suffer. If a Jew rejoices another does too. If one does good the others benefit. And vice versa.

When i was a teenager – I experienced sufferings. My sufferings became my teachers. I learned from experience the reasons for suffering. It helped me to cope through the hard times.

The first question one should ask – if G-d surely loves us – why does he allow suffering. We will avoid the philosophical discussions – but below are some basic reasons.

So back to my bicycle – why me?

There are 7 basic reasons for suffering.

  1. G-d is settling accounts for what a person did in the past. If we steal from others – others might steal from us. It could be a past deed from this life or a past deed from a previous life. When one repents sincerely to Hash-m the bad deeds are erased. The solution : Don’t do the same deed that was done to you. Do Teshuva / Repent.
  2. G-d is sending a message to the person to repent. At times a person is totally off-track. Off track – meaning that their values are out of sync with the values of Torah. G-d is sending them a message to get back on track for their own good. The solution: Learn what the Torah expects of a Jew or a Gentile and get back on track.
  3. G-d wants you to Pray to Him – At times a person prays to G-d but is not answered. G-d loves a person and desires his or her prayers. So don’t give up praying. G-d eventually will answer.
  4. G-d wants you to develop a relationship with him. G-d wants a relationship with His Children. Many a time people have a very good life. Children. A good job. A nice family. All the food and amenities they need, but they ignore or some even “diddain” G-d or the Jewish people. Why? Because they are happy with there lot – no need for Torah or spirituality – they think. So G-d may send a wake up call – to awaken them from their slumber through the medium of suffering. Then the person turns to G-d for help and prays for respite from suffering. Then they develop a relationship with Him. A solution to this is to always be thankful for the good.
    We have a synagogue that is next to a playground. Many pass by ignoring our synagogue. I see the beautiful children and all the good the families have. I ask myself – does it not enter these people’s minds to come in to say thanks to G-d for at least some of the good they have.
  5. G-d is testing person to see if they will remain faithful to Him even in trying circumstances – a trying circumstance is not necessarily suffering. It could be doing the right thing when your friends or the society are going against the morality of the Torah. That is a trying circumstance.

  6. G-d wants you to grow. A person sometimes has a trying circumstance. G-d might want to build you. If you think about it G-d knows what is best for the spiritual growth of the person. Thus he puts them in certain situations so that after surmounting the difficulty – they will become a better wants a person to define himself or herself. When a person dies – they remain the same forever. What they became is how they will remain for eternity.
  7. G-d wants you to put in More effort – I know someone who complains – Why Me? Why did I not get a good job? Why did I not find a good match? All kinds of “why me?” statements. I ask him – did you try to apply for a job? No. Did you try your best to get a job? no.I told him – the first step is to make the proper effort and pray to Hash-m for a Job. The way that G-d conducts the world is that one makes an effort to achieve their goals. But the fact that the goals are achieved are ultimately in the hands of G-d. But the minimum requirement is to make a concerted, serious effort towards your goal.

G-d Sends Good in All Situations

G-d does everything for the Good of a person. A person just has to be creative enough to find a reason why whatever happens to them is good. Like the man who stepped on a rusty nail before a business trip – in which the Doctor forbade him to travel.In the end the ship that he was scheduled to travel upon sank.

Developing a Positive Attitude

Look into the reasons for difficulty and you will find a positive reason for each difficulty and challenge. Like the ones above. Many come to the conclusion that certain situations are good and certain are bad. That is inaccurate. All situations are sent by G-d. All situations that G-d creates are good. They might be difficult situations – but their must be good in those situations because G-d / Hash-m is all good. The person with a positive attitude tries to find good in all situations whether they are pleasing situations or difficult situations.

Cherishing Suffering – a higher level for the Elite

The Torah does not condone provoking self-suffering. Hash-m should save us from it. King David “cherished” suffering. Why? Because he felt that when he was pained – he felt a closer connection to G-d. G-d is close to those with broken heart and many feel this. When I look back at my suffering as a teen – I remember the closeness I felt.

Appreciating the Good of Life

A person living a Torah life appreciates the good that G-d / Hash-m gives on a daily basis. We say thanks. We appreciate. We have a closer relationship with G-d. We live more wholesome lives and better achieve our purpose in the end.

Living & Dying with Purpose

Many think dying is the worst that could happen to a person. Everybody dies. Truth is that that is not the worst thing. Dying without a purpose is the worse thing. Torah gives a person purpose – in dying and in living. Purpose for every act and purpose for every world of Torah studied. It turns a life following the pursuit of vain pleasure to a life that is full of purposeful pleasures. Allowing a person to maximize their potential in life and achieve their purpose in the end.

Every Pleasure has a Permitted Substitute

For all pleasures in the world that are forbidden in the Torah there is a substitute permitted pleasure. Examples abound. The Torah forbids Jews from eating pork and thus bacon. There is a kosher substitute made of Turkey that tastes like bacon. Shrimp and shellfish are forbidden to Jews. Kosher substitutes exist.

Pleasure with Purpose vs. Vain Pleasures

If you look at each prohibition – you will find a substitute. Each prohibition in Torah is usually prohibits pleasure without purpose. The Torah gives each a substitute that makes it a pleasure with purpose.

Thus every act that a person does can be a meaningful act through following Torah. Jews – their 613 commandments and Gentiles their 7 commandments.

Preparation for Rosh Hashana

We are approaching the New Jewish Year. Now is the time to get on track to see how we can transform our average lives into more purposeful and meaningful lives. That is one of the goals of Teshuva (literally Returning in Hebrew) / Repentance in Judaism – to return to a life of purpose.

Choose Life

The Torah itself tells you straight out saying “Choose Life!” What is life? Pleasure with purpose – for the sake of serving G-d. Every act done to serve G-d becomes a purposeful act and one lives (and eventually dies) with a purpose.

We should all live long purposeful lives. Amen.

 

 

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 Ultimate Relationship Builder – Judaism

Turning back Clocks on Relationship Killers – Phone, TV & Video

Turn Back the Clocks. It was a simpler era. You come home it is almost dark. A hearty “good evening my dear.” Dinner is waiting for you on the Table. Some fresh baked potatoes. Fresh baked bread from the oven.

Dinner finished – you have time to relax with family before bedtime.

You pull out the checker board and challenge a family member to a game. He wins. Perhaps another?

Checkers is a healthy game. It involves thinking, action and interaction.

A person was able to feel and enjoy the presence of the other family member. I get to know their reactions, thoughts and emotions. I appreciate the person. The person feels appreciated.

Technology Servitude

Fast forward to the 21st Century. I come home grab a quick bite. Then attach myself to tech world. Even if the family sits in front of the TV for a completely innocuous show, it reminds me of Big Brother holding the reigns of peoples minds.

I am your screen. I control your thoughts and emotions. I control your opinion. Thus I control your actions.

I am not for videos or TV. They take a person’s freedom away. I follow the crowd to do what’s popular and cool. I let go of my true self to mix in the melting pot of nothingness.

People want real personal relationships. Not a relationship with a screen.

The new drug of the century – technology.

Where can we find relationship builders?

Judaism & Relationship Builders.

Most Torah Laws are relationship builders.

Shabbat

No TV or technology gadgets allowed. No driving. No shopping – just focus on your family / freind relationships, your participation in community and spiritual relationship with G-d.

Spend time with family at Shabbat table. The family says divrei Torah / words of Torah that serves as wholesome discussion at the table.

The family participates in shul / Synagogue together.

The family learns Torah together or attends a Torah lecture.

Kids play board games or simple outdoor games.

Yes the Torah preceded the No Cell-Phone Restaurant meet – where cell phones are placed in the middle of the Table. The first to pick up the cell phone has to pick up the tab.

Getting Married –

Getting married is a Mitzvah in the Torah. It encourages young marriage. Another relationship builder.

Having children is another Mitzvah. Another relationship builder. and developing relationships with the children and the common parents.

Traditional marriage allows a person to have common children – impossible with same gender marriages.

Communal Prayer

A Jewish man prays with a quorum of ten men for three prayer services daily.

People interact together on a personal level.

There they nurture their communication and relationship with Hash-m / G-d. They learn Torah, also an interactive activity.

Torah Study

One Studies Torah either in a lecture or a small group or with a study partner / Hevruta or by oneself.

In each there is personal interaction with others.

In each one learns to better oneself enhancing further personal relations.

Keeping Kosher

One aspect of keeping kosher is to eating animals with negative character traits. Non-Kosher Animals usually have negative character traits or are in certain ways appalling.  A person who consumes certain animals adopts a form of its character traits.

We avoid slaughtering Kosher animals – that we do eat – in an inhumane way.

Going to a Torah Day School

In a Torah Day school children are taught to do acts of kindness, to honor parents, to be respectful to elders, to treat everyone with respect and much more – subjects not taught in public school. While other religions teach hate – we teach love.

Acts of Kindness

Doing acts of kindness are also a Mitzvah, like Helping the poor with money or food,  visiting the sick, lending money and comforting the mourners, etc.

Not hurting People

It is prohibited to speak words that cause pain to another individual. It is forbidden from the Torah to embarrass a person. A Jew controls his temper – he should not get angry.

No Evil Speech

Lashon HaRah is a group of many laws prohibiting speaking badly of fellow Jews – even if the speech is 100% true.

Not Hurting Animals

The Commandment in Torah to not hurt animals is called “Tzaar Balaie Haim” / Pain of Living Creatures. It is prohibited in the Torah for one cruel with animals engenders in himself or herself these character traits of cruelty. What he did to an animal – he might consider doing to others. In Naza Germany one of the training of cruelty in Nazis was to bring up a cat in their home and then to kill the cat with their bare hands.

Saying Kaddish – Connecting with Departed Souls

The soul of the departed goes to a spiritual world. It can no longer be elevated by doing Mitzvot. It is stuck in the place that it earned by doing mitzvot while it was alive. Two things that can elevate the soul is saying the Kaddish prayer for the soul and doing Mitzvot from the Torah for the sake of the soul – like giving charity to a Torah institution li’ilouy nishmat – for the elevation of the soul. The Torah allows one to kindness and even keep a relationship with the departed through the ways mentioned above.

Saying Blessings

Each time I eat, I thank G-d before and after. By Saying the food Blessings – Eating is elevated to enhancing one’s relationship with the creator, rather than being merely a physical act to sustain one’s body. One elevates the food to a spiritual level.

One reason for the saying of food blessings is to unlock a soul that was found in the food. Thus we also do kindness with souls of the past.

Many Blessings exist – Morning Blessings, Blessings on Aromas, Blessing on Mitzvot and After Blessings, blessings for good health. These blessings help not only establish a connection with G-d but also help a person be grateful, be appreciative and appreciate life more.

A small section of laws of Judaism – all related to improving ones relation with family, friends, community and Hash-m / G-d.

Saying Sorry – Making Peace Whether You Are Right or Wrong

I’m Sorry

Two words. But often so difficult to say. I want to be right. If I am right why should I say sorry.

I think “I apologize” might be a bit easier to say. Why? Apparently, the word “apologize” is less comprehensible by others – so it feels as if I’m not admitting my guilt as much.

Whatever you like “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” – they are words we should practice to make peace between our fellows.

G-d wants Peace

Just like parents want peace between siblings, G-d wants peace between our brothers – our fellow Jews.

Ok. Inside I have no desire to make peace with this person that insulted me or took money from me or embarrassed me.  It is his fault not mine.

Asking Others to Explain Wrongdoing

The Torah says – if someone wronged you – so go up to them and in a private conversation – say “Dan, I was really hurt by your firing me, can you justify your actions – I want to be on good terms.” Talk it out. At times you only play the movie of the negative action in your head, but perhaps he or she did what you would have done if you were in their shoes.

Or remember that everything comes from G-d / Hash-m. If someone fired you, this person was just the messenger. G-d really decided that that person was to lose their job for a positive purpose. Now in your new position and see if it was worthwhile being fired – you found a better job, didn’t you? And even if you didn’t one day you will be able to see the good in that difficulty.

Taking Load off Your Heart

I read somewhere that a person was angry with another person because he embarrassed him when he was Bar Mitzvah’ed. His hatred spread to hating all people similar to the one who embarrassed him. He lived his life with a grudge in his heart because he generalized his hatred. He lived with hatred, instead of peace. I’m sure if he would have went up to the person who embarrassed him, that person would have apologized or at least explained his actions. Better to live with peace than hatred.

Good Blood

Hatred is not good for the soul or the health. Gratuitous hatred may cause a person stress or, G-d forbid, even illness. In French when someone has hatred – we call it “Se faire de Mauvais Sang” – literally “to make bad blood.” The English term is also used. Having Hatred causes bad blood. Make peace and have good blood.

All said and good. But I don’t feel like making peace.

The Emotions that Impede Peace

OK. I don’t feel like searching for a new Job, but I have to feed my family. G-d wants me to have peace with my fellow, so I have to be bold and overcome my reticence and do it. Just get over with it.

A person should apologize to someone they had a tiff with in any cast e. (This is providing that the person is angry because of a tiff. If a person hated because you exist – like many anti-semites – you cannot make peace with them because there is no solution to removing their hatred.)

Saying Sorry in Any Case

If you had a tiff with someone and you are right it is much easier to say I’m sorry. My sorry is because I want to make peace. There is always a reason to apologize even if you were right, because you may have said some hurting words. If I was wrong, I should say sorry because I did something wrong.

What you might think is nothing major to you, may be major to someone else. Someone I heard was upset because their friend did not send them a birthday card. I sometimes forget my birthday. But others think it is important that you think of them.

Live a healthier life. Live a peaceful life. Remove Hatred from your heart.