The Proper Response to Mazal Tov or Any Blessing for that Matter

Words have power.

Jewish people are constantly giving blessings. A boy or girl is born. “Mazal Tov!” / A good fortune!  An engagement! “You should have lots of Nachas / Nachat!” (Satisfaction) or “Build a Bayit Ne’eman Be Yisrael” / faithful home among the people of Israel!

When they meet. “Hatzlacha! / Success!” You hear someone got a new job. “Mazal Tov! Parnassa Tova!” / A good income! A Bar Mitzvah! “He should grow up to be a big Talmid Chacham!” / Torah Scholar. At a Brit / Bris Milah / Circumcision! She Yizkeh leGodlo beTorah, Huppah UMaasim Tovim. You should merit bring him up with Torah, Marriage and good Deeds.

What is a common answer to a blessing? “Thank You!” or “You Too.”

What is this like – A person gives you a check for $1,000,000. You say thank you very much. You don’t deposit it. You don’t endorse it. You don’t use it. One day you wake up and find the check hidden at the end of your office supplies drawer. “Wow I never deposited it?” You look at the date – 6 Months have passed. You don’t remember the giver. You really need the money. I guess you’ll learn for next time.

A Blessing has the power to affect the positive or negative. Prayer to G-d / Hash-m will have some kind of positive effect – either on the person you pray for or another person.

But you can make it more effective by “endorsing the check.” A blessing is a bit like a check – if you endorse and deposit it, it will appear in your account.

How do you endorse a blessing? You say “Amen.”

To return the blessing – we usually reply – “Vekhen LeMar” וכן למר

This means “and also for the master” implying the person who made the blessing.

So you receive the Blessing. You say “Amen. VeKhen Lemar.”

Now since they are recieving the same blessing of “Vekhen LeMar” The person who initially gave the blessing should also respond “Amen.”

 

Don’t Let Your Tears Go to Waste on Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make Peace

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

Is it worth it? I think not.

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

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

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

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

The Most Powerful word to find Truth – Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Why do you do Anything? What is Your Gain?

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

News is Depressing

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

The News Preachers

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

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

The Companies Interest

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

Appealing to the Lowest Common Denominator

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

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

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

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

Removing News as a Distraction

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

The Point – Don’t Waste Time on the Secondary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Guarding the Eyes – Saving the World. How Modesty Saves Your World.

The Torah teaches control. Control of our eyes, our mouth, our hands, our ears, our emotions and even our nose. We avoid looking at immodest dressed people – to avoid temptation. We avoid looking at the face of a wicked person – his face might have an effect on our spirituality. We avoid looking at the standing grain of a fellow in order to spare his field from an evil eye.

In an older post we mentioned a story:

Guarding One’s Eyes & Protecting Lives

Once a man was sitting in the front of a bus. A woman boarded the bus dressed immodestly. He turned his glance to refrain from looking. Another woman came on, and he closed his eyes again. He decided to go to the back of the bus.

Being tired, he slumbered. He dreamed that there was a bomb under his seat. Upon awaking, he dismissed it from his mind. Slumbering again, he had the same dream. When he decided to check under his seat he saw a package with wires emerging. He immediately notified the driver and all were evacuated from the bus. When all passengers were off, the bomb exploded.

Shortly after, the man went to see a great Jewish sage – Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira – the Baba Sali. Baba Sali explained the incident – the bus was to explode causing great damage. But when the man did two acts of guarding his eyes, he created two protecting angels. The angels pleaded before G-d and said – You can’t let this bus explode, there is a righteous person on the bus. For this the man had two dreams and the bus was saved.

This man saved a bus load of people by his avoiding looking at immodesty. Obviously it works both ways – a woman who dresses modestly also gets tremendous reward.

Guarding Eyes Gives You Tangible Reward in this World

These are the general rewards. Guarding ones eyes also makes a person more refined and helps them to maintain a closer relationship with Hash-m.  One of the things Hash-m dislikes is immodesty and immorality. When it is present – he “leaves” so to speak. The feeling of being void of G-d’s presence is a punishment in itself.

Another outcome of guarding one’s eyes and being modest is a physical reward in this world. A person who guards his eyes will not be attracted by a woman that may be beautiful on the outside, but her character traits leave much to be desired. A person gets used to looks, but a scathing personality is difficult to get used to. A person who marries for beauty – have more of a chance of divorce – because the physical attractiveness may be there – but the basis to build a healthy, meaningful and growing relationship with another may be lacking.

A woman who is modest in dress and attitude attracts people of the same kind. A man that appreciates her for her inner qualities – rather than someone who loves the shell but not the pearl inside. In the end she also will have a greater relationship with the man she ends up marrying – because he will appreciate her for her inner and  outer qualities – making for a better long-term relationship with her spouse in marriage.

The Test of the Internet

Unfortunately internet has made it more difficult to guard ones eyes. Putting a filter on the internet will help – but also safeguarding smartphones from immodesty is also a wise investment. See our previous article on safeguarding children and adults from internet.

Seeing Great Spiritual Sights

There was a rabbi who once covered his eyes for seven years to avoid seeing immodesty and impropriety. When he took off his covering – he was able to see things spiritually that others could not. Another man heard about this and decided also to cover his eyes for 7 years to be able to get he same benefit. He did so. Yet when he finished his shielding his eyes from the exterior, he was not able to see wondrous spiritual sights. He asked the rabbi why he did not merit to also to see these great sights. The rabbi responded “I covered my eyes to not see [immodesty]. You covered your eyes to see! [spiritual sights]”

Nowadays every small effort makes a difference. May we merit great spiritual sights and levels from our small, sincere efforts to guard the Torah. Amen.

TGIM – Thank G-d It’s Monday – Why You Feel Good to Go to Work

Why are people basically happy to work?

Anthropologists study and theorize. Difficult to believe that 1) we evolved from an amoeba and now because of 2) survival of the fittest we want to work. Both theories leave much to be desired. Theory 1 is utterly illogical. Theory 2 is leaves much to be desired. I would think the fittest would want to rest after all these years. 🙂

The Torah tells it like it is.

The Torah says that G-d created the world. He implanted in each human a soul. This soul wants to do the will of G-d. But He also created a force inside a person that offers advice to follow temptation rather than reason. How do you know the difference? Study your respective commandments.

There is a commandment for all people in the world. To build the world (Lishuvu Shel Olam / הדינין לישובו של עולם) It is Part of the 30 commandments for all humanity of the 7 Major categories of laws for Gentiles – called the 7 Noahide Laws of the Torah.

Going to work builds the world. Thus a person who works gets a mitzvah.

When a person does a Mitzvah / commandment from the Torah – they feel satisfied inside. They satisfy their soul.

That’s why you feel good when you work.

What’s the proof?

Abraham Herzberg’s Theory of motivation.

He said at work there are Motivators and Hygiene factors.

The Motivators – Motivate people to work. With them present people are satisfied and motivated.

The Hygiene factors – if not present – a person may be dissatisfied. But if they are present it will not increase the satisfaction of the work.

Motivators or Job Factors include
Achievement
Recognition
Work itself
Responsibility
Advancement
Growth

Hygiene Factors include
Company policy and administration
Supervision
Relationship with supervisor
Work conditions
Salary
Relationship with peers
Personal life
Relationship with subordinates
Status
Security

With accomplishment at work one builds the world. With the work itself one builds the world. Thus a person is satisfied because he is doing a mitzvah.

A gentile observes 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. A Jew observes the 613 commandments from the Torah.

Each observing their respective commandments, gain satisfaction.

TGIM.

One Thing to Do to Beat Procrastination – and Why it Works

How to beat procrastination. Take one cup of cold water. Put ice inside. Add lemon and sugar.

Yes that is the solution. Kind of.

You know the dictum. When Life gives you lemons make lemonade.

I like the saying “The pessimist sees the glass half empty. The optimist drinks it.”

Be positive. Be proactive. Be Productive.

To get over procrastination – apparently you have to understand what is procrastination and why people do it.

Hash-m gave us the Torah and inside is the secret to all. Even how to beat procrastination.

This is the secret to beat procrastination – for at least a while: Do something small that you like to do to prompt you to get started on project.

King David used to get up and go out with the intention to go to enjoy entertainment. When he passed the Beit HaMidrash / House of Torah Study – he would quickly jump in to study Torah.

He would trick his evil inclination. The evil inclination wants him to be idle. Not to accomplish. To waste time.

So he would get started by doing something his evil inclination wanted – to waste time and then he jumped into something that he really wanted to do – to learn Torah.

Apparently the same applies for procrastination from work. It is a great Mitzvah to work. It is the mitzvah of building the world. This mitzvah applies to Jews and Gentiles.

One of the 30 laws of the greater category of the 7 Noahide laws is to not let the world be barren. To build the world. That’s one reason why people procrastinate. Because it is such a great Mitzvah / commandment to work – so the evil inclination prevents him or her with all sorts of excuses. That’s why a person feels badly when they waste time.

Obviously taking a break once in a while to be more productive later is also a mitzvah – but to waste a day, an hour, or a lifetime – is the evil inclination talking.

Just do it.

And you’re doing great.

The Four Sons of the Haggada. Which Son Are You? – The Ultimate Guide for Self-Improvement

“Blessed is Hashem. Blessed is He. That He gave Torah to His people Israel. The Torah talked about the four sons – one wise, one wicked, one one simple and one that doesn’t know how to ask.”

A person reading the Hagada on Passover will usually ask – who am I out of all these sons? Am I the Wise? The Wicked?

Really each one of us has a trait of each son in us. At times we fall to our temptations – so we have the trait of the wicked son. At time we act with wisdom – thus we are like the wise son. At times we act as the the other two.

So what is the solution? How do we Become more wise and less wicked, less simple and more ethically educated?

There is a concept in Torah Hash-m Makdim Refual LaMaka – Hash-m provides the cure before the illness.

The Ultimate Guide for Self-Improvement

What is the proper cure to having the attributes of the four sons – The Torah.

As first in the Hagada it says :

“Blessed is Hashem. Blessed is He. That He gave Torah to His people Israel.

then it says:

The Torah talked about the four sons – one wise, one wicked, one one simple and one that doesn’t know how to ask.”

 

 

The Difficulties of Life – Here to Make You, Not Break You

Rachel eloped. She married a shepherd that her father did not want her to marry. He wanted a person who knew Torah. She also wanted the same thing, but she looked at potential while her father looked at where the boy was now. She married a person who did not even know the alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet). The son of Kalba Savua, her father, was wealthy. He removed her from his support and her inheritance.

She married Akiva. Through delicate tact she convinced him to enroll in a Yeshiva. He did. They were so poor that she they slept in a barn-like shack. Their beds were made of straw. She being from a wealthy family was a bit disheartened. At that moment a poor person knocked on the door. “Please my friend can you spare some straw. My wife just gave birth and we don’t even have straw for the beds.” Akiva generously gave the straw he could spare. The incident gave them some Hizuk – strength to their morale.

“You see there are people who are even more needy than we.” Akiva said to his wife.

The truth was was that the poor person was Eliyahu HaNavi / Elijah the prophet who comes to the world to accomplish a mission for G-d. He came to them to give them Hizuk – by asking them for some straw.

The commentators ask a poignant question. “If G-d is sending Eliyahu – why not instead let him give Akiva and his wife a purse of gold coins?” Wouldn’t that make him happier?

I heard two answers to the question.

One answer is that by sending Eliyahu to ask for straw, it enabled Rabbi Akiva (as he was known later) to do kindness. It is kindness that really makes a person happy.

A Second answer is that if Eliyahu gave them gold coins, Akiva would not have become the great Torah scholar that he eventually became. The wealth would have made him and his wife focus more on materialism – that focus would have damaged his potential of becoming the Rabbi Akiva that he became. Eventually after 24 years of study away from home R. Akiva came back home with 24,000 students.

If Akiva received gold perhaps he would have come back with only 23,000 students or maybe even none. A person – taking life with the right attitude – can excel in adversity. G-d sends difficulties do that you can overcome them. So that you can become closer to him. So that you can excel in Torah and Mitzvot. And so that – through Torah and Mitzvot – you can become the greatest person you can become.

Meaning – the difficulties in life are here to make you – not break you. G-d only sends a person what they can handle. And all challenges that one encounters is for one’s own good. G-d is good. One reason why people have sufferance – is to help them achieve and better themselves. A person who always had all they needed – may become haughty and/or ungrateful. Sufferance may bring them back to humility and appreciation.

You have to be creative enough to see the good. Bold enough to follow a path – guided by Torah – that will make you a new person.

Don’t look at difficulty as a negative thing. Look at it as an opportunity to improve yourself and your life.

The Apple & the Secret to Self-Appreciation, Meaningful Living & Communication

In the center of the Mizbeach / Altar in Mishkan / Tabernacle – after burning the offerings – the Cohanim would place the ashes in a pile. This was called the Tapuach – the apple – because it resembled half of an apple. There was a Mitzvah to remove ithe wastes before starting the new day’s offerings. This service was called the terumat hadeshen.

The Altar had several pyres of fire. The fire on the mizbeach represents a man’s soul. At times it is covered with ashes – which cause the fire of spirituality and desire for closeness with G-d to wane. Our Job is to remove these external impediments to help us develop a closer relationship with Hash-m / G-d.

Two ways to deeper Self-Appreciation

The process of becoming closer to ourselves is twofold. One goal is to remove impediments. A second goal is to dig deeper into who we really are deep inside.

This process applies to discovering ourselves and to communicating with others.

The Danger of TV – Superficial Family Relations

Our communication with others is mostly superficial. “How are you?” Do we really care or are we making polite conversation. The problem is not strangers. The problem is our close relatives and friends. Do we prefer gathering around a screen munching snacks and fruits than getting to know our children?

Unfortunately the opportunity cost of TV and computer time is less profound relations with children, spouses, siblings and parents. But the point of this article is not to bash TV. It is to remind ourselves that our job in life is to develop deep and meaningful relations with others.

I saw a cute cartoon. A man was on his deathbed with his family surrounding him. His last words were “I wish I would have watched more TV.”

No one regrets TV. People do regret not having more deep family relations.

So we fall prey to the superficial. What the other was wearing. What was a great restaurant. Fine. Stay on that level – but lose out on meaning.

In Pirkei Avot (4:20) – it Says

Elisha ben Abuya says: One who learns as a child is compared to what? To ink written on new parchment. And one who learns as an elder is compared to what? To ink written on scraped parchment.

 

Rabbi Yose bar Yehuda, man of Kfar HaBavli, says: One who learns from young ones is compared to what? To one who eats unripe grapes and drinks wine from its press. And one who learns from elders is compared to what? To one who eats ripe grapes and drinks aged wine. Rebbi says: Do not look at the jug but rather at what is in it. For there are new jugs full of old, and old that do not have even new within them.

Rebbi reveals a secret about learning. “Do not look at the Jug or container – but rather at what is in it”. You can have a young Torah scholar – that has much to teach and an old man that has no Torah knowledge.

Rebbi’s statement also reveals to us the secret to communication, self-appreciation and meaningful living. Don’t look at superficial appearance – dig deeper and look inside.

Let’s apply his statement to each.

Successful Communication

Want more successful communication? Don’t look at the only the words that come out of a person’s mouth or actions – try to understand their needs. There is a child that causes trouble – because they want attention. They do things because they want a reaction from you. They would rather a negative reaction than total ignoring from your part. If you were attuned to the child or spouse’s needs you would not be getting flustered by your relationship or conversations.

Write down on paper – what you think the other person’s needs are 1) In general 2) in particular.

It is simple for a child who is causing trouble. Their need in general is 1) Attention. Love. Appreciation. Their need at the moment is 2) Having fun with a parent.

The Rice experiment of ..  He had three containers of rice with water. He spoke to one nicely. The Other he spoke negatively and the third he ignored. The one he spoke to nicely after a period remained white. The one he spoke negatively became black. The one he ignored  became moldy.

Don’t Look at the container (the words) look at what is in it (the needs of the person).

Marshall Rosenberg was able to settle a 35 year old marital dispute within 20 minutes after each one recognized the other’s needs.

Self-Appreciation and appreciation of others

People Judge other’s and themselves harshly. They think they are bad. The fact that a person feels guilty for a thing they did bad – shows that they realize that they did bad and because they feel guilty – they are actually good. Bad people don’t feel remorse – they rationalize that the bad they did was good. Also one can always do teshuva / repent if they missed the mark.

At times a child or other does an act. They spill the ice cream on the floor. The child was trying to serve their younger sibling. You can either look at the negative – they spilled the ice cream or that they were trying to help their brother.

Don’t look at the container – look at what is in it – he tried to help. Praise him for that.

Praise yourself for your good aspects. The Torah wants you to be happy about yourself. The more positive you are – the more you can accomplish.

More Meaning

Abraham Herzberg wrote an article about motivation of employees in the Harvard Business Journal. He found that employees are satisfied by a job because of certain factors. But become dissatisfied because of the lacking of other factors.

The factors that caused satisfaction were called Motivators. The factors causing dissatisfaction were called Hygiene factors.

Two-factor theory distinguishes between:

  • Motivators (e.g. challenging work, recognition for one’s achievement, responsibility, opportunity to do something meaningful, involvement in decision making, sense of importance to an organization) that give positive satisfaction, arising from intrinsic conditions of the job itself, such as recognition, achievement, or personal growth.

  • Hygiene factors (e.g. status, job security, salary, fringe benefits, work conditions, good pay, paid insurance, vacations) that do not give positive satisfaction or lead to higher motivation, though dissatisfaction results from their absence. The term “hygiene” is used in the sense that these are maintenance factors. These are extrinsic to the work itself, and include aspects such as company policies, supervisory practices, or wages/salary.

Meaning comes from contributing to a better world or a bettering a company. Doing an activity that helps you pass the time doesn’t usually bring you deep satisfaction. It helps you pass the moment in an agreeable way.

It is interesting to note that there is a commandment from the Torah (for Jews and non-Jews) to build the world. By working and doing an honest job helps to build the world. Thus we see that the list of Motivators above – are linked to the commandment of building the world. Meaning that achieving meaning is linked to following the commandments of the Torah. The Jews the 613 commandments found in the Shulchan Aruch. And for Gentiles is following the 7 Noahide laws of the Torah.

When we look deeper in to ourselves, others and the purpose of life – we find a more beautiful world out there.