The Enemy Between You & Your Spouse (or Friend)

I was listening to a shiur / Lecture of Rabbi Meir Eliyahu (in Hebrew) on the subject of Improving Personal Character traits (הרב מאיר אליהו | תיקון המידות שלך | משכן יהודה – התשפ״ב) . He talked about a small pamphlet he picked up in Florida on Kiruv / to motivate a person to do teshuva. He said the pamphlet talked about Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t know the story. But apparently – Alice ate a mushroom. Then she fell asleep. When she woke up – she saw a cat. The cat asked her “Where do you want to go? – right or left.” She responded “I don’t know.” The cat then said to her “If you don’t know where you want to go – any path will get you there.”

That was the message – that if a person has no goal, or objective in life he or she will follow any path and apparently get to no where special. If a person has goals – it will help them to achieve in life.

The Torah provides many mitzvot (commandments) for Jews (613 commandments) and Non-Jews. (7 Noahaide Laws). These laws allow a person to achieve several things – a pleasant life – the ways of Torah are ways of pleasantness. A life of connection to oneself, to others and G-d. A life of meaning. A life that has purpose and where one achieves purpose. Rabbi Eliyahu mentions that in a Sefer / of the Vilna Gaon – he says that the purpose of life is to break one’s character traits. If a person is an angry person – G-d wants him or her to become a more calm person. If they are stingy – they are to work on becoming more generous.

My Rebbe used to say – a person’s mind should control his heart – not the other way around. The way of Torah is of Peace.

So now you know. Your goal – break those bad character traits. Assure peace in the Home. Try to act pleasant.

Rabbi Eliyahu said that one who yields to the will of others (in things not against Torah) will live longer. It makes logical sense – because he or she will let things slide, let it pass, not take it personally – and live a less stressful life. But also Has-m will grant the person a longer life. In the Zohar – Rav Krospedai died. He, a great scholar, told the heavenly court – he was cut off in the prime of his life, he had much more correcting to do. He wanted to come back in the same body. They granted him his wish. Why? Because he was Maavir al Midotav – he “passed over his character traits” – ie, he let things go. He held no grudges. He forgave and forgot.

Ok – so where is that enemy?

The Torah teaches us of our greatest enemy. It is an enemy that wants our destruction in this world and the next. He is the snake. He is that voice in your head – telling you “don’t take that from your spouse”, “answer them back”, “put them back in their place” and the such to create quarrel – not peace. We call it the “Yetzer HaRa'” / the evil inclination.

Everyone has one. The greater the person the greater the Yetzer. Before this entity was a physical snake. When Hava / Eve and Adam ate from the tree of Knowledge it became ingrained in her and him.

So now you have an enemy – the Yetzer HaRa. Your wife has the same enemy – the Yetzer HaRa’. Think of this – let’s say you had an acquaintance that was a family acquaintance. He or she would come to your house. When your wife would have a qualm – they would rile her up and add fuel to the fire. When you were upset – they would do the same to you to escalate the heated exchange to higher heights.

The smart person would not get angry at their spouse. They would kick that acquaintance out of the house. Your new option – don’t get back at your spouse – kick the Yetzer HaRa’ out of the house – your mind. He/She instigates – you cool things down. He tells you get angry – you think “If I answer her/him back – I will not have peace for 10 hours. (or more) I might as well swallow my pride and do something more productive with my time.”

Hash-m also gave us the Yetzer HaTov – Good inclination – telling you “calm down”, “be patient”, “this will also pass”, “say something to calm things down”, “create peace”.The idea is to listen to the Yetzer HaTov – not the Yetzer HaRa’.

Do it for a more peaceful existence. And Remember to learn Mussar – Jewish ethical works like Pirkei Avot – and your headed on the right path.

 

 

 

Learning Lessons from Lego

It was a camp raffle. The prize – a new Lego set – Truck and command center. The little boy davened / prayed to Hash-m. He won.

He asked his father to build it with him.

His father – reluctantly followed him to the Lego set sprawled out on the sheet.

When he started he got into building. The father started telling his son “pass me this piece.” until finally he finished the truck.

Nice True story.

What do you learn?

Firstly – it is important to connect with children. It is not just giving them the toy – but helping them to build it. You are not just building Lego. You are building a relationship. Connect with things that he or she are interested in.

Also – prayer of a pure child or a sincere prayer to Hash-m / G-d works. The child prayed & won the set. We can pray too – even for little things – a parking space, that you can find one more bottle of your favorite drink, that you pass that test…

Sometimes you don’t want to do something. You take the first step and you get into it. Many don’t want to step into an Orthodox synagogue. Take a step in. Ask the rabbi to learn something with you.

Things you can learn from Lego:

Build one vehicle at a time. – choose a task and concentrate on that task. Better to work on it than to multi task.

Dump the Lego pieces on a sheet – put all the pieces you need in one place so that you can easily complete the task and not lose one – or lose your time searching for it in the middle of a task.

Separate Lego into piles of similar colors. Then separate the large pieces and small pieces. This will help you find the pieces you search for more quickly. – Separate your tasks into similar tasks. separate large tasks ad small tasks. Do the easy tasks first. Or break the big tasks into digestible smaller tasks. When you see the small tasks – the big task doesn’t see the task as so daunting.

It says in the Torah – I forgot the source – that when people will go to the next world – the achievers and non-achievers will cry. The achievers will see all that they accomplished as a big mountain and cry and say – wow I can’t believe I accomplished all that.

The non-achievers will see what they could have accomplished as a small mound and cry and say – wow i didn’t know it was so easy to accomplish that which I thought was so hard.

You can do it. Just break it down and take the first step.

See Smiles in Your Life

I am driving back home – slightly rushed. Going down the street, I encounter the slow driver. Ok. Test of Patience. I can handle it.

Obviously they are driving slow enough for me to get caught behind the red light.

I am patient. I look up and it seems that in the red circle of the traffic light – there is a smiley face. I look closer and think “Yes that is a smiley face.”

I take out my camera to snap a picture.

The light turns green. Lost opp to take a picture of the smiley face. But at least the light is green.

Light is green? Be happy.

Light is red. See the Smiles in Your life.

Dear Rabbi – Why Can’t I Find Love?

People Love You

People Love You.

Look Around. Your Father. Your Mother.

You Should Love Yourself.

Hash-m / G-d Loves You.

He Love’s You More than You Can Imagine.

Why Can’t I Find My Soul Mate?

But Apparently the Question is – Let me Rephrase it –  “Why Can’t I Find My Soul Mate?”

I hear once that a man has 7 potential mates that are his soulmate. One is called his Bashert – the one that will help him the most to reach his potential in his Torah and Mitzvot and Avodat Hash-m/ Service of G-d.

Personally, it took me about 10 years to find my soul mate. I started in a home with a traditional lifestyle. Observing Shabbat, Kashrut / Keeping Kosher, going to Orthodox Shul on Shabbat. Torah was good to learn. I had my period of movies, discoteque, bars, dancing and the like – while I was traditional. Slowly I became more Shabbat Observant. I became more Kosher and started placing more emphasis on learning Torah – meaning making it a regular part of my daily life.

When I decided to go to a Yeshiva to learn Torah – I met my soul mate.

Reinforcing Yourself in Torah Spirituality

Apparently, Hash-m waited for me to reach a certain level of Torah observance for me to meet my bashert. That was my path. Others follow different paths.

But I do recommend a person strengthen their Torah Judaism before getting married – to get a mate that has their main focus on family growth through Torah – than going to ball games and fancy vacations.

Why Torah?

Torah is the word of Hash-m.

Torah will Bring You What You want to Be – Yourself.

Torah will Bring You Where You want to Be – Your Potential.

That act of Torah growth might be the clincher that Hash-m awaits.

But then again there are many people who have achieved significant growth and are still looking for love.

Not Finding – What to Look For – the Proper Criteria

What is their solution?

Apparently is to have proper criteria – to search someone from a good family, that has good character traits / middot, that will raise a family in Torah & mitzvot, that will send their children to a Torah day school, that will appreciate growth in Torah.

But once that is in order – now what?

Find someone that you can get along with. That you can talk to. Someone that you feel shares your values, goals and interests spiritually and materially.

I know of people who were on the verge of getting married – wedding invitations sent – and broke up last minute. Why? They realized that they had different goals. G-d sometimes allows a person to meets someone to learn something from them – but they are not in their ballpark of getting married. Perhaps the mate is too materialistic – but has a positive outlook in life. Or they act kindly – but have bad character traits.

Don’t Be Surprised

Do your research before you get married. Don’t be surprised after marriage.

I heard the divorce rate in the Jewish Torah community is around 10% as opposed to 50% in the secular world. Why? Apparently one reason is their method – they do research on the potential mate before meeting them. They treat dating as seriously as one would search for a key employee in their company. They get resumes, call references, call friends, family rabbis, school teachers – the works. Then if all is in order they decide to date. More research – less surprises latter on.

What is Love? Defining Love

Before finding love or anything for that matter – define what is love. Love is appreciation of the other for what they are and not for what you can get from them. The love of “this guy or girl can get me a diamond ring” or “will impress my friends” and the like is not love it is “self-interest” which can quickly come to an end when the significant other doesn’t produce. See Pirke Avot – or search for “fish love” on this site.

Robust Design – Good Middot

I studied quality assurance in university. One aspect of quality in product quality is called “Robust Design”. A long time ago – for my consulting company called mc2 – (mc squared) – I wrote a paper explaining 114 ways for a company to improve its quality. Number 53 sates:

53) Use Robust Designs – this is a method of designing products that allow for variations in parts without decreasing performance.

Many quality concepts can be used to improve an individual. We use Mussar / ethical works – like Pirkei Avot – but apparently you can also learn from quality assurance to become a better quality individual. A person with good middot will let things pass. They won’t demand control, materialism, respect, or other things. They will yield / be mevater. That is similar to robust design. Take shock absorbers they function to allow a car to hit a pothole without breaking the wheel. A person could take example – allowing slights to themselves without breaking the relationship.

Searching for worked on People

Meaning search for good middot.

Finding a person that you can appreciate helps you to find love. If what you discover from the partner turns you off – it might mean that your initial choice was not a best choice. Or maybe it was and G-d gave you a challenging mate to help you become a better person.

How to Write – the Right Answer

Some write and give you the answer to your question in the first paragraph. Some will give you an intro to allow you to absorb concepts before you get your answer. Here is one answer to the question:

Why Can’t I Find Love?

I was recently at a Jewish wedding – where we make Seven blessings for the newlywed couple. The rabbi said a beautiful Dvar Torah / Torah word on Marriage. He said in the Sheva Berachot / Seven blessings we make – the fifth and sixth blessing (In Talmud Tractate : Ketuvot 8a) are:

The fifth blessing is: Bring great joy to these loving friends, as You gave joy to Your creations in Eden in ancient times. Blessed are You, Lord, Who brings joy to the groom and bride.

 

The sixth blessing is: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has created joy and gladness, groom and bride, delight, exultation, happiness, jubilation, love and brotherhood, and peace and friendship. Soon, Lord our God, may there be heard in the cities of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the sound of the groom and the sound of the bride, the joyous sound of grooms from their wedding canopy and of young people from their feast of song (see Jeremiah 33:11). Blessed are You, Lord, Who makes the groom rejoice with the bride.

Friendship in Marriage

He said that the fifth blessing starts with friendship and the sixth ends with friendship. He mentioned that the blessings express a progression in the relationship of the couple. First It calls their relationship – “loving friends.” The relationship progresses from being loving friends to joy and gladness, then to groom and bride, on to delight, exultation, happiness, jubilation, love and brotherhood, and peace and reaches its peak at friendship.

The Torah that expresses the essence of a thing – calls the pinnacle of a couple – friendship.

So? It teaches us that one’s spouse – to be a successful marriage – is also to be their best friend. If their is no friendship – apparently more work needs to be done to achieve the proper attitude in marriage.

Another major point is – sometimes I suggest a potential mate to a person. Some answer – “No – I can’t marry them – they are my friend.” Perhaps they are giving me a nice answer to say they are not interested. But if their lack of interest is really because “they are friends” – that is exactly what the Torah considers as the foundation for a successful marriage. I then express that “I think that good friends make good marriage partners.” Unfortunately – it usually falls on deaf ears. Unfortunately many remain single till today.

I criticize not. I just think that a person should widen the scope of their considerations once the basics are met – as mentioned above.

Hash-m Guides the World

To help a person find the right mate – one should pour out their heart to Hash-m expressing their desire to build a beautiful Jewish home. And beseech Him to help you find the right mate to achieve your goal.

G-d’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye. Believe and G-d will help you achieve.

In the synagogue today – I found a pamphlet named “NO LONGER ALONE” from Breslev – that mentioned several things a person can do (accompanied by sincere prayer) if they are having difficulty in finding a mate:

 

1. Recite the Torah reading of the Nessiim / Jewish princes (Numbers 7:1 through 7:89) and then pray with your heart to find a proper mate in Hash-m’s Eyes.

Take to heart the advice of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, “A person who finds it difficult to get married should recite regularly the passage of the offerings of the princes of Israel.”

and/or

2. Read The paragraphs on the splitting of the sea / Az Yashir Moshe (Exodus 15:1-15:19.)  daily and then pray with your heart to find a proper mate in Hash-m’s Eyes. It mentions:

Every morning in the Shacharit prayer, we recite “Az Yashir,” the song that the Jews sang at the Splitting of the Red Sea. When you say this
poem, read it with intense feeling. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said, “A person who is having trouble finding his marriage partner should recite ‘Az Yashir’ with great feeling.”
When you recite this song, imagine that you
are standing at the Red Sea at the time of the
splitting, and that in gratitude to G-d for this
miracle you begin to sing to Him.

The Zohar praises this song, saying, “Az Yashir
is greater than all other songs. The Zohar also
points out the mystical depth of “Az Yashir” in its
statement, “This song was woven of the twenty-
two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, corresponds
to the Ten Commandments, and expresses G-d’s
holy Names.”
Therefore, sing this song to G-d daily as though
you are standing among all the Jews at the Splitting
of the Red Sea. At that time, our Rabbis: say, “G-d’s
presence was revealed in the aspect of a young
man, so to speak. Then, “the righteous women
were the first to become aware of His presence.”
Recite this song exactly as though you are
now standing at the Red Sea shore. Then
you will merit to find your marriage partner.

and/or

3. Sincere Prayer -pray with an outpouring and sicnere heart to Hashem.

My dear sons and daughters! Please be
strict with yourself and pray to G-d every
day. The worth which prayer is accorded in
heaven is unsurpassed, and beyond human
comprehension.
In particular, when a person cries, his
penetrates all veils and shatters all walls. Our
Rabbis say, “The Gates of Tears are never locked.”60
The Tanach testifies that Hannah “prayed at
length’ “( I Samuel 1:10.) for a son, whom she was granted. Our Rabbis conclude, “From here we see that whoever prays extensively is answered.”
Again, our Rabbis state, “The prayer of
righteous people is comparable to a hind. Just as
a hind’s horns continue to split as long as the
hind is alive, so also, as long as righteous people
pray, their prayers are heard.”(. Yoma 29a.)

A couple more points – a person should not pray for a particular person to marry. He or she should pray that Hash-m finds them the best mate for them in Hash-ms eyes that will help them to reach their potential in serving Hash-m.

Once we were about to buy a house. I agreed on the price with the seller. I signed all the papers. I delivered the papers to the seller’s lawyer. My lawyer and his lawyer had a disagreement – and the deal was off. Shortly afterwards we found a much better house for a similar price.

Have faith in Hash-m, pray, make your effort and He will help you.

The Intelligent Design Test

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

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

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

Let’s examine Intelligent Design.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does it have Music? Yes.
Birds make music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wisdom & the Menorah

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

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

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

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

4) The knowledge of biology

5) Music

6) Metaphysics… (philosophy)  and

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

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

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

I came up with a new law of Intelligent Design:

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

or to make it simple – here is one question:

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

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

in any case

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

The Dog Walkers Dilemma

At our synagogue we sometimes lack one or two people for a minyan. A minyan is a quorum (group) of 10 Jewish men that can say certain prayers together.

I take to the streets. One of the common sites are the dog walkers. I ask them politely – “Do you happen to be Jewish?” Some say yes, some say no, some don’t answer.

Some try to avoid me.

I don’t know why – Covid is basically over 🙂

But let’s examine what is going through their mind. Let’s zoom in to their brain.

Guy in Street’s Brain: “What does that guy want from me? Perhaps he is going to ask me for a favor? OK. I can do that as long as it is not to heavy.”

Me: “Hi sir do you happen to be Jewish?”

Guy in Street’s Brain: “OK. I’ll answer truthfully.” Speaks: “Yes – how can I help you?”

Me: “We’re missing one person to complete a Minyan – can you help us? Someone has to say Kaddish.” (The Mourner’s Prayer for a lost relative.)

Now comes the Dilemma that goes through his mind in a split second:
“Should I continue walking my dog? My dog needs its attention and daily walk. I got this dog to feel that I am a caring person. And taking Care of an animal is caring.”

“Or Should my caring of the dog just be training for becoming a better person towards humans. I can care for the Dog – but I also have to care for people. G-d did put me in this world for a reason. Is walking the dog what I hope to accomplish in life – or becoming a more caring individual – now through helping an Orthodox synagogue help a person to say Kaddish for a deceased love one?”

It’s not only Dog walkers. We all have to make these decisions daily.

Walk away or help a fellow Jew – you decide.

Judaism Will Free You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Torah is what will free you.

The Difference between the Wise and the Intelligent

In parashat Korach – Korach made a rebellion against Moshe Rabeinu / Moses. Rashi there asks Korach was Pikeach / intelligent – what made him do this folly [of rebellion]. He answers the question.

Two points – one – a person will only sin if a spirit of folly enters into him. Meaning if a person was completely rational he or she would not sin. Emotions get in the way to clear thought. Thus one’s mind – in Judaism controls their heart. Not the other way around.

A second point – what is intelligence?

A rabbi – Rabbi Mandel – told a story to illustrate it. Once a youn man wanted to enter into the wagon driving business. He approached a seasoned driver and asked him to teach him the trade. The man asked the apprentice “What do you do if your wagon goes in the mud?” He relied – “First I would unload the passengers and try to get out with the horses.” “What if that didn’t help?” He replied “I would then remove the baggage.” “And if that would not avail?” “I would get out and push.”

The driver responded “Sorry. You failed the test.” “What. What should I have done?!” the boy asked. “You should not have gotten into the mud in the first place.”

The difference between an intelligent person and a wise person. An intelligent person will be able to figure out things. The wise will not fall into the problem in the first place.

In Pirke Avot 2:9: it talks of The Path of Good & of Evil:

9. He [Rabban Yoh’anan ben Zackai]  said to them [his students] – go out & see which is the good path to which a person should adhere. Rabbi Elie’zer says: A good eye. Rabbi Yehoshua’ says: A good friend. Rabbi Yossi says: A good neighbor. Rabbi Shimo’n says: One who foresees the outcome of his actions & Rabbi Ela’zar says: A good heart. He said to them I see the words of Rabbi Ela’zar ben A’rakh from your words – for included in his words are your words.

A word to the wise is to be wise.

A person who knows that certain buttons upset another person – don’t press them. Peace works better that quarrel.

 

Pulling a Card Out of the House of Cards – What Assumptions is Your Life Based Upon

Some people believe in ghosts and rid themselves of ghosts.

Some live with ghosts and let them haunt them throughout their lives.

Choosing to Live Healthy

A person chooses to rid themselves of their bad experiences. Yes people need to talk. Yes you can help others get over it. But ultimately it is the choice of a person to live their life based upon their belief system or assumptions.

Let’s bring it down to examples.

What Do You Assume that Influences You?

My friend told me that his mother didn’t want him playing in a small strip of trees behind his house about 10 feet wide. She told him “Don’t go in those trees. There are bears in there!” He lived on long island. Bears don’t roam Long Island. He was frightened enough to not enter the tree patch. He told me till today as an adult he is afraid of entering that small swath of trees.

“OK” we say “I am happy to say I am free of assumptions.”

The Belief in G-d

Let’s investigate. Let’s start with a simple one. Do we assume G-d exists or not. If one assumes a Guiding Force in the World – he or she will live life one way. One who does not believe will life differently. One who does not know will live a life of doubt.

Is My Religion True?

A Rabbi – Rabbi Ron Chaya [who speaks in French] was asked a question – does a particular religion have a basis for it’s truth?

Belief vs. Knowledge

Before answering he prefaced by asking – what is the difference between Belief and Knowing. He lifted a pen and said this Pen I know it exists. Belief means that I assume it exists – but I could be wrong or I could be right. Knowledge is a higher level knowing. Belief is a much lower level.

Jews Know G-d

He said Jews don’t Believe that G-d exists – they know that G-d exists. He Mentioned that just as if A = B and B = C – then A = C, we know through many proofs that G-d surely exists.

Some proofs of G-d derived by answering simple questions life – How could the world come to existence through random molecules? Was a Human eye (or any eye for that matter) formed by random interactions of atoms. Or is it more likely that an Infinitely Wise Creator made man? Ask a statistician – how likely would it be that random molecules floating around will form a human eye.  As then – how probable statistically that more molecules came and randomly formed billions of eyes found in the world.

This is one proof. Many exist.

He answered poignantly – No religion has a basis for following it’s truth except for Torah Judaism. He explained that even non-belief is an assumption.

Live & Let Live

What does it matter?

Well imagine a family living a life with an assumption that they were poor. Little did they know that the stocks they had purchased as a young couple were worth millions of dollars. At retirement age they open the safe to find stocks worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They skimped pennies every day of their life, reused teabags, recycled cans to receive extra $2.00 a week. Pity – they could have used the money to help their unemployed son start a business. They could have paid for a nice house for their daughter – because they assumed they were poor.

Choose Truth

A person can live a life and in the end find truth. Yet at times their system is  so ingrained in their way of their life they would rather live falsity than deal with the ice cold truth.

The Three Word Question that Changes Lives

A person can be poor spiritually. They follow a lifestyle their entire life and in the end they find out the truth was to be found elsewhere. Some follow the religion of their parents – because their parents did it. Or because it is convenient. Or because it is politically correct. The main question we can use to break out of the assumptions of doom is 3 words “Is it truth?”

G-d is Smart

To say Mount Everest is a high mountain doesn’t do it justice. Calling G-d / Hash-m “Smart” doesn’t do Him justice. Everything you can imagine about his smartness – He is smarter. But to simplify things – Lets say “G-d is Smart.”

Obviously a smart being would give the possibility to any person in the world – be them simple or intelligent – to find the truth. Abraham, our forefather found it. But how can an average person find the truth?

I came up with 4 simple questions that can help any person find Truth

The 4 Questions to Break The House of Cards

Basically 4 questions can bring you to truth.

I’ll provide the questions:

  1. Is it more logical that the world was created by G-d or not? (I already provided one answer above)
  2. Did G-d Give a Law to people?
  3. What is that Law?
  4. Did G-d Change his mind?

You provide the answers. If you want the answers I came up with press here.

 

 

Food Prices Flying – Dealing With it the Jewish Way

Prices are flying. Eggs – someone told me – doubled their price. Good for you vegans. But for the non-vegans – what to do? Become vegan?

It seems like one of the prophesies of the time of Machiach is revealing itself – wine will be expensive.

Save? Hoard? Go on a diet?

The wisdom of Torah is greater than other wisdoms. Other wisdoms will tell you what to do from logic and point of view of the physical world. The Torah will explain what to do taking into account the metaphysical and spiritual world.

We explained before that – there is a physical nature in the world. A spiritual nature also exists. Do good – get good back. What goes around comes around is a Torah concept. It’s called Midah Keneged Midah.

Want to get – give. Want G-d to be generous – be generous with others.

Think of it. It is 180 degrees from what one would expect. If you only think of the physical world – it makes sense to reduce your spending on others. Torah it tells you do opposite. Spend for charity. Spend for the poor. You need two things also. Faith in Hash-m. Belief in the concepts of the Torah.

Obvious you are not obligated to go overboard. 10 percent to 20 percent of one’s income is the recommended average and maximum giving for for charity. What is spent for shabbat, Torah education and yom Tov is not included. Meaning if in Heaven they declared he or she would get 100K that year. They will get it. But if he is going to spend 20K for Shabbat and 40K for Orthodox Torah Day Yeshivas – he will receive $160K.

But let’s bring it down to be able to understand this concept on the physical or material plane. I told some people – an accountant or a bookkeeper should not be a company President or CEO. Why? Because if the company loses money – their obvious advice will be to reduce spending, use cheaper materials, cut corners.

The Marketing people will say – spend more for marketing, for salesmen, for better quality products, invest in new products. Spend more. Making less? Spend more.

If a person is losing money – check out his tzedaka giving. Obviously you should know what is charity. Someone will say good – I will give 10% to animal rights. Tzedaka has a very specific definition. It is for worthy, needy  people according to Torah, for Torah causes, for hachnassat Kallah – for helping to pay for a Kosher (not just the food) wedding for a couple in need.