Let’s Call a Spade a Spade – Don’t Call a Child “It”

Boys will be boys. Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice – that’s what Girls are made of.

The School of Political Correctness

Time to burn your Mother Goose books. Sorry did I say Mother Goose? “Mother” discriminates against the father. I mean Parent Goose.

No “parent” is also derogatory – just because they are older and gave birth to you should we discriminate against children and call them by this name? Let’s call them “adult caretakers”. No. “Adult” is discriminating against children. They should be equals. Let’s call them “older humans”. No that is discriminating. Why should we discriminate against the young. Let’s call them “big humans”. No that is discrimination because you discriminate against the small humans. Let’s call them just “humans”. No that is discriminating against animals. Lets just call humans and animals “it.”

Now that is a solution. Don’t call a president “president”. That is discriminating against those below him. You dare to call a person a principal? How dare you! That means that teachers are inferior. “Teacher?” – what an insult to the students. Please be politically correct. Just call everybody “it” and it will all be fine. “You”? that is discriminating against me. A Manhole? What kind of racism is that – call it a sewer hole. Sewer is a derogatory term – you are insulting the hole. Call it a cleaner thing. The ithole. Now you’re talking.

Manhattan? Let’s be correct and call it ithatten. That’s better. Manchester. Itchester. One small step for man one large leap for Mankind. Please edit that. One small step for it one large leap for itkind.

Parent teacher conference? Sorry. The It It conference. PTA? IIA! “The principal wants to meet with parents and teachers of children who have animals.” G-d forbid. “It wants to meet with its and its of its who have its.” Much better.

I hope you get the point.

Some people want to eliminate the terms “boy” and “girl”, “man” and “woman” – because it might be offensive to others and make them feel uncomfortable. It unlikely might insult this tremendously small part of the population.

Insulting the Many not to insult the minority

What bigger insult than calling a person made in G-d’s image “it”? So should we insult 99.999% of the population – to possibly not insult .001%. Sorry my friend. Doesn’t make sense to me.

But let’s put that point aside.

Calling People Neutral Names Lessens appreciation for others

Calling everybody by a non-gender or a neutral terminology will make people be less appreciated. If I call a principal “it” – it reduces my appreciation for all the work he or she went through to reach this position. If I call a parent “it” – it reduces my appreciation for all the toil they went through to bring up their children. If I call a teacher “it” – it reduces my appreciation for the hard work and sweat and dedication to the students.

If I call a girl or a “pink” an “it” – it reduces my appreciation for her unique qualities and her strengths. If I call a boy “it” or a “blue” – it reduces my appreciation for his unique qualities and his strengths. Calling a person an “it” – equates a person to an object. Women don’t like to be treated as objects. Rightfully so. Why Should children be treated as such?

Judaism says call everyone by their name. Don’t call them nicknames – that may be derogatory and make people feel uncomfortable. Act with Respect towards everyone. Appreciate them as a person. Appreciate their strengths. Be tolerant towards their differences. Call a Boy a Boy and appreciate them. Call a girl a girl and appreciate their uniqueness. Make them feel good by you validating them as a person. Don’t treat them as an object.

Decadence Masquerading as Political Correctness

Many years ago – our forefather Abraham – ridiculed idol worship. People would sacrifice children because they treated their children as objects to satisfy their lust for idolatry. Children should not be sacrificed today – for decadence masquerading as  “political correctness.”

Save Your Children. Appreciate them for who they are.

The Missed Opportunity – Why You Should Throw Your Phone Out the Window & Other Tech Junk While You’re at it

You’re at the dinner table. Your kid is there munching some cake. “Got to check my whatsapp for two minutes”. The kid finishes eating and walks away. You lift your head from the phone. “Where is he?”

You lost. You lost the opportunity to connect with one of the most important people in your life – your child. Why? For some video that someone with nothing to do sent you. Worth it?

Just Once? Not.

More than Once? Of Course Not.

When Values Backfire or Will Your Children Give You Grandchildren?

In Math class the top student was always first to answer the teacher’s math problems. No one could come close to his quickness in answering the questions. One friend asked him – “How did you become so smart – that you know the answers so quickly?” He replied “Simple – every day I come early to Math Class. I know the teacher will ask questions from the Math Textbook. I look up the answers in our teacher’s Teacher’s edition textbook and I repeat them in class.”

How to win Debates

I usually win ethical and philosophical debates.

Not necessarily because of my debating skills – but because I know which side of the argument to choose. I usually choose the Torah views. Thus I win the argument because I know that the Torah views are the views of G-d. He “thought out” the arguments already – I just have to provide reasons why G-d holds this way. I am like the student that looks up the answer in the Teacher’s Edition textbook.

The Torah is Hash-m’s / G-d’s guidebook. Eventually by choosing Torah views – if you think them out enough you will find out that these are most proper long-term values.

Torah – the Source of Tolerance

The Torah is the source of Tolerance in the world. Recently in last week’s parasha / Torah reading we learn that an evil gentile prophet – Bilaam is hired by King Balak to curse [sonai] Israel. He rides on a donkey. The Donkey veers off the path, crushes his foot into a wall and then stops at a narrow passageway.

Bilaam hits the donkey and the donkey starts to talk.

The ass said to Balaam, “Look, I am the ass that you have been riding all along until this day! Have I been in the habit of doing thus to you?” And he answered, “No.” [Bamidbar / Numbers 22:30]

After the conversation – where Bilaam couldn’t respond to his donkey – G-d sends an Angel to kill it. Why? So that people will not mock Bilaam saying “Look there is the donkey that Bilaam could not answer.” The obvious question is why? He was wicked – don’t we have the right to disrespect him?

The answer – no matter how wicked a person may be – we must act respectfully. That is called Tolerance.

This teaches regardless of how wicked a person is, we must act as we would respect another human being. In the end a person was created in the image of G-d. Pharaoh bathed in the blood of Jewish children, yet Moshe / Moses acted with the utmost respect towards him – as he would a normal king.

Respecting the honor of a person does not mean we must accept his or her values. This does not mean that we have to condone his actions. This does not mean that we have to accept his or her values.

In the case of a thief caught steeling old ladies purses – we must act with respect towards the thief but nevertheless bring them to justice. To condone the act of thievery would be called decadence.

It is popular today to adopt the values of other people because you don’t want to be racist. But this is the exact definition of decadence.

The Difference between Tolerance and  Decadence

Decadence is moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury. (as defined by google). The key word is decline.

Tolerance is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

What society describes as tolerance – for example, as in the case of same gender marriage – is actually decadence. The society passes off decadence as tolerance. It is doing a very good job because many people fall into the trap. Tolerance is not decadence and vice versa.

What’s Wrong with Accepting the Lifestyle of Immorality

The parents who say they accept same gender marriage – end up at times with children who pursue a same gender relationship. Because of this – their children do not have children. Their values with which they raised their children turn against them. They end up with no grandchildren because their children pursued the values – ie, same gender marriage – that the parents condoned.

Thus one must choose their values wisely. One who raises children with Torah values – their children realize the importance to get married, raise a family, help society, live peacefully, do good to others, raise children and live a wholesome life. They pursue a life of positive relations with G-d, Family, Society, Friends and themselves.

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 Atheist’s Dilemma – There are No Atheists in a Fox Hole

Some people are old enough to remember screen static on old TV screens. When you would turn to a channel that had no broadcast signal – random color dots appeared on the entire screen – accompanied by a loud sound of static noise. You would quickly change channels to avoid the experience.

Now imagine – you are watching static on the screen. All of a sudden a full length movie with sound appears. Everything makes sense – the plot, the story-line, the actors, the shots.

So your friend turns to you and says “Wow! did you see that? All the random static tuned into a full-featured 2 hour movie.” What do you say to him?

Either you agree with him and say he’s a pretty intelligent person – he must know what he is saying? or Do you say – “Excuse me – i just plugged in the broadcast cable!” Just as it is completely illogical for random static to make a full length movie – it is completely illogical that random atoms will form perfect interacting world of order.

If a person thinks logically – he or she can come to the conclusion that G-d exists.

There are two possibilities – Either the World was created by a Super Intelligent Existence or It was formed through random atoms colliding.

The Random Theory

If you say that random atoms formed the world as it is today – you have a list of questions to deal with –

Is it possible for something as complex as DNA to be formed by random?

Where did the atoms come from?

How is movement and growth possible – if random atoms formed the first cell – it would be dead?

Where did the second third – and all the other trillions of cells come from?

Where did the earth come from?

Why is the world made in such a way that it seems to serve man?

Where did the big bang come from?

How is it possible that random growth and random atoms created similar beings found in nature like animals, plants, humans, rocks?

If everything was random how could you have two beings that reproduce with each other. Did random atoms form a male and a female that can interact perfectly together randomly?

I could go on. But there is a limited attention span of people reading articles.

An honest person answering the questions truthfully will come to the conclusion that it is impossible for the world to be formed by random atoms smashing into each other.

If one does believe it is possible – please take a 1,000 piece puzzle. Put it in a Pizza box and shake it. When it forms the completed puzzle please let us know.

Randomness does not create order.

There is tremendous order in the universe.

Believing in G-d

A person believes in G-d also encounters  questions like:

Who created G-d?

Why does evil exist?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do religions – that seemingly represent G-d – commit atrocities?

Did G-d change his mind to form other religions?

if you have any other questions – please feel free to share them with us in the comments.

By the way of all religions only Judaism answers all the above questions satisfactory. But that’s not the Topic today. (Answers in short: No one created G-d. G-d created time; G-d gave man freedom of choice to choose between good and evil; What may appear bad is actually good; People following Judaism did never commit an atrocity sanctioned by the Torah; No. G-d does not change His mind – the Torah’s laws are still in effect – unchanged since they were given 3,300 years ago.)

The Atheist’s Dilemma

A person who wants or does not want to believe in G-d has the following dilemma:

If he or she believes in G-d, they will be expected by G-d to follow rules that might not agree with their lifestyle. So I can live a carefree existence – do what I want without feeling guilt.

If he or she does not believe in G-d, they will live a life devoid of prayer, understanding the reason behind world events, having a connection to a higher power, having a greater to turn to in times of need.

I think lacking a meaningful relationship with G-d – by conforming to the atheist doctrine is greatly more painful than living a life with prudent limits set by G-d.

You decide.

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?

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.

 

 

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.

 

Rejoicing for the Good

In Parasha / Torah Reading Ki tavo, in the first aliya – (Devarim / Deut. 26:11)  we read “And you shall rejoice for all the good that G-d gave you,  your household and the Levi and the convert who is among you. ” Why do we have a commandment to be happy for the good we receive? It is natural to be happy for good.

One reason is many have the attitude of ‘It’s my right.. I deserve it” Thus when they do receive good, they are not so appreciative. G-d is telling us to have the attitude that everything we receive is not a given. It is a gift from G-d. If we think thus, we will not take things for granted and be happy and thankful to Hashem for each thing we receive.

Having appreciation to G.d leads us to a more fulfilling life.  Thus we say the blessing of Shehechiyanu (Blessed are You, Our G-d … that He made us live, established us and that allowed us to arrived to this time.) on Jewish holidays to appreciate our arriving in good health to this time.