Leadership – Eight Qualities that Made Moses a Great Leader

Moses or Moshe Rabbeinu / Our Teacher – was the ultimate leader. He was a king of Ethiopia. He confronted Pharaoh to let the Jews out of Egypt and initiated plagues against him. He led the Jews out of Egypt. He negotiated with G-d / Hash-m to save the Jewish People. He Fought wars against Amalek and other Enemies of the Jews. One of his most challenging tasks was to Judge and lead the people of Israel for 40 years in the desert.

I recently heard a Shiur / Lecture of Rabbi Meir Eliyahu. He said the secret of Moshe’s success is found in the words : Hazak VeEmatz / Be Strong and Resolute – (in Devarm / Deut 31:7) – when Moshe is transferring the Mantle of leadership to Yehoshua / Joshua:

Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel: “Be strong and resolute, for it is you who shall go with this people into the land that the HASH-M swore to their fathers to give them, and it is you who shall apportion it to them.

These are the qualities that successful leaders have:

H’et – H’ochma – Wisdom and Haritza – effectiveness. It is not just any wisdom – it is Torah wisdom. Torah gives a person wisdom to deal with people and all situations properly. Torah is the thought’s of G-d. Thus after thinking a situation out according to Torah Hashkafa and wisdom – a person makes more intelligent decisions. Effectiveness comes from getting things done – Moshe wasted no time to implement decisions.

Zayin – Zerizut – alacrity / quickness. When Moshe received the commandment to make refuge cities – he quickly established them – even though they were only to be used many ears later. He did not push off the war against the Midianites – even though he knew he would die after the war ended.

Kuf – Kedusha – holiness – When a person is holy – according to Torah – he is able to see things the average man will not.

Vav – Vatranut – yielding and overlooking slights – Moshe overlooked slights to his honor and opportunities for advancement to make peace.

Aleph – Amitzut – Strength / Resolute – Moshe was resolute to do something when he made a decsion to do it.

Mem – Metivat Ishit LaTzibur – Doing personal good for the congregation / Metinut – thought Out and deliberate – Moshe’s primary interest was the good of the congregation – not his personal popularity in the public’s eyes. His concern was to find favor in the eyes of G-d and man. He did not seek votes – seek the lowest common denominator of morality to get approval. He had and lived by the standards of Hash-m & His Torah – and sought to bring people up to those standards.

Tzadi – Tzadik – being righteous – Righteousness is a trait that helps a person keep their position. How many people have fallen because they took bribes, or worse holding a public office.

Moshe was the most humble of all men – yet he was the ultimate leader.

New Rules in Baseball – How to Choose a Way of Life

I told someone I can throw a curve-ball that goes from one corner of the room to another corner. I did it. I threw the ball – spinning it with two hands – it hit the floor and went to the other corner.

I continued – perhaps baseball should change the rules and allow any kind of ball you choose to be used – a tennis ball, a soccer ball, a basket ball, a rubber ball. Perhaps also the bats can be changed – you can use a broom, a stick ball bat, an aluminum bat, a pipe. Perhaps for gloves – use plastic bags. Instead of bases – they could have a pit that you must jump over.

Sounds fun? Perhaps – but it’s no longer baseball. Call it what you want – but it is not baseball. Take a tomato soup – remove from the ingredients – tomatoes, paprika, salt, pepper. It’s no longer soup it’s water.

In the past many people chose the Torah or Judaism as a way of life and followed it. Yet many said let’s choose Torah as a way of life but they say – let’s change this law. Let’s add this law. Let’s remove this law.

Sound’s fun? Perhaps – but it is no longer Judaism.

Many Jewish people say they followed Judaism – but they cooled down. Why? Perhaps they weren’t following Judaism – they were following a watered down dish that people called Judaism.

The Torah is the Only Divinely given document that was given to entire nation of millions of people.

G-d looked into the Torah and created the world. The Torah is the blueprint of the world. To change the laws of G-d – is like changing the rules of baseball. But human rules are susceptible to change – G-d’s laws are not. G-d is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Immutable. We may make errors – He does not.

Choosing authentic Judaism is the proper way to follow the way of G-d.

 

Is “the L-rd” the L-rd?

Joe ate the sandwich.

A Simple sentence.

The editor edits it – “The person ate the sandwich”

Who ate the Sandwich?

OK. What’s the difference?

Before the sentence is edited – we know who ate the sandwich. After it is edited – we do not know who ate the sandwich.

The Proper Translation of the Five Books of Moses

I don’t know if “editors” or “translators” changed the proper noun of “Hash-m” to the common noun of “the L-rd” on purpose – to mislead people or to refrain from mentioning the true name of G-d because it is forbidden – but that’s what they did to The Torah / the Five Books of Moses. In many translations or editions of the Five Books of Moses / Humash it says “And the L-rd spoke to Moses Saying.”

That is not an accurate translation – in the Hebrew it says “Vayomer ‘Hash-m’ el Moshe Lemor.” Hash-m Does not mean the L-rd. The Word Hash-m replaces the actual name of G-d. Since we are not allowed to use the name of G-d we use Hash-m.

Hash-m refers to a the Name of the Jewish G-d.

It should say “And Hash-m spoke to Moses Saying.”

What is the difference?

When it says “the L-rd” people think it is a generic name of G-d – so anyone can be misled to believe that it is the god of their choice.

But really it says “Hash-m” – the Name of the Jewish G-d.

Some more recent translations of the Humash / 5 Books of Moses accurately translate Hash-m’s name properly. One such edition is The Artscroll Stone Chumash.

Removing the Wool from the Eyes

In the entire Tanach / Torah – 5 Books of Moses, Neviim – Prophets, Ketuvim – Witings – Only Hash-m – the Jewish G-d – is mentioned as G-d of the Universe.

What is the Reason for Turmoil in the World?

Corona. 4000 Rockets sent against Israel by terrorists. 45 People Perish in Meron. A Building Falls in Surfside, Florida. Iran attacks the US. Fears of Impending Floods. What is happening here?

Why the Turmoil in the World?

The world is going through turmoil. What is the reason?

There is a word for reaching the truth by experience – by trying a way of life and rejecting falsity. I thought it was catharsis – but apparently that means releasing pent up stress.

In a sense a person follows a path in life – then either they discover it is good or not good. The stress they had by following a particular way of life is removed when they find another “truth” – until they find the real truth.

The Search for Truth

The path of Avraham Avinu / Abraham our Forefather was to investigate the ways in life. He investigated until he could find truth or rejected it if it was lacking truth. He rejected all idolatry, until he found G-d / Hash-m. Yitzro / Jethro did the same. Yitro followed all forms of Idolatry, Religions and cults until he came to the conclusion to the truth of the Torah. He then converted to Judaism. (Judaism does not require a person to become Jewish to receive a place in heaven – a gentile just follows the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah – for the sake of the Torah). Many of the “Ism”s came and went or came thinking it could solve the world’s problems – yet they did not – like communism, anarchism, fascism, Marxism, totalitarianism, liberalism, socialism, etc.

One day there will be no more war – when people find the truth. It takes effort and willingness to give up one comforts to find truth. Would you switch your smart phone for a flip phone if it meant pursuing truth?

G-d’s Messages

G-d / Hash-m is sending messages to the world. We think it as a bunch of random events – but really they are a wake up call for us to return to Our Father in Heaven and finally seek His help – seek His guidance – seek to do the good in His eyes – not only in ours.

Messiah on the Doorstep

We are in the period of the Messianic times.

Two ways to bring Truth to the World

The sad truth is logically – there are two ways to bring truth to the world. One by allowing people to find truth. In the over 5700 years of the world existence – the entire world never achieved that status. One nation did – the Jews  – when they received the Torah at mount Sinai where millions of witnesses heard G-d speak.

The Second way is to eliminate people who follow not the truth. There are grim prophesies that say in “World War 3” – if people don’t search for truth – One Third of the world population will remain. One Fifth of All Jews will remain.

Opportunities to Open Our Eyes

Thus G-d is giving us opportunities to open our eyes and return to his ways – Jews by following their Torah Commandments and Gentiles – by following their 7 Noahide laws from the Torah.

Ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi to explain you your questions on the world. He’ll probably be able to answer. The problem is – many people are attached to their lifestyles and want a semi-truth. A truth allows them not to change. It’s possible – but really should put all their lifestyle on the line if it means pursuing truth – that was the way of Avraham Avinu / Abraham our forefather – that’s the way of Yitro / Jethro.

News to Jews

To observant Jews, News is not just an outlet to learn what is happening in the world – it is a message from G-d / Hash-m to repent / Do Teshuva, improve and to return to Hash-m’s ways.

G-d is One

We say it in the last line of Aleinu Leshabeach / It is incumbent upon us – the Concluding prayer Jews say 3 times a Day. And on that Day Hash-m’s will be One [meaning all people will recognize Him as the True G-d] and His Name will be One [He will be the G-d that everyone will call to]. (Zecharia 14:9)  Zecharia also has some prophesies of our current time period.

Search for Truth

A simple message – a challenging task – search for truth.

Believe It and Receive It

Believe it will be good and it will be good. If you believe something will be good – Hash-m / G-d will make it good.

Once Hillel Heard yelling from a house in the street. He said to a fellow “I know this is screaming not from my house.” He knew because he taught his household not to scream. But another proposed answer is that Hillel knew everything would be good – so he knew the yelling was not coming from his home.

Hash-m watches people as would a parent. Once I saw a Jewish person filling his tires with air at a Gas Station. I gave Him a card that says “Ein O’d Mile’vado” / There is Only Hash-m. He was astounded. He told me “Thank You. That is my motto in life. Don’t Just give out the card – Live it!”

The way that one wants to go – Hash-m brings him. Live your life a certain way – they will help you in heaven to go in that path. A thief that prays to be successful in his theft will be helped. Though, obviously he will be punished for the theft.

Thus – a person might be led in a path – because he wants to be lead that way. Thus a proper prayer is to ask Hash-m to guide him in the path of Truth. And search for Truth.

The Value of Pain – The Spiritual View of a Jew on Alleviating Pain

Each Yeshiva / Torah Learning institution has a goal. In Hebrew it is called a Shita שִׁיטָה / frame of mind or mindset. Telz Yeshiva – in the outskirts of Cleveland – brought it’s shita to the United States from Europe. They emphasize the importance of proper conduct of a Ben Torah / a Torah learner.

Majesty of Man – Proper Etiquette

Walking down the street with a Telz Yeshiva Alumni – I was impressed to hear of the high standards of personal etiquette recommended of Yeshiva Bachurim / young students. “In Telz people would bring laundry to the laundry room in a briefcase rather than a laundry bag – because it is unbecoming of a young budding Torah scholar to carry a big bag of dirty clothes.” I was impressed. “A person would not drink directly from a bottle. Using a cup is more befitting.”

Bottle Woe – The Nerve Dilemma

He told me – he knew of someone – that did drink from a bottle. The Popular Pop of that time was Royal Crown Cola. The student was drinking from a bottle. Another student bumped into him unintentionally. His front teeth were broken.

He went to a dentist that mentioned he had the option to keep or remove nerves from his teeth.

Encounter with a Gadol – Great Sage

He went to speak with the Rosh HaYeshiva – Rabbi Mordechai Gifter. The Rosh HaYeshiva mentioned to him that if he had the option of keeping his teeth’s nerves – he should do so. Someone he knew in Europe had his nerves removed from his teeth. Several weeks later half of his face welled up due to an infection. He couldn’t feel the pain. The pain that he would normally have felt was not able to warn him of the spreading infection. If he caught it earlier – he would not have to have a much more serious operation now.

The Value of Pain – the Message

Pain is usually viewed as bad. No pain is good.

Pain is not necessarily bad.

Pain can be a message.  It teaches us – there is something that needs correction. The proper question – we should ask then when experience pain is “Why I am experiencing this pain?”, “What is the Cause?” – not just how can I alleviate the suffering. Alleviating the pain may deal with the symptom but not the cause of the pain.

Suffering may be from physical pain, emotional pain, psychological pain or spiritual pain.

The Purpose of Pain

The reason of the pain? To prompt one to improve. The tooth story is a good example.

Are You treating the Cause or the Symptom?

One who treats a problem to alleviate the pain – may be treating the symptom – not the cause. Let’s say the person had nerves to feel the pain. Instead of taking antibiotics to treat the infection he took pain killers. He alleviated the symptom but not the cause.

The Spiritual Connection of Pain

G-d sends us pain. We try to alleviate the pain. But really we should ask “What does Hash-m want from me?” “Am I the cause of my own pain?” “How can I improve myself to not ever get this pain?”

Spirituality & Alleviating Physical Pain

Firstly – if the pain is a sign of a physical ailment – the Torah says to seek proper medical treatment from a competent, reputable Doctor. It says you shall very well guard your soul. One is not allowed to live in a Town where there is no Doctor.

There are 248 members of the body. A Jew has 613 Mitzvot / commandments from the Torah. 365 prohibitions that we avoid 365 days a year and 248 active commandments that we do with the 248 members of our body.

Each part of the body is connected to a particular Mitzvah. If one lacks in a particular Mitzvah it has an effect on that member of the body that it corresponds to.

So the second step – is to also see what spiritually one can do to rectify the spiritual aspect of one’s life to cure the physical member of the body.

Spirituality & Alleviating Emotional Pain

Hash-m made a physical nature in the world. An Apple falls. Heat rises. Plants grow. He also created a spiritual nature that corresponds to the physical world. One general spiritual rule of nature is called Midah Keneged middah. Measure for measure. One that does good gets good. One that does the opposite gets the opposite.

If someone yelled at you – check if previously you perhaps raised your voice at someone else. Do Teshuva / Repentance according to Torah and apologize when in order.

Spirituality & Alleviating Psychological Pain

When one feels down – it might be due to your soul’s feeling down. Really the mental condition of a person depends upon their spiritual soul’s state. The person is composed of a body and soul. G-d through the Soul gives the body life. If the soul is happy the person is happy. If the soul is sad – the person is sad. Doing good deeds makes a person happy. Doing bad deeds make a person sad.

The major problem of people seeking the elusive happiness and not finding it  is because they think that pursuing bodily pleasures and comforts will make them happy. At times the pursuit of pleasures makes a person even more depressed. It is not pleasure that will make one happy – the satisfaction of the soul that will.

The question one must address is “What are the pleasures that make the soul happy? And which are those that dampen it?” I found from experience – that pursuing bodily pleasure only for pleasure – may give temporary pleasure – but in its wake is sadness. If it is sanctioned by Torah – it brings happiness in it’s wake.

The Definition of Spirituality

Spirituality brings happiness. To understand a concept we must properly define it. Spirituality is having a positive, loving relationship with Hash-m / G-d. To enjoy such a relationship – we follow G-d’s Law – the Torah as a guide to develop that relationship. The Jews follow 613 commandments. The Gentiles follow 7 Noahide laws.

The Three Dimensions of Relationships

A person who relinquishes their relationship with Hash-m/ G-d relinquishes one satisfying relationship of life. A person has a relationship with himself or herself (Ben Adam Le’atzmo). They Have a relationship with people and nature (Ben Adam Le’havero). They have a relationship with G-d (Ben Adam La’Matkom). A non-believer or an atheist or one who disconnects themselves from their Judaism – disconnects from a satisfying relationship that they could possibly have.

The Call of Your Father in Heaven

Pain may be a call for a person to search out a satisfying relationship with G-d – through Torah. G-d is our father. He wants a relationship with His children. Hash-m communicates with us daily. He sends us messages, gifts, kindness, blessings, abundance. Do we communicate with Him? One just has to observe their daily life and see all the blessings.

Measure for Measure from G-d

When people ignore all Hash-m’s kindness – G-d may act with them the way they act with Him – ignoring them – leaving them in the hands of nature. A woman once served her family straw for dinner. The were in wonder – what happened with her. She told them – “You never appreciated – when I served you the best of meals. So I thought for you everything is the same whether it is delicious or not. So I served  you straw – it’s much easier to prepare & you don’t appreciate the good food when I make it for you anyway. A parable to teach us to be appreciative of our blessings.

Sweet Melancholy vs. Happiness

Memories of my youth – I remember my old friends and old experiences. I remember with sweet melancholy. Some memories I remember with Joy. I try to distinguish between that feeling of melancholy and the feeling of Joy. My happiness was many a time sweet melancholy. How do I know? Because Joy is an elation – melancholy is a form of sadness.

From experience I have found that doing good, providing kindness, helping others, learning Torah are sources of happiness. Also from Experience , I found pursuing pleasures not sanctioned by Torah is a source of sadness.

The closeness to Hash-m / G-d is a good barometer that is correlated with a person’s happiness. Doing good brings you closer to Hash-m – you become closer to the source of life & happiness. Thus one is happy when they are close to Hash-m. Or more accurately – the closer one is to Hash-m – the greater is their potential and actual happiness. The farther one is from Hash-m – has the opposite effect.

Pain Prompts People to Pursue Truth

In my youth I was like any youth – I sought attention, I did my share of trouble. I pursued fun, ate non-kosher. I played sports. My world was a world of the average boy. But certain difficulties – like skin problems – prompted me to question life. My question “Why Me?” I was a decent person. Ok, I did my share of trouble – but I wasn’t so much worse than others – “or was I?”

How could I get back to being the Handsome young man – people told me I was? What could I do? I thought I could go to a skin doctor – but I thought that the pain was a message from G-d to tell me to improve. It is very hard to break a habit. It is hard to change your lifestyle. It is hard to change your attitude – but a little pain to wake you up will motivate you to pursue avenues that you otherwise you would not have considered.

My pain motivated me to improve my relationship with myself (Ben Adam Le’atzmo) by improving my outlook on life to correspond more to the Torah Hashkafa / outlook. I learned the importance of proper conduct of a Ben Torah. I improved my relationship with people (Ben Adam Le’havero) – by being more considerate of others feelings. I strengthened my relationship with G-d (Ben Adam La’Matkom) by praying to Hash-m, talking to Him, observing Mitzvot. Through Study of Torah Study, Reading Torah Stories, Learning Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers and making more of an effort to observe Mitzvot / Torah commandments – I made my self-improvement effort to become a better person.

Use Pain to Gain

Some take pain and fall into depression. Some take pain and use it as a spring board to pursue truth and follow it regardless of the changes to one’s lifestyle it entails.

Looking back and looking at the positive points I gained from following the path of pursuing truth & Torah – I am grateful to Hash-m for the hard – but beneficial message he sent me. Now I try to conduct myself in a way to not need those messages anymore.

3 times 0 = 10? How to Not Be Misled by Falsity

The Seltzer Enigma

I was looking at a seltzer bottle’s ingredients. One serving is 0 calories. 3 servings is 10 calories. The last I checked 0 + 0 + 0 = 0. Or 3 servings x 0 calories per serving = 0 calories. Did the seltzer company come out with a new branch of mathematics? No. The reason for this discrepancy is that the FDA allows you to round to the nearest 10 calories. One serving of flavored seltzer is probably about 3 calories. They rounded to the nearest 10 – which is 0 for one serving. For 3 servings it is 9 calories – so they rounded to the nearest 10.

The point of this article is to help people discern what is true and good and what is bad and false.

Honest Reporting?

I am sure there remain people with morality and honesty in Journalist. The little news I do read are from sources that have some kind of non-biased bent – that report news facts.

The Change from Fact to Opinion

We are not here to condemn News organizations or Journalists. Yet I have more distrust of News media that 20 years ago. I remember the days where some kind of ethics reigned in the media. Nowadays – many once reputable news organizations – reports their take on the matter, at times reporting their own agenda & fake news. Some change spin doctor journalism into something close to fiction.

Falsity in History

It is not a new phenomena. People from ancient civilizations did the same. Reporting things – out of context – to give credibility to their agenda. Many cults, philosophies, religions use the same technique. Some will quote you verses from the “Bible” out of context to fit heir agenda. It makes them look good in the eyes of the ignorant. But the educated will not fall for their game.

Protect Yourself from Falsity

So how do you protect yourself from falsity and fakery? the simple answer: Educate Yourself & Research it. Be willing to sacrifice your comfort zone to find truth.

If you want to know three times zero is 10 – educate yourself in Mathematics. You know that 0 + 0 + 0 = 0. So there must be some explanation. If you know mathematics – you will attempt to discover a reasonable explanation for the discrepancy. If you don’t know math – you will accept it at face value.

Questioning Discrepancy

I know people who investigated many religions an cults. When they discovered a  discrepancy and asked about it – the leader either swept the question under the rug, or used the ‘you just have to have faith’ answer or looked down upon the person asking the question. These responses – lead the questioning person to have doubt that the person is covering up.

Questions to Improve Ourselves

The questions below are to help us to improve and clarify our philosophy in life. They are not to put people down. They are to make you think. We in this world are guided to live a moral, uncontradicted life. We are supposed to ask questions to ourselves and others to arrive at the truth – to correct ourselves in this world. In the next world we cannot correct ourselves. Our reward in the next world depends upon how we think, speak and act in this world. If we don’t ask these questions to ourselves – in Heaven they will show us the biographic “video” of all our life – and ask us to clarify some of the questions asked below. Better to correct ourselves in this world than to be corrected in the next world.

Questions that many a philosophy cannot answer but can be answered by Judaism:

Questions For Philosophies that deny the existence of G-d.

Question: How can the world be created by random atoms colliding with one another to create a perfect universe? Where did those atoms come from? What happened before the “Big Bang”? What is the physical difference between a body before death and after death? How does growth occur – according to the “random atoms” theory?

Torah Judaism’s Answer– We believe in a G-d that created and continues to direct the world every moment.

Questions For Agnostics:

Question: Would you expect a company that creates a complicated piece of machinery or even a simple appliance – like a toaster – not to include instructions & warnings? How could G-d create a world without providing instructions?

Torah Judaism’s Answer– We believe in a G-d that spoke to millions of people at Mount Sinai – when He gave the Jewish people the Torah. Those are the laws of the world.

Questions For religions – that believe in the Torah / 5 books of Moses –

Question: How can someone believe in a philosophy that condemns killing – Like it says in the Torah “Do Not Kill” in the 10 commandments – yet the history of that religion was replete with killing?

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism never committed crusades, pogroms or terrorism to get converts – we are looking for sincere people to follow Torah not quantity.

Question: How can a philosophy that condemns idolatry – which is the second of the 10 commandments – believe in a Human as a deity?

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism believes in one Omnipotent, Omniscient G-d Hash-m – that Has no body or physical form.

Question: How can a philosophy say that G-d “changed his mind” about observing of His laws or about His selection of the Jewish people – this insinuates that G-d does not know the future?

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism believes that G-d never changed His mind.

Question: How can someone observe the 10 commandments if they were only given to the Jewish people? (The 7 Noahide laws from the Torah were given for the Gentiles).

Question: The Torah says “I am Hash-m, Your G-d, that brought you out of Egypt” Meaning the 10 commandments only applies to people who left Egypt and their descendants – the Jewish people.

Torah Judaism’s Answer – The Torah was given to the Jewish people to observe. A non-Jew that wishes to Observe them entirely – may convert. Their main obligation is to follow their 7 Noahide laws from the Torah and Torah laws that are not prohibited by the Torah – like observing the Shabbat. If they want to observe more they can take upon themselves certain commandments. Consult a competent Orthodox rabbi for more information.

Question: How can you believe in different G-d than Hash-m when Hash-m is the Only  Name that is mentioned in the 5 Books of the Moses? (Many Bibles erroneously translate – G-d’s name – “Hash-m” – as “The L-rd”. For instance a verse in the Text is properly translated as “Hash-m spoke with Moses Saying” – NOT “The L-rd Spoke with Moses saying)? )

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism believes only in Hash-m.

Questions for People Who condemn Israel

Why? Did you define what is apartheid – and compare Israel’s policies to what Apartheid was? Do you also condemn virulently other nations that commit more heinous acts that what you accuse Israel?

How to Not be misled by Other Philosophies

To Not be misled by Philosophical Arguments – learn what Torah says about it – ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi. If someone from another religion tells you a “proof” that supports their view from a verse in the Torah or Tanach – first see what the Authentic Torah sages say about it – ( like Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Sforno, Abarbanel, Aderet Eliyahu (Rabbi Yosef Chaim), Alshich , Avi Ezer, Bartenura on Torah, Bekhor Shor, Chatam Sofer, Chizkuni, Chomat Anakh, Daat Zkenim, Gur Aryeh, HaKtav VeHaKabalah, Haamek Davar, Kitzur Baal Haturim, Kli Yakar, Malbim, Minchat Shai, Minei Targuma, Mizrachi, Or HaChaim, Paaneach Raza, Penei David, Rabbeinu Bahya, Ralbag Beur HaMilot, Ralbag on Torah, Rashbam, Recanati on the Torah, Riva, Rosh,  Siftei Chakhamim, Torah Temimah on Torah, Tur HaAroch, Tzafnat Pa’neach, Tzror HaMor) These commentators explain Torah as it was handed down from Mount Sinai. If one relies on interpretations that contradict Torah – it is like learning Tennis from the pre-game show.

Torah Questions

In Torah – we are encouraged to ask questions. The Passover Hagada /  Book – encourages the children and adults to ask questions. Torah study appreciates and relishes questions. The Torah is not afraid – because it was given by G-d / Hash-m. Hash-m is truth.

 

 

 

Are Your Ethics Stunting You – Get a Set of New Ones

A person lives a short term in this world.

THE Obligations to Achieve

In this small space of allotted time – one is to learn, observe the commandments partaining to them, learn torah, get a job, get married, have children, determine your purpose in life and accomplish your mission. Not necessarily in that order.

Where Your Ethics Stop Your Growth

People get stuck or stunted by the advertising of ethics of the world.

What Drives Your Ethics?

I am a vegetarian. I have to be slim. I have to eat healthy. I have to accept all people. All people are equal. I have to help the downtrodden people.

Behind all these ideas are a set of values. I am a vegetarian because I love animals. (Did I mention I have a parakeet.) I am into fasting because I want to be slim. I am into BDS because we have to protect the world from Israel. (Not me – but someone might think that way)

Ethics Cannot Be Determined by Feelings but may be investigated by What You Feel

Perhaps the above thoughts are right. Perhaps they are wrong. Who says feelings are necessarily – the proper way to determine ethics. I might feel one way about a matter and someone else might feel another way. So feelings cannot be the way to determine proper ethics.

Abraham determined what what right and wrong based upon his thoughts and feelings – His Kelayot / Liver taught him what was  right and wrong.

נאמר בקורבנות בספר ויקרא: לְעֻמַּת “הֶעָצֶה” יְסִירֶנָּה (ויקרא ג ט) לשון עצה, ובחז”ל נאמר מפורש שהכליות יועצות “לב מבין, כליות יועצות” (ברכות סא)

חז”ל אומרים על אברהם אבינו ע”ה: אב [תרח] לא למדו [לאברהם], ורב לא היה לו, ומהיכן למד את התורה? אלא זימן לו הקדוש ברוך הוא שתי כליותיו כמין שני רבנים והיו נובעות ומלמדות אותו תורה וחכמה, זהו שכתוב: אֲבָרֵךְ–אֶת-יְהוָה, אֲשֶׁר יְעָצָנִי; אַף-לֵילוֹת, יִסְּרוּנִי כִלְיוֹתָי. (תהלים טז ז) (מדרש רבה בראשית פ סא פס’ א)

Ethics, according to Torah, are not man-made – they are G-d made. The Torah tells you what is ethical – because it is G-d given. That is why a person can generally feel what is right or wrong.

Do Your ethics determine your feelings or your feelings determine your ethics?

The problem starts when a person has a strong feeling – their feelings try to convince them that what they are doing is right. People who support BDS – first they have a feeling of Hatred for Israel or Jews – then they convince themselves it is ethical to support BDS. (I Don’t think G-d wants a person to hate His Chosen People.)

A person loves animals. Their loves for animals taints their ethical viewpoint – to sometimes value an animal’s life over the life of a human.

“I love animals.” I once asked a class – if you could spend a million dollars to save an old ladies life – or that same money to save a racehorse that broke it’s leg – what would you do? One student answered – the racehorse.

The Values of Torah – the Value of Human Life

Obviously – that is not the values of the Torah. The Torah places life of a human being above animals and above most commandments.

A Jew who desecrates the Shabbat is liable for a strong punishments. (A gentile is  not commanded to observe the Sabbath – on the contrary it is better that they do not observe it – it is forbidden according to Torah.) Yet if a person is in danger one is allowed to “desecrate” the laws of Shabbat to save their life.

Syncing Our values with Values of the Torah

Ok. That is our Job in life – to synchronize our values with the values of the Torah. G-d / Hash-m is non-biased. We are biased. One day we can be angry at a person – the next day we can love that person. So our ethics can be swayed.

Why Torah? Millions is Greater than One

Why Torah? Ethics & Religions are a dime a dozen. I heard over 80,000 religions exists. So why choose Orthodox Judaism’s Torah Ethics?  Because the Torah is the only Divinely given law in the world that millions of people witnessed and heard its being given – when G-d Gave the Torah to the Jews the Torah at Mt. Sinai. G-d doesn’t change His mind – so the laws are as valid today as they were when G-d gave the Torah.

Why It Makes No Sense that G-d Changed His Law and gave it to Another People

Many offshoot religions that used Judaism as source for their teachings – say two things:

1. The Jews Did not Observe the Torah – so G-d Chose another People besides the Jews

2. G-d Changed His laws to Make it easier for people to observe.

Point One is illogical. The Jews always observed the Laws of the Torah in their entirety. Either some Jews or all Jews observed. There was never a point in history when Jews did not observe the Torah.

Point Two is also illogical. G-d, at Mount Sinai, initially gave laws for Jews – the 613 Commandments and Non-Jews – the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. The 7 Noahide laws are laws that are incumbent upon all people to observe. Those are the Laws by which a Non-Jew will be judged by after they die and go to the next world.

It makes sense to know these laws to get in sync to maximize one’s potential for reward in this world and the next. (See 10 or 7 Commandments – Which do you Observe?)

The Long Short Path

The Children of Jerusalem are known for their intelligence. Once a person traveling to Jerusalem asked a child how to get to Jerusalem. He said “Do You want to take the short-long path or the long-short path?” The man answered “I’ll take the short-long  path.” The Child told him how to go. Traveling down that road, the man encountered a thicket of thorns and thistles. He could go no  further. he returned to the junction where he met the boy, He complained “How come you sent me on this path – I was stopped in the middle by thorns and thistles? I couldn’t go futher” The boy responded “You asked me to go on the short-long path. It was a short distance to get there but in the end you had to come back making it take a long time. The long-short is longer in distance but you get there in shorter time.”

Judaism the Long-Short Path

Most religions or ethics are the short-long path. Yes you feel good following your feelings for a while. Yes you are promised heaven to do something relatively easy. Just do A and get a place in heaven. That is the Short path. But it is plagued with thorns and thistles at the end. If you discover the truth only once you get to the next world – its too late to change. You made-up who you are in this world and you remain that way.

But if you take the time to investigate Torah Judaism and see all the challenges it entails and the benefits it provides – you will find the truth in this world and have time to change into the better person you want to be according to Torah.

I’m a Vegetarian. I’m a Vegan. I’m for Animal Rights – Focusing on the Priorities

Every person has a goal, purpose and potential to achieve. It’s true that there are many worthy causes out there. Obviously, one should focus on one main goal – before getting involved in a side goal.

It is good to support animal rights – for the purpose of the Torah Mitzvah of not causing pain to animals (Tzaar Ba’alei Haim). It is good to be a vegetarian – because it is healthy – which is also a Mitzvah (Venishmartem MeOd LeNafshotechem).

Maximizing Your Good – Focusing Your Kindness

In themselves they are good – but when dedicating oneself to a cause – one should ask two questions One – is this the best cause I can be involved with according to Torah? Two – is this my priority right now?

Let’s say a person can be saving humans lives and he is involved with saving animals lives instead – he or she is not maximizing their potential in doing good.

Let’s say a person is involved in BDS – but they could be spending their time saving animals. They are not maximizing their potential.

Let’s say a person is missionizing for another religion – but they could be involved in teaching people about the 7 Noahide laws according to Torah – they are not maximizing their potential.

In a book of R. Shalom Arusch – I think it is called “Garden of Peace for Men” he talks about a person who is learning Torah all day. He is busy teaching Torah and Learning.” Learning Torah is one of the greatest Mitzvot. But this person is not married yet. Being Married is an obligation from the Torah. Having children is another obligation. This person he says is not maximizing his potential and will be held accountable for not getting married and having children because he did not focus on one of the priorities of life and obligations of the Torah.

Focus on your obligations in the Torah. Focus on Maximizing your Good. Focus on making yourself great – to become a greater giver – and you are one step closer to achieving your potential and purpose in life.

True Free Think. Why the World Needs More Tea.

I want to be a free man.

Freedom of speech is condoned by most civilized countries.

Freedom of thought. Freedom of Expression. Yes. All seem to be lofty ideals.

But is free speech really free? If you are part of a group, you are expected to think a certain way. If I am liberal – I must defend liberalism. If I am a Conservative – I defend conservatism. If African American – I defend African Americans. If I am a scientist – I defend science.

This is expected. This is normal. Yet it is not yet freedom. Why? Because my Ideas and ideals are based upon the group with which I am associated. So you don’t hear liberals against abortion. Or Conservatives – for abortions.

So say something against the other party’s ideals. And they will attack. Speak against certain politically sensitive issues and you are shunned – by at least the people who disagree.

Pretty immature.

What we call democracy today is not true democracy.

It’s like terrible twos. A kid does what he wants. Breaks. Takes – Mine he says. He develops his own personality. And the word “No” enters his vocabulary. Ok – a sign of development. As we grow, we mature – we hope.

A friend takes a toy, the two year old will grab it and say “mine.”

If it’s mine – my opinion – then i will protest because you disagree. Did we evolve from these terrible twos?

I think this attitude may stem from fear. Fear that I will agree with the other party or be influenced by their thinking. This is legitimate if you are avoiding a bad influence.

But if you are seeking truth – this is a backward attitude.

Here is a small example – The United Nations. Join the bandwagon and condemn Israel. Their point is not to find truth – it is to propagate their attitude. In this case – they use Israel as a pawn to propagate their anti-semitic ideals. Examples abound.

When one learns Torah, it is not the opinion that matters – it is what is the truth that matters. We both want truth. I don’t want to sell you my ideas or ideals.

Today everyone is a salesman. Companies, non-profits, people. Torah Judaism is not selling anything. It is – through Torah – helping you to recognize the truth.

In a Yeshiva – people vigorously argue their points of view regarding different aspects of life and Torah subjects. After they finish learning – although they might have been shouting their points of view – in the end they are the best of friends. Why because each helped the other reach a higher degree of truth.

Contrast that to what occurs in today’s media. A person doesn’t like your opinion – so they will rank you out – and even insult. Each more – they are on worse terms – because each was selling their own opinion without regards for truth.

An adage written on a Tetley tea bag – said “Learn to disagree without becoming disagreeable.”

A concept the Torah taught 3,300 years ago – like it says in Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers (1:18).

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says, “On three things the world stands: on judgment, on truth and on peace, as it is said (Zachariah 8:16), ‘Judge truth and the justice of peace in your gates.'”

If you search for truth and justice – in the end you will have peace. If you search for propagating your opinion – peace will not necessarily ensue.

 

 

Reasons for the Influx of Converts to Judaism, Reincarnation & Antisemitism

Many people want to be Jewish. It is challenging. But – the gain outweighs the pain. Truthfully a Gentile – need not become Jewish to obtain a place in heaven. By observing the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah they can receive a portion in heaven – albeit – not as great as a portion that a Jew who observes Torah receives.

At the time of Mashiah’ / Messiah the gentiles will ask G-d to give them a Mitzvah / commandment to show that they also can observe the mitzvahs as the Jews.

Gentiles / Non-Jews given a Mitzvah / Commandment

In a Toras Aish (Sukkot 5765 / Volume XII Number 3) a booklet with Thoughts From Across the Torah Spectrum, RABBI DOV KRAMER explains in an article called – Taking a Closer Look

The prayers recited during the recently concluded High Holidays include the desire/plea that “all of humanity (Jew and non-Jew alike) join together to fulfill Your will.” In the Haftorah of the first day of Succos (Zecharya 14:16), we read that this request will be realized during the Messianic period; “And it will be that all who are left from all of the nations, who had come against Jerusalem (to wage war against it), and they will come up every year to bow before the King, the G-d of Hosts, and to celebrate the festival of Succos.” Why is this holiday singled out as the one during which all the nations of the world will come to acknowledge G-d?

 

Most of the commentators explain that the war of Gog and Magog, the final war before Moshiach comes, will take place on Succos. Since it will be the wondrous miracles performed in this war that will cause all to recognize the One True G-d, it will be this same time every year that the nations return to pay homage to Him.

 

Rashi, however, has a different approach. The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 3a) describes a conversation between the gentile nations and G-d, where they ask if they can start from scratch (and thus be worthy of the same future as the Nation of Israel). Eventually, G-d gives them one “easy” commandment to fulfill, to live in a Succah. It is because of this “mitzvah,” given to the gentiles as their last opportunity to show that they deserved to be included in all of the Torah’s commandments, that (according to Rashi) the other nations come to Jerusalem every year to “bow before G-d.”

 

Here is a synopsis of the end of the conversation between G-d and the gentiles: The gentiles request a “do-over,” that they be offered the Torah again, so that they can (now) fulfill it. G-d responds that it’s really too late, as reward can only be given in the world to come to those that worked for it in this world. Nevertheless, “I have one easy commandment, namely Succah, go and fulfill it.” The Talmud asks how G-d can offer such a thing, when a verse explicitly implies that mitzvos cannot be performed in the world to come- to which it answers that G-d does not use “excuses” to prove His point, so wanted to give them an opportunity to show whether or not they really would keep the commandment(s) if given the chance.

 

Initially, each gentile goes and builds a Succah, but when G-d makes it extremely hot (and therefore uncomfortable in the Succah), they all leave it-kicking it on their way out. Even though one who is very uncomfortable is not obligated to stay in the Succah, by kicking it they showed that they never really wanted to fulfill it (see Maharal).

Becoming in Tune with Oneself / The Reason for Antisemitism – If You cannot Join them – Beat them.

One of the reasons why Hitler said he hated Jews in Mein Kampf – was because the Jews gave the world 2 things – A conscience. The Idea of Perfecting Oneself. He wanted to live as a barbarian – without a conscience. Thus the reasons he said that he committed his atrocities.

A Gentile or even a Jew against Torah Observant Jews who is in tune with their real feelings may want to examine from where these feelings emanate / come. They may ask – Is it that they have a desire to become Torah observant themselves – but their attachment to the materialism causes them to beat them (Jews) rather than to join them?

If this is the case it makes more sense to at least take a small mitzvah upon themselves and do something constructive with these feelings rather than using their feelings destructively.

Why Gentiles want to Become Jewish

But the main point here is – why do some non-Jews feel a compelling desire to convert to Judaism?

For some it is a Desire to connect with the Source of All life – the One who said “let there be light!” – Hash-m.

In Torah it explains that before G-d gave the Torah to the Jews at Mount Sinai – He proposed it to the other nations. Each asked – what is in the Torah. To a nation that had a tendency towards stealing – He said – “Do not Steal. is one of the commandments. The collective nation rejected accepting the Torah upon themselves. Until when the Torah was offered to the Jews – the Jews said “We will do it and We will hear it.” Meaning first we will accept the Torah. Then we will hear what is in it. Some Gentiles in certain nations – wanted to accept the Torah, but were excluded from the privilege of observing it because their nation rejected it. Some of these souls – came back to life and eventually became converts to Judaism.

There were also some individual Jews who did not wish to accept the Torah at mount Sinai. They eventually became – those against Torah or those that “converted” to another religion. (Conversion of a Jew to another religion is really impossible – a Jew will always remain a Jew in G-d’s eyes. Even though a Jew can go through the motions of “converting” to another religions – their soul will remain Jewish and they are responsible to follow Torah and they will be Judged as a Jew (according to their observance of Jewish Law / Shulchan Aruch) in the afterlife).

The Migrating Souls

However for some, another reason plays a part. During the course of history – many Jewish souls greatly diverted themselves from the path of the Torah or rebelled against it. G-d sometimes gives these souls an extra chance to redeem themselves from what their soul did in a past life. Their soul comes back in the body of a non-Jew because their soul desires to become attached again to the source of life – Hash-m.

In a previous Post in jerusalemlife.com – entitled Truth Seekers – Of Ministers & Missionaries that Made the Move to Judaism  I wrote about two former-gentile ministers whose sincere search of truth led them to convert to Torah Judaism – Rabbi Yehuda Peretz and Gavriel Sanders.

Rabbi Yehuda Perez, originally Alfredo Diaz, came from Mexico. His father was interested in spirituality and tried all kinds of religions until he founded a church. His sect had great respect for Jews. His son, Rabbi Peretz, started on the track to become a Pastor. At one point he was reading the bible. He had questions regarding the discrepancies in the Bible. He tried comparing different versions of the Bible to find his answers. He didn’t find his answers. He found out that the versions differed markedly between one and the other and between the original Hebrew texts. He was not satisfied with the answers.

 

So he prayed to G-d to help him find the truth and the answers to his questions. Shortly after he met a Jewish person and was enthralled. He started asking his questions to the simple Jew and he answered them satisfactorily. Alfredo, was greatly impressed, and learned that the answers to his questions were found in what the Jewish man called the Oral Torah. He kept on asking questions that the man deferred by suggesting that Alfredo ask some of the orthodox Rabbis in Mexico.

Alfredo continued his search for truth until he finally converted to Judaism. He Moved to Israel and married a Jewish woman. He continued his Jewish studies and Became and ordained Rabbi. Now he is Rabbi Yehuda Perez.

Tapping in to Previous Lives – through the Autistic Savants

Rabbi Perez once went to an autistic person who has a soul that highly in contact with the heavens. (for those interested Books (Secrets of the Soul) and a site (dani18.com) that reveals their messages exist). His name I believe is Binyamin Golden – who is able to communicate through a process called Facilitated Communication (FC). FC Is done through computer chat communication with the autistic person.

He asked Binyamin – who was he in a previous life. Binyamin Told him –

Your soul was previously in a person who died in the Gas Chambers of the Holocaust. In your previous life you were also married with someone who had the same soul as your current wife.

His current wife was a Moroccan Jew.

Rabbi Perez then asked why was his current wife born Jewish – while he was born as a gentile?

Binyamin Told him –

At the last moments of your previous life you did not do Teshuva / Repent from abandoning the Torah. You thus were born as a non-Jew – because to compensate for your lack of Teshuva – in a past life you had to make an extra effort to become Jewish in this life. Your wife – did do Teshuva the last moment and thus she was reincarnated as a Jewish woman.

The world – in this state is supposed to last 6,000 years. We are in Year 5,778 from creation. Many souls are coming to the world to make a tikun / reparation for abandoning Torah in a previous life. At times a person has sinned so much – that the only way they can be purified and forgiven is if they die sanctifying the Name of Hashem / Kiddush Hash-m. Some of the people in the Holocaust died for that reason.

Thus many converts are coming to convert to Judaism – because these migrant souls are being reborn.

Who Are You?

The Ariz”l said that most people born today are from souls reincarnated from past lives.

Are you one of these reincarnated souls? I don’t know. Hypnosis (see – the book the Coming Revolution – by R. Zamir Cohen or an article on his site hidabroot.com – that talks about Hypnosis to a past life) or speaking with one of these autistic people (see dani18.com – apparently you can email them) through Facilitated Communication might be able to help you on that one. But really all you need is to be true to yourself- true to truth. true to finding truth and pray to Hash-m / G-d and Hash-m will help you find the Truth.

Following Torah – either the Shulhan Arukh for a Jew or the 7 Noahide Commandments for non-Jews are pretty simple once you get used to doing them. One just has to take that first step of making taking small steps towards learning them and observing.