The Anxiety – Overcoming it through Belief in G-d

People have anxiety. How can you deal with it?

Personally I think there are three steps.

  1. Remove yourself from situations that cause anxiety. Some feel fear because they hear the scary news items. News is meant to attract readers or watchers – if the headlines wrote “Beautiful Day in Israel Again.” It wouldn’t be read by many. So they resort to tactics to attract readership. If the news makes you anxious – watch less news. Some news magazines – including Jewish ones – and sites fall into the category of over-analyzing news. Personally, I just like to hear the headlines and some small details. I don’t need to know all the details. We used to subscribe to such a Jewish family magazine – but I felt it was too focused on irrelevant details (to me) of the news. So we stopped our subscription. We replaced it with more of a family oriented magazine. If other things cause you fear – distance yourself from them.
  2. Deal with the symptoms – If public speaking causes you anxiety – learn to overcome the fear. Prepare more. Know your subject. Practice. Get used to talking in public.
  3. Deal with the Root Cause. One main cause of fear is the belief that society is a dangerous place or people are out to get you. Don’t worry – people are not out to get you. G-d is here to protect you. He loves you more than anyone else. Hashem is good and wants your good and safety. If we think of that – we can live a calmer life.

My friend once said – if you believe in the stock market – your mood will be based upon the movements of the stock market. On an up day you will be happy. On a down day – your mood will swing. But one who believes in Hashem and knows the goodness of Hashem and reinforces it by learning about Bitachon / Belief and Emuna / Trust in G-d – they will live a more peaceful life.

Hashem is the Name of G-d. Some English Translated versions of the Torah it / 5 Books of Moses inaccurately translates the name of G-d as “The Lord” – more of a pronoun – the correct translation is really “Hash-m” – a personal noun. ie – “Hear Oh Israel The Lord…. is One” should really should be translated as “Hear Oh Israel Hashem… is One.” If you read about the kindness of Hashem in the Torah or books you begin to trust in Him. The root cause of your anxiety will be solved.

Some good Jewish books include – Rabbi David Ashear’s “Living Emuna” books found at better Jewish bookstores.

Your Personal Messages from G-d

G-d communicates with us daily. We just have to understand His messages.

When in Israel, someone asked me for a donation. I checked my pockets – no change to be found. I wanted to give. He then said to me in Hebrew “Yesh Bo Mamash.” There is something there. In Hebrew – the word “Mamash” is spelled Mem-Mem-Shin. Those are my Hebrew initials. Apparently he didn’t know that. He was telling me there was money in my pocket.

I thought of the message – perhaps Hash-m was telling me – You have capabilities – Mamash.

So I took the statement – that may have offended others in the positive way.

If you listen to the messages and hear what happens to you daily – you can understand where Hash-m wants to guide you or test you.

If someone asks you for a donation – it might mean that you need a kapara / an atonement or a zechut / merit. Or perhaps G-d simply wants you to give you an opportunity to do a mitzvah.

In Morocco – once a rabbi saw a person with a sign of death on his face. He went up to him to ask him for Charity. Charity saves from death. He pleaded with him to give charity to save him. I don’t think he gave in the end. I don’t know the rest of the story.

Even if you pass a person talking with a friend and you over hear them saying “Your friend is so generous.” It might be a message for you – either in the positive way – that you are also generous – or perhaps you should work on your generosity.

The other day a rabbi told me a story. He said that someone told him that people should be more generous in giving blessings to others. He said he took it to heart. He was sitting at someones house – and children were kind of looking for attention and running around him. A bit annoyed – instead of screaming at them – he shouted “Zei Gezunt!” “Be Healthy” in Yiddish. The children continued running around him and started also yelling “Zei Gezunt.”

I took it as a message that perhaps I should be more flowing with blessings and positivity and compliments.

What Makes a Child More Resilient? Yetziat Mitzrayim / the Exodus from Egypt

Featured

Someone told me of a podcast they heard on Resilience.

What allows a person to become resilient. Among other things – the author of an article on the subject mentioned – that if a child learns of family member’s past, their challenges, their triumphs, their difficulties, their jobs etc. the person apparently learns to be more resilient. It makes sense. If a family member encountered a difficult situation and overcame it, I can too. If they made it through tough times, I come from the same blood and also have it in me.

If they encountered a road block, i am not the only one in that situation. Other people are in the same boat and just like they eventually jumped over it, I can too.

G-d showed His Kind Hand in someone else’s life, He will also help me.

Hearing stories of family, of history of our people apparently transmits the same inner strength. It’s not just learning history – it’s transmitting values, valor and inner strength.

Every year, on Pesach / Passover, we tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It not only gives us national unity in experiencing a common suffering that we overcame – but it transmits the power to overcome struggles. The power of resilience.

Our Shabbat. We eat together. Connect. Sing. Share stories & divrei Torah. The eating together helps us connect. We learn from each other and become stronger to face the week ahead.

 

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20 questions that can help you to evaluate how much your children know about you were formulated by Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush. They created the “Do You Know?” scale in 2001 to ask children questions about their family in order to test the hypothesis that children who know more about their families are more resilient and can handle challenges better than children who have limited knowledge about their families.

The questions, designed to ask children things they would not know directly, are as follows:

1. Do you know how your parents met?
2. Do you know where your mother grew up?
3. Do you know where your father grew up?
4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?
5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
6. Do you know where your parents were married?
7. Do you know what went on when you were being born?
8. Do you know the source of your name?
9. Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being born?
10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
11. Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
12. Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger?
13. Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
14. Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
15. Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc)?
16. Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
17. Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?
18. Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to?
19. Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to?
20. Do you know about a relative whose face “froze” in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough?

Covid Omicron – A Blessing of G-d to Humanity

In the desert, the Israelites complained. (Bamidbar / Numbers 21:5) G-d sent snakes to bite the complainers. Moses, having mercy for his people, prayed to Hash-m to heal them. G-d told Moshe to construct a large copper snake and to place it on a pole. (thus the logo for the medical profession.) One who was bitten – would look upon the snake and be healed.

A Blessing in Disguise

Those bit by the snakes suffered. Yet if they looked at the snake they would be healed. A positive outcome was that a person who was bit and had a previous ailment would be healed of both the snake bite and the previous ailment by looking at the snake.

Covid Omicron is a very mild form of Corona virus. A person who was infected – perhaps would be quarantined for several days – but afterwards – he or she would get the anti-bodies against the more severe forms of Covid.

Since Omicron spreads rapidly it is inoculating large parts of the population.

A blessing in Disguise.

The Sound of the Shofar – The Morse Code Message

I heard this story from Rabbi Farhi of the Safra Synagogue in Manhattan.

A rabbi sounded the shofar / the rams horn for a group of people apparently for Rosh Hashana. Among them was a Sefardic Israeli man, muscular built, no yarmulke. He heard the sound and burst into tears.

The rabbi asked him why are you so emotional when you heard the Shofar?

The Morse Code Specialist

The man told him that in the Israeli Army he was a Morse code specialist. After traveling the world – looking for meaning – he saw a help-wanted ad in the newspaper for a Morse Code specialist. He had to arrive for the interview process – between 10 am – 12 pm. He arrived at about 11:50. The waiting room was full of applicants. He sat listening to the background music. He got up and walked to the interview room. People yelled – hey, wait in line we were here before you. He burst into the room.

After some time the interviewer came out and said – “Thank you for all coming but we found our candidate for the position. You may all go home now.”

“What? All that waiting for nothing” they thought. “And the hutzpa of this guy to burst into the room before us.”

The man explained to the rabbi how he got the job. In the waiting room they played background music. The man realized that the beat to the song was a Morse code message. It said “Anyone who hears this enter into the interview room.” Thus he heard the message from the beat. There was a message behind the music.

The Message Behind the Music

“When I heard the Shofar the sound resonated in me. It was a message that penetrated my heart telling me to do Tehuva – it resonated deep into my soul – and I burst out crying.”

Our Daily Messages

We hear Hash-m’s / G-d’s messages in the background daily – the observant listens and reacts. We see the beauty of the world, the beauty of our children, the blessings we have – does it resonate or do we ignore the message?

It’s our choice.

Composing Yourself at Stop Signs

You are in a rush. You’re traveling down the big boulevard – encountering a series of non-synchronized stoplights.

You now consider the Yellow light to mean – “speed up” instead of “slow down”.  Not prudent – but you are late.

The stop lights in life allow us to recompose our thoughts. We may treat it as a minor annoyance – but stopping in traffic or in an elevator gives us opportunities to calm down – to think of new plans – to call in to the office to say we are running late. Perhaps we hit a snag in life – it may be a message – to rethink your attitude towards the situation.

Don’t lose your composure based on the situation. Hash-m wants us to be in control – not the situation to control us.

It is not worth it to arrive 5 minutes earlier if it entails endangering people.

Use these moments to rethink the situation – perhaps G-d wants you to stop and think.

The Benefits of an Old Used Car

I asked my mechanic today if he needs an assistant. I had so many car troubles – I know many car parts, troubles, and their solutions. He laughed.

He told me it is more worth my time to learn & teach Torah. He told me a story that once – I believe Moshe Reichman – a Multi-Billionaire – asked – the Gadol HaDor – great Rabbi of the Generation – could he retire and just sit and learn Torah. Rav Shach said – He supported so many Yeshiva Students – with his wealth – that he should remain in business and keep his Torah learning schedule.

A Greater Place in Heaven

I then told him a story – Once Moshe Reichman asked Rav Schach – “Who will have a greater place in Heaven – Himself – because he supported so many Torah learning Institutions and Yeshivot or Rav Shach who was the Torah leader of the Generation?”

Rav Shach replied – “I don’t know who will have a better portion of Olam HaBa / in Heaven – but I know I have a better portion in Olam HaZeh / this world.” Moshe Reichman was a billionaire. Rav Shach lived very simply. He meant that living & Learning Torah was greater than the life of a billionaire.

The Benefits of an Old Used Car

I said to my mechanic – It is good to have an old used car. Why? Because the troubles that you have are an atonement for sins. Instead of physical harm – the atonement goes on the car. So spending $1000 for a new Intake Manifold isn’t so bad – after all.

Rabbi Harvey Gornish, an Orthodox Rabbi, brought a story in response to a question – “How did King Solomon / Shlomo Hamelech learn the language of the animals?”

In I Kings 3:5–14 Solomon begs G-d for the wisdom of a LEV SHOMAYA or understanding heart, and a Midrash informs us that when he woke up from what he thought was a dream (3:15), he found that he could understand the chirping of the birds.

There is a remarkable follow up to this Midrash. One day a friend of Solomon, obsessed with learning the secrets of the birds, implored the king to teach him this secret language. Solomon cautioned him that it would serve him not well and lead to disaster, but the friend was relentless. Upon learning how to understand the chirping birds, the man heard two birds conversing and was shocked to hear that they were speaking about himself, warning that tomorrow his house would burn down. Shrewdly, the man raced to the market and sold his house to a idolatrous gentile. How happy he was to incur no loss when the house burst into flames on the morrow.


A week later he heard the birds warn that his cattle would die of a plague. Once again he shrewdly sold them quickly and suffered no loss. Finally, the last avian warning was that HE was about to die. Terrified, the man ran to Solomon begging for advice.

Solomon explained there was nothing he could do; the man had tried to outsmart the Al-Mighty, and deserved his fate. The merciful G-d had tried to awaken him to repentance by depriving him of a somewhat painless monetary loss; a house, some cattle, etc. But NO, HE was too smart to allow G-d to do this. So finally, there was nothing left with which to punish his sins except to take his very life.And that was That.

And so the Torah warns us in Deuteronimy 18:13 Tamim Tihihey Im Hashem Elokecho: Be WHOLEHEARTED with Hashem your G-d. Refrain from astrology, divination, fortune telling and tarot cards in order to outwit your fate. It can not be done and it is a sin to try. Instead TRUST in His love that whatever befalls you was not only necessary, but also the best outcome that is beneficial to your soul. Trying to outsmart the Al-Mighty is really for the birds!

Spending $1000 for a new Intake Manifold isn’t so bad – after all.

Mazal Tov! Does Judaism Believe in Astrology or The Real Months of the Zodiac

Strive for Truth

I Overheard the Rabbi in synagogue teaching “Michtav MeEliyahu.” In English it is Called “Strive for Truth.” A Sefer / book by Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler. He was talking about the influence of the Jewish Months.

The Time Spiral

Time in Judaism is not a straight line – it is a spiral. Imagine a spiral. in the middle is the beginning of time. Each complete single spiral represents the Jewish year. Draw a circle around the spiral. Make 12 slices – as you would in a pizza (instead of 8 slices – 12 slices). Each slice has a particular influence in the world. Each slice is a Jewish Month. Each Slice represents a particular influence on the world. As the spiral goes outwards we grow.

The True Astrology

He asked “Why do the Zodiac signs – start in almost the middle of secular calendar months? He  mentioned that really Astrology / the Zodiac signs correspond to Jewish months – which are months based upon the moon – a lunar calendar adjusted to the Solar Calendar.

Jewish Months & their Influence

Mazal is the astrological influence.  Adar (Pisces – the sign of fish) – the month of Purim – has good Mazal for the Jews. Haman thought he could persecute the Jews in that month – because he thought Jews would be occupied eating – because fish eat other fish. Nissan – the Jewish Month when the Jews were freed from Egypt – has an influence of freedom in it. The Purity of the Young Girl – Virgo – is the Month of Elul – when the Jews do teshuva (repent) for their transgressions. It  is the Month before Tishrei. Tishrei – the month of Rosh HaShana – is when the people of the world are judged. Thus the sign for Tishrei is the Balance scale because it represents judgement. The Flood of Noah occurred in Cheshvan – the sign of scorpion – because scorpions are water resistant creatures. (Rokeach Bereshit 7:6-13)

There is an excellent set of Sefarim / Jewish Books called – “The Midrash Says” – which explains the stories of the Torah. Their Passover “Little Midrash Says Haggada” (p.97) – has a list of the Mazalot. It explains that when the sun is found in a particular area of the sky where a pattern of stars is found – that has an influence over events. Hash-m causes the monthly Mazal to influence events in the world. The Egyptians picked up on this and worshiped that constellation. Hash-m told the Jews to sacrifice the lambs – as a test of their faith – in the month when the lamb constellation was strong – Nissan – to show to the world that it is only Hash-m / G-d who has power over the Mazal. Nissan is the Month of Passover.

Jews are above the Mazalot. Meaning with prayer and actions they can change what may be destined for them.

Chart of Jewish Zodiac

Hebrew

Name

Transliteration English

Name

Description Hebrew Month Hebrew Month Stars in the Constellation Dates of Sun’s Presence

טָלֶה

Taleh Aries “ram/sheep”

נִיסָן

Nissan March 21 – April 20

שׁוֹר

Shor Taurus “bull/cow”

אִיְּיַר

Iyar April 21 May 21

תְּאוֹמִים

T’omim Gemini “twins”

סִיוָן

Sivan May 22 –

June 23

סַרְטָן

Sartan Cancer “crab”

תַּמּוּז

Tamuz June 23 – July 22

אַרְיֵה

Aryeh Leo “lion”

אָב

Av July 23 –

August 23

בְּתוּלָה

Virgo “virgin”

אֶלוּל

Elul August 24 -September 22

מֹאזְנַיִם

Moaznayim Libra “scale”

תִּשְׁרֵי

Tishrei September 23 –

October 23

עַקְרָב

Akrav Scorpio “scorpion”

חֶשְׁוָן

Cheshvan October 24 – November 22

קֶשֶׁת

Keshet Sagittarius “bow”

כִּסְלֵו

Kislev November 23 – December 21

גְּדִי

G’di Capricorn “horned goat”

טֵבֵת

Tevet December 22 January 19

דְּלִי

D’li Aquarius “water bucket”

שְׁבָט

Shevat January 20 February 18

דָּגִים

Dagim Pisces “fish”

אַדָּר

Adar February 19 March 20

 

If a person wants to look into their Astrology information – it is better to go to a person who follows Torah – who is knowledgeable in the matter. Some horoscopes are just made up by newspaper writers and people who are not versed in true Astrology. A person should also seek what is the Jewish law before consulting astrology, fortune tellers, hand readers, etc. – because fortune telling, soothsaying, magic, witchcraft, etc is forbidden by Torah for Jews & Non-Jews – according to the 7 Noahide laws of the Torah for all people of the world.

The Jewish Guru – Gil Locks

It was the 70’s. Gil Locks was a Guru.

The 60’s were a  time where people searched for spirituality – sincerely following movements that seemed spiritual* on the surface. The 70’s followed the momentum of the 60s.

As a child, one of the only religious experiences that he had was speaking to the GREAT OTHER.

The sensual pleasures – like eating ice cream and going on a boat ride left him thinking, that there must be more to life than this. Could this great universe be created for just a boat ride?

Gil, did the standard fare. He went to a 4-year college and afterward started his first job. He started working as a supervisor in an organization that distributed surplus food.

Gil became a very successful businessman back in the seventies. One day he realized it was an empty lie with no true purpose, no goal except making more money and owning better things. But once you achieve your million-dollar home, the next goal is to earn a two-million-dollar home. So what’s the point? So he dropped it, and went in search of meaning. Eventually he became one of the most powerful and capable gurus in India and in the USA.

He thought to himself he wanted to something more in life. He decided to go all out to investigate life philosophies. He went to the east in search of truth. He wanted to learn from certain Gurus – that people would wait weeks just to see him. Once he waited and somehow met a particular guru. Eventually, he found out that the guru’s honesty left to be desired.

He used to sit by Central Park West and 86th Street and sit silently on the Park bench – having stopped talking as is a result of the Eastern detachment. People would join him – sitting and watching and staying silent. He communicated with motions. He had a following.

In his book -“Coming Back to Earth: The Central Park Guru Becomes an Old City Jew” – he mentions that this detachment and such allowed him to reach unclean powers that others did not have. At times he would see the immediate future – a Deja Vu of sorts – while awake.

Gil – who now goes by the name Gutman – In his quest – finally decided to investigate and learn about Judaism. He went to live in a bus. One of his expression of praise of Hashem that he painted on the bus was “Yea G-d” – teaching that “G-d is Love.”

Gutman is a thinker. He didn’t accept the trends, fads and social norms of society. He questioned life to get real answers. Some quotes from his book:

Quote from page 252: “No matter how small the kindness, you never know how important it can be.”

Quote: “If you take a rock and heat it up in a fire and then put it on the street, people can warm themselves from it.”

After years of searching, he found the Truth & Love he was looking for in Torah Judaism. Now he sometimes stands by the Kotel / Western Wall in Jerusalem to talk to people and discuss philosophy of Torah as opposed to the philosophies he studied and rejected in the end. Someone adamant about finding truth – with effort and earnest prayer to Hash-m / G-d – will eventually find it – like Gutman did.

 

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*To search for something one first must define what exactly it is. Spirituality is developing a close relationship with G-d / the Creator of the world. Judaism teaches spirituality through Torah. Torah is the only divinely given document that was given by G-d and whose giving was witnessed by millions of people. In the Torah – it teaches how to become closer to Him.

*This Post was corrected for accuracy by Gutman Locks himself. We express our thanks to him for his time and effort.

It’s Just G-d Saying Hello.

About 10 years ago or so I was in Yeshiva with my friend Avraham. He told me that he was changing the names of his phone extensions in his rooms and somehow they got automatically changed to names that he wanted instead of the ones that he had entered. I told him, perhaps you were dreaming. No. Perhaps you programmed them and you forgot. No. Perhaps a friend came over and changed them. No. I tried to find a rational reason for how they changed. None of my propositions fit what actually happened.

He said “Hash-m” can do anything.” I agreed. “So what is the problem of Him changing the names of my extensions?”

I replied “Why would G-d do such a thing?” I can understand if he would make you meet someone to help you in some matter, but why would G-d want to change your phone extension names?”

“I don’t Know” he answered, “it just happened?”

This past Motzi Shabbat / Sortie of Shabbat, I was at a Melave Malka / the Fourth Meal after Shabbat. The speaker was Rabbi Feifer. He told 4 stories about Hashgacha Pratit / Individual Supervision by G-d.

Rabbi Feifer was in a local Kosher Mini-market. The manager, recognizing him, asked him if he had time to answer a question. Sure, he replied.

“Once a year I usually drive to Florida with my family after Shabbat. I went and stayed a week. After Shabbat was over I started driving back to New York. At about 7 o’clock in the morning – I was tired. I decided to pull off on one of the exits in North Carolina to get some sleep in a parking lot. After my nap, I go out of the car and I notice a fellow Jew. I approached him to say hello and the person turns out to be my old boss. I asked him what he was doing there. He said his daughter wanted to see one of the amusement parks in North Carolina. I asked myself, what are the odds of meeting my boss in the middle of North Carolina.” He asked the Rabbi “Why would G-d do such a thing?”

Some people would call it coincidence but – the Torah says everything is orchestrated by G-d.

The Rabbi thought of a story that happened recently in Israel. An organization in Israel – called Lev Le’achim – invites secular Jews to learn in a Yeshiva to acquaint themselves with Torah.The Yeshiva decide to take a group of boys to Tzefat for a Shabbaton / Shabbat Outing. A secular boy who was staying at the Yeshiva was invited to attend. They told him it would cost about 350 – 400 shekels. He replied, I’d really like to attend but I don’t have the funds. But I learned in the Torah this week that any expenses made for the honor of Shabbat will be reimbursed by Hash-m. “He says borrow on My account and I will pay.” So I will go but I will pay you after the Shabbaton. They agreed.

After the Shabbaton they made the calculation – each boy would have to pay 388 Shekels and 66 Agorot. He asked them for a couple days to pay for the trip. When He arrived to his dorm room, he saw a letter. “Dear Son, we wanted to wish you a happy birthday. As a gift we decided to give you one of each denomination of Israeli Currency.” There was a 200 Shekel note, a 100 shekel note, a 50, a 20, a 10 shekel coin, a 5, a 2 and a 1. A 50 agorot and a 10 and a 5 and a 1. Totalling – 388 Shekels and 66 Agorot.

Rabbi Feifer mentioned that in a taxi in Israel – the cab driver asked him how to say the hebrew word for “Nes” in English. He replied “Miracle.” He said “do you understand? It is 3 words?” “What 3 words?” “Mi Rak El” which translates to “Who? Only G-d.” (Some say Jews made the Latin Language.) He also mentioned the word “Coincident” is “Kah” – translated as G-d. and the word “incident.”

Rabbi Feifer said sometimes G-d just sends a message to say hello. I’m here. I just wanted to remind you. What we sometimes call coincidence – is really G-d saying Hello.