Doing Good When Others Do You Bad

Sufferance. Does it have a purpose?

Others cause us bad. What can you do?

You have three options. Suffer in Silence. Suffer and use the sufferance to take revenge. Use sufferance for the good.

Talking it Out

You suffer? Talk it out. In the olden days a person who had a heavy heart would talk it out with friends and family.

Psychologists vs. Family

Today, it’s more common than before to go to a psychiatrist. I am from the old school. I think a person should first talk with friends and family to get try to solve the problem or get the problem off their chest – then if they really need more help that cannot be provided by friends or family then a seeing a psychologist might be in order.

Choosing a Psychologist that has a Torah Outlook

Even in selecting a psychiatrist – a person must be concerned about his or her mentality, capabilities, reputation and hashkafa / Jewish philosophy.

A Torah Hashkafa is important because if a psychologist lacks one they might prompt the person do things against the Torah. Like if the psychologist is treating kleptomania (someone who steals) – he might say “steal from places that you won’t get caught.” Or reinforce his negative impulses.

Shock therapy

I met psychiatrist recently that mentioned he was able to help people – like those who wet their beds, young couples with marital concerns, victims of trauma – in a non-traditional manner. Instead of prolonging the therapy by delving into the person’s history and childhood – he goes to the root of the problem and helps them in one or two sessions rather than sessions lasting months or years.

He explained to me his method. Indeed it is very direct. But it is effective. You choose your method of treatment and whether you actually want to be treated.

The first step to solve a problem is to recognize there is a problem.

Unloading Your burden to the Rabbi

I feel that competent, reputable Orthodox Rabbis with a proper Torah Hashkafa are fit to solve relationship problems. Consulting them has four advantages over a psychologist. One is the Rabbi sees the picture according to a Torah perspective. He will give advice that is Correct halachically / according to Jewish Law and Hashkafically / according to Torah philosophy. Secondly He might be able to give spiritual reasons for the suffering. Three He may also take upon himself to pray for the person. Four – if he deems himself unfit – he will refer you to a competent professional – that he approves of.

Good G-d – Believe it is and will be good and it will be good

What we think is coincidence is actually carefully planned by G-d. We call it Hashgacha Pratit – Individual Supervision. Meaning that G-d watches over us particularly. Here are two recent examples:

I am in the middle of writing this article. Before 5 pm – I take a break to mail a package. Someone other than me put a CD in the player. The CD in the car plays. The rabbi – Rabbi Yigal Cohen – is talking exactly what I am writing about. He tells a story: He was giving a Shiur – a lecture to Israelis on coping with difficulties. After the lecture – a psychologist – who was nodding her head in agreement throughout the lecture – came up to him and said “I agreed with what you said during the lecture. I wanted to add a point. That many psychological problems come from a lack of understanding or faith in G-d.”

If we believe that all comes from G-d and all that G-d does is for our good – we can more easily cope with difficulties. Because there is a reason for all our difficulties. Because it is difficult – it doesn’t mean that it is bad. It is difficult to exercise, to climb a mountain – but afterwards your body is in better shape. When we encounter difficulties by believing G-d is doing things for our good and learning from the messages being sent – our attitude in life and personality gets in shape.

There are difficult and easy situations in life. But all are good – if sent by G-d. We just have to be able to see the good in the difficulties.

Example two that happened just recently: I usually leave the synagogue at a certain time.  I set up with a traveling mechanic to fix my brakes that day while I was in the synagogue. He came later than usual delaying my departure. In the interim a woman came to the synagogue – in a time when I would not usually be there – who told us that her maternal grandmother was Jewish. Apparently she did not know that she was Jewish because her mother was Jewish. We invited her to the synagogue and she said she would try to come.

Some would call this coincidence – the Torah calls it Hashgacha pratit / individual supervision.

What Does G-d Want from Me

In my lifetime I have suffered, like everyone. When I was about 13 I changed myself. My sufferings prompted me to improve. When faced with difficulties – I asked – why me? Why was I suffering when all my friends were having a great time. After much introspection, questioning and pain – I figured there must be a reason. I asked myself “What does G-d want from me?”

I figured that it was G-d that was sending the difficulties to prompt me to improve my ways. Yes at 13 I did have much to improve – my lifestyle, my life and Jewish philosophy / hashkafa, my attitude and my deeds. I started studying Torah to see what I could improve.

I started reading Jewish classics – like Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the fathers and learned I had much more to improve than I had thought. I learned Jewish laws. I started attending an orthodox synagogue regularly. I started keeping kosher. I was careful about wearing my tefillin daily and attending prayer services at the local orthodox synagogue. This was a gradual process that took years.

I made a point to grow every day. Learn Torah every day. Now – looking back – I can see the reasons for the difficulties and the suffering and feel that following the path to self-improvement through Torah – was instrumental in me leading a happier life today. I have a more positive attitude and life than I would have had I followed the crowd.

The suffering that prompted me to get better through Torah Judaism – was a springboard to making my life better.

Does a person grow only through adversity?

The first question a person should ask when suffering is – what message is G-d sending me to help me improve? At times it is a message for a very particular isssue or it could be a message that a person should improve in general. A quick and simple way for a Jew to determine what they should improve is to benchmark one’s actions and attitudes with what it says in Pirkei Avot and in Shulchan Aruch. For a Gentile / Non-Jew one should benchmark their actions and attitudes with what the Noahide laws from the Torah says.

Letting Go of the Grudge – Having Faith in G-d & the Woman who Forgave.

I heard of a story of a woman about 35 – who was not married. She said she wasn’t finding any prospective marriage mates. She went to her local Orthodox Rabbi and told him of her concern.

He asked – “Did you date someone and it didn’t work out?” She said “Yes. About a year ago I was going out with a great boy. We both liked each other. We were about to get married – and then his mother got involved and he broke off the wedding.”

The Rabbi asked “Did you forgive him?” She said “Yes. But I cannot forgive the mother. Why did she have to get involved and break off a good relationship.”

The Rabbi asked “Who do you think organizes relationships?”

She replied “Hash-m” / G-d.

“If that is the case why do you hold a grudge against his mother? If you believed that G-d organizes relationships – so he was the One also who helped the relationship to break off. You think it was the mother that broke it off. Hash-m was the One who broke it off. She was just an agent of Hash-m. Since you keep holding on to this grudge it means that you are under the impression that it was the mother that caused the break up. If you believe and accept that it was G-d that really the cause and she was just an agent forgive the mother with a full heart. This will show you put your belief that G-d is in control and does all for the best. And remember to call me when before you get married to invite me to your wedding.”

She then said aloud in front of the Rabbi “I Forgive her completely. I forgive her completely. I forgive her completely.”

Three months later he received the call that she was getting married.

She put her trust in Hash-m. Then Hash-m’s providence was invoked by her trusting in Him. She told the Rabbi then a fact that was pertinent to the story “A year ago my groom to be received a piece of paper with my phone number. He thought I was older than him – so he decided to meet other women for marriage. They didn’t work out. He was free to date again – when he happened to find the piece of paper with my phone number and decided to call me. He “happened” to find the paper after I forgave the mother of my former date.”

= = =

Postcsript:

Suffering For my people

I was prompted to write this article because of my suffering for a young woman – Ori Ansbacher, HYD (may G-d avenge her blood) – that was recently killed savagely by an Arab terrorist. This young woman loved people and peace. This terrorist killed her for the sole reason because she was Jewish.

How can we be consoled?

Anyone killed because they are Jewish – dies sanctifying the name of heaven. They get a high place in heaven. Apparently a Jew can say kaddish for her.

I still suffer. Who is guilty?

Many. Terrorists. People who support terrorists or terrorist organizations financially or by encouragement. People who don’t do enough to assure that these terrorists are punished. The schools and organizations that taught the Terrorists to hate Jews.

And unfortunately we ourselves.

If the Jews were united, If we would listen to the words of the Torah to be kind with one another and banish hatred among Jews – we would be able to deter these terrible acts.

What can we do

When such a crime occurs – apart from petitioning the authorities for new strong reforms take place against these acts of savagery – G-d wants us to correct ourselves on a personal level.

Let us be kinder to our fellow. Let us make peace among Jews. Let us learn more Torah. Let us take upon ourselves new mitzvot. Let us bring our fellow Jews closer to Torah and Mitzvot and at least we will have some kind of consolation.

Let’s propel ourselves in these deeds of goodness and mitzvot so we won’t need any difficult motivators anymore.

10 Quick Concepts to Go From Dating to a Speedy and Good Marriage

The concept of marriage in Judaism is greater than a couple establishing a family together. We start the process by searching for our soul mate – for in reality the partner is part of a similar soul that was separated and reunited in marriage. Through marriage one can reach their potential in doing good for the world – through having the Torah as a life guide.

I suffer for many of my good friends that are good people that haven’t yet found their other half. I don’t know how much my suffering helps them – so I offer here advice to get married for anyone who wants to hear. I might repeat some things I said in previous posts – but a little repetition doesn’t hurt.

1. Make a List of Your Priorities

I once read an article that said a person should make a list of 10 or 20 priorities for a mate. If one has either five or half of them – they are doing well.

Obviously there are “requirements” and “nice to haves”. Know which are which. Also go through these priorities with your dating coach and the people you network with to help you find a date.

2. Make Your Smart Effort

I know people who to to single events every week. They look but they don’t find. I think a person would be better off calling up Orthodox Rabbis of communities or Rosh Yeshivas and sharing what they are searching for in a mate – in order for them to search in their “Rolodex” for someone compatible they might be able to suggest for you. They can also offer you advice. They know more people in their congregation than you can meet at a singles event. And they can narrow down the search.

I think a person looking to marry should make themselves take at least five minutes a day to network to find a person.

Making a Smart Effort

Self & Date assessment can help pinpoint areas to improve. One should ask themselves – what is not working in my dates? Am I not putting enough effort? Am I presenting myself in a good light? Am I talking about wrong subjects? How am I coming across to the potential mate? This can also be discussed with the Dating Coach.

Know the purpose of the Date

The purpose of a date is to see is if the person is a potential mate for marriage. If one sees that their partner is fit for marriage – based upon the criteria we mention in the article – then continue till you determine if the person is a viable marriage partner.

Prayer

A person should pray daily for a good mate that is suitable for them. Pray to Hashem for some of the criteria in a mate for which you are searching.

3. Do Your Homework

Once you do get a name – research that person. Examples of the questions a person would ask about a potential partner are:

1. Are they kind hearted?

2. Do they have the Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook of the Torah.

3. For a Female Searching for a Male: Are they a Ben Torah? Do they have a fixed time to learn torah daily. Are they able to read a Gemara.

4. Are they Truthful.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

6. Do they Have any psychological, mental or health issues. Do they have a bad temper. Are they able to bear children. I know of people who married only to find out afterwards that the partner had health issues, temper issues, were controlling or tyrants, had psychological issues or were unable to bear children. Ask these questions before marriage.

7. Can you give examples of each.

Ask open ended questions not Yes or No Questions. You can answer yes to any question. If someone asks me “Is a particular person nice.?” I may answer Yes – even if they are mean – if I think in my mind “Yes they are nice when they sleep.”

Ask pointed questions. Don’t ask “are they nice?” That is too vague. Ask them for example of things that you saw them doing that were nice. Did you ever see them get angry? Are they a growing person? Can you cite examples?

People don’t want to say bad things about another person. So they might hide things from you. It is your job to get the correct information. That is through doing your proper effort in researching the person.

Ask their friends, mentors, rabbis, former teachers etc. Better to do the due diligence before the marriage than to regret. Tell them that you are interested in dating the person – so that your discussion will be for a constructive purpose – and will not be considered Lashon HaRah – Derogatory speech – which is forbidden by the Torah.

Some people nowadays have a Shidduch / Dating Resume to simplify the search process. I personally am against asking for pictures – a picture may mislead a person. You are not marrying a picture – you marry a whole person – with their personality. Many people reject based upon a photo. A person has to be attractive to you – i think that the minimum to be acceptable to marry a person is that they are not repulsive to you. They don’t need to be a model.

4. Be willing to Get a Dating / Shidduch Coach

– A Shidduch or Dating Coach will serve as an intermediary to help you work out issues with a potential mate. At times one partner is interested but the other has reservations. Instead of discussing their reservations with the partner – they decide to break it off.

In comes the Dating Coach. He or She will be able to take concerns and tactfully relate them to the other party. They will be able to advise the person what are important issues and what are secondary. Most Preferably – this coach should have Daat Torah – a point of view of the Torah to allow you the Torah perspective of what is important.

I would suggest speaking with a Competent Orthodox Rabbi to ask him to be a Dating Coach. Both partners must be agreeable.

Perhaps the man likes the woman’s personality but finds her overweight. He is embarrassed to mention that to her. Perhaps the woman likes the man’s personality but she finds him not Torah observant enough. (certain cases I encountered). The Shidduch Coach could try to work things out.

5. Growing in Judaism

There is a concept in Judasim called – Maalim BaKodesh. We raise ourselves in Holiness. Meaning that we go from a lower level to a higher one. Like first Jewish men put on the Talit and then the Tefillin daily. Tefillin has a higher level of holiness than the Talit.  Similarly I advise people to try to raise their bar in Torah observance before they get married to be able to get matched from above with a similar mate that will raise their family in Judaism.

G-d will help you find a mate usually on a similar religious level. If you raise your observance G-d will give you a similar mate. An example – if one hangs out in bars every night – G-d will allow them to meet a mate that does the same. If you want a family that are together on Shabbat and holidays and before marriage and you make an effort to observe the Shabbat in its entirety – G-d will help them meet a similar mate.

Growth in Torah and Judaism is an important part of Torah Observance. At times one person is on a particular level of Torah Observance and the other is on a lower level. The one on the lower level would be smart to raise their level of observance and tell that to the potential mate.

6. Demanding the Basics

As mentioned above there are basics that a person should have to be a good partner that will help you and your family grow in Judaism.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

I know people that chose their mates. Their parent imposed on the mate dating their child – the above requirements. You might have others – that the mate studies Torah daily. That the wife covers her hair. That their be no TV in the house. You decide – but I believe the 4 points (a, b, c & d) mentioned above are the minimum requirements to raise a family in Judaism.

7. Listening to Parents

Parents want the good of the children. Thus it makes sense to look to them for advice. Obviously one can marry against the advice of their parents – but it is good to seek their approval and listen to their ideas.

8. Considering Previous Dates

If a date was 80% and one of you rejected the other party – it might be reasonable to contact them yourself or through an intermediary  to try again. In Judaism if one got divorced – it is praiseworthy to remarry the same mate – if they did not get remarried in the interim.

9. Can You get Along

Some people look for love at first sight. Sometimes it happens that way. Sometimes that is just infatuation and fades quickly after marriage. Love in Marriage may take several years to develop. When you give you start to love. Love comes from appreciating the goodness and qualities of the other. Many a time people mistake love for infatuation. Know the difference.

One of the points of the date is to see if you can get along. Can you appreciate the others personality. If after 2 or 3 dates there is no commonality it might be a sign to stop. On the 3rd date – if the first 2 were successful – a person can tell a bit of personal information to see if they feel comfortable relating to them and to see how they react.

Remember a date is not your psychologist. You don’t have to tell them all of your problems. Your goal is to find out if you can respect one another and have a meeting of the minds.

10. Popping the Question

Some people take much time to pop the question to get married. If the basics are in order asking to get married is the next step. You can give the person a heads up and say what do you think about marriage.

Some are afraid of rejection. Some are afraid of commitment. Some are afraid to make the wrong decision. If they reject – perhaps they were not for you and G-d saved you from an unproductive marriage.

If you are afraid of commitment – you just have to do your best. Some are afraid of financial stability – it is G-d who provides. Some want a degree,a high paying job before they get married  – although one should be realistic – that shouldn’t be a necessary criteria imposed on yourself or the other party – If you or the other party are responsible and trustworthy – you can assume that the other person will find a way to make income.

If you are afraid of making the wrong decision – once the basics are in place and you prayed to Hashem and did your due diligence you can feel more confident in asking the other for their hand.

It happened to me several times that I was interested in marrying a girl, and I even gave a ring and the girl returned the ring to me. G-d saw that the girl was not for me for a reason. He arranged that she reject me. Looking back it was a good thing things happened that way.

That is to tell you – although you should do all your effort, due diligence and pray – G-d / Hash-m will help you marry the right mate.

With Whom are you Really Angry? Why Hate & Anger are Different

Hating those who Do not agree with You

The other day I was on a Clip-art site. Someone posted a piece of art that was against same-gender marriage. Some of the other artists jumped on this person – calling him a hater, a “racist” and other hateful terms. I thought of analyzing the comment conversation. This person basically posted the opinion of the Torah. Same-gender marriage or relations are forbidden for Jews and Gentiles. Because I don’t agree with a person – I don’t have to hate him or call him a hater.

Respect the Person – but not the Opinion

Because a person has another opinion than you – the Torah says you must respect the person but not his point of view. I am against many things that people do. But I do try to respect them as people. Perhaps one day they also will come to understand that The Torah was given for man to perfect himself or herself. The Torah was given to have better personal relations.

Jews hate the sin – not the Sinner

Jews don’t hate the people who do commit these acts. In reality we feel badly for them.

Figuring Out the Reason for G-d’s Position

An intelligent person will think “If this law about Homosexuality (or any other Torah law) is in the Torah that was written by G-d – so there must be some Justifications against it.” You just have to figure it out – if you don’t understand.

Taking the Underdog’s position vs. Understanding G-d’s position

People usually take the – feel bad for the underdog approach. That is good. G-d also takes the side of the underdog. But First the intelligent way to pursue is to take the opinion of G-d as stated by the Torah. And if I don’t understand – or don’t agree – my opinion should defer to G-d’s opinion – for He knows more than me.

Putting Words in G-d’s Mouth

Some do the opposite. They to force words into G-d’s mouth – see the conservative, reform and other movements. G-d gave the Torah. It is forbidden to drive on Shabbat. The other movements said “No. It is better that people be able to drive to synagogue.”

G-d Knows Best

That law spelled the destruction of these movements. People who drove on Shabbat – drove right passed the synagogue into the shopping center. Or drove to another synagogue abandoning their local synagogue.  Many of their congregations fell into disuse – because they changed the law of G-d. n the Torah itself it says – do not add or subtract from the laws.

Why Some Hate

Some hate Jews because they think they can’t live up to G-d’s Torah laws. So they hate – to justify their unwillingness to submit to G-d’s will. The Jews take the blows for their unwillingness to follow Torah. But we will be rewarded for it. In any case a person should understand why they hate a person and try to make peace with themselves – by understanding the other person.

Not hating Others

A Jew should not hate another Jew. The only time that it is warranted to hate another Jew is if they sin to anger G-d. Most people are not in that category. The reason why most people in the world do not follow Torah is ignorance. Most Jews today are in the category of Tinok Shenishba / a child that was taken captive at a young age – so they are not fully responsible for their lack of observance.

Learn Torah to Progress

Personally, I think if Jews did start learning Torah – they would start to observe at least some aspect of it. A very important point is – that if certain aspects of Torah are too challenging for a person to adhere to at this moment –  a person should not reject Torah on that basis. They should be mature enough to say – that aspect is above my ability for now but i will strive in other aspects that are easier until I can.

Wrong Attitude Towards Torah

Unfortunately, many years ago – people said – let’s attract more people to Torah by changing the Torah’s laws. That is mistake number 1. Why? Because Torah was given by G-d before millions of witnesses. So its divinity is difficult to challenge. No other religions claims that their “bible” was given by G-d to millions of people. Only Judaism.

So to disagree or want to change the laws of G-d is counter productive. G-d thought out his law more than anyone who tried to find reasons to disregard Torah.

Concrete Examples

A Jew is to follow 613 commandments of the Torah. A Gentile is to follow 7 major categories of laws called the Noahide Laws / Sheva Mitvzot Benei Noach.

In the Torah Killing is prohibited. Why because G-d said so. In Nazi Germany they made laws to allow killings of Jews. If laws aren’t based upon the word of G-d as stated in the Torah – killing can be justified – like many religions did so in the past to further their cause – like in the inquisition, the crusades, the intifada, etc. Their laws are not based upon Torah – so they justify Killing innocent people.

The Torah says hate the sin not the sinner. Hate the philosophy – if it is against Torah. But not the people. If G-d says something you do not understand in the Torah – ask a reputable Torah scholar to explain. They will. Hating a person for an opinion is contrary to Torah – unless they are spiteful against G-d. Try to Understand the Position of G-d and live a more peaceful and lucrative life.

Many people who were the haters – what did they accomplish? Hatred. Anyone can do that. Making a better world through Torah is really our Job. Jews have the 613 commandments & Gentiles the Torah’s Noahide laws. That is the real starting point for a better world.