Happiness is a Choice


We control the horizontal.

We control the vertical.

We control the ups. We control the downs.

We control whether to have a left attitude or a right.

It is a statement in Chalzal (Chachamim Zichronam LiVracha – Our sages
of blessed memory.)

וְאָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא: הַכֹּל בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם, חוּץ מִיִּרְאַת
שָׁמַיִם.

HaKol Bidei Shamayim – Hutz MeYirat Shamayim. (Talmud Berakhot : 33b)

Everything is in the Hands of Heaven – except the fear of heaven.

Meaning – how much money you make is in Hash-m’s hands. How tall you
will be. How long you will live.

But you have a choice on things that pertain to awe of heaven – whether
you will be angry or calm, or bitter or better, sad or happy, composed
or wild or a robber or a banker, to do good or bad.

This is called freedom of choice.

You choose whether to put your children into a public school or a Torah
day school. You choose whether to spend the day shopping or the day
with the family at the Shabbat table. G-d gives you the freedom.

If we had not this choice, we would basically be robots. We would not
be able to be judged for our deeds.

Some say – he made me angry! He made me do it!

No one makes you do anything. You choose.

Your situation doesn’t cause your mood.

Heaven causes your situation. You yourself choose your mood and
attitude.

So choose to be happy.

It is in your hands.

Happiness is a choice.

The Man who Converted to Judaism because of Shoes

I was speaking with a friend. He said people commented to him that they would observe Torah Judaism (a better name for Orthodox Judaism) if there weren’t as many prohibitions. He told them “But look at all the things you can do!”

I told him it’s much more than that. It’s that by doing Mitzvot you improve your world tremendously. By doing Shabbat – one person will say – I can’t do it. I can’t drive.. I can’t go shopping. I can’t light a fire. I can’t use the phone, internet, other media and electronic games

But really, by not doing all those things you are guided to spend time with your friends and family. you are guided to focus on priorities in life. After 120 years, when a person is about to die he or she will not say, it is too bad I should have shopped more. They will say it’s too bad I would have liked to spend more time with loved ones.

Doing Mitzvot you change the world for the good. You have more meaning for every mitzvah that you do. Every mitzvah is an opportunity to improve. it’s a beracha – blessing.

A religion or movement that tries to reduce the commandments from people is completely missing the point. Every mitzvah is an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with others and with Hashem. why do I want to limit connection?

A man converted to Judaism. Asked “why?” – he responded “there is a mitzvah – commandment (rabbinical ) to tie your shoes a particular way. I wanted to be in a religion that G-d is with me even agent I tie my shoes.”

If You Go in My Statutes – Making a 180 on a Ship / You’re Closer to Torah than You Think

Im Behukotai Telechu / If you go in my statutes. Last week’s Parasha / weekly Torah reading was – Behukotai. Behukotai / My statutes – Rashi says is “Learning Torah” because the next part of the verse says “and if you will observe my Mitzvot”. The next verse says – if you do so – you will get rain in the proper time and other blessings.

So we list that of primary importance first – First Torah learning, then observing Mitzvot. Obviously both are necessary. Another question is why does it says – telechu /you will go? It should say learn my statutes. Apparently there is a message to improve daily – not to remain stagnant. Some people are the same that they were 20 years ago. The Torah wants us to be better every day.

What are statutes? statutes are laws that are seemingly incomprehensible. So why does the Torah use these words for learning Torah? A question of Rabbi Yisrael Salantar.

Rabbi Solomonovich explained in a recent Dvar Torah / Torah speech – that Rabbi Samson Rephael Hirsch said that – a Hok / statute comes from the word Hek / bosom – denoting something close to the heart. He mentions that to one person something may be incomprehensible one but beloved by others.

He gave the example of an American person going to Europe. He hears that over  billion people are watching the “World Cup” soccer match. He asks “Don’t these people have better things to do with their time than watching people kick a ball into goal?”

Then a European person comes to the United States and hears that hundred’s of millions of people are watching the “Super Bowl” American football game. He says to himself “Don’t these people have better things to do with their time than watching people kick a ball into goal?”

Both don’t understand the other’s appreciation of the game. Yet they understand the appreciation of their own country’s favorite sport.

Similarly to an outsider coming into the Beit Midrash / House of Torah study – they ask “what are these people doing here studying?” Do they want to become Rabbis? The outsider does not understand why people study Torah. But the insider understands that it brings light to their soul. It helps them connect to others and to G-d. It helps them to grow spiritually and to connect to real Spirituality – meaning becoming closer to the creator of the world – Hash-m. 

A Jew is closer to spirituality than they might think. They may think that approaching orthodox Torah Judaism is far from them – yet it is not.

Once a couple was having a Jewish wedding on a boat in Paris – on the Seine River. The boat rode off onto the river. They were about to have the wedding. The Rabbi asked who are the witnesses for the wedding. In order for the wedding to take place two Kosher witnesses are required – they must not gamble, they must be Shomer Shabbat / Observant of Shabbat according to the Jewish code of law / the Shulchan Aruch and be male. One witness fit the description, the other did not. He searched the ship to find someone else to be a Kosher witness. He did not find one. He had an idea. He asked someone he trusted if he was willing to accept to become “Shomer Shabbat”. The man was hesitant. He explained “If the the couple does not have two Kosher witnesses – they will not be able to be married.” The man agreed to become Shomer Shabbat to allow them to get married.

A Jew is closer to Torah than one might think.

What is Torah View of Russian Attack of Ukraine?

The Vilna Gaon – the Genius of Vilna / Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, an 18th-century rabbinic sage – said that the Jewish people need to wear Shabbat clothes when the Messiah is about to arrive.

Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel, of Yeshiva (seminary) Gedolah Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg, New York donned Shabbat (Sabbath) clothing recently when he heard of Russian warships moving through the Dardanelles River. His based on the Zohar whose Kabbalistic teachings reveal that when the Russians will cross the Dardanelles River, it will trigger the start of a series of events before the Messiah comes.

18TH CENTURY PROPHECY: RUSSIA SAILING THROUGH GALLIPOLI

In an article of ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ he mentions that the Vilna Gaon, singled out Russian aggression as a precursor to the Messiah. Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, a great-grandson of the Vilna Gaon, shared the full prophecy publicly for the first time during the holiday of Purim in 2014 – after being held as “a closely guarded secret” for over 200 years.

The text of prophecy was reported by Rabbi Lazer Brody, an American-born Hasidic rabbi from Ashdod. “When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard,” the Vilna Gaon told his followers just before his death in 1797.

“And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul), you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.”

The Vilna Gaon’s student, Rav Chaim of Volozhin, added, “When the ships of the kingdom of Russia cross the Dardanelles you should dress in Shabbat clothes because this means the arrival of the Moshiach is close.”

The Prophet Ezekiel hinted at Russia as being a leader in the Gog and Magog War, even though Russia did not exist in Biblical times.

O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him. Ezekiel 38:2

In this verse, the Hebrew word for ‘chief’ is רֹאשׁ (Rosh), which clearly hints at ‘Russia.’

“Purim is a time when secrets are revealed,” The holiday of Purim will take place this year on March 16.

Rabbi Elya Ber recently told one of his students, “I’ve been waiting for this moment for 70 years.”

In August of last year Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, a renowned expert in Torah codes, – who uses special software to find hidden clues in equidistant letters in the Torah in order to reveal hints that help understand current events – found an allusion that Gog will start a war in this year.   Rabbi Glazerson discovered this graph contained within the first few lines of one chapter of Genesis. Chapter ten of Genesis lists the 70 sons of Shem Ham and Japeth who were born after the flood of Noah. The subject of the graph was detailed in the second line of the chapter:

The descendants of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Media, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. Genesis 10:2

So what to do to Survive World War III?

Teshuva (Repentance) Prayer to Hash-m / G-d, Mitzvot, Learning Torah, Teaching Torah, Aligning Oneself with Torah through attitudes and deeds and acts of loving Kindness. Gentiles – should learn and observe the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. See also Choose Life – Surviving World War III – the War of Gog u Magog.

Guard Your Soul- Safety from Stroke

It is a Torah Commandment to “Guard Your Soul” – meaning to keep yourself safe and healthy.

Recently I received a message – telling 4 signs of stroke. Here is what it said:

STROKE: Remember the 1st Three Letters…..
S. T. R.
STROKE IDENTIFICATION:
During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall – she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) …she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.
Jane’s husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital – (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don’t die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.
A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.
RECOGNIZING A STROKE
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.
Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A
SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. Chicken Soup)
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue. If the tongue is
‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

= =

My father, z”l / of Blessed Memory had a stroke on Shabbat. I was reluctant to call Hatzala / the Ambulance for I didn’t want to violate the Shabbat. I was believe I was mistaken. I should have called. Thank G-d – our family friend Howard Stein, saw the signs and called hatzalah – possibly saving my father’s life.

A person should learn the laws of which medical signs warrants a person to desecrate the Shabbat. Learning the Halachot / Jewish Laws on the subject as well is highly recommended.

Once, during the time of the High Holidays, an epidemic hit a community in Europe. The Doctors said the people must not fast on Yom Kippur. To prompt the people to eat when many were reluctant, the Rabbi got up in front of the entire congregation and ate food – telling them they were required to eat on Yom Kippur – because of the law of Venishmartem me’od et nafshotechem / You shall greatly guard your souls overrides the law of fasting on Yom kippur.

Once a rabbi – that was giving many dispensations for people to transgress the shabbat for health reasons – was asked – “Why are you so lenient regarding the law of Shabbat? The Rabbi responded – I am not lenient regarding the Law of Shabbat – I am Stringent regarding the law of “You shall surely Guard your soul!”

What Kind of the 5 Seekers Are You? Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality. And What Gets You There?

Man is called a Go-er / Mehalekh in Hebrew.

Apparently a person wants to achieve something in this world. He does not want to stay idle. A person works, plays sports, creates & learn.

This is the world for doing. In the next world it is a world to receive reward for our deeds we accomplished in this world.

Thus we seek. We seek perfection.

Rabbi Yigal Haimoff once explained the reason why seek perfection is that we were created by G-d. We now wish to emulate our creator.

Why Be a Winner?

It’s seen frequently in everyday life. We want to root for the winning team. We want to win – not lose. Why? We want that perfect product. We are upset when we get a small dent or scratch on our new car. Why? We recognize the value of perfection. We want to emulate the perfection of Hash-m.

I came up with five things people seek.

Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality.

There could be other things.

Most people seek a combination of all. But each focuses more on one aspect than another.

Is there a path that will bring a person to all of these aspects of life? Like the Theory of Everything in Science.

Apparently.

10 Commandments or 7?

I talk to gentiles / non-Jews sometimes. I teach them that there are seven commandments for all people in the world – The 7 Noahide commandments of the Torah given to Noah and Moses at Mount Sinai by G-d.

One typical response I get is “I Thought there are 10 commandments?”

So I explain – Yes. There are 10 commandments for the Jews and 7 Commandments for the Gentiles.

They Say what are the commandments that are missing. So I explain A Gentile does not observe the Sabbath. and other differences.

At this point I must determine whether this person is genuinely interested in learning more, or if it is a curiosity question or if the question is to challenge me back to say  that their religion says otherwise and they actually observe the Sabbath.

If I feel that they are a person that follows religion because of religion I back off and say well read more about it and I tell them about them some websites that teach the Torah’s Noahide Laws. Why do I back off? Because some people have already made up their mind on their way of life. They will not change even if you show them the truth. These are people of religion that are not truth-seekers.

These people – with no intention to deride them – are similar to some people who were told that Mount Helens was about to erupt and that they had to evacuate their homes. They did not evacuate because they said “that is where they lived all there lives and they did not want to abandon their homes.” Many died because of this attitude.

There are other people that follow religion but also follow truth. If I prove to them that the truth is is that a non-Jew should follow the 7 commandments rather than the 10 – they give it a chance.

Why Gentiles Do Not Observe the Sabbath

What is the proof that only Jews follow the 10 commandments? Pretty Easy. If I say to a class – everyone wearing a blue shirt can go out to recess. If a person who is wearing a yellow shirt goes to recess – they will not be following my instructions.

In the 10 Commandments it says – “I am the G-d who took you out of Egypt…” Who did G-d take out of Egypt? The Jews. So the commandments apply to everyone who G-d took out of Egypt and not others.

So of utmost importance for any person is to follow truth. Truth will bring them to truth. Feelings will not bring them to truth. Some people say – I follow religion or any other path because it feels good. But that can be self-destructive – as we see alcoholics who follow a lifestyle of inebriation – which is not the path that G-d wants from us. So feeling cannot be the determinant of the truth of G-d or the True path of G-d.

To find the path of Truth, Goodness, Pleasure, Relationship or Spirituality.

Logically we can figure out that G-d wants all of the above for all people. How? G-d is one of the partners in Every human being.

Proof that G-d Wants Your Pleasure, Happiness & Good

There are 3 partners in every person on earth – the Father, the Mother and G-d. If parents want children to live a meaningful, purposeful, happy life thus G-d also wants his children to live such a life.

So now the question is how does G-d want us to find all of those aspects of life?

Apparently G-d is not going to give a person a gift of life without giving them the instruction booklet. You would not expect to a car or any other machinery or appliance you buy to not come with instruction or a users manual.

What is the User Manual of G-d

So one of the biggest questions that person must answer correctly in life is what is the Instruction Manual of G-d for humans?

If you answer correctly, you win the Jackpot. All the good aspects of life mentioned above follow. Sure one will still live challenges – but at least it will be challenges with a purpose – not challenges without purpose or challenges that distance a person from G-d.

Spirituality – the Definition

Spirituality is basically- establishing a close relationship with G-d. Thus what better way to establish a relationship with G-d than following His commandments.

The Pursuit of Truth to Arrive at the True Law of G-d

Abraham – our Forefather followed the path of truth to establish a relationship with G-d. He traced a path for us. He showed us that accepting the status quo or following fads or societal norms will not necessarily bring you closer to Hash-m / G-d.

G-d is Good & wants you to emulate Him

We can see the tremendous kindness of G-d daily. He feeds the entire world. Not Just humans, but all the living creatures, plants andimals, insects, fish birds. That is a tremendous act of kindness. Most people in the world live a good life – a life to be thankful for. So we see that G-d is good and he wants us to act with Goodness -thus His Instruction Guide must teach us about kindness.

Improving Relationships

Relationships – the Kindness that one does is mainly through interaction and relationships with other human beings. Thus G-d’s instructions must also include how to have more positive relationships.

Determining the true guide of G-d is pretty easy. Only once in all man’s history did G-d appear to millions of people. This is when G-d appeared at Mount Sinai and Gave His Torah. Everyone heard G-d speaking. No other document or religion claims this national revelation. Some try to piggyback on the Torah and say yes G-d revealed Himself to the Jews but “changed his mind.”

Not really logical that G-d, who has knowledge of all – the most intelligent being in the world – the seer of past, present and future will give laws and then change His mind.

Thus only the Torah fits the bill.

Thus all the 5 aspects of life can be bettered through Torah observance. Ask your local Orthodox Rabbi.

9 Rules of Successful Dating for Marriage

Aside from magnets and electrons – I don’t think opposites attract.

I don’t mean that a person will not be attracted to someone totally different. I mean that usually it won’t make for a productive relationship.

Common Sense Rules

Some Common Sense Rules for Dating from Torah are compiled Below:

  1. Common Goals

Common goals is a must. A common mentality also helps.

Three Levels of Interaction

“The River, the Kettle and the Bird” – a Book – talks about three levels of relationships. One is like a river – a conduit of commerce between two towns – a commerce kind of relationship – I’ll buy potatoes from you & You buy tomatoes from me. Each one is working for their own selfish interests.

The second is the kettle – a conduit of cooking. Marriage is used as a conduit to help one or the other progress – be it in a career, a business or an education.

The bird – is a single entity. The couple acts as one. They have similar goals and their goal include souring higher – through the spirituality and growth offered in the Torah.

2. Clarifying Goals & Intermarriage

To have a successful marriage it is important for a person to have their goals in life clear.

There are General goals and particular goals.

G-d gave the Jews the Torah in front of millions of witnesses for the Jews to have guidance on how to serve as a light to the nations. We are to build the spiritual world by bringing people closer to having a relationship with G-d. To do this we also are to be connected with G-d through doing His Mitzvot / commandments.

Gentiles also have a very respectful and important role in the world – which is to build the physical world.

Jews & Gentiles have different goals in the world. A sincere gentile that wants to take upon themselves the obligations and goals of Judaism can choose to convert to Judaism with a competent orthodox rabbi.

Intermarriage between Jews and Non-Jews is prohibited by Torah law.

Also it ends up mostly in Divorce. Apparently the reason why has to do with the different goals – expressed, unexpressed, conscious or unconscious goals – that each partner has. In an intermarriage the goals of partners clash from the beginning.

The point being is commonality is more important than diversity in a couple.

So when dating – it is best for a Jewish person to marry a Jewish person of similar values.

One of the goals of a Jewish couple should be that they bring up their children in an environment conducive to Torah observance.

A Gentile couple should have a goal that they bring up their children according to the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah.

Looking for the right marriage partner – here are some tips from a Torah perspective.

3. The Goal of Dating

The goal of dating is not to have a good time. The goal is to find a marriage partner that will help you reach your potential and purpose in life. Although one should have an enjoyable time on dates – the focus should be is this the person that will help me achieve my goals in life and goals for my future family. Does this person have the proper character traits and hashkafa / personal philosophy that I want them raising my future children. Do they have common values.

4. Celibacy

Celibacy before marriage is of utmost importance. A person who is physical before marriage throws objectivity – in finding a compatible mate with similar goals out the window.

5. The search for the right one in the place where people of good values are found

First is to find someone with similar values. Look in the place that you would think people would have good values – in the Beit HaKnesset / Synagogue, Beit Hamidrash / House of Torah Study,etc. Call orthodox rabbis in your community to find if they might know someone for you. Perhaps the rabbis can direct you to a shadchan / a matchmaker. Ask pointed questions before meeting the person. Is the person a giver or a taker. Does he or She do pronounced kindness. Are they respectful.

I suggest to people searching to get married to reinforce themselves in Torah and Mitzvot. Why? If a person is going to bars every night – he or she will meet a person going to bars every night. I don’t know if that is the best sort of person to bring children up in Torah Judaism.

If a person observes the Shabbat, Hash-m will help him find a mate that is also Shomer Shabbat / Shabbat observant. Shabbat observance is so important today – in the world where technology is big brother or an addiction. Shabbat compels us to put away our gadgets and to focus on people not on phones or computers or TV.

6. Do your Research Before the Date

First – before the date – find out as much as you can about the person. Is he or she a kind person. How do you know? Call his or her friends. ask for a Shidduch / Dating resume & call their references. nowadays this is common practice. A person should do their due diligence. If for hiring an employee they would do the research, even more so should they do research for a mate with whom they may be spending the rest of their life.

7. Be Yourself – Don’t Try to Impress

A person on a date – many times the man – wants to impress the partner. The effort to impress might just backfire. A woman wants a man that she can respect. A man that is responsible. A man that has his head on his shoulders. Doing things irresponsible or immature may cause a damper in the respect for him or her.

8. Know the Goals of The First Dates

The Goal of the first two dates is – 1) to determine if you have common conversation together and 2) Whether you respect each other. For the woman that is of utmost importance. For the man – the attractiveness of the woman plays a greater role.

The rabbis recommend that a couple go out at least twice because on first dates people may react ways out of being nervous rather than being themselves.

The Third Date

If one feels comfortable about the two or three points of the first dates then on the third – one should reveal somewhat of a personal secret (not too personal) and see how the other reacts and how you feel about his or her reaction.

9. Are They Marriage Minded –

Some already in a Relationship end up getting older without anything to show except some good times without much building of the relationship.  The reason – because one of the mates has no intention of marriage. Some have cold feet and stall. Others aren’t in for building – they are in it for “Fish Love.” Fish Love is illustrated by a person who tells you they “Love Fish”. Yet when you give them a fish – they cut it up, cook it andeat it. They don’t love the fish – they love the pleasure they get from the Fish. Don’t be the other’s fish. You end up wasting time and lose opportunities of a productive, true love relationship. If a person who is a good person is pushing marriage off – clarify what are their marital intentions and give them a deadline.

Preventing Divorce

Divorce is prevented by having solid foundations of values  and good character traits. When one’s foundations, philosophy and character traits are solidly grounded in Torah values – it makes for a more stable relationship.

Meaningful Relationship

A couple is to grow together. When Torah is the foundation – they have common goals and share a proper pathway for growth. They share common values and – in the end it will ultimately help them to better reach their potential and purpose in life.