The Torah View of the Charlie Gard Case – A Tale of Two Hospitals

Life is precious.

More precious than money.

Money can be replaced. Life cannot.

That is the Torah attitude. Not because it places a monetary value on life. But if you compare the two – it comes out to that.

We are to do all to save a life.

One must do as much as one can to preserve life of the innocent.

Unfortunately – this theme came into the limelight in which a hospital in England decided it would be too costly to preserve the life of an innocent infant – Charlie Gard. The value of those who are supposed to save lives – was at least in this instance – money comes before life. We would expect the opposite.

Apparently some staff in the hospital were against this – but the top brass was concerned about the dollars to be spent. The parents were willing to raise the money. But the top administration said it would require too much of an effort and gave them a notice that they would stop the life-support machines.

The parents – refusing to give up on their child – as is normal – went to the High Court of “Human Rights”. Wow. A “Human Rights” court that says money is more important than life. So much for their “ethics”.

Thank G-d I don’t subscribe to what these people’s “ethics”. My ethics come from G-d – from Torah – the only law in the world which millions of people witnessed its giving by G-d. If people subscribed to Torah law – perhaps Charlie Gard would be alive Today. Torah Judges in a Torah Court / Dayanim in a Beit Din – would rule – You have no right to quicken the death or remove life sustaining equipment from the baby boy. Case closed.

Unfortunately – what some people call ethics – is cruelty. What some people call cruelty is ethics. That is not the Torah way. Ethics is ethics and cruelty is cruelty.

Cruelty is forbidden on a personal level, at home and on a national level.

Kindness is the basic foundation of the Torah. You shall love your fellow like Yourself.

A true story:

Recently, In israel in Bene Brak – a hospital run with Torah observant Jews and according to Torah law was treating a patient’s baby who had Down’s Syndrome. The mother was overwhelmed by the expenses and the emotional, physical and psychological toll it was taking on her. She decided to abandon the baby in the hospital.

One of the nurses saw the baby abandoned in the corner of the room. She felt badly for the baby. She took it to the baby care center and decided she would care for it. She got the top administration approval.

Once a nurse found the baby’s foot stuck in the crib wall. The baby did not cry. It was neglected to the point that it did stopped crying even in pain. The staff decided to care for the baby. One brought colorful linen. Another toys. They put the baby in a special room. The baby started acting more like a normal baby.

At one point the expenses of the baby were not being covered by the insurance. The staff of the hospital took a pay cut from their salaries to fund the baby’s expenses. They raised the child until it was 4 years old. They held a birthday party, inviting even the mother.

The child was ready to be put up for adoption. They put the child up for adoption. A couple took the child to be their own.

Two hospitals. One secular. One based upon Torah values. The one based on Torah values saves the child.

Learn about your hospital before you decide to bring a family member there. What are their values. Many hospitals have a high level of cesarian sections. It involves less hassle and they receive more money from the insurance. It is one indicator of what value they place on money. Some will put pressure people to disconnect life support or coerce them to sign a non-recessitation approval. Consult a competent Orthodox Rabbi when these decisions need to be made.

You choose your hospital. You choose your values.

Choose Torah. Choose life.

Are Torah Ethics True Morality?

Ethics.

What are ethics?

What does the word mean?

Ethics – moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

OK. Many people can have ethics – but are all ethics equally moral? All are ethics equally valid? Are all ethics moral?

What is True Morality?

The question that we address to day – is what is true morality?

Morality based upon Societal Mores

Is morality based upon the ideals of the society?

No. Look at Nazi Germany – their ethics were to destroy any thing that was a threat to the Nazi race or that gives the world a conscience. Were they moral? Absolutely not. Barbarians in nice clothing.

Hitler’s goal was to make a civilization of barbarians.

Morality Based Upon the Heart

Can morality be based solely upon the heart? No. Some people feel badly for criminals, they condone their violence and those same criminals are motivated to commit more crimes.

Is that moral. No. Criminals should be punished. Innocent people should live in peace.

Morality Based Upon intelligence

Can morality be found through think tanks. Apparently not – unless all the members of the think tank have the morality of the Torah. Otherwise they will have some kind of bias – that will lead them to base their morality upon their values in life.

When Scientists Err

Take Stephan Hawking – with all the intelligence – he couldn’t figure out a simple principle – that G-d exists.

Ask a person if they are walking on a beach and they found a pencil – where did this pencil come from? If they say someone probably dropped it – you’d consider them to be reasonable or rational in that thought. If they said – it was probably the sand that blew together and formed a pencil – you would think they are irrational or mentally deficient.

If it is impossible for a perfect pencil to be made with random pieces of sand – it is even “more impossible” for a child, a cell, or billions of similar looking creatures to be created by random sand blowing together. Sorry. Mr. Hawkings – you failed on this one in terms of rationality and morality.

The Rationality of the Existence of G-d

It makes more rational sense for G-d to exist than – to be a world without G-d. It is illogical to think a world will exist without G-d.

People don’t want to believe because they would rather feel that they are free to do what they want. If you put G-d in the picture – you feel you have to behave – because G-d is watching.

The Good of Believing in G-d

Believing in G-d is good in itself.  A study was done – where a wallet of money was left out in the open. They surveyed the person who found and returned the wallet. They asked – why did you return the wallet? Most who returned the wallet answered – because I knew G-d was watching.

The Jews Remind people of the Existence of G-d

As presented above – knowing that G-d exists is a good thing for society. [Obviously if they have true values of G-d as well – ie, they follow the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah – which include: Do not steal, do not murder, Do not commit adultery or improper relations – like incest, bestiality, homosexuality. and adultery. Not to do idol worship, not to blaspheme and not to eat a limb from a living animal.

A document that condones wonton violence – against people is not the will of G-d. Those 7 laws are the will of G-d. So condoning violence – thinking it is really G-d’s will is neither G-d’s will nor is it moral – thus it is immoral.

When the Jews observe the Shabbat – according to Jewish law – it reminds the world that G-d created the world in 6 days and rested on the seventh. People strengthen their belief in G-d – because we observe Torah.

True Morality

So what is the true guide of morality in the world?

Basically True Ethics are Torah Ethics.

Why?

Because the Torah is the only document given by G-d to mankind before millions of witnesses.

Any man made document is just that – man made. Man needs to improve on what he created. G-d does not. He created things in their state of perfection. G-d is perfect. Man is not perfect.

G-d’s Ethics are Perfect – Man is not Perfect

This is evident by a boy being born with a foreskin. G-d made it such so that the boy will learn the lesson – that though G-d made him almost perfect – a person is to work on themselves to reach towards perfection.

There are over 80,000 religions in the world. Why should a person believe in Jewish ethics? Here are 2 simple reasons.

  1. The Torah is the only divine law. It is the only law that was given by G-d before millions of witnesses. G-d does not change His mind about the law – that is irrational to think of a perfect Being – knowing the past present and future to change His mind about the law.
  2. Many religions that say they do represent the word of G-d – have committed or are still committing atrocities. Religions – that killed millions of people in the name of G-d. Is that what G-d wants – I think not.

Many other reasons exist – but those are two for now.

So what is the honest person to do?

Torah is for Jews and Gentiles to Follow. Jews follow 10 commandments & the Jewish Law – Shulchan Aruch. Gentiles follow the 7 Noahide laws based upon the Torah.

That’s true morality. Everything else is off the mark.

Take three recent examples:

  • a court in England – rules that a child in a hospital should be terminated because it is too expensive. Doesn’t seem moral to me. The Torah says it is forbidden to kill.
  • People complaining that it is not right to have metal detectors to prevent violence. Seems very moral to me to protect your own life. The Torah says protect your own life.
  • The US supreme court rules for the permissibility of same gender marriage. It doesn’t seem moral that good people should not have offspring. The world is to be populated. The Torah says same gender relations are forbidden and the world is to be populated.

Torah vs. Societies Values

Compare the values of society to the values of Torah – and through asking a competent Orthodox Rabbi to explain you’ll usually understand the viewpoint of Torah. You just need to be open-minded enough to ask.

Though the Torah was given to the Jews – not all Jews are versed in Torah. Usually the comportment of Jews match the ideals of the Torah. When there is an aberration – consult a Torah authority to find what the Torah really says.

The Torah is the law of G-d. What better path is there than to live a life pleasing to G-d and man.

 

What is Cool Anyway? 4 Steps for Better Anger Management

People say they are cool. Is it so? I don’t know.

What is cool anyway?

Fashionable? Trendy? In Style? All of the Above? None of the Above?

People want to be cool – but they don’t know what it means.

Cool means – in control.

Obviously – G-d is in control of all situations. But He gave you the power to control yourself.

Control yourself and do the will of G-d in any situation and you are really cool – in control.

The Source of Anger

What is one source of anger? Apparently – it is the thought that you are someone special and the world owes you respect. If you don’t get it – you get angry. Simple enough.

Yes you are someone special, but the world doesn’t owe you anything. The more you think of yourself as “Null and Void” – but important none-the-less – you can relax.

People tie their self esteem to what other people think of you. My esteem is not based upon what others think of me. It is of what I think of myself. They are not necessarily related.

People can begrudge me – that is not my problem it is theirs. If I am doing the will of Hash-m / I need no accolades from others. I can be happy with myself.

Real Appreciation – Know G-d Loves You

It says in Pirkei Avot – how do you know if you are loved and appreciated by G-d? Here are quotes:

Man is Loved by G·d
He (Rabbi Akiva) used to say – beloved is man because he was created in the Image [of G·d]; He is even more beloved because He [Hash·m] let him [man] know [of this gift] as it says: “For in the image of G·d , He made man.” (Bereshit / Genesis 9:6) Beloved is [the people of] Yisrael because they are called children of The Omnipresent [Hash·m]; They are even more beloved because He let them know [this] as it says: “You are children to the L·rd, your G·d” (Devarim / Deut. 14:1)
Beloved is [the people of] Yisrael because they were given the vessel by which the world was created; [The Torah] They are even more beloved because He let them know as it says: “For a good teaching I gave to you; my Torah do not forsake it” (Mishlei / Proverbs 4:2) (Avot Ch 3:14)

 

Hash·m Likes the Liked
He [Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa] used to say: … whoever who the spirit of creations have satisfaction from them, G·d has satisfaction from them. Yet if the creations do not gain satisfaction from them, then G·d does not gain satisfaction from them. (Avot Ch 3:9)

 

Rabbi Shimo’n says: … And do not be a wicked person in your own eyes. (Avot Ch 3:13)

What do we learn? You can know you are loved independently of others – because G-d loves you. I don’t have any requirement from Torah to impress others. I have to be nice. I have to help others. I have to be kind – but I don’t need to impress them. I do whats good in the eyes of G-d and I will feel better about me and others will love me more.

Improve Your inside

Buying a new suit – will not make me more beloved by others. But if I control my anger – say nice words – be kind and considerate I will. So I don’t have to gauge myself mainly by what others think. I do good and eventually they will think good of me. My main concern is pleasing G-d. Others will love me in as a result.

The point – First seek to please G-d. Then other’s will really respect you. Not because what you possess or show outside but because of your beautiful inside.

The Torah is about Self Control. If you are in control – doing the will of G-d you don’t need to benchmark yourself from others.

So if people respect me or not – if I’m doing the will of Hash-m as the Torah states – I don’t have to get angry. I know all G-d does for me is good. I know G-d loves me. The fact that others respect me or not doesn’t make me a better individual. It could tell me about myself – but it doesn’t affect who I am.

I have to be good. If people respect me good. If they don’t that’s also good. I don’t have to become all huffed up because someone said a mean word, acted disrespectfully, yelled at me in public – I know I am good I don’t need others approval of me.

How do I improve? Read and review Pirkei Avot and other ethical works – like Iggeret HaRamban. Try to slowly absorb the lessons into your being.

Know its for the Best

One of the basic reasons for anger is thinking “this situation I am in is not good, I will correct it with anger.” Firstly, know all that Has-m does is for the good. If someone insulted you, perhaps G-d is sparing you from a worse fate.

Once a person was to go on a business trip on a ship. A week before he stepped on a rusty nail. The Doctor told him he couldn’t take the trip. He was upset. The ship sailed away. Soon after he hear heard that the ship sunk. He was saved from a worse fate.

When anger wells up – think “This is also for the best.” or think of the best way of handling the situation in an agreeable and calm manner.

Sometimes it’s a test to see if you will handle the situation properly.

Secondly, many a time handling a situation with anger worsens the situation. Handle it calmly and you get better results.

A Billionaire – was playing poker with a person that was suing his company for millions. He was asked “How can you play with a person who is suing you?” He replied – “I try to not get emotional. When I become emotional, I become irrational. When I become Irrational I make bad business decisions.”

Don’t Get Me Angry – You Wouldn’t Like When I’m Angry

Some will ask you not to get them angry. Others Do Not get you angry. They cause a situation to occur – in which you CHOOSE to become angry. Anger is in your control – people don’t force you to be angry. You choose. It is your choice.

Change Negative to Positive

You had difficulties in your life? Use the negative for the positive. Someone did bad to you? Do the opposite to others. Someone spoke disrespectfully to you – speak with respect to others. Someone got upset at you – correct what they complained about and go on. Don’t dwell on the anger – dwell on the positive self improvement that you can gain from it. Anger motivates. Use the anger to motivate yourself to get better and leave the others in “the dust”. Let them be that grudging person – you don’t need them to be happy. You can be happy that you don’t have that same negative attitude. You are positive.

Prepare Mentally

Prepare for situations that anger you mentally and see imagine the best way to react.

People can have a bad day – and they take it out on me. Does that make me any worse of an individual? No. It means they had a bad day.

Don’t base your self-esteem on the approval of others. Be independently happy.

Be good and you’ll feel good.

 

Advice to Overcome Anger:

Advice to overcome anger – Explained here are four very useful pieces of advice to overcome anger & to fix one’s character traits. Behold we expounded to explain general advice & essentials that are very useful useful to break the force of the evil inclination & they are the four following :

 

1) To learn regularly books of Mussar (Ethics) regarding the [great] elevation & reward of one who works on oneself & the degradation & punishment of one that transgresses.

 

2) To reflect & to delve deeply in his thoughts continuously of the Oneness of Hash·m, Blessed Be He, & that all that exists & all their forces & in all their movements at every place & at every moment & even that they are a person of free will & even though the evil inclination & the evil force incites him all – as if it would be – is from Hash·m.

 

3) One should reflect over time it will be in his eyes that that the matter already passed

 

4) One should regularly constantly pray in one’s prayers before Hash-m, Blessed Be He with crying & tears about this that He should save him from the evil inclination & He should approach him to His service, Blessed Be He.

 

And refer to book for explanation & sources (Azor HaTzevi)

 

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One of the classic Jewish sources to refrain from anger to read daily is Iggeret HaRamban / The Letter of the Ramban – a letter he wrote to his sons to refrain from anger. We offer a Business-sized card of It.

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There is a certain Verse to Say if one is angry to calm them down – Brought by the Baal Shem Tov. The Verse is Tehillim / Psalm 119:9. We also have it on the Keep Calm Card.