Save Your Marriage – 4 things to Do to Save or Improve any Marriage

You have to give credit where credit is due. Thus I must confess that the suggestions to improve any marriage are from a book called “Garden of Peace” by Rabbi Shalom Arusch. He writes one version for Men and one version for women. Each version is geared to teaching what the other spouse needs.

But some advice [that I must also try to apply more often myself] is what I learned over the years from learning Torah.

So yes – if you apply these rules you can save thousands of dollars [of marriage counselling fees]- and possibly your marriage.

First For Men:
To have a successful marriage – understand that your wife wants your appreciation. So the main things that you can do to make her happy are – Say thank you for what she does many times a day. Give gifts to show your appreciation.

Secondly don’t criticize condemn or complain. A woman is called a help mate – know that she can help you become a better person. She is focused on that issue – so what you think is nagging and screaming is an opportunity for you to become better. “Why do you leave your books lying around?!” You can either think – oh no she is criticizing me again or wow this is an opportunity to become better and to be more concerned for my living environment and the others around me. She is attuned to your emotional and spiritual growth.

Don’t treat your wife as your psychologist or therapist. Don’t downgrade yourself in her eyes. She might get the impression that you deserve this lack of respect that you told her that you received from the boss.

Go to Shaharit / Morning prayer services at an orthodox synagogue everyday before you go to work.  A woman who sees her husband lying in bed when she is awake may get a negative impression of her husband. Don’t talk too much with her – that might also lower her esteem for you.

Many men will find fault with the woman. It becomes a shouting match. A big no no! Because you can’t win an argument with a woman. She will either be insulted and you gain nothing. Or she will get you back one day.

A woman wants things to be taken care of. she wants to feel that the husband is responsible and taking care of things. Thus if she asks to do something around the houlse make sure it gets done. If you have to hire someone – fine but get it done.

The idea of a marriage in Torah is to bring up a wholesome family that respects one another, other people and G-d. This is done through following Torah. If a woman can help you be a better person – you should be thankful – not resentful.

For Women
A man wants respect. He needs to feel that you are on the same team – not trying to break or outdo him or use him as your cleaning lady. Obviously he must help around the house – but the things he does should be respectful. Talk with respect – not with anger and condescending remarks or threats.

Mutual respect is what the Torah wants from both from you. Your acting with respect to your husband will prompt him to act with more respect to you.

Part of the idea of marriage in Torah is to have a positive relation where one completes the other. One helps the other. Together they raise children that are beautiful people in the eyes of man and G-d. Thus The wife should encourage her husband to learn Torah. She should also enroll her children in a Torah day schoool . This is how she assures that the next generation will be respectful and serve G-d. He example will also serve as a lesson to children to act with respect.

The Torah is the greatest guide for self-improvement. It teaches a person to act with respect and kindness. Thus encouraging the husband and bringning kids to Orthodox Torah day schools – will engender a more peaceful and loving home. For that – her husband will become greater and appreciate her more for that.

Fast Track to Getting Married – 6 Points to Help You

The Salvation of Hash-m is in a Blink of an Eye. (Mei HaShiloach, Vol. II, Genesis, Miketz 1*) Meaning every moment can be a moment of salvation. Believe it will be good and it will be good. Believe it is good and you change your attitude.

Make an Intelligent Concerted Effort

How can a person get out of their rut? Decide to get out of your rut! How does a person find the right person? Make a concerted effort to get married. In Torah it says “The Finding of a proper marriage mate is challenging like the splitting of the sea of reeds.” Here are some points to make it easier.

Be Positive

That’s the First step – be positive. Have a positive attitude. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. People like to  complain. I want to tell you my problems. You have a problem?- see a qualified orthodox Jewish psychologist – but your date should not be your shrink.

Think of it. You go on a date and of the first things they tell you is “I have this problem and this concern.” The other person is thinking – I have my own problems why do need to add others.  Be positive. People like positive people.

Even once married – a man should  not divulge his being degraded or insulted. The woman might end up believing that the spouse is deserving of that criticism and end up looking down on the husband. A woman wants to look up to a husband and needs to respect him. She seeks appreciation and respect of her needs.

If a guy comes off as being unusual, too casual, too into himself, too introverted or extroverted – it might be a turn-off. A person should also be cognizant  of how they speak and how they appear. If you’re too into your business, too into politics, into food – that might turn people away. The Rambam says it best – “The middle path is complete.”

Step 2 – Pray to Hashem for yourself and for others to get married. Pray for others and G-d will answer you for what you need.

Step 3 – Know it’s a mitzvah to get married. Some people push off getting married. They say I’m busy today. Just like one can’t push off putting on their Tefillin or lighting Shabbat candles – so the same a applies here. It is a Mitzvah – al tachmitzena / don’t let it become “leavened”. Take the attitude that I have to put my effort in getting married today.

4 – Spend 5 minutes a day making calls to find the right person. You could contact friends with similar values. Orthodox Rabbis of communities. Match-makers. I prefer contacting Rabbis, because they can tell you if someone in their community may be compatible.

5 – Call rabbis of communities and prepare to send resumes. Let’s say one is a Hungarian Jew and wants to marry a Hungarian Jew – get a list of all the orthodox Jewish Hungarian congregations and call the rabbis to ask them for leads. If you are looking for a Yeshiva boy or a seminary girl – call up the yeshivas or Torah seminaries. Ask rabbis or contacts if Perhaps someone in their congregation might be right for you. Ask when you can call them back to follow up. Prepare to send him a “Dating Resume”. After speaking with him – send him a resume.

6 – Due Diligence – Find out as much as you can about them before you go out  – Call references, rabbis and friends. Ask references for references.  Ask pointed questions. Do they have anger, emotional or psychological issues? What is there general mood. How would you rate them in terms of Torah learning on a scale of 1 to 10? Do they have a kind heart. Do they have good character traits? In each ask –  can you provide an example?

Once you do find a prospective mate that fits your comfort zone – reach out to an intermediary – like a community rabbi – that can serve as the “go between” between you and the person. I prefer this intermediary to be a Rabbi or a person with daat Torah / the Torah perspective because they can judge what is proper reasons for continuing or stopping.

Rabbis recommend that 2 dates is the minimum – if there is not something seriously wrong with the person or the first date. At times a person is nervous on a first date – so it might not be completely accurate to judge them with only one date.

The idea of a date is to talk and get to know the person. No physical contact till after marriage. Physical contact clouds the mind of a person and makes it much more difficult for a person to make a non-biased decision. The decision who you marry should be more of a rational decision  than an emotional one.

The first two dates are to find out the other person’s hashkafa / philosophy in life. If a person is talking excessively about the stock market, shopping, Torah, business, making money – you know where their mind is. also you can see if the conversation goes smoothly or not. Do you feel comfortable together. You also want to find out their values – do they want to have kids? Are they interested in learning Torah? Are they willing to grow. There are many questions – but you basically want to find out if this person will be a person that you feel comfortable raising your children in the good & just path of the Torah.

 

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*אבל בעוד שאין האדם מבורר באלו השני לאווין, אם יקבל אז השפעת ישועה חלילה יתפשט בזה וישכח
חלילה שהשי”ת הושיע לו, אבל אחר שבירר עצמו יוכל לקבל ישועת השי”ת כהרף עין.

 

When Values Backfire or Will Your Children Give You Grandchildren?

In Math class the top student was always first to answer the teacher’s math problems. No one could come close to his quickness in answering the questions. One friend asked him – “How did you become so smart – that you know the answers so quickly?” He replied “Simple – every day I come early to Math Class. I know the teacher will ask questions from the Math Textbook. I look up the answers in our teacher’s Teacher’s edition textbook and I repeat them in class.”

How to win Debates

I usually win ethical and philosophical debates.

Not necessarily because of my debating skills – but because I know which side of the argument to choose. I usually choose the Torah views. Thus I win the argument because I know that the Torah views are the views of G-d. He “thought out” the arguments already – I just have to provide reasons why G-d holds this way. I am like the student that looks up the answer in the Teacher’s Edition textbook.

The Torah is Hash-m’s / G-d’s guidebook. Eventually by choosing Torah views – if you think them out enough you will find out that these are most proper long-term values.

Torah – the Source of Tolerance

The Torah is the source of Tolerance in the world. Recently in last week’s parasha / Torah reading we learn that an evil gentile prophet – Bilaam is hired by King Balak to curse [sonai] Israel. He rides on a donkey. The Donkey veers off the path, crushes his foot into a wall and then stops at a narrow passageway.

Bilaam hits the donkey and the donkey starts to talk.

The ass said to Balaam, “Look, I am the ass that you have been riding all along until this day! Have I been in the habit of doing thus to you?” And he answered, “No.” [Bamidbar / Numbers 22:30]

After the conversation – where Bilaam couldn’t respond to his donkey – G-d sends an Angel to kill it. Why? So that people will not mock Bilaam saying “Look there is the donkey that Bilaam could not answer.” The obvious question is why? He was wicked – don’t we have the right to disrespect him?

The answer – no matter how wicked a person may be – we must act respectfully. That is called Tolerance.

This teaches regardless of how wicked a person is, we must act as we would respect another human being. In the end a person was created in the image of G-d. Pharaoh bathed in the blood of Jewish children, yet Moshe / Moses acted with the utmost respect towards him – as he would a normal king.

Respecting the honor of a person does not mean we must accept his or her values. This does not mean that we have to condone his actions. This does not mean that we have to accept his or her values.

In the case of a thief caught steeling old ladies purses – we must act with respect towards the thief but nevertheless bring them to justice. To condone the act of thievery would be called decadence.

It is popular today to adopt the values of other people because you don’t want to be racist. But this is the exact definition of decadence.

The Difference between Tolerance and  Decadence

Decadence is moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury. (as defined by google). The key word is decline.

Tolerance is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

What society describes as tolerance – for example, as in the case of same gender marriage – is actually decadence. The society passes off decadence as tolerance. It is doing a very good job because many people fall into the trap. Tolerance is not decadence and vice versa.

What’s Wrong with Accepting the Lifestyle of Immorality

The parents who say they accept same gender marriage – end up at times with children who pursue a same gender relationship. Because of this – their children do not have children. Their values with which they raised their children turn against them. They end up with no grandchildren because their children pursued the values – ie, same gender marriage – that the parents condoned.

Thus one must choose their values wisely. One who raises children with Torah values – their children realize the importance to get married, raise a family, help society, live peacefully, do good to others, raise children and live a wholesome life. They pursue a life of positive relations with G-d, Family, Society, Friends and themselves.

Are You Alright Pal – Thinking About the Next Guy

I’m in my car driving back at night with my window open and stop at a red light. A man parked with his blinkers, outside the car shouts out “Are You Alright Pal?” I think he’s talking to me. I wave to say yes I’m OK. But then I notice a man sitting on the curb. He shout’s back “I’m Ok. I’m just stuck!” I didn’t know what he meant by stuck. I saw the other guy taking care of him. The light turned green and I zoomed away.

I reminisced about another incident that occurred that day. I saw an old African American woman, walking on the street with her grocery carriage. She was leaned over it and stopped for a short while. I was in my car. I stared to see if she was OK. She seemed alright. But who knows, perhaps I should have stopped to see if she was alright.

Today, we have many opportunities to help others. The question I ask is “are we doing enough to help others?” Thinking and helping out our fellow is the basis of the Torah – VeAhavta LeReacha Kamokha – “Love Your Fellow as Yourself.”

You can see the Bigness of a person, by the amount and quality of help they provide for people in need. And vice versa. Are we helping only when convenient or when not? Are we helping when people reach out to us or do we reach out to others to help?

The closer the person is to us the more responsibility we have to help and do kindness. Are we doing enough to help others?

Make that phone call to see how others are doing. Answer your old friend’s phone calls. Observe your surroundings to see what others need and do what you can to help. Little by little – you become bigger and a giver. In turn – you get more meaning and become a happier person. But don’t neglect the one closest to you – Yourself.

Accepting G-d Into Your Life – Making Your Life Easier

Good G-d – the similarity of beliefs

Most people believe in a guiding force in the world – which we would call G-d. They pray to Him for guidance and goodness. He gets them through the day, getting them over problems – big and small, helping them over obstacles – short & tall. He is their source of belief that all that occurs is for the good. He is the source of strength to the tired physically and emotionally. With Him they feel they can break through barriers. And even if they fail they know it is for a good reason – because G-d / Hash-m is guiding the world with good.

A positive first step.

Religion – The differences of beliefs

Believing in a good G-d is where similarity between people ends. Some  believe in organized religion – some do not. Their concepts of G-d differ – some see G-d as a powerful King – others as a kind father. Some believe in Torah – others not.

Everyone can arrive at G-d’s Truth through logic

Logically every normal person can arrive at G-d’s truth – that He exists, what he wants – what He doesn’t want, what is good and what is bad. If that were not the case no one could be judged for when a person reaches the next world they would be able to say – no one told me it was forbidden to steal. Apparently you can figure out what is right and wrong. Any average person can.

There is one true Law

Logically there is only one true law that was given by G-d.

Why? Because if that was not so – there would be no right and wrong in the world. Let’s take a simple example. Judaism says it is forbidden to kill innocent people. Other religions say it is good to kill infidels. Look at the history of religions – The church killed millions in the name of their religion. Others religions killed in the name of their religion. According to Torah it is forbidden to kill. According to other religions it is permitted.

You could say – a person will be judged according to the religion that they follow. But that is illogical – because G-d is not going to punish one person who stole because he belonged to one religion and not punish another person who stole because he belonged to another religion.

Thus you must say that there is a standard law that applies in the world.

Judaism says that the Torah is the True Law of G-d because it is the only divine law that was heard from the mouth of G-d by millions of witnesses. All other belief systems may include G-d or exclude him – like communism and socialism.

When Judaism’s Values Shaped the World’s Values.

Before Torah was given to the Jewish people the world’s values degenerated to allowing – child sacrifices, murder, idolatry, polytheism, incest, Judaism, slavery, bestiality, harassment, slave labor, homosexuality, and more.

The Torah taught the concept of Monotheism. There is only one G-d / Hash-m that guides the world with goodness. It taught about the rights and responsibilities of humankind. It taught the concept of tolerance. It taught the rights of laborers. It taught property rights. It taught the rights of women. It taught respect of women’s privacy and laws against harassment and improper speech.

The Torah Civilized the world. Yet the world has a long way to go. Either the world will learn – from intelligence and Torah true ethics. Or the world will come into a state of turmoil that will threaten a large part of the earth’s population.

True Civilization Starts with the 7 Noahide Laws for all mankind.

Where Today’s Values & Judaism Differs

The question that each person should pose themselves is – if the Society’s values say one thing and G-d’s values – as found in the Torah (Written & Oral) – say another what should I follow?

Most people are followers. The see what is popular in society and follow suit. The IPhone – popular – I have to have it. So it is easy to follow society.

The challenges occur when G-d’s word is different than society’s values. Let’s take a current example.

Understanding the Superiority of Torah Values

Let’s take the case of same gender marriage. Many in society have embraced this value as a positive thing. The Torah – considers homosexuality as an abomination. (Vayikra  / Leviticus 18:22 & Vayikra  / Leviticus 20:13)

What’s society’s reason for accepting – same gender marriage? Though society says it is because of tolerance – the real reason is decadence. As will be seen.

Difference Between Tolerance and Decadence – Why Judaism Has it Right

Tolerance is accepting and respecting a person regardless of their moral status. That is tolerance – meaning – if a person is a thief – you act respectfully towards that person – even though he or she engages in theft.

Decadence or debauchery is accepting a value regardless of how immoral it is. Society has accepted a long held prohibited value and made it acceptable and permitted. That is debauchery.

Let’s say society accepts theft as a permitted value – that is decadence.

OK.

Let’s examine the Torah position. The Torah says give respect to all individuals – regardless of their morality. That is true tolerance.

Regarding Same gender marriage and homosexuality – it is an abomination.

The Negative Consequences of Immorality – The Microcosm & Macrocosm

Let’s look at some of the consequences for society of these practices. In a macrocosm, These practices engender a tremendous drop in population growth. As is obvious –  Men cannot have children without women and vice versa. In the microcosm, the same gender unions will forever be deprived of sharing a the beautiful cries of a common baby. As long as they remain in such a union.

They will relinquish having a normal father and mother family life.

The people who support or condone it may end up with children with the same values and their “tolerant” values may cause them to bereft of the great pleasure of having grandchildren.

One of the reason’s Rome fell was the lack of population growth due to the lack of morality of the country. They ended up relying upon mercenary soldiers – whose loyalty and expenses – greatly taxed the country and lead to their downfall.

Same Gender Marriage was chosen to illustrate that Jewish Torah Values are better than societal values for Society and the Individual in the long run. But the examples abound.

Repentance / Teshuva

In Torah – anyone can do teshuva / Repent. Condemnation of the acts of Homosexuality does not preclude a person from becoming a Baal Teshuva – a person who sincerely  repents and becomes a Torah observant Jew. Any person can do teshuva for any sin and ultimately be forgiven. The first step though is recognizing one’s sins. (See Starting Over – Wiping the Slate Clean in Judaism)

Making One’s Life Easier with Torah

The Torah gives man an opportunity to live life to the fullest and accomplish the most from life. The average person wants to get married – raise a family and leave a legacy. The Torah guides a person to fulfill that dream in the best way possible.

How to More Easily Establish a Family

Today, people date for fun. What happens? Many end up in a dating relationship for lets say a decade and break up. They remain without children – 10 years older and have a more difficult time finding a Marriage mate in their 30s than in their 20s. The Torah says – put dating for fun on the side and put your efforts into dating for marriage.

When one looks to get married – their requirements for a mate differ than when they date for fun. Qualifications include a responsible individual, that will be loyal to family and raise the family according to Torah values.

How to More Easily Maintain a Family

The Torah expects us to put children into an Orthodox Torah Day School. The children learn respect of parents, respect for Rabbis, Love of Torah, Love of Fellow Jews, Honesty, Loyalty, respect for others, respect for G-d and all good values.

Though a Torah Day School costs money – This investment is the best investment on can make in their lives – because it helps you to have happy, balanced, children that will enjoy a feeling of fulfillment and purpose in life.

How to Better Appreciate Life

There are two steps to eating an apple:

Eat an apple. Throw away core.

The Torah makes it into 4 steps:

Say a blessing on the apple [to thank G-d and appreciate it]. Eat the apple. Throw Away core. Say after-blessing. [Making you a thankful, appreciative individual].

In the long-term you become a better person – just by eating an apple. Your mundane act of eating elevates you, the food and gives you purpose & meaning just by eating and saying a blessing. In Judaism – An apple a day keeps ungratefulness & lack of meaning away. [see Free Food Blessing Card]

How to More Easily Deal With Challenges

A Torah Family has the Torah as a guide – so it is not an anything goes situation. Husband and wife are expected to act in a respectful manner and maximize their opportunities to bond and grow – through Shabbat meals and learning Torah.

The Torah – like in Pirkei Avot – teaches us how it expects us to act to live a more balanced life and to overcome challenges and to prevent uncomfortable situations from occurring to begin with.

Rock-Eating Worm Discovered. Is it Creature Used to Cut the Temple Stones?

King David was of Ruddy complexion. In Torah this indicates a person that likes dealing with blood. Some implement their interest in becoming a butcher, or a Mohel (who circumcises children) or a Doctor or a Warrior.

King David was a Warrior. He killed Goliath and fought many wars. Though very righteous – G-d told him that he would not be the one to construct the house of G-d / Hash-m on earth – because he had spilled much blood. Thus it was His son – Shlomo  / King Solomon – the wisest man on earth who was given the charge of building the Beit HaMikdash / the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Since the House of G-d was to represent peace in the world – no metal was allowed to be used to hew (cut) the stones of the Temple. Metal is used for tools of war – and cannot be used to make this house of peace.

King Solomon had to find a way to cut stones without metal. He knew that there was a certain worm called the Shamir that was able to  cut through stone. (The story of how he obtained it is interesting in itself.)

Finally he sent his general to obtain the worm – and thus he was able to cut stones without metal.

Just recently – in a far away Philippine jungle river – researchers found a worm that eats rocks. This worm is called Lithoredo Abatanica. I literally burrows through stone.

Yet exciting and similar as it might sound, apparently it is not the Shamir. Comparing  the Shamir and the Lithoredo Abatanica, the details given in the Mishnah, Gemara & Midrash do not correspond completely. The most obvious differences include:

1) The Shamir is described as a unique supernatural organism created at twilight / bein hashmashot of the Friday of creation, and kept hidden, not an ordinary natural species of worm that eats rock instead of wood.

2) The Talmud indicates that the Shamir worm pierced and cut the stone by means of radiation that emanated from it and not in any other way. The Shamir didn’t just eat thru crumbly rock, it was said to have split solid metals & gemstones with its’ mere gaze/presence.

3) Our Sages tell us in Tractate Sota that the size of the The Shamir was as small as barley, and this worm is much larger.

4) The Mishnah at the end of Sotah says that after the second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed, the Shamir was no longer.

See the article here.

Regardless, it still gives us a sign to remmember the Temple times and further our hopes in the coming of Mashiach in our time. Amen.

Being Thankful for All Your Lives

It’s good to be good. Do good. Get Good. Don’t do it to receive good – but even if you do – that’s still good.

Be thankful. Be thankful for your life.

Your life. What is your life?

  1. The fact that you are alive. Be thankful to Hash-m that you are living today. Every morning we wake up and the first thing we say is Modeh ani / I am thankful …. It is said to thank G-d that we were able to wake up to another day. It In Judaism we have a special blessing for certain events – like when you get a new suit, or for a new fruit that you taste he first time in the year or when we arrive at a new Jewish Holiday. It is called Shehehiyanu – That you made us live. It goes – “Barukh Atah ….. Shehehiyanu VeKiyemanu vehigiaynu lezeman hazeh” / “Blessed are you Hash-m … that you made us live, and you established us and you made us arrive to this time.”
  2. Your Family Life
  3. Your Work Life
  4. Your Spiritual Life
  5. Your Social Life
  6. Your Recreational Life
  7. Your Educational Life

All these are organized for you personally by G-d to help you get the best out of life. If you think about it – without Divine intervention, it is virtually impossible to meet a fitting mate. for there are millions of potential mates for each person. G-d organizes that you are at the right place at the right time to allow you to meet your mate. He organized that you find the right job. That you find the right business deals. That you are at the right place at the right time.

When we say thanks we become more appreciative. This is one of the reasons for the blessings on foods and all the blessings we have to make in Judaism – to be more appreciative to G-d and more appreciative of life.

For the good times and challenging – we thank Hash-m – because all He does is for one’s good.

Guarding the Eyes – Saving the World. How Modesty Saves Your World.

The Torah teaches control. Control of our eyes, our mouth, our hands, our ears, our emotions and even our nose. We avoid looking at immodest dressed people – to avoid temptation. We avoid looking at the face of a wicked person – his face might have an effect on our spirituality. We avoid looking at the standing grain of a fellow in order to spare his field from an evil eye.

In an older post we mentioned a story:

Guarding One’s Eyes & Protecting Lives

Once a man was sitting in the front of a bus. A woman boarded the bus dressed immodestly. He turned his glance to refrain from looking. Another woman came on, and he closed his eyes again. He decided to go to the back of the bus.

Being tired, he slumbered. He dreamed that there was a bomb under his seat. Upon awaking, he dismissed it from his mind. Slumbering again, he had the same dream. When he decided to check under his seat he saw a package with wires emerging. He immediately notified the driver and all were evacuated from the bus. When all passengers were off, the bomb exploded.

Shortly after, the man went to see a great Jewish sage – Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira – the Baba Sali. Baba Sali explained the incident – the bus was to explode causing great damage. But when the man did two acts of guarding his eyes, he created two protecting angels. The angels pleaded before G-d and said – You can’t let this bus explode, there is a righteous person on the bus. For this the man had two dreams and the bus was saved.

This man saved a bus load of people by his avoiding looking at immodesty. Obviously it works both ways – a woman who dresses modestly also gets tremendous reward.

Guarding Eyes Gives You Tangible Reward in this World

These are the general rewards. Guarding ones eyes also makes a person more refined and helps them to maintain a closer relationship with Hash-m.  One of the things Hash-m dislikes is immodesty and immorality. When it is present – he “leaves” so to speak. The feeling of being void of G-d’s presence is a punishment in itself.

Another outcome of guarding one’s eyes and being modest is a physical reward in this world. A person who guards his eyes will not be attracted by a woman that may be beautiful on the outside, but her character traits leave much to be desired. A person gets used to looks, but a scathing personality is difficult to get used to. A person who marries for beauty – have more of a chance of divorce – because the physical attractiveness may be there – but the basis to build a healthy, meaningful and growing relationship with another may be lacking.

A woman who is modest in dress and attitude attracts people of the same kind. A man that appreciates her for her inner qualities – rather than someone who loves the shell but not the pearl inside. In the end she also will have a greater relationship with the man she ends up marrying – because he will appreciate her for her inner and  outer qualities – making for a better long-term relationship with her spouse in marriage.

The Test of the Internet

Unfortunately internet has made it more difficult to guard ones eyes. Putting a filter on the internet will help – but also safeguarding smartphones from immodesty is also a wise investment. See our previous article on safeguarding children and adults from internet.

Seeing Great Spiritual Sights

There was a rabbi who once covered his eyes for seven years to avoid seeing immodesty and impropriety. When he took off his covering – he was able to see things spiritually that others could not. Another man heard about this and decided also to cover his eyes for 7 years to be able to get he same benefit. He did so. Yet when he finished his shielding his eyes from the exterior, he was not able to see wondrous spiritual sights. He asked the rabbi why he did not merit to also to see these great sights. The rabbi responded “I covered my eyes to not see [immodesty]. You covered your eyes to see! [spiritual sights]”

Nowadays every small effort makes a difference. May we merit great spiritual sights and levels from our small, sincere efforts to guard the Torah. Amen.

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

A person lives a short term in this world.

THE Obligations to Achieve

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

Where Your Ethics Stop Your Growth

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

What Drives Your Ethics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Values of Torah – the Value of Human Life

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

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

Syncing Our values with Values of the Torah

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

Why Torah? Millions is Greater than One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Long Short Path

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

Judaism the Long-Short Path

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

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

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

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

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

Maximizing Your Good – Focusing Your Kindness

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Real Messiah – The Criteria Needed

Shimon Bar Kokhba was a Jewish Warrior. He Fought Wars. He was unusually successful in his campaigns. He was so successful that Rabbi Akiva thought that he was Messiah.

His success got to his head. He thought that it was because of his own strength and wisdom that made him win. It was really Hash-m who was giving him success. One time, he said to Hash-m / G-d basically “Let me handle the fighting. You can take a rest.” G-d did as he said and he was miserably defeated and unfortunately killed.

When Rabbi Akiva saw this – he said he was not Messiah, because he was killed.

If a person who claims to be Mashiach – dies without accomplishing the requirements, then we know that he was not the Messiah.

Many criteria exist for a Person to be the Real Messiah. The Rambam / Maimonides – in His Work the Mishne Torah (Hilchot Melachim / Laws of Kings – Perek/ Chapter 11) – explains the requirements of Messiah.

The Messiah has to have created peace in the world – meaning he must make peace among all nations of the world. He has to make Hash-m – the G-d of the Jews and humanity – the only G-d that is worshiped in the world. He has to have brought the kingship back to the Jewish people. He has to be a tremendous Torah Scholar, as great as Moses.

He hast to have fought wars and won them. He has to have built the 3rd Holy Temple in Jerusalem. If he dies without accomplishing all of this – he was not the Messiah.

The Requirement of Having Children

Someone told me that there is a verse in Tanach that says that the Messiah will leave an inheritance of a field to his child. If this is so – there seems to be another indicator of a person to be the Real Messiah – that he has to have children.

All the people who claimed to be Messiah – at least the ones we know about – did not have children.

Could Bibi Be Messiah?

In his current status Bibi could not be Messiah? Why? Although he did make wars, he did not create wold peace. He did not build the Holy Temple. He is not as Great as Moses in Torah Learning.

Though in his present state Bibi cannot be messiah. If he learns much Torah and he brings all Jews to Israel. And he reestablishes Torah Law and the Kingship in Israel and he makes world peace and rebuilds the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem. And he makes everybody in the world worship Hash-m. – he could fulfill some of the requirements of being Messiah.

A challenging task – for no one in the world did this so far.

Can a Dead person be the Messiah?

In the Talmud – someone asks a Great Rabbi – what is Messiah like. He said “If you are talking about the living – he is like me.” If you are talking about the Dead, he is like so and so.

Some people improperly interpret this that the Messiah could come back from the dead. But this is obviously not so for 3 reasons:

  1. Rabbi Akiva said since Bar Kokhba died he could not be the Messiah.
  2. If I ask someone – who is the best tailor? He answers me “If you are talking about the living – it is Shlomo Cohen” But if you are talking about the dead also “It is David Levy.” Obviously David Levy is not coming back to life to receive the the best tailor award. The person meant by his answer that Among all the people dead or alive he was the best tailor.
  3. If a dead person would could come back to life to complete his mission of creating peace in the world – every single dead person could thus be potentially messiah. Because any person could come back to life and accomplish what was not accomplished yet – of the things mentioned above that the Messiah must accomplish. So why pick Jack over Jake?

To see the requirements of being the Messiah – one may read “The Real Messiah by Rabbi Arye Kaplan” or one can look at the laws laid down by the Rambam / Maimonides who tells you of the requirements.

Don’t Try to Get into a Discussion with a Missionary

Don’t try to refute a missionary. They are not interested in truth. They are interested in spreading their religion. Spewing their version of “the Bible”. The Torah is not the Bible. The Torah is the 5 Books of Moses, The Neviim / Prophets and the Ketuvim / Writings.

What Only Judaism Has that Proves its Veracity – The Oral Torah.

Jews have something that no other nations have – the Talmud. The Talmud is the Oral Torah written and elucidated. When G-d gave the Jews the Torah – he gave us the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. The Oral Torah is to explain the Written Torah. Logically there must be an Oral Torah for anyone to understand the Written Torah. If there is no explanation of the Written Torah – then anyone can interpret the Verses of the Torah the way that they would like. Which is commonly done by religions other than Judaism.

I was talking to someone of another faith. He was explaining concepts of the “Bible” in the way that suited him – to the point it was ridiculous.

Here is an analogy to how he was talking – You know the Car Jack? The reason why it goes up is because it wants to grow like a plant. And You know why it is called Jack – because it wanted to be like Jack and Jill that went up the hill. And that is another reason why the car Jack rises – because it wants to be like Jack that went up the hill.

We know that a Jack rises because a person puts energy into cranking or pushing up a lever that will little by little lift up  the Jack.

This is why the Torah states “Wisdom of the Nations Believe. The Torah (Religion) of the Nations – do not believe.” Because it is not sourced or based upon the word’s of G-d – it is based on words of men.

Missionaries take things out of context and claim it is a proof for their religion. I told the person “The Second Commandment of the 10 commandments – says that you should not make an image out G-d – otherwise that is idolatry. Attributing any form to G-d is limiting Him. That is an insult to G-d for he is infinite.

Idolatry – An Insult to G-d

Once I think it was Turnusrufus asked Rabbi Akiva – why does G-d get angry when people compares Him to an Idol. Rabbi Akiva said come back tomorrow and I will answer you. When the Emperor came – Rabbi Akiva Called out “Turnusrufus! Isabella!” and two dogs came out. R. Akiva named his dogs Turnusrufus and Isabella. Turnusrufus was raging mad. He said – you dare to call your dogs by the name of the emperor and queen? How dare you! Rabbi Akiva answered – Yesterday you asked me why Hash-m / G-d gets angry when people worship or call him by the name of a human being, an animal or and idol. This is your answer.

Be truthful. Be Honest. Pray to Hash-m to help you find truth. Consult Your LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi) and you’ll be one step closer.

G-d Does Not Change His Mind

Most Religions accept that G-d gave the Torah to the Jews – but he changed his mind because the Jews sinned. That is pretty illogical. Firstly because G-d knows the past present and future. He is not going to choose a nation that will not be able to fulfill his laws. He will not make laws that a person cannot fulfill.

The Basic structure of the laws of the Torah are there are laws for all types of people. For Jewish Men, Jewish Women, for Cohanim, for Leviim / Levites. For Jews  – the 613 Commandments –  and For Gentiles – The 7 Noahide Laws – of the Torah.

G-d doesn’t expect a Gentile to observe the Shabbat – even more it is forbidden for a Gentile to observe the Shabbat.

G-d doesn’t expect a woman to put on Tefillin. The Torah laws are based upon the nature of the individual, his or her capabilities, his or her role in life and his or her soul. Thus we have laws that pertain to various categories of people.

The Messiah will come when all people regard Hash-m as their G-d. That is what the verse states “On that day G-d will be One and His Name will be One.”