Shelf Your Hatred – Better Use Your Time Productively

This past Sunday was Tisha B’Av.

The Day when both Beit Hamikdash / Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed.

The first was destroyed by the Babylonians. The Second by the Romans.

Hatred – the Great Time Waster

Many people hated the Jews.

the Babylonians. The Romans. The Greeks. The Ancient Egyptians. The Nazis.

Where are they Now? I don’t know. But we never see them anymore.

The Jews are Here.

Putin recently met with the chief Rabbi of Israel – Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef. He asked a chief rabbi that question – “Why did many great civilizations perish and the Jews remained?”

Putin answered himself – “I’ll tell you. You remained because of the merit of Rabbis and the Torah that you follow.”

Jews have the Torah.

Mark Twain asked the same question in his famous Harpers Row Essay on the Jews:

“What is the secret of the eternity of the Jews?”

He left it unanswered in his essay. But Putin Was right. He got the Answer.

This answers the question – but what can we learn from it?

Survival Based upon Torah

One very important point is that on a worldwide level, national level, family level, and individual level – survival is based upon Torah.

Let’s explain. “And you shall delve in it [the Torah] day and night.” (Yehoshua / Joshua 1:8). One explanation says that if it were not for Torah – G-d wouldn’t have created the world. The world exists because of the constant Torah learning of the Jews. If they were to stop – G-d forbid – one moment – the world would return to Toho Vavohu – chaos.

The Nation’s survival depends upon Torah. When the Jews transgressed the Torah – by commiting the three cardinal sins – idolatry, bloodshed and immorality – in the first temple time – that caused the destruction of the first Temple. In the second temple – it was gratuitous hatred that caused its destruction.

A family’s survival depends upon a Torah education. Assimilation among Jews that never had a Jewish education is rampant. 70% of them intermarry – breaking their chain of descendancy of Judaism from their family. They lose their Jewish legacy.

On a personal level – without Torah – a person gets involved with many vanities and many a time – loses their life in the pursuit of materialism and loses their sight from their goal and purpose in life – to do good for the world. Even if they achieve goodness – it is likely they could have ahieved more – had they learned and observed Torah. I learned most of the above thorugh experience, thought and study of history and statistics.

Lesson Two – Hatred is a Waste of Time

For one thing – a person who hates the Jews – will learn that hatred amounts to nothing more than a waste of time. It is true they will be able to vent their emotions of hate, but what will the gain in the end? Nothing. Did they become a better person for their hate? Did they improve the world? No. Hatred does in a sense serve the Jews – because it cause the Jews to be more united. But the hater will be punished.

There is a story of Nero, the Ceasar.

The Roman authorities then sent Nero Caesar against the Jews. When he came to Jerusalem, he wished to test his fate. He wanted to battle against Jerusalem. He Shot to the east – the Arrow turned and flew into Jerusalem. He Shot to the west – the Arrow turned and flew into Jerusalem. He Shot behind him – the Arrow turned and flew into Jerusalem. He shot an arrow in all four directions and they all fell towards Jerusalem – it flew into the Jerusalem. He saw that the person that would battle Jerusalem would have success. G-d for some reason wanted its downfall.

Nero then conducted another test: He said to a child: Tell me the verse that you learned today. He said to him as follows: “And I will lay My vengeance upon Edom by the hand of My people Israel” (Ezekiel 25:14). Nero said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, wishes to destroy His Temple, and He wishes to wipe his hands with that man, i.e., with me. The Romans are associated with Edom, the descendants of Esau. If I continue on this mission, I will eventually be punished for having served as God’s agent to bring about the destruction. So he fled and became a convert, and ultimately Rabbi Meir descended from him.
Talmud: Gittin 56a

A Child thrashes and moves when changing their diaper. But a simple solution is to give them a toy to play with while you change them. Many use this method. The Nazis used it occupy the Germans – give them something elso to think about so they won’t think about the economy.

Too bad for them. Look at Spain – they drove away the Jews and persecuted them- it lost economically and its status as a world power.

But that is not the main point – haters will hate – because they want to hate.

Learning to Love

Jews can learn not to hate their brothers – if they recognize that the evil inclination is also using the same tactic. The evil inclination inside every person – tells us to focus on hating our fellow. So we hate and waste our time. We waste our potential. We waste our lives hating instead of having loving, productive relations with the people we once loved but now we hate.

What causes hate – because we listen to our emotions. We silence our reasoning and give the reigns of our body, thoughts and words to our angry heart.

G-d wants us to love our fellow Jew. The foundation of the Torah is to “Love Your fellow like yourself.” Like the story of Hillel and the gentile who came to him to convert. He wanted to learn the entire Torah “standing on one
foot.” Hillel said the whole Torah is “What ever is hateful to you, do not do to others.” Rabbi Akiva said – “Love Your fellow like yourself.”

If that is the FOUNDATION of the entire Torah – apparently we should make greater efforts to promote love and peace – not discention and hatred. We shoulf speak words of kindness – not Lashon HaRah.

Let us let go of our hatred for the greater good of following Hash-m’s will.

Jewish Meditation – Getting Closer to Spirituality

What is Spirituality ?

People Seek Spirituality.

To follow a path – one should know where it leads.

To follow spirituality – one must first understand what it means.

So first a person seeking spirituality – should define that term – spirituality.

Spirituality – the means to achieve a close relationship with G-d.

What can bring me closer to G-d?

Now one must determine the means that will bring him or her closest to G-d.

Although many ways of life are tempting – and enticing to the eyes – it does not necessarily mean that that way of life is true.

There are many charlatans in the religion business – using the greatest marketing techniques.

To determine what G-d expects a person to do to become close to Him there are two required steps. Step One is Prayer – one can just ask Him. Meaning pray to Hash-m / G-d that he will help you find the right path in life that he expects of you. Step Two is to think out logically – what is the True Religion of G-d. For in G-d’s religion is the directions and means of how to get close to Him.

What path do I follow to become closer to G-d?

If one wants to pursue a relationship with G-d  – how does one go about it?

What makes sense in selecting a religion to follow?

To follow a religion, cult or worship that looks spiritual or one that G-d himself actually sanctioned and explained that that is the way to become close to him?

Obviously if G-d came down to a person and said – Religion A is the Religion that I approve of and will also help you become close to Me – that person would know which religion to follow – because they heard it from G-d Himself.

But today G-d doesn’t reveal himself to people face to face as He did with Moses. So what is the next best thing? To select a religion that G-d approved of in front of Millions of people.

What is the Religion that Brings a Person Close to G-d?

People are interesting.

People are into their ideas & ways of life.

The question is how did they get there?

That is the question most people don’t ask.

Most people follow a religion because they were brought up that way.

The Religion Switcher

Many follow what feels good to them – which leads to an interesting phenomenon – the religion switcher.

I say this because I met people that have told me – last year I was religion A and this year I follow religion B. But I am thinking of joining religion C.

Use Your Heart or Your Mind?

The reason why most people follow a religion or don’t is not because they thought out logically what makes most sense – they follow because they think it “feels” right.

In a world of only feelings – without truth – determining the true path in life is impossible – because A feels that religion A is right, while Mr. B feels that B is right. While Mr. C feels that Atheism is right.

In French they say it “Des goûts et des couleurs, on ne discute pas.” Meaning – Tastes & Colors cannot be Discussed. Because I like sweet. Someone else – salty.

A person who follows a religion or does not (like an atheist or an agnostic) who does so because that is what they feel is right is like a person who chooses chocolate over vanilla ice cream.

I like pistachio.

So what is the solution?

In order to come to the True religion it must be reached by logic. G-d must have made a way for a person to determine what is the true way of G-d – that must be able to be determined through logic – not feelings.

Because in the next world a person is judged. G-d cannot judge a person unless He actually told people what is right and wrong. If not everybody will say – when judged – “Sorry G-d – I didn’t know that that that I did was wrong. No one ever told me.”

Apparently, every normal person in the world can determine the true Law of G-d.

How?

It’s pretty simple.

Four Questions to True Religion

Answer just four questions logically – to come to the true religion.

1. Is there a G-d?
2. Did G-d give a Law?
3. What is that Law?
4. Did G-d Change his Mind about his Law?

Quickly here are the answers –

1. Yes – it is not logical to say that the world, nature, growth, living creatures, thinking came from random atoms flying around – logically one must say there is an Intelligent Being that created all this. One wouldn’t say that a computer program wrote itself by switching on and off a computer. Thus it makes no sense to say that the world was created by random atoms.

2. Yes – A person doesn’t want their masterpiece to be destroyed. G-d does not want his world to be destroyed – so obviously G-d gave laws to protect His world.

3. The Torah – it is the only divinely given document whose giving was witnessed by Millions of people. No other religion claims this about their “bible”. It had to be given in public – otherwise everyone can claim – that they never heard of the divine revelation of G-d’s law – the Torah.

4. No – it is not logical that the Supremely Intelligent Being Changes His mind.

The Conclusion : TORAH is G-d’s Law

Conclusion G-d’s True Law is the Torah. A person need not be Jewish to follow G-d’s Torah. G-d gave laws for

for all people of the Earth.

A person choosing a Religion based upon feelings is like a man marrying a woman and afterward thinking if he made the right choice. He should have thought about it first- before tying the knot.

I have friends into Meditation. They are Orthodox Jews but use meditation techniques. I heard one story of a person that took an oath of silence for many months of meditation. When he reached the height of his meditation – the words that came out his mouth were the words of his Bar Mitzvah Parasha or Shema Yisrael.

Making Time For Yourself – Jewish Meditation


https://www.hidabroot.com/search?q=meditation

The Rational Approach to Judaism – see SimpleToRemember.com
https://www.simpletoremember.com/authors/a/rabbi-akiva-tatz/
https://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/jewish-spirituality/

Books on Jewish Meditation


https://www.amazon.com/Inner-Space-Introduction-Kabbalah-Meditation/dp/0940118564/

Jewish vs. Buddhist Meditation – a former Guru – Gutman Locks – that used to meditate on 85th street and central park in the 60s.



http://www.thereisone.com/videos.htm

http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2009/05/stressbuster-3minute-ancient-hebrew-meditation.html

The Ultimate Relationship Builder – Judaism

Turning back Clocks on Relationship Killers – Phone, TV & Video

Turn Back the Clocks. It was a simpler era. You come home it is almost dark. A hearty “good evening my dear.” Dinner is waiting for you on the Table. Some fresh baked potatoes. Fresh baked bread from the oven.

Dinner finished – you have time to relax with family before bedtime.

You pull out the checker board and challenge a family member to a game. He wins. Perhaps another?

Checkers is a healthy game. It involves thinking, action and interaction.

A person was able to feel and enjoy the presence of the other family member. I get to know their reactions, thoughts and emotions. I appreciate the person. The person feels appreciated.

Technology Servitude

Fast forward to the 21st Century. I come home grab a quick bite. Then attach myself to tech world. Even if the family sits in front of the TV for a completely innocuous show, it reminds me of Big Brother holding the reigns of peoples minds.

I am your screen. I control your thoughts and emotions. I control your opinion. Thus I control your actions.

I am not for videos or TV. They take a person’s freedom away. I follow the crowd to do what’s popular and cool. I let go of my true self to mix in the melting pot of nothingness.

People want real personal relationships. Not a relationship with a screen.

The new drug of the century – technology.

Where can we find relationship builders?

Judaism & Relationship Builders.

Most Torah Laws are relationship builders.

Shabbat

No TV or technology gadgets allowed. No driving. No shopping – just focus on your family / freind relationships, your participation in community and spiritual relationship with G-d.

Spend time with family at Shabbat table. The family says divrei Torah / words of Torah that serves as wholesome discussion at the table.

The family participates in shul / Synagogue together.

The family learns Torah together or attends a Torah lecture.

Kids play board games or simple outdoor games.

Yes the Torah preceded the No Cell-Phone Restaurant meet – where cell phones are placed in the middle of the Table. The first to pick up the cell phone has to pick up the tab.

Getting Married –

Getting married is a Mitzvah in the Torah. It encourages young marriage. Another relationship builder.

Having children is another Mitzvah. Another relationship builder. and developing relationships with the children and the common parents.

Traditional marriage allows a person to have common children – impossible with same gender marriages.

Communal Prayer

A Jewish man prays with a quorum of ten men for three prayer services daily.

People interact together on a personal level.

There they nurture their communication and relationship with Hash-m / G-d. They learn Torah, also an interactive activity.

Torah Study

One Studies Torah either in a lecture or a small group or with a study partner / Hevruta or by oneself.

In each there is personal interaction with others.

In each one learns to better oneself enhancing further personal relations.

Keeping Kosher

One aspect of keeping kosher is to eating animals with negative character traits. Non-Kosher Animals usually have negative character traits or are in certain ways appalling.  A person who consumes certain animals adopts a form of its character traits.

We avoid slaughtering Kosher animals – that we do eat – in an inhumane way.

Going to a Torah Day School

In a Torah Day school children are taught to do acts of kindness, to honor parents, to be respectful to elders, to treat everyone with respect and much more – subjects not taught in public school. While other religions teach hate – we teach love.

Acts of Kindness

Doing acts of kindness are also a Mitzvah, like Helping the poor with money or food,  visiting the sick, lending money and comforting the mourners, etc.

Not hurting People

It is prohibited to speak words that cause pain to another individual. It is forbidden from the Torah to embarrass a person. A Jew controls his temper – he should not get angry.

No Evil Speech

Lashon HaRah is a group of many laws prohibiting speaking badly of fellow Jews – even if the speech is 100% true.

Not Hurting Animals

The Commandment in Torah to not hurt animals is called “Tzaar Balaie Haim” / Pain of Living Creatures. It is prohibited in the Torah for one cruel with animals engenders in himself or herself these character traits of cruelty. What he did to an animal – he might consider doing to others. In Naza Germany one of the training of cruelty in Nazis was to bring up a cat in their home and then to kill the cat with their bare hands.

Saying Kaddish – Connecting with Departed Souls

The soul of the departed goes to a spiritual world. It can no longer be elevated by doing Mitzvot. It is stuck in the place that it earned by doing mitzvot while it was alive. Two things that can elevate the soul is saying the Kaddish prayer for the soul and doing Mitzvot from the Torah for the sake of the soul – like giving charity to a Torah institution li’ilouy nishmat – for the elevation of the soul. The Torah allows one to kindness and even keep a relationship with the departed through the ways mentioned above.

Saying Blessings

Each time I eat, I thank G-d before and after. By Saying the food Blessings – Eating is elevated to enhancing one’s relationship with the creator, rather than being merely a physical act to sustain one’s body. One elevates the food to a spiritual level.

One reason for the saying of food blessings is to unlock a soul that was found in the food. Thus we also do kindness with souls of the past.

Many Blessings exist – Morning Blessings, Blessings on Aromas, Blessing on Mitzvot and After Blessings, blessings for good health. These blessings help not only establish a connection with G-d but also help a person be grateful, be appreciative and appreciate life more.

A small section of laws of Judaism – all related to improving ones relation with family, friends, community and Hash-m / G-d.

Saying Sorry – Making Peace Whether You Are Right or Wrong

I’m Sorry

Two words. But often so difficult to say. I want to be right. If I am right why should I say sorry.

I think “I apologize” might be a bit easier to say. Why? Apparently, the word “apologize” is less comprehensible by others – so it feels as if I’m not admitting my guilt as much.

Whatever you like “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” – they are words we should practice to make peace between our fellows.

G-d wants Peace

Just like parents want peace between siblings, G-d wants peace between our brothers – our fellow Jews.

Ok. Inside I have no desire to make peace with this person that insulted me or took money from me or embarrassed me.  It is his fault not mine.

Asking Others to Explain Wrongdoing

The Torah says – if someone wronged you – so go up to them and in a private conversation – say “Dan, I was really hurt by your firing me, can you justify your actions – I want to be on good terms.” Talk it out. At times you only play the movie of the negative action in your head, but perhaps he or she did what you would have done if you were in their shoes.

Or remember that everything comes from G-d / Hash-m. If someone fired you, this person was just the messenger. G-d really decided that that person was to lose their job for a positive purpose. Now in your new position and see if it was worthwhile being fired – you found a better job, didn’t you? And even if you didn’t one day you will be able to see the good in that difficulty.

Taking Load off Your Heart

I read somewhere that a person was angry with another person because he embarrassed him when he was Bar Mitzvah’ed. His hatred spread to hating all people similar to the one who embarrassed him. He lived his life with a grudge in his heart because he generalized his hatred. He lived with hatred, instead of peace. I’m sure if he would have went up to the person who embarrassed him, that person would have apologized or at least explained his actions. Better to live with peace than hatred.

Good Blood

Hatred is not good for the soul or the health. Gratuitous hatred may cause a person stress or, G-d forbid, even illness. In French when someone has hatred – we call it “Se faire de Mauvais Sang” – literally “to make bad blood.” The English term is also used. Having Hatred causes bad blood. Make peace and have good blood.

All said and good. But I don’t feel like making peace.

The Emotions that Impede Peace

OK. I don’t feel like searching for a new Job, but I have to feed my family. G-d wants me to have peace with my fellow, so I have to be bold and overcome my reticence and do it. Just get over with it.

A person should apologize to someone they had a tiff with in any cast e. (This is providing that the person is angry because of a tiff. If a person hated because you exist – like many anti-semites – you cannot make peace with them because there is no solution to removing their hatred.)

Saying Sorry in Any Case

If you had a tiff with someone and you are right it is much easier to say I’m sorry. My sorry is because I want to make peace. There is always a reason to apologize even if you were right, because you may have said some hurting words. If I was wrong, I should say sorry because I did something wrong.

What you might think is nothing major to you, may be major to someone else. Someone I heard was upset because their friend did not send them a birthday card. I sometimes forget my birthday. But others think it is important that you think of them.

Live a healthier life. Live a peaceful life. Remove Hatred from your heart.

The Eye of the Earth – a Better Attitude in Life

In Parashat / the Torah Reading of Balak (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:2 – 25:8), Balak, the King of the nation of Moav – afraid of the Jews for he saw what they did to the Amorites – commissions a Gentile Prophet Bilaam to Curse the Nation. Balak describes the Jews as having covered the Eye of the Earth (22:5).

One commentator, Rabbi Elimelech Bidderman, explains the concept of covering the eye of the world. He says that the Jews have a different perspective than the world view. The general view of the world is that everything happens by chance or as a result of cause and effect. A man loses money – he was not careful to update his store merchandise. A woman loses a job – she was too talkative at work. These might be the symptoms – but the ultimate reason why things happen is because Hash-m / G-d wants them to happen.

G-d does everything for the good. If one takes that as an attitude – his depression can disappear. Maybe the man lost his money because G-d saw he was spending too much time working and not spending time with the family or learning Torah and He wanted him to find a more lucrative enterprise in which he would work less making more money allowing him to spend more time with the family.

Perhaps the woman lost the Job, so that she could be hired by another firm that is closer to her home or that would give her more responsibilities.

A man without the attitude that G-d does everything and everything He does is for the good – might take up drinking, or become a tyrant at home, or become depressed. With the attitude that G-d does everything good – the man will get up on his feet and look for another business. He will pray to Hash-m to help him find him the right way in life and for making a living and take action.

The woman – who lost her job might start having negative feelings towards her boss or towards her former co-workers that did not “stick-up for her”. She remains bitter towards the old staff. Even when she gets a new job she remains bitter towards them. But looking at the big picture G-d helped her to lose one job and find a much better position. So what’s the reason for the grudge? It wasn’t the co-workers it was G-d – doing it for her Good. The co-workers might have tried to help her – but she only sees the negative.

In Judaism we have laws of Lashon HaRa / Derogatory speech. We should not speak badly of a fellow Jew – without direct constructive purpose. Many a time a person speaks badly about others because they failed to see the hand of G-d. They fail to see the good in the “bad” that happened to them. Looking at the long term picture one can see the good that happened – so why blame others for your suffering. It is possible that much good came out from the difficult situation that one was in and overcame.

Look at the good that came as a result of a negative looking situation, and you won’t have to blame others. We’ll live life with a positive attitude – rather than with a grudge in our hearts.

The Solution to All Problems – On the Same Page with G-d

Last week, our Torah Reading – Hukat – held many varying subjects.

It started with the Purification using the ashes of the Red Heifer.

Miriam, the Prophetess dies. In her merit, the Jews were provided with healthy drink, through a well of water, that followed them through the desert. Her death caused the well to stop flowing. The Jews complain. G-d tells Moshe to speak with a rock to get water. Instead he hits the rock, and is punished by not being allowed to enter the land of Israel.

The Jews complain about the living conditions in desert. Snakes start to bite them. G-d tells Moshe to make a great copper serpent and to place it on a pole and those that would see it would live.

What is the connection?

Being on the Same page as G-d

Apparently, one lesson it’s teaching us is to be on the same page as G-d.

Give G-d Some Slack

One reason for the Red Heifer / Para Aduma was that it served as an atonement for the Sin of the Golden Calf. In the incident of The Golden calf – the Jews miscalculated when Moses was to return. When he was late according to their standards – the Erev Rav / mixed multitude of people who traveled with the Jews – decided to make a Golden Calf. If the Jews were on the same page with G-d this wouldn’t have happened. If the Jews would have given G-d “some slack”, or had a bit of faith – they would have said – “OK, Moses is late, but G-d knows better than us, let’s have some patience.”

We Don’t always have to Understand

This is why the Para Aduma is an atonement. The Para Aduma is a Mitzvah we don’t understand. The Jews thought they had to understand everything. Since they didn’t understand why Moses was late, they rebelled by making a Golden calf. G-d gave them a commandment that taught them, you don’t always have to understand.

Always assure that the foundations make Sense

Yes the fundamentals of a religion, one should understand. If the foundation makes no sense so reject it. If the foundation is solid, but certain laws you can’t understand, that’s acceptable.

When Moses speaks with the rock, he should have said in his mind “G-d knows why I should speak to the rock. No need to hit the rock.”

What does G-d want from us? To believe that He knows best. That’s being on the same page.

G-d of Convenience or G-d of Justice?

I recently read a blog of a person asking others to find a good religion for her. She said something like some religions are cruel, some kill, etc. She then mentioned Judaism – she said – she can’t accept it because it is against same gender marriage, etc. Ok. That’s what she wants a religion of convenience. Not a religion of what’s right in G-d’s eyes, but a religion that is right in her eyes.

But she is a bit like the child that is angry at her parents because they will not let her eat candy for dinner. I agree that one should reject a religion that does cruelty to others. And I even understand that she is against a religion that is against her moral standards. But before judging the standards of G-d, understand them.

I only defend Judaism. I defend no other religion. Only because Torah Judaism is the only religion, based upon a divinely given document that millions of witnesses heard G-d speak out – the Torah. That was only time in History when G-d spoke with an entire nation – a national revelation (as opposed to a revelation to one or several individuals) – when G-d gave the Jews the Torah at mount Sinai about 3,300 years ago.

On the Same page as Parents and Spouses

G-d gave us the Mitzvah of Honoring Parents. That is because he knows that parents are more experienced than children. They know what’s good for us. A spouse sometimes micromanages they co-spouse. Or they contradict them in front of the chldren. Best for parents to get best results from the children is to be on the same page. We decide to turn right or left before we get to the intersection not in the intersection.

Trust in G-d Reduces Problems

Being on the same page as G-d helps us avoid many misunderstandings and troubles along the way. All the commandments that G-d in his Torah gives are for the good of man. Thus being on the same page as G-d – who really knows what’s best for us – will help us avoid many pitfalls and problems in life. For a Jew that is the Taryag / 613 mitzvot / Commandments. For a Gentile it is the 7 Noahide laws – both from the Torah.

The Good Snake – What comes from G-d is Good

In Parashat / Weekly Torah Reading Hukat – (Bamidbar / Numbers 19:1 – 22:1)
When certain Israelites were being bitten by snakes for speaking badly about Moses, G-d instructed Moses to make a Copper snake for people to look upon and be healed. “And you shall look at it (the copper snake) and live.” (21:8) A snake is dangerous. what message is this teaching us?

Everything that Hashem does is for good. Even, when something appears bad, like a snake, if is sent by Hashem it is good.

Some say if I dont work on SHABBAT, I will not make money for my family. But really it is the opposite. One who observes Shabbat makes blessing rest on his or her parnassa / income enabling them to feed their family with abundance.

Learning from Spies – Using Good Times of Past to have a Positive Future Outlook

The Israelites in the Sinai Desert sent Spies to investigate Israel, the Promised Land. Before, Moses asked G-d – should they send these spies. He responded – “Send men for Yourself. I know that it is a good land.” G-d was a upset that they needed spies – when He had already promised that it is a good land.

The Spies come back and give a report of the land of Israel. They say it is a land of milk and honey … But there are giants that dwell there and it is a land that devours its inhabitants.”

Calev, one of the spies says “We can overcome the people and conquer the land.” The people cry in fear. G-d tells the Jewish People because they cried in vain – they will stay wandering in the desert for 40 years – one year for each day that the Spies spied.

G-d then tells Moshe / Moses – how come these people don’t believe in me after all of the wonders I did for them in bringing them out from Egypt.

Two questions – 1) Why were they punished by One Year for each Day? 2) Why does G-d say why didn’t they believe in me after all the signs and wonders I Showed them? Out of all the people in the world who heard about all the miracles that G-d did for the Jews, only one person – Yitro / Jethro – out of all the nations of the world were impressed enough to come and convert to Judaism.

Apparently, one answer is :

A person is supposed to learn from the past. If G-d did good for him in the past – it is likely he will continue to good to him in the future. There are three reasons why people adapt a negative attitude in life :

1) They don’t recognize the constant blessings that G-d gives them on a daily basis – like, air, food, life, children, a job, a home, a family, friends, money, etc. This is either because they don’t believe in G-d or they do believe in Him but don’t attribute the good they have to Him.

2) They do recognize the constant blessings that G-d gives them, but they think they are or will be unworthy of his blessings in the future.

Both attitudes may lead to depression.

The Solution:

Learn from the past. If you were able to overcome a difficulty in the past, you will be able to overcome it in the future. If G-d helped you in the past, he will hep you in the future. You make your effort to solve the problem – but it is in G-d’s hands to actually solve it. The effort is in your hands – the solving is in G-d’s. If it is solved after your effort and prayer to Hash-m / G-d – Good. If it is not – perhaps you need to make a greater effort or pray more to Hash-m.

If you did both and still the problem is not solved – the problem it is not being solved for your good.

It’s a win-win situation.

I have been having issues with my car. Check engine light is on. With that you cannot pass inspection. I brought it to 3 mechanics and 2 car dealers. The light is still on. Apart from the fact that this problem is some kind of reason to get me to improve myself for a past misdeed – which I still must figure out which (as there are many 🙂 ), it has helped me to use my bicycle more and get more into shape. Look at the silver lining in each difficulty.

Think positive. Let’s work on ourselves to think of how we overcame difficulties, with G-d’s help, in the past to have a more positive outlook in the future. G-d expects it from us. G-d believes in us. Shouldn’t we believe in ourselves.

Source: Parasha Shelah’ Lekha in Bamidbar / Numbers

Can You Lift This? A Lesson from a Sanitation Worker

In New York City, 3 types of waste are collected.
– compost
recycling
– waste

Compost is organic material used to fertilize soil. I went out to talk with sanitation worker. I told him in some of our waste bins was compost. Apparently my compost bin was a bit heavy. He said pointing to te compost bin “Come here! Can you lift this?”

I tried. It was on the heavy side. I replied with a negative. “So how do you expect me to lift it?”

I learned several things from that short conversation. If you can’t lift something yourself – don’t expect others to. Meaning if you can’t lift a bag of waste don’t expect others to do it. Make your waste bags light enough that a normal person can lift.

Meaning – if you can’t run a marathon – don’t expect other average people to do so. If they are highly trained that’s another thing.

So really a person should not speak badly of others. “This guy steals pencils from his workplace.” But if you can’t refrain from doing the same don’t speak badly about him or her.

Or if you can’t do a difficult task don’t expect others to do it for you (unless you pay them).

Another Lesson – Get Help from others

It’s annoying when only after the situation has passed that you think of the perfect answer. I should have said “you could lift it with two people.” At times a person has a difficulty, problem or concern – if you can’t lift it by yourself – so ask another person to help you. Don’t try to lift your problem by yourself – turn to someone else who can help you lift your problem off your shoulders.

Dealing With the Angry Man – What’s Your Next Move?

Put on your gloves. You have an angry man that you must disengage.

Remember the board game Operation. You had to remove items from a man’s body. If your tweezers touched his body – you got a buzz and his nose lit up.

Kind of like the angry guy. You go a bit out his comfort zone and there goes the buzz of his words and his nose flares with anger.

It’s not me it’s him right?

The Relationship between anger and the nose

A side point – interesting that the word for “nose” in Hebrew as the same as “anger” in Hebrew – “af”. I saw an article once that certain aromas of chemicals one emits in a certain emotional state can transmit an emotion to another person. Meaning if a person is angry, another person who smells them with their nose can be influenced also to become angry.

The Proper Reaction against anger

The Jewish people are called the people of the book. Not only because they read books – mainly Torah – but many live by the word of the Torah. A once popular show on private detectives – one detective would determine his next move based upon actors in certain shows he had seen. An observant Jew learns his next move based upon the deeds of great Torah observant people of the generation or in the Torah.

So what does the Torah propose as a “next move” or reaction to an angry person?

Someone recently got angry at me. I learned that the way to react was not the way I did with him. But at least I figured out what’s a good move for the next outburst. Learn from my experience.

The Torah says in Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers (4:18) regarding Acting with Tact:

Rabbi Shimo’n son of Ela’zar says: Do not appease your fellow at the time of his anger. And do not console him at the time that his dead lies before him; And do not question him [ie, his intentions] at the hour of his vows & don’t make effort to see him at the time of his degradation.

Don’t appease him at the time of his anger. Meaning don’t try to calm him down. Meaning – your attempt at calming him may have the opposite effect of your intention. Meaning you trying to calm him down might get him more angry. So now what can you do? Remain silent. His or her ranting and raving should prompt you to think what’s the best reaction? and your answer should be silence.

(This applies, obviously, if the person is not violent. If the person is violent – you might want to choose flight rather than fight.)

The Fortiori Argument / Kal VaHomer

In Torah there is a logical construct called the Fortiori argument – it goes something like this:

If an average person can lift up this coffee table – surely the body-builder can pick up this coffee table.

Using that principle – don’t appease your fellow at the time of his anger – thus even more so – should you not instigate him at that point. You will just make him more angry. Your objective is to get a point across – do it in a calm, private moment together – not when the person is about to burst.

You have two kinds of angry people – a person who has a bad temper but deep down is good. And a person with a bad temper whose nature is evil. Avoid the latter. Be patient with the first. If the first person is truly good, he will apologize after his outburst – if you don’t respond in kind. If you respond with anger – you will have nullified his feeling of guilt. He’ll think – I got angry – you got angry – why apologize? But if only one gets angry – the calm person has the upper hand.

King Solomon’s Advice

Shlomo Hamelekh / King Solomon – the wisest man – “A Soft Answer turns away Wrath.” (Mishlei / Proverbs 15:1) So – apparently – a soft answer is better than an all out yelling match. Don’t you think?