When Life Crashes or Judaism & the Art of Computer Maintenance

My Computer crashed yesterday. It wasn’t the first time. A long while back I had Microsoft Windows. I got the “Blue Crash Screen”. I had to figure out how to get my computer back up. I tried their recommended methods. No avail. I tried another version of Windows – but I had to find that Windows key to get it back. Didn’t work. Finally I just backed up my files and installed a new  Operating System instead of Windows – Linux. Fedora to be exact. Yesterday I just reinstalled Fedora again.

OK. Initially – It took time to adjust to a new Operating System. But now I am still running Linux. Yes I have Laptops that run Windows – but I am fine with Linux.

When Life Crashes

Similarly – a longer time ago I was living the high life. Yes I had ups and downs – but I was having a good time. Till my life crashed. I experienced sufferings as a teen. Yes – teen problems but crushing nonetheless. So I tried to make small changes to my life. I was sure – deep inside – the crash was a message from G-d / Hash-m. Before I became more dedicated to Judaism – I didn’t hesitate to make a Joke at the expense of other’s discomfort. I was funny – but at times I could hurt others feelings. For that I regret. The sufferings prompted soul searching.

The Connection between computers & life

We experience ups and downs. Many a time – these can be interpreted as messages. Messages from G-d / Hash-m to improve. To become closer to him. G-d is our father – and at times He steps in to wake us up to that fact. Or wake us up to strengthening our relationship with Him.

At times it is a little crash – like losing a wallet. At times it is a bigger crash – like losing one’s savings in the Stock market. Computers at times run slow, or fail – but it is up to us to get them up & running again. Like in life- when in difficulty – we try to find out how to get up and running again.

Don’t Give Up

But G-d does not want us to give up. If there are troubles – it is a time to reflect and prompt ourselves to improve. Embarrassing a person in public is forbidden in Torah. It is like killing. So as a youth – due to my troubles – I became more sensitive to people’s feelings. I apologized to the people I might have hurt. Now I try to joke in a way to bring a person up not down.

The Nurse that Gave Up

Some give up when life becomes harder. When sufferings raise their head. That’s the last thing G-d / Hash-m – your Father – wants from you. I still feel badly for the nurse who gave up on life – when she encountered so many cases of Covid – some she helped to save – some she couldn’t.

G-d  doesn’t want us to give up. At times He wants us to change our perspective on life. To take on a Torah perspective. In life it is forbidden for a person to take one’s life. The closer a person is to the person he/or she kills the worse it is. Killing – the one person that is closest to oneself, who is oneself – is one of the worst transgressions.

Ask All Your Questions to an Orthodox Rabbi

So what should that nurse have done. She was suffering from not being able to help as many people she could have. Apparently – she could have presented herself to an Orthodox Rabbi to ask for an explanation for why G-d sent Covid. Why was she not able to save as many people as she could have. Why did she have to witness so many deaths? What was a proper course of action for the future. What is a Torah outlook to cope with her difficult situations.

Pain is not the Worst Thing

People experience pain. But pain is not the worst thing that can happen. Not achieving what one can in life is worse than pain. Pain – like money comes and goes. But one who doesn’t achieve their potential in life – they can’t repair it after death.

David HaMelekh / King David wanted sufferings to come to him – because it gave him the opportunity to turn to G-d on a more emotional level – and to him even pain was preferable to a non-relationship with Hash-m.

Although I shy away from suffering – when I did suffer as a youth – I remember  it was easier to feel closer to Hash-m. All barriers between us were removed because – what was important in my eyes before – became secondary to relieve may suffering. I knew the way was to seek spirituality – by becoming closer to Hash-m through Torah.

How to Fix Life & Computers

When a computer crashes – you can try to fix it with software utilities – or try a new operating system to get your computer back on track. When Life crashes you can change little things and stick to the same lifestyle or you can try to try a new lifestyle that will help you change your outlook and attitude on life. Even if you are a bit unfamiliar – you can reduce the downtime in the future.

I did it with my computer and my life. With my computer I moved from Windows to Linux. With my life I moved from following the flow to following Torah Judaism.

Judaism, Logic & Practicality

People who like computers – in general like logic. I like logic. Judaism was the ultimate source of life for me because it answered all the questions I had and provided a logical framework for everything I do. I also like practicality – in Judaism we translate concepts into actions. It is not enough to say as it says in Torah – “Love Your fellow as Yourself” –  the Torah provides specific laws to put it into action – Like not speaking Lashon HaRah / Evil speech about others, giving charity, doing acts of kindness, etc.

Self-Improvement & Torah.

So what do you do when life crashes? Reflect. Reflect how to self-improve. Reflect how to get closer to Hash-m through Torah – for Gentiles through the 7 Noahide Laws from Torah and for Jews – the Shulchan Aruch – Jewish Code of law. (Link poiints to Kitzur / Abridged Shulchan Aruch)

Sometimes I look back and imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t take steps to improve. I would be a different person than I am today – and I am happy I did take those challenging but highly beneficial steps.

Believe It and Receive It

Believe it will be good and it will be good. If you believe something will be good – Hash-m / G-d will make it good.

Once Hillel Heard yelling from a house in the street. He said to a fellow “I know this is screaming not from my house.” He knew because he taught his household not to scream. But another proposed answer is that Hillel knew everything would be good – so he knew the yelling was not coming from his home.

Hash-m watches people as would a parent. Once I saw a Jewish person filling his tires with air at a Gas Station. I gave Him a card that says “Ein O’d Mile’vado” / There is Only Hash-m. He was astounded. He told me “Thank You. That is my motto in life. Don’t Just give out the card – Live it!”

The way that one wants to go – Hash-m brings him. Live your life a certain way – they will help you in heaven to go in that path. A thief that prays to be successful in his theft will be helped. Though, obviously he will be punished for the theft.

Thus – a person might be led in a path – because he wants to be lead that way. Thus a proper prayer is to ask Hash-m to guide him in the path of Truth. And search for Truth.

Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home ABCs – 14 Ideas to Help Save Your Marriage

Little things make a big difference in life – especially to a wife. A Nice word. A little smile. A small gift. A note of thanks. A meaningful moment together.

The Purpose of Marriage

The purpose of marriage is to be able to make a relationship between man & woman who will live a meaningful, loving, satisfying life spiritually and materially. This union – through the guidance of the Torah – helps a couple achieve their purpose in life. When this foundation is understood – it is more likely to thrive and survive.

Kindness

One of the foundations of the Torah is doing Kindness. The world stands upon Kindness. Kindness starts at home. According to Torah, A man is to give a gift to his wife before each Jewish holiday and when he finds something to her liking. It is recommended for him to buy flowers for Shabbat. He must talk with her with respect. He must satisfy her, material, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. She is a partner in the marriage. Their couple is one of personal and spiritual growth.

Your own needy & the needy of your city – your needy take precedence. Some are kindly with strangers. Yet, at home they are a tyrant. That is not the Torah way. The Torah way is to give more attention and kindness to those closer to you.

All kind things are recommended by Torah to have at home. Shalom Bayit / peace at home allows a person to live a productive and meaningful life. If peace is at home, children live a more serene, secure, stable and balanced existence – which allows them to have a more balanced personality. If bickering is at home – children are affected negatively. There is no magic cure for Shalom Bayit. Yet there are recommendations.

Learn to Do little Nice things

Help around the house. Take care of fixing something. Say thank you. Say I appreciate all that you do. Appreciation is one of the foundations of Judaism. We are called Yehudim – which comes from the name Yehuda – which comes from the Hebrew word for “giving thanks.” Appreciation can be expressed with word, gifts or action. If you don’t know what to say – leave a note. We – Ohr Binyamin – give out free Judaica cards. Once someone asked me – Do You have a card on Shalom bayit / Peace at Home. I said Yes – “It is called the You are Special Card – read one of the things to show how special you are to your wife every day.”*

Pray to Hash-m for Shalom Bayit

Pray to Hash-m / G-d for Shalom Bayit. He will give you opportunities to have peace. At times divorce may be in order – but discussions with a competent Orthodox rabbi must precede it. Grounds for divorce in Judaism – if a partner is unfaithful or other things. But as mentioned before, a competent Orthodox rabbi should be involved.

Learn About Shalom Bayit

To have Peace at Home one should have a goal to have Peace at Home. Read Jewish books, attend Jewish Classes, see Jewish seminars on the subject of Shalom Bayit. You can do it together or alone. One book I read even before I got married was – the River, the Kettle & The Bird – which is based upon a Gemara / Talmud Tractate in Berakhot. It says that one who dreams of those things will have peace at home. The book explains the entire concept of the 3 different forms of relationships that one can have in marriage. In short 1) a give and take / business-deal relationship, 2) a company employee relationship – you take care of kids – I’ll make the money 3) A single unit relationship – like a bird that soars to the sky and lands on earth – as one unit they soar to spiritual heights.

Learn Torah or Pirkei Avot Together

It is good to have a small learning session together – regularly. It could be 5 minutes daily or bi-weekly. Communication is key to speak together at least 1/2 hour a day.

Send Your Children to an Orthodox Torah Day School

When children are in line – it helps parents to get along. If one parent thinks children should do A – while the other thinks B is more appropriate – it is an tension builder. Torah schools Teach Kivud Av Vaem – Honoring parents, Derech Eretz – proper conduct, Respect of Others, Respect of Elders, Respect of Rabbis. If they are acting properly – it reduces stress & strain.

Be into Self-Improvement

The Torah way is to be better every day. Today I am good. Tomorrow I am better. This is only done through Torah Self improvement works – called Mussar.

Make Torah Your Guide in Life

Orthodox Jews usually have stable marriages. One major reason is they base their life, actions and thoughts on Torah. Torah is a detailed guide of how to live a meaningful, peaceful, productive, purposeful life. Basing one’s life on Torah – will help set foundations for a peaceful home. Shabbat – allows us to enjoy time with the family. The Torah recommends to and commends people to marry. It is a Mitzvah / commandment. The commandment to marry – pushes people to marry and not tarry. The Torah sets peaceful foundations at home.

Don’t Procrastinate

My uncle – a Shachan / Matchmaker – asked an older man why he never got married. He replied “I forgot to.” Statistics show, many Jews outside the Orthodox community are either marrying later or choosing a life of being single. Apparently, one reason is that they view not the importance of marriage as the Torah proposes.

Other reasons may be – they don’t find the right one, they have other priorities, they prefer being single, they don’t want responsibilities involved, they are involved in other things  – like a career, education. When one learns the proper hashkafot / Jewish outlook of marriage – one becomes more interested in tying the knot. Pushing marriage off – without making a serious concerted effort – at least as one would do to find a job – might make it harder later. As a youth – one is more idealistic and set in their ways. There are more opportunities – thus many Orthodox Jews get married younger – to found a family according to the guidance of Torah.

A Compatible Mate

One most important thing in having peace at home is choosing a mate with similar goals, values, mentalities, and aspirations. A statistic that supports  Interracial marriages have a divorce rate of 41% after 10 years while – same race marriage had a divorce rate of 31%.

Choosing the Right Mate – Finding Similarities

We try to choose people as mates that come from a good family and have good character traits. G-d matches people with similar values. If you want a better mate improve yourself. I give that as advice to people. “If you are hanging out at bars, you will likely marry someone who does the same. If you attend Torah Lectures / Shiurim, you will likely marry someone who does the same. If you study Torah and pray daily, , you will likely marry someone who does the same. Thus if you improve your level of Torah observance – you will likely get a mate that also does the same.”

Do Your Due Diligence

Thus many Orthodox Jews do extensive research on a mate prospect before agreeing to a date. They involve Shadchanim / Matchmakers, Rabbis, Friends of the spouse prospect, roommates & more. They do their homework. They ask about if they have good Middot / charachter traits, are they psychologically stable, are they diligent in studying torah, are they responsible, can they support a family, where is their mindset. If they do their homework – there are less surprises once married. It makes sense – you do your research for buying a car – which may last 10 years – then marriage that is a relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime – homework is in order.

Deal Breaker – Judaism & Good Character Traits

A Jew searching for a marriage mate should have several deal breakers. One of them – their potential spouse should be Jewish – for the reasons mentioned in the article. The second is that the spouse should have good personal character traits / middoth. Good middot make the difference between a peaceful marriage and a stressful one. A person who is learning Torah has an advantage in the sense that they usually adhere to the precepts of the Torah in the Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers. But it is not a guarantee.

Avoiding Intermarriage

Jews who marry Jews have a more peaceful marriages than – mixed marriages. According to Torah it is forbidden for a Jew to intermarry – for it causes the children to leave the Torah faith & follow after foreign worship. Statistics show, Most married Jewish parents say they are raising their children as Jewish by religion. Yet, Statistics also show, Intermarried parents much less likely to be raising their children Jewish.

A Jewish woman in a mixed marriage documentary said: “Our marriage was going smoothly until the birth of our baby boy. I was thrilled and wanted to arrange for a Bris (circumcision). But my husband thought I was crazy and said, ‘I won’t allow that …” Egon Mayer, a professor at Brooklyn College who studies interfaith issues and published a study linking intermarriage with higher divorce rates, Children of intermarried couples frequently suffer an identity crisis. “Where do they go? Who do they Identify with? Which holiday should they observe?” Are questions they ask.

If people are already intermarried – the couple should consult a competent Orthodox Rabbi – see OU.org synagogue finder – to see what is involved in converting the gentile / non-Jewish spouse to Torah Judaism. Usually the spouse must agree to a Torah Study program, to Follow laws of Shabbat / the Sabbath, Kashrut / Keeping Kosher and Family Purity Laws. Practical advice for any person who wishes to convert to Judaism – is to seek an Orthodox Rabbi – that know the laws and can guide you to a Beit Din / Jewish Court of Law who will perform a conversion that is accepted by all Orthodox Rabbis. If you are going to do it – do it right.

Conversion to Judaism

I knew a Ger / convert to Judaism who was converted through one Beit Din that was not so reliable and decided to do another conversion – through a more reliable one. His Name was Charlie.

Gentiles who Marry Gentiles

For gentiles, the way they live also affects their mate. If they learn their 7 Noahide Laws from the Torah – they will more likely marry a mate that will do the same.

Judaism & Self Improvement

If each member of the couple has a goal of self improvement – it makes for a better marriage. I want to make the other person happy. I want to make Hash-m happy. Thus I try to be on my best behavior. My goal is to make a peaceful home – not to show that I am right. The best Self-improvement works you will every find are based upon Torah sources. What the world calls self-improvement – we call Mussar.

Do Kindness at home and you will find kindness.

One of the Pillars the world stands upon is kindness.

The Raison d’Etre of the Universe is mentioned in Pirkei Avot 1:2:

2. Shimo’n the righteous was from the remainder of the men of the Great Assembly. He used to say: Upon three things the world stands [ie, its reason for its continued existence]– On the Torah, on the [Divine] Service [ie, prayer or korbanot / offerings on the altar] & on acts of loving kindness.

Make it your goal to do kindness in your world and kindness will come back.

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*We have many cards that can help Shalom Bayit – Like Derech Eretz / Proper Conduct CardThe Gratitude / the Basket of Compliments card, Prayer for Protection of Children & How to Show Your Love & Appreciation, and the Tehillim / Psalms for Shalom Bayit)

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Caveat – we sometimes link to Sefaria.org. Although it is a valuable resource for providing Jewish sources – the site also has works that are contrary to authentic Torah values. Some translations of authentic Torah sources might be suspect as well. The sources we link to are authentic. To not be misguided by false Torah values masquerading as Torah – be wary – on the site itself – to use the sources there that are authentic Torah values.  Here is a list of some of them. 

If you are unsure it is authentic Torah – ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi. Authentic Torah sages & commentators include Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Sforno, Abarbanel, Aderet Eliyahu (Rabbi Yosef Chaim), Alshich , Avi Ezer, Bartenura on Torah, Bekhor Shor, Birkat Asher on Torah, Chatam Sofer, Chizkuni, Chomat Anakh, Daat Zkenim,
Gur Aryeh, HaKtav VeHaKabalah, Haamek Davar, Kitzur Baal Haturim, Kli Yakar,
Malbim, Minchat Shai, Minei Targuma, Mizrachi, Ohev Ger, Or HaChaim, Paaneach Raza, Penei David, Rabbeinu Bahya, Ralbag Beur HaMilot, Ralbag on Torah, Rashbam,
Recanati on the Torah, Riva, Rosh, Shadal, Siftei Chakhamim, Torah Temimah on Torah, Tur HaAroch, Tzafnat Pa’neach, Tzror HaMor)

 

 

 

Make Peace – Make it Up

In the first chapter Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers it says to Love Peace:

הִלֵּל וְשַׁמַּאי קִבְּלוּ מֵהֶם. הִלֵּל אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַהֲרֹן, אוֹהֵב שָׁלוֹם וְרוֹדֵף שָׁלוֹם, אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וּמְקָרְבָן לַתּוֹרָה:

12. Hillel & Shammai received it from them [from Shema’ya & Avtalyon]. Hillel says: Be like the students of Aharon – love peace & pursue peace love the creatures & draw them close to the Torah.

Torah Commentator – the Zera Shimshon – asks why does it need to say “Be like the students of Aharon” – we could understand the Mishna without that phrase. He explains that Aharon used to make peace between two parties by saying  to one – you know your friend really wants to make peace. Then he would say same to the other party.  When the two who were in a quarrel saw each other – they would make peace between each other.

He basically told a fib or a white lie to make peace – between friends in quarrel or family members, or between man and his wife.

So that’s why it says that phrase “Be like the students of Aharon” to teach the people – you, To even bend the truth to promote peace.

3 times 0 = 10? How to Not Be Misled by Falsity

The Seltzer Enigma

I was looking at a seltzer bottle’s ingredients. One serving is 0 calories. 3 servings is 10 calories. The last I checked 0 + 0 + 0 = 0. Or 3 servings x 0 calories per serving = 0 calories. Did the seltzer company come out with a new branch of mathematics? No. The reason for this discrepancy is that the FDA allows you to round to the nearest 10 calories. One serving of flavored seltzer is probably about 3 calories. They rounded to the nearest 10 – which is 0 for one serving. For 3 servings it is 9 calories – so they rounded to the nearest 10.

The point of this article is to help people discern what is true and good and what is bad and false.

Honest Reporting?

I am sure there remain people with morality and honesty in Journalist. The little news I do read are from sources that have some kind of non-biased bent – that report news facts.

The Change from Fact to Opinion

We are not here to condemn News organizations or Journalists. Yet I have more distrust of News media that 20 years ago. I remember the days where some kind of ethics reigned in the media. Nowadays – many once reputable news organizations – reports their take on the matter, at times reporting their own agenda & fake news. Some change spin doctor journalism into something close to fiction.

Falsity in History

It is not a new phenomena. People from ancient civilizations did the same. Reporting things – out of context – to give credibility to their agenda. Many cults, philosophies, religions use the same technique. Some will quote you verses from the “Bible” out of context to fit heir agenda. It makes them look good in the eyes of the ignorant. But the educated will not fall for their game.

Protect Yourself from Falsity

So how do you protect yourself from falsity and fakery? the simple answer: Educate Yourself & Research it. Be willing to sacrifice your comfort zone to find truth.

If you want to know three times zero is 10 – educate yourself in Mathematics. You know that 0 + 0 + 0 = 0. So there must be some explanation. If you know mathematics – you will attempt to discover a reasonable explanation for the discrepancy. If you don’t know math – you will accept it at face value.

Questioning Discrepancy

I know people who investigated many religions an cults. When they discovered a  discrepancy and asked about it – the leader either swept the question under the rug, or used the ‘you just have to have faith’ answer or looked down upon the person asking the question. These responses – lead the questioning person to have doubt that the person is covering up.

Questions to Improve Ourselves

The questions below are to help us to improve and clarify our philosophy in life. They are not to put people down. They are to make you think. We in this world are guided to live a moral, uncontradicted life. We are supposed to ask questions to ourselves and others to arrive at the truth – to correct ourselves in this world. In the next world we cannot correct ourselves. Our reward in the next world depends upon how we think, speak and act in this world. If we don’t ask these questions to ourselves – in Heaven they will show us the biographic “video” of all our life – and ask us to clarify some of the questions asked below. Better to correct ourselves in this world than to be corrected in the next world.

Questions that many a philosophy cannot answer but can be answered by Judaism:

Questions For Philosophies that deny the existence of G-d.

Question: How can the world be created by random atoms colliding with one another to create a perfect universe? Where did those atoms come from? What happened before the “Big Bang”? What is the physical difference between a body before death and after death? How does growth occur – according to the “random atoms” theory?

Torah Judaism’s Answer– We believe in a G-d that created and continues to direct the world every moment.

Questions For Agnostics:

Question: Would you expect a company that creates a complicated piece of machinery or even a simple appliance – like a toaster – not to include instructions & warnings? How could G-d create a world without providing instructions?

Torah Judaism’s Answer– We believe in a G-d that spoke to millions of people at Mount Sinai – when He gave the Jewish people the Torah. Those are the laws of the world.

Questions For religions – that believe in the Torah / 5 books of Moses –

Question: How can someone believe in a philosophy that condemns killing – Like it says in the Torah “Do Not Kill” in the 10 commandments – yet the history of that religion was replete with killing?

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism never committed crusades, pogroms or terrorism to get converts – we are looking for sincere people to follow Torah not quantity.

Question: How can a philosophy that condemns idolatry – which is the second of the 10 commandments – believe in a Human as a deity?

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism believes in one Omnipotent, Omniscient G-d Hash-m – that Has no body or physical form.

Question: How can a philosophy say that G-d “changed his mind” about observing of His laws or about His selection of the Jewish people – this insinuates that G-d does not know the future?

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism believes that G-d never changed His mind.

Question: How can someone observe the 10 commandments if they were only given to the Jewish people? (The 7 Noahide laws from the Torah were given for the Gentiles).

Question: The Torah says “I am Hash-m, Your G-d, that brought you out of Egypt” Meaning the 10 commandments only applies to people who left Egypt and their descendants – the Jewish people.

Torah Judaism’s Answer – The Torah was given to the Jewish people to observe. A non-Jew that wishes to Observe them entirely – may convert. Their main obligation is to follow their 7 Noahide laws from the Torah and Torah laws that are not prohibited by the Torah – like observing the Shabbat. If they want to observe more they can take upon themselves certain commandments. Consult a competent Orthodox rabbi for more information.

Question: How can you believe in different G-d than Hash-m when Hash-m is the Only  Name that is mentioned in the 5 Books of the Moses? (Many Bibles erroneously translate – G-d’s name – “Hash-m” – as “The L-rd”. For instance a verse in the Text is properly translated as “Hash-m spoke with Moses Saying” – NOT “The L-rd Spoke with Moses saying)? )

Torah Judaism’s Answer – Judaism believes only in Hash-m.

Questions for People Who condemn Israel

Why? Did you define what is apartheid – and compare Israel’s policies to what Apartheid was? Do you also condemn virulently other nations that commit more heinous acts that what you accuse Israel?

How to Not be misled by Other Philosophies

To Not be misled by Philosophical Arguments – learn what Torah says about it – ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi. If someone from another religion tells you a “proof” that supports their view from a verse in the Torah or Tanach – first see what the Authentic Torah sages say about it – ( like Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Sforno, Abarbanel, Aderet Eliyahu (Rabbi Yosef Chaim), Alshich , Avi Ezer, Bartenura on Torah, Bekhor Shor, Chatam Sofer, Chizkuni, Chomat Anakh, Daat Zkenim, Gur Aryeh, HaKtav VeHaKabalah, Haamek Davar, Kitzur Baal Haturim, Kli Yakar, Malbim, Minchat Shai, Minei Targuma, Mizrachi, Or HaChaim, Paaneach Raza, Penei David, Rabbeinu Bahya, Ralbag Beur HaMilot, Ralbag on Torah, Rashbam, Recanati on the Torah, Riva, Rosh,  Siftei Chakhamim, Torah Temimah on Torah, Tur HaAroch, Tzafnat Pa’neach, Tzror HaMor) These commentators explain Torah as it was handed down from Mount Sinai. If one relies on interpretations that contradict Torah – it is like learning Tennis from the pre-game show.

Torah Questions

In Torah – we are encouraged to ask questions. The Passover Hagada /  Book – encourages the children and adults to ask questions. Torah study appreciates and relishes questions. The Torah is not afraid – because it was given by G-d / Hash-m. Hash-m is truth.

 

 

 

Feeling Down – Do Some Laundry

Feeling down? I read a book about a person who was bordering on depression. He tried to find ways to make himself laugh. A possible solution.

Another solution – Do something to help someone else. Help an old lady do grocery shopping. Put a quarter in a meter of a car that ran out of parking time. Do or fold the family’s laundry.

Sadness comes from the soul. If the soul feels it is not accomplishing – a person feels sad.

Thus – if you feel bad – make your soul happy. Do a Mitzvah. Do a good deed. Listen to Jewish music. Separate from the things that make a soul sad. Learn some Torah. Continue for it a week or so. A good start to get out of the blues.

 

You’ll Get Over It – So Get Over It Quicker

A person needs time to cope. Something good or the opposite happens to him or her, it takes time to adjust to that change. People like to feel safe. They want an unchanging world.

One might steer clear of Judaism at times for that reason. Because they are reluctactant to adhere to the change that Judaism may impose on their lives. People accept atheism for that same reason – it is easier to stick to one’s antiquated ways than to accept a G-d that will require them to adhere to a set of laws – namely the Torah.

At times it is good to resist change – like when one has particular Minhagim – Jewish customs of their fathers. At times the Torah requires change – as when one must improve their character traits to become a better person. The Torah is the ultimate guide to Self-Help & Self-Improvement.

Likewise their are standard times specified for a person to cope. Like if a person just gets married – he or she has seven days to be surrounded by family and friends after the Hupah – Jewish wedding ceremony. This is called the Sheva Berachot – where for 7 days the newly wed couple celebrates their marriage at meals offered by friends and family. . Another standard time to cope is if a person, G-d forbid, is in mourning. They have seven days where friends and family visit them. In a sense – Shabbat – the Jewish Sabbath is a day to unwind and release negativity and rest from the slights of the week.

But some need more time to adjust emotionally to a situation. If a co-worker, a boss or a spouse insults or embarrasses a person, it will take time to calm down. It will depend on the person, the situation, the attitude of the victim. If that same person did something more minor – like interrupted you – the coping time is less. But apparently you are in control of your reaction. You are in control of your coping. You can choose to get over it quickly or let it linger.

The Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers says it in several places :

In Chapter 2 Mishna 10. They said three things: Rabbi Elie’zer says: Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own & do not be easily angered & return [in repentance] one day before your death.

 

In Chapter 4 Mishna 1: Who is the strong person? One who conquers his [evil] inclination – as it states “Better is one who is long to anger than the mighty & one who conquers his will than one who conquers a city” (Mishle / Proverbs 16:32)

 

In Chapter 5 Mishna 11: There are four measures in temperaments: One who is easy to anger & easy to calm – his gain goes out with his loss. Someone who is difficult to anger & difficult to appease – his loss goes out with his gain. Difficult to anger & easy to appease is pious; easy to anger & difficult to calm is wicked.

All these statements point to the fact that one is in control of their temperament. You choose to get angry. You choose to calm down and how long it will take you. It takes time to change one’s temperament – but it can be done. (How? – that’s another post we’ll have to write.)

One way to calm down is to think – “Eventually I’ll get over this unpleasant situation. I might as well get over it sooner than later. Let me go of my anger today.” You’ll be better for it. You’ll feel better for it if you expedite your calming down process.

There was once a Rabbi – that remained calm in worrisome situations. Someone asked him how can you not worry in these situations. He replied “I really do worry. But I worry quickly.”

Worrying about the past present or future may be normal, but unproductive. The past has already passed. The future you never know what will happen. And the present passes in the blink of an eye.

Don’t worry – be happy.

 

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.

TGIM – Thank G-d It’s Monday – Why You Feel Good to Go to Work

Why are people basically happy to work?

Anthropologists study and theorize. Difficult to believe that 1) we evolved from an amoeba and now because of 2) survival of the fittest we want to work. Both theories leave much to be desired. Theory 1 is utterly illogical. Theory 2 is leaves much to be desired. I would think the fittest would want to rest after all these years. 🙂

The Torah tells it like it is.

The Torah says that G-d created the world. He implanted in each human a soul. This soul wants to do the will of G-d. But He also created a force inside a person that offers advice to follow temptation rather than reason. How do you know the difference? Study your respective commandments.

There is a commandment for all people in the world. To build the world (Lishuvu Shel Olam / הדינין לישובו של עולם) It is Part of the 30 commandments for all humanity of the 7 Major categories of laws for Gentiles – called the 7 Noahide Laws of the Torah.

Going to work builds the world. Thus a person who works gets a mitzvah.

When a person does a Mitzvah / commandment from the Torah – they feel satisfied inside. They satisfy their soul.

That’s why you feel good when you work.

What’s the proof?

Abraham Herzberg’s Theory of motivation.

He said at work there are Motivators and Hygiene factors.

The Motivators – Motivate people to work. With them present people are satisfied and motivated.

The Hygiene factors – if not present – a person may be dissatisfied. But if they are present it will not increase the satisfaction of the work.

Motivators or Job Factors include
Achievement
Recognition
Work itself
Responsibility
Advancement
Growth

Hygiene Factors include
Company policy and administration
Supervision
Relationship with supervisor
Work conditions
Salary
Relationship with peers
Personal life
Relationship with subordinates
Status
Security

With accomplishment at work one builds the world. With the work itself one builds the world. Thus a person is satisfied because he is doing a mitzvah.

A gentile observes 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. A Jew observes the 613 commandments from the Torah.

Each observing their respective commandments, gain satisfaction.

TGIM.

One Thing to Do to Beat Procrastination – and Why it Works

How to beat procrastination. Take one cup of cold water. Put ice inside. Add lemon and sugar.

Yes that is the solution. Kind of.

You know the dictum. When Life gives you lemons make lemonade.

I like the saying “The pessimist sees the glass half empty. The optimist drinks it.”

Be positive. Be proactive. Be Productive.

To get over procrastination – apparently you have to understand what is procrastination and why people do it.

Hash-m gave us the Torah and inside is the secret to all. Even how to beat procrastination.

This is the secret to beat procrastination – for at least a while: Do something small that you like to do to prompt you to get started on project.

King David used to get up and go out with the intention to go to enjoy entertainment. When he passed the Beit HaMidrash / House of Torah Study – he would quickly jump in to study Torah.

He would trick his evil inclination. The evil inclination wants him to be idle. Not to accomplish. To waste time.

So he would get started by doing something his evil inclination wanted – to waste time and then he jumped into something that he really wanted to do – to learn Torah.

Apparently the same applies for procrastination from work. It is a great Mitzvah to work. It is the mitzvah of building the world. This mitzvah applies to Jews and Gentiles.

One of the 30 laws of the greater category of the 7 Noahide laws is to not let the world be barren. To build the world. That’s one reason why people procrastinate. Because it is such a great Mitzvah / commandment to work – so the evil inclination prevents him or her with all sorts of excuses. That’s why a person feels badly when they waste time.

Obviously taking a break once in a while to be more productive later is also a mitzvah – but to waste a day, an hour, or a lifetime – is the evil inclination talking.

Just do it.

And you’re doing great.