Parasha / Weekly Torah Weeding Vayishlach talks about the encounter of Yaakov / Jacob – with his brother Esav / Esau. He sends angels to Esav – to calm him after all these years of animosity. He tells the angels say – that “Jacob – your Servant…” He mentions that the angels should tell Esav that he, Yaakov, is his servant eight times. Because of this Esav has eight kings before Yaakov had even one king.
The lesson is not to lose our control, not to look down upon ourselves in other people’s eyes. We should have a healthy amount of self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence. When we look down upon ourselves or put ourselves down we lose. Hash-m wants us to believe in ourselves and think highly of ourselves. It is more important to know our qualities than to know our deficiencies.
Further in the parasha (Bereshit/Genesis 32:23), Yaakov is faulted for putting his daughter in a box – so that Esav would not cast his eyes upon her and want to marry her. She was a righteous girl, while Esav was involved in the worst sins. So how could he be faulted? One answer is that Yaakov should have felt badly when he locked her in the box. Another answer was that – each time Yaakov bowed – when he bowed seven times to Esav – he reduced his shells that prevented him from serving Hashem. Esav – was cleared of his evil side for a short time and then it would have been easier for his wife to turn him around completely.
Two things we learn – even a wicked person can do a complete turn around and start following Torah again and be considered righteous. Another thing – that a woman can trun around her husband to do good or bad. Thus choose a righteous wife that follows Torah.
It says “Who is a Kosher Woman? The wife that does the will of her husband.” It can be interpreted simply as understood. But another way to interpret it – is who is a Kosher woman? One that makes the will of her husband (to do good).
Once a rabbi wanted to marry a woman. He said “In our family the husband is the head.” The woman replied “In our family – the wife is the neck – she turns the head in the proper direction.”
I was searching my computer. A file name contained the word “order”. In a tab, in the file manager program it said “Search for order.”
Random events occur. Is it just the randomness of life or is there meaning behind the events?
Really my point is not to answer that question – but how the Torah puts order in your life.
Are Events Just Random
But here is the answer anyway: Events do not occur randomly. G-d has a plan and purpose for every event. Basically we – with our actions – determine the future. The general rule in the world is “Midah Keneged Midah” – Measure for measure. We are kind – we receive kindness. We are giving – we get. We are understanding – people understand us. The negative side also provides a boomerang effect. One gets angry at an employee – a bigger fish gets angry at you. This is a law in the spiritual nature of the world. So – it provides us an opportunity to improve. If we know that we might be receiving the boomerang effect of something we dished out – it’ll help us to improve the next time around.
Torah vs Society Values
The society will tell you “Eat and be merry for tomorrow one dies.” Pleasure without purpose is condoned. Torah says “Use pleasures to build. To build relationships, to build kindness to build your connection to Hash-m / G-d.”
So we are forbidden to touch members of the other gender – unless we get married. This provides an incentive to get married. Getting married allows one to build a family – slowly one builds a family.
Society will tell you follow your fancies. This doesn’t help a person to get married – on the contrary it causes a person to not marry. To not establish a family. And if they do – then their kids will follow the same route that society brings them.
Torah will bring Torah observers to build families with children with similar goals.
You choose your values. You choose if you want to build or if you want to follow your desires. The Torah will help you build your life and achieve your purpose. Societies values will bring you to the pendulum of pleasure seeking – after you reach one you end up in the same place or backwards from where you started.
Remove yourself from situations that cause anxiety. Some feel fear because they hear the scary news items. News is meant to attract readers or watchers – if the headlines wrote “Beautiful Day in Israel Again.” It wouldn’t be read by many. So they resort to tactics to attract readership. If the news makes you anxious – watch less news. Some news magazines – including Jewish ones – and sites fall into the category of over-analyzing news. Personally, I just like to hear the headlines and some small details. I don’t need to know all the details. We used to subscribe to such a Jewish family magazine – but I felt it was too focused on irrelevant details (to me) of the news. So we stopped our subscription. We replaced it with more of a family oriented magazine. If other things cause you fear – distance yourself from them.
Deal with the symptoms – If public speaking causes you anxiety – learn to overcome the fear. Prepare more. Know your subject. Practice. Get used to talking in public.
Deal with the Root Cause. One main cause of fear is the belief that society is a dangerous place or people are out to get you. Don’t worry – people are not out to get you. G-d is here to protect you. He loves you more than anyone else. Hashem is good and wants your good and safety. If we think of that – we can live a calmer life.
My friend once said – if you believe in the stock market – your mood will be based upon the movements of the stock market. On an up day you will be happy. On a down day – your mood will swing. But one who believes in Hashem and knows the goodness of Hashem and reinforces it by learning about Bitachon / Belief and Emuna / Trust in G-d – they will live a more peaceful life.
Hashem is the Name of G-d. Some English Translated versions of the Torah it / 5 Books of Moses inaccurately translates the name of G-d as “The Lord” – more of a pronoun – the correct translation is really “Hash-m” – a personal noun. ie – “Hear Oh Israel The Lord…. is One” should really should be translated as “Hear Oh Israel Hashem… is One.” If you read about the kindness of Hashem in the Torah or books you begin to trust in Him. The root cause of your anxiety will be solved.
Some good Jewish books include – Rabbi David Ashear’s “Living Emuna” books found at better Jewish bookstores.
Song of Songs was written by the wisest of all men – Shelomo Hamelech/ King Solomon.
“All the healing in the world are alluded to and included in the book of Shir Hashirim – the Song of Songs”. Therefore, a person in need of healing or salvation of any kind can be endowed with the blessing of salvation and mercy by reciting the Song of Songs.” If the patient is not able to say it himself his family members or his friends may say it for him. As is explained in the book “Maam Loez” (Song of Songs, at the end of the opening), And in the book “devarim niflaim ” – “Wonderful Things” (page 117).
Some say that the most propice time for reciting this is before the morning light. Thus is explained in the book yeshuat yaakov – “Jacob’s salvation”. A person who makes sure to read the scroll “Shir hashirim” Song of songs” are pleasant and sung every Friday evening – erev Shabbat- he is guaranteed to be forgiven for all wrongdoings
shir hashirim was written by Shelomo hamelech. rav nachman me breslev explains the power of its healing in sihot haran 243
A student of the baal shem tov – saw a fellow talmid – student praying on Yom Kippur. The student – feeling weak – pulled out a box of tobacco snuff to take a sniff. Noticing the gesture, he looked at the act with derision. “on one of the holiest days of the year he is looking to sniff tobacco?” he thought.
The baal shem tov took note of this. The student was studying one day before him. He prayed that he would be distracted. Distracted, the student could not concentrate. He tried to concentrate to no avail. Finally he took out his snuff box and took a sniff. He realized his distraction was due to his derision of the other talmid on Yom Kippur. He did teshuva – repented for his lack of judging favorably and was able to concentrate again.
The home-office concept was introduced to me many years ago when personal computers were just lads. The popular computers of those days were the trs-80, the Apple II plus, and IBM PC. I think I even subscribed to a magazine on the subject.
People working from home have challenges – like motivating oneself, being alone, and dealing with distractions like kid interruptions.
What to do when you have to take care of your child and you have work piled up to the ceiling?
Take a deep breath and think of your priorities. A healthy, happy child, in my humble opinion takes precedence of the company’s marketing mailing. Yes, the kid will distract you. so take advantage and connect with your child.
Read, tell stories and use the time to appreciate your own child. Realize how they are like you when you were their age.
I was at a wedding yesterday. I noticed the guy sitting next to me checking his phone.
For some reason it woke me up. Perhaps it was one of the most important days of the couples’ lives and he’s checking his messages.
I thought to myself – “oh no! is that what I look like when involved with my phone?”
Some self introspection is in order. Wow, I do waste much time on my phone. Some stay awake into the wee hours and end up sleeping with phone in hand – realizing the next day that last night they lost 3 hours of sleep on futility.
I had to do something about it. I thought what can I do to remedy this? To say I will not use my phone or not go into interesting tangents was a bit too radical.
So I decided to do something productive before wasting time. Perhaps put a load of laundry in the machine, make a hello call to a family member, study a little Torah. Then I can go off on the tangent.
I made a mental note – “In order to waste time, I had to deserve it.”
Want to waste time? Do something productive first. At least looking back you won’t feel so bad – you lost three hours of sleep – surfing the news.
In the best case scenario – you’ll get distracted from wasting time and accomplish something great.
Royalty obliges royalty to act in a manner befitting them.
Things to learn from the Royal Family.
Story number one –
Once the royal family of England held a reception. Margaret Thatcher – then Prime Minister- attended. She was dismayed when she noticed that the queen was wearing the same dress as she was wearing. It was not proper respect for someone to wear the clothes same as the queen. She tried to find a way to be inconspicuous, but was unable. After the reception she wrote a letter to the queen excusing herself. The queen responded that she did not even notice she was wearing the same dress. Royalty is above little Petty details. Noblesse oblige.
Once an Orthodox rabbi attended the Royal Banquet in England. He notified the staff that he only ate kosher and had special needs. The staff made special Arrangements the rabbi to eat kosher. In the Royal banquets special cutlery and China is used that has the insignia of the Royal Family. The staff arranged that he would have new silverware and China that was dipped in a Mikvah and obviously kosher food be served to him.
Somehow seating arrangements changed and he had to move from his seat. To take the silverware and the China with him to the new seat would be uncomfortable for him to do in front of all the people. Nevertheless he took his China and his silverware to his new seat. Prince Charles (now the king) noticed him carrying his plate. After the reception Prince Charles asked him why he carried his plates. The rabbi replied that he kept kosher and he had to take his special plates that was arranged for him with him to assure that he ate kosher.
Prince Charles was impressed. Another Jew that was not observant of the Jewish laws of Kashrut / keeping kosher remarked to the prince “I am also Jewish”. Prince Charles replied “I didn’t notice you carrying your plates to your new place.”
1 – Learn from nobility. We are the children of Israel. The children of Hashem. Thus we are also nobility. Nobility overlooks petty details.
2. By observing the Torah we gained favor in the eyes of others. But more importantly, we gain favor in the eyes concussion of Hashem.
Why are people Fickle? Apparently they want to make the best decision. Thus they search for more information. When they find it, they change their mind. It could be new information that changes their decision- it could be a whim, a mood change. OK. But said and done – apparently if they have all the information at their disposal- that will help them make their decision.
A person might encounter new information that alters their direction in life. This information was not before them – is that considered fickle? They made the best decision. Now they have another variable to deal with.
G-d has all information before him. He knows all past , present and future- thus he doesn’t change his mind.
Two things you can derive –
1. A person who follows a religion that says G-d gave the Torah to the Jews and then changed his mind – by choosing another people or – nullifying what He expects them to do (ie, nullified the responsibility to follow the commandments He gave at Mount Sinai) – must answer the question “Am I following a religion that assumes G-d is fickle?”
The Torah Stance : G-d in making the Torah commandments had all information at His disposal when He made the commandments of the Torah. He knew some people could follow all 613 commandments – and gave them for the Jewish nation. He gave 7 commandments (which are really 30) to people who can’t commit to doing the 613 – the 7 Noahide laws for all non-Jews / gentiles to follow.
A gentile can decide to become Jewish and then follow the 613 Laws. A Jew cannot relinquish their commandments. When each reaches the next world – Heaven – they will be judged based upon their respective laws. Based upon observing these laws – they with receive a portion in Heaven.
2 – How can G-d forgive if he doesn’t change his mind? When a person repents / does Teshuvah for not having followed in the pleasant path of the Torah – he or she is changing themselves. Thus they are not the same person as they were before Teshuvah. Now Hashem takes this information into account and forgives them.
Everything is in the Hands of Heaven – except the fear of heaven.
Meaning – how much money you make is in Hash-m’s hands. How tall you will be. How long you will live.
But you have a choice on things that pertain to awe of heaven – whether you will be angry or calm, or bitter or better, sad or happy, composed or wild or a robber or a banker, to do good or bad.
This is called freedom of choice.
You choose whether to put your children into a public school or a Torah day school. You choose whether to spend the day shopping or the day with the family at the Shabbat table. G-d gives you the freedom.
If we had not this choice, we would basically be robots. We would not be able to be judged for our deeds.
Some say – he made me angry! He made me do it!
No one makes you do anything. You choose.
Your situation doesn’t cause your mood.
Heaven causes your situation. You yourself choose your mood and attitude.