Recently, a family held a party for the 60th wedding anniversary of their grandparents. It was a happy marriage – one that was peaceful, filled with blessing, joy and many children, grand children and great-grandchildren.
One of the descendants asked the grandfather – “how is it that you managed to live such a peaceful life together.” He replied “Many years ago a person was about to get married. It was the wedding day and the hatan / groom got cold feet. He told the Mesader Kiddushin / Marriage Rabbi that he wished to drop out.
The Rabbi – Rabbi Haim Zonnenfeld – realized that it would be a terrible embarrassment for the bride to not get married on that day. As he didn’t want the young woman to be embarrassed – he spoke to a group of young Yeshiva Bachurim / Yeshiva Students – explaining the situation. He promised that anyone who would volunteer to marry this woman on that day would be blessed with a beautiful marital life with children and grandchildren. One by one – each Yeshiva Bachur declined the offer. The last Bachur – recognizing the pain that the bride would have if the wedding was cancelled – took up the offer. He decided he would marry her.
The rabbi told the young man to call his parents to tell them to come to attend the wedding. They came. The couple got married. “You know who was the young bachur? it was me” he said.
We could say that the blessing was solely the reason for the great marriage. But apparently – a couple in which each partner is concerned about the honor of the mate over their own personal concerns – is also a reason and a formula for such a successful marriage.
Rabbi Mica’el Shushan, הרב מיכאל שושן – has a series on shalom bayit / peace at home. [In program 52] He quotes the pasuk – “The end of his act – is in his thought in the beginning” – The verse – means that what Hashem intended from the beginning happened at the end. He gave another interpretation – the end of your act you should consider from the beginning.
He gave an example: Let’s say a man comes home and takes off his shoes. He sits down to eat. His wife comes in “What are you doing?! You know how much I hate when you don’t put away your shoes?! You can’t make a small act to put them away?!” She thinks he’s going to change with her tirade. Really he is not. What will happen?
Excuse the comparison – but a scientist did an experiment. Every time he would feed a dog – he would ring a bell before. After some time – when he would just ring the bell – the dog would start salivating. It became a physical reaction.
When one spouse or parent starts nagging. The person on the receiving end will start associating the nagging voice with negativity and thus have a physical reaction to ignore the the nagger. The voice of that person will trigger ignoring – even when they speak positively.
The talking person should consider what message the sound of their voice provokes. They should consider what works with the other person and do what works.
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.
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 needed gas. I went to the gas station. Got the gas. Then I noticed I needed windshield wiper fluid. I asked the cashier – How much is that? He mumbled $5.42.
I didn’t hear the price clearly. Then he repeated. 5-4-2. I thought he meant 5$ for two bottles. $2.50 for a bottle isn’t bad.
I said I’ll take 2. He charged me $10.84. He told me – one bottle is $5.42. Realizing the error, I then told him forget it, I’ll just take one. I ended up paying more than double than what I thought the price was.
We see things in life. we think we’re getting a good deal, but end up paying much more. Some Jewish children are not privileged to go to a Torah day school. Later in life they realize the value. Some Jews send their children to secular schools. And only afterwards, when children abandon the Torahs ways, they realize they paid a high price – for saving on Torah school tuition.
In this week’s Parasha, Ki Tavo – Moshe tells the Jews to inscribe on Rocks the entire Torah. It could be an allusion to the fact that when building a home or doing a new endeavor – it should be founded on the principles of Torah. Meaning- Torah learning is heard in the house, the father learns himself and with his children, the children are sent to Torah schools, the parents consult a competent Orthodox Rabbi for major decisions – like which school their child should attend.
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.
I was speaking with a friend. He said people commented to him that they would observe Torah Judaism (a better name for Orthodox Judaism) if there weren’t as many prohibitions. He told them “But look at all the things you can do!”
I told him it’s much more than that. It’s that by doing Mitzvot you improve your world tremendously. By doing Shabbat – one person will say – I can’t do it. I can’t drive.. I can’t go shopping. I can’t light a fire. I can’t use the phone, internet, other media and electronic games
But really, by not doing all those things you are guided to spend time with your friends and family. you are guided to focus on priorities in life. After 120 years, when a person is about to die he or she will not say, it is too bad I should have shopped more. They will say it’s too bad I would have liked to spend more time with loved ones.
Doing Mitzvot you change the world for the good. You have more meaning for every mitzvah that you do. Every mitzvah is an opportunity to improve. it’s a beracha – blessing.
A religion or movement that tries to reduce the commandments from people is completely missing the point. Every mitzvah is an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with others and with Hashem. why do I want to limit connection?
A man converted to Judaism. Asked “why?” – he responded “there is a mitzvah – commandment (rabbinical ) to tie your shoes a particular way. I wanted to be in a religion that G-d is with me even agent I tie my shoes.”