The Baby Brought You a Gift

A new baby is born. How can we make the other siblings happy? What can we do to prevent jealousy? Bring them a gift when the baby is born. Some parents go to the extent to tell the siblings – “The Baby Brought You a Gift.” Is it truthful? I don’t know – but that’s not the subject today.

Where Prophesy Resides Today

Baba Batra 12b – says Rabbi Yoḥanan said: From the day that the Temple was destroyed, prophecy was taken from the prophets and given to “fools” and children. Prophesy was removed from the world – it was given to children. We can understand this in various ways.

Autistic Savants

Regarding the prophetic “fools” – this might refer to the autistic people. A method of communication with autistic people was discovered called “Facilitated Communication” People use a computer as communication device for the autistic person to type on. The person asks a question and the autistic person responds by typing the answer. They found these people to have highly developed souls that know things of the spiritual world that an ordinary person knows not. A book on the subject was written called “Secrets of the Soul.” An entire website is dedicated to it.

Children Savants

Regarding the prophetic “children” – this may refer to children that recite a Torah verse in response to a question asked. Children used to learn Torah verses by heart. A person wanting an answer to a question  would ask a random child what verse they learned and that verse would at times give a response to their question.

Another explanation by rabbi Shimon ben Elazer in the Talmud that a house, a child, a woman even though there is no nichush – there is prophesy.

A sefer called Etz Chaim – written by Rabbi Haim Vital the talmid / student of the great Sage and Kabbalist – Rabbi Yitzhak Luria – the Ari”zl. He says If a person’s mazal / fortune increases, or intelligence in Torah,  after buying a house, or after having a child or marrying a wife. Rabbi Salman Eliyahu – Kerem Shlomo – writes on the Etz Haim. He says Every child that is born to a person brings a gift – like a better income, or better fortune or better Torah understanding. When the child leaves the house – he takes the gift with him.

This also applies to gentiles. Judaism is against abortion – unless the fetus is threatening the immediate life of the woman. He is another reason why people shouldn’t abort children – perhaps they will bring you a good fortune.

The Baby will Bring You a Gift.

His Soul is Bound with His Soul – How to Connect with People in Judaism

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Yehuda was pleading before the ruler of Egypt (Parasha Vayigash). Tzafenat Paneach (who was actually Yehuda’s Brother Yosef) wanted to take Yehuda’s brother, Binyamin, as a slave. Yehuda, son of Leah, was ready to give his life in this world and the next to save his brother from same father – Yaakov / Jacob – but another mother – Rachel. He told the ruler – you cannot take my brother. If you do so his elderly father will be brought down to the grave – he says:

And now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the lad is not with us; . (Bereshit 44:30)

The Torah tells you the essence of all. Here the Torah teaches the definition of Love. The text says in Hebrew “Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho” – “and his soul is connected with his soul.” Targum Yonathan (the Aramaic translation of the Torah) translates Keshura – bound or connected as haviva – beloved. Meaning he translates that “And His Soul is Beloved like His Soul”

Thus Love is equated to connection.

Rabbi Nechemia Grama spoke about the subject of Connecting with children entitled – Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho.

He asked for a one word definition of love. The response was “Connection.” He made a distinction between fulfilling a child’s physical needs – and the child’s soul’s needs.

He asked children What is the difference between their mother and their live in cleaning lady?

One child said “The cleaning lady gets paid to clean the house. My mother doesn’t”

Another “You can fire the cleaning lady – you can’t fire my mother.”

The point is that – children need to feel the relationship.

If a child that thinks his mother is an alternate cleaning lady – it may mean that his mother (or father) may be lacking in the connection department. A child should know and feel that their parents love them.

Soul Connection

When we make a physical connection between objects there are two parts. When we connect with another person – what are we connecting with? We are connecting one soul with another soul.

One Question he asked was “Why does a child do nothing significant in the first 5 years of life?” You feed them, you carry them, you play with them – but they accomplish little or nothing. He explained that one reason is to give a parent opportunities to connect with the child those 5 years.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe says a 3 month child can distinguish between a smiling look and angry look. Who knows what is more important to a child – is it the food that you give to them or the orat hapanim (illumination of the face) – connection that you give to them. it is clear a child that grows without the orot hapanim – is like a plant without sunlight.

Is Connection more important than food?

He told a story of children survivors after Holocaust. In the freedom camps there were many starving children standing on a long line. One American soldier was giving out chocolate to children. Kids waited patiently in line for their portion of chocolate.
Another soldier saw a kid passing, called him over to him and gave them a hug. The entire line of children went off the chocolate line and went on the hugging line.

How to connect

The rabbi mentioned that it is not the activity that causes connection. There are some activities that are more apt to cause connections – but it is not the activity – it is the interaction. Thus any activity can be used to create a connection.

He mentioned that a woman used to put the coat on her child just like she would put it on a coat rack. Then she started using the opportunity to connect with her child.

Suffering Loneliness

A person can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely or empty. The lack of connection causes loneliness or emptiness.

Certain problems can be caused by this lack of connection. He mentioned fear, lack of self esteem, lack of self-value, lack of sense of security, lack of calmness, and other concerns.

Connection Benefits

A child that is connected will want to be an eved hashem / Servant of G-d. How do we develop a ratzon / will to be an eved hashem? Rabbi Chaim Friedlander explains how to achieve it – Only if we can make a kesher hanafshi / Soul Connection. The kesher hanafshi with rebbi – will make a person want to learn. The parent who has a connection – the child will naturally want to make parent happy.

Covid Omicron – A Blessing of G-d to Humanity

In the desert, the Israelites complained. (Bamidbar / Numbers 21:5) G-d sent snakes to bite the complainers. Moses, having mercy for his people, prayed to Hash-m to heal them. G-d told Moshe to construct a large copper snake and to place it on a pole. (thus the logo for the medical profession.) One who was bitten – would look upon the snake and be healed.

A Blessing in Disguise

Those bit by the snakes suffered. Yet if they looked at the snake they would be healed. A positive outcome was that a person who was bit and had a previous ailment would be healed of both the snake bite and the previous ailment by looking at the snake.

Covid Omicron is a very mild form of Corona virus. A person who was infected – perhaps would be quarantined for several days – but afterwards – he or she would get the anti-bodies against the more severe forms of Covid.

Since Omicron spreads rapidly it is inoculating large parts of the population.

A blessing in Disguise.

Trust in G-d Fear Not

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My friend Avner told me when a person trusts in the stock market – if the stock goes up he is happy. If it goes down – he is not. One who trusts in G-d – whether the market goes up or down – he is happy because he knows that Hash-m is doing all for the good.

When a person trusts the media – if they hear good things they are happy. If they hear bad – they are not. If they hear good statistics of covid they are happy. If they hear bad statistics – they are not.

Unfortunately – I heard that in Japan more people died from fear of covid than covid itself.

Trust in Hash-m – live a happy life – not a fearful one.

Those who fear Hashem, Have faith in Hashem! He is their helper and guardian. (Psalms / Tehillim 115:11.)

What Children Want Most from Parents

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Rav Shimshon Rephael Hirsch was a rabbi in Europe about 200 years ago. Born in 1808 – he explained Judaism with a point to inspire the intellectual Jewish populace. He wrote that the main thing that a child wants from parents is Love. “The Love that you give to the child is greater to the child than any gift in the world you can give them.” When someone asks the child – does your father (or mother) love you? their answer should be a sure answer – “of course”.

This lesson does not only apply to children but to students, friends, spouses and oneself.

I heard this shiur / lecture from a live broadcast from a The Beit Knesset Moshayov from Yesterday (in Hebrew).

What is love?

To understand how to educate children – it is not enough to “Just love them” but to understand what love really is. Love means giving for the interest of the child – not for our personal interests. People err. They think if I buy them a toy, a game – that expresses my love. It does but is that what the child wants? Apparently – they would rather a hug than a roller coaster ride. They would rather quality time than an expensive vacation. They would rather a kiss on the cheek – than a Play station.

I was listening to a rabbi – he told two stories. One child on Passover – found the Afikomen / the piece of Matza that is hidden by some families at the Passover seder. The child that finds it can choose their prize. Some ask for toys, games, Jewish books and the like. This child asked for a kiss on the cheek from the father.

Affection is important – but the way that the child wants it – not the way that we may want to give it. A child understands more than we think. They know when you hand them a video – you’re basically telling them – I have more important things to do.

So how can we bond with children?

The Shabbat Table

When the family enjoys the Shabbat meals together – it is a great way to bond. We talk with children. We give them attention. We sing together – interact together – learn together – eat together and develop as a person. We say words of Torah and encourage to do the same.

No Substitute for Spiritual Bonding

Some think that taking the kid to the local park is a substitute. Truthfully – in the park a parent sits on the bench and the kid disappears with their friends until it is time to leave. Where is the bonding? Take them to a baseball game? OK. We watch grown men throwing a ball around. What about watching TV? The TV is the center of attention – the child is just a spectator – secondary to what appears on the screen. Give them a cell phone? A nice way of saying occupy yourself with this while I carry on my own life. Go shopping together? the focus is on the buying – not on the kid.

The Torah School

Many Jewish parents send their children to public school. I myself went to one. One of the the main qualms of parents is – Jewish Day school costs money. OK. But did they ask themselves – what is the best interest for my child’s emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical development. A public school only teaches secular knowledge. A Torah Day school teaches secular knowledge and how to be a beautiful functioning person that wants to help society and be a good person deep down.

The Kiss of Life

A five year old child was wetting their bed. The parents tried giving him gifts to motivate him to not do so. They asked psychologists. Talked with him. Nothing worked. One rabbi heard the problem and said perhaps the kid lacks affection from the parents. He instructed them to spend time with him at night, read him the Shema Yisrael before sleeping and give him a goodnight kiss. Within the week that they started – they solved the bed wetting problem.

Lech Neche et HaAm – Go and Speak nicely with the people

Menashe Yeshoshua – speaking on on Education in his sefer / book Shaarei Hamishkan writes on the verse “Go and speak calmly with the people.” When G-d spoke to Moses – he said Go and speak calmly with the people. The Nursing woman speaks with baby softly. This is the way we are to speak with the child.When we want to correct the child we correct the improper action – but the love should remain. We don’t say you are the problem. We do not say “You are selfish!” We try to instruct them on being more selfless – by being selfless ourselves and the like.

When the Jewish people rebelled – Moses asks G-d “Am I their father that I should calmly guide them like a nursing woman to the nursing baby?”  This is teaching us that the parents – all have the ability to calmly educate the child. G-d gave us this ability. We are to believe in ourselves and in Hash-m / G-d that He gave us the ability to do so and will help us to get the proper results.

Why is Infinity a Number Eight on it’s Side?

Why is Infinity a Number Eight on it’s Side?

The Number 8 is the only number greater than zero whose writing can technically continue forever.

Torah says in Bereshit / Genesis of Five Books of Moses – that G-d created the world in Six Days Days and rested on the seventh day.

All of nature was created in Seven Days. Above the seven days is a the supernatural. Eight is above the natural world. Beyond the natural and limited world is infinity.

Mental Healing – through Judaism

I spy. Intentionally? Sometimes. People speak. Distraction draws my attention.

The House of Study

I came to the Beit Midrash / Jewish house of study. A beit midrash is not like a library. In a library – you are asked to speak quietly. A Torah Beit Midrash – you are asked to participate, give your opinions, thoughts, logic, sweat and blood to get to the truth. People speak aloud. The cacophony of voices allows you to concentrate on what your study partner is saying.

There is only Hash-m

If it is a small Beit Midrash – you may be able to dsicern a conversation on the other side of the room. I was listening to a Rabbi speaking to a group of young eager students. He happened to be talking about kidney stones. He said he knew people that were able to pass kidney stones by concentrating on the thought of “Ein Od Milevado” – There is no one but Hash-m / G-d.

Self-Healing

If you think of it Hash-m made the body in a way that it heals itself. A cut develops a scab. then the skin returns to normal. Impressive. A person gets a cold – after some rest the body is healed.

Hash-m the Ultimate Healer

Hash-m is the ultimate healer. We say it daily in the Amida – standing prayer – the 18 Benedictions – “Blessed are you Hash-m who heals the ill.” If one has enough faith and prays to Hash-m he can be healed. Obviously – one should also see a doctor and follow their recommendations – provided they make sense. But scientific studies have shown statistically that when people pray for ill people – they are more likely to be healed.

It is more prudent to pray for good health than praying for healing. One needs more merit to be healed than to be maintained with good heath.

Believe & Achieve

Ein Od Milevado – means that everything is Hash-m’s hands. He is the one running the world. The more you believe – the more you open your heart to pray and have faith and love for him and do teshuva (repent) – the greater you open the gates of heaven.

Spiritual / Body Connection

The Torah has 613 commandments – 248 action commandments and 365 prohibitions. The 248 commandments are connected with parts of the body. The 365 prohibitions are connected with the days of the year – meaning we avoid them every day of the year. If one knows the mitzvah that corresponds to the part of the body – he or she can achieve healing – if he does that mitzvah properly. I tried to research the subject – to find the corresponding mitzvot – but was not able to find all of them.

Torah Therapy

I did hear a story of a person having shoulder pain – how they healed their pain through doing a mitzvah. There is a concept called Torah Therapy.

Apparently Music can also help to heal the psychological state of a person – by uplifting the soul to a higher level.

Four Words to Save Your Marriage – “How Can I Help?”

Marriage in Judaism is about connecting and growing. It is good for each the man and woman to recognize their natures to nurture the marriage. A man in Hebrew is called “Ben” (literally meaning son). A woman is called “Bat” (which means House). Each has this nature for the best of the family and the best of society. As such they have different priorities.

A woman has the desire to run the household. Thus she is detail oriented. She speaks to assure the proper running of all the details, to give love and encouragement to the children. Both the role of the man and women overlap.

A man connects differently than a woman. A woman wants appreciation. She wants to feel understood. She wants the husband to be involved in the building of the family and household. It is not that she wants the man to be a helping hand – she wants him to be a partner in assuring the proper growth and maintenance of the household. When a woman feels that he is not doing his share in – appreciation, understanding or helping – she becomes frustrated. Thus a simple solution is for the man to Think, say and feel “How can I help?” “How can I help to make this house run smoothly, that my family is content and growing spiritually?

The Man who wants to be served – without lifting a finger is a taker. His view should be to be there for wife and family.

The man wants support to his building. He of course also wants appreciation – but his appreciation is in his growth. If a woman appreciates his projects, his Torah study, his spiritual aspirations, his professional or business aspirations and his bringing of the “food to the table” – he will appreciate her more. Her solution is to Think, say and feel “How can I help?” How can I help my husband to become the best he can be materially and spiritually. How can I help him study Torah and accomplish Mitzvot?

The basis of becoming a greater individual is Torah. When a woman helps her husband grow in Torah – not only does he benefit – but the whole household benefits – for he learns to be more patient, kind, giving and an all around better person.

 

What is Love? Just Look at the Hebrew Word – 3 Simple Points

I was reading a book on Marriage – Choosing to Love: Building a Deep Relationship with the Right Person–and with Yourself. The Author – Gila Manolson – tells the story of how – before marrying – her husband to be took her to meet his Rosh HaYeshiva – the Head of His Yeshiva (Torah Learning Institution). After some pleasantries, he asked her – “What is your definition of Love?” Although usually articulate – she fumbled to find a definition.

In the book – she explains the Jewish concept of love. She explains about what is real love and – fish love – love of personal pleasure or infatuation.

Love – the Foundation of Judaism

Love is one of the foundations of Judaism. Once a gentile asked Hillel – a great Torah sage – to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot (ie, the one rule that summarizes the Torah – foundation of the whole Torah) He said “Whatever is hateful to you don’t do to another person. That is the entire Torah – the rest are [relevant] details. [based upon that foundation]. ” Rabbi Akiva says “Veahavta Lereacha Kamocha – ze Klal Gadol batorah.” Rabbi Akiva Says – “You shall love your felllw as yourself – this is a Major Principal [Foundation] of the Torah”.

Love is central to Judaism. Judaism is all about Connections. The Human connection – between man and his fellow. The Self-Connection – between man and himself. The Spiritual connection – Between man and G-d / Hash-m.

Halacha / Jewish law is central to maximizing those connections. Loving oneself is also central – for if you love yourself – you can love others more.

The Essence of an Object – Look at Hebrew Words

If you want to know the essence of a person, place or thing – look at their Hebrew word or name. We call a Dog – Dog. Dog doesn’t seem like it means much. Meaning it seems like an arbitrary group of letters – for this animal.* In Hebrew we call a Dog – Kelev. The Hebrew letters are Kaf, Lamed and Vet. Kaf and Lamed – spells Kol in Hebrew – meaning “All.” Lamed and Vet in Hebrew is “Lev” meaning “Heart.” Dog lovers will understand that the Dog is “All Heart.” It wants to do the will of its master.

Ahava – The Hebrew word for Love – The Secret to True Love

Now let’s take the Hebrew word for Love. It has an Alef, Hei, Vet, and Hei.

Learning & Loving

Alef – means “to learn” – like in the word “Ulpan” Love must be a learning experience. Three aspects of learning are learning about the other’s or spouse’s good qualities. Learning to improve oneself. Learning Torah – to guide a person to act properly. One reason for marriage is for a person to improve their Middot – character traits. Really Marriage is a great self-improvement opportunity. Doing so also fuels the success of the relationship.

Give & Give Again

Hei & Vet – spells “Hav” – to give. Giving attention. Giving Appreciation. Giving gifts. Giving help. Giving Empathy. Empathy means understanding the other’s joys and pains and feeling for them.  Listening to the other and speaking words of comfort will help a person better their relationship together. If a friend says “I had a hard day at work. The computer acted up – the software crashed…” Don’t immediately give them a solution – give them empathy. You can say – “Oh – I understand how it is frustrating when the computer crashes…”

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler says giving creates love. When we give to another – we develop love for another. That’s one reason why parents love children more than children love parents – the parents give so much to children – it is natural for their love to develop.

Hash-m / G-d in the Relationship

Hei is the last letter of the word Ahava. Hei represents the Hei in G-d’s name. Hei represents Hash-m. Having awe of Hash-m tremendously helps the relationship.

A Man is called Ish – Alef – Yud – Shin. A Woman is called Ishah – Alef – Shin – Hei. If you take away the letters of the name of G-d – Yud and Hei – the man and the woman become Esh and Esh – Fire & Fire.Knowing that Hash-m is present – calms the relationship. One will not lose all restraints – because they will know that Hash-m is watching. The respect for the other remains more in-check.

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  • *In a previous article – we explained that the origin of English and other Latin languages – was composed by Jews. They composed many English words from the Hebrew – There is another article on that subject as well. My hypothesis is – it is possible that the word Dog – comes from the Hebrew word – “Da-ag” meaning – to worry. The Dog worries about its master and itself.

 

The Human Side of Life – Choosing a Personal Over Tech Interaction

I fly. I take a trip here and there. Interesting how people are occupied. Apparently, before now, people were more involved with their books. Now everyone has a screen – their own personal screen. I chose to turn my screen off. I took a quick survey on the plane of how many people are watching their screens or how many screens are on.

It appears that human communication has taken a backseat to connecting with a computer or a screen. I cannot honestly say that I too am not guilty. But one of the reasons I write my thoughts is not to correct others but to correct myself.

I feel the difference between interacting with a screen and interacting with a human. After I get up from a computer – I feel cold, neutral nothing. When I choose to detach myself from my computer and interact – I feel satisfaction. Apparently it is a balance – but more and more people are choosing to tune the world out and tune into the latest football game, movie, video.

I ask myself – after getting up from my screen – “what am I accomplishing? Has my watching made this world a better place?” Apparently not. or not as much as I would have had I done something more productive.

Judaism is all about connecting. Connecting with self. Connecting with others. Connecting with G-d. Torah gives us a 3 Dimensional Life. Many have a 2-dimensional life. Connecting with a computer is eroding even the two-dimensions.

G-d gave us an opportunity to connect to the Divine through Torah. I wish I could connect more.