A screen writer wrote an article. Once he was eating in a non-kosher restaurant on Shabbat. He was sitting with a friend. His friend remarked that a religious Jewish family was walking together from a Kollel / Torah Study Institute. They were dressed in beautiful clothing, walking and interacting naturally happy. The friend remarked “I feel sorry for those kids.” He replied “I am sure they feel much more sorry for you.” The sight and his own words stirred something in his heart. Little by little it influenced him to investigate Judaism and eventually he became an observant orthodox Jew.
That family had no idea that they influenced the man. But after they go to the next world they will be rewarded for having brought this man back to Teshuva / Repentance to Judaism.
This story is found a in a book called – “One Small Deed Can Change The World” by Nachman Seltzer. Rabbi Feifer of the Agudah Yisrael of Bayswater said a story.
Once an overprotected child was sent on a bus from Benei Berak to Jerusalem to deliver a package to his uncle. His uncle was to wait for him at the bus station in Jerusalem. The boy boarded the bus with the package in his suitcase.
He fell asleep. When he woke up – he found himself in Teveria. Scared, he disembarked and searched for a phone. A hippy kiosk owner was closing up shop. He let him phone his parents. The boy didn’t know where to spend the night. The kiosk owner told him to sleep by him. He did so. He remembered that he did not say Arvit / the night prayer. He was shaken by the entire experience. He prayed fervently Arvit. The next day he was woken by the man and took a morning bus to Jerusalem.
About 20 years later – he decided to search for the kiosk owner to pay him back for the money he gave him to take the bus to Jerusalem. He finally found him in a kiosk next to the bus station. He reminded him who he was. Exuberant, the man lifted the young father in the air. The kiosk owner took out a picture. He showed him the picture of his observant Jewish family. He told him – after he witnessed the boy praying Arvit – he realized a person can have a personal creation with the Creator / Hashem.
His fervent prayer influenced the kiosk owner to explore Judaism and motivated him to have a close connection with the creator and build a beautiful Jewish family. One Small Deed Can Change The World.
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
The way something starts sets the tone for the continuation. Thus we make signs to eat in the Rosh Hashana Seder.
Once someone proposed a shidduch- match to a young bachur – Torah learner. He said – “ask me after Rosh Hashana – the new year. Because I didn’t pray to Hashem for a good shidduch last Rosh Hashana. I will pray on the new year so the prayer will be fulfilled and have an effect on the shidduch. “
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.
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.
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.”