Thursday, July 30, 2015

The rules: How to date and succeed.

Tonight – July 30, 2015 and tomorrow July 31, 2015 is considered a very happy day. “There were no better (happier) days for the Jewish people, than Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) and the 15th of Av.” WOW. Our sages equate the holiest day of the year, with tonight and tomorrow!

One of the ways this happiness was celebrated was by, “the unmarried girls of Jerusalem dressed in white garments, which they borrowed, (In order not to shame those who could not afford new clothes) would go out to dance in the vineyards, calling out, "Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on [good] family." As it says, "Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

A day of matchmaking. A huge source of happiness for everyone. One way to be VERY happy.

A human being was given a brain that sits at the top of his/her body for a reason. Our approach to life decisions should always begin with our mind. Does it make sense? Is this the right thing for ME? Is this a wise decision based on my values and goals?

Which means we must first figure out, what our own values are, and what we are looking for, before, heading out on the exploration path. If a person doesn’t have clearly defined goals, how can he/she ever reach anywhere specific? Leaving it up to chance, or to “I will know when I get there, and/or I will feel it in my gut” is a lazy approach, one that is afraid of putting in the work, and afraid of failure, and perhaps rejection. Not a very good batting record for reaching with success.

There is another great big problem, when not approaching decisions with a cool and detached approach of rationale thinking. Once a person allows themselves to get emotionally involved, void or very little of critical thinking, it is practically impossible to be objective any longer, and many times this becomes a recipe for huge disappointments later on. Healthy emotions, and true love are developed, ONLY, by following the proper and correct decisions of the mind.

A list of wants and needs must be made as a first step, and a percentage out of 100 linked to each need and/or want. Since no one is perfect themselves, they don’t deserve and probably wouldn’t fit well with perfection as their mate. Once a healthy majority is reached out of 100%, intellectually, things are looking on the pretty nice side.

Now, since a marriage must include also, the element and ingredient of love and attraction, an emotion, here is a wonderful piece of advice from Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

A young lady told the Rebbe, she is meeting this young man, however, she doesn't know whether she's attracted to him.

The Rebbe said. When one develops a feeling for someone, one has a desire for them, an “attraction of the heart”.
The Rebbe told her. "Take an intermission of 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks, don't see each other, do not speak to each other, do not have any connection with him and after the 2 weeks, come back to me."

After 2 weeks the Rebbe asked her. “Did you feel during these 2 weeks, that you were missing anything? Did you have a desire to speak to him; did you have a desire to see him?"

When she told the Rebbe, no, to all these questions, the Rebbe said, "That's an indication, he's not for you.”

Another person once said the following personal story. “I asked the Rebbe, whether I should end the date I was meeting?

The Rebbe told me. "I can't help you, not your father can help you, not your mother and not even yourself, not even your mind. The only thing that can help you," the Rebbe pointed with his finger to his heart, "the heart. If you have a feeling for her, if you feel that not having her, you feel something is missing, a siman das iz das. (Then, this is the one) If you don't have that feeling, it's not for you."

No one can figure life out. We can only try our best, and no amount of time can ever figure it ALL out. After we have put in our sincere best efforts, we must take the jump, and say “I do” in faith, that in His hands, fulfilling His command, to get married, and standing under the encompassing aura of the Chupah, G-d blesses the union that it will last as, “an eternal edifice.”

Thursday, July 23, 2015

We are, way more, than half way there. Don't miss out on this BIG one.

The 12th Principle of faith as described by Maimonides is; “I believe with complete faith in the coming of Moshiach (the Messiah), and although he may tarry, nevertheless, I wait every day for him to come.”

The first question, a soul is asked after it returns to heaven is, “did you yearn for the coming of Moshiach?” The FIRST thing G-d is interested in knowing when inquiring about a person’s entire lifetime in this world is, did you develop the desire, the longing and aspiration, for the final redemption of the entire universe?

Did you live with THIS goal, not only in mind, but as well in practice? Did you get excited every day to make the world a little better than the day before, and bring it closer to its ultimate reason for creation?

This Sunday, July 26, 2015, we memorialize the worst tragedies that befell the Jewish people. When King Solomon in Ecclesiastes enumerates the 28 different times in a person’s life, “Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven. …..A time to weep and a time to laugh …..A time to love and a time to hate…” our sages say, the “time to weep” is on the 9th of Menachem Av, corresponding to this coming Sunday.

“Whoever mourns the destructions of the two Temples, will merit (being there and) seeing its rebuilding and joyous times.” When you are there to offer support, identify with, and empathize with a person in their time of sorrow, when they win the lottery, and celebrate, you are the first one invited to participate in their happiness.

The 9th of Av, known better as Tisha b'Av, commemorates a list of catastrophes, a day set aside by G‑d for crying.

At the same time, we know, Moshiach, the seeds for the ultimate recuperation and recovery from all these calamities in a way that “ I will thank you G-d, for all the times you exhibited and protracted your wrath on me”, and the actual birth of Moshiach, takes place on this exact same day!!

In the year 1313 BCE the Israelites are in the desert, recently having experienced the miraculous Exodus, and are now poised to enter the Promised Land. They dispatched a reconnaissance mission and the spies return on the eighth day of Av to report, the land is unconquerable. “Even G-d, cannot clear the way for us” they said.

That night, the 9th of Av, the people cried and insisted they would rather go back to Egypt than be slaughtered by the Canaanites in the Promised Land. G‑d, displeased by this demonstration of distrust in His power promised, that this night will be forever a night of crying for justified reasons. The spies died immediately and the entire generation of male Israelites, were punished to die in the wilderness and never enter the Holy Land.

The First Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av (423 BCE) and five centuries later (in 69 CE), as the Romans drew closer to the Second Temple, the Jews realized their Second Temple was destroyed the same day as the first on the 9th of Av.
When the Jews rebelled against Roman rule and believed their leader, Simon bar Kochba, would fulfill their messianic longings, their hopes were cruelly dashed in 133 CE as the Jewish rebels were brutally butchered in the final battle at Betar. The date of the massacre was the 9th of Av!

One year after their conquest of Betar, the Romans plowed over the Temple Mount, our nation's holiest site.

The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE on Tisha b'Av.

In 1492, the Golden Age of Spain came to a close when Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand ordered that the Jews be banished from the land. The edict of expulsion was signed on March 31, 1492, and the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country after hundreds of years living there, on the 9th of Av!

World War II, and the Holocaust, historians conclude was the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I which began in 1914. Amazingly enough, Germany declared war on Russia, effectively catapulting the First World War into motion, on the 9th of Av, Tisha b'Av!

In the same way, G-d promised that we would forever have real reasons to cry on this day, we were promised that in the times of Moshiach, this day will change to joy and happiness, to a day of celebration.
Do one more good deed today, and THAT may be the last act needed, to finally tip those scales for you and the whole universe, to bring the ultimate good to the world, when “they will grind their swords to plowshares ……..and one nation will never lift a sword to another nation… peace for ALL mankind.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Healthy souls - Wine for the eyes - kosher for cancer & pain free animals

According to our sages, our bodies are made of 248 limbs as defined and described in the Mishnah, and 365 tendons (sinews).

The 16th-century kabbalist Rabbi Chaim Vital discussed this matter at some length in his magnum opus, Shaarei Kedusha. “It is understood by discerning people that a person’s body is not the actual person. The body is simply the “flesh” of the person, as is written “You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and covered me with bones and tendons” (Job 10:11)… the actual person is the (soul); the body is merely a garment the soul wears…

The same way that a tailor will make physical garment in the shape of a body, G-d similarly made the body, which is the garment of the soul, in the shape of a soul, with 248 limbs and 365 tendons … (corresponding to) 248 spiritual limbs and 365 spiritual tendons… (So that) the 365 spiritual tendons of the soul “wear” the 365 physical tendons of the body …

…the food for the soul comes from fulfilling the Torah- G-ds wisdom, which includes 613 mitzvos (commandments) corresponding to the 613 spiritual parts. The Torah (the Bible, G-ds wisdom) is called “bread” as is written, “Come, eat my bread” (Proverbs 9:5). Each of the 248 spiritual limbs gets its nourishment from a particular mitzvah (commandment) that corresponds to that limb. When a person fails to perform that particular mitzvah (commandment), the corresponding limb will lack its proper nourishment…”

We saw the above understanding put into deed, with Rabbi M.M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who advised the observance of specific commandments for specific physical ailments. For Example: For people with eye problems, the Rebbe advised to be careful with the Kiddush and Havdalah, blessings over the wine when ushering in the Shabbat and bidding farewell to the Shabbat. With people who had generalized body health issues, like cancer etc., the Rebbe would suggest greater observance with the rules of keeping kosher.

Of course, going to a qualified doctor is as well imperative. However, what is most important, and what allows for a greater chance of success when dealing with the body, is addressing the core of our lives, the source of our existence, the soul. When the soul is healthy, the body is healthier.

Would you rather have a car with a shiny perfect body, but an engine that is sluggish and barely works, or if it is a choice, an engine that works perfectly, starts perfectly even in cold weather and always runs smoothly, but a body that isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed? The same is with our lives. Between the two, a strong and healthy, happy soul, is way more of a priority.

It is for this reason Rabbi Yitzchak Luria taught the importance of fulfilling all 613 commandments in thought, speech and action to bring our souls to perfection. Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, the Arizal, one of the greatest of all teachers in Kabbalah mysticism taught; A soul must keep on coming back to this world and being reincarnated, until it reaches perfection in all the above three areas of existence, thought, speech and action.

This, gives all the more reason and motivation to study as many aspects and laws of our 613 commandments, even those that don’t pertain to us individually, so that the aspect and dimension of the soul, related to those commandments, is brought to its perfection. The more we study and go through books like the laws of Maimonides, the more complete, the healthier our souls are, and the more healthy and stronger our physical lives become. Besides, putting it very simply, “Its ways (the rules of the Torah) are pleasant, and all its pathways are peaceful.”

I will end with one rule from Maimonides, in the laws of observing the Shabbat.

…….. In contrast, should one mount an animal, (on the Shabbat) one may descend even if one mounted it in conscious violation of the prohibition. This leniency is granted in consideration of the pain endured by the animal. Similarly, we may remove a load from an animal on the Sabbath, because of the pain endured by the animal.

Sensitivity, in avoiding pain to animals, when possible.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How to, Prayer. Love-relationships & sacrifices. Purpose of life.

In the times of the Great Temple in Jerusalem, we were required to offer two sacrifices, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Our sages tell us, the world did not reach its purpose for creation until the sanctuary was built in the desert, and the sacrifices were being offered. The entire purpose for creation, is fulfilled in the sacrifices!!!

These daily sacrifices, unlike other ones that were partially offered and burned on the altar, and partially eaten by the priests and owners, these daily ones were burnt entirely on the altar.

Nowadays, until the Messiah comes, while we do not have a Grand Temple and therefore prohibited from making animal sacrifices, our sages derived from the instructions in the Bible, that our prayers, take the place of the obligation to offer these daily sacrifices.

What is a sacrifice? Why and how do they fulfill the ultimate reason for creation?

In Hebrew, the word for sacrifice is to “draw near.” The objective in coming to Jerusalem, and up the Temple mount, in total purity, and be in the holiest place on the face of this earth, where G-dliness was revealed on the highest and clearest levels, was to inject our psyche, and our entire being, into this mindset and pure G-dly reality of existence that was in the Temple. “To see, and to be seen, by G-d.”

The ultimate objective in bringing a sacrifice is to elevate and transform in every way possible, the life and the possessions, of the one making the sacrifice to a more spiritual and G-dly being.

Prayer is meant to serve the same purpose. To bring closer, mentally, emotionally, and practically, the one praying; with G-d. What G-d wants out of this physical world, is to be invited and introduced into every aspect of this physical and mundane existence. (for our own good)

Sacrifices, and prayer today are at the core of fulfilling  this intention.

The most basic and crass level of fulfilling this goal is when a person realizes the only one who can help, and is always there, and nothing stands in His way, is G-d. When a person stands before G-d and requests wisdom, recovery, greater luck in earning a living, or whatever it may be, this recognition that it is G-d, who is the ultimate source of everything, although triggered by selfish needs, accomplishes in a small degree, and an important step towards G-dliness and spirituality in one’s life.

A much deeper and higher motivation for coming before G-d, is for no personal reasons at all. There is no selfish incentive. Like the difference between entering a relationship thinking, what can “I” gain out of this? Or, being in love, yearning to always be attached with, my children, my spouse, my true friend, for reasons that transcend the “I”. “Unconditionally.”

When both partners in a relationship are in it, each one for themselves there is a very superficial connection and is bound to fall apart sooner or later. Such a relationship is based on the needs of each partner and is always rocky and never truly enriching.

In order for a person to be there for each other, whether its morning or afternoon or evening, whether the sun is shining or its raining, there must be the kind of love that goes deeper than just doing it for me, for selfish reasons, because I, was forced to do it.

Only the kind of relationship that has developed and matured, through hard work, into an unconditional love for the other, and is not on a time clock, will this love overcome difficulties and setbacks.

When a person prays before G-d, in the morning and afternoon of each day, with this complete and total loyalty and subservience to G-d, like the sacrifice that was totally burnt on the altar, because G-d is good, G-d is the source of all kindness, this creates by virtue of one’s own unconditional approach, the reciprocal response from G-d, which is complete and total in the person’s life, and then, even the most physical and inconsequential needs of the person are addressed, automatically.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to treat-slaves,employees,enemies, PROTECTION directly from G-d.


Knowledge is power –
G-dly knowledge, is super power.
The preacher of Mezritch approx. 1700-1772, Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch included in his ethical will, to his son Rabbi Abraham the Angel, “Learn law every day from the “strong hand” (book of laws from Maimonides)… after evening services, learn the Holy Rambam – Maimonides. I received from my Holy teacher (the Baal Shem Tov), this is a special spiritual assistance for developing fear, awe and respect for G-d, and to chase away negative forces.”

If a respected knowledgeable electrician guides you to connect wires in a particular circuit in a way which is counter intuitive, would you follow his instructions? Or a well-known and respected Doctor advises you to follow a specific remedy going against common logic would you follow it?

Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon –Rambam-Maimonides, world renowned philosopher, astronomer, physician, Torah/Talmud scholar, in his ground-breaking book of laws, codifies G-dly law as derived from the Bible. Some of it, we can wrap our minds around it, some of it, is beyond our mortal minds, but works nonetheless, as Maimonides guarantees in his introduction.
Protection - directly from G-d.
Payment for all the things necessary for the protection of a city is collected from all of its inhabitants, even from orphans, with the exception of Torah scholars. For Torah scholars do not require protection; their Torah study protects them. Payment for the improvement of the thoroughfares and the streets, by contrast, is collected even from the scholars.
How to treat slaves!! Imagine then your employees……
…….. the attribute of piety and the way of wisdom is for a person to be merciful and to pursue justice, not to make his slaves carry a heavy yoke, nor cause them distress. He should allow them to partake of all the food and drink he serves. This was the practice of the Sages of the first generations who would give their slaves from every dish of which they themselves would partake. And they would provide food for their animals and slaves before partaking of their own meals. And so, it is written Psalms 123:2: "As the eyes of slaves to their master's hand, and like the eyes of a maid-servant to her mistress' hand, so are our eyes to God."

Similarly, we should not embarrass a slave by our deeds or with words, for the Torah prescribed that they perform service, not that they be humiliated. Nor should one shout or vent anger upon them extensively. Instead, one should speak to them gently, and listen to their claims. This is explicitly stated with regard to the positive paths of Job for which he was praised Job 31:13, 15: "Have I ever shunned justice for my slave and maid-servant when they quarreled with me.... Did not He who made me in the belly make him? Was it not the One who prepared us in the womb?"

……..And similarly, with regard to the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, which He commanded us to emulate, it is written Psalms 145:9: "His mercies are upon all of His works." And whoever shows mercy to others will have mercy shown to him, as implied by Deuteronomy 13:18: "He will show you mercy, and be merciful upon you and multiply you."
How to treat an enemy!!! FIRST.

When a person encounters two individuals: one whose donkey is fallen under its load and one with a donkey whose burden has been unloaded, but who cannot find anyone to help him reload it, it is a mitzvah/G-dly deed, to unload the fallen donkey first, because of the discomfort suffered by the animal. Afterwards, he should reload the other animal.

When does the above apply? When the two people he encounters are both friends or both enemies. If, however, the one whose donkey must be reloaded is an enemy and the other is a friend, it is a mitzvah for the passerby to reload his enemy's donkey first, in order to subjugate his evil inclination.

Although by unloading the load off the animal he alleviates the donkey from pain and, is helping a friend (two good deeds), it is even a greater deed for him to grab the opportunity to improve his own character by helping the enemy reload, first! (one, but way more personally important, good deed.)