Thursday, March 31, 2016

Are we islands unto ourselves??? Recognizing the beauty and magnitude of the universe.

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Rabbi Meir Yechiel ascetic and scholar, known as the Ostrovtzer Rebbe, Rabbi of Ostrowiec Poland for 40 years, was born in 5612 (1852) in the small town of Savin, near Krakow. He created a new method of learning in Poland, the method of mental acuity. He had thousands of students who spread his teachings throughout the world.

On Adar 19, 5688 (1928) at the age of 74, after fasting for 40 years, the Rebbe of Ostrowiec closed his eyes for the last time. A tremendous multitude followed his casket, and when he was lowered into the grave, the Rebbe of Radzimin said of him: “If the ground only knew who it was receiving, it would open its mouth and recite a psalm of song and joy.”

Once, a wealthy man who came to visit the Rabbi and not very meticulous in his observance of the Mitzvoth- commandments, feeling relaxed in the warm hospitality of his host, asked the Rabbi; “Why does his honor, fast (not eat) so much? Have you transgressed so much, that you feel the need to atone for all the inappropriate and improper pleasures of the world?”

Rabbi Meir Yechiel smiled and responded. “I had the exact same question regarding your practices. Why and how can you give yourself the liberty of enjoying so much of the pleasures in this world. Have you fulfilled so much of G-ds will, that you feel the right to enjoy so much of His creation?”

The wealthy man thought about the question and lowered his eyes. The saintly Rabbi Yechiel Meir continued, “it must be, you feel intuitively the joy of others (who do observe and sacrifice for the sake of G-d) and therefore you celebrate, and I feel the pain and loss (for those, who miss the opportunity to fulfill their mission and serve G-d) so I fast.”

Everything a person does, creates a ripple effect, as the expression goes, for every action there is a reaction.

Whatever a person thinks, speaks, or does will generate a very real influence on himself and on his surroundings. Machines can pick up the heat generated by our bodies. We generate an influence not only on ourselves but on the air temperature around us.

The electroencephalography and the electrocardiogram will record the electrical activity of the mind and the heart. The kind of food we eat, will have a significant impact on our lives.

We are also all part of one unit. The mistake of one person, can have worldwide ramifications as we have witnessed lately, on the worldwide financial markets and other worldwide catastrophes. When one part of the body isn’t operating correctly, it affects the entire rest of the body.

When a Jewish person eats food that is not kosher, it is not on G-ds diet plan, set in His instruction book for happiness and health, called the Torah, and this incompatible food, unsuited for the portion of G-d within, the soul, is ingested, this will coarsen and dull the sensitivities of one’s mind and one heart. “Things that were totally inconceivable, become suddenly worth considering” Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson.

Our bodies and our souls were designed to be sensitive to pain, to cold and heat. If our body is numb and doesn’t feel cold or hot, we may freeze or burn our skin and not even realize anything happened. Some people have become so intellectually and emotionally insensitive to spiritual values they don’t realize they are burning themselves!! They are behaving in ways that isn’t proper for their own lives, and as part of a family, community, city, country and world unit, this, will have an impact on others.

Comes, Rabbi Meir Yechiel and shows us by example the extra effort on his part to be less involved with the materialism of the world, to compensate for the wrong choices others were making. In the same way the negative behavior of one person can affect the entire world, even more so, the positive acts of even just one person can help strengthen and compensate for the shortcomings in others.

Another quick lesson from the story.

Everything around us must never be taken for granted. We are not entitled to anything, it is a gift created by a benevolent G-d, and we acknowledge this, every time we recite a blessing over the food, beautiful scents and sceneries of the world.  When a person just takes from the world, G-d wonders why He wasn’t asked or acknowledged. Making a blessing, is asking and receiving G-ds permission to enjoy His beautiful creation. Saying grace after meals, allows us to see and experience outside of ourselves, the greatness and goodness that exists in this vast universe.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Purim-- Greater than THE day of Atonement !!! Yom Kippur?? Evil, boomerangs back on itself...

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Story, at the end….

During the Holiday of Purim, March 23/24 2016, it is a Mitzvah to hear the Megillah/story of Purim at night and the following day. It is also a Mitzvah during the day to give at least two kosher food items to one friend, at least one gift to charity to two poor people, and to eat a kosher Purim Meal. The code of Jewish law reminds us, to give lots of charity, since this is a G-dly behavior, to be kind to the less fortunate. With these practices, we connect to the very powerful blessings and energies of the day.

There is a very interesting interpretation to the name of Yom Kippurim – the day of atonement, which says the following. In Hebrew the name Yom Ki Ppurim – can also be translated and understood as, the day of Atonement – is LIKE – and ONLY similar, to the holiday of Purim!!!

Can you imagine…. The holiest day of the year, when we are all dressed in white like angels, fasting and totally separated from the mundane and the physical, the day when G-d hears our pleas and prayers, and forgives our sins so we start the year on a fresh brand new slate, is ONLY LIKE, the upcoming holiday of Purim!! So much power to Purim!!!!!


In the story of Esther, when she is requested by her cousin Mordechai to speak to the King on behalf of the Jewish people, her own brothers and sisters, she is quoted as saying, “….and therefore, I will come to the King unlawfully……” Esther had no appointment to see the king, and her resolve to see the King involved literally, the danger of putting her own life on the line.

Esther accepted the argument made by Mordechai. The Jewish people will be saved, because they have been promised by G-d never to be forsaken. It is true you Esther have no appointment to see the King. However, it may very well be the entire reason you were chosen (by Divine Providence) as the Queen, to rise up, at this very critical moment.

If you Esther don’t seize this opportunity to save your own people, someone else will be G-ds messenger, and your entire progeny will be wiped out.

In the end, Esther’s self-sacrifice paid off. The King received Esther warmly, and the villain Haman with his ten children were killed on the very gallows, he made for Mordechai the Jew.

Our sages tell us. Because of not only the self-sacrifice of Esther, but of all the Jewish people who stood firm with their leader Mordechai, they did not buckle in to Haman and sell out of their faith, this total dedication and complete beyond any rational calculation to our faith, we were saved by G-d, with a total and beyond any rational calculation, with a complete, reversal of events. All the bad itself that was planned by the enemies, were transformed to the benefit and the good of the Jewish people.

On this Holiday – in the air – and in the slot of this one day, it is unlike Yom Kippur where we need to ask G-d for forgiveness before we have a chance to be heard and granted blessings. On Purim, like Esther who approached the King without calculation and with supra rational dedication, G-d reciprocates and grants everyone’s requests and prayers, deserving or not deserving.

On this Holiday of Purim, unlike the formality and decorum of Yom Kippur, we must reach a state of awareness and emotional actuality, where our joy and happiness in being Jewish and connected with G-d knows no boundaries. Through this, we receive the infinite, no boundaries blessings already planted in the day.

Once, the night after Purim, two less fortunate souls were treasuring and savoring the moment by counting all the money and food gifts they received over the Holiday. One of them said to the other. “it is true Haman was a very wicked man, yet nevertheless we owe him a debt of gratitude. It is in his merit we were successful to collect all these generous donations and gifts….”

No one ultimately has control over another person. Our only source of blessings comes through our connection with the source of all blessings, G-d Himself. And even if there are Haman’s out there planning evil for others, Purim reminds us, and them. When G-d finally decides to let loose the pressure, the evil tension and stress will be used against the enemies of G-d. This stress and tension becomes the impetus to benefit all those G-d decides to grant good.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Risking ur health -- the appearance of a liar - a person lives in his mind - stealing is worse than.....

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Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (1135 – 1204) known as the Rambam and Maimonides, while being a revolutionary in so many disciplines, in medicine, philosophy, astronomy, and one of the greatest codifiers of Jewish law, he was firmly grounded in the Bible and tradition, traced back to the Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt and the one who brought the world the Ten Commandments.

Maimonides in Egypt was the personal physician for the court of the Saladin, and was requested to come and serve Richard the Lionheart who was in Israel at the time, which he refused. Maimonides is also famously known for his Guide for the Perplexed.

The following, are some of the great words of advice as penned by Maimonides himself. Maimonides promised and assured all those who would follow in this way, they would live happy, healthy, blessed, and long (er) lives.


Our Sages forbade many matters because they involve a threat to life. Whenever a person transgresses these guidelines, saying: "I will risk my life, what does this matter to others," or "I am not careful about these things," he should be punished by stripes for rebelliousness.

They include: A person should not place his mouth over a conduit through which water flows and drink. Nor should he drink at night from rivers and lakes, lest he swallow a leech without seeing.

Similarly, a person should not drink water that was left uncovered, lest a snake or other poisonous crawling animal might have drunk from them, and as a result, the person would die.

If a Plaintiff tells a person: "Come and stand together with the witness. You do not have to testify, but the borrower will become frightened and panic, thinking that you are two witnesses (and judgment is decided based on the testimony of two witnesses.) and he will admit the debt on his own volition," the student is forbidden to stand and make it appear that he is a witness even though he does not deliver testimony.

With regard to this and similar matter, Exodus 23:7 states: "Keep distant from words of falsehood."


When students sleep in the house of study, but go and eat their Sabbath meals [in the homes of] people who live in the fields and the vineyards, who show hospitality to wayfarers passing through, [the house of study is considered their "Sabbath place"] and not the place where they eat.

They may walk (the limit allowed on Sabbath) two thousand cubits from the house of study in all directions. [The rationale is] that were it possible for them to eat in the house of study, ( although normally the two thousand cubits is measured from where the person is eating their Shabbat meals, in this case) they would not go to the fields at all (their real minds are always only on the house of study). They consider the house of study alone as their dwelling. The measurement of the two thousand cubits must be from where they have their main focus on.


The punishment for the person who uses false measures is greater than the punishment for licentious sexual behavior, for this is a sin between a person and his colleague, and this is a sin between a person and G od.

Whoever denies the commandment of just measures is considered as if he denied the exodus from Egypt, (this person doesn’t rely or believe in the miraculous abilities of Go d) which is the first of God's commandments.

Conversely, one who accepts the mitzvah (commandment and good deed) of just measures is considered as if he acknowledges the exodus from Egypt (and the possibility for a just and kind Go d to always, ultimately come through for those who put their faith in Him), which brought about all of God's commandments.

It is a positive commandment to correct the scales, weights and measures carefully and to be exact in their measure when making them, as Leviticus 1 9:36 states: "You shall have correct scales...."

Similarly, with regard to the measurement of land, one must be exact according to the principles of geometry. Even a fingerbreadth of land (that is unlawfully kept when sold) is considered to be a great loss, as if it were filled with saffron.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Nothing you have is because of luck or chance. It's all due to G-d's grace.

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Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneerson (1860 -1920) the fifth Chabad leader, once asked his son Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok Schneerson (1880 – 1950) before he ascended to the leadership of the Chabad movement as the sixth Chabad Leader, to travel to a certain place in order to help this Chassid who at the time was in a tight spot and needed assistance.

When Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok returned, he reported back to his father and said. “I fulfilled all that you told me. “I”did the favor for that individual, in the most perfect way possible.”

Rabbi Sholom DovBer retorted back to his son. “You are making a major mistake. You, did a favor for yourself, (by helping that individual). The kindness to that person, was done by G-d, and you were lucky to have the merit to be G-ds emissary to fulfill this Divine Providence.”

We are being taught some amazing truths about the world, about life, and how to view it correctly, and in humility.

In the end, NO ONE has any jurisdiction over my life or over anyone’s life for that matter. What happens to any person, good or bad, is entirely in the hands of G-d. As Maimonides explains to us: Everything in our lives, is a direct consequence of our choices to do good or bad. When we choose to make the proper and right decisions, G-d, sees to it that our intentions and efforts is rewarded, by giving us the objective and aim of our choices.

“In the way a person DESIRES to go, he is led.” If a person remains dedicated to becoming a good and righteous person, they will eventually succeed. It may not happen when and how they planned, but happen it will, sooner or later, because of the principle of reward and punishment.

If a person decides to be a crook, eventually they will succeed. Off course there are consequences to these choices as G-d delineates clearly in the Torah. “Look, I give you this day good and bad, life and death….choose life…”.

Our destinies are entirely in G-ds hands as a result of our dedicated commitments confirmed through our choices. If a person is meant to live, no one can take it away. If a person is meant to make a certain amount of money, it will come in one way or the other and no one can stand in the way of that G-dly decision.

So in essence…. When a person decides to murder, it’s their decision that makes them a bad character. When a person decides to do good…. It’s that decision that makes them a good character.

“G-d brings good through good people, and bad through bad people”.

When a person is lucky to actualize a good intention by going good, this is an extra merit G-d is rewarding the person, that they were chosen to be G-ds emissary for what HE intended for the person being helped, because of some reason G-d had in mind for some time already for that person.

When a person who has murderous intentions succeeds to carry out their terrible plan, It’s a terrible decree up in Heaven that these bad people were chosen to carry out, because they already had proven worthy for such a bad mission.

Our destinies are always in the hands of a merciful G-d. Not in the hands of other people, ever. Sure, the harder I work the luckier I get, but all according to G-ds plan.

“Everything is in the hands of G-d except for the fear of G-d.”

It’s pretty simple. It’s all in HIS hands, based, on how I behave. In the end, a person can try all he wants to unseat a person running for a political position, a person can try all he wants to steal another person’s livelihood. A person can try to help someone out of their difficulties, or help them become healthier. In the end, the one who has the last laugh is all, up to HIM. And, we influence HIM through our prayers and good deeds.