Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Removing the Mask of Your Career - Focusing on the Good in You

Gold-Mask First Impressions Matter. Meeting a person for the first time - or even the first look - gives you an idea of their personality.

   I don't know why - but the first time I meet someone I refrain from asking them what is their profession. It might be because I feel asking is intrusive. But many will ask "what do you do?" or "what are you?" Each will reply differently - I am a Physician. I am a Lawyer. I am a Businessman. I am a Real Estate agent.

   But to tell you the truth - apparently they all answer inaccurately because You are not a "Doctor" even though you do help heal patients. You are not a lawyer - even if you deal with Law.

Reframing Who You Are - Seeing the Good in You

   You are a person - with feeling, ideas, ambitions, opinions and good points and bad. A person is not his profession. He or She is a unique someone that happens to do a particular thing for a living.

   Meaning, the question that we should ask ourselves is - what is my essence that makes me special? What are my strengths that make me great? What are my weaknesses that make me fail, fall or that I need to improve? And use these strengths to help the world.

Breaking Out of the Box of People's Definitions

   Others May define You as a Doctor - Making 7 Digits. But You are not locked in to how others define you. You can have two Doctors that make 7 digits - one who does great kindness. Who treats the poor for free. Who Volunteers his services to help others. And another Doctor, who is in it just for the money.

   You are unique. Your ability to give to others depends upon your view of yourself and your talents and your unique qualities.

   So putting yourself into a category that others put you into isn't doing justice to yourself. Usually others define you in a way that will not sufficiently bring out your good points. Your Job is to find your good points and to use them in the best manner to help the world the way that G-d wants you to help, ie, in the context of what is good according to Torah.

Know What is Truly Good

    An essential step to maximize one's goodness is to determine what is truly good before doing it. Feelings that an action is good is not a valid measure of what is truly good. Some think they do good, but really do the opposite. Someone might feel that giving away cigarettes to the poor is kind. Others might feel giving weapons or money away to tyrants is also kind. It is not. To determine what is truly good, one should consult the Torah's position on the matter - Da'at Torah. One can ask an Orthodox Rabbi for their opinion - if what they intend to do is good in the eyes of the Torah before doing it. For G-d's goodness is true goodness.

Using Career for Kindness & Building the World

   In the end, G-d will not ask a person if he was a Doctor or Lawyer. He will ask what good you did using the talents you were granted.

   One who is intelligent uses their work in the context to not only make money, but to help others. Once a woman told me she was a recreational director in a mental hospital. I told her - "That is great! You get to do kindness all day." I asked her why do you do it? I think she replied - she likes the job. I told her - if you do it for the purpose of helping others then you get a greater Mitzvah (Commandment) than if you do it only for the money. If your intention is that You do it to be able to do kindness - and as a "perk" you also get paid for it - you will get a greater reward in Heaven.

   Your career is a means to help make money for your family - that is a Mitzvah. Doing Your Job is also a great Mitzvah for Jews and Gentiles - for by being a contributor to the building of society one fulfills the Mitzvah of the settlement of the world (Leyishuv Shel Olam). Office Buildings may have some holiness because of all the people who work and help to build the world. Knowing just this fact - that one who does an honest day's work - is doing a great Mitzvah (commandment of G-d) can also help one to raise their morale & feel good about themselves the entire day - for they are helping in the building of the world.

Do Good & Feel Good

   But your career can also be a means to do good & kindness for others. It depends upon what you focus on. A used car salesman can have the intention to help a buyer find a good, safe car for his family or to just make a quick sale. He decides. I believe people who care about the other person more than the sale are usually more successful salesmen. A Doctor can have the intention to do kindness - or to inflate his ego. He decides.

   A person who does good and knows they are doing the will of G-d feels good about themselves. For the Essence of a person is their soul. And the soul feels good when it does good.

Money Comes from G-d - Your Kindness comes from You

   The idea of seeing one's own goodness outside the context of their work is illustrated by a story. Once a rabbi asked a successful businessman - what do you do? The man replied I sell real estate and do business deals. The Rabbi repeated - what do you do? The Business man repeated himself. The Rabbi responded "The business that you generate is what G-d does - to give you money - what do you do?" He was asking him - if he dedicated time to Torah learning and doing Mitzvot. But on a deeper level - he was telling Him that to define yourself as your profession - you are cheating yourself to really exercising properly your potential in life.

   Seeing yourself as the Good you do will get you farther than seeing yourself as the job you do. Ultimately, knowing your good points will help you reach closer to achieving your potential & purpose in life.

The Second Cell - Where Atheism Fails

fruitcart   A Jew is to Love Every Jew and Respect Every Person and Creature.

   We are to act with propriety, regardless of how others act against us. Our Job in the world is to teach the real word of G-d - for we received it directly from Him about 3,300 years ago. All Jews heard the Giving of the Torah by G-d. All were witnesses. All the souls of the Jews were there - so each Jew's soul who lives today was privy to the revelation at Mount Sinai.

   It is rather easy to prove rationally that a soul exists. It is easy also to prove that G-d exists. Apparently anyone can figure it out themselves - from the Oxford University Scientist to the Simple Fruit Cart Peddler - because G-d tells us we will be Judged. We will be rewarded immensely for the good we did in this world and punished for the evil, if we did not repent.

   To make it easier for people to realize the ways to rationally determine whether G-d exists, we provide the aids towards that goal.

   When a person claims he or she is an atheist, I feel no anger nor animosity towards them. On the contrary I feel compassion for them that they live a life devoid of a relationship with the Kind Creator of the World. (A small joke: A person asked a former Atheist: Why did you become Jewish? He answered: Atheism doesn't have any Holidays!)

   Most people who say they do not believe, really do believe. Or perhaps, it is not that they thought out logically the proposition of the existence of G-d. Rather, their mind pushes them to accept the title of "Atheist" because if they were to accept that G-d exists, that would entail responsibility to follow in His ways. And they would rather accept the illogical than to accept the responsibility that believing in G-d entails.

   The Torah wants us to know ourselves and what makes us tick. The more we know ourselves, the more we can contribute to the good of society.

   Apparently a person wants to be totally free to do what they want. It might derive from the fact that we wish to be like G-d and G-d is limitless. This might be the same reason why a person wants perfection - we choose the perfect box of cereal rather than the one with the crushed corner. The desire to emulate G-d might also be the reason why we want to better ourselves - Self-improvement books are one of the best selling books in the world.

   So the observant Jew is not ruffled when one says they do not believe in G-d. Apparently they never thought out their reasons for their disbelief. Or perhaps they had a negative experience and cannot fathom how the difficulties they endured come from an all-loving G-d. An observant Jew or His or Her rabbi can explain it, if one is open-minded enough to accept rational thought.

   Here is one quick point to help the undecided reflect about the possibility of G-d's existence.

   Atheists will say - say the earth came into being by random atoms flying around - that formed the first cell. That cell formed other cells until they formed amoebas and then protozoa and so on.

   Putting aside the question, who formed these atoms - that are rather uniform - let's look at the question where did the second cell come from.

   The possibility of one cell being formed by random atoms is by the estimation of scientists - impossible. Like 1 chance out of 10^300,000. That is a 1 with 300,000 zeros. But let's say it did occur, that a cell formed by these random atoms. Where did the second cell come from? It can't just grow. If you put a Lego building together, will the building start to grow? No. It is an inanimate object. It has no life. Life can't just be infused into something. If I shocked the Lego with electricity, will it grow? No. Can a chair grow? No.

   There must be some power that infuses the life into every living being. The One who does infuse life, is what we Jewish people call G-d.

   The Next question of the Once "Atheist", who started believing in G-d - what Now?

   G-d is a forgiving G-d and He welcomes those who turn to Him Sincerely. For one who is a gentile - the next step is to learn the 7 Noahide laws for all people. For a Jewish person - to learn the Shulchan Aruch. A Jewish Person might want to take upon himself a Small Mitzvah to start like saying the morning blessings - from a Jewish Orthodox Siddur / Prayer Book (Email-us and we can send you a Mini-Siddur) or saying the Shema Yisrael - in the morning upon awaking and at night before sleeping.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

What G-d Really Wants From You - the Four Questions

Person is Body & Soul
A person is comprised of a body and soul. Really the soul is comprised of parts. There is the lofty part that desires spirituality and closeness to G-d. Another part has earthly desires, to eat, drink, etc. It must That there is a soul in a body. A body without a soul is an inanimate object, like a chair that doesn't think or grow. One's main essence is their soul, for that is where their thoughts come from.

What is Spirituality

Spirituality must be defined. We will define it as developing a closeness with G.d. Apparently to develop closeness one must know what G.d wants. One becomes close to another by doing things that the other wants.

Know Your Destination in Life

People travel. Some explain, because they seek something spiritual.

Before one goes on a journey, they should know where they are going. We are all going on the Journey of Life. It behooves us to know that our destination is the next world. It thus makes sense to find out the directions to get there. Thus here are four simple questions that any rational person can answer to get to the truth.

Is it possible to Arrive at Existence of G-d Rationally?

Some people believe in G.d, some know there is a G.d, some don't. There are thousands of religions - how does one choose the right one?

Apparently G.d has one law. What is that law?

Apparently G.d made it possible for a person to find out the right law. How do we find the right law?

Apparently G-d not only made it possible, but easy for any person in the world to find the true will of G-d. It must be so. One of the 13 principles of the Judaism - is that G-d will reward the righteous & punish the evil - possibly in this world or the next. If one cannot easily find out the true Will of G-d, when one arrives in the next world & G-d will say for instance "why did you steal?" he will be able to get out of it by saying - sorry I never knew that stealing was forbidden. And G-d would have to forgive them. Apparently, it is easy to find out the truth.

Apparently, thus, one does not have to know any details of any religions - like biblical verses. At times many missionaries - use Biblical verses out of context and completely contorted and distorted to "prove" their claim. When a verse is talking about a completely different subject - they use it to provide evidence to their religion. Some try to prove the validity of their religion. When one goes and sees the actual explanation, by consulting the Torah texts, that were based upon the transmission of the Torah at Sinai - they see through their trickery. Many Verses exist to show the opposite of what they show. Like the verse of Bilaam the Prophet - He says straight out in the Torah "G-d is Not a Man." You cannot get more clear than that. Also the Second Commandment prohibits making any representation or image of G-d - anything from earth, or in the waters or in the heavens. It is forbidden to even think of an imaginary image of G-d or to look at a physical image made by humans to represent G-d. Any Image is made for thus is considered idolatry. G-d is limitless. Any physical thing is limited. To make an image would be to ascribe to G-d a limit or weakness. G-d has no limit or weaknesses.

Criteria in Choosing a Religion
The first question in finding G.d's law one should ask themselves is not "what criteria are important for me in a religion?" Because everyone would then choose the religion that is most convenient to them, which is not necessarily the right religion of G.d. Finding The law of G.d would be subjective and one would never be able to find the true law of G.d because it would be like two people discussing what is a color that is better.

The way to find G.d must be objective. A way that is based upon logic, rational thought, facts and truth rather than feelings. Feelings are subjective. Logic is objective. 

This certainly does not mean one should serve G.d without feelings. It means one should first determine what is the right path of G.d objectively. Once one finds the right path then they can direct their feelings and actions on what G.d wants from us.

What Does G-d Want From Me?
Our main concern in finding G.d's law is not "what do I want from G.d?" It is "what does G.d want from me?"

To find out what G-d wants from us, we must find the true law of G-d. Once that is found, we can direct our efforts towards achieving His will.

The Four Questions - the Logical Method

Now we will discuss the four questions that one can use to find the true law of G.d. These questions are objective. The answers must be logical. If the answer is not logical, it must mean that that we must reject the illogical answer for the logical one. They are four yes or no questions. We will give the possible answer of both yes and no and evaluate the implications.

Let's take an example question to demonstrate the logical method. Below is a question and two possible answers - Yes & No. Let us propose both answers and examine the implications of answering Yes & No.

Did George Washington Exist?

If one would answer no, the implication would be that all the pictures, stories, history, newspaper articles, art and books about him would be forgeries. It is possible, but unlikely to say he did not exist.

If one would answer yes, all those evidence would serve to support his existence.

From logic we can assume that George Washington did exist.

But that is easy.

Caveat: One does not as readily accept the existence of G.d because doing so entails that we would be obliged to follow His laws. Human nature wants to be free from laws. I discussed with an Oxford professor the existence of G.d. While he accepted that Picasso existed because of the proof of the existence of his art, he could not come to accept that G.d exists because of the proof of the existence of His art - the world, nature, science, astronomy etc.

You must decide does it make sense? Does it make sense that all the photographs, all the art, all the history, all the newspaper articles were forgeries? No. So "No. George Washington didn't exist" is an illogical statement and thus we must reject it because it is illogical - it doesn't make sense.

The Four Questions to Arrive at the Law of G-d through a Rational Approach

Is There a G-d?
World, All Nature, Physical Processes, creatures, Cells, were created by random molecules flying Around. They Continue to grow & function through random interaction of molecules - including the 11 human body organ systems that work interdependently : integumentary, skeletal, muscular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, urinary & reproductive systems.
World was created with Order (Animal, Plant, Fungi, Protist, Moneran Kingdoms), Intelligence, Standards (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species), Gravity, Mathematics, Pairs (For all males is a corresponding female species) Perfectly Synchronized Together, Methods of Mutual Interaction by Intelligent Creator.
Did G-d Give a Law for People to Follow?
Man & Animal are free to do what they want without care or concern for harm or destruction of others or world.
G-d gave a detailed set of laws for world to remain intact and run smoothly. Just like a company includes instructions with their products, G-d gave laws to people to maintain his world.
What is That Law?
Cult or Religion
Started by 1 person who had a vision or dream & Propagated by followers. Millions of Followers Believing story of 1 man. Thousands of Versions of “Bible” - Less Likely to Be Real Law
Millions of witnesses, the entire Jewish People, heard G-d Speaking with them individually. One version of Torah, exactly the same throughout the world. Many Proofs.
Did G-d Change His Mind About People or Law?
G-d, who knows all, knows the past, present and future, After formulating precise Laws found in the Written & Oral Torah, G-d “Changed His Mind” and nullified the laws
G-d, who knows all, knows the past, present and future, After formulating precise Laws found in the Written & Oral Torah, G-d never changed his laws

Many Other Proofs Exist to the Veracity of G-d or the Torah such as National Revelation & Experience of Jewish People, Prayer to G-d of Israel is Answered, Torah Codes, Prophesies Fulfilled, Archeology, Things impossible to predict in Torah (No Fish w/Scales & No Fins, Triple Yield of Shmitah)

So A Person Can ask Now: Now What?

Judaism Offers a dual track - one Set of Laws for Jews - the 613 Commandments and One for Gentiles the 7 Noahide laws.

Of the 613 Torah Commandments for Jews - Only about 270 Are Applicable for Today. For some require the existence of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem and it is not yet built. We hope it will be built speedily in our days.  The 7 Noahide Laws are the Big lines. But Some say they comprise of 30 or some say, even 66 Torah Laws.

Learn About 613 Commandments in Torah:
see: aish.com, torahanytime.com, shabbat.com, partnersintorah.com, torahdownloads.com, torah.org, jewishmusicstream.com, simpletoremember.com
Learn About 7 Noahide Laws from Torah:
Path of the Righteous Gentile” Clorfene & Rogalsky

These Are the Seven Noahide Laws - Given to Noah for World Peace

They are Immutable Laws for the Good & Happiness of Man & Mankind given to the Jews in the Torah at Sinai ∙ the Only Time in History G∙d appeared to an Entire Nation. Doing them, a Person finds Purpose & gets a place in Heaven.

Just as an architect designed a building, the Creator designed & made the world.

The Torah, given by G∙d to the Jews at Sinai, provides 7 Laws for all Humanity, for a peaceful world.

Only once in History did a Nation of millions of people hear G∙d & witness the giving of a Divine Law – when G∙d gave the Torah to the Jewish people. Moses taught detail.

G∙d does great kindness for us each day. He gives us life, food, air, shelter & clothes daily. G∙d is One, Omniscient, changes not His mind & has no body.

To receive a place in heaven, one accepts Torah as G∙d's true Law. Jews observe Torah's 613 Commandments & Gentiles observe Noahide laws because they are stated in Torah. Learning our respective laws enables us to be truly refined, kind & wise. Everyone can improve & be good. G∙d Loves Those Who Keep His Laws.

1. Being Faithful to G∙d - Prohibition of Idolatry/ Worship of Object,Animal,Man

2. Respect of Integrity of Family - Prohibition of Improper Relations - Adultery,Bestiality,Homosexuality& Incest

3. Respect of Human Life - Prohibition of Murder

4. Respect of G∙d - Prohibition of Blasphemy

5. Respect of Other's Property - Prohibition of Stealing

6. Law and Order - Establishing Courts of Law

7. Respect of Living Creatures - Prohibition of Eating a Limb Taken from a Live Animal

Someone Interested in the Laws For the Jewish People Should Look at the Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi Yosef Caro or the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch by Raabi Shlomo Gansfried.

The First Step in a Journey is to acknowledge the need to travel.

Enjoy Your Journey!

Sites for More Info:

Book: “Path of the Righteous Gentile” Chaim Clorfene & Yakov Rogalsky
Book Online: http://noahide-ancient-path.co.uk/index.php/judaism-articles/2011/05/the-path-of-the-righteous-gentile/
http://noahide.org http://noahidenations.com
http://asknoah.org Prayer Book, etc:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The King, The Prophet & the Wicked Son - Living Through Nibiru / Planet X

Don't Stop the Rain.

On Yom Kippur, one of the Holiest Days in the Jewish Year we say a prayer that asks G-d not to listen to the wayfarers. Traveling in Rainy weather is uncomfortable. Travelers, may pray for no rain to fall, to not put a damper on their journey. We ask G-d not to listen to that prayer. We need the rain. Without rain, no vegetation. No Vegetation - no food.

The rain serves another purpose. Cleanliness is close to G-d-liness. (see Mesilat Yesharim). G-d wants a clean world. The world is washed through rain.

Messianic Times - Cleansing the World from Evil

For thousands of years, the Jews yearned for a time where peace will reign in the world. When we and all people can serve G-d without burdens or bother.

This is called the period of the Messiah. The Messiah will be a great person who will bring peace to the world.

We are very close to Messiah. One of the goals of Messiah is to cleanse the world from Evil. Those elements that act contrary to G-d's laws. Those that don't believe. Those that care not about spirituality or truth.

 Power of Repentance

But those people are not doomed. Repentance is always possible for these people. If they didn't believe in the G-d of Israel, they can start believing. If they had a hatred for Jews, they can change their attitude. If they committed sins in the past according to the Torah, they can separate from these sins, commit not to do them more and ask for forgiveness.

G-d is very forgiving. In the great flood at the time of Noah, G-d waited for the last moment, hoping people would repent. If they did, G-d would have cancelled the flood. Unfortunately, people didn't repent. If a person repents sincerely, to do the will of G-d as explained in the Torah, a person can be more likely saved from calamity. A Jew follows the Shulchan Aruch - code of Jewish Laws. A Gentile follow the 7 Noahide laws - as explained in the Torah.

Why Should one follow Judaism?

The Torah offers two paths. One for Jews and one for non-Jews / Gentiles. Jews follow the 613 commandments. Gentiles Follow the 7 Noahide commandments. It is possible to come to the conclusion that the Torah is G-d's law. How? In History, the Torah was the only Divine law given before millions of people. All other laws, were transmitted by one man. The Torah was transmitted by G-d Himself, witnessed by millions of people.

God is Good - His Laws Are Just & Kind

G-d's laws from the Torah are for the good of man. Unfortunately, many do not understand that.

Let's take the law in the Torah that prohibits Homosexuality for Jews or Gentiles.

Who is kinder? The US Supreme Court - that permitted same-gender marriages or G-d that forbids it?

Giving a person what they want is not necessarily kind. Is giving a person cigarettes, or an alcoholic whiskey, or a druggie drugs - being kind? No.

So how are we to understand how G-d is infinitely kind? Or that the Laws of the Supreme Court are actually tremendously cruel?

I met many people who are support same gender marriage. If someone were to say - let's do away with these people - they would be considered cruel. And to suggest terminating their descendants is also very cruel.

In reality the Supreme court has achieved this goal of destroying the future generations of all people who participate in same-gender marriages. If same-gender marriage was outlawed, many people among them, would have reverted to a traditional marriage - between male & female. They could have descendants that could bring much good to the world. The Supreme Court's ruling - terminated generations of good people with one stroke of the pen.

Some will say - ok, but these people can adopt. Answer: They will never have children that have their genes. Their children will never be raised by their biological parents. Their descendants will not be a unique individual from the mutual genes of the partners. The Supreme court has "robbed" the world of the descendants of these people.

The Prophet Who Condemned the King

Hezkiahu was a king of Israel. The prophet Samuel came up to him to tell him a message from Hash-m / G-d. He said the King "will die and not live." The question is posed - why the double language. Obviously if one will die, they will not live. The Torah answers - that King Hizkiyahu was to die in this world and not live in heaven. Hizkiyau was a righteous king. What was his transgression that warranted this punishment?

He refused to have children. With an understandable reason - he saw through Ru-ah' HaKodesh / A Holy Vision - a manner of seeing the future - that his descendant would be Evil in G-d's eyes.

The Prophet Samuel told him - this is not your concern. You must do the will of G-d as it says in the Torah. One of the Commandments of the Torah is to Be Fruitful & Multiply - for Jews & Gentiles. Regardless of the character of your descendant - whether you had a vision that he would be evil or righteous - you must fulfill the commandment of the Torah. King Hizkiyahu agreed. He Decided to marry the daughter of the Prophet Samuel in hopes that the merit of the righteous father, mother & grandfather - the resulting child would be righteous.

Hizkiyahu's descendant - the Child that they had - was evil. He served idols. He Killed and committed other transgressions to anger G-d. One day he was being pursued by his enemies and he called out to all his false gods. He received no answer. The enemies were still in hot pursuit. Then He called out as a challenge to the G-d of Israel - "G-d of Israel - if you really exist and you save me - I will repent." G-d did save him and He did repent.

G-d gave us a commandment to have children. Regardless of ones reasons not to have children - they will be held accountable for not bringing a unique individual into the world.

Survival from Nibiru - Reinforcing the Spiritual Torah Values.

Nibiru or Planet X is approaching. Many people have taken pictures of it. It is possible it is the star that passed by the earth about 3,600 years ago that caused the great flood of Noah. It is possible that this is the Star that the Gentile Prophet Bilaam Talked about in his prophesy in the Torah - Darach CoChav MiYaakov - A Star from Jacob will trample ... (Bamidbar /. Numbers 24: 17 -18). Some explain that this star will cause mass havoc. That It will cause inhabited places to become uninhabitable. The Chance of Survival - apparently is one in three. I believe that that is the statistic that is quoted in the Torah about the survivors.

So Aligning oneself with Torah Values - whether one is Jewish or Gentile - is the best spiritual preparation for surviving Nibiru. (Ie, accepting the Torah as one's guide - by accepting to eventually do the 7 Noahide laws - for Gentiles or Accepting to follow the 613 Commandments from the Torah - as written in the Shulchan Aruch / Code of Jewish Law by R. Yosef Karo.) Just as it was for in the time of the Flood. Unfortunately, then many people didn't believe or didn't repent. Hopefully, this time around many more people will survive.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Removing the Thorn From Your Heart

I've encountered a variety of responses to a simple question - 

"Hello. Do You Know the Time?"

- It's 6:45.
- "Sorry, I don't have a watch."
- Ignore
- "What's the matter? You can't say please!"

One may encounter people who act or react out of the normal range of behavior.

Yes, we must try to be sensitive to people's sensibilities. But we can train ourselves to not be ruffled by those who respond in a aberration to the normal.

The Rambam wrote about a person who was traveling on a ship. He was sleeping under the stairs. A wealthy individual, who disdained the poor man decided to urinate on him. The poor man, was surprised but not upset or ruffled by this gross demonstration of disrespect.

The poor man was actually happy. He said it was one of the happiest days of his life. When he reached a level to not be upset by the behavior of others towards himself, he realized that he was truly independent. Independent from the thoughts and acts of others.

His happiness was completely dependent upon himself. Others could not ruffle him or cause him sadness.

Some live their lives based upon what others will think. If others praise them, they are happy. If others denigrate him, he is sad.

The Torah teaches us various lessons to become a person, independent of other's actions.

1. Judge others favorably - is someone did something against you , you can judge them with the benefit of the doubt.

2. Build your self esteem, to not need approval of others for happiness.

3. Focus on Making Hash-m happy. If that is one's main concern, what others do or say become secondary or close to irrelevant. As long as I am doing what G-d wants from me from the Torah, I am doing fine.

Apparently that's what it means in Pirkei Avot "Jealousy, Pursuit of Honor and Desires take a man from the world." Why those things? Apparently when one lets the above three rule his life, he is dependent upon others for happiness.

If one instead puts G-d's satisfaction as his or her primary concern, he or she puts their happiness in their own hands. Their happiness in not dependent on others.

At times we ourselves act with hostility or anger. It is up to us to discover and pinpoint what causes this negative attitude.Was it a lack of respect on the part of the other? Chalk it up to a bad day.

Is it something they did? Forgive and forget!

But also we can ask ourselves why is that a sensitive point for me? Once you have an answer you can work on strengthening your resolve to not be affected. Eventually, you live a better life - for it becomes impervious to the arrows (intentional or unintentional) of others.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

When a Gorilla Dies. Torah Views of the Cincinatti Zoo Incident.

I felt badly for Harambe - a Gorilla killed when a child fell into his cage at the Cincinatti, Ohio Zoo recently.

The Torah has laws that forbid causing pain to animals (Tzaar Baalei H'aim). One reason for this law is to prevent people from becoming cruel. One who is cruel with animals, may become cruel to humans. (The Nazis used to inculcate insensitivity to cruelty by having soldiers raise a kitten for many months and then commanding them to kill it with their bare hands.)

Once Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was walking in the Marketplace. A Lamb, that was to be slaughtered, quickly approached him to hide under his robe. He sent it away gently. He said "Go little Lamb, for this is why you were created." In heaven, they judged that that was a lack of sensitivity and determined that he should be stricken with tooth pain. He endured the tooth pain for 13 years, until one day his maidservant was trying to hit little scurrying creatures in his house with a broom. He told her "Don't hit them. Push them out gently." Soon after his tooth pain stopped.

Noah was rewarded for his great kindness in taking care of the animals while in the ark.

One of the first laws given to Noah of the Noahide Laws, incumbent upon all mankind deals with animals. A Jew and a Gentile are prohibited from eating a limb taken from a live animal (Ever Min Ha H'ai in Hebrew)

Human Life Takes Precedence

One does not know what would have ensued had the guard not shot Harambe to protect the child.  Ultimately, according to Torah - he did the right thing. A human's life always takes precedence over an animal's life and usually, over Mitzvot.

The Torah commands Jews to observe Shabbat - one of the greatest commandments of the Torah. On Shabbat, one does not light fire or to cook. Yet, If one's life is in danger, we must "desecrate" the Shabbat to save a life.

Life Takes Precedence.

If a man intends to kill an innocent person, one has the right to kill or maim the pursuer. If maiming is possible, it is preferable. At times, We are to kill to save the innocent person or people.

Mother - Negligence or Accident?

Should the mother of the boy be charged for the value of the Gorilla? Apparently not. Perhaps she was negligent, in letting her child roam around or perhaps it was a complete accident - children have ways of fleeing without the discretion of parents. A parent is responsible to pay for the damages of a child.

The Fence

The gate of the fence initially was 36 inches high - now the Zoo made it 42 inches. We have a law in the Torah to place a fence on a roof, to assure that no one falls off. This fence must be 10 Tefachim / Handbreadths.

Rabbis Differ about the measurement of a Tefach.

According to Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Tefach is 3.54 inches (9.00 centimeters). According to Rav Chaim Noeh, the Tefach is 3.15 inches (8 centimeters). According to the Chazon Ish, the Tefach is 4 inches (10.16 centimeters).

So According to the Chazon Ish, the initial size of the fence (36 inches) was problematic to use as a fence on a roof. He would have required it to be 40 inches. (10 Tefach x 4 inches = 40.) But apparently now they increased height to 42 inches it is good, according to him.

Why Gorillas Die

G-d does everything for a purpose. Even Harambe's death must have a divine message or purpose to us.

Divine Message

Everything that occurs one can learn from. Each of our deeds has repercussions. If one person gets angry, he might cause a negativity to fill the air to cause another person to kill. (There was a true story like that). If a person or animal is killed, perhaps it is to make people feel badly that they will repent for not having fulfilled the word of G-d found in the Torah. Because of this this incident may serve to provoke us to do Teshuva / for past misdeeds.

Divine Purpose

The Torah states that in the generation that created the Tower of Babel - G-d punished them by changing their language. Some people, were changed into monkeys and elephants. (Talmud (Sanhedrin 109a)) It is interesting to note that those three animals are usually more intelligent than others. Was Harambe a soul from the generation of the Tower of Babel? I don't know.

At times people are reincarnated. An interesting expose on the subject can be found in "The Coming Revolution" by Rabbi Zamir Cohen. In one chapter, he presents different humans that had similar physical traits and mental aspirations and achievements.

A person who transgresses Torah law may punished for sins that they did by becoming reincarnated into a rock, plant, or animal. Was Harambe a Gilgul of a person who sinned and possibly killed someone? Possible but I really don't know.

One thing we do learn from the whole incident is to be extra careful with children. Keep them from animal cages. Don't leave them alone in a Zoo, or a house or car - for that matter.

Lessons To Learn & Ways to React Positively

The Torah has many laws to not cause pain to animals. Kosher laws - teach us how to treat animals that are to be eaten. Kosher Animals are slaughtered in a way to not cause any pain to the animal.  Perhaps a great lesson to learn from the tragedy is - those Jewish people who still eat non-kosher, may want take upon themselves to start eating kosher.

Those Gentiles who are not careful about Ever Min HaHai / eating a limb taken from an animal that was still alive - can take upon themselves this Mitzvah. (Sometimes - certain meat factories start cutting up animals while they are still moving - one who eats from that meat - transgresses the Torah prohibition of Ever Min HaH'ai.)

We can always take the positive in every difficulty. G-d gives us challenges to overcome, and life lessons - sometimes difficult - for our benefit & for us to better ourselves.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Disarming Your Emotional Fellow

Some people are highly strung. One word can trigger them. Maybe even one look.

Some are predisposed against certain people or questions.

I asked a person "Are You Jewish?"

They responded "That is an insult!"

I asked "If someone asked you "Are you an Accountant? - would that insult you?"

He responded "Yes." I guess he wouldn't like to be an accountant.

(Come to think of it Saying "Being Jewish is an Insult" is an Insult - but I let it slide.)

Some people were hurt in the past. Some have a disposition against you, because they heard something bad against you. So they act with an angry disposition towards you.

Rabbi Yitzi Greenman, a Fund-Raiser for Aish HaTorah tells of a story of a Wealthy individual who had an angry disposition towards Orthodox Jews. He was patient and persistant and eventually turned around that disposition to eventually get the man to give a sizeable donation.

So whose problem is it, if someone is angry at you? If you really hurt the other person - or perhaps you angered them - it would make sense to make amends - if the relationship is worth it. (In cases of marital / couple relationships an Orthodox Rabbi would be proper to consult before returning with a spouse that is abusive)***

But sometimes it's not you. They had a bad day. They listened to "lashon hara" / evil speech about you or your kind. So it is not your fault. Something is wrong with the other person's disposition.

The Torah gives the ultimate response to disarm a person -

"A Soft Answer turns away Wrath." (Shlomo Hamelech / King Solomon in Mishlei / Proverbs 15:1) When someone is angry, the best response is not to stoop to an escalation of anger. The best is to remain in control. A soft answer helps one to both and disarm the angry fellow.


***Also, in cases of Intermarriage - it would be better to just walk away - because of the Torah law - prohibiting it. The Torah tells us (Devarim 7:3-4) “Don’t marry with them – don’t give your daughter to his son, and don’t take his daughter for your son; lest he should turn your son away from Me, and they will worship other gods...") (The Jewish View of Marriage) (Law on Intermarriage) (Meaning in Mitzvot - Intermarriage) Usually a child of a mixed marriage is confused. They are not sure where they belong. Besides the Torah's reason, It is unfair to the children that may result from such a union. People who start off on the same wavelength, usually have more successful, happy marriages.