Bouncing Back from Micro-Depressions

smileyflowerMadison avenue wants to sell products.

Its basic pitch is “Buy my product & you will be happy.”

A Ketchup Company – came out with a Slogan – “Where there is …. – there is happy.”

I don’t usually feel happier once I had ketchup.

Or any other product for that matter.

But the ad agencies want you to think that.

People want to be happy. Companies have to sell products. Ad agencies put two plus two together and found that if they show happy people using their products they will sell more products.

They are right. People buy the products.

Does it make you, the consumer, happier? That’s a question you must answer yourself.

Are rich people happier than less well off people? I don’t know.

Apparently, people who work 9-to-5 jobs are happier than others. Why? We can explain that later.

The mistake that people make is that – that the Ad Agencies want you to believe – satisfying yourself with materialism will bring happiness.

The Torah’s take on happiness is:

A Person is composed of a body and soul. Certain activities done by the body will gladden and certain will sadden. Those activities that satisfy the soul – ie, bring a person closer to spirituality – as defined by Torah will bring you closer to happiness.

There are pleasures that gladden a person and those that sadden. The pleasures that bring a person a person closer to G-d make a person happy. The pleasures that bring a person farther from G-d sadden them.

People who work 9-to-5 jobs are doing more than one Mitzvah / commandment. They are involved in the building of the world. That is one Mitzvah. Usually they are helping other people in their job – that is another Mitzvah. They are helping to support their families. Thus people involved in a 9-to-5 job are happier – because they are involved in Mitzvahs.

Theodore Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation – shows that people are satisfied when they have:

Motivators or Certain Job Factors including
Achievement
Recognition
Work itself
Responsibility
Advancement
Growth

All these factors show that a person is doing a Mitzvah from the Torah – building the world.

When people feel that they are not achieving – they may feel depressed – because they are not fulfilling a Mitzvah. Or it might be that they are involved in activities that are run contrary to the Torah and sadden the Soul.

Overcoming Depression

For a long-time I was caught in a depression. When I heard once on the radio that consuming too much sugar may lead to depression – I thought: How could that be. Sugar provides pleasure and if you have pleasure, you should be happy – or so I thought. That’s when I revised my thinking and started thinking that having pleasure does not necessarily lead to happiness.

Apparently my depression was based upon the fact that I was not achieving my potential. I had much to offer the business world and world at large, but I was stuck in a rut. Spinning my wheels without going forward.

How did I get out of it? Apparently I started aligning my activities with those congruent to satisfying the soul.

I still do fall away from the mark the Torah expects. I feel saddened that I missed the mark. But I also feel that my soul feels saddened – because I pushed myself away from serving G-d properly.

I read a book recently that – although was inspiring – it also put a bit of a damper upon me. It was about Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He was such a tremendous scholar – that some said he knew over 40,000 books by heart. (He had a photographic memory and was very diligent in his Torah study.) I thought how can I ever compare to him? It takes a concerted effort for me just to memorize a verse from the Torah.

Remove Yourself from Bad and Do Good

Pinpoint the Activities that Lead to Depression
It would have helped me if I would have been able to pinpoint the activities that gladden the soul and those that sadden it. It would have saved me lots of trouble and heart-ache. But at least I figured it out. Some people unfortunately feel a lacking or a sadness, but cannot put their finger on why. It might help them to examine their deeds based upon the Torah’s take on happiness.

Distance Yourself from Bad
The Torah gives a formula for success – Remove Yourself from Bad and do good. Obviously one must examine what is good and what is bad by consulting a rabbi or the Shulchan Aruch / Code of Jewish Law (for Jews) or the 7 Noahide laws (for gentiles).

Do Good Deeds
Good deeds please the soul. Torah study does too. Doing One’s appropriate Mitzvot makes a person happier. Do something that you feel will make the world better – according to Torah.

Repentance
Some say the fault of Adam, the first man, was not so much that he ate from the Tree of Knowledge. It was that – instead of acknowledging his misdeed – he blamed his wife and insinuated that it was G-d’s fault. “The Wife You gave me caused me to sin.” Although, she did provoke him to sin – he should have faced it and try to find a way to make amends and improve.

Seek Guidance
Ask a friend or someone with a Torah Perspective if you feel down. Talking it out might help you relieve your concerns.

Actively Try to Be Happy and Pray
Some people want to remain sad. The Torah wants a person to be happy. Make an effort to be happy. Force yourself to smile. Pray to Has-m / G-d to help you be happy again, find the right path and serve him properly according to your abilities.

Know that You are You
At times I do go through micro-depressions. I am saddened that I missed the mark or that I am not as great as the great Rabbis – like Moses.

G-d gave tremendous abilities to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. But G-d also endowed you with great abilities as well.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef had a certain purpose to fulfill in the world. You have a different purpose to fulfill. G-d endowed you with the abilities to achieve your purpose or to learn to achieve your purpose. Don’t become depressed because you aren’t able to memorize 40,000 Torah books.

If you did wrong – repent and try to go on. Better yourself. Don’t remain with your depression. At times that is the intention of the Yetzer HaRah (the Evil Inclination) – to keep you in depression to break your motivation to achieve.

G-d wants you to believe in yourself and achieve the good that you can do.

There was a great Rabbi, named Zushia from Anapoly. He said something profound:

“I am not afraid that after I go to heaven, G-d will ask me “Why Were you not like Moshe Rabbeinu / Moses, our Teacher. I am afraid that he will ask me – why were you not like Zushia.”

How Judaism Saved My Life

jewishchildNot long ago when I was younger – people were satisfied without labels.

You had pants rather than Levi’s. A shirt – not necessarily Polo, or Tommy Hilfiger or LaCoste. Shoes rather than Nike’s or Kenneth Cole.

It was a simpler life.

A person could be easily distracted, or have difficulty paying attention to detail, have forgetfulness, could procrastinate, refrain from sustaining attention on tasks, or shift from one activity to another, or have disorganized work habits or fail to complete tasks.

They would call a spade a spade. Now – they had to label it. They call the above symptoms – ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Good? Or Not Good? I don’t know.

Some people say I have symptoms of ADHD – shared by 4% of the population. I do recognize some of the symptoms. I get distracted easily. I don’t follow through on certain activities.

Apparently it has to do with creativity as well. Creative people look at activities as creative or maintaining. Apparently, when the creative aspect of the activity wanes – so does the interest – so we jump to another activity that catches our interest.

I read a child’s book about ADHD – “My Friend the Troublemaker” by Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld. (published by Feldheim) I could relate to the main character – when the class went to the Zoo – leaving, they searched for the main character and found him absorbed watching one of the animals – forgetting the world around him.

I don’t know if people with ADHD are less likely to get married. (I read that the divorce rate is nearly twice as high for people with ADHD). In general, less people are getting married Today. A new report shows the current number of married adults has dropped to a record low of 51 percent. In 1960, 72 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 and older were married.

Apparently given the ADHD symptoms – had I not followed Judaism – I might have ended up going from Job to Job, or from Date to Date, or from Bar to Bar – without accomplishing much. Just like what I was doing before. I imagine I could have been – a single guy, riding the wave in life.

I like to live a life open to all possibilities. I am not an accountant that everything must be closed. I don’t really care if my checkbook is not balanced or there is $10 or $100 to be accounted for in my Organization’s books.

In terms of Myers Brigs – a personality test – I am an INTP or INFP. Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking/Feeling, Perceiving. According to Myers, perceptive – “P” – types prefer to “keep decisions open”. Another reason why I would rather stay free from commitment.

Torah Gives Structure

The Torah gives a person a structure and a proper perspective of the world. What is important – what is secondary. It gives a person certain things to accomplish at a certain time. Yes there is leeway – but the activities – Mitzvot are required to be done.

The Torah says it is a Mitzvah to Get Married and to have children. So I did make my effort towards that goal. When I went out on a date – it was with the specific intention to get married – not just to have an agreeable time.

Some may feel that the Torah is restrictive. Really it is not. It is that you can do most activities – but there is the proper way, time and place for everything. Even Non-Kosher foods have a substitute that have the same taste as their non-kosher counterparts. Eat Kosher Beef-Fry instead of Bacon.

If it was up to me I would probably sleep late into the early afternoon every day. That gets a person depressed – waking up so late. But the Torah says – wake up every day to serve your Creator. We are to start the day early to pray to Hash-m in the Morning. Every day we say the morning blessings to thank G-d for all the good he provides.

If it weren’t for Shabbat – my life would seem like one long day – never breaking the eat, work, sleep continuum.

The Torah says to study Torah. If it weren’t for that I would probably be stuck in front of a TV for the or video games the greater part of the day – like I used to do before. Tempting – but it’s basically escapism. Now I that I study Torah I understand life and the world with a more open mind and a more broad perspective and positive outlook.

With Torah as a base of education – at home and at school (ie, a Torah day school), children are more respectfully to parents, healthy-minded and happier. We enjoy deeper relationships with children and family members. Each one tries to act appropriately and in a positive manner towards others.

Torah made my life purposeful. I do the Mitzvot and Good deeds that give purpose to life. It makes us bring greater good to the world. It brought me closer to discovering myself and my purpose in life.

A person unaffiliated with Judaism, who wants to observe Torah, need not take upon themselves all the laws at one time. Our sages recommend to take a Mitzvah – do it and then when one is ready take upon themselves something else – do another. Some Mitzvahs that a person might start with are saying the Shema – in the morning and night. Or Saying the Morning Blessings. Or Lighting the Candles before Shabbat. Or Saying blessings beore eating food. Or the Blessing for Good health – Asher Yatzar – said after washing hands after one’s needs. (We have a Mini-Siddur / Prayer Book that Explains how to do the above Mitzvot for Jews. and the 7 Noahide laws for Gentiles to take upon themselves Mitzvot.)

Little by little and step by step you accomplish. You build a relationship with others and G-d and build purpose and meaning in life. Pray to Hashem and you get what you need – be it physical, emotional, in terms of finding purpose or truth – and get closer to G-d. For this is the goal in life – being close with the Creator of life. That’s where true happiness and purpose comes. That is what Shlomo HaMelech/ King Solomon – the wisest of all men, who had all pleasures at his disposition – said “The End of All Matters, After All Being Said is: To be in Awe of Hash-m (G-d) – for this is all of Man.” (Kohelet / Ecclesiastics 12:13)

At the end of one’s life – one should be able to say – I am happy for what I accomplished in life. The Torah gives a person the possibility to do just that.

What Came First the Chicken or the Egg?

chickenA simple question.

What Came First the Chicken or the Egg?

Though scientists may debate this question – the Torah gives the answer: The Chicken.

When G-d created forms of life, He created them in their completed form. Adam, the first man, was created in the form of a person 20 years old.

G-d gave us a brain. He expects us to use it properly. Some just follow what seems fun, what “every body does” without further reflection.

G-d doesn’t want us to be on autopilot. Like the people doomed to a life of pleasant dreams in the Matrix.

We are to be actively enjoying life – not passive observers.

To do so – we must reflect.

One such story – where one looked at reality at face was the story of Nero.

Before commencing the siege against Jerusalem & the Jews he stopped for a moment to reflect.

Is what I am doing the right thing?

Nero’s Experiment

He tried an experiment.

He shot an Arrow towards Jerusalem. The Arrow flew towards Jerusalem.

He Shot an arrow to his right. The Arrow veered and flew towards Jerusalem.

He Shot an arrow to his left. The Arrow veered and flew towards Jerusalem.

He Shot an arrow backwards. The Arrow veered and flew towards Jerusalem.

He knew G-d wanted Jerusalem to fall into the hands of the ancient Romans.

But that didn’t mean that it was the right thing to do. It didn’t mean that he – Nero – had to do it.

It says in the Torah – “Do not Kill.”

To make a siege against Jerusalem ang G-d’s people – he would become guilty of transgressing that commandment.

He thought “G-d wants to bring down Jerusalem. If I do it he will punish me for doing the work that he wants done.”

Nero ran away. He saved his soul. His reward – he had a descendant who was a tremendous Torah sage, the Tanna – Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess.

Some people hate others. Then they find reasons to blame them for certain things.

The hate came before the acts that their “enemies” did.

The acts didn’t cause the hatred. The acts were used as excuse to vent their hatred.

People hate relatives, old friends, neighbors, and strangers. Is the hate driving your life? Or would you have a better life if you forgave and forget?

People find fault with Israel – but they refuse to ask – did the hatred come before the acts that they found fault with or did they first find the acts wrong which spurred their hatred?

In any case – hatred of people should not drive our actions. We can hate the acts that people do. We can bring people to justice. But hating and then putting blame on people because of our hatred is not what G-d wants.

If people hate Jews – they will be punished. Some say G-d allows antisemitism – so that the Jews will be reminded of who they are. This doesn’t mean that is right to be antisemitic.

Some Jews celebrate non-Jewish holidays. They don’t look at the history behind he holiday. They don’t see the holiday started as a pagan ritual – that used to celebrate by killing innocent individuals. They don’t see that the religion had a history of torturing and killing innocent people including Jews. Is that Right?

Some Worship a man. They never asked themselves – “Does it make more sense to worship a man as a g-d or to worship the G-d that that man worshiped?”

Think Before You Act

Want to live a happier life.

Think before you do. Put the thought before the action. Not the other way around.

The Torah teaches us a person only sins when a spirit of folly enters into him.

Meaning – if you think an act out before you do it – you will avoid sin. You will do the right thing. And you are happier when you do good.

IBM once had a very popular pin-on button.

It said one word:

Think.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Judaism

beithamikdashVendyl Jones, a famed Archeologist, was a professor that uncovered many important Jewish artifacts. He uncovered the Copper Scroll in the Quomran Caves and the Ketoret – the incense that was used in the Beit HaMikdash / the Holy Jewish Temple and the Anointing Oil. Some say the character, Indiana Jones – who was an archaeologist – was based upon him – yet some deny it.

Aside from the important archaeological discoveries he made – he also became a Ben Noach. A follower of the 7 Noahide laws – given in the Torah for all people of the world to follow. Later in his life, some Rabbis encouraged him to find missing artifacts from the Temple. He believed if he was able to discover certain artifacts from the temple – it would have helped to unite Jews from all parts of the spectrum.

The 7 Noahide laws are Laws given to Adam, Noah and Moses in the Torah by G-d for all of Humanity – Jews and Gentiles – to follow. Jews also have additional commandments.

Two of Vendyl’s children became full-fledged Jewish converts through an Orthodox Rabbi.

Followers of the the Noahide Laws are growing. In recent years the worldwide movement called B’nai Noach or Noachides has increased due to people searching for truth and a real relationship with G-d. Maimonides explains a Non-Jew who accepts the truth of Torah and observes the Seven Laws of Noah faithfully earns a proper place in heaven.

Dear Harry – A Letter to a Friend Who Died Through Suicide

writing%20a%20letterMany a time we see someone quite content, but hiding under the facade of contentment is a broken heart. A heart asunder and confused. If we are fortunate, they open up to others and we have an opportunity to help them to the best of our ability. Yet at times, we do not find out of the inner suffering until it is too late. I unfortunately have been privy to such instances – in which I learn that friend in need, who never called out to me, took their life. Here is a letter I would have wished would have arrived in their hands before they took any drastic step. One may use this letter’s intact to post on other sites – if the need be. (I used to post a similar letter to Yahoo Answers – to those mentioning suicide)

Dear Harry,

It’s been a while since I’ve known you and have to tell you that I appreciate your company. You have a way of making a person feel comfortable. I never told you all the things I appreciate about you – not because of you – but because we each have our busy lives and I am sometimes in my own world without recognizing the importance of interacting with your world. Sure it is not a good excuse, but I am human. I also must improve. I wanted to let you know that, I and many other people who know you love you as a person. You are dear, even though you may not see that we appreciate you so much. We just may fail at times to verbalize it.

You are a wonderful person. You have great qualities and a good heart. I heard you had certain concerns and problems that were bothering you. Let me tell you, I always have an open ear. If you need to talk, wake me up in the middle of the night and tell me what is on your heart. We’ll try to work things out together. You are not alone in the world. You have a friend to walk together with hand in hand. It’s never a bother to speak with you, only a pleasure.

In life, we have ups and downs, questions and answers. The idea of life is to use these opportunities to overcome and search for truth to ultimately better ourselves. If everything was rosy everyday, life would lose its taste. Like if you only ate ice cream everyday. At first it is good, but after, we need a change. Life is the same way, G-d challenges us, to help prompt us to become the best we can be. It is the overcoming of difficulties and challenges that allow us to excel.

All people have ups & downs. You are not alone. I feel for you. When I was younger I also had some tough times. Know you have a friend & a bright future. If things are bad, things can only get better. Right? People love you much more than you think. Life is a challenge. It is up to us to overcome & become better.

Seek help from people & G-d, solve problems, be patient & you will overcome them & become a better person. It is not a degradation to your ego to seek help. G-d made the world that people need people. Even the president has advisers. Take small steps towards comfort and Your life will improve, pain will subside and life will be more meaningful. “This will also pass.”

I am sorry about your situation. We can overcome any problem. You can too. I believe you can! Certain things can make life easier:

1. People Love You. Talk it out with Others

At times a person feels low and unworthy, but really they are greatly appreciated by others. Don’t judge your self worth based upon what you think of yourself. You are very likely greater that what you think.

Be patient & things will get better. Speak with friends or family, a social worker, a trusted psychologist and/or an orthodox rabbi about your concerns & they will help soothe your concerns. People want to help. Have the courage to reach out. Please don’t hurt yourself. Please reach out for your own good. Make friends with good people. Choose friends & family that bring you up not down.

Avoid abuse from others, see:
The Road Back to Serenity – 16 Ways to Deal with Abusive People
http://jerusalemlife.com/?p=2627

2. Recognize the Good in Life

Write a list of all the good that you have in life, like:
Your life, your family, your car, your house, your food, your air, your clothes, your water, your functioning body, your education, your money, your world, your pets, your computer, your electricity, your senses, your brain, your ability to think, etc. . Know that G-d is providing you with everything.

Think Positive. Don’t be lead by the heart. Use your mind to direct your life & let your heart follow. See:

Set Yourself Free – Breaking Out of a Negative Mindset & Anxiety
http://jerusalemlife.com/?p=2284

3. See Good in Yourself

Feel Good About Yourself. Eat Healthy. Exercise. If you saw a person drowning, G-d Forbid, would you would want to save them. This shows you are a caring person. Shouldn’t you then seek help to save yourself? Seek help from others instead of hurting yourself. You have a purpose in life. Find it out and pursue it.

Take paper & write your good qualities & characteristics. Hang it your wall to appreciate yourself daily.

Find a list of good qualities that you can just circle:
Appreciating Your Own Greatness – Feeling Good About Yourself
http://jerusalemlife.com/?p=2926

Order the “You are special card” to remind you of how special you are.
http://jerusalemlife.com/?wpsc-product=you-are-special-card

4. Solve Your Problems Slowly & Patiently

Write down : What is the problem? What are the causes? What are possible solutions? Implement these solutions. Be patient & recognize even small improvements. Life doesn’t usually change overnight, but things get better & you start seeing light in life little by little.

5. G-d Loves You – Reach out to G-d & He will help you

Jews believe & know that G-d is Good. Sometimes problems arise to wake you up to become closer to Hash-m / G-d. You have a Father in Heaven & He wants you to seek Him. When make an effort to solve your problems and try to become closer to Him problems many times are solved. G-d appreciates when you reach out to Him.

G-d created the Universe. He is omniscient & omnipotent. Jews believe that G-d has no physical or spiritual shape or form. Abraham taught anything that has a weakness or limitation cannot be G-d. He taught it is impossible for G-d to be an object, star, animal, plant or person.

G-d loves the people he created. You are a person that G-d created. Meaning G-d loves you. Developing a relationship with Him opens up a new dimension in your life. He has the power to do everything to make your life better. You Just have to pray to Him.

You can always start over. Here is an article on Starting Over – Wiping the Slate Clean in Judaism
http://jerusalemlife.com/?p=1357

Pray to the G-d of the Universe – that gave the Jews the Torah – the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. I heard a story of a woman that went to see my friend – a Doctor. She was proud to say she was following the Seven Noahide laws. He asked her why? She said was not answered when she prayed to other “gods”. When she prayed to the G-d of the Jews, she was answered.

6. Seek Answers to Your Questions

You can also search or contact the Jewish sites about your life questions or for help like:
http://aish.com
http://jerusalemlife.com

7. Do Good, Be Good & Feel Good – Every Day is a New Day to Start Over

When you do kindness to others you feel better about yourself.

For Jews I would recommend joining an Orthodox Synagogue to be part of the community. There one can Volunteer for Bikur Holim – Visiting the Sick, or Participate or help Organize Torah Lectures, or Teach others Hebrew or about Judaism. Opportunities abound. Be part of the Community.

For Gentiles I would suggest learning about the & Noahide laws & joining a Noahide community.

For Both I would suggest doing something productive daily like working at a Job & focus on helping people.

Gentiles follow the 7 Noahide laws to receive a place in heaven. Follow the 7 Noahide Commandments for all humanity according to the Torah. Called such, because they were given to Noah by G-d to assure the peace & proper functioning of the world. A gentile / non-Jew that follows them because of the Torah is considered a “Righteous Gentile.” The Seven Noahide Laws are seven major categories – that with their details consist of 30 laws.

1) Respecting G-d – Not to blaspheme.
2) Being Faithful to G-d – Not to Commit Idolatry – ie, worship of object, a man, or animal
3) Respecting Human Life – Not to Kill.
4) Respecting One’s Fellow’s Property – Not to Steal.
5) Respecting the Integrity of the Family – Not to commit forbidden relations – which includes prohibitions of adultery, incest, bestiality & homosexuality.
6) Respect of Life – Not to eat a limb taken from a living animal.
7) Law & Order – Establishing courts of law to enforce these laws.

The Torah is the law that G-d gave to the Jews in front of millions of witnesses, It was the only time in history that he gave a law to an entire nation. G-d never did & never does change his “mind.”

http://www.aish.com/jl/jnj/nj/
http://noahidenations.com

Remember also G-d forgives when a person sincerely repents. Even if a person did bad in their life they can Start Over.

8. Suffering Passes & is for a Purpose

A Wise Man said to a person who had ups & downs in life “This will also pass.” When in pain remember “This will also pass.” Print it out in big letters & keep it on a wall to remind you.

A person gets used to tough times or learns to cope, or learns to appreciate it or it passes altogether. King David used to appreciate difficulty, because he in it he would feel a closeness to G-d.

Butterflies are beautiful. They enter a cocoon to emerge as a beautiful creature. At times suffering helps a person to introspect about how to improve & they emerge as a beautiful person.

Suffering helps us gain a clearer perspective. I used to think life’s goal was to “Get rich, Be Popular & Make waves.” After my pains, I realized G-d wants us to be a Good person. To use our talents to help others. To Bring out our best & curb our desires that bring us sometimes off the road of happiness.

Try to use the suffering to become closer to G-d & to become a better person. Your suffering is for a purpose. It is not in vain. I found out from experience. We see life in a limited perspective – G-d sees it from the beginning of time till the end of time. Challenges make you stronger & allow you to become a greater success – because you went through difficulty & overcame it.

Because life is difficult it doesn’t mean that it is bad. A person suffers to get an education but in the end they reap fruits. Suffering opens new doors that one would have not considered before. I experienced suffering & it allowed me to become closer to G-d & spirituality.

9. Recognize Your Purpose and Uniqueness

Each individual has a specific purpose in life to serve. By following Torah’s laws he can find out that purpose. At times one is depressed because they feel they are not contributing to the good of society. Recognize the good you do and your uniqueness in carrying out your purpose – and you will recognize your importance. Think of society – why should the society lose someone as important as you. Every individual contributes to the general “ambiance” of the world. Each individual is needed to make this world great.

Even if you feel unworthy – you are worthy because you recognize that you need to improve. This in itself shows your greatness. A person is made in the image of G-d – just that in itself can help a person recognize their greatness. This is one reason why murder or suicide is forbidden – because one reduces the “image of G-d” in the world.

G-d created the world that anyone can start again anew. Even in the past one did transgress, if one is sincerely sorry, G-d will pardon. If one does teshuva / repentance for transgressing against the Torah because their love Hash-m / G-d, G-d will transform the transgressions to merits.

Humility is not to think lowly of oneself – it is to recognize that all the good you have including your talents come from G-d. You can recognize you are an excellent Piano Player, but also recognize that your talents come from G-d. Use your talents to better society.

10. Seek to Satisfy Your Soul – Spiritual Renewal through Torah

A person is really a soul not a body. Spirituality is feeling a closeness to G-d. The soul at times feels sad due to a lack of spirituality. It may feel it is not performing its purpose. You have a purpose in the world & you achieve it by following & learning the commandments of the Torah.

Some pleasures make the soul happy & pleasures that make the soul sad. Do the pleasures that make the soul happy, like the 7 commandments mentioned above. Help people. Do Kindness. Help your family. Get a Job. Do projects that will help others. You can ask an orthodox Rabbi if you want to know of good projects.

If You are Jewish Learn Torah & speak with an orthodox Rabbi to learn more & call to Hash-m & he will help you. Try to do simple Mitzvot – Say the Food blessings. Say Shema in the Morning and Night. Listen to some Jewish Music.

If you are not Jewish, learn the 7 Noahide laws speak with an orthodox Rabbi to guide you & call to Hash-m & He will help.

When suffering I used to go to the Public library & read Jewish short story books from Orthodox Jewish sources to soothe me. I would also go to Jewish bookstores. Reading the stories helped me to cope & see life in different perspective & change myself for the good. Good Publishers to buy books are Artscroll & Feldheim .

If you are Jewish learn the Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers. If you are not Jewish read the Path of the Righteous Gentile:
http://amazon.com/The-Path-Righteous-Gentile-Introduction/dp/087306433X/
Both works teach how to live life with more meaning.

11. Please make an Effort to Care for Yourself Because G-d Cares about You

You are one of G-d’s creations & He loves his creations. G-d wants you to live and enjoy life. People do care about you. I am one of them. Hope this helps. & I hope it works out for the best for you. You have a friend.

All the best.
Your Friend.

Overcoming My Screen Addiction

mac-monitorI saw a joke online:

A person says to his friend “If, G-d forbid, you ever see me attached to a machine like a vegetable, please unplug the machine and remove my life support” *
The friend quickly, unplugged his laptop and threw out his soda.

My Screen Addictions

It was the time of Operation Protective Edge. Hundreds of missiles were falling upon Israel. I had the app that would warn Israeli Citizens where and when a missile was to fall – a siren was hear several times an hour.

I needed to know what was happening. I looked up news on anything I could – on smart phone, ipad, laptop – at any time – even walking down the street.

When I was younger I also was somewhat addicted to TV. When a lad it was the content of the programs that kept me tuned in. When I became a teen – It wasn’t the content that kept me hooked. It was that it helped me escape life’s pains.

I realized that I was spending too much time attached to a screen.

I had to do something about it.

Apparently the screen is tempting when you want to escape. Some people you ask – why do you watch so much TV will answer – it is important to know what is happening in the world. Yes, but how much. 5 Minutes is really enough to learn about the big headlines.

So first step is – Be Honest

Ask Yourself –

Why do you really need the screen? For News? Entertainment?

Can I be doing something more productive or helpful for society?

Can I get my satisfaction through other means?

Am I neglecting another part of my life because of my attachment to the screen?

Are my kids learning from me and that’s why they are also addicted to their iPhones and iPads?

Are there opportunity costs to my screen addiction?

Does TV solve my problems or are they the same after I watch?

Does watching the screen make me a better person after I watch?

Does watching TV promote good values or bad values?

A person steeped in the screen can not always tell if “big brother” is so bad. After stopping for a while and examining the content after a break, one can tell better of the negative values promoted by TV.

The time I am watching TV with my family, can I use it instead to develop deeper personal relationships with my spouse or children by interacting with them without the medium of the TV? Can I help them with their homework? Can I learn something from Torah in that time – in which there is unimaginable reward for word learned?

When I watch TV do I live my own life or someone else’s?

Do I discover myself or someone else?

Do I reach closer to my potential and purpose in life or not?

List things that need to be taken care of that you’d be able to do if you had 7 more hours to your day (the time that you would normally be watching TV).

Does watching the screen fit into life goal – or is it taking you away from it.

Example : If one’s life goal is to raise a family that is happy with proper morals. Does TV or the screen move you closer or farther from that goal.

Obviously, these questions can be asked about any addiction or any activity.

Someone said “The greatest victories in life are the personal victories of overcoming one’s own challenges”

Second is to limit Time spent

If you watch 6 hours, try reducing it to 6, then 5 and so on. Take small steps until you reach a healthy goal.

Third is to Reward yourself

Recognize the good that comes out of refraining. Satisfaction comes from overcoming life’s challenges. This is one of them.

Give yourself a chocolate or other perk when you overcome your temptation.

Now I am more selective in what I ingest. I avoid trashy novels. I avoid wasting too much time on news. I try to use my time more productively by spending it with family, telling them stories, helping them with homework, going out with them, playing with them. We have no TV in the house, but distractions still exist – like the other screens – ipad, smart phone, computer.

I tell people sometimes – you want a quick fix to reduce stress – stop watching TV. Avoiding all the scary and stressful things on TV – used to sell commercials – a person lives a less stressful life.

Occasionally towns in the US take upon themselves to stop watching TV for a week or so. They always report afterwards, that they improved their relationships, they enjoyed things in nature and their families more. They were more content and less stressed. They experienced life actively rather than watching it pass on the screen passively. They basically enjoyed life more.

They always seem to be happier after they relinquished the screen.

==
Notes:
* Removing life-support is forbidden according to Halacha / Jewish law. A competent Orthodox Rabbi must consulted before making such decisions.

Still Bother You When They Don’t Return Your “Good Morning”?

rural-field-1363007270NgvA common scene. It is morning. You walk into an elevator full of people. You belt out a hearty “Good Morning!” Silence – Except for that corner person that grumbles something under his breath.” You judge him favorably and think at least he grumbled “Good Morning” or so you think.

Reducing Grouchiness

Eat

Some people are grumpy because they are hungry. Eat a good breakfast with whole wheat bread. The satiety will make you more personable in the morning. A Rabbi suggested to husbands (apparently the same holds true to wives) to eat a snack before they arrive home from work. Thus if they arrive home and find dinner is not ready, the house a mess and the children bouncing balls on the walls – they will be able to better handle it.

Mentally Prepare

Some situations rub us wrong. To some it might be the wrong price rung up at the cash register, to others that dinner is not ready, and to others that children wasting time on the iPad. Imagine what would be the most productive and positive way to deal with the situation and prepare mentally to do so in that situation. When the situation arises, you will know how to handle it.

Purification

Why are people grouchy in the morning?

I don’t know. I remember when I was grouchy in the morning and grouchy if someone woke me. I still become grouchy at times, but Now I am more calm.

It could be because I started doing Netilat Yadayim (ritually purifying hands with water) in the Morning. The Torah tells us that when we sleep one of the parts of the soul ascends to be judged. When it leaves evil forces attach themselves to the body. Apparently this may be one reason why a person feels grouchy when they awake, even if they nap a while.

One solution to the grouchiness : do Netilat Yadayim.

How?

Upon Awakening from sleep or after one’s needs, Take a Wash Cup Keli (vessel) that holds water – preferably one that has two handles. Pour a sufficient amount of water into the vessel, that allows you to completely cover each hand three times with water. (They sell these wash cups usually at a Jewish Bookstore). Pour enough water – that it even reaches the wrist bone – on the right hand. Then do the same for the left. Then Right, then left. Then right, then left. Some add an addition set of pourings to remove the impure water.

Some men immerse in a Mikve – a pool of purifying waters – regularly. That also removes some of the impure forces from the body as well. I did feel somewhat upset today at someone who took something from from me. After the Mikve I felt less vengeful.

The less grouchy you feel, the less likely you will be bothered by other grouches in the morning.

G-d is Good

Another way to relieve the Grouchies is to recognize that everything that God does is for the good. When Someone insulted King David he said, it is not that man that is sending me this insult – it is G-d. He recognized all that happens is from G-d and that all that G-d does is for the good. An insult may be a manner for us to learn to be a bit more sensitive to others.

One can reach higher levels of Self Improvement through Simple Sufferings – provided one learns from them.

A friend to told me. One whose life depends on the stock market, his happiness is dependent upon the stocks. If his stock goes up, his happiness goes up. If it goes down his happiness goes down. Someone whose happiness is dependent upon G-d can always be happy, because he know whatever happens is for the good.

Think Serene Thoughts

Some people are bothered by the “what if?” thoughts. Some are healthy – those that help to prepare properly for the future. Some only help a person to worry. Obviously,
if one banished the negative thoughts, one will be able to handle life better. Think that G-d is in control and he is our Loving Father. A Father wants good. Think that it will be good and it will be good.

Grouchiness is related to stress. Be Cool.

Some people like to blame others. It relieves you of your responsibility, but makes you bitter inside. release yourself from the shackles of animosity and think of the good in your life.

Think that life is good and it will be good.

Self Confidence & Emotional Independence

When upset by someone else’s actions towards us – we show that their approbation is important to us. The Torah wants us to be so self confident that the actions of others towards us have no bearing upon our self-esteem.

The Rambam / Maimonides tells a story of once a person was sleeping under a staircase on a ship. A rich man, wanted to show his disdain for the poor person. He proceeded to urinate on him.

The Rambam relates that that was one of the greatest days of his life – because through this occurrence he realized that he reached a level to be undisturbed by the actions of others. It was him who was in control of his actions. His actions were determined by his thoughts not by his heart. He was a man of action not of reaction. He was a free man.

One explanation of

“The only one who is considered to be a free man is one who occupies himself with Learning Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 6:2)

is Through learning Torah a person internalizes the priorities in life – the closeness to G-d and spiritual advancement – and achieves freedom from material and emotional dependencies. Through the lessons of Torah and working on oneself was this person to achieve the level of self-control and emotional freedom.

King David was on such a height that he asked for suffering. For through it, he would feel solely dependent and attached to G-d. His priority in life was to reach the ultimate close relationship with G-d.

We can also understand Rabbi Eliezer’s statement.

Rabbi Eliezer Hakefar says jealousy & desire & honor remove a person from the world. (Pirkei Avot 4:21)

One who lives his life based upon the approbation of others & his satisfaction is dependent upon them, he does not live his own life & enjoy it. His happiness depends upon the acts of others. Thus his happiness is dependent upon them. A person who makes his happiness dependent upon himself will have the potential to reach true happiness.

Learning Self-Improvement Works from Torah

Through Torah works – we learn the way to handle all kinds of situation. Mussar / Jewish Ethical works – – help us to have a proper perspective on life to be able to better to handle the ups and downs. This is the long term solution, to read, study and internalize the lessons that allow us to better ourselves daily.

Classical Mussar Works include Mesilat Yesharim / the Path of the Just (by Moshe Chaim Luzatto), Shaarei Teshuva (Gates of Repentance), Chovot HaLevavot / Duties of the Heart, Orchot Tzadikim / Paths of the Righteous, Derech Hash-m / the Path of G-d, Cheshbon HaNefesh / Accounting of the Soul. Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers also contains pearls of Wisdom and teachings in Mussar for Self-Improvement.

Giving without receiving

Giving is better than receiving.

When we give to others and they don’t return in kind apparently our giving was with expectation of receiving. A high level of kindness is done by caring for the body of the dead – for one expects no favors from the person in return. If we give purely to give – we await nothing in return. Our Gift is the ability to give. Receiving something in return is secondary or non-consequential.

How Torah Brought the World to a More Perfect State

6a011570601a80970b01156fedb155970c-800wiThe Torah has made changes to the world. To make a comparison to the world of yesteryear and the world of Today brings out some differences.

Here is a resume of some of the points of how the Torah brought the world to a greater state of perfection.:

1. Monotheism – Torah taught the belief in One G-d. People used to commit Idolatry on a larger scale – which included human sacrifices – and anarchy.

2. Respect for Human Life – The Torah gave the Laws to nations to not murder. Now it is on the books of all civilized nations

3. Trial by Judges

4. Respect of the Privacy of Others

5. Respect for Monogamy – Respect of the Sanctity of Marriage and Family

6. Respect for the Body of Others – In Rome the decadence was such that respect of the married, men, women and children was not a value.

7. Not causing pain to Animals

We can see the development in perfecting the world by paralleling them with the 7 Noahide commandments given to all humanity by G-d in the Torah.

The Seven Noahide Laws
They are seven major categories – that with their details consist of 30 laws.

1) Respecting G-d – Not to blaspheme.

2) Being Faithful to G-d – Not to Commit Idolatry.

3) Respecting Human Life – Not to Kill.

4) Respecting One’s Fellow’s Property – Not to Steal.

5) Respecting the Integrity of the Family – Not to commit forbidden relations – which includes prohibitions of adultery, incest, bestiality and homosexuality.

6) Respect of Life
– Not to eat a limb taken from a living animal.

7) Law and Order
– Establishing courts of law to enforce these laws.

Aish HaTorah Offers a 12-Part Series on a Noted Jewish Historian – Rabbi Ken Spiro’s Lectures on “WorldPerfect” by Rabbi Kenneth Spiro.

1: Key Values for a Perfect World – What is the source of our utopian world vision?

2: Value of Life – Today’s violence in sports is child’s play compared to many ancient cultures.

3: War & Peace – Nations often employ the law of the jungle: Might makes right.

4: Justice for All – Greek democracy was far from “one person, one vote.”

5: Mass Education – Education is power. Mass illiteracy keeps people under control.

6: Family Values
– Greek civilization viewed pederasty as the highest form of love.

7: Social Responsibility
– The Jews introduced the key concepts of modern morality.

8: The Jewish Perspective – He who saves one life is as if he saves an entire universe.

9: Jewish Justice & Education
– The Jewish king was not above the law; rather he exemplified it.

10: Jewish Family & Responsibility – Biblical values became the basis for social welfare.

11: Monotheism and its Implications – America’s Founding Fathers turned to the Bible for inspiration.

12: Looking Forward – Everyone is part of the whole, responsible one for another.

Rabbi Kenneth Spiro. also has an Audios and more on Jewish History and the subject of WorldPerfect – how the Torah brought the world to a greater state of perfection.

A recent video explaining the contributions of the Jews can also be seen in a work called “The Mystery of the Jews”

Seeing the Bigger Picture – When Pettiness Stifles

rural-field-1363007270NgvIn the business world, employees come together for a greater purpose. To provide a service or products for a greater public.

It is a Mitzvah / commandment to work. Gentiles also have the commandment to establish the world. Thus by working for a productive purpose, people get rewarded by heaven.

I remember reading about a successful CEO. His philosophy was to make himself obsolete. He would empower employees to allow them to do the jobs themselves.

In some companies, there is a game of “I deserve the position”. Thus my interest will take precedence over my colleagues. Thus, one employee may gain at the detriment of another employee or at the detriment of the company.

The Seven Year Cycle

Every seven years in Israel, the Torah commands farmers to rest from tending to their fields. The fields and vineyards are given a rest in the seventh year. The farmers, with free time on their hands, are free to study Torah. Torah learning does good for the world.

When a farmer is at work, he sees the importance of producing produce for his own good, for his family’s sake, for the people his crop feeds. In the Seventh year he is able to see the greater picture doing good for the world. In the seventh year each person is equal on his field. Each person can come and take what they need to eat. The farmer is no longer the “owner” of his field. It is not him who is in control. He realizes that the true owner is G-d. He realizes that his crops are a G-d given gift. This allows him to grow spiritually.

The Greatness of a Man

Great people are the people who see a greater good, even if it means overlooking their self-interest. A soldier puts his life on the line for a greater purpose to protect his country. A person learning Torah puts his time to help the greater world – for his learning brings great good to the world.

Once a young man wanted to become a Doctor. His father, a rabbi, asked why do you want to become a doctor. He replied: I want to help people, by healing them. He said: If you learn Torah, you will prevent people from becoming ill. The young man heeded his father’s advice. The young man was A. Henach Leibowitz, Former Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim.

The Greater Picture

The world has not yet reached the point of looking at the greater picture. Each one sees – what is my point of view, what is my opinion, what is my background and then promotes it – even to the detriment of others and the world. Many religions caused pogroms and terrible suffering to innocent others because of their myopic view of the world. Many people because of their naive, predisposed or un-thought-out point of view cause damage to innocent others.

When we become mature enough to relinquish our own personal opinions to accept that G-d has our best interests in mind and follow the will of G-d so the world reaches it’s potential.

The world is not yet ready to accept – that the Torah is main law of morality in the world. Why Torah? It was the only law that was given by G-d to a nation of millions of people and witnessed by millions of witnesses. And G-d does not change his mind.

G-d Does Not Change His mind

Many religions are based upon the fact that G-d chose the Jewish nation, but then changed his mind. That is illogical. G-d who is all knowing does not change his “mind”.

In one place in the Torah we see that it seems like G-d changed his “mind” is when Balak saught to appoint the prophet of the nations, Bilaam, to curse the nation. G-d first told Bilaam not to go with Balak. Then Bilaam pleaded with G-d and then G-d said to go with Balak, but not to curse the nation. It seems that G-d changed His “mind”. But really this is akin to a child asking a parent to buy him hot peppers to eat. The parent refuses. The child pleads so much that the parent says OK – thinking “let him learn his lesson, by eating them.”

Judaism is the only religion that adheres not to that philosophy that G-d changes his “mind”.

Disillusioned by Religion

Many people are disillusioned by religion. They look at the horrendous atrocities that they inflicted upon innocent others and rightfully wonder how anyone can honestly follow such a religion that preaches or preached and committed such acts violence.

A common reaction is to take all religions, put them in a bag, and to throw them all out the window. A more wise approach would be to seek truth and consider Judaism – the father of all monotheistic thought – to see if it suits the person. This does not mean a person should seek to convert. It means a person should investigate the laws that Torah sets out for all people – the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah.

Judaism & Heaven

Judaism, unlike many other religions has a two track approach for a person to receive a place in heaven. A person can relinquish their religion and follow the 7 Noahide laws of the Torah. Or they can choose to take a more challenging route, by making an effort to convert to Judaism.

More and More people are learning about the 7 Noahide laws. This is the start of the world reaching it’s potential. When we realize that G-d has our ultimate best interest in mind and yielding to G-d is the way to ultimate happiness and Gentiles realize that the proper path in life is to follow their 7 Noahide laws – that is when the Messiah will come.

The Messiah will come in a generation when either everyone is following good or everyone is following evil. If the former is the case – it will be a peaceful transition. If the latter is the case – the transition will not be so peaceful.

Let’s pray to the G-d of Israel, that we will see the Bigger picture and ultimately see world peace in our times.

Jewish Books that Inspired Me

7147
About the time of my Bar Mitzvah, when confronted with certain difficulties, I started reflecting about life. I thought that G-d was sending me a message to better myself. So I tried to find out more about Judaism. One of my first ventures to coming back to Judaism – started with going to the local public library and searching through the Judaism section. I avoided books that were written contrary to the Torah’s principles – I was searching to become closer to truth, spirituality and G-d. I thus searched for books with an author that had an orthodox background and whose works embodied the true hashkafa / outlook of the Torah. I tended towards books that had aggadah/ stories. It was not only to learn more about Judaism but to sooth my pain. When the difficulties dissipated, my love of Jewish stories continued.

The Jewish BBS

I had an idea many years ago to start a Jewish BBS (Bulletin Board Service). A BBS was usually a site set up by a Sysop (System Operator) – nowadays called a webmaster. There were many such sites on various subjects. In those days to access a site one had to have modem installed in there computer. You would call with the modem a BBS site and they would have files to download, texts, games and more. It was like a precursor to the internet.

So I typed many texts that would help teach people about Judaism. One such text was a list of books. In those days you had to go to a library or Physical bookstore to get access to the books. Today, many books you can order online. I even started a site to sell books online – jerusalemlife.com. But finally, I stopped selling the books and developed the information aspect of the site. Here are the books that I came up with to recommend. Now a plethora of books exist on Jewish topics – from novels, to Jewish law, to Jewish stories, to personal stories, and much more. Some of the Jewish book sites I recommend are :

Feldheim Publishers
Artscroll Publishers

J E W I S H B O O K S
———————————
T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S

AGGADAH/FOLKLORE/STORIES
BIOGRAPHIES
BUSINESS
DEAFNESS
ETHICAL BEHAVIOR and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
FOOD
HEBREW (Learning)
HISTORY
HOLOCAUST
JUDAISM
MEDICAL
NAMES
PHILOSOPHY
RABBIS and RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE:
RELATIONSHIPS and MARRIAGE
SHABBAT and HOLY DAYS
TORAH
TRAVEL
WOMEN

Many of these books can be obtained at your local Jewish bookstore.
It is also possibe to contact the publishers directly.

This list provided by the the Jewish Life Guide.

AGGADAH/FOLKLORE/STORIES:
————————-

The Maggid Speaks
– Favorite Stories and parables of Rabbi Shalom Schwadron shlita,
Maggid of Jerusalem
– By Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn
– Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, NY (1987)

The Stories and Parables of the Hafetz Hayyim
– Gathered and arranged by David Zaretsky
– Translated from the Hebrew by Charles Wengrov
– Edited by Rabbi Isaiah Aryeh Dvorkas (1976)
– Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem / New York

BIOGRAPHIES:
————

The Torah Personality
– A Treasury of Biographical Sketches
– Editor Rabbit Nison Wolpin
– Mesorah Publications Ltd.

The Chazon Ish
– The Life and Idseals of Rabbi Avraham Yeshayah Karelitz
– By Rabbi Shimon Finkelman
– Mesorah Publications Ltd. (1989)

Baba Sali – Rav Yisrael Abuchatzeirah – Our Holy Teacher
– His life, piety, teachings, and miracles.
– By Rav Eliyahu Alfasi and Rav Yechiel Torgeman
– Written and edited by C.T. Bari
– Translated by Leah Dolinger
– The Judaica Press Inc., New York (1986)

Reb Moshe
– The Life and Ideals of HaGaon Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
– By Rabbi Shimon Finkelman with Rabbi Nosson Scherman
– Mesorah Publications Ltd., Brooklyn, New York (1986)

BUSINESS:
———

Business Ethics in Jewish Law
– By Edward Zipperstein
– Ktav Publishing House Inc., New York, NY (1983)

In The Marketplace – Jewish Business Ethics
– By Dr. Meir Tamari
– Targum / Feldheim (1991)

With All Your Possessions
– By Dr. Meir Tamari

COOKING:
——–

Please note: We are not responsible for the Kashrut standards used
in these books. Please consult a Rabbi, if you find a
questionable recipe or ingredient, to find out the
Halachah (Law) on the subject.

The Sephardic Kosher Kitchen
– By Suzy David
– Illustrations by Jean David
– Jonathan David Publishers Inc., Middle Village, New York (1984)

Chinese Kosher Cooking
– By Betty S. Goldberg
– Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, NY (1984)

DEAFNESS:
———

The Deaf Jew in the Modern World
– Edited by Jerome D. Schein and Lester J. Waldman
– Ktav Publishing House for the New York Society for the Deaf (1986)

ETHICAL BEHAVIOR and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:
——————————————-

Ethics from Sinai (3 Volumes)
– Commentaries on famous ethical sayings and wisdom of our early
rabbis.
– By Rabbi Irving M. Bunim
– Feldheim Publishers, New York

Gateway to Self-Knowledge
– A very thorough practical guide that helps one focus his values
and goals in life. An excellent tool for self-improvement.
– By Rabbi Zelig Priskin
– Aish HaTorah

Guard Your Tongue
– An adaptation of the Chofetz Chaim’s book on loshon hora brought
to life with numerous true to life examples of what gossip is and
how to avoid this pitfall.
– By Rabbi Zelig Priskin
– Aish HaTorah

Love Your Neighbor
– A monumental work that gleans from the weekly Torah portion
lessons how to treat ones fellow man. Complimented with inspiring
stories of our Torah scholars.
– By Rabbi Zelig Priskin
– Aish HaTorah

HEBREW (Learning):
——————

Living Language Conversational Manual – Hebrew
– Teaches Hebrew with Books and Audio Materials
– By Samuel Steinberg
– Crown Publishers Inc., New York (1958)

HISTORY:
——–

Behold a People
– The author goes through the entire Biblical period and gives us
interesting insights into our national development, while
pointing out moral lessons that can be learned from our noble
history.
– By Rabbi Avigdor Miller
– R. Avigdor Miller

HOLOCAUST:
———-

Lest We Forget
– Growing up in Nazi Leipzig 1933-1939
– Rabbi Shlomo Wahrman
– Mesorah Publications Inc., Brooklyn, NY

The Holocaust
– An annotated bibliography and resource guide
– Edited by David M. Szonyi
– Ktav Publishing House for the National Jewish Resource Center
New York (1985)

JUDAISM:
——–

Code of Jewish Law – Kitzur Shulhan Aruh (4 Volumes)
– A Compilation of Jewish Law and Customs
– By Rabbi Solomon Ganzfreid, Translated by Hyman Goldman?, LL. B.
– Hebrew Publishing Company (1961)

A Book of Jewish Concepts
– An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Judaism
– By Phillip Birnbaum
– Hebrew Publishing Company, New York (1975)

The Book of Our Heritage (3 Volumes)
– The Jewish Year and Days of Significance
– By Eliyahu Kitov, Translated from the Hebrew `Sefer Hatoda’ah’
By Nathan Bulman
– `A’ Publishers – Jerusalem – New York (1968)

Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot)
– Includes a supplement on TaRYaG Mitzvot (the 613 Commandments),
and Biographies on the Rabbis of the Mishnah
– Text, translation and notes by Phillip Blackman
– Judaica Press, New York, NY (1979)

The Handbook of Jewish Thought
– Jewish concepts on 13 different subjects.
– By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (1979)
– Moznaim Publishing Corp., New York / Jerusalem

The Jew and His Home
– A guide to observance
– By Eliyahu Kitov, Translated by Nathan Bulman
– Shengold Publishers Inc., New York, NY (1984)

The Jewish Dietary Laws
– A guide to their understanding and observance
– By Dayan Dr. I Grunfeld
– The Soncino Press London / Jerusalem / New York

The Kuzari (Kitab al Khazari)
– An Argument for the Faith of Israel
– By Judah Halevi
– Schoken Books – New York (1971)

The Legacy of Sinai
– A history of Torah transmission, with world backgrounds: From
Creation through the close of the Geonic Era [1 – 4798]
– By Rabbi Zechariah Fendel
– Hashkafah Publications, New York (5745/1985)

The Mitzvot
– The 613 Commandments and their rationale.
– By Abraham Chill
– Block Publishing Company, New York, NY (1974)

The Palm Tree of Deborah
– Observances and Attitude of mind in which the ideal of the
“Imitation of G-d” may be realized
– By Rabbi Moses Cordovero
– Translation, Introduction and Notes by Louis Jacobs (1981)
– Sepher-Hermon Press, New York

Reasons for Jewish Customs and Traditions (Ta’amei Minhagim)
– By Rabbi Abraham Sperling, Translated by Rabbi Abraham Matts
– Bloch Publishing Company, New York (1968)

The Sanctity of Speech
– About the power of the tongue, lashon ha-rah, etc.

Strive for Truth
– Selected writings on different aspects of life
– By Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler
– Michtav Me-Eliyahu rendered into English by Aryeh Carmell
– Feldheim Publishers, New York – 5745/1985

To Be a Jew
– A guide to Jewish observance in contemporary life.
– By Rabbi Chaim Donin
– Basic books Inc.

Tzitzit – A Thread of Light
– By Aryeh Kaplan
– National Conference of Synagogue Youth / Union of Orthodox
Jewish Congregations, New York, New York (1984)

A Woman of Valor
– An anthology for the thinking Jewess
– The Lubavitch Foundation of Great Britain (1976)

Tales of the Tongue
– Parables, stories, guidelines, and teachins of the Sages on Proper
speech
– Esther Ehrenreich and Chava Kahan
– Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, NY

Guide to Midoth Improvement
– Text on how to improve your personal qualities
– By Naftali Hoffner (1991)
– Feldheim, New York

The Way of G-d and an Essay on the Fundamentals
– Teaches about the ways of G-d
– Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
– Translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (1977)
– Feldheim, New York (1977)

Mesillat Yesharim – The Path of the Just
– Step-by-step help for those desiring spiritual growth (English &
Hebrew)
– Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
– Translated by Shraga Silverstein
– Feldheim, New York (1966)

Gateway to Happiness
– A practical guide to happiness and peace of mind culled from the
full spectrum of Torah literature
– Rabbi Zelig Pliskin (1983)
– Aish HaTorah Publications
– Benei Yaakov Publications, 1742 East 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11223
– 718-376-5903

Choose Life!
– An Approach for Obtaining Happiness and Meaning Based on the
Principles of Torah and Explained Through the Medium of a Very
Human Story-Like Dialog.
– Also includes Rosh Hashanah: Unveiling the Purpose of Creation
– Rabbi Ezriel Tauber
– Shalheves, PO Box 361, Monsey, NY, 10952, 914-356-3515

Living Each Week
– Explanation, Commentary and Practical Advice from the weekly Torah
Reading (Parashah HaShavuah)
– Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
– Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, NY

Return to the Source
– Selected articles for the intelligent, reasoning, modern Jew who
is trying to unravel the riddle of hid existence.
– Feldheim

Taryag 613
– Useful study guide translates the Rambam’s listing of the 613
mitzvot. With cross references to the Chinuch and Sefer
HaMitzvot.
– By Rabbi Alon I. Tolwin
– Feldheim

MARRIAGE / FAMILY PURITY:
————————-

“How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, Thy dwellings, O Israel!”
(Numbers 24:4)

A Hedge of Roses
– Jewish Insights into Marriage and Married Life
– Norman Lamm (1987)
– Feldheim, New York

A Guide to Jewish Family Laws
– Zev Schostak
– Feldheim, New York

Taharas Am Yisroel
– a guide to the Laws of Taharas Hamishpochoh (Family Purity)
– Rabbi S. Wagschal (1983)
– Philipp Feldheim, New York

Le Judaisme et La Vie Conjugale
– Moshe David Tendler
– Fondation Sefer – Paris

Made in Heaven
– Jewish Wedding Guide. A blend of both the philosophy and
halachic aspects of a Jewish marriage.
– Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (1983)
– Moznaim Publishing Corporation, Brooklyn, NY

The River, the Kettle and the Bird
– The Torah Guide to Successful Marriage
– Aharon Feldman (1987)
– CSB Publications, Jerusalem
– Distributed by Philip Feldheim Inc., Spring Valley, NY

Le Marriage C’est Quoi? C’est une Vocation
– French – Guide pour le couple
– translated and adapted by Rabbi Isaac Zerbib
– Haktav Institute, Jerusalem (5744)

Waters of Eden – The Mystery of the Mikvah
– A new exploration of the concept of mikvah renewal and rebirth
– By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (1982)
– NCSY/Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, NY, NY

The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage
– Popular authoritative presentation of Jewish teaching on love and
marriage in light of the traditions and laws in the Bible.
– By Rabbi Maurice Lamm
– Harper & Row

Jewish Marriage – A Halakhic Ethic
– basic guidelines and advice for the development of a sound
marriage
– Rabbi Reuven Bulka (1986)
– KTAV Publishing House, Inc., NY, NY

The Jew and His Home
– A guide to observance
– By Eliyahu Kitov, Translated by Nathan Bulman
– Shengold Publishers Inc., New York, NY (1984)

Revelations About Marriage
– renewed and enlarged edition of the book Happiness in Marriage
– reveals the deep dimension of married life through the teachings
of the Hebrew letters (Using Gematria – numerology)
– Rabbi Mattityahu Glazerson
– Raz-Ot Institute, Jerusalem

How to Stop an Intermarriage
– A practical and effective guide for parents dealing with the
pitfalls of intermarriage.
– By Rabbi Kalman Packouz
– Aish HaTorah

Jewish Alternatives in Love, Dating and Marriage
– Provides a secure and sensible framework with which to deal with
lifes most challenging and perplexing phenomena; love, dating and
marriage.
– By Rabbi Pinchas Stopler
– National Conference of Synagogue Youth

The Ways of Purity
– Abridged work on family purity laws
– Rav Mordechai Eliahu, Shlita – Richon LeZion, Chief Rabbi of
Israel
– Treanslated by Rav Isaac Habib, Chlita
– Edited by The World Center For The Purity of The Jewish Family
– You can get this book in NY at 718-253-7051

Les Chemins de la Purete
– French – Abridged work on family purity laws
– Rav Mordechai Eliahu, Shlita – Richon LeZion, Chief Rabbi of
Israel
– Treanslated by Rav Isaac Habib, Chlita
– Edited by le Centre Mondial de la Purete de la Maison Juive (The
World Center For The Purity of The Jewish Family)
– You can get this book in NY at 718-253-7051

MEDICAL:
——–

Jewish Medical Law
– A concise Response, compiled and edited from the `Tzitz Eliezer’
– By Rabbi Avraham Steinberg M.D., Translated By David B. Simons M.D.
– Gefen Publishing, Jerusalem/California (1980)

Judaism and Healing – Halakhic Perspectives
– A concise, incisive but non-technical study of major issues in
in medical bio-ethics.
– By J. David Bleich
– Ktav Publishing House

NAMES:
——

The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names
– By Alfred J. Koltach
– Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, New York (1984)

PHILOSOPHY:
———–

Anvil of Sinai
– Deals primarily with the conceptual and philosophical truths of
authentic Judaism.
– By Rabbi Zechariah Fendel
– Hashkafah Publications

Challenge
– Torah views on science and its problems, including Genesis,
evolution, and the ethical dilemma arising out of recent
scientific advances.
– Compiled By Carmel & Domb
– Feldheim

Challenge of Sinai
– An authentic Torah approach to the ever-present challenges of a
changing society. Includes Torah values, sexual mores, zero
population growth, abortion, drug culture and intermarriage.
– By Rabbi Zechariah Fendel
– Hashkafah Publications

RABBIS and RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE:
—————————-

Akiba
– A biographical novel of the great tanna Rabbi Akiba.
– By Marcus Lehman
– Phillip Feldheim, Inc., New York (1956)

A Tzaddik in our Time
– Biography of Rabbi Aryeh Levin, filled with uplifting stories
that testify his piety.
– By Simcha Raz
– Feldheim

SHABBAT:
——–

The Sabbath
– A Guide to its Understanding and Observance
– By Dayan Dr. I. Grunfeld (1981)
– Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem/New York

TALMUD STUDY:
————-

Gateway to the Talmud
– By Rabbi Meir Zvi Bergman

The Student’s Guide Through the Talmud
– By Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Chajes

Aiding Talmud Study
– Gemara Key words and phrases, concise survey of aramaic grammar,
intorduction to the talmud, tables of talmudic weights and
measures, chronological charts, and map of Torah centers
– By Rabbi Aryeh Carmell (1988)
– Feldheim – Jerusalem / New York

Understanding the Talmud
– A Systematic Guide to Talmudic Structure and Methodology
– Rabbi Yitzhak Feigenbaum (1988)
– Feldheim – Jerusalem / New York

The Gateway to Learning
– A systematic introduction to the study of Talmud
– By Rabbi Elyahu Krupnick
– Feldheim – Jerusalem / New York

The Ways of Reason
– A guide to the Talmud and the foundations of dialectics explaining
all the principles of reason and logic in a simple and concise way
– By Rabenu Moshe Chaim Luzzatto zt”l
– Translated by Rabbi David Sackton and Rabbi Chaim Tsholkowsky
(1989)
– Feldheim – Jerusalem / New York

The Oral Law
– By Rabbi H.C. Schimmel

Eshnav HaTalmud (Hebrew)
– A. Z. Melamed

Otzar HaTalmud (Hebrew)
– By Yosef Schecter

TORAH:
——

The Living Torah
– A translation of the Torah that includes study aids such as
introduction, notes, maps, tables, charts, bibliography and
index, which bring the people and the events of the Torah to
life.
– By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
– Maznaim

The Stone Edition – Chumash
– An excellent translation and commentary on the Torah
anthologized from Rabbinical writings.
– by Rabbi Nosson Scherman
– Artscroll – Mesorah Publications, 1994, Brooklyn, NY

TRAVEL:
——-

Asher Israelowitz’s Guide to Jewish Europe
– By Asher Israelowitz (1985)
– Mr. Israelowitz, P.O. Box 228, Brooklyn, NY 11229

WOMEN:
——

In Search of the Jewish Woman
– A contemporary approach for the Jewish Woman based on traditional
sources; her purpose, place and essence in the complex scheme of
life.
– By Yisroel Miller
– Feldheim

Women and Jewish Law
– An exploration of Women’s issues in Halakhik sources
– By Rachel Biale
– Shocken Books, NY (1984)

Publishers:
———-

Benei Yaakov Publications
1742 East 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11223
718-376-5903

Moznaim Publishing Corporation
4304 12th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11219
718-428-7680, 718-853-0525

Mesorah Publications Ltd.
4401 Second Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11232
718-921-9000

Phillip Feldheim Inc.
200 Airport Executive Park
Spring Valley, NY 10977
914-356-2282, 800-237-7149

From the Same Author:
———————

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
– Waters of Eden – The Mystery of the Mikvah (French edition: Les
Eaux d’Eden – Le mystere de la Mikvah)
– Sabbath – Day of Eternity (Fr: Le Chabbat, un jour d’eternite)
– G-d, Man and Tefillin (Fr: D., l’homme et les Tefilline)
– Tzitzis – The Thread of Light (Fr: Les Tzitzith, fil de lumiere)
– The Light Beyond (Fr: La lumiere au dela)
– Adventures in Chassidic Thought (Fr: Aventures dans la pensee
‘hassidique, anthologie)
– The Handbook of Jewish Thought (Fr: Manuel de pensee juive)
– The Bahir (Fr: Le Bahir, commontaire et Traduction)
– Made in Heaven – A Jewish Wedding Guide (Fr: Arrange dans le ciel –
guide du marriage juif)
– The Living Torah (Fr: La Torah vivante)
– If you were G-d (Fr: Si Vous Etiez D.)
– The Infinite Light (Fr: La Lumiere Infinie)

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
– The Path of the Just
– The Ways of Reason
– The Way of G-d

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin (Benei Yaakov Publications)
– Gateway to Happiness (1983)
– The Power of Words (1988)
– Guard Your Tongue – Adapted from the Chofetz Chaim (1975)
– Love Your Neigbor (1977)
– Growth Through Torah (1988)
– Gateway to Self-Knowledge

Rabbi S. Wagschal
– Care of Children on Shabbos and Yom Tov (Holidays)
– Guide to Kashrus (Kosher)
– Sh’mittoh is Here
– Taharas Am Yisrael (Purity of the People of Israel)