Torah Perspective – Common Sense and Actions to Take on the Iran Deal

Second_TempleThe Torah is real. Real in terms of it is the only law that was given by G-d that was witnessed by millions of people.

But it is also real in looking at reality.

Some have a bias and make their view of reality based upon their bias.

Like the New Anti-Zionism that has cropped up on campuses – but that is another topic.

The Torah takes reality at face value. You call a spade a spade.

Although the Torah is the first to want peace, it says that peace must be made with partners that are trustworthy to uphold it. If their words are empty rhetoric, treat them thus.

It says if a person wants to kill another person, kill the pursuer first (if you can’t stop them by another means).

Some nations say outright – Death to ______ (Fill in the Blank). Now you want to give them weapons? It is akin to giving an arsonist a blow torch and a large barrel of gasoline.

So who is guilty if you do give the arsonist the tools to burn down a house and he does?

The Torah says both, because you help another person to do a transgression.

Boehner said “Israel is the best informed on Terrorism and Iran.” That is why he invited Netanyahu to speak.

The Jews want peace – but peace that is realistic – not rhetoric.

I heard the CIA is now examining prophesies for some of their inside information. The Jewish Prophesies – that have been extremely accurate – in describing current events provides various scenarios of what will happen prior to the coming of the real Messiah.

The messiah can come when people are all righteous and following the Torah or the opposite.

Unfortunately, it seems that many people are following the contrary path.

If the people are righteous – ie, following the Torah (Jews the 613 Commandments and the Gentiles the Noahide laws) the Messiah will come with peace.

If they are not – it will come with war.

One of the most disturbing scenarios of the war before Messiah comes – called the war of Gog ou Magog – is that of a tremendous war in which 2/3 of the world population will perish. The vilna Gaon – a Genius Torah Scholar calculated – in his time that the war would last 12 minutes. In his time – there was no nuclear weapons. Now we can understand – how a war can last such a short time.

We hope this scenario will not be the one that will bring the Messiah. So we must do our part to be righteous, and prevent as many countries that we can – especially those that are untrustworthy from receiving weapons used offensively against innocent civilians.

Three things each individual can do.

!. Follow the Torah – this will allow one to either allow the Messiah to come peacefully or allow them to likely survive in case there is a war, G-d forbid.

2. Pray to Hashem – that he will stop all nations from receiving or developing weapons that can be used against humanity or for genocide against the innocent.

3. Write to the American Congressmen – Senators and House of Representatives & the President – to voice your opinion on the the Iran deal.

Tisha B’Av – A Day of Mourning & A Day of Hope

Second_TempleTisha B’Av / the Ninth Day of the Month of Av is the National Day of Mourning of the Jewish People.

The origin of Tisha B’Av is in the Torah. When the spies return from Israel to Moshe Rabbeinu / Moses, Our Teacher – 10 out of the 12 give a negative view on the land of Israel. They say that they saw giants there. They say that they cannot conquer the land – because we were in our own eyes like grasshoppers. The people cry. G-d says since you cried now for naught, you will cry in the future for a reason.

Many tragedies happened on the 9th of Av. The Two Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. World War One and Two’s commencement was due to an event that happened on the 9th of Av.

Charlie Harary in a Video On Aish.com explains that G-d is not out to punish people. He wants people to remove their negative attitude of not believing in themselves. Thus, aside for mourning, the destruction of the temples and the tragedies that occured, we should do teshuva / repent and make resolutions to better ourselves through the Torah’s lessons and strengthen our belief in ourselves – in our ability to do good.

Another lesson is is that on Tisha B’Av we begin consolation after midday. At that time, the temple was burning. Why have consolation at such a moment. One explanation I heard is the lesson is to know that when one has fallen so low, the only way is up. We begin the climb upward and towards happiness when we are so low, because we believe in better times ahead.

Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest rabbis of all times saw a fox exiting the Holy of Holies of the Destroyed Beit HaMikdash / Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Rabbis with him started to cry. He started to laugh. They asked “Rabbi Akiva, why do you laugh?” He answered “Why do you cry?”

They said “The holiest place in the world, where the Cohen Gadol / Chief Temple Priest would enter only once on Yom Kippur / the Day of Atonement – the holiest day of the year – and are we not to cry?”

He answered them “In the prophesy it says that a fox will exit the holy of holies. In the prophesy it also says that the Holy Temple will be rebuilt. Now that I see one prophesy being fulfilled, I know that the other prophesy will be fulfilled.”

Three lessons in your Efforts to Come Closer to Torah. Believe in Yourself. Have Hope for the Future. And see the Positive.

Let’s make our effort and commitments towards self-improvement and hopefully by next year we will be celebrating the 9th of Av in the Built Temple – due to our actions of becoming greater – in Jerusalem Next Year. Amen.

All the Lonely People – Where Do They All Come From?

3990958-oriental-decoration-on-a-house-in-marrakechWalking down the street – you see people who seemingly are talking to themselves. Yes, they may have an earpiece. Some really do talk to themselves. Unfortunately, they have no one else to talk to.

Once a person held up another person with a gun. He didn’t want his money. He wanted to let off the problems he had on his chest. He forced the person to listen to his problems to get them off his chest.

The psychologist, therapist, social worker and personal coach industry is booming. Apparently people are lonely. They seek guidance and are even willing to pay for it.

Even People With Friends May Be Lonely

People with friends and family can also be lonely because they are not understood or people don’t have the patience to truly understand them. Others are lonely because their friendships are very superficial. There is commonality – but no depth to their relationship. Others have only a physical attachment to another but there is no emotional or spiritual bond.

Even with many friends one can be lonely. They get a temporary high when they get likes on the facebook page, but it is short satisfaction.

Judaism Creates Deeper Relationships Between People

In Judaism, we go to the depths of a matter. We overlook the superficial for truth and true satisfaction.

Take the Jewish law of Marriage. The Torah has a commandment for a man to get married. The purpose is to procreate, to populate the world and for man to reach his potential in the world. A man may reach perfection when he is united in marriage with a woman. A woman complements him and also puts him in his place when the need be. She provides him with the ability to have children. Gentiles have this commandment as well in the 7 Noahide laws.

A variety of Jewish laws exist to assure that a person will get the most from their relationships. Laws to assure that meaningful family activities take place – like having Shabbat and Holiday meals together. Good deeds to visit the infirm and help those in need. Judaism allows a person to attain a deeper relationship than just having a fun time. Day by day one appreciates his wife. He has children. He teaches, enjoys and appreciates the daily miracle of having and rearing children. He develops true communication skills for understanding, empathizing with and accommodating the feelings with others.

Three Types of Human Relationships

The Torah Recognizes the three types of relationships
– Between Man and Himself
– Between Man and His Fellow
– Between Man and G-d

In each of these relationships one can create an exchange or “connect” physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually.
A man does exercise, he connects physically with himself. He cries, he connects emotionally.
A man can play football with another person, he connects physically with another.
A man gives charity to a Torah cause, he connects to G-d through a physical action.

Some have only a physical exchange. The relationship is no deeper than that. Thus the parties suffer because each is looking for a deeper, emotional, intellectual or spiritual relationship. The deepest relationship is when one can connect spiritually with another – through doing common good – like learning Torah or doing a Mitzvah together. Many suffer, because their relationship is relegated to a material plain. It stops short of the spiritual and thus the relationship stagnates or breaks.

This is one reason for the prohibition of a Jew to intermarry – because in the spiritual – the couple cannot be on the same wavelength. One has 7 Commandments to reach the spiritual the other has 613 commandments. At times they are mutually exclusive. Like – a gentile does not observe the Shabbat, a Jew does. The Torah thus says that a person should be on the same wavelength when marrying. The Torah says that those interested in becoming Jewish, should convert and then marry someone Jewish – to be able to reach a common spiritual ground.

Between Man and Himself

The Torah prompts a person to not accept the status quo. The fact that everybody is doing it isn’t necessarily that it is right. We live on the values that were given by G-d on Mount Sinai – in which Millions of people heard G-d Giving the Torah. No Other Religion Claims this – all other religions were started with one man. As opposed to Judaism – millions of Jews heard G-d talking with them. Thus the values of Torah are divine and the authentic will of G-d.

Now that we know what G-d wants from us – as he gave us guidelines in the Torah – we have clear goals in which to set our self-improvement efforts. We are guided by G-d’s laws and through our efforts we develop a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and slowly develop a more deep relationship with G-d.

When one learns does good and learns about their strengths, they appreciate themselves more and are able to help more people. The Torah makes a person grow.

Between Man and His Fellow
The story of Hillel teaches us the Attitude of the Torah towards others.

Once a gentile wanted to learn about Judaism. He went to the great sage, Shammai. He said – Rabbi I with to learn the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Shammai thought the man was mocking him. Shammai chased him away with his measuring stick.

Then them man went to the great sage Hillel. He said – Rabbi I with to learn the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel replied gently, “What is hateful to you, do not do to others. This is principle the Whole Torah is based upon. The rest is elaboration. Go and Learn.” The man eventually became Jewish.

Many works Like – the Classic Mussar (Jewish ethic) Works teach us how to act properly with our fellow man. We must not embarrass, make a person feel badly, mock others, or lie. And much more. In Judaism, our relations are not an exercise in gratifying our desires – as society preaches – but are a development of a truly sincere, and meaningful relationship with others.

Fish Love

Many people Today are stuck in a one way relationship. Thus they feel lonely. They feel their partner does not understand them and they cannot connect. Some marry the people they think they love and after a year or so the marriage goes bad. Why?

Ask a seafood lover if he likes fish. They will answer – “I Love Fish!” Then ask them – if you really love it, why do you catch fish, and cut them up and then fry them. If you loved them you wouldn’t do that.

Many people use the term love as “I love the gratification that I get from the other. But I have no interest in the other as a person at all.” This is why some people feel lonely in relationship. This is one reason why some women fall for men – with the sweet voices. The man may be flattering to get his way. The woman, naive, thinks that this is a caring person. But really, he cares about her as much as the seafood lover cares for the fish.

Thus it makes more sense finding a person who has similar Torah values and grow with them – than finding someone that says he or she loves you.

Many a time a man leads a woman to think that he wants to marry a woman. She thinks all is fine but after many years she finds that she was just being used. The consequence of “Fish Love.” (There is a cute video on Fish Love oon Aish.com).

Between Man & G-d
Most people seek a deeper relationship with G-d. I heard the reason people travel is that subconsciously they seek a deeper spiritual relationship with G-d. They believe if they travel they might find it.

People are tempted and they go to exotic places like India, Tibet and the Far East to find spirituality. Really they should be traveling to Israel.

Why?

People jump to what seems exciting – without thinking. Their mind follows their heart. First they see what looks enticing and then they follow that. This is why many Jews fall to the snares of cults and other religions – it seems or feels right. They never asked the question “is it actually right?”

True Spirituality

Many people don’t care if they are following truth – they just care if it makes them feel good. In a sense these people are in the same category as alcoholics, as they think – as long as it makes you feel good it is good.

Some people worship men. This is forbidden according to the second commandment of the 10 commandments and The commandment against idolatry in the 7 Noahide laws. Ask a person why he or she worships a man. Do they think that a man created the world. Apparently not. But they follow anyway. Ask – what makes more sense to worship a man as a god or worship the G-d that that man worshiped? But they remain attached because of feeling without thinking.

Learn Who is G-d – Ein Od Milevado

Before worshiping G-d, one must determine who the real G-d is. Otherwise one can find themselves barking up the wrong tree. The Jews Know who G-d is because He performed miracles and wonders for our entire nation in Egypt and in the Desert. He spoke with us from heaven. And those close to him see His Guiding Hand in our daily activities. We know that “Ein Od Milevado.” – there is only Hashem.

Judaism is different. It says start with truth and follow it. That will lead you to true spirituality.

Let’s start with a fresh page.

What is spirituality?

Basically it is the relationship between a person and G-d. When a person is a spiritual person – they have a close relationship with G-d.

There was only one time in the History of man that G-d appeared to millions of people and talked directly to millions of people and millions of people heard G-d talking. That is when G-d gave and spoke the Torah to the entire nation of the Jewish people at Mount Sinai about 3,300 years ago.

So a good point to start towards spirituality is to find out what G-d said. Ask an orthodox rabbi and he will explain that G-d gave 613 commandments to the Jewish People and 7 Major categories commandments to all of Humanity – the Noahide laws.

A person asked a Great Rabbi – I believe it was the Chazon Ish – how to get closer to G-d. He said follow the Halacha / Jewish Torah Law. This is the only way. G-d gave us a path to become closer to him. It does take effort and investment of time and resources and sacrifices, but with work this is the way that a person will truly arrive at feeling close to and loving G-d and at the same time doing the true will of G-d.

Torah Study and Doing Commandments are the vehicles to reach closer to a meanigful and fruitful relationship with the One that said “Let there be Light.”

Economics teaches us a principle, that explains why many relationships fail.

The Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.

It means – the more consumption of a particular item – the less satisfaction you get from that item. It basically explains the attitude of the worker in the ice cream shop. First day – boss says eat as much ice cream as you want. The worker is thrilled. First Day wow. Second day. Good. Third day – Already tired of ice cream.

Society and marketers plays tricks on us.

They show us how you feel that first minute when you just get that car. When you just get that ice cream. When you get that house.

But it wears off. Society sells you glamour. So a person searches for glamour. Perhaps he finds it. Perhaps he doesn’t. Let’s say he does. After a couple days – it wears off.

Society will sell you on the short term. The moment of excitement. That’s why a movie changes shots about every 3 seconds.

Disposable Relationships

So what do you end up with? People searching for that excitement, that romance, that date – but never achieve lasting satisfaction – because after that moment of excitement, the thrill is over. The person is as empty and as lonely as he or she was before.

The short term attitude – leads people to lead lives that do not build. Sometimes an attitude that is destructive.

A person who lives the single life. He goes on date after date after date. He meets many people, but the long-term loving relationship is lost. The building of the relationship is lost. The building of the family is lost.

It’s just jumping from one pleasure to another – and being left with nothing in hand.

G-d gave us the Torah for a person to build himself or herself. It takes the long term view of the world. It sees the end of the game at the beginning.

It gives us laws to build a person, a family, a community and a society.

The Torah has 613 (Taryag) commandments for Jews and 7 Noahide commandments for non-Jews.

Commandments that are common include : Getting married and having children. Working. Helping to build society. Establishing a relationship with G-d / Hash-m.

Observing the Observant Jews – we see many establish families with children and grand children and great grand children. They enjoy enduring relationships.

Why – because they followed the formula to a healthy and happy existence – the Torah.

Nowadays – many date and date and date – never settling down – willingly. It is their choice. It happens in religious circles also – but less often – not because they want to remain single but because “maybe they can find someone better.”

So sure they may have a good time – but they lose the opportunity to build a family and build the world through doing good deeds and the Mitzvah’s from the Torah.

They lose the opportunity to enjoy the joys, challenges and love that children bring.

So what can people that imbibed short sighted vision view of society do? Take one Mitzvah and do it. Learn Torah – and have the attitude when dating to find the right person that will be able to help you raise children that follow in the path of the Torah. Go to a Torah lecture or listen to an Torah audio or video lecture regularly. This will help you get a more clear view of your purpose in the world and to direct your actions to that goal.

Fixing Your Shortcomings
Man was brought to this world to fix their shortcomings. It might be anger. It might be stinginess. It might be disregarding truth in favor of one’s personal interests. Each person has strengths and weaknesses.

When a person makes an effort to fix their weaknesses, one is able to better live a happier life. For following the directives of G-d and fixing one’s shortcomings, they are better able to deal with people.

The Torah tells us to Make friends. Get married and have children. Develop your relation with G-d and community. Do mitzvot. Join Mitzvah Groups like Bikur Holim – who visit and help the infirm in Hospitals or Hatzala – a voluntary ambulance group.

When One follows Torah – They improve their relations between man and man and man and G-d. They are better able to enter into marriage relationships and Better deal with children. Everyday is a new day to enjoy. Every Day is a new day for improvement. Every Day is a new day to reach higher spiritual heights and live a deeper, satisfying life with the people around you.

You Are What You Eat – Keeping Kosher & Its Benefits

falafelToday finding Kosher food is easy. Just Look for the OU symbol or many other reliable kosher symbol on a food package and just buy it. Kosher Restaurants abound in New York and Other Major Cities.

Some buy Kosher because it is Kosher – because it says so in the Torah. Some buy Kosher because they think that it is more healthy. In France, they have a cute rhyme “Manger Cacher, Santé de Fer” which translates as “Eat Kosher, [to have] Health of Iron.” Sounds nice. Is it true? It depends, if one eats in nutritious food in moderation and according to health professionals, could be.

Kosher Food & Health

I heard someone who wants to sing better should avoid dairy products. Doing So sometime impedes a clear voice. True? I don’t know. But There is a cause and effect between what one ingests and the health. In general Kosher food is more healthy because – the slaughtering process is such that it avoids causing pain to the animal. Killing the animal in a non-Kosher way – ie, through shooting, or electrocution – causes pain to the animal. Before the animal dies it emits toxins into the blood stream. Thus Kosher food is more healthy in this sense.

Kosher Food & Character Traits

The Torah also says that one develops certain characteristics of the food that one eats. A person who eats properly slaughtered Cow – it will be more easy for him or her to be docile than a person who regularly eats shark meat or lion meat. If you look at the animals that are Kosher – you see a commonality – they are all docile animals. Thus, spiritually and for self-help eating Kosher is worthwhile.

Being Kosher and Spirituality

One of the Principal benefits of the principle to eat Kosher is the spiritual benefit. One who eats Kosher is able to better develop spiritually than one who does not. Eating kosher gives a person the ability to understand Torah better.

Once a woman asked a rabbi – “what is the reason behind this Jewish law?” He asked her. “Do you eat Kosher?” She responded “No.” He said “Eat Kosher for one month” (apparently to get the non-kosher food out of her system) – “and you will understand.”

Did she take him up on it? I don’t know.

What is Kosher?

The Torah tells us to avoid Animals that Prey on Other animals. We avoid carnivores and do eat certain herbivores.

The Animal must have signs of being Kosher.

For Animals – it must have split hooves and chew its cud.

For Birds – It must have extra toe (towards back), crop, easily peeled gizzard.

For Fish – It must have Fins & Scales.

Also Animals & Birds must be slaughtered properly according to Jewish law – called Shechitah – to be Kosher for consumption.

Ever Min HaHai
All people – Jews and Gentiles may not Eat a limb taken from a live animal. The Animal must dead before one takes a part of the animal to eat it. Taking a limb from a live animal is considered cruel according to Torah and this is one reason to not eat the limb.

Gentiles Not Bound By Kosher Laws
Gentiles are not bound by Kosher laws. The only thing they must be careful about – according to the 7 Noahide laws – is to assure the animal is not Ever Min HaHai – a limb taken from a live animal. A gentile may choose to keep kosher.

Milk & Meat
The Torah also forbids eating milk and meat cooked together. The Rabbis enlarged the boundaries and proibitted also eating milk and meat not cooked together. Once one eats meat -many have the custom to wait six hours before eating a dairy meal. If one ate a dairy meal (excluding hard cheese) one waits half-an hour before eating a meat meal.

Eating in a Non-Kosher Restaurant
Eating in a non-kosher restaurant may pose a problem even if the item is kosher – because of several factors –
Non-Kosher Wine – Wine that is not certified by a kosher organization is not kosher. If it is Kosher wine but it is Not Mevushal (Non-Cooked or Pasturized Wine) if it is handled by certain people it may be rendered non Kosher. Sometimes the Ingredients are kosher – but it is cooked in non-Kosher utensils or in a non-kosher stove. Sometimes the main food is Kosher – but the oil used is non-Kosher – like in certain fast-food restaurants. Thus it is best to eat in Kosher restaurants.

The Rabbis instituted laws to avoid that Jews assimilate. Certain foods must be handled or prepared by Jews for them to be Kosher for consumption. Some include – Meat, Fish, Poultry and bread. Steaks and meat must be cooked by Jews. Home baked bread must be baked by a Jewish person. Non-Cooked / Non-Mevushal Kosher wine – must be handled exclusively by Jewish people.

Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits, Vegetable and nuts are generally Kosher. If it is processed, it is better to check if it has a reliable hechsher – Kosher Supervision Symbol. But one mus assure they have no bugs. When we eat dates we open them up to assure they have no worms. We open other dried fruits as well. We check Lettuce for worms as well. Certain Kosher Organizations offer guides what fruits and vegetables need to be checked and how to check them.

Milk & Eggs
Usually what Comes from an animal retains the same status as what it came from. If milk or eggs came from a Kosher Animal, it is Kosher. If it came from a non-kosher animal, it is not kosher. Eggs, before adding them to a food should be checked to assure there are no blood spots.

Kosher Substitutes
I Once Got the Best Answer on Yahoo Answers. The Question was – “What is Better than Bacon?” I answered “Kosher Bacon.” Kosher Beef Fry is an alternative to Bacon. Apparently it is healthier also. The point is is that for any non-Kosher food there is a kosher substitute. Kosher “Shrimp” – made from certain fish – exist. Kosher “Bacon” – Called Kosher Beef Fry is another substitute.

Kosher-Style is not Necessarily Kosher
One Caveat – assure that the Restaurant or Food has a reliable Kosher Supervision Symbol (see link below), before buying or eating at restaurant. Some think that Kosher-Style is Kosher. Usually – it is not. Thus it always is prudent to check the Kosher Supervision of food or restaurant before buying or entering.

Keeping Kosher These days is rather easy. One just has to apply themselves. Instead of buying a food without a Kosher Symbol, purchase one that has. Instead of ordering Chinese from a non-Kosher restaurant, order it from a Kosher Chinese restaurant. Not too difficult to select one food item instead of another. Not too difficult to call one number instead of another. Or Typing in a Kosher Ordering Service Address in a browser. Maximum Benefits – Minimum Hassle.

Just think – if one feels aggressive towards others, a simple solution – among others – is to eat Kosher. It’s much easier than going to a therapist every week or buying tons of self-help books and letting them gather dust on your bookshelf. :)

I guess there is truth to the French expression – “Manger Cacher, Santé de Fer” which translates as “Eat Kosher, [to have] Health of Iron.” If you take a holistic approach that the health of the person is his spiritual, emotional and physical health – keeping Kosher is the way to go.

— Appendix —
Kosher Animals:
Kosher Animals
Bull, ox, sheep, goat, hart / gazelle, deer, antelope, ibex, addax / chamois, wild ox / bison, giraffe, cow, ram (male sheep),

Kosher Birds
Rooster, chicken, duck, goose, dove, pigeon, quail, turkey, pheasant, partridge

Kosher Fish
Flounder, Talpia, Fillet of Sole, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines

For More Info See:

Devarim / Deuteronomy chapter 14 : 1-19
http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?ACTION=displaypage&BOOK=5&CHAPTER=14

For More information regarding Keeping Kosher see :

ABCs of Kosher
http://www.aish.com/jl/m/mm/48958906.html

For Kosher Symbols that are Reliable see :
Directory of Kosher Certifying Agencies / Reliable Kosher Symbols
http://www.crcweb.org/agency_list.php

Printable list of kosher Agencies
http://www.crcweb.org/agencies.pdf

List of Kosher Fish
http://www.kashrut.com/articles/fish/

FAQ’s on Kosher Fsh from Orthodox Union
https://oukosher.org/blog/consumer-kosher/consumers-faqs-on-kosher-fish/

List of Kosher Animals
http://www.crcweb.org/animal_list.php

Kashrut of Exotic Animals: The Buffalo
http://www.kashrut.com/articles/buffalo/

General information on Kashrut
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/jewfaq/kashrut.htm
http://www.kosherquest.org/

Free Jewish Coloring Book

Jewish General Education Materials
http://www.chinuch.org

Will America Go the Way of Rome? Repercussions of the Supreme Court Decision

us flag flyingTolerance & Respect for All

Judaism is a Tolerant religion. The Torah teaches the precise definition of tolerance. tolerance is being respectful to people regardless of their views or actions.

Bilaam was a prophet. He was employed by King Balak to curse a nation. The nation never did anything against him. But his hatred drove him to accept the task. G-d made Bilaam’s donkey speak with him in human language questioning the morality of his actions. Bilaam was left speechless. He could not answer the donkey.

Though Bilaam was immoral and evil, G-d sends an angel to kill the donkey. This was to preserve the self-respect of Bilaam. If the donkey had lived, people would have pointed to the donkey saying “Look, there is the donkey that Bilaam could not answer.” This would have been a blow to Bilaam’s self-respect. G-d respects the self respect of all people, regardless of their actions.

The Torah commentaries say on this that one day we will return our soul to our Maker. He will also ask us of the morality of our actions. Bilaam was unable to answer a Donkey. Will we be able to answer for our actions to G-d?

Tolerance is not Decadence

Some think tolerance is respecting or adopting any idea regardless of it being moral or immoral. That is not tolerance that is decadence.

Some hide behind the veil of righteousness, humanitarianism or tolerance but use the terms as camouflage to mask their hidden agenda or hatred of others.

The Torah says be respectful to all, but know everyone will be accountable for their actions. They may be rewarded or punished in this world or the next world. But there is surely an accounting.

America is a country that is called in Jewish circles by Torah observers ” Malchut shel chesed” a government of kindness. The US provides millions of humanitarian aid to countries and people in need.

What is Real Kindness

Kindness must be kept in check, lest it be used to the detriment of others. Giving away free food to those in need is kindness. Is giving away cigarettes to youngsters kind?

Is letting criminals go free kindness? Perhaps, some may say for the criminals, but it is cruelty to the society.

Kindness to one may cause cruelty to others. Thus some hide behind the mask of kindness to hurt others.

The Jewish nation knows this game very well. Countries hiding behind humanitarianism to score points against Israel or the Jews. It is an old game.

The Nazis played this game. The ancient Egyptians played the game. and the UN regularly plays the game to the point that it becomes ridiculous and ridiculed, losing any form of credibility.

But that’s another topic. The real point of this article is that what may seem right or feel right is not necessarily right.

The Jews have an advantage over the world, for when we have questions about ethics, we look not to man to determine what is ethical, we look at what G-d said in the Torah to find what is ethical.

The advantage – G-d is good. What He says is good for the person and good for society.

The Noahide Laws

G-d gave the 7 Noahide laws. The laws include prohibition of stealing, prohibition of killing, prohibition of idolatry, establishing courts of laws to enforce these laws, prohibition of eating a limb from a live animal and prohibition of improper relations – including adultery, incest, bestiality and homosexuality.

Each one of these laws are for the good of society. Meaning with them society will function properly. Without them society will fall.

The prohibitions of improper relations is for assuring the integrity of families. All the four subcategories mentioned will break families either in the short or long term. Adultery breaks families. So do the other three.

It is apparent that G-d wants us to enjoy the world. But there are pleasures that are purposeful and build the world or do nothing to destroy it. there are other pleasures that are destructive – either to the individual doing them, to the family unit or to the society. In the spiritual realm, there are pleasures that build and those that destroy.

A smoker is quick to answer “why does it bother you, i’m not hurting anyone?” Anyone who knows of the effects of second-hand smoke will see through the falsity of his claim.

Repercussions for Society

The motto of ancient Rome was “Live and enjoy for tomorrow you die” This creed ultimately brought their downfall.

I heard an audio called WorldPerfect – the contribution of the Jews to Civilization.

One of the facts he mentions is that the Jews brought the idea of integrity of families to to the world.

In ancient Rome, morality – in terms of relations – as defined by the seven laws was practically ignored. Pedastry, adultery, incest, bestiality and homosexuality was common, even encouraged. Eventually population growth slowed and eventually declined. Their immorality caused the breakdown of the family. Due to this breakdown and low infant births, they were lacking enough men for their army. At a certain time they had to employ mercenary soldiers, employed from other countries to defend themselves. Finally Rome fell. It was due to lack of morality.

The long term repercussions of immorality is clearly seen. the short term repercussions of the breakdown of normal marriage is also seen.

The breakdown of normal family is also a repercussion. People have a mother and father and each one brings a unique aspect of caring to the upbringing of the children.

Some who are sensitive to morals of society will now have another reason to leave the US. It might cause immigration from the US due to disdain of the values of country.

Repercussions for People

People who chose same gender marriage will not have families that will be their successors. They do not gain from the pleasure and challenges of rearing children. They cause society loss of population growth.

The major problem of people in life is not being able to look past their nose. They seem to see what is in it for them, but not what are the repercussions of their interests on the bigger picture. This is close minded and detrimental to society. Unfortunately (or fortunately) short sightedness usually leads to the downfall of a person, a company or and entire nation.

We can now understand that that is good as explained by Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai in Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers

The Path of Good & of Evil
9. He [Rabban Yohanan ben Zackai] said to them – go out & see which is the good path to which a person should adhere. Rabbi Eliezer says: A good eye. Rabbi Yehoshua says: A good friend. Rabbi Yossi says: A good neighbor. Rabbi Shimon
says: One who foresees the outcome of his actions & Rabbi Elazar says: A good heart. He said to them I see the words of Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach from your words – for included in his words are your words.

Built into the Torah’s laws – be the 613 commandments for Jews or 7 Noahide laws for gentiles – is the formula to flourish.

Spiritual Repercussion of Morality – G-d’s protection

In Talmud Hullin 92a – refering to a verse in Zecharia (Zacharia 11:12) it explains:

Ulla said, “These [thirty shekels] are [symbols of] the thirty commandments that the sons of Noah accepted upon themselves. But they only keep three of them! One is that [92b] they do not write a ketubah [i.e., marriage contract] for male partners. One is that they do not weigh flesh of the dead [of either humans or animals] to sell in the market. And one is that they respect the Torah.”

Apparently, following those three laws offers protection to the nation that does follow them. The US motto is “One Nation Under G-d, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.” Under G-d – meaning under G-d’s protection. A person said to me today – I need all the protection I can get. Nations also need protection.

Slippery Slope
In philosophy – we learn of the slippery slope argument. Lines must be drawn in order to keep a sane functioning of the world. Our philosophy professor gave the example of Selecting 65 out of 100 as the passing grade. A person may argue, why not 64. It is so close. Another may go further and say 63. And so on until one says what about 0.

Lines must be drawn in society, otherwise the world can tumble into immorality, like in Rome, which caused its downfall.

A logical choice would be the Noahide laws as the basic laws to abide by. These were given by G-d to Adam, then Noah and Moses for the proper functioning of the world. History has shown that those who did not abide by them caused their own destruction, like in Rome.

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.