Passover and the 6 Levels of Freedom – Emancipating Yourself from Autopilot Mode

ca. 2001 --- White Daisy --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisThere are 6 Levels of Freedom
1. Physical Freedom
2. Psychological Freedom
3. Emotional Freedom
4. Mental Freedom
5. Freedom of Choice
6. Freedom of Action

Let’s explain.

Physical Freedom is the freedom to move about a do what a person wants to do with their body or organs. A Person who is restrained by a straight-Jacket or in a jail cell has limited physical freedom.

Psychological freedom is the freedom to think freely. One can think what they want.

Emotional freedom is being in control of one’s emotions. Letting one’s brain decide what they should feel. Not their feelings decide what they should do.

Mental Freedom is not being constrained by the shackles and preconceived notions of society.

Freedom of Choice is the ability to choose the right thing to do given an ethical dilemma or situation.

Freedom of Action can only be partially attained by humans. Humans are completely dependent upon G-d. G-d is not dependent on humans. Thus the freedom of our actions are limited for we depend upon the environment, G-d’s will and other variables to attain a certain action. Only G-d has complete freedom of action. G-d does not die. Man dies. A man cannot prevent himself from dying when his time has come.

When G-d redeemed the Jews from Egypt, the Jews were given all the above freedoms, albeit in a gradual process. The Jews reached the pinnacle of freedom when they received the Torah. They even received a greater portion of Freedom of action. Our sages said that the Jews were given the opportunity to live eternally in their bodies. But the sin of the Golden calf, prevented them from attaining this freedom.

Passover allows us to attain all the above freedoms.

Most, if not all, people in the world are products of their environment.

They have notions of what is right and wrong or good and bad or proper or improper.

However many times they conduct their entire lives by accepting preconceived notions without much thought.

Here are three examples – in which people limit their freedom. Although, they might go against the grain of society, our goal is not to make people feel good about what they are doing, it is to help people use their minds to reach the ultimate good.

1. The Entertainment Industry -

Last I heard, the average American – whatever that means – watches about 5 hours of television a day, uses the computer about 1 hour a day, uses a smart phone for over an hour a day and listens to radio for more than half an hour.

Ok. Fine some is productive, like perhaps typing a letter on the computer to a friend. But how much is unproductive? Imagine the world if one dedicated those hours to helping others. Doing acts of kindness / Gemilut Hasadim to make this world a better place. The world would be a much better place – wouldn’t you think?

Imagine if they used the time to give attention to their families, their children or their spouses? Or if they learned the ethics of the Torah? A much better world would ensue. Better relationships. More meaningful friendships.

2. Religion

Judaism sometimes suffers from stereotyping. People think that religion = fanaticism. Many times I don’t disagree.

Many people follow religions by putting the cart before the wagon. First they say I want to live a certain lifestyle, then they choose a religion that is befitting their lifestyle. Or since their father or mother did this, I will do the same.

In some cases it makes sense – like on Passover – when millions of Jews observe the Passover Seder based upon the transmission of their ancestors and the Torah. The Torah is light years ahead of any other value system in that it was the only time in history that G-d Himself appeared to a nation of millions of eye witnesses to give the Torah at Mount Sinai about 3,300 years ago. And G-d does not change his mind about His laws.

Other religions were started by a handful of people. Many other religions, had a history of tremendous cruelty – like we saw in the inquisition, holocaust and other events, that were encouraged by religions. So is a person that follows that religion guilty by association? I don’t know. I guess one has to decide whether they feel comfortable belonging to the same group or organization of people that were guilty for mass destruction and torture.

Ultimately a person has to decide their own path.

The Torah gives Jews one path and gentiles another path to live righteously. The 613 Commandments for the Jews and the 7 Noahide laws for a Gentile. It is very clearly written, what is right and wrong. Like killing the innocent is clearly wrong according to both.

3. The Preconceived Notions –

Evolution is a respected idea in the secular world. Yet if one would think clearly, it really makes no sense. It is apparently an attempt by scientists to remove G-d from the picture. Clearly throwing sand around in a mixer for thousands (or millions) of years is not going to create a human, a plant, an animal or even the most rudimentary cells of any creature. But people swear by it. Why? Beats me.

I was party to all the preconceived notions above, but suffering woke me up to a new concept – called thinking. I am still not at the level in which, I have become a totally reflecting person. I am still swayed by emotions, preconceived notions and desires. But I hope I am a little better than I was before when TV was my “best friend.”

Now my relationships are deeper. I try to think before doing something or buying something. “Everybody is doing it” or “Every body has it” does not sway me. What does is “Is what I want to do or buy – for the ultimate good of myself, the family or the society?” The Ultimate good is in the Torah.

So now my dilemmas do not stem from knowing what is good and what is bad. That is made clear through learning Torah, classical Torah works or consulting Torah scholars.

Now my dilemmas stem from – is that what I want to do in congruence with what the Torah says. Or knowing what the Torah says – will I be able to overcome the transgressions – or do what the Torah prescribes. At least I am now one step ahead in the game from where I used to be.

So how does one go about getting out of autopilot mode? Thinking. Asking. Learning Torah. Questioning. Getting to the bottom of whether something is ultimately good or not. Being open to Improvement. Taking an honest look at oneself. Evaluating whether you are accomplishing your purpose and potential in life. Being open to the Torah truths.

It all starts with Torah and a will to find truth. Not doing so, one can remain on autopilot their entire life. Doing so, one finds the Ultimate Good in life – in this life and the next.

Passover & Freedom – the Connection

Entrance to the Great PyramidThe Jews were in Egypt for a total of 210 years.

Pharaoh did not immediately enslave the Jews upon their arrival.

He and his people could not bring themselves to as long as Joseph and his brothers were alive.

When they died, He put together a plan. He would say that Egypt needed able bodied workers to help the country.

Pharaoh, the King, himself went out one day and started doing manual labor in the fields.

The Israelites, being idealistic, saw this and were greatly motivated to help.

Little did they know his evil plan.

At first they worked for a wage and voluntarily. The Egyptians slowly changed this to mandatory work without wages – in essence they had tricked the Jews into slavery.

Pharaoh’s plan is the same plan of one’s “evil-inclination.” – the penchant inside a person to do bad. It does not usually tell a person to transgress a serious prohibition immediately. It first tells a person do something that is permitted or a little off or even something that seems like a Mitzvah.

The boss starts talking nicely with his secretary. He tries to help her out with her work.

It’s all for helping her.

Then, he starts talking about her personal life and helping her in that regard. Then he makes personal comments that are slyly disguised as compliments – to draw her closer.

In the end, if it is not stopped the “nice boss” can become a predator.

Unfortunately many marriages were broken this way. Many people fell into the hands of marrying an insincere, wicked person because of their nice words. They marry a snake with a smooth tongue.

A Solution : talk to a competent Torah authority to get the Torah point of view, before making an ethical or life decision.

Just one example.

Example abound.

The Jews had to get out of Egypt before the expected time because they were in danger of becoming eternal slaves. G-d saved the Jews from physical and mental bondage.

Slavery can be physical or mental. The Jews were in danger of becoming ingrained with a slave mentality, thus the rush for G-d to take them out with a “Strong Hand and an Outstretched Arm.”

So what is Freedom.

Freedom is the ability to choose what to do when one is before an ethical dilemma.

Freedom is the ability to do what is right.

Freedom is doing the right thing even though the waves of society are rushing in the opposite direction.

Torah – the Key to Freedom

Torah awakens a person to see what is right and wrong. Now one can choose the proper path – this is freedom of choice.

Part of being free is being able to look at life through examination, analysis and thought. Not just following the flow or keeping up with the Jones. Life is to accomplish good – through exercising one’s freedom of choice. The Torah gives a person the proper perspective to choose properly.

One reason for the great importance of regular Torah learning – Freedom.

Passover Soft Drinks – Better?

Assorted Alcopop DrinksOK.

Some people are the water drinkers, the fruit juice drinkers, but some people still drink Soda.

Many Soft Drinks today contain corn syrup as a sweetener. Apparently it is cheaper than sugar.

Corn falls into the category of Kitniot – legumes. Beans, peas, squash, corn, etc – are Kitniot. Ashkenazim do not eat Kitniot on Passover. Sephardim, do eat Kitniot.

Some Moroccans do not eat chick peas on Passover – apparently because – in Arabic they are Called Hamesats – which sounds strikingly similar to Hamets – any leavened grain food that is forbidden on Passover.

Thus – many soft drinks do not receive Kosher for Passover certification because they contain corn syrup.

Usually Cola contains corn syrup. Beverage Companies make a special production of Cola with Kosher for Passover certification – those bottles with (OU) Kasher L’Pesach / Kosher for Passover certification.

Personally, in my own taste test, I prefer Soda with Sugar.

Enjoy your Soda. (Remember to Say the Beracha)

Happy Passover.

The Sun Will Rise Again – a Letter to those Who are Down or in Difficult Times

Cascading Stream under Sunlight in ForestDear Friend,

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.

Seek help from people & G-d, solve problems, be patient & you will overcome them & become a better person. 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. 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.

Don’t be lead just 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

2. See Good in You

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. Seek help from others instead of hurting yourself. Shouldn’t you save yourself?

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

Order the “You are special card” to remind you of how special you are.

3. People Love You. Talk it with Others

Please don’t hurt yourself. 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 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

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 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.

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.

You can always start over. Here is an article on Starting Over – Wiping the Slate Clean in Judaism

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:
Aish HaTorah
Jerusalem Life

7. Do Good, Be Good & Feel Good

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.

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. Gentiles don’t have to convert to Judaism to receive a place in heaven: they just have to follow the 7 Noahide laws. 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” about his laws.

Noahide Laws

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 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 sue to a lack of spirituality. It may feel it is not performing it’s 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: (the Book is Also very Good reading for Jewish People)

Both works teach how to live life with more meaning.

10. 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 everything works out for the best for you. You have a friend.

All the best.
Your Friend.

P.S. If you need Torah Advice please email us.

Passover Cleaning Simplified

kitchen counter top viewPassover Cleaning.

A new chance to clean your house (and yourself) from Chametz / leavened products.

Find that object that you were looking for for months.

Wonder about those little scraps of paper found with phone numbers without names.

Encounter things for which you have no use but decide to keep them another year “just in case”.

Seeing a daunting task, some say unconsciously “Let me Push it off.”

Here are some suggestions for Passover cleaning:

Select One Corner or One Task and take care of it.

Then go to the next.

Drawers and closets

Remove all, place on a sheet on the carpet, and sort into in piles.

Put similar things together in zip lock bags. Label the bags.

Paper Stuff

For papers : Get Folders, Classifiers (Notebook with plastic sheet covers) and Paper Trays.

Have 4 or 5 paper piles. They can include – Garbage, Recycling, To Shred, Geniza, to File.

File in appropriate places and label the places with a description of that that is there.

Office Supplies

Take 4 or 5 Coffee Cans (Elite are good ones) and Tape them Together so they don’t Fall off the desk. Put pens, markers, pencils and knick knacks in each.

One Room at a Time

When One Room is Finished Put a Sign on Door “Chametz Free. Please Do Not Bring any Food in Room”

Feel Good about Accomplishment

Make a list of things to do. Bar things done every time you finish a task. You feel relieved, “I took care of this task already.”

Prioritize

Do the easy things first. or do the things you want to do first to build up your courage.

Remember – the main thing is to clean the house for chametz and to remove it.

Should Traffic Laws be Abolished? – the Veracity of Judaism

stop?No Stop Signs. No Traffic Lights.

Drive as fast as you want.

Drive the the wrong way down a one way street.

Picnic on the Bus Lane.

Park on the Highway.

Anything goes.

Good Idea?

Obviously not.

Laws exist usually to protect the rights, safety and good of society.

Why would you want to abolish them?

Many people don’t observe them?

Yes. But many people do and that helps the world be a safer place.

A predictable, safe world instead of chaos.

G-d gave the Torah to the Jews.

In the Torah are laws to protect the rights, safety and good of society.

There was only one time in history when G-d appeared to a nation of millions of witnesses to give a law – when G-d gave the Torah to the Jews at Mount Sinai.

Many try to say G-d changed his laws. Some base their religion on this concept – that G-d gave the Torah to the Jews and then “changed His mind” about the laws.

Does it make sense that G-d, who knows all – the past, present and future, changed His “mind” and said – “Let Me change My laws”?

Obviously not.

The Torah Laws given 3,300 years ago are still in effect today.

G-d never changed his laws and never changed his people.

Just one answer to those who think “G-d changed his laws.”

“Should Traffic Signs be Abolished?”

Bettering Yourself through Acting – How to Become Closer to the Real You

archery target 53Tools are at our disposal to become better.

Acting included.

Molding our Personality

At times a person may be angry, depressed, upset, or fearful.

A person can go to extremes.

The Torah’s path is the path of the center.

Not to be extremely emotional or to be so cold that one does not react.

Not to be stingy or a spendthrift.

Two qualities to distance oneself to opposite extremes are – from anger and from haughtiness.

How to Change?

If a person’s nature is to be hot-tempered, how does he or she change?

The answer is in the actors guidebook. ACT calmly.

Many times a person acts a role outside and it has an effect on the person inside.

A person is sad – what to do? The Torah says one’s mood is to be happy?

ACT happy. Although one’s heart is broken, put a smile on one’s face. Force yourself to smile outside and you will eventually feel happier inside as well. Look at the face of a baby who smiles at you, after a hard day at work. You can’t avoid smiling.

To reach the middle path, we can act to the opposite extreme. For instance, if a person is stingy, he or she can make a point to give out many quarters or dollars to Tzedaka / charity daily. This will train them to become generous and they will likely end up in the middle path. Not stingy, but not a spendthrift either.

Once a woman was selling fruit by her fruit cart. Children, looking for a laugh, took some apples from her cart and ran away. She fumed. She casted many angry and insulting words at them, while they were laughing. That moment, her best customer arrived. When she realized that an angry disposition was not going to help her get the sale, she immediately put a big smile on her face.

People sometimes mold themselves according to their experiences. Some become bitter or depressed, because of the actions of others. These experiences G-d sends to help a person keep their eyes on the ball. To realize their purpose in life and pursue it.

We were brought here to achieve a particular purpose and sometimes we need reminders to stay on target. Ideally one can paint a picture of their ideal self and work their way to become the person they wish to become. Ideally one uses experience to better themselves.

Don’t become bitter – become better.

It is only one letter difference. :)

Emotions can be controlled. Our mind can direct what it wants our heart to feel.

Reality Check

Actors at times get so involved in their acting role that the lines between themselves and the acting role become blurred.

To combat this actors have sessions to talk about the personal qualities of other actors together in a group.

We also can conduct a reality check. We do so by taking some time to think and evaluate ourselves and our lives. We can honestly ask ourselves (and even write down):

What is my goal in life?
What is important for me to achieve before I leave the world?
What is my purpose ?
What are my qualities and strengths?
Am I spending too much time escaping and not producing towards my purpose?
What are practical steps I can take to get me closer to achieving my goal in life?
Are there any forces that are hampering my progress in achieving my goals? (Make a Force Field Diagram of Forces pushing you to achieve pitted against forces preventing you from achieving.)
What are the values that I want to teach to my children?
Am I following what G-d expects of me?

The questions are sometimes challenging, but it is better to deal with them now when you can, than later when a person is too old.

I heard a story of a man interested in converting to Judaism. He loved the Torah’s precepts and laws. He kept on pushing off converting till he fell ill. Bedridden, he promised that when he would get better he would convert. Unfortunately, he lost his chance.

Evaluating our life, to see if we are producing will help us achieve our purpose in life. Act quickly and promptly is also essential.

Evaluating Ourselves

Actors receive an evaluation from their peers to keep them attached to reality. It is possible they got the idea from the Yeshivas. Some Yeshivas would have groups of men that were friends together to help them with their goals of self-improvement. They would learn self-improvement works (mussar) and have discussions on how they could improve.

Most important is to know one’s strengths and abilities to be able to achieve one’s purpose in life. One must take an honest look of what their potential is and how it can be used to help others according to Torah.

Torah says, at night before going to sleep one does an accounting of the deeds of the day. We examine the good of our deeds and the lackings to determine What could have been done better. With this one guides their life daily. Doing Teshuva / Returning to Torah ways also helps.

Flattery – Bad Acting

A flatterer is basically an actor. He or she puts on a facade, and words flow from their mouths that have no truth to them for them to get what they want. “That is a beautiful tie.” “We were very impressed by your project.” If you really mean it good. If it is not true, refrain.

Following or Living

In essence one of the questions to come to terms with is : Are we Living or Following? Following the Jones’, without regard for our personality or for our own goals and expectations from the Torah, may bring us down a dark alley away from our proper path. Using our G-d-given abilities and our mind to conduct a reality check regularly, helps assure we will arrive at the proper destination.

We don’t want to come to the next world saying “I wish I would have done this … and this …”

Be Your Real Self

I see sometimes people in the street who are imitators. They see the latest fad or fashion, the latest star or singer and mimic their behavior. They buy fancy clothes and cars so people will associate them with this external “clothing”.

The Torah’s view is the antithesis to this – G-d wants us to be ourselves. It says

“Look into yourself. Know Your Qualities & Your Strengths and be yourself to achieve. Open your mind to your potential. Better Yourself Daily. Be a beautiful individual, not a follower. Be Yourself!”

Good guidebooks to start reaching your potential include: Pirkei Avot and other Self-Improvement Works like: Shaarei Teshuva, Mesilat Yesharim, and Tomer Devora.

For Gentiles I would recommend the book “The Path of the Righteous Gentile”

A person is a soul. The more a person follows Torah, we arrive closer to our ideal self. We become our real self. We reach our inner potential. We start enjoying ourselves and life.

Be positive. Be Proactive. Following the guidance of Torah, You will Go Far.

Animosity Removed – Control Restored

Leg of a Man Standing with a Shovel in a YardSome people irk you.

You remember the bad things they did vaguely.

Still have a bad feeling for what they did?

The Torah says “Don’t Bear a Grudge”

It explains the difference between revenge and a grudge.

Revenge is :

You want to borrow a shovel from your neighbor. He says no you can’t use his shovel. The next day he asks to use your lawn-mower. You say “Just like you didn’t lend me your shovel I refuse to lend you my lawn-mower”

This is revenge.

A grudge is :

You want to borrow a shovel from your neighbor. He says no you can’t use his shovel. The next day he asks to use your lawn-mower. You say “Yes I will lend you my lawn-mower, because I am not like you who refused me yesterday.”

This is a grudge.

So how can we get over these feelings of animosity.

One way is to write the name of the person on a piece of paper. Then write all the good things they did for you and all good things about them. Just brainstorm – write as much as you can, don’t judge the answers.

(This person can even be yourself)

Then look at the list to appreciate the person’s good.

Another way :

I noticed that if a person sometimes meets an acquaintance in another city, they are very happy to see them. So imagine that you are in another city when you meet your acquaintance.

Read books about the importance of loving one’s fellow – like loving one’s fellow Jew by the Chofetz Chaim.

Let positive thoughts flow in your mind and push out the negative.

When animosity leaves, peace of mind enters, and your self control is boosted.

Feeling Good About Yourself – Appreciating Your Own Greatness

Yellow Flower with Red StripesHumility is a good quality.

It is often confused with having a low self-worth.

Really a person should know their qualities and positive characteristics.

Humility, is knowing one’s qualities and not using them to look down upon others.

It is using one’s qualities to help others.

It is acknowledging Hash-m in providing you with these qualities.

Thus each person should recognize and know their own greatness to be able to accomplish as much as they can to help the Jewish people and the world.

Moses was the most humble of all men. Yet his accomplishments were the greatest of all people.

Here is a list of qualities from the book – Gateway to Happiness by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin.

You should feel good about yourself:

Able ● Accepting ● Accessible ● Accomplished ● Accurate ● Adaptable ● Adept ● Adroit ● Affable ● Agile ● Agreeable ● Altruistic ● Ambitious ● Amicable ● Appreciative ● Articulate ● Assertive ● Astute ● Attentive ● Aware ● Beloved ● Benefactor ● Benevolent ● Blissful ● Brave ● Bright ● Brilliant ● Buoyant● Calm ● Candid ● Capable ● Careful ● Caring ● Cautious ● Charitable ● Cheerful ● Clear ● Colorful ● Compassionate ● Composed ● Confident ● Conscientious ● Considerate ● Consistent ● Content ● Cooperative ● Courageous ● Creative ● Daring ● Dauntless ● Decisive ● Deep ● Deliberative ● Dependable ● Devoted ● Devout ● Dexterous ● Dignified ● Diligent ● Direct ● Discreet ● Easygoing ● Earnest ● Educated ● Effective ● Efficient ● Eloquent ● Energetic ● Enthusiastic ● Erudite ● Ethical ● Exact ● Expressive ● Faithful ● Farsighted ● Flexible ● Fluent ● Forgiving ● Frank ● Friendly ● Frugal ● Generous ● Gentle ● Genuine ● Gifted ● Giving ● Good-natured ● Graceful ● Grateful ● Handy ● Happy ● Hardworking ● Healthy ● Helpful ● Honest ● Honorable ● Hopeful ● Hospitable ● Humane ● Humble ● Idealistic ● Imaginative ● Imperturbable ● Indefatigable ● Industrious ● Intellectual ● Intelligent ● Intrepid ● Influences others ● Interesting ● Introspective ● Jolly ● Joyful ● Kind ● Kindhearted ● Knowledgeable● Leadership personality ● Learned ● Lenient ● Level-headed ● Likeable ● Lively ● Lofty ● Logical ● Loving ● Loyal● Magnanimous ● Mature ● Merciful ● Methodical ● Meticulous ● Mild ● Modest ● Moral ● Natural ● Noble ● Novel ● Obedient ● Objective ● Open ● Optimistic ● Orderly ● Organized ● Original ● Outgoing ● Outspoken ● Painstaking ● Patient ● Peace of mind ● Peaceful ● Perspective ● Persevering ● Persuasive ● Poised ●Polished ● Polite ● Popular ● Potential ● Practical ● Precise ● Productive ● Prompt ● Prudent ● Punctual ● Quiet ● Quieting ● Rapport with people ● Rational ● Realistic ● Reasonable ● Refined ● Relaxed ● Reliable ● Resourceful ● Respectful ● Responsible ● Righteous ● Saintly ● Scholarly ● Scrupulous ● Selfless ● Self-control ● Self-esteem ● Self-respect ● Self-sacrificing ● Sense of humor● Sensible● Sensitive● Serene ● Serious ● Sharp ● Sincere ● Skillful ● Smart ● Sociable ● Speedy ● Spirited ● Spiritual ● Stable ● Steadfast ● Steady ● Straightforward ● Studious ● Sweet ● Swift ● Sympathetic ● Systematic ● Tactful ● Talented ● Tasteful ● Thankful ●_ Thorough ● Thoughtful ● Thrifty ● Tidy ● Tolerant ● Tranquil ● Trustful ● Trustworthy ● Truthful ● Unafraid ● Understanding ● Upright ● Venturesome ● Vigorous ● Virtuous ● Warm ● Wholehearted ● Wise ● Will-power ● Zestful

Print it and circle your good qualities. And keep it on your wall to remind you how good you really are.
Order the Card Here

Finding G-d with a Can of Lysol

disinfectant-spray-lgBreakfast.

Eating semi-crisp cereal, you are engrossed reading what is standing on the table.

You can’t hold a book and eat. You don’t want to get milk on your Ipad.

So you read the back of the cereal box.

And maybe even a can of Lysol left by the cleaning lady.

As you munch away you stare at the list of the creatures that Lysol kills.

“Kills the following household germs in 10 minutes.”

Viruses:
Influenza A Virus (New Caledonia/20/99)†
Avian Influenza A Virus (H1N1)
Influenza B Virus (Strain B/Hon Kong/5/72)
Rhinovirus Type 39†
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Rotavrius WA
Hepatitis A Virus
Poliovirus Type 1
Feline Calicivirus (Norovirus)

Bacteria & Fungi:
Salmonella Enterica
Escherichia Coli O157:H7 (E. Coli)
Klebsiella Pneumoniae – NDM-1 Positive*
Klebsiella Pneumoniae Carbapenem Resistant*
Streptococcus Pyogenes
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)*
Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus Faecalis (VRE)*
Listeria Monocytogenes
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Trichophyton Mentagrophytes (Athlete’s Foot Fungus)
Aspergillus Niger (Mold & Mildew)††
Penicillium Chrysogenum††

Many germs that some people cannot even pronounce.

Then it tells where can Lysol be used:

Ambulances
Cafeterias
Clinics
Day Care Centers
Hospitals
Laboratories
Offices
Kitchens
Medical Offices
Nursuries
Nursing Homes
Restaurants
Schools

If you told a person “I saw an Ambulance (or any other place on the list) that was put together by random parts flying in the wind”, they would surely look at you with a raised eyebrow.

Yet some people say all the germs above were formed by random molecules flying together in the wind. And other people say “really?”

Logical?

You decide.