Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gimmel Tamuz - Beginning of Redemption

It obvious to all of us that the main thing is that G-d Almighty should send immediately the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach to redeem the Jewish people in an auspicious time and an auspicious hour with joy and a happy heart.

On Gimmel Tamuz what at first seemed like the beginning of exile turned out to be the beginning of redemption.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In G-d We Trust - An Essay About the Ailing Economy

The economy has been going haywire fast. What are we supposed to think at a time like this? I believe that we have to go back to basics and see why this problem happened in the first place, the complete loss of faith in the American dollar and economy. I mean, what happened over here? Nobody believed that what they were buying was worth anything valuable. No one could trust that salespeople were selling them anything useful. The whole system became who can outsell the next guy? Who can offer some piece of junk to the customer that he doesn't need, and convince his that he really needs it?

The system had to collapse. But we really have to see this as one step backwards in order to to take two steps forward. We have to be astute and realize that we have to put G-d back into the way we do business. A person has to be able to trust that what he is buying is worth the amount that he is paying and that he is not being ripped off. We have to instill back into our society that the idea of cheating and stealing is against the laws of G-d Almighty. Only with such an awareness can the economy recover and become strong again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A rare story of the Alter Rebbe

This unbelievable story was heard in the name of Rabbi Vishedski A'H.

There was once a chossid of the Alter Rebbe. The man was a peddler of goods and made a living traveling from town to town selling his items. One time, by a yechidus, the Rebbe asked him questions and after hearing the chossid's responses, the Alter Rebbe advised him that he should always carry with him three challahs. The chossid did not understand why the Rebbe would give him such a strange instruction, but the chosid did exactly as the Rebbe instructed, trusting that one day he would understand why he got such advice from the Rebbe.

And so it happened, one day that the chossid was traveling before shabbos and he lost his way. Shabbos was approaching soon so he quickly tried to find a place to stay. He knocked on a house and the owner came out with a friendly smile. They exchanged greetings and the chossid explained to the man that he needed a place to stay the night. The man invited him in and led him to his room. Now, this man was a non Jew, when he opened the door and led the chossid into the room, the chosid realized that there was a friend that was going to be staying with him that night. It was a huge dog the size of the chossid himself! He realized that his host is not as friendly as he first appeared to be and quickly turned around to go back. By this time the door was locked and the non Jew told him that it this room “people go in but they do not come out.”

The chossid became very afraid. He figured being in a room with such a friend he did not have long to live. He started praying to G-d and saying vidui (confession). He noticed that the dog was just sitting in his corner. So the chossid began davening mincha. Still, the dog was quiet. He then davened kabbalas shabbos and marriv. The chossid remembered that he had three challas with him so he found some water in the room, washed and made kiddush on the bread. The dog listening to kiddush, so to speak, and afterwards was very excited. The chossid realized that the dog wanted some challah, so he ate a small piece and gave the dog the rest of the loaf. Needless to say, the rest of the night he did not sleep, with such a friend in the room who would sleep? Morning came and the chossid davened shacharis and the same scene repeated itself with the challah.

After shabbos the owner of the house opened the door to the room carrying a broom and bucket hoping to clean up the bones of the man. Lo and behold he found the chossid sitting in one corner and the dog in the other. So he screamed at the dog, "get that Jew, eat him!” but the dog wouldn't move. The chosid realized that when you feed a dog you become its owner. So he said to the dog “get that man!” and the dog jumped on the non Jew and tore him apart and killed him.

Then the dog took the Jew by his kappota and dragged him to the forest. There he took him to a place where the chosid found a great treasure, a chest filled with gold coins. The non Jew acquired it all by killing and stealing it from his former guests. The dog grabbed the Jew again and took him outside the forest near the village. At that point the dog spread dropped dead. The Jew realized where he was and made his way home. Before going home he stopped by the Alter Rebbe to tell him all that had transpired. The Rebbe took him in and told him the following: the dog was a gilgul (reincarnation) of a Jew who did not properly fulfill the mitzvah of eating after making kiddush. His punishment was to be stuck in the body of this dog. When you made kiddush for him this was its' rectification. The reason he took you to show the gold coins is because he wanted to repay you for helping him accomplish his tikkun so he can go to Gan Eden. The Rebbe told the chosid that he should open a business with the gold coins which the chossid did and became a rich man.

Needless to say, the chossid realized why the Rebbe gave him the seemingly strange instruction to carry the three challahs with him at all times.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beautiful, Noahide Universal Laws Movie

Enjoy and learn from these videos. This is video one of five.

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

Video 5

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Journey to see through someone else's eyes

An essay by my friend Joel.

Today I am going to look at writing a story through someone else's eyes. That would make sense if I want to improve my writing skills. Up until now my writing has been through my own eyes. I have to say that I like that more than writing through someone else''s eyes. I feel very uncomfortable trying to speak for someone else. I really don't like it at all. It felt wrong when I have attempted to write from someone else's point of view in the past. For me, it might be wrong today as well. But, that is the exercise of the moment. Can I tell you anything as if I were seeing it through someone else's eyes?

I'm not going to pressure myself to do this. Instead I am going to coach myself and try to find out if it works for me. In the meantime I am going to do what I always have done. Which is, more or less thinking out loud. I have to say that it has been working for me. So, I am not in such a hurry to move into another mode. The danger of trying to stretch myself is that I may stretch myself too far and stop writing altogether. That has happened plenty of times before. I like to think of it as the "burn it up" phase because when I reach it I want to completely destroy everything I had ever written. Somehow the idea of a fire taking it all away is comforting. But that is only when I am in that "burn it up" phase. I try not to get myself into that phase too often.

The thought of writing through someone else's eyes bothers me enough to raise the warning flag. So I will approach this exercise with caution. They say, "he who turns and runs away lives to fight another day." If I'm not up to figuring out how to write through someone else's eyes right now I would prefer doing something else that doesn't raise the "up in smoke" response.

So, here I am. Just me. Talking out loud about nothing.

This is how I start. This is how I begin to explore.

Now you may be thinking...

Boom. There it is. Could this be the beginning of seeing through someone else's eyes?

I don't think so. "Now you may be thinking..." is just what comes up for me when I write. That's me taking both sides of the argument. And frankly, I don't like going that way. I tend to get lost in a made up argument in my head and waste my time and the reader's time trying to defend myself against this inner critic.

I tend to be very critical of my work. So as I am writing, a part of me watches my every move with a critical eye. I am asking myself now what this critic is looking for. Is it the truth? Yes. No. Maybe.

Well, here we go... Now I'm going to get into a conversation with myself about it.

I might as well go for it. The conversations are always going on in my mind. I just don't want to bother you with all of this.

I've been accused of spending too much time thinking about things. I've been told that I should just do it. "Yes, you should think things through but then you need to make a decision and move on from there."

I don't know to what extent I agree with this advice. And this is the kind of conversations I have with the critic in my mind all the time.

This reminds me of a story about how intense these inner conversations can get.


A guy once had the idea to get up very early - at the crack of dawn. So he set his alarm to wake himself up.

When the alarm went off he said to himself, "Wow. What a good idea. I can get so much done by starting my day at this early time. I shouldn't waste a minute."

Then he hears a voice in his mind say, "Yea, but you can remain in bed for a little longer and it won't make that much of a difference. You'll still get what you need to done today."

He thought about it and it sounded like a good idea.

Then a second voice in his mind said, "No, don't listen to him. He's going to mess up your whole day. You need to get your feet moving. The early bird gets the worm."

He considered that and agreed that this is also a good point.

The first voice responded, "But, if you stay in bed a little longer you will feel more rested and therefore you will eventually be more productive."

Anyway, they argued back and forth, each presenting a very compelling side to the argument. The guy said to the voices look I don't have a strong preference either way so I'll let the two you decide whether I should get up or stay in bed. Just tell me when you've come to some consensus.

He figured that as long as they were busy arguing he might as well take a short snooze.

He said he woke up four hours later and they were still arguing. That's how strong the voices can be.


I try to avoid getting sunk by these critical voices. I spend so much time fending off the criticism of these inner critics that I can't imagine writing from someone else's point of view.

I have a list of things that I avoid doing. Evidently, this exercise falls into that category. I may just finish up this entry with the recognition that it was too much for me to do today. I don't see it happening. but at least I got to see what comes up when I consider it.

Written by Joel.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe about intermarriage.

From: Letters from the REBBE volume 2 letter 19

Erev Succos, 5727
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Blessing and Greeting:

I am in receipt of your Express letter, and although it is Erev Yom Tov and not very convenient for correspondence, I will reply as briefly as possible in view of the importance of the matter and your understandable anxiety, I leave it to you're discretion whether to show this letter to your sister, or convey to her its contents.

For a Jewish person to marry a non_Jew is one of the greatest calamities, and not only from the religious viewpoint. Nor is it entirely a personal matter affecting the person involved, for it concerns the whole Jewish people, and there are few transgressions which affect the whole Jewish people as an intermarriage, G-d forbid. It is a transgression also against one's elementary honesty, for it is exceedingly unfair to the other party, from the viewpoint of each, and it is also unfair to their respective good friends, who wish to see their near and dear one lastingly happy, an not otherwise.

It has often been pointed out that marriage in general, even between two persons of similar background, entails a certain risk as to eventual adjustment and compatibility. Even if the two had been acquainted for some time, it is no sure criterion as to what the relationship will be when the acquaintance is turned into a marriage, where the two will be thrown together under one roof for 24 hours in the day, day after day, and week after week, etc.

But when the background is entirely different, and where this deference dated back for scores of generations and consequently of a deep and lasting quality - the chances of adjustment and compatibility are negligible as to be non-existent. Especially, where the difference is of a definitely antagonistic and hostile nature, as has been evidenced by the pogroms and persecutions of Jews in Every land where Jews sojourned in the past 2000 years. Moreover, modern science recognizes the hereditary nature of character traits, particularly deep[rooted ones over generations.

Thus, if one is honest - in the plain sense of the word - one would not wish to drag another party into an alliance which is doomed from the start. And if one truly loves the other, and not in a selfish way, one would certainly not wish to involve the other into such a misfortune,and would readily forgo the prospect of immediate and short-lived pleasure in order to spare the other the inevitable result. Otherwise, the professed love is nothing but selfish and egotistic.

Should there be children from such a union, there is the added consideration of the tragedy of the children having to witness constant friction, and worse, between their parents, which are bound to follow in the natural course.

There is no need to elaborate on this very painful subject.
Needless to say, I am aware of the "argument" that the percentage of intermarriage is a considerable one and many of them seem to last. But it is sure unnecessary to point out that married people try to put on the appearance of a "happy" marriage, being ashamed to confess failure and to reveal the frictions and indignities, etc., suffered at home. In an intermarriage the sense of shame is even greater, knowing that many friends had warned them against it, and they had maintained that their marriage would be different. But as a matter of fact and statistics, the percentage of separations and divorces are incomparably grater than in non-intermarriages.

And another point. In the vast majority of cases, those that enter into an intermarriage are very emotionally invalid. Were thy themselves to be asked about others contemplating such a step, they would counsel against taking a step which would commit each other to possible lifelong misery. Indeed, they would consider it irresponsible to take such a step in an emotional state of mind.

As a postscript I wish to add, that according to Jewish Law the child goes after the mother. Therefore where the mother is Jewish, even if the father is not, the child is Jewish and duty-bound to fulfill all the Mitzvos, etc. Further details may be obtained from any Rov.

Wishing you and yours a happy Yom Tov,

With blessing,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009



There is a dispute in the Gemara over which day the Jews received the Torah from Hashem in Sinai, whether on the 6th day or the 7th of Sivan. All agree that the Torah was given on Shabbos. In the inner dimension of Torah, there are two main ways we serve Hashem: starting from our initiative, or responding to Hashem’s influence on us (from below to above or vice-versa). Receiving the Torah was a spectacular, awesome, stupendous, tantalizing, heart-pounding, indescribable influence from Hashem on us. We responded, “we will do then we will understand”! After all the glitz and glamour, we have to “put our money where our mouth is”, to put on Tefillin, give tzedaka, etc. all the mitzvas. This is the bottom line, what the whole show of Matan Torah was all about. Not to go up to the heavens, rather to bring the heavens down here, make this physical world the abode for G-d Almighty himself by fulfilling his commands and desires. According to Rabbi Yossi in the Gemara, on the 7th day is when we received the Torah because that is when we actually started the service of Hashem which is from below to above, pushing ourselves and toiling ourselves to please Hashem and do his will. As it says in the Torah, “return to your tents…” According to the Rabbis in the Gemara (the other opinion), just the fact that Moshe went up to heaven and brought the Torah down here, already showed this level of service. (Likkutei Sichos) This Shavuos we received the Torah all over again, as if for the first time ever. As we say the blessing before studying Torah, “…Blessed are you H’, who gives us the Torah”. Every time we learn Torah, we have to do so like we are receiving it from Hashem on Sinai. Now that we just experienced Shavuot, how much more so do we need to “be there right now”. We even get special help, because Hashem confuses the Satan and he’s out of the picture just like on Rosh Hashana. By staying up all night and studying Torah on the first night of Shavuot, we show Hashem our love, awe, and respect we have for the Torah and him. The Torah says, if you leave me for one day I will leave you for two days (G-d forbid). And we know that “mida tova meruba me midat puranut” (a good merit is rewarded multiple), so the Torah will be with us the entire year and through this we will merit to reveal the master of the world, Alufo shel olam, with the complete and ultimate redemption of the entire Jewish people and all the worlds NOW!