Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
3. I Accept That G-d May Bring Difficult People Into My Life To Help Me Grow In A Spiritual Direction.
If we are going through a difficult challenge and meet a compassionate stranger who helps us, it is easy to be grateful that G-d brought this person into our life. It’s much harder to thank G-d for the person who makes our life more stressful. However, this person may be an unwitting messenger to help us recognize a part of our character that needs to be addressed.
If I’m struggling to become more patient, perhaps the handyman I hired to fix a few things in my house will take a disproportionately long time to complete the job. If I resist giving charity, I may find myself swindled by an acquaintance who convinces me to invest in a scam. If I judge others harshly, I may find myself castigated by a friend who misinterprets an action I took.
Of course, this does not mean these people are unaccountable for their behavior. No one can excuse his or her negative actions by saying it’s ultimately for someone else’s character development. But at the same time, we can still search for a deeper meaning in the way others act towards us. While we still need to respond to inappropriate behavior from others, our internal anger can be tempered by an awareness of the bigger picture. As Rabbi Tzvi Freeman writes in his book Bringing Heaven Down To Earth:
”Know that all that befalls you comes from a single Source…. And although this person who insulted you, or hurt you, or damaged your property–he is granted free choice and is culpable for his decision to do wrong—(T)hat is HIS problem. That it had to happen to YOU—that is between you and the One Above.”
4. I Examine My Motives When Disagreeing With Another And Am Willing To Receive Guidance To Gain A More Objective Perspective.
Sometimes when there is a disagreement about money, one or both of the parties will declare, “It’s not about the money. It’s about the principle of the matter.” But a neutral person viewing the dispute may think otherwise. The reality is that when our interests are at stake, our mind will consciously or unconsciously seek out arguments that support what we really want.
For example, I want you to invest in my business venture, so your reservations about the economy seem overstated. I am upset about an argument with a friend, so your comments about his positive characteristics are dismissed. I hate to get up early, so my co-worker who suggests an 8:00 a.m. meeting is met with my reasons why it would be better to meet at 11:00 a.m. instead.
The Torah declares that a judge is prohibited from taking a bribe. Fair enough, but what if one takes the money with the intent of judging the case simply on its merits? The bribe is still forbidden because its affect can be so powerful, it can sway a person’s judgment no matter what his or her stated intentions.
So what can two people in an argument do when their own internal “bribes” have been part of their lives for years? At the least, they can seek the opinion of objective outsiders who can see the matter more clearly. Even if the other party doesn’t want to, we can seek out such advice on our own and clarify how our personal bias is affecting our judgment. We can also spend a greater amount of time and introspection determining our true motivations.
5. I Will Treat Myself With Respect And Compassion.
Much of the emotional baggage that exacerbates conflict comes not from the other person, but from within ourselves. To become happier and more secure people, we need to become more adept at changing the unhealthy way of communicating. This process begins by treating ourselves in a spirit of respect and compassion.
For example, if we come at an adversary with a barrage of angry and sarcastic remarks, it could be because our own ego is too fragile to accept we might have made a mistake. We may have a relentless inner critic just waiting to say that we are too stupid, naïve, lazy or some other negative thought triggered by the argument. Our defensive response may very well be a way to staving off that internal critic rather than an attack on the other person.
About the Author: Gary Tolchinsky works at a consulting firm in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he studied mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He is on the Advisory Board of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and is founder of the website jewishbooksforpeace.org. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Do you say Shema before you go to sleep? I’m sure you do.
But perhaps you, like many, feel too tired at night to say the entire tefillah of Kri’as Shema as it appears in the siddur. If you do say the entire tefillah, you will recognize a pasuk in this week’s Haftorah. And if you don’t say the whole Kri’as Shema al Hamitah, perhaps after this column, you’ll re-consider and find yourself connecting with the following very comforting pasuk.
The sand is rapidly running through the hourglass, as the centrifuges in the secret Iranian nuclear plants spin furiously. It is quite clear that the Iranians are on the brink of attaining nuclear capability, and we are well aware of the danger that would face Klal Yisroel in that event, chas v’sholom. All the sanctions, threats, and computer worm attacks do not seem to be stopping them, and it is terrifying. And when we see how vulnerable we are to terrorist attacks anywhere in the world, we become even more terrified.
Miriam spoke disparagingly about Moshe Rabbeinu. Because of this, she contracted tzaras, and for seven days she was sent outside the camp of Israel.
Detached Or Unrelated
‘He Made An Asheirah Tree Into a Ladder…’
In this week’s parshah we read about the individuals who were tamei and thus could not bring the korban Pesach. They approached Moshe Rabbeinu and asked him whether there was anything they could do to bring the korban. Ultimately, Hashem told Moshe that they should bring a korban a month after Pesach, on the 14th of Iyar.
Question: As Shavuot is fast approaching – a holiday on which we dwell on the story of Ruth and the origins of the royal house of David – I was wondering if you could help me resolve something. Some people say that Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi, the redactor of the six orders of the Mishnah and a scion of King David, purposely kept any mention of Chanukah and the Hasmonean kings out of the Mishnah because the Hasmoneans improperly crowned themselves and ignored the rule that all Jewish kings are supposed to come from the tribe of Yehudah. Is this true?
One of the thirty-nine prohibited melachot on Shabbat is carrying an object from a private domain, reshut hayachid, to a public domain, reshut harabim, or carrying an object a distance of four amot, six to eight feet, in a reshut harabim. The Torah does permit, however, carrying within the reshut hayachid itself. The definition of a reshut hayachid and a reshut harabim is crucial, therefore, to the laws of carrying on Shabbat.
Question: The Midrash notes that the song the Jews sang after they crossed the Red Sea (“Az Yashir”) was unique; its likes had never been heard before in the world. Our Sages even refer to it as a shirah chadashah, a “new song.” What made “Az Yashir” so unique and in what sense was it a “new song”?
The rav was not a wealthy man, but earned enough to live comfortably. He earned his money by serving as the rav of a religious community in Yerushalayim. He also received some royalties from sefarim he had written over the years. He was well known, and many people approached him for a berachah, advice and help. They were not turned away.
Tanach, the Hebrew Bible, is remarkable for the extreme realism with which it portrays human character. Its heroes are not superhuman. Its non-heroes are not archetypal villains. The best have failings; the worst often have saving virtues. I know of no other religious literature quite like it.
Last week I shared a letter from a newly observant Jewish woman. She and her husband reside in a small suburban community outside of Los Angeles. Last year they came to consult with me on a personal religious issue. While they were both ba’alei teshuvah, there was one fine difference between them. He had become a ba’al teshuvah earlier than she and was therefore somewhat more settled in an observant lifestyle.
I watch my children use blocks to build a large structure, observing the trepidation with which they add each block. As the structure becomes larger there is a greater risk of it collapsing, thus bringing an end to an hour of playful labor. I anticipate what will happen when one child adds a block to the top floor, compromising the integrity of the building and resulting in the collapse of the entire structure. The argument that ensues is predictable, as each child blames the other for “ruining” the fun. As an adult, I wonder about the need to attribute blame. Will assigning blame be instrumental in rebuilding the structure?
In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses the halachos of when one steals from another and when confronted in beis din, the thief swears falsely with his denial that he stole. This parshah was already taught in parshas Vayikra; however, there are two halachos that the Torah adds in this parshah to this topic.
In order to carry from one’s home into the street (even when the area is enclosed by a properly constructed eruv), the eruvin ceremony must be performed. This ceremony involves the placing of food in one designated home on behalf of all Sabbath observers in the enclosed area. In order for the eruvin ceremony to be valid, however, it must be performed on behalf of all owners of streets and homes in the enclosed area.
As we begin the New Year it is with a sense of hope that we can avoid the painful arguments, hurtful remarks and misunderstandings which have harmed our relationships in the past. We seek to make amends with friends and family over the high holidays and resolve that things will be different in the future. But moving forward, we may also wonder if we can really change patterns of relating that have been perpetuated for years or decades.
About a month ago, we began the Passover Seder by asking “the four questions,” which led to a narrative explaining how the Jewish people were freed from Egypt. We are now in the midst of a forty-nine day process of spiritual growth in which we prepare ourselves to receive the Torah.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/holidays/ten-affirmations-for-a-peaceful-year/2012/09/13/
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