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.
But what if we could replace this critic with a more compassionate voice that reassures us when our vulnerabilities are being exposed? As Dr. Dovid Lieberman, author of Seek Peace And Pursue It: Proven Strategies To Resolve Conflicts In Relationships, has noted:
“Accepting who we are is not the same as approving of our mistakes. When we accept ourselves, we embrace the truth of our imperfection. To see oneself as less than perfect is honest and healthy. Insisting that we are perfect is dishonest and healthy.
The dual themes of acceptance and approval exist in our relationships as well. We often confuse acceptance and approval, where if we do not approve of another’s actions, we cannot accept him. This erroneous thinking not only negates the concept of unconditional love, and results in strained relationships, but also impairs our ability to accept ourselves—faults and all.”
6. I Will Treat Others With Respect And Compassion.
By being in touch with our own humanity and being sympathetic to our own vulnerabilities, we are in a position to extend that gift to others, even if we disagree with them on a particular issue. A key component in doing so is discussed in Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:
“Empathic (from empathy) listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their paradigm, you understand how they feel…
Empathic listening is so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. Instead of projecting your own autobiography and assuming thoughts, feelings, motives and interpretation, you’re dealing with the reality inside another person’s head and heart…You’re focused on receiving the deep communication of another human soul…
When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. And after that vital need is met, you can then focus on influencing or problem solving.
The need for psychological air impacts communication in every area of life.”
7. I Will Seek To Understand Another’s Point Of View Even When I Think It’s Wrong.
Sometimes our ego is so consumed with the truth of its position, there is little room to truly appreciate another’s perspective. The idea of creating space for such a perspective can be threatening. Perhaps we believe that entertaining such ideas will somehow take away from our argument and strengthen the position of our ideological adversary. Or maybe we’re afraid that we ourselves will be “taken in” by a position with which we strongly disagree. But of course, understanding is different than accepting or agreeing with a point of view. I can believe that the death penalty is immoral, but still articulate why others would feel differently. I can see a business proposal as foolhardy, yet still come to understand why the person suggesting it could support it. Ironically, when the other party sees that he is really being heard, he can then respond in kind.
The result can save each party wasted time and energy trying to convince the other person why he or she is “wrong.” As Rabbi Pliskin humorously puts it: “When you find yourself in a conflict with someone, focus on finding solutions. This is in contrast to thinking and speaking in terms of blaming…The person on the receiving end of this blaming rarely responds: ‘You’re right. It’s all my fault. I’ll act better from now on.’ ‘My negative traits are truly negative. I’ll work on refining my character and then the root will be taken care of and we’ll get along.’ ‘…I’ll switch my entire way of thinking, speaking and acting to the way that you do and then we’ll have peace’…Whenever you find yourself in a conflict, ask yourself, ‘What can I say or do that might be a solution to the problem?’”
8. I Will Be Sensitive To My State Of Mind And That Of Others Before Discussing A Contentious Issue.
At the end of a heated argument where hurtful words are said, one or both parties may seek to make amends by explaining that they were under stress, deprived of sleep or simply in a bad mood. The recipient of our anger may say they understand, but often the damage done is not so easily repaired. In retrospect, a simple delay in dealing with an issue could have avoided such harm. Except for time-sensitive emergencies, waiting until a time when both parties are in a better emotional state will have a positive impact that supercedes whatever value could be obtained by discussing something in the moment.
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 email@example.com
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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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