web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Torah »

Inside-Out


Safran-120613

Jon wasn’t convinced. “That’s all great, but I still say that when it comes down to it, it’s ‘the package’ that counts the most.”

The guys packed up their stuff and headed back to Avi’s place where his mom had set out some bowls of milk and several boxes of cereal for the hungry athletes. Avi picked up a bright, colorful box and began to pour it into Jon’s bowl.

“Whoa, I’ll take some of that other stuff if you don’t mind, it tastes much better.”

But to Jon’s surprise, Avi hid the second box behind his back and wouldn’t pass it to him.

“Hey, c’mon man! Let me have that other cereal.”

“What do you want that for?” Avi said with a smile. “It’s in such a plain box. This cereal here is in a much nicer looking package, and that’s ‘what counts,’ remember?”

Despite himself, Jon couldn’t help laughing – or getting the point either. After breakfast Jon decided to stick around to help Avi shovel out his driveway, and celebrate Chanukah and what it stood for by not just admiring his muscles, but putting them to good use for a worthwhile cause as well.

 

Questions

Ages 3-5

Q.  How did Jon feel about working out at the gym at first?

A.  He felt that it was enough to do it just to look good.

 

Q.  How did he feel in the end?

A.  That it’s important not to just look good, but be good and use what we have to help others.

 

Ages 6-9

Q. What Chanukah message was Avi trying to relate to his friend?

A.  That everything physical, like good looks, athletic talent, and wealth, are only positive things if we use them for good, worthwhile purposes. For example, the muscles he had built by working out weren’t just for admiring or impressing others, but for using them in a way that would help people and make the world a better place.

 

Q.  Who’s more beautiful: someone with a gorgeous face who acts unkindly, or one with not very nice facial features but who acts kindly? Why?

A.  Real beauty isn’t about the color of a person’s eyes or the shape of his nose. Someone can have the most gorgeous face in the world and be hideously ugly if he or she acts cruelly to others. On the other hand, someone who tries to do what’s good and right and cares about others is beautiful no matter what his face looks like. Once we learn how to see with our hearts and not with our eyes, we will understand.

 

Ages 10 and up

Q. Must something have a higher ethical purpose to be beautiful or of value?

A.  At first glance it might seem as if something’s physical appearance and whether or not it is connected to a higher purpose are unrelated. But the Jewish approach is more holistic and sees something’s outer physical properties and its inner spiritual properties as parts of a greater whole, and therefore unless something is spiritually beautiful, which means it is reaching toward its higher purpose, its looks are of little consequence.

 

Q.  Does being spiritual mean pulling away from anything physical or superficial, like trying to look good?

A.  Not at all. True spirituality is not about “escaping” from the physical, nor indulging in it for its own sake, but rather raising the physical up, by using it – but always with an eye on how to connect it to something higher. For instance, when eating a good meal, we should sincerely have in mind to use the energy the food gives us to do good deeds, or in the case of looking good, we should view it as an aspect of staying healthy, or as a way to make a positive impression on those we would like to inspire to improve their lives.

About the Author: Nesanel Yoel Safran is a published writer and yeshiva cook. He has been studying Torah for the last 25 years, and lives in Israel with his family.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Inside-Out”

  1. These virtues and values should be taught to all people, not just children. I just learned what Chanukah represented last year, and the more I learn, the better it seems. Keep using those muscles to drive the good deeds, Nesanel.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
EyalGiladNaftali
Kidnappers/Killers of Naftali, Eyal and Gilad Killed in Shootout
Latest Judaism Stories
The mothers of the three Israeli boys kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists were at the United Nations on June 23, 2014. Naftali Frenkel's mother addressed the UN Human Rights Council.

A statement issued by the Frenkel, Yifrach and Sha’ar families thanks Israel for ‘justice served.’

Teens-091214-Shofar

Hamas’ tunnels were destroyed as were plans for their unparalleled terror attacks on Rosh Hashana.

Hertzberg-092614

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

More Articles from Nesanel Yoel Safran
Safran-120613

In our story a couple of kids discover Chanukah within the walls of a gym.

Safran-110113

A lot of life comes down to one choice – are we committed to things and behaviors that have real, lasting value, or are we ready to give them up for a momentary thrill?

The world was created soooo long ago that we can feel like it’s “old news.” But by just opening our eyes and seeing the amazing design of the natural world around us, we can feel like we have front-rows seats to creation. Hashem made the world and everything in it — including us — with a master plan. By tuning in to the awesome design in everything around us, we can feel connected to that plan and to Him.

What does it mean to be close to somebody else? One way is to be physically near them, but another, more spiritual way is to try to learn from them and emulate their good qualities. When the Torah instructs us to make ourselves close to, or cleave to Hashem, it doesn’t mean by trying to get to heaven in a rocket ship! Rather it means to think about Hashem and emulate His qualities of kindness, patience, fairness, etc. That is the real measure of how close a person is to G-d.

The three weeks period between the 17 of Tammuz and Tisha b’Av, besides being a time to remember and mourn the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash in Yerushalayim, is a very special time to focus on love. The spiritual root cause of the churban and all the other tragedies of Jewish history that resulted from it was sinas chinam, disliking and hating each other for no good reason. So it only makes sense that the way to remedy this is to go out of our way, especially during these three weeks, to try to like and love each other — even for no good reason.

No one lives in a vacuum. No, that doesn’t mean we didn’t get sucked up through a vacuum cleaner hose in the pre-Pesach cleaning frenzy, it means that whether we like it or not, our environment—the people and things around us—makes a big impact on who we are.

How can a person make sure that things will work out right? By doing what is right. When Hashem told the Jewish people to rest their fields and not plant any crops every seventh year, shmitta, it was a huge test of faith, as no crops meant no food! But Hashem also told them that if they did what’s right and listen to Him, they wouldn’t lose out because He’d miraculously give them enough crops in other years to more than make up for the year of rest. And that’s what happened.

Even if nobody sees us, everything we do is being watched and recorded on video…by Hashem. Our conscience, that part of us that makes us feel guilty if we do something we shouldn’t have, is Hashem’s loving way of reminding us that He knows what we did, and knows that we’ll feel better, and become better by coming clean and putting it right.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/inside-out/2013/12/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: