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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘HAPPY’

Happy Aliya Day, Everybody!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Today Millions of American Jews woke up with the sense of excitement that only happens when two essentially contradictory holidays take place on the same day, like Hanukkah and Christmas, Passover and Easter.

It so happens that on the day the United States is celebrating its Election Day, Israelis are joyously marking Aliyah Day. And should the results of today’s elections drive US Jews to make Aliyah, then the connection is absolutely self-explanatory.

Yom HaAliyah-Aliyah Day is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. This date in itself is a celebration of the unique connection that existed during the time of the Second Temple between the Jews of Israel and their brothers and sisters in the diaspora: the rainy season officially begins on the rabbinic calendar on Shmini Atzeret, the holiday that seals the string of high holidays from Rosh Hashanah until Sukkot. But the rabbis decreed that we not begin to actually pray for rain until the 7th of Cheshvan, to allow the Babylonian Jews who just celebrated in Jerusalem to return home before it started to rain.

Strangely enough, the Knersset legislation known as the Aliyah Day Act 5776-2016 states that on the 7th of Cheshvan the country will celebrate the Israelites’ entrance into the Land of Israel on the 10th of Nissan. We called up the Knesset Aliyah Committee, and blessed Tzipi, who picked up the phone with “Happy Aliyah Day,” which absolutely made her day. As to the discrepancy between the two dates, she explained that the Cheshvan date was picked because the Nissan date falls on a school holiday, which is also a Knesset holiday, just before Passover. So they went with Cheshvan 7, when everybody is still fresh and full of zest at the start of the season.

Also, Cheshvan 7 usually falls on the week of Parshat Lech-Lecha, in which our biblical patriarch Abraham was told by God to leave his home and his family and go up to the Land of Israel.

So, if you want to show up your Israeli friends today, just wish them a Happy Aliyah day and watch them squirm…


The Mitzvah To Be Happy

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Because you did not serve Hashem…amid gladness and goodness of heart when everything was abundant.” – Devarim 28:47


At the end of a long prophecy of what will befall us if we don’t follow the ways of Hashem, the Torah seems to lay the blame on one issue: because you did not serve Hashem…amid gladness and goodness of heart when everything was abundant. It seems the pivotal point of these two extremes is based on simcha, implying that serving Hashem with happiness is critical to our success as a nation.

Rabbeinu Bachya explains that this is because the mitzvahs must be done with joy and complete devotion. When the mitzvahs are done without joyfulness, they are lacking in their effect, and can be part of the spiral downward.

He then gives an example of a mitzvah that wasn’t done with complete motivation. The Midrash tells us that when Reuven attempted to save Yosef from his brothers, he said, “Let us put him in the pit.” His intention was to buy some time to eventually save him. However, had he realized he would be recorded in history as the one who saved Yosef, he would have put him on his shoulders and carried him home to his father. From here we see the importance of doing a mitzvah with complete dedication and commitment.

This Rabbeinu Bachya is difficult to understand on two levels. First, how can the Torah command me to be happy? Being happy isn’t an emotion we can turn on and off like a light switch. And how can we relate the effect of doing a mitzvah joyfully to the case of Reuven?

We are well aware that honor is one of the most powerful driving forces in the human condition. Granted, Reuven was a tzaddik, but the fact that he would have been titled the savior of Yosef for eternity is something that would propel a man to extremes. How can that be compared to something as minor as joy in the performance of a mitzvah?

The answer to these questions can best be understood through a different perspective.

Sheldon Adelson is the owner of Las Vegas Sands Corp. In 2003, his net worth was ranked at 1.4 billion dollars. While that is an impressive sum, it didn’t put him anywhere near the richest people in the world. However, when he took his company public, a rather interesting thing happened. His personal wealth increased by 750 percent. By 2004, his personal worth had increased to over 20 billion dollars, making him the fifth richest man in the world. Forbes magazine estimates that over those two years, Adelson’s fortune had been growing by $1 million every hour.

Imagine for a moment what it must feel like to know your wealth is increasing at that rate. You sit down to a leisurely lunch and walk away a million dollars richer. Open a Gemara for the daf yomi – there’s another $750,000. Lie down for a Shabbos nap; wake up three million dollars wealthier. Every moment I live, I become richer and richer.

I Have No Plans of Dying

The single most difficult concept we human beings deal with is our mortality. While we are cognitively aware of it, emotionally we just don’t feel it will happen. With that emotional blindness comes blindness to the value of our actions. Since in our operating reality I will never die, then what I do or don’t do really doesn’t matter.

If for a flashing moment I were to see what the World to Come will be like for me, I would effectively lose free will. The extraordinary accomplishment of one mitzvah would so overwhelm me that I would be completely and radically different – not different physically, not smarter, but much more driven to accomplish my purpose in life.

When Chazal tell us over and over again that mitzvahs are worth far more than the greatest treasures in this world, it is because they had that clarity. In the World to Come we will look back at every chance we had to grow as the greatest opportunity ever given to man. We will look back at our mitzvahs and they will bring us far more joy than earning than a million dollars an hour.

This seems to be the answer to Rabbeinu Bachya. One of the greatest motivators in the human is enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is based on a value system. If I value money, I will be driven to pursue it, and the acquisition of it will bring me great joy. If I gain a deeper perspective on life, then I experience elation, knowing my net worth in the World to Come is growing at an incredible rate. My investments are paying back in spades. That excitement is one of the most powerful motivating forces, equal even to kavod. With it, a person can reach great heights. Without it, a person’s avodas Hashem can become stale and lose its potency.

Ultimately, joy is a great force that both allows a person to enjoy his short stay in this world and propels him to achieve the greatness for which he was created.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Soul Talk – Secrets to a Really Really Happy New Year [audio]

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

There are many concepts connected to the High Holiday’s: Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur that are essential to properly understand in order to make the most of the opportunity of the holidays.

What does it mean that G-d has the book of life and death open during this time? What bad decrees are we trying to avert through mending our ways? What is the power of Repentance, Prayer and Charity giving in revoking these bad decrees?

Join Rabbi David Aaron on Soul Talk to gain a better understanding of essential High Holiday concepts and enter the holidays with clarity and focus.

We welcome your questions and comments. Send us an e-mail at soultalk@israelnewstalkradio.com

Soul Talk 02Oct2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Happy Rosh Hashana from the IDF

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

This video is from 2013, but we’re celebrating Rosh Hashana this year too!

We’ll post the latest IDF Rosh Hashana video once it’s up.

Video of the Day

If You Want to Be Happy, Just… Be Happy?

Monday, September 19th, 2016

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” – William James

“It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us but the lens through which our brain views the world that shapes our reality.” – Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage

“For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespseare


In his book The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything, Neil Pasricha argues that the key to happiness is… happiness! He’s says that we have the formula for happiness backward. He writes, “We think we work hard in order to achieve big success and then we’re happy.”

We think that the model for happiness is as follows: Great Work = Big Success = Be Happy.

Pasricha explains that in reality this isn’t so. Instead, we do great work, we have big successes, but we aren’t happy. In fact, instead of being happy, we set new goals. “Now we study for the next job, the next degree, the next promotion. Why stop at a college degree when you can get a master’s? Why stop at director when you can be VP? Why stop at one house when you can have two? We never get to happiness. It keeps getting pushed further and further away,” says Pasricha.

So, how does happiness work? How can we achieve it? Pasricha says we need to snap off the “Be Happy” piece from the equation above, and stick it on the beginning. In other words, the equation should look like this: Be Happy = Great Work = Big Success.

If we start off happy, then we feel good about ourselves and what we doing. If we feel good about ourselves, we look great. We take care of ourselves. We sustain meaningful relationships with those around us. And, we do great work because we feel great while we are doing it. That great work leads to great success and accomplishments. Therefore, we need to start happy in order to be happy.


Why Aren’t You Happy?

Think about the lives our ancestors lived – they had very little time to be happy. In fact, they were constantly running from danger. If they had a little food, they quickly went out with a full belly to hunt or scavenge for more. If they had stopped to experience the feeling of happiness, they would have been lost because their lives were all about survival. Although society has become civilized and enlightened, we still have many of the same instincts as they did. Our brains are still programmed to look for problems and attempt to solve them. Our brains are still programmed to look for our next meal or next goal.


How Can You Be Happy First?

Pasricha suggests seven steps to achieving happiness first, and then, of course, doing great work and achieving big success.

Three walks. I’ve written about the benefits of exercise for children with ADHD, but exercise can help everyone feel happier. The Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that the more exercise people did, the happier and more contented they were. This needn’t take over your life, as research shows that even three thirty-minute walks a week drastically improve your mood.

The 20-minute replay. If you take 20 minutes to write about a positive experience, you will feel happier, a University of Texas study found. That’s because as you write the experience, you are reliving it. And, you relive it every time you reread the piece you wrote.

Random Acts of Kindness. Performing five random acts of kindness (treating a friend to coffee, driving out of the way to pick someone up, giving a homeless person a meal, etc.) can help you feel better about yourself. Aside from that, people will appreciate your kindness.

A Complete Unplug. Luckily, we do this automatically every Shabbos – we turn off our phones and electronic devices. When you completely unplug, you can recharge for the future. You can even try it after dinner or while on vacation. This “downtime” helps your brain and body be a lot happier and more productive when you are plugged back in.

Hit Flow. Pasricha describes flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Find your flow. And, then try to engage in that activity (running, taking photographs, playing the guitar) often.

2 Minute Meditation. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital discovered that if you take two minutes to engage in mindful meditation, you can rewire your brain for happiness.

Five Gratitudes. Every week, write down five things you are thankful for. This act not only helps you remember all the wonderful things in your life, it also makes you happier and physically healthier.

The bottom line? If you want to be happy, you’ve got to be happy first! Try the steps above to condition your brain toward happiness. The great work and big success will follow.


Register now for a Social Thinking workshop by Michelle Garcia Winner on November 16. Please call Mrs. Schonfeld at 718-382-5437 for more information.

Rifka Schonfeld

How to Prepare for a Happy Retirement

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Planning for a happy retirement is not only a question of money. There are other factors to consider. Wes Moss, financial planner, podcaster, and author of You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, talks about what makes a happy retirement. Retirement is not only about leaving the daily grind of going to work — it should be a time for doing what you have always dreamed of, but were unable to do during your working years. A happy retirement takes into consideration factors other than the size of your bank account. Listen to find out what else you need for an enjoyable retirement.

Have you recently received a letter from your U.S. brokerage firm asking you to transfer out your account? What should you do? Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, of Profile Investment Services, Ltd. explains the steps you can take if you need to end your existing brokerage relationship. Don’t miss the free download of a toolkit that can guide you through the process of managing your U.S. accounts from overseas.

The Goldstein On Gelt Show is a financial podcast. Click on the player below to listen. For show notes and contact details of the guest, go to www.GoldsteinOnGelt.com

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Israelis Not Happy Over Pharrell Williams’ Notice

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

If you live in Israel and are a fan of Pharrell Williams — the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who is known best for his music video “Happy” — you won’t be happy to read the following news.

For reasons unknown, Williams has cancelled his much-anticipated July 21 concert set to be held in Rishon Lezion this summer.

Promoters told media that “unexpected scheduling conflicts” were behind the sudden cancellation and apologized to ‘Happy’ fans, saying the star hoped to reschedule.

There was no mention of pressure on Williams by supporters of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that backs the Palestinian Authority against Israel.

Full refunds to ticket holders are set to begin on Sunday, July 17.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israelis-not-happy-news-about-pharrell-williams/2016/07/13/

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