To what degree are you really in touch with what you really want? What are your true core desires for your self and who you can be? As we lead up to the new year-- Rosh HaShanna, these are very important questions to examine.
Anything important life is worth preparing for. This is especially true when it comes to Rosh HaShannah. A new year brings with it new opportunities. But how can I prepare myself to make the most of the holiday and prepare myself to be the best version of myself for the coming year?
As we lead up to the High Holidays, there is a strong emphasis on developing and strengthening our relationship with G-d. The aspect of our relationship that we are working on is Loving G-d. How can we Love G-d in a personal, real way? How can we feel a loving connection to G-d if we have feelings of pain or even anger directed towards Him? What does a loving man/G-d relationship look like?
There are so many opportunities for professional education. But how do I educate the inner me? How can I cultivate and build my internal world to create the best version of myself? Who I become is a conglomerate of the choices that I make. Choosing who I want to be, what character traits I want to refine is the beginning of the journey towards not only having a good life, but choosing a great life!
Tisha B'Av is a difficult day. It's a day of fasting and sadness when we are supposed to feel the loss of the Beit Hamikdash. Yet, it's a day that is hard to relate to as I never experienced life with the Beit Hamikdash that I am mourning and therefore have a hard time fully relating to the loss. Tisha B'Av is a day to mourn many tragedies throughout Jewish history and as real as those tragedies are, how can I personally relate to them and make this day of sadness meaningful?
One of the reasons given for the destruction of the second temple is sinat chinam-- baseless hatred. Is it really common for people to hate with no justified cause? It would seem to be more common for people to dislike, despise or hate another for what sounds like a legitimate reason. What is the true definition of 'sinat chinam' and how can we eradicate it from within?
How can we find G-d in the darkness? How can we sense G-d's presence through difficult times? Why would G-d who is all goodness hide Himself from me and make it so seemingly difficult to find Him?
An essential component to any healthy relationship is trust. What is at the core of this trait and how can we develop it within ourselves and our relationships? How can one learn to trust again when they have been hurt in the past? How can a breach of trust be effectively restored in an ongoing relationship that is in sore need of transformation? The answer to these questions is the key to building and maintaining healthy relationships.
So many of us are weighed down in life due to carrying excess emotional baggage. We may have been carrying the weight of negative emotions for so long that we may not even be able to identify the source of our load so we can more easily let it go. We may know exactly why we are carrying around emotional baggage and see how it's damaging us and our relationships, but still can't let it go. Why is this? How can we break free from emotional baggage that is holding us back from being the best version of self and fly forward towards the healthy, happy me!
As human beings we are unique creations. What is it about man that makes him the crowning glory of creation?
How does one live life forward in the face of challenge, tragedy or illness? What are the tools and perspectives of women who stay strong in spite of the pain of their circumstances?
To what extent are the events in our life a result of choices that we have made or determined by G-d as a part of His divine plan? This is a huge question that is important to think about not only on a philosophical level, but in the way it practically affects our lives and our well-being. Understanding the answer to this question is the secret to inner peace.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you want to make drastic change in your life, you need to admit that you are powerless. Only a power greater than yourself can help you. That power is G-d!
Shavuot is the holiday when we celebrate the giving of the Torah. The Torah includes many rules and restrictions according to which we are expected to live our lives. Why do we celebrate a life of commands and responsibility?
One of the most important components of inner well being and healthy relationships is having proper boundaries. When a relationship of any kind is thriving, it likely has healthy boundaries. When a relationship is struggling, it's boundaries likely need to be re-assessed. How can one go about setting strong, balanced and healthy boundaries? This is an essential question that needs to be evaluated throughout the life of any relationship.
Having a relationship with G-d is so important. Yet, since we don't hear G-d, or see G-d, how can we cultivate a real sense of connection to our creator? As it turns out, we can hear and see G-d and even feel G-d, but doing so requires our developing our senses to G-ds frequency. How? Listen to Soul Talk with Rabbi David Aaron and Leora Mandel to learn how to Make G-d Real in Such Unreal Times.
Life, especially now, is full of uncertainties. So much feels like it's out of our control. To what degree can we be happy in the face of circumstances that include fear, pain and so many unknowns? The choices that we make, especially now, are crucial to determining our joy. How to make choices that turn challenge into opportunity can be learned and is truly empowering.
During the holiday of Pesach, we celebrate the concept of freedom. We were enslaved and oppressed by Pharoh. G-d took us out of Egypt....to give us the Torah..laws to live by and serve Him. How is our slavery to Pharoh different than our service to G-d? How does living by the rules and strictures of the Torah truly give us our freedom?
The world Corona epidemic is making us all nervous. It's making us all aware that we only have so much control of our lives and unsure about what tomorrow may bring. It's also stopping us in our tracks and giving us an opportunity to focus on our priorities and each other. How do we channel our fears and take this challenge to bring out its silver lining?
Where is G-d in the day to day happenings of my life? To what extent do my choices really make a difference in the outcome of G-d's divine plan? The Purim story happened many years ago, yet its relevance rings strong today. G-d's name is absent from the Megillah, yet His presence is directing all aspects of the story and it's outcomes. Thus G-d is hidden within the natural realms of our life, and yet He is palpably there. What do we need to do to sense G-d's reality in our life?
Every person who is born at some point...will die. Where do we go from here? How do we understand life after death and how does this understanding enrich the life we are living here and now?
Life has it's ups and downs. As much as we'd like to always feel good, every person experiences time periods where feeling down is a reality. When we're feeling down, disappointed and even depressed, how do we make sure not to get stuck in a downward slump? How can we get out and move up into a place of joy?
Prayer is a powerful medium through which to connect to G-d and our higher self. Yet, there are times when we might find it difficult to feel connected to prayer or that our prayers are creating the relationship that we're trying achieve with G-d. How can we infuse our prayer with meaning and turn prayer into a trans-formative experience?
We are told "And you should love the Lord your G-d with all of your heart...." There are times in life when we feel tremendously blessed with our lives and 'loving G-d' can be easy. There are times when we are in pain and struggling with challenges and 'loving G-d' can be difficult. What does it mean to 'Love G-d' and how can I love G-d during difficult times in my life?
As human beings, we recognize that at times, we have to give up or sacrifice something that we want now for the sake of a larger goal. At times, we are willing to make such sacrifices (example; missing a football game to study for medical boards) and at other times, we may not be willing to give up what would truly lead to our greater happiness and well being (example; that piece of cake that is going to ruin my diet). Why is it at times so hard to give something up that would ultimately lead to our greater happiness and well being? Why is it so hard to make sacrifices now for the sake of a better future?
Life is full of ups and downs. Good times and times of challenge. Although we all prefer to 'feel good,' we all have times when we have to grapple with painful emotions. This is a part of everyone's human experience. Is there a perspective that can help us to better handle emotional pain? How should we most effectively face our inner self when it's suffering and challenged with real internal pain?
How can we better understand rituals and their importance. How can we connect to ritual...especially those that we cannot logically comprehend? Where do ritual and faith in G-d meet and why can't one stand without the other.
Light and darkness goes beyond a metaphor for good and evil. Inherent in creation, darkness serves a purpose. Understanding the purpose of darkness enables us to gain deeper meaning to the dark times in our lives. How can we enlighten the darkness in the world and in our lives? How can we adjust our perception to use darkness in a purposeful way so that it's elevated and I am elevated through it?
Living life with uncertainty is hard. Going out of our comfort zone is difficult. Yet, it is precisely when we are called to go beyond our sense of self that we can become more and transform not only ourselves, but the entire world. This is the essence of the tests of Abraham and his journey towards becoming the father of he Jewish nation. There is much to learn in our own lives through understanding Abraham's greatness and his journey.
How do you stay true to your values when the society and culture around you is antithetical to the core of your beliefs. How do you stand up for G-d's truth in a world whose relative truth opposes G-d's objective truth?