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?
As much as each person is unique, there are certain character traits, tendencies and desires that all of humanity share. These same traits existed within the first man and woman; Adam & Chava. There is much to learn from the first man and woman to enable us to better understand who we are and what we ultimately really want in life. Understanding human struggle and the quest for what it means to be truly free, and thereby, truly me are as relevant to man today as from the time of creation.
Throughout the year there are times that I portray my true self and others when I betray who I really am. I need to realign my life to reflect the greater me through revealing my own greater good. How can I most effectively do this and enter the time space of Rosh HaShanna with a clear sense of purpose and elevation.
We all have hopes and dreams about how we'd like our life to turn out. Thoughts about an ideal marriage, children, job and even an ideal day. Many of our hopes and dreams do not materialize in the way that we had anticipated. Because of this, we can feel stuck in a place that we don't want to be. How do we change perspective to embrace a new dream....that might be very different than that which we had at an earlier time and make it into a new and great reality.
Ingredients that go into a healthy, loving long term relationship.
What is Spirituality? Is Spirituality a necessary component of an elevated life? Where is the place of the spiritual within the physical world?
Shavuot is the holiday where we celebrate the giving of the Torah. As much as the Torah are instructions for living life, why do we have a holiday celebrating the giving of a bunch of rules? Listen to Soul Talk and learn about the significance of the holiday of Shavuot and how...yes...it's the rules that give life meaning and joy!
"Why are we here & what is the purpose of Life?"
Passover is a holiday of such significance that we not only celebrate and commemorate it once a year, but daily remember the exodus from Egypt in our prayers. What is the deeper significance of this holiday whose impact we must remember daily? How can we tap into the energy of this holiday to make the most of the opportunity that this once yearly time period affords?
Believing in G-d does not always compute to experiencing G-d as reality in our day to day lives. How can we take G-d as a theoretical construct and form an intimate connection and relationship with our creator? What can we do to make G-d's presence more tangible throughout the day?
It's nice when we do good and feel good. Yet, sometimes, we do what we know is right and good and don't feel very good while doing it. Our head says "this is the right thing to do" and our heart says " I don't want to do this." What do we do with ourselves when our head and heart conflict?
The Purim story has so many significant themes whose lessons can be life changing. One of those themes is the choices that we make and how they not only change us, but reverberate outwards. At times, we may not recognize how significant even small actions can be. Ultimately, we are made by our choices and can make the choice to be a player in G-d'd divine plan.
Simcha...often translated as happiness or joy is a state of being that we would all like to be present in. The month of Adar is a time when we are told to increase our Simcha. What is Simcha really and how can we increase it in our lives? This questions becomes all the more important when we are going through challenges and hard times. Can Simcha still be achieved even when times are tough? Listen to Soul Talk with Rabbi David Aaron and Leora Mandel and learn How To Choose Joy! We welcome your questions and comments. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
When you see injustice and hear about a wrong, what do you do? Some are apathetic, some cry 'for shame' and others take action. How should we respond to the many wrongs that come to our attention? Many get frustrated when they try to make a change for the good, and feel that their efforts were in vain as little change takes place. Is it our responsibility to try and make a difference in the face of the myriad corrupt and unfair proceedings that go on around us?
Jealousy is a natural human trait that ultimately hurts us more than those of whom we are jealous. How can we get to the very root of our jealousy, our thinking, and create a perspective on life that will keep us mindful of our own blessings and happy for the blessings of others?
There is an innate need in every person to feel good about themselves. Why is it that for some, feeling good comes at the expense of putting someone else down. The higher road that leads to longer lasting feelings of real self-worth come from doing good for others. Raising another up through kindness and compassion are the true source of internal strength and self-worth. How can we help ourselves...and others choose the higher road.
Some people count their moments. Others make their moments count. How can we maximize time and avoid seeing time continually slip us bye. What ultimately is time and how can understanding the Torah perspective of time change the way we live our lives?
During our journey of life we will go through varying degrees of painful to tragic circumstances. There are many life situations that we have not chosen, yet, whose effects can be very challenging. How do we find purpose and meaning within the challenge? How do we choose mission over misery?
So many aspects of life seem to depend more on end results than effort and intent. Yet, in spiritual matters, its the effort put into any achievement that is really all we can own. It's what happens on the journey more than arriving at a destination where true achievement is to be found.