Before asking someone for a favor, realize that he might not grant you the favor. Although it is appropriate to think of the best way to influence him to help you out, accept him if he refuses.
And even before you ask for the favor, think how you can judge him positively if he does not help you.
Love Yehuda Lave
If my brother Esau encounters you and asks you, "To whom do you belong, and whither are you going, and what are these things before you?" (Genesis 32:18)
In the homiletic writings, Jacob symbolizes the spiritual, and Esau the secular. Esau tries to seduce a person by saying, "Who do you think you are, anyway? Just where do you think spirituality will get you?"
The spiritual person poses these same questions, but in a different tone. "Where do I belong? Am I but part of the animal kingdom, differing from lower forms of life only by virtue of intellect, or do I belong to a higher order of being? Where am I headed with my life? Do I have an ultimate goal? And what are all these things before me? Am I using objects of the physical world as tools that I can use to reach my goal, or are they ends in themselves to me?"
The very arguments that can draw us away from a spiritual life can be turned back and serve as reasons for embracing spirituality. The physical world has abundant glitter, but emptiness lies beneath its superficial shine. True substance to living lies beyond these temporary pleasures.
Today is the last day of the year, a time for reckoning and asking, "What have I done during the past year that still has value for me today? All the transitory enjoyments of which I partook in the past: what value do they have today?"
A reasonable person chooses things that are of lasting value.
In 2000, Palestinian Arabs launched a campaign of terror which came to be known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Two days earlier, an Israeli soldier was killed by his Palestinian counterpart while on joint patrol, and the next day, Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. The next day, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, Palestinian violence erupted across Israel. (Later investigations indicate that the Palestinian Authority had pre-planned the intifada.) Tuvia Grossman, a 20-year-old Jewish student from Chicago, was thrust into the international limelight on when The New York Times published a photo of him -- bloodied and battered -- crouching beneath a club-wielding Israeli policeman. The caption misidentified him as a Palestinian victim of the intifada. The truth was the total opposite, and the realization that Israel was being unfairly portrayed in the media led to the founding of media monitoring groups such as HonestReporting.com. Over the next four years, Palestinian violence -- bolstered by incitement in the Palestinian media -- would claim the lives of over 1,000 Israelis and 4,000 Palestinians. The attacks included a wave of over 100 suicide bombings that targeted Israeli restaurants, synagogues and buses
Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, commemorates the creation of mankind. God gave Adam a soul, distinguishing him from all other living beings, in his ability to make moral choices and to build a relationship with the Creator. On Rosh Hashana, each person's allotment of life and livelihood is subject to renewal. The Talmud says that on Rosh Hashana, the prayers of the barren women -- Sarah, Rachel and Chana -- were answered; on this day they became pregnant with Isaac, Joseph and the prophet Samuel, respectively. (Sarah's story is the Torah reading on the first day of Rosh Hashana, and Chana's story is the Haftarah.)
What do do in a hotel on shabbos with an electronic key