Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
Remember the Y2K disaster that was expected but did not actaully happen, except perhaps in a minor and almost insignificant way? We might now be facing a Y2020 disaster, though in a different manner.
The Y2K disaster that was expected was due to a computer glitch that was thought to not be able to read the new digits for the new millennium. It was thought that nearly all computer systems worldwide would crash when the calendar turned to January 1, 2000.
The new problem is not one of computer systems but of old, nearly outdated, personal finance systems that almost everybody still uses. Checks. Checks seem to be outdated and unnecessary in today's world of online transfers, digital money, and credit cards. Yet we still use them regularly.
the problem is, as reported by Yediot, that people commonly writes checks using a shortened dating system, such as 01/01/20 to indicate January 1, 2020. The problem with this is that a check is good for 6 months from the date on the check. A bank will honor a check dated January 1, 2020 until June 1, 2020. If the 6 months passes, the check bearer can just hold onto the check and easily alter the date to say 01/01/2021 and then cash it next January.
Another example would be if you give someone a post-dated check for say December 01, 2020 and write the date as 01/12/20 (in Israel the date is written out as dd/mm/yy, unlike in the USA where it is written as mm/dd/yy), perhaps a rent check, the landlord could alter the date to say 01/12/2019 and cash it immediately.
there are myriads of other examples of how this can go bad and become a problem for the person writing the check. The point is that financial experts are advising people to not write 20 for the year indicator but to write it out fully as 2021.
Fore-warned is fore-armed.
For God's Sake, Wake Up by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff
Confronting anti-Semitism requires empowering the next generation with knowledge and Jewish wisdom that engenders Jewish pride and strength.
There was an attack on Jews in New York almost every day last week.
I hear about children crying that they had bad dreams and crawling into their parents' beds.
I watch Joseph Gluck describe the trauma of a child who lay hidden under a pile of coats while a madman wildly swung his machete of hate.
I read the words from the family of Joseph Neumann, who was savagely hacked in the Hanukah massacre. They ask for prayers. Their father, on a respirator and heavily sutured, may have permanent brain damage and will be partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. He may not regain consciousness.
Monsey stabbing victim Josef Neumann in a hospital, in a picture released by his family on January 1, 2020. The family wants everyone to understand the gravity of hate. It is why aish.com chose to include it.
I see the grainy footage time and again of vicious assaults on Jews. Punched. Slapped. Egged. Spit upon. Hit in the head with a table. Hit in the face with a cell phone. Thrown to the ground. Threatened on the bus and subway.
The California haven of Poway. The peaceful neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. The grocery of Jersey City. Synagogues and kosher markets now the bloody battlefront in our new war.
And what of the lives lost, the orphans and widows, the nightmares that remain?
We are not speaking about the Holocaust, pogroms or ancient history. This is the United States of America, "sweet land of liberty", 2020.
What is happening?
Anti-Semitism is not new. But it has been reinvented. And now it has begun to spread like the deadly plague. There is no knowing where it will go.
For us to confront the cancer we must look at what is happening and then work on real solutions.
First, let us stand up against "Holocaust fatigue".
I am the daughter who was born upon the ashes of the Holocaust. From the time that I was a little girl, these were our stories of faith and empowerment. My very name was given for my Bubbie who walked into the flames of Auschwitz with the Shema on her lips. Growing up we understood what it means to live for those who died because they were born Jews. We had a mandate, a mission, and a legacy. We knew exactly how our grandparents and parents were rounded up, stuffed into cattle cars, and forced to stand in the freezing snow at roll call. German Shepard dogs barking and Nazi guards threatening death each day.
Every Friday night I kindle my Bubbie's Shabbos candlesticks that were hidden in the earth before she was taken. Her light shines through me.
But now I stand to speak in a school. I start to tell the story of my mother in Bergen Belsen. I look out at the audience of students and am met with blank stares. These are Jewish kids. I stop my talk and ask, "Raise your hands if you've ever heard of Bergen Belsen." A scattering of hands go up. I can't believe it. I want to cry out. Heaven and earth are witness to the brutality, the murder, but our own children have forgotten. How dare we lose our memory as a people?
If our children are ignorant what do we expect from the rest of the world?
There is a collective feeling that talking about the Holocaust is old, let's move on, it's no longer relevant. The survivors who remain are precious few. We are the ones who must carry the torch of remembrance. If not, the blood of our brothers calls out to us from the ground. We are our brother's keepers.
Just this past week in West Virginia a photo of correction officer cadets giving the Nazi salute led to dozens of firings. Their instructor 'reveled' in the salute and encouraged the class to perform the gesture. Do you think these cadets can begin to understand the terror that their raised arms invoke?
We must do more than go to museums and shout slogans. This is not a debate about more security, self-defense, the second amendment or neighborhood patrols.
It is about giving the next generation Jewish identity. My child, who are you? Where have you come from and where are you going? Have you felt the fire of your soul?
It is about reaching out to others in our world so that they understand that we are a nation who has been persecuted and tormented yet our response is to create, not to devastate. To grow better, not bitter. See us as we see you. We are all created in the image of God.
Next, our college campuses have become hornet nests of hate.
Curriculums are funded by those who wish to push us into the sea. The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) released a 96-page report that campus anti-Semitism, violence and terror have been promoted by the National Students for the Justice of Palestine, (NSJP) impacting students and their minds, creating racism and prejudice. The study was prompted by the question: why have universities become purveyors of anti-Semitism? It was found that billions of dollars were going to American universities by the Muslim Brotherhood and other political Islamist organizations. Convicted terrorists were regularly featured at events and supported through their social media. An example cited on social media from NYU's SJP chapter was this post: "Let the Jews burn silently." NYU's SJP chapter was chosen to receive the university's President's Service Award, for their positive impact on the NYU community.
It has become acceptable, even cool, to bash Israel and spew forth the hatred of BDS. Anybody who stands up for Israel becomes the next target of intimidation. Professors speak out against Israel citing academic freedom and free speech. Make no mistake. This is the same old vile anti-Semitism wrapped in the new package of eliminating Israel and the Jewish state.
We must become unified to combat the viciousness that is spreading from campus to campus. We must help our college kids stay strong in the face of hatred. This mean empowering them with knowledge, Jewish wisdom and history, traditions that bring strength and community. We cannot afford to let our children cower or grow weak. They are spiritually emaciated.
I've spoken to some who think, "If I don't look Jewish they will never come after me." If the Holocaust and our past has taught us anything it is that this oldest hatred does not differentiate between types of Jews. No Jew was asked how religious he was when he was taken to the gas chambers. And no Jew on campus is questioned about his observance. If you cannot stand strong and proud for your beliefs, what kind of world do you live in? These students on campus are going to be our next doctors, lawyers, artists, techies, and government leaders. This is our future. We must stop accepting the crazy as normal.
"Listen to me. I've seen this before…the world is on fire and we are sleeping."
For God's sake, wake up.
6 Steps to Improving Your Relationship With Your Spouse By Miriam Yerushalmi
it's so easy for spouses to become critical of each other. You might be thinking, "When will my spouse start to improve?" And he may be wondering the same thing about you. You might both be waiting for the other to make the first move towards self-improvement. There are better ways and a stronger relationship, and you may find yourself still waiting 50 years later! But there's a better way.
Once upon a time, a competition was held for the best portrait of the king. Unfortunately, the king was ugly: short and hunchbacked, with bulging eyes, a clubfoot and a blemish on his cheek.
The first contestant, who hoped to flatter the king, depicted him as tall and handsome. The king exclaimed: "Are you mocking me?" And he banished the hapless subject.
The next contestant, who prided himself on his honesty, painted the king exactly as he appeared. The king exclaimed: "You have insulted me!" And this unfortunate artist was also banished.
The third contestant portrayed the king realistically, but in a way that no one could detect any deformities. He painted the king seated on his horse, leaning over with a rifle in his hand, as if at a hunt. Because he was bent over, one could not see that he had a hunchback. Because he was squinting at his target, no one could see that his eyes bulged. And since the portrait displayed only one side of the king, no one could see his clubfoot or the blemish on his face.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. We have the ability to perceive any person and any situation in a positive way if we choose to do so.
Here are some steps you can take to get your relationship back onto a positive track and some exercises to keep it there.
1. Overlook Your Spouse's Flaws
In the Chabad siddur, the sentence "I hereby take upon myself the mitzvah of loving my fellow as myself," is recited every morning at the start of the daily prayers. It is followed by the verse, "How goodly are your tents, O' Jacob."1
That verse was originally uttered by the evil prophet, Bilaam, who intended to curse the Israelites as he had been hired to do by Balak, the Moabite king. Instead, Bilaam blessed them, at G‑d's command.
Our sages teach that the word "goodly" refers to the fact that the Israelites in the desert arranged their tents so that the entrances would not face each other, and no one would be able to see into his neighbor's home. According to the Baal Shem Tov, this means that the Jews did not scrutinize their neighbors' faults.
These two statements are juxtaposed in the siddur to remind us that we can attain a true love of our fellow Jew by overlooking his flaws and focusing instead on fixing ourselves.
It is common for us to note the flaws of others. Sometimes, we ignore them; sometimes, we address them directly; sometimes, we approach the topic with caution and tact. Each reaction may be appropriate at some specific time, but the last is usually the wisest course.
You can train yourself to perceive your own and your spouse's attributes realistically, yet positively.
2. Become Self-Aware
The Talmud2 teaches a lesson on the verse "Gather yourselves together and gather [hitkosheshu vakoshu]."3 This can be explained homiletically to mean: Adorn [keshot] yourself and afterward adorn others, i.e., act properly before requiring others to do so. If you happen to peek into someone else's "tent" and see a flaw, look into your own "tent" and examine your own faults.
Reb Mendel Futerfas, famed Chassid of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, often told:
I had been imprisoned
We tend not to search our own "pockets" of imperfection in a Soviet labor camp for teaching Torah. In the barracks, the hardened criminals regularly played cards, although the possession of such an amenity was strictly forbidden. On occasion, a guard would drop by in an effort to confiscate the deck of cards, but incredibly, he was never able to find it.
One day, I asked one of the card players how they always managed to hide the deck. The inmate responded: "We are experienced thieves, and we have quick hands. When a guard comes in, we slip the cards into his pocket. That is the one place he would never think of looking. And when he leaves, we slip the cards out again."
Just as the guard never thought to look inside his own pockets, we tend not to search our own "pockets" of imperfection, but instead look into the "pockets" of those around us. Were we to look in our own pockets, at our own flaws, we would realize that change is not easy. Once we accept that, we would be more patient with others and less eager to criticize them.
3. Realize That Every Negative Attribute Is an Unrectified Positive Attribute
We can more readily discern the potential good when we realize that every negative attribute is simply an unrectified positive attribute. For example, a person who has a fiery temperament can channel that fire towards a passion for praying, for learning, for helping people and loving G‑d. A person whose earthy temperament inclines her towards depression can channel her introspection to a thorough investigation and a thought-out solution for a difficult situation.
Realize that an apparent negative character trait is actually a misdirection of the soul's great potential for holiness. Work on drawing that flaw back to its source of holiness. Doing so will help you see the good within yourself or your spouse, even if it is buried deep. When we elevate ourselves, we influence others to make positive changes of their own.
4. Love Yourself
The Tzemach Tzedek, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, taught that since the soul of every Jew is connected to all other Jews, when you clear your mind from negative thoughts toward another, you have a whole heart.4
Ahavat Yisrael, "love for your fellow Jew," includes yourself! You may not feel that love for yourself. But remember, our setbacks do not define us; growth is a life-long process. It's up to us to follow G‑d's lead, and see beyond our own and others' present shortcomings to the beauty of their inner soul. That is a key that will open the gate to G‑d's mercy. The more you develop this love, the happier your home will be and the stronger your connection to G‑d.
5. Draw Out the Good in Your Spouse
No person is always 100 percent OK, and that's OK. Only angels are perfect. G‑d sees each individual as a sublimely beautiful soul. Despite your failings, G‑d focuses on the beauty of your holy soul and loves you unconditionally. Just as a parent loves his child, even when the child misbehaves, so does G‑d always loves you.
Instead of focusing on each other's faults, a couple should try to perceive and draw out the good in each other. They should emulate Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, who was legendary for always finding the merit within every Jew and petitioning G‑d for mercy on their behalf, even when it was apparent to all that they had sinned.
6. Praise Generously, Instead of Criticizing
Consistently praising your spouse's and your own positive attributes develops and The more loving you act, the more love you feel strengthens those qualities. Replacing criticism with words of praise and admiration tends to reinforce the behavior that elicited the praise.
Try to stay confident and hopeful about your own and your spouse's ability to achieve positive change. This will give you the clarity, equanimity, and energy to go on. Continually finding fault with someone discourages them from trying to change. Denigrating yourself for every misstep may lead you to give up on the idea of self-improvement. Instead, treat your spouse and yourself with unconditional kindness and love, even if you have to force yourself to do so. The more loving you act, the more love you feel and the more you will receive.
Exercises and Meditations to Practice:
Recognize the positive in yourself: Write down three positive qualities you have. Recall the positive effect utilizing those qualities has on those around you. Then write down three positive qualities you wish you had. Visualize yourself possessing those qualities. Visualize yourself acting in a manner consistent with those positive traits. Visualize the positive effect mastering those qualities can have on your life.
Consider that your spouse possesses positive qualities that complement your own. Acknowledge the positive qualities your spouse possesses and the beneficial effects that accompany them. Write them down.
Strive to accept imperfections in yourself and your spouse. Identify a negative character trait that you possess and one that your spouse possesses. Envision yourself applying this trait in a positive way. Map out the steps you think would be necessary for you to make that happen.