Believe in people and you will influence them to believe in themselves.
Your belief needs to be based on reality -- so develop an eye for noticing sparks of potential in others. Be enthusiastic in selling a person to himself.
Love Yehuda Lave
Sunday night at 7:30 at the King Solomon Hotel (King David Street 32) the famous Rabbi Tovia Singer will do a public debate against British Christian Evangelist Carlton McDonald on the subject of Jesus as the promisted Messiah. Rabbi Singer is known for taking on this kind of debate and is an expert in these matters. I intend to be there to listen. Here is his bio:
AS HEARD FROM RABBI AVIGDOR MILLER Z'TL Antoninus/Esav Marcus Aurelius/Antoninus, Roman Cesar was friend/student of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi. He was a convert to Judaism in secret who would have been assassinated if it was revealed. He is a descendant of Esav & Rashi mentions him in our perashat Toledot. Rabbi Miller ZTL gives credit to Antoninus for our Mishna & Gemara due to the fact that he lifted the anti Torah decree in Roman territories & financed Rebbi for 7 years to seal the Mishna. On my first encounter with Rabbi Miller ZTL I told him that I read Meditations of Marcus Aurelius since he mentioned it on one of his tapes. He reacted by telling me that no one ever told him they read that book. He realized I was a serious customer & we became friends. Here of some ideas from Antoninus' Meditations. You may see ideas he learned from Rebbi. Enjoy. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it. Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one. The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back. It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live. If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
The Jewish Nurse Who Treated Pittsburgh Shooter
Ari Mahler, the Jewish nurse and member of the medical staff who saved the life of Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, shared his experience in an emotional Facebook post on Saturday night.
"I am The Jewish Nurse," Mahler began, "The trauma nurse in the ER that cared for Robert Bowers who yelled, 'Death to all Jews,' as he was wheeled into the hospital. The Jewish nurse who ran into a room to save his life."
As was widely reported last week, three of the hospital staff who cared for Bowers after he was taken to Allegheny General Hospital for wounds suffered in a gunfight with police, were Jewish.
In his lengthy post, which has been shared over 17,000 times on Facebook, Mahler not only revealed his identity, but also his conflicted feelings as he treated Bowers, an avowed antisemite who killed 11 Jews in a Shabbat morning rampage at the Tree of Life Congregation, the worst antisemitic attack in American history.
"I experienced antisemitism a lot as a kid," Mahler, a rabbi's son, wrote. "I found drawings on desks of my family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas drawn on my locker, and notes shoved inside of it saying, 'Die Jew. Love, Hitler.'"
However, despite being a victim of antisemitism in the past and his statement that he feels "antisemitism is thriving," Mahler described treating Bowers with no malice or hatred.
Rahav's stone wall house in Jericho its still there
The most fascinating part of the city of Jericho that still exits. Rahav's stone wall sits in a dig, just like it did 3500 years ago. While there is no proof that this specifically was her wall, Joshua promised her that her house would not be destroyed and it still sits there
Is Excessive Wealth a Virtue or a Vice? By Levi Avtzon
I've learned that Abraham was wealthy, Isaac was wealthy, Jacob was wealthy, Joseph was wealthy, Moses was wealthy . . . but it doesn't feel right. Isn't wealth the negative consequence of greed and unbridled ambition? Is wealth a virtue or a vice?
In the portion of Toldot, we read of Isaac's incredible financial success. "And Isaac sowed in that land, and he found in that year a hundredfold, and the L‑rd blessed him. And the man became great, and he grew constantly greater until he had grown very great."1 Rashi on the verse quotes the Midrash: People at that time used to say, "Better the manure of Isaac's mules than the gold and silver of [King] Abimelech!" In other words, Isaac was so wealthy that even his lowliest possessions seemed superior to the king's riches.
The Talmud seems to offer opposing views on wealth. On the one hand, "G‑d went to search for good attributes and found nothing greater than poverty!"2 On the other hand, "Rebbi [Yehuda] used to honor wealthy people!"3 Or how about this one: "Rabbi Yochanan said that the Divine Presence rests only on one who is wise, mighty, wealthy and humble."4
Is your head spinning yet?
Let's leave wealth for a second and ask the same question in a different context:
Is talent a virtue or a vice?Is talent a virtue or a vice?
Are leadership qualities a virtue or a vice?
Is sexuality a virtue or a vice?
The answer to all these questions is the same: It depends what you make of it.
Wealth, like any means, is a potential. Potential is neither good nor bad; it's neutral and colorless. The user gives it meaning and color. We take potential out of neutral and decide whether it will drive us forward or set us back into reverse.
An artist can use her G‑d-given ability to inspire by creating art that glorifies virtue, or debase by glorifying vice. A singer can sing lyrics of sincerity and mindfulness, or he can rant about false love and pathetic aspirations. The choice of what to do with potential is ours and ours alone.
The patriarchs saw wealth as a means rather than an end. Having an overloaded Swiss bank account was not their definition of wealth. Money was an instrument of change. With money they could give charity, offer dignity through creating jobs, host people, raise a family in comfort, fulfill mitzvahs with grandeur, buy beautiful gifts for their loved ones and offer their kids a head start on their own financial stability.
If wealth has so much potential for greatness, then why did the Talmud state that "poverty is a good attribute"? Maharsha explains that, like other forms of suffering, poverty can cleanse one from sin.5 In other words, poverty is not inherently good; it only serves the purpose of atonement.
If financial stability and even wealth was a blessing in previous generations, then how much more so in our times of abundance. Although we may romanticize the simpler times when poor village folk could live in bare huts and survive off of black bread and well water, in modern times we need homes, electricity, food options, medical insurance, often a car, etc. Money has the ability to offer us serenity and peace of mind.
In today's time, poverty should not be an aspiration. In today's time, poverty should not be an aspiration.
Allow me to quote a small selection from an incredible talk that the Lubavitcher Rebbe delivered in early February 1992:
A Jew is rich in essence; and his inner spiritual wealth should be reflected in actual material wealth. If this is not openly apparent, this is only because G‑d desires that a Jew reveal this wealth through his efforts, that he transform the darkness of the world into light. This in turn will draw down an abundance of Divine blessing into the world.
The above is particularly true in the present time, when the Jewish people have completed all the spiritual tasks demanded of them and all that is necessary is to actually accept Moshiach. Currently, each and every member of the present generation, the last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption, is surely worthy of abundant material wealth.
This leads to a practical directive: Each Jew should seek to obtain wealth, spiritual wealth as our sages stated, "There is no concept of wealth other than knowledge," and also actual material wealth. The latter will, as the Rambam explains, enable one to devote oneself to the study of Torah and the observance of mitzvahs in a more complete manner. Similarly, one will be able to donate more generously to charity, including the charity given for the construction of synagogues and houses of study.
I remember the first time I was introduced to this talk and how incredibly mind-altering it was for me. Living in comfort was always my dream and prayer, but wealth? Wealth was just a headache and a slippery slope to materialism and vice.
No, say the founders of our faith. No, says the Rebbe. Wealth offers tremendous potential for good. Why say no to an opportunity for growth and impact? Would we say no to a G‑d-given talent?
Of course, not all of us are destined for wealth. (For me, entering the rabbinate was not exactly the road to affluence.) And in no way are we saying that those of us who are not blessed with financial wealth have any less ability to make an impact. We all have the capacity to fulfill our personal mission. Wealth is but a tool.6
May we all use our G‑d-given abilities for their true intention: making a beautiful world for G‑d!
Nedarim 38a. Drashot HaRaN essay #5 offers a lengthy essay to explain this statement literally (unlike Maimonides, who reads "wealthy" in non-literal sense). He explains that people will only take note of someone affluent, and a prophet needs people's ear and therefore must be wealthy.
One of the prettiest train routes in the world in Norway
One of the most beautiful railways in the world has had one of its most successful summers on record. The 20km train ride from Flam, at the end of the Unesco-protected Aurlandsfjord, through precipices and past huge waterfalls to a height of 866m at Myrdal, in Western Norway, is regarded as an engineering marvel because of the steep gradient. BBC News took a ride in the company of veteran guard Knut Kvamme. Video Journalist: Malcolm Brabant
When I Gave My Necklace to a Woman With Cancer By Renee Azoulay
We don't always know the impact of our actions. At times, I find myself doing things I haven't thought through. When I follow my inner voice—what I call "a whisper from G‑d"—without question or hesitation, I never know where it will lead. Usually following such an inspiration, however, brings a positive outcome and has taught me that all Jewish souls are deeply connected, regardless of affiliation.
I am a child
Many parts of my parents' stories are too painful to comprehend of Holocaust survivors. Many parts of my parents' stories are too painful to comprehend, to "let in." Without a doubt, their experiences have deeply impacted me, helping shape the person I've become. One attitude I emotionally "inherited" from my parents was that everything that's yours can be taken away—and taken away in a flash. Like my parents, I learned to build a hard shell around my inner self to the extent that, as a young woman, I didn't even realize that I had an inner life or inner voice. I operated strictly on a surface level and never quite understood why at times I felt angry and sad.
As the years passed and I experienced difficulties in relationships, I decided to seek out a therapist who specializes in working with children of Holocaust survivors. In time, I came to hear and understand my inner voice. My therapist felt that a support group made up of Jewish adults, not all of whom were children of survivors, would prove helpful.
Each week I sat quietly in this group, silently wondering what was the point of being here? Despite this recurring question, I continued to attend, week after week. Before I knew it, I was able to answer my own question: I was here to be of help.
During my time there, I quickly learned the health history of one of the participants. This woman was stocky, with pale skin and piercing blue eyes. She spoke openly and in great detail about all aspects of her cancer, including her symptoms, her feelings, and the chemotherapy treatments that were causing her to lose her hair. The deeply sad part of her story was that she seemed to be trying to deal with end-of-life-issues. While we were all afraid to ask "the question," we knew from her stories that her prospects for surviving her disease were poor. I couldn't think of any words that might ease her pain, so I, like the others, listened fully. Perhaps that was enough.
One day I came to group wearing a solid-gold Jewish star on a long gold chain. Gold leaves formed the shape of the star. Although my necklace was impressive, it held a much deeper significance. What made it so special was that my father, now deceased, had made it. A Holocaust survivor, he went on to become a jewelry-model maker: a person who molded the jewelry from wax, and then had it cast in gold and stones set in it. A true craftsman and artist, he made jewelry for the Museum of Natural History in New York, as well as for Tiffany's. Needless to say, this creation was very special to me. Looking back, I think I wore this special piece that day for confidence and to share part of myself, even if it wasn't the verbal part, with others.
During this session, I listened intently as the woman with cancer spoke ... and then a thought emanated from my inner voice. Maybe having this Jewish star would also strengthen her. Maybe this can be my contribution. I didn't overthink; I just took the necklace off over my head and handed it to her.
"I'd like to lend this you," I told her. "I hope it will give you renewed strength each day."
The group members turned and looked at me in shock. The woman, however, did not hesitate to accept my gift and place it in the pocket of her jacket. She looked at me and nodded her head. "Yes, it's a good idea," she said. The group sat silently looking at one another until the woman added a soft-spoken "thank you."
That night, my mind filled with questions and regrets. I asked myself what I was thinking to part with my father's gift. Questions also flooded my mind: Did I make it clear that I was lending and not giving it to her? Did I do something ridiculous? Clearly, I was following my inner voice and giving from my heart, but had I gone overboard? I felt troubled. During my individual therapy session, I talked about it. I knew I would never ask for the star back—at least not while she was sick. I decided I would just wait until she hopefully recovered and then request it back. I somehow also knew that giving it to her was the right thing to do, even though I did not fully understand why at the time.
Weeks went by, and the woman with cancer continued to share her experiences. During the sessions, she never once referred to G‑d or her faith. She spoke, instead, of the help she was receiving from her husband, family and friends.
Given that I never saw this woman wear the Jewish star, one day I asked her if my loan was giving her strength. "Yes," she answered. "I'm so thankful that you gave it to me. I carry it with me always. I have it right here with me in my pocket." She reached into her jacket and pulled out the gold Jewish star still on its chain. I looked at her, nodded, and said: "I'm glad."
The next session, the woman was not present. The therapist sadly informed us that she had passed away. We looked around at each other in silence, bonded in the realization that we would never see her again.
I was following my inner voice and giving from my heart subsequent session, I remembered my Jewish star. What had happened to it? I decided to bring up the question. The group discussed possible scenarios and steps to take. I figured that the best option would be to wait and see if her husband returns it to me. If not, I thought, I can call and ask him about it. By this time, the star itself didn't take center stage. I had lent it to her from my heart and was willing to accept whatever outcome there was. This acceptance didn't come easily; I had to work on it until I fully came to terms with my initial intention. If having the star provided a little comfort, giving it to her was well worth it, even if I never got it back.
A few weeks passed, and I called the husband. When I introduced myself on the phone, he said: "Yes, I know who you are. You gave my wife a Jewish star." He continued, saying, "You should know that she carried that star around with her everywhere, every single day, to all her treatments. It was so important to her that we buried her with it."
I was astounded to hear that the star meant that much to her. After a few moments of silence, I said, "I'm glad. I hope it helped ease her pain."
In the end, I didn't get the Jewish star back; it remains in the ground with this Jewish woman. After some time, I went ahead and had the star recast in gold (I had the mold he originally constructed), so I can once again wear it as a proud tribute to my dad.
There is no question in my mind that a Jewish soul always senses G‑d, regardless of how observant a person is. Without fully understanding why, I had an impact on this woman very deeply. "Give with a full heart" is now the rule by which I live.
Editorial Note: According to Jewish custom, under ordinary circumstances, an individual is not buried with necklaces or any other adornments.
By Renee AzoulayMore by this author Renee Azoulay is a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she teaches Marketing. She recently published a college-level textbook in that field.
RABBI ELI MANSOUR
Parashat Toledot - The Long-Term Effects of Negative Influences The Torah in Parashat Toledot tells that Esav married two women, both of whom were idolaters, and these marriages caused great distress to his two righteous parents, Yishak and Ribka. Significantly, the Torah writes that Esav's wives were a cause of aggravation "to Yishak and Ribka," mentioning Yishak before Ribka. A number of Rabbis understood this to mean that Yishak was more disturbed by these marriages than Ribka was. Yishak grew up in the home of Abraham and Sara, and thus had little exposure to idolatry, whereas Ribka was raised in the home of Betuel, a corrupt idolater. She was accustomed to such beliefs and behavior, and thus although she was a righteous woman and was obviously very distressed by Esav's choice of wives, her distress was less than that felt by Yishak. When we consider the chronology of these events, a striking lesson emerges from this insight. Yishak was forty years old when he and Ribka married (25:20), and it was only twenty years later, when he was sixty, that their children, Yaakob and Esav, were born (25:26). Esav got married at the age of forty (26:34), and thus Ribka had been married for sixty years by the time Esav married. Imagine – she had been living with Yishak, a great Sadik, for sixty years, and yet she was still affected, if only infinitesimally, by the influences of her youth. Although she was strong enough to overcome these early influences and become a righteous woman, nevertheless, some effects still lingered. Even after sixty years, she did not completely rid herself of the impact caused by her exposure to idolatry. This should serve as a stern warning to us, that we must exercise extreme care regarding what we choose to expose ourselves and our children to. It is simply incorrect to say that we won't be affected, that we can read, see or hear whatever we like without being influenced. Even many years later, the media we expose ourselves to has an impact. None of us can claim that he is greater than Ribka Imenu. And if she was not impervious to the spiritually harmful effects of negative influences, then we are certainly vulnerable – and all the more so. It behooves each and every one of us to limit our exposure to hostile influences as much as possible, so we can continue growing and advancing in our spiritual development and follow the example of greatness set for us by our righteous Abot and Imahot.
See you Sunday
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States