Sunday, December 23, 2018

This Gator Is Living A Better Life Than You and was Reuven given the short end of the stick?

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Ideal Way of Being Right Now

We all have patterns of speaking and acting. We also have an ideal self: the way we wish to be. Unnecessarily limiting thoughts hold people back from becoming their ideal self. They basically think: "I would really like to be 'this' way. But the reality is that I am not like 'this.'"

The truth is, if you have an ideal "way of being," in mind, you can speak and act in ways consistent with that ideal right now. Since right now you are in this present moment, and in this present moment you can choose to speak and act any way you choose, you always have the magnificent ability to speak and act the way you wish to be.

Love Yehuda Lave

This Gator Is Living A Better Life Than You

A woman with a pet ALLIGATOR dresses it up and even gives it manicures


Some people love animals more than they love their own families. Meet the Beast Buddies - owners so obsessed with their exotic pets they risk sanity and safety to live together.

Was Reuven given the short end of the stick?

Rabbi Bienenfeld

Hi All,

When we examine Yaakov's rather harsh criticism of Reuven, it certainly appears somewhat misplaced and overly severe (49:3-4). After all, Reuven did not participate in the sale of Yosef, and similarly, for his indiscretion in "rearranging Yaakov's bed by moving it to [his mother] Leah's tent" after the death of Rachel, did he not engage in repentance and mourning (Bereishis Rabah 37:19)? As Rashi points out (49:3), Reuven, as the eldest son, was destined to merit the dual roles of priesthood and kingship ("superior in rank and power"). How can we explain why he failed to secure either position?


The Torah sums up the reason in one telling phrase, "You have the restlessness of water …" R. Yerucham Levovitz comments that the Torah's use of the "water" metaphor was to sharply depict the trait of impulsivity. Just as water rushes quickly, every which way, directionless, so is the behavior of a person who acts recklessly without carefully considering what he is about to do (Daas Torah, Bereishis, p.275). As Rav Soloveitchik explains: Kingship requires measured, deliberate and appropriate action under pressure. Reuven should have protected Yosef instead of retreating into his "fasting and sackcloth" at the critical moment of Yosef's sale (see Rashi 29:1). And priesthood requires a sense of dignity, a dignity that Reuven lacked when he decided to move his father's couch (see Rashi 35:22). As such, Reuven disqualified himself from assuming both of these eminent roles.

The lesson here is quite clear. Impetuosity can lead to harmful mistakes, causing much damage. When a person chooses not to weigh the consequences of his actions and, instead, acts impulsively, allowing his impromptu thoughts, erupting urges and hair-trigger emotions to determine his behavior, the results can be sloppy, unpredictable, erratic, and therefore ill-suited for leadership to say the least. And when anger becomes the byproduct of such unthinking brash behavior, everyone can suffer.

In fact, in the recent past, studies have linked impulsiveness to higher risks of smoking, drinking and drug abuse. People who attempt suicide score highly on measures of impulsivity, as do adolescents with eating problems. Aggression, compulsive gambling, severe personality disorders and attention-deficit problems are all associated with high impulsiveness. (NYT, April, 2006)

Does this mean that one should avoid acting with zerizus, zeal and alacrity? The saintly R. Avraham Grodzinski, Hy"d (19-20th C.), in his monumental work, Toras Avraham, makes this trenchant point. Zerizus is not found in the feet, but in the head. Eagerness and verve – zerizus - is not some hasty imprudence. Rather it finds expression in a fervor and fastidiousness that ensures that a person will not deviate one iota from his assignment. And so, yes, by all means, be enthusiastic and hungry for new spiritual horizons and challenges. Embrace with zest and excitement new opportunities and adventures; pursue the promise of religious growth and ethical virtue. But, do so with calibrated seriousness, patient striving and unswerving determination.  No wonder the Talmud tells us that the keepers of sanctity, the "[Temple] priests were [by character] zerizim" (Pesachim 65a).

Indeed, many of our ba'alei mussar (teachers of ethical behavior) cite this personality flaw of Reuven to teach us that certainly in matters of importance - but, truthfully, in all matters large and small - it is far better to delay responding immediately without first contemplating the repercussions of any given action. In a word, it is all about moderation and patience.

Ostensibly, many of Yaakov's blessings to his sons appear quite the opposite. Reuven, Shimon and Levi are each subject to much stern censure. But as Rav Zev Leff, shlita, points out, the greatest blessing one can bestow upon another is to enlighten him with himself. Self-knowledge of one's abilities and talents as well as of one's shortcomings and limitations is the greatest blessing of all (Shiurei Binah, p. 240).

It is consoling then to remember this expression from the wisdom of King Solomon (Koheles 7;14): "…Gd has made one corresponding to the other …"  As the Talmud explains (Chagigah 15a), there is an opposite for everything Gd created. If there is wickedness in the world, there is also righteousness; for each measure of ignorance, there is an equivalent portion of wisdom. If there is anger among people, there is also calm and pleasantness. And for every expression of impulsiveness, there is also the capacity for heroic restraint and wise deliberation.

The choice is ours!

Mother And Son Raise 14 BEARS In Their Garden!

A mother and son in Florida keep 14 BEARS in their garden

How Does My Mitzvah Help a Soldier in Gaza?By Tzvi Freeman

Dear Ask-the-Rabbi,

My rabbi visited my clinic today and asked me to wrap tefillin. He said it was for our boys in Gaza. So I did.

On Friday my wife lit Shabbat candles—which she doesn't always do. She said it was for our boys in Gaza. Somehow that made sense to her. And to me.

But now I started thinking. I'm an educated man, a doctor, and I try to make sense of things. But once I'm thinking, I don't have an explanation. How does it work? What's the mechanism—the cause and effect? And why did it make sense before thinking?

—Puzzled Jew

Dear Puzzled Jew,

Yes, a puzzle—that's a good example. A jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces connect to make a single whole. Same thing with Jews and mitzvahs. All of our people and all of our mitzvahs fit together to make a single, integral whole. And every piece is needed.Think of the entire Jewish people as a single living organism, and then it all makes sense.

But let me give you a better metaphor, something which you as a doctor can surely relate to. Think of the entire Jewish people as a single living organism, and then it all makes sense.

A living being, I'm sure you realize, is not like some clunky machine. For one thing, machines are made by putting parts together that originally had nothing to do with one another. Even once built, a machine is still a jumble of parts. But a living organism starts off as a single cell that then unfolds itself into an entire creature—and in such a way that even once fully developed and functioning, it remains a singularity.

In other words, unlike a machine, a living being is a single being.

And in a single being, locality is secondary. What happens in one part of a living being immediately changes the entire organism. Which is how the Jewish people works as well.

Okay, here's an example you're probably familiar with: Caenorhabditis elegans. I'll bet you studied little C. elegans back in medical school—because it is holds the distinction of being the most exhaustively studied and exposed creature in the world.

C. elegans is a one-millimeter-long, transparent roundworm with exactly 959 cells (we human organisms have about 75 trillion cells). Researchers hoped that by starting with this one simple paradigm, eventually all the processes and rules that govern life could be explained. And so, by 1980, the fate of each of those cells from egg to adult was already mapped out.

But those researchers never got what they bargained for. In 2002, Sydney Brenner received a Nobel prize for all the time he spent with that little worm. Critics balked. They claimed Brenner hadn't explained a thing—all he had done was to describe what goes on inside the little critter. And Brenner had to acknowledge they were right. "It's not a neat, sequential process," he explained. "It's everything going on at the same time . . . there is hardly a shorter way of giving a rule for what goes on than just describing what there is." (my emphasis)

Call that an irreducible singularity. Something whose only description is itself. Which means that if one part were missing, it would not be what it is. And whenever one part changes, the entirety has instantly changed.

Something like a symphony: You can't provide me a mathematical equation that will produce Beethoven's Pastoral. The only description I can have is by listening to it. And if one part is changed—a sweet note gone sour, or a thundering triad played softly—the experience of the entire symphony has changed.

Now apply that to the Jewish people. We are one—essentially and integrally one. We have one G‑d, one Torah, one story to tell and one destiny at which we will arrive. Each one of us has his or her integral part to play. And so, whatever any one of us does immediately redefines the state of our entire people.

Locality is meaningless—it's not a case of cause and effect. It doesn't take time for the signal to travel, it needs no medium to carry it, and it doesn't diminish over space or time. Our entire people spread over the entire globe, from Abraham until you and me—we are all one irreducible singularity. One Jew has done a mitzvah—the entire people is immediately enriched, and that enrichment is felt in every individual.

Take it further: If you somehow connect with another Jew who is struggling with some ethical challenge in life, find that same challenge within yourself, fix it up—and you'll discover that this other Jew now has an easier time overcoming that struggle. That's how deeply we are connected.

That also answers your last question: Why did it make sense before thinking? Strange thing: I've also asked many Jews to wrap tefillin or light Shabbat candles or do some other mitzvah "for our boys in Gaza." Every Jew I have asked immediately gets it. "Of course," they say. "It's a mitzvah."

Because a Jew feels the effect of the mitzvah. And a Jew knows we are a people above time and space.

We are one. Everything else is commentary. Now go do another mitzvah for our boys in Gaza.

Sources Mostly, this is based on the Rebbe's maamar "Amar Rabbi Oshaya," 19 Kislev, 5739.

Couple Share Their Flat With A PUMA

A couple in Russia share their flat with a PUMA!

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego
United States


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