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Rachel
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« Reply #700 on: August 05, 2013, 08:01:34 AM »

Helping Children Develop Faith
By Sara Chana Radcliffe
http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/2281422/jewish/Helping-Children-Develop-Faith.htm
You may have read the title of this article and wondered, How can I help my children develop their faith? I’m still developing my faith!

Of course, we could ask a similar question about our anger management. Since we continue to lose control on some occasions, should we just not even try to teach our children to manage their tempers? Of course not.

Life is all about growth and improvement. If we’re still angry or still lacking in an abundance of faith, that’s normal. The important thing is that we are constantly working on ourselves. Our kids should be able to see concrete signs of improvement: fewer angry outbursts, greater patience, more self-control, less wringing of hands, fewer words of fear and worry, greater equanimity in the face of challenge, more verbal expressions of sincere trust in G‑d’s ways.

So yes, imperfect as we are, we have the right and the obligation to help our children develop their emunah (faith in G‑d). It is an act of tremendous kindness on our part to help our children learn to swim confidently in the deep end of life, to have all the internal resources they need in order to deal with every challenge they will face. So let’s look at how we can help kids achieve faith.

Instilling Faith and Trust: Do’s & Don’ts

Let’s begin with the “dont’s”:

Try not to share your worries and negative thought processes with your children. Children can easily pick up on their parents’ habits and are likely to become worried themselves.
When children express their own anxieties, never reprimand them with comments like, “Don’t think that way.” Anxiety and fears are not bad behaviors; they are emotions that require proper support and healing.
Don’t shut children down by saying things like, “It’s all up to G‑d,” or, “Don’t worry--G‑d always protects us,” and so on. Although these are perfectly true statements, they should not be offered until you have helped the child address his or her frightened feelings. Fear causes cortical inhibition (a diminished capacity to process and utilize cognitive information), so providing education while the child is in a frightened state is usually useless. Moreover, Fear causes cortical inhibition so may be perceived as uncaring, which can harm the parent-child relationship.
Now let’s look at a few “do’s”:

Do accept your child’s fear with open arms: “You’re afraid? Tell me about it.” This helps the fear begin to move out of the child and into your welcoming arms.
If sharing the fear does not release it completely (which is quite often the case), offer other strategies for helping to calm the fear. (See “Fear Busters” below.)
Once the fear is settled and the child feels more calm, offer the wisdom of Judaism on the subject of faith in G‑d. For example, “Instead of running scary pictures through your mind, imagine the situation turning out just fine. As the Rebbe said, ‘Think good, and it will be good.’” Or, “No matter how it turns out, we can remember that there is a reason for everything, and everything that G‑d does is for our good, whether we see it right away or not.” Check out one of the many wonderful books or online resources that explain the the concept of Divine Providence--the fact that G‑d supervises and supports each one of us in all the small and large details of our life.
Take advantage of emotionally neutral moments to gently slip concepts of faith into your child’s heart and mind. Tell vivid stories of your own experiences of being supported by G‑d. For example, tell your child how you asked G‑d for help in finding a parking space right in front of a building because you were already late for a meeting. Sure enough, just as you were pulling up, a car pulled out right in front of the building, leaving you a perfect parking space. “Thank You, G‑d!”
Help your child create a “faith-builder” diary--a personal record, complete with stories, drawings, and photos of events in which the benevolent Hand of G‑d became obvious to your child, especially the occasions that were preceded by worry, dread and fear.
Fear Busters

There are numerous ways to help calm a child’s mind and body. Here is a small selection:

A child who worries is an expert at (negative) visualization. After the child has described his scary image of unfolding events, and you have accepted the worry with open arms, ask him to close hisA child who worries is an expert at (negative) visualization eyes and imagine everything working out just fine. Ask him to describe the positive events in his new “movie” to you. Ask him how the positive image makes him feel. Instruct him to repeat the exercise as often as possible and particularly when the scary story enters his mind.
Another use of this visualization skill is to imagine G‑d’s divine protection and assistance in various ways. For example, “see” G‑d’s messengers, His protective angels, surrounding the bed when drifting off to sleep.
Teach your child to use the breath to help calm the heart, which will then calm the brain, which, in turn, will release calming hormones to every cell of the body. There are numerous ways to breathe for this purpose, but a simple one is to breathe in normally and then breathe out slowly, thinking the number “one” on the out breath. To be effective in times of need, this breathing pattern needs to be practiced for one minute daily, forever. An ideal time for practice is at bedtime when falling asleep or in the morning just after awakening.
There are many other strategies children can learn that will calm their anxious feelings. Always help your child turn off fight-or-flight chemistry before talking about Divine Providence! Most important, keep your own faith-builder diary that can strengthen your own belief that G‑d is there for you. The most powerful way to help children accept the reality of G‑d’s kindness is through your positive modeling. When you sound like you believe it, your kids will too!

 
BY SARA CHANA RADCLIFFE
Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M.Ed.,C.Psych.Assoc. is the author of "Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice" and The Delicate Balance published by Targum Press. Click here to visit her website.
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Rachel
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« Reply #701 on: August 11, 2013, 08:26:57 PM »

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/71930/jewish/The-Astronaut.htm

From the Rebbe's remarks at a farbrengen (Chassidic gathering) on Shabbat, December 28, 1968:

Yesterday, an event took place that had no known precedent in human history: a manned spacecraft approached the moon, orbited it several times, photographed both its "light side" and its "dark side," and returned safely to earth at the exact time and place that were programmed.

The Baal Shem Tov1 taught us that "from everything a person sees or hears, he must derive a lesson in the service of his Creator." Indeed, this event, and its every aspect and detail, is full with instructive insights into our mission in life.2

Some twenty-four hours before the conclusion of the space mission, another event took place: a question was posed at an "Encounter" session3 -- a question that the said space mission can help address.

A participant in the "Encounter" challenged one of the speakers: "I understand that under Torah law, if a person eats a bite of non-kosher food, the penalty is thirty-nine lashes. I think that what a person eats is his own business. Laws should forbid and penalize actions that are harmful to others and to society, but should stay out of a person's private life."

The rabbi conducting the session was quite flustered by the question. How to explain to a roomful of young people, raised in free and democratic America, the fact that for an act as "harmless" and "personal" as eating a bite of food, the Torah instructs that a person be bound, stretched out, and thirty-nine lashes be administered to his bare back with a whip? After much hemming and hawing, he came out with the standard apologetic reply: that in order for a transgression to be punishable by lashes, it must be committed in the presence of two witnesses; that these two witnesses must first warn the transgressor of the criminality of his deed and of the penalty it carries; that the transgressor must commit the deed within seconds of the above warning; thus, due to these and a host of other stipulations, this penalty was rarely, if ever, actually carried out. It might therefore be said that the Torah-mandated punishment of lashes is more an indicator of the severity of the transgression than an operative penal procedure.

All this is of course true, but it doesn't really answer the question. Even if the penalty of lashes was administered but once in a hundred years, does the deed warrant such punishment? And why does the Torah legislate such a gross intrusion into a person's private life?

But our sages tell us that "A person is obligated to say: The entire world was created for my sake."4 In the words of Maimonides, "A person should always see himself as half meritous and half guilty, and the entire world as half meritous and half guilty, so that when he transgresses one transgression, he tips the balance for himself, and for the entire world, to the side of guilt, and causes it destruction, and when he does a single mitzvah, he tips the balance for himself, and for the entire world, to the side of merit, and causes salvation for himself and for the entire world."5

Ingesting a spiritually toxic bite of food is not a harmless act, nor is it a personal one: all of creation is deeply affected by our every thought, word and deed, for the better or, G-d forbid, for the worse. What greater crime can there be than for a person to knowingly jeopardize his own well-being, and that of his family, community and the entire world, because his taste-buds prefer a non-kosher piece of meat over a kosher one?

This is what is written in the books. The nature of the human being, however, is that things are more readily understood and accepted when he or she sees a tangible example of it. By divine providence, we have such an example in the space mission concluded yesterday.

Three adult men were told to put aside all personal preferences and follow a set of guidelines that dictated their every behavior, including their most intimate habits. They were told exactly what, how much and when to eat, when and in what position to sleep, and what shoes to wear. Should any one of them have challenged this "dictatorial" regimen, he would have been reminded that one billion dollars have been invested in their endeavor. Now, one billion dollars commands a lot of respect. Never mind that it's not his billion -- it's only Uncle Sam's billion -- still, when a person is told that one billion dollars are at stake, he'll conform to all guidelines and instructions. Of course, he has no idea how most of these instructions relate to the success of his mission -- that has been determined by grey-haired scientists after many years of research; but he'll take their word for it, and readily accept the extensive intrusion into his private affairs.

And what if at stake is not a billion-dollar scientific project, but the divine purpose in creation?

FOOTNOTES
1.   Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), founder of Chassidism.
2.   What follows is but one of several lessons the Rebbe derived in his talk from the said space flight. For another of these, see The Rocket Age
3.   The Lubavitcher community in Crown Heights holds periodic "Encounter With Chabad" -- weekends, in which Jews of all backgrounds stay with Chassidic families and attend lectures and workshops on Jewish thought and practice.
4.   Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a.
5.   Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance, 3:4
TOLD BY THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, adapted by Yanki Tauber; originally published in Week In Review
Originally published in Week in Review.
Republished with the permission of MeaningfulLife.com. If you wish to republish this article in a periodical, book, or website, please email permissions@meaningfullife.com.
More articles by Lubavitcher Rebbe; adapted Yanki Tauber  |  RSS
The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #702 on: August 13, 2013, 12:44:46 AM »

http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/08/12/glenn-better-days-are-right-around-the-corner/?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2013-08-12_243594&utm_content=5054942&utm_term=_243594_243604
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Rachel
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« Reply #703 on: August 23, 2013, 09:40:33 AM »


 Mayim Bialik: How I Teach My Kids About Both Science & Faith

As a scientist and a person of faith, I get asked the following question a lot: “How do you reconcile your scientific beliefs with your faith in God?” The question seems to concern others a lot more than it concerns me, largely because I see no conflict at all. They exist together, happily, and each supports the other.

How do I teach my sons about religion without compromising my scientific integrity? Well, I make sure to tell my sons that the Tanakh (Hebrew bible) is not a science book. God created the universe as a scientific one. God created evolution and gravity and placed the stars in the sky.

http://www.kveller.com/blog/parenting/mayim-bialik-how-i-teach-my-kids-both-about-science-faith/#more-34818
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #704 on: August 25, 2013, 04:07:56 PM »

Rachel et al:

In a related vein, I just finished reading Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God".

This is the third book I have read by him.  The prior two are "The Moral Animal" (an evolutionary explanation of the development of morality) and "Non-Zero Sum: the logic of human destiny".   

Though he is a bit of a Democrat, this book, like the others, is an excellent read and I recommend it highly.

It's final chapters take on the Science vs. God question in a deep and serious way.

By the way, note that there is a "Science vs. God" thread here.

TAC!
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Rachel
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« Reply #705 on: August 25, 2013, 06:35:34 PM »

Marc,
I'm glad you enjoyed "The Evolution of God". I'm familiar with the other  thread but I decided not post there because I disagree with the title . Science vs  God is a false dichotomy .   I see it as Science and Religion and I don't see a conflict. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #706 on: August 25, 2013, 06:37:16 PM »

Well said.  I am going to change the title right now.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #707 on: August 26, 2013, 01:23:31 PM »

http://play.simpletruths.com/lp/store/?mid=406
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G M
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« Reply #708 on: August 26, 2013, 05:23:25 PM »


 Mayim Bialik: How I Teach My Kids About Both Science & Faith

As a scientist and a person of faith, I get asked the following question a lot: “How do you reconcile your scientific beliefs with your faith in God?” The question seems to concern others a lot more than it concerns me, largely because I see no conflict at all. They exist together, happily, and each supports the other.

How do I teach my sons about religion without compromising my scientific integrity? Well, I make sure to tell my sons that the Tanakh (Hebrew bible) is not a science book. God created the universe as a scientific one. God created evolution and gravity and placed the stars in the sky.

http://www.kveller.com/blog/parenting/mayim-bialik-how-i-teach-my-kids-both-about-science-faith/#more-34818

Pretty much my take on things.
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bigdog
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« Reply #709 on: August 28, 2013, 01:14:29 PM »

In honor of the 50th anniversary:

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Rachel
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« Reply #710 on: September 01, 2013, 11:52:39 AM »

 
Let My Teaching Fall Like Rain
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2299332/jewish/Let-My-Teaching-Fall-Like-Rain.htm

In  the glorious song with which Moses addresses the congregation, he invites the people to think of the Torah—their covenant with G‑d—as if it were like the rain that waters the ground so that it brings forth its produce:

    Let my teaching fall like rain
    and my words descend like dew,
    like showers on new grass,
    like abundant rain on tender plants.

G‑d’s word is like rain in a dry land. It brings life. It makes things grow. There is much we can do of our own accord: we can plow the earth and plant the seeds. But in the end, our success depends on something beyond our control. If no rain falls, there will be no harvest, whatever preparations we make. So it is with Israel. It must never be tempted into the hubris of saying: “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”1

The sages, however, sensed something more in the analogy. This is how Sifrei puts it:

    Let my teaching fall like rain: Just as the rain is one thing, yet it falls on trees, enabling each to produce tasty fruit according to the kind of tree it is—the vine in its way, the olive tree in its way and the date palm in its way—so the Torah is one, yet its words yield Scripture, Mishnah, laws and lore. Like showers on new grass: just as showers fall upon plants and make them grow, some green, some red, some black, some white, so the words of Torah produce teachers, worthy individuals, sages, the righteous and the pious.

There is only one Torah, yet it has multiple effects. It gives rise to different kinds of teaching, different sorts of virtue. Torah is sometimes seen by its critics as overly prescriptive, as if it sought to make everyone the same. The midrash argues otherwise. The Torah is compared to rain precisely to emphasize that its most important effect is to make each of us grow into what we could become. We are not all the same, nor does Torah seek uniformity. As a famous mishnah puts it:

When a human being makes many coins from the same mint, they are all the same. God makes everyone in the same image—His image—yet none is the same as another.2

This emphasis on difference is a recurring theme in Judaism. For example, when Moses asks G‑d to appoint his successor, he uses an unusual phrase: “May the L‑rd, G‑d of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over the community.”3

On this, Rashi comments:

    Why is this expression (“G‑d of the spirits of all mankind”) used? [Moses] said to him: L‑rd of the universe, You know each person’s character, and that no two people are alike. Therefore, appoint a leader for them who will bear with each person according to his disposition.

One of the fundamental requirements of a leader in Judaism is that he or she is able to respect the differences between human beings. This is a point emphasized by Maimonides in Guide for the Perplexed:

    Man is, as you know, the highest form in creation, and he therefore includes the largest number of constituent elements. This is why the human race contains so great a variety of individuals that we cannot discover two persons exactly alike in any moral quality or in external appearance . . . This great variety and the necessity of social life are essential elements in man’s nature. But the wellbeing of society demands that there should be a leader able to regulate the actions of man. He must complete every shortcoming, remove every excess, and prescribe for the conduct of all, so that the natural variety should be counterbalanced by the uniformity of legislation, so that social order be well established.4

The political problem, as Maimonides sees it, is how to regulate the affairs of human beings in such a way as to respect their individuality while not creating chaos. A similar point emerges from a surprising rabbinic teaching:

    Our rabbis taught: If one sees a crowd of Israelites, one says: ‘Blessed be He who discerns secrets’—because the mind of each is different from that of another, just as the face of each is different from that of another.5

We would have expected a blessing over a crowd to emphasize its size, its mass: human beings in their collectivity. A crowd is a group large enough for the individuality of the faces to be lost. Yet the blessing stresses the opposite—that each member of a crowd is still an individual with distinctive thoughts, hopes, fears and aspirations.

The same was true for the relationship between the sages. A mishnah6 states:

    When R. Meir died, the composers of fables ceased. When Ben Azzai died, assiduous students ceased. When Ben Zoma died, the expositors ceased. When R. Akiva died, the glory of the Torah ceased. When R. Chanina died, men of deed ceased. When R. Jose Ketanta died, the pious men ceased. When R. Jochanan ben Zakkai died, the luster of wisdom ceased . . . When Rabbi died, humility and the fear of sin ceased.

There was no single template of the sage. Each had his own distinctive merits, his unique contribution to the collective heritage. In this respect, the sages were merely continuing the tradition of the Torah itself. There is no single role model of the religious hero or heroine in Tanach, the Hebrew Bible. The patriarchs and matriarchs each had their own unmistakable character. Moses, Aaron and Miriam emerge as different personality types. Kings, priests and prophets had different roles to play in Israelite society. Even among the prophets, “no two prophesy in the same style,” said the sages. Elijah was zealous, Elisha gentle. Hosea speaks of love, Amos speaks of justice. Isaiah’s visions are simpler and less opaque than those of Ezekiel.

The same applies to even to the revelation at Sinai itself. Each individual heard, in the same words, a different inflection:

    The voice of the L‑rd is with power:7—that is, according to the power of each individual, the young, the old, and the very small ones, each according to their power [of understanding]. G‑d said to Israel, “Do not believe that there are many gods in heaven because you heard many voices. Know that I alone am the L‑rd your G‑d.”8

According to Maharsha, there are 600,000 interpretations of Torah. Each individual is theoretically capable of a unique insight into its meaning. The French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas commented:

    The Revelation has a particular way of producing meaning, which lies in its calling upon the unique within me. It is as if a multiplicity of persons . . . were the condition for the plenitude of “absolute truth,” as if each person, by virtue of his own uniqueness, were able to guarantee the revelation of one unique aspect of the truth, so that some of its facets would never have been revealed if certain people had been absent from mankind.

Judaism, in short, emphasizes the other side of the maxim E pluribus unum (“Out of the many, one”). It says: “Out of the One, many.”

The miracle of creation is that unity in heaven produces diversity on earth. Torah is the rain that feeds this diversity, allowing each of us to become what only we can be.
FOOTNOTES
1.    Deuteronomy 8:17.
2.    Sanhedrin 4:5.
3.    Numbers 27:16.
4.    Guide for the Perplexed 2:40.
5.    Talmud, Berachot 58a.
6.    Sotah 9:15.
7.    Psalms 29:4.
8.    Shemot Rabbah 29:1.
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth. To read more writings and teachings from the Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, please visit www.chiefrabbi.org.
More articles by Jonathan Sacks  |  RSS
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #711 on: September 01, 2013, 01:44:57 PM »

I just posted this on my FB page; I  am curious to see what response it draws , , ,
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Rachel
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« Reply #712 on: September 03, 2013, 10:27:12 AM »


Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year starts Wednesday night at sundown.
What Is Rosh Hashanah?
The anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, a day of judgment and coronation, the sounding of the shofar . . .
http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/4762/jewish/What-Is-Rosh-Hashanah.htm


The festival of Rosh Hashanah—the name means “Head of the Year”—is observed for two days beginning on 1 Tishrei, the first day of the Jewish year. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind’s role in G‑d’s world.

Rosh Hashanah thus emphasizes the special relationship between G‑d and humanity: our dependence upon G‑d as our creator and sustainer, and G‑d’s dependence upon us as the ones who make His presence known and felt in His world. Each year on Rosh Hashanah, “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die . . . who shall be impoverished, and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.” But this is also the day we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe is dependent upon the renewal of the divine desire for a world when we accept G‑d’s kingship each year on Rosh Hashanah.

The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, which also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance, for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of man’s first sin and his repentance thereof, and serves as the first of the “Ten Days of Repentance” which culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Another significance of the shofar is to recall the Binding of Isaac which also occurred on Rosh Hashanah, in which a ram took Isaac’s place as an offering to G‑d; we evoke Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son, and plead that the merit of his deed should stand by us as we pray for a year of life, health and prosperity. Altogether, we listen to one hundred shofar blasts over the course of the Rosh Hashanah services.

Additional Rosh Hashanah observances include: a) Eating a piece of apple dipped in honey, to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, and other special foods symbolic of the new year’s blessings. b) Blessing one another with the words “Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim,” “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” c) Tashlich, a special prayer said near a body of water (an ocean, river, pond, etc.), in evocation of the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.” And as with every major Jewish holiday, after candlelighting and prayers we recite kiddush and make a blessing on the challah.

The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCYRM7KYJY4
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Rachel
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« Reply #713 on: September 04, 2013, 04:06:24 PM »

Answering Rosh Hashanah's Call
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
http://www.aish.com/h/hh/rh/shofar/Answering-Rosh-Hashanahs-Call.html
If you have ever lost a child in a crowded place, you know the raw fear. Has anyone seen a two-year-old with a blue shirt on? He has brown hair. A Gap baseball hat with green letters?
A couple of years of ago we lost our toddler in an amusement park in Israel. One second he was right in front of us, and the next thing we knew he was nowhere to be found. At first we thought he had to be at most a few feet away, and we called out his name. No response. After a minute of looking around and shouting, I began to panic. Where could he have gone? We started stopping people and asking them to help us. I fought back tears as I ran past the jumping castles and bumper cars. By then we had a small crowd circling the area and calling his name.

 http://www.aish.com/h/hh/rh/shofar/Answering-Rosh-Hashanahs-Call.htm



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YoV-0Div12U#t=42
#Invalid YouTube Link#
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #714 on: September 13, 2013, 03:56:56 PM »

YK begins at sundown.  Maybe Rachel will share something with us , , ,
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Rachel
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« Reply #715 on: September 13, 2013, 04:41:25 PM »

Marc,

Thanks for the reminder.    Easy  Fast.  May we written in the Book of Life

Yom Kippur, Still Single?
by Delia Fine

I slowly began to realize that Yom Kippur is a gift, not a burden.



Growing up, I often heard Yom Kippur described as the “saddest day of the year,” but I wasn’t sure what the women in my synagogue were crying about. Maybe they felt true remorse for their sins. Maybe they cried because they were begging God for a good year; their heartfelt wishes for the future bringing them to tears.

http://www.aish.com/d/w/Yom-Kippur-Still-Single.html


Yom Kippur infographic --

http://www.aish.com/h/hh/yom-kippur/guide/Yom-Kippur-Infographic.html

Yom Kippur: Everyone Falls

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ftjmDHalDk4

#Invalid YouTube Link#

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Rachel
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« Reply #716 on: September 24, 2013, 01:51:09 PM »

The Jewish Holiday season is still on going

It is actually Sukkot

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm


Our surprise direct line.
by Sara Yoheved Rigler

Seattle resident Sarah Busch was chagrined when she opened her monthly Nordstrom statement. Instead of the concise, compact statement she had been receiving for decades, the 79-year-old retired bookkeeper unfolded a bulky 8 X 10 statement in a new format. She decided to complain.

She phoned Nordstrom's corporate headquarters right there in Seattle and asked to speak to someone in management. "Don't give me Customer Service," she instructed the operator. After a few rings, a masculine voice answered the phone. "First of all, I'd like to know to whom I'm speaking," Sarah Busch began.

"This is Blake Nordstrom," came the reply.

"Blake Nordstrom? You're the President!" a confounded Sarah Busch exclaimed.

"I am indeed," he responded.

"What are YOU doing answering the phone?"

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Blake-Nordstrom-Speaking.html?s=fb
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« Reply #717 on: September 24, 2013, 09:59:07 PM »

 cool cool cool
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« Reply #718 on: October 09, 2013, 11:51:02 AM »

The Courage Not to Conform   Cheshvan 5, 5774 • October 9, 2013
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
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Leaders lead. That does not mean to say that they don’t follow. But what they follow is different from what most people follow. They don’t conform for the sake of conforming. They don’t do what others do merely because others are doing it. They follow an inner voice, a call. They have a vision, not of what is, but of what might be. They think outside the box. They march to a different tune.

Never was this more dramatically signaled than in the first words of G d to Abraham, the words that set Jewish history in motion: “Leave your land, your birthplace and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.”

Why?

They don’t conform for the sake of conforming

Because people do conform. They adopt the standards and absorb the culture of the time and place in which they live—“your land.” At a deeper level, they are influenced by friends and neighbors—“your birthplace.” More deeply still, they are shaped by their parents and the family in which they grew up—“your father’s house.”

I want you, says G d to Abraham, to be different. Not for the sake of being different, but for the sake of starting something new: a religion that will not worship power and the symbols of power—for that is what idols really were and are. I want you, said G d, to “teach your children and your household afterward to follow the way of the L rd by doing what is right and just.”

To be a Jew is to be willing to challenge the prevailing consensus when, as so often happens, nations slip into worshipping the old gods. They did so in Europe throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. That was the age of nationalism: the pursuit of power in the name of the nation-state that led to two world wars and tens of millions of deaths. It is the age we are living in now, as North Korea acquires and Iran pursues nuclear weapons so that they can impose their ambitions by force. It is what is happening today throughout much of the Middle East and Africa, as nations descend into violence and what Hobbes called “the war of every man against every man.”

We make a mistake when we think of idols in terms of their physical appearance—statues, figurines, icons. In that sense, they belong to ancient times we have long outgrown. Instead, the right way to think of idols is in terms of what they represent. They symbolize power. That is what Ra was for the Egyptians, Baal for the Canaanites, Chemosh for the Moabites, Zeus for the Greeks, and missiles and bombs for terrorists and rogue states today.

Power allows us to rule over others without their consent. As the Greek historian Thucydides put it: “The strong do  what they wish, and the weak suffer what they must.”

Judaism is a sustained critique of power. That is the conclusion I have reached after a lifetime of studying our sacred texts. It is about how a nation can be formed on the basis of shared commitment and collective responsibility. It is about how to construct a society that honors the human person as the image and likeness of G d. It is about a vision, never fully realized but never abandoned, of a world based on justice and compassion, in which “they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the L rd as the waters cover the sea.”1

Abraham is, without doubt, the most influential person who ever lived. Today he is claimed as the spiritual ancestor of 2.4 billion Christians, 1.6 billion Muslims and 13 million Jews, more than half the people alive today. Yet he ruled no empire, commanded no great army, performed no miracles and proclaimed no prophecy. He is the supreme example in all of history of influence without power.

Why? Because he was prepared to be different. As the sages say, he was called ha-ivri, “the Hebrew,” because “all the world was on one side (be-ever echad) and he was on the other.”2 Leadership, as every leader knows, can be lonely. Yet you continue to do what you have to do, because you know that the majority is not always right and conventional wisdom is not always wise. Dead fish go with the flow. Live fish swim against the current. So it is with conscience and courage. So it is with the children of Abraham. They are prepared to challenge the idols of the age.

After the Holocaust, some social scientists were haunted by the question of why so many people were prepared,

Dead fish go with the flow. Live fish swim against the currentwhether by active participation or silent consent, to go along with a regime that they knew was committing one of the great crimes against humanity.

One key experiment was conducted by Solomon Asch. He assembled a group of people, asking them to perform a series of simple cognitive tasks. They were shown two cards, one with a line on it, the other with three lines of different lengths, and asked which was the same size as the line on the first. Unbeknown to one participant, all the others had been briefed by Asch to give the right answer for the first few cards, then the wrong one for most of the rest. On a significant number of occasions the experimental subject gave an answer he could see was wrong, because everyone else had done so. Such is the power of the pressure to conform that it can lead us to say what we know is untrue.

More frightening still was the Stanford experiment carried out in the early 1970s by Philip Zimbardo. The participants were randomly assigned roles as guards or prisoners in a mock prison. Within days the students cast as guards were behaving abusively, some of them subjecting the “prisoners” to psychological torture. The students cast as prisoners put up with this passively, even siding with the guards against those who resisted. The experiment was called off after six days, during which time even Zimbardo found himself drawn into the artificial reality he had created. The pressure to conform to assigned roles is strong enough to lead people into doing what they know is wrong.

The experiment was called off after six days


That is why Abraham, at the start of his mission, was told to leave “his land, his birthplace and his father’s house,” to free himself from the pressure to conform. Leaders must be prepared not to follow the consensus. One of the great writers on leadership, Warren Bennis, writes:3 “By the time we reach puberty, the world has shaped us to a greater extent than we realize. Our family, friends, and society in general have told us—by word and example—how to be. But people begin to become leaders at that moment when they decide for themselves how to be.”

One reason why Jews have become, out of all proportion to their numbers, leaders in almost every sphere of human endeavor is precisely this willingness to be different. Throughout the centuries, Jews have been the most striking example of a group that refused to assimilate to the dominant culture or convert to the dominant faith. One other finding of Solomon Asch’s is worth noting. If just one other person was willing to support the individual who could see that the others were giving the wrong answer, it gave him the strength to stand out against the consensus. That is why, however small their numbers, Jews created communities. It is hard to lead alone, far less hard to lead in the company of others, even if you are a minority.

Judaism is the countervoice in the conversation of humankind. As Jews, we do not follow the majority merely because it is the majority. In age after age, century after century, Jews were prepared to do what the poet Robert Frost immortalized:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.4
It is what makes a nation of leaders.

FOOTNOTES

1.
Isaiah 11:9.
2.
Genesis Rabbah 42:8.
3.
Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader (Basic Books, 1989), 49.
4.
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, Birches, and Other Poems, 10.

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« Reply #719 on: October 10, 2013, 05:55:25 PM »

Bragging Rights   Cheshvan 4, 5774 • October 8, 2013
By Yossy Gordon
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There was once a well-known doctor who was famous not only for his medical expertise, but also for his extraordinary bedside manner. He was gentle and kind, and often helped people far beyond the call of duty. He had one fault, though: he loved talking about his righteousness, and felt that he was due honor for his deeds.

Once, as the doctor traveled along in his fashionable coach, he noticed a rabbi walking along the side of the road. The good doctor graciously offered him a ride. The rabbi accepted. As they rode, the doctor began to talk about his good work. “When a patient comes to me who cannot afford to pay, I treat him exactly as I do a paying customer,” said the doctor.

“Oh, yes,” responded the rabbi, “I do the same.”

The doctor was surprised. The rabbi did not appear to have any medical skills at all. What could he mean? Most likely, mused the doctor quietly, he treats whoever asks him rabbinical questions in the same manner. Hmmm . . .

The doctor was flabbergasted to hear the rabbi say, “Aha! I do the same.”

The doctor spoke up again. “When I see patients who cannot afford to pay my fee, I provide free medication for them as well.”

The rabbi listened intently and responded with a curt “Nu, I do the same.”

Perplexed, the doctor began deliberating to himself: Was the rabbi dispensing medicine too? No, no, no . . . He must mean that when people need things from him for which he normally charges a fee, he gives it away to the needy for free.

The doctor tried again: “When I see patients who cannot afford to pay for my fee or medicine, and need to go elsewhere to recover from their illness, I sponsor their trips to various spas and health centers.”

Confident that he had now, finally, topped the rabbi, the doctor was flabbergasted to hear the rabbi say, “Aha! I do the same.”

This continued until finally the doctor lost patience. “Excuse me, honored rabbi. I don’t understand you,” he said with aggravation in his voice. “Are you a doctor? Do you provide medical care and medicine, or arrange that needy patients can stay in health spas? What do you mean, ‘I do the same?’”

The rabbi answered with a smile: “I just wanted to tell you that I, too, talk to others only about the good things I do. My faults I never talk about, just like you . . .”
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« Reply #720 on: November 01, 2013, 09:04:42 AM »

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
        He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
        He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
        Thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
        and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
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« Reply #721 on: November 03, 2013, 10:38:22 AM »

I remember the first time I heard Psalm 23 spoken was at a funeral for someone who very unexpectedly died over a weekend where I was doing some part time work.  He died suddenly of a heart attack without warning.  No one could believe it.   It was in a Catholic hospital near where I lived. 

I went to the afternoon service at the Chapel because he had been kind to me.   It would have been 1980 or 1981.   Being Jewish I never heard those words before.  The power of those words struck me immediately and now 32 years later I still vividly recall the Priest reciting those words with elevated volume tone and conviction.   Their power just vibrated through my senses.    I don't remember anything else that was said - just those words!     

Powerful and beautiful stuff.   Cut through my different religious background like water can cut through pure rock.

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« Reply #722 on: November 04, 2013, 10:26:43 AM »

I remember the first time I heard Psalm 23 spoken was at a funeral for someone who very unexpectedly died over a weekend where I was doing some part time work.  He died suddenly of a heart attack without warning.  No one could believe it.   It was in a Catholic hospital near where I lived. 

I went to the afternoon service at the Chapel because he had been kind to me.   It would have been 1980 or 1981.   Being Jewish I never heard those words before.  The power of those words struck me immediately and now 32 years later I still vividly recall the Priest reciting those words with elevated volume tone and conviction.   Their power just vibrated through my senses.    I don't remember anything else that was said - just those words!     

Powerful and beautiful stuff.   Cut through my different religious background like water can cut through pure rock.

Thanks CCP.  This goes back to David, King of Israel roughly 1000 BC.  I read this at my father's Christian funeral.  I believe you will find it in Jewish teachings as well.
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« Reply #723 on: November 04, 2013, 10:44:16 AM »

My understanding as well.
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« Reply #724 on: November 16, 2013, 05:26:07 PM »

http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/14-habits-highly-miserable-people?page=0%2C0&paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark
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« Reply #725 on: November 24, 2013, 08:08:07 PM »

Thanksgivukkah
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech

The similarities – and essential differences – between Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.

It will never again happen in our lifetimes – unless you are somehow still alive 70,000 years from now.

This year the first night of Hanukkah will coincide with the American holiday of Thanksgiving. The latkes will share their prominent place at the festive meal with the turkey. Small wonder that some have already humorously decided that this year we ought to call the day by a new name – Thanksgivukkah.

In all seriousness, a “coincidence” of this magnitude requires some reflection. This is a perfect time to give some thought to the essential difference between the motivation for the American day of expressing gratitude to God and the Jewish rationale for our Festival of Lights. Because although thankfulness is the theme behind both of these holidays, they are significantly unlike each other in their emphasis on the particular reason that calls forth our response of appreciation to the Almighty.

As human beings we have two basic needs. One is physical. Because we are flesh and blood we require food to sustain us. Without sustenance we could not live. That is why there is a biblical obligation to bless God at the conclusion of every full meal, defined as one in which we have partaken of bread, the biblical staff of life. “And you shall eat, and you should be satiated, and you shall bless the Lord your God” (Deut. 9:7).

That is one of only two biblically mandated blessings. The other? The blessing over the study of Torah. Food is essential for our bodies but Torah is at least just as important for the preservation of our souls. Food allows us to live; Torah gives us a reason for living. Food satisfies our physical cravings; Torah responds to our deeper need for purpose and meaning to our existence.

We are a duality going back to the story of the creation of Adam who was formed from the dust of the earth and the breath of the divine. We need our bodies to house our souls; we need our souls to validate our presence in the world.

All other blessings in Jewish tradition come by way of rabbinic obligation. They are post-biblical efforts on the part of the rabbis to ensure greater awareness of God in our daily lives. But the Torah is primarily concerned with human recognition of the two major mainstays of our existence. We need to acknowledge the great gifts that make possible our physical as well as our spiritual survival – our daily bread and our opportunity to peruse the words of God’s Torah.

It is no coincidence then that holidays reflect sensitivity to these two different divine favors that we have found bestowed upon us in special moments of history.
The First Thanksgiving

One need not be Jewish to grasp the concept of gratitude as it applies to God’s wondrous role in providing for the needs of our bodies. That indeed was what prompted the pilgrims to proclaim a special day of Thanksgiving. The "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. They based it, they wrote, on the biblical holiday of Sukkot, the festival of the harvest. It was a feast that lasted three days, and was attended by about 53 Pilgrims and 90 American Indians. The New England colonists became accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings”, thanking God for the blessings of the end of a drought as well as of abundant crops and material blessings.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the United States by way of proclamation of the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. In the middle of the American Civil War, President Lincoln, proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. The document, written by Secretary of State William Seward, reads as follows:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

To this day, Thanksgiving remains as a powerful reminder of America’s recognition of God’s role in our national prosperity. Our tables overflow with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, testimony to heavenly blessings bestowed upon us that grant our bodies the sustenance they require. In biblical terms, Thanksgiving is a sequel to the biblically mandated Birkat Ha-mazon, the Grace after Meals in which we express gratitude to the One Above “who feeds the world in his goodness with grace, with kindness and with mercy.”
Spiritual Blessing

But Thanksgiving does not address another kind of thankfulness we owe to God. Its emphasis on material blessings requires another component that has its source in the second blessing demanded of us by the Bible. It is the blessing for the spiritual part of our lives. It is the thanks we need to recite before the study of Torah, a blessing that alerts us to the hunger of our souls and our yearning to be nourished by the sacred.

On the Jewish calendar that blessing has a historic source in the story of Hanukkah. To speak of Hanukkah as a military victory of the Maccabees is to totally misunderstand its meaning. There have been many moments in our past when we have survived the threat of physical destruction. They are not Hanukkah. The Jews in the Seleucid Empire did not need to fear physical death. Antiochus was not bothered by the survival of Jews; what he wanted at all costs to prevent was the survival of Judaism. His decrees were against the observance of Torah. Jews could readily find their lives spared if they would be willing to forfeit their faith.

Hanukkah is a holiday whose story is perhaps most relevant to our own days. Its threat was not to our bodies, but our souls. The danger was not death but disappearance by way of assimilation.

How appropriate, the Sages note, that the ritual of Hanukkah emphasizes the use of oil. For eight nights it is the source of the light that fills our homes and our synagogues. Oil has a unique and distinct property. All other liquids, when mixed, lose their individual identity and become unrecognizable. Oil however refuses to mix. Try to stir it with water and it refuses to “assimilate”; it rises to the top and remains distinctive and identifiable.

It is the ideal symbol for the Hanukkah story which recounts the miracle of those who championed commitment to the truths of Sinai over the temptations of secularism. The Greeks sought to transform the world to their belief in the holiness of beauty. The Jews saw as their mission the message of the beauty of holiness. Two philosophies were at war with each other. And miraculously, the spiritual ideal proved triumphant.

For those of us today who are frightened by studies which question the possibility of Jewish survival in the face of seemingly rampant assimilation, we need to remind ourselves that the miracle of Hanukkah is our affirmation that we will always persevere in our faith. Hanukkah teaches us that the light of our tradition, which some might say doesn’t even have the capacity to last for one night, will against all physical laws of nature miraculously grow stronger and brighter. And Jews, like the oil of Hanukkah, will never totally assimilate.

Hanukkah then is the historic sequel to the blessing over Torah. It commemorates our religious survival against all odds, the victory of the spiritual over the profane, the sacred over the sacrilegious.

And when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide we find ourselves doubly blessed. We will be able to offer thanks to God on the same day for both our spiritual and material blessings. Let us delight in this extremely rare opportunity to bless God for the food for our bodies as well as the survival of our faith that grants us spiritual sustenance for our souls.
This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/h/c/t/dt/Thanksgivukkah.html

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« Reply #726 on: November 27, 2013, 02:30:03 PM »

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« Reply #727 on: December 01, 2013, 05:28:27 PM »


Inside/Outside
The Candles of Chanukah, Shabbat, and Havdalah
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/2406931/jewish/InsideOutside.htm
There is more than one command in Judaism to light lights. There are three. There are the Shabbat candles. There is the havdalah candle. And there are the Chanukah candles.

The difference between them is that Shabbat candles represent shalom bayit, peace in the home. They are lit indoors. They are, if you like, Judaism’s inner light, the light of the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of home.

The Chanukah candles used to be lit outside — outside the front door. It was only fear of persecution that took the Chanukah candles back inside, and in recent times the Lubavitcher Rebbe introduced the custom of lighting giant menorahs in public places to bring back the original spirit of the day. Chanukah candles are the light Judaism brings to the world when we are unafraid to announce our identity in public, live by our principles and fight, if necessary, for our freedom.

As for the havdalah candle, which is always made up of several wicks woven together, it represents the fusion of the two, the inner light of Shabbat, joined to the outer light we make during the six days of the week when we go out into the world and live our faith in public.

When we live as Jews in private, filling our homes with the light of the Shekhina, when we live as Jews in public, bringing the light of hope to others, and when we live both together, then we bring light to the world. There always were two ways to live in a world that is often dark and full of tears. We can curse the darkness or we can light a light, and as the Chassidim say, a little light drives out much darkness. May we all help light up the world.
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth. To read more writings and teachings by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, or to join his e‑mail list, please visit www.rabbisacks.org.
More articles by Jonathan Sacks  |  RSS
The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #728 on: December 07, 2013, 07:51:30 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHxs3gdtV8A
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« Reply #729 on: December 12, 2013, 08:56:44 PM »

Four Ways to Manage Fear
Don’t let your fear hold you back.

by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Four-Ways-to-Manage-Fear.html

Danny Forster, the host of Discovery Channel’s Build It Bigger, a show about constructing enormous skyscrapers and towering bridges, is terrified of heights. On his first scouting trip as host, Forster's acrophobia almost cost him his job. He had flown with the show's producers to Glendale, Arizona to assess the show's first target: the University of Phoenix Stadium, the new $455 million dollar home of the Arizona Cardinals. The plan was to have Forster start off the show by working on the stadium's 240-foot-tall fabric-lined roof, but when they asked him to climb the ladder, he at first refused. Had they hired the wrong guy?
Forster's passion to build pushed him to start climbing. He rode hundreds of feet up in man lifts and climbed onto roofs, not because he had overcome his fear of heights but because he was willing to be afraid and build anyway.


....

http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Four-Ways-to-Manage-Fear.html
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« Reply #730 on: December 15, 2013, 11:52:50 AM »

People are not changed by arguments, nor by philosophy. People change by doing.
Introduce a new habit into your life, and your entire perspective of the world changes.
First do, then learn about what you are already doing.
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« Reply #731 on: December 22, 2013, 12:11:12 PM »

From a letter by the Rebbe:

I do not accept your assertion that you do not believe.

For if you truly had no concept of a Supernal Being who created the world with purpose, then what is all this outrage of yours against the injustice of life?

The substance of the universe is not moral, nor are plants and animals. Why should it surprise you that whoever is bigger and more powerful swallows his fellow alive?

It is only due to an inner conviction in our hearts, shared by every human being, that there is a Judge, that there is right and there is wrong. And so, when we see a wrong, we demand an explanation: Why is this not the way it is supposed to be?

That itself is belief in God.
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« Reply #732 on: December 24, 2013, 03:06:31 PM »

A few weeks ago I received the best birthday gift ever.   Several EMTs, paramedics and doctors in LA saved the life and the ability to walk of my best friend.   Her neck was broken  in a bad car accident on a curvy road in the rain on the way to work.  She should actually be more or less back to normal in few months.  I unfortunately have not been able to visit her for personal reasons but we have gotten to  have a lot  philosophical conversations on the phone about gratitude and what do with the gifts we have been given.




4 Ways to Find Inner Joy
by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

‘Tis the season to battle a touch of the blues.

It’s the season of office parties, family vacations and too many selfies popping up on Instagram and your facebook page. It sometimes feels as if everyone else is in a better place and having more fun. Many find themselves feeling down, unsettled, and battling a touch of the blues.

What can we do to find our personal joy?

Joy is not the same as fun. You can spend the day having a great time in the city with friends but when you walk through your door, you are not feeling joy. Or you can search spa finder, book the most lux treatments and then partake in gourmet meals but somehow a void remains. At the end of the day joyfulness eludes you.

Inner joy, genuine “I-feel-good-about-my-life” emotions takes work. It requires creating a positive inner core which can be a strenuous workout for the soul.

We need to stop comparing our lives and digital images with others. By focusing on the happiness of everyone else we forget how to zoom in on our own blessings. Once we are determined to seek out our inner joy and decide to stop sizing up the vacations, romantic life and wallets of our friends and family, we are ready for the first step.

1. Get Into the Gratitude Mode


Joyfulness begins with a sense of gratitude. Show me a positive, happy person and I will show you a grateful person. Appreciation doesn’t only happen when things are going perfectly. Our mission is to cultivate this sensation of thankfulness as our constant guiding spirit. How?

Customize your outlook to see the good. In Judaism we call this an ‘ayin tov,’ a positive eye. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, train your eye to see what’s right. Pay attention to the number of times a day you have a negative reaction, criticism or complaint. When someone does something for you, do you find where they fall short instead of saying thank you? When you’re eating out in a restaurant, do you end up griping about the service or the food?  Work on quieting that negative side and building the positive. You will find yourself more pleasant to be around, more thankful and evolving into a happier person.


.....
 http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/4-Ways-to-Find-Inner-Joy.html





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« Reply #733 on: December 25, 2013, 10:54:28 PM »

Once upon a time there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family.

This particular year a few days before Christmas he punished his little five-year old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten the money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”
As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses until it was full.”

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.
An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends, and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
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« Reply #734 on: December 26, 2013, 11:45:12 AM »

Terrific post Crafty.  Where did you get this from?  Can I email this to others?
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« Reply #735 on: December 26, 2013, 07:34:37 PM »

It is an "anonymous" shared with me by a friend.  Share away!
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« Reply #736 on: December 31, 2013, 03:38:10 PM »

The Far Horizon
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2430669/jewish/The-Far-Horizon.htm

To gain insight into the unique leadership lesson of this week’s Parshah, I often ask an audience to perform a thought experiment. Imagine you are the leader of a people that has suffered exile for more than two centuries, and has been enslaved and oppressed. Now, after a series of miracles, it is about to go free. You assemble them and rise to address them. They are waiting expectantly for your words. This is a defining moment they will never forget. What will you speak about?

Most people answer: freedom. That was Abraham Lincoln’s decision in the Gettysburg Address, when he invoked the memory of “a new nation, conceived in liberty,” and looked forward to “a new birth of freedom.” Some suggest that they would inspire the people by talking about the destination that lay ahead, the “land flowing with milk and honey.” Yet others say they would warn the people of the dangers and What will you speak about?challenges that they would encounter on what Nelson Mandela called “the long walk to freedom.”

Any of these would have been the great speech of a great leader. Guided by G‑d, Moses did none of these things. That is what made him a unique leader. If you examine the text in Parshat Bo, you will see that three times he reverted to the same theme: children, education, and the distant future.

When your children ask you, “What do you mean by this rite?” you shall say, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the L‑rd, because He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians, but saved our houses.”1

You shall explain to your child on that day, “It is because of what the L‑rd did for me when I went free from Egypt.”2

When in time to come your child asks you, saying, “What does this mean?” you shall say to him, “It was with a mighty hand that the L‑rd brought us out from Egypt, the house of bondage.”3

It is one of the most counterintuitive acts in the history of leadership. Moses did not speak about today or tomorrow. He spoke about the distant future and the duty of parents to educate their children. He even hinted—as Jewish tradition understood—that we should encourage our children to ask questions, so that the handing down of the Jewish heritage would be not a matter of rote learning but of active dialogue between parents and children.

So, Jews became the only people in history to predicate their very survival on education. The most sacred duty of parents was to teach their children. Pesach itself became an ongoing seminar in the handing on of memory. Judaism became the religion whose heroes were teachers and whose passion was study and the life of the mind. The Mesopotamians built ziggurats. The Egyptians built pyramids. The Greeks built the Parthenon. The Romans built the Coliseum. Jews built schools. That is why they alone, of all the civilizations of the ancient world, are still alive and strong, still continuing their ancestors’ vocation, their heritage intact and undiminished.

Moses’ insight was profound. He knew that you cannot change the world by externalities alone, by monumental architecture, or armies and empires, or the use of force and power. How many You cannot change the world by externalities aloneempires have come and gone while the human condition remains untransformed and unredeemed?

There is only one way to change the world, and that is by education. You have to teach children the importance of justice, righteousness, kindness and compassion. You have to teach them that freedom can be sustained only by the laws and habits of self-restraint. You have continually to remind them of the lessons of history, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt,” because those who forget the bitterness of slavery eventually lose the commitment and courage to fight for freedom. And you have to empower children to ask, challenge and argue. You have to respect them, if they are to respect the values you wish them to embrace.

This is a lesson most cultures still have not learned after more than three thousand years. Revolutions, protests and civil wars still take place, encouraging people to think that removing a tyrant or having a democratic election will end corruption, create freedom, and lead to justice and the rule of law—and still people are surprised and disappointed when it does not happen. All that happens is a change of faces in the corridors of power.

In one of the great speeches of the twentieth century, a distinguished American justice, Judge Learned Hand, said:

I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.4

What G‑d taught Moses was that the real challenge does not lie in gaining freedom; it lies in sustaining it, keeping the spirit of liberty alive in the hearts of successive generations. That can be done only through a sustained process of education. Nor is this something that can be delegated away to teachers and schools. Some of it has to take place within the family, at home, and with the sacred obligation that comes from religious duty. No one ever saw this more clearly than Moses, and only because of his teachings have Jews and Judaism survived.

What makes leaders great is that they think ahead, worrying not about tomorrow but about next year, or the next decade, or the next generation. In one of his finest speeches, Robert F. Kennedy spoke of the power of leaders to transform the world when they have a clear vision of a possible future:

Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills—against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single person. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. “Give me a place to stand,” said Archimedes, “and I will move the world.” These men moved the world, and so can we all.5

Visionary leadership forms the text and texture of Judaism. It was the book of Proverbs Visionary leadership forms the text and texture of Judaismthat said, “Without a vision [chazon], the people perish.”6 That vision in the minds of the prophets was always of a long-term future. G‑d told Ezekiel that a prophet is a watchman, one who climbs to a high vantage point and so can see the danger in the distance, before anyone else is aware of it at ground level.7 The sages said, “Who is wise? One who sees the long-term consequences [ha-nolad].”8 Two of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century, Churchill and Ben Gurion, were also distinguished historians. Knowing the past, they could anticipate the future. They were like chess masters who, because they have studied thousands of games, recognize almost immediately the dangers and possibilities in any configuration of the pieces on the board. They know what will happen if you make this move or that.

If you want to be a great leader in any field, from prime minister to parent, it is essential to think long-term. Never choose the easy option because it is simple or fast or yields immediate satisfaction. You will pay a high price in the end.

Moses was the greatest leader because he thought further ahead than anyone else. He knew that real change in human behavior is the work of many generations. Therefore we must place as our highest priority educating our children in our ideals, so that what we begin they will continue, until the world changes because we have changed. He knew that if you plan for a year, plant rice. If you plan for a decade, plant a tree. If you plan for posterity, educate a child.9 Moses’ lesson, thirty-three centuries old, is still compelling today.

FOOTNOTES
1.   Exodus 12:26–27.
2.   Exodus 13:8.
3.   Exodus 13:14.
4.   “The Spirit of Liberty”—speech at “I Am an American Day” ceremony, Central Park, New York City (21 May 1944).
5.   The Kennedys: America’s Front-Page Family, p. 112.
6.   Proverbs 29:18.
7.   Ezekiel 33:1–6.
8.   Talmud, Tamid 32a.
9.   A statement attributed to Confucius.
 
BY RABBI JONATHAN SACKS
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth. To read more writings and teachings by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, or to join his e‑mail list, please visit www.rabbisacks.org.
Photo by Oneinfocus. Oneinfocus is committed to educating and inspiring people on a global scale, using photography and other forms of visual technology to spread Torah, Chassidus and positive life values.
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« Reply #737 on: January 12, 2014, 12:19:10 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOUmuBXVMs&feature=youtu.be
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« Reply #738 on: January 14, 2014, 11:36:22 AM »



A Life Not with Standing
Invisible, inaudible, inanimate: my adventures in a wheelchair.
by Chava Willig Levy


I was raised in a joy-filled home. One of its most joy-filled days was April 12, 1955, when Dr. Jonas Salk announced that his polio vaccine worked. Four months later, at the age of three, I contracted polio.

Years of hospitalizations and surgeries had me hungering for home. But with each hospital discharge, one destination had me chomping at the bit to fly the coop. My ninth birthday long behind me, I had yet to attend school. Except for my synagogue’s afternoon program, home and hospital instruction was all I knew. The only advantage to this lonely segregation was its tight quarters. They afforded me the chance to minimize wheelchair use; at home, for example, a few steps from bed to kitchen table, my ersatz school desk, were well within my ambulatory range.

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/A-Life-Not-with-Standing.html
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« Reply #739 on: January 29, 2014, 10:45:38 AM »

http://catholicnewslive.com/story/118679
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« Reply #740 on: February 09, 2014, 05:11:31 AM »

An uneducated old man was visiting a city for the first time in his life. He had grown up in a remote mountain village, worked hard raising his children, and was now enjoying his first visit to his children's modern homes.

 One day, while being shown around the city, the old man heard a sound that stung his ears. He had never heard such an awful noise in his quiet mountain village and he insisted on finding its cause. Following the grating sound back to its source, he came to a room in back of a house where a small boy was practicing on a violin.

 Screech! Scrape ! came the discordant notes from the groaning instrument.

 When he was told by his son that that was called a "violin," he decided he never wanted to hear such a horrible thing again.

 The next day, in a different part of the city, the old man heard a sound that seemed to caress his aged ears. He had never heard such an enchanting melody in his mountain valley, so he demanded to find its cause. Following the delightful sound back to its source, he came to a room in the front of a house where an old lady, a maestro, was performing a sonata on a violin.

 At once, the old man realized his mistake. The terrible sound that he had heard the previous day was not the fault of the violin, nor even the boy. It was just the young man had yet to learn his instrument well.

 With a wisdom reserved for the simple folk, the old man thought it was the same with religion. When we come across a religious enthusiast causing such a strife with his beliefs, it is incorrect to blame the religion. It is just that the novice has yet to learn his religion well. When we come across a saint, a maestro of her religion, it is such a sweet encounter that it inspires us for many years, whatever their beliefs.

 ...But that was not the end of the story of the old man and the violin.

 The third day, in a different part of the city, the old man heard another sound that surpassed in its beauty and purity even that of the maestro on her violin. What do you think the sound was ?

 It was a sound more beautiful than the cascade of the mountain stream in spring, the autumn wind through forest groves, or the mountain birds singing after a heavy rain. It was even more beautiful than the silence in the mountain hollows on a still winter's night. What was that sound the moved the old man's heart more powerfully than anything before ?

 It was a large orchestra playing a symphony.

 The reason that it was, for the old man, the most beautiful sound in the world was, firstly, that every member of that orchestra was a maestro of their own instrument; secondly, that they had further learned how to play together in harmony.

 "May it be the same with religion," the old man thought. "let each one of us learn through the lessons of life the soft heart of our beliefs. Let us each be a maestro of the love within our religion. Then, having learned our religion well, let us go further and learn how to play, like members of an orchestra, with other religions in harmony together!"

 That would be the most beautiful sound.

 Ajahn Brahm
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« Reply #741 on: February 16, 2014, 09:51:57 PM »

What follows is extremely sacrilegious-- but I lack the knowledge to answer.  Anyone?  Rachel?

http://io9.com/i-cant-help-but-think-that-the-new-testament-is-really-1522978228
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« Reply #742 on: February 25, 2014, 10:38:08 AM »

We are very lucky to live in a wold where the ability to learn about almost any topic is in our hands. It just takes time, effort and making it a priority.  That tone and the word choices of the article are irreligious but I don’t think asking questions is disrespectful .

“A brittle faith fears questions; a robust faith welcomes them.”   “ Asking questions of another is not only a sign of relationship, it is a means of establishing  relationships.  Rabbi Wolpe

There are at least 12 questions  here and  I don’t think is the best use of my time  to answer them all  when there are better more insightful and educated  resources available. 


If you are Jewish, You can get a free study partner with Partners in Torah http://www.partnersintorah.org/   I have been working with a  extremely helpful and kind  study partner from this organization for over 10 years.

If you are Christian, I’m assuming your local church would have a bible study group that could discuss these issues. 




I highly recommend the books

Why Faith Matters by Rabbi David Wolpe

The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning by Rabbi Jonathan Sachs



Jews are supposed to read the story of the Binding of Isaac every morning.   I don’t think it a story meant to calm and comfort you. It is a story that wakes you  and makes you question your life.

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/326392/jewish/Sacrifice-Your-Son.htm

http://www.rabbisacks.org/vayera-5771-the-binding-of-isaac-a-new-interpretation/


Thanks to a moderately classical education, I have had the luxury to read the New Testament, the books or lengthly excerpts of Augustine, Anslem, Aquinas and Martin Luther.   The reboot did not speak to me but I’m grateful to be Jewish and we selfishly like to keep our religion to ourselves. 
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« Reply #743 on: March 14, 2014, 08:00:10 PM »

An ageing master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

~ Meditation Masters
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« Reply #744 on: March 18, 2014, 02:02:45 PM »

http://www.dennisprager.com/noah-one-moral-stories-ever-told/
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« Reply #745 on: April 21, 2014, 06:10:07 PM »

http://www.glennbeck.com/content/blog/glenn/a-fresh-start/
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« Reply #746 on: May 14, 2014, 01:54:57 PM »

Bechukotei (5774) – “We The People”  Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
 


http://www.rabbisacks.org/bechukotei-5774-people

You can also listen to the commentary here as well


In Bechukotai, in the midst of one of the most searing curses ever to have been uttered to a nation by way of warning, the sages found a fleck of pure gold.
Moses is describing a nation in flight from its enemies:

I will bring despair into the hearts of those of you who survive in enemy territory. Just the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to running, and they will run scared as if running from a sword! They will fall even when no one is chasing them! They will stumble over each other as they would before a sword, even though no one is chasing them! You will have no power to stand before your enemies. (Lev. 26: 36-37)

There is on the face of it nothing positive in this nightmare scenario. But the sages said: “They will stumble over each other” – read this as “stumble because of one another”: this teaches that all Israelites are sureties [i.e. responsible] for one another.”[1]

This is an exceedingly strange passage. Why locate this principle here? Surely the whole Torah testifies to it. When Moses speaks about the reward for keeping the covenant he does so collectively. There will be rain in its due season. You will have good harvests. And so on. The principle that Jews have collective responsibility, that their fate and destiny are interlinked: this could have been found in the Torah’s blessings. Why search for it among its curses?

The answer is that there is nothing unique to Judaism in the idea that we are all implicated in one another’s fate. That is true of the citizens of any nation. If the economy is booming, most people benefit. If there is a recession many people suffer. If a neighbourhood is scarred by crime, people are scared to walk the streets. If there is law and order, if people are polite to one another and come to one another’s aid, there is a general sense of well-being. We are social animals, and our horizons of possibility are shaped by the society and culture within which we live.

All of this applied to the Israelites so long as they were a nation in their own land. But what when they suffered defeat and exile and were eventually scattered across the earth? They no longer had any of the conventional lineaments of a nation. They were not living in the same place. They did not share the same language of everyday life. While Rashi and his family were living in Christian northern Europe and speaking French, Maimonides was living in Muslim Egypt, speaking and writing Arabic.

Nor did Jews share a fate. While those in northern Europe were suffering persecution and massacres during the Crusades, the Jews of Spain were enjoying their golden age. While the Jews of Spain were being expelled and compelled to wander round the world as refugees, the Jews of Poland were enjoying a rare sunlit moment of tolerance. In what sense therefore were they responsible for one another? What constituted them as a nation? How – as the author of Psalm 137 put it – could they sing God’s song in a strange land?

There are only two texts in the Torah that speak to this situation, namely the two sections of curses, one in our parsha, and the other in Deuteronomy in the parsha of Ki Tavo. Only these speak about a time when Israel is exiled and dispersed, scattered, as Moses later put it, “to the most distant lands under heaven.” There are three major differences between the two curses, however. The passage in Leviticus is in the plural, that in Deuteronomy in the singular. The curses in Leviticus are the words of God; in Deuteronomy they are the words of Moses. And the curses in Deuteronomy do not end in hope. They conclude in a vision of unrelieved bleakness:

You will try to sell yourselves as slaves—both male and female—but no one will want to buy you. (Deut. 28: 68)

Those in Leviticus end with a momentous hope:

But despite all that, when they are in enemy territory, I will not reject them or despise them to the point of totally destroying them, breaking my covenant with them by doing so, because I am the Lord their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with the first generation, the ones I brought out of Egypt’s land in the sight of all the nations, in order to be their God; I am the Lord. (Lev. 26: 44-45)

Even in their worst hours, according to Leviticus, the Jewish people would never be destroyed. Nor would God reject them. The covenant would still be in force and its terms still operative. That meant that Jews would still be linked to one another by the same ties of mutual responsibility that they had in the land – for it was the covenant that formed them as a nation and bound them to one another even as it bound them to God. Therefore, even when falling over one another in flight from their enemies they would still be bound by mutual responsibility. They would still be a nation with a shared fate and destiny.

This is a rare and special idea, and it is the distinctive feature of the politics of covenant. Covenant became a major element in the politics of the West following the Reformation. It shaped political discourse in Switzerland, Holland, Scotland and England in the seventeenth century as the invention of printing and the spread of literacy made people familiar for the first time with the Hebrew Bible (the “Old Testament” as they called it). There they learned that tyrants are to be resisted, that immoral orders should not be obeyed, and that kings did not rule by divine right but only by the consent of the governed.

The same convictions were held by the Pilgrim Fathers as they set sail for America, but with this difference, that they did not disappear over time as they did in Europe. The result is that the United States is the only country today whose political discourse is framed by the idea of covenant.

Two textbook examples of this are Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Inaugural of 1965, and Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural of 2013. Both use the biblical device of significant repetition (always an odd number, three or five or seven). Johnson invokes the idea of covenant five times. Obama five times begins paragraphs with a key phrase of covenant politics – words never used by British politicians – namely, “We the people.”

In covenant societies it is the people as a whole who are responsible, under God, for the fate of the nation. As Johnson put it, “Our fate as a nation and our future as a people rest not upon one citizen but upon all citizens.” In Obama’s words, “You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.” That is the essence of covenant: we are all in this together. There is no division of the nation into rulers and ruled. We are conjointly responsible, under the sovereignty of God, for one another.
This is not open-ended responsibility. There is nothing in Judaism like the tendentious and ultimately meaningless idea set out by Jean-Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness of ‘absolute responsibility’:

The essential consequence of our earlier remarks is that man, being condemned to be free, carries the weight of the whole world on his shoulders, he is responsible for the world and for himself as a way of being.[2]

In Judaism we are responsible only for what we could have prevented but did not. This is how the Talmud puts it:

Whoever can forbid his household [to commit a sin] but does not, is seized for [the sins of] his household. [If he can forbid] his fellow citizens [but does not] he is seized for [the sins of] his fellow citizens. [If he can forbid] the whole world [but does not] he is seized for [the sins of] the whole world.[3]

This remains however a powerful idea and an unusual one. What made it unique to Judaism is that it applied to a people scattered throughout the world united only by the terms of a covenant our ancestors made with God at Mount Sinai. But it continues, as I have argued, to drive American political discourse likewise even today. It tells us that we are all equal citizens in the republic of faith and that responsibility cannot be delegated away to governments or presidents but belongs inalienably to each of us. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.

That is what I mean by the strange, seemingly self-contradictory idea I have argued throughout these essays: that we are all called on to be leaders. Surely this cannot be so: if everyone is a leader, then no one is. If everyone leads, who is left to follow?

The concept that resolves the contradiction is covenant. Leadership is, I have argued, the acceptance of responsibility. Therefore if we are all responsible for one another, we are all called on to be leaders, each within our sphere of influence, be it within the family, the community, the organisation or a larger grouping still.

This can sometimes make an enormous difference. In late summer of 1999 I was in Pristina making a BBC television programme about the aftermath of the Kosovo campaign. I interviewed General Sir Michael Jackson, then head of the NATO forces. To my surprise, he thanked me for what “my people” had done. The Jewish community had taken charge of the city’s twenty-three primary schools. It was, he said, the most valuable contribution to the city’s welfare. When 800, 000 people have become refugees and then return home, the most reassuring sign that life has returned to normal is that the schools open on time. That, he said, we owe to the Jewish people.

Meeting the head of the Jewish community later that day, I asked him how many Jews were there currently in Pristina. His answer? Eleven. The story, as I later uncovered it, was this. In the early days of the conflict, Israel had along with other international aid agencies sent a field medical team to work with the Kosovan Albanian refugees. They noticed that while other agencies were concentrating on the adults, there was no one working with the children. Traumatised by the conflict and far from home, they were running wild.

The team phoned back to Israel and asked for young volunteers. Every youth movement in Israel, from the most secular to the most religious, sent out teams of youth leaders at two-week intervals. They worked with the children, organising summer camps, sports competitions, drama and music events and whatever else they could think of to make their temporary exile less traumatic. The Kosovan Albanians were Muslims, and for many of the Israeli youth workers it was their first contact and friendship with children of another faith.

Their effort won high praise from UNICEF, the United Nations children’s organisation. It was in the wake of this that “the Jewish people” – Israel, the American-based “Joint” and other Jewish agencies – were asked to supervise the return to normality of the school system in Pristina.

That episode taught me the power of hessed, acts of kindness when extended across the borders of faith. It also showed the practical difference collective responsibility makes to the scope of the Jewish deed. World Jewry is small, but the invisible strands of mutual responsibility mean that even the smallest Jewish community can turn to the Jewish people worldwide for help and achieve things that would be exceptional for a nation many times its size. When the Jewish people join hands in collective responsibility they become a formidable force for good.
 
[1] Sifra ad loc., Sanhedrin 27b, Shavuot 39a.
[2]Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel Barnes, New York, Washington Square Press, 1966, 707.
[3] Shabbat 54b.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 08:20:54 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #747 on: May 31, 2014, 10:33:31 AM »

I recall my sixth grade teacher.   He pointed out a famous picture in our history book showing the two trains connecting from the East and West Coasts and people sitting on the trains waving bouquets of flowers.   Celebrating the first complete trans America railroad.   He told us something I didn't know or realize.  He said this picture is a drawing from a real photograph.    Well one can google the real photo.  The people are not waving flowers.  They are waving whiskey bottles.  I recall he was irritated about the dishonesty in our textbooks. 

I later found out he was gay.  So I suppose he had an emotional axe to grind so to speak.  That said he was without a doubt the very best grade school teacher I ever had.  He taught us things I still vividly remember today.  Architecture, Civil War history, Russian Revolution history, and more.   I think I saw him once back in the early eighties at a Fourth of July fireworks.  I wish I had gone up to him to verify it was him so I could tell him he was the best teacher of my life.   I am sure that would have meant something for him.  My sister is a teacher and I've seen previous students and parents of students of hers do that.   I know she feels great.


This sort of reminds me many years ago I was living away from home and I got intoxicated one night and started thinking how much I loved my father and I was going to tell him the next day.   When the next day came I sobered up and then decided not to tell him that.  It seemed so corny I guess.

A few weeks later my brother-in-law called me tell me my father was dead.

Naturally I regretted changing my mind.  This is one case wherein being drunk helped me think more "clearly".  I told this story to others in my family and some close friends.  I know it impacted them because they all remembered this and probably learned to tell their loved ones their feelings.

Maybe by posting on this board I can help assure people it is always better to be 'corny'. 
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« Reply #748 on: June 30, 2014, 08:07:42 PM »



http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/06/19/7-letters-to-write-before-you-turn-70/
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« Reply #749 on: July 29, 2014, 06:23:11 AM »

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/07/25/latin-words-and-phrases-every-man-should-know/
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