21 posts categorized "Character development"

The Facade

Under the mask

People are always trying to impress each other, especially since modern society places such an emphasis on the exterior. That's why clothes, cosmetics and coiffure are so lucrative. If you're looking for a soulmate, focusing on the facade could be a fatal flaw.

Look beyond the mask. Go deeper. Does he or she have a good heart? Don't focus on their appearance. Close your eyes and listen; discern whether you hear a tone of compassion and caring or a tone of egotism and blemished character. If you listen carefully, you'll be able to hear it. Don't be fooled.

Before a date, the best thing to do is to pray for Divine guidance, that Hashem should show you if this person is the right one for you. Don't go it alone - Hashem will be happy to help, just ask Him!

Face of the True Leader

Face of a true leader
The Gemara tells us than in the generation before Moshiach, the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog. What does the Gemara mean?

A dog walks in front of its master, yet always looks back to see where its master wants it to go. In like manner, the leaders of this generation lack conviction and direction, but look over their shoulder to see which way political convenience and convention wants them to go. That certainly is not the face of a true leader.

How do we recognize the face of a true leader? He leads, without looking over his shoulder or behind him. He looks forward and also skyward, to determine the direction Hashem wants him to take.

This week's Torah portion, Lech Lecha, shows us the portrait of a true leader. I write about it in Decisions of a True Leader, one of my two feature articles in this week's stimulating issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Imagine walking into the synagogue and it's packed. Someone is sitting in your seat; you ask him politely to let you sit down, but he claims that it's his seat. You show him the name tag on the seat, and now he claims that it's his name! This really happened - check out the amazing story of The Real Shimon Cohen.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - The Gift of Enthusiasm

Dr. Zev Ballen - Liars

Racheli Reckles - Abba Knows Best

Rivka Levy - Who Are You, Really

Howard Morton - The Year of Moshiach

Rabbi Dovid Charlop - Mordechai Schwartz

Enjoy, and blessings for a wonderful new week!

Why Not Reach the Top?

Eyes to the Peak

We all have the potential of reaching the top. People fail to reach the top because of two main reasons: first, they don't properly utilize and take advantage of their personal potential. Second, they don't have a plan. To do anything successfully, whether it's becoming a champion athlete, a successful businessperson, an honor student, an efficient homemaker or anything else you desire to do, you need a plan.  

We have a great plan for you. It's called Six Days to the Top.

Feeling the Pinch

Feeling the Pinch
If you step on a cat's tail, the cat will scream. No one says that we're not supposed to feel the pinch when we get stepped on, but unlike cats, we have the power of emuna, which helps us turn a painful situation into a pleasure of personal growth... 

With Hashem's loving grace, we're delighted to be back with our weekly emuna lesson and live broadcast that will take place this Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM local time, at our Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva, 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street, Jerusalem, in the main sanctuary. This week's shiur is entitled, "Feeling the Pinch", and it will help us make sense out of the periodic pains and setbacks we have, especially during the counting of the Omer.

As always, the live shiur is open to the public - both men and women are welcome - so if you're anywhere near Jerusalem, come on by! You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time as follows: 

9:00 AM in LA and the West Coast, 10:00 AM Denver, 11:00 AM Mexico and Central, 12:00 PM NYC (EST), 5:00 PM in the UK, 7:00 PM Johannesburg and Capetown, 7:00 PM Israel. As soon as we can, G-d willing, we'll post a link to the lesson for all those who couldn't see it live. If you can't see the broadcast, you might need to download a new version of Flash Media player, which you can do here. We hope you enjoy the broadcast.

Influential Speech: Don't Shoot from the Lip

Speech without thought is like a body without a soul. A person who speaks without thinking utters empty words, and empty words don't have the power to cast a lasting impression on the listener's heart and brain. Therefore, if you want to influence others, it's a good idea to think before you speak.

The holy Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, of blessed and saintly memory said (Kedushat Levi, parshat Vayigash), "Words spoken from the heart penetrate another heart." In other words, when a person fervently believes and acts according to what he says, his words will have the power to influence others. Simply stated, we must practice what we preach for our words to be cogent.

The Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination) tries to make us speak impulsively. Usually, the result of impulsiveness is remorse. When we allow our brains to filter the words that reach our lips, we don't make mistakes.

When someone asks you a question, you certainly have the right to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, contemplate your answer, and then say it. "I have to think about your question for a while," is always a legitimate answer. Any marksman knows that shooting from the hip is much less accurate than taking careful aim.

Shooting from the lip is even worse than shooting from the hip.

Tyrants and Tantrums

Kim Nuke
Tyrants may appear to be tough, but on the inside, they're spoiled babies and weak at that. Kim Jong Un is a classic example. Weapons make him feel important. Like a spoiled child (that he still is, for he has never developed properly on an emotional level), he wants people to notice him. He craves attention, and like the spoiled child, uses negative means to try and command that attention. The problem with tyrants, though, is that they view the whole world as expendable; they readily dispose of anyone who doesn't pamper them or cater to their wims.

Kim Jong Un's people in North Korea are borderline starving. Food and power shortages are rampant, and with economic sanctions and no foreign investors (except for the terrorist countries that have been buying nuclear know-how), North Korea has tremendous economic headaches. But Kim Jong would rather have more nukes in his arsenal than a decently nourished population. So why don't they revolt? They would, but they're both scared and conditioned from years of total oppression.

Kim Jong won't make teshuva. He faces a fate similar to that of Sadaam Hussein and Bin Ladin. Tyrants don't last - they make a big splash, but always suffer a tragic end. Achmedinejad in Iran is walking down the same road, also "looking forward" to his tyrant's due. 

So why does Hashem give us the Kim Jongs of the world?

Hashem wants us to make teshuva and to come back to Him with all our hearts. As soon as we do, the Kim Jongs will simply disappear - it's that simple, wait and see.


Humility and Tikkun Olam

Humility is the most beautiful of character traits.

The more people respect everyone, regardless of race, creed, color, social station, income and the like, the more the world becomes peaceful and harmonious. This is tikkun olam, the correction of the world. Since mutual respect, peace and harmony all stem from humility, then humility is truly the root of tikkun olam.