46 posts categorized "Concepts in Judaism "

G-d Despises Bullies

Bullies should be forewarned: King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:15, "And G-d shall seek the pursued." In other words, Hashem will come to the aid of the bullied and punish the bully when he least expects it. Rabbenu Bachiya explains that this principle is so strong, that Hashem despise bullies so much, that if even a righteous person bullies an evil person, Hashem will come to the aid of the evil person and settle the score with the righteous person (see Rabbenu Bachiya on Vayikra 22:27).

Hashem loves compassion and kindness, yet hates bullying. True faith means loving what Hashem loves and depising what He despises. It is therefore a mitzva to despise bullies and to come to the aid of the bullied, no matter who they are and where they are.

Misconception of Moshiach

One of the world's biggest misconceptions is that once Moshiach comes, everything will be hunky-dory. People think that Moshiach will pay our bills, materially and spiritually. That's not so. You'll still have to pay what you owe to the credit-card companies. Contrary to the non-Jewish notion of a "savior" who is a divine or semi-divine individual who will atone for our sins, every person will still have to do complete teshuva on his own. Because of the non-Jewish distortion of the word "messiah", we Jews stick to the term "Moshiach". Once Moshiach comes, the truth will be so apparent that teshuva will be like breathing air, a basic life requirement. We'll still have to make our spiritual effort in prayer, Torah learning, mitzvah observance and character perfection.

The Hebrew word Moshiach means "anointed"; he is Hashem's anointed King of Israel just as Hashem commanded Samuel the Prophet to anoint King David. Moshiach will be a great leader on all levels - spiritually, militarily and politically. He will bring peace to the world and end strife among the nations, for he'll bring everyone back to Hashem. And, he's a regular mortal like you and me. He'll know how to swim, but he won't walk on the water.

So, you might ask, if Moshiach isn't going to pay my mortgage, relieve my financial ills and let me spend the days on the golf course, why should I pray for him to come? Why should I even believe in him? You'll get the answers to these questions during our shiur this coming Wednesday.

The Best of Both Worlds

Best of both Worlds

Judaism doesn't have monasteries, monks and nuns. We don't have Gurus in isolated mountain retreats, either. We marry and have children.

We don't sleep on beds of nails or flagellate ourselves. We enjoy our lives, every minute of the day.

Jewish law demands cleanliness and presentability, so we don't walk around in rags.

Those who truly adhere to Jewish Law eat well, dress in a dignified manner, exercise and guard both physical and spiritual health. We use every part of our body in the service of Hashem; that way, we uplift the physical aspect of ourselves and transform it into sublime spirituality. Our bodies are therefore subservient to our souls. How?

We cling to Hashem with emuna, pure and simple faith. Emuna overrides intellect. Why?

Intellect tells you to worry; emuna says there's no reason ever to worry. Intellect tells you to be sad; emuna says there's no reason ever to be sad.

Emuna is truly the best of both worlds.

Israel and Ishmael, Order and Disorder

Aerial Photo North Gaza 2005
Hashem in His loving grace and amazing compassion has enabled me to understand the current conflict between Israel and Hamastan-Gaza by way of physics, and particularly thermodynamics. We know that the physical manifestations of creation reflect the underlying spiritual laws that the Creator in His omniscience instilled in creation. Whereas science concerns itself with the mechanics of events within nature, emuna concerns itself with the mechanics of events above nature.

Without confusing you with the laws of energy and thermodynamics, let's simplify: there are two opposing powers in molecular theory - the power that seeks order and the power that seeks disorder. These two powers always fight each other. The more that the power of order prevails, the more the world obtains "Gibbs Free Energy", which is more commonly known as "free enthalpy", or useful energy. The more that the power of disorder prevails, the greater the "entropy" or chaotic, unproductive energy in the world. We can now understand how the same nuclear energy can illuminate the world when its in the responsible hands of a nuclear power plant, or destroy the world when it becomes the entropic energy of a nuclear bomb detonation.

The Torah juxtaposes Israel and Ishmael. Without bogging us down with dozens of quotes, Israel is the world's "free enthalpy", or useful energy. Israel has given society everything from morals to medicine, from agriculture to zero illiteracy. Israel has sponsored and spearheaded agricultural, construction, educational and medical projects around the world. Here at home, we've made the desert bloom. Our children learn to read at age three. We are a nation that exports compassion, for caring about others is a trait that Jews have an endless reservoir of. Our Torah is a "tree of life" whose ways are all peaceful and pleasant. Israel uses its resources to educate and heal people; our concrete and metal go to building schools, hospitals and factories. Our faith is emuna, spreading the light of Hashem's love for every human.

On the other hand, Ishmael is the power of disorder and chaos, destructive energy. As the Torah says, his hands are on everybody - he can't live without a fight. His contribution to society is negative, for he destroys rather than builds. Other than jihad, his constant holy wars, he has no claim to fame. His money results from his natural resources - oil - which Hashem gave him as a reward for being circumcised. He has no technology or knowledge base of his own. His children learn cruelty from a young age, growing up with the burning desire to kill his rival, Israel; so much so, that he'll sacrifice his own family without blinking an eyelash to spill the blood of Israel, Heaven forbid. Ishmael uses its resources to kill his rivals; not only Jews, but his own people as he does in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Gaza and everywhere else he lives. His concrete and metal resources go to building terrorist tunnels; his kids don't need to read and write as long as they can wield a knife and operate an AK-47. His faith is Jihad, holy war, killing anyone who doesn't agree with his darkside murderous treachery that he calls a religion.

The above explains the war in Gaza. No, it's not Israel's war with the Gazans. This is a struggle between the useful energy of the world and the destructive energy of the world. Israel must overcome in order for this planet to be a decent place to dwell in. The French, Germans, British and Belgians can now understand why their homelands are becoming less and less tolerable as they are being taken over by the Ishmaelites.

For the ultimate good of mankind and this planet, may Hashem help us prevail, amen.

Understanding our Soul Correction and Reincarnation

Freeing Slave Mentality

Here're some important facts to ponder while preparing for Passover: King Solomon really hit it on the nail when he said that there's nothing new under the sun.

One can't understand his or her future if they don't understand their past. Sure, we're launching satellites and transplanting organs, but since we don't understand who we are and what we're doing on earth, we still have slave mentalities, as if we were still building the pyramids in the hot sun of the Egyptian desert.

I'll prove it to you, easily.

Rav Shalom Arush told me in the name of the Ariza'l that our generation is a reincarnation of the generation that left Egypt and wandered in the desert for 4o years, what's known in Hebrew as dor hamidbar. Look at the similarities:

1.  They followed the advice of the Erev Rav, the false self-destructing anti-emuna Jews, instead of the true spiritual leader. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of Jews today are making the same mistake

2. They pursued wealth and physical amenities instead of a faith-oriented lifestyle - they had their Golden Calf, and people today have plenty of them too, still worshipping money instead of Hashem

3. They cried and complained constantly, not realizing that Hashem was doing everything for their ultimate welfare. Sound familiar?

4. Despite the fact they were the sons of royalty, they maintained a slave mentality, thinking that the Egyptians were superior to them. How many today forsake emuna and tradition to be more "American" of "British"?

It doesn't matter what our particular vocation or career path is. We all must correct the above 4 points. If we do so on our own accord, we'll save ourselves a load of headaches. Emuna is the key to correcting all of the above four at once. The more we learn and spread emuna, the more we'll spare the world of the wars and natural disasters that our sages predicted for the generation that precedes Moshiach.

With emuna, we discard the slave mentality. May we all succeed in doing so soon, amen!

What's Wrong with Pork?

Dear Rabbi Lazer,

I understand why the Torah prohibited pork, because back in the old days, there was no refrigeration and a lot of triganosis. But with today's modern methods and hygiene, what's wrong with pork? I'm far from Orthodox, but I like your straight talk, and would appreciate a straight answer. Yours, Jon from North Florida

Dear Jon,

Thanks for your question - it's a superb one. I'll answer you briefly, point by point:

1. The Torah did not forbid pork because of worms or bacteria, and even though today's refrigeration and processing are quite sanitary, the Torah is eternal and doesn't change. By the way, Moses knew how to preserve meat.

2. The food we eat becomes a part of us. Since all creatures have a lifesource, or a spiritual soul (nefesh), whenever we eat a creature, we take on its spirituality, for better or for worse. A pig has certain spiritual characteristics that that trigger egoism, lewd behavior, stubborness, and cruelty, and thereby impair a Jew from performing his or her spiritual task in this world.

3. Pork clouds the Jewish spirit (ruach venashama), and in essence creates a barrier between a person's spirit and The Almighty's Divine Illumination, or Divine light. Without Divine light, a person loses faith. For example, a pork eater cannot possibly understand or believe in the oral law (Talmud), which is inseparable from the written law (Tanach).

4. Despite the above three reasons, we don't eat pork simply because The Almighty told us not to. The Almighty is the master engineer that designed our souls. The Torah is our owner's manual. If you owned a new Ford, and were told to lubricate with 10-40 oil, you certainly wouldn't use frying oil because it's cheaper. You'd destroy your engine! Likewise, when you go against the recommendations of Torah, you damage your soul.

Jon, if you don't eat kosher meat as yet, try going for a week without eating any meat at all. Wash your hands as soon as you wake up in the morning and write me again in a week, telling me if you feel different or not. I look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile, best of luck. Yours always, Lazer

Shovevim, Purity and Abundance

This week begins the period of "Shovevim", the 6-week period from the week of Shmot to and including the week of Mishpatim, where we place an emphasis on enhancing personal holiness.

Did you know that personal holiness greatly affects income? 

Making an adequate living is something everyone wants to succeed at. Our sages teach that a man's livelihood comes by virtue of his wife, rather than by talent or hard work. The more spiritually pure the couple is, the more the woman invokes Divine blessing, and subsequently enhances the family’s income. Therefore, for a couple to reach their optimal income potential, it is advisable that they take advantage of the wealth of family purity, which includes the magical Jewish soul-purification tool - the mikva (ritual bath).

The union between husband and wife is far beyond the physical realm, as it contains the Divine attribute of a life-creating power. The husband and wife literally become partners with Hashem in creating life, and as such they must strive for unity and purity.

In the course of my work in emuna outreach I speak with people that suffer from various types of tribulations in life. Today the most common issue that people complain about – and enemy number one to peace in the home – is financial problems. The first thing I tell couples is that the key lays in observing the laws of family purity. This includes the wife's periodic immersion in a mikva, among other mitzvot (laws). Some people balk at this suggestion, mostly out of ignorance and distorted preconceptions. However if a couple has financial problems and they are not yet observing family purity, even winning the Irish Lottery will not solve their problems.

The more we purify ourselves, the more we become worthy vessels for Divine abundance.

Some protest and say, "I know many wealthy people who are the furthest thing away from holy!"

True, but that's dark-side wealth. Unworthy people are rewarded with a bit of money in this world, but lose everything in the next world. Also, money that stems from other than a holiness/wholesome source won't be money with a blessing. Those same rich people are not happy.

Personal holiness will make all of us happy and healthy, and wealthy too! You're no exception.