16 posts categorized "Jewish Ethics"

Danger: Desensitization

Desensitization
More Israelis have been killed in terrorist attacks during the last four weeks than in the last two Gaza wars combined. Barely a day goes by without tragedies, funerals and multiple terrorist attacks all over our beloved country, with Jerusalem and Gush Etzion being hit the worst. Yet, we're now faced with a new danger - it's a spiritual toxic call "desensitization", where people become desensitized by violence and killing. New widows, new orphans, weddings that turn into funerals and parents who lose children no longer bring tears to desensitized eyes. The hallmark of a Jew, as our sages tell us in the Mishna, is compassion, mercy and bashfulness. Desensitization kills all three of these beautiful traits. It is the evil inclination's covert plot to neutralize Jewish souls, not just bodies. We must fight against this danger with all our might.

How?

Pray for the injured. Visit the sick. Ask what you can do to help a family who suffered a tragedy. Help strengthen them. Don't be apathetic. Encourage the unfortunate and help spread emuna. Remember, our sages tell us that when tragedy strikes one of us, we should all take it to heart.


No More Pushing!

Stop pushing
Emuna Outreach, Breslev Israel and the Beams mourn the loss of one of this generation's greatest Torah scholars, teachers and rabbinical lawgivers, Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, obs"m. The Rav was 102, the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word emuna.

Rav Wosner's funeral ended tragically. With over 100,000 people pushing and shoving to get close to the Rav's casket at the funeral procession on Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night), dozens were trampled and seriously injured, two of whom are now fighting for their lives. A 27-year-old rabbinical student from Elad, Moti Gerber, was crushed to death. His funeral was earlier today. He left behind a wife and a three-year old son. Moti ob"m was a student of Rav Wosner.

The holy tzaddik and Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Zev Leibowitz osb"m, the teacher of my esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a, said countless times that there is no forgiveness in Heaven for pushing another Jew.

A few hours ago, the Vishnitzer Rebbe shlit'a said, "Pushing another person is tantamount to bloodshed". He told his Chassidim not to bother coming to his funeral if it means that someone will be pushed.

In Jewish Law we learn that a mitzvah is null and void if it was accomplished by way of a transgression. There are dozens of examples in the Gemara, such as someone who stole an animal and then offered it as a sacrifice in the Holy Temple. Pushing or hurting another person in any way while performing a mitzvah falls under this categoty, called mitzvah haba b'aveira. Not only is such a mitzvah null and void, but disgusting to Hashem. 

Our sages teach us that human decency is the prerequisite for Torah and mitzvoth. If attending a funeral or any other public gathering entails pushing, better to back off or stay away altogether. Please don't push another human, for such an act is ugly, arrogant, and totally against Torah values.

Let's maintain a happy Chol Hamoed and start loving one another. If we can't love, then at least respect one another. No more pushing!


Better to be Kind

Better to be kind

The holy Chazon Ish osb"m said that the Downs people and the autistics are the souls of tzaddikim (high righteous individuals) who come into the world to facilitate our soul correction. They need no soul correction, that's why they lack free choice.

Kindness is a trait - and a soul correction - that many "go-getters" of modern society need to learn. So what if the Downs people and the autistics are different? You're right; but, it's better to be kind than right.


A Clean Tongue for Shabbat

No, we're not talking about sliced calf tongue - we're talking about guarded human tongues.

Loshon Hara - evil speech - entails transgressing up to 31 commandments of Torah at once! What's even more terrible is that Loshon Hara on Shabbat is seven times worse than during the week. Let's eradicate evil speech from our lives. Here's a good reason why:


Kindness to All Creatures

13. A Little Happiness
One of our most important tasks during the Ten Days of Repentance - the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - is to sincerely ask the forgiveness of anyone we might have harmed or insulted. If Halacha requires us to be kind to all of Hashem's creatues, we certainly must treat one another with utmost kindness and respect. Gmar Chatima Tova!