One Universal Ethical Basis For Us All

בסיעתא דשמיא

The world's existence is preserved through 3 things;Torah study, Prayer & Kind Deeds. For society to flourish mankind as a whole must come to appreciate the importance of, Truth, Justice & Peace & conduct itself accordingly. Within the great Family of Man, each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet there is ONE Universal ethical basis for us all. Accept upon yourself the responsibility for peace & oneness in our world - world peace as a value goal. That will herald in a new era & a renewed world. A world of truth, wisdom, harmony & peace!

"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it ."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricanes, Tsunamis And Turmoil. Why Are Misfortunes Befalling Our Homes?

Just as God's world has its storms and seasons, so, too, our homes.

As I finished viewing one news clip where houses were being knocked down by bulldozers, I watched another, showing a tropical storm doing the same damage.

And I wondered: why are misfortunes befalling our homes?

Why a merciful God decreed and allowed these things to happen is beyond our comprehension. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). It is not for us to give or suggest reasons for the sad and bad things that transpire in the world.

But it is for us to offer solutions. To share in the pain of those who have lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. To extend moral, emotional and material help in every way possible.

We are also duty-bound to learn and grow from everything we experience or witness.

"A man without a home is not a man," the Talmud says, because without a home we have no place, no world. Our home is the setting of our lives: the place where we sleep and eat, laugh, play and cry. Our home is the place where we live as a family; where we imitate God, creating our own miniature world.

Just as God's world has its storms and seasons, so, too, our homes. There are times when our home life glows like the shining sun and flows calm like a soft stream. Sometimes we have tsunamis, hurricanes and turmoil.

Today, many who live in the pathways of the storms are taking a closer look at the physical structure of their home, making sure it has solid foundations and strong walls to help it withstand these outside forces.

All the more so the inside, the very reason we built our home in the first place. It must have strong foundations, morals and values to withstand the outside forces and the negative influences that storm on around us.

When we witness catastrophes, both man-made and God-sent, that knock down our homes, rip through our lives and leave us stranded and homeless, it is a time first to help those out there, bring them in, feed them, dress them and spread the warmth.

It is also a time to look into our inner foundations, the interior morals and values, and check that they are stable and strong. Enough to give us good reason to call upon God to put a final end to all these disasters once and for all.

As we enter the month of Elul, ushering in the New Year, we remember that at the beginning of the year God decides what the year has in store for us.

So we beseech and pray to Him: "Let us join You in making this world a home, a home that begins in our small houses and courtyards, in our cities, in our countries and throughout Your beautiful creation. Help us and guide us, give us the courage and all that we need materially and physically to withstand the stormy conditions. Let our homes be everlasting edifices of holiness.

"And may Your creation; our world, be strong and safe, pure and holy." [Mendel Cohen]

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Dollar - Read The Fine Print

We pray for it, we slave for it, we devote our best years and finest talents to acquire it. And then we blame it for all our ills.

In particular, two basic accusations are leveled against the dollar:

a) It has usurped the position, once occupied by the spiritual, the transcendent and the divine, of the highest striving of man and the ultimate authority in his life. In this day and age, the dollar is god.

b) It is the cause of untold division and strife. It has pitted brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, nation against nation. Indeed, virtually all conflicts are conflicts between the haves and the have-nots. And what do the haves have that the have-nots do not? Money.

But is the dollar really at fault? Is a six-and-one-eighth by two-and-five-eighths inch piece of green and white paper to be blamed for the fact that we have transformed the ultimate means into an ultimate end? That a most potent social glue is used to build walls of hostility and fortresses of isolation? What does the dollar itself say about its intended and perverted uses?

By divine providence, the designers of the dollar inscribed on it two key phrases. The first, which extends above the large “ONE” on its reverse side, is “In God we trust.” Not I, says the dollar, can provide you with solace from the pain of life and security against its uncertainties; not I should serve as the object of your yearning and the focus of your striving. Do not trust in me—trust in God. Do not serve me—use me to serve God.

The second phrase, inscribed on the face of the Great Seal of the United States reproduced to the right, is “E pluribus unum” (“Out of many, one”). Yes, the world we perceive with our eyes of flesh is a plural world, a world of great variety and diversity. But our mission in life is to make of the many one, to unite these diverse forces into a harmonious expression of the oneness of their Creator.

People are different—differently endowed with talents, resources and opportunities. Money can deepen these differences, when it is used to hoard wealth, reward privilege and exploit the needy. But money is far more suited to unite and equalize. It is the ultimate abstractor, converting goods, talent and toil into a commodity that can easily be traded and shared. It is a medium of generosity and cooperation between men and nations, a consolidator of resources to a common end.

The next time you use or pursue a dollar, take a moment to read the fine print. [The Rebbe]

Sunday, August 14, 2011

To Each His Path

Just as it is right to direct someone on to the path where he belongs, so too it is a crime to direct someone onto a path that does not belong to him.

Each person is born with a path particular to his or her soul, generally according to the culture into which he or she was born.

There are universal truths, the inheritance of all of us since Adam and Noah. In them we are all united. But we are not meant to all be the same. Our differences are as valuable to our Creator as our similarities. [Tzvi Freedman]

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Burning Palace

The sensitive human being gazes at a brilliantly structured universe, a splendid piece of art. He is overwhelmed by the grandeur of a sunset and by the miracle of childbirth; he marvels at the roaring ocean waves and at the silent, steady beat of the human heart. The world is indeed a palace.

But the palace is in flames. The world is full of bloodshed, injustice and strife. Thugs, abusers, rapists, kidnappers and killers are continuously demolishing the palace, turning our world into an ugly tragic battlefield of untold pain and horror.

"And God said to Abraham: 'Go from your land, your birthplace, and your father's house...'" (Genesis12:2) To what may this be compared? To a man who was traveling from place to place when he saw a palace in flames. He wondered: "Is it possible that the palace has no owner?" The owner of the palace looked out and said, "I am the owner of the palace." So Abraham our father said, "Is it possible that the world lacks a ruler?" Go d looked out and said to him, "I am the ruler, the Sovereign of the universe."

"What happened to the owner of the palace?" Abraham cries. Why does God allow man to destroy His world? Why does He permit such a beautiful palace to go up in flames? Could God have made a world only to abandon it? Would anyone build a palace and then desert it?

The Midrash records God's reply: "The owner of the palace looked out and said: 'I am the owner of the palace.' God looked out and said to Abraham: 'I am the ruler, the Sovereign of the universe.'"

What is the meaning of God's response?

Note that the owner of the palace does not make an attempt to get out of the burning building or to extinguish the flames. He is merely stating that He is the owner of the palace that is going up in smoke. It is as if, instead of racing out, the owner were calling for help.

(In our times today we too witnessed a palace going up in flames. Ten years ago we gazed in disbelief at the horror of The World Trade Center uncontrollably going up in flames and burn to the ground. Now today too, London is burning and consumed up in flames as rioters rampage across the city as police struggle to contain a third night of rioting and looting.
Residents of large areas of London and parts of Birmingham and Liverpool are holed up in their homes, too fearful to walk the streets as masked and hooded rioters take over the streets.

Police were largely powerless to prevent gangs of rioters, most of them youths, as they marauded through the main streets of districts in north, south, east, west and central London.

Firefighters were also prevented or unable to keep up with the number of blazes that were started by rioters, many carrying cans and bottles of alcohol).

God made the palace, man set it on fire, and only man can put out the flames.

Abraham asks God, "Where are you?" God replies, "I am here, where are you?"

Man asks God, "Why did You abandon the world?" God asks man, "Why did you abandon Me?"

Thus began the revolution of true monotheism. Humanity's courageous venture to extinguish the flames of immorality and bloodshed and restore the world to the harmonious and sacred palace it was intended to be. Abraham's encounter with God in the presence of a burning palace gave birth to the mission statement of the moral crusade - to be obsessed with good and horrified by evil.
By forgetting Gods covenant with Noah, we failed to do our part in the protection of the destroyed palace.

For too long, many in society succumbed to the lure of the modern popular notion that there is no such thing as absolute evil behavior. "Thou shall not judge," has become the cherished motto of our times. We have been taught to rather understand the underlying frustrations compelling the aggressor to follow his extreme route.

This "sophisticated" and "open-minded" point of view has allowed many of us to sustain an ethos of boundless tolerance, accepting all forms of behavior as just, since at the core of every mean act lies a crying heart.

Few ideas have been rejected in abiding by the Noahide Laws with so much passion, because the refusal to take a stand against what is wrong, will result in wrong's victory. For example, a non-judgmental view of a suicide bomber may appeal to our sense of compassion and understanding. Yet in reality it assists the "frustrated activists" in their continuous slaughter of innocent victims.

The Noahide Laws, in its impassioned attempt to turn the world into an exquisite palace, created absolute universal standards for good and evil. These standards are defined by the Creator of the universe and are articulated in His manual for human living. Taking the life of an innocent person is evil. No 'if's, 'but's or 'why's. The killer may be badly hurting, but that never justifies the act of murdering an innocent human being.

Have we lost sight of our mission statement crafted by God to Noah on that fateful day thousands of years ago? Terrorists, anarchists and thugs the world over have learned that they can continue their despicable work without serious consequences.

Good people of the world are waiting to be inspired by our four-millennia long heritage of standing up to evil and banishing it from God's palace. [Adapted from YY Jacobson]

In the morning prayer, fire burns fire.

In our default state, we burn with anxiety - the anxieties of survival in a hostile world. When we meditate and pray, we fan a fire of love for that which transcends this world. One fire swallows another and we are set free. Liberated from fear, we face the world no longer as slaves, but as masters.

The perfection in the Divine service lead to the realization of the essential unity in human nature, to the point where the Good Inclination and the Bad Inclination become one, through the transformation of the Bad Inclination by and into the Good Inclination, for otherwise, of course, there can be no unity and harmony, since all that is holy and positive and creative could never make peace and be subservient to the unholy, negative and destructive.

Let us resolve to unite together as a power that will work to cure the poverty, evil, hurt and unjust that exists and bring some sanity and calm to the world. God’s Creation will then truly be complete and will impart  meaning and fulfillment to our lives thus resulting in a truly ethical and moral culture and society.

Why would God allow terrible things to happen in the world without intervening to prevent them? The story answers your question, "Could God have made a world only to abandon it?"

The palace represents God's Kingdom. The flames represent the tainted vision of man. The reason God appears unconcerned is because the flames are not real: they appear only in the terrifying dreams of one who has broken God's commandment not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If the man abandons the sinful habit of judging good and evil for himself, and leaves judgement to God (to whom it belongs), the flames will be transformed, and the man will see only the pure, Holy light of God. God assures the man that there is a sovereign ruler, and that ruler is I AM. The palace is not on fire, but because the man has attempted to usurp God's authority, his mind is a raging inferno. [Yehudi Waharam]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Wise Business Investment Amidst The Grave Financial Crisis

The Rebbe often told people that wealth is a test – a test because it is often harder to keep focused while comfortable. Somehow, our inner wiring is such that when faced with crises we find ourselves searching for God, spirituality and meaning.

But, he would tell people, that test is the challenge of our generation. Our job is to have wealth, lots of real, touch-with-your-hands-and-feel-it money and to turn that into a good thing – to use the money for Godliness.

When we give charity, God gives us the ability to do so in abundance. Of this promise – that when you give charity (with an open hand and willingly), God will repay you many times over - God says: "test me in this". Try it, He is telling us, give some charity-- and you will see that you will make the money back, and then some.

Certain areas in the field of commerce are currently not realizing expectations. Undoubtedly we must view this is a test from God. Though He knows that the heart is always open, and at all times ready to heed the call of performing good deeds, still, He tests us in order to satisfy the reluctant-to-believe angels of the Heavenly Court.

God therefore says to them:
"See, despite the natural tendency to decrease in charity when business is not as it once was, here is a wise person, who understands that this is only an attempt to test him. He also understands that when he will withstand the test – and will then understand the real intent behind it all – not only will his business be as prosperous as beforehand, but it will be better than before.

"For a father loves when his son understands the true intention of his father's actions; and the more the child demonstrates his wisdom, so much greater are the gifts that he receives from his father."

Businesspeople say that a veteran in the field has a better grasp of commerce concepts. As you are in business already for a long time, you should be able to understand God's intention in this all.

Just as you would stand firm with any good investment, the same applies here. Not only should we not decrease God's share, to the contrary, we should give even more on His account. Then God will fulfill his assurance stated in the Torah: "Give a tenth to charity in order that you become wealthy" – and He will give His "partner" an even greater income than before. [M.M. Schneerson]

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our ownachievements in comparison with what we owe others.

Wealth is a great thing to have and a great thing to share. Your worth as a person does not come from what you are paid. It comes from who you are and what you give.

It is through giving that we become fulfilled and happy and begin to appreciate what we have.

Money can't buy you a place in heaven but good deeds can!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bomb Strapped To Teen Girl In Exclusive Sydney Suburb Of Mosman

Bomb disposal experts attend a house in the Sydney suburb of Mosman where it is believed an 18-year-old schoolgirl has a bomb strapped to her neck. Picture: Attila Szilvasi

Developing Story: Sydney police race to defuse ‘collar bomb’ on teen girl, who was plunged into a terrifying life-or-death situation early this afternoon when a suspected live bomb was forcibly strapped to the 18 year old schoolgirl — along with a ransom note — in an apparent extortion attempt. Street is in lockdown. British military reportedly consulted by Sydney police.

The incident has garnered worldwide attention, with international news websites from the BBC in Britain to CNN in the US offering prominent coverage.

Update Just In 12:20am: POLICE have secured the release of a Sydney schoolgirl who spent 10 hours strapped to an explosive device. Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said the girl had been released from the device and reunited safely with her parents. The device was still intact, he told reporters.

The victim has been tentatively identified as 18 year old Madeline Pulver who is the daughter of  high-profile business executive William Pulver, who was believed to be the target of the apparent extortion bid.
Mr Pulver is chief executive of the technology company Appen Butler Hill, which provides complex "linguistic solutions" for language and data to businesses. Appen provides linguistics technologies to companies including Microsoft, Google and Nokia.

According to twitter reports "Police have confirmed that the bomb siege at Mosman is over, with the teenage victim released safe and well." "Sydney police say young woman in #Mosman bomb incident now safe" ending a horrifying 10-hour ordeal. "Great job NSW Police Bomb Squad!"

POLICE are trying to defuse a bomb strapped to a teenage girl at a multimillion dollar house in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Mosman.

The investigation into the incident on Sydney's lower north shore is now being headed by the robbery and serious crimes squad, which also deals with extortion attempts.

It was not clear how the device came to be strapped to the 18-year-old girl but it is understood she did not place it there herself.

(The Sydney Morning Herald said a balaclava-clad man entered the house in the afternoon and placed the device on the girl, although police would not confirm reports it was strapped to her.

The Australian said There were reports last night police believed the extortionist had told Ms Pulver the device was a bomb, which he could trigger from remote, and that he had also attached a microphone enabling him to hear what she was saying. Police were understood to have X-rayed the device and were analysing it to see if it contained explosives and how it was wired).

Police believe a ransom note is attached to the girl's neck but bomb experts have been unable to read its contents.

A senior police police officer described the device as an unusual "collar bomb" which has never been seen before in Australia.

He said police believed it was an extortion attempt and that details of the situation were being conveyed to police via the girl's father.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said the situation was a "very serious and sensitive matter". "We are still treating the suspicious package as live," he said tonight. "I can't confirm whether it is strapped to the woman involved but she is still in the vicinity of the device."

When asked whether the girl could move away from the bomb, Mr Murdoch said: "No, she can't get away from it."

Mr Murdoch did not confirm whether girl was a victim of an extortion attempt - instead he said police were still unsure what they were dealing with.

"We don't know what we are dealing with...we are working very hard to find out exactly what it is, and equally important, what it isn't," he said.

As the incident enters its ninth hour,  Mr Murdoch said the device was proving "a tough nut to crack".

NSW police had spoken with other agencies in Australia including the federal police and were researching the device, he said.

He said the girl, believed to be a Year 12 student at a north shore private school, was extremely calm, with specialist officers helping to guide her through the ordeal.

She has not moved from a room at the front of the house since authorities arrived.

Her parents were being cared for by police and being kept "fully up-to-date", but the only people the young woman had contact with were police negotiators.

A bomb disposal expert in full headgear was seen outside the home.

The drama unfolded at 2.40pm this afternoon when an 18-year-old girl called police to the mansion in Burrawong Avenue, Mosman "following discovery of a suspicious device".

The street is home to Sydney's richest, including racing identity Gai Waterhouse, ex-Wallaby Phil Kearns and John Eales.

Police have cordoned off the house and a command post has been set-up on the corner of Burrawong Ave and David Street.

A third police rescue vehicle has entered the crime scene, as well as a number of detectives.

The girl is believed to be studying her HSC this year. She celebrated her 18th birthday with a party at her home three weeks ago.

Police said in a statement the incident was not being treated as self-harm.[]

*Mosman is one of Sydney's prestige suburbs, home to multi-million dollar properties and Australian identities.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Tapestry Of Living Life On Which All Our Lives Are Woven


If you could see the tapestry of life on which all our lives are woven,
Then you'd feel the purpose to which we've all been chosen,
As our lives surge forward like waves on an endless ocean,
There's so much we can do to fill our world with devotion,
The value and effect of all that we do,
Transforms our planet and environment too,
The pain, the sadness, the joy and the growing,
All enrich our lives with the seeds of all-knowing,
The wisdom that burns within, heals us like a song,
Like the rays of the sun as it warms a cold empty dawn,
So if we treasure each moment like it was our last,
We're treasuring our lives, future, present and past,
When we see that glory lies in each moment, we'll be drawn,
Like dandelion seeds carried by a mystic wind, to a new golden dawn.

Weaving A Tapestry Of Experiences

With our first breath is the demand for an attentive touch. Our infancy is a loom limited to only knowing need and it must be delivered by the gentle, caring touch of a human hand. Once self sufficient, our needs ever increase, and can only be achieved through our deliberate choices. A beautiful tapestry of our choices is defined by the positive and wondrous things that have touched us and taken us to limitless places that get woven into our lives.

A countless measure of life events determine how to find the touch needed and choosing to receive it. A kiss on the forehead, a soft embrace of comfort and safety, a hand placed on yours to always let you know you are not alone, a shoulder upon which rests your dreams. All the simplest, elementary pleasures and pains of childhood serve us for a lifetime and foreshadow the complexities we contrive. Boundaries are needed, but setting the protective walls too high means you won’t be able to see past them either.

The fibers of living are inevitably spun of truth and lies, generosity and greed, sharing and possessing, love and hate, joy and despair, dignity and shame, courage and fear, humility and ego, desire and denial, clarity and confusion. Choose fibers that are not spun of regret. Our experiences, observations, actions, and realizations can weave tapestries of giving and receiving.

Weave positive protections from harm. Patience allays misunderstanding. Listening grows trust. Reality defeats fantasy. Simplicity overrides illusion. Validation promotes success. Gratitude delivers satisfaction. Accountability defeats risk. Affirmation denies insult. Adventure conquers complacency. Reality binds expectation. Kindness lights darkness. Compassion battles fear. Courage earns admiration. Contentment supercedes passion. Respect yields reciprocation. Negativity breeds nothing.

Truly seeing what you have blinds dissatisfaction. Touching hearts connects souls.

Weave gently and with care so the flexibility for change always exists. This tapestry not only lasts your lifetime, but stays behind for others to continue. [Fruma Porter]