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 ."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Noah Pozner's Mom Delivers Moving Rememberance

"I still have lots of mommy love to give"

Two families, a town and a nation in mourning for first funerals of Sandy Hook massacre victims as shattered town begins to bury its little victims

JetBlue flies letters to be buried with Noah Pozner

Jewish boys funeral is first after shocking school killing spree in Newtown, Conn.

Noah Pozner who is Jewish, and classmate Jack Pinto both were memorialized today by their families during funerals in Newtown CT.

A grief-stricken Newtown began laying to rest the littlest victims of the school massacre, starting with two 6-year-old boys — one of them Jack Pinto a big football fan, the other Noah Pozner described as a whip-smart youngster whose twin sister survived the rampage.

Noah’s twin sister, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived the killing frenzy by 20-year-old Adam Lanza that left 20 children and six adults dead last week at Sandy Hook Elementary in an attack so horrifying that authorities could not say whether the school would ever reopen.

A eulogy for 6-year-old Noah Pozner has marked the start of a sad procession of funerals for the 20 children massacred last week in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary.

A rabbi presided at Noah's service, and in keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket adorned with a Star of David, the Associated Press reported.

The service was held at the Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home. He was buried at B'nai Israel Cemetery in Monroe, which borders Newtown.

Noah's mother Veronique Pozner delivered a message at his funeral reflecting on the life of the little boy in Friday’s school shooting, and lessons to draw from his loss. Here they are, in full:

From mother, Veronique Pozner:
"The sky is crying, and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. But it is also your day, Noah, my little man. I will miss your forceful and purposeful little steps stomping through our house. I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room.

Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future. You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.

You were a little boy whose life force had all the gravitational pull of a celestial body. You were light and love, mischief and pranks. You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being. We are all of us elevated in our humanity by having known you. A little maverick, who didn’t always want to do his schoolwork or clean up his toys, when practicing his ninja moves or Super Mario on the Wii seemed far more important.

Noah, you will not pass through this way again. I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar. You now have the wings you always wanted. Go to that peaceful valley that we will all one day come to know. I will join you someday. Not today. I still have lots of mommy love to give to Danielle, Michael, Sophia and Arielle.

Until then, your melody will linger in our hearts forever. Momma loves you, little man".

"If Noah had not been taken from us he would have become a great man," uncle tells mourners. Noah. The theme of the biblical story plays in my mind. A call to action from Sandy Hook

Baruch Dayan Ha-Emes*. Although the 26 victims are not physically here on earth anymore, their souls remain alive. God gained 26 beautiful angels who definitely left their short-lived mark on this world. May Noah together with all the other pure innocent little victims souls Rest In Eternal Peace.

*Baruch Dayan Ha-Emes is the Jewish Blessing on hearing of ones death.

When death occurs  - Death is the most unexplainable concept that we face. Why did someone die when they did? Why did God choose one person to live longer than the other? Why did the person have to suffer before his or her death?

However, even when it comes to death we are taught to bless God; we say, “Blessed is the True Judge,” acknowledging that this is beyond our understanding.

There is an infinite difference between us and God, and there is no way for us to understand His mysterious ways. We cannot comprehend; however, in spite of the pain of bereavement, we acknowledge that, ultimately, the “True Judge” knows what He is doing.

Immediate family members of those who passed on from this world would make the blessing of “Baruch Dayan Ha-Emes” as they rip their clothing during the funeral.[]



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Unconfirmed: The End Of The World 21 Dec 2012

12 days left until December 21, 2012. 

With 21 December fast approaching, there has been seemingly increased doomsday panic spreading worldwide with only days until the end of the Mayan calendar, with doomsday-mongers predicting a cataclysmic end to the history of Earth, as fears grow the world will end "Grand Armageddon Style" December 21 when the Mayan calendar abruptly ends causing us all to cease to exist, the story goes.

Will The World End In 2012?

The end of the world’s biggest impact is not on the Earth but on our psyches.

For as long as mans existence people’s minds have been impressed by the end of the world theories. People have been debating prophecies for a long time. The imminent destruction of our world, in other words ‘doomsday’, is baseless. There will be no sudden or major change of any sort. There will be no worldwide catastrophe. No comet or killer asteroid will collide with Earth and destroy us all. There will be no annihilation of humanity.

If God forbid the world is going to end, then there’s no need to prepare for anything because we’ll all be gone.

This day will pass like every other doomsday and apocalyptic madness that was ever predicted. It is really just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

Starting bright and early on December 22, 2012 we will still be here. The sun will come up, we will rise from our slumber and we will begin a new grand and glorious day.

The Global 2012 - I don’t know what will happen by the end of 2012 but I do know that the world will not end.

Search on Google and you will find many claims that sometime soon the world will be destroyed. Catastrophic, movie-inspired endings are promised.

Don’t believe them. We know our world is here for a purpose. And the ultimate purpose of the world is not for it to be destroyed; but for it to be perfected with the arrival of the Messianic era. This perfection is brought closer by our good deeds, our positive actions and reactions to those around us, our  good deeds and our optimistic and joyful take on life. Through these acts we have the ability to make 2012 a year of utopian good.

The Personal 2012 - In a conversation with  Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, a college student mentioned he was not able to be more active with helping others; he could only focus on his personal studies. He tried to explain to the Rebbe, “I find myself in this situation…”

The Rebbe told him, “Nobody finds themselves in a situation; you put yourself in that situation and you can put yourself in another situation.”

Most of the time, we place ourselves in situations via the choices we make in life.

While we cannot control everything that happens around us, we can control the situations we place ourselves into. It is our responsibility to put ourselves in the best places possible. [Dovid Zaklikowski]

We live in a world where things happen to us as individuals and as part of humanity and we simply do not always know what they mean, or why God decided that they should happen.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding etc. Natural disasters that cause devastation, havoc and destruction. Is this the beginning of the apocalypse?

Even when extraordinary events happen these displays of majesty bring tragedy in their wake, we recognize that there is a Divine hand orchestrating all that happens. Nothing happens by accident. The shifting of continental plates or the formation of tropical storms are all part of God’s great plan. These events serve to bring into focus how small we are in comparison to the Creator-of-All.

These events do not need to bring us to thoughts of the end of the world. Rather they should lead us to understand that, in the final analysis, everything in the world is orchestrated by God, the source of absolute goodness. [Mendy Kaminker]

What is the “End of Days”? The term “End of Days” is taken from Numbers 24:14. This has always been taken as a reference to the Messianic era.

The Messianic Era - All the nations of the world will recognize Moshiach (the annointed one) to be a world leader, and will accept his dominion. In the Messianic era there will be world peace, no more wars nor famine, and, in general, a high standard of living.

All mankind will worship one God, and live a more spiritual and moral way of life.

The coming of Messiah will complete God’s purpose in creation: for man to make an abode for God in the lower worlds—that is, to reveal the inherent spirituality in the material world.

Is this not a utopian dream? With the correct leadership, humankind can and will change. The leadership quality of Moshiach (Messiah) means that through his dynamic personality and example, coupled with manifest humility, he will inspire all people to strive for good. He will transform a seemingly utopian dream into a reality. He will be recognized as a man of God, with greater leadership qualities than even Moses.

In today’s society, many people are repulsed by the breakdown of ethical and moral standards. Life is cheap, crime is rampant, drug and alcohol abuse are on the increase, children have lost respect for their elders. At the same time, technology has advanced in quantum leaps. There is no doubt that today man has all the resources—if channeled correctly—to create a good standard of living for all mankind. He lacks only the social and political will. Moshiach will inspire all wo/men to fulfill that aim.

Why the belief in a human Messiah? Some people believe that the world will “evolve” by itself into a messianic era without a human figurehead. Judaism rejects this belief. Human history has been dominated by empire builders greedy for power.
Others believe in Armageddon—that the world will self-destruct, either by nuclear war or by terrorism. Again, Judaism rejects this view.

Our prophets speak of the advent of a human leader, of a magnitude that the world has not yet experienced. His unique example and leadership will inspire mankind to change direction. 

What will become of the world as we know it? Initially, there will be no change in the world order, other than its readiness to accept Messianic rule. All the nations of the world will strive to create a new world order, in which there will be no more wars or conflicts. Jealousy, hatred, greed and political strife (of the negative kind) will disappear, and all human beings will strive only for goodness, kindness and peace.
In the Messianic era there will be great advances in technology, allowing a high standard of living. Food will be plentiful and cheap.

However, the focus of human aspiration will be the pursuit of the “knowledge of God.” People will become less materialistic and more spiritual. [Nissan D. Dubov]

So rather than wait for the inevitable we can be an agent of change in how we choose to address these events. The world and the universe is established base on cycles. One cycle ends and another begins. And so it begins.

An interesting thought by Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell;
"Will the world end in 2012? First, which world? The physical one or our spiritual ones within ourselves? Second, what is the definition of "end"? It could be a big explosion of the earth, or it could be a natural disaster. Third, every day the world ends for someone, (when they die). Physically, even if we have a nuclear explosion, the whole world will not end. It will only become human-extinct. The world (earth) will end when our sun gives out and becomes a black hole or if a meteor hits the earth so hard it pushes it out of the sun's orbit".

In conclusion, always remain the eternal optimist. Even in what may seem to be the darkest hour, one should hope, pray and look toward a brighter future - a world of peace and spirituality filled with human positivity of goodness and kindness, charity and blessings.

The earth was established by God not to be moved and that its foundation was and is and will always be set by God. God has declared that there is no other power over His creation than His power!

Things don't just happen by a chain of linear causality. There is design behind the cosmos and that design is not inevitable. When God did bring everything into existence, He did it with a desire to be found within His creation and He invested His entire being into that desire. A conscious Creator with a design in mind - for a constructive purposeful universe filled with His glory.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Power Of Words And Its Ripple Effect

The power of words has a ripple effect in our life and those around us.

Words have tremendous power. On many occasions our words are uttered without conscious thought; in fact we rarely stop and think about what we are saying. Often, however, we are oblivious to the positive or negative effect these words have on ourselves and the people around us.
Everything you say creates a reaction in others and produces an effect in the world.

People must take control of their words, rather than letting their words control them. Be more conscious of your thoughts and words and the power they unleash.

Your words can determine your destiny. Even more importantly, your words can make a positive difference on the people you interact with every day. What you say will  create a positive or negative ripple effect by speaking out these words. Be determined to unleash the power of words for positive change. [Barbra White]

Words are like arrows, says the Psalmist, and like smoldering coals. Like arrows, explains the Midrash, for a man stands in one place and his words wreak havoc on another’s life many miles away. And like a coal whose outer surface has been extinguished but whose interior remains aflame, so too do malevolent words continue to work their damage long after their external effect has evaporated.

Words kill in many ways. Sometimes they set in motion a chain of events that turn them into a self-fulfilling prophecy; sometimes they are deflected off the object of their venom, to strike some innocent bystander; and sometimes they return like a boomerang to pursue their originator. By whatever route they travel, hateful words inevitably lead to hateful actions, possibly years or even generations after they are uttered. Human nature is such that thoughts strive to find expression in spoken words, and spoken words seek realization in deeds—often by circuitous paths that the original utterer of those words neither desired nor anticipated.

But the power of the word runs deeper than its potential to translate into action. Even if this potential is never realized, even if the spoken words never materialize in the “world of action,” they still exist in the higher, more spiritual “world of speech.” For man is not only a body, but also a soul; he is not only a physical being, but also a spiritual creature. On the physical plane, spoken words may be significant only as potential actions; in the soul’s reality, they are actual.

Every word we utter is real, whether or not it comes to fruition in the “world of action” in which our physical self resides. On a higher, more spiritual plane of reality—a reality as real to our soul as the physical reality is to our physical self—our every word is as good (and as bad) as done.

The same is true, of course, in the positive sense: a word of praise, a word of encouragement is as good (and as good) as done in the spiritual reality of the soul. Even before a good word has yielded a good deed, it has already had a profound and lasting effect upon the inner state of ourselves and our world. [Yanki Tauber]

King Solomon said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Every day, we are shaping reality for someone by the words that we use with them. The choice is ours.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Time Of Perfect Vision

Creation's Double Vision - Forseeing The Final Result

All beginnings are difficult. Starting a job, starting school, starting a marriage, starting dinner, starting new cleaning help - even starting the day! We find beginnings difficult because a new beginning requires a change. What went before wasn't good enough. Whether we're changing from one thing to another - from one job to another, for example - or from a "nothing" state to a "something" state - from not being married to being married - we have to change. And change requires effort; we have to overcome our inertia. In order to change we have to begin. And beginning requires an act of will. We resist beginning until we want to begin. (How many times have we resisted getting out of bed in the morning to start the day until we simply decided to get up - for no apparent reason?)

This explains the difficulty of beginning: we not only have to begin, we have to begin to begin. That is, before we can start something, we have to envision it as complete, whole, finished. From where we are we have to see where we will be. We cannot imagine what we want superficially, not if we want it to be real. We have to see the details. We must anticipate not only how the thing will work but also how it will get made and how we will feel about it. We have to have a goal, a business plan.

So not only must we actually start the project - get the materials, follow the instructions, do all the little things to open the store or assemble the bookcase - we must build it virtually, so to speak, construct it in our minds. Even before we begin, we must have begun. Even as we build, we must imaginatively have already built.

In a sense, creation requires double vision. We must foresee the final result, the completed product. We must envision the end of the process, indeed, what will be after we finish that which we've begun. But the level of insight never becomes real; we constantly anticipate but never arrive. In fact, as long we see the end, as long as we live - mentally - after the fact we not only never get there, we don't ever start. We "begin to begin" - we have constantly in mind the final moment after; but we never actually start.

Thus we have to see differently. We have to see beyond the will-be, or rather, we have to look closer than the yet-to-be. We have to perceive the process. We have to "just do it," to live in the middle, to experience the unfolding of the initial point.

The first type of beginning conceals; it's the goal, the thought in mind, the future already real but never reached. The second type of beginning reveals; it's the start, the origin, the potential for progress and the development of details.

But we don't have two eyes to see double. That strains the muscles and drains the mind. We have two eyes so that we can see holistically, integrate our vision (of the future) and perception (of the here and now). When the two become one - when the inner reality becomes outwardly manifest - then we live in the time of Shabbat, the time of perfect vision.

That's the goal of Creation, of course, to see Godliness. And in the era of Moshiach (Messiah) the whole world will experience it, will be filled with knowledge of the Lord. []

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eyes Of World On Spectacular UK Royal Pageant

The Queen sets sail on the luxury barge with the Duke of Edinburgh and waved to the thousands of people gathered on the banks of the Thames

Queen Elizabeth II sparkles on her day for the Diamond Jubilee.

LONDON's gloomy skies and chilly air were never going to rain on the Queen's parade.
And so it proved overnight when all of Britain - and much of the world - celebrated her 60-year reign in style.

The Queen has sailed down the River Thames on a luxury barge festooned with flowers, amid a motley but majestic flotilla of 1000 vessels mustered to mark her 60 years on the throne.

Hundreds of thousands of Union Jack-waving spectators formed a red, white and blue wave along London's riverbanks and bridges, cheering the 86-year-old monarch and her armada of motorboats, rowboats and sailboats of all shapes and sizes.

The pageant was a nod to Britain's maritime heritage and one of the biggest events on the river for centuries.

The Queen wore a silver and white dress and matching coat - embroidered with gold, silver and ivory spots and embellished with Swarovski crystals to evoke the river - for her trip aboard the barge Spirit of Chartwell, decorated for the occasion in rich red, gold and purple velvet.

Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge - he in his Royal Air Force uniform, she in a red Alexander McQueen dress - and William's brother, Prince Harry, were among senior royals who joined the Queen and Prince Philip.

After a celebratory peal of bells, the boat set off downstream at a stately four knots (7.4km/h), accompanied by skiffs, barges, narrow boats, kayaks, gondolas, dragon boats and even a replica Viking longboat.

The flotilla was sailing past some of the city's great landmarks - including the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and St Paul's Cathedral - before ending its journey near Tower Bridge.

Downriver, ships too tall to fit under London's bridges were moored along both banks of the river.

Before Queen Elizabeth II took the voyage of a lifetime in her diamond jubilee pageant, her son raised his voice to lead the tributes to the monarch in song.

Attending the jubilee's biggest and most luxurious street party in Piccadilly, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined a 500-strong crowd for a sit-down lunch.

Standing among the royal fans, he summed up the sentiment of the millions gathered at jubilee events around the country with a rendition of God Save the Queen.

Upstream, more than 1000 boats sailed down the River Thames in a flotilla tribute to the Queen's six decades on the throne that organisers were calling the biggest pageant on the river for 350 years.

The Queen and members of her family led the river pageant aboard a flower-bedecked royal barge, accompanied by skiffs, barges, narrowboats, motor launches, row boats and sailing vessels from around the world.

Read more

More articles here

Monday, May 21, 2012

What's Wrong With Politicians?

There are many great men and women who have distinguished themselves in public service. What is it that allows them to succeed where others fail?

To paint with a very broad brush, one can suggest that there are two different types of failed politicians.

The first type is the straight-out villain, who is unashamedly out to feather his or her own nest. They might talk the good talk in public; they might make all the right noises about transparency and accountability while trying to get elected. But get to know them personally, and you’ll quickly be disabused of the notion that there is a single altruistic fiber in their being.

A subset of this first class is the incompetent bungler who is wily enough to make his way into politics despite his ineptitude, and has guile enough to stay there for decades, battening at the public purse. They would never survive in the commercial world, where people are judged by results and where failure is rewarded by dismissal, not a pension for life.

The second type of failed politician is the honest, well-meaning, truly dedicated man or woman who wants to make a difference and leave a positive influence on the world. They try hard in the common cause, and sacrifice their health and family life in their dedication to their constituents. They are certainly well-intentioned, but seldom enjoy longevity. Like moths consumed by the flame of their own altruism, they tend to quickly burn out and, all too soon, disappear from public life, having run out of ideas and finding it impossible to maintain their high standards.

A true leader rises above the divide between either of these options. Their focus is on serving others, but they do not forget the need for self-actualization and self-improvement in the process. 

A leader is a luminary, filling the room with the light of his own personality. Leadership is the act of being there for others, and impacting their lives for the better.

But a leader cannot just talk the talk to others; he has to become a paradigm of excellence in his own right.

We all have the capacity for accomplishment, and the responsibility and ability to lead. Our main purpose in life is to reach out and bring the light in to the hearts and minds of all. However, we have a concomitant responsibility to ensure that our own spiritual house is in order and that we live up to the ideals that we publicly espouse. If we can operate on these two fronts as one, then we have lived up to the standards of  following in this path of goodness. [Elisha Greenbaum]

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Improving Our Nation's Moral Fabric

Morality Without God

Is it possible to achieve a moral and ethical society while leaving God out of the equation? Many today maintain that not only is this eminently possible, but morality which is not predicated on religion is a far better alternative to ethics that stem from blind adherence to a particular canon. The human heart, they argue, inherently possesses a moral compass. Religion all too often warps this inborn sense of right and wrong, and is simply another outdated device that enlightened societies can do without.

To address this issue, we must first take a brief dip into the deep waters of human psychology and anthropology. What indeed is the source of the natural moral compass, and why do certain people seem to lack this quality? And how is it that a creature which is naturally selfish, motivated above all by self preservation and aggrandizement, should also be naturally kind and concerned for the welfare of others?

An analysis of those people who engage in cruel and oppressive acts clarifies the issue. As a rule, these are people who are in power who torment the helpless  - tyrants bullying their victims, a nation's ruling ethnic group persecuting a weak minority, soldiers on the battlefield viciously mistreating their enemy, or, to a lesser degree, politicians corruptly misusing their office. In all instances, the oppressors are confident in their power and positions, and feel themselves to be immune from retribution, certain that their victims can never repay them in kind.

The rest of us are horrified by the immoral acts of these despotic individuals. Are we outraged because we are better people, or because we are not as of yet in power? Our righteous indignation upon hearing of incidence of murder, violence and injustice - are they perhaps due to a subconscious fear that we could, God forbid, be the next victims? Can it be said that our "moral compass" is nothing more than another self-preservation mechanism designed to protect ourselves from a society that could potentially descend into a state of anarchy in the absence of law and order?

Without compunction we trap mice and crush roaches that dare invade our homes. Why? Because we do not fear invading battalions of armed avenging rodents or insects. What if we viewed another segment of the population in a similar light? No, this is not simply remote conjecture; this actually occurred in a highly enlightened and civilized society less than a century ago!

And here is the scariest thought: even if our society as a whole never again deteriorates to that dreadful point, what if in our personal lives we encounter a situation wherein we feel completely secure in doing an immoral act, confident that the victim will never know who wronged him, or certain that he will never have the means to retaliate?

Maimonides writes (Laws of Kings 9:11):
"One who accepts the Seven Noahide Laws and is meticulous in their observance is from the righteous of the nations of the world and has a share in the World-to-Come -- provided that he does so because God commanded so in the Torah. . . If, however, he observes them because his mind so dictates, he is not from the righteous of the nations nor is he from their wise ones [alternative version: rather he is from their wise ones]."

Perhaps Maimonides himself penned both versions. They are both equally correct.

A society is wise to adopt the Seven Noahide Laws (seven universal laws, which include prohibitions against murder, theft, etc.) as part of their legal system. They are prudent laws that form the basis of a moral legal code. These laws are wise whether or not they are observed with the proper intentions.

Ultimately, however, it is not wise to follow these moral principles independent of their Giver. Such a moral system may work for most of the people most of the time, but inevitably it will fail -- either society-wide, or in the individual lives of citizens in certain situations. Absolute morality can only be a product of the unchanging realization that there is an absolute Divine "eye that sees, ear that hears, and all your actions are chronicled in a ledger."

Perhaps our Founding Fathers recognized this truth when they opened the Declaration of Independence with the words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." A return to this idea would go a long way towards improving our nation's moral fabric. [Naftali Silberberg]

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Waging Peace

From the time you begin to breathe, a war rages within.

From the time you attain citizenship of this world, you must struggle with your own frailties to stand upright, as a human being was meant to stand.

From the time you yearn to reach higher, you must engage the animal that comes dressed within this meat and bones, to carry it up with you. You must play its own game on its own turf, speak to it in its own language, meditate upon those matters that can inspire it, bear with it until you can bring it to the side of peace.

You must descend to a place of chaos and madness to redeem yourself from there.

And so this battle plays out not only in the spiritual arena of meditation and prayer, but also in the very human world of eating your meal, of raising a family, of worldly pursuits, infiltrating that world so as to conquer it, to rip away its veil and reveal the Godly sparks it contains, as Jacob dressed in the clothes of Esau, wrestling with his angel on the cold, sodden earth of a night to which he does not belong.

Yet at all times and in every situation you retain access to a point of perfect oneness within, a place where there is no opposition to fight, no choices that could be made, no existence at all, nothing other than “the Creator of all things to whom I am bound as one.”

It is not the battle that defines you, nor the role in which you must invest yourself, nor the opponent with whom you fight. You are none of these. You are that point of peace within.

And so, even your battle is in peace.

There is no greater Divine blessing than peace.[Lubavitcher Rebbe]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Priceless Gift

The Gift Of Friendship 

Friendship is a Golden Chain,
The links are friends so dear,
And like a rare and precious jewel
It's treasured more each year...

It's clasped together firmly
With a love that's deep and true,
And it's rich with happy memories
And fond recollections, too...

Time can't destroy its beauty
For, as long as memory lives,
Years can't erase the pleasure
That the joy of friendship gives...

For friendship is a priceless gift
That can't be bought or sold,
But to have an understanding friend
Is worth far more than gold...

And the Golden Chain of Friendship
Is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together
As the years go passing by...

Friendship is a priceless gift
That can't be bought or sold,
But its value is far greater
Than a mountain made of gold...

For gold is cold and lifeless,
It cannot see nor hear,
And in your times of trouble,
It is powerless to cheer...

It has no ears to listen,
No heart to understand.
It cannot bring you comfort
Or reach out a helping hand...

So when you ask God for a gift,
Be thankful that he sends,
Not diamonds, pearls, or riches,
But the love of a real, true friend...
[Helen Steiner Rice]

Friday, February 17, 2012

Closely Monitor Our Thoughts

Mystical tradition explains that thought – as opposed to speech and action – is the mode of human expression that never ceases. If one wishes to avoid a certain way of speaking or acting, he can merely choose not to speak or not to act. If one, however, wants to expel an undesirable thought from the mind, he cannot just stop thinking. He must actively choose to think about something else, for the mind is never truly empty.

In the absence of productive thoughts, the mind plays host to self-made demons of destructive thinking. Just like the kind of flour a mill produces depends on the grist placed within it, the mind turns out feelings and behaviors according to the ideas it actively entertains.

The alcoholic or addict in recovery knows all too well the troubles of an overactive mind. Our mental mills are fast and frenetic. We, therefore, endeavor to maintain constant vigilance over our thoughts, actively choosing such thinking that we would like to dwell upon and quickly replacing thoughts that tend to do us in. This requires alertness. But if we are lax about what kind of thoughts we allow ourselves to entertain, we find later that our sloppiness in this area costs us dearly. While thinking is free, its effects can levy a steep toll; it affects our serenity, our usefulness and our conscious contact with God.

We mustn't forget that our disease is not only a physical allergy to alcohol or drugs, but a mental disorder as well. Thus, even in sobriety, when alcohol and drugs don't enter our system, we still must fend with the psychological aspect of our illness. If we are not sufficiently watchful, our own minds quickly unleash their arsenal of self-destruction—unleashing devastating mental weapons of resentment, fear and self-obsession.

So we watch ourselves closely, quickly identifying the beginning of a negative thought pattern before it spirals so far out of control that we are actually convinced of its worthiness or urgency. In our daily Tenth Step we may ask ourselves whether we have endeavored to have holy, pure and selfless thoughts. Conversely, we ask ourselves whether we have been sufficiently watchful about quickly displacing negative thinking. When we closely monitor our thoughts and judge ourselves swiftly and relentlessly in this matter, we find that the effort expended is well worth the reward. Our energetic minds are just as capable of creating heaven on earth—as they have already been proven capable of the alternative. [Ben A]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston and Worship Of Celebrity

News headlines everywhere have informed the world that the singer with the larger than life voice "Whitney Houston Found Dead In Her Hotel Room, Aged 48". The shock and grief from fans worldwide was immediate as fans mourned Houston's death in different ways  inside and outside the Beverley Hilton, Saturday night. Outside grieving fans laid roses and flickering candles on the front and back entrances of the sprawling complex.

Which begs the question. In general, what is the fascination and logic in the worship of the Hollywood celebrity and global leader(s)? When they die so young (more often than not the cause being drugs, alcohol or suicide), what exactly are we shedding the tears for? What exactly are we "worshipping" or "idolizing"? Besides talent, what remarkable values and legacy did they leave behind? What kind of role model were they for our generation and the future ones?

{Key notes from video shown below}
19:00 "Role of identity is so false it destroys the people and yet we find ourselves looking up to them as they are destroying themselves. If the most popular, the most rich, the most famous can't seem to find joy in life what chance do we, who are not part of Hollywood, what chance do we have?
They have all the glamour. They have all the wealth. They have all the fun and all the opportunity and they kill themselves. Well life stinks. What will it take to have a good life?

So by defining them as their lives as the good life and then watching them deteiorate in front of our eyes it's really depressing. So if we are an unhappy society it is probably because of celebrity" - Manis Friedman

21:10 "We have to be very careful where we put our admiration what it is and who it is we admire. What is the proper if they are the idol what is the truth? What is the trueform of popularity?"

21:45 "The person who should be popular is the person who has an idea, a vision,  a view of life that is not only good for them but also good for others. It's an idea that offers direction, and it lifts the spirit. It doesnt pamper it doesnt pander it lifts, it moves you it forces you to move to higher ground. It forces you to be your better self rather than your lesser self and that's just minimum . Ideally a true leader causes you to be better than themself, better than your best self  because his ideas are new to you"

22:56 "A true leader has ideas that the average person hasn't thought of yet which means its better than their better self. Higher, greater, bigger. The people we admire is the people who respect their philosophy"

25:30 "We want our role models to be consistent. We want their lives to refelct their message. No matter how great the message is if it isnt even working for them how is it gonna work for anybody else?"...

I present you with a video below, a talk by famed American educator and lecturer R' Manis Friedman on the "Worship Of Celebrity - Celebrityhood Is A Terrible Idol".

Well worth listening to the video in its entirety. Thoughts?

R' Manis Friedman - "Today's society reveres famous people just for being famous. What is the difference between celebrityhood and true leadership?"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

People Are Pebbles Too Sending Ripples Of Effect Through The Pond Of Our Reality

Throw a pebble into a vast still river and watch its ripples. Our actions are like stones dropped into a pond, creating ripples that travel outward. For we are all somehow incredibly interwoven and connected.

Have you ever thrown a pebble into a still pond and watched the ripples? It's neat, isn't it? Even a small pebble thrown in one end of a pond can cause ripples at the other end. Bigger pebbles, bigger ripples. If you wanted to create waves at the far end of a pond all you'd have to do is throw a pebble into the near end of the pond. Such power. Such beauty. So simple.

What happens when you throw a bunch of pebbles into a pond? All of them send out ripples simultaneously and the waves crash into each other. The ripples stop going where they intended to go and get diverted in a new direction.

People are pebbles too. Every action you take, every choice you make, sends ripples of effect through the pond of our reality. Small acts, small ripples. Big acts, bigger ripples. What you do impacts other people. What they do, impacts you.

What is your pebble doing right now? Is it sending ripples of love, compassion, and courage throughout our pond, or is it sending out ripples of envy, anger, and fear? How would you like your pebble to behave?

What happens to our pond when we all get upset, angry, and frustrated? The ripples from those waves can be violent, hurtful, and dangerous. Even if you wanted to stop them it would be tough if everyone else was throwing pebbles into the water with negative intentions. Your peaceful ripples would barely change the flow of the pond. But we must take back our pond! Do you want to live in a pond where the water is sloshing around violently and drowning people or do you want to live in a peaceful pond that's beautiful and life-giving?

Get control of your pebble, people. The ripples you send into our pond will come back to you, three-fold, ten-fold, a hundred-fold! Consciously decide what kind of ripples you want to send into the ocean of our lives. And when you feel a ripple of anger hit
you square in the face, try to ignore it and let it pass through you. Sending out your own ripple of anger just gets everyone splashed.

I've made a conscious decision to send out positive ripples of love, compassion, and kindness. Sometimes I get upset. Sometimes I get flustered. Sometimes I even yell. But I'm working on it, consciously. If you're going to choose to send out negative energy ripples, then please keep your pebble far away from me. My part of the pond thanks you. [Erin Pavlina]

Often we look at our lives and are disappointed by how little of it is directed towards a higher purpose. We would love to learn more, but can only spare a few minutes a day. We wish we could give more to charity, but are able to give just a small amount. In truth, however, every action extends backwards and forward in time and has a ripple effect in every area of our lives. We may have studied for just a few minutes, but a single new idea will affect our thinking throughout the day. We give a few dollars to charity, and the time and effort we expended to earn that money are "elevated" along with it. Like a small pebble cast into a pool, a single Godly deed will reverberate through our life and infuse it with purpose and meaning.[Yanki Tauber]

Single handedly we alone can turn ripples in to waves to transform and create lasting change.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Dangers Of Power, Wealth And Luxury

Building A Peaceful Society On That Which Is REAL.

Isn't it strange how just because someone is wealthy there is a widespread perception that they are automatically imbued with all other attributes as well? Why would you logically assume that an entrepreneur or wheeler-dealer would have any innate appreciation for the arts or can be trusted to decide public policy? Not every money-manager is an intellectual giant. The acquisition of wealth demands a specific skill-set and this does not necessarily translate into other disciplines.

The Torah warns us against developing a skewed view of reality.

"Be careful not to forget God and fail to keep His commandments… You might eat and be satisfied, build good houses and live in them. As your herds and flocks increase, your silver and gold accumulate and everything you have grows, your heart may become arrogant and you might forget God" (Deuteronomy 8:11-13).

A chilling and timely lesson to all of us about the dangers of wealth and luxury, however encoded in the words we can read a message about how to relate to the wealth of others:

Just because a person has houses, gold and silver, don't automatically assume that everything he has also grows. Keep things in perspective; riches do not confer intellectual legitimacy. Scholars are our true aristocracy and the role of rich men is to support the study of Torah and to supplement the functioning of society.

Wealth can be a challenge for those blessed with it. Always remember who your true friends really are. Money comes and goes, but character lasts forever. If you forget this timely reminder you run the risk of arrogance and disgrace.

The challenge for the rest of society is to accept and honor a man proportional with his intrinsic worth, not his bank-balance. We must never forget that God is the one who rules the world and we are ultimately answerable to no one other than Him. [Elisha Greenbaum]

To know that this world is not some wild jungle where whoever is stronger or richer or smarter can abuse and destroy without regard for those beneath them - this is not a matter of religion or faith, particular to one people or group of believers. This is the underlying reality - that this world has a Master, and it is not any of us.

The Creator has also granted the human being freedom of choice, which means that every empowerment we are given carries a certain degree of risk. We can use our resources to accomplish our mission, or we can use them to sabotage it, and even sabotage the good that other souls are trying to achieve.

A peaceful society can only endure when it is built upon that which is real. [The Rebbe]

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Learning Lifes Lessons From A Ship At Sea

 Costa Concordia Cruise Ship

An Italian passenger cruise ship the  Costa Concordia ran aground and tipped over late Friday the 13th, killing at least three people, injuring 30 and leaving up to 40 others still missing.

The ship struck a reef that got stuck inside the left side, making it (the ship) lean over and take on a lot of water in the space of two, three minutes.

The ship’s Italian captain, Francesco Schettino, was detained late Saturday and is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship. Officials say the captain appears to have taken the vessel close to shore in a dangerous manner, Reuters says.

Passengers described a scene reminiscent of “Titanic” — which sank 100 years ago this April.

The sinking of the Costa Concordia brings this parable to mind;

Once upon a time, a wise man went to the docks to watch as ships entered and left the port. He noticed that, as one ship sailed out toward the open sea, all the people on the dock cheered and wished it well. Meanwhile, another ship entered the port and docked. By and large, the crowd ignored it.

The wise man addressed the people saying, "You are looking at things backwards! When a vessel leaves, you do not know what lays ahead or what its end will be. So there really is no reason to cheer. But when a vessel enters the harbor and arrives safely home, that is something to make you feel joy."

Life is that journey and we are the vessel. When a child is born, we celebrate. When a soul returns home, we mourn. Yet if we viewed life on earth the way the wise man viewed the ship, perhaps we too could say, "The vessel has gone on its journey, it has weathered the storms of life, it has finally entered the harbor and now it is safely home." [Midrash, Shemot Rabbah]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Taking Care Of Our World; A Safe World

At one time we thought human ethics could care for the world. "Human intelligence," we argued, "will find truth and protect it."

We discovered we were wrong. The nation that cultivated the human mind to its highest degree committed the most horrifying crimes of our age. Human intelligence today has not saved the world, but ravaged it.

Humankind cannot live securely on this earth until we recognize it for what it is: A creation cherished by its Creator, who continues to involve Himself in it at every moment with all His essence and being. And so it is full of wisdom and beauty without end.

He has put this masterpiece, and the masterpiece of our own bodies and selves in our hands and told us how to care for them.

All of it looks to us, to see if we will come to know that which is beyond us, and take care of our world as we were charged. [The Rebbe]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thousands Of US Troops Deployed To Israel

The Juniper Cobra exercise in 2003.(Quique Kierszenbaum/Getty Images)

The US military is preparing a massive military campaign against Iran, sending thousands of American troops, warships and weaponry to Israel.

An unnamed source said the military deployment of US anti-missile ships and accompanying support personnel will occur in January and later this spring, Global Research reported.

Commander of the US Third Air Force based in Germany Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc said it is not just an "exercise," but a "deployment," The Jerusalem Post said.

Washington and Tel Aviv have planned to hold what they call the largest-ever joint military exercise this spring.

The US commander visited Israel two weeks ago to confirm details for “the deployment of several thousand American soldiers to Israel.”

The US General also visited one of Israel's three Iron Dome anti-missile outposts. The Israeli Air Force has announced plans to deploy a fourth Iron Dome system in coming months.

While US troops will be stationed in Israel for an unspecified amount of time, Israeli military personnel will be added to United States European Command (EUCOM) in Germany.

This is while the US is reportedly bringing its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and ship-based Aegis ballistic missile systems to Israel.

The White House has resumed its anti-Iran war rhetoric after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report in November, in which Tehran was accused of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons. Iran strongly dismissed the allegations.

US analyst Robert Parry said the documentary evidence showed that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was installed with the support of the US and that he privately indicated to US and Israeli officials that he would help advance their goals regarding Iran.

In December, Iran's Navy launched massive 10-day military drills in the strategic Strait of Hormuz to show that the country is ready to defend itself against any attack.

"We wanted to send this message to certain powers that Iran is always prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression," Iran's Navy Deputy Commander Admiral Amir Rastegari told Press TV.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama on Saturday signed into law fresh economic sanctions, targeting Iran's Central Bank and financial sector.

Anti-Iran measures provoked by the US and Israel are aimed to deny Iran's right of having peaceful nuclear program.
Tehran, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, has repeatedly stated that its nuclear activities are solely for civilian purposes. [AGB/HGH/IS]

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Nature Afire

By our nature, we are afire. We burn with anxiety, the angst of survival in a hostile world.

For this fire, we have meditation and prayer. 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 Rebbe]