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Monthly Archives

May 2019

Why I Can’t Shake Your Hand

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The Torah tells us that men and women who are not related should not engage in any physical contact, no hugs, no handshakes, not even a high five.

Why is that?
The Torah tells us that physical contact between men and women is intimate, and therefore must be reserved for family only.
In the modern world we don’t see it that way. Today physical contact between the sexes has become mundane and commonplace. Men and women shake hands without giving it a second thought.
But that is not a good thing. We need more intimacy, not less.
The more intimacy we bring into the family, the healthier our families will be.

Genesis: The Real Genesis.

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In English, we call Bereshit, the first book of the Five Books of Moses, “Genesis.”
However, it is an imperfect translation.
Bereshit means “In the Genesis,” or “In the beginning.”
The difference is, that “In the Beginning” means that it is not “The Beginning”. It happened in the beginning, but it is not the beginning.
The book of Bereshit begins with the story of creation, but creation was not the beginning, creation happened in the beginning.
The true genesis, the true beginning, was God’s plan and vision for the world.
Creation happened after, and as a result of, God’s desire.
If we are the beginning of it all, then our existence is a given.
But we are not the beginning. The story of the universe starts before we come onto the stage.
When we think of the creation of man as “the beginning,” we take our own existence for granted, when really, we didn’t have to exist. The world didn’t have to exist. We are only here because God has a plan and purpose for us.
It’s not that “we existed, and then God came along and told us to do stuff.”
It’s “God wanted something, and so he brought us into existence and told us how to do what he made us to do.”

Why can’t we serve God our own way?

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Why can’t we serve God our own way? Why do we need to follow rigid rules?

Serving God our own way would be good if God didn’t need to be served.
If God doesn’t need anything than we can serve God by giving him whatever we want.
But if God does want something, then we serve him by giving him what he wants.
If God wants something from us, and we give him what we want to give, then we aren’t serving him.

Do Jews Believe In Hell?

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Do Jews believe in hell?

Jews do not believe in eternal damnation, because it has no purpose. What’s the point of making someone suffer forever and ever? Eternal pain is just cruelty, and there is no cruelty in Judaism.

What do we believe? We do believe in a hell, but it’s not payback from God. It’s a process. Hell means the process of burning away the bad in a person to bring out the good. Then, once the soul is only good, the soul leaves hell and goes to heaven. The purpose of hell is to prepare the soul for heaven.

If someone is all bad, they don’t go to hell. They don’t deserve it.

Judaism and pointless cruelty are not compatible. They cannot coexist. We need to dump ideas that promote it.

WARNING: Chabad Is Judgmental!

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People say that the secret to Chabad’s success is how non-judgmental we are.

That, however, is not true.

Chabad is very judgmental.

After 200 years of study, Chabad philosophy came to a very firm conclusion: Everyone is necessary.

Every individual is important to God.

Chabad believes that you are needed, you have a purpose, that God needs you.

That is our verdict.

How To Maintain Respect For Your Husband/Wife

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When people live together, sometimes they can get so close that they lose respect for each other, and start treating each other horribly. As the saying goes “familiarity breeds contempt.”

We see people who are kind and good when they are out, but at home with their family are completely different.

How do we fix this?

How do we put up the proper boundaries without creating distance in a family?

The key is dignity and modesty. We need to act with dignity and treat the people we care about with dignity.

Fathers tell their daughters “don’t go out dressed like that!”
But perhaps it’s the opposite. Fathers should tell their daughters “don’t dress like that in the house! You can dress like that when you’re outside, but not in the home!” If we wouldn’t meet a stranger dressed immodestly, we should never be with out family dressed immodestly. Our family members deserve the utmost dignity and respect.

The Problem With Unconditional Love

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For some time now, we’ve been told that the key to relationships is unconditional love. If you can look someone in the eye and say “i love you no matter what,” then all problems will disappear. If a mother tells her child “I love you unconditionally” then the child will feel better and grow up healthy.

So we are told. But in truth, when a mother tells her child “I love you unconditionally,” the child feels detached and rejected.
Love is an emotion, and emotions are reactions. Love connects people because it is a positive, pleasure-filled reaction to another. If the love ceases to be a reaction and becomes “unconditional,” then the connection is severed.
If you say to someone “no matter what you say, no matter what you do, no matter who you become, I will always love you,” you are telling them that what they say, what they do and who they are doesn’t matter.
When you love unconditionally, you dismiss the person, and choose to focus only on how you feel about them. You stop seeing them and only see yourself. You reject the world of objectivity where they exist and matter together with you, and choose relativism where nothing exist but you, and you alone.
What a mother should tell her child is, “no matter what, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, no matter who you become, no matter how i feel about you, I will always be your mother, and therefore you have me!”
In other words “even when i hate you, you will matter to me more than anything, because i am your mother no matter what.”

How Torah Saves Kids From Their Parents

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The Torah says that if a son is a glutton and a drunkard who refuses to obey his parents, the parents bring him before a court, and if the court finds that the boy is bad, and will grow up to commit crimes, the boy is put to death.

How are we to understand this?
It sounds barbaric and immoral. Does the Torah want us to condone killing a wayward son?
 
The answer usually given, is that in all of Jewish history, this law was never invoked. No court ever killed a wayward son.
 
But that doesn’t really answer the question.
 
The real answer is this: God gave us this law to save children from their parents.
 
In most cultures throughout history, and in some cultures even today, if a child disrespects his parents, if he or she dishonors his family, the parents may kill him or her, or subject the child to some other violent punishment. Even in societies where murder is known to be wrong, they believe the “wayward son” is an exception.
 
It is in this context that the Torah tells us, if a son brings shame to his parents and dishonors the family, do not kill him, rather, bring him to a court.

Making Sense of Men and Women

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What does Torah’s Story of Creation tell us about the nature of Male-female relations?
How is it different from the modern attitude?
The common way of understanding relationships today is that Men and Women are attracted to each other because of a biological need to procreate and reproduce. That, according to them, is the nature of sexuality.
But this is hard to accept, since sexuality is not necessarily gender based. Sexuality exists outside just men and women.
The Torah tells us a different story. God created the human both male and female, he then split the human in two and commanded them to reunite.
The reason men and women are attracted to each other is because one is incomplete without the other.
This is how we should look at relationships. Not that man are from mars and women from Venus, yet we seek each other out of biological necessity. We seek each other because it is our nature to be one. We come from each other.
We may be male or female, but our present state is unnatural. Naturally, we are one, male and female together.
Marriage is not about sacrifice, its who we are.

Don’t Be An Adult

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Whenever we speak, we use a particular tone. When we speak to an employee, we use one tone. When we speak to an employer, we use another tone.

The tone we use makes a real difference.
When dealing with our children, sometimes tone is everything.
The difference is the tone of an adult vs. the tone of a parent. Kids don’t like adults. Adults are always yelling at kids. But a child loves a parent.
You can say something kind and affectionate to a child, but if you say it like an adult, the message will be ignored. On the other hand, you can disciple a child, but if the tone is that of a parent, of a father or mother, the child will love you.
The difference between an adult and a parent is that an adult sees what the child is doing and reacts, while a parent sounds like he or she has been thinking about the child for a while.
If your child does something you’d like to correct and you want to sound like a parent, don’t do anything immediately. The next day tell the child what you want to say and the child will hear that an adult not only remembers what the child did yesterday, has thought about it, and now wants to talk about it.
The child will hear a parent.