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What Is Intimacy?

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What is intimacy?

Intimacy means: When two people become one, so that they never feel alone in the world.

Over time, couples fight, and it’s the job of the marriage counselor to help them make peace. Sometimes a couple won’t even like each other, and the marriage counselor will help them rediscover their lost love and affection. They work on their relationship and make it work.

But worst of all, is a recent trend where happily married couples who really do like each other feel alone in the world. How is this possible? How can you be alone if your’e married?

You can’t live with someone else and remain lonely, but you can remain alone. Two people can live in a house together, they can share many interests, they can share pleasures, they can enjoy a sweet chemistry, but can still never become one with each other. And if they don’t become one, they are both alone.

This marriage is missing intimacy.

On the other hand, when a marriage does have intimacy, when they become one, even if one partner is away or even dies, the other will feel lonely, but never alone.

How do we achieve intimacy? Learn more about intimacy in Rabbi Friedman’s latest book, The Joy of Intimacy, with Ricardo Adler.


What Is A Good Jew?

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Are some Jews better than others?
God gave Jews six hundred and thirteen commandments. Most people don’t even know all of them, and many of them are not even possible at this time. Each Mitzvah is like the rung of a ladder. A good Jew is someone who is going up the ladder, no matter how low he or she is at present.

The Secret To Jewish Survival

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After giving a lecture in Rome, Rabbi Friedman got into a taxi to go to the airport. Driving through the streets of Rome, the traffic was miserable, and Rabbi Friedman commented to the driver “all these Romans are gonna make me miss my flight!”

“There are no more Romans” said the driver, “the only people still here from that time are the Jews!”
Clearly, the Jews achieved something unparalleled in human history. But how?
The secret to Jewish survival is our love of life. The Romans thought they could make themselves last by expanding and enhancing their existence. They built fortifications and cities, amassed gold and silver, conquered lands and built an empire. The Jews however never really worked on their existence, and throughout Jewish history, a Jew’s existence was pretty rough. But we never stopped living. We knew who we were, who God was, and most importantly, what he needed us to do.
What’s the difference between existing and living? Existing means taking care of your needs so that you can exist tomorrow. Living means using your existence to make a difference in the world. To exist means to focus on our own needs. To live means to focus on what we are needed for.
Ironically, those who devoted themselves to their existence, no longer exist. But those who focused on living are still here and stronger than ever.

The Truth About Antisemitism

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How do we explain antisemitism?

Throughout all of history, it has been a constant reality. Hating Jews seems to be natural.
The essence of antisemitism is the friction between nature and the supernatural.
The laws of nature do not seem to govern Jews.
No matter what a Jew does, no matter where he is, he is still a Jew. We can leave our homeland for thousands of years and remain Jews.
If you believe in and practice Christianity, you are a Christian. If you believe in and practice Islam, you are a Muslim. Unless you’re a Jew.
If your’e a Jew, even if you believe in and practice another religion, you are still a jew.
In every country we’ve lived in, we have assimilated, we take their culture, their philosophy, even their religion. But even as we do, we are Jews practicing someone’s religion.
Jews do not abide by the laws of nature, and therefor, nothing of nature can destroy us.

Why “Should” I Do Anything?

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What do we mean when we say we “should” do something?

Why should we do something that goes against our nature?

Whats wrong with being the way God made us?

If it is in one’s nature to behave a certain way, why should he or she not behave that way?

“Religion” will tell us that we should behave the way God commands because if we do not, God will punish us severely. So “should” means, act this way or else…

People will tell us, “be nice or else no one will be your friend.” So “should” means “be nice” or else….

The truth is much better. If you were born for a certain purpose, and you don’t fulfill that purpose, then you have wasted your life. “Should” means doing what you are meant to do.

A Jew should keep Shabbat because that’s what a Jew is for. A non-Jew should help the poor because that’s what he or she is for.

A man should put on Tefilin because that’s his mission. A Woman should light Shabbat candles because that’s her mission.

After all, what we are created to do is who we are.

How To Never Be Offended Again

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How do we free ourselves of grudges?

How do we forgive those who’ve wronged us, when they really hurt us?

The Torah says that we should forgive, but is such a thing humanly possible?

A famous Chassid once asked, “Every night, we say in the bedtime prayer ‘I forgive all those who’ve offended me’ but how could we say such thing? Not ‘how can we forgive?’ but ‘how can we be so arrogant that we need to forgive?’ How could we feel like we need to grant somebody our forgiveness every single night?? Are we so sensitive that we can’t go through a day without feeling insulted??”

Similarly, when a Chassid complained to the Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, that “when i’m in the synagogue, people are always stepping all over me,” the Tzemach Tzedek told him “you spread yourself all over the synagogue, nobody can step anywhere else!” In other words, “You get offended so easily because your ego is out of control!”

We can learn to not get insulted, and then need to forgive people, by recognizing that whatever happens to us, every insult, every slight, every disappointment, is our destiny. No human being is capable of interfering with another’s destiny. Nobody controls our destiny other than God. When we get hurt, its coming from God, the human being who delivered the pain is just that: a delivery man, a messenger. So don’t shoot the messenger.

Its nonsense to say that someone “ruined my life.” Its not possible. Whatever happens to us is our life the way it was meant to be.

This is what Joseph told his brothers: “Don’t be afraid, for am I instead of God? Indeed, you intended evil against me, [but] God designed it for good”

No Matter What You Do, God Will Always Need You.

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What does God need from us?

What can we offer him?
The answer: nothing. No “thing.” He just needs us.
God doesn’t need us for some “thing.” We are not the means to an end. We are what he wants. He doesn’t need us to gain anything, because he can’t gain anything, he is God!
God created the world so that we would exist with him. Why? So that we would exist with him!
The same thing exists in a real marriage. One doesn’t marry the other for some “thing,” as a means to an end. Having each other is the end.
If God doesn’t need anything from us, and just needs us, when we are unavailable to him, it doesn’t make him need us and want us less, it makes him want us and need us more!
This is why, in Judaism, we are never doomed. No matter what we do, no matter how many times or how deeply we distance ourselves from God, God still needs us.

You Can Get God Angry??

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Rabbi Friedman got a phone call from a distraught father. “Please, Rabbi,” he said “my 12 year old daughter is depressed because she thinks God is angry at her, would you please talk to her?” And he put her on the phone.

When she picked up the phone, Rabbi Friedman asked, “So, God is angry at you?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Wow,” said Rabbi Friedman, “I’m so jealous!”
The girl was confused. “Why would you be jealous of me?”
Rabbi Friedman answered, “At 12 years old you could do something that gets the almighty creator of heaven and earth angry at you! How did you become so important that you can bother God?? How does that make any sense?”
They discussed it further, and the girl’s problem went away.
When we take our own significance for granted, we think of all our troubles and then include God’s feelings about us as a bother and we entirely miss the point.
The fact is, its an amazing thing that God cares about what we do, and it should be celebrated.
Ultimately, God needs us, and otherwise, we don’t matter.
When we stop taking our significance and our very existence for granted, its a whole new world.

How To Develop Your Talents With Humility

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The Torah tells us to be humble, but shouldn’t we have a good self esteem?
Should we neglect our real talents in pursuit of humility?

How do we balance maintaining a healthy self esteem and modesty?

The Torah tells us that being humble means viewing your talents not as privilege, but as obligation.
If you have a talent, that means more is expected of you. You have a duty to realize your potential.
You don’t have a right to not use your gifts.
If you feel your gifts obligate you, that is humility

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