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Is There A Silver Lining In All This?

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When we look back just two months ago, the reality that we were living with which we considered normal is that you got to get out of the house. we got to get away from the kids. we got to get them out of the house and we got to get away from each other – don’t spend so much time together. And then when we went to work you called it making a living  – we weren’t making a living we were escaping from life. 

Now we have had time to reflect on things and we’ve discovered much to our amazement that you can live without shopping. You can live without entertainment. You can live without travel, you can even live without going to work and without sending kids to school. Because all of that is just commentary. Life is at home. Life is family. Life is your purpose in the world. We found out where life really takes place. We found out that there’s no need to run from your family. We found out that the individual actually counts.

The future’s got to be a lot better than the past  because it has to compensate for all the pain. This can’t be for nothing. We have discovered life is not here for us – for us to satisfy our needs. Satisfying your need is not the goal and if you don’t satisfy all your needs you have not failed because that is not our purpose. Our purpose is to serve the creator who created a very low world that needs a lot of attention and a lot of fixing. That’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we will continue to do until the world becomes holier than heaven, from the lowest from the worst to the best. Because when you turn darkness into light, when you turn the bitter into sweet, then the sweet is intensely sweet and the light is pure light. The moral antidote to fighting off a virus is to not let them interfere with your life. The only response is more enthusiasm for life. A person who is completely alive in every part of his body is immune to the virus..

To survive hardships like this one, you have to live your life as if nothing wrong has ever happened. This is your purpose, the mission. the reason your soul came down to earth. We now know a micro mitzvah can fix the entire world much more than a micro virus can destroy the world. Our micro mitzvahs are going to overcome the micro viruses, and we’re going to come out healthier, stronger, wiser and certainly more mature because of this. The world is going to be a much better world – and that’s not a silver lining, that’s pure gold

The Power of Positive Thinking

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The power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated. Yes, a positive thought is really a petty tiny little thing. But now we know to watch out for those tiny things. The smaller the thing is the more powerful – don’t be surprised if that can change the world. The universe is made up of mass, energy, and consciousness. Nature and the universe would not be what it is without the presence of a soul, of a conscious mind.  What the Torah is telling us when it describes creation is that God created the world with his words.  Words have an effect, so be careful what you say. You may not be able to create stuff out of nothing like God can but you certainly can affect things with your words.

For all of history since the eating of the Tree of Knowledge, every evil has a little bit of good and every good has a little bit of evil. That’s what makes it so difficult to walk a straight line of just good and no bad. We’re going to start to see exposure of the negative, ugly, selfish, bad things that have been hiding behind fancy words and good excuses. As a result of COVD-19, the bad in our world is going to be exposed. Good is going to be good, bad is going to be bad and we’re not going to confuse them anymore.

Moshiach is happening – the question is when will it get done. Moshiach is the result of all of our efforts so everything we do, every decision we make, every thought every word we speak is bringing Moshiach. We’ve had time by ourselves and when that happens, the first thing that you gain is that you get to know yourself. Now that we’ve seen ourselves there are things about ourselves that we really don’t like. There are also some things that we’re really happy about which we didn’t notice before. 

When Moshiach comes, I will be what I want to be. I will be what I know I should. When things become less confusing we will see our way clearly and then nothing is going to stop us because we have the right ideas and we have the good will. It’s going to be a little scary to see all the bad come to the surface but it’s a healing process – it’s a healing crisis.

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Life After Lock-down: What Comes Next?

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We don’t know what to expect out of life after COVID-19, but it’s got to be better than what came before. We can’t just go back, because now we realize that what we had was not nearly good enough. We’re going forward and upward, and we’re going to find better because we just don’t like what we see. What was is not worthy to go back to and certainly doesn’t justify the pain that we have been going through. For there to be any justice in the world, what is coming has to be a whole lot better than the best we had until now.  When you have a problem that is overwhelming and confusing beyond imagination, then the good that comes from it also has to be overwhelmingly good and beyond imagination. 

Making a Life instead of a Living

If we go back to work at our old jobs in the old companies and offices and workplaces. it has to have a different feel. You’re not there just to make money. We’ve got to put that behind us. Living in order to make money so that you can buy the stuff you need for a living is a vicious cycle. Going to work has to be a moral project: we go to work so that we meet people who we can help who we can grow with or from. It’s the people not the money, not not the career, not the prestige. Work is about the opportunity to make the world better.

When you have what to eat then you can be useful to everyone around you. Having what to eat is not a privilege. – it’s not a compliment from God, it’s more of a job and a mission. If you have what to eat and you’re not distracted by the need to make a living that means that you are now responsible for others. Make sure they have what to eat both physically and spiritually. If you have meaning in life, if you have something that you can teach or some wisdom that you can share it’s certainly not meant just for you. We have to be conscious of not just how to survive but what the purpose of life is. 

Instead of being focused on how much we need in life when we start to think who needs me, whom can I serve, whom can I help, how can I make things better – then you have a life. When you’re sitting home you can make the world better by becoming better yourself. When an individual becomes better, to some degree the entire human race has become better.

The more powerful effect comes from when you actually interact with others. That way you have two people getting better and together and that itself is a great is a great moral power. Now that we’ve seen that a virus can be a global event, it kind of unites us in a negative sense. Now we have to find a way and find those things that are as powerful that can unite us in a positive way.

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How To Go From Knowing Something’s Right To Loving It

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This time of year, we should be focusing on the quality of Netzah, or persistence. Netzah gives us the consistency and determination to be kind and compassionate even when we’re not in the mood. It gives all of our other emotions a stability and reliability which becomes the foundation for action. Emotions like love, hate, and compassion are full of excitement – they are high energy emotions which don’t always translate into action. Netzah is kindness, or love, applied to behavior. 

To go from the cerebral to the emotional, you must get past certain limitations. How do you translate what you know into what you feel? The ideas in your head have to reach your heart, but the narrowness of the neck is a bottleneck. What you know in your mind has to be so vivid and so clear and so convincing that even the heart can’t ignore it. Also, the heart has to be responsive and sensitive to what the brain is saying – if it’s callous or jaded then your mind can’t move or inspire your heart. 

How do you go from knowing something’s right to loving it? How do you know from knowing that something’s bad to hating it? If we successfully do that and we have inspired feelings – we love and judge and have compassion properly – we encounter another bottleneck.  How do you go from emotion to performance? Netzah gives us the ability to translate a feeling into a doing, or at least into a speaking. Netzah takes an emotion to a behavior.

When we ask God for blessings, we’re not asking him to love us – we assume he already loves us, knows our problems and our pain, and cares for us. The need for prayer is to create a channel between God’s emotion and performance. God loves us but that has to be translated into God’s doing something, acting on his love. Prayer is to facilitate to smooth the path that goes from emotion to doing, to performing. Meaning well and having good intentions is beautiful, but it doesn’t compare to doing well. Having a good intention to follow mitzvot or be a righteous person without translating that intention into action only counts in our relationship with God if you truly weren’t able to act due to circumstances beyond your control. If your intentions are truly sincere, God will make it possible for you to act. God connects your feelings to actions not by simply making believe that you did it, he connects the action by making the action possible- he brings you to a place where you can do what you intend to do.

What Quarantine Can Teach Us

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Nobody wants the solitude we face, but if you have it there’s something there’s something precious about it. Something about the quiet, the lack of activity, the lack of options, causes you to focus in a way that we hardly ever do. You become aware. When you block out all other thoughts, where do your thoughts go? What do you notice? There’s something about the quiet or the isolation that brings things into focus and makes things clear. Being quarantined gives you so much quiet time you become aware of parts of yourself that you are completely unaware of and never noticed before. Some of it is good, some of it not so good. But it’s good to know – it’s good to know what’s not good too. It’s good to have an honest and frank assessment of oneself. It makes you feel like you’re standing on two feet.


Solitude makes us realize that “normal” doesn’t seem so attractive anymore. What we used to do, what we filled our days with, it’s just not appealing or impressive anymore. We’re now aware of something deeper and better and higher and we don’t want to go back to the old stuff.

Being able to imagine a possibility takes us a giant step toward making that possibility a reality. We have to start with a fiction, a sense of imagination, and then work our way towards the reality. Not being able to imagine a better version of reality blocks your good intentions from making that reality possible. It’s our imagination that can either block us or help us apply the emotion to reality. This quiet time is a time for imagination. To imagine being what I want to be, to imagine the people I’m I’m living with, to imagine them in in the way that I should be seeing them. the fact that I don’t see them that way means I need my imagination to introduce me to that new possibility.


When we cut down on our needs, we become more productive. Limited choices are much healthier than endless choices. This idea is demonstrated in the Ten Commandments. Why do we have Ten Commandments if there are 613 mitzvot? A human being is intelligent, imaginative, inventive, and creative, so when you come into life what do you do first? Where do you start?  God give you some definitions, some borders, so that there is there is something to focus on. “So first of all, I’m God. No other gods.” the First Commandment says. Then “honor your parents” – focus on who’s close to you, the Second Commandment says.  And then, don’t even think about killing, don’t even think about stealing, don’t even think about committing adultery. There are NOT endless possibilities. With the Ten Commandments, God gives us some basis for sanity, and the rest of the mitzvot build off of that clarity. The more specific we can get the more focused we are, the healthier we are and the more successful we’ll be so eliminating possibilities is a very healthy thing to do. The Ten Commandments don’t take away your freedom, they liberate you to function in a healthy, successful way. The limitations we are currently facing are actually a source of clarification, just like the Ten Commandments. We’ll come out of this solitude, this quarantine, healthier, wiser, more mature, and more focused.

Some Thoughts On The COVID-19 Lock-Down

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Quarantine is making us live our lives, and it turns out it’s pretty enjoyable. People are pleasantly surprised that they like being home with their kids, and even more surprised that their kids like being home with them! Couples who were not getting along suddenly see each other in a different light because all they have is one another. 

This lockdown has made us think differently about the things we thought were essential to our lives. Before, we thought life was about shopping, entertainment, nightclubs, sporting events, and travel. Now we’re realizing that we can live without all of that – in fact, we are healthier and even happier without it. 

Where you live, where you’re locked down – that’s your life. Going to work, going for entertainment, going for travel, going for pleasure – that’s just commentary. That’s not life. 

Some people think that God is punishing us by keeping us home and not being able to go to Shul, say Kaddish, or do Yizkor. On the contrary, God is saying “you have a home, you have a family, you have a life – don’t run away from that or come to Shul or go to work or go out for entertainment. Life is where you live”.