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.
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.
We don’t have to be heroes to make a difference. Today we know that a microaggression can ruin a life. But if a microaggression can ruin a life, what can a micro-kindness do?
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!”
How do we explain antisemitism?
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 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”
What does God need from us?