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What God Needs To Hear

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Why do we repeat the same prayers every single say?

Is it really necessary to proclaim that God is One three or four times every day of year?

It is.

It’s like when a wife asks her husband why he didn’t say “I love you.” Many men would say “you know I love you, why do I need to keep repeating it?”

The wife would answer “because I like to hear it.”

The words we use in the prayers are what we know God wants to hear. He doesn’t need to be reminded every day that he is one. He needs to hear it from us.

The Wisdom of Billy Joel

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“Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness, But it’s better than drinkin’ alone”

These words were written by Billy Joel in his classic song The Piano Man. But what can they teach us?

There is Loneliness, and then there is Aloneness.

When someone is lonely, they can go to the bar and be with others. But then there is Aloneness. Loneliness can be shared, but Aloneness can’t. When we get home from the bar, then we are alone, and that is hellish.

When we feel alone in the world, we can’t function as healthy humans. Even our immune system shuts down.

There’s only one way to avoid Aloneness. That is intimacy.

Today there are many who feel alone even though they are happily married. They like each other, they are attracted to each other, but the intimacy is missing and therefore they both feel alone. Intimacy is the only thing that can make a person not Alone.

Unfortunately we have lost the art of intimacy.

Some Investing Advice…

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It’s a great feeling to know that your money is working for you. I remember this old commercial when they first introduced dishwashing machines. It was of a woman relaxing on a recliner with the dishwasher running in the kitchen and she says “I’m doing my dishes!”

When you do a Mitzvah like, for example, saying the blessing on a cookie, what you are doing is giving a final divine purpose and fulfillment to so many things: the dough, the flour, and the water and the sugar and whatever it is that went into the cookie. All of it is now experiencing its elevation into the realm of godliness because it now has served the godly purpose. But even more than that, the flour came from a company, and now that company has participated in a Mitzvah and has been made holier. The farmer who grew the wheat, the tools he used to plow the field, the manufacturer of those tools, even the earth itself, has now produced godliness.

Everything that contributed to the existence of that cookie has now realized its potential godly purpose.

But when we give Tzedaka, they domino effect of holiness is even longer. It can change a person’s life and help him do all kinds of Mitzvahs, including giving Tzedaka to others. When you give Tzedaka, your money goes to work for you. You can sit back and say “I’m changing the world!”

Small Heroism – There’s No Such Thing As A Wasted Life

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There was a man who struggled terribly with thoughts of suicide. He fought them, but tragically, after six years of fighting he succumbed and ended his life.

His mother was beside herself with grief. But more than that, she was angry. In her frustration she kept saying “what a wasted life!”

But she was wrong.

He was suicidal for six years before he actually killed himself, which means that for six years he fought this monster. He fought like a lion, and for six years he was successful in refusing to kill himself. To stand up to such a demon is not easy. But every time he refused he became holier.

But not only did he get holier, every time he refused to kill himself he weakened that evil impulse for everybody in the world. Because he said no over and over again to the temptation of killing himself, everyone else who struggles with this affliction will now have a little easier time saying no to that temptation. Every time he said no, the demon of suicide shrunk. We all live in the same bubble and when a person does something good on one side of the world, it helps everybody in the world be better.

A man who refuses to kill himself for six years despite the temptation is a hero. Even though after six years it wore him down.

Imagine a soldier defending a position against the enemy. He defends it successfully for six years but eventually he runs out of bullets and falls. Was that a wasted life? Certainly not.

The man’s a hero.

In our lives, we all tend to underestimate our own contribution to the world. You don’t have to win it all to make the world a better place. Every small victory against the temptations of evil, even just a delay, makes the world a better place.

The Wrong Reason To Get Married

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For the last 80 years or so people have decided to marry based on how much they love each other. But there’s a problem with that, because love and marriage do not “go together like a horse and carriage”. It’s not true.

If you’re not in love with marriage, if you’re not enamored with marriage, if you don’t believe in marriage, and you don’t want to be married, then don’t, no matter how much you love someone!

A couple came to me and said “we’re madly in love with each other, so we want to get married.” I said “but then it’s too late!”

The love came before the marriage, and that doesn’t work. You have to be committed to the idea of marriage before getting married.

So, if a man says to a woman, “you know marriage is not my thing. But now that I met you, and you are so fantastic, I’ll marry you!” she should not marry him. Don’t do it. There will be moments where he won’t think you’re that fantastic, so don’t put all the weight of the marriage on you being fantastic.

Marriage has to stand on its own merit.

The Real Miracle of Purim

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The miracle of Purim, being natural and “enclothed” in natural events to the extent that even God’s name is not mentioned in the Megillah, is a turning point in Jewish history. It is where God became real enough that we don’t have to refer to him to know that he’s there. Without even mentioning God’s name, we have a book of Torah: Megilas Esther. It’s one of the books of Torah but it doesn’t have God’s name.

That is a great achievement. God has become so real to us and our relationship has gotten stronger after the destruction of the Temple, not weaker.

On Purim we realize something about our relationship with God and something about ourselves: it’s like if a man was running to get a doctor for his wife because she isn’t feeling well, and when you stop and talk to him he admits that he doesn’t really love her particularly at this moment, and they’re not getting along so well, and yet he’s running to get a doctor. If you question him and say “what’s the hurry? if you don’t love her, take your time!” He would simply say “what’s love got to do with it? my wife needs a doctor!”

Our relationship with God is similar. Sometimes we love him, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes he loves us, and sometimes he doesn’t; like when there was a destruction and he threw us out of the land.

But when he needs me to keep Shabbos or put on Tefilin, we are there for him. Whether we love him or not right now, he’s our God, and if this is what he needs from us, we are there.

When God Is Angry At Us

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Once, I got a call from a man in Israel. I didn’t know him, and he didn’t know me, but he told me that his twelve-year-old daughter somehow became convinced that God was angry at her. This was causing her great sadness and depression and was ruining her life. Suddenly the man put her on the phone and told me to “just talk to her.”

I didn’t know what to say. “God is angry at you?” I asked.

She said “yes.”

So I said “I’m so jealous! You could do something to get God angry?? How did you become so important? You’re only 12 years old and you can anger the creator of the world! That’s incredible.”

After that conversation, her problem seemed to go away.

The problem is, we got it backwards. If God is angry at us, that is a tremendous compliment! The fact that God cares enough about what we do to be made angry means that we have a connection with the creator of heaven and earth. We matter to him. He needs us.

God wouldn’t get angry at us for not doing something he doesn’t even need. And the fact that he needs us is more meaningful than anger, hate, or even love. It means that we are truly connected.

The Meaning of Physical Attraction

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According to some of these articles about the male-female attraction from a scientific perspective, what attracts a man to a woman is some intuitive feeling that the genes will allow the continuation of the species, or that you will have healthy offspring, and that’s what attracts you to each other. But that is inaccurate, and so impersonal.

That makes an intimate relationship mean nothing more than “I think with you I can have a healthy child.” That is so embarrassing. That’s not human relationships.

A man and a woman are attracted to each other because they can complete each other. A man needs to grow by expanding from his own little world into someone else’s world, into a bigger world, and to a greater world, and a woman needs to grow by being more inclusive, including more of reality, more of the world into her own existence. The man extends his existence and the woman encompasses more into her existence. That’s the difference between male and female. That’s why men say women are alluring, as they drew draw you into their world. And man is aggressive. He wants to extend his existence into other areas and other realities. Now the man wanting to expand or extend his existence finds the welcome that the woman presents very appealing. Its irresistible.

So the attraction really begins, as the Torah says, with the woman’s capacity to absorb or to encompass within herself another human being. Men find that irresistible not because of the children they’re going to create, but because of the bond they are going to create. The man becomes a complete being when he is giving and responding to this feminine welcome, to this to this hospitality, and the woman becomes a fuller and a more complete human being when she has more input into her reality and into her world. That’s why it’s important that a man and a woman, when they get married, become husband and wife. Because that kind of a bond doesn’t happen unless the man becomes a husband and the woman becomes a wife. If they remain men and women then they’re still on the prowl and they’re still looking to become complete. But a husband and a wife have completed each other’s existence and that’s what we mean by “live happily ever after.”

This doesn’t mean there won’t be any problems or arguments. It means you are now complete beings. Now fight your battles, go through your arguments, and put up with each other as best you can, but you’re not seeking anymore. You’re not unfulfilled. Now the problems you have are problems you should have as a man and a woman having problems with each other. These are problems you don’t need and you shouldn’t have.

The real significance of the male-female attraction is the completion, because without each other we are incomplete. We are half beings.

That’s a lot more romantic than “I think we could have healthy children and survive the next ice age.”

Why Do Jews Act So Different?

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Once, a very patriotic guy visited Washington DC for the first time. As he walked by the great national monuments, he was filled with pride and love for the nation. But then suddenly he saw something that was completely out of place: he noticed not far from the White House there was a building that didn’t look like American architecture, and he heard people singing inside, but they weren’t American songs, and they were speaking and it wasn’t English, and weren’t dressed like Americans! The man was very offended. Here, in the nation’s capital, people were celebrating their own nations instead of America! He was filled with rage and decided to give them a piece of him mind.

He knocks on the door and says to the people inside “how long have you been living in the United States?”

They answer: “Thirty years.”

He says “for thirty years you enjoyed all the benefits of this country and you don’t have the decency to speak English, to dress like an American, to sing American songs, to build American structures. shame on you!”

Those inside were confused. One of them looked up at the man and said “excuse me but this is the Norwegian Embassy!”

Their job was to show America how they live, and how they dress, etc. If they dressed like Americans and sang American songs and spoke English, they would lose their jobs!

Every Jew, wherever we are, is an embassy. We are here in this world to show the world how it’s done Jewishly. So if we dress different, if we sing different songs, if we celebrate different holidays, that’s our job! If we stop doing that, we lose our job. So, are we justified in maintaining our customs? Of course we are! We are the embassy.

The greatness of the Rebbe’s achievement was that he raised an entire generation of ordinary, average students, but he raised them with the conviction that they are embassies, that they are not private citizens, and that you don’t live for yourself; you take responsibility for your family, for your community for the world. because we were born to make the world better. That’s our mission, that’s our job, that’s our purpose.

How Can We Believe in An Invisible God?

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How can we believe in a God? Why should we believe that something we can’t see with our own eyes is real?

We all understand that the most meaningful and real things in life are not visible. First of all, intelligence is not visible, emotions are not visible, and even in the physical reality, what you see in an object with the naked eye is not the reality; we know that under a microscope a thing looks very very different. Physics tells us that what we don’t see with our eyes are the building blocks of everything. It’s more real than what we do see. For example, gravity is not visible, and yet gravity is one of the most fundamental laws of nature.

In the course of human development, all real progress has been when we go past what we see and find out what’s really real.

But on a deeper level, the one thing that we know is absolutely real is the human need for meaning in life. We must have meaning in our lives, otherwise we become disillusioned and we break down. But has anyone ever seen “meaning”?

But where does the need for it come from? It’s not philosophical or scholarly; every human being, even if he never opened a book in his life feels a need to have some meaning. But where does that come from?

It must logically come from the existence of meaning. If there never was a meaning to life, then why would we be looking for it? It would be like being homesick without ever having had a home.

We know instinctively that we have a meaning for our lives. The fact that we’re all looking for meaning is not a collective disease or sickness; it’s because life is meaningful. And if life is meaningful, then there’s an author to that meaning. If existence is meaningful, then it must be meaningful to its creator, as that’s just simple logic.