Thursday, 28 May 2015

Texting and Driving - The Power of One Word - Death and Life in the Power of the Tongue

There is at least one other post on my blog regarding the dangers of texting while driving. It's almost as if one wonders if there's another video that actually needs to share just how much danger there is in doing this. It cannot be over emphasized how important it is for us to take a break from staring at a screen in order to communicate with another - and to live life responsibly.

Sadly, today, with more and more technology available to make our lives "easier" to communicate with each other, it seems that not only are relationships more strained, but people are finding it harder and harder to communicate with each other as human beings - like they did in the old days - face to face! One may find people resorting to asking for forgiveness for something they have done wrong to another - by simply sending out a mass Facebook message to everyone on their "Friends" list asking all who they might have harmed for forgiveness (even from people not connected on their list,) and expecting that the request will have achieved its goals! A far cry from the Torah's definition (or quite frankly any feeling person's definition) of what the process of forgiveness is all about.

With the cost of calls coming done drastically from years ago - people are finding it harder and harder to use their phones to talk to people - as people. A quickie SMS or text message of some kind should do the job just as well - they think. Little do they realise the pain they cause to the recipients - who may really so much want to just have that real human interaction.

Ironically, today with facilities like Skype, making calls totally free - including video(!), people are finding it harder and harder to use their tools, relying on SM's (short messages,) and TOA's (tons of abbreviations) because we have come to lose appreciation for talking properly due to perceived time constraints!

Yet with all this, people are taking things to the limit by feeling that it's not only impossible to talk to one person as a person - we must resort to speaking (i.e. texting) to many people at once - multitasking - and being heralded as heroes for being so amazing!

The Torah teaches that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Indeed one word can kill. Sometimes, we don't always know what the Torah means by this. We scoff at the "silliness" of such pithy sayings - relegating them to the sayings of men of the past who "knew nothing" of the modern world.

Take a look at the video below, because it's well worth grasping all these points. Yes, death and life are in the power of the tongue - whether on a computer screen, or a word spoken in the air! One word can kill - in so many ways. Could it be that we might have accidentally killed another with just one word - without even knowing it? (Listen carefully to one of the stories and you will understand what I mean.)

Don't forget the power you have in your tongue to bring healing to others - or harm (if of course that is what you really wish.) Remember, the same word that you choose to use to another - may be a word that can cause mortal harm to you too - whether on a screen - or spoken through the air.

It's time to put down the phone - from being a slave to typing on it's screen every five minutes and dealing with so much small talk - so often, filled with abbreviations one has to be a genius to understand. It's time to value life. It's time to value other people. It's time to value the blessings G-d has given us all - to be able to use a phone (for speech) and the spoken word at such little cost to ourselves - and to be able to communicate with each other - as real human beings should.

And if we're not yet there and don't value any of this, then let us at least make a firm promise to never endanger our lives - and certainly not the lives of another - for our own pleasure of a silly word that achieves very little - which simply must be read or written down, while driving a car at a tremendous speed!

Please see my other post about texting while driving too.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Tuvia Finds His Freedom - A Book for Children - Teaching About Kindness to Animals

The Torah speaks about the importance of not being cruel to animals. We are commanded to feed our animals before us, not to work two different animals together and to even unburden the donkey of one's enemy should one see it struggling. These are just a few of the important Mitzvot that apply to not being cruel to animal - and taking care of one suffering.

It's often a neglected Mitzvah. Children of today often find it difficult to relate to a animal. Many - sadly - will beat an animal for no reason. Children taking donkey rides in parks often find it "fun" to strike the donkey, thinking this is what one must do to make it go. Yet other children will find a lost kitten and immediately enclose it in a small cage to take into the park for all his friends to look at - as he smiles at being the new "owner" - to the envy of his friends. He is never able to think that this creature has a mother of his own - and who is need of her. Neither will he ever appreciate that after the animal has been taken away - the mother may very likely not find her baby, nor even want to take the baby back after having been handled by another, especially a human.

Some children delight in throwing water over a baby bird to see it shake itself - as if the creature is enjoying the "bath." Most kids delight in chasing birds that are wandering in a park - as they watch the animal take flight - not thinking that perhaps they were in need of food available right there.

While much stress is so often put in teaching children how to observe Shabbat, keep Kosher or shake a Lulav, there is much lacking from the curriculum in how to care for an animal correctly - and certainly in how to refrain from harming them in any way whatsoever.

Our latest book is now out!!! It's teaches all about the beautiful values of caring for an animal. King David teaches (Psalms 89:3), "The world is built on lovingkindness." He also teaches (Psalms 145:9) that, "His mercy is upon all His works." Hillel - the great Sage, taught (Ethics of the Fathers 1:12), "Be of the students of Aharon. Love peace and pursue peace. Love all creatures..." This is what this book is all about. Its best suited for kids between the ages of 5-7 though is wonderful reading - even for adults! For younger kids, the book can be read to them - and the attractive - REAL - photographs of the story unfolding - can be shown to the children at the time the story is read.

Purchase the book today by clicking here!


A newly married couple find an unusual guest outside their new apartment. A "tortoise" has found its way down four flights of stairs and is lost.

This adventure is based on a true story of how Tuvia the "tortoise" finds his freedom again.

Enjoy the beautiful photographs of the story as it unfolds. A delightful read for children (and adults) teaching them the importance of kindness to animals.

Tuvia teaches that animals have feelings too and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.  The attractive photos, which assist children in taking an active part in the story show that animals have emotions and intelligence.

The story shows the specialness of caring for animals.

So don't delay - get your copy TODAY - and teach your kids the beautiful values of caring for all of G-d's creatures.

For more on our activities and publications - visit Chessed Ve'Emet's site TODAY or be in touch!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Giving Matanot LaEvyonim - Monetary Gifts to the Poor on Purim. Who is to be Considered Poor?

On Purim - there is a Mitzvah to give financial charity to two POOR people. What is your definition of poor? Let me give you some examples - and you choose or add your own:

1. Someone wearing filthy garments, hasn't eaten all day (or for the past two days) looks in a shocking condition and is standing on the street corner begging for money? Is he poor and do you feel you'd give your charity to him on Purim?

2. Someone who wears clean garments, looks clean does not own a home of their own, but rents, who pays full taxes but has no money for food (practically speaking yes) cannot afford the enforced taxes and cannot afford his rent either. He will go years without buying much needed spectacles because he has no means to purchase them - and wouldn't tell anybody this either. Nobody would ever know except him. He does not own his own furniture or appliances. If a visit to his own shows that he does have old broken furniture - it may not even be his - but rather his landlord's! 

However, he regularly loans from the banks (having huge interest to pay off) and continues this way until he eventually gives in to life whether through becoming bankrupt or kills himself (G-d forbid.) Pretend you didn't know the last few lines and just read the first few points only. Would you consider him poor (i.e. without knowing what was about to happen to him in the near future?) Would you feel comfortable giving to him realising he may need something - or do you regard him as taken care of?

3. Someone who owns their own home but owes over one million shekels on it (simply because - yes - housing is this expensive in Israel) battles to pay his regular enforced taxes, does without food when necessary because he cannot afford it. Apparently the government and other financial lords feel that owning the home is sufficient food for being able to live. Incidentally he looks clean on the outside, and seems to appear to be healthy. Pretend you didn't know that he cannot afford food, clothing and other necessary items - because all you can see is the expensive home that he owns. Would you consider him poor?

4. Someone who owns their own home in full but has no money in his bank account at all. He struggles to meet his food bills, medical bills, insurance bills, car payments etc. He really cannot pay his day to day bills even though he owns the house. Look - telling the fellow to sell his home so that at least he will have cash available won't help because he believes he is entitled to it. Just that he cannot afford his daily bills. Is he to be considered poor?

5. Someone who owns their own home, married, kids, pays for the basics, but cannot afford proper education. He doesn't waste on holiday expenses etc., but there are things he feels important - you know - like education - and he cannot afford that. Is he to be considered poor?

Add your own definition.

Consider this now: Who do you give your "charity gifts to the poor" to. It's something to think about on an individual level and is completely irrelevant to have the need to tell anyone.

If you would like to give your Tzedaka this Purim to truly needy Jews in Israel who may well fit one of the first two categories - please make a donation immediately by clicking the donate button below. For more information about the activities of Chessed Ve'Emet, please see our main website and join us in learning the beautiful values of Torah and assisting those who truly need assistance.

Make your difference today - and save a life - or two!


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