Wednesday, 21 December 2016
Monday, 19 December 2016
When Yosef was a young boy (man?) he was wont to doing certain things his way. Surely his way was always right! He saw life through his eyes. This was surely as things were! As any person would - he too was accustomed to some things that any of us might do. For some reason - though he was officially the second youngest of the 12 brothers and the most despised - due to his father's extraordinary love for him - he used to say certain negative things about his brothers. He believed everything to be true and correct - and certainly worthy of being said!
Rabbi Meir said that Yosef used to tell his father that his (Yaakov's) sons (i.e. Yosef's brothers) would eat eiver min hachai - the limb of a living animal - something prohibited even to non-Jews - being one of the 7 commandments given to Noah. The prohibition includes not eating a limb from an animal that is still alive. The truth is that while Yosef did indeed see the brothers eating the limb from a "living animal", it wasn't quite what he had imagined. The brothers were eating from an animal known in Hebrew as ben-pekuah. A ben-pekuah is an animal that was in the womb of the mother at the time of the ritual slaughter. The Torah says that in terms of the legal-ritual status of the animal in the womb, that once the mother is slaughtered correctly - in accordance with the rules of Jewish ritual slaughter, then the animal in the womb is considered a part of its mother. Much like any limb of the now slaughtered animal, this animal is considered part of the limbs of the dead animal - and is permitted to be eaten even without slaughtering. Yosef saw his brothers eating this animal (permissible according to Jewish law) and told his father that his brothers were not in fact following Jewish law.
Rabbi Shimon says that Yosef told his father Yaakov that his brothers had taken a special interest in the Canaanite women. This of course was something totally forbidden. It was not for the brothers to be entertaining thoughts of marrying these women - and it certainly would have caused Yaakov to become annoyed with his other sons.
Rabbi Yehuda said that Yosef told his father that the sons of Leah were demeaning the sons of the maidservants (i.e. Bilhah and Zilpah) by calling them servants - whereas he (Yosef) had befriended them! Surely this would annoy his father regarding their conduct.
Clearly Yosef was on some type of mission. On the one hand, perhaps he wanted to tell his father the truth about the brothers - that his father should know their true characteristics. On the other hand, perhaps Yosef was simply trying to "get into the good books" of his father, by showing how observant he was in terms of his status in following Torah law - whereas his brothers were not quite "on the path." Once it comes time for things like inheritance etc. this would surely work well in his favour! Naturally - it would win him favour even during his life while his father was alive - since his father would come to favour him throughout his life much to the disappointment of the other brothers.
Indeed, Yosef was not well liked by his brothers. Once this was the case, what better way to getting his father's attention than by telling the truth - and putting them in a bad light! It seemed like a win-win. Yes, the brothers were not doing what was right - but at least it was the truth!
Rabbi Yehuda bar Simon said that on all three accounts, Yosef was punished! He was punished measure for measure - as the Torah says midah knegged midah - a powerful concept in Torah. It's a part of life that G-d has created a system in this world where the things we do for/against others - comes back to us in direct measure!
G-d (so to speak) said to Yosef - "You said that your brothers ate the limb of a living animal! By your life - I promise this to you!" (i.e. you will see the truth of this statement and how it will return and affect your life!) As the Torah testifies, when it came to doing away with Yosef, the brothers thought up a plan! The first thing they did was to slaughter an animal. With the blood, they covered Yosef's garment - so that it looked as if an animal had eaten him! The brothers slaughtered the animal so that it was clear that they had never transgressed eating the limb of a living animal. In fact, right in front of his eyes, the brothers slaughtered the animal in a kosher manner. They would never simply break off a limb of an animal and eat it - without slaughtering it. They would not go against halacha (Jewish law.) Even at the time when they were involved in a terrible act - even then - they chose to slaughter rather than just rip an animal apart. If they did so then... then how much more so when it came to actually eating an animal?!
G-d (so to speak) continued to say to Yosef, "You said that the older brothers were demeaning the younger one's - the sons of the maidservants, calling them servants... therefore - you yourself will be sold to be a servant to others." G-d continued (so to speak) to say to Yosef, "You told your father that your brothers had shown an interest in the women from Canaan i.e. in their wanting to marry them... by your life now, I promise you that by that you will be caught out. I will bring "the bear" to test you (i.e. that Potifar's wife - a very beautiful woman - would come to seduce him and test him.)
Measure for measure - Yosef was afflicted with the very same things that he accused others of. The Torah is teaching us a powerful part of life. The way we look at others - especially when we don't know for certain their lives and what is actually going on - and the way we judge others... the way we behave towards others because of our beliefs etc... it is these very same ways that will return to us in our own lives.
We are a generation of judgment. We like to constantly show ourselves up - as we put others down. We judge others - correctly or not - left, right and centre! Can we even have a conversation with another without bringing up someone else in the conversation - commenting on their lives, their behaviour, their manner of dress, the income they make, the car they drive, the mess in their homes, or the way they do their hair?! Can we manage even a hour every day - of refraining from judging another?! Can we take off a day from social-networking - not to demean or judge anyone? The news is filled with it - and it is what brings people to those pages - allowing people to make income from advertising and attracting people to what it is that they do just-so-right!
We feel we have the right to know why others are suffering... (i.e. to know what bad things they must surely have done to deserve such a fate)... to judge on what is going on in their lives and why things happen to them the way they do - or even why they behave as they do.
The story of Yosef comes to teach us a powerful lesson in life. Be warned about the quality of the attribute of judgment. We really know little of others. We don't really see what is happening on the other side... We know little why they behave as they do. We know practically nothing - of their real lives. In truth - however, when we judge them - we do nothing less than awaken forces against ourselves, so that we ourselves may well find ourselves in the very situations we have judged others on.
When we see the good in others - their hurt, their difficulties; when we try to find ways to help them instead of judging them; when we acknowledge that in truth, we do not understand why they go through what they do - then those forces of creation come back at us directly. When a moment may come of difficulty for us - someone will step in to help! When a moment of compassion is needed - it will be there.
Yosef and his brothers... because a friend's love is for all times, and a brother is born for times of affliction (Proverbs 17:17)... Sometimes a friend is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Be a friend... be the brother for others - for times of affliction - and one day - this too will return to you.
Co-Director Chessed Ve'Emet
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Monday, 5 December 2016
Parshat Vayeitze begins by telling us the Yaakov left Be'er Sheva in order to make his journey to Charan. Yaakov was beginning a new phase of his life. He was about to embark on the journey to find a woman whom he could marry. Life had become unpleasant for Yaakov.
His father Yitzchak had prepared himself to bless his eldest son Eisav. Eisav - of course - had already forfeited his blessings by handing over the rights of the first-born to his younger brother Yaakov many years before this moment! In truth - as Rashi points out, Yaakov was indeed conceived first - much like the concept of placing a ball into a thin container and thereafter placing another one into the same container. The first in - is the last out! Though the first ball placed into the tube is placed first, it actually comes out last. So too, Yaakov was conceived first, and by rights should also have been born first - but due to the rule of FILA - first-in-last-out, Yaakov was born only after his brother Eisav. Yaakov grabs Eisav's heal at birth, because it is in a certain respect his way of trying to hold back Eisav so that he can be born first - as things should have been.
When Eisav grows up - he has no interest - in any case - of any first-born rights. Life as a first-born can be filled with myriads of tests and unwanted useless things! The eldest will be required to serve in the Temple. Doing things wrong there could end up causing a variety of problems for this first-born - with his standing to lose his opportunity to continue living! Of course, the first-born should also take a certain amount of care for his younger siblings too. He should act as the example in life! Eisav wants fun! He wants to hunt. He wants a good deal of "feminine companionship." He wants as much of the physical world as he can have. Yaakov - on the other hand, wants nothing more than to sit and study Torah in the Tents of Torah. He wants to grow close to the Creator of life. He wants to meditate. He wants the quiet of the world - if it is possible! Indeed if only he had been the first born - he would have delighted in reflecting all these values to his younger sibling - so that he could follow in these ways too. But alas - in the end, Eisav was indeed born first.
Many years before this moment of blessing... Eisav returns home from an exhausting hunt to find Yaakov preparing some cooked lentils. It was the mourning period for his grandfather Avraham - who had just died - and as is the custom - Yaakov (the other grandson) was cooking a food item which has no mouth - much like the mourner who too, "lacks a mouth." Eisav was still a young teenager - but certainly old enough to know that what lay in front of him was something meaningful. He was only interested in the actual taste of the food - that it should fill him up and give him enough energy to continue his day filled with adventure - rather than sitting with the rest of the family, mourning the sad passing of their grandfather. Eisav demands his share of the prepared lentils - and Yaakov agrees - provided he sell him the birthright! Eisav has no interest in this "burdensome" birthright - and is really only too happy to let it go.
Years later, when Yitzchak - his father, is about to bless him, Eisav suddenly wakes up, realizing the importance of the blessings from his righteous father. But Rivkah - his mother, overhears a conversation with Yitzchak telling Eisav to find some animals and prepare them for his father so that his father will feel sated, and be able to best bless his eldest son - before he himself dies. Eisav goes off to attend to obeying his father, and fulfilling the Mitzvah of honoring his father. Rivkah - realizing the dangers involved, immediately informs Yaakov that he must prepare himself to receive the blessings. He will need to "trick" his father into thinking that he is his brother - a hairy man! His mother tells him he will need to wear the fur coat of his brother, so that he feels more like him. Yitzchak was of course blind at this time - and had no idea who would be in front of him.
Yaakov enters and though Yitzchak is confused (wondering if indeed it was Eisav in front on him,) he ends up giving the blessings to the younger son Yaakov. Eisav enters the room to find that Yitzchak has already given over the first-born blessings (to his younger brother no-less!) - and breaks down! Eisav plots to kill his brother in revenge - when his father Yitzchak dies (after all, it would certainly not be honourable to kill his brother in his father's lifetime!)
Rivkah is notified about Eisav's plan through Ruach HaKodesh - Divine inspiration - and immediately notifies her son to flee for his life - at least until his brother's anger cools down! She tells him he must get on with his life now - he must go to find a wife for himself from her own brother's family and stay there until Eisav cools down.
So Yaakov left... He left Be'er Sheva and went to Charan! This is how our story unfolds! The Midrash asks - however - why did the Torah need to tell us this?! Surely we already knew that he was in Be'er Sheva - at the very least! It could just as easily have told us that he went to Charan. Why the need to emphasize that he had left Be'er Sheva to go to Charan?!
Indeed, many people involved in merchandise activities would enter and leave the city every day! Here, the Torah makes no mention of these people entering and leaving. Does it really seem relevant to tell us that Yaakov left Be'er Sheva?! Did not anybody else leave? Our verse seems to indicate that it was only Yaakov who made his way out of the city... as if to say that nobody else had done so.
The expression seems to tell us that the entire city felt some sort of feeling as Yaakov left... as if to say - while there was a constant buzz of activity of people moving in and out of the city - it was this particular thing - that was felt by all... Yaakov has left Be'er Sheva!
Rabbi Azaria in the name of Rabbi Yehuda the son of Rabbi Simon said that this comes to teach us that at the time a righteous individual (a Tzadik) stays in a city, he is the city's light(!), he is its beauty(!) and he is its praise(!) - because the light, beauty and praise of the city comes about only through this righteous individual! When this righteous individual leaves the city, its light departs, its beauty departs and its praise departs! This is what the verse was teaching... And Yaakov left from Be'er Sheva... the Tzadik had left!
We see this same pattern occurring later in the book of Ruth. Here we are told that Naomi, the wife of Elimelech (she was the mother-in-law of Ruth the Moadbite who would become the great-grandmother of King David) - that when she left the place of the field of Moav to return to the Land of Israel - as it says that "And she left the place where she had been... to return to the Land of Yehudah," where we had no need to learn where she had left but rather only where she was going to. All reading the story know clearly where she was - and had the verse just told us she returned to the Land of Yehudah - we would surely know she had left the place she had been at! The verse says that "she left," as if her leaving had created an impression as if she had left a place that was sealed - where no person had left before (yet she managed to do it!) Really, however, the verse was telling us something else... It was telling us that the entire city felt that her presence had left - she would be missed - all would know that she had gone... The city would change (and not for the good) with the loss of the righteous individual.
Again Rabbi Yehudah the son of Rabbi Simon as well as Rabbi Chanin in the name of Rabbi Shmuel the son of Rabbi Yitzchak teach, "this teaches us that when a Tzadik is in the city... but when the righteous person leaves... so too does its light, its beauty and its praise!" Here however they add - with regards to Naomi, it was quite correct to speak about her leaving. She was indeed the only righteous person to live in that city and then she left (with the city feeling the loss of her presence.) But what of our story when Yaakov left? Here, there was also Yitzchak and Rivkah - still another two righteous individuals. How could it be that Yaakov would be missed when indeed there were at least another two outstanding righteous people still supporting the city with its light, its beauty and its praise?
To this Rabbi Azaria in the name of Rabbi Yehuda the son of Rabbi Simon points out - one cannot compare the merit of one Tzadik who protects a city to the merit of two righteous individuals who protect the city, therefore even though these two righteous individuals still remained behind (i.e. Yitzchak and his wife Rivkah) still, the departure of the one righteous person made an impression.
When the world was created, the holy kabbalist known as the Arizal teaches that G-d constricted Himself in a way that He - so to speak - departed from a particular area (removed from the concept of space and time). It would be in this place of His departure that all the worlds of creation would be built up. How could it be - however, that His departure could occur leaving a void without His presence? The world would not be able to exist if the Creator would remove Himself (so to speak) from a particular place. Since He is present everywhere (albeit hidden), were He to remove Himself - this would be something impossible! So too do we learn here - when G-d departed - the exiting of a righteous individual creates an impression. Here too, G-d merely concealed His presence so to speak. The impression remains, because the force of the righteous continues to have an effect wherever they have been and to wherever they go...
Our lesson takes life much further however with its truest message. We live in a world where we take all for granted. We bump into each other, talk to each other as we wish - and often insult the other thinking little of who they are. Sometimes - however, we wake up when we realise what we have lost... When the righteous "leaves the city" - it is too late... suddenly, it is a time when we realise the impression that the other has made in the world - upon a city, upon us. When a friend or relative departs from our city - or from this very world - we suddenly wake up and see life differently. Now - we realise what we have lost... Things begin to happen as we suddenly realise the greatness of the other, his/her contribution to life - to ourselves. But it is too late.
We must open our eyes to every person we interact with on a daily basis. We must realise their contribution to life - and to our own lives. We must realise that no matter what they have or no matter what they lack - they too make a contribution to someone's life at some point in time. When they leave the city - when the righteous one (the one who quietly attended to things without anybody really realising what he was doing) leaves the city (or this world), we will feel the impression that has been left behind. There is a part of that person there, though we cannot hold on to the tangibility of who they are any longer. Surely we have the space to now see just who they were, as the impression remains.
But what is more important than feeling impressions left behind - is in feeling the impressions they create upon us now. "Taking for granted..." Let these words never be an expression in our vocabulary. Seeing the other in need - let us be aware that they too provide someone with light, with beauty and with praise, and it is for us to perceive that beauty immediately - so that all will have the chance to continue to shine their lights wherever they are... before it is too late of course... and we are left with nothing more than just a painful impression...
And Yaakov left Be'er Sheva... because when a righteous person leaves a city, then its light departs, its beauty departs... and its praise departs... Eisav - the man of wickedness, has no idea just how much of an effect he had on an entire city. So too, must we be cautious in our plans against others - as we may not realise just how much we may stand to lose. Let us see the light. Let us bring it in, rather than await for it to leave...
Rabbi Eliyahu Shear
Co-Director Chessed Ve'Emet
Join me for a private online Shiur in a subject of your choice!
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
The Torah teaches (Deuteronomy 20:19-20), "When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to seize it, do not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them, for from it you will eat, and you shall not cut it down; is the tree of the field a man that it should enter the siege before you? Only a tree that you know is not a food tree, it you may destroy and cut down, and build a bulwark against the city that makes war with you, until it is conquered."
Some say one should read the words, "is the tree of the field a man..." as, "for a man is a tree of a field..." The Torah teaches us the importance of not wasting. There is a purpose to all of creation. One may not simply discard something because one wishes to. One should take care of everything. One should definitely not just throw something away that could serve some purpose for something.
In today's times, throwing away food is almost a norm of society. They say that some 40% of all food is simply thrown away. It is for us to learn to appreciate everything available to us, and to value just how much goes into producing whatever it is that we have. We should naturally value another person in the same light as well - leaving behind the attitude of discarding the other when one has had enough of them. This is not a Torah approach by any means.
It's often a good thing to contemplate on the existence of something and how much has happened to it - before one considers simply throwing it away. Think of it.. when eating something as simple as a chocolate yoghurt treat! Have you ever really considered how much goes into it's production? How many people take a part in making sure you'll have it?
The owners of the farms who own the cows - who look after them. The cows that produce the milk. The workman who see to the milk. The milk which required further workers to pasteurize it. There's the packaging of the milk. The people who produce the containers for the milk. Even the graphic designers who must produce the graphics on the milk carton! Then there are the people who produce the printing equipment to produce the coloured graphics on the containers - and of course the designers of the containers too! Nobody thinks about it.
There are the people who produce the trucks which carry the milk to its destination. The people who learn about fridge design to keep that milk cool. The drivers. The teachers of all these people. The universities and colleges that have been built by architects and builders!
Then the people who must understand the cocoa bean which will be used as flavoring for the treat! The designers of the containers for the treat! There's the store owner who must see to the delivery - who must see to the packing on his shelves - and manage his entire store. The list goes on - almost literally ad infinitum.
All these people work day and night - to see to it that the 20 second taste is given to us on one particular day! It's amazing how the world works and just how much goes into us being able to enjoy something which we simply hadn't thought twice about - all for the value of a dollar and even less!
Then of course are the people who forget - that ultimately, it is the Creator of the world who provides everything - so that all this can come about. They forget to thank the Creator with a blessing before they eat and afterwards!
This video below provides a sped up view of what goes into producing a strawberry. It is fascinating to watch, and a great lesson for us to appreciate just how much goes into producing just one strawberry - so that we can have something to enjoy on a hot summer's day! Who after watching the video can still think about not valuing something as simple as this - and who can, without any good reason, simply throw away something that has taken so much and so many people to produce?
Sunday, 15 May 2016
It gives me great pleasure to share the good news regarding my recently published book, "Parshah in Just Two Minutes! Concise Summaries of the Weekly Parshah"
Throughout the years I had compiled various summaries of the Parshah, and seeing the reaction of others - and realising the importance of having some systematic book including all the Parshiyot, I decided to compile all the summaries, edit them and put them into one work. Here is the result:
The Torah is the blueprint of Creation. God looked into the Torah and created the world. The Zohar teaches that God looked into the Torah not just once, but twice, three times and four, before He created the world...
It is a mitzvah for a Jew to study the weekly parshah each week - together with the entire community. On Shabbat, the parshah is read in shul. Many understand the text in the original Hebrew. Many struggle and read a full English translation. Now, the parshiyot have been concisely summarised for those who would like to get a simple grasp of each parshah in two minutes - or even less! These simple summaries can be read at the Shabbat table so that the entire family can hear the most important parts of the parshah during the meal. This can be used for further discussion. They are also a great way to revise important points to remember the main themes of the parshah at any time! Use them to prepare for school tests - as you get the gist of the parshah in just a minute... or two!
Use these summaries as a springboard to further your learning, working through the entire parshah at a later stage - with the necessary and important Torah commentaries such as Rashi.
Each Book opens with some beautiful Torah quotations sharing hints about the parshiyot to come... or simply carry an important lesson to consider while reading, or discussing the weekly Torah portion.
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Thursday, 3 March 2016
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
It's something we should all be doing. It's something we all say we'd all like to do more of. Really - it's something we need to have! But at the same time, it's something we so often lack the ability to do. We see another hurting - or going through a hard time, and we want to know the best way of helping them. Very often we might even misunderstand what the other is feeling or why we can't seem to get things right in helping them. They seem sheltered and often can't seem to get out of the trouble they find themselves in. What can we do to help? How can we help?
This beautiful and meaningful clip shares a story that we can all internalise and use in practice. It's the story about a pit bull that found herself abandoned. Brought in to Granite Hills Animal Care (see full article here) Dr Andy Mathis did not know what to do with the sick looking animal. Would putting it to sleep be the solution (as so many of us think when we see another in distress too(!)) or could he do something to save the animal's life? After much consideration the doctor thought up a plan! As the animal was not eating, he entered the cage together with her, prepared for himself his own meal in similar looking crockery - and ate together with her. Once she saw him eating, she began to eat as well. It's really a simple story - with not much more needing to be added...
The sick animal is apparently doing much better already and it looks like she will recover from her ordeal.
That's really what empathy is all about. When the other is suffering, it is not enough to offer, to suggest ideas, to even present "practical" alternatives. What it takes - is getting into the cage with the other, truly experiencing what they are going through, and then showing them a way out. In this way, everyone stands to gain. The other will value the kindness, follow on - and succeed, getting out of the rut holding them back from getting on with whatever they should be getting on with. As for the helper - they gain in becoming just that more sensitive, that much more honoured and respected - and no doubt will feel a tremendous sense of joy at helping the other to get well again!
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Here's a story about life - the one in the video below of course! It's also about hope. We need to learn these important lessons - how we must look out and see the other. So often we just don't care. We have our own preconceived ideas about what the other must be - perhaps just because of the way he looks.
Strange - it's that person - the one who looks so different, who knows best what his true value really is. He's often around sharing it - but usually only to himself, because who else is really interested in listening?! But maybe he has a brother - maybe he is someone's brother - maybe your own! Even if he isn't, he too has a wealth of uniqueness he'd just so much like to give the world - if of course anyone is interested. Most of us go about our day to day's activities barely noticing those who lack. We need to realise how much talent the other may have - if only we give them a chance. Are we willing to?! Would we pay them so that they can actually live - so that they can share their talent? Or are we perhaps saving up for the next in smartphone technology - while the other barely has another person to even talk to... Are we done with purchasing two homes already and investing in the third - while the other must live in the streets - homeless? Do we actually care?!
It's a mixed up world where truly - those who appear to be on the top, may well be on the bottom, and those who look like they are on the bottom, are quite often - well on top! We need to see the soul inside the body. We need to value the other - as we value ourselves - and give them the opportunity to be the person they so much want to. If they need support - then we must do everything we can so that they they can live with us - with the goodness we have in our own lives - wishing for them the same things we wish for ourselves - valuing their money as we do our own... When we do - we will see just how much of difference they will make in our own lives too.
Thursday, 4 February 2016
Yesterday saw another day that reminded me about the important things in life. It reminded me that every person - no matter what their age - is deserving of (and in so many cases really does want) meaningful company in their lives. I'm not of course talking about having a dog, cat, bird or goldfish to keep one company. I'm talking about living life with a person of the opposite sex. The type of person one actually wants to be married to and spend the remainder of one's life with. That old cliche which seems to dominate the Big Screen - when the pretty young lady holds her boyfriend's hand - looking deeply into his eyes and then says, "Oh Dan, I want to grow old with you," is just one aspect of love, meaning and companionship.
Today - let us not forget, we don't always merit to spend an entire life - growing old - with the person we had hoped to love forever when we were young. In fact, for many, it's when they are already much older - having grown older - that that companionship is still so much needed.
The Jewish world is facing another crises. It's not just about the 18 year old girls and guys trying to find that someone special. It's also about those who have moved on to becoming granny's - that are searching - once again - for someone special. They too have many years of good life left - and they too want to spend those years - most usually - with someone as mature as they are - enjoying the Autumn years and onward. And why not?! It is no good for anyone to be alone - for so many reasons.
We've offered a Shidduch service assisting serious-singles (only) to meet someone special and get married. We don't deal with people like computers - you know what I mean - age, height, what do you want, and what's your favourite colour - and what's your favourite dog name? You know - because everyone thinks that it's just these things that make one compatible to the other. Then you get added to a database for everyone to look you up by entering the "right variables" to find the other. The pictures are outdated, done when the person just happened to look just right(!) though they simply don't look this way any longer, or perhaps even include a photo of their best friend - because they look better! We're not computers. We're real people. We tell the story as it is. We're dealing with real people - with real feelings.
What has amazed us is the amount of ladies - in particular - above the ages of 50, 60, 70 and even 80(!) who have joined telling us how much they still want that companionship; how much they want a family - even if it's a mixture of theirs and another's. It's often heartbreaking so see just how special they are - and wonder if one can find someone compatible - at that age!
The men join too - don't get me wrong. But who are they looking for? They're successful, often with their own families from previous marriages (sic) and are looking for more of the same - as things once were. They're not looking for the continuation of life - as these special ladies are. They're looking to go back to being the young men they were before - with the young ladies. Only difference being - they are much older. Of course - if it's companionship and love they want - there are some awesome, brilliant, successful and special ladies in their own age range - and they'll be only too happy to meet.
It's really hard for us to try and make matches with age differences of close to 30 years at times(!) though if that's what they want and feel will be successful, we try to keep our eyes open for those people too. It would be appreciated if they valued just how hard it is for anyone to match a 70 year old man with a 35 year old woman who works out regularly - and is in great shape, is interested in having children and a big family and who also just so happens to want to marry a man close to - if not - double her age. Personally, I want everyone to succeed. I just wish we could find more elderly men prepared to meet the more mature women too.
As we interviewed someone just like this yesterday, I felt myself at a loss again. Here is a successful woman - modest, loves Torah, loves life, loves her family - and more - the Jewish family concept itself. I want to do everything to find someone for her - even though it seems so very different to finding a young 20 year old guy for an 18 year old girl. I can't imagine the Torah way of thinking is any different. We're here to help each other. Living as a single - when one wants a proper Torah lifestyle - is practically impossible. Everyone is entitled to find happiness in marriage - no matter what their age. Let us not forget that those who many have loved and lost - are no less important to the Shidduch crises - than those who are just starting their lives and families anew.
I guess I'm here to tell you that we're still looking for those special "older men" prepared to meet ladies closer to their age. I'm here to tell you that we have some truly wonderful ladies in every respect wanting to make a new home. Most of all - if you're reading this post, I'm here to tell you to please be in touch with me if you know anyone in the observant Jewish community in their 60's and 70's and even beyond - still interested in spending the rest of their years in this world with the company of another special person. Let's make it clear. Our service is a professional one. Please don't waste your time sending in a one page CV stating your age and education. It just won't do. We put hours into each person we meet - and we hope you'll value our efforts.
Every interview I do makes me just that more sensitive in realising how much we all need company - and just how deserving we all are to have it. Every person has much to give - and every person has so much they need too. Let us - together - try to make happy homes for those who may even have had homes before - as much as we assist those just starting!
Thursday, 21 January 2016
Tu Be'Shvat - the fifteenth day of the month of Shevat (this year - 2016 - falling out on Monday 25 January) is the day in the Jewish calendar that marks the birthday of the trees. It is a time when the sap begins to make its way up through the tree bringing growth and a preparation for the spring months coming ahead - leading to the festival of Pesach.
There's much more to understanding what the festival is all about. Just what exactly is all this excitement of the trees anyway?! What are we celebrating?! In this beautiful video Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz and other rabbis speak about the beautiful meaning behind this special day - giving hope, encouragement and inspiration not just about trees - but ourselves as well!
What's left afterwards - but to continue with one's Torah study and acts of kindnesses! Contact Reb Eliyahu of Chessed Ve'Emet and book a time to learn online - a book of your choice.
Enjoy the video!
Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Reb Gutman Locks has "been there - done that." After years of complete immersion in the deepest of meditative practices of other religions - himself becoming a guru - he now spends his days - as he has for the past 30 years - putting Tefillin on others in Jerusalem - in the Old City - right by the Kotel.
Enjoy the video and find Reb Gutman's other videos on Youtube for watching:
This post prepared to you by Reb Eliyahu Shear
Co-Director of Chessed Ve'Emet
Contact Reb Eliyahu TODAY and book a time to learn a book of Torah - of YOUR choice
at a time convenient to you
using Skype and Webcam!
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Book YOUR Time to Learn Torah on Skype with Webcam on a Subject of YOUR Choice!
We ask ourselves - what types of Segulot (good omens) can one do to bring the blessing of financial wealth to ourselves? The best answer is of course - to follow the Torah. To study Torah as much as possible whenever one can - and to do acts of kindness all the time. It also includes refraining from those actions not sanctioned by the Torah and all acts that hurt others and go against G-d's will. Beyond this - we must never forget that no matter what - ultimately all wealth stems from G-d's blessing directly.
Ultimately - in the end - it is up to Him as He decides when He wishes to - to bless us with abundance (Shefah) and goodness in our lives - no matter what we do (or even don't do.) Everything is in the hands of heaven - except for the fear of heaven. Let us also not forget to physically put in whatever effort we can - when we can - to contribute to the world in every way and to others, so that we can receive payment for the things we do. And let us never forget to actually pay those who work for us - in honesty, abundance and with as much care for the need for them to have wealth - as we wish for ourselves.
Nevertheless the Jewish people have been told by its sages regarding certain special times of the year and things one can do and prayers that can be said which act as additional special good omens (Segulot) that may assist in bringing down the blessing of wealth into one's life. Here is one of them:
It is said in the name of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimanov that it is a good omen (Segulah) to recite the Parshat HaMan - the portion in the Torah dealing with the falling of the Manna in the desert during the days the Bnei Yisroel were travelling through on their way to the Holy Land - two times in the original Hebrew and once in the Aramaic translation on the Tuesday of Parshat VaYishlach (i.e. today 19 January 2016). It is a known and well publicized Segulah among the Jewish people. The text is provided below for your convenience together with the verse numbers appearing at the beginning of each verse (which is obviously not said.) The full text is from Exodus 16:4-36 and is found in Parshat BeShalach in the book of Shemot.
A brief prayer should be recited before and after the text (included.)
Friday, 1 January 2016
If you're interested in learning how Tefillin are made - you may want to learn the Shulchan Aruch - Chapter 32. If you want to actually see them being made - enjoy this amazing video! For more info about learning together - live, online, see Chessed Ve'Emet and Learning Together Online!