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You can't change the truth, but the truth can change you.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
OK.You convinced me
that there are tough times ahead (we ain’t seen nothing yet – what bad English).We are at the end of history as we know it
and it is time for action.You convinced
me that we live in a system of measure-for-measure and that I must do things
voluntarily to help myself and family or face involuntary hardship and
suffering that will still be for the purpose of helping me.I just prefer the easy and much more
pleasurable method of help.I’m not sure
I believe everything you say; but, I don’t want to find out the hard way what the
absolute truth is.I never was much of a
gambler and, as you are saying, this is a sure thing, I like the odds.
I apologize for putting words in your mouth but I am trying
to read your mind and I truly want to help.
The question that you must have is “what do I do?” You told me why but you didn’t tell me how.
Obviously, we are talking about turning to Hashem for
help. We see that world leaders are
horribly inefficient (a better word is evil) and seem to be on their own greedy
agenda not looking out for the good of the people they claim to serve. It seems overwhelming to jump in full force
when I don’t know how to swim in the vast sea of Hashem’s
will. Lets us take it one step at a
time. I wish to give you an easy plan
that will allow you to make very positive changes in your life without you even
noticing. We are creatures of
habit. If you decide you want to jump in
full force and do everything immediately, you will fail and be
disappointed. If on the other hand you
and, hopefully, family take your time, you will see great progress and very
satisfying results. I’ve mentioned
several times Hashem does not judge us by what we know, He judges us by how we
grow. Hashem knows exactly where you are
going, what you are trying to accomplish and how sincere your intensions are
towards serving Him and doing His will. He
knows us much better than we know ourselves.
Even though I have believed in Hashem all my life, I tell
people that I was raised Conformodox (I’m getting a spell check suggestion on
that one). The first 14 years of my life
I live near three Orthodox synagogues.
My Jewish education started at about age 3 (at a Jewish folkshul) and
continued at a Hebrew school after regular public school, six days a week. At age 14 we moved and I found myself
attending a Conservative synagogue but I still continued my Jewish education
and even continued to pray 3 times a day.
When I started college, it all went downhill but I still had a yearning
for Jewish education. I belonged to a
Hillel organization at college which opened up new areas of Jewish education
that I didn’t experience before. When I
was in the military (drafted in 1966 for Viet Nam) I found that wherever I
was there was something available and I took advantage of it. A little side note is that twice I actually
had orders to go to war, Viet Nam and the Gulf War, but both times something
came up and I was redirected to other duty.
I realized in later years Who was watching out for me (thank you Hashem,
I don’t like war). There is no such
thing as coincidence. I even spent 6
years attending Reform Temples since that was all that was available at two of
my duty stations. It was still part of
my learning curve. When I finally
settled down in an observant community, about 20 years ago, me and family
became Torah Jews and started to do outreach work helping non-observant Jews. At this point in my life, I had a very good
appreciation for all Jews and all lifestyles.
I am no longer Conformodox; but, I can relate to most people since I’ve
been there and done that (so to speak).
Enough about me. Let’s
get you started on the road to happiness and success.
I obviously am talking to all levels of readers from totally
non-observant to very observant people – Jews and non-Jews. I have three different sets of suggestions
that I believe will cover all.
1. For Jews that are
totally new to all this and even those who are further along the way (adjust
this information to your level and needs):
Start talking to Hashem everyday. I like to tell Him when I wake up and when I
go to sleep that I love Him. He likes to
hear that, but it is important to work on believing it. The important thing is to know that He is
there to help us and that we want confidently to have complete faith and trust
in Him. Also, don’t forget to thank Him
for all He does. Being human, I
guarantee when you start to see results, it becomes easier and even a very good
feeling. You won’t even feel like you
are making great changes in your life if you take it slowly. That allows you and family to comfortably
Don’t start to pray everything in the prayer book. Get yourself a good kosher prayer book,
siddur (in Hebrew), and start to pray a couple of minutes a day (or more
depending upon your level). I highly
recommend a prayer book from Artscroll, http://www.artscroll.comArtscroll give commentary and instructions on praying that
is invaluable to the newbie.Pray in
whatever language you understand; but, if you read Hebrew, go for it. Artscroll has thousands of books on many
subjects. Also, there are many, many
other excellent publishers that have a world of knowledge waiting for you –
there is no shortage of learning material.
Even the web has great possibilities but beware since the web can also
bring you very evil deception.
Education is the key. The most
important part of learning is enjoying it.
If you are not enjoying what you are doing, you are doing it
incorrectly. Hashem wants this to be a
very joyous experience. The key to
picking out books to read is for you to ask “what is my interest?” Whatever subjects you enjoy, make time for
those subjects, it helps avoid boredom. However,
the absolute best way to learn is from someone else. An orthodox Rabbi, for men or a Rebbitzin
(the Rabbi’s wife) for women is usually the best. If you live in an area that is totally
secular or even non-Jewish, there is a wonderful program called partners in
Torah (in the United States)
that you sign up for and spend about one hour a week, by phone with a learning
partner. The program is free and totally
flexible – you decide with your partner when and how long.
I am a user of Skype and have used Yahoo messenger. These systems and others allow you to learn
with someone anywhere in the world. This
means if you contact someone in the country that you live, an arrangement can
be made for learning on the web. It is
important that you deal with another human being. Learning on your own is not as enjoyable and
makes asking questions difficult. Of
course, there are many books that you will enjoy reading during your personal
leisure time and should still be part of your learning program. Welcome to the 21st century. Geographical location is not an excuse
anymore. An organization that is all
over the world is Chabad. http://www.chabad.org I have personally learned with Chabad instructors
and enjoyed the experience. You may find
that no matter where you are, there is a Chabad organization nearby or even
close enough by electronic media.
Whatever you do, the important thing is start learning. Since I recommend individual or even group
learning with real people, it makes is easy to learn at whatever level you
are. Tailoring your learning to your
needs makes it much more enjoyable and productive.
Learn the commandments, especially the most pertinent ones
that you need immediately. This
education should include learning about the laws of Kosher and even paying
attention to labels when you do your normal shopping. There are plenty of products on the market that
have some type of kosher symbol which makes it easy to find. A little side story to emphasize taking your
time is that my wife and I were Kosher one full year before we were
Kosher. We took our regular dishes and
split them into dairy and meat (pretend) and started to buy only kosher
products. We continued to eat in
non-Kosher restaurants but only ordered things that were in accordance with the
laws of Kosher (no dairy with meat as an example). In other words, we became very comfortably informed
and we practiced before we brought a Rabbi into our home to officially kosher
the kitchen. Of course, my wife was
happy she got new sets of dishes out of this.
Items of glass and metal (such as pots, pans and silverware) can be made
kosher even though it was used for years on non-kosher products). Once again education is the key and should be
done enjoyably. Include the
children. My son and daughter were more
involved than we ever expected. Once
again, I know Who helped us with that.
2. That is more than
enough to help the non-informed and partially informed to have something to
work on. What do I suggest for the
totally observant individual who already is in an education program and knows
the importance of improvement? Reach out
and help your fellow Jew. If you work with
a non-observant or even partially observant Jew, offer to study with that individual
and further his or her Jewish education.
Invite individuals and families to your home for Shabbos. It says in scriptures the best way to teach
is over food. It works.
3. What do I have to
offer to the non-Jew who sees the merit in all this and wants to do more? First of all, know that scriptures say very
emphatically that all religions will disappear once the real Messiah comes and
the time of redemption is here. Judaism
is not a religion! Religion by its very
nature is a belief system that was created by people. Judaism is completely from the King of Kings,
the owner of the universe and follows the instructions from the One and Only
G-d. In Judaism, there is none else,
only Him. We do not pray to someone else
or through someone. Our scriptures are
from Him and not man-made. Deviating
from His instructions is foolhardy and very dangerous.
I have talked about the love of Hashem but there is also
the concept of the fear of Hashem. That
does not mean that I am afraid of Him.
It means that I am totally in awe of His infinite power and control and
that I fear the mistakes that I may make in serving Him. After all, we are under a system of reward
and punishment, measure-for-measure for what we do. The system is very much to our advantage if we
live it correctly and something to fear if we violate its instructions. So what am I suggesting? There is a belief system from Hashem that
comes from the book of Noah in the Torah.
It is called the Children of Noah or B’Nai Noach (in Hebrew). It is the way for a righteous gentile to
follow Hashem and honor Him and only consists of 7 commandments. There are websites that give good information
about it. One possibility is http://www.noachide.org.uk However, beware of
websites that will give you misinformation with Jew hatred tactics to deceive
you. Once again, it is your eternity and
that of your loved ones that is my concern.
You owe it to yourself to investigate.
You will notice that I never mentioned conversion to Judaism. Jews by the word of Torah are tolerant of
other faith systems but have never advocated conversion to Judaism. If a gentile ever talked to a good Rabbi
about converting, he would try to talk the individual out of it. To me, it is a truly personal thing. If a non-Jew has a tremendous love for Hashem
and has a burning desire to serve Him in a much more spiritual way, I welcome
that individual. If a man is in love
with a woman who will only marry him is he is Jewish, that is the wrong reason. I have worked with 18 converts including
helping certain non-Jews make the change.
Each one had such a strong desire to serve Hashem and learn Torah, that I
was greatly inspired by their effort. We
are told in scriptures that the person who was secular and became observant is
at a very high level for making such a wonderful change in his or her life. But, the convert is even at a higher level
since the change is even more drastic. One
last word on the subject. We are seeing another
sign that we are getting close to the time of the Messiah since the number of
converts to Judaism is at an all time high.
There were thousands of new Jews in Israel just last year. Something is happening.
I have a request to all my readers. Since a very important part of serving Hashem
is helping others, please tell family members, friends, neighbors and even your
enemies about my blog and the blogs that I recommend on the panel to the right. I feel that what we have to offer could
benefit about 7.008 billion people on Earth (the rest are on their
own). It is an important part of serving
Hashem – helping others.