Category Archives: Relationships

How to Make Love in Heavenly Bliss

1-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Acharei Mos – Leviticus 16:1-18:30

Peruse the magazine headlines in any supermarket checkout line. It seems there’s nothing more important than sex. Articles abound on how to hookup, turn him on, and blow his mind. But if all these ultimate techniques work why do they have to come up with new ones every month? To learn to make love exquisitely, check out this week’s parsha, Kedoshim:

And Aaron will bring his sin offering bull, and he will atone for himself and his household. (Vayikra/Leviticus 16:6)

How to Make Love in Heavenly Bliss

This Sabbath’s parsha tells about the Yom Kippur service (from which comes the term “scapegoat”), the prohibition against eating blood, forbidden relationships, and the holiness of the Land of Israel.

How to Qualify as High Priest

Although many values vary little across the religious spectrum, celibacy creates a dividing line. Roman Catholicism, Sufism, classical Hinduism, and several Buddhists sects embrace physical asceticism. They require rejecting base human desire to reach a high spiritual level.

Not so for the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest serving in the Ancient Temple in Jerusalem. As the first step in the special Yom Kippur service he brought a bull to atone for he and his household. The Talmud teaches household means wife. To become the High Priest, a man had to be married. No bachelors allowed.

The Commandment to Make Love

The first commandment in the Bible appears in Genesis 1:28. G-d tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Lovemaking is established as the foundation for marital bonding.

Several sections of the Talmud discuss a husband’s obligation to fulfill his wife’s needs. Neither the setting nor pre-coital preparation are off limits. Even frequency is covered. A husband must make love to his wife daily unless his occupation keeps him away from home or is physically demanding.

In Jewish law, the purpose of marital relations is having children. In the broader context of married life, spouses should make love to give pleasure and bond.

Contemporary life’s focus on the self is counter to God’s purpose in creating lovemaking. The Almighty wants His precious gift shared by a husband and wife to enhance their union. As the third party to all marriages, when they make love and connect a couple joins with God in heaven.

What do you do to bond with your spouse? Please comment below.


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Repair a Damaged Relationship

3 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Shir Hashirim/Song of Songs

Marriage is hard. You must communicate clearly and compromise daily. You need the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon to avoid arguments. Since I have neither, from time to time my wife and I quarrel. My challenge is finding the path back to marital harmony. Fortunately, readings and practices during this time of year blaze the trail:

I am my beloved’s, and his spirit is toward me. (Shir Hashirim/Song of Songs 7:11)

How to Repair a Damaged Relationship

This Sabbath coincides with the last two festival days of Pesach/Passover. The weekly parsha is a special one from Shemos.  We also read Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs, composed by King Solomon.  This mashal or allegory is very difficult to understand.  On the one hand it appears to be passionate poetry between a man and a woman.  Yet in reality it is a “duet of love” between the Jewish people and G-d.

Cycles in a Relationship

Shir Hashirim begins with a beautiful young woman getting engaged to, then marrying a king. Shortly after her marriage she is unfaithful and the king banishes her. She enters a “living widowhood.” But the king loves her too deeply to abandon her, so he keeps watch over her and protects her. When she returns to him, resolving to be faithful evermore, he will take her back. Their love will be fully restored.

Allegorically, the bride is the Children of Israel who G-d betrothed when He took them out of Egypt.  They consecrated their relationship beneath the chuppah or wedding canopy of Mt. Sinai and received the Torah. But it was torn asunder by the unfaithfulness of the sin of the Golden Calf. Yet G-d forgave this sin and brought the people into the Land of Israel. They sinned again and were exiled.

Through it all G-d remains ever watchful over His people, protecting us. The Almighty waits for the day we fully repent and return to Him in love.

While most marital fights don’t involve infidelity, the cycle is recognizable. You commit, hurt your spouse, and struggle to find your way back. Then you do it again. To repair the relationship, you have to know what re-committing looks like.

Bonding with Your Spouse

The Rambam, the great 12th century Torah scholar states that Ahavas Hashem (love of G-d) is the highest form of relationship that we can have with our Creator. It is higher than Yiras Hashem (awe or fear of G-d). When we are in love we only think of our beloved. We should love the Almighty with such intensity.

In your marriage, there is no alternative to love for creating an enduring connection. Neither awe nor fear is a sound basis for a lasting relationship. After an argument, the goal is to return to the closeness you had with your spouse when you got engaged and married.

Recommitting to Your Marriage

Shir Hashirim shows you the ideal state. The practice of the counting of the Omer gives you the tools for getting there. Most marital disagreements stem from a lack of loving-kindness or a misapplication of justice. First determine the source of the discord. Then you can identify what’s needed for reconciliation.

Next, call up your humility so you can lead the way. No matter whether you feel you’re at fault, take the first step. Apologize for your share of what happened. Make it easy for your spouse to seek forgiveness. Use compassion to strive for harmony.

Once you have reconnected, begin deepening your bond. Remind your spouse about good times. Relive fond memories. Doing so will build endurance into your marriage.

It’s no coincidence that the middos (characteristics) necessary for repairing damage to your marriage are the ones practiced during the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuos. Each of the following weekly themes is paired with those of the other weeks. On the first day you work on the trait of pure chesed. On the second day work on gevurah-chesed, discipline in your loving-kindness, day three tiferes-chesed and so on each day and week.

Week 1 – Chesed – loving-kindness

Week 2 – Gevurah – justice and discipline

Week 3 – Tiferes – compassion and harmony

Week 4 – Netzach – endurance

Week 5 – Hod – humility

Week 6 – Yesod – bonding

Week 7 – Malchus – sovereignty and leadership

Practice these qualities and skills before you need them. (You can get my free 49 Days to Refine Your Character tool by signing up for my email list). Disagreements in your marriage are inevitable. Make sure you know the steps and have prepared to repair the damage.

What is your process for reconnecting with your spouse after a fight? Please comment below.


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Keep Your Spirit in Balance

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Metzora – Leviticus 14:1-15:33

Self-improvement is hard. First you have to figure out what needs fixing. Then, you have to find a system that will deliver results. Because it’s intangible, spiritual improvement is the most difficult. I almost pine for the old days described in this week’s parsha, Metzora:

This will be the law of the metzora on the day of his spiritual purification. (Vayikra/Leviticus 14:2)

How to Keep Your Spirit in Balance

This Sabbath's parsha tells how a metzora, someone with tzaraas (a spiritual disease contracted because a person’s life is out of balance), and a house with a tzaraas become tahor, spiritually purified. It also details how a zav, zavah and niddah become tahor.

The Plague of Spiritual Imbalance

The Kabbalah, a compendium of Jewish mysticism, says tzaraas comes from life being out of balance. An hormonal imbalance causes acne during puberty. It shows up in skin becoming swollen, red, and even pus-filled. So too, a metzora’s spirit is out of equilibrium. It reveals its presence through a leprous-like affliction.

In time, a young person’s body adjusts to the increased hormonal output. Balance returns and the acne goes away. Hopefully it leaves no permanent scars. A metzora experiences a sudden increase holiness. While this is a great thing, it takes time for the person to adjust. Over time the person will rise up to the new level of sanctity and regain spiritual balance. In the meantime, tzaraas serves as a reminder that further work is necessary.

So, the loss of the ability to contract tzaraas is a mixed blessing. It is embarrassing for a person’s shortcomings to be displayed in public. But, he misses out on a tangible motivation to elevate himself.

The Modern Day Alternative

Most people have a default mode for handling life. Is yours one of these?

  • Chesed– Loving-kindness
  • Gevurah– Justice and Discipline
  • Tiferes– Harmony and Compassion
  • Netzach– Endurance
  • Hod – Humility
  • Yesod– Bonding
  • Malchus– Sovereignty and Leadership

In addition to your primary mode, you are probably pretty good at using a couple of the others in this list. The challenge comes when you’re presented with an issue that cannot be handled within your existing frame of reference. Perhaps you tried solving a problem but it blew up in your face instead. Or you’re procrastinating because you do not know how to approach it.

You need to stop trying to force people to enter your world rather than gaining the skills to enter theirs. When you recognize other people’s modes, you have a valuable tool for problem solving. And you’ll avoid hurricanes while navigating through life.

Each year, beginning on the send day of Passover, the Omer is counted. By following it, you have the chance to practice understanding many approaches to life and experience their nuances. Such training prepares you for higher levels of holiness. You enhance your ability to build relationships with other people and the Almighty.

Like any new skill, you must be intentional to grasp it and make it an integral part of yourself. Each night the count introduces you to a new concept that your minds can ponder while asleep. Then you can explore it the next day through deliberate acts according to the day’s theme.

You can get my free 49 Days to Refine Your Character tool by signing up for my email list. Enjoy the benefits of expanding your repertoire for creating successful relationships!

How do develop your spirit? Please comment below.


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Make a Stellar First Impression

2-½ minutes to read

You have seven seconds to make a good first impression. Of course this assumes the other person has never met you. But in these days of pervasive social media, it’s easy to know a lot about you. The people you’re meeting with about a job or business have checked you out on LinkedIn and Facebook. Before you cry Google-stalking, think about it. Prudent business dictates knowing about the people with whom you’ll work. In all likelihood you have given a first impression long before you meet someone in person.

How to Make a Stellar First Impression

A Less Than Stellar First Impression

Since your online persona will precede you, consider what shapes it. In a face-to-face meeting, most people want to appear humble. They don’t brag about themselves or their accomplishments. Often they take it too far. They avoid talking about their achievements. Instead they recite their skills. By what magic can the person intuit the great benefits such skills will deliver?

Yet these same people thing nothing of posting embarrassing pictures on Facebook. They use unprofessional headshots on LinkedIn. These pale compared to ranting on social media about things they dislike. They attack the beliefs and politics of anyone with whom they disagree.

Overly humble as they are in a meeting, modesty is thrown out the window online. Neither makes a good first impression.

Humility verses Modesty

The solution is simple. Ratchet up modesty, scale back false humility. Consider increasing your online decorum:

  • Images. Before posting that hilarious picture, how funny will it be if a potential employer or client cites it as the reason for not hiring you or giving you their business? Is he really an old fogey or is it valid to question your maturity? People want to know you’ll exercise sound judgment.
  • Complaints. Other than getting it off your chest, what good does complaining in public do? Are you going to start a mass movement? Will people spontaneously engage in a boycott? How do you like being publically humiliated? Leaders know to compliment in public and reprimand in private.
  • Politics. What you post online may outlive you. When I searched my name I found my address from college. The World Wide Web was not launched until 10 years after I got my degree. Do you know for a fact that everyone who disagrees with your views is stupid, evil, or traitorous? Reasoned debate is one thing. Insults under the guise of honesty may cause you lifelong harm.

At the same time, humility need not prevent you from highlighting your accomplishments. Be:

  • Truthful. Give the plain facts of what you’ve done. What does it mean that you’re effective or dynamic? Leave out the superlatives and adverbs.
  • Specific. Are you very experienced? According to whom? If you’ve been in a field for 23-½ years people will figure out you’re experienced. Quantify your achievements. Now you can test whether the person perceives your value. If he doesn’t will you be able to meet your objectives working with him?
  • Confident. Braggarts use lofty words and talk a lot. Speak succinctly. Know what you want to say. Look the other person in the eyes when you talk. Connect with him.

Be modest rather than humble. Make self-discipline and authenticity that builds relationships your goals. They will lead you to success.

Why do you have difficulty promoting yourself? Please comment below.

Being Brutally Honest Makes You a Liar

2-½ minutes to read

Authenticity is the rage in personal development. Everywhere you turn writers (me included) encourage you to be genuine. With so many exhortations you would think everybody goes around wearing masks and deceiving other people. The constraints have been lifted. Be brutally honest. Remember your authenticity is at stake. You don’t want to commit the sin of phoniness!

Being Brutally Honest Makes You a Liar

Act How You Feel

If you’re mad at a coworker, rip him with profanity. If your kid irritates you for the hundredth time, scream at her to stop. Spew invective on Facebook. Tweet 140 character assaults. Being authentic means you can say and do whatever you want without penalty.

Or does it?

What will happen to your job if you give a colleague a verbal dressing down? Gone, right?

How will you child respond to your bellowing? Alienation?

Why would someone hire you when your social media attacks people and ideas they may agree with?

Do you want to be an unemployed misanthrope?

Perhaps you’ll have to refrain from expressing brutally honest emotions. After all, we teach children to stop throwing temper tantrums. Oh well, it’s only a small compromise of your authenticity.

Who You Are Going to Be

You’re probably frustrated about not having something in your life. Maybe it’s more money or a solid marriage. It could be the time and resources to travel or pursue a hobby you love. Will being brutally honest do anything to get you what you lack?

Is your deepest need to express yourself uninhibitedly? You’ll never get to without suffering consequences.

Or is your frustration actually about something else? If this is the case, being brutally honest with people will make it even more difficult to get what you want since the only way to fill your needs is by helping others fill theirs.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can mistreat people under the guise of being authentic. Genuineness comes from behaving in a way that fulfills your deepest aspirations. Indulging the childish side of your nature bespeaks immaturity. Staying true to the best image you have for yourself is true authenticity.

Venting your frustration, verbally or through social media, may make you feel good. But it’s only authentic if your goal in life is to alienate as many people as possible. You know from your own experience, the success you’ve had thus far in life has come from cordial interactions with others.

So stop lying to yourself that being brutally honest expresses the true you. Let your actual authenticity shine through in being the person you wish to be.

How do you stay focused on being your ideal person? Please comment below.

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