Tag Archives: God

Let Me Show You How to Be Perfect

2 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Kedoshim – Leviticus 19:1-20:27

Searching for perfection is usually counterproductive. Fear of failure prevents people from taking action. After all, if they make mistakes they aren’t perfect. But striving for perfection can be beneficial in one area of life. Parshas Kedoshim explains:

…you will love your fellow as yourself… (Vayikra/Leviticus 19:18)

Let Me Show You How to Be Perfect

This Sabbath’s parsha list many mitzvahs from practical to religious. Each gives you a way to improve your relationship with G-d. They include respecting parents and elders, giving charity to the poor, being honest in business, observing the Sabbath, not dabbling in the occult, not taking revenge, and forbidden relationships.

“This is the great rule of the Torah” - Rabbi Akiva

How realistic is it for G-d to insist we love other people as much as we love ourselves? Isn’t the Torah hopelessly naïve to demand such selflessness? The Sages say you should act as if you love others. Such behavior will eventually transform your emotions.

The Tanya, a classic work of Chassidic mysticism, teaches that you must put aside physical matters and focus on the spirit. By concentrating on a person’s soul you may truly come to love him. Too often people are preoccupied with a person’s appearance, the sound of his voice, how she dresses, or annoying habits. None of these physical concerns embody the essence of a person. Superficialities do not emanate from the soul.

People say someone has a good soul. Do they really have the depth of insight to view a person’s core? Does it make sense to suggest that someone has a weird or annoying soul? Habits can be described this way, but a person’s core, the soul? It’s a spark of the Creator in each of us. It is perfect.

Be Perfect at Recognizing Someone’s Essence

What is the practical result of this philosophy? Suppose you know someone who rubs you the wrong way. You have two choices.

  1. Let your irritation rise to the point where you think the person is a monster.
  2. Counter your exasperation by telling yourself that perhaps the person is like Shrek, an ogre on the outside but with a heart of gold.

If you’re honest you’ll realize some people dislike you for external factors. Yet you believe you’re good. If you want to receive the benefit of the doubt, shouldn’t you offer it others?

To be perfect, look beyond people’s superficialities. Engage with them soul to soul. Love your fellows as yourself. A simple change of perspective will help you be perfect and improve your relations with family, friends, and strangers.

How do you view people? 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 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!

Why It Seems God Is Not Always With You

Why It Seems God Is Not Always With You

Life isn't any more dangerous for sailors than for you.  But being out on the vast ocean, especially during a storm, brings home how tenuous life can be.

No matter where you are or how hazardous your circumstances, if you are with God, the Almighty will be with you.

How to Harness a Miracle for Your Benefit

2 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Tazria – Leviticus 12:1-13:59

When times are tough, I mean really bad, I find myself praying for a miracle. “Please G-d, fix my problem now.” The funny thing is, the Almighty makes a miracle accessible at any time. Parshas Tazria explains:

“…whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring a sheep in its first year as a burnt offering…” (Vayikra/Leviticus 12:6)

How to Harness a Miracle for Your Benefit

This week’s parsha explains how a woman becomes tahor (spiritually purified) after giving birth. Then it details how a kohen (priest) verifies when a person has a tzaraas, baheres or s’eis affliction on his body or a tzaraas affliction on a garment.

Connecting Birth and a Korban

Among the korbonos (offerings) brought on the altar why does a woman bring a burnt offering? She survived childbirth and now has a daughter or son. She’s freed from discomfort after nine months of pregnancy. The thanksgiving offering seems most appropriate.

The thanksgiving offering is brought and consumed on the same day. It represents a single act of gratitude. By contrast, a burnt offering stays on the Altar until it is completely consumed. Smoke from it wafts off into eternity.

Burnt offerings were brought twice daily in the Temple. Known as a korban tamid (continual offering), it reminded people of the Almighty’s never ending bounty.

I return to my original conclusion. A thanksgiving offering is more appropriate. Let’s face it, a woman may be grateful for everything I mentioned above. But once breastfeeding, changing diapers, and sleep deprivation start her thankfulness disappears.

The burnt offering she brings must signify something greater than gratitude.

The True Miracle of Birth

Conceiving a child is no mystery. We know the science. It’s hard to make the case that conception is a miracle. Yet scientists remain unable to create life in the lab. Frankenstein notwithstanding, they’re not able to take inert molecules and make them come alive.

Herein lies the true miracle. Each time a child is born the Almighty creates another physical-spiritual hybrid. This enduring miracle makes a burnt offering, with its connection to the continual offering, the only one a woman can bring.

The human soul is unique from that of all other creatures. You can strive, learn, grow, and make moral distinctions based on free will. An animal learns based solely on its nature and experience. You can study and discover new ideas from others without having to suffer yourself. All these abilities are nothing short of miraculous.

If you don’t solve your challenges using your intellect, you can do something no animal can. The bond between your body and spirit gives you round-the-clock access to G-d. Pray. The Almighty will respond.

Any time of the day or night you can harness a miracle and put it to work for you. Alter your mindset for greater resourcefulness. Avoid pitfalls by learning from others or getting the guidance of a mentor. And if all else fails, fuse your soul with the Creator and draw strength from His love for you.

What miracle have you experienced in your life? 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 Tell if Your Humility Is Self-Destructive

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Tzav – Leviticus 6:1-8:36

People acknowledge the value of humility. In particular, veterans are humble. But too often such modesty impedes their ability to get a good job. When challenged, they say promoting themselves is wrong. Parshas Tzav has a different perspective:

This is the law of the burnt offering: (Vayikra/Leviticus 6:2)

How to Tell if You Humility Is Self-Destructive

This Sabbath’s parsha continues the discussion of the korbanos (the offerings brought on the Altar) and details the anointing of Aaron and his sons as the Kohanim or Priests who will serve in the Temple.

Connecting Sacrifices and Humility

Farther into Leviticus we read an animal that is blind or broken or has a split eyelid or wart cannot be used as a burnt offering. As was made clear back in Genesis in the trouble between Cain and Abel, G-d wants offerings to be of the finest we have.

This holds true even though we no longer bring animal or meal sacrifices.

Today prayer has replaced the sacrificial service. When you pray, G-d wants you to open your heart. This requires humbly recognizing all you have comes from the Almighty. In humility you should acknowledge the many mistakes you’ve made and your gratitude that nonetheless G-d loves you. You offer your love in return.

If you are arrogant G-d will still listen to your prayer, but like a damaged animal, may reject your petition.

Humility verses Self-Promotion

People often equate self-promotion with arrogance. But you’re not conceited simply because you let people know about your skills and strengths. To the contrary, if you can add value to someone’s life you have a responsibility to do so. You’ll have to explain to him why you are the best person to help.

There are times when humility looks like a lack of self-confidence. People don’t trust a meek person to handle their problems.

By not clearly expressing the value you bring to the table, you’re forcing someone to figure it out on his own. He won’t. Instead he’ll hire someone who makes his life easier by showing him he has what it takes. You and your family lose out. The Almighty does not want you to impoverish yourself with such false humility.

If you’re not used to marketing yourself, use these guidelines:

  1. Always tell the truth. Implying you have skills that you don’t is worse than conceit. You’ll be exposed in the end.
  2. Talk about them at appropriate times. People will tell you when they want to know more about you.
  3. Be brief. Long-winded descriptions smell of conceit.

When you follow these three criteria, and thank G-d for the gifts He has given you, you’ll keep your humility in balance.

What prevents you from promoting yourself effectively? 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!

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