Weekly Newsletter Message

A Guide to Misery

It's not easy to be miserable. Hopefully this short guide will help:

1. Feel Entitled.

The universe owes you a better life. Expect attention and respect from others.  Life owes you and you were put here to collect.

2. Focus on Problems.

Keep track and constantly review your problems. Remember you can't move on to anything unless everything is resolved.

3. Magnify.

Its difficult to be miserable when you keep things in perspective.

4. Be Ungrateful.

Discount all the good in your life as a given. Focus on all the ways life disappoints you. In time you'll even the see the bad in the good!

And don't forget, misery loves company, the more you share it with others the more you'll wind up having.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Benjy Silverman


The Pope's Announcement Today

The Pope’s document “the joy of love” released earlier today made headlines all over the world . Apparently the Pope opened the door slightly for those “living in sin” to receive communion in some cases.

Which got me thinking, from a Jewish perspective, does one need to be free of sin to be in communion with G-d.

Rabbi Twerski shares how his grandfather, the Bobover Rebbe, once visited Baron Rothschild, who proudly showed him a separate house in the backyard that served as his Passover home. It was not used all year round, and never had any chametz brought into it. As a result it was 100% guaranteed chametz free!

The Rebbe told the baron that he was missing the point. Angels are perfect. They have no defects, and do not have to do anything to improve themselves. People are imperfect. We have faults we must eliminate. The point is to recognize that we do have chametz and do our best to rid ourselves of it.

G-d does not expect us to be perfect. To be in “communion” with G-d you don’t need to be free of sin, but rather you need to be trying your best.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman

And the Most Evil Country Is......

No surprise here: According to the United Nations, the most evil country in the world today is....... Israel. 

Just a few days ago, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women’s rights anywhere on the planet – Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women. 

On the same day, the U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its month-long session in Geneva by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states. 

This week’s Torah potion lists non-kosher birds, one of them being the Raah.

The Talmud explains “Rabbi Abahu said, the Raah bird is the same as the Ayah. Why is this bird it called "Raah?" Because it sees exceedingly well.” And then the Talmud illustrates the Raah’s the amazing  eyesight “We have learnt that this bird stands in Babylon, and sees a carcass in the Land of Israel!”

The Talmud is not only illustrating the keen vision of the Raah; it is also explaining to us why it is not kosher: “This bird stands in Babylon, and sees a carcass in the Land of Israel!”

When you gaze at the land of Israel, you can see many things, including many positive and heartwarming items; yet what does this bird see? Only corpses!

There is something very unkosher about seeing only carcasses.

Is Israel a perfect country? Of course not. But if you look at Israel and see nothing but  carcasses then you’ve got the problem, not Israel. 

It’s okay to criticize Israel. There is much to comment and argue about. But when one has nothing but criticism for Israel, when there is nothing good to say about Israel, when Israel is portrayed as the most evil country on earth—then you know it has nothing to do with Israel; rather, the organization spewing the hate is treif.

The same holds true in life in general. Some people only see carcasses. They look at their spouse, family, community members and all they see are flaws, deficiencies and negative attributes.

While some see the good in everybody and everything, others manage to somehow see only the evil. They can always show you how everyone has an “agenda,” and everyone is driven by ulterior motives; there are smelly carcasses everywhere.

It is all a matter of perspective. Each of us has to choose what we are going to see—in ourselves and in the world around us.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy 

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