Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sivan and The Ten Commandments: Exploring Their Hidden Side

Dear Friends,

This post is about the Jewish month of Sivan, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.

Rosh Chodesh Sivan begins Monday night, the 14th of May and lasts for one day.

The festival of Shavuot begins Motzai Shabbat, the 19th of May. On Shavuot, we celebrate receiving on Mount Sinai the Torah, God’s instruction manual for life. Even those who are unaffiliated, without realizing it, observe part of the Torah. Take for example the 10 Commandments, many already believe in God, do not worship idols, honor their parents, do not commit murder, adultery etc.

Begin at whatever level of observance you are currently on, and pick one area you are motivated to strengthen this month. At the end of each day/week, mark off on your checklist if you kept that observance.

Question for the month:
“What area of observance will I strengthen this month or at least learn more about?”

Article:
The Ten Commandments: Exploring Their Hidden Side

Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month,

Yaakov

Saturday, May 5, 2018

You’re Not Arrogant, But Are You Truly Humble?

Dear Friends,

No matter how humble we already are, there's still more room for growth. By deepening our humility, we will enhance our relationships.

You’re Not Arrogant, But Are You Truly Humble?

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, April 28, 2018

6 Ways to Deal with Critical Family Members

Dear Friends,

There are often people in our lives who are very critical of us, either family members or people at work. The strategies below can be helpful in either situation.

6 Ways to Deal with Critical Family Members

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018

6 Ways to Kick the Criticism Habit

Dear Friends,

During the month of Iyar we are focusing on enhancing our relationships. A key way to do that is to reduce criticism.

6 Ways to Kick the Criticism Habit

Have a great week,

Yaakov



Saturday, April 7, 2018

Iyar: Enhancing our Relationships

Dear Friends,

This post is about the Jewish month of Iyar, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.

Rosh Chodesh Iyar begins Motzai Shabbat, Saturday night, the 14th of April and lasts for two days. 

The period known as The Omer occurs during this month. During part of The Omer, we commemorate thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students who died in a plague. The Talmud teaches that the plague occurred because the students did not treat each other with proper respect.

This month, we focus on treating others well and enhancing our relationship with them.

Our relationships play a pivotal role in either enhancing or negatively affecting our emotional, physical and spiritual health; toxic relationships drain us, while healthy relationships nourish us.

Make a list of your key family, work and social relationships. Decide which ones to strengthen or repair, which ones need better boundaries or for you to distance yourself from, and ways to foster new healthy relationships.

Input into your checklist the following practice or a related one: At least once a week, schedule one-on-one time with someone in your life to strengthen that relationship; shut off your cell and give him or her your undivided attention.

In addition, this month, work on being less critical of others. Start by focusing on the person of whom you are most critical. Consider using your checklist and check off each day you were able to avoid criticizing them. You might want to start off with just avoiding being critical during a set time of day, i.e., morning, afternoon or evening, and build from there.

Questions for the month:

“Which of my relationships do I need to strengthen? What is the first step to doing that?”

“Which relationships need better boundaries or for me to distance myself from? What is the first step to doing that?”

“Do I want to form new healthy relationships? What are some ways I can do that?”

“Which person in my life am I most critical of? For this month, am I willing to commit to give them at least as much compliments as criticisms?”

Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month,

Yaakov

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Don't Give Up!

Dear Friends,

Passover begins Friday night, March 30th.

When the Jews were leaving Egypt, they almost lost hope when they saw the Egyptian army chasing after them. Moses prayed to God and God told him to keep going (Exodus, 14:15). By having faith in God and moving forward, even going straight into the sea, they witnessed the amazing miracle of the sea splitting before them.

In our own lives, we may feel overwhelmed by struggles and past mistakes. At times, there appears to be no way out. But we must have faith that there is always a way out. Instead of wallowing in our difficulties, we must keep moving forward, step by step, even if we have no idea how we will succeed. Success is up to God; it is up to us to do our best.

Each day is a new beginning, a new opportunity to overcome your challenges. Never give up. No situation is as seemingly hopeless as a nation being enslaved for hundreds of years. Just as God freed us from slavery, so too can He free you from your difficulties. With faith in your heart, a prayer on your lips and ironclad determination, like the Jews leaving Egypt, may you too witness miracles and see your challenges split before you.

Think of a difficulty in your life and have faith that God has given you the strength to overcome it. Pick one step you will take to address the issue or ask someone wise for advice.

For other lessons from the Exodus, see

What Worked for Our Ancestors: 5 Lessons from the Exodus

The next blog post will God willing be after the Holidays.

Happy Passover, Chag Kasher Vesameach,

Yaakov