Saturday, April 30, 2016

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 Shabbos (Saturday night), the 7th of May, 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, consider using your checklist and check off each day you were able to avoid criticizing the specific person you are working on. You might want to start off with just avoiding giving criticism 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? How will I do that?”

“Which relationships need better boundaries or for me to distance myself from? How will I do that?”

“Do I want to form new healthy relationships? How will I do that?”

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

Read up on the type of relationship you are currently dealing with. Here are links to Aish.com articles on specific relationships:

Dating

Marriage

Parenting

Relating to your parents

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

Yaakov

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What Worked for Our Ancestors: 4 Lessons from the Exodus

Dear Friends,

Passover is a time to reflect on the Exodus and learn from it. This article discusses, What Worked for Our Ancestors: 4 Lessons from the Exodus.

The next blog post will God willing be after Passover.

Have a Chag Kasher Vesameach (Happy Passover)!

Yaakov

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Nissan: Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Dear Friends,

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

Rosh Chodesh Nissan begins this Friday night, the 8th of April, and lasts for one day.

During Nissan, we celebrate the holiday of Passover. On Passover, we commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. It is a time of freedom, when we free ourselves from that which brings us down spiritually.

Even today, many of us are still not yet free and are enslaved to our passions, to varying degrees. At the same time, we still maintain some level of moral purity. The goal is to raise it up a notch, thereby increasing our freedom.

When you prepare for the holiday by removing leaven from your house, also remove spiritual pollution. To whatever extent you are ready, go through your books, magazines, music and videos, and get rid of those filled with profanity, lewdness or vulgarity; they downgrade your spiritually.

An aspect of maintaining your purity is speaking in an elevated manner. Are there any words you choose to remove from your vocabulary, at least for this month, that do not reflect the type of person you are?

Using your checklist, you can check off each day you succeeded in speaking in a refined manner and/or staying away from spiritual pollution (or limiting your exposure as best you can).

Questions for the month:

“How can I ‘clean house’ and elevate my spirituality at the same time? What will I get rid of?”

“What is a source of spiritual pollution in my life? How can I shield myself from it or at least limit my exposure to it?”

“What word(s) do I choose to remove from my vocabulary, at least for this month?”

Reading for the month:

4 Ways to Safeguard Your Moral Purity

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

Yaakov

Saturday, March 26, 2016

3-Dimensional Acceptance: A Pathway to Peace and Power

Dear Friends,

One of the tools to enhancing our mood, the focus of this month, is learning the art of acceptance. Here's how:
3-Dimensional Acceptance: A Pathway to Peace and Power 

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The 2 Forms of Divine Providence: Purim and Passover

Dear Friends,

Purim begins this Wednesday night.
Purim and Passover teach us key principles of faith. The article below, explores this connection between the two holidays.

The 2 Forms of Divine Providence: Purim and Passover

Have a great week and a Happy Purim!

Yaakov

Saturday, March 12, 2016

How to Stop Hating and Start Loving Yourself

Dear Friends,

Part of enhancing our joy, the focus of this month, is feeling good about yourself. If a person doesn't feel good about themselves, how can they be happy?

You have accomplished much to feel good about!

Here's an updated article on this topic:
How to Stop Hating and Start Loving Yourself

This article can be helpful even if you don't "hate" yourself, but you could benefit from having a better relationship with yourself (most people).

Have a great week,

Yaakov