Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tammuz: Removing Hatred

Dear Friends,

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

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz begins Friday night, the 23rd of June, and lasts for two days.

On the 17th of this month, we fast to commemorate the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the First Temple. This is the beginning of the period known as The Three Weeks which ends next month on Tisha B’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples. The Sages teach that a key reason the Messiah has not yet come to rebuild the Temple is because of the sin of hating one’s fellow Jew.

We are a small nation surrounded by enemies bent on our destruction. To defeat the hatred against our people, we must defeat the hatred within our people. This month, go out of your way to be forgiving and overlook the faults of others.

One of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s most transformative teachings is his emphasis on finding the good in ourselves and others (Likutey Moharan I, 282). A complementary practice is to realize that we all have difficulties and to feel compassion for our own challenges and for those of others. Each day, look for the good in yourself and others, and feel compassion for the struggles we all face. Then, you will be more forgiving and loving toward yourself and others.

Check off on your checklist each day you complimented someone, or at least spent time thinking about a person’s good points (including your own).

For additional discussion on the sin of hating one’s fellow Jew, see, “What is Your Number One Spiritual Stumbling Block?

A number of misfortunes have occurred to the Jewish people during The Three Weeks. Because of this, this month and next month’s focus is also on how to overcome adversity.

Questions for the month:


“Who in my life do I feel hatred toward or greatly dislike?” (Pick one person and depending on the situation, either work on forgiving them or on reducing the hurt you feel.)

“Who pushes my buttons? Can I focus on their good points and be more complimentary and understanding?”

“What is the first step I can take to try to resolve a conflict I have with someone?”

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

Yaakov

Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to Strengthen Your Commitment to Judaism

Dear Friends,

The following article contains 9 strategies to help us strengthen our commitment to Judaism. Choose one which resonates most with you.

How to Strengthen Your Commitment to Judaism

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, June 3, 2017

3 Fundamental Mitzvot

Dear Friends,

Along this month's theme of living the Torah's wisdom, here is an article on, "3 Fundamental Mitzvot." (Please click on the title to access).

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Hidden Side of the Ten Commandments

Dear Friends,

This Tuesday night is Shavuot when we celebrate God giving us the Torah, represented by the Ten Commandments.

The Hidden Side of the Ten Commandments

Have a Chag Sameach and a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sivan: Living the Torah's Wisdom

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 Thursday night, the 25th of May, and lasts for one day

The festival of Shavuot occurs during this month. 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, you can 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?”

Reading for the month:
What Does God Want from Me?”

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

Yaakov

Saturday, May 13, 2017

6 Ways to Deal with Critical Family Members

Dear Friends, 

Happy Lag B'Omer! (For info on the day, click here). 

Continuing this month's theme of enhancing relationships, what do we do with family members who we love, but who are very critical of us?

6 Ways to Deal with Critical Family Members

Have a great week,

Yaakov 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

How to Give Constructive Feedback without Sounding Critical

Dear Friends,

As caring people, we like to give constructive criticism in order to help others. Unfortunately, often, if the criticism is not wanted, giving it can do more harm than good.

So before giving criticism, make sure the person is really interested in hearing it.

How to Give Constructive Feedback without Sounding Critical

Have a great week,

Yaakov