Saturday, November 18, 2017

The 10 Item Daily Checklist

Dear Friends,

Today is the first day of the month of Kislev. A new month, a new beginning. Today is a good day to look over the "10 Item Daily Checklist" and consider adding one item to your daily routine.

The 10 Item Daily Checklist

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Kislev: Gratitude

Dear Friends,

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

Rosh Chodesh Kislev begins Motzai Shabbat (Saturday night), the 18th of November, and lasts for one day.

During this month we celebrate the festival of Chanukah, which commemorates the miracle of the oil, the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks and the rededication of the Second Temple. A key message of the festival is expressing gratitude to God for the miracles He performs for us.

Each day, preferably at the beginning of the day, spend time feeling grateful for the blessings your Creator gave you. Thank Him for His many gifts, for the bright side/silver lining of your difficulties, and for signs of His help amidst your challenges. Consider inputting this daily practice of expressing gratitude into your checklist.

In addition, express your appreciation to others. You can do this in person, on the phone, via a quick email or text, or with a written note. 

 For additional discussion on gratitude, see the first tool in, “6 Tools to Enhance Your Mood.”

Questions for the month:

“What is something I am very grateful to God for? What can I say to Him to express my appreciation?”

“Who is someone who has helped me? How can I express my appreciation?”

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

Yaakov

Saturday, October 28, 2017

How to Overcome Your Challenges: 10 Ways

Dear Friends,

We all have challenges. Here are some ways to overcome them with God's help.

How to Overcome Your Challenges: 10 Ways

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cheshvan: Prayer

Dear Friends,

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

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan begins Thursday night, the 19th of October, and lasts for two days.

On the 7th of Cheshvan, in Israel, prayers for rain begin. For this month, focus on enhancing your prayers. You can pick a section of the prayers to say daily with understanding and input this into your checklist. In addition or instead, you can recite daily one Psalm with understanding (longer Psalms can be read over two to three days).

(If you do not yet pray daily, open up a prayer book and see if any of the prayers resonate with you, or better yet, ask your rabbi or spiritual mentor for a suggestion; recite that prayer every day. Alternatively, read daily from the book of Psalms. There are many excellent English translations available with varied formats; choose one that works best for you.)

One type of prayer, popularized by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, is called Hitbodedut; this is where we talk out loud to God in our native language, unburdening ourselves to Him. Try this daily practice for at least a week, preferably a month. See if it helps you feel closer to God and to feeling His comfort and support.

Part of upgrading our prayers is showing reverence for the sanctuary, and not talking during the prayer service.

Even while we pray for help in specific areas of our lives, we surrender to God, acknowledging that only He knows what is truly best for us.

Questions for the month:

“Which section of the prayers will I focus on saying this month with understanding? Or, what else can I do to enhance my prayers?”

“What issues are weighing on my mind that I can informally speak to God about?”

“How can I enhance the reverence I show for the sanctuary?”

Reading for the month: 

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

Yaakov

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Taking Refuge in a Sukkah of Faith

Dear Friends,

This Wednesday night, October 4th, begins the festival of Sukkot. The next blog post will be God willing after the holiday.

Taking Refuge in a Sukkah of Faith

Have a Chag Sameach,

Yaakov