Saturday, March 30, 2019

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 Friday night, the 5th of April and lasts one day.

During Nissan, we celebrate the holiday of Passover, where we commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. It is a time of freedom, when we free ourselves from that which brings us down spiritually. Now is a good time to "clean house" spiritually and enhance our moral purity, discussed in the article below. 

An aspect of maintaining our 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:

“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?”


4 Ways to Safeguard Your Moral Purity

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


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Is it really necessary to say this now?

Dear Friends,

Some people have the unfortunate habit of constantly correcting others. When we make a minor mistake, they immediately correct us and show us how we are wrong. Even though it is hurtful to be on the receiving end of these critiques, we sometimes fall into the same trap and act the same way. To avoid this bad habit, before correcting or criticizing someone, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Is it really necessary to say this now?”

Often, the answer is no. Either it is not a necessary critique, or even if it is, it is not the right time to make the comment. Critiques are best delivered indirectly or at least at an opportune time and in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. For more details, see, “6 Ways to Kick the Criticism Habit.”

This question can also help us avoid the sin of gossiping. When you have the urge to say something that may reflect negatively on a person, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Is it really necessary to say this?” Sometimes the answer is yes, most often the answer is no. If someone starts talking negatively about a person to you, you can respond, “Is it necessary for me to hear this? If not, let’s talk about something else.”

Have a great week,


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Ask Yourself, "Am I Overly Stubborn?"

Dear Friends,

There is a place for stubbornness. For example, we should be stubborn when sticking to our principles and living our values. When appropriate, Ethics of the Fathers (5:20) teaches us to “Be bold as a leopard.”

But being stubborn on a day to day basis can have a negative effect on our moods, personal growth and on our relationships.

Here are three ways to decrease unhealthy stubbornness:

(1) Work on developing humility; realize you have been wrong in the past and you will likely make mistakes in the future. With true humility, a person is able to admit when they were wrong and change course.

(2) When talking to others, instead of trying to get them to agree with you, really listen and consider what they are saying. You will learn a lot more that way. As has been said, “If your lips are moving, you’re not learning anything new.”

(3) Ask people for feedback and advice, and give serious consideration to what they say. Instead of focusing on why they are wrong, see if there is a nugget of wisdom you can benefit from.

When we are open-minded and interested in learning new ideas and ways of enhancing our lives, we have laid a solid foundation for growth.

Ask, “Which area of my life am I stubborn about? Perhaps there is a better way of dealing with this issue. Who can I speak to for guidance?”

Have a great week,


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Adar II: and Question to Ask Yourself: "Is it worth it?"

Dear Friends,

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

This year is a Jewish leap year which means that there are two months of Adar. Rosh Chodesh Adar II begins Wednesday night, the 6th of March and lasts for two days.

For this month, we will continue the theme of enhancing our moods. When there is something that negatively affects our moods, an important question to ask is, "Is it worth it?"

For example, getting upset or into an argument over trivial matters. Getting into arguments is rarely worthwhile, especially if one party is agitated and upset; better to wait for a quiet moment to discuss the issue calmly.

Sometimes, the things we argue over have no practical value or benefit, and we are working ourselves up over nothing. When you find yourself arguing over something, ask yourself, “Is this a PD (pointless discussion)?” If it is, then either change the topic or bring the conversation to a close.

What issue in your life is negatively affecting your mood? Is it worth it? 

Think of what you can do practically to address the situation and decide not to allow it to bring you down. When you find yourself stewing over it, think about something else or engage in a new activity. Don't expect the upsetness to instantly evaporate, but making a conscious decision not to get worked up over something and changing your focus, can be surprisingly beneficial.

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