Saturday, August 31, 2019

“Am I a Faker or a Genuine Person?”

Dear Friends,

Chodesh tov. Today is the first day of Elul.

The first step to improving yourself it to believe that you can.

If we believe that we are genuine, good people, capable of repenting, we will put in the effort to upgrade our behavior. If not, we won't.

So ask yourself:
“Am I a Faker or a Genuine Person?”

Have a great week,


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Elul: Repentance

Dear Friends,

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

Rosh Chodesh Elul begins Friday night, the 30th of August and lasts for two days.

Elul is the time of year we take stock of our lives and prepare for the High Holidays. Most of us have at least one area in which we struggle; perhaps it is being ethical in business, being moral, being charitable and kind, refraining from hurting others, or some other area. Correcting our key flaw(s) is a major part of our life’s mission and why God put us in this world.

Pick one area on which to focus and choose a manageable change you will make on a daily or weekly basis; You can input this change into your calendar or checklist. If possible, speak to your rabbi or spiritual mentor for guidance. The focus on repentance continues into next month until after Yom Kippur.

As the High Holidays involve reciting many prayers, for suggestions on how to enhance your prayers, see, “How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Prayer.”

Questions for the month:

“Which area do I struggle with that I’m motivated to address this Elul?”

“What is a manageable commitment I will make?

“Is it clear to me what area to focus on and how to repent (if necessary)? If it is not clear, who can I speak to for guidance?”

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


Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Red Heifer in Our Lives

Dear Friends,

In the Torah, there are commandments we understand and those we do not. A prime example of one we do not understand is that of the red heifer (Numbers, 19:1). It is a ritual done to purify those who became contaminated through contact with a dead body. When the Temple stood, as long as one was impure, they were not allowed to enter the Temple until they underwent this ritual.

The laws and details of the red heifer defy logic, e.g., it purifies the impure, but contaminates the pure (the priest performing the ritual). A key lessen we learn from the red heifer is that there are laws in Judaism and events in our lives that we do not understand, and that’s okay.

God is all knowing and we are not, by definition we will not understand all of God’s commands and actions. While we do not understand why or how the red heifer works, we do know that it achieves purification. We do know that through the red heifer an impure person is elevated and able to enter the Temple.

In our own lives, while we do not understand why we have specific challenges, we do know that like the red heifer, those challenges purify and elevate us. Our difficulties enable us to have a closer relationship with God in this world and to enter His heavenly Temple in the next.

May the ritual of the red heifer be restored and the Third Temple speedily rebuilt in our days.

Have a great week,


Saturday, August 10, 2019

"Adversity, Humility, and then Acceptance" AND "Seeking the Divine Presence"

Dear Friends,

Sunday, August 11th, is Tisha B’Av, where we fast to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

The first article relates to suffering in general and the second one specifically to Tisha B'Av.

Adversity, Humility, and then Acceptance

Seeking the Divine Presence

May we speedily witness the coming of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Third Temple.