If you're apologizing because you feel bad, are uncomfortable or don't want to be disliked, you haven't apologized. It's all about you. So when you show up to synagogue and want to experience true repentance, stop thinking about yourself and what you want and how you feel bad. Take a few minutes and think about G-d.
Everything we experience in life offers us an opportunity to refine ourselves and become a better person. This is the reason G-d created an imperfect world with challenges and tests. Every test is an opportunity to raise ourselves higher. And it can't be realized without us going through the process. Life is, after all, a workshop.
Is your spouse like G-d? In more ways than you may want to admit. The correlations between your relationship with your spouse and your relationship with G-d are strikingly similar. This is because, at their core, they are both a relationship. There's much we can learn from the correlations between the two. I share six points. Can you think of any more?
Sometimes our society begins revering a word and making it sacred, no longer analyzing its virtues. Equality is one such word. Is equality a good thing? Not necessarily. There are different forms of equality. While one form builds a society, another form destroys it.
We all find ourselves in a dark place at different points in our life. A place of despair and hopelessness. A place from which there seems to be no hope. What we must remember is that the moon is darkest when it is closest to the sun. A dark place is never far from light.
We all know how difficult it is to exercise self-discipline. This is why when we are raised with discipline it makes it so much easier. Structure and limits become ingrained within us. When we raise our children without structure and limits, when we are a yes parent, we aren't being nice. We are being very, very mean. Why? Our children will suffer greatly from this later in life. As difficult as it is for a parent to implement structure and limits, it's far more difficult to later in life.
To be able to acknowledge our wrongdoings is far better than denying them. You can only fix what you are willing to face. When we are denial, we leave ourselves little hope. This is why knowing the problem is half the solution. No one can be blamed for being imperfect, we all are. We can be blamed for not dealing with our imperfections.
You own a car. You live in a nice home. You have a closet full of clothing. Are you too materialistic? If materialistic was defined by using material objects, yes, but this isn't what makes someone materialistic. Materialistic is a shallow world view. It's when we only value appreciate things and people for their material aspect without appreciating and engaging their deeper aspect and true value. Now ask yourself, are you materialistic?
Our belief system will always determine the limits we impose on ourselves. Shifting our paradigm can significantly shift our limitations. When we're willing to take the leap of faith from a world paradigm to a creator paradigm we expand possibility enormously!
To all matter there is spirit just as each body has a soul. Meaning is experienced when we learn to connect with the spirit of the matter. This requires effort to see beyond the facade of the body and the matter. This is the path to leading deeper and more meaningful lives.
We are capable of far more what we realize. The capabilities we're aware of are our most outstanding ones. The ones beneath the surface are more difficult to acknowledge. When we genuinely believe in them, our belief, or someone else's belief in us, pulls them to the surface.
It is possible to outlive your life. I've learned this from my Rebbe whose influence exponentially increases year after year, despite his passing twenty-five years ago. How did he do it? He went all in.
Inaction can be very costly. It's not worth its price. Action requires a lot of strength. You can find that strength in a good friend, a mentor or envisioning the price you'll be paying if you don't act.
When you meet another person your disposition can be needy or needed. You can see yourself as a resource for others and be needed or you can see yourself as needy, only seeking to take. Which disposition will you choose?
Is there anything about you which you wish was different? Do you find yourself resisting who you are, what your capable of and the circumstances that were given to you? Here's a perspective to help you diminish that.
Submitting to what is beyond can be frightening and uncomfortable. It is also the greatest way to leap forward. By learning from another's experience and mistakes, we can get far ahead of what we're capable of on our own.
Your ugly character isn't justified because you happen to have religion on your side. Values must not be compromised and nor should our attitudes toward others. Just because your right in principle doesn't permit you to be wrong with your attitude. You're not angry because you're so righteous. You're angry because of your arrogance. Never confuse the two!
Love is a blessing only when appropriately tempered. Otherwise, it will destroy a relationship. When we understand the difference between love and respect, we learn why they must be balanced so as to temper each other.
Darkness isn't necessarily a sign to run. Very often it's a sign that we must break through. This is because darkness and light are deeply associate. Very often, directly behind the darkness lies the greatest light.
When evil rears its ugly head, spiritual leaders often call for more acts of goodness. This can sound naive until we are willing to define good and evil. Once we do, we understand why abundant good eradicates evil.
Enjoy inspirational sound bites from my book launch talk. Change is never easy. The difference between the one who does and the one who doesn't isn't talent. It's simply that the one who does, chose to do, despite the challenges and discomfort.
My senior colleague lost four of his eight children to Bloom syndrome. He said the following to a friend of mine, “There is a phrase that some people say when they feel that life is not fair. And that is, ‘Why is G-d picking on me?’ Yet, if you remove one word from that phrase, it changes everything." Once you learn which word it is you'll realize that he has mastered the art of acceptance and it makes all the difference. Without acceptance, you can never be free from the endless number of unwanted circumstances in your life.
Dwight Eisenhower said, "If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking is freedom. The title of Chapter 6 in It's Within You, Choosing Your Freedom, describes how much courage it takes to choose freedom. You might be living in a free country but until you choose freedom you are choosing the security of enslavement over the vulnerability of freedom.
There are two paths we can take in life. The path we choose affects almost everything we experience. Which will you choose? The path of proving to the world that you have value and are worthy of respect or the path of acknowledging your inherent worth and working on living up to who you were created as?
A painful reaction to unhealthy food is a sign of our healthy physical condition. The same is true with spiritual sensitivity. When we are spiritually sensitive, we have a reaction to unhealthy spiritual behavior. Regardless of our sensitivity, the science of spirituality states that there is always a reaction to spiritual behavior. This is why when we accentuate the positivity of another person, we strengthen them without their even knowing it. The reverse remains true as well. Be a force of positivity!