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Showing posts from 2007

Dealing with life's frustrations.

Stress is not something that happens to us; stress is our reaction to what happens to us. The title of this web article is "Why you should stop complaining"; but to me it presents a nice technique for reducing stress by getting yourself to be able to more calmly and effectively deal with life's frustrations.

If there are no frustrations in your life, you will probably not find this article interesting. On the other, if you have no frustrations, then you probably aren't alive... :)

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Thought for the Day: The Kuzari's rejection of Christianity and Islam


Having rejected the arguments of the philosopher/scientist, the king of Kuzar turns toward the "organized religion" -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He rejects Judaism immediately because is practitioners are few and despised. The king decides to start with the Christian scholar and gets a quick overview:
G-d revealed Himself to the Jews and gave them His Torah. On this point there is no argument; it is an accepted historical fact. At some point G-d decided to put Himself into human form and masquerade as a prophet; this was the messiah. Most of the Jews rebelled against the messiah, so G-d rejected them; leaving the messiah with only twelve followers. Those twelve followers became the replacement for the twelve tribes. Now everyone who follows after the messiah and his original followers are the real Children of Israel, even though none of them are actually descendants of Jacob. And even though we call G-d three, He is really one.

The king has a very sho…

Thought for the Day: The Kuzari Begins With Science and Rejects Atheism

These are my notes on learning the Kuzari. This is not a translation nor even a commentary, simply my notes and thoughts.

The Kuzari begins by giving a background story. The king of the Kuzars had dedicated himself to exacting service to G-d according to the strict dictates of his religion. One night an angel came to him in a dream to tell him that G-d was pleased with the king's intentions, but not with his actions. The dreams were persistent, and eventually the king decided that he would have to seek the true path to service of G-d.

With that as a background, the king first turns to a scientist/philosopher. (In those days anyone who pursued a career that was not involved in day to day living was called a philosopher. That eventually divided into natural philosophy -- which became science -- and supernatural philosophy. Hence, my use of the term scientist/philosopher.) The scientist tells him that of course there is a creator; but the creator is not involved in the…

Thought for the Day: Lowering Ourselves to the Level of Angels to Rise to the Level of Human

I can do anything!

In the very first few moments of Yom Kippur we proudly announce with raised voice, "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchoso l'Olam va'Ed!" -- Blessed be the glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever!

This statement is usually said quietly, in an undertone, for only the angels dare make this proclamation aloud. But on Yom Kippur, we -- klal Yisrael -- achieve that lofty status and are also permitted to proclaim aloud the glory and eternity of the Kingdom of Heaven. And we achieve that from the very onset of Yom Kippur. All night and all day, we fast in order that our prayers should be uninterrupted with the needs of the physical body. We make ourselves as spiritual as possible and show ourselves and our bodies who is boss. HaShem is our King and we are His faithful servants. For more than 25 hours we dedicate ourselves to His service. In the last moments of this most holy of days we escort the Sh'china -- HaShem's Holy Presence -- up through the seve…

Thought for the Day: Cost of Living

Suppose someone gave you $10,000 each and every day. A wealthy benefactor who asks for nothing in return. I would think that at the very least, one ought to feel and expression his appreciation. But this benefactor doesn't even expect that in exchange for your daily allowance. Pretty good deal, don't you think? Now, if he stops giving you that allowance one day, could you possibly have any complaints? Does it enter your mind to have complaints?

What about if you were rude to his children, took his stuff without asking and used it for things he didn't like. And he *still* kept giving you the allowance? Maybe after a few years he drops the allowance to $9,500 per day. Not out of spite, but just in hopes you will stop the damage... and, of course, that $500 a day doesn't come close to covering the expenses to clean up after your messes.

Now you are thinking, "No one is going to give me $10,000 a day; no one is even going to give me $10 a day for nothing, so…