An elderly American woman approaches two monks in the Far East and asks to be taken to their spiritual guru. They explain that it will take five days of climbing a steep mountain to reach him and because he’s so exalted, she will only be allowed to say six words in the guru’s presence. The woman agrees. When they finally reach the guru, the monks are surprised to hear her exclaim, “David, come down from here immediately!”
There are several well-known personalities who have become famous, in part, by challenging the existence of God and organized religion. Science is often used to discredit the validity of God, by pitting evolution vs. creation theory, or demanding scientific evidence of God’s existence, etc.
This tactic continues today, despite religious leaders such as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who have stated that holy texts were never meant to be science books.
It’s a little strange to manage a blog about simcha (Jewish joy) in the aftermath of a devastating terror attack. What is the appropriate response the day after the massacre that took the lives of five Israelis at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood yesterday?
My immediate response was to wake up and pray this morning. To wrap myself in my tallit and bind myself with tefillin, just as the victims had done shortly before they were massacred (it’s important to note that one police officer was also killed and others were wounded).
Rainy days are annoying, right? Who wants to get soaked when going outside or risk driving a car in the lowered visibility of a rainstorm?
Many people view rain as a negative phenomenon, but for our sages, it wasn’t enough to merely appreciate rain. They taught us to actively pray for it. Starting on Thursday evening, the 7th of Cheshvan, Jews in Israel will begin saying, “Grant dew and rain as a blessing” (ותן טל ומטר לברכה) in their daily prayers (Jews in the Diaspora begin saying it on December 4).
The Shabbos Project (@ShabbosProject_) is a wonderful idea that is sure to increase simcha (happiness) worldwide. This weekend (the first day of the new month of Cheshvan/October 24-25) Jews in more than 212 cities and 33 countries will experience the joy of observing and celebrating Shabbat (or “Shabbos”). As a Jew who keeps Shabbat on a weekly basis with his family, I’ll try to explain why Shabbat never fails to put a smile on my face.
So, why does Shabbat = simcha?
I am starting this blog in October 2014 in a state of sadness.
There are so many blessings in my life and don’t get me wrong, I experience many moments of great happiness. And yet I’m all too often unhappy. I have been binge eating in secret to dull my feelings, although I’m not sure how much of a secret it is, because I’m overweight and out of shape (I’m on blood pressure medication at the age of 38).