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Weekly Emails "Shabbat Shalom from Bangkok"

Musings of Regret

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

As I was putting one leg into my pants, before I had a chance to put the other leg in, it hit me with full force.

‘Oy vey iz mir’. I forgot!

The eightieth birthday party celebration. A dear friend had turned eighty a few days earlier, and I had missed the zoom celebration.

Not just one celebration did I miss. To accommodate all the time zones in which he has friends (he is a wildly popular fellow) there were three separate virtual parties. And I had missed all three.

The feelings of regret and shame were palpable. Yet I quickly pulled myself together and figured that notwithstanding the embarrassment of having overlooked this milestone celebration, I needed to finish getting dressed. 

After thinking for a few minutes, I realized that this was an eminently valuable learning experience. Especially pertinent to the time that it occurred, just before the High Holidays.

It was a poignant and relevant lesson about Teshuva. Return to G-d. The first stage of Teshuva (commonly translated ‘repentance’ but more accurately it means ‘return’ click here for more on this) is to regret your misdeeds. The next stage is to commit to not repeating the mistakes. And attempting to fix what was damaged by the sin.

The feeling I felt so strongly upon realizing that I had ‘dropped the ball’ and missed the party, was one of regret. Deep regret. 

But the matter was done.

What could I do now to fix it?

Well, I could call the birthday boy and tell him the truth that I forgot. And indeed, I immediately sent him a note asking when we could talk via zoom so that I could apologize for missing his ‘big’ day.

My friend was gracious about it.

He accepted my heartfelt apology and truly forgave me. He is that kind of person. An understanding empathetic person. We had a fantastic ‘private zoom celebration’ which was enjoyable and meaningful.

But I knew, that while he was not harboring any lingering ill feelings, I had lost an opportunity to celebrate with him that would never come back. My friend would not turn eighty again.

Hmmm. It drove home the point that there are som opportunities that are simply not ‘make-up-able’. I cannot fix the fact that I did not participate on the day of the birthday. 

This helped bring home an additional point about Teshuva. 

There is a difference between doing teshuva for the sin of commission, for doing something one shouldn’t have done, then for the sin of omission, for neglecting to do something that one was supposed to do. 

On the face of it, it would seem that atoning for doing something wrong would be harder than atoning for not doing something you were meant to do.

In the language of the Talmud:

If one failed to fulfill a positive commandment and repented, he is forgiven immediately.

If one violated a prohibitive commandment and repented, his repentance is tentative, and Yom Kippur atones.

Let’s say for example one ate something that was not kosher. 

If one is regretful and asks Hashem for forgiveness, Hashem acquiesces tentatively, and fully wipes away the ‘stain’ on the following Yom Kippur.

If however one missed an opportunity to do a positive commandment. For example, one neglected to eat matzah on the first evening of Passover.  For this omission, Hashem forgives immediately if one asks G-d for forgiveness.

There is no stain left. No need to wait till Yom Kippur for atonement.

So yes, getting forgiven for neglecting to do a positive commandment is easier than achieving atonement for a violation.

But on the other hand, with omission, the effect is not totally fixable. Even though G-d forgives, the deed was not done. 

If G-d forbid one chose not to eat matzah on the first night of Pesach and on the next day asked G-d for forgiveness, forgiveness is granted immediately, but it doesn’t fill the void that was created. The first night of Pesach has passed and the matzah opportunity is no longer there. That mitzvah/connection opportunity cannot be reclaimed. The G-dly energy that was going to be channeled into the world through this mitzvah is not reclaimable. 

(This is why the law of the Talmud is that a positive commandment overrides a negative one). 

I can’t recreate my friend's eightieth. That day (and he was so proud, and rightfully so, for celebrating on his ‘Jewish’ calendar birthday date) is gone. But I can learn a valuable lesson about recognizing the irreplaceable nature of mitzvah opportunities.

To me this was a timely High Holiday season reminder about getting better at my proactive mitzvah observance. Not just about not ‘messing up’ and making sure I am not doing things I shouldn’t be doing. But also examining the opportunities I may be overlooking. Making sure I am not omitting or forgetting anything. Moreover, even if I am doing them making sure that they are being performed at the best level possible. 

Part of serving Hashem is utilizing all the qualities and character traits He has bestowed upon us. How ‘perfect’ or ‘presentable’ are my good deeds? If I could perform at A levels and I am submitting mitzvahs at F levels, that is a missed opportunity.

Let us embrace mitzvah opportunities with joy, energy and gusto! 

And let us perform then at the highest level possible. Not stymie our observance by insisting on perfection. But not being satisfied with just ‘getting away’ at the lowest level possible, rather investing real effort in our relationship with Him.

Manyana?

That is not the Torah way. 

The Torah way is:

‘A Mitzvah that comes your way don’t let it wait’. 

‘What can be done today, do not push off till tomorrow’.

Do another mitzvah today! 

One mitzvah brings another and then another…. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Chatima & Gmar Chatima Tova,

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS another thing I learned. When there are three opportunities to attend a celebration event, it is indeed easier to participate as you can pick a time that suits you best. But… it is also easier to forget. As the mental reminder note is not bolstered by the urgency of a specific narrow time frame. 

This is relevant to our ‘Giving Day’ campaign. We have spread it over three days to allow for more countries and time zones to participate. On the other hand, not having the pressure of only twenty-four hours to contribute (as many ‘giving day’ campaigns do), means that it's also easier to forget 😊. I made a mental note, that I would help my friends and remind them when there was only less than twenty-four hours left for the campaign.

Here I am 😊

More than ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED donors have said YES we want to support Jewish life in Thailand and brought us just over the FIFTY PERCENT mark.

If YOU are able to participate with any amount, I will be gratified. If you have already participated THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for providing humanitarian support, joy, light, love, inspiration and Jewish continuity all across Thailand!!!!






(I also learned something about human nature. Having something spread over three days or opportunities, while it made it easier for me choose a suitable time, also took away the urgency of the mental note 

 

 

Shana Tova & Shabbat Shalom 5781

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

It has been a different and unusual year for every single person on planet earth.

Whether you are young, old, a student, a retiree, a business owner or a salaried worker, your life was disrupted and altered in one way or another.

Even if you were not directly affected, those around you were. This had an impact on you as well.

I think I speak in the name of everyone, when I say that this year had its challenging moments. And I extend my empathy to those who are still enduring the painful limitations of this virus that is still running amok in many places in the world.

On this auspicious day, the last day of this year and mere hours away from the New Year, I would like to focus on what inspired me about this year. From the ‘1,000 feet’ ‘helicopter’ perspective, it was a very uplifting year.

One of the side effects of the long-winded lock downs in cities across the world was the fact that nature reclaimed areas where human life had previously encroached. Monkeys overran certain parts of Lopburi in Thailand. Pumas were seen in the streets of Santiago, Chile. Kangaroos were hopping around Adelaide in S. Australia. 

From coral reefs rejuvenating, to pollution levels dropping, this year has brought with it some remarkable side effects. 

I would like to make what some may consider an audaciously bold observation. 

This year, humanity reclaimed their commitment to Divine values.

What do I mean?

Think of the following question. 

If you could only save one of them, would you save your favorite pet or a random stranger?

Google that question and you will be quite shocked at the varied responses.

I tried it in real life. I asked some teens. Thank G-d most of them got it right and chose to save the human stranger. But some did ask me how old the stranger was. How dear the pet was. As if those details could change the decision regarding who to save. Our modern world with all of its advances also has some blind spots. Particularly in the field of moral soundness. 

When Covid19 hit our world, almost every news article had the disclaimer that the virus was most dangerous to the elderly or those who had other compromising medical conditions. For most others it was touted as being an illness that their body would overcome without undue danger.

The world went into lockdown.

To save the vulnerable. 

Strangers.

Elderly strangers.

Strangers with weaker health. Maybe without all that many years of life ahead of them.

Yet the world instinctively shut down to save those strangers. 

At the cost of giving up convenience and comfort. In many cases at the cost of enduring suffering and considerable financial loss. Some would even face ruin.

The world would not take such measures to save the extinction of pink elephants for example. To raise money for elephant conservatories, yes. But society at large would not cancel weddings, funerals, prayer services, college graduations to save animals. Nor plunge governments trillions of dollars into increased debt. Nor keep kids away from school. And the list of measures the world at large took just goes on and on.

NO!

For animal life, even for our closest pets. We would not willingly enforce and endure distancing and quarantining with all of its difficulty and negativity to the individual and to society at large.

For human lives though. Even for saving the lives of total strangers. 

YES. 

The world stopped. Shut down. Quarantined. For saving human life we are enduring the greatest disruption the world has known in recent history.

WHY?

Because G-d said so.

On Rosh Hashana five thousand seven hundred and eighty years ago, G-d created Adam as the first human in the Divine image.

A while later, to Noah, G-d gave a clear instruction to be handed down to all of his descendants, (every human being is a descendant of Noah). Human life is sacred. Thou shalt not kill is a Divine unchangeable and immutable moral value. 

Murder, taking someone else’s life is forbidden. So is taking one’s own life. Or standing by passively when someone’s life is being endangered. 

Two stories come to mind where I have witnessed the instinctive decision being made and accepted by society at large to preserve life. It is quite likely that you too have had similar such experiences. 

I was at least twice on an airplane that did an emergency landing to save a stranger’s life. All three hundred people accepted that disruption nobly. They understood that their plans could be redrawn, but the life that needed to be saved could not be brought back if it was lost. My subsequent inconvenience because of missed connections paled in comparison to my deep-seated sense of fulfillment of having participated in a ‘human-life-is-sacred’ affirming event. 

While I was once in a major traffic jam on the way from Philadelphia, the newscaster reported a bridge closure as the reason for the delay. Someone was threatening to jump off the bridge. Police activity caused a massive delay. Nobody questioned the moral soundness of causing the delay merely to save a stranger’s life.

I am sure you too have had similar experiences where you have put everything on hold because a life was at stake, even someone you didn’t know.

But these experiences are all individual and highly localized ones. They were also very brief.

This year, second part of 5780 and first part of 2020 has delivered a message to the world of unprecedented proportion. 

This year we lived through an all-encompassing, totally disruptive event, that thunders forth a declaration and statement made by the entire living human race as one collective.

This year will be remembered in the annals of history as the years that the world SHUT DOWN. 

I believe that this year must also be remembered as the year of our reclaiming our commitment to G-d based morality.

THE YEAR WHEN HUMANITY MADE ITS COMMITMENT TO G-D’s COMMANDMENT TO PROTECT LIFE. HUMAN LIFE. THAT EVEN A STRANGER’S LIFE IS SACRED.

In the earliest stages there was a virtually conflict free consensus. 

Instinctively everyone knew it was right and no one complained.

(The subsequent and currently ongoing discord about how much to open or close is not in conflict with this observation. It too is in the context of discussion how to save lives. The arguments are because the experts are divided as to what preserves life more effectively, when taking long term effects into account as well).

All of this leads us back to the fact that this year there is a heightened universal awareness of G-d.

The fact that a microbe smaller than we can see (six hundred times smaller than the diameter of a hair), can wreak such havoc on our world, reminds us that we are vulnerable. We are not the all-powerful invincible men we thought we were. 

For me, even more awesome than the errant virus microbes’ destructive capabilities, is the fact that a hundred trillion microbes regularly coexist in our bodies and act in the coordinated fashion that allows us to live and function. How do they all get along? The cohesiveness and coordination of all aspects of creation point to G-d the Creator of life in all forms.

This is the year where humanity reflects and sees without any doubt that it is not we, who created ourselves, rather Almighty G-d Who is the Creator of the universe and all therein.

My dear friend, don’t let the preachers of ‘gloom and doom’ put you into a tailspin of despondency and depression. 

This is an inspirational year. This is a year where all the inhabitants of the world are aware that G-d is at the helm of our vehicle. 

He and only He is steering.

This year is not one we will forget.

Let us remember it for the awareness of G-d that it brought to the forefront of the collective human consciousness.

Let us remember it for the reminder of our belief in the G-d given Divine moral code.

This Rosh Hashana, the day of creation of Man, we the Jewish people may not all be in Synagogues as we usually are. Lockdowns and restrictions on crowds will keep us away from some of the usual nonessential traditions.

(the hearing of the Shofar being blown in person is the main Mitzvah of Rosh Hashana, it can and will be done this year in numerous venues around the world, here in Bangkok we have a ‘Shofar in the Park’)

But we will be expressing in the most effective and impressive way possible that we believe in G-d and His commandments.

(Click here to the Rosh Hashana prayers (page 17) and you will  see that the central prayer for Rosh Hashana is ‘may everything that has been made, know that You have made it… and may everyone who has the breath of life in his nostrils declare that the Lord, G-d of Israel is King and His kingship has dominion over all’. In light of this, this Rosh Hashana may be one of the most intense ones of recent times).

Let’s be uplifted and inspired to get closer to G-d. 

G-d loves us unconditionally. We are SURE He will give us a good and sweet year. That is why we celebrate with sweet things.

Let us recommit ourselves to fulfilling G-d’s objectives for us. To study more Torah and do more Mitzvahs. To be more forgiving and benevolent. 

As Jews we also have been tasked with sharing the Divine rules of universal morality with the world at large.

If this message resonates with you, share this universal and fundamental message with others.

The message of 5780/2020 in my humble opinion is 

Believe in G-d and in His moral directive to preserve and cherish human life. 

May we merit to complete the Divine mission and usher in the coming of Mashiach.

Shana Tova

Rabbi Yosef Kantor


When Negative is Positive

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

A close friend in Europe sent me a scan of a blood test report he just took.

Negative.

Yep, it was a Coronavirus test. He wasn’t feeling well and went to get tested. He reported back that he has good news. His blood test came back with a coronavirus negative diagnosis.

Negative in this case is positive. So said my friend. Sounds plausible. Finding out that one doesn’t have ‘THE’ virus is good news.

The logical continuation of that should be that testing positive would be negative. 

Is it?

A relative in Denver told me a totally different story. He was diagnosed as positive for Coronavirus a few weeks ago. 

He said that in a strange way he felt very relieved to get a positive diagnosis.

The mental stress was over. Unknowingly to him there was a subconscious anxiety that he had endured for many months regarding the possibility of being infected.

The uncertainty and accompanying stress were relieved with the positive diagnosis.

In this case the negative of being physically ill was experienced by him as being a positive. For it made him stronger in terms of his mental health. 

This is all quite confusing.

Reminds me of the luckless guy who went to the bank to get a loan for a million dollars. The bank manager said ‘we don’t know you, how could we possibly issue you such a loan?’ He exclaimed exasperatedly to the bank manager ‘I don’t understand, the other bank I asked said ‘you? a loan? we know you too well, how could we possibly give you such a loan?’ To get a loan do you have to know me or not know me?’

Is NOT having Coronavirus positive? Or is HAVING (survivable) Coronavirus positive?

The lockdowns and restrictions on travel have a similar double sidedness to them. 

One friend who is retired and travels extensively to visit friends and relatives, complained bitterly about being unable to get away from their home. This friend has a beautiful home in a prime location but is feeling ‘caged-in’ and sorely missing the social benefits that traveling affords them. 

On the other hand, a relative who travels incessantly for her work, and seems to enjoy it, commented to me this it is a wonderful ‘vacation’ to be at home for the last six months. 

As it is the month of Elul, and Rosh Hashana the head of the new year is almost upon us, I am reflecting on the year gone by. Particularly during the last twelve days of the year and now during the last week of the year it is an appropriate time to reflect on how your year went. 

What kind of a year was it?

Spiritually. And materially.

Think back. Since last Rosh Hashana (September 2019). How has your year been? 

It is quite in-vogue right now to be sighing and ‘kvetching’. 

And there is much to complain about.

The world is collectively challenged in a way it has not been challenged ever before. 

(If you suffered personally during these last few months, please know that I am not intending these words to minimize your ordeal or pain. I am intending these words to those who have the luxury of looking at the events of the past half a year from the perspective of being inconvenienced or disrupted rather than pain or danger. 

It is to those of us who have nothing of major importance to complain about, but are swept up in the ‘mood’ of our times of ‘gloom’ and are fixated on the updated count of death and sickness that the media never lets us take a break from, that I write these following words).

Take an honest look at the year that is now coming to a finale.

I think we can all agree on the word ‘extraordinary’ to sum up the year.

It was not ordinary. This year was different beyond recognition than any other year. For everyone and in every place.

However, there have been many silver linings during this cloudy year. Many people have rediscovered their families. It has been a time for many to discover themselves on a deeper level. The acts of benevolent kindness by first responders, by neighbors, by family and friends are inspiring beyond words. 

HUMANITY HAS REDISCOVERED G-D and G-D BASED MORALITY!!!

(I plan please G-d to do a thirty minute online sermon this week on Thursday night 7:30 PM Thailand time, and share what I think is the biggest most wondrous ‘reclamation’ of this year click here to get zoom details).

To sum it up. there have been very very difficult things that have transpired this year.

We would never ask for them.

There have been very very inspiring and uplifting things that have happened as a result. 

We wouldn’t want to lose those gifts either.

The previous Rebbe of Lubavitch was asked after his release from his harrowing ordeal in Soviet prison (where he almost lost his life) how he felt about his experiences. The Rebbe summed it up like this:

‘If someone were to try to ‘sell me’ one moment of suffering like that for a billion dollars I would not agree. Yet if someone tried to buy one moment of my previous suffering from me, I would not sell it either’.

I think this is the answer to the ‘positive/negative’ conundrum regarding catching the virus or not catching it. 

My friend was delighted not to get it. My relative, who did get it, would not have prayed to get it, but once he got it, and passed it, he is very happy that it is over and he can now be a lot more relaxed and a lot less anxious.

What should we be praying for this year?

While we try not to complain about what has already happened to us, for once G-d has brought something upon us, we need to accept it as being for our best and recognize that it is from Him. 

Before it happens however, we ought to be praying and beseeching G-d for REVEALED and VISIBLE good. Good that we DO perceive as being good without needing to resort to intellectual gymnastics. And even if there is some spiritual ‘dirt’ that needs to be wiped off, we beseech G-d to wipe it off with His divine mercies  in a very soft way, rather than with any harshness. 

Last year was wondrous. Extraordinary. It came from G-d so it must be good. But in so many ways it was not the kind of good that we could comprehend from our mortal perspective. 

This year we want it to be wondrous again. 

With one additional but pivotal detail. 

We beseech G-d to make it the kind of good that we can see and perceive with our physical eyes. Things of a happy healthy and prosperous nature.

In the Hebrew I will say it like this:

5780 in the Hebrew is:

תהא שנת פלאות

May it be a year of wonders. That was last year.

5781, this upcoming (next Friday night) year in Hebrew is:

תהא שנת פלאות אראנו

May it be a year of ‘wonders I show you’. i.e. may G-d shower upon us VISIBLE wonders. Visible and comprehensible to all of us. Even from our physical vantage point.

The most awaited for wonder and miracle is the imminent arrival of Mashiach. May he come speedily in our days, AMEN!!!

Shana Tova Umetukah!!!!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

Incredibly simple path to self peace

By the Grace of G-d 

Dear Friend,

In the old ‘normal’, kids hated school.

Not in the new ‘normal’.

My brother runs the Chabad at Temple University in Philadelphia and after four days of ‘in person learning’ on campus, the university management announced that due to high rates of infection they were reverting to online classes only. 

Are the students going home? My brother thinks not. After six months at home they were quite happy to get back to school.

I have seen pictures of nieces and nephews in the USA who have resumed school and they look euphoric.

Kids LIKING school? 

That sounds interesting. A year ago that would have sounded suspicious. What are they doing in school that they like it so much? I am talking tongue in cheek here but I think you get my point.

It is ‘fashionable’ for kids to complain about school.

Hey, our own eleven-year-old, Leibel, started school again here in Bangkok this week. He is very happy to have resumed studying Torah and Talmud with his teacher and classmates in person. 

This example, things we used to think are burdensome, and now we appreciate them, can be extended to many things.

Especially poignant is the appreciation we have for things we once used to take for granted. I met a Bangkok resident who had returned from overseas and spent two weeks quarantined. When I saw him two weeks after he finished his quarantine he still appreciated and enjoyed the freedom of not being holed up in ‘solitary confinement’ in his government approved quarantining hotel. 

Pause. Let this point sink in. How lucky we are to have freedom of movement here in Thailand. Some countries are in lockdown. 

Ironically, during this time period we can easily find many things to be happy about. Even, or especially, every single breath. After seeing so many suffer with their breathing, on ventilators, oxygen or battling the virus at home, we can genuinely appreciate G-d’s gift of natural breathing with a newfound appreciation. 

Gratitude. 

We must rejoice and be gratitude filled to the Almighty for all the blessings that He bestows upon us.

That is the theme of this week’s Parsha that speaks about Bikkurim, bringing ones first fruits to G-d and giving joyous thanks.

(Not everyone agrees fully about my school analysis. Click here to see a humorous alternate outlook how back to school this year is ideal for NO ONE 😊).

****

So Leibel was starting school and my wife was going out to buy him supplies and I decided to join. As Nechama was perusing the stationery section I got bored with looking at pens and pencils and found myself meandering to the books section. The ‘self-help’ section grabbed my attention.

The shelves were full of books with catchy titles. ‘The 5am club’ title grabbed my attention, as did books about not caring about what others say, developing good habits, mindfulness, embracing the wonders around you and it went on and on.

The books were covered by plastic, so I didn’t actually read them, but I got the gist. The 5am one was advocating starting the day early and getting meditation, study, and physical exercise into your day before ‘starting’ your day.

I said to myself, I don’t need a popular author to tell me that. My Creator, in the Torah has already instructed me to study and pray before my ‘day begins’ and to safeguard my life and health which means exercising (in today’s sedentary lifestyle).

The book that talks about not caring what others say, just doing what you know is right for you was also ‘old news’ for me.

For this life-lesson I don’t need to buy a contrarian authors writing. The Torah instructs us very explicitly at the very beginning of the “Code of Jewish Law’ to be ‘bold like a leopard’ and not ‘be embarrassed before cynics or scoffers’.

This is a lesson that needs some borders. Let me illustrate via the following joke. 

A guy goes to the bar and after a few drinks hurls the shot glass against the wall and breaks the glass. After a few repeat episodes the bartender says he wouldn’t let him back in to the bar unless he went for therapy. A few weeks went by and the drinker comes back to the bar. ‘I went for therapy’ he told the bartender. After a few drinks he once again hurled the shot glass against the wall. ‘Didn’t you go to therapy’? asked the bartender. ‘Yes, I did’ responded the drinker. ‘And now I don’t feel guilty about breaking the glass’!

The code of Jewish Law cautions: be bold, but only within the context of ‘don’t be shy or embarrassed before scoffers’ and don’t shy away from doing the right thing even if it is not popular. But make sure not to become a brazen or insolent person by nature. Limit your boldness and ‘chutzpah’ to help you in doing the right thing only without embarrassment from peer pressure. 

The words of King David (Psalms 33, 20) really sum up the key to self-help.

Our soul waits for G-d; He is our help and our shield.

All the self-help books in the world cannot help to soothe the pain or provide inner peace unless they are bringing you closer to your inner self. All the self-help books in the world are human attempts at trying to get you closer to the inner peace we all so deeply crave. Many of them are deep and wise. They can be very helpful and I am not trying to minimize them. 

But they are not Divine. I want to awaken your awareness to the genuine path to inner peace.

Torah is the Divine masterplan. G-d’s communication to us. The Sages call the Torah the ‘building plans and blueprint’ for the world. In other words, G-d so to speak ‘looked into the Torah and created the world’.

The real ‘self-help’ book is thus the book of the Manufacturer of man, the Creator of the universe. 

The Torah? An answer to my search for peace?

Yes.

It is so simple that its counterintuitive. 

In this anxiety laden period, the therapists and mental health professionals are very busy. And sadly, the situation is really challenging and it is only natural that the doctors of the mind/emotion should be called upon. Such huge changes and upheavals in people’s lives are bound to create different feelings in people that they are unused to coping with.

Here is an example of what Torah says to do when facing emotional challenge. The Rebbe answered this to someone in 1951, sixty years ago but pertinent as ever. He was complaining about the possibility that he had a health problem, but it seemed as if his anxiety about his possible illness was more real than the illness. 

After advising the person to consult a medical doctor to ensure that his physical help was being taken care of, the Rebbe continued to the emotional side to guide him to find his inner peace through trust in G-d. The soul of a Jew can only be truly happy when it is fulfilling the reason for which it was send down to the earth. 

In the Rebbe words:

Looking from the inner dimension, you should firmly affix your thought — with the simple faith possessed by all Jews who are “believers, the sons of believers” — that G-d, Who created the world 5711 years ago, creates the world anew each and every moment and conducts it according to His will. He is the ultimate of good and it is the nature of the good to do good. Therefore it is obvious that this includes your personal matters as well. G-d is the Master over your life and your personal matters, and He will lead you to your desired destination. (And the inner desire of every Jew [is to follow the Torah and its mitzvos].

Full letter here. 

My dear friends, it sounds too simple, I know. But absolute truths are quite simple. 

Try it. Start with a simple mitzvah. Performed morning and evening. 

Say the words ‘Shma Yisrael Ado-nai Elo-heinu Ado-nai Echad’ which means ‘Hear people of Israel, Hashem our G-d is ONE’. It is a mitzvah to say the Shema morning and evening. 

Click here to see the text of Shema as well as inspirational and transformations meditations.

Here is a link to self-help in the Kabala online site. The Tanya was written as a guide to ‘self help’.

Any diet or self-help regimen require some form of effort and mindfulness.

Wouldn’t it make such good sense to put forth some effort to connect to your inner self? 

You are a Jew! 

Try to connect to your TRUE you, your Jewish soul. 

One does this by learning Torah and by performing mitzvahs.

Helping others is the turbo charged way to feeling an inner peace.

Let us engage in the ‘three pillars that the world stands on’. Torah study, Prayer meditation and acts of benevolent kindness.

Shana Tova!!!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor









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