The Role Of a Rabbi of-course is to take the ancient timeless wisdom – written by Divinely inspired prophets, from Moses to our Moses (for in every generation, as Kabbalah teaches, “The soul of Moses incarnates into the Rebbe of the generation”) and convey, for a new (who think they are modern…) generation, timeless truths.
A very basic question can be queried – is the Torah (Bible with her tradition commentaries, as we know, the Torah was given as headlines – for example, “To place a sign on your arm” has specific rules (thousands of details that were transmitted orally for 1,300 years until they were written in the Mishna etc.) so are these laws for man or God?
The Medrash (ancient commentary) teaches, the Torah is like a king, who hired a wise old man to teach his young prince – the Torah is God’s manual for life, not because God needs us, but because God loves us.
When you love someone you seek that they should choose – and therefore He gives us both freedom of choice, as well as the most incredible life insights.
Chapter 1 God’s Guide On Managing Self
In order to understand how to manage oneself – without which as Margaret Thatcher said – “Man without religion is a slave to their passions” (as we see God-forbid in addiction) three things are necessary.
1. We must understand who we are.
2. We must understand why we are.
3. And we must obviously have skills.
So to begin…
If we break down man into components (not dealing with body, but soul/spirit) we are a collection of five very different (even diametrically opposites) spirits – drives.
1. The highest drive is our Divine Essence – the spirit which was created by God, and first existed in the sublime world of Atzilus – whose knowledge of her Father is so real and deep… and the knowledge that all else is so fake and meaningless… that like say a prince/ess trapped in a forlorn dungeon, she desperately seeks to return.
2. We then have a unique intelligent soul – this is something humans have that animals do not – we can think (though animals can be very smart – they cannot wonder, question, philosophize…) in fact, as opposed to any other mammal, humans have prefrontal lobes, where deep contemplation, and self-discipline can occur.
3. Like animals, we also have an instinct life-seeking and pleasure attracted to, and pain phobic soul.
4. Now beneath this life-seeking etc. soul, is another essential component of it, namely (we call it ego) the sense of self – you can only seek to perpetuate your life, if you believe you exist – this sense of self is fascinating… for it also creates a sense of entitlement (or lack therefore….) if we feel entitled to something (rightfully or wrongly) we become angry if we don’t get it… (For example, if you walked into the bank and they didn’t give you a thousand dollars, you may not be upset… but if they didn’t give you your thousand… you may be lived!
Now what if they were giving everyone a thousand… so normally you wouldn’t feel entitled to a random thousand… but now that they are giving it to everyone, you do…
Again if they single you out, to not give it to you, you would be probably upset…
This is the very tricky part of life, for we must learn how to split our personality – use the good of the ego and not the bad, as well as how not to allow our ego to hate, but be a force of compassion and selflessness – more on that later…)
5. Finally, each and every one of us has a vile diabolical evil bad angel (we don’t write out what its called…) a Yetzer Hara, who continuously devilishly implants within us desires to distract us – one must be thoroughly aware of the tricks of its trade (revealed primarily in Chabad Chassidus) in order to overcome its many devilish wiles.
2. Why we are here
There is as we mentioned in the introduction, a single reason to why we are here, and that is because God loves.
As our sages teach, “It is the nature of a lover to love.”
As such, it is only natural (like a mother seeks to have a baby) that he bore us – this universe is our home – our parents are in fact surrogates – and into His plan – reality – destiny, we have come.
Ultimately, again as we mentioned, when you love someone, you give them free-choice – there are countless stupidities there to distract, but for those who seek truth – truth will find them.
An infinite relationship with truth/the Divine, and the Divine voice (communication/Torah) will ensue – as one who has the good fortune of being on this journey… there is nothing and I mean nothing in the entire universe that can compare – as the millions if not billions (64% of the world feel they have a personal relationship with God) can attest.
3. The skills
O.K. in the previous two principles I have divulged great summaries of incredible Divine wisdom of who and why we are – it has taken us “plebes” (simple Jews etc.) literally millennia, to have access to such profoundly true and deep Divine insights.
But equally important is now… How?
I recall a Jewish lady, who was into Jewish spirituality and complained, we learn much info. but we don’t learn how…
The first step – again everything I am saying is not my own, but the Rebbe and his predecessors words – to spiritaulity, is the acknowledgement that we are.
So as the Rebbe says, the first step to spirituality is to acknowledge that your Divine soul is God (the way this works is, first God creates from Himself (like a mother birthing) a soul in the sublime world of Atzilus (the highest spiritual dimension) and then He literally (like two flames merging) unites – so you and God are one!!!
The second step in life is to understand that each and every one of us has a Divine mission, purpose, destiny.
Now this exists both on a “global – general” level and a specific – personal level.
On a global level, if you are Jewish, you have been chosen to be a proud torch-bearer of God’s 613 Commandments (you can read my “Meditations For Your Soul” for more on this.) Your soul dances for joy (and hence you too) when you live a Jewish lifestyle.
If you are a gentile, God has given you seven Noahide laws (you can read my “God’s Guide”) for more on this (or go to AskNoah.org.) Your soul will feel joyous when you so do.
On a specific level, within Judaism it will differ, if you are a male or female.
If you are a female, it is as clear as day (which is why darkness tries like insane…) that you are primarily here – not only to do God’s laws, but to be a mother, and as our sages teach “Who is a righteous woman, who does the will of her husband.” And as the Chassidic Masters explain, that hints to “Who gets her husband to have the right will” – women have been graced by God not only with the infinite miracle of being able to give birth, but the subtleties of being able to lovingly hint, educate (exactly as God does… – Great joy is the lot of the woman who bears children, assists her husband’s growth, and has grandchildren, and generations of her spirit, to be proud of… – and great sorrow is the woman who squanders this infinite gift.)
As a man, you have in addition to the obligation to father children, to be a loving husband (more of that in relationships…) the great infinite gift, to be a great light – as men love to share / conquer (and in a positive way, bring light to otherwise dark spots) The Light Of God.
Generally, as the Holy Ari says (the great Kabbalist Master of reincarnation) there are “Masters of Torah,” and “Masters of Good-Deeds.”
The highest level is Masters of Good Deeds – a man who is in the working world, who provides not only for his family but community – who seeks to make the world, that much brighter.
And then there are “Masters of Torah” – people endowed with good minds – philosophical minds capable of understanding, the tomes of religious, doctrine, and philosophy, and inspiring the “Masters of Good Deeds.”
It should be noted that of-course all groups, be they Masters of Torah or Masters of Good-Deeds and indeed women – must engage in all roles (the businessman must study Torah, as the woman – certainly, Jewish mysticism/philosophy and the laws that relate to women.)
Because G-d is infinite, we likewise must continually advance.
Each and every event in the universe, in fact, is a Divine communication – as you start looking, seeking, searching… you begin discerning.
You eventually lead a life in which you can discern – God becomes like a personal guide, which as we mentioned, is His wish.
Now the most important skill of-course is being able to have mind-control.
The whole fad of mindfulness is all about lessening anxiety, which causes the mind to be flooded.
Effectively the mind can be in one of three state – either too calm (sometimes men have this – so there is a lack of motivation) or too nervous (sometimes women have this, so there is more anxiety – thoughts are always racing, for underneath it all, is a sense of panic) or someone focused, but not too fearful – this is the ideal state, where we are directing ourselves.
So to begin with, we need to learn how to overcome anxiety – to overcome anxiety, there are five things.
# 1 As mentioned you have to know that you are Divine – when you both know your mission and do it – or at least try, your sense of meaning, of existence, feels great.
#2 The Holy Baal Shem Tov said, “If you can see the good in the bad, the bad turns to good” – you see, we think that we think, but our thoughts are more like the screen which is projecting our desire – that’s why if you’re hungry or tired you think about eating or going to bed – so once you realize you are in control of your thoughts, then it is obvious that the happier your thoughts are, the happier you will be.
#3 As such, having gratitude and especially (for men) praying all the Jewish daily prayers is a game-changer. Every morning when you wake up, you should count your ten greatest blessings – as the first thought of the day, becomes the daily train of thought.
Also, after every bite of food you take, thank God.
# 4 Ironically a large part of anxiety is existential – we know somewhere in our deepest soul that we are meant to be living a Divine meaningful life, but unfortunately as we are not.. Oy-Vey! – We are actually feeling out of sync, and our soul is crying : ( Though you may not hear its cry, nonetheless this is a reality (in fact, I met a Jew who told me that since the age of five, he heard a cry in his heart, and only when he went to Yeshivah to study Torah did the cry subside.)
So leading a Jewish or Divine lifestyle, is the only thing that can make your soul happy, as is finding your specific purpose.
5. Last but not least we are too locked up – this year for sure – we need to take walks… get into nature – these factors truly matter!
It is also important to mention, that you should not be hard on yourself – guilt is from the Yetzer Hara (remember number five of who we are…)
Guilt is the “devil,” like the Baal Shem Tov gives an example of a conman who wished to get a home – so he went to the wealthy owner and asked him to sell him his home, and he said “no…”
So he then asked him to sell him a room, so he said, “no.”
So he then asked him to sell him a hook, so he said “o.k.”
And every day he would come in and hang daily his coat on his hook, until the man go so frustrated he said, “Take the stupid house!”
You see, if the Yetzer Hara can make you feel depression – which is the essence of the result of guilt – then you become without the drive to fight.
To beat the Yetzer Hara takes a thorough understanding of his tactics, which the Tanya teaches.
As we mentioned, guilt… – never ever feel guilt, unless you are planning on doing something positive. Guilt takes a dedicated time (perhaps also space) in which you decide “O.k. now, I will look at myself and change.” – It is not about regret but result – so if you are feeling guilty, you need to gain control of your mind.
The Yetzer Hara, it goes without saying wants you to fail on your life-mission – obviously don’t go to stupid ideologies, pornographic movies (which all of the media is just about sex) for if you get into this garbage, it is very hard – as your heart can only drive in one direction – if you muddle your desire (and everything that seems attractive, we begin to desire) what will occur, is, you will have less energy to do good.
Obviously continuous Prayer and Torah study is the best way to beat the Yetzer Hara, as well as having a Mashpia – A Chassidic Rabbi or Rebbetzin, who you appoint, to answer questions for your life.
There are no words to overstate this.
I know a young rabbi who is always calm – I asked him “how come?.”
Said he, “The Mishna says, ‘Make a Rabbi for yourself – and have no doubts.’”
Another nasty trick of the Yetzer Hara is to increase your arrogance – if you find yourself feeling too important, lower yourself (remember every sinful and stupid thing you have done…) (conversely if you find yourself feeling to guilty and low, elevate yourself, remember everything good and smart you have done!)
I would also recommend you read my book “Kabbalah Love” (available for free as a PDF on KabbalahLove.org as many good tips for life from Chassidus/Kabbalah are there.)
Let’s now talk about relationships
Relationships are obviously super important – we are naturally social creatures, and we live in times where we should have lots… but unfortunately most people have no friends.
So the simple truth is, you need to see yourself as the one who must make friends.
If you see yourself as the Rebbe teaches us, as obligated to consider yourself only half a man (person) and every other person as your other half, so whenever you meet someone else, you are in fact delighted to meet your other half.
Let’s go through – How God wants many types of relationships.
Marriage of-course is how the husband must treat the wife, and how the wife must treat the husband.
The husband is meant to adore his wife, but respect her like a queen – love without respect is disgusting.
Of-course he is meant to provide, and as is pleasing to both (of-course in the Jewish laws of mikvah etc.) have as much marital intimacy as possible (you can read “Kabbalah on Marital Intimacy” – also an appendix to Kabbalah-Love for more on this.)
Now let’s talk about a wife to a husband – obviously it makes no sense for a woman, as I write in “Kabbalah Love” to “sell” her body before a man “sells” his soul, namely before a man is ready to marry. And as God instructs, we may not have intimacy – one shouldn’t even touch… before marriage. In other words, a woman should cherish her husband, and feel honored – she should conduct herself modestly and with dignity – additionally the great Mitzvah of bearing children and furthermore of inspiring them to be God-fearing joyful Jews (or people) is primarily her duty.
This is a very but succinct summary – additionally, all issues should be mutually agreed to before implementing, for a partnership can only be enjoyable if both are willing to compromise for the greater good.
Children to parent
Of-course this depends on the age, but even an elder person is obligated to respect – similar the respect one gives God (after all they brought you into this world) their parents.
One shouldn’t call them by their first name – one shouldn’t sit in their designated chairs – if they have any difficulty, one should cheerfully assist, and furthermore financially too.
Parent to children
Life is not a democracy, and certainly the home isn’t – the role of parent is to bring up well-adjusted good Jews (people.)
For a child to be well adjusted, s/he needs both love and discipline.
We must realize that as important as a friend is to you – you are to a friend!!
Partners – we must respect our business partners and all people we interact with.
Don’t just get the product and run – have the courtesy to say “hello” and “goodbye.”
Finally, the third area we need success in is health – this is our relationship with our body and the devices in the world around us.
First and foremost we need to eat healthy – as sadness is often a cause for comfort food – do the first exercises…
Generally healthy eating consists of minimizing all sugar, gluten, animal protein (certainly you want it cooked on lower temperature to prevent carcinogens) and increasing fruits and vegetables and olive oil – as a 10,0000 person Harvard study into what has proven the most healthy diet, the Mediterranean, found, that it is fiber that is the key – you should always have a ratio of 1-4or5 fiber, for every carbohydrate (which in any event is simply a sugar.)
Of-course it is necessary to drink eight glasses of liquid daily, and also to get good sleep, app. 8 hours.
Last but not least, we must understand that we are sensitive – I know I am – we are impacted by what we hear and see – if we input positive – THAT’S A KEY WORD, “POSITIVE” AS OPPOSED TO NEGATIVE (NO MATTER HOW JUSTIFIED OR UNJUSTIFIABLE THE MOTIVE SEEMS TO BE – THE POISON IS THE SAME) so if we input positive and not negative information – and if you need a positive spin, just go to Chabad.org and study – there are literally hundreds of thousands of hours of amazing videos, audio etc. from the greatest Rabbis / Rebbetzins, lectures – and by so doing – you will fill your life with joy and meaning.
And the most important lesson for life is, that money, as life, is temporary – it’s what we do with it, namely give it to, that matters.
Do not let the insanity of a culture that has created money as god convert you – money is great when we use it and give it – there is no one who takes it with them.