Do Your Children Respect You?

It is so natural and joyous to care for our children and yet what a challenge to show that love, patience and care to our parents.

Why is it so? It’s easy to write it off to the ills of our society values and of course there is truth to that but here’s a different angle.

We are all descendants of Adam and Eve, the first human beings. We have inherited from them the basic ingredients of human nature.

One thing made Adam and Eve very different to the rest of us. They didn’t have parents. They were created as adults by G-d, not born as babies to parents. They had no umbilical cords.

We on the other hand do have parents. And we inherit their genes, all the way back to Adam and Eve. That’s why the desire to look after our children is human nature, but looking after our parents are skills that don’t come naturally. Adam and Eve knew how to parent, but they never knew how to treat a parent. This is a skill that we need to learn.

If children are taught to just follow their heart and trust their instincts, then they will do just that. Their instincts tell them to care for themselves and their young, but not their parents.

On the other hand, if we teach our children that they are moral beings, who can use their free choice to go beyond their genetic programming, they can do what is right rather than what feels right, and what is good rather than what feels good. This means honoring the people who gave them their existence; who sacrificed for who they are today.

By Menachem Bluming and Rabbi Moss and Chabad.org

Healthcare Debate in America

The healthcare debate rages on in the country. The costs are so great and they are beyond what many families can afford and yet costs keep on rising and the price tag to society is skyrocketing. How can we leave families without healthcare coverage? How can healthcare coverage be provided in a fiscally responsible manner? What to do?

So here is a word to the wise from the Bible, the Torah (Exodus 15:26) “…if you will diligently heed the voice of G-d, your G-d, and do what is upright in His eyes and carefully listen to all His commandments and statutes, then all of the illness that I (G-d) brought upon Egypt, I will not bring upon you for I am G-d your healer.”

The two parts of the verse seem to be contradictory. If G-d promises not to bring any illness upon the people why then is G-d referred to as ‘your healer’ since a healer is only necessary after one already has an illness? The answer is that G-d is teaching us two important lessons about health and healing: a) the role of a healer is not primarily to heal after the onset of an illness but rather to prevent illness in the first place by promoting healthy living and b) that physical and spiritual health are two sides of the same coin, each as necessary as the other.
This notion highlights a critical calling to the American medical system. There can be no doubt that modern medical advances are astounding and unequaled to any other time and place in the world. Yet, the system still primarily centers around healing illness and not on the prevention of illness in the first place by promoting healthy living. The ideal solution of course would be to create a partnership between doctors, schools and clergy to promote both healthy and holy living.

Creating a health care system where the incentives for both the individual and the doctor encourage proper healthy physical and spiritual living is really the only way to have an affordable and sustainable health care system for all.

Menachem M Bluming

Do You Still Love Me…

If your wife asks you if you love her during a particularly lousy day in your relationship on which you really do not feel the love (to say it mildly)… should you answer honestly?

Yes… and that answer should be: of course I love you! My momentary lapse of feeling due to the inevitable vicissitudes of normal relationships does not threaten the essential foundation of our relationship.

So it is perfectly honest to say “I love you”, even at a moment when you don’t feel it. And an amazing thing happens when you do. Your heart starts to melt. By mouthing the words “I love you”, not because you felt like saying it, but because your wife needed to hear it, you have reached outside of yourself, bursting the bubble of self-absorption that is probably the cause of the blockage in the first place. Now you are open to feel again. It won’t be long before the love starts flowing back, more powerful and passionate than ever.

The same applies to our relationship with G-d. Our soul is connected to G-d, because it is a part of Him. But we often don’t feel that connection in our hearts, because we are spiritually blocked, our hearts are frozen to spirituality. The love is there, just like the soul is there, it is just not felt, not apparent.

We don’t have to wait for those feelings to come in order to pray. It is the other way around, by saying the words of the prayers, even without feeling them, the layers of cynicism and doubt start to melt away and our connection to G-d comes to the surface.

So you can pray when you are not sure you believe it, just like you can tell your wife you love her even when you don’t feel it. Because not so deep down, you really do.

Menachem M Bluming, Chabad.org and Rabbi Moss