When Self Analysis Becomes Destructive

It is good to criticize yourself. It is not good to beat up on yourself. The former is necessary for your moral growth, and comes from your soul’s desire to reach higher. The latter is no more than a tactic of the devil inside you, trying to sabotage your life by bringing you down.

The two may seem similar, but in fact they are worlds apart. There are a few tell-tale signs to identify the true source of your thoughts:

Healthy introspection is a deliberate exercise that takes place at a scheduled time of your choosing. You control it, it doesn’t control you. If thoughts of self-criticism come to you spontaneously, unplanned, in the middle of doing something else, then they are just an unwanted interruption to the flow of life, and should be cut off immediately.

Furthermore, healthy self-analysis has a time limit. You can spend ten minutes on it, maybe fifteen. No more. If it goes on forever then it is coming from a place of self-absorption. Wallowing in self-improvement doesn’t improve anyone. If it is endless, it is not coming from a good place. Your inner devil crashes the party and doesn’t know when to leave. Your soul comes with an appointment.

Then, at the end of a good session of introspection, you feel upbeat and positive. You have identified what needs to be fixed and believe in your power to fix it. That is a sign of a healthy self-analysis. But unhealthy self-wallowing leaves you feeling flat and hopeless. There is a twisted pleasure in putting yourself down and making yourself out to be the worst human specimen in the world. After all, that’s quite an achievement. But it’s just not true. You’re not so bad and shouldn’t enjoy thinking you are. It’s just negative indulgence.

Finally, the surest sign of healthy self-analysis is what you do next. If you are spurred on to take action, if you are moved to improve, if you have the momentum to get up and do better, then your introspection came from the right place. But if it makes you feel useless and depressed, inert and lethargic, if you feel what’s the point of it all and why should I bother trying, then you know that’s your devil talking.

So to test the true source of your self-analysis, just ask: When does it happen? For how long? How does it make me feel? And what do I do next? The answers to those questions will tell you whether you are soaring with your soul, or dancing with your devil.

Rabbi Moss and Rabbi Mendel (Menachem) Bluming of Potomac, Maryland

Why Kosher?

You go to a doctor to guide you about which foods are healthy for the body. Which ones strengthen you and which weaken you even if they taste good and the effects are not felt immediately, the doctor knows that those sugary unhealthy foods are not building your wellness.

How do you know what the nutritional needs of your soul are? Do souls even have nutritional needs? Kosher is that diet. Designed for the Jewish soul by its Maker. It nurtures Jewish sensitivity and faith, happiness and connection.

So why kosher? It’s the diet tailor made for your soul by its maker! Enjoy!

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Bluming is a rabbi in Potomac, Maryland since 2000

Got Happiness?

It is a law in the Code of Jewish Law to be joyous during this month, Adar! How can I be commanded to be happy if I am not?!

It takes skill to not notice the many blessings in our lives and in our generation. Yes we have valid complaints but they dare not cloud out our happiness and basic gratitude for the great times that we live in.

Rabbi Mendel (Menachem) Bluming serves as a rabbi in Potomac, Maryland with his family

Comforting Mourners

What should you say to comfort a mourner?

The first law in the code of Jewish law is to just be silent when visiting… and only speak if they invite you to.

Your silence speaks volumes. It shares that you are present and that you are here for them and that you are not crowding them with your agendas or thoughts rather clearing yourself to receive whatever they are up to sharing, if they choose to.

That is true comfort.

Rabbi Mendel (Menachem) Bluming of Potomac, Maryland

Menachem Bluming Muses: What is accomplished by the constant stumbling in life?

Gifted souls enter this world and shine. All that surround them bathe in their light and their beauty. And when they are gone, their light is missed.

Challenged souls enter, stumble and fall. They pick themselves up and fall again. Eventually, they climb to a higher tier, where more stumbling blocks await them. Their accomplishments often go unnoticed—although their stumbling is obvious to all.

But by the time they leave, new paths have been forged, obstacles levelled, and life itself has gained a new clarity for all those yet to enter.

Both are pure souls, of the essence of the divine. But while the gifted shine their light from Above, the challenged meet the enemy on its own ground. Any real change in this world is only on their account.

Menachem Mendel Bluming, RTF and Chabad.org