Archive | August, 2012

what gives life meaning?

15 Aug

Louisa’s post corresponds very nicely with the article

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

which, when you look at people and how they lived their lives shows how the bungee-jumping five-star hotel dreams of teens have nothing to do with ‘life’. But then the regrets also show how we are removed from God, the ultimate giver of meaning to our existence.

Yes, as life goes on we see how that which we thought was important fades into meaninglessness and that that we never gave enough importance to turns into our biggest regret. BUT a Godly life and a meaningful life can diverge in very different paths.

I pray that God will continue to show me the true way to life a life of meaning.

אלוהים ואני

אפרופו מישפוח’ה ושיחות יצא לי לשמוע מה בני טיפש עשרה חושבים על המוות: השאלה הייתה מה עושים כשנשאר  רק חודש לחיות?

אחד אמר שהוא לא מת לפני שיעשה קפיצת בנג’י,

השני אמר שהוא חייב לשיר על במה מול קהל,

השלישית צריכה לחוות נשיקה ראשונה,

כולם הסכימו שלא הולכים לבית הספר יותר…

המשחק הלהיב גם את שאר המבוגרים שהצטרפו, וכמובן היה זה שאמר  שהאתגר בשבילו – להרוויח מליון שקל בחודש,

מישהי אמרה שבלי שמלת חופה היא לא עוזבת את העולם הזה,

המבוגר ביותר אמר שהוא עושה טיול בעולם כולו,

ועוד מישהו צנוע אמר שילך למלון חמישה כוכבים ויחיה כמו מלך…

וכמובן שאי אפשר בלי צחוקים על ההזויה שמדברת על אלוהים כל היום [אני!]: אז הסתלבטו עלי שבטח אלך לטלוויזיה ולרדיו ואומר לאנשים לפגוש את אלוהים…

האמת, מאחר ואני משאירה כאן את גופי, אני חוזרת הביתה לאלוהים עם הנשמה, אז היא זאת שצריכה להיות מוכנה:

– אבקש מאלוהים לסלוח לחטא הדבוק בי…

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‘us’ and ‘them’ continued

8 Aug

If I see myself in the eyes of others I can be one thing or another. According to some, I am amazing; independent, fearless, a role model in many ways. According to others I have committed the grave sin of ‘falling short’ in the religious world, I have given my babies to the ‘baal’ of secularism and acted in a selfish manner, blind to the consequences of my actions. Professionally and academically there will be another view altogether. People will look at me according to their world view, their failings, their vested interests. A person who is weak will admire my strength because in me they see what they lack but others, however, might see the complete opposite.

In order to ‘measure’ oneself up according to the expectations of the outside world one has to carry with a variety of measuring devices, depending on who one is talking to. Or perhaps one should simply stop measuring?

This is the pitfall of the religious world, by the way and this is proof in point that religion is man-made, not God-made. It is a mass, organized religion based on a group identity; reinforced with group prayer, learning, celebrations etc. The second one enters the group one begins the process of self-assessment and self-modification vis-a-vis the group. Religious peers are constantly assessing who you are, according to the standards and norms of the group.

The same process of finding a social status exists in secular society, by the way, but there is one key difference. A person with a higher ‘standing’ or with better ‘rating’ in the religious world is called ‘closer to God’  whereas in the secular world he is not. Seculars do not even try and pretend that. But calling a man or woman who has made his way up the religious-social ladder a ‘man of God’ is called an abomination.

And yet, in prayer we supposedly speak to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our real and genuine role-models. And we’ve fallen short. How so?

Abraham – the pioneer of monotheism who risked his life more than once over to speak the truth when the whole world, seeped in idolatry (including his own father) was against him

Isaac – a message from God told him to sacrifice his only son and he was ready to do that. God? Speak? Sacrifice?Do we understand this type of relationship with God any more? 

Jacob – lived in Lavan’s house (treif lemehadrin) for years and yet maintained his intimate connection with God.

What these three patriarchs have in common is the intimate connection to God despite the world around them. Creating a homogeneous world of religiosity was not within their horizons at all.

When I reflect on these paradoxes God shows me clearly how much religion is man-made and with no connection to God whatsoever.

 

Now I feel that questions come up, such as ‘but what about society? Family? If each person lives an individual life with an individual relationship with God what will be? It’s been proven that people thrive within the framework of a society.’

To this I say, there are many things we leave to God and this is one of them. There is one thing that we cannot leave to God and that is our relationship with him. A relationship is not self-running and self-regulating. It takes work. The miracle of a relationship with God is the minute we give, we get back.

 

So back to the topic.

 

I am a person of inherent value because I am a child of God. God loves me, knows me better than anyone else and He holds me in his arms and binds me with his love. His gifts are priceless, because they are tailored to me, the child he knows more intimately than anyone else, for my growth and my ultimate good.

I am not ‘good’ because I am gifted, self-confident, good-looking, wealthy or anything else. I am a child of God, with a soul and a will to connect with Him (though I’m not always successful, I admit). This, rather than the approval of those around me, is what gives me peace because this is not an arbitrary, but eternal truth.

am I different to anyone else?

7 Aug

“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

― Aldous HuxleyPoint Counter Point

The world out there is really not in a great state. I thirst for a meaningful conversation who things further than his own ego. I see around me, the chilonim in their chiloniut (secular in their secularism) and the datiim in their datiut (religious in their religiosity). 

When I belonged to the religious world, when I saw things I didn’t like, for example, extremism, insularism, self-inflicted poverty etc I used to say to myself smugly ‘At least we’re not like them.’ Looking at the problems of crime, drugs and prostitution, lack of family life etc I would be able to turn my head away from the deep cracks within my own community.

And now? Now I have finally broken the chains of religiosity and can look at the cracked paintwork of the religious world and genuinely thank Hashem for freeing me, where does that leave me? Who am I, without a doctrine, unnattached to secularism and with a few spiritual friends who think like me? Just because I know and hear the presence of Hashem in my life, just because I have the clear vision to see the Lie as it is, does that make me any better than the seething masses out there?

Hashem gave me an interesting answer:

לזהב במשקל לזהב לכל־כלי עבודה ועבודה לכל כלי הכסף במשקל לכל־כלי עבודה ועבודה

Of gold, by weight, for the vessels of gold, for all the vessels of different uses; and silver for all the vessels of silver by weight, for vessels of different uses;

The question is not ‘Am I better than anyone else?’ , instead it is ‘ Am I better to God than anyone else.’

My life is a quest to seek and serve God. God has a mission for me, and every day I hope he opens my eyes to it, that I can serve him as pure of heart. Gold and silver are measured by weight and by purity, Gold and silver have uses in the Beit Hamikdash. Whatever I have, whether it is wisdom, insight or truth or even tears, struggles and longing, I have to give to to Hashem, for that is where it belongs.

Sometimes there are questions that aren’t. Does Hashem care about better, not better? Or rather does he want the ‘zahav’, the purity of heart and intentions DESPITE the world around, inpenetrable to the world for Him and His plans.

To do or to be

4 Aug

Today’s thought……

We are so automatically pre-programmed to DO. We always want to know what we should do, how, when etc, we even spend our lives running to people in order that they should tell us what to do.

But what if we were to ask God bout our doing and he would say ‘you’ve got it wrong! Stop doing and start BEING! Be with Me in everything you do, with a pure heart, in spirit and serenity. The doing will follow.’

 

 

save me from my enemies

3 Aug

Dear God,

Today, like every other day I ask you to save me from my enemies. The enemies that live inside me, that demonize me and attempt to snuff the living breath out of me. Because when I cohort with them, I cease to live and to appreciate each moment of my life that you have given me. My enemies are as follows

Mr. Fear

Mr. Self-Doubt

Mrs. Guilt

Mr. ‘You’re not good enough’

Mrs. ‘But what if…..’

Mr. Worry

Mr. Anxiousness and worst of all Mrs. ‘You have to do something otherwise it will all fall apart!’

My God, all I want to do is connect with you, feel you hold my hand like a baby taking its first steps, feel the calmness of your presence and have ever-deepening faith in you. Please don’t let my enemies drag me away from the peace of your presence like a wild pack of wolves.

 

thank you