Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Times Men Are Allowed To Cry

When you're a soldier in the Civil War and your leg gets blown off by a cannonball.

When you manage to mow your lawn in perfectly straight diagonal lines.

A toddler just performed a double knee drop from the arm of the couch onto your stomach.

National Anthem or Hatikva is sung.

You or a family member is featured in Mishpacha or Ami

Your wife is giving birth, but the hospital cafeteria is closed, and you've been awake for like 20 hours and all the vending machine has is Veggie Straws.

Your flight is delayed. 

They wake you up on the plane to daven but you already davened. 

The Chazan didn't sing Chamol.

The Chazan sings a beautiful Chamol. 

Smoking a cigar while the sun sets on your kids playing in the freshly cut grass and the chickens peck at the feed and the smell of home-cooked dinner comes wafting out the kitchen windows.

They announce in shul on Shabbos that there won't be a kiddush today after davening. 

If you're a Chicago Bears fan.

After the 17th speaker at a simcha gets up to speak. 

At your child's wedding.

At your wedding. 

At your funeral. 

Lulav Hagazul On Yom Tov Sheni

Social media is ABUZZ with the question: When is *that dude* going to give shiurim on Lulav Hagazul on YT Sheni?? Or is he? is it fake or real news?? All the pundits are weighing in. 

Well - HERE IT IS!!!  😊😊😊

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

ושמחת בחגך

"Doc, I just want to be happy.” It’s what my patients tell me all the time, usually at our first appointment. We spend some time on that, because happiness is complicated. We feel like it’s an end point to strive for, but aiming for it generally leaves people tired, frustrated, and…not happy.

Instead, I encourage people to focus on feeling fulfilled. Unlike happiness, which is fleeting and difficult to attain, fulfillment is a state of being that is all about accepting who you are, being grateful for what you have, and remaining optimistic about the future. Side benefit: You may find happiness as you seek fulfillment. And fulfillment is actually easier to achieve—especially when you let go of the following myths about happiness.

Happiness Myth: Big Wins = Huge Joys

Who doesn’t want to earn the promotion and the raise, or to always have the time of their life? There’s a name for that. It’s known as hedonic happiness, and it’s the kind of happiness that focuses on experiencing pleasure. Hedonic happiness feels so great that it can become addictive. But like any high, it wears off, and chasing those experiences again and again can leave you feeling empty. That’s what was happening with a guy I’ll call Eric, an engineer in his late 40s whom I met at a party a few months ago. He graduated from an Ivy League school, lived in an expensive house, and was married with two sons. “Last year, I thought, I’m living my dream life, so now what?” he told me. He was looking for the next big win.

When it comes to living a fulfilled life, winning bigger isn’t always winning better. Small wins—the things that no one really sees but that make you feel good—can help you find more gratitude for what you have today and help you become excited about what’s next.

To figure out what yours might be, ask: What would I be doing if I didn’t have to compete, move ahead, or get other people’s attention? It could be anything from spending more time with your kids to taking care of yourself by going for a run at the end of a long day. For Eric, having quality time with his boys helped him feel grounded, and he eventually realized that being a good dad made him just as happy as being a successful engineer. So he shifted his goals to wins that supported that, which meant setting boundaries around work by reserving weekends for family time. When you’re as intentional about winning small as you are about winning big, you can bring yourself closer to fulfillment.

Happiness Myth: Your Past Is Your Future

I see lots of patients who are experiencing depression, anxiety, or PTSD because of something someone said or did to them years—or even decades—ago. Grudges and regrets can get in the way of feeling fulfilled. How to know if you’re carrying them: If you think about your past and feel your heart racing, or if you get annoyed when reflecting on a missed opportunity, you’re probably living with regret. If you avoid the person at your office who got a promotion instead of you, that’s a grudge.

With either, the way to get out of your own way is through forgiveness. That doesn’t have to involve telling someone you forgive them. It involves being able to think about something from your past that would normally make you feel sad, irritated, or angry and, instead of reacting emotionally, finding value in the experience. Having regrets about a marriage, for instance, might give you a chance to practice identifying toxic relationships early on. Holding a grudge because someone took credit you deserved could help you see yourself as a resilient person. Forgiveness can also include learning not to blame yourself for what happened to you. This allows you to appreciate who you are today—important for living a fulfilled life.

When we were all staying six feet apart and celebrating holidays on Zoom, it made sense that many of us felt lonely. But almost 60 percent of men are still dealing with that feeling. Chronic loneliness can be hard on you—it can lead to depression and an increased risk of dying early.

In the past, I’ve encouraged people who are feeling lonely to reach out to others. Indeed, if you’ve spent several weeks isolating, feeling down about yourself, or struggling to connect when you want to, then get in touch with people (or a mental-health provider).

But I’ve also come to see that loneliness isn’t always that terrible. We learn a lot about ourselves from it. Being lonely every once in a while is an inevitable part of life, and understanding how to feel comfortable being alone can bring fulfillment. For instance, take advantage of the time away from people to try a new hobby, focus on what you’re grateful for, or plan the next chapter of your life. It can be key to understanding what fulfills you.

Happiness is an emotion, and by nature, emotions come and go. But fulfillment is a state of being that you can achieve regardless of how happy you are (or aren’t). With a little time and practice, you can find your way to a more fulfilled life.

The Torah's Advice To Create The World

 וענין שמחת תורה כי התורה שמחה עם בנ"י. דאיתא במד' ואהי' אצלו אמון אומן שהתורה יעצה לברוא העולם. כמ"ש בראשית בשביל התורה שנק' ראשית ובשביל ישראל שנקראו ראשית. וכל שורש הדין בר"ה וביוהכ"פ הוא לקיום העולם כפי עבודת בנ"י. ולכן כשזוכין במשפט והקב"ה מחדש עולמו התורה שמחה. וכמו כן בודאי עכ"פ עיקר השמחה מכח בנ"י. שאין מי שמקיים תורה ומצות בעולם כבנ"י ולכן יש לנו לשמוח בשמחת התורה:

Simchas Torah means the happiness of the Torah. The Torah is happy b/c it gave the advice to create the world [that is the meaning of the Chazal that Hashem looked into the Torah and created the world] and now after the Yomim Noraim and forgiveness, the advice to create the world is vindicated [b/c we are keeping Torah] and the Torah is happy that it's advice will carry on. We rejoice together with the Torah in its happiness. 

Kinah Taava And Kavod

 ג' רגלים בכל לבבך נפשך מאודך. בפסח נגאלו מיצה"ר. ושבועות הרגשה בנפש נפשי יצאה בדברו. ובסוכות מאודך צא מדירת קבע כמ"ש ז"ל שלא לסמוך על ממונו ובנינו רק לבטוח בהשי"ת. וכן חיבת ענני הכבוד הוא חיבה יתירה כענין העשירות שחוץ לגוף. וכעין זה שמעתי ממו"ז ז"ל אשר ג' רגלים נגד קנאה ותאוה וכבוד. והוא ג"כ כנ"ל. קנאה בגוף כמ"ש רקב עצמות קנאה. ותאוה לנפש. וכבוד חוץ לגוף כנ"ל:

בכל לבבך is Pesach when we were redeemed from the bodily desires of the Yetzer Hara [chometz]. בכל נפשך is Shvuos when our souls left our bodies when we received the Torah.  בכל מאדך [all of your money] is Sukkos when we leave our comfortable homes and dwell in our temporary dwelling places made of flimsy material and place our trust in the Almighty. 

ענני הכבוד show Hashem's love for us and is outside our bodies like wealth. 

קנאה תאוה וכבוד take a person out of this world. The tikkun is פסח for קנאה which connects to the body and rots the bones [Mishlei 14-30]. שבועות fixes תאוה which is a desire of our life forces' [נפש] vitality. Shvuos fixes our life [בכל נפשך as above]. סוכות fixes כבוד which emanates from outside the body. 


 שמחת תורה הוא לשמוח במה שמקבלין דברי הקב"ה. כי עיקר פי' תורה הוא הלימוד מה שלא ידע עד עתה. ואף כי פשוט הידיעה נותן שמחה. אבל בנ"י שמחין בביטול ידיעתם רק לדבר ה' אף שאין מובן להם. וכ' תורה צוה לנו להיות דבקין ובטלין לחיות התורה. מורשה אחז"ל אל תקרי מורשה אלא מאורסה. וגם ארז"ל אינו ירושה לך. ודאי מי שהוא בכלל ישראל בודאי נאמר מורשה. אבל אין האדם יכול לבוא אל בחי' זו רק כשמתקין עצמו להיות בטל לכנס"י כמ"ש קהלת יעקב. וכפי היגיעה זוכה ג"כ בדרך ירושה ומתנה. [שפ"א תרל"א] 

We are happy to nullify our own understanding of Torah in order to see things from the viewpoint of Hashem. 

Torah is an inheritance "מורשה קהילת יעקב" - but only if one nullifies himself to the Jewish people - "קהילת יעקב". Otherwise it is not an inheritance, as it says in Avos "אינה ירושה לך". 

The more we toil - the greatest the gift Hashem will give us beyond our toil.  

Benefit The World

 I was speaking publicly in a Charedi neighborhood and quipped that the only people in the neighborhood who aren't called "Harav Hagaon" are the women and children. 

A lady with more feminist predilections heard me and told me afterwards that today woman are becoming rabbis and teaching Torah too. [She was bothered that I excluded women from being called Harav Hagaon.] This for her is a wonderful development. It is not enough to be a feminist, she asserted. One should also do good in the world.

So, I responded, it is not enough to be a feminist. One should actually do some good in the world. 

She agreed. [I of course meant something very different from what she was saying...].