Saturday, 30 December 2017

Tikkun Jacob Forum: Making the world whole

Dear all

The following essay below (Subject: FW: What would you do????) shows mans humanity to his fellow man. I use it to ask you all if there is anyone who needs your humanity and support right now in the middle of the worst economic crisis since 1974 and perhaps since the great depression? If so, call them and offer your help without delay. Even if you don't know that they need your help, tell them you are there for them a a friend, 24 hours a day.

I wish you all a happy festive season and no matter what happens in the economy next year, I wish us all G-dspeed as we navigate our businesses, lives and relationships in the troubled waters in which the world finds itself.

We have had our modern day flood of rising paper money, or actually invisible internet money and it has caused massive inflation in stock markets, house prices, and food and cost of living. The illusion that goes with that is of prosperity, but when the dam bursts and the flood recedes, vaste damage is done and seen.

According to Majan prophesy, we are moving from the age of power to the age of ethics. This is actually happening. This can be seen all over the place, but unfortunately not yet by most of our governments who are pumping worthless internet money into major banks and huge car companies who really don't need that money. The people who need the money are the homeowners who can't pay their bonds and tax relief for people who can't afford to buy food or who are out of work. It is not their fault they are in this mess. The lenders have economists, chartered accountants, actuaries, lawyers, and others who know exactly what they are doing. The fault lies with them. There have been warnings that this would happen since 2001. The big three car companies have asked for $25 billion. Why don't their executives who have much more than that in net wealth lend their own money to their businesses?

My new motto is:
Successful people are carbon negative.

Although I'm not there yet, I'm working on it hard and diligently. It's not the usual motto that marketeers use, ie "Successful people drive expensive cars or wear rolex watches."

When you come to my house and see my solar panels, my wind turbine and my power station and you see that I am trying to be carbon negative and may even achieve this status next year, you will know that I am a successful person.

What are you doing right now to become successful?

Are you recycling? Do you have a worm factory? Do you have a grey water system? If you have more than an acre of ground, do you have a black water system? Have you replaced your greater than 2 litre car with a less than 2 litre car? Do you have a solar hot water heater? Are you cooking with gas instead of electricity? Are you installing solar or wind power? Do you switch off your appliances at the plug when you are finished using them so that you don't use standby electricity? Can you answer yes to at least one of these questions?

I will write again another day showing why micro-power is actually more efficient and more reliable and cheaper than huge base load power stations.


Subject: FW: What would you do????

What would you do? make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Sha y ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching
his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

"That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices:
1. Delete
2. Forward
May your day, be a Shay Day.


Tikkun Jacob Forum: Gossip, Lies and The Bible (Shmod 5769)

By David Lipschitz, 15th January 2009, Shabbat Shemot 13th Tevet 5769 (16th January 2009)
6th January 2018 (18th Tevet 5778)

When one writes an essay which uses the Bible as a reference, and if one is Jewish, then one is always meant to refer to the Parashah or portion of the week that we read each week. This week it is Shmot which is very appropriate to what I wish to write about today because Shmot means "names."

Shmot starts with the names of the 12 sons of Jacob who became the 12 tribes of Israel. One's name is all that one has. For someone to slander that name is unacceptable. For someone else to transmit that slander is more unacceptable. One's name is the most beautiful word in the world. One's name (reputation) takes years to build up and can be erased in minutes through careless banter.

Here are some quotes re gossip ("to talk about the private affairs of others") and lying (I equate the two):
Friedrich Nietzsche: I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you;
Mark Twain: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes;
Anonymous: The truth may hurt for a little while a lie hurts forever;
Anonymous: A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.

According to Wikipedia, a half truth's purpose is: "The purpose and or consequence of a half truth is to make something that is really only a belief appear to be knowledge, or a truthful statement to represent the whole truth, or possibly lead to a false conclusion."

According to Handbook of Reason by Dagobert Runes (1972), Lies are described as follows:
"Truth does not persuade by itself. It is not enough to master the truth. Can you interpret it for others? One faces often in life those who are totally bereft of scruples of logic as well as ethics and are endowed with considerable skills in persuasion. Stalin was fully aware that his comrades in arms were sincere and dedicated revolutionaries, yet in order to gain absolute power over the party and government machinery, he was successful in convincing the Russian people of the opposite and even drove his nation to such a frenzy of hate against the 'traitors' that they massacred the most illustrious Soviet Marxists with unparalleled brutality.
"Truth is a poor adversary of the Great Lie on the tongue of the skillful. For that very reason, this our beaten globe is still in the hands of the glib, not the true. Millions of innocent little people perish every decade, victims of hate-mongering perfidy promulgated by ruthless demagogues, and often even the sincerely liberal hearken to the false tunes of propaganda; the still voice of truth and profundity dies unheard in the wind. The Lie travels decked out with the colorful denunciations supported by shrewdly fostered personality cults, with the Truth is offered by the philosophically minded in her unadorned and uncorrupted verity. Perhaps this is the destined role Truth must play out in all times, done and to come, to be protagonist of the Good in the great turmoil of man's existence.
"Truth is a lonely traveller."

NB: If you ever feel the need to tell someone something that you know is going to hurt them deeply or if you are busy telling them and they ask you to stop and to rather meet in person to discuss it, respect that person and meet them personally. Telling someone extremely bad news which hurts them deeply, eg when it puts into question a very close 12 year old relationship, is something that is malicious to do over the phone. The person receiving the news has no one to talk to. No one to fall back on. No one to comfort them. At least if you are together, you can see what effect your words are having on the receiver and so modify the way you are telling them. Or cancel telling them altogether especially if you know that they are currently weak and already recovering from a recent emotional trauma.

Let us consider the Biblical nature of the problem and show that not committing Lashan Hara ("the bad tongue" called "the evil tongue" in modern parlance"), i.e. slander and gossip is actually a commandment which comes before the first commandment of the 10 commandments.

Adam and Eve are told in the Garden of Eden not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and bad. "Their eyes will surely be opened." "Eve saw that the food was good to eat and shared it with Adam." Please note that what happened in the Garden of Eden is essential for our way of life today. A way of life in which we have choice over our behaviour and actions! But Adam and Eve do eat of the tree and because of this, they get the trait of choice which includes lying (a "half" lie to G-d in this case) (Adam tells G-d that he is naked, not that he ate of the tree which G-d had forbidden him to eat of) and their son Cain telling half-truths "I know not; am I my brother's keeper" in answer to G-d's question about where Abel is. (Cain had murdered Abel). From a Kabbalistic point of view the two traits are known as sacred and profane. You can discuss this with me if you wish.

And so we end up with a number of cases in the Bible of people telling half-truths or trying to hide the truths. Each of these is designed to show us what we should rather do in the situations. Each of these was left in the Bible, when they could easily have been left out, to show us that relationships are difficult and that care is needed to ensure that the mistakes of the past aren't committed in our generation.

Unfortunately our generation is the worst since the Garden of Eden. A photo can be taken of a man and women hugging or kissing hello or goodbye or perhaps holding hands. This photo can instantly be transmitted around the world by cell phone, by sms, by Skype, by Facebook, and by other methods of modern social networking. The photo could say that the couple are in love; it could say they have a secret romance. Even if this is untrue, it is "juicy gossip" and so is transmitted from one gossiper to another. By the time it gets to the third or forth person from the original gossiper, it bears hardly any relationship to the original "truth" and has been embellished with more half-truths or blatant lies.

If the Bible shows what happens when we gossip before the 10 Commandments are expounded, then I argue that gossip is worse than idol worship. Gossip is worse than murder. It is worse than adultery. It is worse than stealing. It contains all three of these negative commandments.

If you gossip, you are stealing the right of the party to a fair direct hearing where the two parties involved resolve their issues directly (you can help them as long as you are with them when you tell this gossip/hearsay). You may be maliciously destroying a relationship. You may be murdering this relationship. You are bowing down to the idol of gossip.

Please don't gossip or tell hearsay. If someone tells you something about a third party and it is positive, then ok, but if it is negative, do not listen to it. Tell that person to tell the third party directly! You are not interested in spreading gossip although you might be interested in helping out directly!