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Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
The Hebrew month of Adar is beginning. Our Sages teach that when the month of Adar commences, we all should add an extra measure of joy to our lives. Our joy is not only because we were saved long ago in Adar from the plot of the wicked Haman to destroy all of the Jews, but also because we trust that the G-d of our Forefathers will also save us today from Jew-haters the world over, in Teheran and Baghdad, in Damascus and Cairo, in Ramallah and Aza, in Moscow and Berlin, in Paris and London, in Stockholm and Rome, in Pyongyang and Peking, in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York.
I am happy that I can walk around with a long Biblical beard and a big white kippah and not have to worry about getting a beer bottle smashed over my head.
One of the major principles of Judaism is to serve G-d in happiness. A person is not supposed to perform the commandments as if they were a burden, nor out of heartless routine. The Kabbalist master, the Arizal, stated that he attained exalted levels of Divine Inspiration because he performed the commandments with transcendent joy. Needless to say, with all of the trials, pressures, and worries of daily existence, at home, at work, and at the bank, happiness is not an easy state to achieve. True joy is not running from one movie to the next, or buying something new every day, but rather by being happy with whatever life brings, in the steadfast belief that whatever G-d sends our way is for our good. This kind of faith requires hard work and lots of learning, and, for most of us, there are many pitfalls and depressions along the way.
What can we do if we fall into hard times and a cave of darkness where everything looks gloomy and lined with despair? The famed Rabbi Nachman of Breslev has some advice. “Look for a good point,” he says. After all, everyone has something good they can be happy about. Think about your one good point and let the happiness it brings lead you to another good point. Then another. Soon you will realize that things aren’t really so bad.
To take myself as an example, when things get out of hand with the kids, or when I botch things at work, or when I seem to be getting further away from G-d rather than closer, or when the bank manager calls with a warning that I had better fill up the minus before noon, I pause, remember where I am, and say, “Thank you G-d for bringing me to the Land of Israel. Thank you that this test of my nerves is happening to me here in Jerusalem, and not in Los Angeles or New York.”
Remembering this makes me immediately happy. I am happy that G-d led me to realize that Israel is the true place for a Jew. I am happy to be in my homeland, and not in someone else’s. I am happy to hear Hebrew wherever I go. I am happy that my children learn about Avraham Avinu and King David in school, and not about George Washington and the Boston Tea Party. I am happy that they will be soldiers in the Israeli Army and not have to depend on someone else’s army to defend them when the Jew haters get restless again. I am happy to be a part of the colossal historic enterprise of the return of the Jewish People to Israel, a prophecy come true, and to do my small share in the nation’s rebuilding. I am happy that when elections come around, I am voting for Jews, even though many of them may be knuckleheads. I am happy that when I have to pay a traffic fine, the policeman is Jewish and my money goes to the State of Israel. I am happy that the calendar I live by is Jewish, and that when December comes around, I don’t have to see Santa Clauses and mangers wherever I look.
Believe it or not, I am happy to be writing blogs for INN and not scripts for MGM. I am happy that I am a ten minute drive from the Kotel and not a ten hour plane ride. I am happy that I can walk around with a long Biblical beard and a big white kippah and not have to worry about getting a beer bottle smashed over my head. I am happy that I can walk down a supermarket aisle like a human being and not have to bend over and search for little OU’s like an ape.
It turns out that from one little thought, I am happy for a whole lot of things.
If you are Jew who lives in the Land of Israel, you can try this how-to-be-happy technique. If you are a Jew still living in someone else’s country, pretending to be a Frenchman in Paris, and Englishman in London, or an American in New York, if you want to be truly happy, which means being truly a Jew, I suppose you will just have to come to Israel too.
“I want to awaken you to a painful and shocking matter about which many people err. There are many people whom refrain from speaking about these things under the pretext of modesty. May Heaven help us! In such a fallen and licentious generation as ours, where everything is exposed without shame in the open - to speak about holiness and modesty – this is considered an affront to modesty?! Can there be a greater deception on the part of the evil inclination than this?! On the contrary, it is an absolute obligation to speak about these matters in public!”
Today, with pornography available to everyone over the Internet, and with immodest fashions wherever you look, the need to educate people in these matters is even more imperative.
Today, with pornography available to everyone over the Internet, and with immodest fashions wherever you look, the need to educate people in these matters is even more imperative. I have spent a lot of time in yeshivas for quite a number of years, and almost no one talks about the importance of guarding the Brit, which means observing the laws of proper sexual relations with one’s wife, and with one’s wife alone, for all other sexual relationships and acts are forbidden. Sorry, guys, but that’s the way it is. Ever since G-d made an eternal Covenant with our forefather, Avraham, sexual holiness has been the foundation of the Jewish People. If a person doesn’t learn these matters, again and again, the evil inclination is very adept at convincing us that forbidden and immodest behavior isn’t so bad.
Let’s face it – the sexual urge is overwhelming in its power, and it is easy to succumb to its wiles and tricks.
Every week, people with all sorts of very serious problems come to speak with Rabbi Levy, and it turns out that in about seven out of ten cases, the root of the problem is sexual wrongdoing. In one way or another, all of us are victims of the immodest, immoral culture that reigns throughout the world. Today, in the age of the Internet, the plague of pornography has even spread to our homes. Only education can combat it. This is the reason that sexual issues will be addressed in this blog. If our warnings help even one Jew, it is, as our Sages have taught us, as if we have saved the whole world! And if, on the other hand, what we write causes a reader to think about sex in an improper fashion, chances are that it was in his head already. In the meantime, readers can visit our website: www.jewishsexuality.com for in-depth articles on this all-important issue to both the holy Nation of Israel and to the world.