Rabbi's Blog

The Rabbi's thoughts culled from the "word from the Rabbi" in his weekly email

The big Ten!

In preparation for Shavuot, I was once again exploring the big 10.

Thinking about the 10 commandments they are seemingly quite basic. It's quite simple to understand that one should not murder. Yet, just this week we saw that a seemingly basic moral was violated at Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers were murdered!

During the holocaust, millions of people, Jews, and Non-Jews, were murdered by "cultured" people.

The big ten starts with "There is a G-d". That is the foundation of all morality. There is a G-d that cares about how we behave and that we do the basic things of morality as well as treating our parents with honor. There is no excuse to murder, kidnap, bear false witness or covet.

G-d knows and cares that human society functions in a healthy way. It is the same G-d who wants us not to rationalize why it is "OK" to do these types of things.

If morality is not based on a fundamental truth like G-d, it becomes negotiable.

Have a good Shabbos and please say a prayer for the souls of those who were murdered!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

The ingredients for a splendid day

In a healthy relationship there are a few important ingredients. High on the list are being appreciative and saying thank you, recognizing that you don't always have the answer or admitting to your mistake and saying sorry. 

With these 3 ingredients you can build a beautiful healthy relationship. 

The equation is 

Thanks + Surrender + Confession = Splendor

Today is known as Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer. The energy we are working on is the G-dly attribute of Hod of Hod. The Hebrew word hod (which rhymes with Mode or Road) means splendor. Hod also means thanks, surrender and confession.

Thanks - Like in the modim prayer and the modeh ani

Surrender and confession - When the Mishna talks about one admitting guilt the word used is “modeh”.

The modeh ani prayer is usually translated as I thank you for giving me my soul back. However, it also means that I admit to G-d that You are in control if I wake up and I surrender to G-d, for without His help I cannot take on the day.

With these 3 ingredients I am going to have a splendid day.

This week let’s see how we can implement these ingredients so that we can experience the splendor of an intimate relationship with G-d. 

Have a splendid Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. Download your modeh ani card here

The Power of Words

The words you use have an effect. 

When someone does something that we like and we smile, they react. However, when we show our approval with words, for example, that was very nice of you, it makes a more real impact. 

Think of the anecdote of the couple who went to a therapist. The wife asked why the husband never said I love you. To which the husband replied: I said I love you under the chuppah, if anything changes, I will let you know.

It's not so funny. Yet at times (especially with people we are close to) we forget to verbalize the things we feel, and this causes the positive energy to remain dormant.

When it comes to negativity, we are quick to say something not nice and give that negative energy a place to express itself.

This week, as we read the Torah portion of Emor - which means to talk, let us try to actively express positive words and bring that energy into the world and keep the negative energy from expressing itself in words.

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

B̶a̶l̶a̶n̶c̶e̶ Harmony

I had a meeting with Ivan Misner, founder of the business networking organization BNI. We discussed quite a few things. One of which was balance in life.

He told me that one will never achieve balance. The best you can ask for is harmony. That the yin and yang fit together. That you juggle well and don't drop too much. 

In the Sefirat HaOmer, we just finished the week of Tiferet - beauty.  Tiferet tells us that the most beautiful thing is when you have a diversity that complements each other. Tiferet tells us that with effort you can ensure that all the diverse things in your life, work, family, and spirituality can each be different pieces of a beautiful picture. 

In order to balance it all we need to have something higher that unites all the pieces. Think of it as the purpose of it all. The higher reason why we do what we do. 

To use the example of work, family and spirituality, while each are distinct (and sometimes in conflict) they all are in order to have a life where my purpose in this world is accomplished. At times that means that family takes priority over work, or that spirituality takes priority over family etc. As long as it is in line with achieving my purpose, it creates beauty. 

Have a beautiful Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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