On Friday night at Ruach Shabbat I asked everyone to think about one thing that happened to them in the past week that they were grateful for. The reason we opened the service with this is exercise is because expressing gratitude has been found to be spiritually significant. When we express gratitude that is specific and linked to others it has a host of spiritual side effects for our souls.
A Pew study has good news for Jews in pews and dues-paying Hebrews — going to synagogue, or regularly engaging with any religious community, really does make you happier.
Visit Forward.com to read the rest of the article, written by Jennifer Singer on February 10, 20, 2019.
One of my favorite things about sports are the metaphors that are created for me from watching the game. This past weekend watching the Superbowl I began to contemplate how the game I was watching helped me understand the nature of people’s connection to God. A football team is two things at the same time: On the one hand it is a group of individuals with individual characteristics, personalities, egos and skills. At the same time they are a team who function as one unit.
Hillel said: Say not: When I have time I will study because you may never have the time. (Pirkei Avot 2:5)\
Many people believe that the word Mitzvah means good deed. In fact it means commandment. However, I would like to offer that the mitzvot are not commandments but rather are individual indicators of what we are capable of doing and being.
When the Torah tells us not to lie, or steal, or to honor our mother and father, it is not merely prohibiting negative action. It is really saying:
Our bodies and souls are not two separate entities, but a pair that feed and nurture each other. It is always important, from a religious mindset, to remember to not only take care of our souls but to take care of our bodies as well. As we enter the cold season, please take good care of your bodies. Wash your hands, stay home from work if you are sick, and give your bodies the attention they need.
One of our morning prayers, Asher Yaztzar, illustrates why taking care of the body is so important:
When was the last time you just stopped? When was the last time you looked around? When was the last time you paused to take things in? I love sitting on the sand of the beach and watching the waves. Time seems to stop and I am completely in the moment.
This state is known as flow:
One of the proven paths to a happier, more joyful you is through gratitude. Acts of gratitude have been scientifically shown to improve ones overall quality of life (see the research done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons). Please enjoy this weeks Shavuah tov message from Rabbi Paul Kipnes and ReformJudaism.org, as he offers a type of resolution that is sure to make a difference.
Don’t Waste Time Making Resolutions - Instead, Count Blessings
By Rabbi Paul Kipnes, 1/2/19
These lines are all equal; but which one looks the biggest?
What our minds tell us and what we feel are often in conflict with each other.
Are right and wrong subjective or objective states? What makes an act wrong versus justified? This is one of the questions that arises from the holiday of Hannukah. The Jews were living in Greek occupied Palestine. At first life was good for the Jews. Then after a time they were forced to worship the Greek gods and make sacrifices to them. Unwilling to do this, a group of Jews, lead by the Maccabees, revolted.