True to mans purpose

Morality and empathy are the building blocks of civilization. By removing or diluting them the foundations of humanity are compromised which starts a process of dehumanization and ultimately leads to the reversal of the hierarchy of living creatures, where man is no longer at the top.
The reason man is on top is because he has free choice. Lesser creatures do not and are in essence more perfect than man, because they are true to their purpose. A simple example would be a lion. This creature cannot exercise its free choice and become vegetarian.
Man, on the other hand, can choose. If man chooses to do what is moral and good (for everyone and not in self-satisfaction of primal desires at the expense of others) despite being able to do the opposite then he becomes true to his purpose and validates his position at the top of the hierarchy of creation. If however, man forsakes morality and empathy for others then he is reduced to the absolute bottom, below lice and vermin who at least are true to their intended purpose.

Reformed Jew or gentile in trappings

Reformed Jew or gentile in trappings? I was recently asked by a gentile (non-Jew) “why can’t all of us (he meant orthodox Jews) just accept these other Jews and their desire to pray at the Kotel, whichever way they want?”…

On the face of it, the question posed is fair and is hard to argue with, because it promotes unity and solidifies a core of any religious aspiration. It is also a question which is hard to answer to a non-Jew because a certain degree of sensitivity needs to be applied, so I did my best in the circumstance and won’t bore you with my reply here, however, it got me to thinking how I would answer a non-practicing or someone who associates themselves with the Reform movement.

I think we need to remember what happened approximately 2000 years ago when some of the cosmopolitan and liberal Jews of the time decided it would be a great idea to welcome new members to gain influence in Rome… Christianity was born.

The Orthodox movement rejected such overtures and did not welcome them into the mainstream, and that is why we have traditional and authentic Judaism today, as well as the centuries of persecutions at the hands of these estranged wannabes. The Reform movement whilst noble in its fundamental ideal of being inclusive, relevant to the times and making it accessible to the wider world in an attempt to break down the historical prejudices against Jews, is, unfortunately, a slippery slope to the complete abandonment of Judaism. Ask yourselves a simple question, what would you call a third generation (I believe I’m being generous here) reform Jew?

I believe if you are honest the answer would be a non-Jew. If the reform movement was an outreach program, which drew disenfranchised and assimilated Jews out into the mainstream Orthodox path, then it would be a movement that most Orthodox Rabbis would endorse. Unfortunately, the Reform movement doesn’t have such aspirations and in many instances, holds their interpretation as the benchmark rather than the compromise that it is.

In this way, it becomes more fundamentally problematic than other religions for the Orthodox world, because the orthodox youth has the perception that these are Jews that live a different life as opposed to gentiles having a different religion. For the record, I’m not some Haredi that sets stones aside for Shabbos altercations, in fact, I come from a family that would insist to go once yearly to an Orthodox shul, for Yom Kippur.

Decisions

Every decision which we make revolves around our balance.

The balance between;

  • what we need and want,
  • who we are and want to be,
  • who we impact and who we don’t,
  • what we desire and repel,
  • whom we love and whom we can’t.

The scary thing is that this balance is inherent and requires little or no effort for most.

We need to stop and consider each aspect of our balance.

We need to analyse why we feel the way we do as much as question the reason behind those feelings.

To be truly honest/loyal, especially with oneself, one needs to question and not be honest/loyal for the sake of it, because ultimately this is the greatest dishonesty/disloyalty.

Sensory palette

Our sensory palette is directly proportional to the range of love and despair which we have experienced. Any colour which doesn’t resonate emotion, by its inclusion or exclusion, is wasted energy and devoid of purpose.

Kudos

The modern office often promotes an open planned environment for a higher level of accountability and productivity. But what it also achieves, is a beehive of politics and competition.

The main interchange is kudos. The sense of respect and overwhelming adoration that most humans crave. A mixture of egos and agenda are thrown together into this slow cooker and over a long enough timeline, varying results are observed.

One potentiality is that, this insular society blossoms into a self-fulfilling and sustaining entity, where juniors are mentored by their seniors. Their instructions are greedily accepted, based on the kudos that they command.

Any such incubatory environments are at constant risk of self-implosion when the elusive element of kudos is lacking.

Such contemplation provides our curious visitor, an entertaining pastime while waiting at reception to meet the owner of this enterprise.

Insomniac blundering

When the sun comes out from beneath the heavy clouds and reflects the earlier precipitation, I think of rebirth and the many varied possibilities that the universe is presenting to us.

We can choose to see it as such and make use of the faculties and abilities which we have been blessed with, or just walk by in our well-practised insomniac blundering.

This is a simple concept to philosophise about, but so difficult to remember, whilst living…

Is life just a string of sound bites?

A sound bite is an interesting concept, readily used by broadcasting types to describe a snapshot of content with the highlights or poignant fact.

This is obviously not a modern concept.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens had a very similar concept “a minimum of sound to a maximum of sense” which he published at the beginning of last century.

It seems strange and unnatural, that life is at times lived in sound bites.

The romantic in us wants to think that they are living (in reality this is only what we aspire to), what we are really doing is plodding along hoping for the highlights and dreading the inevitable lows.

Many years from now, we won’t necessarily remember a gorgeous sunrise or the morning greeting of a loved one. We won’t remember the day we spurned a lover and the look in their eyes.

We may remember an instant of our child’s birth or their first conscious kiss, but mainly these details escape us daily.

We struggle to remember, citing as irrelevant, the constant varying events of our lives which cumulatively form us as we travel, the mundane, the obscure and the truly hard.

These formative experiences do not make it past the cutting floor, they are faded out into oblivion.

So when we review the slide show of our lives we see selective sound bites which often distort the truth into a fanciful HD presentation of the person we would like others to have known. #markbaranov

Without fear

The stillness of the morning just prior to daybreak is palpable.
Those precious moments when clarity feels within reach and your thoughts are succinct.
Now you know what to ask for, without fear and yet, mostly these opportunities are squandered by the premature heralding of the sun. #markbaranov

Variance of love

Love and in-love are two separate yet intertwined precepts.

Being in love is a vapour, an almost spiritual experience which cannot be grasped or quantified and yet it’s presence or lack of, is amply felt.

Love, on the other hand, is a tangible thing, almost solid, it’s represented as building blocks allowing individuals to grow their bond with definitive thoughts, words and actions promoting an ever changing level.

We know that being in-love leads to love, but we must always remember that in order for love to continue to grow, it needs to promote the state of being in-love as well. Both elements are forever intertwined and required in order to attain and maintain this essence of creation. #markbaranov

Printed words

The printed word is hardly ever the definitive truth. At best it’s the writers take on a subject but commonly it’s the writers desire to be published, despite the collateral damage caused by their words.
When a reader aligns with that word without understanding the motivation of the writer, he/she becomes an unsuspecting collaborator and propagator of their motivation. After all you must “Never let the truth spoil a good story” – #markbaranov

Post Truth

The Oxford dictionary has just recorded the word of the year 2016, to our vocabulary; “Post-Truth”

Defining it as;-relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

Without diving in and trying to do mental contortions to understand the subtlety of the political innuendo in this definition, i cannot help but to reject it out of hand.

Truth is truth. Pre, during or post. It is constant, it is indivisible and eternal. Any suggestion that truth is meaniable or is open to subjectivity denies its existence.

Perhaps the chaps at Oxford should consult another word in their dictionary, Oxymoron.

Obligated by GOD to establish our society based on social justice

The tragedy is that Israel is not abiding by its own moral, cultural and religious obligations. It is a national obligation to protect its citizens from harm. If elements are identified within or without which impede on the security of its citizens, then it MUST intervene and resolve the threat.
If a foreign nation attacks, then the solution is clearly defined because the threat is contained and can be directly targeted, however if the threat is from within, this creates a complicated path to traverse.  Nevertheless, traverse it, it must.
The elements need to be identified, contained and removed. This must be an emotionless surgical operation, which is not predicated by world opinions and should not await an improbable, global approval.
The inevitable uproar will be immense and potentially painful, both to the status of Israel as highly democratic society and possibly financially, due to increased boycotts and sanctions. This represents the short term pain, which will ultimately create a society where the citizens are secure, protected and cherished. This in turn will reap a far greater return, than the short term pain and ensure that its citizens are living in the land of milk and honey, which adheres to GODs obligations of social justice.

My one and only

In every single little way,

I’m enamored every day,

By the way you hold your course,

Amidst the turmoil strength you source,

Although our journey may be trying,

Your commitment is undying,

You are my best friend every day,

In every single little way.

Mothers day

On Mother’s Day, we celebrate the person who carried us in her womb and gave birth to us. That in itself would have been enough for a lifetime of thanks. But a mother is defined not by the birth which is finite but by the love, care, sacrifice and devotion that she shows for the rest of her life. That’s the real definition of a true mother.

We err

Mist gathers across the valley in the hours preceding the dawn. It is the time of concealment, where serenity is all but complete and yet no joy can penetrate.
Anticipating the rising sun, energy gathers momentum and the mist thins almost from fear of the coming onslaught and yet the tempreture drops, as the final stand before surrendering to a higher power.
Observing such a morning one sees our own nature.
Man cowers and hides his ambition from a sensible society, one predisposed to political correctness as its only yardstick of humanity. He thinks that no one will see, his snickering and deludes both the surroundings and himself.
As life unfolds, events cause pause and reflection to the inevitability of the failed, delusion of The Creator and yet with his last stand approaching, no bended knee is offered.
We are but, dust and earth striving to show our relevance in a cosmic tapestry which is beyond our comprehension. Such folly is almost whimsical and yet some of our greatest minds are the first to err.

You changed me

From the moment that you came into my life, you changed me.

I ceased to be a boy and became a dad.

You are as precious to me now as you were in the first moment I held your tiny body in my arms. The difference now, is that I can see your inner qualities, which entrench my love even further.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a state of being, achieved by one who can now, allow the forgiven to return back to relationship equilibrium.

The affected party needs introspection to determine the residual effects and negate them, by either re-calibrating their exacting levels of expectation and accept the forgiven for who they are, or come to the realisation that the root cause of the offence is a heightened level of ego within themselves which needs to find hubris.

In either circumstance, true forgiveness can only be achieved when, without altering the state of love towards them, you are able to reset to, exactly where you were prior to the incident.

Divorce

Divorce is an institution designed mainly for the inequitable distribution of assets. The assets of tangible value are the least precious. It is the remnants of a past history, the inheritors, who experience the greatest devaluation and loss.

Ancient history

Ancient history is tantamount to an autopsy.

Dissecting and delving within the very fabric of what has been, establishing the facts and questioning the reasoning is a worthwhile and a fruitful enterprise.
After all how else can we learn about the subject’s successes or failures, in order to move forward and make new history.

Palpable stillness

Stillness of the morning just prior to daybreak is palpable.
Those precious moments when clarity feels within reach and your thoughts are succinct.
Feeling that now you know what to ask for without fear and yet mostly, these opportunities are squandered by the premature heralding of the sun.

Separation

Separation is a word which conjures a breakdown of union, a discontinuance of establishment or hermitism.

The polar opposite meaning is achieved when separation from; the mundane, the harmful, the illicit or the forbidden becomes a human aspiration.

Then it becomes the tool for refocusing priorities, soul cleansing, an admission of moral values and a declaration of love for all that is HIM.

Words and actions

We grow up hearing our parents and teachers giving us directives about how we should behave, yet we rarely internalize and accept those directives unless they are also enacted by those same authorities. ‘Lead by example’ is the moto of the achievers guild. When we see, others do, then we believe.

But what about words which contradict actions. Are they valid and worthwhile? Most would hastily negate their value or at the very least reduce their significance.

This is a well documented and argued phenomena, however, what of the reverse?

When the actions personify love yet the words mar the bliss. On the balance you would have to agree that words are merely a precursor and actions are the essence.

Logic dictates that this is so, yet an ill spoken word can pierce the heart and calcify it.

A lesson learnt by your fellow traveller, is that both, touching words of the most eloquent prose or vile and abhorent utterances are naught in comparison to humane and loving interaction.

Love

Love and in love are two separate yet intertwined precepts.

Being in love is a vapor, an almost spiritual experience which cannot be grasped or quantified and yet it’s prensence or lack off is amply felt.

Love on the other hand is a tangible thing, almost solid, where there exist building blocks allowing individuals to grow their bond with definitive words and actions promoting an ever changing level.

We know that being in love leads to love, but we must always remember that in order for love to continue to grow, it should promote the state of being in love as well. Both elements are forever intertwined and required in order to attain and maintain this essence of creation.

Taking the plunge

‘Taking the plunge’, is an admission of defeat. It means you lack the common sense and medative reasoning to come to a desision  and with lack of clarity decide to do it anyway.

Is there any wonder then, that the expression is oft used to describe nuptials and the outcome is all too commonly, disastrous.

Princess

Before a queen is crowned, she is a princess. Some princesses are given the green light and proceed without merit or support, as bystanders shrug their shoulders in resignation.

The true princess does not need worldly trappings or lineage, because her attributes and qualities are plain to see. She glides through life affecting many with her joy and tenderness, whilst all the while staying true to the only directive from above, loving her fellow man.

Nostalgia

The state of nostalgia, lost life or just loneliness?

 

Watching an old movie or hearing a song which one associates with better times, leads you to consider present life and current challenges.

 

A yearning for a sweeter or easier life, is  a fanciful preoccupation of those that are predisposed to  melancholy  and defeatism.

 

The cure for this condition is to achieve a present reality which makes the old, pale in significance.

Self fulfilling prophecy

Another turn along my path. No crossroads here, no contemplative decisions which need be made, just life.

When does the throat relax and lungs allow a full measure. When will the daily glimpses of happiness,  yield fruit of reflective satisfaction.

Most mornings in that transitional state between the pillow daemons and impending anxiety of the day ahead, you smile  and think, twas only a dream before and I can make my own plans for this day, devoid of mental anguish and full of brilliance.

As you get out of the comfortable folds and take the first few steps, life takes over and you remember the foreshadowed promise of anxiety and realize that your self diagnosed depression is a self fullfilling  prophecy.

 

So being the rational being that you are, you try and break it down. What does one need to be truly happy and devoid of perpetual angst. You soon realize, however, that if only you knew the answer to the question…

 

Ok, so let’s check off the things we ‘have’ and attempt to find the gaps…

 

Good health, check.

Loving and caring family, check.

Great loyal friends, check.

Job satisfaction, check.

Reasonable means, check.

Reasonable intellect, check.

Cultural sense of identity, check.

Religious sense of belonging, check.

Healthy appetite for knowledge, check.

 

As soon as you start this list, you know where the gap is, but you follow through until you run out of the obvious.

 

It’s so blatantly obvious and you knew it from the start, but what to do about it?

 

So knowledge becomes your tormentor, you apply yourself to the task at hand by maximizing your exposure and opening the gates of opportunity. There, they’re open. Now what?

 

It’s not a task that one can unilaterally succeed in. It requires a minimum of two and then is only possible with the satisfaction of mutual, preconceived ideals. This seems a statistical improbability, coupled  with the added complications of unknown variables that form each individual.

 

Faced with the mammoth task of sifting through the unending trove of potential partners, trying to facilitate all your preconceived ideals, it dawns that all you need is to reduce the pool where only candidates who match your list of ‘haves’ above and let nature take care of the rest.

Bitter pill

Humanity understandably, is more involved in the physical rather than subliminal pursuits. We busy ourselves with the mundane to avoid the responsibility of spirituality and soul nourishment.
We forget that we must be true to ourselves and to our fellow man, to understand and then admit that we are ultimately dependents, for all the days of our lives.
It seems a bitter pill to swallow for most, so it’s set aside for retirement. After all we are all powerful and have no need for such frailty now…