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Category Archives: Religion vs. Spirituality

Easy Money – Chapter III

Every once in a while, I am going to post a chapter from a publication that the Breslov community in Brooklyn puts out which is based on the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.  I will add my two cents on the bottom of the post and those of you who have a few more cents to add….please feel free.

Even though Rabbi Nachman was a Hasid, his teachings are applicable and potentially valuable to all of humanity

Visit my post “The Unique Teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov” for a little introduction to who Rabbi Nachman is and why he is special.

Here are links to the first two chapters:

Easy Money – Chapter III

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Celebrity Priests and Rabbis…..The Kim Kardashian’s of Religion

I’ve got to gripe a little here.

If you are reading my blog for the first time….I was at one time in my life an Orthodox Jew.

I respected my faith very much and I had fear that if I didn’t follow the ritualistic protocol of Judaism, I believed that I was going to be “punished” by the One Above.

I also believed that if I am going to be punished for not being a “good” Jew, then other people that are not “good” Jews will also be punished.

I have gotten older and a little more mature and I realize now that I may have been wrong about this childish view of G-d.

As an adult, I realize that we cannot tell another person what G-d wants from them, because we are not G-d and to dare insist that we are sure that another person is going to “Hell” for their deeds…..is quite presumptuous.

But……since I have come to this realization……I have a hard time with Rabbis and Priests that claim to know what G-d wants from all of us.

And, apparently they know that G-d wants the same thing from everybody…… G-d wants all of us to fear Him.

Let me tell you why I think this is blasphemous.

Note: Since I can only discuss Judaism, because I am Jewish, I have no choice but to limit my gripes to the Rabbis that do this and what kind of negative impact they have on the Jewish community as a whole.  I cannot discuss other religions, however, that does not mean that this does not occur within other religions.  I want to clearly state that I am not under the impression that Judaism is the one and only religion guilty of what I am about to rant about.

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What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You

Everyone has heard the saying “what you don’t know won’t hurt you“……..

But….is this really true?

I know someone who makes a lot of money on the premise of this phase.  He provides a service to people that call him because they need someone to make their living environment a healthier place to live in.

This person does absolutely nothing right in front of their eyes, but convinces them that he has just saved their lives and the lives of their babies and walks out with a check for thousands of dollars.

When I ask him how he feels about steeling money from people daily, his answer is that the customers are happy with his services and can sleep better at night and therefore he deserves the money that they are willingly paying him.

What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

In this case, it even helps them.

Yes, there are cases that lying becomes a critical problem for the person lied to and the liar, but the consequences end up being an appropriate punishment which fits the crime……I am not talking about these cases.  These cases take care of themselves.

My question is how bad is lying, when the lie doesn’t hurt anyone and no one is the wiser to it?

In my opinion, very, very, very bad.

And….not because it is “bad” thing to do.  Sometimes lying has no bad intentions behind it.

I believe that untruths are bad because they are not real.

By lying, you are contributing untruth to the world.

Untruths are fictional.

Fiction is fantasy.

Believing in fantasy is the same as being “crazy”.

Let me put this in another way……

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Easy Money – Chapter II

Every once in a while, I am going to post a chapter from a publication that the Breslov community in Brooklyn puts out which is based on the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.  I will add my two cents on the bottom of the post and those of you who have a few more cents to add….please feel free.

Even though Rabbi Nachman was a Hasid, his teachings are applicable and potentially valuable to all of humanity

Visit my post “The Unique Teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov” for a little introduction to who Rabbi Nachman is and why he is special.

Easy Money – Chapter II

Despite the prevailing notion that there is no place for virtue in the competitive world of business, still making a good living means making an honest living!  For success of any lasting value has to be legitimately gained, and not acquired at the cost of your beliefs and ideals.

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The Unique Teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Even if you are not Jewish, I highly recommend taking the time to read some of his teachings, because, although they were written in the middle of the 19th century, the message of Rabbi Nachman’s teachings are still applicable today.

If you want to skip this little introduction to who Rabbi Nacham is and why he is special…you can go directly to the first chapter that I have posted. “Easy Money, Chapter 1“…otherwise keep reading.

Rebbe Nachman, a great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism, breathed new life into the Hasidic movement by combining the esoteric secrets of Judaism (the Kabbalah) with in-depth Torah (Old Testament) scholarship. He attracted thousands of followers during his lifetime and his influence continues until today.  Rebbe Nachman’s religious philosophy revolved around closeness to God and speaking to God in normal conversation “as you would with a best friend”.

Rebbe Nachman lived at a time of controversy between Hasidim and more traditional Orthodox Jews, known as Misnagdim (opponents) for their opposition to hasidism. It was also a time of friction between Hasidim and proponents of Jewish emancipation.  During his lifetime, Rebbe Nachman also encountered opposition from within the Hasidic movement itself, from people who questioned his new approach to Hasidut.  Many within the Hasidic movement felt that Rabbi Nachman’s teachings deviated from classical Judaism and from the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov.

The reason that I chose to write about this particular Rabbi (spiritual leader) is because I feel that his influence set the stage for a different understanding of God and our relationship with Him.

In fact, the primary commandment (or mitzvah) that Rabbi Nachman stressed was the mitvah to be happy.

If you have read any of my other posts, you might know that I was once an “Orthodox Jew”, but because I felt that there was too much contradiction within the community and logic did not override ritual…I made a very difficult decision (which took a lot of guilt and pain to come to) to discontinue my affiliation with “Orthodoxy”.

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Calling All Atheists

Honestly, I am intrigued by how proclaimed atheists think

I understand that it is very hard to believe that we were sent to this earth to live in misery and then get punished some more afterwards by what religions call a “merciful” G-d.

I understand the need to feel that we have some of our own power and the opposition to putting all of one’s faith in a power other then themselves.

I understand the discrepancies that exist within organized religion that might make someone uncomfortable with the entire movement.

I understand the need to incorporate tangible reality, like science and history, into the concept of life as we know it as well as what is not known.

I understand the need to dismiss the idea of a Being that we can’t see that we are to be submissive to.

I understand the idea that it may appear that humans may have concocted the entire idea of a “God” in order to maintain control of the masses.

I understand that religions tend to dismiss obvious realities (dinosaurs, evolution, big bang theory, the age of the earth etc..) based on Biblical teachings and that just does not make sense.

But what I don’t understand is how atheists come to a solid conclusion that there is no such thing as The Life Force of the Universe…..

How can a person be so sure that there is not an original, a first and only one force (energy) in the Universe that ALL OF US came from.

This theory does not contradict reason in anyway.

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Trust vs. Faith

I wanted to talk about this because I feel that sometimes we get confused about the difference between these two words.

You cannot have faith in something unless you trust it first.

We can learn a lot from the story about the Manna, an edible substance that God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert according to the Bible. (Book of Exodus)

The Israelites were instructed by Moses not to save their daily portions of Manna (except for the double portion that fell before the Sabbath) because it would rot and become inedible.

Believe it or not, despite the fact that the Israelites must have witnessed incredible miracles throughout their exile from Egypt, some of them still did not listen to Moses’ instruction and tried to save the Manna for the next day.

These Israelites clearly did not trust that the Manna was going to fall and, therefore, suffered from fear – which is lack of faith.

They feared that they would not have food the next day and they possible did what most of us nowadays do…tossed and turned all night worrying about not doing the right thing, but at the same time not trusting that there will be enough tomorrow.

If we trust in somebody (or something), we can relinquish the fear of not being able to trust and we can submit to faith.

Faith allows us to move along life without carrying the burden of fear and discontent.

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