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Am I Old Fashioned?

hangouts-11-copy.jpgThis week my daughter accused me of being old fashioned and I was genuinely flabbergasted! You see, her bunk-mates from camp are keeping in touch via Google hangout and social media, which I do not allow my daughter to use. I strongly believe that a 10-year-old should not use electronic devices, have Snapchat, Instagram or even her own email address. So I told her she is welcome to pick up the phone to call her friends and actually speak to them. I also compromised by allowing her to text with them once a week from my phone for a specified amount of time.

This led to her calling me “old fashioned.” She told me I grew up in a different generation and I have to live with the times. It’s 2016 now!

When I heard that, I was shocked. I’m only 38 and I consider myself extremely young and “with the times.” But my daughter gave me a reality check, and in a way she’s right. When I grew up in the 80’s, we didn’t have cell phones or internet, let alone Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Maybe I do come from a different generation.

I wonder what my children’s children will say about their parents. What kind of advances will the world have made by then?

It’s true, times are changing. Each year we make tremendous advances in science, medicine, and of course, technology. Just think about all the exciting things that have happened in 2016 so far:  Juno successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit, a British couple managed to clone their dead dog, and the world’s first baby with three biological parents was born. And that’s barely the tip of the iceberg.

We are about to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, when we go back in time and relive the creation of the first human. Times may be changing, but as Jews our Torah, our tradition, and our G-d does not. It does not matter if we are living in the 1500’s or the 1800’s or 1980's or 2016 or anytime in the future. It’s the same Torah, the same G-d and the same Rosh Hashanah. 

Rosh Hashanah is one thing that has never changed throughout the generations. No matter where a person may find himself, no matter what modern times may bring, we still sing the same tunes, pray the same prayers, and talk to the same G-d.

Rosh Hashanah is a time to come back home and do things the old fashioned way. So this year, as you prepare to celebrate the holiday, ask yourself, “Am I old fashioned?”

I know I am, and I’m proud of it!

How can I say no to my daughter?

Screenshot 2016-09-22 at 3.43.12 PM.pngA few weeks ago I went to a store with my two year old daughter Sara. I paid for the items that I needed and was heading out the store. As I was walking out my daughter noticed a tambourine. She picked it up and loved the sound that it made when she shook it. She asked me if she could have it and I said no. I told her to put it back on the shelf and she refused.

I asked her again to put the tambourine back and she just sat on the floor with her arms folded.  

She continued to insist that she really wanted it. I tried to reason with her but to no avail. She was adamant that she wanted that tambourine.

Finally, I told her there is nothing more to talk about and we are leaving. That is when she started to cry. 

When I saw those tears come down her cheeks there was absolutely no way I could resist my adorable daughter and so she got her way.

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In just a few days Jews worldwide will celebrate the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This is the day that G-d judges the entire universe. We recite in our prayers on Rosh Hashanah “Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the destinies of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.”

It is the day of our judgement. Who will live? Who will have health? Who will have wealth? In fact how much money a person will make is determined to the penny on this holy day.

G-d loves every single one of us more than I love my own daughter and so If I cannot say no to my daughter’s request, surely our Father in heaven cannot resist our supplications.

When we blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah it is a cry from the depths of our heart and G-d will surely bless us all with a good, happy and healthy new year./

It’s up to us! All we need to do is ask G-d

Shana Tova!

Release Your Medical Records!

medical-records-request3.jpgAmerica is 53 days away from electing the most powerful leader in the world, and people are demanding answers about the health status of the candidates.

In order to make decisions that impact the entire world, day after day, a person needs to be healthy. As voters, we need to be certain that the person we choose will be up to the task, both mentally and physically, for the next four years.

Both Hillary and Donald have promised to release certificates from their doctors detailing their health and confirming that they are healthy enough to become the next president.

What about us?

Are we healthy? Spiritually healthy? When was the last time we checked in on our spiritual wellbeing and relationship with G-d?

The same way we demand our presidential candidates complete a health check, we need to evaluate our own health.

What is the status of our observance? Are we finding time daily for Torah study? Can we increase the amount for improved health? Are we lighting Shabbat candles every Friday night? Where are we up to with kosher observance? 

We’re so concerned about Hillary and Donald, but can we produce a certificate from our Rabbi’s guaranteeing our own spiritual health?

The president of the United States is given the awesome responsibility of leading the free world. We too, have a pressing and monumental task—to be a light unto the nations. We are on a mission to make this world a better place by spreading goodness and kindness all around us.

Are we doing our job? Are we keeping ourselves healthy enough to maintain the spiritual stamina we need to complete the task?

We are currently in the month of Elul, which leads up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. We have 18 days to ensure that our spiritual records are up to par, so that when we pray, “Who will live and who will die?” we will surely be granted many long and healthy (physically and spiritually) years.

May you be written and inscribed for a good and sweet year!

Rabbi Uriel Vigler

Breaking News: The President is in Town!

Elul.pngHave you heard? The President is in town right now. You don't believe me? Hurry! Go and see for yourself!

Not only is he here, but he’s not surrounded by body guards and secret service personnel like he usually is. In fact, none of his staff are hovering around him at all, and there isn’t even a line to see him. You can simply walk up and chat. He’s calm and smiling and open and happy to see anyone. He wants to hear from the people—what’s working and what isn’t, what’s making us happy and what’s troubling us, our difficulties and our triumphs.

Of course, the President we’re talking about is the President of presidents, the King of kings, the Almighty G-d Himself.

The Alter Rebbe, author of the Tanya, revealed to us that during the Jewish month of Elul G-d is “in the field.”

When a king is in his palace, on his home turf, he’s much less accessible. One needs to make an appointment, wait months, and deal with the surrounding personnel—and that’s only if the person is lucky enough to get in at all! But when the king travels, he wants to meet his subjects and talk to them. There are fewer barriers, and people can approach him at will.

Likewise, year-round G-d is at “home.” He’s available but more distant. We have to work harder to reach Him. But during the month of Elul, he is “in the field” so to speak, waiting for us to approach Him.

Unlike the President, who, let’s be honest, cannot really help us with our problems, G-d can. He and He alone has the ability to relieve our stress, resolve our personal troubles, and help us with our livelihood. He can help when we’re feeling lonely or depressed. He can guide us with our health issues.

So, no, this is not a “bait and switch” title. The President really is in town.

Because we are naturally materialistic, you may think I fooled you. We can only relate to what our physical eyes can see, and they can only see a physical President.

But nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing real in our lives is spirituality and G-dliness. And in this month G-d is in the field waiting for us to talk to him. You cannot see Him? Well, stop chasing money and materialistic pursuits for five minutes a day this month and use that time to tune into G-d. Open your heart to Him. Talk to Him. He is listening. He is there. All it takes is five minutes a day. Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and focus on the Source of all life.

Go ahead, start that conversation. He’s ready whenever you are.

 

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