Derek Leman is from Atlanta, Georgia where he is the Rabbi at Tikvat David Messianic Synagogue. Derek writes and speaks about the life of Yeshua, the world to come, the Biblical feasts, the intersection of Judaism and Christianity, and the Presence of God.
How many hours every day go into fixing, cleaning, upgrading, improving, reconfiguring, and maintaining the things and aspects of your life? You commit so much time, thought, and effort because you are born with an impulse to improve.
-Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness, ch. 2, “What is Mussar?”
In his book Everyday Holiness, Alan Morinis suggests a saying to meditate on throughout the day when we are focusing on the trait of honor (as in honoring the people we encounter): each and every one, a holy soul. In case that sort of language sounds foreign to you, the idea is that every person has an inner soul which is pure and holy, given by God (known as the image of God). Whatever their outer soul (the one we encounter) may have become, this does not change their status from the divine potential they were granted.
The neshammah (lifebreath) of man is the lamp of Hashem, revealing all his inmost parts (Proverbs 20:27).
The lamp pictured is an ancient oil lamp, a clay vessel with a wick placed in olive oil giving light like a candle. The inmost parts literally are the “rooms of the belly.” There are two basic points made in this verse: God has a light inside each one of us and he sees all that is within.
When a man gets into the habit of eating and drinking regularly, he is in distress if he happens to miss a regular meal. He will enter into the most arduous transactions and moneymaking schemes in order to maintain the kind of table to which he has been accustomed.
-Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Mesillat Yesharim, Chapter Thirteen, “Concerning the Trait of Separation”
The feeling of satisfaction disappears in a moment, while the yetzer ha-ra, feeling itself bereft, simply screams for more. –Moses Hayyim Luzzatto (the Ramchal), Mesillat Yesharim, from chapter 15, “Concerning the Means of Acquiring Separation.”
If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor . . . you shall not exact interest from him. – Exodus 22:24(25)
“It isn’t enough,” says Alan Morinis, “to hold warm thoughts in our heart or to wish each other well.” This falls short of righteousness. But rather “we can offer our money, time, love, empathy, service, an open ear, manual assistance, a letter written, a call made, and on and on” -- Everyday Holiness , pg 186