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Monday, 05 July 2010 01:10

frugality

middahMemory Verse: "Be careful with your money. Do not even spend a penny needlessly." -- Rabbi M.M. Lefin of Satanov, Cheshbon HaNefesh

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Those empowered with a healthy sense of frugality are concerned with resources of all types.  Their very ability to stretch resources and conserve is a testament to the respect they have for that which is endowed to them - either through ownership or management.  As frugality brings abundance, those who are able to manage with little reap much - here and in the Olam Haba.

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accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the "seeds" that started to affect your ability to be frugal today? Think of how you used the resources around you (money, ...

quotes


“Amen, I say to you, it is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Moreover, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle th...

 

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daily living


I met someone recently who told me that she only spends $100 a month on food for herself. I was shocked. She explained that most people don’t believe her when she tells the...
Those of you who know me, know that over five months ago, I underwent gastric surgery. During that time, I have lost about 75 pounds. ...
A few years back, my son Daniel converted me away from bottled water. I had thought that drinking pure and healthy water was an act of environmental awareness, but he helped me see ...
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it. --Genesis 2:15 ...

torah

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besorah


Keep your lives free from the love of money; and be satisfied with what you have; for God himself has said, “I will never fail you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 CJB My comme...
Frugality is not only about saving much and spending little (though both are connected). Investment is an integral component of frugality. ...
Righteousness or justice resounds as a theme throughout Torah and into the rest of the Scriptures, but nowhere does it sound more clearly than in three Hebrew words in Deuteronomy...

mesorah


“Please, Lord our God, do not make us dependent on the gifts or loans of other people, but only on Your full, open, holy and generous hand…” -- The Koren Sacks Siddur, p.982 ...

meditation


The Hebrew word for frugality is keemutz.  Keemutz translates to thrift, economizing, frugality, retrenchment. ...

stories

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Monday, 05 July 2010 01:07

humility

middahBetween superior and nothing, I exist.

Humility is about seeking a level playing field between all people. In displaying this trait, one does not seek to degrade or puff up oneself or others. Mashiach Yeshua says, “The greatest among you shall be to you as a servant. Everyone who lifts himself up will be brought low, but everyone who lowers himself will be lifted up.” (Matthew 23 : 11-12, DHE). Humility out of balance can appear two ways. One extreme displays haughtiness, while the other extreme displays groveling and self-deprecation. The obvious middle is where humility shines.

Suggested exercises:

  • In a conversation, focus intently on what the other person is saying and not on what you will say next.
  • Practice active listening and talk less.
  • Prefer someone’s needs over yours.
  • When someone says something that does not agree with your opinion, considering holding your tongue and letting it go.

featured articles


“Vayikra—and he called to Moses, and the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. . .” One single, extra small letter in the traditional text of Vayikra (Lev. 1:1-5:26) te...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
For this round of middot, I intend to stay in the vicinity of the weekly parasha. We’re currently at the beginning of the story of Joseph, so let’s see what it might have to tea...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
People uphold humility like its the most laudable of virtues.  I think its overrated.  I’ve seen people feign humility to the point that it’s sickening.   ...
by rabbi michael schiffman in daily living
Accepting compliments can be very hard for some people. For some, the non-acceptance is considered related to the humility they hope to demonstrate. ...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in daily living
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be con...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in daily living
Not only was Rabbi Israel [Salanter] opposed to the performance of the finer points of mitzvot at the expense of human beings, he held that one had no right even to perform the ess...
by rebbetzin malkah in stories
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Yeshua a...
by rabbi russ resnik in besorah
The Hebrew word for humility is anavah.  Anavah denotes balance; a moderate, accurate understanding of ourselves.  When we have conceit, we fill a room with our enormous...
by rebbetzin malkah in meditation

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the "seeds" that started to erode your humility today? Think of how you responded to praise, or how you responded to someon...

quotes


For who in the skies can be compared to G-d?  Who is like G-d among the heavenly beings? -- Tehillim 89:7 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wi...

 

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daily living


People uphold humility like its the most laudable of virtues.  I think its overrated.  I’ve seen people feign humility to the point that it’s sickening.   ...
Accepting compliments can be very hard for some people. For some, the non-acceptance is considered related to the humility they hope to demonstrate. ...
There is a well-known anecdote about a young tourist visiting the home of Ludwig Van Beethoven; it seems the pretentious young woman, upon seeing Beethoven's piano, sat down and pla...
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be con...
Be proud of who you are. –Yogi tea bag I know what you are thinking. I now get my wisdom off of tea bag tags. Next it’s fortune cookies for me. Well, the answer is no. But when...
In recent weeks, I’ve participated in internet discussions where people have accused me of not being humble.   I never claimed to be the most humble guy in the world, but t...
Golda Meir once said, "Don’t be so humble; you’re not that great." Humility is a quality we love to see in others, and we try to feign in ourselves, but I'm not sure what passes...
“Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the Earth.” (Numbers 12:2-4) It was this statement that first made me wonder if Moses did in fact write the ...

torah


Recently, a friend told me of a situation with another friend that was truly aggravating him, and a quote from Pirket Avot came to mind. I told my friend to remember the other perso...
“Vayikra—and he called to Moses, and the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. . .” One single, extra small letter in the traditional text of Vayikra (Lev. 1:1-5:26) te...
For this round of middot, I intend to stay in the vicinity of the weekly parasha. We’re currently at the beginning of the story of Joseph, so let’s see what it might have to tea...
The opening of Devarim is Moses’ “recap” of much that had transpired for the Jewish people while travelling towards the Land. The picture isn’t so pretty. Moses does no...
As we are approaching the half-way point of Sefirat Ha-Omer, counting the days from Passover to Shavuot (Lev. 23:10-15), we might recall that the first 32 days of the Omer are a per...
Now this man Moses was exceedingly humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth. (Num. 12:3) This verse appears in the context one of Moses' most difficult trials, a re...

besorah


As the 2012 presidential race heats up, I’m struck—and troubled—by how invested in one candidate or party many believers seem to be. It’s good to be involved in the politica...
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Yeshua a...
More than any other extremity on the human body feet get hit the hardest. Feet hold up a significant portion of our body’s weight, they sustain the greatest impact for the long...
Humility and timidity are not the same. Thankfully, it is more-or-less common knowledge now that humility is not about thinking poorly of oneself. Humility is often described in ...
Man’s self-adoration is the strongest love that God implanted within [him]. -- R. Mendel When I was still in high school, I started smoking a pipe. It was messy and inconvenient,...

mesorah


Humility perfects the will, and it thus serves as the best vessel for the reception of every blessing… When humility effects depression it is defective; when it is genuine it insp...
“What are we? What are our lives? What is our loving-kindness? What is our righteousness… What shall we say before you, Lord our God?… Are not all the mighty like nothing be...
Our Rabbis taught: ‘Sufficient for his need’ [implies] you are commanded to maintain him, but you are not commanded to make him rich; ‘in that which he wants’ [includes] even...

meditation


The Hebrew word for humility is anavah.  Anavah denotes balance; a moderate, accurate understanding of ourselves.  When we have conceit, we fill a room with our enormous...

stories


Not only was Rabbi Israel [Salanter] opposed to the performance of the finer points of mitzvot at the expense of human beings, he held that one had no right even to perform the ess...
The Baal Shem Tov once traveled with a group of his disciples to a distant village where there lived a certain parush (ascetic) who was constantly engaged in Torah study, prayer, ...

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Monday, 05 July 2010 01:06

cleanliness

Memory Verse: "Let no stain or ugliness be found in your possessions or in your home, and surely not on your body or clothes." --Rabbi M.M. Lefin of Satanov, Cheshbon HaNefesh

This middah does not merely speak of just physical cleanliness but of cleanliness on a larger scale - that of the soul.  A person of cleanliness also lets no stain or impurity be found in his/her possessions or home, and surely not in one's ethical walk.

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quotes

“One who acquires understanding loves his soul, guarding understanding to find good.” --Proverbs 19:8  “Of Your precepts I speak and I look at Your paths. I occupy my...
daily living

As a native New Yorker, profanity is my first language.  In New York, profane language is not considered sin or evil, but is simply a way of exclamating your comments.  It...

torah

The third haftarah of admonition comes from Isaiah 1:1─27. In this portion Isaiah brings charges against the people from God, calling them to remove the stains of bloodshed a...

besorah

In a world where spirituality is characterized as being an inner reality, it is easy to fall into a state of disconnect with the externality of spiritual life. We can lose the se...

mesorah

In the 29th lesson of Likutei MoHaRaN, Rebbe Nachman speaks of the importance of clean “garments.” On the one hand, he is referring specifically to one’s clothing, while on th...

stories

in the little shtetl of vaysechvoos All were astir; the Gaon of Vilna was coming to Vaysechvoos! He would be staying in their modest village for one night on his way to Minsk. ...

meditation

The Hebrew word for cleanliness is nekiyut.   Nekiyut means cleanliness, neatness, pureness, or purity. Take away the dross from the silver, and a vessel emerges for the ...
accounting

Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the "seeds" that started to affect your cleanliness today? Were you able to be pure in your deeds and thoughts today? What...
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 This middah does not merely speak of just physical cleanliness but of cleanliness on a larger scale - that of the soul.  A person of cleanliness also lets no stain or ugliness be found in his/her possessions or home, and surely not on body or clothes.

 

 

People who have an attention to cleanliness have a vested interest in the upkeep and beauty of our synagogue and temples; for this middah does not merely speak of just personal cleanliness but of cleanliness on a larger scale.  People balanced in this trait also have aesthetic concerns and seek to maintain the image of the community. A person of cleanliness lets no stain or ugliness be found in his/her possessions or home, and surely not on body or clothes.

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