Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sefiras Haomer- Day 24

Sefiras Haomer- Day 24

Tiferes Shebentetzach -- Empathy in victory 

Joke: Yeshiva University in Golders Green decided to put together a rowing team. 
Unfortunately, they lost race after race. They practiced for hours every day, but never managed to come in any better than dead last. The Head of the Yeshiva finally decided he couldn't stand any more embarrassment so he sent Yankel to spy on the Oxford University team.
So Yankel shlepped off to Oxford and hid in the bulrushes off the river from where he carefully watched the Oxford team as they practiced.
Yankel finally returned to the Yeshiva.
"I have figured out their secret," he announced.
"They have eight guys rowing and only one guy shouting."

The Sefira's Life Message:

Even as you score a victory, be empathetic. Do not allow it to get personal, egocentric and subjective. Even when you must make a drastic move, have empathy for the people being affected. Be driven by the cause of doing good and being good. Let your triumphs profess the beauty of dignity and empathy.

Sefiras Haomer- Day 23

Sefiras Haomer- Day 23

Gevurah Shebenetzach -- Discipline in victory

Joke: Any argument that a man and woman are involved in, the woman gets the last word. Anything a man says afterwards is the beginning of a new argument. (Just a joke!)

Life requires of us to overcome hurdles, challenges and obstacles of all sorts. We must at times confront situations, battle injustice, and triumph over opposition.

Yet every victory must come with restrain and discipline. It must be tempered by a sense of justice, morality and the voice of integrity. You must challenge yourself to ensure that your drive to victory is not overtaken by arrogance, vengeance and the need to be right.

Ask yourself, do I trample on people and their emotions on the way to fulfill my ambitions? Do I need to win every argument? Can I respect my opponent even if we disagree? Is my drive for victory tampered by self-control and self-refinement?

Sefiras Haomer- Day 22

Sefiras Haomer- Day 22

Chesed SheBnetzach – Kindness in victory:

A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his fatther if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about it.” After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, “Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut!” The young man waited a moment and replied, “You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, King Solomon had long hair, and even Moses had long hair….” To which his father replied, “Yes, and they walked everywhere they went!”

In life we must sometimes fight various obstacles in order to achieve our goals. Yet, we must be kind in our victories. Even when you have to say “no,” do it with kindness.

Sefiras Haomer- Day 21

Sefiras Haomer- Day 21

Malachus Shbtiferes – Selflessness in Empathy

A young psychiatrist is going home a5 5:00 P.M., after a hard day with his patients. His shirt is rumbled, and he’s exhausted. On the elevator he notices an older psychiatrist, with an office on the same floor, who looks fresh and shows no signs of fatigue at all. “How do you do it?” asks the young psychiatrist. “I’m absolutely exhausted after a day of listening to my patients talk about their problems. But you don’t seem to be tired at all.” “Who listens!” replied the older psychiatrist.

Do you know how to be there for someone even if you’re not in the mood?
Empathy is not about me, it is about you. I may be stressed, I may need my own help, but at this moment I am choosing to listen to you and to be here for you.

Sefiras Haomer- Day 20

Sefiras Haomer- Day 20

Yesod Shebitiferes – Bonding in Empathy

Joke: Johnson, a businessman from Wisconsin, went on a business trip to Louisiana. He immediately sent an e-mail back home to his wife, Jennifer. 

Unfortunately, he forgot his wife's exact e-mail address and the e-mail ended up going to a Mrs. Joan Johnson of New Jersey, the wife of a preacher who had just passed away. The preacher's wife took one look at the e-mail and promptly fainted.

When she was finally revived by her daughter, she nervously pointed to the message, which read: "Arrived safely, but it sure is hot down here.”

Some people have good intentions, but they are clueless as how to communicate the fact that they care.

Do you know how to communicate your empathy in a way that the other person gets it? Do you know how to choose the right words that will allow your words to resonate?

Instead of trying to connect with your husband by telling him “you look stressed” (which drives many men mad), say: “I appreciate how hard you work and how much you care for your family.”

Instead of telling your wife, “You are upset again?” choose these words: “I know this may be a stressful time for you and I want you to know that I am here for you.”

Learn how to look someone in the eyes and choose the proper words that will make them feel your connection to them. This is true with loved ones, friends, and colleagues. It is also true with students. When someone asks you a serious question, do not answer the question; answer the person.

Sefiras Haomer- Day 19

Sefiras Haomer- Day 19

Hod Shebitiferes -- Persistence in Empathy

Sometimes you are not in the mood for empathy. You don't posses the passion necessary to be empathetic. Such a moment calls for you to overcome your internal resistance and persevere for the sake of what you know is right.

Sefiras Haomer- Day 18

Sefiras Haomer- Day 18

Netzach Shebitiferes -- Victory in Empathy

Sometimes it is safer to remain on the fence and not emphasize with a person or a situation. You don't want to be ridiculed. Here is where you must overcome outer resistance and score a victory against those forces who wish to keep you passive and indifferent.

Sefirat Haomer- Day 17

Sefiras Haomer- Day 17

Tiferes Shebtiferes -- Empathy within empathy

Joke: A beggar walks up to a well-dressed woman on Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills and says, "Lady, I haven't eaten in three days." She looks at him and goes, "Ah, I wish I had your willpower."

Emotional intelligence and empathy is extremely important.

Your empathy should not be emotionally detached (a possible result of too much Gevura empathy) and not too emotionally attached and overbearing (a possible result of too much Chesed empathy). Rather, you must genuinely tune in to the experiences and the needs of the other at this moment. Your expression of empathy itself has to be done with empathy.

Which midda do you think the psychiatric is lacking?

Sefiras Haomer- Day 16

Sefiras Haomer Day 16

Gevurah ShebiTiferes -- Discipline in empathy

Joke: Before sending her son off for his first day at school, Rachel Cohen hugged him and said:" Good luck, my bubbeleh. Be good, bubbeleh, and work hard. 
"And remember, bubbeleh, at lunch time eat all of your food and play nicely with the other children. Oh, bubbueleh, I'm so proud!"
That afternoon, when little Cohen returned home, his mother cried:
"Bubbeleh, my bubbeleh, give your mother a hug! So, tell me, what did you learn at school today?"
"Well," said the boy, "to start with, I learned that my name is Sammie."

Sometimes, out of care and concern we do not realize that we are invading into the other person's private domain.

We have to be careful not to be overbearing in our empathy; it is not about you, it is about the other person.

Do you, in trying to be empathetic, cross borders?

Do you know how to respect the space and the otherness of the person you are showing empathy to?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sefiras Haomer Life Messages 30th Nissan / 10th April

Sefiras Haomer Life Messages
30th Nissan / 10th April

Do you know how to express empathy?

Chesed ShebeTiferes -- Kindness in Empathy

When you empathize with somebody, be kind, open, giving, and sensitive.
Let the other person feel that you are here with them and that you genuinely care for them.

Self-check for this Middah:
Are you able to look someone in the eyes and silently embrace them?

Sefiras Haomer Life Messages 29th Nissan / 9th April

Sefiras Haomer Life Messages
29th Nissan / 9th April

When you rebuke, what's your motive?

Malchus Shebegvurah -- Selflessness in Discipline:

Discipline must be employed in a selfless fashion, for the benefit of the the person being disciplined or rebuked. It should not be done to out of anger, vengeance, or your own need for dominance.

Sefiras Haomer Life Messages 28th Nissan / 8th April

Sefiras Haomer Life Messages

28th Nissan / 8th April

Have you mastered the art of discipline?

Yesod Shebegvurah -- Bonding in Discipline:

Even as you discipline, communicate it in a way that increases the bond between you.
Even when you must employ a harsher approach, implement it through words and actions that are bonding.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Off the Derech

If parents and teachers saw the "Right Way" as whatever works best for each individual child, no child would ever be 'OFF THE DERECH.' ("derech" means path, it is the term used for the "path of Judaism.") It’s when they are forced to walk a path that is not THEIR own that they veer off. Anyone who "goes off the derech" is simply leaving a premade path that was carved out for them, in order to find their own.

They are not going off the derech; they are trying to get on the derech—to find their true derech, not a derech that someone else carved out for them based on that person’s expectations, not based on the soul of the child.

Which is why King Solomon said, "Chanoch Lenaar Al Pi Darko," educate the youngster according to HIS (or her) way.