Friendship. It’s definitely one of the big topics in Torah. It’s a big topic for anyone!
Death! A word that conjures up little feelings of excitement – for most. Life – on the other hand, is the very purpose of existence. That word – when expressed in its most fullest manner, takes on feelings of joy and blessing.
Parshat Shelach begins with a story. Hashem tells Moshe he may send in the leaders of each of the tribes to investigate more about the land they are entering into. This is the Land that Hashem will bring them to – the one He had promised since the time of Avraham Avinu (our father). There really was no need to have them scout the land. Surely Hashem already knows what’s best! Nevertheless, God gives Moshe the opportunity to take the initiative if he so wishes and to have people from the nation of Israel see how wonderful it is themselves. With all this – the scouts – save for Kaleiv ben Yefuneh and Yehoshua bin Nun bring back a negative report, ultimately causing the entire nation to wander in the desert for forty years, and in fact die without meriting to enter the land!
A powerful motivational speech from Josh Shipp (Below). Once we are mature enough to realise the importance of others, one of our most important tasks is to take care of children, as the Torah teaches, “Where there are no kids (sic), there can be no goats” (Rashi to Isaiah 8:18). Everything about the goodness of this world begins with a child who grows up to become a success and to lead the next generation. When children are well taken care of and supported appropriately, “Educate the child according to his way; even when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6), that child will grow up to become a success.
I am constantly inspired by seeing how others have reached their own success in life. To be sure, success does not equal the dollar amount showing in a bank account. Success can be anything one aspires to in one’s life. Sometimes – for me, success is completing studying a Torah book. When I manage to work through a volume of hundreds of pages in length, it brings me a great sense of satisfaction. I’ve done it! One day – I am at the beginning of the book, unable to imagine ever getting through such a thick work! Weeks or months later – I turn around and say that I have actually done it! Now… I must find the means and time to learn it a second time!
This video (below) is the story of the cemetery in Vilna. Vilna used to be a hub of the Jewish people, and in years gone by was known as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania”. Today – our very Talmud’s are based upon the standard printed edition of Vilna from years gone by. It was from Vilna that the outstanding Torah giant – Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer – known as the Vilna Gaon, arose. His pupil, Rabbi Chaim of Volohzin would set up the first standard Lithuanian Yeshiva, from which all Lithuanian-style Yeshivas continue their learning styles and schedules to this day.
Success – we all want it! We all need it! As each day goes by, each of us strives to attain greater heights in our lives. Life is about growth. Every day should bring with it further success. When most of us are young, we tend to feel our achievements a lot easier. We work our way from kindergarten to primary school. From primary school to high school. From high school, we move onward. Some of us obtain a tertiary education – while others learn a craft. Some of us go on to work – just in order to be able to sustain ourselves. For the most part, this may constitute perhaps only a quarter of our lives.
The power of the mind. The power of the brain. The power of the soul. Those who study the writings of the holy Arizal – Rabbi Yitzchak Luria – as taught by his pupil Rabbi Chaim Vital, especially in his work Shaar HaGilgulim (the Gate of Reincarnations) will certainly know that there are many mysteries behind the process of souls entering bodies. As the soul enters, different powers are given to it to use in this world. Each of us has some sort of different brain power – as well as a variety of other powers (Kochot). The video below is just a snapshot of one person’s powerful brain – a gift from God.