Truths You Can Use

Truths You Can Use

Peace is More Than the Absence of War


 peace is more than the absence of war

Peace is a complex word. We usually think of it as the end of conflict. Yet, peace from one perspective can be subjugation or destruction from another.

In Hebrew we have, I believe, a more fitting word. It is Shalom. While Shalom is usually translated as “peace,” it means much more. Shalom describes a state of completion, integrity, wholeness.

By Faith Alone

Shalom is not simply a time when hatred is ignored, or we hold ourselves back for appearances’ sake. It is a time when individuals and groups reconcile with one another. It is a time when forgiveness and empathy and respect define our relationships.

Shalom has a spiritual dimension to it as well. It is not something politicians or armies can achieve alone. It is something for which individuals must strive. It is a dream for which our spiritual leaders must work.

It is something we may not witness in our lifetime, but it is a period which faith tells us will come to be.

God’s Home on Earth

Perhaps the closest we will get to that period is the vision described in the biblical book of Isaiah. “It shall come to pass,” Isaiah says, “in the end of days, that the Mountain of God’s House shall be exalted above the hills, and all the nations shall flow unto it.”

“And many people shall go and say: ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Eternal, to the House of the God of Jacob, that we may taught the way, and that we may walk in God’s path. For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the Word of the Eternal One from Jerusalem.” Amen

By Evan Moffic,

Grow Spiritually. Inspire Yourself. Live a More Meaningful Life.

Get More from Rabbi Moffic   http://bit.ly/U6pA1G

 

The Twitter Religious All-Stars

twitter religion

I recently returned to Twitter after a brief hiatus. To my surprise, I discovered that Twitter has become a great source for finding new spiritual insights and inspiration.

While it may seem odd, great wisdom and inspiration can be found in 140 characters. Here are my top ten religious “Tweeters.”

@RickWarren:
The author of the best-selling Purpose Driven Life has a constant stream of biblical verses and pithy insights.

@PastorMark (Mark Driscoll)
The creative pastor known for his hour-long intellectual sermon offers unusual perspectives on culture and faith.

@Beliefnet
Beliefnet remains the best source for inspirational writing and stories from leaders and thinkers of all faiths.

@Tribseeker (Manya Brachear)
The fabulous religion reporter for the Chicago Tribune highlights breaking and intriguing news stories.

@JohnCMaxwell
The Pastor and leadership author delivers inspiring quotes and insights

@BradLomenick
I’m a huge fan of Catalyst, which engages and encourages young Christian leaders. I wish we had a Jewish equivalent.

@URJ (Union for Reform Judaism)
The organizing body of the Reform Jewish movement highlights news and perspectives from all over the world.

@RabbiJason (Jason Miller)
A fellow social media rabbi who combines great news and humor and insight.

@ChiefRabbi
Lord Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, is one of the most articulate religious leaders in the world today.

@imabima
Rabbi Phyllis Sommers ruminates with humor and thoughtfulness on being a mom and a rabbi.

There are many many more.

Who are your favorite spiritual voices on Twitter?

By Evan Moffic,

Grow Spiritually. Inspire Yourself. Live a More Meaningful Life.

Get More from Rabbi Moffic  http://bit.ly/U6pA1G

 

Shop for Your Spirit on Cyber Monday



A
seeming paradox defines Thanksgiving weekend. On Thursday evening we express gratitude for everything we have. The follow days we rush out to buy what we do not yet have!

Be that as it may, some things we can buy can also nourish the spirit. Here are a few:

1. Books: Jews have been called “The People of the Book.” We believe that books reveal sacred truths that connect us with God and enhance the holiness of everyday life.

A couple of books to consider if you do not own them: God in Search of Man,  by Abraham Joshua Heschel, explores the experiences of awe and amazement by which God reaches out to human beings. “Indifference to the sublime wonders of living,” Heschel wrote, “is the root of sin.”

Another more recent book is The Great Partnership, by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Sacks, an Orthodox Rabbi, challenges the idea that science and religion inevitably clash and contradict each other.

He argues that the insights of each discipline can enrich the other.

2. Travel: Experiencing a different culture and landscape enhances our spiritual awareness. We see the way others relate to God and the universe, and begin to understand both the remarkable diversity and similarity between different faiths.

3. Experiences with friends and family: A focus on acquiring things–even the newest iPad or sports car–does not bring happiness. Rather, as numerous studies have illustrated, such a focus creates greater unhappiness. It constantly reminds us of what we do not yet have.

A focus on doing things with family and friends–a meal out or a visit to the beach–can create lasting happiness. They remind of us what we have rather than what we desire. They focus on what we share rather than what we lack.

4. Gifts for others: Paradoxically, when we spend money on others, we gain. Giving deepens relationships in a way that makes us happier in the long run.

Point in fact: As a rabbi I’ve noticed that students at my temple derive enormous satisfaction from the community service we ask them to do. They see how lucky they are, and find meaning in helping fellow human beings.

While getting presents is great, giving them away is even better.

By Evan Moffic, Rabbi of Congregation Solel in Highland Park.

To Inspire Yourself and Discover More, check out Rabbi Moffic’s free weekly digest of spiritual wisdom

The Most Beautiful Gratitude Prayer

This piece moves me every year. It was written by Jonathan Sacks, The Chief Rabbi of Great Britain. It is timeless and timely, speaking to adults and children, single and married, religious or atheist. Please share if you find it meaningful as well. 

The gift of faith taught me to see the dazzling goodness and grace that surround us if only we open our eyes and minds

As the new year approaches, with the recession still in force, I find myself giving thanks to God for all the things that cost nothing and are worth everything.

Love

I thank Him for the love that has filled our home for so many years. Life is never easy. We’ve had our share of pain. But through it all we discovered the love that brings new life into the world, allowing us to share in the miracle of birth and the joy of seeing our children grow.

I thank Him for the blessing of grandchildren. I don’t know why it is I was so surprised by joy, but in their company my constant thought is that I didn’t know that life could be that good.

I thank Him for the friends who stood by us in tough times, for the mentors who believed in me more than I believed in myself, and for the teachers who encouraged me to think and question, teaching me the difference between truth and mere intellectual fashion.

I thank him for those rare souls who lift us when we are laid low by the sheer envy and malice by which some people poison their lives and the lives of others. I thank Him for the people I meet every day who light up the world with simple gestures of humanity and decency.

Beauty

I thank Him for the fragments of light he has scattered in so many lives, in the kindness of strangers and the unexpected touch of souls across the boundaries that once divided people and made them fearful of one another.

I thank Him for the gift of being born a Jew, despite all the persecutions visited on our people, often in the name of the same God my ancestors worshipped and to whom they dedicated their lives. I thank Him for the transformation of the relationship between Jews and Christians that has happened in my lifetime, and for the gift of coming to know people from so many different faiths, each of which has given something utterly unique to humanity.

I thank Him for Beethoven’s late quartets and Shakespeare’s prose and Rembrandt’s portraits. Rabbi Abraham Kook, chief rabbi of what was then Palestine, once said that God took some of the light of the first day of creation and gave it to Rembrandt who put it into his paintings.

I thank Him for the first cup of coffee in the morning and the iPod I’ve almost learnt how to use (another year or two should do it), for Morgan Freeman’s voice and Woody Allen’s humour, for 2B pencils and wide-lined notepads, for bookshops and a forgiving wife.

Faith

I thank Him for the atheists and agnostics who keep believers from believing the unbelievable, forcing us to prove our faith by the beauty and grace we bring into the world. I thank him for all the defeats and failures that make leadership so difficult, because the hard things are the only ones worth doing, and because all genuine achievement involves taking risks, making mistakes, and never giving up.

I thank Him for the gift of faith, which taught me to see the dazzling goodness and grace that surround us if only we open our eyes and minds. I thank Him for helping me to understand that faith is not certainty but the courage to live with uncertainty; not a destination but the journey itself.

I thank Him for allowing me to thank Him, for without gratitude there is no happiness, only the fleeting distraction of passing pleasures that grow ever less consequential with the passing years.

Thank You.

By Evan Moffic, Rabbi of Congregation Solel in Highland Park.

To Read More from Rabbi Moffic, subscribe to his free weekly digest of spiritual wisdom

Previous Posts

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posted 1:56:25pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Sermon from the Mound: 7 Spiritual Truths from the Baseball Diamond
Sports are one of the great sources for spiritual insights. As a child, I remember paying extra attention when the rabbi used an illustration  from baseball or football. They helped me visualize and understand the spiritual lesson. Of all sports, baseball lends itself best to Jewish wisdom.

posted 3:53:17pm Apr. 06, 2014 | read full post »

The Perfect Diamond with a Scratch: A Story of Hope and Healing
This short story, first told in the 19th century, continues to bring comfort and healing. We can use it every day of our lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esDr_IdrhjQ

posted 9:57:01pm Feb. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Love Wins: 3 Spiritual Lessons from Disney's Frozen
I used to enjoy walking into a home of peace and quiet. Since the film Frozen premiered, I have lacked this simple pleasure. Its soundtrack seems to play on a continuous loop every day throughout our home. I guess that’s part of the price to pay for having two small children. As a glass h

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Date Night With God
A healthy marriage is sustained by consistency. It is not the big moments—the wedding day, the birth of a child, the new home. It is the acts of love and commitment expressed daily, weekly and year after year. Sustaining them is not always easy. One consistent practice I suggest to young parent

posted 6:28:55pm Feb. 10, 2014 | read full post »


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