Truths You Can Use

Truths You Can Use

Should You Pray to Win the Lotto?

can you pray to win the lottery?

The $550 million Powerball Lottery  has people lining up in gas stations and conveniences stores across America. It also has a few people turning to the heavens to ask God to bless them with good luck.

Is this type of prayer legitimate? Does God listen to such kinds of requests?

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees

In Judaism, we would generally say no. Prayer is not as much about asking God for things, as it is about asking God for the strength to do the right thing.

Just as mission statements highlight the purpose and values of an organization, prayer proclaims the principles and vision of our faith.It seeks to cultivate in us values like gratitude or service to others that our secular society does not reinforce.
When we come to pray in a church or synagogue, we seek to look at our lives from an elevated perspective, from what philosopher Baruch Spinoza called the point of view of eternity. To use a familiar metaphor, prayer lifts us out of the trees so we can look at the forest.

Emotional Rescue

Prayer also helps us express feelings that everyday words cannot. When I officiate at a funeral, I always notice the mourners during the recitation of the 23rd psalm. As we say the words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me,” faces turn downward. Tears often begin to flow. The words of prayer evoke emotions that ordinary language cannot.

At its best, prayer can be like listening to an i-pod. An i-pod connects us with an entire digital music library. Prayer connects us with the entire spiritual, emotional and intellectual library of our faith. 

Dancing to God’s Beat

can we pray to win the lotteryWhen we pray with resolve, feeling the words shaping us, we are dancing. We are moving to the words of our God. Do we really need to dance to these words? Can they really make difference in our lives?

Well, as one rabbi put it, “Neither the computer nor the cellular phone has changed the fact of mortality or the want of wisdom.” In an age of high technology, we need to be reminded of what truly matters. Prayer is that reminder.

It reminds us that our lives are measured by holiness. They are not measured by the political points we score.They are not measured by an uptick in the polls. They are not measured by the promise of $550 million. They are measured by the heart and spirit God gave us.

By Evan Moffic

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

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

 

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

Previous Posts

Why We Still Love Fiddler on the Roof After 50 Years
As I child I could not sit through movies or meals. Sitting through a musical was out of the question. Yet, when I was seven, my parents decided to take me to see Fiddler on the Roof. Looking back now as parent of a seven-year-old, I would not have been so bold. Since that first experienc

posted 6:59:14pm Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

The Secret to Healing From Pain
I sat with the two children of a mother who had just passed away. They were recounting her life for me in preparation for the funeral. As we spoke, the mother’s long-time caretaker came into the room. She began to speak about their relationship. Though her English was not perfect, the three

posted 12:35:43pm Sep. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Do You Know What Hurts Me? A Story
  A great rabbi went into a bar. He overheard a conversation between patrons.   One said to the other, “Friend, do you love me?” “Of course I do,” the second man replied. “We’ve known each other our whole lives.”   “Then tell me, friend,” said the first man, “

posted 1:01:07pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Does Religion Cause War?
Deadly images on television tear at our heart. We wish for the violence in Israel to end. This land, sacred to three global religions, seems endlessly mired in conflict. Does religion just

posted 12:36:26pm Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Healing Power of Laughter: The Jewish Genius of Robin Williams
In Jewish tradition we have a special greeting for a genius. Upon meeting such a person, we say, Blessed are You, Eternal God, Source of Life, who has given from His wisdom to flesh and blood.  Had I ever met Robin Williams, I would surely have said it. Williams was a singular genius. He brought

posted 2:26:21pm Aug. 12, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.