Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 )
GOOD MORNING! If you were given a choice of whether you would like to be happy, would like to be rich or would like to be a wise person -which would you choose? Having asked the question many times over the past 30 years, many people initially respond, "Rich! Because then I'd be happy!" However, when they give it a little thought, they respond, "You know, there a lot of rich people who aren't happy. I'd rather be happy!" If they give it a little more thought, they often conclude, "You know, if I were a wise person I could probably figure out how to be happy ... and maybe even how to be rich!"
Rabbi Noah Weinberg, founder and dean of Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies (Aish.com/ProgsIsrael) teaches wisdom. One of his flagship classes is "The 5 Levels of Pleasure" - how to get maximum enjoyment out of life. For 35 years, hundreds of thousands of students have reveled in Rabbi Weinberg's clear explanation of what life is all about - and how to maximize their ultimate pleasure in life.
Now, David Dweck, with the help of publisher Michael Roney, have brought this wisdom into print where it can benefit hundreds of thousands, if not millions more people!
How many people can honestly say that they are completely satisfied with what life has to offer? Not many. That's because most people are fixated on physical, material pleasure. Material pleasures are wonderful, but they don't create happiness. Someone can have a hundred million dollars, all of the toys and luxuries known to humankind, a beautiful and intelligent mate, and still be miserable. So, what is the way out of that misery? Higher pleasures!
Pleasure is the energy that enables the power to grow, to improve, to accomplish in life. There are 5 levels of pleasure - ascending from physical pleasure, to love, to the pleasure of doing the right thing, to creativity and finally, to the transcendental awe of ultimate meaning.
Each level of pleasure has its own currency (what it takes to acquire that pleasure) and each level of pleasure has its own counterfeit. There is no exchange rate between levels of pleasure.
Ask a friend, "What is the opposite of pain?" More often than not, people respond, "Pleasure." This is a fundamental mistake of our society. The opposite of pain is absence of pain - or comfort. To equate comfort with pleasure is the definition of decadence.
Pain taken in making an effort to accomplish is the price one pays for pleasure. Whatever you have that you value, your appreciation of it increases in direct relationship to the effort, the trials and tribulations, the pain you took in order to acquire it. A "self-made" millionaire enjoys his money and values it more than the individual who inherits wealth. To succeed in the pursuit of pleasure, you have to focus on the goal and the pleasure of the effort you make to achieve it. If you focus on the pain, you may quit and never reach your goal!
In The Five Levels of Pleasure, Rabbi Weinberg takes the reader on a journey of self-examination, enlightenment, and empowerment, showing how to recognize and even become a connoisseur of each higher level of pleasure in order to profoundly change and shape his life for maximum satisfaction. It is a masterpiece and will tremendously benefit any person who desires more out of life - if he'll read it and if he'll integrate the ideas into his outlook on life.
The few ideas I have shared with you above are profound insights requiring greater development and explanation. That is why you will want to read the book! The Five Levels of Pleasure - Enlightened Decision Making for Success in Life is available at a special price for the Aish Family at http://The5Levels.com ... or you can wait and get it in your local Jewish book store!
For more on "Pleasure" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
Topics in this week's portion include: Judges and Justice, Sacred Trees and Pillars, Blemished Sacrifice, Penalties for Idolatry, The Supreme Court, The King, Levitical Priests, Priestly Portions, Special Service, Divination and Prophecy, Cities of Refuge, Murder, Preserving Boundaries, Conspiring Witnesses, Preparing for War, Taking Captives, Conducting a Siege and the Case of the Unsolved Murder.
This week we have the famous admonition: "Righteousness, Righteousness shall you pursue, so that you will live and possess the Land that the Almighty your God, gives you" (Deut. 16:20).
* * *
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"You shall trust wholeheartedly in the Lord, Your God" (Deuteronomy 18:13).
Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim, used to say, "The Torah obliges us to trust wholeheartedly in God ... but not in man. A person must always be on the alert not to be cheated."
The Chofetz Chaim devoted his life to spreading the principle of brotherly love, the prohibition against speaking against others, and the commandment to judge people favorably. Though he was not the least bit cynical, he was also not naive. He understood the world and human weaknesses.
In Mesichta Derech Eretz Rabba (chapter 5) it states that we should honor every person we meet as we would (the great sage) Rabbi Gamliel, but we should nevertheless be suspicious that he might be dishonest.
CANDLE LIGHTING - September 5
(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)
Guatemala 5:53 - Hong Kong 6:44 - Honolulu 6:26
J'Burg 5:38 - London 7:21 - Los Angeles 6:55
Melbourne 5:44 - Mexico City 7:31 - Miami 7:18
New York 7:03 - Singapore 6:50 - Toronto 7:28
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Colors fade, temples crumble,
empires fall, but wise words endure.
-- Edward Thorndike
In Honor of the Wedding of
David A. Goldman & Miriam Malken
Ellen Goldman and Sam Savage
Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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