"...Kriyat Yam Suf"

Welcome to Split The Sea, where I attempt to provide my dear readers with relevant advice on how to find success in dating, relationships and marriage. I hope you enjoy and benefit from this blog as much as possible.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Let’s Go Apple Picking: How Do My Prayers Influence G-d?

It’s a complex matter, but this is the way I see it. G-d decides what you’re going to get based on the level you are on. Example: You are on Level 5, so you will be getting its corresponding Packet 5, which has certain things in store for you. If you want to receive a Level 10 packet, with more goodies, you need to work your way up to Level 10.

A single person who wants to get married has to reach the level where he or she is ready to receive the packet of ‘getting married’ in their life. Ready to receive? You might be thinking…well, I’m ready to receive it right now! Hmmm…are you?

Receiving what you desire is like apple picking. Jane is going apple picking. There are thousands of apples on the numerous trees in the orchard. She wants to pick several dozen apples, and then go home and bake apple pie, apple strudels, and apple turnovers to last her all winter. Jane really wants those apples.

If Jane were to walk to the apple orchards empty handed, and stand there picking apples, how would she take her apples home? At most she’d be able to carry maybe four apples in her arms.

Jane doesn’t walk into the apple orchard expecting to carry the apples home in her arms. Rather, she drives over to the orchard, brings 3 big baskets, and picks all the apples she wants. Then she drives the apple-laden baskets back home, at which point she has a lot of baking to do.

When a person wants to receive loads of goodies from Hashem, he or she needs a container, a vessel to hold all the blessing. The vessel which you use to collect the blessings from Hashem (the objects, events, goals you desire) is YOURSELF.

G-d is always sending forth blessing to everyone. G-d is the Source of Everything, and the Source of all Blessing, and all the blessing and goodness emanates from G-d. The thing is, a person may have their basket already full of hair rollers or something, and the blessings (G-d forbid!) may not be getting through. What to do? Empty out the basket!

The key factor in placing as much as possible into any container is that the container must be empty. If Jane’s baskets had been half filled with a bunch of hair rollers, she wouldn’t have been able to collect all the apples she wanted. Because you are the vessel, and because you want to fill it up with as much as possible, you need to make the vessel empty.

[Note: Please continue to eat your regular meals. You can go a day without eating, like on a religious fast, and you’ll feel empty. Your prayers might even be more readily answered. But that’s not a way to live every day, and it certainly is not the prime way to serve G-d. So please, eat 3 square meals a day so you can have enough energy to serve G-d as best as you possibly can.]

Right, so you’re living life normally, and eating. Then what does it mean to make oneself empty? A person must rid themselves of their ego, the ‘I’, the inner turmoil and busy consciousness that seems so important to most people – but one must realize that it’s mostly nonsense. The realization that I as a person am less than a speck of dust compared to the Almighty, BUT also that He, G-d, created the world for ME! – This helps create an optimal environment for receiving blessings from G-d.

In more practical terms, I like to use the term gratitude.

Expressing gratitude and appreciation to G-d for all He has given us is the key to being the kind of person who can receive more from G-d. In order to reach that higher level of yourself and therefore receive what you desire, feel gratitude and express your appreciation and thanks to G-d for what you already have. Feel joy about what G-d has already given you!

Hopefully, you have a lot to be thankful for. But even if all you can feel gratitude about is something ordinary - feel joy about and appreciate your computer, your cell phone, your new tube of makeup. Feel thanks about your health, your personality, your beauty, your intelligence - whatever it is that Hashem has given you, appreciate it and acknowledge that you received it from G-d Himself.

The next step, and this is a real revelation. Feel gratitude, joy and appreciation about that which you wish to attain, as if you have already received it! Once you have set in place the feelings of appreciation and joy about what you have already received, apply the same feelings to that which you desire to receive!

You want to get married? In your prayers and meditation, FEEL the joy and gratitude you would feel on your wedding day. Imagine the happiness and appreciation you would have for G-d and your spouse every single day of your married life.

When you feel that gratitude and joy, when you express your appreciation to G-d for having given you these wonderful gifts, you have brought yourself up to that higher level. By feeling the way you would feel upon receiving it, you create the space in the vessel that is yourself. At that moment G-d’s Blessing pours right in and overflows.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dream On! How To Make the Jump

Do your version of ‘jumping in to the sea.’ Before you can translate your dreams into reality, you need to create your dreams.

[Disclaimer: The Torah is in many ways the original inspirational and self help book, not to mention Guide for Your Time On This World and Rulebook for Having a Good Life Now And Forever. Rhonda Byrne’s awesome book The Secret actually recommends much of what I’m about to recommend, but I’d like to state for the record that Hashem’s Torah actually advises it first.]

Just like Nachshon ben Aminadav stepped into the water until it almost covered his nose, and then the sea split – you gotta jump in the water. Yes I know, you’ve dated, you’ve tried, it’s impossible, the shadchanim are wrong, the girls are not your type, the boys are looking for something that’s just not you. Or maybe you are completely convinced that dating is not for you, and you would not go within ten feet of anyone referred to as a shadchan.

That's fine. I’m not about to tell you to go on another date. I’m not about to tell you to call up another shadchan.

Are you ready for what I’m about to tell you? Take it seriously, because I am not joking.

If you are a girl, go on to http://www.bluenile.com. Pick out the exact diamond ring you want when you get engaged. Or two or three choices that are almost perfect. Use Google, go to http://www.sescreations.com (another diamond ring company). Pick out your wedding ring too, while you're at it.

Go on http://www.onlysimchas.com. Look at all the wedding pictures of all the strangers in the Jewish world. Find the bridal gowns that you like the best, and save three or four choices. Same with tiara, headpiece and veil. Think about the different wedding halls you’ve been to. Imagine the Chuppah, the dancing, the huge Challah. Imagine dancing with your dearest friends and family members in a ten to twenty lb dress (it’s hard, but it’s worth it!), in huge platform sneakers, or strappy white sandals, or whatever your choice is.

If you are a guy, go the websites, and pick out the ring you will buy your Kallah. Imagine placing the veil upon the face of your beautiful Kallah grinning up at you with her sparkling eyes. See the Tisch laid out with cake and soda? The Kesubah is being written up by the Rabbi while you, your father, and your future father-in-law look on and answer his questions. You put on the kittel, or you hold the tallis above you and your Kallah’s head. Imagine moving your stuff into your new apartment with your Kallah. She looks at you with so much admiration, and you are so proud.

Whatever you want to use at a setup, imagine it. Watch the movie with you as the main character. View it from your own perspective as well as the camera’s. Instead of dwelling on the procedure of dating, dwell on the end result of getting married, of being married. Use the imagery that exactly pertains to a person getting married, and make it your own unique and wonderful experience.

The line from Pirkei Avos - "Hakol Holech Achar HaRosh" - everything goes according to the head, or the beginning. More specifically, your life goes according to how your head thinks. Whatever your brain is capable of thinking, feeling, and imagining, is what you are actually capable of experiencing and doing. Believe it.

This is only just the beginning of your success.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What Does the Splitting the Sea Have To Do With Getting Married?

B’nei Yisrael, the entirety of the Jewish people, are standing in front of the Red Sea. Right behind them are the soldiers of Pharaoh’s army gaining. B’nei Yisrael were at a point in reality where it seem IMPOSSIBLE for them to escape with their lives – the Egyptians behind them, the sea before them…it was either succumb to the Egyptians or flounder in the water. Reality at that moment was that they had no other choices except those two.

The test which the Jewish people face at that moment was to have the ability to create a new reality – to think ‘outside the box’ and actually make new choices to follow that wouldn’t seem plausible.

Nachshon ben Aminadav was that individual who created a new reality for B’nei Yisrael. Nachshon ben Aminadav entered the sea, he walked into the water, and let himself sink until the water was about to cover his nose and he wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore. That was the moment at which Hashem split the sea.

The whole test facing an unmarried person, (as well as many other people with obstacles to overcome) is – are they able to use their Emunah – their Belief – their power of imagination and desire, to actually believe their way into a new existence. And it only took the imagination of one individual make that new reality come true for three million people. When Nachshon Ben Aminadav walked into the water—fully believing it would split for him and allow the entire Jewish people to forge a path through the water—he gave the opening for G-d to enter and transform the reality of the Jewish people. And what they all needed was the Emunah for it to happen. The key word to remember is belief.

An unmarried person, or any person who desires to achieve a goal, faces obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. An individual might think that it is impossible to achieve the goal they desire because of extenuating circumstances. There are a million and one reasons why your goal seems impossible to achieve. No where to turn with obstacles all around. At that point some give up. Even the best of us give up. But then what must urge a person forward is taking action while believing and feeling with your heart that it will happen.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What You See Is What You Get. What Do You See?

What I mean by that title is that what you see in your mind, what you imagine constantly, is what you will eventually get in your life. It's not instantaneous, of course. But whatever you concentrate on, while feeling a lot of emotion about it, will end up in your lap. Not only that, if you imagine having the thing you want AND you imagine the gratitude and joy you will feel upon receiving it: meaning, you crank up the gratitude-ness inside you until you feel as if you already have gotten what you want: then you will get it.

Which leads me to a question. If I am always thinking about something, does it mean that I want it? And if I want that, does it mean that it's good for me? Notice what you want, why you want it, and is it what you really want? Or just what might feel good.

Ah the elusive "what feels good." Clearly what feels good is not always good for a person. Eating chocolate cake for every meal and snack might feel and taste good, but it's not very healthy or nutritious. If you wanted to eat food that was healthy and nutritious, you'd go to an expert on food - a nutritionist, say, and ask him or her to prepare for you a food plan, and advise you on what's best for you. You wouldn't say, well, I know what I like, so that's what I'll eat! Licorice, candy corn, M&M's, and some Mountain Dew to top it all off! At the very least, you'd Google some pages on "health," "diet," and "nutrition."

When finding the right person to marry, there's the candy aspect. You say you want someone attractive, wealthy, funny. Someone who shares the same interest in music as you. How do you know what choices in your dating diet are junk food or healthy? Every doctor will tell you that your food intake in your twenties and thirties directly impacts your health in your seventies. You should know that the same principle applies to dating and relationships. Relationships which take place now are not isolated from the rest of your life.

Figuring out what you want versus what you need, and creating a balance in terms of your goals for a spouse is all very important. A wacky granola-pusher might give you a list of very healthy food but you would never touch it, not in a million years. Tofu? Wheat germ? Agave juice? You've got to be kidding me! You want a nutritionist who knows not just what's healthy, but knows you, and understands your limits, and where you can push your limits. Garden salad with lemon vinaigrette, herbed lean chicken, and wild rice. You know, I think that sounds really healthy for me, and it'll taste good too. And I get (one medium sized piece of) chocolate cake for dessert? All right!

The people you choose to date, the list of qualifications your prospective spouse should have - all these will affect your happiness and emotional health now and later on in life. Find a trusted source to help figure out what kind of person you need, what is best for you, and of course, what kind of person will help you be happy and satisfied in your long, happy, healthy, life together.