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My new article on Linkedin “On the Merits of a Three-Generational Family”
Today’s family often has only one adult living at home with the kids. But come Thanksgiving, I’d like to take a moment to discuss the merits of a full-size family. And by full size, I don’t just mean two parents and children, but rather grandparents, parents, and children all together. That is, they needn’t all live in the same house, but the benefits of keeping close family ties are something we should be aware of, especially today when it is so easy to find ourselves socially isolated and not realize that this is the reason for our sadness and irritation.
In spirituality, the three generations have a special meaning: They represent the full process of the ascent of a prayer. It begins with a person raising a prayer, sending it through a “medium” to the top level, and the top level returns the answer through the medium down to the beseeching individual.
This spiritual root manifests in many phenomena in our world, but one of the most vital ones is the three-generational family. This is why it is so mentally and emotionally healthy to maintain ties with all the generations in the family.
In addition to the spiritual benefits, grandparents can give to children what parents cannot. By nature, parents are more judgmental and demanding. Being the primary educators, they have to be that way. Grandparents are more accepting and give the children a place where they can always feel that they are loved the way they are. This is very important for children. Additionally, when children see that their parents treat their own parents well, they, too, will treat their parents well when they grow up, since example is the most impactful and lasting mode of teaching.
To the elderly, time with their grandkids is no burden; it’s a gift (to a degree, of course, as much as their health and energy allow). They enjoy being with their grandchildren, it connects them to their own children, the parents, and gives them vitality and health. To the parents, the children’s time with their grandparents is an opportunity to be with one another or do other things that they have no time or energy to do otherwise.
When parents get an occasional break from their kids, it helps them relax and allows them to be more thoughtful and patient when they are with the children. It also increases the longing of the children for the parents and the parents for the children, and nothing bonds people more strongly than the right amount of longing.
This Thanksgiving, I wish everyone a happy holiday, with lots of love and with the whole family.
My new article on Linkedin “A Legacy That Will Keep Rolling”
During a visit to Argentina years ago to chair a Kabbalah congress for my South American students, I vividly witnessed firsthand the impact of the gifted football player Diego Armando Maradona on his fans—a deep impact made not only at his birthplace, but around the world. At only sixty years old, his heart blew the last whistle in his ultimate match called “life.”
This is why such cultural heroes of the world who have reached the top of their fields all too often become addicted to drugs, fall from grace, and divorce and remarry countless times. Pleasure and pain are linked together, and without pain they do not feel real pleasure. Inside this duality they frantically and desperately search for the meaning of life.
He is considered by many as the greatest football player of all time. I do not know all his amazing skills on the field, but I am aware that he had a special attitude toward his profession, a huge passion and enthusiasm for the game, a great love for football that captivated the masses, as well as an unmatched commitment to bring fans joy and connect with them. In that sense, professionally speaking, he set a great example for many athletes around the world.
If we separate the athlete from the man, off the field Maradona had a special relationship with life itself. With all the noise around him, he remained a simple and unassuming person, warm and cordial like many of the Latin people. It’s easy to judge someone’s deeds on the surface, but after visiting the slum in which he grew up, one must tip their hat to him and say that, despite being raised in a difficult environment, he did much more good than bad to others.
Therefore, there is no point in harping about the way he conducted his private life, his behavior or personal attributes, but to focus instead on his professional achievements, on his unique excellence and his positive contribution to others. His love of sports and privileged talent transformed him into a legend that will live on in the admiration of generations to come.
One may ask why so many talented stars and celebrities with phenomenal success behave erratically throughout their careers, sometimes even showing a tendency toward self-destruction. It stems from the fact that they touched the pinnacle of fame, tasted world prestige, felt like revered idols, and once they felt the sweetness of global recognition and wealth, realized these accomplishments provided very little fulfillment. This is why such cultural heroes of the world who have reached the top of their fields all too often become addicted to drugs, fall from grace, and divorce and remarry countless times. Pleasure and pain are linked together, and without pain they do not feel real pleasure. Inside this duality they frantically and desperately search for the meaning of life.
Question: Baal HaSulam writes that only after society wants to achieve an integral state, becomes self-sufficient, and economically independent can people become guarantors for each other. So must everyone have the minimum necessary material first?
Answer: Definitely. This is not even a question. But the fact is that it is possible to achieve an ideal material state if at the same time we have a state of reciprocity.
Comment: Further, Baal HaSulam adds that when the society of those wishing to achieve a mutual guarantee is influenced by irresponsible, self-loving people, the provision of the necessary needs cannot be guaranteed. Even if one person still takes care of himself, everyone else will no longer be able to come to a mutual guarantee.
My Response: Naturally because integrity is violated.
Question: But how can it be that in a society where everyone cares about each other, one person stops doing this?
Answer: In principle, this is theoretically impossible, and even more so in practice. Because everyone will begin to influence each other there will simply be no place for such a person. He will not be able to remain so because under the influence of the environment he will be forced to voluntarily, consciously work for others.
From KabTV’s “Communication Skills” 8/21/20
Answer: This can only be determined by the very great Kabbalists, who see the world in the second half of the spiritual ladder.
They seemingly draw a person, absorb him into themselves, and then feel what his capacity, the unfilled volume of his soul is.
A Kabbalist who is only a beginner, however, cannot determine anything. To do this, you need to have heavy vessels of reception.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 11/25/18