Greedy, Power Hungry and Hurting the Poor? Sounds Like the Government

Published on Sep 14, 2015

Is capitalism moral or greedy? If it’s based on greed and selfishness, what’s the best alternative economic system? Perhaps socialism? And if capitalism is moral, what makes it so? Walter Williams, a renowned economist at George Mason University, answers these questions and more. Donate today to PragerU:

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From YouTube, here.

How to Teach Children about Abduction

Stranger Danger Video — Protecting Your Children From Abduction Attempts

Published on Jul 21, 2017

Presented as a public service of The Barry and Harriet Ray Child Safety Awareness Campaign.
This video will give you the tools to speak to your children about Stranger Danger so they can protect themselves from abduction attempts.
A project of The Karasick Child Safety Initiative of Project YES

From YouTube, here.

[Thanks to Nochem Rosenberg.]

הרב ברנד: האם לשנות נוסח נחם בזמן הזה?

העיר החרבה והבזויה והשוממה?

נוסח “נחם” בימינו ● דעת הגאון הרב עובדיה יוסף זצ”ל ● דעת הגאון הרב דוד חי הלוי זצ”ל ● ביאור המאמר “הלואי שתבואו ותטמאו את ארצי” ● שני תקופות

18:38 (16/07/17) מכון בריתי יצחק ● הרב יצחק ברנד

המשך לקרוא

מאתר בריתי יצחק – הרב יצחק ברנדכאן.

A Guide to Personal Holiness in the Workplace

How can I start being Shomer Habris? 

The fact that you have the interest shows that you have already started the battle.

There are a number of things that you need to know in order to succeed. The first is to fully acknowledge the situation.

Acknowledge that being Shomer Habris in thought, speech and action is the largest test that a man is placed through in this world. Also, acknowledge that although it is a very hard test it is still very possible to win. There are many people that have been Shomer Habris in the past and that are Shomer Habris today. I personally can give witness to many people today that are Shomer Habris. Amongst them people that are single, people that are married, people living in Tzfat and people going into Manhattan every day, traveling on the subway system and working in mixed offices.

Acknowledge that it is very possible to be Shomer Habris especially at the basic level of refraining from doing physical sins. However, to a person that is in a situation of impurity, it might seem like it is totally impossible to stop.

It will seem like it is beyond human ability to be Shomer Habris. This person must do two things. First, he must begin weakening his Yetser Hara. Second, he must start building merit and protection.

Part 1

Weakening the Yetser Hara

First of all, a person should temporarily ignore the severity and the punishment of the sin. He must remember that Hashem has infinite mercy and is always ready to accept those who wish to return to him. As far as rectifying the past forget about that for now, just focus on the current situation when at a later situation you will have more energy then you should consider doing Tikunim for the past. The whole trick of Avodas Hashem is, when you have energy you do, when you are low on energy you contract yourself and remain still using all remaining energy to refrain from falling, waiting for more energy so you can hit again. Remember the mighty warrior is not the person who can strike a onetime hit but rather a person who knows the techniques of battle and can fight consistently little by little until he reaches the day that he has completely destroyed his enemy. This person will rise up and continue no matter what falls and obstacles are placed in his path.

The way the Yeter Harah works is very simple. At a general point in time when a person is in control of his mind, he has almost no control over him. He then draws him in little by little, it could start by having him look at an impure picture, bring an impure thought into his head or any number of ways. He then draws him more and more into his trap. In the beginning a person can still pull back however as a person transcends into the impurity he starts losing his will to pull back little by little until he reaches a point where he thinks that it is impossible to stop.

The Solution to this is very simple although very hard to carry out. It is, to stop it before it starts to demolish it before it begins. The second a person feels this Yetser Hara gaining even the smallest entrance over him he must run and do everything in his power to get away. Even if he feels that he is miles away from committing the actual sin.

The only way a person can do this is to start making boundaries. Every person must analyze where he falls and start chopping away at those places. Not at the sin itself but ten steps in front of the sin.

There is also another issue that even when a person does all within his might not to go next to a sin there are going to be times when he will be tested and he will be placed in a situation against his will. In this place he must make use of extremely drastic methods to escape at all costs. It is here that he proves that he is truly Shomer Habris. It is here that he receives his biggest Tikun when he is forcibly passed through those same situations in the same constricted mind frame and he emerges victorious.

However, all this is very hard as a person will be placed through thousands of tests which he must pass. He must vanquish impure thoughts from his mind hundreds of thousands of times until he is victorious. When a person looks at all this it seems humanly impossible to do. This is because he is not aware of the important fact that the more times he wins the stronger he becomes. Every time he passes a test the easier it becomes to pass it again. There will be a point when he will look back and the tests that loomed in front of him like huge dark mountains will suddenly appear to be nothing more than little pebbles. He will reach a time that he will laugh at the past weaknesses that controlled his life.

However, even if a person accepts this fact as being true since he cannot actively experience it, it is extremely difficult for him to act upon it and use it as a motivation to fight such a huge battle.

A person who wishes to become Shomer Habris must do the following tune out everything else and say I am going to try being Shomer Habris for the next week after that whatever happens, happens. After that week a person must start again if a person falls on the way it is not a big deal he should forget about it immediately he just has to refocus his energies and start again. Every time a person wins it becomes easier and easier until he has totally left his previous actions and has gained full control over himself.

Part 2

Building protection

A person may say the following “It is very good if I was living in Tzfat or Meah Shearim studying Torah all day, then it would be very easy to be Shomer Habris. Unfortunately, life has placed me in a situation that I have to travel to the City every day and work in a mixed office with non-Jewish and unreligious coworkers. I also hardly have time to pray and study Torah. I am being exposed to the Klipos the whole day, how is it possible to be Shomer Habris?

The answer is the following the more impure a person is, the more hold the Klipot have over him. The more Tikunim a person does the more protection he has and the less of a hold the Klipot have over him. If a person builds protection, then when he is forced to go into the domain of the Klipot they have little grasp over him and he can pass through unaffected. Just like a small child who has not yet defiled himself can walk through the streets and is much less affected, so to a person who does Tikunim can walk through the streets and has much protection from the Klipot, impure thoughts and desires.

The basic trick is to build armor in advance. To do Tikunim before you need them, to seal the holes before the Klipot can gain a hold. Tikunim is a double term, it helps rectify the past and build protection in the future. Even a person that is fully aware that he is still in the possession of the Sitra Achra and that he is still falling to the sins of Pgam Habris, Heaven Forbid, he should also do the Tikunim. Doing the Tikunim will remove a large percent of his impure thoughts and desires and will make it much easier for him to be Shomer Habris. In addition, they will also send him much protection from heaven and save him from even entering into a situation where he may stumble. A person who does Tikunim if he ever Heaven Forbid enters a situation where he is about to stumble, suddenly all the Tikunim that he has done in the past will rise up to his aid and save him.

The first thing a person has to do is mark a separation between the things he is forced to do and the things that he does maliciously, whether out of irresponsible planning or from the fact that he is not willing to make some simple sacrifices to become Shomer Habris. A person can only expect to be protected in situations that he must enter, not in situations that he enters from his own will and for his personal desires. In addition, a person is required to make some sacrifices. If a person places himself in a situation because not doing so would have caused him some slight discomfort, that is not called a situation that he was forced to enter.

Let us give some examples a person might be forced to work in the city. He might be forced to travel on the subway/railroad system. He might be forced to work a mixed office and talk to women. He might be forced to use the internet for work related reasons. He might feel forced to keep up to date on current events. However, there is absolutely no excuse in the world for ever watching a movie. For ever reading any non-work related books. For ever watching TV. For ever going to impure places for any social activity. For ever socializing with women for non-work related reasons. If a person is not willing to sacrifice these activities, only because at times it will place him in a situation of discomfort, then the fault is his. It his own fault if he stumbles to the sins of Pgam Habris and he will pay the price.

[Let us just add two things here. The first is, if a person carefully plans out his life and also if he prays to Hashem then he can avoid most of the situations that we listed above of being “forced to do”. The second thing is that even if a person still actively does the things we stated above that should not be done, or that he made a judgment upon himself that if he changes his whole life in one minute he will surely fall after a short period of time. He consistently removes himself from the Klipah little by little until he has total stopped. Both these people should also do Tikunim since they will help him out.]

Part 3 

The Tikunim

Listed here are a number of Tikunim and Halochos that are very easy to do and everyone can do them.

1 – Mikvah
A person who works in the city should try to go to the Mikvah every morning. If he does so for a number of weeks he will easily notice a definite change. A large percent of his temptations will simply disappear. Everyone should make an extreme effort to go to the Mikvah on Erev Shabbot and Erev Hachag. A person who sees Keri or was Heaven Forbid Pogem Habris in any way should go to the Mikvah as soon as possible. It is stated in the writings of the Holy ARI that the mark remains on a person’s forehead until he immerses in the Mikvah, and anyone who has guarded his eyes can see this openly.

2 – Tikun Hklali

It is extremely advisable to recite the Tikun Haklali every day, even if a person does not manage to concentrate as he recites it. Just uttering the words is a large Tikun. Everyone should recite the Tikun Klali at least once a week. A person who sees Keri or was Heaven Forbid Pogem Habris in any way must do everything and anything within his power to say Tikun Haklali that day.

3 – Torah

Everyone must have some time set aside every day to study Torah. If a person has contaminated his mind and lost his power of concentration then he should learn other parts of Torah, it is not necessary to only study Talmud. A person should study Mishnah, Navi, Medrash, Musar or Chumash. If a person has the time he should try to study from all parts of the Torah every day, either with Chok Liyisroel or go at his own pace. If a person must travel on the subway or railroad and he finds that the impurity of the Klipot does not allow him to concentrate on any part of Torah then he should read stories about the Holy Tzadikim.

4 – Hisbodedut

A person should try to do Hisbodedute every day. He should find a time and a place where he can talk and pray to Hashem in his own words. He can do this about any topic he like but he may use the opportunity to beg Hashem to help him be Shomer Habris. Everyone should try to set aside at least a half an hour a week to do Hisbodedut.

5 – Nitilat Ydaim

A person should be extremely careful to always wash his hands in the morning and after he leaves the bathroom according to Halacha. That is to wash each hand three times from a washing cup, first right hand then left hand and then back to right hand and so forth. In the morning he should try not to walk four amos before he washes his hands. He can keep a washing cup covered by a bowl next to his bed and wash in the morning. A person should try to wash outside the bathroom. In a situation with no other options, he should wash even with the bathroom sink and without a cup. This is very important for when a person goes to the bathroom a spirit of impurity hangs over him, which he removes by washing his hands. Impure thoughts and temptations only have a place in his mind according to his impurity. Also, a person should spend the least amount of time in the bathroom/shower as possible. Both because of the impurity and because it is a place of temptation. Never read any magazines or newspapers in the bathroom since they all contain impure information buried somewhere inside of them and you are giving them an opening to start.

From, here.

Private Roads in Action: Hong Kong

Demystifying privatization: Private roads and sidewalks in Hong Kong

According to The Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong is and has been, for the last 25 years, an exponent of and exemplary model for economic freedom. Despite its urban development regulation, property rights infringement, state monopolies, the erosion of the Rule of Law, or its unequal and overwhelming labour regulations, Hong Kong can still be proud of one of the most thoroughly discussed aspects of classical liberalism: private roads and sidewalks. After offering a brief explanation of the different alternatives to road-socialization, I will focus on one specific problem in the privatization of roads: the idea, vox popul, that if we privatize common areas such as roads, sidewalks, or parks, they would not be free anymore, but shall become expensive, unaffordable or unavailable.

Who Will Built the Roads?

Roads, sidewalks, and other common areas are a scarce resource and, thus, the best way to distribute and manage them is, libertarianism tells us, the free market. There is a psychological element behind the idea that government intervention is a must when we are dealing with complex, important, or basis services, such as healthcare, education or, indeed, roads. Our emotional response is a compelling, dire need for a superior and abstract entity who can magically manage that complexity: the government. But the government is not, however, an abstract entity –it is in fact a collection, so to speak, of highly unskilled individuals without incentives to do their job properly. Therefore, government management often results in absolute failure and waste of resources. As it is the case with traffic jams: a collision between the private production of vehicles and the public management of roads.

But without government, who will build the roads? This endless question has a simple answer: the same people who are building them now: contracting companies hired by the government. The government does not build roads. The government, in fact, builds nothing. The government only steals half of our salary to redistribute it inefficiently to provide us with things that we barely use or that, once we use them, they won’t work properly. The fantasy perpetuates itself like a self-fulfilling prophecy under the excuse that “it has always been like that” and, if things were to change, it will lead to complete chaos.

But when abolitionist tried to get rid of slavery in the United States, some people used the same excuse: Who will pick the cotton when we free the slaves? Indeed, many were convinced that, without slaves picking cotton, clothes would not get made, families and companies would go bankrupt, and kids would freeze to death (Rothbard 2006; Samuels 2015, 191-193). But after the abolition of slavery new incentives led to the development of new technologies to pick the cotton. As happened with slavery, we are unable to predict what kind of roads and how necessary roads will be in a world without public roads, because government intervention kills any possible incentive to such development. Without free market and the incentives it creates we cannot predict the development of new technologies.

There are, however, many alternatives to government intervention based on the private sector, from the threshold pledge system described here, to roads built by companies who need logistic services, roads for their employers, and roads for their customers. In Hong Kong it is not hard to see “Private Roads” in all neighborhoods, working as open malls where people and cars can freely come and go without restrictions –a variation of the “center model” proposed by Block (2009, 16).

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From Confucian Libertarian, here.