KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 8th Teves, 5773

Forgive

“As I walked down the street, a huge blow fell on my shoulders. The pain was terrible. I swung around in fury. “Who hit me?” I shouted.

What I saw then shut me up. It was my own loving father…”1

There are two parts to forgiving others. The first is more important — this is to forgive within our hearts. In order to move forward in life — to be happy, to succeed — we must remove — we must cut out, our anger, resentment. We dare not allow this tumor to swell. It might just kill us.

It’s hard to overlook the pain others inflict on us. We suffered, and the suffering leaves a scar. Still, we have to forgive; we have to forget.

This is the Torah’s command.2

We must remember — we must repeat to ourselves — that all our suffering starts with the Creator. The Creator may afflict us — to show us, teach us, that we acted incorrectly, that we need to make repairs. Or, He may want us to pass a certain test — that we may grow as we need to grow — that we may develop as we need to develop. Still, no matter the reason, only the Creator hits us. When a man beats his dog, he uses a stick. After the man has gone, the dog may attack the stick — bite the stick. But the stick didn’t hurt him!

We must remember — we must repeat to ourselves — that any suffering we suffer starts with the Creator. Then it becomes easy to forgive the one who was but a stick. It’s easy then even to forget which stick it was. After all, it’s only a stick.

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1 The Klausenberger Rebbi, a Holocaust survivor — to explain how he was able to regain his calmness, just minutes after hearing the agonizing news that he had lost his son.


2 VaYikra 19.18

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 7th Teves, 5773

Don’t hurt them

Here is a wonderful resolution to bring benefit and blessing to our lives.

Try, at all times, not to hurt any other person — not to hurt him with an action, a word, a gesture, a facial expression, or even a thought. Try to hurt no person, whether in front of them or after they leave, behind their backs — even if they will never know it.

What do we gain with this resolution? Only a world of new friends and family, new support and encouragement, new love and strength, and the power to live with clear joy.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be a King“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 6th Teves, 5773

Pleasant Words

Speak pleasant words. Be Polite. Be Positive. Enjoy others — even those who seemingly hurt you. Avoid cursing others, even under your breath. Enjoy your life, even when it doesn’t go your way. Avoid criticizing, complaining about your surroundings. Don’t condemn what happens to you.

Our words are powerful — the most powerful tools we have. We can use them to belittle, blacken, destroy even that which good. On the other hand, we can use them to repair, heal, develop even that which is weak and poor.

When we speak in rough, tough ways, we do more than hurt others — we hurt ourselves. We hurt our self-image. We prevent ourselves from reaching the greatness that waits for us.

We are the first victims of the ugly words we speak. At the same time, we are the first to benefit from the pleasant, positive words we speak.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be a King“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 5th Teves, 5773

Humility

The only One we need to please is the Creator. We have no need to please any person — not father, mother, not friend, not acquaintance, not child, not lover. We need not charm anyone, nor win them over. For our every charm, our every joy, comes only from giving pleasure to the Creator.

All we need is to please the Creator. How do we do this? The secret lies in one word — humility. We need to see, to think, and repeat to ourselves, that the Creator is greater than we are.

Simple? Not at all. For everything that surrounds us, every plant, every creature, every person, is a manifestation of the Creator. Every object or even concept — in one form or another — is the Creator. As such, we need to elevate every element of the world. Within our thoughts and attitudes, we must place them over ourselves. With our approach, our beliefs, we must set them above all that we are, always.

Then, in making our world higher than ourselves, we acquire the humility, the charm and the joy to please everyone around us — and we win for ourselves the friendship, support and love we so want and need.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 1st Teves, 5773

Don’t hurt them

Here is a wonderful resolution to bring benefit and blessing to our lives.

Try, at all times, not to hurt any other person — not to hurt him with an action, a word, a gesture, a facial expression, or even a thought. Try to hurt no person, whether in front of them or behind their backs — even if they will never know it.

What do we gain with this resolution? Only a world of new friends and family, new support and encouragement, new love and strength, and the power to live with clear joy.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be a King“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 29th Kislev, 5773

With Songs

“I would have sent you away with joy, with songs — with the tambourine and the lute.”[1]

None other than Lavan, Yakov Avinu’s treacherous father-in-law, spoke these words. His sincerity is small, we know — he is one of history’s great liars. Still, there is wisdom in his words. This is why the Torah records them.

“I would have sent you away with joy…” We live with other people. We interact with them. Then, suddenly, they leave our lives. We need to appreciate them while we have them — and we need to appreciate them when they leave. Then, when they leave us, it will be with our gratitude, with our good wishes. We will wish them every success.

We need to appreciate them while we have them — others add so much to our lives.

We need to appreciate them when they leave. We need to say, “If they are no longer around, this means I am entering a new era, a new realm of exploration and achievement — something exciting.”

Then, with our gratitude, we’ll wish them well — we’ll pray for their success as much as we pray for our own success. We’ll wish them every happiness in the world.

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[1] Breishis 31.27

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By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 28th Kislev, 5773

The Main Thing

Do you have something to give away? Then give it away. Is there a favor you can do for someone else? Then do it. Is there a sacrifice that you can make? Then make it.


It doesn’t matter to whom you do this kindness. The main thing is that you do it. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t ask for this gift or favor. It’s enough that they will accept it, they will be happy with it. It doesn’t matter that they won’t thank you. What you need is to do a kind act for someone else. Never mind that there’s tremendous effort involved here — this only makes your merit the larger.

An awesome blessing lies behind this advice. Start giving whatever you can — whatever you don’t need, whatever you thought you would leave for a rainy day. And in this way, you release huge, heavenly blessing — a wealth of happiness and success that pours on you from the worlds above. Not immediately, not in the most obvious way, but soon — you will see — the Creator’s blessing entering your life in a magical way. There is a condition though. You must give your gift with joy. You must smile.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 27th Kislev, 5773

All We Need

The Creator gives us all we need, as we need it. Therefore…
We need never act in ugly ways, say harsh words, think nasty thoughts. How so? The Creator gives us all we need, as we need it.


We need never panic, cry, or sigh in despair, worry. Why not? The Creator gives us all we need, as we need it.

All we need do is to try — try to give a little more than we usually give – to be nice to those we prefer to avoid – to send prayers and blessings to those we know. Can we afford to act like this? The Creator gives us all we need, as we need it.

Moreover, we should sing as we work — keep smiling — glisten with happiness and tranquility. After all, the Creator gives us all we need, as we need it.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 23rd Kislev, 5773

Something Special

When we do something special for ourselves, we should do also, something special for others.

Now and then, we break our routine to treat ourselves — to choose or buy something new, something special. In doing this, we experience a lift — an anticipation — the preparation we need to make before we enjoy this new pleasure.

During this delay — the time we wait — let’s turn our thoughts also to others. Let’s spread the sunshine. As we do for ourselves, so let us do for others. This legitimizes our self-interest. Moreover, it enriches us. It makes our special treat only the sweeter and more unique.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be a King“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 22nd Kislev, 5773

Pleased

Once, we used to say “Pleased to meet you”, or “Nice to meet you” to new faces. Now, we say this less. Maybe we avoid such words because we feel they are dishonest. After all, how thrilled are we to meet another set of desires — another hungry stomach. Surely, this is all that another person is.

We can look at others in one of four ways: Takers, Givers, Thieves and Blessings.

Takers — those who want to take from us, and leave us the poorer.

Givers — those who give to us, thereby, enslaving us. Once we depend on them — we must bow to them.

Thieves — those who give, expecting nothing in return. They leave us with their gift, and disappear. These “millionaire uncles” look like angels. The problem is, though, they train us to trust in them, and turn us away from trusting in the Creator. In this way, they rob us.

Blessings — those who even as they take from us, enrich us. For, as we give to them, we grow the more affluent. In giving, we dig up abundant stores we never knew existed — untapped wealth. Moreover, we uncover the Creator, sending us His gift, His help, His blessing. Thus, through such people, we only grow greater.

Into which category do the people around us fit? To a large degree, this depends on us. It depends on how we look at our world.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 21st Kislev, 5773

Need This

What is our first thought when someone asks us a favor? Is it “Oh, no, I really don’t need this now”? If so, we’re in trouble. For when someone asks us a favor, it is the Creator asking us a favor — and since the Creator reads our minds, this thought is a slap in His face.

Moreover, there’s another problem…

The success of the world depends on us helping each other, boosting each other, encouraging each other. However, naturally, subconsciously, we are reluctant to help. So the Creator gives us a push. He sends us someone to ask a favor.

If we agree to do the favor, we are on our way. For through doing one good turn, and then another, we learn to become kind people — and all is well. But if we refuse, we injure ourselves. We miss the chance to be givers, to build the world and build ourselves — and we must suffer the consequences. We must sit in the prisons of those who know only to take.

Therefore, when someone asks us a favor, our response should be, Baruch Hashem, now I can do something for someone else — and something for myself.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 20th Kislev, 5773

Away

“Throw your bread on the waters…”[1]

Our money is dear to us. We didn’t steal it. On the contrary, we gave precious time and effort to acquire it. So we look after it. We are careful with it. We hold onto it. We invest it. And so, it should be that we hardly ever give it away — unless of course, for our own needs and pleasures.

But we know, we know — the Torah teaches us and we know –”… with the passing of the days, you will find it.”[2]

To use our monies to help others, relatives and friends, even strangers, even animals, is not to lose it, but to invest it. We have a promise that all we give will come back to us — at one time or another — in one form or another — with accumulated profits and interest. Therefore — and again — let us indulge in that special pleasure of giving what is ours to others.

[1]        Koheles 11.1

[2]        Ibid

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 19th Kislev, 5773

Doing Favors

Some people mostly receive favors from others. Other people mostly do favors for others. Normally, we understand that the receivers are the “have-nots”, while the givers are the “haves” — they give because they have what to give.

The truth however is that often those who give don’t really have that much more. They aren’t that much more able, talented or wealthy than those who receive. Instead, the difference lies in their sensitivity to others and their willingness to help them.

Moreover, we should note, that after a while, those who give become more able, talented and wealthy — while those who only receive remain incapable, untalented and poor — even becoming poorer as they go along. We need to think more about this — and also to teach it to others.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, for 17th Kislev, 5773

Killer Judge


A courtroom judge cannot draw a gun from his robes and shoot the accused. Even when he sees where justice lies, he cannot do so. There is a process of law, and if he breaks it, he is a murderer. Certainly then, this is true for us. We cannot murder other people — no matter how much we feel they deserve it.


Is it different then, if we kill them fully, or partially?[1] Whether we murder someone with fifty years to live or fifty seconds to live, we are still killers.

Similarly, to embarrass others, insult them, hurt their feelings, is a form of murder. We may not kill their moment of glory. We may not slaughter their self-esteem. We may not shoot down their hopes for a happy future. We may not put them through a mini-death.

No matter how much others deserve to be punished, we are neither judge nor jury. We may not kill others, even in the smallest way. We must leave this to Higher Powers.

[1] Baba Kama 65a

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 16th Kislev, 5773

Criticism


Don’t criticize — give instructions. If you can’t give instructions, make suggestions. If you can’t make suggestions, keep quiet.


Don’t criticize. Mostly, it makes the other person feel bad. It embarrasses him, and he hates you for this. Even if this leads to the smallest amount of resentment, of bitterness, you don’t want it.

Give instructions. Tell him how to move forward — how to get beyond this moment, how to conclude the project — in a happy way. Help him achieve, succeed — and win the battle against being weak and small.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be a King“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 15th Kislev, 5773

Great Opportunity


The opportunity to give really is an opportunity. Therefore, not only must we train ourselves to say, “It’s a pleasure to help you” — we must also think, “It’s a pleasure to help you.”


An opportunity to help others is a massive opportunity — a gift from the heavens, the secret of our wellbeing — the blessing, goodness and pleasure that enter our lives. It’s a key, a button that opens pipelines of happiness and contentment into our world.

We need almost to be afraid to let such an opportunity pass by. Then, even if we can’t give a full gift, we will give a partial gift. Even if we can’t give a large gift, we will give a small gift. And above all, we will give what we give with a smile, a kind word and a prayer for the well-being of those who receive our gift.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 14th Kislev, 5773

In a Mirror


How do you look into a mirror? Do you smile — say “hi”? Do you pull a face? Do you inspect your reflection with care, straighten an eyebrow, pull back a curl? Do you quickly look away?


In any event, we all have a certain pleasure from seeing ourselves in a mirror. We recognize the face in the glass, and are glad that it’s there.

We need, then, to do the same thing with other people. We need to look at them as though we were looking in a mirror. For, in them we may see a reflection of all that lies within us.

To look at others as we look at ourselves is to look at the world through very different eyes. Moreover, it helps us in many different ways. It frees us from jealousies, angers, resentments. And it shows us how we may love life with a new energy.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be a King“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 13th Kislev, 5773

A Paradise


How can we turn this world into a paradise for others?


We can help them, bodily or with money — however conditions permit us to help them. We can praise and encourage them, boost and inspire them — at every opportunity. We can pray for them, beg the Creator to send them happiness and success — one more time.

Why should we do this? What do we profit from this? We gain a new attitude towards others, an attitude that makes our lives more pleasant and pleasurable, more exciting and energizing. Thus, even if we don’t succeed in converting this world into a real paradise for others, we do convert it into a paradise for ourselves.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 10th Kislev, 5773

To Receive


In whatever situation we find ourselves we should try to think, “How may I improve this moment? What may I give to this moment?”

Mostly, all we do, we do for ourselves. Still, the Creator uses our activities to fulfill the wishes and needs of others. So, for instance, if Mr. A opens an ice-cream shop for profit, the Creator, at the same time, uses Mr. A to supply the neighborhood with the pleasures He wants them to enjoy — the pleasures that come from eating ice cream.

But Mr. A makes it all better, for others and himself, when he focuses also on helping others, boosting others and promoting his community. His every action and word becomes more powerful and rich when his intention becomes the benefit of others. And who profits most from this enrichment? Mr. A does.

To receive, we must give. And the more we give, and the better we give — the more and better we receive.

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be Happy and Succeed“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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KEEP SMILING ~ Self-Growth, 9th Kislev, 5773

Like Children

People — like flowers in a garden — make our world a more pleasant place. They give to us. They enrich our lives. Even when they annoy, irritate and exasperate us, they help us. They help us grow. They help us reach for greatness. More important, though, we need to focus on what we owe them — what duties we have towards them. These are two.

One: we may not hurt them in any way. We may not hurt them physically and, even more so, we may not hurt them emotionally. Any word we say to embarrass them is a crime. Worse, if we disgrace them in public, this is similar to murdering them.[1] We must treat them with care.

Two: we need to help them — influence them — for their good. As much as we are able, we should improve their circumstances, their lives, their selves. In a sense, they are our children — our responsibility — and we must care for them.

[1] Rabbeinu Yona, Avos 3.15. Mesilas Yesharim, “Pratai HaNekius”, Eshkol Publications, p.52

By Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

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Excerpted from “Be a King“. To buy this book as an ebook for $4.95 click here.

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