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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rabbi discusses misconception of intimacy

Send Page To a Friend Rabbi discusses misconception of intimacy By Cecelia Dunford Collegian Staff Writer Rabbi Manis Friedman said people are looking for intimacy in all the wrong places during a lecture Thursday. Friedman, an author, philosopher and world-renowned speaker, discussed the misconception people have about intimacy and sex as a guest speaker of Chabad of Penn State. Friedman said sex and intimacy are not related at all, contrary to popular belief. He defined intimacy as a person’s “desire to become one” with another person and said sex interferes with that intimacy by separating people because sex is an act that is “selfish” of an individual. True intimacy, Friedman said, is not dependent on a material thing or outside force, but is dependent on each person in a relationship’s ability to completely dissolve themselves into their relationship. He added they should not expect to “get anything out of the relationship,” which, he said, is how most people view an intimate relationship. Friedman wrote a book on the topic of intimacy and modesty, “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore?” He further explains the need for a better understanding of intimacy in a modern and changing world. Co-director of Chabad of Penn State Sarah Meretsky said Friedman brought insight into how intimacy is a religious experience. She said she thought the topic of intimacy would be beneficial for students because it brings awareness of the importance of meaningful relationships in contrast to meaningless ones or “hook-ups.” She said students lose sight of self-respect for themselves and for relationships. Although Friedman stressed the difference between sex and intimacy, he said he wasn’t claiming sex was a bad thing, but said without intimacy, sex is just that, a “thing.” “When you reduce intimacy to sex, you’re reducing it to soup; there’s nothing special about it,” Friedman said. In order to have a lasting relationship, love cannot be dependent on material things, Friedman added. Senior Elaine Arsenault (senior-psychology) said she thought Friedman presented a valid point for people to “get beyond material things” in order to have meaningful relationships. Friedman said intimacy is not a simple matter a person can grasp instantly. “You need wisdom, nobility and an ability to get beyond all your ‘things’, sexual pleasures included, to reach intimacy,” Friedman added. Quoting comedian George Carlin, he said people need to “get past all our stuff” to achieve “true” intimacy. Friedman is married to Chana Friedman, and they have 14 children. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1946, his family immigrated to the United States in 1950. In 1971 he founded Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies. It is the world’s first yeshiva exclusively for women, where he currently serves as dean of the university. A biblical scholar with an expertise of Jewish mysticism, Rabbi Friedman has been featured in the New York Times, Rolling Stone and Seventeen magazine along with making appearances on CNN and BBC. hip,” which, he said, is how most people view an intimate relationship.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Send Page To a Friend Rabbi Manis Friedman lectures around the globe on the topic of love and relationships. Where does Love fit into a true relationship? Does something become important if you love it? These questions and more are addressed in the talk. For more about Rabbi Manis Friedman please visit

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Monday, October 29, 2012

A New Twist to the Adam and Eve Story by Rabbi Manis Friedman

Send Page To a Friend Rabbi Manis Friedman Do you know the story of Adam and Eve? If we truly understand what took place on that day in the Garden of Eden, it would help us understand a lot about what we are supposed to being doing here in this world. In the beginning, G-d created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden with very specific instructions: "You may eat the fruit of all of the trees besides for that one." What will happen if you do eat from that forbidden tree? "The day you eat from it you will die." Within an hour of those explicit instructions Adam and Eve both ate the forbidden fruit. Now G-d approaches Adam and asks him, "Did you eat from the tree that I told you not to eat from?" What does Adam answer? "Eve made me do it." Because they ate from the forbidden tree, G-d banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and placed them in a world where people would be forced to make a living "by the sweat of their brow," have difficulties growing wheat, and where pain would inevitably accompany birth. The snake would be humanity's great enemy; it would kill man, man would kill it. And that's the story as we've always known it. Hasn't it ever struck you as a bit odd? Why would G-d choose to start the Torah with such a horrible story? The Torah is about to introduce 613 commandments that we are to observe despite being shackled with an evil inclination. Yet how does G-d begin the Torah? By telling us a story about these two people, Adam and Eve, who are living in paradise, a place where the evil inclination cannot even exist, and after being given just one simple commandment they break it within the hour. That is not very encouraging. And if there is no evil inclination in the Garden of Eden, how could they have transgressed this one commandment, and so soon?! If G-d Himself told us to eat from any tree that we wanted, except for one, wouldn't we listen? If the A-mighty G-d spoke directly to you, wouldn't it make an impression? When G-d addressed the assembled at Mount Sinai, they all died and needed to be revived. But when He asks Adam to refrain from eating from a tree, Adam's response is, "I'll try"? That can't be; it's not possible. It is also bad psychology. When you tell a child, "Don't touch that crystal vase," you do not add, "if you do..." What do you mean "if you do"? You don't! You never introduce the possibility that they will break your rules. When you say, "If you do..." you're in effect saying that it's possible that they will touch that vase. However G-d goes even further than that. He didn't say "If you eat from it," He said, "The day you eat from it." What day is that? Who knows, maybe today. There is a mixed message here. And where did Adam learn to blame someone else? His automatic response to G-d's query was that Eve had forced him to eat the fruit. This man was only a few hours old, having been created just that morning, and he's already blaming others? Then, finally, G-d warns Adam and Eve that eating from the tree will bring death. G-d then adds more punishment. Not only will humans die but their lives will also be filled with suffering?! The whole story as we know it appears quite problematic. But the main problem is, if you would want to start teaching your child the Torah, would you start with this story? Even if it did happen, why talk about it? And right in the beginning of the book? Maybe the story isn't all that simple. Adam and Eve were the most righteous people in all of history, and only the Messiah's soul will be greater than theirs. Adam and Eve consciously remembered being in heaven when they were informed that their souls would have a special spiritual mission to fulfill in a physical world. They were told that they would be placed in physical bodies and sent into the lowest world of all in order to reveal G-dliness in even that spiritually dark place. That they would have to work to create a dwelling place for His glory in a world that did not naturally recognize Him. But when they got to this low world, G-d pointed at everything and told them that they should feel free to "eat from all of those trees, but don't eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and if you do you will die." But these instructions confused Adam and Eve. "What shall we do about that tree?" they wondered. "If we are here to fix this world, it seems that the one thing that needs fixing is that tree! The one we were commanded not to eat from." So Adam and Eve decided to have a little talk. "G-d is giving us a choice," explained Eve to Adam, "either don't eat from the tree and live, or eat from the tree and die. It's not a mixed message, it's a choice." "Then let's not eat from the tree," answered Adam. So Eve said, "We have to eat from that tree. That's what G-d wants; it is our destiny." "How do you know that?" Adam asked. "Because nobody dies here in the Garden of Eden; that means that we are not in the lowest world." "We're low enough. If G-d wanted us to be in a world where humans die He could have put us there Himself." "That's not how G-d works!" exclaimed Eve. "G-d takes you until the door, but it's your decision whether to enter or not." G-d always takes you to the threshold, and then He leaves you there. He wants you to decide. So Adam told Eve, "I think you're right. It is good that G-d created a wife for me, if it were not for you I wouldn't have understood the choice." So they took fruit from the forbidden tree and ate it. G-d then calls out to Adam, "You ate from the tree that I forbade you to eat from? How did you know that's what I wanted you to do?" "How did I know? I didn't know. She knew." "Well that is good," G-d answers. "Let me tell you about the lowest world. When you go into the world outside of this Garden of Eden you know pain, hard work and enemies. That's the lowest world. That's the world I need you to fix." Simply put, Adam and Eve weren't bothered by whether they lived or died. What they were really discussing was the future of their children, what kind of people they would be. Adam wanted to ensure that his children would all remain righteous. How do you do that? Don't eat from the tree. If you don't eat from the tree then you'll stay in the Garden of Eden, you'll never die, there will be no sins, and all of your children will be pious. Eve didn't want that. She wanted her children to be forced to struggle, to have to repent for their inevitable shortcomings. She eventually convinced Adam that one who must struggle to find G-d is worthier than a naturally righteous man. So Adam ate from the tree. In the first story of Torah, the Torah's telling us, we are in this world because it's better to struggle than to have G-dliness handed to us on a silver platter. Who chose this path for us? Our mother Eve. She knew that it would be very painful and that it would take a long time. But she knew that in the end her children would return to G-d and that then the world will really be fixed. Look at the difference in the two ways to tell this story: In one version G-d comes to Adam and asks (angrily), "You ate from the tree that I told you not to eat from?" That's not what happened. Actually G-d came to Adam and marveled (smiling), "You ate from the tree that I told you not to eat from?" It's the same words. It just depends on whether you assume that G-d is angry. He's not; why assume such a thing? Eating from the tree was not an act of rebellion against G-d, nor was it succumbing to their appetite, for they had no desires other than to serve G-d. The choice they had was between one holiness and another. Their motivation came from their G-dly souls. It is known as the "sin" of the tree for sin means stepping down from an innocent place to a lower place, and they certainly did -- not out of weakness but out of devotion to their mission. The mystical reality is this: All sin is distasteful to G-d and against His will. All sin also has its purpose in G-d's plan. Hence sin violates His will, He despises it, and sin furthers His purpose -- by moving us to teshuvah (repentance). Adam and Eve chose between fulfilling His will and fulfilling His purpose. Our evil inclination tempts us to defy G-d's will, not to fulfill His purpose.

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Rabbi Manis Friedman Pesach with KMR

Rabbi Manis Friedman will be spending Pesach 2012 with KMR.
With other quests like Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis from, Rabbi Yossi Jacobson from, and many more.
Rabbi Manis Friedman at Pesach KMR

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Notes from Bais Chana Class

"An evil inclination is when you simply say, 'my need comes first.' "
"One rule in all relationships: When you make the other person feel like who they are, they will adore you and forever feel indebted. "
"G-d = The original existence who was all alone and had a desire.
If a person shoudl ahve known, hes not excused for ignorance. If it could not have been known to him, hes excused.
A healthy person is someone whoès body doesnèt interfere with his intelligent mind as it pursues the purpose for which he exists.
There is no sin you can commit that will ever prevent you from becoming holy again. Because innocense in natural and came first. If you can go the other way, you can surely come back to what you started with.
When someone is in pain, you dont try to take it away; You share it with them.
If someone doesnèt have any responsibility or purpose, they become severely depressed because they arent necessary.
The further away you are, the greater the joy in coming closer.
No indivudual can ever be too unholy for a mitzvah because no one is truly holy enough to do something for G-d..and yet He still wants it from us.
Consequences dont determine whether something is wrong. The definition of right and wrong are determined according to the rules that existed before you got there.
A healthy person doesnèt have to do unnatural things in order to feel good.
People are afraid to think of inequality because they are faraid of their immorality.
Immorality means: If you are superior, you are not allowed to take advantage of someone elses inferiority.
Idolatry: G-d created the world, and now I decide what happens.

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The Rabbi and the Secret - Part I
Rabbi Manis Friedman

There is a book called "The Secret". I don't know if you've heard about it. It's a tiny little book. It's not a Jewish book. And it talks about the power of positive thinking. Maybe it could be a bit of an exaggeration, you know, it's hype, but basically it's on target. It's correct. One of the people, one of the contributors in the book, his name is John Assaraf, and he wrote a follow-up book on The Secret.

So a couple of months ago, near San Diego, there was a program the shluchim (emissaries) made that was called The Torah and The Secret. And he spoke and basically said like this – he said when you think positive, your thoughts have a very positive and powerful affect. So he creates like a visual board. You hang it up on the wall and you put all your positive thoughts on the board. He has a book about it, how you do this. Now he says that he moved from Chicago to this very expensive house outside of San Diego, and he was unpacking. And one of the things he unpacked was his visual board. And he realized that while living in Chicago many years earlier he had created a board of what he sees his future to be. One of the things that he hung up on the board is a picture of a house that he cut out of a magazine. This is the kind of house he envisions for his own future. As he was unpacking it and he saw the house that he had clipped out of a magazine, he realized that he had just moved into that house. Not a house like it, that house.

So he explained, how does it work. How does it work that your thoughts can affect gashmius, can affect physical reality? So he went into a whole thing that according to science the whole world, even a physical object, is not a fixed and permanent thing. It's all fluid. Even the laws of nature, they're all fluid. So since everything is always moving, everything is always in movement, your thoughts can move it in one direction or another. So your thinking has an affect even on physical reality. He explained the whole theory of the principle of uncertainty in science – that since the atoms are made up of moveable parts and the electrons are always running around and jumping away – so you never know where the buildings blocks of a physical thing, where they're going and what they're gonna do a minute from now. And that's why it's possible for your thoughts to actually change reality. It's all pretty sophisticated stuff and people were very impressed. He is a high powered speaker. He's one of these great motivational, you know, he speaks, gets $25,000 for a speech, this is the big time.

Where is this in Torah? Where do we see it is in the Torah? So I wanted to deliver it, explain it in the most simple – for people who never, don't know what Torah is. Why are your words or your thoughts so powerful? So when he finished speaking I mentioned that right at the beginning of the Torah we are given the same secret. So it hasn't been a secret for at least 3000 years.

The secret is – G-d created the world, how? By saying. He said.

What happened on Shabbos (the Sabbath)? V'yonach bayom hashvii (And on the seventh day He rested). So what happened on Shabbos? He still has to create the world or it wouldn't exist but it's Shabbos. So what happens on Shabbos is that He creates the world not with dibbur (speech), but with machshava (thought). So during the week the world is created with words. On Shabbos the world is created with thought. That's why Shabbos is holier than the rest of the week, because thought is higher than dibbur. Behind it all, what brings the world into existence? Kall asher chofetz Hashem asa (Everything G-d desired, He did). By the fact that the Aibishter (G-d) wants it, that makes it happen.

So now we have 3 things – the word, the thought, and the ratzon (will). The Aibishter wants, it happens. That's why when you think, or speak, or even want, you're affecting the whole world. Cause the whole world, the olam hagashmi is a response to words, thoughts and ratzon.

Now in the book The Secret, which basically tells you stuff that you already know, only it exaggerates it a little, there's one interesting statement, which was surprising to find it in a secular book. They discovered that thinking is very powerful. But positive thoughts are more powerful than negative thoughts. Which is really interesting. They don't explain it. They don't have an explanation. But they notice that this is true. Machshava (thought) is very powerful, but positive machshava is more powerful than negative machshava. Why is that? The explanation in Torah is very simple. The whole world is vibrating in response to the Aibishter's word. If you say a positive word, your energy, your word now joins the Aibishter's word and adds an impact. If you say something negative it has an affect but it's just your word, it's not joining the Aibishter's word so it can't have as much of an affect.

When you have a positive machshava, then you're thinking in the same path, in the same line as the Aibishter is thinking, so obviously your machshava is gonna have a bigger impact. If your ratzon (will) is the same that the Aibishter wants then of course your ratzon is gonna be more powerful.

So that explains everything. It explains why your thought can have an affect, how, and it explains why a positive affect is stronger than a negative affect. So when we say, “Tracht gut vet zayn gut”, (think good it will be good) what is “tracht gut” (think good)? What's good? If you think, for example, whatever the Aibishter wants is fine with me, is that called “tracht gut”? It's not. Why is that not good? It sounds good. Whatever kall asher asa HaKodesh Baruch Hu (all that G-d does) is fine with me. That's not good? That's good emuna. That's not good getracht (thinking). “Tracht gut” means think what He's thinking. Don't just say whatever He's thinking is fine. So “tracht gut” means think what He's thinking. Want what He wants. How do you know what He wants? Since the Aibishter is etzem hatov (the essence of good), and ainei mevakesh ella lefikocham (he only asks according to ones ability), since the Aibishter wants to do good, and He does good according to your understanding, so if you're thinking, “I am sure that I'm going to be well”, or that “my child is going to be cured”, that's what the Aibishter is thinking. So when your machshava (thought) matches His machshava (thought), it brings that machshava down to earth and it actually happens begashmius (in physicality).

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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