Noah Weinberg, fully Rabbi Yisrael Noah Weinberg

Noah
Weinberg, fully Rabbi Yisrael Noah Weinberg
1930
2009

American Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, Rosh Yeshiva, father of today's Baal Teshuva Movement, Aish.com website is one of largest Jewish Learning websites

Author Quotes

If we're united, we have the power of God behind us.
Conversely, when the Jewish people are fighting internally, we forfeit God's power. Strife within the Jewish people is therefore the most insidious and debilitating enemy. It takes us from being the predominant force which can turn the world toward God, and reduces us to an impotent collection of self-absorbed individuals.
That's why the verse "Love your neighbor," concludes with "I am God." Because unity and friendship is so precious that even God wants to be part of it. He wants to be the third friend.
If we're united, the Almighty's with us. If we're divided, we're on our own.

Don't take revenge, don't bear a grudge.
Resentment is poisonous to the process of love.

The greatest accomplishment in life is to identify with your soul. The biggest mistake is to identify with that speck of physical body that's destined to become food for worms.
God could have made robots, but He doesn't want that. He wants a real relationship – which means we have to choose it. Body versus soul. What will you do?
Make the right choice. A conscious choice. Don't get lost in a bag of potato chips.

Recognize the difference between your limitations as a finite body, and the eternal nature of your soul. As physical beings, we are bound by time. The duration of human life is lived from minute to minute. That tiny slice of time is nothing in the course of humanity. And the history of humanity is nothing in the age of the universe.
But the Almighty is not bound by time. (In fact, He created time.) Your soul – part of the Almighty – is joined to that eternity.

Appreciate the qualitative distance between the body and the soul.
The body is one small speck of humanity. You couldn't find your own body amongst the mass of 5 billion human beings. Beyond that, humanity is just a speck in the mass of creatures on this planet. And earth is just a speck in the solar system. And the solar system is just a speck of the universe.
So what's your body? Next to nothing.
By contrast, your soul is part of the Almighty God, Who encompasses and transcends the entire universe. Therefore, if you're part of God, you're part of everything.
If the choice is body or soul, which makes more sense to identify with?

What is the constant challenge of "Don't stray after your heart?" It is the test of ego. Human nature is to see ourselves as the center of everything. Underneath it all is ego: "My world, my accomplishments, my growth."
People think atheism is based on "evidence" of no God. But the Sages explain that atheism is simply the result of egotism. Rather than accept the existence of an Almighty power, a person denies it in order to pursue what they want. In a place of inflated ego, there is no room for God, as the Sages say: "Straying after your heart is a denial of God."
The way to uproot this feeling of self-importance is by working on humility. In Pirkei Avot, the Sages say:
Concentrate on three things and you will never sin:
know where you come from,
know where you're going, and
know to Whom you will have to give an accounting.

The single most important goal in life is to have clarity, to live in reality.

The Talmud says: "Everything is in the hands of heaven – except for fear of God." Fear of God is completely up to us. If you want it, you've got it.

Maimonides writes (Laws of Tefillin 4:25) that whenever a Jew wears Tefillin on his head and arm, the force of holiness is so great that it transports him into a state of "fearing God."
That's why the best time to review our five steps is when you put on Tefillin:
There's so much pleasure we haven't tasted in this world. How do we go about getting it?
The tragedies of this world eclipse all the pleasures.
The eternal regret and shame for the slightest transgression, is far more than all the combined tragedies of this world.
All the Gehenom deserved by every person who ever lived, is nothing compared to the reward for doing one mitzvah.
All the Heaven deserved by every person who ever lived, is nothing compared to doing the will of God.

When you fear violating God's word, that frees your potential. Why? Because God doesn't want to control you, He only wants what's good for you. So fear of God becomes freedom from nonsense, from silly fears, from pettiness. With fear of God, you're free from all other fears in the world.

Better to try and fail, than to have feared to try.
"Shock" debilitates, "fear" motivates. Imagine a cowboy riding a bucking bronco. The fear of being tossed makes him alert to every move, so his response can be accurate and quick.

Fear of God gives you full freedom. Nothing will stand in your way.

Walk with a constant awareness of God... Are we maximizing life's opportunity, or are we wasting it? One day we'll have to answer for our actions.
That fear can motivate you to greatness.

The Hebrew word yirah means both "to fear" and "to see." The essential choice of life is to open our eyes to available opportunities, and to fear the consequences of avoiding that reality.
Fear is like any other emotion – there are both positive and negative aspects. Negative fear is debilitating. Positive fear is exhilarating. The adrenaline gets the blood running in your veins. It gives you power to accomplish what you want to do. If you're walking along and spot a snake, fear propels you to run with blazing speed and hurdle the fence like an Olympian. With fear, you are out of the dream world and 100 percent into reality.
Making the right choice is a constant human struggle. We have an inclination to take the easy way out, and to ignore the coming consequences. Fear of consequences can be a great motivator in getting the job done quickly and efficiently. "To see or not to see?" – that is the Jewish question.

Human instinct is to run from fear. Judaism teaches that fear of God is a positive motivator for greatness.

Despite the horrible persecutions, Jews always treasured life because we understood our power to transform the world. Yet when faced with conversion or death, we knew we had to fight or die for the sake of keeping the Jewish message alive.
Without that obstinacy and unwavering adherence to our faith, the Jewish people could never have made such an enormous impact on the ideas and values of world civilization

Life is about pleasure, not comfort.
Comfort is very nice, but it is not meaningful.

Live for what you are willing to die for.

A fundamental of Judaism is that there is nothing a human being can do for God. God has no needs. Yet at the same time He gives us everything – air, water, food, sun. And He gave us the Torah as instructions for deriving maximum pleasure from this world.
In the Shema, the Jewish pledge of allegiance, we are commanded to love God B'chol Nafshecha – "with all your soul." You have to be willing to sacrifice your life rather than deny God.
If mitzvot are for our pleasure... how does this give us pleasure?!
This is the pleasure of clarity and commitment. If you can perceive something as so important that you will sacrifice your own life for it, then your life has weight and purpose and direction. Because until you know what you are willing to die for, you have not yet begun to live.
Material pleasures are necessary and nice, though they do not compare to the higher pleasures of love and meaning. Imagine you're offered 10 million dollars in exchange for one of your children. After rejecting the offer, you'd be overwhelmed with the precious value of that child! You may have always known his worth on an intellectual level, but now it becomes real to you.
When you live for a cause, it is with unparalleled power and pleasure.
Similarly, once you have found a cause so meaningful that you would forfeit your life for, when you indeed live for that cause, it is with unparalleled power and pleasure.
This is the secret of Jewish heroism. This is why so many Jews throughout history have sacrificed their lives for what they believe. Because dying for God is a higher pleasure... than living without Him.

The Meaning Of Life -
Until you know what you are willing to die for, you have not yet begun to live.

God has the confidence that if we use our minds and sincerely seek the truth, then His existence will be abundantly apparent.
How have the Jewish people had the strength to survive all these persecutions? A rock solid belief in the truth of their convictions.
Were they right? That's something you'll have to find out for yourself. Figure out what's bothering you and get some answers. Be sincere in your quest for knowledge. Make the effort. Know what you know.

Faith is a leap against logic, a product of desire.

All convictions can be classified into one of four categories:
1. Knowledge – you are absolutely certain – e.g. the fact that you have five fingers.
2. Belief – you have some, but lack complete evidence.
3. Faith – you have a desire to believe, with no supporting evidence.
4. Socialization – you accept it based on societal conditioning.

Happy people are energetic and ambitious. There's never enough time to do everything they want to do.

Happiness doesn't drain your energy. It adds more!

Author Picture
First Name
Noah
Last Name
Weinberg, fully Rabbi Yisrael Noah Weinberg
Birth Date
1930
Death Date
2009
Bio

American Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, Rosh Yeshiva, father of today's Baal Teshuva Movement, Aish.com website is one of largest Jewish Learning websites