Quoting: Show Children Their Greatness

Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein wrote:

“The way to educate youngsters is to elevate them by pointing out the greatness they can achieve by utilizing their potential.”

Sources: Ohr Yechezkel – Michtavim, p.219; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.133

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The New Dragon Saga: Impaler

dracula

Promotional image for “Theatre68 presents Dracula”

Chapter 8: The temperature on this “night world” had suddenly become sub-zero, but that wasn’t the reason for Landon’s paralyzed muscles as the vampire Estaban lunged for his throat. The seventeen-year-old wizard was still holding tightly to his staff, and in a panic, he released a wave of light from the iron covered top, now shaped to resemble an eagle.

The disfigured undead being shrieked in horror as the simulated Sun’s rays raked across his melted face, the result of being engulfed in a dragon’s breath, as he reeled backward. Brilliant illumination continued to shine forth from the head of the staff, engulfing a three meter in diameter area around the two of them, the only sanctuary from the otherwise arctic winter that had possessed the wooded landscape. The snow was streaming down all around them, driven by high winds, but inside the mystic bubble, everything was warm and calm, except that the screams of the vampire had now been reduced to a helpless mewing.

“Talk. What happened to you? Who’s behind all this?” The experience was far too close to his recurring nightmare to be mere coincidence, but Landon still didn’t have all the pieces to the puzzle put together yet.

“The Master,” Estaban gasped, agony coursing through him like poison in this veins. “You can’t stop him. You’re dead already, just like me.”

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Figeroa’s Mirror

mirror

Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – No image credit available

Patrick Figeroa knew he had to get back inside the quarantine area and shut down the experiment within the next hour or it would become unstoppable. General Conrad Buchanan and his so-called “military experts” thought that just cutting power to the transfer unit would close the rift, and although the field remained active, they believed it was a residual effect that would gradually fade.

They were spectacularly wrong.

At thirty-five, Figeroa was considered the world’s foremost expert on transdimensional dynamics, but he had been certified a genius since age three, so such accolades meant nothing to him.

The remote testing ground in central Nevada seemed even more alien to him as he approached ground zero. It had been child’s play to shut down a sector of the defense grid  in one sector surrounding area LI, including sonic, visual, and infrared sensors, so he could get inside. It was just after eight, and desert mornings in November were particularly unforgiving. Fortunately, he was well dressed for the freezing weather, but although he was prepared for what he had to do in every other way, the landscape, and especially the birds sailing above in the overcast sky puzzled him.

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Quoting: Elevate Your Outlook at Work

When you are working at your job, focus on how you are helping other people and fulfilling the commandment of “love your neighbor.”

Moreover, your job is an opportunity to work on being honest and trustworthy in every transaction.

Sources: see Rabbi Yisroel Salanter in Michtav M’Eliyahu; Chochmah Umussar; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.104

Quoting: Duplicate Spiritual Greatness

It can take a long time until something is invented. But once one person has already broken through the creative barrier, others can easily follow suit and produce the same results. For example, it took many years until someone invented the first railroad train. But after one person invented it, many others built similar railroad trains. It doesn’t take a genius to model the work of a genius!

The same principle applies to spiritual growth. There were people in previous generations who reached great heights. They were innovators in the field of Jewish metaphysics. Since we now have them as models, the knowledge of how to reach spiritual greatness is available to all of us.

Today, think of five great people you have met or read about. What qualities do you most respect in each one? As you reflect on these qualities, consider how you would apply these same attributes to yourself.

-Sources: see Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz – Daas Chochmah Umussar, vol. 2, p.40

Quoting: View Challenges as Elevating

When you are faced with a challenge, you have many choices of how to view it. Some ways can cause more pain than necessary.

For example, your spouse might push your buttons more than anyone else. But you can look at this challenge as a vote of confidence from your Creator. You can say to yourself, “G-d believes in me. He believes that I can face this challenge and grow from it. If He believes that I can handle it, then I’m confident that He gave me the intelligence and emotional strength to deal with this.”

Be the best person you can be. The more difficult the situation, the better person you become by acting in an elevated way. Our purpose in this world is to keep growing and developing our character. Without challenges… our growth is limited.

-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book entitled “Marriage” – ArtScroll Publications, 1998, Chapter One, p.55

Senegalia and the Gods

fairy

Photo credit: Ingrid Endel

If Senegalia were human, she would look like an eleven-year-old girl, but even though she was the youngest in her family, she was over three-hundred-years old.

That’s not as long as it seems, since for the first one-hundred-and-fifty years after emerging from her pupa stage, she fluttered about the nest, and later, the verdant wooded high-canopy with the other overly curious and somewhat clumsy adolescents, a collection of fireflies, each glowing some shade of amber, sapphire, emerald, or ruby, no larger than three-year-old children, cavorting nude, for clothing was a human concern, and existing in a state both being careless and carefree.

For Senegalia, she believed her life was one of eternal play with the other nestlings, gossamer wings fluttering as fast as invisibility, racing around the feusha blooms, dodging errant moonbeams, their overarching background of earth tones and the deep greens of a mythical rain forest, competing to be the fastest, the most acrobatic, and certainly majestically fearless fliers. Of course, the grown-ups were always watching them, secure in the knowledge that they were all safe in the fantasy pocket universe, nestled in a depression of local timespace right next to the larger quantum reality of their greatest enemy, humans.

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Today, I Visited My Grave

shadows

© Sue Vincent

Seventeen-year-old Keisha Davis had been in this world twice before. The first time was, from her frame of reference, two years ago, and the alternate reality resembled her world of about 1910, except arcane technology combined with steam power, enabled fantastic machines to be created, including improbable cyborgs, submarines, and even zeppelins which could fly to the edge of space.

The second time was last year, two days after her sixteenth birthday, but in this world, twenty years had passed, and now Tony Stark-like inventions were running on oil and diesel. Three-year-old Leah and nine-year-old Josiah, the children of her other reality mentors Isaiah and Eralia Covington, had grown to be twenty-three and twenty-nine respectively.

Three months ago, she had turned seventeen, and yesterday, he once again mysteriously materialized in the alternate realm, only now, another twenty years had passed, and the environment was reminiscent of the 1950s. They had the internet, Facebook, YouTube, as well as rocketships to Mars and Moon bases, all driven by transistors and

nuclear power. Leah, her mother’s name had been Leah, was now forty-three. She only had one son, a teenager called Josiah, named after her brother. Keisha’s older brother was also named Josiah.

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Quoting: Reapply Old Ideas

My father’s teacher, who was known as the Chofetz Chaim, used to say: “There is a popular expression that ‘Every fool is wise in respect to himself.’ My experience has shown that many wise people act like fools with respect to themselves.”

Many important concepts for living sound quite simple and obvious. Think of an idea that you dismissed as not being for you because you felt that you had already mastered it or, just the opposite, it was too difficult for you. Now find a way that you can apply that idea.

With the next idea that you come across today, ask yourself, “How can I apply this?”

-See Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.20

Quoting: The Most Satisfying Pleasure

When it comes to matters pertaining to this world, it is never possible to be completely satisfied. If you seek only physical pleasures, regardless of how much you do have, you will always be lacking.

But when you make it your main ambition to serve the Almighty, you will feel a sense of wholeness. The pleasure of serving the Almighty is so intense that it is above any other pleasures. Hence when you attain this, you are missing nothing.

Sources: see Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev – Kedushas Levi, Parshas Tetzaveh; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Consulting the Wise”