RABBI PRICE'S
READER'S DIGEST TIDBITS

This is a list of points and quotes that I picked up from the Reader's Digest and other sources. Some are humorous, and some are inspirational (at least, I think so). I hope that you get some chizuk (encouragement) from them, especially now in Elul, when we need all the inspiration we can get. The comments in ( ) are mine. Enjoy. Have a "Ksiva Vchasima Tova."

"When I think of how little it takes every morning to put me in a bad mood, I tell myself that it doesn't really take any more effort to be in a good mood."

"The most painful wound in the world is a stab of conscience."
(In fact, it is so painful, that we refuse to listen to, or rationalize away even the most truthful rebuke).

"We may gamble on outsmarting the law; we may even gamble on the leniency of man and the mercy of G-D-but no man ever won a gamble with his own conscience. Even should he think he has beaten his conscience into submission, his misdeeds still leave their mark upon him. Anyone who gambles against this fact has already lost his gamble."

"Most of us keep one eye on the temptation we pray not to be led into."
(Some of us even keep two eyes on it)!

"Maturity consists of no longer being taken in by oneself."

"Woman without her man is a savage".
When this sentence was given to a college class to punctuate the boys and girls had different ways. Boys: "Woman, without her man, is a savage." Girls: "Woman! without her, man is a savage."
(This shows how two people can see the same thing, yet they interpret it differently, to their advantage).

"Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation knocks till it gets in."

"A man was sad because he had no shoes, until he saw a man who had no feet."
(This teaches you to be happy with what you have and not to look at those that have more than you, rather look at those that have less and be thankful with what you have. There is a similar point made in the Gemoro Nedorim 50a. The gemoro relates that Rabbi Akiva and his wife, who was used to being very rich, were so poor that they slept on straw. In the morning he picked the straw out of her hair. At that moment, Eliyahu Hanavy came disguised as a poor man who begged them for some straw. He explained that wife is about to give birth and she has nothing to lie on. Rabbi Akiva then told his wife, "See, there is someone who doesn't even have straw." The question is asked, if Eliyahu is already coming, then why didn't he give them money or a precious jewel? The answer is that he wanted to teach them a lesson that was more important, namely what we mentioned before,to see that there are always people who are worse than you. [SEE RAN on that Gemoro])

"A coincidence is a miracle where G-D chose to remain anonymous."
(I first saw this in an article about Alcoholic's Anonymous, which proves that you have to be drunk to understand this point. See "Reader's Digest Sicha" for details).

"A skeptic is one who sees the handwriting on the wall and calls it a forgery."
(I saw this next to the article that I quote in the Reader's Digest Sicha. What is ironic, is that the article says that coincidence is so weird that it can't be explained by probability. They conclude that something "beyond known forces must be at work." But, instead of admitting that it must be G-D they come up with all kinds of ridiculous theories to explain coincidence.This is definitely a case of seeing the handwriting on the wall and calling it a forgery).

"I'd love to help you out,just tell me how you came in."

"Behind every succesful husband, there's an exhausted wife."
(My wife told me to put that in, but of course it's the famous words of Rabbi Akiva in Nedarim 50a, "Sheli V"Shelochem, shelah" "Mine and Yours [Learning] are [Because of ] Hers).

"Better to remain silent and be thought of a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
(Shlomo Hamelech (Mishlei 17:28) said this first, and in nicer words. "Gam Ehvil Macharish Chochom Yechoshev..."-"If a fool remains silent, he will be thought of as a wise man...")

"Money talks, mine only knows how to say goodbye."

"That that is is that that is not is not is that it it is."
(Without proper punctuation it is very hard to decipher. So too, when you learn the Gemoro you should be careful how you punctuate,as this can change the whole meaning. The correct punctuation is: That that is is. That that is not,is not. Is that it? It is).

"It is not an event that causes your emotional reaction, rather it is your attitude towards the event, and your attitude is controlled by you . Consequently,if you learn how to have the proper attitude you will be in control of your emotional reaction."
(See Gateway To Happiness, by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, for details).

"When something annoying happens to you, ask yourself, is this really a problem or just an inconvenience?"

"I'm going crazy, want to come along?"

"You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps."

" If you have nothing to do, then don't do it here."

"What good is a golden cup, if it is filled with tears?"

We say in "Shma"-"Let these words (of Torah) ...be on your heart." Why just on your heart and not in your heart? The Kotzker Rebbe answers, that the Torah is saying that even if you're not ready to accept, let it at least go on your heart, so when your heart opens up there will be something there to go in.

"I'll be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence, Two roads diverged in a woods and I took the road less traveled by And that has made all the difference." Robert Frost-The Road Not Taken
(Many of us, by becoming religious, take the road less traveled by and that will make all the difference).

"The 3 lessons for public speaking:
1) Stand up straight, so you'll feel better.
2) Speak loudly, so they'll hear you better.
3) Make it short, so they'll like you better." (I bet, you wish I listened to that)

George Burns' formula for public speaking: "Have a good beginning, a great ending, and make them close together."

"Everybody wants economy, and they're willing to pay any price to get it."

"The difference between baseball and politics, is that in baseball, when you're caught stealing, you're out."

Mark Twain once said that between Rudyard Kipling and him they know all knowledge. "Kipling knows all there is to know, and I know the rest."

"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it."

In a hotly contested case, the plaintiff was allegedly injured in an automobile accident. On the day of the trial, he entered the courtroom on one crutch, limping and groaning in pain. After the jury selection, the judge noted aloud that the attorney for the plaintiff was not present. The plaintiff, graciously offering to get his lawyer, then sprang from his chair-without the crutch-and strode out of the courtroom past the jury. Moments later, the plaintiff's attorney walked into the courtroom alone and stated, "Your Honor, we have decided to drop the lawsuit." The judge responded, "I thought you might."
(When we come to the Judge of all judges on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and, after 120 years, the Day of Reckoning, we have to make sure not to make the same mistake of letting our actions contradict our claims. We come with all kinds of excuses why we couldn't do Torah and Mitzvos. We can't get up early, we had no time-too busy "making a living". Well, Hashem will show us that to make the almighty $, we got up very early. If you were too busy making a living, what about your "off" days, and when you came home, or why didn't you put on a tape in the car?)

When a poll was taken about whether people thought that O.J.Simpson was innocent or guilty, Mike Royko, a famous Chicago journalist, had this to say about the worthlessness of polls in general: "The fact is that the vast majority of Americans get their news in broadcast snippets and base their opinions on emotion and prejudice. The O.J.Simpson case isn't about public opinion. It is about evidence, both physical and circumstantial. The only opinions that matter are those of the jury and the judge."
(Just as we understand that people have to realize what they are basing their opinions on, and to know that there are higher authorities, who are more in position to decide certain things-even if it contradicts our opinions- because they can base their decisions on more knowledgable and less emotional information. So too, when it comes to the Torah, we must defer our opinions to those of the Rabbis, who know more Torah than us and are less biased than us, and consequently can come to a truer conclusion. Just as a fellow who wants to invest in stocks doesn't do it without consulting a stockbroker who knows which is the best , because the fellow understands, that what does he know about stocks? So too we need a Rebbi to help us know what does Hashem want from us?)

When Mahatma Ghandi, Prime Minister of India, was asked how he always would say one thing today and change his mind tomorrow he said, "I have learned new things since then, and realized that what I said yesterday was based on false concepts, but now I know better."
(If the Prime Minister of India was not ashamed to admit this in public, than how much more so should we admit this to ourselves. We are constantly making decisions based on what we know "yesterday" which may contain alot of false concepts, missing alot of Torah concepts and we may not be looking at it objectively. We have to keep updating our decisions as we get smarter in Torah. Of course it helps to have a Rebbi to help us in that area).

A study on prayer as medical therapy, was published in 1988 by cardiologist Dr. Randolph Byrd. A computer assigned 393 patients at the coronary care unit of San Francisco General Hospital either to a group that was prayed for by prayer groups or to a group that was not remembered in prayer. No one knew which group the patients were in. The prayer groups were simply given the patients' first name, along with brief descriptions of their medical problems. They were asked to pray each day until the patient was discharged from the hospital. When the study was completed ten months later, the prayed-for patients benefited in several significant areas: They were five times less likely than the unremembered group to require antibiotics. They were 2 1/2 times less likely to suffer congestive heart failure. They were less likely to suffer cardiac arrest. If the medical technique being studied had been a new drug or surgical procedure instead of prayer, it would probably have been heralded as a breakthrough. Even hardboiled skeptics like Dr. William Nolen, who had written a book questioning the validity of faith healing, acknowledged, "If this a valid study, we doctors ought to be writing on our order sheets,' Pray three times a day.' If it works, it works." Scientist, including physicians, can have blind spots, however. The power of prayer seems to be one of them. (Where do we stand? Is prayer one of our blind spots)?

"Discussion is the pickaxe with which to dig out the truth from the mountain of errors that it lies under."

"He who thinks he knows everything, knows nothing. He who knows that he knows nothing, knows alot."

"Ours, is not the reason why. Ours, is but to do or die."
(Of course, it is alright to understand the reason and rationale behind the mitzvos. But it cannot be with an attitude of "I'll do only what I understand." Rather, "I'll do, no matter what, but I want to try to understand." As the Rambam says at the end of "Hilchos Me'ilah" Chapter 8 Par. 8

"It is befitting to understand the laws of the holy Torah and to understand their depths according to his capabilities, and something that he cannot find a reason for, should not be light in his eyes... . Do not treat them as you would mundane things. Come and see how strict the Torah was with the laws of Me'ilah [Using something that was sanctified to Hekdesh, for your own usage]. If wood and stones, sand and ashes, that Hashem's name was put upon them by mere words [saying that they should be holy], and they become holy. Anyone who desecrates them is guilty of Sacrilage and even if was accidental, it needs an atonement. How much more so the mitzvos which Hashem, Himself, has ingrained for us, we should certainly not rebel against them for lack of understanding their reasons...)"

"Only fools jump in where angels fear to tread."
(This is a good description of those of us who think we don't have to have safeguards against immorality. We say "Rabbi, I know when to stop." The "angels"- great Rabbis were scared stiff when they walked in the street as to what they might see, and we-"fools" don't worry at all. See "The Never Underestimate the Power of the Yetzer Horo Sicha".)

" If a man's grasp does not exceed his reach,then what's a Heaven for?"
(If we think about it, these simple words are really very profound. Imagine a fellow wants to eat cereal for breakfast but the cereal is beyond his "reach" so he decides not to "grasp" it. A man's "reach" represents what is within his capacity, and is easy for him to do. A man's "grasp" is what he actually accomplishes. If a man's "grasp"-accomplishments do not exceed his "reach"- capacity-then "what's a Heaven for?" What's the big deal that you did something that came easy to you? The big earning of Heaven is when you do something that is hard for you. See "3 Point Shot Sicha". )

"A fool believes everything." ((Shlomo Hamelech, Mishlei-Proverbs 14:15.)
I heard from my Rebbi, that when a fool sees this posuk then he doesn't believe anything, because he doesn't want to be thought of a fool. Of course, this is not what Shlomo Hamelech meant. Rather, the idea is that we have to be careful what we believe,especially since the yetzer horo-evil inclination tries to trap us with his lies).

"The author who wrote an article about the foolishness of "kovod-honor", can't write it anonymously."

"The author who wrote an article about "chemdas hamomon-the evils of money", can't write it for free. "

List of Rabbi Price's sichot
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