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Rabbi Baron's Articles

Rabbi Baron's Articles

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A Selection of Rabbi Baron's Articles

Published in the Sunny Isles Beach Community Newspapers 

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Pharaoh had an immigrant problem. The Hebrews who had moved to Ancient Egypt were now multiplying at an alarming rate. “The country will be run over by foreigners! They will drive us from our land!” Forget that it was one of their own, Joseph, who as viceroy had saved the entire country from devastation by famine. If Pharaoh had a problem, he was entitled to a solution. Something like a Final Solution....
A fellow is running late for a very important meeting and is having a hard time finding a parking space. He was getting desperate, so he makes a deal with G-d. "If I find a parking space now, I will give $500 to charity," he vows. Just then, a car pulls out in front of him, making that parking spot available for our deal maker. As he quickly maneuvers into the spot, he makes sure to tell G-d, "Never mind the deal, G-d, I found one on my own."

The Talmud tells us that we all may make a prayer from time to time. The question is how sincere is that prayer? How real is the presence of G-d to us? To illustrate this point, the Talmud tells us about how even a thief will pray....
Would you work for seven years in exchange for marrying the one you love? Jacob did just that. In addition, the Torah tells us, "They seemed to him like a few days because of his love for her."
Now that sounds counter-intuitive. If someone is in love, every moment should feel like a long time. Yet, the torah tells us that the seven years of Jacob's work, leading up to his marriage with Rachel, felt like only a few days. Why?!
After eating a plate of fish, a young man once told R' Mendel of Kotzk that he really "loved fish." R' Mendel , known for his witty sayings, responded: " You don't love fish. If you really loved fish, you would not have killed it...
“I am from Auschwitz,” proclaimed Sam, when I asked him where he was from.

How do you argue with a statement like that?

Especially coming from someone who had just moments before, told me that he had never even had a chance to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. War and the Holocaust took him from being a boy to being an adult without adolescence in between. Sam never got a chance to know what it meant to be a free-spirited teenager...
“It is not the consumer’s job to know what he wants,” Steve Jobs responded when asked if he had done any market research.

How can the consumer request a product that has yet to be invented? A true visionary sees opportunity and potential where most people see nothing at all.

Over the last century, many visionaries were able to reveal much of the hidden and untapped potentials of our world. We have witnessed innovations and inventions in the fields of energy, medicine, technology, and agriculture. Real innovation is not about being just better or quicker, as running is to walking. Real innovation is about creating. Jumping to a place where we didn’t even know how to dream of....
We have all heard it many times. We must decrease our carbon footprint. We must be more green and earthfriendly. As a boy, I remember how when we went hiking in the woods they would tell us, “Don’t leave any wrappers or any mess behind. Leave the trail the way you found it.”

In Genesis, the story is different. Man was not told just to maintain the environment, but “to work it and to watch it,” and “multiply and conquer it.” We must not only maintain our world, but also advance it. We are not just tourists, but active participants in completing G-d’s plans for a perfect world. We must exert influence towards the betterment of this world whenever possible....
Imagine looking down at a large marble stone in its natural state, never cut from the earth, not yet trimmed or polished. Now imagine this stone, still in its raw state, being used as a primitive rough floor of a building that was built on top of it. But then, in order to protect people from tripping on rough bumps in the marble stone, the decision was made to apply a layer of cement right on top of it. Then, shiny linoleum tiles were used as a finishing touch to give it some “elegance.”

Oh, and then a fancy border was added and a coat of wax was put on top of that to give it an extra shine.

Does that make sense? What’s wrong with this story? I can hear you shouting, “Hey....
I used to visit Cliff in his office every week when I would help him put on Tefillin and say a prayer. Cliff was an architect who had been in the business for many years, and was approaching retirement. I respected Cliff tremendously, because his industry had changed dramatically as everything became computerized, and I knew that he had learned to adapt to a whole new way of doing his work.

In conversation, I once asked Cliff what I thought was a very simple question. His answer, however, turned this question into a life lesson for me. I asked him which was the greatest building he had ever designed. His answer was, “Every single one that was completed.” I had wanted him to....
Before they built those tall buildings in Sunny Isles Beach, I would love driving over the William Lehman Causeway at a fast pace. There was this point, just before the top of the bridge, where you could see nothing but the sea on the other side. It felt like once you went over the top, you would fall into the sea. It was my own mini roller coaster.

Did you ever drive over the edge of a hill, at breakneck speed, not knowing what awaits you on the other side? You may do that on a roller coaster and love it, but in real life having more control is preferable. We would rather stick to a boring routine than step out into the unknown.

We all want to control our destiny....
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