Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk



Jewish Wisdom Plus


Jewish Chochmes are ample and many of us have learned these gems at our mothers’ knees and a few will be recalled here:  

1. Karyagim Mitzvot – 613 blessings, more like responsibilities, are a part of the orthodox Jew's life.  It seems that no one can perform all of these.  It is the striving for these and the keeping of as many as possible which are a good start. 

2.  Giving of a glass of water to a very ill or dying person is a great mitzva.  

3. Doing something special for a person who cannot reciprocate is true giving and adds to the blessings already performed. 

4. There is a need to receive as well as to give – interpretation:  Always rejecting a giver creates angry feelings and makes the giver unhappy, feeling that his “gift” is unacceptable and the would be recipient does not value the gesture or the generous one. 

5. Loschan Hora  is a nevere – a “sin”.  It is considered very evil.  It damages the person thus discussed in an evil fashion, thus diminishing the person besmirched with untruths. It damages the image and the self image of the recipient because of the perpetrator's evil tongue. In addition, the person thus discussed has no way of defending him or herself.  

6. There is the looking glass self – as individuals we tend to view ourselves as others view us.  If a person responds to us in a positive fashion we feel good about ourselves – if the opposite is the case we feel like a lesser person, possibly an undesirable one. In short we often respond to others by looking at ourselves through their responses and attitudes toward us. 

7. Be humble, but not too humble.  Have self respect!

8. An empty pitcher cannot pour milk!  If an individual has not been given love and affection in early childhood, he is incapable of giving it!  This can be clearly seen in children deserted, abandoned or otherwise deprived in earliest childhood.  They may have a chance of developing marasmus and they can have such symptoms as inability to thrive, pounding their heads into walls, or rocking back and forth, giving “feelings” to themselves.  Some even cut their skin to “feel” something less threatening than the pitifully frightening, threatening thoughts that they have only too frequently experienced. 

9. Ein guter Mensch gehört auf einen guten Ort - A good person belongs in the cemetery. This alludes to the idea that if a person is too good she is unreal; the only place she belongs is among the angels or in the eternal resting place.

10. Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone has a decided ring of truth since it is difficult to be around sadness, complaints and tears (especially if the problem is persistent and without resolution).  

11.  Our Jewish sages, on the other hand, stated that it is better to visit a house of mourning than to seek out pleasures.  We can learn so much, and give consolation to the sad ones.  It gives us the recognition and insight of how good we have it and to appreciate our good fortune, no matter how insignificant we have believed it to be. 

12.If a person is ignorant he had best remain silent and he will not be thought of as a fool.

13.If you want to be respected, respect others. 

14. A king who wants only to deal with his prototype will be able to find it in the mausoleum where the other kings are.  

15. “Wer da redet über seine Mischpoche an dem ist keine Broche”.  He who speaks ill about his own family deserves no blessings.  

16. “In unserem Talmud kann man vieles lesen und alles ist schön einmal da gewesen!” In our Talmud everything that we have found unbelievable and unusual has already been documented.  There  is nothing new in this world or under the sun!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of  Deviant Nurses & Improper Patient Care (2006).


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