The 10 Easy Things below are based on Torah and Mitzvot (holy Jewish deeds). Each "thing" when done with G-d in mind, draws holiness to the world, to offset evil and discord. Through our Mitzvot each of us takes part in fixing the world.




To improve the High Holy Days and your entire year, remind yourself as often as you need to:

More Important Than "Knowing", is "Doing".

"Knowing" is the mind's desire. It seeks to understand everything. Our mind asks:

  • Why is life so hard for me?
    Will it ever get better?
  • Am I heading towards trouble or am I on a good life path?
  • How will I handle the future, or even prepare for it, since I have no clue what is coming up?
Questions like these leave "mind" disappointed, for the answers lie outside of its realm.
But the questions return --
and haunt us.

So, how do you stop the ruminations of a restless mind, to quell the inner dialogue and doubt?

Remember to Remember
More Important Than "Knowing", is "Doing". Meaning, it is more important to keep busy, doing deeds that will certainly add goodness to yourself and to the world, than to wonder, ponder or worry about your future.

This is not to suggest that a heart yearning for G-d is misdirected. On the contrary, longing for connection and seeking a path of holiness are innately Jewish, and very pure.

But at some point we reach our limit of understanding - we are forced to admit our knowledge will always be limited. This is the first step on the holy journey towards a life of faith - a deeper relationship with G-d.

Granted, there are times when introspection is fitting (ie, during the High Holy Days.) But, if worry, doubts, and "dark-dread" begin to shake your heart, remember that you and your mind were created by a Creator greater than you. And, your life is purposeful. Right now, your purpose is to focus and refocus on G-d's essential existence, and absolute dominion over all creation.

It's not scary. It's comforting. It's good to know you're on the right team.

And during the rest of the year? If your inner questions drive you to enhance your Judaism, they have enhanced your life. But if you find yourself worrying, or seeking closure on matters only G-d controls you won't see a benefit.

So displace the darkness. Shift into "Do" mode, and teach your mind who's boss. Do deeds of loving-kindness that make the world a better place. The possibilities are endless, but here are some ideas:

  • Find kind words to encourage your spouse or others around you
  • Make a charity box and give coins daily (remember to empty the box often and give the coins to the needy. If the coins remain in your house they haven't helped anyone)
  • Help a friend
  • Help a stranger
  • Anticipate the needs of others and act on them
  • Learn about Torah and Judaism - your permanent link with G-d's wisdom
Make you own list. The goodness you can add to the world is limitless.

When you change your mind's focus from you and your situation, to those around you and improving their situation you become an emmisary of generosity and loving-kindness.

These traits send "what's-gonna-be?" questions out the door. Now, your mind space is reserved for things that help -- thoughts that lead to action.

Does it sound intimidating to show your brain who's boss? It does, if you think you ARE your brain. But, you are really much more.

You are first and foremost a pure spiritual being, created
by G-d. Your spiritual self resides in your body for the duration of your time in this world, to use your physical body for spiritual, meta-physical ends.

In contrast, our brain is the part of us that processes nerve signals, has memory banks and helps us navigate our physicality. "Brain" is central to the body, but not central to a faith-based life, for the brain can only grasp what it can experience. Faith is on a different plane of existence.

The well known verse in parshat Shoftim "Tamim Tihiyeh im Hashem Elokecha" tells us to be of pure, perfect faith with G-d. Rashi tells us it means living life as G-d presents it to us and not making inquiries into what the future holds.

So, shift those troubling thoughts aside, and replace them with great deeds, making your corner of the world a better place bit by bit. Everyone can do this. No cost. It's not the money you invest in your deeds -- it's the heart. G-d wants your heart.

How much "heart" can you offer back to G-d this year? Try 1% more than last year -- that's a huge amount of personal change, since your heartfelt prayers now have a deeper, outwardly-focussed direction.

Rest your trust and your heart with G-d, the One who gave them to you to begin with.

May we all have a great year, full of great deeds, and free of haunting thoughts.

Future knowledge is in G-d's realm. Great Jewish Deeds are up to us.




Become a Kabbalist

(or just
think like one!)

A central understanding in the Jewish mystical tradition, (Kabbalah) is that a "soul" can be sent back down to this world several times, to reside in different people, in different eras.

The common understanding is that our souls have been in this world before, although we have no way to know the details.

G-d cycles souls through history to provide the maximum opportunity for a given soul's development, growth and perfection.

As an example, let's say there once was a person in some previous generation who was greedy, and did not try to overcome this trait. That person's soul would never gain the holy trait of lovingkindness -- a significant lacking.

So, that soul (or a part of it), may be born into some other person years later, who would be greedy by nature, but who would have the ability to overcome it with great effort -- the exact repair needed to rectify a past failing.

Since our soul's growth and development is the primary purpose of our existence, we can clearly understand the benefit -- the gift -- of G-d's methods.

Does this matter in the
here-and-now? Yes. It is hugely significant.

Your soul, (in whole or in part), has rolled through history and probably passed through historic periods more difficult that you are in right now, (referring to Jewish suffering under Greece, Rome, Spain, Germany.)

BUT ONE THING IS CLEAR: At this stage, G-d has entrusted YOU with it's care. Through your Jewish practice you enhance your spirituality and take your soul many levels higher than before.

Now you are the custodian of this precious Jewish soul that is so very precious to G-d.

YOU ARE ABLE to raise your soul countless levels higher than before. G-d gave you the job. Or else He would have given your soul to someone else.

You are uniquely qualified. You are able and empowered to make a difference in the Jewish Future.

And, through life's challenges that G-d sends you, you learn the skills to hone, polish and refine your Jewish self -- your soul.

So, judge yourself favorably, even in the most heart-shaking situations. You were only put in those situations to get you to pray, and amplify your relationship with G-d.

You are able to handle everything G-d sends you. Not just as you did before, but each time with a more skillfull approach, that takes you closer and closer to your own perfection.

Now let's tie it all together:

G-d thinks you're trustworthy to take part in the Jewish Future.


Judge them favorably too, and gain new insights into what Jewish unity can really be.




See this world from a higher perspective.

"outside the box" makes living
"inside the box" easier.

Let's say you are an author, and you've just completed an epic novel, hundreds of pages long.

It's full of fascinating characters living in a literary world of your making. The story is a masterpiece of interlocking subplots, happy passages, suspenseful moments and has a wonderful surprise finish.

Imagine the book on a bookshelf. Now take a step back.

To you, every detail of your story is known. In your mind it is a unified entity. You created the characters, the problems they solve, and their entire world. The life and death of each character was in your hands, and they all contributed to the grand conclusion.

You are the master of the story's world. To your characters... you would be "god."

The difference between an "all-knowing" author and G-d as The All-Knowing Source of existence is obvious. An author is outside the story-system he created, and has no involvement with the story once completed.

But, G-d Himself not only created our world-system and the very notion of "existence", He also controls every plotpoint, subplot and story detail to the smallest degree at every moment. G-d is very much involved in our lives, the smallest details of our life-stories, and the grand conclusion.

From a higher vantage point comes knowledge and wisdom.

Observe a small child. They live, happy and busy in their own world -- yet clearly their conciousness and knowledge is very limited compared to an adult's level of wisdom and understanding.

Observe also a senior citizen, aging quickly in their final years. Through illness or simple frailty, their minds often return to a limited level of conciousness.

In both cases, the adult observer has a higher awareness and knowledge. It is a level of knowing that the child or ailing patient can't understand. To the child or senior, an adult would exist on a "level of abstraction" unknowable to them.

So, when parents raise children, they call upon their years of life experience and accumulated wisdom to help guide them. And, when G-d structures our life experiences He also uses His higher understanding to maximize our growth, and move us towards what is objectively best for us, as opposed to what might be most pleasurable from our limited knowledge.

Here is one last example to tie it up:

Imagine a doll in a toy store, in a box, on a shelf. The doll begins to wonder where it came from (for the sake of the story.)

But, it only has direct knowledge of the box and the store. It has no awareness of the mold it was made from at the factory. The mold exists on a "level of abstraction" higher than the doll.

So, for sure the doll can never comprehend the craftsman who made the doll mold. That craftsman exists, but on a level of abstraction way above the doll's comprehension.

So, for sure the doll can never comprehend the owner of the toy company who hired the craftsman to make the mold from which the doll was made. The owner of the company exists, but on a level of abstraction way above the doll's awareness or understanding.

And G-d? G-d, and His methods of creation, world-control, justice and mercy are so many levels of abstraction above our understanding, we can only relate to them with "Emunah", and "Bitachon". Emunah is unshakable, complete and total faith that G-d wants our success, and takes a very active role in every moment of our lives. Bitachon is how we live our lives, and make life-decisions based on firm Emunah.

Emunah and Bitochon are not abstract. They form the basis of our relationship with G-d.




Daily newspapers, even Internet news sites feature Important News but also have minor "fluff" articles to fill out the rest of the pages.

The next time you're reading the news, pick one fluff article that looks interesting...and don't read it.

Practice being the master over your curious mind, instead of being led by that "just-gotta-know" feeling.

What's the point in controlling the curious mind? Why not read whatever you like, and look around wherever your eyes fall?

After all, isn't a curious, questing mind desirable? The popularity of "Reality Television" seems to indicate it's okay to see real people doing real things. Even if the reality extends to embarrasing or disgraceful moments. Eavesdropping and voyeuerism is trendy. Right?

The Torah says differently.

G-d wants the Jews to live with self control and avert their eyes from immodesty or when common sense dictates. G-d wants us to pay close and critical attention to our own inner lives instead of scanning and surveying others. By doing G-d's desire we become more and more aligned with Him.

And, how does our newspaper excercise of resisting the desire to read news-fluff bring holiness and a greater relationship with G-d?

Controlling your desire-to-know, and restricting where your eyes roam, produces a viceral sensation of "self"-denial. You can really feel your "self" protest when you put your curiosity on hold. Once you've felt it, you'll never forget it.

This curious (even nosey) "self" comes from a lower part of our essence. We want to keep it under control so our higher, spiritual aspects can grow stronger and strengthen our relationship with G-d.

So, the next time someone is talking just a bit too loud on their cell phone in a public place, and their conversation turns to private matters, will you take a teensy-weensy look just to see who it is? Or will you keep your head down?

You have a choice.

Curiosity and the "need to know" grow a crooked tree. The limbs reach way over their boundries.

The message is not merely "mind-your-own-business." That is assumed. The holiness in you grows when you allow others to make their mistakes without embarrasing them.

Allow people to maintain their privacy, annonymity and honor. Have confidence they will eventually return to a better path.

Tehillim Lamed-Beit (Psalm 32) touches on this exact topic as David HaMelech describes T'shuva (return to a G-dly focus in all aspects of life).

Now dear friends, let us ask: What can happen when self control is abandoned, when curiosity runs free, and when our eyes explore what is not appropriate?

  • A person without firm personal borders might comes to steal what his eyes desire.

  • A person without self control might give up keeping kosher.

  • A person without the ability to control his eyes and curiosity may find himself gazing on another man's wife.

    The list goes on and on. What the eyes see, the heart desires. And since G-d made our minds, He certainly knows what's on our minds. G-d has us centered on His radar, testing to see how well we resist temptation.

    So, by keeping your head down and controlling your imagined "need to know" you are simultaneously polishing many mitzvah skills that enoble you and ultimately help everyone.




    You stayed late at work to finish a project. The sink is full of coffee mugs, and you grab the chance to make the office nicer by washing every one.

    But, do the higher good.

    Wipe up the sink and make everything neat. Take your good deed and add one percent.

    It is a fundamental axiom of Torah thought: Our existence is purposeful.

    G-d put us in this world for a reason. Otherwise you would have remained in some spiritual realm. Or something like that.

    Wherever you find yourself, no matter what the situation there is a good deed, a Chessed, you can do to enhance that space. It won't fall in your lap. Hunt for it. Be inventive. Create it.

    And when you're beginning the Chessed, Remember To Remember, you're drawing down from the highest spiritual places, Kedushah (holy energies), that G-d put there just for you to draw from.

    You're drawing Kedushah from the highest point of origin down to this lowest of worlds. That makes big waves.

    When G-d created humanity, and the scope of human behaviors, He nested in them two opposing inner drives: The desire to "Give" and bestow good upon others, and the desire to "Take", and bestow good things only upon one's self.

    The faculty of Giving is a sublime thing, and makes us outwardly focussed, aware of those around us, and interested in their betterment and happiness.

    To contrast, the faculty of Taking creates a selfish person who desires to draw to himself all his heart desires. Our Sages tell us this is the root of the evils in the world.

    Be clear: These two inner drives are the roots of all character traits and behaviors. There is no middle ground. Your inner orientation is devoted to either Lovingkindness & Giving or Grasping & Taking.

    Do you have a hunch where you stand?

    This website, and its 10 Easy Things to do put you in the role of the outwardly focussed do-gooder. No sissies here. We're all grown ups, serious about life, and deeply concerned that the world situation needs strong injections of good deeds based on Torah wisdom to draw Kedushah, healing holy energies to this world.

    Wanna help avoid a World War? Forget becoming a world famous diplomat. Begin here, fixing the social fabric of this planet on a grassroots level. Think holy thoughts as you do holy deeds.

    Paraphrased from Strive for Truth, Michtav M'Eliyahu, Discourse on Lovingkindness




    Next time you walk by a mirror, don't look at yourself.

    Question: And why not look at yourself in a mirror?

    Answer: This one is subtle, but major. A mirror shows your external image. It shows your physical body, but tells nothing about who you really are, since the true-you is mostly a spiritual being.

    A mirror is blind to your most important accomplishments in personal growth, maturity, acquired wisdom and kindness you've added to the world. You are probably a much finer person than your mirror will reveal. But most damaging is the mirror's role in suggesting you are no more than a body. Your holy, pure Neshamah gets no attention at all.

    Not-looking is not a mitzvah by itself. But, when you combine the discipline it takes with an increased focus on nourishing your Neshamah, it's a useful tool to help connect with your higher purpose

    Some claim a glance in the mirror builds courage & confidence, and lets you see if you look "presentable". But most often mirrors make attractive people more self-absorbed, and make plain people lose their sense of self-worth.

    You can come away from a glance in the mirror thinking you're Really Something, but you really may be something else.

    Our sages remind us spiritual growth that produces an excellence of character goes with us to the next world, while our physical selves and all that we own remains behind.

    If we emphasize external image we certainly won't see the importance of cultivating inner excellence. Mirrors are a cruel task-master. Is it worth the price?

    What price do we pay for being a Mirror-Culture?

  • We have a diminished happiness because advertisers slickly suggest we must buy their products to be complete.
  • Each year, the fashion industry shows us how to dress for success, and creates discontent with last year's look.
  • Each year we're shown new cars, new iPods,"new and improved" foods we've just got to try. The desire for New and Improved makes our spouses look Old and Stagnant...and the divorce rate increases.

    A mirror fires-up human pride, ego, and makes surface appearance a primary factor in all life decisions. Those who embrace the Mirror-Culture will find "happiness" elusive.

    What is the converse? It would seem when you control the desire for perfection in looks, then you're able to stand tall regardless of how you look, or of who is looking at you.

    We're self concious because of our external image. But inner "beauty" comes from a confidence in our relationship with G-d. Make no mistake: You are not what you see in the mirror. The true-you is spiritual, G-d is your coach, and the Torah's mitzvot show the way.

  • 7




    Say words that make a difference.

    Say holy things out loud.

    Say Tehillim - Psalms of King David

    We are rushing to get this site up due to the world situation. Much more could be said on this, but briefly, the Jewish Book of Psalms (Tehillim) is a hugely effective weapon for the Jewish people.

    It doesn't matter if you're at the battlefront or across the planet. The ability of these 150 tehillim to pull holiness down into this world is undisputed.

    No questions need be asked. If you want to help in a direct, effective way say tehillim - as many as you can. You can say any of them, although some are more specific than others.

    In the next column are links to online sites that have tehillim in Hebrew and English, although it is surely much better to say them in Hebrew since it is Loshon HaKodesh - a holy language.

    You can search google, and for general information about the power of tehillim.

    You can read them online:
    English (only "JPS" links work)

    If you have Adobe Acrobat installed, you can download a small sampling here: Hebrew/English.

    You can buy your own book of Tehillim at any Jewish bookstore, or

    You can order a set of Tehillim M'Chulak, (the 150 tehillim divided into 30 booklets so groups can say them together) [see picture] from Aneinu. They ship anywhere.




    Give a sincere smile to "those people" who usually give you a closed or chilly response.

    (like, who ARE they, anyway?!!)

    Yeah, like who ARE they, and why aren't they more friendly?

    Doesn't matter to you. Don't get involved in the drama. Let G-d work that one out.

    Your job in this scene is to be humble and have confidence (Emunah) that G-d will work out matters just fine, whether those people smile, or are downright grumpy.

    In smiling honestly and being sincere, you're putting yourself right out there in a humble, non-haughty way. You can let the moment happen without discomfort or displeasure because you know The Maker of the world is coaching you through another of life's passages. Your "higher self" knows this all the time. Remember To Remember this all the time.

    Our higher selves, our Neshamah, feels more akin to its source outside this world, and it transmits this to our mind in its subtle but perceptible way. But our physical bodies, from the brain down, are more tied to this world of physical needs, pleasures and challenges.

    So, our job is to live our lives as spiritual beings residing in our physical selves, but to never let our lower animal desires take control of the ship. G-d has combined in us a hugely connected and vast Neshamah, (whose source is from the highest spiritual origins that can possibly be), into an animal body that clearly has its origin in this physical world.

    This is the root origin of the teaching of Humility, for Hashem sees fit to take his most rarefied, pristine spirits and lower them into this sea of physicality.

    There is a parable taught in the sefer Shomer Emunim. A king in this world would only have the best or most beautiful servants and possessions. In contrast, G-d, the King of Kings specifically desires and draws close the humble people of this world.

    And we're meant to battle with the selfish "animal" desire to be arrogant, proud and "free". Free of G-d, Who made us. This is the purpose of mankind being placed in this lowest of worlds, to pull the leash tight when our more base desires start to run.

    In making us, Hashem takes spiritual stuff from the highest level and roots it securely into physical bodies from this lowest of worlds. In doing so, G-d ties together the entirety of creation, to enhance the "lowest" with infusions of the "highest". Clearly, there is no haughtiness in the face of G-d, for even the highest spiritual essences are sent down here for their duty.

    So certainly, we, who originated in this lowest of worlds must be humble, and live with the knowledge that this is our purpose - to learn humility, and be confident that as our ego retreats it makes space in our hearts for G-d.

    Pride and G-d don't go together. G-d doesn't exist for a proud person, who sees himself as the primary determinant of his own life's direction. So, G-d lets that person alone, and lets him try to determine his own life, and lets that person make enough mistakes until he comes around to admitting he really needs G-d to straighten out his life.

    Better to get the right message from the start.

    Paraphrased from
    Shomer Emunim - Discourse on Emunah,
    HaRav Aharon Rotta ztz"l, Rebbe of Chassidei Toldos Aharon




    When you're about to be fired, demoted, or shifted to a less prestigious job, smile and thank G-d for making clear what He knows is best for you.

    (maybe this one is not so easy!)

    First a question: With the infinite number of things a person can do throughout the day, throughout his life, who is to say when the exact moment is to buy a new iPod, or read a great book, give blood, or call your parents, etc.?

    Answer: We can't know. But, when something abrupt and major changes your life, know ultra-clearly G-d did it, and it is for your eventual benefit. Our sages tell us G-d doesn't send disruptions unless they are needed to put us back on track, or lead us to new opportunities.

    Well known in Jewish history are the holy Rabbi Akiva, and his teacher Nachum Ish Gamzu. Rabbi Akiva lived by the axiom "Everything that G-d does is for the good." Nachum Ish Gamzu said a similar phrase when faced with adversity, "This is also for the good."

    On their high spiritual level they were sharply aware every life event is sent to us by G-d, for us to live through, grow from, and emerge having strengthened our relationship with G-d, Who sent them to begin with. Even when confronted with great hardship, they witnessed how worrisome circumstances had a positive outcome.

    And, if we would know what positive results would come from our life's challenges, we would also think it worth enduring difficult experiences for the sake of eventual benefits.

    Alas, we don't have G-d's wisdom, but by living our lives with the unfaltering conviction that G-d can certainly structure our lives better than we can, we develop our relationship with the Maker of our reality.

    In sacred Jewish writings G-d is called "the makom". This mean "the place" in Hebrew. G-d is the place where this world, and in fact, all of creation exists.

    This goes against the common understanding that G-d is in heaven (only) and operates from "up there". He is certainly up there. But He is also right here with you now, in every moment creating the existence you see.

    G-d created the world back then in bible days, and the creative pulse (let's call it "will") continues as an ongoing act in every moment and micro-moment. G-d is both the creative will that sustains the world AND the "stuff" of this world. It boggles the mind.

    So, in creating you, G-d knows all about you. In creating your mind, G-d knows what's on your mind. Right now.

    In the sefer Derech Hashem is discussed G-d's providence and structuring of this world's events and each individual's life-long experiences.

    The author, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (The Ramchal) explains that while an individual may have life events happen to him as ends in themselves, such events can also be a means to ultimately achieve some other end completely.

    Regarding such situations, the prophet Isaiah (12:1) said "I will thank You, G-d, though You showed me anger." Our sages say this refers to a certain man who had set out on a journey and whose cow had broken its foot and fell. While caring for his animal, the man found a treasure buried at that spot.

    G-d's hidden providence also applies to a case where one escapes a calamity as a result of an event that may have initally been considered an inconvenience. The example given is that of a person who wanted to go on an ocean voyage, but was delayed for some reason and missed his ship. The ship then sank, but as a result of this inconvenience his life was saved.

    We can't understand all the fine details that go in to making our lives. But we have complete faith that G-d does understand, and structures our lives to produce the maximum growth possible for us and our nation.

    Paraphrased from Derech Hashem
    Discourse on Individual Providence




    Can you remember stealing something when you were just a kid?

    Maybe candy, maybe baseball cards... Maybe from someone, maybe from a store.

    Can you return it now? Maybe you can pay back its value? Do it quietly. But try it, at least once.

    As a last resort estimate the value and donate it to Tzedaka (a Jewish charity).

    This is a great little exercise in honesty and persistence, for it reaffirms where you stand on issues central to Jewish practice and Halachah (Torah mandates).

    And it's not always easy to track down the owner of something you want to return. Not to mention how strange it will be for the recipient to suddenly have an ancient artifact from his childhood pop up years later. But that's not your concern. Just understand the principle here.

    Kids don't appreciate moral values and a clean concious, so mistakes of youth can happen. But, now you're older.

    You expect other people to be honest, and trustworthy. They assume you are too. When you correct even one mistaken act from years ago you set the stage for a clear-minded future, as you strengthen your desire for higher levels of greatness.

    When you decide its time, try to make a move in this area.

    In the sefer Tomer Devorah, R. Moshe Cordevero (The Ramak) tells us a foundation to spiritual growth requires us to relate to our fellow man the way G-d relates to us (Just as G-d is merciful, we must be too. Just as G-d helps the weak, we must too, etc.)

    There it is written, G-d has an attribute of "patience." That means, years can go by before someone is taken to task for a past transgression. Inherent in G-d's "patience" is the expectation that people will eventually come to realize their past errors and move to rectify them.

    Paying back old debts, even those long forgotten, clarifies our understanding that just as G-d is honest with us, we must strive to be an honest, trustworthy member of the world community.

    Paraphrased from
    HaRav Moshe Cordevero (The Ramak)
    Tomer Devorah, 1:5




    Read this article, called The One Percent Solution.

    It will pop open a new window, if that's okay with you.

    The world is in a shaky situation. Every mitzvah we do draws Kedushah and stabilizing holiness to the world. If you were ever considering T'shuvah, (refocussing on G-dly things) now is certainly the time.

    G-d wants us to fix the world. This article shows how easy it is to generate tons of mitzvot. Want to be a hero - worldwide? Apply the wisdom in The One Percent Solution.




    Make Jewish Enrichment a treasured part of your life.

    This website describes hands-on mitzvot anyone can do. Clearly, Torah wisdom is as relevant today as it was in ancient times.

    If you'd like more details about making a great Jewish future for yourself, we invite you to visit our affiliated site
    (site link in next column.)

    "If you know who you are, then you know what you have to do."

    The website focusses on that beautiful statement. If you really feel Jewish deep inside, you know a lot about your true identity, and therefore your ultimate role in the world.

    Sadly, Judaism has become almost a hobby, or a side-dish to many. They're missing out on a lot.

    In contrast, Judaism is of primary importance to G-d. That's all the encouragement you need.

    Thank you so much for visiting 10easythings. I am honored to have you as a guest.

    Dovid Gross
    Beitar, Israel

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