The Daily Blast

Adina Soclof
(MS, CCC-SLP) Founder of

Adina Soclof (parenting expert and author of Parenting Simply: Preparing Children For Life) shares tips on loving children unconditionally.

Daily Reading

Love Is A Skeleton Key

Love is a funny thing. Even though most people view it as one of the most important aspects of their lives, they have a tough time defining it. Poets and...

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Daily Sources

לֹא־תִקֹּם וְלֹא־תִטֹּר אֶת־בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי יְהֹוָה׃
ויקרא י׳׳ט:י״ח

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against members of your people. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God.

-Leviticus 19:18

ואהבת לרעך כמוך. אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא זֶה כְּלָל גָּדוֹל בַּתּוֹרָה
רש”י ויקרא י׳׳ט:י״ח

THOU SHALT LOVE THY FELLOW MAN AS THYSELF —Rabbi Akiba said: “This is a fundamental principle of the Torah”

-Rashi on Leviticus 19:18

Ben Azzai said: “These are the generations of Adam” is a great principle in the Torah. Rabbi Akiva said: “This is a great principle of the Torah: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ (Lev. 19:18). meaning that one should not say, ‘Since I am scorned, I should scorn my fellow as well; since I have been cursed, I will curse my fellow as well.'” Rabbi Tanchuma says, “If you do this — know that God made the person you put to shame in His own image.”

-Bereishit Rabbah 24:7

Daily Goals

4 Ways To Create A More Loving World

The Talmud says that it was baseless hatred amongst Jews that brought about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Only through unconditional love will it be rebuilt.

Our purpose in life is to emulate God. One of the most powerful ways we do so is by being sensitive to others and supporting each other, and recognizing the common bond between us – our shared status as souls created in the image of God. Every human being –  regardless of race, religion, and creed – is created in the image of God and thus worthy of profound respect. When we connect to their inner Godliness we transcend the physical barriers that appear to divide us.

Jewish unity was a precondition for entering the Covenant at Sinai. And Jewish unity – pooling all our diverse talents and strengths – is likewise key to fulfilling our national destiny of creating a more spiritual and perfect world.

That does not mean we all need to be identical. Rather, unity means showing respect to each individual and appreciating their unique contribution to the collective whole. According to the Midrash, there are “seventy faces to Torah” and each of the Twelve Tribes had their own “gate in Heaven” through which their prayers entered. We are all on the same team – and each of us adds positively to the mix.

Think about a time when somebody really cared about you and reached out with unconditional love. Think about the bond that was created and imagine what the world would look like if we acted this way all the time.

Here are four practical and immediate ways to fulfill the imperative of


Love your fellow as yourself

Rabbi Akiva described the verse “Love your fellow as yourself” as being “a great Torah principle.”

-Jerusalem Talmud –Nedarim 9:4

How do we fulfill the mitzvah to love your fellow man? 

1. Look For Ways To Help

Maimonides (Character 6:3) writes that a person should be concerned about other people’s spiritual, emotional and material needs, just as one is concerned about his own needs.

Make the commitment to practice one daily act of kindness. Put it in your day timer along with all your other goals, and track it to completion. At the end of the week, reflect back and take pleasure in having accomplished something important.

The key here is to be proactive. Go out of your way to help others. Give a patient, listening ear when someone needs to talk. 

2. Give The Benefit Of The Doubt

You don’t know a person until you’ve been in his shoes. In other words, you can never really know. This is the meaning of the Talmudic imperative:

“Be patient in judgment” (Ethics of the Fathers 1:1).

Everyone has their challenges; everyone is moving at their own pace. Do you keep a different standard of observance than the next guy? Don’t judge.

The Talmud says:

“Nobody knows whose blood is redder.”

No one can judge the worth of another person because no one knows where the other is situated on the ladder of life – where he began and how many rungs he has climbed. Some people may be born smarter, and some with more talent in one area or another. But that doesn’t make one individual any better or more worthy. Perhaps a thief, given his life’s circumstances, is making greater, more difficult life choices than the finest rabbi.

Try focusing on seeing others with a good eye. Assume that they’re doing the best with what they’ve got.

3. Encourage Positivity In Others

The Talmudic sage Shammai exhorts us to “greet every person cheerfully” (Ethics of the Fathers 1:15). No, not a fake greeting like a clerk at the checkout counter. Rather, genuine eye contact that communicates, “You are important” – and punctuated with a smile.

When someone helps you out, express gratitude and don’t assume the other person knows they are appreciated. Give a genuine complement and encourage their good traits. Everybody needs to hear praise – especially someone with low self-esteem. A kind word at the right time can inspire, lift, and even change a life.

We all have bad days where we’re tense or disappointed. Although I may feel like letting out a burst of criticism, try to flip those instincts around– to take that moment of potentially negative interaction and use it to say something complimentary and endearing- something that will build the other person up and build your relationship.

It’s just a matter of flicking the switch, a decision to unify rather than divide.

4. Sharing Is Caring

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand and keep you. And I will establish you as a covenant of the people, for a light unto the nations.” 

The Torah tells us in Isaiah 42:6 that we have a responsibility to be a beacon of Godliness by sharing wisdom and knowledge in this world.

Taking this one step further, is the idea that not only do the Jewish people have a responsibility to be a light unto the nations, but a light unto ourselves.

Whenever you learn something – from books, lectures, or life experience – do so with the goal of sharing with others. If it was fascinating, how did it change you? What did you learn about living? And how can you transfer that insight to others? If something is worth learning, it’s worth sharing.
Ignorance is a terrible malady. Some diseases only a doctor can treat, but ignorance can be cured by everyone who takes wisdom seriously. When you reduce ignorance in the world, even by a little bit, you offer a great gift to mankind.

You don’t have to be perfect to share. The key is to care and do the best you can. Connect with others, seeing their needs as your own. Another aspect to this is how we react to other people’s success.

If we’re all in this together, then I will be thrilled for my neighbor’s success.

Today In Jewish History

14 Elul -Congregation Sherith Israel – 1729

On this day in 1729, Congregation Sherith Israel, better known as the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, laid the foundation stone of the first synagogue building in North America.  Twenty three Jews, most of whom had fled persecution on the Iberian Peninsula for Brazil, established the congregation in 1654, making it the first synagogue in America.  

When the northeast section of Brazil was conquered by the Portuguese, they brought the Inquisition with them.  The Portuguese Jews living in Brazil once again fled from persecution, this time to New York.  From 1654 until 1825, the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue was the only Synagogue in the entire state of New York, servicing the needs of all the state’s jews.  While the synagogue has moved several times, the congregation still functions today with three daily services making it not only the first but the oldest Jewish congregation in North America.

In 1886 Henry Mendes, the congregation’s Rabbi founded the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) which would be housed in the Spanish & Portuguese synagogue for over a decade.  In 1902, after JTS had moved to its own space, Solomon Schechter was appointed as the institution’s head.  He would move JTS away from traditional Judaism establishing the conservative movement with JTS as its rabbinical school.  Ironically, Rabbi Mendes also founded the Orthodox Union in 1896, and he served as its first president.  

Daily Quotes

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I think modern medicine has become like a prophet offering a life free of pain. It is nonsense. The only thing I know that truly heals people is unconditional love."

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving."

- Robert Louis Stevenson

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