THE BELIEF OF A DEAD MAN

0 Posted by - December 17, 2014 - Breishit, Parsha

   THE  BELIEF OF A DEAD MAN

Parashat Miketz
Beliefs

are powerful. A fellow walked into the office of the psychiatrist, looking healthy, successful, but concerned. After an hour of therapy, the psychologist could not figure out what was bothering the person. “What is it that you are concerned about?” “Dr., it is strange, but I believe that I am dead.  Do not let out my haunting secret to anyone, for they will think that I am retarded, or something.”

The psych. asked the “dead” fellow. “Do dead people bleed?” The fellow responded, “Of course not! They are dead!” With that, the psych. smiled, and pulled out a long sharp needle from his desk drawer. He walked over to the fellow, pricked his finger, and let out some blood. The man stared at his bleeding finger in shock, turning white. He gulped, and said, in somewhat of a whisper ,”My goodness! Dead people bleed! Dead people bleed!”

In coaching I know that when I found the belief, I found the problem. But I can’t change it by pricking a finger, or some other quick fix, for the negative and mistaken belief the client has built up and repeated to himself again and again is too powerful.  When the subconscious has resistance, you can’t go against it. Still, with silk gloves, or rather silk questions, you can alter it, if you are persistent.

The greatest thing that we can do to help ourselves and others is by changing a negative, discouraging or ineffective belief that governs us.  Successful people, in any area of life, have the successful beliefs about that field. From stopping smoking (see Alan Carr’s book)  to becoming a genius (register to my Effective Learning Course). Making a harmonious home, effectively parenting  a wayward teen, or functioning as a good negotiator, knowing how to keep one’s  cool in heated situations –  all boil down to adopting effective beliefs of those who succeed in these areas, and disregarding the ineffective beliefs that bring us to where we do not want to be. For example, a person who is successful in keeping his cool in heated situations has two core beliefs. The method that is widely used for helping people to get over their lifelong angers is The Four Questions. The originator of this method stated, at the end of her book, that the two core beliefs behind the method are, 1 – G-d is everything, 2 – G-d is good. We Jews recite those beliefs twice daily, ואתה מושל בכל and טוב ה’ לכל. Still, even though we Jews know it, we still get angry. Why? Because, in that minute, we were not living with those beliefs. For just a moment, we thought that אני מושל בכל, I am running everything. Or,  I know better than G-d what’s best for me. Or, He does not care about what’s best for me.

Try to calm someone down while he is very angry, whispering to him, “Don’t worry, don’t fret. G-d is everything and G-d is good”. Then duck, because he might punch you in the face. At that moment, the belief that governs him is that he is running the show, and you are standing in the line of fire of his belief, contradicting it. Our rabbis tell us, אל תרצה אדם בשעת כעסו Don’t calm someone when he is angry, and this is why.

Beliefs come and go, they intensify and shrivel, depending on how much we think about them. The only way we can be of help is if, somehow, we can get a person to change his belief, on his own. When the heavy negative belief softens a little, the negative beliefs can be questioned, and replaced by new, positive ones. And then, hopefully, prepping those beliefs every now and then, until they are second nature. If we would only daven right, we would find that many of the “gem beliefs” of Judaism and of the successful are hidden in the words of the Siddur. Prayer is replete with positive thinking, thankfulness and appreciation for what we do have in life.   The יג עיקרים, the thirteen Ani Maamins, are the thirteen beliefs of a perfect Jew. By intensifying these beliefs, one can change himself and the world.

Yosef’s brothers came down to Egypt with two goals in mind: to buy food and to find Yosef and bring him home, no matter what the cost. They got to Egypt and they saw their brother, but didn’t recognize him. The last time they had seen him was when he was 17, more than twenty years before, when he did not yet have a beard.

The question is obvious. Wouldn’t you be able to recognize your brother, even if you had not seen him for twenty years? They were looking for him, and now they were looking right at him! They knew he was going to look a little older, probably with a beard by now. So, how could they have missed him?

The deep answer is that they never used to look at Yosef. They would look at his coat! That is all they remembered about him. His coat. They did not even know how he looked, because that’s what jealousy does. It makes you oblivious to your own sibling, because you see only that the sibling has more than you.

The deeper answer is that they believed, with every bone in their body, that Yosef deserved to die for attempting to be Yaakov’s only inheritor, cancelling out the other Tribes. They believed that he lied to their father about them, and so he needed to be  eliminated! Yaakov did not report to Yitzhak about Esav’s bad ways, so why should Yosef tattle on his brothers? The Tribes, holiest of men, would never have done what they did to Yosef had they not believed that he deserved it. After seeing how much pain this caused Yaakov, they needed to bring Yosef back. They believed that he was in the pits of Egypt, for that was where he belonged.  They even looked for him in “the clubs of prostitutes “, as he was handsome.

When they faced him, they could not believe that his dreams had come true, because they believed he was wrong, wrong, wrong. A belief can be so strong, that you can look your brother in the face and not recognize him.

When Yosef attempted to change their belief , he knew there would be resistance. He needed to have them question if their actions had been just. He cried about putting his brothers in such pain, in order to do so, but there was no other way. His first question after revealing his identity was, ‘Is my father still alive?’ Selling me, may have been correct, but did my father deserve the agony you caused him? You care about him so much in regard to Binyamin and Shimon, but you did not care about him when you sold me!

And then, Yosef landed the atom bomb on their belief about what they did to him. G-d sent me. G-d wanted this. You did not do anything. It was all G-d. You thought that you changed my destiny, but this was my destiny. The ultimate belief of the ultimate Jew is that G-d is the One who writes each and everyone’s script.

The Maccabees, a mere thirteen men, stood up against the mightiest army of the world. How? Because of their motto – Maccabee. מי כמוך באלים ה’ Maccabee stands for, Who is like You, among the mighty?  They believed that not even tens of thousands of Greek troops, could come anywhere near the might of G-d, and they called out to all who accepted this belief to join their army. They altered the negative belief (Greeks are most powerful) to the effective belief (G-d is most powerful) with a question format, “Who is….”   That is the only way you can change a belief. Ask yourself the question each and every day of your life, before, during and after praying, Do I really believe that G-d is running my show? Do I really believe that He is good, even when it looks otherwise? Do I really believe that what my brother has, and what I don’t, is all G-d?  

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