Ms. Lee initially seems a bit distracted checking off items on a list in front of her. But once seated, she closes her notebook and gives me one hundred percent attention.
M.A_Shabbos Hi. Thanks for scheduling time to speak to me today.
LeTicia: My pleasure. It's an important topic.
M.A_Shabbos Of course it is. Who'd you vote for?
LeTicia: Watch the video.
M.A_Shabbos: Many people worldwide are feeling hopeless. So many are out of work and either running out of money or have depleted their savings altogether. What can you say to give them hope?
LeTicia: Well, first never stop hoping. Hope is free and essential to our well being. Just be careful where you place your hope and trust.
LeTicia: People are placing their hope in the outcome of elections, their government, jobs, the lottery etc. I think recent events, especially the impact of the corona virus, and the erratic weather have proven there are no guarantees in man. Only GOD can make guarantees and turn the tide for humanity.
M.A_Shabbos Oh, I see. This is a religious thing.
LeTicia: Actually, no. It's practical. It just seems religious.
M.A_Shabbos You lost me. I thought you said only GOD can help humanity?
LeTicia: I did.
M.A_Shabbos And that's not religious?
LeTicia: No. It's actually practical and scientific.
M.A_Shabbos How so?
LeTicia: Well, when your smartphone or laptop stops working properly, where do you go?
M.A_Shabbos I take it to the manufacturer's designated repair site.
LeTicia: Exactly. Who's in control of the weather?
M.A_Shabbos I see where you're going. That may cover climate change. But what does that (GOD) have to do with the corona virus or the economy?
LeTicia: Everything. The "Manufacturer of the Universe" gave humanity an Owners' Manual. It's called the Tenach by some and Holy Bible (Old Testament) by others.
M.A_Shabbos Hmm. I never thought about it that way. You sure this is not religious?
LeTicia: Definitely. How many people do you know who have read the owner's manual to their car, cellular phone, or computer before using it?
M.A_Shabbos Very few. Actually, if I'm being honest, I don't know of anyone personally who has.
LeTicia: That's what I mean. Reading an owners manual makes one seem overly zealous. Yet if something they own of value breaks, they prefer to pay an "expert" to fix it rather than first referring to the manual already provided to get their device back on track.
Since I am one of those people who searches for the nearest support site online, I pause. Lee notices me going into mental over drive.
LeTicia: Don't stress your self. Almost everyone does it. I'm just saying that it's going to have to change.
M.A_Shabbos Something tells me this is not about rebooting my computer.
We both laugh.
LeTicia: You're right. It's not about rebooting your computer or cell phone for that matter. It is about rebooting your life, your family and your finances.Actually, it's an upgrade.
Oooh. Glad I stayed. Now I think we're getting somewhere.
M.A_Shabbos So you're saying "The Universal Manufacturer a.k.a. GOD" is trying to reboot or "upgrade" my life? Or should I say the lives of our readers, their families, and their finances?
M.A_Shabbos Is the corona virus a mean sickness sent to slap us (humanity) over the head? Doesn't sound like a very nice Manufacturer.
LeTicia: The corona virus wasn't sent to slap humanity. Regardless of its cause, it was allowed because of the continuous inappropriate use of the most sophisticated creation on earth, humanity.
Just as I am about to defend the whole of humanity, a list of "improprieties" run through my head like, human trafficking, the systematic abuse of black men igniting the Black Lives Matter movement, the explosive unjustified use of opioids, dirty politics and on an on. I feel like an erupting volcano and say so to Ms. Lee.
M.A_Shabbos : This sounds potentially catastrophic.
LeTicia: See what I mean? It's cause and effect. Physics 101. Practical and scientific.
I'm starting to feel kind of heavy. This wasn't quite what I expected.
M.A_Shabbos Alright. You said you were going to give people hope today. How do we (humanity) survive and overcome "the decree" The Judge has placed on humanity? How can we survive economically and stay healthy? Do we have to read the entire owner's manual?
LeTicia: It wouldn't hurt.
M.A_Shabbos Is there a Technician we can call?
LeTicia: Of course! But the "Technician" will refer you to the Owner's Manual.
M.A_Shabbos I'm lazy I suppose.
LeTicia: You're not alone. Most people are. But everything is now at our disposal to make it easier for you and everyone for that matter. Technology has never made information more accessible than it is today. Almost everyone has a cell phone and access to the internet.
M.A_Shabbos Will GOD make people rich?
LeTicia: GOD can make people rich and has done so in the past. But I think most people just want to pay their bills, keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Am I right?
LeTicia: Then put GOD to the task. There's only one place in the entire Owner's Manual (Bible) where GOD says test this and see.
M.A_Shabbos I only just got one foot in the door. I'm not sure I want to "tempt GOD". Might piss Him off or something. Can't afford to be on anyone's $%#% List, especially GOD's.
LeTicia: No seriously. It's the secret to staying afloat during any crisis. It's also the secret to coming out of and staying out of a crisis.
M.A_Shabbos Okay. I'm back in. Give it to me. I'm tired of being in crisis mode. If not for me, please help our readers today.
LeTicia: Certainly. Let's start with Malachi 3:10. This is The Voice version, but look up any version of Malachi 3:10 for yourself.
"To rectify this situation, you must bring the entire tithe into the storage house in the temple so that there may be food for Me and for the Levites in My house. Feel free to test Me now in this. See whether or not I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will open the windows of heaven to you and pour a blessing down upon you until all needs are satisfied. " Malachi 3:10
M.A_Shabbos: GOD needs food?
LeTicia: God is self-sufficient but relishes (food) in 1) Gratitude for what you already have. Thank God for everything. 2) The Golden Rule.
M.A_Shabbos The Golden Rule: "Love thy neighbor as thyself?"
M.A_Shabbos Are we supposed to be thankful for the corona virus?
LeTicia: Be thankful for the benefits it has brought on society. Quality time with family. Small children are grateful that they have become a mandatory priority especially being home schooled and parents working from home. I know it's been difficult for parents but children are a priority for GOD and they should be for parents. Some people get so caught up in getting ahead, collecting paper to provide a better life for their children than they had only to find their children all grown up and resentful because their parents were too busy to spend time with them.
M.A_Shabbos Oh, it's about the children.
LeTicia: Remember that many adults were once neglected children. Parents and adults overall are re-organizing their priorities out of necessity. Working from home allows them more quality time with family. That's also less time commuting and travel which causes less impact on the planet (earth).
"I would not come to you if I were hungry, for the world and all it contains are Mine.
13 Do you really think I eat bull meat or drink goat’s blood?
14 Set out a sacrifice I can accept: your thankfulness. Be true to your word to the Most High.
15 When you are in trouble, call for Me. I will come and rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
M.A_Shabbos I see.
LeTicia: Do you?
M.A_Shabbos So the erratic changes in the climate. Is GOD mad at us for that too?
LeTicia: I'm not saying GOD is mad at us. I'm saying it's all cause and effect - including the weather. Reaping and sowing. Ironically, many prayers being answered now were prayers made by adults when they were children! They just forgot! Careers they wanted. Goals they had. Family life they desired. They just got busy and settled for less.
Now I'm really puzzled. Not because I'm confused, but because she's really starting to make sense!
LeTicia: We all have to some degree when we don't wait for GOD's response in GOD's time. We want answers now! I know I do.
M.A_Shabbos Me too!
LeTicia: But it doesn't work that way. Call it emunah (faith) or bitachon (Trust in GOD). You can't put generic parts in a Rolex or Rolls Royce and expect it to work smoothly. You are a sophisticated creation. You must call the Living GOD (Creator /"Manufacturer" of Heaven and Earth) to restore your life and get it on track.
My foot is tapping. My legs are shaking. I'm starting to feel it. I'm suddenly feeling confident and enthusiastic.
M.A_Shabbos What do I do? We do. Who do we call?
I'm suddenly tripping over myself. I always do this when I'm sold on a new luxury item I can't afford.
LeTicia: Start with being kind to others.
M.A_Shabbos You mean The Golden Rule?
Sounds easy enough. But that may mean I'll have to avoid certain people for now until I get strong enough to deflect any insincerity as it pertains to my well being.
LeTicia: Don't gossip.
Okay, now I see others will be avoiding me as well. There may be some "divine rationale" to this social distancing even if only to give us time to figure this out.
M.A_Shabbos You mentioned "tithe to Levites". What's that?
LeTicia: Giving tithes to Levites means donating ten percent of any income you receive to a synagogue or shul that teaches Torah/Parashat. It's basically the original Owner's Manual in Hebrew. GOD always refers to the place where and to whom the instruction was first given.
M.A_Shabbos So 1) Be kind to others and 2) tithe 10% of your income to the Levites. Is that it? Anything else?
LeTicia: Refer back to Malachi 3:10. Do that daily for thirty days and see what happens. I call it supernatural insurance.
M.A_Shabbos So we're putting GOD to the test.
LeTica: GOD says "prove me on this". Test it. Can't hurt.
M.A_Shabbos What about those with no money to give a tithe? 10% of their paycheck or income.
LeTicia: You always have something to give. Do something nice for others daily for no particular reason.
M.A_Shabbos No strings attached.
LeTicia: Exactly. Do something nice for a stranger. Smile. Volunteer to help a cause you respect. Help a friend, neighbor or family. Use your gifts and talents to help and benefit others until you can find a company that can and will pay you. But remember GOD is the orchestrator. GOD will ultimately review how you used your time (a gift from God) and your money. Time is the one thing you can not get back. Use it wisely. Serve others using your gifts and talents. As you do, you will notice your life improving bit by bit.
M.A_Shabbos Every day?
LeTica: Yes. It's a conscious effort. But it must be daily. At the end of your life, you will see that you were making deposits into the Eternal. You will get it back with super compound interest. Give 10% to the Levites and put 10% into your own interest bearing savings account on earth.
M.A_Shabbos Oh we are being practical after all.
LeTicia: Yes. Actually all of it is practical. You just can't see it yet, but you will when you need it. People who saved a portion of their income are floating through the pandemic economically, but it doesn't protect them from COVID-19. Tithing to GOD, giving a little extra to charity or doing charitable deeds (The Golden Rule) does.
M.A_Shabbos Well, I think you've given our readers a lot to ponder.
M.A_Shabbos I hope it helps them.
LeTicia: I know it will. After they start seeing good results, they won't stop.
M.A_Shabbos Where can people go to learn more about your work and how you've built your emunah (faith)?
LeTicia: Still building actually.
She peers at me and grins. I sense it's not an overnight process. But she makes me feel like I can do this.