Monthly Archives: January 2015

Why is faith necessary to uplift us from our unrefined characteristics?

The Alter Rebbe wrote an essay on Tziyon Bemishpat Tipadeh – Zion will be redeemed through judgment and her captives through charity – on the month of Av. The Shabbosim in the three weeks preceding Tisha B’av have the potential to be the holiest days of the year – had Moshe Rebbeinu returned from Har Sinai with the 10 commandments without the sin of the Golden Calf, the 17th of Tamuz would have been Rosh Hashana and the 22 days through 9 Av would have been the High Holidays. This time period that could have been the head of the year is now covered over by the consequences of the sin of the Golden calf. The consequence of having sinned with the Golden Calf is that the Jewish People, who had attained the level of Adom before the sin restoring immortality, were once again made mortal. Until we rid ourselves of the confusion of mind that happened when we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – and that confusion is thinking that we have autonomous independent existence based on the perception that we have real bodies and lives – it is not good for us to be given to eat from the tree of life. It is therefore incumbent upon us to uproot from what is buried in our unconscious and subconscious mind confusion stemming from desires and cravings for honor and ego victories, for lusts and arrogance are the unconscious and subconscious urges that we constantly project into our thoughts speech and deeds unless we actively and conscientiously develop the faith and trust in Hashem we need to unconfuse ourselves. Even though we have a real bodies that hurt and experience wear and tear, that does not mean we have autonomous independent existence. Everything that happens to us is in order for us to exercise free will and use prayer to do battle with recovering what energy is buried in our nature and devoting that energy instead to the understanding that adding faith into the picture creates positive influence, and Hashem then takes the ingredient of our faith added through our prayer Shema Yisrael to create a world in which His Light can be seen, in which He no longer has to hide. When we add the energy from our subconscious and unconscious urges into the unity statement of the Jewish people, Shema Yisrael, we release that energy from the dark depths of the subjective realities of our lives and ask that it be used only to bring healing and bracha and revelation of His Light, His Revealed Mercy and goodness into this world


Life is filled with uncertainties. This is why there is insurance. This explains the volatility of the stock market. Without faith in Hashem, our natural reaction is to perceive and anticipate what could go wrong, where would there be lack, and then to use our imagination and skills to devise systems to protect against the possibilities of loss or damage. This is easy to understand. The concept that the Alter Rebbe is teaching us, however, is that happiness does NOT come from the fulfillment of these goals! Although the fulfillment of these goals may be important, it is a mistake to think that happiness comes from anything in time and space!


The experience of happiness is something the soul feels only when it is involved in learning Torah, praying fervently to Hashem or emulating His 13 attributes of mercy. The fact that our sensory selves do not experience these as happiness does not negate the reality of the soul’s experience. The soul is connected in such a way that touching the foundations of existence, Torah, avoda and gemilus chesed, fulfill its constant yearning to be connected to Hashem. But the body, being made from all the elements of the earth with the ability to affect everything in the world, has a survival instinct that provides us with real free will. Whatever comes through our perceptions of reality flows naturally through the unconscious and subconscious built in desires and self-interest from which our emotions develop.


The emotions are the product of our best wisdom and imagination. We can improve our wisdom by reaching upward to what surrounds our lives but which we may not be in touch with, our power of faith, the power to experience a real pleasure for which Hashem designs us, and our power to really choose who we want to be, not just which self-serving creature we choose to be.


The Alter Rebbe teaches us to do battle during the month of Av in order to challenge the unconscious and subconscious mind to reassociate happiness with the learning of Torah, fervent prayer and acts of kindness. He encourages us to do battle to free the energy trapped in the false prison of the search for happiness in time and space and use our imagination and words of prayer to beg Hashem to help us experience the happiness that the soul experiences in learning torah, praying fervently and emulating Him.


Just like during the weeks of the omer between Passover and Shavous where we are involved with the characteristics of kindness, discipline, compassion, endurance, humility, bonding and kingship, during the three weeks we can do battle with the intellectual aspects above the emotions, the surrounding pure characteristics of faith, pleasure and will on the first of the Shabboses, wisdom on the second, and imagination on the third. The more we yearn to glue our imagination to what surrounds us, Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy in which image we are created, the more something drips into our consciousness from the unconscious and subconscious that will give us more free will in the moment to really choose our eternal identity.


The crucial breakthrough that every Jew needs is this utterly calm recognition of Hashem’s existence. It is clear that our nature is felt on a constant basis and that uncertainly is a given. But when we have the utterly calm recognition of Hashem’s existence, and we know that Hashem is hidden in nature and behind everything, then we can open ourselves with emulating His Attribute of patience for our own confusion of mind to see that saying the Shema and declaring that He is One merely means that we have enough faith to know that our happiness comes from the experience of releasing the energy locking us in uncertainty through saying Hashem is One. With that energy and our free willed choice and prayer, we convert our desires and our self-interest from their natural condition to material that Hashem constructs into a bridge across which His light can be seen.


When faced with any challenge that triggers a negative reaction we can take these understanding steps:

  1. Happiness is connection to Torah, avoda and gemilus chesed therefore I move my effort in this moment to recognizing I have confusion of mind and I am emulating Hashem who is patiently tolerating my confusion of mind. I choose to be like Hashem and rise above these negative urges. Submission
  2. Now that I have moved from the negative reaction to a place above it recognizing that all negativity is confusion of mind because Hashem is good and does good even if it doesn’t feel good and that He is One and desires for me to add in the missing ingredient of saying He is One with my heartfelt prayer, I have real free will to determine who I am for all eternity – I choose to serve Hashem . Let me do battle to move what I identify with from my self-interest to my choice to make an effort to faithfully serve Hashem. Let me review what Torah I need in order to be able to see that what I am holding onto for happiness in time and space is a external to the essence of my soul and blocking the real experience of happiness. Separation
  3. Choosing true inner essence of the soul as identity, reflect Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy into the world in order to infuse faith into the previous naturally occurring reactions, thereby restoring the foundations of the world, unblocking what self-interest blocked so that through my speech and deeds Hashem can be seen in time and space because all there is in the world is His Glory and all we want is Him in this world. There is none else. Sweetening


The main realization is that we are empowered to create with our lives through our free will this positive influence upon the world. As long as we have life, we are able to be involved with making this effort. It is a lifetime of effort but it is only in this world that we can experience the pleasure for which Hashem creates the world, the pleasure of experiencing being the conduit for His Light into this world when we pull back our self-interest.


Hashem gives us raw materials in our unconscious and subconscious, and He shapes our environment to trigger our sense of uncertainty and lack.. But He does not want us to be sucked into the vortex of pursuing aimlessly solutions based on self-interest that inevitably lead to destruction even if we succeed in dominating the matter. Instead He desires us to submit every ounce of energy to His Service. Doing so develops us into a being that is able to transcend the uncertainties and experience of lack in a way that even if Hashem takes our lives produces happiness here and benefit for all eternity. There is no glory other than Hashem. He wants us to eat from the tree of life but not if it will immortalize the confusion of mind that we have autonomous independent existence, for that would be a great suffering for us to have the mar of such an error on us for all eternity. We can reinvest all our emotional energy and negative reactions to build a true identity, that of our effort to reflect His Mercy into this world, through learning Torah, fervently praying to Hashem for salvation, and emulating His lovingkindness. And when we are able to understand without confusion of mind that Hashem is One, may we be given to eat from the tree of life!





Faith in Hashem – a prerequisite to making real change in our character

This past weekend was Parshas Bo when we left mitzrayim.

In order to leave mitzrayim, on an individual basis as well as a national level, faith in Hashem and a desire to be like Him are necessary.

We have been working on gluing our imagination to Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy, on building understanding of free will, on understanding the powerful impact that saying Hashem Echad has in bringing light into the world and on aligning ourselves with the Torah, avoda (fervent prayer), and Gemilas Chesed (Hashem’s 13 Attributes of mercy).  All of this work may still leave blind spots between our faith and our perceived needs.  that grey area is hidden from us until we have enough faith in Hashem that seeing it will not totally disempower us.

The channel that perceptions go through without faith involved is that they present uncertainties.  This is why insurance was developed and the stock market can be so volatile.  The anticipation of lack then generates will to try to prevent that from ever happening.  This is easy to understand.

When in our subjective realities we include Hashem in the picture, we guard our souls from the dangers of taking damaging actions, actions that hurt others intentionally or unintentionally under the rationalizations of survival mechanism.

We only survive based on Hashem’s will. We are not bringing our successes. Thinking so is insulating us from being able to experience the pleasure for which Hashem has created us, the pleasure of infusing menuchas hanefesh into the natural resources of our makeup and uttering Hashem Echad, blowing the heat of our breath into the the dust of the elements exhaled from our bodies that is a positive influence out of which Hashem then constructs a divine space in this world where He can be seen, may we see His light revealed in the world today.

And when we have the faith to withstand seeing all of how we have errored, then Hashem will give us behira in the place we need it in order to glue our will to patience and emulating Him over the natural urges that want to drain our life force to nurture the lower worlds.  If we want this choice, we need to build faith and menuchas hanefesh, for otherwise we will only drown in the awareness with no rope to pull us up and out.

Confusion of mind is forgetting we are not what is happening around us

The progress we are experiencing is that we are seeing our challenges like having to shovel the snow from the driveway – it is going to snow but we just have to shovel – activate love and awe in our hearts and say Shema…Hashem Echad with the intention of turning our reactions that feel coarse like straw into spiritual milk – hoping to draw healing and bracha and merit for klal yisrael with our choice and speech so that Hashem may use what we are returning to Him to build the world’s nature into a world where He can be seen – we are the Jewish people at the plate – we have the privilege of serving in order to infuse emunah and menuchas hanefesh into the world by saying Hashem Echad thereby removing the tuma of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the confusion it has caused, so that once again we may eat from the tree of life, may Hashem be seen in His Glory in the world in a revealed way today

Real happiness is an acquired not a natural taste


Imagine the gratitude to Hashem for giving us life that we express when we lovingly build into every moment the intention to bring into time and space only healing and bracha, that it should be a merit for Klal Yisrael.

Redefining happiness as involvement with what Torah tells us is reality -Torah, Avoda and Gemilus Chesed – requires an upgrade in our will from what we naturally learned is pleasurable through our senses to what Torah tells us is the purpose for which Hashem creates us, to lead His 13 Attributes of mercy into time and space, infusing them through our speech and intention, thereby bringing the natural to a place that can hold holiness.


We want this world, where Hashem hides, to be a world where Hashem can be revealed openly.


The missing ingredient comes from our free will and speech.


Thus what develops as a sense of pleasure naturally in time and space needs to be upgraded to the pleasure of learning Torah, praying fervently to Hashem and emulating HIs 13 Attributes of Mercy.

Taanug, pleasure of the soul, is also above will, but we may not have ever experienced real pleasure of the soul.  Instead we experience comfort, satisfaction, gratification, and other things related to the accomplishment of our goals based on will.  Yet one thing is beyond refute – this type of happiness does not last and there is no guarantee that what works today will have the same outcome the next time.  Why?  We are simply not in control of the world.  The pleasure that we are intended to receive is inherent in the mitzvahs and in reflecting Hashem’s 13 Attributes of mercy into the world.  Developing the ability to experience and cling to Torah, avodah and gemilus Chesed as the greatest of pleasures is a worthwhile pursuit.  It requires us to challenge our identity with the pleasures of the native intellect.  As long as we think that the goals and pursuits we are engaged to are our essence, we will not be able to upgrade.

Lack puts us in direct contact with the experience of being separated from any pleasure.  Yet lack does not have to cause us to think that restoring happiness is in our hands through us doing something to restore it in time and space.

Lack becomes the unstable swirling experience that races our minds towards would be “practical” solutions, actions, speech and deeds.  Yet when we have emunah built into our definition of true pleasure something else happens.

We no longer look at what is happening in our lives as the source of happiness.  When we let go of longstanding beliefs that we would be happy if he did this, or she did that, or if I had or if they did, we begin to comprehend something that leads us to real attainment of pleasure and fulfillment of the purpose for which Hashem designs us – to affect the very foundation of the world by adding into our natural reactions the utterly calm recognition of Hashem’s Presence and that He is at all times merciful, kind and just.  No matter what.

We are now propelled to declare His Oneness, Hashem Echad, knowing that doing so adds light into the world bolstered by the powerfully appearing elements of water and fire that were just a moment before generating unstable swirling experience within us.  We move from racing minds to consciousness to rectify.  We are empowered to effect something in the world beyond our ability to understand or control merely by Hashem orchestrating every detail of the props and senses He gives us to stimulate the natural unstable swirling experience as the object to which we can apply free will and infuse menuchas hanefesh by saying Hashem Echad, I only want everything within me to generate healing and bracha and to be a merit for Klal Yisrael.


This is 100 percent in our control and improves and corrects our primal will and all our unrefined characteristics.


Hashem is real and vital and when we express our trust and utter love for Hashem and gratitude to Him for every prop in our life and every amazing miracle He performs to give us life and comforts by doing His Will for which He creates the world, we also accept that everything that He does is the greatest mercy, kindness and justice.  We just keep rechanneling any doubts or negative emotions towards drawing in healing and brachas by declaring Hashem Echad with the utterly calm recognition of HIs existence.  We are constantly able to produce spiritual nourishment and it is only those who keep Torah in time and space who are able to so produce to the full extent of Hashem’s vision, for the Torah tells us His Will.


Let us bring Hashem the delicacies He loves, and let us challenge with questions such as “is this happiness?” our longstanding beliefs and pursuits.  Happiness is the soul’s experience of being involved with learning Torah, fervent prayer and emulating HIs 13 attributes of mercy (tolerating insults, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of confusion of mind, forgiving and casting sins in the sea.)  The mistake we make in happiness is the confusion of thinking that we are what is happening around us.  We are our choice to give Hashem nachas in every moment and fulfill His Will and say Hashem Echad, infusing the natural with the missiing ingredient of menuchas hanefesh through which the natural that hides Hashem can become a divine space in which He is revealed, may it be today.



Rebbetzin Esther Baila Schwarz on Tehillim 24 – Must listen for building mekadesh malchus shemayim



Rosh Chodesh Shevat plague of hail – malchus shemayim – lets eat from tree of life is really shteigging and we have made great progress in emunah and menuchas hanefesh, realizing that when we infuse emunah into our negative reactions, we transform the foundations of the world into something that can hold Hashem in a revealed way.  Our effort and emunah to say Hashem Echad Hodu Lashem Ki Tov modify something in the spiritual foundations that permit Hashem to be revealed in the world, transforming nature into the Divine Space Hashem desires for us to create through our free will and speech
if you are interested in receiving the mp3 of our daily efforts please email me at to put you on the current email list.
May Rosh Chodesh Shevat bring us all closer to having the clarity that will make it good in Hashem’s eyes for us to once again have the opportunity to eat from the tree of life, having rectified with the “hail” the confusion of mind that happened when we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

Despite the experience of a real body with mortality and natural consequences, it is confusion of mind to think we have autonomous independent existence.  To the extent we experience a solid reality, Hashem is merely hiding so that we have free will. There are no solutions that Hashem is not a part of.  When we awaken ourselves that happiness comes from clinging to Torah, fervent prayer, and emulating Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy, we build confidence in a connection with Hashem that provides our vitality and happiness.

When we arouse love in our hearts with the utterly calm recognition of Hashem’s existence, that exertion to say Hashem Echad infuses holiness into the natural world that makes it possible for Hashem to be able to come into the world…we literally construct a divine space out of nature with that drop of light of menuchas hanefesh that we add with the words Hashem Echad with love in our heart.

May we be inspired to be mekabel malchus shemayim in this way by seeing how the plague of hail restored to the world malchus shemayim many years ago.  May we see that our infusing emunah into water and fire, the components of hail, when we experience lack regarding desires or humiliation or arrogance, or anger or fear – our saying Hashem Echad knowingly means that we modify those natural elements water and fire to rectify them so that they can hold a divine light.  Our submission to the utter calm recognition of Hashem’s existence IS the effort that infuses the ingredient needed into the natural elements. Saying Hashem Echad builds the divine space out of the natural resources. May Hashem be pleased with our efforts and may we seek happiness only from learning Torah, praying fervently to Hashem and emulating His 13 Attributes of Mercy, building within us a confidence that we trust to be the pathway to happiness.  We can measure our progress when we begin to see the pursuit of natural pleasures as inferior to the wonders that we experience after exerting ourselves in the moment to submit to the calm recognition of Hashem’s existence and arouse love and awe to say Hashem Echad, praying fervently  to Hashem that every ounce of our existence be used only to draw into this world healing and bracha, may it be a merit for klal yisrael and may we soon see His Light in the divine space He gives us free will to infuse with menuchas HaNefesh so that He can be seen in this world instead of remaining hidden.

Rabbi Moshe Wofson Barad and yiras shemayim  in English
Rabbi Ittamar Schwartz Bilvavi on Rosh Chodesh Shevat on Simple Emunah in Hebrew
The Rav’s shiur last nite in Ma’ale Amos:
How To Achieve the Level of Simple Emunah
both the audio and video are here: 

Psalms Chapter 23 תְּהִלִּים

א  מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד:    יְהוָה רֹעִי, לֹא אֶחְסָר. 1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
ב  בִּנְאוֹת דֶּשֶׁא, יַרְבִּיצֵנִי;    עַל-מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
ג  נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב;    יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי-צֶדֶק, לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ. 3 He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake.
ד  גַּם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת, לֹא-אִירָא רָע–    כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָּדִי;
שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ,    הֵמָּה יְנַחֲמֻנִי.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; {N}
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
ה  תַּעֲרֹךְ לְפָנַי, שֻׁלְחָן–    נֶגֶד צֹרְרָי;
דִּשַּׁנְתָּ בַשֶּׁמֶן רֹאשִׁי,    כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; {N}
Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
ו  אַךְ, טוֹב וָחֶסֶד יִרְדְּפוּנִי–    כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּי;
וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה,    לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; {N}
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. {P}


Menuchas HaNefesh empowers us to reach real joy and draw healing and bracha into the world

after the recording we were thinking of a “cute” way of referring to what we are doing

just like there is now genetically modified food, we were thinking of

menuchas hanefeshly modified reactions….

what do you think?

we can take the straw in our lives and make spiritual milk when we add the ingredient of menuchas hanefesh and lovingly submit to Hodu LaShem Ki Tov , then go through separating whatever we need to in order to draw only healing and bracha into the world with our raw responses now “cooked” with menuchas hanefesh…

we inject the raw material with emunah and bitachon needed to strengthen nature and expand the elements to form that isometric cube that the magen dovid sits in, from our tefilla, ani tefilla, that is the center, the speech with which we acknowledge the lacks we perceive and bend them into healing and brachas through our menuchas hanefesh.

menuchas hanefeshly modified world!!!  When we are not confused that all there is in the world is Hashem the only Glory, then we merit to eat from the tree of life, may it be today.




Rabbi Yaakov Zalman Labinsky – Understanding how doing the 39 melachos during the week enhances Shabbos and marriage and our personal growth – plowing

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