Monthly Archives: November 2017

Understanding what understanding is and what it is for

Did you ever want to understand something so much and struggle and struggle with it and try to learn more and more about it hoping a light would come on and that you would have an insight that would bring you closer to your goal of understanding?


If so, do you remember the feeling of gratitude and joy that went along with it?


How much credit did you take for it? After all the pursuing and learning and struggling – do you think the understanding came from that effort?

My experience is that yes I have to make that effort, but the success is a gift that comes from Hashem.  Why, you may ask, do I not take credit for it?


Rebbetzin Heller in her shiur on Jewish Workshops describes how everything we do should be to aggrandize Hashem and not ourselves.  If we are seeking to understand that all there is in the world is Hashem and that is what we are learning, struggling and striving to understand more of, it would be paradoxical to think that the success came from anywhere other than Hashem.  Why? Because Hashem is the only Being that is actually alive, that actually has existence!  Our ability to understand itself comes from Him alone and is corrupted with bias because of Adom having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Understanding this deeply is the understanding we seek if we wish instead to bring out Hashem’s love and mercy that is hidden in the whole of it.


What is our life other than a struggle to break free of the pain of thinking that we are in control and have independent existence from Hashem?  Yes, we are designed to be independent, operating in a world responsibly and in accordance with Torah but no, we do not have a separate existence independent from Hashem Who gives us the experience of life by investing a soul in a body for the period of our lifetime.  Our understanding of our lives as having independent existence from Hashem Is  the perception to which we are trying to understand a higher view that will, in truth, bring real beauty and joy into our lives.


While we have a lifetime, we have the opportunity to grind into nothingness all the raw material Hashem has given us so that we may reveal the truth of His Oneness and correct consciousness to what it was before Adom ate from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.


The grinding into nothingness of all the raw material Hashem has given to us means that we understand that we are only perceiving what looks like the real world – the world of time and space – because of how Hashem structures the Creation.  We accept the true task of recovering lost Divine consciousness.  And we are not alone in our efforts – that praying and learning and keeping Torah bring Hashem from the place in the world where He is hidden to a more revealed place.


We can take our consciousness from being strapped to perceptions and interpretations based on survival instincts upwards and really build ourselves into a channel that experiences the pleasure of living divinely conscious lives that reveal truth and mercy, giving Hashem a dwelling place through our mind-heart.  When we submit our natural understanding to the wisdom given in Torah regarding how to serve Hashem, we release the hidden presence of Hashem into our hearts and from there into our speech and deeds, revealing His love and mercy.


What keeps us from moving forward in this service are whatever is blocking our faith and trust in Hashem.  For this reason, just trusting even if we don’t understand can sometimes be the only thing we can do, because our emotions and instincts simply are trapping our consciousness in memories and patterns of the past.    When we have simple trust, Hashem often answers and grants calmness.


Thus, understanding itself, while an obvious positive pursuit of intelligence, must be understood!


Understanding that does not include relationship with Hashem seeks only to arrange and organize our lives around the natural self.


Understanding that does include relationship with Hashem is able to seek the wisdom of the Torah to cling to when our negativity pours out of our hearts, and we can beseech Hashem to please help us only give Him nachas.  We do not want any of the outcomes that our negativity propels us towards.  This includes goals that we may not even view as negative, but as needs.


Our animalistic soul has direct access to our heart and whispers through our heart compelling emotions regarding what we need and what we believe we are lacking.  These whisperings can be caught in the act of being the animalistic urges they are in time to change the paradigm and instead shift our inner consciousness to Hashem.  In so doing, we can rewire our brain and bring ourselves to a calmer inner world.


If you like this article, you may like Rabbi Katz’s most recent meditation – the link is in the notes below.




A beautiful collage from torah approaches that empower us to seek and grow our connection to Hashem

This post is a collage from three different Torah approaches to empower us to really live connected to truth and peace, consistent with spiritual growth (serving Hashem more and more to reveal His Light.  It is intended as a  follow up  post to Rabbi Doniel  Katz’s shiurim

In the first 8 minutes of this shiur by Rebbetzin Heller from 2007 on Maharal Netivos Olam, Rebbetzin Heller describes the inner conficts in our soul and how we bring ourselves to wholeness, to peace, shelamos.

Rabbi Shmuel Braun gives a detailed explanation of how to do this and why.

Dr Zev Ballen gives a prayer to use  in the moment

Those interested in an established chabura in which  to anchor this type of journey from the start can go to

Those interested in learning at their own pace from reading material can start at


Rabbi Doniel Katz (from Facebook page) – Learn to Experience Divine light and energy in all things



Speaking to the Pain
Many of the anxiety and stress reactions that we suffer from started with some upsetting or traumatic occurrence in the past and became a conditioned response…
By: Dr. Zev Ballen
Sometimes we have a pain in a limb or body part or we have other unpleasant feelings like anxiety and tension that are localized in parts of the body such as the stomach, the chest, the legs, or the face. These pain and anxiety reactions can be triggered by literally anything that was going on around us when the upsetting experience first occurred. For example a person may unconsciously associate a change of season, the sound of a siren, or the sight of a doctor’s white coat with a past trauma.
Many of the anxiety and stress reactions that we suffer from started with some upsetting or traumatic occurrence in the past and became a conditioned response. Now, even years later (there is no sense of time in the unconscious mind) whenever we find ourselves in a situation that reminds our unconscious mind of the first time that we were hurt or scared, we get that same reaction all over again. Even though our conscious logical and rational mind knows that certainly nobody is traumatizing us in the present, we may still suffer from intense fear or physical symptoms in our bodies “as if” the trauma were happening all over again.
When this happens we can alleviate many of these types of automatic conditioned responses with emuna because it was a lack of emuna or a breakdown of emuna that first caused the problem. The following method, based on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush also works for very early traumas that occurred when we were too young to know anything about emuna or about the Creator.   But now that you know that everything that happened to you was from the Creator and was certainly for your very best (although you couldn’t understand how at the time), you can speak to that body part or body function that is still being negatively affected by that past experience with soothing words of emuna.
Remember – You are an eternal spiritual self however your body is only a temporary physical creation. As such you have many more choices than your body does about how to react to the challenges and triggers in your life. Your muscles only know how to react in one of two ways, by tightening or by loosening up. Your breathing can only get faster or slower. Your body’s temperature can only go up or down.
Because your body is so simple and so limited compared to you, it has a much harder time feeling the Creator’s presence. So when your body, or one of its parts or functions (like breathing or digestion) start acting up, speak to that part and say:
(Fill in the relevant body part or body function) “ ____________, I know that it’s very hard for you to believe in the Creator, especially after what happened…that He’s the One and Only G-d, and that He is protecting us and has always been watching over us every minute of our lives, but I am your higher, spiritual self and I guarantee you that everything is just fine right now. You are only feeling pain, fear, cramping etc. because you are a body and you don’t know about the Creator’s loving kindness. But believe me, I am your closest relative…we are living together in this body and we were put here together for the purpose of knowing the Creator in these troubling situations… The Creator loves us and cares about us UNCONDITIONALLY…He Has sustained us until this day. The Creator only gave us that original challenge so that we would have the opportunity to learn more about Him and to come closer to Him RIGHT NOW.  The Creator is the physician of all flesh and he surely can relieve us RIGHT NOW.
You might gently stroke that physical part while continuing to speak words of emuna to it.  Take your time and continue to tell your body how much you trust in and depend on the Creator. By educating your body about the Creator’s lovingkindness and His absolute power to heal these reactions, your body will start to internalize your words of emuna into its cells. As you continue to speak to your body, you will invoke Divine Compassion for that limb or physical function… you will arouse the spark of emuna that is already in that part of your body and kindle a bright flame of emuna that will warm that limb or body part and return it to wholeness and health.
Remember to thank the Creator for His infinite compassion and to thank your body for cooperating by listening to your words. You can use this method to go back and heal situations from the past or to anticipate future situations and prepare your body in advance to respond to future challenges with emuna. When the Creator sees that you and your body are committed to working together and processing your trials and tribulations with emuna, you will have passed this test and the Creator will no longer need to trigger your body in the way that He did in the past.



Rabbi Doniel Katz (from Facebook page) – Learn to Experience Divine light and energy in all things

downladable   mp3

facebook link

downloadable mp4


For more from Rabbi Doniel Katz