Monthly Archives: November 2017

Some readings for a redemptive spiritual journey

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u4uado1c4leklll/prayerfromrabbishapira.mp4?dl=0

 

 

Some people inquire more than others regarding our purpose in life.  If this is a topic of interest to you, the following material may be of interest.

 

The first reading is from the Arizal on Parsha Chaya Sara (written by Chaim Vital and translated by Rabbi Moshe Wisnefsky.)  It speaks about the pitcher that Rivka Imeinu had on her shoulder when she drew water from the well for Eliezer’s camels.  It brings out the deeper significance of the kindness that she did and its redemptive qualities.  My purpose for showing this segment to you is so that we can see the relevance in our daily lives, perhaps even every moment of our lives, when we are choosing between our natural urges and clinging to Hashem’s kindness for inspiration on how to behave.  Notice I did not say react.  There is a huge pause between react and behave that we all know to be a good idea.  What this material is showing us Is how in that huge pause we are really empowered to bring something into the world far beyond the circumstances of our individual lives.  Rather we are able to take our meager moments and convert them into far-reaching meaningful expressions of Hashem’s Love in a plea for His Light to be revealed in this world.

 

The language of the Arizal may be hard to comprehend.  So here it is again in the language of the Rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto, Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, whose manuscript on Jewish Spiritual Growth was buried in the ground and found after the war.  It has been translated into English by Rabbi Yaacov David Shulman.

 

Rabbi Doniel Katz gave an introduction to how to actually do this work that again reinforces the basic truth that all there is in the world is Hashem and we are here to serve Him by pulling back what attracts us to act based on ourselves in the center in favor of removing the veils that keep Hashem’s lovingkindness and mercy from being revealed in this world.   His introduction can be seen on Facebook reposted here

http://beyondanydoubts.com/2017/11/10/rabbi-doniel-kat…ht-in-everything/

The link is in the description box below along with links to just the mp3s.

 

So much of our teachings focus on how to conduct ourselves.  What gives us inspiration and strength to do so is to understand deeply that all there is in the world is Hashem and that our lifetime is a mere platform to let Him know that while we are alive with free choice we remember that the greatest pleasure of this world and the next is to be involved with revealing His Lovingkindness.  There is no greater pleasure than to be part of revealing Hashem in this world and there is no greater pleasure in the next world than the consequence of having remembered to do so out of love and awe of Hashem while we are in a place where the Truth is hidden.  Imagine.  Hashem gives us the key to turn on the lights.  What does it require?  It requires submission of all that we otherwise think we can do regarding our own survival, our own ability to control our destiny, and our own pursuit of happiness.

 

With every deviant moment of jealousy, lust and craving for honor (fire, water and wind) is a hidden part of Hashem coming to be revealed as love and mercy in this world by our taking through our mind/heart vessel and prayerful speech.  Our condition may feel low but what we can do in that moment is creative, expansive, and redemptive.

Let this inspire us to cleave to Hashem in our darkest moments, to discern if what we are experiencing is an element of unrectified anger/fear/fire, desirous/longing/water, egoistic/fast-moving confused judgments/wind, or sad/lazy/earth. 

 

We can speak to Hashem – what am I experiencing?  Keep repeating the experience of fire, or wind, or water, or earth. Identify what it is and if it then reveals another experience, like first fire (anger) and then water (longing), repeat that, asking at each step to please use the energy hidden in it only to cling more closely to Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy.  Choose this over and over until the storm subsides and clarity permits us to conduct ourselves without bringing a negative reaction from the triggering presentation into our storylines.

 

May we each understand deeply the teshuva we can really do that not only brings clarity to our lives but also reveals into the world a light of redemption.

 

Links to download mp3 of Rabbi Doniel Katz See Divine Light in Everything Meditation

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8m401a15grp2gip/seedivinelightinallpart1.mp3?dl=0

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gdfoqzy5p8d91nq/seedivineligh

tinallpart2.mp3?dl=0

 

CONTENTS OF THIS EMAIL:

  1. The Link to Our New Elevation Youtube Page: You can now view all our previous Elevation Meditation Workshop sessions right here!
  2. A Short & Sweet Teaching from Rav Doniel: On the Need of Hishtaavus (Equanimity) in Relationships.
  3. The Source Sheet From Tonight’s Workshop: In Hebrew & English. A wonderful meditation technique from the Magid of Mezritch.

1. The Link to Our New Elevation Youtube Page:

You can now view all our previous Elevation Meditation Workshop sessions, and the Primal Chassidus Classes, and lots of other wonderful teachings, right here on our new ELEVATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL. Bonus: It will be updated with new classes each week.

THE MAGIC LINK: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMBTB2dD-ZxSpy1t4sXEQ2w?view_as=subscriber

Please help us in our mission to create a new renaissance of Jewish spirituality, by SUBSCRIBING to our Youtube Channel and then sharing these authentic Torah Meditation teachings with anyone and everyone you know that may connect to them.

2. A Short & Sweet Teaching from Rav Doniel:

An excerpt from his session in the upcoming Elevation Mastery Program, on living life with Hishtaavus (equanimity).

“A sad, yet joyful, liberating and empowering truth: Neither seek, or even need relationship with anybody. 

Yes, you heard me right. 

Most people, even good people, are ultimately too identified with their own egos and fears to be able to form relationship in a healthy and consistent way. Find love and peace in your own heart and with Hashem. In a tangible, rich, and vital way. Then, should you accidentally stumble across love, friendship or connection with anyone, even if for a fleeting moment, you can appreciate it for what it is, and choose to accept that good as it is. Rather than yearning for the promise of salvation from loneliness it claims to offer you, and tumbling after more, uprooting and unsettling yourself, and ultimately falling further into disconnection. 

This is not a lesson on *not* loving others. It’s a lesson on how *to* love others. 

Be loved from within, don’t need from without, and find joy in what you have. Amen.”

3. The Source Sheet From Tonight’s Workshop:

For those planning on joining our Jerusalem Meditation Workshop tonight, either live in person or watching on Facebook Livestream (on Rav Doniel’s Timeline), see the source text we will be learning how to experience. Also, here are the details if you’re lucky enough to come join us:

THE MAGGID’S TECHNIQUE TO SEE DIVINE LIGHT IN ALL THINGS

 ________________________________________________

Rabbi Dov Ber, Maggid MiMezritch (Maggid Devarav LeYaacov §200)

“וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן” (בראשית ב ט). ר”ל כי הנה איתא כשאדם לומד או מתפלל יחשוב בעצמו כאלו הוא בגן עדן, אשר אין שם לא קנאה ולא תאוה ולא גאוה. ובזה הוא ניצול מן הפניות. אך צריך להבין כי איך יחשוב זאת, והוא יודע בעצמו שהוא בזה העולם בין אנשים ידועים? אך הענין הוא כשאדם לומד או מתפלל בדחילו ורחימו ומדבק ומקשר מחשבתו בבורא ית”ש, ומחשב ש”מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ” (ישעיה ו ג), “ולית אתר פנוי מניה” (תיקוני זוהר, תקון ע’, דף קכ”ב ע”ב). והכל מַלֵא מחיוּת הבורא ב”ה, נמצא כל מה שרואה הוא רואה רק חיוּת הבורא ב”ה הנמשך בו. דרך משל, אם רואה בני אדם, הוא רואה תבניתם ושומע קולם ודיבורם וחכמתם, הוא הכל חיוּת הנמשך בו. וכן כל דבר שרואה ושומע. כי בכל דבר יש תבנית ותועלת למה שהוא מסוגל, או מראה או ריח. וזהו הכל חיוּת הבורא ית”ש. ונמצא כשאדם לומד או מתפלל בדחילו ורחימו, בוודאי הוא זריז ונזכר בזה מאוד. מחמת שהוא מקושר מאוד במחשבתו בהבורא ב”ה, אינו רואה ואינו שומע כי אם חיוּת הבורא ב”ה שבכל דבר, כי הכל ממנו ית”ש. רק שהוא [חיוּת הבורא] מלובש בכלים מכלים שונים כביכול. ואיך אפשר שיבוא על מחשבתו שום פניה לתאות העולם, כשאינו רואה לפניו רק חיוּת הבורא ותענוג רוחני שבכל דבר! ואפשר לזה רמזו חז”ל (ברכות יז ע”א), “לֹא כְּהָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, אֵין בּוֹ לֹא אֲכִילָה, וְלֹא שְׁתִיָּה, וְלֹא פְּרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה, וְלֹא מַשָּא וּמַתָּן, וְלֹא קִנְאָה, וְלֹא שִׂנְאָה, וְלֹא תַּחֲרוּת. אֶלָּא צַדִּיקִים יוֹשְׁבִים וְעַטְרוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶם וְנֶהֱנִין מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כד יא) ‘וַיֶּחֱזוּ אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ'”. ר”ל כשחושבין בבורא ית”ש שהוא מסבב כל עלמין. וזהו “וְעַטְרוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶם” אז הם נהנים מזיו השכינה. ר”ל שהם מתעדנים מן התענוג הרוחני חיוּת הבורא השוכן בכל מקום. והוא על דרך שאמרו חכמינו זכרונם לברכה “עוֹלָמְךָ תִּרְאֶה בְּחַיֶּיךָ”.[1] כי גם בזה העולם יש להשיג תענוג גן עדן. וזהו “וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים”, ר”ל עצה של חיים שתהיה דבק תמיד בחיים, הוא “בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן”, ר”ל שיחשוב כנ”ל ויהיה בתוך הגן. (ספר מגיד דבריו ליעקב, אות ר)

Ve’Etz HaChayim be’toch ha’gan—and the Etz HaChayim in the midst of the garden” (Genesis 2:9). It is brought that when a person learns Torah or prays, he should think of himself as actually being in Gan Eden, in a place where there is no jealousy, no lust, and no ego. In this way he will be saved from having any ulterior motives. However, how can one even consider this, knowing that he is in this world among people [who have all the above-mentioned negative tendencies, including himself]? However, the matter can be understood thus: When a person learns Torah or prays with awe and love, and attaches himself in deveikus, and binds his consciousness to the blessed Creator, and contemplates the fact that, “Melo kol ha’aretz kevodo” (Isaiah 6:3), “The entire earthly reality is filled with His glory” or “The fullness of earth is His glory,” and “Leis atar pnuy mineh” (Tikuney Zohar 70, p. 122b), “There is no place void of His presence,” and all is filled with the life-force of the blessed Creator, it becomes clear that all he sees and perceives is nothing less than the chiyus of the blessed Creator that flows in it [the world]. For example, when you see people, you see their physical form, you hear their voice, their speech, and their wisdom, in truth what you are really seeing is the chiyus of the blessed Creator that flows in them. The same is true of everything… it is all the chiyus of the blessed Creator. It comes out that when a person learns Torah or prays with awe and love, he will surely be alert and extremely attentive to remember this, for by virtue of being powerfully attached to the blessed Creator in his consciousness, [he knows that] he sees and hears naught but the chiyus of the blessed Creator that inheres in each thing, for all is from Him, may He be blessed [and ever more revealed]. It is just that this chiyus is dressed up in vessels of all sorts, as it were. Knowing this, however, how can any ulterior thought or worldly lust enter his mind, being that he sees nothing but the chiyus of the Creator, and the spiritual delight in each thing? It is possible that this is what our sages of blessed memory meant when they said (Berachos 17a), “Olam Haba is not like olam hazeh. In Olam Haba [the world of the souls], there is no eating, no drinking, no marital relations, no business transactions, no jealousy, no hatred, and no competition. Rather, the tzadikim sit with their crowns in their heads and enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah. This is alluded to in the verse [that describes how they saw the Shechinah on Mount Sinai] (Exodus 24:11), ‘They saw Elokim and ate and drank.’” They meant that one should always contemplate the fact that the blessed Creator surrounds all the worlds. This is the meaning of “their crowns in their heads,” as a result of which they enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah; that they are delighting in the spiritual delight of the chiyus of the Creator that is immanent in every place. This is also similar to what they said, “May you see your [eternal] world in your lifetime.” For even in this world one may attain the delight of Gan Eden. This then is the meaning of, “the Etz HaChayim,” that is, the etza (counsel, advice) for real chayim, to be constantly deveik be’chayim, “be’toch ha’gan” (in the midst of the garden), to contemplate as we said above, which will actually make one realize that he or she is in Gan Eden even now.


(Translation by Rabbi Avraham Sutton, For The Elevation Project)

Rabbi Doniel Katz – Profound Meditational Technique To See Divine Light in Everything

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8m401a15grp2gip/seedivinelightinallpart1.mp3?dl=0

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gdfoqzy5p8d91nq/seedivinelightinallpart2.mp3?dl=0

CONTENTS OF THIS EMAIL:

  1. The Link to Our New Elevation Youtube Page: You can now view all our previous Elevation Meditation Workshop sessions right here!
  2. A Short & Sweet Teaching from Rav Doniel: On the Need of Hishtaavus (Equanimity) in Relationships.
  3. The Source Sheet From Tonight’s Workshop: In Hebrew & English. A wonderful meditation technique from the Magid of Mezritch.

1. The Link to Our New Elevation Youtube Page:

You can now view all our previous Elevation Meditation Workshop sessions, and the Primal Chassidus Classes, and lots of other wonderful teachings, right here on our new ELEVATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL. Bonus: It will be updated with new classes each week.

THE MAGIC LINK: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMBTB2dD-ZxSpy1t4sXEQ2w?view_as=subscriber

Please help us in our mission to create a new renaissance of Jewish spirituality, by SUBSCRIBING to our Youtube Channel and then sharing these authentic Torah Meditation teachings with anyone and everyone you know that may connect to them.

2. A Short & Sweet Teaching from Rav Doniel:

An excerpt from his session in the upcoming Elevation Mastery Program, on living life with Hishtaavus (equanimity).

“A sad, yet joyful, liberating and empowering truth: Neither seek, or even need relationship with anybody. 

Yes, you heard me right. 

Most people, even good people, are ultimately too identified with their own egos and fears to be able to form relationship in a healthy and consistent way. Find love and peace in your own heart and with Hashem. In a tangible, rich, and vital way. Then, should you accidentally stumble across love, friendship or connection with anyone, even if for a fleeting moment, you can appreciate it for what it is, and choose to accept that good as it is. Rather than yearning for the promise of salvation from loneliness it claims to offer you, and tumbling after more, uprooting and unsettling yourself, and ultimately falling further into disconnection. 

This is not a lesson on *not* loving others. It’s a lesson on how *to* love others. 

Be loved from within, don’t need from without, and find joy in what you have. Amen.”

3. The Source Sheet From Tonight’s Workshop:

For those planning on joining our Jerusalem Meditation Workshop tonight, either live in person or watching on Facebook Livestream (on Rav Doniel’s Timeline), see the source text we will be learning how to experience. Also, here are the details if you’re lucky enough to come join us:

THE MAGGID’S TECHNIQUE TO SEE DIVINE LIGHT IN ALL THINGS

 ________________________________________________

Rabbi Dov Ber, Maggid MiMezritch (Maggid Devarav LeYaacov §200)

“וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן” (בראשית ב ט). ר”ל כי הנה איתא כשאדם לומד או מתפלל יחשוב בעצמו כאלו הוא בגן עדן, אשר אין שם לא קנאה ולא תאוה ולא גאוה. ובזה הוא ניצול מן הפניות. אך צריך להבין כי איך יחשוב זאת, והוא יודע בעצמו שהוא בזה העולם בין אנשים ידועים? אך הענין הוא כשאדם לומד או מתפלל בדחילו ורחימו ומדבק ומקשר מחשבתו בבורא ית”ש, ומחשב ש”מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ” (ישעיה ו ג), “ולית אתר פנוי מניה” (תיקוני זוהר, תקון ע’, דף קכ”ב ע”ב). והכל מַלֵא מחיוּת הבורא ב”ה, נמצא כל מה שרואה הוא רואה רק חיוּת הבורא ב”ה הנמשך בו. דרך משל, אם רואה בני אדם, הוא רואה תבניתם ושומע קולם ודיבורם וחכמתם, הוא הכל חיוּת הנמשך בו. וכן כל דבר שרואה ושומע. כי בכל דבר יש תבנית ותועלת למה שהוא מסוגל, או מראה או ריח. וזהו הכל חיוּת הבורא ית”ש. ונמצא כשאדם לומד או מתפלל בדחילו ורחימו, בוודאי הוא זריז ונזכר בזה מאוד. מחמת שהוא מקושר מאוד במחשבתו בהבורא ב”ה, אינו רואה ואינו שומע כי אם חיוּת הבורא ב”ה שבכל דבר, כי הכל ממנו ית”ש. רק שהוא [חיוּת הבורא] מלובש בכלים מכלים שונים כביכול. ואיך אפשר שיבוא על מחשבתו שום פניה לתאות העולם, כשאינו רואה לפניו רק חיוּת הבורא ותענוג רוחני שבכל דבר! ואפשר לזה רמזו חז”ל (ברכות יז ע”א), “לֹא כְּהָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, אֵין בּוֹ לֹא אֲכִילָה, וְלֹא שְׁתִיָּה, וְלֹא פְּרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה, וְלֹא מַשָּא וּמַתָּן, וְלֹא קִנְאָה, וְלֹא שִׂנְאָה, וְלֹא תַּחֲרוּת. אֶלָּא צַדִּיקִים יוֹשְׁבִים וְעַטְרוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶם וְנֶהֱנִין מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כד יא) ‘וַיֶּחֱזוּ אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ'”. ר”ל כשחושבין בבורא ית”ש שהוא מסבב כל עלמין. וזהו “וְעַטְרוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶם” אז הם נהנים מזיו השכינה. ר”ל שהם מתעדנים מן התענוג הרוחני חיוּת הבורא השוכן בכל מקום. והוא על דרך שאמרו חכמינו זכרונם לברכה “עוֹלָמְךָ תִּרְאֶה בְּחַיֶּיךָ”.[1] כי גם בזה העולם יש להשיג תענוג גן עדן. וזהו “וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים”, ר”ל עצה של חיים שתהיה דבק תמיד בחיים, הוא “בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן”, ר”ל שיחשוב כנ”ל ויהיה בתוך הגן. (ספר מגיד דבריו ליעקב, אות ר)

Ve’Etz HaChayim be’toch ha’gan—and the Etz HaChayim in the midst of the garden” (Genesis 2:9). It is brought that when a person learns Torah or prays, he should think of himself as actually being in Gan Eden, in a place where there is no jealousy, no lust, and no ego. In this way he will be saved from having any ulterior motives. However, how can one even consider this, knowing that he is in this world among people [who have all the above-mentioned negative tendencies, including himself]? However, the matter can be understood thus: When a person learns Torah or prays with awe and love, and attaches himself in deveikus, and binds his consciousness to the blessed Creator, and contemplates the fact that, “Melo kol ha’aretz kevodo” (Isaiah 6:3), “The entire earthly reality is filled with His glory” or “The fullness of earth is His glory,” and “Leis atar pnuy mineh” (Tikuney Zohar 70, p. 122b), “There is no place void of His presence,” and all is filled with the life-force of the blessed Creator, it becomes clear that all he sees and perceives is nothing less than the chiyus of the blessed Creator that flows in it [the world]. For example, when you see people, you see their physical form, you hear their voice, their speech, and their wisdom, in truth what you are really seeing is the chiyus of the blessed Creator that flows in them. The same is true of everything… it is all the chiyus of the blessed Creator. It comes out that when a person learns Torah or prays with awe and love, he will surely be alert and extremely attentive to remember this, for by virtue of being powerfully attached to the blessed Creator in his consciousness, [he knows that] he sees and hears naught but the chiyus of the blessed Creator that inheres in each thing, for all is from Him, may He be blessed [and ever more revealed]. It is just that this chiyus is dressed up in vessels of all sorts, as it were. Knowing this, however, how can any ulterior thought or worldly lust enter his mind, being that he sees nothing but the chiyus of the Creator, and the spiritual delight in each thing? It is possible that this is what our sages of blessed memory meant when they said (Berachos 17a), “Olam Haba is not like olam hazeh. In Olam Haba [the world of the souls], there is no eating, no drinking, no marital relations, no business transactions, no jealousy, no hatred, and no competition. Rather, the tzadikim sit with their crowns in their heads and enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah. This is alluded to in the verse [that describes how they saw the Shechinah on Mount Sinai] (Exodus 24:11), ‘They saw Elokim and ate and drank.’” They meant that one should always contemplate the fact that the blessed Creator surrounds all the worlds. This is the meaning of “their crowns in their heads,” as a result of which they enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah; that they are delighting in the spiritual delight of the chiyus of the Creator that is immanent in every place. This is also similar to what they said, “May you see your [eternal] world in your lifetime.” For even in this world one may attain the delight of Gan Eden. This then is the meaning of, “the Etz HaChayim,” that is, the etza (counsel, advice) for real chayim, to be constantly deveik be’chayim, “be’toch ha’gan” (in the midst of the garden), to contemplate as we said above, which will actually make one realize that he or she is in Gan Eden even now.


(Translation by Rabbi Avraham Sutton, For The Elevation Project)

From silent tears to the joy of revealing Hashem’s lovingkindness

Anyone interested in embarking on a spiritual journey may like www.newchabura.com.  Rabbi Aryeh Nivin has Torah based tools to take a person lovingly and gently to a higher connection.

The following three slides are from Miriam Adahan’s Compassionate Communications workshop available through Jewish Workshops  jewishworkshops@jewishworkshops.com

 

A map to help us navigate our words and deeds

Sometimes we really appreciate a map.  It is really easy to take a wrong turn and end up some place we don’t know.  We think we know how to get back, but we often get farther into the wrong direction.

 

There is a force in the world, the Soton, whose purpose is destruction.  The force takes order to disorder.

 

There is a counterforce in the world, the Torah, whose purpose is to show us how to use free will to not only steer past the destructive forces in the world, but to actually weaken them giving mankind more and more the ability to use free will to manifest and aggrandize Hashem.  Torah helps us take the blindfolds off our soul.

 

When we have emunah to know that everything, including us, is but a garment over the One Who exists, we are able to work within that framework with trust despite how we may be feeling drawn towards natural urges that Hashem permits us to choose but which add layers of darkness over awareness of His Love.

 

The foundation of understanding that there is Hashem and no other, that He is One, is crucial to our navigating the human nature He gives us  for the purposes of giving us free will.  With that free will, we do battle clinging to Him so that the lens of our life – thoughts speech and deeds – reveals Hashem’s Love rather than the destructive goals of the wrecking ball Soton.

 

Buried in our human nature are high holy sparks from the 974 generations that preceded these 26 generations, from the world of tohu that shattered and broke and fell into this world. These holy sparks have no voice of their own or ability to reach this world except through our thoughts, speech and deeds. Where shall they land?  Shall these high holy sparks of kedusha continue to be trapped and give expression to what conceals Hashem and gives strength to the wrecking ball or is there something we are able to do that will give expression to their kedusha and  blessing and healing?

 

We often overlook redeeming these sparks as important at all.  It does not naturally occur to us to think in that direction. Only by learning Torah do we have a way to comprehend what Hashem desires from us.

When we are able to reconnect these sparks by garmenting them in tangible thought speech and deed, we are actually emitting a flow of healing and blessing and light in the world, as these are their expression as divine sparks when not hidden and concealed by human nature.  The place where this transformation takes place is in our hearts and the quality that makes the transformation possible is love for Hashem that we experientially arouse simultaneously as we experience the constrictions.

 

These same hidden sparks naturally grab our thoughts and try to get our attention.  We hear only our thoughts and, if we have not integrated these Torah principles,  we – instead of working to redeem the sparks from human nature – often go towards destructive actions that we think will keep us from the negative thoughts we might be experiencing or solve the challenging situation in which we find ourselves or help us reach what appears to be a good goal, even though we might “step” on others.

 

The master over human nature is the Soton who is the destroyer.  Thus, when we have an urge to hurt, or to do something we believe will bring about the correct outcome but will cause some type of pain or discomfort to another, we must first honestly consider whether what we are doing is listening to a rationalization that is telling us a wrecking ball is the best approach in the situation.  If when we reflect, as the brothers are criticized for not doing more deeply in the sale of Yosef, that should tip us off that something else is needed – namely releasing a holy spark from deep within so that its energy can instead be expressed as healing and blessing.

 

May these words inspire us when we are upset with each other, to find the place within us that is burning, see the holy sparks that need to be released, and then ask Hashem to please take them and return them to the world as healing and blessing for the situation.  When we do so, we basically strip off the garment of human nature and put on the energy Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy. Speaking and acting from this place will be experienced by others as warmth and love and concern.  We have used our free willed choice.  Hashem does the rest.

 

Love of Hashem is the active heartfelt emotion that creates within the heart the atmosphere in which the spark is returned to Hashem.

 

Proper fear of Hashem keeps our mind from letting the sparks grab our thoughts and running to put on garments of speech and action that reveal the wrecking ball rather than Hashem’s kedusha.

 

Once we neutralize the negative urge to use the wrecking ball, we have subdued something far beyond ourselves, cutting back the influence of the Soton, not only in ourselves, but in the world.  From there, we as well as others have more of a chance to reach for something that will aggrandize Hashem’s love and existence over our natural urges.

 

May these words help anyone who is struggling to find inner connection and be someone who reveals more and more (rather than concealing) Hashem’s light into the world.

 

Is our lifetime a mere parable?

Let’s explore a vision of life where our lifetime story is a parable through which we are given the opportunity to become a clear lens revealing the truth that all there is in the world is Hashem Who is all loving.  Our willingness to do this reflects our willingness to accept that the greatest pleasure available in the world is to be capable of revealing Hashem’s love in the world, and that we are so willing to have that relationship with Hashem that the details of our story, no matter how invested we are, become secondary to the pleasure of serving Hashem, as we see in the story of Avraham and Yitzchok Aveinu at the akeida.

 

The memories and events within our story generate many sensations, often of lack.  When these lackings take on a pattern, we may elevate them to a need that is not being met. When we experience a lack, something that is less than what we want or objectively need, it causes us a certain emotional pain.  We connect it to a thought and that thought is some judgment about ourselves or another.  From there, we make a plan to see what can be done about fulfilling that need and removing the lack.

 

What we are going to speak about right now goes in an entirely different direction. 

 

 

 What if we did something else?  What if when we experience a lack, we attempt to identify what element it is connected to – is it a desire or yearning/water?  Is it an anger or fear/fire?  Is it honor or recognition based/wind?  Or is it sadness depression laziness/earth?

 

The spark of holiness that is animating that lack is the target of our efforts, to bring it from a place where we experience it as a lack to a place where that spark is reconnected to Hashem’s constant love.  In order to do this, we have to understand ourselves and how that lack is trying to speak to us through our life circumstances to tell us how it feels, to describe through our worst fears or anxieties, exactly what the sensation of lack is experiencing – where that spark of holiness is trapped and needs redemption.

A spark of Hashem’s love is buried deep in the lack and is coming to be healed-to be rejoined to Hashem’s love.  What is in the way?  Our automatic thinking and image of our self as autonomous beings who think it is up to us to “fix” it.

 

Rather it is time to breath in and upward, giving to Hashem the sensation all the while feeling deep love for Hashem in our heart.  Then as we breath out, we blow Hashem’s love into that same place, repeating breathing in and out with giving the sensation of lack to Hashem and drawing into its place love for Hashem.  What are we doing?  We are resisting, self-nullifying, all the thoughts that the sensation might otherwise grab from our lives to heighten our awareness of its trapped state.

 

The more we realize as we are breathing in what we are breathing past-those thoughts that otherwise would be grabbed and enlivened and heated up with the spark of holiness trapped in the sensation of lack – the more completely we self-nullify for the one purpose of making ourselves into a clearer lens through which the truth of Hashem’s Love and existence  can be seen through our thoughts, speech and deeds.

Our thoughts that we keep from “garmenting” that spark are not being suppressed.  The thoughts are merely the option to use free will to believe that the “me” has to do something.   When we have deep emunah we understand the opportunity here is to grind down the clouded lens of “me” and infuse our sensation with true Ahavas Hashem so that the “higher and lower waters” are united.  Then when we act, His compassion is visible through our speech and deeds and we will have ‘garmented’ His Existence through our free willed choice in a manner that fulfills Torah and helps us fix what He sent us here to fix.

 

May we have a new perspective on our lives so that the story of our life does not keep us from doing the fixing that He sent us here to do and may a new light shine in the world.

What is the time we are given to exist given to us FOR ?

In his Daas Tevunas series, Rabbi Tatz explains the name of Hashem yud k vav k as meaning Who Was, Who Is, and Who Will Be and Who gives us a time of existence.  Hearing those words, Who gives us a time of existence, led me to ask next – what did He give us a time for existence for?

 

What is so precious about life is that in this world we can accomplish with free will or suffering so very much.  Rebbetzin Heller in her shiur on connecting to ourselves on Nov 1 2017 on Jewish Workshops told again of the wicked King Menashe who was the son of Chiszkiayu, a tzaddik, and his wife, the daughter of the prophet Isaiah.  He did not heed the words of his holy parents.  He served idols.  After suffering and almost being killed, he cried out to Hashem and Hashem saved him.  He then returned to Hashem in teshuva and served as King another 36 years.  Rebbetzin Heller said that the suffering is what he needed – that suffering brings us to humility because we realize that we are not in control, and that helps us reach to Hashem.

 

Every day we have an inner struggle – who is in the center of our mind before we act?  To be truthful, we also must come to terms with the painful reality that we are created with ourselves in the center of our mind, whether we can think of ourselves honestly or not. 

 

The beauty of being willing to admit to Hashem that we think of ourselves first is that we, in that moment of confession, inherently understand that our “condition” is a false one that we wish to shed.  Our hearts may run like teenagers after a teen idol  to whatever seems best for the “me,” but when we cry it out to Hashem, we are basically asking Him to help us free our desires from attaching to a deception that “me” is in control.

We are basically asking Him to please have mercy on us because we trust Him and understand how He has hidden in this world to give us free will.  We ask that He to please help us place our will overlayed with His Will so that we may take our name off the deception that might otherwise lead us to a damaging action.

 

The deception that we are connecting to is also a false belief, a creative suggestion that usually reveals our worst fears and lack of trust in Hashem, our most cynical interpretation.  Why?  It is the voice of Amalek, who strikes when we feel doubt.  And that puts out the fire of love we feel for Hashem, dampening the relationship we have with Hashem.

 

The antidote is Torah.  If a person does not realize that the Torah is the antidote, then what makes sense when a person feels a lack and that their survival is at stake is for the person to pull out blazing guns and start shooting “in self-defense.”  Because the “me” is in the center and not Hashem, all feelings of justification are questionable out of bias and distortion.  One person’s perceived well being over another person’s perceived well being is inconsistent with everyone being given a time of existence by the One Who Was, Is and Always Will Be.  There is nothing but Hashem and He alone decides who will survive and how.

 

Thus, coming out with guns blazing to defend oneself from hurt or damage may not be the best impulse to follow.  Firstly, the bias must be investigated and the reason Hashem has sent the challenge understood in terms of Torah, avodah and middos.

 

Often we love ourselves so much, and we feel so “right” in our judgments, that we don’t really see that what we are about to do might damage and that our motivation is not purely for what is good in the eyes of Hashem.

 

Mounds of energy fall into the whirlpool funnel of fighting for survival with ways that are damaging rather than solicitous of Hashem’s help.  And we suffer.  Hashem made the world so that the suffering atones for us, so that the world can reach its perfection whether we make the choices we are capable to make in producing positive influence, or whether we fall into the traps that lead to suffering, a suffering that atones for the negative influences that we unwittingly create.

Being aware spiritually means that we are able to see our truths about our deceptions.  Only when we have in mind the truth can we build something positive.  Until then, we are lost in the dark of a dream or nightmare.

 

Thus can we understand others as well as ourselves.  We are born to overcome the natural impression that we exist independently from Hashem, a natural impression that made every soul in the 974 generations before the creation of the world chayiv misa, sentenced to death, for the aveira of avoda zara, thinking we are autonomous independent beings, separate from Hashem. 

 

How many times a day do we have THAT thought?  How many times a day are we acting on that as our basis rather than even notice that the “me” is in the center, not Hashem?

 

How many times a day do we tell ourselves rationalizations for why we had to eat this, buy that?

 

We must strive for truth. Hashem wants us to find the flaw through which our soul falls into the hands of the natural – into the crafty hand of the empowered yetzer hara whose job it is to create resistance and tests so that we can bring ourselves to a more refined and humble place where instead of revealing the “me” we reveal Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy?

 

And if we don’t have the emunah or trust in Hashem or awareness to strive for truth, what tools are left to us?

 

Who will stick up for us in a pinch?  Our professionals, lawyers, doctors, etc?  Our family members?  Our community members? Our money?  Our education? Where are we placing our trust – what is the predicted success rate?

 

Once we take Hashem out of the center, once emunah and bitachon are not our first line of survival, who steps in with “good advice?”  And how will that help us rectify our characteristics to bring us more and more distant from our natural animalistic thinking and closer to a refined thinking based on Torah and Hashems 13 attributes, in Whose image we are made so that we may reveal that compassion into the world?

 

Are we protecting thinking that is Torah based or do we seek to secure a way of life that we define based on “me?” 

 

In this week’s parsha, Sodom and Gomorra were doomed to destruction because the society outlawed altruism and everyone asserted that “for the protection of the community members.”  They did not want to do chesed because they did not want collectors coming for their funds.  They did not want to give hospitality.  It went against their belief that what they had was theirs and that giving would only bring more collector types to drain their money.  Did they succeed?  Perhaps for awhile that society existed, but it did not survive.  Hashem sent an angel to destroy it. 

 

When we latch onto the “me” in the center, we push Hashem out of the center and act in ways that add layers of concealment.  

 

Once the “me” is in the center, anything that disagrees with the “me” feels like  threat and that stirs the wrecking ball survival instincts in us.  Because it feels like survival, it feels as though we are justified and correct in protecting our position. 

 

It is necessary to investigate every step of the thinking…who is in the center, is what I am assuming true or imagination?  If imagination, why does it feel like the right thing to do, what is my desire?  Is that desire following Torah or fallen interests?  Do I have the strength to admit I have been “selfish”  and self deceiving or am I blinded by my desire and survival instinct thinking that I must respond and win?

 

If we correct our thinking, then we have succeeded in breaking emunah into our hearts for it to flow into our actions.  If we do not correct our thinking, we may have a time to exist but never find the reason Hashem gave us that time.

 

Eternity is much longer than 120 years.  What are we doing?  Why are we not sweating to build the emunah to confess our shortcomings and return all energies to the absolute pleasure of revealing Hashem into this world?  Why do we think that a cynical attitude will keep us balanced and grounded in life or that being so means we are practical and realistic?  Nothing is more practical than being connected to the Source of existence and everything in existence.

 

May we all strengthen ourselves in emunah and do the sweat breaking self investigation necessary to truly serve Hashem and upgrade ourselves from a time of existence to eternal life.

Two skills from Rebbetzin Heller to help us when we feel judgmental

The will of the higher part of our soul is only to reveal Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy and Torah in thought speech and deed.

 

The will of the lower part of our soul that is connected to the physical body and organs has no ability on its own to see that Hashem is the only Being that exists.

 

Once in a body, the lower soul is designed to think that it exists on its own.  This is due to the amazing way that Hashem gives us free will, by hiding from the part of our soul that descends into the body any way of sensing or perceiving Hashem directly, in a proved way.

 

If we learn Torah, we can weave these wills together by breaking into our body the emunah of the higher soul.

 

What stands in the way are the confusion of mind that is natural to being alive, distant from Hashem, where Hashem is hidden.  What adds to that confusion of mind, adding layers of concealment, are the associations we may have developed due to abuse, trauma, neglect, or disaster.  Our imagination becomes even more contorted than just confused because of layers of emotion or unrectified characteristics that we do not see in ourselves.

 

Nevertheless,  Hashem gives us a way to cry out to Him, to have mercy on us, so that we can ask Him to please unify  our will and our soul because our deepest desire is to reveal Him, to serve Him, to emulate Him, to fulfill the Torah and mitzvahs.  The time to move into this crying out is when we feel judgmental of ourselves or others, with a negative emotional charge that is painful to us or hurtful if we express it to another.

 

These are a few notes from Rebbetzin Heller’s Jewish workshop community shiur given October 31 2017 regarding the skills we need to stay grounded when we feel judgmental.  We all make judgments.  How do we keep our balance?  Rebbetzin Heller suggests two skills.

 

I am living for Hashem, to aggrandize Him, not myself.  I will hold back self defense and do for Him, not to get credit.

I have to keep growing.  Don’t have to look at other’s faults. Keep my focus on my own aspirations. And stay silent, with emunah, connected to Hashem (not constricted and silent)

The more silence, the more we grow.  But it has to be a silence that is giving permission to not think about what is limited.  I have to focus on the other person’s own goodness.  If I do that, then they may find their own goodness and pull themselves out. (end of notes. For more information on Rebbetzin Heller’s community contact jewishworkshops@jewishworkshops.com)

 

May we find being a person who yearns to be like this something that our higher and lower wills agree on and may Hashem help us so that His Light may be revealed in our thoughts, speech and deeds.