Monthly Archives: March 2018

Two writings – Bilvavi Skip On Pesach, HaRav Menachem Azoulai Ohr HaEmuna

Here is the Bilvavi 9 page clear and wonderfully enlightening shmuess on Pesach 5778

skip on pesach bilvavi


Here is a profound and beautiful podcast and a written 4 pages, with prayer, from Rabbi Azoulai as translated by Dov Elias


Love and Awe of Hashem and the unconscious mind – a breakthrough

Between listening to shiurim, cleaning for Passover, hisbodidus, and reading, something regarding the commandments to love Hashem and to fear (have awe) of Hashem came into synchronization with the two lacks we actually have in our unconscious mind.


The two lacks in our unconscious mind are the lack of awareness of Hashem’s constant surrounding and ever-present love, and the real lack of our own value in terms of not ever being able to be Hashem Himself – we are made in His Image and can reveal Him, but our will can never be as Hashem’s will.  When Hashem wants something, it comes into existence immediately.  When we want something, with determination we pursue it but it is up to Hashem whether or not we attain it.  This frustration in our limitation as a created being is the reason Chava thought to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The nachash, the serpent, told her if she eats from the tree, her will would be like Hashem’s and she could create.  The inborn yearning that we have to be lovingkind like Hashem not withstanding, our natural jealousy for wanting to be more valuable than Hashem designed us to be leaves us with a constant yearning and in the pursuit of honor and glory. 


The truth is that our highest emotions have the awareness that Hashem’s love is constantly present and that when we love Him and speak to Him, and we make our will His Will, we adopt a role of being with Him that connects us to eternal value.


Hashem is the only Being that is actually alive.  He creates our consciousness and gives us the experience of life by maintaining a body for us to use for 120 years, may it be in good health. But the life force is His, not ours.  We are responsible for it though, as well as responsible for our bodies.  We are responsible to use every second and every ounce of our being in a way that attests to His Oneness and makes a Kiddush Hashem.


What are we permitted to have in terms of a “self?” 


When we have awareness that Hashem is the value, then when we get disconnected from Hashem, we are thrown into the dark and into the grips of the competing images of the yetzer hara, our natural thinking that is self-conscious. When that happens, Hashem hides from us because He does not want our life force, our soul, to descend into the realms where the natural will absorb our holiness.  Thus, it is up to us to muster a “self” to defend our life force from being thrown to the dogs, so to speak.  This is much different from the more natural pursuits of honor that plague us from our self-conscious thoughts like, she said that to me?  He did that to me?, and the anger or fear that results, along with the hatred and desires to defend ourselves on the terms set by the offending party.


Rather, we must use the light of Torah from all we have acquired in our awareness to face the truth, that our rationalizations for taking action in such case are the product of emotions that have forgotten that Hashem’s love surrounds us and that He is the only Value.  It is inevitable that the emotions that we experience from our perceptions will have fallen from the highest emotional awareness of love for Hashem and awe of Hashem.  That is what it means to be in a fallen world, to have a life in a body.  And it is purposeful.


With emunah, we remember that He exists and that He is in control.  We remember to believe in Hashem and trust in whatever is happening is somehow for the best…and what is that best?  Amazingly, the spiritual energy that is shaking us to the core is in our hands to form a spiritual repair for our highest emotions that have fallen into this world – simply by confessing, describing in great detail, and telling Hashem that we wish for all the spiritual force we are feeling to be used to restore what fell into this body, into this world, with an awareness of His constant love and awe of how we have value by being connected to Him and doing His Will.  We create positive influence and bring into that very space a light that reflects Hashem’ lovingkindness.  That light brings the force of that lovingkindness into the world.


Once this mental preparation and spiritual repair of our highest emotions is more conscious, then we can assert ourselves, make a stand for the self. 


“perhaps you don’t realize it but when you…..I felt so thrown into the dark. I know it is my own inner world but so I can correct myself, could you please not blame, shame, yell, insult….It is easy for me to feel that my value is erased, and I am trying to avoid that…please understand, I am sure it is me and not you, but could you help me out?”


No one has the right to say or do things that throw us into a place where we feel erased, even a little.  We learn proper derech eretz, respect for others, because we know that everyone is made in the image of Hashem.  It is not a nicety.  It is a recognition that we are all in this inner battle to keep our life force connected to the highest emotions of lovingkindness and bringing value and meaning into the world.  It is an unfair attack to suggest even in the slightest that someone might not have such a higher emotion.  And this is the arena for self-defense that is formative of our self.  It is not an egoistic demand or pursuit for glory.  It is not fighting back for material gain.  It is communicating a danger to our inner world being drawn deeply into the dark and a respectful and kind explanation of what we need in order to steer clear.  Then we are guarding our souls, our higher souls, that desire connection and experience of love of Hashem and the attainment of true everlasting value.


Our chometz is the messages that we tell ourselves to justify the natural hurtful damaging retaliations that the yetzer hara life coach suggests are justified under the circumstances.


We clean this chometz by understanding properly our construct, understanding which thoughts are coming from which aspects of our thinking, shining with emunah the light of Torah on it and removing all the objections to doing so that our doubting cynical ego-boundaries recount to us as important and inviolate.


Here are some source materials from the Arizal and from the Nesivos Shalom on this topic.  See link below.


May we all grow in our understanding of the created beings we are, what Hashem wants from us, and how to accomplish turning this temporary lifetime into eternal life and blessings while we are alive. And may a new light shine in the world that ends our suffering and brings the force of love and revelation of Hashem’s Oneness into sight.


 pesach sources chometz



Nesivos Shalom

The article above was written the day after listening to this shiur by Rabbi Doniel Katz



Spiritually cleaning for Pesach!

Today in our group discussion, two women were sharing how the work of preparing for Pesach is exhausting and how the great majority of the work was falling upon their shoulders despite the presence of able-bodied teens and others who could be far more helpful than they are motivated to be. 


Both women noticed the immediate natural response to go to blaming and that was the topic of discussion.


With a desire to not be damaging but rather to serve Hashem, here are the steps visualized in order to really clean our chometz! And to ask for whatever help is available in a way that gives Hashem nachas.


  1. The presence of unmotivated able bodied people stimulates a desire for help that is not forthcoming, and that brings to mind a strong force to try and elicit help, to control, to feel “martyred”, and to blame….notice that the focus of the animating force within is the “me”. Said another way, the true self, our awareness/consciousness, is being diverted to self-conscious needs and lacks.  While these lacks are real and true, the downward pull is not the lack itself but rather the tendency of the force to swirl around the people who are not providing assistance as the cause of the matter.  In whatever way help is to come, if at all, the realization is that the help we want be “clean” of damaging requests. Step 1 is to realize that Hashem is the cause of these people not being helpful and that the matter is from Him in order to elicit something from us!
  2. Step 2, after realizing that it is Hashem Who is causing us the lacks we feel, is to cry out to Hashem and describe the lacks and the movement of our life force towards clinging to blame, control or other destructive instincts and to tell Hashem that we do not want our life force to flow into damage and natural responses. Rather, we want our life force that is, in this moment disconnected from remembering that Hashem is One and all good, to be reconnected.  We tell Hashem that we choose to be connected to Him, that we want the force of what we feel to reveal His Goodness and not the imagery that our natural thinking leads us to, to blame, to shame, to destructive talking, which we are 100 percent sure will not work in any event.
  3. Step 3 is to feel the force within what we are experiencing. Feel it as a force in our inner world and realize that we have real free will to direct that force not only back to connection to Hashem, but also to “dedicate” it for a specific purpose.  Just like when we write a tzedakah check and we add a name for refuah shelama or leui nishmas, we have the opportunity to take the force within the negativity that we feel and tell Hashem that we wish it to be used to create bracha and healing for so and so that they may be able to have a breakthrough in whatever they need in order to see that they could be more contributive.  In this way, we are literally giving our life force as a bracha to another, praying for them, and re-connecting to Hashem Who wants the same thing for the other but Who truly wants us to benefit by being the one to “direct the hose” of our life force for this purpose.

What we did was several examples pre-emptively of what could come up with different people so that we “inoculated” ourselves with a visualization of this thinking so that it will be nearer to heart the next time we are triggered…which we know will happen given the mix of things.


I hope this summary of the day is helpful.  It is of paramount importance to understand what our life force is, and what it is for, and how we can “circumcise our hearts” of our self-conscious emotions and re-direct amazing force  as bracha.  There is no other Power.  We are a manifestation of Hashem’s Divine creative energy and we do not have separate existence.  When we long for Hashem in this way, we peel back our self-consciousness and are capable of revealing His Love, the basic root component of all the forces in the world.  Once we emulate Him, that loving force has impact in the world in ways beyond the present moment’s circumstances. 

This is the important thing for us to comprehend. 

This is how we change the world.  In our hearts.  In our homes.  In our communities.  Through our prayers.  Our heart-felt intent is invisible to anyone’s eye other than Hashem’s all knowing eye.  But our subsequent actions are felt deeply as lovingkind, accepting, and educating.


Imagine being able to answer a teen complaining about a lack of your attention that you understand their feeling but could they please ask in a way that does not sound blaming, because that puts you into the grips of a negative response that is hard to deal with.  Explain it would be less complicated for me if you could just ask for what you need and express the level of urgency you feel through a scale of one to ten.


May we all recognize how the life force within us is complicated by our subjectivity and be inspired by that reality to re-dedicate our life force through connection to Hashem into brachas, healing and revealed lovingkindness, and may the force released from that effort bring a new light to the world as a blessing for all.

Appreciation for this week’s Parsha from TLOE Rabbi Azoulai Parshas Tzav

When something is esoteric, it is not easy to transfer the idea to someone else.

 I remember being little and frustrated and told that the answer lies within me.

 That made me absolutely furious. Since I had not a clue where to find the answer, I felt abandoned and valueless.  That was stressful.  And when we experience stress, we form associations in our mind that are stored, forming false beliefs, coping mechanisms, and thoughts that are untrue which generate emotions that lead us to error.

Now perhaps the person who told me that the answer lies within me really did know how to find what to do.  However, they had no idea how to explain it.

 I imagine that this must have been the case, or else that is what they were told by their parent, and they didn’t understand it either and assumed the same wrong messages but were hopeful that one day they would find the answers within.

 In this week’s Parsha Sheet from Rabbi Azoulai, the matter is explained.

To anyone who believes in the power Hashem invests in our soul to do the work of serving Hashem, reading this parsha sheet will bring tears of joy to your eyes, as it did mine.

 We CAN change the way we look at experiential reality.

 We CAN become soulful beings who realize we are manifestations of Hashem’s Divine Creative Energy here to acknowledge, thank, beseech, and direct force from the natural to the side of kadosh.

 TLOE-2018-0324-Tzav-5778We CAN open our mouths in prayer and confess our alternative choices and our commitment to choosing to serve Hashem, and may that prayerful choice bring a new light to the world as a blessing for all klal Yisrael and the world.

Here is the link to Rabbi Azoulai for Parshas Tzav, the Shabbos of Shabboses, Shabbos HaGadol.


Everything and everyone is a manifestation of Hashem’s Divine creative energy – He is the Place of the world

We are a manifestation of Hashem’s Divine creative energy .


Our life force appears to come from natural means ONLY to conceal Hashem that we should want to see the King more than anything else .  Any thought that is taking us to a place where we do not feel or experience Divine presence is a manifestation of Hashem’s Divine creative energy concealing that energy. 


Our responsibility is to pierce through the concealment and strip the covering presentation away for the sole purpose that the creative energy flow through our love for Hashem to a way to be revealed.  That effort builds our eternal identity as one who remembers Hashem and loves Him.  This is how we earn eternal bliss. 


The awareness that we are in a world where He is concealed is the consciousness with which we pierce, pull back and then gain access to the force.  Our will is to see the King, and thus we pray that He help us reharness the force within to reveal Him…we are given the right to dedicate it.  Just like when we give a donation we can dedicate it for a refuah shelama or for leui nishmas, so too, when we utilize our awareness and free will choices to hold still the concealing images in order to bring the force within it to the side of kedusha, we are given through prayer a way to beseech Hashem with personal requests…for children, for shidduchim, for parnassa, for sholom bayis.  Hashem let’s us “hold the hose” of His Divine creative energy when we remember Him with love


The potency in the forces that conceal Hashem come from a very high place. They fall deep into physicality and therefore when redeemed, they reach very high. 


We all have stress and stress reactions.  As long as we are alive, our biology is to experience a moment of survival instincts and stress.  Awareness is so that we can utilize emunah that Hashem is present at all times, all loving, and that all is for the good.  With that in hand, we can catch by the tail the filthy coverings luring us to despair – false beliefs, coping mechanisms, ingrained examples of abuse that have deeply infiltrated our speech by the examples of others – realize these are coverings concealing precious diamonds of Divine energy, cry out because we love Hashem and really sincerely want even more than the matter at hand to see the King and not what conceals Him – in our hearts, in our marriages, in our homes, in our communities, in the world.  By bringing Hashem’s reality back into the picture, we are prepared to consider doing something that will be a merit for all of Klal Yisrael.


We are scrubbing our ovens, our sinks, our refrigerators, searching for chometz, for areas that have become puffed up like the ego can be.  Let us scrub our thinking and false beliefs as well and redeem the Shechina from whirlpooling and serving false beliefs.  Instead of following our natural instincts and thinking, let us bring love for Hashem to close the switch, to bring the valuable Divine creative energy, the forces that are in the concealing presentation, back to the side of kedusha.  And ask in prayer for how we wish to “dedicate” those forces for the true good.


May we understand our natural construct well and may we have the emunah to use the consciousness and free will Hashem gives us to complete the revealing of His Divine Creative energy with an infusion of love for Hashem. And may we see a new light as a blessing to the world.

Speech and spiritual consciousness of the Divine – the need for Torah and understanding of Hashem’s Mercy

What differentiates man from animals is the creative power of speech.  Speech that we are referring to is not just communication, as one might see it in animals.  Speech for people is actually formative.  Why?


The forces that comprise our life force are the very forces that Hashem uses to create the world as well.  You know how our inner world can be very compelling?  Where is that “power” coming from?


What is being experienced is a force of Hashem’s lovingkindness that has been disconnected from Him and instead is echoing in the chamber of an empty concoction called “me,”  a projection created by the ego so that we have a starter sense of what a self is.  We are given this starter kit ego as we develop, hopefully healthfully, from birth until we are old enough to have learned enough Torah to understand that the real purpose of our lives is to convert our life force from temporary to eternal – that we may have the opportunity to earn the joy of perceiving Hashem and being close to Him for all eternity because we use free will NOW to re-invest our ego-wants to His Will – Torah and emulating His Mercy.


When we do an act of kindness, Hashem’s force of chesed – the same as He uses to make the world – becomes more unified.  When we overcome the ego-oriented want list and do for Hashem, we release back to His Oneness a bit of the life force He invests in us, in our starter kit identity, and from that we gain real identity for all eternity.


Spiritual consciousness of the Divine while we speak brings the forces within us that we are overcoming back to the side of truth and holiness. We literally redeem them from the natural inclinations.  Moshe Rebbeinu was to speak to the rock.  Seeing his words open the rock was to have been an important message to the Jewish people about the creative power of speech.  That did not happen though, but we must understand the lesson and the important creative power of speech in shifting spiritual matter by our free will and requests to Hashem, Who is the One Who brings the matter to happen.


Each time we do teshuva sincerely or stop and redirect ourselves from doing something disconnecting, we are “making a bracha” on the yetzer hara, extracting the Shechina Hashem invests in nature from being hidden and bringing it forth to shine into the world.


The more resistance we have to doing this, the more spiritual force we are capable of bringing from slavery to freedom, from constriction to holiness.


What makes the resistance?  It is the animal instinct of survival that is telling us, with advice from the life coach yetzer hara, how best to “take care of ourselves.”  Coping mechanisms, judgments, educated opinions aside, we MUST comprehend the category of “natural” that this line of thinking stems from and realize the opportunity.


The opportunity is, with emunah, to know our survival depends on Hashem alone, Who is orchestrating the circumstances as well as the thoughts we are having in order to give us the opportunity to redeem the Shechina and create a true identity for all eternity.


In order to do this, our animal instincts need to have enough Torah learning and enough experience with hisbodidus and perceiving Hashem’s hand in history and in our lives to entertain submitting to Hashem’s Will as a greater pleasure than its will.


When we realize that Hashem is before us at every moment, we have something to answer our willfulness.  That answer is “It is my will to see the King.”  When the lower soul trusts that there is real pleasure and survival for it in that statement, then it is willing to pause its agenda and, with sweat, we can form new neuropathways in our mind around our false beliefs, coping mechanisms, natural anxieties and more.


Being connected to the King becomes an obviously preferable choice to pursuing our own agenda.  Why?


It is far better to be attached to something lasting that is valuable than to have a fleeting moment of some kickback of pleasure, like being right, or besting someone else.  These pleasures fade.  Being connected to Hashem makes Hashem’s presence in our lives, in our hearts, more constant and that is inner peace and a sense of being balanced, centered, and on track to use free will for our true best interests.


We can love each other when we understand this struggle in ourselves.  When we accept the design of mankind, to want, to feel frustrated and have that frustration trigger survival instincts that lead us astray, we have a chance to also zoom out to see that we are souls.  Seeing that we are souls with a creative power of speech and Torah, we can summon spiritual consciousness of the Divine – emunah – and follow His Will – Torah – to release from the natural the Shechina that is hidden in every circumstance and challenge.


What a relief!  We no longer are on our own to fix what is happening!  We can create spiritual beings with prayer and Hashem’s help to soften and correct what has triggered us!


If we are being called upon to lift a load, we would do it.  So too with our emotional responses of jealousy, desire and negative honor when we feel these disconnecting emotions.  What has happened is that there are forces contained within these emotions that are coming to be healed, to be brought back to connection to Hashem.  We simply open our mouths, cry out (speech) describing the matter in detail, and tell Hashem that it is our will to reveal Him, that what we want is not these emotions, but to see the King, in our hearts, in our homes, in the world.  We ask that our teshuva be a merit for Klal Yisrael.


We can efface and dilate our animalistic nature and give spiritual redemption to our life force!  Our animalistic nature goes along willingly after it experiences the inner peace and pleasure of doing so.


May we soon see a new light in the world as a blessing for all!

TRIGGERED!!! Seeing the spiritual opportunity instead of the despair

Let’s take a zoomed in view of what happens when we get triggered – you know the feeling, all of a sudden we are not where we are, our thoughts have transported us to a place of emotional fear or anger and our imagination is racing, scanning all we know in search of where the cause of trigger came from, making judgments, and, of course, listening to the whispering counsel of our life coach yetzer hara who has a list of “deserving” things we are “entitled” to do in response because after all….


Our hearts pound, we feel stressed, we feel like wind is blowing through bullet holes in our sense of security.  Have you ever felt that way?  How long can that last – a day, three days, a week, more?  What keeps us in such a heightened state of stress?


Because we cannot see from Hashem’s perspective, as mortal limited beings we use the best of our acquired intellect to puzzle through our circumstance in an effort to resolve a solution.


Inevitably, because of the chain of events has been Divinely orchestrated, we most likely have either a false belief or are missing key information that is complicating our ability to return to inner peace.


Notice this deeply.  This type of reaction, in all the unique ways each of us might experience these triggers, becomes the point where we have real opportunity.


If we train ourselves to recognize what it feels like to “be at the plate” of spiritual opportunity, we can then take a moment and breathe, a moment of relationship with Hashem, and moment where we cry out and describe and then declare our wish to bring all that is within us to the side of kedusha.


Our complications are obstructions, forces within us that have been drawn to an incomplete understanding, holding us back from remembering that we just want to see the King, to have our heart be a mishkan where He can dwell, where we have trust that everything is for the good and that our task in the moment is not to resolve the apparent circumstances but rather the process of reharnessing the forces, infusing them with love for Hashem and a yearning to devote all our inner forces only for kedusha and revealing Hashem.


May we become skilled at seeing the fingerprint of the life coach yetzer hara, who is devoted with evil intent to destroy us but who wants us to pass the test.  This is how we “make a bracha” on negativity.


And may our love for Hashem and our devotion to relationship bring a new light to the world as a blessing for all of klal Yisrael and the world.



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What obstructs our holy essence from being revealed


Let’s focus for a moment on what obstructs our holy essence, that which is made in the image of Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy, from being what our awareness naturally yearns to reveal.


The obstruction is our self-conscious natural thinking itself.  It can be some part or even, heaven forbid, everything that our learning and experiential development has imprinted on our mind. Our self-conscious natural thinking is like a magnet for our awareness.  Our awareness is drawn by this self-conscious natural magnet to the degree of its strength, and our holy essence gets drawn along and trapped in that negativity.  What determines the strength of our self-conscious natural thinking?


Strength is a function of repetitions.


Thus if we have had longstanding trauma or abuse or neglect, the chances are that the strength of those experiences, because the time period of the experience has led to more and more repetitions of the thoughts. Likewise with coping mechanisms, false beliefs, bad habits and more.


Let’s say the events of trauma or abuse or the events for which we formed coping mechanisms and false beliefs were long ago.  In every moment, the brain is recalling them when similar-appearing circumstances arise.  It may not, in fact, be happening in external circumstances, but our mind repeats the memory and that “groove” in our mind deepens. It feels to us as though it is happening.  The deeper the groove, the more magnetic pull it has on our consciousness. Those whose dependency needs were not met when young may often find their awareness of their lack of love and value to be played out in relationships, even loving relationships. 


When we feel ourselves being drawn toward that magnetic pull, that pull itself can be a signal for us to stop, breathe, and cry out to Hashem for redemption from the pulls of our past circumstances.  It is our natural reality – our brain does have these memories and they do play a huge role in our neurology.  But they are not who we are essentially.


The wisdom to know that these are a strong magnetic pull and not who we are essentially is the beginning of being able to serve Hashem in the moment.  It is our effort to recognize and choose a far greater magnet – Hashem Himself – for our consciousness to cling that is productive. 


We form our eternal identity from the simple but hard effort it takes to sweat through these moments.  It makes no difference the mission of each person in that moment – only the G-d-conscious effort to release our essence from the grips of the natural magnet – the negative reactions – forms for each unique person their eternal life.

This is the main thing to understand.  The more trapped our essence is in the feeling of lack of love and lack of value, the bigger the magnet in our life has been.  And the more spiritual matter we can bring from that natural response to kedusha. 


We can change our brains.  It takes consistent effort over time to build new neuropathways that become a highway for our consciousness to direct our essence.  But it is possible.  And it is the most pleasant outcome a person can have.


Who would not write inner peace as their number one choice to make a difference in life?  It is obvious that riches alone do not bring inner peace, although wealth can help tremendously in easing the daily struggles of life. 


Who desires life, eternal life?  This was the question of the Chofetz Chaim.  The laws of lashon hora are a great way to confront and effortfully pull our essence from the natural to kedusha.  Yet we fight this with our judgments, clinging to the justifications for our natural thinking as the road to comfort and contentment.


May our efforts be empowered by this knowledge so that we have the emunah to push through when we feel those downward pulls drawing us into familiar dark alleys in our minds.  And may our process bring a new light to the world and the coming of the redemption from our love for Hashem and our desire to serve Him in this way.