Parsha Vayeikel Pikutei from Rabbi Gedalia Segal based on Rabbi Usher Freund

Please listen to Orit Riter daily dose Who Pressed the Pause button on my life and then read on

We should accept from anew each day by day, each hour by hour, the yoke of Torah and the mitzvahs on our shoulders and it is not something old or cold.  We should feel and know that we are commanded and that is why we are screaming naaseh v’nisma, alive, saying it now

audio of the Parsha from Rabbi Gedalia Segal based on Reb Usher Freund


You get purity through holy speech

Moshe gathered the nation of Israel and said these are the words that Hashem spoke.  On the wording gathered, that Moshe gathered all of Israel to build a mishkan, it says in a lot of holy books that this is a gathering of repentance, like on a scale, it weighs down the transgression of the golden calf.  It says that the nation gathered for the calf but against Aharon.  So, this is the way we fixed in repentance for the sin of the golden calf.  A gathering for this rather than for sin.

On the word gathering, when the Tzadik of the generation is holy with Torah and prayer and with speech and the nation gathers around him to understand the Torah from his words and guidance and avodas Hashem, that is the meaning of gathering in this Parsha.

When Moshe came down after Yom Kippur in a state of holiness and purity, it was a time for him that he could influence the nation of Israel to draw their hearts towards the worship of Hashem. They were gathered through his speech to bring them to the words of Hashem, that they should be able to do Hashem’s will.  This is juxtaposed to the transgression of the golden calf where they did not listen to holy righteous individual. They only listened to the erev Rav that made them sin.

The way we corrected the sin of the golden calf, in Parshas Paro they gathered to the Kohen, Aaron, and now the mother of the calf, the cow, the para, should be given to the Kohen.  The para was atoning for the sin of the child, the calf.  When we read Parsha para close to Peach and we are getting ready to purify ourselves and the greatest purification is through Torah and prayer. That is the altar of atonement is learning Torahs and praying. Before that we have to know that we sinned, and we should not think that we are pure.

That is why the para came to make them pure the pure ones and to purify the impure ones.  When we speak about the red cow, to make them pure the pure ones, those who think they are pure in their own eyes, the para made impure.  Because he should know himself  a person that thinks he is pure does not know his soul and he is not worried about the impurities.  That is how he stumbles.  And one who is impure, he will become pure because he knows he is not pure and we worries about himself . that is the person who will get an atonement and he will become pure. There is no greater tragedy or sorrow or exile more than impurity.  We have to ask and beg and pray to Hashem that He should save us from this, that He should save us from all our impurities.  When we know impurity is a tragedy and we try to save ourselves from it then that will bring the salvation..

Thoughts in giving charity

A  person has to have merit for his lovingkindness to find the right address, it is dependent on him if the money he makes is honest, if his heart is pure, if his money will go to places that are holy and pure.  There are certain people who give to education that are pure and impure.  A person merits that his money should be given to a bais medrash, a place where they learn torah, a higher level of learning, or a yeshiva, or a pure mikvah or places of chesed. Those are people that merit giving their money to holy places.  Even the people that give to holy places, that is the merit for the money to go for the most holy things.

There is a famous story from Reb Chaim Voloshin. His yeshiva goes to collect the money and people went to collect in villages and Reb Chaim saw that a villager that once gave stopped.  And Reb Chaim went to see that villager to see why he stopped giving.  He asked him and he said he does not like the collector, who comes with a wagon with many horses because he wanted to get to many wealthy people.  And the man said I am giving for the yeshiva and not for the horses.

It says in the Parsha, that he did the work of the mishkan, and he would think thoughts. Betzalel could understand the thoughts of everyone who gave to the mishkan. If one person’s thoughts were pure and holy, his donation went to the aron or the kadosh hakedoshim.  The second person whose thoughts were not so holy would go to lesser holy items.  According to their thoughts, that is the value of what they were donated to. 

Reb Chaim said it is the same with you. If you give with all your heart it goes for the Torah but if the heart of the donor is not complete, the donation goes for the furniture.  And a person who has even lesser holy thoughts his money goes for the wagon and horses.  The mishkan is holy and the yeshiva is holy.  The nation of Israel that goes according to the Torah is also holy and the mishkan also, and it is a big merit for someone that gives money so his children can grow in Torah and yiras shemayim.  Today the mishkan are the yeshivas and the shuls, where our children grow in yiras shemayim.

That is what we donate today

Reishes chochma yiras Hashem

What comes first is acquiring wisdom and then fear of Hashem. Hashem calls the name of Betzalel to come to do the holy work of the mishkan and vessels and it says I will fill him with the spirit of Hashem with wisdom.  In medrash tanchuma it says if Hashem does not fill someone with wisdom. In mishlei it says give a wise man wisdom and he will get wiser.  Give chochma to the wise ones.  Those who have wisdom hashem adds wisdom to. He doesn’t give wisdom to a fool.

Why does hashem not give wisdom to a fool, why only to the wise?  It should be the opposite.

If two people come to borrow money, one poor and one wealthy, who do you give it to..the wealthy one who can pay it back, not the impoverished one.  The fool will use the wisdom inappropriately and the wise will use it for good.

The Rebbe of Kosk asked, where does the initial wisdom of the wise person come from.  The initial wisdom comes from the fear of heaven. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Hashem.  Fear of Hashem is the reason for wisdom and because of that, once we have the initial wisdom, we merit getting even more.

Regarding Betzalel, Hashem gave wisdom in his heart. Wisdom is in the head so why does it say in the heart.  because the heart fears.  And from here is the wisdom.  All the chochomim lev, the wise of heart, did it. In the mishkan Hashem wanted to place it in the heart of Israel.  It talks about the heart here, but it talks about the donation, that everyone wants to give of their hearts. Hashem wants the heart of Israel in the building of the mishkan.  How did Betzalel merit it …from the merit of his grandmother Miriam, and the fear in his heart.  Because of their fear of Hashem, Miriam and Yocheved had Betzalel and Moshe.

The main thing for fear of shemayim, without that there is no wisdom.  There is no advice or understanding if it is against Hashem. Anything that is not fear of Hashem is nothing at all.  The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Hashem.

In the merit of one willing to give up his life for Hashem

The nation of Israel was preparing itself for the building of the mishkan that would house the divine presence and they needed a special craft to do the holy work.  He has to know weaving, embroidery, all these crafts and more.  And who was the person?  Betzalel. He knew all these types of different works and he stood in the head of all the special craftsman in the work of doing the mishkan and the vessel.  How did Betzalel know all the crafts? Did he learn it in mitzrayim how to draw a pyramid?  The Rambam says they were working with mortar and brick, not gold and silver, so where did he learn it?

Hashem gave him a spirit of wisdom and understanding and through that he was able to do all this work.  So why wasn’t Moshe chosen for this, if it was done with the wisdom of Hashem Moshe is a man of Hashem a holy man, was he not worthy of it. Moshe wanted to do it, to make a menorah, a table, an altar. Moshe thought he would do it. But Hashem said to Moshe that Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur will do it.  The answer is in the medrash because of Chur, that he gave his life to be killed because he protested at the golden calf.  In that merit, Betzalel his grandson, he was the one that merited to do the holy work of establishing the mishkan.  Moshe comes and tells Israel look, Hashem calls to establish the mishkan because of the zechus of a person whose grandfather gave up his soul for the honor of Hashem.


Leaders of the nation are patient

Patience without any bound or measure, that is what a leader of Israel has to have and is granted to him.  He has to take upon himself all the burdens of the nation, the secrets, the burdens, if they are correct or not correct, and suffer all the embarrassments if they suspect him, they have to judge everyone favorably and he has to answer everyone appropriately, and he has to stand like a lion to not let anyone break through the ideals of the Torah that people want sometimes to change to go away from it. The leader has to stand up and accept all the arrow that are thrown to him. Imagine a gabbai in the shul was selected by most of the people in the shul and he is trustworthy and does everything right and one day a ten your old stands up arrogantly and demands an accounting of the money of the synagogue.  A youth like this would get a lot of upset feedback rom the people in the temple because no one would think that the gabbai of the shul would give an accounting of all the money that is given to the synagogue.

Here is Moshe and he gives the money for the mishkan. The leitzanim said they don’t believe he acted in a right way with the monies from their donations and they suspected that he took some money for himself. The thought like this is mockery, that they suspect the most trustworthy person in Hashem’s house that he would do such a thing.  And how did Moshe respond, when they suspected him?  He sat down and made an accounting with the mishkan, the silver gold and copper, and everything is listed in the Parsha and the Torah signs off on the proper accounting.  This is the way a leader of Israel is patient and so strong with great and small people as well as those who make a mockery with their false suspicion.  This is the way they can act. That is the beauty of our gedolim.

Why is the Parsha of the mishkan repeated here

In the beginning of sefer Bamidbar when Hashem gave the commandment, to count every tribe, because of the love of Hashem He counts every hour.  ‘We don’t understand on the Parsha why it says in such detail.  In the Parsha of korbon Pesach it tells how to roast it with matzah and everything . when we come to how Israel carries it out, it says bnei Yisrael did like Hashem commands Moshe.

Here in the mishkan it says one verse, a short verse, that bnei Israel did the commandment of putting up the miskhan and after it already went into the detai the work of the mishkan and all its laws..what is the difference between putting up the miskan, the mitzvah is the korbon pesach for generations. Why so much detail on the mishkan and for korbon pesahc it talks about what they did because Hashem commanded them. Here we see it is because of Hashem’s love of Israel.  They were broken by the sin of the calf, their crowns taken away by the angels.  They thought Moshe had died and the soton confused them and they saw Moshe with his glory shining and they were so embarrassed.  Now they hear from Moshe to set up a mishkan and the divine presence will dwell with Israel and they had such a desire to do this, as an atonement of the golden calf, that they sinned, so when they started to do the avoda hamishkan, it was like their soul had a burning desire to cleave to Hashem.  It was so important that the sin of the golden calf was forgiven.   It burned to ashes of the sin of the calf.  Their burning desire burnt the sin of the calf and scattered all the ashes all over.

It is like a child that sinned against his father and afterwards he learned Torah and felt so bad because of his sin. How precious is that in the eyes of the father. That is why Hashem came and reviewed the whole of the mishkan because He had such a love for them at this time.

What are we asking an accounting for

Bnei Yisrael made the mishkan and there was great joy and everyone had a part in the mishkan.  Everyone gave money to make the mishkan but it seemed to someone that Moshe did not use the money appropriately and Moshe proved he did. The money they gave to the calf, they gave earrings for the golden calf. What happened to the rest of the gold. No one asked for an accounting, what happened to the rest of the gold. There was so much gold in the earrings, maybe it was the erev rav who stole the money and put it in their pocket. No one asked for an accounting   we see that someone who gives their money to a pure holy cause, he has a suspicion maybe it was not used for this purpose and maybe those that collect the money, and those who give their money to all types of things, they are not interested.  Here we learn that evil people always feel badly.  Even after a sin a rasha does, it says what did you do.  The other one who did a good thing is a happy person.  When the gold was given for the calf, they felt bad, better the gold should fall into the hands of the ones who made it. No one asked for an accounting.

This is true in all golden calves for people who donate. But if a person gives for a mitzvah he wants to know it will be use donly for that purpose and he asks for an accounting. That is something we can learn praise on wanting an accounting. That is the nature of someone who gives to a holy cause.

Dressing for women, beautifying themselves for the sake of Hashem

It is given to women permission to beautify themselves to look in the mirror on the condition that it is not too much and the modest women when they beautify themselves do it in a certain way, they tried carefully.  The righteous of that generation were cautious and careful with their jewelry, to not do anything wrong.  When the men fell into the trap of listening to the erev rav and took the women’s jewelry ,the women did not want to listen.  The righteous women stood up to the cause and we have to see how dangerous the jewelries could be to turn into idol worship.

We hear that those ladies that Moshe was commanded by Hashem to make a mishkan that in it will dwell the divine presence, they heard this, and where is the place for the shechina? In a place of tznius they gave their mirrors to the mishkan.  Where does the divine presence dwell?  In a place of modesty and they gave their jewelry to the mishkan.  The dressing of the ladies of Israel has to be b’shem Hashem.  There is no danger that will take them away from the right way.  When somebody gets dressed up and beautifies themselves in their house, that is allowed and wanted and is a mitzvah and does not bring out an aveira.  And any dressing that is not of that nature could turn itself around to be a weapon in the hands of the evil inclination and could bring to inappropriate behavior, chas vshalom, and all types of bad behavior not appropriate to Torah.

The righteous women of that generation, the women of today have to understand how they acted, to put a barrier to the evil inclination of beautifying themselves, not to spend too much money on it. They should think about the women in the desert, who could give away their jewelry and mirrors for the holiness of Hashem.  And they took the teruma and they built a mishkan for the shechina .  and to their modesty that enveloped them, they made a man and woman of the divine presence between them, that Torah and tznius surrounds them.

The beauty of the Jewish woman is indoors, all the honor of the daughter of a king is within, she could honor herself and beautify herself in the house.  When they were redeemed in the merit of the righteous women, we should merit to go from darkness to light in the merit of the righteous women that in our generation go in the footsteps of their mothers to make more modesty in Israel and to make a place for the shechina that should come in our midst.

Bringing shkalim and learning Torah

When in Yerushalayim everyone had to bring a shekel, and this money was given for buying the korbonos that would go on the misbeach.  These shekalim they had to bring until Rosh Chodesh Nisan and really they could bring it at first of Adar.  The beis hamikdosh is not here and we give instead of cash Parshas Shekalim, for love.  We have to be like we make korbonos in the bais hamikdosh and we brought a half a shekel. In giving half a shekel, everything is equal. The rich should not do much and the poor not too little.  Everyone brought half a shekel.  But when it came to the sacrifices, a wealthy person brought an animal and a poor a bird, but in the eyes of Hashem it is equal.

That is the same in limud ha’Torah . we are chayiv in it whether rich or poor.  Why didn’t thy bring a whole shekel  We didn’t come to be wholesome, we give half a shekel.  Sometimes we think we know the Torah but it is so deep, there is no end to its width and breadth.  What we understand is good but it is over and beyond what we understand. When we learn Torah and our heart is broken, it is something very desired by Hashem because he knows how far he is from the true worship, that he is just half, not complete.  A broken heart hashem won’t despise and Hashem will help us understand the most wisdom of the Torah.

The korbonos were taken from the new shekalim they brought this year and not from the old to teach us that we always have to start anew. The shekalim from last year are not worthy of the sacrifices . come let’s make new, the new heart we make when we renew ourselves, then our service will be accepted. 

So too in Torah lets renew ourselves with strength and power.


The night of the seder 

The nation of Israel is making a seder with matzah and they are happy wih holy feelings and thanking Hashem that He took us out of the exile of mitzrayim and made us a nation of priests and a holy nation.  One person with one heart.  In all corners of the world, klal Yisrael is leaning by the seder looking at our father in heaven with songs of the night that we sing, and the holiday becomes holy expressing our joy of freedom that happened when we were freed.  When our fathers made the seder in mitzrayim, more than 60000 men with their wives and children in great faith in their creator and redeemer.  Those people that were in Egypt saw great kindnesses and it surrounded them on all sides. Around them there were screams of death that broke through because there were no houses where there were no dead.  In our eyes we see the song of praise that broke out of Israel to Hashem on the redemption of their souls .  when the light of morning came, there was no light.  They would go straight to the light that has no limit to the gathering at Sinai and the receiving of the Torah.

Just like we said family and family, one nation with one heart, leanig at the table, we see it is as if we left mitrayim, this day we became a nation.  It is not just that generation it was for them and the generations that follow.  Every day it should be new in your eyes.  There are the 10 commandments, the oral torah, the written torah, just like we feel the exodus as if we were enslaved and left the darkess to light, so too we should feel in every hour that we ourselves are standing on Ha sinai and seeing and hearing the thunder and lightning, where there is hope throughout the world and through enthusiasm of a fear of holiness, we should accept from anew each day by day, each hour by hour, the yoke of Torah and the mitzvahs on our shoulders and it is not something old or cold.  We should feel and know that we are commanded and that is why we are screaming naaseh v’nisma, alive, saying it now

Sparring or Self- Nullifying – Which shows who we really are and why we are here?

Have you ever played a card game where you take the top card and turn it over to show its face? The games often proceed until all the cards are on the pile that shows the face, each one turned over. The backs of the cards are all the same but each card has a unique suit and number combination.

The progress that we are given for our lifetime is to turn over the cards and reveal its face…Hashem’s compassion…otherwise concealed by the uniform back of the cards.

The uniform back of the cards is our nature, those commonly held tendencies called urges, lusts, desires, cravings, jealousy, and pursuit of honor that we experience as a result of being in bodies that conceal the true reality. The true reality is that Hashem is doing everything and that He is all there is.

Hashem has concealed Himself in this world because He has a will for there to be a world. He has a will for there to be a world in which His Compassion is felt while not obscuring His Creations. Thus Hashem conceals Himself in the Name Elokim, meaning that Infinite light comes into the world through the four foundations of nature, solid, liquid, gas and radioactive particles. Regardless of what format these take from the microscopic to the cosmic, the utterances He speaks that conceal His Infinite Light surround us and He runs nature and the world.

Hashem made man on the sixth day after all of creation and placed within man a connection to all that He made. The categories are inanimate, vegetable, animal, human and angelic or divine.

How does all of this play out in our moment to moment lives?

Is there anyone who is free from emotional pain? Perhaps we have been insulted, bullied, shamed, blamed, scorned, rejected, hurt, tormented, victimized in some way. What role does nature take in these matters?

We feel throughout our being these emotions. Where is the strength of the feeling coming from? If we want to put it down, does it turn off? Why not? Why does it cause us to shake or panic seemingly without our permission? Where does it get the strength to do is not plugged into the wall? What power does it have?

Hashem gives us a life force. We are alive because Hashem, the only Being that is really alive, gives us the experience of life by placing a tiny emanation of His Life into our body. This is called our soul. However, the body obscures that divine consciousness, that awareness that we are here as an ambassador of His Light to bring His Will into fruition.

The body is composed of solid, liquid, gas and radioactive atomic particles that work together according to Hashem’s design but He fills everything. His Light is in everything. Thus, when we are reacting to something, it is our lack of divine awareness in that moment that sends us a message that there is some other reason we are in our situation or experience. The cloud around our awareness of Hashem renders us vulnerable to fear, insult and damaging back.

This cloud would be like the back of the cards…we all understand what this is. We are lured into sleepiness or comfort or pursuit of happinesses that answer our urges, lusts and cravings. What lures us? The false belief that happiness can come from somewhere besides recognizing Hashem and doing His Will dresses up as “who we are” and we believe we have some kind of separate consciousness and identity and that we are here to freely pursue these motivations.

How may we dissipate this clouded thinking? The awareness that Hashem has given us real free will is to apply it to where we pursue our happiness.

But we do not naturally feel happiness in doing Hashem’s will. Our bodies are attached to physicality. And this describes human nature, our universal back of the card.

How do we work with this information to turn over the card and reveal Hashem’s love?

Reflect for a moment on something that has caused insult, hurt, or pain emotionally. Perhaps someone said something that brought into our consciousness an experience of shame or blame or rejection or fear or powerlessness.

Our first reaction is that someone hurt us.

Here are some steps to train ourselves in a pursuit of happiness and simcha in these moments.

What came from outside of us comes from Hashem alone. What we are feeling inside is because we are attached to a message in which Hashem’s light – a part of the soul that He blesses us with – somehow attached to a similar message in a belief or value, something that developed in the way we attach to physicality.

The message from outside brings up the message we are attached to inside that is false. However our instinct is to parry with the external message, without realizing necessarily that what Hashem is asking is something He has created us to do, which is to release our soul from what we are internally attached to so that we may instead reveal His Light through acts of learning Torah, praying, acts of chesed and mitzvahs.

Just like in a boxing match, we focus on the external message and begin to put up our fists to fight back. What is happening there is that we are actually bringing more of our life force and inserting it into the realm of that very message Hashem is asking us to detach from so that our life force may flow into the world according to His Will.

It doesn’t feel like that though. It feels like we are insulted, hurt, shamed, afraid, pained, rejected, bullied, blamed, intimidated and on and on.

Thus it is important to identify the culprits that send these messages, which the Arizal teaches us are the pit, the ox, the destroyer and the fire – these outer messages are filled with Hashem’s compassion that He gives to nature in order for there to be a world and to give us real free will. The message of the pit, the ox, the destroyer and the fire are a vessel concealing His Light, vessels that He creates and sustains. Everything is Hashem, ein od. Yet He agrees to abide by the laws of nature that He creates as Elokim. He gives consciousness to man in order that we recognize Him and, through that recognition, shower compassion upon His Light trapped in nature, thereby providing a channel across which His Light may pass out of the natural message and into a mitzvah.

When we feel gored it is because we have a message within us that we have associated our life force with. Hashem is knocking on our hearts asking us to recognize Him and to please shower compassion upon the life force inside the message so that it may instead come through our thoughts and speech and deeds into the world as lovingkindness, gentle light, gentle warmth and kiddush Hashem. In order to do this, we actually align ourselves with Hashem’s attribute of compassion and THAT is the first step to healing. By showering compassion we are identifying with the true reality that we are made in His Image and that we can give compassionately back to Him. We tell Hashem that our natural messages are painful, etc, and that we refuse to fall, that we recognize Him and are loving Him back and showering compassion on the life that is vivifying the message because it is our will to bring it forward into the world through the performance of Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs. And then we ask for His Compassion…Hashem please have mercy on Your Creation and bring Your Light forward to this mitzvah, as it is my will to do Your Will out of love and awe of You.

The sparring that we do with the message often includes thinking thoughts. This adds our soul into the darkness. Instead, see water, wind, fire and earth in what we are experiencing, and say Hashem I am experiencing deficiencies in water wind and fire….it feels insulting, damaging, frightening, etc..please may I be a channel to flow water wind and fire as You Hashem want it in the world and not according to my limited intellect and according to false messages to which I am attached. Please have mercy on me.

When we find ourselves sparring, being pulled back to the messages that are seemingly coming from the outside but are really concealing divine awareness that He is everyting and loves us and that He is all there is, immediately shift to showering compassion upon the Shechina in exile in the entire matter, water wind fire, loving Him back, recognizing Him. Experience the patterns without words, just as emotions, and attempt to see them as water wind and fire…where does it feel that I do not have love or something nurturing or something that I want? Where does it feel cloudy, as if I am insulated in my own comforts and gratifications? Do I feel bitten, trampled or gored and do I have instincts to do the same? Where am I feeling my own honor as important, ready to destroy the ones who may have infringed upon the image that I hold so dear? And what is this burning rage or fear that seems to consume me?

These are external messages that are internal. These common messages are the back of the cards that we all share.

Asking ourselves these questions helps us to see that these are not our essence.

Showering compassion upon the life force, the Shechina in exile, that is animating and vivifying these messages is the call to action that recognizes Hashem, emulates His compassion which immediately brings us to the bleachers on the chaos, and places us in a posture ready to use our real free will to serve Him.

The longer we have held these messages, the stronger they feel. We are experiencing our own life force trapped there. Do we wish to add more to the darkness or can we see that no matter what, we do not wish for His Light to be in such a dark and seething place? When we realize that, THAT is compassion on the Shechina in exile. In that moment, we have extricated ourselves to run back to Him – He is doing everything and all there is in the world is Hashem. Everything we think and feel in between is subject now to be healed through that nullification. We ask Hashem for this mercy.

His Light animates the pit, the ox, the destroyer and the fire. When we shower compassion upon it, our life force becomes the channel for that light to flow from the deepest concealment at the fiftieth level of tuma to the fiftieth level of kedusha, His Light. Through our love and awe and will. Everything in between is healed and rectified when we take the opportunity to identify with the truth

Each time we run and return, we are turning over another card and revealing more and more light into the world. May our awareness of Hashem grow and may we find the simcha for which He creates us so that the Light He gives to nature may flow into the world as revealed and not concealed.

And may Hashem be pleased by our efforts and have compassion on us as we return Light to Him from love.

Peel off what is hiding Divine consciousness – hear Rav Itamar Schwartz shiur on corona


English translation of Rabbi Itamar Schwartz shiiur on Corona, translation by Rav Sheya Klein

Here is a pdf on Parsha Vayikra from the Arizal that might offer some helpful Torah insights to comprehend more deeply where we may attach more strongly to Hashem in our essence.

Below are two quotes from the pdf on Parsha Vayikra that may help relate the shiur to our lives today:

“Evil is that which does not promote Divine consciousness or is antagonistic to it. It obstructs divine consciousness”

“Acknowledging the Divinity present in creation breaks the shell open.  But, like the shell or peel of a nut or fruit, evil also serves a constructive purpose.  It protects and nurtures the fruit within until it is ripe. So, too, when a child, for example is developing, he must establish first his sense of self, his ego.  Only later can he re-define himself in terms of a broader consciousness of society and ultimately Divinity”.

Rabbi Yaakov Zalman Labinsky Shabbos Chabura 3.16.2020 – Come closer with Hashem

We are going to bring Pesach into Shabbos and part 2 to look at gevurim and what is going on in the world on how COVID19 teaches us how to work on ourselves.  An internal awakening can spawn us to take us from enslavement to freedom. 

These are an excellent preparation for Pesach and for geulah.  That is our kavana and it should be a zechus for Klal Yisrael and awakening for the Shechina

In relation to what is going on in the world, something important awakened in me this week regarding how to use these vulnerabilities for a strong avoda.

After a few days of WHO declaring a pandemic, pandemonium and all that is going on, it is a tremendous amount to absorb externally and internally.  What jumped out at me at a shoresh leve is how Hashem is creating shomer negiah, a guarding a protection against touch.  We have to have distance between people, with social distancing.  Sit a few seats away from each other and no more than 50 people together, which has awesome implications.  I went to Kollel and someone stuck out his elbow and it was so strange to not greet each other warmly..  It was like, how dare you, what is going on?

I am reflecting on this, Hashem is putting shemira on touching.  The world has free touch and it has brought destruction and He shuts it down. With a microscopic virus He prepares purification, juxtaposed with Parsha Para, Purell that cleans hands.  Minimizing contact and touch, spatial proximity and closeness.  It is so intense, how do you negotiate this.

It was very disorienting.  Internally.  It was from a greater sense of creating Ahavas Yisrael and Ahavas chinam, and not just our stores, but weddings, learning, it is hitting right in the kadosh kedoshim.  It is so destabilizing and disorienting…what is it for?

After asking Hashem, help us to use it correctly so we can bring in proportion to the global infection we want global unification.  How does it come?  Hashem spared me from feeling unsettled at this core level -the perspective came from the following idea.

The orientation is from husband and wife of taharas mishpacha, between man and woman.  Let’s go deeper into the cycle on the point – a nuclear idea to do with something we use all the time – lets grab hold of it and create merit for klal Yisrael.   Before the pirud gets greater, the cycle of family purity laws has the ultimate answer.  It makes this optimal.

When a couple is engaged together, we work around the cycle of a woman.  It is not regulatory system is a way of spiritual impurity that works towards marital purity and wholeness.  It is not just about pleasure and detaching.  It is much deeper

Of all the various laws of distancing, not forbidden relationships, on how to conduct ourselves when nidda, it is very intriguing. The answer is that while it looks like the laws of distancing, it creates a new capacity for marital togetherness. For marital actualization from the very distance itself, from the separating, the isolating.  We are distancing so that when we come back together, we renew our marital coneection of closeness and unity. The only way to renew that capacity is through distance itself.  The laws of distance teach us that it is distance for the sake and purpose of drawing closer.

If we look at the laws a little closer, we see how to bring about ultimate closeness together.  We need the opposite form of distancing to create the greater closeness.  We have to lean in greater forms of distancing.  The system is right here.  The social distancing is dine harhachas, for the purpose of drawing closer, more intimate and bound up together to bring divine unity soul to body with our family and Hashem. 

How do we do it.

The three stages of the family purity laws correspond to submission separation and sweeteining.  Tuma, the seven days of cleanliness and then immersion, and then coming together, ish and isha with a greater degree of closeness of melting and merging and drawing holiness into the world. That is the realm of kedusha

That is the transformation of distance into greater marital capacity, lunar, woman’s cycle, renewal and Hashem is asking us to develop marital closeness, deeper, broader, more profound.  This is our reflection to Him.  We transform the tuma to tahara, take the pirud, separateness, and work towards marital oneness.  Use the cycle to transform yourself and your relationship with Hashem.

Here is the simple proof.  All forms of yisurim when talking about relations is yechud, man and woman alone are not allowed because the very realm of spatial proximity can bring a closeness that can bring something else.  Others say there is no yechud when in nidda.  And here is the critical part..there is no issur of yechud because, just like in sheva brachas, we want to have a sense of friendship so intimate, soul friends, that is marital togetherness.  We don’t have the forbidden of being together, even in a time when nidda and intimate touch is there. There is a reality of being together, yechud. Whether distant or closer, we are always connected and connecting. That is the critical part of taharas mishpacha.  We have to have a friendship closeness, to renew that, and when we are not intimate we deepen the knowing and loving part of the relationship.  We are using that distancing to create closeness from emotional, intellectual and spiritual connection.  We are striving to connect more fully and more completely and that distancing is creating a yearning to draw closer through the paradox of the separation. 

It is renewed capacity of the friendship, of martial harmony.  It is an opportunity from Hashem.  It means just because we are distant from Him, in isolation, seemingly distancing and contained, we are always connected. We are striving for greater connection.  That is loving.

We are modifying the way we are constantly connected. When there is a deep love there is no way to separate that bond.  The bond is so internal it cannot be separated.  Hashem is telling us, I know I am imposing through covid19, and parshas parah.  It is not out of fear we should connect.  But focused.  Hashem is here with us as an expression of His love.  He is saying dig deeper and find the connection.  On devekus level, it is important to find yira ahava and devekus.

The yichud is what isolation is.  The negative spin on quarantine can be yechud, exclusivity, intimate place you and me.  Hashem is creating this so we seek Him out, we want the relationship. Nothing can separate us.  Use the distance like in family purity to use tuma to convert perud into connectedness and ultimate oneness.   We are not afraid to go into the distance.  Hashem tells us be connected and renew like the moon.  As you relate to him and her, so too relate to Me.  Expand widen and bind ourselves with closeness and unity with Hashem, divine oneness.  The distance excites us.

The middle stage of zayim and nkeva, two parallels avodas.  The zayin, the seven days of checking, Hashem says it includes the man and the combined avoda.  The seven has two aspects.  Firstly it has misa, the life that could have been and wasn’t, the explushion of the blood, is that.  Keneged shiva.  And yet in the opposite way, the seven days are actually seven week of the omer and anticipation of shavuous, kabalos torah to be mekabel as a klal Your divine Torah.  That is the ultimate expression of hiding.

These are opposite understandings.

Which one to choose?  Shall we take the aveilus parts or the sefiros parts.  But the Zohbar says they are both true.  And here is the answer.  The RAshbi says how to elevate distance into greater closeness. You have to do both at the same time. You have to check that there is no blood but there is ruchnius checking, each day is a way to check the core middos, chesed gevurah tiferes, netzach hod yesod malchus.  What is the aveilus side?  If you want to keep growing your relationship with onenself Hashem and others, when we grow to a new kevel we have to let go to draw in something new, we create an empty space that has vacancy, that has something greater, an anticipation to acquire what I had, let it go, adetach and then make a space of availability to draw down something much greater.

In the separation period, to be chodesh and draw closer, do two things at the same time. Acquire and grieve, let go of something good you acquired and mourn it. Use the seven middos to break out of servitude to greater freedom for the sefirot to flow in a more unified way.  Each month we let go of humanness and we anticipate a level of holiness.  Mourn one level to draw space to yearn for something new.  It is for men and women.  It is a marital avoda for the 24 hours each of the seven days to check ourselves from anochius to the continuum of elokus.  How are we working on becoming less human and more divine?  It is rooted in the elements and we can let go for something greater, on the 8th day, shavuous, tied to letting go. I am committed to digging deeper into who we are and as avdei Hashem

We transform the laws of distancing to flip into the laws of renewed capacity. That is what the family purity laws teach us, parshas para, to go from being perud disconnected to be more connected and lose the ways we are separated.  That is what Hashem is asking couples in taharas mishpacha and perhaps that is what He is asking us, using parsha Para and purell, to purify ourselves so we can remove all the forms of distance. There is a healthy fear factor.  We should have compasison for all those carrying something.  See the opportunity to dig deeper to check ourselves on where we are human and go for a greater level, in elokus, to be more sincere and loving.  Just like the mitzvah of yechud, we are always connected.  This isolation is exclusivity, to feel in the deepest part of our soul that we are not distant. 

This insight, this way of looking at this, with profound nechama, looks at the repair, which is in the brokenness.  The renewed closeness is in the brokenness.

In the end there is a lot of din.  In the tefilla realm we say praises of Hashem  Avraham Yitzchak Yaakov, chesed, gevurah tiferes. The second bracha, din, has two things there.  We say magein Avraham. Then we say mechail keil chaim vchesed, is Avraham. We are in gevurah gibur, what are doing praising Hashem through chesed when we are praising for gevurah. The answer is if we think gevura is din and harshness, you have to know deeply it is all chesed.  Complete and total chesed.  When someone is ill we say refuah, someich.  Someone trapped we say bound up. Hashem is in the problem and we are praising Him for the motive which is chesed.   All the forms of gevura are don’t forget, this is from chesed.  It is for nourishment. There is life, chesed. With life.  Nourish is spiritual and physical.  He is our whole life.  Know everything is from chesed. We want everyone to have a refuah to conronate Hashem king. 

We don’t want destruction, we want mechal keil chaim vchesed.  Even in the din it is harsh and strict, it is yechud, privacy and exclusivity, to come back to You and feel togetherness.  You can’t be separate from us.  We are Your people.  We are going to shine so bright.

At the end of the bracha gevurah, there is submission separation and sweeting, salvation.  Those three words.  Praising Hashem for that.  Turn death into life, turn pirud into achdus and divine unity, tuma into kedusha, like para aduma.  That is what we do when we praise Hashem,  we bring all the realms to Him. 

Let’s look at global events to unify with Him and bring alliance. 

Say aleinu as  a mission statement.  Remove all entrapments, all the craziness and bring Your divine unity into the world.  Coronate Him.  He wants to be here.  Declare the final unity, no separation.  We are not buying the distance.  Time to reveal.  Coronate the King.  On Shabbos, read ein kelokeinu.  There is nothing in the world but You, seek Him out, how You are using the microscopic things to bring it out.  Praise Him for it, it is for our ultimate good and for the ultimate good of the world.  We are declaring it is You only You and nothing else but You.

Thank Him, draw Him down with blessing, it is You and nothing else.  In that zechus, do our little bit together, may we see by Pesach something that shakes the world and may Pesach be zeman geulaseinu.

Commit to something today and move forward to Pesach. 

The vessel that we are here to willingly create is needed to hold the bracha of geula – it is up to us

The following is based on what Rav Dessler wrote in his famous Michtav Me’Eliyahu over 60 years ago.
Rabbi Eliezer Ralbag
Lakewood NJ

Rav Dessler writes in a ma’amar entitled “Galus and Geula” words that are very pertinent and relevant to our trying times. His prophetic words can shed some light and perhaps help us realize what is really taking place around us right now.

Rav Dessler describes how before Moshiach’s arrival, Hashem will destroy all that Malchus Edom represents. There will be a total standstill at its foundation and at its seams, “yesodos chayei haolam hazeh yismotetu”. Hashem should protect us all and spare us from all hardship. But we see this happening in front of our own eyes, with the collapse of financial markets, entertainment venues, airline industries and all that olam hazeh represents. Hashem is bringing this about thru something that no army nor vaccine or money can stop, namely the fear of a virus and bug the size of 1/600th of a hairbreadth. He writes that the purpose of this collapse is for one reason only; that we should come to the realization that only ruchniyos, not financial markets nor airline industries or entertainment venues make the world run. He describes precisely how this has to happen for Moshiach to come. He explains just as Moshiach was born on tisha beav, which represents destruction, so too he will reveal himself only thru destruction, namely the destruction of being dependent on gashmiyus versus ruchniyos. He describes how all these things are going to come to a total standstill thru out the whole world, as is happening right now. This revelation that we can only rely on Hashem will precisely bring about the revelation of Moshiach for the whole world to realize.

It’s an opportunity for us to be part of these extraordinary times that are happening in front of our own eyes, exactly as described by the Neviim. We should use this time to correct what needs to be corrected on our part, bein odom lechavero and bein odom lamokom, and proclaim and realize that “ein od milvado”. Our ruchniyos is indeed being tested, and davening beyechidus or not being able to be mesameach choson vekalah properly might be part of the nisayon we have to go thru. However, we can still show Hashem that we have the proper kavanah even though we are without a minyan. And we are trying to be mesameach choson vekalah even in these trying circumstances; albeit with less people or in backyards, but with the proper and pure intent only. We are not going to Shuls or chasunas for social events ch”v but we are doing these mitzvos now as they really should be done.

Yes we have to follow curfews and hygienic rules and wash our hands with soap a few times a day for 20 seconds, but more importantly we have to realize whose “hands” we really are dependent on. Neither masks or hand purell or kochi veotzem yodi, nor governments can stop this madness taking place around us, only Hashem can protect us. We have to be besimcha to be part of these extraordinary times taking place around us. and hopefully merit the heralding of Moshiach Tzidkenu bimhero veyomenu omen.

With strong emunah, shower the vitality in our fears with love for Hashem! Use all our heart for Torah, avoda and chesed

If a person has a well and wants to draw water, the bucket is lowered, the water fills the bucket and then the person pulls the bucket up. The bucket at all times is secured by a rope that the person can retrieve at will. The bucket is only lowered so that the water can be brought from the depths of the water table upwards to be used.

The bucket gets immersed in cold and dark conditions. It might bounce on the water. It might hit the side of the well. It might turn or twist and have to be raised and lowered again.

Yet the bucket’s purpose is clear.

What do we do with the fears and panic on our minds?

Recognize the Creator. Hashem is doing everything and He is all there is. He is all there is and He is doing everything. What is our role after recognizing this?

TO SHOWER THE SHECHINA THAT IS ANIMATING ALL OUR FEAR AND PANIC WITH LOVE FROM OUR HEARTS. Hashem I do not want the Shechina to be trapped in these fearful messages! By myself, I am confused, frightened and struggling with my mortality! Please have mercy upon Your Creation! It is my will to go above my nature and to bring forth the vitality covered by the fearfel messages of nature into my mind and to strengthen emunah so that I may re-garment this vitality into learning Torah, avoda and acts of chesed and mitzvahs. That is my intention. Please have compassion upon me and say YES that the fearful messages drop off as I move towards the mitzvah.

And then go learn, say tehillim, do an act of chesed or a mitzvah with all your heart, with all your soul and all your might.

In Anim Zemiros, we sing

When He holds His treasured people as a crown in HIs hand, we are like a royal turban a sign of His Desire

He carries us all each of us with a crown. He values us. He honors us,

He adorns Himself for me and I adorn myself for Him. He is close to me when I call.

Torah quotes, prayers and tools to strengthen emunah, to nullify, and for hisbodedus

Here is clear description of submission separation and sweetening along with two prayers on nullifying the self from Reb Noson and the kamiya from the Arizal again, to gaze upon during hisbodedus.

I am finding that when I gaze at the kamiya, it feels like I am receiving a blessing and is smoothing over the rough spots as I ask for mercy from Hashem

Here is Rabbi Yitzchok Ginsburg of Gal Enai’s article on what to do – Even a virus has an inner dimension! Rabbi Ginsburgh expounds on the corona virus.