Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quote of the day -

"Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom."

H. Arendt

Friday, March 27, 2009

PARSHA/ Vayikro

In the begining of this Parsha, Parshat Vayikra, we read the expression Nefesh ki techeta -- "when a person will sin." The Torah goes on to describe the various atonement offerings necessary to absolve one from their trespasses. The Kabbalistic classic, Zohar, renders this phrase both literally and spiritually. Nefesh is interpreted as not merely a person but a soul, and the verse is punctuated by a question mark. In other words, the Torah is asking Nefesh ki techeta? Shall a soul sin? Can a Jewish soul, a yiddishe neshamah, a spark of divinity, really and truly stoop to commit a lowly sin? How is that possible?

Indeed, the only way it can happen is when we forget who we are, when we are no longer in touch with our true spiritual identity.

And who really are we? We are a Jew! We are a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a daughter of Sarah, Rifka, Rachel and Leah. We are a member of the "kingdom of priests and holy nation." We were freed from Egypt and stood at Sinai. We have survived countless attempts on our life and our faith. We have emerged from the ashes of Auschwitz only to live again.

The holy Zohar reminds us that we are not only "a person who may sin." We are a soul, and shall a soul sin? A soul is by definition a piece (spark?) of G-d. And for this G-dly soul within us - this burning ember inside every Jewish soul, an ember that remains inextinguishable no matter what - means, that distancing ourselves from our very source is absolutely unthinkable.

So if you ever have doubts about who you are, remember the Zohar. You are a soul. And a soul never dies.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rosh Chodesh Nissan

Our Sages argued over when the Final Redemption with Moshiach will occur.

Will Moshiach come, and we will be redeemed, in the month of Nissan as our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt in Nissan, or will the Final Redemption take place in the month of Tishrei?

Will Moshiach come by virtue of the Jewish people's cumulative service of G-d over the last few thousand years, or will he come simply because G-d promised to redeem us?

According to Chasidic philosophy, the month of Nisan symbolizes the level of G-dliness that transcends our service. G-d took our forefathers out of Egypt on Passover despite their spiritual unworthiness.

By contrast, the month of Tishrei (Where we have Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), is a time for returning to G-d in repentance and prayer. We are pretty much aroused to increase in our service to G-d and so our spiritual status is up there. Tishrei is a month that we are basically virtuous.

Those Sages who believed that our spiritual status is more important, said that Moshiach will come in Tishrei. And those Rabbis who believed that G-d's promise is the determining factor, said the redemption will occur in Nisan.

The actual rule is though that Moshiach will come because of G-d's promise. Which means we will be redeemed in Nissan.

But actually both sides had a valid point, for by the time Moshiach comes, the world will have already been transformed into an appropriate vessel for G-dliness - through our service, through our virtue.

May it happen immediately. Amen.

The Nosi -R'Ch. Nisan-12th Nisan

"If I, y0ur servant, am of the tribe of .......then may there shine upon me all the holy "sparks" and all the holy lights which are contained in the holiness of this tribe , to understand and comprehend in Your Torah and in the fear of You, to do Your will all the days of my life - I and my children and my children's children, from now and forever. Amen. "

Sunday, March 15, 2009

From Dr. G's email.....

".....just cuz I have something about the size of Montana trying to coexist in my brain stem.....".

"I'm filled with reality, overwhelmed by the caring and interest, and pained that I never really understtod any of this until now."

When I questioned what exactly is he pained about, his response:

"What pains me at this point with all of these wondrous revelations is that once I've passed thru the portal of understanding I realize that it is the purity of the essence of what is and was always there.
The depth of what was already there is still there only now I am overwhelmed by its pure magnificence of strength so readily and willingly shared on my behalf by others. Now that I am aware of it means that I never even gave it a second look until now. How many of those deeply profound moments have come (my) our way, benefited us, and passed unnoticed? What a loss. The true depth of human emotion, the gift of Hashem. The tears of joy that flow from me make me aware that alive beyond the breath. I simply cannot contain the pureness of that flow of energy. It is the original truth that connected us as children that allows us to connect and heal now as adults.
It is pure joy. It is a simcha that happens best in the arena of the internal calm that is Ain Ode Milvado. "

Refuo shlaymo for - Eliezer Mordechai halevi ben Chaya Sheina Rochel.

Monday, March 9, 2009

PURIM - Kol Haposhet ....

Purim is the day we give a donation to whoever asks. Anyone who puts out his hand and requests aid, should be helped, even though we have not checked his bank statement or checked to see that his cause is, in fact, worthwhile.

This also refers to how G-d relates to the Jews on the day of Purim. On Purim, G-d will listen in a special way to our prayers. Even though all year round G-d may only give us what we deserve, on Purim, He is willing to give to us even that which we may not be so deserving of. All we have to do is to put out our hand and ask!!

Let us not allow a day like this to go by without putting all our effort into praying properly and thereby asking for all those things that we need. How can we not "stretch our hand out" to G-d and ask for that which we would normally not dream of asking?
After all, "Anyone who stretches out his hand should be given to."

Monday, March 2, 2009

PURIM - Ad d'lo Yoda

The Talmud states that “on Purim we are obligated to drink wine to the point where we do not know the difference between 'Blessed be Mordechai’ and ‘Cursed be Haman'.

On Purim we are required to elevate our understanding to the point that we perceive no essential dis­tinction between Mordechai and Haman. For the ultimate goal in the creation of Haman is that he become a force for good - like Mordechai.

The threat posed by Haman endangered the very existence of the Jewish people. In response, they demonstrated self-sacrifice and dedication to Torah which transcended the limits of reason.
Their commitment transformed the entire nature of the situation. Thus, instead of destroying our people, Haman’s plot enriched us with a festival and a day of rejoicing.

Within the limitations of this world, understanding repre­sents the highest of our faculties. G‑d’s essence however, is not bound by the limits of our faculties: it transcends all definition and restriction.

“The ultimate in knowledge is 'not to know'." Reason, is by nature limited, and prevents the expression of our unlimited potential. The divine service of — self-transcendence — is the goal of our drinking on Purim.

The state which transcends the limits of reason is related to the concept of transforming evil to good.

From an intellec­tual perspective, good and evil have clearly defined bounda­ries. The infinity of G‑d’s essence (and the potential of our souls) is not bounded by these limitations. At that level, “darkness is like light.”

Regardless of a person’s state, he is always able to turn to G‑d in repentance. And his sins are then transformed into good.

Purim means “lots”, and casting lots symbolizes a step above the realm of the rational.

During the time of the Purim miracle, the Jews rose to a level of commitment to the Torah that transcended the realm of intellect. And that is what brought about the transformation of evil into good. Instead of the annihilation of the Jewish people, we merited great deliverance.

May the darkness of this exile give way to the light of Redemption!

PURIM - Kabolos Hatora

On the sixth day of Sivan, the entire nation of Israel assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai. There G-d chose us as His people and we committed ourselves to observe the laws of life as outlined in His Torah.

The Talmud points out, however, that nearly one thousand years were to pass before our covenant with G-d was sealed. It was with the events of Purim, that our acceptance of the Torah was established upon an unshakable foundation.

At Sinai, we had no choice. Faced with such an awesome revelation of the divine truth, one could hardly doubt or disagree. In effect, we were forced to accept the Torah; overwhelmed and completely enveloped by the divine reality, we could not but commit ourselves to our divinely ordained mission and role.

But a thousand years later, during the events of Purim, we, the Jewish nation, reaffirmed this commitment under entirely different conditions. The divine presence did not hover over us, compelling us to recognize its truth. On the contrary: the divine face was hidden. As the name of G-d is not even mentioned once in the entire Megilla, the book of Esther. We were able to accept the divine law without any hint of coercion for Above. As stated in the words of the Book of Esther, they, "established and accepted" - meaning, says the Talmud, that they established as valid and incontestable that which they had accepted earlier at Sinai.

We were on our own, our commitment to G-d deriving wholly from within, from an inner choice to cleave to Him.