Friday, October 19, 2018

Ever wonder why ...

we aren't as numerous as the stars?

In Lech Lecha ( chapter15,5) Hashem says to Avraham  "look at the stars and count them if you are able to count them", then  Hashem says to Avraham, "so shall be your offspring".

( from the teachings of Rabbi Meir Shapira)

Why does the pasuk say vayomer Hashem - "Hashem said" two times in the same pasuk- we know Hashem was speaking to Avraham.  However, there was a pause- when Hashem told Avraham to count the stars, Avraham literally went out to count the stars- he tried to do the impossible.  Then Hashem said- so will your children be like this- attempt to do the impossible- to live l'maale min hateva- break the boundaries of nature.

We are his children, perhaps not as numerous as the stars yet, but certainly we have that trait of attempting to count the stars.  Isn't that what the geulah from within is all about?

Good Shabbos!

This goal, when will we reach it?
It was once far, but now it is near.
When will we hold it in our hands?
When we will open our eyes to see it is already here.

Rabbi Freeman—among the last teachings we heard from the Rebbe.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Our year has begun.
New beginnings - such a hopeful concept!

Here's why:

In fact, each moment is full of hope....hope for achieving in our avodas Hashem, hope for our loved one to have a relationship with Him as well, hope for unity and peace to pervade our homes and those of klal Yisrael, and really, truly, all of this is hope for the geulah- inside and out.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Yom Kippur....

If you're anything like me, you might be wondering what you are supposed to be working on exactly.  There are so many areas and details in a day, that when I think back over the year I am completely at a loss as to what specifically I should work on.  Everything?! And anyway...aren't we new creations as of Rosh Hashana?...

Before the anxiety grows too great, I breathe deeply, recall that with this breath Hashem is giving me another chance at life and the I can turn/ and return- teshuva to Him.  The first clarity I need is that He loves me and is waiting for me- forever.

Next, I look at who I am in this minute and notice what I love about myself and thank Hashem for those.  Then, I notice the things that I am not proud of :( and that's where my work lies.  I can't remember all the things I've done wrong this year but the result of them is sitting with me right now- as a part of me. 

 Now, I observe the thoughts, feelings and actions that I don't want to hold onto.  I admit to them, I regret them.  I say "I am sorry Hashem for doing, thinking, feeling...(fill in the blank with your own- trust me you don't want mine;).  I don't want to do/feel/think these things in the future. Please help me to be true to who I really am."

I've returned.

Your turn.

(If you want more clarity with this, our phone chaburah will IY'H be meeting at 11:00 am NY time this Monday- what can be better than group teshuva...or more embarrassing... therefore, there will be no recording.:)))

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbos and a Gmar Chasima Tova, 

Love, Aviva Ruth


By Tzvi Freeman

Teshuvah doesn’t mean repentance. Repentance means regretting who you’ve become. 

Teshuvah means returning to who you truly are.

Teshuvah, in English, is recovery.

 Recovering a lost inner self.

On Yom Kippur, we are all in recovery.

For any body still feeling anxious....

Thank you, Ilana Yehudis for sending this:
Adapted from a newsletter article by Rebbetzin Heller
Keep in mind that Hashem accepts you with all of your faults and broken pieces, you needn’t act as if they don’t exist.
Review the viduy before Yom Kippur in the machzor. 
Don’t fall into any of the usual traps when you read the list of potential sins that you may have done:

1. What a great list. It’s even alphabetical. How interesting. I think I did everything.
2. I am doomed. I think I’ll go out for pizza. This is too heavy.
3. My life is a mess. It can’t be fixed. No one who had a childhood like mine will ever be clean on the inside.
4. This is extreme. I’m basically a good person. What’s all this breast-beating good for?
5. I hate myself.
Instead, come to grips with the reality of imperfection. If you’re human, you’re imperfect. You have the chance now to open yourself up to greater and higher movement towards being the person you want to be. Every breath you take is a gift from the One who wants to (and can!) understand you totally. Read the list with the same sort of feeling you would have if you were discussing a heartbreaking issue with your therapist. You want to change, that’s why you’re there.
There is one critical difference. Your therapist can only help you hear yourself. Hashem can help you discover a self that you may never have encountered (or may have thought was lost). If you open yourself even a little bit, He will open His Heart to you beyond your greatest hope.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Shavua Tov!
In a few hours Rosh Hashana is starting.!!! 
Aside from the fact that I’m waiting for my challahs to come out of the oven, I can’t sleep. 
I’m excited! It’s our opportunity to express our absolute love and awe of Hashem - to express our desire to be close to Hashem - to return to our most profound relationship.  We don’t know what the future will bring- some of us have lost a loved one this year- and our lives are irrevocably changed.   Yet, one thing remains steady and only grows with life each moment and that is His love for us.  Chazal say that Hashem brings us back to life every moment by giving us breath. He is showing us that He believes in us. 
Take a deep breath. Feel His love and belief in YOU. Now, believe in yourself and the power He is giving you to choose a relationship with Him. 
As we discussed in the last chaburah, at the time of the shofar He is re-blowing our purified neshama into us and we are offering back our primal will- see Rabbi Freeman’s picture and explanation below for a clearer understanding. 
Thank you for learning with me this year. Thank you -Shira - for the administrative job you handle for us- even as you have family members who are ill- Refuah shlaima to them.  
I’ve enjoyed every minute of our time together. Thank You Hashem for allowing us to learn and grow closer to You. 
May your year be filled with deveikus to Hashem through ways you perceive as good. May it be a healthy, peaceful, prosperous year with the geulah from within and without=for all of Klal Yisrael! 
❤️ ,
Aviva Rus

On Rosh Hashanah, we cry out from our very essence with the call of the shofar; He echoes back, throwing His very essence inward towards His creation.
Together, man and G‑d rebuild creation.
By Tzvi Freeman 

Friday, August 24, 2018

I can’t believe we are in the middle of Elul!

6 Tips for a SUCCESSFUL ELUL from Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi*

In Elul, if we do things right, Hashem will open up for us 13 faucets of mercy in preparation for the High Holidays. But how do we make that happen? Jewish Women, here’s your Elul homework straight from my teacher, Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi…

1. Improve and do something new: This first Elul homework assignment has 2 parts: Firstly, you need to take on a new mitzvah from now until Yom Kippur. Start wearing a long skirt for 30 days. Start praying mincha for 30 days. Start learning Torah for 5 minutes a day for 30 days.

Rabenu Yona teaches that when you accept upon yourself a new mitzvah for 30 days, you will exit from darkness out to a great new light. Hashem will see that you know how to change, and He will change reality for you: you will finally have the baby you have been waiting for, your marriage will finally improve, you will finally find that great apartment/job/husband you have been looking for.

Secondly, you need to improve your performance of a mitzvah that you already do. For example, you pray every day, but for the next 30 days pray with extra focus. You prepare every week for Shabbat, but until Yom Kippur prepare for Shabbat with extra joy. Less screaming and more smiling.

2. A VERY Important Psalm : The Holy Ari promises that whoever recites Chapter 27 (Hashem Oree v’Yeeshee, click for English translation) of Psalms twice a day, morning and evening, until the end of Yom Kippur, the 13 Heavenly faucets of mercy will open up upon him. Why this particular Psalm? Because it mentions God’s name 13 times. So every time you say Hashem’s name, another faucet opens up upon you.

The Ari guarantees, “Every one who says the 27th Psalm, from Rosh Chodesh Elul, in the evening and morning, every day, he is guaranteed a good year, and the coming year will be sweet, and even if an evil decree has been declared against him, it can be nullified. And all of the prosecuting angels will be nullified from him and from all of his family members as well as all difficult and evil decrees. And he will be judged innocent, because Hashem opens up for him the 13 faucets of mercy.”

讗 诇ְ讚ָ讜ִ讚: 讬ְ讛讜ָ讛, 讗讜ֹ专ִ讬 讜ְ讬ִ砖ְׁ注ִ讬–诪ִ诪ִּ讬 讗ִ讬专ָ讗;
讬ְ讛讜ָ讛 诪ָ注讜ֹ讝-讞ַ讬ַּ讬, 诪ִ诪ִּ讬 讗ֶ驻ְ讞ָ讚.
讘 讘ִּ拽ְ专ֹ讘 注ָ诇ַ讬, 诪ְ专ֵ注ִ讬诐– 诇ֶ讗ֱ讻ֹ诇 讗ֶ转-讘ְּ砖ָׂ专ִ讬:
爪ָ专ַ讬 讜ְ讗ֹ讬ְ讘ַ讬 诇ִ讬; 讛ֵ诪ָּ讛 讻ָ砖ְׁ诇讜ּ 讜ְ谞ָ驻ָ诇讜ּ.
讙 讗ִ诐-转ַּ讞ֲ谞ֶ讛 注ָ诇ַ讬, 诪ַ讞ֲ谞ֶ讛– 诇ֹ讗-讬ִ讬专ָ讗 诇ִ讘ִּ讬:
讗ִ诐-转ָּ拽讜ּ诐 注ָ诇ַ讬, 诪ִ诇ְ讞ָ诪ָ讛– 讘ְּ讝ֹ讗转, 讗ֲ谞ִ讬 讘讜ֹ讟ֵ讞ַ.
讚 讗ַ讞ַ转, 砖ָׁ讗ַ诇ְ转ִּ讬 诪ֵ讗ֵ转-讬ְ讛讜ָ讛– 讗讜ֹ转ָ讛ּ 讗ֲ讘ַ拽ֵּ砖ׁ:
砖ִׁ讘ְ转ִּ讬 讘ְּ讘ֵ讬转-讬ְ讛讜ָ讛, 讻ָּ诇-讬ְ诪ֵ讬 讞ַ讬ַּ讬;
诇ַ讞ֲ讝讜ֹ转 讘ְּ谞ֹ注ַ诐-讬ְ讛讜ָ讛, 讜ּ诇ְ讘ַ拽ֵּ专 讘ְּ讛ֵ讬讻ָ诇讜ֹ.
讛 讻ִּ讬 讬ִ爪ְ驻ְּ谞ֵ谞ִ讬, 讘ְּ住ֻ讻ֹּ讛– 讘ְּ讬讜ֹ诐 专ָ注ָ讛:
讬ַ住ְ转ִּ专ֵ谞ִ讬, 讘ְּ住ֵ转ֶ专 讗ָ讛ֳ诇讜ֹ; 讘ְּ爪讜ּ专, 讬ְ专讜ֹ诪ְ诪ֵ谞ִ讬.
讜 讜ְ注ַ转ָּ讛 讬ָ专讜ּ诐 专ֹ讗砖ִׁ讬, 注ַ诇 讗ֹ讬ְ讘ַ讬 住ְ讘ִ讬讘讜ֹ转ַ讬, 讜ְ讗ֶ讝ְ讘ְּ讞ָ讛 讘ְ讗ָ讛ֳ诇讜ֹ, 讝ִ讘ְ讞ֵ讬 转ְ专讜ּ注ָ讛;
讗ָ砖ִׁ讬专ָ讛 讜ַ讗ֲ讝ַ诪ְּ专ָ讛, 诇ַ讬讛讜ָ讛.
讝 砖ְׁ诪ַ注-讬ְ讛讜ָ讛 拽讜ֹ诇ִ讬 讗ֶ拽ְ专ָ讗; 讜ְ讞ָ谞ֵּ谞ִ讬 讜ַ注ֲ谞ֵ谞ִ讬.
讞 诇ְ讱ָ, 讗ָ诪ַ专 诇ִ讘ִּ讬–讘ַּ拽ְּ砖ׁ讜ּ 驻ָ谞ָ讬; 讗ֶ转-驻ָּ谞ֶ讬讱ָ 讬ְ讛讜ָ讛 讗ֲ讘ַ拽ֵּ砖ׁ.
讟 讗ַ诇-转ַּ住ְ转ֵּ专 驻ָּ谞ֶ讬讱ָ, 诪ִ诪ֶּ谞ִּ讬– 讗ַ诇 转ַּ讟-讘ְּ讗ַ祝, 注ַ讘ְ讚ֶּ讱ָ:
注ֶ讝ְ专ָ转ִ讬 讛ָ讬ִ讬转ָ; 讗ַ诇-转ִּ讟ְּ砖ֵׁ谞ִ讬 讜ְ讗ַ诇-转ַּ注ַ讝ְ讘ֵ谞ִ讬, 讗ֱ诇ֹ讛ֵ讬 讬ִ砖ְׁ注ִ讬.
讬 讻ִּ讬-讗ָ讘ִ讬 讜ְ讗ִ诪ִּ讬 注ֲ讝ָ讘讜ּ谞ִ讬; 讜ַ讬讛讜ָ讛 讬ַ讗ַ住ְ驻ֵ谞ִ讬.
讬讗 讛讜ֹ专ֵ谞ִ讬 讬ְ讛讜ָ讛, 讚ַּ专ְ讻ֶּ讱ָ: 讜ּ谞ְ讞ֵ谞ִ讬, 讘ְּ讗ֹ专ַ讞 诪ִ讬砖ׁ讜ֹ专–诇ְ诪ַ注ַ谉, 砖ׁ讜ֹ专ְ专ָ讬.
讬讘 讗ַ诇-转ִּ转ְּ谞ֵ谞ִ讬, 讘ְּ谞ֶ驻ֶ砖ׁ 爪ָ专ָ讬: 讻ִּ讬 拽ָ诪讜ּ-讘ִ讬 注ֵ讚ֵ讬-砖ֶׁ拽ֶ专, 讜ִ讬驻ֵ讞ַ 讞ָ诪ָ住.
讬讙 诇讜ּ诇ֵ讗–讛ֶ讗ֱ诪ַ谞ְ转ִּ讬, 诇ִ专ְ讗讜ֹ转 讘ְּ讟讜ּ讘-讬ְ讛讜ָ讛: 讘ְּ讗ֶ专ֶ抓 讞ַ讬ִּ讬诐.
讬讚 拽ַ讜ֵּ讛, 讗ֶ诇-讬ְ讛讜ָ讛: 讞ֲ讝ַ拽, 讜ְ讬ַ讗ֲ诪ֵ抓 诇ִ讘ֶּ讱ָ; 讜ְ拽ַ讜ֵּ讛, 讗ֶ诇-讬ְ讛讜ָ讛.

3. Give Life: Every day of Elul, make sure to shine a ray of light to another human being who is struggling. Every day ask yourself, “Whom can I make happier today?” A Shabbat invitation to a single neighbor, a visit to a hospitalized relative, a note in the lunch box of a child making the tough transition back to school.

4. Forgive and Forget: Hashem gives us a special deal every Elul. Our Sages promise that: “Every person who forgives will be forgiven all his sins.”

We did a lot of sins this year that cannot be forgiven…We spoke lashon hara about people and cannot ask their forgiveness because asking forgiveness would hurt that person badly. We hurt a child, but how can we ask her for forgiveness when she is so young that she cannot fathom how deeply she has been hurt?

The answer…the next time someone insults you, hurts you, makes you see red, you remember “Every person who forgives will be forgiven all his sins,” and you say to yourself “Hashem, apparently you are sending this person to get me angry, because you want to erase my sins for me. So I’m cooperating with You. I’m not getting angry. I forgive her.”

5. Have Mercy on the Animals: “Every person who has mercy on animals—Heaven will have mercy on him.” In Elul we don’t kill little animals. In the case of pests (lice, cockroaches, etc) you can kill, but not with extra cruelty.

6. Watch Your Words: More of the special Elul deal. In Elul, your words to your family members have special weight. The Ramchal says that on Rosh Hashana Hashem considers all of the words that came out of our mouths regarding our family members. On Rosh Hashana, Hashem will ask His angels, “Tell me, what did she say about her husband in Elul?” The angels report back “She said that he’s stingy and lazy.” And Hashem writes down the words “stingy and lazy” in His notebook. According to what we say, Hashem judges our family members and US too. Be careful this month to only say positive things about your family members!l

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Parsha for Women by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi

Mattot-Mas’eiYom Chamishi, Tamuz 29, 5778 (July 12, 2018) #64  
for the 

Who’s in Charge Here?

Parashot Mattot-Mas’ei seem to have no connection to when we read them. Why now, at Rosh Chodesh Av, do I need to read about vows and oaths, about Hashem’s war against Midian, about the travels of the Israelites, and about cities of refuge for killers? These are the subject of this week’s parasha – and why should I care? The answer is in the common denominator of these subjects: 

ministerial responsibility.

For example, in teaching releases from vows, Moshe addresses the heads of the tribes: “You’re responsible!” In the war against Midian, Moshe addresses the commanders and says: “You’re responsible!” In the conquest of the land, Moshe addresses the descendants of Reuven and Gad, the wealthiest tribes, and reminds them: “You’re responsible – take responsibility!” And the perpetrator of an accidental homicide, who must flee to a city of refuge, remains there until the death of the Kohen Gadol – 

what’s the connection? “You have to be responsible,” Rashi understands this as addressing the Kohen Gadol. “You’re responsible for ensuring that in your generation there will be no bloodshed.”1

In other words: you have responsibility. The results are on your shoulders.

How is that connected to this time of year? Av is the month of the av the father! and his responsibility.

Parashat Mattot opens with a father who cancels his daughter’s vows. She takes a vow, putting herself into a
1 Bemidbar 35:25 and Rashi ad loc.
situation that’s not right for her now, and you, Abba, have to take responsibility for your daughter.

There’s also such a moving verse at the end of the ֵ讗ֶּ诇讛ַ讛ֻ讞ִּ拽讬诐ֲ讗ֶּ砖专ִּ爪ָּ讜讛讛'ֶּ讗转诪ֶֹּ砖讛ֵ讘讬谉ִּ讗讬砖ְ诇ִּ讗ְ砖转ֹ讜,“:section These are the statutes ֵ讘讬谉 ָּ讗讘 ְ诇 ִּ讘转 ֹ讜 ִּ讘 ְ谞 ֻ注 ֶּ专讬 ָּ讛 ֵ讘讬转 ָּ讗 ִּ讘讬 ָּ讛 that Hashem commanded Moshe and Bnei Yisrael between a man and his wife, between a father and his daughter, during her youth in his home.”2

Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira says: you’re like a little girl to your Father. During Av a Jewish woman must turn to Hashem and say, “Ribbono Shel Olam, maybe I’ve sinned; I might have ruined my life with my own hands” (so many girls say that to me!).
Well... oK, little girl. Abba’s here. Tell Him this: “Abba, You’re responsible now. It could be that I’ve destroyed all sorts of really important values. I’m in Your hands and You’re the grown-up here, Abba. Come along during this month and say, ‘It is permitted to you. It is canceled for you.’3 Your daughter restricted herself by mistake, with sin and guilt? Release her from it, Ribbono Shel Olam.”4

It raises feminist hackles. “What’s this paternalism?? A woman takes a vow – who are you to undo it?” But it’s not arrogant paternalism. Father, Father, Abba, is taking responsibility. It’s amazing.
.30:17 2
Bava Batra 120b.
4 Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira, Pittuhei Hotam.

Av is the month for fathers and daughters. 

What does it say in the Haftarah? Look at your ִּ讘 ְ讻ָּ专讛 ַ拽 ָּ诇讛 ְ诪 ָּ砖ֶּ专 ֶּ讻转 ְ讚ָּ专 ֶּ讻讬 ָּ讛 appearance, daughter of Israel a restive young camel doubling back on her steps, and what happens to her? ְ讘ָּ讞ְ讚ָּ砖讛 ִּ讬ְ诪ָּ爪讗讜ְ谞ָּ讛 In her month they will find her.7 All the commentators agree: you’re in trouble. Your time will come any moment now, wayward daughter, to get what you deserve. But ְ讘ָּ讞ְ讚ָּ砖讛ִּ讬ְ诪ָּ爪讗讜ְ谞ָּ讛“:the Haftarah is actually so consoling in her month they will find her,” in the month of Av the av, the abba, comes. Abba’s coming to take you, to free you from your city of refuge. These are just arduous journeys and encampments you’ve been forced to take during life. You’re actually so good, so pure.

There’s one man who takes responsibility for women’s suffering the Kohen Gadol. And just as we read in the parasha this Shabbat, at the death of the Kohen Gadol you can leave the city of refuge. The Kohen Gadol, Aharon HaKohen, died on Rosh Chodesh Av, as our parasha mentions. It’s the only yahrtzeit mentioned in the Torah. ,ַ讘讞ֶֹּ讚砖 ַ讛ֲ讞ִּ诪讬ִּ砖讬 ְ讘ֶּ讗ָּ讞讚 ַ诇讞ֶֹּ讚砖 - In the fifth month i.e. Av on the first of the month8, Rosh Chodesh Av, Aharon the Kohen Gadol died. He was the only one who took care of Israelite women’s beauty concerns during the long journey through the wilderness. He brought the Clouds of Glory,9 and our Sages explain that those were the desert’s Super- Pharm. Within the Clouds of Glory were perfumes and jewelry for the women so they would feel good about themselves during the odyssey.10
And he dies for you – you’re to die for – and we know that because in his death he says to you, “I’m freeing you now, my daughter. I’m taking responsibility for you. 诇ֹ讗 讬ֹ讜 ִּ住讬祝 ְ诇 ַ讛ְ讙诇ֹ讜 ֵ转 ְ讱. ַ转诐 ֲ注 ֹ讜ֵ谞 ְ讱, ַ讘转 ִּ爪讬ֹ讜谉 He will no longer exile you. Your iniquity is finished, daughter of Tziyon.11 Here comes Abba to take you.”
Today and tomorrow, into Rosh Chodesh Av, is a wonderful time to light a candle for Aharon HaKohen, and to ask him to intercede for the Jewish women
7 Yirmeyahu 2:23-24.
8 Bemidbar 33:38.
9 Taanit 9a and Midrash Tanchuma Bemidbar 2.
10 Midrash Tehillim 23 and Devarim Rabba7 cited in Kli Yakar on Devarim 8:4.
11 Eicha 4:22.
that they be taken out of their exile in cities of refuge, that he pamper them with the Clouds of Glory in their homes; 讻诇 ְ讻讘讜 ָּ讚讛 ַ讘转 ֶּ诪 ֶּ诇 ְ讱 ְ驻 ִּ谞讬 ָּ诪讛ָּ – the King’s daughter is all glorious within.12 I know so many women who receive so much honor on the outside, at work, or among friends, but who are so belittled at home.
So here, here comes your time as a daughter; your Father is coming to take you. May we have a good month.
Translated by Rav David Swidler
Join our mailing list to receive Divrey Torah by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi!
12 Tehillim 45:14.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


(Thank you Shuli for sending this post from Rabbi Katz's facebook page =the elevation seminar:)

"When your consciousness is occupied with negative thoughts which are rooted in emotional delusion - it dulls and desensitizes the heart. This effect is called the “foreskin of the heart,” i.e. a blocked heart. 

This psychological state actually causes a damaging effect in the higher spiritual worlds -- blocking them off from receiving divine spiritual influx from their Source. 

This causes destruction in the world itself. 

However, when one thinks positive thoughts they actually cause fixing and healing in the world, and through this kind of thinking the heart is purified and the negative thinking patterns are expelled. 

The result of this practice is that one can ultimately access supernatural abilities using their consciousness." 

Rav Nachman of Breslov - Likutei Eitzos, Machsovos V'Hirhurim, #4

This is the power that hakaras hatov gives to us! To thank Hashem we have to search and recognize the good that Hashem is sending each of us in every moment.  When we do this on a regular basis, we won't have space in our head for the negative thoughts.

We will IYH continue our "Reaching Your Essence"  chaburah on Monday at 12 pm.  Summer hours are changed from Sunday night to Monday afternoon.  Looking forward to hearing your voices.

Love, aviva