Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good Shabbos!

"Geulah is not a destination you can see by looking in front of you.  You can only see it by looking inside of you"
(Rabbi Jacobson)

Parshas Ki Seitzei:

If you see your brother's ox or sheep must surely return them to your brother" (22:1)

Chacham Ovadiah Yosef shlit"a says this Pasuk is a call for action.

If you see the soul of your brother detached from its source, you cannot ignore it.  Rather, you must help bring him back to the source.  Each of us in our own way. (Torah Tavlin2)

How do we do this?  

step 1. By looking inside ourselves and finding our unique gift that Hashem has given us.

Step 2: offer to share it with others.

In our search inward this Elul may we all receive clarity from Hashem of what our true destination is.

love, aviva rus

Friday, August 24, 2012

Good Shabbos!

Parshas Shoftim:

Judges and Judgement.

You should place judges at the gate of every tribe, chase after Justice, a proper beis din (court), so that you may live and inherit the land that Hashem our G-d, is giving to you (16,20)

Someone once told me that "we can only be as happy as our least happy child".

What we learned this week shows us clearly that this is not the case.

Why not?

Belief in Hashem dispels this idea.  He is running the show.  

He tells us to serve Him with joy.

Even when someone we love (and therefore, ourselves) is in pain.

After all, with true emunah we would see that Hashem loves us and our loved ones even more than we do!

Elul: Ani l'dodi v'dodi li: (I am to my Beloved and my Beloved is to me)

This Elul let's bring our emunah to the height of this awareness, so that even in what seems dark, we see the light clearly.

Love, aviva rus

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reminder: Tomorrow at 12 IyH Da es Atzmecha and Bilvavi book 1


It's been a long time since we have met to learn Da es Atzmecha and Bilvavi 1!

Tomorrow at 12 ny time, let's catch up, review, and continue with these seforim (and plan for our elul with our avodah).  See below for the new outlines.

Beginning the week of June 10, 2012
New dial in number: 

Israel: 972 76 599 0060
US: 209-255-1000
England: 44-0-784-843-2913
Australia: 61 1300 051 796
South Africa: 27 87 825 0150

access code: 572926

Chapter 4:

Gaining a Positive Self-image from the Soul

"When a person has a low self-esteem, the solution cannot come from the bodily forces.  The solution is to let the soul's light shine, and then, one will truly enjoy a positive self-concept (pg 76)". (Elokai neshama shenasata bi...)

In other words, when you identify with your soul, you will attain positive self esteem.

This is a gift from Hashem and is not something to be arrogant about. Recognize the truth: "I am good, because that is how Hashem created me (pg 77).

{Nefesh Hachaim: after the sin of Adam, the external aspect of evil became internalized. We now thought evil was a part of our "I". The moment we sin, we think the evil is a part of us, when in actuality, we are a pure soul and the evil is a garment. Therefore, if you have negative self image, the solution is to teach ourselves that our essence is good.}

"If a person has a simple basis of emunah in Hashem, and believes that the Torah is true, he must believe that he (and all of mankind) is very good (pg 82)".

"A person should train himself to think this way at all times....No fault in the world can uproot the truth of "Hashem, the soul You placed in me is pure."(82)

Wake up your soul! How?

1. Torah and Mitzvos
2. Believe in the soul's existence
3. Contemplate "I am a neshama".
4. Contemplate the "I" is very good
This method of contemplation will expose your soul, and since it comes from a higher realm than the body, the soul will win over the body- and you will then come to a more positive outlook. (If you see self as a body, then the body rules over the soul)- If you identify with the soul, you reveal goodness and expand its lights, and win over the power of evil within (87).

Where does sadness come from? Not from a situation, rather from not identifying with who you really are, a soul. "Sadness applies when there is no soul." (86) Therefore, the most intense period of sadness is when there is a body without a soul. (87)

What is true love?(connection through bodies is temporary and illusory)91

1. It comes from the neshama, no stinginess or envy involved
2. Inner love comes from your true self, the soul and creates a spiritual connection
3. two people who both see themselves as souls covered with garments=love not dependent on anything
4. deeper love= join with Hashem, eternal love, no pause in this love.

One of six constant mitzvos: ahavas Hashem: deepest pleasure comes from loving Hashem and feeling loved by Him.

So, when we remove evil and start associating and seeing ourselves as a soul, then bring forth the positive feelings, this "true world of love". (92)

Chapter 5:
Eradicate Desire and find Joy:

(ratzon-ratz-run- quick movement to acquire something)

There are two places to find joy:

1. you can find joy in acquiring something you don't own yet that you have ratzon for.
2. joy from your own existence; the natural state of a person is to be happy- when want things other than that, ratzon- removes the joy from a person's soul(97).

Become aware that "uprooting desire will uncover a more peaceful and happy world" (99)

How? When see self as a neshama that lacks nothing, no longer feel the need to acquire things.

Rambam: Happiness does not reside in things that are external to a person, but within. There true pleasure, joy, and peace exist.

Chazal: (avos 6:4) "Eat bread with salt, and drink a measured amount of water, sleep on the ground, and live a life of deprivation. If you do so, you will be happy in this world, and in a good state in the next world."

Why shouldn't we take pleasure from food in this world? The root of the problem is not that he eats, but that he desires (105).

Desire is like suicide: It clouds our clarity of what is important in this world.

What is important in this world? to see self as a soul and feel that very real pleasure.

To DO:
1. say to self " I believe that I have a soul inside of me. I believe that the pleasure is really present inside me."
2. be patient
3. realize you are born in this natural state of joy and desire kills it- "a desire fulfilled is less pleasurable than the absence of desire" (111)

we live in a world built on everyone's desires= destroying the world. If we nullify our will, we will feel calm and peaceful and will reach "true inner peace and complete joy of life."(113)

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh: Section 2

  1. sole aspiration in life=to be close to and attached to Hashem. This is done by awakening the element of truth in the soul through simplicity
  2. staring point in avodas Hashem= awareness there is a Creator=requires work and effort
  3. this belief, there is a Creator, must be “alive in one's mind and heart at all times...the driving force of a person's life every moment, every hour”
  4. Can only feel close to Him if believe He exists.
  5. 3 kinds of awareness: a. chochmah-know the facts on a basic level b. binah-understands the facts well c. da'as- connected to the matter and totally attached to it

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tuesday Outline for Bilvavi 2 and In Forest Fields

(Part of todays class was recorded: 530-881-1299 access code: 1091004##): our avodah for this week is to do the contemplation and hisbodedus- see avodah page. Next week, I can't meet but IyH the following week we will begin chapter 8 in Bilvavi 2 and pages 77-81 In Forest Fields.

It was amazing hearing you live today!!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me.
Love, aviva rus
Bilvavi 2

Chapter VII: The Way to Sense Hashem's Existence

practical guidelines:45
Rema begins his commentary on shulchan Aruch (code of Jewish law)with the pasuk shivisi Hashem l'negdi Tamid: I place Hashem before me at all times: this is one of the essential practices of tzadikim who walk before Hashem always- awareness of His presence together with the study of Torah.

To feel Hashem in our heart
  1. dedicate a quiet hour for contemplation, using question and answer format (Avraham Avinu-”I am in this world, how did I get here?) until the answer is deep from your heart: there is a Creator who created me!
  2. Do it everyday often (print up card and attach it where you see it often- every half hour= this will give you da'as to the idea, a real connection to it)
  3. Be patient, results are never instant, no rush, Hashem sends us what we need when we need...

In Forest Fields
Pg 69-75

The truly straight path:virtue of personal prayer: self evaluation and confession of sin (daily soul searching and teshuva=fine tune ourselves in this way)- brings clarity so you know which way you're going in life.

Baal Teshuva:

1. the more we speak to Hashem each day, the faster we will see the geulah
  1. and the more we will effect change all around, a ripple effect to others so they begin seeking a relationship with Hashem.
  2. bring happiness!- “uncorrected transgressions are like lead curtains around our soul...they block Hashem's light”70
Page 71: Rebbe Nachman's letter to us, read out loud

  1. as soon as we call to Hashem, He drops everything else and listens to us- saves the world from calamity
  2. we were created to live a life of emunah and closeness to Hashem- personal prayer gives us both.
  3. “when we judge ourselves, and confess to Him, He always forgives.” 75
yh will fight this tooth and nail
End of Chapter 1

Reminder! Tomorrow Bilvavi 2 and In Forest Fields


We are meeting tomorrow IyH, and then will discuss the following weeks, I know a lot is going on for everyone. 

 Let's also discuss how this ties in to our Elul avodah. 

Tuesday at 9:45 until 10:15, 

The call in number is : 530-881-1200
access code; 1091004#

Chapter 7 in Bilvavi 2: The Way to Sense Hashem's Existence

and pages 69-75 In Forest Fields; (finishing chapter 1!!!)

The outlines will be posted on the outline page (as soon as I finish typing them up, sorry for the delay)

I hope to hear you live!

Love, aviva rus

Friday, August 17, 2012

Good Shabbos and Good Chodesh Elul!!!!

Parshas Re'eh:

I can't believe the summer is almost over!  Everyone is home and the house is flying.

Lucky for me that the parsha says very clearly all that one is required to do is take a small step daily. (Nason, Titen....You shall surely give (Devarim 15:10) "Everything goes according to the majority of actions" -Chofetz Chaim al HaTorah from Miriam Aflalo article)

OK.  I can do that....I hope with Hashem's help.

In our chaburahs, our small step, is using even one minute daily speaking out loud to Hashem and -or thinking "I am a pure neshama, in a body (which is amazing because I can use it to do mitzvos and uplift the physical to the ruchani (spiritual).  

In the moment, that we set aside to use as our daily step, if the yetzer hara wants you to feel down, quickly seize the moment and do teshuva for whatever it is you feel is off and let go.  

The power of Elul, Hashem is with us, guiding us, holding us up.  So let go and enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guess what?

We are resuming our chaburah next week, IYH! 

I've been thinking about why the geulah is not here yet.

We are learning how much Hashem loves us and about the unique task each of us is given to accomplish. must be that He is allowing us the time to accomplish it.

Our clue, that we are achieving what we are supposed to be; a feeling of connection, deveikus, to Hashem, and great pleasure.

My dear chaburah mates, don't give up hope, rather cling to it, and become the giant that you are.  (Ignore all yetzer hara thoughts, feelings, and actions and ask Hashem to remove them)

I heard a great shiur today by Rabbi Wachsman.  He calls each of us a Sinai Yid, the person you were when you stood at Har Sinai recieving the Torah.  That is who you are! 

I am so happy we have a bit more time to choose to BE our highest self.  Together iyH, we will bring down the obstacles that are blocking our final redemption.

love, aviva rus

ps. see below for what the month of Av has the power to unleash within you (taken from perek shira)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Good Shabbos!

Parshas Eikev:

Chapter 7

12. And it will be, because you will heed these ordinances and keep them and perform, that the Lord, your God, will keep for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your forefathers.יב. וְהָיָה עֵקֶב תִּשְׁמְעוּן אֵת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים הָאֵלֶּה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וְשָׁמַר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ אֶת הַבְּרִית וְאֶת הַחֶסֶד אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ:
And it will be, because you will heed: Heb. עֵקֶב, lit. heel. If you will heed the minor commandments which one [usually] tramples with his heels [i.e., which a person treats as being of minor importance].והיה עקב תשמעון: אם המצות הקלות שאדם דש בעקביו תשמעון:
That the Lord, your God, will keep: He will keep His promise to you.ושמר ה' וגו': ישמור לך הבטחתו:

What is it that we trample on nowadays?

Taking the time to see our own unique qualities, and the special ones in others.

In fact, that is who we and they are, a pure neshama.

Bottom line:

See the G-dliness in yourself.

So that you can see it in others.

In order to come to the reason we are here: Deveikus to Hashem.

How can we maintain this mode of being?

By doing our avodah.

No joke!

So let's get to it!

Call me if you have any questions on any of the material we have covered until now.

Looking forward to the geulah (at the very least from within!)

Love, aviva rus.

Good Shabbos holy neshamos!!!