Monday, September 24, 2012



Have you forgiven yourself and others yet?

Well, you will know if you have because all of a sudden, all your relationships will change.

Yom Kippur is the day when the renewal of the relationships in our lives becomes etched in stone.  It is the only day that we can reach into the deepest, most hidden, part of our soul, the purest part.  It is the perfect day to rediscover who we really are (a pure neshama!) and reconnect to our true selves and to Hashem.

I see it as a day of infinite hope:

May it be Hashem's will that all of our relationships are healed.

1. bein adam l'atzmo: between me and myself: 

This year may we identify with the pure neshama that we are, and not the actions, thoughts, and emotions that try to define us as someone else.

2. bein adam l'chaveiro: between me and my fellow man:

This year may we identify others as the pure neshamos that they are, and not the actions, thoughts, speech that seem totally disconnected from Torah.

3. bein adam l'Makom: between me and Hashem:

This year may we see Hashem as our closest confidante, as the One who is holding us afloat and breathing our very life into us, as the One who is pulling us close to Him every second of the day.

Gmar Chasima Tova,

Love, aviva rus


Tishrei 8

It took Moses only 40 days to receive the entire Torah from G-d on Mt. Sinai, but it took him double that time—80 days—to win forgiveness for the Jewish people after the Sin of the Golden Calf. 

But when Moses finally returned from the mountain on Yom Kippur, the new set of tablets that he brought with him was greater than the first. The second set was carved from the depths of pain and demonstrated hope after loss—the second set was indestructible.

This teaches us that it takes much more effort to rebuild a relationship after it is broken than to build it in the first place. But when we succeed, the new structure is much stronger and it can never be broken again.

Yom Kippur, which is only two days away, is the holiest day of the year because it is the birthday of the single most important ingredient in life—hope. The hope that there is healing after loss, that there is rebirth after destruction, that we can always rebuild what was broken and make it stronger than ever before.

And Yom Kippur teaches us how we can achieve all of this—by connecting to G-d, to immortality.

This is the ultimate message that we have to share with the world as we become more and more aware that we live in a period of time when the ultimate battle between good and evil is being waged. Into this battle we can carry the message of Yom Kippur:

"Everything is possible. With persistence you can overcome any challenge and adversary. Put your faith and hope in G-d because good can and will prevail."

The Shabbat of the Ten Days of Teshuvah each year repeats this message in the words of the Torah portion read at that time:

Be strong and brave. Do not be afraid or feel insecure before them , because G-d is the One who is going with you, and He will not fail you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Ask yourself: Do you feel hopeful for yourself and for the world? Do you allow yourself to get resigned?
  •  Exercise for the day:- Inspire someone who feels broken. Give him/her hope.
    - Meditate on the words of the Torah portion quoted above.

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2012. All rights

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Aseres Yemei Teshuva and Shabbos Shuva (Return)

"Change the present now, and you will have changed the past along with it."


It is a new year! With it comes all new moments!!!! 

This week we are doing teshuva on anything that is left so that come yom kippur we are a new people, hopefully committed to living with a renewed and stronger relationship to Hashem.

In this week's parsha, Vayelech, Hashem tells Moshe to write down the Torah and  a song, which Rashi says is referring to the first 43 pasukim of Haazinu (next weeks Torah portion).

Hashem says we should "place this song in our mouths" (31:19). Why? What is this song???

It is a song of Hashem's vastness and magnificence, what He has done for us and what He will continue to do for us.  

What is the song of our own that we can offer to Hashem?

The Ksav Sofer tells us that the Torah commands us to write our own Torah. "Even if one's parents left him a Torah scroll, it is proper to write one for himself." (sanhedrin 21a).  How do we write our own? "by toiling to seek new insights on our own, so that they act as spiritual sustenance for our soul when we arrive in the World to Come".

This is our year to reveal the Torah scroll inside each of us.

Let's daven to Hashem that He show us how to shine our unique light and then of course, He will forgive us for the past, knowing we are striving to grow close to Him every moment!  After all, that is exactly what He asks of us!

I wish you a year filled with the sound of your song.

Gmar Chasima Tova.

Lots of Love, aviva rus

Thursday, September 13, 2012


My Dear Chaburah Soul Sisters, 

SO many things I want to tell you but they all lead to the same place... I really love you!

This year has been extremely special for me.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my yeud.

In this weeks parsha: Nitzavim: Moshe gathers all of us together before he dies to initiate us one last time into the bris (covenant) of Hashem.  Rashi (29;28)says that Moshe gathered us all, in order to introduce the concept of areivus-responsibility- that each of us must have for one another.

First know who you are, an eved Hashem, created to bring a certain aspect of the Infinite into the world.

Know with certainty that you are needed by the entire Jewish people and we would be less whole without you.  

On Rosh Hashana walk with a sure step and clarity that you are here for a purpose.  With humility thank  Hashem for giving you this opportunity to be YOU, and beg for a long healthy life!

You are responsible for shining your light into the world.

Second know who the people around you are (neshamos!) and help them see the beauty in Torah and the great pleasure in deveikus to Hashem.

You are responsible for helping others shine their lights into the world.

Moshe Rabbeinu allowed us this final opportunity to stand together and bask in Hashem's love.

Every Rosh Hashana, this opportunity is renewed.  

Thank You Hashem for creating us.  Thank You Hashem for this gift of life.  

May you be inscribed in the book of life; ksiva vechasima tova.

Love, aviva rus

There will be no chaburas until after sukkos, please check your chaburah avodah page to see what to work on.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

a few details:

1. Monday introductory chaburah:

 The recording number for the class that describes what the chaburah discusses and the seforim that we learn together is: 209-255-1099 access code: 535021

2. Tuesday chaburah: Bilvavi 2 and In Forest Fields see avodah page for the next few weeks.

2. Da Es Atzmecha and Bilvavi 1 will iyH meet this Thursday at 12 ny time; the call in number is:

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thank you for creating this Reitza Sarah!

(Today is the yartzheit of the Chofetz Chaim...let's watch our words  in his zchus!)

Bilvavi 2, chapter 8:

The Hearts ability to feel truths:

Constant thought enables one to recognize Hashem's existence:

We need a firm foundation to build anything in the soul.

How to begin: contemplate the existence of things in any areas (see examples on pages 53,54)i.e, sitting at a bus stop so look at a tree:  think all the way back to the first tree and how it came to be - study Bereishis to see the account of creation.

We are made up of two parts: Intellect and heart.  To penetrate the heart, need to speak its language- this is divine service "take wisdom and undertanding and see to it that they will lead to daas, the knowledge of the heart".

Instilling the truth in the heart as a father teaches his son: thousands of times a day, because our heart understands at the level of a small child. Learn Torah and also cause the "most basic truth to penetrate your heart,=there is a Creator"

Just as a child needs to grow up in a house infused with emunah, so too our hearts need this infusion.

It's a progression to penetrate the heart like Rabbi Akiva saw with the water on the rock.  We can't jump to lofty ideas.  For the heart to feel, it builds drop by drop.

When we have inner clarity about the existence of Hashem, and think of Him every half hour, move forward in your growth.

How do we know if we are there?

1. Superficial: external reminders like an alarm clock, or less external like a mental habit.
2. Deep Understanding: Wells up inside of you- to recollect Hashem.
a. mind vs b. soul- which one is speaking?when you are calm, see what thoughts arise automatically, if impure, then soul is still covered.

ask another person to check your honesty with yourself (tripod) and most important ask Hashem for help tht our remembrance of Him should not only be from the intellect but from the depths of our soul.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Reminder: Tomorrow at 945 am ny time; Bilvavi 2 and In Forest Fields

IYH, Tonight is the 25th of Elul: the day Hashem created the world.

What does this mean? How does it tie into what we are learning???

Let's discuss, review and move forward to chapter eight in Bilvavi 2.

Outline will be posted shortly.

Call in number is: 

access code; 1091004#

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Good Shabbos!

We create our own darkness when we resist our own light.

Parshas Ki Savo: 

Last week, the parsha ended by saying we should wipe out the memory of amalek.

The Baal Haturim says that only then can we achieve this weeks first pasuk: -"when you enter the land that Hashem gives to you as an inheritance.." - to enter and inherit the land of Israel. 

Amalek has the same numerical value (gematria) of the word doubt (safek).

It struck me that the Torah is telling us very clearly, in order to inherit the land, to come to the time of geulah, we must have no doubts.  

Wipe away any doubts about Who is running this world.

Wipe away any doubts of why you are here and who you are.

Hashem created this world so you can have a relationship with Him.

The most pleasurable way to accomplish this is through being your true self, a pure neshama.

Take the last few days of Elul to crush any doubt that may be left !

Looking forward to next week, aviva rus

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

HI! A few thoughts...because I miss you!!!!

First, to anyone new joining the chaburah, please email me at: to introduce yourself.  
Second: There will be an introductory chaburah (Monday, September 10th at 12 pm ny time) for all new participants, so that we can introduce/explore the seforim's material and figure out how you may want to proceed from there.  Please email me (see email address above) and I will send you the call in number.

Third:  I was thinking about Elul and how we are getting back into a routine after summer break.  Sometimes, it's hard to concentrate on anything, especially tefillah (prayer).

But I was reviewing some notes from a Rav Moshe Weinberger shiur and he defined tefillah as: 

Tefillah: the moment you contact that part of your soul that's always davening.

(Emunah pshuta (simple faith)
Rav Kook: tefillah is empty without getting in touch with this part of yourself- all that we should do as a Jew is to try to get to that constant nigun, song of the soul, the part that's constantly speaking to Hashem.)


the language of our soul is simple and clear- a siddur has the secret of the Jewish soul, ask Hashem to show us what our nigun is-
Hashem is seeking us to open our hearts and let Him through into the world

So, if each of us take one small bracha and pause before we say it, and ask Hashem: "please, let me feel the song that my soul is constantly singing, as I make this bracha..." I think that we can shake up the world with this small act each day... and IY"H experience the geulah from within.

lots of love, aviva rus 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reminder: we are not meeting this week

IY'H, Chaburah resumes on Tuesday and Thursday; September 11th  and 13th

This week in Elul: 

"Sincerely express to G-d your desire to return to your Divine mission".  (Rabbi Jacobson)

He is right here( in the field with us),  listening.