Thursday, February 21, 2013

Final Countdown

The fast has begun.  

We are davening now for the lives of our klal (for the next intense three days). 

Things seem to be moving at a fast pace, yet if you slow down to breathe deeply, you can feel stillness beneath the surface.

These last three days, let's do it together.  In every moment that we are in, in every tefilah that we say, pause, and feel that connection that you have to Hashem.  In that space of quiet, don't try to analyze it, let it be and surrender all of the worry and disconnected thought to Hashem.

Remember the power of tefilah on Purim is extraordinary.  (If you can- wake up early on Purim and daven vasikin with a minyan) 

Please join me for extra Purim inspiration and reciting the entire sefer tehillim at my house at ten pm after megilah reading motzai Shabbos. (or call in to 530-881-1200 access code: 1091004#)

May all your tefilos be answered l'tova.

Have a beautiful Shabbos and freilichen Purim, aviva rus

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 6/5 countdown

(I am trying to download special techinos for taanis Esther but it's not working, so anyone that wants a copy, let me know and i will email to you.)

Yes! Amalek is trying to make us feel weary.  All around we see our brothers and sisters in painful, difficult situations.  Amalek tells us to give up and take the easy way out.

We feel covered in darkness.

BUT, the game is almost up.

We are removing the mask this Purim and revealing what is real.

It is like the sunrise, the way we will be redeemed, little by little the lights appear, and then darkness and then a fiery, blazing, blinding light. (Rabbanit Yemima/ YerushalmiBrachot 1:2)


Is Hashem among you or not?

If so, let go, and let Him lead you to the emes of who you are and where He is in your life.  

And then start making choices from there.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shavua tov!

Seven Days...

Fusion time!

Putting it all together so that it becomes absorbed in us.

Hmmm.  Let's see how we can do this:

Well, we have our vision of how we want to be on Purim: ad delo yada: this takes a complete surrender of how we want everything to be, to how the way things actually are; knowing also, that the way it is- is very good, because Hashem is running the show.  (This whole show is in order to  have a relationship with us!)

We made our goal the same as His, closeness to Him.  

We started using our thoughts, "This moment is from You, so i can come close to You".

Now, let's use this thought to help ourselves and others in a giving way.

This will be the start of our surrender to Hashem in each moment.

Please let me know how it goes for you! 

ON MOTZAI SHABBOS AT TEN PM LET's FINISH SEFER TEHILLIM TOGETHER- see below the power of tehillim on purim!)

OPTIONS: MEET AT MY HOUSE OR CALL IN AT OUR USUAL NUMBER: 530-881-1200 access code: 1091004# [] On Behalf Of

Friday, February 15, 2013

Good Shabbos! 9/8

Our goal on Purim: 

to experience the sanctuary / mishkan that we are building in our hearts, to exist in a place where we do not see the difference between good and evil= ad delo yada.

The steps we have taken so far:

one; reviewed who we are and our vision; either in our Elul plan or from a cheshbon 

and two; reminded ourselves that every single moment and everything in our lives is for one purpose- to come close to Hashem.

Today and over Shabbos let's practice with our thoughts:  

Review in our mind over and over again:

"This moment is from You Hashem, so that I can come close to You" until we really begin to feel it.

B'ahava, aviva rus

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Parshas Terumah/ Countdown Day 10

In this weeks parsha, Hashem tells us how to build the Mishkan.

On the last page of the sefer we are learning, Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, Rav Schwartz states the following:

"Even if you have the gifts of this world, such as family, it is nice, but that is not the goal!  The goal is one: to use everything in this world for coming close to the Creator!"

That's all He asks of us.  

Today, on day ten of the countdown, make your will the same as His will.

Countdown...Day 11

Amalek = safek (doubt).

Have no doubts about:
WHO YOU ARE AND WHY YOU ARE HERE, then there is no room for amalek.

When you are dressing up on Purim, you need to know first WHO you are disguising.

Complete Clarity, no doubt, no amalek.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Countdown....Day 12 before Purim

We want as little as possible to interfere with our day of tefilos  and experiencing complete serenity with no questions to disturb us on Purim (see post below).

Therefore, let's plan the practical steps now:

1. shaloch manos
2. matanos le'evyonim
3. purim seudah
4. megilah reading (do you need babysitters etc)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yasher Koach!!

Together, in the past six weeks we have finished the seforim

The Six Constant Mitzvos, Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh 1,  half of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh 2, and almost half of In Forest Fields.


What do we have to show for this?  Hopefully, a deeper relationship with Hashem.

In Bilvavi part 2, at the end of the sefer, Rav Schwartz writes that the numerical value of Purim is the same as sheilah (question) and also the same as shalev (serene), "because when one nullifies all his questions, he has true serenity. (IYH we can reach this level on purim!!!)

Rav Schwartz: "This is the deepest level that a created being can reach.  At this level, one totally nullifies himself before Hashem.  He asks no questions, but walks with Hashem with simplicity.  The closer one is to the awareness that he can have no questions, and is always happy with Hashem's actions, the closer he is to Hashem.  The further one is from this awareness, the further he is from Hashem."

That is something to aspire to indeed!  However, the main point is to know that we can be there on  Purim and begin to prepare ourselves for it over the next 13 days.

Countdown starting now.

Chodesh Tov and thank you for being a part of this journey with me.

Lots of Love, aviva rus

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final of the SIX constant mitzvos.

this motzai Shabbos iyH, 10 pm NY time
call in number: 530-881-1200
access code: 1091004#

Ask yourself two things as you go through your daily moments.

1.  Do you really want a Gd whose ways you can understand?

2. Are you pausing to see what really lies beneathe the surface of all that is around you?

Important:Please add Refael  Yoel ozer Ben Chaya Malka to your tefilos

 Bilvavi Book 1: 

Chapter 7: Closeness to Hashem

171. Avodah: reach the inner essence and purpose of avodas Hashem=deveikus
172. Deep awareness that Hashem is present in every place through a. simple contemplation (repeat Hashem is right near me)and if needed, b. studying the inner wisdom of the Torah (Rama, Mesillas Yesharim). Use thought and speech.
Hashem is present right next to me
173. Now Hashem becomes “You”, no longer “He”, realize we can't grasp Hashem mentally, only in our hearts we can feel as if we are relating to Him directly.
174. Internalize that this is “true inner life”; Orach Chaim says “This awareness it the entire greatness of the tzaddikim”
175. Train yourself to talk and think to Hashem as You during anything you do. (Tefillah is a way of achieving this direct connection to Hashem in second person)
176. Matter of habit, sounds hard but gets easier.Use prayer and also different phrases (Hashem You are here with me now, etc) during designated times and during brief free moments. May take, months or years to break through the barrier that blocks Hashem from you, until you feel at all times Hashem is with you, until death, where you will merit to be attached to Hashem as well.

Sefer: The Six Constant Mitzvos:
The sixth constant mitzvah:
Do Not Stray after Your Heart and Mind

1. How is this mitzvah unique?
2. Are the eyes and heart inherently evil?
  1. Didn't the first five mitzvos make sure we wouldn't do the sixth?


  1. Lo Sasuru is a practical mitzvah only. (235)
    By the time we reach this mitzvah we already know Hashem exists, no other force has power, Hashem is one, we love Him, and fear Him.
    But what if we are overcome by temptation because we got distracted.
This mitzvah requires us not to get distracted, to remain focused on what we already know.

2. How do the eyes and heart effect us?

Heart: pumps blood to body, heart represents human emotion (236)
most powerful force in the world. A person who feels strongly about something will pursue it relentlessly. “once emotion stirs, it is uncontrollable....must place it in the service of our superior intellect.”
Eyes: equally unreliable...perception is not objective. “We often see what we expect and want to see.”
(pg 238 examples)

  1. Lo Sasuru “makes sure we stay one step ahead of our eyes and heart and cause them to emote and perceive in accordance with the truths we internalized in the first five mitzvos” (239)= program our heart and eyes to energize us for spiritual growth.

a. heart must be guided toward some feelings and away from others (241-242) because it is not sensible.
b. eyes must be averted from seeing evil because they provide us with impulses (“I must do this now”).

The antidote: “Take your heart, and submit it to your intellect.”
(the clearer we are in our purpose, the more emotion we will generate for it) (244) and avert our eyes, avoid situations that may have temptation, and work on developing new cravings and habits in line with Torah. (follow good habits out of rote eg- Dovid Hamelech)

Use cheshbon hanefesh to monitor the eyes and heart thereby subjugating them to intellect.

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh book 2:

Including Hashem in the times of tests and difficulties:

Daven even in times of smallness and greatness_ What does this mean?
Live completely with Hashem.

(Olah is the only korban that is totally for Hashem/ we can be an olah, 248 limbs and 365 sinews- all to closeness with Hashem)

To give your entire existence to Hashem, you need a vessel- otherwise how do we return something that is separate from something else? ie, transporting water from one place to another, need a pipe.

What is our vessel? 


Hashem sends us a thought or ratzon, any that come to us we can say out loud, i know this is from You (if its a thought that disconnects us from Him, ask Him to take it back!)

Chazal teach that a persons yetzer intensifies each day, without Hashem intervening we would not be able to overcome it.

Pasuk: Devarim 6:5; "you shall love Hashem your Gd, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources." (ahava= echad=13)

all your heart:  all your thoughts should be one with Hashem- know that Hashem sends us each thought and it is up to us to return it and reconnect it with Hashem.

all your soul: (berachos 54a)even if He takes our life back to Him; the soul is bound to the Creator naturally.  So each day we need to consciously reconnect soul in a state of unity to Hashem.

all your resources: even the sparks of holiness that are hidded in your possessions, "harness and use for love and unity with Hashem".

In Forest Fields:pgs128-132

It seems difficult to thank Hashem for the terrible things that are causing extreme pain-illogical!

Yet, if we know all that Hashem does is for the best, we can use emunah as the bridge that enables us to feel at peace.

There is no despair: every cloud has a silver lining, Rebbe Nachman teaches. As we learned, a person who falls and returns is even greater than a tzadik who never has fallen. When we do teshuva out of love rather than fear, then our misdeeds turn into credits.

The ultimate purpose:

Yehudi: lehodot: give thanks:"A Jew is one who gives thanks, for without giving thanks, there can be no emunah"