Monday, June 10, 2013

Outline and avodah

Bilvavi 2: 

Chapter 17 The Ways to Acquire Fear of Punishment:

Gehinnom is a spiritual place so can only acquire this yirah through the neshama.

Either acquire this fear through tefillah or imagery.

In our day, the best way is through tefillah. It's in Hashem's Hand if we have fear, so we pray for His assistance in this.  We use this method, when we are trying to separate the "darkness from within itself"; if we are about to do an aveira, yirah is the method to use to avoid it.

Tehillim 2:11 "Rejoice with trembling"; "make an effort to rejoice in the fact you are suffering"- meaning 1. Hashem is giving this to the person because of love 2. this is some sort of purification

Here is what to say to Hashem : (pg 146in my book)
"Master of the world, You have given me times of expansion and times of constriction.  In times of expansion, You want me to serve You with a sense of Your greatness.   At such times, I will surely rejoice.  In times of constriction, You want me to serve You through the fear of punishment.  Master of the world, just as I know that You want me to serve You with an awe of Your greatness in times of expansion, and that will give You pleasure, so it is clear to me that You will be pleased with my avodah of fear of punishment in times of constriction."

Harav Shach, zt'l, "a person who lives with the Creator can be bound with Him even in Gehinnom!  There is no such thing as separation from Him."

So fear of punishment is actually fear of Hashem, "life has pleasant as well as difficult times, and they can all be utilized to enhance our closeness with Hashem". (see story of Rav Chaim of Sanz at end of this chapter)

Next week we will review this chapter and begin chapter 18 iyH.

In Forest Fields; pgs 139-149

"Gratitude is the most important element in personal prayer."

Begin with gratitude for fixed blessings (health, family, etc) and continue then with the blessings in past 24 hours.

"gratitude is more conducive to arouse Hashem's compassion than tears".

Gratitude leads us to the light of truth that everything from Hashem is for our good (even things that look like punishments).

So what does the Gemara mean when it says "the gates of tears are never locked"?? Sounds like it's best to pray with tears?!?!


We can begin to see that what we see as negative is 1. making us spiritually greater and 2. feel closer to Hashem.

(see author's story on his debts and hisbodedus as a result to show this point- pgs 145-149)

For next week please read next ten pages.

Jewish Meditation:
Chapter 2:
Why Meditate?

1.develop the ability to transcend the way of thinking we learned as a child/ control the mind to develop full concentration.

2. enhance awareness and perception
a. eliminate static (background stimuli gets quiet)
b.turning up the volume (what's in front of you becomes heightened)

( see examples of Braille and tibetan medicine)

3. knowledge of self (removes the veil of ego so can really know who we are!)

4. awareness of the spiritual so that we actually can have a strong experience of the spiritual. (this is what nevi'im had)

5. Highest goal of meditation : to have an experience of G-d

Please read chapter 3 for next week.

This week's avodah:
1.the readings for next week
2. five minutes a day speaking to Hashem
a. begin with gratitude of fixed things, then gratitude for last 24 hours
b. teshuva on past 24 hours
c. clarity and feeling of closeness to Hashem and ask Hashem to feel proper fear of Him since we are working on this
3. one minute a day of noticing what you are thinking.

My advice is to set a timer to make sure this happens.

Looking forward to hearing how it is going for you- thank you for all the feedback, it's very helpful.

love, aviva rus

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