Sunday, June 2, 2013

REMINDER and outline

Monday at 12 (tomorrow!!) we will iyH have class number two- together.

Call in number: 424-203-8405 access code: 535021
recording info: 209-255-1099 access code: 535021 #4#

Here is the outline of what we will iyH cover;

Bilvavi 2:

Chapter: 16: YIRAH

Fear and love of G-d

review of the four stages of avodah so far:

1. remembering there is a Creator
2. sensing His presence
3. internalizing faith in Divine Providence
4. offering tefillah for every detail of life

After having an awareness of Hashem, then start on the next stages, ahava and yirah.


Five levels: (first three are avodah for one's own sake- place yourself in the center, not Hashem)

1. fear of punishment- gehenim, and kaf hakela (turmoil for the soul)
2. fear because of one's honor- shame when pass away and reach gan eden
3. fear because of the drive for perfection-desire shleimus, closeness to Hashem
so concerned about Hashem's honor, don't want to demean it in any way
4. fear of haromemus-fear due to Hashem's greatness; while engaged in learning Torah or mitzvos
5. yiras hacheit- true fear of sin- feels all the time that Hashem is right near by, so he fears he may not be acting properly before Him.

The difficulty with attaining even number 1 (fear of punishment):

Gehinnom is in spiritual world and can only be sensed by the soul-  This type of fear is very necessary when we feel un-inspired, disconnected, and about to sin.  It gets us moving because it's the same response to save ourselves from a burning fire.  If you can, use visualization, but this can take many years to attain the fear and-

How do we safely navigate this type of fear?

Balance! Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zt'l; by delving into this type of fear, we can learn how to reach closeness to Hashem!

First ask yourself: who created gehinnom?(Hashem! when He created the world)

Who burns the wicked in gehinnom?

This is the healthy way of looking at Gehinnom is to recognize Hashem is the One Who punishes! a tool is gehinnom, so you fear Hashem in actuality- that way you are never separate from Hashem.

(read out loud the paragraph how to speak this out loud to Hashem - my book page 137/8) Ask Hashem to help you fear His punishment.

In Forest Fields: 

steps in speaking out loud:

1. gratitude
2. daily teshuva (you begin to recognize everything is from Hashem, and therefore, for the best) must do this step in order to acquire proper emunah
3. ask Hashem to give you clarity to see how it is all for the best

How can we thank Hashem for our pain and anguish? logically that makes NO sense.

Rav Nachman says there is no despair in the world....WHAT? 

Well....if we know without a doubt (EMUNAH) that Hashem loves us, we know that any aveira we may have done can be wiped away, no matter how terrible it seems, and we know that every moment Hashem is listening to us and trying to pull us close; then there is only joy and hope. 

The Torah lists 98 curses that can fall on the Jewish people if...we didn't serve Him with joy and a willing heart. (devarim 28:47)

(Yehudi- lehodot)

page 132: Educating to say thank you:

brachos and tefilah are there to heighten our sense of appreciation to Hashem.

A niggun, melody, is a powerful way to arouse our heart. (see story pg 133)

It's amazing how we call everyone to rejoice in tefilos, yet we don't ourselves!

"if only we'd sing to Hashem and thank Him sincerely, all our troubles would be null and void.  Diaspora would give way to redemption, for all of life's difficulties are rooted in out lack of joy and gratitude in our service of Hashem."

Daily: speak to Hashem, learn Torah to fully appreciate Hashem, learn halacha- absolute necessity for correction of the soul- to know what is permissible and what is not, learn emunah.

(story- pg 135)

Gratitude is what brings us to true emunah which is what makes us feel deveikus, closeness, to Hashem.  Thank Hashem for the bad too.  Everything Hashem does has spiritual value for us, cleanses the soul, and allows us to feel closer to Him.

(we see what complaining does from the meraglim)

"if a person is undergoing harsh trials and tribulations, the very best thing he can do for himself is to begin thanking Hashem, and thanking, and thanking...."(139)

Jewish Meditation:

Chapter 1:

What is Meditation?

"thinking in a controlled manner.  It is deciding how one wishes to direct the mind for a period of time, and then doing it."

step 1: don't take thoughts for granted:

exercise number 1: stop thinking; become aware of your thoughts by trying to stop them.
How long did it last?

exercise number 2: close your eyes, relax, notice kaleidoscopic flashing images in the mind's eye.  When you try to concentrate on them, they will disappear.  

exercise number 3: depict a letter A, aleph, in your mind's eye. (imaging technique) try to hold it there.

There are two parts to the mind: conscious and subconscious. One of the goals of meditation is to "gain control of the subconscious" part.  

This is why so many disciplines use breathing exercises ( consciously control the subconscious breath)

"The experienced meditator learns how to think what he wants..when he in control of the situation..resisting psychological pressures that work on the subconscious...also in control  of himself, never doing something that he knows he really does not want to do...In many schools, this self mastery is one of the most important goals of meditation."7

Looking forward! aviva rus

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