Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Updated Avodah plan

Instead of moving forward, we will review all that we have done so far (this coming Monday), discuss the avodah we have been working on, and make sure each one of us has an Elul plan.

Anyone who needs to speak with me privately, feel free to email me and we will set up a time.

For the month of Elul we are going to hone our hisbodedus/hisbonenus/kavanah skills and move forward in the seforim after the chagim. iyH.

It is best to make sure this is an integral part of us, before jumping into the next technique.

Looking forward to working with you and growing together, aviva rus

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday, July 29, 22cnd of Av

Two weeks since our last chaburah!  It feels like a year has passed!

I hope you were able to speak out loud to Hashem every day of it and had an amazing growth oriented two weeks.

Today we are learning in zchus of complete refuah for Binyamin Chaim Ben Faigie Sarah and Ruchoma Avigayil Maima Rochel Bas Rivka Penina

Bilvavi 2:

Chapter 22: Unconditional Love:

True love comes from the neshama, not from the body:

Need to sense your neshama, feel attached to it, in order to reach this type of love.

There is such a thing as loving Hashem with the body, but can only be reached after this unconditional love from space of neshama (all three parts are included in this term).

Any love that dies away with time is conditional.  In Gan Eden, no concept of father and son, because a parent-child relationship is based on our bodies. (there is love based on neshamos only but not called a parent-child or spouse love)

"True love is beyond this world...in this world it is conditional and limited...lasts for a time and then disappears."

In order to love Hashem in this way, need to transcend physical constraints.  First need conditional love.

Unconditional love comes from complete union with Hashem (ahava= echad; "Hashem, the Torah, and Yisrael are one unity".

Inherent oneness (like what you feel with yourself) won't cease.

There is an "inherent bond of the Jewish soul with the Creator and His Torah."  Rav Chaim of Volozhin wrote that we could not exist without this threefold bond.

Essence love exists where you feel inherently unified with Hashem as you feel at one with yourself.

Two levels of deveikus:
ie, marriage:
1.two people create a bond with one another.
2. return to original oneness (as with Adam Harishon)

either can feel love for Hashem but still separate, of feel total oneness in your soul: unconditional love is this revelation of the essence of the soul.

Tzadikim feel the pain of others. How? They sense the hidden oneness that binds all of our souls (Iyov and his friends were able to feel when one of them was sick, even when far from eachother)

To attain unconditional love:
Must be essentially attached to ruchnius, process of "divesting your soul from your body". This means that you still live in physical world, yet even when doing physical things, your mind and heart are attached to Hashem and ruchnios. 

This is not our normal makeup, as our body has needs and will try to lower the soul.  

 Mesilas Yesharim states that this highest  level: "starts with work and ends with reward; starts with effort and ends as a gift." Whatever we attain here, is a gift!

The journey we take to reach this level:
1. simple emunah there is a Creator, and trying to feel His presence.
2. Belief in Divine Providence
3. daven for each thing
4. conditional love
( refine your physicality with each step)

When you reach true ahavas Hashem you will also feel true ahavas Yisrael, a soul based love.  You can't have one without the other, because once you reach the space of oneness that's all there is.

In Forest Fields:
(pages 173-177)
To change a midah, requires self composure: example of over-eating

1. Objective thought: no subjective thought involved as to why it's no good for you

2. clarification of truth: knowledge of what damage it does

3. inner strength: will come from realizing it's the same as treif food

4. conviction: nothing will tempt you then!

Every time we succeed, must have gratitude to Hashem.  This is essential for reaching self composure= invokes Divine assistance for  further improvement 177.

Jewish Meditation:

The meditative schools required strict discipline and regimen.  Therefore, others opted to go the easy route and meditate to have the experience (likened to taking drugs)-"lust for idolatry".  

Once we went to galus, scattered everywhere, no discipline and regimen could be properly imposed so Anshei Knesses Hagedola made the amidah to act as a "standing" prayer, said three times a day.  Talmud verifies that the original intention that this was said as a meditation tefilah.

Read inside for the entire history of Jewish meditation and where it went.  For our purposes , know that it is an integral part of being a Jew for many centuries.

The word kavana: concentration, feeling, devotion from Hebrew root Kaven: to aim ="directed consciousness"- "allowing the words of the service to direct one's consciousness"(50).

kavanot: used to direct the mind "along inner paths defined by the esoteric meaning of the ritual"

Hisboneneuth: "self understanding" while contemplating Hashem's creations, vast universe, and oneself (Who am I, How do I fit into all of this?- understanding oneself as part of the entire picture before you).  This can bring you to profound love of Hashem.

(is this conditional love or unconditional? What do you think?)

Can begin to see yourself  and the Divine within yourself and all the world. (aspaklaria-mirror of prophecy; look in mirror and see the Divine can begin to communicate with The Divine within)

Hisbodedeuth: "self isolation" external- going to private space; internal: "isolating the mind from all outward sensation and then even from thought itself".  So this term is for any practice that brings one to a meditative state.  Eventually one can learn to blank out stimuli at will.

Begin reading chapter 23 in Bilvavi and the next five pages in Jewish Mediation and In Forest Fields
Continue the 6 minute plan of hisbodedus combined with hisboneneut.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

No Chaburah this week

Take advantage of the time and talk to Hashem!

IyH, we will resume next week and I will post the next outline next Sunday.

If you have any questions, concerns, thoughts, etc, please email me.

Shavua Tov! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Good Shabbos Nachamu!

It is clear that there IS a way out of this galus.

Unconditional LOVE.

He gives us everything, our breath, our moments of clarity, our feelings of connection and love of Him!(etc!!!) When you wake up in the morning, pause, reflect, and say thank you for this!

Your lower self and higher self are both part of your beautiful, holy, pure neshama (soul).  This means that there is light to be found even in the things that seem off.  Look deeper and elevate the part that looks dark.  Trust me, there's a light even within the darkness.

What can I say?  We are sisters and brothers.  We are one.
How can we say that we are against one another, simply because we look different, or follow Torah with a different focus.  As Rabbi Skaist of Ohr Naaveh said on Tisha B'Av "there's a reason we are in such a liberal galus." Use that liberal feeling to be liberal in love with your frum brothers and sisters!

Rebbetzin Heller clearly states that: "Irrational inborn love is inherited= the heritage of being a Jew." 

We are born with this love inside of us.  It is a part of us, as much as our soul is us!  Why are we working so hard to conceal what is already there??

These days between Tisha B'Av through Tu B'Av, we can palpably feel the love of Hashem and the love that already exists and has always existed within our hearts.  (As Rabbanit Yemima states yud plus av = 13, the same numerical value as AHAVA.)

The time is now.

Take a step, reveal a part of yourself, your love, that has always been there.

Please, let's show Hashem we are ready for receiving the geulah, and achieving the greatest comfort this Shabbos Nachamu.

B'AHAVA, aviva rus

- a magnificent shiur by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi about the power of the 15th of Av. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Post Tisha B'av

We have just mourned the loss of the closeness to Hashem and the clarity that came with it, which existed in the time of the Bais Hamikdash.


Exactly what we are learning together in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, is precisely what I heard over five speakers discuss as the method to get us out of this galus and into the GEULAH!

Ideas ranged from saying kind words to others, not being judgmental of those who look different from us- rather loving them as the Yidden that they are!, to loving ourselves; facing the darkness within ourself and finding the light hidden within so that we can love ourselves unconditionally, (pure neshamos with holy nefashos to carry out (action) Hashem's will with the aid of Ruach/speech.  

Let's look  inside and ask;  
"where am i hurting myself, taking the easy way out, judging others to avoid seeing who i really am."

For the rest of Av, use some of the six minutes of speaking out loud to Hashem and ask Him to help you discover where you  don't feel unconditional love for yourself, others, and Him and ask for clarity on how to begin to feel this type of love. 

IyH by Elul, we will be ready, with plan in hand, to bring the geulah.

love (unconditionally please!!;) aviva rus

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More inspiring thoughts by our very own Reitza Sarah

It rises slowly over the mountain top
it's light begins to glow and illuminate the darkness
we see it's rays
we anticipate it's light
we blink and it appears
as if suddenly

we anticipate and wait for Moshiach
feeling and yearning for Your presence
for Your light
for the geulah
for yeshuos, clarity, and comfort
and like the sun-rising over the mountain top he too, will suddenly appear. 

Based on a beautiful discussion with my cousin as she described the coming of Mashiach by her grandfather Rav Shimon Shwab zt"l.

Reitza Sarah :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

No chaburah this Monday, erev Tisha B'av

OR next Monday, July 22.

Please keep up the hisbodedus  (see post from a few days ago)

I will IYH, post the outline for the next time we meet in a few days.

Email me with any questions or thoughts, aviva@aberman.net

love, aviva rus :)))

Thursday, July 11, 2013

MK, thank you for sharing such potent words!

This week I had the following scenario running thru my mind about the causes of the major disconnect between  HKBH and Klall Ysroel: 
Picture a person that you love so much and are so invested in, someone you think about and daven for and whose welfare is paramount in your mind.  One day that person tells you : 
"I know you don't love me".  CRASH

You are so taken aback - you are so bewildered - You don't know where to begin.
This is not a communication problem.  You cannot fix this by saying  :
"no I do love you".

You can say to yourself that the object of my love has some self esteem issues but diagnoses don't heal.  They explain. They describe. They don't heal.
And so you realize that the very framework on which the relationship stands is corroded.  The platform cannot carry the presence of the both of you.  It has already fallen apart.  It has split into two.  Everything - all of it - was based on the certainty of the love.  That certainty was the vehicle in which the two of you traveled as a team thru the ups and downs of life.  Three of the wheels are punctured.
With a heavy heart HKBH does the tough love thing.  OK go out into the big wide world and check out your options one by one.  Cross them off your list experimentally .   Maybe someone can love you better then me.   I had hoped that what I did for you in the MIDBAR would be enough.  But you are telling me no.  The lure of the promise of control offered to you by others is strong. 
What are the kinos?  the laments of my experiments .  Oh this one turned out so bad, oh was I disappointed, Oh was the end of this one devastating.  All roads lead to a dead end.  DEAD end.  And as I close each door,  close each fascination , turn off each seduction, sign off each beckoning , I clear the mind space for my memory .
  My memory is polished , My Neshama  more heard -SHEMA is taking place.  I turn my head to see more clearly the ONE who is waiting for me with HIS broken heart at the loss of me. 
And I know I am LOVED.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

5+ minute hisbodedus plan


  • (notice general and specific things to thank Hashem for plus ask to feel His love if you don't feel it yet)
  • admit, regret, apologize out loud, kabala al ha'asid (small step to move away from the sin)
  • ask yourself internal questions why the aveira is not good for you to gain yishuv hadaas; deep understanding of why you don't want it anymore and what you do want
Ramchal's approach in italics and how to look at what we are trying to achieve through the same lens:
  • 1. Why am I here? what strengths do I have within me? 
    Why do i want to daven with kavana? how can i bring myself/strengths into the tefilos?
  • 2. Why did Hashem create me? What's my purpose in being here? How does kavana make me into a greater me (i.e, have deeper deveikus to Hashem)?
  •  3. What does Hashem want me to do in this world? 
     Does Hashem really care if i have kavana? 

    4. Have i managed to attain any spiritual attainments or have i accumulated a lot of nothing?
     is what i want a spiritual attainment (ie, what Hashem wants)?

    sum up the clarity you received and thank Hashem for it.

    When you finish hisbodedus, it may be helpful to have a notebook around that you can write thoughts into so you can begin to incorporate some insights you may have received.

    Thanks for your patience with the new number, your feedback, insights, and ahava!

    Love, aviva rus

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Reminder: This Monday, Rosh Chodesh Av chaburah at 12 ny time iyH

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh book 2

Chapter 21:

Hashem's love for us and Our love for Him:

Seeing Hashem's love for us inspires us to love Him:

Unconditional love can't disappear- it's inherent.

example: man dying of thirst, stranger walks by and gives him a drink, the giver is giving out of a love for human being, the second feels love because he received what he really needed.

Conditional love is reciprocal, but within every one of us there is a hidden love for Hashem that can be awakened by first internalizing how much He loves you. 

Therefore, we use conditional love (review our acquisitions, our limbs, our abilities, our emotions- more internal than possessions, "the more you feel you are receiving from Him, the more you will feel His love", when saying brachos feel Hashem's love, when learning Torah...)

Everything Hashem gives us is because He loves us.  It is why He created us.   Eventually, come to moments that even without thinking you will call out from your soul - "Hashem, You love me!"

Daven to be able to feel Hashem's love more and more and not just know it's there.  

"ahavas Hashem should fill a  person..a feeling that naturally flows from the heart...must come to define your very being; it is your very existence...if your ahavah is for Hashem, your vitality comes from Hashem Himself."

Next week please read chapter 22.

In Forest Fields; (pgs 169-173)

We do hisbodedus with teshuva daily so that if we sin between one day and the next, the sin does not become repetition and chas veshalom lead to harsh judgement.

What if every day we do teshuva for same thing and see no change in that behavior?

We are missing yishuv hadaat (self composure) and complete clarification of the truth.

This means that somehow we have not taken the time to clarify why we are here and why that particular behavior is an aveira to the point that the truth is vividly clear to us.

(Derech Eitz Chaim by Ramchal: ask yourself these questions daily:1. Why am I here? what strengths do I have within me? 2. Why did Hashem create me? What's my purpose in being here?
 3. What does Hashem want me to do in this world? 4. Have i managed to attain any spiritual attainments or have i accumulated a lot of nothing?)

If we take Ramchal's idea to our issue at hand it would look like this: (use example of doing teshuva on lack of kavana)
1. Why do i want to daven with kavana? how can i bring myself into the tefilos?
2. How does kavana make me into a greater me?
3. Does Hashem really care if i have kavana? 
4. is it really a worthwhile attainment?

When we go through these questions with any aveira we want to get rid of, what this does is give us clarity and self composure so that when the chance to do that aveira comes up, we are less likely to fall into it.

Homework: read next five pages and add these four questions into the teshuva part of our hisbodedus, see below for full recipe;)

Jewish Meditation:
Chapter 5: Jewish Meditation (40-44)

The goals and results of Jewish meditation are different than other meditative disciplines.

What we know from Torah:
1. meditation was central to nevuah
2. a navi usually had first time nevuah in meditative state, after that he could have "flashback" = adept at higher levels of consciousness through meditation/ then had spontaneous nevuah.
3. From time Torah was written until 400 BCE, meditation practiced by large number of Bnei Yisrael
4. Meditative schools set up to attain closeness to Hashem (side effect was sometimes prophecy) these schools were led by master prophets who were trained by the neviim quoted in tanach (primary prophets)- strict rules and discipline
5. other schools opened to teach meditative experience- that was not Torah based
6. When we were sent to galus, the schools closed and meditation was made into a process in tefilos so that it wouldn't veer off into avodah zara. 
please finish the chapter

the reading
hisbodedus- see recipe on next post

Gut Chodesh! love, aviva rus

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Good Shabbos Mevorchim! - chodesh AV...

Graphics: Reitza Sarah
Inspiration: TMD aka Tammy

What can we do to hasten our homecoming?
Ask Hashem in your 5-6 minute daily conversation.
On Monday, I want to hear what insights you have, iyH!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New International Phone number for our chaburah

Please email me at aviva@aberman.net for the specific country's number that you need and for the new number.

"A person must be very stubborn when it comes to the serving of G-d" Rebbe Nachman

Fight for the belief in yourself and your ability to connect to Hashem!

Love, aviva rus