Sunday, October 27, 2013

23rd of Cheshvan

 Sorry, the line was broken so we could not have class live today.  Below is what we were going to speak about.  

Please begin to add on while noticing your two opposing wills, speaking out loud (daven) that your inner ratzon begins to emerge from potential to  actual and read chapter 27.

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh:

Review of chapter 25:

The Essence of the "I"

We spoke last week about the three wills inside of us:
1. Hashem's will
2. our will that wants to do Hashem's will
3. our will that opposes Hashem's will

When Adam Harishon sinned, the soul was placed in a situation where "good and evil are intermingled (and evil dominates over good). ...It is more difficult to remove a person from his current state than it is to keep him where he is...this is the constant struggle between the body and the soul...after the cheit the body became dominant."

Chapter 26:

First step:
-identify your inner forces - awaken through contemplation KNOW THAT YOUR WILL IS TO DO HASHEM'S WILL.

-during the time you do hisbodedus or contemplation, think about why you are doing what you are doing; is it coming from your will that wants to do Hashem's will?

- if you are about to daven or learn Torah, etc, but don't feel like doing it- say " I am sure that i really want to please You, and i believe that i have such a ratzon deep down, even thought i don't feel it!"

At first the ratzon's will be a mixture but when you work with each one to reveal it's true nature, then you can begin to work with it.

Meaning: By focusing on the ratzon to do Hashem's will (and "contemplating that the neshama contains such a will" it will begin to surface.  Otherwise, you can hardly hear your will that  wants to do Hashem's will.

Second Step:
- instill emunah in the heart through thoughts and speech: EMUNAH IN THIS RATZON

"before each action, spend a moment in thought and clarify to yourself that you have a true ratzon to do the will of your Creator by fulfilling the 613 mitzvos...

Third step:

DAVEN;TEFILLAH that this ratzon will emerge from potential to actual

"Hashem, I am certain that You have given me the ability to do your Will, but I don't feel it.  Please help me to sense this ratzon openly in my soul"

Bottom line: all of the above steps must be taken to get out of the intellect and begin to FEEL "our will is to do Your will" in our neshama.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

For next week

In Bilvavi Mishkan Evne 2:
please finish chapter 26 (we only did the first few pages) and read chapter 27

Start noticing your inner will that is linked to Hashem's will and your outer will that opposes it...

a picture that i love, reminds me of our journey with Hashem...

love, aviva rus

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tomorrow, 17th of Cheshvan at 12 NY time

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh; Book 2

Chapter 25

The Essence of the I:

Background information:

Before the sin of Adam Harishon, the yetzer hara existed externally from us. (Nefesh Hachaim)

After the cheit, it became internalized.

First step is to notice what is the yetzer hara voice inside of you and which is the yetzer tov voice inside of you.

How does this effect our avodah?

The human personality is made up of three layers:
1. Hashem's will (deepest point of ratzon)
2. the covering that is the will of "I" to do Hashem's will
3. the covering that is the will to oppose Hashem's will (chas veshalom)

If we have the same ratzon as Hashem, we feel as one and can sense Hashem.

Chapter 26: 

"Our will is to do Your will" 
How do we come to this space?

using the example of eating chocolate cake for pleasure:
 Step 1:

First, examine your two wills (ie, the part that wants the chocolate cake and the part that wants to eat healthy)

Realize the desire for eating the chocolate cake is the outer will (number 3 above).

Then, take the food in hand and say: "I know my inner will does not want this, but my outer will does...and right now i am controlled by my outer will more...I don't have the strength to fight it because my inner will is not strong enough.  Therefore, i will eat the food.  It is clear to me that my true ratzon is not to eat, but i cannot yet overcome the outer ratzon; therefore, i will eat".

This will break habitual eating.

It will make you pause and think, "Is this helpful for my avodas Hashem or not?"

Then ask yourself "what do I truly want?"

With this clarity you can begin to expose the "I" of your neshama to gradually rule over the "I" of your body.

Slowly, your inner spiritual desire will become more at the forefront. iyH.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good Shabbos!

Ahuva Faigela of our group shared this idea:
Rebbetzin Tehilla Jaeger said something she learned about the words;
 "bimheira b'yameinu(quickly, in our days)= doesn't just mean the more often implied "in our days",  but with each of our days. With each day may we utilize it to hasten Hashem's universally known glory."

Thank you! Precisely what we are attempting to do in our chaburah.  Each of us are starting to find and explore a method of connecting to Hashem (hisbodedus/ speaking out loud to Hashem, or hisbonenus/ meditation).

If you are anything like me, you will think about these ideas a lot.  The day will pass by, and you will not have done them...

Well, as we see above, each day is a new opportunity to connect with Hashem in the deepest possible way, moment by moment.

Parshas Vayeira:

I saw  (Divrei Chaim) an idea, that we should not wait for chesed (a form of serving/connecting to Hashem) to come to us, rather, we should seek it out, as Avraham waited by the opening of the tent, seeking visitors (18: 1,2).

Even more so, we should carve out a few moments in our day to re-connect to our internal self, our ratzon, and Hashem's ratzon and make sure they are one and the same, rather than wait for that time to open up for us.

Looking forward to Monday iyH. love, aviva rus



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This week's avodah:

Please read chapters 25 and 26 in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh book 2.

If you are meditating for a few minutes a day as a way to exercise control over the thought process, 
Step 1. smell something with a bracha
step 2. observe your breathing (2-3 minutes)
step 3. try mantra or contemplation (2-3 minutes)
step 4. smell something with a bracha
step 5 sit for a minute

If you are practicing your hisbodedus (speaking out loud to Hashem), here are some ideas how to do this.
(By the way, this is considered an unstructured internal form of meditation as well, since you are controlling your thoughts to be directed toward Hashem and your relationship with Him.)

1. Begin with gratitude
2. Teshuva
a. 4 steps 
b. yishuv hada'as (what do i want, what does Hashem want?)
3. first creation ratzon: "Here's how i want my day to look.."
4. second creation ratzon: "Hashem, i really just want to do your will, so i will take the steps and seuurender to You."
5. Hashem, I love you , thank You for loving me so much and for every kindness You do....which is every moment of life and breath."

please call or email me with any questions.  It is very important for all of us to be working in one of these areas (even for one minute a day)in order to progress to the next step. (

love, aviva rus

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reitza Sarah does it again!

Thank you Reitza Sarah for the beautiful card to use as "contemplation" throughout the day and for sharing your inspiring yom tov story below of how Hashem's providence is in every moment:

Erev Rosh Hashana, my husbands sister and long time love, were married. 

This was no ordinary wedding.

 The bride and groom decided to make their wedding more than a momentous occasion or a fleeting moment. But eternal- They decided to make their wedding fully halachic, while they themselves are not. It was uplifting and inspiring as a frum Jew, seeing their passion, devotion, sacrifice and commitment to do everything according to halacha. Rabbi Goldhar was at the helm guiding them ,and everything fell into place and was quite beautiful.

At their wedding, my husbands cousins family from out of town, showed enthusiasm and interest in getting our families together soon after.

"What a great opportunity", we thought to ourselves! That night at the wedding, we planned a succah party with the newlyweds and cousins and all of the kids. They all came to our succah on chol hamoed. The weather was beautiful, the kids were all smiling, the adults all sitting around the table telling over family stories, and just enjoying each others company. The cousins and their children, although traditional, did not know very much about the succah, and our children grabbed onto the opportunity by telling them about the succah, Torah, and so much more.

The evening came to an end, and I had to start preparing for the upcoming yom tovim. We made our way out of the succah into the kitchen. I had prepared the challah dough hours before, it was sitting on the counter, and everyone was curios about it. Then the most beautiful thing transpired.  I decided to include everyone in the mitzvah of hafrashas challah. 

The hour was late, the kids were already in their Pajamas,  but for some reason the excitement of doing this next mitzvah trumped getting on the road. The men even pulled out their i phones and started filming! Everyone answered amen to the bracha, listened thoughtfully as I then davened and explained more about the mitzvah. Each person then made their own challah. The moment was very spiritual,and calm, it was perfect. 

My newly married sister in law then looked up at me and said - I have never done this mitzvah before. I looked at her and something in me just felt so complete.

Hashem orchestrates from our inception each moment of our lives. The bechira we have in this world, is whether to draw closer to Hashem through his Torah and mitzvos- what my sister and brother in law did in choosing to make their wedding "al pi Torah" brought not only them, but all of us closer to Hashem. This mitzvah in turn brought my husbands cousins into our succah, introducing them to the miztvah and warmth of succos, and in turn opened the opportunity for the new kallah to partake in yet another mitzvah, hafrashas challah. This has inspired me, and will hopefully inspire our family to bring Torah and observance into their lives too.- 

love, Reitza Sarah

For next weeks avodah, please only read the Bilvavi book 2, chapter 26 and 27.  Do not do the other readings.  Something very exciting is in these next two chapters that we really have to  focus on! Thanks.  Please see side tabs for call in number for class.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Outline for October 14, Cheshvan10

Don't forget! Tonight is the yartzheit of Rochel Imeinu.

Today we saw clearly that each of us has our own way to connect with Hashem.  Our job is to figure out what method works for us.  Hence, we are exploring hisbodedus and Jewish meditation, simply noticing, without judgement, what makes us feel cognizant that Hashem is right here, right now, giving us life.


Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Book 2, Chapter 25

Acquiring Emunah by Contemplating Suffering:

Last week we discussed how we cannot understand the negative or positive events of our lives.

Our job is to realize, through contemplation, that

1. just as when good things happen, we thank Hashem and love Him, so too, when bad things happen we know they  are ultimately for our good, and 

2. the finite human mind cannot grasp the Infinite to understand what is actually a kindness; closer to unconditional love "Hashem, the Torah, and Yisrael are one.."

True deveikus with Hashem can only occur when "a person strives to transcend the conditions of creation and unite with the Creator....Emunah is the only method through which we  can have, in a certain sense, a relationship to the Infinite...then) can access unconditional love."

Set aside an hour (uh -oh...) each day to contemplate the level you are trying to attain.

-first notice how things that seemed awful turned out for the best

-check if your heart agrees with your mind
-speak out loud; "please Hashem help me feel the goodness in every situation"(feel in the heart, not just know it in the mind)
- start noticing all that is going on around you (baby in stroller crying= suffering= kindness of Hashem/ correcting a fault from previous generation)"what counts is the inner purpose behind it all. Without the suffering, a person is far from the Creator..thus, each pain that comes to a person is truly form kindness."

Types of suffering to contemplate first is the light suffering we see either in our own lives or in other peoples. (i.e, pulling out the wrong coin...)  In this way, we begin to see Hashem communicating to us every moment, and will be a more calm, peaceful, and happy person. (please read chapter 25 for next week and start to notice the small difficult moments and Hashem within them.)

In Forest Fields:185-189
Connecting to the source:

 To truly do teshuva, must learn to pray.
"Concentrate for one week on one particular issue and for half an hour or one full hour daily do hisbodedus on only that sole issue." (187)

If not, eventually will feel despair that change is not happening in your life.

"Main element of prayer: request over and over whatever you desire. Even speaking the same words "have mercy" or "help me overcome..." will have dramatic effects within a week or two. 

Also, when you get an answer you will be encouraged to continue. 

This method will help you grow even closer to Hashem. 
(please read pages 189-194 for next week)

Jewish Meditation
Chapter 7; 
"sitting and concentrating on an object, word, or idea, letting it fill the entire mind." (visual experience rather than verbal as in mantra)

Contemplation engraves the image in the mind's eye.

1. begin by using the object as a focus for unstructured meditation.
2. fill the mind with the visual image and banish all other thoughts.

Best to use the same object so the effects will be cumulative.

Know if you are more verbal or visual.  Can use mantra with contemplation.

ie. Ribbono shel olam while contemplating an object, can make the object as a link between him and Hashem, and begin to see the Divine hidden in the object. (the object is an aid, not the end in itself.)

 Two ideas for contemplation are:
1. candle flame; (in a dark room with no chadows cast on the wall) begin to see the five colors, white, yellow, red, black, and sky blue; Zohar says the blue one (spiritual essence of the light that is radiating from the candle) sees around the flame is the shechina (Divine presence)  As you get deeper into this meditation will begin to see sky blue field around the darkness.  Zohar says this is a revelation of the spiritual.
          a. this gives us experience with "black fire or radiating darkness"
           b. learn how to see auras-tzelem-Ari was able to see a person's spiritual health on the basis of the aura.

2. Tetragrammaton- yud- heih- vav- heih;
yud=10=Ten sayings of creation=Breishis "And Hashem said" occurs ten times=contemplate yud; a dot; initial point of creation; the 10 sayings that brought creation into existence out of nothingness.
heih=five= Hashem's 'hand' (vessel to hold the abstract power of creation)to give to us
vav=Hashem's power reaching out to us, wanting to give
heih= our hand reaching to receive from Hashem.

The link between the vav and last heih is very important as it is the connection between the Giver and the receiver.  Without this connection, we can't receive anything, uniting the vav with the heih makes us more aware of Divine intervention.

(read last 3 paragraphs of the chapter on the call if we have time.)

(please read chapter 8 for next week)


Friday, October 11, 2013

Good Shabbos!

Parshas Lech Lecha:

Let's pause and think about:

"Where am I going?"

"Why am I choosing this path?"

"Is it bringing me closer to Hashem?" 

Then from that space, ready yourself to greet Shabbos.

Love, aviva rus

Reminder: there is class on Monday iyH.

see post below for the avodah.

Shira has sent out a few things from

1. the halachos for when to make a bracha, when smelling something.

2. poems that a chaburah member wrote

3. information about an upcoming event, with Orit Riter 

If you did not receive these things and would like to, please contact me at or Shira at

Thank you chaburah member for sharing your writing.

Thank you Shira for the administrative mastery!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Avoda for this week

What a fun class! Thank you!

Here's our avoda for this week iyH:

Chapter 24 in Bilvavi 2 (Acquiring Emunah by contemplating suffering)
Chapter 7 in Jewish Meditation (Contemplation)
Chapter 6 In Forest Fields (pgs 185-189; Connecting to the Source)

For those of us doing 6-10 minutes a day of hisbodedus, here's how we designed it for this week (otherwise stick with your one minute of speaking out loud to Hashem with a timer/ any step you take is amazing!):


step 1:
smell something like an esrog (make a  borei minei besamim first) and connect yourself to the spiritual world then:
step 2:
1-3 minutes of breathing ("Breathing usually occurs automatically and is therefore under the control of the unconscious mind...Breathing therefore forms a link between the conscious and the unconscious...By learning how to concentrate and control your breath you can go on to learn how to control the unconscious mind" pg 5 JM); become aware of and notice your breath 
step 3:
1-3 minutes of mantra meditation (Ribbono Shel Olam - or words of your choice (chaburah member mentioned saying " Tatte, or  Ein od Milvado,")
step 4:
4-6 minutes of speaking out loud to Hashem (see recipe card below if you wonder what to speak about)
step 5:
smell something kadosh again with a bracha to reconnect to the physical world or eat something to elevate the physical.

Recipe card for hisbodedus: speaking to Hashem:

1. Gratitude

a. specific things to thank Hashem for
b. general things to thank Hashem for

2. Teshuva

a. admit, regret, apologize out loud, kabala al ha'asid (listen to class from yom kippur for this more in depth)
b. yishuv hada'as:deep understanding of why you don't want this aveira anymore:
        - what do I want?
        - what does Hashem want?
        - diffrentiate between the two and nullify my will to Hashem's will.

3.Do first creation ratzon :"Hashem, here is what i would love my day to look like..."

4.Then second creation ratzon: "Hashem, bottom line, i just want to do Your will..."

(After all, He loves us even more than we love ourselves!)

5.Thank Hashem for loving you so much!

Any questions re material, please contact me at

I can't wait to hear how it worked out for you. :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Outline for Monday, 3rd of Cheshvan, October 7

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, Book 2:

Chapter 23: 

Removing Obstacles to Conditional Love:

Step 1: believe that everything comes from Hashem
Step 2: believe that all Hashem does to you is good and for your good,(even if it doesn't feel that way)
Step 3: Begin to feel His love through happy moments or suffering ones (otherwise the suffering moments will be an "obstacle to love".

HOW can we feel Hashem's love when we suffer?

1. know that it is for our benefit, that He created us to "bestow His goodness upon us", so that is all He does, every moment, give to us from love.
2. know that there is a bigger picture that has led to the suffering (previous gilgulim,etc)and we may never know the why.
3. know that Hashem is incomprehensible to us, as are His ways, and oftentimes more information won't help, because He and His ways are beyond our comprehension.

"Taste and see that Hashem is good"- awareness of the soul:

The taste/ feeling of closeness to Hashem really cannot be described in words, a sod, that cannot really be explained.  So we see that we don't even fully grasp kindness.

The nature of the goodness that Hashem gives, is a sod.  "The sod of Hashem is for those who revere Him" (Tehillim 25:14).

Hashem's kindness stems from Him Who is Infinite, therefore, it's full depth is only grasped by those who are infinite (nobody in other words ;).

summary of the 2 reasons why we can't evaluate if something is a kindness:
1. we don't have all the details
2. we don't have the tools to evaluate what is and is not a kindness.

Rambam (Hilchos teshuva 3:2) "This is evaluated according to Hashem's understanding and only He knows".  Even in Gan Eden we won't grasp it fully.

When we see that the events in our life, wether they seem like suffering or kindness,  are all true kindness, then nothing will distance us from Hashem or diminish our joy in serving Him.

please read chapter 24 for next week

In Forest Fields: (177-183)

So far we discussed how to have self composure  in order to do proper hisbodedut.

Another important part of self composure is nullifying your will to the will of Hashem.  How would this look?

If we believe that Hashem is running the show and knows what's best for us, then whatever we are doing in that moment is the best thing for us.

Baal Shem Tov: Dovid Hamelech said "I have set Hashem before me always". 
How do we know when we have truly set Him before ourselves?

shiviti : I have set= shivyon= equality= "all is equal before me".  When the yes or no, to what we want to have or do, is equal in our thoughts, then Hashem will show us what to do in every situation. (178)

"The essence of proper hisbodedus is seeking what Hashem wants from us." (see bottom of 179 for how to ask for this)

"Improper hisbodedus really means that the person wants Hashem to nullify His will to his...True self composure means searching for and clarifying the truth, asking what Hashem wants, what he himself wants, and differentiating between the two to avoid fooling oneself.  Then..strive to nullify his will before the will of Hashem."

please read pages 185-189 for next week and follow the new hisbodedus card for the 1-10 minutes a day.

Jewish Meditation

Chapter 6: Mantra Meditation:

mantra= word or phrase repeated over and over as meditative exercise (needs a month of daily 20-30 minutes for results to become manifest)

Immediate effect= relaxes the body and can be used to clear the mind of mundane thought.

Rebbe Nachman recommended saying Ribono Shel Olam over and over again (slowly and in a soft voice), if you do not know what to say to Hashem in hisbodedus. 

Find a secluded comfortable spot and sit (without moving) in comfortable position.  When thoughts arise, gently bring your mind back to what you are saying.  When visualizations arise, see them as an aesthetic experience.

Anyone who has any history of mental illness should not do this.

This type of meditation can prepare you for a deep spiritual experiential connection to Hashem.

After the meditation, you can sit for five minutes and/ or speak to Hashem for a few minutes.

"Some sources say that after meditating, one should smell fragrant spices or perfumes, so as to reinvolve oneself in the physical world.  It is also prescribed that some light food be eaten shortly afterward, since through the blessing, the food can elevate the entire body."(62) 

Wow!...a good thing to do before we eat! 

(please read chapter 7 for next week)

Thank you Shira for taking over all administrative duties.  For information re phone numbers and recordings, please email Shira at:

Thank you! Love, aviva rus

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Good Shabbos

It's hard to believe that we are already up to Parshas Noach.  

I saw an idea on that really spoke to me about Hashem and our relationship to Him.

In Bereishis we see that Hashem created shamayim and aretz (heaven/spiritual world and earth/physical world).  That means that Hashem can be found in both the spiritual and physical world, but is not confined or defined by either of them. 

This shows us clearly that in order to emulate Hashem, we must make use of, and create, our own physical and spiritual worlds to be in harmony with each other.  Use both worlds in fusion to be G-dly.

"It is possible to spiritualize everything in life, including your own body," Rabbi Jacobson writes on his website. Meaning, we can literally create a heaven and earth that will shine with 

How kadosh (and exciting!)

Below, I am attaching a sample class given by Devorah Yaffa Singer from her Lights of Emunah workshop that will clarify the concept of First Creation and Second Creation Ratzon, that we have been speking about in terms of our hisbodedus.  (She is starting a new round of classes.  If you want to join her class please email her at:


Looking forward to Monday! aviva rus