Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Last War
Kislev 25, 5774 · November 28, 2013
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe, Rabbi M. M. Schneerson

Some people are waiting for a final, apocalyptic war.

But the final war is not fought on battlefields, nor at sea, nor in the skies above. Neither is it a war between leaders or nations. The final war is fought in the heart of each human being, with the armies of his or her deeds in this world.

The final war is the battle of Chanukah and the miracle of light.

-Rabbi Freeman

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

CHAG SAMEACH! Mazal tov on finishing the sefer.

"Geulah is not a destination you can see by looking in front of you, you can only see it by looking inside of you." (so when we stare at the candles let's ask Hashem for the clarity to see what's really within....)

I saw something based on a lecture given by Rav Yitzchok Kirzner zt'l about the magnitude of change that can take place within us through lighting the menorah.  
As Aharon Hacohen was approaching the menorah to light it in the Mishkan, he paused, because the image of the eigel (Golden Calf) rose before him and he felt he was unworthy to light the menorah.  Moshe Rabbeinu understood why he paused and said, to him, 'once you have repented, don't look back, rather, move forward'.  Aharon found the strength to move forward and that strength carried through into the Chashmonaim as they searched for oil, and now has carried through to us, their descendents.

Let's do teshuva on the past, then leave it behind, so that as we light the candles we can reclaim who we really are,  and who Hashem created us to be, His people.

Special segulos for Chanukah,
as told by rebbitzin yemima mizrachi:

  • This is the holiday that emphasizes beauty. It is a mitzvah to beautify the Chag as much as possible, the most splendid menorah, the best decorations….

    • Use olive oil, but not just the regular kind, the best one: the one you would use to dress your salad and cook with. And the reasons are...

    • You’ll merit children that have a great memory, consuming olive oil helps you retain your memory

    • Children who are wise/smart, as oil rises above water

    • Children who have great eyesight, they will be able to see things with a clearer perception…

  • Chanukah comes from the root word: chinuch/חנך and it is at this time in particular that your reflection is one of love and approval towards them, a successful child is one that sees love and acceptance in the eyes of their parents

  • Mothers should not say to their kids, during Chanukah or at all, “I am tired” or anything in correlation to ‘I am tired ..not now’. This makes a child feel like they are not important and a burden to their parents and is very hurtful to them and so even if you are tired, and who is not… don’t tell them this

  • The mitzvah of the women after lighting is not to move, I repeat Do Not Move, after the candles are lit. Sit there and gaze at them for ½ hour, but again without moving, talking on the phone, getting up, or anything…. This is very hard but Rebbi Nachman from Breslov says that as hard as it is to sit and not do anything, so is the size of the yeshua you will get by sitting. But sit there and daven, pray for all and everything…

  • At the beginning of creation, Hashem created light, a very strong powerful light, that was so holy that the world would not have been able to withstand its’ holiness and so he ‘shrunk’ it, so to speak. And reduced it to what’s called “the hidden light/אור הגנוז”. This light in its’ full capacity will be revealed, B’H, in the future to come.

  • But in our days, the sparks of this light reappears to us under 3 different circumstances and they are:

    • When we daven/pray from a siddur, when we meet one of the 36 hidden holy tzadikkim of our generation and when we light the 36 candles of Chanukah. The sparks of this light give us the ability to ‘see and better understand’ Hashems’ ways. Adam HaRishon was able to see the entire world from one end to the other with this original light of creation and so we can perceive Hashems’ ways a bit better and clearer when we encounter the sparks of this light.

    • By davening we touch this spark and can better understand what Hashem is asking of us and we can get clarity on certain issues and suddenly have insight on issues that we are perplexed about. By meeting with one of the 36 hidden tzadikkim we also will touch this light by getting advice and direction from the mouths of these holy souls. And by gazing into the Chanukah lights we will get a mini glance into the understanding of Hashems ways. If you look you will see the ‘reflection of Hashem’ in the lights of Chanukah. Daven next to these lights and do not miss this opportunity to touch the ability to better understand things in life….

  • After the ½ hour has passed, and the candles still glow, every time you pass them by stop for a moment and pray. Don’t just pass them by…

  • The Father of the holy RamBam, zt”l had said that one should not belittle the power of frying soufganiot in oil. Use plenty of oil, don’t be skimpy, it is a segula for parnassa. But unless you want to make the local baker wealthy, you must fry them yourself and eat them as well. Better to be rich and fat, I guess then skinny and poor…. you choose… Anyway, it’s the utmost importance that you make them, you fry them and then you say the bracha of “על המחיה” at the end, which mentions the מזבח which is of course of most relevance during Chanukah.

  • On the last night of Chanukah traditionally called זאת חנוכה there is a segula/a special energy that you may tap into for women who wish to conceive, ask from Hashem that in the merit of the eight days of Chanukah you shall celebrate B’H a bris milah on the eighth day for your son, Amen! Look at the candles and ask Hashem to give you a child….

  • For all of those who are single or know of someone who wishes to marry, here is one for you: on the Shabbos of Chanukah, you must first light the Chanukah candles and then the Shabbos candles. After both are lit, glance at them both and ask for a zivug, your marriage partner.

  • חזרה בתשובה/coming back to teshuva: in particular when it comes to our children. On Rosh Chodesh Tevet, on the eve of lighting the Chanukah candles there is an auspicious time for teshuva. On this day Yismael did teshuva and so the power of the day is teshuva. And if Yismael did teshuva certainly we can tap into that energy and ask Hashem to bring back our child/ren to teshuva just as Yismael did, the son of Avraham Avinu, עליו השלום. It is also a custom to light a candle for Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNess on this night, זכר צדיק וקדוש לברכה.

  • Always light the Chanukah candles in your home, even if you know you will out and/or lighting elsewhere. Lighting the menorah invites Hashem to visit your home and that is something you do not want to miss….

  • When you are outside and see the different menorahs displayed in glory, you are buying emunah and bitachon/trust in Hashem. You are ‘buying’ into miracles, look at them…

  • Anyone in need of healing of the mind/בריאות הנפש the word נפש stands for נר פתיל שמן and so during Chanukah there is a segula to ask for healing of the soul/mind and to look at the flame of the candle in its’ entirety and to recite Psalm 30: מזמור שיר חנוכת הבית

  • Ask for Mashiach all throughout Chanukah. משיח is hinted in the words: מדליקים שמונה ימי חנוכה

  • Whoever saw bad images, immodest images, frightening images; you or your husband and/or your children through movies or in real life, looking at the candles of the menorah will erase them from your hard drive memory or those in your family. Ask Hashem to erase them in the merit of the holy flames…

  • Donate tzedakah every night before lighting the menorah, it is a segula for your prayers to be accepted in favor.

  • There is great relevance in singing Maoz Tzur.

  • Last but definitely not least; ask for a miracle, a Big miracle in the merit of Chanukah. Ask for something that you think is impossible & that will be considered a miracle if it happens... Ask that Hashem to release those wrongfully imprisoned: Yonatan Halevi ben Malka Pollard, Shlomo Halevi Mordechai ben Rivka Rubashkin …

May we merit to see wonderous miracles this Chag and always and may we merit to witness the most precious miracle of all: the coming of Mashiach במהרה בימינו ברחמים, אמן

Hashem please send a refuah and yeshua to every one of Klal Yisrael!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Good Shabbos!

This Monday, at 12 NY time, will be our last meeting until after Chanukah.

Please contact me with any question you have, if you cannot be on live.

We will iyH finish sefer Bilvai Mishkan Evneh 2!

Remember our avodah this week! 

"For those who believe in the Creator's kindness, there are no questions.  And for those who don't believe, there are no answers."  (Rebbe Yaakov of Radzimin)


Last part of chapter 27!

How do we know when we are at this level of yearning only to do Hashem's will?

We will stop feeling emotional pain from our problems in life.

Chavakuk: "the righteous man lives through his emunah", = the inner sense of emunah, no questions.

"Emunah makes a person calm and serene his entire life!"

The goal is one- "I shall walk before Hashem in the land of the use everything in this world for coming close to Hashem."

IyH we will read the last two pages out loud.

Looking Forward!

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Avodah!

1. Finish Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh 2 (WOW!)

2. Continue noticing your inner wills -Hashem's and your will that wants to do Hashem's will (without judgement if you listen to them or not!)

3. Instead of asking questions about why...?, ask: how can i deepen my relationship to You, Hashem, from this experience?

4.  Begin with simplicity= yearning to do Hashem's will.

Please call me or email me with any questions.  I'm passionate about this material so i would love if we all understand it in the deepest possible way.

Thank you!

aviva rus

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"If one man can kill six million Jews, then one man can save six million Jews." Rav Noach

IyH, We are about to complete our sefer.
In it we have learned the steps we can take to reveal who we really are, from the inside out; becoming the one man that can save six million by beginning within.

I was looking at the final chapters in Bilvavi 1 and Bilvavi two and i think something amazing is about to unfold before our eyes.  I hope will be as life changing for you as it has been for me B'H.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts...

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, book 1

"One should understand that the purpose of everything is the awareness of Hashem's presence nearby... One should know that this avodah is not as difficult as it may seem at first.  It is a matter of habit.  If one will accustom himself to follow our instructions with simplicity and consistency, he will definitely earn the privilege to live this way."

Section 8


When you feel you have attained the feeling that Hashem is right near you, the next avodah is hiskalelus in the Infinite:(3 steps)

1. simple emunah in the concept: "Hashem and Yisrael are one," until you sense it in your heart (not intellectual thought) feel as if "i am part of Hashem"

2. Only deal with the i/self as required to fulfill Torah, and make a daily spiritual accounting.  At all other times one's thoughts are only on Hashem, not on the self. (can think about created beings in order to acts of kindness etc, essence of soul is absorbed with Hashem= deveikus has an i that cleaves to Hashem, but hiskalelus, one is not involved with the i, only with Hashem.

a. contemplate the greatness of Hashem, His actions, 

b. simple thought about the existence of Hashem. (a person is where his thoughts are:become integrated into Hashem when thinking of Him- no complex thoughts here)

3. attachment to the concept of "there is literally nothing else other than Him"

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, book 2:

Chapter 28: 


Doing without questioning:

We all have questions in life but the truth is the "whole world is one big question.

1. a mortal cannot understand Hashem or His ways.

2. we are here for a limited time, let's use every moment to serve Hasehm and He has not commanded us to ask such questions (waste of time!)

Comprehending that I cannot comprehend:

Our hearts want to understand, so in the beginning, we ask questions and give answers.  THIS IS NOT THE GOAL, just a way to calm the heart while you are on the path.

A good question could be; what should i learn from this thing that happened to me, in order to grow...

However, this avodah begins with understanding that we cannot understand and this is the opposite of our heart's deepest desire to be a lev meivin (understanding heart).  So this is a nullification of a creative being's natural yearning.  "To the  extent that one nullifies himself and literally becomes his emunah, he is no longer a separate creation, but rather an agent of the Creator."

Many people say they see they don't understand but in their hearts contradict that statement!

"Be simple- with Hashem your G-d"

The simple person yearns only to do the will of Hashem, even without knowing the reasons.

Next week, we will iyH finish the final few pages, discuss how this all ties into Chanukah, and make a plan for how we can use the lights of Chanukah to ignite this feeling within us in the deepest possible way.

Monday, November 11, 2013



It is brought down by Rav Chaim Vital who quotes from the Sefer, “Bris Menucha” that in the 9th year of yovel, in the 9th month of that year –which is Kislev, on the 9th day of that month, in the 9th hour of that day; and in the 9th minute of that day-it is a tremendous eitz rotzon.-the shaarei shomayim open up for all bakoshos- everything and anything. 

Tomorrow, Tuesday is that day at 1:44- 1:53 pm Israel time, from 6:44 to 6:53 a.m NY time/ (5:44 to 5:53 AM Chicago Time)  according to Rav Shmeul Halevy Wosner, shlit'a.

If you are awake, call in to the chaburah phone number and we can say tehillim together.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Reminder- tomorrow at 12,

We will iyH finish chapter 27, discuss the experiences we had so far with this avodah, and plan our final chapter/ siyum B"H!

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Book 2; 27

Examining the inner truth of the lishmah:

1. first the yetzer hara tries to convince us to act shelo lishma so we have been doing an avodah to become aware of the different wills inside of us

2. then the yetzer hara will try to make us think that the act is lishma even if it isn't!  

This is a lifetime struggle - as there will always be elements of self interest.  If you detect none, you are living in a fantasy world.

The search for truth - the avodah of our life:

What should we do to know we are finding the truth?

There is only one thing to do: EVERY DAY examine your actions while davening to Hashem "Master of the world, maybe I am in error! Set me straight on the true path".

"on the one hand, a person needs to work with a definite path, but on the other hand, he must suspect that he is in error."

Let's discuss this more tomorrow iyH, aviva rus

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

our avodah for this week

 Please finish reading chapter 27 in Bilvavi 2.

Please start working with this avodah. 

Step 1.  Know intellectually that there are three wills inside of you and that your true one is to do Hashem's.

Step 2. Feel in your heart that your will is to do Hashem's will.

Step 3. daven to internalize and  feel your true will.

Step 4. pick a midah that you want to work on.

Step 5. Before acting to do that midah, PAUSE, 

Step 6. Notice why you are doing it and what Hashem's will and your inner will are(eating because hungry and need energy or other reason...)

Step 7. Ask Hashem to help you feel  your true ratzon.

Step 8.  Either do the midah or not, but at least you are now doing it consciously.

Step 9. (thanks to chaburah member advice below)) Commend yourself because the steps are all we can do, the results are up to Hashem.

Eventually we want to come to the place of hearing our inner will so clearly that our outer has no hold over us.  

We are davening for the clarity and strength to become total lishmah in our service of Hashem.

Please call or email me with any questions! aviva rus

 Here is how one of our chaburah sisters works with this avodah- she also added that if moshiach comes before our siyum, it can be at her place in Eretz Yisrael (THANK YOU!) I underlined some crucial parts that i always forget to do in this avodah:)

"When I started this exercise, I found this hard and very slow.  If I could remember ONE time a day to implement it, I felt it was a success.  At the end of the day, I tried to go over different things that happened during the day and replay them using this exercise until eventually I found myself thinking through the steps as I made my decisions.

I also came at it a little differently.  I would stop and ask myself FIRST: will this act bring me closer to Hashem or will it improve my avodas Hashem or will it make it easier to serve Hashem? or not?

THEN I would ask myself: do I really want to do this? (What is my neshama’s ratzon) It is obvious what my outer ratzon is.

Next I try to strengthen my inner ratzon. If I cannot overcome my outer ratzon, I look to see if there are other options/compromise.

no matter what the outcome, I commend myself for remembering and delaying the decision to give me time to work. "

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rosh Chodesh Kislev; Good Chodesh!

Tommorrow there will be class iyH.

We will iyH review chapters 25, and 26 and begin chapter 27.

Here is the outline for chapter 27, see previous outlines for the other chapters (and the side tab for phone numbers).

Chapter 27: Proper and Improper Motives

Contemplating each ratzon:

Three wills inside of us:
1. Innermost: Hashem's will (the point of Shechina that rests in the neshama)

2. inner will of the "I"; = "our will is to do Your will"

3. outermost: opposite of Hashem's will, chas veshalom (nefesh habeahaimis and yetzer hara)

We must become intimately familiar with each of these layers inside of us to properly work on our midos and deepen our relationship with Hashem.

ie, anger: examine each act
1. clarification: which will wants the anger
2. daven to Hashem to do the proper and sincere deeds (also identify the positive acts that are performed with the wrong motives)
3. perform each act lishmah: through transition period

Take one step at a time, begin with lo lishmah and slowly mix with lishmah, until eventually it is mostly lishmah, until one day iyH, totally lishmah. (we cannot jump levels, no short cuts...too bad :()
Daven that the lishmah becomes the predominant force.

 (let's read paragraph on page 234 strengthening the power of lishmah in the soul)

Looking forward, aviva rus