Monday, December 28, 2015

The pinhole we mentioned on Motzai Shabbos...

from Daily Dose
No matter how much you distrust 
your own sincerity 
or question your motives, 
there is no trace of doubt 
that at your core 
lives a divine soul, pure and sincere.
You provide the actions and the deed
—just do what is good.
She needs no more than a 
through which to break out 
and fill those deeds with divine power.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Our avodah together is IYH-fanning the flames...

Waking Up G‑d

A spark of G‑d slumbers within, as a flame hushed within the embers.
Will she awaken from ideas? 
They are only more dreams to sleep by.
Will she awaken from deep thoughts?
 She is smothered yet deeper within the ashes.
She will awaken when she sees her Beloved, 
the One Above with whom she is one.
And where will she see Him? 
Not in ideas, not in deep thoughts, 
but in a G‑dly deed that she will do, in an act of infinite beauty.
Then her flame will burn bright.

( words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman.) 

In 5648 (1887) my father was elected gabai (an official) of the Chevra Kadisha.1
 As was customary he was led on Simchat Torah in procession to the shul 
accompanied by a throng. 

At that time he said the maamar beginning "Ein H.B.H. ba bitrunya." 
The conclusion was: 

Even the great minds who are here must lay aside their intellects 
and not be ruled by their reason and knowledge, 
for they are susceptible to being misguided by their intellect 
to the point that their end may be a bitter one. 
The essential thing in these times of the "footsteps of Mashiach" 
is not to follow intellect and reason, 
but to fulfill Torah and mitzvot wholeheartedly, 
with simple faith in the G-d of Israel.

Compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Translated by Yitschak Meir Kagan    

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Exactly what we are learning...FUSION of our thoughts and feelings-

"This is the advantage we human beings have over the other mammals: 

Their brain and heart are on a single plane, but we stand erect, 
living in two planes at once.

We have a mind above, looking up to the stars, 
and from there all things begin. 
We have a heart below, 
pumping life into the mind’s vision and drawing it into the real world.

When their roles are lost, 
mind and heart become a marriage from hell. 
When they work in harmony, nothing can stand in their way."

From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. Subscribe and get your dose daily. Or order Rabbi Freeman’s book, Bringing Heaven Down to Earth, click here.

Review of the idea of our "I"- ego- (from the Inner Redemption handbook)

Tevet 10
Fast day. Selichot (p. 356). Avinu malkeinu (p. 277).
Torah lessons:
Chumash: Vayigash, Shishi with Rashi.
Tehillim: 55-59.
Tanya: Yet the vitality (p. 29)...of flesh and blood (p. 31).
From the Tzemach Tzedek's answer at yechidus: It is written, 
"Let the wicked leave his path and the man of sin his thoughts etc."1 
Aven (sin) is the same as on,2 meaning power and strength. 
Just as it is imperative that the "wicked leave his path," for without teshuva 
it is impossible to approach the Sacred,3 
so must the "man of strength," one with unshakeable confidence in his reasoning,
 "leave his thoughts." 
He is not to insist, "I say so. This is what I think;" 
every "I", ego, is a source of evil, a cause of divisiveness.

Yeshayahu 55:7.
In Hebrew spelling, but using a different vowel.
See Tanya Ch. 17, p. 73.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Information about what we are doing in our Motzai Shabbos chaburah, our avodah, and some bonus shiurim

 This week, we will IyH meet on our regular telephone conference line, on Tuesday and Thursday night at 930 pm NY  and Wednesday and Thursday morning at 630 am NY time (in addition to the motzai Shabbos chaburah). These four calls will be a maximum of ten minutes and will not be recorded- an opportunity to do our avodah together.

In our chaburah, we are learning 'Experiencing the Divine' by Rav Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, along with 'Getting to Know Your Feelings' and 'Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh' by Rav Itamar Schwartz.  

At present we are working on thoughts and how they effect our feelings- the moment of choice and how we can choose to sense Hashem in the moment by attaching our thoughts to Him and then, acting from that place of deveikus/attachment.

 We are also learning more about feelings and how they are in constant movement.  "Our emotions help us identify change..." They help us identify the movement (in our thoughts and in our hearts) that we are traveling (tahalich) from one moment to another.  We are using this information to learn how to use the da'as of the heart in order to sense Hashem in an even deeper way (IY'H).
 Below is a shiur given by Rabbi Schwartz for the women's chaburah-  how to speak to Hashem every minute (we have been discussing how to do this by beginning with gratitude - even for things we don't have yet that we want, then doing teshuva, then giving it all up to Hashem- telling Him that in truth we really only want to do His will).  If you would like to join his monthly women's group- please let me know.

As always, please see for phenomenal shiurim about the Tenth of Tevet. 

If you have any questions or would like a copy of any of our material, please email Shira at:

Love, aviva rus

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel lighting Chanukiah
Pictures truly do speak louder than words.

How badly do we want to serve Hashem?  What step are we going to take?

This Motzai Shabbos, we will IY'H speak about the miracles in our own lives that we have seen to date (this has been our homework for the past three weeks- noticing Hashem's hashgacha).  That part of the chaburah will not be recorded.  We will thank Hashem publicly (on the call) and then see how our learning ties into the candle lighting and the power of Chanukah.

Then, after Chanukah, IYH, we will be meeting to do our avodah 4 times a week.  Each of you only have to call in to two of those 5 minutes.  2 of the times will be at night (9:30 pm NY time) and 2 of the times will be in the morning (5 am NY time).  These calls will not be recorded as they are our actual avodah.

Please email me or Shira with any questions.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Outline of the final two chapters 13 and 14 of our handbook!!!

Reminder: We are IY'H meeting this motzai Shabbos at ten.  Shira emailed the phone numbers out.  Thank you Shira!

Chapter 13: Leaving the “Egypt” Within and Experiencing the True Redemption
(Adapted from Sefer Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh on Pesach)

(I am only outlining the part that is pertinent to our discussion of Geulah from Within- please see the whole chapter to understand how it ties in more completely to Pesach)

There are two kinds of da’as: a. feminine kind= da’as of feelings and b. masculine kind= da’as of the mind/ the expanded vision

(As we said in the chapter above yesterday) The inner way to look at reality is to see everything as one.  Thus, the redemption is all about unity/ achdus- the ability to leave the selfish “I” so that there is no divide between the individual and Hashem- self absorption prevents the revelation of unity.

How do we acquire this higher da’as that is hidden from us, the kind of da’as which unifies the many different types of da’as that everyone has?

“The main part of the redemption is to be redeemed from one’s selfish ego…the purpose of the redemption is that everyone should recognize Hashem; it is about revealing Hashem, not revealing one’s “I”…This is the depth of ahavas Israel, which is the secret of the final redemption…you leave your ego for the sake of integrating with the rest of the Jewish people… to integrate in unison with Him, who is the only One Who exists.”

Chapter 14: How You CAN Leave the Exile:
(Adapted from the drasha "Bein HaMitzarim, 018 From Exile to Redemption)

Hashem is called makomo shel olam, "Place" of the world.  He is the true "place" that we need to connect to.  We have to leave our connection to the good and evil mixture in this world and connect to Hashem.  We can leave the exile right now and gain da'as by connecting to Hashem wherever we are.

Ain od Milvado: There is nothing besides Hashem:

To understand this we need to nullify our "I"- erase our ego completely: go from ani ("I") to ayin (nothing).

How do we nullify our senses, our sense of self/ "I"?

Through emunah: realizing that our senses are only part of a bigger picture and there are infinite things above our comprehension, then we leave our view from the space of our senses and instead attach to the Ein Sof of Hashem.

There is a special chamber in the Heavenly chambers for those longing to become integrated with Hashem- work on realizing more and more Ain od Milvado.

But you can't get there by thinking about it- only through deveikus= a soul experience.  This chamber is actually the inner chamber of Moshiach because at the core of the Torah is Ain od Milvado.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Outline of Chapter 12 of Inner Redemption Handbook by Rav Schwartz

Chapter 12: Redemption: Nullifying Your Self 
(adapted from Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, Vol 8, Chapter 12)

The humility of Moshe Rabbeinu: he negated his “I”, recognized it- but chose to lessen his ego rather than enlarge it.

The humility of Moshiach: he doesn’t even consider the “I”= absolute humility- knowing the only “I” is Hashem; Ain Od Milvado consciousness (Seforim Hakedoshim say this level will not be completely attained by anyone until the end of the year 10,000- but each person can access this somewhat, according to his level)

In summary: two types of avodah- 

1. a reality of working within the “I” - lower one’s sense of self and think about lowliness of human being and strive to grow spiritually step by step  

2.   a reality above the “I”- leaving the “I”- “redemption of the soul- when a person never thinks about himself and doesn’t live for himself- this is really the secret implication of the term ‘lishma’, (acting for Hashem’s sake only)…

The avodah of this 6,000 year period, (termed neshamos) is for us to connect to Hashem with our neshama.  It is to purify our souls- through divesting ourselves of the body, as well as purifying the soul itself as we draw our “I” closer and closer to Hashem-…avodah of the light of Moshiach (also known as Elokus) is to realize there is no “I”- completely integrating with Hashem”

The humility and mesirus nefesh of Moshe Rabbeinu has a different definition than that of Moshiach.  Moshe is personified by his da'as- great comprehension merited because of his humility- the humility of Moshiach will reveal new depth to humility and to the meaning of da’as /the da’as of hishtavus- no need to unify and separate- because everything is already unified.

“The humility of Moshiach will reveal that there is a Torah above one’s “I”, a Torah of complete Elokus.  The Torah of kabbalah, entirely Elokus, is thus the secret to the redemption….from the actual view of Elokus, the “I” is totally our of the picture.  This is actually the secret meaning of the redemption.”

a. deeds- realm of asiah
b. midos- realm of yetzirah
c. thoughts- realm of beriah
d. return our “I” to its Source- realm of atzilus- to connect ourselves to the state of nothing but Hashem- this is the depth of teshuva.

Mesirus nefesh, humility, and teshuva are all synonyms for having no “I”.  

In this higher avodah (Elokus), the Torah is all an expression of how to negate one’s “I”, to return to the “I”- Hashem.

Shabbos of the future: year 7,000 begins a period of “a day that is entirely Shabbos”- an eternal rest- the only movement will be our “I” =da’as- moving to its root- this is really a rest, but we perceive it as a movement because we are in the 6,000 year era of movement and all that we understand is movement.

Before the world: Hashem’s endless light filled all of existence.  Then, Hashem created a space, called chalal = an empty space, and then Hashem created Adam Kadmon.

Why did Hashem need to empty out a space to make the universe? to show us that each step represents an avodah:

1. Before creation= total integration with Hashem

2. chalal= we are able to access a state in which there are no creations, just empty space= no sense of “I”, a state of nothingness (Elokus)

3. Adam Kadmon- a person works with his “I” (neshamos)

The Fiftieth Gate:

“Through “denying our I” we use the 50th gate of Holiness to rectify the 50th gate of Impurity (for  a person who denies Hashem)…The light of Moshiach is thus essentially for us to use the 50th gate of Holiness…the holy usage of chalal…to go above the “I”, above the Adam Kadmon.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Deepening our Emunah and Changing our Tefilos...
The Power of our Chaburah!- B'H!

"A ladder was standing on the ground.1

" Prayer is the ladder that connects souls and G-dhood. 

And although it stands "...on the ground,"
 the start of davening being no more 
than acknowledgement, yet "its top2 
reaches the Heavens"3 - a state of total bitul

But one reaches this level through
 the prior attainment of comprehension
 and understanding4 inherent in 
p'sukei d'zimra,5 in the 
b'rachot of sh'ma and in sh'ma proper.

Bereishit 28:12, Yaakov's dream.
I.e. the "peak" of davening, which is the silent devotional amida (or shemona essrei).
This is the concluding phrase of the verse "A ladder etc...".
Of G-dliness.
"Verses of praise," second section of Shacharit. Siddur pp. 30-42.


Droshos - Empowering Yourself To Survive Evil

And Yaakov went out of Beer Sheva and he went to Charan…” Rashi states that on that night he slept but until then he did not sleep for the 14 years that he learned by Shem and Ever. When Yaakov came to Lavan, he worked for 7 years for Leah and 7 years for Rochel, which also added up to 14 years. Then he traveled for another 6 years.
The 14 years which he served Lavan for were parallel to the years he spent in yeshivah. Not only did he study in the yeshivas of  Shem and Ever, but he also totally immersed himself in his studying. When Yaakov left, he needed to develop the power to survive Lavan. He was leaving his home to go to a place of evil, the house of Lavan. In order to survive it, he would have to prepare for it by learning Torah.
The fact that he grew up in the holy home of Yitzchok and Rivkah wouldn’t have been enough to protect him. In order to survive Lavan, he had to learn Torah for 14 years. He needed to become an ish tam yoishev ohalim (“a wholesome man who sits in the tents”) and only through that could he go outside to face evil.
The Ohr HaChaim said that in Egypt, we reached the 49th level of impurity, and had we remained there for even one more moment it would have been the 50th level, which is impossible to exit from. In the final exile, we will sink to the 50th level of impurity, and it will be naturally impossible to come out of it. The only way to exit will be through the power of Torah. Only the Torah can take a person out of the worst levels of impurity. In Egypt we didn’t have the Torah, so we had to get out before it was too late. But in the exile, at least we have the Torah, and that will take us out of the impurity we are in.
When Yaakov left his home to go to Lavan, he needed a strong kind of holiness that would be able to counter the evil he was entering, and that was why he went to go learn Torah beforehand. He gave himself the tools to fight with. If one learns Torah, he can go out into the world and survive. If not, he doesn’t have a chance.
We are now deep in the 50th level of impurity. But we have a power which can counter all the evil we have seen. However, it is still our choice if we will connect to it or not.
How can we face the evil of the outside? I am not referring to the outside world, to the streets. I am referring to the outside influences that have entered the private domains of our homes.
There is no home which does have a corpse in it.” But Hashem saw that we will go through all this. He saw that we will be surrounded with impurity, and that even those who try to keep the Torah will be influenced. He gave us a power to deal with all the impurity. We have free choice to use it.
What is that free choice we have?
Firstly, it should pain a person about how the world looks today! When you walk in the street, your heart can be broken inside about the situation of Klal Yisrael today, and our own personal situations as well.
One of the Sages said [about the coming of Moshiach] “Let him come, but I don’t want to be there when he comes.” The Sages didn’t think they could survive our times, because their spiritual feelings wouldn’t be able to take it. Only us, who are not so sensitive to spirituality, can survive these times, because it doesn’t bother us that much anyway. A person today says “Baruch Hashem, there is a lot of Torah learning going on, there are many people sitting and learning. There aren’t as many yeshivos and gemachim as there are today!” True. But this won’t be enough to help us counter all the evil we are facing.
“Go my nation, go into your room, close your doors behind you….until the wrath passes.” Hashem placed us in this situation in which the world is so impure - but He gave us a plan too.
The Chofetz Chaim already said 100 years ago that the world can’t survive anymore if Moshiach doesn’t come in his time. We are 100 years after that.
The true kind of life can be gained by anyone in any place, as long as he chooses so
There is a lot of Torah, but how much truth is there, and how much heart is there, how much escape from falsity is there? How enslaved are people to the outside world? What is the level of connection that people have with Hashem, a true bond with the Torah? There are a few exceptional individuals who possess special souls. But it pales in comparison to the general situation of most people.
These words are simple and clear. There are no novel ideas here at all:
The true kind of life can be gained by anyone in any place, as long as he chooses so; whether it is man, woman, or child. It is not too far from us; “the matter is very close to you.“  But we must make it our desire.
This week of Parshas Vayeitzei (5771) will soon disappear, and never come back again. Some people will say that the words here are too harsh, and others will say that it’s talking negatively about the Jewish people, and others will say that the words here are true. But what will happen after all this? What will change? Everything just goes back to routine. Only Moshiach will be able to change the situation of the masses. But each person, individually, can make a choice.
Every moment, one has the choice to decide if he will truly connect himself to Hashem and to His Torah, and to understand that This World is really Gehinnom – no exaggeration here. That’s the reality now. In the Next World, even in Gehinnom there is no impurity. On this world though, which is very impure right now, it’s a much worse Gehinnom than the Gehinnom upstairs.
There are many Baalei Teshuvah today, who have left behind their entire past and upbringing, so they could change over. Are we, the Bnei Torah, also capable of leaving everything behind? Can we make such changes too…?
We need to return to the way the Chofetz Chaim lived, to the way the Ben Ish Chai lived, to the same life of purity and holiness which they lived with, and not to stay with the false kind of life this world lives.
It means to abandon the styles of dress today, the conduct of today, the slang of today, the desires of today’s times – and to return to what we really should want, to what our forefathers wanted.
Some will say that “If you’re right about all this, then why aren’t the Gedolim speaking about this? Why are our Gedolim letting things continue the way they are?” Someone once asked Rav Elyashiv zt”l why he doesn’t give mussar to the generation. Rav Elyashiv said, “If I would tell people what I really want to say to them, do you think there is even one person who will listen to me?”
There are generally two kinds of people today. Some people feel that “Our generation is wonderful, even better than the previous generations; everything is great. Sure, we need to improve on some things, but overall, everything is great. This is the way it should be.” Others, though, are aware of the truth, but they feel that “There is nothing we can do to change the situation. After all, we don’t live in the desert – we live in civilization, and we have families to take care of. I cannot be the Avraham Avinu of this generation and be different than everybody else. What should I do already about it?!”
This is a good justification – it’s a good defense. But the answer to this is: “Do we have an inner world inside us which can counter the outside world we are in?”
Yaakov learned by Shem and Ever before he went to Lavan. In order to prepare for Lavan’s trickery, he had to learn Torah. He had a good excuse for not having to learn – his parents told him to go there to find a marriage partner. He knew that he had to go there, because his life was in danger from Esav. But he was still going to the home of Lavan, who was full of impurity. He knew that in order to survive it, he will have to learn Torah for 14 years.
In other words, he developed his inner spiritual world to fortify himself so that he could face Lavan’s evil. He went to the beis midrash and truly learned Torah there, immersing himself there. He didn’t just go to a big beis midrash and learn Torah there over the phone. He went there to truly learn Torah, so that he could gain the spiritual strength to fortify himself. Of course, it was still hard for him after that. But he developed the power to at least have a chance to withstand Lavan.
It seems that the outside world can provide vitality. After all, we see that many people delude themselves into thinking that the outside world has what to offer.
If someone has real and deep chiyus today, and is connected in mind and heart to the Torah he learns, and is connected to the mitzvos he does, then he is connected in mind and heart to Hashem. Such a person has a chance of fighting the evil of today’s times.
But if a person is not getting enough chiyus from Torah, mitzvos, and from the One who gave the Torah, he doesn’t stand a chance of being able to win over the evil in today’s times. He will lack the tools to succeed in overcoming the evil of today.
The intention here is not chas v’shalom to cause you to despair or to become depressed; rather, it is meant to help you become aware of how to fight the war against evil. When you go out to war, you need to know how to prepare, and to recognize how the [spiritual] war keeps changing. The [spiritual] war today has changed in the last couple of years. Today, in order to survive the outside influences which have also crept into our homes is by developing our inner world.
This does not mean inspiration, which comes and goes. It is referring to the inner depth about life, to be connected to what truth is.
I will tell you this: I myself have a very hard time talking about this, for two reasons. The first reason is because the inner essence of every Jew (unless he is from Erev Rav) is that we are a holy neshamah; it is just that the garments covering our neshamah are not always proper. It’s like a person who has a child who goes astray, and he has to separate him from his other children; it is painful, even though he knows he has to do it.
Even more, the very fact that there is evil in this world is already a difficulty. It’s much easier to sit comfortably in the beis midrash and learn Torah pleasantly, reveling in the joy of chiddushim – than to have to talk about the outside world, which is full of evil.
I don’t know at all if the words spoken here will be of any use to you. But perhaps if it will help even one person change and realize the truth - not because I am saying it, but because the person himself has come to that conclusion, and he will truly decide to give himself over to Hashem and to His Torah - through that, perhaps the person will be able to survive the world.
I am sure that at least two or three people, or more, will say about this that the words here are too extreme and that they are far from how to understand our current situation. But if there is someone here who doesn’t have a heart of stone and his eyes can see a bit clearly, and he’s not enslaved to his desires – he sees the truth as it is.
If I insulted anyone here with the words I said here, I ask forgiveness of you. If the words here helped anyone here, then that is my entire reward.
May all of you have a good week and merit good tidings.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tapping into the power of Kislev as a group!

Rabbi Pinchas Winston:

"Considering what has to be done to turn the situation around in favor of the Jewish people and redemption, it is more than overwhelming. 

There are so few people involved with the task, and they have very limited resources. 

Naturally-speaking it would be logical to shelve the idea and focus on smaller and more practical goals at this time.

Not necessary, as the GR”A revealed:

The accounting is such that the miraculous aspect constitutes a higher percentage of the outcome than the other aspects. When it comes to deeds concerning the footsteps of Moshiach, especially deeds performed by the community, the Gaon maintained that Heaven’s miraculous help is far greater than the measure-for-measure account. 

At times, the help of Heaven is 1,000 times greater. (Kol HaTor, Ch. 5:3)

The upshot of all of this? A few people can accomplish for redemption many more times than their natural ability should let them. 

Limited efforts can have very dramatic results. 

As the verse says:
The smallest shall become a thousand, and the least a mighty nation. I, God, will hasten it in its time. (Yeshayahu 60:22)

This says it all. A few people working on behalf of the Final Redemption will have the impact of a thousand people, if not more. More importantly, God 
will turn their efforts into redemption, making sure that the Final Redemption not only comes, but that it comes on time."

 Thank you for sending this Reitza Sarah!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hashgacha Pratis...Reminder of what we are learning in the chaburah...

"Today's Day"

Cheshvan 28
Torah Lesson:
Chumash: Tol'dot, Shishi with Rashi.
Tehillim: 135-139.
Tanya: To understand the (p. 597) ...on Pekudei.) (p. 599).

The concept of Divine Providence is this: 

Not only are all particular movements of the various creatures directed by Providence, and not only is that Providence itself the 
life-force and maintained existence of every creature - 

but even more, 
the particular movement of any creature is in general terms 
related to the grand design of Creation... 

The aggregate of all individual acts brings to completion 
G-d's grand design in the mystery of all Creation.

Ponder this: 
If the swaying of a blade of grass is brought about by Divine Providence and is crucial to the fulfillment of the purpose of 
how much more so with regard to mankind in general, 
and Israel (the people close to him)1 in particular!

Tehillim 148:14; Siddur p. 36.

Compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Translated by Yitschak Meir Kagan    


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Outline of Chapter 11 : Inner Redemption Handbook

Chapter 11: How to Merit a Good Year: Coming Out of Your Ego

( Adapted from sefer Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, Yomim Noraim, Chapter8)

How can we escape the confines within our own soul? (not just our physical confines; parnassa needs etc)

Coming out of your confines means to come out of your narrowness and instead expand beyond yourself.

Reb Yisroel Salanter: “True righteousness is when a person leaves his confines and expands beyond himself, and he isn’t self absorbed and only worrying about himself.” (The shofar is compared to a cry in the Gemara because it is only a mitzvah when it comes from the small end - narrow confines- and releases into the larger end- we each sign our own decree- the narrower a person is, the narrower his income, health, and happiness)

We need to realize that there is no such thing as a “private” life.

When we stop thinking only of ourselves, we will come to serve Hashem perfectly.  The yetzer hara tries to convince us to just worry about ourselves.

“The Nefesh Hachaim writes in the introduction:  A person was not created except to help others.”

It is impossible to completely eradicate self absorption but the Gemara says we should combine shelo lishma (ulterior motives) with lishma (pure motives). (eg, when you learn Torah, give some of the z’chusim to others so that it is not just for your own benefit; give tzedaka to help others not just to gain respect or because you know your parnassa will increase as a result).

Hillel said, “What you don’t want done to you, do not do to others.”  How can this help our relationship with Hashem though?  When we give up something for someone else, we will have more self control when it comes to sin, we will get used to nullifying our desires and stop thinking only about ourselves.  When this happens we will automatically have a deeper relationship with Hashem.  

This is a slow growth process.  Take a minute a day to think how you can give for the sake of giving, how you can help someone with no  ulterior motive.

“If a person takes these words to heart, then just as he will learn to worry about others, so will Hashem worry abut him, measure for measure.”

Below is from Atara who lives in Ramat Bait Shemesh:

Things here are progressively getting worse.... Please take the time to watch the amazing video below and pass along to anyone who cares. It shows the strength of the people in Israel who just want to live in peace...while the Arabs just want to spill Jewish blood.

from Rabbi Schwartz

Pearls of Torah - 020 Hisbodedus Now

There is a spiritual dimension of reality, and a physical dimension of reality. The spiritual reality is currently mixed up and confused and lacking clarity because it is so mixed up. There is almost no beacon of light visible, except for a few rays of light here and there.  When this almost total confusion carries over into our physical dimension, it manifests in our physical world as the confusion and chaos that we see. As long as everything looks fine in this physical world, the spiritual world cannot be revealed. But, when the physical world becomes overwhelmingly chaotic, mirroring the chaos in the spiritual dimension, then the confusion increases until the physical dimension finally explodes.

When the physical dimension in front of us finally explodes, Moshiach will be revealed.

An additional reason for [the chaos now] involves the concept of hisbodedus.  Throughout the generations, most of the wars fought were between nation and nation.  But in the last few years, we can see in Israel, as well as outside of Israel, that there all kinds of wars.  The people fighting in Syria are a gathering of many people; they are not the nation of Syria alone, rather, they are a combination of many different nations who are fighting each other.  The depth of this is that we are living in a generation of “the individual” in which each person fights alone.

Yaakov Avinu fought alone with the angel, and this reflects the holy kind of being alone, which is hisbodedus.  This is the generation of hisbodedus and, therefore, we have a unique ability to tap into this innate power of hisbodedus.  But the evil kind of “alone” is the evil kind of individualism which we see rampant in today’s time, in which each person acts individually, for evil purposes [doing their “own thing”].

A person in this generation must separate from their surroundings and live internally, alone with Hashem. The light that is created by the individual can of course shine onto the rest of the world and raise his surroundings in holiness. Practically speaking, a person needs to live internally, alone, just him and Hashem.
So, when should a person do hisbodedus? Will he wait until the grave to be alone…?  Chazal explain that Gog and Magog will merit burial. In order to survive the war of Gog and Magog (the final war), one must be “alone” (to live internally with Hashem), in order to merit the meaning of “And Yaakov fought alone, until the dawn of the morning.” Before the final redemption will be the war of “Yaakov fought alone …” [Each individual needs to persevere until the dawn of the morning.] One can be involved with his environment, of course, and help people, but he must build his internal world, so that he will be able to survive the war of Gog and Magog. The war which we are in today, in the world and especially in Israel, is a war reflecting our struggle of the hisbodedus we do.
May we merit the coming of the dawn, in which the recognition of Hashem will shine completely, may it come speedily in our days, Amen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Outline from Inner Redepmtion continued...

Chapter 10: Knowing Your Soul- A Personal Redemption:
(adapted from sefer Da Es Menuchasecha, Chapter 6)

There are two ways to look at something:
1. superficially- a partial view
2. an inner kind of vision- seeing the whole picture from above

To attain the second kind of vision, one needs calm and quiet= living with inner silence (can be compared to looking inside and ocean of still waters versus number 1- which is looking through crashing ocean waves).

How can we leave all the confusion?  If we are controlled by our emotions, the only way to get free is by a helper who is not trapped by emotions.

When we learn how to separate ourselves from the need for emotional excitement- we can begin to see from above.  Then we can see our own soul- as well as the souls of others.
(This is why many therapists can’t help, since they are viewing from inside themselves, and cannot see the picture from above).  

“All problems, physical or spiritual, are really because people don’t understand their souls….Right now we have to work hard in our avodas Hashem…In the future, we will all see the big picture.  Ramchal writes that the purpose of the world is to reveal Hashem’s ways and this will be when Hashem shows us the big picture of everything….When a person succeeds in knowing his soul, he will experience a personal redemption.  The secret to all of avodas Hashem is inner silence.  Through inner silence, we can reveal our soul.”

Reasons we may be lacking inner silence: (Please reflect on what is destroying your inner calm)

1. weaknesses (destroys our menuchas hanefesh) or talents (can distract us form being balanced)
2. desires- running after things
3. rapid actions- working fast- causes lack of menuchas hanefesh
4. amazement: constant highs in emotion causes a disconnect
5. too many roles: doing too many things even for good causes

6. thinking too much and loud noises (even speaking to someone who is very nervous)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

INNER REDEMPTION (handbook by Rabbi Schwartz)

Chapter 9: 

Sacrificing for Hashem

There are two ways to die al kiddush Hashem:
1. either by literally dying (like Rabbi Akiva)
2. or, through mesirus hanefesh: to potentially be willing to give up your life to attain a certain spiritual attainment.

One must be willing to give up one’s current level in avodas Hashem to achieve the next level.  In truth, we are gaining the real kind of life from this (without moving forward  to the next level, we are as if dead!)  

We cannot live in both worlds at the same time; if you still feel like you can live without the next area in avodas Hashem, then your  “I” is getting in the way of your growth.

Mesirus hanefesh, the willingness to let go of our ego to achieve the next level in avodas Hashem,  will then reveal Hashem within our soul.  Hashem will then help us, from within, achieve the next level.  We cannot achieve anything on our own.  “If not for Hashem helping a person, it would be impossible to overcome.” (Sukkah 52a)

Without realizing that is is better to be dead rather than to be alive and not grow spiritually- a person will never be able to really acquire any matter in his avodas Hashem….There is a private redemption that can take place in every individual Jew’s soul.  Just like Moshiach will come in the general redemption and will be someone who has no life to himself and is all about mesirus hanefesh for Hashem, so too each individual Jew can strive for his own personal redemption and have mesirus hanefesh to give up what he wants for closeness to Hashem.”

Hashem breathed nishmas chaim, breath of life into us.  This is the G-dly source of vitality found in our souls.  Therefore, with mesirus hanefesh we will find that we are not actually giving anything up, we are giving back to Hashem what is His in the first place: by revealing our life force through mesirus hanefesh we bring a revelation of the G-dliness that Hashem placed into us.

Our avoda is to realize how the life-giving energy in every creation comes from Hashem.  In fact, we will come to see that we are not giving up for Hashem, we are returning to our essence- nishmas chaim.

How do we know which level we are on?

Ask yourself, :'Am I..."
1. giving up for Hashem- but feel deprived doing so
2. realizing all of life comes from Hashem -so giving up for Him (gratitude/love)
3. realizing I have nothing to give away to begin with.  Hence, revealing through mesirus nefesh my life force ("without mesirus nefesh life is not a life, but death”)

“Chazal state (Shabbos 151a) the when Moshiach comes one of the changes will be that there is no more free will”.

How does this relate to inner personal redemption?

"If a person reaches the inner point in himself- he realizes the truth, that he is not ‘giving’ anything to Hashem….we have nothing to ‘give’; all we can do is reveal Hashem’s existence….”

Free will means “ I am choosing to give to Hashem”.  With the personal redemption we will see that we have nothing to ‘give’ and we will recognize that everything belongs to and is Hashem.  Each of us have this power within,  to give ourself up for Hashem, willing to die for Him if we must, in order to attain more closeness to Him.

“May Hashem merit the entire Jewish people that we be inclined to serve Him, and that we should quickly merit the truest revelation of all- ‘ And Hashem will remain, alone’- as a personal revelation in each of our souls.”