Thursday, May 28, 2015

What now?

For seven weeks we counted and worked on ourselves to arrive at  that moment in time when we are all united in naaseh v'nishma, when we taste the space of inner silence and oneness with Hashem.  

Now what?  I asked myself this question over and over again, when Shavuous was over.  

In this week's Parsha Naso, the pasuk (7: 29) gives us direction: "Moshe would come to the ohel moed so Hashem could speak with him, he would hear His voice."  

We don't hear Hashem's voice loud and clear every moment (as that would take away our free will), but each of us stood at Har Sinai - 'each of us heard Hashem's voice somewhere and at some time, however fleetingly’- 

Now our job is to transmit it to 'the rest of time and space.' (Words of Wisdom, 288; Likutei Sichot, vol. 13 pp22-23)  We can pause, reflect on what we have heard, and begin to live it and give it over in that way, one small practical step at a time.

That is a noble task indeed!

I hope you had a fulfilling Shavuous!

There will be no chaburah this week.  I don't want to begin something new until all the outlines are finished and reviewed.

Have a beautiful Shabbos.

Love, aviva rus

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Outline of Chapters 7-8 of our handbook and Chag Sameach! Good Shabbos!!

Dear Chaburah Sisters,

WE ARE GETTING MARRIED!  Sivan is when we are zoche to receive the Torah- it reveals a power in us of continuous growth.  

How do we keep the teshuka (desire) for Hashem and His Torah alive within us every day?  By taking one small (even half a minute) step of avodah; whether it be learning Torah shelo lishma, doing a mitzvah shelo lishma, speaking to Hashem and asking Him to open us up to want to live lishma if we don't feel that way yet...

Rabbi Nivin recommends a. making the most out of the day before Shavuous; Malchus sheb'malchus- it has a special power and parallels all the other days, and b. learning a piece of Torah you love on Shavuous.

I am behind by one day in sending out our outline.  Please listen to the most recent class via the recording to hear the summary of the last few chapters.  

Please Hashem, let us all meet in Eretz Yisrael and receive the Torah together!

B'ahava, aviva rus

Chapter 7: Lishma, Part One:

Our “I” represents our shelo lishma, while our ability to go above our “I” represents our lishma.  Lishma, then, is the desire to leave one’s ego and integrate with Hashem instead. 

We find this power mainly in the power of Elokus (yirah which brings a person to nullify himself - when used with ahava- it can bring us to this state of desire for lishma) that is mainly manifest in our heart.

“The true desire for lishma is when a person makes room in his heart for Hashem to be revealed there.”

There are three levels:
1. total shelo lishma- no motivation for G-dliness or spiritual pleasure
2. Lishma, mixed with shelo lishma; the lishma wants G-dliness and the shelo lishma wants pleasure
3. Total lishma- removal of ego completely- the entirety of this will only be revealed in future

Chapter 8: Lishma, Part Two

Shelo lishma is a required human weakness so that we can achieve our mission = to negate it and reach lishma- become integrated with Hashem.

There are three worlds: the world of physical - we see with our eyes, the spiritual world- angels etc , and Hashem Himself.

We have three types of desires to parallel this, the physical and material, the spiritual desires, and the desire from the “yechida” in our soul that seeks to integrate with Hashem.

Four levels of shelo lishma:
1. desire for physical things, material and glory, fame etc
2. desire for spiritual things like reach hakodesh
3. desire to be attached to Hashem for ulterior motives, i.e., pleasure
4. desire to be close to Hashem because we want perfection

Perfect kind of lishma is: the will to integrate with Hashem without any reason.

From a place of hishtavus ask yourself what your real motivation is- ' am I acting because this is what Hashem wants or because this is what i want?'

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Outline Chapters 5-6 of our handbook

Chapter 5: The True "I" is Hashem

We must work on nullifying ourselves. 

Remove yourself from evil through:

1. One way is through loving Hashem (this is more direct- since you will come to love all of His creations from this love) or 

2. the other way is through working on ahavas Yisrael (this takes you out of yourself as well).

3. Stop thinking about yourself and how you  'fit into the picture'- Hashem is in charge of everything and allows us to feel our responsibility, but after we take care of the responsibility, we should remind ourselves that He doesn't need us to do it.  We shouldn't feel sad that Hashem doesn't need us for the world to exist, rather, realize that He created us so that we can come to recognize this.

4. Remember "anything we encounter serves one purpose alone: there is a Creator here, and He is perfect and lacks nothing....we perfect ourselves- when we realize how Hashem is perfect, because He doesn't need us, and He can run the world without us."

5. The point is that a person will see Hashem in everything and not himself. 

Do good: " think simply about the simple fact that Hashem exists- believe in His existence, and this very thinking will help your soul be able to nullify your "I".

Chapter 6: Time and Above Time:

Baal Shem Tov: 

All events in this world, all movements, all thoughts, come to teach us a new understanding in our avodas Hashem.

Before there was a world, there was only Hashem.  Our neshama is attached to Hashem and therefore, can experience both states of being.  

Hence, there are two ways to connect to Hashem- and we need both ways; 

1. through revealing your "I" that is attached to Hashem- and nullifying the ego (shelo lishma)

2. to connect to Hashem before you have an "I"- total silence- like it was at Har Sinai- total silence in creation- this is to focus on the fact that there is no "I" (lishma). 

The point here is to realize that we can connect to Hashem in a deep way on the yomim tovim- within time, but we can also connect to Hashem in a deep way before time, through our soul, which is independent of time.

We should not begin with number 2- because that will bring us to ignore halachos in the Torah, chas ve'shalom.  "We need to first connect to Hashem through our "I" and only after that can we connect to Him by going above our "I"".

Monday, May 18, 2015

Shavuous is almost here! Chodesh Tov!


BAMIDBAR (4:1-20) 

Oftentimes, when we strive to reach our spiritual potential, others become hostile to us, or we are plagued by self doubt.  The Torah teaches us here, that in those moments don't go to battle, rather, use the power of Aharon, the peacemaker, and use our loving kindness to neutralize or eliminate the negativity.

(Taken from Daily Wisdom pg 280- words from Lubavitcher Rebbe)

This ties into what we have been learning- living lishma-
continued outline of our handbook:stay tuned for next 5 chapters...

Geulah From Within...outline (first 25 pages of hanbook):

Introduction :

"There is a private redemption which takes place for each person who works on it; then it is given to us as a gift, just as Hashem will bring the general redemption as a gift to the masses.

First, we need to know; 
What is redemption?
What is true reality?

Redemption comes by firmly establishing in our thoughts- (without delving into this intellectually)- there is a Creator and His creations are not separate from Him (they are integrated with Him)."

Chapter 1: A Personal Redemption:

Ramchal: the greatest rule of life for man to know is that the 'his/her purpose in this world is to become close to Hashem'.  Then we can look at everything through the lens of "How will this bring me closer/ to have d'veykus to Hashem?"

Zohar: the 613 mitzvos are advice on how to achieve this goal.

When we build our attitude and thoughts to begin to live this way, we can reach the root of redemption (closeness to Hashem) and then shine this light of our personal redemption on all the details of our avodas Hashem.

Chapter 2: Personal Redemption: 
Uncovering the Root of Everything. Hashem

When we teach something in the name of the person we learned it from, we experience a feeling of the personal redemption, because we are connecting something back to its source.  However, the deeper redemption and ultimate one  will be when everyone connects everything back to the original source: Hashem.

Chapter 3: Who Will Merit Moshiach?

What is Moshiach?  It is a recognition that everything exists for Hashem.  Moshe Rabbeinu lived 'lishma'- he considered his existence only as a way to connect to Hashem.  Redemption is rooted in the ability to act lishma.  When Moshiach comes (IY'H today!) shelo lishma will vanish.  Moshiach reveals the purpose of creation and this is why it is one of our fundamental principles of faith.

Part 2:  Achieving Inner Redemption

Chapter 4: Nullifying Your "I"

Our mission is to reveal Hashem "from within ourselves".  There are many paths to reveal Hashem.
613 mitzvos and 7 Rabbinical laws= 620 way to reveal Hashem.  The Torah shows us how to reach Him, but the inner point - to reveal Him- never changes.

Perfection is when we leave our 'I'- when we realize that we don't live for ourselves and don't need to think and worry about ourselves.  "The more a person purifies his "I" and leaves the ego - making space for Hashem to enter, the more he will live with Hashem in his life, and come to recognize Ain Od Milvado- 'there is nothing besides Hashem'-".  

However, we find out who we are and build ourselves up, as a way to search for Hashem- this is lishma.  Rather than searching for self knowledge as a way to build our ego up.  In the lishma way, self knowledge enhances our avodas Hashem.  

One way to see where we fall in this area: 

"Avodas Hashem is not about you"- do these words make you feel free or make you feel sad?  If they make you feel free, you understand that you no longer have to spend the day thinking about yourself, and can focus on Hashem and His Torah, no freer feeling than that!

If you feel upset and see that you have interests in seeking inward, other than Closeness to Hashem, daven to Him that your motivations will be pure.   Since, the only way our avodas Hashem will last is when we are truly searching for Hashem and not to find our "I".

"This inner point is the understanding that all of the universe was created by Hashem for Himself.  We were created for Hashem, not for ourselves.  This point will be fully understood in the future- and that will be the redemption".

We need to have a plan how to get from lo lishma to lishma.  Then Hashem can make a miracle that will bring us to lishma.

1. Know what you want to achieve- have it in your thoughts: "How many tears a person must cry to arrive at even a small percentage of truth, to really want to be in this for Hashem and not for himself".

2. Begin with actions that follow these thoughts.

"May Hashem merit all of us to give up our self and give Him space to enter our souls, and through this, we will all merit the revelation Ain Od Milvado- there is nothing besides Him".

IyH tomorrow will post next 25 pages outline...

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Boruch Hashem we have finished our handbook, Inner Redemption- in time for Shavuous!

Iy'H- I hope to post an outline of the main points this week. 

Please email Shira at in order to receive the recording if you haven't yet.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lag Ba'omer!!

Lag Ba'omer Segulos by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi:

1. Tehillim 67 (7 times) - It's a psalm of Hod and gratitude

2. It's a day of joy and happiness (always falls out on the same day as Purim)- you cannot be sad today!

3. If you are going to Meron call me and i will tell you some other segulos for over there.

4. Ask for children "who will be exactly like Rabbi Shimon"

5. Ask for a home.

6.  Chida: Light 17 candles (gematria tov/good) - from Lag Ba'omer to Shavuous there are 17 days and we ask Hashem for good days, days during which we earn receiving the Torah."

7. Rabbi Yehonasan Eybeschutz : Lag Ba'omer is when you should repent from the biggest transgression of your life, and Rabbi Shimon will intercede on your behalf in heaven.

From Rav Schwartz: see

There is a minhag on this day to light bonfires. We don’t just light small fires like for Shabbos and Yom Tov. We light big fires – bonfires, which are called lehavah.

This shows us that we need to have a big “fire”, a lehavah, in our hearts for Hashem. If a person has this inner fire, he is connected to Lag Ba’Omer. If a person is just lighting physical bonfires but his soul is cold inside, he has nothing to do with Lag Ba’Omer.

“The house of Yaakov will be a fire, and the house of Yosef will be a big flame.” This is the inner layer of a Jew’s soul, the burning desire for Hashem. At first there is a small fire, and then it becomes a huge flame, a lehavah. When a person’s inner fire for Hashem gets big, it is then that he can integrate with Hashem.

In other words, bonfires on this day are not just superficial actions we do. It really reminds us of our innermost point of the soul, which is a great fiery desire for Hashem......

The yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai falls out within “seven days of Pesach Sheini” (just like there are seven days of the first Pesach, so is there a concept that there are seven days of the second Pesach), and it reveals a heavenly light: that Hashem is found even amidst our state of impurity. When a person is aware that Hashem is found even in the lowest place where he has fallen, he doesn’t need his “hands” to lift himself up.

If a person thinks that Hashem is Heaven while he is only on earth, and that he must ascend to Heaven – he needs his “hands” to lift himself upwards. But when a person is clear that Hashem is found in any place, even when he has fallen low, he arrives at a point of clarity in which he sees how Hashem is there at any place, time or situation. No impurity will be able to get him to have any doubts.

I hope you can join tonights call at 9! email Shira for the details.

Thank you:))