Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The KING is in the Field

"All the changes that we are looking for will not happen out there until they first happen inside.  

This means that the redemption will come through our heart, our consciousness.  

For we, our neshamot (souls), are the inner reason that Hashem created the world.  

The world exists only as a stage upon which we can meet Hashem in a very special way.  

What do we need to look for as the redemption process accelerates?  

Openings in our consciousness, knowings, realizations (at first, ever so faint).  

Eventually, the stirrings will get so strong that we will look at one another and say,  "Do you feel what I feel? Do you hear that?  Is that the still small voice of Eliyahu?  Is that his shofar I hear? 

It's starting to break through into physical time and space! The world is beginning to shake."

Taken from our summer reading: Days of Awe, by Rabbi Sutton

Sunday, August 23, 2015

outline from last night

Last night we spoke about forgiveness.

Forgiveness flows more readily when we realize

1. that the person who hurt us is a shaliach, that Hashem is speaking to us from behind the scenes and, 

2. that the person who hurt us is changing and growing (we hope) in the positive way that we are evolving!  

We mentioned that it is important to forgive ourselves for our flaws as well.  We tried a method (taught by Rav Doniel Katz) of looking at a midah that we don't like in ourselves, sending it rachamim, acceptance, and turning to Hashem and asking Him to send it rachamim- thereby, making space for Hashem within all parts of us.

We read the words of Rabbi Zev Leff: "The essence of Elul is Ani L'Dodi VeDodi Li: I must rediscover my ani- my essence, my identity as an individual and as part of Klal Yisrael.  I must also identify Dodi, Who my Beloved is; and then, automatically, VeDodi Li- I will discover that my Beloved is indeed close to me, standing at my feet, ready to embrace me.  Thus, Elul is a time of introspection and contemplation, a time of defining perspectives and roles, a time of becoming better acquainted with our friends, neighbors, and the community of Klal Yisrael."

Please add Rabbi Leff into your tefilos: Ze'ev Yaakov Moshe ben Chaya

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bilvavi: Elul

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh website-

...because Hashem continuously re-creates the world every day, He gives each person the opportunity to start each day from the depths of his soul, from a place that is totally innocent, totally pure and totally holy [thus providing perfect conditions for his spiritual growth]. 


Elul - Renewal

Monday, August 17, 2015


The Kotzker would say, 

"Where is Hashem?  Wherever you let Him in."

(Taken from Rebbetzin Heller's article 'Epicurian or Apikorus'.  She continues with this:)

"Rabbeinu Bachyei tells us, "You should be aspiring in matters of the next world."  But you have to start here, and you have to start now.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Elul is officially in full swing.  B’H.  I always feel more calm knowing that our “King is in the field” with us…On the other hand, I also feel more desperate to figure out what I need to do tshuva for and what to change, moving forward.

Looking back at this past year, it is easy to notice both, the moments I did not feel Him as deeply as usual, and also, the moments that I did (especially when we learned together!).

Klal Yisrael has lost loved ones.  We have all watched family members and friends suffer, and at the same time, joined in many simchot! B’H.   

The ups and downs sometimes left me weary and unsure- should I weep or celebrate?  It is clear that the world is in chaos in many areas.  What is my role in this? Should I become a political activist?  Or, should I keep my head down and keep plowing my own field, so to speak... 

Elul is the “deep thinking” month (See Rabbi Nivin:newchaburah.com- his Elul classes are super for the guidelines in this and if that is not an option for you right now, then it is worthwhile to join the mailing list of Rabbi Jacobson - attached below).  The first question that Rabbi Jacobson tells us to ask ourselves is: do you believe change is possible? 

Do I?  Haven’t I been attempting to change every year, yet how much have I actually changed?  This question made me pause.  

In Rebbetzin Heller’s article, The Night Will End, in Hamodia, she says; “How does your belief in Moshiach and Techias Hamaisim change your life?  You begin by asking yourself what you really want.  Do you want the illusion that Hashem is in heaven and we in the world have to “deal with real life”?  Hashem created the world to bring light to a dark place.  The intensity of the light can be seen only when you ask, “How far can it reach?”…The Vilna Gaon maintained that if you sincerely want change, you must proactively live now the kind of life that we will all be living when Moshiach comes.  This means more awareness of Hashem, more seeking His presence, and most of all, a more concerted effort to see what it is you want to happen.”

The answer is , YES, I BELIEVE IN CHANGE! Where’s the proof?  It’s in our learning together, it’s in our taking the step to grow, it’s in the desire, the will to be close to Him, even if we feel it less often than we want… After all, the results are always in His hands.

For day two of Rabbi Jacobson tells us to ask ourselves: 
In what areas of your life are you repeating old patterns?  In what ways are they damaging to you? 
Exercise for the day:
- Identify and describe one damaging pattern that you want to break in the coming year. 
- List one thing you must do in order to break that pattern.

However, I would like to add a question that helped give me clarity- What does Moshiach look like to me? How will I be (or hope to be) when he has arrived?  I like to look at physical, emotional, and spiritual areas of my life when I attempt to answer this question.

This brings me to our Elul plan together.  IyH we will resume our learning together this motzai Shabbos at 10 pm NY time.  Shira will iyH send out the phone number and recording number.  We will be learning how to answer these questions and create an Elul plan of some sort.  It will be free- flowing, bring any Elul Torah you would like to share to enhance our growth.  (Shira wrote an article on forgiveness that is beautiful, I am attaching on the bottom).

The days are moving quickly; “in the blink of an eye” has taken on new meaning to me lately.  Let’s make every moment meaningful and lasting, together.

B’ahava gamur!

Aviva Rus

For Rabbi Jacobson info: www.meaningfullife.com : 60 Day journey

For Shira’s article: email her at geulafromwithin@gmail.com (I am having trouble uploading it)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Elul is coming and that means...

We will be resuming our learning together, IY'H.

Please let me know if motzai Shabbos works for you, or if you like 6 am NY time instead.

I just read an article by Rebbetzin Heller in this week's Hamodia.  In it she describes a class that she gives, "Moshiach and the Revival of the Dead".  

The Rebbetzin's words:

"The Messianinc era isn't the stuff of sci fi.  The era will be not be a supernatural one.  It will be the very same world we know today with one critical difference:  We will be conscious of Hashem's presence.  Corruption of human nature, selfishness, violence, and prejudice will no longer be an accepted part of daily life."

As Elul approaches, let's think about how we can change something in our lives so that we are conscious of His presence - even more.  What's one thing we can do to make this happen, to pull human kind into the next era?

If you have any ideas re. what we should learn together next- that brings this concept to the fore, please let me know.  When we met as a group and meditated during the 9 days, that was one way.  When we learned a sefer together and chose an avodah to do, that was another way.  Maybe a synthesis of the two....

One chaburah member finished the sefer by Rav Sutton, perhaps she can outline the main points for us so we can review the 'Days of Awe' manuscript as well...

Looking forward to hearing from you (phone or email:aviva@aberman.net)

b'ahava, aviva rus