Thursday, September 29, 2016

When the Shofar is blown

Hashem is literally blowing our neshama into us- close your eyes and feel it- then, offer it back up to Him- "Hashem. I offer it back to you- show me how to use it to me mamlich You- to make You my king".

Written by: Moshe Pruzansky:
Rosh Hashanah is known in the Torah as “Yom Teruah(Bamidbar 29:1). Do you know the definition Teruah? In Parshas Balak, Rashi defines the word Teruah as “love and friendship” with Hashem (Bamidbar 23:21). This is what Rosh Hashanah stands for. May we all sincerely re-devote ourselves to Hashem and rejoice at the great opportunity that we have to honor, coronate and reconnect with our KING.

Shana Tova!!

Aviva Rus

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

25th day of ELUL

The world is being created anew....
 A New moment- A new day- A new year-
How do you envision yours?
Anything you can do to make it happen?

Looking back at what I had envisioned this past year would be like- I see that my vision was limited. 

Thank YOU Hashem for giving me so much more than I could ever have imagined, including the seeming difficulties and low points.  I would not be who I am today without them.  Each of you have been a part of this journey with me (sometimes three times a week when we did the avodah!).

B'H we have learned a lot together this past year: "Getting to Know your Soul", "Getting to Know Your Feelings", "Experiencing the Divine", and more!  Who could have imagined that we would learn so much? 

IY'H we will be learning "Reaching Your Essence" by Rav Itamar Schwartz after Sukkos; we will be delving more deeply into inner silence.  

Here's hoping to meet you at the third Bayis...

Kesiva Vechasima Tova!  

Love, aviva rus

Monday, September 26, 2016

Anticipating 5777

                                    (Thank you Yehudit for sending this our way)

Special Segulot For Rosh Hashana
By Rebbitzin Yamima Mizrachi

• It’s vital everyday not to get angry, but in particular on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, this is the day the Jewish people are judged, the gentiles are judged on the second day. On this day there is strict judgment in Shamayim and it is a must not to get angry at all, not even to think in an angry way. Don’t invite guests that you know will ‘push your buttons’ that you will not be able to control, wait to host on the second day. Don’t get stuck in worry, anger and definitely not in sadness. The way the year begins, is the way it will flow the coming year. Don’t allow yourself to speak badly.

• Before sitting down at the Seder look at everyone’s eyes and bless them each individually, feel forgiveness for everyone around you. Allow love and peace to enter your heart. Everyone should say a ‘L’Chaim’ out loud and bless each other with complete simcha.

• The Rosh Hashana the table should be filled with an abundance of colors, different types of foods.

• Apples & Honey: Use red apples, it is a segula for a zivug, to find one’s soul mate/shalom bayit and for getting pregnant. It is an eit ratzon, special holy time, before eating the apple, smell the apple and ask for whatever you want. It was at this time that Ya’akov received the blessing from his father Yitzchak. When he smelled Ya’akov he smelled the fragrance of Gan Eden, of the apple, and even though he was undeserving of the bracha, due to the fact that it was supposed to go to Esav, he still received it. Ask for anything you wish.

• Pomegranate & Rubia: Ask Hashem to bring out your potential. We all have never ending potential, do we use it all? Ask Hashem for help. Just like it’s hard to take apart the seeds, please Hashem help us realize our potential and be who we are meant to be.

• Leeks, Beets, Dates: Ask Hashem to take away any feelings of resentment, anger, bitterness towards anyone.  Ask Hashem to help us throw these feelings away from ourselves and remove them from our heart. Ask Hashem to enable you to be able to rebuild your feelings and relationship with these people.

• Fish Head: Ask Hashem that you should lead your household and not anyone else (like our children who tend to control us…) when looking at the fish, ask Hashem to protect you from the evil eye.

• All throughout the seder, ask Hashem to make your home a palace: You the queen and your husband the king, your children the prince/princesses. Ask Hashem to make you all children of the King, this requires us to act like children of the King, meaning again: DO NOT GET ANGRY, WORRIED, DISTRESSED, be royal.

• Get up early on Rosh Hashanah; this blesses the coming year with ease. A year that your wishes will be fulfilled quickly. Try to postpone your afternoon rest until after 1:00 PM.

• It is vital to daven for parnasah on Rosh Hashanah, according to Rav Dessler ztk’l. This proclaims that we trust in Hashem and know that everything is from Him. Ask to be a giver of tzedakah.

• Very important to dress festively, even wear white and be HAPPY‼️

• Before hearing the shofar accept upon yourself: V’Ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha (Love your neighbor as you love yourself).  If you hold a grudge towards someone in the shul, the shofar will not be able to ascend and sweeten the judgments.

• During the Shofar:  Think of the following: Resurrection of the dead, that Hashem can revive anything that has ‘died out’ in you be it physically and spiritually. Don’t talk during the shofar blowing. Think about all that you want to be. We are being reborn!

• Very important to shed a tear during the shofar and to wipe the tear over your forehead (to wipe away transgressions {AriZal zt’l}). This serves as a shield for the entire year against any bad things i.e. illness. Whoever is able to shed a tear then can be rest assured that she is being judged at that moment and if she comes back to teshuva at that point, she will be blessed with a good year.

• During the first blow of shofar, take one particular transgression that you did and ask for forgiveness. During the second blows of the shofar, the shevarim, hurt/cry for those who are in pain and in sorrow, i.e. the families of terror victims, the families that lost their loved ones, those who are ill…

• During the next set of blows accept upon yourself a new mitzvah: tznius, tefillah, tzedakah… The intention should be in your heart without uttering a word.

• During Musaf prayer when the chazzan says the word ayeh, you can ask for one of three things, whisper to yourself: 1) Parnassah 2) Ruach Hakodesh 3) Righteous Children

• Once we hear the shofar on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the judgments are lessened and sweetened and there is less stringency in Shamayim.

• Don’t eat anything sour or spicy on Rosh Hashanah, only sweet foods.  Everything that you do makes an impact on the entire year. Don’t use walnuts or black grapes.

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Other Segulot:  
1) Prepare the seder table early in the afternoon, it is a segula that no troubles will come upon you the entire year, B’H.
2) Try to do ta’anit dibur, not to speak, the morning of Rosh Hashanah (speak only words of Torah). If possible fast as well; this way 1/3 of your transgressions will be wiped away.
3) Candles for Rosh Hashanah: before lighting give 18 of ‘something (coins, bills) to tzedakah: 18 cents, 18 dollars, etc. This serves as a pidyon nefesh. Ask Hashem that if something bad Chas V’Shalom is supposed to happen, let the tzedakah stand as a protector against it.
4) Buy a new knife and use it on Rosh Hashanah eve to cut open the challah and apple. It is a segula for a long life and for parnasah.
5) Bake Challahs: Bake it in the shapes of a circle.
6) Birkat Hamazon: The first one said on Erev Rosh Hashanah say it with enthusiasm and joy, it is a segula for an abundance of parnasah.
7) Recite the following perakim of Tehillim Alef, Beit, Gimmel and Daled before sleeping on both nights to prevent bad dreams.
8) Buy a new dress/clothing for Rosh Hashanah. Intend on this new article when reciting the bracha of She’hechiyanu.

Also it is the yahrzeit of Sarah Imeinu on the first day of Rosh Hashana, light a candle and daven in her zechut that we should all be zoche to be wonderful wives and mothers as she was a true tzadeket…


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Good Shabbos:)

Here we are- in the field with Hashem.
Do you feel Him it's just you and Him-
As one?

As you know, I have been busy learning from Rabbi Doniel Katz, over the past few months.  He is teaching us how to sense our true self- our neshama- and how to live from that space- exactly the Geulah From Within!

How do we know when we are getting close?

When our answer to the first question (do you feel like it's just you and Him?) is "NO, I feel like it's me and Hashem and every other neshama united".

Unconditional Love

Good Shabbos, 
Love, Aviva Rus

Thursday, September 8, 2016

ELUL...The KING is in the Field

It's been a looong time since I have had the chance to sit down at my computer.  I have missed our chaburah and all of our learning and really can't believe it is Elul already!

Below is a shiur given by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi about how we can start to feel again.  So much is happening all around us, that it is easy to be so busy we forget to pause, tap into the power of this month (Hashem is in the field with us), and FEEL anything at all (besides stress:).

Here are a few things that we can do to continue our unity until our next chaburah.

1. Join together to complete sefer Tehillim daily until Yom Kippur (click on the link to join us)
2. Shira (our awesome administrator) is reading and recording a few paragraphs of Me'am Loez on Tehillim daily - 5 minutes a day- downloadable on whats app.
3. Find a chavrusa to create an Elul Plan together

ShoftimYom Chamishi, Elul 5, 5776 (September 8, 2016) #13
Feeling Your Baggage, Feeling Hers
I went to Uman this week, and I wasn’t alone. Men and women from all over came there to... well, to come back – because all the t’fillot travel to Eretz Yisrael anyway, to Yerushalayim and the Kotel. So what’s the whole journey for? For coming back from? Yes. To return – in t’shuva. Teshuva for what? For feeling.

We seek to feel in so many ways. I see all of Israel trying to feel at this time of year, the month of Elul, because we’re people who don’t feel anything anymore. Elul commands us: start feeling, pronto. באלול, ,In the old world of yeshivot they’d say
In Elul, the very fish in the אפילו דגים בים רועדים! sea tremble!” And you, you’ve already heard that message so many times it does nothing for you.

The exile of feeling. 

Whereas in the notsodistant past we’d express things facetoface and in letters, today our devices express things for us. You’re sad – sad emoticon. You’re happy – a smiley. Shocked smiley. Winking smiley. The emoji's happy in your stead, while you yourself have almost total equanimity. 

Girls come to me all tense: “Rabbanit, I couldn’t do it. I got all the way to the tzaddik’s tomb marker and couldn’t bring myself to cry, to laugh.” What’s happened to us?

You can’t blame this generation. The poet Zelda once went through an emotional trauma and
wrote, “Because for me, from excess of pain, my palaces are closed off.” We’re so afraid of pain because we’re sensitive, feeling women, and that our feelings will batter us, so we simply lock up the Feelings Department. Now we merely function. And that’s forbidden.

All of the Rambam’s thought is intellectual (I say if the Rambam weren’t Sepharadi, he’d be Ashkenazi ), which is why the following sentence of his is so
אף על פי שתקיעת שופר :uncharacteristic. He writes גזירת הכתוב, מכל מקום רמז יש בה: עורו ישנים משנתכם Even though the – ונרדמים, הקיצו מתרדמתכם shofarblowing is simply a decree of the Text, it nevertheless contains an allusion: awake, you sleepers, from your sleep, and slumberers, be roused from your slumber.1 In other words, it’s true that we blow the shofar “because it’s written,” but beyond that you have to feel. 

Get up, wake up, feel something.
What should we be afraid of? What’s to get so worked up about? From the fact that, oh my gosh, soon there will be three books opened. The inbetweeners remain in limbo until their sentence is sealed; the tzaddikim are inscribed and sealed immediately for life; while the wicked are inscribed and sealed immediately for death.

1 Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, Mishne Torah, Book of Knowledge, Laws of T’shuva 3:4.

Wait a minute. We see with our own eyes that’s not the case. The most amazing, elevated tzaddikim are clearly inscribed for notliving, and all kinds of horribly wicked people are obviously written in the book of Live It Up – how can that be?

Rabbi Papo says something amazing: “Life” – that means feeling. Being sealed in the Book of the Dead means having your fate sealed in the Book of the Unfeeling: “Elul? OK, Elul. Whatever. Shofar? Cool. Fish in the sea – yeah, I’ve seen ‘em.” That is death.2

In Ukraine I see the Soviet diligence, the industriousness of the Communist regime. Ukrainians function very well, they’re so assiduous... but they have no expressiveness on their faces. You can’t see even the tiniest emotion. The Ukrainian women are super diligent. Serving, clearing, laundering, drying, but not a spark of light in their faces. Nothing.

So what can you do to feel? Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev taught us the tremendous secret: you’re so in control, so focused on what you have to do, that when you look at yourself, you can’t feel a thing. You don’t even believe anymore that you can do t’shuva, to change anything. So what should you do? Parashat Shoftim tells us: be people of greatness. Look around you with a gaze of greatness, and know that with your gaze you judge people.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev would take a crying mother and turn her into t’fillah: “Ribbono Shel Olam, look at Your little girl!”3

Judgesand ֹשְׁפִטיםְוֹשְׁטִריםִתֶּתּןְל􏰀ְבָּכלְשָׁעֶרי􏰀. enforcers you shall appoint in all your gates.4 You
2 Cf. Rabbi Eliezer Papo, Pele Yo’etz.
3 Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Kedushat Levi on Shoftim.
are the judge. Every Jew who crosses your path, you can judge for good or not as good. Feel her! Give her a good judgment!

Just look around.

How is the spigot of mercy opened over us? 

Hashem showed Moshe Rabbeinu how to access נתעטף הקב"ה .His thirteen Attributes of Mercy Hashem wrapped himself like an – כשליח ציבור emissary of the community [colloquially: like a לפניי chazzan] and said to Moshe: “If you perform before me the following order, I will כסדר הזה hear your t’fillah.”5

What order?

Are you in pain? Change the order. Wrap yourself up like an emissary of the community and request mercy for somebody else you see in pain. You’ve already forgotten how to feel for yourself; you’ve forgotten how to fear your own Day of Judgment. So instead of digging into yourself, start davening for the Jews around you that Hashem keeps showing us.

Every time I feel that sense of powerlessness, when I want to help someone, but feel it’s beyond me, I simply can’t, I discover that’s just not true. We have a yeshiva, my husband and I. Avnei Kodesh. It’s a yeshiva for all sorts of boys who were kicked out, or dropped out, of all kinds of yeshivot. A week ago we got a new student. “Rabbanit, do you remember me?”
“Not really...”
“A few years ago you were in Uman, and no one could find you a place to stay. I dragged your luggage and showed you some apartments. 

The first one you didn’t like, the second wasn’t good enough... you remember?”

I suddenly recalled a fifteenyearold Israeli boy who basically lived in Uman, whom I asked: “What are you doing here?” 

And he answered: “They kicked me out of all the yeshivot.” 

I remember how I sat in some stairwell in Uman and cried: “What’ is this, Ribbono Shel Olam? Is there no school for him? No new beginning? He won’t start the learning session with everyone else?”

Last week I found myself dragging his luggage looking for a room where he could live.

It’s incredible. Every Jew you see, you can feel for. Even if you can’t feel for yourself anymore, feel for him. Wrap yourself up like an emissary of the community and transform him into a tremendous t’fillah. It works. It works to open up your Department of Feelings and the Gates of Mercy.
May it be Hashem’s will that we see ourselves as emissaries, on a mission, to daven for others, to judge people favorably, for a blessed, illuminated year. Maybe that way we can start to feel.
Translated by Rav David Swidler 

What should we do with painful emotions that we would rather not look at? That is what we are going to discuss in next chaburah- to make the sefer we finished "Getting to Know Your Feeling" an acquisition in our hearts. IYH.

Can't wait,,, Love Aviva Rus