Monday, February 26, 2018

Chag Sameach!

The space of yechida- bitul of self....what we learned last night!  (If you want to hear the recording, please contact Shira at

Make yourself small and you will be great.
Know you are nothing and you will be infinite.
At the very least, don’t make such a big deal of yourself
and you will be all that much closer to the truth.

By Tzvi Freeman 

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Rescue By Celebration

We have a tradition from the Baal Shem Tov:
By celebrating that G‑d will come to your rescue, you have already provided the remedy.
Keter Shem Tov, Appendix, #234.

 Text Taken from article by  Rabbi Tzvi Freeman 

purim in a week...

Purim: The Ultimate Happiness

By Tzvi Freeman

There is a quiet happiness: an inner sense of bliss, the innocent joy of a small child, one of wonderment and gratitude. It is a happiness to carry with you at all times.
Then there are those seasons when happiness blooms for all to see, bursting out in song, in dance, in celebration. A festival, a wedding, a time to feast and rejoice with family and friends.
But the ultimate happiness is the joy of Purim. It is no longer about you, your family, your life. It is about making others laugh, bringing smiles to the weary, celebration to those who feel abandoned, a feast to those who had lost all hope.
It is a season for breaking out of yourself, out of your character, out of all those bounds you have set for yourself—“beyond knowing.”
The light of Purim knows no bounds.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 16, p. 371.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

From last year with some add ons...

please excuse all the colors- for some reason the computer refuses to do this all in one color - must be something in the Adar air...

concepts taken from Rabbi Kalish- Purim 2017;

In Adar we are told to be marbim b'simcha (Increased happiness)... Since there is no measurement - it must mean unlimited simcha (happiness/joy)... because of the amazing miracles.  How do we have joy with no bounds??

And, why only in Adar? Nisan and Kislev had awesome nissim (miracles)too- why not marbim b'simcha in those months??

Furthermore, what is Taanis Esther all about (Esther actually fasted in Nissan)- all the other fasts are due to the  terrible it makes sense to fast when there was a terrible tragedy that took place, but we were saved with Esther!

Last year we learned a concept- that when we give over Torah in the name of who we learned it from, we bring a spark of geulah to the world (Rabbi Shwartz- Inner Redemption).

In the megilah we see this concept.  The geulah came from Esther saving Achashveirosh- in the name of Mordechai.  Why does this concept bring the geulah?

There's also a recommendation to send a shaloch manos through a shaliach- messenger- why?  to trace it back to the shaliach- discover the hidden...(Matanos l'evyonim also hidden)

In the megilah we don't see Hashem's name- it's HIDDEN!

The yesod (foundation) of the simcha of Adar is the nistar- the hiddeness of Hashem REVEALED..the idea is to discover Hashem- to see all the things we think as bad and find Hashem in them.

If someone can trace everything back to Hashem it is limitless joy- one long life of uninterrupted joy. (no gevul- kulo simcha)- It means one has discovered Hashem.   

Hashem seemed to be hiding in the story of Esther, but we found Him.  

Taanis Esther is based on the yesod of tefilah; we got everything we asked for because we turned to Hashem!  The difference between Yom Kippur and Purim is that we search for and find Hashem from a place of love on Purim (not fear-Rabbi Nivin). It all came from tefilah- returning to Hashem.  

This taanis is actually part of the celebration- it's a yom simcha- discovery of Hashem and this joy explodes into the day of Purim -the joy of Purim.

To have a simcha of ain lo gvul  (no boundaries) is to trace it all back to Hashem- this is the avodah of this month. 

Practical Step: Search the hidden- look for the love He has for us- what looks good or bad, know it is customized for our unique relationship with Him- find Hashem underneath it all and then thank our Borei (creator) = true unbound simcha.

**Jordana Baruchov discusses the concept of ahava that flows between us and Hashem in her Purim shiur yesterday.  If you would like to hear it, email our amazing administrator, Shira at  We can ask ourselves "How does what I'm doing bring love to Hashem..."

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Years ago, at one of my son’s bar mitzvahs I had a shalosh seudos for the women in my life to thank them and to thank Hashem publicly.

I remember thanking Him for making that particular son (who had the loudest voice ever) cry 24/7 because it taught me patience and forced me to go to parenting classes (if only to get away from the crying;)and I wouldn’t be who I am today without that.

There are dark moments and bright moments in our days, weeks, months, years. Within the darkest space there is always a spark of Kedusha- a beckoning of Hashem trying to pull us near.

Sometimes it is so painful that we feel shattered and alone. As Rabbi Nivin teaches in his zmanim segment, “the planted seed rots before it sprouts”.

Hashem has given us advice in the Torah for what to do, day in and day out whether rotting or sprouting, as He is the arbitrar of both.

“1) In Deuteronomy 10:12, Moshe tells the Jewish people: "What (mah) does G-d ask of you?” The Talmud1 explains that the word mah can be read as me’ah, meaning 100. In other words, Hashem asks us to recite (at least) 100 brachot every day.2” (Rabbi Simmons

Moshe Rabbeinu is teaching us that Hashem wants us to communicate with Him. Thanking Him is what gives us a relationship with Him.

“2) In the time of Kind David, 100 people died every day due to a terrible plague. Realizing that the plague had a spiritual cause, King David and the Sages instituted a “measure for measure” response: the saying of 100 blessings each day. Once implemented, the plague stopped.”3 (ibid)

Here is direct proof of the power in our words. Hashem is giving us the tools to change this physical world and the linked spiritual ones, as a result.

These two sources teach us that thanking Hashem 100 times a day brings us to deveikus and elevates the gashmius to the ruchnius. In other words, reveals the kedusha that is hidden (sometimes very deep) within externalities.

As a group we are creating ripples of movements in all the worlds that will IyH bring the geulah closer. How can it not when Hashem has given us the key?!

Furthermore, we have entered the month of Shevat. Shevat is a month for elevating our eating. ( One powerful way to achieve this is through our brachos -before and after we eat.

As for me, these 40 days (Jewish Women Unite gratitude movement) I am trying to be more present as I make a bracha, daven, or even while doing simple activities to fulfill “100 gratitudes/ blessings a day”. When I remember to do this, the resulting feeling is emunah; sensing Hashem even more in my life.

If we seek Him we will find Him in everything.

1 Menachot 43b

2 Orach Chaim 46:3 
3 Midash Rabba – Numbers 18:17; Tur 46, quoting Rav Netrunoi Gaon