Thursday, September 26, 2019

Wishing you a sweet new year....

If you're anything like me, you probably feel some anxiety when you think about Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur.

It seems like there's so many things we should have in mind and daven for- that by the time I open my siddur, I'm just overwhelmed.  Honestly, often by the end, I'm not even sure I did it right.

Today I heard Rav Shmuel Braun speak about the shofar.  He said that when Mother Theresa was interviewed, she was asked, "What do you say to G-d when you pray?" She responded, "I don't say anything.  I just listen." So the reporter asked, "What does G-d say to you?"  She responded, "He also doesn't say anything, He just listens."

Rav Braun explains that when you are in deep love with someone, you just need to hear their heartbeat, you don't need to have words.  He adds that, the Mitler Rebbe said these ten days are when the 'luminary approaches the spark'- G-d approaches us and we are so close we can hear his breath. 

Wait- so I just have to listen?  How? 

In fact, the word to pray- l'hitpalel- is reflexive- it's an inner journey of listening.  Listening to our innermost self, the part that exists in a state of joy because it senses Hashem.  Prayer brings us back to that space of existence where we simply are and from that space we can hear His heartbeat in sync with ours.

This is the power of these ten days and the shofar.  We have to do LESS not more.  We have to simplify, not complicate.

With the blowing of the shofar- we hear Him and He hears us- we silently cry out our longing for Him and He sends His inner voice back to us.  Is there anything more calming or sweeter than this?

Sunday, September 15, 2019


The natural tendency is to treat matters of the spirit as luxury items—sort of an appendage to life.
Eating, sleeping, making money—these things are given priority and the time dedicated to them is sacrosanct.
But prayer, meditation and study fit in only when you feel like it, and are pushed aside on the slightest whim.
You’ve got to make your priorities faithful to your inner self. You’ve got to ask yourself if this is what your life is all about.
Set a schedule for exercising your soul as an athlete does for his body.
Treat those things as though they were your proprietary business. Because they are.

By Tzvi Freeman