May, 2009 Archives

28
May

David, Batsheva and the Flood

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

People have been asking me about my Twitter Tweets about the connections between the David and Batsheva story and the Flood. The end of Bereishit describes how powerful men took the wives of other men for themselves.

The Midrash (Midrash Shmuel 26) and Talmud (Sotah) connect David and the Flood when he was digging the foundation for the Altar.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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27
May

Respecting Father

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Relationships, Spiritual Growth

What should I do if someone, asking for advice, is disrespectful of my father in an indirect manner? Which comes first: Obligation to my father or role as Rabbi and being extra sensitive to person?

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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26
May

Responding to A Request for Me to Pray

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Prayer, Spiritual Growth

How should I respond to a complete stranger who calls me and literally weeps with desperation as he begs me to pray that he find a way to support his family? I told him I would pray for him, but wondered if he prayed for himself. Any ideas of how I should respond to such requests?

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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26
May

Just posted Spiritual exercise…

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Just posted Spiritual exercises for Shavuot http://bit.ly/AzJrW

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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26
May

Shavuot Exercises

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Torah Study:

If you are not participating in a program: Divide the night into two main parts:

1: A Celebration of your learning of the past year.

2: What you hope to learn between now and next Shavuot.

1: Make a list of the favorite things you learned this year. Spend the first half of the night reviewing and applying the practical lessons of your studies.

2. Are there books or areas of learning you would like to study? Bible, Prophets, Proverbs, Psalms, Midrash, Philosophy, Talmud or law? Choose two of the areas that most intrest you and study them for the rest of the night.

Relationships:

Preparations for Sinai included the purification of relationships between husbands and wives.

First Day: Have an honest and open evaluation of your relationship and what each can do to improve the marriage.

Second Day: Together, study the story of the Covenant of Sinai that appears at the end of Mishpatim: Exodus, Chapter 24.

Conversion:

All the laws of conversion are derived from the preparations for Sinai.

Day One: Consider and/or discuss whether, if offered the choice, you would choose to be part of the Covenant of Sinai.

Day Two: Consider and/or discuss which aspect of Torah would compel you to convert.

Teshuva

“Just as they left Rephidim in Teshuva, so they arrived at Sinai in Teshuva.” (Rashi, Exodus 19:2)

Day One: Ask two people you respect and trust to pinpoint two of your positive qualities and to suggest two areas you can improve.

Day Two: Review and discuss the Six Constant Mitzvot and how you can improve your incorporation of those commandments.

Prayer

Shavuot is more about relationship than laws.

Day One: Spend extra time reciting the blessings before Torah study.

Day Two: Spend extra time reciting “Ahavah Rabbah” the blessing immediately before the morning Shema.

Perform a Post Shavuot Evaluation, preferably with a partner, of what you gained from the Chag.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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26
May

Making Sinai Part of Torah Study

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Music of Halacha, Spiritual Growth

I heard a story when I was a student in Yeshiva that was considered by all, except me, to be a favorite: A group of modern thinkers had met for months making a list of questions about God and Torah that they were certain would shake the foundations of the Yeshiva world. They chose the brightest of the group to go to the great yeshiva in Volozhin to see if anyone in the greatest yeshiva in the world could answer their powerful questions. Their representative spent six months studying in Volozhin in order to determine if there was anyone who could answer their earth-shattering questions. When their friend returned to them after his stay in Yeshiva, they asked him if he had any answers to the questions. “What questions? There are no questions!”

The idea was that once someone experiences true Torah study, all his questions disappear. Perhaps I had not experienced true or pure Torah study. I certainly still had questions. Despite those questions, every single time I study Torah I experience a sense of clarity that is overwhelming. When people ask me why I believe in God and Sinai, I answer because of what I experience when I study Torah! I may have questions that are unanswered, but they are insignificant compared to the joy and truth I experience when learning Torah.

I wonder whether either of these approaches, those who believe that there are no questions and those who experience the truth of Torah through its study, would satisfy Nachmanides. He has a list at the end of The Book of Commandments of Mitzvot that Maimonides forgot to include in his list of the 613 Biblical Commandments. Nachmanides lists the following as the second of the negative commandments “forgotten” by Maimonides: “Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have beheld and lest you remove them from your heart all the days of your life, and make them known to your children and your children’s children – the day that you stood before God, your Lord, at Horeb, when God said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me and I shall let them hear My words.” (Deuteronomy 4:9-10) We are commanded to not forget the experience of standing at Sinai. We may never remove the experience from our consciousness. It is only when we remember our experience of learning directly from God that we will be able to stand up against any question or doubt.

It is not that clear that Maimonides “forgot” this negative commandment. He includes it in his letter to the Yemenite Jewish Community. He includes this as an essential part of the Mitzvah of Torah study. There is no Torah study without a clear awareness of the Sinai experience.

We do not fulfill this commandment when we declare with simple purity that there are no questions. We are enjoined, whether as a separate negative commandment, or as part of Torah study, to keep the Sinai experience alive in our minds as we study Torah. We must remember as we are studying that we experienced God directly at Sinai. We believe in Torah not because we do not have any questions or because they do not bother us, or because of the thrill of learning Torah. Our Torah study must reflect the Revelation at Sinai as a direct communication with the Giver of the Torah.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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26
May

Making Sinai Part of Torah Study

by admin in Spiritual Growth

I heard a story when I was a student in Yeshiva that was considered by all, except me, to be a favorite: A group of modern thinkers had met for months making a list of questions about God and Torah that they were certain would shake the foundations of the Yeshiva world. They chose the brightest of the group to go to the great yeshiva in Volozhin to see if anyone in the greatest yeshiva in the world could answer their powerful questions. Their representative spent six months studying in Volozhin in order to determine if there was anyone who could answer their earth-shattering questions. When their friend returned to them after his stay in Yeshiva, they asked him if he had any answers to the questions. “What questions? There are no questions!”

The idea was that once someone experiences true Torah study, all his questions disappear. Perhaps I had not experienced true or pure Torah study. I certainly still had questions. Despite those questions, every single time I study Torah I experience a sense of clarity that is overwhelming. When people ask me why I believe in God and Sinai, I answer because of what I experience when I study Torah! I may have questions that are unanswered, but they are insignificant compared to the joy and truth I experience when learning Torah.

I wonder whether either of these approaches, those who believe that there are no questions and those who experience the truth of Torah through its study, would satisfy Nachmanides. He has a list at the end of The Book of Commandments of Mitzvot that Maimonides forgot to include in his list of the 613 Biblical Commandments. Nachmanides lists the following as the second of the negative commandments “forgotten” by Maimonides: “Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have beheld and lest you remove them from your heart all the days of your life, and make them known to your children and your children’s children – the day that you stood before God, your Lord, at Horeb, when God said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me and I shall let them hear My words.” (Deuteronomy 4:9-10) We are commanded to not forget the experience of standing at Sinai. We may never remove the experience from our consciousness. It is only when we remember our experience of learning directly from God that we will be able to stand up against any question or doubt.

It is not that clear that Maimonides “forgot” this negative commandment. He includes it in his letter to the Yemenite Jewish Community. He includes this as an essential part of the Mitzvah of Torah study. There is no Torah study without a clear awareness of the Sinai experience.

We do not fulfill this commandment when we declare with simple purity that there are no questions. We are enjoined, whether as a separate negative commandment, or as part of Torah study, to keep the Sinai experience alive in our minds as we study Torah. We must remember as we are studying that we experienced God directly at Sinai. We believe in Torah not because we do not have any questions or because they do not bother us, or because of the thrill of learning Torah. Our Torah study must reflect the Revelation at Sinai as a direct communication with the Giver of the Torah.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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26
May

Hope to post Exercises for Sha…

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Hope to post Exercises for Shavuot later today: http://bit.ly/M7Fhq

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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26
May

Questions about Shema in last …

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Questions about Shema in last night’s Daat Tevunot shiur: Follow up Monday 9PM 218-486-1616 ID 375711 http://bit.ly/WEADg

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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25
May

Haftarah: First Day – Shavuot: The Electric Relationship With God

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12: Never before had the nation been so distant from Sinai. Even when the Assryians exiled the Northern Kingdom of the Ten Tribes, the people of Judah did not believe God had forsaken them. They believed that no matter how they behaved, God would protect His city and Holy Temple.

But the Babylonians had come. King Jehoiachin and the leaders of Israel were exiled to Babylon. People sensed that it was the beginning of the end. They no longer felt safe in Jerusalem. The exiles themselves were in shock. The Revelation at Sinai was a distant memory of a Covenant that seemed dead.

Ezekiel, the only prophet to prophecy outside of Israel, must bring the Revelation at Sinai back to life. God charged him to remind the Jews that Sinai was in their blood, a part of their souls, and that the Divine Presence, which they witnessed at Sinai, was in exile with them. (Zohar W 149a) Maimonides, in his Guide For The Perplexed (3:6) quotes the Sages: This vision of Ezekiel is the same as Isaiah’s (Isaiah, Chapter 6). The two visions can be compared to two men who saw the king riding, the one, a city dweller, the other, a countryman. The former, seeing that his neighbors know well how the king rides, simply tells them that he saw the king; but the villager, wishing to tell his friends things which they do not know, relates in detail how the king was riding, describes his followers, and the officers who execute his orders and commands. Isaiah is like the city dweller and Ezekiel is like the villager. (Chagigah 13b)

Isaiah was the prophet for a generation that still experienced Sinai. Ezekiel spoke to people still wearing their chains. Sinai was dead to them.

There are differences between the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel: Isaiah saw angels with six wings, Ezekiel saw angels with only four. Isaiah heard the angels sing, “His Glory fills the earth!” Ezekiel heard a watered down song, “Where is the place of His Glory!”

The Divine Presence was exiled together with the people. It was bound to them through the covenant of Sinai. The Glory of God was weakened by the exile. The Angels had their wings clipped. They searched for God’s Glory, rather than sing of its Presence everywhere.

“Don’t think that Sinai is over. Do not believe, even for a second, that the covenant has been smashed. It is still alive. God’s Glory is so intertwined with Israel that His Presence must go into exile with His people. His angels are weakened. His Glory is diluted. This is an even stronger expression of the covenant of Sinai. It does not end. It cannot end. He, Who sits on the Highest Throne, and hears the praises of the holiest angels, goes into exile with you!”

At that moment, when Ezekiel shared his vision, almost as powerful as that of the great Isaiah, despite the fact they were in exile, the people rejoiced. They understood that God had not forsaken them. Sinai was alive and well. (Zohar II 2a) God is watching you, wherever you are, even in the wicked confines of Babylon: “Their backs were full of eyes surrounding the four of them.” (Ezekiel 1:18)

You must restore My Glory! Only you, Israel, with whom I made the covenant at Sinai, can restore My Glory!

How? We have already failed You. We are weakened, humiliated, crushed. How can we restore Your Glory?

Even the holiest of Angels: “The Chayos ran to and fro like the appearance of a flash.” (1:14) They run towards God, in an electric atmosphere of clarity and passion, but, they pull back, overwhelmed by the power of their experiences.

You Israel ran towards me in the electric atmosphere of Sinai and other great moments in your history. You pulled back, and now you suffer, but you will run back towards me. You will restore the passion and fire of Sinai. The covenant will pulsate with the same life and Glory. You will restore My Presence to the world.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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