August, 2010 Archives

31
Aug

The Stealing Month

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

Both the father and his son were different: The father prayed for years to have a child. I knew from numerous conversations that, no matter how much he wanted a child, he was even more desperate for his wife to bear a child. I observed him three times a day at prayer and could see his palpable desperation. Many of us who watched the consistent intensity and power of his prayers, were moved to pray for him and inspired to become better prayors.

His wife gave birth to a son almost twelve years after they married. I recall his words at the Brit Milah: “Our son is living proof of the power of prayer. Thank You, God, and thank you to all who prayed for us. My wife and I pledge to always try to interact with our son as the answer to our prayers.”

The baby is almost thirty years old. I watched him grow up, and carefully observed the interaction between father and son. The father kept the pledge he made at the Brit; he related to his son as the answer to tens of thousands of prayers. He had suffered for this b child. He had fought hard for this child. His relationship with his son is different.

The son is also different. He has been a powerful davener since he first opened a Siddur. He knows how to fight to get what he wants. He is not fazed by suffering.

I imagine that a Yitzchak Avinu (Isaac the Patriarch) who suffered and prayed for ten years before his sons were born was different from a Yitzchak who is simply granted a child. His relationship with his children is different, probably the source of his love for Eisav.

Both Eisav and Jacob are fighters. Both are familiar with suffering. Eisav was more fighter, while Jacob was more the man of prayer.

The Zohar teaches that Jacob stole the month of Elul from Eisav. The month has Eisav’s power to fight, Jacob’s power of prayer, and the ability to steal opportunities, and combine the fighting and the prayer.

Fighting, praying, stealing, and combining all three, are exactly the qualities we need in the month before Rosh Hashanah, as we review the past year and worry about the next.

We must fight ourselves as we confront our Evil Inclination. We must battle against the sense of lost causes just as the father fought for a child despite being told by one doctor after another that it was a lost cause. Yitzchak fought for a child when others would have given up on their lost cause. There is always a part of the Teshuva process that confronts the Lost Cause: we find ourselves facing sins and mistakes that are all too familiar, sins for which we have repented last year and the year before and the year before that. How many times can we face the same sins without feeling that we are a lost cause.

At this point we must call on the fighter of Elul. We call on the fighter who specializes in battling lost causes.

We use prayer to fight. We use prayer to overcome the sense of lost causes and transform the sins and patterns of sin into growth; we steal those moments back from the Eisavs of the world.

This is our final week of fighting, praying, and stealing. I wish us great success.

Please don’t tell Marshall and Ellie about this; I don’t want them to worry while I am staying in their home. (I did notice some extra locks.)

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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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31
Aug

Two Straight Lines

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

“For the ways of God are straight.” (Hosea 14:10) the Shelah HaKodesh (Torah Ohr – Rosh Hashanah 3) asks why the word “straight” is in the plural form in Hebrew, “Yesharim,” rather than “Yashar.”

The Shelah answers that Hosea is describing two different creations of “Straight:” the first is that God creates us straight. We begin life with a tabula rasa, clean and pure. There is a second creation of Yashar, that when we do Teshuva, we can regain that perfect straightness.

I prefer the second Yashar to the first; I revel in the gift of being able to access the straightness that follows Teshuva, the restored bar, without dents or scars from its bend and repair. I love the sense of the Yashar that is always available, not just something that I once had.

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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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31
Aug

Stirrings

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Most of us are familiar with two directions of service: “Itra’uta D’litata,” and “Itra’uta D’l’eila,” or, Stirrings from below, connections stirred by us, below here on earth towards God, and “Stirrings from Above,” initiated by God, Above, to reach out to us, here, below. The Sefat Emet, (Likkutim L’Chodesh Elul) says that the only responsibility of a human being in Itra’uta D’litata is to choose to attach to God, all other stirrings will come from above to us. 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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31
Aug

Psalm 27: Infinite Manna

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

“To behold the sweetness of God and to contemplate in His Sanctuary.” (Verse 4)

Rabbi Elazar taught: The righteous in the World to Come will eat of the same Manna that Israel ate while in the desert. Do not think that the portions will be measured as they were in the desert. Each portion will taste of eternity and Infinity. This is what David described when he said, “To behold the sweetness of God and to contemplate in His Sanctuary.” (Zohar, Beshalach 63a-b)

David may be asking for ‘one thing’, but that one thing is Infinite and Eternal. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are our opportunity to ask for the same perfect food; sustenance of a life that always feels eternal and infinite.

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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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31
Aug

Sound Bites: The Shofar of the Messiah

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Music of Halacha, Prayer

The Shofar stirs people to return to God, as the verse (Amos 3) says: “If a Shofar is blasted in a city, will the people not tremble?”

The Sages taught that the Shofar blast of Rosh Hashana confuses Satan who believes that it may be the Shofar of the Messiah. It seems strange that Satan does not know that we blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashana and can be so easily confused.

The message of the Shofar is so powerful that Satan expects us to repent and merit the Shofar of the Messiah! (Kli Yakar, Genesis 22:13)

If only we would believe as much as Satan in the Shofar’s power!

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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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31
Aug

Timeless: God’s Example

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

In praying for the whole world to repent, we are only following the example of Hashem, Who looks forward to the time when His ultimate plan for the creation – a world in which all mankind is righteous – will be realized, as the prophet Yeshayahu (46:10) proclaimed I foresee the end from the beginning . . . My entire wish [for all mankind to be righteous] will be fulfilled. (Sefat Emet – 5659)

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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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31
Aug

Elul: Love Songs: Stepping Toward

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

“I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” (Song of Songs 6:4)

Rabbi Eliezer of Worms, the Rokeach, explains this verse as describing the Teshuva process: With each step we take back toward our Beloved, God, He takes a step back toward us.

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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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31
Aug

Royal Messages: The King’s Friend

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

“He who loves purity of heart and whose lips are gracious – the King is his friend.” (Proverbs 22:11)

One of the themes of the Shofar, specifically the Teruah sound is “rei-ah” – that God is our friend. In fact, Rashi (Shabbat) explains that the verse, “You shall love your friend as yourself,” is actually referring to God. We can think of God as a friend.

This verse describes how we can make God our friend: We must love those who are pure of heart and whose lips are gracious. (Gra)

We must also be able to express our love of God with a pure heart and with lips that are used only for gracious speech in order for God to be our friend.

In order for us to say, “God loves me,” we must make ourselves lovable to God, the King.

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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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31
Aug

Asking for Forgiveness

by admin in Holidays, Relationships, Spiritual Growth

Notes offered by El-Ad Eliovson:

Shiur l’refuah shleimah Yehudah Manik ben Beilah, Chana Chaya bat Perel, Yocheved Raizel Sarah bat Rivka Malya

• 1st instance of mechilah by brothers and Yosef

• See Genesis Chapter 45

• 42: 21

• The brothers are not “simple” – they are the Shivtei Kah, the twelve tribes of G-d

• This whole episode is a question of how open-minded your Torah learning is,

• Yosef’s coat was many colors: personal expression, very outgoing

• There were differences in opinion on Halacha: for Yidden after shechitah, the animal is “dead”, movement is insignificant. Were the brothers from the shifchot full-yidden yet before Har Sinai? According to Yosef, no, so movement counts for goyim who don’t have a Halacha of shechitah and they were transgressing the Halacha of taking a limb/eating from a still living creature; so he reports their erroneous behavior

• The brothers want a death sentence for Yosef. That’s pretty serious. They held he was chayav mitah: liable for the death penalty.

• Now later let’s say everything works out and they all find they were acting according to good intentions: do they have to ask mechilah?

• The brothers are now realizing the dreams are coming true; granted it is uncomfortable for them and to confront the fact that Yosef’s dreams are practically Nevuah/prophecy.

• OK – he’s viceroy and wealthy

• Do they have to ask mechilah?

• They were following Halacha…

The purpose of a Rav is to teach others to walk in the light of Halacha.

• Picture the scene. Picture it! “Take every man out?” who goes out? The bodyguards? The brothers?

• “Yosef couldn’t hold back?” Just the opposite; he couldn’t let go while everyone was around!

• Yosef didn’t want to let others see the brothers embarrassed? NO! READ RASHI! It was that Yosef didn’t want to let others see Yosef embarrassing others!

• The capacity you have to listen to the shofar with Kavanah, focus, hearing, allowing what is supposed to happen to occur determines what will happen, i.e., how you will hear Torah the following year

• Part of your Din on Rosh Hashanah is whether you will be able to improve in making Berachot in the coming year – why – because Berachot are formulated with the words: Melech ha-Olam (except for the first bracha of Shmone Esrei where it is Elokainu Elokei Avoteinu)

• The way you can hear other people say Berachot is the way you listened to Shofar

• The way other people hear you is the way you listened to Shofar

• All this is part of your Din on Rosh Hashanah. How you listen to Shofar

• Bracha means to expand.

• 42:21: we saw his suffering, but we didn’t hear. Hear? It should say, we didn’t respond to what we *saw*? Why does it say we didn’t hear his supplications?

• Verse 22: now Reuven says – Isn’t this what I said … and you didn’t *listen*?!

• Verse 23: and they didn’t know that Yosef was *listening*

• Now go back to chapter 45 after the revelation to the brothers: verse 16: And the voice was *heard* throughout the house of Pharaoh.

Yosef cried and everyone ran out except the brothers who were haunted by their ignoring their brother’s cries. This time they stayed and listened to someone’s cries. Joseph afforded them an opportunity to fix their mistake, and they took full advantage of the opportunity!

The first achrayut – responsibility is not on the person asking mechilah. The first achrayut – responsibility is on the one to be asked not to walk around achzari, stubborn, bitter, with a chip on your shoulder. The first step is to be forgiving and to create the opportunities, to be easily accessible to others to ask one for mechilah. (See Ra’avan and Kaf Hachaim Orach Chaim 606:13)

This is exactly what God does: He makes himself accessible to us in a manner that we will have the opportunity and desire to repair the damage to the relationship. Once the damage is repaired no request of forgiveness is really necessary.

We all want Hashem Yisborach to forgive us. If we act accordingly towards others, Hashem will forgive us.

Rabbi Moshe Stepansky added:

very interesting = a further step is the last perek in B’reishit after Ya’akov’s burial. The brothers’ subterfuge w Yosef (50;16-17).

Yosef seemed to not carry a chip on his shoulder -upon revelation to the brothers when he sends them back to bring Ya’akov (45;4-8), he’s reassuring them their actions were but G-d’s plan and it was all good.

So, how to understand perek 50? Were the brothers projecting onto Yosef the chip they would have carried? Is it possible that lo, after all these years they had a chip on their shoulder, still smarting from the ordeal Yosef put them thru when they arrived in Mitzrayim , and they’re hinting they’d like an apology from Yosef (can’t demand from the Viceroy of Mitzrayim, but they are still his older brothers)?

How much convincing does Yosef have to do vis-a-vis trying to placate the brothers? The bottom line is despite Yosef’s seeing his great-grandchildren being born (arichut yamim), he still left the world first amongst his brothers.

So, the wonder of the Holy Torah continues – the more you provide possible answers, the more other questions pop up.

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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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30
Aug