September, 2010 Archives

21
Sep

Visionaries

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

I am a huge fan of Norman Cousins’ photography, especially his book The Human Adventure. It makes sense that someone with so much insight into the human condition – Anatomy of an Illness, Albert Schweitzer’s Mission, Who Speaks for Man – would have such a wonderful eye, and that someone with such a wonderful eye would have so much insight into the human condition.

I am also a great fan of Dr. B who lives near us in Riverdale. He is an octogenarian with a spry step, ready smile, calming presence, wisdom and compassion. I didn’t know that he is a better photographer than Norman Cousins.

Dr. B can portray a tractor tire’s mark in the mud as a thing of beauty. He sees shadows and reflections of buildings in other buildings and presents them as light shows, holograms of flowers, actually musical in their presentation. I do not know how he can do so much with a camera. I certainly do not comprehend how he sees so much more than I in a ‘simple’ scene.

I imagine that a man who sees so far beyond the surface to be a great diagnostician. I asked him if this is so, and he, in his typical modest way, told me that I would have to ask other doctors and his patients. The question went beyond curiosity for me: it is rare to meet a visionary, and, I believe, even rarer to meet a person who can see with such clarity.

Dr. B has a reputation as a superb diagnostician. The most common response to my query was; “most doctors read test results, Dr. B diagnoses.”

His wife, A, has different vision. She has introduced me to numerous scholars who ‘see’ a verse or a biblical scene with Dr. B’s eye for beauty. She constantly challenges me to look at stories I ‘know’ with a fresh eye.

I suspect that A and Dr. B. are such visionaries as a result of having seen things that would shatter most people. As teens they helped smuggle Holocaust survivors who were their age into Israel and hide them from the British. They would listen in the dark to the stories of murder, suffering, torture, liberation, DP camps, escape and risk. They learned to look at a broken person and see the hero within. They have never stopped looking.

We did not have the honor of hosting them in our Succah this year. But, you know, visiting with them, admiring Dr. B’s photographs, A’s plants, listening to their conversation, and absorbing their wisdom is a Succot experience anytime of the year.

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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21
Sep

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Honrificabilitudinitatibus

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

The Bard’s clown in “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” has more to teach me than does Mary Poppins. “Honrificabilitudinitatibus,” which, depending on whom you ask, either means, ‘the state of being loaded with honors,’ or is an anagram proclaiming that Francis Bacon, not Shakespeare, wrote the great works, is a real word. (I could have used the anaconda-like name for the ‘Tobacco Monster Virus,’ but did not have the patience to type in 1,185 letters!  Plus, clowns are more fun.)

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” although far better known, is a nonsense word, perfect for the woman who is, “Practically Perfect in Every Way!” It just goes to prove that writers can string readers along pretty much until their hands cramp up.

Which brings me to Succot: I hear people complaining, “Enough already!” “How many holidays can we absorb in three weeks?” “It feels like it just keeps on going, just like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

There are definitely things that seem dragged out but are still very real and meaningful, like, shall we say, “Honrificabilitudinitatibus,” for, in essence, we are being loaded with honors; Rosh Hashanah, Shofar, Yom Kippur, Succot, Succah, Lulav, Etrog, Hoshanot, and then it goes on even more through Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, and for we exiles, Shabbat is attached. All I can say is, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! (OK, enough already. I got it.)

How are we to deal with all the honors? Or, more honestly; how are we to deal with the feeling that all this is just dragging on and on?

Use the clown!

Succot is Z’man Simchateinu. We only feel that things are dragging if we are not enjoying ourselves, laughing and being happy. Time flies when you’re having fun! So, have fun.

There is the serious happiness that comes with reflecting on all we have gained through the Days of Awe, or, as I used to say when a pulpit rabbi, ‘The Awe-Full Days’ (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the fun!)

I want to also have some lighter happiness, like counting the stars I can see through the S’chach. I live in New York, so its possible to count the stars that are visible in the sky. I want to dance with my Lulav and Etrog, and have fun doing it. I want to enjoy eating while wrapped in twenty layers,  trying to avoid getting honey on my clothes. I want to have a competition to see who runs quickest out of the Succah to avoid the bees. I want to play with the decoration’s shadows on the Succah walls to figure out what shapes they make. Basically, I want to have fun. I want to be happy. I want that joy to drag out for the entire year!

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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21
Sep

Psalm 27: Post Yom Kippur – Hoshanah Rabbah

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

We continue to recite L’David; Hashem Ori, (Psalm 27) until Hoshanah Rabbah because of the verse, “He hides me in the covert of His tent (Sukkoh).” The nature of the Psalm changes after our Yom Kippur achievements, as do the thirteen mentions of God’s Name, corresponding to the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.

The nature of the Covenant of The Thirteen Attributes also changes after Yom Kippur to carry us from the Judgment to Hoshanah Rabbah, when the ‘Piska,” or ‘Judge’s Ruling,’ is, so to speak, delivered and final.

We must therefore have different intentions when reciting the Thirteen Names while singing this Psalm. I offer the basic, intermediate and advanced presentations, based on the most common listing of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, followed by the Ari’s listing:

Note: 13 is the numerical value of “Echad,”:

Basic:


  1. God’s Uniqueness (Level I),

  2. Simplicity (Level II),

  3. Unity (Level III),

  4. The Only True Being (Level IV)


Intermediate:


  1. “Echad,” God’s Uniqueness (Assiyah),

  2. Simplicity  (Yetzirah),

  3. Unity (Beriah),

  4. The Only True Being (Atzilut)


Advanced

One should have in mind when concentrating on the Thirteen Attributes to unify them in each of the Four Levels of Existence:

From Yom Kippur – Succot: Assiyah,

First Day(s): Yetzirah,

Chol Hamoed: Beriah,

Hoshanah Rabbah: Atzilut.

Basic:

1 [A Psalm] of David. God (Hashem) is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

God (Hashem) is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh,

even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;

Though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident.

4 One thing have I asked of God (Kail), that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of God (Rachum) all the days of my life,

to behold the graciousness of God (V’Chanun), and to visit early in His temple.

5 For He conceals me in His pavilion in the day of evil;

He hides me in the covert of His tent; He lifts me up upon a rock.

6 And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; and I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices with trumpet-sound;

I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto God (Erech Apayim).

7 Hear, O God (V’Rav Chesed), when I call with my voice, and be gracious unto me, and answer me.

8 In Your behalf my heart has said: ‘Seek you My face’; Your face, God (Ve’Emet), will I seek.

9 Hide not Your face from me; put not Your servant away in anger;

You have been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O Lord of my salvation.

10 For though my father and my mother have forsaken me, God (Notzair Chesed La’alafim) will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O God (Nosei Avon); and lead me in an even path, because of them that lie in wait for me.

12 Deliver me not over to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence.

13 If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of God (VaFesha)in the land of the living!–

14 Wait on God (V’Chata’a); be strong, and let Your heart take courage; yea, wait You for God (Vinakei).

According To The Ari’s List of The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy:

1 [A Psalm] of David. God (Kail) is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

God (Rachum) is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh,

even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;

Though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident.

4 One thing have I asked of God (V’Chanun)), that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of God (Erech) all the days of my life,

to behold the graciousness of God (Apayim)), and to visit early in His temple.

5 For He conceals me in His pavilion in the day of evil;

He hides me in the covert of His tent; He lifts me up upon a rock.

6 And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; and I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices with trumpet-sound;

I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto God (Rav Chesed).

7 Hear, O God (Emet), when I call with my voice, and be gracious unto me, and answer me.

8 In Your behalf my heart has said: ‘Seek you My face’; Your face, God (Notzair Chesed), will I seek.

9 Hide not Your face from me; put not Your servant away in anger;

You have been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O Lord of my salvation.

10 For though my father and my mother have forsaken me, God (La’alafim) will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O God (Nosei Avon); and lead me in an even path, because of them that lie in wait for me.

12 Deliver me not over to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence.

13 If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of God (VaFesha)in the land of the living!–

14 Wait on God (V’Chata’a); be strong, and let Your heart take courage; yea, wait You for God (Vinakei).

Intermediate:

 

Ari:


  1. “Kail,” I feel empowered by Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as in, “Eilei HaAretz,” “The mighty of the land.” (Ezekeil 17:13)

  2. “Rachum,” although God is Infinite and awesome, He relates to us as we are, with full awareness and appreciation of our strengths and struggles. (See Kuzari I:I) He is thus, “the stronghold of my life.”

  3. “Chanun” is the largest of the Treasure Houses in Heaven (Shemot Rabbah 45:6), the Treasure of “Matnat Chinam,” “Free Gifts,” that anable us to ask, as in, “One thing have I asked of God.”

  4. “Erech” is long lasting, as in, “all the days of my life.” God uses “Erech” to delay punishment, even as He grants us “Erech” as “all the days of my life.”

  5. “Apayim,”  God relates to us on multiple levels, so that even after we sin against Him we can still request, “to behold the graciousness of God, and to visit early in His temple.”

  6. “Rav Chesed” points to our ability to receive God’s Chesed Life-Force, and share it with others. It is for this that, “I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto God.”

  7. “Emet” gives meaning to all we do; Our choices matter. It is because we are active participants in God’s Creation that we can say, “Hear, O God (Emet), when I call with my voice, and be gracious unto me, and answer me.” God hears our prayers because we truly matter.

  8. “Notzair Chesed” takes even our thoughts to do good and gives them substance. God listens even when, “In Your behalf my heart has said,” it was only in my heart, and raises the thought as if it were action.

  9. “La’alafim,” for a thousand generations would seem to limit God’s Chesed; Only to a thousand generations, and no more? When God showers Chesed on the world, He directs it to those who will most effectively use it. “La’alafim” is the expression of God’s commitment to us each second of our existence, so that, “For though my father and my mother have forsaken me, God will take me up.”


10-12: “Nosei Avon, Vafesha, V’Chata’ah” describes how even after God has empowered us to act with meaning, our choices matter to existence, He is willing to “carry” our deliberate sins, our acts of rebellion, and our mistakes,” so that they will not burden us. I need Him to, “lead me in an even path, because of them that lie in wait for me,” my deliberate sins, so that I can, “look upon the goodness of God in the land of the living,” despite my rebellion and choosing to avoid looking upon His Face and walking in the Land of the Living, and I can take, “heart take courage.”

13. “Vinakei” is that God allows those who say, I only “wait You for God,” which is the reconnection of Teshuvah: Despite all I have done, I “wait You for God,” to reconnect to Him without any barriers.

Advanced

 

Ari


  1. “Kail” as the embodiment of the initial Ratzon, or, Will, to create the world, bringing Life-Force – Chesed. This is the source of all the Light – Perceiving God’s Presence – in my life’s work.

  2. “Rachum” corresponds to the umbilical cord that connects the fetus in the womb, or “Rechem.” It represents the pathways God offers us to achieve Eternal Life through our efforts in this limited world. He empowers us to achieve beyond our physical limitations.

  3. “Chanun” is the ultimate Infinite gift of Eternal Life in Olam Habbah, the very thing we request in, “One thing have I asked of God.”

  4. “Erech” is the Attribute God used to “extend” life despite the fact that He told Adam, “On the day you eat of it, you shall die.” “Erech” extends all our merits to become part of our being, “all the days of my life,” even if we act against God’s wishes, contradicting those merits. That extension is also used to extend our service beyond the actual work and accomplishment.

  5. “Apayim,” or, “Faces,” is plural, at least two. It expands “Erech,” twofold, so that the “Erech” becomes three, corresponding to, “Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh,” Heaven, Earth, and Eternal Life. The three levels of Kadosh allow us “to behold the graciousness of God, and to visit early in His temple,” meaning, to live on Earth, yet touch Heaven, and see beyond time.

  6. “Rav Chesed” describes the gift of being able to generate our own Life Force with the Chesed we receive from God. Rav means to increase, as in a Rav, or, Rabbi. When we learn how to use our Service of God to nurture our own Life Force, we emulate the Creator, and can expand His Presence in this world, the power to recite, “Baruch Ata Hashem,” as giving a Blessing to God, as in, “I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto God.”

  7. “Emet” empowers all our actions, speech and prayer with the Truth of God’s Existence when we access that truth by constantly requesting, “Hear, O God (Emet), when I call with my voice, and be gracious unto me, and answer me.”

  8. “Notzair Chesed” is related to “Tzinor,” the pipes that connect even our thoughts and desires to the Highest Worlds, with the ability to change realities as determined in our “Mazal.” (Sha’ar HaKavanot, Derushei ‘Va’Ya’avor,’ #5) “In Your behalf my heart has said,” even the thoughts of my heart are so connected.

  9. “La’alafim” corresponds to, “You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19) God directs His unlimited Chesed toward our accomplishments even as He blocks it from our sins. He does this completely for us, with total focus on our needs, growth and development, so that even if, “For though my father and my mother have forsaken me, God will take me up.”


10-12. “Nosei Avon, Vafesha, V’Chata’ah”address the weaknesses in our service, “I can’t,” “I don’t want to,” and, “I’m confused.” God empowers our positive actions even when they suffer these weaknesses.

13. “Vinakei” incorporates and unifies the previous 12 Attributes, so that I can live my life, “wait You for God,” to attach to God in Olam Habbah.

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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21
Sep

Succot Lecture Part Ten: Where Everything Is Holy

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Question: Is that consistent with what you are saying about the shechina and the analogies of the mizbeach to sleep in the succah, for example, I’ve heard that the chabad has a custom not to sleep in the succah. Is it dignified, is it giving it the proper kavod if a person sleeps in the succah.

 

Absolutely.  First of all, I mean we’re pretty sure its halacha. You have to sleep in the Succah, but you have raised an incredible and important point. Which is worthwhile to speak on for hours itself, but simply there is nothing we can do as human beings in our basic functions as human beings that is disrespectful of G-d. There’s nothing you to do that is disrespectful, we know that there is no place that is not filled with G-d’s presence. Which is why we even say in bracha after we relieve ourselves, we say “galui veyadua lifnei chisei chevodecha,” it is revealed and known in front of Your Thrown of Glory. We just relieved ourselves and now we are speaking about the Thrown of Glory?

Because everything that exists on a physical level exists on a spiritual level as well. Sleep that’s just sleep, you are right, would be in inappropriate. But sleep that is done to fulfill the mitzvah of sleeping in the succah, sleep that is done in order to gain the strength necessary to live a productive life of dvekus – of attachment to Hashem, is as holy as anything else. And there is nothing inappropriate about it. Nothing.

And by the way if you want to understand the idea of why we say in asher yatzar, “galui veyadua lifnei chisei chevodecha”, we speak after going to the bathroom that it is known in front of G-d’s Thrown of Glory, just look at the story of what we did with the golden hemorrhoids that were laid by the Pelishtim when they returned the stolen ark to the Jewish people. So they had these beautiful wagons and on top of these beautiful wagons they put golden hemorrhoids to remember the hemorrhoids that G-d sent them. And we stored the golden hemorrhoids in the Holy of Holies. And they were made by the pelishtim.  So Rabbi Schwab zt”l explained that this has to do with the concept that even hemorrhoids can be holy!

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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21
Sep

Succot Lecture Part Nine: Hovering Over The Nest

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

What else do we do with the Mizbei’ach on Succot? We take the aravos and the aravos we take – enormous Arava, or willow, branches, enormous willow branches and we draped them over the Mizbei’ach so that you have a roof – S’chach, over the Mizbei’ach of aravos. And by the way, one of the names of the seven heavens is Arava, or willow,. Its one of the heavens.

So think about it,  you have a roof, a S’chach, over the Mizbei’ach, we are creating a succah over the Mizbei’ach. This is what we are doing when we say the Hoshanat.

But its not only that, go back to the very beginning of creation, the first day. Even before the creation of light. And the verse says “veruach Elokim merachefes al penei hamayim,” that the sprit, the wind, the spirit of Hashem, so to speak, was hovering over the face of the water. And Rashi says as a bird hovering over it’s nest. That in the same way a mother bird hovers over her nest in order to protect her eggs and her young chicks. In the same way, the Ruach Elokim hovered over the mayim, the water. This is what we are acting out when we put the aravos at hoshanas, when we put those aravos and drape them as a nest, not only as a succah, but a nest over the top of the Mizbei’ach and we picture Hashem hovering over the top of the Mizbei’ach in the same way he hovered al penei hamayim, the face of the water.

So again, we are acting out the whole idea of the water and what it represents, but not just water, we are actually out the first water from the very first moments of creation when Hashem is hovering, so to speak, to protect this potential, everything the seeds, and the DNA of our existence when Hashem is there.

So we have a succah on top of the Mizbei’ach, we have a nest with a mother bird hovering over. We are going back to the moment of creation. This is beyond ‘as if,’ this is beyond taking something that is impossible and saying halacha says its possible. This is beyond taking our experience of the shechina on Yom Kippur and enfusing that experience into the S’chach. This is beyond the idea of living under the wings of the shechina. This is beyond picturing the anan hakavod, the Cloud of Glory of the shechina, filling the mishkan so that even Moshe could not enter in treating our succah as the mishkan at that moment. This is way beyond.

This is going back to the water or the mist rising. To the very first moments of our existence as human beings. And then this goes back even further.

Because it goes back not only to the sixth day of creation, it goes back to the first, when Hashem hovers over. And you have this sky of Arava, or willow, as S’chach, leaves, as S’chach over the Mizbei’ach where we are pouring water, where we have the earth of creation and we have a nest. Our succah and the bimah in shul, when we are walking around during hoshanas is like a nest. There’s a mist over it created by our hoshanas, by our lulavim and estorgim, and G-d hovers over that nest so to speak to protect his creations from the very opening moments of creation.

But there is much much much more.

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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21
Sep

Succot Lecture Part Eight: Beginnings

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Where else do we have this concept of going back to the moment of creation of the human being? There is one other place. Where else in our regular service of Hashem do we have a physical acting out of the formation of a human being? – on the Mizbei’ach.

Because when the passuk at the end of Yitro says that the Mizbei’ach must be adama, earth. But we know it wasn’t made of earth, it was made out of copper. What was in the center of the Mizbei’ach? What was in the center, every time they camped, what did they put there? Earth. And which earth did they put in the center of the altar? – the same earth from the same place where the primal human being’s body was formed.

And the Mizbei’ach places a substantial role in Succotalso, because what do we do all of Succot? We do something extra on the Mizbei’ach that we don’t do the rest of the year. We pour water.

Why do we pour water on top of the earth that’s inside of the Mizbei’ach, what are we doing when are pouring water, a mist, on top of that earth in the Mizbei’ach. We are acting out the recreation of the formation of the primal human being. This is what we are doing on Succot when we pour the water.

This is why every sacrifice we offer has to be on top of the Mizbei’ach because we are going back to the very beginning, the first moments of our existence as human beings and saying that I hope to achieve an atonement and purification with this sacrifice that will bring me back to the first moment of the formation of the human being, free of any sin. Free of a yetzer harah that is internal. And right back to that moment, right before Adam and Chava are placed, or Adam is placed for this first time, into the garden that was in Eden. So this is something else that we are doing on the Mizbei’ach.

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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21
Sep

Succot Lecture Part Seven: The First Cloud

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

We’ve spoken about approaching Succos now, ‘as if’, as if I can do anything. As if I can continue to be who I was on Yom Kippur, as if I could continue to daven with the intensity that I davened on  Yom Kippur. After going in with the sense that nothing is impossible, danim efshar me she lo efshar, you want to remember clouds, build a building. A building will remind us of clouds of glory? Absolutely, there is nothing that is impossible, we experienced it on Yom Kippur. We create it when we make the choice, the Shechina is so real in our succah that we have to be careful before entering, when we are sitting in the succah to feel the Hashem in such a way. That we speak differently when we are in the succah, we act differently, we eat differently when we are in the succah then we will succeed in having a sense of Shechina, of the divine presence, in the succah.

But lets go on, because if it was the clouds, we learn halacha from the clouds. Because when is the first cloud?

In the second story of creation. Before Hashem created the primary human being. So it says there was no rain, all of the grass, all of the roots all the shoots were underneath the ground waiting to grow, because there was not yet a human being to daven as an active participant in creation and to ask Hashem and say, its not just that You created, but You are an active participant in the creation, please do what is necessary for everything to grow.

And the mist did not come down from the ground, a mist rose from the ground. And from here we learn that the succah which is a recreation of the mist, or cloud, must grow from the ground. That’s where we learn the halacha.

So this mist came and it watered the ground, now when you had mist on ground, a thick mist on the ground, what happens to the mist, it becomes mud. And Hashem took that mud and with that mud He formed the body of the primal human being. So we are not simply remembering clouds, we are remembering the first clouds. We are remembering the cloud that was used in the formation of a human being. When we, recreate that mist or cloud by putting S’chach on top of our succah, we are going back to the moment of creation. To that first cloud which was used to form – yetzirah, to form a body of the primal human being.

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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20
Sep

Succah Matriarch by Prof. Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

I was sitting in a succah a couple of years ago and noticed the Ushpizun. The three patriarchs are there. However, none of the matriarchs were there. I asked myself the following question: Which matriarch or patriarch was most like a succah. And I realized that the answer was very easy. Leah.

Leah literally lived in a succah her whole married life. Sure it was a tent like Rachel lived in, but Rachel’s tent was Jacob’s tent. Rachel lived in the main house. Her relationship with her husband was strong and sturdy. She was the beloved wife.

But not Leah. We know that her husband visited her to beget children and that seems to be the only time she had her husband in her tent. She was in the wilderness. It was a fragile existence vis-à-vis her husband and the cold winds of rejection blew through her tent the way the wind blows through the schach. And she shivered. Perhaps the scattered fruit around the succah symbolize Leah’s less than bountiful pickings from the table of her husband. This is verified by the Torah where she has to pay Rachel to have Rachel let her (Leah) sleep with her husband. Her own husband!

If the succah is to remind us of the fragility of being in an unstable situation, Leah is the paradigm. Poor, poor Leah.

Even in Jewish history, Leah is ignored. When the Jews are exiled from the first Temple to Babylon what does tradition say? Mother Rachel is crying for her children. This is said because they went by the burial  place of Rachel on the way to exile. An exile Leah certainly could identify with. Where, oh where, is Leah?

Except… except… except!

Maybe the tradition was correct that Rachel was crying but the people she was crying for were not her children. Perhaps it is more correct to say that Leah was also crying. For her children. Because the people who went into exile where the children of Leah. The other 10 tribes had been lost. Indeed, from before the destruction of the first Temple until today, all Jews are descended from Leah. Her children Levi And Judah.

So in the long sweep of Jewish history, Rachel was prominent and dominant for roughly 600 years. The last 2700 years , Leah, and Leah alone,  is the mother of the Jewish people. In the long sweep of Jewish history it is Leah who has the permanent house and Rachel… has nothing.

What is the message for us?

In our lives, as we go through the years, we have security and insecurity. The insecurity is represented by the fragile succah. Even the halacha that says if there is no connection with the wall the succah still is valid. Despite the gaps! Why? Because despite the gaps, mother Leah puts her arms around us and urges us to forge ahead with hope  that the future will again produce security.

How many of us know this to be so very true? Good Times, bad times, sad times, fun times. And sometimes those insecure times can last a long time. Yet, looking back on our lives, we can see when we came out of those insecure times to secure times. Certainly, when you’re in those insecure times, it seems very dark. So a dogged determination and hope for the future are essential.

It is not easy. But it is the lesson of the succah. And sometimes the end of the story will take a long time.

One example from my life. After graduating from college I really did not have a focus. So I wandered into a first career for 12 years. I was not particularly happy in this career, but had no clue what I wanted to do. I then shifted to a second career for three years which was all commission sales. Literally, I nearly starved to death. I was depressed. But one day I ran into an old acquaintance who told me about career possibilities in speaking and training. I had never been told about this before. The companies I worked for were very small and never had any training. So I had no clue about this possibility. But once I was told about it and looked at my skill set, I was immediately and intensely focused. For the past 23 years I have loved what I do.

I’m sure all of you have similar stories. It is the story of Leah. The story of the succah. The fragile exile into insecurity and the triumphant return to security and fulfillment.

So when you sit in the succah and look at the posters of the Ushpizun, remember that a woman, Leah, belongs there. She was in the first succah and her children have populated the succah since the giving of the commandment.

PS  Maybe Succot should have a subtitle: Mother’s Days!

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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20
Sep

Lulav Dancing

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

“All my bones say, ‘God, who is like You?’” is understood by the Midrash as describing the praises expressed with the Lulav, which is compared to a spine, the Hadas – Myrtle – shaped like an eye, the Arava – Willow – which looks like a mouth, and the Etrog which symbolizes the heart. When we lift all four species together we are saying that our entire body joins in the motion of praising God.

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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20
Sep

Succot Lecture Part Six: Recreating The Mishkan

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

The Jews had the opportunity with the first Luchot, and they made a serious mistake, they made the eigel. And when they made the eigel, they lost everything. They lost the luchot, they lost this unbelievable level, the intensity of the relationship with Hashem.

And when Hashem says, you know what, make a Mishkan, make a Mikdash and you will be able to bring the Shechina back. And everyone was desperate to do it, we know that it was the most successful fund raising campaign in history. There’s too much money, they had to stop.

They finished the succah, Moshe Rabbeinu puts it up, if you look at the closing paragraph of Sefer Shemot, an incredible thing happens.

“Vayechas heanan es ohel moed,” they finally finish putting together the mishkan, they are desperate to know, is it true, can we actually bring the presence of G-d to a building? Yes we followed all the instructions but to think that what we had a Sinai, we can have in a building that we made? And a cloud comes and covers the mishkan. “U’kvod Adoshem memaleh et hamishkan,” “and the Glory of Hashem filled the Mishkan.”

Wow, this is incredible. So now, can we use it? How does it work? You may have taught us all the rules, but now we are seeing it, we have seen literally the Shechina filling the mishkan.

So Moshe tries to go and enter the Mishkan, “velo yachol Moshe lavo el ohel moed,” even Moshe Rabbeinu could not enter. The Divine Presence was so manifest that even Moshe, “ki shakan elav henan,” the cloud was there, Moshe couldn’t get through. “U’chevod Adonai malei et Hamishakan,” and the glory of Hashem filled the mishkan. Even Moshe could not – unbelievable.

Hashem tells them to start building the mishkan, and by the way, why is it Succos is on the 15th Tishrei, why the 15th Tishrei of all days, why not pesach time? Because the clouds left after the Golden Calf. They came back when they began to work on the Mishkan, because Hashem said you’re creating a house for Me, I will create a house for you. Moshe came down on the 10th Tishrei, Yom Kippur, with the 2nd luchos, that’s where we were yesterday, at Sinai, when Moshe came down with the 2nd luchos. Today was the day that Moshe was teaching us, what we needed to contribute to build this building. It took them 3 days after the day of the instructions to gather all that money. 3 days. And they began the construction on the 15th Tishrei. And Hashem said, you’re building a house for me, now I will again give you your home. And this is how the Vilna Gaon explains it in his commentary to Shir Hashirim.

So imagine, they do all this work. They build the Mishkan, they finish. The clouds come, incredible. G-d is there, we did it. And then we can’t go in? Even Moshe Rabbeinu can’t go in? And obviously, Hashem worked it out, that eventually Moshe could go in, Aharon could go in, the Kohanim could go in. but there had to be that one moment in which they realized that what they had created with their own hands was so powerful and so real, that it would bring the shechina of Hashem down to such an extent that even Moshe Rabbeinu the greatest of all neviim who could speak to G-d, panim el panim, could not enter.

There has to be a moment, after the ‘as if,’ after saying halacha tells us that there is no such thing as something that is impossible, after we take the Shechina of Yom Kippur and put it into our s’chach, after we say to that s’chach we want to sit under the wings of the Shechina.

There should be one moment when we stand outside our succah on Wednesday night before we enter when we should create in our minds the image of what that first succah, that first Mishkan, was like. That the presence of G-d was so real, that even Moshe Rabbeinu could not enter.

And if we stop for one second, when we are ready to first enter the succah on Succot and understand that with the ‘as if’ and that with the impossible and with Yom Kippur and with the choice to sit under the Shechina, the Shechina is so real in this succah perhaps we should be afraid of entering as Moshe was afraid of entering the mishkan. Then when we actually sit in the succah we will be able to experience the Shechina, the divine presence, as something that is very real.

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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