July, 2011 Archives

31
Jul

Morning Blessings For the Nine Days & Tisha B’Av: Part Six

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Tisha B'Av Prayers

“Who removes sleep from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids. And may it be Your will…”

“Sleeping is thick arras or ambsace, like an alcatraz across water.” (Brian Teare, Sight Map: Poems)

Kavanah:

We often do not have the clarity to perceive God’s messages to us personally, or to the world; it is often as if we are sleeping. We acknowledge the blessing of clarity that comes through Torah that keeps our minds sharp and allows us to catch God’s messages and allows us to understand them.

The remainder of the blessing is a request for the things we need to maintain that clarity.

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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
Jul

Morning Blessings For the Nine Days & Tisha B’Av: Part Five

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Tisha B'Av Prayers

I received an e-mail this morning asking why I am relying on so many secular sources for this commentary to the Siddur. My intention is for this commentary to be an expression of our prayers in exile, specifically, our ability to find moments of transcendence even in the darkness of exile. As stated in the commentary to the fifth paragraph of the Hallel for Rosh Chodesh Av, our job in exile is to become Spark Collectors.

“Who spreads out the earth upon the waters.”

I saw the world and yesterday!

A flight of Angels tore

It’s cover off and Heaven lay

Where Earth had been before.

I walked about the countryside

And saw a cricket pass.

Then, bending closer, I espied

An ecstasy of grass.

(Elizabeth B. Rooney; Eschaton)

Kavanah:

Even when we do not have the Beit Hamikdash through which to view the Heavens, we can still bend down and find, “an ecstasy of grass,” sparks of Heaven sprinkled throughout the world; sparks through which we can glimpse Heaven.

“Who firms man’s footsteps.”

“These men asked the pilgrims whence they came; and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures, they had met with in the way; and they told them. Then said the men that met them, “You have it but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the City.” (John Bunyan; The Pilgrim’s Progress)

Kavanah:

We acknowledge that with each difficulty with which You present us, You are moving us forward toward our ultimate goal.

“Who has provided me my every need.”

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,

‘Tis sweeter far to me,

To walk together to the kirk

With a goodly company! –

To walk together to the kirk,

And all together pray,

While each to his great Father bends,

Old men, and babes, and loving friends,

And youths and maidens gay!

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell

To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!

He prayeth well, who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.”

(Samuel Taylor Coleridge; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part VII)

Kavanah:

“He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.”

We are celebrating the powerful role of prayer in empowering us to thrive in exile: By providing us with prayer; the ability to speak to You and to know that You are listening, You have provided us with a means to address our every need.

“Who girds Israel with strength.”

Three Silences there are: the first of speech,

The second of desire, the third of thought;

This is the lore a Spanish monk, distraught

With dreams and visions, was the first to teach.

These Silences, commingling each with each,

Made up the perfect Silence, that he sought

And prayed for, and wherein at times he caught

Mysterious sounds from realms beyond our reach.

O thou, whose daily life anticipates

The life to come, and in whose thought and word

The spiritual world preponderates.

Hermit of Amesbury! thou too hast heard

Voices and melodies from beyond the gates,

And speakest only when thy soul is stirred!

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; The Three Silences of Molinos)

Kavanah:

We acknowledge our ability to catch the “Mysterious sounds from realms beyond our reach,” which has given us the great strength to survive the devastating challenges of exile.

“Who crowns Israel with splendor.”

G. K. Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday,” features a plot to infiltrate the Central Council of Anarchists, whose 7 members are named for the days of the week, Sunday, Monday, etc., The main character Gabriel Syme finds himself recruited as a spy, first by a regular police officer and then by a mysterious man in a dark room, whose face he never sees.

“Are you the new recruit?” asked the invisible chief, “all right. You are engaged.”

Syme, quite swept off his feet, made a feeble fight against this irrevocable phrase.

“I really have no experience,” he began.

“No one has any experience,” said the other, “of the battle of Armageddon.”

“But I am really unfit–”

“You are willing, that is enough,” said the unknown.

“Well, really,” said Syme, “I don’t know of any profession of which mere willingness is the final test.”

“I do,” said the other, “martyrs. I am condemning you to death. Good day.”

Thus it was that when Gabriel Syme came out again into the crimson light of evening, in his shabby black hat and shabby, lawless code, he came out a member of the New Detective Corps for the frustration of the great conspiracy. Before he had finally left the police premises his friend provided him with a small blue card, on which was written “The Last Crusade,” and a number, the sign of his official authority.

Kavanah:

There are times when our job as, “A Light unto the nations,” seems a death sentence, and yet, we, as does Syme in this story, carry our “small blue card,” with pride in our authority as official members of the corps to battle the great conspiracy of evil.

We declare with this blessing, the pride of our Crown of Splendor, despite its great costs.

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
Jul

Tehillim: Psalm 137: The Psalm of Exile I

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

By The Waters of Babylon

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept, as we thought of Zion (Psalms 137:1).” The placement of this Psalm immediately following the Hallel haGadol, Psalm 136, indicates that if Israel will merit it, it will be able to recite the former, if it will not merit it, it will have to recite this Psalm, lamenting what could have been and what should have been.

We are told in the Zohar that the exiles in Babylon were death like, as zombies, having been brought from a life of great comfort to the depths of deprivation. They refused to accept any attempts to comfort them, to offer them consolation.

This is why God revealed visions to the prophet Ezekiel on the Euphrates, showing him in God and His entourage, in order to convince the exiled Jews that they had not been abandoned by the Divine Presence, and that in fact, the Divine Presence was exiled alongside them, as well as the Angels. These acted as guarantors, the Aravim, of verse 2, that He Cool would free the Angels would also free the Jewish exiles in due course.

When Israel heard all this, it began to regain its composure. This is the background against which we read that the Jews, “sat alongside the rivers of Babylon,” meaning, they are they experienced some degree of relief having been told Ezekiel’s vision.

On the one hand, they rejoiced, but on the other hand, “we cried,” when they fought back to Zion. (Rabbi Moshe Alshich; Romemot El)

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
Jul

Forms of Mourning: Kinah III: The Beginning and the End

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

Mourning

“He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”  As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day.

The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what My Master, God, the Lord says.’

And whether they listen or fail to listen,

for they are a rebellious house,

they will know that a prophet has been among them.



And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words.

Do not be afraid,

though briers and thorns are all around you

and you live among scorpions.

Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them,

though they are a rebellious house.

You must speak my words to them,

whether they listen or fail to listen,

for they are rebellious.

But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you.

Do not rebel like that rebellious house;

open your mouth

and eat what I give you.”



Then I looked,

and I saw a hand stretched out to me.

In it was a scroll,

which he unrolled before me.

On front and back

were written words of lament

and mourning and woe.

And he said to me,

“Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.”

So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

Then he said to me,

“Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you

and fill your stomach with it.”

So I ate it,

and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

(Ezekiel, Chapter 2 – 3:3).”

“On front and back,” the face had the story of life in this world,

while the back contained the story of the World to Come.

The face described the peace of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous in this world.

The back described the reward of the righteous and the suffering of the wicked in the World to Come.

“Lament,” over the damage caused by the wicked.

“Mourning,” over the suffering of the righteous in this world.

“Woe,” in fear over the punishment of the wicked in the Coming World (Sifrei).

“On front and back,” the front described what happened; the back described the future. The “Lament,” was over what Israel would lose of the back, if they ignored the warnings of the front (Targum Yonatan).

“It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth,” the sweetness of fulfilling God’s Will (MaHari Kara).

A Lament must include both the front and the back; the sorrow over the past and the promise of a better future. When we experience both sides of the Lament, our empty stomachs will be nourished with the sweetness of honey!

Tools:

Focus on the “sweet as honey” pleasure we can derive from the performance of Mitzvot, especially after midday, and when wrapping Tallit and Tefillin for Mincha.

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
Jul

Hallel Rosh Chodesh Av Paragraph Six: Our Story

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

The Story of the Jewish People

Ours, is a story that already resonates throughout the world. Less than three years after the Holocaust, we were a nation reborn, fighting for our survival, winning, and building a dynamic country against all odds.

We sing this paragraph of the Rosh Chodesh Av Hallel as a song of our story, to give us strength from our past to look forward to an ever greater future:

“Give thanks to God Who is good, for His kindness is forever!

Let Israel declare that His Kindness is forever!

Let the House of Aaron declare that His kindness is forever!

Let those who are in awe of God declare that His kindness if forever!”

“I called to the Creator of Heaven and Earth from a tight spot,

and He answered me broadly.

God is with me,

I have no fear; what can people do to me?

God is with me to help me, so I can confront my enemies.

It is better to depend in God than to trust people.

It is better to depend on God than to trust people in power.

All the nations surrounded me but I survived them in God’s Name.

They surrounded and encircled me but I survived them in God’s Name.

Though they surrounded me like a swarm of bees, they were snuffed out like burnt thorns.

I survived them in God’s Name.

I was pushed to fall but God helped me.

The Creator of Heaven and Earth is my Help and my Hammer, and became my Savior. Song and victory sound in the tents of the just. God’s Hand makes victory.

God’s Hand is supreme.

God’s Hand makes victory!

I will not die but live, and tell of the doings of the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

The Creator afflicted me to direct me but did not destroy me.

Open the gates of justice for me, I will enter and thank the Creator.

This is the gate to God, the just may enter here.

I thank You for answering me, You became my salvation.

The stone rejected by the builders became the cornerstone.

This happened because of God; it is wondrous in our eyes.

This is the day God made; let us sing and be happy with it.

Please God; Save us!

Please God; Make us successful!

Bless those who come in God’s Name; we bless you from God’s House.

God  is The Power and gave us Light.

Wave your holiday branches up to the corners of the altar.

You are my Power and I thank You, My Lord and I will exalt You.

Give thanks to God Who is good, for His kindness is forever!”

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
Jul

Knowing How To Die: Reflections on Kinah 16

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

Arch of Titus

Arch of Titus

“They sent the children away to the land of Uz in three ships.”

The Talmud tells a horrifying story of three ships sent to Rome by Vespasian filled with four hundred Jewish boys and girls to be used for immoral purposes. The children preferred taking their own lives rather than live in sin. They were inspired by a verse, “I will bring back those threatened by disgrace,” and understood that they would not forfeit their share in the World To Come by jumping into the sea. All the children jumped. (Gittin 57b)

This reminds me of an inscription on a WWII memorial in Bosnia:

Here lies the grave. Stay for a while, when the forest listens.

Take off your caps! Here rests the flower

Of a people that knows how to die.


These children had so much clarity about how to live, that they knew how to die.

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
Jul

Hallel Rosh Chodesh Av Paragraph Five: Planting Seeds – Collecting Sparks

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Collecting Sparks

Rabbi Yosef of Coucy reminds us that we were sent into exile for two purposes: 1) To plant seeds of God’s Light everywhere in the world, to become, “A light unto the nations.” 2) To collect the lost souls of those who have Divine sparks deep inside of them, and bring them back to their source. This paragraph of the Rosh Chodesh Av Hallel is a reminder of our positive mission in exile:

“All you nations; Praise God!

Sing compliments, all you peoples!

For His kindness overpowers us, and God’s Truth is forever.

Hallelukah!”

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
Jul

Hallel Rosh Chodesh Av Paragraph Four: One Day We Will Look Back

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

[/caption]What is our vision for what we will do when we leave this exile? We will look back and realize, just as did King David, that all our struggles in exile served to make us independent and stronger.

We declare what we will do with that independence on the day we will look back on our long exile. The destruction was not only ours, but God’s as well; His Holy City, His Beit Hamikdash, the Glory of His Name. Our vision of our first prayer in Jerusalem redeemed, which has become part of our daily prayer even in the darkest moments and places of exile, promises to restore His Name as well:

“What can I respond to God for all the good He has given to make me independent?

I will lift up the cup of salvation and I will call out in God’s Name.

I will fulfill my promises to God in front of all His nation.

Death to His pious ones is precious in God’s eyes.

Please God, allow me to be Your servant.

I am Your worker, the son of Your maidservant,

You unlocked my chains.

I will bring an offering of thanks to You, and I will call out in the Name of God.

I will fulfill my promises to God in front of all His nation.

In the courtyards of God’s House, in the center of Jerusalem.

Hallelukah!”

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
Jul

Kavanot: Rosh Chodesh Av

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Destruction of Temple

The Kabbalists use different verses to focus on the Name of God during the Mussaf – Additional prayer – on Rosh Chodesh – The New Month. They use the following verse on Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av:  ”Moses and the Cohanim, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying, Be Attentive and Hear O Israel.” (Deuteronomy 27:9)

The Ibn Ezra explains that there are two steps, “be attentive”, and “hear”. He applies the steps of this verse to Shema: One must be attentive to what one hears in Shema.

How does this reflect God’s attributes? How do we use this to concentrate on God’s Name in our Rosh Chodesh prayer?

God speaks to us in layers. We must listen, as the people of Israel did not to the warning of the prophets before the destruction of Jerusalem. We must listen to and hear the messages God sends, even during a month of tragedy; the month of Av.

Once we listen and hear, we must learn to pay attention to what we hear and apply the lessons we learn.

God’s layered speech is a gift, especially during a time when we experience God as distant. This Name empowers us to discover the layers of God’s messages.

II. The Hebrew of “Pay Attention” is “Haskeit”, which shares the same root as Succot.

This Name indicates God as Cover of Protection even when all seems terrible.

The roof of the Succah allows us to see through the small open spaces, as in Yiskah – To see with the Divine Spirit. This derivation of God’s Name allows us to “see” God’s Presence in small points of light even when most of the world occludes His light, as the S’chach of the Succah.

III. Haskeit is also related to “Sucatim” in Chronicles I, Chapter: They were skilled at understanding others.

Sinat Chinam – Hatred without a Reason – caused the destruction of the Second Temple. This derivation of God’s Name empowers us to hear others with greater sensitivity and awareness, so that we can repair the Sinat Chinam with Ahavat Chinam.

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
Jul

Hallel Rosh Chodesh Av Paragraph Three: Expecting Blessing

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Showered With Blessings

Why do we sing that we are about to begin a new stage in our existence? Why do we declare our commitment to always sing as the Servants of God? Why do we sing of our eternal hope that we will leave this exile just as we left Egypt?

We sing this Hallel on Rosh Chodesh Av because we are confident that just as God blessed Adam with the ability to master the world, God will bless us as we enter His creation ready to master the world, for that is our intention in exile. Just as He blessed Noah after the destruction of the Flood, God will bless us as we step out into a post destruction world. Just as He blessed Abraham who began his relationship with God as an exile, “Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your fathers house, and I will bless you,” so too, God will bless us as we begin our exile:

“God remembered us and will bless – Bless the House of Israel – Bless the House of Aaron – Bless those who are in awe of God, the insignificant with the great.

God will enhance you – you and your children.

You are blessed to God Who made the heavens and the earth.

The heavens are God’s, while the earth has been given to people.

The dead do not praise the Creator of Worlds, nor do those who go down to their doom. But we – we praise the Creator of Worlds – From now and forever –

Hallelukah!”

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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