January, 2013 Archives

11
Jan

Hallel-Rosh Chodesh Shevat-Sixth Paragraph

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Based on the Kavanot for Rosh Chodesh ShevatTeshuva: We begin our Returning in Love by: “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 is forever!”

The Impact of Our Choices: We begin our celebration of the power of our choices by honoring the power of prayer:

“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.”

Transformation: (Based on Hallel in History, Part Two.”)

This is the song of Samuel the Prophet, King David, his father, Yishai, and his brothers, celebrating David’s Transformation from a hated and resented shepherd boy into the greatest king of Israel:

 

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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11
Jan

Hallel-Rosh Chodesh Shevat-Fifth Paragraph

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“All you nations; Praise God!

Sing compliments, all you peoples!

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

Hallelukah!”

 

Based on Kavanot for Rosh Chodesh Shevat

The Impact of Our Choices: Our expression of gratitude in the Amida in the 18th blessing – Modim – is immediately followed by a universal expression of thanks: “v’chol ha’chaim.” The second paragraph of Benching – Grace After Meals – begins with Israel’s gratitude – Nodeh – and is followed by a common expression of appreciation: “Befi kol Chai”. The measure of a proper Thank You is its effect on those who hear it: Are they inspired to thank God?

Kavana: “We will act this month in such ways that our actions will inspire others to connect with You.

Transformation: Kavana: We pray for a world transformed, a world in which all nations will join us in praising God.

Teshuva: Kavana: We aspire to a love of God that reflects, “For His kindness overpowers us,” and leads to Teshuva from love. (See, “Reflections on Free Choice, Part One, and Two.”)

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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11
Jan

Hallel-Rosh Chodesh Shevat-Fourth Paragraph

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Hallel

“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!”

Based on the Kavanot for Rosh Chodesh Shevat:

Teshuva: I am not only at a loss of words of praise; I do not even know how to thank God for all the good in my life: How can I thank God for all His kindness to me?”

Impact of Our Choices: I will publicly acknowledge my gratitude in a way that will inspire others to do the same: “I will raise the cup of salvations and I will invoke the Name of God. I will pay my vows to God in the presence of His entire people.”

Transformation: I thrill to be Your servant because it grants me a life of infinite possibilities: “Please, God – for I am Your servant – You have released my bonds.”

All Three Kavanot: The more I experience the freedom I gain through serving You, the more I want to thank you, so, I say again: “To You I will sacrifice thanksgiving offerings and I will invoke the Name of God. I will pay my vows to God in the presence, now, of His entire people.”



The feelings of gratitude, expectation and love are so powerful that I want to step into a different realm in order to feel that I can express all that I am feeling: “In the courtyards of the House of God, in your midst, O Jerusalem.”

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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11
Jan

Hallel-Rosh Chodesh Shevat-Third Paragraph

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Hallel“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!”

Two of the Kavanot for Rosh Chodesh Shevat are Transformation, The Impact of Our Choices:

God blesses us with the ability to make the world our own through expanding His Presence in Creation: “The heavens are God’s, but the earth He has given to mankind.”



We acquire the earth through the same “Blessing” with which God showers us: “He will bless the House of Israel.” “But we will bless God from this time and forever.”

Our blessings matter because they are an expression of Free Choice – Our highest connection to God. We experience real life through our choices, which matter enough to make the earth ours: Neither the dead can praise God, nor any who descend into silence.”



Kavana: I can make the world mine by using my Free Choice to expand His Presence in Creation.

Another of the Kavanot for Shevat is Teshuva:

“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.” The wicked are often described as spiritually “dead.” We use this Hallel, and the special Teshuva opportunity afforded by Shevat, to celebrate that by connecting to God by singing His praises, gives us new life, as we pray God will do on the Rosh Hashanah of Tu Bishvat.

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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11
Jan

Hallel-Rosh Chodesh Shevat-Second Paragraph

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“When Israel left Egypt, Jacob’s family from among a people who spoke a strange language, Judah became God’s Holy Place, Israel, His realm.

The Sea saw it and ran away. The Jordan River reversed course. The mountains danced like deer, the hills like lambs.

What’s with you, Sea, that you flee? With the Jordan, that you turn around? With the Mountains, that you dance like deer? With the hills, like lambs?

Quake, you Land, before your Master, before the Lord of Jacob!

Who turned the rock into a pool of water. Pebbles into a source of water.”

One of the Kavanot for Rosh Chodesh Shevat is Transformation:

We focus on the Name of God that is hidden within this verse with a prayer that, this spring, we will merit to transform every aspect of our physical lives into eternal spiritual existence, and that we will merit to experience the eternal joy that is so potent in spiritual existence.

How did a nation of slaves, which did not even speak the same language as their new Master, become God’s sanctuary and dominion?

They learned an entirely new vocabulary as they watched the sea flee and the mountains dance before God. The laws of nature, as they knew them, were suspended before God, and they discovered an entirely new level of existence. That discovery was enough to transform them into God’s sanctuary and dominion.

*Kavana: “I am transformed when I realize that there is a higher vocabulary to existence.”

Another of the Kavanot for Shevat is Teshuva:

A new year begins in Shevat; Tu Bishvat. It is an opportunity for Teshuva, for waking up. We focus on this Appellation as a prayer that God will empower our Teshuva and help us return to Him, and begin the New Year with blessing and joy.

“Quake, you Land, before your Master, before the Lord of Jacob!

Who turned the rock into a pool of water. Pebbles into a source of water.”

“Quake,” as in Tremble with Excitement, over the opportunity to emulate God and “turn rocks,” cold and hard hearts and service of God, into pools of water.

The Third of the Kavanot for Shevat is The Impact of Our Choices: We focus on this Divine Appellation in order to remind ourselves of this great Divine gift, the ability to shed one level of existence for another. We pray that God empower us to use this gift for good so that we can blossom anew with fresh perspectives and new strengths.

“Judah became God’s Holy Place, Israel, His realm.” We celebrate that the ability to make choices that can create a reality of our being God’s Holy Place, and, His realm.

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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11
Jan

Hallel-Rosh Chodesh Shevat-First Paragraph

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Hallelukah!

Praise, you who serve God! Praise the Name of God.

Let the Name of God be blessed from now and forever.

From sunrise to sundown, the Name of God is praised.

God is above all the nations. His Glory is beyond the sky.

Who is like God, our Lord, Who lives up high, but drops down to see what happens (to us) in the (lower) heaven and earth?

Who lifts up the lowly from the dust, raises the destitute from the garbage dumps to be seated with leaders, the leaders of their people.

Who Makes a home for the childless woman and joy for the mother of children. Hallelukah!”

One of the Kavanot for Rosh Chodesh Shevat is Transformation:

We focus on the Name of God that is hidden within this verse with a prayer that, this spring, we will merit to transform every aspect of our physical lives into eternal spiritual existence, and that we will merit to experience the eternal joy that is so potent in spiritual existence.

We sing this paragraph of Hallel rejoicing in the opportunity to be transformed into people who can transform themselves, just as “Those who serve God,” the newly freed slaves, were blessed through the process of the Exodus.

Another of the Kavanot for Shevat is Teshuva:

A new year begins in Shevat; Tu Bishvat. It is an opportunity for Teshuva, for waking up. We focus on this Appellation as a prayer that God will empower our Teshuva and help us return to Him, and begin the New Year with blessing and joy.

This week’s portion, Vaeira, is a lesson in Teshuva – See, “Reflections on Free Choice, Part One, and Two.” We use the joy of the coming spring, the expectations of Tu Bishvat, to be filled with Love for God, allowing us to use the month to reconnect and repair our relationship with God, a renewed relationship: “Who lifts up the lowly from the dust, raises the destitute from the garbage dumps to be seated with leaders, the leaders of their people.”

The Third of the Kavanot for Shevat is The Impact of Our Choices: We focus on this Divine Appellation in order to remind ourselves of this great Divine gift, the ability to shed one level of existence for another. We pray that God empower us to use this gift for good so that we can blossom anew with fresh perspectives and new strengths.

“Who Makes a home for the childless woman,” we celebrate how God empowers us, gives us the greatest gift of life in Free Choice. We sing over this gift, nurturing our awareness of the constant opportunity to make self-defining choices, that will bless us, even those who feel “childless,” that our efforts are in vain, with the gift of the fruit of our actions; the real message of Tu Bishvat, when the trees and their fruit are blessed for 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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11
Jan

Kavanot-Rosh Chodesh Shevat

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

We derive the appellation for God’s Name, used in the Rosh Chodesh Mussaf – Additional Prayer – from the combination of letters and vowels of the following verse: “He shall not distinguish between good and bad and he should not substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then it and its substitute shall be holy.” – Vihay Hu Utemurato Yiheye.” (Leviticus 27:33)

Rashi, based on the Talmud (Bechorot 14a) explains: Even if the tenth animal is bad, in that it has a blemish that disqualifies it from use as an offering, it is Ma’aser nonetheless. It may be used only for food but not for work or shearing.

I. Transformation

The Imrei Tzaddikim quotes the Maggid of Mezeritch as explaining that, “Vahaya,” is a term that is used to express joy. When a person succeeds in making both the holy and its substitute – the mundane – holy, even that which goes against holiness, the person himself will become holy and will rejoice in his holiness.

Shevat is the month in which we begin to look forward to the spring and its rejuvenation of life. The physical world begins to awaken from its summer sleep. The physical world is neutral. It challenges us to choose how to use the mundane, whether to sanctify it, or whether we will limit ourselves by living a purely physical existence.

We focus on the Name of God that is hidden within this verse with a prayer that, this spring, we will merit to transform every aspect of our physical lives into eternal spiritual existence, and that we will merit to experience the eternal joy that is so potent in spiritual existence.

II. Teshuva

Rabbi Chaim Meir of Fishnets explains that a person has the capacity to transform even sins into Mitzvot through Teshuva, and thus, all becomes holy.

The world awakening from its winter sleep is a representation of the ability of people who have fallen asleep; people who perform Mitzvot, pray, and study Torah, without awareness, and out of habit, as if they were sleep walking through their spiritual lives, to wake up and inject new spirit into their spiritual lives. This awakening from sleep is Teshuva, “Awaken sleepers from your slumber!”

A new year begins in Shevat; Tu Bishvat. It is an opportunity for Teshuva, for waking up. We focus on this Appellation as a prayer that God will empower our Teshuva and help us return to Him, and begin the New Year with blessing and joy.

III. The Impact of Our Choices

The Shiva Einayim reflects on how much of our world depends on the idea of exchange, “Chalipin”. We exchange money for goods, one favor for another, and we exchange greetings. The world is filled with give and take.

There is a higher level of exchange, Temurah, with which we shed an outer garment in order to clothe ourselves in something holier. For example, the 600,000 letters of the Torah represent the 600,000 Root Souls of Israel, and 600,000 Ministering Angels. We begin with a basic letter and then we can shed its physical garment – form – and use each letter of the Torah to connect with the Roots of our Souls and the Highest Angels.

When we pay attention to each letter of the Torah and stop and reflect on it as having a higher message from God, the letter reaches beyond its physical form. When we are able to come up with a new insight because of that letter, we connect with the Root of our Soul. When we act on that insight, we touch the world of the Ministering Angels. We have performed Temurah on that letter. We “switched” or “exchanged” on level of existence for another.

We also have the capacity to take the ethereal and limit it to a basic physical form. When we recite a blessing without thought or awareness, we have “switched” the holy into a simple physical act. Even when we perform a “Temurah” from the higher level to the lower, we are accessing the holiest power we have been granted: Our ability to step from one world to another. We use the gift of making choices and acting in a manner that can change worlds.

We focus on this Divine Appellation in order to remind ourselves of this great Divine gift, the ability to shed one level of existence for another. We pray that God empower us to use this gift for good so that we can blossom anew with fresh perspectives and new strengths.

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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7
Jan

“A Dress for My Child”

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

I read this poem today, written in the Lodz ghetto, it can also be read as something written by a mother in Egypt:

I would sew a dress for you, my child,

out of tulle made of spring’s joyful green,

and gladly crown your head with a diadem

made of the sunniest smiles ever seen.

I would fit out your feet with a pair

of crystal-like, weightless, dance-ready shoes,

and let you step out of the house with bouquets,

bright with the promise of pinks and of blues.

But outside it is cold and dreary, my child,

the wanton winds lurking unbridled and wild.

They will mangle the dress of joy into shreds

and sweep the sun’s smiling crown off your head,

Shatter to dust the translucent glass of your shoes

and bury in mud the dreams of pinks and of blues.

From far away I can hear you call me and moan:

“Mother, mother, why did you leave me alone?”

So perhaps I should sew a robe for you, my child,

out of the cloak of my old-fashioned pain,

and alter my hat of experience for you

to shelter you from the ravaging rain?

On your feet I would put my own heavy boots,

the soles studded with spikes from my saviourless past

and guide your way through the door with a torchlight

of wisdom I’ve saved till this hour of dusk.

But outside it is cold and dreary, my child.

The wanton winds lurking unbridled and wild

will rip up the robe sewn with outdated thread,

bare your chest to all danger, to fear bare your head.

The heavy boots will sink in the swamp and will drown,

the light of wisdom mocked by the laugh of a clown.

From afar I hear you call me and moan:

“Mother, mother, why did you leave me alone?”

What a wretched seamstress your mother is—

Can’t sew a dress for her child!

All she does is prick her clumsy fingers,

cross-stitching her soul, while her eyes go blind.

The only thing that I can sew for you, my sweet, my golden child,

is a cotton shift of the love I store

in my heart. The only thing I can give to light your way

are my tears of blessing; I have nothing more.

So I must leave you outside, my child, and leave you there alone.

Perhaps dressed in clothing of love you will learn better how to go from home.

So I sit here and sew and sew, while in my heart I hope and pray—

my hands, unsteady, tremble; my mind, distracted, gone astray.

Chava Rosenfarb “Aroys fun gan eydn [Out of Paradise]” (Tel Aviv: Peretz Farlag, 1965)

Tablet Magazine- New Translations of Three Poems From Lodz

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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7
Jan

As The Mourning Ends

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

The most poignant part of sitting Shiva for my mother a”h was observing my nieces and nephews and their children caring for us, the older generation. I envied these people for being able to honor their parents by bringing food and drinks, and doing all they could to make us comfortable. They had an opportunity that I would never again have to honor a parent. I understood, as I had not after my father zt”l’s passing, why we mourn a full year over the loss of the Mitzvah to honor a parent, and committed myself to be meticulous in observing the year of mourning as a form of honoring my mother. My sisters, great women all, accepted to be extra careful with blessings as merit for my mother’s already lofty soul. It was my mother who made me a blessing fanatic and I’ve always thought of her each time I recite a blessing. I needed to do more than focus on the way I recite blessings. I found that the things I did not do because I was in mourning were a more powerful reminder of the Mitzvah I lost, and how careless I was fulfilling the Mitzvah when my mother was alive.

I realized that my mother instilled a sense of possibility in me and that I cannot recall her ever saying, “It can’t be done,” so spending a year “not doing,” experiencing limitations was the perfect way to honor her life.

I always write to music. Each time this past year that I sat down to write without music I consciously thought of my mother and considered the restriction as an expression that my world was lessened by her passing.

I experienced the Talmudic reflection that a mourner’s mouth is closed when I would sit down to write, only to think of my mother and end up frustrated with the limitations of life. I have yet to find the proper words to eulogize her – how could I write about anything else? Each essay I chose to not write was a way to more intensely experience mourning her death.

The year of mourning is about to end. I’ve been looking forward to listening to music, and am shocked that I will actually miss the restriction. I have made such a powerful connection between not listening and honoring my mother that I’m looking for another way to make her a constant presence in my day.

I’m still thinking, but as she lived her life I know that it can be done. If only I could ask her how!

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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7
Jan

Which Attribute?

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Reflections & Observations

I was fluctuating between sadness and inspiration when I finished reading Rohinton Mistry’s.”A Fine Balance.” I have yet to shed the horrible cruelties powerfully described. The caste system, misuse of power, the desperate search for work, forced castration, and the hopeless lives of the masses helped me understand what the Children of Israel experienced in Egypt. Each nightmarish scene contains a powerful expression of the drive to live and the sweetness of kindness. I hear echoes of people being rallied to support a new government, suffering under the leaders they supported, and the merit of the women who kept the family alive under the worst conditions.

A week later, I realized that it was the goodness that made the deeper impression. I experienced the power of good over evil. So inspired, I gave the book to one of my daughters, who is quite upset with me for suggesting she read such a horrible story. When we last spoke, my daughter was struggling with finishing the book with its historically accurate descriptions of suffering in 1975 India. “How could you ask me to read such a horrible story?”

My daughter sounds just like Moses: “My Master! Why have You done evil to this people (Exodus 5:22).” I’ll respond as God did to Moses:

“The Lord spoke to Moses and said to him, ‘I am God’ (6:2).” Lord, or, Elokim, is the Name we associate with Justice, often harshness. God, or, Hashem, speaks of God’s compassion. Elokim, Justice, says to Moses, “I am Hashem, compassionate – find the goodness hidden in the folds and creases of the suffering. Moses cannot become a complete leader until he can find the power of good and the drive for life that motivate the people to move forward.

In his fury, Moses failed to see how the foremen assumed the extra burden imposed on the slaves. He could have challenged God by calling on such compassion and demanding that their good earn them redemption. Moses continued to speak of Israel as victims, not the heroes they were. Moses would have to learn to treasure the extraordinary kindness that softened every scene of suffering. (See, “Respectful Compassion.”)

I want my daughter, all my children and students, to mine through the horrible and treasure the good. We see and read of horrible things happening in the world and our communities, and we hear Elokim, God’s Judgment speaking. We have to pay attention to God’s message to Moses, “I am Hashem, compassionate and kind – I want you to find the good that is hiding underneath the suffering.”

A long ago friend, Dennis Prager, once convened a gathering that focused on Altruism: “The Altruistic Personality – Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe.” I recall Dennis challenging the audience to remember the names of the heroes who stepped forward in moments of ugly tragedy – the name of the Secret Service agent who stepped in front of a bullet meant for President Reagan, the name of the man who jumped into the freezing Potomac to save victims of a plane crash. No one knew the names.

We focus on the bad, not the good. We focus on Elokim, not Hashem. We read “A Fine Balance,” and shiver in horror. We study the Exodus story and wait for the miracles to find Hashem, the Compassionate One, and miss the scenes of human kindness that are so much more powerful than the evil.

“I may be Elokim, but you must always search for Hashem, so that you will become a force of kindness and compassion that will overcome the bad.”

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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