‘Relationships’ Category Archives

10
Sep

Yom Kippur: Selicha & Kappara

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Relationships

The husband and wife have been arguing for hours, but they love each other. They both calm down and work things out. Both accept some of the responsibility. Both apologize and they forgive each other. They work harder at ending the argument than they did at arguing.

The husband and wife have been arguing for hours, but they love each other. They look at each other while yelling and screaming and both realize that they love each other so much that the subject of their argument is insignificant. They reconnect in love and the argument disappears.

I picture the former as Selicha – Forgiveness.

The latter scene describes Kapparah – Atonement – as in Yom Kippur: God looks at us and we look at God and we realize how much we love each other, and everything else drops away. The arguments, resentments, harsh words, and anger, all disappear. We only have to remember to look up with love: God is already looking at 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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10
Sep

Something To Explain

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

I was putting the final touches on my first Yom Kippur sermon in my new synagogue. I wanted to begin with an acknowledgment that I hurt people even though I had only been there for a month or two, and I wanted people to learn to ask for forgiveness. I was writing, “Request for Mechilah – forgiveness – on my notes and the phone rang.

A friend was calling: “Rabbi, it is the custom that the rabbi begin his Yom Kippur sermon by asking everyone in the congregation for forgiveness.” I thanked him and hung up. I stared at my sermon notes, wondering what to do. When I decided to ask for Mechilah it came from my heart. I wasn’t going to do it because it was the custom of my predecessors. My friend had put me in a difficult position. I did not want my congregation to think that a request for forgiveness was only pro-forma. I wanted them to believe it was real. What was I to do?

Eighteen years later, just one of many congregants, I privately corrected the rabbi for an Halachic error. He thanked me and easily acknowledged that he was unfamiliar with those laws. I was so impressed by his natural willingness to recognize the gaps in his knowledge that I told the story at my Shabbat table.

My intentions were to praise him, and yet, the story included that he did not know certain Halachot. I had spoken Avak Lishon Harah – the dust of Lishon Harah about him. I immediately went to his home to ask his forgiveness. “Rabbi, I came to ask for forgiveness for…” and before I could finish my sentence, he said, “I forgive you.”

It was a strange experience. I did not feel that I had successfully repaired anything. He responded before I could even generally describe my sin against him. It was my problem, not his. It was another experience that confused me about the process of asking for forgiveness before Yom Kippur. People treat it as pro forma that everyone will forgive them. I always wonder how seriously people desire forgiveness, meaning to repair their relationship with me and how much they simply want to assuage their own guilt.

Yesterday, one of my children, who has not spoken to me in more than two years, called to wish me a Shana Tova – a Good Year. “Thank you.” “You sound confused.” “I am happily surprised to hear from you.”

“I have nothing to explain to you.”

My child spoke and I appreciated the pre-Yom Kippur “Please forgive me” ceremony in a new way: When my child insisted that there was nothing to explain, the child was saying that there was nothing to fix. When we observe the pre-Yom Kippur “Please forgive me” ceremony we are acknowledging that there is something to repair.

Had my child made that simple acknowledgment, my child would have healed more than two years of torture and suffering. “I have nothing to explain to you”, only made it worse.

So, I openly acknowledge that I have much to repair in many relationships. There are the calls I haven’t returned in a timely fashion, if at all. There are times I am not available to help. I may speak sharply when teaching or answering a question. I am often impatient.

Please know that I understand that I have much to repair and I want to fix all I humanly can. So, please forgive me.

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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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15
Jul

Kinah 13 – Script or Writer

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Relationships

Remember what Chardin told us at the Salon: “Gentlemen, gentlemen, be lenient. Look through all the paintings here and find the worst, and know that two thousand poor devils have bitten their brushes to pieces in despair of ever doing as badly. You all call Parrocel a dauber, and so he is, if you compare him with Verner, but he’s a rare talent compared with the multitude of those who’ve abandoned the career they entered with him.

Le Moyne used to say that it took thirty years’ practice to be able to turn one’s original sketch into a painting, and Le Moyne was no fool. If you’ll listen to what I say, perhaps you’ll learn to be indulgent.” [Denis Diderot, The Salons]

In this Tisha b’Av Kinah – Lamentation, (The Oakling and the Oak, Just So, Clarity, & Kah), we ask God, “Where is the promise You made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” I can hear the unspoken challenge to the question: “Who are you to compare yourselves to the Patriarchs? Are you not the ones who forfeit the connection to their merit? (See, “Kinah 26: Growing Old.”)

In “The Oakling and the Oak,” we began discussing the challenge of living with great parents, and the dangers of comparing ourselves to them, and in “Kinah 4 – Salieri & Mozart,” and, “The Hovering Life,” we wondered about the impact of the competition between Samaria and Jerusalem had on both populations. Diderot’s report reminds us to be patient when judging good artists who fail to match the great ones. How are we to ask where is Your promise to the Patriarchs in our lives? Where was it at each stage of our suffering? Are we, as Chardin advises, asking God to indulge us and be lenient? Or, are we really asking for the same promise made to Abraham?

In “Kinah 7 – Above The Stars” we explained the essence of God’s promise to Abraham as, “Hashem will acknowledge Abraham’s descendants’ accomplishments and give them the means to raise themselves up above the stars and create their own reality.” The words, “Koah y’hiyeh zaracha,” “so shall your children be,” means, “They will be Koh, just like you, and have the ability to rise above their destiny and create new destinies for themselves.” We are asking, “Where is that promise?” Perhaps, we are not asking God, but ourselves, “Are we even striving to live above the stars, creating new destinies?”

This Kinah – Lamentation is the reverse image of Kinah 3, which describes people limited by an imposed destiny – people who cease to use their Free Choice – a natural consequence of experiencing the destruction and suffering the exile.

Are we following a prewritten script, or, are we scriptwriters? Are we stuck where we were in Kinah 3, or have we accepted the challenge of living as Koh, as Abrahams who write their own script and change the world?

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

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15
Jul

Kinah 13 – Readings – The Oakling and The Oak

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Relationships

This Tisha b’Av Kinah – Lamentation bemoans the seeming loss of the Divine promises to the Patriarchs.

We have a strange relationship with the Patriarchs, on whom we depend for the merit to protect us, and defend us before God, and yet…

An 1833 review of the only book of poetry Hartley Coleridge published in his lifetime praised the verse for embodying “no trivial inheritance of his father’s genius,” but also quoted the old saying that, “the oakling withers beneath the shadow of the oak.”

Jean-Paul Sartre counted himself lucky that he was an infant when his father died. He wrote in The Words, “Had my father lived, he would have lain on me at full length and crushed me.” Those are harsh words. But it’s true that parents can be crushing—particularly fathers, particularly with eldest sons. (I urge you to read my favorite essayist, Anne Fadiman’s, The Oakling & The Oak, and, Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams, which contains the question of how would we achieve anything if our ancestors lived in their full capacities forever.)

Is it possible that part of what led to the destruction was the loss of our wholehearted connection with the Patriarchs, ancestors, parents and teachers? Is it possible that we were so desperate to mark our mark on the world that we severed important connections to our past?

Is it possible that our desire to reconnect to the promises made to the Patriarchs is the first step in reconnecting?

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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15
Jul

Kinah 4- The Hovering Life

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Relationships

This need to spit the world’s sinister truth in its face is as old as the world itself. Robert Musil, “The Man Without Qualities” (One of the most difficult books I’ve ever read): “One can’t resent one’s era without being swiftly punished by it.” Ulrich, the mathematician, is in search of a sense of life and reality but fails to find it. His ambivalence towards morals and indifference to life has brought him to the state of being “a man without qualities,” depending on the outer world to form his character. A kind of keenly analytical passivity is his most typical attitude. His intention is to arrive at a synthesis between strict scientific fact and the mystical, which he refers to as “the hovering life.”

We lose our personal qualities when we depend on others to form our character; we become People Without Qualities.

Read this Tisha b’Av Kinah – Lamentation, based on Ezekiel 23, describing the debate between Shomron and Jerusalem, and you will find that the people of both Judah and the Northern Kingdom were caught up in a game of comparisons – a game, which caused both to lose their better qualities.

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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8
Jul

Kinot-Links to Essays Related to Evening Kinot

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Relationships, Spiritual Growth

The Foundation Stone has a complete commentary on the Kinot on our website and Blog – Click on the Kinot Tab on the bottom right. However, not all essays on Kinot are listed as such. Below are essays pertinent to Kinot:

Introduction to Kinot:

Blessings-Birchat haMazon-Kavanot for the Three Weeks – This is related to “The Futility of Our Words.”

The True Genius of the Jewish People,” related to “Poetic Souls.”

History As An Artichoke.”

Shared Journeys – Being There.”

Eavesdropping.”

Kinah 1:

Forms of Mourning-Misped & Sackcloth III – The Eventual Dance,”Forms of Mourning-Kinah-The Unheard Lament,” explaining how our mourning, even when the world seems relatively stable, helps us gain perspective.

The Root of a Decision.”

Tehillim Tools-The Three Weeks-119:39.”

Pirkei Avot-Three Weeks-Teachers.”

Reasons-Joyful Mourning.”

Spiritual Tools-Three Weeks-Sensitivity,” “Spiritual Tools-Honoring Intentions,” “The Price of Relationships,” on the theme of Sinat Chinam.

Chodesh Av-Connections,” on the theme of, “We were orphans, our mothers, like widows.”

Biblical Personalities-The Three Weeks-Moshe’s Empathy,” and “Tehillim Tools-Loving Others By Using Your Talents,” And “Hotline For The Displaced,” on Sinat Chinam, and,  “They distorted the judgment of the orphan and the widow.”

Spiritual Tools-Three Weeks-Torah Study,” related to, “The Crown of Our Head Has Fallen.”

Spiritual Tools-Three Weeks-Murder!”

Tolerating Being Loved,” connected to the penultimate verse: “For truly You have rejected us, bitterly raged against us (Lamentations 5:22).”

Kinah 3-Crying:

Forms of Mourning-Disconnected From My Light.”

Forms of Mourning-Fasting I – How We Eat.”

Forms of Mourning-The Eventual Dance

Forms of Mourning-Crying-Together.”

Forms of Mourning-Crying-Opening The Constraints.”

Forms of Mourning-Crying-A Directed Cry For Direction.”

Forms of Mourning-Lamenting With God.”

Kinah 4-Shomron & Yerushalayim:

The debate between Shomron & Yerushalayim are at the root of Sinat Chinam: “Spiritual Tools-Loving Others-As Wolves,” “Loving Others,” “Honoring the Mourners,”

Kinah 5: Concluding the Evening Kinot:

Becoming Illuminators,” related to: “And once more illuminate the populous city with the light of Your Splendor.”

Daniel-12:3-Inspiring Good.”

Fasting For the Eternal.”

Amidah-Kavanot-Three Weeks-Jerusalem.”

Demanding of 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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24
Jul

Inspiring Good

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

“And those who bring the people to do the right thing shall be as the stars, eternal (Daniel 12:3).” The Midrash comments: Just as one sees the light of the stars from one end of the world to the other, so, too, one sees the light of Good People from one end of the world to the other. Just as the stars are sometimes visible and at other times hidden, so, too, with Good People. Just as the clusters of stars are so numerous they cannot be counted, so, too, the groups of Good People are innumerable (Sifre Devarim, Eikev, 11:47).”

The righteous, or the Good People, are described by Daniel as, “those who bring the many to do the right thing.” During the Three Weeks, when we suffer the consequences of baseless hatred, perhaps we should consider Daniel’s lesson and focus on being counted among those who inspire others to do the right thing.

After the reading of Lamentations on the night of Tisha b’Av, the final Kinah, “How long must Zion cry and Jerusalem mourn,” we speak of the 12 signs of the zodiac, based on the Talmud (Chagigah 5b) which describes how, after the destruction of the Temples, even the heavenly hosts joined in mourning with Israel. Rather than mourn the weeping of the constellations, we can become, as described by Daniel and the Midrash above, as new constellations of light in the world.

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

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27
Dec

Playing Her Way Into Eden: Questions:

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

They prepared Jacob for the news that Joseph was alive; fearing that a sudden announcement might shock and harm Jacob, the brothers sent one of his granddaughters, Serach daughter of Asher, to prepare him. She played her harp, singing gently that Joseph was still alive and that he was the ruler of Egypt. Slowly, Jacob’s long sadness evaporated and he blessed her for having lifted his spirits. As a result, she was still alive centuries later, and eventually entered the Garden of Eden alive (Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer).

Are we to believe that because Jacob heard the news in a song accompanied by a harp that he could sufficiently absorb the message for his sadness to evaporate, and for him to be so grateful, that Serach, not only merited a centuries long life, but also to enter the Garden of Eden alive?

The Midrashim go into great lengths to describe this woman:

Some say: Serach, the daughter of Asher, completed the count of the seventy souls that came to Egypt together with them.

Thus it is written, “A wise woman called out from the city and Joab drew close to her. The woman said, “Are you Joab (II Samuel 20:16–17).” With these words she was saying in effect, “Your name is Joab, which is to say that you are like a father (Av, as in YoAV) to Israel. Yet, you are nothing but a reaper and a murderer, and thus you are not acting according to your name! Now, are you and David not Torah scholars? Have the words of Torah ceased to be binding as of now? Is it not written, “When you draw near to a city to wage war against it, you shall call out to it for peace (Deuteronomy 20:10).”

And Joab said to her, “Who are you?”

She replied to him, “I am the loyal faithful people of Israel (II Samuel 20:19),” by which she meant, “I am the one who completed the count of seventy souls of Israel in Egypt,” “I am the one who delivered the trusted one to the trusted one; Joseph to Moses [she was referring to the incident in which she showed Moses where Joseph was buried in Egypt].”

She continued, “You are seeking to annihilate a city and a mother in Israel!” Meaning, “Why are you seeking to annihilate the city and also to annihilate me, a mother in Israel!”

Thereupon, Joab answered and said, “Far be it, far be it from me (Verse 20).” Joab said, “Far be it, far be it,” twice, by which he meant, “Far be it from David and far be it from me.”

“Rather,” Joab continued, “the matter is not so, but rather a man from Mount Ephraim whose name is, Sheva ben Bichri, has raised up his hand against the king, against David.”

“The woman then said to Joab, Behold, his head will be thrown to you.” Thereupon, “The woman then went to all the people with her wisdom,” what wisdom did she share with the people of the town? She said to them, “Do you not know of David’s deeds? Which nation has ever stood up to David? Which kingdom has ever stood up to David? We have no choice but to do as they wish!”

They said to her, “And what is it that Joab wants of us?”

“He wants 1000 men,” she told them, “each one of us should give according to what he has.”

“Perhaps by placating Joab he will remit a little,” she told them. She then pretended to go and placate Joab and returned and informed the people that Joab had decreased the number from 1000 to 500. She continued this ruse and informed the people that Joab had decreased the number to 100, to 10, and finally she told them that Joab went down to demanding, “one person, and that person is not even a resident of the city, but only a visitor. And who is he? Sheva ben Bichri.”

Thereupon, “They cut off the head of Sheva ben Bichri.” [Bereishit Rabbah 94:9]

I love these stories, but often wonder from where the Sages got them. How do they go from this woman lifting Jacob’s sadness, to being the person who informs Moses of the burial place of Joseph, to being the woman who saves a city from the wrath of King David and Joab?

To be continued… (I’ll post the answers: “Family Secrets from the Articulator,” if I receive some attempts to answer my questions? Deal?)

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
Nov

“The Pain of Abraham” by Prof. Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

It was the third day after Abraham was circumcised and he was in pain. So how do we explain what he does? He saw men approaching his tent. He ran to greet them and bowed before them. He ran to tell Sarah to make cakes, and again ran to take a calf to be slaughtered for a meal. He then carried the meal to the men and stood by them as they ate, in case they needed something else.

Wait a minute. What about the pain? Did it magically disappear?

The answer is one I experienced years ago. I was visiting a friend in the hospital, and he was in bad shape. During the first 20 minutes of my visit, he was in discomfort and hardly spoke. I was distressed. But then I asked if he wanted to hear an idea I had on the Torah reading. After saying my part, he began, in an animated voice, telling me his thoughts on the Torah reading. He became a different person. After 5 minutes, his wife looked at me in astonishment, and I gave her the same look. This was the antidote. He was focused on something he was passionate about, and he ignored or did not notice his discomfort.

Abraham did the same thing. The story also teaches us how to visit the sick and be helpful. Engage them in something that is their passion, and they will be their own pain killers.

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10
Oct

Neighborhoods in the Sky: Succot

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

My wife and I turned onto 26th street, between 6th and 7th, the New York City area known as ‘The Plant District’, and strange things began to happen. Storeowners ran outside and began to pull their security gates down, closing their stores. Others were rushing to cover all the plants on the sidewalk with sheets and blankets. People were staring at us with hatred and fear. We could hear strangers whispering, “Killer!”

My wife’s reputation precedes her. People know what happens to plants in our home. The situation was ironic because we were looking for some artificial trees that could survive Debbie’s care. I don’t understand how these people, who live in a different borough, know something that took me twelve years to learn about my wife. This is New York City, not an enclosed neighborhood. We are becoming paranoid as we wonder whether everyone in Fieldston, or perhaps even all of Riverdale knows my wife’s secret identity as “The Killer” of plants. How does everyone in the plant district know our dark secret? (I readily admit that one of the main reasons for writing this blog is to preempt any blackmail attempts!)

Some friends tried to ease our paranoia by pointing out that the Plant District is a very specific neighborhood and its inhabitants are expected to identify and deal with all threats to houseplants in the city. They seem to be correct: six years ago, all of Riverdale knew that we were moving to another part of area. Then everyone knew when we bought a new car. People even knew when we had a rescued Beardie in our home for a few days. The Riverdale neighborhood specializes in certain types of information necessary for the locals, and is not interested in other information. They do not know about Debbie and plants.

So, I wondered, how does a Succah district/community work? Would all the Succah dwellers in Riverdale qualify as a unique district or neighborhood?

The Plant Killer and I decided to experiment. Whenever we overheard singing from a ‘neighborhood’ succah we attempted to join. The Succah directly behind us was not impressed, nor were the Succot to the north and south. It may have been my voice: I had bronchitis and sounded more like our dog, Pip, than festival singing. But it wasn’t that: We felt that we were singing with the Geiss family in Geneva, the Stepanskys in Tzefat, the Biels and Perels in St. Louis, the Fishers in Boca Raton, the Jaffes in LA, and the Goldbergers in Minneapolis. We were definitely part of a neighborhood; a neighborhood in the sky. We connected across times zones and oceans and shared our Succot joy with people, who like us, were searching for a very special Succah neighborhood.

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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