‘What is the Reason?’ Category Archives

10
Oct

A Willow is Not an Aravah

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Holidays, What is the Reason?

A rose may be a rose, but a willow is not an Aravah:

It is Succot for me whenever I drive on a road through trees. No matter the time of year, I am on the lookout for kosher Aravot – Willows – for my Lulav and Hoshanot.

There are magnificent Aravot in Dobb’s Ferry, but they aren’t kosher. The leaves’ edges are serrated, and since “Her (Torah’s) ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peaceful,” (Proverbs 3:17) sharp points, unpleasant and not peaceful, disqualify them.

Hastings on the Hudson has some “peaceful” leaves, but not the perfect combination of red and green branches.

Weeping Willows point down; they don’t reach up. The Z’man Simchateinu – the Time of Our Happiness – also precludes any weeping.

I’ve stopped on roads in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, to the chagrin of my wife and the Highway Patrol officers who suspect that someone who stops on a highway to examine willow leaves is DWI.

There are willows that grow near stagnant water. There are willows with round leaves. There are willows with white branches. There are even willows with leaves in the shape of triangles.

Willows are everywhere. The perfect Aravah is harder to find. I once trekked through the forests between Santa Clara and Santa Cruz for hours on a failed search for the perfect Aravah.

So, I go to Riverdale Judaica to buy my Aravot. The hours of searching make the two kosher Aravot so much more precious. They are treasured. There are willows everywhere, but these willows are not willows; they are Aravot.

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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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20
Jul

The Music of Halacha: Kashering

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Music of Halacha, Portion of the Week, What is the Reason?

Dear Rabbi Weinberg; I have heard you say on numerous occasions that the laws of Kashering are a guide to repairing spiritual damage. Since the laws of Kashering are in this week’s Parsha, Matos, “Everything that comes into fire, you shall pass through fire and it will be purified (Numbers 31:23),” I was wondering where you got such an idea that I never heard in Yeshiva or from my rabbeim. How can you teach an idea which has no Mesorah/Tradition? YG

Dear YG;

I do have a Mesorah as do you:

“It is a matter that is clear and revealed that the laws of impurities and purity are biblical decrees. They are not among the ideas that a person’s logic will derive. and they are included in the category of, “Chukim,” statutes, as are the laws of immersion to be purified; for impurity is not mud or waste that are removed by water, but a biblical decree, and the matter depends on one’s intention. Therefore our Sages taught that one who immerses in a Mikvah that lacks an established status as a Kosher mikvah, is considered to not have immersed.

Even so, there is a lesson hinted in these laws that one who has intention to purify himself is purified once he has immersed even though he did not affect any physical changes. So too, one who intends to purify his soul from spiritual impurities, such as wicked thoughts and destructive ideas; once he has committed himself to separate from such ideas and immerses himself in the purifying waters of pure knowledge, of him the verse says, ‘Then I will sprinkle pure water upon you, that you may become cleansed; I will cleanse you from all your contamination and from all your idols (Ezekiel 36:25)’ [Rambam: Conclusion of Hilchot Mikva’ot].”

Many commentators wonder why the Rambam only mentions Teshuvah from destructive thoughts and not the purification of Teshuvah from all sins, and why the Rambam does not address the idea of immersion in the pure waters of Torah as part of every Teshuva.

The Beit HaLevi (Lecture 15) teaches that beyond the punishment that results from the sin of violating the Divine Will, the sinner has damaged more than one level of his higher soul, and has dulled his heart as is taught in the Talmud (Yomah 39a).

He continues, “We find that the impurity of the sin follows him around as a dog follows his master (Avodah Zarah 5b), and, our Sages have taught that the sin clasps onto him and precedes him into the Heavenly Tribunal on the day of his final judgment, as Ezekiel says, ‘For their iniquities remain upon them (32:27).

“When the person comes to do Teshuvah, besides that he needs atonement to negate the punishment, he must purify himself and repair the spiritual damage he caused his soul. and remove the blocks he has placed over his heart, as the verse teaches, ‘You shall cut away the barrier of your heart (Devarim 10:16).’

“When he has gone through the tree steps of Teshuva, which are total regret over the past, resolving to not again sin in the future, and the Vidui, immediately the impurity of the sin is removed from the surface of his soul, and he remains as a vessel without anything non-kosher on the surface, but still has impurity absorbed into the inside of the vessel.

“This is true on two levels: One, the habit of sinning has changed the essence of his soul and makes it easier to again sin, and two, the impurity of the sin as like something non-kosher that has been absorbed into a pot and must be kashered as the same heat at which it absorbed the non-kosher. The pot must first be rinsed of any surface non-kosher before it is kashered at the appropriate temperature.

“This is the idea taught by the Talmud, ‘When the serpent came upon Eve he injected a lust into her (Shabbat 146a),’ the same lust for sin that is injected deep into our souls each time we sin; a lust that corrupts our soul and empowers our physical side to overcome our spiritual nature, without any negative external influence to sin. The next sin will come from within. This is what needs to be Kashered, as the verse says, ‘Everything that comes into fire, you shall pass through fire and it will be purified.’

Nothing Kashers as does Torah study, as the Mishna teaches, “Whoever engages in Torah study for its own sake…‘machsharto, it makes him fit to be righteous (Avot 6:1),’ ‘machsharto’ as in Kashers him, after Teshuvah to remove the impurities absorbed in his soul and the barriers to his heart (Beit HaLevi; Derush #15).”

This is why the Rambam focuses on ‘one who intends to purify his soul from spiritual impurities, such as wicked thoughts and destructive ideas,’ for it is such sins that are the most difficult to Kasher.

My father zt”l taught me that the heat/passion/intensity at which the negative influence was absorbed determines the necessary heat /passion/intensity to burn out the evil.

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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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29
Mar

Sanctifying the New Moon

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, What is the Reason?

Since we are approaching Rosh Chodesh Nissan, I would like to ask about two strange customs in Kiddush Levana – The Sanctification of the New Moon: 1) Why do we recite “May fear and trembling befall them, at the greatness of Your arm may they be still as stone” (Exodus 15:16) forward and backward? 2) Why do we say “Shalom Aleichem” to three people during this ceremony? By the way, I have often heard you say “Shalom Alecha” rather than “Aleichem”. Why do you prefer “Alecha” and which do you say during Kiddush Levana? G.N.

I actually refer to the ceremony as Birchat HaLevana, which is the more ancient formulation. (See Rabbi Yosef Kapach: Moreh Nevuchim 2:5 fn. 15)

I will use this week’s column to refer to the classical answers to your first question. I hope to continue next week:

Rabbi Alexander Ziskind of Horodna (Yesod VeShoresh HaAvodah, p. 192) asserts that the recitation of this verse, backwards and forwards, accomplishes, according to the Kabbalah, great and wondrous things in the upper worlds, and to drive away shells. I have no idea what he means.

In a poetic explanation, the Zohar HaLevana, by R. David Weissman, explains that a righteous person is protected by God “on all sides”, indicated by the verse being read in both directions. The evil, live with the converse, they will fear the vengeance of God from all sides.

Rabbi Yitzchak Lipiatz, in his Sefer Matamim HaChodesh, explains that this verse refers to the wicked and the righteous; concerning the wicked, which turn from right to left, the verse reads, “may fear and dread…” In the future God will remove the wicked from the world, just like the evil inclination, which is likened to a stone, will also be removed from the world. Reading backwards, the verse speak of the righteous, who turn from left to right, “Like a stone they will be silenced, your arm, in its greatness,” which means that at the time when God’s strength becomes manifest the righteous will be comparable to a stone, meaning the Divine Presence, which is also likened to a stone, as the Talmud states that the righteous are referred to in the name of God.

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28
Nov

What is The Reason? Chinuch & Chanukah

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, What is the Reason?

In 1984 you dedicated a small cemetery near Saratoga Springs and you seriously considered slaughtering a rooster for what you called the “Chanukat Beit Hakevarot.” I thought you were a little crazy, but since I’ve been reading your website I suspect that you had a good reason. What was it? Why did you decide to not do the thing with the rooster? DO

I was “dead” serious: The Ma’avaor Yabok (Sefat Emet, Chapter 11) teaches in the name of Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid that one should bury a rooster, “Gever,” in an empty grave to weaken and hide the power of “Din,” judgment that derives from the Angel Gavriel. The Pachad Yitzchak (Erech Bet HaKevarot) mentions that many have the custom of slaughtering a rooster without a blessing and burying it next to the first person buried in a new cemetery.

I decided to not do it because of the Chatam Sofer (Y”D 138) and the Pitchei Teshuvah (Y”D 179) who are critical of those who slaughter a rooster before entering a new home for the first time – Chanukat HaBayit –  to ward off Sheidim, or, Demons. They rule that it is absolutely forbidden as such actions and beliefs are, “Darchei Emori,” “The Ways of the Emorites.”

You once visited my home on Chanukah and insisted that I use new wicks each night. My Rav said there is no such law. Did you have a source? You also mentioned a correlation between the Menorah and the Cloud of Glory & Pillar of Fire that guided us through the desert. Sorry, but I don’t remember how they relate. AP

The Eliyahu Rabbah quotes the Tanya Rabbati and the Kol Bo also says that one should use new wicks each night of Chanukah since the miracle was renewed each day of Chanukah and because they used new wicks each day in the Beit Hamikdash.

No need to be sorry about forgetting the connection: The Machzor Vitri (715) writes that we light as long as people are walking home from the marketplace since the verse describing the Cloud says, “The cloud did not leave the people during the day.”

Did you once teach us in your Jewish History class in YULA that there was also a miracle with the Mizbei’ach in the Chanukah story? JS

The Chidah (Midbar Kadmut, page 61) teaches that when the Chashmonaim rebuilt the Altar, they could not find “Holy” fire, and it rose up by itself from the stones of the Altar. He says that there is a hint in the fact that the gematria of Menorah and “Aish,” or fire, is the same.

One of your students told me that you said that there is no Mitzvah of Chinuch after a child reaches Bar or Bat Mitzvah. That’s nuts! Anonymous

The Tziyunim LaTorah (12) agrees with you that there is still a Mitzvah of Chinuch after Bar or Bat Mitzvah. I don’t think he would agree with your calling my words, “Nuts!”  My sources are Rashi,the Ran, and the Meiri on Succah, who all rule that after Bar Mitzvah it is not Chinuch, but Tochacha – Rebuke. (As explained by the Debritziner on Chinuch Banim)

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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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3
Nov

What Is The Reason? Honoring Parents

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Portion of the Week, What is the Reason?

My father signs his letters to me with his actual name, and not Dad. May I respond by writing a letter addressed to him by his proper name? M.D.

The Halachic issue is whether writing is considered the same as speaking. Both the Rambam and the Tur (YD 240 & 242) rule that one may not address a parent by his or her proper name. The Emek Sh’eilah (Rav Mordechai Twerski, #66) determines that Halacha considers writing as speech, and therefore rules that you may not write to your father, using his proper name.

I learned that part of a child’s obligation to her parents is to never behave in such a way that her behavior will reflect poorly on them. I am not as religious as my parents, and although I observe the commandments, I am not as careful as are they in keeping all the stringencies. My mother told me that she is often embarrassed by people who mention how horrible it must be for her to have such a child. Am I Halachically responsible for their embarrassment? Am I breaking my biblical obligation of honor by not observing stringencies? B.Y.

First of all, there is a difference between observant and religious. I don’t know whether you mean that you are not as observant or not as religious as your parents. I mention this because your question indicates a high level of awareness and commitment. I wish more people, including me, were so aware of the Mitzvah of Kibbud.

I once saw a Responsum in the Salmat Chaim (Volume II #40) that ruled that Kibbud Av v’Eim obligate a person to be concerned with how their actions reflect on their parents. I was concerned because, although I asked for my father’s permission to become the rabbi of a modern orthodox synagogue, I knew that many people were convinced that my position was an embarrassment to my father. (I actually had a similar issue with my grandfather zt”l when I became the rabbi of a synagogue with a Mechitza of minimum height. I called my grandfather after someone told me that I was an embarrassment to my grandfather, and asked him whether I had to be concerned. His response, less than two years before his death, was, at great physical cost, to fly to my new hometown and daven in my shul!)

My father zt”l told me that although one must be concerned with how his behavior reflects on his parents, he does not have to worry about small minded people. “Awareness,” he said, “is just that; awareness. Simply consider whether your actions will be considered by reasonable people as a poor reflection on your parents.”

I would certainly apply my father’s words to your situation: You have fulfilled your obligation of Kibbud by simply asking. You do not need to worry.

My parents are products of the Sixties and are very relaxed about parenthood. They want me to refer to them by their proper names. My rabbi told me that parents can forego their honor: “Av shemachal al kivodo, kivodo machul,” – A parent who forgives his honor; his honor is forgiven.” However, I heard you instruct someone that he should not refer to his father-in-law by his first name although the man asked his son-in-law to do so. I am interested in knowing whether you disagree with my rabbi, and if yes, why? Anonymous

I may only answer you because you are not asking for a ruling after having asked your rabbi, and are simply asking for information.

Your rabbi is correct. A parent’s forgiveness of his honor is sufficient. My father zt”l often explained that each generation demands increased forgiveness of Kibbud than the previous generation. He insisted that I do not allow my children to speak to me in third person.

The Sefer Chasidim (#573) insists that although the father forgives, God does not. Thus, Jacob was punished for the 22 years he spent away from Isaac even though Isaac had instructed Jacob to leave, i.e. Isaac “forgave” his Kavod.

The Chida, in his commentary to Sefer Chasidim, explains that every interaction with a parent has two levels of obligation; the parent and God. Jacob was released of his obligation to Isaac, but not of his obligation to God, which demanded that he honor his father.

We, all too often and easily forget that our obligation to our parents is primarily an obligation to God.

I have heard in the name of the Ari HaKodesh that before a person can rise in Gan Eden, he will be evaluated for his behavior toward his parents even from the time he was six years old!

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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6
Oct

From Past to Future

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Music of Halacha, Portion of the Week, Relationships, Spiritual Growth, What is the Reason?

[/caption]In 1509, Johannes Pfefferkorn, a Dominican monk who was also a converted rabbi, published Mirror of the Jews, an anti-Semitic book proposing that all works in Hebrew, including the Talmud, be burned.

Johannes Reuchlin, a Bavarian humanist, dismayed by the possibility of such desecration, formally protested to the emperor. Jewish scholarship should not be suppressed, he argued. Rather, two chairs in Hebrew should be established at every German university. Pfefferkorn, he wrote, was an anti-intellectual “ass.”

Furious, the rabbi who had become a monk struck back with Hand Mirror, accusing Reuchlin of being on the payroll of the Jews.

The controversy raged for six years. Five universities in France and Germany burned Reuchlin’s books, but in the end he was triumphant. Pfefferkorn’s fire was canceled and the teaching of Hebrew spread.

Pfefferkorn was the boogieman of my childhood. He was the ultimate self-hating Jew. It wasn’t enough for him to have converted and become a monk, he wanted to burn every Hebrew book in Europe. He wanted to destroy anyone who would defend Jewish scholarship.

“Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his brothers outside. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and they walked backwards, and covered their father’s nakedness.” (Genesis 9:22-23)

Ham ridiculed his father; He rejected the place from which he had come. Shem and Japheth honored their past, even when they were fully aware of its failings. They refused to look at their father’s nakedness. Ham felt that the only way to build the future was to reject the past with all its mistakes and failings. His father, Noah, represented the generation before the Deluge. When Ham saw his drunken, naked father, wallowing in his wine, he felt justified in cutting off the past, as the Sages teach, “Ham castrated Noah.” (Sanhedrin 70a)

Ham was the first Pfefferkorn. He was not satisfied in building a future; he wanted to wage war against his roots. He believed that the only way to move ahead was to destroy the past.

Shem and Japheth acknowledged the failings of the previous generations, but they understood that the future could only be built upon the past, even its ruins.

Noah deprived Ham of his future: “Cursed is Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” (Verse 25)

Shem, the ancestor of Israel, was rewarded with the Mitzvah of Tzitzit. Japheth was rewarded with a promise that his soldiers’ bodies would be honored with burial after Armageddon. Both were rewarded in the future that would be theirs as a reward for the honor they paid to the past.

Tzitzit reflect God’s promise that all we do has the potential of an eternal future. Japheth, who followed Shem but did not act on his own, merited honor for the bodies of his descendants; honor for the lives they lived, honor of their past, but without the promise of an eternal future.

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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27
Sep

The Hyrax and The S’chach: Perceptions Matter

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in What is the Reason?

Can you explain for me, please, how come that its written that ‘HASHAFAN KI MA’ALEI GEIRA’ – ‘And the Hyrax, for it brings up its cud, but its hoof is not split – it is unclean to you.’ (Leviticus 11:5) when it’s against nature. So which one is the truth? Life or Torah in this case” E.G.

Thank you for your great and super important question. You are correct in stating that the Hyrax does not chew its cud. The Wikipedia entry for Hyrax says: Unlike the even-toed ungulates and some of the macropods, hyraxes do not chew cud to help extract nutrients from coarse, low-grade leaves and grasses. They do, however, have complex, multi-chambered stomachs that allow symbiotic bacteria to break down tough plant materials, and their overall ability to digest fiber is similar to that of the ungulates. They will show antagonistic behavior, such as making chewing motions, when they feel threatened. This behavior is often times confused with chewing cud. There are reports that the Hyrax can chew regurgitated food, however, this is infrequent and they do not do this for nutrition or as part of their diet.

One of the most important phrases in the article is that “They will show antagonistic behavior, such as making chewing motions, when they feel threatened. This behavior is often times confused with chewing cud.” The Hyrax, as well as the hare or rabbit in the following verse, appears to chew its cud. There are times that appearances matter.

Look up at the roof, the S’chach, of a Succah. There are both shade and light. The roof is incompletely covered with S’chach; there are open spaces through which we can see the stars. It reflects the fluctuations in our relationship with God. There are times we “see” God’s Presence with clarity, and there are times when we experience God as hidden. We can sense God’s protection some of the time, and at others we feel more vulnerable.

Some of the great Jewish thinkers see the open spaces as representations of God’s Light and the shaded areas as indications of God’s being Hidden. Other, equally great thinkers, see the shade as a symbol of Divine Protection and the open spaces as a mark of our vulnerabilities. Different people have different perceptions and they are both considered valid because of this strange verse about the Hyrax:

We do not know God as God truly is. God is Infinite and we are limited. We ‘know’ only that which God makes manifest. We understand only what we can see.

Even what we see is limited by our experiences. It is almost impossible to describe the difference between two colors to someone who was born blind and never saw colors. We fit our ‘knowledge” of God into our experiences and senses, which are limited.

We use appellations to speak of God: Merciful, Compassionate, Judge, Omnipotent, Omnipresent and The Power. We may not pronounce God’s name as spelled. We actually speak of our perceptions.

Both the Written and Oral laws govern our covenant with God. We use the principles of the Oral Law to apply the Mitzvot of the Torah to modern life. We cannot simply email God for His ruling on the laws of Shabbat or Kashrut. We rely on our judgment and perceptions. We would be unable to move forward and apply Halacha as we do to every single aspect of life if we could only deal with absolute truth. We must use the gifts we have, including our perceptions, as long as they are governed by the principles of the Oral Law.

When the Torah describes the Hyrax as it is perceived, not as it physically is, God is teaching us that we may apply His law based on our perceptions, even if we eventually determine that we are made a serious factual error.

You asked, “Which is true?” We know that the Hyrax does not chew its cud. We also know that the Torah says that we perceive that it does, and that the Torah wants us to consider our perceptions in our relationship with God and in the application of His Torah to our lives, even at the risk of being wrong.

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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26
Sep

Aravot Smashing

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in What is the Reason?

In Honor of the Holy Breslaver’s Yahrtzeit

Xerxes was furious. His engineers had constructed a bridge across the Hellespont in 480 BC, and an act of God had taken out the bridge. Xerxes blamed both the sea and the hapless engineers:

“As soon as the strait had been bridged, a great storm fell upon it and cut the cables and broke them up. Xerxes commanded that the sea should be punished by lashing, branding, and cursing the water, and that the men who had supervised the bridging of the Hellespont should have their heads cut off.” (Herodotus, Histories 7.35)

I know exactly how Xerxes felt. The traffic lights in Manhattan were designed to turn red just before I reach an intersection, but only when I am in a terrible rush to an important appointment. Whoever programmed those lights would suffer the fate of Xerxes’ engineers, and the traffic signals would suffer the fate of the sea as it suffered Xerxes’ wrath. He may have been a despot, perhaps even insane, but Xerxes would have known how to deal with such aggravation.

If Xerxes could punish the sea, I can castigate the holes in my pockets that scheme to lose the quarters I need to feed a parking meter just ahead of the parking police. You know that person just ahead of you in line at Starbucks taking their time making a simple decision just because you are in a rush? Call in Xerxes! People who call to chat just as you are waiting for an important call; Xerxes for them!

I’m feeling better already. You may laugh, but I have watched people use the Xerxes approach with their Hoshanot – Bundle of Willows struck 7 times on the ground – on Hoshana Rabbah! They do a perfect Xerxes impersonation! At least my Xerxes fantasies are directed against real and dangerous enemies.

What are we doing when we strike our Hoshanot against the ground? The Radbaz (Ta’amei Hamitzvot) prefers that we a) use the same Aravot (Willows?) the entire Festival, and b) that we take the Aravot from our Lulav and add them to three fresh Aravot. The week old Aravot may look shabby in comparison, but they have been empowered by a week of prayers and being used as part of the Mitzvah of the Four Species. They are the strongest of the five willow branches.

A person must first recognize and appreciate the power of the two older Aravot to empower the three fresher branches, before he can effectively use his Hoshanot bundle! We begin by honoring the effect of our prayers and Mitzvot on the week old Aravot. We then use their power to raise the three fresh branches. Once we are aware of those powers, we are ready to confront the things that bring up the wrath of Xerxes: Our self-defeating patterns of behavior.

We do not strike in anger or frustration. Hitting the ground with five willow branches will no more destroy evil than Xerxes lashing, branding and cursing the sea hurt the water. We understand and celebrate that we have spiritual strength and power, and, as the Holy Breslaver taught: “If you have the ability to damage, you have the ability to fix!” (Likkutei Eitzot – Erech Tefillah: 3 Tikkunim of Prayer)

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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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3
Aug

Talking To The Wall

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth, What is the Reason?

“Rabbi, I usually feel when I pray that I am talking to the wall!”

“Rabbi; when I read or hear people say to a child, ‘Your father is now in heaven,’ to console him, I shudder. I wonder how much we choose to believe simply to make ourselves feel better. If I believe that about people of other religions, how can I be sure that I am not doing the same thing?”

“Rabbi, the world is inconsistent with what I have learned about God. I have heard the numerous explanations of the difference between humanity’s choices and God’s actions, but I cannot find peace as I look at all the evil and suffering in the world.”

“Rabbi, I will never be able to live at the level God expects, at least the way I am taught by so many Rabbis. I wonder how well those Rabbis would handle living in my situation! Am I doomed to never have a good relationship with God?”

“Rabbi, I don’t want to determine how to relate to God. I want to follow His instructions, but they are simply too demanding.”

The above is a fair sampling of the questions asked over the past two days, typical of issues, doubts and concerns that people share with me everyday.

“Why are my experiences with observant Jews consistently unpleasant?”

“I am torn between fitting into the community despite its lackings, and developing a more passionate relationship with God.”

“How can I ever find truth if great scholars debate the most fundamental issues? Am I really the one who has to choose?”

“I feel that God is torturing me! He teases me by lifting my hopes and then smashes me down just before I achieve success. I pray and He rejects me. I work on myself and it is never enough!”

“My life has been one failure after another. I take responsibility for my choices, but this is just too much. What does God want from me?”

I spend a great deal of time dealing with such questions. I certainly do not have all the answers and cannot claim to answer for God.

I chose to share these questions with you as I explore a new series of blogs: The Big Picture. I look forward to your comments, challenges, criticisms and questions. Perhaps we will successfully find a crack in that wall.

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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18
Jun

Misreadings or Catch Me If You Can

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth, What is the Reason?

I had a great idea for a column on my blog: “No statute has ever been put up to a critic” Sibelius was supposed to have said. What a wonderful opportunity to write about my “What is The Reason?” Column on my website. I had an entire essay mapped out in my head about how the statutes of Judaism have all been tested by numerous critics and yet have stood the test of time and criticism. The only problem is that the quote I read was a misprint: What Sibelius actually, or supposedly said was that “No Statue has ever been put up to a critic.” Oh well! There goes another great idea. I should have realized that it was a misprint the minute I read the quote, but, as we all know, the mind works in mysterious ways, especially when it thinks it has an idea for an essay. I read what I wanted to read, leapt to a conclusion and then soared with an idea, that alas, was not quite true.

The misreading made me consider whether my mind is reliable enough to trust as I study and write. I decided that Misreadings aside, I should trust my mind enough to write a short essay and trust my readers to catch my mistakes.

I am generally more excited about the comments to my articles, blogs and essays than I am to write them. My goal is to generate discussion and intellectual involvement in Judaism and spirituality.

I now have an added incentive to wait for your comments: I count on you to catch my mistakes. I thank you in advance.

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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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