Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Holydays’

27
Sep

Lessons of the Succah or Why I’m Not A Tzaddik

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

I slept in the Succah with my grandfather zt”l and was determined to stay up and learn as long as he was awake. After all, how could I possibly become like him if I didn’t study as assiduously?

It actually wasn’t that difficult because I was reading a set of books about the Chofetz Chaim. I was enthralled and when I eventually fell asleep I dreamt of growing up to be the next Chofetz Chaim. I woke up determined to never again speak a word of Lishon Harah – destructive speech. I calmly reported my new mission in life to my father at the festival meal, and he was supportive of the general idea, although he suggested that perhaps I begin with smaller steps. “But then I won’t be the Chofetz Chaim. He started with giant steps!”

“First of all, I’m not sure that is true. Second of all, why do you want to be a Tzaddik like someone else? Be a Tzaddik as you.” OK, he was right, but still, I wanted to tackle the Lishon Harah issue. My sister carefully listened to the conversation and calmly predicted that my life as a Tzaddik would not last the day!

She did whatever she could to provoke me. I refused to respond. “Hey! Maybe this Tzaddik thing is not as hard as they say.” So, although she continues to deny her evil deeds more than forty years later, she kicked me. I cried. Our older sister, a true Tzaddeiket, came running asking, “What happened?” “She kicked me!”

There went my Tzaddik plans. “You spoke Lishon Harah!” she said as she calmly walked away. Not even a day, and there were holes in my armor.

Why am I not a Tzaddik? It’s my sister’s fault.

I believed as a child, as do many people, even adults, that a Tzaddik had to be perfect. But it’s not true. Simply look up at the roof of your Succah and you will see holes throughout the S’chach. The Succah is an imperfect structure and yet it is holy. Even holy people have gaps in their spiritual armor, and they are still holy.

So, why am I not a Tzaddik? Because I continue to struggle to accept the gaps in the S’chach and the giant holes in my armor. Hopefully, this year, the Succah will finally get its message through my head.

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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
Aug

Elul: Love Songs: Stepping Toward

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

“I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” (Song of Songs 6:4)

Rabbi Eliezer of Worms, the Rokeach, explains this verse as describing the Teshuva process: With each step we take back toward our Beloved, God, He takes a step back toward 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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26
Aug

Dancing 2: Forgiveness

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

“Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took her drum in her hand and all the women went forth after her with drums and dances – mecholot.” (Exodus 15:20) How did the women have musical instruments? Rashi explains that the women understood that if God had performed such great miracles in Egypt that they could expect more miracles on their journey in the desert. So, they took musical instruments with them to be prepared to sing God’s praises. No wonder their dance is described as mecholot which also means forgiveness, as in mechila.

Their dance was repeated by young women each Yom Kippur and Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av and will be copied in the World To Come by all the righteous: Ulla Bira’ah said in the name of R. Eleazar: In the days to come the Holy One, blessed be He, will hold a chorus for the righteous and He will sit in their midst in the Garden of Eden and every one of them will point with his finger towards Him, as it is said, And it shall be said in that day: Lo, this is our God, for whom we waited, that He might save us; this is the Lord for whom we waited, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.(Ta’anit 31a)

Those who see life through the eyes of expectation, as did Miriam and her dancing women, will be privileged, having been forgiven for their mistakes, to dance in the World To Come.

Elul is a month of expectation: The Children of Israel were filled with the expectation that Moshe would return from his third trip up Mt. Sinai with the Second Tablets. They would be forgiven for their dances, mecholot around the Golden Calf.

We blow the Shofar each day of Elul filled with expectation of the magic of the Rosh Hashana Shofar.

We prepare throughout Elul for the Judgment of Rosh Hashana, thrilled with the expectation of God’s Coronation as King.

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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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22
Aug

Spiritual Sustenance

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

“Teshuva, Tzedaka, and Prayer, remove the worst part of the decree.”

Rabbi Shimon said, “Come and see: All foods of the inhabitants of the world derive from above. The food that comes from heaven and earth is food for the whole world; it is coarse and dense. (This refers to ordinary food of a material nature, which grows from the ground and is watered by rain.) Food coming from higher above is food that comes in Judgment (as a direct reflection of the spiritual achievements of the person), from a place where Judgment prevails (a place where everything is exactly as it should be); it is finer food. (For example: Matzah, deriving from the Divine Presence, who executes Divine Judgment.) The food that appeared for Israel at that time – from a high place called Heaven – Tiferet – is finer food, (Manna) entering the soul most deeply, dissociated ever more from the body, called Ethereal Bread (Numbers 21:5)

The highest food of all is food of the Companions, those engaging in Torah, who eat food of spirit and soul-breath – not eating food of the body at all – namely, from a high place, precious beyond all, called Wisdom – the primal Will to create a world in which we must master ourselves).

The first food is food of the whole world, that which derives from heaven and earth, food for all.

Food that is higher – that which is finer, deriving from a place where Judgment prevails, called Tzedek. This is food of the poor. Mystery of the matter: One who fulfills a poor person (Table Talk: Restoring a Lost Object) adds one letter to Tzedek, transforming it into Tzedaka. This is: “The man of kindness benefits his soul.” (Proverbs 11:17) Implying rendering kindness, for it dwells in Judgment and is fulfilled through Life Force, becoming Compassion.

Food higher than these is a supernal, precious food, from a place called Heaven. It is the food of the sick, as it is written: “God will sustain him on the bed of illness.” (Psalms 41:4) The sick are nourished only by the actual food of the Holy One, Blessed is He. (Just as the fat and limbs of offerings is presented to God, so a sick person is sustained by the fat and blood of his own body.)

Supernal, holy, precious food – food of spirit and soul-breath – is food from a supernal distant place. This is food of the Companions engaging (in the battle of) Torah, food coming from supernal Wisdom. Torah issues from supernal Wisdom, and those who engage in Torah enter the essence of her roots; so their food derives from that supernal holy place.

(Zohar, Volume 2:61b – 62a, Translation & Commentary by Daniel C. Matt – The Pritzker Edition 2007)

I would like to suggest that this Zohar is the secret to the mechanic’s of “Teshuva, Tzedaka, and Prayer, remove the worst part of the decree.” We can choose to eat the lowest form of food, meaning, to live a purely physical life, and to limit our vision to coarse things and thoughts. However, we will be vulnerable to the “worst parts of the decree” as we are attached to the natural occurrences of this world.

Tzedaka

However, we can rise and transform Tzedek – Justice – into Tzedaka – by completing others, and nourishing their bodies and souls. We can transform Matzah into Manna

And eat food that will elevate our bodies and souls beyond the limitations of this world, allowing us to escape the worst parts of the decree.

Teshuva

The Kabbalists often describe sin – or more accurately, mistaken directions – as illness. These mistakes are a symptom of a soul that is ill. When we acknowledge our mistakes but focus on the disease rather than symptoms, we transform Soul Sickness into Love Sickness – “My soul is love sick for You.” (Yedid Nefesh) We attach in that love and eat the food of the place called Heaven. We will be nourished and strengthened and able to transcend the ‘worst parts of the decree”.

Tefillah

The Companions who connect to the primal moment of creation are directly nourished by the Highest Source and can exist on food that derives from that supernal holy place. They live on Spiritual Sustenance and are not bound by physical limitations, the worst part of the decree.

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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
Aug

Psalm 27: I Want More!

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“God is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear.” (Psalm 27:1)

David asked the Holy One, Blessed is He: “Master of the Universe, when will the light come?” God replied: “When the time of redemption comes and Jerusalem is rebuilt, I shall make the light come, saying to Israel ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come.’ (Isaiah 60:1) [See Haftarah for Ki Tavo] But as for the idol worshipping nations of the earth, for them the light shall be made into darkness, as it is said, ‘And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame, and it shall burn and devour his thorns and weeds in one day.’ (Isaiah 10:17)” Who are the thorns and weeds? They are those officials of the nations who maintained themselves in luxury at the expense of their people. (Midrash Tehillim 27)

How interesting that the Rabbis of the Midrash use a verse in which King David speaks of God as his light to tell us a story about David asking “When will the light come?”! The Midrash wants us to understand that once David acknowledged God as his light, the Sweet Singer of Israel would ask for more.

David uses this psalm to describe his experience of safety, security, passion, and direction as deriving from God’s light. The more King David came into contact with God’s light, the more he grew, and the more he was drawn to God, his desire for more light, infinite light, expanded.

Elul and all the Holydays that follow are opportunities to experience God’s light. As we draw closer to Him, participating in His Coronation, and repairing our relationship, the more we will sense His light. Our desire for that light will only expand, and we will have openings each day to receive more light and come closer to the Source of all light.

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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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17
Aug

Timeless: Choosing To Forget

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Prayer

“When I recall (Zacharti) this matter I am confounded, trembling grips my flesh.” (Job 21:6)

The Daat Soferim explains that Job consciously chose to forget his question “why do the wicked live” in order to be able to function.

We often do as Job and choose to forget our bad experiences because we feel that we could not continue with all the painful memories. Our Zichronot – memories – are not timeless. We limit them when we feel we must.

However, God’s Zichronot are Timeless. He remembers all and, on Rosh Hashana, as we repair the past by preparing for the future, He heals the memories that hurt and confuse 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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17
Aug

Royal Messages: Shattering Shells

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“The moon will be humiliated and the sun will be shamed for God, Master of Legions, will have reigned in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and there will be honor for His elders.” (Isaiah 24:23)

Rabbi Chaim David Vialli, a student of Rabbeinu Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, explains that we currently see the world with a disconnect between the spiritual and the physical, the Upper and Lower worlds. The disconnect causes “Shells” or interference with God’s Light, which in turn make it more difficult to see God’s Presence with Clarity. When Isaiah speak of Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he is describing a world in which all is connected, and wherever we look, we can shatter the shells – the humiliation of the moon, and the shame of the sun – and appreciate God’s Presence as Unifying all of existence – the Upper and Lower worlds.

Rosh Hashana – The Day of God’s Coronation as King – is our opportunity to see the world as it should be. Our prayers for the success of the righteous, and the destruction of evil, are all intended to allow us to shatter the shells that prevent us from seeing God’s Unified Presence in all of Creation.

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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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17
Aug

Sound Bites: The Purity of Its Sound

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

“By His breath the heavens were spread – ‘shifra’ – His hand fashioned the earth-girding serpent.” (Job 26:13) Shifra – spread – shares the same root as Shofar. The Malbim believes that “Shifra” means more than to expand: “As the waters spread they purify the heavens, wash away the clouds, and allow the sky to expand.” Shifra is to expand through cleansing and purification.

The Shofar reminds us we must purify ourselves in order to expand and take full advantage of the potential offered by God as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah.

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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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16
Aug

Psalm 27: Glimpses of Light

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“God is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear.” (Psalm 27:1) The Midrash (See Psalm 27.2 and 27.3) continues:

The rabbis maintained that God set aside the light for the righteous in the World-To-Come, like a king who has a good portion and says: “This portion shall be for my son!” Thus scripture says, “Light is sown for the righteous.” (Psalm 97:11) [Midrash Tehillim]

According to the rabbis, David is celebrating the glimpses of the Light of the World-To-Come that he was privileged to catch through his learning, actions and devotion.

We recite this psalm to celebrate with King David and to remind ourselves how our lives are often showered with such glimpses. We remember that when we pray for life, we pray that God shower our life with glimpses of the Light of the World-To-Come.

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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
Aug

Sound Bites: God’s Tent

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Prayer

“I am sending to take Nebuchadnezar king of Babylonia, My servant, and I am placing his throne above these stones that I have covered, and he will spread his tent – Shafriro – over them.” (Jeremiah 43:10) We have learned how “Shifra” means “to spread” – a verb. (See Sound Bites 5 & 6) Jeremiah uses the same word as a noun – Shafririo – that which is spread – or, Nebuchadnezar’s tent.

The commentaries compare Shafriro, which shares the same root as Shofar – to the spread of the heavens: Nebuchadnezar’s reach and influence will affect the entire world.

The Shofar blast is not only for us. It reaches up to the heavens and spreads out as a tent over the world, with its influence and call to change, become beautiful, expand and purify. The Shofar reminds us that we are praying for all existence and we can influence all of God’s creation.

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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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