Posts Tagged ‘Shavuot’

6
Jun

Festival Prayers: Ata Vichartanu Kavanot: Shavuot Ma’ariv

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“You have chosen us from all the peoples; You loved us and found favor in us; You exalted us above all the tongues and You sanctified us with Your commandments. You drew us close, our King, to Your service and proclaimed Your great and Holy Name upon us.”

Kavanot Shavuot Ma’ariv:

You have chosen us from all the peoples;

Based on (Rabbeinu Yehudah ben Yakar), “Not because you are more numerous than all the peoples did God desire you and Choose you, for you are the fewest of all the peoples (Devarim 7:7).”

The Sefat Emet (Va’Etchanan) explains that “fewest” describes humility; God chose us for our ability to be humble even when we experience our greatness as His chosen, as we did at Mount Sinai.

Kavanah: “Allow us to merit the humility that comes with the awareness of our awesome responsibility so that You will choose us again as You chose us at Sinai.”

You loved us and found favor in us;

Based on (Rabbeinu Yehudah ben Yakar), “Rather, because of God’s love for you and because He observes the oath that He swore to your forefathers did He take you out with a strong hand and redeem you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt (Devarim 7:8).” The First of the Ten Statements, that Israel heard directly from God so that the words permeated our souls and became part of our being, is, “I am God, your Lord, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery (Devarim 5:6).” If, as our first verse teaches that God took us out, “because of God’s love for you and because He observes the oath that He swore to your forefathers,” that love and commitment to the Patriarchs was included in the First Statement, and permeates our souls.

Kavanah: “Help us connect to Shavuot at Sinai, and find Your love for us in the deepest part of our souls, thereby leading You to find favor in us.”

You exalted us above all the tongues, and,

Based on (Rabbeinu Yehudah ben Yakar), “And I shall cut down all the pride of the wicked; the pride of the righteous shall be exalted (Psalms 75:11).”

Why is the pride of the wicked actively cut down, while the pride of the righteous seems passively exalted? The automatic consequence of God cutting down the pride of the wicked is that the pride of the righteous is naturally exalted. (Toledot Yaakov Yosef, Ki Teitzei) On Shavuot, at Mount Sinai, God actively exalted us by granting us the gift on speaking the words of Torah, the words that were used to create the world. This was greater than the exaltedness we experienced when God punished the Egyptians because of how they treated us.

Kavanah: “Please actively exalt us as You did at Sinai, by allowing us to speak in the vocabulary of Torah and become active participants in creation.”

 

You sanctified us with Your commandments.

My Uncle Noach zt”l explained that our souls come with a “Kedusha Switch,” that responds to our physical performance of the Mitzvot, and when activated with intention to be activated, increases our awareness of, and love for, God.

Kavanah: This is where we express the intention to activate the Kedusha Switch: “Allow us to use each Mitzvah to nourish and nurture our love for You.” [This can also be used as a Kavanah whenever reciting the blessing, asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav; see Ohr Gedalyahu: Emor, based on Sefat Emet]

You drew us close, our King, to Your service:

Based on (Rabbeinu Yehudah ben Yakar), “It happened that when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness and the mountain was burning in fire, that all the heads of your tribes and your elders approached me – va’tikrivun alai (Devarim 5:20).”  The elders felt sufficiently comfortable to interrupt Revelation to approach Moshe and express their fears! (See “So Close and Yet So Far”) The love and intimacy expressed by God to us at Sinai allowed us to approach His service with comfort and wholeness.

Kavanah: “Allow us to experience the same sense of safety as experienced at Sinai, when we approach Your service.”

 

Proclaimed Your great and Holy Name upon us.

Based on (Rabbeinu Yehudah ben Yakar), “And I will grant you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, in order that you should know that I am God Who has proclaimed your name, ‘I, the Lord of Israel,’ for the sake of My servant Jacob and Israel, My chosen one (Isaiah 45:3-4).” When we are aware that God desires to be known by us, “I, the Lord of Israel,” or as we say in Tefillah, “The Lord of Abraham, the Lord of Isaac, the Lord of Jacob,” and we live in a manner that God is known by our behavior, we will merit to access, “the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places,” the treasures of comprehending the reasons for darkness and suffering and secrets of the Torah.

Kavanah: “We commit ourselves to act in such a way that You are known by us. May we merit the gift of the “the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places.”

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
Jun

Festival Prayers: HaKeil, HaGadol

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“O, The Power, in the omnipotence of Your strength, great in the glory of Your Name, mighty forever and awesome through Your awesome deeds, O King, enthroned upon a high and lofty throne.”

Rabbi Meir wrote that on Shavuot the Chazan should begin from, “HaKeil, bi’ta’atumot uzecha,” “The Power, in the omnipotence of Your strength,” because of the Giving of the Torah is described as Oz, as in, “God will give might to His people (Psalms 29:11).” On Succot and Shemini Atzeret the Chazan begins with, “HaGadol bichvod shimecha,” “Great in the glory of Your Name,” for it is written, “You have exalted Your nation, God; You have exalted the nation by whom You are honored (Isaiah 26:15),” and The Pesikta (d’Rav Kahana 194:2) applies this verse to the Patriarchs. On Pesach he should begin with, “HaGibbor laNetzach,” “Mighty forever,” as His might was so manifest at the Splitting of the Sea, when the Holy One Blessed is He, appeared as a Young Warrior. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Chazan begins with, “HaMelech,” “The King,” as He sits on the Throne to judge. (Kol Bo 37)

Kavanah for First Day of Shavuot:

Based on, “God will give might to His people.”

Our Sages taught, “Why was the Torah given to Israel? Because they are bold (Beitzah 25b).” This boldness is considered a good quality, as the Mishna teaches, “Be bold as a leapard (Avot 5:23).” Israel uses this boldness to subjugate the physical so that it can become an appropriate vessel to receive the soul. Through this we can understand what the Sages taught, “There is no vessel that can retain blessing except for peace (Uktzin),” the type of peace that only comes through boldness acquired through Torah to overcome the physical so that it is at peace with the holy. (Toledot Yaakov Yosef, Chukat)

“Empower us with the boldness of Torah to overcome the distraction of the physical and train it to be at peace with the holy through our Torah so that we can receive and retain Your unlimited blessing.”

Kavanah for Second Day of Shavuot:

Based on, “God will give might to His people, God will bless His people with peace.”

“The only might is Torah (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 2:10; See Zevachim 116a).” What is the connection between Torah and peace? The Alshich haKadosh (Bamidbar 25:12) explains that a soul that sins lacks peace between this world and the World to Come, the World of Eternal Life. At Sinai we merited to experience perfect balance between the two Worlds and were at peace. This will be the peace of the World to Come.

“Grant us the blessing of Torah so that we can experience peace between this World and the World to Come, just as we did on the first Shavuot.”

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
Jun

Shavuot Hallel Paragraph Five

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“I love Him, for God hears my voice, my supplications.” (Psalms 116:1) It was related of Elijah the Righteous, that while searching for those who were languishing with hunger in Jerusalem, he once found a child faint with hunger lying upon a dungheap. On questioning him as to the family to which he belonged, he replied, ‘I belong to such and such a family.’ He asked: ‘Are any of that family left,’ and he answered, ‘None, excepting myself.’ Thereupon he asked: ‘If I teach you something by which you will live, will you learn?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’ ‘Then,’ said he, ‘recite every day, Hear O Israel, God is our Lord, God is one.’ But the child retorted,‘Be silent, for one must not make mention of the name of the Lord.’ [He said this] because his father and mother had not taught him [to serve the Lord], and straightway he brought forth an idol from his bosom, embracing and kissing it, until his stomach burst, his idol fell to the earth, and he upon it. (Sanhedrin 63b-64a)

Rabbi Shalom of Sakovitch (Ohr HaGanuz) points out that Elijah the Righteous promised the boy that all he had to so was cry out in God’s Name and he would live. Tragically, this boy had learned from his parents that he must never cry out to God. The boy was willing to die rather than cry out in God’s Name.

The boy believed Elijah the Righteous. He understood that even he, who had grown up rejecting even the mention of God’s Name, could cry out and be saved. He believed but did not love that God hears our voices and supplications.

It was at Sinai that we created a relationship with God that was so powerful that He hears our cries no matter how distant we are. It is on Shavuot that we reconnect with that level of relationship. It is through our Torah study that we recall the intensity of relationship that empowers our prayers to be heard. Torah study with awareness of its power, nurtures love of God. We study Torah aloud as a prayer and supplication we know will be heard.

We express that awareness of the intense love in this Psalm, with a prayer that our Torah study be inculcated with that powerful connection, and that every word be considered a prayer that can pierce the heavens.

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
Jun

Shavuot Hallel Paragraph Four

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“As for the heavens – the heavens are God’s, but the earth He has given to mankind.” (Psalm 115:16) To what can this be compared? To a king who decreed that his citizens in Rome could not travel to Syria, and his Syrian subjects could not travel to Rome. So, too, when the Holy One, Blessed is He, created the world, He decreed, “the heavens are God’s, but the earth He has given to mankind.” When He desired to give the Torah He negated the first decree and He said, “Let the lower worlds rise to the upper, and let the upper worlds descend to the lower, and then I shall begin.” This is why the verse says, “And God descended onto Mt Sinai.” and then it says, “And to Moses He said, rise to God.” (Exodus 24) – Shemot Rabbah 12

Torah gives us the ability to rise to the highest heavens, and to bring the heavens down to us by transforming this world. This paragraph of the Hallel celebrates this ability to break the boundaries of heaven and earth, and live a heavenly life even while here on this earth.

Use this paragraph as an opportunity to pray to merit living a life of the World to Come even while on this world. This means to be able to create eternal realities with everything we do.

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
Jun

Shavuot Hallel Paragraph Three

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Those who make them should become like them.” (Psalm 115:8) Anyone who trusts in the power of a false god will be punished by becoming like them (empty and powerless). How do we know? “Those who make them should become like them.” The Sages say that anyone who relies on a false god manufactured by humans, even his breath is sinful, as the verse says, “(Do not rely on nobles,)Nor on a human being for he holds no salvation,” (Psalm 146) What does it say immediately after? “When his spirit departs he returns to his earth.” – Devarim Rabbah 5

Our relationship with God, based on and nourished by the Torah is what gives meaning to all we do. Otherwise everything we do is considered empty and meaningless. Torah empowers every detail of our being, even our breath. Sing this paragraph as an expression of gratitude for the meaning we have in our lives, and for our ability to make even our breath holy.

Use this paragraph as an opportunity to experience tangible meaning in all of your service 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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6
Jun

Shavuot Hallel Paragraph Two

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“The sea saw it and fled.” (Psalms 114:3) What did the sea behold? The sea beheld the Children of Israel struggling with one another in their zeal to hallow the name of the Holy One, Blessed is He, and it said, “Why do I stand unmoved? Forthwith, the sea fled, as it is written, “The sea saw it and fled.” (Midrash Tehillim 114:9)

The challenge of this chapter is to sing it with such intense zeal for God and His Torah, that you will inspire all of Creation to sing with you.

Focus on the parts of Torah for which you have the greatest passion, and use that passion to sing this chapter.

Use this chapter to pray that your Torah study during the year should be blessed to be with incredible zeal.

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
Jun

What Is The Objective of Torah? by Prof Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

The first thing communicated at Sinai was, “I am the Lord your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” There is a question as to whether this is a commandment, or a statement. Perhaps one answer is as follows.

Look at what happened after this statement. There were hundreds of laws given with multiple spinoffs . What is demanded of us? Is perfection the goal? It can’t be. We are human beings, and not perfect. The proof is Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. This means we have a vehicle to correct the mistakes of the year, and implies that we will make mistakes. So what is the bar we are expected to reach?

I think the answer is best given by an analogy. If we decide to take a walk from New York to the West Coast, we have a 3000 mile journey in front of us. After walking for a couple of days and traveling 50 miles, we have one of two options. We can look westward, think of the 2950 miles we have left, and be overwhelmed by the thought. Or, we can look back and realize we cannot see the skyscrapers of Manhattan and we have progressed by 50 miles. We need to know where we want to go, but also need to realize we have made progress.

When the Jews came to Sinai, they were about to get numerous commandments. That is why, I think, the first thing they were told was, “Look how far you’ve come. Less than two months ago you were in Egypt and slaves. Not you are out of Egypt and no longer slaves.” All that is required is continuous growth.

On Shavuoth, you grow as you sit and learn. But the growth can’t stop there. Remember, a majority of the “10 Commandments” are between you and other people. Your growth is required in all areas of your relationships.

Have a meaningful Shavuot.

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6
Jun

Shavuot: Awe vs. Love of God: Part Six

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Transcribed by Daniel Goldman from a shiur delivered on 18 May 1999: There’s more.  This is such a subtle point, and it’s so important.  For Orthodox Jews, it is so basic.  This is where the Kotsker Rebbe went insane.  The Kotsker said, “Oy, I work so hard…what, you’re working so hard?  Then you’re not working!  Because you’re taking the credit for yourself!  You’re in the way of yourself!  What happens eventually if you live like that?  You go mad!  Or, “Ah…that’s a great davening!  That’s a great davening?  It was self-serving!  Aha!  You see?  You’re a fake, you’re a phony!  You’re a nothing!”  What happens?  You go insane!

Frum people…I shouldn’t say frum people…it’s everybody.  But if you’re steeped in Torah, then you’re driven to it more.  There’s this sense that you just can’t get there.  Why do we create these superheroes like Rav Moshe Feinstein and Reb Yaakov (Kaminetsky)?  They were human beings.  Because if we turn them into superheroes, we can say, “Oh, so I’m not Reb Moshe!  No problem.”  “Am I in Awe of God?  Yes! God is magnificent.  God is stupendous!”  That’s not Awe, because there is joy in feeling Awe.  Awe doesn’t mean that I will never do a sin because I’m terrified of being zapped.  Awe means that no matter what I’m striving for I just can’t do it.  That is the basic struggle that goes back to Creation.

Question: Is it trying to do better, but just always failing?

RSW: You fail because you’re a human being.  It is to taste that exquisite moment of “I can’t do it” because I am a human being.  When you say, “I need you,” is the transition from Awe to Love.

Question: But what about the Kotsker? What’s the difference?

RSW:  The Kotsker looked for it inside of himself.  He was saying, “I need to do this.”   That wasn’t the right step.  The correct step is, “I can’t do it – you have do it for me.”  We experience this every year in the Ne’ilah service on Yom Kippur.  “Here I am,” you say, “my whole life is on the line.  I am having a little trouble believing that this a real Teshuva.  God, you have to help me out.  The gates of repentance are closing.  I’m desperate.  I’m desperate!”

Question: But you can’t hold on to it!

RSW: It doesn’t matter.  That moment is the seed of something so real and so powerful.  It will help you grow and it will guide you in the right direction.

But there’s a danger.  If you say, “I failed.  I’m a human being.  What do you expect?” – that’s surrender.  There are two people who really struggled with this  There’s a famous book written about them…

“And God the Lord said, it is not good for man to be alone.  I will make him a helpmate against him.” (Genesis 2:18)  Isn’t that what we’re speaking about?  The helpmate is coming against our limitations.  Experiencing that barrier is what will help me go forward.

“So God formed from the earth all the beasts from the field all the birds from the heavens.  And He brought them to the man to see what man would call them.” Did God bring the animals to Man to name them?  Or, to see what man would name them?  Strange thing isn’t it?  We don’t have time to talk about it now.  It is a whole class in itself.  Probably a series.

“And then whatever man called it was its name.” The Midrash says, even God.  God said, “What do you call me?”  Adam replied, “Oh, I’ll call you God.”  “I like that name!”  This is also a series of lectures.

Why wasn’t it good for man to be alone?  Rashi answers with the Midrash Rabbah: So that they should not say that there are two powers.  The Holy One Blessed be He is unique in the upper worlds and has no partner.  And this man is unique in the lower worlds and also has no partner.  God is in the Heavens and man is the master of the earth.

Question: Who’s they?

RSW: Ah! Great question! Who’s they?

Question: The animals?

RSW: They weren’t there yet.  God created the animals so that man wouldn’t be alone.  It’s not good for man to be alone. I will make a helpmate against him.  There are actually two stages.  (“First, I will make him to be not alone; I will create the animals.  Then, I will create the woman.”) The woman wasn’t created so that man wouldn’t be alone.  This is crucial!  She is a helpmate against him.  (Genesis is beyond anything you can imagine.  In fact, maybe we should do that next year.  Then you’ll kill me because we’ll spend the whole year on the first day!  You know what?  We’ll start backwards.  Actually Ramchal did that on his commentary on the Zohar.  The Torah, too.  But after a couple hundred pages on the last verse….)

What’s going on here?  Why isn’t it good for man to be alone?  The idea of man being a power is a concern.  The snake says to man (3:5), “The Lord knows that on the day you eat of this tree, your eyes will be opened and you will be just as an Elohim, aware of good and evil.” What’s the struggle here? God does not want man to be like Elohim, but the snake wants man to be like Elohim.

Then, after the sin (3:22), “Now man is like one of us who knows good and evil.  And now, lest he send forth his hand and eat from the Tree of Life, then he will eat and live forever!” What’s the issue?  He’s going to be just like God!  So the snake was telling the truth!  God did not want man to be God, to be a power!  So the snake said, “Aha! He doesn’t want you to be God, but I’m telling you how to do it!”  Then man eats from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and God says, “O my Gosh!  This is going to ruin everything!  Forget it! Get out!  I’m never going to let you back!”

Question:  Why can’t man be a power?

RSW: You can’t because you’re a created being.  If  you don’t understand that you could never be like God, you can’t have a relationship.  Who’s the one who sins first?  The woman.  Why is the woman there?  So that Adam shouldn’t think he is a power, a master of the world.  So what does the snake say?  “Listen, you’re a threat to him.  Until you came…so what, there were animals…but he still doesn’t have a partner.  But now that he’s got a partner, he ain’t God.  Listen, you ruined the whole thing.”  That’s why it has to happen through the woman.  Why does the woman give him of the fruit to eat?  Because she reasons that now she is going to die.  But if she is going to die, she is aware of her limitations.  She reasons that he’ll marry someone else.  Can I ask a really stupid question? – Who?  All of a sudden she’s worried that he will marry someone else? The whole struggle is about who’s in charge.

By the way, the moment the woman was created there had to be a sin.  Because if I am the only one, I’m me.  But the minute there are two of us, then I am automatically limited because I am not you.  That is the first taste of death, limitation.  That is why if you eat of the tree, you die.  (Similarly by the moon.  If you want an identity, you have to make yourself smaller.)  Once the woman was there, it had to happen.  And that’s why the snake spoke to the woman.

Question: Did the snake really believe they would be God?

RSW: The snake’s right!  You think you have power?

Question: You think you have power!

RSW: You do!

Question: Not the power God does!

RSW: Let me tell you something.  I know not you.  But if a person believed he didn’t have any power, would he ever sin?  Sometimes you need to sin.  That’s why the first of the Ten Statements is “I am the Lord you God who took you out of Egypt…” You should know that there is a God.  The second statement is “You should not have any other power.”  Rambam says it means that you shouldn’t even think that there is any other power than God.  And if the thought occurs to you that there is another God, you cease to exist, because God is existence.

Question: What I hear God saying is a sort of infantile omnipotence.  “You can be God. There is a temptation to believe you’re everything.  There’s no boundaries to man.”

RSW: No…No!  Not at all!  God is saying, “I am serious.  I’m not one of those guys pictured in the storybooks.  I want you to have a real relationship with Me.  You can’t have a real relationship unless you know what it’s like.  That’s all I want.”  It’s not infantile.

And by the way, what is the Oral Law?  It is tremendous power.  Kabbalistically speaking, the Oral Law corresponds to which parts of our bodies? – Netzach and Hod, which are our two feet.  Where do we find feet in the Garden?  What did the snake lose?  His feet.  He has no more independence.  Before the sin, he drew his sustenance from God.  Now, after losing his feet, the snake must eat the dust of the earth.  The dust is our sins.  That’s why he hates us.  “The only way I can exist is to destroy you.  I was never interested in your well-being.”  That’s why the snake eats dust; He no longer lives off G-d.  He lives off of you.  (Not you, people who sin.)

Goodness, or Tov, only comes by acknowledging that you can’t be alone.  The Torah says, Lo Tov, “It is not good for man to be alone.” You must understand how limited you are.  That’s why the Gemara says, tov means woman, tov means death, tov means Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination.  Because  the minute the woman appeared, death came into the world, which is limitation.  The Evil Inclination fights against that limitation.  But that’s the only way a partner is going to get you where you need to go.  Only when you acknowledge what you can’t be, and have Awe, that you can begin the relationship properly.

Question: But don’t we begin our human relationships with Love?

RSW: We live in a world in which Love comes first.  That means that we have to learn from our human relationships how to relate to God.  You have to see that person as they are and develop the relationship from there.  Suppose you take two people who are entirely different.  You would expect them to be antagonistic to each other, but they find a way to bridge the gap.  Shavuot is the time to experience this.  We spend an entire night learning.  Searching for something.  It’s not just sitting and learning in a class.  It’s a night of work.  Working to discover something.  At the moment you realize that you can’t, that’s when you daven in the morning and express your love for God.

You have the opportunity to search and to feel the frustration.  The most practical thing to do on Shavuot is to work.  It is not going to classes.  It’s taking a text and working at it.  Not just reading the Hebrew, but thinking about it, conceptualizing it, applying it, using it, sinking your fingers into it, and sweating over it.  Then, to have that feeling.  We all have that moment.  That feeling that no matter how much you learn and learn and learn, there are levels and levels that are beyond you.  At that moment, when you realize that you can’t do it that’s the moment you can turn to God and develop a relationship.

On Shavuot, it’s not a night just to be interested.  It’s a night to do battle.  The biggest battle is not to stay up all night.  Because if you really work, staying up is not the issue.  The biggest thing you will have to deal with is the Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination, because if you conquer that you will be getting it right where it hurts – Right between the legs.

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
Jun

Shavuot Hallel Paragraph One

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Blessed be the name of God, from this time forth and for ever more.” (Psalms 113:2) In this world they praise Him, and then they provoke Him. But not so in the World to Come, for then they will praise Him, ‘from this time forth and for ever more.’ Therefore I say to you that you will also endure for ever, for the Holy One, Blessed is He, says, “You praise Me from this time forth and for ever more, so shall I bless you, as the verse says, “God is round about His people, from this time forth and for ever.” (Psalms 125:2) – Midrash Tehillim 113:4

The one time we experienced eternity while on this world was at the Revelation at Sinai. We can reconnect to that time on Shavuot, allowing our praises, especially the Hallel we sing, to have the quality of for ever forth and more. God’s response will be, “So shall I bless you.”

Reflect on the moments when you were studying Torah that you experienced something eternal, an insight, an inspiration, or a moment of great clarity. Keep those moments in mind when singing this, first paragraph of Hallel, with the intention that your Praises should be granted the quality of eternity.

Have in mind that you are also praying that your Torah study over the coming year should be blessed with that same quality of eternality.

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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3
Jun

Shavuot: Awe vs. Love of God: Part Five

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Transcribed by Daniel Goldman from a shiur delivered on 18 May 1999: But that’s not a relationship that begins with Yir’ah, Awe.  That’s a relationship that begins with Love.  A relationship that begins with Love ends up not being a real relationship, because I don’t see the person as the person is.  That’s why a relationship that begins with effatuation usually doesn’t lead anywhere.  It ends pretty quickly because it’s not a real relationship. God wanted a real relationship.  But for some reason it didn’t work.  I suspect that God knew that.

So, at the first Shavuot, God told Adam, “This is my agenda.  We will begin with Awe.  You have to understand.  You are insignificant. You are nothing.   I speak, you’re dead.  Therefore, your search for a relationship is a search for significance, and for life.”  Needless to say, it didn’t last in the Garden, and it didn’t last on Sinai.  On Shavuot, we have the opportunity to develop the relationship the correct way.  Even if it isn’t permanent.   It begins with a sense of not knowing who we are and ends with the knowledge that the only way I will have a real sense of significance is through my attachment to God.

Ruth has no sense of self.  Not because she thought she was insignificant, but she hadn’t yet discovered her significance.  She was open to reality.  Ruth could be so sensitive to all the details around her.  What kind of human being does it take to be so invisible that when Naomi says to her, “you go down, you get dressed…etc.,” what she is actually saying, “I will go down, I will get dressed…etc.”  Yet that’s how it is written.  Ruth had the capacity to make herself so invisible because she had yet to discover her significance.  We see that in Esther as well.  Ruth is tzanua, as is Esther.  But let’s go back to the Garden.

Question: Why weren’t the Jews at Sinai able to hold on to this relationship?

RSW: I have this horrible surprise for you.  You taste it and you can’t hold on to it because of your human limitations. At the moment you realize that you always fail.  Where are you?  Are you at Love or are you at Awe?  Where are you when you say, “I can’t do it!”?  It is then that you have real Awe. You are at the invisible Awe.  This is so important.  And it is so subtle.  “It didn’t work in Eden, it didn’t work at Sinai, I’ll try to do it on Shavuot, but it probably won’t last.”    What do you sense after all that? – a feeling of insignificance.  “I can’t do it!”  That is Awe.  Here is something so real, yet I can’t achieve it.  That is the real Awe.

That is what you get on Shavuot.  It’s the awareness that Adam and Eve failed at the same thing.  This not something I can do on my own.  So what are you searching for?  If you have really experienced this, you’re desperate for a relationship.  But we don’t know what real Awe is.  As the Gemara says, “Everything is in the hands of heaven, except for yiraat Shamayim.”  What does that mean?  God can do a very good job of filling me with Awe.

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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