Posts Tagged ‘Shema’

25
Jul

Sitting In The Barber’s Chair

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week

I was sitting in the waiting room of the service department of a car dealership and an “Oldies” station was playing, and I was surprised over how many of the songs were familiar. I couldn’t remember anyone playing these songs in our house, especially when my father zt”l was home, and then, I realized that I had heard all these songs in the barbershop where my mother a”h would take me for haircuts.

The songs took me back to my childhood, and triggered all sorts of wonderful memories of my mother taking me out shopping, to the doctor’s office, and yes, to the barbershop. I heard the music and it triggered powerful and wonderful memories.

No wonder a portion that begins with hearing, “This shall be the reward when you carefully listen to these ordinances, (See, ‘The First Step Through The Door’)” also focuses so much on memory:

“You shall remember the entire road on which God, your Lord, led you these forty years in the wilderness so as to afflict you, to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would observe His commandments or not (Deuteronomy 8:2).”

“Be careful that you do not forget God, your Lord, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day.”

“But remember God, your Lord, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”

This portion of Hearing developed further than the Shema of the previous portion, describes how we can use our hearing to trigger important memories. Perhaps this is a development of, “Na’aseh v’Nishmah,” “we will observe, and we will hear.” We are asked to observe to train ourselves to become better listeners: “It will be if you hear and relate to My commandments,” which is understood as teaching us to serve God with Love; the love that is triggered by the music of the Mitzvot that connect us to all that God has done and continues to do for us each day.

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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
Jan

Strength from Brokenness

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

“I had not always believed that strength could come from brokenness, or that the thread of a divine purpose could be seen in tragedy. But I do now (Max Cleland).” (“Seven Levels of Teshuva: Avraham and Healing”)

The Torah uses a single verse to teach us that Jacob had a remarkable approach to life. (“A Different Sort of Fear of Life,” “Not Waiting For the Monument,” “The Fragrance of Permanence,” and, “Stopping the Leaks.”) We have seen that, “Vayechi is the story of a man who lived every moment of his life, even in death and after!” We determined that, “Jacob used these final scenes to guide his children to sense the fragrance of permanence, not of death and its ensuing impermanence.” We demonstrated that Jacob rarely “leaked” energy, a “death” experience, but managed to contain and expand the energy with which God filled him. The only time he “leaked” energy was when he lost the sense of the eternal.

Let’s continue to study Jacob’s life before Egypt to better understand where and how Jacob mastered eternal life. We left off after Jacob’s seven year wait for Rachel was as just a few days.

Jacob soon confronts someone thinking of death:

“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I’ll die!’

Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of the Lord, Who has kept you from having children?” (30:1-2)

Jacob, who wept upon meeting Rachel because they wouldn’t be buried together, whose mother also wished for death when thinking of children, has no patience for his beloved’s intense feelings of sadness over being childless!

Professor Nechama Leibovitz a”h, in her usual masterful way, applies a teaching of the Akeidat Yitzchak to this scene: Rav Yitzchak Arama points out that there are two names for the Primal Woman: “Isha,” as explained by Rashi, derived from ‘Eish,’ fire, representing the woman as an independent being; and, ‘Chava,’ the ‘mother of life, representing the woman as mother and caregiver. Professot Leibovitz explains that when Rachel wanted to die if she remained childless, she was choosing only one of her roles, that of Chava, the mother, and rejecting her life as an Isha. Jacob’s response was to point out that she cannot choose only one of the roles; she had to live as both.

I use this to explain the custom of the husband preparing the wife’s Shabbat candles; He is nurturing her Isha.

As beautiful as that explanation may be, I do not define Isha or Chava the same way. Chava means to articulate, The Articulator, and Isha has an added dimension of a person with greatness who willing forfeits her status just to be with her husband, just as Eve left the Garden to be with Adam, in fulfillment of, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you (3:16). (See “Family Secrets from the Articulator,” “Vashti v Esther,” “Conversations with Myself,” and, “Morning Blessings for the Nine Days-Part Three: Who has not made me a woman.”)

A careful reading of the text will explain Jacob’s reaction to Rachel’s cry, his fear of her connecting to the negative aspect of Isha, and Cain’s sin:

“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I’ll die!’” Rachel was jealous, breaking her eternal link to Jacob, just as Eve’s jealousy led her to trip Adam (Rashi; 3:6), and Cain to break his link to eternal life, humanity, and to murder Abel. (“Mistakes-Latznu,” “Ever Since Adam & Cain One,” “Trying Again,” “Commentary to the Vidui-Part Five; Avinu.”)

Jacob understood that again someone was breaking their link to the eternal and tasting death, so he said, “Am I in the place of the Lord, Who has kept you from having children?” Jacob was assuming the role of teacher, and repairing the break between “God,” the Attribute of Compassion, and “The Lord,” the Attribute of Power-Judgement:

“When God saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, ‘It is because God has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.’

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘Because God heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.’ So she named him Simeon.

Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ So he was named Levi.

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘This time I will praise God.’ So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children (29:31-35).” Leah consistently speaks of God, the Attribute of Compassion.

Rachel speaks of the Lord, the Attribute of Power-Judgment: Then Rachel said, ‘The Lord has vindicated me; He has listened to my plea and given me a son.’ Because of this she named him Dan (30:6).”

Then, something changes:

The Lord listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. Then Leah said, ‘The Lord has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.’ So she named him Issachar.

Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, “The Lord has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.

Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah [derived from ‘Din,’ judgment].

Then The Lord remembered Rachel; He listened to her and enabled her to conceive. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, ‘The Lord has taken away my disgrace.” She named him Joseph, and said, ‘May God add to me another son’ (30:17-24).” [For those of you bothered by my switching the more common translation of God and Lord; I am following the teachings of my father zt”l who insisted that it does not make sense to say, “The Lord is God,” because God is His Essence; the Shema is to accept God as our Lord, meaning that He cares enough to judge our actions.]

Rachel and Leah were each relating to one aspect of our relationship with the Ultimate Being, which is a break of “Hashem Elokeinu,” God is our Lord, in the Shema, and a break in the story of the relationship between the Spiritual and Physical creations, expressed in, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when God the Lord made the earth and the heavens (2:4).” (See “The Ladder Comes to Life.”)

Jacob taught Rachel and Leah that the only way we can maintain an unbroken link between the Spiritual and Physical creations, to link to the Eternal, is to relate to both God and the Lord.

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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30
Dec

Shabbat Prayers-Blessings of Morning Shemah-Illuminate Our Eyes

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Illuminate our eyes in Your Torah.” The theme we are using this Shabbat is how Shabbat is an experience of the World-to-Come (See: “Kabbalat Shabbat-A Single Utterance”). The Talmud offers two powerful examples of the Special Light of the World-to-Come:

“And it shall come to pass in that day that there shall not be light, but heavy clouds [yekaroth] and thick [we-kippa’on] (Zechariah 14:6),” what does yekaroth we-kippa’on mean? Rav Yochanan said: This refers to Nega’im and Ohaloth (The laws of biblical ‘leprosy’ and the defilement of tents through a dead body), which are difficult in this world, yet shall be easily understood in the future world.

While Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said: This refers to the people who are honored in this world, but will be lightly esteemed in the next world. As was the case of Rabbi  Joseph the son of R. Joshua b. Levi, who became ill and fell into a trance. When he recovered, his father asked him, ‘What did you see?’ ‘I saw a topsy-turvy world’, he replied, ‘the upper [class] underneath and the lower on top’’ he replied:

‘My son’, he observed, ‘you saw a clear world (In which people occupy the positions they merit).’ (Pesachim 50a)

Application: Requesting the Light of the World to Come to Shine on this Shabbat

Kavanah: “We ask that God shine the Light of the Future World on our Torah study; the Light through which even the most difficult subjects will be understood.” Spend extra time studying Torah topics and books that are usually difficult to learn with after using this Kavanah.

Shabbat Before the Tenth of Tevet Kavanah: “Illuminate our world so that people occupy the positions they truly merit,” so that we can choose those from whom to study, as we Battle the Siege.

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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

Master of Memory VII-A Long Speech

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer

“Good deeds can be shortly stated, but where wrong is done, a wealth of language is needed to hide its deformity (Thucydides).”

Wow! Judah’s speech to the Egyptian viceroy is certainly a long one. What made him think that the Viceroy would allow him to make such a lengthy presentation? If Judah was speaking through an interpreter, the speech would have been twice as long. I can’t imagine anyone in the Egypt of that time believing that he could make such a long speech.

What is even more powerful, is that this speech was not through an interpreter! Judah spoke directly to the Viceroy; “Then Judah approached him and said (to see Genesis 44:18).” Judah suspected that the Viceroy did understand every word the brothers had been speaking all along.

“Then they said to one another, Indeed we are guilty concerning our brother.” “Reuben spoke up to them.” “Now they did not know that Joseph understood, for an interpreter was between them. He turned away from them and wept; he returned to them and spoke to them; he took Simeon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes (Verses 21–23).” Did they not expect the Egyptian viceroy to ask the interpreter what they had been saying to each other? Why would they have such a “private” conversation right in front of the Viceroy and his interpreter?

We have another problem with that scene: “’Then bring your youngest brother to me so your words will be verified.’ And they did so (Verse 20).” What did they do? They did not send one of the brothers back to Canaan to fetch Benjamin.

Their “private” conversation in front of the Viceroy was their message to him that they were willing to do as he asked. We already explained in “Master of Memory IV” that Joseph was pushing them to become better listeners. Their internal conversation was their indication to the Viceroy that they had learned their lesson. They began to understand the subtleties of this man’s approach. He was clearly a superb listener. They intended for him to “overhear” their private conversation.

However, the Viceroy never asks for his interpreter to report what the brothers had said to each other. He turns aside for a few moments, “returns to them and spoke to them,” but the verse never tells us what he said when he spoke to them; it only says that, “he took Simeon from them and imprisoned him before their eyes.”

The Sages explain, that when the verse says, “They then said to one another,” it was Simeon conversing with Levi. When the Viceroy imprisons Simeon, he is sending a message to them that he clearly understood what they had been saying to each other.

The Viceroy was clearly an excellent listener, sufficiently so, that Judah knew he could directly approach the Viceroy for his speech, and speak as long as he wanted and the Viceroy would listen!

Judah approaches the Viceroy directly as a message that he understands that there have been subtle messages all along conveyed by the Master of Memory pushing them to confront their past. He therefore goes into a lengthy exposition of the family’s history. Judah is telling the Viceroy that he has learned the Viceroy’s message, and has become a better listener.

The brothers are overwhelmed by intense emotions at this moment when they stand to lose Benjamin. They are confronting what they had done to Joseph, how they had treated their father, how they had failed to truly live as brothers. It was impossible for Judah to give a short speech. He had to process all these deep and painful emotions. He not only acknowledged the Viceroy’s lesson of becoming listeners; he expresses to the Viceroy that they have all learned to listen to their own hearts and emotions.

No wonder, the Sages teach that when Jacob meets Joseph for the first time after so many years of separation, Jacob says the Shema: Jacob was acknowledging that the family had been reunified; and important aspect of the Shema; Unity. Jacob was also sending a message to Joseph, that his wise son had succeeded in teaching his brothers how to become the people who could recite the Shema; how to become good listeners.

Jacob is reminding us that we cannot properly recite the Shema unless we too, are good listeners. We must be good listeners to what others are saying and feeling, and, we must become people who are very skilled at listening to our own hearts.

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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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19
Aug

Stuck in A Role

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

She listens carefully to many lectures on prayer, and prays according to her notes, but she finds that her prayers remain unanswered.

He writes down everything he learns about being a good husband, makes lists of all the things a husband must do, and still is unable to make his wife happy with him.

He observes all the laws with a firm belief in a concept that has been drilled into his head; “External practice will change you internally,” and yet has not experienced any internal change.

She is “working on her anger” by never acting angry, yet, her anger is still “eating away at my gut.”

I believe that they all share the same problem: They are playing a role, not expressing themselves, nor discovering their authentic selves. One is playing the role of praying, doing everything she is “supposed” to do, but her heart is not invested. One is playing the role of a good husband, doing everything he “must,” except authentically expressing real love for his wife. One is playing the role of an observant Jew, but his heart was never connected to his actions. One is playing the role of a person who has mastered her anger, but she has yet to find a healthy and healthful way to express her anger.

Most of us play many roles throughout our lifetimes. We have learned how to shift roles, but we don’t know how to look behind them. The roles we assume – spouse, parent, nice guy, righteous person, etc. – are not necessarily bad and can provide useful models to follow in unfamiliar situations. Our task is to find those parts that work for us, and those that don’t. It’s like peeling the layers of an onion, and just like peeling an onion, it’s a task that can bring on a few tears. It can be terrifying to let go of a role we have been playing for many years, so, we get stuck in our roles. We act as we believe we should rather than discover our authentic selves.

“It will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today, to love God, your Lord, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 11:13) We are challenged to find ways to find ways to express our love in our service. (The Mechanic and The Artist) We are also reminded that our service must FOLLOW the love. Our service must be an expression of what we feel. We must first learn to be authentic.

When we serve to avoid punishment; we are inauthentic. We are role playing.

When we serve to express love; we are authentic.

When we serve to receive reward; we are inauthentic. We are stuck in the role of Servant of God, but we are serving our own needs.

When we serve to express ourselves, “With all our hearts and all our souls,” we are authentic.

“To know what is in your hearts.” (8:3) (Chipping Away the Pieces) “You shall know in your heart.” (Verse 5) Only then, “You shall observe the commandments of God, your Lord, to walk in His ways and be in awe of Him.” (Verse 6) We cannot choose our path, “Walk in His ways,” until we know what is in our hearts. People stuck in a role cannot begin to walk on their own.

It is exactly at this point, the Eikev – Heel – that powers us to move forward on our authentic path, that God says of the Snake, “You will bite his Eikev, his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) He’s still at it. It’s time for us to, “He will pound your head.”

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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19
Aug

The Mechanic & The Artist

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer

My ten-year-old nephew was visiting from Argentina and gave a demonstration of his Tai Kwon Do forms. It was fantastic to watch him go through the complex movements, but something was missing from his performance; he was mechanistically perfect but there was no poetry in his motion. It reminded me of “Isaac Stern Goes To China,” in which the great violinist (and Talmud student) explained to the Chinese students that the difference between the good and the great musicians is that the good have perfect mechanics, while the great play with such poetry of motion that the audience ignores the mechanics.

I examined a few Mezuzot this week. Some were fakes, and others were, as was my nephew’s karate demonstration and Stern’s Chinese students, mechanistically perfect, but lacked any sense of artistry. There are homes that are unfortunately perfect for such Mezuzot; the homes in which everyone mechanistically observes all the Mitzvot, but lack any artistry or passion in their observance.

The second paragraph of Shema addresses the difference between the mechanic and the artist. “It will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today, to love God, your Lord, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 11:13) This verse adds an element missing from the first paragraph of Shema: “and to serve Him.” This verse challenges us to express our love for God through our service of Him. The service mentioned is not that of the mechanic, but of the artist, who finds way to express love in every aspect of his Avodah.

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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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18
Aug

The Artist

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer

The child arrives like a mystery box…

with puzzle pieces inside

some of the pieces are broken or missing…

and others just seem to hide

But the HEART of a teacher can sort them out…

and help the child to see

the potential for greatness he has within…

a picture of what he can be

Her goal isn’t just to teach knowledge…

by filling the box with more parts

it’s putting the pieces together…

and creating a work of art

The Heart of a Teacher

by Paula Fox

The opening paragraph of Shema teaches us, “You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise (Devarim 6:7).” I’ve met many people who teach and speak words of Torah, bit I guess they are stuck in the first paragraph because the second paragraph of Shema, in this week’s portion, reads, “You shall teach them to your children to discuss them (11:19).” Our job is not finished when we’ve taught Torah; we are obligated to teach Torah so that our children will love it enough to discuss Torah ideas, “while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise.”

Does this paragraph instruct us how to teach our children so that they will discuss the ideas conveyed?

But, of course: “Then I shall provide the rain of your Land (Verse 14),” becomes, “the rain of the heavens (Verse 17).” We are instructed to convey Torah so that the child can possess it and feel as if it is his. It is only as punishment when things are not ours, but Heaven’s!

People point out that I ‘forgot’ to put my name in some of my sefarim. “My father doesn’t let me put my name in that book!” They don’t understand.

One of my sisters gave me bookplates for my sefarim as a bar mitzvah gift. I couldn’t wait to paste them in all the books I received as gifts, but my father zt”l confiscated them. “You will feel much better if you only place the bookplate in the sefer after you’ve made it yours,” he said.

I was confused. The sefarim were mine, at least the ones my father allowed me to keep (but that’s a different story). “They are mine,” I insisted.

My father took out a volume of the responsa of Rabbi Akiva Eiger and asked me if I knew what it was. “It’s Rav Akiva Eiger!”

“What does it say?” he asked. “It’s Rav Akiva Eiger’s sefer now. Once you learn from it, think about it and use the ideas, it will become yours. When you are able to talk about the sefer’s ideas is when you should put you name in it. Your sefarim stamp should be a sign of real possession; one about which you can be proud.”

I still won’t place my bookplates in a new sefer until I have learned from it and used its ideas. I learned how to make a sefer my own.

My father was the Torah teacher as artist, my role model for how to teach Torah so that my children and students will discuss their Torah.

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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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13
Aug

Not Moment To Moment

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

“I was friends with one of the crew members on TWA Flight 800. I had called her because she was on my mind. It had been a while since we’d talked and I missed seeing her. I left her a message on her voice mail to call me. A few days went by and I became increasingly irritated that I had not heard back. My husband said just call again or say what you want to say on her answering machine. I knew she was probably busy and was just waiting for some free time to call me back. Even knowing this, I became increasingly angry. I held back my love. I closed my heart to her. The next day her plane crashed. I deeply regret that I did not give my love freely. I was playing a game with love.”

The woman was measuring her love by the moment, by one action,and then closing her heart. We must try to see love in the big picture, not in detail. A detail such as a single phone call can be a distraction from real love.

David Kessler – Life Lessons Page 43.

“And these matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:6) ‘You should always look to these matters as if they are new, fresh and exciting – as if the Torah were given today – not like a stale, outmoded dogma.’ (Rashi)

Although each individual action matters in a relationship, some more than others, we cannot measure our love for God by one moment or action, nor can we measure God’s love for us by the moment or single action. Perhaps the “Today” in the verse, especially when considered together with the “Alls” of the previous verse; “All your heart, all your soul, all your resources,” means that we look at the entire day, not moment by moment.

Just as with every relationship, there will be moments during the day when our love for God falters. There will be actions that do not reflect attachment. There will be moments during the day when we do not feel God’s love. We will suffer experiences that lead us to question whether God loves us. We strive to live days of love. We want to be able to recite the Shema before going to sleep with a sense that this was a day of love.We measure the day by its “All.” We want to go to sleep feeling, “This was a good day with God.”

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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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12
Aug

Miscommunications

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Reflections & Observations

A man calls the doctor: “Doctor, what should I do? My friend just keeled over and died!”

“The first thing is to make sure he’s definitely dead.”

“Okay, hold on.” A gunshot sounds. “Now what?”

The sense of helplessness in an emergency, the tragic miscommunication between doctor and caller and it’s tragic consequence and the eager ingenuousness of the final question provoke a simultaneously unbearable and exquisite emotion. We laugh, well, I did.

Most miscommunications are not so funny, but equally tragic, or painful. The husband who responds to his wife without thinking. The child who misunderstands a parent. The parent who misunderstands a child.

When I read all the advertisements for Shabbat Nachamu parties and gatherings, I see miscommunication. Nachamu means “Be comforted,” not, “Party!” I know that some people have joyous wakes when someone dies, but I’ve never seen a party to celebrate the end of Shiva.

The miscommunication does not begin with “Nachamu,” it probably begins with the way we mourn: If the mourning was real and heartfelt, we would not be able to switch so quickly to “Come join our Shabbat Nachamu Blast!”

Were we actually mourning?

Where is this miscommunication? When we are told to mourn what once was. Tisha B’Av is not to mourn what happened long ago; it is to mourn over what we do not have in the here and now because there is no Beit Hamikdash. We mourn the loss of possibilities. We mourn the sense that our efforts do not seem to matter as much as they should. We mourn that we live in such a confusing world. We mourn that we do not seem to celebrate our joys as much as we suffer our pains. We mourn that we do not hear the Torah’s teachings with more clarity.

We mourn the miscommunications. No wonder the Torah portion of Shabbat Nachamu contains the Shema: Hear what is really being said. It’s the only way we will effectively hear the message of the Shofar at the conclusion of the Nechama process.

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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12
Aug

The Power of Re-Enchantment: Shema

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Prayer, Spiritual Growth

Anne Fadiman recently published a collection of essays entitled Rereadings: Seventeen writers revisit books they love. Ms. Fadiman invited famous writers to reread books that were important to them when they were young. Most of the essayists had not read the assigned books in many years, and were often enchanted all over again by a long absent friend.

I often return to Sefarim – Holy Books that played an important role in my development. There are some books on prayer that literally lifted my prayers to a new level. There are books on law that I was unable to put down when I first read them. I often bought numerous copies of these books to share with my children, students and friends. I taught some of them from beginning to end.

I recently returned to one of these books for what Ms. Fadiman would call a rereading. I could not believe that it was the same book I loved so much. I found myself disagreeing with practically every idea in the book. I was so shocked by the experience that I tried the same experiment with numerous other books, most, not all, with the same result. The rereadings were a disaster. I felt that was losing some important friends, even embarrassed that I had ever loved these books so much.

I changed. My thought and philosophy have developed, and I can still acknowledge the important role that many of these books played in my development.

I can read the weekly portion and Haftarah year after year and find myself re-enchanted each and every time. Each reading feels like the first. I read the same words every year and still feel as if I am reading them for the first time.

I can read the words of the Siddur – Prayer Book every single day and find myself enchanted all over again each and every time.

The re-enchantment comes from both the texts and me. The texts alone cannot offer constant re-enchantment without a reader who is willing to be enchanted all over again. I may be willing to be re-enchanted but if the text does not possess that magic power, I will experience disappointment.

Perhaps this is the call of Shema: Hear as if you never heard before. Allow yourself to be re-enchanted. “Na’aseh V’nishma” – We will do and we will hear – we will do in order to nurture the ability to be re-enchanted by what we hear all over again.

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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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