Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Divided Heart

Rebbe Nachman taught: A person's heart contains two inclinations: one towards good and one towards evil. This causes division within the heart. An example of this division is when a person feels he "knows" that G-d is always present, yet is lax in using his prayer time to really speak to G-d. If he truly felt G-d's presence, he would certainly pray with all his might. The fact that he is lax and does not exert himself to pray with full concentration shows that part of him "does not acknowledge" G-d's presence. This is the result of a "divided" heart. [Likutey Moharan I 62:2]

Strife, simply defined, is a lack of accord between two parties. Two countries might argue between themselves, so might two families or two individuals. The strife that exists within one's own heart is the result of a schism between one's right side, which strives for spirituality, and one's left side, which pulls towards materialism. Someone who has not yet succeeded in fully purifying his heart will always feel this "inner strife". Questions of faith, and confusion concerning both one's immediate and longterm goals are all symptomatic of a divided heart.

Rebbe Nachman explained it this way: The world is full of strife. There are wars between the great world powers, there are conflicts within different localities, there are feuds among families, there is discord between neighbours and friction within a household, between man and wife, between parents and children... Life is short; people die a little each day. The day that just passed will never return, but people still fight, and never once do they remember their ultimate goal in life.

The characteristic traits of each nation are reflected in individuals. Some nations are known for their anger, for example, and others for bloodthirstiness. Each nation has its own particular trait. In the same way, these traits are to be found in each household. Even someone who wishes to live in peace can be dragged into conflict by virtue of his living among conflicting parties.

Man is a microcosm, holding within himself the world and everything in it. A man living alone can become insane, because his personality is forced to focus upon the "warring nations" within him, and he finds no peace. When Moshiach comes, all these wars will be abolished.

If someone's heart is divided, what can he do to "pull himself together"?

Rebbe Nachman placed much emphasis on the study of the Codes of Law. The Codes abound with discussions, sometimes quite heated, between the various Sages regarding what is permitted and what is forbidden, what is pure and what is impure, and so on. One's goal during one's studies should be to clarify the opinions of the Sages, bringing "peace" to the opposing views and coming to a clear conclusion. This method of study - examining opposing views and arriving at a peaceful solution - can have a deep and lasting effect upon a person's character. Employing one's Binah (understanding) to resolve a conflict of Torah Law can bring "peace" to one's divided heart, the heart divided between two inclinations.

Though this method of study is an advanced one and will certainly pose difficulties for those who are unfamiliar with the system of Talmudic research, Rebbe Nachman's directive to study the Codes in order to achieve lasting benefit is a universal one. In several lessons, he speaks about the importance of studying and knowing the Codes in order to proceed on the proper path in life.

Rebbe Nachman taught further: The good inclination is known as "a poor but wise child" [Ecclesiasties 4:13] - poor because few listen to him, wise because he leads one on the path of life. The evil inclination is compared to "an old foolish king" - people tend to listen because he is king, but his advice is foolish. These two inclinations represent the kingdom of holiness and the kingdom of impurity. One who studies Torah with effort strengthens the kingdom of holiness. [Likutey Moharan I 1:2]

The Arizal used to expend tremendous effort in his studies of the Codes. He exerted himself so much that it caused him to break out in a sweat.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that advice which comes from improper sources overwhelms the heart and putrefies it. The heart is then compared to an outhouse; the advice of that heart is malodorous. Rabbi Chaim Vital thus writes that the reason the Arizal worked himself into a sweat when he studied was in order to break the illusory powers of the evil inclination that envelop the heart. We know that excess waste products pollute one's system and we know that sweating is one way of purifying the body of this waste. The 613 commandments of the Torah are called the "613 precepts of advice". This type of advice also brings harmony to the heart, clearing it of division.

Source: "Anatomy of the Soul" by Chaim Kramer

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rabbi Mizrachi Mentions Nibiru

At approx 33:15 on this video, Rabbi Mizrachi mentions Nibiru, and goes on to speak about Aliyah to Israel before Moshiach. The full shiur is a ''Unique Explanation Of Parshat Mishpatim: The Secrets Of The Verses Based On The Zohar – Kabbalah.''

A note to commenters:  On the subject of Aliyah, please do not post your ''opinion'' as this is not helpful and just confuses the issue.    Rabbi Mizrachi is quoting Torah sources. If you can provide other Torah sources that differ from his, please post them, otherwise try to refrain from telling us your personal opinion.


''It Wasn't A Dream''

Have you ever had a dream of a Rebbe? If you have, you would not forget it. In this video Rabbi H. Greenberg shares a powerful true story of the same dream that two family members received at the same time.  It wasn't a dream, and there's a powerful message for all of us at the end of the video.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Hasidic 'Royal' wedding links two dynasties

Incredible photos by Gil Cohen-Magen

This may appear a bit strange to some readers but here are some amazing photos from the recent wedding  in B'nei Brak of the Sassov Hasidic dynasty head's youngest son marrying the Kretshnif dynasty head's granddaughter; the traditional 'mitzvah tantz' dance lasted all night. See: Haá

Secrets of the Hebrew Letters and Vowels

HaRav Dovber Pinson 

''The Power of the Hebrew Letters and Sounds  - The Path of the Baal Shem Tov in Prayer''
Parts 1 and 2

This lecture by Rav Pinson reveals how the Letters/ Sounds are the building blocks of Creation and how we too can create by using them.

Part One:

Part Two:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

`Mishpatim’ – Judaism Abhors Child Abuse

by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz 
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

Just after the giving of the Law at Sinai, the Torah presents us with an assortment of laws, some criminal, some civil and some purely religious.

The civil laws in our Torah portion this week, Mishpatim, regulate how we act with one another. They must have been of immediate, practical use, even in the desert; they dealt with slavery, mayhem, and stealing, among other sins. Even more basic are the foundational principals of justice – some explicit and some implicit, but clear in their meaning. The Torah is clear about equality. No one is above the law. Individuals of all stations in life and society must be treated equally. It does not matter if they are of high rank or not. It is of no concern whether they are men, women or small children: the law is equal to all of them.

These laws are as relevant today as they were in ancient times. Mishpatim makes clear, for example, that Judaism abhors the abuse of children.

As the Torah well understands, child molestation is an ancient vice. It has become much more widely discussed because of several recent scandals, mostly in religious institutions.

There are some objective reasons why such things happen quite often in religious institutions. Children are taught and trained to be obedient and to accept their elders as authorities – which makes it so much more difficult for them to resist abuse or to report it. Unfortunately there is no sex education in some of the schools; nor is the subject discussed in some homes. So when something like this happens, it takes time for a child to understand it and even more than that – to talk about it.

Child molestation almost always causes enormous, multi-level damage to the victim's soul: it may make the victim unable to form healthy relationships. They may lose trust in people, because the molesters are often those who were supposed to be their caretakers and protectors.

It should also be stressed over and over again that this crime of child molestation is not just a civil offense: it is also a very severe religious crime. Under Jewish law, it may even deserve capital punishment. Offenders may also be liable for the most severe punishment of karet (untimely death by the hands of the Almighty).

It is important to say all that because there is a tendency to cover up such incidents, especially in institutions, and sometimes even to protect the perpetrators. Partly this is so because those in charge are often more in touch with the molester – who may be a colleague or a friend – than with the children. This is especially the case since children hardly ever express their hurt. And, of course, institutions do not want their reputations to be harmed.

The first and foremost duty of any educational institution, and the prime responsibility of its heads and leaders, is to be rid of anyone who causes such great harm. Good reputation or personal friendships must by no means stand in the way of investigation and clean-up.

We must make sure that such a person will never again be in a position to repeat such offenses. It is therefore not enough to fire the perpetrator from his (or her) work place: it is both the organization’s and society’s duty to make sure that the crimes are known and punished.

As Mishpatim reminds us, no one is above the law. Child molestation is not a local problem; seemingly, it has been with us for millennia. Our duty is to diminish, even eradicate, this evil as much as humanly possible.

Rabbi Steinsaltz, who lives in Jerusalem, is a teacher, philosopher and author who has translated the Talmud into Hebrew and English.

Originally published at The Jewish Week

Tzedakah: A Loan to Hashem

A Teaching of the Maggid of Dubno

“When you lend money to My people, to the poor person who is with you, do not act towards him as a creditor” [Mishpatim  22:24].

The Midrash explains this verse by citing another: “One who is gracious to the poor has lent to Hashem,  and He will pay him his reward” [Proverbs 19:17].

How can it be said that one has lent to the Master of the universe? The Maggid of Dubno offers a parable in order to understand this.

One day Shimon needed some money. His friend Reuven offered to lend it to him on condition that Shimon finds two guarantors in case he couldn’t pay back at the agreed-upon date.

Shimon found the first guarantor, his friend Aryeh, who was financially well-off. His second guarantor, Benjamin, was hardly better off than Shimon himself.

Shimon happily returned to Reuven with the papers signed by both guarantors, and as agreed upon, Reuven lent Shimon the money and put the contract away for safekeeping.

Shimon traveled to a great trade fair in the market district of the capital. Hashem was with him and his earnings increased. Too occupied to even properly deal with his present business, Shimon forgot the due date set for paying back his loan.

The repayment period having passed, Reuven felt quite embarrassed. He held Shimon’s contract in his hand, but there were no signs of Shimon himself.

Reuven asked his assistant to find Shimon. He left to search for him but wasn’t successful because Shimon had left the city not long after having received Reuven’s money. Furthermore, no one knew where he was or when he would return.

After hearing this, Reuven ordered his assistant to approach the guarantors in order to reclaim his money. Without difficulty the assistant found the address of Aryeh, who lived in a beautiful home and was well known in the city. He then went in search of Benjamin, and was told that he lived in a tiny lane in the poor section of town. Arriving there, the assistance saw a passer-by wearing a patched-up coat and asked him if he knew someone by the name of Benjamin.

“Benjamin,” he slowly repeated. “Yes, that’s me. How may I help you?”

“You have a friend by the name of Shimon? He disappeared after having borrowed some money….”

The assistant couldn’t continue. He felt too embarrassed. How could he recover money from a man that he wasn’t even sure could feed himself on that day?

He decided to approach the first guarantor, Aryeh. The assistant went to his home and presented him with the signed contract. Aryeh then reimbursed the entire sum.

Reuven was delighted that Aryeh paid the total amount of the loan and that there was no need to collect anything from Benjamin. Thus Reuven would cause Benjamin neither shame nor suffering to admit that he owned nothing and couldn’t pay his portion of the loan.

Among gentiles, it is normal to lend money with interest in order to make even more of it.

Lehavdil, we act differently in Klal Israel, for the Torah forbids us to take interest. Everything happens as if Klal Israel was in possession of a sum of money, a sum made available to everyone in need and regularly supplied with cash infusions by those who have great amounts of money.

It’s a great mitzvah to lend money without interest.

We are also taught that we shouldn’t humiliate those who owe money but have none with which to pay back. No pressure should be exerted on the poor, and no attempt should be made to remind them of their debt. A person who lends money to another is even advised to avoid meeting the debtor, for the latter might see him and get scared, thinking that he has come to reclaim what the poor person owes, and so the latter will have to admit to the fact that it’s impossible for him to pay it back.

As was stated earlier, in the book of Proverbs it is written, “One who is gracious to the poor has lent to Hashem, and He will pay him his reward.”

In other words, the poor individual receives the tzeddakah as a gift, but for Hashem it is a loan that He will pay back a hundred fold. Also, when a person can’t pay back his debt, the example of Reuven in the parable should be followed. Let us appeal to the more fortunate one, to Aryeh; let us address Him Who possesses all the wealth in the world, Who blesses all our actions that enable us to perform His mitzvot.

Source: Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Zika Virus - Torah Codes

I received this video from Rabbi Glazerson, where he speaks about ''purity of life'' and Torah being a protection against the Zika virus, which he says is an agent of the Sa-ma-el [Angel of Destruction and Poison].    And then I read this:   Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Found in Texas

Nibiru - Star of Moshiach?

Update to this post:  Please see comments for information regarding the Kochav Yaakov - Star of Moshiach, as written in the Zohar.  Maybe this is Nibiru.

Have you been reading Devash's posts about Nibiru?  I am fascinated by the whole thing, and have been looking at video sightings of it for quite a few weeks now.  This video below was just posted on You Tube and clearly shows Nibiru next to the sun.   I have no predictions or thoughts regarding its close encounter with Earth in the near future, but would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Also see: Nibiru - Torah Codes - Star of Yaakov

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Foundations of True Emunah That Can Save Us In The End of Days

A new shiur from Rabbi Yaron Reuven


עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן "An eye for an eye" [Mishpatim 21:24]

The term "eye for an eye" explain Chazal [Bava Kamma 84a] is not meant to be taken literally - one who causes another the loss of an eye is not punished by having to lose his own eye.  Rather, it means that the responsible party must pay the monetary value of an eye.

Chazal's interpretation of this halachah, said the Vilna Gaon, is alluded to in the words of the verse.  Why does the verse state "Ayin tachas ayin" - which literally means "an eye beneath an eye" - and not "Ayin be'ad ayin" - which means "eye for an eye"?

The Torah, explained the Gaon, is hinting to us that in order to discover the true meaning of the verse, we must look at what is "beneath" the ayin, that is the letters that follow the word "ayin" עין:

The letter ayin ע is followed by the letter pei פ
The letter yud י is followed by the letter kaf כּ
The letter nun is ן followed by the letter samech ס
These letters form the word keseph - כּסףmoney !

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Monday, February 1, 2016