Friday, August 30, 2019

Quantum Mechanics and Torah



by Yosef Sebag, physicist, electrical engineer


From time immemorial, the universe appeared to be governed by laws which are unintelligent, blind, and mechanical.

All that was about to change drastically with the advent of quantum mechanics...

As we will see, perhaps the most tangible lessons about G-d ever revealed since the 10 plagues are being revealed from quantum mechanics.

Fasten your seatbelts and let us peer into the fascinating realm of quantum mechanics. In my research on this, I have tried to sift through the truth from the nonsense. There is, unfortunately, a plethora of misinformation by new-agers, mystics, pseudo-scientists, charlatans, etc. etc.

To continue reading click here

Monday, August 26, 2019

Annulling the Bad Days

Art Boris Shapiro


by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

 "See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse" [Re'eh 11:26]

The word "hayom (today)" appears superfluous. Could the verse not just say, "See, I present before you a blessing and a curse"?

Rabbeinu Yosef Chaim of Bavel zya"a, in his sefer 'Ben Ish Chai', explains:

Hashem gave Am Yisrael five festival days: Rosh Hashana, the first day of Succot, Shemini Atzeret, the first day of Pesach and the festival of Shavuot.

Were Yisrael to observe these five festival days according to the law, they would be saved from the five bad days which are: The fast of Gedalya, the Tenth of Tevet, the Seventeenth of Tammuz, Tisha B'Av and the Tenth of Av (as it is known, the majority of the Beit Hamikdash was burnt on the tenth of Av).

This is the meaning of the verse: "See, I present before you today [הַיּ֑וֹם] refers to the five days, (the letter 'ה' has the numerical value of five). There are five days that are a blessing and a curse, and if you are careful with the five festival days which allude to blessing, then you will be protected from the five 'bad' days which symbolize curse.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Not the Messiah


Imagine if someone told him that the gematria of his name equals the same as Moshiach ben David...
I am so amused by all this Messiah talk from the President..... yes he's joking.... and he's not.... but anyway I'm finding it all very entertaining.



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Trait of Arrogance

וְלֹא תָבִיא תוֹעֵבָה אֶל בֵּיתֶךָ 
Nor should you bring an abomination into your house [Eikev 7:26]


The verse teaches us, noted R' Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, just how despicable the trait of arrogance truly is.  It is so abhorred that one is forbidden to even allow a haughty individual to enter his home.

We learn this from a verse in Mishlei: ''Every haughty heart is the abomination of Hashem'' [Mishlei 16:5]

We see, therefore, that a haughty individual is referred to as an ''abomination'', about which our verse explicitly states:  "And you must not bring an abomination into your home''.

Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Isaiah 53: The Soul of the Mashiach Who Bears Sin


Rabbi Aaron David Poston


Why Hasn’t Mashiach Come?




The three defence mechanisms that prevent Mashiach from coming and how to fix them.

by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

Above and beyond all of our mundane worries and anxiety, one all-encompassing anxiety hovers in the air: Why hasn’t Mashiach come? Feeling incapable of dealing with this mega-worry, most people try to avoid it.

Modern psychology describes three main defence mechanisms that we often employ in an attempt to avoid dealing with the cause of our worries or anxiety. Those three mechanisms are denial, projection and repression. These three mechanisms parallel the lower three worlds: Creation, Formation and Action, respectively.

As a defence mechanism, denial blemishes our world of Creation – the world of our intellect. It is defined as an unwillingness to accept reality as it is. Projection blemishes the dimension of Formation in the psyche—the realm of our emotions. Projection comes as a response to being unable to handle our own negative emotions (including guilt and shame) causing us (again, in defence of our own psyche) to project them on another person. When we project, we actually blame someone else for harboring the emotions that we ourselves feel but are incapable of handling. Repression blemishes our world of Action—the realm of our habits and natural tendencies. Repression defends our psyche by unwittingly pushing our awareness of our negative traits and proclivities into our unconscious.

The negative anxiety we feel regarding the Mashiach and the redemption is the result of our knowledge that, as the sages say, we can only blame ourselves for their not having come yet. Since we cannot handle this truth, which unquestionably casts us in a negative light, we enter denial regarding our actual abilities and responsibility, and/or we project the blame elsewhere—on other people, on other nations, sometimes on God Himself, and/or we repress our guilt.

But, just as our psyches are naturally eager to free us of negative anxiety, we can interject, and consciously decide to heal the anxiety by using it in a positive manner. In the end, anxiety is an expression of psychological energy, and instead of trying to get rid of this energy, we can utilize it in positive ways.

To do this we turn to the highest world, the World of Emanation, which is Above the three lower worlds. While the three lower worlds, Creation, Formation, and Action all inculcate a degree of detachment and feeling of separation from God, thereby allowing a certain measure of evil to take hold of them, the world of Emanation is characterized by its perfect oneness with the Divine. We all possess some glimmer or impression from the World of Emanation in our psyche. The way to transform our negative psychical energy from anxiety to a sense of positive urgency is to allow that glimmer of Emanation to affect our consciousness.

Since Emanation is perfectly one with God, we sometimes call this allowing God’s light and great compassion to shine down on us. In the words of the Psalms, “Send forth Your light and Your truth; they will lead me; they will bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling-place” (Psalms 43:3). The light (splendor) and truth of the world of Emanation descends into the three lower worlds in order to release them from the evil that has taken hold there. This transformative and illuminating energy of the World of Emanation is concentrated and captured in the Torah. So, now we turn to the Torah and to the foundational psychological verse that encapsulates the ability to face up to reality (reversing denial), to accept our negative feelings of shame (reversing projection), and to confess our sins (reversing repression).

This foundational verse reads (Proverbs 12:25; this verse is studied in length in our book, Transforming Darkness into Light), “If there be anxiety in a man’s heart let him quash it, and a good word will turn it into joy” (דְּאָגָה בְלֶב אִישׁ יַשְׁחֶנָּה וְדָבָר טוֹב יְשַׂמְּחֶנָּה). The phrase, “let him quash it” is actually only the most basic meaning of the verb that describes what we are to do with anxiety. The sages recorded two other, ancillary meanings of this verb: “Let him articulate it,” and “Let him ignore it.” These three meanings of the verb parallel three rectified alternatives for the three defense mechanisms mentioned above.

The literal meaning, “If there be anxiety in a man’s heart, let him quash it,” empowers us to free ourselves from intellectually denying the reality that without the redemption, reality is broken and unbearable. The literal interpretation combats our inability to admit this truth to ourselves. When we can face the truth, we have freed our anxiety at the level of our intellect and the world of Creation and we can truly experience the immediate need for redemption.

The sages’ explanation, “Let him articulate it,” refers to the manner in which projection can be rectified. Instead of projecting our negative feelings on another person, the sages recommend sharing our negative emotions with a caring friend or therapist, who will take part of the burden of the anxiety off our shoulders. The Lubavitcher Rebbe advised that those who are genuinely willing to shoulder the responsibility for bringing Mashiach would do well to sit together with like-minded individuals and share their concerns. The act of sharing our feelings with another person who empathizes with us paves the way to transforming the energy invested in our concern into an operative plan of action to do what we can in order to change the world and prepare it for the coming of Mashiach.

The third interpretation offered by the sages is, “Let him ignore it,” promotes a positive form of repression, which psychologists call, “secondary repression.” Repression is considered an unconscious response that removes (in this case) our misconduct and sins from our consciousness, pushing it into our subconscious, where it wreaks havoc on our mental well-being and burdens our actions with unresolved tensions. Secondary repression is a positive form of repression because it is affected with full awareness. The sages refer to this as, diversion (הַסָּחַת דַּעַת), i.e., consciously removing a worry from our awareness. In fact, there is a well-known statement that (based on Sanhedrin 97a), “Mashiach can only come out of diversion” (אֵין בֶּן דָּוִד בָּא אֶלָּא בְּהֶסַּח דַּעַת). Focusing on other things facilitates diversion. The Lubavitcher Rebbe would often recommend this strategy.

The sages say that, “The Torah’s secrets are only granted to one whose heart is burdened with worry” (based on Chagigah 13a). This statement captures the essence of positive “anxiety in a man’s heart” (דְּאָגָה בְלֶב אִישׁ) whose numerical value, 358, is exactly the same as “Mashiach” (מָשִׁיחַ), suggesting that the most positive anxiety to have is one related to bringing Mashiach.

The ability to positively deal with a burden of guilt allows us to take responsibility for the fact that Mashiach has not yet come and the Temple is not yet built, and to strive for a positive rectification of the evil in the three worlds via the following three ‘routes’ to redemption:

The Mashiach said to the Ba’al Shem Tov that he would come, “When your wellsprings burst forth.” Study and dissemination of the inner dimension of the Torah create a true perception of reality, which rectifies the illusions-denial of the world of Creation.

The rectification of baseless hatred, which was the reason for the destruction of the second Temple, is accomplished through unconditional love – the rectification of the emotions of the world of Formation (while dealing with projection, in which my baseless hatred gives rise to imagination that the other person is actually the one who hates me).

“Israel will only be redeemed through return to God (teshuvah).” This is referring to basic teshuva, recognizing my mistakes, regretting and confessing them. This is the rectification of the world of Action – “the main thing is deed,” by abandoning the sin and progressing on the proper path.

By properly rectifying our negative anxiety and applying these three routes to Mashiach to leverage our positive anxiety, we can bring Mashiach closer every day.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The 15th of Av: Love and Re-birth

L'illui nishmat Mordechai ben Menachem


The Jewish mini-holiday of Tu B’Av

The 15th of Av is undoubtedly a most mysterious day. A search of the Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law] reveals no observances or customs for this date, except for the instruction that the tachanun [confession of sins] and similar portions should be omitted from the daily prayers [as is the case with all festive dates], and that one should increase one’s study of Torah, since the nights are begining to grow longer, and “the night was created for study.” And the Talmud tells us that many years ago the “daughters of Jerusalem would go dance in the vineyards” on the 15th of Av, and “whoever did not have a wife would go there” to find himself a bride.

And the Talmud considers this the greatest festival of the year, with Yom Kippur (!) a close second!

Indeed, the 15th of Av cannot but be a mystery. As the “full moon” of the tragic month of Av, it is the festival of the future redemption, and thus a day whose essence, by definition, is unknowable to our unredeemed selves.

Yet the unknowable is also ours to seek and explore.

Source and more  click here

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Pregnant Spoon

"You must not add to the word that I command you, nor subtract from it, so as to safeguard the commandments of Hashem" [Va'etchanan 4:2]

The Dubno Maggid explained this verse by way of a parable:

An individual went to his neighbor and asked to borrow a spoon. The next day, he returned the spoon he had borrowed together with another small spoon.

"Why are you giving me two spoons?" asked his neighbor. "I only loaned you one."

"That is correct" responded his friend. "But you see, the spoon which you had loaned me was pregnant - and it gave birth."

The neighbor realized that his friend's mind had become unstable, but he nonetheless accepted the two spoons without comment.

Several days later, the friend returned and asked to borrow a cup. The neighbor lent him the cup and, surely enough, the friend gave back not one but two cups, claiming that the cup had given birth to a smaller version. The neighbor silently accepted the two cups.

Several days passed, and the neighbor was once again approached by his friend. The time, he requested to borrow a pair of silver candlesticks. The fool, thought the neighbor, will surely give me back four candlesticks. I will happily loan them to him.

Several days later, when the neighbor saw that his candlesticks had not been returned, he complained to his friend "Where are my silver candlesticks? Why have you not returned them?"

"I am sorry" responded the friend, "but your candlesticks have passed away."

"Passed away?" yelled the neighbor, "who has ever heard of candlesticks passing away?"

"My dear sir" responded the friend, "who has ever heard of a spoon or a cup that gave birth? Yet when I gave you two spoons, you took them without saying a word. Now if a spoon can give birth, then a candlestick can most certainly pass away."

With this, we can understand the aforementioned verse, concluded the Dubno Maggid. An individual must perform Hashem's mitzvos with utmost precision, for if he begins to add to the mitzvos, he will eventually come to subtract from them.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Monday, August 12, 2019

515

Artist Unknown


by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

''I implored Hashem'' [Va'etchanan 3:23]

The Midrash states that Moshe offered 515 prayers to Hashem in order to be allowed to enter the Land of Israel.  This is alluded to in the word ''Va'etchanan'' whose numerical value is 515.

Not only does the word ''Va'etchanan'' equal 515, noted the Chasam Sofer [R' Moshe Sofer], but so does the word ''tefillah'' [prayer].

Furthermore, if we add 26 - the numerical value of the ineffable Name of Hashem [yud, hei, vav, hei] to the number 515, we will get 541 - the numerical value of the word Yisrael.

Also see: What Happens to Unanswered Prayers

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Words from the Heart



"These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Israel" [Devarim1:1]

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto offers the following explanation:

The word 'אלה' (these are), has the same numerical value (adding one for the actual word) as 'הלב' (the heart). This implies that Moshe Rabbeinu a"h guided the Bnei Yisrael in the way of Torah and mitzot and led them with words of rebuke and mussar, yet all his words flowed from a warm and loving heart. He behaved like a merciful father who guides his only son with great love. Chazal tell us that "Words that flow from the heart enter the heart". Since this was his approach, the Bnei Yisrael listened to his words and took them to heart.

The Gaon Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna zt"l told one of the distinguished melamdim of Bnei Brak: "One who sincerely loves his students, is promised that they will achieve the ultimate success." For words that flow from a pure and loving heart will eventually enter the heart.

---------------------------------

Moses began reciting the book of Deuteronomy on the first day of the month of Shvat and according to tradition he died on the seventh of Adar. Therefore, he transmitted the entire book to the children of Israel in just thirty seven days. 

Alluding to the fact that these words come straight from Moses’ heart, the numerical value of the Hebrew phrase “the heart” (halev) is thirty-seven. 

 As Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh has noted, permuting the letters of “halev” may produce the following idiom: “hevel halev lahav,” which means “the vapor of the heart is enflamed.” When the heart is enflamed and inspired, the “vapor” or energy it produces fulfill the dictum that “words that emanate from the heart – enter the heart.” We are taught that the Torah was given in fire, as Mount Sinai was on fire “until the heart of heaven” [Devarim 4:11]. 

[Ohr Chadash]

So too, when we speak words of Torah they should reflect this level of passionate intensity, which in turn enters the hearts of those listening and awakens their souls.



Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Holy Ari: Speaking to Souls


Today, 5 Av, is the yarzheit of the Arizal.  When I decided to blog this post, I did not know that. It seems that the Ari was talking to me and letting me know....


by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh 

In his book, Shivchei Ha’Ari, the Arizal’s distinguished student, Rabbi Chaim Vital, relates that the Ari knew all the wisdom in the world. The Zohar tells us that in the year 600 of the sixth millennium (the year 5600, approximately 170 years ago) the lower depths of wisdom (science) will be revealed in preparation for the final redemption, and the storehouses of the wisdom of the Torah will be opened from above. The Arizal knew not only all the wisdom of the physical world, but also what is called ‘spiritual knowledge’ – the language of the birds, the palm trees and more.

The Arizal knew how to communicate with everything that exists. Rabbi Chaim Vital related that he saw with his own eyes that the Arizal even communicated with inanimate objects, such as stones. When he would see the flame of a candle, he could communicate with it, as well, for a flame has its own story to tell. This is a special intention for a woman to have when she lights Shabbat candles – to listen to what the flame is telling her. This is also true of the Chanukah candles. On Chanukah, we light 36 candles, parallel to the 36 tzaddikim of the generation. For those who have that special sense, each candle tells the story of one of those tzaddikim. The candles speak.

Rabbi Chaim Vital also related that when someone would come to the holy Ari for a soul-rectification, the Ari, who knew “the wisdom of the face”, particularly the wisdom of the forehead, would look at the person’s forehead and would see – written in letters – everything that had happened to that person. He would see all the positive deeds that he had performed, all the negative things he had done and would then tell him how to rectify his soul.

Further in his book, Rabbi Chaim Vital writes that the holy Ari knew even more than the above. Sometimes, there are very subtle things that are impossible to see or read on a person’s forehead. The Arizal would simply speak with the soul of the person who came to him. He would tell him that although you cannot hear me, I am now speaking with your soul and I hear everything. Your soul is telling me everything. Everything that happened to it in this life and in previous incarnations. Rabbi Vital wrote that the Arizal’s ability to give people the answers they sought was mainly through his conversations with their souls.

This may seem irrelevant to us, something that is above and beyond our own abilities. But it is specifically from this point that we can attempt to learn from the holy Ari. How can we speak to someone’s soul?

First, we must be filled with love for the person. This creates a channel through which to enter his soul. This is similar to what is written about Moses, who was “a lover of Israel,” and who was able to discern the unique melody of each and every person. Rabbi Chaim Vital writes about the holy Ari – and apparently that is what he understood from the Ari himself – that he was the Moses of his generation. With his love of Israel he heard the unique melody of each soul and was able to speak with them.

Of all the secrets that the Arizal revealed, the most important secret is called “the secret of contraction.” When God was about to create the world, there was simple, infinite light. Everything was light. God contracted that light in order to make room for the worlds to exist. This is the “secret of contraction” – contraction of the light so that there will be room for something else.

In the soul, the secret of contraction means that in order to make room for someone else in my world, I have to set my own consciousness of myself aside. If I can remove myself from the picture, I can give the other person space and begin to communicate with his soul.

This is also the secret of the Arizal’s unparalleled efforts at Torah learning, in the merit of which he attained his lofty heights. Countless Torah giants expended tremendous effort in their Torah learning. What made the Arizal unique was his effort to completely remove himself from the picture, to completely contract his self-consciousness, in order to make room for the revelation of the soul of the Torah, to speak with it and to learn from it. This is also how Moses merited that the “Shechinah would speak from his throat,” by completely nullifying himself, as he says about himself and Aaron, “And we are naught.” We can also connect this to another point of praise for the Arizal, whose day of passing always comes out on the week of the Torah portion of Devarim: “And these are the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel.” The book of Deuteronomy is the book of the Torah in which the “Shechinah speaks from his (Moses’) throat.”

From the secret of contraction we can learn that if we love someone and contract ourselves – not thinking about ourselves and our agendas, as if we are not here – then suddenly, we can see the soul of the other and we can speak with it directly. This is the unique wisdom of the Arizal – to speak with souls, and it is deeply connected to the main, deep secret that he revealed, the secret of contraction. When I contract myself in order to make room for someone else, all of my attention is focused on him, with love. When all of my attention is focused on him, his soul manifests and I can communicate with it.

This communication with the soul of someone else is the delights for which God created the world. The ultimate purpose of creation is to “make a dwelling place for God in the lower worlds. God is certainly here, sees our souls and communicates with each and every one of us. We must walk in His ways and learn how to be here without feeling ourselves here, so that our feelings of self-importance will not be figuratively seen, because they no longer exist. This is the secret of contraction, the secret of being, “able to see and not be seen” (רואה ואינו נראה), the secret of “Israel” (ישראל); both have the same numerical value of 541.) When this is the case, we see only the other and can speak to his soul.

This point brings us from the Arizal to the Ba’al Shem Tov and further, to the Alter Rebbe. It teaches us that from the vast, eternal spiritual knowledge of the Arizal, we reach the foundation of the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov: Love of Israel and seeing God’s Divine Providence in our lives. From this point, we can delve even deeper to understand that in essence, everything is God. When we look at the world from this perspective, of Higher Knowledge, we can perceive that everything is good. This is the ultimate point of the teachings of the Alter Rebbe, for which he sacrificed his life, so that even lowly souls would have some hint of understanding of this Higher Knowledge.

May we all merit to walk in the Arizal’s path and learn from him. “And your nation are all tzaddikim” All of us can learn from the tzaddikim. Even speaking with souls is relevant to every person, when we follow in the footsteps of the tzaddikim and adopt the Arizal’s secret of contraction.

Source: Inner

Monday, August 5, 2019

Tisha B'Av: Tragedy or Consolation


Rabbi Mendel Kessin - new shiur


The Blue



The Blue Below Reflects the Blue Above.

What is the Blue Above? 

Our sages tell us it is the sapphire of G-d’s Throne of Glory, which represents purity and sanctity - thus below too there is purity and sanctity in all of His works!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Why Does G-d Need Angels?



by Rabbi Aron Moss

Why does G-d need angels? Can't He do things himself? And can we pray to them?

Answer:

I'll answer you with a metaphor. The metaphor is a metaphor about a metaphor.

A preschool teacher wants to teach her little students the shape of planet earth. So she tells them, "The earth is spherical." They don't know what she is talking about. So she says, "The earth is round." They return blank stares. So she takes out a bouncy ball from the toy box and says, "The earth is a big ball." Now they get it.

You can't communicate an abstract concept to young students using abstract terms. You need to express the idea in terms that the students will relate to. The best way is with a metaphor, a parable, an illustration of the concept in more tangible and relatable ways. 'Spherical' or even 'round' means nothing to a toddler. But he knows exactly what a ball is.

That's the power of a metaphor. It conveys a concept that would otherwise be beyond the mind of the listener in a way that is totally relatable to them. And by doing so, an abstract idea becomes concrete and clear.

The metaphor has to have two components. It has to accurately depict the subject being taught by the teacher, but in language and imagery that can be understood by the student. The ball is round, just like earth, but it is readily found in a toy box, just like the kids.

An angel is like a metaphor.

G-d is infinite. We are finite. Our limited world can not handle infinity. So G-d created a medium through which His light can reach us. The angels serve this purpose. They are on the one hand spiritual beings, so they are able to handle divine light, but at the same time they are limited and finite beings, so they can convey the divine light down into this world.

Angels play a vital role. But they have no power of their own. They are just the metaphors delivering the message. Praying to them would be a waste of time. Don't mistake the metaphor for the message. If that kid thinks that his bouncy ball is actually a planet, he has missed the point, and if you think an angel has power over you, you have too. Only G-d can answer our prayers. Angels are just bouncy balls. Metaphorically speaking.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Nega-tivity to Oneg-tivity





Text by Joe

We are in the period known as Bein HaMetzarim – Between the Straits, the three week period between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha b’Av. In Zechariah chapter 8, the prophet categorically states that the fasts of mourning of the 4th, 5th, 7th and 10th months will be transformed into joyful rejoicing. It is interesting that if we add 4+5+7+10, the sum total is 26, the Name of HaShem.

However, I found great solace in pondering that Geulah – Redemption has already happened………it is just that we have not arrived there in time and space………but occurred, it certainly has. G-d knows the end before the beginning or in other words, He has the cure prepared before the illness.

What do you see ….. The destruction and ruins of temples, the ashes of crematoria, the dust of wilderness or do you see the vibrant light of the rebuilt Beit haMikdash, and the industrious labour of love of G-d fearing Yehudim reclaiming the ancient sites and barren sands? We must see with clarity. The blind negativity of the left eye must be transformed by the light of the right eye. And it has………just open the eyes.

Jewish Mysticism teaches that different Hebrew words that contain the same letters, but in a different order, are intrinsically related to each other.

Rabbi Yehonatan Eyebeschutz zt”l, in his famous work Yaarot Devash, explains that Lashon HaKodesh (lit. the “Holy Tongue” or Biblical Hebrew) reflects a basic aspect of life: Just as the situation of an individual or society can change from good to bad, so too the meanings of the Hebrew letters and words can change from positive to negative ones (through changes in the letter sequence).

In Vayikra – Leviticus 13 v 1-46, the Torah discusses the laws of a person whose skin is afflicted with נגע – nega, a Hebrew word meaning “plague” or “affliction”. The same letters, in different order, spell ענג – oneg, which means “pleasure” or “delight” – the very opposite of nega.

Chassidut explains that the only difference between the words oneg and nega is the placement of the Hebrew letter ע- ayin (which literally means “eye” – how one views the world). Whether a person will experience oneg and pleasure in life or only nega and “plagues” all depends on his perspective – where one chooses to place one’s ayin – does one want to see all the good that there is or just focus on what one sees that’s bad ?

How do we learn from the spiritual afflictions of tzara’at and nega as written in the Torah?.

These afflictions appeared on the skin of a person. In Hebrew, the word “skin,” ohr, is written with an ayin עור. If the ayin is substituted by an aleph, the rendered word is אור “light.” These two words are pronounced almost identically. In other words, the “skin” of the world, the way the world looks from the outside, is that it seems as though things just run by themselves devoid of an Unseen Hand. The “skin” of the world obstructs the Light. Nature is like a skin that obstructs the perception that everything in the world is miraculous, that everything is a manifestation of the Light.

If you take the spiritual affliction that manifests itself in the skin that is called nega and re-arrange the letters, you can form the word oneg, meaning, “pleasure.” By rearranging our view of the world, we can turn nega into the oneg of experiencing the Light. Similarly, if you rearrange the letters of tzara’at, you can form the word Atzeret, another name for Yom Tov, the holy festivals of the Jewish People, which afford yet another unique glimpse of the Light.

Every week, we are afforded an opportunity to make the “skin of the world” transparent, to see beyond to that Light. This opportunity is called Shabbat. G-d called Shabbat “pleasure.”

יא וְנָחֲךָ יְהוָה, תָּמִיד, וְהִשְׂבִּיעַ בְּצַחְצָחוֹת נַפְשֶׁךָ, וְעַצְמֹתֶיךָ יַחֲלִיץ; וְהָיִיתָ, כְּגַן רָוֶה, וּכְמוֹצָא מַיִם, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יְכַזְּבוּ מֵימָיו. 11 And the LORD will guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make strong thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

יב וּבָנוּ מִמְּךָ חָרְבוֹת עוֹלָם, מוֹסְדֵי דוֹר-וָדוֹר תְּקוֹמֵם; וְקֹרָא לְךָ גֹּדֵר פֶּרֶץ, מְשֹׁבֵב נְתִיבוֹת לָשָׁבֶת. 12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places, thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.

יג אִם-תָּשִׁיב מִשַּׁבָּת רַגְלֶךָ, עֲשׂוֹת חֲפָצֶךָ בְּיוֹם קָדְשִׁי; וְקָרָאתָ לַשַּׁבָּת עֹנֶג, לִקְדוֹשׁ יְהוָה מְכֻבָּד, וְכִבַּדְתּוֹ מֵעֲשׂוֹת דְּרָכֶיךָ, מִמְּצוֹא חֶפְצְךָ וְדַבֵּר דָּבָר. 13 If thou turn away thy foot because of the sabbath, from pursuing thy business on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, and the holy of the LORD honourable; and shalt honour it, not doing thy wonted ways, nor pursuing thy business, nor speaking thereof;

יד אָז, תִּתְעַנַּג עַל-יְהוָה, וְהִרְכַּבְתִּיךָ, עַל-במותי (בָּמֳתֵי) אָרֶץ; וְהַאֲכַלְתִּיךָ, נַחֲלַת יַעֲקֹב אָבִיךָ–כִּי פִּי יְהוָה, דִּבֵּר. {פ} 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD, and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and I will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 58 v 11-14

The real pleasure of Shabbat is the opportunity to re-orient our world-view, to see the Light. The Light of Shabbat is the Messianic Age with the rebuilt Temple in Yerushalayim enveloped in the glory cloud of Shechinah drawing down the well springs of the Etz Chaim – The Tree of Life and Ohr haGanuz- the hidden Light of creation.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Rabbi Anava, Rabbi Mizrachi and Rabbi Reuven


I put them in alphabetical order.... they are all together in New York giving a joint shiur entitled "A Night to Remember''.  I think Moshiach must be close...