Chagim and Moadim

Third Pirkei Avot Post During Counting of The Omer

The first one is – Without government, people would swallow each other alive. Therefore, pray for them.  The idea here is that we have to realize that, even though we may not agree with the government, unless it’s a horrible, deathly, dangerous dictatorship, we should pray that it has stability, so that people don’t swallow each other alive, only living according to the law of the jungle.

The next idea has to do with when we are sitting around the table – There we should talk words of Torah. Talking words of Torah invites in G-d’s presence, and not talking words of Torah invites in the opposite while we are eating.

Unless we are eating forbidden things, eating is sort of a neutral activity, and while we’re eating we have the ability to either raise up or draw down. So, we see the opportunity to take something as mundane and commonplace as eating, which is something everyone does, and infuse it with Torah learning, which draws G-d into the experience.

The next one is a big one – A person who takes upon themselves the burden of Torah will be absolved from the burden of taxes, and also the burden of going to work. These things are true only to the extent that a person takes on the burden of Torah.

Let’s say a person takes on a 7% burden of Torah, on a sliding scale, then his other burdens are lessened by that amount. We are talking about a spiritual principal here, something that’s going to happen by itself. We’re not talking about Jewish legislation, because that is provided for also when all the conditions of society and the legal system are in place. But we’re not really talking about that.

We’re talking about what’s going to happen when a person takes upon himself the same kind of a burden (this is a heavy idea..) he takes upon himself to earn a living. If you would put that much energy, and discipline, dedication and stability into Torah, then you wouldn’t need to put it into the other things.

That’s a very thoughtful one.

The next saying is about a person’s deeds, meaning what they do. If their deeds exceed their wisdom, their deeds will endure. When their wisdom exceeds their deeds, meaning they are just theoretical, those deeds will just fade away. They won’t have endurance.

The next saying is sort of a mind-blowing idea, and I anticipate huge questions on this one –If a person is pleasing to their fellow human, that’s a sign they are pleasing to G-d. And, the opposite is true as well.  We can see some lowdown human beings who might win celebrity or popularity contests, but they appear to be sort of horrible human beings…. How can G-d love them?

That’s the kind of question you should ask. And the kind of answers you should search for may come from deeper questions, such as, “Is this person really pleasing for the right reasons, or not?”

The next one is – A person should receive everybody with happiness. Just be a good person, emanating goodness. That’s how we should deal with people, although it’s not always easy or even possible. But it’s a maxim for life.

The next one is – The way to ensure wisdom is to be quiet. Silence aids wisdom. In other words, not only do you receive wisdom when you’re silent, but the best way you receive wisdom is to be able to hear what others are actually saying. That’s how you get wisdom from other people. And after you’ve heard what they say, you should be silent and let your mind process it as well.

The next one is – A human is beloved because they are created in the image of G-d. We have to understand that there’s an aspect of G-d that’s unfathomable and therefore, unknowable. The aspect of G-d with which G-d has let Himself be known is one which is in sync with human beings in the world. It is a universal image, that of the human being. Because of that image, a human being is holy and beloved.

This explains some Jewish laws, such those regarding the treatment of the dead, which are really for the benefit of the living. Seeing a dead body too long after death desecrates the image of G-d. The human has to be a body with the soul inside it, and that’s the source of the beloved-ness of the image.

The next one is – When there is no Torah, there is no income. And the opposite is also true.  In other words, if a person has no income, Torah is going to be hard to come by as well. A person needs words of Torah to make it happen. If there’s no Torah, when they should be learning Torah, when they should be engaged in that activity, then their lives won’t be blessed with the income to deal with it.

The last one for today talks about the value of time. It basically says, the description of living in this world is like this analogy – The store is open, and we can borrow on credit, but we must pay back what we borrow. When everything is taken into account at the end of our lives, we will see exactly what we owe. The judgment is, in fact, a judgment of truth… the truth of what we owe.

This analogy teaches us that we cannot think we’re entitled to everything we get. This life is not about entitlement.  Some people feel entitled to everything; they want it and they expect to get it.

Our Sages teach us this is not true. This world belongs to G-d, and if you choose to do what you should do, some of the world can belong to you, too. Start by recognizing G-d, and by being a good person, but if not, just remember G-d holds us accountable for whatever we receive, and for our very lives, in general.

It’s all about appreciating every minute of our lives, and every possession we own as precious to us.

Second Pirkei Avot Post During Counting of The Omer

Now I’d like to address the second chapter of Pirkei Avot, The Sayings of Our Fathers. These are some of my favorite sayings, the ones that resonate with me.

The first one is – three things keep a person away from sin: an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and knowing that all your acts are recorded in a book. This was a way one of our Sages said that we need to have visualizations, in order to keep us in line, in order to keep us from doing stuff we don’t want to be doing.

It’s very common to quote this saying at people’s funerals, because it represents fear of G-d, a fear of heaven. It’s like being a video. If we understand that our words and actions are recorded, 24/7, just as though we’re on a video recording, and from my interaction with people who have had near-death experiences and see a “video” of their lives as the time of their passing, we can’t foolishly think we’re getting away with anything. It’s all there, and it’s all clear. We have to be aware of that.

The second thing is that we need to be cautious of the ruling authorities. They only befriend you for their present interests. At first they appear as friends, but in a time of distress for them, they are not likely to stand by as a friend. I think it’s interesting our Sages picked up on this one ‘way, ‘way back when. We tend to think this is a modern, political dilemma we’re experiencing currently, meaning leaders failing to represent the people who voted them in, and deferring instead to their own interests.

Our best response to this behavior is to keep a healthy distance from the ruling authorities, and to take heed if you are in the position of authority. Politics makes for strange bedfellows, as they say, and when you think the other person is on your side, but it’s a question of political power, you’d better look out. So, this wisdom goes ‘way, ‘way back.

The next one is this – make G-d’s will your will, so that G-d will make your will His will. That’s a tricky one.

In other words, if you do what you can, if you study G-d’s will and try to adapt it to yourself, you are likely to wind up doing what G-d wants you to do. That’s the natural effect, the payoff, so to speak. It goes on to say that you should nullify your own will in the face of G-d’s will, which means, as a result, that G-d will nullify the unfavorable will of others toward you. In other words, your will may be done.

In a nut shell, we are talking about connecting up your will with G-d’s will. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan says that when a person fuses his will with G-d’s will, his potential for transforming the world into a heavenly kingdom is unlimited. You become G-d’s right-hand man or woman, and your power to get things done becomes unlimited. That is one way to live a miraculous and above-nature life.

The next one is this – Don’t think that you’re ever through learning. No matter how old you are or how much you know, it’s possible to do something really stupid to mess up your life. For example, Yochanan the High Priest, who lived back in the days of the Holy Temple. He was the High Priest, the holiest man in the land, the one who granted forgiveness in the Holy of Holies once a year, going where no other man was allowed to enter.

But in the 80th year, he lost it. He got involved with certain types of fallen groups, and he took on their philosophy and lost what he had. We all have to understand that every day is a battle with our evil inclination, and that no matter how old and weak we become we can lose it. We have to be on our guard at all times.

The next saying is this – a shy person will never learn and a stringent person will never be able to teach. That idea is pretty self-explanatory, but we should understand that you have to be a sort of nudnik to property learn. It’s hard.

You’re sitting in any situation and you find that the one who comes out ahead is the one who is asking questions. Judaism, perhaps more than any other religion, encourages us to constantly ask questions, to see other sides and get clarity. We are a nation of holy skeptics. We will question and keeping questioning anything that is not clear. If you question, you will learn. If you won’t question, you won’t learn.

And the teacher must have infinite patience. That’s what makes a teacher a teacher. They have to understand it’s not about furthering themselves, but to give over that knowledge to others, and to repeat it over and over, possibly hundreds of times.

Another saying is this one – in a place where there are no people, try to be a person. In a place where there’s no mensch, where there’s no proper, respectful, human being, you be a human being. I’ve run into this in my life many times, and it’s a directive regarding Jewish leadership and what it’s all about.

Our leaders don’t run for office, they run away from office. But they will step up when necessary, when there’s nobody else willing to do the job. That’s what leadership is all about. We don’t want it, but we will do it if we have to do it.

The next saying is this – a person who goes above and beyond, who does an inordinate amount of one thing will have the result of something else, both negative and positive. For example, a person who is a glutton and eats too much meat will have worms in their body when they pass away. A person who collects an inordinate amount of possessions will have a great deal of worry in their life. A person who has an inordinate amount of gathering Torah will have a great deal of life in their life. A person who is inordinately charitable will have an extraordinary amount of peace in their life.

Here’s the next one – Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zachai was in a discussion with a number of his students about what trait is the one that encompasses all other traits. They agreed that the #1 trait is a good heart, because a good heart contains all the other good traits, such as being a good friend, being a good neighbor, and being a person who sees what’s going to come from their actions. A good heart contains all the other good traits. A good heart is the essence of what a human being is.

The next one is this – the nature of a true scholar, a true Sage, is one who has an abundance of the element of fire. True scholarship, true Torah is passion. Therefore, you have to understand that when you’re playing with fire you can get either warmed or burned, helped or harmed. Keeping a healthy distance means you’ll get warm, but it you get too close you’ll get burned.

And the next one is don’t make your prayer redundant or habitual. Make your prayer full of true, heartfelt connection to G-d. Our Sages say it’s better to pray a little, tiny bit with heart than to pray a whole lot without it.

And the next one is don’t be evil in your own eyes. This is such an important one today. People put themselves down in place where they shouldn’t, and they lift themselves up in places where they shouldn’t. Here we’re talking specifically about, in your own eyes, understanding that there’s part of yourself that is a holy soul. Don’t put yourself down. You have something to say which nobody else can say.

And the last one for today is about the preciousness of time. Our Sages say, “The day is short, the task is great, the workers are lazy and the reward is great.” We’ve got to know that every second counts. So, don’t be a waster of time. Time is the most important thing, because this life is full of jewels to be corrected at all times, and in all ways.

The Seventh Day of Passover

What I’d like to do is speak about the end of the Passover holiday, which is basically concerned with the crossing of the Red Sea.

On the seventh day of Passover, in history and energetically in our lives right now, we crossed and crossed the Red Sea. That crossing was affected by a whole different level of Divine Providence, which the Kabbalah refers to as ATIK.

ATIK is the highest of the sephirot, a type of Divine Providence that super-cedes, in a miraculous way, everything that happens to us as human beings. It’s what G-d put into practice in all the miraculous events that happened – Passover, Red Sea, manna, Mount Sinai, the ten plagues – the whole kit and caboodle was ATIK, meaning “shifting oneself, or move yourself over,” in Hebrew.

It means putting yourself into a different state of receptivity, and to believe in miracles as a person who is in sync with miraculous, Divine Providence. That’s what was demanded, and it’s what’s demanded of us in crossing the Red Sea, which represents certain death. Historically, the Egyptians were chasing us. They were more powerful. It was a nation of warriors chasing a nation of slaves, and of course there was the sea. We were not a nation of Olympic swimmers at all, and there were also wild animals to contend with, as well as accusers in heaven.

When the people started screaming, G-d asked us, “Why are you screaming?” And the people replied, “We were screaming as slaves, to get out of Egypt, and so we’re screaming now, too.”

But G-d said, “No, this is different, this is about action. It’s about trust in G-d, which is even higher than screaming or prayer, and which is demonstrated by action.” We had to put our money where our mouth is, and just jump into the sea.

Essentially, G-d said, “I’ve never told you to jump in the sea, and I know it doesn’t make sense, but I’m telling you to trust the process, trust Me to do it.” He told us everything would be ok, and it was ok.

So, we leaped into the sea, in an impossible situation. That leaping into the sea is parallel to many situations in our lives and in our history. It’s a leap when Esther, in the Purim story, said, “If I’m lost, I’m lost. If I die, I die. But I’m going in to talk to the King, and to tell him not to commit a holocaust on my people.”  Esther was willing to give herself up and leap into her sea, and it worked, and she won.

That’s how it happened for Esther, and for Moses, and for others who were willing to make a nothing of themselves by trusting in the process and trusting that G-d would get them through.

It’s the same for us, for our process, too, as we leap into an impossible situation. When we do that, and to the extent we do it, that’s how we bring on miracles. We bring on miracles by shifting ourselves in a reflective, mirror-like fashion, which shifts the way G-d looks down upon us as well.

We parallel these historical, Biblical happenings in our lives whenever we have no choice but to totally give it up to G-d. When that happens, G-d sees we are completely self-nullified in that situation, and then the “crossing of the Red Sea” type miracles will happen to us. But first we must leap. We must close our eyes and go with G-d in a whole, different way, not the normal, day-to-day, reward and punishment kind of way. This super-cedes all of that.

That’s what the seventh day of Passover is all about.

What is Pesach all about?

Here are some little snippets of some things we know Passover is really all about.

The obvious, underlying theme is getting out of Egypt. And we all need to ask ourselves, “what do I need to do in order to get out of my own Egypt?” We say it every day because we need to do it every day. But Passover is the annual celebration and rectification of all that, so here are some of the different directions we can take in trying to connect.

First, we have to connect to the historical story of getting out of Egypt, to understand our own, personal story, and to emulate the way G-d handled the situation. We’re trying to emulate G-d’s way of getting the Israelites out of Eqypt. We study the Creator’s plan to see what elements we see in our own challenge:

We understand how important freedom is, and that we are a people who represent the importance, the centrality to life, that human beings are free. From the Egypt story, we learn that we are free to serve G-d, and anything short of that, being subservient to another human being, is substandard living. That’s one thing we’re learning from Passover – to be free to be a servant to G-d.

It’s almost like an oxymoron… We are free to serve, but we’re serving G-d. So. that’s an ultimate  kind of freedom.

One of the tickets to getting out of Egypt, maybe the most important one, is emunah, it’s belief. It’s embracing the fact that G-d’s running the show, and it’s all for the best, and everything’s going to work out. The more we embrace that, the more miracles come to us.

The beginning of the process is primal screaming, not even words, but wordless grunts and groans and screams that are coming from the deepest, gutsy place where words are coming from. That’s how our slave ancestors started their process.

The goal of the process, in the end, is geulah, it’s redemption. It’s to get out of exile and everything that exile represents on an actual, an international and a personal level. Getting out of exile is the ultimate act of being free. Exile is being out of sync with myself and disconnected with my reality, and freedom is being connected with my essence, with who I am.  I’m in sync with myself, with all the different parts of myself, with my heart and mind, with trusting the process, and with bonding where I am now with where I am allowing myself to grow. It’s being in a state of Da’at consciousness.

It’s “speaking myself out,” with poetry, with prayer, with prose, with Torah, with conversation, and with anything and everything in the higher realm of what speaking is meant to do to get myself out of exile. All these things are getting out of exile, which is the status quo throughout history for our people, and we’re constantly working to get out, to get beyond it.

The Pesach model we’re using to get out of Egypt is a model which displays a huge leap of consciousness that received on that first night and day of the first Passover. And then it left us, it was “easy come, easy go,” and we have to work through a whole, 49-day Omer period to get it back incrementally. Since we’re working on it, and it’s not just a freebie gift, we acquire it. The ultimate goal of the whole thing is to go to mount Sinai. It’s to get the Torah. It’s to have direct interface with G-d, as an entire people. That’s what this whole thing is preparing for.

Part of getting out of Egypt for us is knowing how to be born. We were born as a people then, and we’re born as individuals when we work to get ourselves out of Egypt now. Being born is a very important process, because everything else comes after the birth, after the beginning.

We were born out of Egypt in an “above time” fashion, and we have to birth ourselves in all new beginnings, in an “above time” and “above space” way.

Part of getting out of Egypt is knowing that G-d is running the show. All ten plagues in Egypt were displaying full-on promise that G-d is running every detail and aspect of reality. He sort of came out from, “behind the curtain,” to show us that, as a one-time event in history, to let us know that he’s really running the show on all levels of reality, higher, middle and lower.

Coming out of Egypt is being a servant of G-d, but it’s also being a witness, one who testifies that G-d is found in this aspect of life, where G-d is normally not found. Part of coming out of Egypt is expanded consciousness, which is where we will live in Messianic times, when we will live mindfully and consciousness-fully, that’s the place we’re going to. That’s what gets us out of Egypt, that’s what gets us out of a slave mentality.

Passover, in Hebrew, is Pesach, which means. “mouth speaks,” and we’re supposed to do that. The ultimate, human expression of G-dliness is through the mouth. And the more we attach ourselves to G-d by speaking out the Haggadah on the night of Pesach, and any Holy speaking, the more we speak our way into consciousness and out of Egypt, out of the narrow straights of our lives.

We’re mean to understand, from this whole Egyptian saga, that everything is a miracle. Those were “open miracles,” but we understand from the 10 Plagues and the Red Sea, and all that magnificent stuff, that the hidden stuff is also miraculous. Breathing is a miracle, and things coming together and going my way… we need to pay attention to them. It’s all miraculous. There are no rules, no hard-and-fast, status quo rules of nature, when you start looking at the world through the glasses of miracles.

All of these things point to getting out of Egypt and all of things things are going to fortify us, hopefully, for the rest of our year.

What is Purim?

WHAT IS PURIM?

Purim is a very holy day.

Purim is lemalah, lemalah mi derech hatevah

Above, above nature

Purim comes after all the hope is lost.

Purim finds its way in

right at that point where all the hope is lost.

Purim is atik yomim.

Purim is a shift in making ourselves,

into a whole new way of seeing.

Purim is the parting of the red sea.

Purim is making things happen

that otherwise couldn’t be.

Purim is Esther saying kaasher avaditi avaditi,

if I am lost, I am lost,

I give up my reality,

I give up this world

and the next world.

Purim is macheyni …. Moshe Rabeynu saying,

wipe me out,

wipe me out if you are not going to

forgive these people,

blot me out of Your book.

Purim is chezkiyahu Hamelech.[King Ezekiel]

Saying that though there is

absolutely no hope in this situation

Even if there is a sharp sword

at the throat of a person

ready to put them away,

We don’t stop hoping

for a better day.

 

That’s where Purim comes into the picture.

 

Purim is a time that is so high, so deep,

that all of the other hagim [Holidays]

and all the other sepharim [Holy Books]

will not be around–but Purim will be around.

Purim is like yom, Kipurim

or rather–Yom Kippurim is like Purim

[Yom {ki= like} Purim]

These 2 very different holy of holy days converge;

Just like we were forgiven

and received the Torah on Yom Kipur

so too on Purim.

On the night following Yom Kipur

we have a big seudah [meal] following a fast day

before the day,of Purim we have a fast

before the big seudah on Purim day.

When a person says

that I received the Torah

out of love as we did and do on Purim,

all that they did wrong in the past

becomes merit, becomes light,

becomes joy, becomes a place for them to be

And they completely change reality.

 

Purim is reading megilat Esther,

revealing the hidden dimension,

Purim is opening up

those hidden dimensions

that wouldn’t otherwise

have a way to reveal themselves, to show themselves.

 

In the midst of a hidden reality,

the light peaks up and we catch it.

If you are open

if you’re completely mevutal-

in a selfless place of receiving

That light opens up for you

a whole new reality.

A place above above nature,

a place of atik yomim,

place of kaasher avadati, avadati.

A place of if I’m lost, I’m lost.

A place where a person

never gives up, no matter what the situation,

whatever will be,

he\ she knows there is

a little porthole beyond that place,

a porthole of a miraculous reality,

A porthole of a transformative reality,

a porthole of a passionate reality,

a porthole of a Divine reality,

a Purim reality.

 

Kabbalistic Root Soul Aspects of Esther and Mordecai

OurPurim

Esther is referred to by a name that’s hinted at in Torah. Our Sages ask, “Where is her name hinted at in Torah?” and it’s a verse where G-d is saying, “I will hide my face on that day.”

This verse tells us that Esther is coming from a place of hiddenness, which is also hinted in her name of Esther, which comes from the word “lahastir,” meaning “to hide.” So, she’s coming from this place of hiddenness.

But on the holiday of Purim when she’s the heroine of the day, we read the scroll, the megilla of Esther. The word “megilla” means “reveal” in Hebrew. The whole point of Esther is to reveal G-d’s hiddenness. That’s who Esther really is, a channel for revealing G-d’s hiddenness.

The culmination of the most important event in Esther’s life is when she was asked by Mordecai, the hero of the Purim story, to go and plead the king of the Persians to remove the holocaust decree on the Jews. She replied, “If I do that, not only will I lose my place in this world, but I am likely to lose my place in the World To Come, because I’m offering my sexuality to him as well, if I approach him.”

In other words, her willingness to jeopardize her place in both worlds, her courage to live out, “if I lose, I lose,” referred to her portion in this world and the next world. Her willingness, her self-sacrifice in the situation is what drew down the incredible miracles we saw, and we still draw down every year, to this day on Purim.

Esther was protected upon entering the palace of the King. She was covered in a special, spiritual garb, which meant she didn’t have direct relations, in a normal sense. This covering resulted in sort of a green skin color, and some describe it as a shaid, or a type of non-human entity. This was her garb, allowing her to not only succeed in saving the Jewish people, but also to have relations in a safe way, since it was only a garment of her, not really her.

That garment of Esther, together with the King, gave birth to the next king of Persia, from that night of conception. His name was Sirus, and he’s the one who helped to rebuild the second Temple in Jerusalem.

So, there was great significance to Esther’s act on behalf of her people. Some spiritual sources say she went to the King wearing the spiritual garment of Eve, the wife of Adam. She’s also mentioned as being a personification of the Shechina, by going into the King and saving the Jewish people at that time.

That’s a little bit about Esther, now here’s a little bit about Mordecai…

The redemptive power that saved the Jewish people on Purim is called the Emanation of Mordacai. It’s a spiritual emanation, based on the human being named Mordecai, one of the righteous scholars of the entire generation. That’s the emanation we draw down into our lives on Purim each year, setting the stage for the extraordinary energies we draw down into our lives.

Mordecai was said to have been one of the incarnations of Yaakov, our forefather Jacob, and Mordecai refused to bow down to Hamen, certainly a manifestation of Amalek, the arch enemy of the Jewish people.

But, Mordecai is also said to be a reincarnation of Esau, another member of the same family. Esau was the nemesis of Jacob, and in their previous meeting Jacob bowed down to Esau, in an attempt to diplomatically prevent a confrontation. And both of them came back into this life so that Jacob could rectify that situation when Mordecai refused to bow down to Hamen, formerly Esau.

Rather than Mordecai calling Hamen his master, as in their previous relationship in a previous lifetime, Mordecai was Hamen’s master. In other words, Hamen was his slave in the Purim story.

8 Lights of Chanukah

shabboschichanukah

*We find ourselves in the darkest [and coldest] time of year
*The Chanukah story stands at the historical precipice of the longest of exiles
*The picture of tiny Chanukah lights shining in this vast darkness represents the essential picture of our people and our legacy
*We are the most despised of peoples- ultimately destined to be the most beloved—a light to the nations
*We are presently analogous to the moon-ultimately destined to shine  like the sun
*We are the prisoners of a seeming endless exile-ultimately destined to be redeemed in an eternal redemption
*We are the people who have mastered the art of integrating spiritual light into materialistic darkness
The purpose of the following 8 meditations [parralleling the eight lights/days of Chanukah] is to tap into 8 essential Chanukah lessons or points of empowerment, and to draw this light into the cold and darkness of the upcoming months of our lives:

8 LIGHTS HEALING MEDITATIONS

 

  1. AIN BRAIRA  NO CHOICE LIGHT   KNOW that the Maccabees, a single family, upon being presented with the options offered to them at the time by the Greeks –namely, to give up the essential elements of Judaism in exchange for their lives subjected to a Greek outlook on life—realized that they had NO CHOICE but to wage war against the entire Greek Empire—and eventually they won

LIGHT UP that area of your life that is darkened by an intolerable situation—a situation that leaves you NO CHOICE but to put a stop to the way things are presently happening……you can come to such a decision by driving in to yourself, the impact, that this intolerable situation has upon you, until you just can’t take it any longer…..when you’ve come to a firm resolution, then just let yourself receive from Hashem an alternative way that will light up the upcoming months of your life

 

  1. HEKAIR HAUBAR   RECOGNIZING THE FOETUS  LIGHT   KNOW that the part of the year stretching from Rosh Hashanah until Pesach parallels a pregnancy, beginning with conception and ending with birth….Chanukah corresponds to the phase where the pregnancy is recognized….in other words, our year’s agenda or plan or fate is now visible, and we become aware of where we are and where we could or should be going

LIGHT UP the unknown direction of where your life is at presently and where it is headed, by contemplating at this auspicious time, what you have accomplished or become so far this year….be grateful….allow yourself to receive Hashem’s loving and nurturing guidance and providence to become even better, and light up the rest of this pregnancy process that you are going through—all the way through birth and beyond

 

  1. OHR HAGANUZ    THE HIDDEN LIGHT   KNOW that we light on the 8 nights Chanukah 36 lights altogether…these lights correspond to the first 36 hours of Creation, that Adam with the aid of the OHR HAGANUZ was able to see from one end of time and space to the other…..these lights also correspond to the 36 Hidden Tzadikim that draw upon the Ohr Ganuz in their holy task of holding up spiritually the entire Universe

LIGHT UP your own potential portion of the Ohr Haganuz….. begin to do this by expanding the way that you perceive time and space—expanding your perceptions to go beyond just the narrow perception that most people grasp….also do this by delving so deep into what you encounter in life that you begin to tap into the essence of the essence…..project how you will be able to connect to this Ohr Ganuz bit by bit, day by day in the next few months, with the help of the One Above

 

  • OHR BACHOSHECH    LIGHT IN THE DARK   KNOW what our Sages teach us about the contribution of the Greek civilation—that relative to true light, it is nothing but darkness…..and know that the legacy of our people is the holy task of bringing light into the darkness, and as such, we are constantly occupied with seeing light in the midst of all kinds of darkness

LIGHT UP the darkness of your life —whether it be the darkness of being unclear about who you are or where you are going, or the darkness of the pain involved in suffering and despair—light it up with Hashem’s Divine Light—a light that is filled with love and compassion and healing and guidance—a light that when it encounters any type of darkness–lights it up….bring this light into your life and see how it increase in magnitude from day to day and month to month

 

  1. HOD    ENABLING GLORY LIGHT  KNOW that Chanukah represents our annual inoculation of the Sefirotic trait HOD—the trait of  enabling and empowerment….Chanukah Hod is all about enabling the Jewish glory—the glory that was so apparent in the victories of the Maccabees  and in the victories of the righteous over the wicked and light over darkness

LIGHT UP your life by enabling and empowering the Jewish heritage that is your inheritance…..enable and empower your Torah and your Kedusha—2 of the most powerful and glorious blessings that we as a people possess…… look deep into your life and find what you can do to bring out the greatness of your Jewish practices and beliefs and observances and wisdom….enable others to shine in this glory that is available to them as well…..see how this glory will become more and more apparent with the passage of time

 

  1. HAROE ET HANOLAD   SEEING THE UNSEEN LIGHT   KNOW that one of the most striking differences between the Greek world outlook and our own is the fact that they would say, ‘What you see is what you get’ , and we say, “What you don’t see is what you get”……we look for , not only what meets the physical eye, but also what meets the spiritual eye—that which exists now as well as that which is to exist in the future

LIGHT UP  the unseen aspects of your life—those that are only accessible when you look through your spiritual eyes…..see what the Soul sees….see all of the invisible  influences at play in any and every situation…see that which will be born out of the present circumstances….see a person , not only for who they are now, but who they ultimately will be…see yourself able to see  in more more hidden dimensions as time goes by

 

  1. TOV L’HODOT  IT’S GOOD TO GIVE THANKS LIGHT   KNOW that part of the essence of Chanukah’s sefirotic trait –HOD, is [as is rooted in the word itself-Hod] perhaps the most fundamental aspect of human relations—saying thank you

LIGHT UP all of those who you encounter in life, by expressing thanks ….say thank you to the people in your life as much as possible……say thank you to Hashem for giving all of the manifold blessings that surround you at all times…say thank you to those who normally would not hear a thank you from you…..say thank you more and more until you begin to see how much you truly have to be thankful for

 

  1. MOED   APPOINTED TIMES  LIGHT   KNOW that Jewish time is synonymous with soul perfection…just as Chanukah is an opportunity for us to perfect certain areas of our lives—so it is with every MOED…..not only is it the case with every Moed, but the same is true for every day and every part of the day-every component of time offers unique opportunities for personal growth, healing and rectification

LIGHT UP the dimension of Time in your life….see every new time slot as an opportunity for a unique opportunity to grow and perfect yourself….see every Shabbat as an opportunity to taste and internalize future bliss….be aware and sensitive to each and every time frame, with it’s unique energies—and draw those energies into your lives as much as you can….see yourself becoming more and more time sensitive as time goes on

 

Have a happy and light filled Chanukah, and may we all draw the light into the coming months.
Yitzchak

Out Of The Box Essay

Box

This talk is called Out Of The Box, and I want to share it now, a couple weeks before Rosh Hashana, because this time of year it’s important to realize that there are no limitations on how we live our lives, what we make of them.

More so than any other time of year, NOW is the time to step up, and to see that we’re much more than what we think we are. So, it’s really important to step up and to jump out of the box to become something we’ve never been before.

Kabbalistically, the idea of “out of the box” is very central to the creation of the world, and the way the world runs. G-d was the only one around at the beginning of time, and he had to create a void, and then from the outside, from out of the box, came G-d’s ever-present reality to fill the void.

All of Creation fills the void from an out-of-the-box way into an in-the-box way. And in Kabbalah there’s a concept called Ohr Makif, which is the surrounding light, or energy, and it is seen as the way we grow spiritually. We take that which is beyond us, which is surrounding us and which includes the level of soul to which we have access, and we draw that down inside us. And that’s the way we grow, by bringing what’s out of the box into the box.

The Jewish people are a great example of out-of-the-boxing. We are people who are constantly drawn to something beyond ourselves, such as a Messianic time, a post-life reality, the essence of our souls, which part is beyond us entirely. And we are drawn to G-d, to strengthen our connection to G-d, which is another out of the box kind of thing.

So, we’re always living our lives in this bridging, back and forth, from outside the box then into the box… that kind of reality. In my own explorations of teachings and spiritual principles I’ve found that we first have to clear out the clutter inside ourselves in order to begin to express ourselves. And the more we do that, meaning clear out and fully express, the more that which is out of the box becomes accessible to us, and we’re able to bring it down into us.

Personally, I have always felt a draw to whatever is out of the box, so I’ve had to transcend reality in order to grasp what was “out there” and bring it to myself and others as we move towards a Messianic consciousness, which is out of the box. We’re all drawn to that, it’s the ultimate draw. The world is being drawn to G-d in a variety of ways. It’s a draw from that which is out of the box into the box, which is the central idea we’re dealing with here.

I have a lot of practical ways for that to happen, but first I’d like to share some of the writings of Rabbi Avraham Issac Kook. In my humble opinion he is one of the greatest articulators of the experience of enlightenment, certainly one of the greatest in the modern day.

Looking at it from this perspective then, a look at out-of-the-box thinking from another, higher perspective. I chose a few specific quotes to illustrate what out-of-the-box consciousness is all about.

Musings From The Beyond
**Drawn from the ‘Lights of Holiness’
—R. Avraham Yitzchak Kook z’tl**

1. CONSTANT RENEWAL
The perception to see the world
Not as finished but as in the process
of continued becoming, ascending,
developing—changes a person from being,
‘Under the sun’ to being ‘Above the sun’
From a place where nothing is new,
to a place where nothing is old
(quoting King Soloman’s famous line from Ecclesiates)

2. SONG OF THE SOUL
Surely the soul sings always…
[if you wait for the time when
Creative spirit will inspire you—
You lack the illumination].
You must raise yourself to the heights of
Confronting your soul…Be ready to listen to
its holy discourse
At all times in every hour
It release streams of its precious gifts

3. SOULS OF CHAOS
The souls inspired by the realm of Chaos are greater than the souls whose affinity is with the established order…They seek too much from existence—from what is beyond their own faculties to assimilate—a very great light……….they can’t bear what’s limited……they descend from a very high realm….they soared on high like a flame and were thrust down……their striving knows no bounds….they aspire constantly to the beyond and to the impossible… they fall [inevitably] in sorrow , despair, —leading to their becoming wicked, destructive……..they especially reveal themselves at the end of days….they rebel against everything…..they seek nourishment in alien pastures and ideals…..they are passionate souls……….. truly heroic spirits know that this force is one of the phenomena needed for the ultimate perfection of the world….in the end , their power will be taken from them and turned over to the righteous ones…..dark clouds will pave the way for great light…”

Now, here are some practical ways to bring some things that are out of the box into the box, into your life: a) The Graduation Speech – Projecting a future “you” and working towards it; b) Partnering with G-d – Take upon yourself to share with G-d whatever profits come your way, in whatever way you think G-d would like it to happen, and have G-d help you in the process as well; c) Seeing With The Eyes of G-d – See people and situations for what they are, were and will be; d) Beyond Limits Yearning Vision Dialogue – If you had no limitations what would you want? This is beginning to live with a post-life reality where every word, thought and piece of wisdom reverberates forever.

And I have a number of tools to help us get answers from above, or beyond, and to live from an incomplete perspective to a whole, complete prospective, and to see how everything is preparing for the birth of something else in your life. These tools help you fuse with G-d, so that G-d can speak through you, think through you, be through you in all of your senses, etc. They help you study the Creator’s ways and emulate how the Creator creates so you can do the same. And they help you ask questions and receive answers that you think the Creator would give you. And they help you have the trust that just as G-d has come through for you in the past he will come through for you again now.

And finally, the ultimate tool – Let Go And Let G-d.

These are practical ways of living out of the box, and of course there are many more regarding how you act, how you see, how you open yourself up and expand yourself. I won’t go into them all right now, but there are many more.

Lag B’Omer 5775 Thoughts

THE POWER OF KABBALISTIC LEARNING [according to the Holy Zohar]

1. There is not a letter or word in the Torah that does not contain Kabbalistic secrets.

2. True Kabbalah causes the world to be filled with the knowledge of Hashem.

3. One who goes on to the post-life without Kabbalistic knowledge, though they may be filled with
Mitzvot and good deeds, will not be able to enter the [innermost] gates of the world to come.

4. The one who occupies them self with Kabbalah, is able to sweeten up all that’s difficult, cast aside harsh judgements and purify himself.

5. One who ignores to pay proper attention to Kabbalah, causes poverty and the elongation of the exile.

6. Every Kabbalistic word properly learned, creates entire worlds.

7. The masters of Kabbalah will be the first to rise in the resurrection of the dead.

8. The prayers of the Masters of Kabbalah will be received and answered.

9. The masters of Kabbalah have the power to nullify harsh decrees, to be in constant connection to Hashem, to bring down blessing and are called Tzadikim [righteous ones].

10. There is no wisdom that compares to that of Kabbalistic wisdom.

11. The knowledge of Mitzvot are considered to be the BODY of the Torah, whereas it’s SOUL is the secrets of the Torah [ie…The Kabbalah].

12. The masters of Kabbalah, relative to others, are referred to as the children of Hashem, as opposed to being Hashem’s servants, and this is because they know Hashem intimately and not just in a general way.

Freedom

We now enter into a time period referred to as ‘Zman Cheruteinu’ / ‘ The Time of Our Freedom’…..


What is this freedom all about?


I bring you a few of  my personal explorations from years gone by, centered around the theme, ‘Freedom’….I beg your indulgence…it’s sort of a hodge podge collection…..Following a  summary of a teaching on the topic  by the Slonim Rebbe from his work, ‘Netivot Shalom’ and another Freedom Recipe selection from an old booklet of mine called Parsha Tools, I bring something different —–  a selection  called ‘Regarding Freedom’, which  is a shooting from the hip, spontaneous , politically incorrect stream of thought expression of what I understand is  the uniquely Jewish attitude to what  freedom is—namely a  type of  freedom based on slavery…..


FREEDOM

(3 SELECTIONS]

1.Pesach ESSAY SUMMARY
 From the sefer ‘NETIVOT SHALOM’
‘Zman Cherutenu’ / ‘Time of our freedom’

A
1.The name "the time of our freedom" given to Pesach by the men of the great
assembly when they coined (nusach) the holiday prayers points out the
essence of the holiday.

2. It is clear that the concept of the time of our freedom is not coming to
teach us what happened once upon a time in history alone but rather it is
also teaching us what is happening to us at this time of year now. Similarly
the terms "the time of our happiness" (Succos) and "the time of our
receiving of the torah" (Shavuos) point to what is also happening at that
time of year.

3. Both then and now there exists both physical and spiritual bondage which
we are released from to eternal freedom.
It is taught that 30 days before Pesach Hashem releases the souls that fell
into the sitra achra and redeems them into the realm of the Kedusha.

4. As long as a man is not free he is not able to receive the torah
therefore the first of the year's series of holidays is the freedom holyday
of Pesach which only afterward is followed by Shavuos the time of our
receiving of Torah.

B
1.Questions;      What is so outstanding about what is written in the
Haggada that if Hashem didn't take us out of Egypt we and our children would
still be subjugated to Paro in Egypt, anyway we are subjugated to other
nations such as Edom to this very day ?
What's the meaning of the statement that if Hashem wouldn't have taken us
out of Egypt we would still be subjugated etc... Surely we see that H'
promised to Avraham Avinu that He would take us out?
Why is the word meshuabad i.e. subjugated stressed so much?

2. The meaning of the concept meshuabad (subjugated) is that the Jewish
people were totally subjugated with no independence even in their thinking
process. Therefore Egypt was called the house of Slavery the place where
people turned into slaves. This is illustrated by the midrash giving the
following analogy just as a fetus in its mother's stomach has no
independence or influence so too the Jewish people in Egypt.
This is the difference between  the other exiles and the Egyptian exile; in
all other exiles the subjugating power were stronger than us and would
oppress us. In the Egyptian exile the Egyptians so totally subjugated us
that we weren't even able to know what to think and how to think.

3. For most of the 210 years exile the Jews were so totally subjugated that
we couldn't even scream in painful protest. The beginning of the redemption
process was ushered in by our ability to wordlessly scream.

4. The Jews were sunk in 49 gates of Tumah. This is not because the
Egyptians forced us to do as they do or to violate our religion but rather
this state of affairs bespeaks the very reality of being subjugated totally
to the lowliest society on earth.

5. "Hashem saw the pressure that the Egyptians were pressurizing them" means
that they had no control over their thought process nor over their speech
rather all their essence was subjugated.

6. Moshe Rabbenu's soul was a composite soul of the entire Jewish people he
reflected their state. Just as they were unable to express themselves with
proper speech so too was he afflicted in his speech. When the Jewish people
went out of Egypt and their mouths were opened up to speak properly so too
Moshe Rabbenu from then on was able to speak properly. Therefore one of the
main ideas of the Passover redemption is expressed in the Hebrew word
‘Pesach’ the mouth speaks.

C
1.The Jewish people were all subjugated in the Egyptian exile on many
levels. Even the tribe of Levy who weren't slaves physically nevertheless
were subjugated emotionally.

2. The question is why does our sages stress that if Hashem Himself and not
an angel didn't take us out of Egypt we would still be enslaved until this
very day.
Based on the fact that we were so subjugated that even our nefesh, ruach and
neshama were enslaved therefore anything short of total Divine redemption
would leave us enslave on fine subtle soul levels until this very day.

3. The tefilin of the hand is the antithesis of our lusting heart being
subjugated to the Egyptians. Instead of subjugating our hearts to Egypt we
subjugate it to Hashem. So too the head tefilin redirects the subjugation of
our thoughts from Egyptian thinking to G-dly thinking. This is the meaning
of Hashem himself and not an angel or a messenger taking us out of Egypt
i.e. we are now able to redirect our subjugation to Him. This is also the
meaning of the idea of being redeemed with  "a strong hand" i.e. the power
to cut off our subjugation to them and to redirect it to Hashem.

D
1. The holiday of our freedom applies to every individual in every
generation. Generally speaking what distinguishes a Jew is that his essence
is subjugated to Hashem even though his evil inclination trips him up
sometimes. However sometimes a person can become totally subjugated in
certain areas and he will stumble continuously. Examples of this are as
follows.
a. In the area of character traits
b. Foreign non-Jewish thought outlooks
c. Environmental subjugation
d. Domestic subjugation
All of these are types of subjugation to Paro in Egypt.

2. King David prayed to be freed from this kind of subjugation (psalm 142).
The segula of Pesach is for the individual to be freed from these various
subjugations.

E
1. Hashem engineered the geula by blinding the forces of evil with a very
intense light that shone in all of its intensity at once. The reason Hashem
did this was to prevent the Egyptian forces of evil from having any grasp
especially being that the Jews were sunk in 49 gates of tuma. Therefore a
gradually increasing divine light or influx would not have been enough. The
same phenomenon occurs every Shabbos.

2. This is also the means for a hard working individual who cannot overcome
his personal subjugations with small gradual steps and resolutions instead
he should strike out and make giant steps and giant resolutions.

3.This also explains why Pesach is a preparation for the Shavuos holiday of
receiving the Torah. Until a person jumps beyond himself and frees himself
from his personal enslavement with giant resolutions he will not be in
control of himself enough to receive the ultimate resolution of Torah.
Therefore Pesach leaves an impression of liberating himself with major
resolutions enabling him to receive the Torah 50 days later.

F
1.The reason why all holidays and shabbatot recall the coming out of Egypt
is because the purpose of all the holidays is to free oneself from the
yetser hara which is called mitsraim.

2. The period of time from Pesach until Shavuos is one long single holiday.
Everyday is a new unit of freedom until finally on Shavuos there is total
freedom. Our sages say the only truly free person is one who is involved in
Torah learning for he is the one who nullify himself i.e. all that
gets-in-the-way of his total freedom. The Zohar brings the one who eats the
bread of health (matza) on Pesach and receives the health of Torah on
Shavuos is exempt from being judged on Rosh Hashanah.

3. Sometimes it happens that a Jew can achieve high spiritual levels and yet
be subjugated to the tuma levels that characterize Egypt. The way to release
oneself from that situation is hinted at in the midrashs mentioning of the
blood of Pesach and the blood of brith mila. These blood purifications
represent respectively Emuna and Kedusha. These two elements internalized by
a Jew who is working on himself concertedly can free him.

4. The days of sfiras haOmer are compared to a long Chol Hamoed of Pesach in
that one achieves freedom totally. This happens through one's uprooting of
his tuma and of his purifying and sanctifying himself.

2. (Parsha Tools # 25) ‘THE-PESACH-GET-YOURSELF-FREE-FORMULA’

‘…AS IF I LEFT EGYPT…’

1. ‘…And please give us, Hashem…this Holiday of Matzohs…the time of our freedom’ [ Holiday Siddur]. Every Holiday in the Jewish calendar has a central theme. The last of the prophets who made up the ‘Men of the Great Assembly’, put together a good part of the ritual service we have in our daily and Holiday prayers. We’re informed by the words of the main-theme prayer that the essence of Pesach is that it’s ‘the time of our freedom’ [just as Shavuot is ‘the time of the giving of our Torah’ and Sukkot is the ‘time of our happiness’]. If I properly use this auspicious time, I can inoculate myself with my annual dose of freedom. Freedom’s in the air…it’s there for the taking. But how do I access it? Well, perhaps a direct way, is to make a list of all areas, major and minor, of my life in which I feel myself to be a slave. Next, I’d project into the future–Pesach, one year from now–and see myself as a gloriously free person, liberated from all of my personal slavery. I’d project how I achieved such a lofty goal and then I’d come back to the present and start to go for it! Not a bad plan, if you don’t mind me saying so…but I’d like to add a very important dimension; Our Passover Haggada brings a quote from our sages, that says that every person should see themself as if they personally left Egypt. We can understand from this that the key to understanding how to break out of our personal Egyptian slavery, is to learn how our ancestors did it–get the formula, and apply it in our lives.

THE 5-STEPS OF THE EGYPTIAN EXODUS

2. Let’s present a very brief survey of the elements that make up the Egyptian Redemption;

a. ‘SHIABUD’ [TOTAL AND ABSOLUTE ENSLAVEMENT OF BODY AND SOUL]— Our Sages brought an analogy comparing this initial phase in Egypt to that of a fetus of a calf in it’s mother’s womb. Like the fetus, our ancestors were so enveloped in the Egyptian experience that it didn’t even occur to them to groan and cry out to Hashem for the first 209 years out of their 210 year exile! But alas they did finally become conscious that they were enslaved in a terrible exile.

b. GROANS AND SCREAMS —Their awareness of their predicament brought out from a deep gut level, wordless groans and screams. Hashem heard them and actively initiated the redemption process.

c. THE OVERPOWERING DIVINE LIGHT—When the time came to leave Egypt, G-d caused to shine an incredibly powerful providential light into the atmosphere of Egypt and inside of these slaves’ consciousness. On the strength of that light, an entire nation LEAPED out of Egypt. They did so suddenly, not even waiting for their dough to rise and transform their Matzohs into Bread for the long journey. This stage is compared in a certain Chassidic work by R. Yitzchak Issack of Homil, to a young student who is dazzled and swept off his feet by the brilliance of his new righteous and amazing teacher. He has awe and behaves with total self-nullification towards his new spiritual master. The student however doesn’t yet have the ability to understand or internalize the teachings. He just says to himself,’ Wow’, and remains respectfully silent. Nevertheless, an impression is etched deep in his soul.

d. LOSING THE ‘LIGHT’ AND RECOVERING IT INCREMENTALLY—This slave nation, the children of Israel, managed, with this incredible G-d given light power and purity, to temporarily transcend their spiritual sickness of being steeped in all 49 gates of Teuma [impurity], long enough to escape out of Egypt. But as fast as they gained their instant light power, they lost it. But the impression it left deep in their souls would serve as a guiding light at the end of the tunnel constantly drawing them to recover it. In order for them to truly recover and internalize this power of soul-based and Faith-based expanded G-d consciousness, they needed to get it back slowly, deliberately and 1 step at a time. The root-causes of their exile…ie… their spiritual perfection process, now had to be examined and rectified. This Tikun process is what we do annually for the 50 days between Pesach and Shavuot. This is the counting and internalizing of the Holy Sefirot of the ‘Omer’ period. This stage is compared to our young student who matures to the point of not being just satisfied with sitting in his master’s presence in quiet awe. Rather, he seeks to understand the source of the wisdom that his teacher possesses. He engages his teacher in constant discussion, and is bold enough even to argue with him until he can figure it all out for himself!!

e. ‘SINAI’, LIVING IN THE LIGHT— The culminating historical element in the Egyptian redemption process happens with the nation’s receiving of the Torah at Sinai. The pure-G-dly-soulful-expanded-consciousness level is now fully and eternally acquired. This stage is compared to our student’s reaching a level, where he’s no longer in need of his teacher’s wisdom. He gets it on his own straight from Hashem. He sees the wisdom in every aspect of reality. He is no longer the student. He is now the master!

‘THE GET-YOURSELF-FREE-FORMULA’

3. Now we’re ready for our Parsha Tool…for our freedom formula:

a. Be aware of your personal Egypts–large and small. Let your mind recall all your revealed and repressed enslavements…mark them down. You’ll probably be amazed how much there is repressed inside of yourself….

b. Now begin to process them—First groan about them and then wordlessly scream with wild and emotional abandon..[if you’re in an embarrassing environment, then either take your chances and go for it, wait till your alone or do it right there, but in a silent way]…Try to get to the point of helplessness, where you truly  open your heart to Hashem and beseech Him for help….

c. How do we access the overpowering instantly liberating Divine Light which is beyond our present capacities? We gave the answer at the beginning of this essay—-project a whole ‘new you’ one year from now on Pesach 5767 [2007]. You’ll be a person who enjoyed the most free and liberated year of your life. Make note of exactly how you achieved this glorious goal. Don’t forget the aspect of soul, faith, G-dliness and expanded consciousness…otherwise you never will truly escape from your inner slavery….

d. Now just go with the projected plan that you set up for yourself one step at a time….

3. Regarding freedom

at the risk of being a bit impetuous and politically incorrect , i nevertheless send to you, a group comprising a few of  my favorite friends and students and teachers [ i welcome all feedback]
–a few of my latest exploratory discoveries and thoughts [mostly accessed last night in the Mikve];

1. though i consider myself to be  all about freedom in the conventional sense of the word [like lower soul stuff and be here now and paradise-ing and living the life i love…etc..etc.., upon looking deeper at the type of freedom that is being taught to us by the pesach mindset–i have come up with a very different paradigm—namely ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

2. We were being trained as a nation of slaves of man, prior to our inception or birth as a people, to be a nation of slaves or servants of Hashem for the rest of our history–ie…learning about ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

3. why were we as a nation stuck for 210 years in egypt to begin with?—i think it was to grab this new kind of freedom called ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

4. Steven Stills [of Crosby Stills nash and young fame ] wrote—‘find the cost of freedom buried in the ground…’—whether steven knew it or not–i think that he was coming on to this thing called ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

5. Kabbalah teaches that freedom is represented by the sefirah of Bina…Bina also represents the Sefira of Happiness and Neshama’s source and Music and Torah
and the essential experience of Bina  is to be the vessilizer or encapsulater or packager of Chochma— of free flowing shefa —ie…the Sefira that restricts  or
ENSLAVES itself in order to allow unbridled Freedom to be expressed —and thereby elicit Torah and happiness and neshama and music …….ie…’SLAVERY FREEDOM’

6. ‘normal’ type of freedom usually , in my experience, usually comes with a price—ie—just to say ‘I’M FREE’—usually what happens soon afterwards , is that i get slam-dunked by some type of burden or darkness or calling—calling me out to somewhat enslave myself in order to be free as a result—the irony of ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

7. alot of the time, what i find is that what people seem
to seek out in terms of freedom is bordering on addictive behaviour—ie…’give me my fix of love or alcohol or drugs or unburdenedness–and i’ll be free—but without that
i can’t’—instead of surrendering or transcending or subjecting a certain part of themselves [ourselves] –through self imposed slavery of sorts—in order to avoid the
addiction—another example of ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

8. though some people [i’m thinking specifically of very frum/orthodox/observant
people] are certainly engulfed in all kinds of seeming self imposed service and burdens in order to access ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’ —nevertheless, i believe that as long as what they do, they do in a shallow, external, habitual way–then they remain enslaved and not free—-UNLESS—they seek to somewhat truly enslave themselves [from their present perspective]–in order top get to their freedom —ie…true ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

9. the Torah teaches  –that the one who is truly free, is the one who is engaged and deeply occupied with Torah learning….Torah is all about boundaries—spiritual and actual—in order to achieve fusion with Hashem and His Will —ie…’SLAVERY FREEDOM’

10. In my own experience, if I take the time and effort [ie..minimal enslavement] at the start of a new day to plan out my whole day with anh inspired ‘to do’ list, than
my day is one of paradise and freedom–a different type of ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

11. The Saba of Nevordik would be at his best and happiest when he was faced with the most difficult of challenges to overcome and thereby grow—‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

12. the Slonim Rebbe –author of ‘Netivot Shalom’ teaches [in the name of his great grandfather–i think], that the key to be in a constant state of  supreme Pleasure in life, is to be detached from pleasure —totally ….ie…enslave yourself to acieving the detachment and thereby achieve ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

13. The Tosh Rebbe [Shlit’a] teaches throughout his 2 volume work, entitled avodat Avoda—that the key to  true spirituality  is to restrict or enslave what you surround yourself  with—-your desires and  senses and your thoughts and feelings and actions—avoiding the material, physical…etc….and thereby open up the true uncluttered, unlimited spiritual access—another example of ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

14. alot of other Chassidic and non-Chassidic [including Chabad teachings] teach that the way to break free is to break away from ME , —ie….do what it takes [go thru the slavery that it takes  to minimize ME and then let in Hashem…..another form of
‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

15. A good friend gave me a wonderful recipe for achieving peace between myself and my wife [and for anyone else as well]years ago at a particularly hard time—he told me to convey to her that i was willing to do anything and everything for  her [ie..totally enslaving myself to her burden] —-and really mean it…. a very powerful
example of   ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

16. The Omer period is a period that is characterized by an access of 49 or 50 units of freedom [the going out of Egypt is mentioned 50 times in the Torah , and we went out of Egypt ‘CHAMUSHIM’ -ie…in a 50 unit] —the natural bridge from Pesach’s freedom access to Shavuot’s Torah access [on Shavuot we become free Torah learners]—-we do this with hard work on ourselves [slavery]—another example of
‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

17.   The Omer period is a period characterized by a rectification and refinement of our Midos or character traits—ie– to be humble to be nothings[slaves] to be totally open and respectful of others and of Hashem——and thereby free up those nasty traits that get in my way….’SLAVERY FREEDOM’

18. The Omer period is a period that is also characterized by a rectification and refinement based on the counting of the Sefirot —ie…an injection of total self expression–and  i work on enslaving myself to rid myself of all thatb gets in my way of accessing this total self expression–ie…’SLAVERY FREEDOM’

19. i believe that this idea of  utilizing slavery in order to get freedom is real–but is subjected to a person’s being READY  for it—and if you need non-slavery freedom access–then that’s what you are ready for—therefore one needs to gauge your readiness to jump into ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

20.  i also believe that some types of slavery-freedom-ing —may appear to be the exact opposite—such as the strategy of equinamity [it’s all then same to me] in order to achieve freedom or bitachon [i need no effort –cuz i trust that Hashem will make it happen]—but if you look deep, you’ll see that to achieve these transcendent states ,
you need a powerful degree of self boundarizing and ‘SLAVERY FREEDOM’

A SLAVERY FREEDOM RECIPE

A. choose 1 area of life /act/ feeling/thought…etc…
B. identify the slavery aspect of this factor—ie…in what way are you truly enslaved
c. draw down from ABOVE, the type of personal subjugation or slavery that you need in order to free yourself up
d. do it
e. project yourself/co-create yourself as a free person
f. do this same exercise with as many personal enslavements as possible

g. pray for it

May we be blessed to be truly free in the deepest , most essential sense of the word,

yitzchak

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