Sunday, October 22, 2017

How does one reach -- “G-d is with me (therefore) I shall not fear.”




“Hear o Israel the Lord our G-d the Lord is one.” Another verse. “You shall know today and you shall place it in your heart, that G-d, is G-d in the heavens above and in the earth below, there is none other besides Him.”

Knowing is not enough, we must also PLACE it in our heart. The Bible is very aware, that what we have up in our heads on its own, isn’t enough to influence our behavior. How many of us know it is bad to eat certain foods and we do it anyway. How many know that smoking, drinking in excess, or other examples are detrimental in our lives, and we do it anyway.

After a person acquires knowledge, it takes a separate effort to push that knowledge down the narrow straights of the neck, and have the knowledge, reach our heart, in order to provoke an emotion strong enough, that we should feel actually moved by the positive or negative consequence of doing or not doing.

That is why our sages tell us, “Who is strong? One who conquers and as a result takes control of his emotions.”

The knowledge and awareness must penetrate deep into our hearts, so that our will and desires, together with our emotions will be totally in line and directed by this awareness.

This does not come easy and takes great effort. The distance between knowing and the knowledge influencing our hearts, is as far as the distance between knowing and not knowing. The difference, is between those who say they believe, and those who say, they “really” believe, meaning, the belief has penetrated deeper than just a superficial faith.

As the verse directs its instruction to us it is saying, “And you shall know, today”. Every word is deliberate in G-ds book the Bible. There is not even one letter redundant and unnecessary.

The Bible is saying, “And you shall know” - from the “today” – i.e. the occurrences and happenings of every day. A person who cares to know and place it in his/her heart, can see the providence of G-d everywhere and in everything, when he observes and notices all the “coincidences” and unexpected “miracles.” When a person trains his mind to see Divine Providence in everything, the facade of nature and professed predictability becomes almost like an interesting joke, and is uncovered for the “truth” which is, at any moment anything can change because ultimately it is all in His control.

There are many levels to our faith in G-d.

#1, The most basic is to believe that there is one G-d. He exists, and there is no other besides him. #2, A higher and deeper level in this faith, is that there is no other authority or power in the world outside of this G-d. Not the employer, or the government, or money etc. #3, The deepest level in faith from the verse mentioned above, is that there is no other existence, besides G-d. “There is none other besides Him.” The world and the universe have no substance of its own outside of G-d.

What appears to our eyes as the world and the universe, is an expression of His existence hiding under the trick G-d made for the sake of giving us free choice, we call, “the laws of Nature.” G-d is the existence and reality of everything. The only true underlying energy behind and the reason for everything.

In a very subtle way, when a person gives power to anybody or anything in the world, as if it can affect his life and interfere in his relationship with G-d this is a form of denying G-ds oneness and unity in the world. It is a form of idol worshiping by attributing some degree of power to anything outside of the invisible omniscient and omnipresent G-d.

This awareness and knowledge of G-ds existence, when implanted in one’s heart is what Maimonides begins his entire magnum opus and describes as the “the foundation of all foundations and the pillar of knowledge.”

This deep felt faith brings to the expression, “G-d is with me (therefore) I shall not fear.”

Do You worship idols?



“From The beginnings of your dough you shall give to G-d. “

Literally, this verse is talking about the portion allocated by G-d as support for the Priests in the Temple, called Challah. In Hebrew, the word for dough (arisah) can also mean “beds”. The Torah would be saying then, early in the morning, right when you come out of bed, one should dedicate the beginning of the day to G-d in prayer and gratitude.

The Talmud says, anyone who gives Challah - this first portion to G-d, it’s as if they negated idol worshiping, while anyone who does not give Challah, it’s as if they worshiped idols!!! Heavy words.

The negation of idol worshipping is a cornerstone and foundation of our faith. So, how do we ascribe what appears to be the observance of one commandment with the foundation and main pillar of our faith???

Dough represents sustenance and life itself. To make dough one must plow the ground, place the seeds, harvest the kernels, make the flour, etc.  According to nature, much effort on the part of a person.

It would be very easy for a person who sits down to some bread after working so hard to think that what he has is a product of his own hard labor and he is self-made. Even while believing the world had to be made by an infinite intelligence, and reflecting on the circumstances of life, a person concludes that certainly G-d is behind so much of what happens, he may still attribute the results of his own very hard labor to himself.

If a person thinks all that he has was earned is to his own credit, there is no reason to give away what is mine to someone else. Even if I do give anything away, it has to be self-serving. This then is precisely the theme and concept of idol worshipping.

Idol worshipping is when a person attributes power and influence in his life, outside of G-d. When a person thinks, there is G-d and then, there are other influences to either blame or give credit to, such as my competitor, the enemy, the employer; he denies G-d in certain areas of his life and puts his faith – worries, in “Idols”.

When a person believes everything in his life is the direct results of an infinite G-d “there is nothing else but Him”, this would mean, whatever a person has, the circumstances that he is in, is totally to the credit and attributable to G-d.

If I understand, my parents brought me into the world, educated me, cloth me, gave me the money for my business, advise me etc., I don’t have a problem with giving them FIRST their due and then, enjoying some for myself.

A person who worships Idols has many gods, and his world is very fragmented. There are so many influences, and he can be torn and dragged into so many directions. A person who realizes and understands that notwithstanding his own effort which is also to the credit of G-d, everything around him is always influenced by the will of G-d, this person will have an integrated and cohesive life.

That is why according to the law; the portion dedicated to the Priest must come not from the flour – the fragmented particles, but from the kneaded dough. The unity of one’s belief “G-d is one and everything all around is only Him”, leads easily to dedicating time and resources to G-d, to helping others first, for its own unselfish sake.

Maimonides Advice soon coming out in Print.






Sunday, October 1, 2017

Good Resolution versus Bad Ones.





In the Talmud it is written, that when a person makes a positive G-dly resolution and for some unforeseen reason it did not materialize, G-d considers it, as done. When we make a resolution, the power of our mind is such that immediately the positive energy is drawn into the physical world as if the deed was done. The verse clearly states that even those who merely “think G-ds name…G-d listens and records.”

“Where a person mind is, that is where his soul is”. His life energy dwells there. Therefore, when a person makes a sincere decision to do something, he is already there and the deed was completed in the world of thought. When the resolution is sincere, all the faculties needed to accomplish the deed, were already drawn in the direction of his goal and commitment, and as far as the person is concerned, he already is there -- at the goal. As far as the physical world is concerned, sometimes G-d may have other plans.

When we say G-d considers and attaches the thought to the deed, this includes even those acts, which are presently over and above the capabilities of this individual. If the resolution is sincere with all of one's soul, G-d considers and attaches this thought to the performance of the deed -- meaning that the strength is given from G-d, and if necessary new channels are opened, to fulfill and reach this resolution.

This is true only for positive things, because inherently the nature of everyone is to do good. Thus, when a positive resolution is made, it is in harmony with one's G-dly good soul -- and the good thought is in synchronicity with the deepest parts of ones soul, the G-d within, to open if necessary whatever it takes in order to accomplish the deed. However, when one thinks evil, it is only on the exterior and does not come from deep inside, and isn’t in harmony with the universe which is good. Therefore, the person's bad thought is all alone and goes no further than the bad thought that it is.

In ancient Babylonia, a ruler made evil decrees, including that it was forbidden to fast and pray to G-d. The Rabbi of the time advised the people to decide that they would fast when it was possible, and the thought alone would help avert the decree from G-d.

In the book of Daniel the verse says, “From the time you (Daniel) understood and decided to benefit from the power of fasting, I (G-d) have heard your words.”

The code of Jewish law says that when a person is being pursued by an enemy and merely decides to fast in prayer, immediately this will help him.  The moment he thinks and still has not done any fasting, he receives the consideration as if he fasted.

Drawing from a verse, the Talmud says, when a person makes a bad resolution, G-d will at times, re-arrange circumstances so that his evil plan will not materialize. When a person however, makes a G-dly positive resolution, this can influence actual reality, and G-d will re-arrange matters, if necessary, so his resolution can be materialized.


Once the Holy master, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, asked a follower of his to pledge that he would print a certain collection of books. Since the follower had absolute faith in his G-dly teacher, he accepted, even though the cost was way beyond what he was able to afford. Not long after the pledge was made, an unexpected positive opportunity for this person arose which presented new channels of livelihood and suddenly enabled him to fulfill his pledge and become a wealthy man. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Song


Faith & Reason. Rational and the supra-rational .The infinite power of faith.

                                                               Article on LinkedIn

Once Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber was walking with his son, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak in the city of Rostov Russia, and he was teaching him a very deep concept in mysticism. The son was so deep in thought, he kept on walking, even while his father stopped for a moment. Only after being called by his name, he became aware and walked back to where his father was standing.

The father then told his son. “The difference between a human – rational mind and a G-dly mind is that; a regular rational human mind, starts first by applying itself, and then comes inevitably to the realization that it is not humanly possible to understand everything so it then turns to faith. While a G-dly mind begins with faith, and then, to be personally connected it will make every human effort to understand and be rational.”

This story took place in front of a building, which later on, became the headquarters for the feared GPU. Years later, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok was incarcerated for teaching Judaism and was sentenced to death. In the course of his interrogation in this building, he told his interrogators what he heard from his father at that place, years earlier.

Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok now understood, why his father, told him those words of strength, at precisely this spot. Let us explain.

Both the G-dly, and rational approach, includes both faith and normal rational thinking. In the former, faith is followed by the rational and personal connection, and in the latter, rational thinking ends with faith. So, in the end, what difference is there between one approach versus the other?

The use of a rational mind, fits into the category and classification of the “created” things in this natural world. Things we use, in this world. While the G-dly mind approach, where faith is the starting point, this is a connection from the start with a force higher than the created, and is attached and connected with the category of “Creator.”

This is the ultimate peak and plateau, expected of each person, “and you are connected to G-d your G-d (and therefore) – you are all alive eternally”. The source of energy, above and beyond all that is created.

When a person approaches matters, whatever it may be in his life, and his first approach is logical, and only afterwards when he recognizes the limitations of his mind, turns to the deeper faculty inside, we call faith, since the foundation and first step is his own mind, and this is what gives birth to his faith, his faith, forever and always will be limited to the logic, which gives birth and is the source of this faith.

In addition, since logic can always be argued, the moment anyone comes up with an argument to his logic, the pillar and foundation for his faith, out goes the faith. Since the faith is an outgrowth of his logic, it will always be limited and dependent on the parameters and strength of his logic.

On the other hand, if our first approach to circumstances in life, and/or to whatever challenge we are facing, is an unwavering faith in an infinite All knowing, All powerful G-d, who made the world and all the situations one may be facing…then, I will KNOW in a convincing manner, beyond rational thinking, that He certainly has a good and positive purpose for everything He does, and gave me the strength to withstand whatever. My thinking is and will be permeated and saturated totally, by the acceptance of His omniscience and omnipotence.

This faith and the power it fuels is unlimited and knows no boundaries. To begin with, it supersedes logic and rational thinking. The thinking that comes afterwards is then infused with this faith and is incomparably stronger than the first way.

This is why Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok repeated this concept to his interrogators. He wanted them to know, they where dealing with someone who is infused totally and completely by a supra-rational faith. Just like it is impossible to imprison G-d and spirituality, G-d is bigger than any force here in this world, so too, sentencing him would not accomplish their goal of stopping the spread of Judaism in Russia at that time.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

To surrender oneself before G-d. The Ultimate strength and courage to be a King.


                                                                Article on Linkedin


Knowledge is Power -- G-dly Knowledge is SUPER POWER.

“You shall place upon yourself a King.” Deut. 17:15.  In fact, the Torah designates every person as a king! Kol Yisroel Melachim Haim. Zohar.  The role of every King, is to rule over his very own “small world”. To take responsibility of his/her own life in the ongoing war and struggle that starts from the moment of birth, of the good inclination over the evil and bad inclination. To gain ground, conquer, and take control over his “small city”.

According to Jewish law, a king must be anointed by the special oil prepared by Moses.  So the next natural question is, how can every person be considered a king? Every person was not anointed with this special miraculous oil?

The rule is also, that the child of a king automatically takes over the throne from his father. Now, since each person is like an only child to our Father in heaven – G-d, the kingship is automatically passed to each and every person – the only child to G-d.

However, how can anyone suggest each and every person is like an only child when in fact there are so many others in the world?

The answer is that we are talking about G-d. Parents undoubtedly will have a very different type of mentality and emotions towards an only child or a child who is one of many. When it comes to G-d, the Holy Baal Shem Tov taught, “the love G-d has for every single person is infinitely greater than the love of an elderly couple who gave birth to an only child in their old age.”  G-d in his infinite possibilities has that type of infinite love towards each person as if there was no one else but him.

We are still not there yet explaining the special relationship each one of us has with G-d, being considered a King and an only child.

Since G-d is forever as the verse says, “You and your years never end …”, He, is above and beyond the concept of time itself, how can anyone ever inherit anything from Him? G-d never ends and has no ending, to pass anything over to someone else?

When it is written in the Torah the land of Israel is an inheritance for every Jew, the intention is not an inheritance from our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but that every Jew no matter where he finds himself is granted a claim to the land, “an inheritance to the (entire) congregation of Jacob “, granted by G-d Himself.

The inheritance, is our claim granted by the infinite G-d to each and every one.

Those who study the wisdom of G-d in the Torah --  the most powerful energy of G-d granted to the universe, they are the true rulers and kings over this world. The study of Torah is not limited to any one group but as the Rambam writes, every Jew is obligated to study the Torah. Therefore it follows every person can study and actively become that king with the very real power to rule and conquer successfully their “small cities”.

This awareness that every person is a King,  grants every person in his spiritual service to G-d the determination and the very real courage to face and stand up to the struggles, temptations,  and machinations of the evil inclination.

This awareness and the strength it brings with it will never lead to arrogance because, he knows this is a strength exclusively granted by G-d and is not a power that is self-generated from inside himself. Jewish law says, even a King must stands like a servant, before G-d.

It is necessarily because he is humble and surrenders himself before the supreme kingship of G-d from whom he knows he is receiving all that strength he can fulfill “do not be afraid before any human being.”

Mindful that his title as a king is not about his own existence and identity, but that he is a messenger granted power by G-d, through the study and practice of the Torah and its commandments, that he carries with him the strength of the Torah - G-ds strength - the wisdom of G-d - to take on and stand firm before any challenge that he/she ultimately conquers his/her little city and succeeds to become the ruler and king over themselves.