Friday, November 28, 2014


There is only one way for a person to experience a joy that once attained is forever, and that is by being a soul person.

The kind of joy and happiness that knows no limits, must be connected to the energy that has no limits and is infinite i.e. the soul, G-dliness. Living with soul, identifying with the spark of G-d within, liberates a person from the vicissitudes of an ever changing world and the limited existence of the physical.

G-dliness is spiritual, but for many people spirituality doesn't necessarily mean G-dliness.

For many people spirituality is anything they can’t see or touch with their five senses. To be sure, intellect and emotions are spiritual but many times they are not G-dly.

G-dliness, is the state of connecting with and emulating, living by the standards of the creative positive force that is the credit to this existence.

The Talmud says a story that once a fellow by the name of Nachum was traveling to Rome. On his way at an inn, the innkeeper emptied his box of diamonds and jewels he was bringing as a gift to the Caesar and exchanged them for stones and dirt so he would not immediately realize what happened. When he came to the ruler and presented the gift, the Caesar wanted to kill him for being offensive. Nachum’s reaction was not focused on the surface of what was going on, but he already trained his eyes and heart to see deeper, to the source that makes everything happen and he thought, “this too (all that happens and is orchestrated by G-d) is for the good”.

The Talmud continues, the stones and earth turned into a valuable resource for the king, miraculously.

Mysticism explains that because Nachum lived on the level of the soul, his own and that of the world, he always saw G-d in everything and was not fazed by surface appearances. He was able to connect with the spark of goodness that is in everything and through this attitude draw out the good to the surface.

A G-dly person understands that there is more to life than what meets the eye. Life is not about money and more cars and a bigger home. These can only bring skin deep, surface and limited, finite happiness.  Yes a car can serve the purpose of G-dliness, but the pleasure of a car in itself is hollow and empty.

A G-dly person understands, life is not of the body. Living on the level of a body he would be no different than an animal. Life, is living in a body, to enhance the experiences of soul.

A person who is G-dly manifests and exhibits the G-dly character traits of humility, kindness, care for others, a desire to improve and make things better for others and a clear understanding of right from wrong. A person of this sort, strength and joy is his lot. There is meaning and purpose to everything, which brings deep self confidence. This person knows and feels, “ G-d is with me and I shall fear nothing”. This, is true Joy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life is a small moment in time, to make an eternal difference for ourselves, and for the world around us.

Life is a small moment in time, to make an eternal difference for ourselves, and for the world around us.

The Bible doesn’t speak in riddles, it means exactly what is says, literally. In addition to the very simple meaning, when someone is speaking or writing a book, there is always, what did he intend and what motivated him to say those words. G-d in the Bible chose specific stories in our history, and recorded specific aspects of those stories, to include in His eternal book of instruction, because, only these stories and those aspects have deeper meaning applicable to all times and to all people.

“Sarah passed away in the metropolis of four, which is (called) Chevron (Hebron). Abraham came to eulogize Sarah and cry for her. Abraham paid Efron 400 Silver coins for the plot of land.”

The Zohar, the seminal book of mysticism explains this story on a deeper level. Sarah is a metaphor for the body and Abraham for the soul.

There comes a time for the body (Sarah), essentially made of four elements (metropolis of four) – fire, water, earth and air or nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, to cease its work here in this world. While the body was functioning and alive all these elements that comprise the body, are all attached and connected to each other and to the soul that animates it from within. (Chevron in Hebrew is etymologically related to the word “connected”)

The word (name) Efron in Hebrew is related to earth and dust. The one that is humble, unpretentious and self-effacing, is bestowed by Abraham the soul, 400 measures of yearning and connection to G-dliness and spirituality. In Hebrew, the word Kesef –silver, is related to yearning and attachment.

Abraham, the soul, at that point of death, cries over its loss, the body, in which it operated throughout its lifetime here in this physical existence.

So we have a marriage of sorts between the soul and the body, Abraham and Sarah and when it falls apart there are tears on the part of the soul for the body!

The Bible tells us in an earlier portion, “all that Sarah tells you listen to her voice.” How is that possible to understand in light of what we just explained? Should the soul who by nature yearns for G-dliness and holiness listen and follow the voice of the corporeal body that lusts for physical and materialistic pursuits?

Isn’t the goal, for the spiritual to overcome the coarseness of materialism, and not the other way around?

“The patriarchs and matriarchs lead the way for all their children.” What they did is a sign post that shows us the way, and here lies a great secret of truth.

People are distracted many times by the external attraction of beauty and the appeal of vanity. Truth is hidden and difficult to find. The temptation of the body and the hedonistic lifestyles are a great diversion, like a strong hurricane pushing our minds and lives in the opposite direction of anything worthwhile and meaningful.

To fulfill the will and yearnings of the soul one must pull the last strengths from deep down inside. Many times we think and feel, what’s the purpose for all this??

The answer is. The process and the constant challenge and battles, are the purpose.

Every time a person holds back the urge to do the ungodly, and the unholy, he/she pushes back and suppresses this force and fills the space with holiness. With self-control and discipline. Every time we are faced with a challenge from the world of deceit and falsehood and we draw inner strength out to the front to deal with these hardships, the soul becomes enriched, bigger than it was before.

Only when it comes the time for the eternal soul to leave the body, does it realize from its new perspective, how much was gained for itself, and cries, over the loss of these opportunities.

Life is a small moment in time, to make an eternal difference for ourselves, and for the world around us.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

“What is to give light, must endure burning.”

Great life lesson from this story.

A young man began his return journey back to his spiritual roots and asked Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson the Lubavitcher Rebbe, "Rabbi, why is it so difficult? Why do I have constantly hardships, difficulties coping…?"

The Rebbe replied: "We are not angels, we are human beings. Angels have no tests and temptations; they worship the Almighty without any difficulty. But we, have been given trials and tribulations to use them as ladders, to climb and to rise."

The young man did not really understand what the Rebbe meant, and instead of explaining, the Rebbe asked him, "What do you like best? What are your hobbies?” I love art, especially paintings," he said.

"Who is your favorite artist?" Asked the Rebbe. "Picasso," he said. "And what Picasso painting do you like best?" The Rebbe continued. The guy described the painting "Sunset," his favorite painting in the world.

"In the painting one sees the beach. The sun is setting, a couple of kids are playing in the sand, and an old couple is walking in their direction. Sunset tells me a lot. It has a lot of meaning. The symbolism of the sun going down and the hope that tomorrow it rises again, the kids play and do not even relate to the elderly couple walking beside them. A generation goes and a generation comes. This gives me a lot of thoughts and feelings. "

"And how much is this painting worth?” Asked the Rebbe. "Right now it sold at a public auction at Sotheby’s for eight million dollars," the fellow said.

Asks the Rebbe: "If as Picasso painted, there was someone with a camera and just simply snapped the magnificent picture, at sunset, children, the elderly - what do you think would be more accurate? The painting by Picasso or the picture from the camera?” “Clearly the picture," the young man said.

"And how much do you think the picture would be worth?" The Rebbe continued to ask. The young man answered immediately: “they sell postcards of similar pictures for twenty-five cents."

The Rebbe said to him: "Tell me, how is it that for the painting people are paying millions of dollars, and the picture barely fetches twenty-five cents?"

"You know why?" Said the Rebbe, “a camera cannot make mistakes. It's a machine. Humans on the other hand can make errors and mistakes and that is why his creations and his works are worth eight million dollars.

When a painter paints, he invests his entirety into the painting. He gives his feelings, his perspective. You can see and feel his soul, the experiences he went through, because he puts himself in the picture. But the camera when it comes down to it, is just a robot.

In the same way, the Almighty G-d has billions of angels, they never make mistakes, but they are not as valuable as human beings exercising free choice. The prayers of Angels are not worth the same like that of a person’s  prayer who says , "acknowledge G-d, proclaim His name, make His deeds known,…sing to Him, chant to Him, speak of all His wonders…”

The Rebbe concluded: "All the failures and tribulations you described are not meant to knock you down, but to gratify you even more. Because, every time you fail you are reminded that you are a human being on a mission and on a journey of improvement. If one time you could not pray properly, then the next time you exert yourself your prayers will be better. You, will have enhanced your own self. Your failures make the light! ".

Let me conclude the article with this saying. “What is to give light, must endure burning.”