HaShem’s Emuna

I just got my monthly treasure in the mail from Breslev Israel. It was the small booklet, Outpouring Of The Soul by Rabbi Nachman translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

As usual with all my Jewish books in the introduction there is as much wealth as in the rest of the book. In the Translator’s Introduction he is talking about the issue of Jewish meditation and prayer, he brings up the point how the Amidah can be used and was a meditative set of prayers.

The Amidah is chocked full of wisdom and amazing revelations of Hashem. The second prayer of the Amidah, Gibor HaShem, is one of my favorites, if having a favorite is appropriate.

There is one part of this prayer or statement of the greatness of HaShem that makes me shout every time I read it or even ponder on it.

As I learn from Rabbi Kaplan, I can see now how meditative the Amidah really is. So let’s look at one statement in the second prayer and let this be our meditative point.

“and Who maintains His faith to those asleep in the dust.”

Here is an aspect of eternal life that is so amazing and it is a declaration of the, might and strength of HaShem.

Over the past 4 or 5 years I have replaced the English word, faith, with the Hebrew word, emuna – for when one grasps what emuna is then the English word is no longer fitting.

Here in this prayer we have the word, Emunasoy/ His Emuna

Emuna is more about knowledge than it is about belief. Belief has an element of doubt attached to it whereas knowledge is concrete an factual dispelling any doubt. As long as you only believe in something there is always the opportunity to doubt it but when cold hard facts are on the table then there is no doubt to its substance.

With this being said let’s look at this again, Emunasoy, HaShem’s emuna to those who are asleep in the dust.

He is a G-d without change and is rock solid, He has full knowledge of His plans for those who love Him and serve Him and the grave does not stop His plans for them. He maintains His emuna with those in the grave – come on how awesome is that

Meditate on the fact that HaShem has emuna toward us.

What a powerful point to meditate on.

How does this strengthen your tefillah – your connection with Him?

Today as we meditate on HaShem’s emuna let it build up your emuna toward Him.

Let’s go and breathe new life into the Amidah as it becomes not only a daily prayer but our daily meditation.

Atah gibor la-oy-lam HaShem – You are mighty, eternally, Our Master

Emunasoy – His emuna, His might, His Strength.

I think I hear you shouting now with me.

Terry W. Hayes

 

 

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Hammered

Posted: June 15, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Hammered

2008 changed many lives here in America and around the world as the recession began to pick up speed. It spread across not only our land but many lands and now four years later many countries are still feeling its affect and it is not over. Like one Rabbi said, G-d shook the earth like shaking a blanket.

What is the purpose of this world wide shaking?

“Everything in this world comes straight from its Maker. He will shake our emuna for the sole purpose of strengthening it.” Dovber HaLevi – The Emuna Fortress

Many of us have been hammered in one way or another not only through this recession but through the ongoing trials of life.

If we had it our way we would want smooth sailing without any disturbances but a sail boat cannot sail without wind. A smooth sea causes the boat to be still and not move.

Rabbi Lazer Brody spoke of a saying, “The child never touched the floor.” This is a way of saying the child is, ’spoiled’. This saying displays a child never put down; he was always in his mother’s arms. He never learned how to walk on his own.

G-d does not want our boats to sit still nor does He want us to be spoiled; so what does He do? He sends us a wind and He puts us down and backs off just a bit to teach us to walk. Yes the sea gets rough at times and we may fall and get bruised in the process but with each gust of wind our boat moves forward and when we learn to stand we will take steps forward as well.

Emuna is the Hebrew word translated into English as ‘faith’. As always in translation there is loss. The Hebrew word, emuna has much more meaning that what faith denotes.

My learning and pondering on the subject of emuna over the past few weeks have taught me a lot. This morning while reading another article on the subject and pondering points that Rabbi Brody has made on some of his teachings; I have listened to over the past few days have led my thoughts down another trail that I want to share.

I began to think about how our emuna is like a light. It shines outward. With every trial and test we go through our emuna grows and the light shines a bit brighter. This made me remember about a specific aspect of the Menorah that was in the Tabernacle.

Shemos/Exodus 25:31; 37:17

You shall make a Menorah of pure gold, hammered out shall the Menorah shall be made….

He made the Menorah of pure gold; hammered out did he make the Menorah….

The Menorah that would become the light of the Tabernacle an Temple was made out of pure gold but before it became a vessel of light it took a beating so to speak. Every aspect of the Menorah was hammered. It was completely made of one piece of gold; nothing else was made separate and forged in later.

The Menorah would take its form and shape from the pounding of a hammer. With each blow of the hammer, it came closer to its intended purpose and service.

Our lives like this Menorah. Our Maker pounds on us to shape us and to create a vessel for His light that is contained in each soul. Before we can truly shine the light of God we must be shaped, our emuna must be tried and tested on all fronts. He sends the wind, creates the waves and swings the hammer all for our benefit so that we can move forward and become what we are meant to be.

When I pondered these two passages even farther; I see that the Menorah cast two different lights.

  1. The primary mission of the Menorah was to be a vessel for the oil that would burn inside its cups and bowls. This oil is like our soul that is on the inside of us and when lit with the holy fire of God shines bright for all to see.
  2. With each blow of the Craftsman Hammer not only does the Menorah take shape but the hammer leaves a small indentation that becomes a reflector. When light strikes, it reflects back, each indentation shines a different reflection and makes the Menorah glimmer in the light.

The same is with us, with each blow of the hammer we take shape and with every indentation left by the hammer shines a different aspect of our emuna.

Those who are looking for easy street are not fit to become a menorah. To become a vessel of light we have to take a beating; this pounding of the Craftsman’s hammer is not of our destruction but a continuation of our creation – the gold was already there but it had not been of any service until the Craftsman began forming it with His hammer. Then from the first strike of the hammer the gold began its service and to shine its light.

“You shall make a Menorah of pure gold, hammered out shall the Menorah be made…”

  

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Our Choice, Emuna or Sin

Those who know me best, knows that for about four years G-d has stirred me continually about the His message found in  Berseishis/Genesis 4:6,7.

Throughout the years I have read and meditated upon these passages of Torah to draw out the message that G-d has spoken to man throughout his history.

The message is strong and comforting at the same time.

Bersishis 4:6,7

And G-d said to Cain, “Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, sin rest at the door. Its desire is toward you, yet you can conquer it.”

The message here in these two verses is, if one finds him/herself at odds with their Creator – improver yourself and you will be forgiven. As brought out in other articles I have written on this subject, the word translated into the English as ‘forgiven’ the sages of Israel tell us that it literally means to be lifted up. This is what G-d does when He forgives us, He lifts us up.

As the sages continue they teach us that when we succumb to the evil Inclination, evil and punishment is ever present as though it lived in the doorway of your house. (Sforno)

G-d is instructing us to make personal corrections when we make wrong decisions that lead us away from the ways of G-d. He tells us that He will forgive us when we make such corrections.

But the story and lesson does not end here.

This week G-d allowed me to learn even more lessons from this that I have not seen until this week. How great, a Creator we have who cares for His creation very well.

This week I have had a personal situation in which G-d used to take me to the next level in of understanding within Bereishis 4.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslev of blessed memory has given us tremendous wisdom on the subject of emuna/faith and happiness and how they play an intricate role with each other.

When we delve into our passage above we find that G-d does not deal directly with the issue that Cain brought an improper offering but He deals with Cain’s attitude.

What can we learn from Cain’s attitude?

We learn right off that G-d connects his attitude with sin. How can this be?

Sadness and depression does not only display a total lack of emuna but they become the leash that leads you to sin.

Sadness and depression are revealed in Cain’s annoyance and fallen countenance; G-d knew where Cain was heading and that is why we have the warning to improve ourselves but if we do not sin awaits us.

Sadness and depression is the opposite of emuna and cannot co-exist. When we allow sadness and depression to replace our emuna we become self-destructive; again we are shown this in Bereishis 4

After G-d gives Cain a pep talk, pointing him back to the right path and how to get there we are shown what happens when we allow our sadness and depression to rule our lives instead of emuna.

Bereishis 4:8

Cain spoke to his brother Abel. And it happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother and killed him.

Sadness and depression is the opposite of emuna and happiness. The lack of emuna in Cain’s life led to his sadness, jealousy and hatred of his brother. All leading to two murders so to speak; his lack of emuna led him to sin and kill his brother and in doing so he self-destructed himself or killed himself. His fallen countenance and annoyance led him down this path of destruction.

When we surrender our emuna to sadness and depression we become self-destructive, this opens the door to sin. But if we maintain our emuna with happiness the door to sin remains shut.

It is important to cling onto emuna that, every situation is sent to us from G-d and it is for our benefit no matter how much it hurts at the time.

The lesson we are given in Bereishis 4:6-8 is for everyone at all times. It is not a cute Bible lesson.

It is an all important lesson on emuna, forgiveness, sin and the consequences of the lack of emuna has in our lives to this very day from our Creator.

Hidden Salvation

Posted: June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Yosef’s story paraphrased:

The brothers were angered at their brother, they came together and threw him in a pit that eventually put into motion a string of events brought him to Egypt and into a powerful position would lead to the salvation of the world during a famine and his own family would be reunited.

An interesting point to ponder emerges from the story of Yosef:

Concealed within tribulation lies salvation.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslev teaches us the foundation of emuna (faith) is the knowledge that everything we experience comes from G-d – He sends the good and what appears to be bad both to us – another level of emuna is that everything G-d sends toward us is for our benefit.

Yosef knew this when he states in Bereishis/Genesis 45:8

“It was not you who sent me here but G-d.”

When we look deep into the story of Yosef, we find that his tribulations were not only for his benefit but also for the benefit of others.

How do we apply this today?

When G-d sends a tribulation, know through emuna that concealed within it, there is a hidden salvation.

I have been learning the sefer, Ruth the Scroll of Kindness – Megillas Ruth with the commentary Nachalas Yosef by Rabbi Yosef Ze’ev Lipowitz

There is a lot of discussion about Devarim 11:16 “Beware for yourselves, lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and prostrate yourselves to them.” Artscroll Chumash  – “Beware of being misled by the evil inclination to forsake the Torah, for he who abandons the Torah becomes attached to idolatry” Sifrei

As I ponder this I see two things that lead to the same conclusion.

  1. The seduction of the heart leads to idolatry.
  2. The abandonment of Torah leads to idolatry.

When I continue on with my thoughts they lead me to conclude that when the evil inclination seduces us to break a mitzvah that, that breaking of a mitzvah in itself is idolatry as when we do not serve HaShem in His mitzvoth we serve something else even if it isn’t but our self and self-interest.

Ok, I normally do not rant on here but what I saw today I just cannot sit by and say nothing regardless that it may upset some.

Today while working on a construction site I had to make use of the provided porta-potty. Once entering your eyes was drawn to words written by a marker at eye level; as you can see in the provided photo I took with my phone.

What we have here for those who may not know is, one of the names that a messianic Christian group more known as Sacred Name movement use for the name of G-d.

As we can see that this dimi-god believing group has no knowledge of what holiness even looks like. Alongside of this name on the outhouse wall was also a Spanish version of the name Christian god. Maybe it is fitting for them to put the names of their gods on outhouse walls, I guess it is ironic. I do see these names many times in these same places from job to job.

The sacred namers try to combine the true Sacred Name of the G-d, the Four Letter Name that is not permitted to be pronounced at this time with the name of a Hebrew version of the Christian god.

For those who do not know, Torah Jews and Torah G-d fearing non-Jews known as Noahides do not say any of the permitted Names of G-d in the impure place of the restroom. We do not carry any books that have the Holy name in it into the restroom, we do not post any scripture in the restroom, and we do our best to not even utter a prayer in the restroom.

G-d gave instruction to Israel on how to keep the camp clean of human waste. He told them to be very careful about these laws because He was walking in their midst.

So even if these fools did perhaps write the Holy Name on an outhouse wall, what does this have to show about their care of the Name – It shows that they have no clue about the One True God and writing His Name on an outhouse wall is in violation of the commandment not to use the Name in a vain way.

But in the end it is evident that whoever wrote this was a demi-god worshiper and the impurity of idolatry is continually unveiled

I would have to think that the guy who wrote this would not want the name of his mother or wife scribbled on outhouse walls just above where evey guy entering whips out his manhood and does his business, but he does not think twice to scribe his god’s name there. Kinda reminds me how a certain god in the past was worshiped as the worshipers would defecate in front of the idol.

HMMMMM, maybe onto something here.

Nothing new under they sun.

Shadow of Giants

Posted: April 24, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Honor, privilege, and responsibility are three words that come to mind when I think about what it means to take on the status of becoming a Ger. What is a Ger you may ask? The word ‘ger’ is the Hebrew word that is usually translated as ‘stranger’; today the English word, ‘convert’ is used to describe a Ger. Gerim (plural) are those who leave everything of their own life and heritage and join the nation and people of the Jews. It is not a religious conversion although that is part of it, it is about joining and becoming part of the people like when one becomes a US citizen that has come from another country.

G-d gave His great revelation of Himself and the instruction manual called the Torah to Israel some 3500 years ago; within the Torah He gave a total of 613 mitzvos (deeds, commandments) within these 613 mitzvos there is the command to be careful with the ger – Exodus 23:9 “And a stranger shalt thou not oppress; for ye know the heart of a stranger…” Lev. 19:34 “The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am HaShem your God.”

There are places within the Torah where G-d will repeat a word or sentence. Our sages have taught us that G-d Himself does not use even one letter in a vain way and thus when He repeats something we need to take notice and see what He is telling us. Out of all the 613 mitzvos G-d mentions the proper treatment of a Ger 36 times. The issue of how a Ger is to be treated in the most mentioned mitzvos of all the Holy Torah.

As one going through the gerus process the study of those who came before has been a major eye opener. Throughout Jewish history there have risen many Jewish giants – Moshe Rabbeinu (our teacher), Joshua, King David, Elijah, and so on. But what is amazing as well is how G-d has used the Ger in many key historical events of the nation.

In this article I want to look at a few of these Ger giants.

Jethro:

The father-in-law of Moshe Rabbeinu; he was a high priest among the pagans but after he had heard all that G-d had done for Israel he left his pagan ways and clung to the One true G-d of Israel. His conversion teaches us that the Torah can penetrate the profane.

He even was merited to give his most famed son-in-law advice that lead to a proper judicial system being set up among the people.

Ruth:

Ruth was a Moabite who through a series of events made conversion into the people of Israel; giving a convert our most famous words – “for wherever you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people are my people, and your G-d is my G-d; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried;”

Ruth through her conversion and marriage to Boaz produced a great grandson who one day would become one of the greatest men of Israel; he would become king and would pen the majority of the tehillim that Jews since then has used as their own prayers.

Through a convert we are given King David.

On the YomTov of Shavuos the book of Ruth is read for several reasons. But one of the reasons is that it is a picture of a ger tzedek or righteous convert as Shavuos is the day that G-d gave the Torah and as a ger must except the Torah with its 613 mitzvos upon coming apart of the people so too the Jews had to except the Torah on Shavuos.

Onkelos:

Onkelos was a convert from Edom a Roman. He was within the Roman Royal family; his mother was the sister of Emperor Hadrian.

He was a very well educated man, well versed in all that Rome and Greece had to offer. He could read and speak multiple languages. He was a very brilliant man with a pure heart that sought out truth. He eventually came to the conclusion that the idolatry of Rome and Greece was foolishness and embraced the One G-d of Israel.

Many of the Jews during the Babylonian captivity began to loose their native Hebrew tongue thus afterward Ezra the Scribe translated the Torah into Aramaic but in time it got lost and thus Onkelos sat out to reestablish an Aramaic translation of the Torah using the teaching handed down from Moshe Rabbeinu and the sages.

Today we still have this translation called Targum Onkelos

It is halachah today in the weekly reading of the Torah to read it twice in Hebrew and ones in the Targum.

Onkelos’s translation is a major part of Jewish life today.

Shalom Ketiah:

Shalom Ketiah was his chosen Hebrew name. He was born Flavius Clemens who became the Consul under Emperor Domitian, the highest rank a civilian in Rome can obtain – he had almost the same authority as the Emperor himself. Flavius’s wife was a close relative of the Emperor and he had planned on adopting Flavius as his son and making him Co-Emperor, heir to the throne.

The Emperor hated the Jews and had set out a decree to have them completely wiped out. After hearing this decree in a Senate meeting with the Emperor, Flavius told his wife. They both had rejected the ways of Rome and converted to Judaism. They earlier first hand witnessed a miracle of G-d when they saw how a meek Rabbi Akiva in the name of his rabbi and teacher asked G-d to calm the sea in the midst of a storm lest they perish and immediately the storm ended. They even reported the miracle to the Emperor and how the Jew saved their lives. From that time they began to investigate the beliefs of the Jews who had a G-d that listened to them.

Flavius’s wife, Domitilla, convinced him that he had the power to help save the Jews. That if he could approach the Emperor and ask for the decree to be nullified. But knowing the Emperor would not back down then Flavius would inform Domitian that he had become a Jew which would result in him being put to death. In doing so it would post pone the decree for it took a long time to choose and replace a Consul. Thus he agreed. He took the name Shalom Ketiah and circumcised himself, and then he went to se the Emperor.

“That same day Domitian came to the Senate to formally accuse the Consul Flavius Clemens of having adopted Judaism. Clemens did not deny the charge, and he was unanimously sentenced to death.” Akiva, The story of Rabbi Akiva and His Times

Shalom Ketiah had sacrificed his life to save the Jews and the decree was post poned.

Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef:

Rabbi Akiva was a descendent of converts. Growing up as a small boy he remembered the glory of the Temple. He himself did not and disdained Torah Scholars. He felt it to be a waist of time and pure laziness.

He had a very brilliant mind and could learn and do anything. He had became a master at running a farm and could manage other farm hands. He took on a job of over seeing the farm of a very wealthy man, Kalba Savua. His first day there while talking to his new master, the master’s daughter Rachel had entered the room. Akiva said in his mind that he would work for seven years for her like Jacob has done.

Over a period of time he had done well running the farm by Rachel had seen more potential in him than working with his hands. She approached him one day in the field and began to convince him to become a Torah Scholar and if he would she would marry him. A few days had passed and he taken the challenge so he approached his master about marring his daughter and told him of the plans they had. He became angry calling him nothing but a poor shepherd wanting to marry a rich mans daughter. Rachel entered the room and told her father that she wanted to marry Akiva and help him to become a great man in Israel. The father not being able to get his daughter to reconsider disowned her and put them both out with only the cloths on their back.

They had gotten them a small two room hut to live in and slept on the ground on a bed of straw. One day Rachel approached Rabbi Nachum Ish Gamzu and asked him to become her husband’s teacher. He agreed and at the age of 40 Akive began to learn to read and write.

In a short time Rachel told him to leave and study Torah as was the custom. After 12 yrs he returned and before she saw him he over heard her telling someone that if he needed 12 more years of study he could have it; thus he turned and left for another 12. After 24 years of study he had gained 24,000 students and headed the largest yeshiva in Israel.

Over the course of his life he stood before and was questioned by several Emperors. He answered all of their questions and amazed even the pagan world with his mass knowledge and wisdom in which he claimed it all came from his study of the Torah.

A lot of what the Jews have today in the preservation of the Oral Torah that was handed down from Moshe Rabbeinu was made possible by Rabbi Akiva and his students.

Rabbi Akiva was arrested and sentenced to death by the Romans for openly teaching Torah which had been outlawed.

Early one Yom Kippur morning at the age of 120, still strong as a young man with undimmed eyes and a clear mind he was brought out in front of the prison in Caesarea and tied him to a stake. They took iron rakes burned in fire and raked his flesh from his body.

In the midst of his torture his students heard him calling out loudly – “Shema Yisrael HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem Echad” – Hear O Israel, G-d is our G-d, G-d is one

As his students drew close he told them, “My children. Do not mourn for me! I have attained what I wished for a long time, the sanctification of G-d’s name; again he started reciting the Shema. The last word on his lips as he died was “Echad” – “One”

He died sanctifying the name of G-d and declaring His oneness.

Jewish history has many examples of gerim finding their purpose in life, completing soul corrections and leaving their mark on Israeli history. These here are but a highlighted few.

To study the life of these few gerim brings encouragement and awe the human service of our G-d.

For every non-Jew that chooses the path of Torah, binds themselves to the G-d and the people of Israel will forever stand in the shadow of these giants.

“when a non-Jew converts to Judaism out of pure conviction and with sincere intentions, he can become great in Torah…” Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah

   

 

Over the past week the Hebrew word mishkan has come into my life from various directions; coupled with messages on the seven gates to one’s neshama. Below is an article reflecting my meditations on all of this through out the week.

The Hebrew word mishkan means a dwelling place or residence.

On Tuesday my wife and I went down to a class at the Orthodox synagogue in Chattanooga. They are going through a series ‘Toward a Meaningful Life’. The subject that evening was on House vs Home. It was a great class but it was the last section of the lesson that really stuck with me.

“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8

When we look at this passage we see here that G-d tells Israel to build a Mishkan for Him but He in turns tells us that it for Him to dwell among them. The passage should have said so that He would dwell in it.

This paints a wonderful picture of the intentions of HaShem. He wants to live with us; we can now take a deeper look into what He is saying.

The point is, we are to build a home for HaShem – our home is to be His so that He may dwell among us.

Today as I ponder this I meditated on the Mishkan in the wilderness and I took note of something I had not really put into much thought in the past.

The furnishings of the Mishkan were simple and each item had a purpose and place – there was no clutter of a bunch of material possessions scattered all over. This thought took me to another from a teaching from Rebbe Nachman of Breslev on the Seven Gates.

Not only is our home to become a mishkan for HaShem but our bodies as well are to become a mishkan. The body was created to house the soul and to better understand what I am about to explain it is best to have some understanding of the soul. Within the Hebrew Scriptures we are shown that the soul has three areas or parts.

Nefesh: this word is translated as soul and sometimes as spirit. This part of the soul is our animal part and is connected to our hands and feet. It is reflected by our deeds.

Ruach: this word is translated as wind, breath, spirit. It is connected to our lungs and is reflected in the words we use – our speech.

Neshamah: this word is translated spirit or soul. This part of our soul is found in our brain, connected to our mind and is reflected by our thoughts. Kabbalah teaches us that the neshamah is, “the soul’s ability to perceive directly God’s presence in the world and to sense the Divine breath of life entering his being.”

Solomon gives us some insight on the neshama,

“A man’s soul is the lamp of HaShem, which searches the chambers of one’s innards.” Proverbs 20:27

Through the seven gates HaShem can see what is entering and exiting our being.

The seven gates to the neshamah are; the 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2, nostrils, 1 mouth. These gates left unprotected will cause damage to our neshamah. They also if not protected will cause HaShem to withdraw from the mishkan that is within us.

In making a mishkan for HaShem we need to clean up the gateways to our neshamah, for as our neshamah will be, so will be our home were we live. We must strive to bring our eyes, ears, nose and mouth to holiness. In essence, our home is a reflection of our neshamah and visa versa.

We need to be honest with ourselves and ask a question about the things in our home; if they were placed in the Mishkan of the wilderness would they defile it? What kind of magazines, books or music do we have? One of the hard ones for many of us is the TV and so on. Using the Mishkan as our guide we will slowly begin to clean up the trash that we have cluttered our gates with.

With HaShem’s help we will transform the physical dwellings of our bodies and houses into a lofty Mishkan for our G-d to dwell in.

Terry W. Hayes

Adar 1 23 5771

2/27/2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man and Nature

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Man and Nature, making sense of current world events.

The following was inspired from the news of late and from an introduction of a book by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer.

The news has been loaded with reports of the storm that dumped ice and snow across the south and northeast in an unusual fashion. There are the floods of Australia, Brazil & Sri Lanka, and then we have the uprising in earthquakes tsunamis; Zodiac signs may all be messed up affecting many people.

Is there a message in all of this?

Yes there is, and it is not global warming caused by mans use of large amounts of carbon emissions – the global warming picture that many are painting is nothing but a rouge to keep the world from seeing what really is going on – and yes man is causing it but how?

We must go back to the beginning to where the Torah (the word of the One true G-d given to Israel at Mt. Sinai some 3500 yrs ago)

In the Torah we are given the information that G-d wants us to have to be able to live on this earth with G-d and man. In light of what is going on lets look into the Torah for some answers.

God gifted the earth and the cosmos to Adam – He gave him keys to unlock the powers of them both. The keys he was handed was the keys of prayer. In Hebrew the word for prayer is ‘tefillah’ at the root of this word is the meaning ‘to connect’ – prayer is about conversation and connection with G-d, it is not a vehicle to get G-d to be our maid; prayer is the arena in which the opportunity for the merger of the will of G-d and the will of man.

So from the get go we find that G-d wants a connection with His creation, and it is by this connection the whole of creation is affected.

“now all the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herd of the field had not yet sprouted for HaShem God had not yet sent forth rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil.” Gen. 2:5

The great Jewish commentator Rashi, teaches us here the reason that God did not send the rain was because there “was no man to work the soil”, no one to appreciate the need for rain. After the creation of Adam, he knew that there needed to be rain for life to spring forth from the earth. He prayed for rain and it fell and vegetation sprang forth.

What we learn here in this passage is that G-d and man work together to bring forth the working of nature – this is a shared responsibility; G-d has given man the opportunity to team up with Him in making this world work.

In the awesome and infinite wisdom, G-d put together spiritual forces that act as transfer agents to bridge the gap between the infinite and the finite. These agents are the malakim (servants or in English angels) and the stars in their constellations. The malakim are forces that control every aspect of nature. When G-d was about to create man he informed them that man would be their master. The Talmud relates that the malakim protested but G-d said that man alone is worthy to represent the Master of the universe; thus G-d gave the keys of creation to man as we find out in the following Psalm.

“When I behold Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast established; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou thinkest of him? Yet Thou hast made him but little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou hast made him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet:” Psalm 8: 4-7

“The malakim and the constellations are very similar in their functions as Divinely appointed positions of translating the spiritual blessings from heaven into material bounty on the earth. The word ‘malak’ (angel) is connate with the Hebrew word ‘noizale’ (flow); because all that emanates from the celestial source flows to earth through the channels of the star formations.” Rabbi Feuer

“And He took him outside and said, ‘Gaze now, toward the Heavens, and count the stars if you are able to count them, “So shall your offspring be!” And he trusted HaShem, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Gen 15: 5-6

The great Torah commentator Rashi teaches us that when G-d took Avraham outside and told him to gaze into the Heavens that when he did he saw that the stars revealed that he would be childless and it had been true all his life; but then G-d said look not only at what they are telling you but count my servants if you can – thus so shall your offspring be and then Avraham trusted the Master of the Universe.

G-d is showing him that the message is true but I am the Master and I can change nature – Avraham’s trust had brought on the fact that G-d was changing nature for the one who had placed all his trust and faith in the One True G-d during a time when the entire world was chasing and worshiping idols.

What do we learn from all of this? That being connected to and having trust in the Master of the Universe has an affect on the nature around us and the opposite is true as well.

The following is a direct quote from Rabbi Feuer’s book:

“A discussion of angels and stars may appear to be mystical and esoteric, but an appreciation of these concepts is essential to a fundamental teaching of Judaism, which emphasizes that we must perceive this world on not one, but two levels; the natural and the supernatural. The Almighty who created the world continues to control its every detail with an omnipotence that defies human comprehension, but He chooses to hide Himself behind the curtain called Nature, which operates by predictable laws and cycles that appear to be independent of a Divine Master.

The curtain of divine nature divides between God and man, and God issued the challenge, “Lift the veil of nature and discover that I stand behind it!” Since nature itself is controlled by the heavenly intermediaries, we must be aware of the forces controlling nature  – the angels and stars – that stand, so to speak, with one foot in heaven and one foot on earth. Our Sages made it clear when they taught: Rabbi Simon said: “There is no blade of grass without a guiding star in heaven, which strikes it and commands, “Grow!” (Bereishis Rabbah 10:7)

In truth, just as the stars influence man, man influences the stars, because the forces of nature not only challenge man, they serve him as well. However, they serve man only to the extent he serves his true Master, the Almighty. Should man’s service of God slacken, nature will turn against him. Thus, the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 10:4) teaches that prior to the sin of Adam the planets and celestial spheres traveled at an extremely rapid speed, so that they could quickly bring him God’s blessings. As a result of Adam’s sin, however, the planetary orbits were enlarged and their speed was drastically reduced. When man tarries in the service of his Creator; nature tarries in serving man.

These fundamental concepts and beliefs were revealed to Avraham when God took him outside, and elevated him above the stars. Hitherto, Avraham’s perspective had been limited by natures narrow field of vision. Now God raised  Avraham perception of reality by providing him with an elevated point from which to view the world. God encouraged him to soar high above the forces of nature by means of his faith and free-will service of God. In effect, God said, “Appeal to Me, the Creator, the Controller, the Source. You will surely arouse my compassion and I will tailor nature to suit your needs.” (Bold emphasis mine)

The above is a mouth and mind full to contemplate. What we learn from the encounter Avraham had with God, is the power behind faith and prayer that connects us to the One True God of Avraham.

The evidence of a world disconnect with its Creator has been evident in the news over the past few weeks. As this world becomes more disconnected we will see a rise in natural disasters, it is not global warming causing the shifting in the weather patterns it is the shifting of man away from his Creator.

As in Avraham’s day the world is full of idols and false gods – Avraham was the first to stand up against the plethora of false gods of world and declare that there is but One God and so he passed it down to his children who today are persecuted for their trust and belief in the One God, the Creator.

To find this One God turn to the Torah – the instruction book given to the offspring of Avraham and Sarah. They have had this information for 3500+ years – others have come into be trying to pervert it with their ideas do not follow those thieves but come to the ones who have this knowledge that was passed down from their father.

“seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of HaShem, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that HaShem may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.” Gen 18:18-19

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘”  Zechariah 8:23

If man will return to his Creator in faith and prayer he this will cause the reverse affects that he has caused on the earth.

You can fill the universe with green technology and it will not help man but turn to God and He and the earth with return to us.

A later side note to the above:

I love making discoveries; it is like finding buried treasure.

As I completed and posted my last blog on Thoughts.com in which it was the longest one that I have written and the subject matter was new for me on this site.

I noticed that this blog was my 414th blog on Thoughts.com and thus I wondered what the Hebrew numerical value would be. A bit of info before I share my discovery; in Judaism Hebrew is the native tongue and it is the mother language of all languages – there is not even a fowl word in Hebrew. To create a fowl word it has to be mixed with another language. Also in Hebrew the Alef-Beis (alphabet) is its numerical system, as each letter has a numerical value and thus giving whole words a numerical value. The system is called gematria – this adds value in deeper studies of the Torah.

So with this bit of info I set out to see if there was a relevant word in Hebrew with the numerical value of 414 the number attached to my last blog. And boy did I find something interesting as I investigated the first site I came to.

Well, it turns out that the Hebrew word with the numerical value of 414 is “Ve’ahavta” – “And you shall love” – this word is the first word in the first paragraph of the Shema, the most sacred of prayers, just after the declaration that God is One. It is passage starting in Deut. 6:4

So what is this word pointing to? The exact same point brought out in the blog.

“Ve’ahavta es Hashem”  “And you shall love G-d”

WOW – what an unplanned discovery to have my last blog to be connect to this word “Ve’ahavta” in numerical form.

 

I feel like this is a blessing bestowed upon that blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Soul Correction

Posted: September 12, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Making soul correction

I just love how HaShem ties everything together.

Over the past few years I have been pondering, meditating and chewing on the conversation G-d had with Cain in Genesis 4.

Gen. 4:6-7

And HaShem said to Cain, “Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, sin rest at the door. Its desire is toward you, yet you can conquer it.”

Let’s look at a few quotes from Rabbi Shalom Arush’s book, In Forest Fields A Unique Guide To Personal Prayer.

“The first step toward teshuva (repentance), self-correction and character perfection is establishing a daily 60 minute session of personal prayer and self-evaluation. Nothing is so conducive to self-improvement as an hour a day of judging oneself, thanking HaShem, expressing hopes and aspirations, and praying for them.” Pg 58

“All we have to do is set aside an hour a day for prayer in solitude, whether out in the field, in the office or in the kitchen at home, and speak to HaShem – our beloved Father in Heaven – in our own words. We take stock of everything we did in the previous 24 hours since our last session of personal prayer in solitude. We judge ourselves on three levels – thoughts, speech, deeds. We rectify our wrongdoings and resolve to improve. We ask HaShem to bring us closer to Him. Such a process of personal prayer frees a person from stress, worry, sadness, and all other negative emotions. Even far better, when we judge ourselves, HaShem doesn’t let the Heavenly court judge us, and we save ourselves untold anguish and severe judgments.” Pg. 56

Here is what I find interesting in the rabbis comments,

“We must judge ourselves on three levels – thoughts, speech and deeds.”

This screams soul correction as these very levels of correction is tied to the three different parts of ones soul

Nefesh – this is the animal part of the soul that is tied to our deeds

Ruach – this is our spirit/breath and is tied to our speech

Neshamah – this part of the soul is seated in the brain and is tied to our thoughts.

When we consider Genesis 4 were G-d tells Cain that he just needed to improve himself to keep sin away but if he did not then sin was waiting for him. But with improvement he would receive forgiveness of his actions.

This proves the rabbis point on how G-d will stop the Heavenly court from judging us if we would only judge ourselves and make the needed self improvements.

Then we find that the three areas we must judge our self, is actually dealing with each part of our soul thus through personal prayer we are working on making complete soul correction from day to day.