Posts Tagged ‘sin’

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.

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
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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.