It is shocking the news today about the India hostages. I really can’t believe it. A chabad house?
November 27, 2008
November 26, 2008
My wife was encouraging me to take a trip to Tiberias tonight to relax. I gave her a look and said, “without my video Camera (since it is broken). How do I do that? I don’t take trips like that. What would I do with myself.” You know my friends, my first book as a kid was called, “Peter and his Camera”.
Oh my, tonight i had a migraine but I decided to push through it and go through my regular routine. I went to the mikvah and then walked down to the Arizal. You know there are two types of holy places to visit tzaddikim. There is an actual full cemetery, which is what Tzfat has and then there is just a simple grave of a Tzaddik all alone. The first one is a bit freaky late into the night, the second is quite nice. But anyway, since I can’t uproot everyone else and many are also holy rabbis, I have been overlooking my feelings. So tonight, after reciting my prayers my migraine picked up speed. I started wobbling and realized I must turn back immediately. I’m so happy I didn’t pass out in the grave yard from the headache. Really it was a close call and I write it to you cause it is a bit funny. I totally started blacking out and I am like, this is not happening, not in a bais hakfaros! So Boruch Hashem, I returned home safely. Having some crackers, tofu, yogurt and going to catch up on some necessary drinking (liquid that is!)
Today was the election for tzfat mayer. In Israel, elections are similar to the old color war games we used to play in camp. Everyone is into it and voicing themselves. Kids are sent into the streets to hang posters and even a 4 year old knows who their congregation says to vote for. For my wife and I, it is a day of hiding from the noise and pushy activists. To explain to someone that you don’t get involved in Israel state/city politics for religious reasons goes on death ears. For us, we are glad it is over and our phone stops ringing. We want the best for our city but want to be respected for wanting to stay on the side lines.
November 24, 2008
Every day I walk down to the Ari and I pray that Hashem shouldn’t take it all away. My mikvah, Synagoge, and Kollel. I reflect upon my life here in my home and its prime location to Kedusha. Why would Hashem want to take this all away? What would I gain from such an event? There would be no more going to ari mikvah with ease and taking my youngest children to Synagoge with me Friday Night. No quick walk to Kollel in between my busy kiruv schedule. Instead, I would be isolated in the 12 story ghetto housing that is slowly falling apart on the bottom of the city. Far from the surroundings I prayed for and hold so dear. I pray for salvation and for hope but I feel forgotten about. Sometimes I wonder who really worries about me and cares for my sanity. Is this the reward of a broken heart? I was once someone whom people looked to for advice, spiritual encouragement and physical salvation. Now, my head is low and I look for the same but I cannot find it anywhere. My hopes and dreams temporarily feel shattered and all I want is to be a good father now. This to me would be enough. So how much longer will the economic problems butcher us and steal our hopes and dreams? Will there be anyone standing to save those who have fell into its treacherous pit? Have we come to such a position
already that it is every man for himself?
For now, I continue to fight and I continue to pray.
November 23, 2008
Usually we say the yistabach prayer at the conclusion of pesukey dezimra very quickly without attention. This is a very special tefilah that we overlook. The Zohar says, Within it are mentioned the 13 attributes of Mercy from Hashem and to concentrait on this could literally draw down tremendous kindness from Heaven.
Also, when you say the prayer Go’al Yisrael, a malach, angel comes down and carries your tefillah upwards. It is very important to concertrait on that and to have awareness. If you have been praying already with kavanah, when you say this, you can literally feel all your previous words being accepted.
Someone once told me in the name of Rabbi Shick. If you concentrait on the alaynu prayer and it goes smoothly, you can be sure your prayer was accepted. This makes a lot of sense since it is the last words of each prayer service. You would think that how you start and how you finish your prayers has great significance in their preparedness and acceptance.
The halacha teaches us that if a person forgot to say birchas hatorah, they can be yotzei in ahava rabbah which is said right before the shema. That is if they learn Torah right after davening. It also says that if one forgot even then and remembered in the evening prayer, they should think of it in ahavra rabbah in the evening. The sages debate back and forth whether a person because of business or regular interuptions should repeat the birchas hatorah. The halacha concludes that they should not since when they said it, they have in mind that their day might be busy and eventually they will study Torah. I think that today since we are all so busy in business and school compared to Jews decades ago, that we should take extra care to also have in mind during the ahava rabbah of the evening that we are being yotzei limud Torah. At the very least as an added reminder to ourselves the importance of Torah study to be learned both day and night.
November 20, 2008
Right now it is pretty clear there is extreme amounts of judgment in the world. Everywhere you turn, there is another person struggling. I am hearing even from those non religious that the only place they are feeling safe right now is the Synagoge. This shows where the answer lies to all our sufferings. We have to all return in a more pure teshuva, repentance. One that is with all heart and fear of Hashem.
November 18, 2008
You have 3 types of people that act in a certain way in all situations of life. For example, we will use the wash basin at the mikvah. One type of person will just wash his hands and not even give a second thought to filling up the basin again after he is finished. This type of person, I can’t heal through my teachings of Torah. They need a far greater teacher. The next type of person is the guy who after he washes his hands, automaticly fills up the basin again without thinking twice. This person I can’t heal either because he doesn’t need me, he is far advanced and happy is his lot. Then you have the person who washes his hands and thinks to himself, should I fill up the basin for the next guy. In most situation he doesn’t but sometimes he does. This is who I can try to help heal and teach Torah too. These are the people I can relate too and together we can grow close to Hashem.
Once upon a time there was a bmx freestyler who had thousands of people who would come and watch his tricks. It would bring smiles to their faces and watching him would help them get through their difficult days. Then one day, his bicicyle broke and he could no longer do tricks anymore. He wondered why the people still came, where they there to make fun of him? Where they waiting till a miricle would happen and a new bike would just fall from the sky? He wondered this every day but said nothing. He pushed away the thought that nobody would come forward and give him their bike. After-all, today, most people have bikes. This wasn’t his way though. So he simply joined them in waiting for the bike to fall from heaven. Finally, one day, he realized how alone he really was without his bike. He wondered who really cared. Even he started to stop caring, thinking of himself as a freak show. He thought, “Why has this happened to me? Maybe I should have never rode a bike”.
November 17, 2008
Today at the guy, (yes this is where I receive many spiritual revelations) I was pondering how great is the elevation between these two Sefiros. In fact, if it wasn’t for their connection, there would be no world that we live in. I believe I heard Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss once say, the distance between these two Sefiros is similar to 500 years. In my meditation, I have learned over the years not to take for granted connecting even Malchus of Asiyah to Yesod of Asiyah. This itself is an endless Tikkun with much greatness. The best way to connect to anything is to have full concentration on it. One can meditate on the lower name of Adna. He can break this down by spelling it, Aleph Dalid…. Then he can break it down again by spelling each letter Aleph Lamid Peh…. Then even further spelling even those letters out. So I was thinking how deep is the connection between these two Sefiros. One could meditate on them for a week never needing to go up to Hod, the next Sefirah. In our own life, you know how deep it is to fix one midah. Even one part of 1/100th of that midah. To take it and break it down and figure out the remedy at its source. It is like the sharp shooter, he doesn’t settle for anything less then a bulls-eye. Snap, snap, snap he takes out 1/100th, one at a time. Malchus to Yesod, if you just meditate on it simply, you really don’t grasp it. You have to try to understand it and break it down. Then when you go to Hod, Malchus and Yesod are totally complete. Being a perfect foundation. So too with our life, we have to break ourselves down into little pieces and start fixing ourselves. I don’t think we learn this lesson any more of a time then searching for chamitz on Pesach. The learning of Halacha, helps us with this attitude of breaking the vast knowledge and information down. Okay, that about covers my thoughts at the gym tonight. Common folks, get on that treadmill and think of Torah!
It is pretty clear to me that this no fear policy in serving Hashem I received from the Tanya. The Rebbe tells us that one way to defeat the Satan is to never fear him and his evil. For me, I took this to understand that in my avodas Hashem, if there are warnings not to do something due to the attention on high it would bring me or the difficulties that surround it. I must be brave and should it be the will of Hashem, continue on anyway. This really isn’t the regular idea of carrying out actions but it is a policy I feel strongly about. Actually, for me, it is the main teaching I cherish from the Tanya.
After a difficult couple years though, I decided to take the other direction for a change. This was after a lot of pressure from a former chavrusa, study partner of mine who thought my “floor it through a red light” attitude was the cause of much of my suffering. I’m reminded that I am standing at this crossroads when there has been recent requests for me to write kamayas, segulos for health and parnasa. Also, for a while I took more of a low key hoping this would change my mazel.
So which way will I direct myself now I ponder? Well turning back to look, I saw no significant positive change by taking the “scared root”. So, for now, I am bracing myself for a turn again towards the “go go go attitude and I hope to fall out somewhere in the center. After-all, I’m not getting any younger and the “floor it” guy is a bit tired. But if I had the gusto of old, I wouldn’t think twice. The Bal HaTanya seems correct, you can’t live your life in fear of evil attacking you because of doing good things. At the same time, if you don’t got no kochas (energy), build a stronger Yesod, foundation so you can blast back up in the future.
November 16, 2008
Today is my eldest sons 7th birthday. We are really happy for him and giving him a small party with his friends. As a father, I look back at the 7 years and think how I could have been a better dad. I see his failors and consider them my own. I also see his success and join in this joy. One thing for sure, being a father is on the job training and there is so much still to learn.
Life without a video camera hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I get an inspiration to do a new Torah Video and then realize that there is no camera. I’m still asked by people, when are you coming out with a new video as it has been a long time. Most people never visit the blog so they don’t know the camera is broken. Yesterday I went on ebay thinking, you know what, I will go find a used one I can work with. Then I reminded myself that there is no budget for such things.