February 26, 2009

Meron or Tzfat

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 2:35 am

I am only a few feet from where the Ari taught Torah, my wife constantly reminds me. “So why do you have to travel to Meron(where Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai is buried) so much”, she asks? “Isn’t it you who always gives the speech that the grass isn’t greener on the other side.” My response, “But it is Meron, Meron! Tzfat is Tzfat but Meron is Meron!” I can’t really put Meron into words. Meron just does something to a person. It isn’t something he can put into words. At least I can’t.

February 25, 2009

Ohr HaChaim

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 1:27 am

Tonight I went to the bookstore and purchased a set of Ohr HaChaim. This holy Rabbi was someone whom even the Baal Shem Compared to the Keter, which is alluded to by the sun. The Baal Shem Tov was therefore considered like the Malchut, moon.
I visited the holy grave with the Biala Rebbe once and on the way out I mentioned to the Rebbe that there was a great light shining around the kever. He smiled at me and said, “A very big light”.

February 16, 2009

Hidden Books

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 2:53 am

There are many hidden books in Kabbalah that are purposely keep more secretive. For instance, the Kabbalah book teaching the art of Kamaya has a warning in the front of it. “Dear bookstores, please only sell this book to few people and do not publicize it.” I would venture to say that 99.9% of people learning Kabbalah do not know of these books and it would be extremely difficult for them to not only search them down but to even find someone who knows about them to ask. In one such sefer that I own, it teaches the secrets of Kefitzas Haderech, making the road you travel on shorter in distance. It teaches exactly the methods to the last ingredient how to make supernatural events transpire like the splitting of a lake. It teaches secrets of life and the exact methods Elisha the Prophet used to make a child breath again who had just died. There are hidden names that Moshe carried on him, Aharon and even Avraham Avienu. My favorite is that which was carried by Rabbi Akiva when he gave up his life when the Romans wanted him to convert. The generation is not ready for such books to be found by the multitudes. Hey, I can’t even find Aryeh Kaplan audio tapes and I have been searching them down for 10 years! There is enough in even one Aryeh Kaplan book to last most Kabbalistic enthusiasts a lifetime and even this one should debate internally for months before learning.
With this post, I just wanted to milk your curiosity and allow you to wonder how great is the mystical aspects of the Torah that who can comprehend them! Also to share with you that there is much more known to the holy select few Tzaddikim that you can even imagine. Everything is know in each generation by someone. This is the greatness of Oral Torah!

The WeightLifting Reb

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 1:50 am

I have been going to the gym for weightlifting and aerobic exercise for over a year now. At first I did this as a test to see if it would interfere in my religious progress to take exercise to a bit more of an extreme. To the contrary though, I have found it to be not only uplifting but very fulfilling spiritually. My greatest thoughts have actually come to me while running on the treadmill. While bench pressing, I have found myself comparing the heavy load to pushing away the klipah and negativeness in my mind.

My Lifting Chavrusa and I have watched as most religious Jews at first attended the gym with great enthusiasm and slowly drifted away to an unhealthy lifestyle. Looking back, I think I contribute our dedication to the fact that my Lifting partner was formally my learning partner in Torah. It was also the extreme goals of becoming stronger and stronger which I always questioned if this was from the side of impurities but instead, I also contribute our continued healthier lifestyle to this. Weightlifting helped me to get rid of many aspects of Tivas Achilah, the cravings of unhealthy foods and this winter I did not suffer from my previous leg pains in colder weather. It has also helped me to continue to grow in good work ethics, socialization, and have a way to blow off some steam.

I shared with a friend that I am bench pressing 220 pounds and he has requested that I do a Tefillin Video and flex my biceps during it. I’m going to spare you the grief, but I would like to encourage others to join in physical activities and workouts. While you don’t have to lift weights, it does help in keeping the workouts entertaining. It is clear to me that avodas Hashem can benefit from good healthy exercise.

What is my mother tougue?

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 1:25 am

Americans living in Israel slowly find themselves after many years forgetting basic english words. Tonight my wife wanted to pay for something but she couldn’t remember how to say it so she was forced to tell another American in Hebrew. This happens to me all the time as well. The problem is, we don’t speak perfect hebrew yet either. I am starting to become scared to post on this blog since I can barely type a proper sentence anymore. Sounds like I need to start reading more english and Hebrew!

February 2, 2009

Observance of Numbers

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 8:42 am

When a person starts to pay attention more to numbers and time, they start to see how even this can connect them to Hashem. I just finished moving the video file, Speech and the Shechinah and I noticed that the file size is 613(mg).228kb. These are both very holy numbers and even the computer itself shows the holiness of a Torah Video.
My friend turned off my treadmill while I was working out. I tried to explain to him that I needed one more minute to complete my gematria (numerical value) of time, 26. To appease me, he then explained to me how I could see holiness in 25minutes instead. We have to constantly be thinking and connecting our surroundings to Hashem.

January 29, 2009

Chatzos, Not Practical but Awesome, Personal Experience

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 2:53 am

I have been observing more of a chatzos, learning at night lifestyle for over 10 years. It has great spiritual benefits but I must admit, it isn’t easy. Observing Chatzos properly means that you go to sleep early evening for a short nap and then arise and stay up the remainder of the night. This means you have to borrow sleep from the day which the Talmud allows for this purpose only. In practical life in Israel, most things are open during the morning and close by early afternoon. Some things reopen after 4pm but only for a couple of hours. If someone wanted to go to the dentist or make a stop in some type of Government establishment to handle regular living, these places are only open one time a week in the afternoons which I usually miss. Car mechanics close early afternoon and all repairmen come just in the mornings so I end up pushing them off. This means that to take care of material things, you have to often completely change up your schedule. It is also very difficult to have this lifestyle unless you are self-employed. To go around these problems, many people go to bed extremely early at night and wake up at 4am. But in truth, this doesn’t leave much time for Chatzos learning as it is light by 5am. Another way to go around this would be to remain wake a bit later into the night and retire around 2am. But this interferes many times with morning davening. The holiest time is the first 2 hours of midnight, so in a way, it is a good observance to just stay up. For most people, the most practical chatzos habit is to go right to sleep and just wake up very early. Then you could still go to work and do what you need. But like King David, he wouldn’t miss even a moment from Midnight till morning. Not to mention, the real tikkun is really to remain completely awake and intertwine night and morning by prayer at sunrise. Now observing Chatzos means less time with family and it wasn’t easy to explain to my 5 year old why it seems like I sleep all night and day since he assumes I am just sleeping as everyone he knows does. If you want to learn about chatzos, Sefer Kavanos Halev Chatzos will teach you of the benefits spiritually but I think I am the first to write about what it is really like practically here. I certainly think it is much easier to practice this in a quiet place like Tzfat but it was easier for me in America because everything is open till late afternoon and stores till 10pm. In Tzfat and Meron you always see a person here and there awake at night to study in Kollel. I’m constantly picking people up off the streets who are hitching in the middle of the night and I have decided to stop this practice for safety. The roads are empty so I am able to get to Meron with my heavy foot in 8minutes. It is quite nice to “own the night” so to speak. Surprisingly, even Meron has less then a minyon of people around on most late nights. About 5 people might leager to the mikvah and Ari kever but most of the time it is empty. There are some kollel’s, yeshivos that have about 5-8 people studying at night for pay. I found this impossible because my children have been quite ill over the years and waking up all night is their specialty. I can’t say I am holy enough to learn all night because I am busy with kiruv and the website videos half the night. Really my friends, we are talking countless hours of behind the scenes work. Doing web design work, soferous and paying bills also has to fit in somewhere but my work is inconsistent (owch) . But on those nights that I can, I try to do some special learning and avodas Hashem. I feel invigorated by a midnight mikvah. I don’t like praying anything but Naitz. To me it just isn’t the same to do otherwise. For me, I can’t change this avodah once I have done it for so long. To me, the nights are day and the connection to Hashem at this time is a must. Even on those down days, to shut my eyes while so much holiness is taking place in the Heavens during this time, just isn’t possible. Maybe it is the added air of Tzfat that keeps me awake. One thing is for sure, you loose about 1/3 of your friends because you almost never see them (not to mention my wife, lol). My dream goal in all honesty is to learn all night and then do the kiruv work during the afternoon but I have too much on my plate trying to make a living and do it all. Lately though, I am finding myself pulled towards this holiness even more and am finding myself in Meron most nights. I’m not sure this will last long though. Something holy doesn’t come without a fight from the other side. My other goal is to wear tefillin all afternoon (which would be all day while awake for me). Every time I have attempted this, at least for me the practice itself is quite easy (As a sofer I many times write with Tefillin on), but I have found everything falling apart around me and therefore I have had to stop it. This shows the holiness of this practice. In Tzfat, when people stop seeing you during the day time, they already know what your up too. It is not unusual for people here to take upon themselves this switch but usually most don’t last long due to its lonely lifestyle. This is why the Kollel’s don’t pay Chatzos learners the first month. In my life, I have never taken a Kollel check even when I was there full time. I never wanted my Torah study to be something I was paid for. There is nothing wrong with being paid to learn though, as the Rabbis have approved this for practical reasons. At this time, if I could find a place to pay me well enough for night time study, I would hop on board if the kids would start sleeping better. In Israel most Kollel Yeshivos pay about $400 for full day learning. My childrens education cost more then this alone. Education cost has gone up lately as well as to live in Israel. The American problem has hit us in various ways (thanks guys). So I have just opened up a bit to all of you and now you see why all my last videos are all in the night. I can’t wait for the summer when it gets darker later. If I am going to teach at night, I can’t exactly talk about material things or practical learning. The videos will start getting more spooky here, just you wait.

January 28, 2009

New Video/ Zohar Kabbalah Lesson 1

Filed under: deep reflections,Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 7:08 pm

Please enjoy another video, www.torahvideo.com

The way I am teaching Zohar is very grounded and selective so have no fear. I might turn this into a series. I have uploaded 4 videos this month and only got a handful of feedback. I would also appreciate if folks would comment on the videos wherever they see them. If not, all I see is numbers and stats so I feel like I am teaching into the wind. Even though I have payis and a long coat, I am still human. Well, half human!

Today I went to the Ari 5minutes before Skkia. As we know, the Zohar teaches that you should not be in a cemetery at night. This starts at Skiya so I was running past people for deal life as I understand what can happen. Meanwhile, they are walking slowly out not realizing the danger. This is why it is important to teach Zohar with Tzimtzum. People should know of these dangers but should they learn them fully from the Zohar themselves, the fear itself would draw klipah and impurities to them. Learned correctly, the Zohar can be a great inspiration to people in service of Hashem. It is one of the most inspirational sefarim ever written. Years ago I highlighted over 100 areas in the Zohar that I wanted to remember. If I were to teach these areas over to the world, people would find inspiration like they have never had before. It was 4am in Meron when I took this video so it isn’t my best work but it is an opening to a new world. We will have to see if it Hashem’s will to continue such a series. Unfortunately, we are not getting much support from viewers due to the economy so each video is a great undertaking for me. This is why, even though I don’t seek praise, too hear that you viewed the videos, keeps me going. Love me or hate me, don’t just be a stat to me, lol.

December 10, 2008

Where can Insiration be Found

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 2:29 am

I have been thinking the last few days how I can make the torah videos more inspirational and better. By taking these few months break, I am able to look back at them with a more clear mind. I’m able to see faults I would otherwise not notice and I am also able to see potential. I want to make all the videos in HD, I think Eretz Yisrael is very beautiful and I want to show in high definition detail its beauty. I’m also thinking to film in wide screen on a slower format. Lots more fades from different scenic views. Changing entire location within each film. Outlining the content before the films. Bringing along someone to take the video. Thinking of learning the guitar to do some strumming. A little more action shots. More quick changes. Pictures taken at scenes. I want to be more inspirational. Give more inspiration. Have videos avaiable in DVD for HD viewing. Better text on videos, longer editing time so that each video is completely a film in and of itself that can be watched many times over. Honestly, I don’t know how we all make it. I feel like the music, videos and reading content today is lacking in inspiration. People need to be able to server Hashem in their own way, feel more free to search themselves. I find nothing out there inspires me and I wonder if others feel the same. Shabbos to me is where I get all my strength but what about the weekdays? They should also be inspirational. Why can’t Jewish music today give us what we need? Why do we feel so removed from these Tishes that we see videos of online? We need more inspiration!
I feel like over the years I help set the standard for some of the Torah content on the web. I was the first to do Torah Videos, then the first to do them in holy places here but now they must reach out in a more spiritual way. They have to be in HD. Anyway, this is my flow of thoughts for today. I am an unrealistic dreamer. The amount of time needed to do this impossible financially for me. But at least I have something more to pray for.

December 5, 2008

Feeling apart of Eretz Yisrael

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 1:11 am

As much as things have been difficult for my family the last few years, I told my wife that I feel we recently had a breakthrough. In the past, it could be that we were still open in the back of our minds to going back to America should we find ourselves at a breaking point. Now standing at these cross-hairs, we feel as if we are apart of Eretz Yisrael and can’t think of ourselves anywhere else. We would do whatever we could to remain here should it be Hashem’s will.

November 18, 2008

3 Types of People

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 5:08 am

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.

The BMX Freestyler

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 4:10 am

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 5, 2008

I still have a sence of humor

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 4:10 am

I called up one of the many gabi’s I know and told him as follows. When I get to the next world, they are going to ask me, “Moshe, why were you a sinner”. I will respond, “Because I tried and couldn’t get connected to the Rebbe on the phone. I wanted to get help. They will ask me back, “Did you try hard enough. Maybe you should have called the gabi and pushed more.” I could hear the gabi breathing heavy in the background knowing that I was hinting to blame him. Then I said, “Maybe it was my fault that I didn’t jump on a plane to see him.” The gabi signed a breath of relief. Then I gave over my message to forward and I concluded to the gabi as follows. Look it has been a long time, I need you to try harder for me as well.

October 19, 2008

When I Shake my Lulav

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 7:00 am

When I touch my lulav, I feel transformed totally into a different person. It is like the Lulav can take me places spiritually straight up like its angel appears. So holy, so special is it. Soon, this mitzvah will be finished and my lulav will retire back into its plastic container never to be touched until Pesach when it is returned to dust. So why is my lulav so special?

September 19, 2008

Ritual Never to Forget You

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 1:55 am

I have my own little ritural I do Friday Night davening in order not to forget you. Instead of taking a seat in Synagoge, I stand up towards the back near the doorway and I pray going in and out of the back of the shul. I do this to remember during prayer all those who live far from synagoges or forget to pray during Shabbos. It is my little way of remembering everyone and I pray for all the people who visit the website. I also have it mind that in the front of the synagoge is a Rabbi who elevates all the congregants prayers up but who will take care of those in the back talking and not praying properly?Those hanging around outside… I feel like this is a little my job.
You all requested some netzach hod yesod private stuff, so there it is… How share with me yours!