August 28, 2008

Prayer: Sefer Yom LYom

Filed under: Blog Torah,Daily Concepts,Sefer Yom Lyom — Reb Moshe @ 7:25 pm

1. Say the words with the intent of reaching truth in your heart

2. See the letters as worlds in themselves and expand them, draw them out and they will shine for you.

3. When your prayer brings you to joy, know it is accepted.

4. People think by praying slowly their prayer is more devout but usually it just leads them to pride. Praying slowly is good but make sure it brings you to humility.

5. make your prayers beautiful to Hashem with melody and tones, even the angels with join in.

6. To bring yourself to humility while praying, climb from Malchut to chessed, then picture any three letter name in snow like white, Flipping the letters until you are nothing. (As taught by the Ramchals Students)

7. Prayer with energy and Devekus will eventually lead to prayer with stillness, allowing on the soul to move. This is the chassidic way tot pray but everyone usually prayers the opposite way.

8. Pacing back and forth and rocking arouses the heart.

9. Make set times and places to pray. Moving from this place even a few feet can change the prayer.

10. Accustom yourself to see YKVK and Adna intertwined when reciting the holy name. Have in mind the simple kavanah of elevating the Shechinah.

11. Every person can have ruach HaKodesh while praying, they can see holy lights and more. Go with this thinking to connect to the Shechinah and elevate Her. Those wise will elevate her many times over and over. Those even wiser will elevate all of Israel.

12. Absolutely never say a word to anyone during prayer. Do not be broken as your soul will be cast out of the holy gates making your prayer an abomination.

13. Reflect up on the great give of prayer and then pray happily.

14. When you prayer with faith, your prayer goes much further so believe in the power of your prayer and Hashem’s Rachmanus.

15. There is much deepness behind the names of Hashem chosen in each prayer, understand this and you are like the Kings closest attendant with full access to His treasures.

16. Put yourself in every prayer, and identify with it.

17. Praer for the needs of Klal Yisrael and the Shechinah as priority during set prayers and in hisbobidus, pray for yourself at the start. Then slowly negate yourself and pray for all of Israel.

18. Prayer with the accompany of a minyon assures one entry, while alone, one can easily get lost.

August 26, 2008

My new Workout Diet

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 2:59 am

As you know, I am now working out 3x a week at the gym for good health and balance. Also as an experiment to see if excellent physical health will increase my spiritual stability.

This week I have pushed myself to the next level of good eating. My diet consists of a balanced Kosher diet with no snacking, unhealthy foods or drinks. The meals I am eating are all very low fat, high protein and a mix of vegetables, rice and a little pasta. My meat meals are mostly chicken and just a little ground meat every few days. For fruits I am eating apples and pears. Vitamins include a Multivitamin high in B complex, papaya enzyme and a calcium boron supplement. A known secret in bodybuilding is to always keep the body strong and eat before it feels signs of weakness. So every couple hours I am able to fill in these gaps with a protein shake with amino acids. I will be upgrading my shake with one that also has some carbs in order that even my power drinks will have balance. I’m also being careful that my workouts and diets are a balanced part of my life and not obsessive.
Rebbe Nachman explains in his teachings that eating is one of the major yetzer haras a person has to overcome on their way to purity. If one really evaluates their eating habits, they will see how unhealthy and unbalanced they probably eat regularly. This weekends the mind and body tremendously giving the yetzer hara strength.
As for my ability to keep up this diet, we will have to see but for now, the biggest step was already made. Realizing that I previously ate what I wanted instead of what I needed.

August 25, 2008

Beliving in You, Yes I

Filed under: Blog Torah,deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 5:30 am

It could be that the most important job of a Reb is to show a person that you believe in them. In fact, this may be the greatest thing one can do for ones children or friends. Every person has a special talent and spark in which they can not only grow from but can actually change the world with.

Maybe there is nothing worse in the world then a talented person who is constricted not sharing of it to the world. Someone once came to me and said it is a sin that you don’t do photography anymore. They practically commanded me to repent for this. I laughed at them. It isn’t that a person has to utilize their talent in its most revealed sense, but that there could be a thousand ways to share it. For instance, I used my photographic talent and channeled into web design for my Torah sites and creating scenic Torah videos. Someone with a musical talent, perhaps never has to actually play their instrument. Musical people are spiritual people and they could instead use their personality to simply inspire others. I know many artists that later put down their paintbrush and changed it over into a kulmas (traditional turkey feathers) for writing sifrai Torahs. It could be that understanding the source of your talent is more important then the beauty of the talent itself and its outward rewards. Inside is a great person in both you and me. We are great because we are unique and different then the person next to us.

People think in orthodoxy that we crush the uniqueness of individuals. Well just because we are a little color blind with our black and white tones, doesn’t mean that our shades of gray lack personality. Just like you wish us to be deeper, we wish you too look deeper. I wish all of you too look at the person next to you, especially your children and see their gift. Like the freckles on my son Yaakovs cheeks, they each have a story to tell.

My holy friends, I believe in you. There are some of you whom have such holy talents that they are too high to share with the rest of the world. Some of you have visions, some holy dreams and other greatness. I believe in you in these area as well. Even if the world is dark for you right now, here is a little light…

Day Dreams into reality.

Filed under: Blog Torah — Reb Moshe @ 1:30 am

A person has to dream and see themselves going from darkness to light. Through positive thoughts alone, one can change their life and mazel. They can become someone totally different.

When I used to do artistic photography, I used a rare and classic system called the Zone System. The system was based on the idea of visualizing the future results and end product. I would have such control of my craft, both chemically and artistically that I could change the image of nature into something drastically different. Turning it into that positive image and feeling that I felt when seeing this Creation by Hashem.

The same holds true in our avodas Hashem. Through holy thoughts and the dreams of the mind, one can go from unholiness to holiness. From dark to light. From east to west. The mind is so holy that when purified, it has the ability to time travel, to fly and climb its way to the highest of levels.

When a person stops dreaming, and holds themselves back from visualizing, they take life out of themselves. In photography, it wasn’t enough to just visualize the end result, it took discipline and control of the craft. One had to understand and see all the steps necessary to lead one to the end result. The same holds true in our avodas Hashem. We have to see the cause and affect. We have to see the benefits of our every action and how what we take in will affect the final outcome, our avodas Hashem. But without dreaming, we have none of this! So we must dream of being close to Hashem and then we must visualize the steps it will take to make that happen.

In photography, I had learnt that in every scene was a picture somewhere. I just had to find it and bring it out. The same holds true in each of our lives, no matter how difficult. Somewhere in that scene is a picture, a light that when brought out and visualized, can turn each one of us into a Tzaddik.

August 24, 2008

Sefer Yom LYom- Daily spiritual practices #3

Filed under: Blog Torah,Daily Concepts,Sefer Yom Lyom,Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 11:31 pm

Chatzos, Midnight
(written by Rabbi Akiva’s grave)
1. The first few minutes of chatzos as the most beneficial
2. Before reciting the Tikkun, praise Hashem (through your own words or from Psalms 145-150) and be joyous in the holiness of this hour.
3. Even the mere thought of the Shechinah and Bais Hamikdosh at this hour is very great.
4. A person can be attached to the Shechinah after Chatzos more then any other hour. Even great is this attachment when with a minyon of people in study and prayer.
5. Keep your avodah at this time as private as possible between you and Hashem.
6. One can accomplish great things in the mikvah at this hour, more then during the day.
7. Every moment at this hour is more precious then pearls. Do not waist even a moment. Go to and from like a person in charge of a top secret important assignment.
(Continued at Rav chaim Luzatos grave)
8. It is benificial to go to a holy place and pray. If one goes lishmah, for the sake of Heaven, all the gates will open before him.
9. It is very important when spiritually prepared, to learn Zohar Friday night after Chatzos. This is the way of the Sages.
10. Be warned, if you do not sanctify yourself at this holy hour yet remain awake to be wasteful of time, swarms of impurities will look to draw from your spirit. Contra-wise, if you purity yourself, you could walk through fire that is how strong your soul can become at this time.
11. One can measure their level of fear of Hashem by going out in the night. (if safe in your area)
12. Talk to Hashem now in hisbodidus and you will not leave unanswered.
13. Even mundain activities and chores are elevated at this hour.
14. Being up for Chatzos and then going to sleep before naitz is like preparing a gormet meal and then leaving it out to spoil.
15. To little sleep and too much sleep leads a person to sin unless it is done for the sake of Heaven.
16. If you say Tikkun Rochel and Leah, even abridged, your study afterwards will be lishmah.
17. Cry out at this time for your lack of knowledge and poor study habits.
18. Hashem & the Righteous are listening to your study and prayer at this hour. This means that you are spiritually surrounded by their holiness. Those who are wise know how to connect themselves to this holiness and benefit from it in all ways.

August 22, 2008

Too Quiet this week on the blog

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 5:31 am

I was a bit quiet this week but I didn’t write some new pages of Torah for the new book. I’m also discussing with a few people about editing. It has come to my attention that I need to make a hebrew version of ilovetorah so I am looking for someone to do some good translating.

I also realize that it is a must that I continue to find away to work on ilovetorah full time. Right now about 30 people a week I loose contact with or fall behind on their emailed questions. I need at least 8 hours a day just to keep up with the sites. This is without even creating new material. There must be a better way to raise money for all this upkeep. I can’t simply turn my back on people in pain like I am forced to do because of the overwelming time to write back everyone.
When donations come in, it literally brings me back to life that day and I push myself to be on top of things. As in the words of our good friend Yonason, things will get better because they must. Hashem will help.

August 19, 2008

Empty Music

Filed under: Current Events — Reb Moshe @ 8:30 pm

This week is klezmer week in Tzfat and when I hear some of the music, I am saddened. Music is supposed to uplift and bring people closer to Hashem. Sometimes musicians are more into the fancy quick key touches & attention then they are at really trying to inspire people. It is my personal belief that all musical artists hold a great key in their hands to change peoples lives. Therefore, I am sad to hear music being played that has no connection to Judaism or is not done with the intention of holiness. I see many lost souls today walking around Tzfat, hoping to be inspired by Klezmer but I know many will return home carrying nothing back with them. It is just a shame to have so many people thirsting in the second holiest city in the world, not getting this thirst quenched. Then again, maybe my wife’s and my standard of music is too high and even one song played with humility will be enough. But if I hear one more song from Fiddler on the roof, I might just jump on stage myself and take things over. As in the words of my wife, “Good musicains with bad choice in music”. Lets hope tonight will be different. I do not spend a lot of time at the Klezmer festival. I do feel the modesty level is lacking quite a bit. So for us, it is more like a quick visit through some backstreets and then back home.

No deep thoughts

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 7:32 pm

I can’t say I have any deep thoughts this week. It is only Tuesday and I am already contemplating the Shabbos. The idea of running away, hidding, relaxing from an otherwise, confusing world.

August 18, 2008

Tourists Everywhere

Filed under: Current Events — Reb Moshe @ 3:50 am

Guest houses and hotels in northern Israel (by the way, this may be helpful: are operating at 95% capacity this week. This is especially so in Tzfat. In fact, it is so busy my friend begged me to drive him today so he wouldn’t have to deal with the traffic. I guess for some of us, we have no time for vacations and being surrounded by tourists can confuse our otherwise stable air. So for us, we are hiding in our homes till all the noise leaves. Then again, we are happy for people to enjoy the holiness of our town. It is normally my routine to visit Meron, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai but this week I have to sneak there at strange hours or not go at all. It is also a bit more dangerous to drive when people are lost, stopping in the road to read signs or are driving while in vacation cloud 9. Sometimes, the only way to deal with a crowd is to simply join them. I have tried this solution in previous years but then realized that traveling with a car full of kids off from school isn’t all it is made out to be. Children do need attention and more time with their parents but vacations can be even more distracting from providing for these basic needs. After-all, children need structure, schedule and regular meals to flourish. We have found that trips that are closer to home are wiser & that one special small trip a week is plenty. Also, why should I sit in traffic to Tiberias for 30minutes in the heat when I can take them in the afternoon when school is in session. Half of Israel is within 3 hours drive. I think it is unusual that so many people in a country are vacationing for 3 weeks all at the same time.

August 15, 2008

Good Shabbos

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 12:57 pm

Today I did a video shir, class on gemarah, Talmud at the idra and wrote some new passages for the new book. I wish everyone a good shabbos.

Question of the day: Are Krocks appropriate to wear on Shabbos?

August 14, 2008

Start your day

Filed under: Daily Thoughts — Reb Moshe @ 10:22 pm

A Jewish persons day starts out at nightfall. At the changes of the watches, which is the separation between day and night. These time periods of change which happen throughout the twenty four hour period have tremendous spiritual ramifications due to their depth. Therefore, we must not ignore its significance and utilize this time wisely.

If someone wanted to sneak through a heavily guarded area, they should do so at the time of the switching of the guards. At this time, they might be able to even walk right through to the King without interference since the guards are busy changing shifts and occupied with many things.

The changing of the watches is a busy time period in shamayim as well as in this earthly realm. People are arising from sleep, running to & from work, traveling to Synagogue or school and women are cooking the main courses of food for the day. It is very easy to let this opportune time slip away without being spiritually productive. Therefore, we must set up our daily schedule to make this time productive and to be occupied in mitzvos and joy.

August 12, 2008

Sefer Yom Lyom Daily Practices #2

Filed under: Blog Torah,Daily Concepts,Sefer Yom Lyom — Reb Moshe @ 8:49 pm

1. It is good to learn or pray standing from time to time to increase Devekus

2. Open your eyes in the mikvah to purify them from seeing that which is unholy

3. Think about the 4 compartments in the Tefillin & how they compare to the 4 letter name

4. Confess your sins regularly at the grave of a Tzaddik

5. Always keep the body clean & without oder

6. Look at the blue sky & think about Fear of Hashem

7. Cast a good eye on others, especially strangers & change their merit from bad to good

8. Drinking liquids arouses a person t pray & sing

9. Look at children & draw from the holiness in their face

10. Train yourself to see nature & relate it to Torah passages

11. Memorize many psalms by heart to later recall on the road in your travels

12. Overdress for most occasions in order to give extra respect to Hashem

13. Think of yourself as holy & eventually it will rub off on you

14. There is only one thing you should fake and that is to always appear happy to others. Eventually, it might become a reality & at least you will make others smile in the meanwhile.

15. Don’t be afraid to buy necessities you need when you are lacking them. Hashem will refill your pockets.

16. Picture yourself alone in the desert & call out to Hashem in simplicity & humility

17. Stop yourself from doing anything in the extreme in order to teach yourself balance

18. If you are worrying, you are not living

Finding the Truth is Easy

Filed under: Blog Torah — Reb Moshe @ 5:55 pm

Finding the Truth is Easy but changing the reality into something true is far more difficult. As a little bit of a Kotzker, I find myself constantly searching but as soon as I see the reality, I am forced to run. This is because change is hard, it surmounts to a tremendous amount of work.

To a certain degree, in order to change, you must totally admit your failures. Then you have to take yourself out of the routine and depending on how long you have been stuck in this place, going out can be an unbelievable undertaking. So it isn’t enough to have simply found the truth or have admitted the failures, you must make a huge leap and in some cases, it could be equivalent to changing planets.

So in order to make this jump, you have to set in discipline. Mussar study gives a person this. Someone who is used to training themselves can always add a new exercise but for someone who isn’t used to hard core training, they will have to take things gradually. This is why it is important for us to always be in training and working on ourselves. We should always be learning some mussar so that when we need to discipline ourselves, we can.

The Kotzker chassid wasn’t just someone who searched for truth. He also had enough control to change any midah, character trait at any given time. There was no set routine of failures and there was no outside show put on for onlookers.

August 11, 2008

Georgia Crisis

Filed under: Current Events — Reb Moshe @ 7:33 pm

My wife can’t believe how upset I am at the Georgia Crisis. I can’t stop thinking about it. It really upsets me the aggression from Russia and I worry for many Jews still trapped there. I don’t think anyone expected Russia to act in this way. It is all from Hashem but for us Jews, the instability of the world is even now more apparent. The lack of the world to do anything about it except watch a democracy being attacked. Our need for Moshiach is even more clear.

August 9, 2008

Jewish Laws for Tisha B Av

Filed under: Current Events — Reb Moshe @ 9:51 pm

We make havdalah just by saying the blessing over the candle. Until midday, we sit only on low chairs and put our matrices on the ground. In our regular weekday prayer cloths, we head to the synagogue, wearing slippers or non leather shoes. Food does not touch our pallet as we are in pain from our sadness. Torah study like the book of job and Lamitatitons is permitted as well as sad events in Jewish history. It is on this day that we think about the destruction of the Temple.