When we need to ask.

deep in prayer. Forgiveness from the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag

What is a sin really?

In the Hebrew, the idea of sin, is  no way as harsh as it is in the English language. The word sin, chet, really means to miss the mark. Indeed,  all of us at times  look back at some aspect of our lives, and wish we had acted otherwise.

The Sages tell us that the force of the evil inclination , the self-centered ego is so strong that if God does not help us with it, it would cause us fall into evil every day!

So Rabbi Baruch Ashlag , the great Kabbalist, asks this simple question. If we are really unable to deal with our selfish love ourselves, what do we need to ask forgiveness for?

In his answer he shows us that the real need for forgiveness arises  because we did not ask God to help us when we needed to. Asking God to help us when we are struggling with our own selves maybe, surprisingly, quite difficult. It involves a giving up, and a wish for God to come close. Realizing what we need to ask forgiveness for actually helps us make better choices next time!

This podcast is dedicated for a Refuah Shlemah to my mother Chaya bat Sara Leah.

From Sefer Hama’amarim of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag ( article 4 תשמ”ח)

Sad and happy: conflicting feelings in our relationship with God

feeling sad, yet finding a cause to rejoice in our relationship with the Creator. From the Zohar and the Kabbalah of Rabbi Ashlag

In an article written towards the end of his life, Rabbi Baruch Ashlag discusses the issue of what should we do when we have fallen away form our service to God in one way or another, and we are feeling low because of it. We want to make amends.

But the Sages teach us, ‘ Serve the Lord with happiness, come before Him with song.” How is a person meant to be able to serve God with happiness when he is feeling broken?

God is surely not asking us to do the impossible? But  on what basis can a person feel happy when he is so sad?

The answer is unexpected.  Although the person is feeling low and despairing when he considers how he is not able to do the work for God, nevertheless, he needs to know that just having the awareness that he wants to come to God to get closer to Him is already a positive step. Furthermore, having the desire to come to God is actually a gift of the Creator , because this desire cannot arise any other way.

This podcast is dedicated for  a Refuah Shlema for Alla Bat Rifkah. May this Torah learning bring her a true healing.

Article excerpted from Sefer haMaamarim of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag Vol 4 article 25 

 

 

Becoming Adam: to resemble the Divine

Adam: from God and like God. From the teaching of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

 

How can I come to be the best person I can be? What does this imply?

The Talmud teaches us that there are two aspects to every action. The outer action, which is open and revealed to ourselves and others, but there is also our motive or intention, which may be quite hidden, even from ourselves. Yet it is our intention which gives the perspective of whether we are getting closer to the Creator or separating from the One.

A person, whether male or female, who aspires to become close to the Creator in the sense of resembling HaShem in giving unconditional love to his or her fellows or to the Creator is called by the name of Adam, from the scripture  אדמה לעליון, I will resemble the Most High.

How can we become Adam? How can we attain the desire of becoming the best we can be?

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This Torah learning is dedicated to the ilui neshama of  Reb Moshe Ben Ese-Esther,  a direct descendant of Rabbi Akiva Eiger ztz’l  the grandfather of  my chevruta, Shmuel Iger Kinyan, who despite the dangers of being Jewish in communist Russia first taught Shmuel that he was Jewish.

Teachings taken from the Perush HaSulam on the first volume of the Zohar Pikudah Kadma’ah and also from Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag’s Al HaTorah, Parshat Vayikra.

Unity through friendship

Love of friends gives us unity, from the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag

 

When Rabbi  Yehudah Leib Ashlag was away from his students, he wrote them very many letters instructing them on the path of spiritual growth. A recurring theme in these letters is the importance of working on the love of friends. He wrote:

I understand that you are not practicing so much the rectification of the will to receive for oneself alone, as it is expressed through the mind and through the heart. Nevertheless, do the best you can ,and the salvation of God comes in the twinkling of an eye. But the most important way, that stands before you today, is in the union of the companions. Make greater and greater efforts in this aspect, for it has within it the ability to compensate for all lacks. Igeret Parshat shemot 5685 Warsaw.

By contemplating these words very deeply we see that we are given a profound clue for ourselves today.

How do we come to unity? Why is it so important? By looking at Rabbi Ashlag’s work in the context of the revelation on Mount Sinai, we see that we have been given a key whereby we too can come to a revelation of the light of the Creator.

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This podcast is dedicated with love to my dear friend Netanyah bat Sara on the occasion of her birthday and to the grandchildren of Mary Ann Ward, her nephew and nieces.

This podcast is based on letters written by Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag (Igarot HaSulam) and on Rabbi Moshe Sheinberger’s commentary on Tomer Devorah, with grateful thanks to my chevrutah Shalom Siegel.

Lighting our inner flame; a talk for Chanukah

The chanukah candle lights us from within as well as from without. Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

The oil the wick and the vessel provide the three essential components to light the flame of the Chanukah candle. How was this candle first kindled?

The candle was lit  through the dedication and the sacrifice of the men of faith, who rejected the secular philosophy of the Greeks. The Greeks relied on external logic and rationality as the basis of their thought, whereas the way of the Jew is the way of faith in the Goodness of the Almighty. Often God’s way is hidden from us, and we cannot see or understand His goodness. But the miracle of Chanukah, when the candle stayed alight in a way which no cold logic could have predicted is an open revelation of God’s light. That was the miracle.

In this letter, Rabbi Baruch Shlaom Ashlag looks at the components of the candle from their inner perspective and teaches how this miracle may be kindled in our own lives, thought our faith and service to God.

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This podcast is based on a letter of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Halevei Ashlag taken from the book Bircat Shalom, Mamarim bavodat HaShem al derech haemet.

Dedicated for a Refuah Shlemah to Chava bat Shifra Hinde

Other talks on the inner meanings of Chanukah

The triumph of the soul over the ego

What is a miracle?

Rosh Hashanah: Choosing anew.

Rosh Hashanah apples pomegranate and shofar

Rosh Hashanah: apples, pomegranate, and shofar

Ego or soul? which one do we want to be governed by? The concept of God as King is actually a discussion of our own choice.

Rosh HaShanah, the new year is a day of choice; a day when we are given the possibility of choosing again. This is an amazing thought. For so many of us, the days go by and we seem to have drifted into habits of thought, feeling and even actions, which on closer examination we may not in fact espouse.
So what does this new choice consist of, and how do we choose?

Do we choose to come back into the mode of compassion or giving which will bring us back to union with the Creator? Of course we do. So what makes this choice so difficult/ or so hard to uphold?

Listen

to an article by Rabbi baruch Shalom Ashlag who ex[plains the choice and how to take th leapr of fiath towards the Creator who then takes the giant steps towards us. But the choice is ours and the day of choice, Rosh hashanah!

May all of us be blessed with a sweet New Year, Shanah Tovah! Yedidah

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Other talks for Rosh Hashanah can be found here

The language of Rosh Hashanah is derived from the Kabbalah

The Shofar, the sound of compassion

Changing our outlook on Rosh HaShanah

 

Making a sanctuary for God

The kabbalah meaning of the ninth of Av. From the Torah of Rabbi Ashlag

In the Jewish calendar, we now in the period of the three weeks; a period when we mourn the destruction of the temples of Jerusalem. You could ask, Why is it that 2000 years  after the second Temple was destroyed we are still mourning?  Why do we still commemorate this period of destruction, when we can see with our own eyes, the beginning of the return to Zion and the incredible life and vitality of modern Jerusalem?

What was the meaning of the presence of the temple of Jerusalem? The Scripture requests “Make me a sanctuary that I will dwell within you.” ( Exodus 25,8)

The temple of Jerusalem was a visible, real experience of the presence of God right in the heart of the city. Since each person  is considered as a whole world, everything that is outside is also represented within ourselves. So our real question needs to be, why is our own inner temple not a sanctuary for the light of God? Why don’t we see the light of God as a living reality in our own inner selves and in our world?

By considering this lack and the reasons for it, we can turn our mourning into the building blocks for it to happen, as the Sages taught, ” One who mourns for Jerusalem, merits to see her joy.”

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Dedicated to my mother, Chaya bat Sara, for a Refuah Shlemah