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)

Yehudah, the teacher of prayer

Called to prayer from the teachings of Rabbi Baruch Ashlag

Called to Prayer

The Midrash states: “When Judah met Joseph, two Kings met.”

The story of the dramatic encounter between Yehudah and Yoseph, is one that reverberates in our hearts and prayers every single day. Yehudah (Judah) taught prayer, whereas Yoseph ( Joseph) represents bounty and redemption.

Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag teaches :

We need to believe before we pray that 1) the Divine hears our voice, whoever we may be. 2) that the Creator can help us 3) that He wants to help us.

Yet the fact that we even want to pray to God is a sign that the Creator is calling out to us. Calling to us to connect with Him and His call is in itself a redemption.

Listen to full podcast

Podcast inspired from the Zohar and the work Bircat Shalom, articles  by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

With grateful thanks to Mordecai (Yoel) Shoot whose questions sparked this study.

 

The night of the Bride: when God’s light is concealed.

The Night of the Bride : Zohar, taught by Rabbi Ashlag

In the beautiful imagery of the Zohar , the Bride and the Bridegroom, the Knesset Yisrael, and the Holy Blessed One, come to the wedding canopy on the day of Shavuot, the day of the Giving of the Torah. The previous night  is spent by the companions of the Bride in studying and practicing the Torah, all through the night.

However, Rabbi Ashlag, in his tremendous teaching, the Perush haSulam on the Zohar, teaches that the essence of Shavuot and the essence of the redemption are the same. Likewise the night in which the Bride joins with Her Creator, not only refers to the night before Shavuot, but refers to the long days of exile when the forces of separation rule over us, turning us away from our Maker. Yet the Zohar teaches that  it is precisely in this time of the concealment of God’s light that the souls join with the Holy Blessed One.

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From the Ma’amar Leilah de Kalah, Perush haSulam, vol 1 Zohar,

With grateful thanks to Dvorah Hoffman and the chevrutas in Tsfat for enabling this learning. 

Our inner Cain and our inner Abel: Can we identify them?

Cain and Abel: inner meanings from the Kabbalah of Rabbi Ashlag

Cain and Abel

Rabbi Ashlag teaches us that all the elements to be found within the Biblical narratives are to be found within ourselves. Furthermore, the parts of the Torah that relate how the Creator revealed Himself to our forefathers, and their happenings, help us to shed light on our own behavior and help us to clarify for ourselves how to come closer to the Creator in affinity of form in compassion and giving.

The story of Cain and Abel is a representation of the paradox we all live with, of the conflict between the ego and the soul and how  we deal with them.

By asking the questions: Which part of me is my inner Cain? Which part of me is my inner Abel? and looking at the motives and actions of the protagonists in the story, we can see how we may prevent our inner Cain from “murdering” our inner Abel.

 Listen now

From Rabbi Ashlag’s essay, Torat Hakabbalah Umahutah; the Netivot Shalom on Bereishit, the Zohar Bereishit A and Bereishit B

Picture credit: From the National Geographic Channel ( Video series)

God blesses us, we bless God; a holy dialogue

Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, receiving and giving blessing

Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, receiving and giving blessing

A holy dialogue increases the life and goodness in the world. The Zohar teaches us that God’s only desire is to give goodness to His created beings. Therefore all that He wants to give us is ready for us. However, we cannot always receive the goodness He wants to give, because we become separated from Him by receiving for ourselves alone. Blessing God for everything we enjoy is a simple and wonderful way that Judaism teaches us to change the one-way flow into a productive dialogue.

The Scripture in Deuteronomy tells us that, just as God blesses us with His goodness so we also need to bless Him. The Zohar on this verse teaches that our blessing and thanking God for all He gives us, is the key to changing a one-way flow into a dialogue that only multiplies the goodness not only for ourselves but for all hummankind.

Listen to full talk ( 13 minutes)

From the Zohar on Ekev paragragh 1 and Rabbi Baruch Ashlag’s Al HaTorah Parshat Ekev
With grateful acknowledgment to Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb who inspired this learning.

The natural forces of Creation and how man’s consciousness affects them: From the Zohar

Hurricane Sandy hit the coast of America this week. The Zohar discusses Man’s relationship with nature and the forces of Creation, and we learn how the consciousness of the human being is a prime factor in influencing the behavior of natural forces.
Listen to audio talk

Keep safe. we’re thinking of you….

(Inspired by a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb)
hurricane waves show forces of nature

The Divine Providence and I

The Purpose of Creation  seems remote from us. Even though we may understand intellectually that God’s ultimate purpose is to give  us pleasure ,this is so far removed from our everyday experience that  it seems irrelevant. But this is not the case. All that happens to us and all that we choose is in fact the consequence of the Purpose of the Creation unfolding right within our lives.Listen to full talk (13 mins.)http://www.nehorapress.com/115470/Audio-Classes