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)
In a letter that Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag wrote to his brother Shmuel, he describes the purpose for which the soul leaves the spiritual realms and descends into this difficult physical world. Surprisingly, he describes the benefit the soul attains through its association with the physical.
This does seem surprising, as in general, the physical gets a bad press: it is the origin of the world to receive for oneself alone in this world, and is often seen as gross, compared to the ethereal nature of the spiritual worlds.
But Rabbi Ashlag points out that it is precisely through the association of the soul with the physical that the soul acquires not only knowledge of God but also feeling. Feelings are only possible through the physical body and it is through our feelings, both positive and negative that we may actually experience the light of God . Such experience is called “attaining the Names of God”.
The Sages have taught that when the month of Adar comes in we increase our joy. But we must have a basis for this. A person cannot feel happy without a reason. Senseless happiness feels foolish and silly. The Sages are referring to the happiness of holiness, the happiness of being in unity with the Creator.
However to feel the presence of the Creator in our lives we need to first feel how empty our lives are when we don’t feel in connection with Him, otherwise we do not appreciate what we are given. Feeling happy and feeling empty are two opposite states of being.
Prayer and thanks or praise are our responses to God to these states. Rabbi Ashlag teaches us that for both prayer and praise to be real they have to come from the depth of the heart. How can we achieve this depth of feeling, and what does this have to do with the month of Adar?
From an article by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag z”l (Sefer HaMa’amarim) Listen to podcast (15 minutes)
When Man was first created in the Garden of Eden, his senses and feelings gave him accurate information about the world he was living in. Once Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of knowledge this direct perception of the world became replaced by the need to use knowledge and thought instead. How can we come once more to rely on our feelings and determine directly what is good and what is bad? And what counts as good anyway?
From the Kabbalah of Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag
When we take a fresh look at the symbols associated with the Jewish New Year according to the Kabbalah, we find judgement turns into compassion and fear and guilt turn into confidence in ourselves and in the future. listen here http://www.nehorapress.com/115470/audio-on-festivals
The third root mitzvah that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai brings in the Zohar is that of declaring God’s unity in the six words that make up the Shema. This declaration of the unity of the Creator is the first thing we learn as little children and the last thing we say when we die. In the morning and in the evening, as the day begins and ends, we affirm with our words this fundamental unity. Why?
Life itself is not uniform. It seems chaotic. We experience all extremes from dreadful to tremendous. Yet we affirm the unity of the Creator and the underlying unity of the acts of the One. These six words transform our lives from meaningless into purposeful.
Loving God isn’t an easy thing for most of us. We tend to take the good times as our due or for granted , and in bad we just feel miserable and angry. How can we remain open to love? Is it important to do so? Interestingly enough it isn’t impossible and our Sages from the Zohar and our friends can show us the way and give us the opportunity to give to the One unconditionally. For the full talk listen on