My soul, Jerusalem

Jerusalem our soul, by Rabbi Baruch Ashalg

Jerusalem, a thriving city

The Sages taught “All those who mourn over Jerusalem will merit to see her rejoicing.” (Taanit 30b)

Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag pointed out that since many Tzaddikim mourned throughout the ages for Jerusalem and did not merit to see the Temple rebuilt, we need to understand this statement on an inner level.

The Zohar teaches us that the collective Soul, the indwelling presence of God within us, the Shechinah, is the Jerusalem within us; each one of us having a unique aspect of her. 
Jerusalem is known by many names in the Bible, (Tanach). By considering the names of Jerusalem: “the city”, the “city of David”, “the epitome of beauty”,  we can understand more of the role the soul should be taking in governing our thoughts, our words and our actions.

The fact that  our soul does not occupy the central role in governing us that she should, is the cause of our mourning. However, from its name itself “Jerusalem” Rabbi Ashlag also teaches us the way to help reestablish its presence in our lives.

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Related talks on the inner meaning of the three weeks and tisha b’Av

The real destruction: the absence of God in our lives

Mourning on Tisha B’Av

Where is God? Why can’t I sense His presence? Rabbi Ashlag teaches that we can’t sense God’s presence because we have put a rival in His place, we have placed our ego at the center of our focus and God is left in a corner. Yet we are commanded to build Him a sanctuary. and then He will dwell within us. A sanctuary in our heart, making God a living presence in our lives. Then the outer sanctuary will be rebuilt.

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Jerusalem on the inner

The walls of Jerusalem

The walls of Jerusalem

Now in these three weeks in which we commemorate the destruction of the Temple 2000 years ago, we may wonder what this means today? But actually all our Jewish festivals and fasts are not observed as historical mementos,  but as signposts directing us in our work of  coming closer to God in the here- and- now.

Jerusalem in our inner work signifies unity with God. the holy point of the soul. Thus rebuilding Jerusalem is work each of us does within us.  Rabbi Ashlag teaches us that the very name Jerusalem teaches us how to go about it.

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Counting the Omer from the inside

Counting the Omer

Counting the Omer

In the external pattern of counting the days between Pesach and Shavuot there exists a rich inner reality. Each day pertains to a different Sephirah, a vessel for the light of God. How may we experience this richness?

Rabbi Ashlag the great commentator on the Zohar explains the inner meaning of these days and shows how the fulfillment of the mitzvah of counting the Omer provides the outer framework for inner work of building the vessels by working on ourselves and with which we may receive the light of the Torah on Shavuot.

Excerpt from the Zohar Tezaveh (Perush HaSulam 62-64)
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Tu BShvat: Man as a Tree of the Field

When we look at how the farmer increases the yield of the fruit-bearing tree, we can also see how we can work on ourselves to increase our own ability to bring forth good deeds. From a letter by Rabbi Baruch Ashlag to his students.

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