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 

 

 

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

Listen

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

 

Teshuva : reuniting with our Source

Returning to our Source: from the Kabbalah of Rav Kook and of Rabbi Ashlag

purple anemones looking upwards

Rabbi Baruch Ashlag writes:

The scripture says “Return O Israel unto the Lord your God.” (Hosea 14.) This means that the measure of Teshuvah, returning,  needs to be unto  the Lord our God. What does it mean to return unto the Lord our God?

Rabbi Ashlag goes on to tell us that we came from God. Our source is Divine. However, the soul and the body devolve down different paths. The path the soul takes is through the framework of  holiness, whereas the path the body— known as the ego— takes, is through the framework of uncleanness.

The soul is clothed by  the body, and is under its domination for the first thirteen years of our life. Then slowly through the work of Torah and mitzvot for the sake of God or for the sake of our fellow human, we gradually return step by step to our Source.

As Rav Kook writes in his great work, Orot HaTeshuvah

Through Teshuvah everything returns to godliness. The reality of the power of Teshuvah that rules over all the worlds returns and reconnects all things in the perfect divine reality.

It is to this extent that we may indeed ultimately must return.

Listen to full podcast

This podcast is dedicated to the merit of my dear friend Hana Leah bat Esther Sara for a Refuah Shlemah

Teaching from Bircat Shalom of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag  Ma’amar 2 Sefer Hama’amarim תשמ”ט and from Orot HaTeshuvah Rav Kook chapter four

Other talks on Teshuvah and the month of Elul

Forty days of love: From Elul to Yom Kippur

Enjoying the month of Elul

Shame is a precious feeling

Recognizing our own selves: first steps to Teshuvah

looking inside is a forward step on the path to Teshuvah

 

“Levi met his old friend Reuben. Levi asked Reuben where he was living. Reuben answered him, telling him his present address. Levi’s eyes grew round with surprise when he heard the answer. ‘Surely that’s where Simon the infamous criminal is living’ he cried, ‘he must be making your life a misery.’………”

This is the beginning of a story that Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag tells about ourselves. It is a story we can use to discover who we are and what we need to work with.

It is hard for us to see the truth about ourselves, according to the  scriptural saying “Love covers all iniquities,” and because we all naturally love ourselves, we actually don’t know that much about ourselves.

Yet, if we don’t know what we need to rectify how can we come to our true purpose?

“The light of the Torah brings a person back to the good way,” teach the Sages. How does this light work? Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag, on being asked that question, answered, “The light of the Torah shows a person that his will to receive for himself alone is actually damaging him. Without this light he cannot throw it away.”

Listen to full podcast

This podcast (15 minutes) is dedicated to my mother, Chaya bat Sara Leah for a Refuah Shlemah, a perfect healing, by Elizabeth and Jonathan Topper

 

 

 

Faith provides the actual structure of the Succah

The succah of faith from the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag

A succah in Jerusalem

When asked what the real significance of the Biblical injuction of dwelling in the Succah for seven days is about, Rabbi Eliezer in the Talmud stated it referred to the Clouds of glory that protected the Children of Israel in the wilderness; Rabbi Akiva stated it referred to the physical structure itself.

Rabbi Ashlag, in a letter writing, his students on Succot asks how was it that two such great Sages came up with such very different ideas? He explains that they are both looking at the succah as representing faith in God but one is looking at the light of faith and the other at the creation of the actual vehicle for this great light. Faith is the vehicle with whihc we may connect with God both in times of God’s light being revealed to us and in times when it is hidden from us.
The festival of succot gives us an opportunity to build our refuge of faith for the entire coming year.

From a letter by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

Listen now

The light of God is revealed on Chanukah in an unexpected way

Chanukah's hidden message is of the revelation of the light of God from the Kabbalah of Rabbi Baruch Ashlag

The Chanukah candle placed outside the house for all to enjoy and see the miracle

Rabbi Ashlag looks at the details of the laws of Chanukah as explained in the Talmud and teaches a wealth of inner work as he elucidates their inner meaning.
We are taught by the Sages of the Gemorrah that the Chanukah candle should be placed outside the house opposite the side of the mezuzah in the doorway.
Rabbi Ashlag teaches that this detail actually teaches about the root of the spiritual light of Chanukah when God gave the people of Israel a miracle over the Greeks in those days. But what does this mean for us now? When we try to give to others or to God unconditionally we find that many obstacles lie in our path. But the most difficult to overcome is our own inner adversaries.Our own inner Greeks, who represent our rational mind that opposes faith. We find that much as we want to we are unable to overcome our own selves. Finally we realize we need God to reveal His light to us just as He did in these days to our forefathers and show us a miracle. The inner miracle of Chanukah.
A podcast

Listen now
From the Bircat Shalom Sefer HaMaamarim of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

Other talks on chanukah:

Faith: Torah from the Years of Fury
Chanukah: The Triumph of the Soul over the Ego
Chanukah: What is a miracle?

Abraham : a new name and a clear destiny.

Abraham and creation from the  Zohar

What’s in a name?

When God gave Abraham his new name, changing it from Abram to Abraham, He was telling him about his role as a father of nations. It’s a role  intimately connected with the purpose of the human being in the tikkun of creation.

This role is  hinted at in the very beginning of  Genesis. Crucially, the word describing the creation of heaven and earth has, in Hebrew, the same letters as Abraham”s full name.

What does this imply for us in our lives today? Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag, addresses this issue in a remarkable essay based on  the Zohar Lech lecha .

This talk is based on an article in  the Sefer Hamamarim of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

Listen Now