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.

Listen to podcast

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.

We stood together at Mount Sinai

“as one man with one heart”

The Children of Israel came to Mount Sinai, ready and willing to accept the Torah. We need to ask ourselves today, to what extent do we really want the Torah? For it is only the desire for the Torah that provides a suitable vessel for the Torah. Without the correct vessel, the light of the Torah, which is unceasing since the revelation on Mount Sinai, cannot be received by us.

In this talk, based on an oral talk the Baal HaSulam gave at the festive meal of Shavuot 1948, we learn what are the requirements for us too, to stand at the foot of Mount Sinai, here and now, and receive the word of God.

Listen now (about 15 mins.)

Talk taken from “Hashem Shamati Shimecha”: the oral works of the Baal HaSulam collected by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag and the other students, collated by Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb.

With many grateful thanks to my chevrutas Channa Glazer, Shmuel Igar Kinyan, Timna Segal, Dahlia Orlov, Shayna Falk, James Torrance and Sara Schroeder

Further talks on Shavuot

Succot and the Clouds of Glory

The Zohar teaches us that three gifts were given to the Children of Israel when travelling through the wilderness. One of them was the clouds of glory which led them and protected them from the heat of the sun and hid them from unfriendly eyes. Their essence is the same as that of the succah. Listen to full talk http://www.nehorapress.com/115470/audio-on-festivals

Shema Yisrael: Declaring God’s Unity

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. 

Listen now to the whole talk (nine minutes)http://www.nehorapress.com/115470/Audio-Classes