Thursday, June 28, 2012

avodah for da es atzmecha chaburah on Thursdays at 12 (NY time)





2. set a timer for two minutes of quiet time (observe which thoughts are not you) - or spend time for two plus minutes a day in the space of sensing Hashem (some of you go outdoors, ocean, yard, or run to get to this space)


3. continue to download into your mind: 
 "My purpose in this world is to have deveikus to Hashem" (to sense and breathe it!)

4. Begin chapter four in Da Es Atzmecha pages 80-92
 and...

5.  Please read section 35-40 in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh

Good Shabbos!

                                   Parshas Chukos: 




If you are feeling the danger of these 63 days leading up to Tisha b'av, you are not alone.


But guess what?  In this weeks parsha we learn about two types of water, one that comes from above and one that pushes through rocks from below; the well of Miriam.


Rav Moshe Weinberger  discusses the concept of a be'er (well) and waters from below.  It is this type of struggle from below that shapes us into a wellspring of Torah and connection to Hashem.


The key is in freeing ourselves of the debris.  The rocks and dirt we fight our way through, cleanse us and shape us into pure glistening kli (vessel). A vessel that can,iyH,  deeply acquire the bond with Hashem and the pnimius (depth) of Torah.


How fitting for our chaburah that is learning to identify with who we really are, a pure soul, and dropping the mud that tries to cling to us, so that we can achieve the geulah from within (amen!) ...constant deveikus to Hashem.


Love, aviva
(shiur called: Inspired Judaism; infusing life into our Yiddishkeit)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Da Es Atzmecha and Bilvavi book one: Chaburah will IYH meet at 12 pm (NY time) this Thursday

HI!

This week we are iyH going to meet at 12 (NY time) instead of 1 pm on Thursday.

I hope this will be the last schedule change for the summer.

Below is the outline of Da es Atzmecha chapter 4, and Bilvavi, sections 24-34.


( dial in number: 


Israel: 972 76 599 0060
Canada:559-670-1000
US: 209-255-1000
England: 44-0-784-843-2913
Australia: 61 1300 051 796
South Africa: 27 87 825 0150

access code: 572926)

Chapter 4:

Gaining a Positive Self-image from the Soul

"When a person has a low self-esteem, the solution cannot come from the bodily forces. The solution is to let the soul's light shine, and then, one will truly enjoy a positive self-concept (pg 76)". (Elokai neshama shenasata bi...)

In other words, when you identify with your soul, you will attain positive self esteem.

This is a gift from Hashem and is not something to be arrogant about. Recognize the truth: "I am good, because that is how Hashem created me (pg 77).

{Nefesh Hachaim: after the sin of Adam, the external aspect of evil became internalized. We now thought evil was a part of our "I". The moment we sin, we think the evil is a part of us, when in actuality, we are a pure soul and the evil is a garment. Therefore, if you have negative self image, the solution is to teach ourselves that our essence is good.}

"If a person has a simple basis of emunah in Hashem, and believes that the Torah is true, he must believe that he (and all of mankind) is very good (pg 82)".

"A person should train himself to think this way at all times....No fault in the world can uproot the truth of "Hashem, the soul You placed in me is pure."(82)

Wake up your soul! How?

1. Torah and Mitzvos
2. Believe in the soul's existence
3. Contemplate "I am a neshama".
4. Contemplate the "I" is very good
This method of contemplation will expose your soul, and since it comes from a higher realm than the body, the soul will win over the body- and you will then come to a more positive outlook. (If you see self as a body, then the body rules over the soul)- If you identify with the soul, you reveal goodness and expand its lights, and win over the power of evil within (87).

Where does sadness come from? Not from a situation, rather from not identifying with who you really are, a soul. "Sadness applies when there is no soul." (86) Therefore, the most intense period of sadness is when there is a body without a soul. (87)

What is true love?(connection through bodies is temporary and illusory)91

1. It comes from the neshama, no stinginess or envy involved
2. Inner love comes from your true self, the soul and creates a spiritual connection
3. two people who both see themselves as souls covered with garments=love not dependent on anything
4. deeper love= join with Hashem, eternal love, no pause in this love.

One of six constant mitzvos: ahavas Hashem: deepest pleasure comes from loving Hashem and feeling loved by Him.

So, when we remove evil and start associating and seeing ourselves as a soul, then bring forth the positive feelings, this "true world of love". (92)




Bilvavi Book one:sections 24-34

      24. One can learn Torah and do mitzvos and still not have a :place for the light of Hashem to rest and to have Hashem dwell in their hearts”

  1. The yh tries to convince us that it is beyond our comprehension and we should wait until Gan Eden to experience closeness to Hashem or that we will feel it eventually if we keep doing mitzvos.
  2. Dovid Hamelech said :”as for me, closeness to Hashem is my good” and chazal say “there is no place devoid of Him” -how do we reconcile these two statements?!
  3. Two types of closeness: a. spatial b. familial
  4. spatial doesn't guarantee familial and familial doesn't guarantee spatial closeness/ with emotional closeness- there is closeness in the souls but may not be evident each moment

    29.spatially we are close to Hashem (no place devoid of Him), familial (we are His children), friendship (do not forsake your Friend and your father's Friend)

  5. 30.Although we are close in every way, we don't sense it or feel it.

    31.We can be spatially close to something and be unaware (germs)

    32.Can be very close to relative/friend and feel far because not aware that the person is near

    33.We are spatially, familial, and friendship close with Hashem, but don't feel it.

    34.Must toil to merit to recognize Hashem, not through intellectual knowledge, but a perception of the soul- not through abstract definitions

Bilvavi part 2  and In Forest Fields chaburah....


The new time we meet during the summer is Tuesday at 9:45 and i am so sorry for the last minute cancellation today!


Stick with the same avodah this week (see avodah page) and can't wait until next week.


Love, aviva



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chaburah that meets on Tuesday at 9 am- 930 am


Bilvavi book two:


The call in number is : 530-881-1200
access code; 1091004#

Chapter 4:
Senses of the Soul:
Hashem can only be felt through the soul:

If you cannot sense Hashem, then you need to awaken a faculty inside of you. 

What is it and how do we wake it up???

    When chazal say that “Hashem, the Torah and the Yisrael are one”, it is taught that the Yisrael is: chelilek Eloka mimaal: the soul.

So we need to uncover our soul and maintain constant contact with it to sense its counterpart= Hashem.

How??????

Man became a living soul”- a speaking spirit

Hashem created the souls of Yisrael before He created the world. Then what was created on the sixth day? “Hashem attached the soul to a physical body”.

The result of that attachment is “man became a living soul”, which Onkeles translates as: “it was in man a speaking spirit.”

This pasuk teaches us an AMAZING SECRET: “the original connection of body and soul created within man the power of speech....speech has the ability to connect the body with the soul...thus when a person uses the power of speech properly, he can awaken the level of his being that preceded this world.”

Speech bonds the body with the life-force of the soul

(parable- man buys appliance and doesnt realize has to plug it in)

nimshal: Hashem tells us to choose life (devarim 30:15, 19); and man became a living soul shows us that life means a combination of body and soul.

The soul is present in the body, but the body conceals it. How can we expose the soul?...use the faculty that results from and enhances the bond of body and soul, the power of speech...then the soul can become revealed to us.”

Shlomo hamelech teaches “kol amal ha'adam lieihu: all a person's efforts is for his mouth. ..speech is the faculty through which one can really serve Hashem. If we overlook it, we cannot reach Him.”

Two kinds of speech:


  1. noiseless chatter 2. speech that awakens the soul

So the way to reach palpable emunah, is through the power of speech...

(next week read chapter 5 and based on this chapter and what we learned so far, begin to ask Hashem out loud: “Please Hashem enable me to live up to this truth and use speech in a way that will awaken and expose my soul.”)

In Forest Fields:

Hashem wants a relationship with us. Sometimes, He needs to get our attention and pull us close in ways that may feel painful. We can choose to have a relationship by doing hisbodedus every day and taking stock of our thoughts, speech, and actions in past 24 hours, and asking Hashem to bring us closer to Him.


Pay attention:

One who devotes an hour a day to personal prayer in on an even higher spiritual level than a person who accepts his tribulations with joy, for the former doesnt wait to be aroused by tribulations, he seeks to serve Hashem on his own accord” (56)

Start walking!
The first step to teshuva on character perfection is establishing a daily 60 min session of personal prayer and self evaluation.” and this shows that you fear Hashem.

Two types of fear: 1. of punishment 2. of losing a close relationship with Hashem, making Hashem sad= teshuva from love= can convert all transgressions into merits.

(page 60 has example of what to say)

it becomes one stop shopping, because he who fears One, fears no one- attain emunah, and a life of joy and satisfaction.

(continue with daily hisbodedus and read pages 61-66)
















Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Inner Quiet:

I just heard a shiur on bilvavi.net that addresses the quiet inner space we spoke about on Tuesday.  It's called : Heart of the Jewish Woman

Great clarification to hear it directly from the author of the sefer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Have a beautiful Shabbos!

Parshas Korach:


Korach asks Moshe:


"Why do you set yourselves above the L-rds assembly"?


This is exactly where Korach is mistaken.


As we learned this week in our chaburahs: a true eved Hashem (servant of Hashem) empties herself out, to be a vessel that can sense a connection to Hashem and allow Hashem to flow through her.


In fact, the concept of a leader of the Jewish people is actually a servant of Hashem, one who empties himself out so that "he can be a mere vehicle through which the Divine force flowed".


Hence, Moshe is the humblest of all men; A true leader in Klal Yisrael puts himself to the bottom and puts Hashem above. 


May we be zoche to learn from Moshe Rabbeinu and to live this way, as a true eved Hashem. 


Love, aviva
www.chabad.org/parsha/the leader as a servant
(see what Seena sent below...

and check out our new time change for the 12 noon chaburah that was on Tuesday....)

ps, thank you for filling my life with such joy.


Seena sent me a beautiful idea that she heard in Rochelle Miller classes
- (also posted on the inspirational page):

"When someone's total focus is on fulfilling the will of the Creator, he will be free from all worries and anxieties. He constantly fulfills the will of the Creator with sublime ecstasy and joy. A wise person makes this his life-goal." 

Time and Date Change:

New day and time for Tuesday at 12 chaburah will be given instead on"


Thursdays at 1 pm (NY time). Beginning next Thursday iyH, June 28th.


There will be no chaburah this Tuesday (26th) at 12.


I am sorry if this is inconvenient for you!


(please use the same dial in number and if you are trying to listen to the recording of this past class, it is class 2 and then press the # button.)

Thanks so much for your patience with this!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

our avodah: chaburah at 9 am on Tuesday

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


1. Read chapter 4 in Bilvavi 2


2. review and contemplate the ideas in chapter 3- Bilvavi 2 (see outline)


3. read 56-61; In Forest Fields


4. continue personal prayer (one minute plus a day)

our avodah: for the chaburah at 12 on Tuesday:


 June 19, 2012



1. Take one (or more) times a day to do a task with complete focus.


2. set a timer for two minutes of quiet time (observe which thoughts are not you) 


3. continue to download into your mind: 
 "My purpose in this world is to have deveikus to Hashem". 


4. Begin chapter four in Da Es Atzmecha pages 73-81
 and...


5.  Please read section 24-34 in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Outline for Chaburah on Tuesday at 12 (NY time)


HI!

Here is the dial in number: 


Israel: 972 76 599 0060
Canada:559-670-1000
US: 209-255-1000
England: 44-0-784-843-2913
Australia: 61 1300 051 796
South Africa: 27 87 825 0150


access code: 572926


Da Es Atzmecha:





Chapter 3:
Nullifying the negative Feelings:
pages 56-66
(chapter 3 is about Havdalah: separation: the power of "alone": associating with the inner "I")

Initial structure of creation: Adam was alone. This is the earliest power (now deeper in the soul) to be alone, then came Chava and the power in soul to be with others was added.

Therefore, the "I" has two aspects- outward toward people and the other part turns inward.

Question: How do we learn to associate positive feelings with the true "I", (as part of essence of soul), and dissociate from negative feelings- see them as coming from the external body= separate from the true "I"?

1. Focus: (even an angel cannot accomplish more than one task at a time) "When a person is busy with something, that should be the only thing he is doing, and nothing else should interest him)pg 62.

2. "Allow your mind to relax and take a break from the rush of life". (pg 64)- you will discover an entirely new sense of self" (pg 65) (technique ideas:use of quiet music, find a tool that helps you)

Two categories of feelings: (pg 57)
a. feelings in relation to self
b. feelings in relation to others

When we experience inner quiet, then comes the revelation of the presence of Hashem within us (pg 66).
To do: When feeling negative toward others go to the quiet inner self (disengage from evil in the world and connect to Hashem, 67).
(Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe, Dovid- our forefathers were sheperds- seeking world of quiet- we follow in their footsteps. Matan Torah- no sounds heard not even a bird chirped (shmos raba 29:9) (pg 67).

***soul needs solitude as body needs food- it's the primary instrument for developing the soul.

"To attain this world of quiet, we must learn to quiet our thoughts" (pg 70).

To do:
Begin with 2 minutes a day- no reading or talking to anyone. First notice where your thoughts are, and whether they are calm or noisy thoughts. "Is the thought in the category of 'alone' or far from it?" (pg 71) If it's a thought that's very far from the "I" then just tell it that now is not the time for it, notice where your thoughts want to go. (see pages 70-71 for examples).
___________________________________________________
 Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh:

      19. Mesillas Yesharim: examine and scrutinize/evaluate your deeds to perform them in a more meaningful way

  1. Realize clearly that without the desire to feel and/or the feeling of closeness to Hashem, it is as if we are dead.
    21. What does closeness to Hashem mean?
    1. If we don't know what cleaving to Hashem means, then we have no understanding of our purpose in life.
      24. One can learn Torah and do mitzvos and still not have a :place for the light of Hashem to rest and to have Hashem dwell in their hearts”
  1. The yh tries to convince us that it is beyond our comprehension and we should wait until Gan Eden to experience closeness to Hashem or that we will feel it eventually if we keep doing mitzvos.
  2. Dovid Hamelech said :”as for me, closeness to Hashem is my good” and chazal say “there is no place devoid of Him” -how do we reconcile these two statements?!
  3. Two types of closeness: a. spatial b. familial
  4. spatial doesn't guarantee familial and familial doesn't guarantee spatial closeness/ with emotional closeness- there is closeness in the souls but may not be evident each moment
  5. spatially we are close to Hashem (no place devoid of Him), familial (we are His children), friendship (do not forsake your Friend and your father's Friend)pg 36


Summary and outline for Tuesday at 9 am

Hello- 
please be prepared to give feedback re.1. two seforim at the same time- is it overwhelming? 2. how is the timer for one minute doing? 


It's amazing how the two seforim that we are learning are supporting each other and helping us achieve the sense of emunah in our hearts.  


Thank You Hashem for this gift.


In Bilvavi 2: We are learning that it is not enough to intellectually have emunah, but we must FEEL it in our hearts.





Chapter 3:

Hashem and the Jewish people- Groom and Bride:
Hashem arranges matches all day- this means the match between us and Him- He is constantly pulling us toward Him.
(how do we see this in the day to day life?)
and How can we relate to Him as we relate to a spouse who we can see and feel?
The yetzer hara (yh) wants us to believe that there is no way to find Hashem and tangibly feel Him (the yh in this way smashes our foundation of emunah).

Hashem is only felt with the heart and the neshama. (22) Just as Gan Eden we know is real dimesion of reality, so too, and even more, should the existence of Hashem be clearly perceptible to the soul.(24)

Ramchal says even in this world we must cleave to Hashem, which means that here in this world, we can sense Hashem as a real Being”

“review and contemplate these ideas- until they enter our heart and generate a deep yearning to serve Hashem”(24)


In Forest Fields: We see that the power of personal prayer is to hook us right into the ability to sense our connection to Hashem in our hearts. (we even ask Hashem in our personal prayer for this ability)


outline of pages 47-55  In Forest Fields:



Vessels of abundance: the more we daven, the more receptacles for abundance we create. Hashem wants to give and give to us, but we have to have a vessel empty enough to receive. (that's why when we pray with teshuva it creates an “especially super vessel.” (prayer 1. stimulates teshuva 2. creates a vessel for Hashem's abundance)



The Master of Prayer's people: even pray for the privilege of prayer And that Hashem help us feel the connection to Him that brings us “happiness and spiritual stimulation” (49)


  1. prayer in effect is a person's personal redemption. When a person succeeds in getting close to Hashem by way of prayer, for all practical purposes his is a redeemed person since his soul is no longer in exile. So when we pray for Hashem's assistance in helping us pray, we are actually praying for our personal redemption.”

Rav Natan of Breslov “My Moshiach has already come”. Now we see what he meant.

Don't be smug the only way to overcome the yh (yetzer hara) is to ask Hashem for help. This is what He wants us to do- an outpouring of our soul through personal prayer is the best time to do this, (also ask Hashem to put the right words in our mouth, help us enjoy and love it, and have kavana)- we need His help to keep our tefilos directed and to have success in them.

The four sons- substitute for suffering : This child doesn't wait to be punished but does a cheshbon every day to see where he can grow or tweak his ways to serve His father and feel connected to Him best. He speaks to his father and thanks him daily and tells him where he thinks he did well that day and where he wants to correct his ways. (55)




call in number: 530-881-1200 access code: 1091004#



"Prayer is not only a person's main weapon; the entire redemption of our people depends on prayer" (53- In Forest Fields)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbos

Thank you Reitza Sarah (Rachael) for this magnificent and uplifting reminder.

Parshat Shlach:
http://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/158350795.html

The meraglim/spies had a fearful reaction to the land of Israel.  Yet this reaction is interpreted in a special manner in Hassidic literature.

( Baal Shem Tov, R. Yehudah Leib Alter of Ger (Sefat Emet) , and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn)

It is because the spies did not want to leave the desert where we were alone with Hashem all the time with no distractions of earning a livelihood or cooking, etc. 

BUT ( we learned this week in Da es Atzmecha, Bilvavi 1 and 2, and In Forest Fields)
that this is exactly what we were created for:
Harmony between our physical and spiritual.

"God chose Israel to make His presence visible in the world, and that means that Israel must live in the world."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Avodah for the week of 6/11/12
Chaburah that meets on Tuesday at 12 pm (NY time)


1. Please read Da es Atzmecha page 64-72 (finish chapter 3)


2. do one task a day with complete focus, (don't even look at the phone if it's ringing...)


3. Please read pages 23-32 (sections 19-26) in Bilvavi book one.


4. continue to look at this card often:







Avodah for the week of 6/11/12



Chaburah on Tuesday at 9 am NY time:



1.Set a timer for one or more minutes and talk out loud to    Hashem:

“Redemption is syonymous with prayer... Moshiach's job will also be to teach people how to pray and thereby perfect their emunah” (moshiach= mesiach;one who converses: In Forest Fields)

2. please read chapter three in Bilvavi 2, and pages 47-57 in "forest fields"

3. print up this card or something that speaks to you (i.e., Hashem is re-creating us every moment/ every breath we take/ and our actual heart "who is the heart of the Jewish people? The Creator of the world" (chazal- page 13 of bilvavi 2 in original version)-

and put somewhere where you will be reminded often that:




(thank you Rachael for doing it again!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

today's chaburah in the zchus of refuah for Binyamin Chaim ben Faigie Sarah


Freedom

There’s no place like home… We are so happy to be out of the hospital and IY”H home for the next couple of weeks.  Freedom has a new definition in our lives. It means not being hooked up to IV poles. It means running outside and not being confined to the hospital corridors. It means sleeping thru the night without having to hear machines beeping or getting temperature and blood pressure checked every few minutes or hours. Freedom is opening the refrigerator and choosing what you want to eat (taking nothing away from all those wonderful people that have fed us). Freedom is driving your car in and out of your driveway without having to give a parking ticket to enter in and out.  Freedom is being able to open a window for some fresh air, windows do not open in hospitals.  Freedom is being able to smell fresh flowers, none of which are allowed in the hospital. Freedom is getting Benny dressed or undressed without  having to worry about getting tangled in IV lines. Freedom is giving Benny a bath without having to waterproof his “pick” line (we will have to wait quite some time before Benny can enjoy splashing all the water out of the tub).   Freedom is being able to go to Shul on Shabbos and a Bris this past Shabbos.  The hospital is over 4 miles away from our home. Freedom is being able to celebrate our 7 year old Shmuel Tuvia’s Birthday this past Shabbos. He was so happy we were all home together for Shabbos.
So while we were enjoying all these new freedoms, there was one we were not expecting to lose.  Our Birthday boy, Shmuel Tuvia fell off a swing and fractured his arm.  He B”H is going to be OK and is now a proud boy with a bright green cast on his left arm.  However, he did lose his freedom to finish playing Little League this season. Limited to other activities as well.  I”H it’s temporary and he will have his freedom back soon.
All I wanted to do since we left the hospital was take Benny to the park. That is exactly what I did at about 5 pm today. The first part of the day, I took Shmuel to get his cast, then my other son to the Dr. to get a suspicious rash on his arm checked out (B”H only an allergic reaction and not the chicken pox).
B”H (Thank G-D) Benny had a good day and enjoyed his freedom. We hope you all enjoy yours.  Take a stroll, smell the flowers, take a moment in your busy day and appreciate your freedom.
Enjoy this short video of Benny playing in the park and the other of Shmuel Tuvia getting his cast.
Click link to watch video:  bennyinpark