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Perkudei

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Rebbetzin Revi's Reflections

Pekudei ©


by Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 



Pekudei, (פקודי -- Hebrew for amounts of)

Shemot 38.21 - 40.38

 

There are two parts of this Parshat that stand out for me.

 

The first part:

Shemot 40.13 And you shall clothe Aaron with the holy garments, and you shall anoint him and sanctify him so that he may serve Me.

 

Shemot 9.1 The L-rd said to Moses, Come to Pharaoh and speak to him, So said the L-rd, G-d of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

 

We were redeemed from Mitzrayim to serve the Creator of the Universe so there is a definite connection between liberty and service of G-d. Without service to G-d there is no point in the Exodus or for the Mishkan. Freedom necessitates one have purpose and direction. If you simply free slaves without providing them with a purpose for their lives then they will never reach their potential. In Shemot the Jewish people were asked to seek HaShem G-d and receive His Revelation, Direction and His Purpose for them as a nation. We were given eternal values which provide meaning to our lives through Observance of the Mitzvot. This system of Observance of the Mitzvot was meant to perfect the world, first the Jewish nation then the rest of the world which brings the world to an awareness and acceptance of HaShem Echad.

 

So how do we get there from where we are?


Joel 2.12-13


And even now, Says the L-rd, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with lamentation.

 

And rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the L-rd your G-d, for He is Gracious and Merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He repents of the evil.

 

As you know our lives are a journey, a progression of steps, and an aliya - an ascent as the Tehillim we spoke of last week makes us aware of. Those making pilgrimage to Yerushalayim prayed the Tehillim of Ascents as they journeyed to the Temple. Perhaps we can do the same. Use these Tehillim as a tool for our journey.

 

It seems like there are so many prayers to be said in the morning. I am always in a hurry - a hurry to get myself together and get to work, in a hurry at work to get things accomplished so I can go home, a hurry at home to get a meal prepared, in a hurry to get the kitchen straightened up so I can work on one of the many tasks I have on my todo list. And on and on it goes.

 

Are there really too many prayers or am I not organizing my day well enough to provide the time needed for these?

 

It really isn't a lot of time - just seems like it when my schedule gets really busy. I ask HaShem G-d to help me become more organized so that I can achieve my goals of saying prayers, saying 100 Brachot a day and also to include Tehillim which I love in my day as well. I need to make time for Torah study and Torah discussion. What amount of my day am I giving to these tasks? Do my secular tasks, my time spent earning a living - do these have any meaning?

 

The second part:

Shemot 40.35

And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of G-d filled the Tabernacle .

 

Shemot 24.18

And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and went up into the mount; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

 

If I can with G-d's Help complete the first part then this second part - entering the Presence of the Shekinah - will be obtainable. This is what life is all about. All of our secular endeavors are given spiritual meaning if we dedicate ourselves to Observance with Kavanah. Even the smallest thing we do, if we live according the Ha Torah will be elevated, then our lives are elevated and the world is elevated.

 

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi

 


What Am I Seeing?

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Revi's Reflections

What Am I Seeing? ©


By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

 

Bereishit 27.1

It came to pass when Yitzchak was old, and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called Eisav his elder son, and he said to him, My son, and he said to him, Here I am.

 

I have read many commentaries on why Yitzchak was blind.

 

These include

1. Yitzchak was blinded by the smoke from Eisav's wives offerings to idols Rashi Bereishit 27.1

2. During the akeida angel tears fell into Yitzchak's eyes (was this blindness then a delayed reaction?) Rashi Bereishit 27.1

3. Yitzchak looked into the heavens during the akeida (again, was this blindness a delayed reaction?) Bereishit Rabba 65.9

4. One last explanation is that this came to pass so that Yitzchak could receive the blessing. Rashi Bereishit 27.1

 

Was this blindness physical or spiritual or both? Did he simply lack discernment and therefore did not see his son Eisav's true behavior?

 

Yitzchak wanted to give his eldest son his blessing. He sent him out to do a Mitzvah so that he would be worthy of the blessing. Why didn't he discuss blessing his sons with his wife Rivka? Avraham did not share with Sarah about the akeida so was Yitzchak doing the same thing his father did because he knew his wife would object? Did he have any concerns about either of his sons?

 

So many questions..................

 

Why did Rivka not just go and talk to Yitzchak about her concerns?

 

Was she intimidated by his great spirituality? Remember when she first met Yitzchak she fell off her camel - did that not seem a bit odd?

 

And Rivka lifted her eyes and she saw Yitzchak, and she fell from the camel Bereishit 24:64

 

Yitzchak seems to have been both a willing victim in the akeida and a witness of the event. He saw his beloved father Avraham raise a knife over him as directed by HaShem to take his life.

 

What must he have thought about what his father was doing? Could this event possibly have influenced his own dealings with his sons? Was Yitzchak's spiritual awareness of the value of fatherhood heightened by the akeida or did it provide him with an awareness of the fragility of humanity - or both?

 

We do not get much information about what kind of father Yitzchak was. The Torah clearly tells us about Avraham and Yaakov. How they dealt with their wives and their children. Avraham and Yaakov both had favorite sons. They did not deal with all their children with the same measure. They were very involved with the world around them. Avraham was always looking for someone to teach about HaShem Echad. Yaakov worked very hard tending his flocks, providing for his children and trying to keep peace among his wives. He moved around a lot as did his grandfather. He only withdrew following the disappearance of Joseph.

 

Yitzchak did not engage in remolding his external world; his experiences were inward, contemplative. Yitzchak was old, and his eyes were too dim to see -- Yaakov also, when blessing his grandsons, had trouble seeing (Bereishit 48,10).


It seems apparent that Yitzchak lived on a different plain than most people. Yaakov eventually reached this same plain. The Torah does not record any great accomplishments for Yitzchak in this physical world except that he reopened the wells his father had dug. His accomplishments were in the spiritual realm. There seems to be evidence in the Torah that his was a life of prayer and meditation. He was indeed blinded to the mundane events of this world because he lived above this world.

 

You will find that people who are more spiritual will not always see evil in this world because like Yitzchak they exist on a different plain. Changes to this physical world occur when spiritual forces are moved to change them. This is why prayer and blessings are so important.

 

I believe there must be some who like Yitzchak live a life of prayer and meditation to bring HaShem's Presence into this physical world. And also some like Avraham and Yaakov whose role in this life is to touch humanity in their own unique way.

 

Remember the old adage So heavenly minded as to be no earthly good.

 

I think that is a fallacy because the Creator does place some people on this earth to be exactly that - heavenly minded in order that they may bring good to this earth, that they may bring HaShem's Presence more into this world.

 

We also see in Eisav and Yaakov a true revelation of the yetzer rah and the yetzer tov. We see the struggle of these two boys in the womb and throughout their lives and understand that within each of us this same struggle exists. Perhaps Yitzchak recognized his own struggle with his yetzer rah during the akeida and thought that his son Eisav was going through the same thing. Yitzchak conquered his yetzer rah, his son Eisav did not. The Midrash says that Eisav was restrained as long as his grandfather Avraham was alive.

 

Rabbi Johanan said:

That wicked [Esau] committed five sins on that day.

He dishonored a betrothed maiden,

he committed a murder,

he denied God,

he denied the resurrection of the dead,

and he spurned the birthright. Baba Batra 16b

 

Eisav a man of the field, a hunter (yetzer rah).

Yaakov a mild man, a tent dweller (yetzer tov).

Yitzchak loved Eisav Bereishit 25.28 Rebecca loved Isaac Bereishit 25.28.

 

Practically speaking when you look at how blinded Yitzchak apparently was to his son I wonder if we are also blinded in a similar way to the deficiencies in those we love. Or do we see their potential and are trying to raise them to a higher level?  We each have to search out our own heart and try to figure out if how we deal with others, with our children, with our spouse, with our families, with those we study and pray with is how HaShem wants us to interact or is it from some bias, some personal agenda we have. Are we patient and forgiving? Do we have tough love when it is needed? The world we live in and our lives often times seem very chaotic and we are blinded to the Presence of HaShem. Perhaps if we then turn to prayer, contemplation and saying blessings our eyes will be opened and we will then see as Yitzchak did during the akeida.

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi

 


Parshat - Continuous Fire

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Revi's Reflections

Continuous Fire ©

By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

 

Vayikra 6.5

A continuous fire shall burn upon the altar; it shall not go out.

 

The Kohen's Duty is to keep the fires of the Altar constantly burning, and to remove the accumulated ashes each morning.  This happens daily - each and every day - even on Shabbat - the fire is not to go out and the ashes have to be removed every day.

 

Each Shabbat we kindle the fire of our Shabbat candles and our table becomes the mizbeach - the altar.  We should have prepared and removed the ashes from our lives.  Those things that sometimes cling to us .... our failures at prayer, our missteps - all those failed attempts to live a Torah life, to Observe the Mitzvot, our stumblings in our relationships, etc.  We now come to Shabbat, our spirit is lifted, we sense the Presence of the Holy One of Yisrael, we discuss His Torah, we are refreshed, we are Blessed.

 

The Hebrew name for Altar xbzm is explained as signifying, It wipes away sin; it nourishes the higher man; it fosters love for G-d; and it atones for all guilt (Ket. 10b): its four letters    myyx  hkrb  twkz  hlyxm ( meḦilah, zekut, berakah, Ḧayyim ) , point to Forgiveness, Justification, Blessing, and Life (Tan., Terumah, 10). It was considered a miracle and a proof of the manifestation of the Shekinah that the continual fire upon the Altar did not destroy the copper with which the stones were overlaid (Lev. R. vii.; Tan., Terumah, 11).   Jewish Encyclopedia  http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1320&letter=A#ixzz1GxbRRBic

 

There is a fire of love for G-d that burns within every soul. It is the task of the Kohen--the spiritual leaders of the generation--to feed and preserve this fire.

Rabbi Moshe Alshich: he was born in Adrianople, Turkey in 5268 (1508 CE) - he was considered a great Kabbalist

 

Are you the spiritual leader in  your family?  What an awesome task some are given.

 

We have spoken many times in the past of the Sefirot. 

To refresh our memories they are:

 

Ten Sefirot:

1.  Keter                - Crown, Divine Plan

2.  Chochmah       - Wisdom

3.  Binah               - Intuition; understanding

4.  Chesed            - Mercy; Kindness

5.  Gevurah         - Strength; intentionality

6.  Tiferet              - Beauty; Glory

7.  Netzach           - Victory

8.  Hod                  - Majesty; Awe

9.  Yesod              - Foundation

10.              Malchut   - Kingdom; physical revelation in space-time

 

Zohar volume 14 Tzav

22. Two fires

The Faithful Shepherd says that the two fires are a supernal fire, called the Throne of Mercy, and a lower fire, called the Throne of Judgment. When Tiferet clings to the two fires Binah and Malchut, Chochmah rests upon it.

 

Chochmah - Wisdom

When Beauty, Harmony (Tiferet) rests and brings the two fires together then wisdom is given.   It is so important when coming to the Shabbat table that we bring these two fires together.  Since we receive an extra soul on Shabbat it should be easier to make this a reality in our lives.  The Throne of Mercy and the Throne of Judgment - how far apart these are - how we need them to come together to produce Wisdom for our lives.

 

Kabbalah teaches that the two sephirot (Binah and Malchut) are feminine.

The female principle in Kabbalah describes a vessel that receives the outward male light, then inwardly nurtures and gives birth to lower sephirot.

 

Women have a unique role in life - oftentimes we are the peace makers, the ones who see things a bit differently - the ones who bring balance to our families - the ones who inspire and motivate.  Do we bring Torah nuggets to the Shabbat table?  We should.

 

The Zohar comments that the command to maintain a constant presence of fire on the altar is symbolic of Am Yisrael's obligation to always maintain the fire of Torah, and never allow it to be extinguished.

 

The Talmud says:

Although a fire descended from heaven upon the Altar, it is a mitzvah to add to it a humanly produced fire.  Talmud, Eruvin 63a

 

We need to find a way to join the spiritual and the physical fire in our lives. We need to ensure that the fire that motivates us does not consume those around us. 

 

Women oftentimes put their needs aside so that someone else's needs can be taken care of.  HaShem G-d Made us that way but we need to allocate time for study and prayer, for meditation and reflection.  We need time to be alone with the Alone, the One who is Separate, the One who is Whole (Holy), our Creator.

 

May the Holy One of Yisrael Bless you with Chomah this week.

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi



ב ה

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Revi's Reflections

 

Ten Times ©


By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk


Audio


And the L-rd said, I have Forgiven them in accordance with your word. However, as surely as I Live, and as the Glory of the L-rd fills the earth that all the people who perceived My Glory, and the signs that I Performed in Egypt and in the desert, yet they have tested me these ten times and not listened to My Voice, if they will see the Land that I swore to their fathers, and all who provoked Me will not see it. Numbers (Bamidbar) 14.20-23 


Last week we discussed love without cause, that G-d Loves the greatest sinner more than we love the greatest tzaddik. 

How do we reconcile the text from Numbers and this statement? 

The number 10 seems to have great significance. 

10 Sefirot 

10 Gates ( a process of self assessment ) 

10 Journeys of Life 

10 Days of Awe 

10 Commandments 

Yud is the 10th letter of the Hebrew aleph bet 

10 kings rule the whole world 

10 nations give to Abraham 

10 pure animals 

10 battles of Joshua 

10 synonyms for prayer, 

10 synonyms for song 

10 cardinal songs sung throughout history 

10 martyrs of Israel 

10 functions of the heart 

10 plagues 

10 names for the Ruach HaKodesh 

10 are called the man of G-d 

10 synonyms for teshuvah 

With 10 utterances the world was created 

10 Generation from Adam to Noah 

10 generation from Noah to Abraham 

Abraham was tested 10 times 

10 miracles were performed in the Holy Temple 

10 things were created on Shabbat Eve, at twilight The Hebrew Letters p 155 & Pirkei Avot p299-319 


Perhaps we can find more if we look. 

Do we sometimes feel that life is not fair? Are we then not acknowledging that HaShem Is G-d Alone? The Israelites tested

G-d 10 times and were denied entrance into the Promised land. They must have felt deep repentance when that judgment was pronounced. Is part of what we are experiencing a judgment for something in our past? How are we to know? 


Midda Kenegged Midda - Measure for Measure


When we do chesed with others, G-d does chesed with us. 

When we give to others, G-d Gives to us 

And so it goes. The whole point is that there is balance in the world we live in - that is why we have looked a tikum - to try to restore that balance. 

Are we praying, seeking G-d to get something or to spend time with Him? 

Are we trying to improve out middot - or just coasting through life? 

Do we want change or is the status quo ok? 

Equanimity - Wow! Why does that middot keep surfacing? 

Our Torah knowledge is what helps us want to change. Our Torah knowledge and prayer is where we receive the drive to change. 


I review all blogs.


Blessings and Peace,


Rebbetzin Revi 


Yom Kippur

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Revi's Reflections

Yom Kippur ©

By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

I am poor and needy

 

This is my exchange,

this is my substitute,

this is my expiation.

This money shall go to death and

I shall proceed to a good,

long life and peace.

 

Tzedakah given on Erev Yom Kippur brings us to life...

 

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Tehillim 40 Orthodox version

 

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David

I waited patiently for HaShem; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

 

HaShem brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He has put a shir chadash in my mouth, even tehillah to Elokeinu; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in HaShem.

Ashrei is that man that makes HaShem his trust, and looks not to the proud ones, nor to those who turn aside to lies (false g-ds). Many, O HaShem Elokai, are Your wonderful works which You have done, and Your thoughts which are toward us; they cannot be recounted unto You; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

 

Zevach and minchah You did not desire; my ears have You pierced; olah and chata'ah have You not required. Then said I, Hinei, I come; in the megillat sefer it is written of me, I delight to do Your will, O Elokai; yes, Your Torah is within my heart.

 

I have preached tzedek, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my lev fails me.

Be pleased, O HaShem, to deliver me; O HaShem, make haste to help me. Let them be ashamed and mutually confounded that seek after my nefesh to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil. Let them be appalled because of their boshet that say unto me, Aha, aha. Let all those that seek You rejoice and be glad; let those that love Your teshuvah say continually, HaShem be magnified. But I am poor and needy; yet Ad-n-i thinks about me; You are my ezer and my deliverer; do not tarry, O Elokai.

 

 

Tehillim 40

 

לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר:

קַוֹּה קִוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה וַיֵּט אֵלַי וַיִּשְׁמַע שַׁוְעָתִי:

וַיַּעֲלֵנִי מִבּוֹר שָׁאוֹן מִטִּיט הַיָּוֵן וַיָּקֶם עַל סֶלַע רַגְלַי כּוֹנֵן אֲשֻׁרָי:

וַיִּתֵּן בְּפִי שִׁיר חָדָשׁ תְּהִלָּה לֵאלֹהֵינוּ יִרְאוּ רַבִּים וְיִירָאוּ וְיִבְטְחוּ בַּיהֹוָה:

אַשְׁרֵי הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר שָׂם יְהֹוָה מִבְטַחוֹ וְלֹא פָנָה אֶל רְהָבִים וְשָׂטֵי כָזָב:

רַבּוֹת עָשִׂיתָ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי נִפְלְאֹתֶיךָ וּמַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ אֵלֵינוּ אֵין עֲרֹךְ אֵלֶיךָ אַגִּידָה וַאֲדַבֵּרָה עָצְמוּ מִסַּפֵּר:

זֶבַח וּמִנְחָה לֹא חָפַצְתָּ אָזְנַיִם כָּרִיתָ לִּי עוֹלָה וַחֲטָאָה לֹא שָׁאָלְתָּ:

אָז אָמַרְתִּי הִנֵּה בָאתִי בִּמְגִלַּת סֵפֶר כָּתוּב עָלָי:

לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ אֱלֹהַי חָפָצְתִּי וְתוֹרָתְךָ בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָי:

בִּשַּׂרְתִּי צֶדֶק בְּקָהָל רָב הִנֵּה שְׂפָתַי לֹא אֶכְלָא יְהֹוָה אַתָּה יָדָעְתָּ:

צִדְקָתְךָ לֹא כִסִּיתִי בְּתוֹךְ לִבִּי אֱמוּנָתְךָ וּתְשׁוּעָתְךָ אָמָרְתִּי לֹא כִחַדְתִּי חַסְדְּךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ לְקָהָל רָב:

אַתָּה יְהֹוָה לֹא תִכְלָא רַחֲמֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי חַסְדְּךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ תָּמִיד יִצְּרוּנִי:

כִּי אָפְפוּ עָלַי רָעוֹת עַד אֵין מִסְפָּר הִשִֹּיגוּנִי עֲוֹנֹתַי וְלֹא יָכֹלְתִּי לִרְאוֹת עָצְמוּ מִשַּׂעֲרוֹת רֹאשִׁי וְלִבִּי עֲזָבָנִי:

רְצֵה יְהֹוָה לְהַצִּילֵנִי יְהֹוָה לְעֶזְרָתִי חוּשָׁה:

יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיַחְפְּרוּ יַחַד מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשִׁי לִסְפּוֹתָהּ יִסֹּגוּ אָחוֹר וְיִכָּלְמוּ חֲפֵצֵי רָעָתִי:

יָשֹׁמּוּ עַל עֵקֶב בָּשְׁתָּם הָאֹמְרִים לִי הֶאָח הֶאָח:

יָשִׂישׂוּ וְיִשְׂמְחוּ בְּךָ כָּל מְבַקְשֶׁיךָ יֹאמְרוּ תָמִיד יִגְדַּל יְהֹוָה אֹהֲבֵי תְּשׁוּעָתֶךָ:

וַאֲנִי עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן אֲדֹנָי יַחֲשָׁב לִי עֶזְרָתִי וּמְפַלְטִי אַתָּה אֱלֹהַי אַל תְּאַחַר:

 

 

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David:

I waited patiently for the L-rd; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry:

And he drew me up from the gruesome pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and made my footsteps secure:

And He has put a new song in my mouth, praise to our G-d; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the L-rd.

Happy is the man who makes the L-rd his trust, and does not turn to the proud, nor to those who go astray after lies:

Many, O L-rd my G-d, are your wonderful works which you have done, and your thoughts which are toward us; none can compare with you; if I would declare and tell of them, they would be more than can be number

You do not desire sacrifice and offering; you have dug open my ears; you have not required burnt offering and sin offering:

Then I said, behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written about me

I delight to do your will, O my G-d; your Torah is in my heart:

I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not refrain my lips, O 

L-rd, you know:

I did not hide your righteousness in my heart; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your loving kindness and your truth from the great congregation:

Do not withhold, O L-rd, your compassion from me; let your loving kindness and your truth continually preserve me:

For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me

Be pleased, O L-rd, to save me; O L-rd, make haste to help me

Let those who seek after my soul to destroy it be altogether ashamed and confounded; let those who wish me evil be turned back and put to shame:

Let those who say to me Aha, aha, be appalled, because of their shame:

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; let those who love Your salvation say continually, The L-rd be magnified:

But I am poor and needy; yet the L-rd takes thought for me; you are my help and my savior; delay not, O my G-d:

 

This particular Tehillim is very appropriate for Yom Kippur as is the Kapparot Ceremony.

 

We need especially at this time to give Tzeddakah.  We need each day to remember to give Tzeddakah so that HaShem has a free hand to provide for all our needs and some of our wants.

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi

Balancing Act

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Revi's Reflections

Balancing Act ©

By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֵשׁ זָרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה אֹתָם:

 

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 10.1

And Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his pan, put fire in them, and placed incense upon it, and they brought before the L-rd foreign(strange) fire, which He had not Commanded them.

 

וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי יְהֹוָה וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה

 

Vayikra(Leviticus)10.2

And fire went forth from before the L-rd and consumed them, and they died before the L-rd.

Did Nadab and Abihu feel so much love for G-d that they wanted to do more than they were asked? The commentaries have many explanations for this event. Whichever explanation one believes and regardless of the intent of Nadab and Abihu, the outcome is the same. It appears they had no fear of G-d, they had no restraint before the L-rd. Worship of G-d, as prescribed by the Torah, warns against a loss of control unlike some religions that want you to be in some kind of a frenzied state to worship. Love of G-d must always be accompanied by the fear of G-d. This is where our relationship with HaShem becomes balanced like the middle line of the Sephirot.

 

The Sefirot, as defined in the study of the Kabbalah, are the ten dimensions that bring balance to our reality, in our world.

 

Praying the Ana B'Koach prayer always seems to bring balance into my life. Each of the seven lines of Ana B'Koach corresponds to one of the lower sefirot on the Etz Chayim, the Tree of Life. Each of the six words in each of the seven lines, in turn, also corresponds to a sefirot.

 

Ana B'Koach

Gedulat Y'mincha

Tatir Tzururah

I. We beg you! With the strength of your right hand, untie the bundled sins.

 

Kabel Rinat

Amcha Sagveinu

Tahareinu NORA

 

II. Accept the prayer-song of your people, strengthen us, purify us, O Awesome one.

 

Na GIBOR

Dorshe Yichudcha

K'Vavat Shamreim

 

III. Please, O Strength Itself, those who seek Your Unity, like the pupil of the eye, guard them.

 

Barchem Taharem

Rachamem Tzidkatcha

Tamid Gamlem

 

IV. Bless them, purify them, show them mercy, may Your righteousness always recompense them.

 

CHASIN KADOSH

B'rove Tuvecha

Naheil Adatecha

 

V. Powerful One, Holy One, with the abundance of Your goodness guide Your congregation.

 

YACHID GEYEH

L'amecha P'nei

Zochrei Kedushatecha

 

VI. Unique One, Exalted One, face Your people, those who proclaim Your holiness.

 

Shavateinu Kabel

Ushma Tza'akateinu

YODEA TA'ALUMOT

 

VII. Our entreaty, accept, and hear our cry, O Knower of hidden things.

 

untie the bundled sins - these are the barriers to our prayers. These need to be removed to bring balance into our lives.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus)10.3

Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what the L-rd spoke, [when He said], I will be sanctified through those near to Me, and before all the people I will be glorified.

 

Through THOSE NEAR TO ME I Show Myself Holy

 

They were before G-d, they were priests of G-d so they had more instruction, more learning and therefore were held to a higher standard. What standard are we held to? Whatever our level of Kedushah ( Separation) we must at all times be careful before HaShem G-d. We all need boundaries in our lives. We must maintain tension between intimacy with the Divine and the need to respect the boundaries that separate the Divine from all else.

 

Shemot (Exodux)19.12-13, 21

And you shall set boundaries for the people around, saying, Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

No hand shall touch it, for he shall be stoned or cast down; whether man or beast, he shall not live. When the ram's horn sounds a long, drawn out blast, they may ascend the mountain.

The L-rd said to Moses, Go down, warn the people lest they break [their formation to go nearer] to the L-rd, and many of them will fall.

 

There are limits to what we as human beings can understand and in the Presence of HaShem we feel our limitations and powerlessness at times. When a child dies before his/her parents for example. Those things that we are powerless to change show us that ultimately HaShem is G-d. There are no limits to what HaShem can Do for us.

 

The Pagan brings his offering in an attempt to make his god subservient to his wishes. The Jew, with his offering, wishes to place himself in the service of HaShem; by his offering he wishes to make himself subservient to the wishes of Hashem G-d. This is reality, this is what the balance of the Sephirot brings into our lives.

 

May HaShem Bring balance into all our lives

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi


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Rebbetzin Revi's Reflections


Equanimity versus Agitation

Acceptance of the Present Moment


By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

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Man's soul is the L-rd's lamp, which searches out all the innermost parts. Mishlei (Proverbs)20.27

 

Equanimity is a state of mental or emotional stability or composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment.

 

When the mind is settled man has free choice and the control over his spirit to take the time to focus his thoughts upon exercising his sovereignty over his animal spirit and to device strategies that activate or restrain his animal spirit for his personal benefit in this world and in the World to come.  Cheshbon ha Nefesh Rabbi Mendel of Santanov page109

 

My son, keep the commands of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.  Bind them always upon your heart, tie them upon your neck.  When you walk, it shall lead you; when you lie down, it shall guard you, and when you awaken, it shall speak for you.  For a Commandment is a Candle, and the Torah is Light, and disciplining rebukes are the way of life;  Mishlei (Proverbs) 6.20-23

 

Acceptance of the present moment.

 

What a goal that is and extremely daunting.  To have true freedom of choice we must be able to control our emotions so that we can choose the correct path to take in any circumstance.  Each and every moment of our lives is a Gift from our Creator.  What we do with that gift is our choice.  We often look back over times in our lives where in certain circumstances we wish we had made better choices.  The past is the past and that cannot be changed.  We can, however  begin a new path that will G-d Willing be full of better choices.

 

Let's take a look at equanimity.

 

Equanimity in Hebrew is menuchat hanefesh.  This phrase literally means settling of the soul.  When life throws multiple curve balls and when things don't go as planned or expected we can react horribly, allowing anger and frustration to control us and getting caught up in the drama of being busy, stressed and challenged.  The story of Noah and the flood (Noah's name comes from the same route as menucha, resting or settling.) provides some insight.  The raging flood waters represent the unpredictability of life.  We can be caught up in the craziness and the drama of these waters and possibly drown, or we can be in the ark, rising above them and, from that perspective, have a more powerful effect in the world and with those around us.  Equanimity is the quality of being able calmly to take all that life throws at us in our stride. 

 

Most of us are so accustomed to our own reactions to different situations, so defined even, by our anger, impatience or arrogance and we think that our patterns of behavior are just who we are and we cannot really change

 

The soul that inhabits our body has its work defined for it from the beginning, there is a known quantity to the lessons that this soul needs to learn in its lifetime and that every day is going to throw us opportunities to work on this, yet we have absolute free choice in how we respond to what we get. 

 

From the ten Sefirot the soul derives its corresponding ten soul-powers, all of which have names identical to the Sefirot.

 

(Keter - Crown; Subconsious)

 

[INTELLECTUAL]

Chochmah - Wisdom; Conception; Seminal Point; the Aha Moment; Lightning

Binah - Understanding; Comprehension; Articulation; Building; Expansion

(Daat - Knowledge; Attachment; Application; Internalization)

 

[EMOTIONAL]

Chesed - Kindness; Love; Giving; Attraction

Gevurah - Strength; Restraint; Discipline; Judgment

Tiferet - Beauty; Harmony; Empathy; Mercy

 

[FUNCTIONAL]

Netzach - Victory; Ambition; Fortitude

Hod - Splendor; Devotion; Humility

Yesod - Foundation; Bonding

Malchut - Kingdom; Royalty

 

We won't be studying these - they are included so that going forward we will have a reference if needed.  Let's continue our journey, the path through the garden of our soul.  We need a bit more study on equanimity to ensure we have a solid foundation to walk on.

 

Blessings and Peace

 

Rebbetzin Revi


Separate To - Separate From

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Revi's Reflections

Separate To - Separate From ©

By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

 

 

Vayikra (Leviticus)14.2

This shall be the law of the person afflicted with tzara'ath, on the day of his cleansing:

 

One who is tamei is removed from the sacred assembly and prohibited to come into contact with sacred objects.  They are separated from the Holy people of Yisrael and from the Holy Mishkan (Temple).

 

the tamei - ritually impure and the tahor - ritually pure

 

Vayikra (Leviticus)14.2

This shall be the Torah of the leper in the day of his cleansing; He shall be brought to the priest

 

 

Separate has these definitions:

a : to set or keep apart : disconnect, sever

b : to make a distinction between : discriminate, distinguish

 

Vayikra (Leviticus)14.3

The kohen shall go outside the camp

 

Vayikra (Leviticus)14.31

And you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, so that they will not die on account of their uncleanness, if they defile My Sanctuary which is in their midst.

 

The dwelling of G-d, the Mishkan/Temple in the midst of the Jews makes the presence of tum'a a very dangerous situation.  Tuma interferes with Kedusha.  It short circuits our relationship with the Creator.

 

What is this that places such distance between us and HaShem?  This seems to me to be something that occurs on a spiritual level that is then manifested in the physical realm.  We are after all spiritual beings living in a physical world.  The five levels of the soul -  nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya and yechida show that there is a progressive path either to or away from HaShem G-d. 


Our soul is a reflection of the Divine Form, called the tzelem, or tzelem Elokim and how we care for our soul is extremely important.

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi





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Serenity and Tranquility

Equanimity ©


By Rebbetzin Revi Belk

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

 

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 The L-rd is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He causes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul . Tehillim (Psalms) 23.1-3

 

Menuchat ha'nefesh, calmness of the soul

 

Has anyone experienced this place?  What does it mean to say that the L-rd is my Shepherd?  If you look at the Hebrew, the phrase I shall not want appears at the end of the Tehillim.  How would that change our understanding about this Tehillim?

 

We are in unchartered territory for some, familiar territory for some, and for some of us not really a place where we want to go.

 

Before we begin meandering into this peaceful and beguiling garden one of the Mussar teachings from Rabbi Israel Salanter, the father of the Mussar movement states:

 

As long as one lives a life of calmness and tranquility in the service of G-d, it is clear that he is remote from true service.

 

The Jewish approach to life considers the man who has stopped going -- he who has a feeling of completion, of peace, of a great light from above that has brought him to rest -- to be someone who has lost his way. Only he whom the light continues to beckon, for whom the light is as distant as ever, only he can be considered to have received some sort of response. The Thirteen Petalled Rose  Adin Steinsaltz page 132

 

He whose search has reached a certain level feels that he is in the palace of the King. He goes from room to room, from hall to hall, seeking Him out. However, the king's palace is an endless series of worlds, and as a man proceeds in his search from room to room, he holds only the end of the string. It is, nevertheless, a continuous going, a going after G-d, a going to G-d, day after day, year after year.  The Thirteen Petalled Rose  Adin Steinsaltz page 133

 

What we most often feel we want and need is serenity and calmness in our lives.  After all the Tehillim above says that we should be lying down in green pastures giving the impressions of calmness and serenity.  Why is it then that when we begin to study a bit of Mussar it states just the opposite? 

 

There is a book called Life is a Test

 

I have Created the Yetzer Hara, G-d Proclaimed, but fear not, I Created the Torah as an antidote to it.. (Talmud).  You need only anchor yourself  to Torah and you will not only pass every test, but you will grow and thrive.  But more significantly, why does G-d have to test us?..... Undoubtedly, our Creator Knows us.  He Knows every fiber of our being,  He Knows our strengths as well as our weaknesses, but the problem is that we do not know our own selves, our own potential.  We have no understanding of the energy that G-d Planted within our souls - therefore, G-d has to test us to bring forth those treasures that are buried deep within ourselves and make us unique. Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis Shaar Press page 21 

 

Is it that we are unaware of being tested or are we simply too busy to notice.  When we discussed Hannah and how she prayed for someone who was making fun of her we learn that she had come to this place of equanimity.  She had calm in the midst of the storm.

 

Learning a Mussar  text is a great way to help turn the mind and heart towards action to improve who we are.  At the end of each day or at the same time each day, if by the end of the day we are too tired,  we are to account for how our day unfolded.  We should approach this path with commitment.  We all need improvement in our lives so with G-d's Help our journey begins.  Seems like a great challenge to find even a few moments a day to get alone with the Alone, with HaShem G-d.  We come to Him trying to quiet our hearts and minds and begin to learn to listen and reflect on the day that has just passed.  Are we now at this moment more sensitive to the challenges He Brought into our lives that day?  Did we choose to act or did we react?

 

No two of us have the same strengths and weaknesses. Mussar sets each of us on our individual path in an effort to find a balance, but we do not travel this path alone.  We need each other's help to hold up a mirror so that we can more clearly see our inner selves.  We will have to find someone close to us to listen and help us see clearly.  If there is no one close emailing or calling us here will work as well.

 

We mentioned last week a book called Cheshbon Ha Nefesh - which means - Accounting of the Soul. 

 

Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. This is what equanimity means.  The idea behind this middah is that the waves of life will batter the shores of our lives - Remember last week the story of Noah?   This is inevitable, and it's a necessary part of our human experience.  The question is, how do we react when the waves hit?  Do we let ourselves get tossed about, or do we stand in the center of the storm with an inner calmness. 

noah.jpg

 

All human qualities exist on a spectrum. Some of us behave by facing problems, others by running away. One person sweats the small stuff; another is easygoing. The gamut runs from kindness to selfishness, greediness to generosity, alacrity to laziness, and so on. When too extreme, a character trait, or middah, tends to cause pain and creates problems. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter understood the many ways humans can stray from the Spirit of Torah, even while abiding by the letter of the law. Mussar exercises are designed to restore our character traits to the proper balance, enabling us to live more whole, peaceful lives.

 

rainbow.jpg

 

Do we want or need to stir up our lives?  Doubtful.  Life comes with many challenges - we don't need to seek them.  We hope as we meander down this garden path to find how to be calm in the midst of the storm and to begin to understand and profit from these storms of life.

 

Dr. Akiva Gamliel is struggling with his weight right now - most of us women understand that all too well.  He is a big man and likes to eat.  He tries and tries but sees little success.  How can one change the results they are seeing in their lives when similar issues arise?  How do we acquire equanimity in these of situations?  Would equanimity help?  If it helps - how?  His goals were set too high.  He wanted the weight to come off - like now - that never happens.  He has, because of our discussion on Shabbat on when we discuss the Reflections Lessons, has changed his approach to be more obtainable.  Kind of downsized his expectations.  Please keep him in your prayers.

 

When my Mother, may she rest in peace, started down that final path I had many disagreements with my siblings about her care.  I wanted her to stay with me - they wanted to put her into a care facility.  I lost that battle.  I believe my Mother would have lived longer if they had gone my way.  We will never know for sure.  Since then my siblings and I have not spoken much.  My challenge with equanimity is coming to a peaceful place and trying to reach out so that these relationships can be healed.  I have done some of that so far with no positive results.

 

We all have some sort of issue in our lives.  The question is do we even want to look at these?  We at BNTI believe that if you are studying with us then the answer is yes.  We will need to take small steps, we will need encouragement, and we will need each other.

 

The path is before us what is our first step?

Is equanimity and calmness the same or worlds apart?

 

Let's take the time this week to see if we can find those few moments a day to get quiet, to listen and reflect on the day.  Write down how we have grown or where we might have done better.  Were there moments when we became aware that we have a choice to act or did we simply react to events that day.  This is the first small step to equanimity.  This is the first middot we will try to work on.

 

If there are any experiences you want to share with everyone as we begin this journey please email them.

 

 

 

Blessings and Peace

 

Rebbetzin Revi



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Equanimity


By Rebbetzin Revi Belk

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

 

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Rise above events that are inconsequential - both bad and good for they are not worth disturbing your equanimity.

Cheshbon Ha Nefesh

 

For in equanimity, there is balance and level-headedness, the desire for equality.  This middah helps us to stay focused in the easiest and hardest of times. With this trait, we can rise above events that are inconsequential-- both bad and good. To be even-keeled and have the ability to maintain composure is a powerful trait.

Inconsequemtial (insignificant, negligible, minor, trivial)

(that's an inconsequential problem compared to the other issues)

 

Rabbi Isaac Luria had this to say about equanimity.

 

A rabbi once came to one of the contemplative Kabbalists and asked to be accepted as an initiate.  The Masters said to him,  My son, may G-d Bless you, for your intentions are good. Tell me, though, whether or not you have attained equanimity.  The rabbi said to him,  Master, please explain your words.  The Master replied,  If there were two people, and one of them honored you and the other insulted you, are they equal in your eyes?  The rabbi answered, No, my Master. For I feel pleasure and satisfaction from the one who honors me, and pain from the insults of the other.  But I do not take revenge or bear a grudge.   The Master blessed the rabbi and sent him away.  Go in peace, my son. When you have attained equanimity, your soul does not feel the honor deriving from one who honors you nor the embarrassment a rising from insults.  Your consciousness is not yet ready to be attached to the supernal. Everyday Holiness Alan Morinis page 103

 

Calmness of soul is kind of similar to independence.  When we reach this place we are not tossed about by life's circumstances.  This first part of our path is not obtained by simply desiring it - we have to take action.  In Mussar literature we find the phrase distance yourself  referred to a lot - but what does that mean - how do we do this?  Let's examine this phrase.  To distance oneself from the circumstances that enter our lives seems to be exactly the tool we need to acquire calmness of soul.

 

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We are capable of patiently enduring any  difficulty in life when we believe that everything comes from HaShem and that everything is for the best.  Patient endurance, the result of emuna (faith), paves the road to genuine tranquility.  Genuine tranquility means a worry free, peaceful, and happy existence.  With emuna, we avoid untold emotional wear and tear.  The Garden of Emuna Rabbi Shalom Aruch Page 75

 

Does that mean that we don't pray for good things?  Do we just accept the status quo?  No it doesn't mean that at all.  We have free will.  We have the ability to make choices, however, there are some events in life that we can't control.  This is where we try to enter the Garden of Emuna, where we can and do accept this event as a test, a way for us to see if we are acquiring calmness of soul.  There are times when we need to step away from powerful outer forces but we cannot step away from our inner powerful forces.

 

Jochabed was an amazing woman.   She was born by the gates of Mitzaim (Egypt).

Jochebed was so called because her face was like the ziv hakavod splendor of glory; Midrash Haggadah. Genesis  23:1. She was born during the journey of the children of Israel to Egypt  Genesis  Rabbah. 94:9. She was 130 when she gave birth to Moses. She is the daughter  of Levi Shemot (Exodus)  2.1  her youth returned to her, her skin becoming smooth and the wrinkles of age disappearing when she became pregnant with Moses Genesis Rabbah  94.9.

Jochebed is identified with Shiphrah Shemot (Exodus) 1.15, because the Israelites were fruitful - she-peru - in her days Sotah 11b  The houses given to the two Hebrew midwives Shemot(Exodus) 1.21 means that she was destined to become the ancestress of the priestly family Exodus  Rabbah 1:17. She survived all her children and was permitted to enter Eretẓ Israel with Joshua when she was 250.  Ishei ha-Tanakh

But the midwives feared G-d, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.  Shemot (Exodus) 1.17

 

What a brave woman.  To stand before Pharoah, agree to his command and not do what she was commanded because she feared HaShem.  This woman had equanimity.  Under extreme circumstances she kept her mind and soul calm and figured the best way to handle the situation.

 

Have we taken the first step(s) this week on our journey?

Have we taken the time to begin to record our journey?

 

ragdoll.jpg

 

 

 

Blessings and Peace


Rebbetzin Revi


Redemption For The Lost Son

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Revi's Reflections

Redemption for the Lost Son ©

By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

 

 

What is the true message of Pesach?

 

It is the importance of redemption.

 

The Seder is not meant to be a history lesson but represents a guide of how to live in the present. In the Haggadah, Jews are commanded to view themselves as if they had actually been redeemed from Egypt. Does anyone know what it is like to be taken out of bondage and brought to freedom?

 

If you do I ask you to share your journey with me. I have my own stories of deliverance and will share them with you when the time is right. Right now though, I would love to hear your stories, your journeys, your triumphs, your G-d Given deliverance from the leaven in your lives.

 

There is so much we can learn from each other's journeys, so much encouragement we can get from listening to another's journey. Won't you share some of them with me?

 

Who has heard of the fifth son? At the Seder we hear from four sons but not a fifth.

 

Where is the story of the fifth son?

 

The son who is absent. The son who has no interest in Torah. The son who may not even be aware of the Seder.

 

Have we been so busy cleaning, cooking, storing dishes away and bringing out Pesach items that we have forgotten the Jewish son, the son who has no interest in HaShem G-d, who is absent from our Seder?

 

Many of us have convinced ourselves that making a way in the world means that we have placed a Torah Observant life in the background. We don't have time for all this because it just does not fit into our current lifestyle. We are concerned with survival and getting ahead in our businesses, in our material lives.

 

Whether we are Jewish or Noachide our children tug at our heart strings when they do not follow the path of Ha Torah. Deliverance from Egypt is something we all have experienced. We want our children to know that same deliverance, yet as with the children of Egypt, we do not have enough faith sometimes to believe that our children will indeed turn to Torah.

This should be a time of seeking the lost tribes of Yisrael, of seeking the lost son, so that we can hasten the return of Machiach.

 

These are just a few thoughts during my busy Pesach time.

I pray each of us will find a way to reach that person in our lives, whether it is a child or just someone we care deeply about - that HaShem will grant us the wisdom and the courage to reach that one, to bring them to Torah.

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi

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The Inner World of the Soul ©

By Rebbetzin Revi Belk

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

 

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Everything that exists in our inner world is an aspect of our soul.  Our personality, emotions, talents, desires, conscience and wisdom.  Every faculty we ordinarily assign to the mind, like thought, logic, memory and forgetting, are features of our soul.


For piety, fear of the Eternal, love of the Eternal, and purity of heart are not that deeply rooted within a person not to necessitate the employment of methods for their acquisition.  In this respect they differ from natural states such as sleep and wakefulness, hunger and satiety, and all other natural instincts.  Rather, the acquisition of these qualities definitely requires various methods and devices.   Furthermore, while there are many factors operating to distance piety from man there are many elements that can counter these factors.  


How will this wisdom enter a person's heart if he will not seek it?

The Path of the Just Torah Classics Library Moshe Chaim Luzzatto page 3


Piety, reverence, love and purity of heart are not ingrained in our soul, we have to acquire these.


Creation is a work-in-progress toward restitution (tikkun), whereby all subjects of Creation work to return things to their proper place so that Creation's original plan can continue.  Each creature's contemplation of heart and works - and its applications of power upon the inner universes. will return the Shekkinah to Her true place in unity with HaShem G-d.  The eternal Sabbath will be regained.  Window of the Soul James David Dunn page 21-22


Teshuvah is in the heart, in the mind.  One thought of Teshuvah is enough.  The mind is not restricted by the limitations of the body.  Just as sin is rooted in man's will and mind, so must Teshuvah be rooted in man's will and mind.


He who sets his heart on becoming purified becomes pure as soon as he has immersed himself.  One who sets his heart on cleansing himself from the impurities that beset man's soul - namely, wrongful thoughts and false convictions:  as soon as he consents in his heart to withdraw from those counsels and brings his soul into the waters of reason, he is pure.  Deep Calling Unto Deep Jacob Immanuel Schochet Page117-118


The tradgedy of sin is the failure to judge oneself, to do Teshuvah.  It is impossible to have Teshuvah, to repent without remorse.  The possibility of Teshuvah generates hope, faith and confidence.  HaShem Desires to show kindness, He is Gracious and Compassionate, He forgives the instant one pleads for His Forgiveness.  Teshuvah is marked by great joy.


One example of a real ba'al teshuvah is the prostitute Rahab who helped protect the Israelite spies as they reconnoitered the land. Because of Rahab's teshuvah she and her family were spared from death as the Israelites conquered the city. Rahab is remembered in the Tanakh as a person who came near to HaShem and His people through turning from sin and returning to HaShem through words and actions. Rahab is one of the women in the direct lineage of the Mashiach.  What an awesome example of Teshuvah and the fruits it bears.


The Rabbis say that Rahab acknowledged HaShem G-d more than Jethro and Naaman, declaring that He was G-d on both heaven and earth. Baba Bathra 120b  

The Rabbis also taught: There have been four women of surpassing beauty in the world -- Sarah, Rahab, Abigail and Esther. Megilah 15a


What are we working on this week?


1.We need a notebook or a journal

  -as we have stated before. NOW write:

2.Who do I need to seek forgiveness from?

3.Is there someone I need to talk to?

4.Are there one or two Mitzvot I haven't done so well or at all?

5.What are two things I did this past year that I am very proud of?

6.What are two things that I did last year that I am ashamed 

- two things that do not reflect who I really am?

7.Write three one sentence goals that I am going to use for this study.

8.What are the most important qualities I want to develop that will

reflect who I really am?

9.How do I become the person we want to be?

10.Who are two people I admire?



Blessings and Peace


Rebbetzin Revi


The Feminine Sefirah

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Revi's Reflections

The Feminine Sefirah ©

By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

 

 

We have in the past discussed the Sefirot.  Sefira is the singular tense of Sefirot.  The ten Sefirot are conduits, attributes or emanations through which the Creator of the Universe Created and Sustains the world we live in. These were created as a means for us to communicate with HaShem.

 

The Sefirot are reflected in Man's (Woman's) spiritual make-up, with each faculty in man (woman) derived from the supernal Sefirot.  When one utilizes the ten soul powers within him/her in his/her Divine service here in this world, he/she is able to affect their source, the Sefirot, in the higher worlds.  What an awesome opportunity we have.

 

You will see as we continue to bring the Sefirot into our studies that there is a good reason for this.  When we study our own behavior and study the Sefirot we should be able to see where there might be an inconsistency in our behavior, a part of our garden that needs tending.

 

Women represent the feminine malchut and excel in the domain of speech and communication.  The power to communicate, to nurture and to empathize are all areas in which women, as the feminine representation of the Sefira of Malchut excel.

 

I have said all this to simply lay a basis, a foundation for referring to the Sefirot from time to time.

 

Chochmah, wisdom - conception

Binah, understanding - elaboration

Daat - knowledge - integration

 

Are referred to as the intellect or Mothers because they give birth to and are the source of Middot.

 

Middot - character traits - are at the core of our lives.

 

The study of Mussar is often used to refine one's character.

 

Mussar is a path of practices and exercises that help us to pinpoint and then to break through the barriers that surround and obstruct the flow of inner light in our lives.  Mussar helps us overcome these inner obstacles that hinder us from living up to the Laws and Commandments--the Mitzvot--that form the code of our lives.

 

There are so many paths in our garden, we must choose a path and begin to walk down it.  There are so many ways to refine our character.  My vote would sometimes be for the easy path... though that is most often not the best path and not the one we should follow.  We have all experienced difficulties and sometimes we wonder if the Creator is still listening to us.  If we begin this refinement, this journey, we will see a difference in ourselves and in our relationships.

 

Middot - dispositions comprise the seven lower Sefirot. 

 

Chesed  - loving kindness

Gevurah - severity or restraint

Tifferet   - beauty - harmony

Netzach - victory, endurance

Hod        - splendor, majesty

Yesod    - foundation

Malchut - kingship

 

 

Can we now see how middot and the Sefirot are tied together?  Do we want to be kind, do we want to have restraint, do we want beauty all around us, do we want to have endurance, do we want a firm foundation in our relationships, do we want to be treated like a Queen, do we want our mate to feel like a King?  Do we want our Observances to come from our Love for HaShem G-d? 

 

And the L-rd Said: Behold, there is a place with Me, and you shall stand on the rock.  Shemot 33.21

With all my heart I seek You; do not cause me to stray from Your Mitzvot. Tehillim 119.10

 

G-d Willing we can begin to study the women in Ha Torah, Ha Tanach and in the Talmud to see how they were able to bring all these things together, how they tended the garden they lived in and how we can do the same.

 

G-d Willing we will first look at Chava.  We won't be studying these women in any certain order, however, it seems appropriate to start with Chava.  So a bit of a preview......

 

The creation of the woman consisted of two phases.  Ha Adam was created androgynous, having both male and female characteristics.  The second phase of the creation of woman was to separate and consolidate the feminine aspects of Ha Adam

 

Blessings and Peace

Revi

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