Sunday, May 21, 2017

Trump & Yesod ShebeYesod

We all know who's coming to Israel tomorrow. To Jerusalem no less.

I saw someone message my wife earlier today that she was going to Kever Yosef tonight and it hit me that tonight is yesod she'beyesod. Which is Yosef's day.

For those who are not familiar, yesod is the aspect of Yosef Hatzadik - the tzadik yesod olam. Yesod of Yesod is the concentration of that power (just as Lag b'omer is the concentration of the power of Hod - Hod of Hod). The power of the Tzadik is in controlling his passions - hence Yosef's overcoming the temptation of Potifar's wife. His control over his passions gives him dominion over the world - Egypt of that time; and, of course, the Jewish people.

How ironic that the president of the US, who is arguably a perfect example of the opposite of this mastery (by his own admission - see his books) - would come to Israel on that very day of Yosef's power! And of all places, come to Jerusalem, which is the Yesod of the world!

The Yesod is the point that connects the male and female aspects, and in a cosmic sense, Jerusalem is the point that connects the Heavenly spheres (male) to the Earthly spheres (female).

I can not say that I fathom the significance of this, but it is surely remarkable and noteworthy.

Let us all continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Amen.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Behar-Bechukosai - God's Guarantee

Why does Hashem give such bounty - enough for three years - in the sixth year instead of just providing our needs as they come in the 7th and 8th? What is the concept of Bitachon-trust? How does one truly trust in God that one's needs will be provided for? Why did Adam's fall mean that he would no longer eat from fruit, but rather from the produce of the ground? What is the difference between fruits and plants? Why does the mitzvah of Shmitah-7th year apply only in Israel?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:05

Friday, May 12, 2017

Emor - Of Kings and Kohanim

What are the five aspects that make a Kohen Gadol-High Priest 'greater' than his brothers? What is the idea behind the concept that if he is not rich himself, his brothers 'make him rich?' How does a king parallel the Kohen in these five aspects? Why does a king, as represented by King David, receive special strength to fight Israel's enemies? What is the depth of the idea that David 'fit into the clothes of King Saul?' What is the intent of the Torah when it repeats the words relating to speach?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 25:23

Friday, May 5, 2017

Acharei Mos-Kedoshim - Material and Form

Why are the instructions about immoral relationships included in the reading of the High Priest's service on Yom Kippur? What is the significance of the Exodus and Hashem's oath to redeem the Jewish people in this context? Why are the Egyptian people referred to as 'donkeys' and why are they the example of immoral relationships? What is the depth of the idea that Hashem adds his name to the name of someone who is courageous in this area? What is the idea of the oath taken by certain individuals in the face of challenges in this area?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:30

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tazria-Metzora - Winds of Changw

What are the causes of the spiritual disease of Tzara'as-Leprosy? Why is the person who contracts it referred to as Adam? What are the 'measures of the winds' referred to in the verse in Job? What is the concept of the winds of destruction that threatened the world in the time of Job, Jonah and Elijah? Why is the Messiah referred to as the 'wind of our nose?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:13

Friday, April 21, 2017

Shmini - Revealing Hashem's Glory

What is needed for 'Hashem's Glory to be revealed?' How are the barriers removed that stand between the Jewish people and Hashem? What is the purpose of the sacrifices in the Mishkan-tabernacle? How does one infuse one's mitzvah observance with Hashem's presence? What is the natural spiritual state of a Jew?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:41

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Asking Hashem for what I want vs. what I need

One of my favorite topics is the idea of bitachon - trust. I have been listening for years to the shiurim on this topic of my Rosh Yeshiva, R' Yechiel Perr. I recently got a book that he recommended as part of the shiur called "The Six Steps of Bitachon" by R' Chaim Goldberger. This book lays down a framework that can work for anyone. Among the steps is determining that the thing one is asking Hashem for is a 'need.' Then one goes about developing one's trust in Hashem that the need will be filled.

My question is this: Can I only get what I 'need' from Hashem? Can I ask Hashem for something I want?

I would like to believe that Hashem is like a loving parent. As a parent, of course I provide my children with their needs. But I also often provide them with their wants, even if they are not needs. This is part of the way I show love for them.

So can I trust Hashem that He will provide me with my wants?

Part of my personal challenge is that I often am propelled into action by need much more often than by want. "Urgent and Important" is a much greater motivator than "Important but not Urgent."

And I often feel like Hashem is constantly providing me with my needs, but I don't feel as much that He is providing my wants.

But it is often true that my relationship with Hashem is a reflection of my relationship with myself.

So, could it be that I only get what I 'need' from Hashem because I only give motivate myself with 'need?' What if I started doing the things I don't 'need' to do, but rather they are things I 'want' to do - things that are important, but not urgent. Maybe then I would be better able to receive from Hashem the things I 'want,' not just what I 'need.'

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pesach - Rose of the Valley

What is the difference between a Chavatzelet-rose and a Shoshana-rose? What is the parallel between our sojourn in Egypt and the many challenges we have faced as a nation? What is the parallel between the exodus and the final redemption? What is the idea of the song that we sang then and that we will sing in the future?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 20:44

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tzav - Finding Peace

What is the concept of the korbanos-sacrifices? How does the study of Torah assure the Jewish people that they need not fear the heaviness of the idea of the sacrifices? What is the concept of the Shelamim-Peace sacrifice? Why does the concept of Peace always come last? What is the depth of the importance of peace? How does peace relate to the concept of the korbanos-sacrifices?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 28:03

Friday, March 31, 2017

Vayikra - Servant Leadership

How is the average Israelite meant to approach the book of Leviticus which seems to contain mostly laws for Kohen-priests? What is the take home lesson for us when the midrash speaks about Moshe's special relationship with Hashem? What is the meaning of Hashem's reference to the Jewish people as 'His?' How can we relate to someone else's 'specialness' when we don't feel particularly special ourselves?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 27:03