Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chukas - Sweetening judgments

Why does the mitzvah of the red heifer immediately follow the accusation against Aharon of being unworthy? why must it be completely red? What does the color red represent? Why is it specifically a cow? What is the significance of the involvement of the Kohen in this process? Why does he become impure as the person who is impure becomes purified? Why does the process take seven days? Why is it completely burnt? What is the concept of impurity from coming in contact with the dead? What is the connection to the concept of learning Torah? What does it mean that a person can only acquire Torah if he 'kills himself' over the Torah? What is the connection to Yosef?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 20:37


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bouncing back

I am currently involved in studying the twelve steps of the anonymous programs, which I believe is the tool of Moshiach ben Yosef, something that Hashem has brought down in order to get us into the age of Moshiach, when ego becomes a thing of the past. My chevrusa, who has been in the program for over ten years, is doing a wonderful job of guiding me through the steps, patiently teaching me. It is a wonderful, rigorous project, which I believe anyone can do, and everyone should explore to see how it can benefit them. There are programs for people with challenges in relationships, for emotional issues, debting issues, lack of vision and direction, porn addiction, sex addiction, and of course, alcoholism, amongst many others. It is interesting that one can be addicted to thoughts of avoiding all of these issues - if there is emotional energy around something, it is a sign of addiction. There is a wonderful aspect of community and acceptance that comes along with a true goal for pure egolessness. It is extremely powerful and the concept of pure lishmah is magnetic for me.

In any event, I am sharing this because I wanted to share something with you that my chevrusa shared with me. I have been talking about the difficult times we are going through now, and the potential for rectification that will follow the down. In order to get through the down, it is important to have the right attitude about the down, to understand that everything that happens to us is from Hashem. This means that sometimes we will even experience a test or challenge, and we will fall in that challenge - but it won't be because we were meant to pass the challenge. It will be because we get upset at ourselves for having failed in that challenge. This guilt is a most destructive force that can literally ruin our lives. The following is a link to an incredible shiur on the topic, given by R' Yisroel Reisman, based on the works of the Steipler Gaon. It is all about realizing the reality of our nisyonos (tests), and realizing that there are many areas where we may fail, and that we must be realistic about what is within our free will ability, and what is outside of it.

I highly recommend this wonderful shiur:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Malchus sheb'chesed, yesod sheb'yesod

So if you have been following the progression we have been seeing so far, there is an incredible correspondence between three sets of days:

25 Adar -> 16 Nissan (Pesach) -> 6 Sivan (Shavuos)
1 Sivan -> 20 Sivan -> 9 Av
17 Tammuz -> 9 Av -> 1 Tishrei (Rosh Hashana)

The first day on each column is 70 days before the last day, and the second day is 50 days before the last.

There is a sefirah count that we see happening as we count the fifty revealed days in each of these counts. And the counts line up, as we discussed.

The first count leads up to receiving the Torah, and is thus a count 'upward' into holiness. The second count is a descent into the klipah, or forces of evil, and the third count is the climb back out - the rectification count.

I was struck with what is happening right now, and what we can look out for in the future, if these counts really do line up, as I am theorizing.

The first is what is happening today. Tuesday, 28 June 2011 is the 26th of Sivan, the seventh day of this fifty day count. It corresponds to the seventh day of Pesach, which is Malchus sheb'chesed. Thus, just as the last day of Pesach was a day of open miracles and power to the Jewish people, this day is just that - for the side of evil. This is why we are watching Iran playing their war games, and this is why we have lost a great Torah sage, R' Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz Z'l. On the upside, this day - in the third count of rectification - corresponds to the 15th of Av, which is a day of celebration for the Jewish people, a day of marriage and coming together of the male and female aspects.

Another thing that I noticed which is interesting is that Rosh Chodesh Av is the day that corresponds to Yesod sheb'yesod. Thus, it fits very interestingly into the theories we have presented about Rosh Chodesh Av being a significant time for Moshiach ben Yosef, in light of the Maharsha in Sanhedrin. I was a little awestruck by the fact that my wedding anniversary is 'coincidentally' on the 21st of Elul (this year will be ten years!) which is also yesod sheb'yesod on the third (tikkun) count.

It should be interesting to see what happens on other corresponding days that are significant. Lag b'omer is hod sheb'hod on the first count. On the second count, hod sheb'hod falls out on 21 Tammuz, which is a Shabbos, July 23; and it falls out on 13th of Elul on the third count, which is Monday, September 12th.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

20 Sivan, 17 Tammuz, Rosh Hashana

When it rains, it pours. Hashem keeps showing me more patterns in time, and leading me to interesting places. This past Tuesday, I put out the eighth Moshiach podcast. I didn't know why, but I had this sense of foreboding that something dark was going to happen on Wednesday. My intuition has been very strong and on the mark of late. Wednesday was the 20th of Sivan. The day came and went, and my intuition served me correctly, as it was a day of emotional intensity for numerous reasons. It resulted in the update on the eighth podcast, which I put out on Wednesday night. Thursday followed with some more difficult ups and downs for me. I ended up doing something I haven't done in a long time - dancing through the streets of Jerusalem. I started in the old city, danced and sang through the 'rova,' continued through Me'ah She'arim and up Malchei Yisrael. I stopped twice to sing 'Tanya,' once for a group of Chassidishe children (about thirty of them - they told me to come back and sing the next day), and once for an elderly woman who was sitting in front of her old age home (she told me to come back and sing for the residents). Thursday night saw my best friend end up in the hospital, and I got to bond with his kids, especially his baby, who I comforted in the middle of the night. Friday and Shabbos were challenging, as well, and Hashem finally helped me out of the darkness on Motza'ei Shabbos, re-employing the unconditional love techniques that He has given me.

This morning, I woke up in a good mood, and after davening and my chevrusa, I sat down to learn a bit. I found myself noting that the 17th of Tammuz, which is the beginning of the three week mourning period for the destruction of the Temple, is exactly seventy days before Rosh Hashana. Clearly, there is a connection between the two days, as we have noted with the 25th of Adar vs. Shavuos, as well as 28th of Iyar (Yom Yerushalayim) and the 9th of Av. So I opened up my siddur to look at the selichos of the 17th of Tammuz, to remind myself of what happened then. It was strange, because I found something I don't remember noticing before. There is actually a fast day on the 20th of Sivan, and a special group of selichos on that day. Last Wednesday, which I had felt a negative gut feeling about, was that day. I looked around for a siddur with some explanation on the day, and I found that it commemorates the massacres of "Tach V'Tat." Although those occurred over a period of two years, or so, they are commemorated on the 20th of Sivan because of another tragedy that occurred on that day almost two hundred years earlier. The siddur also mentioned two more seemingly unrelated facts. One was that the 20th of Sivan was chosen because it never falls out on Shabbos, and the other was that the 20th of Sivan is a day that the fruits fully blossom. Interesting contrast.

As I continued to think about it, Hashem helped me realize that the 20th of Sivan is the beginning of the seven weeks leading up to Tisha B'av. If we were to line up this group of seventy days with the first group of seventy days (from 25th Adar to Shavuos), the 20th of Sivan corresponds to the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach, which is the first day of the Omer (Chesed She'b'chesed). My intuition tells me that this counting of seventy corresponds precisely to that counting, only this counting is heading into the 'other side' - the sitra achra, the klipos. Thus, the 20th of Sivan represents the beginning of the power of the side of Evil, just as the first day of Chol Hamoed represents the beginning of the buildup to Shavuos - the giving of the Torah. (For more on the connection between the second day of Pesach and Shavuos, please listen to the podcast on Parshas Emor of this year.) What Shavuos is on the side of Good, Tisha B'av is on the side of Evil. Ultimately, the Evil itself will be redeemed and we will see the intense Goodness there as well, which is why the 9th of Av will be a holiday. In any event, as we noted previously, the 9th of Av, and therefore, the 20th of Sivan, as well, represent a time of Nesirah, of eclipse of reflective light. Ultimately, it is this eclipse that brings about the greatest light, when ultimately, the moon will shine its own light, instead of only reflecting the light of the Sun. This contrast within this last idea is reflected in the fact that the 20th of Sivan is a day that can not fall out on Shabbos. Shabbos is the seventh day, the aspect of Malchus, the female and reflection. And yet, at the same time, it is the day when the fruits are producing fully - it is a lack of reflection for the sake of an ultimate reflection.

My thoughts then went to the 17th of Tammuz, and I wondered what the connection is between that day and Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashana is a very important day for Moshiach ben Yosef, as it is the day that Yosef Hatzaddik was released from jail and raised up to be the second only to Paroh. I realized, with Hashem's help, that Rosh Hashana is the day that the very concept of Moshiach ben Yosef was born. The first day of Tishrei is when Adam Harishon was created and it was also the day that he sinned by eating from the Eitz Hada'as. This act was what created the need for a Moshiach ben Yosef to rectify that sin. The seventeenth of Tammuz shares this distinction as well, because Moshe Rabbenu had succeeded in returning the Jewish people to a state of Adam before the sin. The period of time from Pesach until Shavuos represents that reinstatement. The Jewish people repeated Adam's sin on the seventeenth of Tammuz with their creation of the Golden Calf, resulting in the breaking of the Luchos containing the ten commandments. The return to Adamic consciousness was held off for another 3000 years. Thus, both of these days represent the fall creating the necessity for Moshiach ben Yosef, and thus they also contain the seed for the birth of Moshiach ben Yosef (as per R' Akiva's laughter).

In pondering Yosef's rise to power, it is significant to note that Yosef is recalled by the wine-bearer of Paroh. As we mentioned in the seventh Moshiach podcast, the sin of Adam (according to one opinion) was with grapes, and thus the rectification comes through grapes/wine. It is remarkable that Yosef is called out of jail specifically by the wine-bearer, and it is through the vehicle of Yosef's interpretation of his dream that involved these baskets of grapes. It is worth pondering the implications of this for Moshiach ben Yosef himself.

In thinking about the period of time from the 17th of Tammuz until Rosh Hashana, we again note a distinct pattern. There are the three weeks of mourning, which are the hidden brains (Keser-Chochma-Binah). These are followed by the 'shiva d'nechemta' - seven weeks of consolation, leading up to Rosh Hashana, which correspond to the lower seven Sefiros (Chesed-Gevurah-Tiferes Netsach-Hod-Yesod and Malchus). Through this next group of ten weeks - which overlap with the group of ten we are currently in - we begin to see the rise of Yosef, culminating with Rosh Hashana, when he is freed in a state of rectification.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Korach - Acceptance and consequence

Why did Moshe tell the 250 levi'im to bring an offering which meant certain death for them? How do we understand his actions that were submissive? Why does Aharon perform the atonement when the Jewish people are dying? Why is this story followed by the commandment to give tithes to the Levi'im and Kohanim?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:28

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Additional notes on the 8th podcast

There was an essential aspect of Nesirah that I left out, which is explained here, as well as the special aspect of the first and last moment of these seventy days starting a week before Shavuos and ending with the ninth of Av.

Download the podcast (Moshiach podcast 8.5) here.

Running time: 20:29

Moshiach podcast 8 document

Here is a document version of the podcast. Thanks, again, to the anonymous typist.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moshiach podcast 8 - Nesirah and Shavuos until 9 Av

OK, so this is the longest podcast I have ever done. It is just over an hour long, and it is chock full of information and explanations of what is going on right now in the world. The key to understanding everything is understanding the Nesirah process, which you will hear more about in the podcast. It is worth listening to the beginning more than once before moving on to the second half which really talks all about what is going on now - from the lunar eclipse, and the real meaning of it, to the period of time between Shavuos and the ninth of Av, which we are in now.

Here's what I wrote for the itunes description:

We discuss the process of Nesirah, the painful process of separation that seems to be taking place in the world right now. We discuss why MBY must die and how he eludes death. We also talk about the power of complete humility, acceptance and surrender to Hashem, which are the reason for the difficulties - how He gets us to choose Him. We also explore the next period of time that we are in - from Shavuos until the ninth of Av.

Again, if anyone would like to type this out, I believe it would be a big service. I greatly appreciate the person who anonymously typed out the previous podcast. If you can do it again, great. Please don't feel any pressure to do so, though.

Here is Moshiach podcast number 8

I would also like to share a song that I recently composed that I believe will give you chizzuk (encouragement). It is called "Hafachta," and I composed it coming back from a great hisbodedus where I really felt Hashem used my difficulties to jumpstart my life. Music has an incredible power to pull us out, and it is connected to he concept of Keser, which is the transcendental aspect of reality.

Here is also the link for Hashem Loves You, which I mentioned in the podcast. Use all the tools you can!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shlach - Power of trust

Did the spies really look like grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants? Why did Hashem allow the negative desire of the spies - to prevent the Jewish people from entering Israel - to be fulfilled? Why would Hashem listen to a prayer for the death of the Kohen Gadol? Why would Hashem listen to the prayer of those who were rebelling against Moshe? What is the incredible power of Bitachon-trust and the Law of Attraction?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 23:00

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beha'aloscha - Trumpets and troubles

Why does Hashem wait for Moshe to command Him to travel? What is the concept of the trumpets? Why are they blown during the travels? Why are they blown at difficult times in Jewish history (Gog Umagog, wars of destruction)? What is the difference between the trumpet and the shofar?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 20:29

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shavuos, MBY and MBD

What is the connection between Genesis and Shavuos? Why is Shavuos called the festival of the 'giving' of the Torah, and not the receiving? What is the secret of the twenty days that are not included in the sefirah count? What is the connection between King David and Shavuos? What is the connection to Yosef?

Find out in this special edition of the Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 22:29

There is important information in this podcast that is connected to MBY and MBD and the Moshiach podcast number 7. I was not as explicit as I could have been. Perhaps I will do another Moshiach podcast to fill in more information if there is interest.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nasso - the key to egolessness

What is the deeper connection between the Sotah and the Nazir? Why does Moshiach ben Yosef have to die? How does one really remove ego from himself?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:14

Here is the document version.

The Sefer

Just a quick update on where things are holding with the production of my sefer. Baruch Hashem, all of Sefer Bereshis - four years worth of shiurim - have been typed out. More than half of them have been through a first stage edit. Hashem has now given me the opportunity to work with Uriela Sagiv as an editor for my book. She was actually the editor for M. Scott Peck's book "The Road Less traveled," as well as Kirk Douglas' books. She has worked on numerous serious Jewish books, as well, that involve a Kabbalistic theme. Her expertise is taking lectures and putting them into book form. I am extremely excited to be working with her, B'ezras Hashem, and it is an opportunity that didn't seem possible as she was extremely busy. Her schedule just opened up to be able to work on my book for the month following Shavuos, so it is now a chance to help me get the book completed so it can be available in the stores by the time Sefer Bereshis begins again after Succos. I appreciate any and all donations.

Here is the link for a paypal donation:

Donations can also be sent to my home:
Nachal Lachish 29/5
Bet Shemesh, Israel 99093

If anyone is interested in a special dedication in the front of the book, please let me know.

Also, anyone who has helped with the book in any way will be recognized, b'ezras Hashem, in a section in the book. (If you want to remain anonymous, please let me know!)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Maharsha Moed Katan 28

Hashem dropped another Maharsha onto me which I believe is extremely significant. It is worth seeing inside, and can be found in Moed Katan on page 28. I heard it said over at a Shalom Zachar this past Friday night, and yesterday in the morning, it hit me as to why I needed to hear it.

The Maharsha talks about the day of Lag B'omer and says that although it is the thirty third day of the sefirah, it is actually the fifty third day of a different count that started twenty days earlier. He brings down the opinion that the world was created in Nissan. This would mean that Adam Harishon was created on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and the first day of creation occurred on the twenty fifth of Adar. If we count twenty days from then, it brings us to the first day of Pesach, the fifteenth of Adar. Add the next fifty days until Shavuos, and you end up with a count of seventy. The number seventy represents the days of a person's life (ימי שנותינו בהם שבעים שנה). The first twenty days correspond to the first twenty years of a person's life, when he does not bear the responsibility of the death penalty. After twenty, one is mature and enters the prime of his life. Two thirds of the way into the second period of life (the fifty) represent 'most of the years' of one's life. This brings you to Lag b'omer. (Anybody got that?) Shavuos, says the Maharsha, represents the ultimate purpose of the person's life, where he reaches his completion.

What hit me was that we have ten sets of seven days (or years). For our purposes, there are ten weeks. In the explanation of the Maharsha in Sanhedrin, we spoke about the nine/ten months of the process of the leap year which begins - in a hidden way - in Av/Elul/Tishrei, the first three months. It continues to be revealed through the following six until you reach yesod, which corresponds to Yosef - which is the second Adar. It comes into full bloom in Nissan, which is Malchus. In that post, we spoke about how the last week of Adar is the climax of the birth of the transformation of פשע - sin - into שפע - influx.

Incredibly, what we see here is that the last week of Adar is the beginning of another series of ten, but this time, it is ten weeks. The first week is Keser - the inspiration, the transcendental realm. The weeks that follow, which are the first two weeks of Nissan, are Chochma and Bina. All three of these are in the head - they are hidden, and are not part of the sefirah count. But at the same time, of course, they are! Whatever happened in the last week of Adar is being brought down into the world, being revealed - culminating in Shavuos. The final week of the count, which we now find ourselves in, represents a full reflection (malchus) of the first week. It is a full development of what happened in the last week of Adar. The 'baby' that was conceived starting from Rosh Chodesh Av of last year, and was labored with and born in the last week of Adar - it now develops through another process into something greater which is revealed on Shavuos in its completion.

Of course, this is not the end, but again the beginning of another great spiral upwards for the Jewish people. The aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef continues to make its way higher and higher as we get closer and closer to the time we are all waiting for, בב"א.