Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vayechi - Blessings and Prayers

What is the general concept of a blessing? Why do I need to go to a tzaddik to get a bracha? What does a bracha do for me more than I already have, and why can’t I access it myself? When Yaakov gives the brachos, is he just stating a fact as to the nature of that person, or his he drawing down some spiritual reality upon that person? Why do these brachos come when the tzaddik is about to die, as we also see with Yitzchak? What is the deeper concept of prayer? How is prayer connected to blessings?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 22:05

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vayigash - Tears, Silence and Shechina

What is the difference between the crying Yosef does with Benjamin, as opposed to his crying with his other brothers? Why does Benjamin merit to have the Divine Presence in his portion? What is the secret of the silence of Benjamin, Yosef, Rochel and Esther? Why do Yosef and Benjamin cry about the destruction of the temples and the tabernacle?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 24:07

Friday, December 14, 2012

Miketz - Salvation in the blink of an eye

What is the secret of Yosef's miraculous and instantaneous turn around? How does one move past envy? How does one focus on spiritual desires? How does one merit Hashem's salvation in the blink of an eye?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:33

Friday, December 7, 2012

Vayeshev - Yaakov and Yosef

Why does Joseph seem to have so much charisma with everyone except for his own family? Why does the Torah place the story of Joseph immediately after the enumeration of the generations of Esau? What is the significance of the numerous parallels between the life of Jacob and Joseph? What is the concept of the all inclusive aspect, as it is reflected in Jacob and Joseph?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 24:08

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chanukah, yesod, Yosef

If we look at each month as a ten sets of three, we discover a pattern that repeats itself. The number ten always corresponds to the ten sefiros, so we can unearth a lot of information if we look at it through that lens.

The month looks as follows:

Day of month
1-3 Keser
4-6 Chochmah
7-9 Binah
10-12 Chesed
13-15 Gevurah
16-18 Tiferes
19-21 Netsach
22-24 Hod
25-27 Yesod
28-30 Malchus

As Malchus is always the mochin of the following set, it is an overlay into the next month, and therefore is sometimes counted as the first of the next month. This is the concept of Keser-Malchus. Something else that comes out of this is that the beginning of the next month, really the first nine days, which are Keser-Chochmah-Binah, are really a continuation of the previous month. The koach of the previous month is then born into reality when we get to Chesed of the following month, which is the tenth.

With this information, we get an interesting insight into Chanukah and the connection to Yosef, whose story is always read around Chanukah. Chanukah begins on the 25th of the month, which, as we noted, is the beginning of the sefirah of Yesod. It is the culmination of the month, which, as we spoke about last year, is really the completion of Succos, as well. It is a funneling of all of the spiritual power that has been going on.

That is the concept of Yosef, who is the focused power of Yaakov in the lower spiritual realm, as represented by his sons. Yosef is Yaakov in the lower realm (אלה תולדות יעקב יוסף). Yosef also extends further, as does Chanukah. Yosef's two sons become tribes of their own. Chanukah is the only chag that crosses the month border into the next month. This passes through Rosh Chodesh, which is when the moon, which reflects the light of the sun, is completely invisible, coming into union with the Sun. (The moon and Sun are in the same location on the horizon at the beginning of the month.)

Yosef's conception took place on the ultimate Rosh Chodesh - Rosh Hashana. This day is intimately connected to the concept of the Tzaddik and the concept of Yesod, as represented by Yosef, who was the Tzaddik Yesod olam. On Rosh Hashana, the world completely nullifies itself by giving homage to the King of kings who created it all. That complete hisbatlus is the character of the true Tzaddik. This is the light of Chanukah.