Thursday, December 26, 2013

Vaera - Silence Amidst Chaos

Why is the parsha split up in such a way that we get only the first seven plagues in this week's parsha? What is the significance of the numbers seven and ten? Why is it so important for us to know that the Jews were singled out and that the plagues did not touch their area in Egypt? Why is the Nile river turned into blood instead of just being dried up? What is the concept of blood, which is 'dam' in Hebrew, and what is the relationship to 'dom' in Hebrew, which means silence?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 20:04

Friday, December 20, 2013

Shemos - Foundations of Exile

What is the depth behind the concept of exile? Why do the children of Israel go through exile, while Yishmael and Esav do not? How and why does Hashem bring us gently down into exile? What was the difference between Yaacov and his forebears that created the reality that all his sons were righteous, while this was not true of the previous patriarchs?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 23:13

Friday, December 13, 2013

Vayechi - Finding Good Points

Why is Yakov unable to bless Yosef's sons? How is Yosef able to bring back the divine presence so Yakov can bless them? What is the difference between the approach of Yakov and Yosef? What is the concept of finding good points, even in those who are evil?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Vayigash - Love and Tears

What is the significance of Yosef's tears? Why does he only cry on the shoulder of Benjamin, whereas he kisses and cries with each of the other brothers? What is the significance of the numerical values of Yosef and Yakov's names? What is the concept of the kiss? What is the concept of tears?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time:  19:59

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mikeitz and Chanukah - Stepping Up (18:33)

Why is Mikeitz always read on Shabbos Chanukah? Why does the story stop at the moment before Yosef reveals himself? Or more precisely, as Yehuda is about to step up? If the victory of Chanukah was so short lived, why do we have such a stark celebration?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 18:33

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vayeshev - Unconditional Love and Judgment

What was at the root of the animosity the brothers had toward Yosef? If Yosef was a tzaddik, who represented the concept of Hashem's unconditional love, why did that love not seem to extend to his brothers - why did he speak negatively of them instead of finding their good points? Why was Reuven the one who was uniquely able to speak on Yosef's behalf? The mesorah seems to clearly hold all of the brothers responsible (except for Reuven) for the sale of Yosef. Why would the children of Bilhah and Zilpah also have been part of this if Yosef stood on their side? What changed in Yosef from before he was sold until his brothers returned much later and he showed such absolute compassion? Does one need to be forced to do the right thing, or is love potentially a more powerful motivational force?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:32

Friday, November 15, 2013

Vayishlach - Yakov, Yosef and the Sod Ha'ibbur

What is the concept of the 'additional' revelation of Hashem to Yakov in this week's parsha? What is the blessing he receives? How does this relate to the land of Israel? What is the concept of the secret of the Ibbur? How does it relate to this blessing? What is the aspect of the addition to the year - 'hashana?' What is the concept of the month - 'hachodesh?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 19:59

Friday, November 8, 2013

Vayetzei - Yakov's dream, Yosef's dreams

What is the concept of Yakov's dream, and dreams in general? Why is Yakov's dream global, while Yosef's seems to be personal? Why does Yosef's involve people, while Yakov's involves angels? Why does Yakov have his dream after being chased by Esav, while Yosef has his dream before being chased by his brothers? What is the fundamental difference between Yakov's work in this world, as opposed to Yosef's?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:07

Friday, November 1, 2013

Toldos - Spiritual Power

Why does the Torah preface the story of Yakov (Jacob) and Esav with the statement that Abraham birthed Isaac? What is the significance of the fact that Isaac was forty years old when he got married? What is the spiritual power of the circumcision of Ishmael at age thirteen? What is the spiritual power of Isaac's binding? What is the spiritual inheritance that Jacob is given and in turn gives to us?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 23:53

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chayei Sarah - Spiritual Roots

Why does Avraham reject the daughters of Aner, Eshkol and Mamrei, even though they are righteous? Why does he send Eliezer back to his own family, if they seem to be far from righteous? What is the concept of Baruch-blessed as opposed to Arur-cursed? Why are Haman and Amalek referred to as cursed if they come from the progeny of Yitzchak and Rivkah?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 18:16

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vayera - Chamber of Exchanges

Why does Hashem reveal Himself to Avraham in the fields of Mamrei? Who are Aner, Eshkol and Mamrei? Why do they join Avraham in his fight to retrieve his nephew Lot? Why do the people of Canaan occupy the land of Israel before it is promised to Avraham and his progeny? What is the concept of the chamber of exchanges?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:36

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lech Lecha - Find Your Voice!

Why does Hashem use such an usual instruction which literally means 'go to you' when instructing Abraham to go to Israel? What is the unique point of truth that resides in every person? Why must Abraham leave 'his land, the place of his birth, and his father's home?' What are the tools one can employ to find one's special God-given role in the world?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 19:36

Friday, October 4, 2013

Noach - Of Floods and Dispersions

What's the difference between the sin of the generation of the flood vs. the generation of the dispersion? What is the similarity between the generation of the flood and the people of Sodom? What is the difference between Avraham and Noach? What does it mean when it says that Hashem is sad? What does Hashem accomplish by destroying the people with the flood if they return to sinning?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 19:29

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Simchas Torah & Breishis - Full Circle

Why do we immediately return to the beginning of the Torah as we complete it? Why is the 'party' on the eighth day of Succos - the one that is just for the Jewish people - so small? Why does the Torah spend only a few verses on the blessings, while it spends many verses on the curses? What is the secret of the circle?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running Time: 17:56

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Succos and Yosef

What is the connection between Yosef and Succos? Why do we read the prophecies of Gog and Magog during Succos? Why do we leave our homes and enter these temporary dwelling places? How do we remind ourselves of the fact that Hashem is constantly in our lives?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 15:40

Friday, September 13, 2013

Yom Kippur and Unity (Am Echad!)

Why is the concept of unity so central to Yom Kippur? Why does the High Priest bring an incense offering in the holiest of holies? What is the power of song in bringing us to repentance?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 10:43

And... if you haven't seen the Am Echad video which I mention in the podcast, you can see it here:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Haazinu - Hashem's Crown of Dew

What is the difference between dew and rain? Why is the Torah referred to in both ways? What is the concept of the verse which refers to Hashem's 'head' as being full of dew? Why does Hashem reference that concept in consoling Moshiach ben Yosef in his difficulties? How do we honestly crown Hashem our king on Rosh Hashana?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 23:39

Friday, August 30, 2013

Nitsavim-Vayelech - Climbing the Spiritual Ladder

Why does the fisherman feel he can fish, but can not be spiritual? What is the soft rebuke that Elijah the prophet gives him? What are the two secrets of spiritual growth that R' Nosson of Breslov shares with us, based on the passuk in this week's parsha?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 19:06

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ki Savo - Using This Day

Why does Moshe keep repeating the word 'hayom' - 'today?' What is the significance of the word today? How does one properly utilize this day? Why should one not put off 'til tomorrow something he can do today?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 16:21

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ki Seitze - Facing the Spiritual War

Why does the Torah stress that one is to be careful about illicit and licentious behavior in times of war? What is the difference between co-dependent and interdependent relationships? How do we face the spiritual war that surrounds us in our times?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 18:20

Friday, August 9, 2013

Shoftim - Finding Spiritual Guidance

What is the understanding of the prohibition of looking for signs to understand the future? How does one find true spiritual guidance? How does one know if they are truly following the will of Hashem?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 18:30

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reeh - Spiritual Laws of Livelihood

What are the channels through which Hashem brings His influx of livelihood into the world? How does one attach oneself to Hashem, who is above time and space? What is the concept of making oneself 'like an animal' when it comes to depending on one's intellect? What are the deeper spiritual rules that allow one to access those channels of livelihood?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:04

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ekev - Balancing Love and Awe

What is the concept of 'fear' in the Torah? How is it expressed on a deeper level as awe? Why does the Torah include the concept of awe right beside love of God? Why is the preface for both 'And Now?' What is the secret of living in the present moment? How does one develop awe for God? How does one develop desire and willingness in his relationship with God?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:04

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vaeschanan - Love Hashem with all your heart

What is the symbolism of the egg that is eaten in the final meal before Tisha B'av? What is the significance of the idea that Moshiach is born on Tisha B'av? How does one serve Hashem with one's physical desires? When is one called a servant of God, and when is one called a child of God?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 20:23

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Devarim - Song and Prayer of Redemption

In this week's Parsha Podcast, we study together the secret of the joy of Moshiach (Messiah) that is all about the revelation of God in the world, and how it is awakened through the female aspect, as is represented by King David, the great grandfather of Moshiach. We also explore the aspect of song and prayer as that which transforms the anguish and sadness inherent in the female aspect, which is separation, into the joy of Moshiach.

Running time: 20:31

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Matos-Masei - Wisdom, power and wealth

What is the Torah's approach to wealth, power and wisdom? Are these all positive things? What was specifically wrong with the request of the sons of Reuven and Gad? Why was their wealth classified with that of Korach and Haman? How does one truly receive these three great attributes as gifts?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running Time: 21:04

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Song of Moshiach

Rebbe Nachman speaks at length (Likutei Moharan Tinyana 8) about a special song that will be awakened in the future. This song will be used by Moshiach to guide people out of the depths of their sins. This is the song that the Torah speaks about when it says 'az yashir Moshe' - then Moshe and the children of Israel will sing. It is a song that comes after a break in tension. It is the cosmic tension of the end of days, similar to when the Jewish people seemed at the edge of destruction as they stood at the Yam Suf, with the sea on one side, and the Egyptians coming to destroy them on the other. This tension broke with the miracle of the splitting of the sea, and climaxed with their salvation and the song at the sea, which we will sing again in the future. Again, we will face near extinction, and Hashem will again perform the ultimate miracles to save us. Only this time, it will be once and for all.

There is a midrash that talks about the seven stringed instrument that was played in the past, that will be replaced by an eight stringed instrument when Moshiach comes. It will be replaced, again, by a ten stringed instrument in the world to come.

You may have heard of the mysterious 'eighth note,' which seems to be implied by this midrash. You may also know that the current scale only contains seven notes - the eighth note is the same as the first, only higher (hence it is called an octave). But this 'eighth note' of the future is something different.

I always thought that it was some type of combination of all the notes, some interdependent transcendent note... or something. Most recently, I realized that it may be so, but there might be a different aspect to this eighth note. And you might already have started to hear this eighth note, if you've been listening out...

The concept of seven always has to do with the physical realm, which was created in seven days. This also corresponds to the seven lower sefiros (out of ten). We also call this teva - nature. Then there is the eighth aspect, which is transcendent, and corresponds to the sefirah above these seven, which is Binah. Binah translates as intuition. This is the aspect which is l'malah min hateva - above nature. This is very much connected to how our intuitive faculty functions - it fills in the gaps. It also corresponds to the aspect of Neshama - soul.

In essence, we could say that there is a seven-stringed instrument which is for this world, which is the physical, natural aspect of the music. Then there is an eighth note, which has the neshama - soul in the music. This is a song that isn't about love between a man and a woman. It's also not a song that has lyrics slap-dashed together, without being such a good fit for the tune. It is a song about our soul's thirst for God. Or it is a song that gives us hope that Hashem will take care of us, despite all of our challenges. Or it is a song that inspires us to love each other. Or it is a song that inspires us to be better people.

There are many songs out there to listen to. How many notes are in your songs?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pinchas - Leadership of Yosef and Levi

What is the connection between Pinchos, inheriting the land, the daughters of Tzlafchad, and the appointment of Yehoshua? Why do the Jewish people face a test in the area of licentious relations as they are entering Israel? Why is the leadership in the midbar solely from the tribe of Levi, and entering Israel it is balanced between the tribes of Levi and Yosef? How does the tzaddik guide people to their portion in the land, as well as in their purpose in the world? What is the difference between the leadership of Levi and Yosef?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:45

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

17th of Tammuz and Yosef

The 17th of Tammuz is known as the day of the breaking of the luchos (tablets), which occurred in the year 2448. It was a day that should have been the greatest celebration - the completion of the pact between Hashem and the Jewish people! Instead, it became a day of sadness throughout history, that represented the loss of our relationship with Hashem. And yet, it does represent the loss in a direct way - for we could still have come back into that relationship - through the building of the Mishkan (tabernacle), through the teshuva and prayers of the entire Jewish people.

But a year and three months later, in 2449, we lost that as well, on the day of Tisha B'av. The ninth of Av, as well, should have been a day of great celebration. We were to receive news about the beautiful land of Israel that we were about to begin to conquer. Instead of it being a day of elation, it became a day of sadness through the ill report of the spies.

It is remarkable that Tammuz is the month of Yosef's birth. Furthermore, Av is a month that Yosef is active in (as per the Maharsha in Sanhedrin 12A). How are we to understand this in light of the negative events that occurred in this month?

The essence of Yosef (and Moshiach ben Yosef, by extension) is his hidden nature. This manifests in a number of ways. The first way is that he experiences tremendous difficulties and challenges. These mask the underlying theme of his life which is growth through the challenges. That which on the surface seems like death and destruction, is shown to actually be the source of his life. His great leadership is born as a result of his great difficulties.

Tammuz and Av are the months when the sun holds its greatest sway. The days are long, and the heat is at its peak of the year. Esav and the powers of evil are represented by the sun, and thus, we can see that the very nature of reality shows that Esav has power in these months. As Rashi says on the verses that describe the birth of Yosef, Yosef is the force which balances out the evil of Esav, which was why Yakov felt he could return to where Esav was once Yosef was born. Thus, the counter-force for Esav comes into the world at the very time when Esav's power is ascendent.

Returning for a moment to the 17th of Tammuz, it was the day that the luchos were broken, but the event that was the antecedent of that was the creation of the Golden Calf. It is remarkable that Yosef is very much connected to the concept of the calf. We find that Yosef is referred to as an ox (בכור שורו הדר לו) - he is the firstborn ox. This is related to one of the four faces of the ofanim, which was the ox, after which the Jewish people modeled the Golden Calf. The question is, What is the meaning of this connection between Yosef and the Golden Calf?

There is also a strong connection between the Golden Calf and the Red Heifer. Both red and gold represent the concept of gevurah, as does the concept of the calf, or the heifer (cow). The Red Heifer is meant to atone in some way for the sin of the Golden Calf (as per Rashi). It is the antidote for the spiritual malaise that is brought about through coming into contact with the dead. Before the sin of the Golden Calf, the Jewish people had returned to the state of Adam Harishon before the sin, and thus they would have lived forever. Through the sin of the Golden Calf, death returned to the world, and thus the Red Heifer would be necessary to purify from the contamination of the dead.

Esav is an aspect of the Golden Calf - the forces of evil that bring death into the world. On a certain level, this is literal, as we find that Esav was the one who had transgressed the three cardinal sins, one of which is murder. Yosef can thus be described as an aspect of the Red Heifer - who comes as a counter-force for the death that is brought into the world through his spiritual opposite, Esav.

Most interestingly, Yosef functions in the spiritual facet of gevurah, which, as we said, is represented by the color red and the concept of the cow. This means that Yosef must use the very power of gevurah (literally - strength) - which is the tool of the side of evil - against the forces of evil. Whereas Esav and his spiritual counterparts make use of strength to destroy and bring about death, Yosef uses his strength to control his desires, and to eradicate those very forces of destruction.

On a deeper level, the concept of gevurah is about holding oneself back. This trait is what Yosef needed to use when he wanted to reveal himself to his brothers, but the time was not yet right. He also used this trait in order to forgive his brothers - by recognizing and focusing on the fact that Hashem was the One who had guided his life throughout the dark times, he was able to hold back his negative feelings for his brothers, and thereby forgive them.

In a similar way, there is a withholding of relationship that occurs on the 17th of Tammuz, and subsequently on the 9th of Av. This seeming loss of relationship is analogous to Yosef's interaction with his brothers before he reveals himself. He deals with them in a tough manner, and they perceive him as a despotic Egyptian ruler whose behavior is incomprehensible. Paralleling this, we experience our relationship with Hashem at this time as one of distance, loss and destruction. Hashem hides His face of kindness and love from us, and we are to blame! We built this idol ourselves! We brought death back into the world and we chose impatience over patience, death over life. It seems that surely Hashem is angry with us and will never forgive us!

And just as Yosef hid himself in order to accomplish a deeper resolution of the brothers' previous sin, Hashem also, lehavdil, hides Himself in order to give us an opportunity to accomplish a deeper resolution of our sin. For we have a chance to prove our fidelity to God even here in the darkest depths of distance from Him.

And just as Yosef must prove himself in the darkest depths of distance, so we are to do the same, and learn from the example that Yosef set.

And Yosef is is born into this time of darkness, which paradoxically seems like light. For the sun shines the strongest, and it beats the hottest during these summer months. Is this darkness? And the answer is, Yes! The sun represents the forces of evil, which eclipse the light of the soul, the light of Hashem. This time is a time in which Hashem's light is blocked, and the forces of physicality are strongest. And here Yosef is born, and Yosef works behind the scenes, facing the darkness head on. Teaching us how we can do the same.

It is here at this time that we are aware of Yosef working behind the scenes, ever so subtly, ever so discreetly. And we can discern this work as it develops through the process of the sod ha'ibbur, as it gives birth nine months later to the twin months of Adar - the double portion of Yosef as the firstborn ox. This is the secret process that brings about forward movement in the advent of the age of Moshiach, may it come speedily in our days.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Balak - Forces and Counter-forces

Why is Balak so bent on destroying the Jewish people? Why does his desire for their destruction not wane despite the miracles Hashem performs on their behalf? Why does Hashem give power to those who will wield it for such evil? What is the depth of the nature of Amalek in contrast to the people of Israel?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:03

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yosef breaking the illusion

The amazing power of the sitra achra - the other side - is to bring us to believe that we need something that we do not; to have an experience of lack, to feel broken, when in reality we are whole. This is followed by the false belief that we can become whole through whatever it is that the sitra achra wants us to be drawn into. Walking into that illusion brings pain and a deeper sense of lack. We can keep grabbing at what looks like that which will fill the gap.

But it does not work.

Because the gap isn't real.

Yosef hatzadik recognizes the illusion. Potiphar's wife proves to him that they are destined to be together, to share progeny. She has every way of showing Yosef that they are meant for each other.

But Yosef just responds simply with the truth. How could I do such a thing? My master trusts me with his house, with everything in it. And you are his. This would be a sin to God.

It's really an illusion.

And through Yosef's challenge to the side of evil, his staunch integrity to what is truly real, he finds himself deeper in the bowels of evil - in the depths of the prison of Egypt. He resides with those that even the decadent Egyptians acknowledge as decadent! It seems that his commitment to truth has earned him nothing but more lies!

But there he stays for twelve years, with only the hope that was given him by a dream he had so many years before. A glimmer of the reality of the veracity of his moral and spiritual leadership. And he maintains his love and fidelity toward God, Whose name is constantly on his tongue.

And ultimately, this commitment to the truth paves the way for his salvation, and the salvation of Egypt and the entire world at the time... And the crowning achievement is his leadership for the Jewish people, who join him there, through the twists and turns of the path Hashem would have them walk.

Moshiach ben Yosef's job is no different than that of his forbear Yosef. He comes into a world that is morally and spiritually decadent, to shine the light of integrity and honor for God's name. He teaches love and truth. And remarkably, he is the one who brings a new world of prosperity into existence. Just as Yosef channeled the money of the world into the coffers of Egypt, which were under his sole control, so too, Moshiach ben Yosef will teach us how to use the wealth that is becoming more and more apparent in the world in its proper way.

We can see the wealth in Israel - Tzion - which is the gematria of Yosef. Whatever happens to Yosef happens to Tzion. We need but watch the evolution of Israel to see what is going on behind the scenes with Yosef. We can see the hatred of brothers raising a scepter of abuse and misunderstanding to mete out judgment on those who toil in their relationship with Hashem. "That which was, is that which shall be." The stories repeat themselves. The themes are the same, and even the characters in the stories are the same.

But the focus comes, and will come, from Moshiach ben Yosef. He has a dream that was dreamt so many years ago, for his dream is the same as Yosef himself. That dream is still waiting to be fulfilled. As we move through time, we get ever closer to the promised age of Moshiach. Hashem carries us through a process - for Yosef is about process; and process involves pain. We are to rise up from the ashes, from the bowels of the deepest, darkest spiritual depths. To find the light that was hidden away in the dream of a Yosef. That light inspires us even as we sit in darkness, and recognize that Hashem is our light.

Yosef's greatness is brought to the fore through the very challenges he faces. He is born in Tammuz, which is the beginning of the months of the summer, the months that Esav and the forces of evil that he represents have power. Yosef is that power that offsets the forces of evil, that ultimately destroys Amalek, who is the embodiment of that evil. And it is here, in Tammuz and Av - in the center of the destruction that was wrought by Esav, that Yosef finds himself. Still clinging to the dream. Watching the process unfold. Recognizing the light of God that begins to shine in the greatest darkness. Looking for love and forgiveness. Letting go of sadness and resentment. Looking past the differences and the hatred and the darkness. Seeing the light of God's goodness that is hidden within that which seems to be its opposite.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chukas - Song of Salvation

What is the concept of the song of the well? Why are these songs always sung after some miraculous salvation? What is the song that will be aroused in the future? What is the concept of the 'one who knows how to rebuke?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running Time: 21:20

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Yosef and the number five

In honor of Yosef's yahrtzeit today, I would like to share a recent email conversation I had about Yosef. The questions came from a fourth grade teacher, whose students asked the following:

Binyamin got 5 portions form Yosef of food and clothing.
Yosef took 5 brothers to meet Pharoah.
1/5 of the fields the mitzriyim had to give to pharoah.
All is initiated by Yosef.
Is there a connection between Yosef and the number 5?
why is it his favorite number?

To which I responded:

These three fives are all different. The first five is five times the amount each of the other brothers got. The second five is five out of twelve - 5/12. And the third five is one out of five, or 20%. So, to say there is a theme of five here may not be accurate.

Notwithstanding that, the first thing that comes to mind on this is that the 20% number - one fifth - is significant as follows. There are ten sefiros. The sefiros are split into two groups, the top three and the lower seven. Yosef and Dovid correspond to the last two (six and seven), which are Yesod (Tzaddik yesod olam - Yosef), and Malchus (Dovid). These two sefiros are the place where heaven and earth touch - they are Friday (six - Yosef) and Shabbos (seven - Dovid). These two represent the perfect balance between heaven and earth, where all of the spiritual influx are focused. If you take these two out of the whole series of sefiros, we are looking at 20%. This is who Yosef was - the tzaddik (yesod) who is in a position of kingship (malchus). He's got the balance and therefore is the conduit for all of the livelihood of the whole world. That balance is expressed in the 20% that he takes from the Egyptians - it is his due, as it corresponds to him.

It seems to me that the five out of twelve brothers are an expression of the concept of the number five, which is the gematria of the letter Heh. Heh is the female letter, and therefore expresses the aspect of physical weakness (as per the drasha of chazal that the extra Heh of 'yodchah' teaches that the tefillin are worn on the weaker hand - the left hand). These five were the weaker of the brothers, and Yosef wanted Pharaoh to see that his brothers were not to be taken and used.

The five times clothing refers to the five different things that Mordechai (from Binyomin) would wear when he was raised up at the end of the story of Purim. This is very interesting, because it also is the ascendency of the tzaddik to a position of rulership and power, much like Yosef; only this time it manifests in Binyomin's progeny, Mordechai and Esther. Mordechai is the Tzaddik (yesod - six), Esther is the queen (malchus - seven). Still, it is five times, which means that there is an aspect of multiplicity that is inherent in the character of the tzaddik. The tzaddik is the neshama kolleles - the soul that includes all of the Jewish people within him, so this could be hinted to in the fact that Binyomin/Mordechai got a multiplicity of garments. They are also called a 'change of garments' - because through the advent of Moshiach ben Yosef there is a changing from the old order, to the new. Garments are the result of the sin of Adam harishon. The changing of garments is brought about through the deeds of the tzaddik (MBY) and his leading the Jewish people - changing their garments from regular physical garments to garments of mitzvos (as per Rashi in Bereishis in reference to Adam being naked of commandments through his sin).

This five could also have to do with the five universes (Asiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah, Atzilus and Adam Kadmon) which correspond to the five aspects of the name Yud Kei Vav Kei.

Needs more thought.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Korach - Aharon's Transcendent Peace

What is the fundamental attribute of Aharon? What is the fundamental attribute of Korach? What is the depth of the fact that God ratifies the path of Aharon?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 19:44

Friday, May 31, 2013

Shlach - Inclusive Spirituality

Why does the Arizal indicate that the spies and their generation were on a level that was beyond the land of Israel? How does this reconcile with the fact that they sinned in speaking negatively of the land? What is the antidote for the challenge of the description of Israel as a 'land that swallows its inhabitants?' Is one meant to be only spiritual, or to include the mundane within the spiritual?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: (15:48)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Behaaloscha - Holiness Amidst Impurity

In this week's parsha podcast, we study the lesson of R' Nosson on the verses which speak about the Pesach Sheni - the second chance at bringing the Passover sacrifice, which was revealed through the request of those who were impure, and therefore unable to bring the Pesach sacrifice in its correct time. This is an analogy to how we can call out to God from wherever we are, even if we are mired in darkness and impurity.

Running time: 15:59

Friday, May 17, 2013

Nasso - Serving Hashem Intuitively

What is the significance of the special offering of the Nesi'im, the princes of the tribes of Israel? How did they know to give the wagons and oxen which would transport the tabernacle? Why was Moshe upset that the command did not come through him? What was Hashem's response to Moshe? Why did this idea come from the tribe Yissachar? Why does the midrash tell us that these oxen never died? Why is it considered as if they carry the world with God?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 21:50

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bimidbar - Counting the Uncountable

Why does the parsha of Bimidbar always come out before Shavuos? What is the concept of counting? Is counting a positive thing or a negative thing? If counting shows Hashem's love for us, why do we find there is danger in counting? Why will we be uncountable in the times of Moshiach (the Messiah)?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:47

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Behar-Bechukosai - Giving it back to God

Why does the Torah place the concepts of Shmitah, Yovel and the prohibition of charging interest next to each other? What is the depth of these concepts? What is the message of Shmitah, and what is the deeper message of Yovel?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:55

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Acharei-Kedoshim - Balancing Spiritual and Physical

Why does the Torah preface the avodah of Yom Kippur with the mention of the death Aharon's sons, Nadav and Avihu? Why does the high priest keep changing his garments during his service on Yom Kippur? If the white garments represent absolute humility, why doesn't he wear them the whole time? If the gold garments represent judgment, why does he wear them at all? Why does the high priest fluctuate in his service between the Holy of Holies and the main area of the sanctuary? What is the concept of Koach Hamoshech - the pulling force, and koach hamachriach - the pushing force? How does one bring these into balance?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:43

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tazria Metzora - Facing Spiritual Sickness

What is the nature of the spiritual illnesses of Tzara'as and Zivah? What is the difference between them? Why does Hashem say to 'speak to the children of Israel' only in regards to the impurity of zivah? What is the danger of the spiritual perfectionist? How does one face spiritual perfectionism?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 21:10

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shmini - Accessing the Transcendent

What is the depth of the idea of the loss of the students of R' Akiva between Pesach and Shavuos? Why do Nadav and Avihu die during the great joy of the dedication of the Mishkan? What was the significance of the fact that they did not ask Moshe and Aharon for advice? What is the aspect of the eighth day? And the count to fifty? What is the secret aspect of humility that nullifies everything and allows one access to the realm of fifty, the realm of eight, the world of Beriyah, the world of the throne, a world beyond time, a world of love and perfection?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 22:14

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pesach - Pieces of Completion

What is the depth of the count from Pesach (Passover) to Shavuos? How were the Jews able to be redeemed through a merit that was only to be in the future - of receiving the Torah? What is the concept of the purification of the confusion of the imagination? How can one access a future completion and draw it into the present?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 23:00

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tzav - Purity of Intent

Why is Aharon's name not mentioned in the commands to the Kohanim until the olah sacrifice is commanded? Why does Hashem specifically desire Aharon's service despite his involvement in the sin of the Golden Calf? Why does one midrash seem to imply that Aharon must be forgiven, while the other seems to imply that Hashem saw his good intent all along?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 18:26

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vayikra - Voice of Love

Why does God speak in a loud voice that is only heard by Moshe? Why is the soul singled out when it comes to sin? Why is the body not held accountable for sin? What is the understanding of the deep connection between souls, such that the action of one affects another?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 21:01

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vayakhel-Pekudei - Prayers of a Lion

Why are Betzalel, from the tribe of Judah, and Oholiab, from Dan, specifically chosen for the building of the tabernacle? Why is the Tabernacle referred to as a lion? What is the concept of the lion? Why is the place of God's presence and our relationship with Him to be found in a place of Gevurah-strength? What is the prayer of the powerful righteous individual that is in the form of judgment? How does it pierce through the forces of evil? What is the understanding of the powerful and fiery relationship that is possible through prayer?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 24:01

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New album - last 48 hrs of campaign

My new album crowdfunding campaign is coming to a close with only 48 hours left!!!

Please get involved by clicking on the link and checking out the site, giving what you can, and sharing!!!

Thanks so much!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ki Sisa - Unbreakable Love

What is the significance of the fact that Hashem does not allow Moshe to see his 'face?' What is the depth of Moshe being able to see the back of God, as it were? What is represented by the tefillin? What is the inner aspect of Hashem's interaction with us? Why does Hashem forget about he sin of the Golden Calf, and why does He always remember the relationship forged at Sinai?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 18:12

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tetzaveh - Mishkan and Purim

Why do we have two Parshios that speak of the construction of the Mishkan before and after the sin of the Golden Calf? What is the depth of the concept of Purim, where Hashem brings an aspect of the light of redemption into the beginning of the story - a cure before the sickness? What is the difference between the name Jacob and Israel? What is the significance of the seemingly insignificant acts of selflessness? Wny is Purim still celebrated after Moshiach's advent?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 23:38

Friday, February 15, 2013

Terumah - Expansion in Constriction

What is the significance of the fact that the Holy Ark carried those who carried it? And that it took up no space? And that Hashem spoke to Moshe from on top of the angelic figures that stood upon it? And that it corresponds to Hashem's throne? What is the significance of giving charity at the time of the festivals? How does this connect to the expansion that occurs on Purim?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:16

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mishpatim - Practical Spirituality

Why does the command not start off with the usual statement of God speaking to Moshe? What is the 'shemira' - watching that we are to do when it comes to mishpat - judgments as per the verse in Isaiah? How is it that a person's possessions are a reflection of his spiritual level?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 20:38

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My CD crowdfunding campaign

Please check out my crowdfunding campaign for my new CD!!! And please share!!!
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Friday, February 1, 2013

Yisro - Hashem is there for us

In this week's parsha podcast, we don't ask any questions. We just explore the simple statement that God makes at the beginning of the ten commandments, that He is there for us.

Running time: 19:24

Friday, January 25, 2013

Beshalach - Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Cloud

What is the significance of the three verses in a row that have 72 letters? What is the significance of the fact that the total amount of letters is 216, which is the same numerical value as the word גבורה - withholding kindness? What is the concept of the pillar of fire? What is the concept of the pillar of cloud? Why did they stand between the Jewish people and the Egyptians? Why does the fire shine and yet, at the same time, it is dark? What is the significance of the Jewish people being comparable to a child held on the shoulders of his father? Why will the Jewish people be led only by a pillar of cloud in the future redemption?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 22:20

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bo - Willingness vs Defiance

Why does the Ramban say that the plague of Locusts is the one we are to tell over to our children? Why does Hashem describe this plague as the one which shows how He has made a mockery of Egypt? What is the lesson of Pharaoh's defiance? Why does Moshe find it difficult to understand the law of the sanctification of the new moon? What is the significance of Hashem showing Moshe with His 'finger?' What is the connection to the impure crawling animals and the Menorah?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:52

Friday, January 11, 2013

Vaera - Raising the cup of Salvation

What is the difference between the name Kel Shakai and Hashem (Yud Kei Vav Kei)? Why does Hashem tell Moshe to tell the Jewish people of their imminent redemption if they don't have the capability to hear it? What is the connection between the four languages of Geulah and the four cups that were in the dream the cupbearer told Joseph? What is the concept of the 'cup of salvation' - why does the cup connect to salvation and redemption?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 24:18

Friday, January 4, 2013

Shemos - Firmness, Patience and Compassion

Why does Moshe stay away from Egypt for the lengthy time of sixty five years? Why is the classic story with Moshe and the runaway sheep so essential to his becoming the redeemer? What is the difference between the two different interactions Moshe has with Doson and Aviram? What is the understanding of the interaction between Moshe and Hashem at the end of the parsha?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 18:42