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?