Elul – Day 39

Posted by on Oct 7, 2019 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

remember, this is from Orthodoxy….allow the Ruach haKodesh to sift through the words, and speak to your heart…

Tishrei 9, Erev Yom Kippur

TO BE LIKE ANGELS

Tonight we will begin a 25-hour fast of Yom Kippur.  We don’t do this in order to afflict ourselves, which is the purpose of the fast of Tisha B’Av when we mourn the destruction of the Temple—indeed Yom Kippur is not a day of mourning but a day of joy. We fast on Yom Kippur because on this day we want to transcend our physical limitations and be like angels, and food and other physical concerns distract us from our spiritual selves.

Some people may complain that the hunger distracts them from concentrating on the prayers and rituals of the day.  But this is precisely the Yom Kippur challenge—not to be overly focused on the physical.

Use the opportunity of not eating and not drinking to allow yourself to experience the food and drink that comes from deep within. Fasting will then become a very freeing experience.

Yom Kippur is one day in the year when you can access the deepest part of your soul. But this is only possible if you create the space for it. Your soul—every soul—has a still, soft voice that emits a unique hum. This sound can only be heard if you lower the noise in your life that usually drowns out your inner voice.

On Yom Kippur, when the “source” is nearest to the “spark” of your soul, you want to remove as many material distractions as you can, so that your soul can sing freely and your “spark” can dance.

When you experience Yom Kippur this way—which does take effort, and that’s why you need to prepare for it—then it will be for you not a day when you feel hungry, but a day when you feel angelic.

The same holds true for the other prohibitions of Yom Kippur—against bathing, anointing, marital relations, wearing leather, etc.—all of which are meant to detach us as much as possible from the physical realm so that we can be free to experienced the spiritual one.

Instead of indulging in physical pleasures, we spend the day in the cocoon of a synagogue where we are cut off from the outside world. We spend the day in prayer—our whole intention being to transcend the physical world, our material home, and to travel inward toward our purest spiritual selves—toward our true home in G-d.

BREAKING THE TIES THAT BIND

Before darkness falls, marking the official beginning of the 10th day of Tishrei which is Yom Kippur, in every synagogue in the world a haunting melody is sang—Kol Nidrei.

Kol Nidrei means “All Vows” and its classic text, repeated three times, each time louder, is a renunciation of all oaths and vows.

It seems strange to begin the holiest day of the yea—the day which we spend asking G-d to forgive us for all transgressions—by breaking former promises.

But Kol Nidrei is not that. Kol Nidrei is the process through which we enter the holiest day of the year.

A neder is not just the vow/promise that you vocalize to another person, it is a word that denotes all commitments, attachments, and ties that bind you.

By renouncing “all vows” you are declaring your commitment to break the bonds that keep you from traveling on the journey within, that keep you from opening yourself to the Yom Kippur experience.

Obviously, this does not mean forsaking healthy commitments and responsibilities—it means forsaking those attachments that limit you, that entangle and entrap you.

That is the essential focus of Kol Nidrei. It is a perfect prayer to begin Yom Kippur with because unless you free yourself from such traps you cannot travel inward; with a ball and chain attached to you, you are not going to be able to get anywhere.

Kol Nidrei is repeated three times to relate to vows in speech, vows in deed, and vows in thought:

All vows and things we have made forbidden on ourselves… we regret having made them, may they all be permitted, forgiven, eradicated, and nullified, and may they not be valid or exist any longer.  Our vows shall no longer be vows, and our prohibitions shall no longer be prohibited, and our oaths are no longer oaths.

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul – Day 32

Posted by on Oct 6, 2019 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

Tishrei 2, Second Day of Rosh Hashana
 
THE DAY OF CORONATION
 
The idea of Rosh Hashana as the day when we “coronate” G-d as the King of the Universe, may be one of the strangest and hardest to accept for those of us raised in modern, democratic societies. To us kings are corrupt despots at worst, and characters out of fairy tales at best.

Yet this idea is essential to the observance of Rosh Hashana, because in the language of Judaism a king is a metaphor for absolute authority. On Rosh Hashana we accept upon ourselves G-d as the one and only absolute authority who rules over every aspect of our lives, and we submit to His judgment, which we believe will be merciful because our King is also our Father.

When we accept G-d’s absolute authority over us, we do not annihilate our own individuality. On the contrary, we only empower it. When we acknowledge G-d as our King, we simultaneously recognize the nobility in ourselves—the dignity and majesty of having been created in the Divine image.

This idea fills us with unbridled joy and points up the paradox of Rosh Hashana, because Rosh Hashana is a day when we stand before the Supreme King and tremulously accept the “burden of His sovereignty,” but it is also a festival, which we celebrate amid much feasting and rejoicing.

Such is the nature of a coronation: it is an event that combines trepidation and joy, awe and celebration. For true kingship, as opposed to mere rulership, derives from the willful submission of a people to their sovereign. So the coronation of a king includes a display of reverence and awe on the part of the people, conveying their submission to the king, as well as the joy which affirms that their submission is something they whole-heartedly desire.

The joy and celebration of Rosh Hashana is called v’gilu b’roadah, “celebration wrapped in trembling.”

When we stand before the king, we feel such joy that we want to dance, but we cannot in respect of the king. So the joy must be packaged in a more appropriate expression. Only after we leave the palace (on Sukkot) can we begin celebrating with unbridled expression.

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul – Day 37

Posted by on Oct 5, 2019 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

Tishrei 7

THE CYCLE OF FORGIVENESS

Yom Kippur, which is only three days away, is called the “Day of Forgiveness” because this is the day when Moses, after pleading with G-d for 80 days to forgive the Israelites for the Sin of the Golden Calf, finally succeeded.  On this day, G-d finally said to him: “I will forgive as you have asked.”

On Yom Kippur we seek to connect to the energy of this awesome day and win forgiveness for ourselves as well.  But we can hardly expect to be forgiven by G-d if we ourselves have not been willing to forgive others.

Forgiveness is not easy; it requires work. But, most importantly, it requires a connection to G-d, the Giver of Life .

The secret of being able to forgive others is to remember that G-d gave you life because you matter to Him—you have a vital and irreplaceable role to play in the perfection of His world.  When you remember that, you can have the strength to rise above the pain others have caused you and forgive both them and yourself.

The word for “forgiveness” in Hebrew, mechilah, is related to the word machol meaning “circle.” Life is meant to be a circle encompassing all our experiences and relationships in one harmonious, seamless whole. When someone hurts us the circle is broken. Forgiveness is the way we mend the fracture.

Forgiveness means not merely forgiving the person who hurt us, but forgiving ourselves, forgiving G-d, forgiving even life itself with all its bizarre and often cruel twists and turns.

When you forgive, the circle is again complete and you find yourself encompassed by the wholeness of G-d’s creation of which you are an integral part. And then you can have the confidence that this Yom Kippur you will hear G-d saying to you: “I will forgive as you have asked.”
 
Ask yourself: Whom have you hurt? Who has hurt you?

Exercise for the day:
– Make a list of those whom you must forgive.
– Make a list of those whom you must ask for forgiveness.
– Begin.

 

 

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2014. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul – Day 36

Posted by on Oct 4, 2019 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

APPROACHING THE SOURCE

We have now reached the midpoint of the Ten Days of Teshuvah. This is the period, say the sages of the Talmud, of which the Prophet Isaiah (55:6) speaks when he proclaims: “Seek G-d when He is to be found; call on Him when He is near.”

This might seem like an odd statement because we are taught that G-d is omnipresent at all times and all places in the world. How could we say that now He is closer to us?

But Isaiah is not speaking from G-d’s perspective but from the soul’s perspective. Chassidic teachings explain that this special time of the year is compared to the “source drawing near to the spark.” The “source” is G-d; the “spark” is each of our souls, which is called “the flame of G-d.”

All year round the “source” is spiritually “distant,” i.e. concealed, from the “spark.” In the early days of Av the “source” is at its “farthest” (most concealed) point; so far away that the spark can hardly sense its connection to the mother flame. In Elul—when Moses begins his final climb—the “source” begins to draw nearer, become more revealed. On each progressive day of Elul the “source” draws closer and closer to the “spark.” The closest point is on Yom Kippur, specifically during Neilah (“Locking of the Gates”), the final prayer at sundown.

Thus, the Ten Days of Teshuvah represent a type of “coming home” experience.

When the source gets closer to the spark, the spark begins to feel the warmth and it is drawn toward the larger, mother flame. It’s like when you put your hand closer to a flame, you start feeling the warmth.

This is the reason that in these Ten Days of Teshuvah there is more consciousness of G-d among Jews, even those that are not familiar with the meaning of the High Holidays.

Ask yourself: Are you feeling the warmth of the mother flame—the warmth of G-d’as the time draws closer to Yom Kippur. If not, why not?

Exercise for the day:

– Meditate on the verse from the Proverbs (20:27): “The flame of G-d is the soul of the human being.”
– Identify some aspect(s) of your life that reflects the tug of your soul to its source.

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul – Day 34

Posted by on Oct 3, 2019 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

RETURNING TO PURE ESSENCE

In our earlier exploration of the meaning of teshuvah (see Elul 18), we defined teshuvah as having two levels—repentance and return:
Repentance means regretting a wrongful action, resolving not to repeat it, asking forgiveness, making amends.
Return means coming back to one’s soul, one’s Divine essence, to one’s source in G-d.
The first level—which is what we should have been working on during the month of Elul—is only the means to achieve the second, which is our focus now, during the Ten Days of Teshuvah.

During these special days, we should be working to return to the quintessential self that we really are. Teshuvah (which literally means “return”) implies that there is a part of us that is always healthy and good and pure, as we say in the morning prayer, “The soul that You gave me is pure…” And no matter what damage had been done to us in life—to our sense of self, to our personal dignity—no matter what damage we ourselves have done, we can always return to the soul that remains undamaged, intact, pure.

The great 16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Cordevero of Safed, better known as Ramak, suggests that the best way to return to our pure essence is to isolate ourselves for a period of time each day during the Ten Days of Teshuvah in order to meditate on the Ten Sefirot, which he calls the “Gates of Teshuvah.”  In this way it is possible to enter a different “gate” each day, thereby connecting the soul with its root in a given sefirah, each of which serves as a channel for Divine energy into creation and, of course into the soul.

Ask yourself: How much do you want to connect with the purest, holiest part of yourself?  Are you willing to invest the effort and the time to make this possible?

Exercise for the day:

– Review the Ramak’s and the Ari’s correspondences listed on the calendar pages for each day of the Ten Days of Teshuvah.
– Meditate today on the sefirah of netzach (“endurance”). In doing so, assess your level of endurance and your ambition. Is it being used for the proper things?
 

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2014. All rights reserved.

Please follow and like us:
error

Sierra Grace and “LIFE”

Posted by on Oct 2, 2019 in All Posts, Sierra | 0 comments

My beautiful, sweet, loving and graceful grand daughter, Sierra Grace, has reached a milestone today! She has entered a new era in her young life and turns the page from 17 years to >> 18 << years.

That number is very signifcant. In Hebrew the number 18 represents LIFE. As we dug into those numbers we found more ~ 9×2 = 18 – 9 is the number of the gifts of the Spirit and 2 is the number of a witness, so we can all witness today that she has definitely learned the gifts of the Spirit! Going further you have 3x3x3 which the # 3 biblically represents divine wholeness, completeness and perfection! I would say that all of that just about sums up our beautiful sweet Sierra!

Through the years she has grown from a precocious little impish tomboy and transformed into a graceful and daunting presence! I love absolutely every little thing about her! Enjoy the memories!

 

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul Day 35

Posted by on Oct 2, 2019 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

Tishrei 5
THE PERSONAL HOLY OF HOLIES

Before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the pinnacle of the Yom Kippur service was the moment when the High Priest (the Kohen Gadol) would enter the Holy of Holies.

This was the only time of the year that anyone could enter this holiest of inner sanctums and only the High Priest was permitted to do so and only for a short duration.

It was such an intense moment that if the High Priest was not completely pure—if he had committed even one transgression for which had had not previously atoned—he would die immediately.

This was because the Holy of Holies was a place so pure that even one blemish was intolerable. An eye cannot tolerate even one small eyelash, because it is so sensitive. And the Holy of Holies was the most sensitive, purest place in existence.

If he died, the other kohanim would have to pull his body out by a rope that had been previously attached to him. But if he succeeded in his mission to obtain G-d’s forgiveness for the Jewish people, he emerged radiating a special glow that is vividly described in Yom Kippur prayers.

Today we have no High Priest and no Temple. But the Holy of Holies still exists—in the depths of our own soul. On Yom Kippur we attempt to reach that purest part of our selves and to connect with G-d there.

We might not be able to stay in that pure place for a long time. It might only be a few minutes. But, as we know, the most special experiences last only a moment. We prepare for these most special times for hours, years, and even decades, and the effort of the preparation is well worth that split second they last.

Ask yourself: Have you prepared sufficiently for Yom Kippur to be able to make the most of the experience?
Exercise for the day:

Begin reviewing the Yom Kippur prayers in order to connect fully with the words when the time comes to enter your personal Holy of Holies.

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2014. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul Day 33

Posted by on Oct 1, 2019 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

REBUILDING THE KINGDOM

Today begins the countdown to Yom Kippur.  Today is the third day of the Ten Days of Teshuvah, which will culminate on this most awesome of days. This is possibly the most intense time in the Hebrew calendar when each individual is granted the power of a group of ten.

We are vested with this power because in these ten days, having crowned G-d as our King, we now undertake the task of rebuilding His kingdom—both in the spiritual realm “above” and in our world “below”—known in the language of Kabbalah as Binyan HaMalchut.

Malchut (“kingship”) refers to the tenth of the Ten Sefirot, the ten spheres or channels of Divine energy with which G-d created the world and which flow through every aspect of reality including our own souls.  This means that to rebuildmalchut we must rebuild ourselves—our own nobility, our own dignity, that very aspect of ourselves which was created in the image of G-d. By building our own malchut, we help rebuild G-d’s malchut in the universe.

We know our malchut is in need of rebuilding when we feel afraid and insecure, because our personal sense of security and insecurity in life depends on it.

When children are raised in dysfunctional homes where their dignity is trampled upon, their malchut is eroded. They can grow up to be adults with great minds and great hearts, but they are insecure adults who lack the courage for the suspension of self that is necessary to truly grow, because they feel they must fight for whatever scrap of dignity they can grab.

So the rebuilding of malchut in effect means the building of dignity, majesty, and security in a world that’s very insecure. And we are given special power during these ten days to do it. It is not as hard as we might imagine because to build it all we need do is access the place in ourselves that was never wounded in the first place—the place of our Divine soul.

Ask yourself: Do you generally feel secure or insecure in life? Are you someone whose malchut has been eroded by life experiences?

Exercise for the day:

– Describe the part of yourself that was never wounded—your Divine soul.
– Do something Divine today, something that makes you proud and  builds your malchut, your dignity.

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul – Day 31

Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in All Posts, Days of Awe, Elul | 0 comments

Tishrei 2, Second Day of Rosh Hashana
 
THE DAY OF CORONATION
 
The idea of Rosh Hashana as the day when we “coronate” G-d as the King of the Universe, may be one of the strangest and hardest to accept for those of us raised in modern, democratic societies. To us kings are corrupt despots at worst, and characters out of fairy tales at best.

Yet this idea is essential to the observance of Rosh Hashana, because in the language of Judaism a king is a metaphor for absolute authority. On Rosh Hashana we accept upon ourselves G-d as the one and only absolute authority who rules over every aspect of our lives, and we submit to His judgment, which we believe will be merciful because our King is also our Father.

When we accept G-d’s absolute authority over us, we do not annihilate our own individuality. On the contrary, we only empower it. When we acknowledge G-d as our King, we simultaneously recognize the nobility in ourselves—the dignity and majesty of having been created in the Divine image.

This idea fills us with unbridled joy and points up the paradox of Rosh Hashana, because Rosh Hashana is a day when we stand before the Supreme King and tremulously accept the “burden of His sovereignty,” but it is also a festival, which we celebrate amid much feasting and rejoicing.

Such is the nature of a coronation: it is an event that combines trepidation and joy, awe and celebration. For true kingship, as opposed to mere rulership, derives from the willful submission of a people to their sovereign. So the coronation of a king includes a display of reverence and awe on the part of the people, conveying their submission to the king, as well as the joy which affirms that their submission is something they whole-heartedly desire.

The joy and celebration of Rosh Hashana is called v’gilu b’roadah, “celebration wrapped in trembling.”

When we stand before the king, we feel such joy that we want to dance, but we cannot in respect of the king. So the joy must be packaged in a more appropriate expression. Only after we leave the palace (on Sukkot) can we begin celebrating with unbridled expression.

This is a time to get real, seriously – get real!  Real with yourself. If this is the year that Moshiach returns….on THIS Yom Teruah, will you be ready? Will you find your name in the Book of Life … or will the Holy One close the book…..

If that book is closed will you know why you’re name is not among those listed? Good question – for each of us.

Ponder on that as the next ten days – called the days of Awe – swirl around us.

Please follow and like us:
error

Elul – Day 30

Posted by on Sep 29, 2019 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

THE KING IS ON THE THRONE!

The King of Kings has approached his throne and is about to take his seat.  The time of Elul, of preparation, has come to an end. We no longer can run out to the field and walk casually to and fro among the daises and wildflowers with our Father. We must now approach the throne room and be admitted in, bowing and bending as we go. Will we have the scepter raised as it was raised for Esther? Are we ready to don the white garments of a bride?

The ledgers lay on the table close to the throne…it is almost time for the King to open them and compare our past actions and deeds and evaluate where we are on the scales. He will ponder over those ledgers, frowning, grimacing, maybe even a slight smile on his face. But He will inevitably come to that point on the ledger where you know He will look up from the books and stare straight into you eyes. They will cloud over with emotion, with compassion, with love and without a word He will look into your soul. You know it, it is coming. What will you do? What will you say?

Nerves begin to twitch, tears begin to well up in your eyes and you ask yourself a million questions. Why couldn’t I have been a better person, why did I have to snap at my wife, why did I have to cut short the conversation of my 5 year old? Did it really make a difference that I didn’t say I was sorry to someone that hurt me – they’re not talking to me anyway…and on and on and on.

As you slowly lift your eyes, you see the pain in your Father’s face, the pain of knowing that your pain is also real, it is palpable.  Both of you look into each others eyes and you feel, you hear, you sense what the other one is thinking, what each is saying from their hearts. And you hang your head, for you know that there are so many things that seemed so important and you just knew you were right, and now, in the face of Almighty, are not really so important now. There are so many things you would do differently. Maybe you could have a second chance, you ask softly?

And the Master pauses, and sighs deeply, and you are overwhelmed with relief and gratitude – there are 10 more days that He has given to mankind to make it right! Ten More Days!  Ten more days, not to get it ‘perfect‘ … but just to be a much as you can be!!

Think about that  …. ten more days!

Tonight begins the first day of the DAYS OF AWE

THE DAY OF REMEMBERING

When we usher in Yom Teruah, just before sunset tonight, we light candles and we say a blessing:

“Blessed Are You, O G-d, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to light the flame of the day of remembering.”

One of the themes of Yom Teruah is that is a ‘day of remembering’. A day in which the Holy One reviews our ledgers and connects with us in a way not possible throughout the rest of the year. He is a God of order. He sent us here with a job to accomplish – have we done that?

Have we realized our Master’s plan in our lives?

As the sun goes down, the shofar will be blown – it is blown to awaken us from our slumber! We need to be reminded of why we are here, that each of us play an important part in tikkun haloam – the repair of the world to come. It is about restoration.

So as we take a deep breath and exhale into the shofar – petition the King to inscribe you in the Book of Life – not for our sake – for we fail at every turn, but for HIS! For His Glory to be shown here on earth!  We have been given the opportunity to help rebuild the kingdom here on earth and we have ten days in which to do it before the books are closed.

Awaken oh man, oh woman, AWAKEN and begin to repair!

blow

 

Please follow and like us:
error

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This