Sanctify yourself through the permissible... Yevamos 20a

Divrei Torah to provide Chizuk in the struggle to balance spiritual and physical needs.

L'Iluei Nishmas Mirkah Bas Yosef

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spiritual Goals

Heard at the Tiferes Baruch Dinner from Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Sorotzkin

One of the most important goals a person can have is to never be satisfied with his spiritual growth. Every day we should look to see where we can grow spiritually and we should never think that what we have acomplised yesterday is enough. If we are never satisfied with our spiritual achievements we will find that we can grow much more then we thought that we could.

The interesting thing about this idea is that it is the flip side of what Rabbi Berkowitz said about the physical would (that we should work on ourselves not to need anything and to be satisfied with less). Seeing both sides makes a beautiful organic whole picture.

Growth through failure.

From  customerservant.com

It is written, “For though the tzadik may fall seven times, he will arise, but the wicked will stumble through evil” (Proverbs 24:16).

There is a beautiful explanation of this verse by the rebbe of my rebbe, Rav Yitzchak Hutner, a leading sage who headed the Chaim Berlin Yeshiva. Rav Hutner explains that the real meaning of this verse is not that the tzadik manages to rise again after falling seven times, but that the essence of the tzadik’s rising is through his seven falls. Through these falls, he gains new insights and strengths which enable him to rise higher. (Pachad Yitzchak – Letters and Writings, p. 217)

In my BBA this morning we read, "There were many failures, but there were a few heartening successes."  Somehow it sunk it, the idea that we grow from our failures (sometimes more then our successes).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Growing Spiritually on Tu B'Shevat

From the Shiur Tu B'Shvat, Rooting for Growth by Rabbi Zev Leff on Aish MP3

Sorry this post is longer then usual but it is worth it.

Hashem created the world with Din in Tishrei and Rachamim in Nisan.  If you subtract 4o days from thses days you get Tu B'Av and Tu B'Shevat.  The gemorah says that 40 days before a person is created a Bas Kol anounces that birth.  These 2 days (Tu B'Av and Tu B'Shevat) Hashem began preparing the creation of the worlds of Din and Rachamim.

 Tu B'Av is the last day that wood could be cut for the mizbach.

The word Aitz, wood, is from the letters Ayin Tzaki, which can mean, look at the Tzakik (we learn that the letter Tzaki can represent Tzakik),  look at the tree and you will see a Tzakik.  What does this mean?  The Maharal says that people are like upside down trees, the root is the most important part and our head is our root.  Our root (our head) is in the heavens.  This is where our real connection is-in heaven with Hashem.  In Gan Eden everyone walks on their head.  Since we live in a materialistic world, we are rooted in the ground.  When we want to be spiritual we take off our shoes and cover our head.  Because in a tree the root is covered  and the limbs are exposed , we take off our shoes and cover our head.  Shoes are a symbol of the physical world.  By taking off our shoes and covering our head we are becoming less materialistic and more spiritual.  A Tzadik is like a tree,   a person rooted in the spiritual world and his limbs, the secondary part, are in the physical world. 

We prepare for Din (Tu B'Av) by throwing ourselves into a fire, to cleanse ourselves.

Tu B'Shevat is the Rosh Hashanah for Ilanot.  We are preparing for the time of bearing fruit.  Fruit is the result of years of work and patience, it is not something that happens instantly.  This is the way of Tzadikim, that they understand that they have to work and prepare for the future.

On Tu B'Shevat  we are focused on thinking of the fruits of our labors.  A time when we know that by developing ourselves we can bring out fruts, Chesed, Mitzvahs and more.  It is not a time of burning wood, but of bulding.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hey Mom I need Money

From A Shiur By Shira Smiles on Parshas Beshalach

When you have a child who is away at school and you know that they only call because they need money, you do not enjoy the call as much as a child who calls just to say hello.

If we only turn to Hashem when we need something we are like the child who only calls to ask for money. If we have kavanah while davening and saying Brachas we are like the child who calls just to say Hello.

I remembered this when my phone rang and it was a child away at Yeshivah and I thought to myself, "how long since I sent this child money?", even if the child was only calling to say Good Shabbos.

Davening for a Kosher Esrog

From a Shiur by Rebbetzin Heller on TuBeshevat

On TuBeshvat we daven for a kosher Esrog. The Esrog is like the heart. When we daven for a kosher Esrog it is like we are also davening for a kosher Heart. TuBeshevat is the holiday of Eretz Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael is the heart of the world. When we daven for a Kosher Esrog we are also davening for a kosher Eretz Yisreal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Building Happiness

From a Shiur by Rebetzin Heller on Teaching Children to be Content

Being Content comes from seeing yourself in the moment. No one feels content without gratitude. Gratitude brings out Simchas Hachayim. By praising simple odinary things your are building up gratitiude and this builds up Simchas Hachayim. Seeing the good that Hashem gives us is the core of Simcha.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spiritual Vitamins

From a Shiur by Shira Smiles

Parshat Beshalach: Ultimate Healer

Is there something that can act as a vitamin does in the physical world that can help us spiritually to live a healthier life? For the answer Mrs. Smiles quotes from Rav Shimpshon Pinchas that by saying Asher Yatzar properly and with Kavanah we can spiritually heal ourselves. Asher Yatzar is a constant reminder that we have to say connected to Hashem.

If we are able to maintain a proper spiritual connection through Tefilah, we will not need illness to bring us closer to Hashem.

Spiritual Healing

From a Shiur by Shira Smiles on Parshas Beshalach

Parshat Beshalach: Ultimate Healer

Why does Hashem send us illness. Hashem does this for 2 reasons. Sometimes as a nisayon to help us grow and sometimes as a punishment. A punishment is not a negative things, but a way that Hashem is lovingly trying to guide us to move in a certain way.

The reason that Hashem caused the bitter water to become sweet through a tree(a symbol of Torah), was a lesson to us that we should not go 3 days without Torah.

This is to teach us that when illness strikes we have to look inwards and strengthen our Torah learning and observance. Our job is to look for a spiritual cause, not to view it as the reason, but a reason, and to look to correct it.

When we daven to Hashem to send us a Refuas Hanefesh, we should have in mind that Hashem should send us a spiritual healing, a way of knowing what we need to correct so that we should not come to need a physical healing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The importance of making the right choices.

From a Shiur by Rebetzin Heller

Questions and Answers for Today's Jewish Woman, Part 8

The Sefas Emas tells us that Hashem created the world for Borair, selecting good instead of evil. Hashem created nisyonos and difficulties so that we can see Hashem where ever he is. We have to remember that whatever is happening is Hashem's will. This is why the Jews had to be in Mitzrayim, so that they can see Hashem even in the darkness of Golus. This is also the reason that Hashem brought us into the land of Isreal with the Cananites there, so that we could make the right choices, and not follow in their ways.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Slaves to Hashem

From a Shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles - Parshat Bo: Investing With Interest

Why do we celebrate the day we went out of Egypt and not the day that we entered Eretz Yisrael? Mrs Smiles gives the mashal of a slave who runs away from a difficult master and after much struggling and many nisyonot he becomes the servant of the king. Would he celebrate the day he ran away or the day that he entered the palace of the king? The answer is that we are different. We became servants of Hashem, our King, the night we left Egypt and not when we entered Eretz Yisrael.

Today's emunah is tomorrow's hightened intellect.

From a Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody - Everything is Good

Today's emunah is tomorrow's hightened intellect.

If we accept everything and know that Hashem only gives us what is good for us, then soon we will be able to see that we can know intellectually that everything is for the best.

Rabbi Brody gives the example of Rabbi Akiva and the donkey, candle, and rooster. When Hashem took them away he had emunah that it was for the best, but when he saw the next day that this saved his life, he KNEW that it was for the best.

Parshat Bo: Investing With Interest

From a Shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles - Parshat Bo: Investing With Interest

Why does the Torah tell us that it is a law forever to put the blood of the Pascal Lamb on the foor post when it is not an ongoing law?

This is to teach us that this act of self sacrifice was a sign that just like we had to be willing to risk our lives at the time of leaving Egypt, we have to be willing to do the same thing in the future if Hashem puts us in a situation that requires sacrifice.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Different kinds of Heroes

From a Shiur by Rebbetzin Heller

There are two kinds of heroes. Heroes of challenge, and heroes of elasticity. Heroes of challenge, overcome difficulty in their life. Heroes of elasticity take something in their life and stretch it until they become great. Becoming a hero of elasticity is much harder. We can see the challenges, but it is harder to see areas where we can grow and become great.

Every person has a hero inside, they have the potential for greatness, they just have to make the most of this potential.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Definition of Happiness-Rabbi Brody -2

From a Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody

"Happiness is knowing my nothingness."

This ties back to the Shiur by Rabbi Berkovitz that the less we need the closer we come to Hashem. The more that we know that we are nothing- and we need nothing-the more that we will come closer to Hashem.

A definition of Emunah

From a Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody Quoting Rabbi Sholom Arush

A definition of Emunah-"Knowing my nothingness, and knowing that Hashem is everything.".

Kedushah- Rabbi Berkovitz-4

From the Shiur Living Your Life with Kedusha by Rav Berkowitz on Aish Audio

Kedusha is the process of finding yourself less and less needy so that you can focus on closeness to Hashem. If you live in a way that you do not need anything physical, you will gain devaikas to Hashem. If you do your histadlus, Hashem will bring you closer to him.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ahavas Hashem-Enjoying Life Rabbi Berkovitz-3

From the Shiur Living Your Life with Kedusha by Rav Berkowitz on Aish Audio

In order to serve Hashem you have to be happy. The mitzvah of Ahavas Hashem is to develop a love of life, who made it and why. Service of Hashem is enjoying the world he made in a proper way. If when things go wrong you are down, that is interfering with your ahavas Hashem. It is only through working on our middos to the point of getting rid of our addictions that we can really enjoy life, and truly do the mitzvah of ahavas Hashem.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Living your life with Kedusha by Rav Berkowitz-2

From the Shiur Living Your Life with Kedusha by Rav Berkowitz on Aish Audio

Neediness is wrong, neediness is traif. This is not an independent mitzvah it is a way of protecting yourself from doing things that are forbidden.
The Mitzvah of Kedoshim Tihiyu (be holy) is to rise above the need for Olam Haze, so that you do not become so attached to something that you can't live without it.

Before joining OA I thought that I needed so much more than I really do. I am just as happy without my chocolate, and treats. But even more than that I have discovered that many things are delicious without the added oil, sugar, or flour that I thought was needed to make them taste good. It is actually empowering to discover just how little you really need to be happy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting Used to less- Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovitz-1

From- Living Your Life with Kedushah by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovitz

We know that there are things that we do that are right and things that are wrong, how do we come to cross this barrier?
We allow ourselves to develop needs within the world of Mutar (permitted) and we become addicted to these needs. This causes us to cross boundaries that we don't want to.

We have to learn to enjoy this world without becoming addicted to anything.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Parshat Va'eira: The Greater Good

Parshat Va'eira: The Greater Good

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles -from Naaleh

Shira Smiles quotes the Ari who says that just like we can not bear the full light of the sun, we can not bear the full light of Hashem's goodness, so Hashem created filtering systems to allow us to see aspects of Hashem's goodnes.

This is what Gehenom is: for Reshaim the full light of Hashem will burn them, but for Tzadikim it will enlighten them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Balance Between Body and Soul-Bilvavi Miskan Evneh

Balance Between Body and Soul-Bilvavi Miskan Evneh.
Da Et Atzmacha page 260

..the Torah teaches us that we must correct our character in order to achieve balance between the body and the soul. It is not only the body that needs internal balance. The soul does not want anger, and the body does. The soul want to give, and the body wants to be self-centered. These problems require us to make peace between the two components.

How do we acheive this peace? Do we go to an exteme to correct a middah or do we give in? There is more then one way of growing.


Thanks to Modern Uberdox (for Link see blog roll)

Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin of Salant
It is forbidden to worry, except about worrying.

Thank you Hashem for helping me reach Ninety Days

A personal note of gratitude to Hashem for Helping me to reach Ninety Days. Since I am part of a Ninety Day Fellowship this is the first time that I can share in my meetings. I would also like to thank my sponsor for giving me so much time to put me on the right path. I also want to thank each and every reader of my blog, it gives me chizuck to keep going.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nature as "Hashem's Clothing"

From a Shiur by Rabbi Lieb Keleman on Relationships

Rabbi Keleman explains that it is important for us to view nature as an external part of Hashem, he used the expression, "Hashem's Clothing". Nature can change at any time at Hashem's will, it exists only by Hashem's will, but it is an expression of the external wishes of Hashem.

This Shabbos it occurred to me that while nature is "Hashem's Clothing" there is much that we can learn from observing nature. One of the things that we can learn is that when people are overweight they are not healthy. Since we know that Hashem wants us to guard our health, we can also know that Hashem does not want us to be overweight.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beinone B'Shita-The Chazon Ish

From a Shiur by Shira Smiles on Shovavim

The Chazon Ish warns us do not be a Beinone B'Shita, do not make a decision that this is how I am and I am not going to change. We must be open to growth and change.

New Dvar Torah from a Phone Call

Heard on a phone call with Chaya in Monsey:

Why do we use silver for Kiddush Cups instead of Gold? Because silver needs to be polished to be beautiful and we want to remember that a Jew always has to polish his/her self and improve. We can never rest in one place.

We do our Histadlas, but abstinence is a gift from Hashem.

Spiritual Growth Durring Shovavim

From a Shiur by Shira Smiles on Shovavim

Shovavim represents a time of the year when we should work on curbing our physical desires. For a women this is best expressed in terms of modesty. Not just how we dress, but much more. This is a time when we should focus on our inner being, and not our external appearance.

We have to remember that every act that we do is before Hashem. It does not matter who sees us, it matters that we act with Shaimus before Hashem.

OA is not just a diet, where we are trying to get thin and beautiful. OA is about working on our internal self so that we do not have to eat compulsively to burry our feelings and thoughts.

Rabbi Akiva Tatz on facing Ordeals

Rabbi Akiva Tatz on facing Ordeals

The worst part of an ordeal is not the pain and suffering, it is the wondering why I have to go through this. The best way to stand up to an ordeal is to focus on the idea that nothing is random. There is a reason for all suffering. Hashem has a plan for all of us and every one of us and each problem that we face is for a reason.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spiritual light- Rebbe Nachman

Rebbe Nachmah-

Care for your physical body in order to give the body a share of the spiritual light attained by the soul.

Likutey Moharan 1,22

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Davening for Limits

From a Shiur about Rav Shimshon Pinchus' sefer on Tefilah
(teacher requests anonymity)

Question: In last week's shiur we learned that calling a name of Hashem activates an attribute of Hashem, why would we want to use Hashem's that activates strict judgement.

Answer: Unlimited goodness is dangerous. In order for the world to work we have to have limits. Hashem's goodness is always expanding, but part of this goodnes is discipline. We have to daven for Hashem's goodnes and limits.

Dvar Torah from a Phone Call

The longer you are on the program the more you understand that the key to abstenience is your conection to Hashem. As important as all of the other tools are, you will only keep your abstenience if you stay connected to Hashem. Otherwise as life's problems decend you will not have the strength to withstand temptation.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hashem's Reality

From a Shiur by Rebbetzin Heller on Emes and Sheker


When you do not tell the truth you are distorting Hashem's reality. We live in a world of falsehood, and our job is to bring the truth to light.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rebbetzin Heller on Truth

From a Shiur by Rebbetzin Heller

Questions and Answers for Today's Jewish Woman, Part 7

Telling the truth is only the tip of the iceberg, thinking the truth is where we have to take ourselves.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Grateful for my "Gratefull list"

From Lazer Beams

For the people of Israel, miracles are the way of nature, for the people of Israel are above nature." Rebbe Nachman of Breslev

Don't be upset with the nations of the world because they don't understand us; they're not capable of understanding us.

My beloved teacher and spiritual guide Rabbi Shalom Arush says that if you haven't yet seen a miracle today, it's because you haven't said thank-you to Hashem today. So what are you waiting for?

Extreme Pleasures-"Bilvavi Miskan Evneh"

From "Getting to Know Your Self" by Bilvavi Miskan Evneh page 347

"One who is focused on extreme pleasures can either have physical pleasure or he will use an extreme method to try to get some spiritual delight. This may have some merit as a transition into the spiritual realm, but it is not the goal. We must reach the center and live there."

Since starting OA I have discovered that I can get much further by using the center path. Instead of listening to 3 or 4 Shiurim in one night and none for the next day or two, I try to learn every day. Instead of going on a crash diet and binging the next, I eat a proper and healthy amount of food. As I watch people around me mixing their diet shakes and other extreme measures, then binging the next day, I am grateful that I eat yummy healthy food 3 times a day.
Related Posts with Thumbnails