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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Approval Seeking

Fear of disapproval can ruin a human being's life. It makes you overly conscious of what other people think. No mater what you do or don't do, there will always be people who disapprove. Keep your main focus on whether Hashem would approve, and if Hashem approves, then you can conclude that Hashem disapproves of other's disapproval.

from the book, "My father, My King" by Rabbi Zelig Plisking page 91

Approval Seeking is one of the biggest problems that compulsive overeaters face. We have to learn to look to please only Hashem.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

By working on Achdus we are bringing the Geulah.

Geulah means bringing the shichinah back.  This comes from achdus, which is the opposite of sinat chinam. 

Achdus is joining together with other Jews despite differences, sinat chinam is distancing from them because of the differences.

To bring the Geulah we have to work together to accept that we were meant to have differences but we still have to love each other.

from the Shiur on Naaleh
Destruction of Unity - The Three Weeks

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Maharal Netivot Olam II

A working definition of Sinat Chinam (Baseless Hate)

Sinat Chinam is when you distance yourself from someone, not to protect yourself, but because you find them distasteful.
When there is someone that is doing something wrong, and you rebuke them, and they don't change, you are allowed to hate them, but you also have to love them.  You hate the part of them that is doing something wrong, and you love their inner Neshamah.

from the Shiur on Naaleh: Destruction of  Unity - The Three Weeks

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Maharal Netivot Olam IIhttp://www.naaleh.com/viewclass/224/single/

Whatever limits the body we tend to forget.

It is  the nature of Torah learning that we forget because we have inner agendas that cause us to forget what we don't want to know.  A person is physical so they can't aquire a totaly non-physical spiritual view of life, so whatever limits the body we tend to forget.

from: Destruction of Unity - The Three Weeks

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Maharal Netivot Olam II

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Feeling the Churban

We learn that Moshiach will be born on Tisha B'Av, what this means to us is that everything that brings Moshiach's coming can be born within us at this time.
As tragic as this time is, it does teach us that Hashem keeps his word and has a reciprocal relationship with us.  We have to realize that we don't want distance from Hashem, we want a relationship with Hashem, even if it comes with pain.  All of this is to get us to say, " I don't want this, I want you Hashem".  There are 2 ways that we can draw close to Hashem, in spite of the problems or because of the problems.
It is very easy to criticise ourselves, because as soon as we change, the situation will change.  If we don't have the Bais Hamikdaash we didn't change enough.
We have to see ourselves as the valiant warrior, who is fighting a battle for Hashem.  We have to have a positive image of ourselves to Mitaken the Chet of Adam Harishom.  We have to use positive imagery to bring change that will make a difference in the world.
The weeping on the night of Tisha B'Av came from seeing themselves as independent from Hashem.  They thought that they could not conquer the land on their own and they forgot that it was Hashem and not them who would bring them into the land.  We have to reconnect our thoughts of success to Hashem and not our own actions.
from the Shiur on Naaleh: Feeling the Churban
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Jerusalem, Echoes of Lament: Tisha B'Av and the Three Weeks

Chasing other people's opinions.

People whose opinions of themselves are based on what others think of them, can't think well of themselves. They'll only think well of themselves if they like and respect who they are. Being "told" that they're good people, based on how others react to their actions, is superficial and has little positive long term effects for them.

Since chasing other people's opinions, only appears to achieve its goal, it ends up lasting mere seconds. To sustain this desired good feeling they must continue chasing for more positive reactions. In that sense, attention is sometimes like a drug, offering only a fleeting effect. These people, expecting a long lasting good feeling, tend to become frustrated, angry and, thoroughly, unhappy.

Rabbi Shmuel Gluck       http://www.areivim.com/

Growing Close to Hashem.

We have a choice.  We can grow close to Hashem through Simcha, or we can wait for Hashem to bring us close to him through suffering. From the Shiur on Naaleh:  Perek 16, Part 2: Unfaithful Wife
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Sefer Yechezkel

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Gra says that Hashem is going to send Moschiach in the merit of our Bitachon, not in the merit of our Mitzvot.

We shouldn't think that Hashem is obliged to do something for us, he can do anything.  If we move our level of trust to this level it will bring down extra bracha in our lives.

Hashem split the Sea for Bnei Yisrael in the merit of our Bitachon, not in the merit of our Mitzvot.  The Gra says that Hashem is going to send Moschiach in the merit of our Bitachon, not in the merit of our Mitzvot.

from the Shiur on Naaleh: The Midah of Bitachon

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

This is a very powerful way of bringing Bracha into our lives.  We learn in OA that the only way that we can conquer the disease of compulsive over eating is by turning our lives over to Hashem.

Histadlus is not a mitzvah it is the consequence of Adam Harishon's bad choice.

Who is the person who is constantly involved in charity?
The person who works to support his family?

But don't think that you have to make extraordinary efforts to support them more-you have to know that you work, but Hashem determines your success.  Histadlus is not a mitzvah it is the consequence of Adam Harishon's bad choice. You have to do something to support your family, it is your responsibility to work, but it is Hashem's responsibility to support your family.  When you work you should have in mind that you are working, but the results are completely from Hashem.

from the Shiur on Naaleh: Obligation For Effort
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

The greatest of all tests

The cause of Adam HaRishon's sin was that he did not make enough choices so that when he was in a situation where he was forced to make a choice he made the wrong choice.  His punishment/curse is that he is going to have to work to receive his bread.
 When we work do we see things as the result of our own actions or are we going to see that the consequences of our actions comes from Hashem-this is the greatest of all tests.  When we get a pay check do we see that it is coming from Hashem or our employer. We have to engage with reality but we don't have to become emotionally involved with it.
from the Shiur on Naaleh: Obligation For Effort
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

The gift of Desperation

Who is that person in the mirror? Is that really me or just a reflection of what I always wanted to be? What happened to that obese, miserable, hopeless person of a mere eight months ago? How did I morph into the person that I always dreamed of becoming, but never really believed I could become?

I was given the gift of desperation.

I had given up, accepting the fact that I'd always be a fat, miserable person, unable to control my compulsive overeating. I had given up my responsibility for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, deciding they were just a normal part of getting old.

Then, eight months ago, I developed a pre-ulcer condition and was so miserable that I had to reduce my food consumption to avoid pain. I had been toying with the idea of joining Overeaters Anonymous (OA) for years, but I wasn’t prepared to give up my autonomy over my food choices. Suddenly, the thought of controlling my eating seemed to make sense. I started day one.

I didn’t come for vanity; I came to save my life.I was prepared to change my whole way of eating, but I had no idea how many more changes I had to make. Overeating has very little to do with physical hunger and everything to do with emotional needs. OA teaches ways to fill one's emotional needs without turning to food. There is a saying in OA: “I came for the vanity and stayed for the sanity.” I didn’t come for vanity; I came to save my life. I knew that I was killing myself with food, but I didn’t think there was an alternative.

How was I able to follow such a strict program, never once cheating? By working the tools of the program.

The tool that everyone wants to know about first is the eating plan (what, how much, and when you eat). We don't call it a diet because this is not a temporary change. This is a lifetime plan that changes eating from something that you do because you feel like it, to a commitment to eating what your body needs to be healthy. It's eating from necessity instead of desire. I used to think only angels could live like that, but now that I am following my eating plan, I see it is a very attainable goal.

Reading and writing are very important tools of the program. Every day I read OA inspirational literature and write about it. Most of the reading that we do is based on secular sources and this bothered me very much. In fact, it was one of the reasons that I put off joining OA. I created a personal solution to this by collecting inspirational material from Jewish sources and I created a blog called Torah Insights for OA. This was really a breakthrough for me because I found that my Jewish learning was strengthened by looking for things to share with others. Writing for my blog has been a tremendous growth experience and it has connected me with people all over the world.

Writing is also important because I record my daily plan of eating, and every night I write my four Gs -- my list of things that I am grateful for, the good things that I did for others, my glitches (what went wrong with my day) and my goals. This honest daily review of myself is an incredible tool for spiritual growth. In his class on Spiritual Accounting on AishAudio.com, Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz says that the one thing that our evil inclination wants to keep us from doing is a daily reckoning, because it is one of the most powerful tools for growth. The power of OA is that you have a sponsor who checks in with you to make sure that you did it (and you commit your day’s food to her also).

One of the most powerful tools of OA is the sense of fellowship -- there is always someone there to talk to who is going through the same things that I am going through. The weekly meetings are a tremendous source of strength and inspiration. When you look around the meetings and see the blend of people from all walks of life, all working together, unified in our shared humanity.

Controlling my eating habits is a daily spiritual victory over my lower self.Was it really so hard to lose 68 pounds? Yes and no. As a person who had become an observant Jew 30 years ago, I had already gone through a major process of transformation and discipline. I couldn't eat whatever I wanted in my mother’s kitchen; I couldn't participate in family parties without bringing my own food. I couldn't go just follow whatever whim and fancy I desired. I had chosen to sanctify myself by making careful choices that would nurture my spirituality. In a sense, I see my journey into OA as a further process of sanctifying myself by giving up my ability to do whatever my body desires. Controlling my eating habits is a daily spiritual victory over my lower self.

I have also seen God's incredible assistance throughout the process. He has reversed my diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and with His help I hope to lose more weight -- not to be skinny, but to be very healthy.

By willing to do whatever it takes to work the program, I "gave up" a lot. I no longer indulge myself with food and eat when I want and what I want. And what did I get in return? My self-esteem, good health, and a pretty skinny lady looking back at me in the mirror.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Gra on Bitachon

The only thing that we have is who we are.  The person who has Bitachon has something that he can take with him. The Gra says that the main reason that Hashem gave us the Torah was to bring us to have Bitachon.  To bring us to have an absolute trust relationship with Hashem.
from the Shiur:Trust in Hashem vs. Trust in People    Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

Hashem does not abandon people.

 If a person is trying their best (which does not have to be the same as someone else's best) there is nothing in life that they have to be afraid of.  There is no failure or rejection that a human being can throw at them that Hashem can not rescue them.
from the Shiur: Trust in Hashem vs. Trust in People         Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller               
Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

A powerful thought from Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman

If we have the desire-
we can put our souls on fire-
all we have to do is make a start.
 Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life in the desert.

Why did Hasehem send serpents to klal Yisrael in the desert? Because they stopped apreciating all of the miracles that he provided them on an ongoing basis and they started complaining. Hashem removed his protection from them for a small time and all of a sudden they became aware of all of the dangers that Hashem was protecting them from.

Any kind of problem in our life is a wake up call from Hashem, it is a way of reminding us that the only salvation comes from Hashem.

In our lives we face tremendous dangers on an ongoing basis but we do not appreciate the many ways that Hashem protects us. If we are ungrateful, Hashem sends reminders for us to appreciate what we have.

from the Shiur:
Parshat Chukat: Serpents Scream
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Parsha for Our Lives 5770

Imagine if Hitler had been killed before he rose to power. We would never have known what we were saved from. We do not know all of the many things that Hashem saves us from. We have to work on increasing our gratitude.

Taking advantage of a new begining.

You remember the deeds done in the universe...For there is no forgetfulness before Your Throne of Glory and nothing is hidden from You before Your eyes. (Mussaf-Rosh Hashana)

I approach G-d, on this awesome day, with great trepidation. I know that He has perfect recall, and knows even my subconscious thoughts and motives. My embarrassment is great, due to previously failed commitments. Furthermore, true to the nature of mankind, I have erased from memory those deeds which reflect my inadequacies.

How do I utilize the full potential of this awesome day? I must internalize the concept that "The barrier to change is a lack of belief in my capacity to change". With the help of Hashem, all is possible.

Today is the birthday of the world. I have been given a new, pristine beginning.

Choosing between good and evil.

The Supreme King! G-d who dwells on high, who is powerful on high, may the strength of His hand be exalted--forever shall He reign. (Mussaf-Rosh Hashana)

The overriding theme of Rosh Hashana is the acceptance of Hashem's sovereignty. It is a message I easily relate to, this acknowledgment of Hashem's boundless Majesty.

As a direct result, I must also acknowledge my responsibility and purpose on earth, that of choosing between good and evil. My mission in life is to follow the precepts of the King, in all aspects of my life. I recognize that the Ribono Shel Olam is a loving Father and everything He desires for me is for my benefit and elevation.

How do I have the audacity to ask the Ribono Shel Olam for mercy, and yet live a life of contradiction?

Remember us for life, O King who desires life, and inscribe us in the Book of Life--for Your sake, O Living G-d (Amidah - Aseres Yemei Teshuva)

Obesity curtails life. There is a direct correlation between excess weight and the development of cardiac problems, diabetes and a myriad of other diseases R'L. I look with disdain at the alcoholic and drug addict who is obviously squandering his years. It is easy to see another's faults.

How do I have the audacity to ask the Ribono Shel Olam for mercy, and yet live a life of contradiction? Can I continue to wallow in physical indulgence and have the Chutzpah to ask for a "good life"? If I want my Tefillos to be pleasing, my actions must reflect the utterances of my lips. I must show Hashem that I am serious about tackling this challenge in my life.

It is then that I can hope for salvation and the blessings of infinite mercy. It is then that I can ask for a life filled with sanctity and purpose, that Hashem lead me in the path of His Service.

Trading one heartbreak for another.

Deliver me, Hashem, for the waters have reached until my soul. (Tehillim 69:2)

I've been wrong about a lot of things. One was the notion that I must avoid uncomfortable feelings. To this end, I anesthetized myself with food, trading one heartbreak for another.

I cannot avoid that which is destined for me. Pain comes and goes, but if I am anesthetized, so does joy. When I smooth the bumps of suffering in life with the product of my addiction, I also do not recognize the joys as they fly by.

Today when I feel I am drowning, I turn to the Al-mighty with my burdens. It leaves me with a feeling of lightness and freedom. The pressure on my joints is relieved, as well.

Two are better than one.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falls and hath not another to lift him up. (Koheles 4:9)

A friend is a valuable aid in the art of good living. Life should not be a solitary journey. In the pursuit of truth, a friend affords us an honest evaluation and can keep an objective view of what is best, since his/her view is less colored by emotion than our thoughts are. Change may be necessary, but with a friend (sponsor) at our side, the pain is mitigated.

The price of friendship is trust, and the greater the investment in the sponsor/sponsee team, the greater the gain. Teamwork produces results.

The woman is the mainstay of her house .

Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her own hands (Mishlei 14:1)

The heart of him that hath discernment seeketh knowledge (Mishlei 15:14)

The woman is the mainstay of her house and family. A woman's heart knows she must search out knowledge and truth to enable her to properly train and care for her family. As the nurturer and primary educator in the home, she taps into all the strengths she possesses to enable her to do an optimal job.

The Torah tells us, "Im Ein Kemach, Ein Torah". Eating properly is a foundation for Torah, and the wise woman teaches proper eating habits in her home. But she must also remember to "nurture the nurturer".

I have come to learn that there is no room for guilt when it comes to caring for myself. It is an obligation.

Compassion for all of Klal Yisrael.

Establish peace, goodness, blessing, graciousness, kindness and compassion upon us and upon all of Your people Israel. (Amidah)

Through program work in OA, I have been privileged to share, in an unprecedented way, with lofty Jewish Neshomos. They have shared from their innermost souls and I have been the beneficiary. The diversity of my friends in program enriches my life. It gives me the fulfilling experience of learning and sharing with others.

Overeaters Anonymous has reinforced the importance of sisterhood and love of one another. It is no longer necessary for me to be "right", but to avoid conflict. Focusing on unity brings serenity.

Working on meaningful relationships and trying to emulate Hashem, who showers compassion on all of Israel, is what satiates the void in me today. There is no need to turn to food for comfort.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The importance of the Table

The difference between a human being and an animal is the Table.
from a Shiur by Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman about preparing for Shavuos

We have the ability to sanctify ourselves at our table. Do we eat like an animal, or do we behave like a mentsch, making intelligent choices, saying Divrei Torah. Every choice that we make brings us closer to who we want to be.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Achdus is the essence of our ability to recieve the Torah by Rav itamar Schwartz from a Siur about Shavuos

The achdus of Klal Yisrael is the essence of receiving the Torah. Hashem chose us as a whole, he did not chose individual. That is why we say, "Atah Bacharbanu". We thank Hashem for choosing us, not for choosing me.

If a person holds himself as a yachid( an individual) he will not be worthy of receiving the Torah. That is why "V'ahavtah L'rayicha kimocha" is a Klal gadol b'Torah.

Two things bond us together, Ahavah and Emunah (Love and Faith). A parent will always love a child even if the child misbehaves, but the same parent may not have faith that the child will always behave properly.

Hashem always loves us and he always has faith in us. The difference is that Hashem created us and he knows that we have an inner essence that is pure because Hashem created us pure. We have to have Emunah in Hashem's creation that all of Klal Yisrael have an inner and pure neshamah.

How could Hashem give us the Torah if he knew that we would sin? The answer is that the Torah was given to us as a people, it was not given to individuals. If that is the case how can we have Emunah in individuals when we know that they may sin. The answer is that we have to be able to judge everyone favorably. We have to know that there essence is pure even if there outside is not.

Hashem gave us perfection and purity as a gift on Shavuos. We took this gift and defiled it. If that is the case why are we celebrating what happened on Shavuos? We don't make a holiday on the day that the Bais Hamikdash was completed because it was destroyed after that. The answer if that the Torah remained on the same level. Even though the Luchos were destroyed the Torah remains the same. The connection that Hashem created on Shavuos remains there and every person has the ability to connect to it. Klal Yisrael has the ability to be perfect. The way that Hashem created us and choose us means that this potential exists in us today.

Because Hashem has Emunah in us we have to have Emunah in this inner potential. Even though we fell we still have the potential.

We have to know that there are times of aliyah and yeridah in our lives but we have to grow. Hashem believes in us, and we believe in Hashem. This connection is Matan Torah.
Hashem does not give up on anyone.

If you want to be close to Matan Torah you have to make achdus the basis of your life. We fell from the level of the first Matan Torah, but we have to prepare to get back there. It seem so far, but we can do it.

If a person was in the hospital for a serious illness and he also had a minor problem and his family was busy running around looking for a doctor to cure the minor illness and forgets the life threatening problem, we would call them fools. Yet this is what we are like. We focus on particulars but don't work on our achdus. What distances us from the Torah is our lack of achdus.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Real freedom

Real freedom is knowing that Hashem can make me happy with what ever I have.

from the Shiur:
Shelanu: Discovering Your Personal Freedom # BY 678 B
by Berkovits, Rabbi Yitzchak

This is such an amazing Shiur I really recomend it.

A personal observation

We all walk around with our cell phones checking, waiting for something. What are we really trying to accomplish? To feel connected and important. Why is it that we forget that at any moment we can be connected to Hashem and we are always import in the eyes of Hashem. We allow the distractions of our lives to pull us away from the true purpose of our lives- to have pleasure with Hashem.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The power of an action.

We don't realize the power of an action. When we do something wrong once we feel bad. When we do it again we start to think that it is not so bad. When we do over and over we start to think it is permitted. The opposite also holds true. One small action in the right direction can bring us to real change.
from a Shiur by Rabbi Efraim Wachsman

There is a very powerful saying in OA- just do the next right thing.

The body soul relationship.

We should never say that our bodies are not important, only our soul is important. Rabbi Shimshon Pinchas gives that mashal of a large office building that has millions of dollars of equipment in it but one fuse in the basement breaks and all of the equipment is worthless. This is the relationship between the body and the soul, the body is our connection to this world and has to be taken care of.
from a Shiur by Rabbi Efraim Wachsman

Spiritual redemtion

Doing a mitzvah with bitachon and not routinely brings spiritual redemtion. Misilis Yesharim by Rabbi Luzato says that it brings us toward Ruach Hakodesh (divine inspiration).
from a Shiur on Naaleh:Simcha and Bitachon Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust
Many people on OA have shared that doing Mitzvot with true Kavanah (intent) was a very positive side result of the spititual growth through OA.

There is a mitzvah in the Torah to guard your life.

If you don't there will be consequences. Hashem created the world in such a way that there can (and most likely will) be natural consequences. You have to realize that this is Hashem's imprint in reality.  Of course there are times when the consequences do not happen, to give us free choice.  There is no such thing as a consequence that is outside of Hashem's jurisdiction, but we have to see that normal consequences are Hashem's will.
from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Simcha and Bitachon Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

Compulsive overeating is bad for our health, it is going against the normal way of Hashem's world.  300 pound people are not healthy.  We are risking our health by allowing ourselves to become obese.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The beauty of Change.

Why is it that some people want to change, and they can't. The reality is that we have this notion, that at some point I am going to change but not yet. Unfortunately we keep putting it off and developing more bad habits. If we want to change don't wait for later-it may be too late.
People who can change feel in charge of their lives, it is a wonderful experience and it is exhilarating and brings you closer to Hashem.
Naaleh: Parshat Korach: Well Grounded
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Parsha for Our Lives 5770

I can personally say that I kept putting off doing something about my compulsive overeating, saying some day I'll change. Now I look back and say, "Why did I wait so long" Baruch Hashem it was not to late. Now that I have changed so much I am so grateful for how much better my life is.

Korach's Jealousy

The sin of Korach came from jealousy. The problem with jealousy is that you are so consumed with thinking about others that you do not focus on developing yourself. If we do not develop ourselves it is as if we do not exist, and such a person lives his life without becoming what they are supposed to be.

from the Shiur on Naaleh: Parshat Korach: Well Grounded Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Parsha for Our Lives 5770

One of the most important things that I have learned from following OA is to stop blaming others, and to look for a solution inside of myself
I heard a geat thought on this at a meeting. One of the most important reasons that people lose abstinence is jelousy of other peoples ability to eat whatever they want.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Please help me I can't do it on my own."

We want to come to a place where we say to Hashem, "Please help me I can't do it on my own." We have to remember that we can't even open up spiritually if we don't have Hashem's help.
from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Depend Solely on G-d
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

Step 2 of the 12 steps says: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

We have to know that we can not do it on our own. We need Hashem to help us.

Korach questioned the authority of Moshe Rabenu

When Korach questioned the authority of Moshe Rabenu he thought that he knew more then Moshe. We learn from this that if we have a question about something we are learning it is important to act from humility and admit that we do not understand, rather then thinking that we know better.

from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Parshat Korach: Well Grounded
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles
Class: Parsha for Our Lives 5770

Monday, June 7, 2010

The fine line that separates Chesed from manipulation is almost invisible

You have to be careful when you are doing Chesed, the fine line that separates Chesed from manipulation is almost invisible and it is called Ego. If you want to succeed in these things you have to be doing it for Hashem. You have to be careful or you could wind up worshiping yourself instead of Hashem.

from the Shiur from Naaleh:
Depend Solely on G-d
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

Rebbetzin Heller says that this is one of the most important things we will ever learn.

There are 2 things that a person should always daven for:
1) Hashem should strengthen our heart to be devoted to Hashem singularly and not forgot the reason we are in the world. and that the burdens of life not distract us from the reason that we are in the world.
2) Hashem should strengthen our bodies and limbs to be able to do the mitzvot. That our bodies should be able to be strong enough to do what we need to do, because this world is a world of deed, and you can't do the deeds without energy.
Everyone has the same Mitzvot but we do not all have the same path to the mitzvot.

From the Shiur on Naaleh :
Depend Solely on G-d

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

Small Deeds, Big Rewards

This post from Tikkun is very worth reading:
My wife and I had a newly-wed couple over as guests for the Friday night meal this past Shabbos. We knew the husband, who had grown up in my wife's neighborhood and went to the same shul as my father-in-law; and older bachur, this man just got married at age 32. His wife is a convert from the Philippines, and while we were at shul, she and my wife were shmoozing, and the conversation came around to the subject of why she converted.The story she told my wife is beautiful, and I believe that we have an obligation to spread the story around, for the valuable lessons inherent in it.
She grew up in a very religious Catholic home, where the catechism of the Trinity confused her greatly. One elder told her to "Pray to the Father", another told her "Pray to the Son", and yet another told her to "pray to the Holy Ghost". She was in dire straits, because she really wanted to pray - but she didn't know who she should pray to!Realizing that the faith she had been brought up with didn't have the answers she sought, she began looking into other religions that were prevalent in her country. Islam had no sway over her; Buddhism didn't interest her at all...She felt lost, and the constant pressure from her peers and family - who were convinced she had "the Devil" in her - began to feel overwhelming. As soon as she was able to move, after graduating from school, she headed for the United States.What a culture shock! The relative reservedness of the Philippines left her unprepared for what she encountered after moving to Bayonne, New Jersey. Suddenly, random people would stop her on the street and begin conversing with her; strange men would make advances, attempting to get her phone number, take her out for a coffee, and the like. The freedom, the provocatively loose atmosphere seemed to saturate everything American, and it took serious adjustment.One hot day, she was walking back to her apartment. On the way, she passed a young man dressed very strangely: he was wearing a black jacket and hat, and he had these funny strings hanging out of his pants. As the passed each other, she expected him - like so many other men in the past - to stop her, or get a good look at her in her very revealing clothes. To her astonishment, he averted his eyes, looking down to the ground as he hurriedly passed her.She couldn't believe it! To be sure, she turned around to see if he would maybe turn back after they had passed each other and sneak a peek, but as far as she could tell, he kept going on his way without stopping.In a place where everyone is looking to satisfy their urges, could such a thing be possible? Who was that boy? Upon returning to her apartment, her roommate informed her that the boy she had seen on the street was a Jew. Until that point, she had never seen a Jew, didn't know what a Jew was or looked like, knew nothing about Jews at all. What she did know was that she would have to find out more about these "Jews" and their intriguing ways. She began to ask around, and meet with Jewish folks and amass as much information as possible. What she discovered was a world of dedication, integrity, sincerity, and consistent commitment. She was hooked, and she began the long arduous process to convert to Judaism. Now, thank God, she is married, and beginning to build a Jewish home in the wonderful tradition of her adoptive forebears.We simply do not appreciate the impact the slightest gesture, the smallest action, can make. I have no doubt that this Yeshiva boy does not know what he did, what an impression he made. And yet, when he gets "up there" (after 120, God willing), he is going to be presented with the myriads of z'chusim (merits) that will come about from every commandment and good deed faithfully fulfilled by this woman and her family, and he will receive credit for each one!One act of shmiras einayim (guarding the eyes) led a woman searching for God in the right direction. How many times are we presented with choices on how to behave, and we have no idea who is watching? It's a very important lesson for all of us to internalize, and may we all act properly at all times, whether or not anyone is watching! from the Blog Tikkun:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Don't become distant from Hashem.

How is it that some people live double lives. They keep the mitzvot and they act like frum people, but they do sins in private. This comes from the fact that Hashem made us afraid of people but not afraid of Hashem. Hashem did this to maintain our free will. If we would truly have Yiras Chet (fear of sin) to the same extent that we fear people, we would not have free choice.

It is too easy to be correct externally but not internally. This brings us to sin. We have to work on being consistent. Our externals have to match our internals. Our mitzvot that people see have to match our private mitzvot. If not, we will become more and more distant from Hashem.

from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Perek 16, Part 1: The Redeemed Maiden
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Sefer Yechezkel

The greatest gift.

The greatest gift that Hashem ever gave us was the ability to make choices.

from the Shiur on Naaleh:  Perek 16, Part 1: The Redeemed Maiden

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Sefer Yechezkel

My choice to follow OA is one of the greatest gifts that Hashem has given me.  It has brought me good health and strength to change.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Be Happy

Being Happy Doesn't Mean Everything is Perfect
It means you've decided to look BEYOND the imperfections.

This saying from a greeting card summarizes what I have been learning lately so well that I had to post it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Trust Hashem, and love people

You are meant to trust Hashem, and love people.  You have to know that people are never able to meet all of your expectations.  Only Hashem is all powerful, people are limited.

Trust that people are doing the best that they can.  Trust that if you were in the same place you might do the same thing.

From the Shiur:
Depend Solely on G-d

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

An important message for Wives.

If your husband is working and not making enough money to support you, stop being mad at your husband and recognize that money comes through people but from Hashem.  It is not because of your husband, it is because of Hashem's decision.  If you do not have the money that you need, then you have misjudged your needs.  You have to accept that this is what you are meant to have.

This is the hardest test we have.  This is the first punishment given to man in the garden of Eden.  We think that we see cause and effect but this is an illusion.  We do our histadlus, and Hashem decides what we are meant to get.  If our husbands are not doing as much Histadlus as we think they should we should still not blame them.  We work to grow, to withstand nisyonot, and to gain satifaction, not because it is the only way that Hashem can send us money.

Rambam says that when you want to buy something ask yourself two questions:
1) Why do you want it?  Is it going to get you closer to Hahsem?
2)  What do I have to sacrifice to get this?  What is it going to cost in material and spiritual terms.
If you ask yourself these 2 questions you will find that you need less.

from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Who is the Provider
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

Your responsibility for your own life.

Hashem wants us to value the life that he has given us.  Hashem does not want us to give up responsibility for our lives, health, growth etc.  The Torah warns us not to test Hashem by putting ourselves in a dangerous situation.  A person who is killed from putting themselves into a place of danger is considered worse then a murderer.  Why is this? Because we do not own our own lives, they belong to Hashem.

The closer your access is to anything, the more your responsibility.  If you visit your neighbor and find them sick from leaking gas, you have to save them.  You do not have to walk from apartment to apartment looking for leaking gas.  This illustrates the idea that since you have the most ability to save your own life, you have the most responsibility to save your own life.

from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Who is the Provider

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust

Do not allow an attitude of fatalism to masquerade as Bitachon.

Do not allow an attitude of fatalism to masquerade as Bitachon.  It is easy to say, "whatever happens is Hashem's will, so I can do whatever I want, because Hashem is running the show."  We have to know that Hashem runs the world according to normal rules of nature, and if we break them, we will face the consequences.  You can not drink poison and think that nothing will happen if Hashem was not planning on it.  You have to take responsibility for your actions.

A person has to realize that acting in the correct way is a moral choice.  If you are obese, you are hurting your body.  You can not say, "it does not matter how fat I am because Hashem is running the show."  You have to do the right thing and take care of your body.
from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Who is the Provider

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
Class: Bitachon: Meaning of Trust
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