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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A beautiful explanation of the main points of "DA Et Atzmacha"

Shira Smiles give a wonderful discussion of using that idea that we are in essence a soul with a body on top as clothes that we can change from the book by the author of Bilvavi Miskan Evneh, and how we can use this knowledge to help us to do Teshuva.
from the Shiur on Naaleh:
Soul Food

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

Pray, Tell (how to change bad habits)

The key to changing bad habits is realizing that the whole process requires tremendous Siyata Dishmaya. “Speak to Hashem, in your own words, and tell Him how imprisoned you are by the habit you’re in distress about. Ask Him for help. Bad habits are burdensome, they’re heavy. Remember the words of Tehillim, ‘Cast your burdens on Hashem.’ The more you enlist His help, the more successful you will be.”

No habit is too small, insignificant, or silly to bring before our Maker. But in order to truly root out a habit, it’s important to approach it from its very core. “You need to focus your efforts in thinking about the source of the bad habit, not just the habit itself,”

If a person lies because they have low self-esteem, then they need to address their low self-esteem, not just the lying. The Vilna Gaon says that in order to come to a place of not speaking Lashon Hara, one needs to change their attitude and feelings towards other people. Once you have a picture of what the root of the habit actually is, you can begin to think about steps you can take to bring into your life on a daily basis.”

from Rebbetzin Heller's blog

Monday, August 30, 2010

Two kinds of Renewal.

There is a disagreement between the meforshim if the Torah means a new King or a changed King when it says"V'yakum Melech Chadash" a new king arose. The answer that the Ben Ish Chai gives is that the world "Chadash", new, can mean both. There are times in our lives when we are able to renew ourselves by totally changing, and there are times when we need to do "renovations". Both types of renewal are important. In Elul, sometimes we need to start from scratch, and sometimes we need to make important changes here and there. Whatever type of renewal we need to do, we have to make a start.

from a Shiur on Naaleh:
Hilchot Teshuva
Teacher: Rabbi Shimon Isaacson
Class: Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Appreciating Hashem's World

I was listening to a Shiur by Rabbi Wachsman and the Rav told a story about a gadol who woke up his family early and told them to put on their Shabbos clothes. He wanted them to go see the sunrise to remember what an amazing world Hashem created.
Sometimes we need reminders.

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The fast lane to Teshuva

Declare a new beginning. You will become a new person. You will really become the person that you want to be.

How do we keep from sinning? Anyone who helps another person get closer to Hashem gets closer to Hashem himself, and keeps himself from sinning.

from the Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody:

The Ego Barrier

One of the most important ideas of OA is that if you want to keep it you have to give it away. You have to help others who need your help and you will really be helping yourself.

The avodah of Rosh Hashana is nullifying ourselves.

 The source of sin is when we think that we are more important then anything else.  When we think that we are king and we forget to make Hashem King over us.  On Rosh Hashana we have to make ourselves nothing and Hashem everything.
from the Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody:
The Ego Barrier

Prescription for a Miracle

Moving from a Passive to an Active Role.

Every year as I stood before God on Yom Kippur, I begged for good health, spiritual self control and the ability to do God’s will. I waited for some miracle to occur and that these things should suddenly pop out of the sky. as a magic gift waiting for me to unwrap them and “poof” magically change.

Every day when I prayed for good health and the ability to change, I continued to wait for that long awaited miracle. I was convinced that I was a passive participant in this process.

Meanwhile, as I continued to wait and to pray, my reality was the opposite. My weight continued to climb upward, my physical health was gradually declining, and I was convinced that I had nothing to do with it.

Sometimes we have to come to a low place in order to start climbing up.

Last year during the Yom Tovim, I found myself miserable from food. By the time that Sukkas came, I had developed a pre-ulcer condition and was unable to hold very much in my stomach. I finally listened to the message that God was sending me loud and clear. I had to take control of my eating and my health.

Why did it take me so many years to accept my responsibility for my own health?

In our daily prayers, we ask God to give us salvation from our problems, but we think that we are passive participants in our own lives. We think that our job is to float with the tide and to make the right choices as the decisions come up. This is a major misconception.
Real Change comes from proactive change not responsive change.

In order to really make a difference in my life I had to rethink the foundations of my life. I had to give up the idea that I could do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. I had to accept someone else’s rules and guidance. I had to be willing to give up autonomy to gain a greater good.

I came to understand that if I really wanted what I was praying for, then I had to start making it happen.

Miracles can happen for people who prove they really want it, and are willing to work for it.

In our daily lives we want many, many things. In fact our lives could be considered a stream of passing desires. But how many of these desires are strong enough for us to act on, and make changes for.

If God would give us everything we pray for, our lives would be an unmitigated disaster. When my 2 year old granddaughter asks for her tenth piece of candy in fifteen minutes, am I really showing her my love by giving it to her.

We have the power to make major changes in our lives, we just have to be willing to reach out for external guidance.

We are all so wrapped up in what we are doing that it is hard for us to see our own reality. When a friend asks us for advice, it is always so much easier for us to see where their mistakes are, then for us to see our own mistakes. If a casual friend can help us, how much more so, an expert in the field.

I turn to the Rabbis for my spiritual guidance, and I turned to the guidance of OA for my physical recovery. When we are willing to submit to wisdom greater then our own we can grow beyond our wildest dreams.

Accepting our humility before God

In the 12 step program, the first step is:

We admitted that we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable.

The second step is:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

When we are willing to admit our inability to change on our own we open the door to a world of change. Today’s culture wants to believe that we are all autonomous, but the reality is different. Perhaps that is why the 12 step programs are so successful and so popular. They plug into the idea of humility before a higher power.

The salvation that we are waiting for, is waiting for us.

Rebbetzin Shira Smiles says that in the beginning of the Torah when God says “Let us make man” he was showing that our creation is a joint effort. We can not expect God to hand us this change on a silver platter. He wants us join in the process of our own creation. He wants us to be active, not passive participants in our own lives.

We have to plan for our change, and we have to work for our change. When we stand before God on Yom Kippur begging for life, we have to know what we are planning to do to accomplish this goal. We have to know what we are willing to give up to accomplish this goal. Our thoughts have to translate into action not empty promises. We can not allow another year to go by without real and substantial change.

If I can do it, you can do it to. With God’s help, my physical problems have been reversed due to my weight loss of over 70 pounds. This year, when I pray for good health, I know that I am working together with God to make it happen. I am no longer waiting for some nameless miracle to happen.

This is an article that I submitted to Aish.com. They published it in a much shorter version:

Rabbi Kirzner on Yom Kippur

On Yom Kippur, Hashem gives us the chance to separate the needs of the body from the needs of the soul. On the day of Yom Kippur, the soul has a chance to go back to its source, reconnect with its source, get reinvigorated, and then go back into the body.  While this is going on, the body is going through a cleansing process, to be reintroduced to the body in a pure way. To reintroduce a new partnership between the body and the soul.  It is in a small way, a mini gilgul neshamah.

The loving kindness of Yom Kippur is that Hashem gives us a chance to start again. While man is experiencing the turbulence of life he can know that Hashem is preparing a haven from the storm and a sense of renewal on Yom Kippur.

Then after Yom Kippur, Hashem tells us to go into the shade of the Sukkah, not to bask in the direct sunlight, taking all that we want physically, with tremendous comfort.  Rather we should go into the Sukkah and appreciate the semi-comfort, where we get what we need but not always what we want,  and come closer to Hashem.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Kirzner
a wonderful website that has downloads of Rabbi

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What is the connection between Bikurim and Simcha?

 When we do things routinely, without any feeling, we do not feel any joy.  Bikurim is clarity, it means that we see something and focus on it.  When a person focuses on what he is doing he has clarity and that brings simcha. 

Without focus a person becomes an empty shell.  He goes through life doing the motion but feeling nothing.  This is a life of tragedy.

We have to give birth to every action that we do, not just let it happen.  This will bring us to live a life of simcha.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Efraim Wachsman, Reflections of Elul

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rabbi Wachsman on the idea of renewel.

Simcha comes from newness.  But how do we get newness if we daven the same thing everyday, we learn the similar things, all of our avodas Hashem follows a similar path.

Rabbi Wachsman explains this by saying that there are two kinds of products of an animal, there is honey that comes from a bee, but really it is coming from the nectar, it is not really coming from inside of the bee.  Then there is milk that comes from inside of the animal. 

When we daven and learn, is it coming from inside of us, or is it coming from outside, from the page.  We have to take what we are doing and make it part of us.  Then when it comes out, it is really coming from inside of us.

The way to keep our avodas Hashem new is to make sure that we are truly internalizing it before it leaves our mouths and our minds.

More from Rabbi Wachsman about Elul

In the days when bnei yisrael was going out to war to conquer Eretz Yisrael there would be announcements that anyone who met certain conditions or was afraid should go back. By the time that everyone who met these conditions had left the only ones left were a couple of bent over old Tzadikim with long beards. And yet they won. If that is the case how could there have been the need for the halachas of yefas Toar. The answer is that these Tzadikim were able to see that among the goyim there were certain pure neshamas who needed to be elevated. When these women with their holy neshamas were exposed to the kedusha of these Tzadikim they would cry about their mother and father. Not that they miss them, but what a tragedy that they did not convert also. For the tragedy of their soul falling so short of its potential.

This is our avodah for elul. To cry for our neshamas and how far they are from their true potential.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Wachsman about Elul

The purpose of tragedy.

The Chofetz Chayim says that we have to be aware that everything bad that happens in this world is there to bring us to do Teshuva. We have to do Teshuva now to prevent further tragedies.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Wachsman on Elul

"Why does Hashem care what I eat, there are so many more important things for Hashem to worry about. "

 This morning by Hasgacha Pratis several people made this comment to me.  It reminded me of something I once heard in a Shiur by Rabbi Rabinowitz ztl, "It might feel petty putting a few coins in the Reb Meir Baal Haness pushke and asking Hashem to help you find something, but really its the opposite, Hashem wants us to realize that he is involved in the small things and the big things".

Then someone gave me an additional perspective to why every detail of my food plan makes a big difference,  "It make a difference giving up coffee,  because when I cheat and have a coffee I am moving from the world of eating for my bodily needs, to eating for emotional satisfaction, and it triggers a binge"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It is not enough to eat sweet things, we have to be sweet ourselves.

As we head into Rosh Hashana we have to make changes in our lives.  We have to daven differently and  treat our friends differently.  We have to make concrete changes.  Each change that we make, makes a major difference.  We have to prepare ourselves to be on a level of Malchus on Rosh Hashana.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Efraim Wachsman, Reflections of Elul,part one

A thought for Elul

An Inspiring Short Video from aish.com

In the blink of an eye.
Really worth watching before Rosh Hashana

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rabbi Wachsman on Elul

Teshuva means coming back to a situation of perfection.  When you do Teshuva you are coming back to the situation of before the sin.  Chet is moving away from your true essence, Teshuva is coming back to your true essence. Elul is the sixth month and Tishrei is the seventh month.  Elul is like Erev Shabbas, and Tishrei is like Shabbos.  If we don't work on Erev Shabbos, doing Teshuva, what kind of Shabbos (Tishrei) will we have.  Preparation for Rosh Hashana is the basis of our ability to continue to grow through the Yomin Tovim and beyond.  To prepare for Rosh Hashana we have to cleanse ourselves of negativity and bring Kedusha into ourselves.  We have to learn to  value the work of preparation, without work we will not grow.

We can't have Torah with out preperation, Shabbos without Erev Shabbos, and Rosh Hashana without Elul.  The preperation for the Mitzvah is where I am doing something special for my neshamah.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Efraim Wachsman, Reflections of Elul,part one

Celebrating the power of Yesh M'Ain (that Hashem created something from nothing).

On Rosh HaShana we are celebrating the power of Yesh M'Ain (that Hashem created something from nothing).   Hashem created the world from nothing.  Hashem remembered Sarah Emenu on Rosh Hashana, and gave her the ability to have a child.  As we approach Rosh Hashana we should realize that this is the time of the year when Hashem can make miracles for us.  We have to realize that this is a time of tremendous renewal and beg Hashem to make major changes for us.

from a Shiur on Naaleh:Rosh Hashana: Our Turn

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles
Class: Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

Inspiration for Rosh Hashana

When a person moves into a new house, they feel inspired to keep this house better.  When they start a new job, they feel inspired to keep their desk neat this time.  When we start the new year, we should also feel inspired to make a fresh start, and to grow in our relationship with Hashem.
from a Shiur on Naaleh:Rosh Hashana: Our Turn

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles
Class: Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Correcting the source of all sin for Rosh Hashana.

On Rosh Hashana we have to go back and correct the source of all sin, the sin of Adam, the first man. What was the source of Adam's sin? That he wanted to make himself the king of the world and not Hashem. As we approach Rosh Hashana we have to make sure that we are putting the crown on the true king of the world, Hashem.

Rosh Hashana: Our Turn

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

One of the hardest parts of OA is surrendering our right to choose, "what we are in the mood for". It is hard to give up the sense of being in control of our own lives. By choosing to give up the right to rule our world, we ultimately come closer to Hashem.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A powerful tool for developing simcha

Saying a Bracha with Kavanah is a powerful tool for developing simcha.  The key to happiness is being happy with what we have.  Many people translate "Samaech B'heilko" as being satisfied with what we have, but that is not the correct translation.  The correct translation is Happy with what we have. If we want to be "rich" we have to be happy with what we have, and the key to that is gratitude.  When we have real kavanah when we say a Bracha we are increasing our gratitude and building up our Simcha.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Pliskin

A little story of Hashgacha Pratis goes with this Devar Torah.  I bought a tape that was supposed to be by Rebbetzin Kalmonovitz, but it was actually a Shiur by Rabbi Pliskin on Simcha.  Hashem really wanted me to hear that tape so he arranged for it to be mislabeled.  I hope that you benefit from it as well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The importance of a proper scale.

"You shall have complete and accurate stone weights" [Ki Seitzei 25:15]

Throughout the generations, gedolei Yisrael scrupulously kept the mitzvah of maintaining accurate weights and measures.

In a certain city, the sages decreed that a fast day be held on account of the lack of rain. The entire city fasted as the sages had ordained, but rain still did not fall.

That night, the Rav of the city had a dream. In it, he was told that if a particular storeowner would lead the community in a prayer for rain then rain would, indeed, fall.

The next day, the Rav gathered the entire community to pray together for rain. To everyone's surprise, he asked the storeowner to lead the services.

The storeowner declined, claiming that he was but a simple man and unfit to lead the prayers. The Rav, however, did not relent, and he explained that it was specifically the storeowner who could come to their aid and no-one else!

The storeowner left the shul and returned holding a pair of scales that he used to weigh his merchandise.

He approached the bimah and cried out "Master of the Universe! The two pans of these scales parallel the two heis of Your Great Name! The bar parallels the vav, and the handle parallels the yud.

"Master of the Universe! If I have used these scales dishonestly and thereby desecrated Your Holy Name, I hereby accept upon myself whatever punishment I deserve! But if I have acted in an upright manner, then I pray that You send us rain of blessing!"

As soon as the storeowner finished his words, the sky filled with clouds, and it began to rain.

from the blog:Shirat Devorah


All fear come from lack of trust in Hashem.

from a Shiur on Naaleh:"Elul: The Sweetness of Tikkun Hamidot
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

He who has 100 wants 200.

Rav Gifter asks why is it that Hashem tells us to be happy with the good that  he gives us.  Wouldn't it be a natural reaction to be happy.  The answer is that it is the natural reaction of man to want more.  In order for us to be happy we have to work on being grateful for the good that we are given.  At any given moment we are deciding 4 things: our thoughts, our feelings, our words and our actions.  By focusing on these, we can elevate ourselves and be happy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

An inspiring thought.

I am a work in progress, so I have to work hard on myself.

Hashem wants me to improve myself, now is the time to do it.

The need for connection.

One of the most basic needs of man is the need to connect to Hashem.  If we don't connect to Hashem we take this basic need and connect to something else.  This can be the source of real problems, because we will never fill this need by turning to anything other then Hashem.

from a Shiur on Naaleh:
Elul: The Sweetness of Tikkun Hamidot

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

In OA there is a saying- "Trying to fill a God sized hole with a man sized thing"  We can indulge in all of the pleasures of this world and we will never feel satisfied.

The power of prayer

An eight year old  boy learned about staying up all night learning on the night of Shavuos.  He asked his father permission to come with him to shul to learn all night.  His father said no, you are too young.  As his father  was walking to shul he suddenly from out the blue starting having strong thoughts that if an eight year old child truly wants to stay up learning, why shouldn't he let him.  He turned around and went back home to get his son.  Much to his amazement, his son was standing by the door waiting dressed in his Shabbas clothes, ready to go.  He asked his son how he knew that he was coming back for him,  His son replied that he davened to Hashem, and he knew that Hashem would make him come back because of his heartfelt Tefilah. This boy grew up to be Rabbi Shimshon Pincus.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Please Daven for Bracha bas Elana

A sick baby having surgery this morning.

Elul: The Time for Closeness

Every victory has profound impact on our connection to God and to man. In the deepest sense, our self-esteem is built, brick by brick, by choosing to conquer our impulsivity and cravings. The problem is that we are too myopic to see the panoramic vista that this sort of battle opens up within us. We are too busy fighting. We fail, again and again. We let our failures define us and erode our belief in the fact that we are fighting a winnable battle. We all too often submit to the dictates of our bodies and silence the yearnings of the soul.
from an ariticle on aish.com -Elul: The Time for Closeness
by Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller

Baruch Hashem I have learned that I can win the battle over my cravings.  Using the tools of OA I have learned that I can make a major difference in my life, and come closer to Hashem

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Public Service Notice for Bloggers

For the past several days I was not able to properly upload pictures.  I did a lot of research and tried out several things.  I had to go to my web album and delete some pictures (it seems my album was full).  I also needed to clean out my cookies and caches.  I went to tools and deleted the browsing history and now I can put pictures on my blog. 

Spiritual Housecleaning.

Never underestimate the value of even a thought of Teshuvah.  When you walk into a very dirty and messy kitchen you may want to feel overwhelmed and walk out, but if you did you would never have a clean kitchen.  You just have to make a start, take out the garbage, or clean a dish  That one act gets you into the swing of things and you will continue in the right direction.  It is the same way with Teshuvah- just get start- don't feel overwhelmed.
Heard in a Shiur by Reb  Kalmonovitz

A small step can make a big difference.

Just like a big sin begins with a small step in the wrong direction,
a small step in the right direction can bring major Teshuvah.

Koneh Olam b'shaah echas- We can acquire worlds in one hour- can also mean that in one second of turning aside from the wrong thing we can acquire worlds.

heard from a Shiur by Rebbetzin Kalmonovitz

Showing that we care about others.

Today I had the opportunity to ask Reb. Kalmonovitz a question that has been bothering me for a while.  When a person accepts something as being from Hashem, it feels like you are becoming less caring.  She answered that it is just the opposite.  You don't care less, you should care more, but instead of occupying your thoughts with the problem, you are occupying your thoughts with davening to Hashem that this problem should be solved.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If you are part of the ladder leading up to Hashem, it doesn't matter what rung you are on.

  Don't compare yourself to other people and say, "why can't I be as successful as him".  We are all a necessary part of the path to Hashem.
from a Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody

Don't block divine light from reaching you.

When a person does an aveirah (sin) he creates a shadow on his neshamah that blocks the divine light and prevents blessing from reaching him.

from a Shiur by Lazer Brody "Anatomy of a Shadow"

Don't let your Tefilah run on autopilot.

When I make a brocha without Kavanah I am saying that my hunger is more important then Hashem's will that I say a brocha with Kavanah.  We have to nullify our will to do Hashem's will.  We should never spit out a brocha on autopilot.
from the Shiur on Naaleh: Elul: Month of Relationships

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles
Class: Jewish Calendar I (Elul and Rosh Hashana)

A peron's mouth determines his kedusha

He has to watch what goes out of his mouth-tefilah, learning and shmirus haloshon, but he also has to watch what goes in-his achilah-eating.  Our eating  has to be with the right intentions. A peron should eat for his needs not his desires and that will elevate his kedusha.

from a Shiur by Rebbetzin Kalmonovitz on eating.

Using the spiritual strength of the month of Elul to help us to stay strong, and grow not decline.

The summer is a time of letting go and being lax in the structure of our lives.  The Rabanim often warn us to be careful not to have a spiritual decline in the name of vacation.  Now as Rosh Chodesh Elul is upon us we should use the spiritual strength of the month of Elul to help us to stay strong, and grow not decline.

Several people that I know have recently lost their abstinence.  I asked my sponsor how this can happen and she reminded me that abstinence is a gift from Hashem, we have to daven to stay abstinent every day.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Someone who loves Hashem, does not respond when he is insulted.

 He has the attitude that when someone insults me it is not important,  if they are wrong it doesn't matter, if they are right I am going to work on fixing it.  The more mesiros nefesh that you use to control your anger, the bigger the victory.

from the Shiur on Naaleh:  The Song of Devorah

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: In the Merit of Righteous Women

The value of Songs in the Torah.

Songs in the Torah are spiritual songs that show us spiritual harmony.  We all experience moments of seeing spiritual harmony, where things belong in terms of Hashem's plan for the world.  When we see things fit together in a harmonious way, we have to turn our minds to Hashem and thank him "in song", this brings tremendous redemption.
If Chizkiyahu had turned to song after the great redemption that he witnessed he would have been Mashiach.
We have to express our gratitude to Hashem.

The Song of Devorah

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Class: In the Merit of Righteous Women

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A meaningful definition of Chilul Hashem.

If we translate Chilul Hashem as  a void of Hashem it takes on a new meaning.  If we do not have Kavanah durring a Brocha that is a void in our lives, a Chilul Hashem.  We have to work on bringing Hashem into our lives at all times so that there is no void. 

Rabbi Snow

Friday, August 6, 2010


Hashem did not intend for man to be enslaved by time,
But to breathe Holiness into it and be its master..

Rav Gifter

from the Chofetz Chayim Heritage foundation

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The right mindset.

Every action that we take at any time gives us the opportunity to do a mitzvah.  If we have the right mindset, even the simplest actions can be mitzvot.  Everyone get up in the morning and get dressed.  If we have the mindset that we are getting dressed so that we can go and daven, or take care of our family, so that we can do more mitzvot, we are doing a mitzvah just by getting dressed.

heard in a shiur by Rebbetzin Kalmonovitz today in Monsey

Elul is a time of renewal.

If we increase our actions, our good deeds, Hashem will open up a door for us to Rachamim and Ratzon.  If we stretch ourselves in our actions beyond our means during the month of Elul, Hashem will help us to internalize what we have accomplished during the month of Tishrei. 

We should not waste the opportunity that Elul offers us to start fresh and to go in the right path that takes us on a path the leads us through Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkus and all the way to Simchas Torah.  We have an opportunity for growth and we should not waste it.
heard in a shiur by Rebbetzin Kalmonovitz today in Monsey

Using the gifts that Hashem gives us.

Rabenu Yonah brings down that a person should do Teshuva at every meal.  He says that you should take that opportunity to reflect on what you have done since the previous meal.  If you did any aveiros you should do Teshuva and you should thank Hashem for all of the positive things that you did.

Rebbetzin Kalmonovitz explains that the reason that our meals are the appropriate time to do Teshuva is that at every meal we are receiving the gift of food from Hashem.  This food gives us energy.  If we use this energy to do good things then we are using this gift the way that Hashem means for us to use it.  If, chas v'sholom someone uses this gift, this energy,  to do something wrong, we are taking Hashem's gift and perverting it.

If we live our lives like this, always doing Teshuva at every meal, and reviewing our lives at every meal, we will live in a constant state of Teshuva.

Heard in a Shiur by Rebbetzin Kalmonovitz in Monsey today

The book of our lives.

Time is one of Hashem's creations. Time is like canvas to a painter. Th e Zohar says that every day is like a blank sheet of parchment where all of our deeds are recorded and at the end of the day it goes back up to shamayim. Before we go to sleep we should reflect on our deeds of the day and do Teshuvah to wipe the bad deeds off of our parchment.
We should not wait until the book of our lives is full, we should edit it every day.

from the Shiur on Naaleh: Elul: Island of Refuge  Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles

Hashem is helping us grow.

Sometimes our lives do not turn out the way that we always dreamed of.  This is not because Hashem has abandoned us, it is because he is helping us to be more.  Hashem is giving us a bigger role that causes more growth.

The Song of Devorah

Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Class: In the Merit of Righteous Women

The effect of the breakdown of trust

When a person tells a lie it has an effect on the whole world. The more that people do not respect truth and honesty it causes a breakdown of society.  We have to realize that every action that we take has an effect  on a larger basis.
Heard in a Shiur by Rebbetzin Heller
Last week on vacation we saw many self serve businesses.  They had a locking cash box and you were supposed to help yourself and put the money in the box.  Imagine if they could have such a thing in New York City.  To me this really illustrated the way that the breakdown of trust in the urban city has effected our world.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The nature of Women

Men kill each other.
Women kill themselves.

It is the nature of women to take care of others and not take care of themselves.  Women always want to give to others, that is the way that Hashem made them.

from a Shiur on Naaleh by Rebbetzin Heller about Jewish Women

One of the most important thngs that we learn on OA is to take care of ourselves so that we can help others.
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