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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Question: Can you explain the proper boundaries of being a vatran (giving in)?.

Answer: Vatranut begins by seeing the other person as an extension of yourself. Parents instinctively do this with their children. You have to learn to bring more people into your picture. Being a shmatta means resentfully giving in when there are other possibilities. I would call this intentional martyrdom, which is what people
choose because they enjoy making others feel guilty and beholden. People with low self-esteem tend to give in, because they can't bring themselves to suffer even momentary disapproval from another person.

There is a huge difference when there are other alternatives and when you are giving in because of unhealthy reason. Martyrdom isn't good for anyone. The boundaries of vatranut have to do with halachic priorities. A mitzva comes before other obligations. Something only you can do comes before something other people can do.

For example, only you as your children's mother can put your kids to bed in a way that will make them feel loved and cared for. If someone consistently asks you to drive them somewhere at that hour, you have to learn to say no.

A definable mitzva cannot be forfeited at the risk of doing an aveira. For instance, if right before Shabbat a friend requests a favor that might cause you to violate Shabbat, you are obligated to decline. Obviously, real emergencies and saving lives take precedence over almost everything else.

Learn to use your good judgment and common sense. Giving in is laudable, but never at the expense of neglecting
your priorities.

Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on Naaleh.com

Friday, January 28, 2011

Resisting temptation from Rabbi Avigdor Miller Z"L

QUESTION:  Here's a big question, it needs three hours to answer this. How can one resist temptation in today's wicked world?
ANSWER: And the answer is, in one sentence, cut loose from the world. Does it make sense, here's a man who happened to take hold of a thorn bush, and the big thorn sank into his flesh, and he's shouting, "Look it's bleeding, it hurts". So people say to him, “Dumbbell, first thing is let go!”

Here's a man sitting in front of a television and saying to his wife, how can we get rid of this wicked world? Take a hammer and give one smash and you're finished with the wicked world. If you continue to bring the New York Times into your house, what do you expect?! If a man brings in dead rats into his house, into his dining room, and lets them ripen on the floor, will he complain about the odor?

So you cut loose from the wicked world. You have nothing to do with the wicked world, and you'll be amazed what an immediate remedy it's going to be. Now if you're talking about wicked world, a world of crime, that's a different story. But if you're talking about a world of Rishus, of bad character, of immorality and so on, so you heard in one sentence what to do. Cut loose!! And you'll be surprised; you'll be gratified at the results. Now how to cut loose, however, that's a big subject.

You know, the Sefer Tehilim is a Sefer of coming close to Hashem, it's full of ways of speaking to Hashem, Emunah, Bitachon, Ahavas Hashem. Everything is in Tehilim, by the way. Tehilim is a wonderful text book of coming close to Hashem. But the very first Kapitel, the first chapter of Tehilim, is an exception, it's a queer chapter. It starts out, "Happy is the Man who did not walk in the ways of the wicked". All of a sudden he's talking Mishlei, that's not Tehilim, he's giving advice. He's not talking about love of Hashem there; he's talking about cutting loose from the wicked.

The answer is this: What's the use of talking about coming close to Hashem, what's the use of talking noble ideals, when you're still in the company of the wicked, if you're mingling with them all the time? It's Tovel V'sherets B'yodo, how can you go and purify yourself when you're still holding a dead Sherets (creeping creature) in your hand? So the first thing is, in Tehilim it tells you first of all get rid of the company of the wicked, Cut loose from the Reshaim in every way; we are tied to them in thousands of ways. Cut loose! And then you're a candidate to learn the great lessons that Tehilim has in store for you.
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.

To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One from column A and one from column B: Mix and Match your way to simple but varied healthy food.

 People who see my meals think that I spend a lot of time cooking elaborate meals for myself, when in reality I have developed a system for cooking in bulk, weighing out and freezing potions, then mixing them in different combinations to get some easy and delicious food.

Detals here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A powerful segulah for change.

Rabbi Shimshon Pinchus in his book Shaarim B'Tefilah tells us a very powerful segulah for changing our lives.  We all know that davening has tremendous power, and davening a lot has a lot of extra power. If we take a pasuk and say it over and over as a Tefilah, it can bring real change in our lives.  ie: if we say the Pasuk., "Hashem created me with a pure heart" it will help us to purify our hearts, and the Pasuk, "Potaich et Yadecha" helps to bring Parnasah.

He explains that Hashem created the world according to the blueprint of the Torah, and the words of the Torah have tremendous power.  By saying them over and over we bring out that power.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Proof that loshon hora is harmful.

The relationship in the Torah between tzara’as (a skin disease induced by spiritual impurity) and the sin of loshon hora is well known. Moshe’s righteous sister Miriam was afflicted with tzara’as because she said something about Moshe that had just the slightest taint of loshon hora. Her words were well intentioned and she spoke only to her brother Aaron, yet she was immediately punished with tzara’as and the Jewish people had to delay travel for seven days until she was cured.

If one ever needed proof that loshon hora is as harmful as we have suggested, this is it. There is no other sin so toxic that it comes with its own unique corrective illness. In the Torah’s system of reward and punishment, there are no bolts of lightning striking down wrongdoers, because that would subvert the concept of bechirah (free choice). If Divine punishment were instantaneous, there would be no opportunity to choose between right and wrong. Similarly, if every sin was punishable by its own unique sickness, it would be virtually unthinkable to sin.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Building connections to prevent Loshon Hara

Rashi says that Sinas Chinam is not hating someone for no reason, it is isolating yourself from other people, thinking that you do not need what they have to offer.  One of the best ways of eliminating Loshon Hara is to appreciate what other people have to offer, and to stay connected to them.

from a Shiur by Rebbetzin Heller on Smiras Haloshon

Sunday, January 23, 2011

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail- A check list for a well stocked home.

 Many people lose their abstinence because they did not have the right food in their house. This is a check list for things that store well, freeze well, and ideas for ways of combining them. If you make sure that you always have a variety of preweighed portions ready, you will find it much easier to keep to your plan of eating. If you cook in bulk, you will find that you will save a lot of time and have a nice variety of food by freezing preweighed portions. :

at our sister blog:


Emunah grows from challenge

The Chazon Ish says that developmentally delayed people are neshomas of Tzadikim who were sent into this world to help correct us.  Families that lovingly raise special needs children grow and become elevated from the experience.  Emunah grows from challenge.

from the Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody, "Unconditional Love"

Unconditional Love

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov says that the way to do Teshuva is to be silent and to be quiet when someone insults you.  Why does he use the double language?  To be quiet, is to not say anything back.  To be silent means that even in your head you are at peace. 

from a Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Broday on "Unconditional Love".

As I am working on my fourth step, I find it very difficult to give up certain resentments.  I want to be justified and self righteous.  The key to recovery is to be silent, in our heads.

All the world is a narrow bridge- the main thing is not to be afraid. .... Rebbe Nachman

One of the most powerful tools of the Yetzer Hara is to make us feel overwhelmed and too busy.  This insight from Hazelton is very powerful.

Man, like the bridge, was designed to carry the load of the moment, not the combined weight of a year at once.
--William A. Ward

When trouble tumbles down on us, we are easily overwhelmed. We see problems facing us in the future, and mountains of work to do. We look at the past and see the pain and struggle of addiction. Looking at all this, we might feel despair. We can't handle it. We want to run. Our thoughts begin to spin; we feel caught in a whirlwind. We feel we will break.

Then, softly, we hear the words of our Twelve Step program: "One day at a time." We find we can slow down and take a moment to let the peace of our Higher Power touch us. Now we can take one small step at a time. We can begin the task before us – doing the next right thing. By slowing down and taking action, we stop the spinning and find calm. We find that, like the bridge, we can handle the stress of the moment. And one day at a time, we can find serenity.

Today help me to stay focused on life, one moment at a time. Help me to hear the soft voice of recovery.

from : Body, Mind, and Spirit. Copyright 1990

by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Taking Mitzrayim out of ourselves.

"And the Children of Israel said (to Moshe and Ahron), 'would that we had died by the hand of HaShem in the land of Egypt when we sat by the pot of meat, when we ate food to fullness," (Shemos, 16, 3).

"And Moshe and Ahron said to the Children of Israel, 'even then you will know that HaShem brought you out from the land of Egypt," (Shemos 16, 6).

This verse is teaching us that by providing the quail and Mahn in response to their fear of hunger in the desert, the Jewish People will know that HaShem is the One solely responsible for their salvation. But why is food used as the vehicle to deliver this essential lesson that serves as a fundamental cornerstone of Jewish doctrine? And why is their fear centered around their previous eating habits in Egypt?

Surely the wilderness of the desert could have easily prompted other concerns causing anxiety for the Jewish People (wild animals, lack of shelter, etc . . .). Why were they focused on the food, and what's the lesson HaShem is trying to teach us through this episode in the exodus from Egypt?

The commentator Seforno offers a powerful and penetrating insight. He explains that Moshe prayed that when HaShem responds to the nation's request for food, He should provide their sustenance on a nightly basis, exactly enough for that evening (no more and no less). And through this manner of provision, the Jewish People will know that HaShem is taking them out of Egypt - not just taking the Jews out of the land of Egypt, but taking Egyptian attitudes and behaviors completely out of the Jewish People.

For they yearned to return to the gluttonous ways of Mitzrayim, which was always having a pot of meat at their side, continually grazing like an animal, with no proper boundaries and guidelines in their relationship with food. They were likened to chickens constantly pecking at garbage, demeaning and debasing themselves just for another morsel of this, or bite of that.

This continued until HaShem's servant Moshe instilled the concept of set times for meals - teaching them to behave like mentchen (proper human beings) when it came to eating - having proper portions and proper times. This, the Seforno says, is the explanation of these verses, about how HaShem didn't just take the Jews out of Egypt, but took Egypt out of the Jews.

How can we deny this clear and graphic lesson? When we run from shul to shul hoping to chap another slice of cake here, or piece of kugel there, are we not enslaving ourselves back to Egyptian culture, ascribing importance to their sets of mores and values? Is this the Jewish way to have a holy and healthy relationship with food? Are we really being kadosh at a kiddush?

Is this the example to set for our children - to eat whenever we feel like it and whatever we want, like a cow grazing in a field or a chicken pecking at garbage? We're instructed to remember and relive the exodus from Egypt every day. It doesn't have to be just theoretical. Good שבת

from a Sovea Newsletter

Lucky is man that goes in Hashem's ways,

 and knows that all his needs are taken care of by Hashem, and that all is weighed and thought over by Hashem till the last detail.

A person that truly believes "Hashem hu haelokim bashamayim ummal veal haaretz mitachas ein od" can go through this world even in the most difficult times of upheaval as if he was on a vacation. When a person is on vacation his mood is elevated, he goes around smiling to everyone, and no one will be successful in disturbing his vacation or getting him angry. As far as he is concerned he left all his worries at home and now he is on vacation and will return to his worries when he returns home. So too and much more then that, is the feeling from a person with true bitachon in Hashem, Every step he takes, he knows he is in the hands of Hashem's mercy.
 Explanation on aleinu leshabeach from Harav Silberstein.
Guest Post from Rivkie

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Correcting The Sin of Adam Harishon

Just like Adam Harishon brought death and destruction to the world through eating one fruit incorrectly, we can help heal the world by eating fruit correctly.

from a Shiur about Tu B'shvat by Bilvavi Miskan Evneh.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A man is like a tree.

Rabbi Ezreil Tauber says that when we look at a tree we have to value not just the fruit of the tree, but the tree itself.  When we look at our lives we have to value not just the moments when we accomplish what we hope to accomplish, but we have to value every moment of our lives.  Every moment that we are doing what Hashem wants us to do is a precious moment, equally valuable.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Tauber on Aish Audio

Tu B'Svat- a time for growth

Tu B'Shvat is the New Year for the Trees. As in all other points in the Jewish calendar, Tu B'Shvat offers a unique opportunity for insight into living and personal growth. Throughout the centuries, Kabbalists have used the tree as a metaphor to understand God's relationship to the spiritual and physical worlds. Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, in his 18th century classic The Way of God, teaches that the higher spiritual realms are roots that ultimately manifest their influence through branches and leaves in the lower realms.

by Yitzhak Buxbaum

from Aish.com

Satan’s Strategies from SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM — Preface

“I wondered to myself,” the Chofetz Chaim writes, “how was it possible that this Torah prohibition of loshon hora came to be disregarded by so many people?”

The Chofetz Chaim answers this by introducing us to the main strategy of the evil inclination and the tactics which it utilizes to entangle us in the powerful sin of loshon hora.

The average person, writes the Chofetz Chaim, is simply unaware that the prohibition of loshon hora applies to information that is true. (Information that is false is termed hotza’as shem ra, slander.) Therefore, all Satan needs to do is to present information as being true and most people will readily repeat it, though according to halachah (Torah law) such talk is absolutely forbidden.

For people who are more learned, Satan uses a different approach. He convinces the person that the subject of the loshon hora is an evil person and therefore deserves that loshon hora be spoken about him, or that this information is not loshon hora.

If these tactics fail, Satan uses an opposite tactic. He causes the person to worry that every word he speaks might be loshon hora even when it is not. Satan makes it appear that the only choice one has is not to speak at all. Since most people are involved in conversation numerous times each day, the only solution seems to be to ignore the laws of loshon hora, for they are impossible to keep. Satan really is quite clever!

Once Satan has convinced people to speak loshon hora, he goes about spreading his web of misinformation further to draw people into listening to the loshon hora, based on their lack of knowledge of the halachah.

For these reasons, the Chofetz Chaim writes, the sin of loshon hora had become small in the eyes of the world. People became accustomed to speaking without measuring their words against the Torah’s standards. Eventually, loshon hora was no longer viewed as an evil, thereby allowing bitter, damaging conversation to become acceptable, unrecognized as the terrible sin that it is.

Shmiras haloshon, guarding one’s speech, became the mitzvah of the pious, not of ordinary Jews, an irrelevant issue to most people. Satan’s strategies had succeeded. A most severe Torah prohibition, certainly equal to that of eating non-kosher food, was now considered to be nothing more than an optional stringency that only few were concerned with.

All of Satan’s strategies, writes the Chofetz Chaim, were based on his ability to spread misinformation. This was possible because the correct information was generally inaccessible. The laws of loshon hora were scattered throughout the Talmud, having never been collected and organized. People were drowning in the sin of loshon hora simply because they were totally ignorant of it and had no way of learning about it.

It was this tragic situation which impelled the Chofetz Chaim to write his monumental work - Sefer Chofetz Chaim.

The prizes doesn't always go to the most deserving: Irena Sendler

There recently was a death of a 98 year-old lady named Irena.During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Nurse. She had an 'ulterior motive' .. She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews, (being German.)   Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried in the back of her truck.  She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.  During her time doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family.  Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize ... She was not selected.

Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.

[AH] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendler

She died, whilst being nursed by one of the children she saved from the gas chamber.

The Lion and the Fox

“There was once a clever fox who was cornered by a hungry lion. Just as he was about to be eaten, the fox said to his attacker, “Why do you want to eat me, a small fox who is only skin and bones? I will show you a good, fat man who is sure to fill your belly much better.” After considering this proposal for a moment the lion agreed, and the two set out together in the direction of the village. Soon, they reached the edge of a clearing where a man was sitting on the far side of a pit covered with leaves.

However, when the lion saw the man he said to the fox, “I am afraid that his prayers will serve to protect him and do me harm.”

“Don’t worry,” replied the fox. “Even so, they will neither harm you nor your children. And even on the chance that they will affect your grandchildren, that is certainly a long, long time from now! In the meantime you will have been well sated with a hearty meal.”

Once again, the lion followed the fox’s advice and ran towards the man to pounce on him. Suddenly, when the taste of supper was already sweet in his mouth, the ground gave way underneath him and he plunged downward into the deep trap. As the fox peered at him safely from the edge of the pit the lion looked up and cried, “You gave me your word that no bad would befall me! How could this have happened?”

“Simple,” replied the fox. “It seems that your grandfather must have been faced with a similar confrontation!”

“But is it fair that I should have to suffer for the sins of my grandfather?” bemoaned the lion.

“Ahhh,” replied the fox. “But why did you not think of that when it was your grandchildren whose future was at stake?”

R’ Dessler, in a letter written during his journey to America in 1930, expressed the thought that with the aid of the above parable he was able to understand the answer to a question which had always puzzled him concerning the rebellion of Korach and his associates. Our sages tell us that indeed, Korach was one of the greatest personages in the generation of the giving of the Torah. What’s more, Korach wasn’t alone. He was joined in his crusade against Aharon and Moshe by one-hundred and fifty heads of the Sanhedrin who stood loyally by his side. How is it possible that such great individuals were able to commit such a gross error?

The answer is that just as the lion, the king of the beasts, was blinded by his hunger pains and was thus capable of being deceived, so too, when a person, even a very great person such as Korach who espoused high spiritual aspirations, allows himself to be slanted by his hidden personal motivations it is possible for him to ignore the most obvious facts of reality.

Our sages tell us that Korach’s honor was slighted when his younger cousin was appointed to a coveted position of authority. Only because of this was it possible for him and his assembly who witnessed the miracles of the ten plagues, the exodus from Egypt, and the many wonders that the Jewish people experienced in the desert to question the leadership of Moshe and the appointment of Aharon as the Kohein Gadol.

For us, the message of Korach’s rebellion against Moshe and Aharon and his subsequent downfall serves as a powerful reminder of the power of personal considerations and peer pressure to shape our decisions even against what we know in our hearts is clearly is the correct path in life.

(Adapted from Mictav M’Eliyahu Vol. 4, p.304)

 Thank you Rivka for sending this  to me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baruch Hashem I discovered a fantastic source of Torah learning.

This evening I was looking for a Shiur by Rabbi Ari Kahn about Tu Beshevat and I discovered that Rabbi Kahn has a series of free Shiurim-Podcasts- on I Tunes.  This sent me to his web site: http://www.rabbiarikahn.com/  which has a lot of free Shiurim.  Enjoy!!!

The power of a single action.

When Yisro told his daughters to invite Moshe home for a meal, he had no idea how this one small act would impact his life.  In our lives we tend to underestimate the importance of every act that we take.  It is important for us to remember that every single act that we do has the potential to change our lives for the better or for the worse.

heard on an outreach call

In OA we learn that one bite of food off of our food plan has the potential to take us very far from our goal of abstinence.  Therefore we put a lot of emphasis on not taking even one bite off of our food plan.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The power of Ratzon-desire.

David Hamelech said (Tehilim 145:16) "You open your Hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing."  This teaches us that what Hakadosh Baruch Hu provides is in accordance with our aspirations....If we examine our feelings honestly, we may uncover the unsettling fact that we do not really want it as much as we think or say we do.

from "It's All in Your Mind" by Sara Yosef   p.28

Do I really want to stay abstinent, or do I have some hidden agenda that is keeping me from being abstinent?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fate and Causality

The ability to effect change in the world is in the Hands of Hakados Baruch Hu, who decides what will transpire in the world.  Yet with the power of his thoughts, a person who believes that Hashem brings us only goodness can change his destiny.  The power of thought and the power of actions can change Hashem's decrees, whether for good or for bad.  If we will think positively, looking to Hashem for assistance and doing all that we are required to do, then, with Hashem's help, we can merit endless Heavenly kindness and generosity.

from "It's All in Your Mind" by Sara Yosef   p.22

 This book was written up in Mishpacha magazine a while ago, but it just came out in English.  It is well written and very insightful.  I really recommend it. 

It talks about :
The potential power of our thoughts is tremendous. in fact, the secret to success lies in the power of thought. How can we realize our life's dreams and aspirations? Can we change our destiny? How do we avail ourselves of the Almighty's boundless goodness?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why should I buy a special Esrog?

Remember: Tubeshvat is the time to daven for a special Esrog.

The pusuk says, "This is my God and I will glorify him", what does it mean to glorify Hashem, to glorify the Mitzot.  This is one of the sources to explain why we buy a beautiful Esrog, and special Tefilin.  When we do the mitzvot in a special way, we are really glorifying ourselves.

from a Shiur on Naaleh:
Parshat Beshalach: Glorifying the Glorified

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why did I fail in my Nisayon?

Sometimes people have Nisyonos that they are not able to withstand, and they fail.  This seems to contradict the idea that we are never put in a Nisayon that we do not have the ability to withstand.  The answer to this contradiction is that sometimes we put ourselves into a situation, that we were not meant to be in.  In that case Hashem has not given us the ability to withstand the Nisayon.

Another reason is that we can choose to fail.  Even though we have the ability to pass, we can choose to fail.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Noson Weisz about Beshalach from Aish Audio

Bringing our potential into reality

Hashem gives us tests, Nisyonos, to help us to bring our potential into reality.  If a person is never challenged they can live all of their lives in their comfort zone and never grow.  Hashem brought B'nei Yisrael through the dessert, giving them exactly the food that they needed for that day, to help them to grow in their Emunah.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Noson Weisz about Beshalach from Aish Audio.

A reflection on "Ain Od Milvado"

Rabbi Yom Tov Glasser gives the Moshol of a person watching a movie in a movie theater that is very emotional.  On the screen, a little child is crying.  You feel so bad for the child that you run to the screen and try to hug the child, but really you are hugging the screen.

This is our lives,  we focus on the physical aspects and forget the spiritual aspects.  We can spend our lives "hugging the screen", or we can spend our lives looking at the source.

from a Shiur by Rabbi Yom Tov Glasser

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parsha thoughts from Rivkie

Insight on Parshas Beshalach,

The sea was ready to split but was waiting for action from man, and it says in Parshas beshalach " and Moshe stretched out his arm over the water...and the sea split.

Reb Moshe Teitelbaum of Ujhel explains: Hashem performs miracles only after man puts in his own effort.

In program (OA)  we must do the action in order to get the miracle.

Another insight I thought would be appropirate

When Klal Yisrael left Mitzrayim after Pharaoh finally relented, it would have seemed logical for them to take the shortest possible route to reach Eretz Yisrael. For many reasons Hashem took them on a much longer, circuitous route through uninhabited land in the desert. The Netziv in Haamek Davar explains that when Hashem took His beloved children out of bondage, He didn't lead them to their new destination through Eretz Plishtim not because he was afraid they would turn back, Rather, the reasoning was "ki karov hu" because it was too close to their slave experience in Mitzrayim. The journey to Eretz Yisroel via that route would have taken ten days, too short a time span for them to make the leap from their slave mentality to the unique characteristic which would differentiate them from all the other nations of the world-namely, that they would be an "am l'vadad yishkon" (bamidbar 23:9),

a nation separate and apart from all others, worthy recipients of the Torah whose total Emunah in hashem would never waver.

In order for Klal Yisroel to make the necessary inner transformation, Hashem had to re-route them and take them via the long. difficult path through the desert. The desert experience was essential for their spriritual growth, as it provided time and distance from who and where they were when they were redeemed. This presented them with the opportunity to develop a special relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Only extraordinary experiences and miracles would teach them that Hashem not only saves His followers from destruction, but also sustains them, day in day out, under any and all conditions and circumstances. THis was the purpose of the wandering through the wilderness and the meaning of the detour that Hashem now made them take.

There is an important and timeless lesson to be learned from this. Often we are faced with circumstances that dictate our choices, compelling us to the follow the longer, more difficult route. Our human limitations may not allow us to recognize the benefits of that route as compared with the shorter, easier way. But so often it is only via that route that we can cultivate real trasformation in ourselves and our relationship with Hashem. And we can rest assured that Hashem is with us on our journey, as long as we yearn to do the right thing and place our trust in Him.

From BInah Magazine written by Tzipi Diamond

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why do we do self destructive acts?

If we saw someone jump off of a roof, flap his wings and try to fly, we would never try to imitate it. So why is it that we see people do destructive behaviors and suffer the consequences and yet we still do these destructive acts.  The reason is that our Yetzer Hara will always give us reasons to legitimize something that we strongly desire.

Adapted from "The Spiritual Self" by Rabbi Abraham Twerski

Infested With Worms

"The Children of Israel did so and they gathered, whoever took more and whoever took less. They measured in an Omer and whoever took more had nothing extra and whoever too less was not lacking. Everyone according to what he eats had they gathered...people left over until the morning and it became infested with worms and stank..." 16:17-20

According To What He Eats He Gathered...Infested With Worms - This was a sign that all of a persons earthly needs are decreed from Above and there is no point in gathering more than one will need, for it cannot be taken along with a person once his time on earth expires. When a person immerses himself excessively in earthly pleasures, he only provides extra fuel for the worms... - Kli Yakar (Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz)

Kli Yakar adds that the exception to this rule was that which was left over on Friday for consumption on Shabbat, which did not rot or turn wormy. Instead, it remained fresh and nourishing. This was symbolic of the idea that a person must spend his days accumulating possessions that can be stored away for the "Day That Is Complete Shabbat", also known as "Olam Habbah"- The World To Come. The Torah and Mitzvot that we bank for that period, will never decay or decompose. They're the only functional currency in the World To Come.
from a newsletter from 'Partners in Torah'

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Segulah for Parnasah

Reb Mendel M'Riminov said that saying Parshas Ha'monn (Shneyim Mikroh V'Echod Targum) on Tuesday Parshas B'Shalach, is a Segulah for Parnasah. Tuesday Parshas B'Shalach is this Tuesday - January 11th.

That dangerous First Wrong Choice

The Brisker Rav, explains that the entire purpose of the ten plagues was to teach the world what happens to a person who becomes a habitual sinner.  Ultimately, say the Brisker Rav, such a person will become addicted to sin to the same extent that a substance abuser becomes addicted.  Of course, once that happens,  he has lost control of his actions- a truth that caused Pharaoh to lose his bechirah.  Pharaoh had a choice- and making that wrong first choice was what led to his repeated evil behavior.

Because we are surrounded by the decadence of modern society, we must take this lesson to heart and be extremely careful not to fall into the clutches of the Yezer Hara.  We must realize that the only time we still have full control is before that first taste of sin-because avairos, like illegal substances, are habilt forming and once we are addicted to them, it is almost impossible to extricate ourselves from their hold.

from an article by Rabbi Chaim A. Weinberg in Homodia Magazine 29 Teves

Thank you Rivkie for sending this to me.

The illness called Resentment.

Harbeh Shluchim L’Makom. If you are not getting what you think you deserve from a person , Hashem can find a different person to give it to you, and if Hashem doesn’t think that you should have it then it is better that you shouldn’t have it. Get rid of the illness called Resentment.

heard from a Shiur by Rebbetzin Heller

Sunday, January 9, 2011

If you want to feel better, go to a meeting, if you want to get better work the twelve steps.

This morning I attended a 3 1/2 hour workshop on working the twelve steps. As a member of OA we use all of the literature of AA and logically we know that that alcohol and food can both be deadly if abused and that our addictions are similar, but this morning we had guest speakers from AA and I was really impressed by how similar the addictions are, and how the mind of the addict works the same, no matter what the addiction. The Yetzer Hara will attack us wherever we are vulnerable/

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thought is greater then action.

The Alter of Kelm says that we learn from this week's Parsha that thought is greater then action.  When Hashem commanded them to fulfil the mitzvah of the Pascal Lamb they accepted it in their mind, and every time they thought about it, and accepted that they were gong to do it.  They got a reward each time that they had this thought as if they had done this.  We learn from this that we have to be careful that our thinking is always correct and not just our actions.

from a Short Video on Kosher Tube by Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz   "Every Moment-Parshas Bo"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Bracha of Gratitude

A person should always focus on gratitude. When we focus on all of the kindness that Hashem does for use open up new channels of Bracha. We gain the ability to see that life is not about me, and to develop humility.  The middah of humility is one of the best ways to acquire Torah.

from a Shiur on Naaleh:
Parshat Bo: Midnight Mindfulness  Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles

Another moving guest post--

I just wanted to share something that happened to me this past Friday night in the hope that it will help someone with their recovery. I usually find Shabbos the hardest day for abstinence as it is the time that I like to unwind, sit down, relax a little, read some Jewish books and enjoy nice food! So, last Friday night I had been abstinent all week and I wanted to try over Shabbos too. It was hard, and I was struggling, but BH, the kids had gone to sleep and I had some time to think. I went upstairs to avoid the temptation and I actually stopped and spoke to HaShem. I begged him for help and I thought about a few emotional issues that I had been dealing with during the week for which I hadn’t found any solution. This time that I sat quietly and actually tried to connect to HaShem and open up my mind and my heart to His presence was richly rewarded!

I started to see the issues that I was struggling with, in a completely new light. Answers were just coming to me as a free gift being dropped into my brain from HaShem and I am so grateful to Him for helping me. I wanted to share it with you because my sponsor has said to me a number of times that the food is like a blockage between myself and HaShem. By putting down the food, and running to HaShem instead of food when I want to escape whatever is happening in my life, then I open myself up for His help. The food cannot help, but He can! It’s so simple, and yet I’m still fighting with my self-will (aka Yetzer Hara for me). The Yetzer Hara wants to keep us miserable, and keep us away from the help we can get and the closeness to HaShem which is the main purpose of our being in this world.

I wish you all a wonderful, abstinent Shabbos, with tremendous closeness to HaShem, who loves us all and is waiting so patiently for us to come and find Him.

Much love,


Overeating has a spiritual cost.

We tend to think that eating and drinking are parve in a spiritual sense, but the reality is that they will either uplift or degrade us. Overeating can desensitize us from becoming what we are and want we want to be. Rabbi Nachman says that overeating leads to the illusion that the physical side is all that there is in the world.When you buy into this lie, your life becomes a distortion of the truth.

from an article by Rebbetzin Heller in the Hamodia,
 thank you Rivkie for bringing this to my attention.

Hope for the struggler.- A guest post from Rivkie

The last few weeks I kept on picking up food* which was not committed. I came to the realization that every time I picked up, it just wasn't enough. I wanted more and more. Nothing could fill the emptiness, no matter what I would taste, it just didn’t give me the fix I wanted or thought I needed. Now that, thank Hashem I have a few days of abstinence, I noticed that no matter how much I was eating, nothing was giving me what I was looking for. I also noticed by being in this program we are undergoing a psychological change and even if we indeed enjoyed particular food prior to being in OA we can’t find the same enjoyment anymore.

Why? Possibly because we have enjoyed the taste of abstinence and our life has became more manageable and would hate, or be afraid to lose this unbelievable experience; or maybe because we are aware that that by picking up we realize that this binge is robbing us from life. By staying in the misery we can’t even notice all the gifts Hashem bestows upon us every moment of the day. Today I have immense emotional pain and for the first time in program I actually turned it over to Hashem and begged him to bring the salvation for this particular obstacle. I truly felt a spiritual connection and I am convinced that all Hashem does is for our growth and wants us to get closer, yet it is still very painful. Then I drove down the highway and I took note of the beautiful surroundings, the beauty of the snow, the glistening sun, the stunning neighborhood and I actually enjoyed it, even though I was in agonizing emotional pain. How many times have I driven down this road and was totally oblivious of all that surrounded me, being too engrossed in my misery.

Had I turned to the food I would have had a fix for a fleeting moment, numbing my feelings, however I am convinced I would have not picked up my Tehilim with such strong feelings and for sure not noticed my beautiful surrounding. Now this is what I mean, the food that is consumed over and above robs us from life.

I hope this share will give some strength to someone in program, because for me writing about this was a true awakening and I hope with Hashem’s help will help me abstain from the food and reach higher and higher.

I choose to stay anonymous however I would like some feed back if anyone has on this.

* picking up in OA means eating something outside of your food plan.

A response from someone who doesn't have internet connection, so I read it to hear and she dictacted this comment.

It is great that you had such an awakening, and the only way to keep it is to daven every day asking for the willingness to be willing, and focusing on gratitude because a grateful heart doesn't eat. If we focus on gratitude and see and appreciate Hashem's beauty, our problems stay the same but we are wearing different glasses and see them differently. Don't leave before the miracle.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A message for all times

Rav Rice notes that at the beginning of the parsha, Hashem says, “Bo el Pharoh, Come to Pharoah.” Why does it say “Bo” and not lech, go? Additionally, if Hashem planned to harden Paro’s heart, what was the purpose of sending Moshe to him so many times?  The Kotzker Rebbe explains that when Hashem said “Bo,” he meant “Come with Me.” He was really saying, “I will be with you on your mission.”

 This is a message for all times. Even if we fall into the abyss of evil, Hashem will give us chance after chance to return and He will be with us. “V’ani hichbadti, I will harden.” Hashem himself sends us hardships and difficulties so that in the process of overcoming them, we create a new and deeper relationship with Him. The pain itself is a form of love, just as the very image of thedog, normally a scary apparition, symbolized Hashem’s chesed and compassion.

from Parshat Bo – Hark To The Bark

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stay Connected

In Pirke Avos it say, "Don't Separate yourself from others".  When a person has an urge to isolate himself from others it is usually caused by a desire to fulfil a desire.
from a Shiur on Aish Audio

The 5 Root Causes of Lashon Hara # LZ 616 D

by Leff, Rabbi Zev

What does our Yetzer Hara sound like?

You can tell the voice of the Yetzer Hara by what it says.  The voice of the Yetzer Hara says, "I have so little, I want so much"  We can fight the Yetzer Hara by repeating to ourselves, "I have so much".

Shelanu: Escaping the Prison of Thoughts # HT 678

by Heller, Rebbitzen Tziporah

Another reason to work on our grateful list.
Related Posts with Thumbnails