Pirkei Avot ~ Our Human Limitations

Loading
loading..
can-stock-photo_csp4029762

Pirkei Avot ~ Our Human Limitations

May 24, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

No Comments

BS’D

Pirkei Avot writes (4:19), “Rabbi Yanai says: It is not in our power to explain…”

Human inventions are fascinating. Science technology has revealed amazing mysteries. Nevertheless, human beings cannot comprehend everything. Human logic cannot grasp Divine wisdom. Our minds are limited. We cannot rely on our understanding, our daat. There are questions such as ‘Why do bad things happen to good people’ that even Moshe Rabbeinu could not grasp.

Attempting to solve the unsolvable may lead us to falsehood. Eventually, after 120 years when we are not limited by our finite bodies (including our minds), we will better grasp Infinite wisdom and merit seeing the bigger picture. In the meantime, we must rely on our emuna.

Emuna begins where logic ends. Emuna is acknowledgement of the fact that we are finite and that Hashem is in total control of existence, from the smallest atom to the galaxies in space. Emuna is beyond human analysis or understanding – it involves trusting in He who we do not fully understand or sense with our physical senses and bodies.

Acknowledging that our wisdom and understanding is limited enables us to be more tolerant of others and their perspectives. Torah is multifaceted. Each person learns Torah from their own subjective viewpoint. Something that appears crystal clear to one person may be completely unclear to someone else.  When confronting situations of apparent injustice, we must close our eyes and create unity with Hashem (as recited in the Shema; Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad). The process of stopping and turning to Hashem represents surrender to His wisdom. It acknowledges that human perception can be faulty and that our view or opinion may be wrong. Rather, we should strive to simply accept Hashem’s authority without reservation or argument.

feel-good-factor-with-Meghan-Markle-rs

Pirkei Avot ~To Be Created in Hashem’s Image

May 23, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
, ,
No Comments

BS’D

According to Pirkei Avot (3:18), “… Beloved is the man, for he was created in Hashem’s image…” This lesson is of particular  importance for our current generation who is plagued with a lack of self-esteem and  self-worth. This Mishnah reinforces the idea that every Jew is precious because we are all created in Hashem’s image.  It reminds us to attach ourselves to our G-dly image and our holy task. By focusing on our G-dliness and holiness we can envelop ourselves in comfort and satisfaction.

In contrast, remaining unaware of our G-dliness and greatness may cause us to think less of ourselves and this false self-perception may be damaging. Remaining unaware of our G-dly spark and potential is tragic – it is like a person walking around with an immense treasure but being unaware of her riches.

Not only did Hashem created us in ‘His image’, He also informed us of this gift in order that we direct our lives with this knowledge. The idea of being created in Hashem’s image refers to our ability to deeply contemplate our purpose, to improve and channel our animalistic drives and to freely make decisions that enable us to attach ourselves to Hashem. This knowledge that we were created in the Divine image should motivate us to live up to our greatness and bring out our full potential with a healthy self-awareness and self-worth.

 

4170916-heaven-path

Personal Prayer in Practice ~ Part III

May 18, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
,
No Comments

BS’D

In the midst of a trial or nisayon, some of us may struggle to see the good in our lives. What does Rebbe Nachman advise in such cases?

First, during hitbodedut we have to work hard to search high and low for Hashem’s kindness to us, to actively focus on the times when His gracious hand is clearly revealed. But Rebbe Nachman also advises that we should utter words of thanks even if our hearts are not moved. Eventually our words lo lishma will melt the high walls and secured fortress surrounding our hearts. Even in the absence of intense emotion, hitbodedut can still successfully peel away the klipot (shells) covering the heart and transforms our hearts into a vessel that captures Hashem’s light.

Singing or humming holy music or niggunim during hitbodedut is an excellent way of opening our hearts. Such music may awaken hidden feelings or forgotten memories and may inspire a connection to Hashem. Alternatively, we can choose a certain passuk or verse from Chazal and repeatedly recite it with intense concentration. The holy words act as a laser beam, piercing our heart with emotion. For instance, repeating “Ribbono Shel Olam or “Avinu Malkenu” a thousand times may enhance our emotional bond with our Creator.

Even sitting in pure silence during hitbodedut has the power to inject great light into our soul. Despite the absence of words, there remains a strong desire to communicate with Hashem. This type of silence is a spiritual silence, originating from intense feelings that cannot be expressed via words. Though not auditory, we are still connecting with Hashem on a deep, spiritual level. This type of silence goes beyond words and is described in Tehillim, “Lecha Dumia Tehillah (Silence is praise to You…) (see (65:2)”.

Regardless of the method we choose, each hitbodedut session serves to knock down another brick from the wall around our hearts, until eventually we can access our true internal neshama and connect fully with Hashem.

492566607_1280x720

Personal Prayer in Practice ~ Part II

May 17, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
,
one comments

BS’D

One remarkable effect of hitbodedut is the ability to deeply connect to Hashem in a close and personal way. This process illuminates our soul. Through emotional discourse – words of praise, appreciation, desire, will, lament, and honest reflection – we are able to bond with our Creator on the deepest level.

Our souls’ true desires are often covered over by the desires of our guf, body. Hitbodedut enables us to shed the layers of the guf and some of the genuine desires of the soul begin to surface. For instance, we may begin to feel and access our desire to be righteous and not transgress, to be happy, to live with zest and strength, to increase our emuna, see good in all things and in everyone, a strengthening of self-worth and honor. Above all, this process enables us to truly feel Hashem’s constant and intimate presence.

One highly beneficial part of hitbodedut is to utter words of gratitude. This demonstrates our contentment and our firm emuna that Hashem does everything for the best and that He listens to our tefillot. Expressing appreciation also motivates us to continue to pray with anticipation that the ultimate good will be revealed. We all have friends, relatives and others who support and assist us; B’H we are not alone in this world. Thanking Hashem for our loved ones keeps our blessings coming.

If we are stuck for something to thank Hashem for, Chazal suggest that we visit a hospital or a cemetery. By comparing ourselves to others in the community who are less fortunate than us, we automatically feel appreciation for what Hashem has blessed us. This process of contrasting ourselves with others may minimize the need for Hashem to send us intense challenges in order to encourage us to appreciate the beauty of an ordinary day.

hisbodedus

Personal Prayer in Practice

May 16, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
,
No Comments

 

BS’D

The process of pouring our heartfelt thoughts and feelings to Hashem often enables us to feel cherished and uplifted. Rebbe Nachman explains that hitbodedut is meant to be a deep, intimate talk with Hashem in order to reach heart-felt issues that need to be addressed. Chiseling through the fortress surrounding our hearts requires a significant period of regular time to open up and acknowledge our feelings and emotions. He therefore advises us to do one hour of hitbodedut a day in order to reach this deep, penimi place, this deep place within.

In terms of location, Rebbe Nachman suggests that the most effective hitbodedut is achieved in a private space or in the fields. The fields offer open space and views of nature , which may enhance our connection with Hashem. Though we should also bring Hashem into our everyday lives and speak with Him during all activities, whether driving, folding the laundry and/or washing the dishes, this is not Rebbe Nachman’s hitbodedut per se’. Rather, Rebbe Nachman is referring to talking to Hashem, ‘face to face’ while not engaging in any other activity other than perhaps taking a drink which doesn’t disturb our mode of focus.

Ideally we should set aside a private spiritual ‘corner’ in which we regularly pray, learn and do hitbodedut. We may associate this holy setting with spirituality and this association may enhance our spiritual connections. However, such a separate space is not crucial and we can carry out hitbodedut even while traveling as a passenger and pretending to read a book or while walking in public, while sitting in a public space or in bed under the covers (being careful not to fall asleep!).

Regardless of where we carry out the process, the main thing is to be alone, without being disturbed. The crucial element of this practice is to open ourselves up honestly and connect with Hashem’s presence.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah of Binyamin Yitzchak Yosef Leib ben Faiga, a young father who is in serious condition in need of a lung transplant. May Hashem shower him with a complete healing among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering, b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

 

a_ray_of_hope_by_silentgrace87

Personal Prayer ~ Part III

May 11, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
,
No Comments

BS’D

The Higher Heavenly court asks each of us an interesting question: “Did you appoint regular times for learning Torah?” One lesson we can extract from this question is the importance of regular, consistent practice as opposed to sporadic, albeit heartfelt prayers. Although it is a beneficial and admirable to ‘run’ to Hashem and talk over our deepest emotions and concerns the long-term benefits of hitbodedut is achieved best via everyday ‘ordinary’ talk.

Every hitbodedut session is a personal encounter with our Creator. Practiced on a regular basis, hitbodedut forges a deep connection with Hashem that cannot be severed easily. It is called “a lofty level greater than all” Rebbe Nachman ztk’l teaches. Consistency, routine and repetition work best, even at times when it appears there is nothing special to discuss.

Many question Rebbe Nachman’s teaching of the importance of one hour of hitbodedut. Some are concerned about the unrealistic nature of setting aside a whole hour dedicated to Hashem every day. In actual fact, Rebbe Nachman writes, “… one hour or more…”! He teaches that we should ideally strive towards transforming our entire lives to one dynamic intimate conversation with Hashem.

Let’s begin with setting aside a consistent block of time to open our hearts and mouths to our Creator. Let’s choose an authentic length of time, no matter how short a time period, at the most convenient time of day Then, gradually, we can build up towards our “one hour per day” goal. And in order to succeed, we can pray to Hashem to help us set aside this time to achieve our goal.

Today is memorial day in Israel. It is special to take a moment to pray for the souls who have departed from this world and their families.  May Klal Yisrael merit the geula without pain and tragedy, Amen.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Ahava Emuna bat Chava Etta, a young bother battling stage 4 cancer with tremendous pain and difficulty.  May Hashem shower her family with strength and heal her, b’riut hanefesh v’b’riut haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

 

flyer revised

windows-8-wallpaper-autumn-forest-sunlight-t2

Personal Prayer ~ Part II

May 10, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
,
No Comments

BS’D

The period between Pesach and Shavuot serves as a bridge between our freedom and the purpose of that freedom. It is a time to prepare spiritually for the revelation to come, our receiving the Torah.
Arguably, one of the most powerful ways of freeing oneself from constraints is the practice of hitbodedut.

Hitbodedut is simply defined as personal secluded one-on-one prayer between us and our Creator. According to psychological principles, the best road to a great relationship is communication. Hitbodedut is essentially communication, but a special form of communication used to forge a relationship with our Creator. Hitbodedut is an opportunity to talk over with Hashem our feelings of appreciation, our regrets, goals and our wishes.

However, speaking to Hashem is more challenging that one might think! Rebbe Nachman ztk’l teaches that due to the power and significance of hitbodedut we will face many obstacles to overcome in order to find the time to speak to Hashem in this way. The evil inclination understands the power of establishing a close-knit relationship with Hashem through hitbodedut. It will probably challenge us each time we attempt to seclude ourselves and open up our hearts. For instance, the yetzer hara may argue: “What do you need to talk about anyway? Don’t you feel awkward talking to the ‘air’?” Or he may just keep us so busy we do not feel we have the time to spare to undertake such a practice.

Yet, we can overcome these obstacles! We can fire up our ratzon (willpower) by reminding ourselves of the significance and effectiveness of hitbodedut. And when we show Hashem we are willing to do this avodah anyway, we will find that talking to Hashem in this way is uplifting. It reinforces through our actions and speech what our neshama, our soul always knows is true – that Hashem indeed is everywhere and with us always.

Hashem deliberately creates a lacking or absence in our lives to encourage us to turn to Him and connect with Him via processes such as hitbodedut. He creates this lack or need out of His kindness and mercy, knowing that the maximum pleasure we can obtain in this world is by connecting with Him. However, if we choose to connect with Him on a regular basis and not merely when we are lacking, He will not need to send us deprivation in order to impel us in His direction.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Eliyahu Moshe ben Devora and Chana bat Devora. Two children of one family: 28 year old fell from electric bicycle and has bleed in brain. His younger sister was involved in car accident a week after with painful back injuries. B’H may we hear good news soon for Klal Yisrael and no more pain and sorrow, Amen.

flyer revised

rock-garden-with-flowers-running-water-feature-stream

Personal Prayer ~ Part I

May 9, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
,
No Comments

BS’D

Prayer is a Jew’s greatest weapon. Rebbe Nachman ztk’l teaches that each Tefilla is likened to ‘an organ of the Shechinah HaKedosha’ which helps build this world, transforming destruction into perfection’ There is a Midrash that teaches that Mashiach will take all of Klal Yisrael’s soulful prayers and arrange a weapon of mass destruction to fight our enemies forever.

However, prosecutors stand ready to snatch our Tefillot, blocking them from ascending to the Heavenly realms. These prosecutors often arise due to our own transgressions. In order to overcome such blocks, we need to create new pathways. Rebbe Nachman teaches us an overlooked method of overcoming such impediments to our Tefillot called hitbodedut. This method of prayer was used by our Imahot and Avot. We can view hitbodedut as a form of ammunition that wards off negativity from our lives.

But a question arises – how does hitbodedut differ in any significant way from our prescribed Tefillot of the siddur? The heavenly prosecutors blocking the ascension of our prayers know the spiritual channels through which our prescribed Tefillot rise.

In contrast, each time we do hitbodedut we create a different channel unknown to the prosecutors. Unlike prescribed prayers with which the prosecutors are familiar, prayer via hitbodedut is fresh at each moment it is uttered. It represents a heartfelt, soulful yearning full of deep ratzon that is pure and unique to each individual person. The prosecutors have no template for such an inimitable form of prayer and are taken by surprise.

Each time we pour our hearts to Hashem – through words of gratitude, teshuva or requests – we ignite our soul and we heal our souls. As we enter our hitbodedut a remarkable process begins to occur – our inner soul’s craving and desire to fulfil our true life’s mission surfaces and the darkness, confusion and gloom consequently fades. It enables us to access that deep, soulful place inside of us that knows what is truly right and best for us, and thus to align our ratzon; our will with His Will.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Lynn Marilyn Tsivia bat Sara. May Hashem shower her with a complete healing b’riut hanefesh v’b’riut haguf among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.
flyer revised

Ptlr4026885

Feeling Like a Slave?

April 13, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

No Comments

BS’D

Living in Mitzrayim is likened to living in a mute world with no voice, no opinion and no ability to express one’s identity. Essentially the Jewish people were under complete subjugation to the whim and will of the Egyptians. Emotionally this means totally alienation, loss of self-worth; a crumbling of the heart. The Jewish nation had succumbed to the fact that, ‘This is the way it will be and there is nothing we can do about it.’ In effect, the Egyptians choked the Jewish people to the point where they could no longer cry out for help.

Redemption is a state-of-mind. Seeing Hashem no matter how difficult life is removes us from that ‘narrow place’ called Mitzrayim and injects us with emuna that our voice matters. Emuna infuses us with strength and determination to exit out of those tight corners in life. We trust in Hashem that just as He redeemed us from Mitzrayim and was with us in our darkest hours, so too today.

The formation of the Ahm Yisrael began through the experience of Yitziat Mitzrayim; “Ani v’lo Saraf (It was I and not an angel (who redeemed you)”. Our cleaning wipes away the myth that it is anything else but Hashem! Hashem was personally involved in my redemption! As we clean we are to check, seek and search the areas in our lives that are covered in dust and shmutz and hide Hashem.

The most effective cleaning tool is not Sano or Mr. Clean… its tefillah. As we talk to Hashem we free our emotions and open our hearts to feeling Hashem’s presence. We proclaim that Hashem is ‘behind, around and within’ everything, even if we don’t clearly see it. Particularly through the act of talking to Hashem while preparing for Pesach we experience redemption, we let our voices be heard and we build our Jewish identity.

Let’s remember that next time our hands and feet begin to ache. Have a wonderful Chag Kasher v’Samaech.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated L’iluy nishmat my dear emuna soul-sister Chaya bat Baya a’h.  The latest “Chaya: A 40-Day Modesty Campaign” was then dedicated to Chaya’s refuah.  After a long and difficult 8-year battle with cancer, Chaya is now resting in Hashem’s arms.  She was a beautiful soul who taught me what it means to live with heartfelt unwavering emuna.  May her soul bask in the Divine radiance among all of the righteous who have departed from this world, Amen.

The Daily Dose of Emuna will return Rosh Chodesh Iyar IY’H or sooner with the geula shleimah and building of the Beit HaMikdash b’mheira, b’rachamim, Amen!

Layout mode
Predefined Skins
Custom Colors
Choose your skin color
Patterns Background
Images Background