Our Inner Core

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Our Inner Core

June 22, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

The Nefesh Elokit is literally a ‘piece of G-d’ and cannot be blemished.  The soul’s ‘ailments’ are caused due to her endless yearning to fulfill her task and stay connected to Hashem. The nefesh is perfect; she is entirely G-dly and needs only to work through the medium of the body to use it to spread G-dliness in the world.  Through refining the selfish and animalistic nature of the material world she accomplishes her unique task.

Before the nefesh descends she is shown her entire life; complete with the distractions and false enticements. She takes an oath to be righteous; she will always remain loyal to her desire to improve and refine this corporal world. She is allotted all of the necessary tools she needs to survive spiritually.  She is given these tools in installments throughout her life as she needs them and earns them (by means of tefillah, Torah study and good deeds).  The soul is equipped with emotions and intellect all focused on doing Hashem’s will.  However as the soul merges with the physical body, who also comes with her dose of intellect and feelings, she finds herself fighting with another force.

The Zohar brings down the 613 mitzvot are essentially 613 channels through which the soul attains eternal elevation.  If the soul does not completely finish its mission it must return once again. Gilgul (reincarnation) in gematria (numerology) = 72 = chesed (compassion, kindness); the soul gains eternal elevation through reincarnation since it places her in a higher place to bask in the Divine radiance.

The Jewish people have the merit to carry this G-dly spark, the nefesh. Our inner core is perfect and unique to us. B’H may we value and apply it to make this world a better place.

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Why Come Down?

June 21, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

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A Jew’s purpose in this world is to connect every aspect of earthly life to Borei Olam.  As we create a holy abode on earth we make Hashem, so to speak, ‘feel at home’; we take the physical reality and inject it with spirituality.  The measure of Divine revelation corresponds with our personal efforts in this world; this world is a stepping stone to the World to Come.

The soul enters this world and wishes to fulfill its purpose; to infuse the body with holiness and elevate it to become a loyal servant to Hashem’s will.  The soul attains remarkable spiritual heights as it dwells in the body; greater than any revelation it can attain in the World of Truth. How? It is exposed to a spiritual desert in this world. It must hold onto whatever it can to survive.  The battle to motivate the body and involve it in mitzvot creates an everlasting bond to the essence of Hashem.

Without doubt the soul greatly enjoys the closeness it experiences to Hashem in the World to Come. However she reaches an even greater level of joy as she strives to elevate all of the higher worlds, the angels on high and souls residing in the higher worlds as much as possible while sojourning in this world.  This process creates waves of joy in Shamayim as well and has a profound ripple effect on the entire cosmos.

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Our Perception

June 20, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

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Gemara Brachot (11b) instructs us to serve Hashem from joy even during times of difficulty; even by night praise Hashem as though it’s day. Living a life of emuna and bitachon demands inner strength and intense ratzon; a life committed to learning and absorbing an emuna attitude. Life is challenging and the time to work on one’s emuna is not when we are in the midst of a hardship.

It is a demanding task and one of our greatest difficulties to see Hashem during times of concealment. Our relationship to Hashem varies depending on how readily we perceive His presence or not. Undoubtedly during times of gilui Panim (the ability to feel Hashem) we serve Hashem with joy, however we must learn how to attach ourselves at times of hester Panim (concealment) as well. Although Hashem’s presence never changes, our experience varies based on our perception. Hashem is always the same Loving G-d; zore’a tzedakot, matzmiach yeshuot and boreh refuot. This knowledge should strengthen our trust and joy no matter what life hands us.

We ask every morning ‘do not challenge me’ and certainly prefer to live a life without challenge. However growth is achieved through tests and the hurdles of life in fact help us realize greatness. Life brings with it heartbreaking trials and tribulations; the dilemma of human suffering is no small matter. Yet unless we view human existence on earth as connected to a greater eternal existence, we only see one thousandth of the puzzle.

Hashem is always with us, pumping us with the necessary strength to achieve G-dliness. Through thick and through thin Hashem is directing us to the ultimate good and time of redemption.

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It’s All in the Attitude

June 15, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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Think about it – Hashem is watching, caring, protecting, safeguarding and waiting to hear from you at every moment. Rav Tzaddok HaCohen of Lublin ztk’l teaches that a fundamental part of having emuna in Hashem is the belief that Hashem is looking out for our ultimate best. It might come out in the form of tough love, but “Tough love is also love.”

It is all in the attitude. As we infuse our mind and heart with the understanding that Hashem loves us to no limit, we equip ourselves with the necessary tools to accept all challenges as being for our best. Difficulties should be seen as ‘repairing kits’ that shift our mode of thinking; not as measures to cause us anguish. From here we learn the importance of a positive approach; it is all good, a blessing in disguise.

There is a simple yet proven practice brought down by Rav Chaim m’Volozhin ztk’l that empowers us to live with strong emuna and acceptance. It is founded on the principle that nothing controls our destiny but Hashem and thus Rav Chaim taught that by repeating the words Ein od Milvado and implanting in our heart there is no other force but Hashem; we can break free of any encounter that manipulates our connection with Hashem.

Thus is the power of emuna and bitachon. Fundamentally emuna is the constant practice of reminding ourselves how much Hashem loves and cares for us even if life is not exactly what we hoped for. Talk to Hashem, air out your concerns, you may not be granted your requests but you will certainly gain a tremendous feeling of closeness and feel Hashems loving embrace.

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Remembering Matan Torah

June 14, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

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Matan Torah celebrates the greatest gift given to the Jewish People; our holy Torah. The first commandment conveys the message that Torah learning should not be based on blind faith but on firm knowledge as is written, “Ani Hashem Elokeicha”. This statement testifies first-hand there is none other than Hashem as we had personally witnessed on Har Sinai.

We are commanded to have emuna; to trust in the Torah wisdom transmitted through our Holy Sages as though we witnessed it personally. Emuna is absolute clarity and certainty that leads to loyalty; allegiance to Torah instruction. One way to reinforce our trust in Hashem and the words of Torah is through contemplating the irrational prophecies that are unfolding before our very eyes; they testify to the Divine origin of the Torah.
Even though we cannot go back in time to personally experience Matan Torah we can mend the fragments of current reality by seeking out the totality of Hashem’s providence in this world. The memory of Matan Torah was seared into every mind and heart; we can relive that experience every time we see Hashem’s intimate intervention in our lives today.

We rely on the tradition handed down from generation to generation. In order to receive the Torah we should learn Torah, establish knowledge through Torah wisdom and remain faithful to it under all circumstances. The experience of Har Sinai remains alive in each of us as a demo in order that we remain inspired to live in that Oneness again. It was from this experience that our emuna was born.

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Wings of Eagles

June 8, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

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In Parshat Yitro (19:4) it is written: “You have seen what I did to Egypt and that I have borne you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Me”.

Many beautiful messages are learnt from this verse among them a teaching by Rav Shmuel Tayib ztk’l. He explains the words “… brought you to Me” as meaning that we can interact with Hashem directly at all times. The Chatam Sofer ztk’l teaches a brilliant insight into the idea of the eagle in this verse. Although this bird carries all four signs of impurity, nonetheless even if Klal Yisrael acts in an impure fashion Hashem will continuously seek our closeness.

Rav Levi Yitzchok m’Berditchev ztk’l explains that although the feathers of the eagle fall off at the end of each year they are replaced by new ones. Klal Yisrael has the same ability to renew their bond with Hashem no matter where they stood or currently stand.

The RamChal ztk’l writes that on Har Sinai the Jewish People received the unique power to send shock waves to the universe. Living a life of Torah and mitzvot sends pulse waves throughout the world and has a massive effect on every facet of existence. Our choices have eternal effects. What a Jew chooses to involve herself in on one side of the world weaves harmony into the universe.

B’H may we stand proud and devoted this Shavuot and rededicate our lives to living faithfully with Hashem and stay loyal to the words of the Torah, Amen.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Bracha Perl bat Yocheved, a four year old recently diagnosed with cancer.  May Hashem shower her and everyone in need of yeshuot and nechamot b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

 

Whats-Missing

What’s Missing?

June 7, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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‘Ein k’Ahmcha Yisrael’ – Ahm Yisrael is kadosh. On the tip of most Jewish tongues, regardless of their Torah observance, or how difficult one’s situation is, the words ‘Baruch Hashem’ is found, words that profess gratitude and emuna. In this zechut, Ahm Yisrael experiences bitachon and happiness and are able to cope with life’s challenges.

Emuna refers to trusting in Hashem’s ability to help and guide us through every circumstance; it does not mean that Hashem will deliver what we desire. It is important to understand this well; emuna is belief in Hashem’s intimate interaction in our lives however not that Hashem will fulfill our wants.

Based on the above understanding we can deduce that life’s disappointments and a weakness in one’s emuna are related what we perceive is lacking in our lives and requests gone unanswered. When a person is left with an unsatisfied desire they naturally fall into a state of worry, frustration and protest. But what is really causing this negativity to creep into one’s life? A sense of lacking; ‘There’s something missing.’ The outcome of experiencing a void is the erroneous belief that things are not going as they should.

An important thing to remember is that Hashem fulfills all of our desires, all of our true desires, to the degree that is perfectly fit for us. Hashem knows our size and our fit and gives us what we need according to the ‘size’ of our neshama. A person’s real ratzon is directly linked to that which he really needs; what his neshama needs. Everything else is not a genuine need but only an invention handed to us by our yetzer hara.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Gila bat Sara Amalia. May Hashem grant her a complete healing from postpartum psychosis and grant her husband Chaim Leib ben Masha Sara koach to cope with this difficulty. May no one from Klal Yisrael know of any sorrow and be showered with yeshuot and nechamot, b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

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Tefilla Before Chodesh Sivan

June 6, 2016
Daily Dose Of Emuna
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Tefilla of the Shelah Hakadosh

This special prayer was composed by the Shelah Hakadosh to express the prayers of parents on behalf of their children. The Shelah said the optimal time for parents to recite this prayer is Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan , but it may be recited anytime. The holy Shlah Hakadosh left Europe in the 17th century and made his home in Eretz Yisrael, becoming chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

The Artscroll website states:

“All parents want the best for their  children — that they should be good and upright, that they have everything  they need for a fruitful, joyous life.

(We recite the prayer anytime but especially…) on THE DAY BEFORE ROSH CHODESH SIVAN,  for that is the month when God gave us the Torah, and when the Jewish people  began to be called His Children. On that day, (the Shelah Hakadosh) writes, fathers and  mothers should give charity to the poor and repent.

Please scroll down for English and Russian translation.

 

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English:

You have been the Eternal, our G-d, before You created the world, and You are the Eternal, our G-d, since you created the world, and You are G-d forever. You created Your world so that Your Divinity should become revealed thorugh Your holy Torah, as our Sages expounded on the first word therein, and for Israel, for they are Your people and Your inheritance whom You have chosen from among all nations. You have given them Your holy Torah and drawn them toward Your great Name. These two commandments are, “Be fruitful and Multiply” and “You shall teach them to your children.” Their purpose is that You did not create the world to be empty, but to be inhabited, and that it is for Your glory that You created, fashioned, and perfected it, so that we, our offspring, and all the descendants of your people Israel will know Your Name and study Your Torah.

Thus I entreat You, O Eternal, supreme King of kings. My eyes are fixed on You until You favor me, and hear my prayer, and provide me with sons and daughters who will also be fruitful and multiply, they and their descendents unto all generations, in order that they and we might all engage in the study of Your holy Torah, to learn and to teach, to observe and to do, and to fulfill with love all the words of Your Torah’s teaching. Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah and attach our heart to Your commandments to love and revere Your Name.

Our Father, compassionate Father, grant us all a long and blessed life. Who is like You, compassionate Father, Who in compassion remembers His creatures for life! Remember us for eternal life, as our Forefather Avraham prayed, “If only Yishmael would live before You,” which the Sages interpreted as “…live in reverence of You.”

For this I have come to appeal and plead before You, that my offspring and their descendants be proper, and that You find no imperfection or disrepute in me or them forever. May they be people of peace, truth, goodness and integrity in the eyes of G-d and man. Help them to become practiced in Torah, accomplished in Scriptures, Mishnah, Talmud, Kabbalah, mitzvos, kindness, and good attributes, and to serve you with an inner love and reverence, not merely outwardly. Provide every one of them with their needs with honor, and give them health, honor and strength, good bearing and appearance, grace and loving-kindness. May love and brotherhood reign among them. Provide them with suitable marriage partners of scholarly and righteous parentage who will also be blessed with all that I have asked for my own descendants, since they will share the same fate.

You, the Eternal, know everything that is concealed, and to You all my heart’s secrets are revealed. For all my intention concerning the above is for the sake of Your great and holy Name and Torah. Therefore, answer me, O Eternal, answer me in the merit of our holy Forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov. For the sake of the fathers save the children, so the branches will be like the roots. For the sake of Your servant, David, who is the fourth part of Your Chariot, who sings with Divine inspiration.

A song of ascents. Fortunate is everyone who fears the Eternal, who walks in His ways. When you eat of the toil of your hands, you are fortunate, and good will be yours. Your wife is like a fruitful vine in the inner chambers of your home; your children are like olive shoots around your table. Look! So is blessed the man who fears the Eternal. May the Eternal bless you from Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you see your children’s children, peace upon Israel.

Please, O Eternal, Who listens to prayer: May the following verse be fulfilled in me: “‘As for Me,’ says the Eternal, “this My covenant shall remain their very being; My spirit, which rests upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth nor from the mouths of your children, nor from the mouths of your children’s children,” said the Eternal, “from now to all Eternity.” May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing before You, Eternal, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Russian:

Молитва Шло Акадош за себя и за детей, чтобы они шли прямыми путями

Ты, Г-сподь, Б-г наш, существовал до сотворения мира, и Ты, Б-г наш, не изменился после сотворения мира, и от века до века Ты Б-г. И Ты создал Свой мир, чтобы узнали, что Ты — Б-г, из святой Торы Твоей, как сказали наши мудрецы, благословенна их память: «В начале…» — ради Торы и ради Израиля. Потому что они — народ Твой и удел Твой, Ты избрал их из народов и дал им Свою святую Тору, и приблизил их к Своему великому имени. И о сохранении этого мира и о сохранении Торы даны Тобой, Г-сподь, Б-г наш, два повеления: сказано в Торе Твоей «плодитесь и размножайтесь», и сказано в Торе Твоей: «и научите им сыновей своих». И смысл в них обоих один: что не для пустоты создал Ты [мир], а для заселения, и во славу Свою создал, сотворил и сделал, чтобы мы, и наши дети, и дети детей всего народа Твоего, дома Израиля, знали имя Твоё и изучали Тору Твою.

Итак, я приду к Тебе, Б-же, Царь царей над царями, и буду молить, и глаза мои будут смотреть на Тебя, пока Ты не помилуешь меня и не услышишь мою молитву: послать мне сыновей и дочерей, и чтобы они тоже плодились и размножались, они, и их дети, и дети детей их до конца всех поколений. Для того, чтобы они, и я, и все мы занимались Твоей святой Торой, учили и обучали, хранили, и делали, и выполняли все слова учения Торы Твоей с любовью. И просветли глаза наши Торой Твоей, и привлеки сердце наше к заповедям Твоим, чтобы любить Твоё имя и трепетать перед ним.

Отец наш, отец милосердный, дай нам всем жизнь долгую и благословенную. Кто, подобно Тебе, милостиво вспоминает о созданиях Своих, даруя им жизнь? Вспомни нас и даруй нам жизнь, как молился праотец наш Авраам: «О, лишь бы Ишмаэль жил пред Тобою», и истолковали мудрецы наши, благословенна их память: «в страхе Твоём». И поэтому пришёл я просить и молить пред Тобой, чтобы было семя моё и семя семени моего навеки семенем кашерным. И пусть не будет ни во мне, ни в потомстве моём, ни в потомстве потомства моего никогда никакого порока и позора, только мир и правда, доброе и прямое в глазах Г-спода и в глазах людей. И пусть они будут сведущи в Торе: знают Писание, знают Мишну, знают Талмуд, знают Тайное, соблюдают заповеди, оказывают милость, обладают возвышенными качествами, и пусть служат Тебе с любовью и внутренним трепетом, — не с внешним трепетом. И дай каждому из них то, что им необходимо для достойной жизни, и дай им здоровье, и достоинство, и силу, и дай им статность, и красоту, и привлекательность, и милость, и пусть будет любовь, и братские чувства, и мир между ними. И пошли им достойную пару, из рода мудрецов Торы, из рода праведников, и пусть сами они будут достойными супругами, как я молился о них, потому что одного и того же прошу я для тех и для других.

Ты, Б-же, знаешь все тайны, и пред Тобой открыто скрытое в сердце моём: что я прошу Тебя обо всём этом ради имени Твоего великого и святого и ради святой Торы Твоей. Поэтому ответь мне, Б-же, ответь мне ради праотцев святых, Авраама, Ицхака и Яакова, и ради них спаси сыновей, чтобы ветви были подобны корням. И ради Давида, раба Твоего, четвёртой опоры колесницы, певца, одарённого святым духом Твоим.

Песнь ступеней. Счастлив всякий боящийся Г-спода, следующий путям Его. Когда ешь ты (от) плодов труда рук твоих, счастлив ты и благо тебе. Жена твоя, как лоза виноградная плодоносная, во внутренних покоях дома твоего; сыновья твои, как молодые деревца масличные, вокруг стола твоего. Вот так благословится муж, боящийся Г-спода. Благословит тебя Г-сподь с Цийона и увидишь благополучие Иерусалима во все дни жизни твоей. И увидишь сыновей у сыновей твоих. Мир над Израилем!

Прошу тебя, Б-же, внемлющий молитве! Пусть сбудется со мной то, что сказано в стихе: «И Я — вот завет Мой с ними, — сказал Г-сподь: дух Мой, который на тебе, и слова Мои, которые вложил Я в уста твои, не отступят от уст твоих, и от уст потомков твоих, и от уст потомков потомков твоих, — сказал Господь, — отныне и вовеки».

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