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February 20, 2017
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

Emuna originates from the heavenly sphere where the upper lights and creative forces originate.  Our soul stems from this lofty place and once experienced this immense G-dly light directly.  The desire to connect back to this light is the soul’s only desire and mission; the purpose of her existence.

The neshama ‘remembers’ the delight she once experienced.  It is deeply engraved in her.  Unconsciously, we (our bodies) seek pleasure yet we do not understand that this sensation comes from the soul’s desire to bond with that place where all goodness derives from Hashem Yitborach.

Emuna is the bridge that connects the upper and lower worlds.  To have emuna means to connect our worldly experiences and define their relevance according to Heavenly terms.  Seeing worldly happenings through the eyes of the soul, through emuna eyes, creates an entirely new reality, a new pair of lenses.

Let’s look at the purity of a child – their simplicity and wholeheartedness.  Adults feel as though they are speaking to a soul and not the body of a little person.  They are real and not blocked by impurities – until they get older and the outer world has impacted their way of thinking.   A child is simple and sincere.  They know how to say “I don’t know” when they don’t.  Children aren’t intimidated by society and the opinion of others.  They are guided by their internal compass called the soul.

We should learn from the ways of children.  Their sincerity and care when you talk to them, their ability to be in touch with their feelings and their innocent non-judgmental outlook can serve as emuna 101 classes for every one of us.

Centering Ourselves

February 15, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

Through tefillah, we are able to bond with Hashem in an irrepressible manner.  Tefillah centers us on how dependent we are on Hashem for everything in our livesFrom the seemingly minuscule to the apparently significant events, all is personally taken care of by HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

However, the messages we receive from the Western world media is precisely the opposite.  ‘Your strength and intellect has brought you success’ is what is being told to us.  Just as soon as we reinforce our minds and hearts with emuna, we walk into the ‘big world’ and our vantage point is smashed to smithereens.

At that point, we are plunged into thinking once again that we are calling the shots, and the more we do, the more we will accomplish.  (The subject of hishtadlut (amount of concerted effort) vs. emuna is beyond the scope of this emuna lesson.  However, if you wish to learn more, send me your comments.)  Therefore, for us to reach a point where we attain a level of unwavering emuna free from worry and anxiety is no simple task. Working on emuna is a lifelong mission for each and every one of us as we are told by Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe ztk’l.

Tefillah is that time of day that reminds us how much we need Hashem every step of the way.  Walking away from tefillah should be an invigorating experience filled with re-connection and realignment to the truth; that Borei Olam is intimately involved and governing the world and therefore we have nothing to worry about!

You are loved

February 14, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

With all of his dependency and fragility a newborn baby is secure in his life.  A baby knows instinctively that he is in good hands and all of his needs are being taken care of.  This relationship is the beginning stage, the founding principle guiding every human being at the onset of life.

A baby doesn’t trust that everything will be just as he wishes for it to be, yet he is reassured that whatever may be is exactly what he needs.  Even at the time when he is stubbornly fixated on getting his way and his parents disagree, deep down he knows that it comes from their love and care and for his ultimate best.

We are Hashem’s children, “Banim atem L’Hashem Elokeichem… (You are children of Hashem…)” (Sefer Devarim 14:1).  Just as children do not readily understand their parent’s calculations for restricting certain things and allowing others, it is a relationship that goes beyond intellectual comprehension.  It is implanted in the core of every Jew; Hashem loves me in spite of the intense pain that I am currently going through.

Thank You Hashem for everything… for all of the times You helped and I didn’t realize that it was You.  Thank You Hashem for all of the kindnesses You do for me every moment.  Thank you Hashem for all of the things that I am lacking…. I know that they are not meant for me to have right now.  Deep inside I know this to be true, even though my heart is stubborn and doesn’t always follow what my mind already knows.  Hashem, please help me feel it, sense it and live it!

Was it a dream?

February 13, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

This is a true story that I recently read in a small pamphlet that was handed out to my husband in Kollel:

“I had a dream that I came to Gan Eden and was given a personal tour by an angel.  At first we entered a big room filled with angels.  My tour angel brought me to an area in the room and said, “This is the reception area. Here is where all of Am Yisrael’s tefillot arrive before they are presented to Hashem.”  I looked around and noticed that many angels were sifting through piles of papers with written requests on them.

We then continued down the corridor and arrived at another room. The tour angel turned to me and said, “This is the delivery room from which all of the pleas are tended to and ‘sent’ down to those who made the requests.”  Once again, I took a look around and noticed many angels busy at work.

Walking further down the hallway, we came to yet another room; a tiny quiet room.  To my great surprise, there was only one angel who did not appear to be busy at all. My tour angel then turned to me and said, “This is the confirmation room – intended for those requests that were sent down.  Here is where we collect the notes proving they were received.”

“How does one go about sending a return receipt for a request that was fulfilled by Hashem?” I asked.    “Very easily,” responded the tour angel, “A person simply says thank you to Hashem.  Those are the ‘return receipts’ we send back when our requests are answered.”

How sad that this is the least ‘busiest’ room in Shamayim…  Something to think about.

Emuna Review – Part III

February 8, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

So many of us mistakenly define emuna as faith. Faith has a negative connotation since it is likened to a beacon of light that shines when all else is lost; a word that is greatly challenged by the ‘modern mind’. Many say ‘no sane person listens to anyone who preaches ‘faith’; it is only for those who adhere to a belief without any proof.’

Yet is there an explanation for all that one sees? Faith does not only apply to religion; everyone needs faith to live. Many professors have said that when they look into a molecule there is no explanation for what they see. We need faith to ride on a bus without panicking. We need faith to open up a can of peas and not worry it has been tampered with.  We need faith when filling our prescriptions and trust the pharmacist is not going to make a mistake.

An abundant life cannot begin without faith. What about faith in ourselves? Faith in the good inherent in this world and that will eventually be revealed?  Without that positivism would cease to exist and the only thing left would be helplessness.

Emuna is loyalty. It depicts a state of hope, belief and trust that Hashem was, is and will always be intimately involved in our lives; embracing us every step of the way

Emuna Review – Part II

February 7, 2017
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

Chazal explain the following Rambam, Hilchot Teshuva (8:2) – “The righteous sit with crowns on their heads and enjoy the radiance of the Divine Presence.” The emuna (acknowledging Hashem’s intimate involvement in our lives) we attain in this world together with our heartfelt attachment to His presence is likened to spiritual cleansing and illumination achieved in the higher worlds. It is immeasurable and incalculable to ration the spiritual delight our soul experiences every moment we awaken and fortify our emuna.

It is of great importance during our sojourn in this world to constantly recognize our utter reliance on Hashem; our existence is being maintained by Hashem every breathing moment due to His will.  As written in the book of the Kuzari we are continually being sustained by Hashem and if He were to remove His supervision for even one moment everything would cease to exist.

The Nefesh Chaim further explains how important it is to appreciate Hashem’s endless kindness and accept the decrees with a full heart of emuna. Hashems ‘eyes’ can see where we can no longer see; a place of truth and revealed goodness.

 

Emuna Review – Part I

February 6, 2017
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

No matter how many times we review the core meaning of emuna it is always worthwhile to review. The Chazon Ish ztk’l describes emuna in his book “Emuna u’Bitachon” as a feeling ingrained deep into one’s heart which can be compared to other human emotions.

Emuna is the soul’s ‘reaction’, her emotional expression towards her perception of Hashem Yitborach in her life. Essentially emuna is an emotion that needs to be aroused and fill the heart. When the heart acknowledges and ‘feels’ Hashem’s presence, the soul is infused with holiness. ‘Genuine’ emuna is one that is felt in the depths of one’s heart.

Indeed emuna is acquired through learning and intellectual knowledge however that is part one of acquiring emuna.  The second half is the avodah of instilling it deep into one’s heart.

Emuna is an emotional belief that Hashem guides every minute detail in life.  It is a heartfelt knowing; a reassurance that leaves our heart warm and secure.  The stirring may come as a result of experiencing anguish which awakens emuna and causes one to yearn for Hashem’s closeness. Our reliance on His compassion and warm embrace can clearly be appreciated when we fall on tough times.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the complete healing of Naomi Miriam bas Roysa Shpetla. May Hashem send her refuat hanefesh v’refuat haguf among all of Klal Yisrael in need of yeshuot v’nechamot, Amen.

Just a Reminder

February 1, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

The Jewish soul was ‘carved out’ from the kisei hakavod; a dwelling filled with holiness. The soul descends into this world and experiences yearning and difficulties since its only true desire is to return on high. Her only comfort is found in the words of the Torah; they summon the warm loving memories of closeness she felt in the upper realms.

The letters of the word simcha שמחה when switched around read חמשה – the five books of the Torah Kedosha. Our soul experiences endless happiness and is given ‘weaponry’ to fight her way through the battles of life every time we study Torah. Torah is the vital elixir of life; it offers guidance through every challenge and words of wisdom to every question.

If we take the first letters of the following words in Hebrew: bones עצמות, flesh בשר, and blood דם we spell the word servant עבד. Mankind is born to be enslaved – the question is to whom and what. In order to remain loyal to our One and Only true master, Hashem Yitborach, it is imperative to ask Hashem to ‘remind’ us b’rachamim who we are here to serve and help us not get confused along the way.

Shiviti Hashem

January 31, 2017
Orit Esther Riter

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BS’D

Positive thinking – we’ve heard it before. Intellectually we understand that happiness holds all blessing. Yet how can we replace negative thinking patterns to positive messages?

Chazal teach the moment a negative thought ‘pops’ into mind we should see the words ‘Shiviti Hashem l’negdi tamid’. Negativity is removed when we see Hashem’s Holy Name Y-K-V-K in front of us; whether in our minds’ eye or physically. The quicker we ‘see’ Hashem in front of us the more rapidly the negative thought is removed.

Hashem gifted us with the unique ability to control the way we respond. Although we have ‘natural tendencies’ and ‘innate qualities’ and are often drawn to feeling melancholy, our task is to change our thinking patterns. Since we are inherently connected one to another by nefesh the way we think has a profound cosmic effect on the entire world. Our thoughts create energy cords that ripple through the spiritual realms and largely impact our physical world.

Dovid HaMelech writes in Tehillim (43:5), “Ma Tishtochechy nafshi umah tehemy alaiy (Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you stir within me?)” Our soul was created to be happy and content in this world. Place Hashem ‘in front’ of you and change way you think and respond.

Are you a worrier?

January 25, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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BS’D

The worrier annuls the mitzvah of emuna and bitachon.  The mitzvah of emuna and bitachon is written in the verse Parshat Shoftim, “Tamim te’hyeh im Hashem Elokecha (Be complete and trusting in Hashem)” – live your life in simple wholeness with Hashem.

A person that worries cannot enjoy living.  In fact worrying causes many illness and ailments among them sadness which eventually may lead to despair. Chazal teach the importance of safeguarding ourselves from worry and explain that bitachon alleviates pain and suffering.

Rav Lugasi shilit’a further expounds on this idea and mentions a number of illnesses that are ‘born’ as a result of worry, among others:

  • Rheumatism
  • Minor skin illnesses
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Migraines
  • Asthma
  • Various eye complications

The Lubavitcher Rebbe ztk’l once said to a chronic worrier, “Look back to where you were ten years ago and look where you have reached today, and tell me: Is there a reason to worry?”

Genuine bitachon is reflected in a person who does not allow worry to consume them.  We do the best we can to help ourselves but know that the outcome is in Hashem’s hands and ultimately for our very best.

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