Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Da'as of an Animal

הלכות תפילין ד:ה

(Painting by Lasar Segall)

When a person sees that there is crookedness in his heart, especially when there is a lot of crookedness, Heaven forbid, he must then perceive himself to be like an animal and completely remove any semblance of knowledge or awareness from his mind.  He must then rely entirely on faith and carry himself with purity and simplicity alone.  He will then merit tremendous awareness of Hashem.  This is related to the consciousness of tefillin.  

Preventing Nocturnal Emissions through the Bedtime Shema

הלכות קריאת שמע על המטה א:א

(Painting by Miriam Gair)

One way the desire for sexual immorality overcomes a person is when he is sleeping, and Heaven forbid has a nocturnal emission.  Therefore, in order to prevent this from happening a person should nullify and blot out any inappropriate thoughts from his mind before going to sleep.  One great way to accomplish this is by reading the Bedtime Shema, which is a great rectification for such thoughts and possible occurrences.  This is because when one accepts upon himself the Yoke of Heaven just before going to sleep he separates his soul from the souls of the erev rav, and includes his soul within the 12 Tribes, which correspond to the Kingship of Holiness.  By doing this he distances himself from evil thoughts.  And, then as he is sleeping he will be able to acquire a new soul and new insights into the Torah.  This is the foundation of the entire blessing of HaMapil as well as all of the verses and confessions that we are accustomed to say in the Bedtime Shema.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our Eyes Should be Soft Too

הלכות ראש חודש - ה:ו

Our Sages z"l said, "And Leah's eyes were soft" that is, that she cried out to Hashem and begged that He keep her from falling and becoming bound with Esav.  They say that this hints to Knesses Yisroel.  Every Jew must cry profusely to Hashem like Leah, so as not to fall and become bound with the Evil One, Heaven forbid, which refers to Esav.

Moshe vs. Noach - Who Used the Ark More Effectively?

הלכות נשיאת כפים  ה-ט

(Painting by Wayne Potrafka)

Both the arks (תיבות) of Moshe and Noach drifted upon the face of the water.  The arks of Moshe and Noach drew down the words (תיבות) and letters of the Torah.  The waters of the flood were brought down because of the sins committed against Hashem.  The inhabitants of the world were also guilty of sexual immorality (פגמו בברית) until the point when the words and letters of the Torah could no longer sustain the world.  Even during the time of Noach before the Torah was given to Klal Yisroel the world was sustained by the words and letters of the Torah, because the Torah predates the existence of the world.  It was from the Torah that the world was created as is known. And, even so the world was commanded to fulfill the Seven Noahide Laws, which at the time, the existence of the world was dependent upon them.  The inhabitants of the world transgressed these laws.  Therefore, the words and letters of the Torah could no longer deter the waters of the sea and the depths, and because of this the waters rushed forth until the flood came.

Noach, who was a tzaddik, was saved by the ark, which literally drew down words and letters, that is through the letters and words of Torah that Noach merited to fulfill.  Through this he was worthy of entering the ark, and the ark then had the durability to drift upon the waters.  He and his family and future offspring were saved, and the world was sustained.  

These concepts are also true in regard to Moshe's ark, which saved him by drifting on the face of the water.  This is because in the future he would receive the Torah, which constricts the waters of the great sea... However, Noach wasn't worthy of receiving the letters of the Torah, because he used the תיבה - ark/words of Torah - to save himself and his family alone.  Moshe on the other hand, used the תיבה - ark/ words of Torah - to save all of Klal Yisroel, and gave them the letters and words of the Torah to all of Yisroel and the generations of the world.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Everything is Truth

ל"ה - הלכות גניבה ה:ט

(Painting by Dena Ackerman)

Truth for one person may not be the truth for another; what is happening to a person at a given moment is not happening to any other person.  For instance, at a set time one person may need to strengthen himself in Torah and his worship while another person may need to increase the tzedakah that he gives - that is that different people are involved in completely different mitzvos.  Similarly, each and every person is attending to many different things during the day.  At a particular moment one may be davening.  At another moment he is learning, working, eating, speaking, or an infinite number of other activities.

And, the main thing is that during every single moment - through whatever a person occupies himself at that time or whatever occurs to him - everything is complete truth as it relates to that individual.  Though it is impossible to elaborate, one who desires truth will understand on his own.

The rule is that there is never a time when a person cannot enlighten and inspire himself through the truth found in a given situation despite the darkness that may surround him, because everything is from Hashem.  And, this is exactly what Dovid HaMelech asked from Hashem, "Guide me in Your Truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation.  For You I wait all day." (Psalms 2:5) Specifically, all the hours of the day from the beginning until the end I wait for you to guide me in Your Truth and teach me.  There is undoubtedly truth found in every single hour of the day that can enlighten and inspire a person to escape the darkness to a very great light.