The Power of the Soul- Mitzvot The Divine

20 09 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Eliezer Miller

 


The Power of the Soul-Mitzvot The Divine Connection #6
There is a spark in the innermost part of every Jew’s heart that is meant to expand and reveal the light of Hashem. The Midrash tells a parable of a king who had an only daughter. When she married, the king told his son-in-law, “Wherever you go, keep a room ready for me so that I can be near my daughter.” Similarly, when Hashem gave the Jews the Torah, he said, “I am coming with my Torah. Make a dwelling place for Me.” The dwelling place is in our heart, which is also where the yetzer hararesides.

The Gemara say, “Barati yetzer hara barati Torah tavlin. I created the evil inclination, but I created Torah as a neutralizing spice.” The Torah consumes the bad effects of the evil inclination while at the same time it reveals the Shechina. What is the secret force behind the Torah and mitzvot that gives them the power to purify our hearts? Hashem created a great spiritual light on the first day of creation that he hid away for the tzaddikim. This light originally shone for thirty six hours and is concealed in the thirty six mesechtas of Shas. The happinessa person has when he learns Torah and keeps mitzvot stems from this hidden light. It says in Tehilim, “Ohr zarua l’tzaddik u’liyishrei lev simcha.” The tzaddik rejoices because of the divine light inside of him. Wherever there is godliness, there is happiness.

When a person dies, there is a small bone called luz that does not disintegrate. The Arizal writes that the soulhovers above this bone and does not let it decompose. The soul remains with the person, because of the merit of the Torah he studied and the divine light that he absorbed. The upper root of every Jew’s soul is attached to a letter in the Torah. When a Jew studies Torah, he joins with his letter and with Hashem. Unlike the spiritual world, which becomes more hidden as it touches the physical world, the Torah retains its holiness at its source. However, there’s one condition. The intention a person has when he learns Torah and keeps mitzvot must be for the sake of Hashem. If a person has ulterior motives, the Shechina departs. And in fact we see that although there’s so much Torah and tefila in Klal Yisrael, the exilestill stretches on. Instead of thinking about the pain of the Shechina, we have our own purposes in mind. This is preventing Mashiach from coming.

Each person needs to correct what is in his heart. Although Torah that is not l’shem shamayim has some effect, it won’t save us completely from the evil inclination. Only if it is for Hashem’s sake, will a person merit the full richness and light of the Torah. The Ibn Ezra says that when a person does a mitzva for Hashem’s sake, he fulfills the commandment of ‘Anochi Hashem.’ He affirms that he believes in Hashem. When we do mitzvot in this way, we enable Hashem to dwell inside our hearts and to expand and reveal Himself.





How to Have a Relationship with G-d

18 11 2010

Rebbetzin’s Perspective III: Class #1
Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on Naaleh.com

Rebbetzin's Perspective III  Class #1

Question:

I’ve been told that Hashem has a personal relationship with every Jew. What does this imply and how do we get closer to Him?

 

Answer:

A personal relationship means a relationship of response and awareness. A blade of grass receives its energy from Hashem. It cannot exist for even a split second without Hashem’s Will giving it life. Yet the grass does not have a real relationship because it cannot respond. It receives but all it gives back is its existence. There is no difference between one blade of grass and another. Hashem doesn’t respond to each one individually. There is no such thing as a righteous blade of grass who deserves lots of rain and sunshine, or a wicked blade of grass who has made major life mistakes. This is called hashgacha klalit, which means awareness without any involvement.

 

In contrast, Hashem responds to every human being differently. A non-Jew who does good deeds may be rewarded and vice versa. However, there is no covenant with the non-Jews. Therefore, they can reach a point where, like a tree or a blade of grass, they no longer have a relationship of awareness and response with Hashem. Contrary to this, due to the covenant Hashem made with Yaakov, Af al pi shechata Yisrael hu, although they have sinned, they remain Yisrael. Every Jew has a spark buried deep within him that remains eternally connected to Hashem. This spark can be so covered up with sin and bad choices that the person may be barely aware of it. This is also referred to as galut hashechina, meaning that the divine part of us is in exile.

 

Getting closer to Hashem means becoming a more divine-like individual, just like getting closer to another person means developing communication and similarity. The way to come closer to Hashem is through keeping the mitzvot, emulating Hashem’s middot, and attaching oneself to people who are already on the path to greatness.





Spiritual Meaning in Everyday Life

3 11 2010

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

Achieving Balance:  Class #4

Question: In one of your classes, you discussed how every physical thing is “hevel” because it will eventually end. I feel that most of what I can perceive and experience in this world is physical. If this is so, how can I develop myself? What can I hold onto?

Answer:

Spirituality doesn’t mean cutting yourself off from the physical world. On the contrary, it is what you introduce into your interaction with this world.

My daughter volunteers for an organization called Zeh L’azeh. The woman who heads it is an incredible person. On chol hamoed Sukkot she arranges a “fantasy day” for widows and orphans.  The magnificent experience ends with a Simchat Beit Hashoeiva where the “Who’s Who” in the Torah world attend, such as Rav Chaim Kanievski, the Gerrer Rebbe, and many other distinguished personalities. This huge undertaking involves hours of physical work including countless phone calls, shlepping boxes, and cleaning up. It’s gashmiut (physicality) all right, but it’s gashmiut concretized into action. This is genuine ruchniut (spirituality).

If you’re cooking dinner for your family, think of it as a chesed. They are just as hungry as strangers would be. If your intention is to build a home of loving kindness where you want to fulfill people’s needs, and create a healthy environment where people can draw closer to Hashem, this is ruchniut. Don’t let anyone ever deceive you into thinking anything other than that.





Students Experiencing Growth from Naaleh Classes

20 10 2010

With all the inspiring classes available at Naaleh.com, students are making strides in their learning and growth. Recently one our students wrote it with the following comment:

‘I just wanted to say how much I love Naaleh. The shiurim are amazing and I am learning and growing so much from the site, thank you!’ -Anonymous

This is exactly the purpose of Naaleh and we hope you are taking advantage of all the free classes we have to offer. We hope to hear from you too- so please send in your comments to contact@naaleh.com.

 





How Can I Remain Spiritually Uplifted?

9 06 2010

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

Achieving Balance:  Class #12Question: I try to make all the mitzvot I perform more meaningful by being mindful to bring Hashem into my life with my heart and concentrating on feeling grateful to Him. But despite this, I usually find myself just going through the motions. The feeling of real closeness to Hashem happens only once in a while and I feel like I need to sense it more.  I have a non-observant sister who practices Eastern Healing.   She is able to get her spiritual high without the obligation of keeping Torah and mitzvot.  Why can’t I experience this same elation from davening and concentrating on brachot?

Answer:
I suspect your problem is that you don’t see the connection between the mitzvot and how they bring a Jew closer to Hashem. I suggest you study Horeb and Rav Hirsch’s commentary on the Torah. It may be difficult to learn because it was originally written in German and the English translation is somewhat stilted. Get through it anyway. He will show you how the connection works. Once you understand the mechanism, you’ll feel different.
The more you understand the workings of a mitzva and how Hashem’s wisdom is an intricate part of it, the easier it will be to develop that spiritual bond. He knows our souls and defined the mitzvot to create connection. If you can bring your mind into it, it will inform you more than you think.
Eastern healing does this inside out. There’s the external sensation of meaning without reality. People think they are connected but they really aren’t. You can have the feeling of tikun without actual tikun. On the other hand, you can have what really gives you tikun, not necessarily with the accompanying feeling, unless you work to understand it better.

The numerical value of Elokim is hateva, nature. Nature is from Hashem but Hashem is not nature, He’s far more. When you worship nature, which is the essence of Eastern religion, there are consequences. You make Hashem so small that there is no accounting, no World To Come, no direct link, and no prophecy. Embarking on that spiritual path will only lead you downhill. Concentrate on developing a deep understanding of the mitzvot and use that as a springboard to come closer to Hashem.





Naaleh.com is Helping its Students Prepare for Rosh Hashana

7 09 2009

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-R.S.  Los Angeles, California

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