Archive for January 2014

Tomer Devorah - Emulating G-d: He Will Again Show us Compassion

Friday, January 31, 2014 · Posted in , ,


"The righteous will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)

Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] - an ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to imitate G-d based on the Torah verse "...you shall go in His ways" (Devarim 28:9) and "to go in all His ways" (11:22).  

The Sifri ("Eikev") explains: just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Compassionate,' you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Gracious,' you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Righteous,' you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Pious,' you should be pious."  

Expounding the verse "Follow HaShem, your G-d..." (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara derives the practical implications of this concept:  "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, clothes the naked...so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, visits the sick..so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consoles the bereaved, so should you..." (Sotah 14a)

In Tomer Devorah, the Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy mentioned in Michah 7:18-20 are analyzed in detail.

The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל   from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:

“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”

It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand. This segulah follows the principle of  middah keneged middah (measure for measure). If we emulate G-d’s Attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, HaShem will act towards us in the manner of middah keneged middah  and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.

To be privileged to channel G-d's blessing and benefit into the world, man must emulate his Creator.  It is insufficient that man is created in the Divine likeness - he must constantly, consciously, and willingly cleave to G-d by emulating Him in every way. 

"Who is G-d like You, Who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness.  He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Show faithfulness to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Michah 7:18-20)

Consequently, it is proper that these Thirteen Attributes should also be found in man.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem, I realize that I have no separate existence from you and therefore I yearn to be more like You.  Please help me to rise above my nature and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to think, say and do only what is pleasing to You.  May I merit to bring love and mercy to my interactions."





He Will Again Show us Compassion

The Holy One, Blessed is He, does not behave as man behaves.  For when a person is provoked, he cannot bring himself to love the one who offended him to the same degree as before, even after he is appeased.  But if a person sins and afterwards repents, his stature before the Holy One, Blessed is He, is even greater than before.

This is the intention of the statement our Sages made, "The perfectly righteous cannot stand where repentant sinners stand."

They explain as follows:  

"Why is the letter ה (heh) shaped like a porch?  So that anyone who wants to go astray can do so!" 

The explanation of this is as follows:  

The physical world was created with the letter heh, for the Holy One, Blessed is He, created the world in such a way that it is wide-open to evil and sin. There is no area where the opportunity to sin, the evil urge, and blemishes of the soul are absent!  It is just like a wide-open, unfenced porch, which has no barriers against danger, as symbolized by the gap at the bottom of the heh.  Anyone who desires to forgo the World to Come has many exits, since wherever he turns, he can find evil and sin through which he can enter the domain of the Outside Forces.

And yet, the heh also has a gap in the top left corner, symbolizing repentance, which will be accepted by G-d.  But why shouldn't a person reenter by the same path through which they left?  Answers our Sages: "Because this will have no effect!"  For it is not enough for a repentant sinner to guard himself against sin the same way as perfectly righteous person does.  A tzaddik who has not sinned requires only a minor barrier, whereas for a repentant sinner, a small barrier is insufficient - he needs a number of tough restraints, since if he approaches the fence again, his evil urge might seduce him.

Therefore, he should not reenter via the same path by which he left, through the part of the porch he broke through.  Rather, he should ascend to the narrow gap at the top of the heh, representing the restraints and penances he accepts upon himself in mending the broken fence, and he should enter through there.

For this reason, "The perfectly righteous cannot stand where repentant sinners stand" - for the latter did not enter through the same door as the righteous such that they should stand together.  Instead, they mortified themselves in order to ascend through the upper door, and they inflicted penances on themselves and distanced themselves from sin much more than the righteous.  They have therefore ascended and attained the level of the heh that is called "the Fifth Palace of Gan Eden," that is to say, the roof of the heh, whereas the righteous have entered only through the lower opening of the heh - the entrance to the porch.

Therefore, when a person does teshuvah (תשובה), that is to say, tashuv heh, when he returns the heh to its proper place, then the Holy One, Blessed is He, will return His Shechinah to him.  And the Holy One, Blessed is He, will restore His love for the repentant person not only as it was originally but in an even greater measure.  

This is the explanation of the Attribute "He will again show us compassion": He will increase His compassion for Yisrael, perfecting us and drawing us closer to Himself.

This is also how a person should behave towards his fellow.  He should not nurse the hatred born of anger he once felt.  Rather, when he sees that this fellow desires his friendship, he should show him even greater compassion and love than before, saying, "He is like the penitents in whose place even the perfectly righteous cannot stand."  In this way, a person will draw his fellow very close to himself - much closer than he would draw those who have behaved perfectly righteous towards him, never wronging him.


Hitbodedut: "HaShem, just as you give to me even though I have sinned and repented, please help me do the same and may that also be a teshuvah for my sins so that You restore to me the benefit of Your love.  Please help me to see that this was for my growth and development and that the process has produced an amazing good.  Help me to trust it and for that trust to produce love and light."




Tehillim 119:10

Tehillim 119:10 bechol libi derashticha al tashgeni mimitzvoteicha
With my whole heart have I sought You; O let me not stray from Your commandments.

"With my whole heart have I sought You" through prayer.  So "let me not stray from Your commandments."  Remove from me the obstacles that can prevent me from observing the commandments.

King David perceives himself as one who tries to be careful about the Torah's commandments, but knows that he is far from perfect and that a terrible danger of failure lies in wait.

This accords with the teachings of our Sages that when one comes to be purified, he is helped to remove the obstacles in his way.

Having said, "Happy are they who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart" (v119:2), King David says about himself, "With my whole heart have I sought You."

King David posed the question, "How shall a youth keep his path pure?"  How shall he remove all obstacles from his path?  He answered, "By observing Your word" (v119:9).  Let him observe the commandments as I have endeavored to observe them.  For as the present verse makes clear, "With my whole heart have I sought You."  I did not seek You halfheartedly.  My sole concern was for the sake of Heaven, and not for my own honor.  Therefore, I plead, "Let me not stray from Your commandments."  Do not let me err in their performance, but help me to understand and to keep them properly.  Similarly, King Shlomo pleaded, "Give therefore Your servant an understanding heart" (Melachim Alef 3:9).

The Midrash says:  The heart of the righteous brings them into Gan Eden, and the heart of the wicked casts them down to Hell.  Thus the Scripture says, "Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry; behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty; behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be ashamed; behold, My servants will sing for joy of heart, but you will cry for sorrow of heart, and will howl for vexation of spirit" (Yeshayahu 65:13, 14).  Similarly, David says to Shlomo, "And you, Shlomo my son, know and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; HaShem searches all hearts" (Divrei HaYamim Alef 28:9)

"With my whole heart have I sought You."  I longed to know the secrets of the Torah and its reasons.  Accordingly, I beseech You, "Let me not stray from Your commandments."  Let me not be as one who gazes upon what is hidden, and is stricken.

"With my whole heart have I sought You; O let me not stray from Your commandments."  It is the way of someone who acts in haste that he will err at times.  I beseech You, therefore: Let no my immense longing for the Torah cause me to fall into error and stumbling.

Tehillim 119:9
Tehillim 119:8
Tehillim 119:7
Tehillim 119:6
Tehillim 119:5
Tehillim 119:4
Tehillim 119:3
Tehillim 119:2
Tehillim 119:1


MeAm Lo'ez
Chazal

Tehillim 119:9

Sunday, January 26, 2014 · Posted in , , , , , , ,

Tehillim 119:9 bameh yezakeh naar et archo lishmor kidvarecha
How shall a youth keep his path pure?  by observing Your word.

King David begins with a question concerning education:  "How shall a youth keep his path pure?"  How to educate the youth so that he will keep up "his path" after he matures?  He answers: "By observing Your word."  If he will keep the Torah and observe the mitzvot as You uttered them and You commanded them, he will then utilize this training on his own.  For that which a youth does becomes rooted in him, and he then continues to do the same with ease.  "Train a youth in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Mishlei 22:6).  It is otherwise when the person is educated after he has matured.

That is what it says, "We whose sons are as plants grown up in their youth..." (v144:12).  The young plant can be inclined to any side we may desire.  This is not so for the mature plant.

The term yezakeh connotes to purify and keep lucid, as in, "Her nazirites were more pure than snow" (Eicha / Lam. 4:7).  Thus he says here: "How shall the youth keep his path pure?"  The answer is: "By observing Your word."   A man's path cannot be set pure solely through study, but through deeds.  Just as a father is duty-bound to teach his son knowledge, so it is his duty to train him to act.  Then, the son's path will be pure, provided the son begins in his youth.

That is what Shlomo says, "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right" (Mishlei 20:11).  The youth will be rid of his childishness, and it will be said of him, "This is not a child."  If that is so the, it will assuredly be so when he is grown up.

The Scripture speaks here of "his path (archo)" in the sense of a winding pathway.  It is difficult to know where one must go on this path simply by following common sense alone.  One must study much in order not to stray.  Accordingly, it says: "How shall a youth keep his path pure?"  The answer is: "By observing Your word."  Through study and observance in one's youth, the "path" becomes a well-trodden way or road (derech).  The grown man can then walk on the road with assurance and reach his destination.  Expressed figuratively, he knows the "way" - when and where - to be merciful and charitable, strict or lenient, and so on.

The Midrash says: Thus are the tzaddik (righteous).  By diligence, watchfulness and investigation, they attain life in the Olam HaBah (World to Come).  Accordingly, David says, "You make me know the path of life" (v16:11); and Moshe says, "Make me know Your way" (Shemot 33:13); and David also says, "Teach me Your way" (v27:11).  It is also written, "Thus says HaShem: 'Stand on the highways, and see, and ask for the old paths where the good way is, and walk upon it'" (Yirmeyahu 6:16).  Behold the road Avraham walked and see the road Nimrod trod.  Which one of them succeeded?  See the road walked by Yaakov and see the road Esav trod.  Which one of them succeeded?  Say, therefore, "How shall a youth keep his path pure? - by observing Your words!"

It makes a difference whether a man hears a command and obeys, or whether a man hears pleasant things, examines them, and then heeds them.  That is what King David says here: "How shall a youth keep his path pure?"  The answer is: "By observing Your word."  That is to say: When he is educated that keeping the mitzvot is a good thing, he keeps them with greater willingness.  For he is inspired to do so deep in his heart.

In Sefer Baal Shem Tov, Parashat Vayigash, there it is mentioned that the Baal Shem Tov once remarked that it was an wondrous segulah (remedy) to say the verse Tehillim 119:9 as a way to break one's anger.

The keruvim (cherubim) also taught about the importance of training one's children.  From the time that they are very little, one must train his children to study Torah and keep the commandments.  This is why the keruvim were in the form of a little boy and a little girl. (Abarbanel)  A parent must teach both his sons and his daughters to keep the Shabbat, to avoid mixing milk and meat, and to recite blessings before eating.  The same is true of all the other commandments of the Torah.  It is thus written, "How shall a child purify his path?  By keeping Your word" (Tehillim 119:9).   Thus if a parent does not correct his child when he sees him playing with fire on the Shabbat, or neglecting to wash his hands in the morning, or eating without a blessing, or before worship, then this bad habit will become fixed, and it will be very difficult to get rid of when the child gets older.  Since the person has acquired bad habits from childhood, he will not avoid things that are forbidden, even when he is a adult.

It is written, "From the mouths of babes and sucklings, You have founded strength" (Tehillim 8:3) .  This teaches that it was through the young children and babies that the Torah was given to Yisrael.  It was the children who were the guarantors of the Torah.  G-d said to Yisrael, "Your oath is not enough for Me to give you the Torah.  You must bring Me a guarantor, to ensure that you will keep it.  It is like anyone taking a loan, who must present a guarantor, so that if he does not pay, the lender has someone from who to collect."  The Benei Yisrael finally presented their children as guarantors.  If a parent does not keep the Torah, he can be punished through his small children.  This is discussed in Parashat Yitro.  This was one reason that G-d commanded us to place the keruvim on the Aron. The keruvim had the forms of a young boy and a young girl, to reach that the children are our guarantors for the Torah.  A person should not violate the Torah that is contained in the Tablets.

The keruvim also taught that the world is sustained primarily through the breath of the young children who are beginning their Torah studies. This is more precious than the Torah studied by older people.  Their breath is perfectly pure, without the taint of sin and evil thoughts.  Children can also study all day long, which is often impossible for older people.

Tehillim 119:8
Tehillim 119:7
Tehillim 119:6
Tehillim 119:5
Tehillim 119:4
Tehillim 119:3
Tehillim 119:2
Tehillim 119:1

MeAm Lo'ez
Chazal

Tomer Devorah - Emulating G-d: For He Delights in Kindness

Thursday, January 23, 2014 · Posted in , ,


"The righteous will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)

Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] - an ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to imitate G-d based on the Torah verse "...you shall go in His ways" (Devarim 28:9) and "to go in all His ways" (11:22).  

The Sifri ("Eikev") explains: just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Compassionate,' you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Gracious,' you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Righteous,' you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Pious,' you should be pious."  

Expounding the verse "Follow HaShem, your G-d..." (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara derives the practical implications of this concept:  "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, clothes the naked...so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, visits the sick..so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consoles the bereaved, so should you..." (Sotah 14a)

In Tomer Devorah, the Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy mentioned in Michah 7:18-20 are analyzed in detail.

The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל   from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:

“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”

It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand. This segulah follows the principle of  middah keneged middah (measure for measure). If we emulate G-d’s Attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, HaShem will act towards us in the manner of middah keneged middah  and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.

To be privileged to channel G-d's blessing and benefit into the world, man must emulate his Creator.  It is insufficient that man is created in the Divine likeness - he must constantly, consciously, and willingly cleave to G-d by emulating Him in every way. 

"Who is G-d like You, Who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness.  He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Show faithfulness to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Michah 7:18-20)

Consequently, it is proper that these Thirteen Attributes should also be found in man.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem, I realize that I have no separate existence from you and therefore I yearn to be more like You.  Please help me to rise above my nature and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to think, say and do only what is pleasing to You.  May I merit to bring love and mercy to my interactions."



For He Delights in Kindness

Angels in a certain celestial chamber are appointed to receive the kind deeds man performs in this world.  When the Attribute of severity accuses Yisrael, these angels immediately exhibit those acts of kindness before the Heavenly Court, and the Holy One, Blessed is He, shows compassion to Yisrael, since He delights in kindness.  And even thought the people of Yisrael may be guilty, He shows them mercy if they are kind to one another.

This can be compared to when the Holy Temple was destoryed, when G-d said to the angel Gavriel: "Go in between the galgal, beneath the keruv, and fill your hands with burning coals from among the keruvim, and throw them on the city..." (Yechezkel 10:2).  For Gavriel is the angel of judgment and severity, and G-d gave him permission to receive the powers of severity from the fire on the Altar, which is between the galgal (wheel) below the keruvim (cherubim).  This is judgment according to the severities of *malchut, which became so severe that it sought to destroy everything and annihilate the seed of Yisrael, which had incurred the penalty of destruction.  However, the passage continues, "The form of a man's hand appeared under the wings of the keruvim" (ibid. 10:8).  The meaning of this is that the Holy One, Blessed is He, said to Gavriel, "Since they do kindness towards one another, even though they are guilty, they shall be saved, and a remnant of them will be left."  The reason for this is the Attribute of "He delights in kindness," that is, the kindness that one Jew shows another, for He remembers it in [the Jews'] favor, even though, from another point of view, they are unworthy.

A person should emulate this Attribute in his own conduct.  Even if one is aware that another person is doing him evil, and this angers him, if that person has some redeeming quality, e.g., he is kind to others, or he possesses some other virtue, this should be sufficient cause for one to dissipate his anger and find the other person pleasing, i.e., to delight in the kindness he does.  One should say, "It is enough for me that he has this good quality."  How much more so does all this apply to one's wife; as our Sages have said, "It is enough that they raise our children and save us from sin."  So, too, should a person say to himself with regard to every man, "It is enough that he has been good to me or to someone else in such and such a way, or that he has such and such a positive quality."  In this way, one should delight in kindness.


Hitbodedut: "HaShem please help me to be more like You, to shine love, kindness and benefit to those around me.  Please help me to search my mind to give the benefit of the doubt, to see the good in every person, including myself, and to treat everyone with sincere kindness and benefit."


*Malchut definition:  kingship, royalty, or sovereignty.  Malchut is the last of the Ten Sefirot.  It is uniquely "passive," having nothing but that which other sefirot pour into it (Eitz Chayim, Sha'ar 6, ch. 5, Sha'ar 8, ch. 5).  Thus, the Zohar compares malchut to the moon, which has no light of its own (vol. 1, pp. 249b, 251b, vol. 2, pp. 245b; Tikkunei Zohar, tikkun 44, p. 82b).  Nevertheless, malchut includes all the other sefirot, which pour their light into it.  Malchut is therefore compared to the sea, into which all rivers flow.  Malchut brings creation into being, for everything occurs among the lower beings by way of this sefirah (Tikkunei Zohar, tikkun 19, p. 40b; Zohar Chadash, p. 11a).  Malchut is referred to as "the architect with which the entire creation was made" (Pardes, Sha'ar 11, ch. 2).  Malchut also corresponds to the mouth (Tikkunei Zohar, intro., p. 17a) and thus represents the word of G-d (cf. Avot 5:1) and the revealed world (Zohar, vol. 1, p. 1b, and vol. 2, p. 127a).


Tomer Devorah - Emulating G-d: He Does Not Retain His Anger Forever

Sunday, January 19, 2014 · Posted in , ,


"The righteous will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)

Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] - an ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to imitate G-d based on the Torah verse "...you shall go in His ways" (Devarim 28:9) and "to go in all His ways" (11:22).  

The Sifri ("Eikev") explains: just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Compassionate,' you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Gracious,' you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Righteous,' you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Pious,' you should be pious."  

Expounding the verse "Follow HaShem, your G-d..." (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara derives the practical implications of this concept:  "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, clothes the naked...so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, visits the sick..so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consoles the bereaved, so should you..." (Sotah 14a)

In Tomer Devorah, the Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy mentioned in Michah 7:18-20 are analyzed in detail.

The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל   from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:

“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”

It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand. This segulah follows the principle of  middah keneged middah (measure for measure). If we emulate G-d’s Attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, HaShem will act towards us in the manner of middah keneged middah  and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.

To be privileged to channel G-d's blessing and benefit into the world, man must emulate his Creator.  It is insufficient that man is created in the Divine likeness - he must constantly, consciously, and willingly cleave to G-d by emulating Him in every way. 

"Who is G-d like You, Who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness.  He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Show faithfulness to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Michah 7:18-20)

Consequently, it is proper that these Thirteen Attributes should also be found in man.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem, I realize that I have no separate existence from you and therefore I yearn to be more like You.  Please help me to rise above my nature and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to think, say and do only what is pleasing to You.  May I merit to bring love and mercy to my interactions."





He Does not Retain His Anger Forever

This Attribute is different from those mentioned previously, for even though a person persists in sinning, the Holy One, Blessed is He, does not persist in His anger.  And even when He does become angry, it is not forever. Rather, He assuages His anger even if a person does not repent, as we find in the days of Yaravam ben Yoash, when the Holy One, Blessed is He, restored the borders of the Land of Yisrael (Melachim Bet 14).  Even though the people were unrepentant worshipers of calf idols, He had compassion for them.  Why?  Because of this attribute of not maintaining His anger forever.  On the contrary, He deliberately mitigates His anger, even though the sin still exists.  And He does not exact punishment; rather, He waits hopefully and compassionately for sinners to repent.  This is the intention of the verse "Not forever will He do battle, nor will He bear a grudge for eternity" (Tehillim 103:9). Rather, the Holy One, Blessed is He, conducts Himself with both tenderness and severity, as Yisrael's benefit requires.

This is a fitting attribute for a person to acquire in his conduct towards his fellow.  Even if one is permitted to chastise his friend or his children severely, and they would accept the rebuke, this is no reason to harshen his chastisement and persist in his wrath, even if he is naturally angry.  Instead, he should assuage his anger and not linger over it, even where it would be permissible to do so.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem please help me to create and build only love and to do no harm to anyone.  Knowing that self-imporovment is a process that takes a great deal of time, even a lifetime, help me to be patient and unafraid and able to restrain myself from committing a sin by saying and doing anything hurtful.  Please help me to only shine love and benefit."


Tomer Devorah - Emulating G-d: Forgives the Remnant of His Heritage


"The righteous will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)

Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] - an ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to imitate G-d based on the Torah verse "...you shall go in His ways" (Devarim 28:9) and "to go in all His ways" (11:22).  

The Sifri ("Eikev") explains: just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Compassionate,' you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Gracious,' you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Righteous,' you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Pious,' you should be pious."  

Expounding the verse "Follow HaShem, your G-d..." (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara derives the practical implications of this concept:  "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, clothes the naked...so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, visits the sick..so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consoles the bereaved, so should you..." (Sotah 14a)

In Tomer Devorah, the Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy mentioned in Michah 7:18-20 are analyzed in detail.

The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל   from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:

“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”

It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand. This segulah follows the principle of  middah keneged middah (measure for measure). If we emulate G-d’s Attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, HaShem will act towards us in the manner of middah keneged middah  and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.

To be privileged to channel G-d's blessing and benefit into the world, man must emulate his Creator.  It is insufficient that man is created in the Divine likeness - he must constantly, consciously, and willingly cleave to G-d by emulating Him in every way. 

"Who is G-d like You, Who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness.  He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Show faithfulness to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Michah 7:18-20)

Consequently, it is proper that these Thirteen Attributes should also be found in man.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem, I realize that I have no separate existence from you and therefore I yearn to be more like You.  Please help me to rise above my nature and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to think, say and do only what is pleasing to You.  May I merit to bring love and mercy to my interactions."





Forgives the Remnant [She'erit] of His Heritage

Yisrael is G-d's inheritance.  The Holy One, Blessed is He says, "If I punish them, the pain is Mine!" as it is written, "In all their trouble, He is afflicted..." (Yeshayahu 63:9)  This is also the intention of the verse, "... His soul became impatient with the misery of Yisrael." (Shoftim 10:16), for He cannot bear Yisrael's suffering and disgrace, since they are the she'erit (remnant) of His heritage.

A person should conduct himself the same way towards his friend, since all Yisrael are blood relatives, being that all souls are united, and each person has a part of all others.  This is why "all [the people of] Yisrael are guarantors for one another," since each individual Jew has a portion of all the others.  When one individual sins, he blemishes not only his own soul but the portion of him that every other Jew possesses.  It follows that his fellow Jew is a guarantor for that portion.

Hence, all Jews are family, and one should therefore desire the best for his fellow, view his neighbor's good fortune benevolently, and cherish his friend's honor as his own - for they are one and the same!  For this reason too,k we are commanded to "love your fellow Jew as yourself" (VaYikra 19:18) - and it is proper that a person desire the well-being of his fellow, and he should never speak ill of him or desire that evil befall him.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed is He, desires neither our disgrace nor our suffering, because we are His relatives, a person should not desire to see his fellow's disgrace, suffering or downfall.  Rather, a person should be pained by it as if he himself were the victim.  The reverse applies to his fellow's good fortune.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem please help me to love the people that I hate and who cause me pain.  Please help me erase the sins being done by rising above my reactions and see that I can effect a repair in the supernal realms and within our nation by being lovingkind, forgiving, and praying for mercy for all of us."



Tehillim 119:8

Tehillim 119:8  אֶת-חֻקֶּיךָ אֶשְׁמֹר אַל-תַּעַזְבֵנִי עַד-מְאֹד
et-chukeicha eshmor al-taazveni ad meod
I will observe Your statutes; do not forsake me utterly.

"I will observe Your statutes," therefore "do not forsake me utterly."

Although everything is in the hand of Heaven except fear of Heaven, I plead, "Do not forsake me utterly."  Rather give me some help to dispose my heart towards You.  You will help me, for when one comes to be purified, he is helped.

"There is no doubt how hard a person must strive and toil to be able to observe all of G-d’s commandments, for the Evil Urge prevention, the external influences preventing, suffering prevents them and all sorts of stumbling blocks will do all they can to prevent this person from guarding all the Commandments. Therefore, King David sings, that no matter what rises up against them he will do all he can to observe all of G-d’s Statutes.

However, he is not simply stating that he will observe G-d’s commandments, he is saying that he will strive to observe all the Commandments even with his Small Mind so that he will be blessed by G-d to be able to fulfill them with his Great Mind. He understands that the Commandments themselves will transform him from one who approaches G-d with his Small Mind into one who can attach to G-d with his Great Mind, however, the only way he will succeed is if, “do not forsake me.”
(Ramchal)

Tehillim 119:7
Tehillim 119:6
Tehillim 119:5
Tehillim 119:4
Tehillim 119:3
Tehillim 119:2
Tehillim 119:1


MeAm Lo'ez
Ramchal

Tomer Devorah - Emulating G-d: Forgiving Transgressions

Friday, January 10, 2014 · Posted in , , ,


"The righteous will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)

Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] - an ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to imitate G-d based on the Torah verse "...you shall go in His ways" (Devarim 28:9) and "to go in all His ways" (11:22).  

The Sifri ("Eikev") explains: just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Compassionate,' you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Gracious,' you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Righteous,' you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Pious,' you should be pious."  

Expounding the verse "Follow HaShem, your G-d..." (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara derives the practical implications of this concept:  "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, clothes the naked...so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, visits the sick..so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consoles the bereaved, so should you..." (Sotah 14a)

In Tomer Devorah, the Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy mentioned in Michah 7:18-20 are analyzed in detail.

The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל   from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:

“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”

It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand. This segulah follows the principle of  middah keneged middah (measure for measure). If we emulate G-d’s Attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, HaShem will act towards us in the manner of middah keneged middah  and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.

To be privileged to channel G-d's blessing and benefit into the world, man must emulate his Creator.  It is insufficient that man is created in the Divine likeness - he must constantly, consciously, and willingly cleave to G-d by emulating Him in every way. 

"Who is G-d like You, Who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness.  He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Show faithfulness to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Michah 7:18-20)

Consequently, it is proper that these Thirteen Attributes should also be found in man.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem, I realize that I have no separate existence from you and therefore I yearn to be more like You.  Please help me to rise above my nature and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to think, say and do only what is pleasing to You.  May I merit to bring love and mercy to my interactions."





Forgives Transgression

This Attribute is even greater than the previous one, for when G-d forgives a sinner, He doe snot convey His pardon through an emissary.  Rather, the Holy One Himself, Blessed is He, grants the pardon, as is written, "For with You is forgiveness.." (Tehillim 130:4).  He washes away the sin, "When G-d has washed away the filth of the daughters of Tziyon.." (Yeshayahu 4:4); "And I will sprinkle purifying waters upon you..." (Yechezkel 36:25).  This, then, is the quality of forgiveness of transgression - G-d sens purifying waters and washes away the sin.

A person should behave in the same way.   From this, one can understand that a person should be too ashamed to return to his sinful ways, for the King Himself cleanses the filth of his garments.

Hitbodedut: "HaShem, please accept my teshuvah and remove my sins.  Please help me not to blame others for my sins. Please help me take responsibility and see that I fell victim to the yetzer hara (evil inclination). Please, HaShem, I see how easy it is to succumb to the yetzer hara and I beg for Your help in rising above it. Please accept my teshuvah and send me assistance so that I do not make this mistake again."



Tomer Devorah - Emulating G-d: Who Pardons Iniquity

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 · Posted in , , ,


"The righteous will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)

Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] - an ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to imitate G-d based on the Torah verse "...you shall go in His ways" (Devarim 28:9) and "to go in all His ways" (11:22).  

The Sifri ("Eikev") explains: just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Compassionate,' you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Gracious,' you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Righteous,' you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Pious,' you should be pious."  

Expounding the verse "Follow HaShem, your G-d..." (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara derives the practical implications of this concept:  "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, clothes the naked...so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, visits the sick..so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consoles the bereaved, so should you..." (Sotah 14a)

In Tomer Devorah, the Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy mentioned in Michah 7:18-20 are analyzed in detail.

The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל   from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:

“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”

It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand. This segulah follows the principle of  middah keneged middah (measure for measure). If we emulate G-d’s Attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, HaShem will act towards us in the manner of middah keneged middah  and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.

To be privileged to channel G-d's blessing and benefit into the world, man must emulate his Creator.  It is insufficient that man is created in the Divine likeness - he must constantly, consciously, and willingly cleave to G-d by emulating Him in every way. 

"Who is G-d like You, Who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness.  He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Show faithfulness to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Michah 7:18-20)

Consequently, it is proper that these Thirteen Attributes should also be found in man.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem, I realize that I have no separate existence from you and therefore I yearn to be more like You.  Please help me to rise above my nature and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to think, say and do only what is pleasing to You.  May I merit to bring love and mercy to my interactions."



Who Pardons Iniquity

This Attribute is greater than the previous one, for when a person transgresses, a destructive creature is created. As stated in the Mishnah, "He who commits a single transgression acquires against himself a single accuser" who stands before the Holy One, Blessed is He, and states, "So and so made me."

Nevertheless, the Holy One, Blessed is He, bears the sin and endures it, and just as He sustains the entire world, He sustains this destructive creature until one of three things happens:
  1. The sinner repents, destroying or nullifying the destructive creature by his acts of penance.
  2. The righteous Judge nullifies it through the suffering or death of the sinner.
  3. The sinner descends to Gehinnom to pay his debt. 
This is the explanation of Kayin's plea, "Is my sin too great to bear?" (Bereishit 4:13), which Chazal (our Sages) interpreted as: "You bear and desire and nourish and sustain the entire world!  Is my sin so severe that You cannot sustain it (i.e., the destructive creature) until I repent and rectify the sin?"

It is with tremendous tolerance that G-d nourishes and sustains the evil creatures created by the sinner until he repents.  From this, man should learn to what extent he, too, should be tolerant and bear the yoke of his fellow and his sin.  He should tolerate one who sinned against him until the sinner mends his ways or the sin disappears of its own accord.


Hitbodedut: "HaShem, please help me to remember that this harm is Your Will and that it is good, sent for my ultimate growth and development.  Please help me to be tolerant of the situation and use it to improve myself and remove the negativity that I have created."


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Tomer Devorah - Emulating G-d: Who is G-d Like You


"The righteous will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)

Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] - an ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to imitate G-d based on the Torah verse "...you shall go in His ways" (Devarim 28:9) and "to go in all His ways" (11:22).  

The Sifri ("Eikev") explains: just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Compassionate,' you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Gracious,' you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Righteous,' you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is called 'Pious,' you should be pious."  

Expounding the verse "Follow HaShem, your G-d..." (Devarim 13:5), the Gemara derives the practical implications of this concept:  "Emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  Just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, clothes the naked...so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, visits the sick..so should you; just as the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consoles the bereaved, so should you..." (Sotah 14a)

In Tomer Devorah, the Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy mentioned in Michah 7:18-20 are analyzed in detail.

The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל   from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:

“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”

It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand. This segulah follows the principle of  middah keneged middah (measure for measure). If we emulate G-d’s Attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, HaShem will act towards us in the manner of middah keneged middah  and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.

To be privileged to channel G-d's blessing and benefit into the world, man must emulate his Creator.  It is insufficient that man is created in the Divine likeness - he must constantly, consciously, and willingly cleave to G-d by emulating Him in every way. 

"Who is G-d like You, Who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness.  He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Show faithfulness to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Michah 7:18-20)

Consequently, it is proper that these Thirteen Attributes should also be found in man.


Hitbodedut:  "HaShem, I realize that I have no separate existence from you and therefore I yearn to be more like You.  Please help me to rise above my nature and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to think, say and do only what is pleasing to You.  May I merit to bring love and mercy to my interactions."





Who is G-d like You

This Attribute refers to the Holy One, Blessed is He, as a tolerant King Who bears insult in a manner beyond human understanding.  Nothing is hidden from His view and there is not a moment that man is not nourished and sustained by virtue of the Divine power bestowed upon him.

Therefore, no man ever sins against G-d without G-d, at that very moment, bestowing abundant vitality upon him, giving him the power to move his limbs.  Yet even though a person uses this very vitality to transgress, G-d does not withhold it from him.  Rather, the Holy One, Blessed is He, suffers this insult and continues to enable his limbs to move.  Even at the very moment that a person uses that power for transgression, sin, and infuriating deeds, the Holy One, Blessed is He, bears them patiently.  He does not withhold His goodness from man.  He bears the insult and continues to bestow His power and benevolence on man.  Such an insult and the forbearance thereof defy description.

The ministering angels refer to the Holy One, Blessed is He, as the long-suffering King.

"Who is G-d like You" - You, G-d, are kind and benevolent, possessing the power to exact revenge and claim what is rightfully Yours, and yet You are patient and tolerant until man repents.

This is a virtue man should emulate - tolerance.  Even when he is insulted to the degree mentioned above he should not withdraw his benevolence from those upon whom he bestows it.


Hitbodedut: "HaShem, please help me to rise above my natural reaction of what I would say or do and lead me in the path that I wish to go, which is to bring love and mercy to this matter.  Please lead me in a way that will reflect tolerance, love, mercy and light."


*Hitbodedut = personal prayer



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