Archive for May 2014

Of Candles and Creation

Friday, May 30, 2014 · Posted in , ,

She stands silently for only a moment, stares at the glistening silver candlesticks and then at the cups of clear yellow oil and cotton wicks. She takes a deep breath. Sparks fly into the air as she strikes a match. Her hand first reaches out to the candlestick on the right, as she lights her candles one by one. The room around her is tranquil and still, with her children standing behind her with big, glowing eyes. Even the baby knows not to utter a word.

May these be the candles of everlasting peace; may these be the candles of abundance; may these be the candles of rectified Light. Master of the Universe, may these be the candles that burn forever and ever. One, two, three times, she invites the Shabbat angels into her home for blessings of peace . . .

With this silent prayer meditation, she stretches her arms wide to hover some distance around the flames, and then draws them in to carry the light and warmth into the universe. One, two, three times, she invites the Shabbat angels into her home for blessings of peace. Then, she tilts her head downwards, lowers her eyelids, and buries her face inside her hands. A small, whispered muffle can be heard under her hands as she recites the blessing. With this, the moment transcends into an awesome divine space of higher consciousness. She is now face to face with her Creator. My heart is open, please hear my cries, wipe away my tears, restore my true faith in You.

[By T. Kramer]

May we truly merit to purify and elevate this lofty moment! 

Shabbat Shalom!

Tefilla of the Shelah Hakadosh

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Remember to recite the Shelah HaKadosh Prayer for Children! Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan (Thurs. May 29th) is an optimal time to do this! 

Below is a link to the prayer in Hebrew and English:

English Translation

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.

Lag B'Omer - 33rd day of the Omer Count

Begins on the Night of Saturday May 17, 2014

[Mashiach's Rainbow]

Immense light that was brought into the world by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (who passed away on Lag B'Omer), especially on the day of his passing. Lag B'Omer, when he revealed to his disciples secrets of the Torah whose profundity and intensity the world had yet to experience. The Zohar relates that the house was filled with fire and intense light, to the point that the assembled could not approach or even look at Rabbi Shimon.

The bow commemorates the fact that during Rabbi Shimon’s lifetime no rainbow was ever seen. (Bereishit Rabbah 35:2)  Rashi (Ketuvot 77B) explains that when the generation has leaders who are perfectly righteous, the generation does not need a rainbow so that G-d can remind himself not to destroy the world.

Note: This was a good thing because the rainbow appears when the earth deserves punishment. The first time a rainbow appeared was after Noah’s flood, when G-d said that He will no longer destroy the world, rather He would send a sign: the rainbow.

During Rabbi Shimon’s lifetime, the world was filled with merit because of him and therefore never saw a rainbow. (Bereishit 9:8-17 and Rashi there)

There is a Kabbalistic tradition that on Lag b’Omer a rainbow of many colors will appear in the sky immediately before the coming of Mashiach.  "Do not expect the coming of Mashiach until the rainbow is seen... in shining colors." (Zohar, Vol. 1, p. 72b)

Before the coming of Mashiach, a very special rainbow will appear. This rainbow will be so bright that all rainbows that have appeared on earth will seem very dim and weak in comparison.The bright strong colors of this rainbow are a sign that the Redemption is about to come. It is this rainbow, the Zohar tells us, that G-d was speaking about when He said to Noach (Bereishit 9:16), "I will look at it to recall the eternal promise."

(L'Chaim #840; Zohar 1:72b)

Tehillim 119:20

Tehillim 119:20
גָּרְסָה נַפְשִׁי לְתַאֲבָה אֶל-מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ בְכָל-עֵת
garsah nafshi letaavah el-mishpateicha vechol-et
My soul is consumed with the longing that it has for Your ordinances at all times.

Another obstacle is physical passion, which shatters a man's body.  But I break away "my soul" from passion, by reminding her of "Your ordinances at all times."  As our Sages have taught: "At all times should a man incite the good inclination against the evil inclination."

Another interpretation says: I am "consumed with the longing" to study, but the obstructions prevent me.  As a result, "my soul is consumed" and shattered.  Every time I am forced to remain idle from the Torah, "my soul" shatters from "the longing that it has for Your ordinances at all times."

Even when there is no need for me to study the practical Halachah, I study Torah out of passion and with great dedication.  King David thus explains the reason for his deep desire to know the secrets of the Torah - his longing did not stem from the body but from the soul.  "My soul is consumed with the longing that it has for Your ordinances at all times."

Some perceive the present verse as a petition: "Consume" - break away - "my soul" from the external husk that obstructs me from keeping the mitzvot.  Man's physical nature gives rise to a desire for money, for instance, and this can make him commit robbery.  But if You will "consume" - break away - "my soul" from the material, it will be "consumed" instead "with longing"... "for Your ordinances at all times."

Rava said, "Let a man study even though he forgets.  Let him study even if he does not know what he is saying.  For it says, 'My soul studies (leta'avah) [out of desire].'  It does not say (tachanah) [to grind it fine].  Rashi explains, "In my passion for Torah learning, I would break it up (proceed to analyze it in detail) despite my limited capacity to grind very fine; I was actually incapable of in-depth study."

Torah learning is unlike any worldly commodity, since a person does not usually devote himself to other pursuits all the time.  Today he may devote himself to this field of knowledge, and tomorrow to another.  Not so the Torah, of which it says, "You will meditate in it day and night" (Yehoshua 1:8).  Every day and every moment the student perceives new things.  Even if he has already studied the matter before, novel insights are revealed to him.  That is what King David says here, "My soul is consumed with the longing that it has for Your ordinances at all times."

Tehillim 119:1 - Tehillim 119:2 - Tehillim 119:3 - Tehillim 119:4 - Tehillim 119:5 - Tehillim 119:6 - Tehillim 119:7 - Tehillim 119:8 - Tehillim 119:9 - Tehillim 119:10 - Tehillim 119:11 - Tehillim 119:12 - Tehillim 119:13 -  Tehillim 119:14 - Tehillim 119:15 - Tehillim 119:16 - Tehillim 119:17 - Tehillim 119:18 - Tehillim 119:19

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