​Most people in the world believe in God. That’s something as basic as breathing and, in fact, anyone can come to this conclusion either through reasoning or feelings. That’s, without a doubt, one of the levels of Emunah. However, many of our holy Rabbis also teach the second step of Emunah: Believing in yourself!

Yes, this might sound silly or unimportant, but it’s nonetheless an essential step to unlocking your true potential and bringing the salvation we want. The first step (or, should we say second?) to acquiring the power to change reality is to be believe in yourself.




The holy Sefat Emet, Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leibfrom Gur teaches that the Yetzer HaRah (evil inclination) works hard to make a person feel like he’s away from Hashem and that he’s unimportant. This is a very bad thing! Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen MiLublin adds that without thinking your actions are important, it’s impossible to reach any real spiritual level.

You are a holy, important, powerful, intelligent and dear creation of Hashem, no matter what other people think. The fact you are here in the world is proof in and of itself Hashem wants you here and has a special plan just for you.

 

What is happiness in Kabbalah?

​Rav Chaim Vital in Sha’arei Kedusha writes that one of the pre-conditions for a person to achieve transcendence is an overwhelming happiness over one’s lot in life. This is a really difficult thing to achieve, but one that is necessary nonetheless. We’ve seen in previous articles how Hashem is good to all His Creatures, no matter what situation they are put in. Being happy is therefore a state of completion in mind, that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

​There’s a deeper secret behind. In Hebrew, the word for complete, whole, and peace all stem from thesame root “Shalem” (שלם) which has the numerical value of 370 as the Zohar teaches. These are the 370 lights that emanate from the highest Sephirah of Keter(“crown), which encompasses all the others. It turns out that the full expression of happiness is also a manifestation of Keter and in fact an incredible source of power. The lesson is very poignant: only one who is happy (also with his portion) can be complete and at peace.

As an aside, this number 370 can divided into two times 185, which is the numerical value of the name of Hashem אל written in the milui (extensive form) אלף למד while at the same time indicating lovingkindness.This can also be interpreted to mean that one can only be happy if he knows his self worth and is kind to himself!

 

Happiness From Chassidic Sources

King Solomon already taught us from Mishlei that there’s a time to be happy and a time to be sad. Certain times of the year we need to repent and mourn, like on Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av), during the Tachanumconfession prayer or after Chatzot (Midnight) to mourn for the exile.

However, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer already stated on Tzava’at HaRivash (The Will of The Ba’al Shem Tov) that a prayer that is joyful is much better appreciated and received than one based on sadness. Though there’s tremendous value in praying with tears, ideally a person should shed tears of joy and longing for Hashem. This is comparable to a servant who comes, praises the king and then makes his request, instead of someone who only thinks about himself and only asks for what they want. In this vein he also adds that expecting salvation is already half way through.

Rebbe Nachman writes extensively in his worksthat happiness is a key that opens many doors. A person should make himself happy by any means necessary, even if it means telling silly jokes to himself or dancing alone. Sadness, as Rav Chaim Vital is one of the traits that distances a person from Hashem the most and prevents him from ascending.

May we merit to know our self-worth and find true happiness wherever we are and also merit to draw down all the salvations we need!


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Many Halachic and Kabbalistic questions arise when considering the story

of Devorah from the Book of Judges. How was she allowed to judge people as a

woman, since that is expressly forbidden? Why was the salvation from Jabin and

Sisera delivered through her hands? Why is her story included in the book of

Judges and she was called the heroine when Barak, her husband, was the leader

who fought the wars?



These answers we cannot know for sure, but they do give us an idea of her

incredible spiritual level and indicate how highly esteemed she was in Jewish

society.


Holy Songs of Creation

The sages teach us that up until our current era we received 9 exalted

songs, and that the 10 th one will come with the coming of Mashiach. Perhaps one

of the most striking aspect of Devorah’s tenure as a judge is that she herself sang

one of these 9 songs, when the Jews triumphed against the Cana’anites.

This fact alone should speak volumes on Devorah’s level of divine service. A

song in the mystical sense is more than just notes, melody and harmony. Rather,

in the Torah, it’s a marshaling of the forces of Creation to bring forth a massive

rectification in the spiritual and physical worlds. In a biblical sense, the song gives

us also a glimpse of the inner workings of Creation and how they interact with

each other. In fact, one great Segulah to see miracles is to recite Devorah’s song,

which should take about 10 minutes.


In Devorah’s song, she praised the tribes of Israel who joined the fight and

cursed those that cowered. She narrated how the stars came to Barak’s aid and

stroke the enemies. She blessed Yael who, as the sages state in the Talmud

(Tractate Horayot), sacrificed her body to tempt Siserah and ultimately kill him.

They relate that she felt zero pleasure and had 100% holy intentions, in order to

bring about the salvation of the Jewish People. Through that, she earned a merit

higher than the holy Matriarchs.

The power and meaning of song cannot be underestimated. There’s a

Midrash that states that in Heaven, all speech is made with song, and the Arizal

explains in Sha’ar HaYichudim that Yehoshua only stopped the sun by singing its

song since the heavenly bodies only move when they sing! The Chatam Sofer adds

that when a person prays in melody, his prayer has a much higher power and

chance of being heard.

A happy person naturally sings in gratitude and given that we all have

things to be grateful for, singing is an expression of the ultimate truth, which is

that Hashem is good with all His Creatures.


This can also be tied out to the subject of song where we see that every element is important and synchronises to produce music. Same thing with gilgulim, while they may be very complex, they form a beautiful song.


Secrets of Reincarnation

Astonishingly, Rav Chaim Vital in Sha’ar HaGilgulim (Hakdamah 28) stated

that Devorah was reincarnated in a bee (as her name signifies). He adds that she

was “dabranit” (she used to speak a bit too much), and praised herself as a

“mother of all Israel”, and urged her soul to be stirred when she sang “u’ri u’ri

Devorah”. Apparently, these minor slips were considered a slight to Hashem’s

honor and so she had to go through reincarnation.

(Generally women don’t reincarnate because of their own faults, but only because her soulmate (husband) needs her in his new reincarnation since she’s from the same soul root. It could be Devorah reincarnated because she was a special general soul that was not allowed to do this. But the language of Rav Chaim Vital is very clear that she was indeed reincarnated.)


This illustrates a little bit about how exacting Hashem is with Tzaddikim.

The truth is however, some people have to reincarnate one way or another

to rectify their soul. It can actually happen due to one of the 7 reasons below

which are:

1. Add the positive commandment he missed

2. To fix a negative commandment he transgressed

3. To study the quantity of Torah you need

4. To get the spouse that is really meant for you since someone else may

have taken it in the previous reincarnation

5. To be punished for the bad and receive the full reward later in Olam

HaBah

6. To receive the reward for the little good one did and be destroyed later.

This is for truly evil people.

7. To rectify other people of the generation. Some very special few

individuals only come to help other people and are assured not to sin


(Rav Chaim Vital says it’s almost impossible for men not to be reincarnated because of one of the 7 reasons. When this happens, Hashem sends his wife even though it’s not because of her fault.)


This however is good news as Hashem gives us ample of opportunities to rectify what we need. May we merit to sing the ultimate song of redemption very soon in our days!



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The Light of the Rambam, Master of Sciences

 



​It’s amazing how often people tend to underestimate the ancient rabbis. Many, even learned ones, confuse wisdom for knowledge and believe we live in a more enlightened era. To them, the knowledge of the previous generations is to be ignored at best.

​As what our readers might expect, much of what we take it for granted nowadays, is actually neither too obvious, nor unknown to our holy Rabbis. One such sage who embodied many areas of science of his time is certainly Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (the Rambam, or Maimonides). The Rambam was one of the outstanding sages of the middle ages called “Rishonim” (the “first ones”). He was primarily an expert in medicine, but was also well versed in math, psychology and astronomy.

 

Psychology and Healing

​The Rambam was a very prolific writer and, considering the amount of writings he left for us, one would be excused for thinking he had access to computers. Two of his works stand out most throughout all Jewish circles. One of them is the Mishneh Torah, a compendium of law comprising all Mitzvot, even those that are not extant (something unheard before). The other one is the Moreh Nevuchim(“Guide of the Perplexed”) which is a more philosophical and theological analysis on reality from a Jewish perspective.

​The Rambam also advocates for a life of balance,stating that a person should neither over-delight himself with the pleasures of the world, nor mortifying his body by starving from them. A person should also neither be splurging his money, nor be stingy. Other advices include not engaging in marital relations right after eating, sleeping or going to the bathroom (as these are all bad practices), or doing so in excess because “the seed is the life force of the human body, and out of 1.000 deaths, 999 of them are because of excessive wasting it”.

​This teaching falls in line with the Kabbalistic approach that the soul should dominate the body as a rider rides a horse. It’s one of the essential conditions for doing the Tikkun HaMidot (“rectifying the character traits”), in order to achieve transcendence.

​However, his mastery of the human mind can best be understood from many of his ideas from the Mishneh Torah. One of them refers to the rectification of bad character traits by adopting its extreme opposite and then returning to the middle ground. For example, he recommends that a stingy person resolves to give money to everyone who asks him for 40 days and then returns to a moderate stance. Likewise, one who is a glutton should police himself to eat a lot less than how much he carves and then eating moderately (as is proper). Again, this is very much in line with how Kabbalists and Tzaddikim behave.

​In speaking about health and healing in HilchotDe’ot, the Rambam makes a stern warning to every physician that, before anything, they should treat the person’s mind. This is because without restoring it first, no medicine will have its intended effect. The mind, as we know from the Kabbalistic writings (especially the Zohar), is composed of 3 elements, Chochmah, Bina and Da’at, and whether a person is in a state of peace or not depends on whether he has the requisite Mokhin(divine consciousness) or not. Without it, the lower Sephirot cannot function properly, which opens up the body for many illnesses and conditions.

​When dealing with converts, the Rambam stressed that Jews need to be careful with them since we ourselves were outsiders in Egypt. It’s one of the Mitzvot not to oppress or abuse them in any way whatsoever. It’s also important to stress that the Talmud (Baba Metzia 59b) also stresses that the Torah has warned the Jewish people about this no less than 36 times (and some say 46 times). Converts, as we discussed before, often function as vessels for souls of Tzaddikim, as related in many places in Sha’arHaGilgulim by the Arizal, so one needs to be extra careful when dealing in them.

 

Rambam and the Secrets of Torah

​The general consensus is that the Rambam was eminently against Kabbalah. However, a deeper view into the Moreh Nevuchim reveals that the terminology used there reveals he actually knew about the secrets of Torah, and very well. Many scholars state however that, later in life, the Rambam learned Kabbalah and two letters supposedly written by him praise it and state that “had I learned about the things I learned now, I’d not have written many of the things I wrote”. Although many scholars have rejected them as fake, one is quoted by the Migdal Oz to the first chapter of Hilchot Yisodei HaTorah, and another well known one published in R. Shilat’s edition of the Rambam's letters, pg. 695.

​Whatever the case, many of the Rambam’s ideas throughout his works are well aligned with Kabbalah and prove that he was indeed a giant among giants in all areas of Torah. He understood the human mind better than anyone and his love for Torah continues to serve as inspiration to many throughout the generations.

​The Rambam is buried in the coastal city of Tveria, and a very intricate and architecturally fascinating construction was erected there. None less than Rabbi Yosef Karo, author of the Shulchan Aruchcalled the Rambam the greatest Halachic authority of all communities of the Land of Israel and of Arabia and of the Maghreb. May his memory be for a blessing and inspiration!



This article was written in the zechut of Leora Yehudis Bas Kayla may HaShem help her attain all her hearts desires speedily!


In the merit of the study of this book - the book of the Zohar - the Jewish People will leave the Exile in a merciful manner. (parashat Naso, 124b). Studying Kabbalah is a huge source of merit that can bring all sorts of salvation to a person’s life. If you want to sponsor to have me study in-depth Kabbalah from the Arizal or the Rashash in your merit and receive its blessings, especially for sustenance, children and health.

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