When the Screens of Separation Fall

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ Radiant is the world soul, Full of splendor and beauty, Full of life, Of souls hidden, Of treasures of the holy spirit, Of fountains of strength, Of greatness and beauty. Proudly I ascend Toward the heights of the world soul That gives life to the universe. How majestic the vision – Come, enjoy, Come, find peace, Embrace delight, Taste and see that God is good. Why spend your substance on what does not nourish And your labor on what cannot satisfy? Listen to me, and you will enjoy what is good, And find delight in what is truly precious. These poetic words are from the notebook of Rav Kook This week’s parashah, Tzav, continues discussing the intricacies of …

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Spiritualize Reality

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ There was a time when I stopped visiting Israel, because it was too difficult for me to go there after my Savta passed away. Her house had always been my first stop; I would run there directly from Ben Gurion airport. She would likely have some Yemenite food and mind-blowing schnitzel awaiting my arrival. Back when I was in Yeshiva and lived in Yerushalayim, I would take my friends from yeshiva to my Savta’s in Ramat Gan for Shabbatot (they all called her G-ma;). I remember her waking up at 5 am every day, covering her head and saying the morning tefillah. She would cook Yemenite food and Moroccan salads, and my friends and I would sing Shabbat …

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The Grounding Elements

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ Last week, we discussed the notion that Exile is a state of disconnect, and redemption is the rectification of that state. In Likkutei Sichot, it’s written that the true meaning of redemption is the attainment of a state of transcendence above the boundaries and limitations of this material world. However, it’s essential to realize that the intent of this statement is not that the transcendent state should nullify the world and its limitations, but rather that there should be a fusion of the infinite and the finite. And that Godliness is meant to be revealed in our physical world in a Mishkan, a dwelling for Hashem established in the lower realms. This week, as we read the end of …

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Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ So many of us feel disconnected so much of the time. Exile is a state of disconnect; redemption is the rectification of that state. We spin stories in our heads, filling in the blanks of desolation that often feels like desperation, because it’s chiyut (the feeling of life and connection) that we all crave and that sustains us.  I’m certainly no exception. Stories spin in my head when I feel uncertain, before I’m able to see things clearly. Anxiety is the feeling we experience when Emunah (faith) and Bitachon (trust) become distant. For interpersonal relationships, there are solutions to lessen the anxiety: communication can deconstruct the stories we build in our heads which are a mix of emotion, …

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When to Abstain from Creating and Meditate on Being Created

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ It’s wild to me to think how some folks don’t know the true weekly epicness that is Shabbat. But like much in life, so much of its preciousness remains concealed until each person pushes through their own perceptions to reveal the truth that awaits. Cultivating a community that we feel is ours is key in feeling one with sacred spaces. Doing so often requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone and either inviting people to create the space, or inviting oneself into others’ spaces so that they become our own.  When we haven’t done that yet, or don’t feel motivated enough to do so, we inevitably feel disconnected from the commandments as a celebration and feel them more …

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The living revelation of the concealed

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ Crushed for Illumination  This week has been a bit more challenging navigating the ups and downs that come with living in this life of exile… as Mark Ronson says, Nothing Breaks Like A Heart. I woke up today and it hit me that we’re all just scattered pieces of a broken soul trying to come together and make it whole.  This Parashah opens on the following verse: וְאַתָּ֞ה תְּצַוֶּ֣ה ׀ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְיִקְח֨וּ אֵלֶ֜יךָ שֶׁ֣מֶן זַ֥יִת זָ֛ךְ כָּתִ֖ית לַמָּא֑וֹר לְהַעֲלֹ֥ת נֵ֖ר תָּמִֽיד And you will command the Children of Israel that they shall take for you clear olive oil, crushed, for illumination, to light a lamp continually.  What strikes me is that the action we are commanded to take …

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The love you take is equal to the love you make

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ Introduction “Tzedakah and acts of kindness are the equivalent of all the mitzvot of the Torah” – Jerusalem Talmud, Pe’ah 1:1 “Terumah” is the parashah I began with when I started writing these “Light of the Infinite” divrei Torah a couple years ago, on the Yahrzeit of my kids’ bubbie, Yehudis Chava bat Yakov. I chose to begin this project– to write and share Torah– to try to inspire others in her memory/honor. Now that I have made it through the year to this same parashah, I will expand and dive a bit deeper. Where we are now in the Torah, the Jews are coming out of everything being taken care of for them– being taken out of …

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Hear & Grow

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ Introduction– Unconditional Love Means Unconditional Giving  As a father, I’m in a constant state of doing and listening. If my kids need something, I will do it, whatever it is, whether I know how to do it yet or not, and I will listen to their needs so that I can provide in a way that is best for them. When someone asks you for something, and you love them unconditionally (ahava she’eina teluya bedavar / a love that does not hang/depend on things), even if you don’t have the time, the answer is, “yes, I don’t have the time, but I’ll make the time.” And if it’s something you might not even know how to do, it’s, …

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Seeing Sound

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ I don’t even recall how we initially connected, but years ago I connected with Nissim Black. At the time, he was going by the name D. Black and we did a slew of songs together. Since that time, I have seen him get bigger and bigger, brighter and brighter, and his light has reached just about everyone I know in a bunch of the different communities that I’m in. We all have so much light within us. That’s why we feel so much light when we encounter someone that’s fully tapped into their own. And we can all feel that with Nissim– he’s has tapped in; he’s always pushing through the concealed light to reveal it to everyone …

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The Song of the Sea

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ Our parashah of Beshalach opens with:  וַיְהִ֗י בְּשַׁלַּ֣ח פַּרְעֹה֮ אֶת־הָעָם֒ וְלֹא־נָחָ֣ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים דֶּ֚רֶךְ אֶ֣רֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים כִּ֥י קָר֖וֹב ה֑וּא כִּ֣י ׀ אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים פֶּֽן־יִנָּחֵ֥ם הָעָ֛ם בִּרְאֹתָ֥ם מִלְחָמָ֖ה וְשָׁ֥בוּ מִצְרָֽיְמָה. וַיַּסֵּ֨ב אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ אֶת־הָעָ֛ם דֶּ֥רֶךְ הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר יַם־ס֑וּף וַחֲמֻשִׁ֛ים עָל֥וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם. “When Pharaoh sent the people forth, Hashem did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was nearby. For Hashem said, “The people may reconsider when they see battle, and they will return to Egypt. So Hashem led the people roundabout by way of the desert to the Red Sea.”   Introduction: Paths to Redemption The lesson that keeps coming up is that the path to the Promised Land – and to holiness – is fraught …

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