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AZAMRA’S DIARY 18-25 Elul 5770
27 August-4 September 2010
During the Elul season of repentance, Israel are like the inhabitants of a city who go out to greet the King in the fields prior to His entry into the city (on Rosh Hashanah), and now each individual has the opportunity to approach the King in person in advance of the coming Day of Judgment.
In his old age, Rabbi Yisroel Salanter (1810-83), founder of the Mussar movement, said that he still rememberd how as a small child playing outside in the sand, delaying going home, his sister called him saying: "Yisroel! What are you still playing for? This is the month of Elul! Even the very fish in the sea are trembling in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah!" [We learn that the fish tremble from Psalms 98:6-7: "With trumpets and the sound of the shofar (= Rosh Hashanah), sound the blast before HaShem. Let the sea and all its fullness (= the fish) thunder…"]
Sunday night-Monday 29-30 August / 20 Elul
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Avraham ben Naftali Hertz Shternhertz "Kochav Lev" (d. 1955), grandson of Rabbi Nosson of Breslov and leading Breslover elder in Uman and Jerusalem, Israel.
Today is also the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Cahanman (1886-1969), the Ponevitcher Rav and founder of the prestigious Ponevitch Yeshiva, Bnay Brak, Israel, and of Rabbi Mosheh Aryeh Freund (d. 1996), Chief Rabbi of the Eda Charedis of Jerusalem. Both were holocaust survivors who were instrumental in rebuilding Torah institutions after the war.
Today is also the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1872-1970), outstanding Tzaddik, Mussar teacher and author of Michtav MiEliyahu.
Thursday night-Friday 2-3 September / 24 Elul
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen of Radzin (1838-1933), known as the Chafetz Chaim, author of works on the prohibition of evil speech and of Mishneh Berurah on the laws of daily prayer and blessings, Shabbat and festivals.
Friday night-Saturday 3-4 September / 25 Elul
Shabbat Parshat NITZAVIM-VAYELECH
Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 and 31:1-30
Haftara: Isaiah 61:10-63:9, seventh and last of the Haftarot of Comfort read between the Fast of Tisha B’Av and Rosh HaShanah.
This is the last Shabbat of the year, and we should make every effort to receive this Shabbat with the greatest joy and devotion.
It is customary NOT to bless the coming month in the Synagogue after the Shabbat Torah reading. This is "in order to outwit the satan" (i.e. not to alert his attention to the coming Day of Judgment in order to avoid his accusations), and in any case, the month of Tishri is so holy that it is "blessed in heaven" instead. However those who have the custom of reciting the entire book of Psalms on Shabbat Mevorchin also do so on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah.
According to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol, today is the Anniversary of the first of the “Six Days of Creation”, which culminate on the first day of Rosh HaShanah, the sixth day of Creation, when Adam was created. On each of these six days the unique light of the associated Sefirah shines in all the worlds.
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Elazar son of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
The Holy Zohar states that at the end of days an awesome event will take place on this date (Balak 212b).
"Everyone who recites Psalm 27, "HaShem is my light", morning and evening from the beginning of Elul until the end of Succot is assured he will live out his years in goodness and pleasantness, and he removes from himself all the accusing forces and nullifies all harsh and evil decrees, and he will win his case in the Judgment" (ARI).
The Daily Page is a collection of excerpts taken from the daily Kabbalah lesson with Dr. Michael Laitman and Bnei Baruch.
Examining The Correctness Of The Path
It’s very easy to determine whether the path is a spiritual one: Everything that we agree with does not relate to spirituality! It is specifically the contradictions that our mind and senses do not accept that are undesirable and repulsive to us; they relate to spirituality. It is them in particular that we should work on.
If I sense that a certain state won’t bring me any benefit either in my senses or mind, then by rising above this particular state I can start building spirituality. Most likely, in this state it will be impossible to “buy” me, and I won’t look for a selfish profit; rather, I will need the Creator’s help in order to rise above it. In other words, I constantly check myself: checking how much my body resists my work. And for me this is the sign of my correct spiritual advancement.
Further on, I need to examine what I’m doing it for. Perhaps I want to overcome myself and pursue some personal goals. Or maybe I want to find love of the Creator which is repulsive to my “body,” my egoistic sensation and mind, and I’m searching for love that is built on hatred toward egoistic thoughts and desires about oneself.
Often, however, we don’t try to transcend our bodies and we don’t regret that we are unable to work according to our mind and feelings contained in the body. Instead of looking for a state that is beyond our sensations and mind, we wish to be in it.
First and foremost we need to push the body “down,” along with its feelings and mind, and be above them, not to take them into account. That is, I take them into consideration, but only in order to rise above them. Then it’s called faith above reason. But instead, I regret: Why is everything not revealed within my reason so that I can act as a sensible person and know that I have intellect and personal strength to advance correctly?
The most outstanding Questions and Answers, excerpts, examples, illustrations, definitions, and advice from the Daily Kabbalah Lesson of Dr. Michael Laitman and Bnei Baruch.
Daily Kabbalah Tip
Advice in the daily Kabbalah lesson is recommended, practical tasks for advancing spiritually.
Righteous And Wicked
What are “righteous” and “wicked” in terms of Kabbalah?
“Wicked” in terms of Kabbalah is a state of “heart” of a person, his desire to receive that controls him. And when the attribute of “man” (the intention in order to bestow) in him strengthens and controls his heart, then in this state, man is called “righteous.”
He is called righteous because he has two opposing things: the desire to receive and the intention for the sake of bestowal, and from the beginning he justifies the Creator that he is in this split even though he doesn’t understand and is not able to grasp these two opposing things together.
To those who read “Keep Smiling” before, I hope you will enjoy reading them once again…
Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Schwartz
A Chosen Nation
Many people have a problem with the idea of the Jews being “A Chosen Nation”. Those, however, who most squirm at this idea, really have the least reason to worry about it…
The Torah tells the Jewish people that they are a Chosen Nation — an “Am Segula” — on condition. What is the condition? — “If you will listen to My voice and keep the agreement I made with you, then you shall be My cherished treasure amongst all peoples…” (Shmos 19.5)
Being chosen by the Creator is about us choosing Him — choosing to connect with Him, to draw Him into our lives. This is true at a national as well as an individual level. The degree, to which we follow the Creator’s ways, is the degree we will receive the Creator’s special intervention and blessing.
The best motorcar is one that produces the most power, while burning the least fuel. It’s the same for us…
We eat and drink for energy. However, the food itself is not energy. Our digestive system needs to convert our food into power. Ideally, we should burn all the food we consume — producing maximum energy and minimal waste. In this way, our bodies glow with health, fitness and beauty. However, when our system doesn’t work as it could — we eat a lot, put on weight, spend much time in the bathroom, and have little strength. This leaves us weak and flabby. We need therefore, to doctor our bodies that they may serve us properly.
This idea applies not only to eating, but to every aspect of living.
We take much from our world — goods and services, homes and holidays. Also, we enjoy many life experiences — at work, at study, even at play.
The question is then: How much of what we take do we convert into something useful, inspiring, and how much do we waste? How much of what we consume enriches our world, and how much simply dies?
Therefore, we need to adapt, to improvise. We need to think originally. We must want to help others. We must want to create what is more beautiful, more pleasurable. We must make ourselves a “digestive system” that will help us become people who are not only healthy, fit and beautiful — but also, great.