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yechida's reflections
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TOPIC: yechida's reflections 121849 Views

Re: yechida's reflections 19 Jan 2020 14:13 #346812

  • yechidah
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Jan 26

Please help me

Connect with

Abraham’s Chesed

& Aharon’s Peace

Jan 27

Joy of

United souls

As One

Jan 28

Apple seed

Dull color


Yet generations

Of trees & fruits

Within it!!

Jan 29

Study truth

In methodical order

Not meandering

Not hitting the on truth


Jan 30

Gift of insight

Lightning flash

Seize that opportunity

Develop the illuminating concept

Before it conceals itself again

Build upon that light

A tangible lesson

Of true wisdom

Jan 31


Bridging the gap

Between heart & mind

Both in unison

Connecting to the Divine

Last Edit: 19 Jan 2020 14:14 by yechidah.

Re: yechida's reflections 26 Jan 2020 01:18 #346947

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The Painful Darkness of Light 1

Hashem said to Moshe: Stretch forth your hand over the Heavens, and there will be darkness upon the land of Egypt. 2

Nothing we know or can imagine approximates the darkness that overcame Egypt in the next to the last plague. It was miasmic; there was substance and body to it, not merely the absence of light. So different in character was this darkness, that the medrash3 labors to understand its provenance. From where did such darkness come? The medrash offers a source: the darkness came from on high, from the Heavens themselves.

But what could this possibly mean? What darkness is there above, where there is only light?

Moshe was told to stretch his hand over, above the Heavens. We would have expected him to be instructed to lift his hand towards Heaven. Moshe, however, was not meant to point with his hand in the direction of a higher place. He was told to reach above the Heavens, take hold of some lofty and elevated spiritual level, and bring it down to Egypt. There, explains the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, this wonderful light would turn to painful darkness for the Egyptians.

Consider a thoroughly evil fellow, somehow finding himself in Gan Eden, moving about among the righteous, who all sit there resplendent in their crowns of glory, basking in the radiance of the Shechinah. Tzadikim there experience this as indescribable pleasure; he suffers immeasurably. Completely unaccustomed to spirituality, he experiences this Gan Eden as unbearable discomfort.

This, then, is the essence of the plague of darkness. Moshe took some of the light from above. It plunged Egypt into a darkness like no other.

After crossing the Sea, the Jews went for three days “and could not find water.”4 What they really were missing was the sweet water of Torah.5 Consequently, when they traveled a bit further, “they could not drink the waters…because they were bitter.” Having gone a significant time without learning, says the Toldos, when they returned to it, they found it bitter rather than a source of joy and pleasure. Unaccustomed to Torah for only a short while, they found it unattractive and foreign when they returned to it. All the more so a person who never experienced the sweetness of Torah, who spent a lifetime distant from all Torah and mitzvos! He gags on them; he finds them devoid of meaning and uncomfortable. There is no greater darkness than this! (Rambam6 mentions the same phenomenon. In sickness, a patient will sometimes report that bitter foods taste sweet, and sweet foods taste bitter. Spiritual ailments cause something similar. Spiritually diseased people relish traits that are evil, and spurn good and proper ones.)

The Jews experienced the very opposite. Unlike the Egyptians, they were not overcome by palpable darkness. On the contrary, the illumination that Moshe brought down from on high bathed them in light. “For all the Bnei Yisrael there was light in their dwellings.”7 Those who dwelled often in light, who sought it, cherished, looked for it – who made a home for themselves in it – they found novelty and excitement in this light brought by Moshe.

We have not yet done justice to this darkness from above. We speak of Hashem as “yotzer/ fashioning light and borei/ creating darkness”8 “Creation,” we are told is on a higher plane than “fashioning.” Why, then, is darkness linked to beriah?

The sefarim ha-kedoshim explain that the “darkness” linked to beriah in this verse is actually light – light that is even brighter than what is connected with yetzirah. Some light is so powerful, that staring at it leaves one blinded, incapable of seeing anything else. People who stare at the sun for even a brief moment are temporarily left unable to focus properly. One who is not equipped to handle the light loses his vision because of it. Chazal9 tell us that in the future, Hashem will take the sun out of its sheath. It will then inflict punishment upon the evil, while simultaneously curing the righteous. The righteous, accustomed to spiritual illumination, will make good use of it. They will find it curative and redemptive. The evil, unaccustomed to such illumination in their lives, will be overwhelmed and pained by it.

So it was to the Egyptians. Moshe did not bring darkness from above, but light. Unable to bear what their souls were unaccustomed to processing, the Egyptians were paralyzed by the overdose of light, and they were unable to see each other or rise up from their places for three days. The dwellings of Bnei Yisrael, however, were suffused with light.

Chazal tell us that a common thread ties together all the plagues: each acted in two opposing fashions. Each struck at the Egyptians, but brought relief to the Jews. We should not think that two different natures were unleashed in tandem by Hashem in each plague. Rather, we should understand this as above. Each makah had but a single quality. It was experienced differently by Bnei Yisrael and by the Egyptians, proving useful and positive to the Jews and devastating to the Egyptians.

Rav Moshe Midner adds a grace note to our discussion. “To all Bnei Yisrael there was light in their dwellings.” Sometimes, the light is too much for any individual to bear. When Jews dwell together, when they band together as a group to bring down Hashem’s light, they are able to jointly receive it. This is why Jews gather and sit with each other in large groups on Shabbos.

Re: yechida's reflections 01 Feb 2020 23:51 #347073

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Everyone Needs Attention

The pasuk [verse] at the beginning of the parsha says, “Vayehi b’Shalach Pharoah es ha’am” – “and it was when Pharoah sent out the nation”. The Medrash Rabbah comments on the word “Vayehi” – “and it was”. The Medrash says that the expression “vayehi” is related to the word “vai” (as in ‘oy vai’), which means to cry out. The Medrash asks, “Who cried out?” The Medrash answers that Pharoah screamed in anguish when he had to send the Jewish people out.

What did Pharoah cry about? The Medrash relates a parable. A King had a son who travelled away from home. The prince spent some time at the house of a wealthy person. When the King heard where the prince was staying, he corresponded with this person and asked him to send the prince home. The wealthy person ignored the letter. The King sent more letters, all of which were ignored. Finally the King went to the house of this person to take his son home himself.

When the King finally took his son home, the wealthy person started to cry out. The neighbors asked him, “Why are you crying?” He responded, “I had a great honor in hosting the prince in my home. The King corresponded with me and took an intense interest in what was happening in my home. Now, I no longer have the prince in my home, so the King will have no interest in me whatsoever. That is why I cry out.”

That is how Pharoah felt. As long as the Jews were in Egypt, G-d kept sending him messages. Now that the Jews left, Pharoah would no longer have a ‘correspondence’ with the Mastter of the World. “Woe to me” (vay), says Pharoah, “that I sent the Jews out and lost my dialog with G-d”. That is why the pasuk begins “VAY-ehi b’Shalach…”

What conclusion must we arrive at from this Medrash? Was Pharoah a masochist? Did he miss the ‘correspondence’ that G-d was sending to him: Blood, Frogs, Lice, etc., etc. Did he love getting beaten up. Why did he cry out when he was no longer ‘hearing’ from G-d in this fashion?

Pharoah may have had deep psychological problems, but masochism was not one of them. Pharoah was a very real human being. Human beings need to feel wanted. They need to feel “I am somebody. Somebody notices me.” When a person is no longer noticed, he feels like less of a person.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe (one of the premier personalities in the mussar movement today, residing in Jerusalem) mentions in one of his books that a certain young man once stopped coming to prayer services at a Yeshiva. A friend asked him, “What happened? Don’t you daven anymore?” The young man responded, “Heaven forbid, I daven at another minyan now. There is no shortage of minyanim in Jerusalem.” His friend asked him, “Why don’t you daven in the Yeshiva anymore?” The young man responded, “This way maybe the mashgiach [spiritual mentor of the students] will notice me.”

This is an example of the fact that negative notice is better than no notice. “I want somebody to know that I exist.” Apathy is worse than punishment.

Small children sometimes ‘act out’. (Sometimes they don’t have to be so small.) We may ask, “Why are they acting out? Why can’t they behave? Why can’t they just sit quietly at the Shabbos table? Why do they act out, only to be sent away to their rooms in the middle of the meal?”

The answer is that they, in fact, want to be sent away because that way they are at least noticed. We all have a choice. We can either give our children or our spouses positive attention or we might have to give them negative attention. But we will need to give them attention, one way or another.

This is the lesson of the Medrash. Pharoah would rather be beaten over the head and worse, than not be noticed by G-d at all. The worst thing for Pharoah was the realization that after sending out the nation, G-d would become oblivious to him. Everyone needs attention.

Re: yechida's reflections 01 Feb 2020 23:59 #347076

  • yechidah
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regarding loving yourself,marriage & healthy eating

Feb 1


A school

A testing ground

In having faith

In God

Feb 2

Divine Providence

In every particular in life

All for ultimate good

To bring us close to Him

Feb 3

Faith of God


Peace of Mind

Feb 4

Loving our people

Mitigates judgements

Even pre-repentance

Feb 5

Don’t think that

Because you don’t love yourself

God doesn’t love you either

This is a false assumption

For He loves us


Feb 6

Desire for women

(other than one’s wife & soulmate)

Conceals & stagnates

Our love for God

From coming forth

Desire for one’s wife & soulmate

Coming from not just body but also soul

Bring forth & accentuates

Our love for God

Feb 7

Deep desire in a woman is

To love her husband

When she doesn’t sense that love

Her heart & mind in in turmoil

So loving your wife truly

Is not just a nice thing

Its instilling life in her

Feb 8

True love

Deeper than

Hugging & kissing

Deeper than

The physical act of sex

But all this

Is still needed

To express that love

Feb 9

Looking at women

Blocks a husband’s heart

From fully loving

His wife

Feb 10

Its not just our soul

That is uniquely high

Our bodies too

Have great spiritual potential

Elevating the mundane

Feb 11

The primary gift

A husband

Can give his wife

Is a true & empathetic

Listening ear

Feb 12

A husband’s wisdom (Chochmah)

Is sorely lacking

Unless he

Incorporates into himself

Accepting the discernment (Binah0

From his wife

Feb 13

If a husband’s desire

For his wife

Is only physical/sexual

It will ultimately

Create distance

Not closeness or unity

She will feel degraded


As a result

It’s Ok

Even admirable

For a husband

To be sexually & physically attuned

Attracted to his wife

As long as

The soul-friendship bond

Is primary

Feb 14

Generally speaking,

Man is attuned to intellect

Women to emotion

Though occasionally

It’s the reverse

But deep intuition

Is primarily

A woman’s gift

Feb 15

Please Hashem

Grant me the strength

To overcome

My mouth’s basic desires

Of evil speech & overeating


Help me speak

Only goodness & wisdom

And to eat healthy

With the right mindset

Feb 16

Let me eat

To live

Not to live

To eat!!

Feb 17

Please help me handle

By inner emotional pain


Not allowing it to trigger

Unhealthy releases

Such as overeating

Or misdirected sexual channeling

Feb 18

To facilitate healthy eating

Eat-slowly & deliberately

Concentrate-when making blessings

Before & after eating

Re: yechida's reflections 07 Feb 2020 14:29 #347225

  • yechidah
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Feb 19

You can’t believe in God fully

Until you believe in yourself

That God values you

& cherishes you

Feb 20

Live with Truth

God’s spark within us

Knowing everything in us

Is God’s kindness

Feb 21


Recognizing the truth

Of our faults & errors

To talk to God about them

Asking His assistance

To help us

Correct ourselves

Feb 22

The more we express

Our gratitude to God

The closer we get

To the Truth

Feb 23

Be happy with our lot


Being happy for people

Who have more than us

Feb 24

Thank you for the gift

Of clean cloths

Physical & spiritual


The Divine spark

Within us

Feb 25

What a waste of time

Excess efforts

On outer apprearances!!

Feb 26

Wisdom conceals itself

Man-endowed with inner wisdom

Hides this Wisdom

Through garments

Feb 27

God helps

Those who help themselves

By also asking

For His help!!

Feb 28


In His Infinite Kindness

Sustains us

Even when we are unworthy

Feb 29

God desires Kindness

Within us

In the World

We, in turn-

Emulate this

By being kind

Re: yechida's reflections 09 Feb 2020 00:44 #347239

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“Even though I’ve told you ten times I don’t want to sell that watch, you are such a nudge, I’ll sell it to you.”

When you want someone’s object so badly that you force them to give it to you, and according to most commentaries even if you pay for it, you have violated “Thou shall not covet” (Shemos 20:13-14) of the Ten Commandments!!

Understanding what really belongs to us and what really belongs to others is quite critical to our success in Judaism. It also prevents the inevitable blurring that results from coveting that which is not one’s own.

Re: yechida's reflections 16 Feb 2020 00:34 #347337

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From by Rabbi Wein

Don’t Cross the Line

It is difficult, in the extreme, to understand the concluding part of this week’s Torah reading. It is recorded that the noble people of Israel somehow gazed and saw the likeness of heaven and they were not immediately punished nor struck down for having done so. The Torah has made it abundantly clear in many places that no human being while alive can see, so to speak, a corporeal vision of the Lord.

If this be the case, then what is this verse and the Torah telling us? What does it mean that these noble people were able to gaze upon the Divine presence? As is the case in almost all the narratives that appear in the Torah, there are various interpretations of this issue that have been advanced over the ages. Most of these opinions reflect the idea that these great and noble people gazing upon the Divine presence is to be understood in a metaphorical sense and not literally.

After having experienced the revelation at Sinai and the granting of the Torah to the Jewish people, this cadre of special people now attempted to understand the methodology by which God runs the world. They thought that they had achieved such a level of spirituality that they were able to do so. They somehow combine the idea of physical reality in their understanding of God and for this they would later suffer negative consequences. Their ambition, even for spirituality, was a reach too far.

In the Torah reading that we will hear in a few weeks, we will see that our great teacher Moshe also attempted this leap of understanding the Divine completely. God will tell Moshe of the impossibility of his request. Being human, no matter how great one is, automatically limits one’s understanding and true appreciation of the Creator. It is a line that no human being can cross and retain life, as we understand it to exist.

The Midrash seems to indicate that Moshe did have such an opportunity at the beginning of his mission, at his encounter with God at the burning bush. Moshe was not willing to avail himself of that opportunity then and the Lord informs him now that it is far too late for that opportunity to be revised. Nevertheless, Moshe has the strongest relationship with Heaven that any human being ever experienced or could experience. But even that relationship – the face-to-face conversations, so to speak, with God – is to be viewed as not achieving a complete understanding of the Divine and of the methodology employed by Heaven to guide the world and human events.

Perhaps that is what the rabbis of the Talmud meant when they said, “simply let them ignore and disassociate themselves from Me and just observe the Torah that I have granted them.” Much of the world at various times confuse human beings with God or as being God. Judaism comes to tell us that there is an indelible line between the two that can and never will be crossed.

(this is a very important lesson to know & integrate when seeking deeper meaning & spiritual heights. We need to know that our physicality creates intrinsic limitations & we need to honor that. So while its not healthy to indulge the body, it is healthy to keep the body as healthy as possible & live a Torah life in all aspects including all physical activities & limitations)

Re: yechida's reflections 23 Feb 2020 01:48 #347483

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From by R Raymond Bayda

Try Try Again

 “And you shall make candelabra of pure gold; from a solid piece of gold it shall be made…” Shemot 25:31

In this week’s Torah portion Hashem instructs Moshe to construct a beautiful edifice as the Tabernacle to house the holy vessels that represented his connection to the people of Israel. Amongst the holy utensils was seven-stemmed candelabra called the Menorah. Moshe was instructed to take a solid piece of pure gold and to form the candelabra which contained stems, cups, flowers and ornaments. The commentators, however, see a grammatical problem with this particular command. The verse begins and “you” shall make. The verse continues, and “it shall be made”. Why, they ask, change from the active tense to the passive?

Each one of the holy vessels in the tabernacle represented a distinct aspect of Jewish life. The altar, for example represented prayer or service to God. The table, represented sustenance. The candelabra represented knowledge and Torah study. Many people acknowledge that their earnings are determined by Hashem in Heaven. Others feel, and rightly so, that Hashem expects them to be the ones to initiate prayer. All agree that one who does not study will not be able to acquire Torah knowledge. By the same token, they feel that if they do put in effort they will become wise. This, however, may not be totally true.

Rabbi Noah Weinberg was visiting the United States of America. He spent one Shabbat in a small New Jersey community. The people were friendly, and because of the small size of the congregation for Rabbi mingled freely with all the congregants. On Shabbat afternoon, when they sat to eat Seudah Shelisheet, the third Shabbat meal, a young man who was sitting next to the Rabbi began a conversation, which expressed his frustration with his ability to learn Torah. The young man described the many hours in the many techniques he had tried in order to grasp the difficult concepts of the Talmud study.

“How come I just can’t get it?” he asked. “No matter what I do, it seems my conclusions are wrong when I get a chance to review with my Rabbi. I am about to give up,” he said he reported.

“That is the worst solution, you could choose” the rabbi responded. “A person has to understand that the learning of Torah is not something that a human being can do without the help of Hashem. Hashem expects you to put in all the effort you can, and then he will produce the results.”

The young man listened and was encouraged. The respect he had for the sage gave him the strength to continue with his suggestion off try try again. Not long after he made a breakthrough. He reached a level where he was able to prepare a portion of the Talmud on his own. Today that young man is a practicing Rabbi in his community teaching others how to learn and how to be patient, if at first they do not succeed.

Our sages teach that creating the candelabra of one piece of gold was something that Moshe found very difficult and almost impossible to comprehend. Hashem’s response to his puzzlement was to tell him “You do yours and I will do the rest”.

When one sits to learn the concepts and ideas that are contained in the Torah, Hashem expects a person to put in its maximum effort. The concepts themselves, however, are impossible for the human being to understand on his own. Just as construction of the candelabra, which represented Torah study, was impossible for Moshe to comprehend yet Hashem said to him putting your efforts and I will complete it- so too is the learning of Torah. The verse cited above goes from active tense to passive tense to show that all you do, you must do to the fullest extent but don’t expect to complete the job on your own. Holy work gets done only through the help of Heaven. May it be the will of Hashem that we all have the strength to put in all of our efforts to grow in spirituality and in Torah knowledge and may He bless us with successful achievement of those goals – Amen.

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