Parshat Bechukotai 5782

Short Idea- Parshat Bechukotai 5782💡
Hod- Gratitude 🙏

The special attribute of this week of the Omer is Hod💥. One of the meanings of hod is l’hodot, which means to thank, to be thankful. Part of the special light of this week, in addition of course to the awesome light of Lag B’Omer and Rebbe Shimon🔥, is looking at what we have to be thankful for. There is so much to be thankful for in our lives.
The first avodah, the first thing which we started working on in the 12 step program I am currently learning in was to keep a journal✍️. The teacher suggested that we write down everyday, in addition to our pains and challenges, a list of things that we are thankful for. This helps us to see that despite the difficulties we might feel and be facing in life, there are also many gifts, many blessings that we have in our lives. Many times or most of the time we are focused on what we are lacking💔. Gratitude helps us to see the good that’s already there right in front of us🤗. It opens our eyes and our hearts to a new perspective.❤️
Rebbe Natan also teaches that giving thanks to Hashem for our blessings also helps us to pray from our hearts for what we want and what we are lacking.  It gives us strength to pray and keep trying. By first giving thanks to Hashem for the good we recognize in our lives, this helps to pour out our hearts in prayer for everything we might be lacking.
To end, I saw a beautiful quote today🤩 from the Thank You Hashem status:
Gratitude is an inner state which is always available to us.
Shabbat Shalom

Parshat Behar 5782

Short Idea- Parshat Behar 5782💡
Every moment can be eternal

In this special time💥 of the year between Pesach and Shavuot, we have a special mitzvah called Sefirat HaOmer, the counting of the Omer (which was a special sacrifice brought at the beginning of the second day of Pesach). We count the days from Pesach until Shavuot with yearning🙏. Each week of the Omer is connected to a special energy, a unique attribute. This week is the week of Netzach🔥, eternity. As I was contemplating🤔 what to write this week and asking Hashem for help to write something, the words popped into my mind💡, ‘every moment is eternal’. When we are able to focus and be present and connected to the moment, with Hashem’s help, our experience of life changes. Our appreciation for life changes. We can appreciate the moment and the people we share it with.💖 It takes work and prayer. It might be easier said than done, but I think this is part of connecting to the energy of netzach. There is an opportunity🤗 to practice this week. Trying to make our moments and our life eternal. We can try to appreciate the gift of every moment, and make it eternal.🕯️
This week’s parsha also talks about the special mitzvah of Shmitah🌳, an entire year of Shabbat for the land of Israel. Just as every week we have the opportunity to connect to the deep, eternal truth of Hashem creating the world in six days and resting from creation on Shabbat, so too the entire year of Shmitah is an opportunity to connect to this eternal truth.
May we all merit to experience beautiful, eternal moments. Shabbat Shalom

שבת שלום❤️

Parshat Emor 5782

Short Idea- Parshat Emor 5782💡
Looking for the openings, Striving for more

Every morning as part of my daily learning I read from the letters of Reb Noson z”l, Rebbe Nachman’s top student. His letters, most of which he wrote to one of his sons, are filled with incredible chizuk (encouragement) 🔥and insights. As I was reading one of the letters this week an important idea stood out to me.💥
“You also need to remember what he (Rebbe Nachman) said, that it’s forbidden to give in to Hashem, so to speak. That means, when He gives you an expansion, an opening, it’s forbidden to just settle for that. Rather a person needs to plead and to long for more🙏, each person according to what he is still lacking in his service of Hashem. However, he said that it’s forbidden to become sad when a person sees how much he’s still lacking…”
Reb Noson’s letter teaches us an important principle.🕯️ We need to hold on to two opposite aspects of trying to grow and improve in serving Hashem and being our best self. In Judaism there is room for opposites, and ups and downs. On the one hand we need to always strive for more. To believe that there is so much more we can give and accomplish🤗. To set goals for ourselves. However, on the other hand, if we don’t succeed, or if we have a fall, we still need to try to strengthen ourselves and be happy with where we find ourselves now. Hold on tight and look for your good points!💖 We still have so many good points. Rebbe Nachman calls these two aspects in another teaching running and returning. When things are hard, when we struggle, we need to see how we can strengthen ourselves in simcha.  May we all merit a beautiful month of strengthening ourselves and others. Shabbat Shalom🍷
(Dedicated to the memory of all the soldiers, security forces, and terror victims, kedoshim, who died to protect us)💔

Parashat Kedoshim 5782

Parshat Kedoshim 5782- Short Idea💡
Being Clean.
In this week’s parsha Hashem gives us different mitzvahs which help us to be holy. “You shall be holy, for holy am I, Hashem your God.”
In addition to the mitzvahs that we learn about in this weeks parsha, I think🤔 that another aspect of holiness is working on introspection; taking an accounting of our own actions, seeking to correct them, and asking for forgiveness when needed. It is taught in step 4 of the 12 Step program💖 that part of the process of healing and being clean is to take an accounting of ourselves, who we are and what we need to correct. This helps us to let go of the weight of the past and know ourselves better.😃 Some areas that we can focus on and look at in our cheshbon hanefesh, self reflection, are secrets we have kept inside, fears we have, complaints about others, and people we might have hurt. A lot of the suffering that we feel inside😞💔 is due the fact that we hide our fears, mistakes, trauma and hurt, we feel ashamed of them and we carry this weight with us. Many times fear of what we might discover blocks us from looking inside.🧐 However, we don’t need to be afraid of looking inside, because taking an accounting of ourselves is cleansing and it reveals our inner holiness❤️. It removes a weight that we don’t need to carry. It removes the things which block us from being who we truly are. We are beautiful souls🤗😃, sometimes we just need a good cleaning.🫗
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!

Parshat Metzora 5782

Parshat Metzorah 5782- Short Idea💡
I only rely on You.🙏
Rebbe Nachman teaches at the beginning of Sichos Haran, Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom🔥, 2nd teaching: “It’s very good for a person to throw himself on Hashem and to rely only on him. And my custom is that when each new day comes, I give over all of my actions and those of my children and everyone who depends on me over to Hashem, that everything should be according to His will. This is something very good to do.” At the 12 step program last week, an amazing Breslov teacher, Michi Yosefi, who also learns and teaches about the 12 steps, gave over this teaching by Rebbe Nachman and showed a powerful connection💥 to the program. It was amazing for me to hear how he connected this teaching of the Rebbe to the 12 steps.😱 It was powerful for me to realize that a prayer of bitachon, of trust, which I’ve been saying each day for years is also implemented in the 12 steps, as a step towards healing. I felt Hashem’s help and providence.🤗
The third step of the 12 steps is our decision to give over our lives and our desires to Divine Providence, each person according to their level and understanding. We ask Gd to help us with our negative desires and traits, and put our trust in Him that He is guiding us in our path of healing.👍🏻 This builds upon step 2, where we recognize that only a higher power can heal us.💖
May we all merit during this special time of year, as we prepare for the amazing holiday of Pesach, to turn to Hashem and rely upon him, that he will help us prepare for and celebrate the chag in the best way possible🙏. Shabbat Shalom

Parshat Tazria 5782

Parshat Tazria 5782- Short Idea💡
The main aspect of redemption is emunah.🔥
We are in a very special time right now. 💥These months of Adar and Nisan are months of geulah, redemption. We experienced in these months the incredible miracles of Purim and Pesach. This light 🕯️of redemption is with us also today. Rebbe Nachman teaches in the 7th teaching of Likutei Moharan that the main aspect and main reason for our exile is a lack of faith. 😢Therefore, the main way to acheive redemption is by restoring our emunah, both on a personal and national level. This time of year is a powerful time of year for growing and trying to improve our emunah🌳. We can do this through learning, through prayer, through talking to others, and by being open to new ways of experiencing and looking at life.🤔
Reb Noson z”l writes in one of his incredible letters: “The main aspect of redemption depends on this- according to how much the Jewish people in every generation are able to raise up their fallen faith, and to strenghten themselves in true faith.”
It is taught in Step 2 of the 12 Steps that part of the healing process🤗 is being open to believe that only a power greater than ourselves can restore us to health and sanity. We cannot merit true healing without restoring our faith in Hashem. The ultimate goal of the program is to bring each person to a true, healing connection with Hashem, one based upon love and trust. ❤️The support groups and teachings of the program help us toward this goal. Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom!

Parshat Shmini 5782

Parshat Shmini 5782💡
All our beginnings are from Purim now. Rebbe Nachman teaches us to start anew all the time.🔥

Rebbe Nachman teaches in Likutei Moharan that the light of Purim leads the path and prepares us for Pesach. In the beginning (of our history as a people), all new beginnings were from the light of Pesach,🍷 many mitzvot and holidays we have are a rememberance of the Exodus. However now, as we are close to the end of exile, all of our beginnings come from the power of Purim.🥳
The light of Purim helps us with the new beginnings we want to make in life. We can start anew 💪as we prepare for the upcoming holiday of Pesach. This is an important principle which we can all learn from, especially in our generation when we have an expectation that things should be instant and easy. Even when we fall and stumble🙃, we have the strength to begin again. It is emphasized in the 12 step program💖 that when we are trying to heal from an addiction or something we suffer with, we should only focus on the current day. רק להיום If it’s hard for me to think about obstaining for a month, for example, I just need to try today. All I have is the day in front of me.🧐 Focusing on today and the moment helps us be present, and not stuck on things in the past or worried about the future. Starting over and trying to focus on today can really help us in our lives and avodah.
This past erev Shabbat, Shushan Purim, we lost a great tzaddik and talmid chacham, gadol hador, Rav Chaim Kanievsky,😢 ztz”l. He really emobodied this principle of starting anew. Every year he would celebrate finishing all the major parts of the Torah on Erev Pesach. The next day he would start the same learning cycle anew, to the last day of his life, despite his incredible knowledge. May his memory be a blessing and inspiration for Am Yisrael.❤️(The Rav Chaim connection was inspired by R’ Yaakov Klein)
Shabbat Shalom

Purim 5782

Purim 5782💡💡
Some short ideas about Purim.

In an incredible prayer about Purim,💥 Rebbe Natan of Breslov says that the miracle of Purim, (where everything seemed so hidden🧐), is greater than all the other miracles that Hashem has done with us as a people! 🚀
Why is there no day, and no illumination which is greater than Purim? What makes it such a powerful day?🤔
Rav Chaim Vital, the main student of the Arizal,🔥 explains that only on Purim does the same light of the miracle of the holiday, and the light of Mordechai and Esther illuminate the day and shine into our souls. It is different than Pesach for example, when we remember and connect to the Exodus. Purim shows us how behind the curtain, even when everything seems so hidden, Hashem is running the show!
We do not just remember what happened in the Purim story; the same special light comes down to us each year. An incredible light of faith, even when things seem dark. This is why the Zohar famously states that Yom Kippur is only like Purim in it’s level of holiness. It was an incredible miracle of salvation, clothed in nature.
I also heard a powerful idea brought by Rav Yosi Zakutinsky, based on the Sages, that when Haman came to Mordechai the Tzadik to lead him out in front of the people of Shushan, he found him teaching Torah to young school children. Haman asked him, what are you learning with them? Mordechai, answered, the laws of kmitza. 🤙Kmitza is part of a flour offering called the korban Mincha which is brought in the Temple. It’s just a small handful of flour brought on the altar. This teaches us on a personal level that every little good deed and prayer and mitzvah that each Jew performs is way more powerful than all the Hamans of the world!💪💪 Also in our times, when a war is raging in Ukraine. May we merit to believe in our strength every day, and especially on such a powerful day like Purim. On this amazing day we have the power to do our part to sweeten judgments and bring good and blessing to the world! Our little bit of avodah is way more powerful.
Everyone should have a beautiful Purim of light and simcha! 🙏

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach!

Parshat Vayikra 5782

Parshat Vayikra 5782💡
The 12 Steps- Roots of Healing❤️

It is taught in the 12 step program that the actual addiction, whatever it might be, is not the real source of the problem. It is just the result. It is the action we are engaging in, in order to escape the real pain
💔. What are some of the sources of healing? How can we start to heal these deep wounds?🤔
Just as our pain and addiction has three levels to it, spiritual, emotional and physical, so too there are three powerful tools which can help us heal these wounds🤗🙏. Honesty, openness and willingness to change💖. They are rooted in humility.😇
Part of the healing process is to practice being open and honest with a support group, with a counselor, with loved ones and with Hashem.
For example, if there is a behavior or trait which I’m struggling with, if I don’t share it and I keep it inside😶‍🌫, then I will continue to act from this weak place inside. It’s still there, it didn’t go anywhere. However, if I speak about it and share it and ask for help, then I begin to see new options and new ways of acting. I’m opening myself to change.😃
Shabbat Shalom🕯️🕯️ and Purim Sameach!

Parshat Pekudei 5782

Parshat Pekudei 5782💡
The 12 Steps; I’m helpless to change without help from Hashem and others.

I started learning last week in a twelve step program💖 run by an Israeli outreach organization. There were people there from all backgrounds. Some of the participants are recovering addicts, but many of the participants are those who came to learn more and to work on different issues they are facing in life. Many of us might not be addicts BH, but we do struggle with different emotional, spiritual, or psychological issues. We all have pain💔 and are searching for real healing. 🦶The first step in the program is to recognize and admit that we are helpless in the face of our addiction/ suffering, and that our lives have become unmanageable or are not running how we would want them to. 😢This is called in Hebrew חוסר אונים. The second step is believing that a power greater than us can return to us our sanity and serenity. The first step towards healing is to admit that we need help. The teacher of the program suggested that we write down everyday several things which pain us, which make us feel afraid and helpless and to turn to Hashem and ask for help. He explained that helplessness is the gap between where I want to be, my ideal, and where I actually find myself.
This is also a powerful opportunity and experience for me personally.❤️ My father was in the 12 step program for several years before he passed away. It’s powerful to be learning the same healing tools that he was learning. I thought about how he said the same prayer for serenity and acceptance which is said at every 12 step meeting around the world. I remember having a very meaningful conversation with him about the program, the last time we saw each other before he died. There were many similarities to things that I was learning at the time at a Breslov workshop, but I thought at the time that it was only a program for addicts. Now I realize that these principles are really for everyone, and the healing message of the 12 step program is starting to spread to wider and wider circles of people.
Shabbat Shalom🕯️🕯️
For the speedy recovery of our neighbor Simcha Lauer