Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Effects of a Solar Eclipse



HT Avrohom Alter


Rabbi Avigdor Miller on solar eclipses: 

The gemara says that a solar eclipse is a sign of ill fortune for the gentiles. [A lunar eclipse is a sign of ill fortune for Jews]

So this gentleman asks, rightly, how can it be a sign of ill fortune if it happens according to mathematical precision? And the answer is as follows. 

Any change in the fortunes of the world is foreseen by Hashem. Nothing happens by itself. Hashem ordains when some good fortune should happen to the world, or chalila when some misfortune should happen, and He makes it turn out on certain auspicious dates. 

When He plans a misfortune for the umos haolam [nations of the world], He makes it happen at the time of a solar eclipse. 

A solar eclipse is to let you know that this is planned by Hashem and it’s not an accident. Let’s say at the time of a solar eclipse something happens in a far off country like Tibet where there are no Jews. You shouldn’t say that one thing has nothing to do with the other. The reason that it happened then was to bring your attention to it and make you aware that Hashem is in charge of the world. He made it turn out at the time of the solar eclipse... 

Therefore, it’s not that the solar eclipse is made to happen at a time of some misfortune to the gentiles, the misfortune to the gentiles is made to happen at the time of the solar eclipse. Why? In order to label it, to let us know that it’s the yad [hand of] Hashem. – 

Abraham and Lot [#046]

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blessings in Disguise


Art Mike Worrall

"See! I am giving to you today a blessing and a curse" [Re'eh 11:26]

Hashem did not want the soul to eat "bread of shame" [i.e. sustenance given gratuitously, without having been earned by the recipient]; He therefore made it possible for man to serve Him in a meaningful way with toil of body and soul. Through our endeavors in avodah [service of G-d] we are Divinely enabled to earn all manner of goodness.

The difficulties, trials, and tests of life are themselves the means by which we are to attain our ultimate objective - that the soul achieve the lofty spiritual level it once possessed before it descended into the body: "The soul that you have given me is pure."  The purpose of life is for the soul to regain that level of original "purity" and even transcend it - for one hour of teshuvah [repentance] and good deeds in this world is worth more than all the lifetime of the spiritual World to Come [Olam HaBa].

So you see that life's trials, tragedies, and difficulties actually bring us closer to our goal, our raison d'etre; they are part of the Divine system of toil and endeavour enabling us, finite mortals, to reach the highest levels of rewards and goodness - which can only be earned by meaningful "labor" and effort.  It follows that one must not allow the difficulties of life's trials [or even one's failure from time to time] to overcome the double joy of being G-d's children and of having received His promise "Your people are all righteous".

Source: Excerpt from a letter written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hashem Will Bless You






Text by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita

It is written, “Because of this thing, Hashem your G-d will bless you” [Re'eh 15:10].

The term hazeh (“this”) has a numerical value of 17.

The Sages say, “He who gives a small coin to a poor man obtains six blessings, and he who speaks comforting words to him obtains eleven blessings” [Bava Batra 9b]. 

Hence the verse states, “Because of hazeh [this] thing, Hashem your G-d will bless you.”

Source – Kol Eliyahu

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eikev


Written by Yehuda Katz

וְהָיָה | עֵקֶב תִּשְׁמְעוּן אֵת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים הָאֵלֶּה 
And it will be, because [eikev] you will heed these ordinances...
[Eikev 7:12]

Rashi comments that when the Torah uses the word "Eikev" [Hebrew], it teaches us that this is referring to the Mitzvoth that man usually neglects. Eikev in Hebrew can also mean the heel of feet, meaning the commandments that a person might "step" on because he considers them to be minor.

We find in Genesis 25:26 that Yaakov was named his name because he held onto Esav's heel when he emerged from his mother's womb. Yaakov comes from the Hebrew root "eikev" meaning heel. 

A question can be asked, What's the connection between "Yaakov's" name and "Eikev" found in our verse?   I would like to propose the following original answer as follows, Bezrat Hashem: When Yaakov held on to Esav's heel, he was telling the world that the very things Esav tramples on are in fact "held" in high esteem by Yaakov. These are the very attributes that Yaakov considers important, namely modesty, humility, honesty, etc. Yaakov knew their value, and held on to them. Esav on the other hand "stepped" on them with his heel.....

This is precisely where Yaakov has the greatest power over Esav and the manner in which he conducts his life. Israel will always be able to defeat Esav as long as they are capable of upholding the attributes Esav tramples on. 

In Kabbalistic thought Esav represents the evil inclination. We are all constantly seeking out methods to conquer that which ails us spiritually, yet here lies the key to our victory. Let us all grasp the very attributes that the Evil inclination abhors, and hold them in high esteem as our forefather Yaakov had done at the time of his birth. Let us all be more humble, modest and gracious to our fellow man.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How To Survive The End Of Days PLUS Korea video


Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron Mashiach Part 9 : Survival Kit- How To Survive The End Of Days: The Most Important Shiur I Gave On Mashiach




And  here is the famous video of Rabbi Levi Saadia Nachmani zt''l, speaking in 1994 [about a month before he passed away], warning us about Korea's nukes.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

15 Av - Rabbi Nachum Ish Gam Zu




Nachum of Gimzo, a teacher of Rabbi Akiva, was a Tanna of the 2nd generation [1st century]. In the Talmud he is called "ish gam zu" [the man of "gam zu"], and this name is explained as referring to Nachum's motto. It is said that on every occasion, no matter how unpleasant the circumstance, he exclaimed "Gam zu le-ṭovah" [This, too, will be for the best].

Due to the miraculous events which continually punctuated the life of Nachum Ish Gamzu, he was nominated to present the Emperor with a gift. This journey to Rome posed many hazards, and the man who would undertake it would need to be accustomed to miracles which would be necessary on this dangerous mission. At one of the inns where he stayed, the innkeeper decided to investigate the contents of the Rabbi Ish Gam Zu's box, and when he discovered the jewels and precious stones inside, he stole them and replaced the contents with earth from his garden.

So Rabbi Ish Gam Zu arrived at the Emperor's palace with a box of earth. When the Emperor found the box to contain nothing but earth, he had Nachum Ish Gamzu thrown into jail. Nachum accepted this with his usual 'Gam Zu le'Tovah' - and a miracle occurred, in the form of a visit from Eliyahu ha'Navi, who suggested to the Emperor that this might be special earth from Avraham the father of the Jews, who, during the battle against the four kings, threw earth at them which turned into swords (and straw which turned into arrows).

The Emperor tried it out on an enemy whom he had hitherto found invincible. When the Emperor was victorious, he set Nachum Ish Gamzu free, filled the box with jewels and precious stones and sent him home with great honor. When the innkeeper realized what had happened - he demolished his house and brought the dust to the Emperor as a gift (thinking that all the earth on their property was special 'miracle earth'). But of course, nothing happened with the earth that they brought, and the Emperor had them killed for mocking him.

Everything that happens in life is for the best, even if we don't perceive it that way until much later. Later we can look back and realise that it really was "gam zu l'tova".

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Secret to a Smoother Life



This is an excellent shiur from Rabbi Alon Anava: if you are having problems in your life, he has some expert advice for you, from the Torah, on how to fix things.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Continued Attacks on President Trump



Rabbi Mendel Kessin: latest shiur




and the latest from the Derech Hashem series: Realities of Creation Part 1: The Realm of God

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How to Fix Sinat Chinam [Baseless Hatred]



Complete English subtitles: Rabbi Ofer Erez

Amazing teachings of Rebbe Nachman about seeing the good points in yourself and others, and making the world a better place.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Moshiach: A Discussion


For those who thought Rabbi Zitron spoke too fast... here's a nice laid-back shiur, questions and answers on the topic of Moshiach from Rav Dror.


Monday, July 17, 2017

What is the source of good and evil?


Rabbi Mendel Kessin: Enlightenment vs Concealment and the Major Classes of Creation
Latest shiur


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Seeing The Good




God can’t judge a person favorably until some human being down here on the planet has done it first. And as soon as God starts to judge someone favorably, that opens the door for them to make real teshuva.  Emunaroma

.....Hashem waits to hear words of defence and merit on behalf of Jews, especially by other Jews. 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Who Will Be The Players In The Final War- An Introduction To Gog Umagog




Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron - Part 7 in his Moshiach  series

Fooling Yourself

"Seekers of the Truth" - Mike Worrall

It is told that R' Pinchus of Koretz used to warn his disciples: ‘Never fool yourselves! Above all a Jew must be thoroughly honest with himself!’

Once one of his students challenged him. ‘But Rebbe,’ he said, ‘one who fools himself actually thinks he is being honest with himself. So how are we ever to know if we are being honest, or just fooling ourselves?’

‘You have asked wisely, my son,’ the Rebbe said. ‘The answer, however, is simple. It is written in Tanna d-Bei Eliyahu [an ancient Midrashic source] that anyone who is careful to speak words of truth will be sent a malach [an angel] who shows him the truth. One who speaks words of sheker [falsehood] will be sent a malach who fools and deceives him.

So, if you will be careful to always tell the truth, you will never “fool yourself.” If not, well …’ This is a very telling incident. One can live his⁄her entire life in deception, of others and of himself, and not have even the faintest notion he is doing so. R' Pinchus also used to tell his disciples: ‘It is better to choke, than to utter a lie.’”

R' Raphael said: “The Sages teach that the greatest labor of man should be to avoid self-deceit. But how can a man do so when he is deceived and believes his action to be right? By obeying the counsel of his friend, since his friend cannot profit by permitting the deceit to continue. We are also taught that he who labors for truth creates for himself an Angel of Truth who acts as a monitor to warn him of falsehood.”

R' Pinchas said: “He who is filled with self-importance lies to himself and he fools others to believe his importance."

Source: Two Tzaddiks

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nibiru Sighting


Just imagine being outside one afternoon and seeing this in the sky.  A farmer has captured what appears to be Nibiru.



Monday, July 10, 2017

Why are there Ashkenazic and Sefardic Jews?



Rabbi Mendel Kessin, latest shiur


What's In A Name



The Hebrew word for soul is "Neshama" - נשׁמה
The middle letters of נשׁמה spell "shem" - which means "name".

This shows us the importance of your name - it is the centre of the soul.

Your Hebrew name functions as a conduit, channeling spiritual energy from G-d into your soul and your body.

This is why, say the Chassidic masters, an unconscious person will often respond and be revived when his or her name is called. To wake someone up, all you need to do is whisper their Hebrew name into their ear.

Your Hebrew name is your spiritual call sign, embodying your unique character traits and G-d-given gifts. Ideally, you should use it 24 hours a day, not just when you're called to the Torah or when prayers are offered on your behalf.

According to Jewish custom, a critically ill person is sometimes given an additional Hebrew name -- somewhat like a spiritual bypass operation to funnel fresh spirituality around their existing name and into their bodies; with the influx of spirituality, the body is given renewed vigor to heal itself.

The book of Genesis teaches that G-d created the world with "speech" ("And G-d said, 'Let there be light!', and there was light" ).

In the Kabbalah it is explained that the 22 sacred letters of the Hebrew alef-bet are the spiritual "building blocks" of all created reality, and that the name of a thing in the Holy Tongue represents the combination of sacred letters that reflects its distinct characteristics and the purpose and role towards which it was created.

If you are not using your Hebrew name, you are not tapping into your G-d given powers. If you're feeling tired and rundown, this could be the solution to your inertia.

Usually, your Hebrew name is given to you soon after birth. Jewish boys are named at their brit (circumcision), and girls at a Torah reading shortly after their birth. Your name is selected by your parents who usually name you after a dear departed loved one, most often an ancestor. Or, if they don’t have anyone to memorialize, you just might end up with a Hebrew name of their own preference. Either way, however, our sages have declared that your parents' choice of a name constitutes a "minor prophecy", since the name they choose conforms with the inborn nature of your soul.

If your parents didn't give you a brit or didn't name you at a Torah reading -- or if you're a non-Jew who's converting to Judaism -- you can select any Hebrew name that resonates with you.

[Chabad]
There are people who complete the mission associated with their name in the middle of their lifetime.

They are then given a new mission, and hence, a new name. This concept contains many deep and awesome secrets.

It is customary to give a new name to a dangerously sick person. The sick person has already fulfilled his destiny according to his original name, and is therefore ready to die. We then give him a new name, thereby also giving him a new mission. The sick person can now continue to live and complete the mission associated with his new name.

Our Rabbis teach us that Moses had many names. Moses had many missions in life; he therefore required a different name for each one of his great tasks.

Source: Rebbe Nachman's Wisdom

Naming A Baby After Someone Who Recently Died
by Rav Menashe Klein

Rav Menashe Klein (Mishneh Halachos 4:152) was asked if it is permissible to name a baby after someone who died but was not yet buried. Although reluctant to answer a question not found in Shas or Poskim, he said that people are noheg to do so.

However he did see in the Zohar that it may not be effective. The Zohar says that until a person is buried, his Neshama cannot enter another a person in the form of a Gilgul. Since one of the reasons we name after a niftar is to enable the neshama to enter the child as a gilgul, it would be pointless until after the burial. This is also the opinion of the Shu"t Tshuras Shai and the Recanti.

What if the child was born while the person was still alive but the name will be given after the burial? In this case he says that even though the child already received a neshama at birth, nevertheless the neshama of the gilgul can enter at the time the name is given. We see this from Pinchas who received the neshamos of Nadav and Avihu even though he was alive at the time of their death.

This is the same logic as giving a sick person a new name. The hope is that the neshama of a person with the same name will enter into him and extend his life. For this reason changing the name of a Choleh should be handled only by someone who is well versed in these matters.

Source: Revach L'Neshama

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Limitations of Black Magic


By: Rabbi Eliyahu Haim Aboud

There was a time in history when the powers of sorcery were brought to the test and their inherent limitations were exposed, much to the humiliation of its arrogant practitioners.

The Torah relates that when Moshe and Aharon first approached Pharaoh to demand the release of the Israelite slaves, Aharon threw his wooden staff to the ground and it was miraculously transformed into a live serpent. Pharaoh then ordered his magicians to mimic the feat, and they, too, threw their staffs and turned them into serpents. Much to their surprise, however, Aharon's staff-serpent promptly devoured all the magicians’ serpents. The commentaries explain [1] that this incident was intended to prove that Moshe’s demonstration was not derived by the powers of sorcery, as Pharaoh suspected. The Egyptian magicians were not able to create real living creatures; but rather only snake-like forms which could never attack and devour other snakes. Aharon’s snake, however, which was created using the forces of kedusha (holiness), rather than the forces of impurity, was a real-live serpent which had the power to attack the others.

This distinction was reinforced during the plague of blood. When Aharon struck the waters of the Nile River with his staff, the entire river miraculously turned into real blood, such that all the fish in the river died as a result of consuming the blood. But when the Egyptian sorcerers attempted to turn water into blood, they could only make the water appear like blood, but not turn it into actual blood[2]. Likewise, during the plague of frogs, Aharon created actual frogs which rapidly reproduced and begot many others, while the magicians could only create frog-like creatures which were incapable of reproducing. During the third plague, the plague of lice, the magicians failed in their attempts to replicate Aharon’s feat of transforming dust into vermin, and were thus forced to confess that the plague was brought about by “the finger of G-d [3].” During the subsequent plagues, the magicians did not even attempt to duplicate Moshe and Aharon’s miracles.

The commentaries explain [4] that Hashem did not give the forces of impurity limitless creative capabilities because they would then be able to create entire new worlds to advance their evil agenda. Therefore, their powers are generally limited to acts of illusion and the use of demons and spirits.

Probably the greatest sorcerer of all time was the evil prophet Bilaam, who, as the Torah relates, attempted to place a curse on the Jewish people and have them annihilated. The commentaries explain [5] that Bilaam’s extraordinary powers stemmed from his mastery of sorcery and black magic, and not from his abilities as a prophet. In fact, he was not worthy of prophecy at all, and was given prophetic capabilities only for a very brief period. This is why in the Prophets he is referred to as “Bilaam Hakosem–Bilaam the Sorcerer,” with no mention of his prophetic status. According to the Midrash [6] Bilaam and his two sons were originally the most prestigious advisors and sorcerers of Pharaoh during the period of Bene Yisrael’s enslavement. And many other stories abound of ancient nations who enlisted Bilaam to reveal to them the outcome of their battles and to help them win through his extraordinary mystical powers.[7]

Bilaam acquired his great powers of sorcery directly from the evil angels Aza and Azael. Bilaam visited these two angels every day until he learned all the mystical secrets they knew. [8]

Some sources identify Bilaam with Lavan, Yaakov’s crooked father-in-law, who sought to destroy Yaakov and prevent the emergence of the Jewish people. According to this tradition, Bilaam lived well over 300 years. [9]

Bilaam was killed by Bene Yisrael during the battle of Midyan prior to their entering the land of Israel. [10]  The Midrash relates [11] that when the Jews captured Bilaam, he used sorcery to raise himself and the five kings of Midyan high in the air and disappear from sight. (Though the powers of impurity can only be summoned while standing on the ground, once the sorcery is initiated, the subject could use the powers to levitate off the ground for a period of time.) Pinhas, the grandson of Aharon, flew after him by uttering the divine name or, according to others, by directing the name of Hashem written on the tzitz (frontlet) of the kohen gadol towards the airborne Midyanites counteracting Bilaam’s powers of magic. Bilaam and the kings immediately fell to the ground and were then easily killed by Bene Yisrael. Bilaam’s decaying body and tarnished soul transformed into evil spirits, snakes and scorpions, the result of the impurity with which they had been saturated during his lifetime. [12]


Limited Time Span
The commentaries add [13] that objects created by the powers of sorcery cannot remain in existence permanently. These creations can exist for only limited periods of time, after which the laws of nature take hold and return them to their original state. This is why the frogs that descended upon Egypt during the second plague remained in the Nile River after the plague, and did not just disappear. Gd demonstrated to Pharaoh and the Egyptians that His creations can exist indefinitely, as opposed to the creations of magic, which are only temporary.

Sorcery is also subject to limited accessibility. The Zohar writes that the forces of impurity are unable to perform magic from hassot (midnight) at night [14] until midday, whereas Hashem, of course, can overturn the natural order he created anytime He wishes.

Additionally, someone born during the month of Adar II, on a leap year, cannot be affected by magic. This is because he is born in a month which doesn’t have a specific mazal and “doesn’t really exist”. Therefore the magicians have no way of dealing with him. In this vein, when Yehoshua gathered an army to fight Amalek, who came to fight Beneh Yisrael using witchcraft, he purposely chose people who were born in Adar II, to whom these forces take no affect.

Not Underground

The Midrash teaches[15]that after Pharaoh’s edict ordering the drowning of all newborn Jewish males in the Nile River, expectant Jewish mothers would go out to the fields to give birth, and would leave their infants there. Hashem sent angels to care for the newborns, and when the Egyptian patrolmen would arrive in search of the infants, Hashem would make the ground open and bring the children underground. The Egyptians, attributing this phenomenon to black magic, persisted in their efforts to capture and kill the Hebrew infants. Knowing that magic cannot be implemented deeper than one handbreadth underground, they brought plows to dig deep into the earth and expose the children. But the babies were not found no matter how deep the plows dug, demonstrating to the Egyptian sorcerers that Hashem’s supernatural powers are not bound by the limitations that apply to magic.

Only When Standing on the Ground

The Mishna tells[16]of the great sage Shimon Ben Shetah who used his knowledge of sorcery's limitations to successfully capture 80 witches who had been hiding in a cave in the town of Ashkelon. He brought 80 young men with him to the mouth of the cave, and announced to the witches that he had used magic to bring them 80 young men for their entertainment and pleasure. The witches expressed interest, and the rabbi instructed his men to quickly enter the cave and “embrace” the witches, each man lifting one witch off the ground. Since the powers of sorcery can only be summoned only while standing on the ground, the witches were rendered powerless. The young men quickly carried them to Bet Din where they were all charged with practicing forbidden acts of sorcery.

The commentaries add [17] that this was one of the reasons why the magicians of Egypt could not duplicate the plague of lice. The ground throughout Egypt had turned to lice, and thus the sorcerers were not standing directly on the ground. This rendered them powerless and unable to practice their magic.

Overturned by Fresh Water

The Talmud relates [18] that one of the sages once visited the Egyptian city of Alexandria where he purchased a donkey. When he brought the animal to a stream of water to drink, the donkey drank and immediately turned into a plank of wood. The rabbi returned to the dealer and demanded that he return the money, as he had been defrauded.

“Since you are a rabbi,” the man said, “I will give you your money back. Ordinarily, however, I would never refund a customer in such a case, because here in Egypt, everyone knows to check their merchandise by pouring fresh water on it to discern if it is merely a creation of magic, which dissolves when touched by fresh water.”

No Power of Resurrection

The Talmud tells [19] of a sage who once watched an Arab merchant slice a camel into many pieces, and then shook his bell. The camel stood up in one piece, alive and well, and the merchant thus claimed to possess the power of resurrection. The sage relayed this story to his colleagues, and they inquired as to whether he saw any remnants of blood or innards after the camel stood up. He answered in the negative, and the other rabbis saw this as proof that what he had seen was just an illusion, as the camel had never really died. The forces of impurity do not have the power of resurrection, and it was therefore impossible that the camel had died and was then returned to life.

By contrast, the prophet and great sages who were endowed with the powers of kedusha had the ability to resurrect the dead. The Navi, in Sefer Melachim, describes how the prophet Eliyahu and his student Elisha performed tehiyat hametim (resurrection) on various occasions. And a well-known tradition teaches that any sage mentioned by name in the Talmud was on the spiritual level to perform tehiyat hametim.

These powers were accessible to certain rabbis of later generations, as well. Once, in the 16thcentury, a young Arab boy was found murdered, and, as often happened, the Jews were accused of murdering the child and faced severe punitive measures. But a great rabbi named Rabbi Klonimous from Safed saved them by writing certain words on a piece of parchment which he then placed on the dead boy’s forehead. Suddenly, in full view of the large audience that had gathered, the boy rose to his feet and told the entire story of the real murder and where it took place. He then fell again to the ground, lifeless[20].

The Overpowering Forces of Kedusha

Even though the forces of impurity were given the power to perform supernatural acts, these powers pale in comparison to those of the forces of kedusha, in which Hashem invested far more strength. As the aforementioned stories from the Tanach and Talmud clearly demonstrate, the powers of kedusha can be used to subdue and triumph over the forces of sorcery. Thus, for example, Pinhas succeeded in defeating Bilaam, and many sages were able to remove magical spells through the use of the forces of sanctity[21].

[1]See commentary of Seforno Parashat Va’era chapter 7:23

[2]Ibid

[3]Parashat Va’era 8:15

[4]Maharsha in Sanhedrin 67b

[5]Ramban in Parashat Balak chapter 22:31

[6]Yalkut Shimoni Parashat Shemot, chapter 168

[7]Ibid, Sefer Hayasher Parashat Shemot

[8]Sefer Kav Hayashar chapter 28

[9]Yalkut Shimoni Parashat Shemot chapter 168

[10]Parashat Matot chapter 31:8

[11]Ibid (see Rashi and Targum Yonatan Ben Uziel)

[12]Sefer Kav Hayashar chapter 28

[13]Seforno Parashat Va’era 8:5

[14]Malbim Perashat Va’era 8:8

[15]Tractate Sota 11b and see Maharsha.

[16]Tractate Sanhedrin 45b (see Talmud Yerushalmi)

[17]Meam Loez: Parashat Va’era 8:4

[18]Tractate Sanhedrin 67b

[19]Tractate Sanhedrin 67b

[20]Sefer Simhat Haregel by The Hida, (on his commentary of Nishmat).

[21]Sefer Nefesh Hahayim chapter 3:11

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Erev Rav - The Evil And Corrupt Of The Holy Nation



Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron - this is Part 6 in his Moshiach series
Previous lectures can be found at Torah Anytime

-Who is the erev rav
-The history of erev rav  [the magicians from Egypt]
-The corrupt people
-The people who cause others to sin

''Before the arrival of the Moshiach there are going to be many rabbis who are from the Erev Rav'' [Divrei Chaim]

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Listen To Your Body - It Has A Message For You

Art Jeremy Dyer


The Talking Donkey by Rabbi Simon Jacobson

A mysterious event in this week’s Torah portion reveals a phenomenon new to modern psychology—that we must listen to our body’s voice, which carries messages, memories and potent power.

One of the strangest episodes in history takes place in this week’s Torah portion. The gentile prophet Balaam is commissioned by Moabite King Balak to curse the Jewish people. Balak felt threatened by the Jews. He wanted to defeat them in battle and drive them away.

Initially G-d does not allow Balaam to go. But after Balak’s emissaries beseech him G-d permits him to go, saying “But only do exactly as I instruct you.”

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his female donkey and went on his way. G-d plants His angel in the road to oppose him.

When the donkey saw G-d’s angel standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, the donkey went aside from the road into the field. Balaam beat the donkey to get it back on the road. G-d’s angel then stood in a narrow path through the vineyard, where there was a fence on either side.

When the donkey saw G-d’s angel, it edged over to the side, crushing Balaam’s foot against the wall. [Balaam] beat it even more. G-d’s angel continued ahead, and he stood in a narrow place, where there was no room to turn right or left. When the donkey saw G-d’s angel, it lay down [refusing to budge] for Balaam. Balaam lost his temper and beat the donkey with a stick.

G-d then opened the donkey’s mouth and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you that you beat me these three times?” “You have embarrassed me [or: been playing games with me],” shouted Balaam at the donkey. “If I had a sword in my hand just now, I would have killed you!”

The donkey replied to Balaam, “Am I not your [faithful] donkey, upon which you have been riding from back when until this day. Have I ever been unmindful to you?” “No,” replied Balaam. G-d then opened Balaam’s eyes and he perceived the angel standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. [Balaam] kneeled and prostrated himself on his face.

G-d’s angel said to him, “Why did you beat your donkey these three times? I have come out to oppose you, because your errand is obnoxious to me. When the donkey saw me, it turned aside these three times. If it had not turned aside before me, as it did now, I would have killed you and spared [the donkey].”

Balaam said to G-d’s angel: “I have sinned! I did not know that you were standing on the road before me. If you consider it wrong [for me to go], I will return home.” G-d’s angel said to Balaam, “Go with the men. But do not say anything other than the exact words that I declare to you.

The narrative continues with G-d compelling Balaam to bless the Jews instead of cursing them, to the chagrin of Balak and his cronies.

This story with the talking donkey is puzzling from beginning to end. If G-d didn’t want Balaam to go to Balak, why didn’t he just stop him from going? If for whatever reason G-d wanted to block his way with an angel, why did he hide the fact from Balaam and allowed the donkey to see the angel – after all Balaam not the donkey was the prophet?!

A Torah axiom states that G-d does not perform miracles in vain. Why then was this miracle of miracles necessary, to have the donkey see the angel, resist moving on, until the donkey ends up speaking?! This miracle would have been totally unnecessary if Balaam had seen the angel himself. Why the need to open the donkey’s mouth?!

The plot thickens: the Mishne states [in the Ethics of our Fathers] that the “donkey’s mouth” was one of the ten unique things created at dusk on the sixth day of creation! In other words, G-d planted this episode from the beginning of time by creating the “donkey’s mouth” for the day when the donkey would speak to Balaam!

Why is the “donkey’s mouth” so significant?

Briefly:

Torah speaks in the language of man. Beneath the literal meaning in the Torah narrative are layers upon layers of deeper dimensions. Within the “body” of the story lies it’s soul – profound spiritual and psychological insights that illuminate the nature of our psyches and provide direction on how to deal with the challenges of life. Every character in Torah, every episode of its narrative, parallels a facet of our personalities.

The story of Balaam and his donkey is the story of our own lives, with a multitude of lessons.

The Hebrew word for donkey is “chamor.” [A female donkey (jennet) is called “osson.” “Pered” is the Hebrew name for a mule (or a hinny), a hybrid borne of a horse and a donkey. But the general name for donkey, male or female, is “chamor”].

The Baal Shem Tov explains that “chamor” also means matter. In Exodus the verse states: “When you see the donkey of your enemy being overburdened by its burdens, don’t ignore it. It’s incumbent upon you to help relieve its burden.” Interprets the Baal Shem Tov: You observe “chamor” – your physical body and the coarse materialism of life – and you see that it is your enemy, opposing all things spiritual, and feeling overburdened by the sublime responsibilities of the soul. You may then consider ignoring the body so that it does not distract you from fulfilling your calling. You may even want to punish your body through asceticism and self-affliction.

Says the Torah: No! You are responsible to support, refine and elevate the “chamor,” even if it is ostensibly your enemy.

Balaam the prophet represents the paradox of a spiritual man locked in a decadent lifestyle. Each of us has two dimensions: A sacred side and a profane one. A person may be deeply spiritual, yet also profoundly corrupt. Indeed, the Talmud says “the greater the person, the greater his evil inclination.”

An extraordinarily gifted person always has equally powerful unique challenges. Left without discipline these gifts can be abused. And when they are, it is very difficult to get through to the person. Because the smarter he is, the better are his excuses and his ability to cover his tracks. He can mask his subjectivity with brilliant smokescreens.

At it’s extreme, you have Balaam: A prophet willing and delighted to use his Divine power to curse an entire nation.

Spiritual corruption or distortion is worse than other forms of corruption, because it uses a very positive force for negative ends. In other instances of corruption, you can always hope that a person’s conscience and spirit can be aroused. But once the spirit has been corrupted, and the soul has been taken hostage by destructive forces, what recourse is left?

The same holds true for any abuse perpetrated by a person who is supposed to love you: A parent, a sibling, a spouse. With strangers we have our guard up. If a stranger is abusive, s/he cannot hurt you that much because you don’t necessarily expect much from a stranger. But abuse coming from a loved one hurts us in the deepest place: the place of love. A parent, for instance, is supposed to love you, and as a child you are vulnerable before your parent. Thus, when the parent is abusive, it touches the very core of our beings: our souls. The worst abuse is the one that scars our most vulnerable places. Nothing is worse then love itself – and the source of love – being (ab)used in a cruel way.

So what is the antidote to this epitome of distortion? If the gifted person, or the one who is supposed to be providing love, has become corrupt to the point that he cannot even listen, how then do you get through to him?

The dilemma is also from the perspective of the abusee (the survivor): Once someone has been hurt in a deep part of his spirit, he doesn’t allow anyone in. So how can he be reached?

Yet, G-d in His infinite wisdom precedes the cure before the illness. Even when the soul may be unable to hear the message, the body has its own voice that speaks to us.

In modern psychology there is a phenomenon, which we shall call “psychological hypothermia.” When a child suffers severe abuse from a loved one (especially if its ongoing), the child will go “out of body” to separate himself from the experience. One of the reasons for this is presumably because the child cannot tolerate the possibility of a loved one hurting him. He therefore disassociates from the experience, as if it didn’t happen to him.

Hypothermia is “a decrease in the core body temperature to a level at which normal muscular and cerebral functions are impaired.” When a child, for instance, falls into ice-cold water, and his temperature drops to dangerous levels, the child will go into a state of shock, which shuts down the primary life functions to the point that the child may appear dead, in order to preserve the bare minimum energy for the vital organs. In other words, in order to survive the conscious faculties have to temporarily stop functioning.

The same is true psychologically. For survival purpose, sometimes we have to detach from an experience, to the point that we may be unaware of it in our conscious minds.

Yet – and this is the big yet – even as our conscious spirits may be unaware of the experience, our bodies remember them. Every experience in our lives is etched into the memory of our bodies. That is why we talk about experiencing “knots” and “tightness” in our bodies. Psychological feelings do not remain in the mental domain; they seep into the body, causing all sorts of physical reactions (“knots in the stomach” is one mild example). Anxiety oozes toxins into your body. Strong traumatic experiences tie up your body in knots.

In severe cases, the personality shift that happens at the time of abuse remains long after the experience. A child may grow into an adult that has actually shifted his personality, and is living, in some ways, like another person, often having “out of body” experiences. So severe was the initial abuse.

But, even when the soul, for whatever reason, is unable to consciously acknowledge an experience, the body has stored it away, for the day when it will be safe to emerge.

And therein lies the true power of therapy and growth: To help an individual find safety and security, so that he or she can then work on “untying the knots,” and allowing himself to access the soul that he had to hide away so long ago.

By no means is this a simple process. It can even be torturous at times. Yet, in a strange way this phenomenon is a testimony to one of the greatest resiliencies of the human being: G-d allows a child to survive even the worst experiences, and then gives him the strength to reconnect with himself when the times is right and the situation safe.

Even when the soul is not conscious of the memory, because the abuse came from a soul connection – a loving person – the body is endowed with a wisdom that does remember. And it holds the secret till the day when the soul will be able to hear the message.

This is the inside story of Balaam and his donkey. G-d could not get through to Balaam on a fundamental level. He saw that Balaam was intent on going to Balak and helping him implement his malevolent plan. But even when the soul cannot be reached, the body can. So it is the “chamor” – the body – that sees the “angel,” and it is the body that cries out to the person prodding him to open his eyes.

What is most fascinating about this concept is that usually we associate awareness with the soul. Yet, Jewish mysticism teaches that the body too was created by G-d. It therefore contains unique Divine energy of its own. Indeed, the body carries enormous power stemming from the Essence of G-d, which in some ways is superior even to the energy of the soul!

But often when our bodies speak to us, beckoning us to act, we may ignore the voice. Or worse: We may “beat” the body, as Balaam beat his donkey, because it is becoming a nuisance and distracting us from our misguided plans.

So, we have many voices available to us. In healthy situations, and in many instances, it is the voice of our souls that we should be heeding. Yet, at times our bodies carry important messages for us.

The question is: Are we listening?




....If you want to listen some more, click here to go to Rabbi Y. Y. Jacobson's lecture Moshiach's Donkey: A Drama in Four Acts 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Three Ways Hashem Interacts With The World



Rabbi Mendel Kessin

God interacts with the world in 3 ways to ensure that as many people merit the bliss of Olam Haba / the world-to-come as possible.

A Star Will Shoot Forth....


"A star will shoot forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel" [Balak 24:17]

Rambam understood the verse above as referring to King David and Moshiach.  The Jerusalem Talmud, however, uses the metaphor of a "star" in this verse to refer to even the ordinary Jew. 

At first glance, this appears to be a contradiction, for Moshiach represents the highest perfection possible in a human being, whereas the "ordinary" Jew includes every Jewish person, even the most simple.  However, the matter can be reconciled based on the Baal Shem Tov's teaching that every Jew contains within him a "spark" of the soul of Moshiach.  The verse therefore refers to both Moshiach himself and the "Moshiach" within us.

The presence of this "spark" of Moshiach has a twofold implication:

a) The verse states the star will "shoot forth" suggesting that one's personal spark of Moshiach should be revealed and "shoot out" into the world;

b) Every Jew is able to speed up and bring about the actual manifestation of Moshiach through revealing his own spark and adding in Torah and Mitzvot.

Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Lower You Fall, The Higher You Can Rise



There is no ascent [aliyah] without a prior descent [yeridah]. The lower the descent, the higher the potential ascent.

Collecting diamonds from the mud: how to rise after you've fallen: Rabbi Alon Anava


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Secret Behind the Vision


Chevlei Moshiach - the birthpangs of Moshiach - from the Holocaust until now.

The vision of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ;  the secrets behind his global mission to bring the Redemption, and why it is taking so long; our obligation to teach the nations.; the millions of ''Noahides'' in the world now.

Rabbi Alon Anava


The Living Waters of Miriam



"The congregation had no water, so they ganged up against Moshe and Aharon..." [Chukat 20:2]

Water assists the digestive system to break down food, and the water within the bloodstream carries those nutrients to all parts of the body.  This represents the mission of all Jewish women: to bring the well of living water - Torah - to nourish all segments of the Jewish people, even those who totally lack knowledge of it.  Thus we find that, while still in Egypt, Miriam devoted herself to small children, and her heroic efforts led to the annulment of Pharoah's decree against children.  Consequently, it was in her merit that the well water came, since water represents the universal dissemination of Torah.

Thus, when a mother, sister or teacher educates a child, we witness the modern-day "living waters of Miriam" sustaining the Jewish people in exile, making it possible to go peacefully throughout our current "sojourn" in the "desert" of exile.

In addition to providing water to drink, Miriam's well also made it possible for the mitzvah of taharas hamishpachah [family purity] to be fulfilled.  There was no other source of water in the desert, so Miriam's well served as a mikvah, enabling children to be born throughout the forty years.

The custom of drawing water on Motzei Shabbat [to draw from the well of Miriam] is cited in the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch.  This appears to suggest that it is applicable today; however, this was not a custom practiced in the House of the Chabad Rebbeim.  In any case, it certainly applies to all of us spiritually: studying this law about Miriam's well influences the whole week, that it may be a healthy week in both spiritual and physical terms.

Source: Gutnick Chumash: Based on various Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Chukat: The Death of a Tzadik

Art Laurence Amelie

Source: Rav Kook Torah

As the Israelites neared the end of their forty-year trek in the wilderness, they lost two great leaders, Miriam and Aaron. While a tremendous loss for the nation, their passing had a hidden spiritual benefit.

The Torah informs us of Miriam's death immediately after enumerating the laws of the Parah Adumah, the red heifer whose ashes were used for purification. The Talmudic sages already wondered what connection there might be between Miriam's death and the Parah Adumah :

"Why is the death of Miriam juxtaposed to the laws of the Parah Adumah? This teaches that just as the Parah Adumah brings atonement, so too, the death of the righteous brings atonement." [Mo'ed Katan 28a]

While this connection between Miriam and the Parah Adumah is well-known, the continuation of the same Talmudic statement, concerning the death of Aaron, is less so.

"And why is the death of Aaron juxtaposed to [the mention of] the priestly clothes? This teaches that just as the priestly clothes bring atonement, so too, the death of the righteous brings atonement."

In what way does the death of tzaddikim atone for the people? And why does the Talmud infer this lesson from both the Parah Adumah and the priestly clothes?

Larger Than Life
The principal benefit that comes from the death of tzaddikim is the spiritual and moral awakening that takes place after they pass away. When a tzaddik is alive, his acts of kindness and generosity are not always public knowledge. True tzaddikim do not promote themselves. On the contrary, they often take great pains to conceal their virtues and charitable deeds. It is not uncommon that we become aware of their true greatness and nobility of spirit only after they are no longer with us. Only then do we hear reports of their selfless deeds and extraordinary sensitivity, and we are inspired to emulate their ways. In this way, the positive impact of the righteous as inspiring role models increases after their death.

While stories of their fine traits and good deeds stir us to follow in their path, certain aspects of great tzaddikim — extraordinary erudition and scholarship, for example — are beyond the capabilities of most people to emulate. In such matters, the best we can do is to take upon ourselves to promote these qualities in our spiritual leadership, such as supporting the Torah study of young, promising scholars.

Two Forms of Emulation
In short, the death of tzaddikim inspires us to imitate their personal conduct — if possible, in our own actions, and if not, by ensuring that there will be others who will fill this spiritual void.

These two methods of emulation parallel the different forms of atonement through the Parah Adumah and the priestly clothes. Ritual purification using Parah Adumah ashes was only effective when they were sprinkled on the body of the impure person; no one else could be purified in his place. This is comparable to those aspects of the tzaddik that are accessible to, and incumbent upon, all to emulate.

The priestly garments, on the other hand, were only worn by the kohanim. It was through the service of these holy emissaries that the entire nation was forgiven. This is like those extraordinary traits of the tzaddik that are beyond the capabilities of most people. These qualities can be carried on only by a select few, with the support of the entire nation.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gimmel Tammuz



Art: Robert Kremnizer

The 3rd of Tammuz this year begins tonight [Monday] and on the day of Tuesday 27 June. Throughout Chabad this date is simply known as ''Gimmel Tammuz'' - the day of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe  in 5754 [June 12 1994].

Chabad has a mass of information on the Rebbe and Gimmel Tammuz which can be found here.

Vision of Geula has an interesting post about Gimmel Tammuz and the date of Moshiach.  Click here to read.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Understanding Moshiach


Rabbi Tovia Singer on the signs of the Moshiach, and the mystery of the 12th Principle of the Jewish Faith: Ani Ma'amin 



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Way of Strife





"Why do you elevate yourselves over Hashem's congregation?" [Korach 16:3]

Such is the nature of a dispute that is not for the sake of Heaven, noted R' Simchah Bunim of P'shischa. It blinds the eyes and closes the hearts of the quarrelers, so that they lose their common sense.

For the Torah testifies about Moshe Rabbeinu: "Now the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any person on the face of the earth." How could anyone possibly accuse him of possessing the contemptible trait of arrogance? Yet this is exactly what Korach and his assembly did, as the verse states: "Why do you exalt yourselves over the congregation of Hashem?"

Rather, this is the way of strife, the power of impurity that accompanies it totally corrupts an individual's intellect.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Sunday, June 18, 2017

For the Sake of Heaven



Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi took [himself to one side] along with Dathan and Abiram..... [Korach 16:1]

Chazal state in Pirkei Avos [5:20] : ''Any dispute that is for the sake of Heaven will have a constructive outcome, but one that is not for the sake of Heaven will not have a constructive outcome.''

What sort of dispute was for the sake of Heaven? - the dispute between Hillel and Shammai. And which was not for the sake of Heaven? - the dispute between Korach and his entire company.

Why, asked R'Yonason Eybeschutz, does the Mishnah state: ''The dispute between Korach and his entire company''?  Wasn't the dispute between Korach and Moshe?

From here we learn, said R'Eybeschutz, that the dispute was not between Korach and Moshe at all; rather, it was really between Korach and his assembly, as each one of them was vying for leadership and power!  Moshe Rabbeinu, however, did not take up their quarrel; on the contrary, he tried his utmost to appease them so as not to carry on a dispute that would eventually lead to disastrous results.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Transparency



"It was the season when the first grapes ripen..." [Shelach 13:20 ]

Moses did not command the spies to bring back grapes in particular, but just "fruit", and we find that they brought back various fruits - grapes, pomegranates and figs [v.23]

So why does the Torah stress that "It was the season when the first grapes ripen" and not simply, the time when fruit was ripening?

The process of spying out the Land to conquer it represents our daily mission of evaluating how to advance the "conquering" of this physical world for G-d, through the most effective use of time and resources for Torah.  Verse 20 concludes that the goal of this process is represented by grapes: grapes are unique in that their seeds are visible through their skins, and this teaches us that the goal of our observance is to make the physical "skin" of this world transparent to its higher, spiritual purpose.

Source: Based on Sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shabbos Parshas Shelach 5750

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Seven Keys to Shamayim



Written by HaRav Moshe Wolfson shlita [Rav of Beis Medrash Emunas Yisroel and Mashgiach of Yeshivah Torah Vodaas]

Adapted from a shiur that was delivered under the auspices of Irgun Shiurai Torah and prepared for publication by Rabbi Yochonon Donn


Wordless Power
There are two types of song: one has words (this category would include the art of poetry) in which words are joined together to create a rhythmic pattern and a sense of uniformity. In this type, the feeling of enjoyment and relaxation that comes from hearing music results from the whole song including the words.

In the second type of song, the reason for the enjoyment it gives us is more obscure: it comes when notes are put together to create a wordless song. It is not logical that notes thrown together should elicit a sense of enjoyment in people, that wordless tunes can be enjoyed is a gift from Hashem.

Sefer Pe'as Hashulchan by Harav Yisrael of Shklov zt'l, cites the Vilna Gaon in saying that most of the secrets of Torah are hidden in the art of music and that without understanding music it is impossible to comprehend the Torah. This knowledge of music was given over to Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai along with the rest of the Torah.

The Zohar even says that there is a heichal - an entranceway - in Shamayim that can be opened only with neginah (song). The Zohar relates that Dovid HaMelech approached that entrance only with the neginah of his Sefer Tehillim.

Keys to the Heichal
The seven major musical notes are called keys. Each of the seven keys opens a different door in Shamayim, and it is only through music that these entryways can be opened. Musicologists do not know why the term "key" is used, but it is quite possible that it is a tradition handed down from Yuval, whom the Torah identifies as the father of music.

When the Baal Ha'Tanya came to Shklov, the residents bombarded him with questions. Chabad sources say that he responded with only a niggun, which answered all their questions. As the Vilna Gaon explained, music opens the doors of Torah in Shamayim.

A Gemara in Arachin says that the kinor (stringed instrument) in the Beis Hamikdash had seven strings, but in the times of Moshiach it will have eight strings. There are seven major notes on a musical scale, and the seventh note corresponds to Shabbos, for Shabbos completes the kinor, so that even today one can sing. The seven days of the week are actually the seven tunes of Creation. When Shabbos - the seventh tune - arrives, the harp is complete. This is the reason why we usher in the Shabbos with kapitel 29 of Tehillim, which describes the seven kolos - since then we can proceed with song.

This is the reason for the minhag among Klal Yisrael of singing zemiros on Shabbos. HaRav Mordechai of Lechovich zt"l reportedly said that he would be able to believe that all the seven seas had dried up, but not that a Jew does not sing zemiros on Shabbos.

The reason people so enjoy songs is that the tones that form them have been combined ever since the six days of Creation. Some songs, however, only confuse a person, such as some modern-day songs that are based on, for example, the pounding of a drum, or on words that have no correlation to each other, such as many non-Jewish songs. While they have a tune, it is different than the accepted process of music.

This latter type of song leads to immorality, just as the tones of these songs have no relation to each other but are merely thrown together, immorality involves the relations of two people who are not meant for each other. Neither these songs nor illicit unions were predestined from Creation.

Seven Keys of Chesed
There is a fundamental difference between the seven ushpizin (the holy guests on Succot) and the twelve shvatim - the 12 tribes of Israel. Every Jew has a direct connection with the Ushpizin, whereas each shevet is a separate and unique entity, the shvatim are thus a symbol of disunity.

For every seven white keys, representing the major notes on the piano, there are five black keys, representing the minor notes, each of which is a half-tone higher or lower than the white key next to it. The black keys complement and harmonize with the white keys.

In general, someone who would play using just the white keys on the piano would be able to play only a lively song, while playing just the black keys would result in a sorrowful song of sadness.

It is likely then that another tradition handed down from Yuval is for the keys that play major notes to be white, for happy songs, while the black keys, which play the minor notes, are black, for mournful music.

White is a source of chessed (kindness) for Klal Yisrael (this may be one reason doctors wear white), on the Yamim Nora'im we wear white kittels. Black, on the other hand, represents the trait of gevurah (severity) and is a source and an expression of melancholy.

A song that is played using a combination of black and white keys mixes chessed and gevurah. Together the seven white keys and five black keys of an octave equal twelve, the number of tribes of Israel, which as mentoned above, can symbolize disunity. Such a song is appropriate only for galus. When Moshiach arrives, however, everything will be white, for there will be no atzvus (sadness).

Chazal tell us that when Moshiach comes, an eighth key will be added to music; this key will be a 'roundup' of the previous seven (similar to the all-inclusive kollel used in gematriyos).

In Sefer Tehillim (68:7) when Dovid HaMelech relates the events of our redemption from Mitzrayim, he says motzi asirim bakosharos - "(Hashem) releases those who are bound in chains". The Gemara explains that the word "bakosharos" is a combination of bechi and shiros - simultaneous crying and laughter. This is a song played with both the white and black keys. When Moshiach comes, however, there will only be shirah - a joyous song played with the white keys.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Beha'alotecha: Great Dreams


Written by Chanan Morrison - Rav Kook Torah

In contrast to the unique level and clarity of Moses' prophecy, ordinary prophecy is bestowed through the medium of visions and dreams:

"If someone among you experiences divine prophecy, I will make Myself known to him in a vision; I will speak to him in a dream." [Num. 12:6]

Why Dreams?
Dreams, Rav Kook wrote, serve an important function in the world. Great dreams are the very foundation of the universe. Dreams exist on many levels. There are the prescient dreams of prophets, and the conscious dreaming of poets. There are the idealistic dreams of great visionaries for a better world; and there are our national dreams of redemption — "When God will return the captivity of Zion, we will be like dreamers" [Psalms 126:1].

Of course, not every dream falls under the category of a great dream. Some dreams are inconsequential, as it says, "Dreams speak falsely" [Zechariah 10:2]. What determines whether a dream is prophetic or meaningless?

True and False Dreams
True servants of God concentrate their aspirations and efforts on rectifying the entire world. When one's thoughts and actions are devoted exclusively to perfecting all of creation, then one's imagination will only be stimulated by matters that relate to the universal reality. The dreams of such individuals will naturally be of great significance. Their dreams are tied to the inner truth of reality, to its past, present, and future.

But for those people who are preoccupied with private concerns, their imaginative faculties will be limited — like their waking thoughts and actions — to personal issues. What truth could be revealed in imaginings that never succeeded in rising above the thoughts and wishes of a self-centered individual?

The Sages expressed this idea with the following allegorical imagery: prophetic dreams are brought by angels, while false dreams are brought by demons [Berachot 55b]. What does this mean? Angels are constant forces in the universe, pre-arranged to perfect the world. True dreams relate to these underlying positive forces. Demons, on the other hand, are non-holy forces based on specific objectives which are inconsistent with the overall universal order. False dreams are the resultant fantasies of such private desires.

The True Reality of Dreams
What would the world be like without dreams? Life immersed solely in its material aspects is coarse and bleak. It lacks the inspiring splendor of wide horizons; like a bird with clipped wings, it is unable to transcend the bitter harshness of the current reality. The ability to free ourselves from these shackles is only through the power of dreams.

Some foolishly take pride in being 'realists.' They insist on only considering the material world in its present state — a partial and fragmented view of reality. In fact, it is our dreams that liberate us from the limitations of the current reality. It is our dreams that accurately reveal the inner truth of the universe.

As that future reality is steadily revealed, we merit an increasing clarity of vision. Our perception approaches the aspaklaria me'irah of Moses, with whom God spoke "face to face, in a vision not containing allegory, so that he could see a true picture of God" [Num. 12:8].

[Adapted from Orot HaKodesh vol. I, p. 226; Ein Eyah vol. II, p. 279]

Source: RavKookTorah.org