The 24th of Cheshvan is the Hillula (anniversary of the passing) of my ancestor Rabbi Avraham Azulai. Besides his great sanctity and scholarship, what makes Rabbi Azulai so unusual is that he was a student of both the Ramak as well as the AriZal. In fact it was through his intiative that the buried manuscripts of the Eitz Chaim were dug up from the grave of Rabbi Chaim Vital (main student of the AriZal). He was the author of a commentary on the Zohar under the title Kiryat Arba. and Chesed L'Avraham - an important Kabbalistic work which codifies Kabbalah concepts of which we have classes on in our site www.livekabbalah.com. May his merit be a blessings for us! and may his merit protect us. Light a candle in his honor.
One popular tale about Rabbi Abraham Azulai is that of the Sultan's sword.
The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire made a journey from his seat of government in far off Turkey to places of importance in his domains. He made his way to the Cave of the Machpela in...
It seems like we are politically more polarized than ever. Is there a way out of being entrenched in the right, left political mire which keeps us in a standstill?
Here are some of my thoughts on what we should be working on before rallying for our favorite politicians. We should focus inward and try to "become a master of our selves" as Rabbi Israel of Hostian said to someone who asked him what a "rebbe" is.
Here's to working on our selves my friends! With Meron (the resting place of Rabbi Shimon) in the background, through spiritually progressing by learning the Kabbalistic wisdom, do we have a chance at getting out the standstill as individuals and as a society.
Although D'vekut has been popularized by the Ba'al Shem Tov and Chassidut, it first appears in Deuteronomy 11:22: “For if you shall diligently keep all this commandment which I command you, to do it, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave [u-l'davkah] unto Him”-
The Ramban (Nachmanides, 13th century Kabbalist from Barcelona Spain) writes that the verse warns man not to worship God and a being beside Him; he is to worship God alone in his heart and in his actions. And it is plausible that the meaning of "cleaving" is to remember God and His love constantly, not to divert your thought from Him in all your earthly doings. Such a man may be talking to other people, but his heart is not with them since he is in the presence of God. And it is further plausible that those who have attained this rank, do, even in their earthly life, partake of the eternal life, because they have made themselves a dwelling place of the shekhinah.”
By Rabbi Amichai Cohen
Around this time of the year, we wish each other “may you be inscribed in the book of life”.
What does it mean to be inscribed in the “book of life”? Is there really a big book up there?
The Talmud says that on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish (and world) New Year, three books are opened and everyone and everything is inscribed within these books, determining every outcome of next year on a spiritual and material level. The three books are “the books of the righteous (Tzadikim), Intermediates (Beinonim) and wicked (Reshaim)” (Rosh Hashanah 17b).
King David says “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, and in Your book were all written. The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them” (Pslams 139).
The AriZal explains that this verse refers to Adam, who was formed by G-d and saw everyone who is in the book of life. Adam is the predecessor of...
The Ramak tells us that we are made in the image of the divine which is called Keter or crown.
Man or Adam comes from the word earth and to resemble. It is not enough to merely resemble the divine in form we also must resemble the divine most importantly in deed and action.
But what are G-dly, or divine deeds and action you may ask?
Here we are told that the 13 attributes of mercy are divine paths of just action.
What are the 13 principals?. It should be noted that there are 2- 13 principals found in the Tanach, bible. The first is Moses 13 attributes which he beckons for the Jewish people not to be obliterated by the harsh decrease exacted upon them do to the sin of the golden calf. The 2nd 13 attributes is found in the...
Rabbi Amichai Cohen B"H
The Kabbalah of Shofar
In this discourse the Alter Rebbe discusses the mystical secrets of the blowing of the Shofar according to the Ba’al Shem Tov. Incredibly deep and enlightening.
As a prelude to understanding the blast of the Shofar, the Alter Rebbe gives 3 parables.
1.Sound and speech/thinking and pre-thinking
The Zohar says the sound is the general over encompassing potential, while speech is the specific intonations of sound. For sound to connect with speech it will always bypass the letter .אלף Aleph
All sounds of speech have the the Aleph (א-Ah,Eh etc) in them. Sound is then divided into their specific (5 forms of ) enunciations.
The Alter Rebbe explains that for every giver (mashpia) to give to a receiver (mekabel) it...
By: Moshe Reuven Sheradsky
Today and the next several days forward onto Tuesday, the 18th day of the Month of Elul, are very special days. Particularly so, as the 15th of Elul is the day The Rebbe Rashab (the 5th Rebbe of the Chabad Chassidic Dynasty) established a learning institution (otherwise known as a “Yeshivah”) that has been the bedrock of spiritual growth and development amongst the Jewish community and the world at large until this very day. This was not just a learning institution like any other. This Yeshivah, would include the learning of the hidden aspects of the Torah, namely Kabbalah and Chassidus, along with the revealed aspects of Torah, which was the only study taking place in yeshivahs until this took place.
The reason for this creation of a new yeshivah which would take hold for the future was like so. The Jewish community was becoming more and more dispersed throughout the world. Leaving tiny shtetle, insulated communities with no...
By Moshe Reuven Sherdasky
"We started jamming out with friends. One of our friends decided we should meet each other and through that present audience of just friends it grew. The more we related to that experience, the more people wanted to be a part of it. One person felt good about what were doing, so he told someone, and the word spread that three guys are playing together and that you should listen to them. It started as group of small shows, first it was a birthday, to a gig in the village then all over the world. People feel close to us as we feel close to them even if they live hundreds of miles away".
Sitting down a few weeks ago with friends, Shlomo (lead singer), Zachariah (guitarist), and Paltiel (manager), of the star band, Zusha, was something special. I had met the band 6 years ago when aimlessly wandering into Chabad of NYU. On my way to Israel, I had stopped over in New York for a few days to spend some time with my cousin. I needed a place to go to for Shabbat...
By; Rabbi Amichai Cohen
Elul has the acronym of the verse (in Song Of Songs 6,3) “I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me”. What does this month have to do with love? What does it mean to be for a beloved and the beloved for me?
Elul is the last month of the year where we on the one hand take accounting for our spiritual and practice inventory of the previous year, and also prepare ourselves for the upcoming year.
It’s all in the prep
By: Rabbi Amichai Cohen
The King Is In The Field- Get out of the desert!
In his Song of Songs, King Solomon writes a most eloquent and deep passage representing a multitude of relationships. The verse “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3) is an immediate allusion to the month of Elul, for in its original Hebrew, “Ani ledodi v’dodi li,” the letters beginning each word serve as an acronym for this month.
Elul is the month preceding Tishrei, the beginning of the Jewish year, starting with the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and culminating with the festival of Hoshana Rabbah. It is during the month of Elul that we try and focus on our past year, reflecting on our deeds, atoning for our mistakes and contemplating our actions and changes for the new year to come. Therefore, as we will see, this statement of King Solomon’s is not only a statement between two...
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