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...
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
Would you say you listen to music “rarely, often or very often”?
Regardless of the answer you offered, music is powerful. Music can shift cultural trends and society to change by relinquishing the old and embracing the new.
Next question: Do you believe that music is spiritual?
If you answered yes, then you are right. How can they not be connected?
The 10 Songs
Kabbalah explains that the world was created via 10 utterance, these 10 utterances are the totality of the natural world. Next comes the 10 commandments, which communicated G-d’s deeper connection with his creation. The Midrash says that there are 10 songs of creation. We are awaiting the 10th and final song of creation called “Shir Chadash”- A New Song.
In English the word song connotes all forms of musical renditions. However in Hebrew the word Shir connotes vocals, while Zimrah connotes instrumental renditions.
In the Temple service, the Levites...
By: Moshe Reuven Sheradsky
Published on Huffington Post's- Thriveglobal July 13th 2018
The Baal Shem Tov, the Founder of the Chassidic Movement, taught that every divine soul is latent with gifts to an extent that we will never discover the limits of, just as the land of Israel is latent with natural resources we will never know the limits of. Within the soul, is a “land of desire”, to which the Baal Shem Tov related, he wants to make the soul yield the kind of produce it’s capable of. (Hayom yom, 17th Iyar)
As stated above, you, as a divine soul, deep deep down are latent with endless gifts and talents. Some you know of, many of which you more than likely aren’t aware of.
If so, why are they only existent deep deep down? Why are they not at the forefront with every single individual we meet? Why do we have our struggles in certain areas or at times feel like what we are good at is still unknown and we are waiting for someone to come along and bestow it upon...
By Rabbi Amichai Cohen
The 3 week period, which begins on the 17th of Tammuz and ends on the 9th of Av is an intense time where we remeber the calamaties which occured during this time.
On the 17th of Tammuz 5 negative things happened, most importantly the first tablets were broken, the walls of Jerusalem were breached.
On the 9th of Av is when both Temples were destroyed.
This period of time is called "Bein Hametzarim" or "within constrictions". Jewish law maintains that it is preferable not to embark upon new things such as getting married, moving or starting a new job.
The Talmud says "bad does not descend from heaven". So how do we reconcile with this seeming contradiction?
The Zohar recounts that when Rabbi Chayia, one of the foremost students of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai wanted to enter the academy of Rabbi Shimon in heaven he heard a heavenly voice say "one who does not know how to transform darkness into light and bitterness into sweet has no place in this world"....
By Moshe Reuven Sheradsky
There’s this wonder that has entered the world in the last couple decades, called “The Secret”.
The Secret, they are telling us, is basically this concept that every successful person in history knew (although it's only recently become common knowledge). They knew, but not necessarily did 99% of the rest of the generation know of it. This enabled these leaders to leverage their knowledge of this information over everyone else. The book the Secret shows quotes from a plethora of individuals showing that they believed these things truly.
So what’s the Secret? It’s otherwise known as the law of attraction. That I can will a certain reality into my life with my thoughts. They show people that have made vision boards of their ultimate reality and having fallen upon their boards later in life to see that it’s exactly as they had made their board. In one case, he was in the exact house he had on his board.
Now, the question at...
4 of 10 Steps
1) Trust versus Faith
In the works of Kabbalah there is a fundamental, while simultaneously, game changing, difference between the Hebrew word, “Bitachon” (meaning Trust) and the Hebrew word, “Emunah” (meaning Faith).
In short, faith begins and ends in the mind, trust digs deep into one’s actions.
One can have faith that the One running the show, is a good G-d, cares about you, loves you, only wants good in the world, while, subsequently lives completely contrary to such thoughts. Doesn’t live a life that bespeaks that there is a Creator that is conscious of life’s content. Doesn’t show that they know things are going in a good direction in life, or even believe it slightly, or even worse, doesn’t hope it to be the case.
How do you see that? They may cheat to get ahead because they don’t believe that G-d gave them the tools, opportunities and abilities to make an honest living....