By Amichai Cohen
When you hear the word "dreams" what comes to mind?
For many people sleep comes to mind, for others hope for a newfound reality comes to mind.
We all have those unrealistic dreams, such as "I want to be a fireman when I grow up" or "I want to be superman.." We do however have realistic dreams that we need and must pursue for us to actualize our life's potential. In some ways a dream is similar to hope. We need to have hope in our lives in order to motivate us to pursue something great. When we rely on hope, then we can become hopeless.
The Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation) says that the month of Kislev is associated with the sense of dreaming.The month of Kislev sifts between those unrealistic dreams ("I want to be an astronaut" ones) and the real ones we are meant to pursue.
It is interesting that during this month we read the stories of Jacob dreaming and now Joseph, the quintessential dreamer.
In the story of Joseph, we...
In our "I- Generation" where people are increasingly more self complacent, and feel unsure as to what the future brings, the message of gratitude and thanksgiving is even more pertinent.
Research has found that individuals who keep a gratitude journal in which they write the things they are grateful for, are happier and live a more content live. Taking as little as five minutes a day and showing gratitude has such a powerful effect on our psyches.
In Judaism, the first words which are uttered each morning are "mode ani l'fanacha.." translated as "I am grateful to you, the living Master of the universe who has returned my soul to me with great mercy in your belief in me".
These words are said prior to ritually cleansing one's hands and Kabbalah says invokes a transcendent level of G-d, one which bypasses a name.
We begin our day by showing gratitude, thereby orienting the entire day to be in the spirit of thanksgiving.
The word Mode-...
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.
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...
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
As a branch from my last article on activating your talents and gifts. I’d like to elaborate on one point in a way I didn’t then.
The concept that each person has their very own specific mission in life can save from more than just a bad self esteem. It can save from chasing other people’s priorities, goals, likes, interests, and so on.
Why do we keep up with the Jones’s? Or at least try to? Or at least want to? Or at least are suggested by our social circles to?
There’s a famous business book called Blue Ocean Strategy. It’s unbelievably helpful in business as in life, and it can be used to help explain how knowing you have a mission will save you a lot of time, energy, indecision, regret, sadness and more..
The red ocean strategy is a strategy completely run by competition. It’s this is what everyone want and is focused on doing, and...
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 word enlightened by definition means having light. The analogy of light is found across all religions, philosophies and cultures.
In Kabbalah, the analogy of light is extremely important. The book of the Zohar or light, written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the second century, and the book of the Bahir or illumination written in the first century by Rabbi Nechunia Ben Hakanah show the importance of light in Jewish mysticism.
In Temple times, the menorah- candelabra served as the beacon light which shined the light of Jerusalem- a city of peace to the rest of the world.
The symbol of the Menorah was so important, that in fact on the famous Titus archway in Rome, the Menorah was etched as a symbol of conquest of the land of Israel.
The Menorah continues to serve as the symbol of the modern state of Israel and is even more the sign of Judaism than Star of David.
Aaron The High Priest
In the tabernacle, Aaron, the high priest would...
By Rabbi Amichai Cohen
Do you question if now is the right time to move?
Research finds moving to new locations (and getting married..) as one of the most stressful events in one's life. Anxiety about so many unknowns consume our thoughts before the move, while the adjustment period takes a mental tole on us as we settle into our new surroundings.
Here are some Torah tips for how to know when the right time to move is and how to mentally prepare.
In the Torah portion of B'halotcha, the Torah discusses the travels of the Jewish people in the desert.
The 12 tribes of the Israelites were divided into 4 camps, each camp consisting of 3 tribes. In the middle of the 4 camps was the Tabernacle, which stored the ark that housed the tablets -the Ten Commandments.
During the 40 year sojourn in the desert the Jewish people traveled 42 journeys.
The Ba'al Shem Tov says that just as the Israelites traveled 42 journeys, so too each individual has 42 journeys in their...