Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Learning patience

Hi,

"One should learn [from Divine tolerance] how patient he must be. He should bear the wrongdoing of his friend, and the harms he has caused [even] to this extent [that people sin against Gd], even with the result of the wrongdoing of the sin committed against him still present before him. He should bear it until his friend corrects it, or it ceases to exist on its own."

(Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Tomer Devorah 1:2)

גמר חתימה טובה,
Mordechai

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gd supports the sinner as he sins

Hi,

"A person never sinned against Gd without Gd simultaneously supplying his very existence and the movement of his limbs. Even though the person sins with that strength, Gd does not withhold it from him, at all."


(Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Tomer Devorah 1:1)

גמר חתימה טובה,
Mordechai

Monday, September 29, 2014

Emulating Gd

Hi,

[Note: The following passage seems to be a commentary on Bereishit 1:26-27, in which Gd is described as making humanity in His tzelem and demut.]

"One should emulate the deeds of his Creator, and then he will be aligned with the secret of the higher Form, tzelem and demut. Were he only to resemble the Form [designed by Gd] and not the actions, he would degrade that Form. People would say of him, 'His form is pleasant, but his deeds are ugly.'

"The essence of the tzelem and demut is in one's deeds; what good would it serve for one to have the heavenly Form, the demut of the form of his limbs, but not resemble his Creator in his deeds?"

(Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Tomer Devorah 1)

Gmar tov,
Mordechai

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Fast of Gedalyah

Hi,

We fast on the day after Rosh haShanah; this is called "Tzom Gedalyah," "The Fast of Gedalyah."

The Meaning of the Fast: After the Babylonians destroyed the Temple, they appointed Gedalyah as governor of Israel's Jews. A group of Jews, supported by another nation, wanted the Jews to rebel against the Babylonians, and they accused Gedalyah of sympathizing with the Babylonians. They ambushed him and killed him, and in the aftermath, the remaining Jewish community in Israel went into exile.

This day is commemorated as a public fast from first light to the emergence of the stars.

This year, the day after Rosh HaShanah is Shabbat. Therefore, the fast is pushed off (nidcheh) to Sunday.

Have an easy and meaningful fast,
Mordechai

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweet foods for Rosh HaShanah

Hi,

"The reason we eat sweet foods is to declare that Gd will decree a good and sweet year for us."

(Maharil, Hilchot Rosh HaShanah 7)

כתיבה וחתימה טובה,
Mordechai

Monday, September 22, 2014

Divine Inspiration, Part 2

Hi,

"The second level of prophecy:

"When a person finds that something has set upon him, a force has newly arrived, and it makes him speak, speaking in wisdom or in praises or in effective instruction, in practical or spiritual matters, and he is awake and using his senses normally, this person may be said to speak with ruach hakodesh.

"With this breed of ruach hakodesh King David composed Tehillim; and Shlomo composed Mishlei, Kohelet and Shir haShirim; and Daniel and Iyov and Divrei haYamim and the rest of the Ketuvim were composed with this breed of ruach hakodesh. Thus they are called Ketuvim ["written"], to say that they were written with ruach hakodesh. And the sages said explicitly, 'The book of Esther was stated with ruach hakodesh'…

"This is not full prophecy, not like 'The word of Gd came to Avram in a vision, saying,' and not like, 'And Gd said to Israel in the visions of the night,' and not like the prophecies of Yeshayahu and Yirmiyahu. Regarding each of them, even though the prophecy came in a dream, the prophecy itself informed him that it was prophecy, coming to him prophetically…


"This level is below that of 'I speak in a dream' [words with which Gd described low-level prophecy] for those who prophesy in a dream do not call it a dream in any way, once the prophecy comes to them in the dream. They declare it a prophecy, entirely. It is as our ancestor Yaakov said when he woke from the prophetic dream; he did not say it was a dream, but he declared, 'Gd is in this place, etc.'… And this is why the nation determined to arrange the book of Daniel among the Ketuvim, not the Neviim."

(Rambam, Moreh haNevuchim 1:45)

כתיבה וחתימה טובה,
Mordechai

Sunday, September 21, 2014

An apology; and Divine Inspiration, Part 1

Hi,

First, a personal request: I would like to take a moment to ask everyone receiving this email/RSS feed for mechilah (forgiveness) for anything hurtful or offensive I wrote, or should have written and did not, in the past year. I know that people's sensitivities are varied, but I am not always as careful as I could be. If there was anything at all, please do let me know. I can grow by learning from my mistakes.

The first of the prophetic levels is for Divine aid to accompany a person, moving and energizing him to a great positive deed, like saving an important group from evildoers, or saving a great, important person, or benefiting a large number of people. He will find something moving him to action; this is called "the spirit of Gd." Regarding one who is accompanied by this, the text will say, "the spirit of Gd was powerful upon him," or "the spirit of Gd clothed him," or "the spirit of Gd rested upon him," or "Gd was with him," and similar expressions. This was the level of all of the Jewish judges, regarding whom the Torah said in general that Gd established judges for them, and Gd was with the judge and He rescued them. This is also the level of all of the distinguished counselors of Israel…

And know that a force like this never left Moshe Rabbeinu from the time he reached maturity. This was what motivated him to kill the Egyptian and to halt the wicked one of the two fighters. The power of this force in him was such that after panicking, fleeing and arriving in Midian, a frightened stranger, when he saw a hint of corruption he could not keep himself from eliminating it. He could not bear it! As it says, "And Moshe arose and he saved them."…

None of these [examples of those who experienced ruach hakodesh] was moved to state anything. The purpose of this force is to awaken the strengthened person to a specific action. And it is not for any action that might be at hand, but to help the oppressed, a great person or a community, or to prevent an event that would lead to that [oppression].


And just as not everyone who sees a true dream is a prophet, so, too, not everyone who is accompanied by assistance at a particular event that occurs, like acquiring property or reaching some special goal, can be said to have the spirit of Gd join with him, or to have Gd with him, that he has done something with ruach hakodesh. It is stated regarding one who performs an outstanding great deed, or a deed that leads to that, like Yosef's success in the house of the Egyptian, which was a first cause leading to the great matters which occurred afterward, as has been explained.

(Rambam, Moreh haNevuchim 1:45)

כתיבה וחתימה טובה,
Mordechai