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Showing posts from June, 2020

How do I say Mah Tovu now?

  Perhaps I am no longer entering a special building over which I pause and reflect on the good fortune to have such a place...   Nor do I pause and consider the awe I must have before entering.   Now all of that, which took place in my  shul , has to take place within my own home.   Mah Tovu !!   How blessed I am to be able to create this sacred good place in my home. I have a gift now, please, that I never before had.   ~ Comments shared by  Machberes Avodas Hashem   ***  Kavannot Machberes Avodas Hashem  on “ Mah Tovu ”: We have this special gift of  Tov ; which is we can take a " Mah " and expand it into something magnificent.  

Birchat HaTorah

  One of the first things we do when we wake up – even in the middle of the night   –   if we are going to learn – is to recite the Blessing that G-d sanctified us with His Mitzvot and gave us the Mitzvah to immerse ourselves in learning Divrei Torah . We do not want to, chas v’Shalom, say a Bracha l’batalah , a wasted Bracha , and so after making the blessings we immediately learn a Mishnah and then a portion from the Gemara Shabbat 127a:   Rabbi Yehudah bar Shila said in the name of Rabbi Asi said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: אֵלּוּ דְבָרִים שֶׁאָדָם אוכֵל פֵּרותֵיהֶם בָּעולָם הַזֶּה וְהַקֶּרֶן קַיֶּמֶת לו לָעולָם הַבָּא. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. כִּבּוּד אָב וָאֵם. וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים. וְהַשְׁכָּמַת בֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ. שַׁחֲרִית וְעַרְבִית. וְהַכְנָסַת אורְחִים. וּבִקּוּר חולִים. וְהַכְנָסַת כַּלָּה. וּלְוָיַת הַמֵּת. וְעִיּוּן תפילה. וַהֲבָאַת שָׁלום בֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרו וּבֵין אִישׁ לְאִשְׁתּו. וְתַלְמוּד תּורָה כְּנֶגֶד כֻּלָּם : These are the things that a person eats thei

COVID Lesson – Begins at Home

  The biggest COVID lesson that I learned was in my home. I began to realize that 99% of my family issues and challenges were all either directly or indirectly related to me. My attitude, my mood, my words, my reactions, etc., all impacted my family. Because of the extra time at home, COVID showed me loud and clear that when I'm aggravated, stressed, or impatient, that my behavior and feelings directly affects everyone in the home.   The woman of the home has a lot of power over the mood in the home. The woman of the house has a huge responsibility. This COVID lesson began at home and remains long after COVID has passed.   -- Blog Sheryl Lopin

Seeing Possibilities

פוקח עורים  (Who gives sight to the blind) Throughout this COVID pandemic there were so many times when it was easy to fall into the rut of negativity. The yetzer hara kept trying to pull me into fear and negativity, and it even sometimes succeeded! פוקח עורים   - The blessing now takes on a whole new meaning for me! I see it as an opportunity to thank Hashem for all those moments of being able to see the possibilities for growth! I used the blessing as a way to recognize that it was Hashem who opened my eyes to the opportunities of connection to Him during times of fear and challenge – and to understand that only Hashem has the ability to keep giving me the capacity to overcome fears, and to succeed over any negativity! Comments Shared by Malki R 

Forward Motion

בְּכָל יום אֲבָרְכֶךָּ. וַאֲהַלְלָה שִׁמְךָ לְעולָם וָעֶד   “ B'chol Yom  Avarech'cha   I am accessing "Kol" (all, all encompassing) in order to make this Bracha, to create this burst of nurturing words , and prayers.. ”  (Machberes Avodas Hashem Intention***)   The world is fluid, every minute is a new opportunity.   You know what they say about horseback riding?  “We don't look behind us, in the past, because the horse has already passed it!  And, by the time we look in the present … the horse has already passed that, too!”   Our goal is to be in “forward motion” -- to look into the future to what we want.     This idea made me think that although we are currently living in seemingly tumultuous times, in which it seems as if there is so much movement, it is as if all these different moving parts and fluctuations is our constant ! We are constantly in a state of flux and change, and so, we can   find “THE DAY” – even in the night -- in all th

How Good?

מַה טּבוּ אהָלֶיךָ יַעֲקב מִשְׁכְּנתֶיךָ יִשרָאֵל (   How goodly are Your dwelling places, Israel)   COVID has us all sheltered-at-home with our families for so much more time than we usually spend together. Instead of thinking, “what a hassle!”, I davened to Hashem to give me the tools, to teach me, how to better develop my relationship with my children during these trying times. אֱלהִים בְּרָב חַסְדֶּךָ עֲנֵנִי בֶּאֱמֶת יִשְׁעֶךָ ( God, in Your great loving-kindness, answer me with your faithful salvation) Hashem answered my prayer, it was if even just the asking for help actually helped me to cope better. I actually saw that all this “shelter-at-home” time was beneficial to our family’s relationships and I recognized Hashem had answered my prayers and sent me my own personal yeshua (salvation) from my mistaken attitude. I love my home and I love my family and I am so grateful to be here, healthy, with them! Comments shared by Malki R. אֲנִי תפילתי לְךָ ה' עֵת רָצון אֱ

"Unblinding" During Covid

פוקח עורים   (Who gives sight to the blind) Thank you, Hashem, for all those times you saved me from being enslaved by my yetzer hora that can so easily blind me! This insight came to me while I was washing dishes! As the soap suds where cleaning off the dirt and grime from the many dishes I deal with these days, I suddenly saw the grime as klipot that might have attached to my soul, the souls of my loved ones, and other members of Klal Yisroel ! מתיר אסורים   ( He gives us the permission to untie the  knots that are preventing us from accessing unlimited potential.)*** I started to dance as I davened for the soap suds to remove – gently -- anything holding me back – binding me -- or others -- from connecting to our source, to our chelek Elokah (part   of the Almighty) and to the Shechina ! (Divine Presence). I now saw the avoda (work) of washing dishes as an act of releasing us from our bondage … as a way to contemplate conquering and washing away our yaitzer ha ra (


אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּחָכְמָה  (Who formed man in Wisdom) During the COVID pandemic, I recognized more than ever how grateful I am for my health. Recognizing the value of my Health took on a whole new level for me.  Yet, at the same time, I observed so many people suffer panic, anxiety, and worry. I then experienced not only a renewed appreciation for my physical health, I also felt grateful for my mental and emotional health. As I heard more and more about the people suffering from the effects of the Corona virus, I understood that a full refuah means a FULL refuah – to not only have a physical healing, but to also be free of any emotional side effects, as well. Upon contemplating both physical and emotional health, I then realized that I can use the bruchah   בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' רופֵא כָל בָּשר (Blessed are You, God, Healer of all flesh) to daven for my spiritual health as well! Thoughts and davening about health during these times can be used to grow in my relati

Nishmas – The Internal Conversation

  If you read Nishmas in the context of somebody who had died and who then had been brought back to life twice on the day of the Revelation at Har Sinai, you will therefore really say in a very deep way, “ Nishmas Kol Chai ”, , My connection to my NeShama is going to be totally different if my Neshama leapt out of me twice today! So much joy and clarity and power of connection! So, I begin with Nishmas as someone who experienced twice the experience of your soul leaping out and then coming back in, twice!   And if our lips are truly as filled with song as the sea, and our tongues filled with joy as the waves, … right? If this was really so, we would not be able to … we wouldn't have been able to …. say, “Thank you”. And because this is so, therefore every mountain should thank you!  Every tongue should swear!   But wait -- didn’t we just say that this wouldn't work?     So, let’s learn this, let’s read Nishmas as this internal conversation.   Did you ever

The unified voice whispering inside of me

  In Megillas Rus the first pasuk tells a story, but it doesn't have the name of any characters. The second pasuk  tells you the story from the perspective of the husband. The third Pasuk tells you the story from the perspective of the wife.   And, then the fourth pasuk tells you the story from the perspective of the sons. So, what is going on here?   The narrator of the story constantly changes, and we are trying to figure out why. Why is this change in narration so important in the book of Ruth? We could imagine that in the process of a conversion that there are different voices. There is the voice of your past, the voice of relationships, and the voice of your inner drive to connect to something that's certainly there, but, as yet, beyond you.   Let’s look at these different voices in the context of Har Sinai. At Har Sinai there was          " Kieesh Echad Bilev Echad " -- right away, the first day B’nei Yisroel were there. Wouldn’t you think that it

My Internal Voice – Baruch Shem Kavod in a Whisper

  Moshe Rabbainu could hear “Hashem whispering to Himself, meaning after the first stage, when Moshe would hear this loud Voice that no one else could hear. Moshe would go into the Mishkan and the minute he would enter the Mishkan he would hear another Voice. It says at the end of Parshas Naso when Moshe arrived at the tent of meeting to speak with Hashem, he heard “the voice”. So, there was this Calling to Moshe Rabbainu , and then Moshe would approach, and he would actually hear this whisper going back and forth. How does this knowledge work for us, all of us?   What does “whispering” mean to us, especially during this year of COVID? Quarantine. All of a sudden, things began to change. For example, things that we usually daven aloud in Shul, now that we are at home, now that we're davening at home, we daven quietly.   We don't seem quite as loud.   So, we're whispering a lot, which changed for me, of course, the way I say " Baruch Shem Kavod Ma