Sunday, November 29, 2015

Explaining the Different Aspects of Torah

There are important questions to ask about the many different aspects of the Torah, especially like: which should be prioritized?

Ideally, one would want to study all aspects of Torah. However, there are so many aspects of Torah, it would be hard to fit it all into one day, even if you had all day to learn. Here, I want to explain and prioritize it, which can be beneficial to the newbie and the experienced.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

How Halakha Works

A lot of people are confused about what is and isn't halakha. That isn't very surprising, since the whole subject of halakha and minhagh isn't really explained. Instead, many people are left with books and volumes of halakhic codes without much explanation of what has taken place for such a book to be written. However, when it comes to religious individuals either not knowing the difference in many important cases, or not properly distinguishing it themselves - this can be disheartening and problematic. Especially when someone tries to claim a halakhic monopoly by insisting that you must submit to what the majority of Jews customarily practice.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Hitbodedut 4-9

Hitbodedut (continued)

4. Within everyone is a very precious good point, the desire of which is always very strong to do only the will of it's Creator. However, the lusts break one's heart, and through this, one's heart is far from this [good] point. Therefore, one must speak between himself and his Creator in order to enlighten the aspect of the [good] point within him, to his heart. Through this, he'll nullify the foreskin of his heart, that is, evil love which is the disgrace of the heart that breaks the heart of a man (see sec. Tzadik, #42). (From Likutei Moharan I, 34)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Hitbodedut 1-3


1. One who wants to taste a taste of the hidden light, that is, the secrets of the Torah that will be revealed in the future, he should increase in [doing] hitbodedut between himself and his Creator and judge and adjudicate himself all the time regarding all his actions and affairs, whether or not such [a deed or affair] is proper and decent for him to do and to act accordingly in front of [the sight of] HaShem who rewards him all the time and at every instance with goodness.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Speech 18-23 (end)

Speech (continued)

18. Speech in holiness; that is, words of Torah, prayer, and fear of HaShem, are very high and precious, because holy speech is an aspect of the Divine Presence, an aspect of the revelation of HaShem's kingdom and faith. It is [also] an aspect of the spirit of the Messiah, an aspect of ruah hakodesh, an aspect of the resurrection of the dead, an aspect of the unification of the Holy One Blessed is He and His Divine Presence. (From Likutei Moharan I, 78)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Speech 10-17

Speech (continued)

10. Via lashon hara, the koah hamedame increases, because [divine] awareness leaves one through lashon hara. And one falls from love of HaShem, falling into animalistic 'love', which is all of the lusts, all of which come from the koah hamedame, which is the animalistic force that increases via lashon hara. Memory is thereby blemished and one falls to forgetfulness which the death of the heart; [meaning], that his heart is dead within him and he doesn't place it upon his heart to constantly remember the world to come, where therein is eternal life. He (such a person), while living, is called dead since he doesn't place upon his heart to remember his eternal purpose [to serve HaShem] every day. (From Likutei Moharan I, 54)

11. Through lashon hara one doesn't have surviving male children. (There^)

12. When the generation doesn't guard their mouths from lashon hara and other blemished speech, the fit of the generation stumble into pride, God forbid. This is an aspect of the exile of the Divine Presence. (From Likutei Moharan I, 58)

13. Via the lust for food and drink, speech is drawn into exile, jammed between the front and back of the neck and thus one cannot speak anything before HaShem. The remedy for this is fasting. (From Likutei Moharan I, 62)

14. Through wicked speech, like lashon hara, gossip, lies, [improper] jest, flattery, and embarrassing one's fellow in public, profanity, idle talk, and all other kinds of wicked speech, particularly lashon hara against tzadikim and good people - through all these [kinds of] wicked speech are wings made for the serpent so he'll be able to fly and greatly harm the world, God forbid. Meaning, through this the 'wisdom' of philosophy and heresy, which are an aspect of the original snake, increase and spread out. The evil 'wisdom' [of the philosophers and heretics] increases and flies around and greatly harms the world, God forbid, by lashon hara. However, wings for holiness are made through holy speech. (From Likutei Moharan I, 63)

15. One must put forth effort to serve HaShem with every drop of blood existent on one's body. That is, speaking much in Torah [learning] and prayer until all one's blood is made into (used for) holy speech of Torah and prayer - then one will merit peace and will annul the characteristic of [needing to] win [an argument] and dispute. For the characteristic of [needing to] win [an argument] and dispute is drawn from blood that hasn't yet been used to serve HaShem with. (From Likutei Moharan I, 75)

16. Through words of Torah and prayer, all the fallen sparks are raised and all the fallen universes are repaired and renewed, and it is considered as if one has created the heavens, earth, and all the universes anew. Therefore, one must speak only holy words and no other words, in order to raise the sparks and repair all the universes, and through this the coming of the Messiah comes nearer. (There^)

17. One must speak much in Torah and prayer, until the body is completely annulled, as naught and nothing. This is merited through fear that by which one merits peace, and further by which all the blessings [from HaShem] are drawn. (There^)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Speech 1-9

The greatness of its power for good, and the opposite, God forbid.

1. Poverty comes through lashon hara and idle talk, but through [giving] charity to a Torah scholar, this is fixed and one merits wealth. (From Likutei Moharan I, 4)

2. By speaking out Torah in words, the speech enlightens the person in all the places he needs to repent, until he merits complete repentance. By this, one merits to come to understandings of the Torah in its depth (see sec. Torah Learning, #1-11). (From Likutei Moharan I, 11)

3. Via wholeness of holy tongue, meaning holiness of speech, wherein one increases speaking words of Torah, prayer, supplications, requests, and conversations between himself and his Creator, and he is careful not to speak defective words which include lashon hara, lies, etc - through this [holiness of speech] one merits tikun habrit. Also, to the opposite: through tikun habrit one merits wholeness of holy speech. (From Likutei Moharan I, 19)

4. Speech that isn't listened to and received isn't called speech at all. The rectification for speech, that it will be listened to and received, is through praise of the true tzadikim - this is [in fact] the overall rectification of speech. (From Likutei Moharan I, 29)

5. Words are the vessels of abundance [from HaShem]; abundance is received by them. According to speech, thus is the abundance [received] - if speech is whole and in its fullness [in holiness], then one can receive much abundance through it. For this reason is it necessary to speak prayer [and not merely think it]. (From Likutei Moharan I, 34)

6. When one blemishes speech, which is the breath of the mouth of the Holy One Blessed is He, then through the blemish, the breath (ruah) of his mouth is made into a storm wind (ruah). The storm wind is the great Accuser, that from him come all the prosecutions and tests [that a person goes through], and he "assaults the bodies of human beings" (Tikunei HaZohar, Tikun 18). All the bad informing (tattling) that people speak about a person comes from this storm wind, because it is the aspect of "the end of all flesh" (Genesis 6), since he makes an end and finality to all flesh. All of this comes from a blemish in speech. (From Likutei Moharan I, 38)

7. The rectification of speech is through the Torah learned in poverty and hardship at a time when a person is pressed. A cord of mercy is drawn over a person from this, and all prosecutors and the whole side of impurity (evil forces) are banished from him. [Also] through this, speech is rectified and elevated to it's source. Then, the speech comes out in song, praise, and glorification of the Holy One Blessed is He, [and one] merits to to pray to, thank, and praise HaShem. By this, one will merit to speak between himself and his Creator with a blaze of power, arousing himself to [true] service of HaShem, until he'll merit to true speech - to the choicest truth within the speech, meaning he'll speak before HaShem in great and full truth, and he'll spread out his conversation and speak with the heat (passion) of the heart words of truth within the heart, with great arousal to repentance, until he'll see his [own] insignificance and the greatness of the Creator until he comes to great shame from this, becoming ashamed from before Him over the greatness of his sins.

Through this, one merits the light of tefillin, which are an aspect of devekut to HaShem, the aspect of the radiating skin of the face (Exodus 34). By [attaining all of] this, all of one's transgressions are forgiven and one clings himself to the Tree of Life (see Shame and Brazenness, #2). (There^)

8. One must be careful not to hear words from a knowledgeable wicked person because his words are venomous air of promiscuity and they give birth to promiscuity in the listener. (From Likutei Moharan I, 43)

9. Words that are not holy words, cause the awakening of the sukot of the Christians, the suka of the nations of the world, and the right hand of falsehood overpowers, the exile increases, and [the Jewish people] is distanced from the holiness of the Land of Israel. And [also] through this, the Rabbi of truth is ignored, and conflict and dispute increase, and the Divine Presence comes into dispute with her children (Israel) in exile (Tikunei HaZohar) who had been exiled from their Father's table and had left their Land.
However, through holy speech, which is powerful prayer, the truth overcomes (see sec. Prayer, #45). (From Likutei Moharan I, 48)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Knowledge 43-54 (end)

Knowledge (Continued)
43. Via anger, one's wisdom leaves him and the image of God leaves his face and he no longer has the face of a human (see sec. Anger, #5). (From Likutei Moharan I, 57).

44. The main sustenance of [divine] knowledge is by three aspects, they are:
a. One must teach his wisdom to others and to draw them under the wings of the Divine Presence.

b. One must precede fear of sin to his wisdom.
c. One must also exacting in how to present his wisdom, that his words will be the words of the mouth of a pleasing sage and not be contemptible [words].
Then, through the knowledge one merits to draw three influxes: food, drink, and clothing. (From Likutei Moharan I, 58)

45. When wisdom is in its fullness and wholeness, then one is able to subdue all of the oppressors who chase after the weak-of-strength among Israel, and to draw them (the latter) into the service of HaShem. Through this, one merits to conceive new Torah insights on the Sabbath, doubly.

46. The main pleasure of the world to come is to give thanks and praise to His Great Name, and to know and recognize Him, for through this is one close and right next to Him. For the more one knows and recognizes Him, the more one is right next to Him; because everything else will be annulled in the future, and nothing will be left in the future besides this thing: to thank, praise, and know Him - and this is the whole delight of the world to come. (From Likutei Moharan II, 2)

47. The essence of a person is his [divine] knowledge. One who does not have [divine] knowledge is not among civilization and he is not called "human" at all. Rather, he is an animal in the form of a human. Knowledge is mainly holy knowledge, the knowledge of our holy Torah, to know that there is a God who rules and oversees the earth, and to do His will and His commandments. When a person merits this [kind of] knowledge in wholeness, he is saved from all sins and transgressions. For [as our Sages said], 'a person does not sin unless a spirit of folly enters into him'. However, when a person draws upon himself this holy knowledge, remembering HaShem at all times, he will definitely be spared from sinning. (From Likutei Moharan II, 7)

48. That which the world is far away from HaShem and don't draw closer to Him is only a result of them not having a settled mind, and [that] they don't settle themselves. The main thing is to try to settle one's mind well, [on] what is the purpose of all lusts and all the matters of this world; whether they be the lusts that enter the body or lusts that are in the body like, like honor and the like, for example. Then, [when a person looks at the purpose and end to all of these, he will realize they are all vanity and] he will definitely return to HaShem. (Likutei Moharan II, 10)

49. The main settling of the mind is via joy, because by joy, the mind is settled and one can lead the mind according to his will, to think about his eternal purpose. However, by depression and melancholy, the mind and knowledge are in exile and it's hard for one to settle his mind. Hence, depression is a major obstacle in serving HaShem. (There^)

50. One who has whole knowledge knows that all the time in the world is nothing, for time is essentially [a byproduct] of a lack of knowledge. However, the more the intellect is grown, the more one sees and understands the nullification of time (see inside Likutei Moharan II, 62 which explains this well).
Also, in reality we very much see the sprouting of time as a passing shadow and like a disappearing cloud, very much. If you pay attention to this, you will be immensely spared from the worry of this world and you'll be strengthened to snatch up whatever you can at any time, that which will cause you to succeed for eternity, for there it is above time completely, because it is the eternal world. (Likutei Moharan II, 61)

51. There are several idiocies that cling and attach to the mind, particularly confusions in faith. Through sleep, they are separated from the mind, and sleep exceedingly benefits faith. (From Sihot HaRan 110)

52. Via seeing oneself with the true Tzadik, one's mind and knowledge shines. Through this, one receives greatness and authority according to [the amount] his mind shined. [Also] through this, one merits to attain new Torah insights appropriate to him, and by that one merits shame, repentance, and true humility, which is the aspect of the eternal life of the world to come (see sec. Pride and Humility, #30). (From Likutei Moharan II, 72)

53. Wisdom is essentially when one determines that wisdom is far from him. And it is a great wisdom and a great work to make oneself as an animal [in a certain kind of good way, not as brought above in #47], see sec. Innocence. (From Likutei Moharan II, 83 and Sihot HaRan 15)

54. One needs a great merit to be able to sit oneself down for one hour each day and to be remorseful for that which is necessary to regret - for not every person merits settling their mind. Therefore, all must greatly strengthen to see to it to settle oneself well, in regard to all one's actions and deeds, [to determine] if it is fitting to spend one's days with actions like these. (From Sihot HaRan 47)