Judging by Giving
Jan11

Judging by Giving

A Sacred Time - Tevet 7 Giving charity is an act of judgment, since we have to make a calculation about to whom we’ll give, in what way, at what time, how much, etc. The strongest motivating force for giving tends to be empathy—when we’re able to identify with and feel the pain of the other. [...]

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Hear To Heart
Jan10

Hear To Heart

A Sacred Time - Tevet 6 Rebbe Nachman taught that when we open a channel to share of ourselves with others, it means that we also become vulnerable to the negative spiritual energy that’s within them. He speaks about this dynamic in the context of outreach. To communicate effectively, there has to be an open conduit [...]

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Taking Inventory of Myself
Jan10

Taking Inventory of Myself

A Sacred Time - Tevet 5 The tribe associated with the month of Tevet is Dan. The Hebrew word dan means to judge…what does the tribe of Dan have to teach me during this month? I’m sometimes quick to judge others harshly even as I give myself the benefit of the doubt. But, really, during this [...]

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A Winter of Opportunity
Jan04

A Winter of Opportunity

A Sacred Time - Tevet 4 The deeper works point out that the name of the month, Tevet, also means to set up the oil-lights of the Temple. While we know that the light of Chanukah continues to shine throughout this month to warm our hearts and souls, there is another message hiding in the letters. [...]

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Being of Service
Jan04

Being of Service

A Sacred Time - Tevet 3 The month of Tevet is the heart of winter and it represents the hard times that we all have to endure on occasion. The days are short, the nights are long, and we run the risk of falling into “the winter of our discontent.” I might feel weighed down by [...]

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“Tough” Love
Dec20

“Tough” Love

A Sacred Time - Tevet 2 The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything that exists is vitalized by a permutation of the Divine Names. Even though this sounds abstract, what it really means is that Divine vitality fills all of creation at all times so that it can continue to exist—and this is true of people, [...]

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Keeping the Flame
Dec20

Keeping the Flame

A Sacred Time - Tevet 1 Chanukah always transitions into the month of Tevet; the final day of the holiday is the second day of the month. The deeper works explain that the light of Chanukah continues to shine spiritually even after the festival. Just how long we can warm ourselves at the dying embers [...]

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There’s Enough Time
Nov13

There’s Enough Time

A Sacred Time The tribe that relates to the month of Cheshvan is Menasheh. The deeper works reveal that Menasheh has the same letters as neshamah, the Hebrew word for soul. The root of Menasheh is the same as neshiyah, which means to forget—the human condition of the entropy of consciousness. As native citizens of [...]

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From Bitter to Sweet
Nov13

From Bitter to Sweet

Our sages tell us that the sweet-smelling incense used in the Temple contained one powerfully bitter component, the chelbenah or galbanum. Reb Nosson explains that this inclusion teaches us how essential it is to Divine service to know how to transform the bad into good. The one evil-smelling ingredient is necessary for the recipe; without [...]

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Silence is Golden
Oct28

Silence is Golden

Cheshvan I “Cheshvan” is a contraction of the Hebrew letters chash-vav and nun. The Hebrew word “chash” means silence; the letter vav is a conjunction—it means both “and” and “connector”; the letter nun has a numerical value of fifty and represents the fifty gates of Binah, of discernment that catalyze teshuvah. Rebbe Nachman explained the [...]

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Where Are You?
Oct15

Where Are You?

Tishrei Another name for Tishrei is Yerech Ha’eitanim, the “Month of the Mighty.” It’s our opportunity to access the vast spiritual reserves available only during the special holidays of this month. Now that we’re at the end of the month, we bring closure to this special time by remembering that the power of these holy [...]

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“I Have a G-d!”
Sep01

“I Have a G-d!”

Elul #5 “I Have a G-d!” The letters of the word Elul can be rearranged to read “lo El”—“he has a G-d.” The moment we understand that we do have a good G-d, one who gives us life so that we can fix what is broken, we’ve laid the groundwork so that we can do [...]

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F.E.A.R.
Aug28

F.E.A.R.

Elul #3 F.E.A.R It is customary to say Psalm 27, twice daily, from the beginning of Elul until Simchat Torah. Towards the end of the psalm, we say, “False witnesses have risen against me, seeking to wreak havoc.” In the second to last verse of this psalm it says, “Lulei—had I not—believed in the goodness [...]

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Out Of Order
Aug12

Out Of Order

A Sacred Time Av 5 As every student of Hebrew knows, when we say “alef-bet” we mean the alphabet. Rebbe Nachman explains that when letters run in order this symbolizes Divine kindness; when they run out of order, it signifies judgments. Why, then, does the name of the month with the deepest history of destruction for [...]

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Didn’t Pray Enough!
Aug06

Didn’t Pray Enough!

A Sacred Time Av 4 During every Shabbat Nachamu—“the Shabbat of Comforting” that follows Tisha b’Av—we read Parshat Va’etchanan. This portion begins with Moses sharing how he offered five hundred and fifteen prayers to G-d, begging Him to reverse the decree that barred him from entering the Promised Land, before G-d said “Enough.” Our sages tell [...]

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A Day’s Deferral
Jul24

A Day’s Deferral

A Sacred Time Av 2 The Ninth of Av is the harshest day of the Jewish calendar. But, this year, the fast falls out on Shabbat, and that makes a very big difference. On Shabbat we’re not permitted to fast, mourn, or fall into sadness. Shabbat is a day for experiencing a deep inner joy [...]

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