Hide and Seek
Apr27

Hide and Seek

Our parashah commands us regarding the mitzvah that is most identified with our Jewishness: “On the eighth day, his foreskin should be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:3). Contemplating the nature of this mitzvah, an obvious question arises: If the foreskin is extra, why wait until the eighth day to remove it? Better yet, why is the baby [...]

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Start Fresh
Mar23

Start Fresh

Hold On! Endless Levels Meshivat Nefesh #54 The greatest of tzaddikim spend their lives rising from level to level in their devotions and in their grasp of Godliness. They never rest on their laurels, but always begin again, fully aware that God’s infinite nature means that they have always only just begun. No matter how high [...]

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Never Get Old!
Mar23

Never Get Old!

Hold On! Never Get Old! Meshivat Nefesh #53 King Solomon called the evil inclination, “The Old, Foolish King.” He’s foolish because he gives me bad advice; he’s king because it’s all too easy to obey him. And Reb Nosson teaches that he’s old…because he makes me feel old. My lower self tries to tell me, “It [...]

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Rest Assured
Mar23

Rest Assured

There is a four-letter word in the English language that lingers at our side constantly, seeking to drain us of our sanity and quality of life: work. Much of society lives from one vacation to another, counting the days until they can finally take their mind off this most pressing “need” and enjoy some rest, [...]

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Be Patient With Yourself!
Mar16

Be Patient With Yourself!

Hold On! Patience! Meshivat Nefesh #52 Reb Nosson taught that there’s one powerful remedy that keeps us from getting discouraged by all of our challenges and our fallings and failures, especially when we really have spiritual aspirations and cannot seem to bring them into reality. It’s called patience. Patience doesn’t only mean not getting upset when [...]

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There Is No Place Away From Him.
Mar16

There Is No Place Away From Him.

Meshivat Nefesh #51 What do we mean when we say that we feel far from God? How can far even apply to God, who is absolutely everywhere? One of the Names that we use for God is “HaMakom”—The Place. The sages taught, “He is the Place of the world, but the world is not His [...]

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In the Know
Feb09

In the Know

Knowledge, wisdom, education ... these are the cornerstones of a typical Jewish upbringing. Almost as soon as a Jewish baby is born, his or her parents have already established a college fund. This reminds me of a joke: A Jewish mother is walking down the street with her two little boys. A passerby sees the [...]

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How To Start Again
Feb07

How To Start Again

Hold On! Instant Renewal Meshivat Nefesh #45 Starting again isn’t always so easy, but Rebbe Nachman gave advice to help me jump-start my spiritual life when it feels like it’s gotten stagnant: Refresh yourself with Torah. The Torah links me with the infinite mind of my Creator, and so it always has endless new levels of [...]

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Who Owes Who?
Feb05

Who Owes Who?

There’s an interesting dialogue in our parashah between God and Moshe. God implores Moshe, “Please, speak into the ears of the people, and let them borrow [from the Egyptians], each man from his friend and each woman from her friend, silver and gold vessels” (Exodus 11:2). Why did He need to beseech Moshe? After all, [...]

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Filled With Joy
Jan24

Filled With Joy

Hold On! Doing the Work Meshivat Nefesh #49 While it’s true that God’s infinite light extends throughout every single part of creation, there are places where it’s very hard to discover. Rebbe Nachman taught that, in just such places and situations and states of mind, the loftiest light is available…as long as we work hard enough [...]

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Follow The Leaders
Jan19

Follow The Leaders

This week’s parashah begins by recording our nation’s first descent into the darkness of exile. The place of this exile, Egypt, was called Mitzrayim (straits). This fittingly describes the core difficulty of exile, the feeling of being squeezed and suppressed, and not knowing where to turn or how to free oneself. While the story of [...]

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Seeing Our Good Points!
Dec06

Seeing Our Good Points!

Hold On! Personal Sanctuary Meshivat Nefesh #48 Rebbe Nachman taught: The Mishkan and the Beit Hamikdash were built out of the individual good-will offerings of the Jewish people. Some brought gold, some silver, some brought precious stones and some fabric. Rebbe Nachman explains that the Sanctuary—the place of prayer—is literally built from the good points within [...]

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Rebbe Nachman says, “No!”
Nov28

Rebbe Nachman says, “No!”

Hold On! Precious Moments Meshivat Nefesh #47 Rebbe Nachman taught: “Sometimes there are people who draw closer to Hashem for a certain amount of time and, afterward, they fall away again. Even so, their temporary period of greater closeness is very precious to Hashem, even if afterward whatever happened, happened, G-d forbid.” This short teaching always [...]

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Share the Wealth
Nov23

Share the Wealth

Hold On! Share the Wealth Meshivat Nefesh #46 It’s not always so easy for me to encourage myself, but I do find it fairly easy to encourage others. That’s because, “A person in prison can’t free himself”—my friend is in the prison of her own situation and the key is outside of her cell. She can’t [...]

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Grab Ahold of Eternity
Nov14

Grab Ahold of Eternity

Hold On! Eyes on the Prize? Meshivat Nefesh #45 What drives me to seek to serve G-d? Am I in it for self-satisfaction? For pleasure? For expectation of reward? Because sometimes it’s not so pleasurable, and sometimes I might even start to think that the debts I owe are going to outweigh the reward that’s coming [...]

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Dealing With Internal Struggle 
Nov09

Dealing With Internal Struggle 

Hold On! The Wrestling Match Meshivat Nefesh #44 Within me there are two basic forces at conflict with each other. There is a part of me that longs to bond with my Creator; to do good and be good; to express my G-dly self. But I have to admit that there is also a part of [...]

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