Doctor of the Soul – Parashat Vayeishev
Dec07

Doctor of the Soul – Parashat Vayeishev

For some reason, people think that spiritual matters are to be taken lightly. They assume that if they have some kind of spiritual issue, it suffices to go to their local Rabbi – like the guy who sells their chametz before Pesach! But this is a huge mistake. If, God forbid, one were deathly ill, [...]

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You’re Doing Something Right – Parashat Vayeitzei
Dec03

You’re Doing Something Right – Parashat Vayeitzei

Have you ever looked at an object and been unable to discern what it was, only to realize that it was upside-down and that you’re quite familiar with it? Not only do such occurrences happen to us optically, there are spiritual experiences we constantly face that confuse us into perceiving ourselves in the completely opposite [...]

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A Fight to the Finish – Parashat Vayishlach
Dec03

A Fight to the Finish – Parashat Vayishlach

The drama has been simmering for a lifetime. Twin brothers who grew up in the same home to the same parents could not have been more different. One was destined to become the father of the twelve tribes and the Jewish people, the other to be the patriarch of mighty nations like Rome. In our [...]

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Worlds Apart – Parashat Toldot
Nov20

Worlds Apart – Parashat Toldot

At certain times in history, had things played out according to their natural progression, the world would have been altered forever. Such an event took place in this week’s parashah. Jacob is the quintessential Jew.  He spent his days and nights toiling in Torah study while working on perfecting himself spiritually. He was so great [...]

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Get A Life – Parashat Chayei Sarah
Nov09

Get A Life – Parashat Chayei Sarah

What is life? Most of us would probably say life means living day after day. But is that true? Aren’t there unfortunate souls attached to life-support machines who, while being technically alive (and hoping to be healed), cannot at the present time be considered to have serious quality of life? What about those who, while [...]

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Keep To The Right – Parashat Lekh Lekha
Oct26

Keep To The Right – Parashat Lekh Lekha

Our parashah begins by God commanding Abraham, “Go to you” (Genesis 12:1). This seems very strange. You can be told to go to a different place or to a different person, but what does it mean to go to oneself? Yet what if one’s own reality were skewed; if someone was totally removed from their [...]

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Don’t Get Old!
Aug02

Don’t Get Old!

Hold On! Forever Young Meshivat Nefesh #59 In Rebbe Nachman’s story of the Seven Beggars, we encounter the figure of the Blind Beggar, whose great quality is that even though he is exceedingly old, he is also perfectly young. In fact, he hasn’t yet even really begun to live at all. This goal of perpetual youth—not [...]

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A New Day
Aug02

A New Day

Hold On! A New Day Meshivat Nefesh #58 Reb Nosson explains that the fresh recitation of the Shema prayer every day is our way of continually expanding our awareness that it’s God’s Will alone that directs everything that occurs. Yesterday’s Shema shouldn’t be the same as today’s. And by tomorrow, I hope that I’ll say [...]

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Do It With Mirrors
Jun08

Do It With Mirrors

Rebbe Nachman told the story of a king who built a palace and asked two men to decorate it. The king divided the palace into two parts and assigned one part to each of them. He also fixed a time limit to complete their work. The first man toiled to teach himself the art of [...]

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Our Eternal Bond
Jun07

Our Eternal Bond

Hold On! Torah Joy Meshivat Nefesh #57 The Jewish people are called an am segulah—a “treasured nation”—but the term segulah really means having some quality that is inherent and not clearly quantifiable. This name was given to the Jewish people at the giving of the Torah, since it’s really by virtue of the Torah itself that [...]

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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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