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Pesach Season Prayer For Dew
Reflections on Passover Morning 2017
Happy Chanukah Shabbat!
Just One Shabbat Can Change The World!
Temple Tiles for our Times

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Shabbos Chic Blog

Israel

Temple Tiles for our Times

I am so excited to share my little artistic rendering of Linda Gradstein's pro photo and article on TheMediaLine.org

This is a restored tile from the second Temple in Jerusalem, created by archaeologists from their actual discoveries. It's ancient Jewish patchwork flooring and I love it!  In my soul this design is so familiar and so satisfying... and now I know why.

Gradstein reports, "...about 600 colored stone floor tile segments have so far been uncovered, with more than 100 definitively dated to the Herodian Second Temple period. The style of flooring is the same as those found in other of Herod’s palaces in Masada, Herodian and Jericho. Snyder says the tile segments were perfectly inlaid next to each other.

"The tiles are part of the Temple Mount sifting project, an Israeli archaeological project begun in 2005."

May we all be so blessed to see the final Temple in person someday soon!

Pre-Pesach Energy 5776

Rabbi Aryeh Nivin gave his annual Pesach Drasha for women this week, and it lit me up like a firecracker. He suggested we select just one, tiny change (not a big, huge one) and implement it every single day, from now through Shavuos.

Well, I'm doing it. I chose to make a slight but distinct attitude adjustment. It involves seeing myself from a different perspective, one that another person might immediately have, but I habitually NEVER have about myself.

Until now!  And I'm really doing it, because I made it fun.  I built a little blog for myself, and posted over a hundred photos to remind me of my new mindset. It's working!  I leave the blog tab open on my laptop as I'm working, and click on it whenever I need a boost back up and into my new mindset. 

Funny thing... I'm really good at boosting my clients' mindset, but haven't applied my coaching skills to myself. DUH! 

Thanks so much, Rabbi Nivin, for giving us such a simple, little Pesach blessing, for ourselves personally, and for women of Klal Israel! Here's a list that's true, in my experience, but I'd add one more word -  JOY!!!






Shushan Purim 5776

Sunset photo by Lilli Halley, Fairfield, Iowa USA

Today is known as Shushan Purim, the second day of Purim in some areas of Israel. I don't live in a walled city, but I am enjoying a second day of Purim in my own way today. For various reasons, I was led to Isaiah 57:14, and it's my privilege to share it with you:


"And he shall say, "Pave, pave, clear the way; remove the obstacles from the way of My people."

Shabbat Shalom to all, and may your way be cleared of obstacles, too!





Spiritual Ascent is for Everybody

I love this old postcard with a drawing of a street in Safed,  Israel. It draws me in and definitely makes me want to visit soon!

These words from a talk by Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz of ParadisePrinciple.com resonate with me today, looking out at the world and also looking into myself these days:

"There are a million subtle levels on which we fight our spiritual battles in life, and we have to understand that the pre-condition of our spiritual assent is actually a spiritual descent, an agreement to go down into the muck and to raise ourselves out of it."

Looking at my own challenges and the enormous global challenges we all face can be simply overwhelming. It can stop us in our tracks everyday, rendering us unable to move, or even think about moving. 

But we are put here on this earth to persevere, and to overcome both physical, material challenges and spiritual battles as well. 

This Shabbat I am thinking about being a spiritual warrior. 

And Rabbi Schwartz continues on that subject, "Our inner evil inclination, the Yetzer Hara tries to keep us away from being who we are, and doing what G-d wants us to do. 

"And as regards being a Spiritual Warrior, it tries to convince us that the only successful warrior is the one who can look back and see that everything is going smoothly."

Right!  Since when does fighting a battle go smoothly? That is generally not how battles go, is it? It is only my inner evil inclination trying to convince me that rough patches in my life, and in the world, are evidence of failure. 

Our battles are our tikkun, and tikkun is not failure. This is what we came here to do - to repair the world through our challenges.

Finally, Rabbi Schwartz says, " We have to know that the measure of success is not smoothness, with regard to a spiritual warrior. In fact, it’s the persistence and encouragement to not give up, no matter now difficult things are and how rough our lives may appear."

One of my favorite, most precious spiritual warrior friends is Yedidah Cohen in Safed.  Check out her translations of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag's work, and her wonderful podcasts.

Shabbat Shalom!! 

Lech Lecha 5775

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Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz Lech Lecha 5775
Join me in a mystical, musical exploration of our Torah portion this week - Lech Lecha.

Eikev & High Holy Days 5775

I'm really enjoying Devarim (Deuteronomy) this year.  As I read I feel connected to Moses's words to the Israelites in Parashat Eikev this week, including these:

"At the end of the forty days and forty nights, God gave me the two stone tablets as tablets of the covenant. But God then said to me, "Get moving and hurry down from here!

The nation that you brought out of Egypt has become corrupt. They have been quick to turn aside from the path that I prescribed for them, and they have made themselves a cast statute." Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Living Torah

(Seen on a T-shirt lately)
Don't Give Up! Moses Was Once A Basket Case

But seriously, woe unto us when we make idols of anything, which of course includes important things and people in our lives, such as our smart phones and our grandkids. It's really true....

Elul is coming soon, and then the High Holy Days.  How I love Shuli Kleinman's generous post that provides easy access to Rabbi Doniel Katz' four videos presented to help us prepare deeply for Yom Kippur this year.  

Here's Rabbi Doniel Katz' formula explained in his first video. Curious? I'll be posting more in my preparation process this year, for sure.

And here's a wonderful, useful prayer from my Breslov Research Institute (Rebbe Nachman) email today-

Dear G-d! Please show me that the very traits which cause me such distress are actually the path to true connection and purity.

Help me keep patiently yearning until You enable the slight adjustments of attitude and action and transform my negatives to advantages.

Tour Midreshet B'erot Bat Ayin in Israel

Click photo for a delightful 5 minute tour of Midreshet B'erot Bay Ayin, an unprecedented holistic center for Jewish women to re-connect with their tribe and with their personal feminine relationship to Torah and to each other.

The Golden Gate in Jerusalem for us all

The Golden Gate is on the east side of the wall around the old city of Jerusalem, and leads directly to the Temple Mount. It is the source of rich history, some of it rather speculative in nature.

But more importantly, it might possibly be the source point of our very rich future in Messiah. So, maybe these photos I post today will unite and ignite our attention on this important spot on earth right now. Can't hurt, can it?

As one blogger named Shalom Ben Issac writes, "Jews believe that the Mashiach (Messiah) will enter Jerusalem from the east through the Golden Gate and as he enters the Temple Mount he'll bring redemption to the Hebrew nation."

Naturally, Christians and Muslims have their own differing theories. Looks like we will all be watching what happens there soon enough.

Rabbi Aryeh Nivin's Chaburas This Elul


Participating in Rabbi Aryeh Nivin's Ladies Chabura 5774 is truly a blessing in this season of Elul. His live coaching/teaching by phone brings the essence of my life purpose into sharp focus for at least an hour per week,  infusing it more and more into my everyday life. Participating in the Ladies Chabura connects me with women all over the world, and it also connects me deeply with myself, with my soul.

Rabbi Nivin has a unique and very, very important message that has awakened my own Yeud, my life purpose, which is definitely reflected in my writings on this blog. My Yeud reveals my essence and and satisfies the longing of my neshama, my eternal soul.

"When you have a Yeud moment
it answers the question -
Is this what my life is all about?"


What a deeply satisfying pleasure to be able to say, "YES," and to watch the petals of my growing sense of purpose unfurl into a beautiful, blossoming thing. I am definitely blooming where I am planted in this life now. 

Baruch Hashem!  Here, listen to Rabbi Nivin's brief explanation of  your Yeud, ... "a light that ONLYYOU can bring into the world... The understanding of your life's purpose is like a lantern in the darkness."

By the way, you won't find much on the subject of Yeud on the web. Shuli Kleinman has a blog post on Yeud and Tikun. It is rather deep, and assumes a considerable knowledge of Hebrew concepts.

And you may find a few unfortunate associations with altered states of consciousness and musical groups and political parties, too. But this is not what the concept of Yeud really means.

That is why I connect to Rabbi Aryeh Nivin's authentic life coaching in the substance and potential available to us all when we discover and honor our Yeud in our daily lives.

His years of work with Aish.com and experience in life coaching put him in a unique position to help me, and many other people to find and to fulfill our unique contributions to the world. It's good to have a coach for what truly matters, and what seems so hard to find in life.

OK, I know we don't really get a a diploma, a degree or designation for our genuine spiritual growth. But I have to admit that receiving the certificate pictured below has been a precious reminder that I have made progress and that it's my responsibility to put my progress into practice each day.

It works for me!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis at the Wall this Elul

Women praying at the Wall during Elul include Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis of the dynamic Jewish outreach organization,  www.Hineni.org and her timeless, infectious love and respect for all things Jewish.  She posted a poignant article about Weeping For Jerusalem on her blog while visiting Jerusalem recently:

"For thousands of years we prayed, wept and hoped for Yerushalayim. To see Yerushalayim again, to behold the rebuilt Beis HaMikdash, has always been the center of all our prayers...

Should we not ask again and again and still again, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” I miss it so. I’m in Jerusalem but the shinning crown of the Holy City is absent and my joy cannot be complete until I see its glory restored."

"This Rosh Hashanah has to be different. It just cannot  be another Rosh Hashanah. It has to be different.

You and I, we could bring redemption to our people.

So, how do we do it?  First, we have to find out who we are, what we are, what we represent...

Every person, every individual is a special, unique creation of God. We are not mass-produced.

God created each and every one of us, custom-made, with a unique purpose.

Before we are ever born, Hashem makes a magnificent portrait of us, and it's hanging in the Heavenly galleries. And it portrays that which Hashem hopes that which we will achieve in this world...

So, this year we have to make a difference, we MUST make a difference, for ourselves, for our families, for Am Israel and for the world."

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, fromA Nation Blessed As One

Contemplating Parashat Kitavo - First Things First

It isn't just the first fruits of the land we contemplate this Shabbos reading Parashat Kitavo... no, it's our first thoughts and actions each day.

Rebbetzin Chana Brach Siegelbaum posts the following on her Women At The Crossroads blog this week:

"Knowing that the holy Torah is eternal; as we learn from the Thirteen Principles of Belief: “This Torah will never be exchanged;”* then, how do we fulfill the mitzvah of Bikurim today when we have neither a worshipping  Kohen, nor a Temple, or an altar?

Even today we can fulfill the mitzvah of Bikurim by dedicating the beginning of every matter to Hashem. The body follows the head."

* Rambam, the Thirteen Principles of Emunah, #9.

Shabbat Shalom To One And All


Shabbat is universally about family, and about our relationship to our ultimate, lasting and forever family relationship with Hashem.

Even if we find ourselves alone when we begin the Sabbath, we are not alone. We are part of an enormous and enduring family, and our candle lighting celebrates our family relationship that never ends.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz sent an email to commemorate the 5th Yartzeit of his mother today, and he said:

" Our 'FATHER-IN-HEAVEN' [who is also portrayed as 'IMA' or 'Mother' in certain Providential situations according to the Kabbalah], is Someone that we, His children, can always turn to for help and guidance in any and every situation that we find ourselves in. "

May the enduring love of our Creator and Heavenly Father, Hashem, wrap us up in the beauty and safety and warmth of his love, and may we all be blessed.

Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum on The Shema

"There is a spiritual pilot light, or Pintele Yid, in every Jew that never is extinguished, and the Shema is a spark that causes that hidden light to grow and strengthen. We suffer when we are not connected to this truth without understanding why. The perpetual presence of the Shema pilot light gets obscured by layers of worldly impurity that comes with exile, true exile: the distance from knowing Hashem. Every time we say the Shema, the light that is within us grows stronger, purifying us with the truth, connecting us to a wellspring of emunah (faith)."

from this week's blog post by

*****************************

Hear the brief, stunning version of Shema Israel by Princess Yehudia on YouTube

And drop deep into meditation for a little over five minutes during this  Shema Israel chant by Michael Bayard and Ann "Sabra" Roach

*****************************

Rebbetzin Siegelbaum's B'erot Bat Ayin Parshat Va'etchanan Newsletter this week also provides a powerful image in our minds when she writes:

"...I recite the Shema Yisrael daily, not only during our morning prayers but also in my spiritual healing practice, as the power of the Shema Yisrael - unifying Hashem expels darkness and negativity.

These six powerful words corresponding to the six points of the Magen David (Star of David), is a shield of protection from negative energy."

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יהוה אֶחָד
  

Shabbat Shalom Terumah!

One of my teachers, Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, posts this week about the mikdash (sanctuary) in our hearts, a fitting study for the Torah portion this week, Terumah.
Her post is called

                      "Making a Sanctuary in our Heart
We know that all the mitzvot of the Torah are eternal, but how is it possible to fulfill the mitzvah of building the mikdash today? A person is like a mini-cosmos. Therefore, the command “make me a sanctuary” implies that we all are charged to perpetually make a sanctuary in our heart, in order to prepare a place for the Divine presence to dwell. When G*d dwells in the heart and soul of every one of us, the continuation of the verse: “that I may dwell among them” is fulfilled."

mishkan2
Although I try to remember everyday,  the day I remember my responsibility to be a sanctuary is usually Shabbos.  On weekdays I know that there is a flame burning in my heart, but on Shabbos it becomes my primary activity to remember and uphold the sacred space I occupy.

The Sound of My Shabbat Vaera

ShabbosChicsong
I cannot stop listening to this simple, deep song with lyrics from Hoshea 2:20 today.



My thanks to NeoHasid.org for sharing the video and this English translation of the song lyrics:

"On that day, I will make a covenant for them with the beasts and the birds, with all creatures that walk on the earth, that  bow and sword and battle will disappear from the land , so that all may safely rest."

Who Is Protecting The Children?

All the talk about gun control following the recent and previous  school shooting tragedies in the United States tells us a lot about how we see the world.

Americans frequently see the world the opposite of the way Israelis see the world. I am an American, not an Israeli, but I believe the crucial question we are all asking is this - Who is protecting the children? 

Right now, the answer to that question in the majority of American schools cannot be denied - unarmed adults.  The answer to that question in Israeli schools is often - armed guards.

The opinion of citizens who want to remain unprotected themselves and to leave school children unprotected as well can be see in the  article entitled What If 1 Of The Teachers Had A Gun? by Drew Zahn in World Net Daily.

8th Day of Chanukah in Israel and Texas

Yedidah Cohen, author and course facilitator at Nehora School and Nehora Press shared this lovely photo of Chanukias in Israel.
Hanukiafest

And here is my 8th Day table here in Texas USA!

TexasHanukah

Cease-Fire Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving Eve
and we all give thanks for
the cease-fire in Israel today.
pixlrshalom

Shabbat Toldot, Operation Pillar of Defense

BinnyMay all of us, all over the world, absorb these words of  Binny Freedman, Director, Rosh Yeshivat Orayta of Isralight in Israel.
May we all say havdallah this Shabbat Toldot, as rockets fly in the land of Israel, for our families, for Israel, for the whole Middle East, and the whole world.

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