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Shabbos Chic Blog

Soul

Just One Shabbat Can Change The World!

This inspiring talk by Rebbetzin Yemima Mizrachi will leap into your heart and motivate you to light Shabbos Candles this week, and every week. Enjoy!

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Rebbetzin Yemima Mizrachi: Just One Shabbos
We are the lights of Shabbat

Exploring the Path of Free Will

Free will is a mystery to most of us, until we decide to press in and search for its meaning in our own lives. 

I did a search for quotes on free will, and the largest collection I found was on Goodreads. A total of 377 quotes (collected from authors) provides plenty of entertainment, but not much satisfaction, at least not for me. 

Then I heard Rabbi Alon Anava say, "The whole point of free will is not the path you walk on. It's how you walk on it. That's the point of free will."  Finally, I found a satisfying quote on the topic of free will. 

An article by Rabbi Noah Weinberg brings free will into sharper focus for me, in my daily life. Free will is a choice:

"Greatness lies in how we resolve conflicts – in using our free will to grow – not to quit. To face reality – not to escape. To live and not to die. When we escape problems, we escape the chance of becoming great. It's a constant battle every moment of our lives."
 
First, we have to use our free will to WANT to be great, in some way. That's exciting to me, so now I'm using my free will to see what's getting in the way of my achieving greatness.

Here is Rabbi Weinberg's list of 5 levels of achieving free will, which I LOVE:

Level One: Don't be a sleepwalker. 
Make decisions actively.

Level Two: Don't be a puppet of society's goals, 
or a slave to your old decisions.

Level Three: Be aware of the conflict between the cravings of your body 
and the aspirations of your soul.

Level Four: Identify with your soul, not your body.

Level Five: Make your will God's will.

The Hidden Meaning of Purim Influences Shabbos

Learning about the hidden meaning of Purim this year is showing me a deeper way to understand my experience on Shabbos.

It's all about my soul, the levels or layers in the life of my soul that I may not understand, and it's exciting. I love knowing there's more going on inside me, a bigger picture, a greater awareness I have yet to explore.

I especially love knowing I am connected to deeper parts of myself, and at the same time I am connected to Hashem.


In a little ebook published by Bilvavi.net, titled Purim Wine, I am drawn deeper into more understanding of Purim and more understanding of myself:

"If we reflect into what we said before, we can see that Purim is totally different than all other auspicious times of the year. We will not get into now what each Yom Tov reveals for us; but what we will say is something general, that each Yom Tov serves to reveal a special power of our soul. Purim is not like any other Yom Tov; Purim reveals the very root of our soul, a point that is way above our conscious state."

Purim is not mentioned in Torah because the historic events it commemorates happened long after Torah was given to the Israelites. And the Book of Esther read on Purim was the last  book included in the twenty-four books of Tanach established by The Great Assembly.

Honestly, the Purim story told in the Book of Esther and the customs associated with the holiday of Purim can be very confusing because they don't make sense. 

What makes sense to me is this - I am connected to parts of myself that are deeper and possibly darker than I want to believe. And at the same time I am connected to the incomprehensible perfection of the Creator of the Universe.

That is something I choose to explore more than once a year on Purim.

Once again (from Bilvavi.net) "Purim reveals the very root of our soul..." which is something I long to explore every week on Shabbos, too, when my soul is connected, "... way above our conscious state."

Good wisdom for Parashat Bo 5775


It's late January/early Shevat right now. That means our New Year's resolutions may be wearing off.  Our fervent plans and goals made at the beginning of the calendar year seem to take a backseat when life gets in the way.

Reaching for a goal is such a human thing to so, a classic and respected exercise of the strength of our human will.

These wise words in a blog post by Shuli Kleinman this week remind me that it's not my own plans and goals that take precedence anyway:

"Taanug, the pleasure of the soul, is also above will, but we may not have ever experienced real pleasure of the soul.

Instead we experience comfort, satisfaction, gratification, and other things related to the accomplishment of our goals based on will.

Yet one thing is beyond refute - this type of happiness does not last and there is no guarantee that what works today will have the same outcome the next time.

Why?  We are simply not in control of the world."

It's a challenge to balance the reality of God's sovereignty with our own healthy enthusiasm for prosperity and growth. For enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment in our lives.

I loved a post by Marnie Pehrson, sharing her tender but powerful personal growth in the ability to receive (kabel in Hebrew) as a woman. Oh yes, I can relate when she says, "Over the last couple years, I’ve felt myself being reprogrammed to receive. Through a series of setbacks, life has put me in positions where I HAVE to receive. I have to ask for help."

And I'm SO looking forward to the new book on Eshet Chayil by Sara Esther Crispe, scheduled for publication soon.
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