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Shabbos Chic Blog

Spiritual worlds

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!! 

Growing Through Shabbos with Rabbi Labinsky

Enjoy the intelligent, compassionate teachings of Rabbi Yaakov Zalman Labinsky in his 20-part audio program on building our inner sanctuary in order to receive the Divine Presence on Shabbos.

Jerusalem Gold 2013 and My Spiritual Treasure

Last week,  the Times of Israel posted Ilan Ben Zion's report of a real-life treasure trove of ancient gold discovered by archeologist Eliat Mazar.

"The find, unearthed in the area adjacent to the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount known as the Ophel, was dated to the early 7th century CE, in all likelihood the time of the brief Persian conquest of Jerusalem."

Mazar speculates that, "the hoard of gold and silver objects, found beneath the floor of a Byzantine-era house meters from the massive walls of the Temple Mount, was brought by Jews who returned to the city after the Persians conquered it from the Byzantines in 614 CE."

While reading about the Jerusalem treasure today, I found myself thinking about our Yom Kippur service yesterday. There were not very many people gathered in our little Temple to pray.

Apparently  many Jews do not treasure Yom Kippur as I do.

Now, this is not a comment about what other people should do on Yom Kippur, or how it should be done correctly. I am simply stating that Yom Kippur is true treasure to me in my life.

My annual opportunity to seek and find spiritual treasure during the whole month of Elul, on Rosh Hashana, during the 10 Days of Awe and of course on Yom Kippur is beyond monetary valuation. It is priceless. And I find it over and over, regularly, without fail.

I can count on finding spiritual treasure because it's already scheduled for me. It's right on my calendar every year!

Maybe the comparison between a fortune in ancient gold coins recently found near the Temple Mount and the value I place on the High Holy Days is politically incorrect in this world right now.

Mercifully, it's not this world that matters in the long run, other than seeing and knowing it as preparation for the World To Come.

To me, Yom Kippur is for Preppers of the World To Come!

And what could be more exciting than that? Well, possibly Succot, the Season of Joy that will soon be upon us. It starts this Wednesday evening, September 18th.

I love this quote from my JewishAmerica.com email today:

"Those who don’t stop growing come to happiness from being Jewish and from realizing a connection to One who is focused on giving us every opportunity to become great in ways we can’t imagine."

See Rita Brownstein's adorable DIY Sukkah lights and make some for yourself this year.

The Precious, Predictable Opportunity of Elul

Here we are again this year... How blessed to have a Creator who gives us, year after year, an opportunity to look at our lives and see where we could make some improvements.

And then he says, in a genuine and loving way, "Please take some time to see how much better it can be with Me. Look and see, and simply ask."

That is not a translation of anything written in Hebrew. It is the simple expression of my love in this season of Elul, this special time of introspection and forgiving myself, so that I can forgive others and grow.

Elul has been a big part of my growth for many years, and this year of 5773 is fixin' to be spectacular!  Care to join me?

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

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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

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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
  

Rabbi Yosef B. Friedman on The Shema

Thanks to Rabbi Yosef B Friedman of Kehot Publication Society for his interesting email on The Kabbalah of Shema that arrived this morning.

Restoring the Jewish Glory

Three bits of wisdom from Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz and his YouTube video


...the goal of the Divine bridge traits referred to as the Sefirot, are to infinitize all processes and all structures, [including those of our own persona]...
 
...the goal of the Tikun [rectification] of cosmic brokenness, is to transform reality into a conduit and conductor and environment for infinity...
 
... the goal of all upper and lower  world interpersonal relationships is to tap into each other's infinite wellsprings and thereby unify with each other, and thereby reproduce infinite shefa [abundance] for all of the world to be nurtured from...

Dr . Yedidah Cohen on Tisha B'Av

The incomprehensible day of loss and mourning was put into perspective for me today when I received the following in an email from Dr. Yedidah Cohen, translator of the works of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag and others:

"Where is God? Why can’t I sense His presence?

Rabbi Ashlag teaches that we can’t sense God’s presence because we have put a rival in His place, we have placed our ego at the center of our focus and God is left in a corner.

Yet we are commanded to build Him a sanctuary, and then He will dwell within us. A sanctuary in our heart, making God a living presence in our lives. Then the outer sanctuary will be rebuilt."   Dr. Yedidah Cohen

Amen and yet again, Amen.

Shabbat of Vision


"...this Shabbat is called "Shabbat Chazon" after the first word of the book of Isaiah which is the Haftorah for this Shabbat.

Chazon means 'vision' or 'seeing'.

This Shabbat, if observed with joy and concentration, maximizes the possibility
for unity with G-d.

One may benefit from this state of unity and be granted an opportunity for unique and penetrating vision into not only his personal spiritual status, but also into that of the entirety of the Jewish people as well." 


"Shabbat is a special day when our inherent eternal connection with Hashem is activated. There is never any mourning on Shabbat. On Shabbat we all rise up from mourning to delight in eating, drinking, festive clothes and new fruits. Therefore, the Shabbat preceding the 9th of Av is especially suitable for the kind of repentance of 'doing good' through visualizing the Temple. The purpose of the vision is not just to comfort us, but to inspire us and elevate us to turn the vision of the Third Temple into physical reality."

Birkat ha-Gomel for Summer Travel and Everyday

Summer is a good time to remember Birkat ha-Gomel, the Prayer for Traveling, although it is really an all-purpose prayer for surviving all types of dangerous situations.

The following Birkat ha-Gomel is provided by Ritualwell.org

Traditional prayer of thanks to be recited by one who has survived a dangerous situation.

(Masculine) Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha'olam, ha-gomel l’hayavim tovot sheg’malani kol tov.

(Feminine) Brucha At Ya Eloheinu Ruach ha'olam, hagomelet l’hayavim tovot, sheg’malani kol tov, selah.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, ruler of the Universe, who bestows kindness on those who are committed, and who has granted to me all kindness.

(Masculine) Amen. Mi she g’malcha kol tov, hu yigmalcha kol tov, selah.

(Feminine) Amen. Mi she g’maltaich kol tov, hee tigmalaich kol tov, selah.

May the One who has granted you all kindness always grant kindness to you, selah.

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Click photo for a delightful Wilderness Torah video.
And enjoy some precious  songs recorded by Wilderness Torah campers, and start to dream about your own summer travel and camping as you listen here.

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Nine yr-old Molly Mittman, camper at Greene Family Camp in Texas, climbed the 40 foot high ropes course this summer, despite the fact that she uses crutches to walk on the ground.
You go, Molly!
These final inspiring words are courtesy Judy M. Ford


Like a diamond in the rough


When we are challenged, our consciousness has to shift.

It's not about the other person changing to please us.

It's about how much we can change.


All our frustrations are there to give us the opportunity to change ourselves.

Everything that gives me an opportunity to change and grow, to elevate my consciousness, is a gift to me.

These are the diamonds that our soul is here to collect.
Yehuda Sivan, 10/2011, Dallas TX

Period of Counting The Omer And My Growth

"Our emotional makeup, including that of our human/animal souls, derives from the emotional attributes through which G-d created the world and continues to relate to it."   Rabbi Yosef  B. Friedman

This quote from Rabbi Friedman's email made me think about the levels or layers of my soul, and how they are all being cultivated, whether I know it and understand it.

Everyday I have new opportunities to grow, and I am learning to welcome them.  But first, I have to genuinely see my opportunities clearly. That is the first step, and perhaps the most difficult. Irritations and aggravations don't seem like precious opportunities at all, but they are. 

The period of counting the Omer is a good time to see my opportunities to grow now, and to recognize them as a big part of my Tikkun Olam, my personal contribution to repair the world.

Ruach (Spirit) vs Koach (Might) In Israel And In Us


Following is a quote from a special PDF provided by www.ARZA.org offering unique blessings for lighting each candle of your menorah in order to honor  Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. This year - 2013 - it begins on Monday, April 15 and comes to a conclusion at sunset on Tuesday, April 16.

"In the book of Zechariah there is a description of the seven branched Menorah (candelabrum)with two olive branches on its sides. This description symbolizes the belief in Ruach (Spirit) over Koach (Might). “The angel who talked with me came back and woke me as one is wakened from sleep. He said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a menorah all of gold, with a bowl above it.

The lamps on it are seven in number, and the lamps above it have seven pipes, and by it are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and one on its left. I, in turn, asked the angel who walked by me, “What do these things mean, sir?” “Do you not know what those things mean?” asked the angel who talked with me, and I said, “No, sir.” Then he explained to me as follows: : This is the word of The Eternal to Zerubavel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said The Lord of Hosts.”(Zechariah, 4:1-6)

The national symbol of Israel is, of course, the menorah. The ARZA suggested blessings bring our present world circumstances into sharp focus as we celebrate, and the words of the blessings come directly from, "Israel’s Declaration of Independence issued in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (5th of Iyar, 5708) – when David Ben Gurion and
his cabinet declared the establishment of the
State of Israel."



Jewish Women Inspiring My Life

Isn't it wonderful that we can read the words and hear the voices of women teaching Torah and sharing their knowledge and experience with us now? Today I want to share some connections with Jewish women inspiring my life.  Some are virtual friends (Skype, email and phone), and some are friends of my soul because their written words touch me deeply and change me forever.

Women of the Wall have been gathering on Rosh Chodesh since 1988, standing at the Western Wall and singing and praying together. These women come from all levels of observance and cultures over the years, and they have collaborated on a Rosh Chodesh Siddur that is available for sale on their website so we can all join in prayer.

My coach and friend, Lynn Chapman [The Stress-Less Coach], shared in an email this week: "We’re bombarded by a constant flow of other people’s expectations: bosses that expect more from us than we can deliver, clients who don't return our calls and yet want us to drop everything when they do, loved ones who are disappointed by our lack of attention, and a constant barrage of email and social media tweets and twerps that we need to return."

That is a PERFECT description of modern life, and the PERFECT prescription to survive it is Shabbos, isn't it? Lynn's coaching catapaulted me into my writing and sharing career as we worked together on the phone.

I studied with Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum last spring, and she is offering another course on Emuna Healing this year. She has an amazing ability to bring the knowledge of Torah and Kabbalah into our lives for physical and emotional healing.  Rebbetzin Siegelbaum 's book, Women At The Crossroads: A Woman's Perspective On The Weekly Torah Portion is my constant companion each Shabbat, and I encourage you to read it weekly, too.

Our weekly shuirs with author  Dr Yedidah Cohen in Safed Israel are  very precious opportunities to study the works of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag in English. Yedidah has translated two books, and is working on a third one now.

We are studying A Tapestry For the Soul now, and I am amazed at the incredible value it adds to my life each week. Having the privilege to hear her translate from Hebrew directly into English when she brings additional materials into our classes is a priceless opportunity for spiritual growth. I wouldn't want to miss it!

Finally, this article by Cantor Wendy Haley Koblinsky links to several YouTube videos of Avinu Malkeinu. I enjoyed hearing different men and women singing the powerful prayer, Our Father Our King in different styles, with and without accompaniment, including folk and rock versions.

Wendy writes, "The text of Avinu Malkeinu can certainly be a dose of reality, one might even say a punch in the gut. It cuts through our empty promises, mistakes of the past, and uncertainty in our ability to do better. It returns us to square one: We are not perfect, we have not made the right choices, we firmly will ourselves to do better, and in the interim, ask for patience."

All I can say to that is AMEN.

Our Souls Are Part of The Divine All The Time

What a difference a day makes! My inbox was overflowing with wisdom regarding my soul today. I love it when that happens as a result of my prayerful intention.

I am so grateful to Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz for sharing the following in an email to his list today. Such a perfect reply to the longings I expressed just yesterday in my blog post.

A Part of the Divine
"Only the lowest part of the Soul is inside of the body…

The great majority of the Soul reaches beyond the body up to the highest heights…

This explains the essential upward striving of the soul [as if it wants to escape from the body and return to its Heavenly Home]…

The Soul, prior to entering the body, was in a World of Souls–a very pure and sublime world—where the souls are as yet untested by the coarse and dark reality of the materialistically oriented body…

Besides the Soul’s memory of life prior to the body, the Soul also has a super-consciousness that draws from that part of itself that is presently not inside of the body [which comprises the great majority of it's makeup]…

Just like a candle flame that is constantly striving to reach beyond it’s limiting, grounding wick, the Soul strives to reach beyond the limiting mindset and consciousness that it is presently confined to inside of the body—a striving to grow, to go beyond itself and to somehow return to it’s Infinite Divine roots."

Coming to know my eternal soul is a big responsibility. It's easy to get too busy and distracted in this life, and miss the whole opportunity. Oh, I don't want to miss it!

My Shabbat candles remind me that I am also striving to "reach beyond my grounding, limiting wick." I wrote a song about this. Maybe I can record it soon. I will remember when I light my Shabbos candles this week for sure.

Shabbat Shemini

Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz sent out this message in an email this week -
SHABBAT ASCENT OF WORLDS

"Kabbalah teaches that on Shabbat we ascend to a higher world. In a higher world we realize, as in all higher worlds, that the real factor, the only factor is G-d. The causative factor is G-d. So, on Shabbat we go up and we realize that everything that I did during the weekdays is really G-d doing it through me. G-d is the causative factor."

His words echo, over and over in my mind. I notice that it's easier to remember God as the causative factor in my life when I feel good and things are going well.

Whenever I am NOT HAPPY or even REALLY MAD about something, I am so distracted by my emotion that I rarely think about God as the causative factor of my life lessons.

Nope, I'm just mad and I'm missing the opportunity to grow. When the anger passes I eventually think about what I learned from the situation. Oh, how I wish I could move through that process faster now.


Rabbi Steve Bernstein posted about Parshat Shemini this week, asking, " How do we approach that which is holy in our lives? When do we concern ourselves with the details and instructions of ritual? When are we more concerned with the words of our hearts? Both paths can lead to meaning and holiness."

Shabbat Clusters on Shabbos Pesach 2013

I love the idea of Shabbat Clusters promoted by Entry Point DC, set up for young Jews in the DC area. "Shabbat Clusters are small groups, usually about 10-12 people, organized by EPDC.  They’re peer-led and meet once a month for a pot-luck Shabbat dinner. "

Organizing pot-lucks and sharing with each other is such a great Shabbos-sharing idea. Young singles are not the only ones who can benefit, of course. LOTS of people of all ages are single, facing the weekly Shabbat alone at home or on the road. 

Could you organize a Shabbat Cluster to share Shabbos where you live?

My readers are my Shabbat Cluster here on The Shabbos Chic Blog! But reading a blog cannot compare to sitting and sharing the candlelight and the blessings and the meal and the conversation with other people, does it?

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Rabbi Richard N. Levy posted a great article on ReformJudaism.org this week that brings light on Pesach and the counting of the Omer from the wisdom of the Kabbalists. He takes us straight into our own deep appreciation of this time of year when he says,

"The process is called S'firat HaOmer, the Counting of the Omer. S'firah is the Hebrew word for counting, which the mystics of the Kabbalah identified with the name for each of the manifestations of God in the world...

The s'firah period is thus a period of tikkun, "correction," of the raw selves that were exploded out of Egypt into the pure n'shamot, "souls" who deserved to be given the mitzvot of the Torah."

Thinking of myself as a "raw self" in the process of correction is a good image for me. Knowing that I have an opportunity to accept and embrace my pure soul this time of year is at once a privilege and a responsibility.  It connects me to the souls of my ancestors and to the future of the world as well.

Women Lead In Our History And On Shabbat

Women defied Pharoh's decree of death, resulting in Moses' opportunity to live and serve as leader of the Hebrew people. Women also led the joyous celebration after the miracle of crossing the Red Sea.  Many times women are called and naturally step up with courage to change the course of human history.

But this is not only an historical reality.  It happens every week in each home where a woman (or a man if a woman is not present) chooses Sabbath candle lighting as a conscious act honoring life, creation, peace and rest.

Dr Jacob Wright and Dr Tamara Cohn posted an article on Fox News this week called, The Passover Story Begins With Women. They write, "Miriam’s world is one in which social, political, and economic structures are all designed to oppress the body and crush the spirit. It is a dehumanizing world. But the abuse fails to vanquish her faith in humanity." 
The authors are writing about Miriam, the sister of Moses, who accompanied the little basket carrying himalong the river when she was young. She stayed with her brother until he was found by the daughter of Pharoh, and lifted out of the water to begin his new life in Pharoh's palace.  Miriam's courage contributed greatly to the history of the Hebrew people when she was just a child.

But the quote also applies to Miriam as an adult, at the time she led the women in joyous celebration and song after the sea parted, allowing the Hebrew people safe passage into their new life of freedom. She raised her timbrel, a tambourine with bells on it, and led the women in song and dance. Once again, Miriam set an example for us all to follow.

I say that every one of us who lights Shabbos candles to welcome the Sabbath on Friday night is also showing great faith in humanity, and in our Almighty God who made us.

Rabbi Wayne Dosick on Shabbos and Kabbalah

This photo is an old, pitted, silver Shabbat tray, having seen many a challah in its day, I'm guessing. It is still quite beautiful and it still stands for Shabbos, no matter how worn its surface may be.

I love vintage and antique Judaica and have a small collection of a few, funky old pieces that come out to grace our Shabbos table weekly. Not every piece every week, just a couple sets of candle holders, and a different challah tray, mixed and matched with abandon.

Here's a quote from Rabbi Wayne Dosick, and a link to his YouTube video of a short Kabbalah teaching. Don't miss the whole class singing together at the end of it!

"When understood and performed with its original spiritual intent, the lighting of the Sabbath candles can be a sublime moment, a moment of supreme holiness."

The original spiritual intent of kindling the lights has been a subject of much debate over the centuries, but it is YOUR intent and MY intent each  Friday night on Shabbos Eve that matters. We have a fresh, new opportunity to connect to the tradition, the past and the future in the simple act of lighting candles and reciting the blessing. What a privilege!

What Passover Can Mean For Us Today

"What was demanded of the children of Israel in the face of impossible odds, was a response of supernatural proportions. As we've discussed a few times, Divine Providence reflects our behavior.

Here the impossible challenge demanded of us to react with an impossible response and thereby draw down in turn a miraculous Divine display, the likes of which have yet to be experienced by mankind.

In human terms, this would be expressed as unleashing from deep within yourself a power only displayed by the rarest of people in the rarest of situations."

I received these words in an email from Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz of ParadisePrinciple.com who gave me permission to share them freely.

Since our annual Pesach Seders take place on Monday, March 25th this year, I offer his perspective to open our minds and hearts to more freedom from oppression now.

It is our privilege and our challenge, as individuals and as a People to dig deep inside ourselves and draw upon our personal relationships with The Almighty, wherever we may be, and whatever we may do. Especially at Passover this year when the world needs a greater focus on freedom.

Pesach Poetry By Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz

My People are like the stars and  the dust

When we ascend, we ascend to the highest heights

When we descend, we descend to the lowest depths

My People are like the Thorn bush on Mt. Sinai

We may sometimes be burned, but we are never consumed


Visit JewishMag.com to see this recipe for a
Simple Seder and over 15 years of
stories and ideas for Passover.

Thoughts On Spiritual WorldsThis Week

ShabbosChicUniverseLooking out into night sky, we can see that there are other planets and other galaxies far beyond our own. They are in the physical world, and we can actually see them through high-powered telescopes. There is logical, rational, scientific evidence of the existence of other worlds, and we can rely on that.

But in the spiritual world we cannot be so sure, since we cannot see or understand different spiritual worlds with a telescope. We have our own soul to guide us, as well as the teachings of many sages throughout recorded time. But we don’t have an instrument, a tool to provide logical, rational, scientific evidence of spiritual worlds, so that’s what makes it completely different and rather intimidating. 

For millennia, Torah scholars have studied the reality of spiritual worlds and written about them, mostly in the Hebrew language. These writings were only accessible to their students and their peers, not to common people.

Over time, little by little, more and more of the ancient teachings have become available, and now we have the great privilege of reading and studying ideas that were hidden for many centuries, now translated into English and other languages. It is the first time in history that common people have the advantage of deep spiritual understanding about other spiritual worlds.

Here is a brief summary of four spiritual worlds, based on teachings of revered Torah scholars and Sages who taught only in Hebrew, and the four names are English transliterations of Hebrew words:

Atzilut – We are accessing the spiritual world of Atzilut when we see, in a moment, that we are unable to successfully navigate a difficult situation without God’s help. We admit it silently or even out loud, and we have confident expectation that God will provide us with exactly what we need.

Whenever we feel tension or lack, we know God has everything required, and so we also have everything required by opening up to receive it from God. We acknowledge our lack, we acknowledge God as the ultimate Source and we humbly ask for help. 

That’s it. That’s when we are operating in another spiritual world, right where we are on this planet now. And that’s how we co-create solutions with our Almighty God.

Beriyah– We are accessing the spiritual world of Beriyah when we pose a question and confidently expect a response from God, not necessarily in a difficult moment. In other words, we are not desperate and lacking.

It’s easier to ask God for help when we’re worried and hurting. To access Beriyah, we choose to reach out and ask for help in order to grow spiritually. That takes a little more maturity than waiting for desperate moments to ask.

Yetzirah – We are accessing the spiritual world of Yetzirah when we begin to see that every situation and circumstance we face in life is carefully designed by the mighty hand of God to promote our spiritual growth. We look for opportunities to grow in every moment, every day.

We become excited and fascinated by this process, unlike our former preoccupation with solving problems and asking for guidance. We understand that our guidance is flowing in every moment already, and begin to appreciate and even look forward to new, fresh guidance as a moment-to-moment reality.

Asiyah – We are accessing the spiritual world of Asiyah when we can bring our reality in the world of Yetzirah into action to accomplish things in this world. We fulfill the longings of our soul to repair the world, just as we were designed to do.

We can see the tangible results, and so can other people. This is where the physical world and the spiritual worlds meet, in us, in a moment, forever. This is what we were born to do, and we can rely on that. We can see the evidence of other spiritual worlds in our own lives.  

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"The animal never desires to transcend its own nature. It is content to follow its instincts, to conform to its original programming. On the flip side, that which is truly human constantly strives to outdo the self, to push beyond, to redefine what it means to be human."

Rabbi Asher Crispe, from his awesome blog, Interinclusion

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"According to Jewish philosophy, there is no present; rather, we exist in a state of constant transition between the past and the future. Man is not meant to be static. His existence is one of perpetual re-creation, in which he is charged with the often overwhelming task of transmuting the lessons of experience into the choices that will define the person he will become. His goal is to transform himself, over the course of a lifetime, from an animalistic creature of the flesh into a divine being guided by the promptings of his soul."

Rabbi Jonason Goldson, from an article on Jewish World Review

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