Daily Archives: August 2, 2017

From The Baal Shem Tov: We find by Arab kings (this perhaps was in the olden days, though they still act like this) they merely allude (hint). Similarly, from time to time ideas pop into a person’s head (positive) these are hints from G-d.

Meditations and Advice of Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shem Tov – Installment 3

201

MEDITATION / ACTION

When one serves Hashem all the time, there is not time for boasting, and the other negative character desires.

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Pretend you are not living on this planet, so what would it matter what people say!

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

When you embark on doing a good thing, worry not the Yetzer Hara’s devious scheme (to get you not to) by convincing you that this will lead you to arrogance – ignore him! push forward with alacrity and love, and even if it does bring some arrogance, eventually you will do it only with purity.

202

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

What is the open and closed state? – The open state: for example, is when one studies Torah, their mind being open hence they understand – In all things, be it Torah study, prayer, Mitzvos, good-deeds, there is the open and closed state (the closed state is based on fear, hence it obliterates intelligence.)

204

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Mishna says, “Whoever studies Torah for God’s sake, merits many things” – explains the Baal Shem Tov, when you speak, at this moment, this is your life-energy – if these are words of Torah (Lishmah – done for the right reason) then these words are connected to the Divine.

205

MEDITATION / ACTION

Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai in his living will said, “May the fear of God be as great to you as your fear of man” – explains the Baal Shem Tov, for-example, if you are sleeping and your Rabbi / master woke you up, immediately you would be alert and prepared to fulfill his will – so why not, when God?

206

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Why do we say in prayers, “Our God and God of our fathers”? – there are two ways people come to believe in God, the first is as an inherited belief – though this is strong, it lacks the benefit of the second – namely, when someone coming from an agnostic mindset, searched of the truth and discovers God; which is how Abraham came to belief.   However the second, though being a far more real and loving belief (for we accept what we discover, as well as love it) lacks the “dogmatic” strength of the former (for if something is philosophically based, technically, someone could bring contrary proofs.)

Ideally we combine both.

207

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Whenever something bad or good happens to a person… the Baal Shem Tov gives the following parable:  Once there was a king who got angry at someone, so he sent his messenger – when the messenger arrived to call the person to the king, the messenger who felt identified with the king, was angry – the fool begins to fear… while the wise person says… “Let me go make the king happy!”

Furthermore, the same example applies in the reverse – once there was a king who was very happy with a person, so he sent his messenger, the messenger who identifies with the king, came with great joy – the fool is so happy to find the king’s messenger happy… while the wise person says, “I shall go to the source.”

208

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

It is known, the purpose of life is to attach to God, we do this when we pray and learn with passion – especially when we say the words; for these passionate words connect to the Divine speech.

209

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Just as if someone found an extraordinarily large treasure (“on Gilligan Island”) and was extraordinarily excited; so he packed as much as possible into his car; nonetheless, he would be extremely saddened by what he must leave – so to, though we may have found extraordinary treasures within Torah and Jewish mysticism, knowing we can never have it all…

210

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Our forefather Jacob understood, that one cannot be exclusively either in the character trait of kindness (which allows for evil, for it never judges) nor in the charterer trait of harsh-discipline (for it creates resentment, hence jealousy, hence evil). Therefore he understood, there must be a balancing act between, which is called Tifferes, which essentially is the side of judging each situation on its specific needs, and when appropriate for the benefit of the other, being kind or tuff.

211

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The four letters of the Divine name also represent speech, sound, breath and thought – when we attach our speech, sound, breath, and thought to the Divine (say, through speaking, thinking etc. words of Torah…) this creates a unification of the individual soul with the Divine – this in turns causes the flow of blessing not only to the individual, but to the entire universe.

212

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The first thought we have, the first speech and action, become our train of thoughts, speech and actions – this is why it is critical that our first thought be of praise (gratitude) our first word (Modeh Ani – gratitude) and our first action, the clasping of the hands to say, Modeh Ani – in this way our soul becomes unified.

214

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Sometimes Tzaddikim cry to God as they have some suffering, but they don’t get answered – the Baal Shem Tov gives an example of a king who had a son, and the young boy built from straw a little home and someone broke it – so he came crying to his father, but the father just laughed, and didn’t punish the man – for you see, the father in the meantime had in mind how he has planning to build his son a beautiful palace.

215

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Baal Shem Tov said, just as if you would see a man God-forbid drowning and flailing with his arms, no-one would think of laughing – as he is trying to survive – a person who is praying (or perhaps in general) and is gesticulating in order to ward off the kelipos and intrusive thoughts, trying to drown him (from true life,) should not be mocked.

217

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

We should always – even in middle of work, have at least a small part of our thought on God, for like a coal, as long as there is a single spark, it can fan.

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MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The great Tzaddikim have the Shechinah / Divinity speak through them – the opposite of this, is, with crazy people (that lose control of their reasoning.)

218

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Everything has Divine sparks, hence God arranges we should have what we own – for when they are used in spiritual pursuits, say a Shabbos Table etc. we elevate them – however it may be that we have finished elevating the sparks designated for our soul; at that moment we may decide to sell the table and another whose soul should elevate the other sparks, will buy it.

219

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Baal Shem Tov merited his incredible high level, from the many times he would go to the Mikvah!

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Baal Shem Tov taught, far better than fasting which weakens the body, is to put one’s effort into praying and learning Torah.

220

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

There is a famous verse “I place God before me constantly” – the word I place, “Shivisy” also is related to the word “hishtavious” which roughly translates as “equanimity;” in other words, consider all things to be equal – this is an awesome level, whereby I serve God – but what occurs to me, whether it is good or bad, I consider that everything coming from God is obviously good.

Similarly we must dedicate our lives to God, but not necessarily in the way we think, for one person may wish to attach their mind to God (miyached-yechudim) and God arranges that one must “meet and greet” – one should not feel sadness over this, rather understand, that this is one of the ways God wishes to be served.

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MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Also we should ask God to do to us what he knows is best, for often what we think, is to our own detriment.

221

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

One must know what arrogance is, but not be; know what anger is, but not be; for we find that by God there is complete recognition.

233

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

If a person were to fast even from Shabbos to Shabbos, yet have even the slightest sense of arrogance – “Look at the tremendous service I do…” – this would place his entire good-deed in the hands of the dark side – Rather one should think, “relative to the holy angels who serve God constantly, day and night, my little contributions, are a joke.”

234

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

(This may apply only to holier men)  One should be exceedingly careful to always get out of bed at midnight and turn ones night into day – one should perhaps sleep a drop during the day, so this little bit of sleep at night will suffice.

245

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

It states, the gateway to wisdom is silence; for when one is quiet, one’s mind thinks.

266

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

A great and wise person is able to “enjoy” life, eating delicious foods, looking wherever, but taking no personal enjoyment; as his mind’s eye is on the knowledge, that the existence of all, is truly God.

237

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

During prayer imagine that you are traversing through the supernal realms – and when you get a new extraneous thought, try to immediately dissolve it – “for this will prevent me from entering a realm.”

Now try to eliminate that thought, for example, if one thought of a negative desire, such as sexual, immediately regret it by saying to yourself, “what have I done, by taking the sublime realm of thought and place it in garbage.”

Now to get to the next realm, contemplate how “if I can love something physical like this woman who comes (as we all do) from a putrid smelly drop (of semen,) how much infinitely more so, must I love God.”

This mechanism applies to many types of experiences.

For example, if you hear a joke which brought you some pleasure, you could imagine that this comes from in essence, the world of Divine pleasure.

The same applies for a good-food; so you end up eating on earth, but feeling Divine delight.

The same applies with arrogance; for-example, if you get praised, or if during prayer you feel special, you can transpose this to how great and special God is.

This transposition relates also if you receive a negative fear, such as not to give charity in case you may become poor; imagine the sense of shame one must feel by knowing God is continuously looking at you.

If you encounter the character trait of winning, you could “win” this character trait (so it doesn’t distract you.)

So also with the charter trait of attraction; to be attracted exclusively to God.

248

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

When a person receives a negative thought, be it a fear, a lust etc. all you need to do is destroy it by seeing it as excrement.

229

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Prayer from joy and happiness is much better than from tears and sadness – an example the Baal Shem Tov gives, is of two people who need something from the king – the first comes on is hands and knees, and the king perhaps gives him part of what he desires – however one of his ministers throws him a feast, serving him his favorite foods and then toward the end asks – the king being in a jolly mood grants him his wish.

230

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

As wherever our thoughts are so we are, hence when a person continuously has faith in God, this evokes this realm (namely of God’s faithfulness) however a person who constantly is worried (about God’s wrath…)

231

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

When a person is not well, they cannot properly serve – hence one must be exceedingly careful with promoting their good health.

232

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

It is a great and noble level, if we consistently realize how, “just as if I were looking at someone and they at me, they are observing me; how much more so the Creator of eyes.”

235

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

When one studies Torah, one should never delude themselves that they have grasped   (for every word of Torah has infinite depth and meanings.)

238

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

A person who studies much Torah etc. and considers himself greater than others, in fact to a certain extent, we all have innate arrogance – this is similar to a person who went on a road trip and his friend drove up to the top of a mountain; but when he was sleeping, he was on the bottom and when he awoke, they were driving on a straight road on top; so not knowing that he was elevated, he did not think he had arrogance – however, a person must humble himself by realizing the awesomeness of God and the lowness of man (suffice it to say, if he truly was Godly / humble, there isn’t a possibility for him to ever have sinned.)

239

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

We must despise all the “pleasures” of this world, from the pleasure of food, sex etc. – for anyone who has tasted real pleasure, the spiritual bliss – this is like a person who makes a sudden windfall and his happiness causes that all other pleasures seem worthless – furthermore, we must place in our hearts the true fear of God – this is understood, like if you traveled to a palace – as you enter, you would feel a fear – hence anyone connecting to God should also feel a palpable awe – and this eliminates all physical fears.

240

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

We must detach ourselves from the “pleasures” of this world.

In an absolute truth, the only reason there is any pleasure in something as silly as an apple, intercourse, etc. is because based on the fall (of the sparks of holinesses from the world of Tohu which is the source of all non-holy acts in this world) However in essence, the true pleasure and awe is found only in God (as the great angels serve either through awe or love continuously).

243

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Baal Shem Tov gives an example – every lock has a key – the two are perfectly aligned – similarly every problem has a specific alleviation (this refers to Kabbilistic mechanisms) but then there is a thief who simply breaks down the door – similarly, by properly humbling (breaking) our heart – this removes any barrier between us and G-d.

245

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Baal Shem Tov gives an example to understand how come there are many angels who only have permission once in fifty years or less, to say a praise to God – some may only say a single word (for example “Kodosh;” of “Kodosh, kodosh etc.”)   Once there was a king who had a custom that all the ministers would come and give him praise – however the ministers were petrified that if the king was in a bad mood…  hence they would quickly come, and say their praise and depart – However the king’s son whom the king loved so much knew that no matter the king’s mood, as soon as he would come, the king’s heart would immediately be filled with joy (for love banishes anger)… similarly the Jewish people are permitted to continuously praise.

246

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Currently the incredible intense light of God is concealed through the cloak of nature (concealing the infinity, in its seeming monotony) however when Moshiach comes, this cloak will be removed – those who are good will perceive how all is miraculous, which will give them infinite bliss.

248

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

There are seventeen mechanisms whereby a person saves themselves:

This is brought down in Sefer Chareidim (I don’t know if the Baal Shem Tov merely quotes or adds.)

Firstly one who does an Aveira creates a personal prosecuting angel (as it mentions in Pirkei Avos.)

  1. Before one sins one should contemplate how deep does this sin go? (in other words, it goes deep into heaven.)

Furthermore one should contemplate against whom (namely God) he is rebelling.

He should contemplate who is watching him, even in the most concealed of places.

He should contemplate if he has permission to waste his time.

2.

One should continually feel a tremendous fear, dread and panic from transgressing.

One should feel a tremendous “depression,” that one demeans God, whose life-force is within him, by sinning; which is the ultimate evil, for he is using God’s gift against the “gifter;” and the fact he has this desire, is only a test.

4

Do not do even the minutest part of the sin.

5.

Stay far away, even from the slightest Aveira.

6.

One must run from doing an Aviera and likewise run to do a mitzvah, which refers mainly to charity and going to mikvah.

7

Neither you nor your messenger should engage in any Aveirah.

8

When an Aveira comes your way, distance yourself; for by doing one, one then falls down a slippery slope.

  1. One should never do simultaneously two Avieros, hence when one does an Aveira they a. demean God, and b. their own soul.
  1. An Avaira must be utterly reprehensible to your estimation.
  2. Do not be confident – this means one must continually be vigilant (fearful) of the possibility of doing an Avierah.
  3. Despise yourself for having done any Avierah (though as the Alter Rebbe writes, after this, one should request God’s pardon and feel joy – for God holds no grudges.)
  4. Realize, by sining one does not just take oneself down, but as the Rambam says, the world is perfectly balanced, so one sin, destroys the universe.
  5. When the Yetzer Hara has you convinced to sin, run to a place filled with people – which will cause you to be ashamed.

17 . Contemplate how for every sin there is a terrible purgatory (punishment) and feel broken over what you have already racked up.

Part 2

249.

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

In order for a person to do good they must be balanced – one must not be manic, nor depressed – hence when a person sees that they are getting over-exuberant, they must mix in some sadness and vice-versa.

One who cannot see their emotional tides, should go to a Soul-Doctor (Mashpia – Chassidic mentor) who will know (though sometimes the soul-doctor can tell that the person has become arrogant and the arrogant person is incapable of listening (for he knows everything) hence he must humble him.)

250

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Whenever one grasps part of an indivisible whole (for example God) one grasps the entire – hence by doing a single Mitzvah with love and devotion, it is as if one fulfills All! (this may be why – translator writing – one who does one Mitzvah, at that moment becomes released from the duty to do any other Mitzvah, for at that moment it’s as if he is.)

251

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

There are two types: one represented by Yehudah, that do things within nature; and the other represented by Yosef, that live supernaturally – when the Tzaddik of the generation seeks to inspire his people, he must first both connect himself to God, as well as realize the intrinsic soul connection he shares with them – then his words have cosmic ripples.

254

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Baal Shem Tov teaches, how can one listen to their Yetzer Hara, when in fact we must learn from it, for it consistently is serving God.

255

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

It states, that daily there are heavenly proclamations (such as “woe to those who don’t study” etc.) now if no-one can hear them, what is the benefit?  However, our soul hears it, and from these shocking pronouncements, a person begins to have inspirational emotions.

256

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The first time we see a miracle, we call it a miracle, the second time, nature – similarly, in order to go beyond our current state, adding in our love or awe of God, and doing more, it takes a herculean miraculous effort, but once we achieve that state, it is time to make the next miracle!

257

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

(Translator – my deduction from the teaching,) Chochmah / inspiration, doesn’t translate to Binah / the studious subdivision of the particulars (for within the inspiration is a universe) unless one makes a binding decision to do. (In other words, an idea doesn’t translate into action unless one truly desires.)

258

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Just as the three forefathers were vehicles of the expression of Divine will, similarly, there are vehicles of expressing the opposite.

259

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

During prayer we ascend.

The first part until Boruch She-amar we are in the world of Assiah, filled with extraneous forces (kelipos) hence one must make a herculean effort to focus, concentrate and participate.

From Boruch She-amar to Yishtabach, we are in the world of Yetzirah where not as many kelipos reside.

From the world of Yetzirah we enter into the world of Beriah; from Yistahbach to Shemoina Esrieh – and we must concentrate.

Shemoinah Esrei is the world of Atzilus, an intimate oneness.

260

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Once there was a prince who the king sent him to learn how others live, but eventually he succumbed to their low lifestyle – so the king sent ministers to bring him back, but he was content – eventually one wise person decided to get the prince back, so he dressed up as one of the low people and ingratiated himself and convinced him.

261

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Rely not on another, but your own prayers.

262

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The only time it is right to educate another, is if it comes from unconditional-love (“criticism is a form of abuse.”)

264

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The closer you think you are to God, the further – and vice-versa.

265

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

When Moshiach comes, God will slaughter the angel of death – this means he will take out the death / negative, releasing only the good.

269

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

If you have done much good – studied much Torah – grown etc. think not, “I have done this” rather, God inspired this – for if not, we take the Yud (God) out of the Ani, and we are left with Oon – nothing.

270

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The ability to create Baalei Teshuvah (those who return to Judaism, God etc.) is mainly through the Rebbe of the generation, who reconnects the person to their source.

271

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Rotzu / Vshuv also is Gadlus (expansive thinking) vs. Katnus (contracted – fear based myopia) – realizing we are in Katnus, transforms us.

273

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

What does it mean God fills the entire world? – It is impossible for us to do or say anything without God – hence God is literally within all our actions and speech – now if our intent is love, then the resultant speech or deed manifests love (this is an exceptionally profound concept, for in other words, the primary means to happiness is to ensure that fundamentally, the reason we are here, is to love, for our positive energy then becomes reality.)

274

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Kabbalah teaches us, says the Baal Shem Tov, that everything we do, we must do for the Divine soul within.

275

MEDITATION

 

Whatever you are thinking about, is where you are.

276

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Even when we need to beseech for God’s mercies – as we find ourselves stuck – we should go to God in a way he desires; namely prayer should always be that we beseech not only for our own, but for all who need.

276

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The Gemarah says, that Tzaddikim are similar to a tree planted in a pure ground – this means, teaches the Baal Shem Tov, that just as the roots will sap the positive nutrients and bring it through the trunk to create fruits, so too the Tzaddikim will elevate the sparks of their soul found within everyone.

278

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

If we study well or pray with passion, the Yetzer Hara will immediately jump at this opportunity to induce in us an ego.

279

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Just as a parable is the container of a wisdom; so too speech contains thought – however when a person is disconnected from themselves and they ramble, this speech is connected to kelipos  – hence a person must ensure that their speech is connected to their mind, which is in turn sourced in the Divine.

280

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

We should never admonish anyone – for all we will gain – hate  (though of-course if we encourage, we engender love.)

281

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

When there is something not understood, but a person truly seeks to understand it, then they elevate that thing to the world of Machshavah (the realm of thought) and from there the Divine reveals.

282

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Another great principle from the Baal Shem Tov: Your Divine service should be exclusively (all the time) for God (not your) sake.

283

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Whatever we think about, we manifest (like the law of attraction, hence one must think exclusively positively.)

284

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Our thoughts are the screen of our desire.

286

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

We must ensure that our study of Torah and prayer is exclusively for the sake of the Divine (otherwise we add power to the kelipos, negative forces.)

287

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Like a symphony, each one of us has a unique complementary strength.

288

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

The only reason God conceals himself, is so we can find – for that which we search for, is so much more appreciated.

289

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Whoever wishes to connect to the Divine should study Torah, for within the wisdom of the Torah is its thinker.

290

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

We mustn’t only pray for our needs, but for the redemption of the Shechinah (the Divine – For our own lustful etc. thoughts (for as all must contain the Divine (to exist – though God in his compassion, grace, mercy etc. gives us freedom) causes the Divine to be captured, which as the Alter Rebbe describes, it is like taking a king and placing his head in a toilet bowl filled with excrement.)

291

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

If I study Torah or do a Mitzvah with an ulterior motive (for example, recognition) now as essentially God is one with his Torah, therefore ideally what would happen is the light of the Divine would connect to this Torah study or Mitzvah, and then to my soul; however when I do something with an ulterior motive, this motive, called kelipah, a shell, acts as a barrier  – it encases the mitzvah – this perhaps can be best understood by a story about the Baal Shem Tov, that he once came to a study hall of Torah and he wouldn’t enter, saying, “This place is filled with Torah” – he was not offering a compliment though, for with his Divine vision he could see how instead of the Torah rising to heaven, through its learners ulterior motives, it remained encased within the confines of the lower kelipah realm.

294

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Just as the world was created with the two Divine names of Haveyeh and Eloikim, similarly, whenever we study or pray, we must do so with these two names which represent respectively, love and fear (of G-d).

296

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Tzaddikim are the emissaries of the Shechinah (the Divine presence on earth) and what they personally lack, represents what is lacking.

299

MEDITATION / ACTION

 

Sometimes we can transform a situation by seeing the corresponding Divine – for-example, if someone is God-forbid locked-up, they could learn the concept of the four (one of whom, is a person released from incarceration) that give praise for their miracles.

A Tzaddik who is suffering in a limb, can think about which part of the Sefiros this limb corresponds to.

By concentrating on the Divine positive part, we eliminate our suffering.

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MEDITATION / ACTION

 

When we speak words of Torah at our table, we elevate our Table (as we know, all has Divine sparks seeking redemption, like positive energy.)

Hence you should speak an abundance of Torah during the week, and especially on Shabbos (at the meal table.)

Then when Mincha (Erev Shabbos) arrives and during the Kabbalois Shabbos (Shabbos evening service) you elevate the entire week.

 

As Einstein said, “we know not the secret of the old Boss (how they would refer to G-d) but when we do, I am sure it will be both simple and beautiful” – in fact Einstein’s entire quest in science was as he called it to understand God’s mind – of course he couldn’t. – God’s mind it seems, as God himself says… “My thoughts are unlike your thoughts (to paraphrase) for everything I think becomes” – You see we are fundamentally creatures of experience (think… if you never experienced…. – never saw, heard, smelled, taste etc.) However behind our experiences lies the Divine intent – the first and foremost experience we have is actually of ourselves (if you never had an emotion, you wouldn’t know you were “real” – our powerful urges make us perceive ourselves – furthermore, the fact that when we cried we were fed, changed, burped, put to sleep… gives us a delusion of power – This is why two-year-olds start to throw tantrums; for as their desires get more sophisticated (like “driving the car” – they cannot reconcile the fact that someone who in their own vision is so powerful shouldn’t get their way (in fact this is what trauma is – an imbalance between perception of what reality is and what it is) But as Kabbalah teaches, we are (as God says) like a tree – a tree is always growing (as you know it continually adds rings) so in simple words, there is the simple beautiful absolute reality – each and every one of us is effectively God (this is what Kabbalah teaches, when it state “God breathed in the breath of life” “he placed Himself in man”) however while God is on earth, there is something absolutely awesome, namely, if we seek to grow (for desire skews logic – if you are seeking money, fame, intercourse, or conversely depressed (self-loathing) angry (other…) etc. you are not capable of growth) but as we become spiritual – as we leave the foolish predilections inspired by our animal spirit (mostly from those who have had their fill, as many in todays permissive society) then we enter into the Divine infinite realm

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