This year, the first day of Chanukah coincides with American Thanksgiving, the day many of us here in the United States get together to celebrate and express gratitude for our friends, family, and blessings. The last time these two dates coincided was in 1888, and the next will not be for another 79,043 years!
When we light the candles for Chanukah, we need to understand that we are not performing a religious ritual meant only for one group of people. The candles are spiritual tools meant for all of humanity. Their purpose is to help us remove chaos from this world and reach the time when we will come to know that we are all part of one soul.
The Light of the candles is that same Light that exists in everybody’s spirit. As long we have this Light within us, we need to try to fulfill the purpose for which it came—to recognize this very same light that exists in others. Granted, it is much easier to see others’ frailties and all the things that are wrong with them,...Read More
This week's Bible portion tells us that Jacob feared Esau, his brother. Those of you who know anything about this Bible story may remember that Jacob was the more positive of the two brothers, while Esau was on the negative side. So the question becomes: Why would Jacob, who we know was a highly elevated soul, have anything on a spiritual level to fear from Esau? Don’t we know that Light prevails over darkness?
According to the kabbalists, this story is actually a code. Esau epitomizes the ego, so Jacob’s fear of his brother was actually a fear of his own ego. Even at his elevated spiritual level, Jacob knew that if he began to believe himself to be the message rather than the messenger, to be the Light rather than a conduit, then he would lose the ultimate battle against the ultimate destructive ego-driven force: the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone. For Jacob, it was clear that his only real power was his ability to be a channel for the Light of the Creator....Read More
The life we experience here on this earth is often shrouded in veils of negativity. In fact, in a world that rife with chaos—from earthquakes to widespread flooding to unemployment, terrorist attacks, and war—we may wonder if there is any sure way to be protected.
According to the kabbalists, we have the power, via our positive actions and our ability and Desire to Share with others, to create a spiritual shield that can protect us from any negative thing that crosses our path. Why? Because we live in a world of manifestation, a world where the Creator is revealed through our positive deeds.
Oftentimes, we ask to see God, as a benefit to us, to feel His presence. But in our searching, we frequently overlook the opportunities to experience the Creator that are right in front of us.Read More
On the road of our lives, we don’t often anticipate that sometimes, like Jacob the Patriarch in the Bible, our process needs to have complications—things that get in our way. Why? Because the more difficult the process, the stronger the vessel and the higher the individual can climb on the ladder of spirituality.
Each and every one of us has been put in the exact right situation to become the brightest light possible. Every difficulty we experience is an opportunity for us to climb to the next rung. But we need to be aware of those things that are around us—especially the painful and uncomfortable ones—so that we can grow from them.
You know, all of us, including myself, are very spiritual when things are right. But when things go wrong, all too often everything goes out the window. We throw over the bucket. We toss all our notes on the floor. We scream, “Help! Help! How could this happen to me?”
Take a good look at your life. When things are not what you want...Read More
Opportunities for us to draw down energy arise constantly and usually in the most mundane of situations. We certainly don’t need to wait for a picture-perfect moment to extend love. For example, if someone approaches us for help in the midst of our busiest hour, we have a choice: We can brush the person off and respond curtly, or we can say to ourselves, “Wait a minute. Maybe this person needs help in some way.” If we can extend ourselves— even if for only a moment—then we will have tapped into true spirituality and connected with love.
Each of us is just one single person. But if this week, we can uplift one other person, and then that person in turn uplifts another, by Friday we will have affected thousands of people, if not more. If we can feel the people around us and extend love instead of judgment, we can get to the place beyond physicality and create a better world for all humanity.
And that is a true blessing.Read More
The essence of spirituality is to teach us to go outside of ourselves and to feel the energy of the next person. To paraphrase the first century BCE sage Hillel, the most important commandment for humankind is treat your neighbor as you yourself would like to be treated; the rest of the Bible is simply commentary on this point. And the cosmos constantly affords us the opportunity to connect with our purpose: to be able to look at people and offer love instead of judgment.
All of us have times of judgment. If in the midst of those moments, we can remember to respect the human dignity of others, then we can overcome the barriers between people and connect to love, which is the greatest level of spiritual being and connection.Read More
Last Thursday marked 30 days since the 12th day of the lunar month of Libra when my husband and our teacher, Rav Berg left this world. According to the kabbalists, on the 30th day after a person leaves this world, the soul reaches the most powerful place in its journey. I’m sure that from now on, we will be able to feel the Rav supporting the Kabbalah Centre as it moves forward with the spiritual work of awakening in everyone a respect for human dignity for all mankind.
The Rav was a special human being in more ways than one. He had a remarkable openness and kindness for the people around him and for the people that came to him. He opened himself to allow people in, regardless of where they came from or what their beliefs were.
To create what the Rav created takes great strength.
Think about it. How many of us have really chosen our path in life and followed through 100% to achieve it? Not many. Most of us do what we need to do, what we are told to do, and what...Read More
If we are honest with ourselves, we know that in addition to being asleep at night, we can also be asleep during the day. It is very easy to go through our days being good people and doing what we are “supposed” to do. But to really live life requires a much greater desire—a desire for genuine fulfillment that we constantly need to build.
To really live is to wake up and inject new energy into each day. In practice, this means recognizing what our individual gifts are, using them, and sharing them with the world. But we cannot accomplish this unless we first are able to cultivate appreciation—to consciously work to see the good in ourselves and in others.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not always easy to do this. Sadness can be one of the greatest roadblocks to our transformation. But when we fall into despair, we become disconnected from the Light and we lose our clarity. We cannot access the information that is there for us. We cannot read the signs; we do not get the...Read More
This week’s portion connects us to the energy of Sarah the Matriarch, who, according to the kabbalists, represents the totality of Creation. Much like a seed that contains the potential for the branches, roots, fruits, and leaves of a plant, the energy of Sarah connects us with the underlying unity between everyone and everything in this universe.
Today, use the power of Sarah to remove the separation between you and another person. This can be something as small as offering a smile or opening a door, or something as important as extending an apology or forgiveness to a loved one. But when you do it, you can be sure that you are helping to reunite the whole of humanity.Read More
No matter how much we try to read, learn, and study, if we are not reaching, if we are not stretching ourselves outside of our comfort zone to help someone else, if we are not holding on with our fingertips to the next rung of the spiritual ladder, then we cannot get to our next level.
Yes, that growth might involve discomfort, even pain. But if we want to grow, there is no alternative.Read More
In the midst of such chaos in my life, I have been able to find peace through studying Kabbalah. Without any doubts whatsoever, I would highly recommend anyone to call. I am so thankful for The Kabbalah Centre, because it has made all the difference in my spiritual growth and development.
- Susan Perry Simpson
Kabbalah is the best gift I have had this year. But it did not come easy. It is a result of a lot of hard, focused, and disciplined work my teacher guided me through. Often I had to go out of my comfort zone to apply the tools. But the satisfaction and confidence I now feel is indescribable.
- Sam Parnaso
Now I look back and question what exactly I did and how I managed without these teachings in my life.
- Christopher Smith