The light of a simple Chanukah candle is the same Light that exists in everybody’s spirit. Our job is to make sure that as long as our “flame” still burns in this world, we work to fulfill the purpose for which we came, which is to recognize that kindness, Light, and love exist within every human being.
Sure, it’s often easier for us to see what’s wrong with others than to see what’s right with them. We look at somebody and we can somehow realize instantly what positive traits they lack. But the truth is that when we make the effort to see the good in others, our own soul shines more brightly in this world.
Tonight as we light the fifth candle of Chanukah, let’s take a moment to recognize two good things about a person whom we don’t really like. As we do, the Light within us will shine brighter and our soul will come closer to fulfilling its mission in this world.Read More
Many years ago, in the Kids Creating Peace summer camp that I founded to bring together Israeli and Palestinian children, there was one child, only six years old, who was particularly frustrated and reluctant at the beginning of camp because he had never been in such close proximity to children from “the other side.” He didn’t know how they were going to get along, play with each other, share with each other, eat with each other, even be in the same room with each other.
On the first day, this child stood off by himself; he could not bring himself to participate in anything. Eventually, however, he slowly began to open up and be a part of the activities. This change in him was miraculous, to say the least.
At the end of the camp session, he said something that I thought was very profound and powerful, especially coming from such a young person. He said, “You know what? I think we are all like clouds, rain, and...Read More
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first.”
– Jim Morrison
Sometimes connecting to our inner Light requires that we be revolutionaries—not in the sense of overcoming other people or getting our way, but by simply recognizing our own Light enough to say, “I’m not going to let people step on me. I’m not going to tell people that I agree with them when I don’t. I’m not going to do things just for approval or recognition.”
Don’t get me wrong: we all have responsibilities that we need to uphold and we all want to do our utmost to share our time and energy with others. But beyond that, how often are we honest with ourselves about what our soul truly desires? How often do we do (or don’t do)...Read More
The Bible tells us that when Jacob awoke from his dream of angels going up and down the ladder to Heaven, he found a small flask of oil next to him. He took the oil and poured it on the stone on which he had slept, making a vow to give a portion of everything he received to the Creator.
Fast forward a little over three decades. Jacob had fled from his father-in-law’s house and was on the road with his family when he realized that he had left behind a few small bottles of oil. Recognizing and appreciating the value of even the smallest gifts bestowed upon him by the Creator, Jacob risked his safety and went back to get them.
Jacob’s consciousness and actions on these two occasions planted the seed for the miracle of Chanukah that occurred generations later during the time of the Maccabees when the small flask of oil burned for eight full days rather than one. Jacob had opened the gates via his consciousness, his tithing, and his continual mesirut nefesh, his “giving up...Read More
At the Kabbalah Centre, we teach that Chanukah is not a religious holiday meant for one group of people. Rather, it is a cosmic window in time when each and every soul can reconnect to its true essence and purpose in this world.
Each night of Chanukah, we light one more candle than the night before until we have lit all eight candles. If we add up the total number of candles throughout the eight days, we get 36, denoted in Hebrew by the two letters Lamed and Vav. In lighting the candles, we open our hearts to the understanding that the simple little light of the Chanukah candle is the same as the simple Light of the Creator that burns within each one of us.
Within that Light is our individual power as well as the unifying force that connects us all. Within that Light are our unique gifts and our love for one another. Within that Light is our connection to the Divine, our connection to each other, and our pathway to perfect freedom.... Read More
The story of Joseph from the Bible is a story of a man who overcame all sorts of challenges—from being abandoned by his family to being imprisoned, tempted into negativity, and losing everything he had (although he did gain it all back and more).
Though he started at the bottom during his time in Egypt, everywhere he went, he rose to the top like oil. In fact, he went from being a servant in the house of Potiphar and then wrongfully imprisoned to eventually become the most powerful man in Egypt, second only to the king.
If we read Joseph’s story carefully, we realize that the reason he was successful was because he never lost sight of the spirituality that was inside of him. He had the strength and certainty to say, “I know that wherever I am, there is a reason for my being there.” This consciousness allowed him to find the Light in every situation and to overcome any challenge on his path.
This week, let’s bear in mind as Maya Angelou so beautifully put it...Read More
Once when I was giving a lecture series on reincarnation, someone asked me, "Who cares? What difference does it make if I know about my past lives?"
I answered that understanding our past lives is one way we can receive the awareness we need to do our spiritual job in this world. It is said that for someone to start the process of recovery from an addiction, that person needs to acknowledge that he or she is addicted in the first place. So too it is with reincarnation.
The Bible talks about punishing the iniquity of one generation to the next. Taken literally, this sounds like punishing innocent children. But what the Kabbalists reveal is that it refers to the lifetimes we are given to come back, to make amends, and to elevate the Light of our soul.
Many times it is very hard to find the root of our issues. But when we can look beyond this lifetime, and be open to the idea that perhaps what we are experiencing today is connected to something that happened...Read More
Kabbalah teaches that the infrastructure of our universe is composed of billions of angels. Angels can enter into our bodies; indeed, they are a part of our bodies. Although angels have the ability to take human shape, they may also appear with six massive wings. Or, they can show up as minute bits of energy, as molecules. Everything in this world is energy and angels are no exception.
When we do positive actions, when we push ourselves to be a force of kindness, when we allow the Godliness inside of us to permeate the people around us, we create positive angels that help us move forward on our spiritual path. In the same way, however, when we do negative things, we create negative angels that can hold us back.
Today, let’s make a conscious choice to create positive angels in our lives and to take the time to stop and appreciate them when we feel their assistance on our way.Read More
Each one of us has our own particular way of reaching the Creator—our own internal direction, our own way of bringing ourselves closer to the Light of God. Although the way we choose can sometimes take us far from where we started in life, we can never forget our roots because it is our roots that allowed us to grow into who we are today.
Perhaps our parents or the people closest to us are not what we want them to be: They may not agree with our ways or they may not agree with the path we have chosen in life. Or maybe we don’t agree with the way our parents raised us, and we decide that we are not going raise our children that way. Still, we need to treat our parents with respect and human dignity because the specific circumstances and environment that we were raised in shaped who we are and who we will become.Read More
A reed will bend in the wind but not break, but a mighty tree can crack and topple in the same gust because it is so inflexible. The idea is for us is to be flexible like a reed, open and willing to listen to different ideas and opinions. Doing so will make it easier for us to weather the storms that come our way.Read More