A righteous man and his friend come into a spiritual place, a place of prayer. As they are approaching the front door, however, the righteous man says, “I can’t go in there.”
“Why not?” the friend asks, puzzled.
The righteous man responds, “Oh, it’s full. It’s full of prayer. It’s full of tears. It’s full of wanting. The atmosphere is too full. I can’t enter there.”
The friend is truly confused now. “But isn’t that what’s supposed to be there? I mean, it is a place of prayer. So it should be full of prayers, right?”
But the righteous man says gently, “No, it’s not supposed to be so full. All of those prayers were supposed to have gone Upstairs, all of that desire elevated. That it wasn’t tells me that there is a lack of love in that place, for where there is affinity between people, where there is a form of unity, that is the place where prayers can rise from the physical up to the...Read More
One of the gifts of this week’s energy (corresponding to portion Vayikra) is the concept of appropriate sacrifices and of sharing the gifts that the Creator gave us. So now is the time for each of us to check in with a few questions:
1. What is my gift?
2. How am I consciously sharing my gift with others?
3. How can I expand myself to share more of my individual Light in this world?
Let us pray that by our actions of kindness and by our ability to share our gifts, we move ourselves and the world towards all that is good and sweet in life.Read More
God doesn’t make deals, although we try to make deals with God all the time. Sometimes we say, “I will pray three times a day and do x, y, and z, if only You will do this one thing for me.” Then we question why God isn’t manifesting what we want in our lives, even though we know we are doing all the “right” things.
Sometimes, the reason we aren’t getting what we want is because we are trying to negotiate. In this world, the only “deal” that we can make with God is to be the very best person that we can be. To achieve this level of enlightenment is the only task that God has given us to do.Read More
As we go come closer to the energy, the Force, that we call the Final Redemption—the time when chaos and suffering will be wiped from the earth—we may find that our lives are becoming more and more difficult in one way or another. This is why people are gravitating to spirituality, searching for answers in ways they have never considered or even thought of before.
There are always those who will fall victim to the negativity surrounding them and say, “Forget it,” and do drugs or look for other ways to escape. But in truth, all the difficulties we face are opportunities for us to grow, not to run away. The world is our playing field, and everything we experience is designed to help us win this Game of Life.Read More
A person who has truly become spiritual had to work very hard for it by overcoming many hurdles and tests that push us as human beings to become more involved in the spiritual side of things. The Rav used to say that it is very simple to flow with the tide when things are going our way, but the way that we respond and react when things are not going our way is what builds our spirituality. The difficulties and pressure we encounter are what push us to do, to make, to move forward, to grow, and to become more than we are today.
True spirituality is the result of the tests that we undergo throughout life to refine ourselves and to become closer to the Lightforce. We learn to have tolerance. We learn not to be arrogant, not to be egotistical. We learn to love and share.
But the only way we can learn is by deciding that when we see the door opening, we won’t close it, and instead of looking for ways to “escape” our reality, we look for the lesson within it.Read More
This week’s portion, Vayikra, deals with sacrifices and practices that at first glance seem relevant only to the time of the Temple. So what insight can we draw from it that is relevant to our lives today?
It says that if a rich man brings a pigeon to be sacrificed, his sacrifice will be refused, whereas a pigeon from a poor man will be accepted. Why? Because for a poor man, a pigeon is all that he can afford to offer, while a rich man will need to sacrifice at least an ox to atone for his sin because he has more resources and therefore is required to give more.
Essentially, the Creator was saying to each person then, just as He says to each one of us today: “Now that I have provided for you, what are you going to do with what I have given you? Are you going to use it for My purposes?”
Each of us has our own set of gifts and our own set of limitations. Whatever positive we do with our gifts in this life can remove the negative karma we built up from...Read More
Sometimes the best gift we can give another person is the gift of ourselves: our attention, our love, our simply being there for them. The gift of sitting with a friend and crying together. The gift of caring for someone or something that is not within our usual scope of care. The gift of sharing without looking for credit or being known as this “good guy.”
The best gift is the gift we share when we give because our heart tells us to, because by sharing this way, we come closer to the energy of the Creator. This sharing is the giving that comes from our inner spirit, from our inner Light.
We all have this gift to give. The only question is whether we choose to exercise it or not.Read More
A spiritual person understands that someone can have everything in the world, but all material possessions are empty and valueless if they don’t involve some essence of sharing, some energy of love. What use is a huge house if you have no one inside to love it with you? What’s the point of a lot of money if you have no one to enjoy it with? Aren’t vacations so much more fun when you can share the experience with a companion?
I bet our volunteers who went to Oklahoma on a working “vacation” with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that builds affordable housing for those living in poverty, will remember the experience for years to come. The reason they will remember is because their “vacation” contained the essence of doing something for somebody else.
Now I’m not telling you, don’t go on vacation or don’t go and do things for yourself. Quite the opposite. The Zohar itself says that we should, in fact, have as much as we can have, but it also tells...Read More
One of the gifts that I wrote about on Sunday that is available for all of us this week is the gift of knowing that a. We are never given more than we can handle and b. By putting in effort, we make room for the Creator to assist us on our path.
Now that it is Thursday and the week is almost over, let’s take a few minutes and do a weekly check in:
Oftentimes, we see ourselves as pure. Well, maybe not completely pure, but at least not particularly bad. We think to ourselves: “I’m OK. I mean, I don’t hurt people and I live a good life. Sure, I may not do as much as I should to share, but at least I’m not hurting anyone.” We learn, we pray, and we do good things day in and day out. We give charity, and everything is great. But eventually, there comes a time when we are tested.
To show that we must grow spiritually, the Creator gives us a spiritual ladder and the ability to climb up it but also to fall down. Usually, we fall because there is something that happens that brings us to despair. You know: Things happen, difficulties arise. The question is how we respond to those difficulties. Will we pass the test? Or will we fall back on that old complaint: “This doesn’t work for me anymore. It’s not real. God doesn’t care. Why should I even try?”
Today, be on the lookout for your spiritual tests. How will you measure...Read More