It is said that there are two prayers that kabbalists are supposed to do no matter what on a daily basis. The first is the morning prayer, Shacharit, which corresponds to Abraham, who represents mercy and the Right Column of energy, the energy of sharing and kindness. The second is the afternoon prayer, Mincha, which corresponds to Isaac, who represents the Left Column of energy, the energy of desire and receiving. What’s interesting, however, is that Arvit, the evening prayer, which corresponds to Jacob and to the Central Column of energy, the energy of balance, is considered optional. The reason for this is that each of us contains both the Right Column, the Desire to Share, and the Left Column, the Desire to Receive. The Central Column, the energy that balances these two forces, is something that we activate of our own volition and choice. Via the Central Column energy, each of us has the option of choosing to grow towards the energy of the Light of the Creator or not. It is up to... Read More
For me, certainty means one thing. I know that the things that happen in my life – however difficult they may be – are part of a grander plan: a Hand that is pushing me in a direction, whether or not I acknowledge it, whether or not I want to go there. We are put in this world with an assigned spiritual role, and we will get knocked around by the universe until we wake up to it. I know a person who got shot and nearly died, had heart disease and nearly died, got cancer and nearly died. But he is still here, which means there is still something he still needs to do in this life. He keeps getting slammed and getting saved because he has a spiritual role in this world, some spiritual work that he has yet to complete. Take a look at Moses: Even he was called to complete his job. Initially, Moses lived a comfortable life in Egypt. After all, he grew up a prince in Pharaoh’s palace! Then one day something happens, and he has to go out of his home to Midian. Then while tending some flocks... Read More
I heard a fascinating story recently about an old man who wrote two wills before he died. The first will included two letters: the first letter contained his instructions to his family on what to do with certain aspects of his life: his goods, his homes, his money, etc. At the bottom of the letter, he wrote: "I am asking that you bury me in my favorite green socks." After he died, the family read the letter and prepared him to be buried. But the cemetery where he was to be laid wouldn’t allow him to go into the ground wearing the socks. The family pleaded, but to no avail. When they got home from the funeral, they opened the second letter. Much to their surprise, they read: “See! I couldn’t even have a pair of socks when I left!” It’s a funny story, and apparently a true one. But it shows us that the bottom line of being is that the only thing we can take with us is the energy we create from the things we have done from our own efforts. That is what we bring with us into our next... Read More
Posted In: Spiritual Work, Personal Transformation Posted On: February 25,2015
Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.” This world was created to give us the environment to change! To go up the ladder of transforming into a spiritually evolved being. When we suffer hardships, it is the grand symphony of life that has placed us in that position so that our soul can go through its process of correction. Each person that has been put into this world was born into a certain family or environment that takes into account their previous lives to enhance the work of their soul. Everything we experience is there to help us evolve and change. The soul may travel through many different lifetimes to achieve its perfection in order to be whole and eventually to go back to its Source, the Creator. The point is that we came here to this world to change. And when enough of us wake up to this understanding and truly start to work on ourselves and embrace this change, then we will be able to change the world for the better in a big... Read More
Posted In: Tikun, The Soul's Journey, Kabbalistic Concepts Posted On: February 24,2015
Admit it: We’ve all done negative actions. The question now is how do we counteract them with good? I know of a man that used to continually engage in extra-marital affairs. Then he decided to change his ways. Now he is loyal, he gives to charity, and he has become part of a community that he gives back to. In the ledger of life, he is paying back his cosmic debt. Today, take a good look at your own life. What is your debt? If you don’t know why bad things are happening in your life, find out. Having certainty is the knowledge that if something is going wrong in your life, it is because your cosmic bank account is depleted. Start putting positive thoughts, words, and actions into the universe – in other words, start making daily deposits in the bank – and things will get better! Begin your own daily ledger sheet so the cosmos does not have to do it for you. Read More
All too often we hear about how someone who was abused has become an abuser, a victim who has become a victimizer. But what if that person can turn the pain around and rather than hurting other people, help them instead? If that person can do that and not to give in to their victimhood, then there was a reason for them to experience the hardship in the first place. I heard a story of a man who lost his whole family in an accident. He was the only survivor. The pain, both physical and mental, led him to become a drug addict. Eventually he realized that this couldn’t be what life was all about, so he cleaned up his act and today he works intervening with addicts. Hopefully we all don’t have to go through his kind of sorrow to be able reach the understanding that life is about change, that it’s about helping others, that it’s about taking all that is negative within and around us and transforming that pain and negativity into Light for the benefit of ourselves and the world. If we can... Read More
Posted In: Sharing & Receiving, Kabbalistic Concepts Posted On: February 22,2015
On a spiritual level, the universe is a giant cosmic bank where we make withdrawals and deposits on a daily basis. Our withdrawals include health, security, love, the breath that we take, even the fact that we can open our eyes in the morning! We make deposits in the bank when we volunteer, help others, or do small kindnesses like saying hello to someone we don’t necessarily know well or even care about. Every day that we do actions of sharing beyond our comfort zone, or extend ourselves as a good friend, or pray not only for ourselves but for others as well, we are making a deposit into our cosmic bank account. The cosmic bank is open 24/7, and our thoughts, words, and actions are constantly adding to or subtracting from our account. But we have to keep making deposits; we can’t rely on some good deed we did three years ago, hoping it will tide us over. Just as we need to eat every day, we need to share every day, too. Today, take a moment to check the status of your account. Are you... Read More
Posted In: Effort, Personal Transformation Posted On: February 21,2015
There is a story that tells of a bank robber who gets shot and killed in the middle of big heist. Fast forward a bit, and we find him apparently standing at the gates Upstairs where he meets a wonderful angel who says to him, “I am your angel, your messenger. Actually, I’m sort of like a genie, and anything you want, just ask me and you get it.” And the bank robber says, “Wow, this is great! You know what? I want to have some alcohol. And let’s see, I also want to have some beautiful women around me. In fact, I want to do whatever I want and have the best time.” And just like that, poof, the guy looks around and he’s in the middle of a fabulous party. So there he is, partying one day, two days, three days…until he says, “Hey, angel, wait a second. There’s something missing here. I’m done with all this stuff. I want to try something else.” The angel says, “Sure, no problem. What do you want to do?” And the guy replies, “You know what? I think I want to rob a bank.” The angel says, “... Read More
Posted In: World Peace, The Big Picture, Well Being, Human Dignity, Global Consciousness Posted On: February 20,2015
Interestingly, a number of influential people including Malala Yousafzai, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu recently signed "An Open Letter to World Leaders," which ended with this plea: Let's be clear: the actions we take in 2015 will decide which way the world turns for decades to come. Please take the right path. Yesterday was officially the Chinese New Year, and according to Chinese astrology 2015 is the year of the goat (or sheep depending on who you ask), symbolizing peace. People born under this influence are known to be gentle, amicable, and kind. 2015 is also the 32nd year of the current 60 year cycle that occurs in the Chinese calendar. In kabbalistic numerology, 32 is represented by the letters Lamed and Bet, which spell “lev” in Hebrew, meaning heart. I believe that this is the year that the universe is calling us— all of humanity— to return to our heart. With so much negativity in the world, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the pain of... Read More
Posted In: Cleansing, The Environment, Health & Healing, Well Being, Human Dignity Posted On: February 18,2015
Seventy-five percent of the body that we are born with consists of water. And you know what is so interesting? As we grow older, that percentage actually goes down. Yes, water dissipates from our body. An average male adult body consists of approximately 63% water. Kabbalistically, water represents chesed (mercy). And so from a spiritual perspective, the way I understand this phenomenon is that as we grow older, our natural tendency is to become inundated with our own prejudices and guidelines and boundaries. We start to decide where our kindnesses should and shouldn’t go, and in so doing we are diminishing the amount of chesed (mercy energy) that we carry with us. Today, however, with our growing consciousness and the spiritual tools available to us, it doesn’t have to be this way. The more we can inject human dignity and kindness into our daily interactions with others, the more chesed we will bring to ourselves and the world. Read More
Posted In: Certainty, Kabbalistic Concepts Posted On: February 17,2015
Instead of feeling doubt every time something seemingly negative happens, what we should be saying is: “I don’t understand this situation, but I’ve done everything I can to make it a positive experience. So I’ll have certainty that in the larger scheme of things, the situation is indeed positive.” With this consciousness, we give darkness no entry into our experience or our life. Today, when something doesn’t go as planned, have certainty that the universe is working for your highest good. Read More
There is a prayer called Shacharit that kabbalists say in the morning. Shacharit means “darkness,” but why would a morning prayer be called darkness? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to call it Light? Or sun? Or morning? I mean, what’s the secret here? What we learn is that the prayer is called darkness is because it represents the darkness before the dawn. The more chaos we see outside and the more dust that is shaken out of the carpet, so to speak, the closer we are coming to the end of this darkness. But the only thing that we can change to counterbalance the darkness that we see out there is our own consciousness – our ability to be servants of the Light of the Creator. Each and every one of us needs to become a soldier of the Light, for that is how we will be able to usher in a new dawn. Read More
Posted In: Spiritual Work, Joseph The Righteous, Effort, Personal Transformation Posted On: February 15,2015
A lot of us think that once we get to that place where we’re spiritual, then we’ve got it made. You know… Nothing goes wrong, nobody we love gets sick, nothing bad happens to us, we get enough money to live on – in short, we get to enjoy life. But from a spiritual point of view, we learn that if we are skating along without a stumble, we should stop and take a good look because somewhere along the line, we are not growing. The Zohar says: “For I will refine you as gold is refined,” meaning that in this life, we are constantly being refined towards reaching our potential. Jacob the Patriarch, a tzadik (righteous soul), went through so much pain in his life. Even when he was an old man, life still threw him curveballs: He lost two wives, then went through a separation from his beloved Joseph and suffered all of the sadness that went along with that. The issues – the anguish and hardship – just kept on piling up. The Zohar tells us that for the righteous person, there is never such a... Read More
Posted In: Divine Inspiration, Kabbalistic Concepts Posted On: February 14,2015
If you say something to three people and then ask them what they heard you say, you will most likely get three different answers, none of which may even be correct. The reason for this is that most of us hear with our mind, and we interpret what we received through a filter of who we think we heard and what we think we heard. Today, take the time and decide to listen with your heart. You may even receive the message you were asking for. Read More
The Rav once told me something beautiful that has always stuck with me. He said to me, “When you are in a position where you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. Allow the situation to evolve around you.” For example, let’s say we have a business partner who we don’t think is very honest, but we don’t know how to get out of the relationship. Should we just walk away? Should we accuse our partner of being dishonest and see what he does? Tough call. But there’s another option: We make a decision to stay put and allow the situation to evolve. If you’re in a problematic relationship and you don’t know what to do with it, relax. Like it or don’t like, the relationship will evolve, and it will evolve not only for you but for the other person as well. Yes, this might seem to be a time for action. But sometimes we need to know when to hold back, when to allow the universe to reveal the process. Read More
Posted In: Well Being, Forgiveness Posted On: February 12,2015
Many of us are willing to fight for the concept of justice. But what we need to understand is that justice must be tempered with mercy. Think about it: If there were no mercy in this world, can you imagine what a cold, harsh life it would be? If the Creator enacted justice without mercy upon each one of us, we probably wouldn’t be here anymore; we’d be done for. Yes, we need justice, and the world needs justice. But we need mercy just as much, and the world needs mercy, too, especially in this time of rampant chaos. As part of the network of consciousness that is creating a world that is ever evolving and moving forward, it is up to each of us individually to choose to bring this energy of mercy into the world and to be more merciful and forgiving with others. After all, that which we forgive in others is what we will, in turn, be forgiven for. Read More
Posted In: Angels, Kabbalistic Concepts Posted On: February 11,2015
The Zohar tells us that sometimes we are sent an angel in the form of someone in need to give us the opportunity to extend kindness and thereby avert a judgment or chaos that was perhaps heading our way. I have a personal story that attests to this. Once, when the Rav and I were in our apartment, someone knocked on our door and asked us for bread. It was interesting that this person didn’t ask for money; simply bread. So we went to the kitchen and gathered all the bread we had, making sandwiches and packing everything very carefully. We had a feeling, though, that how we handled this request was important. It was as if our intuition was telling us that this person wasn’t just a human being. A few moments after the person left, we turned to each other and said, “Why didn’t we offer money?”I remember the Rav ran downstairs to find the person so we could offer money, but the individual had disappeared from sight. I see this as an encounter with an angel, one who came here to give us an... Read More
Posted In: Overcoming Challenges, Removing Blockages, Personal Transformation Posted On: February 10,2015
We don’t have to wait for a tragedy to wake us up to the need for change. If we open our eyes and tune in a bit more to our life, we will find that we have opportunities each and every day to transform negativity into positivity. Oftentimes, when someone or some situation challenges us, our first thought is usually: How can I make this situation go away as soon as possible? rather than: What’s the lesson here? Why is this happening? Sometimes, we can even be so quick to push the situation aside that we don’t realize we have lost a chance to transform. Today, let’s be ready to grab at the opportunities the universe presents us with to change ourselves for the better: they are the greatest gifts we can receive. Read More
Posted In: Our Potential, Inspiration, Personal Transformation Posted On: February 09,2015
Each one of us has been gifted with something. This “something” could be intelligence, charisma, wisdom, athletic ability, wealth- the list could go on and on. We are meant to use our time on this planet to take what we’ve been given and do something with it. Even the number of years we have on this earth is time lent to us for a purpose. So the question is this: What are we doing, if anything, with the gifts that we have? For example, if a person is a strong athlete, does he give some time perhaps to kids who want to improve their skills or who cannot afford to play? Or take a person who is intelligent. Does this person use her intelligence for the betterment of others and the world? What about a person who has wealth? Does this person use part of that wealth for something larger than himself? We need to ask ourselves these questions because ultimately, nothing in our life is ours. Our gifts are a loan from the Creator so we can make our life, along with the lives of those around us... Read More
Posted In: The Big Picture, Well Being Posted On: February 08,2015
There isn’t anyone whose life is without some rain. But a person who wants to grow can take that rain, put it in a bucket, and use it to water their garden of life, to improve themselves, to find the lesson and messages that are meant for them, and to eventually become more fruitful. Yes, we might have issues at work, or in our home, or in our relationships. There are dozens of reasons why our soul chose to come into this life as it did, and we cannot know all of them. But what we can know is that we are not here just to “do” life and have it pass us by. Quite the contrary. Every day, we should wake up with the acknowledgment that the Light is calling us to a higher purpose: spiritual growth. Read More
Posted In: Personal Transformation Posted On: February 07,2015
The Zohar makes an interesting point about the plagues that occurred in Egypt: Pharaoh seems to forget about each plague after things return to normal. All the water turns to blood (plague one), but as soon as it is back to water, Pharaoh forgets what happened. Frogs (plague two) infest the land, but as soon as they’re gone, Pharaoh forgets that they were ever there. And so on and so forth. Now my question is this: Come on, if somebody slapped you seven times, would you really not remember? But the Zohar clarifies the situation. It wasn’t that Pharaoh forgot; it was simply that he reverted back to the place where he had been before that particular plague occurred, a phenomenon that happens to all of us from time to time. Consider this: How many times have we been whacked by the universe in one way or another, only to revert back to where we were before it all happened? How many times do we fail to heed the lesson that is being presented to us? We go through the same routines time and... Read More
Sometimes we make excuses for why we cannot go forward on the spiritual path. For example, a person may say, “I’ve done so many things in my life, there is no place for me to go any more. The negative side has such a strong hold on me, I’m a lost cause.” In these times, we need to remember is that even in the lowest soul on earth, and even and especially in the darkest places in our lives, there exists the power of the Light. Read More
Posted In: Certainty, Kabbalistic Concepts Posted On: February 05,2015
Kabbalah teaches that the numerical value of the word Amalek is 240 which is the same as the numerical value for the word “safek” meaning doubt. When it is written that Israelites overcame Amalek, what it really means is that they were able to overcome their own doubts. The specific miracle that convinced Yitro to change from the negative to the positive was the victory of the Israelites over the nation of Amalek. The message here for us is that when we overcome our own doubts and challenges, we never know what kind of positive change we can inspire in other people. When you truly change yourself, you inspire others to also make a change. Read More
Why is this week’s reading called Yitro (Jethro)? Since God gave the tablets containing the Ten Utterances to Moses, wouldn’t it have made more sense for the name of this week’s portion to be Moshe (Moses)? Who was this guy Yitro anyway, that his portion should contain such massive Light as the Ten Utterances? Well, for starters, Yitro was a magician of the negative side. He was a master of all forms of spirituality that existed at the time. He could manipulate energy and he understood how to use the forces of the universe. Initially, Yitro didn’t use his power for good. It was only when he saw the spiritual victories granted to the Israelites under the leadership of Moses that he became completely certain of the power of the Light of Creator. And since he was familiar with the laws of the universe, he knew that in order to bring himself close to this Power, he had to transform himself to be “like” that Power. It is said that when person who has spent his life dedicated to negativity... Read More
Posted In: Yitro, Our Potential, Inspiration, Personal Transformation Posted On: February 03,2015
At one point or another, we have probably all looked at the Ten Utterances (The Ten Commandments) and thought, “OK, those are easy enough. I wasn’t planning on killing anyone or building an idol in my house.” To most of us, in fact, they may not seem so hard to follow. But the truth is that, like everything in the Bible, the Ten Utterances are not meant to be taken only literally. Sure, it may not be difficult for us not to pick up a gun and kill someone, but I’m sure we all have a person or two we would like to destroy in reputation or business. The same goes for idol worship. We may not have plaster idols sitting in our house, but we do idolize people because of their fame or wealth. Respect and admiration for another’s accomplishments is one thing, but hanging around people because of who they are and how they can benefit us is something else altogether. And, certainly, in terms of “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me,” we have all, at some point in our lives, probably... Read More
Posted In: Humility, Yitro, Well Being, 72 Names, Prayer & Meditation Posted On: February 02,2015
Before the Ten Utterances (Ten Commandments) were presented to Moses on Mount Sinai, it is said there was a buzz in Heaven: Each mountain wanted the Utterances to be given on it. The only mountain that stayed quiet was Sinai because she was the smallest one and she knew she didn’t have much to offer. But in the end, the Creator chose Sinai because, being the meekest and most humble, she was the only one capable of handling all of the energy that would be revealed on her summit. Within the 72 Names of God, there is no gimel, which is the first letter of the word ga’avah, meaning “pride” or “Ego.” The reason the gimel was left out is because there is no ga’avah in the framework of the Creator. Humility is the key factor in sustaining our connection to the Light; ego and pride hinder our ability to channel this Energy. This doesn’t mean that we must give up everything and refuse to receive anything. What it does mean, however, is that we understand that everything that we have and... Read More
Last week, in the reading known as Beshalach, we connected to the power of mind over matter through the 72 Names of God. This week, all of that energy is manifested through the giving of the Ten Commandments. What we learn from the kabbalists and what we teach at the Kabbalah Centre is that the Ten Commandments, or the Ten Utterances, were not orders that God gave to the people to dictate what they could and could not do. Instead, they represent the totality of the spiritual energy given by the Creator to all humanity at Mt. Sinai. This week, that energy is given to us again. How can we connect to it? Well, as we know, there is this idea of similarity of form, “like attracts like.” The Energy of the Creator is an energy of pure sharing and perfect love. The more we can bring ourselves to think and behave with tolerance and human dignity, the more of this revelation we can bring through our being to others and the world. Read More

Karen BergYOUR 7 DAY SPIRITUAL COMPASS by Karen Berg

Karen Berg, Spiritual Leader of The Kabbalah Centre, has committed her life to introducing the teachings of Kabbalah to the world and to expanding the role of women in spirituality and in the global community.  Read Karen's Bio

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