Personalize Your Passover & Prepare For JOY

1355760_17767233-1024x680There is an amazing concept in Judaism, one which radically contradicts the spirit of a life based on the hard-won freedoms of the contemporary world, and which would be puzzling to most Westerners. That is, when a person performs a mitzva simply because it is commanded by God, the merit is greater than for one who performs a mitzvah out of other motives alone, even the kindness of their heart.

Ideally, we observe the halachos within their parameters*, not only because are we commanded to, but because we love God and His Torah so much we want to fulfill His will.

Then there is Pesach.

And then there is a Breslov Pesach.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said: “It is written that ever person should choose one observance and keep it very strictly with all its fine points…Even with this observance you should not be abnormally strict to the point of foolishness. Certainly, do not let it make you depressed. Simply keep all its finer points without fanaticism.”* Continue reading Personalize Your Passover & Prepare For JOY

Tu B’Shevat

Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_MarketThe Talmud (Taanis 8b) instructs us that when a person enters the barn to measure the new grain crop he should say the blessing: May it be Your will Lord our God, that You send blessing on the work of our hands. Then he begins to measure and says: Blessed be He who sends blessing into this pile of grain.

But if the person first measured the grain and only then recited the blessing, then his prayer is in vain. That’s because blessing can’t be found in something that’s already weighed out, measured or counted, but only in something hidden, something not yet assessed, or which the eye cannot see.

The concept of hiding what is precious to us until the appropriate season (time and place) when it is ready to blossom and fruit, is a concept that permeates the Jewish way of life. A baby is hidden inside her mother until it’s time to be born. A soul mate remains undetectable until Continue reading Tu B’Shevat

Rebbe Nachman Shows Us How To Get Close To God

free_israel_photos_places_nekarot_stars_640…You must strive for awareness of the Creator so much so that your heart is filled with incredible awe-fear of the Greatness of God and that you are aroused to serve Him with true devotion because you have some knowledge and appreciation of how Exalted He is.

The way to achieve this true devotion and appreciation is through prayerful meditation and reflection: taking stock of yourself, evaluating yourself, and weighing each of your actions. This is the path to reach the “light that is a treasure for the righteous.”  — Likutey Eitzos (Advice); (free translation)

Why does Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teach us that we need to evaluate ourselves in order to appreciate Hashem’s (God’s) greatness and come closer to His Treasury of Light for the Righteous?  Continue reading Rebbe Nachman Shows Us How To Get Close To God