Nothing, not even a sin, is outside the realm of Divine service. Every action, both good and bad, both strong and weak, can be used to gain closeness to Hashem.
A Jewish leader must be able to ‘lower himself’ and relate to his followers through their perspective. Without this very important ingredient, a leader will not be able to help his followers in the best way.
In this week’s Parsha, Parshas Vaeira, we learn about the different names of Hashem through His conversation with Moshe Rabbeinu. There is a certain lesson we learn from the name that Hashem uses to connect with Moshe Rabbeinu in conjunction with the Redemption versus the Divine name used to connect to the Avos pre-redemption. Though these are very esoteric details that are difficult to understand, we can learn a very powerful thing about the essence of redemption through the words in the Pasuk.
How does one maintain humility in the face of honor? It is about remembering the truth. Meditating on the truth keeps a person humble…
Because Hashem created and activated the Universe through speech, this element in our daily lives contains an infinite amount of power.
It is one thing to be of service to the King when the Kingdom is upright and in it’s full glory; but when the King is “in exile,” serving the King speaks at a much louder volume.
A potential convert approached the great Tana’im Shamai and Hillel asking for an explanation of the Torah “on one foot.” There is a whole lot to learn from Hillel’s response…
In this week’s Parsha, Parshas Shemos, we witness the beginning of the Redemption from the Egyptian Exile. How did the Jewish people ‘earn’ this merit to be redeemed? The answer lies in an extraordinary trait that the Torah’s language comes to teach us; a trait that Hashem mercifully activated, and is teaching His children to emulate and follow- the trait of selective vision. When we choose to connect to the good qualities, and see only what is positive, we will discover just how effectively powerful this characteristic truly can be. In this case, it brought Hashem to redeem His children from exile.
Every single word and action a Jew says and does emits spiritual vibrations in the Universe - almost like a "domino effect". It is vital that as the Jewish people, we take this truth very seriously. The manner in which we choose to navigate through life, will dramatically impact the world around us. Always choose to think positively, speak positively, and act positively. Make a decision every moment of every day to be a person who emits ‘good vibrations’!
Sometimes what appears as spiritual “blockage” in accomplishment, is actually our loving Father, causing us to slow down our pace; and for good reason. Life is only as long as our main mission is unaccomplished. Once it is, we exit this world. Perhaps Hashem, in His mercy, wishes us more time to enjoy long life, and causes us to be slowed in our “progress”.
Both the Exile and Exodus of a Jew are strongly connected to the essence of Yosef HaTzaddik—and the essence of Yosef HaTzaddik is Jewish confidence. With confidence in who we are as a people, we will bring the Redemption sooner.
We know that a Jew is obligated to answer “Amein” when he or she is in the presence of hearing a blessing. One might think that the greater deed is the initiation of the blessing itself; but Chazal tell us that it’s actually the declaration of the word “Amein” that is the greater deed! Initiating a blessing is an implication of feeling a connection. Answering “Amein” is a declaration of pure loyalty – regardless of feeling the spiritual connection – and this Chazal say, is a greater act of G-dly service and love.
Whether life is up or down, high or low, right or left; one thing is certain. Our inner compass should always be pointing towards our Creator. The Torah’s language usage in this week’s Parsha teaches us about this Middah, which we learn from Yakov Avinu, who possessed this incredible strength of equilibrium, whether in a place of darkness or light.
As one of our 13 Principles of Faith, the Resurrection of the Dead is something we all believe in. But what does it really mean - the dead coming back to life? Let’s delve deeper…
Unfortunately, it is too easy in this world to be persuaded into believing that money equals wealth. A Jew must always remember the truth; that in the next world, the monetary wealth we have amassed here will be worthless. True wealth there will be based on the good deeds we collect here by learning Torah, helping others, giving charity etc. We should always keep the true value of the real currency at the forefront of our minds.
While it may sometimes seem that the “Gabbai” gives out “random” “Aliyahs”, we should always be comforted in knowing that ‘Random’ does not exist in the language of Judaism. Hashem is the “Gabbai”, and He doles out exactly the “Aliyahs” that He means to, to exactly the people he intends them for. We must always remind ourselves that nothing is random!
After 120 years, the holy books teach us that a Jew is asked ‘what his name is’. We learn the significance of this question through understanding the power of mindfulness in performing the Mitzvos. When we harness our minds, and focus on being present in each moment, we “unify our hearts”. This is a level of Avoda that every Jew must strive towards. It’s a Superpower!
We learn in Parshas VaYegash that Yehuda “approached” Yosef. The Medrash teaches that the language the Torah uses implies three types of approaching – one of which is prayer to Hashem. This leaves a deeper question to be answered and understood. Ultimately, we learn that prayer is possible even in the midst of human interaction and confrontation
Being a true Eved Hashem (servant of G-d) means fulfilling the wishes of the King, namely reviewing our Torah learning 101 times! We do this act not to gain knowledge for our own interest’s sake, but simply to connect to Hashem. Performing this action for the right reason is what earns a Jew the title of Eved Hashem, since it is human nature to crave that which is new, exciting, and interesting. Reviewing the same piece of learning for the 101st time, is neither new, exciting, nor interesting. It is purely an act of love, and this is precious to the King; it is that very act that crowns one with the title of “Eved Hashem” (Servant of G-d)
Before the Exile, the Jewish People were compared to a white light which contains many different colors within it, but still manifested as one color in unity. In Exile, where the reality of brokenness and separation is present, we have been divided into many different subdivisions, albeit from the same one root. When Moshiach comes, we will once again be unified as one whole people, but the Sages teach that we will retain the beauty of our unique differences; with each pathway creating one magical rainbow together
In order to earn the title of “Eved Hashem” (a servant of G-d), we must learn to serve Him outside our comfort zones…beyond the place we feel at ease…this is true "Avdus" (servitude)
The Highest Level of Performing Mitzvos is through attaining the nullification of one’s own desires; whether one feels the connection or not, he does what is commanded of him. This is the true definition of “servitude”, and as the Baal Shem Tov teaches, it’s precisely where Hashem dwells.