Thought of the Day
If we want to “become compassion” then it is vital that we strive to dwell in this consciousness every day, until it becomes an integral part of our being, like the pulse that beats in our heart and the blood that runs through our veins.
Weekly Teachings - Every Friday a teaching is posted on the site as a subject for study and contemplation during the coming week. The teaching guide the reader in using the teachings and practices of Judaism as a spiritual path that leads to God knowledge. They combine the wisdom of the Kabbalah, Hasidic Masters, and the Rabbis with the knowledge of the mystical and esoteric traditions of other faiths. The teachings provide a path that is both solidly anchored in the Jewish tradition and fully universal in its vision and understanding of the spiritual life. Here you will find all the past teachings under the category of Holydays.
When the Baal Shem Tov was once asked why he came into this world, he replied: “In former times, they served God through yirah – through the path of austerity, disciplines and awe. I came to this world to show another path, the path of service through ahava – love of God, love of Israel [...]
Bar Yochai! With oil of sacred anointment were you anointed from the holy measure You bore the headplate, a crown of holiness, bound upon your head is your glory… Bar Yochai! In a goodly dwelling did you settle on the day you ran, the day you fled, In rocky caves where you stopped – there [...]
“Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to you.” - Genesis 13:17 There are matters that we can know by learning about them – by reading a manual or taking a course. But then there are matters that cannot be fully known [...]
“In every generation a person must see himself as if he has come out of Egypt.” – The Passover Haggadah The Hasidic Master, Natan of Nemirov, teaches that in every life we go through the process of freeing ourselves from the consciousness of Egypt. The consciousness of Egypt is the physical awareness of the lower [...]
“Blessedness, eternal peace arising from perfect freedom, is the highest concept of religion, underlying all the ideas of God in Vedanta – absolutely free Existence, not bound by anything, no change, no nature, nothing that can produce a change in Him. This same freedom is in you and in me and is the only [...]
The weeks before Pesach are a time of intense physical work, getting our homes ready for the holyday. We turn our house inside out and upside down to seek out and destroy any trace of chametz – leaven and leavened bread. This process is a reflection of an inner process of cleansing that also takes [...]
“Do you know of what this net of maya [illusion] is comprised? Sense objects, lust, gold, name, fame, ego, vanity, selfishness, and so on. With all these, maya binds the mind of man. Come out of this net, and the mind will run straight to God. All bondage is in the mind. All freedom is [...]
The most difficult thing in the world is to just be – to stop planning, scheming, and doing and just be. Yet, there is nothing more powerful than a person who truly IS. In just being, we become our true Self. We live centered in the core of our being, and everything that we [...]
Eight is the number of completion. It is the number of infinity, of reaching beyond ourselves to touch the Absolute.
A Song of dedication of the House, by David. I exalt You Lord, for You have uplifted me, and did not allow my enemies to rejoice over me. Lord, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. Lord You brought me up from sheol [the netherworld]; You have kept me alive, [...]
“On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly: you shall do no work of labor.” - Numbers 29:35 Shemini Atzeret – the solemn assembly of the eighth day of Sukkot is a holyday whose sole purpose is to allow us to remain one day longer in the presence of our Lord. The Midrash compares [...]
In the Kabbalah, the succah is called tzilah demehemnutah – the shelter of faith. In the Talmud, we are told that the succah is symbolic of the clouds of glory that watched over the Children of Israel in the desert. True faith shelters and protects us as we travel through the desert of this physical [...]
“And He humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord does man live.” - Deuteronomy 8:3 [...]
There is a famous Zen parable that tells the story of a rich man’s son who was lost or kidnapped. In the parable, the rich man searches for his son everywhere, but to no avail. Years pass, until one day a beggar comes to the rich man’s house looking for alms. The beggar is fed [...]
Our lives are filled with joys and sorrows, successes and disappointments, births and deaths, creation and destruction. Most of the time, we busy ourselves with the day- to-day affairs of life. In between, we search for joy and inspiration. We seek out a few moments in the light. The Torah states: “and you shall rejoice [...]
On the seventeenth of Tammuz (July 7), we begin the period of three weeks of mourning leading up to the solemn day of Tisha B’Av. Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem as well as other tragedies that took place during our long exile. This period is called “Bain haMetsarim” – [...]
Why was the Torah given in the desert of Sinai? Whoever does not make himself ownerless and abandoned like a desert, cannot acquire the wisdom of the Torah. – Numbers Raba 1:7 A desert is a place of desolation and emptiness. Very little moves or makes a sound. If we want to receive the word [...]
Optimism is an intrinsic part of the Jewish tradition. This optimism has upheld us amid countless sufferings and ordeals. This optimism has carried us through two thousand years of exile.
“Speak to the Children of Israel that they go forward.” - Exodus 14:15 “He who can forebear, lives. He who cannot, is lost.” - Sri Ramakrishna  There are times in life when we feel closed in on all sides, moments when the way back is cut off, and the path forward is blocked. At such times, [...]
“The order of the Pesach service is now completed in accordance with all its laws, its ordinances and statues. Just as we were found worthy to perform it [this year], so may we be worthy to do it in the future. O Pure One, Who dwells on high, raise up the congregation which is without [...]
Lord, You fill all worlds, and surround all worlds. And Lord without You, there is no world at all. - The Zohar “The Lord does everything. My Divine Mother dwells in all beings, and they do as she wills.” Swami Premananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna  Everything which occurs – both the good and [...]
Despite our deepest wish that it not be so, there are people in this world who have no compassion or love. There are people who show no pity or decency. There are people that prey on the helpless and the vulnerable. There are people who will do or say anything to achieve their goals. In [...]
This is a meditation in honor of Tu B’Shvat based on this week’s teaching The Ground of Being. Take time to visualize each step of the meditation and to immerse yourself in the experience. Tu B’Shvat Sameach! Yoel
The sun is rising in golden radiance! The sun of a thousand rays in a hundred regions abiding; the god omniscient, the aim of all prayer; the light and fire supreme, the infinite life of all Beings. Radiant in His light, yet invisible in the secret place of the heart, the Spirit is the supreme [...]
Rebbe Natan of Nemirov teaches that on the holyday Hanukkah we receive the light of the Beit Hamikdash or Temple. The Beit Hamikdash is the place where we can access the Mind of God. It is the treasure-house which holds the prayers and desires in the heart of the Creator. It is the inner chamber [...]
“On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly: you shall do no work of labor.” – Numbers 29:35 Shemini Atzeret – the solemn assembly of the eighth day of Sukkot is a holyday whose sole purpose is to allow us to remain one day longer in the presence of our Lord. The Midrash [...]
Rabbi Akiva said, “Happy are you Israel! See before whom you purify yourselves, and who it is that purifies you? Your father in Heaven! As it is written, ‘And I will throw pure water upon you, and you will be purified.’ (Ezekiel 36:25) And it is written, ‘The Mikvah [ritual bath/purifying pool] of Israel is [...]
The High Holydays that begin each Jewish year are called the Yamim Noraim – the Days of Awe. For many Jews it is a time of fear and trembling at the approach of the Day of Judgment. It is true that the High Holydays are an occasion for reflection and self-examination, a moment of decision [...]