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Thursday, 31 March 2011 20:33

overcome all obstacles

Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-obstacle“You are wherever your thoughts are…make sure your thoughts are where you want to be.” 

-- Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Likutei MoHaRaN, Volume 1, 21

Munuchat ha-nefesh (equanimity) is a middah that strengthens one’s ability to live out of a general sense of peace and well-being, regardless of external circumstances. Rabbi Nachman’s observation and encouragement point to this middah. We decide the kind of world we are living in based on the mindset we have. At the same time, challenges do come our way. This is where equanimity becomes crucial.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 10:14

lens of the amidah

Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-siddur1There is a common question regarding prayer: If God is perfect, and I am imperfect, why would I need to pray for anything?

Monday, 13 September 2010 10:54

this too is for the good

Written by rebbetzin malkah

art-gamzuThis story is very interesting because it illustrates the concept of gam zu l'tovah: we do not have the power, as mortals, to even comprehend the nature of events and how they will shape our fate.

 

Sunday, 12 September 2010 21:34

the pH of anger

Written by rebbetzin malkah

Talmud - Mas. Nedarim 22a

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: He who loses his temper is exposed to all the torments of Gehenna, for it is written, Therefore remove anger from thy heart,’ thus wilt thou put away evil from thy flesh. Now ‘evil’ can only mean Gehenna, as it is written, The L-rd hath made all things for himself yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Moreover, he is made to suffer from abdominal troubles, as it is written, But the L-rd shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind. Now what causes failing eyes and a sorrowful mind? Abdominal troubles.

What is remarkable to me as I read this is the physiological response that is being spoken of if we become worked up: stomach troubles.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010 10:46

idol worshipper or not?

Written by rebbetzin malkah

Lessons in Tanya, Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle 25

And this [will be understood] by first considering the teaching of our Sages, of blessed memory: “Whoever is in a rage resembles an idolater.”

The reason [for this] is clear to those who “know understanding,” because at the time of his anger, faith in G‑d and in His individual Divine Providence has left him. For were he to believe that what happened to him was G‑d’s doing, he would not be angry at all.

It would seem, at first, the statement that someone who is in a fit of rage is an idolater is a very heavy judgement.  But upon further examination, it makes complete sense if we remember we are not our own gods.  If we accept that we have limited effect on our destinies, then unplanned and unexpected events don't unseat us from our own self-made thrones. We are simply part of the Divine drama:what is required of us is to handle this life with noble equanimity and not seek our own understanding. This story below from the Talmud illustrates this idea of gam zu l'tovah (also this is for the good).

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