Monday, August 29, 2011

Beyond the Surface

(Being on vacation doesn't  mean that nobody can publish on A Holy Break. I'm blessed with wonderful friends across the world and some of them were ready to say what they has to say. As you will see, this is very good.)

"In essence, redemption is dependent on faith. The root cause of the exile is simply a lack of faith" (Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan 7:1).

A Ben Noah’s entire life is influenced, directed, and immersed in the material world. What happens when the attractions of the material world are eclipsed by the more powerful spiritual awakening in the hearts of some Bnei Noah? How do we do our own part and improve our own characters and behaviors before we attempt to make this world a better place? How do we globalize our intentions? Is there an easy way? 

The struggle begins with the struggle to be born and continues throughout our lives. Life is not easy, but when we believe in Tzaddikim (righteous man) and follow their advice, we can take the first step is beyond our superficial beliefs. When we acknowledge that there is one G--d , the Holy one, who has created the Heaven and Earth, blessed be Him, each and every Bnei Noah has the ability to accomplish great things. To achieve the Faith through the Truth, our Creator sent the Sages and gave His Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. 

Never let your faith be vulnerable, keep a constant search for the light of G--d and let Him into your heart, pray, read the Bible as a source of life. Gather with others and find yourself in the Scriptures, reading the Psalms, so that we can recognize the hand of G--d supporting us and sustaining our lives. His goodness and kindness fills the world. 

Believing in G--d is to observe His commandments as we observe medical treatment. We take one step at a time, with faith and trust in order to have the responsibility to fulfill the doctor's advice. It's the same to be a Ben Noah. One needs to be attached to the Tzaddik to guide us in a world of darkness. To avoid falling into the clutches of the evil inclination, and at the same time bring those who are far from G--d closer to Him. 

If we care about the physical and spiritual health of our colleagues and strangers, we can make this world a better place, Baruch Hashem. We must do charity for the needy. We must seek goodness in the heart of others. We must recognize that we are all One with G--d. If not, we will continue to live in exile, a world of illusion. Our bodies will be devoid of Divine Wisdom. 

The Bnei Noah, or Gentiles, must observe the seven Noahide laws given to all nations. These laws are: 1) Believe in G-d, no idols 2) do not blaspheme, 3) do not steal, 4) do not kill, 5) do not commit adultery, 6) establish judicial courts, 7) do not eat a member of a living animal and do not be cruel to any animal. 

Perfect faith is when you believe in G-d.

(This article is inspired by the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov)

Gilson Arruda

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Need of vacation!

My boss told me that I need some vacation and there is one very important rule to remember: we should never say "no" to our wife. So, I'll back - b"H - in few weeks; as soon as I'm told I'm fine.

Regards, Dovid-Yitzhok Trauttman

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quote of the day

La citation du jour

"When the soul of a person binds itself to G-d, this produces joy." (Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan I, 61)

Comment: The real joy is that which does not depend on an external factor to our soul. The joy that is measured by the size of our bank account, by the importance of our prestige or the number of our diploma is a fake and untrue joy.

If we were to depend on external factors to be happy, we would never be! Who can pretend that everything is fine in his life and no worry or concern have reason to bother him? This is an absolute rule: the real and absolute joy shall not be bound to the material aspect of our lives.

Every morning we open our eyes knowing that we possess a holy soul because she is Jewish. Every hour of the day is filled with opportunities to serve the Creator and show our love for Him. A prayer said with a light heart, a mitzvah performed with enthusiasm, assistance given to a friend ... All these occasions are treasures sent from Heaven to make us know the true joy: that unites us with Hashem. Only that joy that is eternal.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Quote of the day

La citation du jour

"We have to stay away from the bad thoughts because they represent the essential aspect of the evil inclination." (Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan I, 49)

Comment: We often think that the evil inclination leads us only to do evil and violate the Divine will, G-d forbids. At the same time, we firmly believe that our thoughts are ours and they are only the fruit of our own will.

If it is correct to think that the evil inclination is interested in our actions, nevertheless, our thoughts do not leave it indifferent. In fact, one of its favorite weapons is to awaken in us negative and bad thoughts which will eventually lead us to transgress, G-d forbids.

Every action is preceded by a thought. Therefore, we understand the importance the evil inclination gives to our thoughts. The best way to thwart its plans is to develop in ourselves positive thoughts: about ourselves, others, the world ... This will have a crucial influence on how we serve G-d.

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Parasha Ekev

Paracha 'Eqev

"All the commandments which I command you this day shall you take care to do, that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers." (Deuteronomy 8:1)

In his commentary, Rashi cites the Midrash which interprets this verse as follows: "If you have begun to fulfill a commandment, complete it. In fact, this commandment is attributed to the one who completes it "

Everything has an end

In life, we start many things and end up a much smaller number. There are many reasons that prevent us from reaching the goal we set ourselves at the outset. In some cases, money may be lacking; in others cases, the people which we were supposed to help us are lacking; also a health which deteriorates may be a reason to change our intentions, G-d forbid.

In all these cases, we believe we have done our best and feel we are faced with a fait accompli: the impossibility of pursuing the desire we had at the beginning. Often, this is reality and it is with a light heart that he must accept it. However, we must ensure that it is not a trick of the evil inclination which saw with a dim view the imminent completion of an additional mitzvah.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov teaches that all obstacles and barriers put before our way share the same reason: that of increasing our desire for the holy action we are about to achieve. Rabbi Nachman said that human nature is made to react that way: the more difficult seems to be an obstacle for a particular thing, the more our desire to do it is great!

Here is a new vision to remember every day: when an obstacle arises on our way, we shouldn't believe that we should too quickly turn back. We must realize that this barrier is sent from Heaven and that its purpose is probably to increase our desire to do what we want. In other words, instead of thinking to stop to do what we want when a problem arises, we must understand that Hashem wishes to increase our desire for this thing and to this end, makes it appear more difficult to complete.

Of course, all barriers are not good to ignore. For example: a person wishes to start a business and needs to invest half a million dollars. This is certainly an obstacle in this case and it is probably unwise to advise that person to go into debt to pursue his desire. This is often the case: we must surround ourselves with good advice in order to discern the precise direction to follow.

This advice is important because Rabbi Nachman reminds us that we should not be shy or timid in our Divine Service. If at the first comment or strange look we put aside the mitswoth we must do, we run the risk of not doing them quite often! Between zeal and pride, the frontier is not always clear and we must pray to see it easily.

The next time we meet an obstacle in the realization of a mitzvah, we shouldn't give up immediately; instead, we should seriously consider if this obstacle is sent by the good inclination (to protect us) or the evil inclination (to stop us to go closer of G-d).

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quote of the day

La citation du jour

"The essence of prayer depends on the heart." (Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan I, 49)

Comment: When we pray, we are practicing the essential aspect of our Divine service. If our prayers were really at the level they should be, no further action would be more important and the entire Creation of the universe would find its justification in our Holy words.

Yet we are so far from the truth that we believe regularly that praying means only saying a few words, without necessarily taking into account the place where our thoughts are during this time.

This can be compared to a husband who tells his wife that he loves her, while thinking about what he will eat for his next meal. If his wife knew it, would she be happy? Thus, we must realize that praying is a very exalted concept that needs our attention and our heart.

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Sighing to death

DAVENING 1

Do we often sigh? To sigh deeply regretting what we did, said or thought: is it part of our lives? Sighing is valuable because when comes out from our mouth a breath of regret, we kill the evil we have done, said or thought. Sounds simplistic? Yet ...

The sight of regret is the equivalent of the blush that transforms our human face in tomato ... when nobody sees us. Blushing when you are caught doing something bad is not very praiseworthy. The situation is different when a person blushes while being alone, when he realizes the seriousness of his action. The individual who is ashamed of himself – really - reached an extremely high spiritual level.

Ashamed... alone

Let's imagine the situation: one person - in the middle of the night - gets up and thinks about what he did, said or thought during the previous day. Suddenly, a unfortunate gesture, word or thought comes at the surface of his memory and he feels a huge embarrassment from it. A sigh comes out from his mouth, a tear may even appear in his eyes. Within seconds, he has transformed his fault in merit. The sigh, the tear, if any, are all that G-d expects from us.

While one should certainly not transgress and think that it will be enough to sigh then, we should do not necessarily believe that G-d is in despair from our mistakes and more or less frequent errors. Ultimately, is not G-d Himself who created us with our evil inclination? Thus, the essence of our mission in this world is to fight it and to regret - at the highest point - the many occasions when it was stronger than us.

Here's what we should to tell G-d: "Master of the world, I wanted You so much! How did I fall, how did I deceive me? What power has this evil inclination to win so many times! I promise You that I no longer wish to fall. Help me! Without You, what can I do? Am I not a worm when compared to the great force of Satan? Do not forsake me, I beg You! "

If this prayer comes before or after a real sigh, we can have the satisfaction of having fulfilled to perfection the role given to us by G-d in this world. Without fault, the sigh cannot exist. Without sighing, it becomes impossible to get closer to G-d. Make yourself the equation: without fault, it is impossible to get closer to G-d. This is one of the many contradictions that the human mind cannot grasp or understand. This is also emunah (faith): to believe with certainty that we can turn our sins into merits.

But let us never sigh if it doesn't come from our heart: G-d knows the depths of our thoughts. It is not shameful to complain to the Creator of our insensitivity and to express our desire - one day or another - to feel within ourselves the embarrassment of our many faults. This too is part of our lives. Our imperfections were given to us by G-d, let's not forget that!

At birth, each person gets a lifetime guarantee: that of an immediate breakdown service - 24 hours a day and seven days a week - on condition to grab the spiritual phone which is the sigh of regret. The service is flawless, eternal and free. Within seconds, it erases the sins and turns them in merits. Would it not be wrong not to call it?

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