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Let there be Peace

Parshat Korach and the month of Tammuz

Parshas Korach - VeAharon Ma Hu

Last week we read the story of the spies. The spies came back and they said Israel is a terrible country, it’s terrible, let’s not go there. This Shabbos we read Korach, a very holy man.

He comes to Moshe and Aaron and says, “I deserve to be the High Priest." I want to share something very fast with you. I want you to know, I have two friends: there’s one friend, whenever I do something wrong, this friend is so beautiful, he points it out to me right away. Unbelievable friend, I make a mistake and he puts it right on my plate. A good friend, right. Are you looking for that kind of a friend? I’m not. I’ll tell you, I have another friend, the real friend. When I do something wrong, you know what he says? It’s all my fault, if I would be better, you would be better also. You know a lot of parents put a lot on their children, they are cute parents. I wouldn’t like to be their son or their daughter. You know what good parents are? They say inside, “Oy, if I would be better, my children would be better.”

I’ll make it very fast. The Zohar says, when the spies walked into Eretz Yisrael, they had clear prophecy. You know what they saw? They saw rivers of blood from Yerushalayim all over the world. They saw the destruction of the Temple. They saw the Inquisition, they saw Auschwitz, they saw everything. “Let’s not go there. But there’s one little thing they didn’t see. You know what? They didn’t see that we are not going into Israel because of them. They were the cause. You are 100% right, everything the miraglim (the spies) said was right, but one little thing is missing. It’s their fault.

I want you to know, when Aharon HaCohen walked into the Holy of Holiest on Yom Kippur, what did he say to G-d? You know he didn’t even ask for forgiveness, he didn’t say one word. You know what he said? He walked into the Holy of Holiest and said, “Master of the Universe. It’s all my fault, because I’m the High Priest. If I would be better, they would also be better." Gevalt, Holy of Holiest. You know what holy is? Holy is to be a good person. Holy of Holiest is to say everything wrong is my fault. You know, Korach, it’s just the other way around. Korach says, “I’m the holiest Jew.” So what did he say in the Holy of Holiest? He’ll go into G-d and say, “Listen, Brother G-d, do you realize that You are talking to the holiest Jew in the world?” Who needs it? That’s not holy. And you know what the difference is? Korach says, “I am holy.” Have you ever met those people who stand before you and say, “I am holy.” Disgusting, because even if they are holy, it smells so bad. It’s so disgusting, who wants to hear it?

You know what Aharon HaCohen says? “V’Aharon mah hu”. Aharon says, “Oy, you are so much better than me. You are so good, you are so holy, you are so beautiful." You know friends, whenever we see something wrong in the world, it should be clear to us, it is our fault. We have to fix it, we have to fix it. We need people like Aharon HaCohen. Every person he sees, he says, “You are so good, you are so holy. You are so much better than I am."

My dear friends, I know that someday, you will all be shining lights in the world. I beg you, whenever you see something wrong in the world, think about it, Maybe it’s our fault. If you would be better, the whole world would be better.est


This weeks Parsha starts with Korach took. What did he take?

Everytime the Torah uses the word קיחה it’s referring to business. קיחה קיחה משדה עפרון.

So ויקח קרח Korach took his Yiddishkeit on the level of business... I do this, you give me that. We all do that with HaShem. I want a new car so I’ll do a few mitzvos in exchange so HaShem owes me a car etc. Korach was a perfect tzadik, he never did anything wrong. He looks at Aharon, sees he made the Golden Calf, how can he be the Kohen Gadol, the highest position. That should be me!!!

What was Korach’s mistake? He saw the spiritual world the same as the physical world. Why is the other guy president not me? He must be taking my place! So I have to knock him off, push him off his place. But in the spiritual world no one is taking anyone else’s place. Everyone is on their own ladder.

The Earth, the most humble of creations who makes room for everyone and allows everyone to step on it, says to Korach, if you don’t have room for others and think they are always taking your place, then I don’t have room for you! So the Earth opened up and swallowed him.

Brothers and Sisters, may we always have place for each other

(with thanks Dr. Moshe Rothkopf for sharing)

We are at the beginning of the month of Tammuz- the month of fixing of seeing.

We Share teachings to be careful about Machloket (Arguments) with wisdom for Shalom Habayit (Peace in the Home) and power of greeting people with Shalom.

Tammuz - Reuven - Month of Seeing

As shared by Mindy Ribner who was a close student of Reb Shlomo from 1977 to 1994. Mindy is a certified social worker in private practice incorporating meditation and Kabbalah as part of healing. She is the author of six books on meditation, healing and Biblical women and can be contacted me at Beitmiriam@msn.com to sign up for newsletter. www.Kabbalahoftheheart.com.

" From a secular perspective, many think of the summer as a carefree time, a time to travel, relax and have fun. According to Kabbalah, Tammuz is a hot and challenging month. The heat one experiences is not just physical but also emotional and spiritual. That is why we need to be mindful of the emotional intensity of this month and why it is important to be particularly sensitive to ourselves and others this month. Tammuz is still ultimately a good and wonderful month but only if we know how to use its intense energy constructively. When we do this we grow through challenges in ways that may not be possible at any other period of the year. " Kabbalah Month by Month( Page 247-8)

" The divine permutation for the month is reversed. Tammuz can be a time of reversals. We expect one thing to happen but something totally different happens. As much as we may like to think we are in control of our lives, we need to realize our limitations, let go and invite God into our lives. This is one of the deep teachings of this month.

"As hard as it may be, we must realize that whatever happens to us can be an opportunity for growth and healing. We grow the most when confronting our greatest challenges. Tammuz is a month of judgement, we need to accept that nothing is accidental or coincidental. Through we have free will, everything is also divine providence. ( Kabbalah Month byMonth, pg 251)

" The astrological sign for Tammuz is Cancer. The Hebrew word for cancer is sartan, which means ' Satan". a name that reveals the difficulty of the tests of this month. The ruling body of Cancer is the moon. The moon is always changing, making Tammuz an emotional time with many ups and downs. One has to learn to ride the emotional rollercoaster of Tammuz. " Kabbalah Month by Month)

How do we grow through our challenges and tests? How do we see God amidst all the turmoil? These are questions we must be mindful of during this month. According to this month, the fixing of this month is seeing. We often fail to see life as it is and not as we hope or fear. In last week's Torah portion we read about the spies. Upon seeing the inhabitants of the land of Israel, the spies, with the exception of two of them, report that " we were like grasshoppers in our eyes and so we were in the eyes of their eyes.' ( Numbers 13:33). The ten spies only saw their fear projected. They failed to see the opportunities for growth available in the challenge of entering the land. Most importantly, they forgot that the land had been promised to them by God. Ultimately, their fears were fulfilled. They never entered the land of Israel. They were punished for discouraging others from entering the land.

In this week's Torah portion we read the story of Korah. Korah, a cousin of Moses, along with members of the tribe of Rueven challenged the authority of Moses with words like " You take too much authority upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst. Why do you raise yourselves about the Lord's assembly."

Even though these words may resonate with many freedom loving people today, this dispute with Moses was not considered to be for the sake of heaven, unlike the disputes of Hillel and Shammai. Behind these lofty words, it is said that Korah and the Ruevenites were really jealous of Moses's authority and angry that Moses did not elevate them for leadership roles. Moses tries to warn Korah and his followers to retreat in pursuing conflict with Moses, but they persisted and they died by either fire or were buried by the earth. This Torah portion reminds us that we need to see through externalities to see what the underlying truth we really is, especially in pursuing conflict. If we are honest with ourselves and find that jealousy is underneath our conflict, we need to purify our hearts and deepen our faith before we make accusations or judgments against others. These teachings seem to have particular resonance for today's heated political climate.

The month of Tammuz is about perfection of our seeing. What we see reflects our thinking. We must know that we are not limited or stuck in our thinking. We can change and transform our negative thinking. This month we need to breathe, meditate, and open to see life more clearly and calmly. During this month of Tammuz, we may be asked to see through appearances, and if it is necessary, internal and external structures will begin to break down to allow us true seeing to occur. During this month of reversals, we may find that what we held as true is now seen as false. It is confusing, not always easy or comfortable. But truth is most important. As it is said, the truth will set us free.

Many times people become upset about something that is not true. When we are upset or frustrated, we need to question our assumptions. Take a moment to review recent responses to events in your life. If you are upset about something or someone, might you be making assumptions that are not true?

What helps us to grow through challenge and difficulty? Faith and gratitude can help us to transform what seems bitter into something sweet. If we believe in God, if we talk to God, if we connect to God, if we meditate, we can find that place of peace and unconditional love within us even in the midst of chaos and strife. It is at those times that it becomes clear to us that we can grow through challenges and become happier and better people. Nevertheless, there may still be times when our vision is obstructed and we can not see our way forward. At those times we have to simply let go of our resistance to life as life is showing up for us and get down on our knees ( metaphorically, usually) to call out for divine assistance and faith. Try it literally sometimes. Get down on your knees and open yourself to God. It is one thing to stand before God, and another thing to be on your knees before God. I know that Jews do not usually do that. We Jews used to kneel before the Christians adopted this practice and then we stopped doing it so as to distinguish ourselves from them. If you have never gotten on your knees before God, either literally or metaphorically, you may not yet have opened yourself to receive divine love and compassion.

From either a kneeling, sitting or standing position, raise your arms up to the sky. Know that your hands and fingers are spiritual antennas. Focus on your breath, deepen your breath, and open your heart and body to receive God's love. Imagine that your hands reach into heaven. And the top of your head opens to receive blessings from above. Hold your hands upwards as long as you can. Then very slowing allow your arms to float downwards, pausing several times as you return your hands to your sides.

During this month of Tammuz, let's remember that meditation, prayer and doing good deeds opens gates of blessing no matter what is taking place around us. God is always present, even when life seems challenging. It is we who need to call out and open ourselves to receive and give.

Blessings for a transformational Tammuz. Blessings, Melinda Mindy Ribner.

Tammuz - Fixing of Our Eyes – By R’ Sholom Brodt z”l

We are at the beginning of the month of Tammuz- the month of fixing of seeing. It is the month of Reuven. When her first son was born Leah said "SEE that Hashem has given me a son." It is during this month that the spies were looking at the Land of Israel. We must learn to look with our right eyes, with our good eyes. It is during this month that the scouts first saw Eretz Yisrael.

May we all be blessed to continue fixing our eyes, until we will all see the holiness of Eretz Yisrael, Am Yisrael and Torat Yisrael b’simcha together with Moshiach, quickly Now!

How did the satan take Korach?

if you think that your 'tallit' is completely blue- that you are whole and complete in your G-d consciousness if you think that because your house is filled with all the holy scrolls- that you are completely filled with Torah knowledge and therefore you don't need the פתיל תכלת blue thread on your tallit, or a mezuzah on your doorposts and gateways

if you think that you achieved complete holiness by yourself beware - you are a ripe fruit ready to be picked by the satan who will use you with your victim consciousness and lead you to a tragic end ויקח he took, he, the 'satan', took קורח Korach

שלום בית Shalom Bayit - Peace in your Home

In parshat Korach we encounter our deepest national and personal challenges. We have experienced a continuous rise in divorces for well over 40 years. I used to wonder what will be with all the children who grew up in the midst of [sometimes even vicious] arguments and fights between their fathers and mothers, would they still trust that it is possible the have Shalom Bayit- peaceful homes; would they still have trust that מחלוקת 'machloket' - argument, confrontation can be overcome and that real unity can be achieved?

It is of utmost importance that we learn and know how to fix. Knowledge and understanding alone of the dangers of ‘machloket’ are not enough. The fact is that we have to deal with division and though it is dangerous, there is something holy in it, for Hashem created it.

The very creation of the ‘second day’ is Hashem’s Creation of division. Because of unresolved separation it does not say “and Elokim saw ‘ki tov’- that it was good” on the second day of Creation, since it is left up to us to use ‘machloket’ only in the holiest of ways. But on the third day when separation first produces growth and life, it says “and Elokim saw ‘ki tov’- that it was good” TWICE!

Reb Shlomo zt”l told us that when he was still a young boy he asked ‘why don’t we have a ‘messechtas Sholom Bayis’ – we have a Talmud volume on divorce- Gittin, and we have one on marriage- Kiddushin, and we have one on marriage contracts- Ketubot – so why don’t we have a volume on Shalom Bayit, replete with teachings on how to build a home of real peace?

I sincerely invite everyone to share your ideas on effective ways to build homes with real Shalom Bayit. Please do send these to us, so that we may learn them together. The following is just a ‘skeletal outline’ of a hopefully helpful process for turning around the energy of a heated argument; it is not the solution or resolution, it is meant to shift the people involved and the energy towards being allies instead of rivals. Try it and see if you like it.

1. Chattan and Kallah, husband and wife, parents and children, make a holy agreement that anyone has the right to call for “time-out”. It is useful to agree upon a simple signal e.g., a number or a word, which when called out will be respected to immediately stop arguing for at least 5-10 minutes.

2. During the time-out: -each side is to sit quietly, breathe slowly and deeply, and say a simple sincere prayer, such as, ‘Hashem please help me keep my heart open to making peace.’

3. -next, focus on a personal positive point – ‘nekudah tovah’ and express genuine gratitude that you have had the opportuni