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Parshas Haazinu – Don’t hide from me

"All year long everyone in his own way is suffering from amnesia. We forgot what a Jew is, we forgot what a human being is, and we forgot who G-d is. Rosh Hashana when we blow the Shofar, we remember everything. On Yom Kippur, we wash up and on Sukkot we move back into our heavenly abode -- to the palace we are meant to live in" Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

הַאֲזִינוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וַאֲדַבֵּרָה וְתִשְׁמַע הָאָרֶץ אִמְרֵי-פִי

We wish every one of you a 'gmar chatimah tovah', ‘a gutten kvittel’ may this be a wonderful year both physically and spiritually, b'ezrat Hashem. I love building sukkot, it is such a pleasure. May we all merit to sit together in Hashem’s Sukkah of Peace – together with Moshiach Now!

In addition to some selections from previous years, there are a few new teachings on the opening verses of Haazinu written this morning, following after some raw words written late at night after Yom Kippur. You will find my name being used in this piece, but you can just as well insert anyone else’s, even yours if appropriate. The second stanza unfortunately applies to many fathers and mothers who were chased away or had to flee from their children during the Holocaust. Let’s move chronologically:

Between Yom Kippur and Sukkot: Are you ready for Joy (1)

Some raw words written late at night after Yom Kippur:

Again You are hiding

and we don’t see the truth with clarity

what do You have in store for us this year

will we have the strength of mind and courage

to believe to see to know

that it is all very good

though I say I believe

or at least want to believe

in Divine Providence

though I at least want to believe

that all You do is good

and for the good

I don’t understand why You allowed me

to be chased away from my children

I don’t understand why they too had to suffer

how was it better for them to grow up without me

am I was I such a lousy father?

do I not know how to be a good father?

is this my biggest failure in life?

and how did my heart and soul get so

imprisoned again

for they are so imprisoned

making excuses for myself

is also a prison

not knowing what to do

is also a prison

not knowing how to allow myself to be b’simcha

is also a prison

not knowing how to live and be honest

is also a prison

Sholom, the Alter Rebbe taught

listen and hear you are ‘Yisrael’

but you are out of alignment

so your ‘Yisrael’ neshamah is not illuminating your life

keep on reminding yourself and meditating

“you are Yisrael”

no matter what

don’t stop believing that

even for a moment

get yourself back into realignment

you must

let your Yisrael illuminate within

radiate Hashem’s light to your children and grandchildren

no matter how from how far away

they need to receive your light from afar

you cannot know why

not yet

but this is very good for you for them

for now stop trying to understand it

stop looking at your life superficially

illuminate within be beautiful within

and you will radiate outward

that is how it will be beautiful again

inside and outside

don’t accept the concealment

don’t strengthen it

look deeper look higher

please do not be angry at Me

I am ready to help you

you have to stop being angry at Me

at yourself

get in touch with your ‘Yisrael’

and it will be clear that

Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad

that you are one with Hashem’s Oneness

and you will be able to declare this truth with joy

through time and space

you will shine and reflect Hashem’s glory

and you will see Hashem Hu HaElokim

you will see Hashem’s love and goodness in everything

nothing will conceal His radiant light from you

strengthen yourself, your faith

your commitment and resolve

do the ‘fixing’ you need to do

daaven the way you know you should

the way of honesty

learn like you should

accept the yoke of ‘shamayim’ with joy

and remember

‘Sholom, you are Yisrael’

these words were received and written just this morning

“Listen heavens and I will speak

let the earth hear the words of my mouth”

the heavens hear your decisions, your commitments

the earth listens to the words of your mouth, to how you speak

therefore I pray that my speech should be productive like the rains

my words refreshing like the dew

when I call out Hashem’s name in His sanctuary

respond with praise to His greatness

when you hear Hashem’s Name within

praise Him

for He is speaking to you

telling you ‘I am here’

Shma Yisrael listen and know

you are Yisrael, your neshamah is a part of Hashem

your essence is your higher soul – “Yisrael”

all your energies and strengths emanate from Him b”H

listen and hear His compassionate words

listen carefully respond with gratitude and truth

feel His words

tremble as they reverberate through your body

through the heavens and earth

be so very careful when you speak

for the heavens do hear you

even the earth is listening

to the truth and love in your voice

in Hashem’s holy Kodesh- sanctuary

you have been given two gifts

to pronounce His holy Name, to bring His close presence

into the consciousness of the world

to speak words that will make a positive difference

in your life in the lives of your children and loved ones

words that will make a real positive productive change in the world

and He also gives you the gift

to respond with gratitude- sincere gratitude

there are times you can speak beautiful holy words

and there are times when you can (only) hear them

you have the gift to respond with gratitude

and pronounce--

“through time and space

Your glory shines

our blessed King”

and from whom will you hear Hashem’s Name

when you are in the holy

you can hear it from the children

you can hear it from your neighbor

from the bus driver and from your grocer

you can hear it even from those you least expected

when you are consciously aware that you are Yisrael

you are b’simcha not only with your gifts

you can rejoice with your friend’s gifts

then you can really dance

then you can hear Hashem’s Name

Hashem’s live energy

reverberating through every cell in your body

Remember to say with gratitude:

“through time and space Your glory shines

our blessed King”


Have a wonderful Shabbos b’ahavah ubiuvracha


Shma Yisrael

Between Yom Kippur and Sukkot: Are you ready for Joy (2)

At the end of the Yom Kippur – Neila service, we all proclaimed out loud, "Shma Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad", and then we repeated "Baruch Shem K'vod Malchuto l'Olam Va'ed" three times, and then we said "Hashem Hu Ha'Elokim" seven times.

One difference between Yom Kippur and Sukkot is that on Yom Kippur we do ‘tshuvah m’yirah’ – tshuvah inspired by fear and awe of Hashem, but on Sukkot we do ‘tshuvha m’ahavah’ – tshuvah inspired by love of Hashem. The tshuvah of Yom Kippur needs to be anchored with the joy of Sukkot.

The Sfas Emes explains that you have complete free choice only when your heart is filled with joy. Reb Shlomo put it this way “Unless you are filled with joy, you are not one with Hashem!”

Hashem is giving us so much joy over the Sukkot holiday – zman simchateinu – the season of our joy, that you can’t help but feeling joyous. Only a joyous heart can completely accept Torah and mitzvot with a full heart.

After Yom Kippur when our hearts have been cleansed of negativity, we are free once again to really be joyous and to have real love for Hashem and for everyone in our family and for every one of our brothers and sisters.

IMG 2585


Ha'azinu hashomayim va'adabeyra-Hearken heaven and I shall speak

v'tishmah ha’aretz imrei fee-let the earth hear my mouth's sayings.

Ya'arof ka'matar likchi-let my instruction flow as rainfall

teezal ka'tal imratee-let my saying drip as dew

k'se'eerim alei deshe-like storm winds on verdure

v'chirvivim alei eisev-and like raindrops on grass (Deut.32:1-2)

It's the last day of Moshe Rabbeinu’s life and this is his song. In the opening verses of this very deep song, Moshe Rabbeinu calls upon the heavens and the earth to be witnesses to the covenant that we accepted to fulfill. And what is the testimony that the witnesses are to deliver?

Says Rashi on verse 2: "Let my instruction flow like rainfall" – This is the witness you are to bear: That I declare before you that the Torah that I have given to Yisrael, is life to the world like the very rainfall which is life to the world, when the heavens flow with dew and rainfall.'

Seven - barley


Further in the same verse, Rashi explains: "Like storm winds". Just as the winds fortify vegetation and nurture it, so too do the words of Torah nurture those who study them.

The Torah [in the second paragraph of the 'Shma' Deut. 11] states that there is a direct relationship between the fulfillment of the mitzvot and the gifts of the rains and bountiful crops. However, this relationship is not always an obvious one. For as we find in the Talmud, there is a "tzaddik v'ra lo," the righteous one who is living with suffering, and there is a "rasha v'tov lo," the wicked one who is prospering. Both of these situations seemingly contradict our concepts of reward and punishment! And thus Moshe Rabbeinu continues in our parsha:

"The Almighty's works are flawless, for all His ways are just; A G-d of faithfulness without injustice; He is righteous and upright" (Deut. 32:4 )

Rashi brings us the traditional explanation found in the Talmud: 'A G-d of faithfulness.' By rewarding the righteous for their righteousness in the World to Come. Although He delays rewarding them, in the end He is faithful to His word.'