Parsha Chaya Sarah – Eretz Yisrael, going beyond yourself and finding Love
Welcome to another exciting Parsha. As Rabbi Nachman said – the Parsha is about you and me. It Is Chaya Parsha and our Parsha starts off with the story how Avraham purchased the cave and Field in Hebron. This is the birthplace of people. This shows our historical right and connection to Hebron. The EU, the Democrats UNESCO, social media and the Arabs are trying to rewrite history. So let's use out weekly meeting with Shabbat to make Torah - our connection to the truth, our guidebook relevant to us. Let's learn and connect to what has kept the Jewish people alive and vibrant over the last 2000 years and more It is poignant that this week.
So, we thank President Trump who by no coincidence in the week Parsha Chaya Sara who recognized our (obvious) rights to our ancient Homeland – Judea & Samaria (which incorrectly referred to as the West Bank). No, it is not the West Bank. It is Judea our birthplace as this powerful video of Reb Shlomo Show.
We also thank President Trump for his moral Compass. Thank you combatting the lies and false claim of Occupation. Yes, Israel is home to both Jews and Arabs. There is no reason why we can not live in liive in peace and stop the world incitement against Israel. Without going into politics, there is no question that there was massive immigration by both Jews and Arabs from 1882 and there was massive growth in Arab settlement in the Land illegaly occupied by Jordan where 35,000 people came to Hebron alone. The same pattern in Silwan and other areas of Jerusalem. As they say , a picture is worth a 1000 words. Photots from the mid 1800's tell the real story.
A Miracle Zivug for Yitzchak – Reb Shlomo
Everyone generation is special, but everybody knows, we are living in a very special time. The question is, what is so special about the times we are living in?
Everybody knows, this Shabbos we are learning that Eliezer is looking for a wife for Yitzchak. He made for himself a sing. He will stand by the well and if a girl comes and he will ask her for water, and she will say ' not only will I give you, but let me have the honor to also give water to your camels', she's the one.
Now the Medrash says that he say this little girl of three going down to the well, and the well was very deep. Eliezer saw, that she doesn't even have to go down all the steps to get the water. The moment she went down the first step, all the water from the well came up to greet her. Obviously, this means that as young as she is, she is very special and holy girl.
So everyone is asking, after seeing something like that, why would you have any question as to who the right girl is. This must be the girl for Yitzchak Avinu. A girl that is so holy that the water is greeting her, why is it that Rivkah wanting to give water to the camels is deeper than the miracle of water coming up to greet Rivkah?
Let me ask you a deeper question. According to the Medrash, this whole story took place Friday afternoon. Imagine, after she gives Eliezer some water, she would have said 'I'm sorry, I can give you water but I don't have time for the camels.' Who cares if she gives water to the camels? Isn't she holy enough based on t what took place before?
Let me share with you one more thing.
Avraham Avinu's life was filled with miracles. He was through into the fire, and spent three days in there, eventually coming out of it. He had a son at 99. In the wars that he fought with Eliezer against the other kings there were miracles upon miracles. Yitzchak Avinu? I'm sure he was surrounded by miracles day and night, but when it comes to Yitzchak Avinu, the torah doesn't really tell us about miracles.
So what's going on here? And here I want you to open your hearts.
There are G-d miracles and there are Israel miracles.
His miracles and our miracles.
Avraham is teaching the world that there is one G-d, and G-d can do anything. You can be in a fire for three days and you can come out. G-d can give you a baby when you are one hundred. Yitzchak's thing in the world is Jewish miracles. A man of 37 is ready to die for G-d a million times. Do you know what kind of girl he was looking for? He wasn't looking for w girl who is holy enough that the water comes to greet her. He wants to see if she is a miracle worker, but what type of miracle worker? Someone asks her for a glass of water and she says 'can I please have the honor of also giving water to your camels?'
Friends, what we need today is 'us' miracles.
Let me tell you, the truth is, every Jew who is holding out in Israel, it's not G-d's miracle - it's a Jewish miracle.
I just want to give you and me and all of us strengths, lets continue to perform great miracles. Any Jew in the world who is still a Jew today is a miracle. Not G-d's miracle, our miracle. A Jew who still believes that one day the whole world will be filled with peace - it's our miracle. It's a Yitzchak Avinu miracle.
A tzaddik, is someone who is doing everything right, walking in G-d's path, that's maybe a little bit G-d's miracle. A person who suddenly changes his whole life, a ba'al tshuvah- that's a Jewish miracle. That a Jew wants so much to be a Jew, and is ready to give up everything in the world.
So I want to bless you and me and all of us. We should be priviliged to see all these holy miracles happening, until one day G-d will have to do one more miracle, but at that time friends... it will be a combined miracle.
When Mashiach is coming, let it be tonight.
Ve'eineiu Tire'na Malchutecha
Yitzchak Avinu - Post Akeida
There are two different levels in serving G-d.
One level is that through my Avodas Hashem, through my serving G-d the world should know there is one G-d. The other level is where it has nothing to do with the world, it's just me and G-d. So to speak, the world doesn’t exist. There is only one G-d, that’s it. This is also a very high level.
These two levels are the basic difference between Avraham and Yitzchak. Avraham Avinu is always thinking about how he wants the world to know there is one G-d. For Yitzchak there is no world, just him and G-d. But Yitzchak is so much aware of the presence of G-d. Yitzchak is all about that there is only one G-d, so much so that Yitzchak doesn’t pray for anything. Yitzchak is not on the level to ask G-d for something, because if G-d wants to give it to me - He gives it to me.
Everyone knows that the emanation of Yitzchak is Gevurah, to fear and be in awe before G-d. When Eliezer brought Rivkah to Yitzchak it says ‘and he brought her to his tent and he loved her'. Strange, suddenly Yitzhak comes to the level of Ahava and starts to connect with love? What happened to Yitzchak?
I’m sure Avraham Avinu prayed for Yitzchak, but the Torah never says openly that Avraham and Sarah prayed for children. The first one who mamesh prays for children is Yitzchak. Yitzchak? Isn’t Yitzchak the one who says that if G-d wants me to have something he will give it to me? Yitzchak shouldn’t even pray. When did he learn how to pray? The answer is that something happened to Yitzchak.
After the Akeida Yitzchak Avinu learns how to reach beyond himself.
Except from Reb Shlomo Brodt z”l Parshas Chayei Sarah
We dedicate today's learning to all our brothers and sisters who are seeking their soul-mates; may the merit of Yitzchak and Rivkah help them find one-another, quickly, b'simcha. May we merit the complete redemption quickly in our days, Amen.
Have a wonderful Shabbos
Reb Shlomo Carlebach on Parshat Chayei Sarah
“And Isaac went out to the field to pray toward the evening”-
You know my darling friends, what is Yitzchak all about? When it comes to the last few minutes of the day, Yitzchak shows up. Our holy father Yitzchak brought the prayer of Mincha down to the world. You see what it is, when I wake up in the morning like Avraham Avinu, I have so many gevalt plans for today, but when the day is over, gevalt, am I broken.
Let me share with you something so heartbreaking and yet so beautiful. In the Freidiker Rebbe’s diary (Sefer HaSichos, the year 5708, p. 227) he writes that when he was five years old he went on a walk with his father at around Mincha time, late afternoon. His father, the Rashab, asked him why is the sun red before it sets? And this is what his father told him. Every morning when the sun begins to shine the sun is saying that today I will bring Mashiach, today I will redeem the world. But then, when the day is over and it didn’t happen, the sun is ashamed. So the sun gets red with shame.
So the prayer of Mincha is whatever you hoped for this day, God says you didn’t do it, but I give it to you as a gift. I don’t want you to walk away from this day thinking you didn’t do anything,
and Mashiach will come tomorrow
THE RAINS OF MAR-CHESHVAN
B"H it is thundering and lightning and raining and pouring here in Eretz Yisrael. May it always be גשמי ברכה - rains of blessing! This
Shabbos we will bless the new month of Kislev and soon we will be celbrating Channukah בס"ד. It will be Rosh Chodesh on Thurs and Fri this coming week. Chodesh Tov
Reb Tzaddok Ha-Kohen of Lublin teaches that the rains of Mar Cheshvan are reminding us to see to it that we actualize the commitments we made to Torah learning, as we danced with the Torah on Simchas Torah. "Ain mayim elah Torah", 'water' represents Torah, for just like water flows from a higher place to a lower one so too the holy Torah comes from a higher place and flows down to us. "Ya'arof kamatar likchi - let My teachings come down like a fine rain". So may the words of Torah. Being at one with the Hashem includes being at one with the physical world, and so when it rains we can meditate on the words of Torah as droplets of rain nourishing our souls, like the drops of rain that are nourishing the trees and plants of the new season.
A Good Shabbos message from Avraham
Words can hardly express the depth of blessing of this first month at Chazon Shlomo. I feel as if HaShem has granted me a tremendous gift, through the teachers and organizers of the Yeshiva, to grow in Torah, to connect my mind with my heart, to serve the Holy One in truth. Each one of the students here is unique and brilliant in their own way, and together we are building a community dedicated to Torah, Tefila, and Gemilit Hasadim. Every day we learn Chassidut, Mishnayot, Halacha, and Gemara intensively, and our shiurim and chevrutot are so joyful that they often carry us through the lunch hour or late into the night. We sing together, we hold each other accountable to high standards of kindness, and we daven for the realization of our people, the sanctification of our lives, and the unification of HaShem's name. We wish everyone a Shabbos of peace, blessing, and connection
‘Thirty Days Before The Holiday’
GETTING READY FOR CHANNUKAH
In the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, we learn that "thirty days before the holiday we ask and seek [to understand] the halachot of the holiday". Simply speaking there is so much to learn and to know that we cannot possibly be ready for the holiday unless we start learning about it a month in advance. The Chassidic masters explain that there are two aspects to the study of Halacha, [usually translated as] Jewish Law. Halacha teaches us what we are supposed to do, what is permissible and what is forbidden. The root of the word "Halacha" is 'hei' - 'lamed' – 'chaf'. 'La-lechet' (infinitive) means 'to go'. Halacha reveals both the practical and conceptual 'pathway' for living life in accordance with Hashem's will. Halacha also points toward the inner transformations that the Torah wants us to accomplish within ourselves. Halacha teaches us not only what to do, but also what and how to be.
In celebrating our holy days, we are celebrating and commemorating important events that took place a long time ago in our history, as they come around each year at specific times, but that is not all. Chassidus explains that the same miraculous Divine emanations that Hashem revealed at those special times in the past, are revealed once again each year, as each holiday arrives. Thus during each holiday we are once again given the opportunity to access or connect with the special holy gift of the miraculous emanation that Hashem revealed to us 'in those days at this time'. In order to accomplish this we need to prepare ourselves, therefore, "Thirty days before the holiday we ask [pray] and seek to know 'the ways' of the holiday."
In one month from now we will b'ezrat Hashem be celebrating Channukah, and so the time for getting ready has arrived. In this week's parsha we learn about the difference between 'living' our lives vs. just biding our time or 'killing time' in this world. Sarah Imeinu 'lived' her life, so did Avraham Avinu. All her years were equally good; from the best of them to the most difficult of them, she 'lived' each day, each year. To 'live' our lives we need light; not the light of the Greeks which illuminates only the exterior, but rather we need the light of the Torah, the Or Ganuz, the Hidden Light that Hashem created on the first day of Creation. This light shines into us and shines from within. This is the light of Channukah; b'ezrat Hashem we will prepare ourselves to receive this light over the next few weeks.
Our parsha this week is called CHAYEI SARAH – THE LIFE OF SARAH:
וַיִּהְיוּ חַיֵּי שָׂרָה, מֵאָה שָׁנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים--שְׁנֵי חַיֵּי שָׂרָה
"Va'yi'he'yu chayei Sarah, meyah shanah, v'esrim shanah, v'shevah shanim, "And the days of Sara’s life were, one hundred years and twenty years and seven years, THE YEARS OF THE LIFE OF SARAH". (Gen. 23:1)
TO REALLY LIVE EACH DAY – real Jewish renewal
[We once asked Reb Shlomo zt”l, who would be our Rebbes if ‘chas v’shalom Moshiach was not yet here while he and the Lubavitcher Rebbe were still alive? His answer was that we were entering a period without Rebbes who could speak to and for all of Israel and that our salvation would depend on us; that there was no other way, other than to be best friends!
An old friend in Montreal used to say, “What does a friend owe a friend? Friendship!!!”
We must learn how to be true friends. Not that we don’t know what it means to be a true friend. We all know what kind of love and friendship we want. We must learn to understand that every obstacle I face in being best friends, is there to teach me something very important about myself and the work I need to do to actualize my best, to fulfill my soul’s purpose and mission in this world; and ‘I’ must do the work!
We absolutely have to believe that Hashem trusts us to do our best each day. We have to believe in ourselves and in each other: know that every one of us has tremendous worth and potential beyond our worldly imagination ….
the following learning includes suggested strategies for achieving renewal and ownership of each day of our lives… these require ongoing effort and commitment …. the holy Piaseczner Rebbe strongly advised the formation of small groups of sincere friends, committed to getting together once a week to discuss their ideals and progress, and to provide one another with the support and encouragement towards actualizing their highest ideals… we would like to hear from you – are you already [or considering] implementing any of the mentioned strategies? do you have others that you would like to suggest? how can we be of help? SHABBAT SHALOM]
Note the repetition of the words 'Chayei Sarah' at the opening and closing of the verse. After first emphasizing 'Chayei Sarah'... the LIFE of SARAH. Though the Torah is telling us about Sarah's 'petirah' –the departure of her soul to Olam Habah- the emphasis is on the LIFE OF SARAH! Rashi says that every one of Sarah's years was considered good. Despite the fact that she was childless for most of her life, and though she had faced many severe hardships, all the years of her life were "good."
Further in the parsha it says "And Avraham was old, advanced in years, and Hashem had blessed Avraham with everything." (Bereishis 24:1) The phrase "ba ba-yamim" is not easy to translate. Literally it would translate as – come in days. According to the Zohar and the Chassidic commentaries "ba ba-yamim," expresses how Avraham 'lived' his life. Avraham and Sarah 'lived' each day of their lives with purpose. They experienced newness and renewal each day. All the Chassidic masters' commentaries on this parsha, focus on the importance of "hitchadshut" – self-renewal. Renewal is understood as finding and experiencing the newness of Hashem's life energy each day, doing each mitzvah each act of loving kindness, learning each word of Torah with excitement and vitality, as if it was the 'first time'.
Reb Shlomo zt"l was always seeking to find and sing the Shir Chadash – the 'new song' - the great new song that the whole world is waiting for us to sing. The question is "How are we to do this?" Let us first understand "what is the meaning of renewal?" In Hebrew the word is "hit-chadshut" – to make new again. Renewal does not mean to 'replace' the old with something new, for this would only be a momentary solution, and hence the 'new' is doomed and destined to become 'old'.
ABOVE - ALL IS NEW
King Solomon said "ain kol chadash thachat ha-shemesh" – there is nothing new under the sun! (Kohelet ) The Sfas Emes teaches that his holy grandfather the Chidushei Ha-rim explained that 'under the sun' there is nothing new, everything is old or becomes old. But 'above the sun' –above nature- all is new! King David said, "Forever, Hashem, your words stand firm in the heavens." (Psalms 119:89) The Baal Shem Tov explained that the very words and letters of the ten creative utterances continuously stand firmly in the heavens. Hashem is constantly saying, "Let there be light," etc. Hashem is constantly renewing the Creation, as we say in our daily prayers, "In His goodness, He renews each day the work of Creation." (In the second book of the Tanya, Shaar Ha-yichud V'ha-emmunah, the Alter Rebbe explains this at length.) If we can attach ourselves to 'above the sun', then we can experience renewal each day. Again we ask, "How are we to do this?"
To attain self-renewal is a process. There are many lessons to be learned and a lot of work is required. The important thing is to remember that we can accomplish this, provided that we are willing to do the work. The following are but a few of the many teachings of the Chassidic masters on acquiring renewal. One should learn as much one can about the process, and wisely choose the strategies that are personally most appropriate and apply them.
VALUE, APPRECIATE AND TAKE POSSESSION
The Sfas Emes teaches in the name of the holy Zohar that Avraham Avinu 'acquired' every experience of spiritual arousal and enlightenment and brought them along with him into his old age. He also was in possession of these when he arrived in heaven. Such experiences were created for him each day of his life, and they are available to us as well. In fact Hashem desires to enlighten us all the time. So why are we old?
The problem is, as the Sfas Emes suggests, that when we experience such moments of holy awakenings, we sadly choose to let go of them. A window, a gateway to the spiritual world of newness and renewal 'above the sun' is opened and instead we prefer to drown in the world of nature 'below the sun'.
If we truly want to 'live' anew each day, we must cherish those special moments of enlightenment. We must stay with them, value them and acquire them. Imagine that as you are taking a walk and suddenly you find some very beautiful and precious gems right in front of you (and they don't belong to anyone). Wouldn't you happily stop to pick them up and take them into your possession? Wouldn't you be aware and thankful that these will afford you new opportunities, otherwise unattainable? Likewise when aroused spiritually by a beautiful teaching, by a kind deed, by an inspiring song – appreciate it, value it and take possession of it. It is a gift from Hashem.