Parsha Korach and Tammuz - PEACE
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 geeting 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.
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 opportunity to actually do something good at least once in your life!
4. -next, focus on a nekudah tovah – positive point in the person you have been arguing with, appreciate their good point and ‘see’ them in that place
5. -give each other blessings of all kinds [and if you find that you are not yet ready to bless the one you were arguing with, start by giving blessings to others and to yourself; this will quickly put you into a better space and then you will be able to give an honest blessing to your challenger – this will allow you and your rival to become allies
6. -end the time out with a prayer to see with a ‘good eye’ and together resolve the conflict in a peaceful way: no one should feel that they weren’t heard- and if you need someone to help you do that then don’t be shy or too proud to get help
7. Repeat as often as necessary – b’simcha and with Hashem’s help you will grow to be the beautiful person you truly wish to be. Remember this is just a brief outline, try to use it well.
If I remember correctly one of the answers to Reb Shlomo’s question is that we are the ones who need to write Masseches Sholom Bayis. Another answer is that you don’t learn Shalom Bayit from a book, you have to engage yourself to work as hard as necessary towards achieving it. Let’s do it.
In the last Mishna in 'masechet Brachot' the first volume of the Talmud, we learn: "when the 'minim' [non-believers in the complete and total Oneness of Hashem] had caused distortions in the belief of Hashem, the Rabbis made a 'takkanah' [a fixing], that the verse in Psalms should read "Blessed is the name of Hashem from the (this) world unto (all) the world (s)"; and they further made another 'takkanah' that each person should greet his friend in the name of Hashem".
The 'minim' believed that there is a G-d in heaven, but He does not care to pay attention to what is going on here in this world.....as if this world is void of Hashem 'chas veshalom'. ... and so the Rabbis made 'takkanot' to fix the situation. The second 'takkanah' that we are to say hello to each other by using Hashem's name, is very interesting. This is the reason why we say Shalom to each other, for "Shalom" is [one of] the names of Hashem !
Now think about this. Why would saying "Shalom" to your neighbour instead of "Hello" make a difference? Would my friend's use of Hashem's name in saying hello to me make any difference if i wasn't a believer? Why is it that sometimes when you see a religious Jew you feel 'connected' and close, and sometimes you feel distant and estranged?
Reb Shlomo ztz"l explained that there are two ways in doing a mitzvah. You can do the mitzvah for yourself alone, because you want to do the right thing, but you aren't connected to your fellow Jews. Your religious practice is between you and yourself, and like minded people; the rest are 'non-practitioners' or 'non-believers'. Then there is doing a mitzvah "b'sheym kol Yisrael" in the name of all of Israel, in the name of every single Jew. You are connected to each Jew and you are serving Hashem on behalf of everyone. So Reb Shlomo explained that when you meet such a Jew, who acts 'b'shem kol Yisrael', in the name of all of Israel, even if you yourself are not practicing the mitzvot so much, you feel connected to them.