Raise your head child

Cloud-Heaven

5/29/2015

Raise your head child

Well this week’s post was a tough act to follow.

I can tell you that the blog and social media lit up as heart felt love and directed props poured through the universe. Sometimes the most sane wisdom comes from the darkest moments.

When you open a channel to a constricted pipe you experience an explosion of repressed expression – and when you hear a man in constriction expose his deepest darkest truths, it draws in our attention. We can relate in our own way. We feel proud because it represents raw and honest expression which is a very ventilating concept to those of us trapped in a world of self imposed boundaries and limitations. It’s fresh air that strikes a familiar nerve deep within anyone on the growth path of conscious living. Because on the path, at every turn, we meet our adversary whose purpose is to hold us down and guard us from reaching our potential – from raising our heads upwards.

Many have come out of the woodwork expressing their own darkness this week – and leaving them on the curb left to dry without another dose is just cruel. So here we go.

Nasso et Rosh– RAISE THE HEADS.

Even when we are knocked down, cycling through the mental obstacles we are facing – even when we feel banished from connection with the Source – especially then, we lift our heads.

We show up to service with open arms, open vessels, and plead to the Source like a loved child for mercy – for redemption – for stronger faith.

We raise our weary heads to the Source above, in pure honesty, humility and with the realization that every single thing comes from the Source – there is nothing but the Source above – all apparent duality and multiplicity comes from the One Source.

At service, on that bench, dressed up and surrounded with brothers and sisters – melting away from the grip of the week – with your list of wants and needs and requests for mercy on yourself and your loved ones – raising your head in authentic expression at that moment is a prerequisite.

Nasso, my bar mitzvah parsha, is about lifting my head to Hashem – expressing my desire and love of Hashem and requesting that He help me win this war. Only Hashem can rescue me as there is nothing other than Hashem.

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“When Moses arrived at the tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the Voice speaking to him from atop the Cover that was upon the Ark of the testimony, from between the two Chrubim, and He spoke to him.”

– Numbers 7:89

That same communication is going on today, every moment. The delight of experiencing the Divine Presence is the salvation. That’s winning the war. All other delights are fleeting. Shabbos Nasso gives us the opportunity to raise our heads and break free from our limitations – to re-establish our connection with the Source of our experience.

Our eternal soul is a giver and our temporary body is a taker. The joy experienced through giving is immeasurably greater than the pleasure of receiving. Soul connection is the desire to give, manifested.

The soul is an extension of the Source and the Source is endless blessing.

Soul connection is the experience of joy and sweetness in life. The sweetness of wisdom, connection and giving.

Lifting my head upwards means being in a constant state of gratitude for what appears to be going well and what appears to not be.

As the Baal HaSulam so eloquently put it:

“Eternal life is when you are ready to live every moment of your life forever”

Shabbat Shalom.

Blessings,

Etan

Raise your head child

Greetings from the psych ward | A message of hope

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5/27/2015

Greetings from the psych ward | A message of hope

From my nephew, Shmuel:

“So last night I had the most intense raw spiritual connection with God – something I have not experienced for years and completely lost hope in – I finally decided to put on my tefillin for the first time in years – the experience brought me to tears – I was in my room in a psych ward having a heart to heart conversation with God – I was telling Him, asking, begging to please give me the hope and strength to carry on – because I completely lost hope in my self, all humanity, and life in general – I never thought that things would get this bad for me, but for the first time in my life I had a suicide attempt – something that should have killed me – and it is a miracle that I am still in this world, which goes to show that I’m here for a greater purpose than my self and my mental illness.

I was hoping and praying that one day I could really touch the lives of other people in this world struggling like I am – I am in a constant battle with shame and depression – I am in a constant cycle of excruciating pain which I never see myself overcoming – what brought me to tears last night was my hope that God can show me something, anything that can bring me some level of hope – whether that was some kind of sign or purpose in this world.

I want everyone from all walks of life to hear my experience because although not everybody will understand, everybody can understand pain and has their ups and downs – and what I want to express to others is no matter how hard or how tough the experiences you are dealing with are, just know that we are all walking along our own narrow bridge through this world – and through sharing our own struggles and demons we encounter, we can come out of the shadows and break free from the mental and emotional battles that we face every day – break the chains that bind us.

No matter how stagnant you feel and how long you’ve been going through your struggles don’t give up – one day you can really come out of it and make something of your life even though you might not know now what exactly your mission or purpose is.

I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you  – and if these words can reach anyone out there and help in any way then I feel accomplished and inspired to share more.

I almost took my life so I can relate to your pain and struggles. We must all walk this crazy bridge which we call life – be there for each other, help each other through life’s ups and downs – help guide each other through that dark tunnel. What you will come to recognize is that through helping another being you are helping yourself more than you will ever know. Together let’s push through the darkness as one. This is something I’ve come to realize. If there is anyone who can relate to pain and is struggling in their life, if there is any one person I could help, then I feel this blog was worth writing and it was worth sharing my story.”

“The whole world is a narrow bridge, the key is not to be afraid”

-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Blessings,

Shmuel and Etan

Greetings from the psych ward | A message of hope

Prophecy flash | Laying down a hero

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5/17/2015

Prophecy flash | Laying down a hero

Attention artists and rappers and poets and champions of restriction and chasers of God’s light – to those looking to soar.

If I’m not gonna live my potential what do I expect my kids to learn from me.

If I’m not gonna follow my eternal soul what do I expect to follow.

If I’m not ready to boldly grab the next rung what rung do I expect to remain hanging on.

The view gets old quick and the time is now to empower ourselves to see what’s around the bend on this holy path we follow.

“And remove spiritual impediment from before us and from behind us

– Hashkivainu (The Lay Us Down Blessing)

Both can equally entrap us. Freeze us in a tunnel. Less freedom than enlightened prisoners.

The Sitra Achra (the other side) is what stops us from doing what we know is best for ourselves – it looks to slow us down bring us down and lay us down, and it casts an enticing bait to those chasing worms and ignoring the hook.

It’s simple if we just follow the clues and learn from the past. Ask Einstein; “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

In fact, it’s only possible to drastically disconnect from the light of spiritual consciousness while under the influence of a flash of temporary insanity.

Eventually we learn what makes us insane and it becomes insane to continue the chase.

Heroes come and go –  and the elder generations of heroes leaves us in the position of seeing ourselves as the needed next generation of heroes. The ground is there below us, patiently waiting to welcome back every part of us but the soul. Time to start identifying with it and walking in its ways. Following its footsteps like the children follow ours.

“I applied my mind to seek and probe by wisdom all that happens beneath the sky – it is a sorry task that God has given to the sons of man with which to be concerned.”

” I said to myself: Come, I will experiment with joy and enjoy pleasure. That, too, turned out to be futile.”

“I ventured to stimulate my body with wine – while my heart is involved with wisdom – and to grasp folly, until I can discern which is best for mankind to do under the heavens during the brief span of their lives.”

“Whatever my eyes desired I did not deny them; I did not deprive myself of any kind of joy. Indeed, my heart drew joy from all my activities, and this was my reward for all my endeavors.”

“Then I looked at all the things I had done and the energy I had expended in doing them; it was clear that it was all futile and a vexation of the spirit – and there is no real profit under the sun.”

“The sum of the matter, when all has been considered: Fear God and keep His commandments, for that is man’s whole duty.”

-King Solomon

It is wise to contemplate and drink from the wisdom of the wisest man ever.

Now it’s time for redemption. Now it’s time for salvation.

B.D.E Mama Hannah

Blessings,

Etan

Prophecy flash | Laying down a hero

The Splendor of my Zaydie | Baruch Yaakov (The Blessing of the House of Jacob)

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5/1/2015 [12 Iyar]

The Splendor of my Zaydie | Baruch Yaakov (The Blessing of the House of Jacob)

“Rabbi said, What is the proper path that one should choose for himself? Whatever is honorable for himself, and earns him esteem from his fellows.”

– Pirkei Avot, Perek 2, Mishna 1

Over 2,000 years ago the author of this Mishna – Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi – contemplated the ideal path for us to take in our lives. As life is not always a straight road to follow – we need to chart our course with every choice we make.

But how do we acquire the confidence to choose wisely from an infinite array of possibilities? This is what Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi comes to answer in this Mishna. He advises:

“Whatever is honorable for himself, and earns him esteem from his fellows.”

The word, translated in the text as ‘honorable’ and ‘esteem’ is Tiferet – which means ‘splendor’.

The kabbalists have applied this description as the defining character trait of our forefather Yaakov, who inherited the spiritual legacies of his forebears: Chesed, which means selfless loving-kindness, from his grandfather Avraham – and Gevurah, which means inner spiritual self-discipline, from his father Yitzchak.

Like the forefather Yaakov; my Zaydie – Baruch Yaakov (zichrono u’levracha) successfully blended these apparently contradictory traits of Chesed and Gevurah and achieved a new synthesis – with the creation of a single attribute called Rachamim (mercy). It is for this resolution of conceptual opposites that Yaakov earns the designation of Tiferet (splendor) – and, it is with this quality in mind, that the Jewish people are named for him.

It’s easy to take a position at one extreme or the other: Chesed (selfless loving kindness) – or Gevurah (spiritual, self-discipline) – to seek out favor from others at the expense of personal integrity, or to follow one’s own path – no matter what others might think or believe.

But to strive to achieve both the inner calling of one’s soul (like graciously opening his home to those is distress, and proudly aligning his inner essence with his exterior identity) – even while defining himself in the context of the community (like pioneering a new Jewish community, schools, synagogues and related infrastructure) – that is a labor that calls for true spiritual heroism – and absolute splendor.

On the Tree of Life, Tiferet is situated on the center column, and can only be achieved through the merging of the right column Sefirot, which represents masculine energy, and the left column Sefirot, which represents feminine energy. This is where my Savta comes in – to complete Zaydie – to combine perfectly with him to form the Splendor that we remember Zaydie as embodying.

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Today is the second yahrzeit of my Zaydie — my own Forefather – Baruch Yaakov ben Sharaga Feivel Halevi (zichrono u’levracha) a heroic figure, who I remember as embodying the balanced characteristic of Tiferet – a man of magnificence and splendor – grandeur and elegance – inner and outer beauty.

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Zaydie walked the proper path – a path that was honorable for himself, and earned him the esteem from his fellows

I feel blessed to come from such nobility – and honored to push myself to live up to his legacy.

Amen.

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Shabbat shalom.

Blessings,

Etan

The Splendor of my Zaydie | Baruch Yaakov (The Blessing of the House of Jacob)