On these SoHo streets

soho streets

10/12/2015

On these SoHo streets

Walking through the streets of NYC these days with a crazy beard and skull cap feels different than it used to be. I keep thinking about what’s going on in Israel and Europe – I’m a target over there. So I’ve become more suspicious about how others see me here on these SoHo streets filled with all these happy tourists from all around the world.

Where I live, in addition to frequent “Salam Alekem’s”,  I get “Shabbat Shalom’s”  from the under cover brothers. I get “Chag Sameach’s”  from the Israeli tourists. I get screams of “Moshiach Now” from the car windows of out of town Chabad passerbyers. The words are usually accompanied with a nod of unspoken communication – like, I am also Jewish and I relate to you and you bring out something from me. It feels like they need me. And that feeling makes me feel like I need them.

It’s easy to settle into our surroundings. Into community norms, institutional norms, geographic norms – and that can hold down a soul from chasing the light of its potential.

The body and its surrounding environment cannot fully house the soul. So we are really always in a state of breaking out. Expanding. Growing closer toward the Source. So folks whose souls crave to rise beyond the constraints of their limited physical identities and personalities give me that nod because that part of themselves sees something they can relate to – like, I also have that within, and you bring out something from me. It feels like they need me. And that feeling makes me feel like I need them.

Same with those suffering with self doubt, addiction, depression and all forms of mental illness. Like, I see you live beyond the bounds so the part of me that’s trapped here has hope and strength from seeing you breaking free. Through your Emunah and certainty and faith in Hashem – through that, I have hope. It feels like they need me. And that feeling makes me feel like I need them.

Now is not the time to go undercover. Now is the time to boldly rise toward our own greatest potential, to inspire and connect with others.

The prophets talked about this time thousands of years ago. The sages say that the way to navigate and remain safe today is through Torah and acts of kindness. Torah means the way, the wisdom, the code transmitted by the Source to us, the elixir to life. And acts of kindness means alot, including only seeing the good in yourself and in others and never speaking negatively about yourself or others under any circumstance.

Rav Shalom Arush lays out for us a five step plan to navigate these troubling times,  eloquently elaborated by yours truly:

1. Strengthen ourselves in Emunah. Incorporate our higher wisdom and understanding and stretch further during prayer, meditation and intention in every day actions – to live what we learn and learn more – and continue that cycle constantly for the rest of our lives. Never despairing. Never stopping.

2. Recall Hashem’s love for us, recalling the past miracles done for our nation in 1967, 1973, 1991, and all through recent years until today. And, thank Hashem for our national salvations and our private salvations. Think about our own miracles and take nothing for granted. Thank Hashem constantly. Be in a constant state of gratitude for everything in life. For the most trivial detail.

3.Those who are not yet plugged into the miraculous healing power of the holiest 24 hour period of the week A.K.A. Shabbat – those who have not yet merited to bask in the cradle of light which awaits us at sundown Friday – those who have not yet given themselves the sweet gift of rest and inner peace and connection to the ultimate purpose – those still stuck in the quicksands of today, walking in circles around the ordinary week – should begin immediately to follow their inner Divine spark who craves intensely for the requisite freedom and healing recharge of the Shabbat. Weighing in at number 4 of the Ten Commandments, if you observe the Shabbat it’s like you hold up the entire Torah.

Violating the level of Shabbat that we are personally holding today removes us from the powerful realm of Shabbat, pushing away the greatest gift of purpose, peace and rest and joy that can only be experienced with the assistance of the extra soul that joins us on Shabbat, and the angels who dance around our Shabbat table. And, says Rav Arush, those who observe Shabbat should strengthen their knowledge of the laws of Shabbat.

4. One should ponder Hashem constantly and speak to Him as much as possible.

5. One should encourage others to learn and strengthen Emunah.

Perhaps what is most important to us now, is to love each other like we love our self. To love peace and pursue peace within and between ourselves. This brings peace between the Source and His people.

Blessings,

Etan

On these SoHo streets

Tish’a B’Av | Transforming Void into Vision

tisha baav

7/22/2015

Tish’a B’Av | Transforming Void into Vision

“And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, but the people with me did not see it; yet a great terror befell them, and they fled into hiding. (Daniel 10:7)

What does the destruction of temples and other historical tragedies mean to me – and how am I supposed to mourn over them when I have my own problems to deal with?

It’s hard enough to mourn over current events with all the distractions I face.

I thought the past and future don’t exist – and that focusing on them just brings me out of the present.

How is mourning over ancient history being in the NOW?

Kabbalistically, It is taught that the day of destruction – the 9th of Av – is potentially the day of the most light of the year – and that our job is to transform all negativity in us to light.

What’s the primary reason for the destruction of the temples?

Hatred for no reason.

What is hatred for no reason?

The Zohar teaches that it all stems from a feeling of void and lack.

Lack means an area in me I don’t feel balance – I feel insecure, unclear on my vision for tomorrow – an area of vulnerability, that when people touch, it triggers emptiness, void, lack and weakness. All areas of insecurity, of me not being enough – that triggers the void and emptiness, and when that gets triggered our natural tendency is to react with hate, judgement, revenge and jealousy. If someone hits this area it triggers it – a point of emptiness within is set off.

Hatred for no reason stems from not knowing how to deal with my void and emptiness – and the natural thing is to try to compensate for all our areas of emptiness and pain. To fix it, remove it – every time our insecurity and wound is triggered, the belief system is I have emptiness. A void. When that’s touched I feel as if  I am going down – free falling. Void.

That’s the consciousness. I am going down. And when I believe I’m going down the natural feeling is to fill myself up with hate – the most powerful energy to compensate the belief system of I’m going down – anger, bad intention, intolerance – hurting others. Hate. My insecurities makes me feel I’m alone and empty and not enough and never will achieve it.

So how do I face that void and resist all my impulses – to find the light and act with human dignity in the midst of feeling disconnected and void?

That’s Tish’a B’Av– at that moment of feeling I’m going down – to shift my consciousness in a radical way – the ability to face that void and find the light there.

When that familiar void from childhood is struck – that same void of feeling unworthy, abandoned, not enough – it triggers the same negative desires about us towards others.

There are nations who out of a deep rooted jealousy react to their feelings with hate and rage. When they see another nation succeeding and sticking together this triggers their own deep rooted collective void and they respond with acts of hatred and destruction – war plans – to bring another people down to feel better about themselves.

We can treat our friends the same way – happy for their failure so we rise in contrast to them – happy for their downfall because that makes us appear higher. Secretly rooting against them so they need us and give us more attention – making our situation seem less bleak – making us the savior. Those who are suffering in their own void love company. When others around us are higher we can appear lower to ourselves. This is baseless hatred because it evolves from our void. An illusion. The other side. And this is what causes the worst destruction.

What’s that void in you? Think of it now. When you are judged, embarrassed, failed again at something – that triggers your void.

This coming Shabbat is called Shabbat Chazon. Chazon means vision. We are about to experience a day of destruction and yet it’s called vision – a vision of final redemption.

What do we lose if we have intolerance and judgement and lack care toward others?

When I’m in emptiness I lost my vision – I don’t see how things will be better – I don’t feel I’m going through a process. In order to transform destruction to light I need to connect to and feel the vision. The ultimate vision is Moshiach, peace on earth – unity – reaching my potential.

The reason I can’t resist my negativity is because I have no vision. I see myself as separate from others. I’m going down so I wanna bring others down with me. It’s ok to experience darkness – that’s normal – but to not believe it’s possible to overcome; that’s what makes us vulnerable – a lack of vision.

Real criticism will trigger my void. Real positive constructive criticism will trigger that void – but hopefully I’ll have the strength to embrace it with love even though my ego is bruised – I trust the vision of good will be opened by this.

It’s very easy to say “I’m not contributing any negativity in the world” – the real test is when your insecurities are triggered. We want to steal the light from the dark side and can only do this when the void of our insecurities are triggered. That sets the stage for the opportunity for us to restrict from hatred and connect to higher vision.

Replace it with consciousness of vision.

Tish’a B’Av is the seed of all negativity. Our biggest fear. We need to get deeper to access the light. We want to begin to trigger light and vision in our void.

This is the transformation of Tish’a B’Av.

We need to experience the void, resist reaction with destructive hate, and find the way to feel the light, the certainty – the vision of good within. Then I can handle it. And not fall into baseless hatred.

Moshiach

Blessings,

Etan

Tish’a B’Av | Transforming Void into Vision

The good life

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3/14/2015

The good life

It makes no sense to put stuff out that doesn’t come from the heart. I think that the sages were putting their hearts in everything they taught. They covered the spectrum of life experience in their lessons. Chassidus (the Torah of the Baal Shem Tov and his “Wellsprings”) hits the core of the Neshama (Soul).

Artists, musicians, modern orthodox depth seekers, reform rockstars and souls searching for light from rehabs connect with it – as do the pure innocent rosey cheeked children of the lions of faith in Jerusalem. The holy chassidim living in the fence of roses – swaying arm in arm in trance like rhythm with their Rebbeh late Friday nights – bidding proper farewells to the Shabbos Queen late Saturday nights – with candles and drum beats – eyes rolled back and wide smiles.

This is the good life.

Chassidus is a treat – a source of great pleasure and meaning to life – cool waters to quench the souls which break through boundaries and scream to lead.

The teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and the vibes of those who gravitate to his illuminating works, are the gifts that are transforming this generation. I’m calling it here, live, on Saturday night March 14, 2015.

I’m not one to talk or write about politics – but I’m a believer in what’s going to happen between next second and the next 225 years. That’s like our great great great great grandchildren or maybe sooner. They will have family pics of us on their smart phones when this all goes down. I believe what the prophets prophesized and I see deep significance in the creation of the world in 6 days and Shabbat (Sabbath – the first in thought and last in deed) on the 7th day. Almost enough to carry around a fresh pair of yom tov clothes in my briefcase 😉

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We are talking about the ultimate veil being lifted. Lights on. No more fuzzy random images when you shut your eyes tight. Clouds lifted and gates to the subconscious raised high. Are you You, or are you just you?

My view – on not thinking about this – is self sabotage in the long run. Like waiting till your death bed to say “I love you”.

And if your on the fence or think this is crazy, I respect that – as long as you are searching for consciousness and meaning in life. Not everyone has this kind of faith. It comes in so many flavors.

To the mainstream, this kind of faith is considered highly radical. A very very small percentage of us live this way – with it all being this personally crafted – believing that every single thing is from the Source. But, some people tell me they are inspired by hearing me describe how I’m feeling – and that gives me strength to go deeper, because it makes me feel good to give inspiration. And when I do, I get lit up with clear signs of Divine satisfaction – and it happens every time – so I’m gonna continue.

Also, shout out to the Christian followers who have been jumping on board the blog at a consistent pace. God bless you all, and I am honored by your interest in these words – these messages about my faith and love of the Torah, and our nation’s obligation to become pure conduits of Divine illumination in the world. If we do our jobs this can be an incredible existence together, where all nations can serve the Creator in peace. This is what the original plan was in the Garden of Eden.

Blessings,

Etan

The good life