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

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

Higher perception through mind sanctification

golden-lampstand

2/4/2015

Higher perception through mind sanctification

Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye, smell is mediated by odor molecules, and hearing involves pressure waves.

Perception is the lens through which we define our reality and understand the meaning of the signals being sent to us from the Source.

There are two primary routes to higher perception:

1. Perception after many prior understandings
2. Perception without any prior understanding

Rebbe Nachman brings down a method on how to reach the level of being able to perceive without prior understanding – through the arousal of Divine benefaction.

He teaches that Divine benefaction is aroused to the extent that we sanctify our mind – and our mind is sanctified to the extent that we sanctify the 7 apertures of our face which feed into the mind (the mouth, 2 eyes, 2 ears and 2 nostrils = 7)

The Divine benefaction generated through mind sanctification is what governs our ability to perceive without prior understanding.

“But the only way to attain this Divine benefaction is by sanctifying one’s mouth, nose, eyes and ears – they are what enlighten a person with the Divine benefaction.”            L’M #21

Here are directions, inspired by L’M #21, on how to “sanctify” your mouth, nose, eyes and ears – so that you can become enlightened with Divine benefaction – with the gift of insight without the need for prior understanding.

Mouth: Guard yourself to not speak any falsehood.

Nose: Elevate fear to the Source. This is not about being “scared” of the Creator. It means to acknowledge the spiritual system of cause and effect orchestrated and maintained by the Source. To recognize that everything in our lives comes only from the Source of everything.

Ears: Have faith in the sages. Listen to their words and absorb their wisdom.

Eyes: Close your eyes from beholding evil. See the good points in everything – judge others favorably – constrict from gazing at low level energy sapping matter.

Interestingly, These 7 apertures correspond to the 7 branches of the menorah (candelabrum) used in the holy temple.

The menorah corresponds to the “head”. The “mind” and the “face” of the menorah correspond to the Divine benefaction.

By guarding what comes out of our mouth, what we gaze at – what we focus on in others and in ourselves – through establishing faith in the sages, and incorporating their wisdom – and through elevating our fear to the Source – we sanctify our head (the menorah), which draws Divine benefaction (higher perception)

By sanctifying our mind, our “temple”, we align our senses with Divine holiness and become worthy conduits for Divine presence in our lives – expressed through the gifts of Divine benefaction and higher perception.

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Blessings,

Etan

Higher perception through mind sanctification

Take the plunge – Pre Shabbat Mikvah Adventures

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1/26/2015

Take the plunge – Pre Shabbat Mikvah Adventures

It’s Friday 1pm and I’m standing here at the edge of the Mikvah. One foot still in the week and the other in Shabbat. When I come back up those stairs I’m another man in another zone.

Shabbat is all about shaking free from the accumulated energetic buildups of the week – and hitting the Mikvah (ritual bath) before Shabbat, elevates Shabbat to the sanctuary of a crispy clean palace fit for Divine royalty.

In addition to the angels who descend upon your dining room this evening with gifts of peace and blessing, guess who else is joining your family for dinner tonight? Yup, the Source. He’s here to celebrate with you the purpose of creation – the first in thought, last in deed. It is wise to prepare the home environment for a visit from the King of kings. Items left on the floor or pillows out of place may be viewed as suspicious. The Mikvah is the spiritual shower for the prisoner who is brought before the King’s throne.

I share this, to this extent, because at the end, you’re not gonna be thanking a friend with awe of heaven, who didn’t honk a loud horn in your ears, to wake you up, as you casually strolled toward the sunset along the endless boardwalk of disconnection.

When we share truth its natural for someone to question the underlying elements of belief. “How do you know for sure?”, Creeps out of the mind of he whose soul craves what they are about to hear.

If you stand a dead man up on his heels, perfectly balanced, and ever so gently let go, the dead man will always collapse. The magic of the soul is what’s within the cellular structure – the hand beneath the glove.

Nature and the physical universe is a beyond magnificent display showcasing the even more awesome, and on going, capabilities of the Source of all sources – the Merciful Megapixel Broadcaster Himself.

You need to shout in your brother’s ear and rebuke him from his iPhone inbox to break through the paralyzing grip of the Egypt of today.

A total sell out to the adversary – to keep us constantly clinging to devices that become, if judged according to action, more important than a new born child crying for milk.

Shabbat is a reminder that really, we serve the Creator. Mikvah is about re-emerging pure and connected, rejuvenated and refreshed, invigorated, light filled, in a holy zone – free and in joy, dancing in the footsteps of Shabbos Kodesh.

There’s a guy I usually see at the Mikvah – he must be like 80 – long white beard hunched over with a black hat – there every week like clockwork – rain snow or shine – and the joy he gets distributing the light of the Lubavitcher Rebbeh- those weekly pamphlets – the joy and complete certainty of purpose to share the wisdom of the holy prophets and sages who have inspired him – who have led him from Egypt to freedom – his hand is his computer, his pamphlet his blog post – he just says “Zei Gezunt” (be healthy/well) in a Russian accent, and hands you a pamphlet – That’s it.

And here he comes right now…

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I don’t see things by chance – and for this to be happening right now, the first sign sent to me upon exiting the Mikvah – as I’m writing this piece, on this bench, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.. Personal supervision is clear to me – so that’s why I try to break it down and explain it clearly. You’re the main character and this is your set, and I’m just an old friend with a horn, in your inbox.

Now back to humming the Breslov Lecha Dodi niggun…

and off home to sail into shabbos.

Blessings,

Etan

Take the plunge – Pre Shabbat Mikvah Adventures

How to get connected

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1/14/2015

How to get connected

We may see some truth to what we’ve been learning. We may believe that there’s a power above running the show. We may even feel that our prayers are being heard. But how do we really get connected to the Source – and how can we see that the connection is real?

In the physical world, the Source relates to us through nature – so we start to look for signals being sent to us through nature.

We may notice that every time we engage in a negative or destructive act, we see a similar sign like a text or a phone call from a person somehow connected to our actions.

We may see a pattern developing in our career. Every time we are selfish and cut corners in business, we end up getting scammed and giving everything back.

It may seem like a coincidence the first few times. And there’s no way to really “prove” it’s anything more, but our sixth sense starts to pick up that there’s something more personal at work.

Initially, we may dismiss our thinking as superstitious and the signs as random, but once we develop a trust for the signals and make changes to our behavior as a result, additional signals appear. Our sensitivity to the signals increases.

And soon, nothing is random. It’s the Source sending constant signals – giving us the ability to constantly evolve to no end.

To me, this is a “religious” person. Not one who follows a tradition of actions alone but one who is attuned to and continuously implementing signals from above – refining their character through connection and growth.

I’ve prayed consistently for the Source to reveal Himself to me. To wink at me through nature. To show me that He is here guiding me – involved in my life. And the more I asked for this with sincerity, the more I started perceiving the signs.

The more connected I became the clearer the signs were.

Prophecy is the ability to perceive – to channel clearly from the Source. That’s it. A Kabbalist master is able to “see” things, because he has peeled away layer after layer of materiality and physical identification so that he can see the signs clearly. One who is overly clouded with societal and cultural influences or in a fog of false identity cannot perceive with the highest clarity. Their spiritual receptors are bombarded with dense noise.

We have the ability to perceive the Source at work in our lives at every moment – and this perception becomes supported and grounded through our actions.

We are constantly planting seeds. Our thoughts, actions and intentions are all seeds that grow into trees and bare fruits. Down the road we nourish ourselves from the fruits of the trees we’ve planted. There are no exceptions – we reap what we sow – what comes around goes around. Our thoughts and actions are a boomerang.

There are universal truths and there is active personal supervision. The wise will honor the truths – planting good seeds, performing good deeds, restricting from negative actions and tuning into the signals from above – climbing level after level through faith then clarity then faith then clarity. The Source is always communicating. It’s up to us to hear the call.

There is great importance in daily meditation – slowing down to cut through the noise – tuning into and reflecting upon the signals and patterns of our life. This is how we get connected.

Blessings,

Etan

How to get connected