Acharei/Kodeshim, May 4, 2006
Having everything at fingertip-access destroys longing.
The narrow place of anxiety is the place that has water: the banks of the Nile. The desert is the open space where the Jew goes, davens for rain, which activates a dialogue with G*d. This process activate energy, longing from below bringing down revelation from above; it starts a cycle going. E.g.: March of the Penguins.
Page 83 Metzora
The core of faith is that you find instruction in your pain. Pain is not due to random events and not due to luck: this is the foundation of being a Jew.
Page 13 Chaya Sarah
Does suffering sweeten a person? Suffering must be taken introspectively.
Both wealth and poverty are tests, but wealth is the greater test.
The Denver businessmen, although not in a wealthy time, would never let a family get evicted. If a Jewish family was threatened with eviction, they would pass the hat and raise the money. Harry Hoffman worked for free for a family starting a sporting goods store for a year at night, to help them get started.
Yet, the wealthy families found that the third generation would be in jail.
March of the Penguins:
The penguins instinctively know that all their suffering is birth pain.
How do you turn pain into birth pain?
The Aish Kodesh is the only one who teaches that Sarah’s death was a lesson to G*d that we can take only so much pain before we break. Also, it’s very unusual to say that Moshe edited the Torah (the Aish Kodesh says that Moses placed the story of Sarah next to ____? in order to make the point that we can get too much suffering.
There are three reasons for suffering:
What does this mean?
If we are too defensive to do teshuva (examine our actions and change our behavior, which is number 1 above), then we need to study Torah (number 2 above), which means that hopefully we will learn from studying the people in the Bible. In other words, if we can’t learn from our own mistakes, we can learn from the mistakes of others.
But if we can’t learn from other people’s pain, there’s the pain that comes with love: Do I trust that this suffering is coming to me from love? Do I trust G*d? (number 3 above). Do I believe that G*d has my best interests at heart? Do I believe there’s a benevolent structure to the universe, or do I believe that the universe is random or even malevolent?
Lechem ?????comforts: bread created the first leisure time (and, ironically, yet we may be working many more hours than the hunter/gatherers did).
Bruchot page 5A5
The word “cov enant” is stated in reference to salt and to suffering. Suffering is a crucible that purifies us as a nation. It’s hard to be complacent when you’re threatened. “Why us?” We got the land with conditions: we are the guardians, not the owners.
G*d gave us three gifts, but only through suffering:
Muh phosphase: if a person is suffering, he needs to figure out what he is doing to cause it. It can only happen if we are not defensive. But if we are defensive, we have to have compassion on ourselves.
G*d created the world with light and with din. But nothing happened. There was no room for choice.
Core premise paradox
Where there is responsibility, there are no victims.
The architecture of the world includes a karmic imbalance that will bite the perps in the tush.
Arousal (from below)
Mindful perception translates to motivation asd alertness.
Gentle openness of heart.
If all else fails, think of the day of your death.
Learning how to keep our balance.
The South Pole is the worst the planet can offer – the Holocaust was the worst that people could offer, and we have endured. In the DP camps there were 18 weddings a day and the highest birth rate.
This is the yertzite of the Rabbi’s mother, Lily Hoffman. Love in endurance.
The endurance of the Jewish people doesn’t lie.
Each mitzvah is using the salt in good measure. There’s a little bit of suffering in each mitzvah. The allegory is that salt is the pain, and properly salted meat tastes sweet. Over-salted meat is drecht.
Nair mitzvah candle: coming into a dark room with a candle to begin an examination.
The purpose of being holy is mindfulness.
Someone brings people out of comas through meditation.
Shlomo Carlebach went into a ward where people had been in comas for two years. He was unable to arouse them, so he had the lights turned off. Three people then responded.
Things happen in the dark that don’t happen in the light. Choice needs dark.
The moment of death is a moment of great mindfulness. For instance, Jacob uses his illness and old age to have a different conversation with his children. We have to make meaning, look for connections. Or it can end up in a nursing home believing it’s all pointless.
We can’t study Torah in a house of shiva because the dead person can’t study. The World To Come is here, on Shabbos. What is hidden is now.
“Everything is in the hands of Heaven but the fear of Heaven.”
The fear of muh phosphase (searching your actions) is consequences, me keda neega (measure for measure).
Ask the Rabbi about this, the last letters spelling out a word….
Nadir: low points come with a sense of isolation.