Saving

Saving G-D

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, May 27th
Light Candles at 20:37

THIS WEEK : Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 19:00
Shabbat, May 28th,
Shabbat Ends 22:25
Torah Portion: Behar

Saving G-D

Human beings are vulnerable. By definition, we can’t control all the variables in our lives and that’s why we all need Divine assistance.

Some people may appear totally self-reliant and invincible, but if you scratch the surface we’re all defenseless at some level. It’s humbling, but it’s the reality.

So the dynamic seems clear: We weak humans need the help of the Omnipotent Divine.

Believe it or not, it works the other way too. Yes, G-d needs our help.

The Talmud tells us that when Moses went up on Mount Sinai for his historic interface with the Divine, he found G-d preparing the Torah’s deepest secrets. G-d asked him “Why don’t you help me out with this process of bringing Divinity into the otherwise shallow human experience?” Moses answered “What can a humble human being do to help the Infinite?”

G-d replied “you can at least offer me support and assistance”, to which Moses replied “May G-d’s strength be magnified and expressed in the human world, as You have spoken”
So, G-d needs US – frail and vulnerable humans – to implement His plan for Divine expression in the world. This seems counter-intuitive, so here’s an analogy found in Chassidic thought:

Imagine you have a very deep idea percolating in your mind. It’s a bit elusive because it’s so subtle, but you feel that it’s a valid thought. So you speak it out – you articulate it – to someone. As you speak, you’re actually thinking it through, because vocalizing the idea helps it gel in your mind.
What has happened? The person to whom you’re speaking has learned something new, but so have you. You have unpacked your own idea by fleshing it out in speech.

If you think about your own internal dynamics, you’ll probably feel that your intellect is a much ‘loftier’ dimension that your speech; your words seem to simply be the delivery mechanism for your ideas. At the same time, your intellect NEEDS expression; not just for others’ benefit, but for itself. The intellect develops through the verbal articulation.

This helps frame our relationship with – and responsibility to – G-d. We are G-d’s ‘speech’ on earth. We unpack the power of meaning and G-dliness in the world.
G-d needs our support. And it’s our honor to offer it.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Childeren teaching us

Our Children Our Teachers

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, May 20th
Light Candles at 20:25
NEW! Weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Shabbat, May 21st,
Shabbat Ends 22:08
Torah Portion: Emor

OUR CHILDREN OUR TEACHERS

Here’s a home truth: adults hold grudges and children don’t. Honestly, as a parent, how many times have you heard, “Dad I hate you, I am not speaking to you again!” And within ten minutes your defiant little darling sidles up as your best friend? Or how about this one, “Mummy, I despise you, I wish I had a different mother!” And miraculously, shortly after, hugs are on the agenda and you are the best parent on planet earth!

On the flip side, adults announce that they will not speak to another person in their world and literally 15 years later this may still be the case. Paths may cross and yet even a polite Shabbes greeting is not forthcoming. Bar and Bat mitzvahs pass by with no reconciliation. Why? Oh, because years ago there was a bitter dispute.

Intriguingly, children are often labelled as immature and adults the opposite. So why do adults hold deep grudges and children shed themselves of these feelings mere moments later?

Well here’s why:

Children choose being happy over being right, whereas adults choose to be right over being happy.

We would (often unconsciously) rather be miserable and technically correct. So I won’t speak to my uncle, so I won’t speak to my brother-in-law or cousin for a quarter of a century. G-d forbid I should say sorry or talk it through. Instead, I will be vigilant and implacable because I am right – whatever the cost!
Well, negative energy is toxic.

This time of year, we reflect on the lost lives of the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud tells us that these students were too focussed on being right rather than accommodating any other views.

When Rabbi Akiva taught his students the intricacies of the Torah, each heard them in their own unique way. They insisted on forcing others to see it through their lens, their filter – hence the monumental bickering that ensued. They had lost their way.

If we broaden our minds, accommodate different views and travel down the track of heeding openness and understanding, our relationships will be fortified and our smachot will be celebrated in real harmony. You will skip in the sunshine, with a lightness of spirit you may not have felt for years.

Lets’ learn from our children and choose happiness, it may just be the smartest thing you ever do!

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Revenge

Revenge

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, May 13th
Light Candles at 20:13
NEW! Kabbalat Shabbat Services 20:30
Shabbat, May 14th,
Shabbat Ends 21:50
Torah Portion: Kedoshim

Revenge!

Does that word sound sweet?

The craving for ‘justice’ seems like a natural –even primal – impulse. What else are you supposed to feel when someone cuts you off on the highway, or actually perpetrates harm (G-d forbid)? The universe seems to cry out for balance. We often can’t find rest until the perpetrator gets his just deserts and the victim’s welfare and dignity are restored.

At the same time, the Torah expressly forbids revenge. The Torah asks to us elevate our personal behavior, to rise above the impulse toward grudges and retaliation. So how should we respond to an injustice?

The Torah paints a fine line for us to walk (the judicial system and international military policy deserve their own essay; this piece is addressing challenges in our personal lives). When I experience an offense, I need to recognize it; I shouldn’t play the ‘see no evil’ game, because that prevents me from dealing with the problem. At the same time, I shouldn’t plunge into indignation and anger at the scoundrel who hurt me. Resentment tends to become very mind-consuming and self-destructive, so I’d actually be continuing my abuser’s evil work of damaging my life.

Instead, the Torah tells us to speak up, effectively, and call the violator’s attention to the wrong perpetrated. That means I should try to spark his awareness and recognition, which is beyond simply unloading my anger. I should wait until I’ve calmed down, and then speak with the wrongdoer to help him understand how anti-social and hurtful his behavior was. Maybe I can actually help him avoid repeating his negative behavior.

So the next time I feel that someone hurt me, I need to immediately get a grip on my emotions, staying calm so I can plan an effective response.

I need to acknowledge that I can’t undo the past. Yet, I can assess how to might protect myself for the future. And I can, hopefully, help the perpetrator recognize how hurtful he was.

But I should leave the universal justice to G-d. My wrongdoer will be responsible to G-d – if not the human judicial system – for his harmful choice.

At the same time, I accept that the pain on my end is something G-d has destined for my soul. I need to find a way to get to the other side while retaining my humanity, and perhaps even becoming stronger from the exercise.

Sweet? Maybe not.

Meaningful? I think so.
Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM

Love

For The Sake of Love

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Moscow, Russia
Friday, May 6th
Light Candles at 19:59
Shabbat, May 7th,
Shabbat Ends 21:31
Torah Portion: Acharei

For The Sake of Love

If you have a room that’s 50x50x50, and you fill it with an object that’s 50x50x50, how do you fit anything else in?

If G-d is Infinite, and fills every iota of every dimension of reality, how is there space for us?

But is this actually a question? After all, G-d is G-d; you can’t measure the Divine in spatial terms.

So who thinks of G-d taking up space?

G-d is Infinite, filling all dimensions of existence, including space, time etc. So G-dliness, which is the powerful truth that “I, G-d, am the Creator, the Eternal Source of Everything” should totally overwhelm and eclipse our very existence. How do we exist as independently as we do?

Let’s go back to the beginning of time. Actually, let’s go back before the existence of time. Close your eyes and imagine: G-dliness fills every iota of every dimension of existence. There is nothing but G-d.

Now, a ‘desire’ arises within G-d. G-d wants something that’s not totally surrendered to the Divine Oneness. Something that feels independent.

Within that absolute Oneness reality, G-d wants to create people like us. G-d wants us to feel our own existence as absolute, with the ability to choose whether to allow Him into our lives, or even whether to believe He exists. G-d wants us to feel like we’re living in a ‘G-dliness vacuum.’

But can there actually be such a vacuum ? G-d is the very stuff of existence. G-d is reality, so He’s not going to remove Himself from Himself.

So, G-d does something awesome. While G-d’s essence stays put, He sucks in his overwhelming presence. Sometimes, you’re with a group of people and there’s ‘room’ for everyone to express themselves. Other times, someone’s expressing themselves in a way that ‘takes up all the space’, leaving no room for others’ expression. Well, G-d ‘sucked in’ His ‘expression,’ pulling back His overwhelming Presence and creating what we feel as a vacuum.

G-d made space for us. Why? So that we could – and would – voluntarily choose to have a relationship our beloved Creator. That’s the point of it all.

So take a step back and consider the drama that predates our existence. One partner decides to voluntarily make space for the other so that each can choose to voluntarily embrace each other and become one.

It’s all about the love
Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM