The Sound of the Shofar – The Morse Code Message

I heard this story from Rabbi Farhi of the Safra Synagogue in Manhattan.

A rabbi sounded the shofar / the rams horn for a group of people apparently for Rosh Hashana. Among them was a Sefardic Israeli man, muscular built, no yarmulke. He heard the sound and burst into tears.

The rabbi asked him why are you so emotional when you heard the Shofar?

The Morse Code Specialist

The man told him that in the Israeli Army he was a Morse code specialist. After traveling the world – looking for meaning – he saw a help-wanted ad in the newspaper for a Morse Code specialist. He had to arrive for the interview process – between 10 am – 12 pm. He arrived at about 11:50. The waiting room was full of applicants. He sat listening to the background music. He got up and walked to the interview room. People yelled – hey, wait in line we were here before you. He burst into the room.

After some time the interviewer came out and said – “Thank you for all coming but we found our candidate for the position. You may all go home now.”

“What? All that waiting for nothing” they thought. “And the hutzpa of this guy to burst into the room before us.”

The man explained to the rabbi how he got the job. In the waiting room they played background music. The man realized that the beat to the song was a Morse code message. It said “Anyone who hears this enter into the interview room.” Thus he heard the message from the beat. There was a message behind the music.

The Message Behind the Music

“When I heard the Shofar the sound resonated in me. It was a message that penetrated my heart telling me to do Tehuva – it resonated deep into my soul – and I burst out crying.”

Our Daily Messages

We hear Hash-m’s / G-d’s messages in the background daily – the observant listens and reacts. We see the beauty of the world, the beauty of our children, the blessings we have – does it resonate or do we ignore the message?

It’s our choice.

G-d Wants the Heart

Once a man was doing the Pesach / Passover Seder. He got everything ready in advance. The night of Pesach he donned his nice garments. He started well in advance and started doing the Seder nice and slow – telling the Hagaddah, singing, drinking the wine, eating the matzot and finished eating the Afikomen right before Hatzot / Midnight.

He was smug and proud about the beautiful seder he did.

The next night of Pesach he took a nap before the seder. He woke up with little time before Hatzot. He had to conduct the entire seder in a short amount of time. Quickly he read the Haggadah, drank the wine and ate Matzot – finishing just in time before Hatzot.

He was a bit upset about how he conducted the second seder. He had a dream – telling him – that his second seder was more beloved than the first. Since he did the second seder with sincerity, humility – it was preferred.

Hash-m / G-d wants the heart.

Do it right. Do it with sincerity.

 

Yearning for a Relationship with G-d – The Month of Av & It’s Significance

The Hebrew months have an influence on the world. In Adar – when Purim falls – it is a month of rejoicing for the Jews. In Av – it is a month of difficulty.

The Month of Father

“Av” in Hebrew means father. We would expect a month that is named Father to be a month of consolation and happiness. Let’s break down the month into parts. The first 9 days lead up to the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash / Holy temple – by the Babylonians and also to the Second Beit Hamikdash over 600 years later.

The Zodiac Sign of Av

The sign of the Month of Av is the Lion / Leo. One signification of this period is we will be more successful if we rise and reinforce our spiritual efforts – in becoming closer to Hash-m – as would a lion rise to chase it’s prey. This month comes before Elul – whose sign is a pure maiden / Virgo. In the month of Elul Jews do Selichot – prayers asking for forgiveness and purification from sins. We thus get ready for the Month of Tishrei – The Month of the Scale / Libra – when all human beings are judged by G-d.

The Second Part of the Month

The second part of the month starting from the 15th of Av – callled Tu – B’av – were days of rejoicing. Half the month passed and now difficulty turns to rejoicing. The young maidens would dance before the single men – so the young men could search for a suitable wife and court suitable young woman in search of a mate for marriage. Like it says:

There never were in Israel greater days of joy than Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem used to walk out in white garments which they borrowed in order not to put to shame any one who had none …

 

The daughters of Jerusalem came out and danced in the vineyards exclaiming at the same time, “Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on [good] family.” As it says, “Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears Hash-m, she shall be praised.” (Mishlei / Proverbs  31:30) (Talmud: Tractate Ta’anit 26b)

“No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur,” for there is no greater joy than having one’s sins forgiven – on Yom Kippur for the sin of the Golden Calf and on Tu B’Av for the sin of the spies. In the Book of Judges, Tu B’Av is referred to as a holiday (Judges 21:19).

The First Part of the Month

The first part of the Month deals with doing acts of mourning – how can we reconcile the difficulty with the the Name of the month “father”?

In Eicha / Lamentations – it talks of the destruction of Jerusalem. One of the verses says – “All who pursued her arrived at her.” (Eicha 1:3) Torah verses written in Hebrew can be understood in various ways according to the permitted ways of understanding Torah. It can also be read “all who pursued Hash-m / G-d – arrived – to Her.” (“The Divine Presence” – G-d has no gender – at times He is Referred to as male and vice versa.)

In a Jew’s Life the Goodness of G-d is always present – In good times and the reverse. When the Jewish temple was being destroyed – someone peaked into the Kodesh HaKodashim / Holy of Holies – the most holy part of the Temple. Inside was the Aron / the Ark of the Covenant.

The Cherubim on the Cover of the Ark – represented the relationship between G-d and the People of Israel. When they were on good terms – the Cherubim were facing each other. When the Jews were sinning – the Cherubim looked away from each other. At the time of the Temple’s Destruction the Cherubim were hugging one another.

The Reason of Suffering

King David – was on the level to ask for suffering – because he felt closer to G-d. For him the suffering was worth the close relationship with Hash-m. A sincere father punishes because he loves the child – not out of anger. He wants the child to improve. He wants the child to live a fulfilling, meaningful life – so he chastises and guides his son or daughter through the ways of Torah.

Intimate relationship with G-d

It is this very intimate relationship with G-d that we Yearn for in the Month of Av. It is this very intimate relationship with G-d that we Mourn for on the Ninth of Av.

 

Four Things to do to Receive Special Holiness on Shavuot

The Jews were in Egypt for 210 years. They were a free nation that was gradually lured into slavery. G-d had to take them out quickly – for them not to remain with a slave mentality.

After the plagues – The Jews with somewhat of a mentality of fear were reticent to enter the desert with Moshe. G-d put his divine presence upon them. With this great holiness – the Jews were motivated to leave Egypt to receive the Torah.

After Hash-m / G-d split the Sea of Reeds into 12 tunnels, Jews traveled through tunnels towards mount Sinai to receive the Torah.

When they exited the tunnels, G-d took away this Holiness from them. They had to work for the Holiness – that was previously given to them as a gift.

The way for them to receive this great holiness, spirituality – and happiness – was them to work on themselves for 49 days to receive the Torah. These 49 things are the 48 ways to acquire Torah – as mentioned in the Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers / (chapter 6, mishna 6). After doing this – working on one trait a day – and all of them on the last day – they received this Holiness and were able to receive the Torah from G-d Himself at Mount Sinai. That was the only time in History that G-d spoke to entire Nation – the Jewish Nation – of Millions People.

I Heard a Shiur / Lecture from Rabbi Meir Eliyahu – who spoke about this subject in a Shiur / הרב מאיר אליהו | חג השבועות | משכן יהודה – ה’תשע”ו

He said we too can receive this Holiness according to the Ari”zl / Rav Yitchak Luria. There are 4 steps for a man to receive it:

  1. Count the Omer – for 49 days starting at the Second night of Pesach / Passover we count 49 days of the Omer / the Barley offering at the Beit Hamikdash until Shavuot.
  2. Do the Tikun / Reparation of the Night of Shavuot – the night before the Jewish people received the Torah – they slumbered. G-d had to wake them up with thunder and lightning. That was a fault. They should have stayed awake in anticipation to receive the Torah. They slept. To repair this – we stay awake the night of Shavuot – and read a special Sefer / Holy Book called Kerieh Mo’ed. This is the second step. R. Eliyahu mentioned – although praiseworthy to learn other Torah that Night – he said that the Tikun is specifically done with the Kerieh Mo’ed. Also one should refrain from vain conversations and not slumber or sleep.
  3. Dip in a Mikveh – the night of Shavuot – before the prayer.
  4. Daven / Pray with much Hilahavoot / Enthusiasm & Fervor

One who does so can receive this special holiness.

Increase Your Joy in the Month of Adar – A Segula to Gain Salvation from Difficulties

In the Talmud – Taanit 29a we learn

§ The mishna teaches that from when the month of Av begins, one decreases acts of rejoicing. Rav Yehuda, son of Rav Shmuel bar Sheilat, said in the name of Rav: Just as when Av begins one decreases rejoicing, so too when the month of Adar begins, one increases rejoicing.

A Segula / “Propituous Amulet” To get salvation from all difficulties is in the month of Adar – this month –

Write the following on a paper:

משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה
מזל אדר דגים
🐟


Draw a fish on the bottom of sign and post the sign in your home (some say opposite the door on the western wall).

It means “when Adar enters we increase the Joy. The zodiac sign of Adar is Fish. 🐟”

All the good blessings from Ohr Binyamin &
http://www.jerusalemlife.com
Live Better Forever
Amen.

Sources:

סגולה from הרב אברהם בן שבתי in his sefer ילקוט
אברהם 686
https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7657&st=&pgnum=170
https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7657&st=&pgnum=171

The Four Sons of the Haggada. Which Son Are You? – The Ultimate Guide for Self-Improvement

“Blessed is Hashem. Blessed is He. That He gave Torah to His people Israel. The Torah talked about the four sons – one wise, one wicked, one one simple and one that doesn’t know how to ask.”

A person reading the Hagada on Passover will usually ask – who am I out of all these sons? Am I the Wise? The Wicked?

Really each one of us has a trait of each son in us. At times we fall to our temptations – so we have the trait of the wicked son. At time we act with wisdom – thus we are like the wise son. At times we act as the the other two.

So what is the solution? How do we Become more wise and less wicked, less simple and more ethically educated?

There is a concept in Torah Hash-m Makdim Refual LaMaka – Hash-m provides the cure before the illness.

The Ultimate Guide for Self-Improvement

What is the proper cure to having the attributes of the four sons – The Torah.

As first in the Hagada it says :

“Blessed is Hashem. Blessed is He. That He gave Torah to His people Israel.

then it says:

The Torah talked about the four sons – one wise, one wicked, one one simple and one that doesn’t know how to ask.”

 

 

The Purpose of a Birthday & the New Year

The kids sing “Happy Birthday to You…”

What is the origin of a Birthday?

To know the source, look in the Torah. In the Book of Bereshit / Genesis the Butler and Baker had dreams. They went to Yosef / Joseph and asked him to interpret the dreams. He did so. To one – the Butler / Cup-bearer he said – In three days  he would be restored to his position. To the other – the baker – he said in three days he would be killed.

The interpretation came true. Three days later it was the Birthday of Pharaoh. Rashi Explains he was celebrating the day of his birth.

At that celebration Pharaoh forgave the cup-bearer and condemned the baker.

So what is there to celebrate?

Here are Several reasons

  • that you are alive
  • that you survived the entire year
  • that you are you
  • to get gifts
  • to start the new year to be a sign for the rest of the year

We all have reasons to be thankful.

Observation of our surrounding, situations and a positive eye will help us to recognize we have more for which to be thankful than the contrary

Rejoicing for the Good

In Parasha / Torah Reading Ki tavo, in the first aliya – (Devarim / Deut. 26:11)  we read “And you shall rejoice for all the good that G-d gave you,  your household and the Levi and the convert who is among you. ” Why do we have a commandment to be happy for the good we receive? It is natural to be happy for good.

One reason is many have the attitude of ‘It’s my right.. I deserve it” Thus when they do receive good, they are not so appreciative. G-d is telling us to have the attitude that everything we receive is not a given. It is a gift from G-d. If we think thus, we will not take things for granted and be happy and thankful to Hashem for each thing we receive.

Having appreciation to G.d leads us to a more fulfilling life.  Thus we say the blessing of Shehechiyanu (Blessed are You, Our G-d … that He made us live, established us and that allowed us to arrived to this time.) on Jewish holidays to appreciate our arriving in good health to this time.