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Inner Sparks – Short Inner Sparks to Add Light to Your Day: Inspiring insights from books of Rabbi Ginsburgh

I Thank God with All My Heart: In the book, Beit Aharon, compiled by Rabbi Aharon of Karlin, there is an interpretation of the opening verse in Psalms 111, “Praise God! I thank God with all my heart, in the counsel of the upright and in the congregation,” referring there to three different levels of prayer.

The Mind’s Eye, the Heart’s Eye: Both the mind and the heart possess an “inner eye.” On Shabbat the inner eye of the mind opens to see Godliness in contemplative meditation. In the Temple the inner eye of the heart opens to see Godliness in heartfelt prayer.

What to Pray For: If one desires and pursues power (kingship) it is not given him, but if one desires and pursues the service of his Creator (which begins with understanding God’s Torah) then not only is that given him but worldly power and kingship as well.

Never Too Late: Never give up. It’s never too late. Apparent irreversible damage is also reversible. Even when it’s all over it’s not over. Life goes on.

Ruling in the Exception: Progress in science (and society) is made by taking note of details that a previous theory is unable to account for.

No Body – No Anger: The phrase “He is not a body and not a power in a body” (אינו גוף ולא כח בגוף) contains 16 letters. Written as a square, the corners spell באפו, “in His wrath” = גוף, “body”. The diagonal from lower-right to upper-left also reads “in His wrath.” The lesson: No body – no anger.

The Unhappy Tzadik: I would like to be a true tzadik (consummately righteous), but I’m not. Is it because I don’t want enough, or is there some other reason?

Hidden Things: David beseeches God: “Who can understand errors; cleanse me from hidden things” (“שגיאות מי יבין מנסתרות נקני”). Errors are unintentional sins. But what are “hidden things”?

Hint Book: The sages say: A wise man learns from a hint. A fool learns only from a fist (i.e., a punch in his face).

Snake Spine: In the Torah there are many applications to the “law of similars.” One of them is that in order to kill a snake you must be like a snake.

Preventive Love: Loving a rasha does not mean to condone his evil deeds. If you love his soul you’ll do everything possible to prevent him from doing wrong.

Loving your Opposite: Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz (one of the great disciples of the Ba’al Shem Tov) said that a consummate tzadik (righteous person) is one who loves a consummate rasha (wicked person) and that a not-yet consummate tzadikis one who loves a not-yet consummate rasha.

Holy Worms: The opening phrase of the Torah, “In the beginning God created…” (1202) = “worms” (תולעים) and “doubts” (ספקות).

Bittersweet is the Sweetest: The Ba’al Shem Tov taught that Amalek (עמלק, 240), Israel’s archenemy, is equal to “doubt” (ספק). No doubt that he is the original skeptic.

Elisha’s Chaotic Sleep: Elisha Ben Avuya was dubbed Acher, “other,” because he left the side of Torah (the side of faith) and went to the “other side” (the side of heresy).

The Worm of ScepticismElisha Acher came out of paradise a heretic. What went wrong? A worm had been eating away at him all the time. The worm’s name: skepticism.

A Piece of Paradise: Only Rabbi Akiva came out of  paradise in peace… But why not just enter paradise and stay there? Why must we leave? The Zohar says if you know only to enter but not to leave better not to enter.

Surviving Paradise: Four sages entered paradise (פרדס, pronounced pardes, lit., orchard) in attempt to rectify Adam’s primordial sin. Only one, Rabbi Akiva, entered in peace and came out in peace.

Accepting our Mental Limitations: Don’t weaken your mind by trying too hard to understand things that are above your ability to comprehend.

The Creation of Misunderstanding: “Wisdom” (חכמה, 73), is equal to “misunderstanding” (אי-הבנה). The world was created with wisdom that gives rise to misunderstanding.

Heavens and Earth: the Infinite and the Finite: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” – the experience of the infinite and the experience of the finite.

Cloud of Glory, Pillar of Fire: We each have a tabernacle within our heart. A cloud of glory is over the tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Mitzvah: Close to God: The sign of having done a good deed is feeling close to God. Feeling far, estranged from God is the sign of having done something wrong.

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