This Weeks New INNER SPARK
|Before the Ba'al Shem Tov passed away, his disciples asked him by what criteria they should choose a successor. He told them that they should ask each prospective candidate how to overcome the ego. If he offered a definitive antidote, this was a sure sign that he was not the one. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Transforming Darkness into Light"
Previous INNER SPARKS
A disciple of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi once complained to him that he had lost most of his wealth. He could no longer provide for himself; worst of all, he could no longer fulfill his many charitable obligations. The rabbi chastised him saying, "You have described what you need, but you have said nothing about what you are needed for!" An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Transforming Darkness into Light"
Rabbi Dovber of Mezrich was once asked whether it is best to begin the process of self-refinement by contemplating the greatness of God or the smallness of man. Rabbi Dovber answered that in earlier generations it was possible (and preferable) to begin with the smallness of man, but in our times it is better to begin with the greatness of God. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Transforming Darkness into Light"
The sages of the Kabbalah were highly critical of melancholy, but at the same time, they did not advise us to ignore our faults in order to avoid feeling badly about them. Rather, they encouraged us to be constantly aware of God's infinite mercy and His continuous presence with us. In this way, we can face our faults fearlessly and securely, never falling into despair. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Transforming Darkness into Light"
The Torah identifies the power of speech as the quintessential expression of humanity. Even though our ability to think is far superior to that of the other forms of life, what defines us as uniquely human is our ability to articulate our thoughts and feelings to other human beings. This is because even more than thought, speech has the power to reveal the hidden depths of the soul. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Transforming Darkness into Light"
Egocentricity and belief in G-d are mutually exclusive. When egocentricity overtakes our consciousness, our professed belief in G-d may be nothing other than a psychological means of having someone to blame for whatever is going wrong in our lives. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Transforming Darkness into Light"
Ours is the generation of the ultimate and final Redemption, which will signal the annihilation of evil and the transformation of its inner core into goodness. Therefore, we are now called upon to participate in this process, and have been given the power to do so. We must become experts in the transformation of evil into good, even the kind of evil that it was once better to suppress or ignore. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Transforming Darkness into Light"
The great Hassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, teaches that on Shabbat Chazon–"the Shabbat of Vision" which precedes the 9th of Av (this year it falls on Aug 7), the day of national mourning over the destruction of the First and Second Temples–every Jew is (consciously or unconsciously) shown a complete vision of the fully constructed Third Temple. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Rectifying the State of Israel"
To live in a Messiah-oriented state of consciousness, the state of consciousness necessary to begin the rectification process, we must–no matter what–be happy and we must make others happy. Joy, together with humble thanksgiving for even the smallest successful accomplishment, is the source of the soul's power to effect changes in reality. With joy, even the hardest task becomes easy. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Rectifying the State of Israel"
The Torah gives direction and meaning to life, and though it does not guarantee ease and comfort, it does ensure that life's inevitable struggles and trials are for a constructive purpose. The secrets of the Torah, when deeply integrated, help alleviate and sweeten the suffering all around us. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Awakening the Spark Within"
We are taught to accept that "all is for the good" and that God is perfect, implying that all is exactly as it should be. On the other hand, it is clear that due to man's free will, the world situation–at least from a superficial view–is less a reflection of God's perfection than of man's accumulated imperfections. More than just accepting the world as it is, we are commanded in the Torah and implored by the sages and prophets to become partners with God in rectifying and elevating the world. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Awakening the Spark Within"
Although in this world the Torah appears to mirror reality, only when we ascend to the second level of Messianic consciousness, when physical reality begins to transform, will we become aware that the truth is quite the opposite – nature is a reflection of the Torah, which is, in the deepest sense, a blueprint for all creation. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Awakening the Spark Within"
It is difficult for most people to pay attention to the intentions motivating (and therefore determining the quality of) an action while engaged in the action itself. This is true with regard to the performance of all mitzvot ("commandments"), and for that reason we are taught that the time to concentrate on the meaning one wishes to infuse into a mitzvah is before beginning it. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s book, "The Mystery of Marriage."
At present, the inner world of mind and heart vibrates mostly with static and psychic disturbance. In the future Messianic age, we will begin to tune into more and more dimensions of reality, without the accustomed static interference. People will be simply content, and this transitional time will be marked by a lack of the suffering so much identified with worldly existence. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Awakening the Spark Within"
Whenever G-d reveals Himself in this world, it is in order to elevate the world to a higher plane of spirituality, to coax us out of our materialism and "capture" us for His own. By doing mitzvot in this world, we, in turn, are trying to "capture" G-d, so to speak, and reveal His Presence here. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s book, "The Mystery of Marriage."
The essence of Jewish faith focuses on the eternal truth of the Torah that G-d gave His people Israel at Mt. Sinai. G-d gave thewhole Torah to the whole people in order for them to proceed in their exodus from the physical, as well as spiritual bondage of Egypt toward the Promised Land, the whole Land of Israel, to fulfill there all the 613 commandments of the Torah and thus to realize in full their own essential wholeness. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Rectifying the State of Israel"
Every Jewish habitation in Israel is a point of union with the land, expressing the deepest love of the people to the land, a love of groom to bride. Our first aim is thus to populate the country with numerous, contiguous points of settlement, in keeping with the esoteric meaning of the verse in the Song of Songs: "His interior is inlaid with the love of the daughters of Jerusalem." "His interior" alludes to the interior of the entire Land of Israel, and every Jewish settlement in Israel is metaphorically referred to as "a daughter of Jerusalem." Each settlement is a point of love, a point of union between the people and the land. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Rectifying the State of Israel"
True patience is based on the awareness that G-d is ever present in one's life and is influencing the outcome of one's endeavors. One thus feels G-d working in and through him, and at the same time, orchestrating events from without. The balanced condition that such an awareness inspires is referred to by the Ba'al Shem Tov as "deliberate agility. " An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s book, "The Mystery of Marriage."
In Kabbalah, we are taught that the path from Passover to Shavuot–from redemption to revelation–is a process of spiritual growth, in which we rectify the seven emotions of the heart–love, fear, mercy, confidence, sincerity, devotion, and humility.
To rectify the heart, every emotion must learn to take all its sister-emotions into consideration–to identify and experience all of the seven. This gives us a total of forty-nine stages of inter-inclusion. On each of the forty-nine days from Passover to Shavuot, as we "count the Omer," we rectify an individual aspect of our emotional makeup. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Rectifying the State of Israel"
Of all the teachings received from the Ba'al Shem Tov, perhaps none are as important or essential as the notion that the Jewish soul "is an actual portion of God above," and that a spark of Messiah is contained within each individual soul. An excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh's book: "Awakening the Spark Within"