Categories
Personal Growth

Does G-d Care If We Are Happy? !Short Clip! By Rabbi David Aaron

Rabbi David Aaron – Short two minute video on the advice Rabbi Aaron got in his younger years from one of the biggest sages of our generation – G-d wants us to be happy!

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Categories
General Torah

The Goal is to be Whole – !Short Clip! by Rabbi David Aaron

Rabbi David Aaron – Moral vs. Holy – what’s the difference?

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Categories
!Short Clips!

Happier Ever After – !Short Clip! by Rabbi David Aaron

Rabbi David Aaron – On looking for our source.

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Categories
Shabbat

Shabbat: What is in it for me? – !Short Clip! by Rabbi David Aaron

Rabbi David Aaron – Short simple one minute video on who we are actually working for and how we have the day off from the boss. Enjoy it! Shabbat Shalom.

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Categories
Kabbalah

In Honor of Lag B’Omer: The Power of Kabbalah [3 mins] – !Short Clip!

Rabbi David Aaron – A simple short three minute paradigm shift video about how to re-orient our focus from taking to receiving resulting in improving our spiritual condition.

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Categories
!Short Clips! synagogue

How to Improve Your Synagogue Experience – !Short Clip!

Rabbi David Aaron – A simple short two minute paradigm shift video about what the synagogue (shul) means to us.

Click the image to link to Rabbi Aaron’s Video

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Categories
kosher

Why Kosher? – Sparks by Rabbi David Aaron

March 24, 2022

The first man and woman ate fruits and vegetables—not animals—in the Garden of Eden. It was only later, after the Flood during the time of Noah, that G-d allowed mankind to eat meat.

We cannot understand the exact connection between the sins of mankind and the subsequent permission to eat meat, but we do know that eating meat is a concession that G-d made. The ideal state of humanity is to be vegetarian.

One suggested reason for this concession is that humanity has an inclination for aggression and cruelty. Humans were not created cruel; they incorporated the characteristic over a period of time. And now that we are challenged with this inclination, we have to figure out how to sublimate it and eventually overcome it.

One way is through the consumption of meat. There is something cruel and vicious about eating meat; it is a way of releasing aggression. But sometimes people have a craving for it. Cravings are really our efforts to express and satisfy a need. Better we satisfy our need for aggression by eating meat than by doing something harmful to people, the Torah grants. Better we not have the urge for cruelty and aggression in the first place, but it is a reality that we now have to deal with and work to overcome.

Judaism does not advocate complete suppression of our negative urges rather it gives us outlets to sublimate them while guiding us to gradually overcome them. Therefore, when we crave, we must satisfy the craving in some way while working towards kicking the habit.

Take a drug addict, for example. There are two approaches to treating the addiction. One method is cold turkey—just stay off the stuff and go through an excruciating period of withdrawal. The other approach is measured withdrawal, which looks like hospital-sanctioned drug abuse but is really medical intelligence. To wean the addict, the doctors slowly administer, each day, decreasing amounts of the drug until the addiction is gone. If a person who did not know anything about this method walked into the hospital, from his limited perspective he would conclude that this place promotes drug abuse as an ideal.

In the same way, there are Torah laws that do not express the ideals of Judaism but exist as a way to reach those ideals. In the case of consuming meat, whether it is to satisfy a craving and sublimate the need for aggression or some other divine reason unknown to us, the Torah temporarily concedes and allows us to do it in the interest of helping us eventually overcome the urge and become vegetarians.

P.S.

People who are already vegetarian should not pride themselves and think that this is a sure sign that they are more spiritually and ethically evolved than anyone else.

How Ideal is the Law?

The Talmud states: “G-d says, ‘I created the evil inclination and I created Torah as its antidote” (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 85a). The Torah is an antidote to our negative and destructive inclinations. Therefore, the Torah may sometimes appear to be sanctioning some type of amoral behavior, but in fact, it is simply employing a realistic approach in order to empower people to stop doing what they otherwise may not have had the power to overcome on their own.

Keeping this essential principle in mind, we can now explore the meaning of eating kosher and some of the seemingly odd kosher laws.

Although, as we mentioned, Torah laws do not always indicate the ideal, without a doubt they outline a way towards reaching the ideals. Therefore, incorporated within such Torah laws are windows to the future.

The laws regarding kosher slaughter are one example. Although G-d allowed humanity to eat meat, one of the “Seven Laws of the Descendants of Noah” is the prohibition against eating a limb ripped off from a live animal. G-d deemed that although humanity needed an outlet for their cruelty this is too much.

As the world evolves G-d chose the Jewish people to become a model of ethical excellence for the rest of the world. Therefore, He placed upon them even more restrictions regarding the consumption of meat.

The laws of Kashrut generate an atmosphere of discomfort to remind us that eating meat is not ideal and to preserve, as much as possible, our humanness while we sublimate our cruel urges. Therefore, we cannot feel free to eat any animal we choose, certainly not those of a wild meat-eating nature. We cannot eat meat before removing its blood. And we must cover its blood and maintain a healthy sense of embarrassment. If we are not slaughtering our own meat then we must purchase only meat that we know has been slaughtered in this most uncomfortable and humane way.

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Categories
Shabbat

Successful People are Unaccomplished By Rabbi David Aaron

Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord. (Exodus 35:2)

During the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the desert they carried with them a portable temple referred to as the Tabernacle or the Mishkan. The creative acts that are forbidden on Shabbat are those acts similar to the skills that went into building or assembling the Mishkan. The Talmud outlines 39 different categories of such creative acts that are forbidden to do on Shabbat. They represent our ultimate power of creativity which is to build a temple that accommodates the presence of G-d on earth. Of course we know that G-d does not literally dwell in the Mishkan, however, the Mishkan symbolizes our ability to serve G-d and infuse every moment and every place with the presence of G-d. In other words the greatest accomplishment of a human being is to serve to make manifest G-d’s presence in the here and the now.

The building of the Mishkan represents the greatest accomplishment that we could ever imagine to accomplish in our lives. G-d created the world for you and me and our joy, task and service is to take this world and build it into a sanctuary for the presence of G-d. The greatest accomplishment that we could ever do is to do something for G-d. This is one of the most amazing ideas in Torah tradition, that we human beings can do something for G-d. It is human nature to feel great when we can do something for an important or famous person. Torah teaches that we can even do something for He who is the greatest — G-d. This is one of the most mystical ideas in Jewish tradition–G-d created work for us to do for Him. When I act on my own behalf it is no great shakes but when I act on G-d’s behalf it takes me beyond myself and connects me to G-d.

we build the Mishkan we are creating a space for G-d to become present in this world and this is the greatest human accomplishment imaginable. Why then are we commanded to refrain on Shabbat from the greatest act of human creativity and accomplishment? To ensure that we are truly doing it for G-d’s sake. Otherwise it could be just another ego trip.

Now imagine it is Friday afternoon, it’s the dawn of the sixth millennium, six thousand years we have been waiting for the Messiah and finally he has come and we are building the tabernacle. Within minutes we complete the ultimate accomplishment we have been dreaming of but Shabbat is coming soon. We need just ten more minutes to complete the temple and infuse this world with the complete presence of G-d — but Shabbat is starting in five minutes. Would we stop? Could we stop? Are we willing to let go of the greatest service to G-d, the ultimate accomplishment humanly possible? Are we going to blow the rectification of the universe for five minutes of Shabbat and wait 25 hours to resume?

But this is exactly the message of Shabbat and the blessing it bears.

If we are really building the Temple for G-d than if the Boss says stop we stop. The goal is not to finish the temple rather the goal is to infuse very moment with the presence of G-d through service. If you cannot stop then you were building the temple for yourself.

In summary: What is Shabbat all about? Shabbat is a time to stop. And when we stop that retroactively affirms that everything we have done until now is truly in service to G-d. If the boss closes shop and doesn’t want us to work why would we even want to do work? Otherwise we are confused and think we are self-employed. Shabbat reminds us that we just work here in this moment, in this moment, in this moment. Shabbat teaches us that the future that we are looking forward is not any more important than this moment right now in our service to G-d. Only the now is real and only now is the time to bring G-d’s presence into the world. Shabbat empowers us to stop, chill out, beat the rush and be at peace now.

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Categories
Weekly Torah Portion

Miraculous Living: Did the sea actually split?

Rabbi David Aaron – Shares some unique perspectives about some age old questions and the esoteric Torah that addresses them.

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Categories
!Short Clips! Personal Growth Weekly Torah Portion

The Secret to a Great Marriage – !Short Clip! (Audio)

Rabbi David Aaron – In this past week’s parasha (Vayeitzei) we hear about Yaakov marrying both Leah and Rachel and how their father (Lavan) switched Leah in place of Rachel. This has resulted in our current Jewish custom of “checking” the bride before the chupah (wedding canopy). Rabbi Aaron shares some of the deeper meanings of this custom and how we can learn the secret to a great marriage through this knowledge. Packed with wisdom and only 2 minutes.

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