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 Shlomo: [a] Jew by Choice

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daniel eliezer

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PostSubject: Shlomo: [a] Jew by Choice   Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:42 am

For those who have difficulty with the transliterated Hebrew and who don't have access
to Jewish libraries, most transliterated Hebrew can probably be found through Google.
If the word is critical to what I'm saying, then it is explained.

*         *         *
Shlomo: [a] Jew by Choice

I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to introduce Shlomo, and even though in the interview with me I do introduce him, there I was speaking to people whom I have reason to believe have some knowledge and familiarity with Shlomo. Here, while undoubtedly there are those who do have some familiarity with Shlomo, I doubt that anyone has any genuine understanding of Shlomo other than some music, scattered stories or teachings of his.

I am deliberately forgoing biographical material and intentionally posting a link to a video teaching of Shlomo’s. Actually, it’s a teaching that was uploaded to Youtube in seven parts, because the uploader wanted to break it down into seven categories, which altogether is 60 minutes. This means that there are seven links, but the advantage of seven links is that this makes it easier to follow and keep track of where one is.

Furthermore, while this teaching was given over and vidoed on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Day, this is a teaching that no one of us including myself could in his or her greatest fantasies conceive of, and equally it is a teaching we couldn’t even begin to hear from any other source. It is unique to Shlomo.

Not surprisingly, one portion of it is “[a] Jew by Choice”, and we can only shiver as we listen to a Jew describing what it means to be [a] Jew by Choice.

Finally, while I have no control over who looks at which and what material that is posted nor in which order, for our own sakes I strongly recommend that we read my posting “…at the beginning of it all…”, which is in the topic “Belonging: Life is a Spiritual Journey (We didn't say: 'Religious Journey)”. My reason for asking this it that doing so will give us a genuine comparison and perpective regarding Jews by Choice.

Yom HaShoah 1992 (7 of 7 Parts)

Part 1 - Can't Stop Crying - [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hUhTteFElI]
Part 2 - Jew by Choice - [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkW_-rfQka4]
Part 3 - Holding Onto the Shoes - [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HMYBzTgjsU]
Part 4 - Living Choice - Living Ashes [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NjHLS6k0O8]
Part 5 - The Six Million's Last Will - [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OclK30TEgA8]
Part 6 - Babi Yar - Cain & Able - [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YPZUT3kmXU]
Part 7 - Kaddish and Kel Malei - [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6LAzFhO43c]

B’Shalom,
Daniel Eliezer

*         *         *
What I write doesn't invite comments within the topic, but I do want you to know
that all are welcome to write me should you have any questions or comments.
I can be reached at: d.e.ben.eitan@gmail.com.
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daniel eliezer

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Posts : 82
Join date : 2011-12-01
Location : Beit El, Israel

PostSubject: Re: Shlomo: [a] Jew by Choice   Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:28 am

For those who have difficulty with the transliterated Hebrew and who don't have access
to Jewish libraries, most transliterated Hebrew can probably be found through Google.
If the word is critical to what I'm saying, then it is explained.

*         *         *
First: In this week’s Torah portion, ‘Chayei Sara’, a good part of the portion is where Abraham sends his servant, Eliezer, to find a wife for his son Yitzhak. If we are not at all familiar with the story, we should simply read Ch. 24:10-67 of Bereshit [Genesis]. It reads quickly, and our purpose in reading is to have some understanding, not to study it in depth. When we read below, this will become clear to us.

Second: What follows is a Torah of my own, a very short Torah but one that is stunning in it’s seeming simplicity. If anyone doesn’t understand here what is the purpose of Eliezer explaining to Rivkah’s family what has transpired, do not give up on it. Setting Torah-as-Torah aside for the moment, what Eliezer does is an extraordinary lesson both in revealing and in how to reveal to a person ‘who they are’. It we don’t understand it just let it simmer in a corner of our mind, or you can speak with me offline.

Finally: While this really is a very good teaching, I’ve posted it here in ‘Shlomo’ because it’s followed by an excerpted teaching of Shlomo’s that let’s us see how giants of Torah understand what’s going on. We each of us have to struggle to understand Torah, because it’s our own genuine wrestling and struggling with Torah which opens us up and allows us to hear the Torah of others. We the Torah part of ourselves and thus ourselves part of the Torah. There is nothing more precious that our own Torah, which we’ll learn about on Chanukah.

...it just flowed from her...

Why’d she do it?

Why did Rivkah go with Eliezer?

Most of parshat [portion] Chayei Sarah is the search for a wife for Yitzhak and, especially, the ‘test’ that Eliezer designs for her. Patiently, the Torah describes to us Eliezer’s every thought and then every detail of what transpired. Then, when he is taken to Rivkah’s home, he painstakingly relates everything again. At this point we should know intimately why he wants Rivkah for a wife.

What does Rivkah know? Why does she want Yitzhak? What did she learn from Eliezer?

We meet Rivkah in three places: ‘by the well’, ‘on the doorstep’, and ‘in the tent’. By the well she’s kindness. She said, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels also.” On the doorstep she decides. She answered, “I will go.” In the tent we’re not told what she expressed. But it is on the strength of these three things that she became Yitzhak’s wife. Without any single one of them it wouldn’t have happened.

Who is she?

A young woman, a girl still, she has the task of going every evening to the community well to draw water. Today a man runs to her and asks for merely a sip - not a drink - of water. Her response we know, but what did she see in Eliezer that caused her to react that way, to cause her to labor until the thirst of Eliezer and his camels was satiated?

We always want to learn it that Rivkah was a woman of extraordinary kindness, and that even in a place like where she lived, a normal work-a-day world where expedience and self-concern was the rule, she was ‘true to herself’. Are we nuts?!

Do we really think that anyone is going to send her for the family’s water if she is going to spend every opportunity assuaging every passerby’s thirst? And let’s accept that her family wouldn’t begrudge her the kindness of sharing a little water with others, but would they wait patiently while she’s watering a fleet of other people’s water-craved livestock?!

Not only that, but when Eliezer gets to her house, he elaborately relates to her family that’s just what she did. And it tremendously impressed them!

And finally, in the morning when Eliezer is urgent to depart, she says, “I’ll go.” To where? To what? (Maybe he’s got more livestock at home that needs watering?) To whom?

When the Eliezers of the world run to greet you, what do you see? When they ask you for water, what do you hear? When your arms are full and your back is burdened, what do you do?

I don’t know. I just know that Rivkah knew that Eliezer was asking her for a favor, one small favor. He wanted a tiny sip of water, and she indulged him. That sip became a deluge that she hadn’t intended. If just flowed from her.

That’s what Eliezer told her family. But it wasn’t just that he told her family. In her presence he told her family. In front of her whole family, he didn’t only tell her family, he more importantly told Rivkah who she is, what she is. From a request for a few drops of water so much, much more flowed.

In the morning, when it was time to leave, Eliezer implored, “I’m leaving. There’s nothing more for me to do here. Are you coming?”

The man who brought all this out is leaving. This man, who is ‘only the servant’ of the man who wants to marry me, is leaving. What must the man who wants to marry me be like, if he has such a servant?!

“I will go.”

From a distance they first see each other, Yitzhak and Rivkah. From a distance their eyes meet and they know.

“And Yitzhak brought her into the residence of Sarah, his mother, and he took her for a wife.”

As Rivkah entered Sarah’s residence, she began to sing. It just flowed from her, filling all that aching, infinite void that had been empty for so unbearably long.

Yitzhak’s infinite longing was filled by Rivkah’s infinite love.

*         *         *
The following short excerpt is from a transcript of a teaching of Shlomo’s. The Rav Naftali who is mentioned in the opening line was a Jew in Auschwitz who on Chanukah traded his shoes for some candles so he could light Chanukah lights. Of course, the Nazis murdered him, but the story is the purest of ‘mesirut nefesh’ of sanctifying God by being a Jew. Perhaps I’ll be able to share it on Chanukah. Zadok HaKohan, whose Torah Shlomo gives over, was a tremendous chassidic Torah giant from Lublin. Keep in mind that this is a transcription as it was said, not a written Torah. We’re listening to speech, not reading writing.

[Shlomo]  “...Okay, I don’t know if I told you the story, but even if I did, the story of Rav Naftali on Chanukah, gevaldt........................okay, mamash the whole of it is based - I’m telling you this story because there’s this Torah of Rav Zadok HaKohan...Zadok HaKohan, a gevaldt Torah. You know when Eliezer was looking for a wife for Yitzhak...remember he made a certain siman [a sign]: “the first girl I ask, ‘give me water,’ and she’ll also give water for the camels,”...remember Rashi says [about this] when she came to the well ‘המים עלו לקראתה’ – ‘the waters came to greet her’...so what do you need more for? You can see she’s a holy neshamah [soul], right? Gevaldt, what do you have to test her for [by watering the camels]?!

Rav Zadok HaKohan says a gevaldt Torah. “There’re two kinds of miracles in the world: Ribono Shel Olam’s [Master of the Universe] miracles and Yidden’s [Jew’s] miracles. The water going to greet her - the Ribono Shel Olam did a miracle. [But] Yitzchak is not a Ribono Shel Olam miracle. Yitzhak is a Yid miracle...a Yid - he was seven years old, mamash light from the mizbeach [the altar in the Temple] - is willing to die for God...a Yid, nach
[*]. So Eliezer wasn’t looking for someone who can make God perform miracles...he wants a Yid miracle. A Yid miracle is ‘a little girl of three if you ask her for water she says, “I also want to give water to your camels,” it’s a Yid miracle.

So here Reb Zadok HaKohan says the deepest Torah in the world. It says in Tehilim, [74:9], “אתותינו לא ראינו” - “...and galus is a time of Exile. [I.e. there is no Prophecy in Exile] You don’t see God’s miracles...which means ‘you don’t see’, [meaning] obviously God’s miracles are not obvious...Reb Zadok HaKohan says, “that’s only God’s miracles, but you know what’s happening in galus [Exile] - Yid miracles!....gevaldt, gevaldt...Yidden, mamash, Yidden, Yidden, Yidden.” [It’s we Yidden, not God, who are the ones doing it.]

[*]Nach: ( loosely) that’s all there is to it, but here it expresses plainest of the plainest meanings of what Yitzhak did at the Akeidah, the Sacrifice of Yitzhak, and yet the seeming absurdity measures the immensity of a Yid [Jew] sacrificing himself for the God’s sake.

Shabbat Shalom,
Daniel Eliezer


*         *         *
What I write doesn't invite comments within the topic, but I do want you to know
that all are welcome to write me should you have any questions or comments.
I can be reached at: d.e.ben.eitan@gmail.com.
[*]
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daniel eliezer

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PostSubject: Re: Shlomo: [a] Jew by Choice   Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:54 pm

For those who have difficulty with the transliterated Hebrew and who don’t have access
to Jewish libraries, most transliterated Hebrew can probably be found through Google.
If the word is critical to what I’m saying, then it is explained.

*         *         *
Chanukah Blessings from Shlomo
Chanukah, 5753
(His last Chanukah)

[Note: I've made no overt attempt to clarify the 'things Jewish' here, i.e. the terms and phrases that can only be learned over time. Shlomo was a master par excellence at being able to give over his mastery of Torah to everyone. Even when details are unclear, the essence of what he says is clear. Daniel]

People wonder sometimes how after two thousand years Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] is still the center of our hearts and the Beis HaMikdash is still our address. The answer is very simple: because on Chanukah, wherever we are it is Yerushalayim our house is the Holy Temple and every Jew is the High Priest.

Why don’t we confess our mistakes on Chanukah? The answer is that on Yom Kippur, only the High Priest walks into the Holy of the Holiest. On Chanukah when we light the candles every Jew is the Holy of the Holiest. On Yom Kippur only the High Priest walks into the Holy of the Holiest, but when I see what the Greeks do to my children, how they destroy the holiness of their fires, how they defile the soul of their souls, then I have no other way but to take my wife and my children into the Holy of Holiest.

And everybody knows that in the Holy of Holiest you don’t talk about mistakes.

You don’t say bad things - even about yourself. You don’t even say bad things about the world. You just want G-d’s light to reach the four corners of the world. So, our holy rabbis tell us that Chanukah is the light of the Messiah; the deepest, deepest, most hidden light in the world…a light that reaches the most hidden place in our hearts.

We kindle the lights by the door or window of the house because on Chanukah all the doors and the windows of hearts are open to each other. G-d’s Oneness, the Oneness of all of Israel and the Oneness of all the world is revealed to us in the most glorius way. While we look at the Chanukah candles, I bless us to be together with all the people we love as the light of Chanukah is shining into our eyes.

Love you and bless you,
Shlomo

TEACHING and GIVING OVER

There is such a thing as teaching, and there is such a thing as giving over. Giving something over to someone is much deeper than teaching. The Torah says Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai, and he came down, but it does not say he taught the Torah to Joshua. It says ‘u’m’sora’, 'and [he]gave it over [to Joshua]. This is the deepest depths there is.  Sometimes one meets someone, someone one can study with for ten years, they can teach you for ten years and they don’t give anything over to you. Sometimes you meet someone, and maybe they don’t teach you so much but they give something over to you.

Reb Mendele Vorker, the silent Rebbe, was a rebbe for 40 years, and in those 40 years he only spoke eight times. Even those times, on a teaching level he didn’t say anything. At one time he was sitting with his Chassidim for fourteen hours and at the end he said, “HaShem Echad”, “G-d is One”, and then he said, “Happy is the one who knows that ‘G-d is one’ means G-d is One”. On a teaching level he didn’t say anything, but when he said “HaShem Echad”. “G-d is One”, he gave it over. We need someone to give over Yiddishkeit to us.  We need someone to give over to us, not to teach us that there is one G-d.’

The Torah says ‘Jacob loved Yosef more than all his children. Naturally today, on the low level we are, if a father loves his son, he says to him, “Man” - Oh no, he would never say man, that would be too far out. He says, “Son, I want to do something special for you - buy you a trip to Bermuda!” But what does it mean Jacob loved Yosef more? Listen what Rashi says, “All the things which Yaakov learned at the Yeshiva of Shem and Aver he gave over to Yosef.” You see, he taught all his children the same information, but to Yosef he gave it over.  The Bais Yaakov [commentator] says the most unbelievable thing. Sometimes the holy prophets knew everything clearly, and sometimes they knew everything, but it wasn’t clear. The Midrash says “Ya'akov [Jacob] loved Yosef more than all his children” and it also says God says to Israel “I love you”. This is my humble explanation. What did Ya'akov give over to Yosef? He gave over to him that he should know that God says, “I love you.”

Knowing that God loves you is something you can not get via teaching. It has to be given over to you. So the thing is like this, Ya'akov didn’t have clear prophecy, because he was not [meant] to know that Yosef was to be a slave.  But Ya'akov knew that Yosef needed something special, because he was the first Jew in exile.

Chanukah is the one holiday which has no tractates in the Gemara [Talmud]. Every other holiday has a long tractate, even Purim, which is a minor holiday. Chanukah has only about a page and a half in the Gemara. Chanukah is a holiday of giving over. It says in the Krias Shma [Shema Yisrael] that you should teach your children “when you sit in your house and when you go on your way.” Teaching is ‘at home’ and giving over is ‘on your way’ because there is no time for teaching on the way, only time for giving over. Chanukah is teaching and giving over become one, because on Chanukah I have to put lights at the door of my house so that the light the house (teaching) shines into the street (giving over).

When you teach someone you are not sure his light will increase, but when you give over to someone you know his light will grow. That is why each night of Chanukah we kindle one more candle to shine into the world, until all the streets of the world are full of light.

On Chanukah - Fixing Hearts

I want to share something unbelievable with you. On Yom Kippur, G-d forgives us for our mistakes; on Simchas Torah we dance them off. When does G-d fix our hearts? When does He take out all the hatred and all the evil from our hearts? When does G-d give us back the holiness of seeing somebody else’s light and saying a blessing over it? When do we see that somebody else’s light is so beautiful? - On Chanukah.

Chanukah is the time of Aaron, the High Priest. Aaron’s specialty was making peace between people.  How can someone make peace between people? Aaron Ha-Cohen had the holiness of being able to actually cleanse a person’s heart of hatred. This is a very special blessing. Each time you make a mistake, you hurt somebody. But you know what else? Each time you make a mistake - sadly enough, you love your children - your heart is not pure enough any more. Children need the purest heart. They need the purest light. When does G-d clean our hearts again so we can have the privilege of giving over the Torah to our children?
On Chanukah.

The holiness of the Chanukah lights is that they burn even in the middle of the night. We are praying, “If I made mistakes again next year, let this Chanukah light shine into all my darkness. Let this Chanukah light keep me from ever hating people. Let this Chanukah light give me so much Holiness that all the darkness of the world can not take away my love for my children.” Chanukah is the highest kind of fixing in the world. If each time you make a mistake, you hate somebody else; let’s face it, each time you make a mistake, you hate yourself. Each time you make a mistake, you get further away from your own neshamah, from your own heart. On Yom Kippur, G-d fixes your soul. But when does your light shine for yourself again?

When can you look in the mirror and see a great light instead of a Shmendrik? When do you see your light again? On Chanukah. All year long, Whatever you do you think is nothing. Whenever you do anything, you think, “It’s bad, It’s stupid. It’s nothing.” This is because you think so little of yourself. On Chanukah, you kindle a candle and you know it’s G-d’s light. You realize you are bringing down G-d’s light. You realize that you have been bringing G-d’s light down into the world all year long. I want to bless you and bless myself that this Chanukah should fix us. It should reach the darkest corners in our hearts.

Every body knows that the nights of Chanukah are the longest and the darkest nights. This means that the light of Chanukah reaches into the darkest places. In that dark night, I suddenly realize, “Gevalt, this is G-d’s light!” Good Chanukah. Good Yontif.

Shlomo

*         *         *
What I write doesn’t invite comments within the topic, but I do want you to know
that all are welcome to write me should you have any questions or comments.
I can be reached at: d.e.ben.eitan@gmail.com.
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