Through overcoming the challenge of living in the dark, we bring Mashiach
Living in the Dark
One of the wonders of Torah is the exquisite correlation between the parshiyos and the time of year in which they’re read. As the winter darkness of Teves sets in, we read about galus. We go down to Mitzrayim in Vayigash, Yaakov and Yosef die in Vayechi, the persecution starts in Shemos, and Va’eira begins with the most intense suffering. But it ends with the beginning of geulas Mitzrayim.
Va’eira always falls on Shabbos Mevarechim of Shevat, the month the trees begin to blossom again.
Each month corresponds to a different shevet, with Teves being Dan’s. Dan’s only child was Chushim, who was deaf and mute. That Dan’s only child couldn’t see and hear represents the challenge of Teves — the physical darkness represents spiritual darkness, the lack of spiritual awareness we experience this month.
The Midrash tells us that when Eisav tried preventing Yaakov’s burial, Chushim chopped off his head. The killing of Eisav symbolizes the end of galus. The fact that it was Chushim who killed Eisav signals to us that our generation, the Teves generation, the ones who live in spiritual darkness, will deliver Eisav’s head. Through overcoming the challenge of living in the dark, we bring Mashiach.
—As heard from Rav Moshe Wolfson shlita
Step-by-step guide to developing yiras Shamayim and ahavas Hashem
We all know the importance of yiras Shamayim and ahavas Hashem. But how do we develop these attributes?
There are various types of meditations, each of which can be harnessed to connect to Hashem. For example, Breslov-style meditation, which involves emptying everything within you before your Maker, leads to closeness and healing.
The meditations we’re focusing on in this section, as taught by the Baal HaTanya, generate yiras Shamayim. The key here isn’t knowledge, or even understanding, but emotional integration. This can only be accomplished by focused, sustained thinking (a.k.a. meditation). Begin with one minute a day, and work your way up.
Meditation sample #1: I think of a cell. It has millions of parts, each in constant interaction with all the others, forming the most sophisticated high-tech micro city in existence… And I have trillions of cells... Hashem didn’t just design my cells when he created Adam, He actively recreates every cell in my body, every cell part in my body at every second... He knows each of my trillions of cells and their millions of components… And I’m just one of billions of humans He recreates at every second… There are the trillions of other creatures comprised of cells... And we haven’t even begun to think about the complete organs that these cells comprise…
And at this very moment, Hashem sees me, holds me, and loves me... He’s waiting for me to do that which He created me to do, watching every step of my progress, to serve Him to the best of my abilities…
My friends and I find that we need a much deeper level of Torah than that which satisfied our grandmothers. Why is this so?
Mrs. Aidy Nussbaum: What an auspicious time to answer this question — with the neiros Chanukah still lingering in our memories — because the answer has everything to do with them.
When the world began, Hashem’s Infinite Light permeated everything. But after Cheit Eitz Hadaas, this all-encompassing Light was hidden, and we now call it the Ohr Haganuz, the hidden light. Where was it hidden? The seforim tell us it was concealed within three places: the Torah, the flames of Chanukah, and inside every Jew.
Why is there a thirst today for deeper Torah? The sefarim tell us that Mashiach will come “kimah kinah,” bit by bit. The closer we get to Mashiach, the more the effects of Cheit Eitz Hadaas are diminished.
As Mashiach is descending upon us, the Ohr Haganuz is being revealed from all of its hiding places. The deeper Torah is bursting to come out in its fullness, and we are thirsting for it.
We’re experiencing the phenomena of “lo ra’av l’lechem v’lo tzama l’mayim... not hungry for bread or thirsty for water, but to hear the word of Hashem” (Amos 8:11).
—Mrs. Aidy Nussbaum is an educator, mentor, and founder of KumiOhri, where she explores, philosophically and experientially, how to access and align with our higher self and live from there.
Angels Do Come
Covid dominates. The hospital walls are so forbidding and cold, it seems that even angels couldn’t penetrate. I’m left stranded, devoid of any human comfort and support.
My beautiful baby, whose happy face could normally make anyone smile, is now immobile. My former angst over his Down syndrome diagnosis seems petty and insignificant as my little prince fights for his life. His small body is hard to find amid the wires and beeping machines. My emotions ride along the ups and downs of his oxygen levels; hope, fear, and anxiety weigh down my heart until all I want to do is scream.
And then my phone rang. I couldn’t answer it. Couldn’t muster the energy to sound cheerful, couldn’t assure whoever it was that I was doing fine, that I was managing. But I also longed to talk to someone, to distract myself from the terrible sight of my son’s unmoving form. I answered my sister’s call. “Hello?”
My voice was so strained, so forced, that my sister stopped the conversation immediately. “Debs. Stay right there. I’m coming.”
And before I could protest, explain that only parents were allowed in, she’d already ordered a taxi and was on her way. Like a hero in a drama film, she marched straight to the nurses’ station, without giving anyone an opportunity to stop her.
“I’m here to take over room 305,” she said, the resolution in her voice stopping anyone from contradicting. “It’s either me or no one.”
I bent down to give a goodnight kiss to my little boy, my tears wetting his face. “I was wrong, my little tzaddik,” I whispered to him. “He was with me holding my hand. Angels do come.”
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 774)
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