It takes courage and determination to effect self-growth.

True inner growth, i.e. maturity, needs and depends on self-faith.

Self-faith is the attribute of the soul to believe oneself as being worthy of existence, hence of self-development.

Inner growth is a process of unfoldment of the potentials of the soul.

As such, it is intrinsically a force of chesed/self-kindness.

However, chesed can be limited by its opposite, which is gevurah/restriction. Restriction by itself is a force of stagnation, which the unrectified Ego can use to block inner growth.

Ego wants, so to speak, to remain in its safe and unchanged domain, where it can control and preserve “itself”.

Inner growth signifies a psychological change, a dynamic process that is completely opposite to the force of Ego/self-centeredness.

By nullifying the Ego, that is, making it “small”, one can grow the inner self to be “big”, that is, unfolding and expanding its boundaries, so to speak.

Therefore, without self-faith, the individual also will not trust anyone else seeking to help him, even the one he himself chose to counsel, guide and teach him. Truly, if I do not have faith in myself, how can I have faith in anyone else?

A person resistant to inner growth will tend to strengthen the Ego’s hold, crystallizing the particular traits that characterized one’s unmoved/unrectified psychological state.

Hence, the longer one delays the inner growth, the harder it will become to develop it. For it is the nature of stagnation to become “denser”.

The Ego will not allow the person to view critically its need to grow, and the person will forever be a prisoner of its Ego bound lack of self-faith.

It is imperative to break free from these shackles, for the fulfillment of one’s mission in life depends on the maximum inner growth, for this is the only way the person can come to know his tachlis/mission in life. This is so, because, before inner growth, the measure the person came to be in this world is limited, held by its lacks and deficiencies.

As such, the person cannot possibly be leading its life on a path of his mission, since many of its capacities will remain underdeveloped.

There is much more, however, for now, this should suffice.

Iyar 12, 5778


In discussing the dynamics of the spiritual dimension of reality, the Ari”zal makes frequent use of the male-female metaphor. This is because the basic concept of creation is duality, beginning with the fundamental duality of the Creator and His creation. G-d is one, but He has created a world that appears to exist outside of Him, and this automatically sets up a tension between the existential consciousness of creation as being a separate, independent reality and its consciousness (or lack of consciousness) of its origin in and dependence upon Him. G-d and creation yearn to reunite with each other since this reunion expresses the original, perfect state that existed prior to creation. Yet both G-d and creation are conscious of the fact the world was created for a purpose, and the “business” of this situation must be attended to in order for the ultimate union of G-d and creation to occur on an even deeper level than existed originally. Along the way, however, besides the underlying yearning for ultimate fulfillment that informs the entire process of life, there are the ups and downs of periods of partial reunion followed by renewed enforced estrangement. Thus, the underlying dynamic of life is one of yearning, passion, and romance. In the dynamic of duality, G-d assumes the role of the male and creation that of the female. The male is “trapped” in His consciousness of the ideal, original state of reality. His challenge in working toward the reunion is “get out of his head,” to realize and yearn for the superior fulfillment that is possible only through uniting with what the female represents. The female, in contrast, is “trapped” in her consciousness of perfecting created reality. Her challenge is to remember the goal towards which she is working, to reveal the subconscious yearnings of her heart to transcend created reality. Although, as we said, G-d is generally assigned the role of the male and creation that of the female, the male-female dynamic is replayed throughout all levels of created reality. In other words, every level of creation has its male and female aspects—the part of it that represents the orientation towards abstract perfection and the part of it that represents the orientation towards concretizing and manifesting perfection in reality. The final, lowest manifestation of this duality is, of course, man and woman in our physical world.

This metaphor is “replicated” in the Mishkan/Tabernacle, which was built (to be likened) to the physical body. In the same way as a person’s consciousness (literally “brain”) influences from within its encasing, so too the holy spirit is made within a body. This is the secret of the holy Shechina that contains the Above and Below, the secret of the holy spirit, that is connected in the spiritual world and revealed in the physical world. The Shechina is always drawn down from the spiritual to manifest in the physical; this is the secret of the Tabernacle as a “body” built to receive the “brain” within its shell. This was all done in accordance with Moses’ vision. The holy spirit of the Shechina, became dressed, as it were, in the body of the Tabernacle. This was in order that a different spirit would be infused in it – a higher finer brightness – the light from the name Havayah, the “masculine aspect” of G‑d. All was united together and included one within the other, entering and dressing each within the other, until the Shechina united with this world, which is the outermost shell from the spiritual world. This “dressing” represents the drawing down of the Infinite into the finite through a series of layers such as those that were the skins over the Tabernacle.

The shell of This World is the most physically manifested of all [the three shells that are the contraction of the spiritual light which seem to create entities separate from their source. These shells, or klipot, are) like the shells of the walnut growing on its tree. The outer, green shell, is not the hardest shell (it is soft and damp), whereas the shell beneath it is hard (like wood); this is like the negative spirit (i.e. tendencies) that govern the physical body. Beneath this shell is another, finer, shell – the membrane which covers the brain [the source of the spirit and consciousness in man.

There is so much more, but for now, this will suffice.

Baruch Ad-nai Amen v’Amen



My dear talmidim,

שבת חזון

At shul, in an introductory shiur to parshas Devarim,  I asked what can/should a talmid “see”.

Chazal gives an advice for the talmid to gain real knowledge from his Rebbe.

The Gemara in Kereisos (daf 6a) says that talmidim should חזו לפומיה דרבכון

B’pshat, literally looking at the Rebbe’s mouth during the lesson helps keep the talmid’s focus.

However, it goes deeper than this. For the objective is to receive and absorb knowledge (דעת).

In fact, the essence of this is not even simple knowledge, but true “knowing” (דעת).

Knowing means the union of mental and emotional faculties necessary for acting on the matter.

One cannot act on anything successfully without “knowing” the issue.

Knowing/knowledge is a deep integration of all of our understanding of a reality.

The Rebbe brings this level of knowledge, a precious gift. Therefore, the talmid must pay attention.

When the talmidim achieve knowing/knowledge, the raise their level of consciousness.

This is true growth, and not mere studying an “interesting” subject.

Raising the level of consciousness directly means raising your level of kedusha.

Amazingly, the gematria of חזו לפומיה דרבכון is 474, which is the gematria of דעת.

Moreover, the gematria of the reshei tevot (חלד) is 42, an important number in Torah.

See, 42 is the gematria of a Shem Kodesh, the Shem Mem-Bet. (See Talmud, Kidushin 71a).

There is much that could be explained regarding this ShemKodesh, but it is a Shem of ascent.

B’ruchniyut, it is through this Shem that our prayers and thoughts are raised to Shamayim.

This is why after sections of tefillah, we say Ana B’Koach, which corresponds to the Shem Mem-Bet.

We say this prayer on the קריאת שמע על המטה to ensure our neshamos are raised at sleep.

As such, when the talmid pays attention to the Rebbe’s mouth, he gains knowledge and ascension.

Also know that the talmid receive a ruach from the Rebbe, which connects them together.

This is why the respect owed to the Torah teacher is even greater than to our own fathers.

(See Pirkei Avos 4:12; Shulchan Aruch YD 242:1, 16 etc.).

Tzom Kal,

Rabbi Avraham



And it is written: כאשר צוה ה’ את משה ויפקדם במדבר סיני Ka’asher tsiva Hashem et-Moshe vayifkedem bemidbar Sinai, “As YKVK commanded Moshe, so he counted them in the wilderness of Sinai[1]. See, this verse’s gematria is 2012, that is 4 x 503, this being the numerical value of המחנת ha-machanet, “the encampment”. And the parsha brings[2] how each one of the shevatim/tribes was positioned in the desert. There were four encampments situated in different positions, and each machaneh consisted of three tribes. Now, the gematria of vayifkedem bemidbar Sinai is 618, that being the same numerical value as בריתו berito, “Your pact”. And as it is explained, “When He came to cause His Divine Presence to rest among them, He counted them”[3] in order to bless them. Furthermore, the holy Zohar comments: “We do not find another counting among Israel by which they received blessings from it as in this count, because this counting was purposely meant for a blessing”[4]. He counted the people to bring them the strength of the Shechina to direct and to interact with them. For the Shechina vitalizes the people, as She is the source of the blessings[5]. The pact further strengthened the people much like a ship that is docked at the pier, but that is always subject to the strong and constant movements of the waves that could carry it away. So, in order to firmly secure and protect the ship, it is necessary to wind many times the ropes that connect the ship’s anchor to the pier’s post. Truly, the count united the Shechina with the Bnei Israel above and below, as this was a pact through which new brachot came down to them through the Divine conduit of their original pact at Matan Torah. See, the ribua perati (“individual squaring”) of the ordinal gematria of בריתו berito is: (bet, 22 = 4) + (reish, 202 = 400) + (yud, 102 = 100) + (tav, 222 = 484) + (vav, 62 = 36) = 1024, this being the same gematria of בתורתיו beTorotav, “Your Torah[6]. The number 1024 alludes to the wholeness of the two Torot – the Written and the Oral. More so, 210 = 1024, where the power of 10 indicates the perfection of each one of them[7]. And the gematria atbash plus the kolel of beTorotav is 506, this being the same numerical value of הראש ha-rosh, “the head”. Through the counting of the people, YKVK distinguishes the Bnei Israel from the nations, “Because they were dear to Him”[8]. And ישראל Israel is a tzeruf of לי ראש Li rosh, “A head for me”[9].


[1] Bamidar 1:19, Bamidbar.

[2] Starting on Bamidbar 2:3.

[3] Rashi on Bamidbar 1:1.

[4] 117b, Bamidbar.

[5] See Maggid Mesharim, Bamidbar.

[6] Daniel 9:10. To better understand the gematria operation used here, in the ordinal gematria (mispar siduri) each of the 22 letters is given an equivalent from one to twenty-two. For example, alef equals 1, kaf equals 11, tav = 22. The final kaf equals 23 etc. In the text above, each individual letter of בריתו was examined in its ordinal gematria, then squared. The ribua perati is the summing of the squares of each letter that make up the word.

[7] In Kabbalah, squaring signifies maturation and development, while a power of ten is Divine perfection.

[8] Rashi on Bamidbar 1:1.

[9] The Ari”zal, Sha’ar HaPesukim, Vayeitzei.


And it is written: ויהיו חיי שרה מאה שנה ועשרים שנה ושבע שנים שני חיי שרה Vayihyu chayei Sarah mea shana veesrim shana vesheva shanim shenei chayei Sarah, “And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah” (Bereshit 23:1, Chaiye Sarah). The Talmud (Sanhedrin 95a) relates something extraordinary regarding king David and his nephew Avishai. At a certain time, they were involved in a ferocious fight against the giant Yishbi B’Nov, Goliath‘s brother. And I saw that the death of this wicked giant that tried hard to kill David (just as his brother Goliath had done so in the past, in II Samuel 22), was a tikkun/rectification for the matriarch Sarah’s death. See, in this piece of the Talmud it is related that David and Avishai realized that even together, they did not have sufficient strength to put an end to this giant of evil. There are various extraordinary details on this account (including the use of Shemot Kodashim/Holy Names to alter the reality in favor of David HaMelech/king David), but here I shall not tell them. At last, they attempted a new tactic to kill the perverse: They said to Yishbi B’Nov: “Go e find your mother Orpah in the grave, for we have killed her!” And so it was that, when they mentioned his mother’s name and said they had killed her, the giant’s strength was depleted in full, and then they killed him. Now, the Midrash reveals the known passage regarding the Satan, who visited Sarah when Avraham and Yitzchak were in the Mount Moriyah for the Akedat Yitzchak/Sacrifice of Isaac. When she heard from the Satan the news that fulfilling G-d’s command, Avraham was going to sacrifice Yitzchak like a korban/offering, “Her soul flew away and she passed away” (Rashi on Bereshit 23:1; Pirkei d’Rabi Eliezar etc.). “Apparently”, the side of evil prevailed here, chaz v’shalom, for the stress caused in the holy mother of the patriarch Yitzchak stroke her down. However, truly the side of good prevailed, making a tikkun, for the stress caused in the giant with the news of his mother’s passing allowed that this great agent of evil could be slaughter, midah k’neged midah/measure by measure. Moreover, the Sages of the Torah explain that שני חיי שרה shenei chayei Sarah, “these were the years of the life of Sarah” signifies that “All of them were equally good” (Rashi on Bereshit 23:1). She lived her life fully, and when her time here was completed, she lacked nothing to complete her mission. All was perfect, as we see hinted in the gematria atbash of shenei chayei Sarah being 286. This is the numerical value of the gematria of the Tetragram/YKVK (gematria 26) times 11. And the numerical value of 11 is the gematria of the word טב tov, “good” (written haser, without the Vav). As such, since multiplication psychologically signifies the strengthening in stages”, we see that at each stage of the life of Sarah, all was good (26 x 11 = 286). From the beginning to the end, her life was blessed. See, the sofei tevot/end letters of חיי שרה chaiye Sarah, “life of Sarah” are the two letters yud and hei, which form the Divine Name Kah/G-d. Truly, all follows always in accordance to the Divine Plan.