The Eight Spiritual Essentials

Based on the teachings of Rabbi Joseph H. Gelberman

Think of these “essentials” as the eight rungs on a ladder leading upward toward greater consciousness.

  1. The first rung is to be One with the self, the soul, and שכינה Shekinah – Creator’s indwelling feminine presence.
  2. The second rung is to forgive the past and look forward to the future with Joy and excitement.
  3. The third rung is to open the mind, letting the soul fly into unknown space.
  4. The fourth rung is to consider what our true mission in life is, and to be totally Alive to that mission
  5. The fifth rung is to be ready once again to hear the message given at Mount Sinai, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
  6. The sixth rung is to learn the art and science of living spiritually; Healthy in body, mind and soul.
  7. The seventh rung is to experience genuine love and know the difference between pleasure, happiness and joy.
  8. The eighth rung is to reunite the divided self in order to know the glory of Oneness of the Universe.

One of the most important concepts to remember is that without human effort, the Creator will remain unredeemed. Creator only lives where Creator is invited. In other words, we are responsible for Creator’s intervention on earth.

If you want the Creator in your life, all you need to do is call. This is one of the important keys to understanding of spirituality. There’s an interactive arrangement between The Light and yourself.

Spirituality is a quest for true knowledge and understanding that will lead you to explore the very depths of your heart and soul in order to receive Love & Light.

May the light always shine brightly on you and may Joy find you at every corner.

Exercise

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Meditate on the following passages and invite The Creator to a dialogue as you do so:

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May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O CREATOR, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
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I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
(Psalm 77:12)
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Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. (Psalm 119:27)
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A Wealthy Beggar

A Story of Inner Light

One day, Sam, a poor man came home from work tired and exhausted. He begged The Creator for just a little treasure. All of a sudden, Sam noticed a little purse lying near his feet. A heavenly voice said to him: “Take this purse as a gift from Creator. You will find a single coin inside, and the moment you take it out, another coin will take its place – until you throw the purse into the river. The moment you spend the first coin, the purse will lose its magic powers.”

By that evening, Sam had succeeded in gathering a full sack of coins from the purse, but there was no bread left in the house, because he would not spend a single coin to buy food for himself. “I will gather another sack of money, and only then throw the purse into the river and begin to spend the coins.” That day Sam asked a neighbor for bread and on the following day he went out to beg for bread in the streets, because, as he said, “It won’t do me any harm if I fill another sack with coins before I spend the money and throw the wonderful purse into the river.” And so, he continued to beg for bread and to gather coins until the end of his days, never spending anything because he did not want to part with his wonderful purse. Sam died a very rich man and his home was filled with sacks of coins – but he died still a poor beggar.

Sam did not realize that in order to truly change his life, he needed more than just money and material possessions. He failed to realize that what he really needed was a different outlook, a change of direction. Even when his wishes/prayers were answered, he was “stuck” in a rut and couldn’t see beyond his negative feelings of fear, greed, the self-perception that he was nothing but a poor beggar.

Often, like Sam, we don’t realize our potential and strengths. We wish to have this, and hope to become that. Then, when our prayers are answered, we forget to enjoy what we have. As a result, we keep it all to ourselves and forget to share with world.

It’s easy to get caught up in negativity and self-loathing; sometimes it may even give us comfort. But consider this; instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have, that everyone else is missing. The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. The difference between ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ are only three letters — Three letters that determine your life’s direction. Share your inner light without fear or doubt. Light is good from whatever lamp it shines.

Benefits of Walking

The Spiritual and Physical

Walking (and exercise) has benefits beyond the merely physical. Many people walk as much for mental and spiritual well-being as for fitness. Can walking make you happy?

Can it help you deal with life stress? Can it help you work through relationship  problems? Can it lead to a deeper spiritual and religious life? For many, the answer is Yes!

Walking outside has an enormous impact on mood, creativity, and mental clarity. Because of this, it can get you through failure and loss, get you past rejection, and help you reverse setbacks. Studies have shown that exercise-induced brain chemicals help people think more clearly. In addition to helping you think, taking a walk outside elevates your thought to a higher creative plane. Somehow, getting moving in the fresh air (or even in city air) gets you out of the box. Your mind can more easily find new perspectives when you’re in motion out in the world.

Walking reminds you of your connection to all that is. All energy is connected, but when we get wrapped up in the daily intricacies of our “what is” life, we often forget that. A walk outside can remind you of the vastness to which you’re connected. Knowing you have all that energy flowing to you, through you, and from you, can give you the sense of power you need to come back from any disappointment. Of course you’ve heard of endorphins. Walking creates them. Which means that walking boosts your mood?

When your mood is depressed, it’s tough to find the positive aspects that can lead you to solutions and better and better experiences. Studies have shown that regular walking can relieve depression, and that has certainly been my experience.

Walking opens possibilities. When you walk outside, you see so many different things. You see movement, color and shapes. You see people and events. All of this constantly moving sensory input (and even a static setting has this constant movement … think of the ocean waves or blowing leaves), taps into your ability to see possibility. Setback can feel like a static experience, an ending. Walking can show you just how open the world is. If you’re moving, your energy is flowing. Your energy is flowing even if you’re not moving, but you’re more aware of it when you’re moving.

Walking gives you time to go deeper and consider fundamental questions: What is the purpose of life? Am I fulfilling my purpose in life? What have I done that has made the world a better place? What ought I do? Have I caused hurt that I should now mend? What comes after life? What is the best way to live the rest of my life? These are questions for believers and nonbelievers alike. The time away from other cares and pressures gives you time to dwell on these fundamentals.

The spiritual benefits of walking address issues such as sense of connectedness, and ability to contemplate deeper values. They are not related to any specific belief system. At the most obvious level, walking gives us time to contemplate and also can be used as a meditation, connecting mind and body.

When we are out walking and see beautiful scenery, we get that sense of wonderment of being alive, especially with the increased vibrancy that comes from being physically fit. Because walking is slower paced than driving or even bicycling, when we see people in our walks, there tends to be a sense of belonging and community which contributes to our spiritual well-being.

Our lives are very busy and it’s often hard to find the time to take care of ourselves in this fast-moving world. Small walks are a great way to receive the benefits of walking. If time allows, walk your kids to school. Instead of taking your car to run a short errand, take a walk if the place you are going to is close enough. When it comes to exercise, nothing can really beat walking. After all, it’s something we already do every day. It doesn’t require any special equipment, and it’s something that will benefit the body, and the mind.

How To Increase Your Divine Consciousness

When our hearts and souls are sick, 
our bodies get sick as well.

Kabbalah teaches, that the world we live in is a product of our perception of reality, and our attitude toward life, determines the world we live in.

Each of us has a choice. You can choose to believe that this world is filled with the light and presence of the Almighty who guides it and cares about it. Or you can believe that this world is one big accident, a chaotic mess. The choices are totally yours, but remember, what you believe creates what you will see, feel and experience in life.

So the question is: How would I act if I sincerely consciously believed that God’s presence filled my life, my home, my world? How would I speak to and treat my family and friends? How would I face the tough times and challenges knowing that the light is with and all around me?

The way to increase our Divine consciousness and invite The Light to pour into our world is by walking the talk – Taking actions such as:

  •  Helping those in need around us.
  •  Being more loving and genuine in our daily interactions.
  • Smiling at the person next to us in the elevator and saying “hello.”
  • In general, making a bigger effort to Care/Love

With-out our efforts and consciousness, The Light can’t illuminate our world.

We need Ein-Sof and Ein-Sof needs us. *

It’s amazing when we take off in an airplane on a dark, cloudy, gloomy day, how bright it actually is once we get passed the clouds – the sky is blue and the sun is shining in full force. Always try to remind yourself during dark times in your life that the light is still shining. You just need to pierce through the clouds and let the Sunshine in. The darkness comes only because (and when) something is blocking the light.

It’s important to take some time for introspection. It’s equally as important to take action and become a Divine Light Shining Partner.

Exercise:

In order to begin building or re-building your self-esteem , you have to accept who you are by reinforcing a positive self-image. If you have grown into the habit of thinking negatively about yourself, you will need to train yourself to achieve the opposite.

The following lists can help remind you of your worth when you are feeling down on yourself:

  • 10 things you can do to make yourself laugh.
    Do at least one a day!
  • 10 things you can do to make someone else laugh.
  • 10 POSITIVE things about your personality.
  • 10 ways to help another person.

After completing these lists, go back periodically and look at them. This will serve as a good reminder of all the positive things you are made of, and will help cheer you up when you’re having a bad, “self-defeating” day.

* Ein Sof, or Ayn Sof (/eɪn sɒf/, Hebrew: אין סוף), in Kabbalah, is understood as God prior to his self-manifestation in the production of any spiritual realm, probably derived from Ibn Gabirol's term, "the Endless One" (she-en lo tiklah).

Exploring New Territories

When The Light is with you all is in order.

Don’t be afraid to explore new frontiers/territories, when the Light is with you all is in order. The Light is always with us, we just need to open our eyes/heart/soul. Even in our darkest night the sun comes up in the morning.

Only you can change/decide your path, so grab on to the Light and start the journey. True power comes from knowing yourself and being kind, make this day the best ever and shine your light with strength. Don’t fear your inner Light, embrace it and welcome it in. “Authentic” spirituality knows Love, Light, Inner Peace and Acts of Loving Kindness.

If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is. Sometimes it’s hard to understand, just reach out to the Creator who’s always on hand. Money glitters, beauty sparkles and the Light shines – let it shine brightly.

Find your truth, let it shine; make sure it doesn’t blind others but illuminates their journey. Be a shining Light today, if opportunity doesn’t knock… build a door. Only those who can see the invisible, can do the impossible, spirituality is not a crutch it’s a pair of wings. Lead by example and by living life to the fullest. Don’t wait for someone else to do it, do it yourself and shine the Light.

It only takes one person to make a difference. Are you ready?

Exercise:

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. Do some breathing exercises (breath in deeply and then exhale slowly until there is no breath. Repeat this process several times).

Imagine that your body is slowly filling with light, starting from the feet and slowly moving upwards. As the light is moving up your body —– feel that it relaxing the muscles and your mind.

Repeat the following phrase as the light fills your body:

“I feel the light moving upwards until my entire body is filled with light and every muscle of my body is feeling relaxed.”
Allow The Light to shine brightly through you. Send it to the whole world.
Now, direct the light towards any area of the body that is giving you pain or discomfort (including depression and or self-doubt).

Keep shinning a loving healing light so that all the darkness and pain is removed and you are feeling lighter, brighter, healthier and generally more joyous.

  • “I radiate my shining light to my body and fill my bodies with this warm healing light.”
  • “I now radiate this healing light to the world.”
  • “I begin to feel that this healing light is returning me to health and vitality I am ready to emanate Love and Light to the world around me.”

Archangel Ariel

It was a gloomy day. The sun was hiding behind a veil of dark gray clouds. I woke up feeling a little down. As the day progressed nothing seemed to “go right.” Nothing seemed to flow. I felt alone (though I was surrounded by people). I felt as though I was “stuck” in the throes of life with no way to move forward.

That night, I lay in bed praying, crying, wondering…

“Ribono shel Olam (Almighty)” I cried, “Please give me a sign. I’m feeling lost and afraid. I feel like I am not going anywhere. I BEG you to show me THE LIGHT and free me of this oppression!”
Tears were falling down my cheeks and my eyes were closed. I was clutching my fists and holding my breath.

Then, a whisper, “Open your eyes… Open your eyes…” I slowly opened my eyes and saw a MAGICAL site! It was MAGNIFICENT and the whole room basked in the glow. His robe was a dazzling combination of gold, blue, silver, and although I could not see his face, he was beaming with a Golden Light. “Who are you?” I asked. He answered, “Ariel Hamalach. I have come to you with a message…” (The word for Angel in Hebrew is Malach, which means, messenger).

I wanted to ask him questions; I needed to scream and shout…
Ariel put his finger in the air, and with a loving gesture signaled for me to calm down and become quiet. “I have a message for you from EL-SHADAI, but first you must compose yourself. Wipe those tears away and send the ego home.”

I did as Ariel advised, took some deep breaths and reached a state of relaxation and excitement. What was he going to tell me?

I took another deep breath in and then exhaled out slowly. Ariel seemed pleased. The Golden Light became brighter.

A soft voice, it could have been a tune – Ariel began to speak and the message was, “Life is not living in a waiting room— it’s waiting in a living room.”

THANK YOU Archangel Ariel!

The whole world is a very narrow bridge and the most important thing is not to be afraid.
-Reb Nachman

Las Vegas wedding Rabbi

Archangel Ariel is the angel of nature. Carolyn lagattuta/Getty Images. Updated November 16, 2015. Ariel means "altar" or "lion of God." Other spellings include Ari'el, Arael, and Ariael.

Bar Bat Mitzvah Ceremonies

Although the ritual of bar mitzvah dates back almost two thousand years and has been a staple in our tradition ever since, the Reform Movement abandoned it in its early years. Along with many of the ritual laws and minhagim (customs), the Reform Movement felt that bar mitzvah was no longer a pertinent ritual. A boy, only 13 years in age, no longer had the adult status in society that he once had. Reform introduced the ceremony of confirmation, whereby a group of young men and women would become confirmed together around the age of 16 following years of education. However, the power of tradition eventually prevailed: Reform brought back the bar mitzvah for boys and even introduced the bat mitzvah for girls. s Bar Bat mitzvah ceremonies

Today with the increase in interfaith marriages, the choice to send a child to a religious school, whether it is Jewish or another religion’s, is not an easy one to make. There are more extra-curricular activities and greater academic pressures nowadays which can often take precedence over religious schooling. Parents often choose to maintain religious traditions associated with the holidays at home, instead of sending kids to school to learn about them. Regardless of a child’s religious schooling, they should be entitled to a bar/bat mitzvah. Just as one born of a Jewish mother is no less Jewish if he never had a bris, a Jew becomes bar mitzvah, according to Jewish law, simply by reaching the “age of majority.” No other conditions apply. Nonetheless, knowing that a ceremony is not necessary to one’s becoming bar/bat mitzvah means little to many families and their children who want to experience this meaningful lifecycle event.

There are other options for families not affiliated with a synagogue who wish to celebrate their child becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. A bar/bat mitzvah does not have to take place in a synagogue. It can take place anywhere that there is a minyan (10 Jewish adults) present for public prayer and public reading of the Torah. A synagogue is holy only as a place of worship, but not intrinsically so.

Rabbi Shai welcomes the opportunity to teach Judaism, prepare and preside over a ceremony that takes place in locales beyond the synagogue. No Jewish child, whether the child of two Jewish parents or just one, should be denied the opportunity to have this special lifecycle ceremony.

Contact Rabbi Shai for More information

Las Vegas Bar Mitzvah ceremony, Bat Mitzvah ceremony, alternative bar mitzvah, online bar mitzvah, 

A Feather and a Bag of Gold

A Story by Rabbi Eli Mallon M.Ed., LMSW

Once, a boy walked down a country road.

Between two fingers, he held a feather that he’d found. He liked to look at it and imagine all the things he could do with it.

As he walked, he met an old neighbor, who was carrying two heavy bags.

The boy asked the old man what was in the bags.

The old man said, “Gold coins. If you’ll carry one of the bags, I’ll give you what’s inside it. It’s more gold than I need and it’ll make me happy to give it to you.”

The boy said, “Yes.”

But soon after he took the bag, the boy grew bored.

So he said to the old man, “I’m sorry, but I’d rather look at my feather.”

And he gave the bag of gold back to the old man and continued on his way, enjoying the feather and imagining all the things he could do with it.

I read a comment by a writer, who said: To believe that God is good, we’d have to “abandon our rationality completely.”

I thought of all the times when, in prayer, I gave up my idea of what’s right and wrong or good and bad, and accepted that God knows far better than I do. I thought of the relief I felt, of the Presence that I experienced, when I did.

Our rationality is like a feather, and God’s goodness is like a bag of gold.

When we give up our own sense of “good and bad” and accept God’s goodness, we get back infinitely more than we give.

Las Vegas Rabbi Shai Specht-Sandler | Blog
Rabbi Eli Mallon
Click HERE For R'Eli's Blog

Kabbalah Healing Meditation

In Kabbalah, names like symbols are believed to possess magical powers. There was even a ritualistic exercise that the early Kabbalists practiced called “putting on the names.”

These mystics actually clothed themselves in robes that were inscribed with all the sacred names of God. This costume was an external reminder of the power that these holy names contained.

While wrapped in this mystic gown, the Kabbalists would begin an undistracted meditation on God’s various holy names. This would eventually induce some kind of visionary experience, which provided answers to the mystic’s questions.

The ancient Kabbalists also stressed that the invocation of God’s names did not compel the Creator to respond to the will of the mystic who invoked the Divine Presence.

Even today’s Kabbalists believe that they can increase their power by chanting such sacred names. They identify with the centuries of power enfolded in the use of these holy names, confident that by reciting God’s names they will be connected to the all-powerful source of healing.

This sense of connection is also why prayer is so important in healing. It automatically connects you to a healing source of power. For your prayer to be effective, you must experience a deep, from the heart, connection with the Almighty when you pray.

Here is a story that illustrates the importance of calling upon God from the heart and soul rather than from the intellectual faculties.

There was a wealthy Jewish lady who lived along Park Avenue. This woman was well-educated and spoke French and a couple of other languages as well. She was in the hospital giving birth and was surrounded by two or three nurses.

The woman began to scream and call upon God in French. “Monsieur, I’m suffering.” She shouted. The startled nurse called the woman’s doctor, Dr. Schwartz.
The doctor asked the nurse what his patient was screaming about, because he didn’t understand French. When the nurse translated what she was saying, the doctor replied: “Let her scream.”

Two hours later the woman was screaming again. This time she was shouting “Jesus help me, help me.” Again the nurse called the doctor. He listened and said, “Let her scream.”

Several hours later the nurse was back on the phone with the doctor. “What is she screaming now?” he asked.”Shema Yisrael,” the nurse replied. “I’ll be right over,” the doctor said. He knew that this time the cry came straight from her heart – from her own spiritual tradition. The rest of her imploring was intellectual concepts that she had picked up along the way.

So if you want to draw power for your healing from the highest source, you must cry out from the heart. Your plea for help must come from the deepest and most authentic level of your soul.

Chanting one of God’s sacred names can also help you remove fear from your life. You are calling upon your partner who is always there to lend a hand. You are also acknowledging your awareness of your union with spirit, and that is almost certain to light up the darkness.

Kabbalists believe that by repeating God’s name, you are binding yourself to the spiritual world, and such binding opens a channel for Divine assistance. So do as the mystics do. Practice this closeness and oneness with God – called Yichud – and it will help to bring healing energy into your life.
Here is the exercise I would like you to try:

Exercise

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. Do some breathing exercises (breath in deeply and then exhale slowly until there is no breath. Repeat this process several times).

Now, choose one of God’s holy names that you most resonate with. It may be Adonai, Adoshem, El, Yehovah, Ein Soph, or Rebono shel Olam – which translates into “Master of the Universe.”

Chant the name you have selected seven times. Chat it with gusto and with a loving and joyful heart. However, if you are not the chanting type, it is perfectly alright to repeat the name you selected during a silent meditation while imagining the force and power behind this name.

Bring all the emotion you can muster into the repetition of this name. Do so for eight minutes. This is the Kabbalistic number which symbolizes God’s name.

As you repeat the name, try to feel the presence of the Shekhinah (God’s female emanation) within. Receive the flow of divine energy. Now send that energy within you to places that may need healing and pain relief.

Next, take a few deep breaths, relax, and think of yourself as healed. Imagining that is a powerful affirmation of faith. I believe that by visualizing your prayer as one that has already been answered, you are taking action in an optimistic way.

You are affirming your faith and are preparing yourself to expect good results. From this point on simply be aware of improvements in your condition. Feel a sense of gratitude for the healing that you have been given from the Source of All Life. Say, “Ki Tov!” It is Good.

Life Is Short. Live In Joy!

All too often we tend to focus on what we don’t have, rather than the beautiful things we do. See the things you take for granted just as you did in the beginning – before you got used to them and forgot they were there… Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

Occasionally, in our modern way of living, we seem to get caught up in materialistic gratification and forget to invest in our spiritual needs which are just as important to our mental and physical health.

Thinking merely of our physical needs and neglecting the spiritual ones may result in low vitality. The need for spirituality is inherent in each and everyone of us.

The fact that one lives now and here is not coincidental. Hence one should act here and now accordingly, by trying to integrate with his/her surroundings and society as much as possible. One should realize the fact one’s head is above all other organs is not coincidental: Wisdom can take us higher resulting in better life!

The more you give, the more you love. Where love is, no room is too small, so Love a little more. Take some time to see the positive in people and things around you. Then, the Light will surely be brighter… The Key is to LOVE.

It is written In the Torah (The Old Testament) that – “This is the day of light and a day of joy, a day of peace and total Harmony.”

What day does this passage refer to? The answer is; this day – Today – is the only day we have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is uncertain… So live each day to it’s fullest and try to find joy, peace and total harmony in all that you do!

Exercise

Find a place where you will be comfortable and not be disturbed for about 15 minutes. Close your eyes and visualize you and God walking along a beautiful sandy beach. It can be some place you’ve been before or a beach that you create in your imagination.

Be aware of the fact that you are not walking “after Creator,” as Noah is described as doing in the Bible, nor are you walking “before Creator” as the Bible describes Abraham doing. Instead, you are walking side by side with God. You and God are together, the two of you are one. Take a long walk with Creator. Remember the words of the Psalmists who said, “if you are with Creator you will have no fear.”

As you walk with Creator tell Him/Her what you want. This is the perfect moment to ask the Creator to remove fear from your life so that you can get on with your healing work. Now imagine a feeling of calmness sweeping over you.

You have released your worries, fear, and anger. You have surrendered difficulty and replaced it with Creator’s power. Bask in this feeling of inner peace. You are no longer afraid.