The Upper Worlds

When one sits in a succah, and he learns and davens there, he is living in the upper worlds literally… ~ The Yesod Yosef

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It Shines

On Succos, the highest light, which is the light of emuna, shines.  When a person has emuna – he has everything.  When a person knows that everything is Hashem’s will and for the best – and he does not just know this – he breathes it, he lives it – his life is Gan Eden.  ~ R’ Menachem Azolai, Shlita

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Yiras Shamayim

Chazal say, “Everything is in Heaven’s hands, except for yiras Shamayaim.” The Rebbe of Kotzk zt’l explains that when one prays for material matters, Heaven decides whether it is good for him to receive this or not. But when one prays for Torah,
mitzvos, and yiras Shamayim, his requests are always answered, because
that is unquestionably a good thing.

Chazal hint to this when they say, everything is up to Heaven to decide whether to give it or not, the exception is when one prays for yiras Shamayim, because Hashem will certainly give it to him. ~ R’ Elimelech Biderman, Shlita

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Hishtaldus

First we pray and then we do our hishtaldus.  But remember, “it isn’t hishtaldus that helps.  It is an obligation…a tax all mankind must pay…  After one does this obligation, Hashem’s blessings can come.  ~ Mesilas Yesharim

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Suggestion #10 – Speak Softly and Smile

Last two suggestions before Yom Kippur:

Let’s work on the very first piece of advice that the Ramban gave his son in his Igeret HaRamban: “Get into the habit of always speaking calmly to everyone. This will prevent you from anger, a serious character flaw which causes people to sin.”

Second, let’s smile more.  In Pirkei Avos (1:15) Shammai says: Receive every person with a “sever panim yafos” (a pleasant countenance).  In other words, Smile at people when you greet them. Smiling at someone will not only lift their mood, but it is also contagious.  They will end up smiling at others who will smile at others and in the end, your one smile will change the world.   But not only are smiles good for others; they are good for you too. We know for a fact that smiling reduces stress, makes you happier and improves your overall heath.

May we all light up the world with our smiles and have a g’mar chasima tovah!

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Suggestion #9 -Don’t Procrastinate

Let’s work on two items today:  Saying brachos with more kavanah and not forgetting to say a bracha achrona.

How often do we say a bracha on food without thinking?  The Arizal taught, “The primary matter which leads to ruach hakadosh is to say the brachos over food with kavanah.”  Let’s slow it down a little and give these brachos some more thought.

Second, I am sure I am not the only one that will eat something and intend to say a bracha achrona, but hesitate because you think you will eat or drink more…Then you realize some time later that you didn’t say the bracha achrona or even bench.   Therefore, let’s not procrastinate.  Just say the bracha achrona immediately after you finish eating.   

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Suggestion #8 – A little less conversation

Let’s work on not talking to our friends in shul, especially during the Torah reading, chazaratz Hashatz and other times that it is forbidden to speak.   I won’t discuss the scary things Chazal say about one who violates these halachot, but instead discuss the blessings one receives for keeping them.  For instance, the Tosfos Yom Tov promises that one who does not talk during davening will be subject to all the blessings in the Torah, will be saved from illness, have healthy children who are Torah observant, who will get married, do good deeds and always serve Hashem truthfully.

Even if you have been talking during davening your whole life, if you have the urge this Shabbos to do the same, and you actually refrain from doing so, that is complete teshuvah!!  All those sins will transform into mitzvos! 

To help fight the urge and discourage others from talking to you, try putting your finger on the place and following along in your siddur with the chazzan or bal korei.   Another idea is to close your eyes during chazaratz hashatz.  Treat it like a second shemona esrei where you can just concentrate while the chazzan is saying the words.   I was doing this for a while and actually looked forward to going to minyan for this reason.  This is a good reminder to myself to start doing that again.

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