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Dear  Naaleh Friend,

This week we feature a class from the Naaleh series:  Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur.    The class Elul: Roses of Love,  by Mrs. Shira Smiles, examines three different acronyms used to describe the month of Elul. In this class, Mrs. Smiles focuses on the verse, " Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li."  To view the class click on the image below.


This week's edition of Torah Imecha on Parshat Ki Savo is available on our  Newsletter page  Click here  for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 

Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
For Tehillim list please click here to view our Refuah Shleima page
Joy of Remembrance Part II
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles
"Happy is the man who will not forget you and will constantly try to hold fast to you." The Rinat Chaim explains, a person must strive to remember Hashem and constantly be aware of His presence at all times. Picture in your mind Hashem looking at you and watching your every action. "There's no forgetting before the throne of your honor." Our deeds are evaluated according to the Kiddush Hashem (the sanctification of Hashem) they make.  The message of Zichronot is, if Hashem remembers everything we do then the upshot is for us to remember Him every step of the way. And this is the idea of reciting the verses of Zichronot . We must make it clear to ourselves that our very existence depends on the measure and degree of Hashem remembering us. The point of saying the verses of Zichronot is not just to speak about how Hashem remembers, but to elicit within us how we remember Hashem and how we need to connect to Him. The more we're able to bring forth our remembrance of Hashem, to that degree Hashem will remember us for the good.

"You remember the deeds of the universe and recall all the creatures fashioned since earliest times...Hashem, who keeps watch and sees to the very end of generations." The Rinat Chaim asks, what does it mean that he remembers from the beginning to the end of time?  The Ramchal says its incumbent upon every Jew to strive for perfection. Aside from the individual's responsibility, the general community of Klal Yisrael is duty bound to rectify creation. The entire world can be compared to a structure of stone and every individual is asked to build their own stone in the building. Every action we do is judged according to its impact. To what degree has it successfully continued and completed the avodah of the forefathers and all previous generations or to what degree has it damaged the structure that the past generations have already built. The work of all generations must be viewed as a chain stretching from the first generation to the last, of which each generation and each individual is a link. If one link is missing or damaged the continuity of the chain is impaired. People tend to think incorrectly that their deeds are relevant to themselves. In reality their actions impact upon all generations. This is why Hashem reflects on the future when judging the present.

Zichronot makes us aware of the value of a person. I'm being judged how I have impacted what my forefathers have set up for me as my structure. The question is how will my building impact future generations. If I'm a link in the chain, I have to make sure I'm the strongest link possible. I have to make sure that my stone fits perfectly in the building.  On Rosh Hashana there's fear, am I living up to what I should be? On the other hand, there's joy that I as an individual have the ability to be part of a chain stretching back to the beginning of time and continuing on to the end of time. The Paame Moed points out, past, present, and future are all happening simultaneously and are all the same before Hashem. This is what it means that Hashem remembers Noach, not in the past, but now, because the past is happening right now and each individual is being placed in this continuum. Picture a one hundred lane intersection meeting at one center point. There are lanes for airplanes, trains, bicycles, wagons, and donkeys. All the transport means throughout history are all coming together in one epicenter like a cloud of smoke. And suddenly a thin small voice brings all these modes of transportation to a halt. That is the moment of judgement in which all of history stands together as one. This is the depth of Rosh Hashana, how is the world at large and I as an individual in the scheme of time living up to this reality? When we remember that our job is to crown the king with our deeds, and we put that image in front of us at all times, Hashem will remember us for the good.

The third final level is explained by Rabbi Meizlish based on the Shem Mishmuel. Zechira is remembering that which was concealed. Obviously, Hashem remembers all the time. But His remembrance could be blocked and also brought to the fore depending on our actions. Zichronot is activating Hashem's intrinsic love for the Jewish people and this is why a major theme is zechut avot . The forefathers showed tremendous self sacrifice and love for Hashem and in turn, Hashem related to them in the same way. When we mention zechut avot we are trying to bring to the fore that intrinsic love. The more we can stimulate Hashem's love for us the more intense His influence will be.
Days of Awe Part II
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
The Gra says that the only accusation Hashem will make against any person is, "Why did you defile my world? The world is potentially holy. Why did you make it impure?" At the end of the year it behooves us to make an accounting, where have our struggles been? Was I struggling to get myself to a better place at work? Was I struggling to help people? Was I guarded or not guarded? Was I a source of destruction or did I facilitate growth? The Jewish nation have a special job assignment. We're meant to be a chosen people. We're meant to be spiritually alive like a gem illuminating a room. Our mission is to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The effect of that is that we will be a light unto the nations. One has to ask oneself, "In my interactions with the world and other people, am I a part of a holy nation?" Holiness means being separate. Am I separate from the degrading mores of contemporary culture? Have I bought into the legends of the time, which is everything is ok as long as it makes me happy. Am I a servant of the king or not?  

You're on the bus. You thought you'd have time to finish davening Mincha but the last stop came and you're up to Sim Shalom . The driver says, "Lady off, it's the last step." A lot of people would get off. But what would the driver do if he waited another two minutes? Nothing. He'd just yell at you. You made a bad judgement, that's all. You could apologize. But our fear of other people sometimes exceeds our fear of Hashem. We are a kingdom of kohanim . A kohen has to bring blessing into the world and be a source of blessing. Are we givers? Do we give of ourselves, of our presence, of our potential? Men are meant to give forth. Women are meant to nurture, not just their only families but others too. Are we living up to these roles? Each of us has our own specificity, the part of us that is divisible in five segments. We are who we are biologically, as a result of our environment, our  potentials, our choices, and our habits. Yet the main question is, who am I? What motivates me to do good or bad? Asking these questions brings you closer to knowing yourself, your place of conflict, and how to best return to Hashem. Everyone's answer will be different because everyone is different. Teshuva means returning yourself to who you could be, the person you were created to be.

The last of the holidays in this season is Sukkot. Rosh Hashana is about saying, "You Hashem are the ruler my king, you are the one I follow not my desires. I believe I could serve you. I believe like the pomegranate with 613 seeds that we eat on Rosh Hashana night, that there is potential within me. Wherever you take me that's where I want to be." We are behind Yom Kippur. Our sins have been forgiven. The sukkah is a feeling of being encompassed by Hashem, feeling His love, and being able to extend this love to every kind of Jew as the four species hint to us. It's being comfortable with Hashem, with every part of ourself, with our heart which is the etrog , with our lips, our eyes, our spine, our speech and vision, that connect our mind to our body. Every aspect of who we are should be following in one direction, fulfilling the will of Hashem.
Internalizing G-d Part II
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen
Bechina is an expression of nisayon (test ). " Hashem tzadik yivchon , Hashem tests the tzadik ." We have to go through nisyonot , proofs and tests in life in order to see Hashem. In this way we can come to an understanding of that which we learned in Shaar hayichud that Hashem and the Torah are one and true and not subject to individual interpretation. When a person realizes this happiness and contentment automatically follow. This can only be if a person surrenders himself to understand the Creator, to make Hashem one in his life.

Shar Habechina discusses contemplating the greatness of the Creator. The introduction delineates three areas which require a great deal of concentration, three areas that can take us away from the path of seeing the Creator in the proper light, and stop man from seeing the true greatness of Hashem. The first is the pursuit of pleasure which blocks the mind and heart from coming to a higher level of understanding. A person who is jealous of others, angry at Hashem for not giving him more, and never satisfied with what he has, cannot see Hashem because he's too involved with this world.

The second reason is that we're spoiled. From the moment we're born, we're given everything we need. There are people who go through life and never recognize Hashem. Adam was born into a finished world. It's easy to think this is what it should be.  Picture a child that was kidnapped. Someone comes and redeems him. For the rest of his life, the child will always feel grateful to the person who saved him. However, towards his own parents he sees no reason to show gratitude, at least not as much as to the person who saved his life. A person is obligated to praise Hashem constantly. But this is our downfall. We think it's all coming to us. So much so that we don't realize what we have.

Thirdly, difficult challenges that a person faces cause him to deny Hashem. We must believe everything Hashem does is for our benefit. If we have doubts, Shaar Habechina takes it away. Contemplating the awesomeness of Hashem and the world He created, helps us come closer to Him and feel gratitude for all that He has given and continues to give.

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Rectification of the Recalcitrant
 Mrs. Shira Smiles
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Dayan Shlomo Cohen
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