Wednesday, 6 September 2017

How is a Shofar Made? (Video)

With Rosh HaShanah just a little more than two weeks away - we anticipate already the 100 blasts that will be blown on the day(s) itself. For Ashkenazi Jews, the Shofar is already blown every morning during the month of Elul at the end of the Shacharit prayer.

We are familiar with its look - either a creme or black (and creme) colour. It's curved, and it usually looks well polished! How is it made though? The first fascinating video takes us through a short tour of what is involved. The second video teaches us more about the different types of Shofar we can use.

It is amazing - in the Jewish way of life - we use everything to sanctify Hashem. Indeed - everything we use is made in the most beautiful way too! We make use of all of creation in order to uplift creation. Here, the horn of a ram will be used to break through the heavens - and the hearts of the Jewish people. A thing of war - but also a thing of protection (for both the animal and ourselves).

We use the feather of a turkey to create the quill with which to write Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzot. We use the wool of sheep to keep warm so that we can do what we need to to serve Hashem in the world in the cold winter months. 

We use wool for our Tzitzit strings and garment! We use the hide of the animal (even a dead kosher animal which was not killed for this reason at all) to produce the boxes and straps of the Tefillin. We use this hide to produce the parchment upon which to write the Sifrei Torah, the Tefillin and the Mezuzot. We use the citron, the myrtle, the palm branch and willow branches on the festival of Sukkot. We wave them during the festival associated with water as we pray for the Land to be blessed with an abundance of blessed rain in the winter season.

All of creation is used by the Jew in uplifting life itself. All of creation is uplifted in the life of a Jew.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Which Car Are You? (Includes Video)

We live in special times when we have the ability to learn from so many today. One of the biggest things one can see through the variety of videos shared, is just how much people are showing today how important it is to stick together - to be together. There are videos showing us how people judge others by their cars and their looks, and videos showing how important it is to stay far from this. Has G-d ever displayed such in-your-face footage of what is happening in the world and awakening us to strive to improve ourselves to prepare for a better world where peace will reign?

When will that be - and what will that time be like? It will be when we learn to unite and care for each other - as we should; when we learn to stop our harsh judgments of others, expecting them to live the exact same life as they do - only with less pleasure than we have. When we are able to give freely to the other - just because. When we value the other - just because. When we realise the other can feel - just like we do. These in-your-face videos show us just how much G-d is speeding up our lives towards that time - making us open our eyes to see how far we have strayed from truth, and how important it is to awaken and to see the Oneness of life.

Let us not forget, that when something is wrong, it is wrong. The message is not to give in to everything because everything is right. It is that we need to take care to stay far from needless baseless judgments based only on a baseless hatred. 

What wonderful teaching we can learn from a video like below. Enjoy!

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Great Designer

The famous question: Did human beings come from apes, or did God create this world (and many others too)? 

The story was once told about the famous Posek - Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. It happened on one occasion that he was sitting on an airplane. On the plane there was a very disruptive young boy who showed very little respect to his grandfather. On this same plane, Reb Moshe sat with a grandson of his who seemed to be showing his grandfather much respect throughout the journey. Reb Moshe was asked how it happened to be that on one side of the plane the grandson showed his father little respect (with the grandfather even giving in to his grandson), yet on the other side of the plane, a grandson would show his grandfather so much respect.

Reb Moshe answered: It is because they believe that they are descended from apes. Since this is so, it is only natural that the grandfather should show his grandson much respect - after all, he is two generations further removed from an ape. Whereas in our case, we received the Torah over three thousand years ago. As each generation comes about, we are further removed from the greatness of the generations before us which are one generation closer to that Godly experience of hearing God and seeing the Torah as it was given by God. This is why the grandson shows his grandfather much respect.

It's an important decision to make that affects our entire lives. Are we living as improved apes? Or are we living as souls from God? For those who continue to believe in the ape (let alone frog) theory, it is a wonder how they can continue to see the miracles of the world and imagine that yes indeed this entire world came about through a non-existent Bang that made life in a most basic form which then miraculously changed over the millions of years where nature became humans.

Yet - for the believer in a God - it is not all that difficult to perceive the true miracles of life as implanted in the world. Here, they are implanted by a Being who has taken everything into account already - to make a world filled with miracles - operating like nature - and allowing us to live as we do.

In fact, it takes a far greater believer to believe that we came from apes, than that we have come from God - as souls living in bodies. In this wonderful video clip, Rabbi Avigdor Miller shares with us one of the most remarkable of miracles we take for granted. The apple - the apple tree - and the pip! Here, God has implanted a miraculous entity which continues to allow itself to grow forever. Indeed, He has also created a ground surface able to receive the miraculous seed. He has created the winds and the winged creatures who eat the seeds inside the apples dropping them from their bodies with their digested food - to continue to implant themselves into the ground. The ground awakens, taking the genetics of the seed, causes it to grow - and another life-sustaining tree grows!

It is not a silver coin inside the apple that makes it stand out. It is a simple seed that for us looks like nothing more than something we'd rather throw away. Inside it - however, is another apple tree waiting to grow.

So too, has God created all of nature this way. The wealth that surrounds us is hidden within nature. It is hidden in ways that cause us to think it worthless and even worthy of being thrown out. Yet, it's value is far greater than silver - far greater than gold! It's value is life itself - the greatest gift of all.

It is there, for everyone - even the apes. Enjoy the video!


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