Jan 28, 2018

Raize Guttman 01-28-18 (13 Shevat 5778)

There was no class today due to technical difficulties.

Jan 21, 2018

Raize Guttman 01-21-18 (5 Shevat 5778)

Parsha Vayeira - Chapter 19 – Verses 9 - 13

The mob is very displeased with Lot’s judgment on how to treat guests & are becoming violent as they are ready to break down Lot's door.

The angels teach us that people have to be cautious in dangerous situations. Don’t just rely on miracles. There is a fine balance between hishtadlus (personal effort) and bitachon (trust). Everything comes from Hashem, but Hashem is waiting to see how we take the initiative to help ourselves.

The angels also teach us that sometimes a person can be so influenced by his surroundings that he does not see clearly what is right and what is wrong anymore - he becomes blind. As long as he knows that certain behaviors are considered wrong or an abomination, then he can protect himself and save himself from it. It could happen that someone close to us; dear to us, does something or acts in ways that are immoral - or they ridicule us or go against what is right. So when you find it is impossible to protect yourself from their actions, then we have to separate ourselves from that person. As painful as it is, we have to remain strong and clear in our values.

Jan 14, 2018

Raize Guttman 01-14-18 (27 Tivet 5778)

This week is Rosh Chodesh Shevat, the 11th month on the Jewish calendar. Each month conveys it own unique message & symbol that teaches us about the power of the month. This month's symbol is a D’li (a pail/bucket). (דְלִי). A bucket has one function - to draw and carry water. In other words, to be a vessel of transmission. A pail's whole essence is one of serving.

On Rosh Chodesh Shevat Moshe began his 37 day elucidation of the Torah to the Jewish people. Moshe was a huge dli that brought up the water (The Torah) to the house of Israel, so they should drink.

The theme of this month of Shevat is the concept of renewal and rebirth. As it is within nature, so too this special time alludes to the potential for restoration within each person, for the Torah uses the metaphor "Is the tree of the field a man?" (Devarim 20:19). Just as renewal is within the grasp of the natural world, so too it is within our grasp. As the trees around us receive this new spark of Hashem's energy, so too can people be affected by it as well.

Celebrating Rosh Chodesh is the first mitzvah we received as a nation. As we welcome this new month on the calendar, let us also welcome a new beginning into our lives!

Jan 7, 2018

Raize Guttman 01-07-18 (20 Tivet 5778)

Parsha Vayeira - Chapter 19 – Verses 4 - 8

Lot is now back at his home with his 2 guests (the angels). An angry mob is outside demanding Lot bring them outside so they can "be intimate with them." Lot goes outside alone &offers his daughters to the mob in lieu of the guests.

These verses bring down how mixed up a person can become when they are living amongst wicked people. We can lose clarity on what is right and wrong, and the bad behaviors become habituation and then part of our nature.

Today our tests are so great because in our generation, with a click of a button we can bring Sodom into our homes and bedrooms. We have to constantly catch ourselves. Hashem created us all with a conscience. It may be buried under layers and layers of bad behaviors, but even so it is still there and it is still pure & will always remain pure.

We need to wake ourselves up & feel what is right and what is wrong again. And always be with people who are going to help us grow and raise us up as this is the way to keep our vision clear and our conscience bright.