Aug 19, 2018

Raize Guttman 08-19-18 (8 Elul 5778)

We continue with our discussion of Elul.

One of the major ways of connecting in Elul is through tefillah (prayer). The word tefillah is derived from the Hebrew word pileil (which means to judge), and the act of engaging in tefillah is described in the reflexive “lehitpaleil, (to judge or to analyze oneself). Authentic prayer requires self evaluation where one takes a long, hard and honest look at himself in the shadow of Hashem's presence where nothing can be hidden or denied. Tefillah is a way to look inward and get to know what my emotions are all about. Have I been living up to my potential? Have I used the gifts that God has given me properly?

Avodah shebalev (service of the heart), our sages teach us this is done through prayer.

Parsha Vayeira - Chapter 20 – Verses 12 - 18
Avraham prays for Avimelech. We learn how powerful it is to pray for another person.

Today’s learning dedicated to the memory of Yoshua Hanoch ben Moshe Zalman, and Shmuel ben Shepsil Meir.

Our thoughts, love and prayers go out to our dear Gem sister Rivka Jacobs.

Aug 12, 2018

Raize Guttman 08-12-18 (1 Elul 5778)

Rosh Chodesh Elul

Today is day one of the very auspicious time leading into the Yamim Noraim (High Holidays).

It is taught that the Hebrew letters ELUL (aleph, lamed, vav, lamed) are an acronym for the verse from Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs), Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li - I am my beloved's and my beloved is to me.

Elul is all about relationships – it is all about connections – to ourselves, Hashem and others.

We say Chapter 27 in Psalms. It is the most beautiful expression of this entire period.

Aug 5, 2018

Raize Guttman 08-05-18 (24 Av 5778)

Parsha Vayeira - Chapter 20 – Verses 8 - 11

In verse 11, we come to a very famous Torah verse where Avraham says, "Surely there is no fear of Hashem in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife."

We discuss Yiras Shamayim (fear of heaven) and exactly what that means.