Song of Day by ARIZAL

During the year of second temple when our Sages of blessed memory saw the spiritual decline of the nation they instituted daily prayers. While each prayer has a “simple” meaning, every single letter alludes do deep Kabbalisitc concepts. By following the described “medicine” we invoke spiritual forces just like one can take a physical medicine without understanding how it works.

ARIZAL in Shaar HaKavanot brings many explanations to every portion of the prayer. Today I would like to bring his explanation to the Song of The Day that we recite before Aleinu.

Each Day We recite a different psalm that is connected to a specific day of the week. Why?

Our sages teach us that Shabbos (Saturday – the 7th day of the week) provides power for the next six days. It’s like a battery charger for the soul. Additionally during Shabbos we receive Neshama Yetera – additional soul. And therefore Song of the Day is connected to this process (translated from Shaar HaKavanot by ARI):

During recitation of the Daily Psalm on ____  one should focus on _____

  1. Sunday – Retain addition of NESHAMA from past Shabbos
  2. Monday – Retain addition of RUACH from past Shabbos
  3. Tuesday – Retain addition of NEFESH from past Shabbos
  4. Wednesday – Prepare to receive addition of NEFESH from next Shabbos
  5. Thursday – Prepare to receive addition of RUACH from next Shabbos
  6. Friday – Prepare to receive addition of NESHAMA from next Shabbos
During Shabbos the Seven Sefirot ZO”N unite into one, thus we also have unification of the Upper Worlds. And therefore we say during Meal Blessing on Shabbos – “and grant us time like Shabbos for eternity” – i.e. time when all Upper Worlds will be united. May it happen speedily in our time.



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3 Responses to Song of Day by ARIZAL

  1. A very good comment and we have to understand it on practical level to. So the meaning of “addition”, that we get on Shabbos, if we observe it according to hallakha and it is very important condition, is Gadllut(Greatness of spirit), in the field of thinking, feeling,and behavering, in the evening of Shabboth they are expanded till the level of Abba and Amma Ellaya, in the morning till Arikh Anpin and in the afternoon till the Attik,which isn’t possible under any conditions during the 6 days of the means that a person which doesn’t keep Shabboth has no any chance to expirience this level of greatness because he has no idea about the exictence of these levels, now the one that keeps Shabbath experience it by Hittarerutta de leElla, and during next three day he learns and prays to g-d to help him to remain in these great states by Hittarerutta de leTatta. So on Shabboth we are given a lesson, and during next three day we are doing our home work, because once we are shown the level we may try to remain on it.

    But even more interesting part comes with the preparation for the coming Shabboth, we are expected to be very active and to come with our demands to the Creator, but this demands should be in spiritual kingdom,and it is mostly connected with the prayer, we have to discuss with Him all the work done during the first three days after Shabboth, to tell Him what we think we managed well and what should be stiil worked on, to put questions and ask if our answers are right or to ask Him to show us the right way of understanding ,felling about something, and espessially the way of behaving or decision making toward some difficult situations, and to try to figure out on the bases of your knowledge, the possible ways out. We begin our developnent when the situation is that his thoughts are not ours and His ways are not ours and this is the difference between us, if we want Devvikut we have to think the way He wants us to think and to feel the way he wants us to feel and to behave the way he want us to behave, when we say He “want” we mean for out own good, not that he want something for Himself.Of course on the next Shabboth we will be shown the levels we couldn’t even imagine they exicts, but our preparation our “extra curruculam” work during the three day before the next Shabboth is of super importance, and whether the Creator will teach us something new, or will have again to repeat the previous Shabboth lesson depends completly on our Hittarerutta deLettata during the week.

    So it doesn’t matter what level you are now, but if you begin to observe Shabbath with the right Kavvanah to percive all the Creator teaches and shows you during the Shabboth and put all your abilities in remaining on this level during the first three days after the past Shabboth and then by your own initiative find more “home work “to do and keep constant dialogue with the Creator, though it seems to you that it is Monolong, very soon you will learn the ways Creator speaks to its creation, and will get aware of your potential levels and by parcticing you will bring them into the reality.

    But again it is very important to speak to the Creator in words is if you are in school answering you homework and asking questions and giving your own answers, expressing your wishes and hopes, analyses and ideas, don’t be afraid to make a mistake the Creator will correct you on Shabboth and we will never loose your way, but if you don’t keep Shabboth all your learning and speculations about the creation will remain your speculations that has nothing to do with the reality, you will be show the truth, but only when you get to the “next “world, and nobody would want to be on your place because the shock will be total. it is not plesant to find out that somebody fool you, but to find out that nobody did it but you yourself, and there is nobody even to blame, and nothing to be done, isn’t the exact feling which any of us would ant to experience.

    In short- want to know the reality?- join the Shabboth University, and live the real life, think, feel and behave real, there is no more pleassure than that. We dream about real love, real friends, real succsess, real life, and the only thing that we have to do is to understand that the door into it is opened only on Shabboth and if i walk through it I know what to pray and what to ask from the Creator during the week, because I know what He has, but if I don’t know what he has, I have nothing to pray about and nothing to ask Him about, I actually don’t need Him at all,becuase all what I know isn’t interesting to me, all what i feel is familiar to me, and my behavior is predictible and not interesting to me, but I don’t have a chance to meet my different “me” because it exists only on the different levels, and these levels are opened only on Shabboth, and if I ignore observing it = meeting new “me”, learning new me, guessing new levels of “me”, who needs me? So I need the Creator only when I want my real “me”, and this is a real Hissaron, because i can be stuborn and try to manage without many things, but I can’t manage my life without “me”, because if there is no me, there isn’t my life.We may be stuborn and say that we may manage without Torah and Mitzvot we even may say that we may manage without Creator, but the problem is that without Him we have nothing to manage, becuase He Is Life, Life is He, to be a part of It is a great prevelidge, and the real joy of existence, of expiriencing its endless aspects and at the same time feeling this uniqe connection of belonging which is experienced on Shabboth only.Without this connection to Shabboth our “me” has no strength and power to expand, without expantion and dareing our “me” dies, if we cut this connection we stop to exist on spiritual and very soonG-d fobbid on matirial level, if we connect with the Creator through the Shabboth we have a lot what to do except of regreting it.The Sages say taste and see that Creator is Good, and you will see that the have an extrimly good taste.

  2. The Tehillim

    Rhythm of the Heart
    by Rav Y Reuven Rubin

    Chapter One

    There is an old nigun I often heard from the Bobover Rebbe, zt”l. Sung in Yiddish, it speaks of secrets true to our inner selves. The words set to the haunting tune are attributed to the rebbetzin of the Ropshitzer Rebbe (1760 – 1827), a woman renowned for her wisdom and piety.

    The song tells people to take a spodek (fur hat) and hide it in a safe place. In those days, rabbanim used to wear a spodek on weekdays. Why hide it in a secret room? The tune continues, “So we can tell our children’s children that such a hat was once worn by ehrlicher Yidden.”

    The rebbetzin, whose husband was acclaimed as one of that generation’s foremost sages, realized that times were changing — and not necessarily for the better. It was vital that future generations retain a connection with their glorious past. The old fur hat would tell of a different time and place, when one lived in closer proximity to our heritage and our Torah goals. The spodek would help them know and connect with past generations.

    Her foresight was acutely accurate. In the two hundred years since her era, the world, and the Jewish world in particular, has undergone vast upheavals. Not only the spodek has been forgotten, but a whole way of life.

    When I was a child, Tehillim Yidden still abounded. Today, they are getting a bit thin on the ground. A Tehillim Yid did more than just say Tehillim; a Tehillim Yid lived Tehillim.

    Tehillim, the Book of Psalms, is not just a sefer with some important lessons; it is the heart of Jewish life, the rhythm of our soul. Moshe Rabbeinu brought us the Torah, with its written and oral laws, giving us a pathway to Hashem. King David’s gift to the Jewish people is Tehillim. It helps us find the expressions we need to proceed on that path.

    When I was a yeshiva bachur, a man named Reb Shmuel had the job of waking up the bachurim fartugs. This quaint expression meant that he had to schlep some sixty adolescent boys out of their cozy beds at the unearthly hour of 5 A.M. He did this with one special tool — Tehillim.

    Reb Shmuel had a loud, booming voice, which was an asset to the job. On the other hand, he could not carry a tune or anything even vaguely resembling a tune. So it was no melodious, gentle wake-up call. At precisely ten minutes before five each morning, Reb Shmuel would start screaming verses of Tehillim — and there was no way any of us could stay in bed with that going on.

    Reb Shmuel had been through the Holocaust. He had experienced many of the shades of hell that made up that singular tragedy. More than once, he told us that Tehillim was what kept him going.

    To hear Reb Shmuel say his Tehillim was to hear the pain and the glory that is the Jewish experience. More than just sensing his deep feelings of hope, you actually felt those words being engraved into your soul. Though I never learned a shiur by Reb Shmuel, he was my rebbe. He taught me that Tehillim should be alive in your heart.

    After I married, I got to know another Tehillim Yid. My father-in-law said Tehillim all the time. Between his many shiurim, he was constantly turning the pages of his well-worn Tehillim. He did much more than just recite the words. He lived them. Doubt and worry never entered his domain because the answers were always right there in King David’s words.

    My father-in-law would sit amid the hubbub of the family, his stream of Tehillim the background music of our lives. From kids’ grazed knees to the inevitable difficulties life brought us — everything was healed with those warm words.

    My mother-in-law was no different, only a bit more organized about it. She had a particular number of kapitlech (chapters) that she said for each child, grandchild and ultimately great-grandchild. When her sight began to fail, she switched to a sefer Tehillim with huge letters. Toward the end of her life, even that sefer was of no use anymore, but she told us she felt she could still “see” the letters, even without her sight. Because she had imbued the walls of her home with her heartfelt Tehillim, those same letters remain in the memories of her loved ones.

    We no longer have spodeks the likes of the Ropshitzer Rebbe’s to hide for the next generation to gaze on, and I sometimes fear we may soon find it hard to show our youth what a Tehillim Yid is or what he stands for. It is with this in mind that I share some thoughts about the meaning of these cherished words. Maybe in this way we all can join together and at least aspire to being Tehillim Yidden.

    The five books of Moshe start with the creation of the world. The first words are “Bereishis bara, at the beginning G-d created.” The Bobover Rebbe, zt”l, used to point out that the word bara connotes bari, good health. Good health, both physical and spiritual, is the foundation for future growth. King David’s five books of Tehillim tell us how to achieve this good health.

    The first verse shows us our starting point: Happy is the man who has not followed the advice of the wicked, stood on the path of sinners or sat among the scornful. To build spiritually healthy life, we must first stay clear of negative influences. The canvas on which we paint our lives can become besmirched by the darkness the wicked spew forth. Painting over such the stain is difficult, and the pure, bright colors of Hashem’s will be dulled. As King David tells us later, “Turn away from bad and do good” (Tehillim 34:15). Doing good starts with turning away from bad. Rashi translates Tehillim’s opening words, ashrei ha’ish, as meaning “the praises of man.” Turning away from bad not only makes for a happier person, but one who is praiseworthy as well.

    In the convoluted world we find ourselves in, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of sitting with the scornful. Chutzpa is a commodity that is sold en mass to the herds of people too frightened to think for themselves. Even in the heimishe world, all too often we can detect a smattering of scorn, derision and insolence.

    Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch (1808-1888) points out that the root of the word ashrei is ashur, which means to “strive forward.” The wicked maintain that a Torah lifestyle is old-fashioned, a step backward for its adherents. They try to convince us that keeping Torah ideals is detrimental to our happiness, and that the Torah’s rules are harsh and archaic.

    King David tells us the truth. The only way to move forward is to steer clear of such counsel and become totally imbued with the Torah’s values. The Zohar tells us that a gentile once asked Rabbi Elazar, “You say you are close to the King, so why are your people always in difficult circumstances while the other nations live in tranquility?”

    Rabbi Elazar answered, “We are humanity’s heart, and like a human heart, we feel all the pain and distress; the other nations are similar to other parts of the body.”

    The Sfas Emes (1847-1905) explains that our soul should likewise feel every nuance of spiritual pain. Because we allow materialistic goals to seep into our heart, we have become desensitized to spiritual matters and so no longer feel such pain. How tragic. But, says King David, whose voice remains eternally fresh, we can avoid this pitfall. The first step toward real holiness, as this kapitel tells us, is to become aware of the negative forces — evil, sin and cynicism — that draw us away from our Source and to disassociate ourselves from them.

  3. Rhythm of the Heart
    by Rabbi Y Reuven Rubin

    Chapter Two

    Sometimes you wonder how people survive. Or, more to the point, how they manage to keep an upbeat slant to their lives.

    I once met an askan, a man active in his community and renowned for his tireless efforts on behalf of the Jewish people. We shared a long car ride, which gave me a golden opportunity to hear a few of his insights in this area. His story enhanced my appreciation of what people like him do for the rest of us and deepened my understanding of their source of strength, and I’d like to share it with you.

    Some years ago, this rav undertook to build a Torah institution in a particularly difficult community. People told him Torah adherence would never take hold in that area no matter how much effort he put into it. Our hero was not to be dissuaded. He had seen Torah blossom in other deserts and felt that a Torah institution was just what the area needed. He started with nothing. He took out bank loans, using his own few possessions as collateral, and slowly his vision took shape. An empty building got needed renovations and students began to trickle in, enthused by the rav’s considerable ability. Staff was added, and the institution slowly became a fixture in the community.

    What takes but three or four lines to write obviously consumed years of the rav’s life. It’s impossible to put into words the toils and troubles such an undertaking entails. Suffice it to say, aggravation was a constant companion.

    As the new community center was being built, the rav’s debts were growing. It was his credit on the line, and every expansion of the center’s activities added to his financial vulnerability. But you have to understand the mind of a true askan. He wasn’t out for personal gain. If his signature on some bank papers could help the endeavor, that’s what it was for.

    Time passed, and the rav was busy creating new initiatives for the burgeoning Torah center. As the debts grew with his increased staffing needs, the office that was supposed to watch over such things somehow forgot to tell him the gravity of the situation.

    One fine spring day, as the rav was preparing for a special family simcha, things came to a head. His oldest son was to become bar mitzva that coming Shabbos and, of course, the whole simcha would be taking place at the institution, which was an integral part of the family by now. The Wednesday before the simcha, a huge van drove up to the institution’s door.

    “We’re from the electricity company. You owe us two thousand dollars, so we’re shutting off your power supply.”

    There was no talking to them. They had their orders. Bar mitzva or not, there would be no light.

    The rav was in shock. He had no idea the office had not paid the bills. What was he going to do?

    His mind raced. People are coming for Shabbos. The rebbetzin will be devastated. How will we cope? His mind went into overdrive. First things first: Don’t tell the rebbetzin. Protect her. Take care of it yourself.

    “Don’t tell the rebbetzin” is never a clever move. She heard about the disaster even before the rav got into his car to drive home. When he got there, he found his wife barely able to speak. This was the family’s first big simcha. Her entire extended family was coming from far and wide to see the rav and his institution and generally kvell over her nachas. Now they would be sitting in the dark, both literally and figuratively.

    The rav called the electricity company. They would settle for two thousand dollars cash, nothing less. If it would be paid that same day, then they might restore the power before Friday, but no promises.

    The rav did some fancy footwork, raised the money by phone, ran to his car, glanced back at his hopeful wife and drove off to collect the promised funds.

    Finally, he was ready to make his way over to the electricity company. He decided it would be a kindness to his wife to first stop home and tell her in person that all was now under control. When he got there, his daughter, who had just come home from seminary, asked if she could go with him to pay the bill.

    They set off, and soon the bill was paid — with the hope that the power would be back on in time for the simcha on Shabbos. As the rav returned to his car, he got in, stared at the driving wheel and collapsed. Tears streamed down his face. The burden of the entire day was too much, and he could take no more.

    “Why?” he sobbed, oblivious to all else. “Why is this happening?”

    His young daughter looked at him in disbelief. “Tatty, you always taught us to have faith. There must be a reason for all this. Maybe it’s to turn away an ayin hara, an evil eye. Who knows? You’re always the one who gives us strength. Don’t give up now.”

    At this point in telling me the story, the rav looked at me sheepishly. “You know how hard that lesson was for me? But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s been more than twenty years since that day and, baruch Hashem, I still feel wonderful about what my daughter said.” He smiled. “By the way, they turned the electricity back on in time for the simcha.”

    The second chapter of Tehillim begins, Why do nations assemble and peoples plot in vain, kings of the earth take their stand and regents intrigue together against Hashem and His anointed? Let us break the cords of their yoke and shake their ropes off us!

    The holy Alshich explains that the nations of the world fulminate against Hashem and His anointed nation because they fear the ultimate coming of Mashiach. They have concluded that instead of opposing Hashem at that time, it would be better to sever the link between Hashem and the Jewish people now, forestalling the redemption altogether. The wicked reason that by destroying our connection with our Father in Heaven, they will never have to face the final reckoning.

    When life takes a turn through a dark tunnel, we should remember the light at the end. The darkness is a ploy by the forces of evil to cut us off from our holy Source. The darkness doesn’t necessarily come from forces without (although I wouldn’t discount the electric company). It can also come from within, from the difficult parts of ourselves we struggle with. No matter what, there are times in everyone’s life when we feel stretched beyond endurance.

    Comes along the sweet singer of Israel who tells us, He Who sits in Heaven will laugh. Hashem will mock them. Then He will speak to them angrily, and in His rage, terrify them. If we persevere and crown our efforts by staying on course, Hashem finds celestial joy in our growth. This is Heavenly laughter. It mocks the naysayers, from without and within, the voices that foresee our failure.

    Once we have passed through the tunnel and come out the other side, Hashem will express anger at those forces. The greatest expression of this rage will be to force our enemies to witness the failure of their schemes. That rav and his story put this into a clearer perception and gave me a new insight into the words of this kapitel. As one anonymous saying goes, “People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People really need help but may attack you if you help them. Help people anyway. Give the world the best you have, and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.”

    Hashem runs the world. It’s up to us to do our best while remembering that He loves us more than we love ourselves. He wants what is good for our soul, the eternal part of us. It may be dark at times, and there will be people who try to stop us from doing His will, but take courage from this kapitel and let its message become part of your being.

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