Daily prayer is an ongoing exercise in serenity. When we pray, we have a greater awareness that we are addressing our Father/Mother our King/Queen, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. We connect with the consciousness that 'ain ode milvado', that is, nothing else exists besides Him/Her.
Love Yehuda Lave
Q & A: WHAT IS SHAVUOT AND
HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?
The bible calls Shavuot the "Festival of Weeks" (Numbers 28:26). The very word "Shavuot" is Hebrew for "weeks"; it refers to the seven weeks that one counts from the second day of Passover (when the Omer [barley] offering is brought) until the holiday of Shavuot. It is one of the three Regalim (walking), holidays, (Pesach and Succot are the other two) where every man in the land of Israel was commanded to come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival when the Beit HaMikdash, (the Holy Temple), stood in Jerusalem.
The bible is the life blood of the Jewish people. Our enemies have always known that when we spiritual people stop learning spirituality, our assimilation is inevitable. Without knowledge there is no commitment. One cannot love what he does not know. A person cannot do or understand what he has never learned.
A Spiritual person is commanded to learn the bible day and night and to teach it to his children.. One can tell his children anything, but only if they see their parents learning and doing mitzvot, will they inherit the love for being Spiritual. Remember: a parent only owes his child three things -- example, example, example.
How can we utilize this opportunity to grow and strengthen our self-identity as Spiritual people? Just as a baby crawls, then toddles and then walks, likewise with the mitzvot (commandments). A person should undertake one more mitzvah, do it well and then build on it. For some mitzvot that you might enjoy taking on...
A FEW SUGGESTIONS
1. Read the bible. The Almighty gave it to you as a gift. It is the instruction book for living -- how to be happy, choose the right spouse, make your marriage work, raise your children with values, get more joy out of life.
2. Attend a Bible class -- or if you wish to listen to
3. Say the Hear of Israel and its three following paragraphs at least once a day. Learn what the words mean and the ideas included. It will change your outlook and attitudes. A
The Talmud says, "All beginnings are difficult."
On Shavuot there is a custom to stay up all night learning Torah. Virtually every synagogue and yeshiva have scheduled learning throughout the night ending with the praying of Shacharit, the morning service. The reason: the morning the Jewish people were to receive the bible on Mt. Sinai, they overslept. We now can rectify the tendency to give in to our desires by demonstrating our resolve through learning the whole night. It is a meaningful experience to share with your children. It would be wonderful if you could find a synagogue, JCC or yeshiva with a program that night; at very minimum, how about reading the story of the giving of the Torah to your family (Exodus 19:10 -20:23)?
I will repeat this announcement several times over this week, since I know that everybody doesn't get a chance to check my email every day. Next Saturday (the 26th), my friends (and anyone else that wants to come to San Diego) will have the unique opportunity to hear one of my primary teachers from my years in Israel, teach over the Shavout holiday. You don't have to come to prayer services. Just come to the lectures about the interesting topics below. On Saturday night the 26th we have the custom to stay up all night and study the bible through these lectures. Anyone interested, please contact me for details.
Shabbos Afternoon May 26th 6:15pm
After Shabbos night May 26, 2012
11:30-12:20 Evolution and Kabbalah - Were there dinosaurs and cave men in Eden?
Sunday May 27th 6:15pm
Monday May 28th 6:00pm
Special prayer for your children today on the first of the month
The Shela Ha'kadosh (Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz, 1565-1630) writes that there is a special prayer that parents should recite on Evening of Rosh Hodesh Sivan (the day before Rosh Hodesh Sivan) on behalf of their children. In general, Erev Rosh Hodesh is a day of prayer and repentance, and many people have the custom to fast and recite Prayer on this day. Erev Rosh Hodesh Sivan, however, is especially designated as a day to pray that one's children should grow to become spiritual and bible scholars. Since Sivan is the month in which we accepted the Torah, the day before the onset of this month is a particularly auspicious time to pray for one's children's growth in Torah. Similarly, Rav Haim Palachi (Turkey, 1788-1869) writes that although (wasting time that could have been used for bible study) is always deemed a grievous sin, one is held especially accountable for the time wasted during the month of Sivan. As this is the month of giving of the bible we bear a unique responsibility during this month to use our time for bible learning.
Although the prayer is often called "the Shela's prayer," it was actually written by Rav Shabtai Sofer. It is proper for all parents to avail themselves of this opportunity and make a point of reciting this special prayer on Erev Rosh Hodesh Sivan.
A copy of "the Shela's prayer" is below and is also available with the English translation by clicking here, or copying into your web browser the following link: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/Tefilot/SivanPrayer.pdf
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