Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lessons From Chanukah: Clarity, Purity and Joy

Dear Friends,

With Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot behind us, what is a message we can learn from each holiday and carry with us to Chanukah and beyond?

Lessons From Chanukah: Clarity, Purity and Joy

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Kislev: Gratitude

Dear Friends,

This post is about the Jewish month of Kislev, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.

Rosh Chodesh Kislev begins Wednesday night, the 30th of November, and lasts for one day.

During this month we celebrate the festival of Chanukah, which commemorates the miracle of the oil, the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks and the rededication of the Second Temple. A key message of the festival is expressing gratitude to God for the miracles He performs for us.

Each day, preferably at the beginning of the day, spend time feeling grateful for the blessings your Creator gave you. Thank Him for His many gifts, for the bright side/silver lining of your difficulties, and for signs of His help amidst your challenges. Input this daily practice of expressing gratitude into your checklist.

In addition, express your appreciation to others. You can do this in person, on the phone, via a quick email or text, or with a written note.

The readings for this month focus on Chanukah and related themes. For additional discussion on gratitude, see the first tool in, “6 Tools to Enhance Your Mood.”

Questions for the month:

“What is something I am very grateful to God for? What can I say to Him to express my appreciation?”

“Who is someone who has helped me? How can I express my appreciation?”

Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month,

Yaakov

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Surrendering to God: 3 Steps to Transcend Your Ego

Dear Friends,

Even while we pray for help in specific areas of our lives, we surrender to God, acknowledging that only He knows what is truly best for us.

Surrendering to God: 3 steps to transcend your ego

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Prayer

Dear Friends,

Praying with intention can be very challenging. But if we put in the effort, with God's help, we will see results.

How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Prayer

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cheshvan: Prayer

Dear Friends,

This post is about the Jewish month of Cheshvan, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan begins Monday night, the 31st of October, and lasts for two days.

On the 7th of Cheshvan, in Israel, prayers for rain begin. For this month, focus on enhancing your prayers. You can pick a section of the prayers to say daily with understanding and input this into your checklist. In addition or instead, you can recite daily one Psalm with understanding (longer Psalms can be read over two to three days).

(If you do not yet pray daily, open up a prayer book and see if any of the prayers resonate with you, or better yet, ask your rabbi or spiritual mentor for a suggestion; recite that prayer every day. Alternatively, read daily from the book of Psalms. There are many excellent English translations available with varied formats; choose one that works best for you.)

One type of prayer, popularized by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, is called Hitbodedut; this is where we talk out loud to God in our native language, unburdening ourselves to Him. Try this daily practice for at least a week, preferably a month. See if it helps you feel closer to God and to feeling His comfort and support.

Part of upgrading our prayers is showing reverence for the sanctuary, and not talking during the prayer service.

Even while we pray for help in specific areas of our lives, we surrender to God, acknowledging that only He knows what is truly best for us.

Questions for the month:

“Which section of the prayers will I focus on saying this month with understanding? Or, what else can I do to enhance my prayers?”

“What issues are weighing on my mind that I can informally speak to God about?”

“How can I enhance the reverence I show for the sanctuary?”

Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month,

Yaakov

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Taking Refuge in a Sukkah of Faith

Dear Friends,

One might assume that the optimal way to serve God and build His Sukkah is by constructing a sturdy and weatherproof structure. But this is not the case...

Taking Refuge in a Sukkah of Faith

The next post will God willing be after the holidays.

Have a Chag Sameach,

Yaakov