Sunday, February 21, 2010

Double Commitment - One Wavelength

Reuven Shefigal escreveuàs 11:54 de 13 de Fevereiro de 2010
"And these are the judgements you shall place before them". And as the commentaries express - place them neatly and orderly like a fine table is set.

From Avraham to Moshe and the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, passed some 400 years of waiting to have this Godly system for man presented. Avraham was described back then as the right founding father because he could be trusted to "command his sons and household after him, to keep Hashem's way and to act with righteousness and judgement".

We are used to thinking that the Bnei Yisrael said the famous Na'ase Ve'Nishma, declaring their commitment to keep the laws without questions as to content -meanings, and will strive to study to understand the laws as well. In this weeks parsha the event is brought down, and we see that not only did they say only Na'ase at first , but also when Moshe told them the Mishpatim they first answered Na'ase. Then Moshe made a big party inviting the youngmen with sacrifices and feast, then he wrote the laws down and read them, and only then they declared Na'ase Ve'Nishma.

The Torah records the sequence of events in a strange way. First there is the general call to obey everything Hashem will tell them, and they said Na'ase. Then there was the giving of the Ten Commandments, and then a continuation, as depicted by the "vav" at the start of Parshat Mishpatim, then the laws were given, Moshe told the people the laws. They declared Na'ase. Had a party, Moshe wrote and read and they declared Na'ase Ve'Nishma. The Mishpatim thus are part of the Ten Commandments, and only with them is Moshe back with the people to celebrate, hear their acceptance, and then continue, rising up Mt. Sinai and entering the thickness of the cloud, to receive the rest of the Torah, and at the end of 40 days receives the first tablets.

I wish to point out 2 issues. One, that Na'ase VeNishma is relevant once the format of the Torah is presented. All the while that Bnei Yisrael received an oral passing of Hashem's commands they agreed to do anything the Lord requests. Once Moshe wrote it down, they realized that Torah is composed of the oral and written. They saw that the written law is the basis and that it requires great study to extract the oral law from it. Then they said Ve'Nishma, that they will study the written law. 

Second, that the Ten Commandments are the chapter heads of a complete system of law, touching the particulars of every aspect of life. Not general codes, but a way of life, the way of Hashem, that was mentioned in the verse about Avraham. Interestingly, the verse states, keeping and acting, indicating the two-way system of the Torah, refraining from the bad and persuing the good. This was the model Torah that Avraham instituted in his household, positive and negative laws, as King David sang in Tehillim (Psalms), "turn from bad and do good". 

The Na'ase commitment to perform the mitzvoth relates therefore to the revealed. It starts with the basic knowledge that Hashem commanded and its our duty to perform His Will, even to bend our will to be one with Hashem. It’s a very personal arena where naturally one would want to understand as much as possible. Comes Na'ase and demands a willingness to do as the law states without understanding. It is like the written law, the revealed part. The Ve'Nishma commitment to study and gain clarity, to personally grow thru your aspiration and actualization of new understandings now grasped, relates to that knowledge and wisdom which is concealed from you right now, at your personal level, but its waiting to be grabbed. In this way it is like the oral law, that represents the proper and true teaching and application of the written law.

A Torah scholar reads thru Parshat Mishpatim, and the Talmudic and Aggadic teachings in his soul jump to life. His appreciation of the material in the written Torah is enhanced in proportion to his knowledge. Still, he is caught in the cycle of Na'ase Ve'Nishma, just like the simple Jew. Understand this well, that once one progresses in this cycle, the Nishma, concealed, oral law, once acquired, becomes your Na'ase, revealed, written law, and of course the obligation to act accordingly, in alliance with your new level of understanding. And so you will continue to the next level of aspirations to learn more and more of that which is still concealed from you. This cycle carries the Jew throughout his life with constant personal growth.

Moshe was commanded here to set the laws before them, orderly and clearly. Before he passed on, Hashem told him to put the Torah in their mouths, and called the Torah a song. There is an enlightening distinction to make between these two aspects, the Torah that Moshe set before us, and the Torah he put in our mouths. We recite everyday after Amida, the quote from Yeshayahu the Prophet, ''This is my covenant, my spirit that is upon you and my words that are in your mouths will never ever leave you or your sons or your son's sons, forever". I am sure the prophet was correct, and if we look around us at the Jewish nation and see so much violation of the laws of the Torah, not to panic. This guarantee clearly states that the Torah is in all of our mouths. I think the meaning is that, although the acts are lacking, the Na'ase aspect, the Nishma aspect is very alive, the seeking and clarification that the Jewish nation is undergoing, testify to the fulfillment of the prophet's words. Even where whole Jewish societies don't practice Judaism, the Na'ase, revealed laws, they will always remain in search for the Nishma, the concealed. This we see, that somewhere down the line, the return to Torah takes place.

These sparks of Torah commitment were implanted by Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov, they're in our Jewish souls, in our mouths and such, a common tongue must be found with every individual and group yearning to talk about Judaism. Oral law thus includes this important feature of bringing our brothers and sisters close by recognizing that there is no lack of conversation material. We are all, more or less, on the same wavelength.

The Temple In One's Heart

Reuven Shefigal escreveuàs 4:21 de 19 de Fevereiro de 2010
In this weeks Parsha Bnei Yisrael are called upon to contribute to the building of the Mishkan. Each individual is to give according to his heart's inclinations, to be as generous or frugile as one sees fit. Alongside this donation, is the required, sort of tax, that each mature man must give, the half-shekel, which was used for the foundational sockets of the Mishkan. This was a set sum which could not be added to or detracted from, regardless of one's ability or desire.

The mutual obligation clearly represents the principle of equality opposite each other, as a nation, unity of purpose, and before Hashem, the national concensus to accept His Reign and the standing before Him as an individual.
The Rambam, as explained by Rav Elimelech from Lazynsk, took this to an additional realm. The half-shekel also indicates that no one is complete without his mutual and common binding to the whole, and there is shared responsibility between us. Each person should see himself as able to tip the balance, the scale of judgement, with every action, thought and spoken word.

If we could train ourselves to take this thought abit farther, it would change our lives. A person should look at himself as if he\she stands exactly at the even point as regards one's merits and demerits. Such, one would understand that one's next act will tip the scale to here or there. Life or Death, Reward or Punishment, Good or Bad. One shoud look at the community that way and at the nation, and at the world civilisation too, as being dependent solely and exclusively, on his/her personal choice at this very moment.

Reaching this point seems unattainable on a practical level? However, cognitively we can build a ladder that will take us there. The Mishkan represents this concept and parallels the birth of the Nation of Israel. The Bnei Yisrael used the Mishkan in the desert and eventually it reached Shilo, after conquering a large part of Eretz Yisrael, The Promised Land, where it stood an additional 369 years, and was replaced by the Bet Hamikdash in Yerushalayim. In Shilo the Mishkan received a stone base, yet the roof was of the original Mishkan. The Bet Hamikdash was built by King Solomon with a permanent foundation and roof.

The maturing of Bnei Yisrael parallels the Temple they had at any given time in their development. And as we explained, there really is no ignoring one's personal part in the whole. In the desert, we are like children, being cared and nutured by Hashem. There is Mon, clouds of glory, etc., and when we reach the taking up of arms to conquer the land, we are like young mature men, with a stron root and foundation, just as the Mishkan in Shilo. When we become grown, tested and experienced men we have a Bet Mikdash. If we remove the yoke of Torah, we risk losing all, as has happened to our great people twice.

The Third and final Temple is waiting for our mutual commitment. May it be Hashem's will to bring about our personal and collective redemption and geula, speedily in these forthcoming days.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Parshas Terumah

Parshas Terumah 
Rabbi Label Lam

Parshas Terumah

What Life is Like in the Holy of Holies
You shall make two cherubim of gold- beaten shall you make them-from both ends of the lid. You shall make one cherub from this end and one cherub from this end; from the lid you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. (Shemos 25:18-19)

Cherubim: They each had the image of a child’s face. (Rashi)

Cherubim: The two are to face each other like friends exchanging words of Torah. (Baal HaTurim)

What is the significance of these two angelic faces fixed in the Holy of Holies? Are they like children or are they like friends learning Torah with each other or both? What might be the connection between these two images? What is the value of such a place, the Holy of Holies, where no man may go, except the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur? What do we get from the Holy of Holies now that the Temple/Tabernacle is no more and we find ourselves in the depth of a protracted exile?

Rabbi Klonymos Kalman Shapiro ztl., the Rebbe of Piacezna buried in a metal canister a written record of the lectures he gave in the Warsaw Ghetto during the hellish war years between 1939 and 1942. His fiery words were later uncovered and published posthumously in a Sefer entitled, Aish Kodesh- Holy Fire. The following is a tiny ember of that fire from a talk given in June of 1942 not long before the demise of the Rebbe: Every Jew has faith that there exists nothing else but G-d. As explained in sacred literature, when the Torah says, “There is none but Him…” (Devarim 4:35) It does simply mean that there is no G-d but G-d. It means that nothing exists but G-d. The universe and everything in it is the light of G-d. Therefore we must grasp everything in the world, not as something individual unto itself, but as a revelation of G-d’s light. Even our Jewish children must not be seen as just another category of persons. Just our children; Jewish children in addition to bei ng the permanence and existence of the Jewish People, are creations and Renewal, the revelation of G-d.

Likewise, the Torah that we teach to school children or that one person teaches his friend, even if he merely gives him a word of caution or guidance, should not be seen as events unto themselves but as tremendous revelations of G-d. Each instant is a renewal and a birth, for each learning event is a creation and a renewal. Before studying and learning, the person may not have been a Torah student or a principled person, and now, through learning, he has undergone a renewal and birth. As we said above, any person who teaches Torah to another is considered by the Torah to have given birth to him, and every birth and renewal is a revelation of G-d, because there is nothing else, and nothing else but G-d exists in the world.

It follows then everything a Jew does or says is actually an expression of his inner soul, which is always acting for and talking to G-d, because the soul knows that there is nothing but G-d. The soul knows that everything is G-dly and every action or word is directed toward G-d. We ourselves may be unconscious of this because the physical body, besides blocking our awareness of the sanctity of our soul and its yearning for G-d, also blocks our awareness that whatever we are doing is actually for G-d. Though a person may think that he is acting or speaking on his own behalf, as for example when a Jew asks his friend for a favor, in reality his soul knows that his friend cannot grant the favor, the favors come from G-d. His soul knows that the one from whom the favor is being asked has merely been designated as the agent of G-d in the granting of the favor. So, while a person may think that he is begging a favor from another, his inner self is begging G-d all the time for help because G-d is omnipotent, He is a Merciful Father and He will show mercy and save us.

Somehow the Piacezna Rebbe spoke and wrote, while in the midst of those terrible flames, with the perspective of one who treads on the most sacred of soil. I wonder if it is entirely necessary to be surrounded by suffering and the smell of death to gain such a concentrated appreciation of what life is like in the Holy of Holies?!

Shabat Shalom

Shabat Shalom para todos!!!!

"Shabat Shalom para todos!!!! Que terminen esta semana y empiecen la siguiente llena de bendiciones ustedes y sus flias ;) Amén"

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Returning Apples


My wife said that she bought 5 apples at a local market, and that they tasted spoiled. I returned the apples, and they gave me $1.50 back. When I got home, my wife admitted that she wasn't absolutely sure she had gotten the apples from that store. Am I obligated to return the money?

If it may have been from a different store, you just got $1.50 that may be not coming to you. How could you be clear about whether that money belongs to you? You got it under false pretenses, and must give it back.
So there's the question of percentages again. If I asked her, "What percentage are you sure that you went to this store, as opposed to another store?" Let's say there are only four stores where she shops, at the very least it's a 25% chance that this was the store where she bought the bad apples.

In this case, as well, I don't see how you can keep the money.
There are many bus drivers who work for Monsey Trails, and some are more aggressive in traffic than others. In the morning, when people looking in can see us in tallis etc, I've sometimes wondered if more aggressive driving could lead to a chillul Hashem. How concerned should the bus driver, the passengers, and the bus company be about this? If a bus driver does something overly aggressive, is it the passenger's responsibility, halachically (according to Jewish Law), to say something to him or talk to the bus company? Should the bus company have a clearly written policy about guidelines concerning this? If a bus driver wants to avoid the possibility of chillul Hashem entirely, and be extra polite in his driving, and as a result gets his 40 passengers home 15 minutes later, is it still his obligation, or right, to do so? 

Parshas Yisro

Parshas Yisro 

Rabino Dovid Siegel

Yeshaya 6:1
Parshas Yisro
Yeshaya 6:1
This week's haftorah reveals to us the unlimited potential of of the Jewish soul. The prophet Yeshaya shares with us his astounding vision of Hashem's throne of glory. He says, "Fiery angels stand before Hashem in service ... They call to one another and say in unison, 'Holy, Holy, Holy is Hashem the master of the legions whose glory fills the entire world'" (6:2,3) Yeshaya saw one of the loftiest visions ever to be seen by man and responded in the following manner, "Woe to me for I remained silent because I am a man of impure lips...and my eyes beheld the Divine Presence itself." (6:5) This verse displays Yeshaya's humble response to his awesome experience feeling unworthy of catching the faintest glimpse of Hashem's magnificent glory. Yet, Yeshaya was troubled by his personal silence during those lofty moments unable to participate in the angels' glorious praise. (see Radak ad loc) He attributed this to his personal imperfec tion and inadequacy. Apparently, his speech was impure and sinful and rendered him unworthy of uttering a sound in Hashem's holy presence.
The vision continued and Hashem commanded one of His fiery angels to deliver Yeshaya a burning coal. Yeshaya said, "And with tongs the angel removed the coal from the altar, touched my mouth and said...'Your sin is removed and your error forgiven.'" (6:6,7) Immediately following this, Hashem asked, "Whom shall I send?" and Yeshaya responded and said, "Here I am; send me." (6:8) Yeshaya's awesome vision together with his humble response initiated him into prophecy. After this initial cleansing, he became worthy of transmitting Hashem's penetrating message to His people. In addition, Yeshaya's cleansing process allowed him to join the ranks of the angels and converse with Hashem in His actual presence. (Radak ad loc)
This intriguing incident suggests the unthinkable, that man can rise to the lofty status of Heavenly beings. Although Yeshaya was privy to the inner most levels of spirituality he sensed his mortality and felt unworthy of associating with such elevated levels of holiness. Alas, he was a human being and not a spiritual entity. He identified with impurity and sin and didn't deserve to see such revelations or sing Heavenly praises. Hashem revealed Yeshaya that he had the potential and after minor refinement he would personally attain those lofty levels. Interestingly, when we reflect upon this incident we tend to side with Yeshaya. We also wonder, "What position does an impure mortal occupy amongst Heavenly angels?" How could man even consider participating in Heavenly praise? Although angels reflect Hashem's glory what can be said about man?!
The answer to these is found in the essential discussion of mortality between Hashem and the angels. The Sages relate that the angels complained to Hashem when He chose to share His precious Torah with His people. They argued, "Your glory (Your Torah) should remain among the Heavenly beings. They are holy and Your Torah is holy, they are pure and Your Torah is pure and they are everlasting and Your Torah is also." Hashem responded that the Torah could not remain amongst them because they are perfect spiritual beings with no mortality, impurity or illness. Hashem's true glory would ultimately come from man plagued by impurity and mortality. (Midrash Shochar Tov 8) This response also troubles us because, in truth, we side with the angels. Isn't perfect fulfillment of Hashem's will the greatest tribute to His honor? What could be more glorious than the angels' purest praises? How could mortality and impurity serve as positive factors in Hashem's ultimate glory?
The Sages' words in this week's haftorah provide deep insight into this. Rashi reflects upon the burning coal and notes that the fiery angel held it with tongs. This suggests that the coal's heat was too intense for an angel to hold. Surprisingly however, Yeshaya's lip endured direct contact with the coal without being harmed. Rashi quotes the Sages who explain a human being's potential truly surpasses the status of an angel. They support this with a verse in Yoel that says, "For His camp is massive but mightier are those who do His word." (Yoel 2:11) Chazal interpret Hashem's massive camp to refer to His angels and those who fulfill His word to refer to His prophets. This teaches us that, in truth, a devout prophet is greater than an angel. (Rashi 6:7 from Midrash Tanchuma)
The upshot of this is based on man's equal ability to obey or disobey Hashem. An angel's clear perception of Hashem basically leaves no room for anything but perfect behavior. Man, on the other hand, is plagued by impurity, weakness and temptation. His perfect adherence to Hashem's will is undoubtedly true testimony to Hashem's greatness. Man's absolute negation for Hashem's sake displays the true power of His word. The spiritual ascent of a prophet proves that free thinking man can be so subservient to his master that he transcends all physical barriers. Maimonides explains that the basic qualifications of any prophet demand full control over all passions and emotions never succumbing to any physical desire. After achieving this he continues to detach himself from worldly matters totally focusing his mind on spirituality while training it never to stray into frivolity or vanity. He continues developing until his mind becomes transfixed on Hashem's innermost secrets thus deeming one worthy of Hashem's contact. During prophecy one realizes that he transcended all human barriers and joined the ranks of the angels. (see Rambam Yesodei HaTorah 7:1) This incredible accomplishment by man supersedes indeed the Heavenly angels even during their loftiest praises to Hashem. Man, unlike angel, begins far from perfect but can actually refine himself and attain the spirituality of the Heavenly hosts themselves.
We now understand that the human being sings the "praise of all praises" through his enormous efforts overcoming his human imperfections. Yeshaya originally felt unworthy of participating in the Heavenly display of Hashem's glory due to his human limitations and imperfections. Hashem responded that his conscious decision to totally subject himself to Hashem's will surpassed the Heavenly praise. Once Yeshaya's personal speech was totally cleansed he was worthy of participating in the loftiest of all praises. He could now speak in Hashem's presence and even rise above the angels and display, through his total subservience, Hashem's greatest honor.
This lesson has great bearing on our times. Chafetz Chaim raises the classic concern how the latest generations consider meriting the advent of Mashiach? If previous generations who were undoubtedly more pious than ours did not merit Mashiach how could our shameful generation merit him? Chafetz Chaim answers that, on the contrary, no generation ever qualified for Mashiach as much as ours. He explains that in previous times Mitzva observance was, basically, a foregone conclusion. It did not require endless self sacrifice and had therefore had relatively limited value. In our days, however, foreign influences are so rampant that even basic Mitzva observance requires tremendous devotion and sacrifice. In present times, we may add, morality has fallen so low that attaining any level of purity and self negation is a tremendous accomplishment. In this light every mitzva has such great value that we, above all, display Hashem's greatest glory. Hashem undoubtedly tells His angels , "Look at My people who manage to remain moral and pure even in their corrupt and free thinking environment." "Can anyone bring Me greater glory than them?!"

Parshas Yisro

Summary of The Weekly Torah Reading: 
Parshas Yisro

Rabino Aron Tendler

Summary of The Weekly Torah Reading:
Parshas Yisro

Moshe Prera, Pres. KOAH
Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person "goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.
1st Aliya: Yisro brings Moshe's wife and two sons to join him in the desert. In 18:10, Yisro proclaims his belief in Hashem (G-d) and identifies His manifest justice as the primary motive for his belief and conversion.
2nd & 3rd Aliyot: Yisro observes Moshe's daily schedule as chief administrator, judge, and teacher. He advises his son-in-law to delegate some responsibilities to a hierarchy of worthy judges and administrators. This would allow Moshe to focus his attention on those issues that demand his specific attention. Moshe listens to Yisro's advice.
4th Aliya: This begins the preparation for Revelation. It is the 1st day of Sivan, and the Bnai Yisroel have been in the desert for 43 days. Moshe is told by Hashem to explain to the nation that they are a "kingdom of priests..."
5th Aliya: Moshe tells the nation of G-d's expectations and they respond, "all that Hashem will command we will do." Moshe is further instructed to tell the people to prepare themselves by immersing themselves and their clothing in a Mikveh, and to remain apart form their spouses for 3 days. Mt. Sinai is to be fenced off so that no person or animal could ascend the mountain until the shofar sounded the conclusion of Revelation. On the 3rd day, Revelation began with lightning, thunder, the sounding of a Shofar, and Mt. Sinai completely engulfed in clouds, smoke, and fire. Moshe led the nation to assemble at the foot of a trembling Mt.Sinai.
6h Aliya: Hashem summoned Moshe to ascend the mountain and instructed him to re-emphasize the prohibition against anyone ascending the mountain during Revelation. Moshe descends and discharges G-d's wishes. With Moshe standing among the people at the foot of the mountain, Hashem spoke the Ten Commandments to the entire people.
7th Aliya: This last Aliya describes the reaction of the nation to Revelation. In 20:19, the Pasuk factually states that the Bnai Yisroel (Jewish Nation) collectively heard G-d speak. It is among the most fundamentally important statements in the entire Torah. The Parsha concludes with the three commandments regarding the Mizbeach (Altar).

Summary of The Haftorah:
Haftorah Yisro
Yishaya 6 - 7

This week's Haftorah is from Yishaya 6 and 7. Continuing the theme of Revelation, the Haftorah recounts the famed vision known as Maaseh Hamerkavah - the vision of Hashem as He sits upon His throne surrounded by various angels singing His praises.
Yishaya prophesied during the reign of Achaz, the King of Yehudah. This vision is repeated in greater detail in Yechezkel, and is usually associated with Yechezkel, rather than Yishaya. However, in this awesome vision, Yishaya is told of the eventual destruction of Yerushalayim. He is sent to relate this prophecy to the new King Achaz, who would prove to be an evil and wicked monarch.
The concluding prophecy is far more optimistic than the beginning one. Achaz is told not to fear the coming war with Aram and Israel. In the merit of his, yet to be born son, Chizkiyahu, their alliance would fail. Chizkiyahu would eventually be crowned as "The Prince of Peace," and return the Jewish people to an unprecedented devotion and commitment to Torah scholarship and observance. Unfortunately, the Jewish People would return to their evil ways and Yerushalayim would be destroyed.

The Story of Chana: Prayer with a Purpose

Mrs. Leah Kohn
Class 11
The Story of Chana: Prayer with a Purpose
Chana's is the story of one woman's prayer. That a woman should be recognized as a role model for prayer is interesting given that, in terms of formal prayer, men have more obligations than women. Women are required to pray once a day, but can do so on their own and in their own words. Men pray three times a day from the prayer book (siddur) and are responsible for other related mitzvot. A man's involvement in prayer is far more regimented and public, yet the sages teach us that many of the halachot (laws) of prayer are derived from Chana - a woman.
Chana lived in the era before the Temple was built in Jerusalem. She was married to Elkanah, who also had a second wife, Penina. The Torah tells of Chana that Hashem had "closed off her womb." Penina, meanwhile, had seven children. Chana's anguish at not having children had to do not only with her own yearning to have a family, but with her desire to serve G-d by dedicating her offspring to Him.
We are told that while approaching Hashem and praying for a child, Chana examined each part of her body to confirm she was using it fully for Divine service. On concluding that all aspects of her being - apart from her reproductive organs - were fully utilized, she asked Hashem to make this last area productive: "Hashem, Master of Legions, if you take note of the suffering of your maidservant, and You remember me, and do not forget your maidservant, and give your maidservant male offspring, then I shall give to Hashem all the days of his life..." (I Samuel 1:11). In response to Chana's entreaty from her heart, Hashem blessed Chana with a son Samuel (I Samuel 1:20), who would become a prophet compared to Moses and Aaron in greatness.
The details of Chana's prayer as well as her way of thanking G-d for a child (see I Samuel 2:1-10), teach us about the laws and philosophy of approaching the Divine. In addition, since many of the halachot of prayer are learned from Chana, we understand that a woman's prayer is as important as a man's. Chana's example indicates that, contrary to current misperceptions, different obligations between men and women in prayer do not indicate women's inferiority.
It is written that Chana spoke from her heart (I Samuel 1:13), and from this we learn of our obligation to pray with focus and intention. In addition, when Chana prayed, her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. From this, our sages tell us, comes our obligation to articulate our prayers, pronouncing each word clearly, but not too loudly. (We also learn from Chana, that we are not allowed to pray, when intoxicated.)

Beyond Chana's influence on the halacha related to prayer, we attribute to her the foundation of the eighteen separate blessings in the Shemoneh Esrei (the silent prayer for morning, afternoon and evening). Chana forged such a unique connection to Hashem through prayer that she became a role model for future generations, despite the fact that, as a woman, she was not even obligated in this area.
Chana teaches us that devotion to G-d helps us to rise above perceived limitations in life. Certainly, we come into the world with parents, talents, resources and life circumstances, but if we are sincere in our divine service, we may well receive the tools necessary to accomplish our most meaningful goals. Through prayer, we access our deepest needs and through this experience we become profoundly connected to Hashem. Chana gives us the formula for this spiritual journey. She inspires us with the courage to inventory every aspect of ourselves in order to maximize our potential.
Chana's prayer added a new dimension to our understanding of the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people. Chana asked for a personal blessing so that she might more fully serve G-d. Her joy at bearing a child expressed not only her personal thanks to Hashem, but her gratitude and wonder at His total mastery of Creation. Chana harnessed her own joy as a tool for praise. Rather than restricting the blessing she had received, she associated it with a greater sense of good that is provided only by G-d. the source of Chana's contribution lies in her awareness of G-d's existence in the life of every Jew. Through Chana we understand that when G-d blesses just one of us, He is in essence blessing us all.
Our sages tell us that Chana's prayer is prophetic, inasmuch as it describes not only the history, but the future of the Jewish people, when the Messiah will redeem all of Israel. Chana teaches us to broaden the scope of our personal achievements, to connect spiritually to our common Divine source and to liberate ourselves from the pressures of contemporary life by accessing the eternal energy of Torah. As Jews, we are each capable of achieving this high level, by focusing on the pervasiveness of G-d in our lives for all time.