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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Watering the Weeds

Rabbi Yaacov Haber, Shlit’a, makes the Chet (sin) of Adam understandable. In the context of history, the sin of Adam is the model for every sin that the Jewish People committed.  Every one of our sins goes back to the first desire of Adam to “elevate” himself above what Hashem planned for Creation.  The question is “whose in charge of me?” Do I make my own decisions about how I want Creation to be? Or, do I do it the way Hashem wants?  The substance of ego is the “evil” that was ingested by Adam.  It’s now within us. It will remain within us for the purpose of forcing us to recognize it and to overcome it. Are we for Hashem under all circumstances or are we for ourselves?  Are we part of Hashem or are we separate? Ego is separation.  Hashem is Unity. Our struggle is to remove the separation. Now that we have the amalgam of good and evil within us, when we water the good (the Garden that Hashem gave us), we could also be watering the evil (the weeds that we ingested).  Our work in this world now is to struggle to water the good and kill the evil. May the Goodness of Hashem blossom and the weeds wither. 

Posted on 04/18 at 10:50 AM • Permalink
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eitz HaDaas: Ingesting the Evil

Rabbi Yaacov Haber, Shlit’a, through the words of Rav Tzadok HaKohen, explains that the Rah רע (bad or evil) that Adam ingested was by choice in order to make himself capable of being “an individual” separate from Hashem so that he could go to battle for Hashem. But that choice was fraught with danger as evil has a tendency to win over good. Therefore, he was excluded from Gan Eden to prevent him from becoming eternal. Shabbos comes to provide the Jewish People with the ability to reunify with Hashem and His Holy Name by reversing the פרודה divisions/separations that we’ve been given in the Holiness of the Seventh Day. Although we live in the world of separation פרוד but it all comes together if it all has One Purpose. The point of Shabbos is where we can contemplate on the disparate part of the world that was given to us and, in so doing, we unify the separation of the week that has past and make it Holy. 

Posted on 04/16 at 10:45 AM • Permalink
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

שיחה the Natural Expression of “Myself”

Rabbi Haber, Shlit’a, infuses life into the meaning of speech. The unbridled mouth is who I am. What is the action of the mouth? How does it express itself to reveal our being?

The Rav compares the words Dibur דבור to Sicha שיחה and relates the method of verbal expression to the ideal approach to the telling of the story of the Exodus at the Pesach Seder. 

Posted on 03/14 at 11:52 AM • Permalink
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What’s the Focus? Me vs. World

Rabbi Haber, Shlit’a, discusses the importance of juxtaposition of intentionality and action.  The action that we should focus on at the Pesach seder is the “Freedom to express myself.” Dovid HaMelech says if I articulate my innermost feelings then I’m thanking and praising Hashem.

“I” am the story of the exodus from Egypt and it must be articulated.

The Nefesh HaChaim wrote “7 Prakim” the explanation of the Volozhin philosophy as opposed to the Chassidic philosophy. He explains that there are 2 parts of every mitzvah.  The Kavana and the Maaseh.  The Ikar עקר (substance) is the Maaseh מעשה (action).

What is the purpose of doing mitzvahs?
Is it to make myself a better person or is it to bring the mitzvah for the Malchus Shamayim and make this world a better place?  Is it about me or about the world?

Posted on 03/14 at 11:34 AM • Permalink
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Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Process of Teshuvah and Freedom

Rabbi Haber, Shlit’a, develops the concepts of redemption, freedom and how the power that speaking about a trauma/slavery is the method by which we release our souls that are “enslaved” within us.  This is exactly what the speaking out of the Exodus (our transformation from slavery to freedom) at our Pesach Seder is all about.  It’s not about the physical exodus.  It’s a fascinating juxtaposition of the the ordinary accepted expression of geula with the much deeper reality than the geula of the soul itself. The change in the name of Pi-tom (meaning “the mouth is closed” which is the name of the Egyptian city that was built by the Jews during their slavery) to Pi-chayros (meaning “the mouth is free") is how the Jewish People’s experience in the Exodus teaches us how we can become a bal-tshuva gemurah and change themselves into a different/new person. 

Posted on 03/03 at 06:50 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pesach - Speak it Out!

Rabbi Haber, shlit’a, elaborates on the importance of speaking out the story of our Exodus from Egypt.  It’s not sufficient that we just “tell over the story.” But, there’s much more… The Rav quotes from an essay of Rabbi Tadok HaKohen and relates how the Exodus from Egypt mimics the steps in the birth process as relates to the Birth of the Jewish Nation!

Posted on 02/28 at 09:39 AM • Permalink
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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Shiurim on Hiatus

Due to Rabbi Haber’s traveling schedule, the shiurim will re-continue after Purim.

Posted on 02/07 at 09:20 AM • Permalink

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kedushas Shabbos Part 121 - The Secret of Shabbos – Tying together a fragmented world

Rabbi Haber simplifies the secret of the שמע ישראל and ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו; Hashem sends us a fragmented world in spite of His UNITY, empowering each Jew to tie it all together. This is called ‘Creating Malchus’. The laboratory of this transformation is Shabbos.  Hashem gave Mankind the job of Kingship. 

Posted on 01/31 at 06:50 PM • Permalink
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kedushas Shabbos Part 120 - Preparing the Chariot for the King to Ascend

Rabbi Haber, Shlita, travels the Holy Zohar, and shows how the Matzav מצב (state/condition) of Echad אחד (the Unity) is the Shechina שכינה (Holy Presence) when/where the King can ascend His Throne to do His Kinging.  Shabbos is the Kedushin קדושין (marriage) of Hashem with His People, Am Yisrael, in UNITY.  On Shabbos the Jewish People connect the Briah (Creation) with Hashem.  The Life Force of Creation, which Hashem has divided into two parts: Kodesh קדוש (Holiness/Purity) and the sitra achar סתרה אחר (Contradicted other/Powers of constriction), both give koach (energy) to the world.  Hashem rules through both Life Forces.  When we’re being holy, we’re connected through the stream of Kodesh קדוש.  At other times, we’re being ruled by Hashem through the sitra achar (Powers of constriction) סתרה אחר.  Let’s get married in Holiness to Hashem and be together with Him in Supreme Unification עליון יחוד! Cut away the powers of constriction אזמר בשבחין and give birth to the Neshama Yesayrah נשמה יתרה (Soulfulness/ Extra soul). Shabbos is the Laboratory of rebirth and Unification.

Special Thanks to Eliezer Roeh-Ohr for Video & Description

Posted on 01/27 at 09:03 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jew! Pay or Deliver

This beautiful exposition of the problems of the world and the challenges that the Jews have faced throughout our history since we first became a Nation, was given by Rav Haber to explain how the Jew is responsible for the rectification of the world.  We have the obligation to make ourselves the instruments of redemption and the messengers of Hashem.  His analysis of Yetziat Mitzrayim, our Exodus from Egypt, is the paradigm that demonstrates Hashem’s Plan for how the Jewish People will eventually, BE”H, with His help and in our days, create the environment on earth that will permit the coming of the Mashiach. 

Posted on 01/24 at 09:54 AM • Permalink
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Kedushas Shabbos Part 119 - The Secret of Shabbos

Rabbi Haber teaches us the secret of shabbos. He shows us that on shabbos everything becomes one in the secret of one. 
Take all six manifestations (sefiros of gashmius that Hashem put into the world) and combine them with the time factor of the zmanos (the Holy Days - and the six days of Creation) and turn them into kadosh; build the mishkan within yourself.  Everything that we do on Shabbos to bring malchus into the world is so that Hashem can sit on His throne of glory.  Then the world will be fired up with the glory of His creation.

Posted on 01/24 at 10:29 AM • Permalink
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Kedushas Shabbos Part 118 - Revealing the Light; Touching Infinity

The Original “Light”, which Hashem hid, can be revealed if we know where and how to find it. The world of detail which Hashem has given the Jewish People must be“tied together within the Jew and within Shabbos in order to make this world a place for Malchus (Kingship) for Hashem.  That is the mandate of Shabbos.  The hidden light אור הגנוז is waiting deep within the root of the neshama (soul) of the Jew which can be experienced on Shabbos.  When it is found and expressed, it will be revealed in the world. Then the world will have Oneg (delight) in the world and the world will then be prepared for the Kingship of Hashem.  We will then make Heaven on Earth!
Be a “Balanced Jew!” If you have touched the root of your neshama, you have touched Infinity the Ayn Sof אין סוף.  There are 3 ways for the light of Hashem to reach this world:
1. השתלשלות (Chain reaction),
2. השלבשות (Hashem’s “clothing” of Light)
3. השרה (infusion of His Light - Tiferes תפארת Splendor/Glory).

Posted on 01/24 at 08:56 AM • Permalink
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Beginnings Part 12 - Yosef looked like Yaakov; Yaakov looked like Adam HaRishon

Rabbi Haber shows us that when the Torah tells us in the sentence “These are the generations of Yaakov” in Parashat Vayeshev it means this is the story of “Yosef.” And this story is not only the reason that we became slaves in Mitzrayim, but also it is the reason for the destruction of the 2nd Temple, and is the reason for our ultimate redemption.  Yaakov saw in Rachel that he would have a child that would insure the future of the Jewish People. Yosef was “the plan!” Yosef was the image of Yaakov. The story of the life of Yaakov was the same story as the life of Yosef.  Yaakov and Yosef were both hated and hunted by his sibling. There are 25 commonalities between the life of Yaakov and Yosef. The jealousy of the sibilings of Yaakov and Yosef was due to the greatness of Yaakov and Yosef. 

Posted on 01/24 at 09:56 AM • Permalink
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kedushas Shabbos Part 117 - Shamor v’Zachor; Cooked (בפנים-within oneself) on Shabbos

Rabbi Yaacov Haber, Shlit’a, prepares us for our Shabbos performance and teaches us how to do our hitbonnenus התבוננות (observance) by taking the gashmius גשמיות (material/physical/corporeality) that Hashem has given us during the week, and also since the Six Days of Creation, and turning those gifts into ruchnius/shamamymi רוחניות/שמימי (spirituality/heavenly); returning our gifts from Hashem back to Him by “cooking” them within ourselves and making them holy. All of the 613 Commandments are for the Remembrance זכור and Guarding שמור of Shabbos and that is our Purpose in the world; shomer- the klal (separate yourself from things that you want - these are the things you should not do (the negative mitzvos) v’zachor -, & the prat פרט (the exceptions)- the things that you should do; the positive mitzvos. The Shomer Shabbos person is the one who stops doing things for himself. Ahava אהבה represents the positive mitzvos & Yirah יראה represents the negative mitzvos.

Posted on 01/20 at 11:28 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beginnings Part 11 - Say You Are My Sister

Rabbi Haber eloquently describes how Ham & Grar tried to retrieve the bracha that they lost and rectify the sin committed by their ancestor, Ham with his father, Noah, by attempting to capture Sarah, Rivka and Dina and thereby incorporating their zechut (merit) into themselves.
The struggle between the Universalism in the view of Avraham, Yosef & Dovid versus the constriction into the singularity of the Jewish Destiny perceived by the visions of the Jewish Mothers through preserving the family of Yitzchak & Yaakov, is an eternal struggle.  The success of Universalism was thwarted and distilled into the singular Divine purpose that Hashem has for the Jewish People by the strength of our Imahos (particularly our mothers, Sarah & Rivkah) who stood for the solidification and reinforcement of our “Family” rather than for kiruv of (outreach to) other nations.

Posted on 01/17 at 12:18 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Rabbi Yaacov HaberRabbi Haber has been a leading force in Jewish Outreach for the past 25 years. A founding trustee of AJOP, the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals, he was the founder and director of the Torah Center of Buffalo from 1980-1990 while serving as a community rabbi in Buffalo. From Buffalo he and his family traveled to Melbourne, Australia where as a project of Kollel Bais HaTalmud he founded the Australian Institute of Torah, a national outreach and adult education program. He directed that program from 1990-1995, at which time he was sought out as National Director of Jewish Education for the Orthodox Union in the United States where he created the Internationally acclaimed and highly successful "Pardes Project."

In addition to his duties at the OU, in 1996 he replaced Rabbi Berel Wein as the spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Torah in Monsey, NY. In keeping with the position of Congregation Bais Torah in the Monsey community, Rabbi Haber was involved in issues involving the greater Monsey community, and counseled hundreds of individuals in the surrounding area.

Rabbi Yaacov Haber is the founder and driving force behind TorahLab. Through TorahLab, Rabbi Haber is bringing together educational and media specialists to create dynamic learning experiences which will be accessible to adults of all backgrounds and levels. Rabbi Haber has published numerous articles and books and is a sought after international lecturer.

Rabbi Haber and his family are presently living in Ramat Beit Shemesh where he is the Rabbi of Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted at