Lead Foot

Critically challenging your dreams is important, but don’t let it overwhelm your inspiration.

The thing is that you will have set backs even with the most soundly dreamt up idea.

For most creators you will likely get more critical momentum by actively encouraging your aspirations, and filtering in some choice creative advice.

Redefining Purity

Channuka can be said to be many things, and I would not degrade this. I have a family member who makes a hilarious comedic impression of Jewish teachers declaring certain Jewish holidays to be all about this! or all about that! It seems you could say it is all about anything and make a decent reasoning, yet this is not really a problem.

This is really the segue for me to talk about a new concept I see in Channuka, so I will be very brief in explaining why I am happy with a Jewish idea being about so many possible things. The parable to clarify this is explained by my teacher Rabbi Efim Svirsky: Three blind scientists are examining an elephant. After careful examination of different portions of the elephant they each give vastly different descriptions of the elephant. According to the first it is broad and rough(the body). For the second, long and rubbery(the truck), and the third described it as sturdy and firm(a leg). So too an idea in Judaism. A table can translate to one word: table, but a piece of wisdom cannot. When we describe the times of Channuka it is not that there were many reasons for it, but rather that it contains that which is beyond words.

I hope this explanation is somewhat sufficient. Anyway….to my intended thesis: Channuka is all about Purity 🙂

To be precise the word is Tahara טהרה in Hebrew. Before I enter into the description of the concept, let us ask how it is seen in the story. The Hellenists impurified the temple, and all the utensils, and oil. The Maccabim rededicated the temple and utensils, and found pure oil, which had not been impurified.
The parallel to desecrating the temple and utensils, but not destroying them is of course that the Hellenists did not attempt to commit genocide against the Jewish People, rather they desired to stamp out the Jewish faith.

A further hint to guide us: We are taught that Pesach is the source of emancipation in the world and that without Pesach we would have no concept of this (see Pesach – not for now). It seems to me that similar to this Chanuka is the source for Tahara, and that were it not for Chanuka we would have no concept of Tahara in the world.

What Is Tahara-Purity?

The Hellenist belief system recognized all the moral, and righteous traits we do. They believed so much in the infinite beauty and depth of the world. They were amazed at man’s capacity, and the wonder of the world G-d created. On all this we are partners in belief with the Hellenists, we get along great, but we also know there is something more.
The Torah praises the Greeks, they have so much right, they are into self improvement, respect for man and the world, etc. They may have stuff wrong, but they learn. They respect learning.
The mistake is that they should have come to us, the Jews; the bearers of the Torah and learnt from us, instead they tried to stamp us out, and figure it out themselves.

Why Did The Helenists Reject Torah?

Because, they rejected Tahara-Purity. They rejected the idea of having a place where the world and the beyond met.

In-short: the Hellenists were on the right track, but they were lacking a guide. Purity is the guide. When we do not know what to do we look to the Torah, we connect ourselves to the source of all. We go to the mikva; the primordial waters, the womb. We nullify ourselves in the process of touching the infinite. When you have this in your life you have a guide. When you live with this idea then you are pure.

The Hellenists were our brothers in bringing the world to a higher place, but did not wish to be connected to the source.

Why is purity so difficult to define? It is meant to represent the touch between the infinite beauty of existence and the unknowable that birthed it. It is therefore slightly immeasurable.

Purity=Touching the Source

Rabbi Dovid Baars


An acquaintance referred to a man we were collaborating on to help as “a drug addict.” It was meant to be a catch-all for his problems. I understood in the moment what he was saying as “this man is unreliable, and of poor judgement.” He chose to diagnose this condition as “drug addict.”
I believe this not a useful usage of the term, and is even damaging and disrespectful.
One is not a drug addict, more accurately said one is hurt, scared, traumatized, and in difficult circumstances, and may use drugs ~ in dangerous, and irresponsible ways ~ to attempt to survive. I would rather refer to this person dealing with life like this as hurting, or overwhelmed.

To look at the strategy one uses to cope with life as the problem itself is disrespectful to the sufferer. It says I do not see you, but only what you do. I only care about how you effect ME. It is self centered and self protective. It refuses to employ empathy of the other, or to accept him. It says change and then I will see you, until then you are a drug addict.

It is similar to telling a child in pain “do not cry”, as a dentist recently told my daughter “you are a big girl, why are you crying?” She is crying because it hurts!

Please do cry, feel! I hope she can always cry when things are truly painful. I hope no one’s hearts ever again become sealed to feeling their pain.

When one shuts themselves to the pain inside themselves they shut themselves to all emotions. We only have one pipeline for emotion; the vibrantly joyful, and the awfully terrible feelings only have one heart. Do not crush the pipeline of emotion.

Of course it is incredibly vital to learn to act responsibly and usefully. To feel in full HD color, and to know how to live as well. This is the proper training we must give people. I was recently listening to an audiobook on negotiation technique, the author introduced the idea of labeling. Essentially label your partner’s feelings and they become more manageable. I used this with my son, when I brush his teeth he often cries, I now take a few moments while holding him and the toothbrush to label his fears “you are afraid it will hurt?” He does not respond, but afterwards he is much calmer.

This is just one simple tool from the toolbox of emotional intelligence available, and the truth is you are already an expert. I know you are an expert in emotional intelligence, because every child is an emotional intelligence genius. Children can cry fully, then laugh with their whole belly a moment later. They do not over process their negative feelings or attempt to control the positive ones.

I bless you and bless me too that our hearts be fully open to the vibrancy of life, and that we see others as whole people.

Rabbi Dovid Baars

Focus On The Meaning

If you want for instance to have a higher income than you have now, think about why. What is the meaningful end you are trying to reach?

The money is not meaningful, the things that you could do are.

The reason that this is important is because you may miss the opportunity of attaining that meaningful goal if you are fixed on getting to it through your determined means.

If you really want a safe and reliable means to get to work and therefore you want money to buy a car do not pray only for the money, but also for the car.

This is obvious in a situation such as the car. It is less obvious when it is mixed with other needs which money would would all seem to be cured with a steady influx of cash.

Be open to salvation coming in ways unexpected. Unlock your heart and connect to the deepest desires you have around this need.

My friend shared a beautiful experience with me. He loves crafting unforgettably special Shabbat meals with many guests at his home, but felt he needed greater income to support his passion. He wanted a better job, but worried that a new job would jeapordize his other priorities such as community, family etc. In the end the community head approached him with a proposal that the community would pay him to host guests which others could not accommodate! Wham! The meaningful ends he so much wanted without the compromise he thought he would need to make.

Pray from the meaningful desire and you will be focused on that and radiating that. This is positive. Praying for different circumstances is not positive, it is a dead energy.

You will attract and network and find what you want when that is your focus. When you focus on the money you are instead creating an energy of lack and resentment.

So what is truly meaningful to you? What is dynamic and exciting for you? What is your reason for life?

Be filled with this and talk about it. Pray about it and be open to salvation coming in ways unexpected.

Exceedingly Exact

“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”

― Henry Wadsworth Longellow

Exceedingly Exact – Be Wary Of Some Therapies

Your life may at times seem overly difficult, turbulent, chaotic, but there is always a purpose for the challenges we face. The process of our unfolding is one which is cosmically exact, and ultimately thorough.

Were any significant gain in your life to be come by with ease, or happenstance it would necesarily be a useless gain.

The journey of life is one of revealing the truth of yourself to yourself. Of experinecing consciously all you are.

Were you fully conscious as a child? no. You were pure, perfect, and unashamed, but conscious of your depest abilities and truths? no.

Sometimes I see others seeking out specific therapies, because they have one layer of block which they cannot reach and they believe this will help.
I disagree with this belief. We do not seek a means to be free of blocks, but rather employ the means of the moment to reveal the tuth from the darkness that is right now!

To explain: While the end will be an ultimate freedom from constrictive blocks, the blocks are not ‘negative’ ‘unwanted’ or ‘bad’. When working through an issue with your wife the end is frrdom from issues, bur the issue is not a problem, it is a tool to become closer. Your inner chaos is the tool for the expansion of your consciousness.

So… do not seek ultimate weapons, far-out therapies, or expensive modalities. Don’t miss the gains of the growth you could be having while waiting for the treatment. After all there is nothing to lose from trying. The only loss is not trying.

Embrace the challenge of the moment. Trust the process of your unfolding, it is exceedingly exact.