The Jewish Spirit Journal
A Journal of Jewish Mysticism and Spirituality
Vol. 1, No. 5

HANHAGOT


(SPIRITUAL PRACTICES)

Who Fulfills All My Needs

The following is a suggestion for a kavannah when making the morning blessing thanking God for fulfilling all your needs.

It is told of a certain holy tzaddik that every time he made the morning blessing "[God,] who fulfills all my needs," he intended to include his sufferings too. [He realized that he needed those sufferings for his true well being and growth.] Because from the day that God, blessed be He, created man on the earth, the Creator foresaw in His wisdom what each creature's needs would be and how He would deal with them thoughout the whole course of their lives. There would be both good times, when the Creator's kindness would be revealed to all, and times when He would hide His kindness from a person until it actually appeared that it was bad, God-forbid. And a person on whom God bestows wisdom will understand that everything God does is for his good.

There are no good times and bad times, only happy times and sad times, for the truth is everything the Merciful One, blessed be He, does is for good, it only depends on how we receive it.

(the Baal Shem Tov)

Acquiring Merit

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach used to carry with him loads of heavy Torah books when he travelled. Someone once asked him, "Shlomo, why do you lug all those books around with you when you probably never have time to look into more than a few of them?"

Shlomo replied, "My dearest friend, the truth is, my intention is to study every one of them. So I want to have that yearning always." (paraphrased from memory)

This comment provides a general teaching about "acquiring merit." Many people today don't resonate to the idea of reward and merit. But the point is to understand these concepts spiritually. If you lug all the books, you get the "reward," the "merit," for your desire and yearning, meaning that you infuse additional spirituality and holiness into yourself by actively expressing your holy intention. In this way, you move upward in your spiritual journey.

Shoes

It is a good custom, when tying your shoelaces, to think:

"God, let me be bound up with You in d'vekut (devotional God-consciousness)."

When untying your laces and removing your shoes:

"God, help me free myself from all the habitual patterns that keep me from true life and from being aware of Your presence."

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Copyright 2004-2005, Yitzhak Buxbaum. All rights reserved.