Elevating Daily Life in 5777

id-100446132Dear readers,

This year I have decided to free myself from weekly blog posts and focus more on writing poetry and stories that I have been wanting to get down on paper. Because I have gotten so used to being in the mode of sharing weekly challenges, I decided to compile everything in a PDF file, so whoever wants to join my family in this year’s reading and mussar schedule may do so.

Elevating Daily Life in 5777 PDF

Additional Resources

Hebrew Calendar and Torah portions

www.Hebcal.com

www.chabad.org

 

Teachings on Torah portions

www.bethtikkun.org

www.jewisheyes.org

www.thecreationgospel.com

 

Books

Psalms

For Hebrew readers: The Schottenstein Edition Tehillim: An Interlinear Translation

Mussar

Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar by Alan Morinis

Rosh Chodesh and Hebrew Calendar

The Biblical New Moon: A Beginner’s Guide for Celebrating by Kisha Gallagher

Kabbalah of Time: Revelation of Hidden Light Through the Jewish Calendar by Rabbi Daniel Kahane and Ann Helen Wainer

 

Many blessings and shalom to you all!

S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5777: Ha’azinu

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listen-1This is going to be our last post for “Inspiration Through Torah in 5776”. This evening will begin the fast day of Yom Kippur. May we be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year of life, love, goodness, peace, light, and unity!

This week we are studying the Torah portion Ha’azinu. In this week’s portion, Moses sings to the children of Israel.

You may decide to read the portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 32:1-6 (6 p’sukim)

2: 32:7-12 (6 p’sukim)

3: 32:13-18 (6 p’sukim)

4: 32:19-28 (10 p’sukim)

5: 32:29-39 (11 p’sukim)

6: 32:40-43 (4 p’sukim)

7: 32:44-52 (9 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is II Samuel 22:1 – 22:51.

The accompanying psalm to be read on Shabbat for this week’s portion is 71.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Torah portion Ha’azinu by R’ Daniel Kayes Thomson

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we will be focusing on the middot (character traits) sh’tikah and shmirat ha-lashon which are translated as silence and guarding the tongue or thoughtful speech.

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Sh’tikah v’shmirat ha-lashon (Silence and Thoughtful Speech). Under this attribute, write out the suggested practices from the video above. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life. (Phrase and practice come from Middah of the Month)

  • Phrase: “A word may be worth one Selah (coin),
    but silence is worth two.”
  • Practice: Choose only one [word] at a time.

    Set a fixed time each day, for approximately 20 minutes, to focus on speech.  During this time notice any thoughts arising in you which would lead you to negative speech.  Pause and breathe when you notice this; bring attention to the body and the emotions arising.  Consider something positive to say about the person or situation, in order to learn ‘Lashon Tov’—a ‘good tongue’.

  • Verse: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21)

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,

S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5777: Vayeilech

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We are now in 5777! L’shana Tova Tikatevu! (May you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for a good year!)

This week we are studying the Torah portion Vayeilech. In this week’s portion, Moses transfers his authority over to Joshua son of Nun, and instructions are given to read the book of the law every seven years during the feast of Tabernacles.

You may decide to read the portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 31:1-3 (3 p’sukim)

2: 31:4-6 (3 p’sukim)

3: 31:7-9 (3 p’sukim)

4: 31:10-13 (4 p’sukim)

5: 31:14-19 (6 p’sukim)

6: 31:20-24 (5 p’sukim)

7: 31:25-30 (6 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27.

The accompanying psalm to be read on Shabbat for this week’s portion is 65.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Torah portion Vayeilech by R’ Daniel Kayes Thomson

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we will continue to focus on the middah (character trait) ahavah which is translated as love. Ahava has to do with the act of giving.

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Ahavah (Love). Under this attribute, write out the suggested practices from the video above. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • To increase love of Hashem:
    • Observe His creation.
    • Practice gratitude.
    • Pray with intention.
  • To increase love of others:
    • Be willing to do a favor even if involves a disruption to your own life.
    • Practice being calm in conversation.
    • Be forgiving of others when they do wrong.
    • Be considerate of another’s time.
    • Practice positive speech.

Loving Your Neighbor – Aish.com

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,

S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Nitzavim

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This week we are studying the Torah portion Nitzavim. This portion is all about choosing life. Moshe exhorts the people by saying,

“Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach.
It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?”
Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?”
No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.
See, I set before you this day life and prosperity, death and adversity.
For I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His laws, and His rules, that you may thrive and increase, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land that you are about to enter and possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-16)

You may decide to read the portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 29:9-11 (3 p’sukim)

2: 29:12-14 (3 p’sukim)

3: 29:15-28 (14 p’sukim)

4: 30:1-6 (6 p’sukim)

5: 30:7-10 (4 p’sukim)

6: 30:11-14 (4 p’sukim)

7: 30:15-20 (6 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9.

The accompanying psalm to be read on Shabbat for this week’s portion is 81.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

*NEW* Torah portion Nitzavim by R’ Daniel Kayes Thomson

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we will focus on the middah (character trait) ahavah which is translated as love. Ahava is not love in the sense of desire, but rather has more to do with the act of giving.

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Ahavah (Love). Under this attribute, write out the suggested practices from the video above. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • To increase love of Hashem:
    • Observe His creation.
    • Practice gratitude.
    • Pray with intention.
  • To increase love of others:
    • Be willing to do a favor even if involves a disruption to your own life.
    • Practice being calm in conversation.
    • Be forgiving of others when they do wrong.
    • Be considerate of another’s time.
    • Practice positive speech.

Loving Your Neighbor – Aish.com

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,

S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Ki Tavo

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This week we are studying the Torah portion Ki Tavo. This week’s portion begins with how we are to offer our tithes and first fruits to the priests serving before the Lord. This portion also lists curses that were to said on Mount Ebal upon entering the land, as well as the blessings and curses for obedience to the covenant.

You may decide to read the portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 26:1-11 (11 p’sukim)

2: 26:12-15 (4 p’sukim)

3: 26:16-19 (4 p’sukim)

4: 27:1-10 (10 p’sukim)

5: 27:11-28:6 (22 p’sukim)

6: 28:7-69 (63 p’sukim)

7: 29:1-8 (8 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 60:1 – 60:22.

The accompanying psalm to be read on Shabbat for this week’s portion is 51.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

*NEW* Torah portion Ki Tavo by R’ Daniel Kayes Thomson

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we will continue focusing on the middah (virtue) simcha, which can be translated as happiness or contentment.

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Simcha (Happiness/Contentment). Under the virtue, write out the suggested practices listed below. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • “But godliness with contentment is great gain,for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
  • Every morning, decide in your mind to be content and choose joy whatever may come that day.
  • Be careful with what you place in front of your eyes, and the things you listen to that may compromise your decision to be content.
  • Ask Hashem to show you His perspective, before reacting to someone or a situation.

You might also benefit from these teachings:

Preparing For Judgement Day with Joy
Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,
S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Ki Teitzei

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This week we are studying the Torah portion Ki Teitzei. In this week’s portion, there are a variety of laws some dealing with marriage, some concerning divorce, some about firstborn sons, some about sexual immorality, and so on.

You may decide to read the portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 21:10-21 (12 p’sukim)

2: 21:22-22:7 (9 p’sukim)

3: 22:8-23:7 (29 p’sukim)

4: 23:8-24 (17 p’sukim)

5: 23:25-24:4 (6 p’sukim)

6: 24:5-13 (9 p’sukim)

7: 24:14-25:19 (28 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 54:1 – 54:10.

The accompanying psalm to be read on Shabbat for this week’s portion is 32.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

*NEW* Torah portion Ki Teitzei by R’ Daniel Kayes Thomson

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we will be focusing on the middah (virtue) of simcha, which can be translated as happiness or contentment. We are building on the last two weeks dealing with gratitude. This is the month of Elul, the month that offers us the opportunity to be refined and purified leading up to the High Holy days. It is a time of testing in order that we will know what is in our own hearts and who we really are. We are loved unconditionally by our Creator and Father, and that is cause for great joy and happiness.

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Simcha (Happiness/Contentment). Under the virtue, write out the suggested practices listed below. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • “But godliness with contentment is great gain,for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
  • Every morning, decide in your mind to be content and choose joy whatever may come that day.
  • Be careful with what you place in front of your eyes, and the things you listen to that may compromise your decision to be content.
  • Ask Hashem to show you His perspective, before reacting to someone or a situation.

You might also benefit from these teachings:

 

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,
S~

BEKY Book Review: The Biblical New Moon

41stdjbv9rl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Have you heard of BEKY books? BEKY stands for Books Encouraging the Kingdom of Yeshua. There are currently 5 books available for purchase in the series. The latest book, released today, is The Biblical New Moon: A Guide for Celebrating, written by my friend and fellow blogger, Kisha Gallagher of Grace In Torah.

In March of this year, Kisha approached me by email and asked if I would be interested in writing a poem for a book she was writing on the new moon. I was delighted to be asked and said yes. She promptly sent me a working draft of her book, and I read it from beginning to end in one sitting to get a better feel for how to go about writing a poem (click here to read it!) that would tie in well with the content.

This comprehensive guide provides wonderful information on the moon from a Scriptural, spiritual perspective and suggestions for how to celebrate each new month. She offers sections with questions that can be used, ideally, for small group discussions.

My favorite parts of the book are:

  1. The section that suggests women’s groups as an alternative to individual, family, or congregational celebration. She shares how her women’s group gets together, what they do, and a basic order of events.
  2. The section that shared information on each Hebrew month, the themes for each month, and other helpful information.
  3. The section that gave ideas for special prayers and Scripture readings. (And the poems, of course, in the back!)

You are going to love this book! Once you’ve read it, check out the other four volumes, if you haven’t already; be sure to leave reviews.

I think the whole series would work well as part of a discipleship classes, or as introductory materials for new members of Torah-centered, faith based congregations and communities.

The other titles available in the series, currently, are:

The Moon Walks

The moon walks
In faithfulness.
Returning,
Renewing,
Month after month
Back to her place
Of closeness
With the sun.
Each time she obscures
Herself in darkness
From the eyes of the world,
Her hidden nature
Is bathed in the light
Of that radiant star.
Though her way
Appears inconstant
To those who live on earth,
From the viewpoint
Of the shining luminary,
A part of her
Always
Reflects his glory.

© Sarah S. Walters, 2016

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~Appears in Kisha Gallagher’s *NEW* book entitled: The Biblical New Moon: A Guide for Celebrating.

Mussar and Next Year

e90efd30665a4423abb3bd43fc4b435fYou may have noticed that along with the weekly Torah portions, and there has been mussar exercises every week since parsha Vayera.

It is my belief, and the belief of others, that our Messiah Yeshua not only taught Torah to his talmidim, he taught mussar, which seeks to get to the heart of the individual and transform that person from the inside out by pinpointing and strengthening positive attributes. (One example of this is found in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically, Matthew 5:21-6:4.)

Why am I bringing up mussar now? Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about how to present the next year’s Torah cycle. I have decided that instead of doing weekly blogs, I will share an easily downloadable, FREE booklet for anyone who wants to walk through the weekly portions and do the mussar practices with me and my family.

We will be using a specific book for Mussar this Torah cycle. The book is entitled, Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar by Alan Morinis. I chose this book, because it breaks down attributes by week (each one being covered twice over the course of a year), and includes quotes from rabbis, verses from Scripture, and has a place for journaling.

I highly encourage you, if you know little about mussar, to check out the video below.

Also, you might like to check out Riverton Mussar, and the article, Mussar 101, by my friend and fellow blogger, Yiska Gallagher.

The new year 5777 will begin on the evening of Ocober 2, 2016, and we will start back at the beginning of Genesis on October 23, 2016, and so I will be posting a link here at the blog for the next year’s Torah cycle booklet very soon. If you have not yet subscribed, please consider signing up above by email or through WordPress, so that you can download the booklet for free when it comes available.

Shalom and blessings,

S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Shoftim

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This week we are studying the Torah portion Shoftim. In this week’s portion, we are exhorted to appoint righteous judges and magistrates, and also told how to set up a king.

You may decide to read the portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 16:18-17:13 (18 p’sukim)

2: 17:14-20 (7 p’sukim)

3: 18:1-5 (5 p’sukim)

4: 18:6-13 (8 p’sukim)

5: 18:14-19:13 (22 p’sukim)

6: 19:14-20:9 (17 p’sukim)

7: 20:10-21:9 (20 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 51:12 – 52:12.

The accompanying psalm to be read on Shabbat for this week’s double portion is 17.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

*NEW* Torah portion Shoftim by R’ Daniel Kayes Thomson

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we are going to spend another week on the middah (virtue) of hakarat ha-tov, which is  translated as gratitude.

At the top of a 4×6 card write, Hakarat Ha-tov (Gratitude). Underneath that, list each item for quick reference (suggestions come from Riverton Mussar):

  • Think of some positive aspects of your life today and express your gratitude and appreciation.
  • Send a card to someone you know and express your gratitude and appreciation.
  • Express your gratitude to a stranger who is serving you in some capacity today.
  • After every meal this week, say a prayer of gratitude. This can either be a traditional blessing from the siddur or perhaps a heartfelt spontaneous prayer. (This is the one we try to sing: Blessing After the Meal)

Put the card in a prominent place, so you might be able to refer to it often throughout the day.

Extras:

Gratitude

The Science Behind Gratitude

Blessings and Shalom,

S~