Fire And Water: Tuning Into The Right Station
There’s no disputing that we live in an age of technology. The only question is what we do with it. There are two personalities that have reached in excess of a million views online. These two figures are characteristic of the elements of fire and water. One, Rabbi Mizrachi (www.divineinformation.com), , represents fire, for as he says, “he tells it like it is.” The other, takes a more water-like approach to touch his audience, that being Rabbi Anava (www.atzmut.com). Not surprisingly, each of their names represents their essence, Rabbi “Mizrachi” symbolizing the flames of the “Mizrach” Yerushalyim and the other other Rabbi “Anava,” symbolic of humility and soft speech.
To capture some of their ideas briefly, it’s worth noting a few thoughts from some of their shiurim, to convey their mindfulness and palatable common sense.
In a shiur discussing President Trump’s election, Rabbi Mizrachi notes that since, in our days, our belief in G-d remains limited, voting for the right candidate matters, as we are voting based on what we see as right and wrong.
In his series of “The Psychology of the Mind and Soul,” he notes how we must treat our children with warmth and and not deny them such things as playing with a ball or riding a bike in the name of “bitul Torah.” He notes that these children who were always denied the ability to “act” like a child are the ones who rebel and often leave the faith. Being overly harsh with a child will give them low self esteem and the the belief that they are never worthy of something great later on.
In his latest series on “Orchos Tzadikim,” Rabbi Mizrachi delves into the words of Rabbi Yonah with precision and relevance. He transforms Rabbi Yonah’s words into messages that are applicable to our day to day lives.
Rabbi Anava, in a shiur about Mashiach, elaborates on a fascinating idea by the Zohar. Firstly, he notes that the Zohar says “chevelei Maschiach” will come on Erev Minicha before Shabbos. Based on a 6,000 year timeline, Ervev Mincha has already come as it’s after the first six hours of the day (the earliest time to pray Mincha) which calculates to our current time in years. He then notes that the war of “Gog U’magog” can in fact be a war of thoughts, a mlichemet ha”gigim” (as gigim also means thoughts). Rabbi Anava explains that one need only look at our times to realize the distractions that exist to capture our thoughts in everything besides spirituality. Our fate might not lie in bombs and explosions but the ability for us to control our thoughts.
In another shiur, he emphasizes the need for every individual to realize that he has his own shade of Torah. This is because at Har Sinai, every Jew “heard” a specific Torah geared towards them though equal in all laws and commandments. Therefore he explains the need to appreciate one’s individual connection to the Torah. He jokes that someone came over to him and showed him a new blue sparkly yarmulka that he was wearing and the man told the Rabbi that he always felt this yarmulka fit his style. The Rabbi said, fine, great. As long as one is keeping all of the Torah and Mitzvos, he noted that blue, pink or green doesn’t matter (not his exact words). He said these are not problems but rather the way it is supposed to be. Each person can dress differently and have individual tastes, for as long as he is a “Good Jew” (denoting abiding by all the laws) these things are irrelevant and therefore up to the person to decide. (It should be noted that elsewhere Rabbi Anava gives a defintion of what we should strive to be as “Good Jews.” He mentions the story of Purim where Haman wanted to “penetrate” us. With the mem of Purim, he explains how we can succeed. The mem sofit, at the end of the word Purim, is enclosed on all sides. Therefore, firstly, as Jews, we should have strong insides that remain enclosed to repel anything trying to penetrate us from the outside.This would be our shield again outside evil contaminating us. Then, the mem stands for four Mitzvos on Purim, Mikra Megillah, Mishloach Manos Ish Lereau, Matonos Leavyonim and Mishta, Ve’simcha. He says as Jews these are our four directives to follow. Mikra Megillah is the Mitzvah of learning Torah. Mishlach Manos Ish Lereau is Ahavas Yisroel, (which Rabbi Weinberger from Aish Hakodesh in Woodmere quoted many commentators to say this is the midah of our generation that we must rise to meet). Matanos Leavyonim refers to Tzadaka. And lastly, Mishta, Ve’simcha relates to how we must serve G-d with Simcha as Dovid HaMelech enunniates in Tehillim. Rabbi Anava says that we should focus on these four elements of the mem and take on its shape to repel all evil.)
It’s’ worth listening to Rabbi Anava’s shiur on his out of body experience that inspired him to become a Baal Teshuva. In this experience, he was ultimately pushed back into this world by G-d on the condition that he fulfills three conditions. One of them was publicizing this experience that he had.
If you’re taking the train, riding in your car or taking a brisk walk, you need only “tune in” to one shiur from either of these two Rabbi’s to appreciate their common sense, ability to convey large concepts with clarity and charismatic character. They are both well versed in Kabbalah, Tanach and the Oral Law and all of its commentaries. One shiur may lead to another or not, but at least you have heard a talk from the masters of their trade.