כָּל מִצְוֹתֶיךָ אֱמוּנָה שֶׁקֶר רְדָפוּנִי עָזְרֵנִי
"All your commandments are Faith" (Psalms 119:86)
וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי בֶּאֱמוּנָה וְיָדַעַתְּ אֶת יְהֹוָה
"I will betroth you to Me with Faith, and you will Know G-d!" (Hosea 2:22)
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Whether any of us like it or not we are still living in the Olam Hazeh, the "Old World" sinful order. Political realities matter and religious people need to have their voices heard! When we stick our heads into the sand and pretend that the world around us has no bearing on us or that we are too holy to get involved, we are only deceiving ourselves and selling our children into slavery! Spiritually we are "transcendent" perhaps, but for now we are very much the people of the fallen material earth! We are commanded in Torah to be the caretakers of this domain. The "fake news" claim that all Jews oppose Donald Trump and his attempts to restore the fallen US republic, or as he says, to make America great again," are patently false. Many of us have been supporting him from the beginning. I got behind him a week after be declared his candidacy and I still support him (although I do not always agree with what he does). It is an outrage that the elite in BOTH parties, the media, and much of the court system are doing everything in their powers to stop him from doing what we voted him in to accomplish. This is a silent globalist coup.Mr. President, the majority of the American people are with you even if the Washington Swamp is not!
Read All Of Presidents Trump's Tweets as they happen right here!
I've never been interested in titles. While I appreciate the respect shown by many of you who have been referring to me as a rabbi, as I've shared on Facebook many times over the past few years, and in this "about me" piece, I do not hold a rabbinic ordination. My degrees are in World and Interfaith Religions. The main focus of my research has been Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and Hinduism, although I have studied all of the major and most minor religions.
While the word "rabbi" references a Torah "teacher," and I am such, over the past many decades it has come to refer more spefically to one who holds a Jewish ordination (smicha) from some established sect or school (smicha has been done since the beginning of our holy religion, but the meaning of the term rabbi has varied, even meaning at times merely 'one who leads' in any area).
As far as I'm concerned people are welcome to refer to me however they wish, however a few of my rabbi friends have encouraged me to be more insistent that I do not hold the piece of paper for the title. So I have embraced the following solution:
After discussions with a dear Breslov friend about this issue -- he is in a similar situation -- I have decided to adopt the traditional Chassidic title for a person in my position. From now on I will embrace the title "Reb." This title is from the same root (רַבִּי or RaBi) but refers to a knowledgeable elder without the smicha. So, effective immediately I invite you to refer to me as "Reb Shlomo."
I hope this change will clarify my position for everyone.
Since 1969 I have devoted most of my time and energies to seeking G-d. I have done this through intense study, prayer, travel, meditation, and exploration of the various world religions "from the inside." Along the way I have received an MA in World Religious Studies, a counseling degree from East-West Seminary, three ordinations, various initiations including one as a Vaisnava brahmin, and various other pieces of paper from various places. Today my focus is solely on Judaism. While I continue to study, I have no plans of seeking additional pieces of paper at this time.
Some things have become very clear to me over the years, but my quest is not yet over. I am not so presumptuous as to proclaim myself a "master," however I have learned much and realized some. Part of my personal derech (path) includes assisting others in their quests. I am here to help as I can.
My principle Path is Chassidus, Hasidic Judaism, I focus on the teachings and examples of all of the Chassidic masters, especially the BESHT (the Baal Shem Tov) and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. I am a member of Der Alte Weg Chassidus. Rebbe Aryel Nachman ben Chaim is my Rebbe. Ahuva and I are members of his House of Seven Beggars as well as the local Conservative ("Conserva-dox") "Shul.
Life experiences, sincerity, prayer, and research are what makes a teacher, not degrees and certificates. Knowing G-d personally and sharing religious truth is what makes a religious teacher, not the approval of sectarian bodies and boards. If you consider me worthy of a title, "Reb Shlomo" is preferred. If not, just call me Shlomo.
In my quest for truth over the past almost fifty years or so I have placed a special emphasis on Judaism (of course), Christianity, Islam, the Sanatana Dharma (i.e. Hinduism in its various offshoots, including Buddhism and Sikhism), practical Taoism, Wodanwic (and other Welsh and Celtic spiritualities), etc. I have studied all of the major and many of the minor religions, sects, and denominations in depth as part of my own personal quest for the Eternal. I am not satisifed to take the opinions of others is such an important matter. I have "found" G-d. I have never sought financial gain from my studies and I do not accept donations. If you wish to donate, and it is a great mitvah, please give to the House Of Seven Beggars and mention me. You can also buy fun products from our gift shop.
If my efforts here at AllFaith.com and/or my social media outlets bless you, then I am happy. But honestly, if they don't, I am still happy! True happiness comes from devekut: i.e. from attachment to G-d alone. Devekut through emunah (i.e. active faith and trust) has always been my preferred Derech (Path) to the Eternal, and the Eternal One has always been both my Source and my Destination.
I am an independent minded member of Der Alte Weg Chassidus (i.e. "the Old Way Chassidus" of the Baal Shem Tov zt’l). Chassidus is a traditional Jewish Path that deals with a wide range of spiritual concepts including the way of G-d, Torah, Talmud, the soul, Kabbalah, mysticism, and so on. For some practioners Chassidus means hyper-observance, going well beyond what is required by halacha. That is not my Chassidus nor I believe it was that of the BESHT. At its heart, Chassidus is all about emunah -- active faith and trust in HaShem alone. Chassidus develops devekut, attachment to G-d like no other system I have found. This approach provides an understandable, practical expression to our ancient teachings. Chassidus is as potent today as it have ever been, perhaps even more so.
Seek the Eternal ONE and become the YOU HaShem created you to be! Only in that way you will come to know G-d. Knowing G-d, you will know Joy.
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל חשם אֱלֹהֵינוּ חשם אֶחָד
Sh'ma Yisra'el HaShem Eloheinu HaShem Eḥad
"Hear Y'israel, HaShem is our G-d, HaShem is ONE"
Please note that AllFaith.com is completely independent of the various groups I associate with. The views expressed here are my own understandings and do not necessarily reflect those of anyone else. Likewise, the views of these groups do not always express mine. Please refrain from making assumptions about my beliefs and practices until you get to know me. If you have questions, ask me. In many ways I'm not your average Chassid. Heck, I'm not even your average Jew! But then... few Jews are when you get to know them!
On some political, social, and a few religious topics I am more "liberal," while on others issues I am more conservative/orthodox. For those who want labels. I am an Orthodox, Chassidic Jew. We are members of a local Conservative shul because it fits us better than the other local options. I am quite independent in my outlook and do not travel in lockstep with anyone nor with any group within or without of Orthodoxy. As I noted, I dislike the misleading existence of Jewish movments. To me, a Jew is a Jew. HaShem is my only authority, the rabbis and sages are my advisors and counselors.
I am a committed Religious Zionist.
Without supporting the Nation and Land of Israel, our eternal Homeland, one can not honestly claim to be loyal to our Holy Scriptures, Traditions, People, or Religion in my opinion. Far too many Jews today, even some rabbis (both Orthodox and non-Orthodox), are turning against Israel and thereby betraying the Hope of the Redemption. The Hope of Zion is the bedrock of Judaism and our people. Judaism and Zionism can not be separated.
Of course I'm not naive. The secular government of Israel today is far from perfect. The Israel that now is is not the Israel that will be during the reign of HaMashiach ben David (may those days come soon and within our lifetimes). There are many things I wish were different there. Among these, I wish it were made possible for all Jews to return Home and live there. For far too many of us aliyah is not anoption due to financial constraints. HOWEVER I stand firmly and immovably with Israel, even as I beg HaShem to transform the Nation of the Jews into a truly Jewish Nation (to paraphrase Moshe Feiglin) as described by our holy prophets and teachers.
If I can be of assistance to you, just let me know.
~ Reb Shlomo
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