Sunday, June 13, 2010

On Faith and Knowledge, Brain and Heart, Inner Light and Surrounding Light


This is my translation of an article by Rabbi Yehuda Leib Ashlag TZ"L
Everything that is born is created from its head, and we shall see that this is the brain. And even though is seems that the brain is a rational creation, which has absolutely no connection with the animal soul of the person, this is not so. Rather, all of the person’s life force is drawn from and has its source in the brain, because all the life essence and strength to exist of every living thing sits in the place of primary importance for that particular creature. And because there is no organ more important for man than the brain, therefore, in the brain is found all the power of his existence, and from there comes all of the body’s strength.
And know that the brain is closed within fluid, and within the bones of the skull, and it has no real physical connection with the organs of the body, except for thin veins which are connected with the eyes, and at the end of the brain, a certain kind of organ with "flesh round like Poland" which is the beginning of the spinal chord.
Thus it is that all the thoughts of the brain and its emotional peaks act with their strength on the person and their influence, like pleasure and sorrow, courage and despondency, joy and strength, fill the sinews and arteries with the flow of the life force, making him living and healthy. Conversely, downtroddenness and worry and cause complete death for the living and feeling creature, and according to the measure of their strength will neutralize the life force of the person, as it is written "the poor person is considered dead". His existence is considered "beyond nature", because the life force is measured according to the person’s ability to embrace creation, and his will is dependant upon this. And the person who has become disgusted by life has no life force according to nature, because the nature of living things is to contain and be drawn, with all their essence, to their life force and being.
This can play out is two ways, either that something like poverty and suffering has sucked out a person’s life force, or that he is actually missing part of his force of existence, and due to this lack, he doesn’t receive the influx of life according to the nature of all living things. As is written "evil doers are called living dead", meaning, the evil among the Israel, because they have a seed of Israel within them from their Creator, the addition of "Da’at" (Knowing) of Holiness within their bodies, which differentiates them from all the nations of the world. This is referred to in the holy books as "Helek Elokah Mimal. (A part of G-d from above). And therefore when this part is missing, it is not just a matter of imperfection, rather the person is thought of as dead, and even though he may move, and have other signs of life, he is considered as if he is not living according to nature.
And this is divided in the books to inner light, and surrounding light, meaning that one who lives according to nature , whose will embraces his life in wholeness, lives a life of true delight, and therefore inner light flows within him. This is not the case for someone who can’t bear his own life force and is disgusted by life, and yet is still alive, because his life is drawn towards his existence from without, and he is living the aspect of surrounding light. (And for the former), all the spiritual pleasures are drawn to him in faith, because now his Mishpat (judgement, vision, sentence) is clear to him, integrating his past and present, in that he understands that everything that has happened to him was fair, and with security he will reach his goals. His faith will increase with his every step, and according to this measure his pleasure grows and rises, his will embraces his life completely, and so he is called alive. Unlike the person who doesn’t see fairness in his paths, and doesn’t trust in G-d that he will be lead to his goal, and every step of the way his burden gets heavier, and the doubt increases, until he can no longer believe he will succeed. Thus his worries increase and he becomes disgusted by life, and he then is like a moving dead person (zombie), and his life force and sustenance are drawn to him from the outer surrounding lights . Actually, the place of "Mishpat" is within the brain, while the place of existence, faith, is drawn from the "Mishpat", and it is in the spinal column, and called "Da’at HaMishpat" ("Knowledge of Mishpat").
And if it were possible to inject the spinal column with faith, before the "Mishpat" went out, then we could draw life force to every person, because it would seem that this is not dependent upon the brain. However, this would be very difficult and nearly impossible, except through the brain and its "Mishpat", as stated above.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

(adapted from Likutay Moharan, 77)

When we breathe in holiness, our breath is the aspect of running and the movement of the angels in our father Jacob's dream. The purpose of creation is the revealation of G-d's kingdom in the world. The mouth is also related to the sephirah of Kingship. Therefore, through our mouths we can accomplish this revealation. The breath corresponds to the "H" of G-d's four letter name. The voice corresponds to the "vav". When we send our voice up in awe and trembling, in prayer and in Torah study, our actions correspond to the "yud" and the "hey" of G-d's holy name, like an upside down tree with roots in heaven, reaching up towards our source. Malchut is connected to the Shechinah (Divine Prescence), which is connected to speech. The soul itself has its source in the world of speech. The Shechinah, speech, accompanies us wherever we go, like a mother that accompanies her child wherever he goes. When we become mute, unable to speak, unable to articulate and open our inner world before G-d, then the Shechinah is in exile. By using our voice in holiness and a desire to connect with the Divine, the Shechinah is brought from exile to salvation. Geula is in our mouths!

"In the palace of the King, let your true voice sing!" with love, Tziona Achishena

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Heart Was Not Proud

a better link to the new interprative improvisation of Psalm 131

Sisters, tune into another rhythm. This one takes some deep listening. love Tziona Achishena

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Best Bat Mitzvah

I was privledged to sing at Ester's Bat Mitzvah in Nahariyah on Wednesday night. 14th of Sivan...also my little Sara Malka's Birthday! The main thing that stays with me is that there are all these hidden communities of special, holy Jewish women all over Eretz Yisrael. I felt so blessed to be a part of their simcha! In addition to the joy of singing to G-d from my heart, we also did some guided imagery together that expanded our minds and hearts. We took a journey to the rebuilt Jerusalem (soon in our days!), and while the girls made jewelry in the garden, the mother's and I did an inner journey, each imagining her daughter blossoming and flourishing, blessing her, and then feeling Hashem loving us as we love them. We did Hafrashat Challah, and then prayed for the redemption of the captured Israel soldiers, and of the whole world.
We passed out a little "miriam's drum" to every one there, and did a big, three part rhythm that awakened the heavens, while singing the Miriam song. It went on and on, rising with power and joy. No one wanted to stop. Friends, I think the geula is on its way!!!!!!! Good Shabbos!

PS Check out my first Rebbetzin's blog...Chana Bracha is the highest!,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chi Kung, Sephirot, Singing, Matan Torah

A beautiful inspiration came down during my Chi Kung class this week at Elima, the alternative medicine school here in my beautiful country Yishuv. I learned that in the same way we can move and direct the flow of our energy through Chi Kung exercises (standing, breathing, and moving the arms and body to activate meridians and the power of the imagination to the Chi's movement), so can we move our spiritual and physical energy through our voice. At the end of the class, we sang "Hodu L'Hashem Ci Tov", and directed the vowels sounds of the song to their corresponding physical center in the body. The "Oh" of Hodu corresponds to the sephirah of "Tiferet" according to the Kabbalah of the Arizal, and that connects to the area of the heart. The "OO" of Hodu corresponds to the Sephirah of "Yesod", which in turn corresponds to the lower area of the body, the sexual organs and the pelvis. By singing these sounds with awareness, we can move the energy of the body in the same way that we do when practicing the simple Chi Kung exercise called "the flowing", which sets in motion the flow between the lower Dan Tian (a few inches below the navel) and the middle Dan Tian (in the area of the heart). It is a basic principle that the mind and the Chi are connected. Also the Baal Shem Tov said, "Where your thoughts are, there you are." Adding the spiritual vibration of our holy voices praising our Creator, "Praise to G-d because He is good, His kindness is forever", takes this nature flow in harmony with G-d creation, and sends it higher and higher, making each of us a worthy vessel for connecting heaven and earth. The potential for directing the voice and its healing vibrations is endless, and this revealation is the Torah of the Moshiach. It is said that the Moshiach will reveal the hidden melody of the Torah, hidden within the Taamay ha Mikrah, the special melody used to sing the Torah. This melody is the highest level of Torah. By revealing the melody hidden within the Torah, each of us can receive the special healing that we need. The ten kinds of melody release and open 10 kinds of joy, the lack of which is the true source of all illness. Just the movement of those two sounds within us, from the most basic part of us in Yesod, to our Hearts in Tiferet, allow our prayers, thoughts and bodies to become more vital and fertile. May it be Your will, that you send us a total healing, so that we can once again receive the Torah...the holy Torah of Moshiach, soon in our days, AMEN!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Song, Faith, and Imagination


Through singing we access and activate the power of imagination, which connects the brain and higher part of our soul, with the body and the lower aspects of our souls. Every wisdom in the world has its own niggun (melody), which is actually the root source of that wisdom. Even heresy has its own melody, from where it is drawn. The holy melody of the true tzaddik can lift up lost souls, even those that have fallen into seemingly unredeemable places of disconnection and disharmony.

Today at Tzafnat, the midrasha in Tzfat where I have been giving a weekly class for the past 8 years, we sang "Peaceful Waters", my version of Psalm 23, for the healing of Rivka bat Yael, a precious four-year-old who fell from her rooftop while climbing up with her father to watch the Independence Day fireworks a few weeks ago. We are praying and hoping for her miraculous recovery.

One of the girls mentioned that singing is a remedy for fear. I remember when this song, Peaceful Waters, came down, when sudden fear gripped me as I walked home late on a dark night. I felt how my imagination starting to run on its own, dragging me towards fears that were so absurd as to be funny. I started to sing this song, and immediately was filled with security and a feeling of joy. By singing, we activate the power of the imagination. By wanting closeness with our Creator, we activate this imagination from the highest level, bringing us to a place of clarity and purity. Mount Amana from the Song of Songs is like Emuna (faith), the high place to which we are drawn when our song is born in longing for connection with G-d.

When we close our eyes, (atzom in Hebrew), we connect to our inner strength (otzma in Hebrew), which connects us to our souls, our true essence (etzem in Hebrew). All of these Hebrew words have the same root. By close our eyes, we make space for the harmony of infinite interconnection, connecting to the truth of Knesset Yisrael, the soul of Israel, and the essential oneness of all of Hashem's creation. This is in contrast to our vision, which can lead us towards the delusion that there is anything separate from G-d (heresy). The word for eye (ayin) in Hebrew, represents the number 70, the Jewish symbol for multiplicity. (There are 70 original language, nations, ways of viewing the Torah). Our hearing, on the other hand, allows for us to reveal the oneness in multiplicity, and to remember that all of Israel is one interconnected soul. Hashem, save us from the illusion of separateness!

Singing brings joy because the 10 kinds of melody are sourced in ten kinds of joy. Joy is like fire, warming, transforming, mesmerizing. Anger is also like fire, warming (burning), transforming (destroying), mesmerizing (controlling). We can transform our anger into joy through singing, through tapping in to the roots of this fire and lifting it up to the highest place of joyful connection and unification. When I sing, I reveal the oneness in multiplicity. Joy and sorrow, body and soul, fire and water, all find space and expression in the vastness of song, which draws together lost pieces of who I am, and lost sparks of holiness, and brings them as an offering to G-d. On the highest level it can bring down prophecy.

We sang "Ana Hashem", by the Piesetzner Rebbe. "Please G-d, accept my longing to praise You as if it were the songs of the prophets, and my the wild beating of my heart be a sweet to you as the songs of the Levites in the Temple." In days of old, someone who was sick or in emotional or spiritual pain would visit the local prophet or prophetess. He or she would look into the soul of the one needing healing and tell her the root of her problem, prescribing the proper soul medicine for her recovery. Connecting to this knowledge (prophecy) was facilitated through song. We can see what a fallen place we have come to! Today the prophets have been replaced by doctors, who easily fall into the trap of seeing themselves as mini-g-ds (may the compassionate one have mercy!), and the patients hope to be fixed by the external actions of medicines without looking to their soul for the root of the problem. In the coming times, the hospitals will be replaced by "Batay Nigun" (healing song-houses), and prophet will perscribe the song that can heal each and every soul.

The Levites in the temple worked together with the Cohen (Priest) to heal the broken souls of Am Yisrael. Someone who had sinned would bring his sacrifice. The Cohen would look within and see what had happened to this soul to cause it harm. He would signal the Levites to play a song to break his heart. He would watch closely, to make sure that the proper amount was given, and not too much. Just before the person was broken beyond repair, he would signal a change, and their song would become one of joy. The person bringing the sacrifice would also be filled with joy, true joy. The joy of healing and recovery. The joy of repentance and redemption. The joy of brokenness and wholeness, the unification of opposites into a shifting kaleidoscope of revelation of Hashem's Oneness.

Based on teachings from Rebbe Nachman, Rabbi Avraham Sutton, and the book "Kosher Niggun, Kosher Musician" by Gai-Tzvi Mintz, and the Rabbanit Yehudis Golshevsky.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I had the great honor to record a beautiful bas yisrael singing in my heder nigunim (recording studio) in my home. This is the first time that I have really recorded someone else since opening the studio about a year and a half ago. This has been such a special time, creating my own music without having to go through the medium of someone elses' vision and technical expertise. (and not having to sing in front of a man. It is such an intimate and organic process, so much more connected to my soul. For the first year I was longing at every moment to be able to create in my heder nigunim, and every opportunity (including late at night) I was working on my music. I recorded "Relax and Know" (released) and "Sister Heart" (which is still unreleased), in the first year, and now that I have finished with those projects, I have a bit more space in my time and heart for recording others. Hashem sent Amalia my way, who wanted to record a CD to encourage and heal her father who is very sick. (Emmanuel ben Rachel refuah shalaymah), and her sweet voice and simple, unaffected way of being and expressing herself was like a healing balm to be around. I feel like my recording space is a big healing in the world, a place where women can find a way to express their innermost selves in a totally safe space. I loved to be the midwife for her expression, and bask in the beauty of her holy soul.