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From Sefer Kavanos Halev, By Moshe at


  Edited Chapter:

   Shivisi Hashem l’negdi samid  - I have placed the L-D before me constantly. (Psalms 16:8)


   We should always be conscious of the purpose of our existence; should we forget for even a moment, our connection to the Shechinah (Divine Presence) could be lost. Impurity and material distraction, tempting us to waste our short and valuable time in this life, surround us. Each of us decides how to make use of Hashem’s gifts, either to our advantage or disadvantage, through one of those gifts, that of free will. It is not always easy to choose the correct path, especially when doing what is right often involves much effort and hard work. One cannot merely coast through life without constantly examining the options and decisions before us. Every one of us has the power to come closer to Hashem. We are like computer programmers who create a means by which the computer can perform specific tasks. The programmer creates a flow chart that starts at the beginning, follows a certain path based on decisions made along the way, and abides by specific rules. To program our lives, we also start at the beginning, make decisions and abide by rules. Those rules are the mitzvos (commandments) to which we righteously adhere.

    Shlomo Hamelech, the wisest of all men, wrote in his first chapter of Proverbs, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Hashem. (Proverbs 1:7). Rav Eleazer teaches, “If a man desires to serve his Master, where should he begin? In ‘fear of Heaven’, with which the ascent Heavenwards commences.” 1According to Rabbi Elazar, “The Holy One, praised be He said, ‘The whole world would have not been created if not for him [who fears G-D][2]. The importance placed on fearing ones Creator is quite apparent. Not only is it the beginning of wisdom, it is the beginning of true life as a Jew. 

   What is fear of Hashem? Is it a single entity, lacking dimension or is it multi-faceted? Fear is comprised of two separate but similar components: Fear of punishment and awe and respect for Hashem. When we fear punishment from Hashem, it is not a simple cause and effect relation that prevents us from doing wrong, as between a parent and child. A child learns to fear his parents. When he hits his sibling out of self-defense, he gets a little potch (spank) from his parent or may be sent to his room.  While in his room he gets to review the prior incident examining his actions, the sibling’s actions and the parent’s.  In his mind, he was justified hitting his sibling. He can’t understand why he deserved punishment when he was merely reacting to his sibling’s initiation of a fight. When his parents punish him immediately, the child learns which actions are not acceptable and learns for the future.


   Unlike the child who learns that every action has a direct reaction (reward or punishment), Hashem could mete out our onesh (punishment) at any given moment, either immediately after the infraction or at some future time. He hides the direct correlation between our action and His reward and punishment from us so that we will exercise free will. If we always stubbed our toe immediately after we got angry, it would become evident that Hashem runs the world. We would go through life as puppets, rather than as intelligent beings, capable of understanding and using our freedom of choice.

   As adults, we try our hardest and think we are doing the right thing, but we feel as if we also receive a little potch from Hashem. Just when we think we are doing everything that is expected of us, the car breaks down or we accidentally cut ourselves with a knife. We then look at what happened and become angry with the auto mechanic who did not properly repair the car, or we blame who ever left the knife out.  Do we ever look at ourselves first to see how we’re at fault?  Often, when something goes awry, our first question is ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ When we calm down, we analyze to see where we may be at fault with our midos (character traits) or our service of Hashem. We try to insure that we do the right things so we won’t receive punishment from Hashem. We do so to avoid pain, inconvenience and upsetting moments.  Sometimes, it’s not so easy to see the relationship between the unfortunate circumstances we encounter and our actions. We must keep in mind that Hashem sees our every action, thought and what is in our hearts. “They are the eyes of Hashem, which scan the entire earth.” (Zechariah 4:10).  If our thought is on fearing Hashem, a concept from the Torah, or on the performance of a mitzvah, then we are in sync with Hashem. Without fearing Hashem at all times, our thoughts might lead us to sin and judgment.

   Rebbe Nachman teaches that every night when the sun goes down, Hashem judges each and every person. This process ends at chatzos, around midnight. If a person sinned, going against a law or any of the commandments, it is brought before Hashem during the early evening hours. A person must judge daily all their actions and confess their wrongdoings to Hashem.[3] "When there is no judgment below, there is judgment above."[4] If a person wants to experience a taste of the Or HaGanuz - the hidden light - the mysteries of the Torah from the future world, he must elevate the character trait of fear to its source. This is done through self-judgment. By following this, all false fear is removed and only pure yiras Hashem - fear of Hashem - remains.[5] “You should never fear anything except Hashem. If ever you begin to feel afraid of anything, remember the great fear, which is due to Hashem. Throughout the day, fill your entire consciousness with this sense of awe. It will help you to pray with all your strength, to utter the words with such force that they are like thunderbolts! You will hear the words that are on your lips. This is the way to achieve true joy, and to perform the mitzvos with a joy derived from the mitzvos themselves. You will attain the understanding of how to nullify all harsh decrees even after the decrees have been made, Hashem forbid. In order to achieve these levels, you must combine your fear of Heaven with love. A person’s main strength lies in the love he has for Hashem. Nevertheless fear must come first.”[6]

   The tzaddik, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev possessed holiness like a seraph, a fiery angel. It is said that when food was brought before him to eat, he made a blessing with such fervor and with such a great fire of devotion; he would end up in one corner of the room and the food in the other corner.[7]  A great Rabbi learned Torah so vibrantly that awe of Hashem became a part of his very essence. Wine was poured three times for kiddush (the blessing made over wine on the Sabbath and holy days before the meal, to sanctify the day) for Rebbe Mordechai of Chernobyl. Each time he tried to lift the cup, he trembled so violently that the wine spilled. When he finally succeeded in saying the blessings, he was asked why he had trembled so much. He answered, “As the cup of wine was being poured, I began meditating on before Whom I stand. I was struck by the awesomeness of Hashem and could not help but tremble.”[8] 

   In the Talmud, Rabbah bar Rav Huna said, “One who has Torah but not fear of Heaven is like a treasurer who has been given the inner keys, but not the outer ones. How is he to enter?” Rabbi Yannai called out, “Woe to him who has no courtyard, but has made a gate to it.”[9] The Torah is the only gate through which one can enter into true fear of Hashem. Rav Judah said, “The Holy One blessed be He, created His world only that men should fear Him.”  “... and Hashem hath done it, that men should fear before Him.” (Ecclesiastes 3,14). 

   To incorporate fear of Heaven, sometimes you have to contemplate your own purpose and what lies before you. Rabbi Akavya Ben Mahalel would say, “Reflect upon three things and you will never come to sin: Know from where you came, to where you are going, and before Whom you are destined to give an accounting. ‘From where you came’- from a putrid drop; ‘to where you are going’- to a place of dust, maggots, and worms; and before Whom you are destined to give an accounting’- before the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.”[10]

   We sin most often when we lack fear of Hashem. To guard against this, we must concentrate our efforts. Rabbi Yosef Caro placed fear of Hashem first when he wrote the Shulchan Aruch (the code of Jewish law). Explaining the Shulchan Aruch, the Chofetz Chaim says, “One must picture to himself always, how he is standing before Hashem, may He be blessed, for the Holy One, blessed be He, fills the entire universe with His glory.”[11] We do not emphasize this concept enough today. How can one completely bond with Hashem without incorporating the concept of standing before His glory into our daily lives?

   When we battle our yetzer hara (evil inclination) we should be more afraid of the disappointment that Hashem will have with us if we give into the temptation, than the consequences we will bear due to our actions. We all have mortal parents who raised us and we endeavor not to let them down. We want to give them reasons to be proud of us and to shep nachas (derive pleasure) over our accomplishments. How much more so do we want this for our Heavenly Father. If we fail Him, His disappointment inflicts us more than the greatest torture of gehemim (final punishment and purification). Our real affliction comes from having to see how much we truly failed in our job as servants of a King full of only love and chesed  (kindness) for his creations. To reach this level, we have to analyze the mitzvos and their intent. Many of our mitzvos that deal with relationships between people help us relate to Him.  A good example is the mitzvah of kibbud av v’aim – honoring ones mother and father. Why did Hashem create parents? You might think it’s obvious that parents are needed to care for and guide a child, but if He chose, Hashem could have created people to be immediately self-sufficient. The role of a parent is for us to learn how to respect and fear authority and ultimately, Hashem.  If children are taught that they must listen when their parents tell them ‘no’, when they are older and Hashem says no, they will be equipped with self-control.      

   There are two emotions that define our obligations to Hashem in our relationship with the Creator. We must love Him and we must revere Him. The two are not separate and distinct. Within love itself there must be a sense of awe and reverence; within fear there must also be an outpouring of love. A person could attempt to serve Hashem only out of fear, but it will be limited. When a person adds love to their fear of Him it brings them to a new madreiga (spiritual level). You can do anything in life without loving it; when your heart is not in what you do, the job lacks sincerity. When Hashem created man, He did so out of the greatest love for what we would become. The only way to become close to Hashem is to return this love to Him by serving Him to the fullest degree of our personal ability and understanding.

   The Baal Shem Tov once invited his students, “Come, and let us go learn a lesson in the love of Hashem.” They followed him to a nearby field where a shepherd tended to his flock. Suddenly, the shepherd lifted his voice towards heaven and exclaimed, “Dear Hashem, my love for you has no bounds! I will express my love by jumping back and forth across this small pond.” After jumping back and forth for some time, he exclaimed heavenward again. “What can I offer you to prove my deep love for you, oh Hashem? Here... I have a coin in my pocket, I will give it to you.” The shepherd took the coin and cast it heavenward. Some versions of this story relate that the coin did not descend.[12]


     Love and fear of Hashem are the vehicles through which we are elevated to higher levels of spiritual greatness. The next level can be reached through increasing our fear and love of Him. We are mere human beings and for some of us, trying to avoid punishment or gain a reward is the only reason we perform mitzvos. We must strive for truth and work hard to equip ourselves with the necessary tools to reach higher levels of spirituality where those who serve Hashem purely out of love and fear, seeking nothing in return, dwell.

   “You are to serve Hashem with both fear and joy. These are ‘two friends that do not separate [from each other].’ Fear without joy brings depression. It is inappropriate to feel anguished in serving Hashem, you should always be joyful.”[13] Fear on its own can lead to gloominess and dejection. Joy on its own leads to carelessness and frivolity. The Zohar says, “When a man comes to serve his Master he should do so first in fear, and through that fear he will afterwards perform the precepts of the Law in joy.”[14] Fear and joy help a person to have proper thoughts. The Zohar says, “Man is identical with his thought.”[15] The Baal Shem Tov further explains, “Wherever the person’s will and thought are, that is where he is himself.”[16] Therefore, we have a responsibility to be in the right place with our thoughts, Especially seeing that, “Hashem knows the thoughts of man.”[17]

   Anyone can serve a king, but the servants that do so out of love are favored. In the same way, it is not the complicated actions and hanhagos (stringencies) that Hashem yearns for us to perform; rather it is doing the mitzvos with love that He seeks. A humble man who puts his heart into everything he does, even the simplest of actions, shows Hashem genuine intent. Sometimes we get caught up in complexities and we forget the simple, pure love and avodah (worship) that Hashem truly desires from us.

   A pious Jew was praying alongside the road when a prince came along and met him. The prince greeted the man but since he was praying, the Jew ignored the prince and did not return the greeting. The prince waited angrily until the man ended his prayer and then rebuked him, “If I would have cut off your head, would you then have answered me?” The Jew began to explain in the form of a parable why he chose to continue praying. “If you had been standing before a mortal king and a common man saluted you, would you have answered him?” The prince responded that he would not. “If you would have spoken to the person, what would the king have done to you?” asked the Jew. “He would surely have ordered my head to be cut off with a sword,” replied the prince. The pious Jew, sensing victory responded, “Behold, if this is what you would have done when you stood before a mortal king who is with us today and tomorrow may be in his grave, how much more care do I need to take when standing before the supreme King of Kings, Hashem, Who lives and endures forever to all eternity!” The prince was appeased and sent the pious man home untouched.[18]      

   When a person truly loves someone, they are willing to do anything to make that person happy. There is no greater feeling than being close to someone you truly love. At times, we might hurt the feelings of people who love us, without intending to do so. If the love is strong, usually, it will not be destroyed. However, if the love is weak and not real enough, it could shatter.

   The love Hashem has for us is so strong that it cannot be broken. Even if we are not worthy, He constantly gives to us out of a love that is whole and true. It is taught in Tomer Devorah that Hashem suffers great humiliation because of us. Even when one sins, Hashem continues to send His sustenance to that person. If He removed His sustenance, the person would cease to exist, but Hashem is slow to anger and has tremendous patience for us. He gives us many chances to repent and continues to nourish us. If one would recognize this, would they ever sin and cause Hashem such degradation?  The Chazon Ish once remarked, ‘The only pleasure for me is to do the will of Hashem. I could suffer no greater hurt than to be ensnared by sin. My teachers taught me that before any move, one must consult the Shulchan Aruch, the code of Jewish law... That is all I have in this world.’[19]

   There is no excuse for intentionally hurting someone who is close to you; this especially holds true to our Creator. Unfortunately we all struggle with this and usually hurt those about whom we care the most. Let us try to reflect before everything we do with our fellow Jews and before we take actions that can lead us to sin. If we would take time to think before acting, we could save everyone, including ourselves, so much hurt.

   Hashem gives us so much and all He asks in return is for us to do a few mitzvos and study Torah. One of the greatest of mitzvos is learning Torah, as we say in morning brochos (blessings)the study of Torah is equal to all of them [mitzvos for which the reward will be given in the World-to-Come]”. Shlomo Hamelech taught that the Torah is “a Tree of Life to those who hold fast to it.” (Proverbs 3:18) A person’s devotion to the study of Torah is the key to their ability to properly fear Hashem. The Torah is the blueprint of creation according to Chazal (our Sages). As our manual for performance of the commandments, it teaches us how to live and act as Jews. Without Torah there is no fear of Hashem in ones life. We learn, “This Torah shall not depart from your mouth.(Joshua 8:10)

   When you borrow money from the bank, they charge you interest and do not reward you when you pay it back. Hashem gives us our bodies as a loan to perform His commandments; when you repay the loan He gives you more than any worldly reward. Hashem gives us a glimpse of His glory, which is the most precious gift. The righteous say, “one moment in this world is worth all of the world to come.” When one goes to the next world, it is no longer possible to perform any mitzvos. Hashem rewards everyone in the next world, but a person cannot add to his slate of good deeds. These beautiful neshomas (souls) would do anything just to do one simple mitzvah that we have the opportunity to perform every day. To them, elevating one more spiritual level in the next world is like the difference between black and white. Chazal teaches that in the next world a person is embarrassed to look directly into the eye of someone who is at a higher madreiga than they. They feel so bad for not having done more good deeds during their lifetime, when they had the opportunity. In our world, we are not permitted to wear the fringes of our tzitzis (which are a reminder of the 613 mitzvos) on the outside of our pants in a cemetery because we do not want to embarrass the deceased who cannot perform any more mitzvos.


   Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs) speaks about the great love and devotion between Klal Yisrael (the Jewish People) and Hashem. We see from Shir Hashirim how the love of G-d and His people extends beyond that which is humanly possible. It is a love that is at the same time simple and deeper than anything else in the world. In our interpersonal relationships, if someone tries to get too close to us, we often build a wall to keep them at an emotional distance. Hashem is so close that we seem to do the same to Him. We push Him away [by sinning] even though we know He wants to be close to us. The love between a husband and wife gives insight and understanding into what it means to love Hashem. It is greater than either individual and transcends measurement.


   Reb Moshe Chaim Luzzatto says that real love and fear of Hashem bring a person nearer to his Creator and form a bond of attachment to Him. Just as in any relationship bein adom l’chavero – between man and his neighbor - one must love Hashem unconditionally, rather than for the potential of rewards or out of fear of punishment.[20] When one stands in awe before Hashem’s greatness, he is purified of the darkness associated with his physical body, and is enveloped by the Divine Presence. The purification and envelopment grow in relation to the magnitude of this awe. Moshe Rabbeinu attained this perfection, as our Sages teach us, “With regard to Moshe, fear [of Hashem] was a small thing.”[21]  The Divine Presence continuously surrounded Moshe as a result of his constant awe of Hashem. We have the ability to be enveloped in awe of Hashem, but many of us go through life as if asleep. We follow the commandments by rote rather than with consciousness and intent. Our neshamos (souls) are constantly attached to Hashem Yisborach (our Creator). We are constantly showered with Hashem's Divine Light, which sustains us. So why do we seem to ignore this and not live in awe of our Creator as we should?

   From the Torah we learn to appreciate all of creation. Torah opens the door through which one looks inward and effects positive change. Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian taught that if man lived like the beasts without understanding, but could reflect on the deeds of the Creator, he would overflow with dread and trembling at the majestic splendor of Hashem. ‘Raise up your eyes on high and see; who created these?’(Isaiah 40:26). If it were possible to comprehend everything on earth and not take its very existence for granted, one would be astounded. Since we are born on the earth, everything in our surroundings becomes commonplace and we are unimpressed by it. For this reason, the prophet Isaiah instruct us to look at the heavens with which we are not yet familiar, ‘and see Who created these?’ In any of the thousands of state and national parks, one can appreciate the hand of Hashem. One needs only to open ones eyes to see that we are surrounded by the glory of Hashem in even the most mundane moments of our daily lives. We are desensitized to our surroundings and do not notice the magnificence that is our world.  If only we could remove the blindfolds and truly see! As easy as it is to see the beauty and experience the thrill of the waves of the ocean, so too our own lives are constantly filled with excitement.

   Rebbe Nachman teaches that one should look for the natural sensibility of all that occurs in our daily lives.[22] It is important to recognize and accept that everything Hashem does is for good. Sometimes it is easy to pinpoint this good; at other times we have to rely on our faith and trust to believe that there is good in difficult situations that are beyond our understanding. We have to assure ourselves that at the proper time, Hashem will show us His reasons, even if the explanation must wait until the time of Moshiach (Messiah) or when we ascend to the next world to gain this understanding. Remember that Hashem loves us and does what is best. When this thought process is internalized to the best of our ability, fear of Heaven and joy will come easily. There is, after all, so much for which to be thankful and joyous.

   When one serves Hashem every moment, there is no room for arrogance, foolish pride or other negative character traits.[23] It is vital to make ones entire being a kli – a vessel - in which the Shechinah can rest. “Your thought should always be secluded with the Shechinah, thinking only of your continuous love for Her that She may be attached to you.” Say constantly in your mind, ‘When will I merit that the light of the Shechinah abide with me?’[24]

      Rashi explains, “In all my deeds, I have placed His fear before my eyes. Why? Because He is always at my right hand to help me so that I should not falter.” Our scholars of times past were devoted to the practice of shivisi Hashem l’negdi samid. The Rachmei ha-Av teaches, “You should have continuous deveikus – connection - with Hashem, blessed be He, and you should not lose it for even one minute. One should become accustomed, immediately upon awakening, to say continually, ‘Blessed is the One and Only One,’ and the verse, ‘I have placed the Hashem before me always, or at least the word Shivisi, I have placed.”[25]  Rabbi Yaakov Koppel Chassid, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, would constantly verbalize throughout the day, “I have placed Hashem before me always,” even during work and business.[26] In the name of the Arizal, of blessed memory, it has been written that one should always picture the Divine Name before his eyes with the vowel of (show this in Hebrew) yirah (fear), pointing like this ______. [27] This is the hidden meaning of the verse, ‘I have placed Hashem before me always,” and it is of considerable benefit in attaining fear of Heaven.’[28]

   Once, while riding on the highway, Rabbi Avigdor Miller shouted to the driver to stop. Thinking a tire had blown, the driver pulled to the side of the road immediately. The Rabbi got out of the car and stood towards the corner of the road. Realizing that there were no problems with the car, the driver patiently awaited his passenger’s return to the vehicle. Upon his return the bewildered driver asked what was wrong. Rabbi Miller responded, ‘I forgot about Hashem for a brief moment.’  The pious Rabbi Yitzchok of Drobitch traveled from town to town giving over Torah. One ice-cold winter he was traveling on the road by foot when some fellow Jews passed in a carriage. Having compassion, they took him into the carriage. During the journey, they came upon a river. Without warning, Rabbi Yitzchok leaped off the carriage, removed his garments and went into the freezing river. The others looked on in astonishment. After a few minutes, Rabbi Yitzchok emerged, dressed and returned to the carriage. His fellow travelers asked Rabbi Yitzchok to explain his actions. He answered, ‘My practice is to always have the name YKVK before my eyes, in black fire on a background of white fire. While we were traveling, at that moment, it disappeared from before me. So I went into the river and pleaded, ‘Master of the World, if you return to me, good; but if not, why should I live any longer?’ And it was returned to me.[29]

   Rabbi Isacc ben Solomon of Acco once remarked, ‘I proclaim this both to individuals and the masses who wish to know the mystery of binding one’s soul on high. One can attach his thoughts to Hashem, and when one does so consistently, there is no question that he will be worthy of the world to come, and Hashem’s name will be with him constantly, both in this world and in the next. You should constantly keep the letters of the Unique Name in your mind as if they were in front of you, written in a book with Torah Ashurit script. Each letter should appear infinitely large. When you depict the letters of the Unique Name in this manner, your mind’s eye should gaze on them, and at the same time, your heart should be directed toward the Ain Sof (Unique Being). Your gazing and thought should be as one. This is the mystery of true attachment, regarding which the Torah says, ‘To Him you shall attach yourself’ (Deuteronomy 10:20). If you are able to do this, no evil will befall you. You will not be subject to errors caused by logic or emotion, and you will not be the victim of accidents. As long as you are attached to Hashem, you are above all accidents, and are in control of events.”[30] 

  Dovid Hamelech was constantly attached to Hashem. When it came time to leave this world, the Satan had to trick Dovid to he diminish this connection. Even though he was learning Torah at the time, the Satan shook the trees, causing them to rattle and distract Dovid from his Torah learning. At that brief moment, the Angel of Death was able to snatch his soul. [31]

   “The Torah of YKVK is complete.” (Psalms 19:8). All the words of the Torah are woven and connected from this name of Hashem.[32]  YKVK, Elokim formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils a soul-breath, neshama, of life; man thus became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7). Why are we supposed to mediate on this particular name of Hashem and not another? This name is the cause of all causes and the source of all sources. Included in it are all things, from Keter, (literally crown) [33] to the lowliest gnat. It is forbidden to pronounce this name in any form whatsoever. Instead, during our tefillos (prayers) we say the Cognomen Adna.[34] YKVK is the holiest of Hashem’s names, through which a person can climb to the highest spiritual levels. 

   The word shivisi derives from the root-word shaveh, which means equal. Histavus – equanimity - is a fundamental principle in attaining piety. Rabbi Moshe, a disciple of Rabbi Joseph Gikatalia, once said, “If a person’s heart impels him to rectify his traits, perfecting his personality and deeds, he should pursue humility to the ultimate degree. He should be insulted, but not insult, hear himself scorned but not respond.  The Divine Presence will then immediately rest on him and he will not have to learn from any mortal being, for the spirit of Hashem will teach him.”[35] The Baal Shem Tov explains histavus as follows, “No matter what happens, whether people praise or shame you, as with anything else, it is all the same to you. This applies likewise to any food; it is all the same to you whether you eat delicacies or other things. The yetzer hara is entirely removed from you. Whatever happens you should say, ‘It comes from Hashem, blessed be He, and if it is proper in His eyes...’Your motives are for the sake of Heaven; for yourself nothing makes any difference. To accept such equanimity, one must reach a very high madreiga. One must serve Hashem with all your might because everything is ‘required [for above].’ You must attach yourself to Hashem and effect yichudim - unifications. If one is on a trip, unable to pray and study as usual, you must serve Hashem in other ways. Hashem wishes to be served in all possible ways. Opportunities and obstacles occur every day to afford us the ability to serve Him in an alternate manner.”[36]

   Wherever you are, you must be careful not to sin. An ‘average’ person will do holy things everywhere, such as pray, say a blessing over food, etc. Each man is destined from on high to be in a particular place at a given time. At that time and place there is something that he must correct.[37] If heaven forbid, your tire blows on the road, there is a purpose for it. Perhaps you are meant to meet the person who will stop to help you, allowing that person to do a mitzvah. Maybe you must stay in that town for Shabbos and your host will perform the mitzvah of hachnoses orchim (welcoming guests). Rather than becoming depressed because of an unplanned stop, try to be joyous and happy that Hashem leads you on the pathways He knows is best.  

   “Fortunate is he whose transgression is borne, whose sin is covered.” (Psalms 31:1). A person goes to a friend or psychologist to unburden their emotions, so must we do the same with our sins by regular confession. When we haven’t confessed our sins before Hashem, these sins become a barrier, pushing us away from drawing close to Him. Sins we have not confessed are brought by the angels before Hashem.

   Rebbe Nachman teaches that when a person is judged with the judgment of Heaven, justice becomes clothed in all things and all things become Hashem's messengers for carrying out “the written judgment.”[38] When a person judges himself so that there is no judgment from Above, fear does not clothe itself in anything in order to arouse the person, because he has aroused himself. When a person achieves true yiras Hashem through self-judgment, it will lead to daas (understanding). When a person has daas, he merits more perception of the Torah. The Torah dwells with a person who has this daas, but he must have fear to have daas. “Hashem gives wisdom (Torah) to the wise (a wise person is someone with daas).”[39] We should not allow one evening to pass without self-reflection and confession to Hashem.[40]


   A person should always have their sins before them. When he was about 80 years old, Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian remarked, “I can remember in detail, every one of my deeds since I was twelve years old up to the present moment.[41]

   Rabbi Tzadok ha-Cohen of Lubin said, “The real meaning of the entire Torah is the remembrance of Hashem; the rest is just numerous counsels for every time and place and situation, how to come to that remembrance. The intention in all of them is that your awareness of Hashem’s presence shall not depart for a minute, and that forgetfulness will not conquer you, heaven forbid.”[42]

   Rabbeinu Yonah writes, “Of those men who do not arrange their thoughts to reflect regularly on the fear of Hashem, it is said, ‘Their fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote.’”[43] Let us not be among those who go about their every day life without putting aside time to reflect upon the fear of Heaven. Chazal say, “When the holy Moshiach comes, all the nations will fear Hashem. On that day YKVK will be One and His Name One.”[44] “The end of the matter, all having been heard: Fear Hashem and keep his mitzvos, for this is the whole of man.”[45]

   We have already seen from Proverbs, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Hashem.” Therefore the key to Avodas Hashem is to constantly recognize before Whom you stand, the Holy One blessed be He. Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa said, “Whenever a person’s fear of sin comes before his wisdom, his wisdom will endure; but when a person’s wisdom comes before his fear of sin, his wisdom will not endure.”[46] Having true fear of Hashem is a job one has to work on their entire life. It isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight but as you have learned here, there are many methods of coming closer to Hashem and increasing your fear of Him. The most important thing to remember is that “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:6)











Tefilah Yiras Shamayim



   Hashem, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to serve You with love and to fear Your name. I am taught that fear of Heaven is the beginning of wisdom but Hashem, I am so far from real fear. The great tzaddikim would tremble as they said Your holy name in prayer, while I run through it as if it were just another word. Not only do I lack sufficient awe of your name, but I also fail to serve You out of love. At times, I do so by rote and fear alone. My expectations for myself are higher than this, nonetheless, I continue to repeat the error of my ways. I turn to You, Hashem for help, asking, begging to be able to experience the true meaning of Yiras Hashem and love for You.


   I want to engrave the pasuk from Dovid Hamelech, ‘Shivisi Hashem Linegdi Samid’, in my mind and heart. Hashem, You know how difficult it is for me to practice this continually as my mind constantly wanders from place to place. Only You, Hashem, can help me to make this great teaching a reality. Help me, Hashem, to not go through life sleeping away my days. Assist me in making my heart and service of You authentic. I need Your help and the inner strength to follow all the laws of the Shulchan Aruch. I know how important it is that I follow all the laws, but I sometimes become so overwhelmed trying to keep my life in order. My yetzer hara can be so strong and convincing at times that I do foolish things, actions so grievous that I even shock myself. To think Hashem, that while I am making my mistakes, Your sustenance is my very lifeline. I don’t understand why it is You keep providing me more opportunities when I have fail miserably at the ones You’ve already given me. Your mercy, love and patience with me are beyond the comprehension of the angels, let alone someone of earthy form.


   If only I feared and loved You as I know I should, I would be a much greater person than I am today. When will I merit that the light of the Shechinah abides with me? At what point in my life will I finally realize that there is nothing more important than to serve You with love and fear? Hashem, please help me to never forget from where I came and before Whom I stand, bowed in gratitude. Help me to not have a heart full of pride and think I am above my neighbor in good deeds. Let me not go through life making excuses for the events that surround me; let me realize Your hand in everything around me and not attribute it to ‘luck’ or ‘the regular course of nature’. Help me to recognize Your hand in my life, protecting me from evil and mishap. Let me not leave this world without repenting for my sins. Please help me to follow the advice of the great sages, to make an accounting of my actions every evening.


   Hashem, it is so important to have fear of Heaven. A person can’t become a tzaddik and grow in their Yiddishkeit without proper fear of You. I could serve You without love, but Your glory would never reach into the deepest recesses of my heart. Rebbono Shel Olam, You have given us so many reasons to be thankful. Of the thousands of things You do for us each day, we cannot recognize even a fraction of them. Please know that we are sincerely grateful.





1 Zohar 3:56 b

[2] Ayin Yakkov Berachos 6

[3] Learn how to do this in the Hisbodidus chapter.

[4] Devarim Rabbah, 5:4

[5] Likutey Maharan #15

[6] Lekutey Eztos, Awe and Devotion

[7] Seder ha-Dorot ha-Chadash, p. 36

[8] From My Fathers Shabbos Table, Meditation

[9] Shabbos 31a-b

[10] Pirkei Avos 3:1

[11] Mishna Berurah

[12] From My Fathers Shabbos Table

[13] Tzava’as Harivash 110

[14] Zohar 3:56a

[15] Tikkuney Zohar 21:63

[16] Keter Shem Tov

[17] Psalms 94:11

[18] Ayin Yaakov 32

[19] Kovetz Igros Cazon Ish 1:153

[20] Zohar 1:11b

[21] Berachos 33b

[22] Likutey Maharan 1

[23] Tzava’at Harivash 52

[24] Tzava’at Harivash 8

[25] Rachmei Ha-Av #16 Deveikus

[26] Tiferet Beit David pg.103

27 Before attempting to write Hashem’s name, one must learn the appropriate laws, including not causing disgrace by erasing the Name. It is forbidden to think Torah thoughts in a rest room, place of filth or in the midst of immodesty.


[28] First Simon in Mishnah Berurah

[29] Missions Chassidim- pg.415, #7

[30] Meir Eynayim, Ekev

[31] Shabbos 30

[32] Sha’are Orah, intro

[33] Keter is the highest Sefirah -  spiritual realm

[34] Word replacing the name of Hashem, YKVK. Adon-ay means our Master; unless we are praying, we do not say  this Name.

[35] Reishis Chachmah, Anavah 3

[36] Tzava’at Harivash 2-3

[37] Sichos Haran 85

[38] Psalms 149:9

[39] Daniel 2:21

[40] Likutey Maharan 15

[41] Lev Eliyahu p.xx

[42] Tzidkas ha-Tzaddik, #232

[43] Shaarei Teshuvah 3:15

[44] Zechariah 14:9

[45] Koheles 12:13  

[46] Pirkei Avos 3:11