Friday, May 25, 2012

What is the Essence of Self-Mastery?

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

 Hod of Malchut
(Thankfulness in Self-Mastery)

When God created you, you were given personal dignity.

Let's ask God to constantly renew our sense of self-respect and sovereignty.

Yesod of Malchut
(Connection in Self-Mastery)

Don't let your independence be a cover up for your fear of bonding.

Let's ask God for help in connecting with others deeply, no matter what level of self-mastery we've achieved.

Malchut of Malchut
(Essence of Self-Mastery)

What is the essence of Self-Mastery?

When you realize that God had you in mind at the beginning of Creation,
and that you fill a special place in the world,
that there is no one else like you,
and you are needed here at this time for a special reason (even if you don't know what it is),

When you know that information deeply,
and it fills you with lovingkindness,
and allows you to put up healthy boundaries,
and to feel balance,
and endure through life's challenges,
and be thankful for those challenges,
while connecting with others deeply,

perhaps that's the essence of Self-Mastery.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

King for a Day

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Netzach of Malchut
(Endurance in Self-Mastery)

Did you ever feel a sense of personal dignity,
only to lose your temper?

Let's ask God to help us maintain our sense of sovereignty,
despite life's challenges.

Tiferet of Malchut
(Balance in Self-Mastery)

Ever hear the expression, "tough love"?

Balance in a leadership position means being able to show kindness
while at the same time encouraging discipline.

Let's ask God to help us be centered in our authority.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sides of Self-Mastery

by Devora Gila Berkowitz
Gevurah of Malchut
(Boundaries in Self-Mastery)

Did you ever see an authority figure take advantage of his or her position by bending the rules?
Maintaining boundaries is especially important when we're in charge.

Let's ask God to guard any temptation we may have to exploit our authority.

Chesed of Malchut

(Lovingkindeness in Self-Mastery)

When we have sovereignty over our thoughts,
emotions, and actions, it's much easier
to feel expanded and giving.

Let's ask God to bring out our best in order to love others.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beautiful Bonding

by Devora Gila Berkowitz
Malchut of Yesod
(Self-Mastery in Connection)

When does bonding with others bring out the best in you?
Those are the relationships that support your sense of self-mastery.

When does bonding with others bring out the worst in you?
Those are the relationships that call for a change:
either you need to transform your perspective of the other person (or yourself), or end the relationship.

Let's ask G-d to give us clarity about our relationships, so that they bring out the best in us.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

First Step to Deep Connections

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Yesod of Yesod
(Connection in Connection)

What's the first step to making deep connections?

The beginning of any connection outward
is the bond you have inward.

Are you connected to yourself?
Or do you get pulled in other directions:
people, situations, your own thoughts...

Let's ask God to help us bond with ourselves, so that we can connect deeply with others.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Secret of Connecting with Gratitude

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Hod of Yesod
(Thankfulness in Connection)

What is the secret of being thankful in connecting?

Getting quiet inside...becoming totally present with
the experience... feeling a sense of gratitude for being alive in this moment...revealing the good that emanates from the bonding experience.

Let's ask God to connect us with our deepest appreciation for being alive in this moment.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make a Commitment

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Netzach of Yesod
(Endurance in Connection)
relationships. sustantivo. rapports. beziehungen.  रिश्तों. sambönd.  σχέσεις. caidrimh. relacje. relações. отношения. relaciones. relationer . 관계. relazioni. hubungan. relaţii. 関係. verhoudings. relaties. 关系. vztahy. relasyon. attiecības. ilişkiler. відноAre you willing to take on your relationships
for the long haul?

Can you overlook another's faults,
weakness, or disobedience for today,
in order to continue to bond with them a month from now?

Let's ask God to help us make a commitment to the ones we love.

Even those times they let us down.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's Connect

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Tiferet of Yesod
(Balance in Connection)

How much time do you spend alone?
How much time do you spend with others?

Let's ask God to help us find the balance between relating to ourselves and bonding with others.

Gevurah of Yesod
(Boundaries in Connection)

Do you read and understand people's body language?
If you're sensitive, you can discern just how much personal space others need.

Let's ask God to bless our relationships with the right amount of personal space for everyone.

Chesed of Yesod
(Lovingkindness in Connection)

If you're like me, connecting with others didn't always come easily.
But God can heal anything, even our relationships.

Let's ask God to root our relationships in love and kindness.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

More Thankfulness

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Malchut of Hod
(Self-Mastery in Thankfulness)

Finding reasons to be thankful
brings out the best in us.

Let's ask God to help us reveal
our inner strengths by expressing our gratitude.

Yesod of Hod
(Connection in Thankfulness)

A birthday thought:

A natural consequence of gratefulness is the bonding it creates between ourselves and the other.

Let's ask God to deepen our relationships by recognizing what we appreciate about each other.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What is the Essence of Thankfulness?

by Devora Gila Berkowitz
Hod of Hod
(Essence of Thankfulness)

You'll probably get as many answers
as people you ask,
but here's my answer:

The essence of thankfulness is
fully embodying the role of receiver
in relationship to the giver.

That means the ability to fully accept
what is bestowed upon you,
with the realization
that it is good.

May we all be blessed to reveal the good of what is given.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you

by Devora Gila Berkowitz
Tiferet of Hod
(Balance in Thankfulness)

I've heard of not being appreciative enough,

but could there be such a thing as too grateful?

Let's ask God to help us find the right amount of thankfulness in each and every day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Two Sides of Thankfulness

by Devora Gila Berkowitz
Gevurah of Hod
(Boundaries in Thankfulness)

It's easy to say "thank you" to people we care about.

It's harder when we're dealing with a difficult person.


Because when we share feelings of gratefulness and appreciation, we're actually giving a part of ourselves to the other. And we're not always ready to let down our guard...

Let's be aware of when we're holding back from showing our thankfulness, and ask God to help us work through this limitation.

Chesed of Hod
(Lovingkindness in Thankfulness)

Do you ever forget to share your feelings of appreciation?

Sometimes we can be so caught up in our own inner world that we forget about expressing ourselves to others.

And there is so much to give thanks for.

Let's ask God to help us express our gratefulness.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Are You Doing This?

by Devora Gila Berkowitz 
Yesod of Netzach
(Connection in Endurance)

Commitment, perseverence, willpower.

Aren't these admirable qualities?

To maximize your endurance, check to make sure you're connecting positively with the people or experiences you're involved in.

Let's ask God to help us bond more deeply with our goals, and to the people we're committed to.

The Secret to Endurance

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thank God

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Hod of Netzach
(Thankfulness in Endurance)

You know that downward spiral that follows a string of successes?

Could that be the result of forgetting that God is the One who allows you to achieve?

When we forget to thank Him for helping us persevere, He "forgets" to continue supporting us in our endeavors.

Let's ask God to remind us to thank Him for the strength to move forward.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


by Devora Gila Berkowitz
Netzach of Netzach
(Endurance in Endurance)

What are you determined about?

What do you use your willpower for?

What are you willing to commit to?

May our endurance shine our light into the world.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Effort in Equilibrium

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Tiferet of Netzach
(Balance in Endurance)

Would you consider yourself to be an "over-" or "under-" achiever"?

The "over-" and "under-" refer to a tendency away from balance.

Let's ask God to grant us inner equilibrium in all of our efforts.

Moving into Endurance

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Gevurah of Netzach
(Boundaries in Endurance)

Ever make a plan to achieve something and it fell through?

What if you had a special formula to ensure your success? Part of that formula could include drawing limits around yourself to keep you focused on your goal. That way, nothing stands in between you and your aim.

Let's ask God to protect our determination -- to help us draw clear boundaries in order to achieve our goals.

Chesed of Netzach
(Lovingkindness in Endurance)

If you're like me, sometimes you get so focused on what you want that -- hopefully for not too long --you simply forget to be nice.

Especially to the ones we love.

So let's ask God to help us remember our lovingkindness despite our ambitiousness.

Malchut of Tiferet
(Self-mastery in Balance)

It's a good feeling to come home to yourself. That's what happens when you find yourself centered and poised, ready to face life's challenges with dignity and grace.

Let's ask God to bless us with more of this!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Video: Secret to Achieving Balance

Being in Balance

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Hod of Tiferet
(Thankfulness in Balance)

Once you've achieved a sense of balance, don't forget Who allowed you to do it!

Let's ask God to remind us to be thankful for His continual blessings -- including the blessing of personal growth.

Yesod of Tiferet
(Connection in Balance)

When you're feeling inner equilibrium, it's like shining from your heart.

The best way to express that sensation is to share it with others, such as your family and your community.

Let that sense of balance permeate your home, workplace, and any other location you choose to elevate.

Let this feeling allow you to bond with healthy people and environments, and to raise up those who need more light.

Let's ask God to help us shine our inner light to reveal connection in the world.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Staying Centered

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Netzach of Tiferet
(Endurance in Balance)

Now that you've found that place of centeredness inside, can you maintain it?

Let's ask God to persevere in our ability to stay balanced, no matter what circumstances we may face.

See-Saw Marjorie Daw

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Tiferet of Tiferet
(Balance in Balance)

How often do you feel like a teeter-totter, going up and down in response to the challenges of life?

Let's ask God to maintain a sense of personal equilibrium from which to face the world.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Restraint in Balance

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Gevurah of Tiferet
(Restraint in Balance)

Did you ever feel bad because you held yourself back?

Whether in giving charity, or compassion, or any other aspect of your love.

We tend to think of restraint as negative, but it has its place.

When we're in a heart-felt place of balance, with love towards ourselves and others, then restraint doesn't look so ugly. It's actually a blessing. It directs love and giving --or the withholding of it-- in a healthier way.

Let's ask God to help us appreciate our willingness to hold back, when we're in a place of balance.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Malchut of Gevurah
(Self-Mastery in Boundaries)

It's the boundaries we keep that help us reveal our self-mastery.

Let's ask God to bless our sense of personal boundaries, organization and discipline, that they should reflect our inner strength, dignity, and self-respect.

Chesed of Tiferet
(Lovingkindness in Balance)

Can you find that sense of inner balance from which love can flow?

Let's ask God to put us in touch with the source of love that comes from equilibrium.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Where's the Bonding Boundary?

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Yesod in Gevurah
(Connection in Restraint)

Do you find yourself burdening relationships because you can't give space to the other?

The irony is, you'll connect even better when you hold yourself back. Examine the fine line between needing the other and being needy; giving space and being aloof.

Let's ask God to help us deepen our bonds with others by holding proper boundaries.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grateful for our Limitations

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Hod of Gevurah
(Thankfulness in Restraint)

Without the boundary of land, we'd all drown in the ocean--
With no limits of time, we'd procrastinate and not achieve as much as we could....
So for these things and more we can be thankful.

Let's be grateful for our limitations.
by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Netzach of Gevurah
(Endurance in Restraint)

Keeping one's boundaries in check is one of the hardest tasks.

Following through with rules for children, keeping to an exercise plan, or simply not letting in what needs to be kept out.

Let's ask God for consistency in keeping our boundaries.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Beauty of Restraint

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Tiferet in Gevurah
(Balance in Restraint)

What happens when you reveal the balance of restraint?

You get something beautiful.

Let's ask God to help us reveal the beauty in restraint.

Monday, April 16, 2012


by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Gevurah of Gevurah
(Restraint in Restraint)

Discipline, organization, boundaries, limits.

How does the Gevurah aspect show up in the different facets of your life?

Let's ask God to guide our sense of restraint so that we
can feel happy, healthy, abundant, and successful in all areas of our lives.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Count Goes On

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Yesod of Chesed 
(Connection in Lovingkindness)

Do you notice when your giving is truly received? It's when you feel connected to the other.

In pure, unconditional giving, we create and deepen our relationships.

Let's ask God to bless our giving, that it should unite us together more deeply.

Malchut of Chesed
(Self-Mastery in Lovingkindess)

Let's ask God to help us give from a place of dignity while honoring the dignity of another.

Chesed of Gevurah
(Lovingkindness in Restraint)

The ability to hold back when appropriate is a strength. Of course, restraint in excess is an imbalance.
When you express restraint in yourself, or require it from others, do you communicate lovingkindness or harshness?

Let's ask God to color our restraint with a warm glow of love.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thank You for Love

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Hod of Chesed
(Thankfulness in Lovingkindess)

Isn't loving another enough?
Why should I be thankful about it?

Everything comes from the Divine.
Even the ability to love.

When you feel thankful about loving another,
you open up to the possibility of even more loving experiences. You invite more abundance into your life.
More blessing. More goodness.

Let's ask God to help us feel thankful that we're able to love another.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Heart Will Go On

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Netzach of Chesed
(Endurance in Lovingkindness)

Is your love conditional?

Have you ever closed your heart out of resentment, or in order to not feel vulnerable?
Did you ever notice what that feels like on the inside?

Although you may have a good reason to withdraw your love, this response actually depletes your energy.

Let's ask God to keep our hearts open, strong and resilient, despite the temptation to close down in difficult circumstances. Then we'll feel energized and connected to the vibrant flow of the eternal Loving Source.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hearts of Harmony

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Tiferet of Chesed

(Harmony in Lovingkindness)

What would it be like to feel a constant flow of love through your heart, a place of giving and receiving love, with courage and compassion?

Let's ask Hashem to heal our hearts so that we can serve Him from a place of balance.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Limits of Love

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Gevurah of Chesed

(Discipline in Lovingkindness)

Do you sometimes get hurt because you give too much?

Consider holding back a bit for your own sake or for the sake of a loved one. Putting boundaries on our love can be empowering.

Together let's ask God to guide our love so that we can give it in the proper amounts, in the appropriate way, and at the right time.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

All You Need is Love

by Devora Gila Berkowitz
Chesed of Chesed

(Lovingkindness in Lovingkindess)

What better way to begin the counting of the omer with a reflection of what's in your heart?

As the famous Beatles song goes:

All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Doesn't matter how many times it's been broken. Doesn't matter how often it's been closed.
Your heart is a resilient creation -- the Holy Temple of the Divine.

What would it feel like to free up the limitless free-flowing love inside? It's your birthright.
So let's ask God to open up your heart a little bit more each day than the one before. 

May you receive Love for yourself without feeling a need to deserve it.
May you then feel safe to give it unconditionally to others.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Take a Deep Breath

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Va'eira

Did you ever try to encourage someone who then just ignored you?

That's what happens when Moshe tries to talk to the enslaved Children of Israel. He has a message from G-d Himself that He will take them out of Egypt into the Promised Land! But "they did not heed Moses, because of shortness of breath and hard work." (Shemot 6:9)

Rebbe Nachman teaches that "shortness of breath" refers to a lack of emunah, or faith. How can they listen to Moshe when they have no hope on the horizon?

The next time you're feeling down, notice your breathing. It is deep or shallow? Take a few full breaths. Do things look a little brighter?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ready to Face G-d

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Va'eira

Moshe must be a very special person.

After all, when he is ready, G-d faces him in a brand new way, unlike ever before: 

"I appeared to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaakov as El Shaddai, but with My Name Hashem I did not make Myself known to them." (Shemot 6:3)

Like Moshe, you are also special. Are you ready for Him to face you in a unique relationship?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Who Are We, Really?

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Shemot

"Who am I that I should go to Pharoah and that I should take the Children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Shemot, 3:11)

 "And He said, For I shall be with you..." (3:12)

Self-identity = G-d's intention to always be involved in our lives.

(Thanks to Rav Daniel Kohn for the inspiration for today's blog.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sweetness in Potential

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Shemot

The Hebrews are suffering.

Babies are in danger.

Where is G-d?

The salvation is already in motion --
the savior, Moses, has been born!

But it'll take some decades before he actually carries out his role, before the Children of Israel can be freed from slavery.

The harshness of life moves parallel to its sweetness in potential.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Good Cry

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Vayechi

Pass the Kleenex -- Yosef's crying again.

He's got the distinction of having the most tearful outbursts in the Torah. He cries when he reveals himself to his brother, when reunited with Binyamin, upon seeing his father, at the death of his father, and when the brothers ask for forgiveness.

And despite being treated so badly, he also openly discusses G-d's providence: Fear not...although you intended me harm, G-d intended it for good..." (Bereshit 50:19-20).

Perhaps tears are a connection between experiencing life's trials and seeing
G-d's hand in it all.

Pass the Kleenex...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Other is a Mirror

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Vayechi

Yaakov has passed away. Now the brothers fear that in the absence of their father, Yosef will take revenge on them for treating him so badly. Tit for tat.

"So they instructed that Yosef be told, 'Your father gave orders before his death, saying: Thus shall you say to Yosef: O, please, kindly forgive the spiteful deed of your brothers and their sin for they have done you evil.'".(Bereshit 50:16-17)

But hasn't Yosef already forgiven them in the previous parshah? "And now, be not distressed, nor reproach yourselves for having sold me here, for it was to be a provider that G-d sent me ahead of you..." (45:5)

Perhaps this forgiveness didn't register -- they had been quite in shock from Yosef's revealing of himself.

Or maybe neither forgiveness, nor G-d's providence, just isn't part of their language.

So, having done evil, they expect evil in return.

After all, isn't the other is a mirror of myself?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Miracle Waiting to Happen

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Vayechi

As Yosef presents Efraim and Menashe to his father, Yaakov cannot believe his dimming eyes: "I dared not accept the thought that I would see your face, and here G-d has shown me even your offspring!" (Bereshit 48:10)

Yaakov couldn't imagine seeing Yosef again, yet he is blessed with grandchildren from this very son.

What miracles await in potential, ready to unlock your doubts forever?