What The World Needs Now

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What a spectacular backyard, right? Yesterday we arrived in Chicago to visit David's family. It's so peaceful out here. Great for thinking and reflecting. Which is exactly what I've been doing, besides yelling at the kids to stop fighting. 

It's been quite a whirlwind of emotions since I've been back. What's really interesting is that in just a week, I've met so many different people. 

Well, it's mainly because I'm a young-ish looking woman walking around with 5 little kippah and tzizit-wearing gangstas who are by far the LOUDEST kids in my parents' building. But aside from that, people stare at me because I'm so gorgeous surrounded by so many children. 

I feel like I've almost hit celebrity status. The more daring ones stop themselves from gawking at us long enough to ask me, "Are these all yoursss??" And I'm like, "Fo' shizzle! Would you like my autograph?" 

It takes a minute for their brains to reboot. I can tell by the momentary blank stare they give me. When they return to full consciousness, they give me incredulous looks that seem to be a combination of "you're crazy" and pity. 

In just one week, all kinds of people have been coming up to me, just to tell me that they're Jewish. It's so interesting. I mean, 5 boys in kippahs and tzizit walking around areas of Miami Beach that are not primarily religious is not a common sight. 

Their obvious Jewishness seems to compel some people to come up to me and tell me they're Jewish too. I think that's amazing. It shows me that even though they aren't making their Jewishness obvious (yet,) their spark still burns bright inside. The other morning, another resident in my parents' building came up to me and said, "I am one of the community."

I smiled and politely asked, "Oh, you live in the building?" Luckily, he didn't get the fact that I didn't get what he was saying, and after a few minutes of conversation it finally clicked. 

Another lady I met told me she does absolutely nothing Jewish. She was raised by parents that forced Judaism on her in a way that made her resentful and burnt out. She has disconnected so much from anything Jewish that she even questions the existence of G-d. 

What motivated these people to come up to me and tell me they're Jewish? What feelings did seeing my kids bring out in them?

My feeling is that they came up to me because they needed something, but they didn't necessarily realize what. Could it be they were saying, "I'm Jewish but I don't feel any connection. I know Hashem exists, but I don't know anything about Him. Please help me understand."

I can only speculate why, but the reality is that there are so many precious souls here that are searching for a connection with Hashem. They want more, but they don't necessarily want to be more religious.

That's why emuna is so great. It can bring someone close to G-d who was so far, without compelling them to become religious at the same time. It can also bring a deeper spiritual meaning to a person who has been observant all of his life. 

Without emuna, is it possible to be at peace with one's life and all of the challenges that come along with it? Is it really possible to have a strong spiritual connection to Hashem if a person doesn't have emuna?

So now, after 8+ years of being a fortunate member of the amazing Breslev Israel family, I can finally understand what the one most important thing the world needs is: emuna. 

Now that we're in the nine days of Av, days of mourning the many devastating occurrences that have happened to the Jewish People throughout our history, we should also be mourning the fact that so many people, Jews and non-Jews, don't have a solid connection with Hashem.

It is this solid connection, the emuna that is the foundation of our happiness and survival, that the world needs more than anything.

I genuinely hope that all of our efforts to spread emuna throughout the world will be blessed with success, so we can experience a joyful Redemption and the end of all pain and suffering, Amen!

Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast!

~Racheli

p.s.- Check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna shiur details below!


The Shechina: Exile and Geula

Exile and Geula
One of the most perplexing concepts in Judaism is that of the Shechina, the Divine Presence. Before performing a mitzva or reciting a prayer, we say, L'Shem Yichud Kudsha Brich Hu V'Shechinte, "In the name of the unification of the Holy One Blessed Be He and the Divine Presence". Holy One and Divine Presence? Doesn't that sound Catholic? Where's our age-old belief in the Oneness of Hashem, which martyrs have given their lives for since the beginning of people's history? Also, what's the term Shechinta B'Galuta, the Divine Presence is in exile, that the Zohar uses in dozens of places?

With Hashem's merciful assistance, this week's emuna shiur and broadcast will explain and clarify the answers to these questions. What's more, we'll discuss what this has to do with Tisha B'Av and our national consolation immediately afterward.

Don't miss this vital shiur.

Join us us for today's emuna lesson and live broadcast from Jerusalem entitled "The Shechina: Exile and Geula", which will take place, G-d willing, on the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7 PM Israel time; the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time.  If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it later this coming week on Lazer Beams. 


The Kotel, Emuna, and Geula

 

Kotel
Above image: The Kotel and Temple Mount at twilight

The Divine Presence never leaves the Kotel HaMaaravi, the Western Wall remnant of the holiest place in our history - the Bet HaMikdash. If one needs any kind of salvation, the Divine Presence is available 24/7 - you don't need an appointment. In the holy Land of Israel, especially in Jerusalem, and most of all at the Wall, one feels Hashem's presence.

Our Talmudic sages therefore make a seemingly stiff statement when they say (Ketubot 110b): "Anyone who lives in Israel resembles a person who has a G-d; anyone who lives outside of Israel resembles a person who has no G-d." Rebbe Nachman of Breslev elaborates on this concept, and teaches (Likutei Moharan 7:1) that emuna, prayer and miracles are dependant on Eretz Yisroel. In other words, outside of Israel, one cannot attain the level of emuna and prayer that one can attain in Israel.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev also teaches (ibid.) that the "Geula", the redemption of our people, is dependent on emuna, the pure and complete faith in Hashem. Conversely, lack of faith prolongs the exile and diaspora.

In the same vain, Rebbe Klonimus Kalman, author of "Ma'or VeShemesh" and prime disciple of the Noam Elimelech, writes (Ma'or VeShemesh, parshas Behar) that the material abundance outside of Israel blocks the light of spirituality, and is therefore counterproductive to emuna, whereas in Israel, the brighter lights of spirituality are at the expense of a lower level of materialism.

In light of the above, living in the Land of Israel is conducive to developing higher levels of emuna and spirituality.

According to the above teachings, anyone who strengthens his or her faith, comes to Israel, or does both is making a direct contribution to hastening the Geula, the full redemption of our people Israel, and the rebuilding our our Holy Temple in a united Jerusalem, soon and in our days, amen.

But what if your personal circumstance requires you to remain for the time being abroad? Don't feel guilty - Hashem put you in the situation where you must care for an elderly parent, or you have joint custody with your ex and you can't leave your children, or you haven't been able to find employment in Israel. Hashem doesn't expect you to do what you currently cannot. But, there's plenty you can do outside of Israel to hasten the Geula. We mentioned above that Rebbe Nachman attributes the prolonged exile and Diaspora to the lack of emuna. So, by spreading emuna - wherever you are, be it New York, LA, Miami, Toronto, Melbourne, Hong Kong or Maui - you hasten the Geula.

There's no excuse for not spreading emuna. If you personally don't want to, or can't teach emuna and spread emuna materials, you can partner with Emuna Outreach - we'll do the leg work. All you have to do is to Donate to Emuna Outreach and you'll be a full partner is hastening the Geula. May we hear good news soon, amen!


5 Minutes to a Gorgeous, Sincere Smile

5 Minutes

"Converting Anxiety into Complete Joy in Five Minutes." Why don't I write an article like that I? No one would believe that it's possible. It's like saying, "Reaching Planet Jupiter in Five Minutes". At best, you'd chuckle, shrug your shoulders and ask what Lazer smokes (the answer is nothing - I take super good care of myself), while clicking your merry way onto something better to read whose origins aren't from fantasy land...

Cherished Beams brothers and sisters, it's true! You can end anxiety in five minutes (Okay, really tough challenges can take up to 7 or 8 minutes). And, once the anxiety goes, the inner peace flows. That leads to complete joy and that gorgeous smile of yours. In any case, the advice that you're about to learn takes much less time than it does to find a parking place at the psychiatrist's or psychotherapist's office, and it doesn't cost you a cent. There's everything to gain and nothing to lose!

Most people are still skeptical when I tell them this. You do believe that a diabetic individual sees a dramatic improvement in health by getting off junk food and sugar and going on a high-fiber natural diet rich with a few minutes of exercise every day, don't you? That's a no-brainer and a simple matter of discipline, when you realize your life depends on it.

This is no different. By focusing on three simple concepts, you'll rid yourself of stress, anxiety, sadness and depression. I almost forgot despair and disappointment, as well as anger and jealousy. How? Let's get started. In 5 minutes, you'll be brand new. Read Anxiety-Free in Five, my feature article in this week's lovely new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - The Real Healer

Racheli Reckles - The Great Wall 

Alizah Teitelbaum - Mysterious Wisdom

Dr. Zev Ballen - Get to Know Yourself

Yehudit Channen - Run for Your Life

David Perlow - Ronen, Ruth and the Rabbi

David Ben Horin - Smile, You're on Camera

Enjoy, and have a lovely new week!

 


Three Weeks, Three Repairs

What does the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples have to do with Adam and Eve? Why so much lamentation on things that happened thousands of years ago? Can't we just move forward?

We have a surprise for you at the end of this week's lesson - a very special guest. Have a great new week and start off by seeing this:


Meet Lt. Col. Yoni Zagdanski, Brigade Chaplain, US Army

Maj. Yoni Bagram  Afg
Above image: Lt. Colonel (then Major) Yoni Zagdanski in Bagram, Afghanistan, this past April - the mountains in the background are Taliban country

Emuna Outreach and I were delighted eralier this week to host Lt. Col. Yoni Zagdanski, Regiment Chaplain, US Army, who just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, right on the edge of Taliban country. In this moving 4-minute clip, he tells what Emuna Outreach means to him.

How would you like to help us bring the light of emuna to American soldiers in Afghanistan? Imagine what your rewards are Above in encouraging an IDF soldier on the Gaza or Syrian border and strengthening him with the power of emuna. Think about how much gratification you bring to Hashem when it was your help that enabled us to send an emuna book to someone in solitary confinement in a Texas prison who was just about to commit suicide. One life? With emuna, you're saving lives every day! These stories are only the tip of the Emuna Outreach iceberg; that's the power of emuna.

You too can be a full partner in all of this and help Rabbi Arush and our staff in spreading emuna around the world. Donate to Emuna Outreach. Rabbi Arush asked me to convey his heartfelt gratitude to each of our cherished supporters, and blesses you with everything good in material and spiritual abundance, amen!