Maybe the reason kids nowadays don't respect their parents is because they learn in school that their great grandparents were orangutans.
Tonight (Monday night) is Passover Seder night. Seder night is a family affair when children, parents, grandparents and great grandparents get together to refresh our awareness that we are descended from holy ancestors whom Hashem delivered from bondage in Egypt. The more we go back in time, the closer we get to our monumentally holy great grandparents. That's why we have so much regard for previous generations. A joyous and kosher Pesach! Have a look:
On Seder Night, there are two types of riches on the table – the material riches of the silver and the opulence, and the spiritual riches of the many mitzvoth such as telling our children the story of our exodus from Egypt. This is a wonderful annual opportunity to show them the juxtaposition of the two types of riches and to explain to them the difference between the temporary nature of the material wealth and the timeless nature of the spiritual wealth. Read all about it in Riches on the Beach, my feature article in this week's Passover issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.
Moshe was all set for Seder night, when his father suddenly suffered a stroke. Rav Shalom tells us about the surprises Moshe and his family encountered when they made Seder Night in the Hospital.
Rav Nissan Dovid Kivak , in his eye-opening Pesach message, says that we should all be Flossing Our Brain in order to be truly happy, especially on Passover.
Confused about the details of the Seder? Don't worry! Just follow Breslev Israel's Seder Overview.
The evil inclination tries to fool people by showing them a negative side of themselves. According to the EI, we're still slaves in Egypt. Seder night - done properly - is a knockout punch to to the Yetzer…
It's implicit in the Torah that the High Priest must know all the sins of the Jewish People; otherwise, how can he confess for all of Israel on Yom Kippur? How does he possibly know? Enjoy this week's 6-minute mini-lesson on the Torah portion, and have a wonderful Shabbat Hagadol!
Al-Arabiya News Agency has now reported that Israel and the Palestinians have agreed via American brokerage to extend the peace talks. Part of the three-sided deal is that our cherished brother Jonathan Pollard will be released. We here at the Beams pray daily for his release, and we hope that Al-Arabiya's sources are accurate. Meanwhile, there's no confirmation of the report here in Israel.
Last night, we heard a tremendous thunder-type rumbling for about 60 seconds here in Ashdod. It sounded like either a squadron of B52's or a rocket taking off from Cape Canaveral. This morning, we found at that it was a rocket, launched from Palmachim AF Base, halfway between Ashdod and Tel Aviv. This morning, the politicians and the Israeli Defense establishment are boasting that they succeeded in launching Ofek-10, the newest Israeli spy satellite. Yet, without teshuva and emuna, it won't help much...
There's a iron-clad law in spirituality: If someone thinks he can manage without Hashem's help, Hashem says, "go ahead and try." That's bad news.
The greatest benefit of emuna is that the more you truly believe in Hashem, the more you benefit from Divine assistance and blessings.
How did Abraham and a mere 318 soldiers defeat Nimrod and the Superpower Alliance of Evil?
All through Torah, The People of Israel fight their battles as underdogs. That's exactly the way Hashem wanted things. In the war against the five Midianite kings under the spiritual guidance of Bilaam - who was just as wicked as Moses was holy - Moses mobilized a mere 12,000 troops - no more. He wanted the army to realize that Hashem gives victories, not military might (see Numbers, chapter 32). In other words, Moses put the army in a position where they'd have to turn to Hashem to win. He knew that dependence on Hashem guarantees victories.
A main theme of Passover is, "Hashem shall fight in your behalf, and you shall remain silent" (Exodus 14:14). We certainly can't take credit for defeating Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the superpower of 3323 years ago when our people left Egypt.
Goliath was a mighty giant; little pre-Bar-Mitzva boy David slew him with a slingshot.
Only a fool can say that Israel's military might won wars. In 1948, we didn't defeat the formidable Arab armies with sophisticated weaponry; Hashem delivered our enemies into the hands of holocaust survivors from Europe, gentle merchants from Morocco, and Torah scholars from Yemen, with a few kibbutzniks in khaki shorts and sandals commanding.
At the other end of the scale, in the first Lebanon War in 1982, an entire Israeli armored column that was heading north in Eastern Lebanon was thwarted by terrorist teenagers with RPGs (shouldered Russian rocket-propelled antitank grenade launchers). The column retreated south, and 2 Israeli warplanes thought that the column was a Syrian tank regiment, strafing them and leaving 46 dead from friendly fire.
We believe the words of our sages (Gemara, tractate Sota 49b), "There is no one to depend on other than our Father in Heaven." This is the eternal truth; sure, we make our best efforts, but we depend on Hashem. The Torah (see Deuteronomy, Chapter 8) warns sternly against forgetting Hashem and thinking that you live by "the might of my hand."
Every time a politician in Israel declares that our military might is what sustains us, he forces Hashem to prove how sorely mistaken he is, and all of Israel pays the price.
Before the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Israeli Defense Minister and Chief of Staff both exuded enough hot air to send a Zeppelin in orbit when they declared how fast they'd finish off the Hizbulla. Nasrulla laughed in their faces every time another missile landed in Israel's northern population centers. Note that a mere 2,000 Hizbulla guerillas wreaked havoc on Israel's entire north. After the conflict, the Winograd commission showed how miserably we perform without Hashem's help.
Back then in 2006, Israel trusted its Merkava IV state-of-the-art tanks. Israeli intelligence was totally unaware of the Russian-made and laser-guided Kornet antitank missiles that made their way into Hizbulla's hands having quietly been smuggled to Lebanon from Syria and Iran. These Kornets totally demolished 6 Merkava tanks and neutralized another 30! With a maximum range of 3.4 miles, they are deadly accurate within 2 miles and are capable of penetrating concrete walls a foot thick within a range of 1.3 miles. This is the missile that hit the school bus last week near Kibbutz Saad from over 2 miles away in Gaza and left 16-year Daniel Viflic from Beit Shemesh fighting for his life, may Hashem heal him, amen.
Israel now boasts the Windbreaker vehicle-defense system which is capable of destroying incoming Kornet missiles. The problem is that only IDF tanks are being outfitted with the $1Million/each system, and not school busses.
One can neither outsmart Hashem nor run away from Him.
Weapons development is no substitute for emuna and teshuva. The enemy always comes along and builds a stronger weapon. One who relies on strength always ultimately encounters a stronger opponent. Ask veteran world-champion boxers; few - if any - retire as winners.
Declaring our dependance on military might only hastens another round of hostilities. Let's set the record straight - we have no one to depend on other than Hashem.
The Gemara (tractate Sanhedrin 97b) says that the Nation of Israel (aka the Jewish People) will be redeemed as soon as they make teshuva, in other words, return to Hashem and the ways of His Torah. The Gemara then asks, what happens if the Nation of Israel doesn't make teshuva? Rebbe Yehoshua answers that if Israel doesn't make teshuva, then Hashem places them under the influence of a wicked king whose evil decrees are as severe as Haman's, and then they make teshuva.
We cannot fathom The Almighty's love for us and His infinite mercy. Despite the fact that we haven't made Teshuva from Love, which is what we need to do in order to be redeemed, and despite the fact that our own misdeeds put us under the boot of each generation's wicked kings, Hashem has made an eternal promise to deliver us from their hands. That's the V'hi She'amda prayer that we recite each year in the Haggada.
Let me share with you something additional about Hashem's love for His people: The Heavenly Altar and Throne is known as Upper Jerusalem; it is situated directly above Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is known in the Zohar, Midrash, and Gemara as Lower Jerusalem. Hashem refuses to dwell in Upper Jerusalem until His permanent dwelling on earth - the Holy Temple - will be rebuilt in Lower Jerusalem (see Gemara tractate Taanit 5a, Midrash Tehillim 122, Vilna Gaon's elaboration of Zohar, Safra DeTzniuta, ist Chapter). Many evil world leaders are denying our right to the area of our own Holy Temple. Once again, we have no cause to be angry at them, for as soon as we make real teshuva, they will crumble. But, until we make teshuva, those evil leaders should be forewarned that by disenfranchising Israel from what they call East Jerusalem, they are in effect trying to disenfranchise The Almighty. Cherished brothers and sisters, that won't happen, period.
Hashem has no gratification by forcing us to make teshuva. When we strengthen our emuna and seek Hashem on our own accord, we sanctify His Holy Name. Let's wake up, beloved brothers and sisters. It's either nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles or emuna books and CDs; the choice is ours. Now you can understand why Emuna Outreach is working so hard to spread emuna around the globe - Rav Shalom Arush says that every emuna book or CD neutralizes one ballistic missile. When Moshiach comes, he'll show us all how emuna saved lives; the Gemara says that anyone who saves one life is considered as if he or she saved an entire world.
V'hi She'amda is a Passover song whose words come from the Haggada. It conveys a very timely message for the Jewish people: He who stood by our forefathers stands by us to deliver us from the hands of our enemies in every generation.
One of Jewish music's favorite sons, Yonatan Razael, wrote a beautiful melody for this song, which he sings here with the king of Jewish singers, my very special friend Yaacov Shwekey. You'll get shivers up your spine and tears in your eyes listening to them. We're sure you'll enjoy this musical treat as much as we do. G-d willing, we'll be singing this same melody on the Brody seder table this coming Monday night. Meanwhile, have a wonderful Shabbat HaGadol and Pesach!
Although there won't be a live emuna lesson and broadcast today, we'll be taping "Mirrors of Illusion", our final Pesach-preparation lesson for this year, which will be aired here on the Beams, G-d willing, this coming Saturday night. We'll be showing how the evil inclination tries to fool people by showing them a negative side of themselves. According to the EI, we're still slaves in Egypt. Seder night - done properly - is a knockout punch to to the Yetzer. Keep an eye out for this important lesson. Meanwhile, happy Pesach preparations!