I had the most amazing Shabbos and I had to share it with you.
Both of my older kids were at the youth groups and my baby was asleep. It was 3:30 in the afternoon, and I was going crazy. I had finished 2 books, my husband was asleep and I certainly couldn't read anymore. So I took my dog out thinking I would do some hitbodedot and see where Hashem led me. I ended up at the playground and I ran into some friends. I stayed and shmoozed awhile and on my way out, I ran into a mother I from my son's school. I found out that she had recently moved into my (frum) community and that she and her husband were new to the orthodox thing and her husband was having a harder time with it. So naturally I said, have you read the Garden of Emuna? Well, of course she hadn't. So I ran home to get one of my copies and ran back to give it to this woman. I think I have given out approx 10 copies already!!! She left and I sat down with one of my friends. She was telling me about our friend's baby naming that morning. I had met this friend a few months ago and told her to read Garden of Emuna. She ordered it and is in the process of reading it. Yesterday morning she was sitting at home nursing the baby while her husband was at shul naming her. She was going to name her Chava Baila and she just kept looking at her thinking it wasn't right for her. She looked down at her copy of Garden of Emuna (which of course happened to be sitting right there, Baruch Hashem!!!) and screamed!!! CHAVA EMUNA!!!! But she was home all alone, so she prayed to Hashem that one of her friends would stop by her house on the way to the shul. Knock Knock!!! Our friend just happened to be stopping by! Long story short, our friend RAN to the shul to stop the ceremony. She burst into the shul just in the nick of time! And now, because I told her to read the book, Chava Emuna has her beautiful name.
I was so rewarded this past Shabbos by Hashem. He let me see emuna with muy own eyes. I just had to let you know. Once again, thank you thank you thank you thank you and thank you thank you thank you to Rabbi Shalom Arush. May Hashem bless you both with much deserved peace and happiness, Penina from the USA
Before Pesach I was in the US for the unveiling of my mother's tombstone. I spent every available minute reading The Trail to Tranquility (I'd already read B'Gan Ha'emuna in English). When I landed back in Israel my husband informed me that our younger son had been hit by a car the day before.
I took a deep breath and said, "This must be good. It has to be good. Tell me all the details."
Well thank G-d it really was miraculous. The list of miracles is huge, but in very short: he only broke his leg and jaw, and everything was simple to deal with. Because they had to anesthetize him for the jaw repair they also put pins in his leg which makes the whole process go much faster and more comfortably.
But that's not the miracle I want to tell you about.
The incredible lovingkindness that we received as a gift from Above, the incredible revealed siyatadeshmaya (Divine assistance - LB) that no one can miss, that the "secular" person sees, is this: Because he landed on his face (and doesn't have a mark, by the way) they did a CT scan. And Rav Brody, they discovered a brain tumor!!!!!! They discovered that he has an operable, well-located, not small tumor in his cerebellum. We are going to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv on Monday, G-d willing, to have it removed. Thank G-d we were able to connect with the world-reknown pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Shlomi Constantini, and KUPAT CHOLIM COVERS IT! I told Dr. Constantini that we believe that Hashem is in charge and runs things, and his response was, "I love your emuna'". Isn't that wonderful?
Please please please publicize our gratitude to Hashem and daven for my son Chayim Zvi ben Henye Devorah. The surgery is scheduled for 21 Iyar - tomorrow. You can read our updates on our blog www.chayimzvi.wordpress.com and I will also try to email you after the surgery but it might take a day or two because I don't know when I'll get back to my computer.
People ask me how I can be so calm, upbeat and positive and I just tell them that Hashem is giving me the strength and the peace of mind. What greater indicator of His love do we have than the revelation of the tumor?
Blessing on you for your good work, Rabbi Brody. You prepared me for this as if you'd been sitting beside me. Thank you.
Devra Ariel Mom to Elisheva, Akiva, ShiraRina, ChayimZvi and Moriyah
All of us here at the Beams and at Emuna Outreach are praying for Chayim Zvi's successful operation and speedy recovery, amen!
With Hashem's loving grace, in a few hours, we'll be off to Miron. I'll be tapping my feet all the way to the tune of "Rebbe Shimon," a lively Jewgrass song written and performed by Robbie Zev Ludwick and The Sinai Mountain Boys, as you're about to hear, together with a slide show from Lag B'Omer of last year.
We here at the Beams don't want all the garbage in the news to bring us down. We are therefore happy to report that the sabra cacti in the fields east of Ashdod are beginning to flower in all their magnificent splendor. This is very symbolic, showing how exquisite beauty (emuna) blossoms particularly in an environment of dangerous thorns (the trials and tribulations of this world).
If you click on the above image, you'll get an enlarged version which you can use for wallpaper, courtesy of your friends here at the Beams and Emuna Outreach.
Here's an original Lazer allegory for your weekend table. Discuss it with the family, and if you wish, send me your interpretations, the best of which we'll be happy to publish here on the Beams.
Left: "Mountain Man" by one of our favorite artists, Russ Voelker.
I was hiking in the back woods of Appalachia. All of a sudden, I met a mountain man in a goatskin jacket and a rabbit-fur hat, wielding a double-barreled shotgun.
"Where ya think yur headin', stranger?" he challenged in a menacing tone.
He didn't scare me, and I simply smiled back at him. "I'm heading up the trail to the top o' the mountain. I'm going to visit The King. You're welcome to join me. By the way, I'm no stranger - I'm your brother."
"The heck you are," he replied, waving his shotgun in my face. "Maybe I'll just pull the trigger and blast you outa my space."
"Be my guest," I told him, undaunted by his silly charades. "You'll simply shorten my trek to The King's palace." I rolled up my sleeve, and showed him that I had scars on the same exact place that he did, and repeated, "I'm no stranger - I'm your brother."
Tears welled up in his eyes. The tears washed away the dark clouds that obscured his retnae. Now, his eyes began shining like the sun. "Prove it that you're my brother!"
"No problem," I said. I removed my sunglasses, and my eyes illuminated the entire dark woods, with an array of lights like Aurora Borealis. "You see," I explained, you and I are both sons of the King. Only the King's children are born with such powers of illumination. Our power diminishes when we leave the palace; but, whenever we cry in yearning for the King, we regain some of our power, as you have now. As soon as we return to the palace, our eyes will illuminate stronger than ever."
I then explained to the mountain man, that when I was a baby, robbers kidnapped me from the palace. I grew up in the woods, suffered hardships and injury, and eventually fought my way back to the palace. Interesting, but the eyes of a returning prince shine brighter than the eyes of a prince that never left the palace. In turn, the returning princes are decorated with medals of valor, and become officers in the King's Honor Guard.
My father's family comes from the town of Yanov, which is half way between Breslev and Berditchev in the central Ukraine.
There are two mass graves in Yanov. The first, pictured directly below, is where 2500 Jews from the Carpathian area were loaded on cattle cars and shipped north. The Nazis decided to spare the fuel that the continued journey to the concentration camps would require, and pulled the Jews off the train at this crossroads, made them dig a tremendous pit where the memorial is behind the white wall in the background, and machine gunned them.
Mass Grave #1 - Yanov junction, 2500 Jews
The second mass grave (photo below), in Yanov township amidst the old Jewish cemetary, holds the 1000 Jews of Yanov that were killed in a house-to-house extermination by SS stormtroops. They were then thrown in a mass pit. Among these Jews are my father's aunts, uncles, and cousins. Today, I'm involved in caring for this site. If I don't, then the Ukranians will turn it into a potato field.