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10 posts from May 2009

Preparing for Shavuot: The Barometer of Successful Torah Learning

Our sages teach that all of Torah centers around loving our fellow human as we love ourselves. Apparently, this is an odd concept: What do the laws of Kashrut, Shabbat, or tefillin have to do with brotherly love? The following video clip, filmed in the gorgeous Judean Hills between Gush Etzion and Hevron, provides the answer and gives us food for thought in preparation for Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates our people's receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai.


Flight 613

You can learn about emuna from all the stimuli in your environment and in your daily routine. "Flight 613", a little 2-minute inspirational shot of emuna, is the product of my thoughts on a recent plane trip. I hope you enjoy it.


Why Cover My Hair?

Many women ask me why Jewish law requires them to cover their hair. In a nutshell, the status of a woman's hair changes at the time she is married to her zivug, her soul-mate. The restriction of not displaying her hair to any and all onlookers symbolizes the discipline she brings to herself upon making the commitment to a single male. Through this, she brings phenominal blessings to herself, to her husband, and to her entire family, even affecting the uprightness of her descendants!

My esteemed friend, scholar, and Kabbalist Rabbi Pinchas Winston gives one of the best explanations I've ever seen as to why a married woman should cover her hair in this week's Breslev Israel web magazine.

This coming Friday (and Shabbat, outside of Israel) is Shavuot. Shavuot is also the yahrtzeit of King David and the Baal Shem Tov.

Hashem had to put evil's #1 angel to sleep before He could give the Torah to Israel. Read about it in Our Secret Weapon.

It's better to owe to your wife than to owe to the credit company, as you'll find out in My Wife, the Creditor.

Rebbe Natan explains that adultery results from a spirit of Folly.

Many have asked us about the Breslever custom of the "techelet", the blue string on their tzitzit. Read all about it in our wonderful new series, In Search of Biblical Blue.

Each Jew is a Letter of the Torah.

Fighting the Tide is part 11 of Strangers No More.

Alice Jonsson writes this week that Pity is not Justice.

Breslev Kids are learning Perek Shira; this week, the learn The Song of the Lightning.

This week's Torah portion is Bamidbar (In Israel; outside of Israel, for the next 6 weeks, our overseas brothers will be a week behind us since this coming Shabbat they'll be reading the Torah portion for the second day of Shavuot).

Breslev Israel and the Beams wish you a wonderful week and upcoming Shavuot holiday.


"VeHacohanim"

Earlier this week, Shlomo Katz (a "Cohen," or member of the priestly tribe) and I joined together in an evening of song and inspiration in Ramat Bet Shemesh. Here is one of Shlomo's very special original melodies, based on the Yom Kippur liturgy that describes how the People of Israel in the courtyard of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem fall on their faces and prostrate themselves when they hear the High Priest call out the Ineffable Name Yud-kay-Vav-kay once a year on Yom Kippur. How I long to witness such a Yom Kippur - soon, G-d willing. The Beams, Emuna Outreach, and Breslev Israel wish you a wonderful Shabbat. 


Stress-buster: 3-minute Ancient Hebrew Meditation

It's unfortunate that so many people search the ends of the earth for some meaningful spirituality - a true, pure, and uncomplicated connection with The Almighty - when they're not even aware of their own fabulously rich spiritual heritage.

People ask me if meditation is kosher; if it brings you to cling to Hashem, by all means. In case you don't know, meditation originated with our ancestors, the ancient Hebrews.

Hebrew meditation is a form of "hitbodedut", or secluded personal prayer where a person yearns to cling to The Almighty with all his or her cognitive faculties, body, and soul. Nothing is so conducive to inner peace as merging with G-d, in the way that a small flame of a candle merges with and completely nullifies itself to a great flame.

By meditation, we communicate everything on our heart to Hashem, beginning with expressions of praise and gratitude. Then we do soul-searching, cleaning out those hidden cobwebs of past misdeeds that are liable to haunt us. The more we develop sensitivity and receptiveness by frequent daily hitbodedut, the more we are able to hear the soft flashes of Hashem's messages that illuminate our souls.

The following film clip is a gift to you, my dearest brothers and sisters, wherever you are. In less than 4 minutes, it will magically uplift you from the depths of stress and worry. True spirituality is somewhat like popcorn or potato chips - you always want more.

The music in this clip is Native American, composed by Grandmother White Eagle, esteemed elder of the Texas Cherokee nation and our very dear friend. Fiercely monotheistic, the Cherokee Nation has its roots in the ten lost tribes of Israel. The lovely native American melodies are therefore strikingly similar to the ancient Hebrew shepherds' flute, conveying a yearning to commune with God, as we see in this sea-side meditation based on the prayer "Nishmat" coupled with a Hebrew Tai-Chi style meditative exercise.  Feel free to forward this clip to someone you love, by clicking on the "permalink" and pasting the URL to an email. Enjoy and G-d bless.