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20 posts from January 2011

The Garden of Emuna and the Emuna Tattoo

If I had to rate the top five Jewish speakers in the USA, my esteemed and cherished spiritual brother Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein would be one of them. Here, here's telling a true story that he heard from me. The Rabbi that was teaching in the university is our good friend Rabbi Chaim Feld from Aish in Cleveland. You'll love this:


Appreciating our Aishet Chayil

This coming Shabbat, we should sing "Aishet Chayil" to our wives with much more fervor. We can't show them enough gratitude.

Many women complain to me that their husbands don't appreciate them because they are housewives. That's really inane.

King Solomon spoke about the woman of valor and said (Proverbs 31:10), "And her value greatly exceeds that of pearls." He wasn't kidding...

According to a study released by Salary.com, a Waltham-based firm that studies workplace compensation, if a stay-at-home mom could be compensated in dollars rather than personal satisfaction and unconditional love, she'd rake in a nifty sum of nearly $117,000 a year.

Stop taking her for granted, guys. She deserves tons of gratitude for everything she does. In addition, we have to thank Hashem day and night for giving us our Aishet Chayil. I'd be one big zero without mine.


Everything is Certainly for the Best

One of Rebbe Nachman's most important, yet profoundly simple teachings is the key to emuna, to life itself, and to happiness: since everything comes from Hashem, everything is certainly for the best. The original words in Hebrew are:

Me'achar vehakol me'Ito Yitbarach, Bevadai Shehakol Letova.

Learn these words, and sing along with Menachem Herman and me. Remember this song - it's a lifesaver for difficult times.

Emuna Outreach and the Beams wish you a wonderful Shabbat Mishpotim, which is also Shabbat Mevorchim Adar Aleph, the Shabbat before the new month.


Learning Morals from an Ant

If you see an ant, don't stomp on it; observe the little critter - he's carrying a message from Hashem:

Go to the ant, sluggard; see its ways and become wise. (Proverbs 6:6) [Perek Shira, Chapter 6]

Let's view an example of nature's classroom, the divine wisdom within each creation. Look at an anthill. Ants teach us three main lessons - honesty, faith, and diligence. Observe closely, and you'll see why.

Ants are invertebrates - they don't have a spine. Most invertebrates overheat and dehydrate in full sunlight; therefore, most of their activity above ground level is either in early morning, in late evening, or in full shade. If an ant tells a lie, his peers execute him immediately.

In bright sunlight, we don't see any ants crawling around. If we were to cast a shadow over the mound, a leader ant would peek his head out of the main entrance and walk around freely in the shade. Then, he'd return to the edge of the hole to call his buddies to come outside and join him. Meanwhile, if we were to remove the object that cast the shadow, and the emerging ants would not find shade, they'd kill the leader ant for lying to them. Ants don't tolerate the slightest form of dishonesty.

An ant lives for approximately six months, yet a grain and a half of wheat is sufficient food for its entire lifetime. If we were to dig down to the central warehouses of the anthill, we'd find about three hundred grains per ant. Each ant gathers enough food for two hundred years!

An ant never stops working, because he has faith that The Almighty will grant him a lengthy life. An ant never steals nor covets. The moment he takes a bite from a grain, the grain acquires the unique odor of its owner's saliva. No other ant will dare touch the grain of a comrade. So, by observing ants, we learn about honesty, diligence, and faith.

Shouldn't we demand from ourselves the minimal moral standards of an ant?


The Ostrich Syndrome

Intelligence gathering and spirituality are amazingly similar. In both areas, there is a right way and a wrong way to draw conclusions and form a plan of subsequent action:

The right way - first, one does as much objective fact-gathering as possible, draws a well-founded conclusion, and acts accordingly.

The wrong way - first, one begins with a preconceived agenda, then discards or ignores any information that disproves the preconception, and acts accordingly.

If a person's pre-conceived agenda includes swindling, cheeseburgers and the neighbor's wife, he'll both discard and ignore Torah. That doesn't mean that the Torah isn't true, Heaven forbid; it means that the person doesn't want to hear. So what does he do? Sticks his head back in the ground... 


High and Dry

Seven years ago, the London Guardian reported about a secret Pentagon report that was suppressed by President Bush, warning that imminent climatic changes and natural disasters will destroy the USA and much of the world, and that large areas will sink under rising seas. Read the entire article here, it's an eyeopener.

For hundreds of years, Kabbalists have been saying that entire continents will disappear under water as Redemption Day approaches. Today, scientists around the world are carefully monitoring earth's rising waters. Things are changing, just as our sages have predicted.

Worried? The Talmud says (tractate Kiddushin 69a) that Israel is the highest of lands. Many nonbelievers use the above statement as "proof" to the inaccuracy of Talmud. When the rest of the world will be under water, and Israel will be high and dry, all shall see the universal and eternal truth of every letter in the Gemorra.

This time, you won't need an ark. Start thinking about moving to Israel.

Beishamikdashhashlishi_1 The Gemara also teaches us that the Beis HaMikdash is the highest place in Israel - that makes it the highest place on earth! Above poster courtesy of www.judaica4me.com .


Photosynthesis: The Creator's Simple Brilliance

One of the best ways to strengthen emuna is to open our eyes and observe Hashem's marvelous creations. The fact that the universe functions in such beautiful harmony leaves us with the only possible conclusion that One Master Creator is responsible. If everything were random - as some spiritually-blind people would contend - then the stars and planets would be colliding in space all the time. But, they don't! The Creator gives each star and planet its own unique path, making sure that they stay out of each other's way.

Look at photosynthesis; this exquisite natural process is mind-boggling in its simple brilliance. Simplicity and brilliance is The Creator's signature.

In case you never enjoyed botany or life sciences, but you'd like to learn about Hashem's world, then here's a lesson about photosynthesis in a nutshell:

Photosynthesis is the process that Hashem uses to feed most of the earth. By way of photosynthesis, green plants make carbohydrates such as glucose, using water from the soil, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and sunlight. Animals that consume plants also make use of this energy, as do humans that consume both plants and animals, thereby benefitting from photosynthesis both directly and indirectly.

Photosynthesis performs another vital function in addition to manufacturing food: It generates the oxygen that oxygen-breathing animals need in order to survive. But here, we animals repay the favor. We exhale the carbon dioxide that plants need for photosynthesis.

Click here for a flash presentation that's educational and enjoyable for the whole family. You can spend some quality time together, while learning about Hashem's wonderful secrets of the universe. Shabbat Shalom!