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October 2011
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December 2011

9 posts from November 2011

The River's Song

Osyio (Greetings - LB) Rabbi Wolf Brother,

I was so happy to discover your website some months ago and read that our Tsa la Gi (Cherokee - LB) brothers in Tennessee and Texas also hold the opinion that we have Hebrew roots. So much is the same - I follow your teachings about personal prayer in solitude with the Holy One out in nature and I'm moved to tears about the Jewish Perek Shira song of creation. Our meditation, the fringes on our clothes, our language, and our clinging to the One God (in the old way, not the way the white missionaries did to our people) are all signs of our mutual roots. Now that we have DNA testing, there is no doubt.

As a small token of appreciation for the love and respect you have honored our people with, I'm enclosing a film clip of Wayra, a Bolivian Indian who plays the native American flute like we do. To the best of my knowledge, King David also had such a similar flute. May you enjoy it, and may the Holy One bless your journeys in life with smooth and pleasant paths.

Looking forward to the day when the lost tribes will be returned and reunited with mother Israel, your friend and brother, Silver Cloud from Oklahoma


Introducing Eliezer Kosoy and Yonason Hill

Hill_and_kosoy

Simon and Garfunkel haven't been smart enough to make teshuva, but even if they do, they'll have to take a back seat to a dynamic new duo that the Beams is proud to introduce to you. These two very unique and inspirational musicians - my special friends Eliezer Kosoy and Yonason Hill - form the musical duet "Elyon," having recently released their first album together with the same title, under the Sameach Music record label. Elyon is Eliezer Kosoy's third original album; Yonason Hill (son of actor Steven Hill) has been featured as a backup vocalist and guitarist on over 20 albums. The two currently live in Israel where they learn Torah most of the day, and they bring a wealth of life experience and spiritual vision to their music.

They originally met many years ago at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem and discovered their musical connection while singing zemiros together at Yonason's Shabbos table. After recording a demo CD together 2 years ago, they began performing for kiruv groups and yeshivas throughout Israel. The response to their music was excellent, and groups were simultaneously inspired as well as entertained. These two are my type of musicians - extremely talented, modest, and true servants of Hashem. Their mellow and distinctive style resonates with inner beauty and and truth. It just makes you happy to listen to their music.

Front_cover Elyon, which combines the beginnings of their first names, is also a Hebrew word that means high and exalted. True to its title, the album takes its listeners to a high and exalted place, with 13 inspirational and unforgettable tracks. My favorite is "Eye on the Light", which you're welcome to hear at the bottom of this post. The vision of Elyon is to create a unique brand of Jewish music that will inspire, strengthen and arouse the hearts of Jews to come closer to Hashem.  The music is strongly influenced by ideas from the Chassidic and Mussar movements, and takes from classical American folk.  In an article written for Jemagazine entitled "If Simon and Garfunkel were frum" they were accurately compared to that legendary duo--the sweet voices of Elyon blend together in an unmistakable harmony. 

Elyon is planning a music tour from december 15 to 25 and if anyone is interested in booking them (you'[ll be happy that you did), they can contact them at 972-2-5324867 or 972-57-114867 or at elyonsong@gmail.com.

May Hashem bless Eliezer and Yonason with smashing success, and may their music continue to all inspire those who listen to it, amen.


Ka Echsof: A Melody for Shabbat

Here's a lovely melody for Shabbat, the classic "Ka Echsof" - I yearn for Hashem, by the holy Rabbi Aaron of Karlin, zatza"l. My great-grandfather Reb Yaakov Podrub of blessed memory from Grodno, a blacksmith who was a hidden tzaddik and a Stolin-Karliner chassid, sang his melody on his Shabbat table. My sons, my grandsons and I continue with this tradition. Enjoy it and have a wonderful Shabbat Chayei Sara!


The Truth about Anger Management

"Normal" doesn't necessarily mean "healthy". A cave dweller thinks that darkness is normal, and can't fathom the beauty and the benefits of sunlight. In the same way, tranquility is so elusive today that many people don't even consider it a realistic emotional goal. Yet, if we want to escape a lifelong fate of emotional darkness, we desperately need to find a way back into the "emotional sunlight" that is the birthright of each and every one of us.

A good example of this confusion between "normal" and "healthy" comes from the American Psychological Association. In their position paper on anger, they conclude:"Remember, you can't eliminate anger - and it wouldn't be a good idea if you could. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival."

These words strike me as most peculiar. They seem to assume that we all live in a dangerous jungle, where only the biggest, angriest inhabitants manage to survive. In fact, I can testify from my own personal combat experience in one of the world's most elite military units that anger clouds decisions and lowers effectiveness. If we're talking about survival, an angry soldier is far less likely to survive that a calm one. A good soldier has to be cool-headed in order to function at an optimal level. An angry soldier, by contrast, is a menace to both himself and his brothers in arms. And if that's true in the high-stress battlefield arena, it's certainly true on the city streets.

Most of conventional psychology's anger-management programs are based on the faulty assumption that "containable" anger is a good and even necessary thing. For example, the APA suggests that with anger management therapy "a highly angry person can move closer to a middle range of anger in about 8 to 10 weeks". Translated, that means that you won't break windows anymore, but you'll still be gritting your teeth, clenching your fists, and maintaining your candidacy for heart disease and strokes.

The basic flaw with this approach is easy to understand once you realize an important truth about anger: Fundamentally, anger is an addiction. And you can't "manage" an addiction - as any drug, tobacco, or alcohol rehabilitation specialist will tell you. An alcoholic can't limit himself to two Bloody Marys a day, just as a heavy smoker can't cut back to five cigarettes a day. The results are not permanent! Addiction management requires a huge amount of sustained willpower. Why invest so much physical and emotional energy when better options are available?

Oh, you'd like an example of a better option than substances or anger management? Try combining walking with personal prayer. The Trail to Tranquility will also make a dramatic change in your life for the better.