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16 posts from May 2012

The Positive Project

Bullying has reached epidemic proportions in schools everywhere. I can't begin to tell you how many emails I get every week from bullied kids and their parents. The pain is heartbreaking. What makes me really upset is that bullying has crept its way into Yeshivas and Yeshiva High Schools.

One Yeshiva High School decided to put an end to bullying and has initiated "The Positive Project". Here's what they're doing:

G-d willing, let's hope to see Positive Projects everywhere, soon! Take the initiative, and start the ball rolling in your (child's) school. Hashem will help you succeed!

Bright Beam blessings to Doni Joszef, who initiated today's post.

What if She Extends a Hand?

Israeli deputy Minister of Health Yaacov Litchman wouldn't shake the hand of his Belgian counterpart, causing a mini-dipomatic tempest in a teapot.

So what does an observant Jew do when a women extends her hand? 

Observe the Torah by all means, but let's do our best to avoid embarrassing others.

I try to keep a few hard candies in my pocket when on tour. If a woman extends a hand, I drop a hard candy in her palm. The potentially embarrassing situation turns into smiles.

Mitzvot and Body Health

Hello Rabbi,

Does the performance or violation of the mitzvot affect the body? More specifically, I have a pain in my right leg that no doctor has been able to cure? Is there something spiritual I may have done wrong or a correction to make? Thank you! Wim B., Amsterdam

Dear Wim,

A 16th century CE scholar from Tzfat, Rabbi Elazar Azikari (who composed "Yedid Nefesh" and was a colleague of the famed father of Kabbala Rabbi Yitzchak Luria) wrote a monumental book called "Sefer Hacharedim", or The Book of the (G-d) Fearing. In this book, he takes each part of the body and lists the corresponding mitzva. There are 613 mitzvas that correspond to the 613 parts of the body. The fulfillment of a mitzva adds to the spiritual vitality of the corresponding body part, and the spiritual vitality strongly influences the physical health of that particular body part.

For example, tefillin affects the left arm and the front part of the head. Belief in G-d affects the heart. Eye problems can often be traced to stinginess (refusal to give charity) or to looking at forbidden things. It's quite noteworthy that cervical cancer is almost unheard of among woman who practice family purity. The list is long and elaborate.

The famed Shatzer Rov of London o.b.m, the grandfather of the Melitzer Rebbe of Ashdod, would go to the doctor when he was sick and simply request a diagnosis. Then, he would go home and improve his practice of the mitzva that corresponds to his sick part of the body in order to cure himself.

I often use the Sefer Charedim in helping others. I've seen it do things that the doctors can't do. All a person needs is faith. Physical sicknesses are rooted in spiritual causes, since the spirit is the life force. Therefore, many physical ailments can be cured by Teshuva, that is, correcting a mitzva that in turn healthfully influences a certain part of the body. That's it while standing on one foot.

As far as the pain in your right leg, ask Hashem in your daily hitbodedut sessions to enlighten you as to what has brought on the pain and to help you to make teshuva for the root cause. I'd also suggest that you check if you haven't insulted your father or fail to honor him in any way.

Stay healthy, Wim. Warm regards to all our friends in Holland. Blessings always, Lazer

Fertility Enhancement

Dear Rabbi Brody,

Problem one: My husband and I are both healthy and fertile. I am very regular as well. Yet, we've been married for eight years and have not yet been blessed with children. The doctors say that there's no reason I shouldn't get pregnant, but it just doesn't seem to happen.

Problem two: Thank G-d, we are very compatible, yet we bicker a lot over non-consequential things. Our rabbi told us to have our mezuzos and ketuba (marriage contract - LB) checked, and we did - they're all fine. I'm at my wits end. What do we do? Appreciatively, Karen from LI

Dear Karen,

The bickering is expected, since you and your husband are quite up tight with month after month of anticipation, then month after month of disappointment. I know it's not easy, but you should both sharpen your self-awareness, and avoid the senseless clashes, especially during the time of the month when you can't be intimate. The tight nerves are also counterproductive to fertility.

You may find this odd, but have you and your husband ever asked Hashem for a baby? If you were here, I'd take your husband out to the desert, give him a canteen of water, and leave him on a hilltop for an hour to yell his heart out to Hashem. Since you're not here, go with your husband to a deserted stretch of beach on Long Island Sound, take separate directions, and cry your eyes out, praying in your own words - in English - and beg Hashem for what you want. Hanna, the prophet Samuel's mother, did the same thing. So did Isaac and Rebecca. Repeat this as much as possible.

Try to eat as naturally as possible. Your husband should eat figs, garlic, and warm eggs. You both should eat red or blue grapes as well.

If you're not pregnant within the next 60 days after taking the above advice, don't despair: Rebbe Nachman of Breslev writes that living in Israel is conducive to childbearing and to peace in the home. I would therefore suggest that you seriously consider moving to Israel. If that's out of the question, I would suggest two alternatives - one, give regular charity to a worthy cause in Israel, and that way you are in effect a shareholder in Israel, and second, fill your house with Torah-oriented books printed in Israel. Another good ploy that has helped loads of people is by spreading emuna CDs all over the place. Either way, with Hashem's loving grace, I pray that you'll be parents within the next 12 months. Peace and blessings, Lazer Brody