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November 2012
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8 posts from December 2012

Affordable - and Beautiful - Israel


Dear Rabbi Brody,

I really want to make Aliya with my family, but people have been telling me that if I don't have a half million US bucks, I won't be able to get a decent apartment. I don't want a mortgage, and with property values in my area, I'll barely clear $200,000 when I sell my home. What can I possibly buy in Israel with that amount of money? Thanks for your time and attention, Gerald from Midwest USA

Dear Gerald,

if you're looking for a flat with in an American neighborhood of Ramat Bet Shemesh or Jerusalem's Ramat Eshkol or Har Nof, $500,000 is roughly what you'll pay. But, if you're willing to both live and think outside the Anglo-Israeli box, then you'll have some wonderful opportunities, where $200,000 or less will suffice.

Gorgeous places up north with growing observant communities are Maalot, Nazareth Illit, Tzefat and Kiriat Shemona.

As far as the south of Israel goes, Arad has the cleanest air in the world and it's also gorgeous. For $200,000 or less in Ashkelon, you can get an apartment in walking distance to the Mediterranean. If you go to a place like Ofakim or Yerucham, you can get a palace for $150,000 or less.

Contact my dear friends at Nefesh B'Nefesh, because there are usually several incentive programs for moving to the Galilee up north or to the Negev down south. Both are wonderful places to raise your family. Remember also that education here is virtually free, but you'll have to a bit of legwork to find the right schools for your children. It's well worth it. The younger they are, the easier they'll adapt. May Hashem help you succeed! Blessings always, LB

Spiritual Plastic Surgery

Teshuva is an amazing mitzvah. Many people find difficulty in believing that it’s for real. Many an email asks me, “Does Hashem really forgive me for what I did?” The simple, categorical and indisputable answer is a resounding and emphatic yes! It doesn’t matter what you did or how serious the Torah regards the transgression. Not only does Hashem forgive, but He loves us and trusts us enough to always give us a new beginning. You know what that means? Stop wringing your hands about past mistakes!

Continue reading "Spiritual Plastic Surgery" »

10 Teveth: Rebbe Natan's Yahrtzeit in Pictures

RN 1
Image 1, above: Praying by the holy gravesite of Rebbe Natan Sternhartz, 1780-1845, known as "Rebbe Natan (Nosson in Yiddish) of Breslev", Rebbe Nachman's prime disciple, who wrote down all of Rebbe Nachman's teachings. Today, 10 Teveth, is his "yahrtzeit", the anniversary of his passing from the physical world. The gravesite is located in Breslev, Ukraine.

RN 2
Image 2, above: Rebbe Natan's gravesite, outside view.

Image 3, above: The Bugg River and the view of the Ukrainian countryside from Rebbe Natan's gravesite in Breslev, Ukraine.

Image 4, above: Personal prayer along the banks of the Bugg River, at the same exact spot where Rebbe Natan would spend hours pouring his heart out to Hashem.

May Rebbe Natan's holy and immortal soul intervene in our behalf, amen!

True Love

How do you know if you really love someone?

When you willfully put someone else's desires before your own, then you love that person. And, when you cherish a person so much that his or her desire is your desire, then not only do you love that person but your connection with him or her is unshakable.

If your own desires are dearer to you than your spouse's desires, for example, then you love yourself more than you love your spouse. The entire Hollywood notion of love is nothing other than selfishness and self-indulgence. People are out to take rather than give. A taker is never a lover, much less a true lover. How many people lie to others and say, "I love you", simply because they're trying to take something? Millions are - the vast majority of modern society.

We can apply all of the above to our relationship with The Creator. When we place His desires before our own, we really love Him. When we induldge in ourselves while ignoring what He really wants from us, there's no love and no relationship.

When we ponder the zillion blessings that Hashem does for us every day, it's really embarrassing to think how we're lax in doing what He wants us to do, whether it's refraining from gossip, dressing modestly or making Aliya. At least, let's be honest with ourselves. The way to build a relationship with someone is to begin talking to him/her. The same too applies with Hashem. The more you get to know Him, the more you'll love Him. And wait and see how He answers you. Just be open and honest; even if we're not yet doing His will 100%, Hashem loves when his children speak to Him openly and honestly. Nothing is so beneficial to the soul as a daily hour of personal prayer. Try it - you'll love it.

The Healing Sabbath

Today's post is dedicated to the soldiers and civilians who are still recovering from their wounds during the recent Gaza hostilities. We also dedicate this to the miraculous, full and complete recovery of all the Chai Lifeline children.

Here are the words of Avraham Fried's "Shabbos MiLizok," which we're delighted to share with you, in transliteration:

Refoeini Hashem ki niv'halu atzumoi, (oy) v'nafshi niv'alah m'oidoi, Vi'atoh Hashem ad mosai, shuvo Hashem chaltso nafshi (oy nafshi), shuvo, shuvo Hashem chaltso nafshi, (ay) hoishieini (oy oy) le'mo'on chasdecho... Shabbes hi milizoik, shabes koidesh hi milizoik, u'refu'o sh'leimo k'roivoh lo'voi!

And here they are in translation:

Heal me, Hashem, for my bones tremble, and my soul is utterly confounded. And You, Hashem, until when? Return, Hashem, release my soul. Save me for the sake of your kindness. (Psalms 6)... Though the [holy] Sabbath prohibits crying out, may a full recovery come soon! (a Sabbath prayer for health)

Please, let's here good tidings of miraculous recoveries, soon, amen! Have a wonderful Shabbat! We pray that everyone will be healthy by this coming Saturday night, when we light the first Chanuka Candle.