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14 posts from May 2013

This Shabbat in Uman

Warmest regards, blessings for everyone and Shabbat Shalom from Rebbe Nachman's holy gravesite in Uman. We're looking forward to an uplifting and most inspirational Shabbat, for leading us in the singing at the Shabbat table will be cantor Ushi Blumenberg. Here's a taste:

Eight Founding Mothers

Divine wisdom is amazing. In Judaism, one is a Jew if the mother is a Jew.

In an amazing research paper, the American Journal of Human Genetics calls our people, a "female-defined ethnicity"; that's enough to silence the chauvinists.

But that's not my main point here: extensive research shows that all the Jewish People are descendents of "eight small, distinct nuclei of women". And, Ashkenazi Jews alone stem from four founding mothers.

Do you realize what that means?

When one Jew seeks to harm another Jew, he or she is targeting a brother or sister. That's most hateful to our Father in Heaven.

Our Torah doesn't need scientific confirmation when it tells us that we're Hashem's beloved children, namely, that we're all brothers and sisters. Since that's the case, let's begin loving one another; it could save our lives. Help put an end to intramural hate.

It Don't Come Easy

Due to the nature of the unit where I was privileged to serve in the IDF, our training was gruelling, long and forever challenging, both metally and physically. In one instance, during a night-time run with full backpack on rough terrain, my legs and lungs were about to give out. Anyone who wouldn't complete this run would be kicked out of the unit. I had no more physical strength. The game was about to be over for me. Suddenly, one of my favorite songs from way back when popped into my head: it was Ringo Starr singing, "It Don't Come Easy". I kicked into gear with a second wind and a surge of strength, playing that song over and over in my head until I finished the run. This is the song that became my personal theme song during all my years of army service. And thanks to you, Ringo:

The problem with the internet and Ipod generation is that they expect instant gratification, a great life with no effort. Sorry, youngin's, things don't work that way. If you want to succeed big time, you have to take The First Step. Read all about it in my article this week on Breslev Israel's web magazine.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - First Tears, Then Jackpot

Rivka Levy - Under the Emotional Carpet

Dr. Zev Ballen - Do Arranged Marriages Work? This week's Editor's Choice

Racheli Reckles - Spiritual Shopping

Dovber Halevi - Rewards of the Punishment

Rabbi Dovid Charlop - Intel and Emuna, about this week's Torah portion, Shlach Lecha

Chaya Ovadia - The Tabernacle

Bright Beams Blessings for a wonderful week!

A Worthy Vessel

Our desire - the will, efforts, and yearning to seek Hashem - is a prime vessel for the Divine illumination of emuna just as a crystal goblet is for a fine wine. We wouldn't want to pour a thirty year-old Chateau de Rothschild Cabernet wine in a broken or dirty glass, for the wine would either spill on the floor or become ruined. A fine wine necessitates a whole and immaculately clean goblet. By the same token, without proper vessels, a person can't receive Divine illumination. Hashem doesn't want to spill His "fine wine" on the floor – we must be able to contain it. 

8. Crystal Goblet

The Master Nurseryman

Drip irrigation plants
Did you ever wonder why a greenhouse is also called a nursery, and the horticulturalist (also known as greenhouseman or plant farmer) is also referred to as a nurseryman?

Any plant farmer with a soul knows that his plants have souls. He cares for each plant like a baby, no matter how big his greenhouse is or how many plants he has. The same goes for a tree farmer with a soul; no matter how big his orchard is, he treats each tree as an individual, which in spirituality, it truly is.

In the photo above, taken from a greenhouse in the Samarian Hills, you see a classic example of drip irrigation. An individual hose and dripper reaches every plant, feeding it water and liquid nutrients just like a baby. The plants in the greenhouse are just like babies in a nursery. That's why the plant farmer is called a nurseryman, watering and feeding each one of his green "babies."

Don't worry about where your next meal will come from. Hashem is a much more loving Nurseryman than the best of tree farmers. He has His own method of drip irrigation to give us exactly what we need when we need it.

Overwatering and excess nutrients can kill a plant; Hashem knows also that excesses are not good for us, so we should always be happy with what we have. The Master Nurseryman knows what's best for each of us.