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15 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:


Grow a Beard: It's Healthy!

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Josh Collmenter, above, is not a Breslever Chassid; he's a Major-League pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks - image courtesy of mlb.com

The Torah tells us not to shave our beard. According to most rabbinical authorities, this applies only to shaving with a razor. Yet, we Chassidim take the stringent view and don't touch our beards at all.

Recent Australian research shows that beards not only prevent skin cancer, but delay aging. See for yourself

At any rate, anyone who stops shaving with a razor is bound to see a big blessing.


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