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33 posts from February 2015

Dr. Zev and Lazer in USA, May 7-20, 2015

Lazer and Zev. 2
Everybody looks up to Dr. Zev Ballen - he is not only the best emuna-oriented psychotherapist there is, but he's a former college basketballer and is 6'4", six and a half inches taller than me, as you see in the above photo. We love to work together, and we share a lot of ideas doing our respective tasks. At any rate, Dr. Zev and I will soon be on a USA speaking tour together, from May 7-20, 2015, G-d willing. If you'd like us to visit your community, hurry up and contact Breslev Israel's Program Director Rabbi David Reckles at - we're looking forward to seeing you!

Lazer and Zev. 1000

The Land of Israel: Glittering like Diamonds

Sunflowers Sunflower field in the Jezreel Valley

Our sages mention five special attributes about our beloved Land of Israel, as follows:

1. If a person is on a high enough spiritual level, he'll be able to see that the rocks of Eretz Yisrael glitter like diamonds (Be'er Maim Chaim - Rebbe Chaim of Chernovitz).

2. The soil of Eretz Yisrael is holier than the sky of Chutz L'aretz (lands outside of Israel) (Chasam Sopher).

3. The Gemara says (Berachos 59a) that since the destruction of the holy Temple, the sky has lost its purity; The Shatzer Rebbe ob"m (Da'as Sholom) says that the Gemara is speaking about Chutz L'aretz, and that the skies of Eretz Yisrael maintain their purity forever.

4. The world is like a funnel, where all prayers are channeled into Eretz Yisrael, and arise to the heavens from Eretz Yisrael (Aravei Nachal, Zohar).

5. Eretz Yisrael is so holy, that saying anything derogatory about it is virtually unforgivable; the slander of Eretz Yisrael lengthens the diaspora (Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a).

Rabbi Shalom Arush sends his blessings to all of you who are preparing to make aliya; to those of you who are praying to make aliya, the Rav shlit'a blesses you that your prayers will be answered. 

Annual Knockout

Annual Knockout

We Jews are compassionate people. The Megilla tells us that Haman, his sons and their allies received their due punishment. So why does Halacha tell us to make all kinds of noise every time we hear Haman's name, every single year during the Megilla readings on Purim?

We'll find out in today's emuna shiur and broadcast, entitled "Annual Knockout," which takes place this evening (Wednesday), G-d willing, at 7:00 PM local time at our Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva, 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street, Jerusalem, in the main sanctuary. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time

As always, the live shiur is open to the public - both men and women are welcome - so if you're anywhere near Jerusalem, come on by! If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it on this coming Sunday's Lazer Beams.

Hevron: Regards from the Great Grandparents

Probably my favorite prayer place in the world is the Cave of the Machpela in Hevron, where Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are buried. I ask our holy ancestors to beg in our behalf at the Divine Throne, that we should successfully weather the "birth-pangs" of Moshiach, and fulfillment of all the redemption prophecies. May we all see our holy forefathers soon in the flesh, with the full redemption of our people in our holy land, the ingathering of the exiles, the coming of Moshiach, the revival of the dead, and the rebuilding of our holy Beit HaMikdash, amen. More than anything, may we merit to see the revelation of Hashem's Divine Presence within our midst, amen sela.

The feeling of being in the company of the holy ancestors defies description, so I'll just show you the pictures.

Photo 1: Maarat HaMachpela, Hevron


Photo 2: Leah's gravesite


Photo 3: Abraham's gravesite


Photo 4: We found the white donkey, now all we need is Moshiach


Photo 5: Maarat HaMachpela: A little piece of every Jew's heart is always here


For a Strong Israel

EmunaOutreach Poster

Israel has tremendous challenges as we all know. Yet, the only way to contend with these challenges is to build a spiritually-strong Israel, for with emuna, we'll prevail on all fronts. Help us in this sacred task and be a full partner in spreading emuna by making your tax-deductible donation to Emunah Outreach; simply click on the "Donate" button on the upper left-hand toolbar of this site. Thanks and G-d bless!

Two Good "Yiddishe" Boys

Louie Armstrong Colin Powell
At the beginning of last century, in the emotional hotbed of New Orleans a child slave of the ghetto was born of a prostitute mother and “missing” father. He somehow stumbled into the attention of a financially poor but loving Russian Jewish immigrant family, the Karnofskys. This little fellow, with an appreciative, magnetic personality, attached himself to the father, to help him with his horse-and-wagon hauling business. The Karnofskys loved the child, took him in for dinners, including Shabbat, and provided more than bed and shelter. They provided him with the love he needed, and his first musical instrument that led this confused, hungry youngster onto worldwide fame — as a jazz performer, music innovator and worldwide ambassador for humanity. Louis Armstrong proudly spoke fluent Yiddish, from his childhood through his whole life, and always wore a Star of David around his neck.

* * * * *

Sickser's back in the early 1950's was located on the corner of Westchester and Fox in South Bronx, and specialized in "everything for the baby" as its slogan ran. Swamped on day with loads of work and many customers, Mr. Sickser ran out of  the store and stopped the first youth he spotted on the street. "Young man,"  he panted, "how would you like to make a little extra money? I need some help  in the store. You want to work a little?"

The tall, lanky black boy  flashed a toothy smile back. "Yes, sir, I'd like some work." "Well then, let's get started."

The boy followed his new employer into the store. Mr.  Sickser was immediately impressed with the boy's good manners and demeanor, and made him a regular employee at the store. It was gratifying to find an employee with an almost soldier-like willingness to perform even the most menial of  tasks, and to perform them well. From the age of thirteen until his  sophomore year in college, this young man put in from twelve to fifteen hours  a week, at 50 to 75 cents an hour.

In 1993, in his position as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of  Staff, two years after he guided the American victory over Iraq in the Gulf War, General Colin Powell visited the Holy Land. Upon meeting Israel's  Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in Jerusalem, he greeted the Israeli with the  word "Men kent reden Yiddish" (We can speak Yiddish). As Shamir, stunned, tried to pull himself together, the current Secretary Of State continued chatting in his second-favorite language. Colin Powell never forgot his early days working at Sickser's.

* * * * *

Louie Armstrong and Colin Powell loved their "Yiddishe" roots. Unsung Jewish heroes like the Karnofskys and the Sicksers used their total color-blind love of their fellow human to help shape two of modern history's finest people.