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32 posts from October 2015

The joy of holiness, and the holiness of joy

Smchaim_dovid Chaim Dovid Saracik, famous for his niggun "Yamamai", in musical personal prayer in the hills of Jerusalem

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches that music originates from the upper portals of Heaven. He also teaches that one can't attain true joy in life without holiness. Joy is holiness and holiness is joy. In that music has such a lofty source, it has the power of elevating a person to phenominal spiritual heights, especially music played by a joyful and upright musician. Music, joy, and holiness together create an upward spiritual spiral that is capable of uplifting a person from depression and despair, especially when reinforced with extensive personal prayer.

I often incorporate music into my personal prayers. That's where my albums Calming Waters and Whispering Soul came from. Oftentimes, when I'm at a loss for words, I sing to Hashem, play my flute or hum a niggun, a melody. My favorite melodies come from fellow Breslevers such as Yisrael Dagan and Yosef Karduner. Still, one of the melodies in the Brody Hitbodedut Top Ten is undoubtedly my dear friend Chaim Dovid's niggun, know popularly as "Yam-a-mai". Chaim Dovid's phenominal humility results from his holiness and joy, both of which are so very apparent in "Yam-a-mai", as you can see right here below. Enjoy, and have a wonderful Shabbat!

A Signed Check by Rebbe Eliezer the Great

We're all aware of the dangers that the people of Israel face. Rav Shalom Arush told us to turn to Hashem with more emuna and prayer, for there's no other solution than raising our voice to Heaven.

One of the greatest of our Tannaim (Mishnaic sages, 1st - 2nd Century CE) was Rebbe Eliezer the son of Horkonus, or Eliezer the Great. Rebbe Eliezer promises: "Anyone who engrosses himself in Pereq Shira every day - I bear witness that he is destined for the World-to-Come, and is delivered from calamity, and from the Evil Inclination, and from severe judgment, and from the Satan, and from all types of evil and destruction..." (introduction, Perek Shira).

What could be a better signed check than being delivered from all calamity, Evil Inclination, and destruction? Who can give you a better life and homeowner's policy for 10-12 minutes a day?

Emuna Outreach and the Beams are pleased to take away anybody's excuse that they don't have Perek Shira; here are our free downloads, which also include the Tikkun Klali:

Perek Shira in Hebrew

Perek Shira in English

May The Almighty grant you all your heart's wishes for the very best!

Freedom: Life After the Web

Let my people go
Dear Rabbi Brody,

I'm 19, and torn between two worlds. On one hand, I want to be a Baal Tshuva - I love Lazer Beams, but I get inspired and then end up surfing over to one of my favorite porno sites, and then (...severely edited - LB) ... I end my day going to sleep super depressed and disappointed in myself. Why can't I just be courageous enough to start putting on tefillin and keeping Shabbos? Rabbi Brody, can you help me out? Can you explain to me what's happening to me? I'd be forever grateful. Thank you, Steven from California

Dear Steven,

Every soul requires a heavy dose of love. Jewish souls especially require a refined, ultra-high spiritual octane form of love that Kabbala terms Chessed d'Kedusha, or lovingkindness from the realm of holiness. This love is achieved by dedication in performing a mitzva, by prayer with Kavanna (focused intent), by Torah learning, and by doing charitable deeds for one's fellow human. Also, this love is attained through a gratifying marital union.

The laws of the spiritual realm are similar to those of the material realm. Just as there is no void in matter, there is no void in spirituality. When a person fails to provide his or her soul with Chessed d'Kedusha, then the sphere of Chessed d'Sitra Achra, or Impure (unholy) lovingkindness, fills the void. Promiscuity and pornography are prime sources of Chessed d'Sitra Achra, all dangerous and addicitive, the type of chocolate-covered poison that destroys one's soul, Heaven forbid.

Simply speaking, Steve, we need to help you replace the detrimental elements that have pervaded your soul with the beneficial. Here's a gameplan that I'd recommend for you:

1) Torah - in LA, there are plenty of Torah lessons. Start attending them. In fact, you can catch me here this weekend. Also, begin learning as much of Rebbe Nachman's books as possible - they're an amazing balm for an aching soul.

2) Immerse yourself in a mikva as much as possible.

3) Say psalms 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, and 150 every day - this is called the "Tikkun HaKlali", a general all-purpose spiritual medication for a soul that's been infected by Chessed d'Sitra Achra.

4) Talk to Hashem every day in your own words, and ask Him to help you.

5) Steve, build a life without the web - there is life after the web!

Steve, most of all, don't be down on yourself. Don't listen to the hellfire and brimstone preachers that send people to purgatory and give you a guilty conscience. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that if you believe you can make a mess of things, then believe that you can correct. Consider coming to Israel for a year or two for Yeshiva, and if that's not possible, think about a local Yeshiva for Baalei Tshuva. I'd like to see you make some solid spiritual gain, and then meet a wonderful young lady and start a family within the next two years or so.

If you would realize the satisfaction that Hashem has from your fight for Kedusha (holiness), you'd be jumping for joy all day long. This is your true freedom, Steve. With Hashem's help, you're going to go a long way. Hoping to see you, Lazer Brody

First, Be Friends

During the Jewish wedding and each festive meal of the subsequent seven festive days, we bless the bride and the groom, Sameach Tesamach Re'im ahuvim, "Be happy and rejoice, friends and lovers!" At a superficial glance, this blessing seems odd. If the young couple are lovers, then why say friends? Isn't that superfluous? The answer is simple. In order to be lovers, you have to be friends first. In fact, friendship is the foundation upon which a true and lasting relationship is built.

How does friendship manifest itself in a marriage? When you have a good friend, you enjoy spending time together. A husband's attention to his wife, walking together, dining together (not with the newspaper or TV, but with your partner), and especially learning together are superb expressions of friendship. Any act that constitutes a statement of, "I want to be with you!" is a beautiful compliment that warms the heart and cements a relationship. This type of friendship is a prerequisite to love.

Those couples who work on their friendship do a much better job of weathering the days of physical separation during the monthly cycle of Jewish family purity. Even more, during the clean days, a normal woman is disgusted by the mere thought of physical contact if it's not preceded by friendship and love. Friendship is great for the body and the soul. Shabbat takes on an entirely new dimension when a husband and wife learn the laws of Shabbat together. Nothing is more intimate - and healthy - than a husband and wife taking a long walk together and sharing each others secrets. When you make friendship a priority in your marriage, then your relationship will blossom like the Spring flowers, even in the winter.

Want to learn more?

Join us in LA this coming Shabbat:

Oct 30 31 LA

How to Reduce Your Phone Bill

Phone bill
A woman wants to feel that her mate is her best friend, a father, a mother, and a confidant all rolled into one. She needs the security that she'll be loved and accepted no matter what she does. She feels calm in knowing that even if she makes a mistake, he won't criticize her. She certainly doesn't need the type of husband that acts like the state's witness – when she tells him her troubles, he points an accusing finger at her, blames her, and belittles her. Soon, she won't share her thoughts with him and their lines of communication will be severed; he can only blame himself for the subsequent crisis that will surely arise.

Caution – as long as a wife seeks the ear of a girlfriend, it's a warning sign that she can't pour her heart out to her husband. As long as she needs the constant backing and encouragement of her parents, it's a warning sign that she doesn't get enough love and support from her husband. As long as she spends hours on the telephone, it's a warning sign that she lacks an attentive and receptive ear from her husband.

Beloved brothers, give your wife at least a half hour (barest minimum!) of quality one-on-one time every day with a listening ear; you'll not only have a better marriage, but your phone bill will be at least 30% less. Try it!

By the way, cellular phones were created for shalom bayit, for marital peace, so a husband can call home twice a day and tell his wife that he's thinking about her. You can't imagine what this will do for your marriage.

Have a great week. If you're in LA, join us for the "Shalom Bayit" Shabbaton this coming Shabbat, Oct. 30-31.

Oct 30 31 LA