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35 posts from July 2016

Send Me Your Recipes!

Hey! I'm always interested in trying out new foods, as long as they're EASY and DELICIOUS. 

If you have an easy recipe for something that's not dripping in oil, send it to me! If I try it and I like it, we'll feature your recipe here on the Beams! 

You can send your recipes and any questions you have to Fyi- I will only answer practical questions. Don't ask me why the sky is blue, even though there is an answer for that. 

Have a wonderful week!

A Day of Insanity

Shavua Tov, everyone! Racheli here. Summer is here in all of its humid, sweltering glory. That means crazy high electricity bills from the air being on full blast and the washer and dryer working around the clock. I seem to be developing laundry-itis. The kids love their pool, but the laundry is really getting to me. Even though I try to get them to re-use the towels and bathing suits (does that make me a bad and lazy mother, or just very eco-friendly?), the loads just keep piling up. I need to get out of the house more. 

Actually, that's another part of the problem. I have been getting out of the house; too much, in fact. Drive kids to school/camp. Go food shopping. Take hubby to work. Go home and do dishes. Straighten up house. Throw in another load of laundry. Fold the loads that have been sitting all crumpled up on my couch for the past two days. Go food shopping at another store. Pick up kids - at three different times. Take kid to after-school program. Take other kid to tutor. Pick up kid from after school program. Pick up kid from tutor. OMG what about dinner?? Bathe all of the kids! Bedtime wars for an hour! It's a day of insanity! 

I'm pretty sure that for most of us, almost every day is like this in one way or another. We all have so much pressure and demands on us, and it's amazing that we accomplish as much as we do without going crazy. Maybe we do go crazy at one point or another, but I think that's normal. So I'll tell you the thought that reset me at the end of this crazy day. 

Thank You, Hashem, for the money to pay my electricity bills. Thank You for my working washer and dryer. Thank You my kids' awesome rooftop pool with a killer view. Thank You that I have kids to do laundry for. Thank You that I have a car to drive. Thank You that I can afford after-school programs and tutors. Thank You that my husband has a job. Thank You for the food in my fridge. Thank You for giving me everything I need and more. Thank You for my legs that run around nonstop. Thank You for my health and the health of my family. Thank You for everything that You do for me, Hashem. 

It's all about gratitude. Yes. Gratitude really is the answer to everything. 

Try it at the end of your crazy day, and tell me how it made you feel!

Hangin' Up the Shoes

Retired Shoes
My wonderful doctor of Chinese medicine in Jerusalem spent three hours checking me from head-to-toe the day before yesterday. After tailor-making the Chinese-herbal remedy I'll be needing to take care of myself, she told me in no uncertain terms: my heart is incapable of meeting the demands that I've been making from it. I must slow down...

I have a tear in my eye but a song in my heart. I promise you that I'm happy and I appreciate the mind-boggling care that Hashem takes of me. But, I won't deny the tear in my eye of having to hang up my track shoes, which less than two weeks ago were sprinting with the wind at a pace that any person 30 years younger than me would have been proud of. Not only can I no longer sprint, but I can no longer run or even jog. Power lifting and kettle bells are out the window. I sold my weight rack. Jumping rope? No way! The extent of my current permissible exertion-level is brisk walking and light exercise like Pilates.

I've turned a page in life. Hashem wants me to redirect my efforts into more Torah and even more spreading emuna. That's exactly what I'm doing. It's all for the best - that's a no-brainer. I sincerely thank Hashem for my cardiac challenge. My time in the hospital and in the aftermath of adjusting to a new reality has given me a sorely needed opportunity for serious introspection and revamping priorities, something we need to do every day of our lives.

Since the purpose of life is to get closer to Hashem, anything that brings us closer is intrinsically good. My heart problems have brought me so much closer to Hashem, to qualify them as a rare gift from Above. Blessings for a wonderful Shabbat!

Meet Racheli

For a long time now, I've been entertaining the idea of adding a co-author here on the Beams team, which until now, was pretty much a one-person venture. I envisioned someone young, at least a generation younger than me. I had a tough bill to fill because I wanted someone with outstanding writing talents, intelligent, humorous, charismatic, compassionate and most of all emuna-oriented who is totally on board with the teachings of Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a and well-versed in my books as well.

Tough bill to fill, no?

Nothing is too tough for Hashem. He sent me a young lady who scores a 10 on every one of the things I was looking for. Her name (officially) is Rebbetzen Rachel Reckles. We all call her Racheli.

Racheli is the wife of Breslev Israel's distinguished Program Director, Rabbi David Reckles (see image at right - Rabbi David is decked in a tallit at the brit of his son Nachman, while I am Nachman Reckles bris saying the blessings of the name-giving).

Many of our readers are familiar with Racheli Reckles's articles on Breslev Israel. We're delighted to introduce her as our full-fledged co-author here on the Beams.

I got to know Racheli when she wrote me nearly eight years ago after reading The Trail to Tranquility. She was progressing on her path as a baalat teshuva, and had recently been introduced to the wisdom of emuna. We developed a nice connection, and soon enough, she was consulting me as her rabbi and spiritual guide. 

When I told her that we would be in Miami soon, she quickly arranged to sponsor an emuna talk, and generously offered her husband to be our driver and chaperone for our three-day stay. It was at our first personal meeting that I told the Reckles family they should make aliya in the next five years. They made it here within 18 months, and never looked back. 

Racheli began writing for Breslev Israel nearly five years ago. Now, she is one of our favorite writers, and her unique twist on emuna is enjoyed by thousands of readers every week. She loves to play the piano, exercise, and cook for her husband and her five beautiful and rambunctious boys. 
I'm sure you'll enjoy Racheli's articles and we thank Hashem for the privilege of having her on the Beams Team.  

Racheli's Drunk Tuscan Chicken


Okay, I know this is a terrible picture. It looks like Mr. Chicken went swimming in the Florida Everglades. I apologize. I'm very non-technology friendly. I'm actually amazed that I was able to put a picture up here at all. But I promise - this chicken is just delish.

This yummy and EASY recipe is perfect for Friday night, or any time you need an simple chicken dish for the whole family. So here it is:

-1 chicken, preferably dead. Why go to the trouble of shechting your own chicken, you know?

-1 can of pesto rub. If you've got too much time on your hands, you can make your own.

-salt, olive oil, and lots and lots of white wine       

Rub the pesto and a few pinches of salt into the chicken. Splash a lot of white wine around the chicken, about enough to go halfway up the pan. Add olive oil to the white wine and rub a little extra on the chicken itself. Put the sprigs of basil and rosemary in the cavity of the chicken. Bake covered on 350 degrees for, like, a long time. Honestly, I have no idea how long to bake a chicken for. I usually just check it at around an hour. If any of you know how long you bake a chicken for, please share it with the rest of us. When you see it's close to being done, uncover it, baste it with the sauce, and bake until it starts to turn brown.

Be honest with me - isn't that the most modest chicken you ever did see? Let me know how you enjoyed it! Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbat!

Upside Down

Upside Down
One minute, you're standing with two feet on solid ground and everything is going more or less the way you want it to. The next minute, your entire world turns upside down; that's exactly what happened to me last week...

What do you do?

You'll get your answer, G-d willing, in today's emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem is entitled, "Upside Down." G-d willing, it will take place in the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7PM Israel time (12 noon EDT); the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. 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.  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 later this coming week on Lazer Beams.