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34 posts from September 2016

A Life of Kiddush Hashem

This morning I (Racheli) was driving to my Zumba class - you know, I really feel that I should get some kind of compensation for all of the free advertisement I'm giving Zumba. Anyhow, as I was driving, I passed a young man who had a very hard time walking. He had some type of handicap that didn't allow him to walk straight or put his feet in front of one another properly.

At that moment, along with feeling terribly sorry for him, can you imagine how grateful I felt for my legs and the rest of my body, that works perfectly? "Thank You, Hashem, that I can walk and run and jump and do any physical movement without pain or struggle!" I said. Well, my tailbone is still killing me after my fall earlier this week. But, other than that... I have tears in my eyes just thinking about him. Do you know what a high level of emuna it takes for a person like him, with a severe physical impairment, to walk around with a kippah and tzitzis on? 

This man, and everyone else with physical and mental handicaps, are spiritual light years ahead of us. Every second of their lives, they make a new kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of Hashem's name. How so? If we see someone in a wheelchair and right away thank Hashem that our legs work, that is a kiddush Hashem. If we see a person with mental disabilities and we thank Hashem for our miraculous brains, that is a kiddush Hashem.

I have a feeling that in the next world, these souls get a very special place in Gan Eden. If we knew what rewards they get for their incredible level of self-sacrifice, we would be jealous. But you know what? We don't need to wait for a disabled person to pass by us in order to thank Hashem. We should be thanking Hashem for everything, every moment that we possibly can! 

Thanking Hashem is the secret to bringing an end to all suffering! This year, may we speedily usher in the new era of lasting peace and health and every blessing, Amen! Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and blessed Shana Tova!

Teshuva Starts at Home

Hi all! It's Racheli, and I hope your week is off to a good start. If it's not, scroll down and read my post from yesterday. Rav Brody asked me to let you all know that he is already in Uman, and he is praying for every one of us. He sends all of you his warmest regards and wishes for a happy and healthy upcoming year. 

I also wanted to let you know about this week's issue on the Breslev Israel site, which you just can't miss, especially on the week before Rosh Hashana.

Don't miss Rav Arush's powerful article on what real teshuva is, in Teshuva Starts at Home.

I just gotta say that I'm so proud of myself for having figured out how to post a link without the impossibly long web address! Yay!

Does astrology have a place in Judaism? Rav Lazer Brody explains in Astrology and Atonement.

Why is guilt the ultimate self-sabotage? Find out in my article, Don't be Perfect.

Dennis Rosen explains the proper way to crown Hashem as King in You are the King.

David Perlow gives us Five Tips for Joy in Marriage. 

Dovber HaLevy proves that Hashem runs the show in Divine Personnel Management. 

Blessings for a wonderful week! 


My (Racheli) memory is so weird sometimes. Actually, the really weird thing is the associations I sometimes make between different thoughts and memories. Case in point: last week, I had what you would call, "One of those days." Sigh. Eye roll. I'm not very good with those little smiley icons. 

It started with me being woken up by my kids' screaming that there were cats in the backyard. Then they began screaming because they were killing each other. Then I tried to make a coffee, which I didn't get around to until like 11 am. Then, by the time I actually went to make the coffee, my hand hit the paper cup and spilled the hot water all over the counter. That's what I get for being lazy and trying to avoid doing more dishes. I'm so environmentally unfriendly sometimes. Finally, when I actually got to put the coffee in the paper (I'm very stubborn) cup again, I put almond milk in it by mistake. Yuck. I threw it out and had to start all over. Again.

Since my memory is so bad, I can't remember what happened the rest of the day, but I can safely assume there was quite a bit of fighting, threatening, screaming, laundry, etc. All in a good day's work, I say. So what does this have to do with the title of the post?

Our sages teach us that every difficulty is an atonement for something we did wrong. Okay, maybe not me, but definitely you guys out there. And for sure, my husband. Can't forget to leave him out, right? Every atonement brings us a necessary soul correction. Somehow, this thought made me remember Seth Green in a really silly commercial saying, "Cha-ching" when he was ringing up someone's order. Go figure.

So when you're experiencing "one of those days," you can also say "Cha-ching" every time you knock over a cup of hot water or fall smack on your tailbone during your Zumba class, like I did this morning. So much for being the Zumba Queen. But ain't no one gonna take my title from me that fast. You'z gonna have to come and get it. 

What's the vital lesson we need to keep with us during these last few days before Rosh Hashana? Every atonement is like money in the bank! Next time something goes wrong, instead of getting upset, say, "CHA-CHING!" in your most enthusiastic voice. Okay, I don't think I could do that. But if you can, please, let me know how you did it. Would you do it if I promised you that you would double your money? Well of course I can't do that, silly! 

So thank Hashem for every "cha-ching" He gives you this week. G-d willing, you'll see tremendous blessings because of it for the entire following year, and beyond!  


Emuna Outreach at the Hotspots

By Breslev Israel Staff

Outreach Jordan border

Where do you find Rabbi Lazer Brody before he left for the USA and Uman? He was in the hottest place in Israel, down on the Jordan border where daytime temperatures are reaching 111F. What's he doing? He's strengthening IDF soldiers in emuna.

Emuna Outreach is well-accustomed to hotspots, as you'll see in the following clip:

Emuna Outreach has grown tremendously, so much so that Rabbi Lazer Brody could no longer handle the entire organization on his own. But, as they say in Hebrew, the bitter has yielded the sweet. Emuna Outreach is now an integral part of Breslev Israel and the Chut Shel Chesed Institutions, under the auspices of Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a. Scroll down to read the whole story:

Above video: Emuna Outreach in action during the Gaza War two summers ago, 2014

Weapons won't guarantee a strong Israel; emuna will.

For nine years, from August of 2004 until July of 2013, Emuna Outreach was virtually a one-man operation. With the help of dedicated volunteers and supporters around the globe, Rabbi Brody did his utmost in spreading the concept of emuna - pure and simple faith in The Almighty - in places where it was needed most: in combat zones, in prisons and in hospitals.

Tirelessly, Rabbi Brody personally spent extensive time with soldiers of the IDF on all of Israel's borders, teaching them how emuna enables them to function better under extreme stress. He spent weekends away from home and family just to be with IDF soldiers on the Jordan and Lebanese borders.

He regularly visited the wounded in rehabilitation centers and prison inmates in the process of rebuilding their lives. To places where he couldn't be personally, such as among the US Forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan, he'd send care packages of emuna books and CDs. Emuna Outreach has also worked extensively with the Aleph Institute, spreading emuna both in the American military and in the US prison system.

If that's not enough, Emuna Outreach sponsored emuna-awareness programs for as varied segments of the population as senior-citizens, toddlers and members of the International Noahide community, reaching as varied places as the Noahide community in Singapore and the native Americans of Texas, Tennessee and northern Canada.

But the job just became too prodigious for one individual to handle. So, in July of 2013, Rabbi Brody turned to the Minister of Emuna himself, his beloved teacher and spiritual guide Rabbi Shalom Arush, and asked for help so that the spread of emuna would not stop, Heaven forbid! As a result, Breslev Israel and the Chut Shel Chesed Institutions, both under the auspices of Rabbi Arush, have since taken Emuna Outreach under their wing. No longer a one-man organization, Emuna Outreach began to spread emuna on an even greater scale, as you see in the above film clip.

Rabbi Brody today is exclusively employed by Breslev Israel and his work in Emuna Outreach is completely under the auspices of Rav Arush, Breslev Israel and the Chut Shel Chesed Institutions.

With Rosh Hashana only a week away, you can accumulate double merit for this awesome Day of Judgment. When you Donate to Emuna Outreach (recommended $180 per family, or as you can afford), Rav Shalom Arush will personally perform a pidyon nefesh (see video below) for you and your entire family. You gain a prodigious chunk of merit that insures a wonderful New Year and you become a full partner is spreading emuna around the globe. What's more, your generous support of Emuna Outreach is IRS-recognized and tax deductible.  As Rav Shalom Arush says, there is no greater mitzva.

Wrong Expectations

So a friend of mine (Racheli here) was telling me that she feels bad that she's not so into praying for long stretches of time and doing her "womanly" duties, such as baking challah, cooking, etc. Her comment made me think of my post from a few days ago, "High Expectations." 

Here's where I think many of us get a little confused. We all have greatness inside of us that has yet to come out. Hashem knows what we are capable of, and yes, we must believe in ourselves and our strengths. However, there can be a very fine line between being our very best and trying to be someone else. Somewhere along the line, we may lose sight of our strengths and instead focus on building other parts of ourselves that are really not top priority for us.

Take my friend, for example. She's highly in tune with others, very empathetic, has a background in addiction counseling, is a wonderful listener and is very encouraging. She can use her strengths to help others and at the same time, enjoy a successful and fulfilling career. Now I feel like I should get a commission for every new client.

So what if she doesn't like to pray for hours on end? And who said she has to bake challah every week? Sure, these things are great and very admirable. But, that's just not who she is. And that's totally okay.

Hashem has created each one of us with a certain set of strengths and priorities. He made us that way to help us achieve our God-given missions in life. Her mission is to help others; so why should she put extra pressure on herself to do something that's not enjoyable for her? As long as she's following a Torah-observant lifestyle, the extras are icing on the cake. 

Are there areas that you are pressuring yourselves into, just because you feel like that is what's expected of you? Then it's time to re-evaluate. What are your strengths? Your talents? Things that you truly enjoy that are productive? How can you best capitalize on them? Focusing on other areas when they are not necessary to your growth will only lead to disappointment, and that is an endless downward spiral. 

Talk it over with Hashem this Shabbat. I bet you'll come up with some wonderful insights about yourselves, and I'd love to hear them. Shabbat Shalom! 


Lishuashca- Shlomo & Eitan Katz

My beloved friend and soul brother Shlomo Katz puts chills up my spine whenever I hear him sing. His brother Eitan does the same. Put them together, and I feel like I'm in Gan Eden. Here, they sing "Lishuascha" - Hashem, we await Your salvation. Enjoy this exquisite niggun and have a lovely Shabbat!