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37 posts from December 2016

Rotten Ramens

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I bet you're probably wondering what in the world that is. If you're not, I worry for you. Well, as you can plainly see, it's a fork. A fork with dried up old ramen noodles on it. Now, you're probably wondering where I found this creation. Well, that's a no-brainer. It was on the floor in the back row of my junkmobile. My kids found it today as we came back from our disastrous outing at IKEA. Why is IKEA spelled in ALL CAPS? 

As I pulled up to our driveway, the kids were already halfway out of the car, hysterically laughing from their discovery. Here's a better view.

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OMG WHAT IS THAT?? I'm horrified. To find that moldy mess in my car?? Actually, I'm not really that surprised because my car really is a disaster. I just can't keep up with the kids bringing all kinds of food and snacks in the car, and of course none of them bother to take their snacks and wrappers out of the car. And my short-term memory is also horrendous, so I forget that there is a garbage dump in the backseat. And, I'm just so busy that I don't even have five minutes to waste going through the car. It's funny because I'm always cleaning up my house; but the car? Maybe twice a year. Maybe.

Here's one more angle, because I couldn't stop taking pictures of it because it was so disgusting.

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Now this is interesting. I bet you're wondering if I put that fork there so I could hold up the noodles without having to touch them. Absolutely. NOT! Whichever one of my kids ate this left the fork in the cup of noodles, and over the last several months (?!) they dried up in that position. Un-believable. 

Aside from feeling compelled to post this because it's so gross, I actually gained a little insight from these rotten ramens. I realized that our souls are also vulnerable to mold overgrowth of the spiritual sort. All of our bad deeds probably look this frightful on our souls. Oy, what if it looks even worse? 

Well, the good news is that Hashem gave us an easy way to keep our souls clean. It's called cheshbon nefesh, or daily accounting. Every day, we're advised to go over all of our deeds, both good and not-so-good. Then, we're supposed to make teshuva (repent) for them. If we've hurt someone else, we need to ask forgiveness from them.

This way, our souls are cleaned off, and we don't risk getting toxic mold buildup and harsh judgments as a result. The judgments literally do the dirty work for us, cleaning us up because we didn't do it first through our daily teshuva.

So, don't delay! Keep your souls sparkling and fresh with your daily spiritual cleanup! Doesn't that sound like a toothpast commercial?

And just so we don't end on a sour note, here's something sweet I made tonight!

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It's a hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick and some apple slices in it. And, oh yeah, it's got a splash of bourbon in it, because I've had a rough day. But really, the bourbon gives this drink an awesome kick. If you want the recipe, send me a comment and I'll happily give it to you.

Wishing you all a Chodesh Tov, Chanukah Sameach, and a big Shabbat Shalom!

~Racheli


Days of Gratitude

No part of the Torah, including all Jewish festivals and holidays, will ever become discontinued or nullified, for the Torah is eternal. If so, why did our Sages promise that the Chanukah will never be abolished?

You're are cordially invited to join us in the Chut Shel Chesed English-language Kollel to see and hear my Chanuka message to our students there, where I answer the above question and more. Enjoy - Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanuka!


No Knife in Israel's Back

Back Stabber
Our good friend Menachem from Crown Heights writes, "Dear Rabbi Lazer, somebody in America should apologize for the knife that Kerry put in Israel's back and for Obama's sellout of our best friend..."

Menachem, nobody put a knife in Israel's back, because we never turned our backs on Barack Hussein Obama or on John (al telech imi b-)Kerry. Our "Emuna News" department here at the Beams, more than eight and a half years ago in an op-ed entitled The Rise of Mister V - four months before the 2008 election - said that Obama would win the election and that he'd be the pits for Israel. Way back then, we said categorically that he'd cave into Iran and why.

And, as far as his unholy and impure Kerry in the unholy and impure State Department goes, we never turned our back on him either. Over three years ago in an article entitled Kerry for Kerry, we wrote that Kerry (the word in Hebrew for sinister is kerry - it also means rebellious or spiritually impure) would become this generation's Neville Chamberlain.

Here are a few Emuna-News spiritual facts:

  1. Obama's meteoric rise to power began on July 27th, 2004; then, the freshman Senatorial candidate Barack Obama spoke to delegates during the Democratic National Convention in Boston.  Some call it "The Speech", a 17 minute star-making turn.  Obama walked on stage an unknown, and walked off as a star. Four months after the convention, Obama won the U.S. Senate seat in a landslide. Now hear this: July 27th, 2004 was the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, "Tisha B'Av." This is a perpetual day of calamity for the Jewish people when among other disasters, both Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed.
  2. The USA, represented by Kerry, initially signed the appeasement agreement with Iran on July 5, 2015 - that day was the 17th of Tammuz, the beginning of the notorious Three-Weeks period that culminates in Tisha B'Av.

What do we learn from this? Obama and Kerry, like all the other tyrants, will soon be forgotten. But, as much as we wish success to President-elect Trump, we cannot afford to put any trust in flesh-and-blood. Both Jews and non-Jews must trust in G-d alone. Hashem is waiting patiently for us to make teshuva and strengthen ourselves in emuna, but the sand is quickly running out of the hourglass. Our activism right now should be spiritual only; our fight is against the darkness of evil by spreading emuna far and wide.

Don't worry - lies are short-lived. Soon, very soon, the world will know the truth. We pray for and yearn for that day.


Garden of Wisdom, Lesson #10: The Disadvantage is the Advantage

In today's lesson, we learn Chapter One of the Garden of Wisdom, "The Disadvantage is the Advantage," after having completed Rebbe Nachman's tale of the Clever One and the Simple One last week. 

If you're new to this series, designed for the whole family, you can find earlier lessons at this link. Enjoy! Also, send your letters and comments (and those of your children) to me at rabbilazer(at)breslev.co.il, and you just might win won of our weekly prizes. Don't forget to include your mailing address in the letter, so that if you win, we'll know where to send the prize to.


Moshe Rabbenu and NASA

Secrets of the Universe

The ancient Greeks, believers of imbecilic idolatry and totally immersed in the pursuit of their lusts and bodily appetites, wanted us to be like them. When they conquered ancient Judea, they outlawed the learning of Torah, trying to force our people to learn in their academies. The Maccabees, who had no desire to relinquish their holiness or their supremacy of wisdom, fought back, despite the fact that over 90% of the Jewish population turned to Hellenism.

The struggle of Chanuka continues to this day. With the "teshuva" movement, so many people are worried that their sons prefer Torah study in Yeshiva to the pursuit of "Hellenistic" intellectual disciplines in university. Be proud and happy, dear parents, and please don't worry anymore. On the other hand, many people who were born into the Torah world succumb to outside propaganda and pressure, thinking that people in the universities know something that our sages of the Talmud didn't know. They'd be well-advised to begin taking their Torah-learning seriously. Here's why:

Hashem taught Moshe Rabbenu on Mount Sinai the secrets of the universe, including astronomy and astrophysics. NASA is over 3,300 years behind Moshe Rabbenu; thanks to their advanced technological equipment, they're only beginning to learn what Moshe Rabbenu knew way back then. And, Moshe Rabbenu didn't have satellites, astrophotography or atomic clocks - he didn't need them.

My wonderful friends and colleagues at Israel National News have made a beautiful sanctification of Hashem's name by comparing NASA's latest research on the lunar cycle to what our sages in Talmud have known for the past thousands of years:

The Talmud states that the lunar cycle spans ‘29.5 days and 793 fractions of an hour’. In Talmudic terms, the hour is divided into 1080 parts.

793/1080 = 0.734259 hours.

0.734259/24 = 0.03059 days.

29.5 days + 0.03059 days  =  29.53059 days for the moon to travel around Earth.

NASA Research concluded that the lunar cycle is 29.530588 days, two 1/1000ths of a second short of the Talmudic figure. More advanced research in Berlin came to a figure of 29.530589 days, only one thousandth of a second short of the Talmudic figure.

The Sinai tradition of the span of the lunar cycle is thus corroborated by figures reached via advanced satellites and atomic clocks.

Put down the astronomy book and start learning Tractate Rosh Hashana, the Rambam's laws of the new moon, and the Tiferet Yisroel's commentary on Mishnayot. If you're looking for a degree, go to university; if you're looking for wisdom, go to the Torah. Happy Chanuka!


UN Resolution 2334: The Height of Hypocrisy vs. the Light of Truth

UN 2334
On the eve of Chanuka, the UN passed the Obama-initiated Resolution 2334 that delegitimizes Israel's ownership of the Western Wall remnant of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, our patriarch's and matriarch's graves in Maarat Machpela in Hevron, Joseph's gravesite in Shechem, the site of our Holy Tabernacle in Shiloh and all Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel beyond the pre-1967 borders.

Everything Hashem does turns out for the very best. Ever since Resolution 2334 passed, it has not stopped raining in Israel after a long and difficult drought.

Since the dawn of our people's history, we've suffered from two types of enemies - the tyrants from the outside and the self-deprecating segment of our population from within. Chanuka teaches that miraculously, we always overcome both. This time is no exception.

I want to add one thing: how the USA refused to veto a resolution whose preamble states the unacceptability of acquiring territory by force is an insult to the intelligence of any normal human being. In case anyone has forgotten, our Holy Land's borders and the Almighty's granting of it to us are clearly stated in the Torah. Not so is the case of the entire USA. In 1967 (what a coincidence, huh? No, it's Hashem laughing ahead of time), William C. Sturtevant of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC drew a map (below - click on it to see it in enlarged size) showing how the entire USA belongs to the Native American Tribes, who were brutally and mercilessly forced out of their tribal lands. According to 2334, all of today's USA is one big illegal settlement. Oh, and in case you didn't know, the White House is built on land forcibly taken from the Powhatan Native Americans. See Sturtevant's map below and have a continued Happy Chanuka basking in the lights of truth.

  Smithsonian Map Native American tribes USA


The Latkes Lady

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Awww, yeah.... don't those look goo-oo-ood? Mmm, mmm! 

I've decided that I can't look at another donut. Maybe tomorrow I'll change my mind. But as of today, I am officially known as The Latkes Lady. As you can see, these are nacho average latkes. As in, they're nacho latkes. Say wha'? That's right. I was on a mission to find out how to make baked latkes, which in fact you can! The baked ones are in the pan in the background. And during my quest, David, my online research gopher, found a recipe for cheddar cheese jalapeno latkes. I'm not sure how to type the n with the little squiggly line on top of it, so you'll have to deal with the English accent. 

Since I don't have a dairy oven aside from my microscopic nano-toaster, I decided to draw on my reserve brain cells and come up with the ingenious idea of using my extra-large sandwich grill toaster thing. I lined the thing with a sheet of wax paper on the bottom, put six of these little guys in there, and then smushed the life out of them with another sheet of wax paper on the top. It took a long time, but boy, did these come out dee-lish-us!

To top it off I loaded them up with some more shredded cheddar, jalapenos, black olives, sour cream, and a few actual real, overpriced, imported blue corn tortilla chips. The non-Spanish speakers out there pronounce tortilla like this: tor-ti-la. Aye, Padre. It used to hurt my ears to hear an American try to speak Spanish with an American accent when I was living in Miami.

So I'm rambling here, because I'm tired and I haven't been to Zumba since last Thursday. Thank G-d I'm feeling better, but my little boyfriend now has a fever. I'm having serious withdrawal. My triceps are gettin' jiggly with it.

Speaking of withdrawal, it turns out that hubby loves country music. He likes to pretend like he can sing, and makes those drawls with the words. Isn't it weird how when you say a word too many times it starts to sound really strange? Drawl. Draaawwwwllllll. Strange.

Tonight, my dear friend Rebbetzin Channen and her husband came over for dinner. She knows I like funny stuff, so she brought over this crazy list of funny country music song titles. I thought I'd share a few with you so we can all enjoy a virtual laugh together over many time zones. I'm desperately trying to find some sort of spiritual something to connect these song titles with, and luckily for me, I got it! Rebbe Nachman says, "Mitzvah gedola lehiyot b'simcha!" It is a great mitzvah to be happy! Joy is the foundation of every blessing, so if you're happy no matter what, Hashem will give you plenty of reasons to be happy! So without further ado... Smile!

-How can I miss you if you won't go away?

-They may put me in prison but they can't stop my face from breakin' out

-Mama get a hammer, there's a fly on Daddy's head

-If you really loved me, you'd leave

-If I ain't got it, you don't need it (Husbands, don't you dare use this line on your wives)

-You're the reason our babies are so ugly (Wives, don't you dare use this line on your husbands)

-I'm so miserable without you, it's like having you here

-Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way

-You ain't much fun since I quit drinkin'

-The next time you throw that frying pan my face ain't gonna be there (I think my husband wrote this one) 

Wishing you a continued Chanukah Sameach! 

 ~Racheli