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33 posts from March 2017

Parshat Vayikra: The Heroic Bava ben Bota

Our great spiritual leaders teach us that political correctness and truth have nothing to do with one another. Neither the Chafetz Chaim or the Steipler, both of saintly and blessed memory, gave a grain of thought to political expedience when they made Halachic decisions. Although the courageous and holy Bava Ben Bota was a student of Shammai, he bravely shunned “partisan interests” and admitted that the halacha was according to Hillel's opinion. Today's lesson is a must-see, because it's ever so relevant to our generation as well. Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!


If There's No Flour

Emuna Outreach Kimcha 5776
Our sages remind us of the obvious: "If there's no flour, there's no Torah." In like manner, if there's no flour for Passover, there's no matza.

Kimcha1Our esteemed and beloved Rav Shalom Arush, the head of the Chut Shel Chesed Yeshiva, Breslev Israel and Emuna Outreach, does everything in his power to make sure that needy families here in Israel have the necessary foodstuffs for Passover. What's the connection between distributing food for Passover and spreading emuna? Simple - when a needy family that has no idea how they'll handle the exorbitant expenses of Passover suddenly receives shmura matza, eggs, vegetables, wine, chickens and more, their emuna gets a tremendous boost.

Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa (Aramaic for "flour for Passover") Fund goes to putting food on the tables of worthy low-income families in Israel. We buy things in bulk and at wholesale prices, so that we get the most out of every dollar in our fund. And, as you see in the adjacent blurry photos from last night (it was late and we were flying, with so much work to do in such a short time), we have to hustle with so many worthy needy families to reach and so little time left until Passover.

Kimcha3This is a wonderful opportunity for you to "host" an entire family for Seder night, many of whom have six children and more. A minimum donation of $180 puts wine, shmura matza, vegetables, eggs, meat and/or poultry and everything else needed for Seder night on their table. This fulfills for you the two tremendous obligations of Kimcha D'Pischa, providing foodstuffs for the poor on Passover, and Kol Dichfin, opening up your home to the poor on Seder night. This is an easy way to fulfill Kol Dichfin, for when you sponsor a family's Seder night, it's the same as if you hosted them in your own home.

You can make your generous tax-deductable donation to Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Fund by clicking here. May Hashem bless you and yours with a truly happy and kosher Passover!


Garden of Wisdom, Lesson 21: Why Isn't the Clever One Happy?

The clever one shows us why he is unhappy with his life, no matter how much the light of success shines on him; this is a lesson for all of us to learn as well…

Congratulations to the Amselem family of Jerusalem who are this week's prizewinners. You'll hear details of how to participate in our weekly giveaway at the end of today's lesson.


Birkat Ha'ilanot: Blessing of the Trees

New beginning

Once a year, during the Hebrew month of Nissan, we have the special mitzva of making a blessing over (at least two) blossoming fruit trees. According to Kabbala, this blessing is deeply significant, and helps correct the soul that is reincarnated within the tree. That soul is forever beholding to the person who makes the blessing, for he or she has done a great favor in helping that soul attain its tikkun, or correction.

You have from now until Wednesday, April 26, 2017 to fulfill this wonderful mitzva. All you need are two blossoming fruit trees within reasonable distance of one another (i.e. that you can see both at the time of making the blessing). Since some poskim say that the blessing shouldn't be made on grafted trees, it's a good idea to look for wild fruit trees or trees like olives, pomegranates or date palms here in Israel.

For your convenience, here is the blessing,

In English: Blessed are You, Hashem our God, King of the Universe, who let nothing lack in His universe and created within it good creatures and good trees in order to give pleasure to human beings.

In Transliteration: Baruch ata Adonoi, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, she-lo chisar be-olamo klum v-vara vo beriyyot tovot ve-ilanot tovim lehanot bahem bnai Adam.

In Hebrew:  ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם שלא חסר בעולמו כלום וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובים להנות בהם בני אדם

May your Passover and upcoming summer be as fragrant as a citrus blossom! Now is the time for wonderful new beginnings. Every blessing, LB


The Joys of Pesach Cleaning

IMG_20170327_193503363 (1)

Oh, joy. The fun. The excitement. The unbelievable horror when you discover something like this hiding between your kid's bed and the wall. I'm disgusted beyond belief. I thought I ran a pretty clean house. Boy was I wrong! Admittedly, I didn't think to move my kids' beds every week, as that's just not done. Right? 

How I actually found this mess is what I want to talk about. I was changing one of my kids' bedsheets, when I noticed a cup wedged between the bed and the wall. Assuming it was an empty cup used for water, I quickly grabbed it. As soon as I did, I suddenly screamed as I watched old, gooey, gross, sludgy chocolate milk fly out of the cup and spill all over the side of the bed and down the wall. I was soooooo mad!!! 

I started screaming for my kid, who was old enough to know better than to leave half a cup of chocolate milk by his bed. He was also old enough to know that I don't allow food in the bedrooms, either. Yes. My kids are great listeners. So he grudgingly made his way over, not even paying attention to what I was screaming at him. This bed is a bunk bed, and the floor tiles aren't perfectly lined up (shocker,) so the bed gets stuck along one of the tiles when I try to move it back.

But what could I do? I moved the bed over and lo and behold, another shock awaited me. The entire length of the bed was lined with the garbage that you see above. How in the world could this happen?? 

So here's what I came away with. 

First, Pesach cleaning is awesome. While it's not technically necessary to go through all of your stuff and decide what needs to stay and what should go, this is usually done by most people. I think it's great because it gives us a chance to clear out all of the clutter, both physically and spiritually. Clutter actually clogs the spiritual pipes of abundance, so getting rid of junk is a must. And, it should be done more than once a year.

Second, I finally understood the importance of challenges. This particular challenge was to see if I could keep my explosive Iraqi reaction in check and to realize that it was a challenge given to me by Hashem. I'm proud to say I failed with flying colors! But, here's the best part. Challenges are there to bring out our internal junk; to show us who we really are inside. While on the surface I may be perfect, inside I still have a lot of junk to work on. Hashem was showing me that clear as day. 

Third, this incident made me realize just how important personal prayer is. Only through personal prayer can we expose what we really need to work on. There is no better way in my opinion. If we don't do personal prayer every day, we run the risk of our pile of garbage getting larger by the second, right under our noses - except we can't see it happening. 

Who knew a little garbage could be so profound?

Have a great day!

~Racheli


Happy 245th Birthday, Rebbe Nachman!

Cake1000candles

Tonight is Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and the 245th birthday of Rebbe Nachman of Brelsev, whom I credit with having saved not only my life, but the lives of my children and all (G-d willing) future generations from me and that husband of mine, who still can't seem to figure out which machine is the washer and which is the dryer, G-d bless him. Since I couldn't find a picture of a cake with 245 candles on it, I found the next best thing which is what looks to be like 100 candles on this edible monstrosity. Actually, the link says this cake has 1,000 candles on it. Do you think so? I think that the person who wrote that either needs an urgent eye exam or he needs to go back to first grade. I'm sure that you all would agree with me by saying that this is a totally insane idea by turning a cake into an explosive device. Maybe it's a Hamas birthday cake? Maybe instead of strawberry filling there's a bomb in the middle? I hope that all those terrorists blow themselves up. A-MEN.

This week, Rav Brody's talking about the number 70, and he says it's The Secret of Geula. While he makes some very insightful correlations between the number 70 and the Redemption, I'm too busy making connections between the number 70 and the horrifying realization that I probably won't be able to do Zumba like I do today. Will I need a cane? A walker with two tennis balls on the bottom? Oy, the horror! I cringe at the thought! I hope that the Mashiach will be here by then and we won't have to age anymore. Maybe 70 will be the new 30. Yeah, I can deal with that. I mean, why not? If people used to live for 800-900 years way back in the day, then 70 would have been, like, practically a newborn. 

Since it's Rebbe Nachman's birthday, I decided to celebrate it with an all-out carb fest. OMG, I feel so disgusting. Yesterday I ate SIX granola bars, tons of fruit, and these "chocolate" tea biscuits that you're supposed to dip in your tea I guess. They're called chocolate, but just because they're brown it doesn't mean they have any actual chocolate flavor. What a bummer. I'm totally grossed out. Yet, I still wanted to keep eating. So I'm in a bad mood because of it. 

Rav Arush is here to save the day, because he's telling me that if I had just had a little more spiritual sensitivity, I wouldn't be so prone to sinning because of my spiritual insensitivity. Well that made a whole 'lot of sense. But what he's really saying is that we've got to figure out where we're holding spiritually. Hashem is sending us challenges along our path of Finding Ourselves, because that's the only way we're gonna get it through our thick skulls that there are maybe one or two things about us that we need to change. Just one or two. What he really meant to say was that if I could just close my mouth for five minutes, I wouldn't feel like a blimp about to explode, because that's really what I feel like right now.

You know why I love Rebbe Nachman so much? Because he teaches that tomorrow is another day! I can start over tomorrow! Hashem is giving me another chance (hopefully) to resist my Evil Inclination and to eat like a normal human being, and not like three burly truck drivers stuffing their faces with double Whoppers at the rest stop restaurant in the middle of nowhere. I actually liked stopping at those rest stops on the Turnpike on the way to Disney World. I found them so incredibly exciting. I'm serious! 

Okay, husbands, listen up. My latest article is a must-read for every man that still believes he's a man and not a fairy princess that should really be living in her enchanted castle with her Prince Charming. Or is it Princess Charming? All this liberal gender identity crisis insanity is getting me so confused. And angry. Why do kids need to be taught to question their gender at age 8??? This world is completely crazy, I tell you! Anyhow, one husband wrote me wondering why his wife wasn't all into his smooth moves. Well, I gave Prince Charming a reality check, and it saved his marriage! It could make yours better, too! Could one of you please tell my Prince Charming to read this article??

So I always thought I was the queen of comebacks, like if some kid would call me stupid, so I'd say, "You're stupid!" For some reason, I haven't quite outgrown this stage, so even today if my husband teases me and says something to try to get my Iraqi Eyes to come out, I'll automatically turn it around on him: "You're wearing two different colored socks!" Take that, David. But now, I'm sad to say that Dennis Rosen has shown me that Hashem Loves Comebacks, but not the kind that I used to give. You mean there's another kind of comeback? 

Speaking of Iraqi, Pinney Wolman is obviously not Iraqi, because if he were, he would know that forgiveness is like a four letter word. So is cake, come to think of it. Pinney, kol hakavod for writing about Forgiveness and Humility. We could all use a little (or a lot) more of both. Except me, of course. Just wanted to make that clear.

Dr. Zev Ballen, one of our two incredible Emuna Therapists, shows us the power of Words that Fix.  He's explaining that talking to G-d is more than just a wonderful thing to do; it actually brings us out of the pre-verbal stage, where we're whining and complaining if things don't go our way. You mean there's another stage after that? OMG. I just realized that between my tantrum-style whining and juvenile comebacks, I may not be as mature as I thought. I'd better read this article AGAIN! 

Lori Steiner explains that even though our ancestors left Egypt, we're still stuck there in a spiritual sense. She gives us the Waze directions for the easiest, least congested Journey to Freedom. Lori, I love your article, and I'm wondering if you can write a sequel for the lovely ladies out there, called "Journey to Freedom II." It would discuss the exalted, invigorating feeling we would experience after finally seeing the entire house in order. The dishes would be cleaned, the laundry would be folded, the beds would be made, all the toys would be put away, and the toilet seats would be clean, dry, and in their proper position. I'm so ashamed to admit that this is what I fantasize about all the time. I need to get out more.

Rav Brody gives us an amazing connection between Rebbe Nachman, intellectual smarty-pants people, and Pesach in this special feature called Freedom from Nonsense. I could also use a little freedom from nonsense. Actually, I heard that the Ritz Carlton Spa in Herzeliya is offering a special Pre-Pesach "Freedom from Nonsense" massage/mani/pedi/facial package. I'd better book that asap!

Have a wonderful week! And don't forget - DUST IS NOT CHAMETZ!!!

~Racheli


The World Tikkun HaKlali: Are You In?

Tikkun Klali
Are you in? 

All of us here at the Beams are.

Tomorrow, March 27th 2017 (Rosh Chodesh Nissan) millions of people will synchronize their hearts in a global prayer rally for the benefit of the Jewish people and the entire world.

The Tikkun HaKlali is a powerful combination of 10 Psalms that brings healing to those who say it. The power of the Tikkun was known to select Kabbalists throughout the millennia. However, it was only revealed to the masses 200 years ago by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.

Now you can be part of this global movement, harnessing the power of this collective prayer with millions of people throughout the world.

All you have to do is set aside 15 minutes on March 27th @ 9:30 pm (GM+2 - Israel time) and join the multitude of people across the world reciting Tikkun HaKlali. The 10 Psalms are as follows: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150. The gathering will start at 9:00pm Uman time with various words of wisdom and blessings from prominent Rabbis. The Tikkun reciting will begin at 9:30pm.

Israel time will be 9:30 pm, New York 2:30 pm, and Los Angeles 11:30 am.

Here is a short video of Rav Shalom Arush shlit"a inviting us all to participate in this worldwide momentous event.