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39 posts from June 2017

Emuna Outreach with IDF in Hevron

Emuna Outreach loves to put smiles on the faces of our dedicated security forces. Yesterday, we visited Mishmar HaGvul (Border Patrol) in Hevron (top photo). When we strengthen our soldiers and policemen in emuna, we strengthen the defense of our beloved homeland - it's as simple as that. Before we left Hevron, we visited the Machpela Cave and prayed for each of our partners and their families by the holy gravesites of our matriarchs and patriarchs (bottom photo). Thanks so much to our partners for enabling us to distribute emuna books, CDs, booklets and plenty of smiles to the young people in the hotspots. Who are our partners? When you Donate to Emuna Outreach , you become a full partner with Rabbi Shalom Arush and I in spreading emuna around the world; what's more, you make a direct contribution to strengthening Israel. The rewards that are awaiting you are way beyond what you can possibly imagine. Shabbat Shalom!

LB with Border Police Hevron

Above: We love making our soldiers smile...

LB Machpela

Above: You are certainly in our prayers, cherished Friends of Emuna Outreach!

Pilates: A Central Role in Cardiac Rehabilitation

Pilates and heart
The distinguishing characteristic of the Pilates system of exercise is its requirement of steady and controlled breathing. This is an integral part of the Joseph Pilates concept of "contrology" - the science and art of coordinated body-mind-spirit development through natural movements. Inasmuch, Pilates moderates the strain, jerkiness an anaerobic extremes that are frequently associated with such western forms of strength-oriented exercise as sprinting, weightlifting and plyometrics while incorporating the calm, control and concentration that characterize the eastern approach to exercise, as seen in such forms as Yoga and Tai Chi. The result is the best of both worlds:  Strength development and coordination enhanced with power and grace.

As a rabbi, lecturer and spiritual guide who doubles as a fitness instructor and health coach, my life came to a dramatic halt exactly one year ago. After having performed a high-intensity interval kettlebell workout, I had apparently thrown my then-67-year-old heart into arrhythmia. A few days later, during wind sprints at maximum effort, my heart rate was clocking an alarming 215-220! I decided to have a stress test performed as soon as I could get an appointment at the sports cardiologist. The cardiologist didn't even complete the test; he called an ambulance and rushed me to the hospital. There, after a series of tests and chemical attempts to restore my heart's normal rhythm, I was informed that I have atrial fibrillation and that I'd have to be treated with Coumadin (warfarin) followed by electric cardioversion.

Having received vital info on the dangers of the conventional AFib treatment protocol from Racheli Reckles, my only hope for returning to a normal lifestyle was to opt for a natural remedy. With the blessing of my own rabbi and spiritual guide Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a, I consulted a chiropractor who is also a fitness and naturopathic specialist. He gave me iodine to strengthen my thyroid gland, magnesium for the heart and Ashwagandha for my adrenal gland. Together with a few adjustments to my diet, I was feeling much better. And, for fitness, he suggested Pilates.

The benefits of Pilates are enormous in recovering from atrial fibrillation. Experimenting on myself with careful monitoring, I compared the result of an intensive 30-minute Pilates routine that included 26 exercises to a resistance routine that included 4 circuits of deadlifts, goblet squats, renegade pushups and weighted lunges whereas each exercise was performed at weights that enabled me to do ten reps in order to avoid straining my heart and pushing myself into anaerobic mode. In addition to the superior overall post-workout feeling of the Pilates routine, the results – which repeated themselves several times, were dramatic as we see in the following table:



Resistance Routine

Total Time[1]

30 minutes

30 minutes

Kcal burned



HR (heart-rate) Average



HR (heart-rate) Max



In/Out zone[2] (minutes)

28 / 2

5 / 25

The above table clearly shows how the Pilates routine was so much gentler to my body, yet without sacrificing training effectiveness. After the Pilates routine, my core felt stronger and my posture dramatically improved. In addition, I felt more invigorated than after the resistance routine. With Pilates, there's virtually no chance of over-training, which is my dangerous athletic evil inclination and that of many peak-performance-seeking athletes. Consequently, as I have proven to myself, I would surely incorporate Pilates as the prime and preferred form of exercise in any cardiac rehabilitation program.

Even if your heart is 100% healthy, do yourself a favor and enroll in a Pilates course. It will do wonders for your posture and your core strength, and it's gentle on the body. You won't burn as many calories as you do in high-intensity training, but your injury level will drop to zilch. My blessings for your good health!

Lazer Brody, CPT, CHC


[1] Includes warmup and cooldown for resistance routine; warmup and cooldown were an intrinsic part of Pilates routine

[2] The InZone = my target zone of 55-80% HR Max, OutZone = >80% HR Max  

Living Within Your Means

Dry Bread
The message that King Solomon, wisest of all men who ever walked the face of the earth, is conveying is to live within your means, don't owe money to anyone and you'll sleep like a baby at night, even if the only thing you have for dinner is a glass of water and a dry piece of bread. On the other hand, those who live lavishly and throw the "Goodbye Columbus" and "Keeping up with the Goldbergs" weddings, drive fancy cars and live in fancy houses - yet they owe thousands (tens of, hundreds of, or more...) of dollars to everyone in town - don't have an ounce of inner peace. In the middle of their rib-steak dinners, creditors are phoning and texting nonstop. That's what King Solomon calls the "steaks of strife". Who needs that?

Hashem gives us everything we need to live within our means. When a person can't make ends meet, he or she should assess themselves as to whether they're spending money needlessly, buying things they don't need or just trying to keep up with the Jones's (or the Goldbergs). My esteemed and beloved teacher and spiritual guide Rav Shalom Arush says that thinking that Hashem will cover debts accumulated from living above one's means if false trust. The true manifestation of emuna is when we're pleased with our lot in life; that means living within our means.

Want it? Work for it!

Want it
The Children of Israel in the desert had the most phenomenal conditions imaginable – Hashem provided all their needs with no effort on their part. They learned Torah from Moses, yet they still fouled up repeatedly. Why? How? It doesn't make sense...

Don't miss this evening's vital emuna lesson and broadcast entitled "Want it? Work for it!", which will take place, G-d willing, 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.

Free Chicks


Like, I totally know what you're thinking. You're wondering what in the world kind of necklace I'm wearing. Well, I'm wondering the same thing. It's the midlife crisis, I tell you! I'm turning into a Charedi Gangsta. I'm gonna change my name to R-Kelly. Except kids really used to call me that in Junior High. Or was it High School? I can't remember. It's all a blur. But so is yesterday.

Isn't R-Kelly no longer with us? Don't you love how I said that so PC? I'm working on my tact and sensitivity. Don't want to offend anyone, you know. No one likes offensive chain-wearing, nagging old gangstas in a midlife crisis.

Speaking of crises, say hello to my little friend. He doesn't have a name yet, because I'm totally getting rid of him tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'll call him Lil' Chick. I would prefer to call him Lil' Black Chick, but some people might get offended. I don't know why, because he is black, and he's a chick. I just realized how funny that sounds. He's a chick. Must be a Liberal. If I called myself Big White Chick, would anyone get offended? Probably not anyone besides myself. 

So here's how LBC came into my life. Earlier today, my son called me from school asking me if he could bring home a chick that his Rabbi just gave him. I was like, "You ain't bringin' no chicks into my house, young man." He insisted and didn't back down, because he knows his mama's got a loud and nasty bark, but her bite resembles something like her grandma's dentures sitting in a cup of water overnight. 


I mean, what am I supposed to do with it? I don't live on a farm! A jungle, yes, but not a farm. Where is the chick supposed to walk? Where am I supposed to put him when I'm not home? Should I take him to Zumba with me? Do you think the music will be too loud? What am I supposed to DOOOOOO????

But, wait! I didn't even tell you the worst part. This chick is so smart, he figured out in about two seconds what a friar (sucker) I am. My son made a makeshift cage for him, and he didn't like it, so he started chirping so loud, I could swear he was screaming at me. So I took him out and held him close to me, and in no time he calmed down. So I put him back and whaddayaknow. Crying/screaming again. So I picked him back up.

Yeah, the chick won. I gave up. I ended up doing almost everything one-handed. See that picture up there? That's how I held LBC as I served the kids dinner, yelled at them to change their clothes, brush their teeth, and get in bed. I even broke up a few fights with one hand. When I absolutely had to use two hands, like to deal with the laundry, I put chicky in my lap close to my belly and actually leaned over him a bit, so my stomach would kind of smush him. He loved it so much, he fell asleep! And I got serious lower back pains from that.

I finally got him to go to sleep for the night by wrapping him cozily in a kitchen towel. Oh, I forgot to mention that I washed him the minute they brought him home. 

Do any of you in Israel want him? Any of you have a big backyard and lots of breadcrumbs? 

What's the point of all of this? Well, I have no idea! But here are two things I realized from this bizarre experience:

1) when Hashem wants you to have something, you'll get it, no matter how much you do or don't do to get it*

2) these days, things happen so suddenly, it's a little scary

3) I shouldn't write posts after 10:00 at night

*This doesn't mean that you shouldn't put forth your maximum effort if you want something! No loophole here for you lazy people out there!

So that's that. I hope I can get a decent night's sleep without worrying too much about whether I'll hear Lil' Chicky crying for me to hold him in the middle of the night. Because I just might do that. I would actually bring him to bed with me and cuddle him. I'm crazy like that.


Oh, and very important! Today is the yarzheit of two great Gedolim, The Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth. Scroll down to read Rav Brody's post about them, and don't forget to light a candle!

The Bittersweet 3rd Day of Tammuz

Our sages tell us that the death of tzaddikim is just as tragic as the breaking of the Ten Commandments tablets; they also teach us that the death of tzaddikim atones for all of Israel, just like Yom Kippur.

Today, 3 Tammuz, is the 23rd yahrtzeit of one of the greatest tzaddikim and lovers of every human that ever walked the earth - the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of saintly and blessed memory. And four years ago today, the Jewish people lost another prodigious tzaddik, Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth, of saintly and blessed memory, who taught the Jewish people, among other things, how to properly observe the Sabbath.

220px-Noyvirt4 רבי (Small)Both the Lubavitcher Rebbe (image, right) and Rabbi Neuwirth (image, left) had huge influences on my life. Exactly 30 years ago, I spent Shabbat Korach 5747 in Crown Heights with the Rebbe. I also had the privilege of learning Gemara with Rabbi Neuwirth for a year in the late 1980's, and several times served as his driver. Like the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Neuwirth was a profound scholar and a lover of every Jew. May their holy memories intervene in our behalf, amen!

Please light candles for: 

Menachem Mendel ben Levi Yitzchak (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, osb"m)

Yehoshua Yeshaya ben Aharon (Rav Neuwirth, osb"m)