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May 2017

34 posts from June 2017

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.


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)

A Beautiful People

A beautiful People
Some ten centuries ago, Rabbi Yehuda the Chassid wrote that the enemies of the Jews do not receive permission from Above to harm the Jews until one Jew harms another Jew. Do you realize what that means?

When a Jew says something bad about another Jew, he is literally putting a weapon in the hand of a terrorist. That's bad news.

The Gemara teaches that a good measure is 500 times stronger than a bad measure. In other words, when a Jew speaks favorably about another Jew, the benefit he invokes for the Jewish People is 500 times stronger than the damage done by the badmouth.

Our rabbis and spiritual guides should make an extreme effort to love every single Jew and find the good in him or her. Even when they are correcting our mistakes, the approach must be a total loving one. Read all about it in A Beautiful People, my feature article in this week's new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

In The Power and the Promise, Rav Shalom Arush writes how Rebbe Nachman instills us with the desire to rectify ourselves and to get close to Hashem. How does he do that? He gives us the power to believe in ourselves…

Racheli Reckles shows how doctors are extremely necessary and life-saving. Yet, you just have to know when to use them and when not to use them. She gives us great guidelines in The Doctor Dilemma.

Dr. Zev Ballen shows us how to differentiate between Psycho-babble and Truth.

Dennis Rosen defines Eyes of Holiness.

Yehudit Channen writes how some people feel like Second-Hand Souls.

For David Perlow, heroism means to Choose Life.

Lori Steiner writes about The Mirror Principle.

Enjoy, and blessings for a lovely new week!

Juha's Bullseye

No Bullseye
When I was a soldier, I didn't have much time to read. But when I did, I enjoyed reading international folklore.

Every nation has its anti-hero. In Yiddish literature, he's called shlemazel or Kuni Lemel. In Czechoslavakia, he's called Shveyk. In the classic The Good Soldier Shveyk  by Jaroslav Hashek (1923), Shveyk captures a hill and kills all the soldiers on it, only to find out that they were on his side. In Egypt, particularly in South Sinai, he's called Juha - Juha is definitely my favorite. In the IDF, we used to invent our own Juha stories. If somebody would flub-up on a maneuver (in a mission, there's no room for flubups), he'd get the title of "Juha" for a month until he bent over backwards to perform triple-good and rid himself of the stigma. At any rate, I could never get enough of Juha; he kept me laughing in situations where it was hard to smile, much less laugh. Juha is always funny, but there's deeper messages buried under his apparent stupidity. Here's a taste:

Juha was tired of everyone making fun of him and calling him stupid, so he decided to join the Egyptian Army. He figured that once he'd get a uniform, everyone would respect him. Juha.elderlyJuha went to the training base and tried to enlist. Everyone laughed at him - he even sat backwards on his donkey (see illustration at right of Juha at retirement age). He said, "Take me - I'm a sharpshooter." They gave him a rifle, and pointed him toward a target some 50 meters away. He pulled the trigger and the bullet hit a wall way off to the left of the target. Juha ran to the wall and painted a bullseye around the bullet hole. That's we call in IDF slang, "Juha's Bullseye" - it's not the real thing, bro, and it won't earn you your sharpshooter's badge...

Before we laugh, let's have a look at ourselves: how many of us live our lives just like Juha? Oh yes, the Juhas of this world provide lots of laughter up in the Heavenly Court...

If you don't want to be a Juha (don't ever call anybody that if you visit Egypt, Jordan or Lebanon, and certainly not in any Israeli Arab village or town), then today's emuna lesson and broadcast is an absolute must.

Don't miss this evening's eye-opening emuna lesson and broadcast entitled "Juha's Bullseye," 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.