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33 posts from October 2017

Rachel's Strength

Teddy plankGosh is that stuffed teddy bear strong. I'm a little jealous. He looks like he can hold a plank for much longer than I can. 

As much as I'd like to say that title is referring to yours truly, it's not. While it's true that I punch harder than David, I'll save the self-glorification for another time. Today is the yarzheit of Rachel Imeinu, otherwise known as Rachel our Matriarch.

She was one of the strongest female characters in the history of the werrrld, as one of my kids says. Go ahead say it. Werrrlld. It's the Israeli version of "world." Actually, maybe verrld might be more accurate. It's a strange phenomenon here - Israelis love to reverse the v and w of any English word. Maybe they do it on purpose just to confuse us and make us feel stupid. Here are a few examples, just for fun:

Vacuum = wacuum

Wipers = vipers

Wine = vine

Welcome = velcome

Am I talking Israeli or Polish? Now I'm starting to wonder. I mean, vonder. Oh, and I might as well mention the mystery of the additional h to every word that starts with a vowel. For example:

iPhone = hiPhone

in-laws = hin-laws

eggs = heggs 

eyesight = heyesight

elementary = helementary. Come to think of it, wouldn't hell-ementary be so much more accurate? Seriously, how much homework can we do? Don't we have other responsibilities besides doing our kids' homework that only Ph.D's can understand??

Oh, and last thing, I promise! How can I not mention the magical disappearing h? You know, the h that's supposed to be on a word but for some reason some Israeli decided to delete it?

helicopter = elicopter

hand = and. Actually, it's more like end, as in "give me your end." LOLOLOL!!!! 

homework = omework

happy = appy. Actually, it's more like eppy. AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT??? I'M SO EPPY FOR YOU!! 

Alrighty then... 

I meant, halrighty then...

Wow, was that a tangent. Let's get back to talking about one of the most famous Rachels in the world besides me - Rachel Immenu. She was - how do I put this - one crazy strong woman. I bet she could beat me in an arm wrestling contest. She probably wouldn't beat my friend Tizppy, though. AM I RIGHT, TZIPPY???

As one of our four matriarchs, Rachel had special super duper female powers that she passed on to us, her pathetic, misguided, and utterly lost progeny who can't seem to recognize right from wrong anymore. Just kidding. What I meant to say is that we're awesome.

Aside from the usual stories you can read about Mama Rachel, I'd like to share a different perspective on what kind of a woman she was. 

If I could sum up her character in one word, it would be STRONG. 

She had an incredible inner strength that enabled her to do the right thing even though it might have killed her, both figuratively and literally. Here are a few popular examples of Rachel's strength:

She let her sister Leah marry Jacob, just to save her from having to marry Esav. Even though she was in love with Jacob and he was in love with her, she decided to do the right thing and save her sister from being the wife of the love child of Harvey Weinstein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

She stole her father's idols as Jacob and crew were moving out. Even though Jacob cursed the one who had stolen Laban's idols, Rachel remained quiet and didn't beat Jacob with a frying pan for just having cursed the life out of her. This Rachel certainly would have.

She (supposedly) willingly shared her husband with three other wives, overcoming her natural jealousy for wanting her man all to herself. LADIES, I DON'T RECOMMEND YOU DO THIS!! But seriously, let's get real. What Jewish man would want more than one Jewish wife? The suicidal Jewish man, that's who. 

All in all, Rachel was one cool mama. 

And what's even cooler is that today, her yarzheit, is a great opportunity for us to access her strength. We all have the strength to get through serious challenges. The problem is we don't give ourselves enough of a chance. Rachel knew that doing the right thing was more important than making the situation work out how she wanted, and I think that clear realization gave her the superhuman strength to get through such difficult tests. 

Light a candle for this special woman and access your inner strength. Speaking of strength, I'm feeling kind of Hulkish these days. Maybe I'll challenge my friend Tzippy to an arm wrestling match. TZIPPY, IT'S ONNNNN!!! U'Z GOIN' DOWN!!! 

On second thought, I'll stick with the 14kg kettlebell swings...

~Racheli  


Emuna News Bulletin: At Least 12 Terrorists Killed in Gaza-Border Tunnel Destruction

Gaza Tunnel IDF photo
Above image - terrorist tunnel from Gaza, image courtesy IDF

The South of Israel is under high alert. Earlier today, IDF Southern Command engineers blew up a network of terrorist-infiltration tunnels that extended from Gaza deep into Israeli territory, less than a kilometer from Kibbutz Kissufim, in flagrant violation of Israel's sovereignty. The Arab media, which cares little about facts, is reporting two conflicting fairy tales - one, that Israeli jets attacked Gaza from the air; and two, that Israeli artillery attacked Gaza. Neither would have been effective in blowing up underground tunnels. Note that the destroyed tunnels were built after the ceasefire agreement of 2014 that prohibits them.

As of this writing, at least twelve terrorists have been killed, including senior commanders from the Iranian-supported Islamic Jihad and Hamas, when the heavily steel-and-concrete reinforced tunnels collapsed on them following the explosions, which were detonated from the Israeli side of the border. 

Meanwhile, the terrorists are threatening retaliation and are apparently evacuating border bases as they are known to do prior to attacking Israel. Israel has responded by positioning missile-defense batteries on the Gaza border.

The destroyed terrorist tunnels that penetrated Israeli territory and the consequent Arab threats of retaliation are exactly like a robber who enters your living room; when you catch him and beat the daylights out of him, he now threatens a lawsuit. Such is the warped concept of Jihadi justice.

We pray to Hashem that tonight will be a quiet one. May the holy memory of our matriarch Rachel intercede in our behalf, amen.


Mama Rochel's Yahrtzeit - Tonight and Tomorrow, 11 Cheshvan

Rachel's Tomb
Above: Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as it looked some 130 years ago

Tonight and tomorrow (Monday night Oct. 30 and Tuesday, 31 Oct., 2017) are Mama Rochel's yahrtzeit. In her merit, prayers are answered. Light a candle in her memory, and ask Hashem for whatever you need. Mama Rochel (Yiddish) aka Rachel Imenu (Hebrew) - our matriarch Rachel - always beseeches at the Heavenly Throne in behalf of her offspring, may her sacred memory intercede in our behalf, amen.


Hollywood's Judgment Day

Judgment Day in Hollywood
A day doesn't go by without more people coming forward and exposing the evil of Hollywood. "Variety", the magazine of the entertainment industry, writes that Hollywood's Judgment Day has arrived. They say that, "...the old methods that stars and top executives used to cover up their sins isn’t working. Their praetorian guards of lawyers and spin-makers, their penchant for paying hush money to victims and making them sign draconian nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from going public, can no longer buy silence. Hollywood’s veil of secrecy has been pierced, and such complicity and enabling may no longer be tolerated in a company town that has long protected its own..."

The closer we get to Moshiach, the more Hashem is calling in markers. People are now being held accountable. We clearly see that the sin city of Hollywood is no longer immune.

Sodom and Nineveh were ancient versions of "sin cities' with all the vice and lechery that you can imagine. Sodom was destroyed, but Nineveh was spared. What's the big difference between the two? Let's sharpen the question even more: the Midrash tells us that Hashem tried to spiritually awaken the Sodomites for 25 years to no avail. Nineveh, though, made a complete turnaround after hearing only 5 words from Jonah. Why did Nineveh listen to Jonah when Sodom wouldn't listen to anyone?

My answer to the above question appears in my feature article this week at Breslev Israel web magazine, entitled Sodom or Nineveh? It's lessons are ever so applicable and relevant today, so don't miss it.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - Finding the Spark of Good

Racheli Reckles - The Watch that Lived Twice 

Dr. Zev Ballen - Children of Prophets

Yehudit Channen - Smartly Dressed

Sunny Levy - When Couches Fly

Dovber Halevi - Sweet Erosion

Jennifer Woodward - A Miraculous Stroke

Enjoy, and have a lovely new week!


Attack or Restraint?

This week's Torah portion lesson merges with this week's Emuna News: the current tension between the USA and N. Korea is at crescendo level; what does this have to do with Abraham's war against the four kings? Enjoy this week's Torah portion and Emuna News analysis and have a joyful and peaceful Shabbat!


Nachlieli

Nachlieli
I love birds, especially the White Wagtail, known in Hebrew as the Nachlieli. Earlier this week, my brain felt like it was being crushed from all kinds of pressures and I was starting to feel down. I went out to talk to Hashem - the only solution - and asked Him to pick me up, pronto! Hashem answered me almost immediately. As I was walking home from that life-saving personal prayer session near the Lachish River east of Ashdod, a fauntless Nachlieli pranced right in front of me. Whenever I see one of these birds, my heart fills with joy. The Nachlieli I saw some time ago inspired a melody that appears on my Whispering Soul album - here's a taste: