Previous month:
November 2017
Next month:
January 2018

32 posts from December 2017

The Path to Inner Peace

Shavua Tov! Turmoil surrounds us both in Israel and abroad. If it's not Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas on our borders, it's unpaid bills, financial pressures or family issues. Where can a person go for a bit of sanity and inner peace? Certainly not to logic or current events at face value; here's where to find the rarest commodity in the world - inner peace:

10 Teveth: Rebbe Natan's Yahrtzeit in Pictures

Today, 10 Teveth, 5778, is Rebbe Natan of Breslev's 173rd yahrtzeit.

RN 1
Image 1, above: Praying by the holy gravesite of Rebbe Natan Sternhartz, 1780-1845, known as "Rebbe Natan (Nosson in Yiddish) of Breslev", Rebbe Nachman's prime disciple, who wrote down all of Rebbe Nachman's teachings. Today, 10 Teveth, is his "yahrtzeit", the anniversary of his passing from the physical world. The gravesite is located in Breslev, Ukraine.

RN 2
Image 2, above: Rebbe Natan's gravesite, outside view.

Image 3, above: The Bugg River and the view of the Ukrainian countryside from Rebbe Natan's gravesite in Breslev, Ukraine.

Image 4, above: Personal prayer along the banks of the Bugg River, at the same exact spot where Rebbe Natan would spend hours pouring his heart out to Hashem.

May Rebbe Natan's holy and immortal soul intervene in our behalf, amen!

Path of Inner Peace

Path of Inner Peace
I looked through several hundred stock photos with no avail. I couldn't find the exact one that properly represents the mood and message I wanted to convey until I finally found the one you see above. There's just one problem with it - it's not real, it's doctored and photoshopped all over the place.

We all envision the dream escape where we lavish in the light of inner peace. But, like the photo above, it's just not real. There is no such geographical place that assures long-term inner peace. The tranquil path in the pasture might be ever so soothing today, but tomorrow, it's hit with a hurricane and 102 MPH winds.

Maybe there's no geographical place of inner peace, but there sure is a place like that in the mind, which anyone can find, no matter what turmoil is going on around you. This evening's lesson will take us there...

Join us for today's (Wednesday) Emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "The Path of Inner Peace," 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; 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.


Take Care of Yourself!


I LOVE this little boy!!! 

Of course I love my other kids too (especially when they're asleep or at school,) but they hate it when I sneak pictures of them. This one hasn't yet put up a fight. Soon enough... 

So you might or might not be wondering what a face full of spaghetti has to do with emuna. To be honest, not much. But it does have to do with eating, which is kind of related to what I wanted to write about today, which is related to emuna. It's like six degrees of emuna. I can connect all kinds of dots. It's a talent.

I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed Chanukah, but I'm relieved that it's over. Isn't that horrible to say? YES! I admit it. Actually, I'm not happy that Chanukah the holiday is over. I'm happy that the kids are back in school and life is getting back to my usual routine of absolute craziness. You parents know what it's like to be stuck at home with all the kids for weeks at a time. It certainly ain't no vacation, and the kids just want to eat and be entertained all day long, and I'z be like, "Go find yourself a friend, boy!"

The hardest part of Chanukah was not being able to go to the gym. Hold up! I know that sounds very vain and self-centered. 

But here's my point: I don't take care of my body for vain reasons. I'm not out to win a Miss Zumba Israel contest or anything like that. However! I very much enjoy the feeling that I get from exercising. I feel strong, energized, empowered, and, um, all muscular and stuff.

Aside from feeling great physically, I also get a natural high that lasts for many hours after my workout. It somehow magically disappears when all the kids get home and start pulling me in 80 different directions, but until then, I'm as happy as a little kid in Disney World. 

Along with the endorphin rush comes the incredible stress relief. A good workout does wonders for releasing all sorts of tension and stress, especially the stuff that we're worried about without even realizing it.

People, especially you busy moms out there, there's no reason you can't exercise at least once, if not twice a week. Don't give me the excuse that you have no time. It's valid, but sorry, it ain't gonna fly. No one has time these days. And don't give me the terrible, INvalid excuse that you're too focused on your spirituality to exercise. WRONG ANSWER!

I see tons of people (literally tons) running from this Torah lesson to that prayer service, and another Tehillim group or something like that. Yet many of them eat terrible diets and get their exercise chasing the bus or panting their way up the stairs. 

My point is that spirituality doesn't mean you have to reject your physical existence! This is done on so many levels, more of which I will get into at another time. But for the meantime, I'd like to get you motivated to start taking better care of yourselves. 

It's not selfish to set aside a half hour to an hour a day to work out. It's life-saving! Especially with the terrible diets we eat, loaded with simple carbs, sweets, and too much dairy, the least we can do is try to counter the effects of our slow suicide by exercising. 

All you moms out there, I can't stress this enough. Join a gym and commit to going twice a week. Just do it! Don't worry about logistics to the point where you talk yourself out of it. Ask Hashem to help you figure it out, for the sake of your health, your sanity, and your marital peace, and I'm sure He'll be happy to oblige! 

I have to say that I'm proud of the women in my gym. A large percentage of them are Orthodox, and yes, they don't yet know what they're doing. But they're THERE! They've committed to making a positive change in themselves, not just for their sake, but for the sake of their husbands and children. And that's the hardest thing to do. Learning how to lift weights is the easy part.

If a mother of eight can take an hour out of her day, then believe me, you can do it. Unless you have nine children. That might be a little bit harder. 

This week, I'm asking TEN of you to take the first step and join a gym. I can't believe how much my life has improved just from getting in shape. I'm not only stronger. I have more energy, mental clarity, better focus, and more self-confidence. And all this and more gets absorbed by my family.

Ultimately, a happier, healthier you will have a stronger, deeper, and more satisfying connection with Hashem than you've ever had before. And a stronger connection with Hashem means stronger emuna. BOOYAH! 

If you're one of the ten that will commit to getting in shape, send me a comment below and we'll keep in touch! I'm excited for all of us to grow together and create real, lasting physical and spiritual changes! 

Have a wonderful, emuna-filled, pasta-free day!