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41 posts from February 2018

The Priceless Moment

Here's a special message not only for Adar, but for life:

Important Reminder: Rabbi Shalom Arush can be your shaliach (representative) in fulfilling the mitzvoth of Zecher Machtzit Hashekel (commemoration of the mitzva of giving the half shekel, customarily done on the afternoon of the Fast of Esther, today) and Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor) which will be given tomorrow on the day of Purim. Simply Donate to Emuna Outreach Rabbi Arush will make sure that the money will be distributed to the poor right on time. An easy fast and a Happy Purim!


Garden of Wisdom Lesson #53: Never Satisfied

In this week's lesson, we see how everything the Clever One did was tremendously successful; yet, he was never happy or satisfied. What's wrong with him?

Important Reminder: Rabbi Shalom Arush can be your shaliach (representative) in fulfilling the mitzvoth of Zecher Machtzit Hashekel (commemoration of the mitzva of giving the half shekel, customarily done on the afternoon of the Fast of Esther, today) and Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor) which will be given tomorrow on the day of Purim. Simply Donate to Emuna Outreach Rabbi Arush will make sure that the money will be distributed to the poor right on time. An easy fast and a Happy Purim!


Drinking Wine on Purim

Achashverosh
Remember, we drink red wine on Purim not to get drunk, Heaven forbid, but because our sages tell us to. To get the true benefit of our wine-drinking, we must pray before every glass we drink. If you do, you can drink a whole bottle of red wine without getting drunk. Remember, the mitzvah is to drink red wine, not whiskey, vodka or anything else.

Use the following prayers, which you can download for your convenience:

Rav Shalom Arush's Prayer Before Drinking each Glass of Wine:

English - עברית

Happy Purim!

Important Notice: Rabbi Shalom Arush can be your shaliach (representative) in fulfilling the mitzvoth of Zecher Machtzit Hashekel (commemoration of the mitzva of giving the half shekel) and Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor) on the day of Purim. Simply Donate to Emuna Outreach during the coming days before Purim and Rabbi Arush will make sure that the money will be distributed on the day of Purim.

And don't forget to scroll down to catch Racheli's post below! 


Holy Hamantashen, Batman! It's PURIM!!

Photo from Racheli Reckles (31)

Check out my cute little Natan, a.k.a. BATYAM! 

This is a BIG week for me - and not just because my kids are going to be home until Sunday (G-d help me.)

Today, the 12th of Adar, is my Nachman's 6th birthday! HOORAY! And then, of course, it's Purim! HOORAY!! And then, on the 18th of Adar, it's my little Batyam's 4th birthday! HOOOOO to the RAYYYY!!

I can't say for sure that I'm going to be sick of eating birthday cake and hamantashen (those little triangular cookies that are supposed to resemble Haman's ears.) 

You know the story, right? Haman was famous for his triangle-looking pointy ears that were so full of wax, they were oozing out globs and globs of wax. Seriously. It's a shame q-tips weren't invented back then. Maybe he wouldn't have been so bitter. But then again, would his ears be so famous if they had been clean? And shaped like human ears? 

Was Haman really an elf?

Such deep questions stem from a lack of sleep and depleted of brain power due to having spent the last 8 hours wrapping 150 professional-looking Purim baskets. 

Okay, I'll try to be serious for a second. But do you really want me to??

Obviously one of the most funnest, awesomest parts of Purim is that we get to put on costumes. I mean kids. And men. Unfortunately I don't see too many women around here dressing up. But that ain't gonna stop me! I'm getting dressed up as something - just not sure what.

After thinking about costumes for half a second, I suddenly realized that every day is Purim. 

Not that we get drunk every day, hopefully... But that we each wear costumes and masks every single day.

You know what? 

We're a bunch of fakes. 

Fake smiles, fake hello's, fake concern, fake attention, fake friends on Facebook, fake friends in real life, OMG the entire world is just one big ball of FAKE.

Interestingly, the fake reality of Facebook is probably where most people get real. They feel safe behind a screen, knowing that most of the people don't know who they are, so they take off the mask and let the nasty, self-righteous, resentful person that's hiding underneath all the fakeness come out in all his glory. Hence, the incredible amounts of insults and all that good stuff.

Now there's a lot to be said for being fake. Sometimes politeness and common courtesy are preferable to getting a piece of someone's mind. It's good to have a filter. Wish I had one of those. But they don't sell them here in the Middle East, because everyone here just says what they want with ZERO filter. 

It's part of the charm of the locals, I guess. LOLOLOLOL

Even this beautiful world that Hashem created for us to enjoy, as real as it feels, is fake. It's on the lowest level of reality. The spiritual world is the real world, but we can't experience it, so we can't really know it. And that's okay! Just the awareness that this world is not the Ultimate should be enough to help keep us from getting too involved in the fakeness. 

So what's the answer to dealing with the fakeness (and globs of wax-filled ears)? 

BALANCE.

Rebbe Nachman says life is like a narrow bridge. It's not easy to find balance in life. But again, that's okay! It's one of the main things we're supposed to work on - how to balance the spiritual and physical worlds. Not easy!

Purim is a good reminder that the world really is a stage and everyone's an actor. Good call, Shakespeare. Hope he wasn't anti-Semitic. 

Remember: sometimes fake is good, and sometimes it's not. 

How ridiculously profound. 

Have a wonderful, safe, and delicious Purim! 

And for G-d's sake, don't drink and drive! Let your poor wife who isn't allowed to dress in costume or drink be the designated driver. I'm sure she'll really appreciate that.

~Racheli

Oh, and a very important p.s. from Rav Brody! 

Important Notice: Rabbi Shalom Arush can be your shaliach (representative) in fulfilling the mitzvoth of Zecher Machtzit Hashekel (commemoration of the mitzva of giving the half shekel) and Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor) on the day of Purim. Simply Donate to Emuna Outreach during the coming days before Purim and Rabbi Arush will make sure that the money will be distributed on the day of Purim. 


Purim: Hashem's Mercy

Megilla
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches (Likutei Moharan I:64) that Hashem created the world in order to reveal His mercy, because if He hadn’t created the world, He would have no one to whom He could reveal His mercy.

What do we learn from Rebbe Nachman’s teaching? We come to the conclusion that if Hashem created the world and all the creations therein in order to reveal His mercy – and you and I are His creations – then Hashem created us in order to have mercy on us and to show us His mercy.

With this in mind, we all must tell ourselves:

1) Hashem created me in order to have mercy on me and to show me His mercy;

2) Everything that happens in my life from A to Z is a result of Hashem’s mercy on me.

3) Since everything Hashem does is mercy for me, I have to thank Him for everything that happens in my life.

That's what Purim is all about - Hashem does fantastic miracles and saves our entire nation from annihilation, not because we deserve it, but just to show us His mercy. May Hashem perform unfathomable miracles for us this Purim, which is this coming Wednesday night and Thursday (Thursday night and Friday in Jerusalem) and may we all rejoice on this exalted and holy day!

Guide for the Purim-Perplexed: To make life easy for our readers, especially those who are newcomers to observant Judaism, the Beams has prepared a day-to-day guide for celebrating the joyous holiday of Purim. Click here for to see your day by day and mitzva by mitzva guide, which is easy to read and clear to understand.


Off-the-Derech Youth

Off the Derech
The most painful problem in the Jewish world today is the "Off the Derech" (off the path, at risk) youth who grew up in "religious" homes yet ultimately forsook observant Judaism. Without the Torah, mitzvoth and especially emuna to protect them, they lose all spiritual strength and are quickly swallowed up in the riptide of assimilation.

My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit”a writes repeatedly in his classic The Garden of Education that education of a child begins with the parent's educating him/herself. Children not only mirror their parents but tend to amplify parental traits. In other words, when a parent makes compromises in Halacha or in any aspect of Jewish observance, children will continue the compromise; like the proverbial snowball at the top of the hill, once it begins rolling downward, it becomes a dangerous avalanche. We know how it starts, but we don't know how it will end…

On the other hand, when parents strengthen themselves in Jewish observance, especially emuna, children will become doubly strong. This is a predominant theme in the Megilla of Esther, as you'll see in The Non-Negotiable Knee, my feature article in this week's Purim issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - The Gratitude Notebook

Dr. Zev Ballen - The Power of Pretending

Racheli Reckles - The Coffee Snob

Yehudit Channen - Unsettled Settler

Dennis Rosen - No Prayer Left Behind

Lori Steiner - The Power of a Mitzva

Dovber Halevi - War on Pleasure 

Important Notice: Rabbi Shalom Arush can be your shaliach (representative) in fulfilling the mitzvoth of Zecher Machtzit Hashekel (commemoration of the mitzva of giving the half shekel) and Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor) on the day of Purim. Simply Donate to Emuna Outreach during the coming days before Purim and Rabbi Arush will make sure that the money will be distributed on the day of Purim.

Blessings for a fantastic new week and glee-filled Purim preparations!