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38 posts from June 2018

Parshat Balak: Bilaam's Donkey

In his lust for money, prestige and power, Bilaam wouldn't listen to anyone, not even Hashem. Hashem therefore opened the mouth of Bilaam's donkey, something the evil soothsayer could no longer ignore. What does all this have to do with a person's marital relations? If you care about your marriage, you must see this:

Shabbat Shalom!


Blood Moon: Total Lunar Eclipse in Israel, July 27-28, 2018

Blood Moon July 2018
Here is exciting news that is closely related to the imminent Geula, Israel's full redemption, may it come soon and peacefully, amen:

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Israel will be at the center of a total lunar eclipse, the longest of the century, which will take place on July 27-28, 2018, or 15-16 Av, 5778 on the Hebrew calendar. This is an amazing occurrence that coincides with Isaiah's prophecy, as follows:

When referring  to the Geula, the full and final redemption of the Jewish People, Isaiah the Prophet says in the Name of Hashem, "B'ito, In its time, achishena, I shall hasten it" (Isaiah 60:22). Rashi explains that if the Jews so merit, the Geula will be hastened; if they don't merit, it will come anyway in its appointed time. My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush explained to me that a "hastened" redemption will be a merciful and joyous redemption, whereas an "in its time" redemption is liable to be one of wars and strife, Heaven forbid. 

Succa 29a
The Gemara (photocopied, above) in tractate Succah 29a tells us that a Blood-moon lunar eclipse is not a good sign for Israel, especially when it is seen only here in the east and not in the west as the July 27-28 lunar eclipse will be. Yet, the Gemara in tractate Taanit 26b tells us that the 15th of Av (this year, Friday, July 27, 2018) is the best day of the year for the Jewish People. What's more, Saturday, July 28, 2018 is "Shabbat Nachamu" this year, the Sabbath of consolation, when Hashem consoles His people the Shabbat following the 9th of Av.

So what do we expect? Difficult tidings like the Gemara in tractate Succa tells us or good tidings like the Gemara in tractate Taanit tells us? The continuation of the Gemara in Succa answers that question and says: "When the Jews perform the will of Hashem, they need not worry about celestial omens. Thus says Hashem, 'Do not be frightened by the signs of the heavens' (Jeremiah 10:2)." 

If we all do teshuva the best we can and strengthen ourselves in emuna, then there won't be a thing to worry about. That's why it's so important to us to spread emuna as and as wide as we possibly can. There is an amazing Heavenly hint to this in the coming lunar eclipse, as I've circled in the graphic below - the total time of the upcoming eclipse, the longest of this century, will be 6 hours, 13 minutes - 613 is the exact number of the Torah's commandments. Coincidence? No such thing...

Blood Moon July 2018 map

To aid understanding, here's a clip, courtesy of our friends at the Times of India, which clearly explains the natural phenomenon of the coming lunar eclipse. Enjoy it, and may we all hear good news soon.


Three Levels of Peace

Policemanmachpela Lazer with security forces in the holy city of our Patriarchs Hevron, during a day of Emuna Outreach lectures at the Machpela Cave

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev explains that a person's quest for peace must be threefold - between him/herself and G-d, between him/herself and the Jewish people as a whole, and within him/herself.

In order to develop a harmonious approach to life as a whole, one must develop the ability to find Hashem's presence everywhere and in everything. That way, a person can feel love for Hashem regardless of the situation - whether things are good or seemingly bad.

If a person doesn't love G-d, he or she won't feel love for a fellow Jew. Therefore, the love of G-d is a prerequisite for ahavat Yisrael, the love of fellow Jews. Ahavat Yisrael leads to peace and unity; peace and unity among our people will hasten the redemption, soon and in our time, amen.


Above The Clouds

Shutterstock_551236246

My oldest son told me he wants to go skydiving one day. G-d help me. I can already tell what kind of teenager he's turning into. He loves adventure, has zero patience, and hates school.

Hmmm... sounds familiar. 

I mean, he sounds just like his father. His mind goes a million miles an hour, just like David's. He wants to be rich when he grows up, and so does David. To be honest, David has more patience than I do. But that's probably because he's not around the kids as much as I am. 

I mean, it's easy to have patience when your patience isn't being tested, right? 

I hate anything to do with falling, and the only way I would ever skydive is if I were lying unconscious on someone else's back. 

But I do love this picture.

Isn't it spectacular?

Every day we're so stuck in our immediate surroundings that it's difficult, impossible sometimes, to remember that there is a world of perfection that exists. 

This world is right here, so close, but we can't see it. As much as we want to, we can't experience it. 

The sky above the clouds reminds me of this perfect world. No matter what's going on underneath, whether it's raining, a hurricane, tornadoes, snow, or Black Friday sales, the world above the clouds is always peaceful. Always perfect. 

Is it possible to experience this perfect world while we're still alive? How so, if our lives are full of difficult challenges, extremely limited perception, and chaos? 

Well, we could:

a) spend the rest of our lives flying above the clouds in airplanes

b) work on connecting to that perfect world through our emuna

"A" doesn't sound so comfortable, unless the plane you're flying in happens to be tripped out with a Presidential Suite, a personal chef, and a jacuzzi with those super cool lights that switch colors. 

That means that for most of us, "B" is our only practical option. And it really is a practical option. Like I wrote last week, emuna is the only thing that keeps us from giving up all hope when the challenges start feeling impossible. 

When we feel like we're trapped in our difficulties, if we can just remind ourselves that these challenges are not forever, this could literally save our sanity. 

If we can remember that everything is supposed to be as it should, and Hashem is running the world, we will be okay with whatever the outcome is. I'm not saying that we have to be happy with whatever happens; but at least we need to recognize that whatever happens is what is supposed to happen, even though we may not understand why. 

On the other side of the clouds there is peace, tranquility, and eternal blue skies. You know the fastest way to get there? 

Just close your eyes. 

Keep this stunning picture in your mind and have it handy for when you go through your day, your week, your life.

I hope this helps make your day a bit brighter!

~Racheli

 


Just the Way You Are

The Way You Are
If you think that you are any less beautiful than the baby or the flowers pictured above, you are sorely mistaken. No matter what you think, Hashem - Who created you - loves you just the way youa re.

People think that if they're not millionaires, in the headlines, Rosh Yeshiva or member of Congress, that they're failures. That's just not so.

I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

The above lyrics come from Billy Joel's famous hit, "Just the Way You Are", which spent months in the Top Ten back in 1977. Today, I look at those lyrics and interpret them as Hashem talking to the soul - yours - which He created. Hashem says, "I love you just the way you are."

Don't miss today's emuna lesson and live broadcast from Jerusalem entitled "Just the Way You Are", which will take place, G-d willing, on the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7 PM 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. 

And for your Oldie-but-Goodie enjoyment, here's Billy Joel from way back, singing "Just the Way You Are." Enjoy it!


What is Divine Providence?

SilkwormHashem not only decides who the next President of the United States will be and the longevity of the great galaxies; He decides which mulberry leaf a Japanese silkworm will eat for dinner (image, above).

Dear Rabbi Lazer,

I often hear you using the term "Divine Providence". Could you please give me a simple explanation of what it means? Thanks for all you do. Roberta from Atlanta

Shalom, Roberta!

Divine Providence is G-d’s will and personal intervention in our lives, which governs everything that happens to us both on a day-to-day scale and on a longterm scale. On an individual level, Divine Providence is designed to help us perform our task in life.

Divine Providence is both macro and micro. It not only determines events on a global scale, but also dictates the tiniest details in the universe, such as the evening meal of a worm. Our lives in their entirety – including each individual moment – are the outcome of G-d’s infinite wisdom and will. So, on a practical level, Divine Providence dictates when we succeed and when we fail, when times are easy and when they're hard, all for the benefit of our fulfilling our mission on this earth.

I hope you find the above explanation useful. All the very best, LB