Have you ever been in a great mood, upbeat and optimistic, when all of a sudden, you encounter someone whom you really don't like? Or maybe it was someone who insulted you, cheated you or upset you terribly in the past. Whatever the case might be, we sometimes encounter people who bring out the worst in us, whether it's anger or some other unpleasant emotion.
What's happening to us in a situation like that?
Imagine that your soul is a tiny flickering candle that illuminates the darkness in your life. The individual who triggered your negative reaction is like someone who threw cold water on the candle and extinguished it. The challenge now is to rekindle the candle as fast as you can and return to the pre-upset equilibrium.
In simple terms, if something or someone snuffs our joy in life, we have to ignite it again as fast as possible. You might call this emergency CPR for the soul. That's what we'll learn right now. My feature article in this week's new edition of Breslev Israel web magazine, Igniting the Soul in Five, will tell you exactly what to do. Don't miss it.
My esteemed friend Dr. Yehuda Frischman, DAOM, is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine as well as a specialist in traditional Jewish medicine. He sent us the following email, which is a must-see for your health and protection:
Dear Reb Lazer,
Your wonderful article on the axis of evil: Monsanto-Bayer-Farben deeply resonated with me. By the way, are you aware that Monsanto genetically modified crops make up between 50-95% of the American supply of corn, soy, rapeseed ("canola"), cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets and payaya? (Oh, and BTW, they have come up with a way to make Monsanto cheese, using their own laboratory produced bacteria modified with rennet produced from GM cow genes!). The only way to ascertain that you're not getting GM crops is to buy organic, like you say. But it gets better (or worse?) Monsanto back around 20 years ago tried to introduce a genetically modified wheat, that they claimed was nutritionally identical to regular wheat. Their was such an uproar, that they withdrew their patent request. BUT, what they don't tell you is that mysteriously, this Monsanto wheat: MON 71800 which is glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup and the one which causes autism and other brain impairments - LB) resistant, has turned up on farms from Oregon to Kansas, from Japan to India, as well as throughout Europe. Why is that? Well if you've ever seen wheat, the wind causes the germ to blow far and wide and it cross-pollinates with any other wheats that it happens to meet. In other words, the Genie is out of the bottle, and essentially (except, I've heard in the interior of Australia) it is impossible to find wheat which has not been hybridized with MON 71800.
So what is wrong with genetically modified crops? Here's what they do: to prevent pests from eating and "contaminating" crops Monsanto splices in a gene which causes the digestive tract of insects to explode (apoptosis). The trouble is that the same thing happens when we ingest these GM crops--we suffer from extreme inflammation in our guts! So what can we do about it? 1. Only eat organic produce. 2. Only buy heirloom wheats which do not breed with "modern" wheat: such as Einkorn, Kamut, Emmer and Faro.
One additional point I think you might find interesting is the origin Canola oil. Back in the early '70s at the university of Manitoba, rapeseed oil, which is very high in toxic erucic acid, became the first Genetically modified plant grown in large quantities, spliced to eliminate its erucic acid. To "honor" their country, the scientists who invented this original "Frankenstein" plant called it Canola, a contraction of Canadian oil.
Shavua Tov! King Solomon, the wisest of all men who ever walked the face of the earth, said: "The rich man and the poor man meet - Hashem made both of them" (Proverbs 22:2) – this passage has special significance for Elul, something we all need to know in preparing for Rosh Hashanah:
We here at the Beams are delighted to feature select lessons, brief and comprehensible, from Breslev Israel's distinguished staff of English speaking rabbis. We surely hope you enjoy this, so don't let your day go by without grabbing some Torah, especially ideas that you can say over at your Shabbat table. What's more, each week we feature a taste of the Chassidic world's most popular niggunim, which you can also sing at your Shabbat table.
With many of our rabbis still on vacation, this week we'll hear from Rabbi Shalom Arush and Rabbi Lazer Brody, who are manning the fort. Our musical guest this week is our cherished friend from Monsey, New York, one of Jewish music's leading singers, Shloimie Daskal, singing a gorgeous rendition of the Chuppa niggun, Mi Adir, accompanied by Yisroel Lamm and his orchestra in a fantastic production by our esteemed and dear friend Aaron Teitelbaum. Enjoy and have a lovely Shabbat!
Lesson #1 - The Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a: Paradise in This World (4 minutes)
This world can either be a Garden of Eden or a terrible purgatory. It all depends on the choice each of us can make, to live with emuna or not. Let's hear our beloved teacher, Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a (Hebrew, with English subtitles):
Lesson #2 - Rabbi Lazer Brody - Parshat Shoftim: Be Your Own Cop (10 minutes)
Every single general directive in this week's Torah portion also is an intrinsic directive for every individual, especially during the month of Elul. Just as we have a national judicial system, each of us should have an individual judicial apparatus…
Now, for the spiritual, calorie-free dessert - the musical cherry on our cake:
In Jewish tradition, as the bridegroom enters the wedding canopy or chuppa, we sing a moving melody entitled, Mi Adir, or "He who is mighty". Here is Shloimie Daskal singing Mi Adir with the inspiring "You Raise Me Up" melody by Josh Groban. Enjoy, and sing along - for your enjoyment pleasure, you'll find the lyrics in transliteration and translation directly below the vid (don't let the gray screen scare you - click on the vid, it works):
Mi adir al hakol, Mi baruch al hakol, Mi gadol al hakol, Mi dagul al hakol, Hu yivarech es hechasan Hu yivarech es hakallah Hu yivarech es hechasan v'es hakallah
He who is mighty above all beings, He who is blessed above all beings, He who is great above all beings, He who is distinguished above all beings, May he bless the bridegroom May he bless the bride May he bless the bridegroom and the bride.
ROSH HASHANAH IS IN 3 SHORT WEEKS - DON'T FORGET PIDYON NEFESH
Pidyon Nefesh is a very special and powerful prayer and blessing that has the spiritual strength of a sacrifice in the Bet Hamikdash to atone for sin and to mitigate severe judgments. The bigger and more pious the tzaddik, the more effective the "pidyon", which literally means "redemption", where one's money is literally a sacrifice for one's body and soul. The pidyon money "redeems" the nefesh, or soul, in other words, "Pidyon Nefesh." This is used when a major salvation is needed, such as in the case of a dangerous illness, a severe court case, or as a rescue from trouble or danger. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that Pidyon Nefesh is the "sweetening", or mitigation of harsh decrees and serves as a salvation from any trouble, for the main cure and solution of sickness is the pidyon (see Likutei Moharan II:3).
That line has got to be one of my favorite memes I ever did see. It's so ironically funny.
Well, this summer has been an endless test of patience. Finding schools and a place to live has been harder than I expected.
Even getting our driver's licenses has been a challenge that we haven't yet overcome. Turns out yours truly, Mrs. Genius de la Geniuses, never actually officially changed her name. Like, legally. Like, ooops. I had no idea!
I went to the driver's license place to renew my license and they said the system wouldn't let them do it because I never changed my last name. Well how was I supposed to know? No one told me! You would think the guy at the legal place where people go to get legally married would have told me that I'm legally supposed to change my name.
Anyway. Check out this couch! It's so symbolic of how my summer has been. And it's really nice, right?
G-d I LOVE Costco!
Did I mention that whole little test of patience thing? Well. Basically it's been like banging my head against the wall to accomplish anything. Driver's licenses, school, finding a place, finding furniture, absolutely everything was and still is preceded by a brick wall.
The original school we had planned on attending didn't work out. So we spent many weeks looking for a new school. B"H yesterday the kids were accepted to a school that I had not planned on looking at. And whaddayaknow? They have amazing programs in English and Math that can be individualized for the kids!
The area and apartment building we wanted to live in didn't accept us. At the last minute. Apparently there's a rule here of only six people maximum in a 3 bedroom apartment. Can you imagine if that rule were in Israel? Each family would have like, seven apartments!
But finally, we found a house that's an actual house as you can see above. A real house. And affordable! I can't get over it. And the best part? The neighborhood is not only primarily shomer Shabbat Jews, but Israeli. That means no one cares if they hear you screaming at your kids from three doors down. Hopefully.
Oh, and there's even a shul in the neighborhood! A Sephardi one! Unbelievable, I tell you!
The couch? Symbolic to the max. Do you know how many couches I looked at? How many arguments David and I had about couches? You can't imagine. But all the while, in the back of my mind, this couch was waiting for me in my imagination. At the last minute, just yesterday, we found it at Costco. It was love at first sight. The perfect balance of firmness and fluffiness. The perfect color and fabric and style. Just what I wanted.
Same goes for our kitchen table, which isn't set up yet.
The main lesson I've learned from this summer is PATIENCE!
I admit that I didn't and still don't have much of it. But I see very clearly that Hashem is definitely running the show, guiding us in the exact direction He wants us to move in. He's literally closed doors and opened new ones with such obvious divine providence, and it's an incredible thing to see.
I am so grateful for being forced to learn that patience is such a blessing. It saves you from tremendous stress when things aren't going your way. It helps you realize that you need to let go and let Hashem guide you. If your spiritual eyes are open, you'll see how everything will work out for your best.
Ultimately, only Hashem knows what's best for each and every one of us.
And if we can just remember that, imagine how much happier and more relaxed we'll be.
Now I'm off do do some more serious damage at Costco.
p.s.- Don't miss Rav Brody's weekly "Garden of Wisdom" lesson below!
The arrogant dude in the above cartoon should chill and deflate, because in a blink of an eye, Hashem could knock him off that wad of bills and put the poor guy below in his stead. That's why King Solomon, the wisest of all men who ever walked the face of the earth, said:
"The rich man and the poor man meet - Hashem made both of them" (Proverbs 22:2).
Today's emuna shiur is an eye-opener, devoted totally to elaborating the above passage and its tremendous significance to each of us during the month of Elul.
Join us for today's emuna lesson and live broadcast from Jerusalem entitled "Rich Man, Poor Man", 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.