Thanks to Hashem, we're home in the indescribably beautiful Land of Emuna, Eretz Yisrael (photo below after we landed in Ben Gurion Airport the day before Yom Kippur). Uman Rosh Hashanah was unforgettable, as was our trip to the UK, which included events in London, Wales and Manchester. Blessings for a lovely Shabbat and most joyous Succoth preparations. Don't forget that Hashem loves you, and so do we!
16 posts from September 2018
Here's something special for your Shabbat table: in the clip below, Cantor Ushi Blumenberg and I are on the banks of the Bugg River in Breslev, Ukraine, where Rebbe Natan composed his famous Oz VeHadar niggun. Here's the story behind it and here's the niggun. Shabbat Shalom and a wonderful New Year!
We hope you had an easy fast and a meaningful Yom Kippur. Now, with all the Jewish People on the level of righteous tzaddikim, Moshiach and Geula are so close - we're almost there. The thickest, deepest darkness at the end of the tunnel leads to the brightest light of Moshiach and our rebuilt Holy Temple, soon and in our days, amen!
No, it has nothing to do with this ice cream cone. What a shame.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to type with one hand? But that little guy dressed in a skin-tight metallic red jumpsuit who likes to sit on my left shoulder and whisper all kinds of evil world domination plans in my ear won't leave me alone. He said I must finish that second ice cream cone. OR ELSE.
If only the hack was a really cool way to get through the fast without being hungry, thinking about food, having your brain feel like it's gonna explode because it can't get its daily caffeine fix, and getting cranky and irritable because you're all of the above. And really hot. Silly readers, I meant sweaty hot! I don't know whatchu look like!
That would be the BEST. HACK. EVER.
Well, what I'm about to share with you is almost as good, if not better.
So check it out.
Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement, when Hashem forgives us for all of our sins against Him over the past year. You know, it kind of reminds me of what it's like to be a mom. Like, a mom knows her kids are going to do the same stupid nonsense a split second after they apologize. But she forgives them anyway and pretends to believe that they've learned from their mistakes and her punishment. That way, the kids feel better.
But, uh, uh. Mommy ain't no fool. She knows her kids are going to test her again. And again. And again. AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL SHE HAS TO TAKE A TIME-OUT AT TARGET!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!
G-d I LOVE Target!
Truth is, I like Walmart better. But let's save that debate for another time.
Yes, Hashem sure is forgiving. Let's be honest. We don't deserve His forgiveness, and we certainly don't deserve His continued blessings every single second of our lives. He could have continued on just fine without us, but no. He wanted to give us a chance to enjoy being His creations.
Back to the Day of Atonement.
Yom Kippur is also the day when the judgments from Rosh Hashana are signed, sealed, and sent off for the next 365-day cycle of Prime Heavenly Shipping.
So what's the hack already?!
As Rav Brody has said millions of times, there's no double jeopardy in the Heavenly Court. If you confess to a sin, they can't charge you upstairs for it, because your confession has already gone straight up to Hashem Himself, who forgives all sins against Him.
What if we do one better?
What if we also THANK Hashem for all of our blessings on Yom Kippur?
Wouldn't that bring an even more favorable judgment??
Confessing and repenting are mandatory because that's the way we're supposed to ask for forgiveness and another chance.
But what do we do on Yom Kippur to bring ourselves an even greater abundance of blessings?
As far as I know (and I could be wrong because it's happened once in the past,) there is no formal prayer of thanks in the Yom Kippur machzor. Of course, I haven't looked through it in a year, so it could be that I'm wr-wr-wrong. Yuck.
Rav Arush teaches that expressing our gratitude is the best way to keep our blessings coming. So why not express your gratitude even more profusely on the day that your case is being decided?
C'mon. Tell me that's not an awesomely genius super-brilliant mind-blowing hack.
Just remember one thing, people. When your year, G-d willing, is amazing beyond belief, remember me. Give credit where credit is due. And send me some flowers or Adidas anything.
Wishing you all a G'mar Chatima Tova! May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life and enjoy a sweet year filled with every blessing your hearts desire!
We at the Beams offer our deepest condolences to the family of Ari Fuld, who was stabbed to death by a terrorist earlier this week. May his courage, drive, and passion to stand up for truth and Torah values continue to shine. He will be greatly missed.
Tonight and tomorrow, Tuesday night and Wednesday, are Yom Kippur.
A person can't make teshuva with a clogged heart. To help us all unclog our hearts, here are two of my favorite "Yitzchaks", Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot and violinist Yitzchak Perlman with their rendition of Kol Nidre. Close your eyes and listen to the melody, and you'll feel the innermost spark of your neshama yearning to return to Hashem. Enjoy it, and may Hashem bless you with the most meaningful and very best Yom Kippur of your life, amen!
Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean suffering. There’s quite a bit we can do to alleviate the bodily and mental stress that normally accompanies a fast. Today, the day before the fast, follow the following guidelines:
1. Cut down your caffeine intake to minimize headaches. That means stop drinking coffee, tea, and cola at least eight hours before the fast, and preferably twenty-four hours before the fast.
2. Avoid salty, spicey, and fried foods on the day before the fast.
3. Avoid white sugar, white flour, and white rice. Eat whole-grained foods such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread or challa.
4. Drink a lot of water all day long.
5. Eat a good breakfast that includes fruits, veggies, eggs or sardines, and whole grains.
6. The pre-Yom Kippur meal (se'uda mafseket) should include baked or broiled fish, a veggy salad, consomme, a small portion of chicken or turkey, and a side dish of complex carbohydrates such as kasha or quinoa. Substitute sweet deserts with watermelon or other water-retaining fresh fruit, and a cup of herb tea with a whole-grain cookie.
On Yom Kippur:
7. The more you immerse yourself in prayer, the less you'll think about food.
8. Rest between prayers. Don’t run around outside, especially in the hot sun. Save your voice for prayers. Idle talking will make you thirstier, and will detract from the holiness of the day.
After the fast:
9. Drink two glasses of water, and then eat solids gradually, so as not to shock the digestive system. Begin with fruit, like plums or grapes. The worst thing people do is to consume pastries and soft drinks, or “lekach un bronfan” (cake and liquor) right after the fast (these are unhealthy anytime, all the more so right after the fast when they give your body a shock of glucose).
10. Forty-five minutes to an hour afterwards, one can eat a balanced meal with protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. After eating, relax for an hour with your favorite book (preferably Gemara of the laws of Succoth from Shulchan Oruch) and your favorite beverage, then begin constructing your Succa.
Attention diabetics, heart patients, folks with high blood pressure, and people whose health depends on regular medication - you must be especially careful to ask your doctor if you are capable of fasting, and then consult with your local rabbi, giving him the doctor's exact opinion. For many such people, it is a mitzva not to fast on Yom Kippur.
The Israel Cancer Association recommends that cancer patients not fast without approval from their physicians. Fasting could cause considerable discomfort in cancer patients, who need a lot of liquids to alleviate side effects of chemotherapy. Again, first consult the doctor and then the rabbi. Give the rabbi all the details that you received from the doctor.
Don't let children (boys under the age of 12 or girls under the age of 11) be overzealous. Make sure they eat on time.
With G-d's blessing and the above guidelines, you'll have an easy fast. May all of us be signed and sealed in the Book of Long and Happy Lives for the best year ever, amen!
The Talmud makes an apparently surprising statement when it says (tractate Taanit, 26b), "There were never such wonderful days for Israel as the 15th of Av (Tu B'Av) and Yom Kippur." The 15th of Av is nicknamed "Love Day" in Israel, for it's the day when matches were traditionally made, as described in the above-cited Gemora. Several questions arise: First, what does Yom Kippur have to do with "Love Day"? Second, many people dread the fast and the ax of judgment hovering over their necks on Yom Kippur, so why would it be described as one of the two most wonderful days for Israel?
Our Talmudic sages reveal their divinely-instilled wisdom by juxtaposing Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is also a "love day", when Hashem demonstrates his limitless love for His chosen people. For the mere price of a 25-hour fast and saying we're sorry, Hashem forgives us of all of our wrongdoings against Him. Important - Yom Kippur does not atone for the sins of man against fellow man!!
Imagine that your national government declared a retroactive annual moratorium on all tax violations and unpaid debts once a year, as long as you appear in federal court, apologize in public, and fast for the day. What a deal! A wild dream? In Judaism, it's a reality. When we fast, beg Hashem's forgiveness, and promise to try our best this coming year, Hashem wipes our debt slates clean! A wonderful day, or not?
Gmar Chatima Tova!