47 posts categorized "Advice and counseling"

September, 2015: Economic Doomsday for the USA?

Expected economic meltdown
For the past three years, I have been telling anyone who listens to me to liquidate investments in the USA and to invest in real estate in Israel. Those who heeded my words made a lot of money, for the closer we get to Moshiach, the more Israeli real estate skyrockets.

The American economic bubble is about to burst. Today, the USA has a national debt of $18.5 trillion, and it is expected to become nearly $21.5 trillion buy the end of 2015. Things don't look so good for the land of baseball and apple pie. The USA can't even pay the interest on their debt, much less the principal.

Several of my good friends in the USA argue with me. They cite the oil prices, which have been cut in half in recent months. They cite the dollar, which has strengthened against other currencies. They cite Wall Street indexes, which are at an all-time high.

My response is dump your investments immediately, before the bubble bursts, especially the money you have invested in the stock market. Why?

This coming September 13, 2015, marks the end of the Shmitta, or Sabbatical Year. It is a time of abundance in the Land of Israel, especially for those who observed the laws of Shmitta, but a traditional time of economic catastrophe in the USA. Modern-day Kabbalists consider the USA as today's Rome; the Gemara tells us that when Jerusalem is up, Rome is down and vice versa.

An established pattern according to Rabbinical Law - what's known in Hebrew as a chazaka - is three consecutive times. The fact that the American economy has nose-dived at the termination of the Shemitta year is more than an established pattern. Let's see what happened at the termination of previous Shemitta years, the end of the seven-year cycle in the Hebrew calendar:

2008: Stock market collapse, mortgage crisis, bank collapse - Sept. 29

2001: Stock market collapse, 9/11 attack - Sept. 11

1994: Bond collapse - more than $1 trillion loss to bondholders

1987: Black Monday, stock market crash, October 19

We can go back even further and mention the 1980 Silver panic and stock market crash, the 1973 oil embargo when oil prices quadrupled and more, and the 1966 stock market collapse. Enough said?

The only thing that is better than investing in the Land of Emuna is to bring your family and to come here. Thank goodness, I don't have money invested in Wall Street (I don't even own a car for that matter, but nothing can rob me of my spiritual assets), but if I did, I'd be liquidating as quickly as possible. Don't say that you weren't warned. Meanwhile, you have my blessing to find a beautiful condo for you and your family here in our holy homeland of Israel.


2 Forward, 1 Back

Those who climb
Dear Rav Lazer,

I have a master's in engineering from the Technion in Haifa. I spent three years in active duty as an IDF paratrooper. I've had Hizbulla missiles land in my back yard. I've managed to compete for the last 18 years in the dog-eat-dog world of Israeli hi-tech. After having become a Baal Teshuva (newly observant Jew - LB) 2 years ago, I started being a shomer brit (guardian of the covenant, maintainer of personal holiness - LB) six months ago and it's the toughest battle I ever had. After 28 crystal-clear days and feeling great about myself, I blew it. What's wrong with me? Am I back to zero? Menachem from Northern Israel

Dear Menachem,

I guarantee you that Hashem has phenomenal gratification from what you're doing. The biggest tzaddikim have setbacks. True spiritual growth is two steps forward and one step back; don't be disappointed when you fall, because today's fall is higher than yesterday's success. In your corner with a big hug, LB 


College Crossroads

Dear Rabbi Brody,

I am a 20-year-old college sophomore in the US, and lately I have been worrying about whether or not I am on the right path in life. I know I'm still young, but I feel I am ready to be married and start a family, and I live somewhere with very few Jewish males, none of whom are particularly religious. While I've always pictured myself as finishing college, lately I am not sure if this is the right thing to do. I was always an excellent student but lately I have been having a very difficult time finishing assignments because my mind is elsewhere, and even so, the liberal arts program I'm in is not likely to lead to many career opportunities. Also, so unbelievably many random things keep going wrong, making it more difficult to continue in school, and I don't know whether to take this as a sign from Hashem that maybe I should head in a different direction, or just as another challenge in life to overcome. I don't want to waste any more time if this is not what I should be doing with my life, and end up unmarried, having wasted what should be an exciting time in life on unfruitful studes. Should I spend at least the next two-plus years finishing my BA degree, or is it time to change directions? I would greatly appreciate any advice you might offer. Thank you so much for your time.

Wishing you happiness always like you make others happy,
Alicia in the western USA


Dear Alicia,

Good girl - you've done a good job of understanding the messages that Hashem has sent you. It's definitely time for you to seriously search for the right person and to raise a family.

The restlessness in your soul is straight from Hashem. A liberal arts program in a university is a waste of your valuable time and money. As far as a livelihood goes, you can take one of many inexpensive aptitude tests available on the web, determine a skill you like, and then pursue a six-month occupational course, such as computers, graphic design, dental tech, or whatever. So, I recommend that you check out of university, move to an area where there are Jewish studies for women your age, and then simultaneously strengthen your Judaism and acquire an occupational skill.

On the other hand, my blue-chip advice for you would be to come to Israel, enroll in a women's seminar for Jewish Studies such as Midreshet Beerot Bat Ayin which I'm sure you'll love, or EYHAT (Aish Hatora women's seminary) or Neve Yerushalayim as possible alternatives. That way you'll be able to strengthen your Judaism and find the exact guy you want. You'll be a smashing success, G-d willing. May Hashem bless you and lead you in the right path. Feel free to write. With blessings, LB


Love, Not Lust

Love and Lust
Dear Rabbi Brody,

I was one of the participants in the conference-call shiur you gave our group who are working on trying to break free from sex addictions. I can't thank you enough. For a long time, I was really down on myself and the more depressed I'd get, the worse I'd mess up. You were so positive, encouraging and non-judgmental. I feel like you threw me a rope to help pull me out of the muck. You should know that you helped a lot of us, because the head of our group said that this was a record-breaking shiur with hundreds of people listening in. Thanks so much and may you blessed with continued strength to keep doing what you do. From the heart, Srool the Tool

Dear Srool,

I deeply appreciate your email, but the credit goes to my teacher Rav Shalom Arush, Breslev Israel an Emunah Outreach, for everything I do is under their auspices. You guys are heroes - keep up your good work, and you'll bring Moshiach, for sure. With blessings always, LB

Listen to the above 52-minute shiur, "Love, not Lust"

You can be a full partner in helping us spread emuna and help people all around the globe by donating to Emunah Outreach - you'll get big dividends in this world and in the next.


Dismantling: a stress-management strategy

Shipwreck

The Talmud offers practical homiletic advice on how to survive under extreme stress:

Shipwrecked

Rabbi Akiva sailed from Israel to Cyprus. Before he left port, he saw his prize understudy, Rabbi Meir, board an older vessel, also sailing to Cyprus. In the midst of their journey, a terrible gale struck the Mediterranean. Rabbi Akiva's heart broke as he gazed into the distance, wincing while the storm lashed into the decrepit craft that carried Rabbi Meir. In a matter of minutes, the latter's ship was utterly destroyed...

A tear slid down Rabbi Akiva's cheek. "What a waste of a brilliant mind!" he lamented.

Several days later, upon reaching the shores of Cyprus, Rabbi Akiva entered a local synagogue and house of study. Flabbergasted, he froze in the doorway. Rabbi Meir was in the middle of a lecture to a group of Cypriot Talmud students. Seeing his esteemed teacher and spiritual guide in the doorway, Rabbi Meir ceased lecturing. "Rabbi Akiva, my honored master, please come inside!"

Rabbi Akiva could barely speak. "M-Meir! Y-You're still alive! H-How did you get ashore?"

"Simple, my master. Instead of focusing on the stormy sea, I rode one wave at a time. I caught wave after wave until I reached the shore!"

* * * * *

Had Rabbi Meir attempted to battle the entire tempestuous sea, he would have expended his strength in a short time. Instead, he used the centuries old formula of "divide and conquer" - Rabbi Meir knew that he couldn't overcome the sea, but he could surely cope with one wave at a time. Even more amazing, he arrived ashore before Rabbi Akiva!

The 2nd-Century CE sage Rabbi Meir teaches us the secret of staying on top when we seem to be buried under an insurmountable load of stress. Don't fight a whole raging sea, or don't try to move a one-ton boulder that's in your way. Take a 5-lb. hammer, and break chips of the boulder. Before you know it, the boulder - that ton of stress on your shoulders - is no longer there!

The secret of handling an overload of stress is dismantling - don't try to deal with all your pressures simultaneously. Ride one wave at a time, and you'll make it safely to shore, too.

Don't forget also that the best way of dismantling is to take all the problems off your own shoulders and throw them onto Hashem's lap. You do that with an hour a day of personal prayer; that will really make you feel light on your feet!


The Husband's Ten Commandments

Dear Rabbi Brody,
I'm not a religious person, nor am I Jewish, but I've been a fan of your blog for almost 5 years now and feel so much better about myself ever since. Anyway, I'm going to be married in 3 weeks after 36 years of bachelorhood. I remember reading somewhere about someone who asked a Jewish wise man to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot, and I guess I'm asking you for the same thing. Even so, could you please give me a few general guidelines for insuring future happiness in marriage? I appreciate your time and attention. Tom S., North Carolina

Dear Tom,

First off, I suggest you read Rabbi Shalom Arush's classic book that I had the privilege to translate, The Garden of Peace. You won't be sorry.

In answer to your question, yes, there are some basic guidelines that work for any marriage, despite religious or cultural background. If you follow these simple points, you'll have a happy wife and your relationship will blossom. Real love comes with real commitment, and that begins only after you've taken the vows. Here are a few pointers that have never failed (if you follow them, I'll guarantee you a happy home until you and your wife reach 120):

1. Never criticize your wife, no matter what. In an environment free of criticism, she'll blossom emotionally, and she'll do everything in her power to please you, so ultimately, you won't have anything to criticize.
2. Never make a negative remark about her parents or family. Call your inlaws once a week. If you develop a good relationship with them, your wife will forever hold you in high regard.
3. Never say "no" to your wife; if she asks for something that you can't afford, tell her you'll get it for her as soon as you have the money.
4. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day listening to your wife - not talking, just listening. Show her that her life is important to you. If possible, you should set aside an hour a day for quality communication time together (sitting in front of the TV with beer and pretzels is not quality communication time!).
5. Make her first-priority in your life, above everyone else. 
6. Agree on a mutually-acceptable third party (a clergyman you trust, etc.) to air your differences.
7. Never say a derogatory word about your wife to anyone.
8. If your wife is displeased with you, don't be angry; she's your mirror and she's reflecting you. It's also usually a sign that The Almighty is displeased with you. Rather than arguing with her, do some soul-searching, mend your fences, and you'll see how things work out for the best.
9. Smile always, and try your best to speak softly to her always. Nothing makes a wife nervous like an angry husband.
10. The more you develop your emuna (complete faith in G-d) and your trust in G-d, the more you'll develop inner strength. Wives love nothing more than a husband with inner strength that they can lean on. They hate when their husbands are emotional weaklings that lean on them. Emuna makes you strong.

I guess you can call the above list "The ten commandments for a husband". Thanks to you, Tom, we've finally written them down. I wish you and your bride all the happiness in the world. Blessings always, LB


Put a Song in Your Heart

Put a song on your heart too whenever you need a quick lift. King Saul, Deborah the Prophetess and Elisha the Prophet all did when they were down (see Samuel I 16:16, Kings II 3:15 among other sources). It works. Even if you don’t play a musical instrument, hum your favorite melody or listen to your favorite music. Pick a melody that your mind associates with happiness.

Once we put a song on our hearts, we remember Hashem. And once we remember Hashem, we remember that everything is for the very best. Now we can really smile. Let me help you with this happy melody, featuring a little bird that always makes me happy: