66 posts categorized "Advice and counseling"

How to Avoid a Tax Audit

Audit Fear
Dear Rabbi Brody,

My CPA tells me that there's a chance that the IRS will be auditing me this year and that really scares me. Can you give me a blessing (or advice) so I won't be audited?

Thanks so much, Mark (Moshe) from Brooklyn

Dear Mark,

Our sages teach us that where there is judgment in this world, there is no judgment in the Heavenly Court. In other words, when we judge ourselves, the Heavenly Court doesn't judge us. Therefore, the best way to avoid an audit is to do daily self-assessment, doing teshuva to Hashem for everything you might have done wrong in the past 24 hours. This will save you from an audit. Remember though, Jewish Law requires the we follow the law of the land - dina demalchuta dina. Therefore, if a person does shtick - dishonest business and breaking the law - it will ultimately catch up with him, one way or another. With that in mind, do your best to stay withing in the bounds of Halacha and the tax laws, do daily self-assessment, and Hashem will surely help you.

Blessings for a joyous worry-free Passover, LB

Would you like to be truly free? See the 4-minute clip directly below this post.

Amen, Brother!

The distinguished and saintly Rabbi Bentzion Mutzafi, may Hashem bless him, in commenting on the increasing tensions along our northern border, suggests that we do several self-strengthening measures that will both enhance our personal safety and our national security. They are:

  1. Recite Psalm 91;
  2. Recite "Ana B'Koach," 7 times;
  3. Recite Psalm 121, 7 times;
  4. Say the "Aleinu" prayer with intent;
  5. Recite Parshat Haketoret;
  6. Recite Psalm 20, 12 times;
  7. Recite Psalms 120 through and including 134.

The above advice is powerful, all based on our sages' advice in the Gemara, Zohar and Chassidic writings. They invoke big miracles, for those who do them. Unfortunately, I don't think many people will.

Hashem opened my eyes to a equally powerful protective ploy that also invokes miracles, one that is firmly based both in the Gemara and in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law). And, it's much easier, as I wrote in Monday's Emuna News. Anyone can do this and it won't cost you a cent. Simply, get used to saying "amen" every time you hear a blessing recited. This is spiritual non-conventional weaponry.

Later today, G-d willing, we're going to learn about the power of one word - amen. 

Don't miss today's (Wednesday) Emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "Amen, Brother!," 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 7PM 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.

3 Simple Steps to Success

That guy in the above photo dreams of reaching that faraway peak, but he thinks it's impossible. He wants to get there, but he never will. He hasn't donned any climbing gear nor has he taken the first step. Like many of us, life for him is a spectator sport. He's seemingly content as a tourist watching the world go by, but inside, he's unfulfilled, restless and unhappy.

Do you know anyone like that?

As a spiritual guide and fitness trainer, I receive loads of seemingly unrelated questions on Gemara study, becoming observant, personal prayer, weight training, dieting and long-distance running, among many others. Sounds like a weird potpourri, doesn't it?

Look at these questions and see their common denominator:

* How am I ever going to talk to Hashem for an hour a day?

* How will I ever be able to run a marathon?

* How will I ever learn all of Gemara or Shulchan Aruch?

* How can I ever lose fifty pounds?

You get the point.

Behind these type of questions lurks the same culprit of "I can't" or "I'll never be able to do it". This is public personal enemy #1, lack of confidence and belief in yourself. These folks are still in the category of life's spectators, not life's players on the field. They want to be players, but they don't know where to begin.

Here is good news: Today - if you so decide - your career as a spectator ends and your career as a player begins.

Today, G-d willing, we will be sending your enemy #1 into forced exile. That's why you'll want to tune in to our emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem.

Today's (Wednesday) Emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "3 Simple Steps to Success," 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 7PM 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.

Beware: The Expanding Succoth Waistline

DB Succoth

Succoth begins tonight, Wednesday, 4 Oct., 2017. This post, if you follow it, will aid your health and save you from needless holiday weight-gain.

Parenthetically, I don't believe in dieting of any kind - most diets are unhealthy fads that lead to short-term weight loss and long-term frustration, metabolic and/or nutritional imbalance, ailments of all kinds and weight gain. The extremes of Paleo and Primal that tell you to eat all the meat and fat you want but stay away from carbs to total vegan that tells you that an egg, sardine or chicken breast will kill you are not in accordance with Torah and the Rambam's timeless advice on nutrition. But, let's save that discussion for another time. Meanwhile, the best advice is what I call "Ivri", eating just the way our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did. That means eating foods as close to the way Hashem created them, with no interference from food manufacturers and genetic modifiers. With that said, let's talk about Succoth...

In Judaism, Succoth is the annual "joy harvest", where we gather happiness for an entire year. The problem is that with multiple daily festive meals, visiting friends and relatives in their Succas and partying all week long, most people gather pounds in addition to the joy. And, the excess weight eats away at the joy…

But like Rebbe Nachman tells us, there's no despair in the world. Today's Beams might save you from adding two inches to your waistline this Succot. None of us want to go the route of gaining needless weight, so let's do a little holiday-eve preparation with this food for thought:

The perenniel post-holiday problem of many Jewish people is the added calories, pounds, flab, and cholesterol of a week of eating and rejoicing in the Succa. As the Beams is committed to the health of body, mind, and soul, we've composed a few guidelines to combat the expanding Succoth waistline.

Beware of empty calories: empty calories come from nutrient-scant foods, especially manufactured products, fast food and junk food. Stick to what I call nutrient-dense foods, where you get the most nutrients from each calorie consumed. Here, the winners are fresh vegetables, fresh foods and naturally dried (not roasted or salted) seeds and nuts. Nutrient-scant foods (cakes, pastries, sweets, soft drinks and liquor) are outright dangerous to the body.

Beware of the cakes: Many people want to make a blessing on the Succa every time they enter it. But, one really shouldn't make a blessing unless he eats something. For that reason, many folks eat cake ("mezonos", at a minimum amount of a little over and ounce) so they can say the "Leshev B'Succa" blessing, the blessing to sit in the Succa. If a person eats 2 ounces of cake 3 times a day, that adds another 840 calories to his daily intake. The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a says that one should make a "Leshev B'Succa" blessing only when eating a proper meal that includes washing your hands and breaking bread. So, don't eat cake for the purpose of making a blessing to sit in the Succa. If a person eats 3 average-sized portions of cake a day for the 9 (outside of Israel, 8 in Israel) days of the Succoth/Simchat Torah holiday, he'll gain more than two pounds. We suggest eating sliced fresh carrots or sliced green apples instead of the cake.

Beware of the liquor: Many people make a "Lechayim" every time they visit the Succa of a friend and relative. In Israel, quite a few people that barely touch alcoholic beverages all year long keep them on hand to serve guests, and end up toasting glass-per-glass with the guest. A one-ounce shot of vodka or 86-proof Whiskey is 70 calories, while an ounce of a 72-proof liqueur such as Kahlua or Banana Liqueur is a hefty 117 calories. 3 "Lechayims" a day is enough to pick up another half pound during the week of the holiday. Adding that to the cakes (see above), you've already gained 2.5 pounds during Succoth. Putting the weight on is so much easier than taking it off.

Beware of sweet beverages: Succoth is a time when parents allow the Pepsi and the Coke to flow freely all week long. Now hear this - an 8-ounce glass of Coke Classic is a whopping 97 calories, just as caloric as the equivalent amount of beer or of a slice and a half of bread. A person that drinks 6 glasses of cola a day will gain almost a pound on Succoth, plus wreck his teeth in the process. We suggest that you reach for the mineral water, sparkling water, or herb tea instead, for they have zero caloric value.

Beware of snacks: People like to munch in the Succa. We all know that you can't eat one Frito or potato chip - therefore, those plastic bags empty fast. One ounce of fritos, potato chips, or our Bamba and Bisli add another 160 calories to your calorie-aglore score. If a person drinks two glasses of cola and consumes two ounces of snack foods a day, he'll gain over a pound during Succoth. Again, fresh carrot and cucumber sticks are a virtually non-cloric and healthy replacement for the junky snack foods. And, if you want something sweet, try Madjool dates or dark chocolate that's 85% cocoa or more, but limit yourself to 2 dates or 2 chocolate squares a day.

So, with the cakes, the l'chayims, the cokes and the snacks alone - without the heavy meals that include kugel and fat meats, you've already gained close to 5 pounds. And, if you drink diet beverages and use artificial sweeteners, you might not gain the weight but you'll be likely to suffer from headaches and anxiety.

True, tradition is important; that is, as long as it doesn't ruin your health. Here at the Brody homestead, whole-grained rice, buckwheat groats and quinoa have replaced fried farfel and oil-dripping kugel. We don't fry, but broil and bake. We eat loads of veggies and fresh fruit, and drink local mineral water. Fish and lean poultry have replaced the lamb and veal, and we eat beef sparingly. Dessert is homemade applesauce, fresh cantelope cubes, or an almond-stuffed fresh date. Our bread is home-baked and whole-grain, preferably spelt with minimal or no yeast. We want to control what enters our bodies; the manufacturers care about making money, not about our health. That's why we don't buy their products. Our bodies weren't designed to digest the myriad of chemical additives and preservatives that they force-feed us.

The Rambam gives an important reminder - don't eat until you're full. The stomach resembles a washing machine - if you overload it, it can't do the laundry. By the same token, an overloaded stomach can't digest, resulting in indigestion, another common Succoth ailment.

A great way to combat the the expanding Succoth waistline is to walk for an hour a day. Better yet, while you're walking, talk to Hashem in personal prayer. That way, your body gets its exercise and your soul gets its nourishment, that is none other than connecting with Hashem. What could be better? Breslev Israel and the Beams wish you a happy and healthy Succoth with no indigestion and no expanding waistline, amen.

Happiness Pills

Happiness Pills
The human soul is not designed to withstand sadness. That's why the Evil Inclination works overtime to bring a person down to a state of depression. That way, the individual is neutralized. For that reason, the Evil Inclination hates this time of the year. Just as there is a citrus season, a pomegranate season, or a banana season, we are about to enter this week into the joy season, when we can harvest joy for an entire year.

Hashem in His infinite mercy gives us a chance to escape our emotional and spiritual maladies. Once a year, He gives us a happy pill. This is no joke or fairy tale – it works. The happy pill can save marriages, cure sicknesses and do all kinds of special things. Let me tell you about in in The Happy Pill, my feature article in this week's special Succoth edition of Breslev Israel web magazine.

If you're looking for remedies, you've come to the right place. My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush has The Perfect Remedy for childless couple, people who can't find their soulmates and others who need big-time salvation. It works! Rabbi Shalom also writes about the recent solar eclipse in Eclipse, Intellect and Emuna - it's an eyeopener. 

Breslev Israel magazine is delighted to present Rebbe Nachman of Breslev on Succoth as well as dozens of additional stimulating articles about Succoth, Hoshana Raba, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Avigdor Miller - Give Me a Friend

Racheli Reckles - The Ketogenic Diet

Dr. Zev Ballen - Palace of the King

Yehudit Channen - Celebrate with a Smile

Dovber Halevi - Miracle in the Desert

Pidyon Nefesh for the High Holidays - is it too late?

Our good friend JK from Long Island asks: "Before Rosh Hashana, my wife had a baby boy and I was pressured at work too. I was so busy that I forgot to do a pidyon nefesh. Can I still do it, and have it count for the High Holidays?"

Rabbi Lazer answers: "No problem, JK; a pidyon nefesh counts  for this year's High Holidays and has the power to mitigate stern judgments as long as you give it before Hashana Raba, which this year falls on Wednesday, October 11, 2017. Make sure you give it before sundown, your time, and preferably before that. For your convenience, you can use this link: Donate to Emuna Outreach - not only will Rav Shalom Arush do the pidyon for you, but you'll gain the merit of partnering with him in spreading emuna around the world. Blessings for a wonderful, joyous, healthy and successful New Year 5778!"

Tough Opposition on the Field

Spiritual Growth
Dear Rabbi Lazer,

I'm writing this to you for two reasons: first, you don't know me and I feel really embarassed talking about this to a rabbi that knows me; and second, since you too are a Baal Teshuva, I'm hoping you can understand a fellow BT that was born in the spiritual gutters far away from Torah. I became observant about five years ago, when I finished my masters degree. As a university student and a popular dude at that, I guess you can say that I did about everything and enjoyed it too. I won't go into the reasons that I made teshuva, but I became very disgusted with my lusty lifestyle. I began to learn Torah and was drawn especially to the teachings of the Zohar. I did an about face and made serious efforts in developing my personal holiness. With daily mikva, daily teshuva, and total immersion Torah, I became a new person. Two years ago, I was introduced to a young lady who after three dates became my fiance. We are blissfully married, in no small thanks to The Garden of Peace, which I live by.

So what's my problem? I thought I had deleted my naughty x-rated past from my brain. On Rosh Hashanah, the Yetzer gave me a triple whammy. During Maariv on the first night, a really raunchy image flashed before my eyes which I won't describe, but it was something from the lowest part of my past. The same thing happened during Mussaf, and the same thing happened again the second night. When I should have been crowning the King, I was watching myself in x-rated movies from my own past, the exact opposite of holiness. Why did Hashem shtup me with these terrible thoughts? What could I possibly have done wrong to be pushed away like this? I had such aspirations of clinging to Hashem with real devotion in this year's prayers, and I blew it. I feel devastated and dejected, as if I've been totally defeated. What can I do? Please help me. Thanks so very much, David from California

Dear David,

The Yetzer - the Evil Inclination - wants you to think that you're a loser. The exact opposite is true - this year, you have attained a lofty and admirable soul correction. You're the winner, my man; here's how:

Back in your university days, you thoroughly enjoyed doing the lewd things that so embarassingly popped into your head during this past Yom Kippur. Yet now, the forbidden acts that you once enjoyed are now a source of shame. Your shame during Yom Kippur is not only a sign of humility and holiness, but a soul correction for the past. Having done teshuva out of love (hear our CD on the subject), your past transgressions now become valuable merits to your credit. What's more, when you did those wrong things, you didn't know they were wrong. You can be proud of yourself, for Hashem is proud of the unbelievable growth that you've made in five short years. Don't ever forget that spiritual growth and serving Hashem are like football - you can't gain an inch without facing tough opposition; that's why the rewards are so great. Keep plugging away, slowly but surely, for you'll be a big winner. Remember also that as a BT, you're now playing in a championship league. Be happy, David - you're doing great. With blessings for a meaning Yom Kippur and a wonderful year, LB

Living Within Your Means

Dry Bread
The message that King Solomon, wisest of all men who ever walked the face of the earth, is conveying is to live within your means, don't owe money to anyone and you'll sleep like a baby at night, even if the only thing you have for dinner is a glass of water and a dry piece of bread. On the other hand, those who live lavishly and throw the "Goodbye Columbus" and "Keeping up with the Goldbergs" weddings, drive fancy cars and live in fancy houses - yet they owe thousands (tens of, hundreds of, or more...) of dollars to everyone in town - don't have an ounce of inner peace. In the middle of their rib-steak dinners, creditors are phoning and texting nonstop. That's what King Solomon calls the "steaks of strife". Who needs that?

Hashem gives us everything we need to live within our means. When a person can't make ends meet, he or she should assess themselves as to whether they're spending money needlessly, buying things they don't need or just trying to keep up with the Jones's (or the Goldbergs). My esteemed and beloved teacher and spiritual guide Rav Shalom Arush says that thinking that Hashem will cover debts accumulated from living above one's means if false trust. The true manifestation of emuna is when we're pleased with our lot in life; that means living within our means.