38 posts categorized "Community and public service"

Back to Life

A young man was once walking along the beach when he suddenly saw an old man trying to push one of a dozen or so errant dolphins back into the ocean. The dolphins had made a navigational mistake and ended up getting stuck on the shore, quivering between life and death.  "Hey, Granddad, it doesn't matter how hard you try – you simply won't be able to save all those dolphins. It's impossible – you won't be able to make a difference."

With a deep breath and a huge effort, the old man managed to push one of the dolphins back into the ocean and back to life. The ocean water and the movement of the waves revived the dolphin and he began swimming. "You see that dolphin, young man? For him," the old man panted, "I certainly made a difference."

The young man smiled bashfully and began to help the old man. A third passerby joined them as well, and the three succeeded in saving all the dolphins.

What do we learn from this story? Sometimes we look around us and we see all the deficiency in the world. There's so much to do and so many people to help that our hearts become filled with a sense of futility. We ask ourselves, "How can I possibly deal with all of this. With my sorely limited assets, how can I possibly make a change in anything?"

As soon as we ask ourselves the above question, we must remember: we must do what we are capable of doing and leave the impossible to Hashem. Just like the old man who refused to surrender to the fear that he won't be able to make a difference, he did what he could with no hesitation, summoning up as much power as he could. Then suddenly, as if with a magic wand, others joined him and he saved an entire school of dolphins from imminent death.

We're just like the people in the above story. Passover is almost here; this is a wonderful opportunity to partner in our annual Emuna Outreach Kimcha D'Pischa Project. The heavy expenses of the holiday make it ever so difficult for many families to fulfill the mitzvoth of Passover, much less enjoy the holiday. It's difficult to think about replacing the children's torn and tight shoes with new ones when there's no food on the table and no matzoth or wine for Passover. These are families whose struggle for survival is daily. This very moment, they are wondering if there will be any food to put on the table during Passover…

Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Project enables hundreds of needy Jewish families in the Land of Israel to celebrate the Passover holiday with joy. Since we buy everything bulk and wholesale, a donation of $180 provides an entire family with wine, shmura matza, vegetables, eggs, meat and/or poultry and everything else needed for Seder night. This fulfills for you the two tremendous obligations of Kimcha D'Pischa, providing foodstuffs for the poor on Passover, and Kol Dichfin, opening up your home to the poor on Seder night. This is an easy way to fulfill Kol Dichfin, for when you sponsor a family's Seder night, it's the same as if you hosted them in your own home.

You can make your generous tax-deductable donation to Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Fund by clicking here. May Hashem bless you and yours with a truly happy and kosher Passover!

Remember: do what you can do and leave the rest up to Hashem. That way, we'll truly make a difference.

If There's No Flour

Emuna Outreach Kimcha 5776
Our sages remind us of the obvious: "If there's no flour, there's no Torah." In like manner, if there's no flour for Passover, there's no matza.

Kimcha1Our esteemed and beloved Rav Shalom Arush, the head of the Chut Shel Chesed Yeshiva, Breslev Israel and Emuna Outreach, does everything in his power to make sure that needy families here in Israel have the necessary foodstuffs for Passover. What's the connection between distributing food for Passover and spreading emuna? Simple - when a needy family that has no idea how they'll handle the exorbitant expenses of Passover suddenly receives shmura matza, eggs, vegetables, wine, chickens and more, their emuna gets a tremendous boost.

Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa (Aramaic for "flour for Passover") Fund goes to putting food on the tables of worthy low-income families in Israel. We buy things in bulk and at wholesale prices, so that we get the most out of every dollar in our fund. And, as you see in the adjacent blurry photos from last night (it was late and we were flying, with so much work to do in such a short time), we have to hustle with so many worthy needy families to reach and so little time left until Passover.

Kimcha3This is a wonderful opportunity for you to "host" an entire family for Seder night, many of whom have six children and more. A minimum donation of $180 puts wine, shmura matza, vegetables, eggs, meat and/or poultry and everything else needed for Seder night on their table. This fulfills for you the two tremendous obligations of Kimcha D'Pischa, providing foodstuffs for the poor on Passover, and Kol Dichfin, opening up your home to the poor on Seder night. This is an easy way to fulfill Kol Dichfin, for when you sponsor a family's Seder night, it's the same as if you hosted them in your own home.

You can make your generous tax-deductable donation to Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Fund by clicking here. May Hashem bless you and yours with a truly happy and kosher Passover!

A Pre-Passover Message from Rabbi Shalom Arush

Message RSA
Cherished friends,

As the Passover holiday approaches, many worthy but needy families in Jerusalem have added worries: Barely able to feed their families, much less clothe them, they have no idea how they'll provide for the quickly approaching Passover. The heavy holiday expenses create hardships for many families who simply can't manage to purchase all their holiday needs; no one's at all talking about "enjoying" the holiday. They can barely afford to put wine and matza on the Passover table, so who can think about new shoes for the children? These are families who don't know if they'll have food on the table this coming Passover, and I wish I were exaggerating.
As the Rosh Yeshiva of Chut Shel Chesed and Director of Emuna Outreach, I feel that chesed - loving-kindness - is one of the most important mitzvoth there is; I'm sure that you agree with me. That's why I included the word chesed in the name of our yeshiva, to emphasize that helping our fellow human is a highest priority. The Torah says, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." "Flour for Passover" means to help the less fortunate of our Jewish brethren have a joyous Passover holiday by enabling them to have the necessary staples.
Rebbetzen Arush and I do our utmost to identify the needy families who are too embarrassed to request assistance, and to give them the needed foodstuffs and financial support. I am privileged and honored to offer you a share in this mitzva. This is a wonderful opportunity to join us in our annual Kimcha d'Piskha, or "Flour for Passover" Project.
Your donation to our "Emuna Outreach Kimcha d'Piskha Fund" will provide needy families in Israel with all their needs for Passover, including meat and poultry, wine, matzot, dry goods, fruit and vegetables. Donate to Emuna Outreach to make sure that these worthy families of sorely limited means will also be able to enjoy their Passover holiday. Your donation is US tax deductable.

May we all have a truly joyous holiday, amen!

Mitzvoth of the Land of Israel

People are aware of the two main types of mitzvoth, between man and Hashem and between man and fellow man. Yet, few are aware of the mitzvoth of the Land of Israel, which are not only extremely important but within everyone's capability today, even those who live outside of Israel. How? See this 5-minute lesson then have a look at owntheholyland.com - by way of the merit of the mitzvoth of Eretz Yisroel, may we soon see Moshiach, amen!

Putting a Stop to Child Molesting

I get so much mail about "community coverups" of the worst type of crime - the ugly, disgusting abomination of child molesting. There are many stories about the villains who go free because they're the relatives of important and influential people. This phenomenon is disgusting and every person must do everything he or she can to uproot this immoral and inhuman plague from within our midst. We all ask, why are so many rabbis silent on this issue? In the 12-minute clip you're about to see, Rabbi Elchanan Tauber shlit'a breaks that silence and calls for an end to the coverup. Check out this very important 12-minute video:

It's Official: All Natural-Hair Wigs Are Now Banned

We hope and pray to see an end of suffering in the world. In light of the recent disasters in North America and the imminent threat of global strife, we must all search our souls and look for areas that we can immediately improve in. We pray that everyone is blessed with a wonderful New Year 5778. But, with Rosh Hashanah - the Day of Judgment - a mere week away, we feel solemnly obligated to bring the following halachic ruling to the public's attention.

Five major poskim - rabbinical authorities - recently issued a statement forbidding all natural-hair sheitlach, wigs. They are: 

Rabbi Chaim Meir Halevi Vosner, Rabbi and Head of the Rabbinical Court, Zichron Meir

Rabbi Sariel Rosenberg, Rabbi and Chief Rabbinical Justice, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Yehuda Sillman, Rabbi and Head of the Rabbinical Court, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Shimon Baadani, member of the Council of Torah Sages

Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Karp, Dayan and Posek, Southern Hill, Modiin

Click on the posters below to see them enlarged and more clearly:Sheitelposter1 Sheitelposter2

Racheli adds: 

Listen, ladies, I know how hard it is to cover your hair with a scarf. To be totally honest, I'm not crazy about it. Remember, I'm a BT that spent her early 20's having fun in Miami Beach, one of the world's most exotic locations for barely dressed beautiful people. I'm not a little sheltered girl that grew up in Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. I enjoy feeling and looking beautiful, and I totally understand all of your reservations and objections.

A scarf can't compare to a gorgeous wig in beauty, nor can it compare in the way it makes you feel: feminine, complete, and confident. I had some pretty stunning wigs, but I got rid of them when I realized that they just made me look more beautiful instead of adding modesty to my look. I'm all for female empowerment and independence and all that stuff. But I realize that this isn't a power struggle between old men with ancient beliefs in a woman's role versus the strong feminists of today. 

It's simply a matter of following the Torah. Saying that a man shouldn't be involved in women's halachic issues is ridiculous. Maybe we shouldn't keep family purity too? Maybe we shouldn't separate challah or light candles? After all, Moshe Rabbeinu was a man. So was the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama. Maybe we shouldn't see male doctors, especially obstetricians just because they're men. It's reverse discrimination and it's not fair.

Anyone who really believes in our Divine Torah knows that Hashem only wants what's best for us. No one's out to get us or put us down. The fact that we don't understand what's best for us is apparent when we resist and protest the rulings of people who know much more Torah than we do. 

In my opinion, this is a matter beyond the wigs. It's a matter of if we believe in our Torah, or we don't. If we believe in it, then we must accept ALL of it, both the parts that we agree with and the parts that make us cringe. That doesn't mean that we have to be on the highest level of observance! It means that we should recognize where we're holding spiritually, and strive to raise ourselves up, level by level. 

Trading in your wig for a scarf or hat is one of the hardest decisions a Torah-observant woman will ever have to make. I understand, believe me. But I must also believe with all of my heart that there are others in this world who know more than I do, and trust that their opinion of what's best for me is the right one. I trust that my family will be benefit from my sacrifice for generations to come. I fully believe that I made the right decision. Because if I don't, what does that say about my belief in the Torah as a whole?

Ladies, I encourage you to do some serious soul searching regarding this matter. What's keeping you from making the switch? Peer pressure? Fear of looking ugly? Your husband wants you to wear a wig? Do you think it's a bunch of oppressive nonsense? 

Whatever it is, once you gain clarity, your decision will be so much easier. And, if you want some great tips for stylish hair covers, there are tons of instructional videos online of women who cover their hair with style and class. If you don't want to go online, send me an email and I'll give you a few pointers. You can contact me at racheli@breslev.co.il. 

Hashem should bless you with clarity and the strength to do what's right!

More downloadable background material:

  1. Indian Hair Report updated
  2. Hair is the sacrifice
  3. Shocking Documention of Corruption in Hair Industry
  4. Original Psak in Hebrew

Is Your Sheitel (Wig) Kosher?

Several years ago, it was discovered that many wigs that observant Jewish women were wearing contained natural hair from India, where many women are idolaters. Jewish Law strongly prohibits using or deriving benefit from anything connected to idolatry. It caused a tremendous scandal, and here in Israel, all wig-wearing observant women moved over to hats and scarfs until the wigs reappeared with "rabbinical kosher certificates", that the hair was either European (which is very expensive) or synthetic (which many women call "donkey tails" and is considered unfashionable).

Fast forward a decade. We just received a comprehensive, strongly documented report on the state of kashruth in wigs from Rebbetzen Ahava Margaretten which you can download at this link: Download Indian Hair Report.

For those who are skimming this article and won't download the whole report, here is a shocking excerpt that one cannot ignore:

Interview with a shaitel macher (wig-maker) with 18 years experience:

“I would like people to know... that myself first hand can attest to the utter misrepresentation we are handed with our shaitels. I have been a shaitel macher for almost 18 years. I have learned from some of the industry's leading members how to identify hair, physically hand tie hair into a wig, how to construct a wig from scratch, as well as cutting, coloring, and washing techniques only know to the top artist. Approximately 8 years ago I began the difficult process of starting my own line of wigs. Making contacts and having representatives in China is not an easy process. I learned quickly that there are no morals in business in China. Hair which was hand selected here from brokers coming straight from Ukraine would be sent to China only to return blended and processed with other hair which I did not send or request.

The factories always offered tags for my wigs which stated "100% European hair" even if we had just negotiated using Brazilian, Mongolian, or Uzbekistan hair. They also always offered the "kashrus" label with the blessings from "the rabbi" which of course they told me didn't exist. At that point I realized that there was no way that I could create a product which I really believed in or stood by. I myself who was dealing directly with the factories would never really know if the hair which I sometimes cut from a woman here in the states would actually return unadulterated or blended with something else. The fact that the factories clearly had no scruples regarding misrepresentation to my customers meant that they would most likely swindle me too. I decided to forgo manufacturing my own line and the money that would come with it.

It's important for women to know that factories will insert any tag necessary to make a sale. Many shaitel machers have no clue that they are being duped. They are told it's European hair and that it has a hashgacha, but the reality is far from such. They simply don't know.”

-Quoted directly word for word on June 11th, 2017. Shaitel macher chose to remain anonymous in this report.

Who wants to play Russian Roulette with Halacha and even take the slightest chance with such a serious d'Oraita transgression as benefitting from idolatry, issur hana'a me'avoda zara. I want to clarify that although Rav Arush's and my wife and daughters cover their hair with tichelach (scarfs), I never interfere in the debate between the pro-sheitel and the pro-tichel factions, especially since many righteous spiritual leaders such as the Rebbes of Gur, Chabad, Vishnitz and Belz allow their female followers to wear wigs, as well as most of the Lithuanian and Yeshivish world. Yet, when it comes to such a serious breach that could be a tremendous stumbling block for the public, we here at the Beams found the urgent need to sound the alarms and flash the warning yellow lights. Please be very careful.

One thing is for sure - if you wear a wig, consider the advantages of moving over to synthetic. And, if you do make the commendable move from wigs to scarfs, we'll be happy to direct you our own Rebbetzen Racheli Reckles or to Rebbetzen Rivka Malka Perlman who'll be happy to show you how to look gorgeous in a scarf. Blessings for a lovely Shabbat!