66 posts categorized "Concepts in Judaism "

Free At Last, Free At Last!

IMG_2487 (1)

All you parents out there know exactly what this picture's all about. 

And if you don't, just nod and pretend like you do. No one will know the difference, I promise.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S IN THESE MOUNTAINS OF BAGS???

SCHOOL SUPPLIESSSSS!!!!! 

And that means....

SCHOOL IS HERE!!!!

Do I sound a little too happy? Well, I am. Because I just spent the last nearly three months on the roller coaster ride of my life, and lucky me, the kids were a part of the excitement every step of the way.

See, isn't it nice how I wrote that? Like, all non-insulting? I could have said they annoyed me to no end with their fighting, complaining, whining, screaming, fighting, not sleeping, and complaining about everything. But I didn't. 

I tell you, I'm completely burnt out. The stress of this summer was astronomical. Gargantuan. Behemoth. Outer space, even. I have no idea what I'm saying anymore because my brain cells are on self-preservation mode. You know, when the machine shuts down into like a hibernation in order to stop it from burning out completely.

Does this make any sense?

Well, the kids started school yesterday and I feel like I deserve a medal or at least an Oscar nomination for Most Wacked Mother of the Year. I'm sure a few of you out there would happily give me that nomination.

Last night I went to sleep at 3:30 because we had just finished registering for the school the week before, and I had just gone school shopping over the past few days. It was completely overwhelming, because not only did I have to get supplies for five kids, which equals like 2,047 different things, but the boxes from our move are still mostly unpacked because I don't have any place to put anything. 

So the stress was... stressful. Very. Very. Stressful.

But in the end, the kids got into a great school at the last minute, and I managed to get 72% of the stuff I needed. Still another round or two to go, but the worst is over.

Finally, after a long, difficult summer, I'm finally starting to see the light. Hallelujah! 

Which leads me to my point.

All of our suffering, all of our challenges - as intense and difficult as they are, the good news is they don't last forever. 

Eventually they pass and we draw on our emuna and gratitude to help us heal and move on.

Sure, much easier said than done.

But that's what life is all about. Overcoming challenges. Learning and growing from those challenges. Completing our soul corrections.

As I advance into adulthood, at least somewhat, I am sometimes terrified by the things I see people going through, Hashem have mercy. While I can't take their pain away, at least I can give them awareness of the life-saving tools that we are so fortunate and blessed to know about.

I can help them understand the concepts of emuna and gratitude. You and I know that there is no greater wisdom to live by in this entire world. Emuna and gratitude literally save lives. They save people's sanity, their marriages, their everything.

No matter what part of the world I decide to hop to next, my life's mission is to help spread the wisdom of emuna and gratitude n any way I can. 

I know that if you're reading this blog, you've likely benefited from these amazing teachings. So I'm asking straight out for you to partner with myself, Rav Brody, and Rav Arush, and the entire Breslev Israel family in spreading emuna around the world. 

Especially with Rosh Hashana around the corner, now is the best time to start the coming year with blessings, both for yourself, your family, and all the people in the world that so desperately need these teachings.

Donate to Emuna Outreach.

Be our partner in making this world the beautiful place Hashem intended it to be.

I wish you all a happy and healthy Shana Tova, and may Hashem bless you with a year filled with health, love, spiritual and material abundance, and most importantly, joy. 

Don't forget to check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna lesson below!

~Racheli

 


Tu B'Av: Happy Love Day!

Tu B'AvToday is the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av - "Tu B'Av" - known affectionately in Israel as "Love Day". The Gemara in Tractate Taanit tells us that this is one of the two very best days in the Hebrew calendar, an opportune time for seeking and finding a soul-mate. Here're the events that happened on this wonderful day:

  1. The 40-year long plague that resulted from the Sin of the Spies terminated.
  2. The tribes of Israel were allowed to intermarry, whereas previously one was required to take a spouse from his/her own tribe.
  3. Pilgrimage from all over the Land of Israel to Jerusalem was renewed, whereas previously, anyone outside Judea couldn't reach the Holy Temple.
  4. This became a festive occasion when all the wood needed for the coming year's sacrifices on the altar in the Holy Temple was completely gathered, despite huge obstacles.
  5. The myriad of Jews who had been killed defending Beitar during Bar Kochba's revolt were finally brought to burial. This was a double miracle, since the bodies - despite their being strewn in the hot sun for an extended period - did not decompose. 
  6. This is the day when Hashem in His infinite love and mercy put me under the chuppa (wedding canopy) with the very best woman on earth - my wonderful wife Yehudit, may Hashem bless her with abundance of spiritual and material riches, including long and happy days, amen.

Rav Shalom Arush mentioned in his lecture last night in Holon that "Tu B'Av" has always been a propitious and traditional day for matchmaking. Our sages codified an ancient tradition where all Jewish girls – rich and poor, beautiful and homely - go out dressed in borrowed white dresses and dance in the vineyards (see Tractate Taanit 10b). This was our sages' equal-opportunity mentality, to teach young men to look for upright character rather than a girl's makeup and fancy clothes. If you're married, we wish you much joy and wonderful shidduchim for your children. If you're not yet married, we pray that you find your soul-mate in the nearest future, amen!

People who have searching for their soul-mates have had great success after donating to Emuna Outreach. The reason is simple: by you helping others to connect with Hashem, Hashem helps you (or your child, or whomever you're praying for) connect with your bashert, your intended soul-mate. With that in mind, Donate to Emuna Outreach, and we'll be praying to hear good news from you in the nearest future.

Meanwhile, blessings for a lovely Shabbat! If you're going away for Shabbat, safe travels and please drive alertly, with two eyes on the road and two hands on the steering wheel. Hashem loves you, and we do too!


Above the stars

Negev Stars
The Negev Desert is one of the best places on earth to look up at the stars (above photo).

Our forefather Abraham was an expert astrologist; he gazed up at the stars from there, and saw that he would never be a father.

Hashem told Abraham that his reading was accurate, but that he must put the astrology aside. By virtue of Abraham's clinging to Hashem, he raised himself to a status where he was above the stars - the zodiacs no longer had an influence on him, and he became a father to great nations.

Astrology is a true discipline, but those who cling to Hashem in faith and in loving obedience to the Torah's commandments are surely above the stars.

Nature, teaches The Ramcha'l in chapter 7 of Derech Hashem, is certainly influenced by the stars, for that is the way of Hashem's creation. But, Hashem gives us the opportunity to transcend nature, and to live above the stars' influence. Therefore, anyone can change fate or a stroke of bad luck by making Teshuva and clinging to Hashem. As such, the Gemara declares (tractate Shabbos 156b), Ayn mazal leYisroel, in other words, the stars have no influence over Israel, the loyal ones who cling to Hashem.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev adds that for those who live above the stars' influence, miracles are natural. The Sombrero Galaxy, courtesy of utahskies.org


Eight Founding Mothers: Jewish DNA

Jewish DNA
Divine wisdom is amazing. In Jewish Law, one is a Jew if the mother is a Jew.

In an amazing research paper, the American Journal of Human Genetics calls our people, a "female-defined ethnicity"; that's enough to silence the chauvinists.

But that's not my main point here: extensive research shows that all the Jewish People are descendents of "eight small, distinct nuclei of women". And, Ashkenazi Jews alone stem from four founding mothers.

Do you realize what that means?

When one Jew seeks to harm another Jew, he or she is targeting a brother or sister. That's most hateful to our Father in Heaven.

The book "Tana D'Bei Eliahu" is a compendium of Elijah the Prophet's teachings that he says in the Name of Hashem. These teachings were handed down from generation to generation until they were compiled in book form. One of them says: "The Holy One said to the People of Israel: 'Beloved children, is anything lacking in this world? Do I ask you for anything? All I ask is that you love each other, and that you respect each other, and you have awe of each other's dignity. There shall not be swindling, affront or any unsightly interaction among you, so that you don't bring any blemish to the world Tana D'Bei Eliahu Raba, Ch. 28).

Our Torah doesn't need scientific confirmation when it tells us that we're Hashem's beloved children, namely, that we're all brothers and sisters. Since that's the case, let's begin loving one another; it could save our lives. Help put an end to intramural hate.


Purim: Hashem's Mercy

Megilla
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches (Likutei Moharan I:64) that Hashem created the world in order to reveal His mercy, because if He hadn’t created the world, He would have no one to whom He could reveal His mercy.

What do we learn from Rebbe Nachman’s teaching? We come to the conclusion that if Hashem created the world and all the creations therein in order to reveal His mercy – and you and I are His creations – then Hashem created us in order to have mercy on us and to show us His mercy.

With this in mind, we all must tell ourselves:

1) Hashem created me in order to have mercy on me and to show me His mercy;

2) Everything that happens in my life from A to Z is a result of Hashem’s mercy on me.

3) Since everything Hashem does is mercy for me, I have to thank Him for everything that happens in my life.

That's what Purim is all about - Hashem does fantastic miracles and saves our entire nation from annihilation, not because we deserve it, but just to show us His mercy. May Hashem perform unfathomable miracles for us this Purim, which is this coming Wednesday night and Thursday (Thursday night and Friday in Jerusalem) and may we all rejoice on this exalted and holy day!

Guide for the Purim-Perplexed: To make life easy for our readers, especially those who are newcomers to observant Judaism, the Beams has prepared a day-to-day guide for celebrating the joyous holiday of Purim. Click here for to see your day by day and mitzva by mitzva guide, which is easy to read and clear to understand.


Spiritual Hygiene

  Spiritual Hygiene
The Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) is like an iceberg: The statutes that teach proper conduct in every facet of our lives are only a mere manifestation of deep spiritual causes and effects that transcend time, place, and matter. What you see is only a tiny portion of the spiritual benefits you get.

During the period between Rosh Hashana and Yom kippur - what we call the "Ten Days of Repentance" - we can do wonders in mitigating harsh judgments. This is a propitious time for prayer and self-improvement. All Hashem expects of us is that we're a tiny bit better today than we were yesterday.

If up until now, you weren't careful about washing your hands first thing in the morning, here's a great chance to perform an easy mitzva that could save your life, literally.

Jewish law dictates that you should wash your hands as soon as you wake up in the morning, pouring water three times alternately on each hand from a large cup, a minimum of approx. 150ml on each hand. The apparent reason for the hand washing is that one inadvertantly touches or scratches unclean parts of the body at night, and before saying G-d's name, the hands must be clean. Yet spiritually, the explanation is much deeper, as follows in a nutshell:

When you sleep at night, your soul leaves the body and enters upper spiritual realms. A body without a soul is tantamount to dead, even if the basic life forces continue functioning. When the soul leaves the body, as in the case of a dead person, the body is rendered ritually impure. Evil forces of the "Sitra Achra", or the dark side, easily control a person who is spiritually and ritually impure. That's why many people - especially Chassidim - put a pail with a large plastic or tin cup that holds a liter of water immediately beside their bed, so they can wash their hands even before taking their first step of the day, thus cleansing themselves from ritual impurity at their very first opportunity of the day. Why the hands? Spiritual impurity is especially concentrated in the fingertips, the point where the soul leaves the body.

One who harbors ritual impurity has difficulty believing in G-d or understanding the Torah, since ritual impurity acts as a barrier against Divine Illumination, thus preventing Divine light from reaching the soul. Only Divine light can nourish the soul. Therefore, an undernourished soul is easily vanquished by the animal urges of the body. The minute the body reigns, the person becomes a slave to base inclinations, and that's bad news, both in this world and in the next. You can study Kabbala day and night, but if you don't wash your hands in the morning, you're spiritually in the mud.

If you don't do so already, start washing your hands every morning, and within a week, you'll feel a marked change within yourself - LazerBeam guaranteed.