51 posts categorized "Encouragement"

G-d Despises Bullies

Bully
Bullies should be forewarned: King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:15, "And G-d shall seek the pursued." In other words, Hashem will come to the aid of the bullied and punish the bully when he least expects it. Rabbenu Bachiya explains that this principle is so strong, that Hashem despise bullies so much, that if even a righteous person bullies an evil person, Hashem will come to the aid of the evil person and settle the score with the righteous person (see Rabbenu Bachiya on Vayikra 22:27).

Hashem loves compassion and kindness, yet hates bullying. True faith means loving what Hashem loves and depising what He despises. It is therefore a mitzva to despise bullies and to come to the aid of the bullied, no matter who they are and where they are.


Back On Our Feet

Still on my feet

Here's a bit of encouragement for the Three Weeks:

My father, may he rest in peace, was the only Jewish pilot from Western Canada in the RCAF in World War II. He went to flight school flight school at the Edmonon, Alberta training base. He told me that as a trainee, they had quite a few survival and land-navigational exercises. These were led by a mean sergeant major named Macdonald, who despised Jews. My Pop never hid his Judaism.

Once, Macdonald was leading the trainees up a difficult mountain path in the ice. My father slipped and fell, but was instantly back on his feet. Macdonald didn't miss the opportunity and snorted, "You see - you fell because you're a Jew!"

My Pop was quick on the draw too, and more than a bit sassy. "Wrong, sergeant major," he snapped back, not caring about the consequences, "I'm back on my feet because I'm a Jew!"


Keep on Dreaming, Keep on Trucking

When I was a little boy in inner-city Washington, DC, we lived in a small apartment on top of my father's grocery store on Independence Avenu SE, twelve blocks from the Capital. We had a really nice African-American mailman who used to deliver the mail to us every day. I don't remember his name, but he had a smile like Louie Armstrong. I loved to greet him and talk to him. He would pinch my then-chubby cheeks and say, "Child, I ain't gonna be totin' mail all my life. Someday, I'm gonna be rich. Maybe I'll buy the White House. Meantime, I keep on dreamin' and I keep on truckin'!"

I'll never forget those words of wisdom. You keep on dreaming and in the meanwhile, you keep on plugging away. Every major accomplishment began with taking the first step to fulfill a dream.

Dreams Come True


Tu B'Shvat: A Lesson about Roots

Roots are Strength

Tu B'Shvat this year is  Tuesday night, Feb. 3 and Wednesday, Feb. 4

People ask what a "New Year for Trees" is all about.

The Torah says that "man is a tree in the field." We, the People of Israel, are certainly like a tree.

In the Holocaust, we lost 6,000,000 leaves and were left with bare branches. According to the Iranians and their proxies Hizbulla and Hamas who are at this moment aiming 200,000 missiles at us, we're dying altogether, and - in their words - it's a matter of pushing the button and a mere 9 minutes for them to finish us off. Utzu eitza v'tufar...

If that's not enough, we have an enemy within us that fails to recognize our connection to our own roots. With nothing to anchor them, they'll soon disappear, blowing in the wind like chaff from a wheat stalk. 

What our enemies in every generation fail to understand is that our roots are deep and mighty. Our 3,800 year-old spiritual taproot cuts through the boulders of time and reaches Moses, then back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Just as our enemies can't see our roots, they can never uproot us.

On Tu B'Shvat, the trees look dead. But don't be mistaken - soon they shall flower in all their glory.

Maybe we look dead now with all the threats from the outside and all of our unity-and-tolerance problems from within. But don't lose heart. When we lease expect it, Hashem will redeem us and send Moshiach, and the Jewish people - like an almond tree in Shvat - will blossom and rejuvenate in all our glory, in our newly rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem, soon, amen! Happy Tu B'Shvat!


A Perfect Fit

A Good Fit

The prophet Amos tells us that Joseph the tzaddik was sold for the price of shoes (see Amos 2:6). Why specifically for the price of a pair of shoes? With Hashem's guidance, let's try to understand the underlying connection between Joseph's tribulations and the concept of shoes, for there is certainly an important inner message here.

My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a told me a story about Rebbe Yechiel Michal (“Michel'e”) of Zlatshov, of saintly and blessed memory, which sheds light on our question at hand... Read all about it in The Perfect Fit, my feature article in this week's issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Chanuka is only 9 days away. Halacha requires us to use Chanuka candles large enough, or to use sufficient oil, so that the candles can burn for at least 30 minutes after nightfall. It is also customary to sit by the Chanuka candles during this duration. At this time, many families sing Chanuka songs and songs of praise to Hashem, play the dreydel and tell Chanuka stories. What is behind the custom of sitting by the Chanuka candles, rather than "lighting and running"? The answer to this and more is in my pre-Chanuka article, Power of the Pure.

Also featured this week:

Rav Shalom Arush - A Tale of Two Friends

Dr. Zev Ballen - Brain Lock

Racheli Reckles - The Rack of Lamb Rabbi

Jennifer Woodward - Reaching out to Noahides

Zev Zalman Ludwick - The Teshuva Tank

Rivka Levy - How to Spot Fake Rabbis

Are you looking for a super-meaningful yet super inexpensive gift to give someone you really care about? Try Six Days to the Top. And if it's someone you really love, add Calming Waters.

Bright Beams blessings for a beautiful week!