97 posts categorized "Encouragement"

The BEST Yom Kippur Hack Ever

IMG_2867 (1)

No, it has nothing to do with this ice cream cone. What a shame. 

Do you have any idea how hard it is to type with one hand? But that little guy dressed in a skin-tight metallic red jumpsuit who likes to sit on my left shoulder and whisper all kinds of evil world domination plans in my ear won't leave me alone. He said I must finish that second ice cream cone. OR ELSE. 

If only the hack was a really cool way to get through the fast without being hungry, thinking about food, having your brain feel like it's gonna explode because it can't get its daily caffeine fix, and getting cranky and irritable because you're all of the above. And really hot. Silly readers, I meant sweaty hot! I don't know whatchu look like! 

That would be the BEST. HACK. EVER.

Well, what I'm about to share with you is almost as good, if not better. 

So check it out. 

Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement, when Hashem forgives us for all of our sins against Him over the past year. You know, it kind of reminds me of what it's like to be a mom. Like, a mom knows her kids are going to do the same stupid nonsense a split second after they apologize. But she forgives them anyway and pretends to believe that they've learned from their mistakes and her punishment. That way, the kids feel better.

But, uh, uh. Mommy ain't no fool. She knows her kids are going to test her again. And again. And again. AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL SHE HAS TO TAKE A TIME-OUT AT TARGET!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!

G-d I LOVE Target! 

Truth is, I like Walmart better. But let's save that debate for another time. 

Yes, Hashem sure is forgiving. Let's be honest. We don't deserve His forgiveness, and we certainly don't deserve His continued blessings every single second of our lives. He could have continued on just fine without us, but no. He wanted to give us a chance to enjoy being His creations. 

Back to the Day of Atonement. 

Yom Kippur is also the day when the judgments from Rosh Hashana are signed, sealed, and sent off for the next 365-day cycle of Prime Heavenly Shipping. 

So what's the hack already?!

As Rav Brody has said millions of times, there's no double jeopardy in the Heavenly Court. If you confess to a sin, they can't charge you upstairs for it, because your confession has already gone straight up to Hashem Himself, who forgives all sins against Him. 

BUTTTTT!!!

What if we do one better?

What if we also THANK Hashem for all of our blessings on Yom Kippur?

Wouldn't that bring an even more favorable judgment??

Confessing and repenting are mandatory because that's the way we're supposed to ask for forgiveness and another chance.

But what do we do on Yom Kippur to bring ourselves an even greater abundance of blessings?

As far as I know (and I could be wrong because it's happened once in the past,) there is no formal prayer of thanks in the Yom Kippur machzor. Of course, I haven't looked through it in a year, so it could be that I'm wr-wr-wrong. Yuck. 

Rav Arush teaches that expressing our gratitude is the best way to keep our blessings coming. So why not express your gratitude even more profusely on the day that your case is being decided? 

C'mon. Tell me that's not an awesomely genius super-brilliant mind-blowing hack.

Just remember one thing, people. When your year, G-d willing, is amazing beyond belief, remember me. Give credit where credit is due. And send me some flowers or Adidas anything. 

Wishing you all a G'mar Chatima Tova! May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life and enjoy a sweet year filled with every blessing your hearts desire!

~Racheli

We at the Beams offer our deepest condolences to the family of Ari Fuld, who was stabbed to death by a terrorist earlier this week. May his courage, drive, and passion to stand up for truth and Torah values continue to shine. He will be greatly missed.

 


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

 


Patience? I Ain't Got No Time For That!

IMG_2272

That line has got to be one of my favorite memes I ever did see. It's so ironically funny.

Well, this summer has been an endless test of patience. Finding schools and a place to live has been harder than I expected. 

Even getting our driver's licenses has been a challenge that we haven't yet overcome. Turns out yours truly, Mrs. Genius de la Geniuses, never actually officially changed her name. Like, legally. Like, ooops. I had no idea! 

I went to the driver's license place to renew my license and they said the system wouldn't let them do it because I never changed my last name. Well how was I supposed to know? No one told me! You would think the guy at the legal place where people go to get legally married would have told me that I'm legally supposed to change my name. 

Anyway. Check out this couch! It's so symbolic of how my summer has been. And it's really nice, right?

G-d I LOVE Costco!

Did I mention that whole little test of patience thing? Well. Basically it's been like banging my head against the wall to accomplish anything. Driver's licenses, school, finding a place, finding furniture, absolutely everything was and still is preceded by a brick wall. 

The original school we had planned on attending didn't work out. So we spent many weeks looking for a new school. B"H yesterday the kids were accepted to a school that I had not planned on looking at. And whaddayaknow? They have amazing programs in English and Math that can be individualized for the kids!

The area and apartment building we wanted to live in didn't accept us. At the last minute. Apparently there's a rule here of only six people maximum in a 3 bedroom apartment. Can you imagine if that rule were in Israel? Each family would have like, seven apartments! 

But finally, we found a house that's an actual house as you can see above. A real house. And affordable! I can't get over it. And the best part? The neighborhood is not only primarily shomer Shabbat Jews, but Israeli. That means no one cares if they hear you screaming at your kids from three doors down. Hopefully.

Oh, and there's even a shul in the neighborhood! A Sephardi one! Unbelievable, I tell you! 

The couch? Symbolic to the max. Do you know how many couches I looked at? How many arguments David and I had about couches? You can't imagine. But all the while, in the back of my mind, this couch was waiting for me in my imagination. At the last minute, just yesterday, we found it at Costco. It was love at first sight. The perfect balance of firmness and fluffiness. The perfect color and fabric and style. Just what I wanted.

Same goes for our kitchen table, which isn't set up yet. 

The main lesson I've learned from this summer is PATIENCE! 

I admit that I didn't and still don't have much of it. But I see very clearly that Hashem is definitely running the show, guiding us in the exact direction He wants us to move in. He's literally closed doors and opened new ones with such obvious divine providence, and it's an incredible thing to see.

I am so grateful for being forced to learn that patience is such a blessing. It saves you from tremendous stress when things aren't going your way. It helps you realize that you need to let go and let Hashem guide you. If your spiritual eyes are open, you'll see how everything will work out for your best. 

Ultimately, only Hashem knows what's best for each and every one of us. 

And if we can just remember that, imagine how much happier and more relaxed we'll be.  

Now I'm off do do some more serious damage at Costco. 

~Racheli

p.s.- Don't miss Rav Brody's weekly "Garden of Wisdom" lesson below! 


Moving Back to Miami!

Shutterstock_346240250

OMGGGGG did you hear the news??

I'm moving back to Miami! 

I know. You be like, "Say whaaaaa'???

Mrs. Aliyah Authority? Mrs. I Heart Israel? The reigning Zumba Queen of the Middle East? 

How could such a thing be? 

Well. I can assure you it wasn't an easy decision. I looked at this decision from every perspective I could, and finally I decided that being in Miami at this stage of life would be the best move for us.

But, but, but how could it be? Isn't Israel the best place for every Jew? Aren't we all supposed to strive to live there?

My dear, sweet children. 

These are all fantastic questions. Yes, Israel is the best place for every Jew. But it doesn't mean that every Jew is ready to live there.

The fantasy of living in Israel is very different from the reality of living there. Israel really is earned through tribulations. It's absolutely true and to be expected.

But. 

There was one issue that I was no longer willing to suffer with. 

That issue was the fact that David works American hours. Which means he is rarely home during the evenings. Which means he barely sees me or the kids. Which means we are all missing out on being together as a family.

In Israel, there are no Sundays to spend together. Shabbat is mostly a combination of eating and sleeping. Holidays are pretty much the same, and basically the only time we were able to logistically do anything together was on Chol HaMoed, and I ain't getting in no car with  no five kids and driving hours and hours in crazy traffic. No, thanks.

I realized that my living situation wasn't going to change. I also realized that my kids needed a father. They needed a normal family life where he would come home in the evening and spend time with them. They needed more than just a stressed-out mother screaming at them to do their homework and get in the shower. 

They also needed a support system, their grandparents and cousins, and a full life that they just weren't getting here.

Oh, yeah, and I needed a husband. 

And David?

He needed to be able to communicate with people using actual words and not just through charades. 

So I decided that although I love living in Israel, at this stage of life it's not the best thing for any of us. 

Some of you may say it's a huge mistake to leave Israel. That's fine. You're entitled to your opinion. 

I have to tell you that emuna is literally the lifesaving and driving force in my life. Without it, I would be a disaster of second-guessing, self-doubt, self-persecution, and loaded with anxiety. 

Instead, I am ready to face this new stage of my life. I am excited to see what the future holds. 

Emuna has given me strength, confidence, and a secure feeling knowing that Hashem is here, lovingly guiding me through this unpredictable journey called life. 

Are you facing life situations that you really want to change, but for a number of reasons you feel like you just can't? 

This week's article, called Don't Be Afraid, is one of the most life-changing articles I have written so far. I hope that it helps give you the perspective, confidence, and strength you need in order to improve any area of your life that you're able to.

I hope that you use the gift of emuna to live your life to the fullest, and to see that everything, absolutely everything, is a blessing and an opportunity to grow.

Here's to the future!

~Racheli 


Above The Clouds

Shutterstock_551236246

My oldest son told me he wants to go skydiving one day. G-d help me. I can already tell what kind of teenager he's turning into. He loves adventure, has zero patience, and hates school.

Hmmm... sounds familiar. 

I mean, he sounds just like his father. His mind goes a million miles an hour, just like David's. He wants to be rich when he grows up, and so does David. To be honest, David has more patience than I do. But that's probably because he's not around the kids as much as I am. 

I mean, it's easy to have patience when your patience isn't being tested, right? 

I hate anything to do with falling, and the only way I would ever skydive is if I were lying unconscious on someone else's back. 

But I do love this picture.

Isn't it spectacular?

Every day we're so stuck in our immediate surroundings that it's difficult, impossible sometimes, to remember that there is a world of perfection that exists. 

This world is right here, so close, but we can't see it. As much as we want to, we can't experience it. 

The sky above the clouds reminds me of this perfect world. No matter what's going on underneath, whether it's raining, a hurricane, tornadoes, snow, or Black Friday sales, the world above the clouds is always peaceful. Always perfect. 

Is it possible to experience this perfect world while we're still alive? How so, if our lives are full of difficult challenges, extremely limited perception, and chaos? 

Well, we could:

a) spend the rest of our lives flying above the clouds in airplanes

b) work on connecting to that perfect world through our emuna

"A" doesn't sound so comfortable, unless the plane you're flying in happens to be tripped out with a Presidential Suite, a personal chef, and a jacuzzi with those super cool lights that switch colors. 

That means that for most of us, "B" is our only practical option. And it really is a practical option. Like I wrote last week, emuna is the only thing that keeps us from giving up all hope when the challenges start feeling impossible. 

When we feel like we're trapped in our difficulties, if we can just remind ourselves that these challenges are not forever, this could literally save our sanity. 

If we can remember that everything is supposed to be as it should, and Hashem is running the world, we will be okay with whatever the outcome is. I'm not saying that we have to be happy with whatever happens; but at least we need to recognize that whatever happens is what is supposed to happen, even though we may not understand why. 

On the other side of the clouds there is peace, tranquility, and eternal blue skies. You know the fastest way to get there? 

Just close your eyes. 

Keep this stunning picture in your mind and have it handy for when you go through your day, your week, your life.

I hope this helps make your day a bit brighter!

~Racheli

 


Iguana Invaders

IMG-20180409-WA0001 (1)

Few things have made me so happy early in the morning like this picture. 

But really, the video was even more entertaining.

In case you snow-covered Northerners don't know what this is, it's an iguana. (I think.) Iguanas roam South Florida freely, as if they own the place. They can be strolling along the side of the road and give the Look of Death to a guy on his bike, and that poor guy will inexplicably fly right off and land in the bushes. I mean, hopefully. 

Yesterday, this not-so-little guy, affectionately known as Big Ig, decided to take a dip in my sister's pool. She was in the house when she spotted him catching some rays. Since Big Ig thought he owned the place, he demanded a lounge chair and a Strawberry Daiquiri. Seriously, what self-respecting iguana lays out without the appropriate sunbathing accessories? 

Naturally, my sister ran to record the whole drama. But what she didn't realize when she began screaming about the iguana jumping into the pool was how much I'd enjoy it. If she did, she never would have sent me the video.

Oh, how I laughed and laughed when she squealed in horror as she helplessly watched the iguana jump into the pool. 

How I snorted in hysterics when her husband finally caught Big Ig in the pool net and started heading toward her with it. 

I think I watched that video 24 times today. 

And I laughed every. Single. Time.

Big Ig taught me a profound spiritual lesson, and I'm just passing it along as per his request. 

He said to me, "You may look at me, laying out by this fancy pool, looking all glamorous with my long nails and shiny scales, but you don't see the whole picture. You don't see how much secret pain I carry around as I slither 'round the 'hood. You think it's cool that other people scream from fear and repulsion when they see me, but inside I'm sad because no one wants to be my friend. You may think that I roam the streets carefree, but you can't imagine the secret terror I carry with me because I can turn into roadkill in an instant."

"Wow, Big Ig," I responded. "I'm so ashamed that I misjudged you. I only saw what was on the outside and didn't think further than that."

"Well that's because you're superficial and self-centered," he replied. 

"And shallow," I added.

Isn't that kinda the same thing?

So you see, fellow self-centered people who love to judge others based on their glamorous selfies on Facebook: everyone's got problems. It reminds me of one couple a few years ago that kept posting pictures of their gorgeous family vacationing here and there. They looked like the perfect family with the perfect life. But just a few months later, all pictures with the husband were deleted, and she changed her status to "single." 

And I'd like to add that when someone gets upset, or seems to have a negative reaction that's way out of proportion than what would be appropriate, do your best to step back and give that person the benefit of the doubt. You really have no idea what secret painful situation he may be going through.

So before you start judging others or fantasizing about trading your life with someone else's, stop and ask yourself this one important question:

What would Big Ig do?

G-d I'm soooo happy my sister doesn't read this blog! 

~Racheli

 


Climbin' Those Marble Steps

Up them steps
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 in inner-city DC, on Independence Avenue SE, twelve blocks from the Capital. We had a really nice Afro-American mailman who used to deliver the mail to us every day. I don't remember his name, but he had the warmest smile you could ever imagine. 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 down here in inna-city. I'm gonna climb them marble steps, like the ones at the White House. Shucks, someday, I'm gonna be rich. Maybe I'll even 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 begins with climbing the first one of those marble steps. The day after Pesach is a great time to begin.