This coming Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the first day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar. It's a special time that's conducive for renewal, rebooting ourselves and making a new start.
One of the main things I did during my election-day hitbodedut (personal prayer) was to take a good, hard look at The Beams and the direction we hope to be taking during the coming year.
The recent cyber face-lifting of the Beams (I hope you like it) is a reflection of our resolve for a renewed inner dimension as well. Politics and religious debates are a hopeless and utter waste of time; you can see the news, infighting and bashing on dozens of other web sites and blogs. My energies will be dedicated to spreading emuna, inspiring people of all backgrounds and to combine my training as a rabbi and spiritual guide and as a certified fitness trainer to help people maintain healthy minds, bodies and souls.
I believe that Emuna - the pure and unshaking faith in Hashem - is the key to personal happiness, our national survival, and world peace. Most people - clergymen included - have no idea what real emuna is all about. That's why Lazer Beams will be dealing more and more in emuna. Personally, I'd rather have an intimate reader-family of 800 emuna-seekers than the 4-5,000 news seekers I was getting daily when I was writing about current events.
I'd like for Lazer Beams to be a cyber oasis of emuna and good health, and a place for you to come and just feel good about yourself, knowing that Hashem loves you and that we do too.
As always, feel free to comment and to share your thoughts with us.
Halacha (Jewish Law) requires us to make at least 100 benedictions every day, including Shabbat (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 46:4, 284:4, 290:1). Rebbe Meir in the Gemara tells us that King David instituted this practice to invoke Divine compassion and blessings.
Our cherished friends and emuna activists Avi Hersko from NYC and Avrumi Nussenzweig from Jerusalem (who recently made Aliya from NYC to Eretz Yisroel), came to the amazing conclusion that if 100 blessings a day do so much for us, imagine the power of thanking Hashem at least 100 times a day! They started making a daily list of 100 things to thank Hashem for, and ever since, they've seen tremendous miracles.
Don't say that you don't know what to say "Thank-You, Hashem" for - doesn't every single heartbeat and breath deserve limitless gratitude?
Why don't you try 100 daily "Thank You's" too? For your convenience, we've prepared a 100 Thank You list print out. Click on the link and download the form, which you can print and use daily. You too can merit miracles!
With all the difficult news from around the world, and all the hardships of our people - particularly in France - it's time for good news. The secular media is now reporting - and it's official - that Israel's tremendously popular singer Kobi Peretz has decided to become a Torah-observant Jew.
Kobi met my esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush, may Hashem bless him, and was so enraptured with him, that his whole life changed. Rav Shalom saved Kobi from divorce. Rav Shalom taught Kobi how to speak to Hashem in personal prayer, and Kobi even accompanied Rav Shalom on an "Emuna Outreach" mission of giving out books and CDs to IDF soldiers. Israel's Channel 2 released a documentary of Kobi's teshuva and his encounter with Rav Shalom Arush, which we're delighted to present here. Even though it's in Hebrew, you'll undoubtedly understand what's happening - this film speaks to the heart, as does Kobi's singing. This is all a small part of what Rav Shalom and Emuna Outreach are doing in Israel alone:
You can partner with Rav Shalom in spreading emuna around the world; click on the "Donate" button on the upper left-hand toolbar of this site. May Hashem grant you every blessing!
Rabbis Shalom Arush and Lazer Brody - photo by David Bader
Many people have been asking me lately why they need a rabbi and spiritual guide to serve Hashem. Can't they get close to Hashem on their own?
Even the best special-forces soldier would be an imbecil to try and find his way through an unfamiliar desert of difficult mountainous terrain without a scout who's intimately familiar with the area. And spiritually, this world is tough terrain. A person is taking a dangerous chance by trying to go it on his own.
When I first became a BT (baal-teshuva, newly observant), I tried a dozen different approaches to Torah Judaism, but my soul never felt like it was in the right place. I became an ordained rabbi, but I still didn't have my spiritual guide. After begging Hashem for almost 9 years, I found Rav Shalom Arush. We've been together for 15 years now. I shudder to think where I would be without him.
Don't try to navigate this world on your own. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if a person acts as his own rabbi, then he has a fool for a pupil.
I thank Hashem for bringing me close to Rav Shalom and I thank Rav Shalom for bringing me close to Hashem.
Back in the 70's, one of my favorite singing groups was "The Eagles". They had a super-hit song called "Take it Easy" that was my favorite. I always remind myself of one the verses that says, "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy". In other words, if your ego gets in your way, you'll not only be crazy, but spiritually blind and deaf as well.
Nothing is so conducive to inner peace as humility.