My wonderful doctor of Chinese medicine in Jerusalem spent three hours checking me from head-to-toe the day before yesterday. After tailor-making the Chinese-herbal remedy I'll be needing to take care of myself, she told me in no uncertain terms: my heart is incapable of meeting the demands that I've been making from it. I must slow down...
I have a tear in my eye but a song in my heart. I promise you that I'm happy and I appreciate the mind-boggling care that Hashem takes of me. But, I won't deny the tear in my eye of having to hang up my track shoes, which less than two weeks ago were sprinting with the wind at a pace that any person 30 years younger than me would have been proud of. Not only can I no longer sprint, but I can no longer run or even jog. Power lifting and kettle bells are out the window. I sold my weight rack. Jumping rope? No way! The extent of my current permissible exertion-level is brisk walking and light exercise like Pilates.
I've turned a page in life. Hashem wants me to redirect my efforts into more Torah and even more spreading emuna. That's exactly what I'm doing. It's all for the best - that's a no-brainer. I sincerely thank Hashem for my cardiac challenge. My time in the hospital and in the aftermath of adjusting to a new reality has given me a sorely needed opportunity for serious introspection and revamping priorities, something we need to do every day of our lives.
Since the purpose of life is to get closer to Hashem, anything that brings us closer is intrinsically good. My heart problems have brought me so much closer to Hashem, to qualify them as a rare gift from Above. Blessings for a wonderful Shabbat!
I received so many concerned emails from you, cherished friends, asking where I disappeared to last week, because I always inform you when I go overseas. This time I wasn't overseas - I was in the cardiology ward of Laniado Hospital in Netanya. I'm writing now because I'm home, with Hashem's enormous grace. My wings have been clipped somewhat, but I'm strong, thanks to Hashem.
It was a crazy story. I was in the height of fitness, beyond all the "excellent" levels not only for my age, but for people twenty years younger than me. I was working out every day except for Shabbat of course, and doing full-throttle wind-sprints twice a week. But, during recent sprint sessions, my heart rate was hitting 215, 54 more than what my heart-rate maximum should be. Yet, I felt great. I didn't know what was wrong - my heart or my heart-rate monitor. I decided to have a complete athlete's checkup at Israel's national college of sports and sports medicine, Wingate Institute in Netanya. I flew through all the tests with great scores until the final test - the stress test, where you wear an EKG while walking on a treadmill. The tester, a sports cardiologist, turns up the pace until you're totally exhausted, to determine a number of fitness factors. At the outset of the test, he called his two colleagues to come quickly. His face was ashen. The head cardiologist looked at the chart and said to his third colleague, "Go call an ambulance - dachoof - pronto!" I didn't understand what was flying - I felt great. To make a long story short, normal hearts have a steady even rhythm; my heart was showing a rhythm like the syncopation of Chassidic niggun. They said that I had arrhythmia - atrial fibrillation - so bad that I was in imminent danger, Heaven forbid. An ambulance picked me up and the paramedic wouldn't even let me lift my gym bag...
The doctors wanted to treat me with all types of drugs in preparation for electrical cardioversion, which in lay terms are electric shocks to the heart. I wouldn't let them. I spoke to my beloved rabbi and spiritual guide, Rav Shalom Arush, who prescribed different "treatments". The Melitzer Rebbe, well-versed in medical matters, agreed with everything Rav Shalom said. I followed their advice and I'm now home, feeling great. True, my sprint shoes went to the trash can and I must exercise a lot more "softly", making sure that my heart rate doesn't exceed 161. I'll tell you the whole story in my emuna lesson later this week, G-d willing, because this was surely one of the biggest emuna lessons in my life, brought to me by my loving Father in Heaven. As you can see in the above photo from the emergency room In Laniado, I'm smiling (next to me in the photo is emergency cardiologist Dr. Amash, an Israeli Arab from the village of Jasr al Zarka, who was my favorite physician and himself an athlete). This has all been for the best - thank You, Hashem! And, thank you, cherished friends, for all your blessings and concern, from the bottom of my happy heart to yours, which I hope will be strong and healthy until you're 120 years old, amen!
My cherished and esteemed friend Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein from New York City is probably America's #1 rabbi for saving kids that have gone haywire and bringing them back into the fold. He's also one of America's best rabbinical speakers. In the clip below, he's telling a true story he heard from me. You'll love this - enjoy, and have a great new week!
My dream has always been that the word emuna soon becomes more popular than Coca Cola. We still have work to do, because according to Google, Coca Cola is still 40,000 times more popular than emuna. No wonder that there's so much to fix in this world. There's one big difference though: whereas Coca Cola is disastrous to your health (bone fractures, osteoporosis, tooth decay, kidney failure, low fertility, dehydration, obesity and diabetes risk, just to name a few), emuna is fantastic for body, mind and soul and the best thing in the world for a happy and healthy lifestyle.
The job of spreading emuna in the world was much more than I could handle on my own, which I tried my best to do in the first nine years after Emuna Outreach was founded in 2004. Needing much more spiritual fire-power, the "platoon" of Emuna Outreach became part of the emuna army of Breslev Israel, under the auspices of the world's Minister of Emuna, by beloved mentor Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a, 3 years ago in the summer of 2013. Since then, we've spread emuna books and CDs around the globe and have personally visited peoples of all backgrounds in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Australia. This is true Tikkun Olam, rectifying the world. You can partner with us and reap the phenomenal benefits of bringing people of all backgrounds closer to Hashem - Donate to Emuna Outreach - it's USA tax-deductible.
Bright Beams blessings for a beautiful Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
Several of our readers have complained lately that the Beams hasn't commented on current events in Israel or elsewhere.
A person must constantly assess him/herself, looking for areas to improve and to better implement Hashem's will down here on this troubled earth.
I don't think that my comments on current events helped anyone be healthier or happier. Sure, they might have been a good read, but my task on earth is not to be an entertainer.
As a rabbi and spiritual guide, I hear people's problems, aches and pains. Helping them is the most rewarding thing on earth. That's where emuna comes in - it's the greatest problem-solver on earth. Through the course of my work, I was finding that people who felt healthier were also happier. Emuna and fitness are therefore a powerfully invincible pair. That's why I became a certified health coach and fitness trainer, for together with spiritual guidance, my training was enabling me to help open new doors for people in their search for overall well-being.
Sure, the wider web audience loves the "action" of politics, current events and Moshiach speculation. That's not our job. Here at the Beams, we want to help you feel great. That's why we're now focusing on "emuna fitness" for a healthy soul, mind and body. By the way, everyone is welcome here, Jewish or not.
I'm sorry if I'm disappointing anyone, but there are great political pundits and much more learned rabbis than me. But, if you're looking to strengthen yourself in emuna and to strengthen your body in a way that's totally consistent with an emuna lifestyle, the Beams is the place for you to visit daily. Together, well not only reach the stars, but we'll go past them. Emuna defies nature, and takes us above the stars.
Anyone who works in construction, transportation or industry knows that focusing on one's own job is critically important in order to avoid dangers and accidents in the workplace.
Spiritually, focusing on our own job - the task that we were sent to this earth to perform - is vital for one's spiritual and mental well-being too.
Why? Wasting time chasing inconsequential endeavors is tantamount to spiritual suicide. It takes you nowhere. Worrying about Planet X or what so-and-so said on Facebook, and wasting time reading all the Doomsday prophecies and Moshiach speculations are a tragic murder of good time that can never be replaced. This moment will never ever return. We have 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour day which means 86,400 opportunities to better ourselves and get closer to Hashem.
Our job in this world is to get closer to Hashem. For our own happiness and well-being, let's focus on it.
Welcome to the daily web journal of author, spiritual guide and inspirational speaker Rabbi Lazer Brody, the English-language editor of Breslev Israel web magazine. Featured also is co-author Racheli Reckles, senior staff writer of Breslev Israel web magazine, life coach, Zumba queen, pianist and mother of 5.