If you feel down for some reason, watch the following 3-minute clip. It will pick you up. My gift to you today is a 3-word saying that you must tell yourself as soon as you sense the slightest bit of sadness or depression: Hashem Loves Me. It's true, and it kills the evil inclination. Enjoy.
132 posts categorized "Emuna and Spirituality"
These two men look too close for comfort for my tastes. What? Are you saying that the monkey is not a man at all, but a monkey? Nonsense! This is most certainly a man! He's a liberal who self-identifies as a monkey who likes to breathe other people's cigarette smoke into his mouth. Don't you DARE call him crazy! It's not politically correct, you know.
Speaking of humans and more humans, you don't want to miss Rav Brody's emuna lesson TONIGHT at 7pm Israel time! He'll be speaking of the importance of mitzvot between man and man. Or man and monkey. Or man and man who thinks he's a monkey. Whatever.
Have a fantastic day!
I was a bit young, but I do remember watching one or two of "The Godfather" movies. I have to admit, I was enchanted by the slickness and smoothness of Vito and Michael Corleone. Even today, as I write this post, I envy their ability to get downright murderous without yelling and screaming. I wish I could do that. I mean, get angry without screaming. Not interested in getting all murderous, thank you very much.
Obviously, Don Corleone was not Israeli, because everyone knows that Israelis can't possibly hide their true feelings, for better and for worse. I wonder how The Godfather would have played out with an Israeli cast. Vito would be the rash, brutish grandpa that barks out killing orders as he's spitting out sunflower seeds onto the floor. Michael would be the hyper, irrational, but oh-so-charming heir to the Corleonestine dynasty, but without any self-control. When he confronts his brother, Fredo (Fishel in Hebrew,) instead of quitely but forcefully telling Fredo how he broke his heart while grabbing onto both sides of his face, the Jewish version of Michael would start screaming hysterically at the top of his lungs, accusing Fishel of trying to have his own brother killed, as he squeezes with all of his might on both sides of Fishel's face. The scene ends with Fishel's face being squished beyond recognition as his brains come flying out of the top of his head.
Can I ask you something? Do I need therapy? Or is my imagination just extremely active?
This whole Godfather thing didn't come from my genius brains, though. Hard to believe, I know. Actually, our very own Rav Lazer Brody came up with this amazingly brilliant comparison of Don Corleone to Amalek. Just like Don Corleone and Michael Jackson, Amalek is a smooth criminal. He ain't comin' at you with a whole big drama scene. Uh, uh. He's sneaking up close behind you, pretending to be your best friend and someone who cares about you, and then when your guard is down - BOOM! The kiss of death. You've gotta read Rav Puzo's, I mean Rav Brody's, Hollywood best-seller, The Assassin.
As if right on cue, Rav Arush has the sequel to The Assassin ready, and you're about to read it here for the first time! After it seems that Michael Corleonestine and his crew are at the brink of falling down into the gehinnom-like abyss because of all of the terrible things they've done, this obscure group of superheros called The Soul-Savers suddenly shows up at the Corleonestine's Lake Tahoe home. They give Michael a copy of The Garden of Emuna, and tell him that Rebbe Nachman says there's no reason for despair in the world! Michael reads the book and decides to make teshuva and does his best to clean up the gigantic mess he's made of his life and the lives of all those he's hurt. Granted, many of those people probably deserved to be killed, because they were no angels themselves, right? But who are we to judge? Let's leave that in Hashem's hands.
In fact, yours truly already has her very own screenplay ready to go! It's a horror movie called The Dreaded Dentist, and it goes like this: a tired, overwhelmed mom of five boys takes her kids to the dentist, and it turns out her 5-year-old has a cavity. Talk about screaming bloody murder! Well, this mom could already imagine the trauma that was to come; the screechy drill. The kid's screams of terror. The nitrous oxide that doesn't really do anything. The bright lights and mask-wearing aliens holding pointy instruments and mini-vacuum cleaners in the kid's mouth. Oh, what fun. But, she remembered about a little thing called personal prayer. So how did horror movie turn out? You'll just have to read the screenplay!
You know, I think that a lot of the murders caused by the Corleonestine families and the other four feuding mafia families could have been avoided if Dr. Zev Ballen would have been their terapista (therapist in Italian.) He could have made them realize that their need for honor, money, and blood was what caused them to be ruthless, greedy killers. In fact, the title, Love or Honor, is a perfect one to complete Breslev Israel's version of The Godfather trilogy! We'll call it "The Sandak," because we actually do have real-life godfathers in Judaism. The Sandak is the one that holds the baby boy in his lap during the circumcision. You know, I'm starting to see a major connection between Jews and Italian mobsters. Seriously, Speilberg, Coppolla, somebody call me!
I just decided that Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen should have another title aside from Emuna Therapist. She should be referred to as The Godmother, because she knows exactly what people need in order to feel good about themselves. This week, she deciphers The Language of Love, and explains that in order to create a real closeness with others, we need to know how to speak nicely to them. Husbands, that means you need to know how to compliment your wives. That's especially true for you, David. Are you reading this? The Godmother is happy to help make all of your problems go away! If you want to set up a meeting, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If someone were to do a remake of The Godfather today, I have no doubt that President Trump would make an excellent Godfather. Dovber HaLevi makes an amazing connection between Trump and the ancient Pharaoh, who likened himself to a deity. Pharaoh was the Egyptian version of the Godfather, you know. Dovber points out that just as in ancient Egypt, the world and the media are turning Trump into a deity by spotlighting every single move he makes and everything he says. I've got it! In Dovber's screenplay, Donald Trump would be called Don Trump Corleonestine and the title of the movie would be "The God." Talk about genius!! Okay, so maybe we'll stick with Dovber's original title, Hashem's Trump Card. I'll try not to cry as I finish off my glass of fine Italian red wine.
David once told me he had a basket of riches for me, and I thought he meant lots of diamond jewelry. Well, I was wrong. What a shocker. Instead, he presented me with a basket of dirty laundry, which I did not find very amusing. I would have preferred Dennis Rosen's Basket of Riches, because at least his riches are valuable. In fact, they're more than just valuable - they're priceless! Don't let these riches pass you by!
Lori Steiner has ruined my day by reminding me that Passover is around the corner. I'm just kidding, Lori! I love Passover, especially the cleaning- because I can get rid of lots of stuff under the excuse that I'm "cleaning for Pesach." Gosh, I hope David doesn't read this! Lori gives us some great tips to get our cleaning in high gear without freaking out and squeezing our murderous, back-stabbing brothers' heads until their brains come flying out. Check out Lori's latest in Defining a Kosher Passover.
Yes. A terapista is in high order. And so is sleep. Have a wonderful week! (And try to keep your brains in your heads, okay?)
Here's a treat for Shabbat Zchor and Purim: My beloved teacher and spiritual guide Rav Shalom Arush, may Hashem bless him, says that the light of Purim is Hashem's ever-vigilant Divine Providence that is constantly performing miracles that are concealed within seemingly "natural" events. For this, we must be grateful always. Enjoy the following five uplifting minutes and have a wonderful Shabbat and a very joyous Purim!
Don't worry, I have an explanation. You see, this time it's really not my fault. The kids and I were on our way to the airport to pick up David from his #ravarushhoneymoon. I pulled into the parking garage, which was incredibly poorly lit. No spots. Obviously. Are there ever spots available on the first floor of an airport parking garage?
So I was about to make a right turn to head up the ramp, and BOOM! I screamed like a hysterical lunatic (woman) as it happened. But I quickly recovered (was too lazy to get out and check the damage) and kept driving up the ramp. When I finally found a spot, I sent my oldest son out of the car first to inspect the damage. At first, he didn't see anything because it was so dark in there, but then, he got this huge smile and started going crazy from excitement. "Ooooh, Aba's gonna be sooooo mad!!!" he began yelling as he jumped up and down. "Oh no he ain't," I thought to myself.
Since hubby has read The Garden of Peace, he knew better than to try to blame me for something that was simply not my fault. How could it be my fault? After all, would I be in the parking lot if he didn't go out of town? I should have been a lawyer.
Most normal people would be too embarrassed to post their disasters online. But not me! For some reason, I didn't get the embarrassment gene. What can I say - I'm defective. I'm going to have to blame my mother for this.
After reading Rav Shalom Arush's latest article, I feel so much better. He says that It's an Embarrassment for us, the King's children, to behave in ways that are not befitting of us. That makes my embarrassment look so minuscule in comparison, doesn't it? You know what else is an embarrassment? The horrible 4th grade school picture that my brother just emailed me. I don't know how he got it, but oh boy, wait 'til I get my hands on him. Actually, am I allowed to hit him? If not, can I hit him with a broom stick? What about if I wear boxing gloves? Doesn't it not count as touching him, then?
Since we're on the subject of embarrassment... I have a question. Should I be embarrassed that some of my kids come back with their sandwiches completely uneaten, day after day? Does that say something about my poor sandwich-making skills? I never used to go through a day without eating my lunch. It was actually the highlight of my day at school! I remember one time, sitting down in the massive school cafeteria and opening up the container of sardines that my dad had sent me. I loved sardines dripping in lemon juice and oil, but when I opened up that container, it quickly became apparent to me that none of the other kids appreciated gourmet food. Kids started holding their noses and screaming at the top of their lungs, "What is that smell?!!!" Maybe I should have brought Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches instead. Who knew that you could learn about exceeding your limitations from a sandwich? Check out Rav Brody's latest!
These days, it might not be considered embarrassing to be pregnant before you're married, but just think back a few decades. It was shameful to the max! Well, we live in more "tolerant" times, and Aaron writes to me, telling me, "My Girlfriend's Pregnant." Should he marry her or shouldn't he? Oh, what to do? You don't want to miss my answer in my latest!
Our beloved Emuna Therapist, Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen, talks about how she was ashamed to be happy when she was growing up. For various reasons, she was taught that happiness is not something you are allowed to have, especially if others around you are suffering. So what finally gave her Permission to Rejoice? And here's a challenge - see if you can figure out the amazing Divine Providence in this article. I'll give you a hint: it has to do with the timing!
Speaking of being happy, our other amazing Emuna Therapist, Dr. Zev Ballen, asks some fascinating questions: what exactly is the reason having gratitude improves the quality of life? Well, I never actually thought about it. I guess that's why I'm not a therapist and he is! So, are you Granted, or Taken for Granted? Which is it??
Lori Steiner's latest, Rich King, Poor King, just reminded me of David's grandmother, Esther, a"h. "Rich or poor, it's nice to have money," she'd say. What a wise woman. She'd also say, "I'll eat anything that doesn't eat me." Except I never actually saw her eat anything. But that never stopped me from enjoying her delicious food! I'm sorry. When I'm tired, I just start to ramble. But seriously, guys, this is a beautiful allegory (is that the right word?) of a king who lives in a kingdom, and, well, you'll have to read the rest! Lori, I'm waiting for a novel!
Dennis Rosen hits it right on the money with his warning about the Quicksand of Despair. He reveals a big secret in how the Evil Inclination traps us in his death clutches. And guess what - it has nothing to do with the actual transgression you just did! Go figure! So what is it? Well, read the article already!
I'm so relieved to discover that Yael Karni is human, as she doesn't always feel like praying. Whew! What a relief! But she may be superhuman, because she actually went to the trouble to discover tips that would help her strengthen her connection when she needed it most. I'm so happy that she saved me (and the rest of you) the trouble of having to figure it out myself! Check out her suggestions on how to improve your Intimate Connections.
So I'm trying to expand my vocabulary a bit, and I went onto thesaurus.com to find synonyms for awesome. Can anybody tell me why HAIRY is one of the synonyms??? I'm serious!
Have a hairy week, yo!
Life is never boring around here. Tonight, one of my younger boys got a hold of a hammer that some naive and irresponsible parent let him play with, and was running around with the hammer in his hand. As much as I would love to blame David, he was at work, so I'm still looking for another alibi. I am confident that I'll come up with something.
The strange thing is that I heard a bang while I was in the kitchen and I saw him running like a crazy person with a hammer in his hand, yet it didn't register that the bang was actually the hammer hitting something. I have no idea why! And then, like hours later, I was talking with my father as I was sitting on the couch, and in mid-sentence, my eye caught the massive scars running through the windowpane.
I happened to be on video chat with my dad, and all he could see was me suddenly looking off to the side, my eyes bugging out and my jaw suddenly hanging three inches open. He was like, "What? What?" I couldn't answer him. All I did was show him the evidence. He shook his head in belief.
Thank God a million times that there was only one piece of glass on the floor, and that was it! And double thank God that the glass didn't actually break into a million pieces in the house. Also, considering the enormous time lapse between the breaking of the glass and my realizing what happened, thank God no one stepped on any broken glass! Triple thank God that the glass didn't break the whole way through, because then there would be a huge hole in the window and freezing air would be coming in all night. And maybe a few chutzpah (nervy) cats.
Instead of getting all freaked out about it, I realized that it happened for a reason, and that reason must definitely be to atone for hubby's sins. Because y'all out there know that I ain't got no sins. I have a talent for blaming everything I ever did wrong on my husband; even the things that I did before I met him. You know, because I was forced to spend much of my late teens and early '20's waiting for his sorry self to mature enough for me. Of course, the fact that no one got hurt made it much easier to accept this tribulation with love. I may be delusional, but I am not perfect. But maybe I am, if I'm delusional. I'm confusing myself.
Just a question: if I identify as a perfect person, does that make me perfect? Like, if it works for people that want to identify themselves as the opposite gender and force people to recognize them as such, then why shouldn't it work for me? I've decided that I'm going to identify as a millionaire/perfect personality/gorgeous/dripping in diamonds and workout clothes/lady of leisure, and you're going to have to recognize me as such. And if you don't, I'm going to sue you in court for discrimination and not yielding reality to my warped fantasies. And I'm going to win. God bless America.
Back to the broken glass. You see, broken glass has the same gematria as kapparah, which means spiritual atonement. Like I said, it's much easier on the nerves and the stomach to recognize such unpleasant occurrences as a kapparah, and to be grateful that things weren't worse. Because what's the alternative? Torturing yourself? Wallowing in self-pity and wondering why this had to happen? Questioning if God loves you? Wondering if God even exists?
I tell you, emuna is the end-all and be-all of life. If we can train ourselves to believe that it's all good, especially when it looks all bad, this saves us tons of headache and heartache. Of course, in this case it doesn't save me the 1,000 shekel it's going to cost me to replace the window. Maybe Rav Arush can come up with a cure-all for that one, too.
Have an awesome day!
Shavua Tov, blessings for a wonderful new week!
First of all, I'm happy to report that I arrived home safely to my beloved homeland this past Thursday night.
When our speaking tour in LA, Houston and Monsey, New York was concluded, Rav Arush continued on to Latin America with my Spanish-speaking colleague, Rabbi Yonatan Gal'ed. I boarded the Amtrac from NYC to DC, looking forward to visiting my 90-year-old Mom, may Hashem bless her, and spending some two days of cherished chill-time with my two brothers in the DC area. Hashem had different plans. As soon as I arrived in DC, I took a cab to Mom's apartment in an assisted-living facility on Connecticut Avenue. I found her choking for breath; she was suffering from pneumonia and congestive heart failure. She had to be rushed to the hospital. For 48 hours, things were touch and go but with Hashem's mercy, she bounced back.
When I wasn't with Mom in the hospital, I was spending as much time as I could out in the woods by the Northwest Branch of the Potomac, near where my brother ZZ lives. When I came back to his house after my personal prayer session (yes - Hashem is in the Washington, DC area too), we went to Mincha prayers at his synagogue. One man greeted me and said, "Hey, Rabbi Lazer - you arrived here the same day that Bibi did! Do you plan to go the White House too?"
"To tell you the truth," I said, "my only reason to go the White House would be to give Donald Trump a copy of The Garden of Emuna and The Trail to Tranquility. Other than that, Hashem has a fantastic office out on the Northeast Brach trail - I just went there to visit Him. Beats the White House anytime." The man who greeted me walked away. He looked at me as if I had nerve talking about emuna in a synagogue...
It turns out that at the same time I was talking to Hashem in the woods right outside Washington, DC, Bibi was talking to Trump in the White House. Bibi should have joined me in the woods.
When you speak to Hashem, you get results. Maybe your request isn't fulfilled on the spot, but you right away get closer to Hashem, something that's conducive to every blessing in life.
When you speak to flesh and blood, you never know what you're getting. Already, people are baffled by President Trump's confusing positions where he seems to be backing down from campaign promises. But Trump doesn't run the world - Hashem does. Rather than putting trust in him, Israel should put its entire trust in Hashem, for whatever Hashem decides, that's what will be.
Next time Bibi comes to Washington, he should include this place in his itinerary - for results, it beats the White House: