148 posts categorized "Inspiration"

What The World Needs Now

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What a spectacular backyard, right? Yesterday we arrived in Chicago to visit David's family. It's so peaceful out here. Great for thinking and reflecting. Which is exactly what I've been doing, besides yelling at the kids to stop fighting. 

It's been quite a whirlwind of emotions since I've been back. What's really interesting is that in just a week, I've met so many different people. 

Well, it's mainly because I'm a young-ish looking woman walking around with 5 little kippah and tzizit-wearing gangstas who are by far the LOUDEST kids in my parents' building. But aside from that, people stare at me because I'm so gorgeous surrounded by so many children. 

I feel like I've almost hit celebrity status. The more daring ones stop themselves from gawking at us long enough to ask me, "Are these all yoursss??" And I'm like, "Fo' shizzle! Would you like my autograph?" 

It takes a minute for their brains to reboot. I can tell by the momentary blank stare they give me. When they return to full consciousness, they give me incredulous looks that seem to be a combination of "you're crazy" and pity. 

In just one week, all kinds of people have been coming up to me, just to tell me that they're Jewish. It's so interesting. I mean, 5 boys in kippahs and tzizit walking around areas of Miami Beach that are not primarily religious is not a common sight. 

Their obvious Jewishness seems to compel some people to come up to me and tell me they're Jewish too. I think that's amazing. It shows me that even though they aren't making their Jewishness obvious (yet,) their spark still burns bright inside. The other morning, another resident in my parents' building came up to me and said, "I am one of the community."

I smiled and politely asked, "Oh, you live in the building?" Luckily, he didn't get the fact that I didn't get what he was saying, and after a few minutes of conversation it finally clicked. 

Another lady I met told me she does absolutely nothing Jewish. She was raised by parents that forced Judaism on her in a way that made her resentful and burnt out. She has disconnected so much from anything Jewish that she even questions the existence of G-d. 

What motivated these people to come up to me and tell me they're Jewish? What feelings did seeing my kids bring out in them?

My feeling is that they came up to me because they needed something, but they didn't necessarily realize what. Could it be they were saying, "I'm Jewish but I don't feel any connection. I know Hashem exists, but I don't know anything about Him. Please help me understand."

I can only speculate why, but the reality is that there are so many precious souls here that are searching for a connection with Hashem. They want more, but they don't necessarily want to be more religious.

That's why emuna is so great. It can bring someone close to G-d who was so far, without compelling them to become religious at the same time. It can also bring a deeper spiritual meaning to a person who has been observant all of his life. 

Without emuna, is it possible to be at peace with one's life and all of the challenges that come along with it? Is it really possible to have a strong spiritual connection to Hashem if a person doesn't have emuna?

So now, after 8+ years of being a fortunate member of the amazing Breslev Israel family, I can finally understand what the one most important thing the world needs is: emuna. 

Now that we're in the nine days of Av, days of mourning the many devastating occurrences that have happened to the Jewish People throughout our history, we should also be mourning the fact that so many people, Jews and non-Jews, don't have a solid connection with Hashem.

It is this solid connection, the emuna that is the foundation of our happiness and survival, that the world needs more than anything.

I genuinely hope that all of our efforts to spread emuna throughout the world will be blessed with success, so we can experience a joyful Redemption and the end of all pain and suffering, Amen!

Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast!

~Racheli

p.s.- Check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna shiur details below!


Moving Back to Miami!

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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

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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

 


Just the Way You Are

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If you think that you are any less beautiful than the baby or the flowers pictured above, you are sorely mistaken. No matter what you think, Hashem - Who created you - loves you just the way youa re.

People think that if they're not millionaires, in the headlines, Rosh Yeshiva or member of Congress, that they're failures. That's just not so.

I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

The above lyrics come from Billy Joel's famous hit, "Just the Way You Are", which spent months in the Top Ten back in 1977. Today, I look at those lyrics and interpret them as Hashem talking to the soul - yours - which He created. Hashem says, "I love you just the way you are."

Don't miss today's emuna lesson and live broadcast from Jerusalem entitled "Just the Way You Are", which will take place, G-d willing, on the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7 PM Israel time; the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time.  If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it later this coming week on Lazer Beams. 

And for your Oldie-but-Goodie enjoyment, here's Billy Joel from way back, singing "Just the Way You Are." Enjoy it!


Emuna Kids

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Check out that awesome Manta ray. So incredible, right? 

That's my little nephew in the corner. I'm convinced he's really mine because he has blonde hair and blue eyes and a super Iraqi personality. My sister's other two kids are brunettes with brown eyes (like me) but they're way too nice and calm to be mine. 

But that little boy is MINE. So hand him back, dear sister who used to steal all of my clothes and then leave them crumpled up on the floor of her room. 

Some things you just never get over.

Speaking of my kids, I love my kids. Especially when they're in school or asleep. 

But they drive me insane. Completely. In. Sane. 

Sometimes I fantasize about dropping them off at the nearest zoo or pet adoption center. But since I'm too lazy to return them to the zoo, and I have no idea where the nearest pet adoption center is, they still live at home. For the time being.

Okay, all joking aside, I'd like to share something amazing with you.

My kids are what I would call "Emuna Kids." 

For the past nearly 9 years, they've been exposed to a lot of screaming emuna. I'm far from perfect, like on the other side of the world far, but I am pretty good about bringing Hashem into the picture when relating to my kids. 

If one of them isn't feeling well, or they get hurt, upset, their brother stole their one favorite car out of the 3 million cars that are available to play with, I do my best to:

a) not scream 

b) give them a little boost of spiritual awareness

Okay, so I'm really bad at doing a, and maybe I shouldn't keep emphasizing that, but in my defense I'm awesome at b. 

And because of this, I see how, during some challenging times, suddenly one of my kids might say something on his own about Hashem and His plans. Or something along those lines. 

I make tons and tons of mistakes every day, and I have many shortcomings (please don't tell David,) but I know that the gift of emuna is the greatest gift I can ever give my kids.

I can do my best to give them good health, a good life, a good education, and G-d willing some awesome wives. But I can't control how these situations turn out.

What I can do is give them the faith that everything is in Hashem's Hands and that He loves us and does everything for our best.

I hope one day, when they face challenges that are slightly bigger than "He stole my carrrr!" the emuna and spiritual awareness that I have tried to instill in them will shine. 

Believe me, there is no greater gift we can give our kids than emuna. Imagine if you had known about emuna when you were growing up. How different would your life be? 

How much heartache, pain, and frustration would you not have experienced? 

People, emuna is all we got.

And it's the best thing we can ever give to our children.

So where to start? What if you've never spoken to your kids about Hashem?

I would say start with talking about nature. Point out the wisdom in every flower, the trees, the ocean tides. Talk about the wonder of outer space, the orbits of the planets, the different climates and environments in this beautiful world of ours. 

There are so many opportunities to see Hashem in our lives. Let's share the precious gift of emuna and spiritual awareness with our children.

Have a beautiful day! 

FYI, Rav Brody won't be giving his weekly emuna shiur and live broadcast this week, because he too is an "Emuna Kid" - he's going to visit his Mom in the USA for a few days; she just turned 92 - mazal tov! 

~Racheli


My Life Without Emuna

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Life is hard. Sometimes I feel like we're collectively drowning under impossible challenges. And it doesn't look to me like things will get any easier.

Don't you feel that way? 

Just look at your own life. Many of you have really serious challenges, whether in health, finances or relationships. If you were to answer which challenge is the hardest for you to deal with, you might answer "All of the above."

What's the one thing that I can say has saved my sanity over and over again? 

Likely it's the same thing that you would say: emuna

Sometimes when I have a moment to reflect on my challenges, it's tempting to get upset and despair about them. Isn't it?

Don't you sometimes also wonder to yourself, "When will things get better? Will they ever get better?" 

I completely believe that if I didn't have emuna to support me during the difficult times, my life would be a total mess. I would be a total mess. Who knows where I would be? What would I be doing? Would I still be married? Would I suffer from anxiety? Self-persecution? Guilt? Even worse, G-d forbid?

Think about your life and ask yourself the same question: Where would I be without emuna? 

Really think about it for a minute.

Would you honestly say that emuna has literally saved your life? 

Maybe it saved your marriage, your children's lives? Maybe it restored your will to live?

Emuna is no joke. It's the only thing we have to help us survive this difficult time.

Now I'd like you to think about all those people in the world that don't have emuna to hold on to. 

How do you think they feel? Can you imagine what agony they must be going through each day? Suffering from impossible challenges, yet not knowing who to turn to for help and guidance? 

Does your heart not break for them?

Therefore, I ask you, I plead with you, to help us spread emuna around the world. 

I remember when I read "The Garden of Gratitude." I said to myself, "If this book doesn't bring Mashiach, I don't know what will." 

I am pretty sure you agree with me. Emuna and gratitude are our lifesavers. They're all we've got. 

So please. Donate to Emuna Outreach. Be our partners in giving others life, joy, self-worth, and belief in Hashem. With your donation, we will be able to spread more books and cd's, and improve our website, breslev.co.il. 

You know how much emuna has helped you. Now is your chance to share this life-saving wisdom with others. 

Because when life is over and you have to look back on what you've done in the world, you can be sure that your joy will know no bounds when you see how many people you've helped, simply by being a part of this tremendous cause. 

May Hashem bless you with all of your heart's desires, and may we all be together to greet the Mashiach in joy, Amen. 

CLICK HERE to donate. 

Have a wonderful day!

~Racheli


Just Be Real!

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It seems that humans aren't the only ones having identity issues these days. 

This little house cat self-identifies as a killer carnivore, one of the most dangerous predators in the world, the Bengal/Siberian/Malayan/Sumatran/I could list ten more types (of) Tiger. 

OMG did I just insult the cat by calling it little? Or a house cat? What if it thinks it's an outdoor cat or a stray cat? Could it sue me in court? Are these questions even allowed anymore?

So I was talking with a person I had paid to listen to me rant close friend about the whole fake issue. Okay, so she's a therapist. And she's one of my closest friends. You know, I'm starting to wonder if she really likes being around me, or she just finds me such a fascinating case study because I'm so not like other people here. 

It's funny that I said that because it happens to be a perfect lead-in to my point. 

Why so many people be so fake? I understand that some level of fakeness is good, like when you have to be cordial with someone that you secretly (or not so secretly) want to kill, tell off, kick off a cliff, or all of the above. It's great to learn to control your emotional urge to lash out at someone who upsets you. Racheli. Yeah, gurrl, I'm talking to you! 

Aside from proper etiquette, why is it so hard for people to be real with each other? Why is it always, "Baruch Hashem," when I ask people how they're doing? Like, I know that we're supposed to thank Hashem for everything, but where is it forbidden to say, "You know, my day really stinks. I overslept, the kid's not feeling well, and I'm up to my ears in dishes and laundry. Plus I ate a few too many carbs yesterday and now I'm all bloated and gross." 

Would it be so bad? Would someone stop being friends with you if you just told them how you felt about something?

What, exactly, would happen if you let your real feelings out? I mean, without insulting or hurting another person's feelings, of course!

But for some reason, we continue to act one way on the surface and another way behind closed doors. If you're like me, hopefully the windows are closed too, because if not, half the street can hear my kids' yelling and screaming.

But seriously, being spiritual and religious doesn't mean you have to deny your feelings and try to act as if you have no problems and no emotions. If you're worried that people won't accept you into their exclusive inner circle because you had the nerve to say you're having a bad day, or some issue is really bothering you, then you don't want those people as friends anyway.

So c'mon folks! You can do it! Who knows? Maybe you'll be an inspiration to others!

And while you're all busy getting all real'd up for me, don't forget to check out Rav Brody's shiur TONIGHT! Info is in the post below!

Have a great, rizzle-ed out day!

~Racheli