151 posts categorized "Inspiration"

The Laundry Lounge

 

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Check out my tricked out laundry lounge, yo. 

It's cool AF(alafel.)

I'm loving my new house, which is so luxurious, it even has a proper laundry room. You know, to do laundry in. Because what else would I do in such a room except hide from David and the kids? Sometimes a mom just needs some peace and quiet and a safe space. Word.

Seriously, who would think to look for me in that room? Like they even know what a washing machine looks like. It must be a magical process for them, this whole clean clothes thing. One minute, their stinky clothes are on the floor, and the next minute, they're folded up in their closets. Magical. 

Since I've got the laundry room all to myself, I thought I would celebrate:

a) the fact that I have an actual laundry room

and

b) the fact that I have a room all to myself.

Was that redundant? Sorry. 

So, what do you think? I'm in the process of turning my laundry room into the hottest laundry lounge in South Florida. You like the hanging lights? What about that lighted wax melter thing in the corner? What do you call those?

I don't know, but I do know that my laundry room is the BEST-smelling laundry room in the world. It smells like apples and cinnamon mixed in with detergent and fabric softener. Who could ask for more?

I'm actually thinking about hanging a chandelier and putting an Alexa on one of those shelves. That way I can enjoy all my favorite songs while she secretly records me yelling at the kids as I'm hiding in that tiny space between the dryer and the wall. I can fit there. I just know I can, okay??

But seriously, I'm loving this laundry room. It reminds me of the laundry room I didn't have in Israel.

I mean, I did have a laundry "area," but it was outside, if you may recall. The view was really nice, but the whole doing laundry at midnight when it's freezing raining or during the 104 degree heat of midday wasn't exactly my idea of fun. And now I'm just remembering how David and I always used to argue about me locking the back gate to the laundry jungle.

It was so annoying to have to go find my key and go outside again in the freezing/boiling weather to lock that gate before I went to sleep! Mr. Paranoia wasn't home most nights so I had to promise him I'd lock that stupid gate. So I promised. And I "forgot."
A lot. 

Yo, that's a third thing I can add to my list! Not having to lock any outside gates is sooo terribly convenient. Love it. 

Of course you know I'm going to pull some kind of lesson out of this nonsensical laundry rant. Well of course I am!

In two words: Appreciate Everything! 

This laundry lesson taught me that absolutely nothing should be taken for granted. Even a place to do your laundry is a gift. Even having a washer and a dryer is a gift! Do you know how many Israelis have no dryer because electricity is so expensive? It's a total luxury there! 

Do you have a car? Gift. Do you have your own master bathroom? Gift! Do you have a walk-in closet? SUPER GIFT! Are you renting and your appliances are included in your rent? SUPER DUPER GIFT!

Do you have eyes that work? GIIIFFFFFFTTTT! Ears that hear your spouse and kids complaining? Still a GIFT! A nose that smells and taste buds that taste? It's all a gift!

Look around at everything you have. Look at yourself in the mirror. Hashem didn't have to give us any of it - not our fabulous stuff or our fabulous looks. He's not obligated to us in any way. 

So let's thank Him for all of our gifts as much as we can. We'll not only appreciate them, but we'll even get more gifts! 

You know, I think I can actually squeeze a recliner in there. Maybe a little round shag rug, too. Would a Murphy bed bee too much?

Awwww, yeah. I've got plans for you, my 5-star laundry lounge.

~Racheli

BTW, don't get so lost in laundry room envy that you forget about Rav Brody's weekly emuna talk tonight! Check out the details below. 


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

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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! 


Things That Money Can't Buy

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Sigh...

Isn't this view just spectacular? 

It's so calming to look at the ocean, isn't it? 

The turquoise blues and emerald greens, the vastness of the horizon - just spectacular. 

Isn't it amazing how the most precious gifts in life are things that money can't buy?

As I sit here on the 24th floor of my parents' condo building, gazing at this mind-boggling Divinely created work of art before my eyes, I am so grateful for all of the gifts Hashem gives me at every single moment.

Driving around Miami, I'm constantly gawking at the multi-million dollar homes and fancy cars people have here. Living on such a high level of materialism sure makes it easy to view money as the end-all and be-all of life. But we all know it's not.

So, I'm putting together a small list of things that money can't buy. These things, these blessings from Hashem, are usually taken for granted because most of us enjoy them on a daily basis. 

If we have these blessings, we can consider ourselves the richest people in the world. 

Things that money can't buy: your eyesight, your working brain, your sense of smell and taste, your ability to taste, chew, and swallow your food, your incredibly complicated digestive system, your incredible nervous system that allows you to feel pleasure and pain, your ability to walk, get up, sit down, run, and jump as you please, and oh, do you have two working arms and legs? No prosthesis even comes close! What about your healthy heart and circulatory system? Is this list not mind-boggling already?

Money can't buy a tranquil mind, a content heart, genuine marital peace, love for your children, love for others, tolerance, genuine respect not motivated by money, self-acceptance, self-love, job satisfaction, and common sense.

And money certainly can't buy strong emuna, a feeling of gratitude, an understanding of the spiritual rules of life, and a deep love and appreciation for Hashem and everything He does for us.

I think I'm going to start my own American Express commercial. You remember that one?

Shirt at Walmart - $5

Shoes at Marshall's- $35

The feeling of trusting Hashem even when things look bad- Priceless.

I smell a big emuna marketing campaign on the horizon! ;)

Until it launches, don't forget to watch Rav Brody give his weekly emuna class! Details below.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

~Racheli


Starve the Cancer!

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I feel like a total hypocrite right now. 

As I sit and write this post, I'm shoving my fourth chocolaty, gooey, plastic-y, fluffy, toxic donut in my mouth. You know those kinds of donuts? The ones that can sit on a shelf and survive nuclear wars, earthquakes, and alien invasions?

Yes. Those donuts. Sinful. 

But it's not my fault! We're still in Chicago and still don't have a place to live. My sweet, well-meaning in-laws bought every kosher treat they could get their hands on. It wouldn't be proper of me to leave any leftovers, lest they think that I didn't appreciate their generosity. The fact that they bought all of these yummy treats for the kids and not me is beside the point. 

Oh, and for all the haters out there, I just thought I'd clarify that this is a Shutterstock picture, not a pic of them highly controversial OUDi'int donuts. Get over yourselves. Word.

So I just read this article that explains why removing sugar from your diet could help the body rid itself of cancer. Well, duh. Of course, the article speaks of this as some new discovery, but you and I know better. Right? 

As I've written in the past, sugar has been shown to be one of the TOP factors that contribute to cancer developing in the body. 

Why? 

Well, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, a world-renowned expert researcher on cancer (who I'm convinced is Jewish because he looks a lot like my father,) has shown in many studies that tumor cells have ten times as many insulin receptors as healthy cells.

That means that tumor cells are like Jews at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet on a Sunday evening. They push and shove each other to get to the vegetable dumplings first, and once they have three pounds of MSG-loaded, deep fried, oh-so-delicious food on their tiny little buffet plate, they gorge on it, much more than non-Jews other people. Okay, so that was a total lie, but whatever. Just bear with me, k?

Now imagine this poor guy from the Midwest who's never seen a Jew, let alone a minyan (10) of hungry Jews at a buffet. Bill the Cowboy is gettin' splattered against the wall on the other side of the room because he's not assertive enough to claim his rightful spot in line. By the time the "other" people are finished, there's only a few pieces of vegetable fried rice and half a fortune cookie left. And a semi-conscious Midwestern cowboy crumpled up in the corner, bleeding to death.

As we can see by my brilliant, highly imaginative and quite offensive metaphor (simile?), sugar helps keep tumor cells alive.

Through a fascinating process called deductive reasoning, we can see that reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can have direct positive effects on our bodies. 

In other words, significantly lowering sugar can starve the cancer cells, leading them to, ummm, starve. To death. 

The study I linked to above showed that lowering sugar causes extra calcium ions to enter the cell, leading in some cases to cell death in a mere 10 hours through some chemical reaction that I can't understand for the life of me. 

Thanks to our G-d-given common sense (assuming we have any,) we already know that sugar is bad for our bodies in a variety of ways. It directly contributes to the growth of viruses, bacteria, and parasites in the body, and can lead to chronic illness such as diabetes and obesity.

Oh, and for clarification - when I say sugar I mean carbs as well. 

Now here's the great thing about lowering sugar. You may think that sugar is the primary fuel that our bodies run on, but I have great news for you. 

It's not.

Our bodies can also run on fats. Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, fish oil, avocados, nuts, etc., give the body a much more energy-efficient fuel source that is better for two reasons:

First, it doesn't give you the low you experience after the glucose spike and the insulin spike that follows. It gives you a constant, clear stream of energy that makes you feel good for hours. 

Second, good fats don't make you fat, and they don't raise cholesterol. Yeah, you heard me right. 

What makes you fat is the sugar and carbs! If you care to argue the point, first speak with a few health and gym freaks like Rav Brody and me, who live on globs of fat and don't gain a pound. But as soon as any of us (including you) reaches for the donuts, well, the poor stomach gets that instant bloat and the rest is history. 

I highly encourage you to watch this amazing video of Dr. Thomas Seyfried discussing the incredible ketogenic diet and cancer connection. 

I also encourage you to read my posts on Cancer Cures, part 1 and part 2, to learn about other complementary things you can do to help your body heal and become stronger. 

If you're serious about losing weight and getting healthy, and would like to do so without subscribing to yet another fad diet or to giving your hard-earned money to an overweight nutritionist, check out one of my favorite websites, dietdoctor.com. You'll learn all about the LCHF (low carb high fat) diet and the ketogenic diet, two of the healthiest ways to eat.

Seriously, I wish that site would pay me royalties already. 

Oh, and don't forget to check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna talk! Scroll down for details.

~Racheli


Rebbe Klonimus Kalman Shapira - The Aish Kodesh Rebbe of Piaseczno

Aish Kodesh Rebbe
Rebbe Klonimus Kalman Shapira (1889-1943), of saintly and martyred memory, aka the "Aish Kodesh" Rebbe of Piaseczno, Poland, is one of my all-time heroes. The beacon of light and strength in the Warsaw ghetto, he was ultimately shot to death by the Nazis in the Trawniki concentration camp in 1943, may Hashem avenge his sacred martyred blood.

The Aish Kodesh rebbe was born in the Mashevitzki county of Poland. My maternal great-great-grandfather,  whom I'm named after, was Rabbi Eliezer Mashevitzki, whose last name came from the area that he came from. I don't know if this has anything to do with the Aish Kodesh Rebbe, zatza'l, whom I always felt a special connection to, until my cherished friend Eli Levin sent me an exquisite painting of the Aish Kodesh Rebbe by Shani Levin-Weinberger (above, partial view). This floored me: look at the Chassid sitting next to the Rebbe; look familiar?

In any event, here's a special tribute to the Rebbe, which I'm sure you'll find as moving as I did:


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