109 posts categorized "Inspiration"

The Greatest Kiddush Hashem

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Isn't this picture incredible? It's the Helix Nebula, one of the closest nebulae to Earth at a mere 700 light years away. After trying to understand what a nebula is, I couldn't get past the whole expanding ionized gas from a dead star thing, so I gave up. If you're a curious and brainy type, or just plain curious, you can read about it here. 

I don't know about you, but pictures like these just put me in a state of awe. As in, "Awe my God, is that fo' real??" Seriously. Stuff like this should boggle your mind. Looking at the world around you should boggle your mind. Just looking at your own body should boggle your mind. Life is incredible. Hashem is incredible. How does He sustain every single thing in Creation at every moment? 

Isn't that thought enough to hike your awe-factor through the roof? 

A few weeks ago, I was talking with Rav Brody and he mentioned a common question that people ask him: "Why did Hashem put me here?" To which he answers, "So you can learn emuna."

So I was thinking about this, and aside from the next obvious question, which is , "Why do I need to learn emuna?" I also tried to clarify exactly what aspect of emuna he was referring to. Here's what I came up with. 

Historically, Jews have performed the greatest kiddush Hashem (sanctification of Hashem's name) by dying as martyrs. Until the Enlightenment, Jews generally didn't have a problem with emuna. They accepted Hashem's will for better and for worse. 

But with the Enlightenment came tremendous skepticism and doubt as to not only the Creator's will, but the existence of a Creator at all. Now, Jews faced a new enemy: temptation from the outside world coupled with the illusion that God doesn't exist; or if He does, He's not directly involved in our lives.

This is anti-Torah and anti-emuna thinking. Today, we've come to correct this mistaken idea that everything is random, and to believe with all of our hearts that Hashem is here, He knows what He's doing, and He's doing it all for our best. That's what it means to learn emuna.

But there's more. You see, it's not enough to have emuna. We also need to know why we need emuna. The answer to this question can be found in two words: Thank You. If you can go through a difficult time and say "Thank You" to Hashem with all of your heart, even though you don't understand why things have to be this way, then you know you have emuna. Nothing brings you closer to God than really knowing in your heart that He loves you and wants the best for you. 

"Thank You" is the aspect of emuna that helps us create a close relationship with God. Without emuna and especially "Thank You," He's just a far-off Creator that we may intellectually believe in, but not feel a connection to.

I promise you that saying "Thank You" is the greatest kiddush Hashem there is. And one day, you will see how precious those two words were, both to you and to Hashem. 

Wishing you an awe-full week! Terrible play on words. So sorry.

~Racheli


Cancer Cures: Part II

Fish with Avocado Salsa, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Just look at this gorgeous plate. Doesn't it look amazing? One of our lovely readers, Tena, sent me this picture of her delicious fish with avocado salsa, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I asked her if she would come live in my house and spend the rest of her life cooking for me, but for some reason, my offer didn't sound so appealing to her. If you'd like her recipe, email me at racheli@breslev.co.il and I'll forward it to you.

Today, I'd like to talk about the cause of cancer a little bit further. Since we've been told for so many years that cancer is a disease caused by genetic mutations, I'm aware that it's not going to be easy for many of you to accept that this is not true. Genetic mutations are one of the effects of the actual mechanism that causes cancer cells to grow. 

In fact, cancer is usually not a genetic disease at all. It's a metabolic disease. 

I'll explain this to the best of my ability, but know that this is just a Cliff's notes version. The best way to understand this is to read up on it as much as you can. Here is a great start.  

Cancer cells, just like all cells, run on energy made by mitochondria. Mitochondria are the cell's energy production centers, and are a key component of cellular respiration, which basically means the cell uses the mitochondria to generate ATP, which is energy, and waste products. When the mitochondria don't function properly, this leads to the cell functioning on fermentation metabolism instead of oxidative metabolism, leading to carcinogenic effects and the development of mutated genes called oncogenes (cancer genes.) 

Here's an excellent video by Thomas Seyfreid, Ph.D., with the full explanation of how cancer is a metabolic disease. You don't want to miss this, believe me! 

After reading about all of these chemical reactions that I totally don't understand and thanking God that I didn't end up going to medical school, I'm left with the clear realization that in most cases, diet really is the number one contributing factor to the growth and remission of cancer! 

It is well-known that cancer cells love sugar. Unfortunately for us, sugar is the primary fuel that we live on. As I wrote in Bye, Bye, Diabetes, intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet are the keys to switching from sugar-burning mode to fat-burning mode. When the body runs on fat-burning mode, it is in ketosis, and this is one of the ways that it is able to revert its damaged mitochondrial respiration from fermentation to oxidation. 

Dr. Seyfried explains: "I think that's an important point. One of the things that trigger cancer is inflammation. We have inflammation. Chronic high levels of blood sugar create inflammation. This you see in a lot of situations. Glucose itself is not carcinogenic, but elevated dysregulated glucose metabolism can lead to inflammation, and can cause a number of other disturbances in the overall metabolism of the body. If you fast, if you stop eating, your blood sugar goes down. Your insulin levels go down. The body starts to metabolize fat for energy."

When you change your fuel source from sugar to fat, you're in ketosis, and you're producing less ROS (reactive oxygen species,) which are the things that cause mutations in the DNA. 

Dr. Seyfried also warns against consuming high amounts of animal protein. Besides glucose, cancer cells also use glutamine as a fuel. Glutamine is the most common amino acid in protein. Therefore, if you want to lower your glutamine levels and not feed the cancer cells, you've got to lower your animal protein intake. Dr. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, recommends that animal protein intake be no higher than 10% of your diet. He says that the typical Western diet is made up of 30% animal protein.  

In order to achieve ketosis, you need to drop your net carb intake down to below 100 grams a day, and preferably below 50 grams a day. Net carbs = total carbs - fiber. And remember, to get into fat-burning mode, you need to go 12 hours minimum without eating. That's why intermittent fasting is so crucial. It allows your body to access its fat stores and use those as fuel, while at the same time keeping insulin levels low and allowing the liver to get rid of all of that sugar and toxin mixture that's been plugging it up for so long. 

Mitochondrial dysfunction doesn't just cause cancer. It also causes Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's, ALS, seizures, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. 

This brings us back to what I wrote yesterday's post: proper diet and exercise are the keys to preventing and curing cancer! 

And one more thing... in my article, Medical Vampires, I wrote that Hashem doesn't want us to be sick. The problem is that we've become so complacent and stuck in victim mentality, that we rationalize that Hashem caused us to get sick for reasons unbeknownst to us. While that may be the case for a small minority, (of which I'm assuming is made up of mostly young children,) I don't believe this to be the case for adults. We've had enough years to mess up our bodies with toxic diets and lazy lifestyles, and it's not fair to blame Hashem when we suffer the unfortunate circumstances.

Dr. Seyfried seems to agree with me: "Once you realize what cancer is, that it's a metabolic disease, you can take charge of those kinds of things. In other words, getting cancer is not God's will. It's not bad luck."

Let's finally take control of our health with the blessings of good information, healthy diets, and lots of exercise!

~Racheli

 

 


Chutzpah Cat

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That's a gorgeous cat, isn't it? I took this picture from the inside of my car. Aside from being quite the looker, this cat has another charismatic quality - it's got chutzpah. Nerve. Audacity. Gall. Brazenness. Extreme self-confidence. 

You see, I caught this cat sunbathing on the hood of my car as I returned from a store I was shopping at. I hissed at it as I walked toward my car door, assuming it would jump off and walk away. But, no. It just looked at me. I couldn't believe it. "Are you challenging me, kitty?" I asked it. It responded with an amused smirk and turned over to work on tanning its other side. I couldn't believe my eyes. "Get outta here, ya chutzpah cat!" I yelled at it. A few people turned to stare. 

Can you imagine? The cat didn't move! I actually opened the door and got into my car, and it still just sat there! Since this was such a gorgeous cat I figured I would take some pictures of it. As you can clearly see, it knew how gorgeous it was, because it was obviously posing for the paparazzi. I guess the ego went to its head, which is why it was so impudent. 

When I turned on the engine, it finally jumped - on to my roof! This cat had zero fear. 

Since everything is a message from Hashem, I thought I would try to figure out the message in this strange event. And sure enough, I came up with something. Of course, it might have nothing to do with the actual message Hashem was trying to send me, but it sounds nice, so I'm sticking with it. 

This cat reminded me of a phrase that I've heard Rav Brody use many times: When you fear One, you fear no one. 

When we really internalize the fact that Hashem is running the world, this gives us Holy Chutzpah to do the right thing, even when others are ridiculing us or directly opposing us. Doing the right thing doesn't make you popular, and we all know that. But if we can remember that Hashem's approval is the only one that counts, this will give us the courage and chutpzah to do what's right without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. 

So thanks, kitty! Hopefully your chutzpah will inspire people across the world. I think this is a royal cat. Doesn't that marking on its forehead look like a crown of sorts? Or is my imagination on overdrive as usual?

Have a wonderful week!

~Racheli


MC "Hitbodedut" Hammer

PC and Truth
It's amazing that you can find spirituality in everything if you just take a good look. Speaking of good looks, over Shabbat, David and I were arguing over where our kids got their good looks from. Obviously, he points to himself, to which I respond: "Well, that's exactly why I'm asking the question." 

Shameful.

Great, I already forgot what I wanted to say. But you know what I didn't forget? I didn't forget that I ate too much cake on Shabbat. I look about four months pregnant right now, that's how bloated I am. All week long, I'm fine with eating healthy. I don't have any temptation to stuff my waist with processed junk and calories that are going to end up being like that annoying person that can't get the hint that you want him to go away and leave you alone, so he keeps talking and talking, totally oblivious to the fact that you've tuned him out and are trying to make it obvious, but not to the point of being rude, that you just want him to get the heck away from you. Maybe I should have written "her" instead of "him." What difference does it make these days, anyway? Gender titles have suddenly become passe and degrading.

My problem, like many others out there, is that my desire to eat the moist, chocolaty marble cake is aroused only when I see the cake. If I don't see it tempting me from its container on my counter top, then I don't desire to eat it. I just realized that maybe I should put the cake somewhere where I can't see it. But then, how will it get eaten? Do you see my dilemma?

Well, Rav Arush understands my suffering. He realizes that resisting the cake is almost The Toughest Challenge for me. As in every tough challenge, he explains that our attempts to resist our bodily urges are futile without asking Hashem to help us succeed. More specifically, Rav Arush is referring to bodily lust. Even though I'm not a man (but I could say I am if that's how I feel, because this world is so messed up,) I feel your pain, guys. I have found through personal experience that it is absolutely impossible for me to resist my sweet goodies if I don't ask Hashem to save me from my desires. 

So you may be wondering why I titled my post the way I did. If you're not wondering, there's something wrong with you. Back in the '90's, I was in high school, and MC Hammer was all the rage. All of us wore those Hammer pants that looked like something fell inside of them and created this massive hanging piece of fabric between the pant legs. It almost looked like a curtain. I bet those pants could actually have been used as a curtain or as a cape in desperate situations where one needed to shield himself from the sun or suddenly fly away like a witch into the night. 

Well, I distinctly remember one of Hammer's songs, which wasn't his most popular, but it was catchy enough for me to remember it 20+ years later. It's called, "We Got to Pray." The lyrics are so spiritual and profound, that I am totally convinced that Hammer was another hidden Breslever, just like Martin Luther King, as I discussed in last Monday's post. Hence, I've given him the name, MC "Hitbodedut" Hammer. Check it out!

We got to pray (pray), I said we pray (pray,) We got to pray just to make it today. 

Okay, so that's half the song right there, but it gets better:

I tried and tried and tried to make a way, but nothing happened 'til that day I prayed. 

We're sending this one out to the Lord, And we thank You and know we need to pray, Cause all the blessings that are good, they come from Above, And once again we want to say "THANK YOU" to the Lord with all our love.

I'm thinking about coming out with a book called "Hidden Breslevers Through the Ages." Seriously. 

With the anti-God Liberal movement in full swing in the U.S., many people might believe that political correctness is a fairly recent invention. Rav Lazer Brody shows us that actually, it's not. In fact, political correctness dates all the way to the times before the Holy Temples were destroyed. Saying something Politically Incorrect certainly doesn't make you a popular person, especially not in Israel, ironically enough. What's the consequence of ignoring actions that are being done which go directly against the Torah? Oooh, you don't want to know! But, really, you do! Read the article!

Just because I like to enjoy a good piece (or three) of cake, it doesn't mean that I'm not into being healthy. Au contraire, darlings! This week, I examine a type of scientific short-sightedness that I call Medical Myopia.  Instead of focusing on changing our eating habits, drug companies and even vitamin and supplement companies try to re-direct our focus to buying more magic pills or vitamins. But too much focusing on taking pills can make us feel like we don't need to change our lifestyles, if we're giving our bodies what they need through medicines, natural or otherwise. Not to mention that it makes such companies crazy rich. This cuckoo mindset is W-Wr-Wro-Wrong! I've got some shocking statistics in here for you, so definitely don't miss reading this one!

I've decided that Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen's life should be made into a movie. I've never met anyone who has had so much drama, and survived it all! You'll never believe the mess she found herself in this time, on her Walk on the Wild Side. OMG. 

Chana Sherman writes about the struggle of being Torah-observant in the corporate world in The CEO Wears a Sheitel. 

David Perlow is a former IDF soldier, so he knows lots about discipline, fighting, and lust. Oops, what I meant to say was that he makes a brilliant comparison in the way soldiers are forced to depend on their superiors to how we are forced to depend on Hashem, and shows us that we are all spiritual Soldiers of the Honor Guard. *This article is for men only, and by men, I mean those who were genetically born as a man and remain a man. Of course, I had to read the article so I can promote it, but for the duration of actually reading the article, I really believed that I was a man, so according to Liberals, that made me a legitimate man, even if it was only for three minutes. Now, does this make me a transgender? Is there a term for going from one gender back to another and then back again? What an avant garde idea!

Lori Steiner came up with a great invention called The Happiness Meter.  It keeps you from feeling so elated that you'll predictably crash afterward, and it also keeps you from falling into a depression. How does it work? Well, I didn't invent the thing! Read the article to find out.

Dr. Zev Ballen continues discussing the secrets and joys of Living the Simple Life.  With all of the material temptations we face every day, is there a spiritual reason and benefit to resisting them? And if so, how can we accomplish such a tremendous feat?

Wishing all of our awesome readers a wonderful week! 

-Racheli


You Rock

Strange things happen when I'm tired. For example, I just ate three bowls of awesome mushroom risotto. I don't know why. I wasn't even hungry. Actually, my senseless eating was very eco-friendly because I'm preserving landfill space by throwing away less waste.

Since I'm basically a vegan this week, I had to find something interesting to make. It came out delicious, and of course my kids didn't want to go near it. Even my little boyfriend was making barf sounds when I tried to feed him. Yuck. 

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Seriously, does that look so bad? It's dee-lish! 

What else does my brain do when it's tired? It starts time-traveling through space and, well, time; eons into the past. Tonight it landed on a quote that somehow stuck with me, though I'm not sure why. Some of you may remember the ridiculous and ridiculously funny movie, Zoolander. I'm talking about the original; not the new attempt at trying to re-create a blockbuster that most sequels simply can't do. Whatever. Do you think they care? They still made millions off people that were hoping to get the same dose of funny as the original. 

Aside from the famous "Blue Steel" look, which, incidentally, I am quite good at imitating, I remembered two words spoken between Zoolander and I don't know who: "You rock." And then Mr. I don't know what's his name says, "No, you rock." 

And so I realized: Yes. I do, in fact, rock. I am an awesome wife, mother, woman, friend, and sometimes scary mud-mask-wearing zombie. But it gets better. You rock, too. YOU are an awesome man/woman (hopefully not both or neither,) spouse, friend, human being, and fill in the blank. You work hard to earn a living, to be a good person, to care for your children, to help others, to be a good role model, to create a connection with Hashem, and to use your unique set of talents and abilities that Hashem designated just for you. This is not easy, and you should give yourselves credit for it.

We all have to remember this, especially when we get too focused on how we just can't stop messing things up. Rebbe Nachman gives us one of the most vital life lessons in five (?) simple words: LOOK FOR YOUR GOOD POINTS! That was five, right? 

So, in almost 2017, I'm streamlining Rebbe Nachman's advice for those adults who can't read good and wanna learn to do other stuff good too: YOU ROCK. 

And don't you forget it.

~Racheli

 


A Prayer of Thanks

It's 3:30 and I just got home about an hour ago from my Zumba/weight training/food shopping marathon. Last night, David wanted to make himself his usual breakfast/lunch/dinner of egg whites and salad (BORING,) and of course I didn't have any of the ingredients he needed besides the lettuce. I was like, "Oh, you live here? Sorry, I forgot." And believe me, I really did forget. "Maybe Hashem wants you to go on a diet," I told him. Why should I admit I was caught unprepared? NEVER!!

Besides, it has taken me two days to go through all of the suitcases, and do laundry, and cook for Shabbat, and put everything away. Oh, and of course there are these kids that live in my house that I'm supposed to take care of. So I did that too. Therefore, is it really my fault that I forgot to buy him everything he normally eats? Like, that's so last priority! 

Anyhow, there was this folded up paper at the bottom of his suitcase. I opened it up before throwing it away, because that's the responsible thing to do. Actually, I opened it because I was curious. Responsibility is for adults. Well, it turns out that it was a beautiful prayer called "A Prayer of Thanks." So here it is. Print it up. Put it on your fridge. Make sure you give your spouse a copy. Enjoy!

King of Kings, Holy One, Blessed be He, Master of the Universe - THANK YOU!

THANK YOU for the myriad times You've helped me, supported me, caused me to rejoice, healed me, protected me, and encouraged me. 

THANK YOU for always being with me. 

THANK YOU for giving me the strength to do good deeds, and the strength to pray.

THANK YOU for all the times You've helped me and I didn't know how to thank You.

THANK YOU for the kindnesses You bestow upon me every moment.

THANK YOU for every breath I take.

And THANK YOU, King of kings, even for the things I don't have; THANK YOU for making things a little difficult for me sometimes; THANK YOU for the sadness I sometimes feel - for it is all for my benefit, even though I don't always see it that way.

Deep down inside, I know that everything that comes from You is best for me; everything that comes from You suits me perfectly, every detail meticulously designed for me, like only The King of kings can do.

THANK YOU for making things a little difficult for me sometimes, because only in this way can I appreciate what is good; only after being in the darkness can one appreciate the light.

THANK YOU for the wonderful life You've given me.

THANK YOU for the most minute things I have, for absolutely everything comes from You.

THANK YOU for always hearing my prayers.

Creator of the Universe, I beg your forgiveness from the depths of my heart if I didn't always know how to appreciate what You've given me, and instead of saying Thank You, I complained.

I am but dust, and You are Everything. Please don't distance yourself from me.

Master of the World, I love You with all of my heart and all of my soul. 

  


Don't Let Them Put You Down!

My husband just showed me a clever video of all kinds of news reporters and others that said there was absolutely no way Trump would win. Even his own people didn't think he stood a chance.

The Democrats are still reeling from his win, and I think it's fair to say that most of us are still in shock. But I have a public service announcement for everyone; Democrat, Republican, Independent, and Apolitical.

The title of this post might have clued you in to the message: Don't let anyone discourage you! 

If you have a goal that you're working towards, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say about it. No one else's predictions matter, especially not the negative ones! Only Hashem knows if you are meant to succeed in reaching your goals. Your main job is to do your best! The results are not up to you, so there's no reason stressing over them. There's especially no reason for listening to negative input. 

If you have a desire to do something great, that means Hashem put that desire in you! Hashem believes in you; you just have to believe in yourself! 

But, what if you gave something your best shot and things didn't turn out as you had hoped? Well, maybe Hashem just wanted to show you how much drive and commitment you have inside. Maybe you just needed to see it for yourself, so you can really believe that you can reach great heights, even though others didn't believe in you. 

Each one of you has tons of greatness inside. Don't be afraid to push yourselves even beyond what you believe you are capable of! And never, ever let anyone put you down!

Shabbat Shalom, and blessings for success in everything you do!

-Racheli