107 posts categorized "Inspiration"

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. 


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.



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!


It's All for the Boss

All for the Boss2
There's a big difference between Yoram, a G-d fearing farmer from the Jezreel Valley who grows sunflowers, and between the other farmers in the area that also grow sunflowers. As much as a person loves farming and the outdoors, growing sunflowers is not the most intellectually-stimulating and interesting things that a person can do for a living. In fact, it can be back-breaking and pretty boring work if you're doing it just to scrape out a living.

But not Yoram! He's one of "Garinei Afula"s best contract growers. "Garinei Afula" are famous for selling the biggest and best sunflower seeds in Israel. It's an Israeli national pastime to munch away on sunflower seeds, especially on Shabbat with a Gemara and a cup of tea. Sunflower seed munching is the symbol of Israeli national unity, because it's the one thing that the secular and religious population hold in common - everybody in the country does it. Even when you go to a "Shalom Zachar" on Friday night (the custom of saying mazal tov to the father of a newborn son), three things must be on the table - hummus (whole chickpeas), popcorn and sunflower seeds.

So, if you ask Yoram what keeps him so excited about growing sunflowers after 40 years in the blazing sun of the Jezreel Valley, he'll say, "If I was working for myself, that would be one thing; I don't think I'd have the power to go with this at age 67. But it's all for the Boss - Hashem. I don't know of anyone - outside of Hashem - who can calculate how many millions and trillions of blessings have been made on my sunflower seeds in the last 40+ years since I've been growing them. Try and think how many people have sat together on Friday night enjoying each other and my seeds. Think how many pages of Gemara have been learned, because munching my seeds keep the Torah scholars from falling asleep on Friday night. Imagine how many Israeli soldiers have remained alert on their border watches by virtue of the fact that they have a bag full of seeds to munch on..."

Wow, imagine the place in Gan Eden that awaits a sunflower-seed farmer whose motivation has always been, "It's All for the Boss."

What's our motivation?

Join us today for our weekly shiur and broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "It's All for the Boss," a shiur you don't want to miss. It will take place, G-d willing, in the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7PM Israel time (12 noon EST); 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. 


My (Racheli) memory is so weird sometimes. Actually, the really weird thing is the associations I sometimes make between different thoughts and memories. Case in point: last week, I had what you would call, "One of those days." Sigh. Eye roll. I'm not very good with those little smiley icons. 

It started with me being woken up by my kids' screaming that there were cats in the backyard. Then they began screaming because they were killing each other. Then I tried to make a coffee, which I didn't get around to until like 11 am. Then, by the time I actually went to make the coffee, my hand hit the paper cup and spilled the hot water all over the counter. That's what I get for being lazy and trying to avoid doing more dishes. I'm so environmentally unfriendly sometimes. Finally, when I actually got to put the coffee in the paper (I'm very stubborn) cup again, I put almond milk in it by mistake. Yuck. I threw it out and had to start all over. Again.

Since my memory is so bad, I can't remember what happened the rest of the day, but I can safely assume there was quite a bit of fighting, threatening, screaming, laundry, etc. All in a good day's work, I say. So what does this have to do with the title of the post?

Our sages teach us that every difficulty is an atonement for something we did wrong. Okay, maybe not me, but definitely you guys out there. And for sure, my husband. Can't forget to leave him out, right? Every atonement brings us a necessary soul correction. Somehow, this thought made me remember Seth Green in a really silly commercial saying, "Cha-ching" when he was ringing up someone's order. Go figure.

So when you're experiencing "one of those days," you can also say "Cha-ching" every time you knock over a cup of hot water or fall smack on your tailbone during your Zumba class, like I did this morning. So much for being the Zumba Queen. But ain't no one gonna take my title from me that fast. You'z gonna have to come and get it. 

What's the vital lesson we need to keep with us during these last few days before Rosh Hashana? Every atonement is like money in the bank! Next time something goes wrong, instead of getting upset, say, "CHA-CHING!" in your most enthusiastic voice. Okay, I don't think I could do that. But if you can, please, let me know how you did it. Would you do it if I promised you that you would double your money? Well of course I can't do that, silly! 

So thank Hashem for every "cha-ching" He gives you this week. G-d willing, you'll see tremendous blessings because of it for the entire following year, and beyond!  


High Expectations

Last week, I (Racheli) got one of the best compliments of my life. My new Zumba teacher said that I should be teaching Zumba! I was totally thrown off, and of course my first reaction was, "Are you crazy? I could never do that!" But, then the idea began to dig its tentacles into my brain, and in a few minutes, the idea grew on me. Yeah, I could do that! Why not?

In the end, I'm not going to pursue it because I barely have time to shower every day, let alone learn and memorize new dances. Obviously I'm not writing this to highlight my obsession with dancing. So what's the point?

Well, the point, I realized, was in my reaction. My first thought was "No way!" Why? It's because that's how we think by default. Usually, when presented with a challenge or an opportunity that is beyond our regular lifestyles or accepted self-imposed boundaries, we immediately reject the new proposal as out of hand. Maybe we feel it's too much for us to handle, or beyond the scope of our capabilities.

But I gotta tell you - you're so much greater than you give yourself credit for. Hashem knows that. That's why He has such high expectations of us. He knows what we're capable of achieving, and He's going to push us until we get there. Whether it's career, family, helping others, or expanding on our personal gifts and talents, Hashem knows that we have so much that we can accomplish.

The only caveat is that we need to believe in ourselves. Believe in yourself! Believe in your potential! Even if the opportunity seems crazy and totally impractical, why not at least try to accomplish it? Even if in the end you don't succeed, at least you can say you gave it your best shot. 

Believe me, I never ever saw myself living in Israel and being a mother of five children. But Hashem put tremendous opportunities before me, and after my initial rejection of those opportunities, I jumped in 100%. That is the secret of achieving your hidden greatness. And, of course, don't forget to ask Hashem to help you every step of the way! He certainly doesn't expect you to do it all on your own!

May we all use this coming year to accomplish beyond what we thought was possible, and as a result, enjoy every blessing, both spiritually and physically, Amen! 

p.s.- If you're in Miami, check out Rav Brody's post below! You don't want to miss an awesome night with him and Rav Wallerstein! I'm so jealous!