19 posts categorized "Interpersonal relations"

Just Be Real!

Shutterstock_1036683106

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


Social Media: A Calculated Addiction?

Social Media is definitely a huge part of the way the world runs now. To be clear, I'm not taking a full-on stance against it. I believe that in the right circumstances it can be a wonderful tool to keep in touch and promote your business.

However, the line is very fine between using it as an innocent tool and addictively checking your messages 100 times an hour (I'm not exaggerating!) or joining others in the gang-bashing of someone's opinion in the comments section. And I'm just talking about adults. Children have no business being on social media. It takes away from the time they could spend with friends (in person,) playing sports and developing their talents. Not to mention studying, G-d forbid. Just as importantly, being on social media poses a huge risk of falling into the hands of cyber-predators and cyber-bullies.

As I wrote in Weapons of Mass Distraction, one of the major problems with Facebook is the time that it's taking away from people's lives. Instead of living, spending time in the now, people are too distracted on their phones to pay attention to the love, the memories, the life that's passing them by. 

This shocking video reveals the truth of how social media intentionally manipulates people's thoughts, feelings, and lives. Yes, you read that right. Facebook and similar platforms are structured in a way as to keep you hooked by blasting your brain with an intense dopamine high and keeps you coming back for more. Just like drugs.

While it's true that not everyone that uses social media is addicted to it, people should be aware of the warning signs of addiction, as some people tend to have a greater vulnerability to addiction than others.

I recommend that everyone who uses social media religiously watch this video.

 ~Racheli


All For One

Hey everyone, it’s David, Racheli’s lucky husband. I’d like to talk to you about a very special person who, through his untimely and tragic passing, taught me the real meaning of unity. 

Nearly eight years ago when my family and I made aliyah, Rav Brody told me something that I didn’t understand: “When a soldier dies in the States, most people don’t hear about it. If they do, they’re not deeply affected by it. But when a soldier dies in Israel, the entire country mourns his loss.”

I superficially understood his point because my Memorial Day holidays consisted of partying at the beach with friends. Unless someone personally knew a soldier that had perished in battle, no one else felt the solemn occasion of the day.

But here, it’s very different.

Here, most Israelis feel the pain of Memorial Day. Unfortunately I finally understood why, this past week. My dear friend from shul lost his beloved 20-year-old son last Friday night as he was chasing terrorists during a smuggling operation. May Hashem avenge his martyred blood. 

The tank he was driving somehow veered off-course and turned upside down. The explosives it was carrying blew up while he was still inside…

No one should know from such horror.

A group of my buddies from shul went with me to the funeral this past Sunday. To say everyone there was crying would be a sorry understatement. My heart breaks every time I think about my friend having to watch his son’s martyred body being lowered into the ground.

Yesterday my friends and I were catching up, and two of them said something very telling. One mentioned that when he was asked at work why he wasn’t there Sunday, he explained that he was at the funeral of his friend’s son who had just been killed in battle. “Oh, Eliyahu Drori?” the co-worker asked with tears in his eyes.

My other friend recalled a strikingly similar conversation at his workplace.

To me, this revelation says it all.

Although on the surface there is so much tension between Israelis, and they can start fighting with each other at any moment, underneath there is a deep connection that Americans can never understand.

I see it at my gym. When a guy walks in and starts hugging all of his friends with such warmth, even though they’re sweating like crazy, I see the love, the brotherhood they share with each other.

Being a part of the army together, risking your lives at every moment together, going through grueling, nearly impossible trainings and missions together - that creates a bond that is indescribable.

And this bond is not just between soldiers. Every soldier here is like the son and daughter of every parent. Every father and mother cries when they hear of a soldier being killed. They feel the pain of that soldier’s parents in such a deep way.

I understand because that’s the way I feel about my friend.

Eliyahu z”l was a former student of my oldest son’s yeshiva. I was touched by the outpouring of support by the entire staff, as well as students that had never met him. My son Yehuda arranged for his class to hold morning prayers at the shiva home for the duration of the shiva. This morning, some of the faculty spoke about him and fondly remembered him as a special light, a sweet soul that was a much loved addition to their school.

To my dear friends, the Drori family, words cannot express the immense sorrow I feel for you. Even though I had only met Eliyahu a few times at shul, I was touched by his warm smile and friendly demeanor. You were truly fortunate to have him as a son.

May he and all of the righteous martyrs that died for the sake of the Jewish People, or because they were Jewish, shine brightly in that special place in Heaven reserved for the most precious of souls. And may we see the end of pain and suffering, and joyfully greet the Mashiach and all of our loved ones once again, speedily, Amen.

In loving memory of Eliyahu Drori z"l. Don't miss Rav Brody's Memorial Day post below. 

IMG-20180414-WA0000


Happy 70th Birthday, State of Israel!!

IMG-20180412-WA0052

My cousin Maya is on a March of the Living trip in Poland, and she sent me this totally awesome picture of a classmate standing on the train tracks that lead into Auschwitz Birkenau extermination camp. 

What a great picture, right?! 

It's mind-boggling that the world has repeatedly tried to kill us off in the most barbaric of ways. Our history is filled with war, persecution, and bloodshed. But somehow, we're still here. And growing.

We're not perfect (the understatement of the year) but we're still on this Earth, and in our precious Holy Land, and we're growing like nobody's business. With all of the threats that surround us every moment, we still manage to keep moving forward and thriving. 

And I'm not just talking about the Torah-observant Jews. 

The secular Jews are making great contributions to society and the world. I mean, except for Harvey Weinstein and Bernie Madoff. Oh, and Howard Stern. 

I feel so blessed and fortunate to be here, in Israel, getting ready to celebrate the 70th birthday of our Jewish state, which will be this Thursday. 

Yes, our government is totally corrupt. Yes, there's pork-eating and pride parades. Yes, there's A LOT of room for improvement.

But I think about the diversity of people here, and I'm amazed that we not only manage to survive together, but we thrive together. 

The lesson I take away from being here during Israeli Independence Day is that we should have more tolerance for one another.  

We should have more tolerance for different political opinions, religious views, levels of observance, and traditions. I really think that if we could just work more on this, Mashiach would be here in no time. 

If someone else is not holding by our stricter standards, that is not a reason to look down on them or make them feel less Jewish. Everyone has their process and their timing and their unique soul correction, and we need to be okay with that.

Hashem has infinite patience for us and our process. If He didn't, well, none of us would be here. 

So let's learn from Hashem this Independence Day. Be tolerant of one another, be patient with one another, and G-d forbid, love one another. 

~Racheli

In loving memory of Eliyahu Drori hy"d, the IDF soldier that was killed while chasing smugglers last Friday night. His father is a beloved member of our kehilla, and we at the Beams extend our deepest condolences for their tragic loss. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. 

Photo from Racheli Reckles (37)

 


Iguana Invaders

IMG-20180409-WA0001 (1)

Few things have made me so happy early in the morning like this picture. 

But really, the video was even more entertaining.

In case you snow-covered Northerners don't know what this is, it's an iguana. (I think.) Iguanas roam South Florida freely, as if they own the place. They can be strolling along the side of the road and give the Look of Death to a guy on his bike, and that poor guy will inexplicably fly right off and land in the bushes. I mean, hopefully. 

Yesterday, this not-so-little guy, affectionately known as Big Ig, decided to take a dip in my sister's pool. She was in the house when she spotted him catching some rays. Since Big Ig thought he owned the place, he demanded a lounge chair and a Strawberry Daiquiri. Seriously, what self-respecting iguana lays out without the appropriate sunbathing accessories? 

Naturally, my sister ran to record the whole drama. But what she didn't realize when she began screaming about the iguana jumping into the pool was how much I'd enjoy it. If she did, she never would have sent me the video.

Oh, how I laughed and laughed when she squealed in horror as she helplessly watched the iguana jump into the pool. 

How I snorted in hysterics when her husband finally caught Big Ig in the pool net and started heading toward her with it. 

I think I watched that video 24 times today. 

And I laughed every. Single. Time.

Big Ig taught me a profound spiritual lesson, and I'm just passing it along as per his request. 

He said to me, "You may look at me, laying out by this fancy pool, looking all glamorous with my long nails and shiny scales, but you don't see the whole picture. You don't see how much secret pain I carry around as I slither 'round the 'hood. You think it's cool that other people scream from fear and repulsion when they see me, but inside I'm sad because no one wants to be my friend. You may think that I roam the streets carefree, but you can't imagine the secret terror I carry with me because I can turn into roadkill in an instant."

"Wow, Big Ig," I responded. "I'm so ashamed that I misjudged you. I only saw what was on the outside and didn't think further than that."

"Well that's because you're superficial and self-centered," he replied. 

"And shallow," I added.

Isn't that kinda the same thing?

So you see, fellow self-centered people who love to judge others based on their glamorous selfies on Facebook: everyone's got problems. It reminds me of one couple a few years ago that kept posting pictures of their gorgeous family vacationing here and there. They looked like the perfect family with the perfect life. But just a few months later, all pictures with the husband were deleted, and she changed her status to "single." 

And I'd like to add that when someone gets upset, or seems to have a negative reaction that's way out of proportion than what would be appropriate, do your best to step back and give that person the benefit of the doubt. You really have no idea what secret painful situation he may be going through.

So before you start judging others or fantasizing about trading your life with someone else's, stop and ask yourself this one important question:

What would Big Ig do?

G-d I'm soooo happy my sister doesn't read this blog! 

~Racheli

 


Poland: The Hate that Wouldn't Die

Roundup-of-jews-in-Poland WWII

Above image: Pictorial evidence of Polish Complicity - roundup of Jews in the town of Czestochwa, Poland on their way to the death camp at Treblinka. The Nazis could not have done this on their own.

Many of you know that I'm Iraqi, but did you know that I'm also Polish? Yes. It's a strange combination, bipolar at times. In one minute I can be the sweetest, nicest, squeaky-voiced "Come here so I can just EAT YOUR LITTLE FACE!" mom to a heavy breathing, rabid, screechy-voiced monster: "Come here so I can just SMACK YOUR LITTLE FACE!" 

Okay, those both sounded equally scary.

But no matter how scary I get, I'm not as scary as this picture at right. It's a picture of the Polish extermination camp, Treblinka. My grandmother, Fruma a"h, her two daughters, and Treblinka
another 738,000 Jews were gassed to death in this little piece of Hell. My father and his father, Hershel a"h, miraculously escaped being taken to the camp. You'll be reading more in the coming weeks on the Breslev Israel site.

Bottom line: the disgusting, murderous, anti-Semitic, bloodthirsty, evil Poles stole a mother from her son, a wife from her husband, two sisters from their brother, and a grandmother from her grandchildren. Times almost 800,000. And that's just one death camp.  

In a very difficult conversation, my father told me that if it weren't for the generous assistance of the Polish government and people, Germany would never have been able to occupy and murder many millions of Jews. 

G-d willing I will share with you one incident of many where my father narrowly escaped death by the bloody claws of the Polish people. Not even the Nazis. Not even the Polish government. The people themselves.

Torturing Jewish souls was even encouraged in the Polish schools. Rav Brody's mother also suffered physical torture by being turned into a bloody Pin Cushion by her classmates. Did the teachers do anything to stop them? Ha! 

And here we are, almost 80 years later, seeing the Polish evil wake up from its hibernation, fully recharged with fierce hate for the Jewish People.

Just last week, the Polish President signed a law to make any association between Poland and the Holocaust illegal.  

Yeah, that makes a whole 'lot of sense. Make it illegal to call you guilty. Idiots. Don't they realize that it makes them look even more guilty??

And now, the Polish Parliament is trying to outlaw kosher slaughter. 

Hmmm. They're better off putting up signs on every billboard in their country saying, "WE HATE THE JEWS!" At least it's honest. 

You know, there's nothing I can't stand more than hypocrisy. Can't. Stand. It.

If you're going to be evil, then don't try to hide it behind your "civilized" behavior and make-believe set of laws that fool most of the world into thinking you're a decent, functioning country with some level of morals. Clearly you're not. 

The fact that Poland is yet again picking on the Jews says one thing: they have never changed. Their hate, their intolerance, their unbelievable ignorance, jealousy, cruelty, barbarism - all that has never gone away. 

It's just been hiding, waiting for the right moment. 

Just look at how many death camps, euthanasia camps, and killing centers there were in Poland during the war. (Image courtesy of jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

Polandmaps

It is impossible that all of this hateful, toxic, deadly energy would have disappeared in the last 70 years. These past two laws show that the Poles hate the Jews now just as much as they did back then. 

And if you happen to be Polish and like Jews, Mazal Tov! You've obviously got some sort of genetic defect that happened to keep you in the human race. 

I have these words for the Polish government and all those who still hate the Jews underneath their quickly disappearing fake smiles: one day, very soon, you will suffer the way you have made the Jews suffer. You will see that you were controlled, brainwashed, destroyed by your own hate, and it will be too late to do anything about it.

To the Jews that have suffered the loss of family members in the Holocaust, or from any anti-Semitic event, I can't tell you enough how amazing you are. Every day that you pray, put on tefilin, or do anything that relates to G-d, know that you are a walking kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d's name.) 

One day, very soon, we will see all of the evil in the world be destroyed, and we will get to live in a world where the good is real and people let each other have the parking spot that they're fighting over. 

I know, I should stop hallucinating. 

Have an anti-Semitic-Polish-free day!

~Racheli

p.s.- Do not write me that I have no emuna, please. Obviously Hashem did what He did for His own reasons, and He decided to make the Polish and Germans (and whomever else) His messengers. But remember this: Hashem doesn't make someone a messenger of evil unless they deserve to be.