Halacha (Jewish Law) requires us to make at least 100 benedictions every day, including Shabbat (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 46:4, 284:4, 290:1). Rebbe Meir in the Gemara tells us that King David instituted this practice to invoke Divine compassion and blessings.
Our good friends and emuna activists in New York City, Avi Hersko and Avrumi Nussenzweig, came to the amazing conclusion that if 100 blessings a day do so much for us, imagine the power of thanking Hashem at least 100 times a day! They started making a daily list of 100 things to thank Hashem for, and ever since, they've seen tremendous miracles.
Don't say that you don't know what to say "Thank-You, Hashem" for - doesn't every single heartbeat and breath deserve limitless gratitude?
Why don't you try 100 daily "Thank You's" too? For your convenience, we've prepared a 100 Thank You list print out. Click on the link and download the form, which you can print and use daily. You too can merit miracles!
Don't forget to say "Parshat HaMan" today: Segula (spiritual invoking ploy) for a good income - on the Tuesday of the Parshat Beshalach week, our sages tell us that it's an opportune time to recite "Parshat HaMan", the story of the manna, the Heaven-sent bread that sustained the Children of Israel for forty years in the desert. One should read it in Hebrew if possible, twice mikra and once targum. For your convenience, here is a clearly presented Parshat HaMan which you are more than welcome to download. If you read English only, then I've translated it for you, here: Download Parshat HaMan - English. May Hashem send a wonderful income to everyone, amen!
You'd be surprised, but most people - not only the newcomers to observant Jewry - don't know how to play the dreydle! Sure, everybody spins it, but they don't know the significance of the letters and how the game is played. Today's 4-minute clip will patch the hole in your Jewish education:
During the Three Weeks, many people have the custom of saying Tikkun Chatzot - the midnight lamentations - during the day (see Kaf HaChaim, 551:222). We not only lament the loss of our Holy Temple, but we try to rectify the root causes for losing it, particularly sinas chinam, baseless hate.
In the following clip, you'll see Cantor Ushi Blumenberg, one of the Jewish world's most promising young cantors, singing Sheyiboneh Beis Hamikdash, bmeira beyamenu - may the Holy Temple be built speedily and in our days. This is a well-known Chabad niggun chanted daily in the morning service after the recitation of korbonos, when we read about the daily sacrifices in our Holy Temple until we have the chance of actually performing them, speedily and in our days, amen!
You'll notice how rich Ushi's voice is, out in the woods by the river with no amplification or sound embellishment, may Hashem bless him with success.
Today, the 17th of Tammuz, marks the beginning of the “Three Weeks” (Bein HaMetzarim), which is a period of mourning marking the destruction of both the First Temple and the Second Temple in Jerusalem. During the “Three Weeks”, it is customary to spend extra time studying Torah and in personal prayer, to give extra charity and not to hold joyous celebrations, such as weddings, or wear new clothes. We also don't listen to or play musical instruments during this period.
The first Holy Temple was destroyed because of idolatry and 70 Jubilee cycles that were not observed, both heinous transgressions in Judaism. The punishment - 70 years of exile.
The second Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless intramural hate, seemingly a much lesser transgression than idolatry and desecration of Sabbatical years. Yet, 2000 years have gone by and we're still in exile. When will we ever learn? Hashem despises arrogance because it leads to hate; when one person or group thinks that they're better than anyone else, that's sufficient arrogance to perpetuate the exile. The result? Another Three Weeks of lamentations.
Hashem doesn't need the lamentations of those who allow themselves the luxury of condemning, hating, snobbing and/or boycotting other Jews. Thank G-d my beloved rabbi and teacher Rav Shalom Arush is a beacon of unconditional love and demands the same of his students.
Loving another Jew doesn't mean that you necessarily agree with his practices or philosophy in life. Loving the other person is a simple commandment of Torah that Hashem unconditionally requires of all of us, to respect all others and to treat them in the same manner that we would like to be treated.
Just remember - our sages in Tikkun Chatzot (Midnight Lamentations) say that every generation who fails to rebuild the Holy Temple is as if it were the generation that destroyed it. Categorically, intramural hatred is not only perpetuating the exile, but is causing Hashem to use drastic measures to wake us up and to prod us to act like brothers toward each other. Let's start being stringent about our unconditional love for each other, so that the notorious Three Weeks will turn into Three Weeks of joy and redemption, amen!
In Chassidic Israel, a Bar Mitzva is very simple. We don't make tremendous receptions in lavish halls. The Bar Mitzva boy puts on his new tefillin in the morning and gets called up to the Torah (if it's a Monday or Thursday). In the evening, we have a festive meal with family and friends, and sometimes a musician, and the Bar Mitzva boy gives a speech, usually a Talmudic elaboration with an important ethics message. The budget is very low but the joy is very high. Here's a clip from the Bar Mitzva of my grandson Yaacov Yosef, the son of my first-born, Rabbi BenTzion Brody of Jerusalem. Enjoy it and have a wonderful Shabbat!