83 posts categorized "Jewish World"

Seder Night in Afghanistan

Emuna Outreach stays in contact with Jewish soldiers around the world. We just now received photos from our good friend, US Army Major Yoni, who is the Brigade Chaplain of the US Army base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Here's what the Seder Table looked like there:


And here's Major Yoni in Bagram, Afghanistan:

Maj. Yoni Bagram  Afg

Breslev Israel and Emuna Outreach just yesterday sent a care package of emuna books, CDs, inspirational pamphlets of glatt-kosher chocolates to US soldiers in a small outpost in Afghanistan, not far from Taliban country. Here's our shipping manager, Inon, preparing it - look at the smile on his face! That's how delighted we are to encourage our soldiers, wherever they are.

Inon Emuna Outreach

If you have soldier you care about serving overseas or in Israel, send us his name and address. Nothing is so encouraging to soldiers as a dose of emuna.

#WeRemember - Holocaust Day, 12 April, 2018

LB #WeRemember
Lately, following the lead of the magpies in the so-called Palestinian Authority and in Iran, all the anti-Zionists anti-Semites of the world have given license to their mouths and to their pens to not only deny the Holocaust but deny all of the thousands of years of Jewish history in the Land of Israel. Most of my mother's family was murdered in the Holocaust - in Grodno ghetto, in Majdanek and in Auschwitz. My Mom, may Hashem bless her, is a Levite. Her ancestors sang in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Romans exiled us from the Land of Israel and our family migrated to Spain and later during the Spanish Inquisition, to Poland. Thank G-d, I was fortunate to return home to Israel 48 years ago in 1970. The above photo, taken in ancient Ashdod where Jews have lived for centuries, is my answer to the all the Holocaust and Land-of-Israel deniers. We'll never forget our history - it's in our veins. #WeRemember - period.

p.s.- Don't miss Racheli's post below. It's a must-read for today!

Tragedy Strikes Flatbush

Less than three years after a killer fire struck the Sassoon Family in Flatbush, a frighteningly similar devastating tragedy has once again struck in Flatbush, eerily again in the Syrian Jewish Community there. This time, the Azan Family: Moshe, (11) Yitzchak (7) and Henrietta (3) and their 40-year-old mother Aliza Azan were burnt to death when a fast moving fire razed their home.  The husband and father, 45-year-old Yossi Azan is in critical condition along with his 16-year-old daughter Shilat and his 15-year-old son Daniel. Another Azan son, 13-year-old Avraham, is in stable condition.

Please say Tehillim for Shilat bas Louza Aliza (16), Daniel ben Louza Aliza (15), Avraham ben Louza Aliza (13) and their father, Yosef ben Ahuva Masuda. May Hashem send them a full and complete recovery, amen.

We here at the Beams and at Breslev Israel are heartbroken. Yossi Azan is the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet. He is also an avid follower of Rav Arush who was in Uman with his brother this past Rosh Hashanah. In addition to a refua shlema for him and his children, we wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to Yossi for the agonizing loss of his wife Aliza and their three youngest children Moshe, Yitzchak and Henrietta, all of blessed memory, as well as condolences to the entire Syrian Jewish community in Flatbush, with whom we share a deep friendship.

There are scary parallels between the Sassoon tragedy and the Azan tragedy. Both the Sassoon family and the Azan family were Israeli, who had moved shortly before the tragedies to the United States. They both moved to Brooklyn and they were both members of the Syrian Jewish Community. Several of the Sassoon and Azan children even learned in the same classes at school.

The deceased will be buried in Israel.

As the Torah says when Nadav and Avihu were burnt to death, "And the entire house of Israel shall cry over this fire (Leviticus 10:6)." We must note that Nadav and Avihu as well as the four Azan family members were killed by fire on Rosh Chodesh. During the time of the Holy Temple, the Rosh Chodesh sacrifice, burned on the altar, atones for the sins of all the Jewish People.

No one can dare conjecture why this happened, but one thing is sure: Hashem wants us all to wake up, to do teshuva, and to feel as though this horrific loss is our own personal one.

May this be the end of our people's suffering and may we see Moshiach, speedily and in our days, amen!

Update, 19 Dec - Rabbi Chaim Kanievski shlit'a said last night that this terrible tragedy is an atonement for all the Jewish People and called for everyone to strengthen their Torah learning.

Holiness and HiTech

HiTech Holiness
Holiness and HiTech, do they go together?

You might not realize it, but this is an age-old question. It's also the underlying historical theme of the relationship between ancient Greece and ancient Israel, Hellenism, Chanuka and assimilation. This knowledge is vital to understanding current events and particularly contemporary Jewish history as well as what's going on in Israel and the Diaspora.

In our series of prepatory lessons for Chanuka, today's lesson presents an unprecedented overview of history, combining known historical facts with the wisdom of Gemara. We'll learn about the connection between Aristotle and Mordechai the Tzaddik, and between Alexander the Great and Shimon HaTzaddik. We'll also see how Chanuka is an ongoing historical event, still being plated out 2,156 years after the miracle of Chanuka took place in the time of the Maccabees and the Second Holy Temple.

You don't want to miss today's lesson.

Today's (Wednesday) Emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "Holiness and HiTech," which 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; 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.

The Pashtuns: Lost Brothers پښتانه ورک شوي ورونه

Pathan Taliban
The holy Talmudic sage Reish Lakish (Rebbe Shimon ben Lakish) was a Baal Teshuva and even a gladiator before Rebbe Yochanan - his future brother-in-law and learning partner - brought him back to Hashem. Reish Lakish was skilled in all areas of combat arts. As such, he was an authority on fighting, weapons and warfare. Reish Lakish says (see Gemara in Tractate Sota, 25b) that Israel is the fiercest of nations. The Maharsha, in his classic elaboration of the Gemara, says that Israel inherited its fierceness from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The "Pnai Yehoshua" adds that if Israel would put its efforts into fighting rather than Torah, it would rule the world. The Malbim in his elaboration of Parshat Vayichi and Jacob's blessing to each of his twelvw sons before he died, says that each of the tribes of Israel had its own style of combat. In short, as opposed to the wimpy stereotypes of "Fiddler on the Roof" and the cowering Jew make that above-cited Gemara hard to believe for those Jews who don't know enough about their own people, the Jews are rough dudes.

Here's more to substantiate Reish Lakish's point:  stop and think who the greatest guerrilla fighters of all time were: how about Abraham and Eliezer, who defeated four entire armies. Or how about Shimon and Levi, who right after their Bar Mitzva, wiped out the Canaanite town whose prince raped their sister Dina. Don't forget the Maccabees, a small family of Cohanim who routed the Syrian-Greek army. Think about Bar Kochba, who with his small band of followers defeated the Roman Army and reigned as king for two years. If I had the time, I'd write a book on this, for there's so much to add...

Let's fast forward in history: who is the one people that the Moguls, the British, the Russian Army, the entire US military or anyone else has ever been able to defeat? If you answered the Afghan Pashtuns, you're right. 

The are loads of research, proofs and documents showing the link between the Pashtuns (aka Pathans) and the Jewish People. Anthropologist Shalva Weil of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem says, "Of all the many groups in the world who claim a connection to the 10 lost tribes, the Pashtuns, or Pathans, have the most compelling case." Researcher Nadav Sofy notes, "The Pashtuns are beyond any doubt the 10 tribes of Israel. The have more than 40 Jewish customs and commandments rooted in Torah, Talmud and Kabala."

If you're still skeptical about the Pashtuns being one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, take a long at some of their customs (gleaned from the above links and other resources, especially this article):

  1. Pashtuns obeserve Saturday as their Sabbath and light candles on Friday night
  2. They don't eat shellfish (lobsters, shrimp and crabs), they don't use camel milk and they don't mix milk and meat
  3. They circumcise their baby sons on the 8th day
  4. They cover their heads at all times.
  5. Many do not cut their sidecurls 
  6. The women perform a ritual immersion in the river at the end of menstruation.
  7. Their names are right out of the Torah.
  8. They carefully avoid eating blood - they check eggs for blood and salt their meat after slaughtering.

I can go on and on, for there are dozens of additional points, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Compare the Pashto language to Hebrew; for example:

* Gazera means carrot. In Hebrew it is Gezer 

* Dor means an era. In Hebrew the word Dor refers to an era or a generation.

* Orezy means rice. In Hebrew it is Orez.

* Qurban means sacrifice. In Hebrew it is Qorban

What do our own sages say about this? Professor Navras Jaat Aafreedi of the Presidency University in India refers to our great rabbis Rebbe Saadia Ga'on (9th Century, CE) and Moses Ibn Ezra (11th Century, CE) who mention Afghanistan and the Pathan territories in Pakistan as the home of Jews descended from the lost tribes.

What does all this have to do with today?

Rebbe Eliezer ben Hyrcanos says in tractate Sanhedrin that when Moshiach comes, he'll tell the lost tribes who they really are and bring them back to Israel - this is the Israel of Moshiach and Torah, for Hashem's law will reign. You know what that means? The Pashtuns, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban, will become the defenders of Israel.

Just looking at them is like looking at brothers. Change the attire of the Pashtan elders pictured below (image with appreciation to thepashtuntimes.com), and you could be looking at the men around a Seuda Shlishit table in our local Sefardi synagogue - notice that all these men have untrimmed beards and sidecurls tucked under their lungee, their traditional turbans. As we can see, a lot of excitement awaits us as Moshiach comes, may it be soon, with the ingathering of all the exiles, amen!


It's Official: All Natural-Hair Wigs Are Now Banned

We hope and pray to see an end of suffering in the world. In light of the recent disasters in North America and the imminent threat of global strife, we must all search our souls and look for areas that we can immediately improve in. We pray that everyone is blessed with a wonderful New Year 5778. But, with Rosh Hashanah - the Day of Judgment - a mere week away, we feel solemnly obligated to bring the following halachic ruling to the public's attention.

Five major poskim - rabbinical authorities - recently issued a statement forbidding all natural-hair sheitlach, wigs. They are: 

Rabbi Chaim Meir Halevi Vosner, Rabbi and Head of the Rabbinical Court, Zichron Meir

Rabbi Sariel Rosenberg, Rabbi and Chief Rabbinical Justice, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Yehuda Sillman, Rabbi and Head of the Rabbinical Court, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Shimon Baadani, member of the Council of Torah Sages

Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Karp, Dayan and Posek, Southern Hill, Modiin

Click on the posters below to see them enlarged and more clearly:Sheitelposter1 Sheitelposter2

Racheli adds: 

Listen, ladies, I know how hard it is to cover your hair with a scarf. To be totally honest, I'm not crazy about it. Remember, I'm a BT that spent her early 20's having fun in Miami Beach, one of the world's most exotic locations for barely dressed beautiful people. I'm not a little sheltered girl that grew up in Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. I enjoy feeling and looking beautiful, and I totally understand all of your reservations and objections.

A scarf can't compare to a gorgeous wig in beauty, nor can it compare in the way it makes you feel: feminine, complete, and confident. I had some pretty stunning wigs, but I got rid of them when I realized that they just made me look more beautiful instead of adding modesty to my look. I'm all for female empowerment and independence and all that stuff. But I realize that this isn't a power struggle between old men with ancient beliefs in a woman's role versus the strong feminists of today. 

It's simply a matter of following the Torah. Saying that a man shouldn't be involved in women's halachic issues is ridiculous. Maybe we shouldn't keep family purity too? Maybe we shouldn't separate challah or light candles? After all, Moshe Rabbeinu was a man. So was the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama. Maybe we shouldn't see male doctors, especially obstetricians just because they're men. It's reverse discrimination and it's not fair.

Anyone who really believes in our Divine Torah knows that Hashem only wants what's best for us. No one's out to get us or put us down. The fact that we don't understand what's best for us is apparent when we resist and protest the rulings of people who know much more Torah than we do. 

In my opinion, this is a matter beyond the wigs. It's a matter of if we believe in our Torah, or we don't. If we believe in it, then we must accept ALL of it, both the parts that we agree with and the parts that make us cringe. That doesn't mean that we have to be on the highest level of observance! It means that we should recognize where we're holding spiritually, and strive to raise ourselves up, level by level. 

Trading in your wig for a scarf or hat is one of the hardest decisions a Torah-observant woman will ever have to make. I understand, believe me. But I must also believe with all of my heart that there are others in this world who know more than I do, and trust that their opinion of what's best for me is the right one. I trust that my family will be benefit from my sacrifice for generations to come. I fully believe that I made the right decision. Because if I don't, what does that say about my belief in the Torah as a whole?

Ladies, I encourage you to do some serious soul searching regarding this matter. What's keeping you from making the switch? Peer pressure? Fear of looking ugly? Your husband wants you to wear a wig? Do you think it's a bunch of oppressive nonsense? 

Whatever it is, once you gain clarity, your decision will be so much easier. And, if you want some great tips for stylish hair covers, there are tons of instructional videos online of women who cover their hair with style and class. If you don't want to go online, send me an email and I'll give you a few pointers. You can contact me at racheli@breslev.co.il. 

Hashem should bless you with clarity and the strength to do what's right!

More downloadable background material:

  1. Indian Hair Report updated
  2. Hair is the sacrifice
  3. Shocking Documention of Corruption in Hair Industry
  4. Original Psak in Hebrew

Climate Conditions for Aliya

Aliya Climate
Under the smokescreen of headline-dominating world events such as the intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea, the amusement park in the White House, and constantly rising tensions in our part of the world, few people seem to be paying attention to the imminent threats against Jews around the world, especially now, with the Temple Mount tensions as a convenient excuse for letting the Jew-hating demon out of the bag. The Jews of Turkey are under attack; if all of human rights under the foolish dictator Erdogan are at risk, then those of the Jews are ten-times endangered. It's time for them to leave Turkey and to come home to Israel. 18,000 of our fellow Jews are still there.

What do addicts and exiles have in common? Both groups are in denial. The Jews of Germany as late as 1938 claimed, "We're Germans first, then Jews - no one here will harm us." What a rude awakening they had. Today, the Turkish Jews are saying the same thing. They're assimilating faster and faster and even their Turkish-Jewish tradition is waning.

My own wife may Hashem bless her, who was born in Tel Aviv, is the daughter of Turkish-Jewish parents who came to Israel from Istanbul in 1948. My wife's parents stayed In Israel despite the tough conditions but their brothers and sisters returned to Turkey. Today, they are all intermarried and have no Jewish offspring left. So, in effect, my wife's glorious family who migrated to Turkey after being forced out of Spain in 1492, have been wiped out - in Turkey, but not in Israel. Here, we are privileged to raise new generations of emuna Jews, committed to Hashem, His Torah, our land and our people.

It's a hot summer for anti-Semitism but even a hotter summer for assimilation. Don't let that happen to your family. Come home while you still can.