13 posts categorized "Personal Holiness"

The Real Deal

Some people think that the spiritual advice we give is rosy pie-in-the-sky; others listen, and realize that it's the real deal. Check out what Itzie from LA has to say:

"My name is Itzie and I live in Los Angeles. I am a religious Jew who grew up in a not-so religious background. I have recently become fond of your teachings through your website and through torahanytimes website and i must say that i enjoy them very very much. Your teachings come from love and have filled a tiny hole in my heart that I couldn't seem to fill on my own. I am a married father of 4 for 8 years now. My wife and I have had good times but mostly tough times and many times I felt like I couldn't continue in the marriage anymore...

"But recently I heard you tell a story of a wife that emailed you saying that without reason, she can't seem to understand why she has recently had a feeling of hatred towards her husband. You then related that you asked the husband to call you and you discovered that he has been viewing inappropriate things on line on his home computer. At that point I realized that maybe that's whats happening to me as I always had that problem as well. Actually it was never really a problem that i struggled with because i convinced myself that there was nothing wrong with it. Whats wrong with just looking at a picture i thought. But after hearing your advice to him, I told myself "What do you have to lose - try for one week not to look at anything inappropriate and see if it helps with anything".

"Rabbi Lazer Brody, I am emailing you 3 weeks since the beginning of my experiment and after 8 years of marriage, I am happy to report that my shalom bayis has DRAMATICALLY improved. True i need more work but at least i found a path thanks to you. Your advice really works!"

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During these weeks of "Shovevim", any tiny improvement in personal holiness counts big upstairs. All of us have room to improve in guarding our eyes and polishing up our modesty. And it works, because it's the real deal. Wait and see the improvement not only in your marriage, but in your income too.


Profane Speech

Dear Rabbi Brody,
I confess: I'm 17, a junior in religious high school, and I swear a lot. Everyone always goes on and on how using the swearing words are wrong. But why are they? I mean all they are, are a couple words that don't really mean anything, and the only reason I like using them is because when you can't find a word strong enough to describe how you feel, usually one of the swearing words does the job. Whatever, thanks a lot. From Barbara in Long Island somewhere

Dear Barbara,

That was courageous of you to tell me. The soul is surrounded by three garments - thoughts, speech, and deeds. When you use foul language, you surround your soul in stench, kind of like walking around with completely dirty underwear. Sounds gross? Foul words make your soul feel gross, and they chase away Hashem's Divine Presence, which means that a person who uses filthy language loses Divine guidance and protection. That's when real trouble in your life starts.

Please try to break the habit. The best way to do that is to avoid anger. Since anger comes from arrogance, the more modest a person is, the more he or she steers clear of anger. Remember also, a person with a cheap tongue is a cheap person. You certainly don't want people calling you "cheap" behind your back, especially since you're a quality young lady.

People who use foul language are basically no better than pigs. Even if you dress them in in fancy clothes, pigs remain pigs. A person's speech is the showcase of a person's soul.

Barbara, do your soul a favor and weed the four-letter words out of your vocabulary. Elul is the time for teshuva, for all of us to decide to be just a little bit better than what we used to be. With blessings, LB


Spiritual Cause and Effect

I'm privileged to bear the name of the holy Mishnaic sage (Tanna, in Aramaic) Rebbe Eliezer ben Yaakov. His gravesite is 2 kilometers east of the Hananya crossroads, about 10 kilometers south of Meron.

Rebbe Eliezer ben Yaakov was nicknamed kav veNaki (Gemara tractate Eruvin 62b, Yevamot 49b, and other places), which literally means "grain with no chaff". The connotation is that he didn't say much, but almost everything he did say was codified into law. One of Rebbe Eliezer ben Yaakov's most well known sayings appears in the Mishna, tractate Avot, chapter 4, mishna 11. He says, "One who performs a mitzva earns a defense counsel, and one who transgresses earns a prosecutor; teshuva and good deeds are a shield against calamity."

The defense counsel that Rebbe Eliezer ben Yaakov was talking about is a defending angel, and the prosecutor is a dark-side force of evil. This mishna is the key to spiritual cause and effect, a notion that permeates all of Torah.

In light of Rebbe Eliezer ben Yaakov's teachings, we can say our enemies are born from our own misdeeds. This is the key to understanding what's going on in the world. The ATFAT law is at work here: every breach in personal holiness - especially here in our beloved homeland - brings with a breach in national security. 

We all must stand strong against the spiritual defilement of the Land of Israel if we expect to maintain true sovereignty on this tiny strip of holy real estate that the entire world is trying to take away from us. Debauchery is our worst enemy; the Hamas and Hizbulla were only created from our lack of holiness. You know what that means? Lack of modesty and lewdness ultimately manifest themselves as Kassam and Katyusha rockets. 

Personal holiness and modesty are the best defense against all of our enemies. We strengthen our holiness by guarding our speech, guarding our eyes, dressing more modestly, avoiding lewd sites and literature, and by strengthening our emuna. Emuna and prayer are our two strongest weapons. Let's pick them up right now. The more we fight for an Eretz Yisrael of kedusha (holiness), the faster the forces of impurity within our midst will crumble. Don't think for a minute that if you're outside the physical borders of Israel, you're exempt from doing your part.

For the defense of our Holy Land, let us become more holy. Holiness is our deed to this cherished piece of real estate that Hashem has entrusted to our safekeeping.

Lazer ben Yaacov 470

 


The Seal of Truth

Nir's story, "The Seal of Truth", is one of the most powerful ones we ever had on the Beams. Lately, we've had several requests to show the film again, so here it is. By the way, everything you'll see and hear here is very much the real deal.

Nir Abujam grew up in a secular home in South Tel Aviv. As a young man after the army, he did everything that fun-loving young people like to do. A few years later, he went into convulsions and blacked out, dying a complete clinical death. His soul was taken to the upper worlds and to the Heavenly Court, which he describes in the following 68-minute clip that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Nir's testimony matches precisely the descriptions of life after death in the Gemara, Midrash, and Zohar. This gripping clip is not for the faint of heart or for those who wish to continue their lifestyles of Disneyland and McDonalds. But, if you watch this clip, it will change your life and help you readjust priorities. This will be an hour well-spent.

The film is in Hebrew with very good English subtitles. At one stage, Nir talks about the power of outreach and giving books and CDs to people. We sincerely thank the Chagvei HaSela organization of Tiberias for preparing this wonderful film, "The Seal of Truth."