As we said in the Haggada, in every generation, tyrants rise to destroy us, but Hashem rescues us from them. Despite our challenges, Hashem is always with us. Many of Hashem's miracles go unpublished. The Beams will now keep you on the edge of your chair for two days, with this gripping documentary about Operation Orchard, the destruction of Syria's quest for nuclear weapons. G-d willing, we'll air the second half here on the Beams tomorrow. Enjoy it.
It's ever so appropriate that the UN and the current regime in Washington show their true colors by denying our ancient rights to Jerusalem, Shilo and Hevron. Nothing's new under the sun, as King Solomon teaches us in Ecclesiastes. I won't answer them - Shimon Maccabee the son of Mattatyahu Cohen Hagadol Chashmonai and brother of Yehuda Maccabee gave a most appropriate answer some 22oo years ago:
“We have not taken foreign territory or any alien property, but have occupied our ancestral heritage, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies; now that we have a favorable opportunity, we are merely recovering our ancestral heritage” (Maccabees 1, 15:33-34).
We weathered the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Spanish Inquisition, the Nazis and the Communists. We're still here and they've all disappeared. It seems that the oppressors of today want to join them. They'll never learn. Meanwhile, we're not budging.
It's not easy leaving my beautiful holy homeland, even for a few days; this trip is no exception. On a Friday before a trip, I try to visit our exquisite beach here in Ashdod; this time, I took my all-weather Olympus TG 850 camera with me. Here are a few of the images I took while riding the waves:
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.
Mazal Tov, everyone! It's Racheli, and I'm soaked to the bone! Today is our first rain of the season here in Israel!
The crazy thing is that no weather forecast predicted rain for today. Like, mamash (really) zero % chance. At least, not any that I saw, which was only one, and it was on my husband's phone. I don't know how they got it so wrong. It's not only raining; it's POURING with thunder and lightning! A real storm, I tell you!
There were no prior signs of rain in the sky, either. No gathering rain clouds, no drop in temperature, no drop in barometric pressure. I just had to write that so I sound smart. It's not bariatric pressure, right? I actually have no idea what that means. My point is that no one saw this coming.
Now, there are tons of people scurrying around like ants trying to escape the path of the killer bug spray. I feel sorry for them. But I feel sorrier for myself, as my three older ones are currently running around outside, soaking up all of the rain through their shoes. I made them put, like, six jackets on, but they probably took them off. I think if anyone sees them outside, they'll probably say what a terrible and crazy mother I am for letting them play in a category 4 hurricane. Maybe I really am.
This all-of-a-sudden rainstorm made me realize something: it's written that the Redemption will happen suddenly, without any prior warning. It's not like you're gonna check your smartphones one morning for the CNN updates and find in their weather section a 90% chance of Redemption called for the following morning. It's gonna happen pitom (all of a sudden.) Use that word in your vocabulary. You'll sound like a real Israeli.
That's why we have to anticipate the Redemption every moment. Maximize your mitzvahs and talk to Hashem as much as you can. You certainly don't want to get caught unprepared!
Now I'm going to scream out my front door for my kids to get the heck inside this house right now, and then politely greet any neighbor who happens to pass by at the same time.
Happy day-after the chagim, everyone! I (Racheli) am so completely disgusted with food right now. My stomach is so full and bloated, and all of my mental energies are focused on imagining the extra pounds away. I don't think it's working yet, but I have complete emuna that they will come off. In the meantime, I have nothing interesting to say, so let's just sit and stare at this picture, shall we?
It's the view from my side yard. Isn't it stunning? The picture doesn't fully capture the beautiful valley that leads into the coast. Way off on the hazy horizon is Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, the picture doesn't show the buildings, but I can see the entire skyline on a normal day. On a very clear day I can even see the ocean. If I can manage to confiscate my husband's phone again, I'll try to post a picture of this view at night. It's like you're in an airplane.
It's amazing that in one tiny piece of land, you have mountains, plains, several types of desert, farmland, and beautiful beaches. In about six hours during the winter, you can drive from snowy mountain forests up in the Galil to warm beaches down in Eilat. G-d willing one day I'll actually be able to visit such places. My idea of a girl's day out is going to Osher Ad in Bet Shemesh proper. Whoo hoo. Or should I say, Boo hoo.
Like they say (whomever "they" is,) Israel really is a microcosm of the entire world.
And that's it. Nothing interesting to say. Until I come up with something, I'll just try to figure out how I can escape to a gorgeous seaside hotel without the kids and my husband noticing.