87 posts categorized "Land of Israel"

The Ancient Village of Itri

Israel has breathtaking spots for personal prayer; that's natural, for it's the Land of Emuna.

Chirbit Itri (the ruins of Itri) is an ancient Judean village that was destroyed during the Bar Kochba Revolt against the Romans nearly 1900 years ago (132 -136 CE). It was a village of extremely pious Jews that has a large synagogue, four mikvas, and one of the most well-preseved winepresses from the period of the Second Temple. The village is off the beaten tourist path, quite near Elah Valley where David fought Goliath in the western Judean foothills.

Come join me for a personal guided tour of one of our priceless sites:

Shema Yisrael: Yaacov Shwekey

Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman (1886-1969), The Ponovicher Rov of blessed memory, saved orphaned Jewish children from Catholic orphanages after the close of World War II. Although the priests and nuns denied that there were any Jewish children there, The Rov - accompanied by American officers - visited the orphanages at bedtime. He would call out "Shema Yisroel" and instinctly children raised their hands to cover their eyes, while crying in Yiddish, "Mama! Mama!" The holy Skolener Rebbe of blessed memory saved children in like fashion.

My dear and esteemed friend Yaacov Shwekey sings a moving rendition of the above story in "Shema Yisroel". Enjoy it and have a lovely Shabbat!

Land of Milk and Honey: Dates and the Secret of Fertility

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that The Land of Israel is conducive to fertility.

The Torah calls the holy Land of Israel the "Land of milk and honey;" Rashi elaborates that the "honey" refers to dates from the date palm.

Dates, especially those grown here in Israel, have magical qualities. If you know anyone with a fertility issue - man or woman - the following simple Land-of-Israel fertility enhancer is bound to help them:

Get a liter of fresh goat's milk. Take 8 big dates or 12 medium-size dates and soak them in the milk overnight. In the morning, use a blender to grind the dates in the same milk. Add a half teaspoon of cardamon powder (hel in Hebrew) and a tablespoon of bee honey (natural unpasteurized with no additives) and 40 dried untoasted almonds. Blend it all together and drink at least 250 cc's of the mixture (about 9 ounces). The effects are remarkable.

The above "Date Shake" not only does wonders for fertility, but it enhances stamina as well. I use it about an hour before a strenuous workout.

Don't forget to send me an invitation to the Bris. You can almost set the date...



Tu B'Shvat: Sunday Night & Monday, Jan. 24-25, 2016

Almond flowers
Above image: Almond blossoms in the Land of Israel - the sign that Tu B'Shvat is arriving.

Tu B'Shvat this year is Jan. 24-25, Sunday night and Monday. This is the New Year of the Trees. Many ask why Jews need a New Year for trees? Here are a few answers:

Few nations are so environmentally aware as the Jewish People; Tu B'Shvat, for example, is a day when we focus on beautifying the earth we live on. Especially here in Israel, Tu B'Shvat is a day of planting trees all across the countryside. Consider planting a tree (or two, or three, or more) in your backyard. What's more, many people plant a fruit tree every time they are blessed with a new child, for trees in Jewish tradition are symbolic of fertility, children and abundance. that's truly a beautiful custom. See more in Save the Trees, one of our feature articles in this week's Tu B'Shvat issue of Breslev Israel magazine.

It's no secret that that the nations of the world protest our right to the Land of Israel. But what does give us the right to every bit of our holy land? Tu B'Shvat is the answer, as we explain in Planting and Posterity. By the way, there's a big connection between Tu B'Shvat and the Shovevim weeks.

One of the first things a person is supposed to do when he comes to the Land of Israel is to plant fruit trees. In this manner, the settlers of the Land of Israel are truly partners with the Almighty in creation. How? The Torah calls the Holy Land "a land of milk and honey" more than a dozen times. Rashi explains that the honey that Torah refers to is the honey that flows forth from the luscious dates and figs, two of the seven special species of the Land of Israel that the Torah praises. Therefore, those who plant date palms and fig trees help the Land of Israel manifest its potential from creation, for they are the fortunate emissaries who enhance the flow of honey in the Holy Land. Read all about in in Trees, Israel and Geula.

Here's a big treat for Tu B'Shvat: Did you know that Israel's trees also give milk as well as honey? Try this delicious recipe, which is super healthy for children, athletes, expecting and nursing mothers or virtually everyone, which you'll find in Tree Milk and Honey.

This week's Torah portion is Yitro, where we'll read about the Ten Commandments. From all the myriad of wonders, miracles and acts of loving-kindness that Hashem does for us, the Torah juxtaposes “I am Hashem your God” with the exodus from “the land of Egypt and the house of bondage.” “I am Hashem your God” is the first of the Ten Commandments, the commandment of emuna - to believe in Hashem, the One true God. Hashem Himself is telling us that emuna is the precursor and prerequisite of exodus and geula, as we'll learn in Emuna and Geula.

Also featured this week:

Rav Shalom Arush: Be Positive

Dr. Zev Ballen: Effective Soul-Healing

Racheli Reckles: Private Eyes

David Perlow: Saving a Life

Jenn Safra: The Mysterious Honk

Dovber Halevi: The Greatest Growth Coach

Happy Tu B'Shvat and blessings for a wonderful new week!

A Gift for the Rebbe

I have a custom that I received from an old tzaddik: he told me that when you take your 3-year old to cheder (Orthodox Jewish elementary school for boys) on the first day, give the cheder rebbe (boys' elementary school teacher) a monetary gift (like a $50 bill) and ask him to pay special attention to your son. The old tzaddik told me that the gift to the cheder rebbe invokes Divine assistance for your son's Torah learning and it makes the rebbe happy as well, for cheder rebbes never earn the money they really deserve. So, whenever I am honored with the mitzvah of being sandek at a brit, I take responsibility for the child's initial success in Torah and I give the father of the baby an envelope with money inside and tell him to pass it on to the child's rebbe when the child goes to cheder for the first time at age 3.

With the above in mind, several years ago, I had the privilege of being sandek at the brit of David Mark's son in Maale Chever south of Hevron. David wrote me this spine-chilling email earlier this month:Yaakov Litman hyd

...our son who you were sandek for, has grown up and is now in first grade.  It was his rebbe that was killed a few weeks ago along with his son.  It was hard for us as parents to go through that with him, but I saw that children really handle these things better than we do. His rebbe was an amazing person and it was to him in the beginning of the year that we gave the gift you had given us as his sandek that you told me to give to his future cheder rabbi.  Rav Yaakov Litman was a tremendous Tzaddik. I wrote a eulogy for him here.

Rabbi Yaakov Litman Hy"d (photo, above right), a beautiful human and a most wonderful cheder rebbe (elementary school teacher) was brutally murdered by Arab terrorists 6 weeks ago. 

Advice for a Duckling

Wolves and Duckling
All we want is to live a quiet life of Torah and emuna in the holy Land of Israel. Our enemies from all sides want to swallow us alive. Yet, with emuna, we take everything in our stride with a big smile on our face too. Why? Our enemies will devour one another as they've already started to do...

This all reminds me of a pack of hungry wolves who saw a little duckling. Each claimed the poor little thing for their supper, so they began to fight each other in a ferocious melee of blood and fangs. Each clamping on to the other's jugular, until they all dropped dead in a puddle of their own blood. When everything quieted down, the duckling crawled out from his hiding place under the table, and resumed his happy life as normal.

Advice to all ducklings: hide under Hashem's wing; it worked for King David (see Psalm 17:8) and it'll work for us.