240 posts categorized "Music"

Just the Way You Are

The Way You Are
If you think that you are any less beautiful than the baby or the flowers pictured above, you are sorely mistaken. No matter what you think, Hashem - Who created you - loves you just the way youa re.

People think that if they're not millionaires, in the headlines, Rosh Yeshiva or member of Congress, that they're failures. That's just not so.

I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

The above lyrics come from Billy Joel's famous hit, "Just the Way You Are", which spent months in the Top Ten back in 1977. Today, I look at those lyrics and interpret them as Hashem talking to the soul - yours - which He created. Hashem says, "I love you just the way you are."

Don't miss today's emuna lesson and live broadcast from Jerusalem entitled "Just the Way You Are", which will take place, G-d willing, on the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7 PM 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. 

And for your Oldie-but-Goodie enjoyment, here's Billy Joel from way back, singing "Just the Way You Are." Enjoy it!


Thank G-d I'm a Country Boy

There's a whole lot to say for gratitude to Hashem, simplicity, innocence, and being happy with your lot in life. Not only are they precepts of Breslever thinking, but they're the basis of emuna. 

John Denver was always one of my favorite singers and composers. His "Thank G-d I'm a Country Boy" oozes with joy and simple emuna. In John's cherished memory, we here at the Beams are happy to share this with you. The lyrics appear below the video player - they too are full of good ol' values like gratitude to Hashem and appreciating your wife. And yes, John, thank G-d I'm a country boy...

Well life's on a farm is kinda laid back
Ain't much an old country boy like me can't hack
It's early to rise early in the sack
Thank G-d I'm a country boy

A simple kind of life never did me no harm
Raisin' me a family and workin' on a farm
My days are all filled with an easy country charm
Thank G-d I'm a country boy

Well I got me a fine wife I got me old fiddle
When the sun's comin' up I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain't nothin' but a funny funny riddle
Thank G-d I'm a country boy

When the work's all done and the sun is settin' low
I pull out my fiddle and I rosin' up the bow
But the kids are asleep so I keep it kinda low
Thank G-d I'm a country boy

I'd play Sally Goodin all day if I could
But the Lord and my wife wouldn't take it very good
So I fiddle when I can and I work when I should
Thank G-d I'm a country boy

Well I got me a fine wife...

Well I wouldn't trade my life for diamonds or jewels
I never was one of them money hungry fools
I'd rather have my fiddle and my farmin' tools
Thank G-d I'm a country boy

Yeah city folks drivin' in a black limousine
A lotta sad people think that's mighty keen
Well son let me tell you exactly what I mean
Thank G-d I'm a country boy

Well I got me a fine wife...

Well my fiddle was my daddy's till the day he died
And he took me by the hand and held me close to his side
He said live a good life play my fiddle with pride
And thank G-d you're a country boy

Well my daddy taught me young how to hunt and how to whittle
He taught me how to work and play a tune on the fiddle
He taught me how to love and how to give just a little
And thank G-d I'm a country boy

Well I got me a fine wife I got me old fiddle
When the sun's comin' up I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain't nothin' but a funny funny riddle
Thank G-d I'm a country boy


V'hi She'amda: The Eternal Promise

There's a major difference between Hashem and political leaders: He keeps His promises whereas they don't. Seder night is proof...

Political leaders should really be in the furniture business, because all they care about is the chair they sit on. Ideology? Truth? You will find neither in politics, whether you look at the right, center or left. With that in mind, maybe now, our people around the globe will finally learn that there's no one to trust but Hashem. We certainly can't trust those who change their opinions as frequently as they change their socks and prefer political expediency to justice and truth. So, my Pesach-eve message to my cherished brothers and sisters, especially here in Israel, is that it's time that we all come back to Hashem in complete teshuva, asking His forgiveness for any trust we put in human beings, in Israel or abroad.

The Gemara (tractate Sanhedrin 97b) says that the Nation of Israel (aka the Jewish People) will be redeemed as soon as they make teshuva, in other words, return to Hashem and the ways of His Torah. The Gemara then asks, what happens if the Nation of Israel doesn't make teshuva? Rebbe Yehoshua answers that if Israel doesn't make teshuva, then Hashem places them under the influence of a wicked king whose evil decrees are as severe as Haman's, and then they make teshuva.

We cannot fathom The Almighty's love for us and His infinite mercy. Despite the fact that we haven't made Teshuva from Love, which is what we need to do in order to be redeemed, and despite the fact that our own misdeeds put us under the boot of each generation's wicked kings, Hashem has made an eternal promise to deliver us from their hands. That's the V'hi She'amda prayer that we recite each year in the Haggada.

Let me share with you something additional about Hashem's love for His people: The Heavenly Altar and Throne is known as Upper Jerusalem; it is situated directly above Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is known in the Zohar, Midrash, and Gemara as Lower Jerusalem. Hashem refuses to dwell in Upper Jerusalem until His permanent dwelling on earth - the Holy Temple - will be rebuilt in Lower Jerusalem (see Gemara tractate Taanit 5a, Midrash Tehillim 122, Vilna Gaon's elaboration of Zohar, Safra DeTzniuta, ist Chapter). Many evil world leaders are denying our right to the area of our own Holy Temple. Once again, we have no cause to be angry at them, for as soon as we make real teshuva, they will crumble. But, until we make teshuva, those evil leaders should be forewarned that by disenfranchising Israel from what they call East Jerusalem, they are in effect trying to disenfranchise The Almighty. Cherished brothers and sisters, that won't happen, period.

Hashem has no gratification by forcing us to make teshuva. When we strengthen our emuna and seek Hashem on our own accord, we sanctify His Holy Name. Let's wake up, beloved brothers and sisters. It's either nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles or emuna books and CDs; the choice is ours. Now you can understand why Emuna Outreach is working so hard to spread emuna around the globe - Rav Shalom Arush says that every emuna book or CD neutralizes one ballistic missile. When Moshiach comes, he'll show us all how emuna saved lives; the Gemara says that anyone who saves one life is considered as if he or she saved an entire world.

V'hi She'amda is a Passover song whose words come from the Haggada. It conveys a very timely message for the Jewish people: He who stood by our forefathers stands by us to deliver us from the hands of our enemies in every generation.

One of Jewish music's favorite sons, my dear friend Yonatan Razel, wrote a beautiful melody for this song, which he sings here with the king of Jewish singers, my very special friend Yaacov Shwekey. You'll get shivers up your spine and tears in your eyes listening to them. We're sure you'll enjoy this musical treat as much as we do. Enjoy it and have a wonderful Shabbat, Seder night and Passover holiday!


Beams Exclusive: A to ZZ - "Waterfall/Jerusalem is Calling"

You've probably never heard of "A to ZZ"; it's the amazing duet of Jewish music icon Avraham Rosenblum together with Jewgrass string strummer and master luthier Zev Zalman ("ZZ") Ludwick. They make beautiful music together and now have their own internet show every Saturday night. They sent me this clip - a most relaxing Celtic-flavored string duet - "Waterfall" - that's really soothing. A to ZZ took the waterfall and turned it into "Jerusalem is Calling". I certainly hope you enjoy this as much as I did:

If you'd like to book A to ZZ, flash an email to zzludwick@gmail.com - tell them that Lazer sent you.