I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King Quote
OMG, for the fifth year in a row, I did it again. I've forgotten somebody's birthday in the family. This year I forgot that today, January 16, is my oldest son's 12th birthday. I already forgot my third son's birthday last month, and I remember forgetting my own birthday at least three times. What is happening to me? I don't even know the calendar date most of the time! Is it the whole aging thing? If so, I'm really not digging it. 

So I actually had to go online and look at a calendar to see what date it is, and I found out that today, Monday (it's Monday, right?) is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Phew! So glad I caught that one in time. Actually, yesterday was his birthday. Now those of us that didn't skip half of high school might recall that Dr. King was a famous civil rights activist and made it his life's mission to end racial segregation and make racial equality a reality. His "I Have a Dream" speech is what most of us remember about the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, but here are a few quotes that prove that Martin Luther King was also a secret Breslever:

-Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

-Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. 

And here's the kicker: Dr. King earned his Ph.D. in theology, in which he compared two religious philosophers' views on God to his own idea of a "knowable and personal God." Hidden Breslever all the way, baby!

In honor of Dr. King's birthday, I'd like to share with you my dream. You see, I have a dream, too. In my dream, I will wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, just like in the Folger's commercials. I will slip my feet into my faux-fur-lined slippers and walk into my hers-only bathroom with a full jacuzzi tub and my very own toilet that no one else is allowed to use. I have a dream that the kids will get out of bed without me having to scream at them, and get dressed and ready all by themselves. I have a dream! That my husband will make me breakfast one morning and do the dishes. Yes! I have a dream! That the laundry will fold itself and my husband will know where the kids' clothes are. I HAVE A DREAM! That I will have... a WALK-IN CLOSET! 

Rav Shalom Arush has a dream, too! In his dream, people are serious about working on their personal holiness. You see, he explains that it's not enough to just read about emuna and guarding your eyes, and then expect yourselves to just change in an instant. That's called a pipe dream; i.e., a fantasy. People, do you also have a dream that one day you'll reach those spiritual goals that you set for yourself? Then take advantage of The Power of Shovevim to make your dream a reality! 

While we're on the subject of influential leaders in the U.S., Rav Lazer Brody talks about Donald Trump's upcoming Presidential inauguration. With an emuna perspective that you just don't see anywhere else, Rav Brody shows us, through Trump's less-than-unexpected win, that Hashem is totally running the show. Don't miss The Delivery Man

You know what? I'd like to add something to my dream speech. I have a dream that all men will finally understand what it means to be a good husband. Men, are you giving your wives the Three A's? Uh, oh. You're asking what The Three A's are? You mean you don't know? Well, then you'd better read The Princess and the Caveman, PRONTO! 

Oh, boy. After complaining that I don't have enough space to put all of my stuff, Dr. Zev Ballen comes along and writes that we all just have too much stuff. There goes my walk-in-closet fantasy. But, really, Dr. Ballen asks if we are any happier with all of our extra stuff than those people who lived a few generations ago. So what are his suggestions for Living the Simple Life? Great questions! Read the article!

Okay, so here's another great question: what do Beards and Babies have in common? Eww, I can't stop imagining a baby with a beard! So freaky! Thank G-d, Eliezer Guterman isn't submitting any baby pictures to the Guinness Book, but he is sharing an unbelievable story about his twins' miracle birth(s?)! 

Lori Steiner writes A Parent's Letter to Hashem on behalf of all parents who can't stop using autospell on their smartphones. This beautiful letter is a moving, powerful, and grammatically correct must-read! 

I'm starting to wonder if our lovely Emuna Therapist Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen's life could get any more dramatic. You'll never believe what crazy situation she writes about this week In Plane Sight

David Perlow shows us through his own life example how thanking Hashem for everything really brings about incredible salvations. His Miracle in the Forest is so cool that I'm tempted to think he made it up. Maybe I shouldn't have written that. Just kidding, David! 

Wishing all of our awesome readers a wonderful week! 

~Racheli

p.s.- Can one of you out there please put my birthday, June 23 in the English/ 18 Sivan in your google calendar, so you can send me a reminder? And a gift?


Our Children's Guarantors

A tremendous spiritual awakening is going on now. On the other hand, a world of darkness and negative influences are pulling young people off the path of observant Judaism. What do we do, especially as parents? Today's emuna lesson will illuminate our path. Enjoy it and have a lovely new week!


Beams Weekend Magazine: News, Entertainment and Torah

Beams Weekend Vayichi 5777
Welcome to the special issue of Beams Weekend Magazine, a new idea that we'd like to do more of in the future. This week, we have three departments: news and outlook, entertainment and Torah. We hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your feedback.

News and Outlook: Throw the Terrorists in the Trash

According to the "Chafetz Chaim" - the laws governing the wholesomeness of the spoken and the written word, any person who spreads hate and hearsay, purveying gossip and social venom in the world, has no place in the world to come. Therefore, be extra careful about what you say, read and write. Stay away from the gossips, for spiritually, they're like terrorists.

The holy Tanna Rebbe Shimon ben Shatach was the Av Beit Din, the Chief Justice of all of Israel. He saw a person with a drawn sword chasing another person. He ran after the two until he reached an alley-way. The victim was already on the ground, fluttering and about to die. Blood dripped from the assailant's sword. Rebbe Shimon told the assailant, "You evil person, who killed this man, you or me? What can I do, for I cannot bring you to trial, for the Torah demands two witnesses" (Talmud, Sanhedrin 37b). Rebbe Shimon ben Shatach could not try the murderer, but that doesn't mean he went free. When a court down here can't try a person, the Heavenly Court tries the person and justice is much more severe. It wasn't long before the killer suffered an excruciating death after being bitten by a poisonous snake.
 
If Rebbe Shimon ben Shatach couldn't convict a person despite the overwhelming evidence, then why do we allow ourselves to repeat hearsay, gossip and things that haven't been proven in a court of law or a Bet Din? That's dangerous.

Virtually nothing in the newspapers today has been proven in a halachically-legitimate court of law with two halachically- Newspaper cannedacceptable witnesses. There's no way that the Chafetz Chaim would allow reading any of today's newspapers, whether printed or electronic.
 
Newspapers and journalists judge people and print hearsay all the time. They too are required to observe the Chafetz Chaim. Any person who spreads hate and hearsay, purveying gossip and social venom in the world, has no place in the world to come. Therefore, be extra careful about what you say and write. Stay away from the gossips, for spiritually, they're like terrorists. It's easy to dispose of the printed-paper terrorists - just throw them in the trashcan where they belong. Better yet, don't read them in the first place. Why?

Don't you cherish your time? Why squander it on lies and half-truths? What's more, with the politicians' manipulation of the media, every rag has its agenda and you can't believe a thing. 

This weekend, why not try reading something meaningful. Talk about the lessons of this week's Torah portion rather than what Bibi and Noni (why don't they refer to themselves as Benjamin and Arnon?) are saying about each other or what the CNN (Certified Nonsense News) is writing. 

Like other terrorists, newspapers are dangerous to your body too! Unpleasant stories trigger cascades of a steroid hormone by the name of cortisol, aka the "stress hormone". This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High cortisol levels  impair digestion as well as cell, hair and bone health. They also cause nervousness, susceptibility to infections and render weight-loss virtually impossible!

Only the evil inclination would tell you to indulge in something so harmful to both body and soul. Don't listen to it; dispose of it in the nearest waste bin together with the newspapers. 

Entertainment: Dudi Knopfler Sings "The Priestly Blessing"

Our very dear friend Dudi Knopfler, one of the rising stars of Jewish music today, has come out with a lovely rendition of the Birkat Cohanim, the Priestly Blessing, which is customarily said to greet the bride and groom as they arrive under the chuppa in Sephardic weddings. We're delighted to feature it, and may these beautiful words and exquisite melody invoke Divine blessings on you and yours. 

Torah: The Left-handed Blessing

Have you ever heard of a "left-handed" compliment? There's a left-handed blessing, too. In this week's Torah portion, Vayichi, our forefather Jacob teaches us exactly what it is, how to use it and the extent of its power. Enjoy, and have a lovely Shabbat!


To Meat or Not To Meat?

Type 2 diabetes is a topic surrounded by controversy and misinformation. I am so thrilled that so many of our readers are health-conscious and are doing what you can to better your health. Kol hakavod! 

Since I love controversy, I thought I would add some to yesterday's post and post this video about the role of meat in diabetes. Actually, I'm posting the link because I have no idea how to post a video. Anyhow, meat consumption is shown to actually be a risk factor for diabetes, even though the ketogenic diet claims the opposite. Now, to be clear, I am in no way putting down the ketogenic diet. I just want to give you another perspective on the same subject, so you can better make informed decisions as to your eating habits.

Here it is, and I'd love to hear your comments!

~Racheli


The Child's Guarantor

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Our children are not ours to do as we please. Their souls come from Hashem and are a tiny part of Him. Hashem entrusts them in our care for safekeeping, but they don't belong to us. Their bodies, although extensions of us as their DNA indicates, do not belong to us. They are not slaves and we don't own them. The duty of a parent is not to enslave a child or to use a child for his/her own benefit and/or self-gratification. Our responsibility is to raise our child to be a worthy servant of Hashem. By the way, that too is our obligation in regard to ourselves.

My beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush was in Ashdod earlier this week. He gave a shiur on parental obligation that jolted many parents out of their complacency and self-centered mode. As I was listening, I wrote the lesson down, and G-d willing, will be delivering it tonight in English.

Join us today for our weekly shiur and broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "The Child's Guarantor," a vital shiur than any parent or prospective parent should not 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.