In this week's lesson, the tale of the clever one and the simple one makes a dramatic turnaround. Now begins the clever one's nosedive while the simple one begins his miraculous ascent…
Of all the pictures I could have posted of our return to Miami, I chose this??
Just in case you were wondering, David is Princess and I'm Cray-Cray. And believe me, it doesn't make a difference if we're hungry or not.
So.... we're heeerreeeeee!!!! I can't believe it. I feel like I landed on another planet. Everything is so different here!
All week I've been yo-yo-ing from, "I'm so happy to be back!" to "OMG what have I done??"
But who cares about my fragile and overwhelmed self? Let's talk about COSTCO!! Oh, Costco, how I've missed you so! I'm not going to lie. I really did miss Costco. And I can't believe how many things are kosher at my Costco! Kosher meat, chicken, all kinds of salads, cheeses, dips, snacks, good Heavens!
And ADIDAS CLOTHING FOR $9.99??? Somebody pinch me.
I just can't get over the selection and variety of food here! What am I going to do?? I walk around the stores in a slack-jawed daze, taking pictures, just in awe of everything.
Another majorly shocking experience was Walmart. O.M.G. The crazy prices! The crazy selection! The crazy people! It was unreal. But my favorite part was seeing a guy driving his electric wheelchair up to the register next to us. He was playing Kenny G. so loud, he could have DJ'd for a club on South Beach. So I was checking him out and then I noticed he's got a Magen David, a cross, and about 4 other large gold religious symbols on his necklace. And his fingers were decked out with rings galore. Maybe he really was a DJ. Fascinating.
Oh, you know what else was shocking? Lowriders. Horrible. Forgot how horrible they were. Can anybody explain the logic to me? Does the fact that your head is vibrating and your eardrums are rupturing make that driver popular? Does a bouncing car really attract the "ladies"? What is attractive about this?? Horribly fascinating.
Here's another shocker. Miami is GORGEOUS! There seems to be a competition between developers to see who can get the top names to put on their buildings so they can charge top prices. Armani, Fendi, Lagerfeld, Reckles... I can't believe how over-the-top these places are! Infinity pools on the 50th floor?? An elevator for your car?? How do so many people have so much money? And more importantly, how do I get them to share some of it with me?
Miami has certainly turned into one of the world's premier locations for materialism. I can see by the looks of this city that our wise sages were right. Wealth is certainly a greater test than poverty. It's so easy to get distracted by the pursuit of wealth and all the fabulousness that comes with it. It's too easy to forget that it is Hashem that is the Source of all of this wealth and the potential blessings that it can bring.
I suspect being poor is more likely to cause a person to cry out to Hashem, because they're in a position to need help. I don't think that's necessarily the case with rich people. I wonder if anyone's called out to Hashem while shopping at Cartier: "Hashem! Help me! I have too much money and don't know which platinum and diamond watch to buy!" Hmmmm.
In other news, it's great to see so many people being obviously Jewish. Miami has several strong Torah-observant communities, and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of great people.
In the meantime, wish me luck as I try to stay strong and not devour those ridiculously delicious and toxic Entenman's chocolate-covered donuts.
BTW, if you haven't read my article this week, The Lost Check, read it now! It's one of my favorites!
And could you do me a favor? I'd love to know which one of these Snickers bars you are when you're hungry! Send me a comment!
And don't forget to check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna class! Details below.
If you ever listen to a Jewish ethics lesson delivered by a rabbi versed in esoteric Jewish thought, or Kabbalah, he'll almost surely mention the need we all have to correct Adam and Eve's sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, for that is the root of our troubles...
Say what, bro?
People say, "C'mon rabbis, let's get real! What does the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples have to do with Adam and Eve? Why so much lamentation on things that happened thousands of years ago? Can't we just move forward?"
You deserve a good answer...
With Hashem's loving grace, I've prepared one for you, which G-d willing, you'll hear today.
Join us us for today's emuna lesson and live broadcast from Jerusalem entitled "Three Weeks, Three Repairs", 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.
For years, experts have been baffled how so many experienced swimmers have drowned in the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, which by Swiss or American standards, would be no more than a medium-to-small-size docile lake whose waves at their choppiest barely reach a foot tall.
Since the 4th of July a week ago, there have been over a dozen earthquakes in Israel. Nine felt earthquakes, those 3.0 on the Richter scale and higher, have been smack in the middle of the Kinneret, all revolving around the earthquake epicenter (see above graphics), which is the exact place of the great Syrian-African Rift that separates between Asia and Africa. This is also a potential center of volcanic activity, as bear witness all the volcanic rock that surrounds Kinneret. In fact, the old houses in Tiberias, Capernaum and all around the Sea of Galilee are built of that familiar black volcanic rock.
All week long, I've been asking myself what the message Hashem is conveying by way of the earthquakes. This has been in my prayers as well.
This morning, after Shacharit prayers, I had a strange urge to run home and open up a Chumash. I did, and my Book of Numbers opened up to Chapter 20, that tells about Moses hitting the rock to elicit water in the desert instead of talking to the rock. The holy Ramban (Nachmanides) says that this rock was Miriam's Well that accompanied the Jewish People for forty years in the desert. Rashi, in his elaboration of the Gemara in Pesachim 54a agrees with the Ramban and says that the rock Moses hit was Miriam's well. Comes along the Yerushalmi Gemara, tractate Ketubot 67a, and tells us that after the Jewish People came into the Land of Israel, Hashem deposited and concealed Miriam's well in Kinneret, off the coast of Tiberias. This fact was later substantiated by the holy Ariza'l and his prime disciple Rabbi Chaim Vital.
So you see, Moses didn't have to hit the rock. The rock, inasmuch as it was Miriam's well, was ready to flow forth with sufficient water to quench the thirst of an entire nation, if he would only have spoken to it as Hashem requested.
Hold it - this is getting much more exciting. The same rock that provided water for all the Jewish People for forty years in the desert became the rock that Moses was punished for. If you look at Rashi's commentary on Numbers Ch. 21, verses 15-16, you'll see that the same benevolent rock not only triggered an earthquake that led to the death of the Amorites who hid in the mountain crevices waiting to ambush the Jewish People on their way to Israel. Not only did the rock trigger the tremor, but its water later washed up the remains of the Amorites to show the Jews the miracle that Hashem did for them.
We see an amazing principle fact here: the rock, which is also Miriam's well, can be a source of life or a source of destruction.
It can be a source of abundance, of healing waters, or the epicenter of destructive earthquakes.
What does all this have to do with the Three Weeks? The Yerushalmi Gemara in Berachot 64a says that Elijah the Prophet told Rabbi Nehorai that when Hashem gazes down at earth and sees all the plush stadiums and theaters, yet His Holy Temple is still destroyed, His roar causes earthquakes. That same Gemara lists two other causes of earthquakes - failure to give sufficient charity and homosexuality. The Babylonian Talmud in Berachot 59a gives a slightly different reason, but also connected to the Three Weeks: when Hashem sees that His children are still dispersed among the nations, He sheds two tears in the sea and this causes earthquakes.
No wonder we read the Torah portion of Chukat, which talks about Miriam's well and Moses with the rock, a week before the 17th of Tammuz and the start of the Three Weeks. No wonder the string of earthquakes, which has the whole north of Israel losing sleep at night, began with the Three Weeks.
Meanwhile, the south of Israel is still burning. Rather than making emuna and teshuva a national priority, our Nero-like leaders, rather than taking the earthquakes and the chance of a "big one" on the way as experts are warning, they're worried about sending an Israeli spacecraft to the moon. I truly wish I were joking, but I'm not.
Would you rather wait for Ezekiel's prophecy to manifest itself? "For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken: Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel" (Ezekiel 38:19).
I can only imagine the boo-hoo and bellyaching that this post will elicit, but that's too bad. People argue with Emuna News because it bursts the bubble of their comfort zone, while Torah, emuna and teshuva take a second place (or no place at all) to chatrooms and social media. But, you're not arguing with me, incredulous brothers and skeptical sisters: I've listed all my sources above. All I did here was to connect the dots. Go argue with our sages - Elijah the Prophet, Ezekiel the Prophet, Rebbe Yochanan, Rava, Rav Ashi, Rabina, Rashi, the Ramban and the Ariza'l, and that's not all...
Guess what will happen when Moshiach will come and reveal the exact place of Miriam's well: people with an incurable and terminal diseases will immerse themselves in its waters (one source says a mere sprinkle will suffice) and emerge with perfect health. Even the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch, Rama, Orach Chaim 299:10) mentions the healing powers of Miriam's well.
So what do we prefer, the lust and folly of this world together with earthquakes, or emuna and teshuva with the abundance of Miriam's well? Hashem is showing us that the choice is ours; He of course commands us and wants us to make the right choice (see Deuteronomy 30:19).
Breslev Israel is proud to announce the release of four magnificent empowering and inspirational booklets, the "Jewels of the Choshen":
Click here to purchase all 4 at a special discount.
There's a big difference between the Hope Diamond, which weighs 45 Karats and is worth $350 million, and between a broken beer bottle in the street. Whereas the former is a rare gem and heavily guarded, the latter is cheap and rolling around in the gutter for everyone to touch and see. The Hope Diamond is the epitome of class; it conjures up images of a Rolls Royce and Cartier La Dona Watch. Nobody would have the gall to touch or even say something out of line to a woman wearing a Prada tailored-and fitted suit getting of a chauffeur-driven Jaguar XG, especially when the chauffeur and the body-guard sitting shotgun are iron-jawed former MMA stars who weigh 25o pounds each. Why?
The lass has class.
When she gets out of the car with her attache case and walks into her business meeting, people stand up. The young lady looks like royalty; her appearance, posture and speech demand respect. She will make her point and people will listen.
But, if she walks into the meeting wearing her barely thigh-high sleeveless and collarless mini bodycon, no one will hear a word she says. Young lady, you are hereby declaring your candidacy for the #MeToo movement, and the Harveys of the world (which any man who doesn't guard his eyes potentially is) won't be looking to do business with you, any more than one night. Why? Your appearance puts you into the category of a broken beer bottle.
No one said don't look snazzy. No one said don't be attractive. Care about how you look and think twice before you pop the cookies in your mouth. Take care of yourself - eat right and work out at the gym. Take walks everyday and talk to Hashem. But remember that you're His daughter, not Harvey's chunk of meat.
You owe yourself to be a lass with class. If you're a working woman, take 5 short minutes to see how to be a Winning Working Woman. You're success is guaranteed. You'll be commanding more respect and a bigger paycheck. Go for it!
This week's new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine has plenty more dynamite articles.
My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush gives us an option to lamenting during the Three Weeks, and instead, becoming proactive and building A Beautiful World.
Hashem loves Racheli Reckles (so do her readers and all of us at Breslev Israel); she gets herself into jams that nobody could bail her out of except Hashem. Read The Lost Check to see what we mean...
Hitting cleanup in our team of all-star writers is Alizah Teitelbaum, whose weekly column is especially for women. Alizah doesn't want you to be so quick in blabbing your heart out to your so-called best friend. You've been forewarned in Girl-Friend or Foe.
Breslev Israel's women writers are all young ladies with class. See Yehudit Channen's Prayers People Pray to see what I mean.
David Ben Horin is a breath of fresh air always. He loves Israel and he writes this week about Two Levels of National Miracles.
I want to share this short email with you, from Mrs. Judy Inbal in Israel:
"...I was riveted to my seat when I saw One Person to the Rescue. It was like a gripping 'This is Your Life' show and what an exciting surprise ending. Only Hashem could have produced such a broadcast. I never had any idea about the power of Emuna Outreach. From now on, I want a share in the action..."
Mrs. Inbal, Emuna outreach is happy to have you share with us in spreading emuna far and wide.
You too, cherished friends, are welcome to partner with Rav Shalom Arush and Emuna Outreach in saving lives, like you heard in the testimonies of One Person to the Rescue. Donate to Emuna Outreach - you'll be glad you did!
Shavua Tov! Just because Adam and Eve forfeited a life of paradise in this world doesn't mean that we have to as well. Rebbe Nachman gives us a signed check that buys our way into paradise, right now…