33 posts categorized "Thought for the Day"

My Medicine Cabinet

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Okay, so it's not really "medicine" and I don't keep it all in a cabinet. I wanted to share these little helping healers because I don't believe in suffering unnecessarily. Hashem gave us plenty of tools to help us not only alleviate our suffering, but to speed up the healing process. There's no reason we need to be martyrs. Unless, of course, you enjoy suffering because you're a masochist. 

Obviously I'm not referring to western medicines, which don't do much to speed up the healing process, unless that healing process includes breaking down the body's defenses... in the process. Think antibiotics.

I'm going to have to rant a bit, so bear with me. Yes, antibiotics are a wonderful discovery. They can absolutely be lifesaving. But where is the logic of putting an atom bomb in the body to kill off all of the good bacteria, which is plays such a primary role in eating up and fighting off the bad bacteria? So they all get killed together, and there are few survivors left.

Do you know what happens then? The body's landscape becomes like an abandoned Beverly Hills mansion. It's almost completely defenseless against illegal immigrant invaders and squatters that want to loot and claim it as their territory. As a result, the body becomes more susceptible to illness, and the vicious cycle continues. So why are antibiotics so over-prescribed these days? Why aren't doctors helping people strengthen their immune systems, so their bodies can fight off the infection or virus themselves? Why not give the body a chance to do one of the trillions of amazing functions that Hashem created it to do? 

Well, I know the reason, but I'm not telling you yet, just because I want you to really think about it. When you come up with a good reason, send me a comment and we'll talk about it further. 

The first thing we need to do is create a strong foundation that will support good health. I've been talking a lot about this lately, and the bottom line is: a healthy diet and exercise = a healthy body. A healthy diet means mostly vegetables and fruits, complex carbs, healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil, and minimal animal protein and processed foods. 

Since we can't avoid ever getting sick again, it's a good idea to have a few important items in your home for when you need them. I'm going to give you a quick rundown, and I encourage you to find out more about each of these things on your own. 

1) Bentonite Clay- made from aged volcanic ash, this clay is a powerful detoxifier. Mine is a gray powder, and I mix about half a teaspoon in with a cup of water. When wet, the clay swells up like a porous sponge and becomes negatively charged. Most toxins and heavy metals have positively charged molecules. The clay sweeps through the digestive system and soaks up all of the garbage like a giant industrial-sized wet-vac. I use it when I feel nauseous, and it's perfect to help you get rid of food poisoning. You'll start to feel better within minutes! Here's a great list of how it works and other ways you can use it. Also, it's excellent at stopping diarrhea, but not necessarily from stomach viruses. That's our next little guy in line.

2) Kyolic Garlic Extract- This is an aged garlic extract that has undergone some kind of process that I don't understand which removes the irritating and strong-smelling nature of garlic. It also supercharges the garlic's healing properties. It is well-known to suppress an enzyme in the liver that creates cholesterol, therefore helping to lower LDL cholesterol. Aside from being an excellent supplement for cardiovascular health, it's also great for helping to cure gastroenteritis, or stomach viruses. You take a tablespoon in some water about three times a day. I've taken it, and I can tell you that the flavor is very mild. Definitely read up more on this one! 

3) Arnica - This is an absolute must for anyone with kids in the house, or anyone who's klutzy, or both. It's excellent for relieving bruising, especially if you put it on immediately after your kid bangs his knee into the table for the 30th time. I've read that it's also good for pain relief for muscles and joints, but since I haven't used it for that, I can't say for sure that it works. However, if you have used it for pain relief, please let the rest of us know!

4) Vitamin D3- This is arguably the most powerful immune-boosting vitamin. It's especially important in the winter, when we're not exposed to direct sunlight. Unless you live in Miami like I used to. In that case, you're exposed to direct sunlight 359 days of the year. For the rest of us that turn into ghosts from October through March, vitamin D3 is super crucial to have. It's not only good for your bones and your immune system. It's also been touted as one of the top anti-cancer vitamins. Two things: first, you need to take it with a fat, as Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Second, you can take lots more than the RDA, which is only 400 IU's. I've seen many say that it's just too low, and you can take even 10 times that amount without experiencing any toxicity. If you're afraid to do that, stick with at least 1,000 IU's a day. You can give it to your kids, especially the little ones that get their daily infestation fix from preschool.

5) Oregano Supreme- Over the years, I've tried every type of herbal and homeopathic formula to help me get over a cold faster. But nothing works as well for me as this brand. I take three pills, twice a day when I start to experience symptoms, and within two days, my symptoms are not only lessened, but mostly gone! However, I would suggest you continue to take them for another two days minimum after your symptoms disappear. Just last week I felt myself getting a potentially bad cold, and I took these little babies, and within hours, I started to feel better. When my symptoms started to get worse again, I took another round. 

6) Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Whiskey- Okay, so it's not really a medicine per se, but why not put it on this list? Doesn't whiskey have some antibacterial properties or something? And for sure it has pain-relieving properties. So I'm leaving it on this list. Not to mention that the honey flavor tastes awesome! I put half a shot in my hot apple cider, and oh, boy, talk about goooood!  

If you have anything you'd like to add, please share it with the rest of us. Inquiring minds want to know! 

Have a wonderful, virus-free day!

~Racheli


Chutzpah Cat

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That's a gorgeous cat, isn't it? I took this picture from the inside of my car. Aside from being quite the looker, this cat has another charismatic quality - it's got chutzpah. Nerve. Audacity. Gall. Brazenness. Extreme self-confidence. 

You see, I caught this cat sunbathing on the hood of my car as I returned from a store I was shopping at. I hissed at it as I walked toward my car door, assuming it would jump off and walk away. But, no. It just looked at me. I couldn't believe it. "Are you challenging me, kitty?" I asked it. It responded with an amused smirk and turned over to work on tanning its other side. I couldn't believe my eyes. "Get outta here, ya chutzpah cat!" I yelled at it. A few people turned to stare. 

Can you imagine? The cat didn't move! I actually opened the door and got into my car, and it still just sat there! Since this was such a gorgeous cat I figured I would take some pictures of it. As you can clearly see, it knew how gorgeous it was, because it was obviously posing for the paparazzi. I guess the ego went to its head, which is why it was so impudent. 

When I turned on the engine, it finally jumped - on to my roof! This cat had zero fear. 

Since everything is a message from Hashem, I thought I would try to figure out the message in this strange event. And sure enough, I came up with something. Of course, it might have nothing to do with the actual message Hashem was trying to send me, but it sounds nice, so I'm sticking with it. 

This cat reminded me of a phrase that I've heard Rav Brody use many times: When you fear One, you fear no one. 

When we really internalize the fact that Hashem is running the world, this gives us Holy Chutzpah to do the right thing, even when others are ridiculing us or directly opposing us. Doing the right thing doesn't make you popular, and we all know that. But if we can remember that Hashem's approval is the only one that counts, this will give us the courage and chutpzah to do what's right without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. 

So thanks, kitty! Hopefully your chutzpah will inspire people across the world. I think this is a royal cat. Doesn't that marking on its forehead look like a crown of sorts? Or is my imagination on overdrive as usual?

Have a wonderful week!

~Racheli


A Lesson from Amona

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Today was a very sad day in Israel. In the tiny Shomron (Samaria) village of Amona, 40 families were forcibly expelled from their homes. Back in 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court voted to not only expel these families because the land on which they built their homes - with government grants, no less - was later claimed to have been built on private Arab land. 

The worst part? Actually, there are two. First: the Supreme Court refused to provide the families with alternative housing. It's not bad enough that they're demolishing their homes, but they're leaving them homeless, too. Second: it was a Jewish "human rights" group, Yesh Din (there is judgment,) that instigated this fiasco, claiming that the homes were built on private Arab land. It's one thing if an Arab "human rights" group wants to bring up such a claim. But a Jewish group fighting for the rights of people who hate us? 

Why aren't they fighting for the human rights of these 40 families who now have nowhere to live? What about the children's rights to grow up without suffering the trauma of losing their home and being made homeless in the freezing winter? Yesh Din, where are their human rights? 

After seething at this injustice the entire day, I realized something.

Since I have to believe that Hashem is doing everything for the best, I trust that this indeed is for the best. Okay. That's nice and vague an all, but why do I need to stand by and watch these people suffer? And then I thought, why do we need to go through any suffering at all? When things are so painful, why can't Hashem just speed things up a bit and/or make them go away altogether?

But then I realized that Hashem is trying to teach us an extremely important lesson: 

We have to be patient with the bad things, just as we are patient with the good things. 

You see, Hashem can't run this universe on a double standard. He can't separate cause and effect only when the effect is negative. He can't take away our free will only if we're going to make decisions that will hurt us later. He can't speed up the process only when it's painful for us. 

When good things happen, like when we're on vacation, we wish it could last forever. Be honest - we'd have no problem living on a cruise ship for the rest of our lives. At least, I wouldn't. But when something bad happens, we want it to go away as fast as possible. Sure, it's human nature, but I believe Hashem made us like this to teach us to have equal-opportunity patience, as opposed to selective patience. 

Now I understand what it means when Hashem is referred to as "long-suffering." He suffers along with us in our tough situations, but for our own spiritual growth and soul correction, He can't take these painful times away from us, because in the end, we will see how they really were for our ultimate good. 

So we need to learn from this example and be "long-suffering" as well. As much as we would like to not have to go through difficult times, we need to do our best to accept that this is what Hashem wants, and to try to emulate His patience to the best of our ability. 

As for this leftist group, Yesh Din, I have one thing to say to them: "יש דין ויש דיין." There is judgement, and there is a Judge. And one day, He's gonna give y'all a Heavenly smackdown that's gonna send you straight to Planet X, where you belong. 

~Racheli

Rabbi Lazer adds:

Well said, Racheli. The Gemara says that Hashem lets evil people do evil things, but ultimately, they will pay the price. Our Arab neighbors say kol calb bijh yomo - every dog will have its day. That is a message to anyone who has a hand a uprooting a Jew from his home in the Land of Israel.

There's another lesson here. Folks in Israel rejoiced when the so-called "right" was elected. But with all the politicians and their talk, the bottom line is a program than any extreme-left government would be proud of. What does that mean?

Hashem is shouting at us: Menachem Begin the far-rightist gave Sinai to the Egyptians. Ariel Sharon the far-rightist gave Gush Katif and a chunk of Northern Samaria to the PA. Now Bibi and Bennett (Yes, Bennett, a member of Bibi's government) are uprooting Jews from their home in Amona. Hashem is showing all of us a painful lesson that's recurrent all through Jewish history - we can trust no one but Him.

The only way we can strengthen our hold on all of our sacred homeland is to fulfill King David's advice as he states in the last passage of Psalm 105 - Hashem gave us this land for the sole purpose of observing the Torah ands its mitzvoth here. Hashem wants us to strengthen our dedication to Torah and especially Sabbath observance. Hashem wants an end to government-sanctioned policies and laws that negate Torah. There is no one or nothing but Hashem, and if we want to build our country on His holy land, we need His help.


Smartphone Blind

My dear friend and Emuna Therapist Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen shared this video with me. It took me three times of watching this video to understand what was going on. In the end, I finally got it and laughed at my own stupidity and the humor of the video. While certainly funny, it's also painfully true. We've become so addicted to our phones that we can't even walk down the street without staring into it and typing. 

Even in the elevator nearly everyone I see is checking their phones. What exactly are they checking for? Do they need to be plugged in to the virtual world at every moment? What about connecting with the real world that they're actually a real part of?

Thank G-d we have Shabbat, a chance to disconnect from the social media time-sucker. We can focus on connecting with real people and developing real relationships instead of virtual ones. This Shabbat, weather permitting, go for a nice walk outside. Focus on the beautiful trees. Listen to the birds if they haven't flown South. Look at the gorgeous blue or grey sky. Enjoy breathing in the fresh or polluted air.

In other words, be present.

Shabbat Shalom! For something great to discuss with the family at the Shabbat table, see Rav Brody's mini-lesson on this week's Torah portion in the post directly below. With big smiles,

~Racheli


Rotten Ramens

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I bet you're probably wondering what in the world that is. If you're not, I worry for you. Well, as you can plainly see, it's a fork. A fork with dried up old ramen noodles on it. Now, you're probably wondering where I found this creation. Well, that's a no-brainer. It was on the floor in the back row of my junkmobile. My kids found it today as we came back from our disastrous outing at IKEA. Why is IKEA spelled in ALL CAPS? 

As I pulled up to our driveway, the kids were already halfway out of the car, hysterically laughing from their discovery. Here's a better view.

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OMG WHAT IS THAT?? I'm horrified. To find that moldy mess in my car?? Actually, I'm not really that surprised because my car really is a disaster. I just can't keep up with the kids bringing all kinds of food and snacks in the car, and of course none of them bother to take their snacks and wrappers out of the car. And my short-term memory is also horrendous, so I forget that there is a garbage dump in the backseat. And, I'm just so busy that I don't even have five minutes to waste going through the car. It's funny because I'm always cleaning up my house; but the car? Maybe twice a year. Maybe.

Here's one more angle, because I couldn't stop taking pictures of it because it was so disgusting.

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Now this is interesting. I bet you're wondering if I put that fork there so I could hold up the noodles without having to touch them. Absolutely. NOT! Whichever one of my kids ate this left the fork in the cup of noodles, and over the last several months (?!) they dried up in that position. Un-believable. 

Aside from feeling compelled to post this because it's so gross, I actually gained a little insight from these rotten ramens. I realized that our souls are also vulnerable to mold overgrowth of the spiritual sort. All of our bad deeds probably look this frightful on our souls. Oy, what if it looks even worse? 

Well, the good news is that Hashem gave us an easy way to keep our souls clean. It's called cheshbon nefesh, or daily accounting. Every day, we're advised to go over all of our deeds, both good and not-so-good. Then, we're supposed to make teshuva (repent) for them. If we've hurt someone else, we need to ask forgiveness from them.

This way, our souls are cleaned off, and we don't risk getting toxic mold buildup and harsh judgments as a result. The judgments literally do the dirty work for us, cleaning us up because we didn't do it first through our daily teshuva.

So, don't delay! Keep your souls sparkling and fresh with your daily spiritual cleanup! Doesn't that sound like a toothpast commercial?

And just so we don't end on a sour note, here's something sweet I made tonight!

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It's a hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick and some apple slices in it. And, oh yeah, it's got a splash of bourbon in it, because I've had a rough day. But really, the bourbon gives this drink an awesome kick. If you want the recipe, send me a comment and I'll happily give it to you.

Wishing you all a Chodesh Tov, Chanukah Sameach, and a big Shabbat Shalom!

~Racheli


Black Friday

The other day, I got a new doormat. Now some of you may remember that I also got a new doormat during the early summer. The story was so ridiculous that I had to write about it in my article, "My Darling Doormat." Eventually, this doormat was traded in for a newer, cleaner replacement, as you can see here:

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Fancy, no? 

So, because I'm borderline insane, I decided not to take any chances and left my darling husband a love letter on the door, for when he got home:

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A masterpiece, isn't it. So, he obviously took into consideration what his beloved and cherished wife wrote, and responded in the best way that promotes shalom bayit (marital peace,) as you can see below:

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Now that's what I call love. 

The Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday weekend marathon for people that likely already have more than enough stuff, compelled me to be like an annoying mother and remind all of you: don't let yourselves get too attached to your stuff. It's just stuff! 

Why don't they just call it Black December, because that's really what it is. Or maybe they should change it to Amazon December, because does anyone actually go to the mall anymore? 

BTW, did you know that here in Israel, we also had Black Friday? Just take a look!

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Can anyone explain this to me??


Planting Seeds

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So my husband sent me this strange picture of a seed. Fascinating, isn't it? Can anybody guess what this is? Well, you won't believe it, but after staring blankly at this seedling for five minutes, hubby finally realized that it is a popcor-en seed! That's right. A pop-cor-en seed. For you ignoramuses, popcor-en is Hebrew for popcorn. I can't make this stuff up. I'm not sure how the "-en" ending turns it into a Hebrew word, but like many things here, logic just don't jive with reality. 

So here's another question. Where do you think my husband found this darling little popcoren seedling? I'll give you a hint, since you'll never get it. It was growing inside his sink. Like, mamash (really,) inside the drain pipe. That's a logical place for a popcorn to sprout, no? Well, apparently it is, if you're an Israeli popcoren seed. Then it makes all the sense in the world.

The obvious lesson from this is to not let popcorn seeds go down your drain. They might grow a tree right up from the drain pipe, the same way that I used to believe a GMO gum tree the size of a sequoia might suddenly sprout out of my mouth because I kept swallowing my gum as a kid. That terrified me. The thought of never being able to eat again - God forbid a million times! Did your mothers also scare the living daylights out of you with zombie apocalypse scenarios like my mother did? Why was I so gullible?? Sadly, I still am kind of gullible. Kinda. Sorta.

The logical lesson I got from this is that seeds can sprout anywhere and at any time. Duh. But I'm talking about spiritual seeds, like the kind we plant in our kids, or the seeds we plant for our futures. It may take time to see the effects come about, and we may not even realize that we have planted seeds in the first place. But the seeds definitely will sprout - both for the good and for the bad.

That's why we (especially I) have to be super careful of how we (especially I) treat our (my) kids. Nothing happens suddenly. Not in children's behavior, and not in any area of our lives. We just don't realize that we've been planting seeds the entire time.   

So plant wisely. You never know what kind of seed may decide to sprout out of your sink, your toilet, or even worse, out of your stomach. Yuck. 

Have a wonderful day!

-Racheli