146 posts categorized "Weekly Torah Portion"

Wife, or Wolf?

OMG am I going to get in trouble for that title. But let me explain! First, I just have to say that I'm so excited that Purim is coming up! I don't have a costume yet, but I'm hoping tomorrow I'll be able to find something. Here is my oldest son's idea of a Purim costume.

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What do you think? Do you like it? Does it bring out his eyes? And what's with the fingers? Is he learning sign language? What does this mean??

Well of course I refused to buy it, because I don't think that going as a thief/terrorist/criminal is exactly appropriate for Purim. Speaking of inappropriate, the toy store also had tons of rap-style chains, hats, and shirts that look like fake tatoos. I tried like six hats on, then found myself debating which type of chain would be most flattering for me, and I ended up picking the big fat gold dollar sign with lots of fake diamonds on it. I'm so spiritual, yo.

But seriously, I'll tell you what's not flattering. It's when I put on my daily Purim costume of big bad wolf. Did you ever see that show, "When Animals Attack"? David tells me they had me in mind when they came up with that show. Isn't he just the sweetest?? Luckily for me, I'm not the only woman on a rampage when I get mad. 

I'm sorry to do this, but in all fairness, I must let you ladies know that we are, to a very large degree, responsible for the peace in the home. We're also greatly responsible for the sustenance and abundance that our families enjoy (or not.) But before you skip to another site, chillax! He's also got a few insights on the men out there that makes them just as responsible for building up or messing up your families. Ladies, doesn't that make you feel so much better? But hold up! This doesn't mean that all you couples can go and start a blaming war. Instead, you've got to read Rav Brody's Tale of Two Wolves.  It'll save you lots of fights. Trust me.

I'll let you in on a little secret that's not so secret. You know all those marital fights you're having? Rav Shalom Arush boils it down to one cause: ingratitude. Nothing is worse than an ingrate, both to your spouse and to Hashem. Rav Arush tells us that there were actually two very different (what an understatement) people who you would never see a connection between, yet he says they both suffered from ingratitude, and this ultimately led to their downfall. Who were these people? And what is the connection to Purim? Well, you know, you've got to read Downfall of the Ingrate to find out!

If you've been following my health posts, you know that I've been saying some pretty controversial stuff. Well, the controversy continues with my latest, Beat Brest Cancer! You're about to find the real reasons so many women are suffering from this terrible disease, lo aleinu. And even better, you're about to find out what you can to to prevent and heal! Please share this with others! 

It's unbelievable, but every time I read our Emuna Therapist, Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen's articles, I get chills when I finish. I'm sure I'm not the only one! This week, she tells the story of how her father came back to Judaism years after suffering the trauma of watching his father drop dead in the middle of prayers at the Synagogue. Talk about insane! You don't want to miss My Father's Faith! And please tell me if you also got chills at the end, okay? 

Oh, my goodness. Sara Bercovics' article had me on the edge of my seat and literally holding my breath. She writes about the tremendous miracle Hashem did for her when her husband suddenly became deathly ill. Why did she decide to put on A Scarf for Life?  And I'm not talking about one of those winter scarves. That would be silly. 

Dr. Zev Ballen, our other amazing Emuna Therapist, gives us some great tips on how to use our Divine Search Engine. What does this mean? You know I'm not going to answer that, right? 

I think David Perlow must have seen this picture of my son, because he's asking him, "Where's Your Smile?" That was seriously so lame, but this article is anything but! He talks about one of the main reasons kids leave observant Judaism, and he gives us pointers on how to keep them on the path of Torah. This one's a must read for anyone with kids, who knows kids, who used to be a kid, and especially those who teach kids!

We just celebrated the death anniversary of Moshe Rabbeinu, and Lori Steiner says that we all have an aspect of Moshe inside of us. I think that's just the coolest! Even better, she helps us figure out how to tap into The Moses Within. Well done, Lori! 

Everyone likes a good party - especially me, if there's good music and lots of yummy food. Okay, so who doesn't love this? Imagine being invited to the post-Oscar parties, and you're all ready to go, when suddenly your rabbi sends you an urgent What'sapp and pleads with you not to go. You furiously What'sapp him back, telling him that you don't want to be stuck at home with the Prudes and Party Poopers, while getting into your Bentley with your personal chauffer. Little do you realize, though, that going to this party could cost you your life. What's the big deal of enjoying a night of glamour, great music, and gluttony galore? You'll find the answer like, 2,400 years ago! I'm too tired to figure out the real number. Sorry.

Every year before Purim, we read the famous Torah Maftir portion of Zchor. We are obligated, in this portion, to remember Amalek, our worst enemy. Rav Brody brings up a good question: how can King Saul, after not having listened to Hashem's orders to kill every Amalekite and all of the animals, say that he fulfilled Hashem's will? Great question! Read the answer and more in Right Action, Right Time. 

Last, but not least, here's a link to all of our Purim articles.

And now, let the Purim festivities officially begin! Have a wonderful week!

~Racheli

 

 


Parshat Truma: Deeds of Dads, Signs for Sons

The Torah talks about the type of acacia-wood boards needed to erect the holy Tabernacle in the desert. They had to be 10 x 1.5 cubits, or about 15 feet long and 2.2 feet wide. Where did Moses find such choice lumber in the desert? What's the significance of these planks? The Midrash's amazing answer is something you'll surely want to share with your family at the Shabbat table, as we'll learn in today's mini-lesson. Enjoy it and have a wonderful Shabbat!


How Embarrasing!

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Don't worry, I have an explanation. You see, this time it's really not my fault. The kids and I were on our way to the airport to pick up David from his #ravarushhoneymoon. I pulled into the parking garage, which was incredibly poorly lit. No spots. Obviously. Are there ever spots available on the first floor of an airport parking garage? 

So I was about to make a right turn to head up the ramp, and BOOM! I screamed like a hysterical lunatic (woman) as it happened. But I quickly recovered (was too lazy to get out and check the damage) and kept driving up the ramp. When I finally found a spot, I sent my oldest son out of the car first to inspect the damage. At first, he didn't see anything because it was so dark in there, but then, he got this huge smile and started going crazy from excitement. "Ooooh, Aba's gonna be sooooo mad!!!" he began yelling as he jumped up and down. "Oh no he ain't," I thought to myself. 

Since hubby has read The Garden of Peace, he knew better than to try to blame me for something that was simply not my fault. How could it be my fault? After all, would I be in the parking lot if he didn't go out of town? I should have been a lawyer.

Most normal people would be too embarrassed to post their disasters online. But not me! For some reason, I didn't get the embarrassment gene. What can I say - I'm defective. I'm going to have to blame my mother for this. 

After reading Rav Shalom Arush's latest article, I feel so much better. He says that It's an Embarrassment for us, the King's children, to behave in ways that are not befitting of us. That makes my embarrassment look so minuscule in comparison, doesn't it? You know what else is an embarrassment? The horrible 4th grade school picture that my brother just emailed me. I don't know how he got it, but oh boy, wait 'til I get my hands on him. Actually, am I allowed to hit him? If not, can I hit him with a broom stick? What about if I wear boxing gloves? Doesn't it not count as touching him, then?

Since we're on the subject of embarrassment... I have a question. Should I be embarrassed that some of my kids come back with their sandwiches completely uneaten, day after day? Does that say something about my poor sandwich-making skills? I never used to go through a day without eating my lunch. It was actually the highlight of my day at school! I remember one time, sitting down in the massive school cafeteria and opening up the container of sardines that my dad had sent me. I loved sardines dripping in lemon juice and oil, but when I opened up that container, it quickly became apparent to me that none of the other kids appreciated gourmet food. Kids started holding their noses and screaming at the top of their lungs, "What is that smell?!!!" Maybe I should have brought Peanut Butter and Banana  sandwiches instead. Who knew that you could learn about exceeding your limitations from a sandwich? Check out Rav Brody's latest!

These days, it might not be considered embarrassing to be pregnant before you're married, but just think back a few decades. It was shameful to the max! Well, we live in more "tolerant" times, and Aaron writes to me, telling me, "My Girlfriend's Pregnant." Should he marry her or shouldn't he? Oh, what to do? You don't want to miss my answer in my latest!

Our beloved Emuna Therapist, Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen, talks about how she was ashamed to be happy when she was growing up. For various reasons, she was taught that happiness is not something you are allowed to have, especially if others around you are suffering. So what finally gave her Permission to Rejoice? And here's a challenge - see if you can figure out the amazing Divine Providence in this article. I'll give you a hint: it has to do with the timing! 

Speaking of being happy, our other amazing Emuna Therapist, Dr. Zev Ballen, asks some fascinating questions: what exactly is the reason having gratitude improves the quality of life? Well, I never actually thought about it. I guess that's why I'm not a therapist and he is! So, are you Granted, or Taken for Granted? Which is it??

Lori Steiner's latest, Rich King, Poor King,  just reminded me of David's grandmother, Esther, a"h. "Rich or poor, it's nice to have money," she'd say. What a wise woman. She'd also say, "I'll eat anything that doesn't eat me." Except I never actually saw her eat anything. But that never stopped me from enjoying her delicious food! I'm sorry. When I'm tired, I just start to ramble. But seriously, guys, this is a beautiful allegory (is that the right word?) of a king who lives in a kingdom, and, well, you'll have to read the rest! Lori, I'm waiting for a novel!

Dennis Rosen hits it right on the money with his warning about the Quicksand of Despair.  He reveals a big secret in how the Evil Inclination traps us in his death clutches. And guess what - it has nothing to do with the actual transgression you just did! Go figure! So what is it? Well, read the article already!

I'm so relieved to discover that Yael Karni is human, as she doesn't always feel like praying. Whew! What a relief! But she may be superhuman, because she actually went to the trouble to discover tips that would help her strengthen her connection when she needed it most. I'm so happy that she saved me (and the rest of you) the trouble of having to figure it out myself! Check out her suggestions on how to improve your Intimate Connections.

So I'm trying to expand my vocabulary a bit, and I went onto thesaurus.com to find synonyms for awesome. Can anybody tell me why HAIRY is one of the synonyms??? I'm serious!

Have a hairy week, yo!

~Racheli


Parshat Mishpatim, 5777: Sold into Servitude

The Torah talks about the man who sells his daughter into servitude. She works for her owner, and he has the right to marry her if he desires, but the Torah obligates him to give her three things. What is the hidden message that the Torah is conveying here? Enjoy today's eye-opening mini-lesson, which is certainly something you can give over on the Shabbat table, and have a lovely Shabbat Shekolim-Mevorchim!


Heaven Help Me!

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I'm beginning to notice a new trend. After Shabbat, my stomach is on full display, sticking out like nobody's business. All week, I'm pretty good about not eating chewy, fluffy, soft, heavenly challah and desserts that explode with chocolate. But on Shabbat, something happens to me and I just. Can't. Resist. I'm at the challah's mercy, and no amount of inner war with myself is able to keep me from devouring these goodies.

Even cleaning up after the Shabbat meals is so difficult for me! I see half-eaten pieces of dessert strewn across the table, and even the saliva that one of my kids or guests left on them is not gross enough to keep me from wanting to eat them. At that point, I realize I'm in great danger, so I start to pray: "Hashem! Please help me to guard my eyes and not desire the dark, rich, moist chocolate cake! Hashem, have mercy on my wretched soul! What match am I against my Evil Inclination, who would like nothing more than to see me succumb to my desires and stuff my face with chocolate cake until I can't breathe?? Heaven help me!" 

As I shove the germ-infested pieces of chocolate cookies into my mouth in bitter defeat, I try to rationalize that there's always tomorrow, and I can start over again. That's great and all, but it doesn't help me fit into my workout clothes for the next three days. By the end of the week, I'm back to square one and ready to start my once-a-week war with my Yetzer. It's pure torture, I tell you! 

Why didn't Hashem answer my desperate call for help? After all, I did pray a very genuine and meaningful personal prayer from the depths of my tortured soul. Where was Hashem when I needed Him?

Ah, but of course! Rav Shalom Arush has the answer to my question! You see, it's not enough to pray once in a while to overcome your base desires, especially when you know you are a slave to them. You can't go from acting Like a Wild Donkey to behaving like a civilized human who is not controlled by every physical whim, just by praying a bit here and there. Nonsense! So how much time and effort should one invest if he's serious about overcoming his personal lusts? Well, you're gonna have to read the article, silly! As a matter of fact, maybe I should, too. I've got to finally approach Shabbat armed and ready for battle. 

As all of these feelings of imaginary hunger welled up inside of me as a result of reminiscing about my Shabbat sweets, I decided to channel all of that potential energy into eating a half a cold basil pesto chicken. Literally, I just ate half a chicken. With one hand. Because I didn't want to get the other hand dirty while typing. Subconsciously, I didn't want to fully give in to the chicken, so eating with one hand was a way of kind of resisting the fact that I was eating. Half a chicken. Also, I wanted to believe that there are half the calories since I only ate with one hand. 

Speaking of halves (it's not "halfs," right?) Rav Lazer Brody writes about the mitzvah of giving half a shekel on Rosh Chodesh Adar, which is just around the corner! Yesh! I'm already shopping around for Purim costumes for myself. And the kids. But before we get that far, Rav Brody explains to us the spiritual meaning behind the concept of giving half a shekel, by using the make-you-weak-in-the-knees example of The Duet.  Seriously, I think he could have made a fortune writing romance novels. What do I mean? You'll have to read the article to know what I'm talking about! 

You know, the concept of half applies to marriage, too. A man is considered half a man before he's married. Like I tell David all the time, "You're only half a man without me, because I'm the other half." Speaking of romantic marriages, you don't want to miss my story about the most romantic honeymoon ever in the history of honeymoons. I'm talking about my honeymoon, in fact, and I'm being completely sarcastic. Actually, our honeymoon was the first time my husband saw the Iraqi Eyes come out. That sounds exotic and all, but it's really quite scary. Believe me, you've got to read this one! And I'm not saying that just because I wrote it. Promise!

Okay, this next article is one that I can totally not relate to, because Dr. Zev Ballen, our amazing Emuna Therapist, talks about a person's selfish streak. Believe me, hubby has a streak big enough for the both of us. Does that mean I have half a streak? I guess. Anyhow, Dr. Ballen explains that there is a way to overcome The Selfish Streak, and it's not as difficult as you might think! Well, his way isn't as difficult as my way. My way can be summed up in one word: marriage. I'm going to forward this article to David asap. 

OMG I can't believe that this concept of half is popping up again. But this time, it's not in a good way. Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen, our other incredible Emuna Therapist, describes the excruciatingly painful time in her life when her sister, Rivka, suddenly became a paraplegic at age 45. Overnight, she went from being an active, vivacious woman to being stuck in a wheelchair without having any feeling from the waist down. How does one spiritually recover and even grow from such an impossible situation? You'll have to read Yehudit's life-changing insights in Lean on Me. 

After reading Jennifer Woodward's latest article, I'm so relieved that I'm not the only stubborn one around here. Okay, she doesn't live here, in Israel; she lives in the Pacific Northwest, which is almost like Israel, except for the 8 feet snow that can fall in 36 hours. She learned the hard way that doing things the hard way isn't always the best way, and finally came to the conclusion that there is a weird connection between Ice Spikes and emuna. Go figure. What are ice spikes? Great question! Read the article.

As I'm wondering how to cancel out all that chicken I just ate, Lori Steiner comes along and tells me how to Neutralize It!  So maybe she wasn't referring to the chicken, as how can she write about me eating something like two weeks before I eat it, right? But seriously, she gives us awesome tips that will help us turn around any negative situation. Thanks, Lori! Now can you work on the same concept with food? But without actually having to not eat the food? What does that even mean?

I'm so tired I can't see straight. Hinda Lieberman also couldn't see straight, but not because she was tired. It's because her glasses were broken. As exciting as that sounds, the really amazing thing is how she figured out a misunderstanding that had gone on for six months, during which she assumed the other guy was wrong. How did she finally manage to remember what really happened six months before? I can't even remember what happened yesterday! It was during her Personal Prayer session, of course! We can all learn from her example that personal prayer helps with everything - even unsettled accounts! 

Wishing you a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious week! Of course I didn't actually write that word!

~Racheli


Momzilla!

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That's a pretty interesting chanukiah, isn't it? (The kids and) I made it for our school's chanukiah building contest. This project taught me a lot about myself; namely, that I HATE school projects. I imagine I'm not the only one. Did I mention that I found three new gray hairs on my head this week? I just knew it was going to happen! Oy, the stress of dealing with five wild boys all by my weak little self while hubby is away saving the world. Okay, y'all know that I'm not weak. In fact, I'm actually a 100-foot tall, fire-breathing monster. With horns. It's true! 

The truth is that it's always stressful dealing with my kids, whether or not David is here. Because really, even when he's here, he's not really here, because he's at work. So basically the only difference between him being here or out of town is twofold: one, I can't yell at him to help me get the kids ready in the mornings, and two, I can't yell at him to come home and spend quality time with the kids, which is really secret code for "get them off my hands and help me get them to bed already!"

What does all this stress have to do with the picture? Well, that picture caused me a lot of stress. Like a whole bucket o' stress. Costco sized, yo. In a two-pack. But instead of being hard on myself for realizing that I am really a Momzilla in disguise, I've decided to congratulate myself on a job well done. Because if I don't congratulate myself, ain't no one else gonna be congratulating me!  

If you're a parent, you don't want to miss my latest article. If anything, it will give you great comfort to know that as messed up as you may be, you're in good company! Believe me, I ain't no tzaddekess (righteous woman!) 

Speaking of stress, Rav Shalom Arush explains that stressing over making money isn't just pointless; it's also counter-productive. Most of us are familiar with that famous Talmudic phrase, "Mo' money, mo' problems." Well, it's true, especially for those that think they can outsmart Hashem by working on Shabbat. Did you know that making money, observing Shabbat, and enjoying a long, happy life can actually co-exist? Fo' rizzle! If you want The Secret to Longevity, then you've got to read the article! 

You know what else is stressful? An angry wife. Shocking, right? Well, Rav Brody just reminded me that we're exactly in the middle of the Shovavim period, a time of six weeks between Parashat Shemot and Parashat Mishpatim. It's a time that is auspicious for improving personal holiness. What do angry wives and personal holiness have in common? Well, the truth is they shouldn't have anything in common! If a husband is doing his best to guard his eyes and keep personal holiness, unless he's just impossible to be around, or he's completely unhelpful around the house, or he can't figure out how to put the toilet seat down, he may actually have very little to make her angry about. But, if hubby is walking around and ogling every woman he passes, his wife is going to pick up on the vibe that she's not the only women he's checking out - and that leads to Angry Wife Syndrome.

But I promise that this is not just a theory. It's spiritual scientific fact! Rav Brody shows you how The Point System works, so you guys won't have to suffer from any more feelings of being victimized by a crazy, psychotic, bipolar, hormonal, just after birth, overloaded with laundry and too many chores, Wifezilla. (OMG I can't believe I never thought of that word before! I'll have to make an article out of that one, but who in the world could I possibly talk about??) 

I've decided that I'm going to adopt Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen, our lovely and talented Emuna Therapist. I'll adopt her to be a surrogate grandmother to my kids, because apparently she knows how to teach children to say strange words like "please" and "thank you" and... this is tough for me to write.... "I'm s-s-s-sorry." Yuck. I admit - I have a hard time with those words; especially those last two. But Rebbetzin Channen understands how important it is to instill The Might of Manners in young children. Helping them grow into decent, caring, and considerate adults is a gift they will be able to use and grow from for the rest of their lives. I really hope she can do it for me. Anyhow, read this article, NOW! Please?

Last week, our other amazing Emuna Therapist, Dr. Zev Ballen, discussed the idea of transference. This means that we actually transfer our experiences from childhood, namely with our parents, onto others, and this can affect our current relationships in extreme ways; both positively and negatively. This week, he talks about the idea of transference onto Hashem. He is saying that Biography is not Destiny - you don't have to be stuck in the same place you came from, not spiritually, emotionally, or mentally. 

Lori Steiner talks about the rewards of doing good for others, and for children in particular. But I want The Greatest Reward! I also want a good night's sleep, a vacation in a fancy hotel, and a new workout wardrobe. At least I'm getting the third one when David gets back, God willing. I just hope it doesn't add up to an extra suitcase! Don't worry, I already have my reply ready for when he says, "This is gonna cost me another $100!" To which I will respond, "What, I'm not worth $100?" Use my line, ladies. Use it well.

Aliza Neveloff gives us some interesting pointers on Eating Out with the Kids.  Obviously she never went out to eat with my kids, because then she'd write an article called, "Don't You Ever Think About Eating at a Restaurant with these Kids." As it happens, just last night my brother was visiting us and we took the kids out to eat at a fast food shawarma restaurant. Well, it took about 10 minutes just to order because all the kids were yelling at me all at once about what they wanted and what toppings they wanted and what they didn't want and if they could have extra fries on the side and OMG even the guys behind the counter were rolling their eyes at me. Maybe I should re-read this article like 100 times. Or maybe I should just never take them out again until they're all married.

Jennifer Woodward shares enlightening experience she had while enjoying a beautiful day at the beach. While watching the beautiful waves run up to the shore, she suddenly realized that she has Control Issues.  While reading her amazing description of this gorgeous Pacific Northwest beach, I suddenly realized that I have lack of vacation issues, and need to get to a gorgeous beach asap. Jenn, why didn't you invite me? It's not like I'm on another planet! 

Have an awesome week!

~Racheli

 

 


Emuna Fanatics

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It took me 20 minutes of fighting with myself to get out of bed to take this horrible picture. I'm freezing, and my fleece robe is in the dryer. You know, the dryer outside. I know what you Israelis are thinking. At least I have a dryer. You're right - I'll give you that. Anyhow, this blob is a concoction of cocoa and other stuff that I threw together after salivating over my kids' pizza dinner. I know what you guys are thinking. This lady's a health fanatic and she's giving her kids pizza dinner? Can anyone spell hyp-o-cri-sy? Did I spell it right?

In my defense, David is leaving on the big Rav Shalom Arush tour to the States, so we treated the kids to pizza. I'm so NOT looking forward to two weeks of stress  fun with my kids all by myself! I think I'm going to take a before and after selfie so I can compare how many gray hairs I'm going to sprout over the next two weeks. Speaking of gray hair, tonight I saw a woman in her '60's with violet hair! What's up with that? She even had a purple sweater to match! Now I'm wondering why I didn't take a picture of her.

Anyhow, as I was salivating and watching them devour slice after gooey slice while I ate a flax cracker with hummus and avocado salad, I was suddenly overcome with the urge to eat something that resembled something unhealthy. So I made chocolate.

It's a variation of a "healthy" chocolate recipe of coconut oil, date honey, and cocoa powder. Except I used cacao nibs instead of cocoa powder. But the craziest thing was that these nibs wouldn't melt! I have no idea why! Does anyone know why cacao nibs don't melt? Aren't they made from cocoa powder? So I had this mixture boiling in a pan, and I could see that these things weren't melting, so I threw in a half a bar of 100% cocoa that my dear friend and fellow writer Sunny Levi gave me like 8 months ago. Then, I threw in walnuts and craisins. I put it in the fridge for as long as I could keep myself away from it, and when I tasted it, it was dy-no-mite

So I confess. I'm a chocolate fanatic. That's never going to go away. I'm also a diamond fanatic, a shoe fanatic, and a workout clothes fanatic. And a workout fanatic. Okay, I'm also a Walmart fanatic. If you see David on the trip, PLEASE don't tell him how much stuff I ordered from Walmart. He doesn't yet know that he's gonna have to bring back another suitcase. Again!

Did you know that there are also emuna fanatics? These people misunderstand the concept of emuna completely. On one hand, they beg Hashem to fix their problems. But on the other hand, they're not doing anything to fix their problems themselves! People, it's not Hashem's job to clean up your mess! Let's take some responsibility, shall we? Oooh, I can just see some folks getting all angry with me. But don't! Once you read my explanation of Fanatical Emuna, you might actually agree with my point! 

Do you know who else was an emuna fanatic? Yehuda, the son of Yaakov our Forefather. He had such unbelievable courage and determination in the presence of the Egyptian viceroy, who was none other than Yosef, his brother. As the guarantor of Benjamin, his youngest brother, Yehuda knew he would do whatever it took in order to return him safely to his father, Yaakov. This feeling of responsibility is what gave him the courage to do whatever needed to be done. Rav Arush explains that as Our Children's Guarantors, we also have a tremendous responsibility to make sure that they stay on the path of Torah and mitzvot.

Rav Lazer Brody talks about a more sinister type of fanatic this week. Last November, there were a number of devastating wildfires throughout Israel, called the Arbor Intifada. Apparently a group of fanatical Palestinians decided to set half of Israel up in flames, because it seemed like a more efficient way to harm and potentially kill Israelis. What does this wicked act of terror have to do with Tu B'Shvat, the new year for the trees that's coming up this Shabbat? Well if you want the answer you've got to read the article! 

Talk about fanatics... Sunny Levi describes a beautiful and enchanting scene she recently encountered on her hitbodedut walk at sunrise. Seriously? Can she get any more perfect? Oy, and her profound insight on Humility in the Trees is just too much! What's next? Is she going to put a soup kitchen in place of her Martial Arts studio in her house? Cure AIDS? Bring world peace??? 

After reading Dr. Zev Ballen's article, I've come to the conclusion that we're all fanatics. This week, he reveals the secret of transference, and shows us that we all subconsciously relate to others in ways that result from our experiences with our parents. Of course, I'm no psychologist, and there's so much more to be said about Those Who Inhabit our Minds, so you'll need to read the article in order to really get this whole idea of transference. You'll also see how crazy you are, because for some reason, psychotherapists have a talent at bringing out the best in us. 

Even though my dear friend Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen is not a fanatic, at one point in her life she was treated like a crazy person. After a severe allergic caused her face to swell to freakish proportions, she found that people were reluctant to interact with her (that's putting it mildly) - even her own doctors! But one very special woman taught her that true beauty is More Than Skin Deep.  Seriously, is there anything that hasn't happened to Rebbetzin Channen? I've got to ask her. 

David Perlow discusses the serious problem of Teens and Smartphones.  As a rebbe of teenage boys in a Yeshiva in Jerusalem, he does his best to help them escape the soul-destroying trap of pornography addiction. He points out that many parents are in denial and don't want to believe their kids might have a problem. Nonetheless, he gives terrific advice for all parents who want their children to be saved from such negative influences. This is a must-read for all parents!

OMG. I got such chills reading Chana Coggan's article on Sweet Surrender!  It might be partly because I'm freeeeeeeeezing and too cold to get my robe out of the dryer. But mostly, it's because this is such a profound article, it blew me away! She explains the true meaning of surrendering our will to Hashem's will, and she shows that giving in is not the same thing as giving up. 

Last but not least, please join me in wishing Rav Brody, Rav Arush, and crew a wonderful and successful trip! Don't forget to click on the link at the top to see if they're going to be in a city near you. And please don't forget to tell your friends about it!

Have an awesome, fanatic-free day! And if you try the chocolate blob, let me know how you liked it! Just don't eat it too late at night because that cocoa will keep you wide awake! 

~Racheli