23 posts categorized "Yiddishkeit is Cool"

Midnight Hour: Breslev Motown Purim

In loving memory of my father, Yaacov ben Yitzchak, who loved a l'chaim and a good laugh. It's ever so suitable that his yahrtzeit is on Shushan Purim, tomorrow. This one's for you, Pop...

L'Chaim and a Happy Purim with a wonderfully joyous new week!

Breslevers have a good time all year long, and especially on Purim. Here's what happens when Menachem Herman and I get together on Purim; when we're sober, we turn Sweet Home Alabama into Sweet Home Jerusalem. After a couple glasses of vintage Gush Etzion wine, Wilson Pickett becomes a Breslever Chassid, and the Midnight Hour becomes a song about hitbodedut, personal prayer with Hashem in the wee hours. I hope you have as much fun watching this as we did recording it. May your Purim smile last all year long, amen!


The Pashtuns: Lost Brothers پښتانه ورک شوي ورونه

Pathan Taliban
The holy Talmudic sage Reish Lakish (Rebbe Shimon ben Lakish) was a Baal Teshuva and even a gladiator before Rebbe Yochanan - his future brother-in-law and learning partner - brought him back to Hashem. Reish Lakish was skilled in all areas of combat arts. As such, he was an authority on fighting, weapons and warfare. Reish Lakish says (see Gemara in Tractate Sota, 25b) that Israel is the fiercest of nations. The Maharsha, in his classic elaboration of the Gemara, says that Israel inherited its fierceness from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The "Pnai Yehoshua" adds that if Israel would put its efforts into fighting rather than Torah, it would rule the world. The Malbim in his elaboration of Parshat Vayichi and Jacob's blessing to each of his twelvw sons before he died, says that each of the tribes of Israel had its own style of combat. In short, as opposed to the wimpy stereotypes of "Fiddler on the Roof" and the cowering Jew make that above-cited Gemara hard to believe for those Jews who don't know enough about their own people, the Jews are rough dudes.

Here's more to substantiate Reish Lakish's point:  stop and think who the greatest guerrilla fighters of all time were: how about Abraham and Eliezer, who defeated four entire armies. Or how about Shimon and Levi, who right after their Bar Mitzva, wiped out the Canaanite town whose prince raped their sister Dina. Don't forget the Maccabees, a small family of Cohanim who routed the Syrian-Greek army. Think about Bar Kochba, who with his small band of followers defeated the Roman Army and reigned as king for two years. If I had the time, I'd write a book on this, for there's so much to add...

Let's fast forward in history: who is the one people that the Moguls, the British, the Russian Army, the entire US military or anyone else has ever been able to defeat? If you answered the Afghan Pashtuns, you're right. 

The are loads of research, proofs and documents showing the link between the Pashtuns (aka Pathans) and the Jewish People. Anthropologist Shalva Weil of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem says, "Of all the many groups in the world who claim a connection to the 10 lost tribes, the Pashtuns, or Pathans, have the most compelling case." Researcher Nadav Sofy notes, "The Pashtuns are beyond any doubt the 10 tribes of Israel. The have more than 40 Jewish customs and commandments rooted in Torah, Talmud and Kabala."

If you're still skeptical about the Pashtuns being one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, take a long at some of their customs (gleaned from the above links and other resources, especially this article):

  1. Pashtuns obeserve Saturday as their Sabbath and light candles on Friday night
  2. They don't eat shellfish (lobsters, shrimp and crabs), they don't use camel milk and they don't mix milk and meat
  3. They circumcise their baby sons on the 8th day
  4. They cover their heads at all times.
  5. Many do not cut their sidecurls 
  6. The women perform a ritual immersion in the river at the end of menstruation.
  7. Their names are right out of the Torah.
  8. They carefully avoid eating blood - they check eggs for blood and salt their meat after slaughtering.

I can go on and on, for there are dozens of additional points, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Compare the Pashto language to Hebrew; for example:

* Gazera means carrot. In Hebrew it is Gezer 

* Dor means an era. In Hebrew the word Dor refers to an era or a generation.

* Orezy means rice. In Hebrew it is Orez.

* Qurban means sacrifice. In Hebrew it is Qorban

What do our own sages say about this? Professor Navras Jaat Aafreedi of the Presidency University in India refers to our great rabbis Rebbe Saadia Ga'on (9th Century, CE) and Moses Ibn Ezra (11th Century, CE) who mention Afghanistan and the Pathan territories in Pakistan as the home of Jews descended from the lost tribes.

What does all this have to do with today?

Rebbe Eliezer ben Hyrcanos says in tractate Sanhedrin that when Moshiach comes, he'll tell the lost tribes who they really are and bring them back to Israel - this is the Israel of Moshiach and Torah, for Hashem's law will reign. You know what that means? The Pashtuns, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban, will become the defenders of Israel.

Just looking at them is like looking at brothers. Change the attire of the Pashtan elders pictured below (image with appreciation to thepashtuntimes.com), and you could be looking at the men around a Seuda Shlishit table in our local Sefardi synagogue - notice that all these men have untrimmed beards and sidecurls tucked under their lungee, their traditional turbans. As we can see, a lot of excitement awaits us as Moshiach comes, may it be soon, with the ingathering of all the exiles, amen!

  Pashtuns


Eighth-Day Chanuka Fun

The bright light of all eight Chanuka candles chases away the darkness; our happiness chases away darkness too.

One of the reasons we speak so much about physical health and nutrition here at the Beams is because a healthy body is conducive to a happy soul and bubbly emotions. For example, the overweight people stuffing their faces at the buffet of the wedding aren't the ones who are enjoying themselves. Neither are the drinkers and the smokers. Substance use and uncontrolled eating are signs of depression and other big-league hangups. The ones dancing the most are having the best time. If you've never done any serious Chassidic dancing, then don't try unless you're in good shape.

For those who think that Chassidic Jews are wimps, check this out. Happy Chanuka and happy 2017.

Happy Chanuka! Anyone for dancing?


"Chiyuch Echad" - One Smile

In honor of Shushan Purim, I'm going to teach you a new phrase in Hebrew - chiyuch echad, one smile. Rav Shalom Arush uses a slight alteration and says to everyone, tain chiyuch, "give a smile."

Who says that Yeshiva guys aren't cool? Who says that they can't sing and dance? I want to introduce you to Otsar Shalmoni, a very special yeshiva guy from Beit Shemesh, originally from Brooklyn. Here is his exciting new clip, produced by our dear friend Avi Hollander, entitled Chiyuch Echad - you already know what that means! Enjoy and have a marvelous Shabbat...


Eight Candles Burning: Yoseph Joe Urso

My dear friend Yoseph (Joe) Urso is a magnificent Jewish Country-Western musician and composer. "Down-home" for the both of us today doesn't mean south of the Mason-Dixon line, but west of the Jordan River. So here's Joe's latest down-home ditty, special for the eighth day of Chanuka today, with all "Eight Candles Burning" - you'll enjoy this. Happy Chanuka and blessings for a wonderful month!