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41 posts from August 2018

Shulem Lemmer: Avinu Malkenu

Tomorrow night, Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night), Ashkenazi Jews join our Sephardi brothers in saying Selichot.

Meanwhile, would you like to hear the voice of an angel? Here's one of my favorite niggunim and favorite chazzanim, Shulem Lemmer with the Shira Choir singing "Avinu Malkenu," a prayer we say twice daily during the ten days of repentance between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur when we ask Hashem to listen to our voice and inscribe us in the Book of Life for a wonderful New Year. It's our privilege to share this rare gem with you - Shabbat Shalom!


Free At Last, Free At Last!

IMG_2487 (1)

All you parents out there know exactly what this picture's all about. 

And if you don't, just nod and pretend like you do. No one will know the difference, I promise.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S IN THESE MOUNTAINS OF BAGS???

SCHOOL SUPPLIESSSSS!!!!! 

And that means....

SCHOOL IS HERE!!!!

Do I sound a little too happy? Well, I am. Because I just spent the last nearly three months on the roller coaster ride of my life, and lucky me, the kids were a part of the excitement every step of the way.

See, isn't it nice how I wrote that? Like, all non-insulting? I could have said they annoyed me to no end with their fighting, complaining, whining, screaming, fighting, not sleeping, and complaining about everything. But I didn't. 

I tell you, I'm completely burnt out. The stress of this summer was astronomical. Gargantuan. Behemoth. Outer space, even. I have no idea what I'm saying anymore because my brain cells are on self-preservation mode. You know, when the machine shuts down into like a hibernation in order to stop it from burning out completely.

Does this make any sense?

Well, the kids started school yesterday and I feel like I deserve a medal or at least an Oscar nomination for Most Wacked Mother of the Year. I'm sure a few of you out there would happily give me that nomination.

Last night I went to sleep at 3:30 because we had just finished registering for the school the week before, and I had just gone school shopping over the past few days. It was completely overwhelming, because not only did I have to get supplies for five kids, which equals like 2,047 different things, but the boxes from our move are still mostly unpacked because I don't have any place to put anything. 

So the stress was... stressful. Very. Very. Stressful.

But in the end, the kids got into a great school at the last minute, and I managed to get 72% of the stuff I needed. Still another round or two to go, but the worst is over.

Finally, after a long, difficult summer, I'm finally starting to see the light. Hallelujah! 

Which leads me to my point.

All of our suffering, all of our challenges - as intense and difficult as they are, the good news is they don't last forever. 

Eventually they pass and we draw on our emuna and gratitude to help us heal and move on.

Sure, much easier said than done.

But that's what life is all about. Overcoming challenges. Learning and growing from those challenges. Completing our soul corrections.

As I advance into adulthood, at least somewhat, I am sometimes terrified by the things I see people going through, Hashem have mercy. While I can't take their pain away, at least I can give them awareness of the life-saving tools that we are so fortunate and blessed to know about.

I can help them understand the concepts of emuna and gratitude. You and I know that there is no greater wisdom to live by in this entire world. Emuna and gratitude literally save lives. They save people's sanity, their marriages, their everything.

No matter what part of the world I decide to hop to next, my life's mission is to help spread the wisdom of emuna and gratitude n any way I can. 

I know that if you're reading this blog, you've likely benefited from these amazing teachings. So I'm asking straight out for you to partner with myself, Rav Brody, and Rav Arush, and the entire Breslev Israel family in spreading emuna around the world. 

Especially with Rosh Hashana around the corner, now is the best time to start the coming year with blessings, both for yourself, your family, and all the people in the world that so desperately need these teachings.

Donate to Emuna Outreach.

Be our partner in making this world the beautiful place Hashem intended it to be.

I wish you all a happy and healthy Shana Tova, and may Hashem bless you with a year filled with health, love, spiritual and material abundance, and most importantly, joy. 

Don't forget to check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna lesson below!

~Racheli

 


When All Seems Lost

All Seems Lost
There is no Hollywood script ever that can surpass the suspense and drama of the Book of Samuel. In Chapter 30 of Samuel One, the drama reaches a climax: King David, chased all over the country by the jealous King Saul, takes refuge with Achish the King of the Philistines. Achish grants King David the town of Ziklag for David, his 600 warriors and their families to dwell in, and David goes to war to aid his ally Achish. While David and his warriors accompany Achish and his army, Amalek attacks Ziklag, burning the town down and taking all the women and children captive, including David's two wives.

David, born into adversity, has had to face every imaginable - and unimaginable - difficulty in life ever since his most tender years. Who has not tried to kill him? As a young child, a lone shepherd sent to the desert to die by his father who thought that David was illegitimate, he had to fight bears and lions. Barely a bar-mitzvah boy, he had to fight Goliath. His wife Michal, father-in-law King Saul and his own sons Absalom and Adonyahu, rose up against him. Now, his own loyal warriors were blaming him for Amalek's attack and calling to stone him.

What did David do? All seemed lost...

You definitely don't want to miss today's emuna shiur and live broadcast, entitled "When All Seems Lost," 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. 


Rouhani Roulette: Playing with Fire, Iranian Style

Rouhani Roulette2
While everyone's preoccupied with Labor Day weekend plans, back to school and Rosh Hashanah just around the corner, few are paying attention that the Middle East is a powder keg that could explode sky-high in a split second. The current political-military climate is almost identical to what it was in December of 1990, before the USA attacked Iraq. For those who don't know, or forgot, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. His dream was to control all of Arabian Gulf oil and therefore cripple the US economy. In his chutzpa, he moved to control the Straits of Hormuz and so obstruct and control any Middle East oil shipments through that super vital route out of the Gulf to all points east and west. If Saddam would have been able to do that, it would have been a knife to the West's economic jugular. The USA could not let that happen, so after an ultimatum, it attacked Iraq on Jan. 15, 1991.

Iraq, having a ten-year long unsettled score with Israel, who had destroyed Saddam's nuclear reactor in 1981, was itching for revenge. As soon as America attacked Baghdad, Saddam made a huge missile attack on Israel, something we won't forget for a long time.

Fast Forward, August 28, 2018: Iran's economy is collapsing, after the US's rescinding the ridiculous nuclear treaty and renewing sanctions, real ones, that hurt. There are spontaneous protests all over Iran against Rouhani and the Ayatolla government.

Rouhani and the Ayatollas are about to lose control. They are acting now out of desperation and have done two rash things:

  1. They just now signed a defense pact with Syria, defying both Russia and the USA while daring Israel, and thereby attaining a quasi-legal license to remain entrenched in Syria.
  2. They have just now declared that they control the Straits of Hormuz and therefore the entire Persian Gulf.

Note that 20% of the entire world's oil flows through the Straits of Hormuz.

Iran wants one of two things: either peace for an ease of US sanctions or to lure the USA into an armed conflict in order to give them the justification to launch a massive missile attack against Israel, which has already been planned to the minutest detail. Don't forget, in recent months Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian weapons stores and military bases in Syria. Iran wants revenge and so does Syria, for Israel's destroying its nuclear reactor in 2007.

Yes, Israel has a powerful army, but deterrence has no meaning to desperados; both Rouhani and Assad are desperate. Both need to redirect their disgruntled populations' attention from starvation to Jihad. It's Saddam Hussein all over again.

There's one difference, though. The Gemara tells us that the end-of-days showdown will be between Iran and the USA. We have before us, without being dramatic, the potential of World War III and an existential war for Israel. Will it happen?

It depends on two things only - teshuva and emuna. It's Elul - we have no time to waste. Our individual self-strengthening in teshuva and in emuna are critical to the security of our people and our country. This is no joke. If Rouhani wants to play Russian Roulette with the West, Hashem could put the bullet in the very first chamber, honoring Rouhani with the first squeeze of the trigger. Hashem can snap His fingers and there's no more threat against the USA and Israel, but Hashem is waiting to see what you and I do in the next few days before Rosh Hashanah. Meanwhile, say Psalm 27 twice a day with fervor. G-d bless!


Getting the Most out of Yourself

Time precious
King Solomon, the wisest of men, teaches us that there are some things in life that can never be corrected (see Ecclesiastes 1:15). One of those things is lost time. There is no replacement for a squandered moment...

Time utilization is the key to maximizing your personal potential. Don't you hate looking at the clock, only to discover that half the day is over and you've yet to accomplish anything? There are few worse feelings in life. Wouldn't you like to get more out of yourself, your day and your entire life?

If your answer is yes, and if you value your own time, then by all means see my feature article in this week's new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine,  Peak Productivity in Five. You'll be glad you did.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - The Boss

Dr. Zev Ballen - You Don't Need Fixing

Racheli Reckles - The Holiest Temple

Alizah Teitelbaum - Cathy the Cossack

Terry Hayes - Life's Classroom 

Dennis Rosen - Travelling with Torah

Here's the cherry on top of this week's issue, our very special friend Yosef Zev Braver with a beautiful new hit song, Ki Nicham. Enjoy it and have a lovely week!

ROSH HASHANAH IS ONLY 2 SHORT WEEKS AWAY - DON'T FORGET PIDYON NEFESH

Pidyon Nefesh is a very special and powerful prayer and blessing that has the spiritual strength of a sacrifice in the Bet Hamikdash to atone for sin and to mitigate severe judgments. The bigger and more pious the tzaddik, the more effective the "pidyon", which literally means "redemption", where one's money is literally a sacrifice for one's body and soul. The pidyon money "redeems" the nefesh, or soul, in other words, "Pidyon Nefesh." This is used when a major salvation is needed, such as in the case of a dangerous illness, a severe court case, or as a rescue from trouble or danger. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that Pidyon Nefesh is the "sweetening", or mitigation of harsh decrees and serves as a salvation from any trouble, for the main cure and solution of sickness is the pidyon (see Likutei Moharan II:3).

We strongly recommend sending a A Pidyon Nefesh to Rav Shalom Arush via Emuna Outreach, who'll pray for you in Uman on Erev Rosh Hashana.