21 posts categorized "Chassidic thought"

Double Concealment: You Don't Fool Us, Hashem!

With me

With times as difficult as they are, war on one or more of our borders almost inevitable, chaos in the government and dissolution of the Knesset with elections on the way that simply cause more slander and intramural hate, and on top of it all, losing a great tzaddik yesterday Rabbi Koenig zatza"l, it looks like Hashem is not with us, Heaven forbid. But that's not true! Hashem, we know You're here...

Before his death, the famed Toldos Aaron rebbe, Rebbe Aaron Rota zatza'l, warned that the time before Moshiach would be a period of deep spiritual darkness - the supreme test of faith. But, those who don't get discouraged - and cling to their pure and simple emuna - will invoke the Divine compassion that is not only needed to survive turbulent times, but shall also hasten the Geula.

This period in time is a "hastora", the concealment of Hashem's Divine light. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches that the period preceding Moshiach is a "hastora betokh hastora", or double concealment. But, just like Olympic gymnastics, for a greater level of difficulty, you score higher points. When emuna (faith) comes hard, the rewards are beyond our wildest dreams. Hold on, don't give up hope, and keep the faith no matter what - that's the key to staying on your feet in this insane world. Above all, be happy and don't ever despair.

Hashem can hide all He wants, but He's always here - close by - and that's a solemn promise from your friend and brother Lazer. Some chutzpa Hashem enjoys, like when we smile and tell Him, "You don't fool us, Hashem. We know you're here." The warmth of love in our hearts tells us so. How? That's Hashem's light glowing in our chest cavity, right now. I love You, Hashem.

Lazer's Dream

Tefillin Temple Dream
Sometimes we see things for years, day in and day out, but we never realize what we're seeing.

I had the sweetest and most amazing dream I ever had the night before Chanukah. In my dream, I was shown that tefillin and the Holy Temple resemble one another (see above image - this is the best possible reproduction I could make of what I saw in the dream).

After I saw that the tefillin and the Holy Temple are both crafted from the same Divine mold, the Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a came to me in the dream with a special pair of "tefillin" - it was a miniature Holy Temple, the size of tefillin, with tefillin straps extending from it. He then put the "Holy Temple tefillin" on my head, smiled much wider than he usually does, gave me two affectionate slaps on the cheek, and I woke up. 

Rav Shalom Arush: The Dedicated Twin

Dedicated Twin
Here's a story that my esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush told me

There were two twins – a brother and sister – who really loved one another and were each other's best friend. One wintry evening when the winds howled outside and torrents of rain pounded on their windows, the little girl started crying. Her brother asked her why she's crying. "I'm soooooo afraid," she sobbed.

Her brother held her hand and soothed her. "Don't be afraid; I'm your brother – I'll always protect you."

Days passed. The twins, merely 5 years old, fell ill with a rare disease. Miraculously, the brother recuperated; his body developed antibodies against the invasive microbes. The sister wasn't as fortunate. Barely alive, she needed urgent blood donations. Because of their rare blood type and the disease antibodies, the twin brother was the only suitable donor.

The attending physician asked the parents for permission to perform the needed blood transfusions. They agreed, hoping to save their daughter's life. Then, the physician asked the twin brother, "Are you willing to donate blood in order to save your sister's life?"

The little boy broke out crying. But, true to his word that he'd protect his sister, he calmed himself and said, "Yes, doctor – I'll do anything for my sister."

Lying in bed next to his sedated, unconscious sister, the brother looked at her while a tear trickled down his cheek. The nurse came and put the needle in his arm. The little boy seemed really upset, alarmed by the needle. " Doctor, isn't it true that I'm going to die soon?"

The doctor was shocked. The little boy was sure that he'd need to donate all his blood to save his sister. He thought that the doctor and his parents were asking him to sacrifice his own life for the sake of his sister, yet he agreed.


Our reality is like that of children in the story. Some of our brethren cannot shoulder the burden of Passover expenses. That means that they won't be able to fulfill the mitzvoth of our holiday, let alone enjoy it. How can a family that can't afford matza think about wine or meat? New shoes for the children are not even an option. These families are wondering if they'll have food on their tables this Passover.

With Passover almost here, this is a golden opportunity for you to participate in Emuna Outreach's annual Kimcha D'Pischa project.

Like the little boy who gave blood to his sister, the body produces new blood to replace that which was donated. In like manner, the Almighty not only returns that which one person contributes, but He adds big dividends too! Hashem says, "If you make others happy, I'll make yours happy."Our Kimcha D'Pischa Project enables hundreds of needy Jewish families in the Land of Israel to celebrate the Passover holiday with joy.

Rabbi Arush personally seeks out the needy families, many of whom are ashamed to ask for the help they so badly need. Unfortunately, we don't have to search very hard, for the needy families are many. Your generous donation to the Kimcha D'Pischa Project will provide needy families all over Israel with all their holiday needs, including meat and poultry, wine, matzoth, dry goods, fruits and vegetables.

You can make your generous tax-deductable donation to Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Fund by clicking here. May Hashem bless you and yours with a truly happy and kosher Passover, amen!

Back to Life

A young man was once walking along the beach when he suddenly saw an old man trying to push one of a dozen or so errant dolphins back into the ocean. The dolphins had made a navigational mistake and ended up getting stuck on the shore, quivering between life and death.  "Hey, Granddad, it doesn't matter how hard you try – you simply won't be able to save all those dolphins. It's impossible – you won't be able to make a difference."

With a deep breath and a huge effort, the old man managed to push one of the dolphins back into the ocean and back to life. The ocean water and the movement of the waves revived the dolphin and he began swimming. "You see that dolphin, young man? For him," the old man panted, "I certainly made a difference."

The young man smiled bashfully and began to help the old man. A third passerby joined them as well, and the three succeeded in saving all the dolphins.

What do we learn from this story? Sometimes we look around us and we see all the deficiency in the world. There's so much to do and so many people to help that our hearts become filled with a sense of futility. We ask ourselves, "How can I possibly deal with all of this. With my sorely limited assets, how can I possibly make a change in anything?"

As soon as we ask ourselves the above question, we must remember: we must do what we are capable of doing and leave the impossible to Hashem. Just like the old man who refused to surrender to the fear that he won't be able to make a difference, he did what he could with no hesitation, summoning up as much power as he could. Then suddenly, as if with a magic wand, others joined him and he saved an entire school of dolphins from imminent death.

We're just like the people in the above story. Passover is almost here; this is a wonderful opportunity to partner in our annual Emuna Outreach Kimcha D'Pischa Project. The heavy expenses of the holiday make it ever so difficult for many families to fulfill the mitzvoth of Passover, much less enjoy the holiday. It's difficult to think about replacing the children's torn and tight shoes with new ones when there's no food on the table and no matzoth or wine for Passover. These are families whose struggle for survival is daily. This very moment, they are wondering if there will be any food to put on the table during Passover…

Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Project enables hundreds of needy Jewish families in the Land of Israel to celebrate the Passover holiday with joy. Since we buy everything bulk and wholesale, a donation of $180 provides an entire family with wine, shmura matza, vegetables, eggs, meat and/or poultry and everything else needed for Seder night. This fulfills for you the two tremendous obligations of Kimcha D'Pischa, providing foodstuffs for the poor on Passover, and Kol Dichfin, opening up your home to the poor on Seder night. This is an easy way to fulfill Kol Dichfin, for when you sponsor a family's Seder night, it's the same as if you hosted them in your own home.

You can make your generous tax-deductable donation to Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Fund by clicking here. May Hashem bless you and yours with a truly happy and kosher Passover!

Remember: do what you can do and leave the rest up to Hashem. That way, we'll truly make a difference.

The Opposite of What It Says

Hashem's Greatness
People often ask me how to tell the difference between the evil inclination and the good inclination.

It's easy. The evil inclination is a nag who hounds you endlessly. The good inclination is a tiny whisper or a flashing illumination of the heart and brain.

So how do we handle the evil inclination? Rebbe Simcha Bunim of Pashischa says that if the evil inclination tries to inflate you with arrogance and tells you how great you are, tell it how tiny you are. If it tries to tear you down and tell you what a nothing you are, tell it how great you are - a prince or princess and one of God's favorite children.

In short, whatever the evil inclination tells you to do, do the opposite.

With the above in mind, you are now prepared to have the best Shabbat of your life. Hashem loves you and so do we, cherished brothers and sisters. Shabbat Shalom and warmest regards from sunny Ashdod on the exquisite Mediterranean coast in the holy Land of Emuna.