Ein Od Milvado

If there were only three words in my lexicon, this is what I'd choose - Ein Od Milvado, there is no one but Hashem. Whenever you feel anxiety, fear, sadness or worry in the slightest - repeat these three words and see what miraculously happens to you.

Israeli singer Shlomi Shabbat sang this gorgeous melody that was composed by Tomer Hadadi with lyrics by Yossi Gispin. I get chills up my spine and tears in my eyes whenever I hear it, even if I hear it 100 times a day. Now, our special friend, one of Jewish music's brightest young stars Dudi Knopfler from Monsey, came out with a Yiddish version that's every bit as moving as the original. We're delighted to share this with you. Sing along with the chorus:

Ein od milvado, mlo kol ha'aretz kvodo, HaKadosh Baruch Hu melech, va'ani avdo...

"There is no one but Him; His glory fills the world! The Holy One Blessed be He is King, and I am His servant."

Have a lovely Shabbat! Don't ever forget that Hashem loves you, and we do too.

The Immortal Soul

Immortal soul
Since the soul is a tiny spark of Godliness, it has the same characteristics that its Creator has. Just as the Creator is infinite, so is the soul. They both defy time and space, and neither ever dies. So, the more we live a spiritually-oriented life, the more we overcome the downward tendency of bodily-oriented depression and disappointment. The soul never gets old. If cared for properly, it never degenerates. And, if we provide its needs, we attain both happiness and inner peace.

Like the Sand on the Beach

If your looking for the very best investment in the world, buy real estate in the Land of Israel now. The closer we get to Moshiach, the more prices will skyrocket, for with the Ingathering of the Exiles, our population will be many times greater than it is today. Those who listened to me nine years ago when I said the same thing are smiling, for real estate prices hear have almost doubled since then, especially in places like Efrat and Ramat Bet Shemesh.

The prophet compares the multitude of Jewish People in the Land of Israel to "the sand on the beach" (see Kings I, 4:20). Sand has two characteristics: as a whole, it is "sand"; but as an individual, each particle is a unique crystal. What does this mean? Just like sand particles, when you take a close look at each Jew, you'll find dazzling beauty. The more we look for the good in each other, the faster we'll bring Moshiach! Check out these dazzling microscope photos of sand particles and have a lovely Shabbat!


My Pop, of Blessed Memory

My beloved father, Yaacov ben Yitzchak of blessed memory (image right, age 42 when the photo was taken), left this earth on Pop. age 42the 15th of Adar Aleph, 5760, exactly nineteen years ago. Pop's yahrtzeit - this anniversary of his death - is tonight and Wednesday. This post is dedicated to him.

Pop was born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1921. His father came from the Ukraine, a shtetyl called Yanov, half way between Breslev and Berditchev. Like a lot of immigrants, my grandfather left observant Judaism behind in the Old Country, so my father was born into a secular home. Yet, he spoke perfect Yiddish and was the warmest Jewish heart you'd ever want to meet. He gave loads of his money to charity; he supported widows and poor Torah scholars. He loved everything Jewish, from traditional food to music. He had no problem polishing off a bottle of vodka with a plate of herring and black bread. He had the voice of a cantor, and when he'd sing, the neighbors would ask what radio station we're listening to.

Pop was the only Jewish combat pilot from Western Canada in the RCAF in WWII. He had a double enemy - the Nazis and the antisemitic Canadian peers who more than once tried to sabotage him.

He wasn't religious, but my Pop had a love for Israel, for his fellow Jews, for widows and orphans, and for Hashem. He had more emuna than most. His famous expression was, "Wait to worry." He never ever complained about pain or discomfort, and profusely thanked Hashem for every new day. Pop's legacy includes three generations of Torah-observant Jews in Israel and more on the way, G-d willing...

I miss you so much, Pop. I miss your hug and your strength. Please forgive me for not doing enough to honor you properly.

Here is a treat in Pop's loving memory: The is one of his favorite Yiddish melodies, Oyfen Pripitchik, played by violinist Boris Savchuk. Enjoy it - it's one of my favorites too:

I Prayed for This Child

The moving story of Hannah appears in the first and second chapter of Samuel I: Hannah had no children, and she begged Hashem in the holy tabernacle at Shilo that if He gives her a child, she will dedicate this child to the service of Hashem. Hashem heard her prayers, and Samuel was born.

When Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him to the High Priest Eli in Shilo, where the little Samuel grew up devoting his entire life to serving Hashem. As Hannah presents her son to Eli, she says, "This is the lad I prayed for; Hashem granted me the request that I asked of Him" (Samuel I, 1:27).

In a beautiful age-old Jewish tradition, when we check on our sleeping children at night, and we see them like little angels fast asleep, we repeat the above passage as an expression of gratitude to Hashem, and we continue to pray for their spiritual and physical welfare and development.

Shraga Gold, soloists Motty Steinmetz, Levi Falkowitz, Moshe Mendlowitz and the Shira Choir sing Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz's lovely rendition of Hannah's moving expression of gratitude in the following beautiful clip, which we hope you enjoy as much as we did. G-d bless and much joy from your children!

The Tiniest Light

Tiniest light
Try this experiment: go into a pitch-black room, like a cellar or a bomb shelter with the lights off. Take a pack of matches with you and light a match. Better yet, light a small candle. Notice how one tiny flame illuminates so much darkness. 

The above phenomenon is a wonderful spiritual metaphor: sure, there are tons of evil in the world - wherever you go, wherever you look. But, one righteous person engaged in charitable deeds and in spreading love, peace and joy virtually purifies the atmosphere. The Gemara teaches that such a person can save the world.

You, cherished friend, have every attribute to be that person. Even if you regard yourself as nothing more than one tiny light, you can illuminate the darkness, if you only believe in your ability to do so. G-d bless for a lovely Shabbat!