A Human Pin Cushion

Human pin cushion
"Yom HaShoah", Holocaust Day in Israel is this coming Thursday, May 5, 2016.

There are so many Holocaust deniers in the world today, but those of us who grew up as the children of survivors know just how real the Holocaust is - not was - because our parents' scars are still there.

You know how painful it is when you prick your finger with a sewing needle. Just imagine what it feels like when your body is a human pin cushion with hundreds of needle pricking it. The Pin Cushion is my own mother's story, may Hashem bless her, which I wrote especially for Holocaust Day. This is an amazing story of emuna that you won't want to pass up, one of many inspiring articles in our latest issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

This week's Torah portion is Kedoshim. Many people learn Torah, but how can a person know if he's on the right track and learning properly? Check out True Torah, True Love for an effective way to test yourself…

In The World's Best Computer, Rav Shalom Arush tells us that after a person's 120 years on earth, all his brain's contents are removed and the Heavenly Court shows him everything he ever saw, thought, spoke, heard and did; don't miss this eye-opening article.

Our own Dr. Zev Ballen, the founder of Emuna Therapy, says, "Once I know I'm actually fighting for a part of myself, and not just fighting against my wife, I'm going to use every last ounce of strength to enjoy my relationship with her." Profound words? See more here in Choose Forgiveness.

Passover has come and gone and Moshiach still hasn't arrived. Breslev Israel's popular columnist Racheli Reckles asks, "Do we think that we're spiritual supermen flying in the sky with emuna, when in fact we still haven't left ground zero? If we're so great, where's Moshiach?" Maybe we're suffering from Anti-emuna Emuna... On a lighter post-Passover note, Racheli also remarks how we feel so good after thoroughly cleaning our physical domain - why? See The Cleaning Marathon. 

Sunny Levi, our amazing 6th-degree black belt Karate mom from Chicago writes that the physical world mirrors the spiritual world; she tells how the food she was eating was irritating her body, and the food that she fed her soul was irritating her spirit; Soul Food is a must-read...

Our current events pundit Dovber Halevi says look out - beyond the regal claims of “free speech,” and “free expression,” there just might lurk beneath the shadows descendants of Amalek, Haman, and Bilaam, as we see in The Silver Lining. 

In Opportunity Knocks, Michal Kovan shows that it's not the amount that we give to the poor person, it's the way we give; the few coins we give him won't solve his problems, but our smile might save his life...

Blessings for a lovely new week and a healthy summer!

The Emuna Blossom


Blessings for a healthy summer! Our special correspondent in the fields east of Ashdod reports that the Sabra cacti are beginning to flower in all their magnificent splendor. This is very symbolic, showing how exquisite beauty - emuna - blossoms particularly in an environment of dangerous thorns, symbolic of the trials and tribulations of this world that are testing us.

Don't forget that once the blossom becomes pollinated, courtesy of our little striped flying friends who also carry stingers, it becomes an amazingly sweet fruit - the "Sabra", or prickly pear. All those painful things we encounter on our way in life will also become the sweetest fruit, if we only relate to them within the context of emuna. It's all for the very best.

And Even Though He Tarries...

All the preconditions that our sages have stipulated for the coming of Moshiach have been fulfilled. The time is especially ripe now. Nevertheless, despite all the eager anticipation, and even though he tarries, we still wait for Moshiach innocently and patiently with simple faith. "And even though" in Hebrew is Ve'af al pi.

The Rambam's 12th principle of emuna is, "I believe with full and complete faith in the coming of Moshiach; and even though he tarries, I shall still wait for him whatever day he comes."

Let's hear Rav Shlomo Carlebach of blessed memory put the Rambam's above principle to music in one of his most soul-stirring melodies. Enjoy it, and may you have a wonderful Shvii shel Pesach and Shabbat, and may we all soon - together - merit to greet Moshiach in our rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem, amen. 

Serving the same G-d

During the Omer, we must make a special effort to love, and at least respect, our fellow human. We curtail music and rejoicing during this time of the year because of Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students who died in a plague. Yes, they were lofty Torah scholars, but they didn't properly respect one another. We must rectify this... 

The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a told me the following story about his great grandfather, Rebbe Meir'l of Promiszlan. Keep it in mind before allowing yourself the "luxury" of feuding with a fellow Jew:

Serving the same G-d

Rebbe Meir'l of Promiszlan and Rebbe Yitzchok of Strettin were engaged in a long, drawn-out feud. Knowing that dissension serves no purpose, Rebbe Meir'l approached Rebbe Yitzchok and attempted to make peace. The latter only turned his face to the wall. "Please, Strettinner Rebbe, allow me to tell you a tale," said Rebbe Meir'l, and told him the following story:

During the time of the Spanish Inquisition, a Marrano* suspected of secretly being Jewish became deathly ill. The Inquisitors called the local priest, and told him to go see if the dying man would make last confession, proving that he's a Catholic, or else otherwise be burned at the stake as a Jew. The Priest and the Henchman entered the sick man's room, and the sick man turned his face to the wall, refusing to reject his true faith in Hashem during his last minutes on earth.

The Inquisitors said, "Ahah, he's a secret Jew!" The priest said no, he's embarrassed to confess in front of others. Everyone must leave the room!

Only the dying man and the Priest remained in the room. The priest, a Marranno himself, whispered in the man's ear, "You can say Shma Yisrael now, and express your belief in Hashem before you die. You no longer need to turn your back on me, because we both serve the same G-d." With his dying breath, the Marrano utterred, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is one!"

"So you see, Strettinner Rebbe," said Rebbe Meir'l, "You no longer have to turn your back on me, because we serve the same G-d!" The feud ended on the spot.

*Marranos - the Spanish Jews who posed as Catholics on the outside, and secretly continued to practice their Judaism behind closed doors

Birkat Ha'Ilanot: Blessing of the Trees

New beginning

Once a year, during the Hebrew month of Nissan, we have the special mitzva of making a blessing over (at least two) blossoming fruit trees. According to Kabbala, this blessing is deeply significant, and helps correct the soul that is reincarnated within the tree. That soul is forever beholding to the person that makes the blessing, for he or she has done a great favor in helping that soul attain its tikkun, or correction.

You have until Sunday, May 8, 2016 to fulfill this wonderful mitzva. All you need are two blossoming fruit trees within reasonable distance of one another (i.e. that you can see both at the time of making the blessing).

For your convenience, here is the blessing,

In English: Blessed are You, Hashem our God, King of the Universe, who let nothing lack in His universe and created within it good creatures and good trees in order to give pleasure to human beings.

In Transliteration: Baruch ata Adonoi, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, she-lo chisar be-olamo klum v-vara vo beriyyot tovot ve-ilanot tovim lehanot bahem bnai Adam.

In Hebrew:  ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם שלא חסר בעולמו כלום וברא בו בריות טובות ואילנות טובים להנות בהם בני אדם

May your Passover and upcoming summer be as fragrant as a citrus blossom! Now is the time for wonderful new beginnings. Every blessing, LB