This One's for You, Jherin

Jherin Esther Gorcey (1995-2011) was an angel of emuna disguised as a bubbly sweet teenager who loved life and everyone around her. She was the daughter of our dear friends Rachel and Dr. Steven Gorcey from Deal, New Jersey. Jherin was sent to this world to inspire people, to spread emuna and to bring people closer to Hashem. Her influence on people, especially on her peers, was prodigious. She was just as adept on skis or on a surfboard as she was in her studies. Her heart glowed with love of Hashem, so much so that the words of her poetry that she left us ooze Divine inspiration.

Jherin gathered countless girls together for Torah classes in her home. She never discriminated, inviting every young lady, no matter which school she attended, her background or her religious level - Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or totally secular. She was a magnet of emuna and holiness. Jherin's mission on earth came to an abrupt halt when she had an allergic reaction to anesthesia during routine surgery in April of 2011.  She is buried here in Ashdod, Israel, may her holy, pure and blessed soul intervene in our behalf under the Heavenly Throne, amen.

I have shivers up my spine every time I read Jherin's poem emuna:

He is always there for us
no matter where we go
it is patience we need to give
for us to see that flow

It is the confusion I must overcome
the stupid things it comes from
but only one invincible might can stop that
and that will be Hashem

Bitachon is what we need
emuna is what we gain
the trust and love we have for Him
must empower all our pain

He is always there for us
no matter where we go
it is patience we need to give
for us to see that flow

and that will be Hashem!

Tal Vaknin and Gad Elbaz put Jherin's words to song in a most lovely way - may this be an inspiration for all of us and an eternal credit to Jherin, of blessed memory. You'll love this:

The Finest Fabric

Fine Fabric
Passover night is an excellent example of Judaism's outside apparent dullness that conceals its inner glamor and excitement. To those who lack an appreciation for Judaism's exquisite inner dimension, Passover seems strangling: you can't eat bread or bread derivatives, you have to spend an arm and a leg preparing for the holiday, and you have to work your fingers to the bone – how dull and unattractive to the spiritually unaware! Yet, once one realizes that Passover is true freedom, that our Hagada is a monumental story of our people that is ever so relevant to this day, and that we sit around our Seder table like the sons of royalty, he can begin to recognize the deep inner value of Judaism, which I compare in my feature article this week to The Finest Fabric. In my second article, we see that Spain after the Inquisition was a dangerous place for a Jew: he'd be faced with the choice of death or forced conversion. And here, Shimon and Reuven were shipwrecked... Not Even A Trace is a delightful parable by that I retell from the Ben Ish Chai to help us prepare for Passover.

Rav Shalom Arush asks what it means to be an "outstanding" people, as the Haggada calls us. He says that in the 210 years of the Egyptian exile, there was only one case of breached modesty among the millions of Jewish women; that's why they're called "outstanding"... Don't miss his article Apart from the Rest in our Passover Eve issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

If you'd like to gauge your emuna, read The Emuna Dial by Dr. Zev Ballen.

Leave it to our dragon-slayer Racheli Reckles to tackle subjects that other people get wobbly knees about. Ritalin: the Drug of Choice? is a must-read.

Did you know that Herman Melville, famed author of Moby Dick, made a historical visit to Jerusalem in 1857? Howard Morton's Melville in Jerusalem is priceless testimony that the notion of a Palestinian people is an utter myth - check it out…

Yardena Slater shows how your soul is really a magnet in Sparks of Attraction.

Dovber Halevi offers Five Hacks to Clear Your Mind.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful week with meaningful preparations for Passover.

If There's No Flour

Emuna Outreach Kimcha 5776
Our sages remind us of the obvious: "If there's no flour, there's no Torah." In like manner, if there's no flour for Passover, there's no matza.

Our esteemed and beloved Rav Shalom Arush, the head of the Chut Shel Chesed Yeshiva, Breslev Israel and Emuna Outreach, does everything in his power to make sure that needy families here in Israel have the necessary foodstuffs for Passover. What's the connection between distributing food for Passover and spreading emuna? Simple - when a needy family that has no idea how they'll handle the exorbitant expenses of Passover suddenly receives shmura matza, eggs, vegetables, wine, chickens and more, their emuna gets a tremendous boost.

Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa (Aramaic for "flour for Passover") Fund goes to putting food on the tables of worthy low-income families in Israel. We buy things in bulk and at wholesale prices, so that we get the most out of every dollar in our fund. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to "host" an entire family for Seder night, many of whom have six children and more. A minimum donation of $180 puts wine, shmura matza, vegetables, eggs, meat and/or poultry and everything else needed for Seder night on their table. 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!

It's All B'Seder

When everything is OK, in Hebrew we say "hakol b'seder", or literally, everything is in order. Why do we call our ceremonial Passover eve meal a "Seder"? What does "everything is in order" have to do with it?

Today's emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled, "It's All B'Seder,"  answers the above questions - this is a survival course for Passover night! Because of Passover preparations in the Yeshiva, the broadcast will not be open to the public.  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. 

Spiritually Preparing for Passover

Pesach Commando

We hope everybody is making preparations for Passover with big smiles on their faces. The house will surely be clean, but don't forget the soul. Passover is coming fast and we must prepare ourselves for true liberation - freedom of the soul.

The minute one loses one's personal sense of worth and a positive self image, he or she becomes a slave.

Lack of self-respect, self-deprecation, and ignorance of one's own marvelous qualities and heritage are tickets to the slave train. Shame or embarrassment about one's ethnic or religious background is tantamount to carrying around an iron shackle with a 50-lb. ball and chain.

These feelings of inferiority are an invitation to let society dictate how you should live your life. People who feel inferior are weak; it's easy to exploit a person with no backbone. Controlled and exploited people are the most miserable creatures on the face of the earth.

For a Jew, one of the most important Passover preparation - after getting rid of the chometz - is learning who we are and why we're celebrating. Modern society often discourages us from learning about our wonderful background, our G-d, and what emuna - the full and simple faith in Him - can do for us in every level of life, be it emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and even physical.

Emuna helps you feel good about yourself.  As soon as you begin feeling good about yourself, you become free. Every human has an inherent right to freedom; that's the universal message of the Passover holiday. Happy Passover preparations!