The Greatest Kiddush Hashem

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Isn't this picture incredible? It's the Helix Nebula, one of the closest nebulae to Earth at a mere 700 light years away. After trying to understand what a nebula is, I couldn't get past the whole expanding ionized gas from a dead star thing, so I gave up. If you're a curious and brainy type, or just plain curious, you can read about it here. 

I don't know about you, but pictures like these just put me in a state of awe. As in, "Awe my God, is that fo' real??" Seriously. Stuff like this should boggle your mind. Looking at the world around you should boggle your mind. Just looking at your own body should boggle your mind. Life is incredible. Hashem is incredible. How does He sustain every single thing in Creation at every moment? 

Isn't that thought enough to hike your awe-factor through the roof? 

A few weeks ago, I was talking with Rav Brody and he mentioned a common question that people ask him: "Why did Hashem put me here?" To which he answers, "So you can learn emuna."

So I was thinking about this, and aside from the next obvious question, which is , "Why do I need to learn emuna?" I also tried to clarify exactly what aspect of emuna he was referring to. Here's what I came up with. 

Historically, Jews have performed the greatest kiddush Hashem (sanctification of Hashem's name) by dying as martyrs. Until the Enlightenment, Jews generally didn't have a problem with emuna. They accepted Hashem's will for better and for worse. 

But with the Enlightenment came tremendous skepticism and doubt as to not only the Creator's will, but the existence of a Creator at all. Now, Jews faced a new enemy: temptation from the outside world coupled with the illusion that God doesn't exist; or if He does, He's not directly involved in our lives.

This is anti-Torah and anti-emuna thinking. Today, we've come to correct this mistaken idea that everything is random, and to believe with all of our hearts that Hashem is here, He knows what He's doing, and He's doing it all for our best. That's what it means to learn emuna.

But there's more. You see, it's not enough to have emuna. We also need to know why we need emuna. The answer to this question can be found in two words: Thank You. If you can go through a difficult time and say "Thank You" to Hashem with all of your heart, even though you don't understand why things have to be this way, then you know you have emuna. Nothing brings you closer to God than really knowing in your heart that He loves you and wants the best for you. 

"Thank You" is the aspect of emuna that helps us create a close relationship with God. Without emuna and especially "Thank You," He's just a far-off Creator that we may intellectually believe in, but not feel a connection to.

I promise you that saying "Thank You" is the greatest kiddush Hashem there is. And one day, you will see how precious those two words were, both to you and to Hashem. 

Wishing you an awe-full week! Terrible play on words. So sorry.

~Racheli


Bittersweet Heaven

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I'm starting to realize that I'm a strange kind of health freak. You know, the kind that likes the physical results of being healthy, but if promised that junk food wouldn't take its toll on me, I'd be all over that. Maybe when the Mashiach comes, junk food will suddenly be healthy, yet still taste like junk food. Really, is it too much to ask?

In the meantime, I've perfected my Chocolate Blob recipe, and even though it's only 15 minutes before candlelighting, I just had to share it with you guys. Maybe one of you on the other side of the Atlantic can still make this in time for Shabbat and Tu B'Shvat. 

I call it Bittersweet Heaven. It's just about the same mixture that I posted earlier this (?) week, but instead of the bar of year-old-100% cocoa, I used straight cocoa powder. I melted coconut oil, date honey, cocoa powder, and caco nibs that don't melt. When it was all mixed together, it looked like brown mush. To that, I added walnuts and lots of dried cranberries. When it was still warm, I scooped it out and put it in the fridge. You can add any dried fruit. I bet dried apricot would be out of this world.

If you're feeling fancy, you can roll these into balls, and then they'll look like real truffles. If you're feeling super fancy, you can then roll the balls in dried coconut flakes. OMG, I can't stop thinking about these. Somebody help me!

It's actually much softer than the blob, which is more like a brittle bar. This is kind of chewy. But baker beware: you won't be able to stop eating them!

Have a wonderful Shabbat and Tu B'Shvat!

~Racheli


Trees and Tribulations

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Sigh. What a stunning picture. I wish I was there right now. By myself. On a cozy couch. Next to a fireplace. In my log cabin. Can't stop. Typing half sentences. Sorry.

Well, this Shabbat is Tu B'Shvat! It's the new year for the trees, and we celebrate it by eating lots of sugar  dried fruit and/or fresh fruit and nuts. Here is a great article explaining the deeper meaning of this holiday and how we celebrate it with the food. Because we all know that there ain't be no Jewish holiday without some good food. Mmm, mmm

I'd like to share with you a short but profound thought, which I'm ashamed to say occurred to me while I was in the bathroom. Don't you just hate when that happens? I find it so annoying! 

Life knocks us down with tribulations. Sometimes we're cut down so much, we don't think we have the strength to get up and keep going. But do you know what the trees teach us? That even when we're down, when we feel like we can't go on, when we don't show any outward signs of life, we can come back! We will continue to grow, and we'll grow stronger and better than we were before!  

Every gardener knows that in order for a tree to grow strong and healthy, it needs to be pruned. That's how we should look at our tough times in life. Hashem is pruning us; removing the unhealthy and dead parts of us, so we can grow to our maximum potential. Sure, it hurts. No one said it would be painless. 

On that note, I hope you all have a wonderful and peaceful Shabbat! Try not to eat too much sugary dried "fruit," okay? Promise?

Here's a pic of Rav Brody and David and half of Yosef Nechama, our General Director, as they landed in Houston on the Breslev Israel Rav Arush Honeymoon. Sorry guys, but I don't care how hard your day was. If you're not taking care of little kids all day, I don't want to hear it! Just kidding! Sort of. Okay, not really.  

~Racheli

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Garden of Wisdom Lesson #15: The Bumbling Brain

In today's lesson, we see that in everything the clever one does, his philosophical ideas get in the way and he contradicts himself; he sets goals and then is unwilling to exert himself to attain them…

If you're new to this series, designed for the whole family, you can find earlier lessons at this link. Enjoy! Also, send your letters and comments (and those of your children) to me at rabbilazer(at)breslev.co.il, and you just might win won of our weekly prizes. Don't forget to include your mailing address in the letter, so that if you win, we'll know where to send the prize to.


Cancer Cures: Part II

Fish with Avocado Salsa, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Just look at this gorgeous plate. Doesn't it look amazing? One of our lovely readers, Tena, sent me this picture of her delicious fish with avocado salsa, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I asked her if she would come live in my house and spend the rest of her life cooking for me, but for some reason, my offer didn't sound so appealing to her. If you'd like her recipe, email me at racheli@breslev.co.il and I'll forward it to you.

Today, I'd like to talk about the cause of cancer a little bit further. Since we've been told for so many years that cancer is a disease caused by genetic mutations, I'm aware that it's not going to be easy for many of you to accept that this is not true. Genetic mutations are one of the effects of the actual mechanism that causes cancer cells to grow. 

In fact, cancer is usually not a genetic disease at all. It's a metabolic disease. 

I'll explain this to the best of my ability, but know that this is just a Cliff's notes version. The best way to understand this is to read up on it as much as you can. Here is a great start.  

Cancer cells, just like all cells, run on energy made by mitochondria. Mitochondria are the cell's energy production centers, and are a key component of cellular respiration, which basically means the cell uses the mitochondria to generate ATP, which is energy, and waste products. When the mitochondria don't function properly, this leads to the cell functioning on fermentation metabolism instead of oxidative metabolism, leading to carcinogenic effects and the development of mutated genes called oncogenes (cancer genes.) 

Here's an excellent video by Thomas Seyfreid, Ph.D., with the full explanation of how cancer is a metabolic disease. You don't want to miss this, believe me! 

After reading about all of these chemical reactions that I totally don't understand and thanking God that I didn't end up going to medical school, I'm left with the clear realization that in most cases, diet really is the number one contributing factor to the growth and remission of cancer! 

It is well-known that cancer cells love sugar. Unfortunately for us, sugar is the primary fuel that we live on. As I wrote in Bye, Bye, Diabetes, intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet are the keys to switching from sugar-burning mode to fat-burning mode. When the body runs on fat-burning mode, it is in ketosis, and this is one of the ways that it is able to revert its damaged mitochondrial respiration from fermentation to oxidation. 

Dr. Seyfried explains: "I think that's an important point. One of the things that trigger cancer is inflammation. We have inflammation. Chronic high levels of blood sugar create inflammation. This you see in a lot of situations. Glucose itself is not carcinogenic, but elevated dysregulated glucose metabolism can lead to inflammation, and can cause a number of other disturbances in the overall metabolism of the body. If you fast, if you stop eating, your blood sugar goes down. Your insulin levels go down. The body starts to metabolize fat for energy."

When you change your fuel source from sugar to fat, you're in ketosis, and you're producing less ROS (reactive oxygen species,) which are the things that cause mutations in the DNA. 

Dr. Seyfried also warns against consuming high amounts of animal protein. Besides glucose, cancer cells also use glutamine as a fuel. Glutamine is the most common amino acid in protein. Therefore, if you want to lower your glutamine levels and not feed the cancer cells, you've got to lower your animal protein intake. Dr. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, recommends that animal protein intake be no higher than 10% of your diet. He says that the typical Western diet is made up of 30% animal protein.  

In order to achieve ketosis, you need to drop your net carb intake down to below 100 grams a day, and preferably below 50 grams a day. Net carbs = total carbs - fiber. And remember, to get into fat-burning mode, you need to go 12 hours minimum without eating. That's why intermittent fasting is so crucial. It allows your body to access its fat stores and use those as fuel, while at the same time keeping insulin levels low and allowing the liver to get rid of all of that sugar and toxin mixture that's been plugging it up for so long. 

Mitochondrial dysfunction doesn't just cause cancer. It also causes Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's, ALS, seizures, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. 

This brings us back to what I wrote yesterday's post: proper diet and exercise are the keys to preventing and curing cancer! 

And one more thing... in my article, Medical Vampires, I wrote that Hashem doesn't want us to be sick. The problem is that we've become so complacent and stuck in victim mentality, that we rationalize that Hashem caused us to get sick for reasons unbeknownst to us. While that may be the case for a small minority, (of which I'm assuming is made up of mostly young children,) I don't believe this to be the case for adults. We've had enough years to mess up our bodies with toxic diets and lazy lifestyles, and it's not fair to blame Hashem when we suffer the unfortunate circumstances.

Dr. Seyfried seems to agree with me: "Once you realize what cancer is, that it's a metabolic disease, you can take charge of those kinds of things. In other words, getting cancer is not God's will. It's not bad luck."

Let's finally take control of our health with the blessings of good information, healthy diets, and lots of exercise!

~Racheli

 

 


Cancer Cures: Part I

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That's a nice fruit plate, if I do say so myself. I try to make a variation like this for the kids every day. I don't always succeed, but I've found that making the pieces easy to grab makes them more likely to get eaten by boys on the run. Give it a try with your kids and let me know how it goes! 

It's terrifying to think about, but all of us knows at least several people that have been diagnosed with cancer, lo aleinu. What I find more terrifying is that so many people are still pursuing the western medical modality of chemo/radiation, without much thought as to natural cancer cures. These people need to understand two things: First, the approach of western medicine is to kill disease, not to build up the body's strength so it can use its innate healing abilities and cure itself. Second, it approaches disease in such a myopic, fragmented way. 

This is totally backwards. Think about it. If the body were strong and healthy, it would be able to fight off disease without letting it destroy us. So killing disease without strengthening the body is short-sighted. What's scary about the second approach is that by default, it separates the cause of the disease from the effects. Therefore, we are relieved of all responsibility of having contributed to the disease by our diets and lifestyles. This puts us in complete victim mode, and as a result, we let the doctor do as he wishes - which, many times, leads to other negative long-term consequences. 

Well, I don't know about you, but I am fed up with this approach. 

I'm fed up of hearing about parents burying their children. I'm fed up of hearing about young children burying their parents. I'm fed up of the ignorance and naivete that we still have regarding cancer and its causes. I'm fed up with people still holding on to the belief that it's a genetic disease, and there's nothing they could have done to prevent it. People! Genetics only accounts for 2-3% of cancer cases! Dr. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, and many other doctors and research scientists already know and have proven that most cancers are caused by poor diet and lifestyle! 

Contrary to popular belief, cancer is not a death sentence, unless caught in the much later stages. And even then, there is hope that these cases can recover as well, as has been proven time and time again. As we all know, knowledge is power, and it's time to use that knowledge to promote a long, healthy life. 

If you are currently on a cancer therapy regimen, by no means can you stop without the approval of your doctor! The following suggestions can work in tangent with your treatment, and you must discuss them with your doctor before you begin them. Also, note that this list is short by design. There are so many wonderful sites out there, and our main objective is to provide you with the knowledge that chemo and radiation is not the only solution, nor is it always the best solution to cancer. 

Here are some of the top proven natural cancer cures in the world. Please share this info with others!

1) Proper diet - Eat mostly vegetables and fruits, and a modest amount of whole grains and complex carbs. Keep animal product consumption to below 5%, as per Dr. Campbell's recommendations. If you really want to be aggressive, stay away from animal products altogether. Animal protein has been correlated with a higher incidence of most cancers. Just the amount of antibiotics and hormones the animals get should be enough to deter us from eating them. Also, white flour and sugar and all processed foods should be COMPLETELY AVOIDED!

Our bodies make and destroy cancer cells all the time. But when the environment gets too unhealthy, this promotes disease, and there's no end to the madness that these diseases can make in our bodies. 

2) Gerson Therapy - This approach treats all kinds of diseases based on the understanding that our bodies get sick because of toxicity and nutritional deficiency. It works by feeding the body with massive amounts of cleansing fruit and vegetable juices, along with nutritional supplements, which give the body its strength to fight disease. It also uses coffee enemas to cleanse the liver from its toxic overload, so it can properly filter out all of the impurities from the blood and allow the immune system to work better. There is so much information on the link, and it's well worth your while to read it all.  

3) IV Vitamin C - Known as one of the most powerful destroyer of free radicals, vitamin C has long been known to be a cure for cancer and many other types of chronic diseases. It works by turning into hydrogen peroxide when coming into contact with iron and other heavy metals. The hydrogen peroxide kills the cancer cells by damaging their DNA and shutting down their energy supply. 

However, I recently found out to my great dismay that the FDA is doing everything they can to keep this therapy from being available to us. Shocker.

4) Hydrogen Peroxide - This powerful molecule stimulates natural killer cells, which attack cancer and other disease cells. T-cells release H2O2, which kills viruses, fungi, and bacteria. There's tons of info on H2O2 and cancer, so read up on it! 

5) The Cancer Tutor is an excellent website with tons and tons of info on natural treatments. They do a great job at explaining how cancer grows, and they show that there can be different approaches to different types of cancers. This is a lot of reading, but well worth it. 

6) Vitamin D and sunlight- Vitamin D is another extremely powerful cancer fighter. Many studies have been done with many types of cancer patients, even those with inflammatory breast cancer, which is the most aggressive form of breast cancer. Amazingly, these studies came up with the same general results: more vitamin D in the blood = higher likelihood of surviving cancer and less likelihood of remission, and higher chances of long-term survival. Less vitamin D in the blood = the exact opposite.

Vitamin D is excellent for our overall well-being, and usually 15 minutes a day of direct sunlight exposure is sufficient. However, it would be a good idea to supplement with D3 drops. I've seen recommendations of dosages to be anywhere between 1,000 IU and 5,000 IU. If you are considering taking a dose that's on the higher part of this range, consult with your doctor first. Here's a secret about vitamin D: it's a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it needs to be taken with a fat in order for the body to absorb it properly. Taking drops by themselves won't do you much good.

7) Intermittent Fasting - This is another powerful way to rid the body not only of cancer, but of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. You can check out my recommendation for curing diabetes using fasting in Bye Bye, Diabetes!   Here's a wonderful video explaining why fasting works as a cure for cancer. BTW, I do the intermittent fasting/slightly moderated keto diet every day, and I work out in the mornings, and I've never felt better in my life! I absolutely recommend this to everyone! The above link is also full of info, and well worth the read.

8) Here's another great and informative website of natural cancer treatments by Dr. Axe. 

9) Personal Prayer - It's amazing that, if you ask a cancer survivor to tell you what they think helped them survive their treatments and get their cancer into remission, many will say that prayer played a large part in their healing process. If you've read Rav Arush's books, you'll certainly find that as no surprise. But I have to remind us all (especially me,) that praying is not just asking Hashem to take away your suffering. That's a good start, as it shows you recognize that Hashem gave you that suffering in the first place. However, we need to internalize that the suffering was given to us for a reason, and the best way to do that is with personal prayer. I highly recommend that everyone read The Garden of Gratitude.

Whether it's cancer, another disease, or any other tribulation from the endless list, Rebbe Nachman explains that gratitude unlocks tremendous Heavenly mercy and invokes miraculous salvations!  It is our wish here at the Beams that all of our dear readers and everyone in the entire world enjoy long, full lives of blessing, success, joy, health, and an ever-growing connection with our Creator. 

Tomorrow, G-d willing, I'm going to elaborate on the real cause of cancer - and it ain't genetics! 

If you've had a positive experience using one of these treatments or something I haven't listed, please write in! We would all appreciate your input!

Today is a very auspicious day for increasing one's income, so check out the post below to find out just how to do that! 

~Racheli


Parashat Ha'Man - Story of the Manna

Today is Tuesday of the week we read the Torah portion of Beshalach. Our sages tell us that reading the episode of the manna today - Parashat Ha'Man, which appears in this week's Torah portion - twice in Hebrew and once in Aramaic, is very conducive for one's good income the entire year. Don't miss this special opportunity to bring down more Heaven-sent bread to your doorstep.

If you can't read Hebrew, read Exodus 16:4-36 in your English bible - that's Parashat Ha'Man.

To learn more about Parashat Ha'man and making a pleasurable income, check out Rabbi Shalom Arush's superb article, Pack Mule.