Defense/Security 7:48 PM 3/8/2014
Jewish World 6:18 AM
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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Best-selling author, speaker, and spiritual guide, Rabbi Lazer Brody came to Israel from the USA in 1970 after graduating from the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture. He is a veteran of an elite IDF Unit, having served for nearly thirty years in the regular army and in the IDF reserves. Rabbi Brody pens the award-winning Lazer Beams weblog, is the editor of Breslev Israel web magazine, and the author of The Trail to Tranquility. His English translation of Rabbi Shalom Arush's international bestseller The Garden of Emuna has sold over a million copies. Rabbi Brody is also a musical composer; his Calming Waters is a collection of his original relaxing instrumental melodies and Judean Dream is an album of "Land-of-Israel" music recorded together with Guy Tzvi Mintz and Yosef Karduner. Rabbi Brody spends considerable time traveling around the world spreading the light of emuna.
Music: Baz Luhrmann
Lyrics and Narration: Lazer Brody
A Breslev Israel Production:
The closer we get to Moshiach, the more Hashem is exposing previously concealed things. In other words, the truth is becoming more apparent daily.
People often ask me, how does one differentiate between a true Jew and a person with the spiritual makeup of erev rav (the tag-alongs that attached themselves to our people during the Exodus from Egypt and who initiated the Golden Calf fiasco)? Up until now, discerning between the two has been difficult. But, events in recent years reveals exactly who the erev rav are:
1. No Jew would force another Jew to lose his home, especially in the Land of Israel. Only the erev rav would do that.
2. No Jew would clamor for another Jew to go to jail because the latter truly devotes his life to learning Torah. Disdain of Torah is also another clear sign of erev rav.
Rav Elyashiv of saintly and blessed memory left the physical world yesterday. We, the Jewish people, are licking a painful wound. The Rav zatza"l was surely a sacrifice for the World of Torah, which so many petty, self-serving, miniscule politicians yearning for notoriety have decided to attack in recent weeks. It's truly amazing how the same party and politicians that initiated the devastating disengagement and destruction of Jewish Gaza, known popularly as Gush Katif, are the ones who have been demanding fierce sanctions including jail sentences for Torah learners who desire to cling to Torah. These are without a doubt the erev rav within our midst.
Do not take the passing of Rav Elyashiv zatza"l lightly; on the same day - yesterday - tragedy struck the Jewish people in the form of the terror attack in Bulgaria. Not only that, but with the Syrian mega-hit in Damascus yesterday, the final nail has been put in the coffin of Syrian stability. We now have highly volatile, instable borders with Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria. Tensions are very high, and a match could set off an explosion between Israel and Hizbolla/Iran.
So what do we do? During the Nine Days, beginning tonight, we must put aside virtually everything else and concentrate on getting closer to Hashem. That means more Torah, more teshuva, more emuna, and more personal prayer. Men, it's time to start guarding your eyes and to take personal holiness seriously. Women, it's time to start covering your hair and dressing modestly. People with fake emuna, even though they look the part, must begin serving Hashem for real. And yes, the fakes who are listed as Torah learners but who are walking around doing nothing should be drafted, right away along with all the secular kids who are dodging the draft too. We all have to fight with dedication; if not with a Gemara, then with an M-16.
The voice of Moses is calling once more, Mi L'Hashem ai'lie! He who chooses Hashem, join me! The People of Israel are down, but certainly not out. We'll soon see big miracles, but on the way, there will be a tremendous birur, or sifting process. Make sure you make the right choice.
King David in Psalms compares the Nation of Israel to a vineyard and the people of Israel to a grapevine; here's the explanation, from the biblical border between the hill country of Efraim and the tribal lands of Menashe, not far from Shechem near the village of Yitzhar:
Politicians have no emuna: they attribute anything good in our country to themselves, and anything less than desirable to their opposition.
The Haredi politicians, at least, should know that everything comes from Hashem, including the termination of the Tal Law (which enables military deferments for Torah students) and the Plesner Committee, which despite being disbanded, is calling for the draft of Haredim into the army. It's not Plesner, Bibi, and Mofaz that are clamoring to draft Haredim, it's Hashem. Yet, rather than stopping and pondering what Hashem is trying to tell us by way of the calls to draft, the Haredi political parties are chasing the proverbial stick rather than looking at who is wielding it. That's befitting a cocker spaniel, but not a person with emuna.
Why the ruckus? The Mishna tells us straight out who will be drafted and who will not. "Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah says: Whoever accepts the yoke of Torah upon himself will be spared the yoke of government and worldly affairs" (Avot 3.5). That's a hard spiritual fact. If the Torah learners as a whole were really learning Torah - as a "yoke" and not as the easy way out - Hashem wouldn't be threatening them with the draft.
Of my three sons, my first two served in IDF special forces units. My third son wanted to learn Torah full-time. I agreed, on condition that he learn with the same dedication - mesirut nefesh - that his older brothers served in their dangerous units. As someone who is every bit as familiar with the inside of a halftrack or chopper as I am with the inside of a Yeshiva, I can objectively say that if a person isn't doing his part to protect our beloved homeland by learning Torah in total immersion around the clock, than he should at least be manning a duty station in the IDF around the clock. Our enemies - the Hamas, Hizbulla, and the Iranians - are super dedicated. To defeat them, we must be more dedicated than they are.
Forget about the easy life. The Gemara tells us that three things don't come easy - Torah, the world to come, and the Land of Israel. We have to sweat for all three. If a person in Israel is living an easy life, he's not doing his job. Those Yeshiva guys who really learn with emuna and with all their hearts will continue learning. But the others who are looking for an easy life can expect draft notices, unless they do heavy-weight teshuva and start learning with day and night dedication too.
Remember, the draft notices are not from Plesner or Bibi, they're from Hashem. Let's stop whining and get to work. It's no-nonsense Torah or basic training. Choose whatever you want.
The Almighty has moved entire worlds to give us the land of Israel. How can a person refuse such a gift? Are you worried about making aliya? Pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a break, and watch "Emuna Land":