Inside Israel 6:45 AM 5/23/2013
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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.
Tishrei 25, 5772, 10/23/2011
In Israel, there are two schools of thought. One is the material school, who sees Israel as a street-café extension of modern Europe or the USA, where one’s only concerns are high-tech, making money, having a good time, and self. If one has to step on others or even sell parts of the homeland for a few years of ersatz quiet, then so be it. This is the wolf school of thought. We’ll soon see where it takes us.
The other school of thought sees Israel through spiritual eyes, as our Divine inheritance and the hallowed homeland that is the most conducive place on the globe for learning emuna and fulfilling all of Hashem’s commandments. Such a holy land, with its center in the Holy Temple and Jerusalem, is non-negotiable. This is the deer school of thought, and we’ll soon see where it takes us.
The prophets Samuel, Ezekiel, and Daniel referred to our holy land as the Land of the Deer.
True spirituality brings people to truly love and respect one another. By the same token, material interests are devastating to peace, whether on a personal or national basis. Here's an example taken from chapter three of The Trail to Tranquility to show why:
Two Russian soldiers were once on a winter maneuver in the Siberian forest at midnight. The light of the full moon reflected on the snow, so the woods were well illuminated.
All of a sudden, they heard a thud. A distressed wild turkey with a broken wing had fallen from the treetops. Within seconds, two hungry wolves arrived on the scene. One grabbed the turkey by the wing, and the other sunk its teeth in the turkey's thigh. The two wolves began a tug of war. When neither wolf succeeded to free the turkey from the other's grasp, they attacked each other. Viciously and mercilessly, they literally tore each other apart, until one wolf dropped dead on the snow. The victor limped away, dragging the turkey between his teeth and leaving a trail of blood on the snow. A few minutes later, he keeled over and died too.
The gruesome but profound incident conveys a powerful message: The turkey weighed more than twelve pounds; it would have been a more-than-adequate dinner for both wolves. Their greed led them to anger, and their anger led them to violence. As a result, three corpses in were left in the snow - the turkey and the two wolves.
The Talmud teaches a consequent rule of thumb from situations like the wolf fight: Wherever you have peace, you have abundance; with no peace, starvation is prevalent.
Have you ever wondered why deer multiply so much faster than wolves? When a thirsty clan of deer arrives at a stream or other source of water, the bucks first allow the does to drink, and the does make sure that the fawns drink before they partake of the water themselves. The leader buck is the last one to drink - he won't take a sip until the entire herd is cared for. It's worth roughing the outback for an entire month just to witness such an inspiring sight.
Deer adults - both bucks and does - are extremely considerate of the young. When a herd of deer reaches a lush meadow, the fawns are first allowed to partake of the most luscious and tender greens; only after they've had their fill, the rest of the herd grazes.
Whereas the deer live in peace with one another, the wolves don't. Wolves are loners, each clan for itself. Get your day’s meat and the heck with everyone else. Not so with the deer.
To uproot the acute problems we face today in our holy and beloved homeland, we must become "deer" in the Land of the Deer. Instead of talking about peace with our neighbors who have no intention of ever making peace, we need to be focusing on peace among ourselves. The sooner that the Jewish people return the Land of Israel to the land of the deer rather than the land of the wolf, the better we’ll assure our security for posterity.
Peace is the true reflection of faith in The Almighty. People with faith know that The Almighty has plenty of resources to feed the entire world, so they don't have to use unethical means to obtain their livelihood. They know that G-d will provide for them without reverting to aggression or theft.
When there's peace, there's plenty for everyone.
King David teaches us that the humble shall inherit the earth (Psalms 37:11). Why? Humble creations – like the deer – get along famously with one another and therefore readily cooperate for the common welfare. Arrogant creations, on the other hand, want the whole world for themselves and therefore are constantly at each other’s jugular vein.
It’s no happenstance that the Land of Israel is nicknamed Eretz Hatzvi, or Land of the Deer (see Rashi’s commentary on Daniel 8:9). The Land of Israel is the inheritance of the humble and prolific deer, who by the way are a kosher species. Amazingly enough, the wolves are a dying breed. Today in Israel, the wolves need the intervention of the Society for the Protection of Nature to prevent them from becoming extinct altogether.
Let’s learn from the deer and live in peace with one another for the benefit of everybody.
Don't be mistaken, though: King David was as gentle as a deer with his own people. But, with the hostile neighbors on the other side of the border, he was the fierce lion of Judea. We should follow in his footsteps.
With national unity and mutual aid, we’ll certainly invoke Divine compassion to beat the rap of the impending threats and thereby insure our national independence and security until the day when Moshiach returns to take us to our rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem, speedily and in our days, amen!
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Tishrei 12, 5772, 10/10/2011
Join Rabbi Lazer Brody from the Holy Land of Israel every Thursday at 7 PM Israel Time, or 12 Noon Eastern Standard time for an hour of joy, inspiration and vitamins for the soul on his exciting new show Lazer Beams, at Israel National Radio.com
Rabbi Lazer Brody will be joing the Arutz 7, Israel National Radio team with his new show, LAZER BEAMS starting the week of Nov. 1st. Don't miss it!
Cheshvan 1, 5771, 10/9/2010
By appreciating every aspect of our holy homeland, we secure our hold on Eretz Yisrael.
In effect, every day of our lives could be termed a day of thanksgiving, provided that we do what we’re supposed to. When a Jew wakes up in the morning, he or she should sing out,Modeh ani lefonecha… We thank Hashem, for giving us back our souls and enabling us to live another day. Those of us that have had to look death in the face at one point or another in their lives don’t take this wonderful first utterance of the day for granted.
Three times a day during the prescribed prayers of Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv, we thank Hashem profusely in the Modim prayer. During the Grace after Meals, we say Nodeh Lecha, and once again profusely thank Hashem for every morsel of abundance. The foundation of hitbodedut, our personal prayers, is thanking Hashem for the past and crying out for the future.
Gratitude is vital to our very survival, both as Jews in general and as Jews in the Land of Israel in particular. The Hebrew word for Jew – Yehudi – is derived from the root word hodaya, which means “thanksgiving.” When we fail to thank Hashem for what we have, we're not only ingrates, but we're not doing our job as Jews. All of us - especially those of us fortunate enough to be here in the Land of Emuna - should be thanking Hashem for gift of Israel every single day of our lives. There's a law of spirituality - appreciation strengthens your soul connection with whatever you appreciate, and vice versa. People lose what they don't appreciate. By appreciating every aspect of our holy homeland, we secure our hold on Eretz Yisrael. Our love for our holy land is a flame that burns bright in our hearts - the bigger the flame, the faster we thaw out the threat of a new building freeze.
Lately, many of our concerned brothers and sisters in Judea and Samaria (yes, we’re all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of our beloved Father in Heaven) have been asking me about the current building freeze and the lurking threat of their losing their homes and beloved land, Heaven forbid, in the so-called peace process. I answered them with the following parable:
Rebbe Sar Shalom of Belz, the first Belzer Rebbe of saintly and blessed memory, awoke at 4 AM to the ringing clank of the blacksmith’s hammer and anvil from next door. “What, the blacksmith is already awake shoeing horses and I’m still prostrate in bed, not yet serving Hashem? How intolerable!” He decided to wake up a half hour earlier the next morning.
On the morrow at 3:30 AM, Rebbe Sar Shalom could already see the light of the blacksmith’s lantern in the window and hear the clanking of hammer and anvil. Again, he scolded himself and promised to wake up at 3 AM the next day. Sure enough, the blacksmith was already hard at work. By the end of the week, when the Rebbe woke up at 2:00 AM, he finally succeeded to begin his daily service of Hashem before the blacksmith began to work.
A day later on Shabbat, the diligent blacksmith returned his soul to his Creator. Rebbe Sar Shalom of Belz then understood that the blacksmith’s tikkun, his mission in life and soul correction, was to set an example of diligence for the Rebbe. By virtue of the blacksmith, the Rebbe began to serve Hashem with even more dedication than his already extraordinary prior service of Hashem. Once the blacksmith’s task was accomplished, he did not have to tarry on this earth any longer.
At 3:30 AM, all across Judea and Samaria, one hears the muezzins’ calls to prayer reverberating from minaret-based loudspeakers all across the hills. Our Arab neighbors clamor to pray way before sunup, praising Allah’s Holy Name. Although we know that their spirituality is dark-side, since it’s based on bloodshed and the sword, they’re still beating us to the punch. In my humble opinion, the threat of losing our homes and our land, Heaven forbid, is merely a wakeup call to arouse us from our spiritual slumber. Tanks and guns will never defeat grade-95 dark-side spirituality. Grade-96 holy-side spirituality will. We should be flying out of bed in the wee hours eagerly anticipating to pour our hearts out to Hashem, to recite Tikkun Chatzot, and to learn a page of Zohar and Gemarra before praying at sunrise. We should run like gazelles to the mikva in the morning, and then pour our entire being into every word of the morning prayers. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches us that with this kind of prayer and service of Hashem, Moshiach will conquer the world without firing a single shot.
If the holy soil of our ancient and beloved homeland is saturated with the tears of our joy, gratitude, and personal prayer, it won’t be saturated with our blood. Our service of Hashem, based on peace and holiness, has to be stronger than that of our dark-side bloodthirsty neighbors. Once it is, Hashem won’t need them as a disciplinary rod to chide His beloved children.
It’s no joke – our survival as Jews, especially as Jews in the Land of Israel, depends on our service of Hashem, particularly our gratitude as expressed in our prayers and blessings. Now’s the time to get our spiritual act together, so that we’ll all see the true redemption of our people and the rebuilding of our Holy Temple speedily and in our days, amen.
Tishrei 25, 5771, 10/3/2010
It's utterly absurd to think that anyone could have been capable of pulling the wool over the eyes of such intellectual and spiritual giants as the Ramcha"l, the Vilna Gaon, Rebbe Chaim Volozhiner, Rebbe Nachman of Breslev or the Chofetz Chaim. Stories do change and develop over time, no one can argue with that. But the holy Zohar warns that our Torah is not a mere collection of "stories", G-d forbid, but precision Divine wisdom. That's why our sages throughout the generations believed in every iota of Torah.
If you're not genuinely happy in life, try clinging to that wonderful Divine wisdom that's readily available to you. How? With emuna, of course.
Tishrei 12, 5771, 9/20/2010
Are clairvoyants and astrologers for real? I'll get to the point: An astrologer told my roommate that her life is in grave danger. She was so upset that she made an appointment with a clairvoyant and paid $100 for eight minutes, only to hear that she's about to get racked up in a car accident. Now, she's so stressed out that she can't sleep, study, or eat. She's afraid to tell her parents or anyone else, and I'm the only one that knows what's going on. Even though she's not Jewish, can you still help her? Please answer urgently. Thanks so much, Patty from a Big Ten campus
Your roommate is fortunate to have you. The real astrologers and clairvoyants (they have their fakes like everyone else) are for real, but with the following limitation...
Astrologers get their info from the stars, in other words, from the natural map of the moon, sun, and stars. Clairvoyants are fed from the spiritual world, but from the nether, or dark side of spirituality. On a natural plane, I would venture to say that your roommate is in danger. Don't worry, though; with G-d's help, she can beat the rap.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches us (see Likutei Moharan I, Torah 31), that when a person clings to pure and simple faith and thereby connects to G-d, he or she rises above nature and above the influence of the stars, since G-d is above nature.
Abraham, our forefather, the first Hebrew, and the founder of monotheism, was an amazing astrologer and clairvoyant. He could read the stars like we read the front-page headlines of a newspaper. He saw in the stars that he and his wife were not only destined to be childless, but that they even lacked the necessary physical apparatus for procreation. According to the Midrash, Hashem scolded Abraham, and told him to put aside the astrology and star-readings, and cling to simple faith. Abraham did just that, and became the father of Ishmael and Isaac, and the patriarch of great nations.
A non-Jewish person can also uplift himself above the influence of the stars simply by fulfilling the seven Noahide laws, namely: One, to believe in G-d; two, to refrain from any semblance of idol worship; three, not to engage in illicit sex; four, not to kill; five, not to steal; six, not to curse The Almighty, heaven forbid; and seven, to establish courts of justice. If your roommate is prepared to commit to these seven laws, and to spend at least twenty minutes (sixty is preferable, and a small price to pay for life and health) a day talking to G-d in her own words in what we refer to as hitbodedut, or personal prayer, she will uplift herself beyond the grasp of the dark side and the forces of nature, and I'm sure she'll live to bake gingerbread for her grandchildren.
I highly recommend that both you and your girlfriend read The Garden of Emuna.
Patty, promise me that you'll always steer clear of any shape or form of astrology, clairvoyance, and séances. I'll close with a blood-chilling story: Back in the Lebanon War of 1982, a squad of 12 Israeli paratroopers was drinking a late-night cup of coffee in the barracks. One was a clairvoyant, and organized a séance for his buddies. They ushered in the soul of their sergeant’s grandfather. The soul said, "Tomorrow, you guys will be joining me". One of the soldiers repented and recited psalms, pouring out his heart to Hashem until daybreak. When the sun rose, he broke out with hives and a terrible 104F fever, and was transferred to the infirmary. His buddies went on patrol, and their armored troop carrier was hit with four RPG shoulder missiles. All eleven died. The twelfth guy was wise enough to escape to Hashem's open arms, and was saved.
Penitence and prayer though, are more powerful than nature or any conventional weapons. So is faith - simple, innocent, and uncomplicated faith in G-d. Nothing in the world can happen against His holy will, and I'm sure He'll guard your roommate. Tell your roommate to take positive action, to cling to Hashem, and from this moment on, she doesn't have to worry anymore. Emuna is a brighter light than all the stars put together. Best wishes always, Lazer Brody