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Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.
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One thing about aging. If you work on yourself, you become more refined like fine wine. Ok, the cogs and wheels might get rusty and make some noise, but the living and learning never stops, and for this I am grateful. And as each year passes, I find myself trusting more and more in G-d. It is a liberating feeling.
We find ourselves now in the shmita year. This is the year where we, in Israel, make the land sit fallow, not working the earth, and giving it, its 7 year rest.
Vegetables that comply with the shmita laws are hard to find in the market place this year. My Shabbat and holiday dishes call for fresh cauliflower, fresh dill, pumpkin, Zucchini, etc. etc.
This last Shabbat, after all the vegetables from before Rosh Hashana ran out, I didn't have all the ingredients I wanted, to make the dishes my family and guests love. Instead of getting upset, throwing a dish, stomping on my kitchen floor and crying, I just said out loud, "Well, baruch Hashem (Blessed be The Name [G-d]) we have what we need. The carrots and frozen cauliflower will do. It may not be as I wanted it to be, but it is enough to prepare the dish for Shabbat."
Ok, so I won't have fresh parsley or red onions. I'll make due with dried parsley and white onions.
And now I want to get to the point of this blog piece....
We, who were brought up with Western values, watching the rich and the famous on TV, and living in a consumer based society, were always taught to want 'more'. A bigger house, a newer car, a newer, younger and prettier wife? ... and all that. The problem is, that there is no end to 'wants' and desires. "I want this, I want that", it never ends. There is always something else we will want. When we consider the flip side of the coin however, - what we NEED, ...well, there is a limit to THAT. A cap can be put on what the 'needs' of a human being are. G-d knows what we NEED - as a nation and as individuals. And thank G-d, He provides us in this world with just that. We humans may not divide the wealth of the earth up so well, so that all can eat and be housed, but the supplies are in stock on this planet, and G-d provides for us.
So, when is enough, enough? Should we always strive for more, to fulfill more of our desires? Should we choose to stay on this never ending treadmill, running and running for more and more? Or should we ask G-d to give us 'enough' to fulfill His will? Should we not recognize and be grateful, for what we have been blessed with, and after receiving 'enough', look to help others with the overflow of bounty?
"And God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: 'Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them, when you enter the land which I am giving to you, the land shall be at rest - a Shabbat unto the Lord. For six years you shall plant your field and for six years your shall prune your vineyard and you shall harvest its produce. But the seventh year shall be a Shabbat of rest for the land - a Shabbat for the Lord ...' (25:1-4)"
The Shmitta year teaches us just this, that we are to STOP all agriculture and take off a full year from tilling the ground and working the Land. What faith this takes! Unheard of, for a nation to stop agriculture for a full year! We must be crazy. And yet, this is exactly what G-d expects of us. And by us complying, shows utter faith in G-d.
We know that He will provide us with ENOUGH food for this next year, and more.
And we learn the important Torah lesson, that we should hope for 'enough', and throw out the Western treadmills which scream "more, more, more, more".
-And he's taking the kids. No amount of begging helped. I am alone in the house, and the quiet is... well, actually, I hear giggling and my husband's low voice telling stories, through my upstairs bedroom window which is right next to and above the Sukkah that we built for the Sukkot holiday. If I look out my bedroom window, through the palm branch roof of the sukkah, I can see slits of light from inside there shining through. I wonder what G-d thinks as he looks from above and sees His people sleeping in sukkot all over the Land of Israel. It must be a very beautiful site.
Our sukkah. Notice the green grass and our back yard's rock wall with a small water fall in the back. Old torn couches were brought in agaisnt the temporary wooden wall of the sukkah. My kids placed their mattresses on the grass inside our sukkah, and the table and plastic chairs will be pushed towards the other wall to make room for a few more sleeping bags.
This is the time of year that Jewish families go out to the sukkah to 'dwell'. Many men and children sleep there as well, and sometimes us mothers do too. My kids were ecstatic when I slept out there with them last year. Our sukkah at night turns into a 'wall to wall' sleep hall, with mattresses and old torn couches we use outside, on the grass. The kids think of it as an adventure. My husband is just a little less enthusiastic than the kids. He feels more spiritual sleeping under the stars.
Leaving the comforts of the home and baring the mosquitos and damp mornings is a small price to pay, to feel like a real Jew, connecting to the Land, the Torah and your nation. Me? I confess, I like having a mosquitoless sleep and having a nearby bathroom. Maybe I will sleep in the Sukkah this year again though, but how could I ruin the father-kid bond? heh heh --grin--
Talking about leaving the boundaries of the 'norm', this last week on my show, I interviewed Rav Eliezer Sachs. Rav Sachs has been working with an autistic young man named Binyamin Goldin. Binyamin communicates, as I stated in my last blog post, through 'facilitated communication' (FC). Binyamin seems to have some sort of ability to understand or see what is happening in the spiritual world and thus through FC is able to tell people in the physical world important messages.
Here are some interesting points to ponder of what Binyamin and others who are autistic are saying:
"Our world is really about to change."
"The war (of Gog and Magog) will soon begin, and we must prepare in Teshuva, (repentance). Work on every weak spot, return, do Teshuva.
Photo of Binyamin Goldin
Question: Is it possible to shorten the period of the harsh days?
Answer: No, it will soon begin. It will not be difficult for you if you are holding on to The Holy One Blessed Be He, don't be afraid of anything.
Tzaddikim (the Righteous) are not going to suffer.
Question: The white Russian bear is waking up, should we awaken Russian Jews to run away from there?
Answer: ...To awaken them is not a simple matter. There is something funny there; there are messengers that went there and enjoy being there, making money. But not everyone, God forbid. ...They are not so interested that everyone should return now. But truth is, we need to awaken them, but not in our way.
Question: What about American Jews?
Answer: The American Jews are so trapped, glued to materialism. To remove them from there is almost mission impossible. Whomever does not get out, at the end will understand that they need to get out. Oy to them, their fate will be with their nation.
....'the banks will be bankrupt (fall), money will not be worth anything...
The land (Israel) will not be destroyed... but complete countries will disappear from history, including their residents....
If, by this Rosh HaShana, Tishrei 5768, those will not do Teshuva (repentance) Oy to all...
This is the Day of Judgement, for the whole world, just as it is every year. But this year, we will reach the biggest changes, since our exit out of Egypt... Those that will not do sincere authentic Teshuva will disappear...
To hear this show, click HERE.
And so, on this holiday of Sukkot when we dwell in our sukkot, exposed to the elements, cold, heat and even missile attacks, may we let go of our materialism and appreciate the simpler life. May we move from our multi-bedroom houses to the warm and loving 4 walls of the Sukkah. May we give up the lavishness of the Exile, and trade it for the blessings and beauty of Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel).
It is still, as it is every day, the awesome time for tshuva (repentance). May we all merit it.
*** I've added and will be adding some photos of your sukkot. See below...
Old City of Jerusalem, The Sukkah of Gutman Locks. See his website: www.ThereIsOne.com
John and Gloria sitting in their Sukkah today, in Australia.
Ephraim's Sukkuzzi (double duties as a Mikvuzzi, too).
Daniel D.'s backyard sukkah, from the USA.
A. Rogers - A new immigrant to Israel. Maale Adumim.
The very talented artisit, Dr. Zvi Fenton, and his paintings on his sukkah wall, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem City Council Woman, Mina Fenton, in her sukkah with guests. Ehud Olmert is in the center (red shirt) and was the mayor of Jerusaelm at that time.
"My Sukkah with my children gracefully posing. All are invited!" Moshe Meir, San Carlos, California
H & E Bergstein sukkah outside their apartment, in Jerusalem.
Sukkah of Shlomo and Susie Benzquen on the front porch of their villa, Kochav Yaakov, Israel
Readers, send your photos in! I will post them. :-)
Below I have posted some fascinating video clips and news stories in brief:
Autistic child speaks of coming FINAL WAR.
Roadside bomb in Iraq video footage.
Get to know Jerusalem, a FUN historical quickie tour via video.
Autistic child speaks of coming FINAL WAR.
Below is an interesting email I received today about Facilitated Communication. It was sent to me by a previous guest of mine, Dovid Gross, who has a website reporting what autistics in Israel are saying. They apparently 'talk' to us using a method called, "Facilitated Communication". Some people claim that this method cannot be relied upon because it uses the hand of a facilitator, and their sub-conscious may influence the hand of the autistic. Others say that FC is an astonishing breakthrough, and is proven by the concise and original answers the autistics give. You can make up your own mind how you feel about FC. I am only passing on this information, as I know this will interest some of the readers here.
Below is an excerpt of the email I received:
My purpose in sending this email is
to share information with those who are
skilled at thinking "outside the box".
It is my hope we can all awaken in ourselves and in those around us
renewed dedication to doing acts of Kedusha (holiness), to help create more world stability.
This is especially important right now, as it appears the Israeli Army expects military trouble, Hashem Yishmor (G-d protect us):
...In the months preceding Rosh Hashana, the autisitic students who learn in
the Jerusalem special ed. school were unusually agitated, and were continually
giving warnings and messages about future global conflict.
Ben Golden ( a famous autistic here in Israel) gave a new message right before Yom Kippur.
The message was given over through a method called Facilitated Communication.
The process is explained on my site here
Over the years, the various messages from the autistics have had a similar loshon (language) and phrasing, which supports what the Amshenover Rebbe told me, that these messages are coming from a "nivrah ruchani" (spiritual origin) that has re'shut to speak, and it is coming to help those who will listen. The Rebbe told me to take them seriously, and told me it was proper to publicize them.
In the message you will read below, Ben lists the "players " in the expected war.
If you know the prophecies, these words are especially meaningful:
"All that was prophesized and written in the prophetic sefarim (books), are in 'standing position', ready for action.
Iran is Paras,
Iraq is Babel,
America is Edom,
Europe is Edom...."
Yhi Ratzon, Hashsem should save us from the terror of a major war like Gog uMagog.
But all indications are, that the world is very close to something very frightening.
To read in English what this autisitc person, Binyamin Golden said, click here: THE LAST WAR : Our world is really about to change. It may frighten you, but it may save you and your family.
Roadside bomb in Iraq video footage.
This was a really fascinatig video someone sent me of an IED that went off in Iraq. Watch it, it's only about 10 seconds long and is of good quality.
Get to know Jerusalem, a FUN historical quickie tour via video.
This video was done by two very talented people I know. Watch this short video clip about Jerusalem's Old City and pass it on to others. Check out the other videos on the website this came from called, Israeli Living. (Don't click on photo, as the link is not working properly) CLICK HERE TO WATCH
Plus: All those who sent me ONLY IN ISRAEL STORIES in a previous post, are WINNERS! Please email me your names and snail mail addresses so I can send you off a prize. My email address is in the upper right hand column. Thanks for your 'Only In Israel' story contributions! Shana tova, Tamar
Yesterday I went with my husband to visit someone in the Ashkelon prison. Well, actually, I went shopping at a nearby strip mall. My husband went into the prison itself. I wasn't allowed to go in and see Jeffrey, the Hillbilly I interviewed once on my radio show, who made aliyah. (He's in prison for bringing his gun he had in the USA, into Israel, without first registering it and getting permission.) For some reason, according to Jeffrey, the Shabak(Israel's Security Service), has barred me from visiting Jeffrey. Only my husband can go in.
Am I such a dangerous person that the Shabak won't let me see Jeffrey? Hmmm. Anyway, the drive to the prison is over an hour away from our home, so I continue to accompany my husband on the trip.
I feel bad about not being able to visit with Jeffrey. However, I have to admit, I always feel so dirty after going to the prison. The police frisk you, and I mean, they really feeeeeeeeeeel you out. Even though they are female cops, it is extremely uncomfortable and icky as they rub their hands all over your body in places you would normally slap a person if they touched you there. So, I got to miss 'that part' yesterday. It was ok with me. More than ok. Yeech! Instead, my husband dropped me off just before the turn off to the prison, and I looked around at some shops. I figured I could visit the Ace Hardware store and see if they had any plastic chairs to purchase for our Sukkah.
After my husband finished his visit with Jeffrey (he has maximum another year and a half more to serve) he picked me up and away we headed back for home via Jerusalem. On the trip back, we passed a road sign for Sderot. You know Sderot. That's the city in the news because they have thousands of Kassam rockets slamming into their homes, schools, and places all over their pockmarked city.
A school with a protective covering over it to protect it from Kassam rockets.
I had been to Sderot a few times already in the recent past, but my husband suggested we detour and take a ride there, do some shopping (I didn't buy any plastic chairs in Ashkelon) and help support them in their time of need.
And so, away we went, about a 15 minute detour, but the roads were beautiful country/farm land roads. Here's a short clip I took with my cell phone for you.
I looked at my husband and told him, I AM NOT scared, but you know that we both can die if a kassam missile is shot at us. (When I went to Sderot the last few times, I went with the A-7 crew, not my other half, so I knew my kids would have one parent left if anything were to happen, but this time we were a 'two for one' kassam bargain). He said he knows, but he wants to go and support them.
We ended up shopping in a few stores, and dropped a little over $50. Not a lot, but it was a spur of the moment shopping, and they didn't have the plastic chairs I was looking for.
We ran into a wonderful shop keeper where we dropped most of our money. He was a 70 year old man, a war veteran of the 6 Day War, and won a very special award for his brave and heroic service in defending us from the Egyptian army. He has a small hardware and 'chachka' store. He told us, that when he bought the store way back when, he purchased it for 13 lirot. You have to be an old time Israeli to appreciate that.
Scattered chaotically around Sderot are newly placed portable bomb shelters to shield against missile attacks. This one (above) is near the entrance to Sderot.
And this one here closer to the center says, "We are not 'soog bet' (second rate)." And, "Is our blood different than yours?"
Now, back home, the holiday of Yom Kippur, The Day Of Atonement, is looming ahead. I know this is a holiday which shows us how much G-d loves us, that he will forgive our sins against him if we fast and approach Him with true, sincere repentance, then why I am still so scared and dreading the day? It?s not just the fast, it?s the standing and standing in shul (synagogue), with nothing to distract me like a movie, or a good book, or just working at the computer, to make the fast pass quicker. It is a time of intense prayer, deep introspection, and much soul work. It is exhausting physically as well as emotionally. We beat our chests as we confess all the sins we have committed. We know that the gates of Heaven are closing as we recite the Neila prayer. We realize that Hashem, G-d, is writing in the book of life, who will live, who will die? It's actually very daunting. I am speaking from the point of view of a simple Jew, not a great mystic.
For us peon Jews, even though Yom Kippur is a gift to us from G-d, and we come away from it feeling relieved, hopeful, and strengthened, the ordeal is just so scary. And it doesn't matter how old I get. At 47, I should know better, and I actually do. But the child-like fear I probably will forever harbor is still eating at me, and scares me more than the Kassams.
Yes, I am being unbelievably vulnerable. I admit it. Yom Kippur scares the eebie-geebies out of me. But this is the time of year to be truthful, confess, tackle the truth of our lives, and overcome the hurdles. Am I alone on this, or are some of you reading this feeling the same thing? We know intellectually that Yom Kippur is a wonderful and loving gesture from G-d. But still.... I shudder.
This year, I shall overcome my hurdles. I shall fast like I always do. I shall stand in synagogue as my legs are killing me <grin>, I shall face my sins, pray to G-d that He forgive me, and pray that He gives me the tools and the strength to serve Him better in the future. And like usual, I shall come out of Yom Kippur, a better person, having lived and learned, and refined myself. I will be happy that I lasted the whole time, I will feel hopeful and clean spiritually. I will realize that the fast really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and I will be happy.
And then I will think to myself, "My brothers and sisters in Sderot had to fast, stand in shul, pray all day, AND have the threat of Kassam missiles crash into them."
You know, we really don't have it so bad.
Yitzhak Fanger was a typical secular Israeli guy. His story though, is anything but.
Yitzchak grew up in the center of the country and after graduating from high school, he went to serve in the IDF. His life took a very interesting turn a few years later, and I was interviewing him as he shared his story with me and my listeners on my radio show.
Rav Yitzchak Fanger
After finishing his army service, Yitzchak was going to make his way out in the world. He decided to learn Reiki (a Japanese technique for healing administered by ‘laying on hands’). After taking courses and excelling in his new trade, his Reiki teacher urged him to go to the Far East to learn to be a
Reiki Master and return to be the top teacher in Israel.
Fanger listened to his teacher and traveled to India. There he pursued more learning and became heavily involved in Buddhism. He became a Buddhist priest and was encouraged to go for an extended stay at a type of monastery or solitary retreat for Buddhist priests up in the mountains. There, one was forbidden to speak, their task was to concentrate on mediation, yoga, and to try to reach nirvana. The only work they had to do at the retreat was gardening. Gardening was very important, as they grew their own food.
A few months went by and Yitzchak was well into his daily routine of meditation, yoga, gardening, - and not talking. One might imagine that it would be difficult not to speak for months on end, especially for a Jew from Israel. Yitzchak was getting antsy. He had an urge to talk, to hear his own voice, and the feeling was bubbling up inside him that he felt he was going to burst. The urge got so strong, that Yitzchak ran away, far from ear shot of the retreat and the other Buddhist monks. He arrived at a brook a distance away, and all of a sudden, words came pouring out of his mouth. He couldn’t stop rambling off speech. The amazing thing was, that the first words that he had spoken after months of silence, ---was his Bar Mitzvah portion from the Torah.
Yitzchak was shocked. Why did THOSE words come out of him? He didn’t identify with his Judaism, in fact, he hated the religious people, especially those from the near by city where he grew up, Bnei Brak. Bnei Brak was full of religious Jews and he had a prejudice towards ‘them’ and that place.
Yitzchak was now 26 years old, he had carved out a path for himself, and was happy about his experiencing this new spirituality. Judaism was a long way away, and had not thought about his Bar Mitzvah since he was 13. He was stunned that the words he read from the Torah on his Bar Mitzvah should be the first words out of his mouth after his long silence.
Yitzchak released the built up pressure from within him after his outburst near the brook. He headed back for camp, and decided to put the incident behind him.
One evening, a few days after the occurrence at the brook, Yitzchak was ready to retire for the night and crawl into his sleeping bag in the small room he was given. But he kept having a feeling that someone or ‘something’, was in his room. It was a bad feeling, and being an Israeli, he decided to himself, “Mishane makom, mishane mazal” – “change the place you are at, and you will change your luck/destiny”. And so, Yitzchak decided to take his sleeping bag from his room, and sleep underneath the stars that night. As he reached for his sleeping bag, a scorpion jumped out from the part of the sleeping bag where his head was supposed to be. He realized then, that he could have been killed by that scorpion, and that his instinct not to sleep in his room where his bag lie, was not just a fortunate premonition, but that someone, or something, was watching over him.
About a week later, in the evening, after practicing his meditation, the candle in Yitzchak's room went out. He went to search for more candles in his bag, when he found a card with Hebrew print on it. It was then that Yitzchak remembered that when he was at Tel Aviv’s (Lod) Ben Gurion Airport, a Hassidic Jewish man was passing out cards to people, and handed Yitzchak one as well. The card had some type of prayer, or text from the Torah on it. Yitzchak asked the man what he should do with it, and the man said, just keep it with you, it will protect you. So Yitzchak shrugged his shoulders and then stuffed it in his bag, quickly forgetting about it.
After finding the card in his bag, Yitzchak got an itchy feeling. It was then that a small still voice came from within him and said, “Why don’t you meditate on something in Hebrew, all the time you have been meditating on words in Japanese, try concentrating on the words on this card in Hebrew.”
He thought, "Ok, let's see what happens". He held the card and read one of the lines written there. “Shemah Yisrael, Hashem Elokaynu, Hashem Echad”. It was the 'Shemah' prayer (Hear oh Israel, The Lord our G-d, The Lord is One).
Meditating on this line, Yitzchak repeated it over and over again like a mantra. “Shemah Yisrael, Hashem Elokaynu, Hashem Echad”. ...Suddenly, he started to tremble, and a light bulb went off in his head. No, - it was more like an inner explosion. Yitzchak had a burst of spiritual enlightenment. He had found a treasure! “Yes, of course!” he said. “Yes, The Lord is our G-d, the Lord is one. YES! YES! YES! I want to know more about this. This is truth!"
Yitzchak looked at his surroundings, the bare wooden hut where he had spent so many months, the foreign looking landscape and geography. It was not where he was supposed to be. No one here, not one of these monks, could teach him about G-d. He decided that the very next morning, he was going to pack his things and leave immediately for Israel. Home.
After arriving in Israel and back at his parent’s house, Yitzchak was hungry to learn about Judaism and what the Torah said. He saw an advertisement in the paper that there would be a lecture given on Judaism, with ample time for questions and answers.
Almost immediately after his return from India, he found himself listening to a rabbi explaining basic Jewish concepts and a little bit of Jewish mysticism. But Yitzchak’s hunger wasn’t satisfied. He went the following weekend to a Shabbat program held at a hotel, for Jews who wanted to learn more about G-d. Yitzchak was a person who needed logic and scientific explanations. He liked the way in which the rabbis were explaining and proving through intellectual discourse, the existence of G-d.
The lecture schedule went from first proving that G-d existed, to the revelation at Sinai, and then to the conclusion that if A was true, and B was true, then C was also true, and that we must observe the Torah and mitzvoth (commandments) that G-d gave us.
Yitzchak made a decision after that weekend, and his past quest for truth and enlightenment… that he was going to become a ‘baal tshuva’, a returnee to Judaism, a religious Jew.
When he broke the news to his parents, his mother went ballistic. “You’re going to be religious and then you are going to leave me”, she cried. “How can you do this to me”, she sobbed. Yitzchak reassured her that there was no reason to cut himself off from his family just because he wanted to be religious, and that she was imagining things and should calm down. Ironically, the fact that he came off the plane in orange pajamas with a bald head didn’t seem to phase anyone, but the fact that he would start wearing a Yarmulke on his head put people into a stir. <grin>
Soon after, Yitzchak rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He opened up his own Reiki center and school for Reiki. He taught students, lectured around Israel, and took in private patients. He was indeed THE rieki master of Israel, and he was doing very well financially. He bought a nice car, a beautiful home, and one day, his mother, who was doing his bookkeeping, called Yitzchak on the phone and told him that according to her latest calculations, Yitzchak was a millionaire! Things were going very well for Yitzchak. He was keeping the Sabbath, wearing a kippah, keeping more and more mitzvoth, and he was content. Things were wonderful, and his business was thriving.
One day, after lecturing to a group of Haredi women about Reiki, and hoping that they would want to sign up for his courses he gave, he ran into trouble. After his presentation, one of the women from the audience came up to him and asked him if this ‘reiki’ was ‘kosher’. Yitzchak, answered her that of course it was kosher. After all, one doesn’t eat reiki. What could be wrong with it?
The woman said, just to be sure, if you want us to sign up for your courses, please go to our rabbi and ask him to give you a letter that this ‘reiki’ is kosher, then we’ll be willing to do it.
Yitzchak did as the woman asked. He made an appointment with the well respected rabbi and asked him for a letter saying that reiki was ‘kosher’. The rabbi wanted to know exactly what reiki was. Yitzchak explained that reiki was based on the idea of an unseen "life force energy". This energy force would flow through him to his patient, as he concentrated on the word – ‘Rei’ which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy." The rabbi, understanding that many of the eastern and oriental healing methods were based on avodah zarah, -calling on foreign gods, and therefore 'reiki' was ‘unclean’. He told Yitzchak that he was unable to give him a letter saying that this was kosher.
Yitzchak did a double take, then leaned towards the rabbi and said, “But rabbi, you don’t understand, this reiki is my profession, it’s how I make my living. You HAVE to give me a letter saying this is kosher. The rabbi repeated that he was unable to give a stamp of approval for this, as it stemmed from avodah zarah, (idol worship) and thus was not kosher.
Yitzchak was floored. He was stunned beyond belief. He went home in a daze. His world was spinning out of control, and he was feeling sick to his stomach. As he opened up the door to his home, he threw himself on his couch and started to cry like a baby. He was heaving sobs from the depths of his soul. He was broken. He was bewildered, and he did not know what he was going to do. On one hand, he was the reiki master of Israel, a millionaire, and his years of learning and practicing reiki had become his identity. It was WHO HE WAS. Yitzchak was a reiki master. What would he be without it?
On the other hand, Yitzchak had a deep belief in G-d now. He had discovered the truth and he wanted to cling to G-d, Torah and the commandments. What should he do?
After his sobs subsided, Yitzchak Fanger lifted his eyes towards the heaven, and said to G-d, “My G-d, I have never asked you for anything. But I am asking you for something now. I am telling you with firm conviction, I WILL GIVE UP my reiki. But I want a promise from You, that YOU WILL NOT GIVE UP on me!”
With that, Yitzhcak picked up the phone, and dialed his mother. “Ima”, he said, “Right now, I want you to cancel all my appointments, cancel all my lectures, cancel all my courses, and all my patients. I am closing down my reiki center.”
A scream came on from the other end of the phone. “Yitzchak, are you mad? You are a millionaire! You are so successful! You cannot mean it!” But Yitzchak stood firm.
I broke into Yitzchak’s story, because I told him his mother may have been upset as well, because in essence, he was firing her. He laughed and said that everything had worked out for the best.
I asked Yitzchak how he was doing now, years later. He told me, “Tamar, I am a millionaire today. I have six children, each worth more than millions to me. I have a wonderful loving wife, we live a religious life and we are so very happy. And do you know what, Tamar? My parents are very happy now as well. They see how well I treat my wife, how wonderful she treats me and the children, and they are so happy. In fact, my own children do not know that my parents are not religious. Whenever my parents come to visit us, my mother comes with her hair covered, and my father puts on a kippah. In addition, my parents had their kitchen kashered, (made their kitchen kosher) so that whenever we go to visit them, we can eat there. Yitzchak added to me as an aside, “And you know what? My beautiful wife just happens to be from Bnei Brak, the city that I had so much hatred for.” Things are looking up, and Yitzchak’s younger brother has also now returned to Torah and mitzvoth as well. His parents couldn’t be happier.
Yitzchak Fanger learned much from his experiences. Today, he is a Haredi rabbi. He is now trying to develop a system that uses some of the basics of reiki, and yet does not call for concentrating on foreign names of god.
I was very impressed and touched by Yitzchak Fanger,, and how everything turned out for his family. What made the biggest impression on me was his sacrifice for his beliefs. This man, who was a self made millionaire through his expertise and hard work, gave it all up for Hashem (G-d).
What strength that took, because it wasn’t only the money he gave up, but his identity, how he defined himself. What strength and commitment that took, what utter faith in G-d. And I ask myself, and ask all of you who are reading this….
What are we willing to give up for G-d? What do we have in our lives that needs changing, or giving up, to help us serve G-d better?
Are we partaking in bad habits that hurt our health and service to Him?
Are we engaged in frivolous activities that are taking us away from what we should be doing?
Should we stop smoking, kick the TV out, stop visiting the pubs and night clubs? What is it that we need to do this Rosh HaShana, from now on, to make ourselves at least as worthy as this once secular guy from Tel Aviv?
What are WE willing to give up for G-d?
Wishing you all a sweet, happy, and healthy new year!
I just received the links to download or listen to this show. Here they are below: