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6 posts from February 2007

The World mourns Erez, ob"m

The volume and quality of email I received during the last 24 hours is a tribute to the sacred memory of Erez Levanon, of blessed and saintly memory. Please forgive me for not answering all the condolence messages personally, but rest assured that with Hashem's help, I will personally present them to the Levanon family later today.

Erez was a true Breslever - a man of devotion, peace, faith, and joy. He wouldn't have wanted us to be rattling the sabers of revenge or to adopt the jargon of our Ishmaelite neighbors that live by the sword. In that spirit, I want to share with you a lovely letter that I received from my esteemed friend, one of America's leading graphic artists and illustrators, Baruch (Ken) Becker from California:

Dear Rabbi Lazer,

I listened to the short eulogy you posted on 'Beams yesterday, and I was moved to tears and shame - tears for a tzaddik we all really need (whether we knew him or not), and shame for the, at times, extreme carrying on about my troubles.  What reached me about your eulogy was that where I, and many others, were justifiably outraged and angry at this crime, you, someone who actually knew Erez, communicated nothing but love and pain.  Your past as a secular military commando would certainly invite feelings or ideas of some creative ways to respond to these butchers. Rabbi Lazer, this is the first time I've ever truly experienced someone who embodied a beautiful tranquility, even in the face of so horrible an act.  Again, I was ashamed. Feelings of "we can't let them get away with this" create distance between ourselves and Erez, ourselves and Hashem, and are ultimately selfish thoughts obsessing only on "what I can do about my pain to those people who did this..."  By the time we come out of our craze, we have left both Hashem and Erez far behind.

Blessings to you and prayers for the family of Erez Levanon, that they may be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.


We miss you, Erez


illustration by Rivi Reiner of Jerusalem

No, this is not an Emuna News article; it's not timely either, because Erez was killed on Sunday and buried on Monday. My brain is still numb. The lump in my throat won't go away. I can barely see the keyboard through the tears. I never did learn how to refrain from crying when the true tzaddikim leave this world, especially those that were so close to my heart.

Erez wasn't a person - he was a universe. He was the epitome of everything beautiful - the Land of Israel, the settlement of Bat Ayin, the Judean Hills, Rebbe Nachman's teachings, Judaism, Jewish outreach, brotherly love, humility, holiness, Chassidism, and the mellow strains of a sublime guitar.

Erez devoted his life to Hashem, to Rebbe Nachman, and to Jewish Outreach. He spent the last seven summers roaming the boondocks of India looking for lost Jewish souls that he could bring back to the fold with the magnetism of his ever-so-gentle personality and sweet guitar.

Words defy description of the evil that could extinguish such an exquisite candle. Erez was murdered while talking to Hashem in personal prayer, at one of his favorite spots for hitbodedut. People ask, "Why?"

Since we don't have the Holy Temple and ritual sacrifices that atone for our sins, Erez of blessed and saintly memory was undoubtedly taken as a flawless sacrifice for all of Israel. We are therefore required - wherever we may be - to mourn his death.

As a martyr who was killed in the sanctification of Hashem's name, Erez shall reach the loftiest portals of Heaven. May he intercede for all of us, amen. Baruch Dayan Emes.

Hear Lazer's mini-eulogy of Erez Levanon ob"m, to the touching background music of Erez singing his exquisite song, Lev ve'Maayan, The Heart and the Spring.


Misty's Story

Shalom Rabbi Brody,

I was very excited to read your article on bipolar one. I, too, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in January, 2001. Almost a year ago HaShem brought me to Torah. I no longer have depression or manic episodes. It is an amazing, immediate cure. I have been holding down two jobs for almost a year now, which is impossible for manic depressives. HaShem has also given me custody of my children since then. HaShem has sustained me through traumas in an amazing way.  He has given me a new life through His Torah. HaShem is truly an awesome G-d. 

I am very honored that you asked to reprint my story. I have been through a lot. I have been in two abusive marriages which produced three beautiful children. As my second marriage came to an end in March of 1999, my ex-husband took my children when they were spending the night with him and eventually manipulated his way to getting custody of them. I was devastated and pretty much lost my mind. In January of 2001, I took 500 nerve pills. I laid in the bathroom floor 12 hours before anyone found me to call the rescue squad. I was first taken to a small hospital in the town I lived in and they couldn't handle it so I was taken to a hospital in a bigger city about an hour away where I was in a coma for two days. The doctor said the Zyprexa alone should have killed me. I took Ativan, Tranxene, Trazadone, Wellbutrin and Zyprexa.  I was in the psychiatric ward for one week where I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I started using methamphetamine and stayed on it for about five years. Actually, today is my one year anniversary for being drug free. HaShem took me out of that situation and reunited me with my wonderful family and began restoring my life. 

Clinging to HaShem gave me the strength to fight for custody of my children which I won in June of 2006. This coming Saturday will be one year since I started going to Synagogue with my sister.  Shortly thereafter, I became Torah observant.  When HaShem brought me to Torah, He began restoring everything in my life. He sent me to a wonderful drug rehab where I met an awesome counselor who now counsels my son. He has provided me with a house, a car, my driver licenses, two jobs, a wonderful, supportive family, wonderful friends and countless other things. It has been an awesome journey.

The traumatic experiences have helped me the most in realizing that everything comes by the hand of G-d and that somehow it is what's best for everyone involved. He has sustained me in a way that I could have never imagined. That's the short version of my story. Thank you for allowing me to help others with what G-d has done for me. To Him be all the praise and the glory. Shalom. Love and Blessings,

Misty from the USA

Emuna Outreach at the IAF


Israeli Air Force F-16 jet fighter

I just now received a few photos from my recent January 21st visit with Israeli Airmen, with whom I spoke about implementing Israel's most secret and cogent weapon - emuna.


Lazer with IAF ground crewman after our recent emuna lectures in the Israeli Air Force.

The above photo is my favorite Emuna Outreach photo so far from 2007. It says everything. The photo below is with a group of dedicated airmen that are Hashem's messengers that help us all sleep soundly at night.


Photos courtesy of Israeli Air Force.

Sonogram Survivor


This cute little three-and-a-half year old is named Yosef Chaim. His Dad was in my neighborhood earlier today buying a Purim costume for Yosef Chaim, so he brought him over to say high to "Uncle Lazer"; although I'm not really his uncle, I was the sandek (godfather) at his brit. That was quite a story...

When Yosef Chaim's mom was in her 5th month, the doctors did an Ultrasound (sonogram); they told her that her baby was badly deformed and that she had to abort. Yosef Chaim's dad gave me a frantic call; the real danger to Yosef Chaim's mom was the scare that the silly doctor gave her. I told them no way - the baby stays and with Hashem's help will be AOK. In short, the only deformed part of our story is the doctor's judgment.

Today, Yosef Chaim already knows his aleph-bet. He's a scrumscious little ball of joy that will undoubtedly grow up to serve Hashem in piety like his wonderful parents. Were it up to the doctors, little Yosef Chaim would have been murdered before he saw his first sunrise.

The Yosef Chaims of my life make everything worthwhile; thank G-d, there are several dozen of them in Israel alone. What breaks my heart are all the doctors' mistakes that my brothers-in-arms and I don't know about, and the naive or unsuspecting parents that don't ask an experienced rav before they let the doctors murder their children.

Read more about sonograms here

Peace in the Home


David Dome after one of his pastimes - hitbodedut, personal prayer out in the field

My extra special friend, David Dome from London, writes:  "...I can't tell you what a profound effect your CD Peace in the Home has had on me and my marriage. I feel so much more appreciation for the gift that Hashem has given me - my wife. Like the CD says, I've experienced a feeling of completeness, or as much as is possible in this physical world; it's just so calming...there aren't words to really describe it. I think the connection one has to his wife is directly proportional to the connection one has with Hashem. I want to share with you the song that your CD inspired - the words and melody came together during hitbodedut..."

An exquisite soul sings exquisite songs.

Peace In The Home
I have  learned my wife is the mirror to me
Reflecting back what I give, the other side to me.
So if  I go off upside my head, selfishly
Not only do I hurt her, I'm hurting me.
This generation,  it's so easy to dim your light
Stay in denial and never smile, looking for a fight .
I'm gonna step back, count to three and clear my head
Give her some light to her instead .
I won't take for granted the gift H-shem gives
Every day of my life.
A house, a home, the moon in the sky
And the light in her eyes...reflecting mine .
May they continue to shine.
So that I see the real me
I'll count to three and I'll love her instead.
Oh well , I'm up and I'm down...sometimes it gets so hard
Keeping my head when I'm dealt a difficult card .
Emuna tells me that it's for the best , it's all for the best,
So I'm just gonna count to three and love her instead.
Oh boy , we men have got a lot to learn
So many blockages and barriers to burn.
Open our hearts to receive the divine light
When I go off the rails.....I'll listen to my wife .
I won't take for granted the gifts H-shem gives
Every day of my life .
A house, a home,  the moon in the sky
And the light in her eyes...reflecting mine
May they continue to shine
So that I see the real me
I'll count to three and I'll love her instead.
If I want peace in the world I'd best start at home .
If I want peace in the world I'd best start at home .

You can hear David singing "Peace in the Home" right here:

Peace in the home....

There's no reason why you can't have peace in your home too. It all starts with a desire to succeed, and a 60-minute CD that will change your life for the better. Ask David Dome.