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7 posts from September 2007

Going Higher

The biggest symphony of the year in the Chassidic neighborhoods of Ashdod is the harmony of hammers, buzz-saws, and power drills following Yom Kippur, as folks here begin building their Succas.

When it's all done, my neighborhood looks like this:


Having cleansed ourselves of sin on Yom Kippur (for those of us who begged Hashem for forgiveness), we're now preparing to dwell in the Succah, together with Hashem's Divine Presence. We're going higher!

In that vein, here's an exclusive Emuna Outreach clip featuring Elyon (Eliezer Kosoy and Yonason Hill) singing "Going Higher." Enjoy it.

Great Review for The Worry Worm


The Worry Worm characters: Uncle Fred, nephew Robbie, and the two worm sisters Wilma and Wendy. Illustration by Rebecca Shapiro.

The Worry Worm has received a wonderful review in the Jewish Press. Reviewer Yocheved Golani writes, "This first entry in the debuting Little Lazer series of emunah educational materials is a must-have for anyone who loves little ones, and is a lap-sized charmer for the whole family, classroom and pediatrician’s office." See the whole article here.

"Ma Lachem Lid'og?!" You Have Nothing to Worry About!

Now that Yom Kippur's over, once you've fasted and made your best effort to repent, don't worry any more about the outcome! Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said, "Ma lachem lid'og, you have nothing to worry about because I'm paving the way for you." Those of us who are connected to the tzaddik know that we must make our best effort, and leave the rest up to the tzaddik, who paves the way for our true and complete soul correction by helping us get closer to Hashem. I shudder to think where I'd be without my beloved Rebbe Nachman. With that in mind, grab your hammer and nails, put a big smile on your face, and start building your succa! Here's a niggun to help you get started:


It's no secret that Yosef Karduner is one of my favorite people on earth. Where could you ever find such a talented, world-famous singer and composer, yet so humble and so pious? Only under Rabbenu Nachman's wing...

Here we are singing "Mikimi" together, a segment of Psalm 113.

Simply Tsfat and Robbie Zev Ludwick in Baltimore

Recently, Breslov's magnificent Simply Tsfat trio played a gig in Baltimore. Here's a lively clip of them, reinforced by The Sinai Mountain Boys' Robbie Zev Ludwick (my youngest brother, for those new to the Beams) pictured at left playing the mandolin. As soon as you hit the button on the bottom left of the screen, you can start tapping your feet...


The Beams and Emuna Outreach want to take this opportunity to wish a jumbo-sized mazal tov to Simply Tsfat's Eliahu Reiter (above, right), who recently married his daughter off to Elimelech Ackerman of Jerusalem. Eliahu Reiter and I always get the chance to see each other in Uman, because he sits 2 rows behind me in the Kloiz, the main congregation where we both have permanent seats.

Hashem Listens, part 2

Nothing can serve as a substitute for Hashem's compassion. We resemble rich kids with a rich Father in Heaven Who created us in order to show us His compassion. Who is senseless enough to believe that such a Father won't answer our prayers? The truth is our prayers aren't answered because we don't believe in Him strongly enough, for if we really believed in Hashem, we would cry out to Him from the depths of our hearts!

So many people write me with problems in health, finances, peace in the home, and the like. I advise many of them to talk to Hashem for an hour a day. Many respond that they have no time! This is the reaction of a person who is a captive in the Yetzer's prison. How can anyone say that he or she has no time for Hashem?!? They have time for doctors, lawyers, psychologists, repairmen, matchmakers, accountants and employment agencies – just to name a few – but they have no time for Hashem? That's like the son of the rich man who walks around in rags: people say to him, "Why don't you ask your wealthy father for a few dollars?" The disheveled young man answers that he has no time.

Effective prayers are sincere and humble appeals for Hashem's mercy. We must come to the realization that we deserve nothing. Many people say to me, "I didn't ask to come down to this world – why should I have to pray?" According to the Zohar, you begged to come down to this world in order to receive your soul correction. A famous parable by the Maggid of Dubnov elaborates on this concept.

Continue reading here at BreslovWorld

Growing up fast, growing up strong


Friday afternoon, 5 PM: When much of Israel is taking a nap before Shabbat, 19 year-old David from B'nai Brak has his eyes and ears glued to the Jordan-Valley border crossing and surrounding area that he and his squad are responsible for. Thanks to Hashem and the young men of the Nachal Haredi, the rest of Israel can sleep soundly.

The ambulance with the red crescent and the Palestinian license plate looks suspicious. Two Nachal Haredi soldiers motion for the driver to pull over to side of the road and to get out of the vehicle. They order the driver to open the back door. Who knows what or who is inside and what or who will jump out. There's no such thing as routine and no such thing as relaxing a muscle. Last year, a Nachal Haredi sergeant was shot in the neck and killed on such duty by a Jihad Islami assassin. In the IDF, you grow up fast. If you add emuna, Torah, and prayer to your military training, you grow up fast and strong.

This past Shabbat, I met wonderful young men, strong in body and strong in soul. Before the army, many of them were still young and vacillating, unfocused on any goal whether yeshiva or profession. In the Nachal Haredi, they become full-fledged high caliber infantrymen while benefitting from the supervision of a dedicated staff of advisory rabbis that spend loads of time with them in every stage of their training and subsequent tours of duty.

In the 3rd year of service, a Nachal Haredi soldier gets his choice of studying for matriculation, learning a trade, or studying in a yeshiva. In addition, the Nachal Haredi has a special "Machal" unit that's comprised of young men from abroad. This past Shabbat, I met a dozen such young men. Many of them told me that they left their homes in Florida and New Jersey as babies - the Nachal Haredi changed all that.

If a young man isn't sure of what he wants in life, and he's not seriously learning Torah, then in my humble opinion, the Nachal Haredi is the best place in the world - a place to grow up fast and grow up strong.


What's in that trunk? One Nachal Haredi soldier examines the trunk of a Palestinian car while his sergeant (right)covers for him. No time to relax a muscle...