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17 posts from August 2010

A Breslever Birthday

Uman is a Breslever birthday.

If you ask a Breslever Chassid how old he is, he’ll answer “eight” or “ten” or “sixteen”, dependant on the number of times he’s been to Uman on Rosh Hashana. Everyone that participates in the Rosh Hashana gathering in Uman has a share in the Geula, the full redemption of our people.

Also in this week's issue of Breslev Israel web magazine, Clarifying Truth by Rav Shalom Arush. Your First Rosh Hashana, important advice for newcomers to Uman, by yours truly.

Top Ten for the Soul is a must-read on today's music, while The Sheitel Lady will surely make you smile.

It must be the Money is a candid piece of self assessment, while It's not A Competition gives vital tips about child-rearing.

Tzalaii's Trial is griiping Part 31 of Warriors of Transcendence, by Rabbi Erez Moshe Doron.

This week's Torah portion is Nitzavim-Vayelech.

This week is your last chance to send a Pidyon Nefesh to Rabbi Shalom Arush, if you'd like for him to pray for you in Uman this coming Erev Rosh Hashana.

Don't Waste Time!

With a week and a half left until Rosh Hashana, there is no time to waste. Our job now is national strengthening of emuna, while doing teshuva for our misdeeds and returning with all our hearts to Hashem.

Like we wrote last week, Hashem continues to take care of the worrying - that's His task. Another 5.9 Richter-scale earthquake - the third in a month - has jolted North Iran just yesterday. Hashem is also sending another black cat between rival Palestinian factions. Hashem is definitely doing His job; let's do ours!

Let Hashem Worry

It's not our job to worry, especially about things that are beyond our control.

Many alarmist commentators - who unfortunately haven't learned the ABC's of emuna - say that Israel can no longer strike the Bushehr Reactor without causing widespread radiation contamination to innocent neighbors.

Personally, I'm thrilled. I've never been in favor of a preeemptive strike against Iran, for any military victory would certainly have a Pyrrhic element to it, with thousands of civilian casualties on both sides, G-d forbid. If the war wouldn't be global, it would certainly ignite the entire Middle East.

So what do we do? Wait until Iran develops the A-bomb?

Again, it's not our job to worry, especially about things that are beyond our control. Hashem won't judge the Jewish People on Rosh Hashana for not initiating a preemptive strike against Iran. He will judge us for not doing what we are supposed to do, namely, strengthening our emuna, readjusting body-soul priorities and living more upright lives.

Rav Shalom Arush, my beloved teacher and spiritual guide, says - with a big smile on his face - that we have no need to worry about Iran. Why?

No bunker-buster bombs can penetrate more than a few meters of rock or concrete. But, an earthquake can run miles deep into the earth. During recent weeks, there have been two major earthquakes in Iran, weighing in at 5.7 and 5.8 on the Richter scale, with a half dozen lesser tremors. The one on July 31st was only a few miles from Bushehr.

Hashem is showing us that with a snap of His fingers, there'll no longer be a nuclear reactor in Bushehr; the price - teshuva. Yes, we won't have to fire a shot. And, if you're looking for a historical precedent, simply go back to 1991 when Hashem dismantled the entire USSR without firing a single shot.

Iran? It's out of our control and therefore not our worry. Teshuva? Yes, that's an immediate option and within the realm of our ability to choose. Let's put Iran aside and concentrate on teshuva. For everything else, let Hashem worry.

Oh, and if the Iranian saber-shakers threaten to make the ground tremble under our feet, remember that Hashem does a turn for a turn; wait and see how the ground shakes under the Bushehr reactor. Now put a smile on your face 'cause there's no need to worry...


The King Awaits You

With a little over 2 weeks left until Rosh Hashana, The King Awaits You. See also, Preparing to Meet The King.

Also this week on Breslev Israel weekly web magazine, a painful question: What do you do about A Spendthrift Wife?

The Coronation is Part 3 of Uman, Ashrenu. This week, you can also learn about The Best Teacher.

David Dome shares his Torah thoughts and his beautiful music in Becoming a Person.

The month of Elul also brings with it The Ultimate Battle.

Fire Mountain is Part 30 of Warriors of Transcendence.

Breslev Kids can enjoy Part 1 of Rebbe Nachman's Story of Trust. For the whole family, there's The Healer, our newest episode of The Baal Shem Tov - Early Years.

This week's Torah portion is Ki Tavo, so Be Happy! Blessings for a wonderful week.


Pidyon Nefesh is a very special and powerful prayer and blessing that has the spiritual strength of a sacrifice in the Bet Hamikdash to atone for sin and to mitigate severe judgments. The bigger and more pious the tzaddik, the more effective the "pidyon", which literally means "redemption", where one's money is literally a sacrifice for one's body and soul. The pidyon money "redeems" the nefesh, or soul, in other words, "Pidyon Nefesh." This is used when a major salvation is needed, such as in the case of a dangerous illness, a severe court case, or as a rescue from trouble or danger. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that Pidyon Nefesh is the "sweetening", or mitigation of harsh decrees and serves as a salvation from any trouble, for the main cure and solution of sickness is the pidyon (see Likutei Moharan II:3).

We strongly recommend sending a Pidyon Nefesh to Rabbi Shalom Arush, who'll pray for you in Uman on Erev Rosh Hashana.

A Test of Loyalties

Dear Rabbi Brody:

Mindy, my 12 yr old daughter from a previous marriage, recently decided to stop visiting with us (my wife and our 6-yr old daughter). For years, my ex has tried to turn Mindy against me and her efforts I'm afraid are bearing fruit. Ever since our divorce, my ex has been on a spiritual slide; as a result, Mindy is now attending public school (she used to go to an orthodox day school).

Strangely, Mindy still wants to stay in touch with my 6-yr old (and vice versa). However, we recently discovered that Mindy has been trying to turn the 6-yr old against her mother for some time now.

How would you approach this situation? I've been trying to arrange for counseling between Mindy and myself, but her mother has not been very cooperative. I'd like the girls to stay in touch, but not at the expense of turning the 6-year old against her own mother!

I'd be grateful for your guidance. Respectfully, J.D., Baltimore

Dear J.D.,

I've seen your scenario time and again amongst second marriages. It's a shame that divorcees use their kids (consciously or otherwise) as pawns on an emotional chessboard to fight their old battles. Nothing in the world is more selfish...

You have no choice - sometimes apparent cruelty is the epitome of kindness and apparent kindness is long-term cruelty. Save your money and your arguments. There's no point of going to family counseling with Mindy. You won't have an influence on her, especially since she lives with her mother. Today, your job is to show absolute loyalty and dedication to your wife and her daughter. Since conniving little Mindy is an accomplice to a conspiracy to wreck your home, from this moment on, Mindy must be persona-non-grata in your home. The real threat is to your current wife; you must show her that she comes first, above anybody and anything. As such, you will gain your wife's trust, love, and loyalty. Any good woman will repay love and loyalty tenfold.

Thank G-d, you wrote me at a critical time. Mindy would soon be having your daughter turn lights on during Shabbos. Do you want a 6-yr. old to hear what 12 year-old public school girls talk about? I don't think so.

Once Mindy sees that she can't mess around with her Pop - or with Pop's wife - she'll respect you triple. In a year or so, she'll be crawling on all fours to see you, and then you'll be able to dictate the terms.

J.D., I know this is painful, but if you're given a choice between Mindy and your wife, you must choose your wife. She's G-d's gift to you; stand by her at all costs. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that living in this world is a war, and sometimes in wars people get hurt. Remember the criticism of King Saul, who spared Agag, the Amalekite king, yet killed the Cohanim of Nob: If you're kind to the cruel, you end up being cruel to the kind. In the end, Mindy will come around. Meanwhile, as we say in the laws of charity, the members of your own household come first.

Blessings always, LB