I’d like to thank Hashem for giving me a great idea during an hitbodedut session which no man should do without. To listen to Emuna CDs while sweeping or mopping the floor and helping my wife out around the house. She loves it that I help her and the fact that I’m listening to Torah while I’m doing it makes me forget that I’m cleaning for Shabbos. Then, I iron my clothes and vacuum the rooms with a smile, all while listening to 1½ – 2 hours of Emuna lessons!!! What a great way to help around the house, keep shalom bayit and study Torah; especially on Friday afternoon where the yezter (evil inclination) is the strongest for a war. Not in my house! I would strongly recommend it to all the men out there. They'll become winners many times over. Thanks, N from Miami
As I sat down this afternoon to listen to the Emuna CD I received in the mail today entitled Help!, my mother mistook your voice for the sound of birdsong. She actually thought I was listening to an audio recording of birds in nature! It then occurred to me, it must be that when a Jew prays or encourages others to pray for the benefit of The Jewish people as a whole, his or her prayers become as beautiful to HaShem as the sounds of birds singing on a spring afternoon. I guess that applies to any time someone speaks to HaShem, but perhaps especially when the prayers are selfless in nature, for the benefit of others, thus helping to hasten The Geula.
Thank you for your beautiful birdsong-like voice and for helping to draw others to HaShem, so their unique melodies can be heard by their Creator. Yours always, Dennis, USA
Our friend Logan is a college student in New Jersey.
Hello Reb Lazer,
I wanted to tell you something that happened to me a couple weeks ago. I go to a secular college in New Jersey and there is very little Jewish presence on campus. I am the only one I've ever seen on campus with a kippa and tzitzit. In short, I stick out like a sore thumb. This has never resulted in any altercations or conflicts (B'Chasdei Hashem!) which initially was a concern considering how many people identifying as Palestinian are present on campus. In fact, it's kept me quite conscientious of how a Jew should act in public for fear of potentially creating a defamation of Hashem's Name.
In any case, as I was leaving my final exam a couple weeks ago, a non-Jewish man in my class walked over to me and said something very moving. He called me aside and said:
"You know. It's really great to have a Jew in my class. I don't know what the problem with the rest of the world is with Jews. I was somewhere where there was a lot of conflict between non-Jews and Jews once and I told them, 'Why are you hating on the Jews? Don't you know that we're blessed through them?' I'm a Christian but I know that Judiasm is the true source of everything. People need to realize that."
I thanked him and said that I wish more people could have such positive feelings about Jews. Reb Lazer, this man came to me unsolicited to remind me of a special mission I have in the world as a Jew: to be a conduit of Hashem's loving grace on the world. While the Yetzer was trying to viciously attacking my mind with worry about final exams here was a messenger of Hashem encouraging me in such an unlikely place.
Just thought you might like that story. Warmly, Logan Singman, W. Orange, NJ
The following letter is very special, from one of our non-Jewish friends. Emuna is for everyone, for every human being has a share in The Almighty.
Dear Rabbi Lazer,
At a very difficult time in my life, a cross-roads if you will, I seem to have been led to watch Prayer for Fortitude after just finishing Garden Of Emuna...
Due to my own selfish past I managed to hurt many that I love and that love me, as well as myself. After walking away from a great career, a family, home, all my funds, I became a drug addict and eventually ended up on the streets. By the grace of G-D, and family members who would not give up on me, I got up, dusted myself off, and turned my back on that destructive life. It has been two years now. I still have little worldly possessions to show for turning towards the "Light". It is very difficult at times, but in some way, with no worldly to hide behind, I am beginning to feel a sense of knowing and inner strength. A strength I was not aware of in the past.
I was baptized a Christian, and my Dad was a minister. For so many years I turned my back on G-D and all religion. Yet for some reason, G-D did not turn his back on me. I suppose this is what is meant by Unconditional Love. I don't see myself as a religious person, but I do know, beyond a shadow of doubt that G-D is Real, and G-D is Light and G-D is Love.
In addition to Prayer Of Fortitude, I recently finished reading Garden of Emuna. They have both given me a new focus and understanding. I now understand that the "wholeness" that I seek, can only be achieved through acts of kindness to others. It is like an echo if you will. One act of kindness for another can echo to another and another and so on.... And in return, it fills us with hope, faith, healing, gratitude and wholeness.
I simply wanted to say Thank You, Lazer Rabbi. I never would have guessed that I would be led back to our Father in Heaven through a Rabbi. Funny, I suppose G-D truly works in mysterious ways. Peace be with you. Ben from the USA
"Yikach MaShe'Yikach" means "it takes what it takes", but we'll get there in the end. An ancient people isn't afraid of a long road.
Some folks think ancient isn't cool. My good buddy and Breslev's rock & roller Adi Ran is a prime example of a generation that was born far away from any morsel of spirituality and holiness, but that has discovered that the ancient is really cool - a lot more than anything doing on the side of the fence where they came from.
Adi Ran is only one example of a long list of Israel's leading performing artists that have made come back to their roots in recent years. For a Beam's Weekend treat, here's a unique clip from one of Adi's live performances, when he sang "Yikach MaShe'Yikach". I can't even begin to tell you the acrobatics we did to obtain this clip, but I have to thank Breslev Israel's General Director Yosef Nechama and Chaim Chazin of Indik Productions for letting us use this on the Beams. Here we go...
People often ask me what's wrong with casual smoking of hash or marijuana. I'll tell you what's wrong – these "light" substances are, to a certain extent, even more dangerous than heavy substances, because the problems they pose are not immediately obvious. A heroine addict is not likely to marry, and if he does, it probably won't be an orthodox Jewish marriage. But a person who smokes marijuana appears to function normally. He usually holds down a job and gets married. Yet he will be greatly challenged in attaining Shalom Bayit, (marital harmony), may have greater difficulty in educating his kids properly, and find it almost impossible to serve Hashem (God), with his entire heart. The marijuana eventually affects his brain, and he may even reach a point where a joint takes precedence over his wife and children – and even Hashem! Marijuana causes people to become lethargic, lose their initiative, shirk responsibility. Basically, it causes people to lose their ability to function properly. Ultimately, they become slaves to a vicious master – their habit.
People who are slaves to their habits give the habit precedence over all else. As a result, they may behave cruelly and take extreme measures to fulfill their lusts, even to the point of letting their wives and children go hungry. Alcoholics are known to be self-indulgent; even when they don't have the money to pay the electric bill, they come up with money to purchase beer and wine.
Addicts – even functional ones, whether hooked on alcohol or drugs – see only themselves. They are the arch-prototype of egotists. Whenever I encounter a married substance abuser, I tell him categorically – it's either your wife or your habit. You can't have both. A wife needs a husband who's a giver – addicts are takers. They have no qualms about taking what doesn't even belong to them to satiate their urges...
Read the article in its entirety here at BreslevIsrael