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11 posts from August 2011

Coming Home

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Home of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) - Tel Shilo, sight of the Holy Tabernacle

Before King David bought Mount Moriah from Arnon the Jebusite, our Holy Tabernacle was in Shilo - that was about 2700 years ago. Eli was High Priest at the time. The dwelling in the photo above was most probably his home. Shilo is in the heart of the hill country of Ephraim, the land that Hashem gave to our people.

When you visit here, you feel at home. Why? A Jewish soul, when it comes to a place like the Kotel, the Machpela Cave, or Shilo, is coming home. The Jewish soul is even older than this land, and it has been here before.

A million UNs and a billion PA declarations won't separate us from this land, as long as we are worthy of it. That's why emuna and teshuva are the key words now. Chodesh Tov! 

Judean Dawn

Trip With Rav Brody July 2011 (164 of 172) (470x313)
People spend tens of thousands of bucks on vacation, and come home unhappy.

My vacations are the lowest budget you can imagine, and they're usually 24-hour recharges of body and soul, for my schedule doesn't allow for much more. But, they're better than any exotic vacation that money can buy.

Imagine this: You're sleeping in a little one-room cabin on top of a mountain in the Judean Hills. Despite the Israeli summers, nights are a delightful chill with angelic cool breezes from the northwest. You wake up at the crack of dawn, and walk down a path to a mountain-spring natural mikva and immerse in the purifying and chilling waters the same way that King David did. You walk back up the mountain to the tunes of hummingbirds and turtle doves, and the air smells like fresh hyssop. You pray with the rising sun, while the orange and crimson hues change colors in a magnificent morning light show that praises Hashem's glorious Name. After praying, you pick some fresh sage - still covered by the tiny silver dew drops of morn - and make yourself an exquisite herbal tea while you learn your daily page of Gemara. Sound like a dream? This was my morning yesterday. No trillionaire can much an Eretz-Yisrael emuna lifestyle. Want a piece of the action? We're waiting for you with open arms...

No Easy Way Out

Dear Rabbi Brody,
I'm not religious, but I get a kick out of your column and your broadcasts, even though I disagree with you plenty. One thing I particularly don't like is the fact that you're always hounding Jews about keeping all of the 613 commandments. So what if I'm Jewish? Why can't I just keep the seven Noahide commandments like you tell the non-Jews to? How come you're so nice to the non-Jews, and you're all over the case of the Jews. That doesn't seem fair. Please explain. Thank you, GA from Ohio

Dear GA,

Diesel fuel is fine for a diesel engine, but it won't propel a jet engine. The spiritual profile of a Jew differs that of a non-Jew. Therefore, the spiritual diet that can keep a non-Jew healthy won't get a Jew off the ground. A non-Jew can eat shrimp and lobsters all day long, and as long as he/she observes the seven Noahide laws, he/she is considered righteous. If you eat 28 grams of shrimp, you put a gaping hole in your soul. Whenever you turn on a light bulb with a tiny flick of the finger on the Sabbath, you cut yourself off from Hashem. On the other hand, a non-Jew can do whatever he or she pleases on their Saturday.

If a Jew keeps 612 out of the Torah's 613 commandments, and willfully breaks #613, he or she is considered a transgressor. Not fair? Consider this - if a grain of sand lands on your hand, nothing happens. But, if it lands in your eye, you suffer excruciating pain. Not fair? A hand and an eye - while both being very necessary parts of the body - are built differently with different strengths and sensitivities; the same goes for a Jew and a non-Jew. While both are Hashem's beloved creations, they have different strengths and different sensitivities because of their different tasks in the world. Yet, like an eye and a hand, both are vital.

Since you're a Jew - whether you like it or not - the only way for you to guarantee yourself true happiness in this world and in the next is to keep all 613 mitzvas. There's no easy way out. We all came down to this lowly world to perform a difficult task, and not to have fun and games. Yes, I will continue to get on your cage for your own good - if that's so distasteful for you, why do keep on reading the Beams? I'll tell you why, GA - deep down, it makes your soul feel good. Think about it, GA. If you add some emuna to your life, you'll feel great. With smiles & blessings, Lazer Brody

R & R, Judean Style

A few people have been asking me what I do to relax: the answer is one of 3 things - learn Torah, speak to Hashem, and play my flute. Once or twice a year, I sneak away to the hills for 24 hours to recharge my battery. Photographer David Bader - my special friend - accompanied me to a solitary cabin up in the Judean Hills, in the same holy area where King David grazed his sheep, played his flute, and composed the Psalms while speaking to Hashem. Let's let David Bader's camera do the talking: 

Image 1: R & R, Judean-Hill style - 

  Trip With Rav Brody July 2011 (154 of 172) (2) (470x746)

Image 2: Lazer's 24-hour hideout in the Judean Hills

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Image 3: Judean Hills

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Image 4: Playing a Shepherd's Flute, made in Judea

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Image 5: Returning from Personal Prayer

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You too could be enjoying our holy homeland; what are you waiting for? Have a wonderful Shabbat Nachamu!