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10 posts from July 2012

Sunscreen: The Emuna Version of Advice for Life

Several years ago, film director and music producer Baz Luhrmann came out with a smash hit song entitled "Sunscreen." He uses lyrics that were written in 1997 by Mary Schmich, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune, which offer advice for life. The different You-Tube versions of the Baz Luhrmann "Sunscreen" became super-viral, with over twelve million views.

With all due respect to Ms. Schmich, we don't agree with all the advice she gives, for she doesn't take into account emuna, one's pure and simple faith in Hashem. The Breslev Israel team, headed by General Director Yosef Nechama, film technician Amichai Frisch, and your's truly composing new lyrics and narrating, decided to do our own emuna-oriented version of Sunscreen. In five minutes of enjoyment, you'll get great advice for life in a nutshell. Enjoy it, and pass it on to your friends. You'll find the lyrics below the video player:

Sunscreen: The Emuna Version
Music: Baz Luhrmann
Lyrics and Narration: Lazer Brody


Ladies and gentlemen of the 21st Century:
Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, even better than sunscreen, emuna would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas my advice about pure and simple faith, what we call emuna, has been handed down from Moses on Mount Sinai. With G-d's loving grace, I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your soul. To do so, you must develop your own personal relationship with G-d. Once you do, the day will come when you'll look back at  yourself and realize that you could never have been truly happy without talking to Him every single day. He loves you so much because you are His own beloved child. You are much more special than you imagine.
Don't fret about the past and don't worry about the future. Worrying is as effective as trying to cross the ocean by putting on your roller skates. The real troubles in your life come from forgetting that you have a soul that's a tiny part of G-d, and by giving first priority to the body.
Focus on your good points every day.
Always keep a song in your head and talk to God in your own words.
Don't be reckless with other people's feelings. Forgive those who are reckless with yours.
Anger is the worst poison on earth, so don't let it penetrate your heart, ever.
Jealousy is senseless. Sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down. You're not competing against anyone but your own negative inclinations. You have a job on earth that no one else can do.
Don't rejoice about compliments you receive and don't be upset about the insults. They're both from G-d, and all for our ultimate good.
Thank G-d for the past and ask for all your your needs in future.
Exercise and don't eat junk food.
Do something new every day. Don't be afraid to declare a new beginning in life, even if you're over 65. 
Read a lot. Avoid passive entertainment. It ruins the brain. Folks who don't use their brains end up missing them they've degenerated and gone.
People who try to act like someone else never discover their own precious capabilities, so be yourself and rejoice in your individuality. Whatever you do, don't take credit for your accomplishments and don't persecute yourself when you have a setback. Don't ever complain about what seems to be bad, because everything comes from G-d, and it's all for the best. 
Enjoy your power of prayer. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of what other people think of it. Personal prayer and your ability to talk to G-d 24/7 are the greatest gifts you'll ever have.
Dance, even if you have no one to dance with except a tree in the field.
Do not read advertisements. They will only make you feel like you're lacking something in life.
Get to know your Father in Heaven, but don't try to understand Him. When you believe in Him, miracles will become natural occurrences in your life. 
Understand that fad spirituality comes and goes, but emuna - you're own pure and simple faith in G-d - is something ever so precious to hold on to. Emuna will expand your horizons and carry you way beyond the limits of nature, for emuna is above nature.
Don't focus on making money, because money never stays with you. But, no one can ever take your charitable deeds away from you. Focus on making this world a little better that the way you found it.
Be grateful for everything. Rejoice when you get your soul back every single morning. Take nothing for granted, and be happy with every tiny blessing in life. 
Respect your elders.
As long as you keep trying, you're never a loser. A winner is someone who never gives up. Above all, don't ever compromise on your dreams and aspirations. Share them with G-d in your daily conversations with Him. Don't delay talking to G-d, because the time will come when you wish you did. 
Be careful whose advice you take. Judge others as you'd like them to judge you; better yet, don't judge them at all. Don't give anyone advice that you wouldn't give yourself; if you don't walk it, don't talk it.
But trust me on the emuna; it's better than sunscreen.

Zaidie Gamliel

"Zaidie" is the Yiddish word for grandfather. But, there are grandfathers and there are zaidies - they're two different concepts.

My zaidie, Gamliel "Leo" Brody, came to the USA right before Hitler invaded Poland. He never did learn English properly, but that didn't stop him from opening a little grocery store a few blocks away from the Capital Building in Washington, DC. He had a smile for everyone, and everyone loved him, especially his grandchildren.

Zaidie was a little guy, only 5'4". He was in the Polish Cavalry in World War I, and he could do all kinds of acrobatics on a bike. He was adept with bicycles because in the good days, before WWI, his family owned a bicycle factory. He'd do anything to make us smile, especially when we were down. After he suffered his first heart attack (he died from the second one, a year later), he saw that I was a bit jealous, because my next younger brother received a gorgeous new bike. He took the bike, went up to the top of the block, put it in motion, stood up on the bike seat, and road down Easecrest Drive in Silver Spring, standing on the seat with outspread arms like an eagle. People from all around ran outdoors to see the spectacle. We were yelling with glee, "Zaideeee, Zaideeee!" My grandmother heard the commotion and came running outside, frantically yelling in Yiddish, "Gamliel, vos teets du, dein hartz, dein hartz!", Gamliel, what are you doing, your heart, your heart! He didn't care - everybody was smiling and having a great time.

Our parents knew that they couldn't scold us in front of Zaidie. He was the best defense attorney in the world, for he only saw the good in people. Zaidie wasn't "religious" by the book, but he was the warmest human being you'd ever want to meet. Because of him, I wanted to be deeply Jewish. Because of him, I wanted to see the good in every human. Because of him, I wanted to be a "zaidie" too and not just a grandfather. I don't think anyone on earth has ever had such a profound and lasting effect on my life. He always told me as a child that my future was in Israel. He left this world when I was only 14.

I miss you, Zaidie.

My Zaidie's yahrtzeit is today, the 6th day of Av. 

Speaking from the Heart

Did you ever wonder why you give the woman you love orchids? C'mon, you mean to tell me that you never bought your wife an orchid? What are you waiting for? Oh, and for the frummies, there's no law that you can't buy your wife flowers during the Three Weeks, especially for the Shabbat table. Wait and see what an effect the orchids have on her.

By the way, the flowers on the top of our new banner (above) are orchids. Why did I choose orchids in the design? Orchids in Hebrew are סחלב - sachlav. The first two letters, סח or "sach" means to speak, and the second two letters, לב or "lev" means "heart". As such, the Hebrew word for orchid means "speaking from the heart." When you give your wife an orchid, you're telling her from the heart that you love her. When you speak to Hashem from the heart in personal prayer, you're telling Him that you love Him. So now you know why the Beams is currently embellished with orchids.

Introducing: Demian Kaus

The Beams is delighted to introduce our readers to a bright new light in Jewish music, Demian Kaus from Argentina. Demian is 27, a BT, and super versatile - he sings, plays a variety of instruments, and composes his own songs. We here at the Beams think you'll be hearing a lot from Demian down the road. Enjoy!