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9 posts from September 2012

A non-renewable lease

Life in this world is like a fixed-term rented apartment with a non-renewable lease. When your time's up, you pack your bags and out you go.

In this world, all of us are renters. Hashem's the landlord, and he gives us our bodies as temporary shelters for the soul, so that we can accumulate the gems of Torah knowledge and good deeds that will be valuable to us in the next world.

As renters, we have to pay the rent. If we're smart, we happily fulfill our obligations before the landlord comes pounding on our door. If we don't pay our rent in this world, we pay a severe penalty in the next world.

Succoth reminds us that we all live in temporary quarters, and that we're all at the mercy of The Great Landlord. We have to express our sincere gratitude for every single day that He extends our lease; that's why we need to utilize every single minute for Torah and mitzvot, because we never know when the non-renewable lease terminates.

Ashdod_succas A glimpse at Lazer's neighborhood in Ashdod - During Succos, we all feel like temporary dwellers

Brody_succa A glimpse inside the Brody Succa

Big Beam blessings for a joyful Succot holiday!

The Lesson of the Sycamore

On Yom Kippur, Iran's Achmedinejad once again repeated his threat to annihilate Israel. Predictably, less than a handful of nations voiced other than perfunctory luke-warm objections. As the Gemara teaches us, we have no one to depend on but our Father in Heaven.

Most suitably, this week's Torah portion - Haazinu - warns that our only chance of survival in the Land of Israel is by clinging to our roots.

The Sycamore tree is a living example of what the Torah's talking about; join me for a 5-minute boost of emuna...

Have a wonderful Shabbat and joyous New Year 5773!

Fiddler Raises the Roof

Daniel Ahaviel is one of the Jewish world's top fiddlers; he's also our dear friend and spiritual brother. He's the one who plays the violin on our Judean Dream album. There's no one who can fiddle and dance like he can. Daniel lives and breathes the joy of serving Hashem. Rebbe Nachman teaches that you can't make teshuva if you're not happy, so we need to put smiles on our face before Yom Kippur, and not be sullen like some folks think. And by the way, Yiddishkeit is cool...

Yaacov Shwekey: Lo Yaavod

In this great clip filmed in the Judean Desert, you'll see a lot of our very close friends: Jeff Horvitch on keyboard, Menachem Herman and Dany Maman on guitar, Yochi Briskman on drums, and of course Yaacov Shwekey, singing a great song about love and unity, commodities we need much more of:

Big Beam blessings to Oriel Schield for the heads up on this clip.

Abusive Parents

Dear Rabbi Brody,

My parents have been an abusive ever since I remember, not only emotionally, but physically as well. I grew up in a reign of terror. My problem is that I'm now married and a mother, and they continue, trying to remote control my life from across the ocean. Thank G-d they're far away, but everytime I talk to them, I get literally sick to my stomach. I'm trying so hard to work on my emuna, but I can't move forward. My husband is a rabbi who treats me with more love and kindness than any woman could hope for, and he says that I should cut off ties with them. I'm a slave to a guilty conscience, and I'm afraid that he isn't objective, even though he is a tzaddik. We agreed to hold by whatever you decide. Is this the thing to do before the High Holidays? Eagerly awaiting your answer, Keren from Israel (formerly USA)

Dear Karen,

First of all, parents have no right to abuse children in any way. A child does not belong to the parent; the exquisite soul of a child is entrusted into their safekeeping. Their job is to raise the child to live an upright life, and not to use the child as a punching bag or door mat to vent their anger and feed their ego, Heaven forbid. Don't envy the tyrannical parents who trod on their children; their end will be bitter unless they mend their ways, truly change, and seek their children's forgiveness, which tyrants rarely do...

The mitzva of honoring your parents does not require you to be sick - physically, emotionally or otherwise. Your duty in honoring parents is to pray for them. Jewish law does not require you to be a masochist and subject yourself to more abuse. But, try your best to forgive them in your heart and judge them fairly, namely, that they never learned how to raise children according to Torah. They act toward you probably in the same manner that their parents acted toward them. Your husband is correct; refrain from contact with them and don't let anyone emotionally blackmail you. Just as you don't expose yourself to contagious diseases, don't expose yourself to those who tear you down and bring you down, family or not. May Hashem bless you with a wonderful New Year 5773 and a fresh start in life. Blessings always, LB