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15 posts from December 2018

Affordable - and Beautiful - Israel

Shilo

Dear Rabbi Brody,

I really want to make Aliya with my family, but people have been telling me that if I don't have a half million US bucks, I won't be able to get a decent apartment. I don't want a mortgage, and with property values in my area, I'll barely clear $200,000 when I sell my home. What can I possibly buy in Israel with that amount of money? Thanks for your time and attention, Gerald from Midwest USA

Dear Gerald,

if you're looking for a flat with in an American neighborhood of Ramat Bet Shemesh or Jerusalem's Ramat Eshkol or Har Nof, $5-600,000 is roughly what you'll pay - no less. But, if you're willing to both live and think outside the Anglo-Israeli box, then you'll have some wonderful opportunities, where $200,000 or less will suffice.

Gorgeous places up north with growing observant communities are Maalot, Nazareth Illit, Tzefat and Kiriat Shemona.

As far as the south of Israel goes, Arad has the cleanest air in the world and it's also gorgeous. For $200,000 or less in Ashkelon, you can get an apartment in walking distance to the Mediterranean. If you go to a place like Ofakim or Yerucham, you can get a palace for $170,000 or less.

Contact my dear friends at Nefesh B'Nefesh, because there are usually several incentive programs for moving to the Galilee up north or to the Negev down south. Both are wonderful places to raise your family. Remember also that education here is virtually free, but you'll have to a bit of legwork to find the right schools for your children. It's well worth it. The younger they are, the easier they'll adapt. May Hashem help you succeed! Blessings always, LB


Mitzvot and Body Health: Torah and Chakras

Torah chakras
Hello Rabbi,

Does the performance or violation of the mitzvot affect the body? More specifically, I have a pain in my right leg that no doctor has been able to cure? Is there something spiritual I may have done wrong or a correction to make? Thank you! Wim B., Amsterdam

Dear Wim,

A 16th century CE scholar from Tzfat, Rabbi Elazar Azikari (who composed "Yedid Nefesh" and was a colleague of the famed father of Kabbala Rabbi Yitzchak Luria) wrote a monumental book called "Sefer Hacharedim", or The Book of the (G-d) Fearing. In this book, he takes each part of the body and lists the corresponding mitzva. There are 613 mitzvas that correspond to the 613 parts of the body. The fulfillment of a mitzva adds to the spiritual vitality of the corresponding body part, and the spiritual vitality strongly influences the physical health of that particular body part.

For example, tefillin affects the left arm and the front part of the head. Belief in G-d affects the heart. Eye problems can often be traced to stinginess (refusal to give charity) or to looking at forbidden things. It's quite noteworthy that cervical cancer is almost unheard of among woman who practice family purity. The list is long and elaborate.

What happens? Observing or transgressing the Torah has a direct effect on the soul. How? Torah is Divine light, or energy. The human energy field, or aura, is a field of energy that surrounds and permeates not only every part, but every cell of your body. Different mitzvoth affect different parts of the body. This is something that famed Kabbalist Rabbi Elazar Azikari knew over 500 years ago and can now be proven tangibly with modern technology.

My esteemed colleague and renowned head of the Hidabroot Organization, Rabbi Zamir Cohen, who is a brilliant rabbi and an expert on Torah and science, proved with the aid of aura-and-chakra videography how tefillin for men and hair-covering for women have a profound effect on a person's chakras. He brings visible proof in his book The Coming Revolution, and its amazing. 

Simply speaking, health comes from the Divine illumination that's reflected in one's chakras. Performing mitzvoth enhance Divine illumination and are therefore conducive to good health. The opposite holds true as well: physical sicknesses are rooted in spiritual causes, since the spirit is the life force. Therefore, many physical ailments can be cured by Teshuva, that is, correcting a mitzva that in turn healthfully influences a certain part of the body. That's it while standing on one foot.

As far as the pain in your right leg, ask Hashem in your daily hitbodedut sessions to enlighten you as to what has brought on the pain and to help you to make teshuva for the root cause. I'd also suggest that you check if you haven't insulted your father or fail to honor him in any way.

Stay healthy, Wim. Warm regards to all our friends in Holland. Blessings always, Lazer


10th of Teveth and Rebbe Natan's Yahrtzeit: Today

Today, Tuesday 10 Teveth (18 Dec., 2018) is a fast day that commemorates the beginning of the Babylonian siege around Jerusalem, before the city fell and the First Holy Temple was destroyed two and a half years later. The fast begins 90 minutes before dawn on Tuesday morning and ends when the stars come out. Here in Israel, this is roughly from 5:00 AM to 5:09 PM, so it's the shortest fast day of the year.

10 Teveth this year also commemorates the 174th anniversary of the passing of our holy Rabbi and spiritual guide, Rebbe Natan of Breslev, of saintly and blessed memory. Were it not for Rebbe Natan, we wouldn't have had such a rich legacy of Rebbe Nachman's teachings. Rebbe Natan is a spiritual Transformer, for he brings us Rebbe Nachman's dazzling light in a measure that we can absorb. Rebbe Natan is also My Hero

Please light a candle for Natan ben Naftali Hertz, may his blessed and holy memory intercede on our behalf, amen. 

Here are some photos we took in Breslev, Ukraine a few summers ago, at Rebbe Natan's holy gravesite:

Photo 1: Rebbe Natan's Gravesite

Smrebbe_natans_new_ohel

Photo 2: View of the Ukranian countryside from Rebbe Natan's gravesite

Smbreslev

Photo 3: The River Bugg, here Rebbe Natan would pour his heart out in personal prayer

Smriver_bugg

Photo 4: Lazer praying at Rebbe Natan's gravesite

Rebe_natans_gravesite

 


Shira's Answer

Baby Israel flag
Guest post from our cherished friend Dr. Harry, who recently made aliya from South Florida to the holy city of Tzfat:

Shira Ish-Ran, the Israeli woman who was severely wounded and lost her baby boy in a Palestinian shooting attack last week, displayed defiance and strength in the face of her tragic loss, vowing on Thursday to have “many more babies” in response to losing her baby to Palestinian terrorism.

Twenty-one-year-old Shira, who was 30 weeks pregnant when she was shot while waiting at a bus stop outside the community of Ofra, was seriously wounded in the shooting, and doctors delivered the infant in an emergency C-section. The baby died on Wednesday after several days in intensive care. Shira's husband Amichai Ish-Ran sustained moderate injuries in the attack.

On Thursday, a day after her four-day-old son was laid to rest, Shira Ish-Ran was quoted by Hebrew-language media as saying, in her first remarks since the attack: “I will show them. I will bring many more babies into this world. Am Yisrael chai,” the Times of Israel reported

The baby was named Amiad Yisrael (my nation forever, Israel) before being buried in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives cemetery.

I SAY LET HER WORDS BECOME A MOVEMENT

Every Jewish women of child bearing around the world should have at least one more baby than planned and name the boy Ami Yisrael, and a girl Bat-Ami Yisraella in memory of her baby. Let these savages who kill Jews in the womb be answered with millions of new Jewish babies, all of who standing for "My nation forever, Israel."

PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. 


Guest Post: Meir the Cabby from Ashdod

Meirs_taxi I'm Meir. I drive a taxi in Ashdod. This is a picture of my rig to the left. Hey don't get me wrong, I'm not religious or anything, and I'm certainly not a Haredi. I enjoy a good soccer match (especially Betar Yerushalayim) on Shabbat. Some people think hackers are dumb, but not us Israelis. I can speak 4 languages - Hebrew, French, Arabic, and English. Rabbi Lazer said I could write whatever I want, and that he'd only correct spelling mistakes, so he can't sell me down the river.

The truth is, that before I met Rabbi Lazer, I used to work like a dog for 7 seven days a week. In case you're wondering about moving here, life ain't easy with 4 kids and a wife that likes to serve meat or chicken every day and to get her hair done once a week.

Once, I drove Rav Lazer to a lecture of his in Ashkelon. Even though he's a Haredi, we hit it off great. He didn't nag me about religion, just took an interest about my family and me. I told him I was in debt up to the nose. He asked me if I worked on Shabbat. I said yes. He said let the rig rest on Shabbat, have a nice meal with the family, and take a walk on the beach with the wife and kids, and he promises I'll get out of debt. I said, "Rabbi, with all due respect, you're nuts. How can I work less hours, and forfeit Saturday double-time tariffs, and make more money? Where the heck did you learn math?"

He only smiled. He said that I'll save the money on tires and repairs. I didn't believe him.

The following Saturday, I got a great fare from a French tourist who wanted to go from Ashdod to Tzfat via the Kinneret. Fat city! The fare was 1850 shekels round trip and the madamoiselle gave me a 250-shekel tip and payed for lunch. I laughed all the way home with 2100 shekels in my pocket...until Sunday morning.

The next morning, a cop pulled me over and claimed that I crossed a solid white line: 4 points and 600 shekels down the drain. The points on my license hurt more than the dough. An hour later, I passed a construction site and got two flat tires from nails on the road. The tires were shot, another 900 shekels. Then, I had engine trouble. Diesel engines use cheap fuel, but their maintenance is more expensive. Another 800 shekels. I made a lousy 200 shekels that day, but lost 6 hours and 2300 shekels, all the money I made the day before and the few fares that I made before the day was up.

At 7 pm, exhausted, I got a call from guess who - Rabbi Lazer. He wanted me to take him to one of the moshavim in the area for another of his gigs. To make a long story short, I put 2 and 2 together and figured that you can't fight city hall, especially when Hashem is the mayor.

Hey, that was 18 months ago. I'm not gonna tell you I'm religious or anything, but I don't work on Shabbat anymore. I've repaid 80% of my debts, and my home life is a zillion times better. So do yourself a favor - don't work on Shabbat. Take it from me, Meir the cabby from Ashdod.

Rabbi Lazer gave me one more piece of advice - buy gas from a station that closes on Shabbat. I do; here's proof:

Gas_station Ashdod gas station, near the port: The neon sign says, "Open 24 hours, station observes the Sabbath".

This is really cool being on the web like this. I guess if I ever retire, I'll start a blog. You can't imagine how many juicy stories Israeli cabbies can tell. And I mean juicy...

When you come to Ashdod, look me up. L'hitraot from your friend Meir the cabby from Ashdod. Hey, how do you like my English?


Chanukah in Afghanistan

Emuna Outreach's mailbox is always exciting. Here's an email we received from our esteemed friend and partner in spreading emuna, the top-ranking US Army Jewish chaplain in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Yoni Zagdanski:

Shalom Aleichem Rabbi Lazer!! 

Hope you had a wonderful Chanukah in Eretz Hakodesh. Below are pictures of 5th night in Kabul and 8th night in Kandahar province. All the booklets that Emuna Outreach sent are gone and hopefully will bring Harav Arush Shlita's message of Emuna to our soldiers. 

With great respect, Yoni Zagdanski 

Photo #1: 5th night of Chanukah with US Army in Kabul, Afghanistan

Chanukah Kabul 5779

Photo #2: 8th night of Chanukah with US Army in Kandahar province, Afghanistan

Chanukah Kandahar 5779

Emuna Outreach is now preparing a new emuna book&pamphlet shipment to the US Military in Afghanistan. By giving us your generous help, you become a full partner in this phenomenal mitzva and also benefit from a US tax deduction for 2018, as the American Friends of Emuna Outreach is a US-recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. Donate to Emuna Outreach - you'll be glad you did, in this world and in the next. 


Yearning for Hashem: Yedid Nefesh, Friend of My Soul

Yearning for Shabbat

The anti-emuna media here is like a coin or two in a jar - shake the jar and it makes a lot of noise. If the jar were full of content, it wouldn't make noise.

The true picture in Israel is that people are coming back to Hashem right and left. They see that the only thing that can save a soul from depression and despair is emuna and a connection with Hashem. As such, there are virtually no Baal-teshuva yeshivas or seminars with empty seats.

Many of Israel's finest singers and musicians are coming home to their spiritual roots and making teshuva. Several have got together and created a Shabbat-Song Project, where voluntarily, they're recording Shabbat songs so that everyone can learn them. Our appreciation to Roni Eylon and "Shamayim" Center. Enjoy - already on Thursday, we start looking forward to the light of the coming Shabbat, the day that we put aside worldly matters and spend completely with Hashem, Father in Heaven and Friend of our Soul.