Previous month:
February 2019

12 posts from March 2019

End of an Era, New Beginning

Lazer HB Md
In this world, all things come to an end.

"Lazer Beams" has been on the web for over 14 years, since November of 2004. This blog, like everything else in life, has had amazing ups and downs. It's now time to move on...

Recently, hospitalized for six days with pneumonia and a pericardial infection that felt just like a heart attack, I had a great opportunity to take stock in myself and in where my life was going. I had to stop the sound of my own wheels from driving me crazy and had to get off the chinchilla wheel of 20-hour work days with no family or chill time. 

The great news is that I'm already stronger than before. Part of my recovery has been the half day that I learn Torah in the Melitzer Rebbe's kollel.

Today - Sunday, March 24, 2019, is my last day with Breslev Israel and the Chut Shel Chesed Institutions. I've retired as their English-language editor and spiritual dean. I no longer represent them and they no longer represent me in any capacity.

In now have my own plans, things that I love to do, at my own pace and with those whom I decide to work with. 

I don't know how many rabbis there are in the world who are also certified health coaches, fitness trainers and holistic nutritionists, but I am one of them. I want to help people live happier and healthier lives. My approach is holistic, which takes the entire body and soul into consideration when coaching people to good health - mentally, physically and emotionally. You're more than welcome to visit my new blog, Strength and Serenity, which is designed for everyone. Those who want personal and individual coaching are welcome to contact me to set up an appointment, by person or by phone. The new site will be revealed in its entirety at 12:01 AM on Monday, March 25, 2019.

Meanwhile, don't ever forget that your most priceless asset is the time you spend alone with your Creator. That will bring you to truth and inner peace.

Hoping to see you soon at Strength and Serenity and praying for you success and happiness,

Your friend always, Lazer

Sunday evening, 24 march, 2019 - Racheli adds:

Hey All! I've been too busy getting manicures and massages to post, but I'd just like to wish Rav Brody tremendous success on his newest mission. HaRav, Hashem should bless your efforts to change peoples' lives both spiritually and physically. I admire your constant desire to help people in a wholistic way, not just by focusing on the spiritual and ignoring the physical. Too many rabbis do this, and I think it's a big mistake.
 
By helping others realize that - along with their spirituality - their health matters, their diet matters, and their lifestyle matters, you will bring a welcome and refreshing much-needed change to the religious world and beyond. 
 
I'm super proud of you!
 
I also want to express my deepest gratitude for having allowed me to post my ridiculous humor and all that good stuff. I truly appreciate the freedom you gave me to say what I wanted, as long as it made at least some sense. I also cherish the years you spent being the star of the Emuna Dream Team, with David running the show and telling you what to do as he ran all of you to the ground with the insane travel schedule. I always told you he was a slave driver, right? 
 
As for all of you cool folk with wicked good taste who enjoyed my off sense of humor and quasi-spiritual insights, combined with real-life drama as an overworked mom of five, I'd like to keep you in the loop of what I'm working on. In the near future, G-d willing, I'll be revealing something that women from all backgrounds will appreciate, enjoy, and benefit from.
 
If you'd like to stay in touch, email me at rachelireckles@gmail.com.
 
Looking forward to an exciting future full of amazing opportunities!

Horseshoes and Souls

People ask me why their lives are so difficult. Here's my answer:Horseshoes and souls
It ain't easy, but it's all good. Be sure to tune in to the Beams this coming Sunday, because I hope, G-d willing, to share a dramatic (but all good) personal announcement with you. Meanwhile, G-d bless for a wonderful Shabbat!


A Practical Guide to Purim, 2019/5779

Purim Guide 2019
Here's everything you need to know about properly preparing for, observing and celebrating Purim this year, in a nutshell:

Fast of Esther 13 Adar, Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The fast starts before dawn and ends after dark, and entails no eating or drinking. There are special services at synagogue both morning and afternoon. The money saved by not eating should go to charity; the time, to Torah-study and mitzva-performance.

Purim 14 Adar (Wednesday Night - Thursday, March 20-21, 2019)

1. Megilla - Hear a public reading of the Scroll of Esther in the evening and again during the day.

2. Matanot L’evyonim - "Gifts for the Poor": Give money to at least two needy individuals.

3. Mishloach ManotSend (via a third party) a gift of two or more kinds of ready-to-eat foods and/or drink to at least one friend (not a relative).

4. Se’udat PurimCelebrate at a festive day-time meal with bread, good food, and plenty of red wine. The Talmud and Codes of Law instruct us to drink until we can no longer differentiate between "Blessed is Mordechai" and "Cursed is Haman"! (A few authorities opine that the minimum obligation is to drink only "a bit more than what one is used to". Looking ahead to Passover night, perhaps the quantity implied is 4 cups plus!).

5. Add "Al HaNissim" to the daily Standing Prayers and to the Blessings-After-Meals. (See daily prayerbook in the Thanksgiving/Modim section of the Standing Prayer.)

Shushan Purim 15 Adar (Friday, March 22, 2019)

Inhabitants of cities that were important enough to be surrounded by walls at the time of the Jews' entrance into the Holy Land at the time of Joshua celebrate Purim one day later than everyone else (see Esther 9:17-19). The prime example is that of Jerusalem. Be careful this year to complete all the mitzvoth of Purim, including the festive meal, well before sundown and the beginning of Shabbat.

Be sure to pass this post on to whoever needs it! Happy Purim preparations!


A Tata Bleibt a Tata: A Father is a Father

People are unhappy for two reasons only:

  1. They forget that Hashem is their Father.
  2. They forget that Hashem loves them infinitely and always has mercy on them, even when things seem otherwise.

Our dear friend "CME" (Chaim Meir Erps) wrote a beautiful song that has captured the Chassidic world. Last night I was at a wedding, and we danced for nearly a half hour to this song. It reminds us that Hashem is our father, and a father is always a father. Here is the song, delightfully sung by Mendy Weiss and his son Hershy (lyrics in transliteration and translation below, so you can follow along):

Here are the words, which begin by paraphrasing Psalm 103:13, and then continue in Yiddish:

Transliteration:

Krachem av al banim, ken terachem Hashem aleinu.

Vayil a tata bleibt a tata, er heat oif zeine kinder, a tata bleibt a tata allemol.

Translation:

As a father has mercy on his children, so Hashem will have mercy on us.

For a father is a father, he protects his children, a father always stays a father.

Original Hebrew and Yiddish:

כרחם אב על בנים כן תרחם ה' עלינו.
ווייל א טאטע בלייבט א טאטע, ער היט אויף זיינע קינדער,
א טאטע בלייבט א טאטע אלעמאל

Blessings for a wonderful Shabbat Zchor!


The Big 4: The Train's Almost Here

According to the Gemara in tractate Shabbat, many folks will be in for a big surprise and a rude awakening when their time's up down here on earth. The Heavenly Court judges don't care about what most people consider important down here; they'll ask four main "make it or break it" questions:

1. Did you negotiate fairly? Were you honest and did you keep your word? Did you pay your bills on time? Did you knowingly cheat or swindle other people? Did you pay your workers fully and on time?

2. Did you set aside time for learning Torah? Did you utilize all your after-work hours for Torah? Did you waste time on the web and watching DVDs? Were you more familiar with Facebook than you were with a holy book?

3. Did you eagerly anticipate the Redemption? Did you care whether the Divine Presence (Shechina) was in exile and we didn't have a Holy Temple? Did you beg Hashem for Moshiach? Did you do your utmost to move to Eretz Yisrael with your family or did you look for more excuses to remain in exile? Did you beg Hashem for Moshiach? Did you care whether Hashem's Holy Name was exalted or not? Did you help spread emuna in the world?

4. Did you marry and have children? Did you use your body for the mitzva of marriage and raising a family, or did you use it for debauchery? Did you maintain personal holiness? Did you dress, act, and speak modestly? Were you a faithful spouse and loving parent?

Why do the Heavenly Court judges ask these particular questions? The reason is that positive responses to the above "Big 4" expedite the Geula, the full redemption of our people, while negative answers prolong the exile and delay the redemption.

When a person is more concerned about the new bathroom tiles and the brass door handles in his Diaspora home, he delays the Redemption for everyone. But, there comes a time - which the spiritual leaders of our generation say is sooner than we can imagine - when the train of Redemption will leave the station. Anyone who misses it will be sorry forever. People get ready, 'cause the train's a' comin'...

Here's an oldie but goodie - Curtis Mayfield singing "People Get Ready". This was a favorite of mine way back when. (Lyrics Below)

People Get Ready, by Curtis Mayfield

People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith (emuna!) to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket you just thank The Lord

People get ready, there's a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith (Emuna!) is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner whom would hurt all mankind
Just to save his own
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there is no hiding place against The Kingdom's Throne

People get ready there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, just thank The Lord