55 posts categorized "Emuna Under Fire"

Israel's Chanuka Message to the World: We're not Budging

We're not budging
It's ever so appropriate that the UN and the European Union show their true colors by denying our ancient rights to Jerusalem, Shilo and Hevron. Nothing's new under the sun, as King Solomon teaches us in Ecclesiastes. I won't answer them - Shimon Maccabee the son of Mattatyahu Cohen Hagadol Chashmonai (whose gravesite I visited earlier today) and brother of Yehuda  Maccabee gave a most appropriate answer some 22oo years ago:

“We have not taken foreign territory or any alien property, but have occupied our ancestral heritage, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies; now that we have a favorable opportunity, we are merely recovering our ancestral heritage” (Maccabees 1, 15:33-34).

We weathered the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Spanish Inquisition, the Nazis and the Communists. We're still here and they've all disappeared. It seems that the oppressors of today want to join them. They'll never learn. Meanwhile, we're not budging.

Pittsburgh, Wild Fires and Hamas Rockets

I didn't want to write about Pittsburgh or the wild fires, but people have been repeatedly requesting. So before I write, I recite this short prayer and ask Hashem to illuminate my eyes to the message He wants to convey to our people wherever they are, in Israel and abroad. I pray that Hashem should guide me to truth, which as Rebbe Nachman teaches, can only be attained through emuna and self-nullification. Hashem, let this post be for Your honor exclusively and for the good of our people, amen!

On Shabbat, Oct. 27, 2018, the angel of death masquerading as arch Jew-hater Robert Bowers entered the Shabbat morning services of the "Tree of Life" synagogue in Pittsburgh and gunned down eleven of our holy brethren, of blessed and sacred memory, all martyrs, including a 97-year-old woman, a husband and wife, and two brothers. Yes, they were conservative Jews but all hand-picked by Hashem to be holy martyrs. Why holy martyrs? Our people, because of a certain blemish they've not yet overcome, need martyrs to atone for them. The angel of death and his accomplices such as the Neo-Nazis and other terrorists simply do the dirty work. Guns fire bullets; the martyrs' deaths according to Kabbalah was death by fire.

At the time of this writing, the fires in California have taken the lives of 48 people that authorities know about; that number is expected to rise as rescue teams make it into areas that they previously had no access to. Over 8000 people have lost their homes, many of them Jews. Many others have been evacuated (remindful of Gush Katif?). They are now in a double exile, or an exile within an exile. This is a double atonement, not only for them but for all of our people. The Gemara says that losing one's assets is tantamount to death. This atonement and cleansing of sin here is again by fire.

By no small coincidence, when the final campaigning for the runoff of the municipal elections in Israel was taking place, and Jews were slinging the worst type of mud at one another including the worst type of infighting between different camps of Orthodox Jews, Hostilities broke out in Gaza. 470 missiles rained down on the south of Israel, also leading to repeated exile - from homes to bomb shelters. Miraculously, only one person was killed but many suffered loss of homes just like our brethren in Southern Califormia. I repeat - missile fire - once again, the atonement and cleansing of sin here is again by fire, and that's after the recent weeks where thousands of acres in the south of Israel have been burned by wild fires caused by incendiary balloons from Gaza. Once more, the culprit of fire.

Pittsburgh, California, Sderot or Ashkelon - it doesn't matter. We are one people like one body. The schism between American and Israeli Jews is inane. OK, there's an ideological difference between Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews - granted. But we're all brothers. The intramural hate destroyed the holy Temple. Our sages call the intramural hate, fire of contention.  This comes from one of King Solomon's sayings (Proverbs 25:24) which says, "It is better to dwell in a roof corner than in a house with with the fire of contention." 

Your dictionary will define contention as discordconflictfrictionstrifedissension, and/or disharmony. Is this not the state of the Jewish People today? My beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush constantly calls for an end to this. He warns against speaking detrimentally against any other Jew on earth, even those who cause us the worst grief. Do we hear any other voice saying the same thing, or do we only hear the so-called leaders who despise other Jews "for the sake of Hashem". When will they ever learn?

The fire of Pittsburgh, California and the South of Israel all come to atone for the fire of contention and intramural hate.

Guess what:

Almost a thousand years ago, the holy Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid said that an enemy can not touch a hair on a Jewish head until one Jew harms another Jew, even verbally. The holy Chafetz Chaim said the same thing before he left this world, less than nine decades ago. Do you realize what that means?

Any Jew who hates any other Jew - no matter the color, origin, creed or ideology - creates a negative spiritual force that embodies itself in a terrorist, a missile or a wildfire. Anyone who doesn't do immediate teshuva for hating their fellow Jew cannot say, "My hands did not spill the blood of Pittsburgh, give power to Hamas, or fan the fires of California.

For our own future, let's start loving one another. One cannot love a fellow Jew unless he/she first strengthens themselves in emuna, believing that we all have the same Father in Heaven, for the Torah tells us that we are His children. Nothing gives a parent more pleasure when his/her children love each other. May we all follow the path of loving one another and may this be the end of sorry for our people everywhere, amen.

Iron Dome, Ceasefire: There's no one but Hashem

Iron Dome
According to the IDF scorecard after the first 370 missiles were fired in yesterday's hostilities (today brought the score up to 450 by the time the ceasefire came into effect at 3:30 PM our local time), the Iron Dome missile missile-defense system succeeded in intercepting only 100 of them. That's less than 30%, nowhere near a passing grade in any classroom (or battlefield). Two years ago, the Iron Dome was knocking down more than 80%. What that means is that Hamas uses every ceasefire to upgrade. Their new missiles, courtesy of Iran and Syria, are sophisticated enough to outsmart the Iron Dome, as the direct hits on homes and factories unfortunately bear witness to.

This evening, many residents in the south are demonstrating and burning tires to protest the ceasefire, whose terms Hamas virtually dictated. Hamas is parading the streets of Gaza in glee, celebrating the bloody nose it gave Israel.

Yes, Israel's political leaders are loquacious and indecisive. But with emuna, we know that it's Hashem who makes them act that way. Once again, we see another inexplicable round of violence and an even more inexplicable ceasefire, a cycle that has become biannual over here.

Hashem wants to show us that we can't depend on political leaders. Even if we replace the current ones, their replacements will act the same once they sit down in those cushy velvet chairs around the coalition's mahogany table. Hashem is also showing that we certainly can't on Iron Dome either. We can only depend on Him.

Despite everything, Hashem still did tremendous miracles. 450 missiles fell, there was all kinds of chaos and property damage, yet only one person was killed - not even an Israeli - but a worker from the PA village of Halhoul illegally sleeping over in Ashkelon. There were no Jewish Israeli fatalities!

Hashem is giving us another chance to learn emuna and do teshuva. Once we do, we're home free. But, if people simply use the respite to go back to their sidewalk cafes, then the next round of hostilities will be even worse. What's more, if Iron Dome's success against Gaza was a mere 27% (flunking Fall Semester midterms against Gaza, 2018), what will it be against Hizbollah, whose firepower is twenty times that of Gaza?

Teshuva and emuna - there is no other alternative. That's why we say that emuna is our future.

"G-d Loves the Jews"

Sderot bus
The Israeli-Arab driver of the above-pictured bus that suffered a direct hit from an anti-tank missile from Gaza was rushed to the trauma center. He said, "God loves the Jews; minutes before before my bus was hit, 50 Israeli soldiers de-boarded, they all would have died, its a miracle". Even during the barrages, we must never forget how much Hashem loves us.

Meanwhile, more than 300 missiles have fallen on the south of Israel today and there have been some serious injuries and property damage. Red-alert sirens are still going off periodically all over the south of Israel.

Below is a police photo we just received from a rocket that exploded down the road in Ashkelon about a half hour ago. May we hear good news from each other, amen!


One Person to the Rescue

The Torah tells us how the acts of one person, who many people ridiculed, belittled and disparaged, saved the entire Jewish People. If he could, then every person alive today is ingrained with this same power…

The 26-minute vid you're about to see is the replay of this week's live broadcast, which Hashem turned into one of the most powerful broadcasts I ever did. You'll hear about how the suicide of a lone Jewish inmate in a rough Texas state penitentiary was prevented. You'll meet a former Golani sergeant who'll tell you in his own words how someone saved his life and the life of buddies on the Gaza border. This is an absolute must-see:

Can you imagine the reward in Heaven - and one earth - from saving lives? Unfathomable! You can be one of them. Now you can understand why Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a says that there is no tzedakah - no form of charity on earth that can compare to Emuna Outreach. You too can be one of these heroes who saves lives! Donate to Emuna Outreach - you'll be glad you did!

Amen, Brother!

The distinguished and saintly Rabbi Bentzion Mutzafi, may Hashem bless him, in commenting on the increasing tensions along our northern border, suggests that we do several self-strengthening measures that will both enhance our personal safety and our national security. They are:

  1. Recite Psalm 91;
  2. Recite "Ana B'Koach," 7 times;
  3. Recite Psalm 121, 7 times;
  4. Say the "Aleinu" prayer with intent;
  5. Recite Parshat Haketoret;
  6. Recite Psalm 20, 12 times;
  7. Recite Psalms 120 through and including 134.

The above advice is powerful, all based on our sages' advice in the Gemara, Zohar and Chassidic writings. They invoke big miracles, for those who do them. Unfortunately, I don't think many people will.

Hashem opened my eyes to a equally powerful protective ploy that also invokes miracles, one that is firmly based both in the Gemara and in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law). And, it's much easier, as I wrote in Monday's Emuna News. Anyone can do this and it won't cost you a cent. Simply, get used to saying "amen" every time you hear a blessing recited. This is spiritual non-conventional weaponry.

Later today, G-d willing, we're going to learn about the power of one word - amen. 

Don't miss today's (Wednesday) Emuna shiur and live broadcast from Jerusalem, entitled "Amen, Brother!," will take place, G-d willing, on the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7PM Israel time; the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time.  If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it later this coming week on Lazer Beams.

Don't Forget the Lone Soldier

EO Soldier SetThere are hundreds of native English speakers who have courageously left the comforts of their homes in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia and South Africa to make aliya and serve in the IDF. Many of them are on the front lines.

Do you have any idea about the emotional challenges of being  a US soldier stationed on the other end of the earth, in Syria or in Afghanistan?

To protect our soldiers - wherever they are - and to strengthen their moral, Emuna Outreach has put together the "Soldier Set" of emuna books, pamphlets and CDs, at a special low cost subsidized by Emuna Outreach. This is an emotional care package, which without a doubt, will uplift the spirits of our soldiers and help them cope with the difficult physical conditions and emotional challenges that they must deal with, especially if they are in combat units on the front lines. The Soldier Set, which you can order here, enables you to strengthen our soldiers while performing a huge mitzva.

If you don't know any soldiers personally, but you'd like us to distribute Soldier Sets in your name, Donate to Emuna Outreach - every $30 donation enables Emuna Outreach to send a Soldier Set to one soldier. In other words, for $180, Emuna Outreach will distribute six Soldier Sets. 

May the merit of this lofty mitzva protect our nation, our families, and each of us individually, amen!