63 posts categorized "Hashem's creations"

The Beauty of Creation

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The subject line used to be reserved for my third son, because I'd never seen a more angelic face in my life. I mean, all of my kids are equally as gorgeous and I really didn't mean what I just wrote.

Anyhow, I've decided to share the most coveted title in the world with this mountain, located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Just look at this spectacular scenery.

No, really look at it. Contemplate standing at the base of this majestic mountain and taking in its awesome beauty. 

I could have put my Yaacov's picture in here and told you to do the exact same thing, but that wouldn't make me a very good mom, would it? I mean, isn't it illegal in the parenting bylaws to admit that one kid is smarter/better looking/more well-behaved than the others? 

David ran away from me last week with the excuse that he "had to work" or something lame like that. I was like, "Yeah, poor guy. You have to have a business meeting at one of the world's top ski destinations. And don't give me the nonsense that your client's company is based out of Jackson Hole!"

During the three days he was away, I sent him threatening texts warning him that he had better not even DARE think about setting foot on that ski slope! Uh, uh! If I be stuck here wit' 5 crazy kids, there ain't be no way u'z goin' skiing! 

Supposedly he didn't ski, but I will never really know. I should have tracked his phone.

So! 

How gorgeous is this mountain?

Isn't it amazing how gazing at nature has the ability to bring out an awe of our Creator? Unfortunately, many people stop at nature. Meaning, they're in awe of nature itself. 

But for some reason, they may not want to ask the simple question: Who created nature? 

To admit that it wasn't created by some evolutionary fluke would mean that a person would have to admit that something created nature. And if something created nature, that means that there's something in charge of creation. Which would mean that if something's in charge, concepts like randomness and chance might not hold water any more.

But that's a discussion for another time. 

Let's talk about the believers like you and me. 

There are many times we just don't feel connected to G-d. We're down, we're burdened with life's challenges, we're uncertain about the future, and so on. 

It's understandable and normal.

But you want to know a simple way to reconnect with Hashem? It's simple, really!

Just look at nature. 

Take the time to notice the beauty in the details. Really look at all of the designs and shades that go into a simple flower. A butterfly's wings. The bark of a tree. A bird's coloring.

Nature is spectacular. There's no greater testimony to Hashem's Glory than nature. 

And if we stop to appreciate nature, we'll get a tiny yet moving glimpse into the awesomeness of G-d. And this glimpse will take our breath away. 

Yes, even you guys up north who are getting pounded with snow and ice, find something in nature that you can appreciate. Even if it's flowers at the supermarket. Anything!

Appreciating nature is such a simple and profound way to build emuna, gratitude, and awe of Hashem.

So don't wait! Find something beautiful to stare at today!

Something, not someone! You crazies, you. 

~Racheli


Things That Money Can't Buy

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Sigh...

Isn't this view just spectacular? 

It's so calming to look at the ocean, isn't it? 

The turquoise blues and emerald greens, the vastness of the horizon - just spectacular. 

Isn't it amazing how the most precious gifts in life are things that money can't buy?

As I sit here on the 24th floor of my parents' condo building, gazing at this mind-boggling Divinely created work of art before my eyes, I am so grateful for all of the gifts Hashem gives me at every single moment.

Driving around Miami, I'm constantly gawking at the multi-million dollar homes and fancy cars people have here. Living on such a high level of materialism sure makes it easy to view money as the end-all and be-all of life. But we all know it's not.

So, I'm putting together a small list of things that money can't buy. These things, these blessings from Hashem, are usually taken for granted because most of us enjoy them on a daily basis. 

If we have these blessings, we can consider ourselves the richest people in the world. 

Things that money can't buy: your eyesight, your working brain, your sense of smell and taste, your ability to taste, chew, and swallow your food, your incredibly complicated digestive system, your incredible nervous system that allows you to feel pleasure and pain, your ability to walk, get up, sit down, run, and jump as you please, and oh, do you have two working arms and legs? No prosthesis even comes close! What about your healthy heart and circulatory system? Is this list not mind-boggling already?

Money can't buy a tranquil mind, a content heart, genuine marital peace, love for your children, love for others, tolerance, genuine respect not motivated by money, self-acceptance, self-love, job satisfaction, and common sense.

And money certainly can't buy strong emuna, a feeling of gratitude, an understanding of the spiritual rules of life, and a deep love and appreciation for Hashem and everything He does for us.

I think I'm going to start my own American Express commercial. You remember that one?

Shirt at Walmart - $5

Shoes at Marshall's- $35

The feeling of trusting Hashem even when things look bad- Priceless.

I smell a big emuna marketing campaign on the horizon! ;)

Until it launches, don't forget to watch Rav Brody give his weekly emuna class! Details below.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

~Racheli


Moses's Rock, Miriam's Well, the 3 Weeks and the Recent Earthquakes

Epicenter Earthquakes July 2018

Miriam's Well July 9 2018
For years, veteran Galilee fisherman have known that there's a small area northeast of Tiberias that you avoid; it's dangerous and it has very strong undercurrents.

For years, experts have been baffled how so many experienced swimmers have drowned in the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, which by Swiss or American standards, would be no more than a medium-to-small-size docile lake whose waves at their choppiest barely reach a foot tall.

Since the 4th of July a week ago, there have been over a dozen earthquakes in Israel. Nine felt earthquakes, those 3.0 on the Richter scale and higher, have been smack in the middle of the Kinneret, all revolving around the earthquake epicenter (see above graphics), which is the exact place of the great Syrian-African Rift that separates between Asia and Africa. This is also a potential center of volcanic activity, as bear witness all the volcanic rock that surrounds Kinneret. In fact, the old houses in Tiberias, Capernaum and all around the Sea of Galilee are built of that familiar black volcanic rock.

All week long, I've been asking myself what the message Hashem is conveying by way of the earthquakes. This has been in my prayers as well.

This morning, after Shacharit prayers, I had a strange urge to run home and open up a Chumash. I did, and my Book of Numbers opened up to Chapter 20, that tells about Moses hitting the rock to elicit water in the desert instead of talking to the rock. The holy Ramban (Nachmanides) says that this rock was Miriam's Well that accompanied the Jewish People for forty years in the desert. Rashi, in his elaboration of the Gemara in Pesachim 54a agrees with the Ramban and says that the rock Moses hit was Miriam's well. Comes along the Yerushalmi Gemara, tractate Ketubot 67a, and tells us that after the Jewish People came into the Land of Israel, Hashem deposited and concealed Miriam's well in Kinneret, off the coast of Tiberias. This fact was later substantiated by the holy Ariza'l and his prime disciple Rabbi Chaim Vital.

So you see, Moses didn't have to hit the rock. The rock, inasmuch as it was Miriam's well, was ready to flow forth with sufficient water to quench the thirst of an entire nation, if he would only have spoken to it as Hashem requested. 

Hold it - this is getting much more exciting. The same rock that provided water for all the Jewish People for forty years in the desert became the rock that Moses was punished for. If you look at Rashi's commentary on Numbers Ch. 21, verses 15-16, you'll see that the same benevolent rock not only triggered an earthquake that led to the death of the Amorites who hid in the mountain crevices waiting to ambush the Jewish People on their way to Israel. Not only did the rock trigger the tremor, but its water later washed up the remains of the Amorites to show the Jews the miracle that Hashem did for them.

We see an amazing principle fact here: the rock, which is also Miriam's well, can be a source of life or a source of destruction.

It can be a source of abundance, of healing waters, or the epicenter of destructive earthquakes. 

What does all this have to do with the Three Weeks? The Yerushalmi Gemara in Berachot 64a says that Elijah the Prophet told Rabbi Nehorai that when Hashem gazes down at earth and sees all the plush stadiums and theaters, yet His Holy Temple is still destroyed, His roar causes earthquakes. That same Gemara lists two other causes of earthquakes - failure to give sufficient charity and homosexuality. The Babylonian Talmud in Berachot 59a gives a slightly different reason, but also connected to the Three Weeks: when Hashem sees that His children are still dispersed among the nations, He sheds two tears in the sea and this causes earthquakes.

No wonder we read the Torah portion of Chukat, which talks about Miriam's well and Moses with the rock, a week before the 17th of Tammuz and the start of the Three Weeks. No wonder the string of earthquakes, which has the whole north of Israel losing sleep at night, began with the Three Weeks.

Meanwhile, the south of Israel is still burning. Rather than making emuna and teshuva a national priority, our Nero-like leaders, rather than taking the earthquakes and the chance of a "big one" on the way as experts are warning, they're worried about sending an Israeli spacecraft to the moon. I truly wish I were joking, but I'm not.

Would you rather wait for Ezekiel's prophecy to manifest itself? "For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken: Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel" (Ezekiel 38:19).

I can only imagine the boo-hoo and bellyaching that this post will elicit, but that's too bad. People argue with Emuna News because it bursts the bubble of their comfort zone, while Torah, emuna and teshuva take a second place (or no place at all) to chatrooms and social media. But, you're not arguing with me, incredulous brothers and skeptical sisters: I've listed all my sources above. All I did here was to connect the dots. Go argue with our sages - Elijah the Prophet, Ezekiel the Prophet, Rebbe Yochanan, Rava, Rav Ashi, Rabina, Rashi, the Ramban and the Ariza'l, and that's not all...

Guess what will happen when Moshiach will come and reveal the exact place of Miriam's well: people with an incurable and terminal diseases will immerse themselves in its waters (one source says a mere sprinkle will suffice) and emerge with perfect health. Even the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch, Rama, Orach Chaim 299:10) mentions the healing powers of Miriam's well.

So what do we prefer, the lust and folly of this world together with earthquakes, or emuna and teshuva with the abundance of Miriam's well? Hashem is showing us that the choice is ours; He of course commands us and wants us to make the right choice (see Deuteronomy 30:19).


Blood Moon: Total Lunar Eclipse in Israel, July 27-28, 2018

Blood Moon July 2018
Here is exciting news that is closely related to the imminent Geula, Israel's full redemption, may it come soon and peacefully, amen:

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Israel will be at the center of a total lunar eclipse, the longest of the century, which will take place on July 27-28, 2018, or 15-16 Av, 5778 on the Hebrew calendar. This is an amazing occurrence that coincides with Isaiah's prophecy, as follows:

When referring  to the Geula, the full and final redemption of the Jewish People, Isaiah the Prophet says in the Name of Hashem, "B'ito, In its time, achishena, I shall hasten it" (Isaiah 60:22). Rashi explains that if the Jews so merit, the Geula will be hastened; if they don't merit, it will come anyway in its appointed time. My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush explained to me that a "hastened" redemption will be a merciful and joyous redemption, whereas an "in its time" redemption is liable to be one of wars and strife, Heaven forbid. 

Succa 29a
The Gemara (photocopied, above) in tractate Succah 29a tells us that a Blood-moon lunar eclipse is not a good sign for Israel, especially when it is seen only here in the east and not in the west as the July 27-28 lunar eclipse will be. Yet, the Gemara in tractate Taanit 26b tells us that the 15th of Av (this year, Friday, July 27, 2018) is the best day of the year for the Jewish People. What's more, Saturday, July 28, 2018 is "Shabbat Nachamu" this year, the Sabbath of consolation, when Hashem consoles His people the Shabbat following the 9th of Av.

So what do we expect? Difficult tidings like the Gemara in tractate Succa tells us or good tidings like the Gemara in tractate Taanit tells us? The continuation of the Gemara in Succa answers that question and says: "When the Jews perform the will of Hashem, they need not worry about celestial omens. Thus says Hashem, 'Do not be frightened by the signs of the heavens' (Jeremiah 10:2)." 

If we all do teshuva the best we can and strengthen ourselves in emuna, then there won't be a thing to worry about. That's why it's so important to us to spread emuna as and as wide as we possibly can. There is an amazing Heavenly hint to this in the coming lunar eclipse, as I've circled in the graphic below - the total time of the upcoming eclipse, the longest of this century, will be 6 hours, 13 minutes - 613 is the exact number of the Torah's commandments. Coincidence? No such thing...

Blood Moon July 2018 map

To aid understanding, here's a clip, courtesy of our friends at the Times of India, which clearly explains the natural phenomenon of the coming lunar eclipse. Enjoy it, and may we all hear good news soon.


Emuna Kids

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Check out that awesome Manta ray. So incredible, right? 

That's my little nephew in the corner. I'm convinced he's really mine because he has blonde hair and blue eyes and a super Iraqi personality. My sister's other two kids are brunettes with brown eyes (like me) but they're way too nice and calm to be mine. 

But that little boy is MINE. So hand him back, dear sister who used to steal all of my clothes and then leave them crumpled up on the floor of her room. 

Some things you just never get over.

Speaking of my kids, I love my kids. Especially when they're in school or asleep. 

But they drive me insane. Completely. In. Sane. 

Sometimes I fantasize about dropping them off at the nearest zoo or pet adoption center. But since I'm too lazy to return them to the zoo, and I have no idea where the nearest pet adoption center is, they still live at home. For the time being.

Okay, all joking aside, I'd like to share something amazing with you.

My kids are what I would call "Emuna Kids." 

For the past nearly 9 years, they've been exposed to a lot of screaming emuna. I'm far from perfect, like on the other side of the world far, but I am pretty good about bringing Hashem into the picture when relating to my kids. 

If one of them isn't feeling well, or they get hurt, upset, their brother stole their one favorite car out of the 3 million cars that are available to play with, I do my best to:

a) not scream 

b) give them a little boost of spiritual awareness

Okay, so I'm really bad at doing a, and maybe I shouldn't keep emphasizing that, but in my defense I'm awesome at b. 

And because of this, I see how, during some challenging times, suddenly one of my kids might say something on his own about Hashem and His plans. Or something along those lines. 

I make tons and tons of mistakes every day, and I have many shortcomings (please don't tell David,) but I know that the gift of emuna is the greatest gift I can ever give my kids.

I can do my best to give them good health, a good life, a good education, and G-d willing some awesome wives. But I can't control how these situations turn out.

What I can do is give them the faith that everything is in Hashem's Hands and that He loves us and does everything for our best.

I hope one day, when they face challenges that are slightly bigger than "He stole my carrrr!" the emuna and spiritual awareness that I have tried to instill in them will shine. 

Believe me, there is no greater gift we can give our kids than emuna. Imagine if you had known about emuna when you were growing up. How different would your life be? 

How much heartache, pain, and frustration would you not have experienced? 

People, emuna is all we got.

And it's the best thing we can ever give to our children.

So where to start? What if you've never spoken to your kids about Hashem?

I would say start with talking about nature. Point out the wisdom in every flower, the trees, the ocean tides. Talk about the wonder of outer space, the orbits of the planets, the different climates and environments in this beautiful world of ours. 

There are so many opportunities to see Hashem in our lives. Let's share the precious gift of emuna and spiritual awareness with our children.

Have a beautiful day! 

FYI, Rav Brody won't be giving his weekly emuna shiur and live broadcast this week, because he too is an "Emuna Kid" - he's going to visit his Mom in the USA for a few days; she just turned 92 - mazal tov! 

~Racheli