158 posts categorized "Inspiration"

I Prayed for This Child

The moving story of Hannah appears in the first and second chapter of Samuel I: Hannah had no children, and she begged Hashem in the holy tabernacle at Shilo that if He gives her a child, she will dedicate this child to the service of Hashem. Hashem heard her prayers, and Samuel was born.

When Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him to the High Priest Eli in Shilo, where the little Samuel grew up devoting his entire life to serving Hashem. As Hannah presents her son to Eli, she says, "This is the lad I prayed for; Hashem granted me the request that I asked of Him" (Samuel I, 1:27).

In a beautiful age-old Jewish tradition, when we check on our sleeping children at night, and we see them like little angels fast asleep, we repeat the above passage as an expression of gratitude to Hashem, and we continue to pray for their spiritual and physical welfare and development.

Shraga Gold, soloists Motty Steinmetz, Levi Falkowitz, Moshe Mendlowitz and the Shira Choir sing Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz's lovely rendition of Hannah's moving expression of gratitude in the following beautiful clip, which we hope you enjoy as much as we did. G-d bless and much joy from your children!


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


Miami Winter

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So yesterday we enjoyed a cold blast of winter air. 

The high was 70 degrees and the low was 52 or something. F-f-f-f-freeeezing!!! 

Seriously. I put jackets and sweaters on my complaining kids. After school, we celebrated the Arctic-like weather with a nice camp fire.

What are those things called? Bonfires? Backyard fire hazards? Ah, fire pit! Right. 

This is the first time I've enjoyed a fire pit, and I gotta say I'm loving it. Except for the 800 times my oldest one doused the fire with that liquid that makes fires grow. What's it called? Gas? 

And my third one, as you can see in this picture, was busy making his marshmallows as carcinogenic as possible. Love the goggles. Pretty clever, right??

I made them hot chocolate milkies and we chilled in the backyard, waiting for the blizzard to arrive. 

To my disappointment, the clouds refused to appear. The day was just too darn perfect!

South Florida doesn't have much of a winter, but there are rare days when the sky is crystal clear and it's cold enough to wear a nice sweater.

It's these days that I wish would never end. 

Of course, until my kids started trying to wrestle each other into the fire pit. They thought it was cool. And all the while my oldest was seeing just how high he could make the fire jump.

Our neighbors hate us. I'm sure of it.

My point has almost nothing to do with this post, but it's still a good one if I do say so myself.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I wanted every moment to last. I didn't want to let it go. I really cherished it as much as I could.

So I was thinking. We experience moments like these, but not enough. For whatever reason, we don't really cherish every moment of our lives.

That's probably because most of them are extremely challenging, so it's hard to see the good, or even take the time to slow down enough to see the good.

But I have a feeling that if we were to just try and find something in every day that we can truly cherish, something that we can say, "I wish this moment wouldn't end," how much better would each day be?

I think just one of these precious moments in the day would be enough to carry us through the other 99%.

Today, tomorrow, and even after tomorrow, if you can remember this post by then, be on the lookout for something in your day that's wonderful. Something you're really thankful for.

And don't let it go.

That is, until you forget about it five minutes later because your boss/client/spouse/kid is yelling at you to stop daydreaming and come back to reality.

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbat! And please, don't eat too much challah! 

YEAH, RIGHT!!!

~Racheli

p.s.- Don't miss Rav Brody's weekly Torah portion below! 


Thank You, Hashem

There is so much to be thankful for, both on a national level and a personal level. Hashem has been doing awesome miracles for us; if we had the slightest inkling, we'd be dancing all day long. At this moment, He continues to do awesome miracles. I want to share one of the most widely viewed video clips that Emuna Outreach ever made - as of today, it's been viewed over 1.8 Million times! It's the type of clip you can see dozens of times, and never get tired of it. In the same manner, when we never tire of thanking Hashem, we know that our souls are healthy.

Pass this clip on to your friends and relatives, especially if they're still far from Hashem. If it doesn't warm their hearts, then send them for an urgent EKG. Chodesh Tov!


Down With New Year's Resolutions!!

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Awwwwww, yeah. 

Talk about deeee-lish!

All this decadent sundae is missing is that little fire-red cherry on top. You know, I once heard they used crushed red ants to make that fire-red color. Is that true? Because that's disgusting if it is. 

Relax, yo. I know ants aren't kosher. But now I'm wondering why grasshoppers are. Dis. GUSTING!! What makes them kosher? They don't have split hooves, chew their cud, and they don't have fins and scales. And they look Grizzity Gross! Good Lord! You grasshopper-eatin' people are crazy!

Did I just get your appetites in high gear? 

Just yesterday I went to one of my favorite stores in the world, Home Goods. G-d I LOVE that store! I shouldn't be allowed in there. Every time I go, I think I need new pillows, throws, dishes, furniture, sheets, OMG there's nothing in that store I don't salivate over. 

I even bought pasta that was shaped like the Star of David for Chanukah. I'm that pathetic. 

So I was there yesterday and got quite an eye-opening lesson in mind control. In one day, they turned over nearly ALL the merchandise from Xmas themed to summer. Maybe elves did it? 

In the place of all of the yummy holiday themed cookies, cookie mixes, cake mixes, and everything else that I couldn't buy, stood a huge island of super healthy stuff. There were loads of cleanses, green drink mixes, collagen shakes for those who like to eat cow bones, and tons of other healthy looking garbage. 

I admit. I'm very jealous. All of those yummy holiday cookies weren't kosher, and these healthy cow hoof milkshakes aren't kosher, either. I would totally be drinking bone marrow shakes every morning!

Actually, no.

I wouldn't. I'm too lazy.

So my laziness is making me wonder...

What is the meaning of this ridiculous idea of a New Year's resolution? 

We all know we're not going to keep them (if we made any at all!) And why are we putting all of this pressure on ourselves? All of a sudden we're supposed to do some major life overhaul because it's January 1?

You know why this is such a mind control ploy? Because just a day before, the stores were crammed with holiday treats that could make you fat just by looking at them. And now, the stores are drowning in healthy green gook. Slime, even.

We're told what to want, when to want it, and even how much to want. 

Isn't that what advertising is? Uh, huh. 

I've decided to protest this nonsense of mind control and unrealistic pressure by running a campaign for the new year. I'm calling it: "DOWN WITH NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS!"

They mean nothing. 

And to symbolize my plight, I'm eating this decadent ice cream sundae just to say "TAKE THAT, NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION!" 

How you like that? Ain't nobody gonna tell ME when to stop eating junk! 

Seriously, my peeps, you don't need to wait until yesterday to decide that you're going to make a new start. 

EVERY DAY is a new start! And guess what! If you fail, you can just start again the next day!

There. Isn't that much less pressure?

And you know I'm going to be hitting the gym like nobody's business tomorrow, right? My stomach is literally making best friends with my thighs. 

G-d I hate holiday season!!! 

And another thing. Don't miss Rav Brody's weekly emuna class TONIGHT! Scroll down for full details. 

~Racheli


How To Make Your Child Successful

As much as I hate giving David credit for stuff, I am forced to give him credit for this video. You know, he really doesn't deserve credit, now that I think about it. It's not like he was in the video, or he filmed the video. He just sent it to me. So no credit is due.

In case you're too lazy busy to watch it, I'll quickly tell you what it's about. (To be honest, I didn't watch the whole thing either, because I'm also very lazy busy.) But what I did watch was incredibly moving. 

This guy was speaking at some school graduation. I don't know if it was college, grad school, medical school, whatever. By the sound of his voice I'm assuming it wasn't high school. Okay, so I didn't really pay attention that well. But I did kinda listen to what he was saying, and wow, was it powerful!

He spoke about the secret to his success. He gave one very special person all the credit to helping him become who he is today. 

That person was his father. 

Because of his father's example as a very hard-working man, he learned what it means to put forth effort in order to get what you want.

But what I found even more special was the way he spoke about his father's use of motivation. Whatever that means.

His father used to constantly build him up and tell him he could do anything. He told his son he was smart. Whatever he wanted, he could accomplish with diligence and hard work. And all kinds of stuff like that.

You know, I really hope I got that right because as I type this, I'm seriously doubting if I remember that speech correctly.

In any case, my point is the same.

Every parent wants to see his kid succeed. But what many parents don't realize is how much of the kid's success is tied into the parent's moral support and motivation.

Giving your kid constant reminders about putting forth effort, believing in himself, pushing himself to do better and better - all these things impact your kid in a very deep way.

Building your kid up is the secret to his success in life.

Let's not take it for granted that our kids may be smart, or they may already be doing well in school. Every kid needs constant positive reinforcement and building up. 

G-d willing, one day all of our children will look back on their childhoods and remember our support as being one of the most influential aspects of their success.

Here's another secret: even if your kid isn't doing well in school, and he's not making any effort, that's even more reason to lie to them and give them all that positive reinforcement. You'll see that just by saying wonderful things to them, they will become the hard-working kid that actually does their homework. Supposedly. I mean, I'm not making any promises here. 

But it if works, please let me know! 

Don't wait another minute to tell your kids how wonderful, smart, talented, hard-working, and beautiful they are! 

Oh, and this little secret also works for women! For example, if your wife isn't the best cook, compliment her cooking as you choke down her overdone hamburgers that are dry like the Sahara desert.

Better yet, take her out for dinner.  

~Racheli

p.s.- Don't miss Rav Brody's weekly Emuna talk tonight! Details below.


It Don't Come Easy

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Nothing in my life was ever easy. In athletics, everybody on the team had more talent than I did. In the army, all my buddies were stronger and faster than I was. In Rabbinical Yeshiva, I was always the last one in the class to understand a concept. Sounds like a curse, doesn't it, as if Hashem was giving me a raw deal, Heaven-forbid...

It was the biggest blessing. If fueled my desire and made me work harder. The desire and the willingness to sweat are what makes the tortoises of the world surpass the hares.

Due to the nature of the unit where I was privileged to serve in the IDF, our training was gruelling, long and forever challenging, both mentally and physically. In one instance, during a night-time run with full backpack on rough terrain, my legs and lungs were about to give out. Anyone who wouldn't complete this run would be kicked out of the unit. I had no more physical strength. The game was about to be over for me. Suddenly, one of my favorite songs from way back when popped into my head: it was Ringo Starr singing, "It Don't Come Easy". I kicked into gear with a second wind and a surge of strength, playing that song over and over in my head until I finished the run. This is the song that became my personal theme song during all my years of army service. And thanks to you, Ringo:

The problem with the internet and Ipod generation is that they expect instant gratification, a great life with no effort. Sorry, youngin's, things don't work that way. If you want to succeed big time, you have to take The First Step.