Friday, August 31, 2007

Are you a Chasid?

Last Shabbat my dear friend asked me if I was a chasid(teh). I paused and had to think hard about my answer.

If she asked me about being Sephardi, that's easy.
I am Sephardic--my family hails from Spain. My custom, traditions are sephardic. My Rav, sephardic. Easy right?

But a chasid?? That's a harder question.

I have been learning Breslov teachings for about 7 years, which means I probably should be further along than I am. I call Rabbi Nachman my Rebbe. I really love him. He quite literally saved my life. I try to follow and live his teachings to the best of my ability.

But am a chassid? I don't have a long chassidic background. And as I stated earlier, no Eastern European background.

I do have a desire to be closer to Hashem, to really live for Him and be a light.
But do I have what it takes to call myself a 'chassid'?

I told my friend I was a Neo-Chasid. Whatever that means...

I aspire to be one.

I try to be a good Jew, and I think that automatically makes me some kind of chasid(pious and kind).

But a work in progress to be sure.

Here is what Rebbe Nachman says: "I have broken your pride --no matter how you pray, they will say ,'He's a Breslover Chasid!'" Avaneha Barzel

Rebbe Nachman asked his followers: “Why don't you make your wives Chasidistehs?” (Siach Sarfei Kodesh 2, 1-14). (In Yiddish, “Chasidistehs” means “women Chasidim.”)

For more on Breslov and Women haz cliq aqui. ;-)

Happy Birthday Tzaddikim!!

This chai Elul, Shabbat Kodesh, is the birthday of both the Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer, the Holy Ba'al Shem Tov, and Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Ba'al HaTanya. Can I hear a "OH YEAH!!"?!?! I mean, how kewl is that?! So, along with the awesome joy and holiness of shabbat let's plug into the holiness of these great tzadikim. Learn Tanya, (it's not just for Chabadniks y'know) learn the stories of the Besht and try to be the best chasid you can be. I mean the deep spirtual kind of chasid, (striemel and bekesha/kaputa not required) that dances and sings and is a simple Jew who loves Hashem and just tries to please Him in ALL he does and says.

Note: as I was writing this, my little niece got herself in an awkward situation and could not stand up. My beloved, leaned over to help her. He looked at me and said, "She couldn't elevate herself, I had to help her." I smiled, "I hear ya'."
May the merit of these holy Tzaddikim elevate us and help us all out of our awkward situations and help us to stand.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of this vocabulary. °Ü°

1. Fine : This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes : If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3. Nothing : This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. Go Ahead : This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5. Loud Sigh : This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6. That's Okay : This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks : A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.

8. Don't worry about it, I got it : Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself.. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to #3.

Heartbreak and Joy in Crown Heights

Please go read Live from the Hilltop, for the recent heartbreak and joy in Crown Heights.

Disappointment is...

finding all your amazing pictures from the Simply Tsfat are all very dark because you have an pretty 'ok' camera that cannot compensate for the lack of lighting.

Do you think Photo Shop would help???

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simply Tsfat!!!

What can I possibly say that has not been already said about this amazing group from the Holy City of Tsfat. For the past several years they have come here to Philly and each year it is such a treat! Simply Tsfat took us from sheer unadulterated joy with rousing chassidic niggunim to quiet contemplation with soft meditative pieces such a "Running and Returning." It was like Tsfat and Uman came to us all wrapped in one happy package.

Yoni Lipshutz shared his personal story of teshuva with us. It was so inspiring and so timely during this month of Elul, to hear how Hashem works in our lives. Yoni reminded us nothing we do is wasted and Hashem works all things for the good. (Check out this post on "A Simple Jew" for more on Yoni)

This years concert really was a spiritual treat for me because along with the music they shared many of Rebbeinu's deep treasures with us. They told the story of the man who finds the diamond complete with sound effects and musical accompaniment. They also touched on the basics of Rebbeinu's most well know teachings of "Never Give Up!", "If you believe you can damage believe you can fix" and the teaching of hitbodedut. Rebbe Nachman said, "My fire will burn until the coming of Mashiach". Simply Tsfat is helping to spread that fire.

The bottom line, if you have never seen Simply Tsfat in concert you simply must go. And if you have gone, keep going! They are an incredible musical group live not to mention the joy they bring in sharing Rebbe Nachman's teachings. The fact is, each time you hear them, they get better and better.

Little Tiptoes

This is a link to a beautiful post written by a dear friend, Reb Moshe. He has been busy taking care of his children while Mommy has been in the hospital with another child who is having surgery. Please keep this family in your prayers as they are, like many of us, going through their share of trials. B'ezrat Hashem, they only draw us closer to Hashem.

Little Tiptoes

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Three things that bring me joy

I am feeling kinda blah these days. Lotsa reasons, but I am sure none are really good enough. So I am trying to think of things that bring me joy. Here are three things that for sure bring a smile to my face.

1. My daughter sneaking up beside me a kissing my cheeks.

2. Hearing my son's voice on the phone, or these days, on the computer.

3. Listening to my youngest sing.

Oh yes, and this picture. Miss Kitty makes me smile.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

While quietly spinning...

the niece thought it would be fun to check out the roving!

"I'm just getting it ready for you Tity!"

Alpaca for me!

People are pretty good to me y'know.

A new friend of mine was just in the Adirondack Mountains and she was telling me about a wonderful Alpaca and Goat farm she was on. It sounded just wonderful. She told me what wonderful guards the alpacas are and how gentle they were. Of course I teasingly asked if she brought me back a souvenir. Well, dance of joy, she did! Here you see pictures of my very first alpaca! It is so soft and the natural shades of brown are lovely. From my first playing with it I am sure it will spin like a dream. It is fresh off the animal fur so I need to clean it. If any of you are familiar with cleaning alpaca please leave all your helpful tips.

My dog very interested in this new animal smell. Actually he got a little to interested and tried to make off with it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Uman! Uman! Rosh HaShana

I cannot tell you how this video has inspired me! Such joy!

My Rosh Hashanah is greater than everything. I cannot understand how it is that if my followers really believe in me, they are not all scrupulous about being with me for Rosh Hashanah. No one should be missing! Rosh Hashanah is my whole mission (Tzaddik #403).

I will try not to post so many videos, I just could not resist sharing this one with you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Video: Village Woman Walking & Spinning Wool

This video is really wonderful! I hope to be someday as skilled as the beautiful lady, with a support on my hip, walking and spinning as I go.

Quote from the video: I met this beautiful old lady from the Hills in the Himachal. She was hand spinning wool as she was walking. I asked her to explain me about it. She scolded me saying 'it's so simple.. there's nothing to explain'. I told her it may be simple for her but we have forgotten this ancient art of hand spinning wool as we do other chores. Then she readily explained it to me.

How to get out of Debt---The Snowbal Method

I came across this article and really like what it had to say. It teaches how to get out of debt using the 'snowball method'. Even I, who has had a long standing fear of numbers gets how this works. It really seems reasonable and doable.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The debt-snowball method of debt repayment is a form of debt management that is most often applied to repaying revolving credit — such as credit cards. This method has gained more recognition recently due to the fact that it is the primary debt-reduction method taught by Dave Ramsey.


The basic steps in the debt snowball method are as follows:

List all debts in ascending order from smallest balance to largest. This is the method's most distinctive feature, in that the order is determined by amount owed, not the rate of interest charged. However, if two debts are very close in amount owed, then the debt with the higher interest rate would be moved above in the list.
Commit to pay the minimum payment on every debt.
Determine how much extra can be applied towards the smallest debt.
Pay the minimum payment plus the extra amount towards that smallest debt until it is paid off.
Then, add the old minimum payment from the first debt to the extra amount, and apply the new sum to the second smallest debt.
Repeat until all debts are paid in full.
In theory, by the time the final debts are reached, the extra amount paid toward the larger debts will grow quickly, similar to a snowball rolling downhill gathering more snow (thus the name). The theory works as much on human psychology as it does on finance; by paying the smaller bills first, the individual, couple, or family sees fewer incoming payment requests as more bills are paid off, thus giving the impression that they are making headway towards debt elimination.

All retirement contributions are to be halted during the debt snowball, thus freeing up more money to pay down the debt snowball. Many dispute this practice, citing the cost of compounding interest to be greater than the gains of paying off debt. Some compromise by reducing retirement contributions to only what a company will match with an employee. Ramsey teaches that this halting of retirement contributions should last no more than two years.

A first home mortgage is not generally included in the debt snowball, but is instead paid off as part of one's larger financial plan. As an example, the Ramsey plan pays off home mortgages in "Baby Step 6", along with any other debt which is equal to or greater than half of one's annual take-home pay.

Simple Example

Ignoring interest rates, let's pretend you have the following debt (along with the minimum payments):

Car Payment - $2500 balance - $150/month minimum
Credit Card A - $250 balance - $25/month minimum
Loan - $5000 balance - $200/month minimum
Credit Card B - $500 balance - $26/month minimum
Your minimum payments for all debt would be $401 per month. You would order your debts in the following order (lowest to highest):

Credit Card A - $250 balance - $25/month minimum
Credit Card B - $500 balance - $26/month minimum
Car Payment - $2500 balance - $150/month minimum
Loan - $5000 balance - $200/month minimum
Now, assuming you had $100 extra per month to send in, you would apply that $100 to the Credit Card A so that the payment for it would be $125 per month and the other debt would receive the minimums.

After Credit Card A is paid off (in two months), you would apply the extra $100 to Credit Card B PLUS the $25 you were sending in to Credit Card A. So now your payment to Credit Card B would be: $26 normal minimum + $25 that you normally sent in to Credit Card A + $100 that you are able to send extra.

Your payment to Credit Card B would be $151 instead of $26. Therefore, you would pay it off much faster. Then, when Credit Card B is paid off, you would now send in the following to the Car Payment: $150 normal minimum + $25 that you normally sent in to Credit Card A + $26 that you normally sent in to Credit Card B + $100 that you are able to send extra

Your payment to Car Payment would now be $301 instead of $150.

If you didn't have $100 extra (or any extra amount) the debt snowball would be the same minus $100 per month.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Annual Meteor Shower

Under the new moon, the best-known meteor shower makes its appearance.

"According to the best estimates, in 2007 the Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream sometime around 2 a.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 13. That corresponds to 11 p.m. PT on Aug. 12 for those living in the Western United States or Canada.

The interval when the meteors will be falling at their highest rates will likely last several hours or more on either side of these times.

As a result, it is the late-night hours Sunday, on through the first light of dawn Monday that holds the greatest promise of seeing a very fine Perseid display."

'Great Show': Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Sunday Night


As soon as we arrived at the airport check in they asked if my son wanted to volunteer to be bumped.


'What is that?' I asked.

Ya'aqov informed me that this is a most desirable thing since, although it postpones his flight for a day, (he is now leaving tomorrow)it also means getting a free round trip ticket.

'Oh wow!' I thought, 'this is great!'

But sheesh, the waiting for three hours to see if he was actually going to get bumped and then the figuring out what do we do now. The drive all the way back to Philly. Emotions, etc... Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have my son home one more day. I am thrilled he is going to now have another ticket to get back to Israel another year. But I am not thrilled that I will not be able to see him off at the airport.


We ordered a 'limo' service to pick him up and deliver him to the airport.

:::heavy sigh:::

I just really like being able to see him off.

I know he's a 'big boy', but how does that preclude me from having all my mommy emotions.

Maybe I am not so mature after all.


As I am typing this my son is behind me, looking like the prince he is, praying for the last time this summer in my home. In approximately 40 minutes we will be leaving for JFK airport. I wrote my plane letter to him last night. Most of what I wrote, I said to him many times this year. But I think you need to have that plane letter. I always want my children to know how proud I am of them and how much I love them. I know they do, but I never want to leave room for even a shadow of a doubt.

I helped him pack his clothes last night. That always feels good. Maybe it gives me a feeling of, 'he still needs me', even if for only a little bit. Y'know, it's what happens when you pour your heart and soul into your children. You pour everything you know, all the love you have. You pray and pray and pray. And then one day you look and :::POOF::: the little boys turns around and what comes walking back to you is a man. Tall and strong, explaining the mysteries and Torah and the absoluteness of halacha to you. It's amazing and it is all I have ever dreamed of. B'ezrat Hashem, he will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Each year feels differently. I do not feel the heart wrenching of the first year or even what I felt last year. (Last year we were at a Simply Tsfat concert from where we directly left for JFK...what a send off!) Maybe I am maturing, maybe not. My heart aches when I think of not sitting and talking with him at the table. I feel a deep sadness when I think about not seeing him walk in the door every evening or seeing his silhouetted body donned in tallit and tefillin praying in the early hours of the day. But I have an even deeper joy when I think of my mighty one, returning to our Homeland and setting himself to learn and to grow closer to the Master of the Universe. I feel a strength when I think that all he is doing and all is he wrestling with helps keeps the earth on it's axis and on a more intimate level, blesses my very own family with abundance of life! I have told him, his job in our family is of vital importance. He is doing the job, that right now none of us here can do. He is being such a blessing to us and to K'lal Israel.

My prayer is that Hashem continue to give him and all our children the strength to continue learning and growing. I pray that he continues to grow in Torah and mitzvot and closeness with Hashem. That all that he does, and all that we do, and all that k'lal Israel does, will bring the final redemption speedily and in our day. Amen v'amen

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

I always wanted to make my own laundry soap, but was nervous because you had to heat the Fel Naptha. I have no idea if there is any lye in there, I looked it up and could not find an answer. So in my searchings, and wanderngs I have found...

::::drum roll please::::


No fear of triefing up pots here! Yippee!

Powdered Laundry Detergent 1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap 1/2 cup washing soda 1/2 cup 20 mule team borax Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light loads, use 2 tablespoon. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.

Courage and Heroes

True courage to stand for what is right. Heroes who will engage in combat with an enemy, not another family member.

"People may dount what you say, but they will always believe what you do."

Elite IDF Soldiers Refuse Hevron Expulsion Orders

by Hana Levi Julian

( Two officers and 10 soldiers were sentenced Monday night to 28 days in an army jail for refusing to participate in the expulsion of Jews from their homes in the former Hevron marketplace. The site is known as the Shalhevet neighborhood, named after 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass, who was murdered by a Palestinian Authority sniper several years ago.

The original group of 30 soldiers, all hesder yeshiva members of the elite Duchifat combat unit, balked when they were given their orders to replace Border Police officers during the expulsion. They told their commander before boarding an army bus bound for duty in Judea and Samaria that they would refuse to carry out the orders.

Under threats of a severe response by their commanding officer, more than half of the group backed down, but 12 continued to refuse to obey the order to forcibly evacuate the two families, including 14 children, from their homes.

In addition to their 28-day sentence in a military jail, the battalion commander, Col. Itai Virov, also demoted the soldiers from serving in a combat unit. The sentences are lighter than the active jail time called for by many left-wing politicians. Soldiers who refused orders during the Disengagement were often allowed to return to their units later on.

IDF Central Commander Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni removed the two unit commanders and 10 other soldiers from their positions in the elite Duchifat unit after they refused to obey the orders. "This is a phenomenon that endangers the very base the IDF stands on," said Shamni. "This is an army of the people, and in a democratic nation soldiers must obey orders."

An unidentified father of one of the Duchifat soldiers who balked at carrying out the order stated “the soldiers are standing with determination in their refusal to participate in any part of the expulsion of Jewish families from Hevron.” Another father, Moshe Rosenfeld, said in an interview on Army Radio “My son didn’t join the army to expel Jews, but to defend them. Furthermore, this is not an operation for the army, but for the police.”

The Duchifat unit is a special counter-terrorism battalion in the Kfir Brigade of the IDF Central Command infantry division. The Kfir Brigade is the largest such unit in the IDF, and includes Netach Yehuda and Nachal Hareidi forces. Duchifat soldiers specialize in urban combat and usually operate in the Ramallah area, with the responsibility for the protection of Jewish communities which include Beit El, Ofra and others.

A number of the soldiers who refused to get on the bus are students of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, who guided them through the process.

NRP / NU Knesset member Tzvi Hendel stated flatly in another broadcast interview, “There is no limit to the stupidity of the government…. Just as a soldier must think before shooting at an Arab, so too should one should think here as well. I understand a soldier who says that he is unable to carry out this order,” he added.

“I am not talking about refusal. It’s not enough to simply say that you’re following orders. We are not a dictatorship….We are not talking about soldiers refusing to fight in a war, but in soldiers refusing to carry out a political operation, which is not the mission of the IDF.”

Peace Now Secretary Yariv Oppenheimer asserted, "The extreme right is trying to turn the army into a political game. The IDF should not lend a hand to these attempts." The extreme left-wing activist insisted that soldiers who refuse to follow orders to expel the two families from their homes should be arrested and face a court trial.

A spokesman for the Rabbinical Council of Judea and Samaria commented, “The army shouldn’t be drafting children of Judea and Samaria to throw their families out of their homes.” There were a number of such instances during the 2005 Disengagement operation, when more than 8,000 Jews were expelled from 25 vibrant communities in the Gush Katif region of Gaza, and northern Samaria.

Meretz Knesset member Avshalom Vilan said that refusing IDF orders not the purview of the soldiers and officers. “They are meant to carry them out,” he stated.

The IDF is set to deploy some 3,000 soldiers for the effort to expel the two families, including 14 children, from their homes on Tuesday. The former Hevron marketplace is adjacent to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, from which nine families and a yeshiva were evicted a year and a half ago.

At that time, commander of Judea and Samaria forces IDF General Yair Golan convinced the families to leave, by promising that they would be allowed to return soon after with an improved legal status. The government reneged on the deal shortly thereafter when Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ruled that Golan did not have the authority to make the deal.

Four coalition Knesset members, three opposition Knesset members and two ministers signed a letter sent to Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week urging him to reconsider the order. "The residents in Hevron prevented a clash such as that in Amona when they removed themselves from their homes based on promises that they would be able to return," read the letter in part. "This approach must be encouraged, not put down."

Hevron officials say they are once again being promised that if they leave willingly a quiet return to the marketplace will be arranged in the future. A similar episode took place with the Beit Shapira House, wich remains sealed and empty to this day.“We've been through that one too many times,” said Hevron community spokesman David Wilder. “The property is Jewish property. A military appeals court recommended that the buildings be leased to the Hebron Jewish community. This too was rejected. What more do they want?”

In the aftermath of the War of Independence in 1948, Jordan occupied Hebron and gave control of the marketplace to the Custodian of Abandoned Properties.

The market was leased to the Hebron Municipality, which allowed the merchants to stay. That situation continued after Israel reclaimed the area in 1967.

Wilder continued, stating that it was “illogical to ask Jewish families to leave property that was owned by Jews, in the name of an empty marketplace that had not been operational for 13 years, and for which there was no plan to release to Palestinian merchants.”

Ze'ev Orenstein and Nissan Ratzlav-Katz contributed to this article.


How can you see this and not cry???

Hevron of Forefathers.

PLEASE HASHEM!!! Please have mercy on us and help us to open our eyes! Help to wake up. Help us to know You alone are truly our recourse. Please Abba...
Please, have mercy on your children and send Moschiach.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Breslov Appraoch to Children

A letter by Reb Shimon Barsky


In modern society, both Jewish and non-Jewish, teaching is regarded as an honored profession (albeit not an especially lucrative one). In the world of the shtetl (Eastern European village), however, the melamed, or teacher of small children, typically was an impoverished scholar untrained for any other work, to whom an equally impoverished clientele entrusted their youngsters to receive the rudiments of religious instruction. For this inglorious position the teacher was neither trained and paid a reasonable wage, nor even respected by the community. Not surprisingly, many melamdim, frustrated with their lot, showed little tolerance for their students' childish antics. No doubt there is wisdom in Shlomo Hamelech's (King Solomon's) axiom, "Spare the rod and spoil the child"; however, the resort to harshness and corporal punishment on the part of old-world teachers was sometimes excessive, to the emotional detriment of the children and their future relation to religious studies. This is the problem Reb Shimshon Barsky addresses in his letter below.

Reb Shimshon, a descendant of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, was one of the foremost teachers in Uman's Breslov community prior to the Stalinist purges. This letter was written in the early 1930's, immediately prior to the breakup of the community and the murder, imprisonment, or forced exile of its members. After Reb Shimshon passed away in 1935, his family escaped to Poland, and a number of his descendents now live in Eretz Yisrael and in the Chassidic community of Brooklyn, NY.

The letter is one of three such documents printed at the beginning of Reb Shimshon's classic Breslov work, Likutei Eitzos Ivri-Teitch ("Rebbe Nachman's Collected Advice Explained in Yiddish"), reprinted in 1978. A Hebrew translation recently was published as Gevuros Shimshon.

Reb Shimshon Barsky's Letter

May Hashem be blessed,

To my dear son, Noson, and his entire family, may they live:

Please tell me about my precious, esteemed grandson, Yisrael, may he live long: if he now attends cheder (school), if he knows the Hebrew letters and vowel points, and if the melamed (instructor) has taught him the blessings for the varieties of food and drink, and so forth.

No excuses: the melamed should treat him pleasantly in every way, and never frighten or threaten him at all, for any reason. The mind of a child is extremely sensitive. Therefore, one must never frighten a child or threaten him for any reason, so that he should come to no harm, G-d forbid.

Also, tell the melamed that he must never display anger or rage - no excuses!

He must not inculcate fear in the child, neither while teaching him the prayer book nor while teaching him the blessings, etc. Rather, he should relate to the child with a calm, pleasant manner, without anger or harshness, so as not to upset him.

Without any excuses, he should fulfill everything I have written in this letter, and may G-d help you to raise all your children in the ways of Torah and good deeds, with material blessings and emotional gratification (nachas).

Your father,


Friday, August 03, 2007

Shabbat Menu...Raw food included

This shabbat I am serving:

Moroccan Fish
Salads (babaganouj, hummus, Israeli, tomato and avocado and eggplant.)
Raw Falafel
Red Rice
Raw Curry Pate
'Coucous' Salad
Peach Cobbler (my daughter's recipe)
Frozen Fruit Bars
Tofutti Cuites (My beloved's fave)

Lunch will be:

and more salads, including whatever is left over form tonight.
(I make alot for that reason)

Lots of variety here for my family! I am a vegetarian, my oldest daughter is a vegan, and the rest of the family are omnivores who LOVE the raw food recipes along with everything else. It's makes Imma so happy!

Shabbat Shalom!

Another 200 Jews Arrive Home

by Hillel Fendel

Another 200 new immigrants to Israel have come home from North America, landing on their new/old home turf in Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning. They were greeted by cheering crowds and government officials.

Today's was the second Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) flight this summer from North America; the first one, earlier this month, brought over 220 new olim (immigrants). NBN flights have also arrived from Great Britain, and another one will arrive this evening. A planeload of 600 new olim from France arrived last week, organized by the AMI organization dedicated to increasing French aliyah (immigration to Israel).

Among today's 200 olim were a 90-year-old World War II veteran, making Aliyah with his daughter, son-in-law and their four children. The youngest new immigrant is only four months old. On the flight were 34 families with 86 children, as well as a large group of single olim. Five dogs and three cats were also aboard, a reminder to other potential immigrants that a family pet need not present an obstacle to Aliyah. The new Israelis also number four physicians and four psychologists.

Also aboard the El Al charter flight to Israel was a 250-year-old Torah scroll originally from Cracow, Poland. The scroll survived the Holocaust by virtue of having been hidden in a library of ancient texts. It was found in 1998 by an American Jew visiting Poland, who then brought it to the U.S.; his family, making Aliyah today, has now brought it to its final resting place in Israel.

"It is extremely gratifying to witness the growth of since our first charter Aliyah flight in 2002 to our 25th flight today," said Nefesh B'Nefesh founder and Chairman Tony Gelbart. "It is exciting to help realize the hopes and dreams of so many people from diverse backgrounds to move to Israel."

A total of some 2,200 olim are scheduled to make Israel their home this summer via NBN's seven charter flights and eight regular El Al flights with groups of NBN immigrants.

By the end of 2007, NBN will have brought over 3,500 olim during the year from the US, Canada, and the UK. Aliyah from North America is expected to be a 25-year record high, following a steady climb over the past five years.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Don't lose out because of anger

Whenever I feel down, I can always find words of comfort and encouragement from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. These are from The Essential Rabbi Nachman by Avraham Greenbaum. You can find the free online version here.

It would be proper for all Israel to have wealth, but there is one trait that interferes and causes them to lose it. The trait in question is a very bad and lowly trait from which it is very difficult to escape. Sometimes a person wants to escape this trait out of a desire for wealth itself, so as not to lose money, but even so this evil trait attacks him from childhood, causing him to lose the money he should have had.

The evil trait that causes a person to lose the money he should have had is anger. The reason for this is that at its very root and spiritual source , wealth is in the same category as anger. Thus when the evil one sees a flow of influence descending to bring wealth to a person, he turns it into anger, because , at their root , anger and wealth are in the same category: they both descend from God's mighty powers, deriving from the same place. “From the north comes forth gold” (Job 37:22) and “The evil will start from the north ” (Jeremiah 1:14 ) .

Wealth is a “wall” ( ch O mah ), while anger ( ch EY mah ) ruins the wall. Thus when the evil one sees that a flow of wealth – chomah , a “wall” – is being sent to a person – he turns this flow into anger, sending something to make the person angry. Thus the “wall”, chomah , is ruined because of the anger, cheymah . Since anger and wealth are at root one category, the evil one can easily turn the flow of wealth into anger.

And know that even if the descending influence has already reached a person and turned into actual wealth, a “wall”, the evil one can still sometimes tempt the person to become so enraged that he loses even his existing money and wealth. One might have thought that after the blessing has already reached him and turned into wealth, it would be impossible for the evil one to turn it back into anger. The wealth should have been a “wall” protecting him from the evil one and preventing him from succumbing to anger, which is the opposite of a “wall”. Yet the evil one has the power to attack a person with such great anger that he loses even the money he already has.

May God guard and save us from this despicable trait! Amen.

Likutey Moharan I, 68

Wednesday, August 01, 2007's not so bad

Ha Rav Ovadiah Yosef, shlita

Rabbi Ovadia: 'Women should stick to cooking, sewing',is the headline from yesterday's Jerusalem Post. From what I understand it is quite the controversial statement and all the rage now in Blogoshpere. While I usually don't involve myself in controversial matters on my homestead here, I felt like I just needed to point out a few things.

1. Do the words 'lost in translation', mean anything? He was "speaking in the language of his audience."

2. He is speaking to Sephardic women, not to every Jewish women out there. Most Sephardic women say the bracha first and then light. Makes sense, right? But, there are also sources for the other way (bracha then light). The point is, he is poskening for the people who follow his rulings (ie. sephardim).

3. Chariedi disliking Media + out of context = twisted words

In my opinion, Michelle over at Israel Jewish News says it best.