The Promise of Victory
Sep11

The Promise of Victory

Are you happy with your life? Do you feel like you’ve always made the right choices and are proud of everything you’ve done? If you could turn back the clock, would you do everything the same way? Or maybe you wouldn’t mind getting a fresh start or at least a partial reset? Preparing for Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Judgment, involves a great deal of introspection. (If you haven’t started yet, now may be a good time!) Naturally, as we...

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Battle Strategy
Sep04

Battle Strategy

Walking the streets of Israel, one of the most common expressions you’ll hear is “B’seder.” This is generally equivalent to the way we would say, “OK.” However, in Israel, this expression has taken on a panoply of different meanings. “Would you like to meet for coffee at 10?” “B’seder.” “How are you feeling today?” “B’seder.” “You cut my place in line – that’s NOT b’seder.” Sometimes someone will even say, “B’seder gamur,” which means...

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Why Do We Sin?
Aug27

Why Do We Sin?

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Elul is upon us, and considering that we are seriously aspiring to engage in teshuvah (return to God), it may be high time to ask this fundamental question. You’re probably thinking the simple answer is that we sin because we just don’t care, or at least we lack sufficient interest to do what the Torah deems proper. Wrong! Shockingly, Reb Noson says that the majority of our wrongdoing actually comes...

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Striking It Rich!
Aug21

Striking It Rich!

Wealth is something that most people spend their days dreaming about. But how does one actually become wealthy? In 1999 the executive chairman of Google (then the CEO of Novell), Eric Schmidt, said in an interview with Forbes: “Lots of people who are smart and work hard and play by the rules don’t have a fraction of what I have.” Schmidt acknowledged that the scale of inequality generated by the new wealth “makes me uncomfortable.”...

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This Way to the Treasure
Aug14

This Way to the Treasure

A man once dreamed that there was a great treasure under a bridge in Vienna. He traveled to Vienna and stood near the bridge, trying to figure out what to do. He did not dare search for the treasure by day, because of the many people who were there. An officer passed by and asked, “What are you doing, standing here and contemplating?” The man decided that it would be best to tell the whole story and ask for help, hoping that [the...

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Time to Rebuild
Aug07

Time to Rebuild

If someone were to curse and totally demean you,wouldn’t it seem strange if they told you moments later how great they are going to make you? Well then, take a look at what’s going on: First, the prophet Amos informs us that God compares the Jews to Cushites, saying, “Are you not like the children of the Cushites to me, O children of Israel?” (Amos 9:7) Comparing us to Cushites wasn’t exactly a compliment. The Cushites...

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How We Can Bring Mashiach
Jul17

How We Can Bring Mashiach

  We think of Moses as being the ultimate prophet, someone who spoke “face to face” with God and stood between Heaven and earth. Therefore we assume that when he experienced a prophecy, its message and interpretation were obvious to him. Indeed, in this week’s parashah Moses states, “This is the word that God has commanded” (Numbers 30:2). Rashi explains that only Moses was able to say “this,” describing the vision that God had...

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Recapture the Flag!
Jul09

Recapture the Flag!

The Jewish people have never lacked enemies. Just as we are attacked today by terrorists, so too, in the days of Moses, our enemies constantly schemed and planned our destruction. However, in the days of Moses, our nation was one worthy of prophecy – ours was a nation that witnessed the Ten Plagues in Egypt and the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Because of our elevated spiritual status, our enemies were not brazen enough to...

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Searching for Answers
Jul03

Searching for Answers

We are in pain. We are in sorrow.  The Jewish People is connected – we are truly one. Because of this, we each personally feel the horrifying loss of our three dear and precious brothers. When describing this month of Tammuz, Rebbe Nachman teaches, “The first letters of ‘Zikhru Torat Moshe (remember Moshe’s Torah)’ (Malachi 3:22) spell TaMmuZ without the vav. This is because in the month of Tammuz we must elicit mindfulness in order...

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Wake Up!
Jun25

Wake Up!

Unable to control himself, the viceroy plucked an apple from the tree and took a bite. As soon as he swallowed it, he fell to the ground in a deep sleep and slept a long, long time. The viceroy’s servant tried to wake him up, but he couldn’t. Rebbe Nachman’s first tale, “The Lost Princess,” is a fascinating recounting of the story of our lives. Being such, it incites us to ask a critical question: “Do I truly possess absolute...

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Yes, We Can!
Jun19

Yes, We Can!

The other day I was introduced to a successful businessman who was interested in studying Breslov Chassidut together. In order to get know each other, we shared our backgrounds, and he said something that has stuck in my mind ever since. My newfound chavruta explained that although his wife and children were making headway in their spiritual journeys, his growth was stunted and even retarded because he enjoyed the pleasures that his...

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The Missing Link
Jun11

The Missing Link

“In the place where returnees to Judaism stand, even completely righteous Tzaddikim cannot stand” (Berakhot 34b). Wow! Our Rabbis are implying that the returnee is greater than the saint. But shouldn’t one who has spent his entire life in the service of God, and never really faltered, be considered supreme in every aspect? How could there be a “place” reserved for one who has erred? This question is as old as the universe. You see,...

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Take Your Holiness With You
May23

Take Your Holiness With You

You have the ability to connect with and build on your own inner holiness. Take your holiness with you as you journey through life.

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Soldier On
May22

Soldier On

The drive down from the hills of Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport is a lonely one. After having been privileged to travel to the Land of Israel and bask in its holiness for a few days, it isn’t so easy to depart and return to “normal life.” Thankfully, I remembered that I had a precedent. Reb Noson once traveled to be with Rebbe Nachman, but because of the opposition of his family at that time, the Rebbe told him, “To you we must say,...

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The Barley Test
May01

The Barley Test

Aside from being part of my delicious Shabbos cholent, barley has never been a food that I find myself craving. Luckily, throughout Likutey Halakhot, Reb Noson refers to it as “animal fodder.” Even more interesting, only two Temple offerings consisted of barley: the Omer offering, which we are commanded to bring in this week’s parashah (Leviticus 23:14), and the Sotah offering (more about this soon). What do these two have in common,...

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Day By Day
Apr24

Day By Day

So, do you feel free? Although our stomachs may be feeling like a gigantic matzah ball right now, spiritually our minds have soared to great heights. On Seder night, not only were our ancestors released from captivity, but our own souls were also redeemed. But the freedom we received was of the miraculous sort, and as great as miracles are, they have limited results. In Egypt we were on the lowest of spiritual levels – number 49 – and...

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