A Home in the Land of Emuna
Make your decision to come home to the Land of Emuna and try to strengthen yourself in emuna with all your heart, and you’ll see big miracles like my wonderful friends the Gros family did:
Dear Rabbi Brody,
Exactly a year ago, my husband (Michael Gros) and I had a question for you. I wanted to give you an update on Hashem’s answer to that question.
We had made aliyah two years prior and had still not sold our home in America. In the meantime we were renting it out and the rent our tenants were paying covered the mortgage plus a little spending money.
Our problem was that we really wanted to buy a home in Eretz Yisrael but were unable to without the sale of our home in Atlanta. As you know the real estate market in America is bleak and it is even worse in Atlanta.
Your advice to us was to actively look for an apartment here in Israel and talk to Hashem telling him our dilemma and asking for help. We told Him all the reasons we wanted to buy here (including that we know that Moshiach’s arrival is imminent and we wanted to be able to house all the guests that are going to be pouring into Erertz Yisrael!)and asked him to send a buyer to purchase our Atlanta home at the right time and the right price.
After much searching we found our dream apartment in Ramat Beit Shemesh. It was beautiful with a view of the neighboring mountains. The sunset from our balcony would be breathtaking and we really wanted the apartment however there was not even a bite on our Atlanta home.
We did not loose faith! We continued talking to Hashem every night and made an offer on the apartment in Ramat Beit Shemesh and it was accepted. Although we had enough money for the down payment we knew that the monthly mortgage payments would be an enormous financial strain on us. We would have to start asking relatives to help us each month if the house in Atlanta did not sell.
A closing date on our apartment in Ramat Beit Shemesh was set and instead of getting nervous about our Atlanta home we kept davening and talking to Hashem.
A week before our closing here in Eretz Yisrael we received a phone call from a family in Atlanta saying they were interested in our home, how much were we asking and how quickly could we close.
In the end, we got for out home in Atlanta the exact amount we needed to make our mortgage payments comfortable here. The best part of the whole story is that we closed on our apartment here at 3pm and in Atlanta 11pm all on the same day…only a 7 hour difference. We couldn’t have planned it that!!
Thank you for your advice! Thank you for showing us that Hashem really listens to us. Thank you for giving us the gift of Emuna!
Shoshana and Michael Gros
From Gutman Locks! and From Danny Leeman
The section of the Torah that deals with the death of our matriarch, Sarah, and her burial in Chevron, begins, “The life of Sarah” . This is a little strange to say the least! And just to make matters more confusing this term is actually repeated, leading the commentaries  to expound that the years of her life were ‘all equally good’. We know however that she had nothing short of what we would describe as a terrible life! To mention just a few of her misfortunes, she had a tough upbringing, plenty of enemies and was barren most of her life. When she finally had sons, one of them was so evil that he had to be sent away and the other she believed was on his way to being killed by her own husband.
Where then is the goodness in her life?
Following a vacation in England, I was finally on my way back to Israel. I had a friend’s wedding that evening and prayed that there would be no significant delays. Indeed my prayers were answered, but I was still completely unprepared for my journey to that wedding…
“23E – just down the aisle on the left hand side,” the stewardess pointed down the aisle. I never understood why the ritual of handing over your boarding pass having it read and then returned was necessary at all. Most people are perfectly capable of simply reading out their seat number. Almost as many people are also equally capable of figuring out that their seat is ‘down the aisle’ being that there is nowhere else to go! Some people can even look at the numbers above the seats and find their own place. But either way, a ritual is a ritual.
As I made my way towards my seat I already guessed where I would be sitting: in between two extremely large passengers both of whom were already asleep and leaning towards the middle seat – 23E!
“No I apologise sir, but the plane is completely full – there are no other available seats.”
I thought as much, but it was worth a try.
It was far from a pleasurable take-off and things didn’t get much better, especially during meal time. But I’ll spare you the gory details. But the discomfort changed to danger when we suffered some turbulence and one of my neighbours almost squashed me into a pulp.
Relieved to still be breathing, I was finally on the bus on the way to the wedding. It was standing room only, but it was only a short journey. Some of the passengers were complaining, but after my experiences that day, this was like heaven!
Suddenly someone ran in front of the bus and the driver slammed on the breaks. I was thrown to the floor, followed by a couple of other passengers who landed on top of me!
Everyone was shook up, but thankfully nothing was broken. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! I laughed: I was on the way to the wedding!
Why was Sarah so happy despite her troubles and tribulations? Because she was constantly aware that she was ‘on the way to the wedding’ – she had a connection to something greater. All of her troubles simply disappeared.
This attitude is the difference between ‘Chayei Sarah’ (The life of Sarah) and the phrase ‘chayei tzara’ (a life of suffering) . If we recognise that life is about connecting to spirituality – regardless of if we have ‘problems’ or not – we will nevertheless live like Sarah, a truly ‘good’ life.
These terms are very similar, they even sound somewhat similar, but they are diametrically opposite life outlooks. The difference between them is a single letter: Sarah begins with the letter ‘sin’ which has a numerical value of 300, whilst ‘tzara’ begins with the letter ‘tzadi’ having a value of 90. The difference between these two outlooks then is 210 (300 – 90 = 210) which is also the numerical value of the word ‘chibor’ meaning connection which also shares the same letters and root as the word ‘chaver’ – friend .
Sarah’s happiness stemmed from her connection to something greater; something that could not be extinguished or broken by even the worst of sufferings: Sarah was connected to spirituality with the help of and together with her connection  to her husband, Avraham – our forefather.
But Avraham was more than a ‘husband,’ he was also a true  friend which is evident from how he cared for her even after her death, and ensured at great efforts and expense that she received a fitting burial. Non-coincidentally this meant that she was buried in Chevron – also sharing the same letters as the word ‘chibor’ (connection) and ‘chaver’ (friend). Indeed Chevron is the place where great married couples (Adam and Chava, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka; Yaakov and Leah) are buried .
Living with such an attitude, Sarah was able to live a life where ‘all was equally good’ – all that would come her way, even those negative experiences, she would ‘equate them’ making them all her ‘friends’ not letting them interfere with her spiritual connection and life purpose .
Perhaps sometimes in life we might get squashed, but we should not let these things squash our very lives. As long as we recognise that we have been placed in this world to connect to something far greater than merely dwelling upon our suffering, we still stand a chance of a good life.
Have a good Shabbos,
 This term is found in Medrash Rabba, Bamidbar 10:(1) (based on Eicha 3:53) referring to idolatry, or in other words a life devoid of a connection to G-d. Literally it translates as a life of suffering.
The terms ‘Avodah zara’ (idolatry, or literally ‘strange service’) and ‘el zar’ (idol, or literally ‘strange god’) refer to the concept of idolatry (i.e. being devoid of a connection to G-d) and ‘strange’. Perhaps this name reflects this idea that a life of bitterness over suffering is truly a ‘strange’ behaviour since if a connection to G-d is made, the same life ‘service’ could be ‘equated’ to become ‘good’. Instead the idol worshipper ‘strangely’ chooses a life of suffering.
 Additionally 210 = hatzaddik (the righteous one) + 1 because obviously this attitude is a righteous one.
 See Rashi, Bereishis 4:1 and Maharal
 The measure of the ‘truth’ of the character trait of kindness is only evident after death [based on Sukkah 49b].
 Rashi, Bereishis 23:2
 Perhaps this idea is also reflected by the teaching [Zohar, Vayeishev 184a] that there are 2 types of ‘rogez’ (spirits of ‘anger’) that come to the world – one a blessing and one a curse. It is defined by how a person relates to this ‘rogez’: do they live a life of suffering as a result of it, or do they live a Chayei Sarah!
Here is the Exact Problem with “Kosher” Yoga
Someone sent my recent article on yoga to a Jew who operates a “kosher” yoga center. Here is his reply:
“On our teacher training we warn our students very strongly against kundalini yoga and a few other styles of yoga that we consider to be pure avoda zara [Idolatry].
“I’ve read Gutman Lock’s books and know his take on it. In my opinion he is biased based on his personal experiences before he was religious and lived in India and was immersed in the avoda zaraaspect of yoga etc… He cannot comprehend that there can be a pareve [non-spiritual] approach to it.
In a letter, the [Lubavitcher] Rebbe talks about the obligation of people who are “experts” in the field of yoga and meditation to extract the pareve/healing parts from these systems.
“Also, there is a lot of new research that is coming out that the vast majority of yoga as it is practiced today in the western world (not kundalini etc.. but more vinyasa/power/hatha) is based for the most part on Swedish and British gymnastics and was only developed at the turn of the century and not based on “ancient Hindu scriptures” and most hardcore religious yogis (like Locks used to be) like to believe. There is no written evidence in any of the ancient yoga texts that the vast, vast majority of poses taught today were taught back then. The original texts on the subject focus mainly on the meditation and there were only about 10 or so (maybe even less – can’t remember exactly) poses back in the day.”
This is an ongoing battle. We have some 30 articles pointing out the idolatry associated with yoga. The one from this week is an answer to a Jewish woman who objected to her young child being taught yoga in public school. The teacher told the little boy to imagine that he was a red doll while he was doing the exercises!
Just look at this yoga teacher’s answer, and see the exact problem in his own words! He wrote that his yoga was pure, and that it is like “vinyasa yoga”.
This is what the first site I went to had to say about this yoga;
“The term vinyasa also refers to a specific series of movements that are frequently done between each pose in a series. This viṅyāsa ‘flow’ is a variant of Sūrya namaskāra, the Sun Salutation, and is used in other styles of yoga beside Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
The opening sequence begins with 10 Sun Salutations and then several standing postures.”
Listen well; the “sun salutation” is an old exercise still practiced in India today, and it is called “Worshipping surya.” They changed the name to “salutation” to hide this fact in the West. “Surya”is the “chief solar deity” in Hinduism, and is called “the god who sustains the heavens and knows all who lives”.
Is this what you want your children to be doing? And when those Jews move away from your Jewish friend’s center, and want to continue yoga, what books are they going to buy? What teachers are they going to have? No one, not even a non-Jew should worship a sun deity!
The Rebbe’s letter clearly said, (yet these Jewish fans of yoga distort this over and over again): “…utterly devoid of any ritual implications.”
“Salutation to the sun god” is not devoid of ritual implications. The word yoga itself is a ritual word that refers to Hinduism, not Judaism.
Do you want your young children imagining that they are red dolls? And what will their teacher tell them to imagine themselves to be next?