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April 2019

Daily Centering

Centering 29.4
Here's something I picked up from a health-and-fitness coach's manual from one of the recent health-coach refresher courses I took (the bold-letter emphases are mine):

"The very first way to combat stress is to have your clients begin the exercise of taking 10 minutes each day - to simply sit and center themselves with their thoughts. They can find a quiet room somewhere and as they do, they should simply clear their mind or let their thoughts take place and then release them. This is a form of meditation and it can do wonders for helping to restore central nervous system balance, reducing ongoing stress and helping them feel that much better on a day to day basis. If they can’t do this for 10 minutes, wonderful! At any rate, 5 minutes will suffice. Any amount of time done daily or as close to daily a possible will have a very positive influence on their stress levels."

I don't know how many other health-and-fitness coaches follow the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, but the author of the above manual is right on the money. If 10 minutes daily ("5 minutes will suffice") do so much good for a person's nervous system, stress levels and overall good feeling, then imagine what 30, 45 or even 60 minutes a day of secluded, intimate conversing and connecting with the Creator accomplish! This is quality time, alone with the Almighty, where you collect your thoughts, clarify issues and simply recharge body and soul. I like to do my daily sessions while walking, especially somewhere secluded and beautiful where heart and soul open wide up. It's the key to self-composure, happiness and sanity. Try it - you'll love it.


The 7 Tenets of Belief in Yourself

Believe 2

Thursday night is the eve of the seventh day of Passover, when at midnight, the Almighty split the Red Sea. Our sages say that the Israelites lacked the merit to deserve such a miracle, but the catalyst was the dedication of one dedicated individual, Nachshon ben Aminadav, who jumped into the sea despite the fact that he couldn't swim. Where did he get the courage to do such an act? He believed that if he did everything he possibly could, the Almighty would come to his aid.

In other words, Nachshon believed in G-d and believed in himself.

What is “belief in myself”? Here are the basic seven parameters:

  1. The Almighty created me, as He did every other creature, with a unique trait of my own that no one else has, just as my fingerprints are unique; there is no exception to this rule.

  2. The particular attribute, skill, or talent that the Almighty instills in me enables me to successfully accomplish my own very special mission on earth.

  3. The Almighty wants me to successfully accomplish my mission on earth; I can therefore succeed; indeed, if I don't limit myself, I can attain greatness.

  4. The Almighty loves me, for He has no other child like me; He wants to help me and He especially loves hearing from me.

  5. I am a person of worth.

  6. I have the power to improve myself.

  7. I can be happy.

Repeat the above 7 parameters over and over, daily, until they become second nature. Once you believe in yourself, wait and see how your life takes off. Your own personal Red Sea will split too...

Go for it, because you'll now go far.

With blessings for a continued lovely Passover and a wonderful Shabbat, LB


The Tree-Milk Fertility Secret

Date 22.4

This post is not only great for Passover, but it's great for vegans as well and those who are lactose-intolerant. In addition, for those who seek a natural and effective fertility enhancer, this is just what you need:

Dates, especially those grown here in Israel, have magical qualities. If you know anyone with a fertility issue - man or woman - the following simple Land-of-Israel fertility enhancer is bound to help them. Why "Land of Israel"? The tree-milk we're about to prepare is based on Israel-grown Medjool dates and raw, non-toasted almonds. If you can get both from Israel, that's optimal, but not an absolute must. You'll enjoy this:

Brody-Health Tree-Milk Fitness and Fertility Enhancer

Variation Number One: Basic almond milk. The Brody recipe is dummy-proof and easy to prepare. All you need are the following three ingredients:

  1. One cup of dried, raw, non-toasted and unsalted almonds (approx. 80 almonds or 225 gr.)
  2. One liter/quart of water
  3. 2 Medjool dates, pitted

Soak the almonds overnight in a liter of cool water. The next morning, add the almonds with the water they soaked in and the dates to a blender, preferably with a high-speed capability and strong motor. Blend the ingredients at high-speed for 1.5-2 minutes. strain the mixture in a clean dish towel. Don't discard the the pulp, for it's a great additive to yogurt. At this point, you'll have a wonderful basic almond milk that's great in your coffee and parve as well.

Variation Number Two: Tree-Milk Fitness and Fertility Enhancer

Ingredients:

  1. One cup of dried, raw, non-toasted and unsalted almonds (approx. 80 almonds or 225 gr.)
  2. One liter/quart of water
  3. 8 large or 12 medium Medjool dates, pitted
  4. One tablespoon of bee honey (natural unpasteurized with no additives) 
  5. Optional (for supercharged fertility and a berry-milk taste) - 5 tablespoons of Goji berries
  6. 6 ice cubes

Soak all the ingredients except for the honey and the ice cubes in a liter of cool water overnight. In the morning, put the water with the soaked almonds, dates and Gojis (optional) in high-speed blender and add the honey and ice cubes. Blend it all together at high speed for two minutes. Both husband and wife should drink at least 250 cc's of the mixture (about 9 ounces) at morning and at early evening. The effects are remarkable.

The above Tree-Milk not only does wonders for fertility, but it enhances stamina as well. I've used it several times in the past about an hour before a strenuous resistance workout. It's the real deal...

Don't forget to send me an invitation to the Bris. You can almost set the date...

Blessings for a continued happy and healthy Passover, LB


"Dayenu": The Key to Emotional Health

Dayenu 19.4
Our sages teach that a truly rich person is he or she who is happy with their lot in life. The main characteristic of happy people is gratitude -  they are grateful for their blessings in life, material and spiritual. One of my favorite expressions is that grateful people are never bitter, yet bitter people are never grateful. 

Passover, and particularly Seder Night, is a lovely way of expressing our gratitude to the Almighty. A prime example is the "Dayenu" sonnet, which shows our appreciation in the loveliest manner.

This year, let's stop and elaborate on Dayenu at our Seder table. The bold letters below is our translation of the original prayer; our explanation appears in the adjacent the normal letters. No numbers appear in the original sonnet, but we added numbers to show the cumulative effect - feel free to print this and attach it to your Haggadah:

How many cumulative favors has the Holy One bestowed upon us!

  1. If He had taken us out from Egypt, and had not executed judgments against them - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! Sometimes people are saved from the hands of their oppressors but they don't get to see their downfall. Hashem not only enabled us to see the downfall of the Egyptians, but in executing severe punishments against them, He warns our subsequent oppressors that they will attain a similar fate; history shows that they always do.
  2. If He had executed judgments against them, and not against their idols - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! The other pagans of the world may have maintained that Hashem was mighty against flesh-and-blood but powerless against their idols, Heaven forbid. By destroying them, Hashem showed otherwise. As our G-d, His might heightens the prestige of those who believe in Him.
  3. If He had demolished their idols, and had not killed their first-born - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! The pagans and the heretics still had room to deny the concept of Divine providence. When Hashem smote the firstborn of Egypt, He demonstrated a doubly miraculous measure of Divine providence, differentiating between those who were firstborn to their fathers and those who were not, and between the differentiating between Jewish and non-Jewish firstborns.
  4. If He had killed their first-born, and had not given us their wealth - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! As if it wasn't sufficient that Hashem freed us from slavery in Egypt, He gave us all the money retroactively that we should have been paid for our labors.
  5. If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! The weak believers might continue to maintain that our receiving the Egyptians' wealth was a simple matter of social justice and fate; splitting the sea showed the world how Hashem personally overrides nature, fate and logic to perform miraculous deeds for Israel.
  6. If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! Here, Hashem shows us a miracle upon miracle. Sure, the sea split but the seabed should have been a muddy mess and most difficult to traverse. It was bone-dry for Israel.
  7. If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors therein - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! Even though the sea-bed was bone-dry for Israel, it returned to its natural muddy status once the Egyptians entered it. Immediately, their chariots were bogged down in the heavy mad and once they were trapped, the walls of the sea crashed down on their heads.
  8. If He had drowned our oppressors therein, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! If it were not enough that Hashem rescued us from our oppressors, He continued to sustain us miraculously – not in Iowa or Switzerland, but in the desolate Sinai Desert!
  9. If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! Hashem could have fed us bread and water, but instead, He miraculously provided the sublime delicacy of manna, the Heaven-sent bread, which itself was miraculous in many ways. It tasted whatever you wanted it to taste like.
  10. If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the Shabbat - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! Hashem gave us a double portion of manna on Friday so that we would not have to worry about where our food will come from on Shabbat. Who can estimate the priceless gift of our weekly day of rest for body and soul, ever so conducive to getting close to Hashem.
  11. If He had given us the Shabbat, and had not brought us in proximity to Mount Sinai - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! To bring us even closer, Hashem revealed Himself to our entire nation on Mount Sinai.
  12. If He had brought us in proximity to Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! If it wasn't enough that Hashem revealed Himself to us, He gave us the Holy Book that is the secret of our timelessness despite all that has befallen us.
  13. If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! As if the Torah wasn't the most precious gift that Hashem could give us, He brought us especially to the Land of Emuna and its inherent holiness, the ideal place on earth for fulfilling the Torah's commandments.
  14. If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Holy Temple - Dayenu, it would have been enough for us! We now await for the imminant rebuilding of our third and final Holy Temple, may it be built soon in our days, amen!

Thus how much more so should we be grateful to the Omnipresent One for the doubled and redoubled goodness that He has bestowed upon us; for He has brought us out of Egypt, and carried out judgments against them, and against their idols, and smote their first-born, and gave us their wealth, and split the sea for us, and took us through it on dry land, and drowned our oppressors in it, and supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and fed us the manna, and gave us the Shabbat, and brought us before Mount Sinai, and gave us the Torah, and brought us into the land of Israel and built for us the Beit Habechirah (Holy Temple) to atone for all our sins.

Rabbi Judah the Prince, who codified the Mishna and whom many consider the author of the Haggadah, listed fourteen particular favors, no more and no less. Why? He quotes the Torah and says that Hashem took us out of Egypt with “a strong hand and an outstretched arm”. “Hand” in Hebrew is yad, spelled yud-dalet. In Hebrew numerics, yud=10 and dalet=4, together the sum of fourteen. The Dayenu sonnet is therefore a hint that the Almighty's mighty hidden hand not only took us out of Egypt, but personally massages our hearts and sustains us each moment of the day.

To be truly happy, we should all sit down and compose our own list of Dayenus – once we open our eyes to all our blessings and thank Hashem for them, life becomes a Heaven on earth. Blessings for the very best Passover you ever had!


Tree Grown Cosmetics: The Avocado Facial

Avocado
The world's finest cosmetics grow on trees.

Here are our favorite facial moisturizing treatments. If they're 100% effective in Israel's arid climate, they'll work for you too. Save your money - instead of all those expensive creams, try these fantastic tree-grown natural cosmetics, courtesy of the Creator and totally organic with no synthetic additives that might not be so conducive to your health in the long run:

Our #1-choice tree-grown cosmetic is avocado. Mash a ripe avocado in a glass dish. Spread it liberally all over your face and let it sit for 15 minutes (this can be combined with solitary personal prayer, because you won't want anyone to see you with a mushy green face). Wash the avocado off in cold water and you face will feel fresh, invigorated and completely moisturized.

Our second choice of tree-grown cosmetic is coconut oil. Natural unprocessed coconut oil hardens into a paste at temperatures below 76F (25C). Use it the same way you'd use a skin cream.

Our third choice of tree-grown cosmetics is olive oil. Olive oil is superb for skin lubrication and vitality, but for some people it clogs pores. For that reason, avocado is preferable for it doesn't clog pores. Another advantage of our tree-grown cosmetics is that they're all kosher for Passover. Add the smile of personal and collective freedom, and you'll look your best at the Seder table.

Leave a comment and let us know how the tree-grown cosmetic treatment worked for you. 


Avoiding Weight-Gain and Constipation during Passover

Matza Hurdle 15.4
Passover is the freedom holiday - freedom from all types of bondage, mental and physical. But, with the drastic change in diet, many people become slaves to weight-gain and constipation. It doesn't have to be that way. Proper matza consumption, when done in accordance with the Rambam's principles, is actually fantastic for overall health, enabling you to jump over the hurdles of matza-related health problems. Here are a few important tips to remember during Passover; follow them, and you'll enjoy freedom from both constipation and weight gain:

  1. Twenty minutes before your meal with matza, drink at least two glasses of water. Try to avoid drinking during the meal, unless it's dry red wine or water or seltzer mixed with dry red wine at at least one part wine to three parts water.
  2. Chew matza slowly and thoroughly, enabling your saliva to act upon the matza until it becomes a soft paste in your mouth. Only then, swallow. You'll eat slower and will be satiated by eating much less. What's more, the saliva plays an important role in digesting carbohydrates.
  3. Purchase whole-grain matza - wheat, spelt or oat - and avoid the cheap white-flour industrial square matzas. 
  4. Fresh and leafy veggies and increased fiber intake are a must during Passover.
  5. Don't multi-task while eating, especially while eating matza. The brain treats matza like potato chips, so if you munch without thinking about what you're eating and how much, then the calories pile up fast.
  6. Set aside daily time for exercise, especially walks with the family. This is great for both health and relationships.
  7. Make sure to eat a minimum of other carbs. Treat sugar, especially white sugar, as if it's not kosher for Passover. From a health standpoint, it's not kosher all year long.
  8. Avoid all soft drinks, even the ones with artificial sweeteners, for the body has no idea how to digest such chemicals. Drink water, seltzer and dry red wine.

Follow the above eight tips, and you'll feel great, both during the Passover holiday and afterward. G-d bless for a lovely Passover!


Focus Like a Cheetah

Focus

Look at the focus and determination in those eyes...

A cheetah is a magnificent creation. It's engineered much better than a Lamborghini - in acceleration and maneuverability, it outperforms a Ferrari as well. But its 75 mph speed (120 km/h) isn't the secret of its success; its focus is. While maintaining high-speed chases after oftentimes elusive prey such as jackrabbits, the cheetah's eyes lock in on its target in perfect focus.

Focus like a cheetah. Don't get sidetracked and lock in on your target too - that's the way to score in whatever your endeavor is, whether it's preparing for final exams, for the marathon, or for Passover.  Blessings for a lovely Shabbat!

Image below - Coach Lazer with a young cheetah during a recent visit to South Africa

LB Cheetah1


FAST Stroke Recognition: You Can Save Lives

Stroke Graphic 10.4
Our sages teach that saving one life is tantamount to saving an entire universe. A person who is fortunate enough to save a life scores big points, in this world and in the next.

In the USA alone, nearly one million people suffer from strokes every year; roughly one out of six is fatal.

Stroke symptoms aren't always obvious; they can be subtle and difficult to identify. Know what to look for, because a lack of awareness could mean losing precious time. The stroke victim could suffer brain damage during a critically short period while people nearby fail to recognize the stroke's symptoms.

Here's good news, though: An alert bystander can recognize a stroke and save a life by remembering these four letters that spell "FAST" and acting accordingly:

*Face: ask the individual to SMILE.

*Arms: ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

*Speech: ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (coherently, for example, "It is sunny out today").

*Time: if the individual had difficulty in performing any of the above three tasks, don't waste additional crucial moments and call 911 immediately (or in Israel, 101) and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Widespread use of this simple FAST stroke-recognition test could result in prompt diagnosis, treatment of the stroke, prevention of brain damage, and saving of lives. Saving a life is one of the meritorious deeds on earth; the more you pass this article on to others, the more merit in potential lifesaving you accrue. It's that simple.

Remember: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted by a blockage or breakage of blood vessels. This may be a life threatening condition. The faster you react, the greater the chances of saving the victim's life and preventing permanent damage.

May the Almighty send a speedy recovery to all the sick, amen.


Body-Soul Harmony

Body-Soul Harmony
People who don't know me often say, "Hey, you don't look like a fitness trainer! Why don't you stick to being a rabbi?"

Two answers to the above comment: First, I'm not a YouTube trainer who wants to show his my six-pack abs and flaunt what he can do but what you can't. Second, what much of the rabbinical world either ignores, forgot, or never learned, coaching people in physical well-being is an integral part of spiritual leadership. Look at these prime examples from our sages:

  1. Our forefather Jacob out-wrestled an angel. He lifted boulders that ten shepherds together barely lifted.
  2. Each of Jacob's 12 sons was an expert in martial arts (see Malbim of Parshat Vayichi).
  3. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, who was both a juggler and a gymnast who could do pushups on his thumbs alone (see tractate Succa 53a)
  4. Rebbe Shimon ben Lakish (Reish Lakish) could broad jump the Jordan River; in addition, he was a former gladiator who was deadly in hand-to-hand combat.
  5. Maimonides was an expert in physical fitness who even codified the principles of health, nutrition and fitness within religious law. 

Brody Health and Wellness adheres to the timeless health advice of the Rambam, which promotes harmony of body and soul, in what we feel is true holistic health. What good is a perfect figure or 21" biceps if you suffer from anxiety and depression?

In my years of athletic experience, training in all different types of sports from running to weight training to wrestling and combat arts, I went through a vicious cycle of approaching what I thought was my peak fitness, then suffering a big setback of an injury or flu. I was repeatedly burning myself out rather than building myself up. Even while learning to become a fitness trainer and health coach, most of my teachers were teaching me the same methods that didn't lead to the results I was looking for.

With Hashem's help, I came to the conclusion that true fitness is the optimum state of body-soul well-being, when physical and emotional ills disappear and a person functions at his or her best. This is opposed to the person who wins the marathon, then spends the next two weeks recuperating in the hospital. With body-soul fitness, your goal is not to run the 42 kilometers, to build the massive triceps or to become the aerobic-dance queen who is so carbo-starved after her workout that she eats twice the carbs that she burned. Your goal is to feel good so that you can serve Hashem more efficiently and happily...

I came to the conclusion that genuine holistic fitness is functional fitness. Functional fitness means that you function effectively: despite your age, you can run, walk, climb and lift as you need to. It also means that your body is free of disease and your soul and emotions are free of their diseases - worry, anger, anxiety, worry, depression, jealousy and other negative emotions.

Our holistic approach addresses diet, disease prevention, exercise and lifestyle, is therefore the epitome of fitness, the true  balance of a healthy body in perfect harmony with a healthy soul. Do them both a favor and have a lovely Shabbat!