Today's podcast is entitled is a vital answer to what many people are asking now in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic about how much should we be putting effort into doing everything that the medical authorities tell us to do and how much we should be relying on faith and trust, what we call emuna and bitachon. A simple metaphor will help us understand...
Health and Well-being
People are confused, especially when some rabbis have padlocked their synagogues while for others, it's business as usual. Many are asking me if listening to one's local medical authorities and refraining from praying in a synagogue or immersing in a men's mikva constitutes a lack of emuna. Today's podcast provides a detailed answer...
Today's video podcast not only gives advice on how to keep body and soul healthy in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, but shows that King David dealt with a terrible plague in his time that his son King Solomon knew all about, which the holy Tanna Onkolos calls "Kurhana". See for yourself, and see how King David stopped the plague as well as a 950-year promise from Rashi about how to defeat this disease...
In a mad rush to prevent the global pandemic of coronavirus, researchers are looking for all types of defensive measures, such as boosting people's immune systems and looking for antibodies that prevent the penetration of coronavirus into healthy human cells. The difficulty of coronavirus is that its protein-like spikes serve as daggers that pierce and penetrate healthy cells. From a spiritual standpoint, though, I would take an offensive measure, and use a spiritual equivalent of what the pharmaceutical world calls antivirals, substances that fight off viral infections by attacking the viruses themselves. The power that knocked down the impregnable walls of Jericho can surely knock down the walls of the coronavirus.
The advantage of antivirals is that they attack different parts of the virus and thereby prevent it from entering cells friendly cells. Antivirals weaken the virus even before they destroy it and that way slow or even stop its power of infecting healthy cells.
The problem with the coronavirus is that its attack spikes, in addition to being offensive in nature, protect the coronavirus cell wall and therefore make it almost impregnable. That's why researchers are trying to protect against coronavirus rather than destroy it, which is a task no one has a strategy for.
If you remember our emunabeams podcast from this past Feb. 9, we showed how the root of the epidemic was in heresy and lack of emuna. I suggest you back and hear that podcast.
Hashem runs the world measure-for-measure. If we look at the world through emuna eyes, we can see a spiritual protection and even solution for destroying the apparently impregnable viral wall, which is actually a double fortification. Viruses have an outer wall of a protective protein coating underneath the spikes that seals the whole virus cell and then an inner wall called a nucleo-capsid that protects the viral DNA.
The coronavirus double-protective walls are tough to destroy. But let's look back in history. Israel coming out of Egypt had no chance or no military strategy for penetrating the Walls of Jericho. Joshua had no idea what to do. He poured his heart out to Hashem in such powerful prayer that Hashem illuminated his brain with a prophecy that manifest itself in what we know today as the Aleinu prayer, a prayer that we pray three times daily, every day, all year long including Shabbat and holidays.
The Chofetz Chaim writes in the Mishna Berura that the Aleinu prayer must be said with tremendous awe and intent, because the Almighty with all of His Heavenly Legions listen and respond, "Happy is such a nation" (Mishna Berura, Orach Chaim 132:2, letter chet). Let's ask ourselves: there are other extremely important prayers, yet here, the Chofetz Chaim gives us marching orders of "tremendous awe and intent". Why Aleinu in particular?
Encapsulated in the Aleinu prayer is the entire Jewish faith, the task on earth of the Jewish People, both in regard to themselves and in regard to the entire world, and the secret to Jewish success and survival, as we'll soon see.
Jericho was virtually impregnable. Its high and thick walls could not logically be breached with the weaponry of the time. What's more, its residents were fierce fighters. Joshua saw no rational chance of victory. He therefore said this prayer seven times, each time he circled the city. And, as the Chassam Sofer explains, after he circled the city for the seventh time, Hashem personally knocked down the walls of Jericho and delivered the city into Joshua's hands.
The Dark-side forces of Jericho were so great that its conquering could only be done through the miracle of Divine intervention.
The same goes for coronavirus.
The Jewish People are the People of Emuna in the Land of Emuna with the task of spreading the light of emuna around the globe. Since Aleinu is the prayer of emuna, the Chofetz Chaim placed so much importance on it.
Let's now see how the Aleinu prayer is encapsulation of the entire Jewish faith, the task on earth of the Jewish People, both in regard to themselves and in regard to the entire world, and the secret to Jewish success and survival:
- Encapsulation of the Jewish faith: as the Rambam says in the first principle of Emuna, Hashem is Creator and Director; he alone did does and will do every deed. Aleinu tells us that He is the "Master of all", the One who "forms all of creation," that "He is our G-d, there is none else," and that "He will reign forever and ever."
- The task on earth of the Jewish People: our individual task is to internalize the principles of our faith, which we mentioned in the previous point of "Encapsulation". Aleinu obligates this, as it says, "And you shall know today, and internalize in your
heart, that Hashem is the only God, in the Heavens above and on Earth below. There is no other." Not only must we know this, we must review emuna every day, even after we internalize it.
- The Jewish People's task in regard to the world: as "Light unto the nations," it's our job to do everything we can so that "all living flesh to call Your name." We do that by spreading emuna. This is the correction of the world, Tikkun Olam, which is our solemn responsibility.
- The secret to Jewish success and survival: we have no power on our own. A Jew must know that "we put our hope in You, Hashem our G-d, to soon see the glory of Your strength". Hashem is the source of all our strength and all our abundance. There is no one but Hashem!
Joshua's emuna and trust in Hashem, as conveyed in the powerful Aleinu prayer, had the power of knocking down the impenetrable walls of Jericho. Similarly, this prayer when said with fervor can knock down the walls coronavirus that threaten us. Whatever you do, don't chase out of shul at the end of davening. Say Aleinu with all your heart and you too will see Hashem's miraculous salvation for you, your family our people Israel and all of humanity that throws away its idols and heresy, very soon, amen!
The world is in a near panic from the Coronavirus outbreak, as scientists and health authorities around the world are racing to halt the spread of this deadly virus that emerged from a live animal and fish market in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, when it then jumped to humans. Once it jumped to humans, it was then transferred from human to human whenever they come in contact with one other.
At the time of this podcast, according to official Chinese statistics which many believe are downplaying the proportions of this health disaster, some 60,000 Chinese have already contracted the new coronavirus, which causes respiratory illness similar to pneumonia, and the death toll of nearly 700 is rising daily. This past January 30th, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public-health emergency of international concern” — an alarm it reserves for events that pose a risk to multiple countries and that requires a coordinated international response.
The World Health Organization is correct – we need an international response. But what should that response be? Listen to today's podcast, which looks at current events through eyes of emuna:
Click here for your free mp3 download of today's podcast, courtesy of Emuna Beams.
I was lecturing at an IAF base, and my host - the assistant base commander - showed me where the bathroom was. When I came out, I washed my hands three times consecutively with a cup and said slowly and with intent the Asher Yatzar blessing that one says after visiting the toilet. My host looked at me wide-eyed, as if I'd suddenly sprouted peacock feathers. "Rabbi," he gasped, "you guys even make a blessing after relieving yourselves?"
We sure do! It's the best and cheapest health insurance policy anywhere. Hear this:
Blessed are You, HaShem, Our God, King of the universe, Who created the human with wisdom and created within him many openings and many cavities, exposed and known before Your Throne of Glory, that if one of them were to be ruptured or one one of them were to be blocked it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You for even one hour. Blessed are You, HaShem, The physician of all flesh who acts wondrously.
Baruch atah Adonoi, Elohainu, melech ha'olam, Asher yatzar et ha'adam b'chochmah, u'vara vo n'kavim n'kavim, chalulim chalulim, galui v'yadua lifnai chisei chvodecha, she'im yipatei'ach echad maihem o yisataim echad maihem, ee efshar l'hitkayeim v'la'amod l'fanecha afilu sha'ah achat. Baruch atah Adonoi, rofeh chol basar u'mafli la'asot.
The Practical Halachas of Visiting the Toilet
No, this is not a joke. Proper deportment in the bathroom is an integral part of holiness. Besides, Jewish Law covers every single aspect of daily life.
As a service to our readers, here are the laws concerning visiting the toilet in a nutshell, based on Chapter Four of The Abridged Code of Jewish Law (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch):
- One must relieve oneself as soon as one feels the need, without delay.
- One must be modest in the toilet, and not relieve oneself in front of other people unless there is a partition.
- One must be careful not to overly strain, for it could create problems in the colon.
- One must not think about Torah or Torah-related subjects in the toilet; instead, think about mundane matters such as business or commerce.
- One must cleanse oneself thoroughly after visiting the toilet, for it is forbidden to pray if one’s body isn’t completely clean of excrement traces.
- Every time after visiting the toilet, even after urinating one drop, one must wash one’s hands thoroughly and then say the “Asher Yatzar” blessing.
May Hashem grant you and yours wonderful health always, amen.
For everything in the physical word, there is an equivalent in the spiritual world. In fact, the spiritual equivalent is the source and spiritual root of that object in the physical world. For example, the same way that the light of the sun acts in photosynthesis to sustain a plant, Divine light acts upon a soul to sustain it in a strikingly similar manner. Just as we have cataract operations to correct cloudy vision in this world, there is SCS, "Spiritual Cataract Surgery" to better the soul's vision. If a person is unhappy in any way, he or she should strongly consider the option of SCS. Learn all about it in today's eye-opening and eye-healing podcast.
Click here for your free mp3 download of this podcast; you are entitled to listen to it on your own device and to pass it on to others as well, courtesy of "Emuna Beams.
During my recent trip to the USA, not only did I lecture and teach but I learned as well. One of the great things I was introduced to in the fitness arena was the massage gun. It's fantastic and it's a must for anyone who is serious about fitness, workout and recovery. Even if you don't exercise (we hope you'll start) and you spend your day behind a desk, the massage gun will literally save your back, neck and shoulders.
The particular model I'm using here is the "Sonic" by a company named Lifepro. You can obtain this product on Amazon or directly at the Lifepro website. If you do go to the Lifepro website, Healthy@120 is the name of their coupon worth $15.
Check this out, it's amazing:
To prevent a panic attack, it's important to remember how and why it's happening. King David, the greatest psychotherapist who ever lived, understood the human soul better than anyone else. He said, "Happy is the person whose strength is in You" (Psalm 84:6). In other words, the moment a person realizes that he or she cannot handle a situation on their own, and they turn to the Almighty for strength, then they immediately neutralize panic and negativity. Understand that panic comes from the evil inclination, to disarm and disable a person so that he or she cannot serve Hashem. Our sages in the Gemara teach that no one has the power to overcome the evil inclination on their own. We all in varying degrees are susceptible to panic, but we overcome it as soon as we throw all our problems into Hashem's lap. In the same vein, Rabbi Chaim of Volozyn osb"m said that the spiritual ploy of overcoming any fear or anxiety is simple to remember and repeat ein od milvado, "There is nothing or no one but You, Hashem!"
Step One of preventing a panic attack is to remember Hashem,
Step Two is to repeat "ein od milvado, There is nothing or no one but You, Hashem," seven times.
Step Three is to ask the Almighty for help - call his Name out load, be vocal, even yell or scream if that helps you.
Step Four is to get the endorphins (feel-good hormones) flowing. How? Try one of these options:
a. Do as many pushups as you can;
b. Run around the block or jog in place for two minutes;
c. Do ten burpees.
Step Five is to take ten deep breaths, inhaling as deep as you can and exhaling as slow as you can.
Step Six is to sniff the aroma of lavender oil, which is known for being soothing and stress-relieving. It can help your body relax.
Step Seven is to call a time out, sit or walk in a quiet place, and speak to Hashem and once again, ask for His help and guidance; He'll be glad to give it to you.
Panic and the above 7 steps are mutually exclusive. But, as preparing for war, we must practice maneuvers. Don't wait for a panic attack to implement the above steps - you can do them anytime and they'll make you feel better. Yet, once we never forget Hashem and we always remember "ein od milvado, There is nothing or no one but You, Hashem," we safeguard ourselves against any and all sorts of panic, fear and anxiety. Try it - it works and has been tested under the most extreme of challenges. Every blessing, LB
One of my main tasks as a health coach is to refer people to the proper medical professional to attain more specialized care for their health issue, whether it's a cardiac problem, diabetes, or any other chronic ailment. As a health coach, my job is to keep healthy people healthy, or even healthier, and to help ailing people to find the best proper treatment.
It's not enough that you find the right physician. It's imperative to ask that physician the right questions. Here are the five most vital questions one needs to ask, not only in relieving the chronic condition, but in improving overall health:
- Should I lose weight, maintain my weight or gain weight?
- What are the foods I need to eat and what must I avoid?
- What is the best type of exercise for me, including recommended frequency and intensity?
- Should I limit alcohol, caffeine, or anything else from my diet?
- How does stress affect my particular situation and how can I avoid it?
Any treatment or medications that ignore the vitally-needed answers to the above questions will be only partial at best in its effectiveness. Yet, by rectifying diet, exercise, weight control and stress, one will not only improve his or her quality of life but in many cases, overcome the health challenge altogether.
What's more, don't ever forget Who the real Healer is. Prayer, charity and good deeds always help. G-d willing, we hope to do a separate post soon in the vital questions to ask your rabbi or spiritual guide in coping with any health ailment.
At any rate, when choosing the right physician, keep in mind that if he or she does not exercise or lives an unhealthy lifestyle, they in all likelihood won't be able to help you live a healthy lifestyle. Health professionals should be role models and should be living a healthy lifestyle. If they don't, proceed with caution.
One important note - before a fast day like Tisha B'Av or Yom Kippur, if you have a health issue, consult your physician - then your rabbi - before you fast. Meanwhile, have a wonderful Shabbat and a meaningful and easy Tisha B'Av fast. Every blessing, LB