What a spectacular backyard, right? Yesterday we arrived in Chicago to visit David's family. It's so peaceful out here. Great for thinking and reflecting. Which is exactly what I've been doing, besides yelling at the kids to stop fighting.
It's been quite a whirlwind of emotions since I've been back. What's really interesting is that in just a week, I've met so many different people.
Well, it's mainly because I'm a young-ish looking woman walking around with 5 little kippah and tzizit-wearing gangstas who are by far the LOUDEST kids in my parents' building. But aside from that, people stare at me because I'm so gorgeous surrounded by so many children.
I feel like I've almost hit celebrity status. The more daring ones stop themselves from gawking at us long enough to ask me, "Are these all yoursss??" And I'm like, "Fo' shizzle! Would you like my autograph?"
It takes a minute for their brains to reboot. I can tell by the momentary blank stare they give me. When they return to full consciousness, they give me incredulous looks that seem to be a combination of "you're crazy" and pity.
In just one week, all kinds of people have been coming up to me, just to tell me that they're Jewish. It's so interesting. I mean, 5 boys in kippahs and tzizit walking around areas of Miami Beach that are not primarily religious is not a common sight.
Their obvious Jewishness seems to compel some people to come up to me and tell me they're Jewish too. I think that's amazing. It shows me that even though they aren't making their Jewishness obvious (yet,) their spark still burns bright inside. The other morning, another resident in my parents' building came up to me and said, "I am one of the community."
I smiled and politely asked, "Oh, you live in the building?" Luckily, he didn't get the fact that I didn't get what he was saying, and after a few minutes of conversation it finally clicked.
Another lady I met told me she does absolutely nothing Jewish. She was raised by parents that forced Judaism on her in a way that made her resentful and burnt out. She has disconnected so much from anything Jewish that she even questions the existence of G-d.
What motivated these people to come up to me and tell me they're Jewish? What feelings did seeing my kids bring out in them?
My feeling is that they came up to me because they needed something, but they didn't necessarily realize what. Could it be they were saying, "I'm Jewish but I don't feel any connection. I know Hashem exists, but I don't know anything about Him. Please help me understand."
I can only speculate why, but the reality is that there are so many precious souls here that are searching for a connection with Hashem. They want more, but they don't necessarily want to be more religious.
That's why emuna is so great. It can bring someone close to G-d who was so far, without compelling them to become religious at the same time. It can also bring a deeper spiritual meaning to a person who has been observant all of his life.
Without emuna, is it possible to be at peace with one's life and all of the challenges that come along with it? Is it really possible to have a strong spiritual connection to Hashem if a person doesn't have emuna?
So now, after 8+ years of being a fortunate member of the amazing Breslev Israel family, I can finally understand what the one most important thing the world needs is: emuna.
Now that we're in the nine days of Av, days of mourning the many devastating occurrences that have happened to the Jewish People throughout our history, we should also be mourning the fact that so many people, Jews and non-Jews, don't have a solid connection with Hashem.
It is this solid connection, the emuna that is the foundation of our happiness and survival, that the world needs more than anything.
I genuinely hope that all of our efforts to spread emuna throughout the world will be blessed with success, so we can experience a joyful Redemption and the end of all pain and suffering, Amen!
Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast!
p.s.- Check out Rav Brody's weekly emuna shiur details below!