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7 posts from March 2009

Emuna and Jewish Unity: The Invincible Combination

A little over three weeks ago, I arrived in Hamilton, Ontario for an evening with the entire Jewish community. The tension among the Jewish community - particularly among the Jewish students at the local McMaster University - reminded me of the days here in the south of Israel when GRAD missiles were falling two and three times a day. After the Hillel House in York University in neighboring Toronto was stormed by Arab students, the atmosphere at McMaster was electrified with the impending Israel Apartheid Week and the anticipated Arab and pro-Pally student demonstrations. Hamilton's Jewish student body was terrified. Nobody new what the Canadian Ishmaelites and their groupies were planning.

Thanks to the efforts of Canadian Betar's President Rose Lax, Rabbi Green of Hamilton, and Breslev Israel's Hamilton representatives Avi and Rebecca Shapiro, the entire Jewish community - including the Jewish students of McMaster - showed up for an evening of Emuna, unity, and encouragement. They asked me to address the challenge of Apartheid Week and what to do about it. I explained that we have to fight on our home turf (which is emuna and above the stars) and not to slug it out in the gutter of campus activism and counter demonstrations that are bound to fail.

To make a long story short,the evening was beautiful with all of us singing Rebbe Nachman's "Gesher Tzar Meod" and saying "Shma" together. The Jews of Hamilton responded just like the Jews of Shushan, learning that if you fear Hashem, you don't have to fear anyone or anything, including the Arabs on campus. Hashem put words in my mouth, and I promised that with such emuna and unity, nothing wrong could happen to the Jews of Hamilton and McMaster.

The very next day, everything went wrong on campus - all the anti-Israel and anti-semitic activities were either strangely cancelled or postponed indefinitely. In the words of Hamilton's Jews that wrote me, an outright miracle had taken place.

Earlier today, I received an email from Rose Lax. She writes: "It (Apartheid Week at McMaster U.) just literally fell apart. Furthermore and more importantly the JEWISH COMMUNITY FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER TURNED OUT IN MASS TO EACH OF THE PROGRAMS PRESENTED BY OUR SIDE. I have been fighting this with a few students since 2002 and this is the first time we have we have fought together as a people since Tel Hai..." Jewish unity is the real deal.

Emuna and Jewish unity are an invincible combination. Just ask the Hamilton Jewish community. I thank Hashem with all my being for the privilege of seeing His phenominal Divine Providence right before our very eyes.

All for the Best

Probably the biggest buzz on the Israeli web is INN's exclusive item entitled "America Moves Toward Abandonment of Israel." With emuna, you don't have to lose one second of your beauty sleep because of this. Do you know why?

Hashem does everything for the best. Whenever Israel leans on a wobbly reed, Hashem breaks the reed so that Israel will learn to depend on Hashem. This is all part of the scenario of Geula, and all for the best. Have a great Shabbat!

Parental Attention and ADHD

In my experience of counseling parents on child-rearing issues, I've found a strong correlation between kids being diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and lack of attention at home. In quite a few cases pertaining to the children of our own Beams readers, parents asked for my opinion after school counselors and educational psychologists had not only prescribed Ritalin, but stipulated that the child's continued attendance at their school was contingent upon his taking the drug every day.

I asked parents to delay the use of the drug while first planning a program of maximum parental one-on-one quality time. Each program was tailor-made to the child. In extreme cases, I recommended home-schooling. The results, with Hashem's loving grace, have been superb.

In general, I urge parents to invest "yechidut" time, where the the parent gives total attention to the so-called ADHD child, with no other siblings around. For example, a father takes the son on a hike in the woods for 2 or 3 hours, once a week, and together they learn about trees, rocks, and birds while also doing personal prayer together. A mother might take her daughter for a lengthy exercise walk & talk, or they might shop together or bake challas together.

The one-on-one quality time with a parent calms a child, elevates his self-image, and does wonders for his inner joy, which is ever so important in enhancing the child's attention span and thought process.

At least 3 dozen children of our readers - that we know about - have rendered the use of Ritalin superfluous in the above manner.

Many parents protest that they lack the time to invest in their children. Priorities, folks... In the end, they ending up wasting more time running to school counselors, doctors and psychologists, not to mention the money involved either.

One of our readers sent me the following poignant anecdote to bring the point home:

A 5 year old boy asked his Daddy one day, “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” His father was quite pieved and said, “What business is it of yours?” The little boy persisted, so in the end, the father said, “Well, if you must know, I make $20 an hour”.

“In that case,” said the little boy, “can I have $9?”

His father was furious. He told the little boy to go and sit quietly in his room. Eventually he calmed down, and thought to himself, well, maybe he had a good reason to ask for $9, and he doesn’t ask me for money often. So he went to see his son, and told him, “Perhaps I was too hard on you earlier, and I am going to give you that $9”. When he gave it to him, he saw his son take a number of bills from under his pillow, and add the $9 to it. The father was surprised. “If you had all that money already”, he said, “why did you ask me for more?”

“Well”, said the boy, “ I did not have enough money before. But now I do. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

Think about it. Our children are precious little souls that Hashem has entrusted in our care. They deserve our undivided attention.

Everywhere I Walk, I Walk in the Land of Israel

Concluding our Eretz Yisroel series this week, here is a clip of Guy Tzvi Mintz and I singing Rebbe Nachman's famous quotation, "Wherever I walk, I am walking in the Land of Israel." A basic tenet of Breslever Chassidic thought is to strive to move to the Land of Israel. Even if one can't, one should yearn so much for the Holy Land, that one's thoughts and feelings are actually here. The more you love someone, the more you think about them.

Erez Levanon, of saintly and martyred memory

Monday night and Tuesday, the 7th of Adar, is the 2nd Yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of my beloved friend and brother, Erez Levanon, a hidden tzaddik of this generation whose beautiful young life-flame was extinguished by the bloody daggers of two terrorists who ambushed him when he was in the middle of personal prayer in an olive grove in the valley below Bat Ayin. You'll hear Erez's voice in the following clip, singing one of his original songs, "Lev U'maayan", based on a parable by Rebbe Nachman of Breslev.