Parshat Re'eh: Hashem's Beloved Children
Uman, Ashrenu!

Happy Days

Shavua Tov, friends! Racheli here, and I am sooooo excited! Today is the first day of school!!! YES!! While it may be borderline torturous for us to get our kids out the door and into the classroom during the first several days, isn't it truly one of the happiest days of a parent's life? Well, for me it is. Wait - a phrase just popped into my head, and I hope I'm remembering it correctly. I think it goes: the two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells his boat. Is that right? Here's my version: the two happiest days of a parent's life are the day he becomes a parent and the day he marries his child off. Is that right, too? Shame on me. Seriously.

As I was counting down the minutes on Shabbat to my long-awaited freedom, which I really shouldn't have been doing, I thought about my Summer of Suffering. Granted, it was only three weeks of suffering, as the Charedi school system only has a three week summer vacation. I don't know about you, but that right there is enough of a reason for me to be Charedi. Why do kids need two months off from school? So they can drive their parents insane? So here was my flash of insight: all suffering comes to an end.

Just like all good things come to an end (I'm full of outdated phrases today, no?) so, too, all bad things must come to an end. Nobody suffers forever - not in this world and not in the next world. Of course, during such trying times, we feel like time has stopped, or at least gone on vacation to Tahiti. Why did Time not take us with him? Don't we also deserve a vacation, especially since we're going through such difficulties? 

Here are two points to remember if you're going through some major, heavy-duty suffering: 1) every moment of pain is a spiritual atonement and soul correction. If we could see how much our suffering cleans us up, we'd welcome it with a "Bring it on!" 2) talk to Hashem! Were any of you stubborn children that didn't listen to your parents the first time they told you to do something, so they had to yell at you or shake you by your shoulders? Maybe they had to punish you in order to get the message across? That's called tough love, and sometimes Hashem has to use the same tactics. Do a soul accounting and figure out what you're doing that's detrimental to your spiritual well-being. And please don't tell me that you're not doing anything wrong.

Reincarnation is one of the foundations of Judaism; as such, we have to look at each life like it's a chapter in our book of lifetimes. We don't know how everything fits together. But we have to believe that there is a bigger picture. Watch Rav Brody's awesome emuna lesson, Life After Death. It'll help you put everything you're going through in a different perspective.

Wishing you a wonderful week! 

Comments

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Erica

Rachelli, this is a depressing post. I can relate but I also am seeking religious leaders to inspire me about how to treasure the time I have with my kids. In your post, time with kids= suffering from G!d. Really?

Kalman Mem

There’s a key difference between parental and divine tough love:

In this case of parental tough love, the parent usually tells the kid: “I’m doing X, because it will help you with Y”. Explaining the reason for the hardship –even if the child doesn’t easily accept- is a key part of tough love.

But in the case of HaShem’s tough love, there’s never a clearly stated reason. It’s left for us to guess. Is X happening to me because I didn’t Daven right? Keep Shabbos the right way? What should I do differently?

This really bothers me.

 Racheli

Erica, no. Not really. And, I am not a religious leader. Rav Brody is. I am an average person trying to live her life with emuna as best as I can. Many people can relate to that, because they're trying to do the same thing. Furthermore, you don't need to draw such extreme conclusions by comparing my kids to suffering from God! They were just the lead-in for my point.

 Racheli

Kalman, this is a great question. The answer is that doing personal prayer is the best way to figure out the message. Sometimes it is more straightforward, and sometimes it's not. But as long as you're consistent in your personal prayer, you'll also find out other things that you need to correct as well, and hopefully you'll get your original question answered too.
Everyone needs to do at least a few minutes of daily soul accounting. That's when you can go over your questions and ask Hashem directly.
My hunch is that Hashem wants us to focus more on correcting our interpersonal behavior, if we're already religious. Yes, everyone can use improvement in keeping halachot. But the yetzer loves to distract us from what we really need to be working on, which is usually treating others better; particularly our spouses and families.

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