I was one of the participants last Thursday in the conference-call shiur you gave our group who are working on trying to break free from sex addictions. I can't thank you enough. For a long time, I was really down on myself and the more depressed I'd get, the worse I'd mess up. You were so positive, encouraging and non-judgmental. I feel like you threw me a rope to help pull me out of the muck. You should know that you helped a lot of us, because Duvid Chaim the head of guardyoureyes.com said that this was a record-breaking shiur with hundreds of people listening in. Thanks so much and may you blessed with continued strength to keep doing what you do. From the heart, Srool the Tool
I deeply appreciate your email, but the credit goes to my teacher Rav Shalom Arush, Breslev Israel an Emunah Outreach, for everything I do is under their auspices. You guys are heroes - keep up your good work, and you'll bring Moshiach, for sure. With blessings always, LB
The Talmud offers practical homiletic advice on how to survive under extreme stress:
Rabbi Akiva sailed from Israel to Cyprus. Before he left port, he saw his prize understudy, Rabbi Meir, board an older vessel, also sailing to Cyprus. In the midst of their journey, a terrible gale struck the Mediterranean. Rabbi Akiva's heart broke as he gazed into the distance, wincing while the storm lashed into the decrepit craft that carried Rabbi Meir. In a matter of minutes, the latter's ship was utterly destroyed...
A tear slid down Rabbi Akiva's cheek. "What a waste of a brilliant mind!" he lamented.
Several days later, upon reaching the shores of Cyprus, Rabbi Akiva entered a local synagogue and house of study. Flabbergasted, he froze in the doorway. Rabbi Meir was in the middle of a lecture to a group of Cypriot Talmud students. Seeing his esteemed teacher and spiritual guide in the doorway, Rabbi Meir ceased lecturing. "Rabbi Akiva, my honored master, please come inside!"
Rabbi Akiva could barely speak. "M-Meir! Y-You're still alive! H-How did you get ashore?"
"Simple, my master. Instead of focusing on the stormy sea, I rode one wave at a time. I caught wave after wave until I reached the shore!"
* * * * *
Had Rabbi Meir attempted to battle the entire tempestuous sea, he would have expended his strength in a short time. Instead, he used the centuries old formula of "divide and conquer" - Rabbi Meir knew that he couldn't overcome the sea, but he could surely cope with one wave at a time. Even more amazing, he arrived ashore before Rabbi Akiva!
The 2nd-Century CE sage Rabbi Meir teaches us the secret of staying on top when we seem to be buried under an insurmountable load of stress. Don't fight a whole raging sea, or don't try to move a one-ton boulder that's in your way. Take a 5-lb. hammer, and break chips of the boulder. Before you know it, the boulder - that ton of stress on your shoulders - is no longer there!
The secret of handling an overload of stress is dismantling - don't try to deal with all your pressures simultaneously. Ride one wave at a time, and you'll make it safely to shore, too.
Don't forget also that the best way of dismantling is to take all the problems off your own shoulders and throw them onto Hashem's lap. You do that with an hour a day of personal prayer; that will really make you feel light on your feet!
I've read all the wonderful books you translated by your teacher Rabbi Arush. They changed my life and saved my marriage. I also drove three hours to see Rav Arush and you when you came to Los Angeles before Chanuka. I watch Breslev Israel, read Lazer Beams, and listen to all of your shiurim, but I think I need more. What can I do to follow through and move forward with my emuna? With appreciation, Dennis from California
Have you thought of moving to Israel? Chut Shel Chesed, Rav Arush's yeshiva in Jerusalem, now has an English-language kollel headed by Rabbi Dror Moshe Cousotto who is fantastic. This could be wonderful for you. Also,our dayan and posek, Rabbi Elchanan Elgrod, is not only brilliant but an English speaker as well. If that's not enough, you can also hear shiurim by Dr. Zev Ballen, our emuna psychotherapist, and other leading rabbis. But, until you're here in person, you can catch all of them - including my shiurim - on the Breslev Israel VOD page, online. You can also have a taste of their shiurim on the right-hand toolbar of this site. Take advantage of it, and start considering aliya. With every single blessing, LB
I understand we have to believe in tzadikim however is it permited to think that the only way to connect to Hashem is thru a rebbe? Without a rebbe we can't connect to Hashem? Please advise - I'm only seeking the truth. BD, NYC
You don't need a rebbe with a multi-colored satin coat who gives out crumbs of his gefilte fish. But we all need a connection to a true tzaddik, a righteous and selfless individual who practices every letter of what he preaches.
Without connection to a real tzaddik, a person can walk around thinking he's perfect; that breeds arrogance, and therefore takes a person away from Hashem. A true tzaddik shows us what we must correct - we can't be arrogant compared to him, indeed, we see how much we have to learn and improve. Therefore, connecting to a true tzaddik brings a person to learn humility, and humility brings him much closer to Hashem. I'd hate to think where I'd be if it weren't for my own rabbi and spiritual guide, one of this generation's true tzadikim, Rav Shalom Arush, may Hashem bless him.
BD, our sages say, Aseh lecha rav - find yourself a rabbi and spiritual guide. It's not easy, so start praying for the right one immediately. I pray for your success.