19 posts categorized "Chassidic thought"

Rav Shalom Arush: The Dedicated Twin

Dedicated Twin
Here's a story that my esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush told me

There were two twins – a brother and sister – who really loved one another and were each other's best friend. One wintry evening when the winds howled outside and torrents of rain pounded on their windows, the little girl started crying. Her brother asked her why she's crying. "I'm soooooo afraid," she sobbed.

Her brother held her hand and soothed her. "Don't be afraid; I'm your brother – I'll always protect you."

Days passed. The twins, merely 5 years old, fell ill with a rare disease. Miraculously, the brother recuperated; his body developed antibodies against the invasive microbes. The sister wasn't as fortunate. Barely alive, she needed urgent blood donations. Because of their rare blood type and the disease antibodies, the twin brother was the only suitable donor.

The attending physician asked the parents for permission to perform the needed blood transfusions. They agreed, hoping to save their daughter's life. Then, the physician asked the twin brother, "Are you willing to donate blood in order to save your sister's life?"

The little boy broke out crying. But, true to his word that he'd protect his sister, he calmed himself and said, "Yes, doctor – I'll do anything for my sister."

Lying in bed next to his sedated, unconscious sister, the brother looked at her while a tear trickled down his cheek. The nurse came and put the needle in his arm. The little boy seemed really upset, alarmed by the needle. " Doctor, isn't it true that I'm going to die soon?"

The doctor was shocked. The little boy was sure that he'd need to donate all his blood to save his sister. He thought that the doctor and his parents were asking him to sacrifice his own life for the sake of his sister, yet he agreed.


Our reality is like that of children in the story. Some of our brethren cannot shoulder the burden of Passover expenses. That means that they won't be able to fulfill the mitzvoth of our holiday, let alone enjoy it. How can a family that can't afford matza think about wine or meat? New shoes for the children are not even an option. These families are wondering if they'll have food on their tables this Passover.

With Passover almost here, this is a golden opportunity for you to participate in Emuna Outreach's annual Kimcha D'Pischa project.

Like the little boy who gave blood to his sister, the body produces new blood to replace that which was donated. In like manner, the Almighty not only returns that which one person contributes, but He adds big dividends too! Hashem says, "If you make others happy, I'll make yours happy."Our Kimcha D'Pischa Project enables hundreds of needy Jewish families in the Land of Israel to celebrate the Passover holiday with joy.

Rabbi Arush personally seeks out the needy families, many of whom are ashamed to ask for the help they so badly need. Unfortunately, we don't have to search very hard, for the needy families are many. Your generous donation to the Kimcha D'Pischa Project will provide needy families all over Israel with all their holiday needs, including meat and poultry, wine, matzoth, dry goods, fruits and vegetables.

You can make your generous tax-deductable donation to Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Fund by clicking here. May Hashem bless you and yours with a truly happy and kosher Passover, amen!

Back to Life

A young man was once walking along the beach when he suddenly saw an old man trying to push one of a dozen or so errant dolphins back into the ocean. The dolphins had made a navigational mistake and ended up getting stuck on the shore, quivering between life and death.  "Hey, Granddad, it doesn't matter how hard you try – you simply won't be able to save all those dolphins. It's impossible – you won't be able to make a difference."

With a deep breath and a huge effort, the old man managed to push one of the dolphins back into the ocean and back to life. The ocean water and the movement of the waves revived the dolphin and he began swimming. "You see that dolphin, young man? For him," the old man panted, "I certainly made a difference."

The young man smiled bashfully and began to help the old man. A third passerby joined them as well, and the three succeeded in saving all the dolphins.

What do we learn from this story? Sometimes we look around us and we see all the deficiency in the world. There's so much to do and so many people to help that our hearts become filled with a sense of futility. We ask ourselves, "How can I possibly deal with all of this. With my sorely limited assets, how can I possibly make a change in anything?"

As soon as we ask ourselves the above question, we must remember: we must do what we are capable of doing and leave the impossible to Hashem. Just like the old man who refused to surrender to the fear that he won't be able to make a difference, he did what he could with no hesitation, summoning up as much power as he could. Then suddenly, as if with a magic wand, others joined him and he saved an entire school of dolphins from imminent death.

We're just like the people in the above story. Passover is almost here; this is a wonderful opportunity to partner in our annual Emuna Outreach Kimcha D'Pischa Project. The heavy expenses of the holiday make it ever so difficult for many families to fulfill the mitzvoth of Passover, much less enjoy the holiday. It's difficult to think about replacing the children's torn and tight shoes with new ones when there's no food on the table and no matzoth or wine for Passover. These are families whose struggle for survival is daily. This very moment, they are wondering if there will be any food to put on the table during Passover…

Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Project enables hundreds of needy Jewish families in the Land of Israel to celebrate the Passover holiday with joy. Since we buy everything bulk and wholesale, a donation of $180 provides an entire family with wine, shmura matza, vegetables, eggs, meat and/or poultry and everything else needed for Seder night. This fulfills for you the two tremendous obligations of Kimcha D'Pischa, providing foodstuffs for the poor on Passover, and Kol Dichfin, opening up your home to the poor on Seder night. This is an easy way to fulfill Kol Dichfin, for when you sponsor a family's Seder night, it's the same as if you hosted them in your own home.

You can make your generous tax-deductable donation to Emuna Outreach's Kimcha D'Pischa Fund by clicking here. May Hashem bless you and yours with a truly happy and kosher Passover!

Remember: do what you can do and leave the rest up to Hashem. That way, we'll truly make a difference.

The Opposite of What It Says

Hashem's Greatness
People often ask me how to tell the difference between the evil inclination and the good inclination.

It's easy. The evil inclination is a nag who hounds you endlessly. The good inclination is a tiny whisper or a flashing illumination of the heart and brain.

So how do we handle the evil inclination? Rebbe Simcha Bunim of Pashischa says that if the evil inclination tries to inflate you with arrogance and tells you how great you are, tell it how tiny you are. If it tries to tear you down and tell you what a nothing you are, tell it how great you are - a prince or princess and one of God's favorite children.

In short, whatever the evil inclination tells you to do, do the opposite.

With the above in mind, you are now prepared to have the best Shabbat of your life. Hashem loves you and so do we, cherished brothers and sisters. Shabbat Shalom and warmest regards from sunny Ashdod on the exquisite Mediterranean coast in the holy Land of Emuna.

Introducing the Garden of Wisdom: Lesson #1

Here's the series we've all been waiting for, designed especially for the whole family, from ages 4 to 104.

What is so special about the Tale of the Clever One and the Simple One, and how is it different from Rebbe Nachman's other tales? Here is the first of our new series of lessons on the Garden of Wisdom by my esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush, which I had the privilege of translating. G-d willing, this shiur will appear regularly on the Beams every Thursday. We sincerely hope that you fully enjoy these lessons. Let's get started:

Piety with Good Sense

Chossid Tipesh

If you are a man, and your answer to the question in the above photo is "yes", and you consider yourself religious, then you better double-check your value system, because you're not synched with the Torah...

Yes, the hand you see in the above photo is the hand of a woman. And she's drowning, screaming for help with her last breaths. But you don't look at women, and you're shomer negia, so you certainly don't touch them...

The Gemara teaches that any "religious" person who ignores a drowning woman is a pious idiot. The Gemara also tells the story about another pious idiot who saw a baby drowning in a river, but he didn't jump in to save the baby because he wanted to fold up his tefillin first.

Hashem doesn't want pious idiots. The entire Torah is common sense and human decency. Saving lives overrides everything. Where do we learn this from? It's right in the Torah: Moses became the leader of the Jewish People not because he was so frum, but because he never ignored the needs of a fellow human. Blessings for a wonderful Shabbat, and if you're in the NYC area, we hope to see you in Monsey on Motzaei Shabbat.