Why do some youth veer from the track of Torah Judaism, while others stay on track? Rabbi Shalom Arush, in a recent lecture in Hebrew, provided some amazing answers to this question. Here they are now in English; enjoy, and have a lovely new week!
The most painful problem in the Jewish world today is the "Off the Derech" (off the path, at risk) youth who grew up in "religious" homes yet ultimately forsook observant Judaism. Without the Torah, mitzvoth and especially emuna to protect them, they lose all spiritual strength and are quickly swallowed up in the riptide of assimilation.
My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit”a writes repeatedly in his classic The Garden of Education that education of a child begins with the parent's educating him/herself. Children not only mirror their parents but tend to amplify parental traits. In other words, when a parent makes compromises in Halacha or in any aspect of Jewish observance, children will continue the compromise; like the proverbial snowball at the top of the hill, once it begins rolling downward, it becomes a dangerous avalanche. We know how it starts, but we don't know how it will end…
On the other hand, when parents strengthen themselves in Jewish observance, especially emuna, children will become doubly strong. This is a predominant theme in the Megilla of Esther, as you'll see in The Non-Negotiable Knee, my feature article in this week's Purim issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.
Important Notice: Rabbi Shalom Arush can be your shaliach (representative) in fulfilling the mitzvoth of Zecher Machtzit Hashekel (commemoration of the mitzva of giving the half shekel) and Matanot L'evyonim (gifts to the poor) on the day of Purim. Simply Donate to Emuna Outreach during the coming days before Purim and Rabbi Arush will make sure that the money will be distributed on the day of Purim.
Blessings for a fantastic new week and glee-filled Purim preparations!
Take a moment to contemplate what kind of future you want. Better yet, contemplate what type of future you'd like for your children. After all, we'll eventually be handing the baton to them...
The whole world in recent weeks has seen the gross repugnance of scandalous behavior. People who have been revered by the whole world because of their money and fame turned out to be below the level of beasts, to put it mildly. America's idols and icons are now part of a lengthy rap-sheet of immorality, which we prefer not to elaborate upon here.
After I updated my esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a about the public exposure of the longtime licentiousness in Hollywood, he reacted, "I wonder if the same moral offenders ever took into consideration the profound effect that their conduct and personal deportment has on future generations. What inheritance does the morally-corrupt multi-millionaire think that he is leaving for his children? His bank account? His corporation? Oftentimes he loses them both and there's nothing left but infamy." Bulls-eye...
The financial assets that a father leaves behind are not what affects his offspring. So what does affect future generations?
Special Feature - Kesiah Williams writes about the Breslev Israel - Emuna Outreach trip to Wales this past September, which you can read in Emuna in Wales. The feedback we've been receiving from the trip is remarkable. Many of the participants in our Wales Noahide emuna seminar wrote, "You've changed my life." That's exactly what emuna does - it changes humanity for the better and drastically improves the quality of people's lives. We can't possibly shoulder the prodigious task of spreading emuna around the world on our own. You can be our full partners with full benefit sharing, for Rav Shalom Arush always says, nothing in the world can compare with the power of spreading emuna, which pays tremendous dividends in this world and in the next. With one click, you can begin to make the world a much better place - Donate to Emuna Outreach.
Last year, during a convention of the leading educators in the Gerrer cheder (elementary educational - LB) network, the Gerrer Rebbe shlit'a told the participants: "Too bad we don't have a place in Eretz Yisroel where our children can see davening (praying - LB) like in Uman!"
Uman is a prayer factory. Sure, some of the 45,000-plus who make the Rosh Hashana pilgrimage to Rebbe Nachman's gravesite are thrill-seekers and carnival-goers. But to the mainstream of Breslever Chassidim, prayer - especially the High Holiday prayers - is a chance to be with The King. Uman on Rosh Hashana is The King's coronation. Uman therefore leaves a lasting impression on a child's soul, the type that the Gerrer Rebbe wants to engrave on the hearts of all children.
In Uman, you'll find Torah lessons from morning until night. You can hear lectures from Breslev's foremost rabbis and mashpiim, or spiritual guides. There are prayer quorums everywhere, all day long. When people aren't praying prescribed prayers, they're engaged in personal prayer, some in the woods, some down by the river, and many flocked around Rebbe Nachman's holy gravesite.
If you're looking for spirituality, for meaning in your Judaism, and for real emuna, then Uman Rosh Hashana is the place for you.
Sure, beloved sisters, it's not easy to spend Rosh Hashana alone with the kids. But if you knew the benefits that you derive by sending your husband to Uman, you'd force him to go.
Consider this your personal invitation to the prayer factory. Rosh Hashana is only 3 days away.
Tisha B'Av, the fast day when we commemorate the worst calamities of our history, begins on sundown, Monday July 31, 2017 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.
The Gemara teaches us that the Second Holy Temple, which we've been lamenting over for nearly 2,000 years, was destroyed because of the baseless hate and dissension among us. Do you realize what that means?
Anyone who contributes to the love and unity among us is actually building the Holy Temple with his or her own hands.
Teaching is not an easy profession. The first criterion for a good teacher, says the Vizhnitzer Rebbe shlit'a, is that he or she love every one of their students unconditionally. Such a teacher not only builds souls (where too many uncaring and unqualified teachers destroy them, Heaven forbid), but hastens the Geula, the full redemption of our people, for he or she uproots the core cause of exile. Imagine the rewards above that await such a teacher - they're mind-boggling.
Rather than kicking the dead horse of depressing lamentations that people are tired of hearing anyway, I chose to tell you the story of a fantastic teacher who saved a young boy's dignity and his entire future. This story exemplifies the type of teachers - and human beings - that we all should strive to be:
In the middle of the wedding reception, the groom – an exceptional Torah scholar who landed the beautiful daughter of a prestigious family – asked for the microphone. "I'd like to say a few words; indeed, I am obligated to express my gratitude. First of all, I must thank Hashem for the privilege of taking such an indescribably splendid wife from such a lovely family. Secondly, I must thank the one person here tonight who made this joyous occasion possible…"
All the guests looked around. Who was the groom talking about – his parents? The matchmaker? Maybe he was referring to his Rosh Yeshiva, with whom he had become especially close during the past three years. No, he wasn't referring to any of these people.
"I must share my story with you, for it's a story of how one act of loving-kindness from a teacher who cares can determine a pupil's entire future."
Obviously emotional, the blushing groom cleared his throat and began to unravel his tale:
You bet there is. I've been hearing more and more about successful treatments with the use of a friendly bacteria named Lactobaccilus Reuteri, a star player in many probiotics. It has proven effective in eradicating H. Pylori, the criminal-bacteria culprit that eats away at the stomach wall and causes ulcers. L. Reuteri has also done a valiant job in overcoming the Clostridia infection that is so highly correlated to autism and the reason that so many autistic kids suffer from constipation. Consult a good naturopathic doctor and ask him for more information on the subject.
I often recommend that parents of autistic kids put them on a GFCF (gluten-free-casein-free) diet, for this also eases all types of autoimmune symptoms that are also related to autism.
The next time someone curses you and tells you to "eat poop", smile back, for Hashem will turn this curse into a blessing. Conventional medicine won't tell you about FT (fecal transplant), but it is a strong ray of hope. Here's how: Imbalances in the gut microbiome ― the community of trillions of bacteria living in the digestive tract ― have been linked with mental and neurological disorders, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Parkinson’s disease. While friendly bacteria are our best friend, the unfriendly types that often take over the gut wreak all sorts of havoc to our health. FT, by returning the gut's regime to the friendly bacteria, can literally reboot a person's health.
Many of modern society's ailments are due to the garbage our bodies ingest that destroy our microbiome, our desirable microbial population in the gut that that protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins. The main culprits are as toxins, air pollution, antibiotics, medications, processed foods and parasites. Often, we're too sterile and use soaps, sprays, cosmetics and chemicals that kill off good bacteria as well. That's why the best thing a person can do is to live and eat naturally.
Disclaimer: all the above does not purport to be a cure or solution to any ailment, but as food for thought and for further investigation. There truly is no despair and there's always hope. Don't ever forget that above and beyond our efforts, prayer alters nature!