Thursday, January 13, 2011

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I Used to be an Orthodox Rabbi

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Pathsssssssssssssss

image003 (8)     The other day, I helped a nice American man and his son to put on tefillin. He did not wear a yarmulke (head covering), so I was very surprised that he could read the prayers in Hebrew so well. He said that he was a reform rabbi. This was really unusual; rarely have I seen a reform rabbi put on tefillin.

     I wanted to make an important point to him, without turning him off, so I was very diplomatic. I said, “It’s not so bad that the reform movement doesn’t follow the Torah the way it is written. Most Jews in the world don’t. But it is really wrong that you tell your congregations that the way you follow the Torah is the way that it is supposed to be followed. It would be much better if you would tell them the way you do it, and then explain that you do not do it the way the Torah says.

     I was surprised that he agreed with me. Normally, people jealously defend their chosen path. He told me that he used to be an Orthodox rabbi, but some years ago his 17 year-old son was murdered. He said that he was so angry with G-d that for years he did not follow any mitzvahs at all. He ate non-kosher food, didn’t keep Shabbat; he did absolutely no mitzvahs. He was angry that G-d took his son away from him.

     He said, “But then G-d spoke to me. Not like a voice, but inside my heart.” He put his hand over his heart. “I realized that instead of being angry with G-d for what He took from me, I should be thankful for what He gave me. I had 17 wonderful years with my son. I saw that I was focusing on my loss, and ignoring the good that I had been given.”

    Little by little, he is coming back to Torah and mitzvahs.

     We can certainly learn from this man. One of the best ways to make sure that you have a good day is to thank G-d for all of the good that He has given you.

3 comments:

Mim said...

G-d uses that one a lot. You get the blessing of the years you have, not what you assumed you deserve.

Crazy Smade said...

The wife of R' Mordechai, the Maggid of Czernoble, died young and he took as his second wife the daughter of R' Dovid of Leikus, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.

R' Dovid was always of a joyous demeanor, even though he was beset by many tragedies, losing his wife and several children. His demeanor did not change even when he was sitting shivah.

"The Baal Shem Tov says that HaShem does nothing bad. It is just that with our human perception we cannot see the good."

The townsfolk who knew his disposition avoided the usual platitudes of consolation. However, two people who came from afar were not aware of this, and they said the usual adges, "What is man, and what is his life?" "Man is like a broken potsherd, like a dream that vanishes," etc.

In order to placate them, R' Dovid acted as if in grief. But when they continued their litany, he was no longer able to tolerate it. "Listen here," he said, "a human being is very dear, more precious than heavenly angels. Wherever he is, in this world or the next, the Divine light shines over him. There is no agony, no evil, no travail, only Divine goodness. We must obey the rituals of mourning as prescribed by the Shulchan Aruch, but with true emunah in HaShem's infinite benevolence, we need not feel sad."

Crazy Smade said...

The wife of R' Mordechai, the Maggid of Czernoble, died young and he took as his second wife the daughter of R' Dovid of Leikus, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.

R' Dovid was always of a joyous demeanor, even though he was beset by many tragedies, losing his wife and several children. His demeanor did not change even when he was sitting shivah.

"The Baal Shem Tov says that HaShem does nothing bad. It is just that with our human perception we cannot see the good."

The townsfolk who knew his disposition avoided the usual platitudes of consolation. However, two people who came from afar were not aware of this, and they said the usual adges, "What is man, and what is his life?" "Man is like a broken potsherd, like a dream that vanishes," etc.

In order to placate them, R' Dovid acted as if in grief. But when they continued their litany, he was no longer able to tolerate it. "Listen here," he said, "a human being is very dear, more precious than heavenly angels. Wherever he is, in this world or the next, the Divine light shines over him. There is no agony, no evil, no travail, only Divine goodness. We must obey the rituals of mourning as prescribed by the Shulchan Aruch, but with true emunah in HaShem's infinite benevolence, we need not feel sad."

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