Sunday, July 10, 2016

// // 7 comments

I Need Help


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
    

I Need Help

 

Uncle Zally wrote: I received this email. How would you suggest I answer?

 

Anonymous Lubavitcher wrote: I need help.

     I read an article of yours [Uncle Zally] on Chabad.org about how you woke up one Shabbos morning and decided to shave your beard off, and buy a Corvette, and ended up seeing that you really do want Judaism, at least on some level. Well, here's my story. I grew up in a "frum" family in Los Angeles in the Lubavitcher community. I went through Cheder, Yeshivah, got Semicha, got married, got a job, and had two children in the process I am 26. Here I am, a beard, tzitzis, two kids, a wife, a house, a professional job.

     And I am worthless.

     I am worthless because I am unhappy with my life. I never had a chance to be that "teenager" you describe in your article. The kid who drives hot cars with hot girls. Who has a girlfriend (or more) and does whatever he wants. Who gets to eat how he wants, where he wants, what he wants. And I never got to be that young guy, 26 year old, whose good looking, clean-shaven, nice hair, looks good, maybe looking for a specific girl, but still going around.

     If the circumstances permitted, I'd be chasing girls. I don't really care about my standards or values. I am not really living the life I purport to be living.

     You on the other hand chased around, and after exhausting that, at some later age, you began to look for meaning. Well, I, and most guys like myself at my age aren't looking for this! I am NOT so mature that I wish to live this life! If I had the opportunity to live the life you did, I'd do that! Then maybe one day, when I am 45 or 50, I'd care to ask questions. But for now, I just want to chase girls. I'd rather play golf/tennis or watch a movie on Shabbos morning, than going to synagogue from 10-2 pm, ruining the whole morning. I don't care that my wife looks more modest than other less-clad women. Why do I need all this!!!??

     I seriously want to know what you have to tell me.

Anonymous Lubavitcher guy.

 

Gutman's answer:

Shalom Anonymous,

     You are making two huge mistakes. First, you are letting your animal side tell you what is good, and second, you are ignoring what your Torah life is supposed to be giving you. The obvious result is that you feel like you do.

     The animal in each of us has an amazing thirst. It is never satisfied, even when it gets what it wants. This is because it was created to want, want, want, and want. Desires motivate action, and G-d wants us to do things.

     There's a horse, a wagon and a driver. The driver slaps the reins against the horse's back and the horse goes forward. Obviously, since it is all hooked up, the wagon and the driver also go forward. The animal is pulling the wagon, but the driver is in charge. The driver is in charge that is until they pass a pizza parlor and it turns out that this horse loves pizza. Neighaaaaah! The horse whinnies and rushes into the pizza parlor. Well, what happens to the wagon? It goes with the horse. And the driver? He also goes with the horse. Now, the horse is in charge.

     This is a metaphor for the intellect, the animal inclination, and the body. The horse wants action, Neighhhhhh! Whinny! He wants his animal nature to be fed. The body wants to just sit on the couch. Relax. Cool out. And the intellect wants to fulfill its purpose for having been created.

     Every decision you make, everywhere you go, whatever you do, one of these three characters is going to be in charge. But one thing is for sure. At the end of the day, we all have to pay the bill.

     The other huge mistake you are making is not looking for and finding the spiritual reality inherent in the Torah. It is there. It is inside every word and every deed, but it doesn't come out automatically. You have to look for it. The physical Torah without the spiritual Torah can become a burden. This is without doubt the biggest problem in Jewish education today. The spiritual aspect of Torah and mitzvahs has always been hidden, but it used to be that we were taught to look for it. Now days, sadly, it is almost all just, "memorize the page and be a good boy."

     The fact is you have won the Lotto and you do not even know it. You have your health, a Jewish education, a good wife, two wonderful kids, a profession, a house, wow! You know how many Jews in the world lack these things and cry out to Hashem every day for them? But because you haven't found Hashem in your life you are being torn apart.

     If you want to find joy you have to begin to sincerely search for Hashem. Look for Him. He is everywhere but He is hiding. You can start by talking to Him when you drive to work and when you walk down the street. He is right there filling you and surrounding you. Speak lovingly to Him and tell Him your problems, what you want, what you need, and ask Him what you should be doing.

     Once you begin to attain even the slightest level of spiritual awareness, your wild animal will not be entirely subdued, but you will begin to remember what you came into the world to do and this will calm the animal somewhat. Then, as you go deeper and deeper you will learn to train the animal to serve your greater need, your service to Hashem. Then you will find the true joy that you are looking for. 

     Remember, satisfying the animal doesn't happen. Even if your wildest animal dreams would (G-d forbid) happen, a few minutes later the animal would be barking again.

     There are three things that everyone has to accomplish. If you only have two of them you are going to be miserable. You have to find out how you are supposed to serve your Creator, you have to help to make the world a better place and be paid a livelihood for what you contribute, and you have to make a family. You have two of them, but you haven't figured out the greatest one of them all. Find Hashem in your life or the animal is going to rule.

 

7 comments:

David said...

It is hard to talk to H about subjects other than asking for what I need, expressing what I am thankful for and how I should behave. Having a hard time maintaining long conversations.

crazy smade said...

R. Locks says like this, "The fact is you have won the Lotto and you do not even know it. You have your health, a Jewish education, a good wife, two wonderful kids, a profession, a house, wow! You know how many Jews in the world lack these things and cry out to Hashem every day for them?"

Do you know how many Noachides in the world lack these things and cry out to Ha-Shem every day for them!? Do you know how many Noachides would love to share in the spiritual commonwealth of Klal Yisrael and can't, because they're geographically separated from and lack the means and wherewithal to live near a thriving Hasidic community!?

Yep! This person has won the lottery and doesn't know it! Chase girls? What for? For a mere moment of sexual pleasure a few times each day, if that? What's one suppose to do with the rest of the day? Eat cheeseburgers, surf porn on the Internet, and watch TV!?

Give me a break! How sad! It all amounts to some bread and a bowl of lentil stew! I'll gladly trade him my life among the Goyim for his place in Klal Yisrael!

LondonMale said...

Rabbi Gutman

It may be that there is something lacking in the letter writer's life.

I do not know what, but perhaps he does not pursue something of his own interest...such as a hobby, or an exercise activity, or even that he does not study the parts of the Torah which he really wants to?

Maybe he needs a bit of space for himself..to play golf or tennis. Not on Shabbos, but a few hours per week to relax?

crazy smade said...

@LondonMale and assorted readers - Regarding the predicament of the person in question....

The Baal Shem Tov use to frequent the forest. The best way I know to re-connect with the Creator and re-charge one's spiritual battery is to get away from the rush and the whirl of humanity and the city life and go out into nature (the more secluded and scenic and majestic the better).

Often times we can't hear HaKodesh Baruch Hu for all the noise that we're surrounded by and that's when the Yetzer Ha-Ra slips in with his old "you're worthless; your life has no meaning; you lack any real purpose; you're not really living a spiritual life; what have you actually accomplished for Ha-Shem; you might just as well go out and chase some girls" schtick.

In times like these, I think it's best to leave man's creation and get back to nature in order to seek Ha-Shem's Face. Remember to say Tefilat HaDerech and rent a kayak or a canoe and take a lazy journey down some river or paddle around some lake. Find a trail and take a hike. Search for some secluded beach to walk up and down for a few days. Go out into the woods and camp out for a time. Leave the family and all the tech devices and assorted distractions behind.

Before too long you're bound to hear Ha-Shem say like this, "Hello, son! Did you miss Me? I sure missed you! Let Me introduce you to My Creation, so you can understand why I conceal Myself in it. Did you know that I created this whole universe just for you? I have so much to show you!"

Bottom line...? If it was good enough for the Baal Shem Tov, then it's exactly what the doctor ordered! I'm just a Noachide, so I have no right to advise or lecture any Jew on what is and isn't proper, but as a Chasid of the Nations, I'm a student of the Baal Shem Tov and when all else fails, I turn to his life for answers to my questions and for an example to follow. I'm just saying....

Seriously, if I had the funds, I'd buy a 500 acres backed up against some State or National Park and open up a campground (with the necessary facilities) for Jews and Noachides to take vacations at and do it totally free-of-charge! There's nothing like getting back to nature for clearing the mind and gaining a fresh perspective on one's life.

BenG said...

Or for a more direct approach, he could always watch http://bit.ly/2a6t03S

Reb Locks is at 1:40:11---interesting what is said right at that point.

crazy smade said...

@BenG - When I left Xtianity and Messianism, I also discarded their teachings regarding Hades and Elysium, which R. Yossi Mizrachi seems to promote in the video link you provided. To be sure, his is a Jewish(?) version of bliss and punishment in the Afterlife, but the threat is the same as in Xtianity -- live in abject fear of HaKodesh Baruch Hu and serve Him by obeying His 613 Demandments or suffer His wrath in the Afterlife. I prefer Rabbi David Aaron's approach:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJhe-E6Bqfc

In my experience, focusing on what happens after one's death is often counter-productive. I'm attracted to Judaism because it tends to focus on tikkun nefesh and tikkun olam in the Here-And-Now, rather than Pie-In-The-Sky, etc. One reaps what one sows. All that truly matters is that one returns their soul to Ha-Shem in the condition it was given to them; thereby leaving a positive legacy for others to build upon.

The reason I'm attracted to Hasidism is because the focus is on being more than a mere servant of Ha-Shem. One is to behave like an Offspring of the Divine, rather than a Rooster Prince. (See further Rebbe Nachman's story about the Rooster Prince).

I'd like to become a Co-Working Partner with HaKodesh Baruch Hu in His Creation, rather than be a mere servant or worse -- a red-headed stepchild from the kelipot, who lacks the ability to be altruistic, per the Gemara that says, "all the charity and kindness done by the heathen is counted to them as sin, because they only do it to magnify themselves" (Bava Batra 10b).

I'd rather number among the Hasidim of the Nations. Why? Not for a reward in this world or the next. Not for self-glorification. Not because I'm required to live in abject fear of the Creator or the earthly governments He uses to punish sinners. Not even for a sense belonging!

Why do I want to be a Hasid of the Nations? Because I know what it feels like to be rejected, ignored, and treated like garbage. I don't wish that feeling on any of my fellow creatures. I don't even wish that feeling on my worst enemy! I'd much rather work in partnership with Ha-Shem and Klal Yisrael to elevate the sparks and bring Heaven down to earth. Not out of fear, but out of reverence for the All-In-All.

Chana G said...

To Reb Gutman Locks: I stumbled upon this interesting discussion (thank you for your valuable blog and effort in interesting and important issues) while looking for and explanation of the chassidishe metaphor of the wagon driver with horse, wagon and passenger. Is still not clear to me. Who is the neshama, who is the animal soul etc. and...can a parallel be drawn in psycology language of "emotions" Inconscious" "Conscious" etc. or... who is 1) the body 2)the emotions 3)the mind 4) the neshama
Thank you in advance and wishing you all much Hazlacha in good health for this marvelous endeavour of yours.
Chana Goldreich

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