Sunday, May 31, 2015



​   by Reb Gutman Locks   



Ed asks for help:

      I have a situation going on that's very serious to me. It's not easy to say but I've been contemplating suicide and no one I have spoken to has been able to explain why I shouldn't. I feel I can talk to you because you helped me a lot when I was coming over every Shabbos for that year I was in the yeshiva. I want to see the purpose to live but it seems it's just useless because anything I do will end and I'm not content at all even when I accomplish something.

    My life is good, but I don't feel good at all. I guess my question is why do I feel so empty and sometimes suicidal when I have everything and more, and am doing what I need to do? I get anxious and I have to be around friends just so I can take my mind off of the depression. I used to find being alone comforting and didn't need to be around people all the time, now when I'm alone I start to ponder negative things that I shouldn't and it seems I can't stop. Some days are normal and some are not, but when they're bad they're BAD.



     You are feeling empty because you are pursuing an entirely physical life and completely ignoring the spiritual aspects of life. It is only natural to be depressed if you are involved with just the physical world, without spiritual awareness.

    Start putting on tefillin again every morning and after you finish the prayers recall that fulfilling a mitzvah opens a door in Heaven and you want to take advantage of that. Close your eyes and picture everyone you love with light on their faces and smiling and ask G-d to bless them. Then thank Him for all the good He has given you. Do you need a reminder of how well off you are? I see kids every day in wheelchairs unable to walk their entire lives. You can walk. Thank G-d. How many young men your age are being killed in arab countries just because they are not muslims? Thank G-d you are safe…on and on, the list could take an entire day to recall.

     As for suicide; it doesn't work. It does not bring peace, not only to the ones you leave behind but not even to the one who is foolish enough to do it. You have been sent into this world to accomplish something. If you do not accomplish it you will have to return to the same situation over and over again in a different life until you do accomplish it.

     Try the tefillin and make Kiddush for your mother on Shabbos and see what changes in your life.



     Thank you for the response, I'll start to put on tefillin. How do I know what my goal would be? Would I feel that I'm doing it when I am? How do I find out? What should I do when that depressive mood falls on me and I've already put on tefillin that day?



     Did you put on tefillin today? Certainly continue your physical objective of education so you can find a decent job, but the goals in life are even greater. But to accomplish the goal of making the world a better place you have to have a decent job and a wonderful family.



     I have been putting tefillin on for the last three days. I don't necessarily feel any different but I assume it will take some time. You didn't completely answer my question about finding out what my goal in life is. How do I find out and will I know that I'm doing it if I'm doing it? What's the whole point of creation anyhow? You said it was seeing kids smiling a few times but I know it's more than that. Like why am I here? What is the purpose of me being here and getting a job and a family? Why is that important? How do I start to feel the holiness or G-d's presence more? I know He is everywhere and everything but I'm not aware of it. I just understand it logically. 



     Everything in creation has its unique purpose in having been created what it is. You are a man and as such have certain purposes related to being a man. You are a Jew and you have certain purposes that relate to your being a Jew. To succeed you have to fulfill all of what you have been created to do.

     Man has been created to tend the Garden. This means to help to make the world a better place. He has also been commanded to be fruitful and multiply i.e. to make a family.

     A Jew has been created a Jew to reveal G-d's presence in the world and to be a light unto the Nations.

     It is a wonderful blessing that you became depressed when you were not trying to accomplish your spiritual goals in life. That depression led you to search for something more than you were finding. Had you not become depressed you might have (G-d forbid) been satisfied with your physical life and never had sought more.

     When you put on tefillin or do any other mitzvah, remember that that act is making you holy. What more in life could a Jew want? The more holy you become, the more you elevate yourself from an entirely physical perspective, and the more you gain a spiritual perspective. The entirely physical perspective causes man to lead the life of an animal whose only concern is satisfying its animal inclination. When you gain a spiritual perspective you do not throw away the physical perspective. You elevate it. You learn to use the physical to reveal the spiritual. You will feel successful not by gaining physical possessions but when you see that your work is revealing G-d's presence more and more.

     It is a lifelong work and not something that you just do one day and accomplish it. Each day, again and again, you try to remember and to help others to remember the real reason we are here.

     Even the slightest spiritual success removes sorrow. Do not expect a free ride, though, where life goes only up. Life is a struggle. We have to work to remember, and the reward is measured according to the effort.






    By the Grace of G‑d
    10th of Nissan, 5721 [March 27, 1961]
    Brooklyn, N. Y.

    Greeting and Blessing;

    I received your letter, in which you write about your efforts to implement my suggestion in connection with Purim. I trust that you have also been active in the matter of distribution of Shemura Matza before Pesach, together with your friend . . .

    With regard to the question of Gehinom and how it affects sinners in general, and suicides in particular, you can well imagine that this is a subject about which I do not encourage discussion, especially in the case of a young man whose whole life is ahead of him and who has to utilize the years which G‑d bestows upon him, and utilize them with energy and joy and complete trust in G‑d. Thus, this and similar morbid topics are not conducive to the proper attitude and activity which should fill one's life. However, in order not to leave your question altogether unanswered, let me say briefly this. Besides the fact that one who takes his own life has no share in the world to come, and this is a result which few transgressions bring about, there is the added consideration that there is no escape from G‑d, and, as it is written,אם אסק שמים שם אתה ואציעה שאול הנך [If I ascend to the heavens, there You are, and if I make my bed in the grave, behold, You are there]. Therefore, one who takes his own life in the hope of avoiding suffering, actually adds to his woes in that in addition to having to go through all the things which he had hoped to escape, he has to suffer also the consequence of having tried to escape his duties and obligations, etc. However, the main point is, as mentioned above, this is not a topic to be delved in, but one should be totally immersed in the Torah, which is called Toras Chalm, the Law of Life, and the Mitzvoth whereby Jews live, and to do one's utmost to spread the light and life of the Torah and Mitzvoth in the environment at large.

    Hoping to hear good news from you, and wishing you a Kosher and happy Pesach,

    With blessing,

  2. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    Increase your Bitachon by reading Bahya, Chovos Levavos ("Duties of the Heart"), the chapter "Gate of Trust."

  3. I am the same anonymous as the 2 above. I was where you are. Meditating on the above plus this course got me back to sanity:

  4. It's forbidden to refer to a teacher by name "bahya," rather, "Rebbeinu Bahya."

  5. This guy needs a medical evaluation to rebalance his chemistry. My bet is that he is deficient in a certain vitamin/mineral that is affecting his brain!



Welcome to Mystical Paths comments. Have your say here, but please keep the tone reasonably civil and avoid lashon hara. Due to past commenting problems, all comments are moderated (this may take a few hours.)

Your comments are governed by our Terms of Use, Privacy, and Comments policies. We reserve the right to delete or edit your comments for any reason, or use them in a future article. That said, YOU are responsible for YOUR comments - not us.

Related Posts with Thumbnails