By Dr. Zev Ballen
My Rebbe's smile is so beautiful and so real; lately I've been wondering about it. The world is filled with beautiful people with beautiful smiles, but somehow when Rabbi Shalom Arush smiles - you feel something different - it's hard to describe. I've seen the 'confident' smiles of the wealthy and even of those rich in Torah scholarship - but my Rebbe does not smile like they do either. I don't think I ever saw a real smile until I saw his.
What is his secret? What makes Rabbi Shalom so happy? Does his pleasure come from being a best-selling author? No. He smiled before this. Is he proud of the Torah institutions that he has built? No. He smiled before this. Is he smiling about his financial success, after years of poverty and debt? No. He smiled before this. Maybe Rabbi Shalom can smile as he does because he is proud of his achievements in learning or because of the beautiful children he has. No. He smiled before all of these.
So what in the world is he smiling about?
I think that my Rebbe is smiling because he knows the deepest Truth about life and it just keeps nurturing him and giving him more and more pleasure all the time. He found this Truth when he was poor and unknown. He realized that G-d is good and that He is the One Reality. Once my Rebbe saw that everything is G-d, it became impossible for him to complain about anything. He saw how much he had, and was grateful for it all. Life became joyous, calm, sweet and worry-free. There were no more problems. There was only good. My Rebbe's smile expresses his total and complete centeredness in Truth. When he smiles, he also wants nothing more than to share the Truth with you. His passion to give can be found in his every intention; thought; movement and word. He has forfeited the illusion of 'self.' He is a limb of Hashem in this world.
Imagine, for fun, how a Holy person would score on a 'cutting edge' 'highly reliable and valid' personality inventory. The doctors would laugh at him like people laughed at the pure and simple man in Rebbe Nachman's story of The Wise Man and the Simple Man. There are no psychological categories that can contain holiness. If a tzaddik took a personality test, G-d forbid, he might appear psychotic, schizoid, isolative, obsessive, or grandiose. Continue reading here...
Wishing You Blessing Always,
Dr. Zev Ballen