Chag ha'emuna - If Passover is the holiday of emuna, the leil seder (night of the seder) is the Rosh Hashana of emuna The purpose of telling the Passover story at the seder is to entrench emuna into ourselves and the night of Passover is the time to work on it.
The more you describe the miracles of going out of Egypt, the more emuna you'll have. The way to do this is to imagine the hardships that they went through as if it were the holocaust and then how Hashem transformed the entire world for them. This gives us emuna by installing into our minds that Hashem has absolute control over the entire creation. (Slonim: I heard this from Rav Dovid Ostroff).
Today will never come again, make it the best day it can be!
This story really touched home! I heard it from my wife, Sarah who is working as a nurse in a local nursing home. There, Sarah became a stick in Hashem's Mighty Hand to beat the Evil Inclination at his own game. For me, the most dramatic sign of Hashem's omnipotence, in this story, is how He totally suspended Sarah's usual laser-like awareness so that she would be in the right place at the right time to save someones life. I tell the story in this 2 and a half minute clip. It's truly miraculous!
In this week's newsletter I write back to a young woman whose emuna battery needed some recharging after having a baby-a-year for six years and not having grown up in a religious family. She aptly coined the phrase for her "condition" PTSD which stands for Post-Teshuva Stress Syndrome. You can read her story right here: Download CSC NL Week 17 Yitro.
This Shabbos is when we received the Torah from Moses who got it directly from G-d. May you, your loved ones, and people everywhere come closer to Hashem this Shabbos and feel the wonderful vitality and renewal that only can come from Him.
Have a great Shabbos!
Dr. Zev Ballen
Bye the way, if you'd like to be friends on facebook don't be shy. All you've got to do is request it here!
Rabbi Lazer Brody, who for years has been a steadfastly loyal pupil of Rav Shalom Arush, told me that though many people know that Rav Arush is a tzaddik, they still don't know what level of tzaddik he is - his spiritual powers are simply awesome.
The following two stories prove it.
I heard from Rav Dror Moshe Cassuto that there was a large gathering of people, here in Israel, several years ago. Thousands of people came to participate and hear a panel of distinguished Rabbis speak.
The organizer of this event had the merit to drive Rabbi Dovid Stern from Bnei Brak to the gathering. Rabbi Dovid Stern is the son of one of the thirty-six hidden tzaddikim of our generation. On the way, in the car, the organizer of the event remarked to Rabbi Dovid Stern,
that there is someone who makes CD's, his name is Shalom Arush. He said, 'I simply cannot stand to hear that man's voice.'
Rabbi Dovid looked the man squarely in the eyes and said: 'You obviously don't know who you are speaking about. Rabbi Shalom Arush has achieved something than no human being has achieved since the creation of the world.'
If you have any doubt about it - read this:
My chavrusa (study partner) told me this story. He heard it from Rav Dror.
There was a man living here in Israel. He was a non-religious Jew whose wife divorced him. The man was given a terrible judgment in court. He had to pay almost his whole salary to his ex-wife every month. As time went on, he became more and more depressed. It was bad enough to lose his family, but to work like a dog for the rest of his life and have nothing for himself - that was too much to bear. He decided he would end his life.
He took his car out on the highway. He put his foot all the way down on the accelerator and thought that eventually he would crash into something - then his suffering would be over.
The car raced up to 90mph...then 100mph...then 115mph - When all of a sudden, the young man saw one of Rabbi Shalom Arush's CD's sitting next to him. One of Rabbi Shalom Arush's students had given it to him at an intersection. He had never listened to it.
Seconds away from disaster, his hand inexplicably reached for the CD. He thought that if he listened to it as he was leaving this world at least he would go out listening to something holy. He was hoping that this would help him in the next world. He shoved the disk into the player and hit the button a few times. By now he was flying at 120 mph. He didn't care about listening to the disk from the beginning. It started someone in the middle.
The very first words that he heard Rabbi Shalom say were:"WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL YOURSELF?"Continue here...
What can a person accomplish with continuous heartfelt prayer? Check this out:
Hi Dr. Ballen,
I just read your response to Muriel in this week's (parashat Balak) and want to thank you for such an excellent and clear response. Every sentence wasan absolute pearl! In a short space you delineated Rebbe Nachman's emuna approach to illness, treatment, and the medical profession.
About 20 years ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. With extensive prayer by members of the kehillah and with complete trust that HaShem would take care of me through surgery and chemo, I underwent surgery for a total thyroidectomy and left radical neck.
When I woke from the anesthesia, I was shocked to hear from my rav that no cancer was found! Needless to say, the surgeon was greatly embarrassed.
Last year I was diagnosed with asthma. This disease is not going away like the cancer did, bit I look upon this experience as an opportunity to correct all of those years when I put such confidence (emuna?) and trust in physicians, medical research, and pharmacology. Now, every time I put a pill or inhaler into my mouth, I say the posuk that you mentioned in your response to Muriel. In addition, I spoke with Rav Brody to get direction about what I need to correct (the spiritual source of the problem). Also, before every visit with the pulmonologist, I have a Pidyon HaNefesh by Rav Arush.
This asthma is truly a gift and I thank HaShem for it daily in hitbodedut!
At first, a person who is being challenged by serious illness may not intellectually grasp the reason for thanking Hashem for the illness. If despite his lack of understanding, he persists in thanking Hashem simply out of Faith, he will eventually understand - on a deeper level- why the illness is intrinsically good.
The following miracle illustrates the above:
A young man from our yeshiva was told by a doctor that he had a fast-growing cancer in his reproductive organs and stomach. The doctor told him that if he didn't receive chemotherapy and radiation immediately, that he would be gone in three months.
The young man went straight to see Rav Arush who was already waiting for him in the doorway. He told Rav Arush the doctor's ominous news. Rav Arush told him that he didn't need any treatment. Instead, Rav Arush advised him to go to the field and thank Hashem for his illness every day. The young man listened to the Rebbe and has not had a single treatment - that was three and half years ago.
If you're interested, you can find him on the second floor of our yeshiva building. He is gratefully learning Torah like a Lion every day. (story courtesy of Rav Dror Moshe Coussoto)