When we noticed that our son Yossie wasn’t developing “normally”, we took him to the best Manhattan doctors we could find. After subjecting him to a long battery of tests and interviews Yossie was finally given the diagnoses of “pervasive developmental disorder” and “autistic spectrum disorder.” Before his diagnosis, we had enjoyed our son and accepted him with joy; after his diagnosis, Yossie’s very presence in our home filled us with dread that he wasn’t “normal” and that the burden was solely on us to save him from the terrible future that his doctor’s portrayed for him – that was almost twenty years ago.
When at last we discovered the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, Hashem gave us the right type of mental composure to realize that it wasn’t Yossie who needed fixing – we did. Breslever teachings helped us to see that our son had been sent to help us fix ourselves. When we started turning to Hashem for advice we prayed: “Hashem, why did you send us this child?”; “Do You think that we’re dealing with him the right way?”; “What do we need to learn from him?” etc. From the moment we stopped fighting against Hashem’s decree we started really connecting to our son – we saw that Yossie was the key to an intense joy that we knew nothing about. Encouraged - we stopped trying to make him normal and started to think about what was missing in ourselves that required us to be given such a gift.
If Hashem has sent you a special child you should know, first of all, that Hashem considers you to be very special parents – He trusts you with a soul that is so sublime that it doesn’t fit easily into the physical world. Hashem does not want you to worry for one second about your child – He has simply sent you the key to a new life that you never would have thought was possible. A special child will show you that everything that the secular world has seduced you into thinking is necessary for your happiness and security in this world is false. Our son reminds us that the conventional pursuits of success and recognition will never work even for those with great intelligence unless one is connected to one’s ultimate purpose. Our son is happy because he accepts who he is – his pure wholesome innocence can bring a smile to the grouchiest medical examiner. Rebbe Nachman has said that sometimes the only way to stay happy is to engage in good-natured silliness and fun – our son gives us plenty of opportunities for that! If you have a special child you should be proud of him; Hashem has made you one of His special emissaries to show other parents how they can also be happy with their special kids.
You can start right now by letting Hashem know that you recognize the wonderful qualities that He put into your child. “Thank you Hashem for sending us this child who never lies; who doesn’t get jealous; who never gossips about others…thank you for this pure soul who does not sin… who is simply happy to be who he is.” By speaking about the beauty of your children you are showing Hashem how much you appreciate him. If Hashem wants your child to become a rocket scientist he can do that in a second, in the meantime just love him and enjoy him - he or she will teach you how silly it is to aspire to be “more” than you are. These kids show us that we also don’t need intelligence, sophistication and ambition – happiness is what we need! Indeed if intelligence doesn’t lead us to be happy with what we have, how can we even refer to it as intelligence?
A bright and successful businessman came to speak to me about his daughter – he was very unhappy that his daughter was not developing like other children do. He told me that what was hurting him most about the situation was that he didn’t believe he had done anything to deserve such a decree. His logic went like this: If he and his wife were’nt such nice people and didn’t give so generously to charity he could understand the “verdict” - but he does give generously – and still this was happening to him.
Let’s try to understand this man’s dilemma through the eyes of a tzaddik (one who is always close to Hashem).Rabbi Shalom Arush asks: How can we ever think that Hashem owes us anything? Is it possible that Hashem could be in debt to us for anything since the world and everything in it belongs to Him? Therefore, since the world is Hashem’s property and not ours, everything that we do “own” must have been given to us by Hashem as a free gift – and not because we deserve it. A person who understands that Hashem owes him nothing knows his true place – he humbly appreciates that whatever he has - even his next breath - belongs to Hashem, and is a sign of Hashem’s unlimited kindness, generosity and mercy. A person who knows that he can never begin to pay Hashem back for a fraction of what he has been given will not dare to complain. If a person does not thank Hashem for the children he is given but rather complains about them, claiming that Hashem is unjust – that person brings terrible suffering upon himself and his family, G-d forbid. The very best course of action for one who has erred in this way, says Rav Arush, is to immediately believe that Hashem is infinitely merciful. The very second that a person believes in the truth of Hashem’s unlimited mercy he will be released from his suffering. After-all Hashem’s sole reason for creating the world was to reveal His mercy and give us everything that we need for free. Hashem leads us in the way that we believe in him.
We should all merit believing in Hashem’s unlimited kindness especially when we see no logical reason to do so. Let’s learn from our special children how to serve Hashem simply without calculations and ulterior motives. We can aspire to the purity and innocence of these children by remembering, when we pray, that we don’t really deserve anything.
Let us pray: “Hashem, Your mercy is so limitless - that is why we believe in You! – Your loving-kindness is eternal – that’s why we’re confident in You. It’s not our merits Hashem, but Your flawless love for us that we can be certain of. In the merit of Your great loving-kindness, Hashem, bring us to the level where you can end this decree. Let us stand in the presence of these children, as great tzadikim do, and beg Hashem to heal them as a sanctification of His great Name.
Those of you who are interested can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about a tikkun (a spiritual correction) that was revealed to one of today’s hidden tzadikim by Eliyahu HaNavi. The hidden tzaddik has revealed this procedure to Rabbi Shalom Arush and some of the students at our Yeshiva have begun to use the procedure. In four months, one person has seen amazing results in his child.
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Zev Ballen, LCSW has been a practicing psychotherapist for 32 years. He is licensed in Israel and the State of New York. Zev has the endorsements of prominent Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Shlita, Reb Yitzchok Fagelstock, Shlita, The Kasaner Rebbe of Forshay, Shlita, Rav Shalom Arush, Shlita, and Rabbi Lazer Brody, Shlita. He resides with his family in Jerusalem where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time practice. You can write to Zev Ballen at: email@example.com or call him at: 845-362-8600 (US line) or 054-840-9499 (Israeli line).