Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
Dear Rabbi Arush,
Recently on vacation, I was privileged to meet two senior citizens in the hotel in the Catskills we were staying.
Sonya (the mother) is in a wheel chair. The amazing thing about her is that she projects peace and smiles all the time. During recent months her health has been deteriorating very fast, she has less energy and sleeps much more.
Bella (the daughter) takes care of her. She herself is also a very mature woman, past the age of seventy.
They live in Brooklyn. Bella and I exchanged phone numbers and since we speak at least once a week about Judaism, her mom's health, her own health (she has health issues and underwent surgery this past summer).
While speaking to Bella this morning, she shared with me about the amazing blessing that she got from one book a friend gave her right before Rosh Hashana.
The book is the Russian translation of The Garden of Emuna. She read the book in Russian (her native language) over and over and can stop blessing Rabbi Arush for his teaching. Not only that - she is truly convinced that Rabbi Arush's advice is the best way to bring Moshiach. I told her that I myself have read several books from the Rav and also I listen to the CDs daily. They are really a blessing.
At any rate, Bella has a question for the Rabbi:
Very good family friends (like family) borrowed a big sum of money from them. They signed a document where they were supposed to return the money in three (3) months. This happen four (4) years ago.
Bella asked a Rabbi in her community and was advised to take the friends to a Beit Din to sort the problem. She feels uncomfortable to do so because these are really close friends who they've known for many years, all the way back to Russia.
She told me that she feels that Rabbi Arush will be able to tell her what is the correct thing to do in this situation. She wants to know what the best thing to do is in Hashem's eyes. That's the way she speaks ever since she read The Garden of Emuna. And of course she is willing to follow every word that he will tell or write to her.
Bella has so many great things to say about Rabbi Arush teachings and the impact the book has make in her life and wants to express her deepest gratitude. Since she doesn't have a computer or email, I am writing in her behalf. With much appreciation for the Rabbi's time and attention, HS from New Jersey
Bella and her mother are lucky to have such a loyal friend as you. I appreciate the nice things they had to say about “The Garden of Emuna” and am so gratified that it has changed their lives for the better. Bella's question is very moving. Of course, Jewish Law entitles her to take her grievance to the Bet Din (religious court), as the rabbi instructed her. But, what I find so moving is that she wants to know what Hashem wants her to do, which I interpret as meaning that she wants an emuna-oriented answer. Otherwise, she wouldn't need to ask me. So, if she is seeking more emuna, I am more than pleased to help her.
Taking all the principles in mind that we learn from “The Garden of Emuna”, “The Garden of Gratitude” and the “Garden of Riches”, here are the steps she would be well-advised in taking:
1. Complete self evaluation to make sure she doesn't owe anyone else any money; if she does, she should repay the debts.
2. Pray to Hashem to forgive her for her sins, especially for the outstanding spiritual "debts" she hasn't paid back to Hashem. Which means:
3. Try her best to do teshuva for any past sins that she didn't atone for.
4. Pray to Hashem to open up the the debtor's heart that he return the money.
5. Forgive the debtor in her own heart if the money doesn't come back, and that way she'll be forgiven of her own sins.
6. Not to make a fight in the Bet Din. Even if she wins, that doesn't mean that she'll get the money back. But, the chances are great that she'll lose the friend.
The above method might be considered being naïve or gullible, but in the end, Hashem will give her much more. Like everything else, the unpaid debt comes from Hashem, for the very best and for a purpose, namely, to bring Bella closer to Hashem. She surely has the potential.
If Bella forgives the people who owe her money, then the Heavenly Court must completely forgive her of her sins, measure for measure. This is a phenomenally good deal that's worth more than billions.
My feeling is that if her friends had the money, they would have repaid her long ago. Bella has a chance to do yet another big mitzva and to judge them favorably, meaning, that they don't have the money to return to her. By not hounding them, she is doing another tremendous mitzva by not embarrassing them and by keeping the peace.
Bella's emuna-based reaction in this situation is by itself enough to buy her way into the World to Come. What a worthwhile investment!
Blessings and warmest regards, Shalom Arush