Three weeks ago, on a Wednesday, I was having a really bad day. It seems to be a permanent fixture of my summer holiday that at some point or other, I have a massive, enormous emuna wobble and all the 'good' in my life starts to disintegrate.
This year, I for sure was going to have at least one 'bad day', because my husband and I have been under tremendous pressure in a lot of major ways, all at once, for months and months. I knew I was going to crack at some point.
So when the bad day started, and I could feel my will to live ebb away with each hot, sweaty hour I spent on the sofa watching the kids fight, I decided: it's time for a Rabbi Brody shiur.
Luckily, Hashem always seems to time my bad days perfectly for Wednesdays. I told the kids to find a play date; I told my husband I'd meet him in Jerusalem, and I jumped in the car.
I don't have internet at home, and the occasions when I can get into Jerusalem for Rabbi Brody's shiur are very rare, so I keep them for when I REALLY REALLY need a shot of emuna.
The last time I came in was around a year ago, so it was great to come into the newly-refurnished and expanded Chut Shel Chesed, and to ring all the changes. As soon as I stepped into the building, I started to feel better. Ahhh. Even without anyone saying a word to me, my emuna battery was already plugging in and loading up with more of the good stuff.
I settled down for the shiur. It started with a lot of bad news: Rav Elyashiv had just passed away, at the age of 102, and he was to be buried in Jerusalem later on that night. A terrorist had attacked a bus full of Israelis in Bulgaria, killing many and injuring many more. The situation in Syria, on Israel's Northern border, had just gone from 'really bad' to 'really worse'.
In other words, you could feel the tension in the air and cut it with a knife. Even if you landed in Jerusalem from Mars, you would still know it was the Three Weeks, that time of terrible destruction for the Jewish people.
I had no idea what Rabbi Brody was going to doing the shiur on, but it turned out to be about child education, and making sure we know where our kids really are at all times - and not just their bodies.
I gulped. For once, I didn't really know where my kids were, because I was so desperate to escape my home, I hadn't double-checked their arrangements to 'be' somewhere.
Then, Rabbi Brody started talking about the latest survey to come out in Israel, that shows that more than 50% of the secular kids here spend four hours a day surfing the web - the highest rate in the world. When they weren't surfing the web, they were spending another four hours a day watching TV.
The main message of the shiur was that all the 'popular culture' garbage we are exposing our kids to, even our 'frum' kids, is destroying them from the inside out. Rabbi Brody quoted extensively from an email he'd received from a 'frum' young man in the USA, 'Alan', who had emailed the Rav with a question about what to do with his 'frum' dad, who was pushing him to go and watch the premiere of the latest Batman film with him - on the first of the nine days.
Alan didn't want to go. Alan knew that the nine days are a very serious, introspective, heavy, dangerous time for the Jewish people. Batman premieres and the nine days just don't go together.
Except this year, they did.
I enjoyed the shiur a lot, and it gave me the emuna boost I really needed - but I didn't think too much about it afterwards. Thank G-d, I don't have internet. Thank G-d, I don't have TV. Thank G-d, I usually have a fairly good idea of where my kids are (when I'm not running away from them…)
Today, my brother who lives in the US called me for a chat. I was telling him about all the amazing, life-changing, stupendous insights into Jewish parenting that I got from reading Rav Arush's latest book, about parenting children the emuna way, with love.
We got on to talking about how bad 'popular culture' had become when he told me something that stopped me cold. For the second time in less than a week, I was hearing about the premiere of the latest Batman film. Except this time, I was being told about a terrible shooting that had happened when a budding university student dressed up as the Joker (a Batman character), and shot up a whole bunch of people attending the Batman premiere in Colorado.
I was stunned. What are the chances, that Rabbi Brody would pick some 'random' email 'randomly' talking about the spiritual dangers of Batman premieres - and then the very next day, such a terrible thing would happen at a Batman premiere?
I tell people the stories I hear about Rav Arush, and Chut Shel Chesed, and emuna miracles all the time. I try to make the point, a lot, that the people at Chut Shel Chesed are not 'normal' rabbis; these people are plugged in! These people have a hotline to Upstairs, and whatever they say, whatever they tell us, they know what they are talking about!
A lot of people smile their 'humouring me' smile, and ignore what I'm saying.
Some people take it a little bit seriously (but I can still see them mentally fitting me up for the straight jacket).
Then there are those, the rare few, that actually get what I'm trying to tell them: these rabbis have ruach hakodesh, or Divine Inspiration. We really need to listen to them. We really need to take them seriously. We really need to understand Who is behind all the messages they are telling us.
I really hope 'Alan' managed to persuade his dad to skip the Batman premiere. I really hope that if they went, it wasn't in Colorado. I really feel for all those people and families whose lives got broken last week, at the Batman shooting.
But most of all, I feel that G-d is giving us all another nudge to stop paying lip service to the messages coming out of Chut Shel Chesed yeshiva, and to take them seriously. Whether it's skipping the latest Batman premiere or moving your family to Israel ASAP, listening to Rabbi Brody and Rav Arush could really save your life.