Most people feel good when they are able to help others. Everyone needs to have a cause that they believe in; something that they wholeheartedly support outside of their immediate circle of family and friends. In my case, it’s Rav Arush’s cause- Emuna. I’d like to share an amazing story with you, to show you how you can achieve anything if you really want to.
As the Program Director for Breslev Israel, one of my responsibilities is to plan our Emuna tours.
On a recent trip, we made a stop in Miami for a few days. During the day, Rabbi Brody had a few meetings lined up. One of his appointments was with a simple, middle-aged couple, who didn’t come to him for advice. They had something special in mind- something they wanted the entire world to participate in. As the couple slowly made their way up the walkway to the house, I recognized the husband from the Shul in Bal Harbor. His wife seemed pleased that I remembered him, and she told me they had a very serious matter to discuss with Rabbi Brody. Assuming it was something personal, I ushered them in and asked them to wait a few minutes.
Then she caught me off-guard when she asked if they could film a few minutes of their meeting. Not knowing what to say, I suggested they ask Rabbi Brody directly. At the end of the meeting, Rabbi Brody called me into the room and explained to me what they had in mind. It was nothing short of a worldwide effort at bringing Moshiach. I was shocked. As they handed me an impressive-looking flyer, I thought to myself, “What in the world are they trying to do? Do they really think this is going to be world news? They’re a simple couple from Miami, with no major connections, no major organization backing them up, and limited funds. What can they possibly accomplish?”
Their vision was that for one moment, all of the Jews in the world would pray in unity for the Redemption and Moshiach. I admired their excitement and innocence, but I wrote it off as crazy and unachievable, and that was that. Or so I thought. Over the next few months, Gisele, the wife, kept in touch with me, showing me the short clip they put together and asking me to have Rabbi Brody share it and help spread the word. To be honest, I was quite impressed. It was a moving and exciting clip. But I didn’t think anything big would become of it, and after posting it on my Facebook page, it quickly left my mind.
Gisele hounded me repeatedly about September 23, the day every Jew was asked to pray for Moshiach. Each time she reminded me and showed me the video again, I was impressed and then quickly forgot about it. Nevertheless, I shared it according to her wishes. Next thing I know, it’s 3 days before I have to be in Uman for Rosh Hashana and I’m up to my neck in paperwork. Then I get yet another message from her about sharing the video. I thought to myself, “This lady has a talent for marketing!” Anyways, I emailed the video to a bunch of friends, including my dear friends in Singapore. A few days later, I received this moving reply: “I am sitting in front of my computer with tears rolling down my face! THANK YOU for this beautiful forward! What a project! MAY WE MERIT Moshiach ALREADY!”
Rosh Hashana was a whirlwind of craziness, between helping people get settled at all hours of the day and night, coordinating the schedule, helping people with their requests, and, oh, yes, praying! I had planned on having internet access in Uman, but Hashem planned otherwise. When I got back to Israel, I began to wade through the abyss of emails, when I found this message from Gisele: “David, I hope you had a nice trip to Uman. But we are very disappointed, as every day, we were waiting for you to post the info and video on your website. It is soooo important that we are as many as possible to pray this Sunday. Please post this Friday the video and all the information- it is the last day before the event!!! We all count on your participation as Rabbi Brody told me... Please confirm by email- you have NO idea how much work this is (and how much Yetzer Hara we have to deal with). Please HELP now.”
I thought to myself, “What chutzpah! We posted the event several times, Rabbi Brody did a cameo, come on already!” I looked on Rabbi Brody’s facebook page and blog and saw he had already posted it. I was looking forward to a relaxing Shabbat. Before I could blink, Shabbat was over and it was Sunday morning. All of Gisele’s nudging worked, and I remembered to do one last post on my facebook account. As I logged on, I saw the worldwide prayer for Moshiach plastered all across facebook, and it was even on the front page of Yeshiva World News! I even saw it promoted on Israel National Radio’s website and saw that Rabbi Brody will be doing the prayer live on the air! I even received texts and emails from people I didn’t share the event with, reminding ME of the event! This was BIG!
I could start to feel the excitement in the air. Just the thought of all Jews together, in unity, praying for Moshiach- it gave me chills. I began to understand several lessons from this experience. One is that our unity is our most powerful spiritual asset. It is the reason we pray in daily minyans together and study Torah together. Nothing makes Hashem happier than seeing His children working together and getting along. I realized that no matter what type of Jew you are, whether you’re Orthodox, Conservative, Ashkenazi, Sephardic, or even if you don’t know what type of Jew you are, the important thing is that you recognize yourself as part of a very special group of people that is cherished in Hashem’s eyes.
The second lesson I learned is that we have the power to accomplish anything if we put our minds to it. Sure, we have heard this before. But how many of us really believe it? Most of us don’t even attempt something on such a grand scale, just because we don’t think we’ll be successful. This is where the yetzer gets us. He has already convinced us that some goals are so grandiose that we shouldn’t even bother trying to reach them.
With this story, I urge you to think of a dream you have. If it’s something you’ve convinced yourself is unattainable, it’s time you think again. Give yourself a fair chance at reaching your dreams. You deserve it! Imagine, if a simple couple with limited means can accomplish something that affects the entire world, you can, too! Kol Hakavod, Gisele- you’re an inspiration to me!