13 Sivan 5779 / Sunday, June 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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Break Through!    

Break Through!

Rabbi Lazer Brody speak in his recent North American tour provided a powerful formula to achieve breakthroughs in our most difficult personal challenges. Here it is...


I had the merit to hear Rabbi Lazer Brody speak in his recent North American tour. He provided a powerful formula that he received from his esteemed teacher, Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit”a, to achieve breakthroughs in our most difficult personal challenges.


Service with a smile


Many people don't know and feel that there's a God in the world. This includes even religious looking people. As soon as you know that the Almighty and Merciful God runs the world, this should put a big smile on your face.


There are 98 curses listed in the Torah that afflicted the Jewish people. The Torah doesn't always give a reason for every commandment, but the Torah gives a reason for the curses: “Because you didn't serve Hashem with happiness.” Upon hearing this, a person may shout: “Time out on the field! How do you expect me to be happy? Look at the problems I have!”  One person has a problem with income. Another person has sickness in the family while yet another person has been unsuccessful in finding a soulmate. Every one of us has major issues. If not, we wouldn't be in this world today.


Big success carries a big price


The Torah tells us that we are children of Hashem. We are sent here for the purpose of getting close to the Almighty. We can't do this in heaven where there are no challenges and our spiritual position is therefore, static.


Rabbi Brody talked about groups of people who do extremely difficult jobs willingly and with smiles on their faces. He discussed how Navy SEALS and Olympic athletes go through excruciating regimens in order to succeed. They do it because they believe in their mission and know this is what it takes to become a champion.


The Torah says we are a treasured people. Our job is to be a light unto the nations. It doesn't mean we are inherently better. It means we have a great responsibility and challenge. We are the Almighty’s spiritual elite. Our job is to sanctify His name and this cannot be done without undergoing difficult tests.


Rabbi Brody discussed how important it is to behave in an uplifting, ethical and considerate manner in all aspects of our lives. This type of behavior reveals the Kingship of Hashem and inspires others to come close to Him. Unfortunately we also have a potential to do the opposite and drive people away from Hashem if we behave in a deplorable manner.


Neither the Navy SEALS nor Olympic champions can succeed with nominal and painless effort. On the other hand, Western education extols the path of least resistance, promising instant results. No one wants to pay the price…


Hashem says “I know what's best for you.” He brings us customized difficulties to help us fulfill our mission and soul correction. Our role models, the Avos and great tzadikim had very rough lives. We learn from their shining examples that emuna means having a deep faith in the Almighty no matter what is occurring in your life.


The purpose of a setback is the comeback


Rebbe Nachman relates a parable about a king and his son. In the story the king tells his son that his greatest joy would be that the son have a coronation in the king’s lifetime. The whole kingdom was invited to this festive and joyous event. Right before the ceremony, he told him: “My beloved son. Your father is not only a king but I can also predict the future. I see when you will be dethroned. When you will be dethroned I want you to be happy. If you will be happy I will be exceedingly happy. When you are happy in your setback I know you are worthy and that you will make a comeback.” In this parable, the king is Hashem and the son represents each of us.


The Almighty weighs us down with seemingly insurmountable problems. Why is the Almighty doing this? Why is the Navy pushing the SEALS so hard? The Almighty is bringing us to the point where we can achieve our true potential.


Rebbe Nachman says if you believe you can ruin something, believe that you can rectify it. The issue that causes our greatest pain is our key to personal growth.

No pain no gain


It's important that we do not deny the pain of our tribulations. A painful marriage hurts. A problematic child hurts. Take off the disguises. Don't deny the pain. Be real, it’s bitter and it hurts. The Navy SEAL and the Olympic athlete have workouts that hurt. However the pain is all for the good as the tough workouts build strength and proficiency.


Rabbi Brody recalled that as a little child, he and his classmates were given cod liver oil. It tasted terrible but it had wonderful health benefits. Similarly, our bitter setbacks and difficult challenges provide the benefit of bringing us close to Hashem. There is no such thing as a person getting close to Hashem on a steady diet of Boston cream pie and chocolate cake.

Four steps to the beautiful break through


Rabbi Brody proceeded to give us a four-step procedure that will enable us to meet our personal challenges effectively and create a true breakthrough.


Step 1


The first principle of the Rambam is that Hashem is the Creator and Director of everything. He does everything with precision. He alone did, does and will do everything. Ain ode milvado; there's no one but Him.


Step 2


Who is the Almighty? Great news: He is our loving Father in Heaven. He has an infinite and eternal love for each of us. As much as we human parents love our children, He loves us millions of times more. He knows that the problems we have are the only way that we can get closer to Him.


Step 3


My difficult challenges are my own personal path to greatness. I can't attain greatness without these challenges.


Step 4


For all these reasons, I should say thank you to the Almighty for my unique set of difficult issues.


When we do this, Hashem says, “I know how painful this is for you yet you are thanking me! Now I'll give you a really big reason to say thank you!” All of a sudden the wall begins to crumble and the beautiful breakthrough finally comes. In other words, when we thank Hashem despite our painful difficulties, that’s not natural. Hashem then goes above nature and sends us blessings and salvations that transcend nature.

Blueprint for Success: Continuous Review


Rabbi Brody says that we should put this on an index card for frequent reviews:


  • Everything is from Hashem
  • Hashem Loves Me
  • My path to greatness is through this difficulty
  • Now I’m going to thank Hashem and smile

Repeated review of the index card will be a real morale booster. It will help us to internalize and apply these vital principles. It will keep our spirits high and enable us to dispel thoughts of fear and sadness. It will strengthen us and keep us focused and motivated.


In the merit of learning and applying these four key principles may we achieve breakthroughs in our toughest challenges and become closer to our Father in Heaven.

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