6 Tishrei 5781 / Thursday, September 24, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
 
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Teens and Smartphones    

Teens and Smartphones



Aren’t we lucky to be on the emuna path of life? Granted, we aren’t perfect and it certainly takes a lot of hard work but who would want it any other way?

 



In the Gemara, Tractate Taanit 5b, Rabbi Nachman asked of Rabbi Yitzchak, “May the master bless me.”

 

Rabbi Yitzchak then gave a parable. “To what can this be compared? To a man who was traveling in the desert who was hungry, tired and thirsty. He came upon a tree whose fruit were sweet and its shade pleasant, and a stream of water was flowing beneath it. He ate of its fruit, drank of its water, and sat in its shade. When he sought to leave, he said 'Tree, O tree, how shall I bless you? Shall I say to you that your fruit will be sweet? Why, your fruits are already sweet. Shall I say that your shade will be pleasant? Why, your shade is already pleasant. Shall I say that a stream of water will flow beneath you? Why, a stream of water already flows beneath you.' Therefore, this is my blessing: May it be the will of God that all the shoots planted from you- will be like you.”

 

Rabbi Yitzchak then said to Rabbi Nachman: “You too, Rabbi Nachman, what shall I bless you with? If it’s for knowledge in Torah, well you already have it. If it is for wealth, why you are already wealthy, and if it’s for children, why you already have children. Therefore, this is my blessing, May it be the will of God that your offspring will be like you.”

 

Aren’t we lucky to be on the emuna path of life? Granted, we aren’t perfect and it certainly takes a lot of hard work but who would want it any other way? We parents have a lot in common with the message of the above story: we want success for our children.

 

As a teacher of teenage boys in Jerusalem, I see week to week the spiritual grave being dug deeper and deeper. During recess, they all have their smartphones out. Some are listening to music, others are playing games but sadly at the tender age of 15 pornography has its dirty claws around the necks of over 95% of the student population, and this is within a religious environment. On more than one occasion the kids have spoken to me about how to escape the temptation to watch these types of movies.

 

“Teacher, how do I escape? It's impossible!” is a frequent question I hear. I give them the advice that Rabbi Shalom Arush teaches in Garden of Purity. The students are looking for answers. In this generation, the fight to live a simple and dignified life is almost impossible. Hour by hour an entire generation of Jewish souls are being literally enslaved to the lust for sex. Young teens are being dragged through the hell of pornography addiction before they even know how to use an electric razor. The sad news is that most parents are in denial.

 

We as parents are very lucky if we’ve found the path of Emuna. Better late than never. However as we go about our day to day life, the Heavenly Court is asking, “What about your kids?” The focus then becomes: how do we get our teens on board the Emuna path, the belief in a loving Father in Heaven that does everything for the best?

 

Well for starters, teens are usually naturally reluctant any time we try to push something on them, especially religion. Therefore it might be a great idea to start getting stronger in Rav Shalom Arush’s practices and find a spiritual solution. The following are some tips:

 

1. Take upon yourself 60 minutes a day to talk to God about everything in your life. Especially about your teen. (Read In Forest Fields)

 

2. Focus on the silver lining of the situation. How have your teens inappropriate behavior helped you? Perhaps you have gotten stronger in Faith as a result of it. Give thanks for that, even though it hurts. This will invoke Divine compassion.

 

3. Do a pidyon nefesh. You can have Rabbi Shalom Arush, author of The Garden of Emuna perform a special individualized prayer for your child that has the potential of evoking Divine mercy on your child’s situation.

 

4. Strengthen yourself in living a Torah observant life happily thereby setting a positive example for your kids without the stress and threats of punishment (See link to order Garden of Wisdom)

 

5. Don’t compare your kids to anyone else, look for their strong points and praise them for them. (See Rabbi Lazer’s video lesson).

 

6. If you need immediate assistance, try the 6 hour prayer session. Find the time to dedicate 6 uninterrupted hours to pray for one thing such as your child coming to live a life of Emuna. (*many of our viewers have seen outright miracles as a result of this spiritual strategy, myself included.) Take the first 90 minutes to think about all the positive things that have come from the negative situation, then take the next 90 minutes to do serious soul searching and ask for forgiveness, after this spend 90 minutes asking for complete faith in God, and to complete the 6 hour session spend your last 90 minutes asking for a free gift such as a salvation for your teen.

 

7. Sign up for an Emuna coaching session with Rabbi Lazer Brody or Rabbi Zev Ballen. Get individual one on one time from experts on Emuna to guide you through your current dilemma. They have years of experience and have helped over thousands of people. (Contact staff  @breslev.co.il to book an appointment).

 

8. Help others. Like I mentioned before, as a teacher I see teens drowning from a lack of Emuna in their lives. Their souls are suffering and they greatly lack clarity in life. If you are interested in sponsoring Emuna discs and books to be distributed directly to students who are at risk, Donate to Emuna Outreach and mention what you'd like to earmark your donation for.

 

Last but not least try picking up a copy of “The Garden of Emuna For Young People.” It is a revised edition of the original Garden of Emuna book but is entirely directed for young teens as they venture out into life. It talks about how to face problems, handle stress and overcome obstacles through prayer and faith. It is a sure winner to have at the home and just might plant the seed in your teen to make the change you so desire to see. May God be with you and bless you with endurance and inner peace. Last but not least let us know if any of the tips helped you. All the best wishes to you and your family.

 

Notes: The beginning parable was translated into English by Artscroll in its Schottenstein Edition to the Talmud Bavli.





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