6 Tamuz 5781 / Wednesday, June 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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The Best Gift We Can Give Our Children    

The Best Gift We Can Give Our Children

What a shame to cause our children mental scars that are difficult to heal. Help them to grow up with the truth that they are good - and convince yourself too!


The Diagnosis 

Roni came to Yeshiva with a lot of motivation to progress. He invested energy in his learning and praying and worked to improve his character. He seemed to be on a straight path to success. 


And then began the failures. 


Going up, and going down, are part of the normal growth pattern of every boy in Yeshiva. But Roni’s failures totally destroyed him, and made him feel that every time, he was starting again at zero. 


Recently, Roni once again came to me, broken and crushed. I prayed that Hashem should help me to understand the root of the problem, and He answered me. Roni began to tell me about his childhood. He never received encouragement, to put it lightly. Even though he was an upright and successful young man – in his own eyes, he saw himself as bad, and a total failure. No matter how much he worked on himself, and no matter how much he wanted to be good and do good – he always felt that he was bad, and even evil. These destructive thoughts and lies were eating away at him from the inside. 


First Aid 

The first thing I needed to do was prove to him that his bad desires were not the real him. They weren’t his essence – it's just his Evil Inclination surrounding him. 


I asked him, “Do you want all these bad things?” He answered me, “Absolutely not!”  


Then I continued, “You must know that your good desires are the real you – your true essence. You are good! I want you to repeat this to yourself until you erase all of your negative self-image. Repeat after me: ‘The real me is my soul, and my soul is holy and pure. My only true desire is to live in accordance with Hashem’s will. I only want to do good and be good. The bad thoughts and actions aren’t me. Not only do I not want them, but to me, they are a punishment, and I suffer because of them. If only I could get rid of them! Therefore, the bad has nothing to do with the real me at all!” 


He repeated after me, and these words of truth brought him back to life. It was literally like the resurrection of the dead. I explained that he must do this “spiritual exercise” at least once a day, and preferably more, and especially to repeat this to himself before he begins any service of Hashem. 


Sickness of the Generation 

So many people in our generation live the dangerous and terrible lie that they are bad. They believe that the bad is a part of them. This sickness is the root of all the suffering, sadness, depression and internal suffering that so many people are experiencing in our generation. 


I have already written multiple articles about the belief in yourself that you are good, and that you can grow, progress and improve, and that this belief cannot be separated from believing in Hashem. The only thing that can knock you down is your bad thoughts about yourself. 


Therefore, belief in yourself is your emotional healing. It isn’t a nice “addition,” but rather the basis of all your spiritual progress and success in every area of your life. 


A Gift for Life 

Since this truth is so foundational and critical, every father and mother must build this knowledge in their children already from their childhood. You must know that the most important thing that you can give your children is a positive self-image, that they believe in themselves. Never make them feel bad or evil, G-d forbid! 


Never forget the truth that your children are holy souls, and that their real essence is good. Deal with them based on this truth, and constantly remind them of this truth. Even if you must reprimand them, always remind them that they are good. Never instill in them that the bad they did is the real them. Tell them, “You are so righteous, you have so much desire to do good – this just isn’t appropriate for you. It isn’t you, it’s just your Evil Inclination – get rid of him!” 


Obviously, you also need to work on yourselves as well – to repeat it until you yourselves have truly acquired this knowledge. When you accustom yourself to seeing the good in you and know that the bad isn’t the real you – it will be so much easier for you to see and feel this truth with your children as well. 


It Is Much Easier to Build Properly 

Recognize that in order to rid yourself of all these bad thoughts and beliefs about yourself requires dedicated, daily effort – because anything that you don’t receive in childhood is very hard to restore later in life. It isn’t easy, but it is doable. 


But your children are a blank page! What a shame to cause them mental scars which will be difficult to heal later. Now while they are young, it is so easy to ingrain in them the truth that they are a soul, which part of G-d Himself, and that they are righteous and holy, loved and successful. This education is critical, and truly the best education that you can give them. 


Is There Discrimination? 

An important example of this comes from Parshat Toldot, where Rashi comments that Yitzchak’s prayers for children were answered before Rivka’s, because “the prayers of the righteous, the child of righteous parents, cannot be compared to the prayers of the righteous whose parents were evil.” This doesn’t make any sense, since someone who returns in repentance is on a higher level! How could this be considered a lacking? 


The answer is not meant to speak negatively about Rivka G-d forbid – only to help us understand the lesson for ourselves. A child born into a righteous home has a healthy and positive self-image from his childhood. But a child born into an evil home is constantly being criticized and humiliated. Even though he is very precious and has incredible merit, he is hindered by a deep lack of belief in himself, and a lowered self-image. Since prayers are accepted according to their level of emuna, automatically, his prayers have this slight blemish, and therefore, Yitchak’s prayers were accepted over Rivka’s. 


This is an important message for our generation as well: The most important and foundational thing you must work on first, is to completely uproot the negative self-image that was instilled in you, and to acquire the belief in yourself that you are truly good and righteous. In short – to begin to truly believe in yourself!  


You must work on this with dedication every day, but the results will be clear and amazing! 



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