12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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The Holy Rhythm    

The Holy Rhythm

A mature young lady of eleven turns to Rabbi Brody for answers to questions that most adults never even ponder; if this is the face of our next generation, we're in great shape...


Hi Rabbi Brody,


This is Eden Levi from Chicago.


Thank you so much for writing back when you said you would. I know that you are really busy so it means a lot that you actually wrote back to me. But I didn't get your message till a few weeks later because it got lost in the mail. That's why I am writing back to you so late.


Thank you for answering my questions and giving me a beautiful blessing (Amen to your blessing).


I have a few more questions that I want to ask you:


1. Does Hashem control the negative thoughts and images that the yetzer hara (evil inclination) puts in my mind? I think Hashem controls everything but does that include my yetzer hara? Or is that my own mind?


2. I know I need to ask Hashem for every little thing I need in life, and I like to, but does Hashem ever feel like you're asking for too many things? I know I don't know what it feels like to be Him but if somebody kept asking me for everything all the time I would feel like, "Enough! Stop asking me for everything." Does Hashem ever feel that way? Does He ever get annoyed?


3. Sometimes I get annoyed or mad at my younger brothers. I know I shouldn't feel that way but sometimes I can't help it and it gets me in a bad mood. Do you know how I can stop myself from feeling that way and then getting in a bad mood and making my day worse?


4. I am very different from my classmates in school. I go to Bais Yakov. I am in 5th grade but I still don't have a true good friend. I read that Rebbe Nachman also had a hard time finding a good friend when he was a kid. I pray to Hashem to bring me a real friend but He still hasn't. Can you suggest something for me to do about this? Maybe some other way to ask Hashem? Or should I just be friends with the kids in my class? Thing is, they either speak a lot of lashon hara, disrespect the teachers, care too much about fashion, tv and non-Jewish music, or they just aren't my type. Some are really frum and quiet and they already have their group of friends and anyways, it seems like we don't have much in common. Some I think they will be a bad influence on me. Do you think so? Also, there is a girl in my class who I sort of hate. It's hard to explain but she annoys me. I don't want to hate her, I know it's not right. I want to accept her as she is but I don't know how to. Do you know how I can stop hating her?


5. When I think about time passing I get sad. I don't know why, but I do.Seems like time goes by too quickly. I know Hashem made time and He does everything for my best, so I shouldn't be sad about it, but I can't help it. What can I do to think about time passing in a more positive way?


6. You suggested that I switch Taekwondo for aikido. But my mom has been teaching me TKD for 6 years. I am a 2nd degree black belt now and she is a 5th degree black belt. She has a studio in our house and teaches classes to kids in our community. She is a great teacher. It's not really aggressive. It's more like forms, techniques and self-defense. I like it a lot, it's fun and it makes me stronger. Maybe when I get older I will switch to aikido.

I am so excited to meet you when you come to Chicago.
From, Eden Levi


Dear Eden,


It's my turn to apologize. After having received such a special letter from such a special young lady, I wanted to wait for an opportunity to write you an appropriate response. Although each of your questions could easily become the subject of an entire book, I'll try to be as brief and as clear as possible, with Hashem's loving help. Here are your answers to your questions and I pray that you find them helpful:


1. Yes, Hashem controls everything, including your yetzer hara. He gives you the yetzer hara as a gift, for none of us could make any personal and spiritual growth without it. How? Imagine that the yetzer hara is your opponent. Could you be a champion athlete if you never had an opponent?? Certainly, not! Hashem gives us the yetzer and the negative thoughts so that we must strengthen ourselves in joy and emuna to overcome them both. That's the way we grow!


2. Not only should you ask Hashem for everything, from the most insignificant button to the health of your heart and your future shidduch, you should thank Hashem for everything in your life, from the most seemingly insignificant thing to the most important thing. Hashem is a loving Father and He wants to give you everything, especially those things that you need to grow in your service of Him. But, He doesn't want you to be spoiled – He wants you to pray for what you need and to thank Him when you get it. Gratitude is the key to emuna and to good character, and Hashem wants you to have both. He loves your prayers, too, and never gets tired of hearing them. Keep them up – the more the better!


3. Before you lose your patience and temper with your younger brothers, remember two things: first, Hashem is using them to test your emuna. Once you realize that, you'll strengthen yourself and be more tolerant of them. Second, remember that they too are human beings, and special ones at that. Treat them like you want to be treated. That way, you'll be a shining role-model for them; they'll love you and admire you. So once again, emuna will help you have no bad days and you'll always feel good about yourself, whether things go your way or not.


4. Few people have true dedicated friends. Few people also have the spiritual common sense to shun the inconsequential follies of the material world and to seek Hashem. Eden, you are one of these select few. Sure, man is socially-inclined and oriented, but our sages teach us that it's better to be alone in the desert than to be “popular” in a crowd that exerts anything other than a positive influence on you. Remember, independence is sometimes lonely, but it's always freedom. You can overcome the loneliness by talking to Hashem. I'm sure thought that Hashem will answer your prayers and send you a best friend, the type of young lady whose values, goals and aspirations are similar to yours. Keep on praying!


5. We must learn to rejoice in every minute of life and to do teshuva every day. Hashem doesn't take anybody before their time is up. Just do the best every moment of your life here on earth and remember that our tour of duty down here is temporary. When we look forward to the day we can bask in Divine light without bodily limitations, we no longer fear passing away, especially when we know that we're going to a much better place than planet earth.


6. If your wonderful Mom is your teacher, than by all means, keep up what you're doing. At your age, a 2nd-degree black belt is remarkable. I also suggest that you learn the Pilates form of exercise for beauty, balance and flexibility.


Eden, I pray for your health and success. Be strong and continue to dance to the beat of the holy rhythm that you hear; other kids don't have such refined spiritual sensitivity, because their heads are into worldly things. Keep your head in the wonderful place where it is and continue moving forward. May you bring tons of nachas to Mom and Dad, to the community, and to the Jewish People.


Every blessing,


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