11 Kislev 5781 / Friday, November 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Color Blind

At Breslev Israel, we love every human; you will therefore find us on army bases, in prisons, on Indian reservations, and downtown in the nitty gritty of inner city...


My beloved rabbi and spiritual guide Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a is committed to spread the light of emuna around the globe. As his mouthpiece to the English-speaking world, his commitment is my marching orders. We therefore reach out to everyone, within the limitations of halacha, Jewish religious law. Those limits, for example, don't allow us to speak in a church. But, just as we are allowed to pray in a mosque (such as in the Machpela Cave or at Samuel the Prophet's gravesite, where the holy tombs of our forefathers are now within the confines of a mosque), we are certainly allowed to speak at a mosque.
During our trip to the the USA in June and July of 2010, we were privileged to share Rav Shalom's teaching with chaplains in the US Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and with the participants of the World Noahide convention in Irving, Texas. Not only that, but we visited a number of Reform and Conservative Jewish communities in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Memphis.
To our dismay, certain “Orthodox” leaders cried bloody murder as soon as they discovered that we'd be speaking in non-Orthodox synagogues. Their so-called Halachic opinions not only condemned Breslev Israel and me personally, but threatened to boycott us altogether. That's so unfortunate, for our only motivation was, is, and always will be to spread emuna wherever we go and to bring people closer to Hashem.
Both Rav Shalom Arush and I can't stand racial prejudice of any sort, especially the kind that's clouded in so-called religious ideology.  A bona-fide convert or a person with a Jewish mother is just as much a Jew as anyone else, whether his skin is white, black, red, or yellow.
As a person who grew up in a non-Orthodox Jewish environment, I can testify that my family – and those like us who belonged to our local conservative synagogue - certainly has no heretical agenda. Indeed, my own beloved father of blessed memory was a man of faith, brotherly love and charity who could serve as an example to many “religious” people. We simply never learned Torah, nor were we taught the true essence of our religion. Since we had no understanding of what emuna really is, the prevalent Orthodox lifestyle of the time seemed utterly irrelevant to us.
Times haven't changed. We all must learn emuna, not only reform and conservative. Rav Shalom says that an Orthodox Jew without a smile on his face must urgently learn emuna, for if he doesn't smile, it's a defamation of Hashem's Name, G-d forbid.
The Breslev-bashing sable rattlers who are so quick to condone our outreach efforts in non-Orthodox communities should stop and think: how can one possibly teach emuna and bring a person closer to Hashem? By throwing rocks at him? By saying that he's not part of the Jewish people? No, we don't need any more zealots, especially the ones who so expertly spread slander and contention among Jews.
We visited a medium-sized city in the US south that had one Orthodox synagogue and one non-Orthodox synagogue. At first, we were scheduled to speak at both. At the last minute, the Orthodox rabbi threatened to boycott us if we speak at the non-Orthodox synagogue. Not only did we speak at the non-Orthodox synagogue, but they were one of the best and most receptive audiences we ever spoke to.
By the way, the greatest rabbis of this generation – Rabbi Ovadia Yosef shlit'a, Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Vosner shlit'a, and the Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a have blessed our outreach efforts and have given Rav Shalom Arush and his staff permission to speak in non-Orthodox synagogues.
At Breslev Israel, we're color blind. We love every human regardless of his racial, cultural or geographical origin. It goes without saying that we love every Jew. You will therefore find us on army bases, in prisons, on Indian reservations, and downtown in the nitty gritty of inner city.
Maybe the self-appointed religious aristocracy turns up noses at what we're doing. But Rebbe Nachman's entire modus vivendi was outreach (see Likutei Moharan I, Torahs 10, 14, 33 and more). Rav Shalom Arush, who brings Rebbe Nachman's teachings to this generation's eye level, lives and breathes so that more and more people will call Hashem's Name.
Before I became a Baal Teshuva in 1982 and an ordained Orthodox rabbi in 1992, I had to put my life on the line on quite a few occasions in order to perform my mission and do what I knew was right as a soldier in the Special Forces of the IDF. The threats of wagging tongues who don't like what we're doing won't deter us now, especially as a soldier of the King of Kings trying to return His missing sons who are held captive in the prisons of spiritual darkness.
Truth is eternal; the opposite is short-lived. The people of the world are hungry for truth. Any day now, G-d willing, we're all going to need very strong sunglasses because the truth is one tremendously bright spiritual light, which G-d willing, we hope to spread far and wide.

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  2 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Dear Rabbi
Moriah12/19/2011 2:49:18 AM
YY12/18/2011 5:53:50 AM

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