9 Tamuz 5781 / Saturday, June 19, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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HomeFoundations of JudaismJewish OutlookOff Your Shoulders - Spiritual Weapons, Part 3
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Off Your Shoulders - Spiritual Weapons, Part 3    

Off Your Shoulders - Spiritual Weapons, Part 3

Getting advice from a real spiritual guide enables you to be at ease, and know that you made the right decision, no matter what happens.


Continuing from Part 2 - Get a Real Spiritual Guide, let me tell you another story that happened to me towards the end of the divorce regarding good advice from a real spiritual guide: 


Divorces (and lots of other situations) can be nasty, and it is virtually impossible for anyone who was not inside that house with that couple to know the real truth – hence the need to not judge, not listen, not talk, and not get involved. It’s not just sound advice – it’s Jewish law (halacha) 


This is also crucially important because of another little known halacha – one is not allowed to speak lashon hara in order to defend themselves unless there is clear to’elet – purpose. For instance, it is lashon hara to’elet to speak to a Rabbi who might be able to help with the situation, but only exactly what he needs to know in order to help properly. But to speak to the average person in the community who shouldn’t know anything in the first place? Absolutely forbidden to speak lashon hara – even to clear my name! The original lies were forbidden, and there is no permission whatsoever to commit another sin now in response. After all, the street is not a court of law and the opinions of those in the community has no standing whatsoever. 


Anyway, experience shows that most of the time, the attempt will be in vain, since there is another rule that, “A covenant was made that slander will be accepted.” People believe what they hear first, whether or not it has any standing. 


There were people in my community who unfortunately did not know this rule and believed the lies they heard. They seriously believed that I was through and through evil. They said, “If she had some justification for her behavior, she would say it. So, obviously she doesn’t.” One former friend even told me to my face, “I have to give you this item, but I am not looking at you, because it is forbidden to look at the face of a rasha – an evil person.”  


It shook me to my core – but I walked back into my house, I looked into the mirror and said to my reflection, “It’s a lie! She doesn’t know the first thing about the situation or what you’ve been through! Every single decision, the Melitzer Rebbe made, not you! If G-d forbid a sin was committed, it’s on his head, not yours – and you know that no sins were committed, and that the Rebbe has guided you to do everything on the most up and up possible! You are righteous! It’s outright slander! 


This story has a few very important lessons: 


  1. 1. Receiving good advice from a real spiritual guide puts you at ease.  
    After all, your decisions are not yours alone! Throughout the divorce, I could sleep at night because I knew that I was doing the right thing. The weight of heavy decisions and their repercussions is taken off your shoulders and put on shoulders much bigger than yoursI don’t know what the emotional toll of that comment would have been on me if not for this principle. 
    I repeat again – do not let go of responsibility on this level until you have found a tried and true spiritual guide. Applying this principle with someone of lesser stature can have disastrous consequences!  
    Rivka Levy also covers this topic very well in her article: How, Without my Rabbi? 

  1. 2. Being in contact with a real spiritual guide gives you the ability to learn how you are supposed to act, without committing serious sins along the way. 
    If I had not learned these relevant laws from the Melitzer Rebbe and Rebbetzin, I would have walked away from the divorce with thousands of serious sins hanging over my head, which I wouldn’t have even known aboutI thought I was totally justified in defending my name.  
    And since there is no suffering without sin, I most certainly would have suffered for these sins, which include Chillul Hashem – desecration of Hashem’s name, lashon hara, sinat chinam, and many more. Even worse, sins of speech are extremely difficult if not impossible to rectify – who remembers who I spoke to, and who they passed on the information to, and how far it went? It’s like running after the feathers of a pillow that opened… Being saved from such a situation is in itself a gigantic benefit. 


In Part 3 – Shhh, Don’t Talk! I explain the third very crucial lesson that I learned through this story, which is also a spiritual weapon in and of itself… 







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