25 Kislev 5778 / Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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A Beautiful People    

A Beautiful People

Carol was making such beautiful progress in her Jewish observance until her husband connected with a fire-breathing rabbi who said that she wasn't doing enough…


A family in Brooklyn is on the verge of divorce. The husband and wife were once very close to a Breslever rabbi, but in recent years, he had not heard from them. Finally, recently the husband attended one of the Breslever rabbi's lessons and spoke to him afterwards. "Rabbi, you must help me. My wife, Carol, wants to split up; she says she doesn't want anything to do with me anymore. She can't stand rabbis and doesn't want to hear a word from them anymore."


How could that be? Mel and Carol had been guests in the Breslever rabbi's home. Although they hadn't touched base with each other lately, Carol and the rabbi's wife had become dear friends. She and Mel had even hosted the Breslever rabbi and his wife on several occasions for a meal in their home. Both Carol and Mel are lovely people. Yet, Mel is a gung-ho baal teshuva who was always enchanted with stringencies. The Breslever Rabbi had to constantly hold him back from going too fast, preventing him from alienating Carol.


Don't think that Carol is a light-weight when it comes to Judaism. She is highly intelligent, a Phi Beta Kappa with a Master's degree, so she had to overcome her rationality and logic to establish a relationship with Hashem. Yet, after reading The Garden of Emuna, she koshered her kitchen, began going to the mikva and began observing the Shabbat. When she did, I told Mel that he won something bigger than the Irish lottery; if Carol was observing kashrut, mikva and Shabbat, then the rest is commentary.


The Breslever rabbi's moderate, little-by-little approach to teshuva, with his emphasis on emuna, lost its appeal to Mel. Mel discovered a rabble-rousing, fire-breathing "rabbi" whose zealousness enchanted him. The fire-breather became his rabbi and spiritual guide. With Mel's new hashkafa (outlook) that he adopted from his new rabbi, Carol could not stand him anymore. Rebelling against his new, strangling stringencies, she brought the TV back into their home and began to wear Jeans again while going to coffee houses and night clubs with her girlfriends. Mel exploded when he found Carol text-messaging on Shabbat. There was now a gaping hole in the dike of her Judaism and the evil inclination's floodwaters were about to wash their home away.


Reality gave Mel a slap in the face when his new fire-breathing rabbi told Mel that if Carol continues in her ways and doesn't begin covering her hair immediately, he must divorce her.


All of a sudden, Mel got cold feet. Leave his wife and their two gorgeous children? He was in shock…


Is that what Hashem wants, a broken home? Why didn't Mel and his new "rabbi” fail to see all of Carol's phenomenally good points? She works full time, contributes in a big way to the family's income, is a great mom to their two children (who are always impeccably cared for) and until recently, was keeping kashruth, mikva and Shabbath. Besides, she wasn't born into a religious home! Indeed, her parents were very anti-religious academic and atheistic types. She had come a long way. But no, rabbi fire-breather says she's not good enough.


That's only one story, and meanwhile it's not proceeding to a happy ending.


I wish this were fiction, but it's not. The "rabbi fire-breathers" of the world are on record for saying terrible things about entire segments of our people, in the exact opposite of the true spirit of Torah. Where do the fire-breathers get their ideas and outlook from? Obviously, they lacks both a proper rabbinical ordination and a rabbi. They heed neither Torah, the Zohar, the Gemara nor the Chafetz Chaim. Apparently, nobody has taught them that we're a beautiful people. If they don't know that, they're far away from Hashem and His Torah.


My beloved teacher and rabbi, Rav Shalom Arush shlit”a gave me an iron-clad guideline: if any Jew speaks negatively about any other Jew, don't accept advice from him. Even worse, if any "rabbi" talks negatively about any other Jews, he's likely not a rabbi at all! Check if he has a teacher, check if he's ordained at all and check if he has a spiritual guide. The answer to all three is likely to be "no".


Where does Rav Arush learn this from?


King Solomon tells the Jewish People exactly what the Almighty thinks of them: "You are completely beautiful, My beloved, and you have no blemish" (Song of Songs 4:7). Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches that one of the things that the Almighty most despises is when people speak derogatorily about us. Worst of all is when we speak negatively about each other. Indeed, nothing so arouses Divine wrath and stern judgments as one Jew badmouthing another. The unmindful person who dares to defame an entire group of Jews is really looking for trouble.


Rebbe Nachman defines who is a true tzaddik, (see Likutei Moharan I:17) and says that the true tzaddik seeks to discover the joy that Hashem derives from every Jew. Therefore, the true tzaddik – emulating Hashem – is always looking for the good points in every individual. If we desire to be upright, we must follow in the tzaddik's footsteps. Once we do, our lives will overflow with Divine abundance, amen!



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  3 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  How does Mel get Carol back?
Anonymous,6/27/2017 10:18:36 PM
Deborah6/26/2017 2:11:20 PM
  Don't understand
Anonymous,6/26/2017 1:55:47 PM

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