web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


It’s All How You See It


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

There are no coincidences in life. We know that everything that befalls us is basherte – to the point that even if a man stubs his toe that too is orchestrated from Above. It was not by coincidence that, on Parshas Tazria Metzora, I received an amazing letter from an amazing young man. Some 10 odd years ago, I had the privilege of launching him on his Jewish journey.

In the Parshah of Tazria/Metzora, we find the Hebrew word “nega,” plague, which our sages point out is comprised of the same letters as the word “oneg,” joy, the difference between the two words is to be found in the placement of the letter “Ayin,” which literally means “eye.” In the word “oneg – joy,” the Ayin is at the beginning, while in “nega – plague” it is at the end, teaching us that everything depends on how our eyes see things.

If we look at our challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth, as wake-up calls from Hashem, then indeed, they become “oneg – joyous” experiences, but if we view our difficulties as senseless, painful ordeals, then they can become plagues that torment us. Given this preamble, allow me to share with you an incredibly powerful story, which I believe can serve as a great source of strength and inspiration to our troubled generation.

As I said, it all started some 10 years ago when Akiva (as he came to be known) walked into one of our Hineni Torah classes. He had heard about me but hadn’t considered coming to a class because he heard it was “religious.” One day during a dark period of his life, after having lost his job and used up his savings, through an inspiration he received (which he also credits to Hashem) he had an irresistible urge to come to my class.

Once exposed to the Emes (truth of Torah) his life was never to be same. So it was that one Tuesday night he came to speak with me after class. What was this Torah that opened wellsprings of emotion in his heart all about?

That night proved to be a life-transforming experience. Akiva couldn’t get enough Torah and thirstily drank up every word. In no time at all my sons, our Hineni Rabbis, were teaching him to navigate the deep seas of the Talmud.

Akiva became aware that what he had always been seeking, but could never pinpoint, was also within the Torah way. He wanted to build a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael – a true Jewish home, and more than anything else, he wanted to meet a girl who would appreciate that calling and commit to raising sons and daughters who would follow the path of Torah.

“Rebbetzin,” he told me, “you are in charge. You must find me that girl!” And with the help of Hashem, I did.

Akiva was an expert computer technologist and was subsequently able to earn enough parnassah to enable him, and his lovely bride, to commit themselves to building a true Jewish home based on Torah learning and values. However, when the computer sector crashed in the early 2000s his stocks plummeted, work dried up, and he went through a new financial crunch.

Just as things were about to collapse for him, he and his bride called out to Hashem that whatever was to happen, they had emunah (belief) and bitachon (trust) in Hashem that it was the right thing for them and was ultimately good. Within a few weeks, their tefillos (prayers) were answered. A technology company owned by Akiva was purchased by a large Wall Street Bank. Akiva was back in business.

This new reality presented him with new challenges and he and his wife decided to leave the New York area and move to a smaller community where they could open a retail business and spend more time dedicated to learning Torah. His aishes chayil was supportive and in time, they built a magnificent Torah family and developed a viable business as well. And now to phase two and the letter I received from Akiva on Parshas Tazria Metzora:

Dear Rebbetzin,

It’s been a long time. Much has happened – where do I start?

Overall, it’s been an incredible trip and I see Hashem guiding my every path. We lost everything financially. Our house is in foreclosure, our savings dried up, and I am excited. Yes, you read that correctly…. I am excited and I say thank you to Hashem. Our situation is so drastic that it’s obvious that it could only come from Him.

I am reminded of the time when I lost my job and became frum (observant), and the time when the computer sector crashed and ironically, it turned out to be the perfect time to sell my technology business. Those times seemed to be a very dark moments in my life, but they turned out to be wonderful opportunities.

During the past 10 years, we have grown in our commitment to Torah and mitzvos and Baruch Hashem, we have been able to give tzedakah too. And now, darkness has descended upon us once again, but this time, in its most destructive, extreme form. Yet, I say, Baruch Hashem, for I recognize that that which seems to be the darkest time, can be a set-up for good times to come. When I look at it this way, I see Yad Hashem, the Hand of G-d in everything.

It is interesting how my business got taken down. One of the workers that worked for the company before I took it over, sued the old owners, but since they were out of the picture, I was held personally responsible. Suddenly, I found myself embroiled in lawsuits…the attorneys’ fees were astronomical.

The case dragged out in court for a few years. Eventually I couldn’t afford my attorneys anymore, so I had no option but to represent myself. I was writing motions and responses to motions and arguing my motions in front of a federal judge. I won some and I lost some, but I was putting up an unbelievable fight.

During this time, there were lots of potential purchasers and financial partners interested in my business, but once I told them about the lawsuit, I usually wouldn’t hear from them again. I didn’t have the resources to go on, so eventually my business went belly-up.

In the end I put the business and myself through bankruptcy. This cleared out the debt and the lawsuit and the house and pretty much everything else. As I went to pick up the pieces, I realized that I was having such a great time with the legal grappling that I decided to take the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). Hashem helped while I studied non-stop for two months, and Baruch Hashem, I did amazingly well. I applied to a bunch of schools and as of this writing, I’ve been accepted to most of them, Baruch Hashem, many with full-tuition scholarships.

The yetzer ha’ra tells me, “Unfair! Unbelievable! Why did Hashem do this to you?” but my yetzer tov – emunah, my faith, tells me, “Not so, it’s Hashgachah Pratis. G-d is guiding you, showing you a new path, launching you on yet another journey.” Now, more than ever, I am committed to devoting myself to Torah and grateful that He is opening new doors for me on the great highway of life.

I thought I’d share the good news with you. We’re planning on moving back to New York soon to go to law school, and once again to become part of Hineni – to learn and teach Hashem’s Torah.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “It’s All How You See It”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran’s Zarif Paints Iran as a Lamb, Israel as the Lion
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To the glee of all Israel haters it was Netanyahu who was accused of endangering US-Israel relations

Ki Tisa_lecture

Over and over, the text tells us about “keeping” Shabbat, about holiness, and a covenant – but why?

Aaron and  The Golden Calf by James Tissot

Aharon’s guilt with the golden calf is not clear-cut. What if Moshe were in his brother’s place?

The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

One can drink up to the Talmud’s criterion to confuse Mordechai and Haman-but not beyond.

“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav” gives great insight to Purim

Purim is the battleground of extremes, Amalek and Yisrael, with Zoroastrian Persia in between.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

I try to be observant, davening daily, but it hasn’t awakened my heart or my mind or changed my life

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

“Surely,” my family insisted, “there must be someone suitable for you. You can’t be so picky.”

Shouldn’t we Jews, having experienced the barbarism of many societies, speak support the NYPD?

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

When art and evil are intermingled, evil is elevated and made acceptable.

In BB, he said “You, my children are the angels of Shabbos and the licht are your beautiful eyes.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/its-all-how-you-see-it/2009/05/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: