Let us understand once and for all that G-d is not a puppeteer and we are not puppets.
It is wise not to react to everything you see or hear.
Examine your life and recite Psalm 100 – the Psalm of Thanksgiving. Yes, you have many things to be grateful for and rejoice in.
I may be 80 but my memory is as good as it was when I 40.
Hashem has His own timetable and He allowed me to make my journey.
Money cannot create a bond of love or faithfulness between husband and wife.
When in a quandary we must always turn to our holy books and search for answers.
She is my first child to reach this stage and, frankly, I’m worried.
What is it that God expects of us and what is the mission He assigned for us?
There is a story about a man full of worry who goes to his Rebbe to seek his advice. “Rebbe,” he cries, “I have parnassah problems. Yankel opened the same store as mine just down the block and his business is thriving while mine is going down.”
Last week I shared a letter from a newly observant Jewish woman. She and her husband reside in a small suburban community outside of Los Angeles. Last year they came to consult with me on a personal religious issue. While they were both ba’alei teshuvah, there was one fine difference between them. He had become a ba’al teshuvah earlier than she and was therefore somewhat more settled in an observant lifestyle.
Over the years I’ve received letters from all over the world in which people share feelings and thoughts they’ve experienced upon becoming became Torah observant. Usually these letters arrive not long after the writers had heard one of my speeches. No matter where a particular speech took place, and no matter whether I spoke the language or had to use a translator, the magic always works. In reality, it’s not magic at all but a little voice in the soul – the “Pintele Yid,” that spark of G-d’s Word engraved on all our neshamahs. Here is one recent letter.
Last week I wrote about the many disappointments in life. So often we dream of something, wish for something, pray for something – only to discover that when it happens, it is not quite the way we envisioned it. I illustrated this concept through a Hungarian story I recalled from my childhood about a little boy who more than anything else wanted a rocking horse, a coveted toy in Hungary.
There is a Hungarian tale I’ve always found meaningful and yet sad. It is about a little boy who always wanted his own rocking horse. (In Hungry a rocking horse was a toy that belonged to only the privileged few.)
For several weeks now we’ve been discussing lack of gratitude – one of the most destructive forces in our society. When people think everything is coming to them, they become selfish, angry individuals. They do not know how to reciprocate. They do not know how to be grateful and, worse still, they become bitter and destructive elements in society. They make miserable sons, daughters and marriage partners. They have no regard for parents, grandparents, Torah teachers and the elderly.
As I’ve noted in recent weeks, appreciation is a lost concept in our society. Even when we are blessed by the many kindnesses of G-d, we tend to take them for granted and delude ourselves into thinking we are responsible for them all. In vain did our Torah warn us not to fall into the trap of “my strength and the power of my own hand accomplished this.”
My saintly father, HaRav HaGoan HaTzaddik Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, taught me that before I address an audience I should ask myself, “What will the people take home from my message? What am I giving? Will it enhance their lives? Will it bring the individual closer to Hashem? Will it be a life-altering experience?”
Nachman and Raizy Glauber, a”h, were killed in a horrific automobile accident. Their unborn baby survived for a short time but then joined his parents in olam haba. The tragedy shocked us all.
Last week I published excerpts from a letter written by a suffering mother whose rebellious son had not only turned his back on his family but had also rejected his Jewish faith. This woman’s husband had given up on the young man but she was determined to keep the door open in the hope he would yet come back.
Based on the response to my recent columns, it seems the problem of parents struggling with rebellious children may be more prevalent than even the pessimists among us had assumed. As we approach Pesach, the great yom tov during which we confront the Haggadah’s four sons –one wise, one wicked, one simple and one who does not know how to ask – we need to remember that these sons are in our midst in every generation and that we invite all four to join us at the Seder.
Last week I shared a letter from a troubled mother. Her story is typical of many ba’al teshuvah families who discover the Torah way of life in their middle years only to encounter resentment on the part of their adolescent children. Very often these teenagers become angry at the new restrictions in their home.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis, The letter you shared last week from a troubled wife who became a ba’alas teshuvah, a returnee to religious observance, hit a sensitive spot in my heart. My husband and I have also been struggling with this problem – albeit from a different perspective.
Last week I shared a letter from a troubled and confused young woman. She had become a ba’alas teshuvah after marriage. Her husband, however, has not changed his secular ways and thinking. The following is my response.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis, I was born into a secular family. Neither my father nor my mother had Jewish names and I was never given one either. In college I met the man I knew I would marry. After graduation we rented an apartment in Manhattan. I was a lawyer and found a good job. My boyfriend was a CPA. After six years we felt financially secure and got married.
I concluded last week’s column with some questions that, if answered honestly, will give us insight into whether we as parents reflect chesed and rachamim to our children.