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Title: Chassidic Pearls
Author: Rabbi Lazer Brody
Publisher: Kalcom Publications
A 241-page soft cover volume culled from lessons that Rabbi Lazer Brody presents at the Breslov English-language Internet site www.breslovworld.com, Chassidic Pearls is a soothing read.
Heartrending issues and lighter sides of life become easy to understand, once Rabbi Brody explains them in his true-to-life style. The compassionate Breslov angle is always present in the readings and usually presented in a tailor-made fable format.
Parshat Lech Lecha is an interesting setting for exploring important concepts about life, legality, suffering and our relationship to Hashem. Rabbi Brody makes a case for relishing every drop of sweat involved in his presentation about this Torah portion. He even makes readers think about the struggle to hold onto a Jewish Israel. Here’s one such excerpt, regarding our forefather Avraham’s saga with never-ending tests of faith.
“Why must Hashem test Avraham’s faith 10 times? Why are the tests so difficult, from persecution and skirting with death in a fiery furnace to the akeidah, when he was asked to ritually sacrifice his only son? Doesn’t Hashem know that Avraham’s faith is steadfast? Hashem knows exactly how Avraham will react – with perfect, simple, innocent and unblemished faith. The tests are not for Hashem’s benefit, but for Avraham’s benefit.
“Rebbe Nachman of Breslov explains (Likutei Moharan I:66.4) that the obstacles that a person encounters in life are designed to enhance that person’s desire. For that reason, before a person makes a significant accomplishment in the service of Hashem – especially in the acquisition of something that is vital to his or her Judaism . . . the person is tested with a series of obstacles. He or she must overcome these obstacles to attain their goal. Nevertheless, the obstacles fuel the desire to reach the goal. Consequently, the obstacles are the agents that extract a person’s very best efforts in making spiritual gain, since the obstacles fuel the desire.”
Using the situation of a fictitious shidduch, Rabbi Brody tells the sly tale of a matchmaker using a playing-hard-to-get ploy on all parties concerned. The author helps his readers to see through the eyes of a social-climbing banker and his potential in-laws to envision the benefits of and beautiful future for the pious son of a poor tradesman and the banker’s suitable daughter.
Rabbi Brody concludes the tale with the words that the shadchan’s “. . . ploy worked perfectly. The more obstacles he put in the banker’s way, the more the latter desired the match . . . Later, in the rebbe‘schamber, the banker literally begged [for] a blessing to the match between his daughter and the baker’s son.”
Learn to look at life with an upbeat focus. Read Chassidic Pearls.