Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Who am i? פרק א
My dear readers,
I am about to open up to you in a way that I never was able to, never had the strength and never thought that this day will come. But through the help and support from Rabbi Nuchem, through the tireless and diligent help he has given me, through the bravery he has installed in me, it has given me the courage that I never had.
As you will see from this post. I am a heimisher guy from the frum community in
Brooklyn. I was molested as a child for a long period of time, and went through hell for quite a while. The least I can do these days, is to help others and educate the public. And let me publicly thank Rabbi Nuchem up front. If not for his dedication and commitment to help a total stranger על מנת שלא לקבל פרס and tireless effort to give me all the encouragement and support to continue with life and civility, I would’ve long be dead or at the least a drug-addicted homeless man.
So thank you Rabbi Nuchem for saving my life, for saving my kids, for saving my family and for being responsible for generations of yiddisher people. "אשריך", בעולם הזה; "וטוב לך", לעולם הבא I have no doubt in my mind that you will be seating on the head table in the עולם הבא right next to אברהם אבינו and all the other sages of our rich history.
The Talmud tells the story of Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuha, a famous scholar who became a non-believer as a result of two incidents that he experienced.
1. Rabbi Elisha was walking one day and he saw a father and son near a tree which contained a bird's nest. The Torah has many laws about not hurting animals needlessly. One of these laws is that if you're about to take an egg from the nest, you must first chase the mother bird away so she doesn't suffer the pain of seeing her egg being taken away. So the father tells the son, "Here's your chance to fulfill this mitzvah. Climb up the tree, shoo away the mother bird, and take the egg." The child climbed up, fell down and died. Rabbi Elisha thought that "if God could allow this to happen, then I don't want to have anything to do with Him."
2. During the Roman persecutions after the destruction of the
, many of the great Sages were tortured to death in the most horrible ways imaginable. On Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av, we recall these 10 famous martyrs. One of them was Rabbi Elisha's teacher, Rabbi Chutzpas. Rabbi Elisha watched his beloved teacher's tongue being ripped out by the Romans and tortured to death, after which they did not permit his body to be buried. Rabbi Elisha thought that "if God can allow this to happen, then I don't want to have anything to do with Him." Second Temple
Rabbi Elisha was one of the greatest Sages in Jewish history, on an extremely high spiritual level. So we don't understand his particular challenge. But as it applies to us, we can learn the following: Even though you may have dealt intellectually with the issue of "why bad things happen to good people," when faced with actual suffering, you can still lose it.
By the way, suffering is the only issue that the Talmud talks about which leads to someone losing their belief in God. This indicates that it is the single most difficult issue in our relationship to God.
People approach the topic of suffering from two separate perspectives. One is the "intellectual agenda:" A person is bothered by this issue and wants to intellectually understand it. The other is the "emotional agenda:" A person may right now be suffering (or know someone who is suffering), and it is bothersome emotionally. It's important to understand that these two agendas don't always coincide. Someone with an intellectual agenda wants answers, whereas someone with an emotional agenda is looking for relief. An approach for one won't work for another.
Myself, I have witnessed the most horrendous situations imaginable. I have experienced someone 17 years old who lost both of her parents in a car crash. Can you imagine a girl so close to her parents and in one day they're gone? I've lived through, a husband coming home to find that his wife has collapsed, and in two days she's dead. There was nothing wrong with her before.
On a more personal level, I was molested as a child for close to three years by the principal of my Yeshiva, and it was extremely painful then, and even worst twenty years later. I now have married children and grown grandchildren, but in my 20s there were days when I was lost, there were days when I was suicidal, there were days when I cursed G-D out loud, there was a period of five years that I was completely angry with G-D, I did not pray, did not eat kosher, did not keep shabbas, ate on Yom Kippur even though I was not hungry and most of all I was totally miserable.
Now, when someone is in the midst of suffering, that's not the time to offer answers, It's a time to listen and empathize and say things that can provide comfort. I did not try to hear any answers I will be discussing, because when a situation is so emotionally wrenching it's not the time for answers. Rather it's a time to show compassion and empathy and be with the person as best you can. So let me just state in advance that i will only deal with the "intellectual agenda" that I was missing when I had hell on earth. If there's anyone going through a painful time and is looking for a sense of relief, I am skeptical whether these intellectual answers will offer any kind of relief, it did not work for me at that time, and I doubt it will work for you. If you are still at that phase, please contact a counselor, or contact Rabbi Nuchem and he will lead you to a professional and try to give you your life back. DO NOT contact a Rabbi, because it will put you in a depression and will make you feel even worst. I made that mistake a while back, and it almost cost me everything I have worked for