Jewels in the Sand
Do you know what happened to a simple geography teacher in Los Angeles who gave one emuna book – the Garden of Peace – to a person in need? Here's what happened...
by Rabbi Shalom Arush
Thank You, Hashem – everyone say thank You to Hashem. A healthy summer for everyone, especially healthy eyes and a healthy soul.
Life is beautiful – full of gifts. That's why during Hallel, we say "Hodu L'Hashem" for an entire hour here in our yeshiva. Sometimes, life is so hard on me that I don't even have the strength to smile. So what do I do? I think about Hashem and His love for each of us and I say thank-You for an hour. An hour later, I'm a new person. This is the war of emuna, not to succumb to sadness and depression even though we all have reasons to be down.
Rashi explains in Tractate Sanhedrin 39b that Hodu L'Hashem means thank You Hashem, for gratitude and joy are the two things that Hashem especially loves. So, when we thank Hashem with joy, we invoke Divine compassion.
When you say Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, don't lose out! Don't mumble it or rush through it. Your whole new month depends on Hallel. Savor each word and thank Hashem with joy.
The same thing goes for Counting the Omer. In the preliminary prayer and concluding prayer of the Omer, we pray for purification of the soul. We yearn for Hashem; we systematically correct each sphere and each level. So why rush through the Counting of the Omer? Each day is like picking up jewels in the sand – they are fabulous riches for the soul.
As long as we're talking about picking up jewels in the sand, the type of riches that the soul takes with it to the World to Come, if you really want to get rich – spiritually and materially – put more of an effort into emuna outreach. Do you know what happened to a simple geography teacher in Los Angeles who gave one emuna book – the Garden of Peace – to a person in need? Here's what happened:
A couple with four children was having terrible marital problems. Things got so bad that the wife threw the husband out of the house. She was dead set on getting a divorce – she couldn't stand her husband anymore, for he had systematically made every mistake in the book. The husband had a friend, a high school geography teacher and a G-d fearing Jew who for ten years already has been in contact with my student Rabbi Lazer Brody. This high- school teacher had not only read all the Garden-series books, but he used his meager maser money to distribute whatever books and emuna CDs he could afford. When he heard about his friend's marital problems and that the friend's wife was already consulting lawyers about divorce, he immediately gave him a copy of the Garden of Peace.
Despite the fact that all looked lost, the husband agreed to read the book. He almost fainted as he read about all the worst mistakes that he had made in his marriage. No wonder his wife was miserable! Yet, she committed to getting a divorce. What should he do?
The high school teacher put his friend directly in contact with us. With Hashem's loving compassion, we were able to meet the husband and give him personal instruction on how best to implement the Garden of Peace. Meanwhile, the wife – who up until now refused to speak to any rabbi, especially one from her husband's side, miraculously agreed to speak on the phone to Rabbi Lazer. He told the wife that she could always get divorced, and convinced her to be patient for another ninety days before she breaks up a family with four children. She agreed.
The husband's behavior changed completely. Despite the separation, he made sure that his wife had enough money. He sent her flowers and respected all her wishes. Soon, they were back together.
To make a long story short, the husband has since sponsored two marriage seminars in Los Angeles, which my students led and has organized two of my speaking tours in Los Angeles where I spoke to thousands of people. The husband has distributed hundreds of emuna books and CDs all over the West Coast and has helped many people get close to Hashem.
Who gets the credit for all of this? It's non other than the high-school teacher, who saved the husband and his entire family by giving him the Garden of Peace. No one can fathom the reward that awaits the high-school teacher in the World to Come.
Rabbi Shalom Arush is an Israeli Breslov rabbi and founder of the Chut Shel Chessed Institutions. He spreads the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov among Sephardic and Ashkenazic baalei teshuva around the world through his books and speaking appearances. Rabbi Arush is considered one of today's leading Hasidic spiritual guides, inspiring hundreds of thousands through his books, audio CDs and online presence.