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Mrs. Guttmann

Mrs. Guttmann
Mrs. Guttmann was raised to believe that she was superior to everyone else, so when she didn't get more or better than anyone else, so seethed with rage at Hashem...

by Dr. Zev Ballen

Mrs. Guttmann was raised in an ultra Chassidic community here in Israel. Her father, who is a Rabbi in the community, taught her that only the "old fashioned" Chassidic customs were correct. He taught her that other Chassidim in their community who dressed differently than she did were commoners and so she should have nothing to do with them. As such, she began to despise anyone who was different from herself.

Mrs. Guttmann grew up in a world of fantasy. The fantasy was that her spiritual level was superior to most everyone else's. As a child, she imagined herself flying above the clouds with her father. Her shaky "self-esteem" was based on feeling better than others. As time went by, Mrs. Guttmann required increasingly large doses of feeling "special" and "privileged" to offset the emptiness and rage that resulted from her living a life of falsehood.

When it was time for marriage, Mrs. Guttmann felt entitled to and deserving of the match of her dreams: a tall handsome scholar like her father - the crème de la crème, from one of the best Chassidic families in town. She felt sure that G-d would keep His "promise" and reward her for her life-long effort to serve Hashem better than her girlfriends did.

In the final analysis, Hashem thought it would be better for Mrs. Guttmann to get a "short, boring, unattractive man with a stutter and no personality."

Of course Mrs. Guttmann has been seething with rage toward Hashem and her father for not sending her the man of her dreams. For years she has been sick with envy because her sisters got the type of husbands that she felt that she deserved. Mrs. Guttmann fantasized about her sister's taller husband who had everything that her husband seemed to be missing. Of course this only led Mrs. Guttmann to feel increasingly envious, bitter and depressed.

But more than anything, what tormented Mrs. Guttmann was that her "if I do this; G-d will do that" ledger-system concept of Judaism had been violated. She felt that G-d owed her something and when He didn't deliver - her version of "emuna" came to a crashing halt.

Mrs. Guttmann was in bad shape and desperately needed help. A teacher of hers contacted Breslev Israel on her behalf thinking that emuna coaching would help her - but there was another serious problem. The teacher said that the community that Mrs. Guttmann lives in has actually outlawed the possession of Breslever books like the Garden of Emuna. Anyone who is caught with a Breslev book in their home would be banned from the community.

Mrs. Guttmann was desperate, so when her teacher told her that someone else saw remarkable success from emuna coaching, she was determined to find out more about it. Despite the risk of being exposed to "heretical" thinking or being ostracized from her community, it was becoming increasingly clear that there was something wrong with the brand of Judaism with which she had been raised.

To her credit, Mrs. Guttmann plunged head first into working on herself. She expressed her feelings honestly. She revisited "old" Jewish principles like "being happy with what you have" and not "coveting" what others have - foundation principles she knew were true, but didn't know how to implement.

It hasn't been easy, but Mrs. Guttmann is making peace with the fact that the most sought after shidduch (match) in town didn't go to her daughter but went to her sister's daughter instead. She is feeling more grateful that the man her daughter did marry is actually making her daughter very happy even if he is the grandson of a butcher and not a Rabbi.

Mrs. Guttmann is also starting to find the good in her husband. Despite his stuttering and physical appearance she is starting to believe that this is the man that G-d choose for her and therefore he must be the very best man for her.

Another interesting development has occurred. As Mrs. Guttmann has become less judgmental and more tolerant of others she has begun to speak with women in her community about what she's been learning. Gradually more women have approached Mrs. Guttmann for guidance and support. Even her husband, who is an important Rabbi and Jewish court judge in their community, has signed up for emuna coaching - despite the risk to his name and standing in the community.

Both Rabbi and Mrs. Guttmann have admitted that until now they didn't even possess a basic knowledge of how to serve Hashem.

Now that Mrs. Guttmann has found the Truth, there's no stopping her. She has enrolled in the emuna coach training program and is about to become the first person in her community to help others using what she has learned from Breslever sources, particularly the books of Rabbi Shalom Arush.

This is a true story. The names and other personal details of those involved have been altered in order to safeguard their privacy.

Dr. Zev BallenDr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna Therapy.


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