On Monday evening, June 8, Rabbi Binyamin Pruzansky, well-known author and speaker, shared a powerful live-streamed shiur based on his new sefer, Inspired. The shiur was hosted by ArtScroll Publishers, TorahAnytime, and Chazaq. Rabbi Pruzansky began by stating, “A Yid needs to live a life of inspiration every day.”
He noted how we have turned our homes into batei midrash. “We must remember to always live happy, inspired lives.” He shared a story from his book, Inspired. An Israeli soldier named Zevi had to climb a 20-yard-high rope and then lower himself back down. He climbed up to the top and lowered himself down. The commander ordered, “Do it again.” His hands were hurting but he climbed up, and then he slipped and fell, and his shoulder became dislocated. The commander said, “Do it again.” He jumped up and climbed again and fell again. The commander finally said, “Tov m’od.” This challenge helped him later in life, when other challenges came up. He realized that in the army of Hashem there is no saying no, and this helped him endure many obstacles on his journey to becoming frum. Rabbi Pruzansky pointed out that in our lives we experience so many physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges. We have to realize that a Yid says there is no such thing as giving up. “I live with the feeling that Hashem is my life. He is rooting for me.”
When we recite Modeh Ani in the morning, we are saying that Hashem has belief in me. “There is no such thing as a bad day! Hashem believes in you, and that has to inspire you to make every day count. “Every day is a great day.”
He went on to explain that we have to feel simchah in our hearts. That is what Hashem wants, even when there are challenges. We have to realize that Hashem is always close to us and that challenges make us stronger. “Through putting our hopes in Hashem, we become a stronger people. We don’t stop hoping in Hashem. He believes in us.”
Rabbi Pruzansky shared another story. There was a Rav Yonasan who had two disabled daughters. He had to leave Torah learning to care for them and this pained him. He davened at his grandfather’s kever and asked Hashem, “Why me, Zeidy? Why don’t you daven for me?” He spent four hours davening there and came home exhausted and fell asleep on the couch. He had a dream where his Zeidy appeared and told him that he davens for him all the time. He showed him a very holy place in Shamayim and explained that the souls of his daughters were from that spot. “Your purpose in this world is to take care of these girls. This is your mission. All your brachah in life will come from this.” As his grandfather was leading him away, he showed him a baby, and then Rav Yonasan awoke.
Rav Yonasan had never met his Zeidy. Shortly after this, a neighbor came over and handed him a tape of a shiur given by his grandfather. He listened and the voice was the same as the voice in the dream. Within the year, Rav Yonasan had a healthy baby daughter.
We need to look for inspiration in our lives and this will give us strength and power. “Emunah is seeing Hashem in our lives and realizing that our purpose is to accept what happens to us as the will of Hashem.”
Angels have to do the will of Hashem, but a person sometimes doesn’t feel like doing mitzvos. The greatness of klal Yisrael is that we said, “Naaseh v’nishma – no matter what happens, I am here to do Your will.” Each of us needs to see the full cup of brachah in our lives.
Rabbi Pruzansky spoke about Rabbi Cohen who was wheelchair-bound. He was asked why he is always so happy, and he responded, “I only see brachos from Hashem in my life. Rabbi Cohen’s son had a siddur party, and his son was embarrassed for his father to come in the wheelchair. His father asked him, “Who will you dance with?” His son replied, “I’ll dance with Hashem.” Rabbi Cohen shared, “In my life I always feel I am dancing with Hashem.” Rabbi Pruzansky taught, “With emunah, I have no questions. Without emunah, there are no answers. We need to remember that Hashem took care of me until now and He will always take care of me.”
Rabbi Pruzansky was attending a siyum and a man approached and shared a story. “I was unable to walk until I was five. Now, baruch Hashem, I can walk and I’m married with children. However, I can’t dance. It was always difficult for me on Simchas Torah when the other fathers were dancing with their children and my children asked me why I couldn’t dance. When I heard this story about Rav Cohen, it helped me know what to answer. I told them, “I can always dance with Hashem.” I danced on the sidelines with them and it was really special. Rabbi Pruzansky imparted, “When we live with inspiration in our hearts, we can go so far!”
Rabbi Pruzansky taught that “we’ve got to see the good in our lives. We have to see the brachah and then we don’t see anything else.”
He shared how wonderful it is now to hear, “Y’hei sh’mei rabbah.” There is something special about celebrating a simchah during this time of quarantine. “Whatever my portion is at that moment, I am happy with that.”
He shared that he and his wife were blessed with a new baby girl recently. They sent little packages to neighbors and invited them to her outdoor kiddush. Everyone was touched by it. He and his wife wanted a name that would represent this time, so they named her Shulamis, which is from Shir HaShirim. “It means emunah sh’leimah, and it shows our complete faith in Hashem during this time.” Neighbors yelled Siman Tov and Mazal Tov from their porches. “Simchos go on, and our emunah goes on. Klal Yisrael never stops living inspired. There is so much that we can learn from our challenges.”
He shared a story that illustrated how powerful it is to take embarrassment and frustration and use it to daven to Hashem.
He concluded passionately telling everyone, “Hashem is here. You have to dance with Hashem every day. He wants us to realize that He is always there for us. He wants us to call out to him. See inspiration in your life. Write that in your heart. See those blessings and thank Hashem for them.”
This inspiring shiur can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber