Dr. Meir Wikler, a psychotherapist and family counselor, speaker, and author, shared an important shiur for the Chinuch Vaad in Lakewood on Sunday, August 29. His speech was based on a question posed by a husband and wife who argued a lot and wanted Dr. Wikler’s opinion. The mother felt that it’s okay for parents to fight in front of their children when they disagree, as this will prepare them for real life, and the father felt that disagreements should not be aired in front of their children.

On Tuesday evening, August 24, Jackie Bitton, renowned speaker, shared a beautiful shiur in memory of Chaya Goldberger. She began the shiur with reading a letter from the Ribnitzer Rebbe. She said that she wanted to share it with the Queens community as it brought comfort to Gayle Sassoon and others mourning the death of someone who died young. The letter explained that your loss is not a sacrifice, but rather, it is out of the highest love and it will help to bring Mashiach. It is not a punishment. These are extraordinary people who accepted this mission before they came down to the world.

Mrs. Bitton then shared advise she learned from Rebbetzin Tehila Jaeger on how to move on after a tragedy. Rebbetzin Jaeger shared that when her children were young, she received news that her good friend was killed in a car accident. She felt she was devastated and couldn’t make Shabbos or move on at all. Her father, Rav Shlomo Freifeld, taught her that “every Jew has to know there is something called a pocket in the heart. Sometimes you have to tuck strong emotions into that pocket of the heart. It is Erev Shabbos, and your food needs to be cooked. Your kids need a happy mother, and your husband needs a happy spouse. Put the pain of the loss in a pocket in your heart, and on Motza’ei Shabbos you will pull it out and we will cry together. There is a time and a place.”

Mrs. Bitton continued. “We are not allowed to close up our emotions. We just sometimes have to temporarily put them away.” She shared how she had to do this during COVID when her husband was ill with COVID, and Erev Pesach she found out that a good friend’s husband was niftar. Her husband reminded her about what she had learned from Rebbetzin Jaeger – that she needed to put her emotions into a pocket in her heart so she could finish making Pesach. “We need to know that we are allowed to feel many things at the same time.”

“Now is a special time – Chodesh Elul. Now, we are supposed to look inward and become better people and grow and live a better life. We need to know that Hashem’s love for us goes beyond any fear we have during this time. When the lion roars, who will not be afraid? We need to remember that Hashem’s love for us is not normal. It’s beyond anything we could ever imagine. It doesn’t matter how hard a year it was or what you did all year. Hashem’s love for you is always, forever, and unconditional. Remember who is in charge: the Ribbono Shel Olam. The way to show Hashem that we love Him is to be good to His children.”

Mrs. Bitton ended with some powerful stories, and everyone left uplifted and inspired.

By Susie Garber

 

On Sunday night, September 5, Rabbi Benzion Twerski, founding member of the Milwaukee Kollel and rav at Congregation Beth Jehudah in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his father Rav Michel Twerski, spoke on behalf of Let’s Get Real with Coach Menachem, program #72. This program was dedicated in memory of a 19-year-old yeshivah bachur, Shmuel Silverberg, who was killed in front of Denver’s Yeshiva Toras Chaim, recently. In the beginning of the program, his aunt spoke about her nephew who was a very special young man and how he would make a siyum every year on Purim on Maseches Megillah.

Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman, well-known speaker and Jewish educator, spoke about the 13 Midos of compassion. Hashem taught Moshe to recite these 13 midos when we need compassion from Hashem.

With the midah that states “rav chesed,” Hashem means that Hashem has an abundance of chesed. Rashi explains that Hashem shows tremendous kindness to those who need it and don’t deserve it. He leans towards the side of favor in His judgment. The sefer Tomer Devorah teaches that Hashem created this world with the Hebrew letter hei because there is a big opening on the bottom of the letter. If someone falls, he can come back through that little space in the bottom of the hei. He can’t go up the same way he came down. Once a person falls, he needs bigger fences.

Rav Matisyahu Salomon taught, on the sefer Tomer Devorah that in the place that a baal t’shuvah stands a complete tzadik cannot stand. The reason the baal t’shuvah is up there so high is because Hashem has compassion for a person who sinned. We must trust in Hashem eternally, because Hashem created the world with the letter hei, teaching us that a person can always do t’shuvah.

There is a midrash that Chavah didn’t want to be buried near Sarah Imeinu because she worried about the comparison. Rabbi Finkelman explained that Hashem does an abundance of chesed for the baal t’shuvah. He doesn’t want him to be uncomfortable, so Hashem keeps him close. We need to emulate that midah. We want to be close to Hashem. We need to have kavanah on this midah and ask Hashem to have compassion for us and to hold us close to Him. “That is what life is all about – clinging to Hashem. We have to emulate this.

When someone asks us for forgiveness, we have to emulate this trait of rav chesed and hold that person close. We should focus on it and understand it and commit to emulating it.

The next midah that Rabbi Finkelman spoke about was emes. Hashem is emes. He is faithful. He generously rewards those who do what He wants. There is a story about the Chofetz Chaim holding a gathering of roshei yeshivah at his home. They were in desperate need of funding for the upkeep of their yeshivos. They couldn’t figure out what to do, and the Chofetz Chaim was sad. Rav Shmuel Greinerman, who was there, was very troubled by the pain of the Chofetz Chaim. He made a decision to give away the merit of his mitzvah of t’filin so that Hashem would then grant the yeshivos the money they needed. He told the Chofetz Chaim his plan.

The Chofetz Chaim told him that Hashem will not accept this. He explained with the parable of a child who finds a one-million-ruble note and takes it to the candy store. The proprietor would not accept this huge note for a bag of candy. That would be very wrong. The Chofetz Chaim said, “Rav Shmuel, if you knew the value of putting on t’filin once in your life: It’s so much bigger than supporting the yeshivos. Hashem won’t accept this.”

Rabbi Finkelman taught that Hashem lets mitzvos fly up and he suppresses sins. Hashem wants to give us reward. Hashem is trusted. He will pay good reward for those who do His will. He looks at the positive and suppresses the bad. Emes is Olam HaBa even in this world. Sins are sheker (falsehood). We have to do t’shuvah and we have to focus on emes. He pointed out that Hashem guards chesed for 2,000 generations. In the first blessing in Sh’moneh Esrei, we mention the merit of the Avos. We mention them again in Tachanun and other prayers. Emes is so powerful. We ask Hashem to grant us extra compassion in the merit of our generations. Sins only remain for four generations, and that is only if the children repeat the sins of the fathers. Hashem “carries the sin” means that even if a person did a sin, Hashem forgives him for it. Rav Salomon taught that a sin creates a bad mal’ach and Hashem throws away this bad mal’ach.

We should all be written and sealed for a healthy, sweet new year! Thank you, Rabbi Finkelman, for your inspiring, uplifting shiur.

 By Susie Garber