Reflection or Blame?
In times of loss or trauma, thoughts are often filled with anger over perceived mistakes or despair over a hostile world. How can we make things better? The Avner Institute presents the Rebbe’s plea not to brood, but rather to live in the here and now; and his consoling advice to a Yom Kippur War widow against excessive grief, and the assurance that her husband’s soul is uplifted whenever their children learn and practice Torah.
This e-mail is in loving memory of Hadassah bas Shneur Zalman. May we be reunited very soon with the coming of Moshiach.
“G-d was with us during this very difficult time”
To Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Shlita:
G-d was with us during this very difficult time, and we succeeded in standing strong against all of the nations. Nevertheless, every single victory needs commitment and sacrifice, and there is no greater sacrifice than giving up a life.
Because I remain a widow with no father for my children, it is hard for me to educate them and to bring them up in the best and proper way. It is hard for me to stand alone against such a large world with all the adversity out there. Because my children have a proud Jewish heritage, Rebbe, I have questions that I would like to ask.
I have one daughter who is seven years old, and one boy who is five. How do I explain that their father’s death came through self-sacrifice to G-d’s will?
My son is asking me, “Mother, when Moshiach comes the dead will return, and then Tatty will come back. So why doesn’t Moshiach come now?”
How do I answer these questions? In my eyes these questions, which are so fundamental, may have an effect on my children’s beliefs and thoughts.
It will be a tremendous honor for me if the Rebbe can answer.
The Rebbe’s Reply:
In regards to the questions the children are asking which you are writing to me about:
Explain to them, the way it is in truth, that there are souls that are so pure and holy that G-d wants them to be in the heavens, after they have completed their mission in this world and guarded over all the sons of Israel who live in Eretz Yisroel.
In the heavens they intercede for all their relatives and loved ones, and especially for their children, and they ask from G-d that their children succeed in studies and conduct. When their children conduct themselves properly, that is the biggest pleasure that the soul can have – that it remains alive and existing.
“The question of introspection and self-searching”
By the Grace of G-d
16 Shevat 5714
New Haven, Connecticut
Greetings and Blessings:
I received your letter of the 4th of Shevat. Because of the intervening 10th of Shevat, yahrzeit of my father-in-law of saintly memory, I was unable to reply to you sooner. And now, too, there is an accumulation of work which prevents me from writing more than a few lines.
I was pleased to see that you have taken the trouble to write to me in detail, and I hope that you will continue to do so in the future.
With regard to the question of introspection and self-searching, my father-in-law of saintly memory used to emphasize that one should not indulge in this continually. There are certain times which have been set aside for self-examination and thoughts of self-improvement, such as the month of Elul and the Ten Days of Repentance, etc. And, although every day one has to practice “turn away from evil and do good,” reviewing the past and the like should not preoccupy one’s mind all the time, since that would interfere with and weaken the proper discharge of our religious duties in our daily life.
In your case, I see that although you feel much better, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Your first thought should be to get well physically, following the instructions of the physician, remembering what Maimonides ruled (Hilchot Deoth, beginning Chapter 4) to the effect that taking care of one’s health is also one of the ways of serving G-d.
May G-d bless you with good health that you and your wife bring up your children to a life of Torah, chupah [marriage], and good deeds.
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