Every shabbos I go to a shiur by someone on my block. This week there was a Rav from Eretz Yisroel who came to NY, and was staying by someone on my block. So he gave a shiur for us woman on shabbos day.
First of all he spoke about the barren woman, how Sara didn’t have children for many years. He asked why was it that way, that she had to wait so many years for children. Then he said the reason is because Hashem wanted to hear Sara’s prayers. He said it’s human nature for people to call out and daven when they have problems, but when things are going well we don’t call out. So tzadikim purposefully want problems so they will daven out to Hashem.
Then he spoke about how problems are opportunities and they are a present, that we get to daven to Hashem. He said we have to know that Hashem loves us. If we have Emunah in Hashem and know that He loves us, then anything that happens is all good. Even if we have problems, we shouldn’t view them as a curse, but rather a opportunity to get close to Hashem. That no matter what happens it’s all good because it’s from Hashem. That when we go up to Shamayim Hashem’s going to be like our History teacher, and He will explain to us why everything had to happen, that right now we just don’t know the reasons and have to realize that everything is for our good.
So at first when I heard him say this, he was all smiley so I figured he must have everything good that he can speak like this and be so sure that everything is good. Then later on it came out that he actually came to NY because he has a cancer so he’s getting surgery this week by a doctor in NY. So he obviously does have his problems, but yet you wouldn’t even know. He seems so happy, and so sure that everything is good.
Then he said something which I found very interesting and was very surprised to hear. First of all he’s written a few seforim, and he’s in middle of writing some more books. So one of the books he’s working on is about OCD. He said OCD is most common by frum people. That they feel they have to wash their hands all the time. That if the water isn’t clean then they won’t go to the mikvah, which stops them from doing the mitzvah. Then he said that people call Rabbi’s too much to ask questions about Basar and Chalav. He said you have to have self esteem, and believe that you know what your doing. That you shouldn’t have to ask a Rav a question all the time. That Hashem gave you knowledge to know to make the right decision. This shocked me, cause I always heard you are supposed to ask questions.
Then he was saying how you have to believe in your kids. He said one time when he was by Baba Sali’s house, he hears his wife call the kid over by saying “come hear Tzadik”. So he said parents should believe in their kids and they will do good, that you shouldn’t call your kid stupid or idiot. That if a kid is having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, you should say you believe they could get up, and then they will. That you shouldn’t yell at them for being lazy and not getting up. He said that parents shouldn’t throw away their off the derech children, but rather still show them love and always welcome them, because they are still their children, and by showing love it shows you believe in them that they can come back.
Then he said that when he was in High School in Chicago he used to get bad grades, C’s, because he didn’t put in much effort. Then one time he went to see a play, and he was very impressed by it, so he sent a letter to the person in charge and told him how he appreciated the play. The man then sent him a letter back saying he wants to meet him. Then when he went over, the man said he wants to give him voice lessons. So the Rav said he was poor and couldn’t afford it, so the man said he’ll give it to him for free. Then the man asked him how he’s doing in school, and he said he was getting C’s. So the man said he believes he can get A’s. So because the man a non Jew, believed in him that he can do better, it made him do well in school. He graduated High School and got 2 scholarships for the university of Chicago and the university of Illinois. But he didn’t go to college, instead he went to learn in Israel.
He says Hashem gave him a gift to be able to know psychology without ever studying it. In his books he talks about psychology a lot, and other psychologists always ask him how he knows so much about it without ever studying it.
One of the books he wrote is out of print, but it was something like “how to get married in 30 days”. He said he doesn’t believe in the term Bashert. He said you shouldn’t think of it in that way, cause then you’ll never get married. So then one lady spoke up and said that her daughter got married at the age of 35, and she had no crazy expectations, so it was only based on the fact that it was not the right time, and that she hadn’t met her Bashert. So then another lady said, that perhaps she wasn’t too choosy, but could be she didn’t meet the other people’s criteria's.
Then another lady said that sometimes it’s hard to always be happy, that there are people with mental illnesses like bipolar that have to take medication to make them happy. So he said he’s all for the medication. Then he also said he’s for the 12 step approach, and he said even the Rambam mentions it.