Friday, December 29, 2006

Question & Answer With Rabbi Lazer Brody - Dealing With Unpleasant Memories

(Picture courtesy of Encarta)

A Simple Jew asks:

Sometimes a person's thoughts flash a memory from a person's past of something that is unpleasant. This same image may return again to the person's mind before one is able to chase it off at a later date as well.

While it appears that the Baal Shem Tov, Toldos Yaakov Yosef, and Degel Machaneh Ephraim taught that the common man could uplift these thoughts to their roots, others such as the Baal HaTanya advised that uplifting these thoughts was solely a task for tzaddikim.

In our generation should we try to get to the root these thoughts that remind of a something we might not be proud of or ashamed of that we did when we were children, or are they simply coming from yetzer hara and trying to depress us and keep us from our avodas Hashem? In others words, what is the advice we should follow, the advice of the Baal Shem Tov, Toldos Yaakov Yosef, and Degel Machaneh Ephraim, or that of the Baal HaTanya?

Rabbi Lazer Brody answers:

Rav Yisroel Lugasi shlit'a writes in his very important guide book for this generation's faith seekers, "Dor Tmuros", that a Baal Tshuva should not be downhearted and disappointed when suddenly visited with an image of the past of something that he or she is less than proud of. Indeed, their embarrassment at the strange thought in the middle of davening is a wonderful soul correction that brings Hashem great gratification. How? A few years ago, they enjoyed eating the forbidden fruit of a transgression. Now, they are ashamed and embarrassed - this is a superb form of Tshuva.

Rebbe Nosson of Breslev writes that thoughts are like a unruly horse; a good wagoneer has to grab the horse firmly by the reins, and lead him in the right direction. Not only thought, but the brain can only hold one thought at a time. Yet, it's senseless to fight the Yetzer straight on. Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a teaches not to struggle with the nasty thought, just simply focus on a good thought, such as Hashem's name, and the bad thought withers.

The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a, great grandson of the Degel - teaches that this generation can sweeten a thought at its source by simple faith and intent in prayer. When a person tries to daven with "kavannos" above his or her madrega, they are inviting trouble and stiff resistance. Therefore, the best way to pray is with simple faith, trying the best we can to understand what we say, for in this generation simple faith accomplishes what the lofty deeds of the tzaddikim accomplished in former generations. If the wild horse of negative thoughts gets out of line, just pull the reins back to kedusha with a good thought.

In closing, let me add that all our thoughts come from Hashem, so don't lose heart because of a silly bad thought. Refocus on kedusha, and continue whatever you're doing with joy.


At December 30, 2006 at 11:15:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Blog!!!
Inspiring Jewish wisdom.

Morgan Green
Uplifting Thoughts

At January 1, 2007 at 7:14:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Lazer Brody is an expert diagnostic spiritual healer. He really knows how to zero in on the nekuda of the question and then give an answer that heals. This is a man with great compassion and empathy.

At April 29, 2007 at 5:56:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Rabbi
I have a question regarding abuse of a minor by a person in a position of trust. It happened to a young girl I know about 11 or 12 years old. She did not say anything to anyone for many years. When she was about 17 or 18 she mentioned this to a close family friend who knew this person very well. This family "friend" advised her to forget about it as this person was by now very old. The girl trusted the guidance of this old family friend as he had been a mentor to her throughout her school years.

She then left it for many years and I guess could not or did not recollect enough to be able to feel anything. When she was 31 or 32 it all came back to her. She knows it is too late to do anything about the abuse by the teacher. No one knew, not her parents or anyone and she would never tell anyone at this time. A big issue for this girl is now, on top of the guilt regarding the abuse, that she cannot seem to forgive or even relate to this family friend who she feels essentially protected this person for this appalling act.

What kind of advice can you give her, on remembering, being able to forgive and let go, move on?


At April 30, 2007 at 7:53:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Rabbi Lazer Brody responded via e-mail:

There are many answers, most of which appear in Chapter 5 of The Trail to Tranquility which I suggest that she read. Briefly though, this is an obvious (but painful) soul correction. In a former life, she could have been the assassin, and now her soul correction required her to feel the pain of the victim. At any rate, Hashem does this all for the best. For example, her soul may have needed death in a concentration camp or by a nasty terminal disease to achieve its tikkun, but this has served to be a cheap substitute. As such, we should trust Hashem, learn the principles of Emuna (see Ch. 1-2 in the Garden of Emuna), and know that everything Hashem does is for our ultimate best. As such, we neutralize the pain of post trauma. Blessings always, LB

At May 22, 2007 at 10:57:00 AM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Rabbi Brody,

My cousin is getting divorced, chas v’shalom, he has a get date of June 21st! They have only been married one year and it is just because they don’t know the basics of marriage! Both of them are normal, Frum from birth people, it’s just that marriage for them was gehenom. She currently lives with her parents.

He has tried to get help from Rabbi Pinto and Rabbi Dovid Abuchaztera, but after speaking with him, I feel that that what he really needs is the derech of Rabbi Arush as outlined in the Husband Power Pack. I just ordered this to come to my home so I will be able to get it to him should he want it.

I do believe he wants to stay married although he is in a state of yeush.

What should our next step be? Can I give him your phone number???



At May 25, 2007 at 6:51:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yosef: I received this response from Rabbi Brody:

"The next step is to listen to the 3 CDs (First Place, Respecting your Wife, and Peace in the Home) and to read Garden of Emuna. That, with prayer, has already saved dozens of marriages that we know about. Warmest regards, LB"


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