To all of my fellow brothers and sisters
To all of my fellow brothers and sisters,
I'm so glad that you are here (aka connected in some way to R' Yaron Reuven) and I hope you have already merited or will very soon merit understanding the truth of this world and of your existence. If you just open your ears, your minds and your hearts to the appropriate teachings of the Torah it will transform your life in the most beneficial ways possible and in ways that are beyond your imagination. To me personally, I feel like I have finally found what I didn't realize I was looking for. Because until a short time ago my physical desires were on one path, my conscious mind on another, and my soul was on a journey of it's own. Now, I strive to live each and every single day with an utmost purpose with my entire being progressing on the same path which will Beezrat HaShem take me directly to the place my soul is yearning for. My story is a bit different than many other Baalei Teshuva because I grew up as a religious Jew in an Orthodox Jewish community. As the Rav often says, religious Jews must become Baalei Teshuva too. I'm a young woman in my twenties who went through the typical religious school system and I always thought that I was living my life as a great Jew who did the Mitzvot and who basically knew right from wrong. Little did I know that in actuality I wasn't "living it". Mostly because my understanding of right and wrong was false since it wasn't GOD's determination of right and wrong. Meaning, I would come to my own conclusions based on my limited Torah knowledge and would rationalize and permit myself to see, hear, or associate with certain things, people, surroundings, etc. because I didn't think I would be negatively affected by it. Either because I didn't see anything wrong with it, which is backwards since who is little old me to make such decisions. Or because I felt like I was already a very righteous person, meaning that I compared myself to those around me and assumed that I kept the Mitzvot better than them based on my observations. Or because the one thing that I always did fear is Gehinnom and I thought that fear would be sufficient prevention against all sins. (See the Rav's Gehinnom shiur for an awakening of truth on this topic - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxYGqSV-gIo.) The problem though was that, A - I did not and still do not know of all the sins and their severity and, B - just because I feared Gehinnom when I was reminded about it every now and then (for example in a Torah class or story), I had no idea how to or that I should in fact practically apply this fear to my daily thoughts and actions. I'm not implying that one should be living in constant fear as that would most probably be very detrimental physically, emotionally and spiritually. However, we must live every day with meaning and purpose in accordance to HaShem's will and we should also keep the next world close by in our minds at all times as this will greatly affect every single one of our many daily choices which affect our future, our descendant's futures and will affect the many people who we will impact over our lives either for the good Beezrat HaShem or for the bad Chas V'shalom. These choices, thoughts and decisions to go after certain actions, desires and pleasures cannot be based off of what we want if it goes against what HaShem wants. HaShem is the Master of the entire world. The One who is in control of EVERYTHING at every moment. The One who sees and hears everything - even our thoughts and true intentions! Just ponder on that for a second, or for an hour... He is there in ALL of our thoughts and thoughts are often considered even worse than actions to HaShem (for example when the thoughts are not modest). And He records everything to later give us reward and punishment. HaShem in His eternal greatness and glory is Whom we need to be serving every single second of the day. If you disagree, my friend, then I hope HaShem will grant you the correct understanding very soon because at some point it will be TOO LATE. Firstly because you can pass on to the next world at any given moment and also because once Mashiach is here you may not be worthy to survive without doing complete Teshuva. So, back to my story about how I Baruch HaShem became a Baalas Teshuva. I would like to share a little about how I wasn't living a True Torah lifestyle despite looking it and unconsciously convincing myself of it. My main struggle was modesty related and in case you are unaware, HaShem considers a woman's modesty of utmost importance. I dressed modestly by covering my knees, elbows and collar bones but dressing modestly in itself doesn't make me a modest woman as you can see for yourself if you listen to many of the Rav's incredible shirium. To further explain, I generally kept Mitzvot and the Halachot to the best of my ability and I'm not just saying that as a way of speaking, I sincerely cared about my religious observance and was meticulous about it. As I mentioned before, many times I thought that I was better, religiously speaking, than my classmates, relatives and other Jews that I saw. I later learned in lectures by the Rav that very often the evil inclination specifically goes after such people (who think highly of themselves when comparing themselves to others) and causes them to fall and sin in his sneaky, tricky ways. His tactics attack us at unexpected angles and we fall for them. And FYI, he visits you too. He comes to all of us. Anyways, after suffering through a few months at a low spiritual level, which stemmed from immodest thoughts and intentions over the years, I Baruch HaShem came to the realization that I must change things in my life immediately. The reason being because there was no way that I was living appropriately in the spiritual sense which was always something that meant a lot to me. However, for about 8 months after that point, I was on a growth quest in both spiritual and other areas. Via books, lectures and courses, I looked into a variety of topics such as human psychology, emotional health, self-motivation and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. As well as how to live with more mindfulness and meaning to live an accomplished life. During that time I learned a lot of Mussar too to perfect my character traits (which is one of the main reasons why we are here on Earth) and to improve my overall mindset on Judaism and life. At one point in the earlier stages, I contacted a Rabbi to advise me in my Teshuva process. Even though he is a highly esteemed Rabbi, he did not explain to me the severity of certain sins that I was involved in, specifically one of the worst sins out there which is causing others to sin. I honestly was not aware of the magnitude of my inappropriate actions that potentially caused men to sin by looking and/or thinking of me. Nor did he direct me in the complete Teshuva path. He told me the basic Teshuva steps and that was it. I'm so thankful that months later, Beezrat HaShem, HaShem guided me to some great Rabbis (such as R' Reuven, R' Mizrahi, R' Anava and R' Zitron) who opened my eyes and mind to understand important Torah teachings in a new light and that there was more to be done in my Teshuva process. Especially because as an atonement for causing others to sin; I now should attempt to bring people back to the Torah and to help others to stop doing the same or similar sins. Baruch HaShem after listening to hours and hours of Torah classes, I gained an incredible perspective of the True Torah and I now know that the meaning of living a purposeful life is to ALWAYS connect to HaShem. I also learned a lot about modesty and I've grown so much Baruch HaShem in this area. In my way of dress, in guarding my eyes and my thoughts, and in being conscious of how men might perceive me, a woman. I now aspire to live the rest of my life Beezrat HaShem as a genuine Jew who lives according to the right and wrong of HaShem and who is always growing spiritually. The bottom line is that we must try our best to live the Torah way. To learn and understand the truth, to be aware of our sins, to repent, and to constantly perfect ourselves going forward. Yes we all sin, but in no way should this prevent us from devoting our lives to connecting to our Creator and living according to His will. Don't procrastinate the necessary changes that you can do right now. Just start and HaShem will help you. No matter where you are holding in your life, you can always do Teshuva and He is always waiting for you. Return to Him and you will gain eternal reward and of course, much blessing in this world too. You will also live a fulfilling and meaningful life if you follow the Torah, which in essence is what we all yearn for (whether we are aware of this or not). The next step of the journey is to bring more and more people to the true Torah, which can be so easily done by sharing links to Torah lectures. As the Rav says, bring a person to the Torah but don't bring the Torah to him (to whatever level he is at). Because we can't make it work for us or do things only when we feel like it. It is our responsibility to spread the truth no matter what our listeners might choose to do with this information. HaShem wrote the Torah and it is our job to keep it in it's entirety since the purpose of the world is for the Torah. Another extremely important thing to keep in mind is that you are not off the hook once you do Teshuva. Teshuva must be done as often as possible because we are still sinning. As the sages say in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 2, 15) ... R' Eliezer says... Vishuv Yom Echad Lifnei Meesuscha - "repent one day before your death". His disciples asked, "but does one know the day of his death?" and R' Eliezer explained to repent EACH day lest you die tomorrow. Teshuva should be frequently done throughout our entire lives. P.S. After being inspired by the Beezrat HaShem Teshuva stories and seeing how some have noticed personal health improvements, I want to share that in my humble opinion, I was also blessed in this area. I suffered from chronic headaches for about 6 years which obviously affected my day to day life. The medications that I did try during the earlier years, unfortunately, gave me many temporary side effects and did get rid of the problem. As a result of that (but also due to a lack of desire to go that route), I chose to tolerate the pain without the meds and doctors. These daily headaches are mostly gone by now Baruch HaShem which I think may have have to do with the fact that my mindset is now more aligned with the Torah and because I'm actively becoming more and more modest. I would like to end by thanking the Rav so much for teaching us the crucial truth and Mussar to live our lives as authentic Jews and for all that he does for Klal Yisroel both behind the scenes and not. May HaShem bless all of you readers with much success in following His ways and in spreading His Torah. From the depths of my heart, THANK YOU HASHEM for showing me the truth.