The Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote a beautiful letter , part of which is below, explaining how even when a Jew sins, he still retains his G-dliness.
“The whole Creation and all the worlds have no reality of their own, for there is only one Reality—G-d, inasmuch as a spark of G-dliness animates and keeps everything in existence, as it is written, “By the word of G-d the heavens were created,” etc. This “word” of G-d is the essence and reality of everything.
Thus, the individual who sins is also animated by the “word” of G-d, which is surely eternal, for that individual is also a part of Creation and is animated and sustained in the same way. Except that it was the will of the Creator that this individual, created by the word of G-d, should have complete freedom to choose good or bad, life or death, as it is written, “Behold, I place before you this day life and good, and death and evil.” The individual who misuses this gift of freedom and chooses evil loses and forfeits that part of this G-d-given energy which went into the commission of the sin or omission of the mitzvah, which, had he chosen otherwise, would have been imbued with an eternal quality. However, the very essence of his reality, that is, that which has been created and came into being by the word of G-d, cannot be destroyed, so long as it retains its essential character. It can only be soiled and stained by sin, G-d forbid.
But inasmuch as every individual Jew is a “whole world,” as our Sages said, and, moreover, the whole universe was created for his sake, and as the Sages commented on the word Breishis—for the sake of Yisroel called “Reishis,” the Jew who sinned most undergo various transformations and stages of purgatory to be cleansed of the impurities which had attached themselves to his soul, which is his essence, and which has a portion in the world to come because of its eternal quality.”
This is a great way to educate kids, that they should realize they always have a spark of Hashem within them and to do an avera means dragging that spark into impurity….nevertheless at every time and place every Jew can elevate himself out of any avera or impurity and reach the highest levels precisely because of that spark of G-dliness within.
And we have to remember something else that is equally important. Just like a child inherits from his father many good qualities and traits, and his physical and genetic make up etc. , so too do we Jews inherit from our Father in Heaven His spiritual qualities of holiness and chesed and goodness. We have to emulate Him in all our ways. And we can do so because we are literally a part of Him; we have a neshomah, a part of Hashem, inside each of us, and that allows us to be holy like Hashem is holy. These are our spiritual genetics so to speak.
HASHGOCHA PROTIS: DIVINE PROVIDENCE
I was thinking again about hashgocha protis, Divine Providence. It is truly a wonderous thing. When we think into it, how Hashem guides every person in life and looks after each person throughout the entire world, it is amazing.
Every small thing that happens to us is a situation of hashgocha protis. And our children should be taught to see life in that manner. For example, suppose you are waiting for a taxi somewhere and you cant find one. Many people might become nervous, angry, impatient etc. But we should look at it as being Divinely ordained from Above. The moment we are meant to find a taxi, we will. So one should teach one’s children to pray that Hashem should send a good taxi very soon. And the amazing thing is that usually when we pray like that, we do see quite instant results. And if for some reason we do not find a taxi quickly, that also is for a purpose: maybe we have to go through some aggravation that removes other bigger aggravations (sort of an exchange) or maybe we have to pray harder or maybe we have to elevate the place we are by saying some words of Torah or tefillah.
Nothing happens by chance. Everything in life is arranged by Divine providence and is for our growth, for our good. Once we begin to see life in that way, we constantly feel connected to Hashem.
DARKNESS OF GALUS….DARKNESS BEFORE THE LIGHT
Why does it seem that as we get closer to redemption, the world gets darker and darker?? Why do people seem more confused than ever before? I constantly see people with doubts in their faith, with questions that never get answered adequately, with depression and fear and insecurity….a galus that perhaps was never so dark. Now I understand why Yacov Avinu felt a tremendous fear fall upon him when Hashem showed him a vision of the galus his children would go through.
I can see that as we get closer to light, the darkness just seems to get worse. It is hard to understand why.
I did learn that since Moshiach will reveal a new and higher light than has ever been revealed in the world before, as we approach that time, the G-dly revelations become more concealed in preparation for this new light. So things look darker. But the reality is that the world is just preparing for a greater light. I guess it is sort of like when you are in a theatre: before the next show the curtains are drawn. Thick, dark curtains that shut out the entire scenery. Then when the curtains are opened , the light shines so strongly, so brightly. IT was really there all the time but the curtains did not allow it to be seen.
I think now in these last moment of galus Hashem is putting up many screens, many curtains…sort of as a test. To make us aware of our deep inner darkness and problems so we can get rid of those things, so we can eliminate the falseness and reject the kelipa and truly fight for kedusha. WE will certainly earn the geulah! It wont just be a gift handed to us without effort. We have to work for it and the work now is purifying our inner selves, our animal souls, our subconscious minds. Getting rid of garbage that accumulated over years (or maybe lifetimes). We have to see , like Avraham Avinu did, the falseness of so many things….the falseness of believing in the American dream, or the invincibility of America…the falseness of running after money and materialism, the falseness of believing in any force or entity other than G-d! I think we all have to realize our only hope and salvation in life is G-d. WE have to feel dependent on Him for everything, and be humble for the good that HE does.
And we have to recognize that good.
But as depressing as the world often looks and as confusing as it can be, there are rays of light that bring joy to one’s heart.
I saw a little news clip on the internet about a family that was blessed with 18 children. It reminded me of when my kids were all young running around the house and the feeling was hectic but pure joy. I love little kids running around me and I love having my hands filled with babies. It is a sense of purpose, of happiness, and children bring out a feeling of purity and innocence that is refreshing in an often corrupted, disappointing world. It brings one back to focus on what is important in life. Family! That is the main thing. Building up a home, a family, and of course for a Jewish family there are the additional responsibilities of educating one’s children to do mitzvahs and to learn Torah. But that is the main thing. And when you are busy with kids, you don’t have time to delve into yourself or your own feelings or depression etc. You get rid of ego, of self-centeredness. I think it is the best medicine there is. May Hashem bless everyone with big families and give the strength to handle it.
Yes, life is stressful. Life is expensive. Life is complicated, much more than it used to be. But nevertheless, whatever one’s circumstances of life, every child is a blessing and Hashem truly provides what is needed for every additional blessing that joins your family. The bigger one’s family the more one can thank Hashem for His blessings. Of course whatever Hashem gives , we have to accept with happiness. Hashem knows how many kids each person can handle and what everyone’s portion in life is . So even if someone has only one or two kids, if that is what Hashem decided to give a person, that is also a blessing. But certainly one should not be afraid to have lots of kids. It truly is a blessing and a lot of happiness (even though it also entails a lot of work, patience and effort).
I remember a friend of mine was a very nervous person and she was blessed with several kids but she was afraid to keep having more, feeling she would shout too much at her kids. In a yechidus with the Lubavitcher Rebbe she voiced her fears. He smiled and told her not to worry, her children would teach her patience. And sure enough that is what happened. She went on to have 15 kids and she is a very patient kind person.
A lot of people are afraid to have kids, worrying how they will provide for them adequately or worrying how they will keep them happy, keep them busy etc.
Many times the things we “think” we need are just our perceptions anyway….we find out we can do with a lot less than we imagine in the material realm of life. It is the spiritual that needs development and pursuit….and in a certain respect perhaps that is good for children to see. To put things into perspective. To learn to make do with less, to appreciate what we have, to be happy at home and not feel we have to run around outside to find happiness.
I think most of today’s society feels they have to entertain their kids all day, taking them here or there, getting them out of the house….why do we feel such a compulsion to get our kids out of the house??? And then we complain and suffer when they are teenagers and want to go out with friends all the time and we worry where they were and wish they would just stay home! But didn’t we raise them with that attitude that home is boring and they have to go out all the time to be happy or feel entertained?? I think we have to take a good look at the standards we instill in our children and redo our attitudes. Being forced to stay home can be positive in a lot of ways. Children should be happy at home. If not then something is lacking in the family. Children should feel that the most important thing in life is family and is building a proper home where Torah and mitzvahs take center stage and the material is put on a back burner.
So there is a ray of light and hope in the darkness of galus. And when we see kids, we become joyful. Because deep inside we each have to access that point of the little kid within each of us…that innocent, pure part that is always there and just needs to be revealed. And surely that is what will happen when Moshiach comes.
May we all merit to build wonderful Jewish families, as we learn that every Jewish marriage is an actual binyan…an everlasting edifice…..and every soul that comes down to the world brings redemption closer, so children are are truly a blessing. May we all merit children, and lots of them, and may we merit nachas (joy) from our children.
May we merit to raise our children to Torah, chuppah and maasim tovim.
If any of you have questions concerning upbringing of children or problems dealing with children, please send me an e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply with advice based on experience throughout many years of parenting and working with children.