The journal of your life: a key to the future By Harav Y. R. Rubin Shlita

The journal of your life: a key to the future

By Harav Y. R. Rubin Shlita

A story shared by a colleague: a few days ago someone knocked on his door. Upon opening it he found a well-dressed yungerman with a neatly trimmed beard and glasses. He introduced himself as a member of a local kollel who wanted to share something with  him. It seems this fellow was collecting for his kollel in a leafy suburb of a large city. The area has a large Orthodox Synagogue with a membership that is typically diverse. In many of these far- flung communities, membership of an Orthodox shul doesn’t necessarily mean one is as yet fully Torah-observant. Indeed, the Rabbis of such communities often see their first task as that of being kiruv workers. What the young man had to share with the older Rav certainly came as a surprise. My colleague left that community some time ago and has very little connection to his former flock. It seems one of those Jews shared with our collector friend an interesting story. He once was talking to the Rav’s Rebbetzin and let slip that whenever he found himself in a tight spot he prayed in the memory of his late parents that they intervene from on High and put in a good word for him with Hashem. He was serious and so the Rebbetzin told him that he should actually turn directly to Hashem who is always waiting for each Yid’s earnest prayers. This happened years ago, and I am sure that brave Rebbetzin had long forgotten what she had said.  Well, the story didn’t end there. It seems that from that day henceforth this Yid, (still not yet a Shomer Shabbos) would say a “special” prayer directly to Hashem each evening, and if needs arose, would add one especially asking for help with any individual business deal that would come his way. Suddenly, his mazel changed for the better and deals he never dreamt of making seemed to fall into his lap. Now comes the real cruncher: he has created a journal and writes down every small detail of what’s been happening. These include the tefillos said, the deals coming his way, everything. His is a journal brimming with Hashem’s benevolence as seen in this man’s daily life.

The young kollel fellow just wanted to tell this older Rav that what might have seemed a throwaway remark had changed a Yid’s entire life. He wanted that Rav to know that all those years of leading a community that might not have seemed all that productive were in fact pivotal and life-changing.

We are about to celebrate the Yom Tov of Shavuos, the moment when our souls were imbued with the greatest gift offered to mankind: the Holy Torah. Since then every Yiddishe neshoma has a spark of Har Sinai burning within. It is for this reason that we can never discount nor ignore any one of our brethren.

When I heard this story I was reminded of something the Piasnetza Rebbe ztl wrote. He advised that every Jew keep a journal where he should write every instance where he experiences Hashem’s direct blessing. Every Yid is the recipient of Hashem’s bounty; the problem is we experience it initially and then that feeling recedes and becomes buried under the drudge of the mundane. We sometimes don’t see ourselves as being directly connected to Hashem because we allow the material realm to overwhelm us.

That Yid, lacking so much of what we depend upon to keep us spiritually alert, has taken to expressing Hashem’s chassodim in his reality. Sadly, he may be lacking in education and experience in what it means to observe Hashem’s Torah, yet there he is speaking to Him directly.

We should never discount any neshomas in Klal Yisroel; they all stood at Har Sinai. Instead, we should learn from each one and better ourselves in the process.

A journal of Hashem’s actions in our lives would be something extremely worthwhile in this superficial world of constant communication of empty words. I don’t offer this vignette as a segula or an amulet, rather as something that can bring clarity to us and our young. As the Rebbe points out, such a personal journal could be a real legacy for our next generation, of who we are and how we lived with Hashem’s chessed.

Our children suffer conflict in so many ways; instant information strikes them from all sides without any real understanding of what anything means. Let them know what Hashem has done for them, their parents and their loved ones. Great biographies of Gedolei Torah are wonderful and certainly meaningful, but for the average child, well, where does he fit into all that? We, their parents, can record the miracles we have personally witnessed and give our wonderful children a sense of the magnanimity that Hashem has showered on us and the place in our life where His presence is constantly tangible.

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