On giving up belief in the Rebbe – the leader my family’s sect of orthodox Judaism.

The sect of orthodox Judaism that I was brought up in is called Lubavitch. There were many leaders of this sect over the years and the one who was active at the time I was growing up was Menachem Mendle Schneerson – also known as The Rebbe.

Judaism holds that in each generation there is one person who is destined to be the Messiah. There are members of the Lubavitch movement, myself included when I was still religious, who believe the Rebbe is that Messiah.

I thought about him a lot when I was younger. I collected pictures of him, watched videos of him, sang songs about him. When I reached my teens and found that I no longer believed in God, one of the hardest transitions to make was to think of the Rebbe as just a human being.

This period highlighted to me the manner in which the people in my life, especially peers and elders, were the ones who reinforced my belief in God. Becoming an atheist, required that I lose faith in the people in my life as well.

One thing I’ve always been fascinated by is, if I’d remained religious, how would my relationship to the Rebbe have changed. Would I have kept up my childlike adoration by maintaining the notion that he’s infallible?

If so, how would I have maintained belief in everything he said, and everything that was said by the rabbis in my life, and still naturally mature to question ‘authority’. Is this just something I wouldn’t have done?

I still have pangs of regret for giving up on religion, as I would love to know how it would have played a role in my life as I’ve grown older. Which is another way of saying, I feel an absence in my adult life of one of the most important elements of my childhood.

And the Rebbe is one of those absences. Or more accurately, the belief that there are people out there who are divine, who know all the answers, who can offer comfort to any anxiety.

As I’ve previously discussed, just because I like the idea of believing again, it doesn’t mean I can. I can’t force belief. Whether it be a belief in God, or a belief in divine people. I think it would be dishonest for me to pretend and insulting to those who genuinely believe. If, you know, anyone would actually care.

Of course, many would say, losing faith isn’t really such a bad thing, or a big deal. It’s just something I miss.

 

[Thanks for reading. Just a quick P.S: I received the first review of my novel – 5 stars – from Junior Books and Publishing (link here). I’m still smiling about it. It’s also now up on Goodreads (link here) :) ]

62 thoughts on “On giving up belief in the Rebbe – the leader my family’s sect of orthodox Judaism.

  1. Eli, I’m not Jewish, now or before, but I really understand where you are. I am seventy. My Grandfather was an Anglican Priest. My mother and father were very devout. And so have I been – on and off. I have gone through the absences of belief – back and forth. But if there really is a God I guess He will get around to us each in His own good time. I love your posts.

  2. Eli, even though you’re an atheist, I’m going to say, “God Bless You”. You sound like a warm and loving person. Congratulations on the success of your novel! May your success continue.

  3. Hi, Eli. Thank you for this. I left my own family’s “fold” as an adolescent and feel a similar lack as an adult. Not missing “God” per se, but the sense of tradition. I guess we all have to create our own. I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  4. Kudos, Eli. I love reading your posts. It’s like tugging a short thread and seeing what unravels. I, too, am an atheist. Sounds as if your absence of faith has left a (?) hole in your comfort zone. Personally, the things that push me out of my comfort zone are the things that cause me to grow the most. You are very brave to be able to walk away from something that must be such a part of the fabric of who you are. Would’ve been easier to stay, and play the part as families often expect us to do, but it is in the walking away that we find ourselves.

  5. It doesn’t sound like you have lost your faith, but rather lost your faith in a specific explanation of the universe. My guess is that the comfort and infallibility you found in the Rebbe is still there. Instead, it’s being called something different – for you that is atheism. I believe we all seek the comfort of knowing all the unknowable. Each person has a different explanation, each religion a different take. In the end, we just want answers.

  6. I love this, Eli. You have a wonderful heart, Eli. Your experiences with faith and religion are completely different than mine, and while I’d like to think I would’ve responded with as much grace as you did to your situation, I know I would not have. Thanks for sharing, as usual—your highly personal insights are truly a gift, sir. I hope all is well in the land down under.

    P.S. my college advisor is from Australia and just went back home, near Brisbane I think, for a visit. She’s one of the coolest and hardest working people I know. She was having a particularly rough day when she told me this. “You’re taking a trip back to Oz?” I said.

    “Yep,” said Felicita, “and Robert, I just might not come back.”

    I hope she was joking. Peace.

  7. Such a heartfelt post! I, too, understand your sentiments. I’m 52, and I went through a period of not believing, but that actually made my faith stronger. Our paths lead us in directions that don’t always make sense at the time, but as we move along, we see how things are connected and how struggle helps us to grow, as in the butterfly that struggles out of the cocoon.

  8. Thank you for sharing this personal aspect of belonging to one’s own value system. It is a long journey and requires diligence. It helps to know others walk nearby. I appreciate you.

  9. I grew up not believing in God and then finding Him in my early 20’s, so the opposite experience to you. I do not believe any human is divine or anything but human (which is fine) because I think being human is awesome!
    Diana

  10. Pingback: On giving up belief… | Dolphin

  11. Hello Eli,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can certainly relate, but coming from a Protestant’s perspective. I find in the West that many give up faith entirely because they no longer can relate to the religion of their families. But it sounds like in your heart that you still believe. Love your family, like you do, but it may be that you have to find a different path. As the sufis say, ‘there are as many paths to God as there are souls in the universe.’ Much love and blessings, and always follow your heart, Eli…

  12. “I still have pangs of regret for giving up on religion… I feel an absence in my adult life of one of the most important elements of my childhood.”

    I can absolutely relate to this. I come from an Indian Christian Orthodox background, and I’ve gone back and forth for years. I can’t force myself to believe, but I hate the idea of not believing because I do not want to lose a part of my childhood, my identity, and my family. Thank you for sharing this :)

  13. My own path with spirituality has been tenuous. As a child I was cast out repeatedly for questioning the authority of the church and God himself, of daring to feel a connectedness with the divine. Believing you’re the reincarnation of Jesus at 5 doesn’t go over well. They simply don’t understand the metaphor, grace coursing. I was raised in a mixed house- Presbyterian and atheist. And it has taken me years to find my own way, feel my heart trodden along life’s path. I believe that God, spirit or whatever concept we have of the divine lives in us. Therefore it is simply man himself searching, learning, and growing towards his own enlightenment. Truth is the ultimate Divinity and it is personal.. So I’d say your post- this open sharing, heart revealed, This is the Rebbe.

  14. The impression I get from your (wonderful) writing is that you still have the heart for your religious faith. It’s just that you’re not ready to approach it traditionally as how you were taught to when you were growing up, maybe? But don’t close it off, think of it sometimes and let your faith linger around you. We all change and evolve as we live this life and maybe someday you’ll feel ready to embrace it fully again.

  15. Eli,
    I relate to your experience, and at some point my throat silenced and I felt like I couldn’t pray anymore.
    While I didn’t completely loose faith, I became angry with god, and I so miss my relationship with god as it was.
    Thanks for sharing,
    JM

  16. well done for being a strong, inquiring person and finding the strength to be different to your family and well done for your book – that review is brilliant and clearly well deserved. Here’s to your strength and talent which I am sure will produce more published and well reviewed books

  17. Hi Eli, I was looking to see if you or anyone had responded to my comment, I noticed that I don;t appear to have a comment on here any longer. I was just wondering if you had removed it or not permitted the comment, I had not set out to be offensive if it came across that way, I was merely stating a perspective. :)

  18. I appreciate your honesty…I think that no matter where we each are at in our life journey, God (whoever we conceive that to be) knows and understands better then we ever will. I pray you find your way and can create traditions that hold lasting peace and comfort. I am devout Catholic now, but wasn’t when I was younger. As I raise my kids, I see how important community and tradition is for them. It’s good to encourage questioning and is a natural progression of one’s faith journey! God bless :)

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  20. What I love about Jesus is that no matter what we believe about him, he never changes what he believes or feels about us. He hasn’t lost sight of you. Thanks for sharing your heart. Congratulations on your book. Isn’t that first review such an encouragement? I understand the feeling!

  21. Hi Eli, and thanks again for another intriguing post. They way you touch upon the infallibility of the Rebbe reminds me of the way Papal Infallibility (and anything Catholic related) is grossly misrepresented by the media.
    Could you explain the Rebbe’s infallibility a bit more. When you said, “…maintain belief in everything he said…” I’m sure you don’t truly mean everything.

    • Sure :) The way I was taught, and I could be wrong, is that he was a Tzaddik, meaning that he was a ‘chariot horse for God’ and everything he did and said was directly representative of God’s wants.

      We would learn his ‘sichas’, meaning teachings of mysticism, and take it very literally. We’d hear stories of people making major life changes because of what he wrote to them in letters.

      I hope that answers the question. It varies from person to person how he is seen and you’re certainly right, there’s never a universal attitude towards any one person, or belief. However, seeing the Rebbe like this is how I remember being taught. It could have just been me :)

      Eli Glasman http://www.eliglasman.com

      >

      • O.K. you really did mean everything. That’s the manner in which the media falsely depict Papal Infallibility.
        As for “…varies from person to person…” That is not how the dogma works in Catholicism. It’s clearly defined within the Catechism of the Church, and every Bishop, Priest, and member of the Laity must be on the same page.
        Thanks Eli for the quick response.

  22. I’m sure there is much comfort to be had from believing that there is a super-parent out there, but I cannot look at history and all the different faiths and not feel certain that all religions are a construct by man.

  23. Eli, you and I have similar situations that originate in different worlds. I started very young as an atheist then become an orthodox Jew, and now a more conservative Jew. We both “fell” from a higher state to a lower state of Judaism. But it’s ok. I don’t miss being orthodox; I miss being observant and enjoying it. I now enjoy being Jewish at a conservative level.

  24. Was he the one who also (on his death bed) identified Yeshua (Jesus Christ, Christian) as the messiah, via a piece of paper/note? Also, how come “God” and not G-d? And Hasidism, very joyful and musical! :)

    It is your choice and freedom how you choose to interpret this concept, and most especially with any religious dogma, somehow I doubt he* has given up on you though…but it’s also quite okay if you have moved on too.

    Religion is tricky that way. Fundamentalism in any “religion” can ruin the experience of what g-d/God+3/Allah etc. actually is and yes, only you can interpret what is (and no, I’m not interpreting Chabad as fundamentalists: some are and some aren’t). Dunno, it may sound confusing but it appears as though you’ve already questioned that – as it should be; and as this is an intrinsic part of Judaism: “to question/reason”, and then to struggle with it.

    And no, you do not need any religion or even God to be a mensch (a good man/person), fortunately those affected by this quality are indeed cultivated to be just that – thank goodness! Some are even atheists or humanists; whatever someone feels and then how they act is the most important and is the right path for them. Only they can decide what truly matters. Oh – and breathe. *Hugs ;)

  25. Dear Eli, maybe my personal experience/story will touch you in some way. G-d bless and may you continue to question, doubt, and toil until you arrive at the Truth, whatever it may be brother…for that, I believe, is the path of the most wise.

    The Call of My Ancestors – My Introduction to Ancient Judaism.
    Aug 6, 2012
    I started writing this expecting that G-d was guiding me to one day be able to combine the teachings of my Guru, Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath, with ancient Kabbalistic Judaism, but when I got back from Israel more and more new guidance was given. These things really surprised me, not because I haven’t seen miraculous things in my life, but because I never expected that I would be guided to leave my Guru nor that I would be guided into a path of Judaism. In fact, both were, at one point, the last things I ever wanted to do.

    A couple of years ago, I went to go and see my Rabbi. They have this thing where you can ask a question from the Lubavitcher Rebbe and you open one of his books randomly and he gives you an answer. I asked, “How can I get to G-d in this life?” The page read, “You have the privilege of returning the minds of the Jewish people back to G-d.” I wasn’t surprised because all my friends were Jewish and all the people who wanted to learn meditation from me were almost always Jewish, but like I said above I didn’t think it was going to be like this.

    Before my trip to Israel, I had come to a point in my spiritual development where I had lost my strength, power, and self-confidence. I felt broken. I couldn’t even make decisions anymore. My mind was clogged with so many theories that it could no longer work properly. Spending my days reading tons of spiritual advice and visiting different Indian saints and sages had done really nothing to evolve me at this point in the journey. It only fueled a negative momentum taking me further and further into my own head. A couple of weeks prior to my trip to Israel I had broken down again for the third time in my life for the reasons stated above. I needed something strong, a big smack in the face, to break my delusive sleep.

    In March or January a strong intuition dawned on me that I would be spending a portion of my time in Israel this summer whether I liked it or not. So I signed up for the birthright trip only to be surprised that I wasn’t accepted. When summer came I received a call from my good friend and legend, Rabbi David Cohen. He said he had an Israel trip for me. The trip was in a week. Everything inside me said go, so I had no choice but to go, even though honestly the last thing I wanted to do was go on a trip alone, especially a Jewish one. I had learned from experience that even if I didn’t feel like it, it was always best to do G-d’s will because it always ended up being for my own greatest benefit.

    Before the trip I had a dream where my great spiritual friend and mentor Kriyavan came to me and said, “In this life, you are Jewish.” I didn’t think much of it. I’ve had many meaningless dreams in my day. On the plane, I was struggling with a bad cold and when we landed I was struck by a deep anxiety that maybe I would pass out from starvation, maybe I would not be able to take care of myself, or that maybe I wouldn’t be able to wake up from this painful sleep. I called my father at night and cried my pains to him and every time the anxiety would strike I would call him to express my deep anguish.

    Four days of the trip went by and everyday was like hell. My mind was unclear and in disarray because of the combined jet lag, sickness, and heavy weight of a totally new experience. Add that up with having to attend a very religious Yeshiva where they sometimes learn up to 6 hours a day and you get a very bad combination for Jason at least. Luckily I wouldn’t go to class very much. ;)

    One night I had a dream of my Guru where he left and the door closed fully shut behind him. I woke up with a deep feeling of loneliness. It was the first time in my life that I felt that not only had my Guru left me, but G-d was no longer there either. And as I would inwardly call to Him, there was no response.

    So the time came where we had to take a four day trip to Tzfat and I really didn’t want to do it. I thought I was going to die or at least that’s how I felt. So much fear and resistance, it’s unexplainable, but my father pushed me to go. My friends on the trip encouraged me to go as well, and so I went. I felt like I was going to pass out the first two hours of the bus ride. We stopped at the famous Rabbi Akiva’s tomb and that’s where everything changed. After praying at his grave I felt much better. I started making my “shofar” sound, doing pushups, and dancing a little with the guys.

    During the trip we also visited the tombs of Rambam and the prophet Samuel, the one who appointed King David to his position. These were very holy sites with powerful spiritual vibrations. My father later told me he had wanted to go to Rambam’s grave to pray for me the last time he was in Israel, but ironically it was me who ended up praying for him and my family at the Rambam’s tomb.

    In Tzfat I went to the Mikveh for my first time. It was very special. My body felt purified after, and during meditation my breath flowed so smoothly. At night during Shabbat, I was in such an inspired state that when the Rabbi asked me to speak, great and uplifting words came through. I had so much fun that night. Just laughing and expressing myself and joking around with everyone. The next night as Shabbat was close to ending, Danny and I went to the Hassidic temple also located in Tzfat. The people there were absolutely amazing. I had never seen so many advanced spiritual souls in one room. I wondered why I wasn’t seeing people like this at all the spiritual events I was attending. These people had so much light in that room, it was unexplainable. The children would sing songs in praise to G-d with so much love that it was overwhelming. Danny and I were lost in the rhythm of the hymns together bobbing our bodies back and forth. It was very beautiful.

    After the trip to Tzfat I was feeling inwardly inspired to start putting on tefellin. I don’t know why or how it happened when I recount how much resistance I’ve had to Judaism my entire life, but I had to surrender to the intuitive shove so to speak. There was one day where we went to the Whaling Wall. I had gone early because my cousin dropped me off. I was in such a bad mood, close to tears. That day I had not put on tefellin yet and I wasn’t planning to. A man comes up to me and says come, put on tefellin. I refused profusely many times. I was in a very bad mood. He surrounds me and there is this older man who just takes my hand and starts putting it on. I start crying. He says, “You are not an alien here. You are a Jew who’s come home.” I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t know why G-d was giving me these experiences. The one day I didn’t want to put it on, He wouldn’t allow it.

    One of the Rabbis (Rabbi David) and I were walking with the group in the Old City. I saw this interesting looking man and wanted to approach him but was to shy to do it. Rabbi David spoke to him and returned to me. I realized that it was the same man who had put Tefillin on me at the Kotel days before. Rabbi David then proceeded to tell me the amazing story of his spiritual journey. The man was named Gutman Locks. He was born a Jew and had practiced both Christianity and Hinduism with an insane degree of intensity. Initially, he started with Buddhism and left unsatisfied. Next, he moved on to Hindu practices and lived in India for many years. At one point, he was known as ‘Guru Gil’ and was practicing meditation 23 hours a day in attempt to reach a state of union with G-d (Samadhi), only to find out he was following the incorrect path. He then tried Christianity, until he had the realization that Jesus was projecting himself, as most false prophets do, to be a direct manifestation of G-d, G-d in a human form. With the use of miracles, these kinds of people deceive the masses. And with all of this, he finally returned to Judaism, spending his days at the Kotel putting Tefillin on his Jewish brethren reminding them of their Divine Heritage. The name of his book describing his long and arduous spiritual journey is “Coming Back to Earth: The Central Park Guru Becomes an Old City Jew.”

    After telling me Gil’s story, Rabbi David looked at me and said a couple words which I will never forget, “A Jew has to do it a certain way.” He meant, for a Jewish soul to connect with G-d, it has to be done in a very specific way.

    I went to go and see my grandmother in Ashdod. She had had a dream of my grandfather coming to her telling her to tell me to only believe in one G-d (at that point I was also worshiping my Guru as G-d) and to listen and follow my parent’s advice. Again and again she told me. She told me that if I didn’t do it for her that I had to do it for my grandfather’s soul. She also mentioned that my great grandfather, her father, was very religious and used to pray to G-d three times a day like observant Jews do.

    My uncle told me a few stories about my great grandfather. Everyone speaks of him as a very saintly individual. One time my grandmother had to get surgery because a falling tree hit her on the head. She went unconscious. A small vein inside the head started to bleed – a cerebral hemorrhage. Close to the time of the surgery, my grandfather had a dream where someone came to the house and took my grandmother’s shoes out of the house. He woke up weeping thinking that the dream meant the death of his wife. That same morning my uncle had woken up with a different mystical dream. He met a man. The man asked my uncle, “Do you know who I am?” “No,” he responded. “I am your grandfather,” he said. My uncle had never seen his grandfather, not in person nor even a photo of him. My great grandfather stood at the Whaling Wall in Jerusalem which my uncle had also never seen as he grew up in Iran. He gave my uncle a divine message. “Tell your father that she will be okay and to go and pray for her.”

    After the surgery the doctors came and told my grandfather that something beyond their power had happened. My grandmother had died ten times during the surgery and still survived.

    By G-d’s mercy the life of my grandmother was spared. She had to rest in bed for a while so my grandfather had to do the shopping while she was healing up. After several weeks he became lazy and stopped buying Kosher meat (which my grandmother had always made sure to buy) for the house because it was an inconvenience. One morning my grandmother wakes up and asks my grandfather, “What are you feeding me?” She had had a dream where my great grandfather (her father) came to her and said, “I prayed for your life and then you go and eat non-kosher meat? I am disappointed in you!” These dreams revealed to me that was actually something sacred behind the dietary laws Jews hold even if I personally didn’t understand them yet.

    My personal Rabbi on the trip was a man named Nissan. I must mention him because he loved and cared for me so much. The most memorable advice he gave me was about the great King David. He told me of all the Jewish sages King David had the most challenges to face. When he was born, his parents disowned him. When he was alive, his own brother tried to kill him. At one point he was the richest man in the world and at another point, the poorest, and even though all of these negative situations faced him, he managed to write the Tehillim, a book of Psalms dedicated to the praise and worship of G-d. Such faith he had! It inspired me deeply! King David knew what we must know, that every test and challenge is sent by G-d Himself to strengthen us and help us and MOST IMPORTANTLY, bring us closer to Him and the Glory of His Kingdom. This is how he kept his faith undeterred and strong. When I returned from Israel, I told my dad I wanted a Star of David necklace. He told me, “You don’t remember? Your grandfather gave you one when you were a boy.” I wear it now.

    Nissan also revealed to me that in Judaism physical acts could be just as sacred, if not more so, as acts of prayer and meditation. I liked this idea, it helped me and I agreed with it.

    The last night, the last song I heard was Jerusalem by Matisyahu. In the taxi I realized how much I was going to miss Israel, my trip, and Jerusalem, there’s something so special about that city. I could not lie to you. It had left a deep impression on my heart.

    I returned knowing Hashem wanted to me to start practicing Judaism. I spoke to my best friend Shervin and told him my thoughts. I said, “Shervin, I know G-d wants me to practice Judaism but I don’t want to get obsessed about another path again, I could really go nuts this time. I have no true teacher of Judaism. How do I know which Rabbis know the true ancient Judaism given by G-d to the prophets. And I don’t know how far I would have to go with the religious commands.” I went to speak with my dad and he told me the past three nights my grandfather had been in his dreams saying, “Tell Jason to practice Judaism and to only believe in one G-d.” My dad said, “I didn’t want to tell you but you came and asked me exactly about what he was telling me so I had to tell you.” For years my father has had dreams of my grandfather and my Guru arguing with each other. My grandfather never liked my Guru. He thought he was bad for me, but I never really listened nor was I ready to.

    The next day my Rabbi (Rabbi Peer), who had guided me for my bar-mitzvah at age 13, calls me on the phone. He says, “Jason, I have some miraculous things to tell you. A week ago (the time when I had just returned from Tzfat and started putting on Tefillin) I was visiting the grave of the Rebbe and when I went to sleep I had a dream. The Rebbe came to me with dollar bills and a blessing. He said to me, ‘Take care of Jason.’” I was shocked, I had been speaking about these kinds of things the day before and I already had someone to teach me. Not only that, my Rabbi said, “This is like a command from G-d for me. Whenever you need me, I am there for you. Let us begin learning once a week.” I was very much looking forward to it. There was no conflict here. My Guru had told us that we could practice whatever faith we chose. The key was to continue our meditations nonetheless.

    I went to China and returned to see my Rabbi one day. “Rabbi,” I said, “when I was in China I had a dream about the Rebbe. I saw his face. I didn’t feel much.” My Rabbi says, “Are you serious??” I’m like, “Ya.” He says, “you’re getting connected,” in a funny childlike tone. I think I laughed. During the trip I had another weird dream which I would only come to understand months later. I had a dream within a dream, but not once, but eight dreams down. With each successive dream, I felt my Soul being crushed, buried, SUFFOCATED. At the lowest dream (the eighth one) was the photo on my wall of my Guru which I worshiped every day and night. The sixth dream up had Yogananda, another Guru whom I deeply respected, who turned into an evil bear. I woke up heaving, afraid to go back to sleep again. It was a very scary experience being locked away like that, deep, deep in the unconscious mind it felt like. I later understood that the dream contained two hidden messages. Firstly, that Yogananda was a false Guru. Secondly, and much more important, that idol worship was indeed a dreadfully grave sin, no matter who practiced it.

    As I followed all the new advice that was given to me from my grandfather, I found myself becoming more at peace. Every time I would think about my Guru and his upcoming event my eye would start twitching and I would get a nervous feeling that I was going to go crazy. And when I say crazy, I mean really…crazy, like totally losing my mind. Something was going on, and this is the last chapter for this part of my life story. On August 3rd, 2012, my father came to me. He said, last night grandfather came to me in my dreams, he was so happy with you. This is what my father told me, “He came to me. I had never seen him this happy, he had so much light. He was very happy with you Jason that you were listening to his advice, but he told me to tell you that Guru is not a true one. That you should not see him anymore and that you should leave him. Tell Jason to look for himself how much more peaceful he is, this Guru is not a true one.” I said, “Dad, that is the one thing I could never do.” In my head I thought, “If G-d told me anything but that, I would do it.”

    I called Kriyavan. Kriyavan speaks very directly with me. “Kriyavan, I have been following my grandfather’s advice and it really been helping me. I have much more peace, but now he’s telling me to leave my Guru.” He said, “Jason, don’t overcomplicate things, follow the teacher which is quieting your mind more.” “But he’s telling me to leave my Guru!” “Maybe it’s time for you to get a new Guru.” I never expected Kriyavan would say such a thing. Nor did I like the fact that my grandfather said my Guru was false. I wouldn’t have minded if he just told me to leave him, but he also said that he wasn’t true.

    Imagine, you followed a man for three years, would die for him, only to find out he wasn’t what he was projecting himself to be. Well, that’s what happened to me. On the drive to my grandma’s house that night for Shabbat, I cried so deeply that my head started to hurt. I knew my grandfather was not wrong this time. My father started to cry and feel very bad, “I am sorry Jason, I should not have told you. I am so sorry, forgive me,” as he hugged me. I could not stop crying. I said, “NO! Do not be sorry! I am here to find G-D even if that means I was wrong! I must know the Truth!” He told me to follow my heart and I said, “Dad, I have been following my heart the whole time and look where it has led me, to a false Guru, how can I trust my own intuition any more?” “Because that was who and what you needed at that time, and this is what you need now. He helped you very much, but he is not the real one you are looking for.” I could not deny, the more I turned away from my Guru the more stable my mind would feel, while every thought about his upcoming talk brought me inwardly closer to madness. I knew I had to let go and I knew I had to accept the fact that I had been following someone who could give fleeting experiences, miraculous ones in fact, but nothing that would ever stick or lead the lasting peace which I was seeking. I had practiced his technique for the past three years devoutly so I was not making my decision based off of some randomness. I knew inside what had to be done.

    Two days later, my father was in my room with me. I had just cleared out all of my Yogic equipment I had acquired over the past few years. There was a medallion which I had gotten from my Guru during my first retreat. It’s glass had broken and it had fell apart. I don’t know how. My father came into my room and he said, “Look,” and he pulled a picture of the Rebbe out from the top of my shelf in my room. “I’ve never seen that,” I said, “how long has that been there?” My father said, “For two years.” He had also put a rock from Jersusalem’s Whaling Wall in my room up there where I could not see it. He said, “I prayed that time in Israel, that G-d would open your eyes and show you the truth. He always responds to my prayers.”

    May G-d’s blessings and guidance be with all of you. Love you all.

    “If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, ‘Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them.’ You shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the L-rd, your G-d, is testing you, to know whether you really love the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 13:2-4).

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