Dear Rabbi Brody,
In case you don’t remember, my wife and I made Tshuva 5 years ago. Then, our daughter was 6. Now she’s 11, and despite our efforts, she isn’t careful about washing her hands in the morning or about saying Krias Shma at night. In your last letter to us, you told us to try and be stronger personal examples and do everything that we demand from her; we’ve implemented your advice, but it still isn’t easy. Could you devote some of your valuable time to strengthening a little girl in Kedusha? Could you please explain to our Debbie the importance of “negel vasser” and Krias shma at night? We’re sure that she’ll listen to you, and we’d be forever grateful.
S and J Ross,
Can you imagine waking up to a world where the flowers don’t blossom, the birds don’t chirp, or the sun doesn’t shine? Now imagine that some evil force stole the world’s beauty every morning, and then went around painting everyone’s windows black, so even if anything beautiful to see still remained, you wouldn’t be able to see it!
The Zohar teaches us that when we go to sleep at night, our neshomas (souls) go up to Heaven to hear Torah and to be spiritually recharged. When the soul leaves the body, the body assumes a form of lifelessness, tantamount to death, and therefore becomes spiritually contaminated. This spiritual contamination that is left on our fingertips in the morning renders us not only impure, but spiritually “stupid”, whereas we can neither pray nor learn Torah properly. Whenever we’re spiritually impure, heaven forbid, we become slaves to the Yeyzer Hora, the Evil Inclination, and are easily prone to transgression and all types of wrongdoing. Exposing your delicate and exquisite neshoma – a tiny part of Hashem – to such impurity is like tossing a dainty
princess, the King’s daughter, into a pile of cow manure. What scorn!
By using “negel vasser” and washing our hands from a one-liter cup 3 times consecutively as soon as we wake up in the morning, we rid ourselves of the night’s spiritual impurity that contaminates our souls. Debbie, I can’t stress enough the importance of using “negel vasser” and washing your hands first thing every morning. Without it, you can’t grow up to be a “bas chayil”, a daughter of valor that’s destined to be a woman of valor.
Before you go to bed at night, you have to make sure that you deposit your beautiful little neshoma into the hands of the holy angels that will carry it up to the heavens, where it will be replenished with wisdom and blessing. When you skip Krias Shma at night, accepting the yoke of emuna and your loyalty to Hashem, then according to the Zohar, you are casting your neshoma to the nasty clutches of the dark-side angels who play with it, contaminate it, and make it stupid, rendering it incapable of learning Torah and praying. Furthermore, a neshoma that goes without Krias Shma becomes spiritually starved. Spiritual starvation leads to a number of emotional and learning problems.
The Yetzer doesn’t mind if you play computer games, watch TV, or even learn math and American history all day long. But, without saying Shma Yisroel at night, your faith in Hashem will be feeble, and you won’t be able to understand any of your Torah learning properly.
Debbie, I promise you that by your saying Krias Shma at night – every night with no excuses – you’ll do better in school and you’ll be much happier. Tell Mommy and Daddy that Lazer from Israel says that they should say it together with you every night.
With blessings and prayers for your success and welfare, Lazer Brody