A Letter to My Brother – Explaining Some Lifestyle Choices

This is the email I sent to my secular brother because he keeps asking me questions about my 21 year old son’s future. We live in Australia and he lives in America where I am from originally. It can be very challenging for BT’s to explain their lifestyle choices to the secular relatives. Even after 27 years of my being frum my relatives find my choices hard to understand. The Beyond BT readers may find this email of interest:

Dear ( ),

I have been thinking about your email in which you asked me some questions about Shmuli’s future, will he marry an American, if so will he live there, and so on and so forth.

I am sure you would agree that in life one can never anticipate all the myriad of possibilities of what could happen. Almost any given situation has an almost incalculable number of outcomes that could occur. It is logical then to assume that it would be futile to think that one is in total control or can avoid an outcome that one cannot anticipate. Simply put, we mortal finite beings cannot predict the future.

When one lives a life of Torah and mitzvos one gets used to living with a certain outlook. Basic to this outlook is the idea of having full trust in Hashem who runs the world. We have to do our part in this material world. We cannot sit around waiting for money to pour in from heaven like manna and everyone would agree that would be ridiculous. On the other hand, we also show a lack of trust in Hashem if we panic over the future, If we get worried and lose sleep over an unpaid bill or start to worry about what could happen in 2, 3, or 5 years from now. A Jew with trust and faith in Gd knows that at the end of the day we are not in control. If we did what we had to do, we worked at a job or a business for instance, we did the physical things necessary for something to happen, then we step back and let G-d do His job. Nothing can be granted us without Hashem’s bruchas. Our Torah learning and mitzvos make a vessel for Hashem’s bruchas.

So I cannot tell you the answer to your questions except for the following:
Shmuli is a young Lubavitcher scholar who is going to follow the Rebbe’s directives in all things in his llfe. The Rebbe wanted the young scholars to sit and learn Torah full time (after they receive their Rabbinic ordination) and look for a match at the same time. So that is what Shmuli is going to do in NY at 770 where he will learn Torah full time and G-d wiling prepare himself and work to finding his match. Then after marriage, as the Rebbe instructed, he will spend the first year learning Torah full time in Colel (yeshiva for married young men). After that he will start worrying about making a living. At that point all options are open to him: business, Rabbinics, shlichas (outreach), getting professional training, he wil decide after completing Colel.

We pray that with G-d’s help he will be successful, and if G-d forbid Moshiach should tarry, that he will find his match easily and quickly.

Shoshana was one of our original Beyond BT contributors and we want to thank her for thinking about the Beyond BT readership and sending us this email to post.

4 comments on “A Letter to My Brother – Explaining Some Lifestyle Choices

  1. Skeptic, it’s just an expression, a feeling about very lofty spiritual matters to be interpreted however one wishes.

    Ed, that is also one of my favorite jokes.

    Neil, it’s fantastic when our relatives appreciate the advantages of Torah education for our children.

  2. Shoshanna,

    Thanks for sharing this. I have found that while many relatives seem to understand my choice of a Torah lifestyle, it doesn’t really hit them until they see and interact with my children.

    I will never forget my father a”h coming to visit us and spend time in our day school when my son was in 2nd grade and observe the class being taugh by their rebbe. It hit him (in a good way) that day school was more than a glorified “Hebrew school”.

  3. Nicely written. I gained a bunch from the discussion of trusting Hashem. I’m reminded of the saying “Trust Hashem, but row away from the rocks” and also the joke that ends, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more did you expect of Me.”

  4. I don’t understand the conclusion that he should only find his match quickly and easily if Moshiach tarries. I never heard this idea before, that marriage will not occur (or not occur easily?) in the messianic era. Is this view peculiar to Lubavitcher chasidim?

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