Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Lifelines

Rabbi Dovid Hochberg, LGSW

Many years ago in Jerusalem, a young boy approached the great Rabbi, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, with a question.

“Rabbi, he began, “I don't understand something. At the end of the morning prayers on Shabbos morning, we say ‘Ein Ka-lokainu, there is no G-d like our G-d’ and in the next verse we say ‘Mi Ka-lokainu, who is like our G-d?’ Shouldn't the order be reversed? First, we should ask ‘who is like our G-d’ and then we can answer ‘there is no G-d like our G-d.’ Wouldn’t that make more sense?”

Rav Yosef Chaim smiled at the young boy. ”Excellent question, he said. “However, before I answer you, I would like to ask you a question. Have you ever explored the underground caves beneath the Old City?”

The boy nodded. "Of course, I have."

Rav Yosef Chaim continued,“ you know that those caves can be quite dangerous. They are full of twists and turns and people can get lost inside. Aren't you afraid of getting lost inside the caves? How can you be sure that you will able to make it out safely?”

“Well, the boy replied, “I attach a rope, a lifeline, to my waist and secure it to a large rock at the entrance to the cave. This way, I can explore the tunnels as deeply as I want and always make it back safely."

“You have just answered your own question,” Rav Yosef Chaim told the boy. “The question of ‘Who is like our G-d?’ is a very difficult question. People who begin to explore that question can find themselves in great spiritual danger. Yet, one can and should ask that question. However, there is only one safe way to ask that question: Tie a lifeline around yourself before you ask it. ‘There is no G-d like our G-d’ is your lifeline. It is your anchor. Secure that thought in your mind and you can safely explore the difficult question of ‘Who is like our G-d?’ You know that if you get confused, you can always return to your lifeline. You may get scared. You may wander into dangerous spiritual territory. Yet, you will be safe because you have a lifeline.”

This story opens up some powerful ideas. Life can be very challenging and, as you move through it, you may encounter dangerous areas. Areas that can be dangerous to your spirituality, your emotions, your abilities to make good decisions, even your physical health. There are many potential pitfalls. How are you going to make sure that you can navigate the road of life safely?

The answer is simple, but extremely effective. Create and use lifelines. Use your family, your friends, your teachers and your role models. Anchor yourself securely to them. Once you are anchored and have the necessary support, you can explore areas that may be too dangerous to explore on your own. You know that if you have questions or problems, you can always rely on your lifelines.

They can make all the difference.


Rabbi Dovid Hochberg, LGSW, received his Rabbinical Ordination from Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, (Ner Israel) and his Masters of Social Work from University of Maryland. He is Principal of Derech Chaim Academy in Baltimore, an alternative school for Orthodox teens at risk, and a psychotherapist in private practice. He can be reached at 410-952-4392 or dchochberg@aol.com for consultation.


 






ARTICLES ON SHOFTIM AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

The Morality of Intolerance
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

The Focus of Rosh HaShana
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Judges, Kings, Workers & Scholars
Shlomo Katz - 5771

ArtScroll

Combating Corruption
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Open Your Eyes
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Look Before You Leap
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Encouraging News Before Rosh Hashana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

The Limitation of Choice
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

Teshuva—Paradigm Shift
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

> Rosh Hashana and the Kiss of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Judging By The Situation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

The Battle Is Joined
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Shofar: The Court Summons
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

A Page Out of Tanach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

The Meaning of Life
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5770

Protection For The Way
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information