On Wednesday evening, February 8, a standing-room-only crowd flocked to the home of Sruli and Shaindy Glazer to support Yad Batya L’Kallah and to hear famous motivational speaker Gedale Fenster.
Marlene Kolangi, hostess of the event, greeted everyone and spoke about the work of the organization. It was founded by family and friends of a young married woman who was niftar, Batya Rachel bas Moshe Yosef Zakheim. Thirty years later, it has helped thousands of kallahs. It provides household items for kallahs in need in the United States, Canada, South America, and Yerushalayim. The goal of the organization is to create peace, love, and harmony in every Jewish home for all of our sisters. She thanked the other hostesses, Rivka May, Orot Newman, Sarala Turkel, and Shari Vatch.
Mrs. Kolangi introduced Gedale Fenster as the Jewish Tony Robbins. He flew in from Miami for this event.
Gedale Fenster shared a practical inspiring shiur on how to let go and forgive others.
The worst thing we can do is to let our personal reality become our personality. The extent to which you are affected by others, you are a hostage or slave. Our ego makes everything about me.
“The reward for dealing with pain in life is you get growth. The reward for growth is you become a giver, and the reward for giving is purpose.” The ultimate goal in life is to give.
He explained that you can’t give if you have a victim mindset. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” He taught that when you start letting go, Hashem cleanses you. Also, how you treat others is how Hashem treats you.
He then shared that difficult people are in your life so Hashem can give you mercy. Your job is to give understanding and mercy to difficult people. Then Hashem gives you mercy.
“If you are angry and hold onto things, then Hashem holds back His mercy.” He taught that you have to be spiritual to be religious. Your level of happiness is affected when you live in mercy. When you let go, it shows that you are growing in your life. If the Torah isn’t changing you, then something is wrong.
The biggest kindness you can perform is to not judge others.
Rebbe Nachman taught that the world is full of strife. Each of us is a miniature world. You will always have difficult people in your life. There is no such thing as a life without strife.
“If I don’t have difficult people in my life, then I don’t have a chance to have mercy.”
He taught that if we focus on what is bad in our lives, then this is a form of insult to Hashem. Hashem sends difficult people into our lives so we can forgive them, and He will then forgive us. When there is too much judgment on our part, then Hashem treats us as a king. If we treat others with mercy, then he treats us like a father.
Mr. Fenster shared that learning sefer Tomer Devorah changed his life. Instead of judgment, he went into understanding. He noted that so many sicknesses are related to stored emotions. If someone hurts you, then you have to work on letting go and then you will receive blessings.
Forgiveness benefits the person who does the forgiving. It shows you are imitating the Creator. You no longer need to feed your ego.
The Sages teach us not to judge another person until we understand everything about them. We tend to judge others right away. Your life changes when you stop judging. Rav Nachman teaches that the benefit of letting go is that you will have more energy and you will be less controlled by others. You will be free.
Mr. Fenster then detailed how to let go of hurt. First you have to create a space between the situation and your response, not your reaction.
He taught that 99 percent of the things that happen are not about you. One person’s bad mood can cause a chain reaction in many others. We have to remember that a person yelling at me is not about me. If you make everything about you, this leads to negativity.
So instead of reacting, you make a conscious decision to respond. When you respond instead of reacting, you stop the pattern of negativity. If little things bother you, then you are holding onto so many things.
“You need to recognize that hurt people hurt others.” Also, how we feel about ourselves is how we treat others. If someone yells at me, I have to assume this reflects how he feels about himself.
View the other person’s limitations. Recognize that some people do not have the ability to give. He stressed the idea that we do not want to become victims. Also, in marriage it’s important to communicate that this makes me happy and this doesn’t. Holding it in doesn’t work. He pointed out, “I get solutions when I’m not making it all about me.”
He added that some situations can’t be changed and you have to change the way you view the situation.
Seeking honor will ruin your life. It’s an empty tank and you become hostage to it. On the other hand, the more you like yourself, the more people will like you. Pirkei Avos teaches that the more you run after honor, the more it runs away from you.
Hashem is a giver so if you are a giver you have more energy and become G-dlike. He taught that the biggest form of giving is going against your nature.
“The greatest gift you can give Hashem is to break your nature.” There are opportunities all day for giving mercy and gaining mercy. You can only do this if you don’t have a victim mindset.
He pointed out the example of Yosef who said G-d sent me and didn’t blame his brothers for selling him into slavery. Hashem sends us tests in areas in our lives that we are weak in. It will be an area that you struggle with over and over.
He noted that Yad Batya L’Kallah is an organization predicated on giving. Giving helps to get you out of your own head. Give mercy to difficult people and you break your nature. You aren’t a victim.
Our world needs to promote co-creators. If a person is ungrateful, then no blessings can come to him. When we are in pain, Hashem joins us in our pain.
This incredible shiur was followed by a lively Q&A.
Thank you to the organizers for bringing this inspiring shiur and all that you do with this amazing organization. To donate to Yad Batya L’Kallah, go to www.YadBatya.org.
By Susie Garber