The Power of Hisbodedute

By Sephardic Admin

My father is a big follower of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev. He served all the leading Bresslav Rabbis of the last generation. He follows the path of Breslev fully, doing Hisbodedute for hours, Tikun Chatzot, studying Torah all night, Vatikin. He traveled to Umon while it was still under communist occupation. More then once he broke the hard ice to immerse in a Mikvah.

I respected my fathers path but I was from another generation, his actions did not interest me too much. I grew acting very different. When my family moved to England, I joined the mainstream yeshivas. As time went on I began rebelling against this system as well. The mentality did not suit me.

Feeling all alone in England, I made a big decision. At the age of thirteen I moved back to Israel, living by my Grandparents. At first things went all right, however I soon began rebelling against the whole religious concept. My parents seeing where I was headed dragged me back to England. 

By now no religious yeshiva would accept me. After sitting around for a while I joined a Jewish but very secular school. This was very disappointing for my father, since one of Rebbe Nachamans main pieces of advice is to stay away from the outside wisdoms. He was very upset about it and it caused much friction between us.

At one point I regretted leaving the religion; I left my school and tried to once again enter the Yeshivas. However all the yeshivas refused to accept me. There seemed to be rumors about me doing things that never really happened. No matter what I tried I couldn't get in. This disappointment turned to frustration. If they accepted all these lies I do not need them, I began making preparations to join the Israeli army.

My father knew where it would lead; he tried to argue me out of it but to no avail. Finally he realized it was useless, he begged me to try one thing before I made my decision. He asked me to go in the woods do hisbodedute and pray to Hashem from the bottom of my heart to lead me on the right path. Reluctantly I agreed, I told my father that there was no hope but I was going to give it one try. 

The next morning my father woke me up while it was still dark outside. We climbed into his old Volvo and drove off to the forest on the outskirts of London. The drive took an hour and there was dead silence, neither of us spoke to each other. 

We reached the woods, with out a word we separated in different directions. I entered the trees going deeper and deeper until I was sure no one could hear me. The wind was blowing in my face. There was pure silence besides for the momentary chirping of the birds. 

I sat on a log; the silence was beginning to clear my mind. I began thinking about the difficult situation that I was in. I started realizing that I did need Hashem to help me out. I couldn't cry so I started mumbling the Tehilim that I knew by heart. As I said them I felt my heart opening up little by little. 

Then I stopped, I started talking. I was talking as if there was an invisible person in front of me that was listening to every word I said. I started complaining about my situation, how nothing worked out, how I felt always out of place. I began moaning abut the lies people were making about me.

All the sudden my heart burst open, I started crying and begging Hashem for direction. I begged him to show me the place to go and what to do. I begged him to help me live the life I was truly supposed to live. When my tears ran out I stayed there in silence for quite a while then I got up and started walking out of the woods.

I reached the opening but I did not see my father. From deep inside the woods I could hear someone yelling and crying. It sounded like he was praying harder then me. I got in the car and waited. Eventually he came; we once again drove silently until we reached home. On the way home I wondered if my prayers would be answered, I had prayed harder then I had ever before.

A week later, one of my mother's friends stopped by my house. Noticing me she asked me what yeshiva I was in. "Nowhere" was my blunt answer. She was shocked; she immediately started making phone calls for me. The next day she called, informing me that she had arranged an interview for me in one of the local Yeshivas. Surprisingly it went very smooth and I was accepted on the spot. This was the Yeshiva that was most opposed to me to begin with, now they accepted me with out a problem.

My father was fast to point this out. The fact that the same place that had early refused to take me for fear that I was wreck their school, now accepted me. He reminded me of the teaching of Rebbe Nachman, that no matter what happens one should never give up.

Later that year I got a ride with may new Rosh Yeshiva. I asked him what made him change his mind. He told me that a week before my interview he had suddenly found out that all the rumors about me were false. He expressed great sorrow about the trouble he had originally caused me.