by Rabbi Benzion Greiper
The neshama (soul) is returned to us each morning refreshed and cleansed. It is the source of all the ideas and good things that a person can use to succeed. Here is a story about the power to begin again.
I got a phone call from a friend, who told me that his sister just became religious, but her husband hasn’t joined her. He watches Dallas football games on shabbas, and he also drinks too much and doesn’t work enough. They are now separated. I spoke to her, and she said, “We have two children and my house needs a father.” He’s a nice man and a good father, but he’s out of whack, so they were separated. I tried to speak to him, and it took a month or two until he would respond with a simple hello.
Once he was talking to me, the first thing that I insisted on was that he get his drinking problem under control. He went to Alcoholics Anonymous and got the help that he needed. I told him that this is not part time. This is his new way of life forever and ever.
The next thing I told him was to go out to work. No matter what job you find, you get work any way possible. He started working, and then he started learning Torah. He agreed that it is important to have a little spirituality in your life. He felt it would help him think straight, so he agreed to learn Torah with me.
After a few months he was working a steady job, attending Alcoholics Anonymous, and learning with me each week. As time went on he felt that he was ready to go back to his wife and children. I told him that he wasn’t ready yet.
A person always has the power to begin again
I told him to go on a date with his wife. They spent the next six months dating, while he continued to get his life under control. At the end of the year, he was shomer shabbas, his drinking was under control, and he was learning Torah and working full time. Now, they were ready to start over. He moved back home and now, three years later, they have two more children.
So you see, no matter how extreme the circumstances, a person has the ability to begin again. In this case, he had the strength to say, “This is what I want,” and his wife had the tremendous strength it took to be patient with him for an entire year.
A person always has the power to begin again. Hashem gave each one of us that opportunity by creating a neshama that returns refreshed to us each morning. This is what gives us the strength to continue going vayter (forward) in our avodas Hashem (service of Hashem).
(Note: At times a situation does require professional help and the person/couple should get advice from their rav or mentor)