EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN
"...But they must guard My Sabbaths, because it is a sign between Me
and between you, for all your generations, to know that I am G-d who
sanctifies you" (Exodus 32:13).
(The following is a selection from one of the letters of the Steipler
"...I received your letter about the young man who has become confused
with doubts about faith, reward and punishment, and who is suffering
tremendously as a consequence. Many young men like this have come to
me. I advise them not to think about it at all. They should study Torah
and do mitzvot even if they have doubts about them.
"There is no intellectual answer which can be given about this, but
only practical advice. Firstly, he should keep the shabbat in all the
particulars and nuances of its laws. In other words, he should study
the Code of Law with the Mishnah Berurah very well, until he becomes an
expert in them. He should study these laws for the purpose of
fulfilling what is written there.
"Also, on the shabbat he should not speak uselessly, but only what is
necessary. Certainly, he should not read newspapers or `books' on
shabbat. When he is not eating or sleeping, he should occupy himself
with the Torah.
"In a relatively short time, he will see amazing things. Although he
will not have found any intellectual solutions for them, all these
doubts will not confuse him. This is a fact.
"However, this is conditional. Keeping Shabbat must be for the sake of
Heaven, or at least for the sake of his emunah and faith. However, if
the intent is only to relieve his mental anguish, then this program
will not help him, because that is not for the sake of Heaven.
"It is a proven fact that in this way a person can achieve pure faith.
Along these lines Chazal said that anyone's sins will be completely
forgiven if he keeps the shabbat, and even if he worshipped idols like
the generation of Enosh. The heresy troubling these young men is
comparable to idolatry.
"Also, he can say every day at the beginning of the morning and
afternoon prayers the parshat hatamid, that section of the Torah
describing the order of the daily sacrifice in the Temple. This daily
sacrifice is an oleh (a burnt offering), and chazal have said that a
burnt offering atones for ruminations of the heart. They also said that
studying the Torah which deals with oleh is tantamount to sacrificing
"Another proven remedy for eliminating doubts, although it is very
difficult to accomplish, is humility. When he submits himself to G-d
and truly considers himself as `nothing' and without any importance,
then all doubts disappear and they will not trouble him whatsoever.
However, humility is a very difficult thing to truly achieve...."