Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

German-born Israeli Haredi Rabbi and Author, best know for Alei Shur

Author Quotes

I request and command that I not be eulogized in any format whatsoever. Furthermore, I should not be described by any title or honor, not as a "gaon," and not as a "tzadik," not even by initials such as zt"l.

Timing is everything in child-rearing. One should not start too early or wait until it is too late. Also, there must be a tremendous balance between too much involvement in the child's growth and too little.

I, with all my abilities, potentials and talents both physical and spiritual, am unique in the universe. Amongst all those alive today there is no other me. In past generations too there was no other me, and until the end of time there will be no other me. And if so, the Master of the Universe must certainly have sent me here on a special mission that could be fulfilled by no one else but me -with all my uniqueness.

To grow as a Torah Jew, a person must have daas. Most individuals do not have a natural sense of daas and need to be taught. Our generation is particularly short on daas. This is demonstrated by the following: 1. There is a rampant problem of lack of self-confidence today, which he contends is a modern phenomenon. 2. People are frozen into indecision by their "feelings." 3. We accept certain realities that we should endeavor to change, while at the same time we attempt to change things that we should accept. 4. We overreact to frustration. 5. We lack marital stability.

If we allow children to sprout and grow without building them, they become wild. If we only build children, but fail to nurture their organic growth, we transform them into robots. If we employ both approaches, planting and building, then genuine education becomes possible...Education is simultaneously providing a child with the appropriate structure and space for growth.

When G-d gives us commandments He is not there instructing us as a legislator imposing laws upon us that we have to keep for fear of our lives. Rather, it is comparable to a loving parent who establishes rules out of love, in order to help us. When we keep His mitzvot, it is within the context of this world of loving friendship. Just as we do things for people we love ? a husband for a wife and a wife for a husband, parents for children and children for parents ? so too, we keep the mitzvot in the context of our relationship with G-d, in the world of loving friendship.

Insisting that a child remain at the Shabbos table when he is too young - in this instance, although the parents feel that this is important for the child's chinuch, it is totally counter-productive to force a child to do what he is not ready for. The expectations for a child must always be appropriate to his age.

When we give into the yetzer hara and it lures us away from Hashem and His mitzvot, we actually become alienated from ourselves. When we are on the wrong path, when we are disconnected from who we are meant to be, we feel dislocated and alienated; we don?t feel good. This is our conscience ? the knowledge that we have done something wrong and the sense of disconnectedness and fragmentation that comes along with it.

Often parents say or imply that their child should achieve what the parents accomplished or what the parents aspired to accomplish - even when this may not be within the child's capabilities or inclinations. The parents may want their son to be a Rosh Yeshiva or at least to be involved in full-time learning, but the child's personality is more appropriate to being an elementary school rebbi, an outreach professional, or a frum businessman!

One must learn how to approach a statement of Chazal ? to study the depths of its pshat and to experience it until the hidden light of Chazal's statement illuminates you.

Parents who grew up in impoverished homes often raise their children by spoiling them - to "make up" for their own impoverished origins. However, this is counter-productive for the child's needs.

Shabbat in particular is about yedidut; it is a day of loving friendship.

Shabbat is a day to step out of the pressures of the week and reconnect with ourselves, with family and with G-d. By relieving us of all the work that has accumulated during the week, we are free to focus on our relationships. Throughout the week we are so busy doing and achieving that we don?t have a chance just to ?be? and to connect with those we love. On Shabbat we take a break from the rough and tumble of life and reconnect with those most important to us.

The ability to pray defines a human being. Animals also wage war, construct homes, and live social lives. But only mankind can relate to the Ribono Shel Olam and daven.

The greatest danger lies in our being unaware of our feelings. If we are aware of our feelings, we are capable of handling them.

The result is that the child never learns to serve Hashem in his own unique way. He is being forced to be what he cannot, and therefore will not be successful at it - while at the same time, he is being hampered from developing to his own greatest potential. In the end, he ends up becoming a non-success.

The word for idolatry in the Talmud is avoda zara, literally ?foreign worship,? because it causes us to become alienated from ourselves. And in a sense, this is what has happened in the modern world. There is a pervasive sense of alienation, a sense that people are fragmented; or, as one author put it, ?the ?atomisation? of the world.? When atoms come apart, everything disintegrates. In today?s society, the bonds of family have come apart and people have drifted from G-d. A sense of alienation has crept into society and there is a lack of connection ? to G-d, to community, to family and to ourselves; we are not connected to an overarching value system. In contrast to all this is the world of connectedness?olam hayedidut, the world of loving friendship.

There are two parallel universes: the World of Connection and the World of Estrangement. These are two completely separate worlds. The World of Connection is characterized by love, joy, tranquility, optimism, harmony, generosity, faith in God, etc., while the World of Estrangement is characterized by animosity, anger, resentment, anxiety, sadness, criticism, worry, fear, etc.

Each davening performed with understanding is a qualitatively different experience and has its own unique feeling and quality. It is indeed impossible that two tefillos should be identical - even though the words are identical. One can compare this to riding a train watching a beautiful landscape. Although the scenery may appear the same, the experience is different from moment to moment. At each moment, one sees the scenery from a different perspective. Similarly, someone davening should constantly see himself and his relationship with Hashem from a different perspective - just as the traveler is looking at the scenery with a different, fresh perspective.

There is an olam hayedidut, a ?world of loving friendship,? between us and G-d, between us and our fellow human beings and between us and ourselves.

Every Person Must Realize "I with all my abilities, potentials and talents both physical and spiritual, am unique in the universe. Amongst all those alive today there is no other me. In past generations too there was no other me, and until the end of time there will be no other me. And if so, the Master of the Universe certainly has sent me here on a special mission that could be fulfilled by no one else but me - with all my uniqueness.

This word, yedidut, contains the whole philosophy of Judaism. As we know, Judaism is comprised of many commandments which give us our whole way of life. But if we had to encapsulate the entire philosophy of Judaism in one word, it would be the concept of yedidut, friendship ? or, olam hayedidut, ?the world of friendship.?

Although a person can flip from one world to the other very quickly, no one can be in both worlds at the same time, just as when looking at a Rubin vase, one can see either the white vase or the two black profiles facing each other, but not both simultaneously. Human beings are neurologically wired so that we cannot see the vase and the profiles at the same time. Human beings are spiritually wired so that we cannot be in the World of Connection and the World of Estrangement at the same time. When we are feeling joy, we cannot feel fear. When we are feeling critical, we cannot feel love. When we are feeling resentful, we cannot feel tranquil. [paraphrase]

“According to one’s abilities” is the essential rule in the service of Hashem.
And our abilities are limited. Each pathway into self-growth which we
endeavor to present throughout this work is built upon this important
foundation: We must always move slowly with our work, never overburdening
ourselves or being extreme with what we try to do. “One who grabs much, will
not attain, and one who grabs little will attain.” (Tractate Kiddushin 17a) And
even regarding the little we can do, we will fail not once or twice, nevertheless
we can never despair. Rather, we must persevere and stubbornly begin anew
until, with Hashem’s help, we succeed.

The positive
desire for self-work and growth is often hampered by our weak character,
forgetfulness, instability and the many other attacks our yetzer (evil inclination)
launches upon us. [We say to ourselves:] “The ground you have given me is
infertile…” Woe is to the one who lacks patience with oneself! Such an
individual will speedily despair from all self-work and growth, and even if he
does not totally lose hope, he inevitably falls into sadness, and there is no
greater damaging state of being to our service of Hashem than sadness.

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Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe
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German-born Israeli Haredi Rabbi and Author, best know for Alei Shur