Q&A: Money, Debts, Depression & Emunah

Q:How can a person who wishes to grow continue to grow when he faces constant financial pressure, cannot buy his wife the things she needs or wants, yet he works like an animal to try his best but always lands up feeling discouraged & depressed? Also he wants to rectify his past misdeeds particularly with money matters “old debts etc” but can never can far enough ahead to cover both present expenses let alone old expenses! At the same time charity/maaser is almost impossible under the circumstances which leads to only more frustration. I feel many times as if I am drowning & I do not know how to get up. What steps should one take? yes there are many very good things B”H & I am grateful for them, the money issue & surrounding debt is like a noose aroung me neck leaving me with an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy.
Please help…

A:

Gevalt, what a tough question. GEVALT! What a tough situation!

You’re quite right. To grow, to do teshuvah, when sitting behind the “financial 8-ball” is extremely difficult. Rebbe Nachman zal teaches, “Someone who wants to do teshuvah must be careful not to be a debtor”

(Sefer HaMidos, Teshuvah A:46).

Obviously, I don’t know the details of your situation. However, I humbly suggest that you speak to a rov who is competent in Choshen Mishpat. You may be *patur* from giving maaser. Such a rov, may also have advice about your financial obligations towards meeting your wife’s needs and desires, and how to deal with your debt situation.

I understand that this is a very sensitive subject and not only because you mentioned feeling inadequate. (I’ve got my own inadequacy issues regarding money, or lack thereof!) Therefore you may wish to not divulge personal information to a rov you know. Perhaps contact <BusinessHalacha.com>. (I’m unaffiliated with them, but am impressed by what I’ve seen of their work.) They have a confidential hotline.

I’m sure you won’t be the first person with a situation like yours to call them.

And since you wrote to Breslov, let me share some of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings. First, he says that learning Torah brings physical

(*gashmiyus*) life as well. Please be sure to learn even a few minutes (even five) every day and every night. Something that you can handle and that will keep you coming back for more.

Second, trust in Hashem. Any and every sort of stress and shame we suffer, as painful as they are, cleanses us and brings us closer to Hashem, as long as we recall that it is out of His lovingkindness for us that He is making us undergo these experiences.

Finally, NEVER DESPAIR! Hashem can save us totally, in the blink of an eye. One more tefilah, one more krekhtz may be all it takes to trigger His rachmanus in a way that *we* understand it.

Hoped this helped.

kol tuv.

Ozer Bergman

Author: Ozer Bergman

Ozer Bergman is an editor for the Breslov Research Institute, a spiritual coach, and author of Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation.

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  1. There is a book by Rav Shalom Arush Shlita that is translated into English by Rav Lazer Brody Shlita called “The Garden of Riches”. In their he gives guidance on overcoming financial difficulties with emunah based on the teachings of Rabbenu Zal and the True Tzaddikim. He also addresses dealing with your wife’s desires and needs, debts, dealing with the pressures and staying happy. I highly recommend it as I can say from personal experience, reading the book has gotten me and my wife through some of the hardest times with a smile. There have been numerous months where it was just impossible b’derech hatevah (by natural paths) to make ends meet and after reading The Garden of Riches and working on our emunah, instead of pulling hairs from our head and becoming frustrated and fighting we were B”H able to calmly say “Hashem has never let us go hungry until now, He won’t start now” and with the twinkle of an eye, Hashem has sent us miracles. We have received checks for exactly what we were missing that month from people we hardly know as year old wedding gifts! We had someone else out of the blue call up to sell us a piece of baby furniture we desperately needed for $1. So many miracles began to happen to us on a daily basis once we began to follow Rav Shalom’s guidance and work on our emunah.
    We say every day “Ahavah Raba Ahavtanu” or if you’re Sephardi “Ahavat Olam Ahavtanu”. Hashem loves us! You don’t let someone you love down. Hashem won’t let you down either!

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