Photo credit: Monicalightstone.com
By Robert Cordas
Rabbis Shalom Arush, author of the bestselling Breslov work Garden of Emuna and other popular Breslov works, spoke to the Los Angeles community in an event produced by the Maayon Yisroel Hassidic Learning Center in conjunction with Nessah Synagogue. Over 700 people packed the main sanctuary at Nessah to hear the words of Rabbi Arush. Rabbi Arush was accompanied by Rabbi Lazer Brody, one of Rabbi Arush’s main disciples who has steadfastly spread Rabbi Arush’s teachings to English Speaking countries by translating many of Rabbi Arush’s works, most notably the Garden of Emuna into English.
Rabbi Arush spoke to the crowd in Hebrew, pausing intermittently for his words to be translated by Rabbi Brody into English. Rabbi Arush spoke about the contradiction between man’s free will and Hashem being in control of the world. He explained that the only thing that man is in control of is desire, and Hashem leads man in the way his desire points, whether it is towards good or evil. Hashem then implements the consequences of man’s actions based on that desire, and therefore still is in control of the universe. “This is exactly what Maayon Yisroel is here for” explains Reuven Wolf, its founder and director, “we are dedicated to bringing the inner light of Torah to the masses, especially in Los Angeles, and Rabbi Arush draws from many Chassisdic sources , in particularly from the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, the founder of Breslov Chassidus, and makes it understandable and accessible to ordinary people.” After the lecture, Rabbi Arush gave individualized Brachos to members of the audience.
Maayon Yisroel Chassidic Center is located at 140 North La Brea Avenue in the Beverly/ La Brea area of Los Angeles. Maayon Yisroel was founded in 2008 by Rabbi Wolf, as a center to fulfill the vision of spreading the profound mystical teachings of Chassidic Judaism. Rabbi Wolf has a unique background that enables him to spread the teachings of Chassidus as well as connect with Jews of all persuasions, whether they be Chassidish, Litvish, or even non-affiliated. He was raised in Boro Park as part of the Ropshetz Chassidic dynasty, educated in the Belz and Bluzhev Yeshivos, and later, in the famous Lithuanian schools of Slabodkea and Mir. Rabbi Wolf has been a Jewish educator since 1995, teaching students of all ages, from adults to early elementary children. He is profoundly influenced by Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and particularly Chassidic philosophy. Maayon offers many classes based on the teachings of Chassidus. Rabbi Wolf’s Monday night “Parsha in my Life” shiur draws on many Chassidic sources, weaving mystical interpretations and Chassidic teachings into the themes from the weekly parsha. The “You Vs. Yourself” class resumed this past Wednesday night, discussing the fundamental ideas of the Tanya regarding Jewish nature. Rabbi Wolf’s Thursday night shiur delves deeper into Chassidic themes related to the parsha, often lasting 2-3 hours. Rabbi Elchanan Tauber offers a morning class at Maayon based on the teachings of the Chassidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, the great- grandson of the Baal Shem Tov. Maayon Yisroel hosts symposiums throughout the year, inviting Rabbanim from throughout the Los Angeles community to give over inspiration, Divrei Torah, and their unique insights and perspective. The center also conducts services on Shabbos, offering an inspiring Kabbalat Shabbos drawing on a compilation of Chassidic Melodies, a Shabbos morning shiur on a Chassidic Discourse followed by Davening, and an intimate Shalosh Seudas with inspiring Niggunim and Divrei Torah following Minchah and leading in to Maariv at the conclusion of Shabbos.