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Yisroel Besser

Rav Shalom Arush has unleashed a revolution of faith with his books on emunah, gratitude, and peace in the home. He concedes it’s an unlikely success for a Moroccan-born Breslov baal teshuvah.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

rabbiThe knocking on my car window is gentle but persistent, much like the Jerusalemrain that falls softly on the hood. The rental car marks me as a tourist, and I have come to accept the inevitable requests of hitchhikers — or trempists, as they are called here — at each major intersection, often communicated with the jerk of a thumb or even a curt nod.

The young man tapping on the wet windowpane doesn’t want a ride, however. He wants to give me a CD — and he seems very determined. Not unlike the squeegee men, ubiquitous in the streets of pre-GiulianiManhattan, he weaves between moving vehicles in a slow dance of persistence, having mastered the pattern of the traffic light and knowing exactly how much time he has to make his pitch.

”You need to smile more,”’ he suggests as he slides the disc through the barely opened window, “this shiur will help you.” The light turns green, I move on and the soft, melodious voice of Rav Shalom Arush fills the car.

I don’t recall that particular shiur, but since that day maybe five or six years ago, the name of Rav Shalom Arush has spread wide. Like a rushing flood that finds its way into homes, under doors and through cracks, Rav Arush’s series of books has reached every stripe of reader in the Jewish world, from spiritually seeking to chassidish. The flood of faith he unleashed became somewhat of a revolution, inspiring readers worldwide to live happier, simpler lives through his series of Hebrew books (translated to English, then French, German, Russian, and Spanish), whose sales have topped one million.

It’s safe to say that Rav Arush no longer needs fervent young men to stand at intersections on rainy days to spread his ideas.


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