We’re all back at school and back to regular life by the time Avi and I speak next. 

“How was the rest of your summer?” I ask. 

“Really great,” Avi says. 

He’s eager to continue speaking about his experiences and has so much to share with you, dear readers, that I feel like I’m racing along with all of his ideas. 

As we’re speaking, I constantly have to remind myself that Avi is just 14 and was once a regular, popular kid with barely a care in the world. 

Now, his thoughts, words, and emunah inspire me so much, I feel better prepared than ever to face Yom Hadin. 

Listen to the stories he’s about to share, think about what Avi’s gone through, and let his words enter your heart. Your Rosh Hashanah just might never be the same again.


My Kabbalah — My Life

“Every year, at one of the seudos on Rosh Hashanah, every member of my family decides on a kabbalah they’d like to take on for the next year,” Avi says. “We’ve been doing this for years, and we all share our good ideas and how they worked for us the previous year.” 

“What kind of kabbalos are you talking about?” I ask. 

“We keep them simple,” Avi says. “Like looking into a bentsher during bentshing on Shabbos, or not speaking lashon hara during one recess for a month. That way, we’re more likely to be able to do them.” 

Those are good ideas, I think. Practical, real, and so powerful. 

“Anyway,” he continues, “the Rosh Hashanah after I got sick we were sitting at the table having our regular kabbalah conversation, and suddenly I felt so confused! “ 

‘I don’t understand something,’ I said. ‘Last year I had such a good Rosh Hashanah. I went to shul and davened so well, I really thought I would have a good year, but look at me now.’ 

“I had two questions,” Avi says. “Number one, how could this have happened to me when I tried so hard to be so good? And number two, what happened to all the work I’d done on my kabbalah?” 

I’m quiet as Avi’s mother steps into the conversation here, but I’m thinking, Aren’t these questions that so many of us, both kids and adults, have? I listen carefully for an answer. 

“When I heard Avi ask those questions,” Mrs. Newhouse says, “I really didn’t know what to answer him. He had tried so hard and he was so sick — what could I say to help him understand?” 

She brought his question to Avi’s next doctor’s visit, on Erev Yom Kippur. 

“Avi’s doctor was a frum man,” she says. “So when we saw him next, I asked him Avi’s question: ‘What happened to my kabbalah and all the work I did?’ When Avi’s doctor heard that question, he looked at me with a very serious expression and said, ‘Avi wants to know what happened with his kabbalah? I’ll tell you what happened. That kabbalah and those tefillos saved his life.’