True Story: You Are Not Too Old

by Yossi Katz

As told to Yossi Katz

For many years, I have worked with yeshiva bochurim, trying to help them mature and grow.
Being a yeshiva bochur isn’t as easy as one might think. Much is expected from these teenagers;
they are to study Torah all day long and behave as developed adults. But truth be told, they
were just kids a short while ago and often feel lonely being away from their families.
Unfortunately, sometimes they turn to bad influences. And that is where I step in.

As a Breslover, I have an advantage that no one else has. I teach my bochurim about the power
of hisbodedus. It’s not a difficult concept. I tell them to take whatever is on their mind,
whatever they are struggling with, and share it in their own words with their loving Father in
Heaven. This simple and back-to-basics approach often fills a real void for these boys.

How do I teach my bochurim about the power of hisbodedus? I show them. Once a week, I
drive my bochurim to the local forest-park. We spend an hour out in the woods, then meet back
up for a short simcha dance afterwards.

One week, I received a call from one of my boys the day before I was to drive him to the park.
He told me, “We have to go for hisbobedus NOW!” I asked him, “What’s going on? We usually
go tomorrow?” He answered me, “I know, but I need to go right away.” So, I figured he’s going
through something and came to pick him up. Throughout the hour I could hear him crying out
to Hashem from afar. When we were finished, I saw a noticeable change in him. He looked
happy and relieved. I asked him how everything was going. He explained to me that in his dorm,
one of his buddies wanted to give him a smartphone. He knew that for him this would be a
really bad idea and would tempt him to access inappropriate materials that would bring his
mind to rotten places. But he also felt that he didn’t have the willpower to resist. He decided
right there and then that he would push off the decision until he made hisbodedus.

When I picked him up, he explained his situation to Hashem. At some point, he told Hashem, “I
love You so much; how can I do something that I know will be spiritually bad for me and thus
bring You so much pain.” Right then and there, he knew what he had to do.

I told him, “Hisbodedus is so powerful and you too are so powerful. Always remember this

We mature adults, with our smartphones, are never too old to take the time to discuss this with
Hashem as well.

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