Teshuva Personal Stories
Whatever I Did the Forbidden Way I Now Do the Kosher Way
י״ז במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (15 בNovember 2019)
Some people made mistakes in life that they wish they could correct. A person knows he’s doing something right when he is able to fix up the very same areas he previously stumbled on. Assaf Bashi was able to see how G-d guided him forward to do things he used to do but instead of promoting sin he is promoting holy positive endeavors.
For example Assaf used to be a night club organizer and promoter getting youth into night clubs where behavior isn’t always exemplary. For 5 years he did this and he also marketed cell phones and televisions. Today he is still promoting events and televisions but now they are filtered with kosher content. “Last week I just finished producing a Rally for Elul Arousal and reciting the Selichot in the Tel Aviv Culture Hall which is rare in itself. When my wife saw me worrying about the smallest details she couldn’t believe it. She asked me how I knew how to organize all the crazy details I remembered that it all came from my producing a concert for a musician friend Regev Hod.”
“This tells me that nothing really ever goes to waste and if you’re really good at something G-d will make sure to send you work that you can enjoy but in a holy manner.”
“The Rabbi suddenly proposed to come with us to the night club”
A few years back (in a different lifetime) Bashi had just finished his mandatory army service and flew to Los Angeles and met hundreds of youth just like him that completed their army service and found themselves in Los Angeles. “My first 2 years I lived in a non-Jewish community and since the synagogue was far away from my area we had almost no ties to religion. “It was clear to me that I didn’t want to come keep Judaism, but I did feel that something is missing in my heart and I at least should move to a Jewish area.”
He moved and that’s how the very first time he entered an American synagogue it was of one of the most prominent community rabbis, Rabbi Raphael Guy. “Happily, I immediately connected with Rabbi Guy and I started going to classes and prayers more often.”
Then on Bashi’s birthday he announced to all his friends: “We’re celebrating my birthday at the synagogue!” Bashi recounts: “I Remember we were all not religious all sitting with the rabbi that came just for me. The Rabbi sat with us and suddenly asked us what our plans were after this birthday party. We said we were going to go out on the town and he said: “I’m coming with you!” We all laughed and it was a bit uncomfortable. How could we agree to have the rabbi come to all the night clubs and entertainment venues? The Rabbi obviously didn’t plan on coming with us but he gave us the feeling that ‘there was nothing really out there for us and it was worthwhile to stay right there in the synagogue’. We actually stayed up with the
Rabbi all night and it was awesome!’
The rabbi’s relationship with these youth grew and one day the rabbi came up with another idea. Assaf explains: “I was the cook for the gang and every Shabbat the whole crowd would come over. One day the rabbi said to me: “I’d like to come to you for Shabbat”, and I was really surprised. But there was a caveat: “For me to come to your home for Shabbat, you must kasher your kitchen” is what he told me and I immediately agreed.”
The kitchen was totally kashered and that Shabbat that was the 1st of many in the company of Assaf and his friends. Those Shabbatot will be remembered by many forever. “Many people were strengthened by those Shabbatot and I have one friend who started observing Torah and mitzvot so devoutly that he became a rabbi, a Talmud Torah teacher and a Mohel. These were 2 years of total spiritual strengthening.”
“When you’re deeply immersed in impurity it’s hard to strengthen yourself”
Assaf then went back to Israel and his spiritual work just wasn’t the same. He began working with famous Israeli musicians and hung out with his childhood friends. “Though I didn’t give up keeping Shabbat I was at a stage where I was deep into promotions and mixed evening get-togethers. At the same time I started marketing Smart phones and regular unfiltered televisions and their accessories.”
What was the trigger that sent you looking for spirituality again?
“Looking for my match is what triggered it. I always knew that a person merits his match according to his deeds and so long as I was deep into this world and the mundane there was no chance I’d find the wife I was looking for. My wish was to find a wife that loves G-d that would grow together with me spiritually. But in actuality I was really far from there and I knew I had to close the great gap between what I wanted and the way I was behaving.”
This feeling coupled with another feeling of discomfort. “I remember coming home to an empty house at night from a mixed get together and the emptiness was awful. I began to put Tefillin on in the mornings alone at home but when you’re deep in impurity every night strengthening yourself is a very slow and difficult process. Every step I accepted upon myself was difficult but I knew I must do it with a strategy so the evil inclination doesn’t rob me of the little that I could still do. In this manner I slowly chiseled away another hard piece each time.”
What was most difficult for you in finding a match?
The difficulty was the gap between what you are and what you actually succeed in doing. On one hand, I knew what type of wife I was looking for but on the other hand I didn’t do the things to get closer to meeting that wife. Since I wasn’t of sufficient spiritual stature the young women I met were at a stage where they weren’t ready to go all the way spiritually whereas I knew that this is my path and I want someone that will keep it all with me and not just what as convenient for her.”
Assaf didn’t give up and in the end after a serious strengthening on his part that took 2 years he merited meeting his match and get married. Today they are the proud parents of a sweet little girl.
Today Assaf uses his vocal talents in a holy venue singing at religious weddings and gladdening the participants. He also volunteers in Ohr Yisrael an organization under rabbi Grossman for wayward youth. “Helping them is something very close to my heart since as a young man I remember myself exactly where they are now. My message to these youth looking for happiness is this: Look for happiness in the Torah first, for even if there’s a 1 in a million chance that the Torah is true if you don’t choose it you might it and live your entire life aimlessly. Wouldn’t that be a shame? I was also in your shoes exactly, going to parties and all you really need to understand is that the only true happiness is found in the Torah. Don’t waste your time looking elsewhere.”
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