Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
The phone rings and Avi answers.
“Yes, what can I help you with?”
“Your name is Avi?”
“We wanted to let you know that your ship has sunk; your cargo is a total loss and your insurance policy's validity ended last week…”
“Really? Thank You so much, Hashem! And thank you, sir, for this wonderful news. May you be blessed in every way!”
Avi begins to dance euphorically, and recites the blessing, “Blessed are You, our Lord, King of the universe, who is good and does good!” with much delight. Afterward, he texts all of his friends and invites them to a lavish and spontaneous Gratitude Party, which he throws with the last few dollars he has in the world.
When all the guests arrive, they ask, “What are we celebrating?”
Avi answers, “I made this party because my ship sunk, and all my possessions went down to in the drink, and I am left without a red cent! Have a shot of 24-year old Glenfiddich. If you prefer vodka, I've got Smirnoff and Findlandia. Would you rather make a l'chayim on red wine? No sweat - here's a bottle of 35-year old Chateau d'Rothschild Merlot...”
When they all hear this explanation, no one is astonished. They all have the spiritual awareness that everything that occurs is for the very best, and that we bless on EVERYTHING, “Hashem is good and does good.”
The guests praise Avi, saying, “How fortunate are you! Blessed is Hashem! Thank G-d! How great it is that you have no more money. There is nothing better! How awesome is Hashem! Blessed is the good and Giver of good. Everything Hashem does is for the good. Give thanks!”
The above scenario seems totally bizarre to a person who believes there is evil in the world. But after Moshiach comes, everyone will realize that there is no such thing as evil or bad, so it will be completely normal to react like Avi and his friends.
We don’t have to wait until Moshiach’s arrival to understand right now that there is no evil in the world, and to give thanks to Hashem for everything.
When a person acquires the spiritual awareness that everything Hashem does is for his ultimate welfare and benefit, then he is able to make the blessing “Hashem is good and does good” on everything that happens to him. After Moshiach comes, when this knowledge will be easy to attain, we will no longer say the blessing: “Blessed is the true judge;” we will only say “Blessed is Hashem who is good and does good.”
A young man who became Torah-observant from our classes approached me and shared the following: “I have good news for you, Rabbi. They fired me at work! Now I’ll have more time for hitbodedut (personal prayer). I thank Hashem for His loving-kindness! And I believe that whatever comes my way is for the very best.”
This happened just when the young man was beginning to become observant. He had recently started attending classes and listening to our CDs, and here he was, already happy and thankful to Hashem for losing his job. If he would not have acquired this spiritual awareness, who knows what would have happened to him? He most likely would have come to me crying and complaining.
Saying “Hashem is good and does good” for everything that occurs, and giving thanks for it all, is truly the light of Moshiach. With spiritual awareness, we know that whatever Hashem does is for our ultimate good; therefore, we can thank Him for everything He does for us, whether or not we see the good in it. A person lacks joy and gratitude not because the reality isn’t to his liking, but rather because he lacks spiritual awareness and emuna.
The Gemara (Tractate Taanit, 8) tells us, “Rebbe Yehoshua Ben Levi says, ‘All who accept their tribulations with joy bring salvation to the world.’” When a person accepts suffering with love and believes that the suffering is from Above, and thanks Hashem, he brings salvation not only to himself, but to the entire world as well.
This is an amazing and inspirational lesson that builds on what we have learned previously, namely, that a person who always says thank you saves himself. For truly, according to this Gemara the person who accepts his suffering with love brings salvation to the entire world– in his merit! This merit stems from the fact that he faced his suffering with joy.
Therefore, we must constantly strengthen ourselves in the path of recognizing that everything is good, that there is no evil in the world, and that everything Hashem does is always good. This is the true path of teshuva, and what is called teshuvat hamishikal – complete teshuva on the great sin of the mind believing that there is destruction and evil in the world. I'm not just saying this to make you feel good, but as Rebbe Nachman teaches us, there is truly no bad in the world! Knowing that, you can now party!