As I was walking through the old religious neighborhood where I live in Jerusalem, a little boy splashing in a tiny pool caught my interest. It was the tiniest little pool on the tiniest little terrace that I ever saw.
I stopped for a moment and wondered how that little boy could be having so much fun in that cramped little space. I watched him as he splashed around with total abandon.
A thought went through my mind: Maybe he didn't realized that he was playing in the tiniest little pool that I ever saw. Maybe he wasn't comparing his pool to the Olympic size pools on rolling estates that I have in my mind. Maybe the little boy on the other side of the world who is splashing in his more lavish pool is not even as happy as this boy is.
So I asked myself: "`what is the message in this scene for me?"
The answer came:
I can also have fun with less. I too can appreciate what I presently have. What good does it do to think back to the spacious home that I once owned. The truth is I am happier now. I need to be grateful for that and also jump with glee!
This was my message.
But if a hundred of us were standing together watching the same exact scene. All of us would be getting a different message.
One of us might think that it is dangerous for that boy to be there by himself without supervision. The message for that person may be that she needs to be more careful in the coming days to supervise her young children more closely. The message for her may not relate directly to a swimming pool, but it could relate to helping them cross a busy street or avoid playing near the electrical outlets.
For someone else, this scene might trigger a pleasant memory - perhaps a picture of himself as a child having fun in some similar way. The message for him might be to take a few moments to re-visit those joyful memories and re-integrate those positive feelings into his current life.
Another person might receive still a different message from this scene. For example: that he needs to be more spontaneous, playful and uninhibited in his relationships.
It's so amazing that Hashem is spontaneously speaking to all of us all of the time in trillions of different ways.
When the Jewish people were standing at Mount Sinai, we received the greatest gift that G-d ever bestowed upon man - His Holy Torah. As Hashem uttered the first commandment: "I am Hashem your G-d," everyone present heard something personal and uniquely designed for himself. Those who were well-versed in the deep Kabbalistic mysteries of the Torah, heard Hashem on that level - the woodcutter and water-carrier, on the other hand, received a simpler message from the very same words.
Hashgacha Pratisor Divine Providence is everything that is taking place in the world from the movements of the celestial bodies to the heart beat of a tiny worm. The world reaches out to us through our senses, imploring us to enter its hidden calmness and security. As he lets go and falls into G-d's embrace, the person-of -Faith is immune from fear, anger, envy, impatience or doubt. He is no longer fighting the current of reality, but humbly flowing with it. Every loving nuance that G-d sends him is like a mother whispering to her beloved child: "Come to mommy, sweetheart ...that's right...you can walk...take another step...and another...you see...now you're walking by yourself!"
The following day I was feeling restless and blocked. I decided to take a walk outside. As I wandered aimlessly through the familiar streets, I suddenly realized that I was once again standing by the tiny little pool. The boy was gone and the pool had been emptied and it was leaning up on its side. At once I felt the relief of re-visiting my former state. Novel ideas bubbled to the surface and new freshness descended upon me. I wondered if this was an example of state-dependant learning or something more like schne makom schne mazel (changing one's place changes one's fortune). Whatever it was, I was revisiting the same resourceful state I experienced in that spot previously.
Somehow I knew that I should take note of this special experience. I looked around the old building with tiny dresses and pants drying on jutting hooks and lines. I noticed the broken wall in front... the overgrown shrubs. And, in my mind I saw him again - Jumping and screaming and throwing water with joy.
What's the message in this I asked?
The answer: This can be a springboard for something else. I can take the resources that Hashem has condensed into this experience and play it back the next time I don't feel happy with what I have.
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Dr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can see Dr. Zev's live video broadcast every Wednesday at 5pm Israel time here on breslev.co.il. You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna Therapy.