Everyone has their fair share of tribulations. Some people have an abundance of one type of difficulty while others have more of a different nature. And then there are those who are flooded with every kind of trouble imaginable and just never seem to get a break. We are told time and again through the teachings of Rav Shalom Arush and Rav Lazer Brody, may they be blessed always, that regardless of the hardships we endure, we must accept them with happiness as HaShem’s Will. All the obstacles we encounter in life are for our own good even if we can’t see it, and this knowledge alone should give us great joy. These tests can either cleanse our souls directly or teach us something that will help us on the path toward our tikkun (soul correction). Comprehending that despite the struggles they entail, that all these hurdles are from HaShem and for the very best is the basis of emuna.
Rebbe Nachman, may his righteous memory be for a blessing, taught that it’s a great mitzvah to be happy always (Likutey Moharan II, 24). Since it is human nature to become discouraged and depressed from the burdens we bear, we must try to force ourselves to be happy in spite of it all. Since I have been trying to internalize this concept for a few years already, it came naturally to let the stress slide off my back when faced with the prospect of yet another apartment change. I have resigned myself to the fact that at least for time being, the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not want to allow my husband and I the luxury of feeling physically secure or stable in any dwelling. It helps to understand that we each are given what we need for our individual soul corrections. Obviously, possessions and material permanence won’t be of any real value to us when it comes to eternity which is much more vital than the here and now.
We just moved into a rental several months ago. We were ensured that it would be a long term arrangement as it was an investment property. As fleeting as the wind, this promise was quickly blown away with the desire of our new landlord to sell the apartment out from under us once again. We had even signed on a second year option, but as we know, nothing is certain other than the existence of our Almighty Father in Heaven and the Laws He gave to us.
Since the apartment has not yet been sold, we are hanging in limbo, not knowing when we are going to be asked to move. We can’t initiate the move as it is a costly venture which we cannot afford at this time. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who suggested I write an article to bring some gladness into my being. While I wasn’t really ‘down’, I am human, and there was a lot weighing on my mind, including several other challenges we are presently up against. My purpose in writing is primarily to strengthen others, to bring some light and encouragement into the world, but it is also cathartic for me. In trying to bring people closer to Hashem, I inevitably build a greater bond with my Creator by funneling spiritual thoughts down from an unknown sphere which in turn uplifts me as well. As I was contemplating all of this, including my abundant blessings, B”H, I pictured myself on a magic carpet ride. Along with all the anguish and adversity we cope with almost daily, we experience so many wondrous moments, each one of them more awesome than the one before. The volatile ups and downs keep us on our toes, preventing us from becoming complacent. It is also so much healthier to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. We have little control over where our journeys will take us but we have to trust that the One guiding the carpet knows what He is doing. Life is just one magical (read miraculous) situation after another. The view is amazing if we can just take the time to appreciate all of those precious moments which can never be recaptured. When we transform pain and suffering into appreciation and kedusha (holiness) it brightens up everything around it.
If we take these negative occurrences and focus on what is truly important to Hashem and what is expected of us, our problems appear trivial and we can smile. Often the daily grind and all of its pressures keep us back from being able to perceive the beauty of what we hold, of the multitude of miracles G-d has bestowed upon us. In these difficult times, if we imagine we are on a magic carpet, take a deep breath, close our eyes and call out to Hashem in prayer, we will be able to visualize the vast expanse of blessings in every corner of our lives, glistening like diamonds. Once our essence, our soul, is filled with this awareness, we will once again exude a sparkling glow from within.
There is nothing easy about the times we are in. The financial problems, the illnesses, marital discord, disrespectful and off-the-path kids, natural disasters and the inability to find a spouse or to conceive a child… these are all indicative of the days before Moshiach. What is also exceptional about these days is the massive tshuva movement, the seeking of truth and pursuing a spiritual path by returning to HaShem’s commandments. In many ways, these two go hand in hand, for without all of the difficulties we are confronted with constantly, many of us would not have found the fulfillment our Neshamot (souls) yearn for.
I heard a shiur (Torah lesson) by Rabbi Beniyahu Shmueli of Jerusalem, in which he described the dream of a 90 year old man from B’nai Brak who, in his youth, had been a student of the holy Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim came to this older man in a dream and told him to tell the people of Israel, in his name, that Moshiach is about to arrive at any second and tshuva (repentance, returning to Hashem) is needed. Fearing that people would laugh at him, he kept the dream to himself. This happened three times, each time the Chofetz Chaim became more adamant, until the man finally realized he must share this information with others. In the same shiur Rabbi Shmueli said something I had I also heard from Rabbi Lazer Brody, that right now it is as if Hashem is ‘shaking out the carpet’ and only those who are spiritually strong will be able to hold on.
Our Holy Father is cleaning house, ridding the world of the tyranny, depravity, corruption and impurity. Those who choose to abide by His laws and follow His directives will be left to bask in a beautiful world of peace, tranquility and joy.
We mustn’t be defeated by any of our ordeals, as heartbreaking as they may be. They are all a special gift from Hashem. If we can cling to the ‘magic carpet’ just a little longer we will soon witness G-d’s eternal Promise as it unfolds magnificently before our very eyes, may it be His will, soon in the coming days. Amen.