Mr. Fret is a very wealthy man. He owns apartment buildings in Jerusalem. To his credit, Mr. Fret is usually polite and charming – his elderly father wears a skullcap and his brother is a G-d fearing person – Mr. Fret himself, however, is in deep trouble and needs our prayers. His mind knows no rest from the evil demons who have captured his soul.
There is no end to how much money Mr. Fret must acquire to feed the hungry demons that surround him and continually beat him into compliance with their evil words: “You’re going to lose everything; you’re going to be poor and homeless; you’d better be frightened about the future; admit that you need us; you are permanently flawed and incompetent - your money will not last; and without money no one will love you – in the end, even your own family will despise you and desert you.”
When Moshe moved to Israel, with his family of six, he was overjoyed to find an apartment near his Yeshiva in Jerusalem. From the moment he saw the small broken down, filthy apartment Moshe was filled with joy that Hashem had sent him what he needed and he didn’t worry about the high rent. Well-meaning friends warned Moshe about the “wicked” landlord who doesn’t fix anything and demands so much. Even so, Moshe felt that the apartment would make his wife happy and was meant for him; so he prayed, and Hashem answered Moshe by helping him to pay the rent.
The landlord, Mr. Fret, was true to his reputation putting constant pressure on Moshe to pay and to adhere to every small aspect of the lease. Moshe noticed that the landlord behaved in a threatening way toward him but he wasn’t overly concerned about this. After all, Hashem had given him so much: Aliyah, a happy family, a place to learn Torah – he really lacked nothing. Mr. Fret refused to clean the apartment; or pick up the garbage that was left lying there; or fix the front door lock; or do anything else that Moshe requested of him. Moshe took his mind off this by simply cleaning up the mess; he had the floors polished; he put in a water filtering system, and he made other improvements to make his new home livable. He left the door as it was.
King David said: “Hashem protects the gullible;” and Rebbe Nachman said that “it is good to be that kind of fool”. What kind of fool is the Rebbe referring to? King Solomon, the wisest of all men also said: “He who follows the simple path goes securely.” “Such a person will never stumble”, said Reb Natan. What does this all mean? How can one differentiate between judging people favorably and being gullible; between living life in an open trusting way and not allowing oneself to be victimized?
A person who believes that there really is something called forever feels secure that there is a Heavenly process by which all things are set straight. Such a person knows that Hashem will always protect him and guide him wisely – that person feels he lacks nothing despite what others think. He is just happy that Hashem saved him from the life that he had before he knew Hashem. Now that he knows that Hashem is willing to help him, he no longer needs to second-guess people like this landlord. If on the surface, Hashem sends him a landlord like this one, he sees it as an opportunity to grow; He thanks Hashem for the landlord and even prays for the landlord. And when the landlord claims that he broke the front door that was broken before he moved in and even sues him to pay for the door – he would rather pay the landlord than become like him. A man of faith knows that he has much more than money to lose by needlessly going to court over something like this. Instead, he uses his breathing to stay connected to the simple but absolute Truth – that it is only his Father! Hashem! - the root of all occurrences that has brought this about; so he remembers that whatever the price of the door will be, it is nothing compared to what he owes Hashem for saving him from the filthy gutter-of-a-life he was leading before.
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Zev Ballen, LCSW has been a practicing psychotherapist for 32 years. He is licensed in Israel and the State of New York. Zev has the endorsements of prominent Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Shlita, Reb Yitzchok Fagelstock, Shlita, The Kasaner Rebbe of Forshay, Shlita, Rav Shalom Arush, Shlita, and Rabbi Lazer Brody, Shlita. He resides with his family in Jerusalem where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time practice. You can write to Zev Ballen at: email@example.com or call him at: 845-362-8600 (US line) or 054-840-9499 (Israeli line).