25 Kislev 5778 / Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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The Perfect Remedy    

The Perfect Remedy

A person who longs to be close with Hashem realizes that everything is a result of Divine Providence and everything is intended for his eternal benefit…


Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody



Many years ago a woman came to me for guidance because she was childless. She told me she had done everything possible – prayer, repentance, giving charity, undergoing medical treatments, and making dietary changes, among other schemes. She told me that she and her husband were discouraged and close to desperation. Would their salvation ever come? Would they never merit holding their own child?


I told this woman she must abandon all these ‘remedies.’ She must even stop praying for children. Instead, I instructed her to devote an hour each day to personal prayer, thanking Hashem. "Say thank you!" I advised her. “Tell Hashem, ‘Thank you that until now You have not given me children, because surely it is for the best and surely this is the way for me to attain my soul correction.’"


I also told her to thank Hashem for every child born to a friend and to work hard to accept all this favorably. “Feel genuine joy when you hear of another woman who has given birth,” I instructed her. I then told her that every time she succeeds in feeling joy, she should add her own personal request: “Master of the Universe, may it be Your desire that I have children.” I then blessed her that she soon has her own children.


The woman replied, "In what way is your advice better than anything I have already done? After all, I have prayed, cried, pleaded, repented…"


I responded, "The difference between what you have done so far and what I have instructed you to do is to express gratitude! Through thankfulness, you will attain emuna. Gratitude is an expression of true faith that everything is for the good and precisely according to Hashem’s will with no mistakes. Expressing gratitude reflects your emuna - you trust that everything is in Hashem’s hands and the reason you have not yet had children is because this is Hashem's will.”


Childless women fall into despair because they believe that, according to the laws of nature, they will not be able to bear children. In this respect, despair signifies that a person is depending upon circumstance and nature rather than on Hashem. Such a person blames external causes and is usually angry at Hashem, whining and weeping out of ingratitude.


Thankfulness repents for whining, despair and complaining. Only through gratitude can a person attain complete emuna.


All the tribulations a person must endure during his life are for his eternal benefit, and if one ponders the true purpose of these trials, one can in fact find great joy in them. Rebbe Nachman writes (Likutei Moharan, I:65): “Even the woes and tribulations a person must suffer, if one contemplates them, he will see that they are not bad at all but rather for his benefit, for they are given to him intentionally by Hashem for his own good, in order to remind him to do teshuva, and to repent for his sins; all of his suffering is only for his good, for they are delivered by Hashem and Hashem is all good. Therefore, if a person contemplates the trials and tribulations he is facing, he will see that the true purpose of this suffering is for his benefit, and he will thereupon realize that all this suffering is truly entirely good and he will be filled with joy to see that in truth there is no bad in the world and everything is good.”


No one wants to suffer. But, if we do encounter suffering in our lives, then Rebbe Nachman explains that it is all for our ultimate benefit. The purpose of tribulations is to bring us closer to Hashem. King David said, "But as for me, the nearness of G-d is my good" (Psalms, 73).


One who understands that suffering is for his eternal benefit avoids sadness and despair; indeed, he’ll be able to praise Hashem sincerely and pray in earnest.


Someone who does not seek closeness to Hashem won’t joyfully accept anything that he perceives as being “bad.” However, a person who longs to be close with Hashem realizes that everything is a result of Divine Providence and everything is intended for his eternal benefit.

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