18 Shvat 5779 / Thursday, January 24, 2019 | Torah Reading: Yitro
 
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All for the Best    

All for the Best



The crucial endeavor of attaining emuna can only be accomplished here amidst challenges, darkness and confusion. This is our most important mission in life…

 



On Shabbos afternoon during my recent trip to Uman, Rabbi Lazer Brody gave a lesson based on Likutei Moharan I:4. Rebbe Nachman teaches that if you believe that everything is from Hashem, and all for the best, you will live a life of paradise in this world.

 

Continuous gratitude

 

Rabbi Brody said that a main recurring lesson from Rabbi Shalom Arush’s books is that everything is from Hashem and that we should thank him, even for those situations that are painful to us. We don't ignore or minimize the pain. Nevertheless, by recognizing that we are Hashem’s children and He loves us, we gain the clarity and strength to persevere.

 

Sometimes we have to withhold things that our children desire or do things that cause them distress. As parents, we know this is for the child's wellbeing.

 

In a similar vein, Hashem wants to purify our souls before we leave this world. Immediately after a soul leaves this worldly existence it panics realizing that one cannot build emuna in the world to come. This crucial endeavor can only be accomplished here amidst challenges, darkness and confusion. This is our most important mission in life.

 

No pain no gain

 

Building physical strength can only be achieved by subjecting muscles to pressure and stress. Similarly, building emuna can only be accomplished by undergoing difficult tests of faith. Developing strong emuna cannot be attained on easy street or by lounging in a chair on the beach.

 

The Evil Inclination more than anything wants us to wallow in despair. When this happens, we're out of business. We simply cannot function.

 

We need to remember when other people or situations cause pain and distress, that these circumstances are actually engineered by Hashem. He is the Source. In the midst of our distress, we have to remember that He loves us. Three words, “Hashem loves me” are the antidote to dejection and despair. These three words dispel sadness. When you say this, it will be the Evil Inclination that feels miserable.

 

Bread of embarrassment

 

Rabbi Brody explained the concept of the bread of embarrassment. He recounted a parable about the son of a king sitting at his father's table with a gathering of war heroes. The son realizes that unlike these successful warriors, he has not earned his place at the table. He wants to be sent into battle in order to earn a position of honor. The king tells him that it's going to be very difficult but the son insists on being sent on this mission.

 

The king is Hashem and the son represents each of us. Think how unseemly it would be for the son to cry and complain about his mission once he begins to experience difficulties.

 

The Baal Shem Tov says that Hashem sends us to this world on a mission and he wants us to be joyful in accomplishing that mission. Each of us has at least one major problem afflicting us or our families. Remember, these problems are sent to us by Hashem Who loves us and wants us to come closer to Him. We must keep our eyes on the goal. Our goal in this world is to attain emuna.

 

Seeing clearly

 

In one of Rabbi Elimelech Biederman’s weekly Torah publications, he cites Reb Yankel Gilinsky who says that when he was a child, the women of his neighborhood would gather in his home, because his mother knew how to read. She would read the Jewish newspaper to the neighbors.

 

Once Mrs. Gilinsky was in the kitchen peeling potatoes when a woman waiting for Mrs. Gilinsky to read the paper, begin flipping through the pages to look at pictures. Panicking, she rushed to the kitchen and said to Mrs. Gilinsky, "How can you be so passive, peeling potatoes when a ship has sunk!” She showed Mrs. Gilinsky the paper and a picture of a capsized ship. Mrs. Gilinsky turned the paper right side up and said “since you don't know how to read, you didn't realize that you were holding the paper upside down.” With the paper in an upright position, it didn't look like the ship was sinking.

 

From this, we can learn that if you don't know how to look at the picture, you might think that whatever is happening is terrible. But if you know how to look at the picture, you see that everything is exactly as it should be.

 

May we always remember that Hashem loves us unconditionally. Everything that is happening comes from Him and is therefore, an expression of His love even if it seems confusing and stressful. Looking at life's pictures through the lens of emuna will help us navigate our personal vessel through life's troubled waters and to thank Hashem for whatever is happening. May these sincere thanks grounded in emuna evoke Divine compassion and salvations for each of us.





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