22 Av 5781 / Saturday, July 31, 2021 | Torah Reading: Eikev
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The Divine Laugh    

The Divine Laugh

The moment you understand that even if you choose to do right, it may not be the "right" that Hashem intended for you; for now, you are being given a different opportunity…


A clear test of emuna is when you aren't doing exactly what you feel you are supposed to be, and you get a potch, a little slap from your loving Father in Heaven to help you get back on track.


But what happens when you are doing what you are supposed to do, and you still get a Divine potch?


It's a real blessing. It means Hashem carved out a special path in life just for you, and along that path lies the key to success in everything you want.


I thought I was living the right life. We moved to Israel, took on a life of Torah, prayer, and emuna, and settled down in a village in Gush Etzion.


"What more could G-d want," I thought? Doesn't self-sacrifice like that merit reward? It sure does. That's why we lost our money, found it difficult to make friends, and couldn't find employment for years. After 5 years of extreme adversity we left. We moved to Netanya. In a very short time we found work, friends, and even began to taste a little bit of success.


We heard a similar story: There was a family who lived in Jerusalem for 3 years and couldn't find any work either. They relocated within Israel and in a month the husband was gainfully employed.


Is it fair that people who choose to live in places they believe to be right are given an existence so unlivable they have to leave only to find the success they were looking for somewhere else?


With a 7-word Yiddish expression, I discovered the encapsulated principle of emuna:


A menchen tracht und der Aibishter lacht!


Man plans (literally, "thinks") and Hashem laughs.


Just because you plan the ideal Torah lifestyle doesn't mean that's what Hashem wants. Yes, you are commanded to perform mitzvot and improve your personal traits, but in a setting that you don’t necessarily decide. Maybe your go-around in this life is to overcome physical temptation and you have to live in a big city for a couple of years to guard your eyes so many times that Israel merits more miracles.


Maybe your tikkun involves honesty in business and the spark of holiness that G-d want you to ingest lies inside a Smartphone App venture somewhere in Herzliya Pituach. Maybe your tikkun is to discover that every inch of the Land is special, and that from the river to the sea, the Land of Israel is Holy.


Maybe Hashem wants a world where one more Jew loves his fellow with all his heart and soul. Along with learning the blessed words of the Chofetz Chaim who begs us to approach our brothers with baseless love, you need to practice it. But not among people just like you – that’s too easy. The true test comes while working in an office where people love our faith, but don't necessarily practice it. What if the only reason why someone is created is so he can look at the VP of accounting and appreciate the warmth he radiates towards everyone in the office and assume the tattoo he wears was done against his will.


The moment you understand that even if you choose to do right, it may not be the "right" that Hashem intended for you, you are being given the opportunity to nullify yourself completely before G-d. You are being given the chance to practice serving the needs of One other than yourself.


Just the other day I read a very successful entrepreneur admonish: Never choose a product and search for the market. First find a demand for something, then create the product to suit that demand.


The best businessmen put the needs of others before their own.


A successful salesman is not someone who focuses on his commission. They look to solve other people’s problems with the benefits of their product.


A successful parent concentrates on what’s best for their children, whether or not it is pleasant for them.


A successful husband lives by anything that delights his wife.


By accepting Hashem’s decrees, even when you want to object in the name of “I am doing what’s right,” you nullify what you feel you should be doing for G-d, and learn that what G-d wants of you. By focusing on what G-d wants, you develop the personal ability to focus on what other people want.


If you can do that, you can accomplish almost anything in life, and be extraordinarily happy along the way.

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  2 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
Samuel8/25/2015 9:37:31 AM
Racheli8/16/2015 11:41:45 AM

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