18 Adar A 5779 / Saturday, February 23, 2019 | Torah Reading: Ki Tisa
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Count Your Blessings

Personal prayer is the key to creating a solid relationship with Hashem; the skeptics think that "speaking to the air" is weird and for people who need therapy…


I recently watched a great shiur by Rav Shalom Arush, in which he described what emuna really is. Many people misunderstand the concept of emuna; they think that if they just tell themselves that they have emuna, that's all they need to do. In reality, that couldn't be farther from the truth.


We all see how it's easy to believe that everything Hashem does is for our best when things are going smoothly. This, dear readers, is not emuna. When the sewer pipe bursts in the house or a person suffers a major illness, and during these most trying times they are able to believe that Hashem knows what He's doing, and that He's really only helping us, this is real emuna.


So how does one get from one extreme to the other?


Two words: “Thank You.”


These are probably the two most difficult words for anyone to say, right along with, “I'm sorry.” Those words aren't in my vocabulary. Just ask my husband. If I am cornered into apologizing for something, either I mumble it under my breath like a five-year-old, or I sound like The Fonz, who also had a speech impediment when he had to admit he was wr-wr-wrong. Wasn't he Jewish?


Back to my point...


Rav Arush explains that personal prayer is the key to creating a solid relationship with Hashem. Now, many people think that speaking to the air is weird and for people who need therapy. To this I say, who doesn't need therapy these days? Therefore, we should all be speaking to the air!


But seriously, has anyone out there ever tried to have a relationship with someone without speaking with them? Married people, keep your smart comments to yourselves! I admit, there are times when a marriage can benefit from less dialogue. But let's look at this from a more general perspective.


A person cannot have a solid, strong relationship with another person unless they are in constant contact with one another. Therefore, how can anyone, even the most religious people, think that they have a strong relationship with G-d if they don't speak with Him on a regular basis? How can they think that they have emuna when they aren't actively trying to build up their emuna?


There is a strange rule with love that most people don't realize. Watch out, here comes another award-winning formula: the more you do for your beloved, the more you will love them! As I have written in “The Look of Love,” love is about giving, not about taking!


Therefore, how can we begin to really love Hashem and thus build up our emuna? We must give Him the one thing He wants most- us!


When we speak with Him, we're giving Him our complete attention. We're actively inviting Him into our lives and allowing Him to help us. But there's a higher level than this, and this is the level of “Thank You.”


Rav Arush explains that saying thank you opens up all of the gates and allows your prayers to go straight to Hashem Himself. So imagine- everything you're praying for, from health, sustenance, children, soulmate, marital peace, etc., etc., is waiting to come to you on one simple condition. You must say thank You for everything you have at the current moment!


If you're a parent, you'll understand this example. Let's say my kid wants a toy for Chanukah. So I get him a cool, way overpriced remote-control race car. It's way beyond my budget, but I got it for him because I love him and I want to see him happy. He's all excited to open the beautifully-wrapped gift, and I'm excited just watching him. He opens the gift, pulls out the car, and starts playing with it immediately. He's clearly thrilled with his gift, but I'm totally bummed.


Why? My son didn't even bother to thank me for his gift! I remind him to say thank you, and he quickly mumbles it as an after-thought while ramming the race car into my foot over and over again.


How inclined will I be to give him another gift the following night?


Unfortunately, this is exactly how we behave with Hashem! We ask and ask, and complain and moan about our problems, but did we even stop for a moment and actually count our blessings? Did we even thank our Father for everything we have right now?


Some situations seem so negative, that we simply cannot thank Hashem for them. Rav Arush says that there is no exception to this rule. In fact, the more negative the situation, the more we should thank Hashem!


He gives the example of a woman who had an abusive husband. She came crying to him about her problems. Her husband would not only beat her every day, but he would emotionally abuse her as well. She was living in hell. Rav Arush's heart went out to her, and more than anything he wished he could instantly take her problem away.


Instead, he gave her advice that went contrary to any sane person's logic: say thank you. She was so desperate, that she actually followed his advice. She couldn't leave her husband, as she was afraid he would kill her if he found her, G-d forbid. So she had no other choice but to follow Rav Arush's advice.


She painfully, tearfully thanked Hashem as much as she could for a few more difficult months. To her, it seemed that her husband was getting even more violent, and she didn't know how longer she could handle his abuse. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, he demanded a divorce!


She was all too thrilled to give it to him and escape from her prison. After the divorce, he taunted her that now she was all alone, but she was over the moon to be away from him. Eventually, she healed herself and met and married a wonderful, kind man who takes very good care of her.


There is no situation that is beyond saying thank you. If you're in an impossible situation with no logical solution, this means two things. One: Hashem knows that you are so much stronger than you think. You will get through this challenging time. Two: you haven't thanked Him enough for what you have now. Start counting your current blessing, and G-d willing, you will see many future blessings, Amen!



* * *

Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il

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  3 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Totally agree, Racheli.
D3/9/2015 9:52:04 PM
Racheli3/4/2015 10:41:36 PM
  It's a hard bullet to swallow, but these words are so true.
D.3/3/2015 5:22:05 PM

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