26 Av 5781 / Wednesday, August 04, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
 
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Cobblestones    

Cobblestones



With emuna, we know that all our difficulties in life are simply cobblestones in the path of life that Hashems designates for us, all tailor-made and all for the very best.

 



Translated and adapted by Rabbi Lazer Brody

Finding Your Way, Part 3
 
Once, I saw a person who everybody called “religious”, standing in a corner of the synagogue, swaying back and forth. Everything bothered him. He was indignant about everything – when somebody else prayed out loud, he'd sneer at them. When someone else prayed too quietly, he'd frown at them and motion for them to say "amen" louder. And, if a playful child ran past – look out! He was dissatisfied with the whole world, yet he rocked back and forth demonstratively the whole time. In truth, this guy wasn't religious at all, because nothing pleased him. That's the opposite of emuna. Going through the motions of rituality without a complete belief in Hashem is like a body without a soul; and, a body without a soul is the definition of death. That’s bad news…
 
With emuna, we know that all our difficulties in life are simply cobblestones in the path of life that Hashems designates for us, all tailor-made and all for the very best. You know what this means?
 
Unless there's something extreme like psychosis, or wife-beating or adultery, we never ever recommend divorce. There are tons of examples of people that didn't accept marital difficulties with emuna, and then got divorced, only to discover that their next marriage is even worse. The same goes for people that roam from job to job, or people that can't stand the slightest difficulty in life.
 
Difficulties in life are growth opportunities. So, in emuna-oriented thinking, if life isn't going you're way, that's great. If you're having severe trials and tribulations, that's wonderful – it's a sign that Hashem loves you and is personally handling your affairs. And if you fall or fail, that's terrific – no genuine cobblestone path of life that leads to happiness and success is ever devoid of failure.
 
 
 
Do you know how beneficial failure is? A person can't possibly learn truth when he or she is on top of the world. That's impossible. People with fabulous success often get confused in thinking that they are responsible for their own success. But, when a person has difficulties, and when things aren't going the way they want, when they're moved to call out Hashem's name, then they're on the path of truth.
 
So, if a person can't thank Hashem for his or her shortcomings, failures, and difficulties in life, then they can't get close to Hashem. Realize that if everything was the way you wanted it, you'd never seek H, G-d forbid. The Torah says so, וישמן ישורון ויבעט – and Jeshurun got fat and kicked.
 
Therefore, the most important thing a person has to learn and implement in life is to be satisfied with their lot in life and to thank Hashem for the particular path in life He designs for them. This is truth – when one succeeds in thanking Hashem for everything, accepting everything with happiness, being satisfied with his or her lot in life, then they can perform miracles like the famous tzaddikim. We should learn this principle over and over and internalize it that everything in life comes from Hashem and that He does everything for the best. With such knowledge one can be happy with his or her lot in life.
 
The Evil Inclination - the Yetzer - is an arch liar; he wants to convince us during difficult times that Hashem has forgotten us, G-d forbid. The exact opposite is true. Difficulties in life are the coupons that help us attain emuna. During difficulty, we have to put our brains aside and seek Hashem. Therefore, the most important prayer during times of stress is to ask Hashem for emuna. "Hashem, help me put my futile brain aside, and help me feel that I'm in your hands."
 
There's no better feeling than the feeling that I'm with Abba – my Father.
 
Take a look at all the depression despair and suicides – they're all because of a lack of emuna. When a person attributes things to himself – "I'm a failure, I can't succeed, etc." – that's nonsense! With emuna, one knows that difficulties are from Hashem, so one turns to Him for solutions. That way, there's no room for despair.
 
Our Gemara talks about Rebbe Hanina ben Dosa, one of the greatest tzaddikim that ever lived. What does the Gemara say? "The entire world is sustained by virtue of Rebbe Hanina ben Dosa, and Rebbe Hanina ben Dosa is satisfied with a bushel of carobs from Shabbat to Shabbat. You know what that means? Rebbe Hanina ben Dosa and his wife ate only carobs. They were so poor that they couldn't even afford bread. Yet, they were happy with their lot in life. They had emuna.
 
What happens with us? People chase after restaurants, after manufactured foods, and after all kinds of garbage that poisons their health. It destroys their bodies and murders their souls.
 
In prior generations, people lived simply – they'd eat a piece of stone-ground whole wheat bread, drink a glass of well water, and if they were lucky, they'd have a spoonful of olive oil. Just as their diets were simple, so was their faith.
 
Happy with our lot in life means that even if Hashem gives us carobs, then we're happy. Some people don't even have that.
 
Remember, when you have difficulties in life, don't blame yourself; everything comes from Hashem. Blamimg yourself for difficulties is heresy.
 
People ask, what is Hashem to blame when I commit a sin? Yes – he lets you commit a sin to show that you need to make Teshuva. Because, if you had real emuna, Hashem would guard you from the transgression.
 
Don't ever be discouraged – your setbacks are from Hashem. Hashem wants you to cling to Him and to try harder in learning emuna. Rebbe Natan of Breslev says that a person doesn't merit a true revelation of Hashem until he or she withstands extreme trials. So, if a person really cares about himself or herself, they won't ever retreat in the face of difficulty. H wants us to hold our ground in the face of all difficulty. With patience, each of us will merit our eventual salvation and our personal revelation of H's divine light.
 
Once a person tastes true emuna, he or she knows that it's the dearest asset a person could possibly have in this world.
 
So, don't ever be discouraged. Be happy with your lot in life, with the knowledge that Hashem is leading you down your personal tailor-made path in life, designed for you to fulfill your task in life and your mission on earth. So, once you strengthen yourself in emuna, you perfect yourself and you perfect the world, hastening the day when Hashem reigns over all nations, speedily and in our days, amen!
 
 
(We invite you to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody’s award-winning daily web journal Lazer Beams)




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