11 Kislev 5781 / Friday, November 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Staying Above it All    

Staying Above it All

There will always be people in our life who will stop at nothing to trip us up. They are G-d’s servants. They think they exist to bring us down, but it’s an illusion…


"What do you want in life? I don't care. As long as it is Hashem Who gives me." Rabbi Azriel Tauber


I can't believe he did that.


All I wanted to do was spend the next week sending out emails. I developed this list of about 2,000 prospects. After writing a few awesome offer letters, I knew that I would convert a good handful of them to sales.


It took me a month of hard work to develop that list. Now the time came to "put the ball in the net." I would listen to Torah lectures and good music while happily sending out each email, one by one. Just a happy robot about to take a great step forward in my career, not to mention my year-end bonus…


Then he lowered the boom.


"Dov, come into my office please."


I can't stand this guy. He may be the head of my department, but anyone who puts in the effort to excel becomes his enemy. He sees it as a threat to him so he has to shoot it down. After all my hard work, he was about to take it away.


"You are going to be a busy man this week my friend. Sheila is getting a little overwhelmed with her reports. You are going to have to help her out. I know you have that little project going on, but it will have to wait. She needs you, and I know how much you love being a team player."


Sheila's reports? They are the easiest tasks in the office. They take tons of time to compile, but it's not rocket science. He did this to keep me busy doing nothing for the next 2 weeks.


One can only guess what my mind was occupied with for the next couple of days.


That was when I learned something special about Emuna.


When I am learning Garden of Emuna or Duties of the Heart at home, in Shul, or even at a coffee shop, nobody is bothering me. There is nothing taxing my mind. The lessons easily move from my brain to my heart.


But when there is adversity it all flies away. All it takes is one small success and Hashem is no longer providing me my livelihood -- it is all due to my brilliance.


In one simple difficulty, like a boss taking a potshot, it is no longer G-d putting a stumbling block to test me. It is my boss holding me back. By getting lost in my own business, I suddenly anoint the man master of the universe.


As fast as I can learn about faith, I can just as quickly forget everything.


Then I take my coffee break. I listen to Duties of the Heart and it all comes back. The lessons of emuna return, not in the solitude of a Starbuck's, but in the war zone of a fiercely competitive work environment.


So what?


Hashem provides me with everything. I don't work in a business, Hashem is providing my family with all of our needs by choosing this particular venue for the next step in the journey He set out for me.


The boss isn't getting in the way of my advancement. That's up to Hashem. He decides. It is a chance for me to see Him managing the world even in what we see as the “darkest” areas of human adversity.


I reflect on this. It’s a sort of meditation as I clear my head of all the frustrations that have commandeered my mind. Then something miraculous happens. I forget about my boss. Even with him laughing with his secretary right beside me, I no longer care. It's not up to him. It never was. As hard as I work, and as hard as I intend to keep on working, it’s not up to me either.


My life isn't on my timetable, it's all on G-d's watch, and He never misses anything.


A rush of inner peace soothes my senses. I can continue, but without the stress.


Then it comes: something I never thought of. Why not help Sheila? For the next 4 weeks, I can spend part of the day doing her reports, and the rest sending out my emails. I will tell the boss “thank you” for thinking of me to support the team. He will be happy. Instead of 1 week of listening to Torah lectures all day, because this type of work is rote and my mind is free, I can continue for almost an entire month! Now I’m happy. Everybody is happy.


By the time this guy figures out exactly how I was doing what he told me to do, his supervisor will have already approved my bonus.


We all have situations like these. There will always be people in our life who will stop at nothing to trip us up. They are G-d’s servants. They think they exist to bring us down, but it’s an illusion. Their job is to get us to focus on being ticked off at them. They exist in our world to distract us  from acknowledging that Hashem runs every detail of our lives, and He isn’t taking a break. Not now, not ever.


The Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4).


At work, in the community, or just about anywhere in life when we get attacked by the usual suspects, the best thing to do is to double up  our learning of The Garden of Peace, and the Gate of Trust. Focus on Who is really doing this to you – and it’s not them. Clear your mind of all adversity. Focus solely on Hashem, and how He is really using these people as a prod to motivate you to do something wonderful.


Take a step away. Clear your mind of all anger, hate, or even frustration. Focus on replacing every thought about the source of your anger with He Who sent you this episode in your life for a reason.


Then wait. Hashem will reward you with a solution.

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