A Kind Father
Imagine your father. You ask him for what you need – he will surely give it to you if he has the means.
G-d always has the means. He is your Father in Heaven.
In life, one encounters :
Times of smooth sailing – where everything goes your way.
Times where you steam ahead – advancing, spiritually and materially.
Times of rocky waters or where the tide pushes you backwards.
All are good.
As Hash-m is the essence of all good, only good emanates from Him. All good in the world emanates from Him.
Why Bad things Happen to Good People
But how could it be, that it is always good?
Joseph lost his job. Jonathan lost money in the Stock Market. Solomon lost a shidduch / match.
G-d not only determines what you should receive but when. After viewing the past, present and future, He determines whether receiving it is good for you at this point in time. A greater perspective than ours, of just several years.
If making money will distance you from Him – perhaps now is not the time for that raise. Perhaps that match was not the right one for you. Maybe losing in the NASDAQ gave you motivation to reflect on the proper perspective in life. Perhaps the loss of the Job will encourage one to pray with more fervor, take upon new Mitzvahs and find a better Job and a happier medium.
As G-d has the perfect perspective, it follows that some prayers allow for His input. Prayer is such, that if you pray enough for something, you will receive it – even though it is not in your best interest. Rather than pray:
“Oh G-d please help me to marry David Cohen.”
Perhaps he is not a suitable match for you.
A more intelligent way to pray is:
“Oh G-d please help me to marry the best person suited for me. May he have good qualities, like generosity, kindness, being affable, having a good heart and good Torah values that we will be able live with closeness to you and to raise children in the way that you would be proud of.”
Steering the Ship and the Situation
When we encounter a challenge – it is not time to shut down.
Our job is to steer the ship.
G-d wants us to steer the ship in the way that will bring out the best in us and the best for the world – thus we have challenges, deceptions and triumphs.
Our means to steer include prayer, faith in G-d’s goodness, belief in his ability and willingness to give it to us and a solid effort – materially and to advance spiritually.
Does Every Cloud Have a Silver Lining?
Once a person was riding a motorcycle around a winding mountain road. Suddenly a truck came in the opposite direction. He veared off the road, off a high cliff. Letting his motorcycle tumble down and crash, he was able to grab a branch and remain there until help arrived. Proud about his personal miracle the rider boasted to the Rabbi – Rabbi Noach Weinberg – of Aish HaTorah in the Old City. Rav Noach replied “Who do you think put the truck in your path?”
Some live day to day with cute Aphorisms (look it up – I had to too) like:
“Every Cloud has a Silver Lining”
According to Torah it is not that there is a challenging situation and then there is a bit of good that comes out of it. The Torah’s perspective is that cloud was made for the silver lining.
The person who reflects upon past challenges will see that it is true.
The reflective person will take the challenge and milk it for all the lessons and guidance that it provides to become a better person according to Torah. Like when you get a flat tire. Or for example – that cliff hanger – that went to see the Rabbi for meaning when he was saved from danger.
Use the lessons and your ability to overcome past challenges to give you strength for the current ones.
The challenge is not to see whether a situation will turn out for the good – for it will surely come out good – the challenge is have enough patience and faith to see the good come to fruition.
The Proper Path
Sometimes we are in doubt what is the right path to choose.
Keep in mind with Mitzvot you never lose.
As Hash-m is overflowing with kindness – His work – the Torah – also overflows with kindness. He wrote it such that the best path to choose in all situations will be the Mitzvot.
All the Mitzvot that G-d gives us are for our Good – and that we more closely adhere to them is the purpose of the challenge.
A businessman was having trouble selling a building in Mexico City. The week he decided to start observing the Sabbath – someone wanted to purchase the building. Approaching the time of Shabbat on Friday afternoon, the businessman stopped his negotiations to be able to properly prepare for Shabbat. “We’ll continue negotiations next week.” he said. The next week – the man did not return to the negotiating table. That week there was a earthquake in Mexico City. Many buildings were demolished. His remained. Demand and the price of his building increased substantially. His decision to observe the Shabbat helped him financially and spiritually.
Encountering challenges, some just write them off as coincidence or ignore them – emerging no better or worse from the lesson. A Lost opportunity.
Some want to reinvent the wheel.
Some want to ride the waves.
What can we learn?
Have a positive perspective – Feel good about yourself and the future. Believe in yourself. Put in your prayers and effort. Have faith in the one who said “Let There be Light” and you will see soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The past has passed; the future is not yet; the present is a fleeting moment. So why worry?
– Avraham Ibn Ezra, 11th Century Torah Scholar, Jewish Philosopher and Poet