Born: 1890 (Rosh HaShanah)
WHY DON’T THEY LEARN?
SURGERY IN INSTALLMENTS
The big question on the world’s mind is – who won?! After another battle in
The question really isn’t so much about who won, as it is – especially to the Jewish people – are we actually progressing to our intended goal (world peace – aka “the coming of our righteous redeemer” and the immediate redemption)? We’ve certainly been through enough wars already. As the cliché goes – with apologies – the battle is being won but what of the war?!
We’ve seen the Creator of the world set up Divine Providence to the Jewish people being granted an entire state – with world permission – in 1948. What a win that war was! Apparently the Jewish people got their own state and “independence”! What about the 1956 Sinai Campaign? What about the 1967 “6 Day War”? The Israelis have certainly showed “who’s boss!” (but not yet quite – who’s Boss!) Then there was the 1973 Yom Kippur war too. Haven’t they been through enough yet?! What happened to Israeli independence – the one the world agreed upon (apparently?!) in 1948?! There have been other wars too, and notably the last war in
But, is there really a winner here – in any of these wars? Or are we just keeping the media and armies busy to make the world think we’ve reached – or are about to immediately – world peace?!
Imagine the foolish doctor performing surgery on his patient in need of a complete surgical procedure. The doctor cuts… and those watching shout out BLOOD BLOOD!!! STOP! The doctor stares at all in amazement… then seals the wound and brings the patient back from his anaesthetic. The patient groans in pain. “Don’t worry,’ the doctor says, “We’ll be doing some more tomorrow!” The next day arrives… and there’s blood again. The doctor feels they should do a little more though. So he fiddles around with some body parts – when all of a sudden the nurse screams, “Doctor… you’ve moved his heart to the side… STOP!” Well, the nurse certainly knows what she is talking about having studied years of surgery. She’s also familiar with the patient, having consulted with him a dozen times before the major surgery.
The doctor puts everything back again… seals everything up, and brings the patient back to consciousness again. The patient groans in severe pain this time. “Don’t worry,” the doctor says… “We’ll do some more… tomorrow!”
Is this the behaviour of a knowledgeable surgeon? He operates in instalments, never actually getting through the entire operation, because everybody screams to him that he’s drawn blood, or moved something where they believe it shouldn’t be? When will it end? When will the doctor finally do what needs to be done?! How long will he listen to those who have no knowledge of what is really happening? How long will he let the patient suffer for… or does he even care?!
The current war has been no different. The words of the Rebbe in the video below boldly indicate the dangers of the behaviour of our current “leaders.” When will we learn?!
The times we are living in are filled with mystery. Is there anywhere we can search that will help us understand some of the secrets of life today?!
Rabbi Nachman taught that the greatest secrets of life can be found through the telling of “simple” stories. Stories that even a young child is able to enjoy. On the surface, stories seem fun and enjoyable. Inside, they contain the mysteries of life itself. Much like the entire first book of the Five Books of Moses – completely filled with stories of a variety of great men who are ultimately responsible for the revelation of monotheism in the world.
Rabbi Nachman was a master story teller. He is well known for 13 “lengthy” stories and dozens of others, each one filled with greater fantasy – than the next! You’ll hear about spiders and flies, about magic castles, about a master of prayer and some beggars. Most of all, Rabbi Nachman speaks about life itself – as it is lived day to day. Your life – and mine.
These beautiful stories were translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Included at the bottom of each page is a masterful commentary put together from a variety of authoritative sources.
If it’s the mysteries of life you’re after, you’ll find them hidden in this book. Of course, one reading may not be sufficient, and you may have to keep returning many more times. With 552 pages of “entertainment” available, it’s sure to keep you busy for hours on end!
It’s really a must for every Jewish home. You don’t have to be a scholar to read it – it’s so simple to read! And if you are a scholar, you’ll need years to master its contents.
Don’t wait another moment.
Purchase Rabbi Nachman’s Stories TODAY!
If you’re looking for other worthwhile books, do see the Torah Treasure Store and make a purchase from the comfort of your home.
JUDGING G-D FAVORABLY
The Mishna in Pirkei Avot – Ethics of our Fathers – teaches us to judge people favourably. The idea is a simple one. If we have never lived the lifestyle of another, how can we come to suddenly make judgments about them – in anything? It seems too obvious an issue to actually ignore, but come what may – the test is huge. It’s easy to judge ourselves favourably at all times, but when it comes to another, we can think up billions of reasons as to why they should have or could have done things differently. It’s a tough test – make no mistake!
It’s not the subject of this article however. This article takes things one step further. Imagine for a moment the idea of judging another favourably – because you have never lived their lives and therefore don’t know why they have done what they have – to coming to judge G-d Himself favourably! Who could ever have lived G-d’s life?! Besides, what does it mean to judge G-d favourably?
We’ve all heard the famous story. In fact the entire story has turned itself into a cliché. It goes something like this:
When something “bad” happens to one, one must always think that G-d does everything for the good. The story – Ploni Almoni is getting ready for his flight to
Ploni arrives at the airport with just 2 minutes before the plane is about to take off, and begins ranting and raving to all and sundry that the plane must wait – HE’S ARRIVED!!! But, the pilots have another agenda – not to mention schedule! And the plane takes off…
Within moments of taking flight, something goes horribly wrong and there’s a disaster. Of course all this while, Ploni has been screaming the most unmentionable “French words” possible. He becomes angry with G-d Himself for allowing him to become drunk – for allowing him to oversleep – for allowing the plane to take off – without him! Suddenly… within moments, his attitude changes as he realises his life is spared…
This story is of course a true one and there are many who can testify to such incidents happening to themselves. How many stories became known of those who for some odd reason simply never made it to work on September 11 2001?! We can imagine well their feelings when they missed work – both before… and after the disaster.
I suppose it’s all about judging G-d favourably and knowing that He knows about everything better than we do. And when we miss that all important bus, plane, train or taxi – that there’s really a good reason why it happened! Our problem is in trying to work out what the disaster could possibly have been had we actually made our plans a “reality.” An impossible task, as nobody can ever know what would be – if it hadn’t been! So when we miss the bus, can we ever tell if something negative was meant for us and that this was for our best? Can we tell that even if nothing apparent good happened to us during this time – that this was *still* for our best?!
But we must. Judging another favourably is tough… but judging G-d favourably is infinitely harder. And yet, it’s the corner stone of absolute faith!
I think I got a dose of my own medicine recently. In fact yesterday it seemed to all come together. I’d like to share my story with you as crazy as my thinking had sounded way back then.
Recently I had joined a great site on the Internet known as Liveperson. It’s a site that allows one to act as an expert of sorts to help people solve their problems. I chose the role of Rabbi to teach over Judaism, Torah and anything Jewish. Baruch Hashem, people must have liked the photograph, and clicked on my name a few times and I had some really successful sessions, teaching others and helping them with some general Jewish questions. The great thing about this site is that it allows you to choose your own income, which means you get paid a per-minute charge of whatever you like. You can choose up to $20 per-minute (if you feel you’re that good!) Actually there are some who do – and who are successful with this too. (So much for those who believe that the harder one breaks one’s body, the more one is likely to be able to support oneself!)
Business on this site had slowed down a little. I keep my software loaded whenever I’m by my computer and hope and pray someone will call when I am available so that I can generate additional income. But nobody had called on that particular day…
It just happened to be that on the day of the funeral of Rabbi Gabi and Rivki Holzberg HYD, just about morning time (when I still had time) a call came through! As things turned out, I had tried another logic and had increased my “per-minute charge” to a much larger amount. And a call came through!
The caller was adamant that he needed to understand more about G-d. He became very philosophical, but wanted to know the truth. He was upset by a number of points I had made to him – especially those concerning that I couldn’t actually show him G‑d in the flesh. In fact, he tried his hardest to prove to me that the whole of religion and G-d was a man-made thing, and that we actually all come from frogs, fish, apes, and a variety of other interesting creatures that he came up with.
I didn’t mind. I was being paid per minute. I was doing my best to point him in the right direction. He was certainly paying (the system doesn’t allow talking without paying. It’s clearly visible.) And he wanted more. We had been talking for an hour, and while there was much time before the funeral, we had decided to leave early as we were getting a ride in. Naturally I felt a pulling telling me to stay longer. We were by no means late for the funeral and here I was making a small fortune. Needless to say, the Mitzvah of accompanying those who have passed on was far greater than a few dollars, and so we left. I do remember mumbling to myself quite a bit that I could have gained a lot more money had I stayed talking to him. It would have helped with the rent! He certainly wanted to continue the discussion and was apparently enjoying it. At the same time, I may have actually helped him to “see the light”, so talking a bit longer (and making a little extra money) would have done us all some good.
I was looking forward to my latest check from Liveperson, although it never arrived. I checked the site out and saw written next to this thief’s name that he had declined the charge that had appeared on his credit card! When I confronted Liveperson about this, they simply explained that these things happen and that they cannot make a person pay for something if they argue about the credit card charge. (Perhaps they base this on the possibility that someone was using a stolen card and the owner therefore claimed he had not used it.)
The importance of the Mitzvah was far more important than a few dollars. But could it have been possible that I was a little upset that the call had come just when I was about to leave? After all, this thief had wanted to chat the entire afternoon. I could well have made a substantial amount of money. Of course, in reality, I would have actually lost a few hours of time – wasted, on someone not worthy to be told the time of day.
Judging G-d favourably would have helped me before I had even begun the conversation. It would have made me realise that in fact, what would have been better, would have been for the connection to be dropped and the call ended – immediately. I would have certainly been upset at having lost an income. But obviously, I would never have known that the income was never in the coming!
What of dropped connections?! Actually Liveperson does not have a good connection in
Yesterday, everything came together. I had a repeat client contact me again. We spoke for some time and the call did in fact drop. I was really upset about this, as once again, this meant I would lose further income. What I didn’t know… is that when this happened, the client wrote in a comment about my service, complimenting me and thanking me…. The client joined up again, and when the call ended, made *another* comment – giving me two reviews in one day – both good!
It seems that even though the call dropped and it appeared that I had lost out – again – that in fact I had only gained.
None of us can understand things when they don’t seem to go right for us. But if we were to know what might have been hidden by “the road not taken” – we might suddenly realise that in fact however the situation has turned out – it is indeed for the good. What often looks like good, may well turn out not to be. And what often looks like the opposite – may well in fact have truly been “a blessing in disguise.”
Judging G-d favourably is probably our best ticket into helping us cope with the challenges of life – when they just don’t seem good. And let us not be fooled by those challenges when everything seems to simply go our way. Instead… just let G-d.