GIVE UP … AND GET
G-d (Hashem) wants us to change, first He gives us an opportunity to do so on
our own by providing specially directed means and methods and special days
throughout the year in which we can examine
our deeds, choose to make amends and alter our modes of behavior. Sometimes,
when we have not quite managed to make the necessary changes by ourselves, He
gives us a nudge . . . It is how we react to that “incentive” that determines
success or r’l failure. When we see the “nudge” as a positive force directed
towards us for our good and our growth then we are “reframing.”
For most of us,
reframing actually begins after we have given up. Until that point, we see the problem as being
outside of ourselves and are busy trying to fix it. It is only when we realize that we cannot fix
it, that we are able to look inside ourselves and find a deeper and far more lasting source of healing (refuah). If we “reframe” an experience that had plunged us into anxiety
or despair, we become the beneficiaries of
a most powerful source of enlightenment,
a source capable of guiding us up the ladder to the next step in spiritually (ruchnius), lighting the way for us in our spiritual
BECAUSE WE ARE
NOT IN CONTROL…
The first step in the
reframing process is fundamental. It requires
our staunch and unyielding determination to accept the fact that we are not in
control of what happens to us. The only aspect of our lives over which we are
given control is the freedom to try to make the right choices, however final
outcomes are out of our control. Why is this outlook a fundamental first
step? Because as long as we believe that
we have control over a given situation, we will struggle with trying to fix the
circumstances instead of working to accept them. Learning to reframe our negative
thoughts and replace them with a positive view comes about by realizing that it
is our attitude that we have the ability to modify and not necessarily the situation.
Unfortunately, as long as we are stuck in a mindset that tells us that we have
to change the circumstances, we will have no incentive to change ourselves. Of
course, we must be mindful of the fact that there are situations that do
require our effort, and claims of trust (bitachon) and faith (emuna) do not
give a license to sit back and wait for change to happen on its own; however,
here we are considering only those things that we can not alter.
READING THE MESSAGE
The second step calls
for us to treat the experience as a message or the person who has just insulted
us as a messenger. For example, the depth of sorrow we feel when we learn that
someone near to us has a serious problem, illness or passing can be seen as a
reflective moment to help us put things into perspective and be mindful of what
values in life are truly important. Through this we can re-strengthen our interpersonal
relationship with others as well as our personal obligations with Hashem.
Life’s trials are as individualistic and
unique as we are, however to a certain extent each of us can attempt to
decipher the inner meaning within difficult experiences by asking ourselves –
in a form of a prayer, not a complaint: What can I learn and how can I grow
from this test?
As long as we understand that the
events in our lives are perfectly designed, sent to us from Hashem and given to
us for our good, we can begin to use these challenges to help change our lives.
Once the taxing situation becomes reframed it becomes a positive tool for
THE NEW VIEW
Reframing trains us to
see the will of the Creator in all of the events in our lives, and thus enables
us to appeal directly to Hashem as the Source of Everything. It is like the man
who is speeding through red lights. When he is stopped, he explains to the
officer that he is bringing his wife, who is in labor, to the hospital. He is likely to get a police escort instead
of a ticket. However, those who see events
as “acts of nature” have no where to turn.
They are like the man caught driving through a red light by a traffic
surveillance camera that cannot respond to explanations.
Creator runs the physical world in the same way He runs the spiritual realm – in
order to allow us to understand His ways without having to become mystics or
seers. If a person chooses to believe
that events such as disease, famine, flood and accidents are dictated by the
laws of nature and are as immutable as the traffic surveillance camera in our
earlier example, then for that person any effort at prayer and supplication to
G-d will appear to be unavailing and the person will not seek and thus will not
find any means for avoiding the consequence. Indeed, that person is perhaps worse off than
the man who ran the red light. The
driver at least knows that he was ticketed because he was caught on a
The person who
does not see G-d’s omnipotence in nature, will not see the connection between
his actions and the events that flow from those actions and will not know where
to turn to try and exonerate himself.
When a person offers no defense at all in the Heavenly Court, the evidence is
considered without his testimony and a harsher judgment is pronounced that
might have been ameliorated with a sincere statement from the defendant.
On the other hand, when we recognize
that it is G-d who is directing nature and all events that occur are for the
purpose of guiding us toward a more complete recognition of His presence in
this world, then we will be able to act as our own advocates, turning directly
to the benevolent Creator in times of need.
When this happens, we arouse the attribute of mercy from on High and elicit
consideration by the Heavenly Court of the extenuating circumstances that motivated
We could well ask, “Why is this dialogue
necessary?” Doesn’t the Infinite Creator
consider our unspoken justification when entering judgment? G-d does not deny our unspoken rationale but
it is we who create a barrier between ourselves and G-d by refusing to
acknowledge the fact that He transcends the laws of “nature.” It is we who refuse to recognize that He can,
under appropriate circumstances, vindicate us.
The one condition for Heavenly
reprieve is to admit our errors, and resolve to do better in the future. When we turn sincerely to the Creator,
acknowledge His omnipotence and ask for His help and guidance when we have
drifted beyond the permissible boundaries, we will be directed toward a G-dly way
of life which will get us where we need to go, when we need to get there
without adverse results.
This is not to suggest that the Creator,
in all circumstances, will accept our plea-bargains, but, at the very least,
our outlooks will broaden, and we will be able to take a more holistic approach
toward understanding and accepting our particular circumstances. The deeper our
understanding of the fact that G-d tailors every circumstance in our lives in
order to teach, guide and help us to
grow spiritually, the more we will be
filled with sincere gratitude for our
allotted portions. As we progress
through our lives in this manner, following the Torah , Hashem will provide us
with the opportunity to enjoy a new,
elevated state of awareness.
This intimate relationship with
Hashem is available to all, regardless of age, intelligence or skills. The main
criteria are belief in G-d, willingness to follow His will and a sincere
humility. With these foundational principles in place, the Creator will bestow
upon us blessings of health, joy and peace. May we merit to re-enter the Palace
of the King soon in our days.
All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia
- THE RIGHT WORDS – TRUE STORY
- THE HIDDEN LIGHT – told to us from Rabbi Waxman – Monsey N.Y.