Today I visited an elderly person in the hospital, someone who was deeply affected by the Holocaust. Although of advanced age, the person was mentally sharp, completely. The illness for which treatment was needed is stemming from the emotional impact of being afraid of what is happening today in the world. Sadness, fear for the future generations, and shock.
We spent quite a long time talking. Why is this happening? What will be?
The basic thing that we always know is that no matter what, it is from Hashem so that we turn to Him. We cannot understand the details of what we see beyond that. But when we see suffering, tragedy, calamity, and pain, that is our opportunity to remember that we are creations and that there is a Creator Who creates us.
The obvious mistaken judgment we make from our natural reasoning and understanding is if He loves us, why is this happening?
Here are some stories to help:
Let’s start with Adom and Chava. Hashem made Adom and Chava as one person, He then separated Chava from Adom. Chava was not made as a separate being from the dust like Adom. Everything of Chava came from Adom. It is clear that Adom would love her, for she is him.
By analogy, it is similar to Hashem creating the soul of man. Hashem creates one soul. He breathes into it from His depths an effluence that gives the soul the ability to experience life in a body. It is not possible that Hashem does not love what is a part of Him. Furthermore, nothing that exists is not a part of Him. All the forces and powers that Elokim creates contain this inner compassion, this breath of His Love, as the root of its existence. He may hide, but He creates man with the ability to know that He exists and to relate to the soul of everything as Hashem.
Here is a summary of a story from Garden of Miracles by Rabbi Arush:
There was a wealthy businessman who was successful but who was not well-liked due to his middos. He was planning to do a project on the 17th floor of a building in Tel Aviv when some scam artists re-directed him to invest in a land deal in Romania. The land was not able to be developed and the man lost his investment as well as the previous opportunity and he ended up losing all his wealth. He had to go to a loan company that happened to be on the 17th floor of the building he might otherwise have developed. They gave him a sack of cash and, in his remorse, he went up to the roof for a few quiet moments, only the door slammed behind him and he was stuck – no phone, no one could hear him. He was 34 stories up. Who would find him? He started to throw money off the roof hoping someone would look up. No one did, they took the money and never looked up. So he threw the whole bag off. Still no one looked up. What would he do? He then saw some pebbles on the roof and began throwing them off the roof one by one, hoping someone would look up. And they did, and called the police, who then rescued him. He had an awakening. When all was going well, he never thought to look up. But when Hashem started throwing suffering and loss upon him, he came up to the roof to look up. He did teshuva. And then the land deal came back into a reality and he regained his wealth.
Here is another way of saying it.
Imagine that your husband comes to you and says that the credit card bill is $30,000! You take a look and see that it is obvious fraud. No one would say oh well, let’s just pay it, what can we do, a thief is sharing our money. We call the bank and cancel the credit card! We would ask them to restore the funds! And they would.
In the same way, when we have a challenge, we must know that it is for our very good. Hashem is telling us that something we are doing is pouring our holy soul into something false and negative and to cancel that credit card! Do teshuva! Shine compassion!
How do we cancel the card? We go beyond reason and understanding . We have the intention of recovering all the part of our soul that have been poorly invested in this falsehood. We admit, we regret, we apologize, and we have a plan for the future.
Hashem please take all of the compassion that I have mixed up with falsehood and please take the compassion from where it is trapped in falsehood and restore that compassion to me so that I feel Your love and mercy and can thereby reveal it. And please, because I regret the place I erred, please give the “credit card” of the natural magnet I followed – the compassion that animates this place in my brain– to me as well, in the very place in my physical being where the falsehoods otherwise attract me. I wish only to reveal Your compassion.
By willing for the compassion to be separated from the dross, we are given credit for participating in Hashem’s response. How?
What we seek is the return to Him of compassion He invests as hidden so that we may reveal it. Willingness to do a mitzvah counts as if we do the mitzvah! In this way, we take part in removing a coarseness from our hearts, in circumcising our hearts.
Dynamically this takes place by concentrating our full heart on love for Hashem and awe of Hashem. These two mitzvahs begin the placement of real awareness of Hashem and His love for us in our hearts.
The mitzvahs open a channel and our awareness that we are aware of Hashem and of our existence becomes a bridge between the spiritual and physical worlds. For this, our own understanding becomes expanded, our emunah strengthened and our identity for all eternity becomes one that we remembered Hashem and used free will to participate in an effort that gives us a sense of being involved with the Creator Himself on a microscopic willful level. Hashem gives us the credit. That translates to an experience for all eternity without the bread of shame. We “earn” connection to Him without the feeling of not being able to attain to being the Creator because we literally willed to make this creative act, going beyond the test of reason and understanding.
Whatever He does is good. We let go of the result.
We have not been left alone in a dark world without Hashem. Hashem is asking us to look up. We are His creations, the bridge He intends for His compassion to shine into the world. It is up to us. We are not the cover over the flashlight. We are the flashlight. We have emunah to go beyond the reason and understanding of the body. And when the body and natural reason and understanding submit, and we open our mouths with love and awe in our heart, knowing that He is all good and it is up to us, we restore olam haba consciousness to our hearts. This is healing. We have real free will.
May we each feel empowered to re-interpret the challenges we see so that we hear Hashem’s love for us in the challenge – call the bank and cancel the credit card! Your spiritual account is being stolen by the forces of darkness. You’ve been hacked!
May we use our free will and speech to beseech Hashem to please restore all the compassion to us so that we may once again feel His love and reveal it.