I thank G-d, my dearest and deepest Friend, Who has brought me to this moment. It’s a delight to have the opportunity to share by blogging what I’ve been given, and what has helped me. I hope that it helps others, too.
The Mishnah says, “One should bless G-d for the bad [that happens in our lives] in the same way as for the good, as it says, “…you shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might…’with all your might’ means [regardless of] whatever treatment is meted out to you.” (Berachot 54a; mishnah 9:5)
“One G-d” means that all things come from only one, Divine Source. To acknowledge that all that happens to us – what we like and what we don’t like – comes from a single Source is a major step in spiritual learning and growth.
We show even higher understanding when we thank G-d for whatever happens, as it’s all for our ultimate Good. It can be easy enough to thank G-d when we like what’s happening; more difficult when we don’t. But that’s the more important challenge. When the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and came to some bitter waters, Moses threw an old tree in, and the waters became drinkable and “sweet.” Likewise, when we thank G-d in the midst of discomfort, we can similarly transform that discomfort into something more like the sweetness of our deepest moments of prayer.
It’s a fundamental challenge we all have. We might have very “high” experiences in prayer or meditation, etc., but afterwards, when we have to deal with daily annoyances, discomforts, disappointments, crises and so on, do we maintain the same peacefulness and happiness? The Talmud is telling us: We meet G-d in events, as much as we meet G-d in prayer.
If we believe that one G-d is in charge of all things, why should we worry? Why should we resent people who treat us with disrespect? All is from G-d, isn’t it?
But it can be an ongoing, lifelong struggle for us to apply that idea in daily events.
Rabbi Mar ben Ravina, after every required daily prayer, would add: “…To those who insult me let my soul be silent.” His words were absorbed into the daily prayers many say even today. I used to think that it was a “nice” thing to pray for. Now, I realize how crucial it is. Regardless of why we believe in G-d, transforming our daily reactions – which we can only really do with G-d’s help, of course – is an enormous part of how, in practical terms, we believe, and what our belief means to us.
It becomes much easier to do, when we attribute the problems to G-d, rather than to another source. If G-d is good, then everything that’s done by G-d is good. If G-d never changes, G-d’s goodness never changes, either. If it doesn’t seem that way to us, we might – with G-d’s help – adjust our interpretation of what’s happening to us.
When we do, we can find G-d’s Peace present for us, with us and in us.
On part of the gemorrah to this mishnah, see: