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Parshot Festivals

Positively brilliant

  • RabbiLandau (2)
In this week’s parsha, some of the Jewish people are taken to task for complaining. First, they complained of exhaustion as a result of their travels in the desert, and second, they complained about the manna that Hashem gave them as food. In both cases, Hashem was actually being kind to them! He made them travel quickly in order to enter the land of Israel, and the manna He fed them was a miraculous food that gave energy, satiation, and helped them to think.
by Rabbi Yonatan Landau, Ohr Somayach Savoy | Jun 20, 2019

A lesson here is that the Torah demands a positive perspective.

When thunder and lightning herald a rainstorm, people often grumble and complain. However, the grey clouds overhead should appear as a promise of all the good things in life. The falling rain is, in a sense, a shower of watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries, cherries, apples, and every other form of luscious fruit and nourishing vegetable. The rain means cotton and other fabrics. It means grass, which becomes wool, leather, meat, and dairy products. If a grocery company delivered a vast quantity of free merchandise, would the recipient grumble while his kitchen was being cluttered with boxes and crates?

The Talmud in Berachos relates an incident: Rabbi Akiva was travelling, and he sought lodging at a certain town. The people refused to accommodate him for the night. Rabbi Akiva’s response was, “Whatever Hashem does is for the best.” Left with no choice, he went to sleep in a field. He had with him three possessions – a rooster, a donkey, and a lamp. While in the field, the wind blew and his lamp was extinguished. Then a cat came and killed his rooster. Finally, a lion attacked and killed his donkey. As each misfortune befell him, Rabbi Akiva responded by saying, “Whatever Hashem does is for the best.” That night, a group of bandits pillaged the town, but Rabbi Akiva was spared, because he was not noticed by the outlaws. He was not given away by the light of his lamp, or the crowing of his rooster, or the braying of his donkey. When he heard about what happened, Rabbi Akiva told the people of the city, “Did I not tell you that whatever Hashem does is for the best?”

What was the point of his last statement? Ben Ish Chai explains that Rabbi Akiva was teaching the townspeople why he had been spared. Since he reacted to his rebuffing with positivity and trust in Hashem, Hashem came to his aid. Rabbi Akiva was advising them to get into the habit of doing the same so that they, too, would reap the benefits.

May we make the effort to see the beauty, and get a true perspective of the amazing world that Hashem has given us!

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