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Question: Everything is for the Good…

by Ephraim Portnoy


One of the basic fundamentals of our faith is to believe that everything that happens to a person is for the best. Is this just something we say in order that a person should have an easier time accepting hardships by knowing that it’s for his good?


Hashem created us because He wants us to recognize and know that only He rules the world, something which is concealed from us during our exile. But when Moshiach will come we will see that “Hashem and His Name are One”.

Chazal explain (Pesachim 30a) that now in exile He is also One, but we perceive in Him two different ways. Sometimes we see that He acts with kindness, over which we recite the blessing Baruch HaTov V’Ha’Meitiv, Blessed is the Good one who does goodness. Sometimes we see Him acting with a harshness, for which we don’t understand the cause, but we accept with the blessing HaDayan Ha’Emes, the True Judge.

When Moshiach will be here, such an awareness of Godliness will be revealed in the world that we will understand how everything which seems bad is really all for the best, until we will perceive how Hashem acts only with kindness and mercy. This is the meaning that “on that day Hashem will be one and His name one.”

This is what is referred to as knowledge and awareness of Hashem. There should be no difference for us between Hashem’s kindness and perceived harshness. Not only an intellectual understanding of the idea, but that we should really feel it and to actually rejoice with it just like by something which is obviously good.

The awareness that everything is for the best is something for which we have to work to achieve. It’s not just an idea meant to give us encouragement during difficult times. This is literally performing the mitzvah of unifying Hashem’s name, just as we are commanded to do so by reciting Kriyas Shema. It’s not enough to know that Hashem controls everything; the main thing is to know that everything He does, including what seems to be harsh, is really only the greatest kindness.


On the contrary, if this is something which we will only realize in the future, why should we want to already recognize it now?


Rav Saadya Gaon taught that the entire Torah is contained within the first of the Ten Commandments, “I am Hashem your G-d.”

The Rebbe explains this verse to be teaching us that the main thing we have to know is that “I am” both the kindness which is alluded to by “Hashem” and the perceived harshness alluded to by “your G-d”. “I” am both, and we must always praise Him, both at times of deliverance and at times of pain and weakness.

If the entire Torah is contained within this verse, then all that we should be searching for in our Yiddishkeit and our intentions in performing Mitzvos is in order to come to recognize the greatness of Hashem’s mercy, until there will be no difference for us between ‘kindness’ and ‘harshness’.

Furthermore, we have to know that even just to be a simple Jew is almost impossible if we don’t try to elevate ourselves to feel the delight of the Next World, to work on this key point of achieving a pure and clear faith in the goodness of Hashem’s mercy, and to praise Him for both the kindness and the harshness. If a person will look into himself he will realize that one of his greatest obstacles in prayer and Avodas Hashem is that there’s always a small bug that gets mixed into his mind; thoughts about confusions and concerns which make him feel bad, or spiritual failures and falls, which confuse him and prevent him from approaching Avodas Hashem with liveliness and joy.

We should take notice that this is really the case by every prayer and every time we approach anything holy. Our mind is very confused and troubled, if with distress about something material or troubles in spiritual matters. We therefore must enter into this search, to come to the recognition that there is no difference between kindness and harshness. In reality, everything is only for the best in order to bring us close to Him. Every experience, whether spiritual or material, is literally for the best. Only in such a manner can a person hold out in Avodas Hashem, and to truly connect to Hashem in prayer.


Is it possible that we realize here in this world a concept which is in essence from the Next World?


This is literally from the basics of Chassidus. This is why we try to come close to Tzaddikim. The Tzaddikim want to take us out of exile and to bring us the delights of the world to come already in our lifetimes. This is not something far off from reality. Someone who is attached to Tzaddikim and goes in their ways [in the three ways which we will explain in the coming essays on Torah 4] can literally merit this.

We have seen many people who started literally in the lowest depths and ascended to great heights.

Reb Noson once remarked that his portion of Moshiach has already come. Through his closeness to Tzaddikim he merited an essence of the future Redemption. The main Geulah is to merit to the salvation of our soul, as the Baal Shem Tov taught.

See the end of LKM I 4, in the story of Rabbah bar bar Chana, when a small bug enters the Jew and confuses him and he is unable to serve Hashem wholly. The Rebbe writes there, “What did this person do?” Breslover Chassidim would take much inspiration from these words. That person did not despair- he went to look what to do, as we will explain in the coming weeks. A person’s entire salvation depends on understanding that the Tzaddikim have a solution for him.

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