Cradled in Hashem's Hands

Thursday, 27 February, 2020 - 10:34 pm

Everything around us seems to be in upheaval. There is the coronavirus pandemic, with hundreds, and even thousands of people infected each week. As a result, the economy and the markets are in chaos. People are anxious about their health. People are anxious about their finances. Furthermore, there is widespread apprehension about the political situation in our country. The impending elections are a source of stress for a lot of people all across the political spectrum. And if US politics is not enough to drive people mad, Israel is going to a third election in less than a year, with concerned parties in an absolute tizzy. In addition to the global issues, everybody is dealing with something in their own personal life. It may be in the area of health, finances, relationships, work, any or all of the above, or something else altogether.

Yet we Jews are expected to embrace the new month of Adar that started this week, with the attitude of “Mi’shenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha – when Adar enters, we increase in Joy.” How are we supposed to balance this paradoxical state of existence? How can we be joyful in the face of the upheaval and uneasiness about our personal issues and those affected society as a whole?

My great-uncle Reb Sholom Deitsch began undergoing heart trouble in his 40s. Every day he experienced symptoms similar to heart attack and his quality of life nose-dived very quickly. In a private audience with the Rebbe in 1969, after describing his medical situation, he exclaimed to the Rebbe that he feels as though his life is in total chaos and he could not function on any level. The Rebbe replied to him, “Reb Sholom, ir ligt doch bei dem Aibershter in di hent – you are being cradled in Hashem’s hands.” If you are in Hashem’s hands then you know you are in the best place possible. There is no need for feeling that your world is caving in on you in a fit of chaos. If you are in Hashem’s hands then you can be tranquil. My great-uncle passed away later that year from his heart condition. But the rest of his days were spent in relative tranquility with the Rebbe’s calming words in his mind.

Now let’s return to the Adar attitude. If we live on an island of tranquility in a world of chaos, then we can also not only accept the concept of joy, but we can even embrace it. In fact, what are sages are explain to us is that “how can we increase our “Adar-ness?” How do we mitigate the effect of the challenges that life has placed before us? Through Simcha – joy.

May we truly come to realize that we are cradled in Hashem’s hands thereby enabling us to live joyful and meaningful lives. Happy Adar!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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