I’ll admit that I’m fascinated by the insight Ben is able to bring to a subject from a solely Jewish perspective. Yes, shout out to you, Ben!
I strive to do the same. The wisdom of our sages runs deep, and it constantly amazes me how many things that seemingly come from other places, can be traced back to Judaism and especially Kabbalah and gems like Pirkei Avos.
But I also know I sometimes meander into the secular world. But maybe that’s my purpose. Maybe my place is to bridge the gap between deep Judaism and other things. Maybe I’m here to exist in both worlds. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that whole life meaning and purpose part out… so if you have any ideas, let me know.
One thing I’ve learned for sure on this journey… yes, now I sound like Oprah… is that Hashem creates everything… EVERYTHING!
What this means to me is simple… every lesson I learn, everything I hear, no matter where it comes from, is created by Hashem. Sometimes that will be from Jewish sages and wisdom, Rabbis and teachers… and sometimes it may be from something or someone else with a decidedly non-Jewish bent.
Intention is a big thing for me. We have little to no control over results. We do, however, have control over our intentions. Judaism teaches us that our main intention is actually quite simple… Believe in G-d and always stay connected to Him. Always strive to serve G-d by ALWAYS doing the right thing, and do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. I keep coming back to this notion.
Intention goes for us, but it also MUST give us insight into others. Too often family and friends will say something that just hits us the wrong way and we go off. Instead of realizing that their intention was nothing but good, we react to the tone, the words, the way it came out. Now, I do have a friend who I’ve asked many times to nottell me things I already know because it just adds extra and unnecessary stress onto my already very full plate of stress. This needs to be honored, as well. But I need to realize that MOST of the time, his intentions are in the right place.
The best lesson I’ve ever heard on this subject comes from Tzvi Freemandistilling the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. For Counting The Omer Day 4(Netzach ShebeChesed) he writes:
“Sometimes it happens that you set out to do something with the best of intentions – and you end up with what appears the opposite.
Know that with absolute certainty – because this is a tradition of our sages – that if your true intent is good, then from it only good can emerge.
Perhaps not the good you intended – or care for – but good nevertheless.”
This is why we need to always strive to do the RIGHT thing and not the NICE or KIND thing. Right is objective… Nice and kind are subjective and based on what WE think.This notion has also redefined hurt and pain for me, I’m not fully there yet… Not even close… but knowing and believing that G-d loves me and is looking out for me, means I also must try to find the good in “bad” things, and know that there will be lessons and good things coming, even though I may not be able to see them yet.
This came to me recently from Deepak Chopra in his (and Oprah’s) Free 21 Day Meditation… and yes, for one day, they even quote the Talmud!
“We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
Which can also be tied directly into Rabbi Noah Weinberg’s (OBM):
“Listen with your ears and not with your position.”
Though the message that really hit home for me recently was this:
“Extend your appreciation beyond positive relationships, to include situations and individuals that have created difficulties in your life. See if you can expand your awareness to find the ways in which these uncomfortable relationships or circumstances have directed your growth in ways you truly needed but would not have chosen on your own.
When you can accept and be grateful for even these difficult aspects of life you have discovered the hidden gifts in your spiritual journey.”
– Deepka ChopraNow, what really inspired this whole post was a text from a friend. She’s dealing with some tough health issues and is an incredible and fighting soul. I wish her a complete and total Refuah Shlema. She said something that was deeply personal and deeply based in her Christian faith. And if we’re so locked down in our own camps, we may ignore and not hear these amazing and needed lessons.
But knowing the true intention and the amazing place of love it was coming from… and how she felt she was being TOLD to tell me this message, I listened with fully open ears and open heart.
I won’t share the exact message, but she said I needed to turn my eyes and energies and efforts toward G-d and that when I do, when I fully connect, is when I will find all that I am longing for… success in love and career and life. And it is then that G-d will use the skills He has endowed me with to allow me to more fully connect with community and connect with the world.
I have been feeling so lost lately. My connection with me is gone… and my connection with Hashem has been strained and not nearly as powerful as it needs to be and should be. And this… THIS… was the exact message I needed to hear. So thank you, R. Thank you more than you know. Thank you for your loving intentions and words and wisdom. I have heard you and I have heard the message… And this post is for you.