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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Playing G0D better than He does

By Rabbi B. Shafier





I would have the perfect life --- if only the Lord would just get out of my way!!!

JewishWorldReview.com | Eighty percent of our faith problems and ninety percent of our questions on the Divine stem from one mistake—we play G0D. Playing G0D means I know exactly what I need.


  • I need to marry that woman.

  • I need that job.

  • I need my child to get into that school.


I've talked to Him about it. I've explained it. I've even brokered deals. "If You grant me this, I'll…"

Yet for some reason, He just won't listen.

"Hey, G0D, what's the deal? Are You angry with me? Are You punishing me? Why do You insist on making my life so difficult? This is what I need. Why won't You just listen to me?"

And I go on asking questions. "It's not fair. It doesn't make sense! G0d, what do You want from me?"

The problem here is quite simple—I am playing G0D. And I'm not G0D. The simple reality is that maybe, just maybe, it's not going because it's not supposed to go. Maybe He knows better than I do what is for my best. "Hmmmm .. . I never thought about that . . . "

LESSON LEARNED, NOT MASTERED
This is peculiar because I've lived through situations that didn't turn out as I thought they would. I absolutely had to have that job; it was just what I needed. I could earn a living, support my family, and still have time to learn. It was the perfect fit. In the end, I didn't get the job, and I had major questions. "G0D, why?! Why aren't You there for me?" Then, five years later, I find out that the entire industry is being shipped over to India. Oh . . .

A different time, I tried to marry that woman. She was perfect; great match, good family. She would make a fantastic wife and mother for my children. And it didn't go. "G0D, why have you abandoned me? This is what I need!" She ended up marrying someone else. Then, two years later, I find out that the term "mentally unstable" is a mild description of her situation. Hmmmm . . .

Then it was my son. My son absolutely, positively, had to get into that class; it was just what he needed. Inspiring teacher, great atmosphere—it was perfect. And the administrator wouldn't approve. "G0d, why? Where are You?" Then, two months later, I found out that there's a child in that class who would have been the worst possible influence on my son. It would have been devastating. Hmmmm . . .

PART OF HUMAN NATURE
The ironic part is that we do this all the time. We act as if we truly know what is best for us. We run after it. We hotly pursue it.

"No obstacle will stand in my way. Nothing will prevent this from coming about."

And when lo and behold, my efforts are thwarted—the questions begin. "But, why? It's not fair! I am a good person. G0D, why won't You just help me?"

It's easy to see the folly of this when other people do it, but when it happens in my world, then the real challenge begins. To break out of this, we need to change perspective.



(DIVINE) FATHER KNOWS BEST
The concept we need to embrace is that He knows better than I do what is best for me. As smart as I may be, and as clear as it is to me that this is what I need, He still knows better. This is a requisite of having bitachon, trust in the Divine.

In theory, this should be easy to see. After all, how much do I know? How far into the future can I really see? But the problem isn't in the world of theory. The problem is in my world—in the thick and thin of life.

It's when I know so clearly that this is what I need and it's not happening that the challenge begins. So I go back and forth in my mind. "Yes, I would like to trust Him, but . . . how can I possibly believe that He is doing this for my good? I know it's not true. You can't ask me to accept something I know is false. If I weren't sure, it would be one thing, but this is so clear and so obvious. I know what I need."

THE SOLUTION: THE BIGGER PICTURE
The solution is to put some perspective into my thinking. Often it requires talking to myself, having actual conversations in my mind where I challenge myself.

"Let's see . . . Who should I trust—myself or Him? Well, let's do the math.

Who am I? Who is the Divine?

"He created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain. He wrote the formulas for quantum physics and molecular biology. He views the entire universe with one glance. He sees the future as the past. And He has the wisdom to see far-reaching results. What will this bring to ten years from now? What will the consequences be twenty years from now?


STIMULATION AND INSPIRATION

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"I, on the other hand, see about two inches in front of my face. I make mistakes. I get confused and caught up. I forget. I forget lessons. I forget facts. I forget consequences. I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning. And as much as I think I know, I am often wrong. That which I think will be so good for me, so many times isn't.

"He, on the other hand, remembers every event since Creation. He sees from one end of history to the other. And He made me. He is my Creator, and He knows me even better than I do, so He understands my needs better than I do. "Who do I think has it right? Me or Him? Me or Him? Hmmmm. Let me get back to you on that one."


Previously:

Resolved: How to grasp the incomprehensible

Of course life is 'fair' . . . not that it matters

Why happiness will always be elusive

Travel Brochures and the World to Come

Your role of a lifetime

A Yellow Belt in Five Styles

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JWR contributor Rabbi B. Shafier is the author, most recently, of Stop Surviving, Start Living, from which this essay was excerpted.







© 2013, Rabbi B. Shafier

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