Through the Daily Grind
MyLife Essay Contest 2016
In the daily motions of life, at every age and stage, we often find ourselves pushed to the limit with worry when situations seem to spiral out of control. Whether family, career, school, or medically related , each of us face so many challenges in our daily life. The weight of making the right decisions or Chas vesholom the wrong decisions can have a major impact now and beyond. Our hearts beat faster and our mouths feels dry, parched. We are forced to make decisions when we are sometimes unsure of the outcome despite all our best efforts b’gashmius and b’ruchnius, physically and spiritually.
My aim through this essay is to alleviate some of the anxiety, pressure and stress that most people I know are facing on a day to day basis. I hope that the concepts I will explain will have a positive impact on the reader , and they will gain a new perspective to their daily life struggles.
This essay will include the following Chassidic ideas :
Tracht gut vet zain gut- the concept of “positive thinking “, based on the teaching of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, known as the the Rebbe Tzemach Tzedek.
The concept of “Lechatchiler Ariber”- jumping over hurdles based on the teaching of the Rebbe Shmuel of Lubavitch , known as the Rebbe Maharash.
The concept of Divine Providence , Hashgacha Pratis, in every category of living and inanimate matter based on the Teaching of the Baal Shem tov and Alter Rebbe.
And finally, the concept of “Simcha poretz geder “- joy can break all boundaries based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
These concepts should have a profound effect on one’s emotional and physical well being and has been proven to bring serenity and a feeling of mindfulness and fulfilment in one’s daily life.
The Tzemach Tzedek , Reb Menachem Mendel , the third Chabad Rebbe’s oft repeated saying, ” tracht gut vet zain gut” comes into play in alleviating much of our worries and anxieties when one is dealing with feelings of intense stress and tension when faced with challenges that seem insurmountable , or even the day to day stresses of life.
This Yiddish Expresion means, “Think good and it will be good”.
We must release our tension and stress and rely on the higher power of Hashem, feeling positively that He who has only our best interest in mind always , is in control and will ensure the best outcome to our every hurdle. By thinking positively, we actually change our destiny to a positive outcome.
In medical science it has been proven many times that the outcome of the patient’s diagnoses was positively influenced if he or she thought positively about their medical outcome . This has been expressed in chassidus Chabad since the mid 1800s with the Rebbe Tzemach Tzedek. This phrase, ”tracht gut vet zain gut” gives a person the strength to have utmost trust in G-d , known as bitachon, faith in his fate.
The origin of “tracht gut vet zein gut” goes back to a story of a Chassid Reb Michoel Bliner, a Chassid of the Tzemach Tzedek , who went to the Tzemach Tzedek because his son was on the verge of death. The Tzemach Tzedek told him “tracht gut vet zein gut,” and the child recovered. (1) When did the child take a turn for the better? The moment the Chassid began thinking this way. One can even think positively about his fellow and achieve a similar positive result. ( 2)
“Think good and it will be good,” this means that the very thought that it will be good causes that it will be good in actuality. It is understood that it is not enough to say that it will be good, but we need to actually believe that it will be good. (3)
Taking it a step further, the Tzemach Tzedek’s son the rebbe Maharash, the fourth Chabad rebbe , taught us the concept of “ L’chatchila Ariber”.
The Rebbe Maharash, the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe, was known for the saying, “l’chatchila ariber”– to begin with, go over. He explained: “When confronting an obstacle, some say to go under, others say to go around, but I say, ‘to begin with, go over!’ “In other words, acknowledge the obstacle or difficulty and tackle – climb it, overcome it straight away. Don’t avoid it. (4)
When trying to tackle a problem, we jump straight over it without trying to get around it from all angles. As in the finishing line for a race, one can jump over the hurdles rather than bend below to reach the finish line. Similarly with life, when challenges come up, one is supposed to jump straight over the hurdle, almost as if there is no hurdle at all.
If one realises that everything that happens to them is clearly by Divine Providence, then there will be no time to fret as one is aware in their deep recesses of their soul that everything is happening for a reason, not only where they find themselves, or their career path, but it was also Divinely orchestrated to which family they were born into, which spouse they were meant to marry, etc.
Everything that happens is Divinely orchestrated . It is directly from Hashem. The Baal Shem Tov, the first Chassidic rebbe was the first to point out that not only is Hashgacha Pratis, Divine Providence, apparent in great righteous men, but even the ordinary person, to the animal, plant and inanimate object, each one in every category has their specific reason for creation , their Divine purpose and the place they find themselves is divinely orchestrated so they can fulfil their mission to perfection. As the well known teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, that even a leaf which falls off a tree lands in the precise position by the Divine will of its Creator. This concept of Divine Providence was further explained by the Alter Rebbe, the first Chabad Rebbe, in his masterpiece, the Tanya. (5)
One cannot be jealous of another , thinking, “if only I had that person’s brains, wealth, home ,car etc I would be able to reach my full potential .No, precisely your present and future lifestyle, your brain ,your soul, your family is there for you to fulfil your G-d given potential. Nobody else can fulfil your mission like you can. In fact a person can live seventy or eighty years on this world just to do a favour for a fellow Jew. This leads us to true simcha, true inner and outer joy as one is completely relaxed, knowing that he or she has whatever he or she needs and is put in exactly the right place in this world, with exactly the right peers, spouse , parents and children to fulfill their divinely inspired mission which they were born to fulfill.
If one contemplates these Chassidic teachings and trains themselves to internalise and practice these realities, and applies it to their daily routines and challenges, one will realise how their life takes on more meaning and will see their challenges as a means to grow as a person and draw strength to forge ahead to attain more meaning and purpose to their life, their reason d’être.
It is known that the vessel for drawing down blessings from above is not “marah shchorah”, but trust and joy from the “marah levanah”. If the person would have an attitude of joy and light-heartedness, he would merit to see with his own eyes “Baal Shem’ske miracles”! (wondrous miracles in the style of the wondrous miracles seen during the time of holy Baal Shem tov) (6)
The Rebbe often taught us a teaching of the Fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, The Rebbe Rashab, Reb Shalom Dovber, that through Simcha, true joy, we can break all barriers, as it says, “Simcha Poretz Geder” (7) and this true joy will bring about the Geula Shleima, the final redemption of the Jewish People from their present exile.
(1) Chelek 36 shmos 1– story of Reb Michoel Bliner אות ה׳
(2) “…It is explained in many sefarim that even if a person cannot help another out in a tangible way, his positive thoughts and wishes are helpful.” The Rebbe (Igros Kodesh Vol. 3, pg. 402)
(3) Sicha of Parshas Toldos 5748 Hashlamos
(4) L’chatchila Ariber – lekutei sichos חלק א׳ page 124-125 ,parshas Vaera אות יא–יב
(5)וכמו כן במאמרי אדמו”ר הזקן
“הרי מובן . . השגחה פרטית גם על כל מעשה פרטית דעשייה, כמ”ש אין אדם נוקף אצבעו למטה אלא אם כן מכריזין עליו תחילה. . וכן על דרך זה בהשגחה על חלקי דצ”ח [=דומם, צומח, חי] . . וכל הצלחות דצ”ח לטוב או להיפוך הכל בהשגחה פרטית וכמ”ש עיניך פקוחות על כל”.
(6) Hisvaduyos 5748 vol. 1, p. 511
(7) שמח תשמח תרנ״ז ס״ע 49
(סה״ם תרנ״ז ע׳רכג)
ליקוטי שיחות מכתבים כללים לר״ה p 609