RABBI DAVID ASHEAR
The Rosh used to instruct his students, “Want that which Hashem wants for you.” If you wanted something, such as to purchase a certain house, and in the end it did not work out, you should say, “If this is what Hashem wanted, then I am happy.”
People who accept the way Hashem treats them enjoy much more peace of mind. If we recognize that our lives are led by Hashem, and He always knows what He is doing, then we will be much happier.
I once heard an analogy of two men who board a bus for an eight-hour ride, both of whom are traveling for important business meetings. The first gets on the bus and looks anxiously at the bus driver, wondering if he really knows the route. This is such an important meeting, the fellow thinks to himself, I really hope he gets me there on time. From the moment the bus pulls out, he is worried. Why did he turn left? Wasn’t he supposed to turn right? Why is he going this way – there is traffic on this highway! The entire ride he is at the edge of his seat, concerned whether the driver knows what he’s doing. Eventually, the bus arrives at its destination with fifteen minutes to spare. The man arrives at his meeting all stressed out and bent out of shape.
The second fellow, meanwhile, boards the bus, smiles at the bus driver and thinks to himself, He looks like a good man. He sits comfortably in his seat, pulls out his headphones, and spends the time listening to pleasant music, learning some Torah, taking a nap, and enjoying the beautiful scenery outside the window. The bus arrives fifteen minutes early, and the man thanks the bus driver and arrives at his meeting calm, relaxed, and happy.
Both men paid the same fare and reached the same destination. The first fellow suffered through nearly eight hours of unnecessary anxiety and stress because he didn’t trust the driver, whereas the second man enjoyed a relaxing, pleasant ride because he did trust the driver.
If we trust our “Driver” Who leads us along our journey through life, we can avoid so much stress. Even when we appear to take a wrong turn, we must remember that Hashem knows the “back roads,” He knows what He’s doing, and we are always going the right way.
Rav Avraham Schorr told of a Rabbi in Eretz Yisrael who was suffering with cancer. He was bitten by a poisonous snake and treated by a specialist in Ramat Gan. Ten days after his initial treatment he returned for a follow-up examination.
After the doctor saw the test results, he said, “I never believed in Hashem until now. The poison injected by the snake burned up the cancer in your kidneys. You are completely fine.”
Do we know what is good for us? Would we have ever imagined that being bitten by a poisonous snake is a good thing? We have to trust our Driver.
Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman told of a certain yeshivah in Russia that was on the run, fleeing the Communists who were searching for them. At one point, a car drove by, and the students, thinking it was the police, were terrified. They began racing about frantically fleeing out of fear. The Rabbi was disappointed by their reaction, and decided that they needed to strengthen their emunah. He instituted that each day they would recite together the thirteen Ani Ma’amin declarations of faith.
One week later, the police found them and arrested the entire yeshivah. They were brought to prison in chains, and all throughout they were humming a song about how Hashem is with them. They were later deported to Siberia, and continued humming the entire time. Three days later, the Germans entered the town where they had been staying, and massacred the entire population. The yeshivah was saved.
Hashem always knows what He’s doing.
If we follow the Rosh’s advice to his students, and always accept Hashem’s will, then we will see the fulfillment of the Mishnah in Avot (5:16), “If you make Hashem’s will your will, then He will make your will His will.”
Adapted from “Living Emunah,” by Rabbi David Ashear, with permission of the copyright holders, ArtScroll / Mesorah Publications, Ltd.