Monday, June 13, 2011

He Knows.

There's a story about Eliyahu HaNavi. He appeared to one of the Rabbis, who spent the day with Eliyahu HaNavi. However, there was 1 condition: the Rabbi was not allowed to ask Eliyahu HaNavi any questions.
So, Eliyahu HaNavi knocked on the door of a very shabby house of an extremely poor family. An elderly couple with no children opened the door. They loved guests, and even though they had very little, their hospitality emulated Avraham and Sara’s hospitality.
They gave Eliyahu HaNavi and the Rabbi food, drink, and even their own beds. The old couple gladly slept on the floor – just so that their two guests could sleep comfortably!

In the middle of the night, the Rabbi heard Eliyahu HaNavi praying intently for this poor couple’s only cow to die.
WHAT?!! The Rabbi was shocked! This cow was the sole source of parnassah for this family. If the cow would die, they would barely have anything.
But…the Rabbi wasn’t allowed to ask questions. He kept his thoughts to himself, but this tefillah really perturbed him.

That morning, as Eliyahu HaNavi and the Rabbi were leaving, they heard a loud scream from the elderly couple’s house. The poor old lady ran outside crying and she screamed “our cow! Our only has cow died. What will we do, what will be??”

Eliyahu HaNavi saw that the Rabbi looked confused. “Do you know why I prayed for the cow to die?”
Because the Rabbi was a Tzaddik, Eliyahu HaNavi shared the reason with him.
“That old woman was supposed to die today. So I prayed for HaShem to take the cow’s life instead of her life. As a kapara.”
And suddenly, it became clear. It was a chessed.

If this woman knew that she was supposed to die, and the cow was taken instead, would she have been crying, worrying, and complaining? Of course not! She would be thanking HaShem all day long. She would be so happy that the cow died!

But she didn’t know.

And so too…we don’t always know the reason for “tragedies” or difficulties in our lives. Everything really is a chessed from HaShem, but we don’t always merit to know the reasons.
That’s where bitachon comes in the picture. Bitachon is that we have to KNOW that everything that happens to us is ultimately for our benefit. Every problem has a finish line. It’s happening to us for a reason, and somehow, it’s truly for our benefit.

Our challenges don’t always have to be so earth-shattering. Challenges also include daily life frustrations.
An example from my personal life…

I was really infatuated with this guy.
Mainly because he seemed so frum and wholesome.

Truly solid.

My thoughts would sing "omgosh he’s sooo holy." He was (supposedly) a great learner and seemed so passionate and enthusiastic about Torah and mitzvot.
So, of course, I was interested.
You know, in the unhealthy obsessed type of way. (I seriously told my friend, with 82.7% certainty, "we're getting married. He doesn't know it yet. But we are.")

But just oneeee tiny drawback: he wasn't interested in me.
It kind of (read: extremely) hurt.

HaShem, how can this be for my benefit? Everything seems so wonderful about him. I don't get it.
I don't get it.
I. Don't. Get. It.

That is, I didn't get it.

And turns out...
he's not on the right derech right now.
While I hope he does teshuva and sees the right Jewish path (for his own sake), I'm so grateful.

HaShem knows what He's doing.

Just remember: what seems horrible today can end up being the biggest blessing later on.


  1. Wow wow wow...omg. Your story almost gave me the chills- that is so scary. Thank you for sharing that with us. I really needed to hear that. Perhaps Hashem is answering our Tefillos-- not by directly granting our wishes but preventing future hardship that may be so much more intensely painful and longer-lasting.

    1 step for internalizing bitachon is to remember that just like Hashem has done what is best for you in the past, He will continue to do so in the future, and presently.

  2. I believe that the source of the cow story is: Sefer Maasiyot, by Rabbi Nissim Gaon, who lived from 990 to 1062. J.D. Eisenstein copied this story, "Maaseh DeRabbi Yehoshua ben Levi," into his Otzar Midrashim, volume 1, pages 211 to 212.

    Want quick Torah quotes for your Shabbat table?

    Or simply for love of Torah any time?

    To receive quick easy Torah quotes from
    a variety of classic Jewish Torah books, please go to:

    Quotes include: Babylonian Talmud, Jerusalem Talmud, Midrash Tanchuma, Midrash Rabah, Tanna DeBei Eliyahu, Rashi, Rambam, Ramban, Shulchan Aruch, Mishnah Berurah, Pele Yoetz, Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer, Kav HaYashar, Shaarei Teshuvah, Sefer Chasidim, Sefer Charedim, Midrash Mishlei.

    For Jews ONLY! Thank you!

  3. mizrachigal - well said! It is scary, but if we make note of it daily, we can really come to think that way every day! If my bitachon was really high, I would've been happy in the first place...before I found out this info. I'd say - ok, it's not shayach. HaShem knows what he's doing.

    Mr. Cohen - I probably misunderstood the speaker. Thank you :)

  4. Woah! That's really powerful!

    It's so true - of course we know deep down that everything is for our good, but when we are lucky enough to get a tiny glimpse into the full picture it increases our emunah that it's ALWAYS for the good - even for the times we don't see it.

  5. Wow, that personal story is really great for my perspective. Thank you for sharing it.

  6. Great post, as usual !!

    I really related to your post because I had a similar story and although I can say this guy is off the derech, he's definitely not what I'm looking for anymore...
    But it makes me wonder...
    It says in the Medrash (I think) that Leah was rebuked for not wanted to marry Esav, because she aad the power and strength to make him do Teshuvah.
    What about us? Maybe we had the power to keep them close to Torah and Mitsvot? Maybe if we did marry them they would have stayed frum?
    Who knows? HE KNOWS...

  7. Wow! This sounds extremely familiar! I tend to put the guys I like on extremely high pedestals of kedusha, only to find out very soon thereafter that they were not the kadosh people I thought they any means. I never thought it would happen to me but infatuation is so scary because it COMPLETELY blinds you. But it's good to know that no matter what, Hashem is there for us, guiding our way throughout the darkness.

  8. Devorah - yup. Even getting a tiny glimpse is a bracha. It gives closure. The really tough stuff is what is hidden until after 120 shana.

    Corti - I'm happy you've gained from my nuttiness :)

    Stuckinshidduchim - apparently, this is a common story! The fact that it's a common occurrence makes it heartbreaking but also reassuring. B"H despite it all, Leah was zocha to marry Yaakov. So, there's hope!

    FeistyFrummy - ugh. Infatuation is horrible. Reading the book I Only Want to Get Married Once by Chana Levitan definitely helps one control the amount of infatuation (s)he invests into a relationship.
    I do this to myself. It's almost as if I enjoy building up my hope, and as if I don't want to be helped.
    Oh well.
    B"H HaShem is watching over us! You're totally right :)

  9. Sefardi Gal, check out my comment on this blog:

    It is the first of 17 comments.

  10. Did you ever stop to think maybe he ended up off the derech because he failed to marry a girl like you?

    Did you ever consider the possibility that your ben zug is the type of guy that in your absence could descend to truly low depths and together with you could reach for the stars?

    Did you ever consider that instead of sighing a 'phew' on this post as if you dodged a bullet you should be crying tears for the loss of what could have been.. what He could have been... the potential relationship you yourself write that you felt... the guy you supposedly 'loved' so much and yet so glibly can toss away the moment he no longer fits your "expectations"...