By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
The holy Baal Shem Tov (1698- 1760) – master of good name taught, that everything in this universe from the celestial beings to human beings, down to a kernel of sand is directed and orchestrated by the full knowledge and will of G-d. The Baal Shem Tov would say, “When the wind blows and turns a leaf over from one side to the other, this is by Divine intention. There is a specific reason for this.”
One of his students had difficulty grasping this concept. The Baal Shem Tov instructed this student to go to the forest and stand by any tree and follow the first leaf that is blown from the tree. The student did this and the leaf ended up between two stones. The student went a little closer and noticed a worm crawling out from between the stones and started to munch at the edge of the leaf.
When the student went back to the Baal Shem Tov, even before he had a chance to say anything, the Baal Shem Tov said, “G-d who sustains the entire universe prepared the leaf so it should reach this hungry worm. Everything, which occurred to this leaf, was with G-d’s will.”
As a result, and by extension of this principle, the Baal Shem Tov taught that everything a person sees or hears he must view as a direct message from G-d to help in his specific mission in this world.
Once, the Baal Shem was sitting with his students and a wagon driver yelled into their room of study that he needed help to pull his horse and wagon out of the mud. The students not wanting to lose even a millisecond of learning from their master responded to this cry for help, “We are not able (to help you).”
The frustrated wagon driver yelled back, “you are able (to help) you just don’t want to.” With that the Baal Shem Tov addressed his students and said, this was a message from G-d that was needed at this moment. When we think we are not able to improve and do more, it’s simply not true. We just don’t want to. Every day we wake up, G-d has faith in us and is giving each one of us the opportunity to progress further than the day before. Every person with enough resolve can reach the highest levels of personal improvement.
Once a great Rabbi came over to Rabbi Shnuer Zalman and told him he decided to move to another city. Rabbi Shnuer Zalman told him, “who told you that your soul came down to this world to be a Rabbi in the city you intend to move to. By Divine providence G-d put you in the city that you are in, to illuminate it with the light of G-dliness. When you fulfill your mission in this city, the providence of above will direct you to someplace else.”
Chassidim would say. “There is nothing “by chance”, although sometimes things may happen that weren’t planned.”
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe would almost always respond to people who were trained in certain fields and wanted to drop their training for something else, that is was not advisable. “If by Divine Providence this is what you have become proficient in, then this must be your mission.” Rabbi Schneerson would advise them to find ways that they could use their field to further goodness in the world, and that would bring greater happiness and success to the person.
Once a student of Rabbi Shmuel planned to be with his Rabbi for the High holidays. On his way he got delayed and was forced to remain for the Holiday in the city of Vitebsk. When he finally arrived to the city of Lubavitch he was granted a personal audience with the Rabbi. Rabbi Shmuel said to him, “you don’t even know yourself what you accomplished in the city of Vitebsk.”
Everything that transpires in our lives is meant to happen. To help us, in one way or the other, move along for the good, in our journey we call life.
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