According to Rabbi Avigdor Miller, Zt”l, we have two choices as to how to accomplish our mission -- voluntarily or involuntarily. By voluntarily doing the commandments, studying scriptures, proper praying, giving charity and repenting all our mistakes (which includes working hard to correct them), helping others, we receive the correction that we need and will thrive in this life and all eternity. If we ignore all of Hashem’s instruction and do our own thing, we will still receive the correction that we need (this does not apply to pure evil), but it will be through involuntary occurrences. Sickness, accidents, misfortunes, financial difficulties are all examples of ways that Hashem helps us. A very misunderstood concept about this world, that only those who diligently study Torah comprehend, is that there is no such thing as luck, coincidence, chance or by accident. We bring these concepts on ourselves and our families. I know that you know much better and that what I am saying sounds like nonsense, but if you want to gamble that this is not Hashem’s system, then you will pay the price.
There are a couple concepts to remember about this world that will serve your best interests. One thing is nothing is random. The infinite intelligence level of Hashem makes everything in this world seem random, but it isn’t – it is exact, measure for measure. To allow us to experience free will, we have to see everything as random. Hashem wants our love and service by our choice. If the system were that every time we do the right thing, we immediately get rewarded and every time we make a mistake (or sin on purpose), we immediately get correction (or downright punishment), we would be as robots and not able to live life with free will. We do, measure-for-measure, get reward and correction but in a very random looking manner, and not so obvious. Another thing to remember is: whether you believe it or not, the truth doesn't go away. I have known many people who will tell me “I don’t believe a word you are saying.” But, they never investigate what the truth really is. When things go wrong, however, they are the first to ask Hashem “why are you doing this to me?”
Am I saying that if I do everything that Hashem asks of me in this life, that life will be much easier, more enjoyable, successful and rewarding? It works for me and many, many others that I have observed for decades. I have paid so much attention to what I am telling you that there is no doubt in my mind that this is the key to happiness for me and my family. Mind you, I am human and I do make mistakes (everyday). Hashem is totally merciful and is more interested in our intensions to serve Him and our love for Him than our final performance, even though performance is of the utmost importance. Hashem doesn’t judge us by what we know, but how we grow. The newly observant individual is given more leeway and allowed to make more mistakes than us more experienced people. The more important concept is that as we learn and put more meaning to what Hashem wants from us, all becomes much easier.
We are creatures of habit, why not have good ones. Not understanding why we do something does make it more difficult to accomplish. An example would be keeping Kosher. We keep Kosher because Hashem told us to. The deepest reasons are spiritual and beyond our comprehension. Non-kosher food is to the soul as poison is to the body. We need not question the idea, only to be reassured that Hashem knows exactly what we need. To fully understand every aspect of this concept would require years of study.
You may ask: Why do see problems happen to good people? Good question. As an example: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had many hurdles to overcome – many tests in life. One must know that everything is for the good, and gives us in this short life exactly what we need for eternity. Books have been written about this subject and, obviously, I cannot cover all aspects in a short post. An interesting aspect of the testing we get in life is the more righteous a person is, the more difficult the tests may be. Why? Hashem in His mercy gives the righteous person much greater opportunities to excel and thrive. The eternal quality of life is what is at stake. Why not shoot for better.
I am only covering the ground rules not all the details. Just know that we have much more control over everything that happens in our lives than we think; and, by following the handbook of instructions, the Torah, we can perfect ourselves, our families (we are the ones who guide our offspring) and the world. To help understand this a little deeper, let me talk about prayer. Prayer absolutely works (I hope to tell you some of the deep dark secrets that allow for success – future post) and if done the proper way, we can have everything we need and even everything we want. I personally believe I have more than I deserve, bli ayin harah (I am trying to avoid the evil eye making such a statement). I do not have any complaints with my personal situation in life, but I feel the pain of others who have all the opportunities that I have and are too stubborn to take advantage of it. This is, perhaps, one of the biggest reasons that I started my blog. The other big reason is Hashem commands me to help other people less fortunate than myself. Even though I hope to have a more detailed post on many of the subjects with which we all need to discuss, I submit this insight as to how prayer works. It puts prayer and life into perspective:
I asked for strength and HASHEM gave me difficulties to make me strong
I asked for wisdom and HASHEM gave me problems to solve
I asked for prosperity and HASHEM gave me brawn and brain to work
I asked for courage and HASHEM gave me dangers to overcome
I asked for love and HASHEM gave me troubled people to help
I asked for favors and HASHEM gave me opportunities
I received nothing I wanted; I received everything I needed
My prayers were answered.
I've heard people say isn't it enough that I am a good person, do I have to do all of Hashem’s commandments too? Let me give you an analogy to try to put everything into perspective. Let us consider that this world is a giant corporation and Hashem is the CEO, the Big Boss, Numero Uno. Would we ever say to your boss at work “isn't enough that I am a good person, everyone around here likes me, I help increase morale, do I also have to do all the work that you want me to do? That is also a system of reward and punishment. Do a good job and get raises, promotions, who knows what. Ask the boss that question and the only raise you get is the raise off the premises. The entire system of measure-for-measure is: do what the Boss asks of you, and the reward is beyond belief. One last note on the subject, we do not perform Hashem’s will for reward but strictly out of love for Him. That is the way to better results.
We can have it all, for us and our loved ones as soon as we get over the stigma that we know what we’re doing and that there is no room for Hashem in our lives. He loves us trillions of times more than we could ever love Him. By just following His will, using the tools that He gave us, you will experience the most positive results and discover what true happiness can be in this life and forever. None of this is conjecture, but proven over thousands of years of total success. All I ask is be open-minded, and not to argue with success. We are talking about the happiness of you and your loved ones. Please, don’t take it lightly. Learn about it and give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. Live life voluntarily, not involuntarily, and realize that the Boss is the only One Who truly knows what you need.