Monday, May 30, 2016


PUSH back

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

imageOn my post “Moral-Phobia”, on the decent of the world into…the toilet in acceptance and promotion of every weirdness imaginable, “Not a Happy Camper” commented…

You're absolutely correct! However, let's keep in mind that "everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven" (Ber. 33b) and even in this we must parrot the words of the great Tanna, Nachum Ish Gamzu, who says like this, "Gam zu l'tovah!"  So, rather than giving into weltschmerz…the person seeking to perfect their emunah should simply brush-off mankind's penchant for rejecting any and every moral code that claims to be absolute.

Not a Happy, there’s a balance to be had here.  We learn in chassidus that immorality and even evil is also a creation of G-d.  It’s here, it has a purpose and a job to do…to give human beings free will, the opportunity to turn away from the right, the moral, the reasonable, the path of G-d. 

But it also serves to give us something to stand against, something to push back.  We might wish to live in a world of perfect holiness, but that’s the world above.  In this world we have a task to create a dwelling place for Hashem.

We can certainly brush off and ignore such shtuss and mishegas in our personal lives and in our communities (though it will still sometimes intrude).  But we have an obligation, if only to give people a choice for holiness, to push back, stand our ground and say “this is not kosher”.


  1. Not a happy camperMay 30, 2016 2:53 PM

    R. Akiva, Intellectually speaking, I agree with you. That said, my own experience is that no good deed goes unpunished. Do a good deed and Ha-Shem yanks the rug out from under you. Why? To make sure that you won't be dissuaded from continuing to do good deeds? If I did this to my own son, then I'd be called a bad parent. All I see in this world is evil people being rewarded for their evil, while people who do good deeds are beat down for their troubles. No, I'm not in this for the rewards. The Xtians promised me "pie-in-the-sky" and I rejected it. I don't even care about being rewarded in the World to Come. That said, it would be nice to see Ha-Shem give us a little positive reinforcement from time to time.

    Life is rather like the whole Hamas vs. Israel dilemma. Allow them to have electric power and they launch rockets. Allow them to have food and medical supplies and they launch rockets. Allow them an expanded area to fish in and they launch rockets. Allow Arabs to enter Israel for life saving medical operations and ... they launch rockets. Allow them to have concrete and they build tunnels, so they can enter Israel in order to kill Jews. Do you see the pattern here? No good deed goes unpunished. And is Israel given any thanks? Is Israel given any credit? Are they lauded by the media? NOPE! They're demonized! That's just the way things are in this world.

    So, why can't Ha-Shem cut us "do-gooders" and wanna-be "do-gooders" some slack? Why enrich and empower the "evil doers"...? I know.... Because His ways are above our ways, etc., etc., etc. Honestly, a little positive reinforcement from Ha-Shem would be nice for a change. And how 'bout a little funding to push-back against the darkness? Is that asking too much? Must Ha-Shem keep us in a constant state of poverty and debt? You know, one can bind another person's hands and feet so tightly that it's nearly impossible for them to do anything for themselves, let alone for others who are in need. What's up with that? I know.... His ways are above our ways.... ::::heavy sigh::::

  2. In response to the comment above -

    It is brought down in a Sefer (I think M'Eor Einayim) that H' is paving the way for the good ones to thoroughly enjoy the days of Moshiach. That it's challenging now is only in preparation for the unfathomable good that will be bestowed on the truly good...
    The Tefufas HaMoshiach, which the Gedolim are saying will happen very soon will be a "Game Changer". The ones who chose to do bad and thought they could hurt others and get away w/ it? Are in for a very, very rude awakening.
    All of this agony will seem like a dream, as the Posuk says. It's almost, almost over and then we will see how H's Ways were for our good...The ones who will be sighing will be people who were cruel, not those who struggled w/ those who were cruel and cruelty. There is so much to look forward coming out of a seemingly long, black tunnel into a glorious brilliant day. You'll see... :)

  3. First, we must be clear - Hashem is in control of everything. But, that does not make it acceptable nor do we need to completely ignore the evils going on in the world today (a repeat of Sdom and Amorah). In other words, when saying Gam Zu L'Tovah does not mean to say 'okay what do I care' and 'it's all for the good'. No, Gam Zu L'Tovah is something the very righteous Jew says when bad things (shelo neidah) happen to him/her or theirs and accepts it, knowing that H' is doing it for their good and maybe the person needs and will do teshuvah. But, when the world is set in turmoil and Jews fall into the trap of going along with the times, we have to not ignore it and do all we can to condemn the evil and try to have good influence on our fellow Jews.

    Also, to the above commenter, many times the good have it the hardest because G-D is most aware of them and loves them and is testing the person. The evil doers (amaleikim, who seem to be in a majority world wide now) will eventually get their comeuppance, but H' does not care about them and let's them have their way for a while, but their punishment will eventually (may it be soon) be severe.

  4. Not a happy camperMay 31, 2016 11:24 AM

    Sure, take a stand against evil/ Like I really have a choice? No worries.... Besides, you chalk up brownie points for the World to Come. Of course, I left Xtianity because all it focused on was the Hereafter and the imminent return of their false-god. If you keep one foot in the past and one foot in the future, then you're not standing in the Here-And-Now. Focusing on the Here-And-Now is what attracted me to Judaism. So, what about tikkun olam? That requires funding, no? I know.... All I need to do is to smile, because a smile begets a smile. I'll use a smile the next time I have to buy groceries and pay the utilities and the insurance, etc., etc., etc. I'm pretty sure that a "smile" and some polite words isn't the currency one uses to pay the bills, but I'll give it a go. Oh, but that's just my petty needs and wants talking. What about doing for others via gemilut chasidim? Sure, accomplish tikkun olam one good deed at a time, right? You gladly help another and you get more brownie points for the World to Come. It's a two for one! Great! And the next time someone asks for a charitable donation, being jobless and in debt, I'll just give 'em a smile instead of money, as if I don't already feel like a schlemiel, but ... that's just the Yetzer Ha-Ra kvetching. If Ha-Shem wanted me to give money, then He'd provide me with money to give, right? No worries.... I know.... Just stay the course. Teshuvah, emunah, bitachon, bitul, hitbodedut, gemilut chasidim, mussar, Torah study, and everything will work out in the End ... someday soon ... any day now ... maybe tomorrow. There's always a tomorrow until there isn't one. No worries.... With Ha-Shem's help I'll muddle through. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

  5. A lot of people may think like Nahc, but are loth to say it. I believe he us taking a very pessimistic view of Jewish life - can't he be grateful for what he DOES have at least, even if compared to others it is very little? The world owes no-one a living after all.

  6. BS"D
    This is response to "Not a Happy Camper" (btw,re, the next comment - written very respectfully that's the attitude you employ, yourself when you're having a tough time. One doesn't say to someone else who is suffering "be more positive". Many times it's intellectual as well as interpersonal laziness and caring for one who may possess more depth and thus, yes in many instances more pain.

    Now, in response to "Future Very Happy Camper" -

    I so understand what you're saying and where you're coming from. I really get it.

    Vis a Vis "Brownie pts. For the World to Come", I for one am not a person who thinks in those terms as we are taught in Pirkei Avos. Theoretically, if there is someone who thinks like that they are still stuck in a very limited state of being in their understanding H' and His Goodness. It's like the kid who is doing a Mitzva so that they will get to bring a note for their Mitzva tree in Kdg. It's nice. It may have it's place, yet if the ideation of our behavior in life is all about what we'll get then, essentially one has a kdg. mentality in that way. Closeness to H' is reward. It's not faux prestige or (excuse the pun) trumped up degrees or the superficiality that we unfortunately in the last miliseconds of Golus at times consider important.
    You don't yet realize it but you ARE a very happy camper. You're real. You're a thinker. Many of the truly great, the Gedolim said that a person who Is questioning, disappointed @ times w/ the reality of the temporary SEEMING harshness of the world is ALIVE. The struggle, which all thinkers grapple w/ shows that he's alive and such a person will, as I once saw it termed will continue to serve H' w: distinction.
    You're 100% correct - the end of Golus, by definition isn't about lollypops and gumdrops. Yet, a lot of good people are feeling this way because it's the end. If it's true that you care to do good, I guarantee based on the words of H' found in Neveim that not only will you be a very Happy Camper but a person in Klal Yisroel who will serve H' w/ distinction, i'm sure a continuation of your relationship w/ Him now.
    Dovid HaMelech was H's Friend. It sounds like you've had a challenging journey. Be proud because challenges like that are only entrusted w/ extraordinary people. Like someone recently termed it, it's as though you have a Ph.d (beyond) from the true Ivy league.
    Whenever you hear of such Commencements know that you have something that can't compare. It's way above anything that a human being can understand and thus confer upon another.
    I'm doing this on a pH. and can't ck. so please excuse the mistakes.
    It hurts me when people who care to do good are hurt. That's part of the whole facade of the last minutes of Golus.
    Very soon, you will see things differently. You deserve to be happy. Pour out your heart to H', like it says in the posuk and he will answer you. He is very attentive to those who are good and want to progress in their goodness. You obviously fit the bill. :)

  7. Not a happy camperJune 01, 2016 7:09 PM

    Anonymous @ 12:00 PM, Yes, I knew I was missing one! So, I'll add "be thankful for what little I do have, because some have far less than I do" to the list.

    You're absolutely right! Ha-Shem is not our Cosmic Butler. That's a given. If anything we're His servants.

    In the military, I worked as the nightshift supervisor. In addition to all our regular duties, we were commanded to, "Clean this facility and all the vehicles!" Were we given cleaning supplies? No! They were locked away in a cabinet that only the dayshift was allowed to have the key to. Brilliant, right!? Oh, we asked and asked and asked and pleaded and begged for access, but our words fell upon deaf ears.

    Did we have access to the vehicle washing area in the motor pool? No! Being cops we weren't trustworthy enough to be given the key to the motor pool. Brilliant, right!? Oh, we asked and asked and asked and pleaded and begged for access, but our words fell upon deaf ears. You know, just turning the water hose on a vehicle doesn't get it clean, inside or out.

    And the upright vacuum cleaner? Don't even get me started. Let's just say that it put out more dust and dirt than it picked up. Of course, I got tired of being yelled out for not getting the job done "properly" and the higher-ups didn't want to hear excuses. So, I purchased the necessary cleaning supplies with my paycheck.

    Fast forward to the present. I'm jobless and grievously in debt. Still, I'm given the same marching orders from Ha-Shem that my Air Force superiors gave me - tikkun nefesh and tikkun olam - "Clean up this mess!" The only real difference is that Ha-Shem isn't giving me a paycheck. No worries! I'll just go deeper in debt, while I'm being thankful for what little I do have, whilst I continue to engage in teshuvah, emunah, bitachon, bitul, hitbodedut, gemilut chasidim, mussar, Torah study, etc., etc., etc.

    Yes, I realize that Ha-Shem owes me nothing and that He made the whole of Creation just for me. Fish have to swim and birds have to fly. It's wonderful that Ha-Shem thinks enough of these animals to provide the necessary environment for them to thrive. So, what am I? Chopped liver?

    I know.... That's just my Yetzer Ha-Ra talking more smack. Be thankful.... Just keep being thankful, because that's the key that'll open the flood gates to all of Ha-Shem's blessings. Intellectually, I get it. Deep down inside? Not so much, especially when I see some of the most thankless of people being showered with rain from Heaven. Something ain't stirring the kosher Kool-Aid, if you ask me, but I'm not privy to the Big Picture, so ... there you go.

  8. Not a happy camperJune 01, 2016 7:21 PM

    Anonymous @ 2:15 AM wrote, "Very soon, you will see things differently. You deserve to be happy. Pour out your heart to H', like it says in the posuk and he will answer you. He is very attentive to those who are good and want to progress in their goodness. You obviously fit the bill."

    From your lips (keyboard) to Ha-Shem's Ear (Eye)! Thanks for the understanding and the thought-filled insight. We all deserve to be happy. Happy people are far more productive. I'm pretty sure Ha-Shem knows this. I'm also pretty sure I'm wired differently from those around me. If only I could wear a pair of rose colored glasses. If only I could fake it until I make it. If only I could force myself to smile more. If only.... Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to respond.


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