Guest Posting From Chabakuk Elisha: A Thought From Shabbos Shelach
This past Shabbos was especially warm in New York. As to the physical warmth, I always thank G-d for giving man the ability to invent air conditioning in recent history (and making it fairly affordable). As to the spiritual warmth, I noticed a few words that are enlightening for those of us (especially me) who still remain in the dark.
In Parshas Shelach, the Degel Machaneh Ephraim quoted his grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov:
"External fears and worries come to a person in order to awaken and remind him to connect to his true inner fear of G-d. When one employs his fear of Heaven, all external and mundane fears are nullified."
To illustrate the point, I remember a story of a certain wealthy chossid of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. This chossid was a sincere, learned and refined man, and he was also a successful and wealthy businessman. Unfortunately, he had fallen on hard times and was in dire straits so he came to the Rebbe to ask for help.
After describing the burden and circumstances with which he was faced, the Alter Rebbe responded:
"You are telling me what you need from G-d, but how about what G-d needs from you?"
To this, the chossid immediately fainted.
Upon awaking, he asked for, and received, a schedule of activities to follow, from his Rebbe, and in a short time was restored to his former status.
To be sure, when we are beset with seemingly overwhelming difficulties, it is no simple task to stay calm and look past them with ease. But this seems to be the message for us - look within, and therein lays the solution. Our struggles are a symptom, let‘s address the problem.