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Friday, 12 June, 2015 - 12:08 pm





Earlier this week, I received an email from a person unknown to me. It was addressed to a guy named Mark, and I thought it was simply forwarded for me to read and comment.


The first half of the email contained words of encouragement to Mark, imploring him to utilize the time he has been given to do whatever it is. The second half of the email is what caught my attention. In this section, Mark was being encouraged to focus upon the Almighty. There was talk about a belief in at least “something,” and about somewhere, “a place,” where people go after death. The email also contained some sinister words about Free Will and about humans destroying the world.


The names of the sender and receiver were unfamiliar to me. It was possible, I thought, that these people could have communicated with me a long time ago. The subject, though, seemed to be right up my alley. Since I could not identify the names, I simply responded: “I am not Mark.”


The response came swiftly. The sender apologized profusely, expressing embarrassment that the email somehow arrived in my inbox when it was intended for Mark, a family member. “Please be assured I am simply puzzled and confounded! I am wondering how this happened. I am sorry and embarrassed,” read the rest of the email.


I have been using email for twenty years. I cannot recall this ever happening to me. And so, I responded: “I don’t believe in wrong numbers or mistaken emails. Every single thing that happens is for a reason orchestrated from Above. There MUST be a reason I had to receive this email. I obviously read your message, and I see you have an issue, or more than one, with G-d. The person you were writing to, seems to have even more than issues...”


And here, I introduced myself as a Chabad Rabbi, and responded to the issues of the email. In brief: 1) No one would ever accept that any functioning matter in this world did not have a designer and a creator who cared. This world, therefore, has to have a Creator. 2) That Creator chose to provide intelligence to humans, with which to turn the world into a better place. 3) The Torah, provided by the Creator, contains the guidelines for all people. 4) At the same time, the Creator provided humans with freedom of choice, providing an independent feeling. 5) This is why there is a system of reward and punishment. 6) The world is not being destroyed. The Creator would not allow that, and neither would most humans, who choose to do good. 7) Humans, by definition, cannot understand G-d. Pain, suffering, and anguish are major challenges to faith.


The person responded to me as follows: “Your words and website opened up more to me on Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, whose passing in Brooklyn in 1994 (this time 21 years ago) caused great crowds to gather, wait and pray at his home. My (deceased) spouse gathered with others in prayer on that day. I was traveling for my job and missed the energy and devotion of it all. My spouse was enthralled by The Rebbe. You have inspired me to open Torah readings... I think you may very well be G-d’s messenger to me.”


The Almighty runs the world. As such, every single occurrence is for a reason, even when it seems like an error. If the Holy Creator wants it to happen, it is going to happen whether in an expected manner or in an unexpected manner. But it will happen.


The above is similar the tragic error made by the group of scouts who were sent to the Holy Land of Israel, as recorded in this week’s Torah portion, “Shlach. The Jewish people were on the verge of entering the land of Israel. This group of twelve men journeyed for forty days around the Land, in order to bring back a report of what they saw. This would allow the people to formulate a strategy to conquer the Land.


Ten members of the group returned not just with a report, but with bad news: “We are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than us… The Land…consumes its inhabitants. All the people in it are enormous men… supersized giants…” (Bamidbar (Numbers) 13: 31-33.)


The Jewish people were incited into a frenzy as a result of this disastrous report’s conclusion. They cried all night, and suggested returning to Egypt. The Almighty was furious with them, declaring their rebellion to be their fate: They would remain in the desert for a total of forty years, until their generation would die out. Their children and grandchildren would eventually conquer the Land.


This was not a “blaming the messenger” issue. These people were sent to bring a report of the best method to conquer the Land. Had they said: “From a human strategic standpoint, we don’t see how it’s possible,” they would have been off the hook. Instead, they said: “It is not possible to conquer it.” For them to suggest that it cannot be done was their offense. Not conquering the Land was not an option.


And that is because the Almighty already had said they were getting that Land. It could never not happen. That Land was going to belong to the Jewish people whether or not anyone understood how to make happen.


Each person is blessed with talent and with ability. In the day-to-day life of each individual, one must continuously toil and labor to exploit his or her talents, gifts from the Above.


At the same time, when the Almighty wishes to provide some extra opportunity or challenge, it is going to happen. It may look right, or it may look like a mistake, an error, or a problem.


One should always consider all opportunities, especially when it is possible to inspire another person. At the least, one has the opportunity to offer kind wishes and blessings. You never know which “land” can be then conquered.



SUMMARY: What may seem like a mistake is actually an opportunity. It is up to people to look at everything that happens as another opportunity provided by the Almighty.


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