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Tuesday
Nov142017

BEING THANKFUL FOR THE PAST

By Yael Schneersohn

From the moment Avi opened his eyes, he felt that the day was not going to be a good one. It was 7:35, which was very late. Especially for someone who had to get dressed, get organized, eat something, walk fifteen minutes to school and be there at 8:00.

“Oy,” groaned Avi. “Why didn’t anyone wake me up on time?”

“Ima woke you up three times!” said Dovid, while putting his sandwich in his briefcase. “But you didn’t get up.”

“Okay,” sighed Avi. He didn’t have time for unnecessary conversations with Dovid.

He washed his hands quickly, got dressed speedily, was unable to drink his chocolate milk of course, and quickly left the house while urging his younger brother who was unaware of how late it was.

He walked into school as the bell rang, hoping that all would go smoothly from that point on. But no, the day continued in the same way it had started. He realized he had left his notebook at home and was chastised by the teacher. He got back his Gemara test and saw that he had failed.

If that wasn’t enough, during recess, when he thought he would finally have a break from all his problems, he lost three expensive marbles. “This is just not my day,” he said to himself. He tried to somehow get through the day.

Finally, the unbearably long school day was over. Avi walked home, thinking over what had happened and the failures he had endured starting in the morning. “What a frustrating day!” he concluded.

Then boom! His foot caught in something and he ended up sprawled out on the ground. This time, it was more than frustrating; it was painful too. Avi looked at his foot and saw, to his dismay, that it was swelling. “Now what?” he asked himself. He was alone, and the street was relatively empty. If he could have, he would have limped home, but the pain was so strong that he gave up that possibility immediately; he could not even get up on his feet.

“Avi, what happened?”

To his delight, Yigal appeared. Yigal was his nice neighbor from the first floor. He glanced at Avi’s foot and declared, “It looks like a sprain. Is someone at home now? Do you want me to go and call them to come and help you?”

“Yes, yes,” Avi groaned. At that moment, nothing interested him except for his painful, swollen leg. He barely remembered to mumble a thank-you at Yigal’s retreating back.

The first ray of light on this day was his mother who appeared soon after. Avi was so happy this was her day off. At least his first aid would be administered by her. He could rely on his mother to know just what to do.

Two hours later, Avi was sitting next to his father in the waiting room of the clinic, waiting for his sprain to be bandaged.

“Oy, Abba, I had such a frustrating day today,” said Avi. “It started in the morning when I did not get up on time, was unable to eat and drink a normal breakfast, and then I failed the Gemara test and left my notebook at home.”

“In short, an unsuccessful day, eh?” sympathized his father.

“Yes!” Avi agreed wholeheartedly.

His father was quiet. Seeing his thoughtful look, Avi knew that his father had what to say and he waited to hear it.

“You know, Avi,” his father finally said. “Very soon the day will come when you won’t say ‘oy,’ but ‘thank you’ Hashem for all these frustrating and painful things.”

“Seriously?”

Avi nearly jumped up in surprise. The strong pain in his foot reminded him to sit back down. He carefully returned to his seat while rubbing his foot.

“Yes, yes,” smiled his father. “It will happen in the Geula, but in the meantime, as long as we are in galus, please protect your foot,” he said with a smile.

Avi adjusted his attitude and smiled a little.

“It says that in the future, we will say, ‘I thank you Hashem for being angry with me.’ Now, we don’t understand why Hashem sends us all kinds of unpleasant things that are painful, frustrating or hard. We believe that all is for the good, but for the most part, we don’t understand why. When Moshiach comes, we will understand exactly why everything happened to us. We will see how everything that happened, even the most minor of things, was for our good. Every occurrence was part of the G-dly plan that was designated for us and was the best for us.

“Like a huge puzzle – it’s only when you see the completed picture that you understand what each piece was for. The same when Moshiach comes; we will see our entire lives as one complete picture made up of many pieces of the ‘puzzle,’ comprised of all the small things that happened to us every day, and the big ones too, from the bad things and the good things. And then, when we see the completed picture, we will be able to understand all the details.

“So we need to be thankful for the past, for everything that happened, including the unpleasant things. Then we will say about it all, thank you Hashem. Because we will understand how good it really was for us.”

Avi listened closely to what his father said. Yes, he always knew that everything Hashem does is for the good. But understanding how? What could be better than that?

“Wow,” he said excitedly, “that will be fantastic! I can just imagine and try to understand how all the things that happened to me today were for my benefit. It’s all so interesting and encouraging! If only Moshiach would come already and I could really understand and be thankful.”

“Amen,” smiled his father. “But being thankful,” he winked at Avi, “is something you can start doing right now. Even when you still don’t see how it’s good, you know and believe that it’s true. So why wait with your thanks?”

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