Minute #599: Just the Way It Is

Mr. Krausse was once a successful entrepreneur who employed hundreds of people and sold millions of dollars of product worldwide. He had his ups and downs but the last dip left him in involuntary retirement. His lifelong friend Mr. Rofeh visited to lift his friend’s spirits.

“You’re not so old that you couldn’t rebuild a successful enterprise,” Mr. Rofeh said encouragingly. “You could try something on a smaller scale to keep busy and earn a living. You don’t have to set the market on fire.”

“I don’t think so,” Mr. Krausse replied morosely. “It is what it is and it’s just the way it is! I’ve got to learn to accept my mazal.”

“I beg to differ, my friend,” said Mr. Rofeh. “The Talmud says: ‘There is no mazal in regard to Israel’ (Shabbat 156a). That means that there is a lot you can do to change your current situation.”

The vicissitudes of life affect a person’s emotional status. Success can evoke elation and failure may result in depression. The “hand of fate” — meaning, the forces of Heaven — change, and a person’s life situation also undergoes transformation.

A healthy individual may be diagnosed with a serious illness. A successful businessperson may suffer financial disaster. Conversely, one who is down may suddenly be lifted to previously unknown heights of success.

What is true today may disappear tomorrow. There are no guarantees that the status quo will continue. In fact, it’s likely that things will change sooner or later. How one reacts is important.

Of course, one must accept that Hashem is in control. One should believe that He alone makes things happen. However, one must also know that He has given people the ability to influence the outcome. A person’s prayers, acts of kindness and charitable contributions can transform failure and pain to success and bliss. Positive actions produce good results. It is what you make it.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Why was the First Temple destroyed? Because during its period there were three sins: idolatry, immorality and bloodshed…But the Second Temple —we know that they studied Torah, performed the commandments, and did kind deeds — why was it destroyed? Because there was purposeless hatred among them.

(Yoma9b)