Examine Your Life
Question 45: If I truly believe I will receive what I want, will I receive it?

  Ivan Sacks :
I would like to believe that but I cannot since I believe G-d gives us what we need and sometimes that is a no.

   Roy :
What we need and what we want- do not often match, Hashem truly knows what we need, hard to accept and internalize.
I heard the following from Sarah Rigler that helps put this into perspective.
Everything I have I NEED
And Everything I NEED I have.
Boils down to being truly happy with your lot, no matter what your lot is.

   Bernard Rosenberg :

   Rabbi Schwartz :
The answer here must be YES, but there are two points we must clarify first:

(1) “I truly believe” must mean that WE BELIEVE that Hashem - as sole Creator and Director of the world - would want to give us all we want.

(2) Concerning, “what I want” we must decide whether this is mainly our short term desires, our pleasures in this world, or our long term desires, our eternal happiness and wealth.

We understand that Hashem, the Source of all goodness wants what is ultimately good for us, for our body and our soul - in this world and the next. As such, we find it difficult to believe that Hashem would want to give us joy in this world at the expense of eternity. And if we can’t believe it, we have lost our first condition - the “I truly believe” of the “I will receive what I want”.

Moreover, from our own point of view, we likewise prefer the long term project, growing ourselves through Torah and mitzvos, over enriching ourselves in the physical world.

As such, if “what I want” is health, wealth, beautiful families and happy times, all to aid us in our spiritual progress, this too would be Hashem’s wish for us, and we can certainly expect it!

An exception to this would be when receiving our wishes would interfere with, or sabotage our spiritual growth. In this case, Hashem would not give it to us, nor would we want it either. When, however, we serve Hashem as best we can - when we make the most of our every life test – Hashem has no reason to withhold any goodness from us.

Thus we understand the teaching of our sages, “Do His will as though it was your will, and He will do your will as though it was His will.”* Let us believe and know that this is so, and see it in our lives, now!

(See story in footnote)**

* Pirkei Avos 2:4

** Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner z”l, had a special class that focused on ‘Belief’. With this class, he showed his students ideas and attitudes to help them pass the tests of life, and succeed materially and spiritually.

Once, as he gave this class well past midnight, he paused and asked what time it was. No one answered, for no one owned a watch. (In those days, a watch was a luxury item, and so none of the young students possessed one.)

Rav Chaim then used this to illustrate the idea he was teaching. “It seems,” he said, “that we do not possess a full measure of the belief we have been discussing – for if we had a full belief in the workings of heavenly forces, we would have not only a watch amongst us, but it would be of solid gold.” He continued his class at a deeper, more probing level.

Suddenly, a Russian soldier entered the room. He looked left and right, and approached Rav Chaim. “I am Jewish,” he said to Rav Chaim, “I come from a city near Lodz. Just recently, the Russian army called me for national service. My father, who is a rich man, bribed the army doctor to free me from the army.

“I was so sure of the doctor’s promise to my father, that when I went for my medical checkup, I did not bother to change my expensive clothing for simple ones. Well, a surprise awaited me. The doctor had mistakenly freed another Jew instead of me.

“I have now been in the army for a few weeks, one Jew in the company of many Russian peasants, and I am scared they will steal the gold watch I still have on me.

“This evening, I was given leave to come into town for a break. Your classroom was the only place with the lights still on, and I was happy to see that it is a place of Torah study. Please now, do me a favor, and look after this watch for me.”

“I’m sorry,” said Rav Chaim, “but my house, with the many people who visit it, is like a railway station. I cannot take responsibility for such a valuable item.”

The soldier paused a moment. Then he said, “In that case, take the watch as a gift. Better that it should belong to a rabbi than a thief…” and with that he put down the watch, and departed. Rav Chaim ran after the man to give him back his watch, but could not catch him.

He then turned to his students and said, “This is what we have been speaking of – a living example. If only we possessed a true belief, the heavens themselves would send us a watch – and even one of solid gold.” (From the book Avi HaYeshivos, the life of Rav Chaim of Volozhin)

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