web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



‘Everything Is Great!’

In recent years, the way people greet each other in Israel has changed.

For as long as I can remember the greeting was always, “mah shlomcha,” which is equivalent to “How are you?” The Israeli answer was generally, “B’seder, Baruch Hashem,” equivalent to “I’m OK, thank God.”

But in recent years people have begun asking, “Hakol tov?” – “Is everything good?”

At first I didn’t like this question. I mean, how can I say everything is good? Listen to the news. Our enemies hate us and want to destroy us. Not only is our Holy Temple in ruins but Jews are not even allowed to pray in the permitted areas of the Temple Mount, and our own police enforce this! I can go on and on, but the point is, I found it difficult to answer a greeting that asked, “Is everything good?”

After some thinking, I was able to work it out. Now I always answer, “Everything is great!” I’ll explain the steps I used to reach this solution.

First of all, as Jews we believe what our rabbis teach in the Talmud: “Everything God has done He has done for a good reason, whether we understand it or not.”

Here I would like to share the beautiful teaching of the famous Reb Zusha, brother of the Noam Elimelech. In the words of the last daily morning blessing, we bless Hashem for giving us “chassadim tovim” – “good types of loving kindnesses.” Reb Zusha asked, “Aren’t all loving kindnesses good? So why does the blessing add the word ‘good’?”

Reb Zusha answers, “True, everything from God is good, but we are beseeching You, Hashem, to give us loving kindnesses that we recognize as being good!”

God himself is in fact referred to as “hatov,” meaning “the Good One,” which we say three times a day in the Modim prayer in Shemoneh Esrei.

So now we understand our request in the Al HaTzaddikim blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei that God should “give good reward to those who truly trust in Your name.” What is the meaning of “good reward?” Can’t we simply ask for reward, which implies something good? The answer is that we are asking to be rewarded with even more recognition of God’s goodness, for trusting in Him.

I’d like to share two stories from my past that have helped me deal with the question “Is everything ‘good’?”

In 1988, I picked up a scholarly-looking hitchhiker on the road adjacent to the holy Kotel.

I wanted to converse with him so I asked, “Nu, what do you think?”

He immediately answered, “It’s good and it’s gonna be even better!”

I asked, “Where did you get that wonderful attitude?”

“Learn the sefer Derech Hashem (Ways of Hashem) by Reb Moshe Chaim Luzzato,” he replied. “From this book we learn that if we understood the ways of Hashem, we would know that even the most horrible event is good for us!”

Before he left the car, I asked him his name and he said “Zilberman.” I knew immediately he must be the brother of Rochel Weiss, who was murdered earlier that year, along with her three small children, in Jericho when a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a bus window. She was the daughter of the well-known Rav Zilberman, who had influenced the famous actor Uri Zohar to become a ba’al teshuvah (and eventually a rabbi).

“Are you the brother of Rochel Weiss?” I asked.

“Yes,” was his response as he left my car. His positive attitude has been uplifting to me since then. “It’s good and it’s gonna be even better!”

The second story is about an event that really changed my life. The year was 1973, and I was a volunteer during the Yom Kippur War. I spent the first two weeks of the war on a non-religious kibbutz. Each day a certain fifteen-year-old boy and I would cross paths. I would always ask, “How are you?” And he would look right into my eyes and respond, “Better than you!”

I felt the arrogance in his words, though the phrase remained in my mind. Years later, there was an occasion when I actually used that response. But I felt so bad about replying to someone in such a manner that, as an act of repentance I decided that anytime someone would ask me, “How are you?” my response would always be, “I’m great, but not as good as you!”

About the Author: Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at dovshurin@yahoo.com. His Jewish Press column appears the third issue of each month.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “‘Everything Is Great!’”

  1. Grace Acosta says:

    This is so beautiful! Thank you. We should only know bsoros tovos.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.
IDF: Israeli Toddler Murdered by Rocket Fired Near UNRWA School/Shelter
Latest Indepth Stories
Charles Krauthammer

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

David_Grossman

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

488px-WielkaSynagoga3_Lodz

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Netanyahu-Obama-030212

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

We were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.

Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.

His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.

More Articles from Dov Shurin
Dov Shurin

Israel feebly begged Hamas to end the barrage, promising that “quiet will be met with quiet.”

Dov Shurin

Isn’t it comforting to know that our God loves life, grants life, and promises eternal life?

While the phrase “Let It Be” implies doing nothing, “Lu Yehi” implies working toward a goal.

An Israeli company should make “Arafat’s Dead Sea Tonic” with this warning: “may cause severe vomiting or even death.”

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

Boundless love was something Rav Kook had for the nation of Israel. Just as one cannot question the boundless love of Hashem for Israel, one cannot question the boundless love of a Torah giant for his people.

I hollered over and over again, waving a clinched fist toward the heavens.

This past Shabbos, as we read the weekly Torah portion of Bishalach, my son suddenly said to me, “Dad, I have a feeling Sharon is going to pass away today, because we just read his name in Az Yashir [the Song of the Sea] where it says ‘arik charbi.’ ”

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/dov-shurin-columns/everything-is-great/2013/06/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: