web analytics
March 2, 2015 / 11 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


‘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!”

People often respond by asking, “How do you know?”

To this I respond, “Because I’m seeing the Shechinah [God’s earthly presence] radiating from your face, but when I look in the mirror I only seen my own face, which is not the same.”

So, dear readers, work on it. Everything is great because God is Great.

And I’d like to wish a great summer to us all.

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.

Current Top Story
Some 1,500 teens from around the world at the Chabad CTeen convention hear a personal greeting from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 1, 2015.
Ban Ki-moon Greets 1,500 Jewish Teens at Chabad CTeen Convention
Latest Indepth Stories
Middle-East-map

Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall ahead of his speech next week at the US Congress.

Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.

Netanyahu carried his message to Americans through the media after meeting with President Obama and castigating Iran at the UN. (September 30, 2013)

Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering

israel-day-parade-bds

Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.

March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

More Articles from Dov Shurin
Dov Shurin

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Dov Shurin

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

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.

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: