web analytics
August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Why Me…Why Not me?


Kupfer-091412

Just a few short days ago we were in summer mode, vacationing in the mountains, at the cottage, or on the road visiting family, friends or sightseeing. But with the start of September and school, we become all to aware that the Yamim Noraim – the Days of Awe – are upon us, that sobering period of time when a year’s worth of our actions and activities will be evaluated by our Creator. His ultimate assessment and judgement will affect the quality and quantity of the days of our lives.

For the Jewish people, it is a time to look inward and contemplate with equal parts of hope and dread what kind of year awaits us.

For some, the prayers and requests offered up last year did not have the outcome they so fervently asked for. Sadly, there are individuals, families and communities that have suffered life-shattering events. Many are still reeling from horrific news or events which occurred years before. They or those they love suffered unexpected serious injury or loss of life through accidents, violence or disease.

Others are dealing with more recent devastating news – that they or a loved one has a serious illness or affliction; lost their parnassah; some have had their hopes cruelly dashed by yet another miscarriage or mourn month after month for a pregnancy that never happens.

As is natural, their first reaction after they catch their breath from the blow they received is, “Why me? Why me?

The only way to perhaps answer this question – one that has been asked for thousands of years by slave and king alike – is to take yourself out of the situation and ask yourself, “Why not me?

Is there something that separates you from your friend, neighbor, fellow Jew or from the rest of humanity?

Do you have a greater number of good deeds than everyone else? Are you so much more special or outstanding or more needed than the rest of the klal that you should be immune from misfortune?

You know the answer. No, you are not better, nor more elevated than other human beings. You are just another noodle in the pot – indiscernible from the others.

The reality is that man is totally clueless as to why G-d allows unbearable tragedy to strike.

Some people may have be arrogant enough to assign a reason for why Hashem does not stop an unspeakable misfortune from occurring, but the truth is how could any mortal know Hashem’s will and be able to say that things happen for this or that “sin?”

Some who are more modest in their self-assessment have theorized (not insisted) that suffering may be a tikun, a rectification for actions done in a past life, however, at the end of the day, Hashem’s ways are inscrutable.

While it is very human, if you or someone you love is in pain, to try to understand why, ask yourself this question – if you were to win a multi-million dollar lottery, would you also scream out, “Why me?” Would you question why Hashem singled you out from all others? And when it is someone else’s face smiling as he holds the check with the one and the endless zeros following it, would you not sigh, “Why not me?”

Many great minds have wondered why bad things happen to good (read ordinary) people, undistinguishable both in deeds and lifestyle from millions of others. There is no answer. Only the Master of the Universe knows the “why” of what happens to His creations. After all he is the Celestial Architect and Judaism teaches that He orchestrates every detail of our existence. The only free will we have in this matter is how we react to our good and bad fortune.

Obsessing over “why me?” is futile, and takes away from your ability to handle (survive) whatever it is you are dealing with.

I have come to the conclusion that those afflicted with great misfortune have been given the rare opportunity to perform perhaps the hardest and most sacred mitzvah there is – the one found in Shema. The Shema is the ultimate affirmation of a Jew’s faith. Throughout our tragic history of persecution and brutalization, the last words gasped by our dying martyrs has been, “Hear O Israel, Hashem, our G-d, is One.” The pasuk that follows describes the hardest mitzvah to obey – “And you will love Hashem your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”

It is very easy to be G-d fearing. It does not take a whole lot of effort to be terrified of the Almighty, who is quite capable of punishing those who anger Him. The Torah is full of warnings of what our lot will be if we disobey His will. Being petrified of someone mightier than you who can turn shatter your world in a blink is a very natural reaction.

But loving Hashem with all your soul – in other words unconditionally, despite what you feel is undeserved and unequivocal tragedy – is the true epitome of faith. When you find yourself in a horrific “why me” situation, and you can still love G-d the Judge and accept His degrees – albeit with a shattered heart – saying with sincerity gam zu l’tova this too is for the good that is the ultimate declaration of genuine emunah.

It is said of the sage Rabi Akiva that he smiled as the Romans were torturing him to death, and as he started to die, he recited the Shema. His bewildered talmidim asked him, “Rebbe, even here, now?”

Rabi Akiva replied, “All my life I recited the Shema, with its command to love God with all your heart and all your soul. I worried if I would ever have the opportunity to fulfill this mitzvah in its entirety. Now I have been blessed to love God with all my soul. Shouldn’t I be happy?!”

Perhaps when disaster befalls us, Hashem is giving us an opportunity to take an exam that He knows we will ultimately pass, and that the reward for doing so is beyond our mortal comprehension.

I know that I struggle (and I suspect many others do) with the concept of embracing Hashem so wholeheartedly. As a child of Holocaust survivors I find it very hard to say gam zu l’tova, when I look at the fact that six million Jewish men, women children and infants were butchered. It’s not like they passed away peacefully in their sleep.

Many starved to death, died of exposure, succumbed to disease, were hanged, shot, subjected to horrific medical experiments, were gassed, or burned alive.

But I try to balance this awareness with a constant hakarat hatov for the good in my life and in the lives of those who I hold dear.

And everyday I pray for the unconditional emunah and bitachon that is so elusive. Life is so much easier when you can wholeheartedly embrace the reality Hashem has bestowed on you. Only then can you life your life be b’simcha, consoled and fortified with the belief that this too was for the best.

My Rosh Hashanah bracha to my dear readers is that you find your way to Hashem despite your troubles and tzarus. It is only through unwavering acceptance of His will that one can attain true happiness and peace of mind.

About the Author:


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.

No Responses to “Why Me…Why Not me?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Arkansas Governor and current presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem.
Official PA Media Calls Huckabee ‘Inane Creature’ and ‘Wicked Man’
Latest Sections Stories
book-Lord-Get-Me-High

Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.

Schonfeld-logo1

I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.

book-Avi's-Choice

His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.

There is a rich Jewish history in this part of the world. Now the hidden customs are being revealed, as many seek to reconnect with their roots.

There are times when a psychiatrist will over-medicate, which is why it’s important to find a psychiatrist whom you trust and feel comfortable with.

On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder created one of the most famous, and valuable, pieces of film and became forever linked with one of the greatest American national tragedies when he stood with his camera on an elevated concrete abutment as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Exhibited here is […]

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom I’ve been thinking a lot about worrying. Anxiety is an issue close to my heart – […]

Don’t be afraid to try something different.

Upon meeting the Zionist delegation, General Wu, a recent convert to Christianity, said, “You are my spiritual brothers.

With the assistance of Mr. Tress, Private Moskowitz tried tirelessly to become an army chaplain.

Dr. Yael Respler is taking a well-deserved vacation this week and asked Eilon Even-Esh to share some thoughts with her readers in her stead.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-On-Our-Own-NEW

What I call verbal terrorism is tragically not rare at all.

Kupfer-060515-Supermen

There are fathers who bravely step up to the plate and fill in the maternal vacuum with their love and devotion.

The message being conveyed is that without “flour,” without the means to support oneself and one’s family, one’s focus on Torah will be impeded by worry.

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/why-mewhy-not-me/2012/09/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: