Chanukah is a time of miracles. But do they really happen today as they did in ancient times? I recently read Say Thank You and See Miracles – The Garden of Miracles by Rabbi Shalom Arush, an Israeli Breslov Rabbi. The book contains 190 stories of people who contacted Rabbi Arush after taking his counterintuitive advice and experiencing miracles. More on that to follow.
I consider myself to be a regular Torah Jew. I do my best to serve Hashem by learning His Torah and keeping the mitzvos He commanded. I am not a Breslover chossid. I have never been to Uman. What happens next defies all logic, and I feel compelled to publicize it.
Sometimes in business there are employees who are not a good fit, even if they are decent people otherwise. You do your best to work with them, to hear out their concerns, and to try to work together. At the end of the day, it’s not personal, it’s just business. Believe me when I say that we tried everything to make things work with one of our employees in particular. However, no matter what we tried, that staff member wasn’t happy. Worse, they made the CEO unhappy and brought down the general mood in the office. We felt helpless, especially in New York, where the employer is guilty until proven innocent.
My wife noticed the book I’d purchased and began reading it. The main point of the stories is to begin thanking Hashem for the challenges in our lives, not just for the blessings. Think about that for a minute and take some time to understand the concept. Sure, it makes sense to thank Hashem for my spouse, kids, good health, food, and for everything single thing we can think of, yet it still will not cover everything (free air to breathe 24/7, for example).
But how can we seriously thank Hashem for the challenges in our lives? Chas v’shalom, people experience all sorts of pain. How is any rational person supposed to feel thankful for that? Maybe if I really think about it I can allow myself to thank Hashem that things aren’t worse than they are in a given situation, but are we really supposed to feel gratitude for things we consider to be “bad”?
As Jewish people who believe in Hashem, we know that every single thing that happens is decreed in Heaven. Further, we know that everything Hashem does is crafted to be the very best for us. If that is true, then the only problem is perception. The bad is not bad – it is good, it is the very best, because it all comes from Hashem, and He only does good, even if we don’t begin to comprehend how or why.
Rabbi Arush takes it one step further, and posits something that sounds controversial. He guarantees that someone who wholeheartedly thanks Hashem for the “negative” things in life will see miracles. The 190 stories in the book are eye opening, but they happened to other people. I do not know them personally. It may as well be fiction as far as I am concerned.
Well the following story happened to us. My wife (the CEO I mentioned) sat down to thank Hashem for her challenging employee Shemini Atzeres afternoon. When I checked my work email after Yom Tov ended, I was surprised to find a message dated Shemini Atzeres, at 5:17 pm, less than an hour before sunset. The employee who had been causing such consternation resigned the very same day my wife thanked Hashem for the challenge.
The synchronicity is too strong to ignore. It literally happened just as the book’s title – Say Thank You and See Miracles – claims. All I can take away from this personal experience is to suggest that we each try this in our own lives. It must be sincere and just not lip service. Even if we can’t fathom how our own personal challenges are for the best, we trust that Hashem knows better than we do, and deserves our thanks for EVERYTHING He does for us.