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A Jewish Focus on Life

By Shmuel Sackett
International Director, Manhigut Yehudit

I always try to be positive and full of optimism. I have decided that I would use my pen – actually, keyboard – to combat the horrible and bleak picture of Israel that is painted each day by the worldwide media. All you seem to read about is terror, war, violence, scandals and the newest media sensation; infighting between Jews. It’s a wonder we even make it through the day!

I am not oblivious to these problems – and YES – they exist, but I choose to focus on the good. It’s more than simply writing about the glass being half full. It is about recognizing the amazing miracles that Hashem performs for us each hour of the day. After 2,000 years of exile, we have returned home! We have a Jewish army, have revived our ancient language, have a network of Yeshivot and Torah learning unprecedented in Jewish history, have built and settled the land promised to our Grandfather Avraham and much more! What’s there to complain about? We are living the Torah! We are fulfilling the words of our Prophets! We are walking the streets of history and touching the same stones as King David, Rabbi Akiva, the Ramban and the Arizal. What could be bad?

These are the words I choose to write and speak about. It reminds me of something I once heard. When you are up to your head in laundry – thank Hashem for giving you so many clothes! When your teenager complains about doing dishes – thank Hashem for the fact that he/she is at home and not on the streets! When you have taxes to pay – thank Hashem for giving you a job! When you have a huge mess to clean up after a party – thank Hashem for surrounding you with friends! When you find a parking spot 3 blocks away from your destination – thank Hashem for blessing you with a car and a good pair of legs! When your clothes fit a bit snug – thank Hashem for giving you enough to eat! When your heating bill is high – thank Hashem for giving you warmth! When your lawn needs mowing and gutters need fixing – thank Hashem for giving you a house!
All this means three things to me.

One: A problem exists (tight clothes, broken gutters, messy house, complaining teenagers)
Two: That problem needs to be addressed and fixed BUT IN THE MEANTIME –
Three: That problem should not stop you from focusing on the real gift given to you by our Father in Heaven.

If this is true in our private life, how much more so is it true in our nationalistic life. When the IDF is not responding strongly enough to rock-throwing Arabs – that problem must be fixed – but thank Hashem for blessing us with an army of brothers as opposed to the Polish, Russian and German soldiers seen by our parents. When hotel prices in Jerusalem are ridiculously high – that problem must be fixed – but thank Hashem for bringing tourists to Israel and for building hotels in Netanya, the Galil, Ein Gedi, Mitzpe Ramon and Tzefat where prices are lower! When wonderful, heroic, young, Jewish families are evicted from their homes in the Shomron because not every document was properly signed – that problem must be fixed – but thank Hashem for giving the Jewish youth of today a fighting and pioneering spirit that will rebuild that home 10 times if necessary and bring life to areas in Israel that haven’t seen a Jew in over 1,000 years!!!

This is where our head must be: Identify the problem, fix the problem and thank Hashem for the wonderful trust and faith He has in YOU in focusing on what is important in life and in getting the job done! Now get to work!

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