Good and Bad Things Happen to All People

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A principle that is part of the philosophical underpinnings of Kabbalah is the recognition that God is not only the creator of our reality, but He also is in control of everything in existence. This implies that all events that occur are either caused by His command or at least allowed to occur by His tacit approval. Of course since this is a basic point of Jewish philosophy all intelligent Jews hold its general understanding. The mystics, however, seem to be much more acutely aware of this aspect of truth.

The spiritual world responds to the physical world. This means that many of the events that happen to us are a specific reaction to something we’ve done. It may be a benefit that comes from a good deed, or a negative consequence of a bad deed. What goes around comes around in quite a specific way. If your spiritual composition passes through one area of challenge you may even find yourself in a negative situation (from your perspective) as a result of a good deed. What it means is you’ve risen to a new level and you’re ready for a more significant challenge. From a non-spiritual perspective a person may say, “Why is this catastrophe happening to me?” This is like a sophomore in college going into junior year saying, “but I passed my finals, why are they giving me even more complicated work to do?” When you realize fully that life is meant to be a process of spiritual growth you will accept and even welcome new challenges.

After all, being given a difficult task is actually God complimenting you; He’s saying, “I know you’re ready for this.”Any life situation may be a challenge or even a message from the Al-mighty. The sages say that since we don’t have prophecy in our era; life’s events are the only way God can speak to us. We may not understand all the messages, but a moment’s pause to reflect on a special event in your life may reap some interesting results. The very fact that you recognize God runs the world and nothing is an accident is an elevating thought, which can have powerful reverberations. The Zohar says that no blade of grass grows without an angel striking and saying, “Grow.” Also, knowing that there is a meaning to everything can be calming in the face of life’s many adversities. Sartre and other existentialists came to the correct conclusion that without God, nothing means anything. What many people don’t realize is that with God everything is meaningful. This doesn’t mean we can figure out the “why” behind all of life’s difficulties or tragedies. If we could we’d be God. Some things that happen to us are recompense from previous existences, reincarnations. It even seems we’re not meant to know it all. This itself is one of life’s challenges, to trust the Infinite Being when we’re confused by injustice. God’s knowledge is clear, though, when you come to the point of the next world. What pain and suffering is so terrible when it is replaced with an eternity of pleasure? Not only that but the soul in the next world is unencumbered by the fog of physicality. It becomes attached to God and will comprehend the necessity for all that it went through.

The other side of the coin is also true. What to you may seem as a good thing happening to a bad person may in fact be to their detriment. The worst thing that can happen to a materialistic person is to win the lottery. They, of course, are ecstatic. Now, however, they can waste even more time. They can buy sixteen motorcycles, three houses, and all the other “toys” they want. Spiritually they are wallowing in the mud. People with less leisure time may actually be able to live a more spiritually sensitive life. Conversely, when an evil person is deprived of the ability to do evil, that is a tremendous spiritual benefit. As a wise woman I know once said to a criminal in jail, “You are very lucky they stopped you from doing more damage to your soul.”

The Talmud says that the next world is upside down. With a little perspective or re framing you can bring some of the next world into this one. And then we all can have a bit more clarity.